October 14, 2016

Beast Rider

Druid Circle
Comments from the Finger: Originally conceived as a Mammoth Rider by Rex Gunn, this class took a distinctly mounted-combat approach when the pieces came together, and I quite like the result.

Circle of Beast Riders

The Circle of Beast Riders is composed of druids that walk in lock-step with the beasts of the wild, and learn to ride them, no matter how ferocious the beast. These druids travel far afield on the backs of wild creatures to defend the beasts of the wild from those that might harm them. And in combat, they are a terrifying force; where a knight may approach on the back of a warhorse, a beast rider will arrive atop a wild bear, wolf, or mammoth.

Circle Mount
Starting when you choose this circle at 2nd level, you have a fearsome mount that carries you into combat. Your mount must be a Large beast, cannot fly, and can have a maximum CR of 1. You can control this mount even if it hasn't been trained to accept a rider. Its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or four times your druid level, whichever is higher.
     The initiative of a controlled mount changes to match yours when you mount it. It moves as you direct it, and it has only three action options: Dash, Disengage, and Dodge. A controlled mount can move and act even on the turn that you mount it. All other rules of mounted combat apply.
     If your mount dies, you can obtain another one by spending 8 hours magically bonding with another beast that isn't hostile to you, either the same type of mount as before or a different one.
     Starting at 6th level, you can tame a mount with a challenge rating as high as your druid level divided by 3, rounded down. At 15th level, you can also tame Huge mounts.

Cavalier
At 2nd level, you can mount and dismount a creature without spending any movement.
     You can also use your action to command your mount to take the Charge action. When a mount makes a Charge, it moves at least 10 feet in a straight line and can make one melee weapon attack against a creature within its reach. Additionally, when you command your mount to Charge, you can make one attack as a bonus action.

Mounted Casting
At 6th level, your mount's attacks count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage as long as you are riding it.
     Additionally, whenever you cast a spell which affects only yourself, you can choose for it to also affect your mount.

Mount Wild Shape
Starting at 10th level, your mount learns how to assume the shape of other beasts. As an action, you can expend two uses of Wild Shape to transform your mount into another Huge or smaller beast with a CR less than or equal to its own. Unlike your normal mounts, your wildshaped mount can fly, if its new form allows it to. Your mount follows all the rules of Wild Shape while transformed.

Mammoth Rider
At 14th level, you can cast the spell enlarge/reduce spell on your mount at will.



Changelog: 10/14/16: Circle Mount: Begins at a CR of 1, its HP is equal to 4 times your druid level, if it was lower
Caviler: Bonus action to attack after a charge moved to this feature
Mounted Charge: Bonus action to attack removed. Advantage on concentration added. Renamed Mounted Casting.
Beastial Fury: Cut
Mount Wild Shape: Moved back to 10th level
Mammoth Rider: Added at 14th level
10/15/16: Mounted Casting: Concentration advantage removed. Extended casting added.

36 comments:

  1. I'm not sure how the mark adds up, but it seems odd thaw you start with something Cr 2, but after that your mount scales at the same rate of a moon circle druid. Can it be reasonably expected to survive Cr appropriate encounters?

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    1. Ah, I forgot the obligatory 'hp equal to four times your druid level clause'. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  2. I feel like this could have been a path for a more combat-oriented class, like the Ranger/Barbarian. Its abilities don't really scream "druid" at me. Maybe the mount could share touch spells/druid abilities, etc.

    Incidentally, does one need to be riding the mount at the time to command it to charge?

    Anyway, it's niche, but cool. Just imagine the possibilities with Shillelagh and a good enough mount!

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    1. So, up to 6th level, this needs to be locked into the type of feature progression we have here, just to make the class competitive in combat. I'm pretty open to changing levels 10 and 14 into more druid-y options, if you have any suggestions.

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    2. Right now commanding the mount to charge is a bonus action that allows you to attack as a bonus action.

      I think the 2nd part of the 6th level feature could be changed to a "shared spells" feature, although it would be a problem with some spells (polymorph).

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    3. I might just do that, or some variant of 'expend spells to heal your mount'.

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  3. hmm

    where land druids are dedicated spellcasters and moon druids are more like tanks/damage sponges, am i wrong to see this as a dedicated physical dpr subclass?

    pretty weird to see a druid subclass where spellcasting takes a back seat though

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    1. It should be more tanky, like a Moon Druid, but with better mobility. (I'm missing a sentence to give your mount more HP -- I'll fix it as soon as I can.)

      Like Moon Druid, it does have a greater melee focus, which I like for the diversity, but I'm fine with replacing one of the final two features if I accomplishes a more druid-y spellcasting thing.

      Ideas?

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  4. Okay, so the part of Circle Mount that talks about the CR of the mount changing at Level Six to be 1/3 of your Druid level, rounding down. That actually doesn't do anything until ninth level? Which just feels weird. "Here's an ability that doesn't do anything for three levels!"

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    1. The idea here was to closely follow the Circle of the Moon CR progression (though I made a mistake in beginning the mount at CR 2 -- it should start at 1.)

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  5. WHAT?
    This is completely and utterly overpowered. At 2nd level, it can ride a Rhino and attack for 4d8+5 damage per turn- and unlike Circle of the Moon, has absolutely no problem casting spells.
    If it would start with a CR 1 mount it would be more balanced but still very powerful for the level (a Giant Goat would deal 4d4+3, a Giant Spider 1d8+3 +2d8 with a save, A Warhorse would deal 2d6+4), and would make the 6th level feature useful.

    The 14th level feature is useless- You can cast polymorph 7 levels before that.

