January 23, 2017

Insect Glaivemaster

Ranger Archetype
Comments from the Thumb: Here it is, the third Monster Hunter subclass! This one is based on the insect glaive.

Insect Glaivemaster

Far outside of civilization, in the dense jungles and arid deserts of the far East, the Insect Glaivemasters make their home. Rangers of this order carry masterfully carved glaives, which they can use with deadly efficiency. Each of them forms a special bond with an animal companion, but they are no ordinary beastmasters. Their companions, specially bred since ancient times, are cat-sized flying insects that form magical blood bonds with their masters. These insect companions, called kinsects, can drain the vitality of a creature with their bites, healing themselves in the process. When an Insect Glaivemaster comes of age, she embarks on a lifelong journey. Her goal: to protect the fringes of society from the monstrous denizens of the wilds.

When you reach 3rd level, you gain a cat-sized, flying beetle companion, called a kinsect, that forms a unique bond with you. Statistics for your kinsect are presented at the end of this section.
     Add your proficiency bonus to your kinsect’s AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills it is proficient in. Its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or four times your ranger level, whichever is higher. The kinesect uses your spell save DC for the saving throw of its bite attack.
     The kinsect obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, though it doesn’t take an action unless you command it to. On your turn, you can telepathically command your kinsect where to move (no action required by you).
     You can use your bonus action to telepathically command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action. Starting at 11th level, it makes two attacks, rather than one, when you command it to take the Attack action.
     While traveling through your favored terrain with only your kinsect, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
     If your kinsect dies, you cannot get a new one. Instead, you can resurrect it with maximum hit points using a special blood ritual, which takes 10 minutes to complete.

Glaive Specialty
At 3rd level, you have mastered the unique fighting style of the Glaivemasters. Glaives, quarterstaves, pikes, halberds, and spears count as finesse weapons for you.

Pole Vault
At 7th level, you learn to use your polearm to assist in your movement. If you are holding a glaive, quarterstaff, pike, halberd, or spear, your long jump is up to your movement speed and your high jump is up to half your movement speed.
     Additionally, if you hit a creature up to one size category larger than you with an attack using a polearm during or immediately after a jump, it must make a Strength saving throw (DC equals your spell save DC). On a failure, the creature is knocked prone. On a success, it has advantage on future saves against this ability.

Transfer Essence
When you reach 11th level, your kinsect learns how to share its vampiric powers with you. As a bonus action when your kinsect is in physical contact with you, you can command it to use its action to inject you with a special healing chemical. The kinsect loses all temporary hit points it has gained from its bite attack, and you regain lost hit points equal to that amount.

Kinsect Synergy
Starting at 15th level, as a bonus action, you and your kinsect can enter a state of increased harmony for 1 minute. Until the end of this duration, both you and your kinsect gain the following benefits:
  • You can make an additional attack when you take the Attack action.
  • Your movement speed increases by 10 feet.
  • Whenever you take bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, you can use your reaction to halve the damage taken.
You must complete a long rest before using this feature again.

Tiny beast, neutral
Armor Class 11
Hit Points 7 (2d4 + 2)
Speed 20 ft., fly 35 ft. (hover)

Str 14 (+2) Dex 13 (+1) Con 13 (+1)
Int 4 (-3) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 4 (-3)

Saving Throws Dex +3
Skills Athletics +4, Acrobatics +3
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages -
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


Bite. Melee Weapon Attack. +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4+1) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw, taking 8 (3d4) necrotic damage on a failed save, or no damage on a successful one. The kinsect then gains temporary hit points equal to the amount of necrotic damage dealt.

Sidebar: Revised Ranger
This archetype makes use of the SRD ranger class. If you wish to use it with the revised ranger, you gain the Extra Attack feature at 5th level.

Changelog: 1/23/17: Revised Ranger sidebar: added
Kinsect (feature): Kinsect's bite uses your spell save DC, Kinsect attacks twice at 11th level
Kinsect (stats): Tiny size, 13 Dex (other stats changed to reflect this) can hold up to 12 temporary hit points, deals 3d4
Kinsect Synergy: Reaction to reduce damage now halves damage and works on magical damage
Glaive Specialty: +2 on attack rolls removed
Pole Vault: DC changed to match your spell save DC
2/1/17: Kinsect (feature): Hit point reduction for reviving your kinsect removed


  1. This is to be used with PHB Ranger, yes? Any idea how it plays with Revised?

    1. I've added a little sidebar about this. Thanks for bringing it up

  2. Seems cool. Really weird, but cool.

    Why not basing the animal companion on the new revised ranger?

