The Beast Master ranger gets a lot of hate. So much so that the D&D Round Table podcast devoted an entire episode to fans of the Beast Master, giving them an opportunity to defend it. The discussion was a big push to write my Beast Master Companion for the DMs Guild. 

I’m still not really sold that the Beast Master is all that it can be. The defense of it amounts to “if you go through the Monster Manual and cherry pick the absolute best beasts, it’s very effective”. This argument amounts to “if you optimize, it can be effective.” Well… yeah. But you shouldn’t have to optimize (read: powergame) to make a class playable. By definition, optimizing should make you more effective, not keep you in line with other options.

Looking through a book for the best mechanical option also seems out of line with how many characters are actually made, with people deciding on an animal based on what they want, rather than it’s numbers. “I wanna be a dude with a bear!” Or “I wanna be like the guy in the movie The Beastmaster with a black tiger!”