    I have another major problem with this class- Since your mount CR gets constantly higher, you would constantly need to replace them. This is kinda weird, as I'd expect a mounted druid to be deeply bonded with his mount, not being always on the search for a stronger one. Perhaps you can, instead of giving a better CR, make the same mount become stronger?

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    1. I think the CR 2 thing might be a typo. I planned for this to pretty closely mirror the Circle of the Moon in terms of acceptable CR.

      Additionally, it probably looks like it needs higher HP for a particular mount, like the beastmaster. Should I also add your proficiency bonus to the mount's attack rolls, or are we treading thin ice again?

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    2. No you're wrong about the first part. It's on the rhino's turn it can charge and deal an extra 2d8 damage. But it can't attack on it's turn, it's attacking on your turn. So it only does 2d8+5 damage.

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    3. The attack rolls are a problem. Adding your proficiency to them would be too much, but without it they are quite low. Maybe allowing the mount to use your proficiency bonus instead of it's own?
      Little Bear: It can charge on your turn because of the Cavalier feature.

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    4. I'm pretty sure Little Bear is right about the attacking thing (unless I'm missing something about the action economy here.) Your mount can only attack when you direct it to, and doesn't attack on its own.

      I think I'm a little happier with the action economy here, since now you can attack from atop your mount as a bonus action when you Charge as an action. I won't scale the mount's attacks or damage so that it doesn't threaten to overtake the player for damage.

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  6. It's like you guys saw the new ranger beastmaster archetype, thought it was too good, and decided to make a druid archetype that emulated everything awful about it.
    Hell even the picture for the druid is wrong, because it's clearly using metal objects.

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    1. It's _really_ hard to find good druid pictures.

      And the new beastmaster is really pretty different to this. In terms of action economy, for example, these are completely different. The goal here was to utilize the existing mounted combat rules to actually engage in combat, and I think that worked.

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    2. What I meant was it was like the old beastmaster because you have to use your damn action to make it attack. A druid could buy a stupid horse and have it run around, which is only a little worse because it might not attack because it can be afraid, you can't force it to move as an action, and it doesn't really get better unless you but an elephant when you get the gold. The fact that you can pretty much do everything this class can by buying a horse for however much gold means this class is shitty.

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    3. I see what you mean here -- burning the action to use Charge is too limiting. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest using it as a bonus action might be a little too powerful in a DPR sense. Then again, you _do_ have to move 10 feet before you can attack with a charge, so maybe it isn't super abusable.

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    4. Little bear: I think most DMs won't allow a mount you just buy to attack at all. However, using your action for it (considering the druid is a full caster) is somewhat problematic.
      Since the 6th level feature does very little by itself, It could perhaps be replaced to allow a better use of spells, such as expending a spell slot as a BA to increase your mount's damage/attack roll/AC by the spell's level for 1 turn, or to heal it like the Moon's combat wild shape.

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    5. Normal mount rules don't allow your mount to attack at all.

      I'm messing with the rules for Charge right now, so it's basically in between versions. Bonus action might be too powerful, but I'm looking into other limiting factors for it.

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  7. I fins this circle a little awkward simply because a druid has no worthwhile weapon options and a multi-class is almost necessary for the class to be effective

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    1. You know, I didn't consider the druid's weapon proficiencies. I wonder what an appropriate chance for this might be. Lances, maybe?

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    2. Or a modification of the shilleigh spell

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    3. Druid does have the flame blade spell, so that's pretty good.

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  8. A bonus action for the charge seems a bit too powerful. this is basically a valor bard or eldritch knight 14th level feature, but the attack is the mount's and not yours. Being able to cast a spell ad attack on the same turn is very powerful, and certainly too powerful for level 2.
    Also, Druids have very good ongoing damage spells (flame blade, call lightning), so they wouldn't even have to burn many spells to deal buckets of damage. A 6th level druid could consistently deal 4d8+5 from his rhino plus 3d10 from call lightning, which is 39.5 damage (a fireball, which a wizard of this level can cast only 3/day, deals an average of 28 damage, and a raging berserker barbarian of this level deals about 3x[1d12+6]=37.5).

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    1. Sorry, I left that as kind of an unfinished version for a little bit there. (I've had a very hectic day.) I think it'll be a little more cleaned up now, though I haven't run the numbers to see if the new version checks out in terms of damage. I might have to remove your ability score from bonus action damage rolls.

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  9. I feel that a second beast attack at level 10 is too much persistent damage for a full caster and that it have at least a bit more of a magical focus. I recommend something like this to replace the level 10 feature.

    Level 10: Mounted casting: You have become adept at casting spells from the back of a mount and rely on your mount to keep you free from distraction. While riding your mount you have advantage on any concentrations checks to maintain a spell. additionally, when you command your mount to Charge you may cast a cantrip as a bonus action

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    1. I am going to use the concentration part, but in the 6th level slot. (I'm switching up quite a bit of it as I type this.) Thanks for the idea!

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  10. This seems a lot more balanced than the original version.
    However, the 14th level feature seems weak- its only 1d4 extra damage, and requires your concentration.

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  11. There is a typo in Mounted Casting referring to a familiar.

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    1. Probably more of a copy pasta error, not a typo. Just to be clear.

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    2. Nah, for as many copy-pasta errors I make, this one is a genuine typo -- I just accidentally called it a familiar. Thanks for catching that!

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  12. Well known exploit in previous additions, No Movement to Mount/Dismount allows Instant Transmission across country by lining up horses with a 5ft space between for you to dismount into between each.

    Fun, but unintended.

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    1. Look, if you can line up hundreds of horses across country in order to make this exploit work, you deserve it. The balancing factor is the cost of the horses. And the fact that I'll smack the player that tries to do that with the Dungeon Master's Guide.

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