    The transfer essence is weak, considering the insect will have very little temp hp. I think you can raise the limit for the insect's temp hp to 15 or so.

    Cat sized is tiny, not small. Unless the insect is 3 feet long it should probably be tiny.

    1. I agree, I think that this would work well with the base idea of the new beast master conclave as a template. And if you wanted to keep the focus away from the pet and more on the ranger the level 5 ability could be the basic extra attack.

    2. If you're using the revised ranger, 5th level will be Extra Attack. I didn't want to use the beast conclave rules here because the kinsect is intended to act less like a true companion and more like a flying extension of your body.

  3. I wouldn't say make it Finesse. Adds some difficulties with GWF and Sneak Attack.

    1. Honestly, I probably wouldn't worry about it too much. The additional damage that GWF COULD give sneak attack is around .6 damage per die (I think, I'm doing math at work). Styles like dueling or archery give a more consistent boost I feel, and if you're worried about GWM, there's always sharpshooter for ranged rogues.

    2. GWF only lets you reroll weapon damage dice, not other dice. There would be no extra rerolls.

    3. GWF actually only specifies rerolling the damage for an attack with a melee weapon, as opposed to the specific wording of something like Savage Attacker. There are sage advice posts on the matter, but one says yes, it applies to additional damage, while the other says no it does not, and as far as I've seen, the general consensus has been that it does indeed work with additional damage.

    4. It's spelled out explicitly in the Sage Advice Compendium that it doesn't work. I don't know where you're seeing the consensus that it works, but it's incorrect.


    5. Oh. Seems I missed that in the Sage Advise compendium. Thanks for the clarification.

  4. My DM sent me this after I gushed to them about MH and the Insect Glaive last weekend, so I looked over it and want to offer some suggestions. As is, this is pretty dang powerful in specific areas.

    Kinsect base stats should be lowered to account for the proficiency bonus buff. As it is, your kinsect would have more AC than the fighter or paladin in their chainmail at level 1, and a +7 to hit and for dex save is pretty crazy at level 1 as well.

    Making polearms finesse weapons is already very powerful. A +2 is not really needed, especially when ranger already gets a fighting style.

    Save DC for the jump attack should just be based on the DC the ranger uses for spells.

    Other than that the archetype looks good. The Kinsect healing doesn't seem too strong or anything, and the rest of the class feels thematically appropriate within 5e's balancing, even if your kinsect doesn't become much more than a minor nuisance to monsters until 11th level

    1. Ah crap, the kinsect stats thing is a mistake. I accidentally already added in the proficiency to everything. Will fix.

      The +2 thing is a fair point. Will fix.

      I made the DC different from your spell save on purpose, because I wanted it to be directly tied to your attack (a harder hit ought to be harder to shrug off). I will deliberate with the Finger on this one.

      I did consider swapping the positions of pole vault and transfer essence. Would that work better?

    2. I believe the high AC problem is in the high Dex score and the natural armor. If this sported a 13 AC and no natural armor, you could add your proficiency bonus to it nicely, and it scales to a total of 17. Reducing the Dex also fixes the high attack roll problems.

      I agree with removing the +2 bonus to hit. It doesn't break anything on its own, but if you focused on Dex to make better use of finesse, it would get out of hand rather quickly.

      I also think we should consider moving this to the revised ranger and offer a multiattack to the kinsect at 5th level, which scales to 3 attacks at 11th level.

    3. The biggest thing with the pole vault DC is that the bounded accuracy math means that most of the time, if you hit most of the mid and late game monsters at all, the DC is going to be much higher than any monster is designed to save against.

      I think pole vault and transfer essence are fine as is where they are in the progression. My issue is more with 5e's archetype system as a whole tending to backload a lot of the more dynamic and interesting features at levels that most players are unlikely to play at.

