Hello, everyone! Like a lot of 5E players, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth from the Beast Master ranger’s approach for designing a character focused on a partnership with some sort of beast companion. To me, the truly egregious part of the Beast Master is that there are so many characters defined by fighting alongside monster allies that the concept should have been expanded into its own class with the newest iteration of 5E, and the Hunter class aims to do just that. Since this is a class being built from the ground up, I’m approaching the concept in parts, and so here for your feedback are the first five levels of my Hunter class.
“Mate, we’ve got a real beauty here!” the blonde man marveled, climbing the back of an irate behir. His companion watched nervously as the reptile thrashed its many short legs, desperately blasting lightning into the air to try and shake its pursuer. The hunter’s thin armor and large knife didn’t seem up to the task of wrestling such a monster into submission, but it hardly seemed to matter as the creature finally collapsed from exhaustion.
“Crikey, look at the choppers on this one!” he exclaimed, lifting the drained creature’s upper lip to reveal rows of dagger-sized teeth.
“I.. can see them just fine from here.” His wizard friend said, keeping half an eye on the exit to the cave, lest the hunter think this fight was too easy.
Tamers of Monsters
Driven to pursue all manner of creatures, the hunter develops expertise in handling their quarry, and frequently enlist the aid of similar allies in their adventures.
Some hunters may find themselves more comfortable in solitude, surrounded only by the subject of their hunt, but most recognize that there is safety in numbers, and are more than willing to travel alongside other adventurers.
Pursuing Greater Quarries
As a hunter refines their art, they must face greater and greater challenges. This escalation naturally lends a hunter to a life of adventure – after all, the most fearsome of foes dwell where mortals dare not tread.
Creating a Hunter
As you create a hunter, you should consider what drives them to the hunt – are they driven by revenge against a foe that took something (or someone) precious to them? Do they hunt as a noble or sportsmanlike pursuit? Or were they taught from a young age of the monsters that lurk in the world, and find it their duty to slay them?
You can quickly build a hunter using the following suggestions. Your Intelligence should be your highest ability score, followed by Constitution. Second, choose the hermit background.
|1st||2||Hunting Quarry, Hunters’ Command|
|2nd||2||Hunting Quarry Feature|
|4th||2||Ability Score Improvement|
Hit Dice: 1d12 per hunter level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12(or 7) + your Constitution modifier per hunter level after 1st.
Armor: Light armor, medium armor
Weapons: All simple and martial weapons
Tools: Leatherworker’s tools
Saving Throws: Constitution, Intelligence
Skills: Choose 3 from Stealth, Medicine, Perception, and Survival.
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) short sword or (b) any simple melee weapon
- (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor
- (a) a light crossbow and 20 bolts or (b) a shortbow and 20 arrows
- an explorer’s pack
Choose a quarry based on the creatures you prefer to hunt: Beast, Planar, or Monstrosity. Each quarry is detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features when you choose it at 1st level. It also grants you additional benefits at 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 17th levels.
Each Hunting Quarry provides you with the ability to somehow bring a creature under your control. The creature obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turns on your initiative, though it does not act unless instructed. On your turn, you can verbally instruct the creature where to move(no action required by you). You can also use your action to verbally command the creature to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action, or any action detailed in its stat block(except for the Multiattack action if it has one).
Starting at 3rd level, you can identify foes with uncanny precision. As a bonus action, you may attempt to discern information about a creature. On a success, the GM will tell you two of the following characteristics of your choice.
- Saving Throws(three abilities of your choice)
- Armor Class
- Damage vulnerabilities (if any)
- Damage resistances (if any)
- Damage immunities (if any)
- Current hit points
The skill used by this check is determined by a creature’s type as follows:
|Aberration, Construct, Dragon, Elemental, Fey, Monstrosity||Arcana|
|Beast, Plant, Ooze||Nature|
|Celestial, Fiend, Undead||Religion|
The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the creature’s CR.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you cannot increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, whenever you or a creature you control take the Attack action on your turn, you or the creature you control can attack twice, instead of once.
There are several foes a hunter can pursue, known as quarries. These quarries include Beast, Dragon, Planar, and Monstrosity
The natural world is filled with fearsome beasts, and a well-practiced hunter recognizes that the creatures of the wilderness have naturally refined their hunting talents. With this in mind, it is only logical that hunters of a Beast quarry take to training their own beast companions and refining their physical trapping skills.
You gain proficiency in the Animal Handling skill.
Starting at 1st level, you can call upon the aid of a beast companion to fight at your side in battle. Choose a beast that is no larger than Medium and that has a challenge rating of ¼ or lower. Add your proficiency bonus to the beast’s AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills in which it is already proficient.
The beast does not have hit points. Instead, it has a number of Resolve Points equal to your proficiency bonus. When the beast would take damage from a successful attack or from failing a saving throw, it loses one Resolve Point. If the beast reaches 0 Resolve Points, it flees from combat to nurse its wounds. A beast regains all of its Resolve points during a short rest.
If the beast flees from combat, it can return to you during a short rest.
You may also tame additional beasts. To tame a new beast, you must attempt an Animal Handling check with a DC equal to 8 + the CR of the beast you wish to tame. This DC increases by 5 for every 10 hit points the beast currently possesses. You may release a beast you have tamed into the wild during a short rest.
Though all of the beasts you have tamed accompany you in your adventures and remain friendly to you, you may only bring one into battle at a time. If a beast companion flees a battle, you may call forth another beast you have tamed as an action.
Starting at 2nd level, you have developed a knack for building traps to capture prey or to turn a battle in your favor. As an action on your turn, you may assemble one of the following traps within 5 feet of yourself. Each trap occupies a 5 foot space.
Rope Snare. When a Large or smaller hostile creature enters the space of a Rope Snare, it must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be restrained. It can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns.
Dart Trap. When a hostile creature enters the space of a Dart Trap, thin, poisonous darts embed themselves in a creature’s body. The creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be poisoned. It can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns.
Smoke Bomb. When a hostile creature first enters the space of a Smoke Bomb, a noxious cloud of smoke engulfs a 10 foot sphere centered on the Smoke Bomb’s location, which spreads around corners. The cloud lasts for 1 minute or until the smoke is dispersed by the wind or by magical means. The area within the cloud is heavily obscured. Creatures within this cloud are blinded until they exit the cloud.
When a trap requires a creature to make a saving throw, its DC is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Some artwork © 2015 Dean Spencer, used with permission. All rights reserved.