      Multiattack seems like a good idea for the kinsect to increase the effectiveness of healing at higher levels, and maybe changing the max temp hp for the kinsect to be 8*(Ranger Level/4 or 5, minimum 1). This allows the healing to be much more useful at higher levels when considering the bonus actions required to do it have to compete with spells or Polearm Mastery's bonus attack, and makes the Kinsect much more utility than damage and battlefield presence when compared to Beastmaster Ranger.

    4. Oh, also it should be clearly stated that the temp HP gained on the Kinsect can stack with itself if that was the intention, since Temp HP does not stack by default.

  5. I would say something like 6 or 7 for strength and a 15 for dexterity would make sense for the kinsect, and then a removal of the natural armor.

    Also, for the save DC, maybe you could keep it as the attack roll, but divide it by 2, then increase it by 2 or 3 for each additional success it makes until it fails. This would kind of give a similar feeling that the original mechanic had from the game.

  6. I'm not sure I understand the limit on the Transfer Essence feature for the kinsect. I mean, you can't stack temp hp and 2d4 won't ever you give you more than 8 temp hp, so why put it at 16?

    1. This is my bad -- I meant to also increase the amount of necrotic damage to 4d4.

  7. I know this is completely off topic but I wanted a professional opinion on an archetype I made. My idea was to make an assassin rogue that crushed and crippled instead of stabbed so I made this Barbarian Path:
    Path of the Savage Hunter

    Brutal Surprise: Starting at 3rd level whenever you strike a hit on a surprised creature the hit becomes a critical. Additionally you become proficient in stealth.

    Inescapable: At 6th level you're unarmored movement speed increases by an additional 5 and does again at 10th level and 14th level. Furthermore you have advantage on saves against having you're movement speed reduced or being restrained.

    Killer's Contract: As an action you may mark any creature you see. You may add your proficiency bonus to any check that doesn't already use it to track down your mark.

    Crush/Cripple: Once per short rest, when you hit a surprised creature with a weapon attack in it's a critical you max every weapon dice/ the creature is stunned for 1d4 turns but may make a Con saving throw(DC of 8+Proficiency bonus+your Str modifer) at the end of their turns to break out of it.

    I was just wondering of this is a balanced archetype and by all means if you like it you can add it to your collection.

    1. Thanks for the input! We usually accept submissions by email. If you're looking for some more "Communal" Critiques, I recommend posting it up on the MFoV subreddit.

      That said, I'll have to dig a bit deeper to see how your idea stacks up. In the meantime, have you looked at the Thug archetype? It might be up your alley (or back-alley, as it were).

    2. I can't find any of your emails the ling doesn't work for me so sorry about that, and yea I've tried the enforcer but I feel hes still too much of a rogue. I'm looking for more of a "slayer" based, someone who takes advantage of surprise and is good against weaker mooks, but can hold his own in normal combat as much as a ranger at least without relying on achieving the conditions for sneak attack.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. ShardinJanuary 30, 2017 at 8:14 PM
    This Kinsect is extremely weak; its to-hit doesn't scale very well, starting at +5 and only going to +9. Its hit points are laughable and it isn't proficient with any saves as-written; the fact you lose 1/4 of your HP to revive it every single time the DM sneezes on it is insulting.

    I would honestly remove it as a creature and treat it like a Sacred Weapon instead. As-is, this subclass is barely functional and ridiculously easy to shut down entirely.

    The advantage on future saves should really have a duration, as-is a recurring villain has permanent advantage after succeeding the save once.

    I have been waiting for this subclass for a long, long time (almost a full year) and I have to say that I am very disappointed.

    1. I agree that the Kinsect seems weak, seems to me that the damage, health, and other stats would get real obsolete real quick, however you only lose 1/4 of your hp until a long rest, so maybe if it dies, you just don't revive it until just before a long rest, negating the HP loss at the cost of not being able to use your Kinsect until a long rest.

    2. The issue with that, is that if your kinsect dies early into the adventuring day (hardly an unreasonable assumption, considering how low its AC and HP are, not to mention it is only prof. in dex saves) and you don't pay up the HP... Bam! You /lose almost your entire subclass'.

      At that point, you're just a ranger with Finesse glaives and long jumps. Which really sucks.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Is there a reason you didn't offer the Insect Glaivemaster the ability to get a relevant fighting style at some point? Ranger's dont have access to GWF style, so the only usable one with this subclass is Defense.