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5E Alternate Ranger

So I've heard or read quite a bit about the ranger in 5E complaining that it's underpowered, badly written or that there were otherwise design issues. I took my stab at it. Not saying this is how it should be but IMHO this changes the existing as little as possible and irons out some perceived issues. I haven't touched the sub-classes. I may try that as an alternative way. Perhaps Tasha will have some tailor making ways that will help but I will throw out there for peer review: Enjoy.

Alternate Ranger

Hit Dice: 1d10 per ranger level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per ranger level after 1st

Proficiencies

Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: None
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival

Equipment

You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

(a) scale mail or (b) leather armor

(a) two shortswords or (b) two simple melee weapons

(a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows

Favored Enemy

Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy. Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You can also treat your own race as a favored enemy.

You have advantage on all Wisdom and Intelligence checks and to all skill checks used directly against your favored enemies. When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice that is spoken by each favored enemy, if the enemy speaks one at all.

You choose one additional favored enemy, as well as an associated language, at 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.



Natural Explorer

You are particularly familiar with one type of natural environment and are adept at traveling and surviving in such regions. Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark. When in this environment, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill related to the environment or terrain.

While traveling in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits: Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel. Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.

Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.

If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.

When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.

While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area. You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th and 10th level.



Fighting Style

At 2nd level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.

Archery You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.

Defense While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.

Dueling When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.

Two-Weapon Fighting When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.

Spellcasting

By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of nature to cast spells, much as a druid does. See Spells Rules for the general rules of spellcasting and the Spells Listing for the ranger spell list.

Spell Slots

The Ranger table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your ranger spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. For example, if you know the 1st-level spell animal friendship and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast animal friendship using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the ranger spell list. The Spells Known column of the Ranger table shows when you learn more ranger spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 5th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level. Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the ranger spells you know and replace it with another spell from the ranger spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.



Spellcasting Ability Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your ranger spells, since your magic draws on your attunement to nature. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a ranger spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier

Ranger Archetype At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that you strive to emulate: Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 11th, and 15th level.



Primeval Awareness Beginning at 3rd level, you can use your action and expend one ranger spell slot to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within up to 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. If you detect your favored enemy, this feature reveals the creatures’ location and numbers even if hidden. it does not reveal other creature’s exact location or numbers if they are hidden.



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 can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.



Extra Attack Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.



Land’s Stride Starting at 8th level, moving through non-magical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. You can also pass through non-magical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or terrain manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the entangle spell. On your favored terrain, you are immune to these effects on movement.



Hide in Plain Sight Starting at 10th level, you can hide on your favored terrain as a bonus action. If you can spend one minute creating camouflage for yourself, you can hide and remain hidden even if you do not have cover, do not move and remain silent.



Vanish Starting at 14th level, you can use the Hide action as a bonus action on any terrain. Also, you can’t be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail.



Feral Senses At 18th level, you gain preternatural senses that help you fight creatures you can’t see. When you attack a creature you can’t see, your inability to see it doesn’t impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it. You are also aware of the location of any invisible creature within 30 feet of you, provided that the creature isn’t hidden from you and you aren’t blinded or deafened.



Foe Slayer At 20th level, you become an unparalleled hunter of your enemies. On each of your turns, you can add your proficiency bonus to weapon attack and damage rolls with any attack you make against one of your favored enemies and to the damage inflicted by any spell that affects a favored enemy.
 

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From what I can see Tasha’s ranger isn’t as boldly changed as I expected.

your changes are subtle; I caught a few but it would be much helpful if you could emphasise what changed (in bold or another colour).

the ranger’s strengths come from its archetypes; that’s where they get their 11th level power boost among other things. Also, most of its « core abilities » are disguised as spells, leaving the ranger with a disappointing set of core class features.

also, its early core features are only about overland exploration, which could have been good if the exploration pillar had been more defined and used in play (but in practice is often handwaved).

finally, a great part of the ranger’s « suckiness » is attributable to favoured ennemies / terrains: they are not within your (the player) control. You could theorically play a 1st-20th level game without encountering a single favoured enemy opponent or travel in one of you favoured terrain.

IMO, a ranger rework needs to address all if the above. There are quite a few variant rangers on this site you could check. Of course mine is the best, but that may be me being biased :)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
You are still strictly dominated by fighter/barbarian/paladin in all ways at level 1 in combat, yes? (for example, a rogue is dominated by a fighter in combat, but not strictly; there are some situations where you'd rather a rogue than a fighter, and they aren't that contrived).

Highlighting deltas would be a good plan as well.
 

Horwath

Hero
You are still blowing the same trumpets that WotC do.

Favored enemy and natural Explorer are awful as they are very narrow and 100% on DM charity to put encounters aimed at only one PC, so he/she can feel that character concept is not wasted.

We want/need replacements for those 2 features that are broad in application.

Ranger is great NPC class.

Wood elf ranger. Is great for an NPC.

Favored terrain forest, favored enemies: Drow, Orc.
Great 1st level NPC,
awful PC if they think about leaving their home village.
 

GlassJaw

Hero
Any ranger revision has to address Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy. No other class requires the player to choose an option that is completely contingent on the DM/campaign as to whether they will be able to use. Even then, those abilities aren't that great.

You didn't address either.

Use the UA Revised Ranger and UA Class Variants as your base recipe, then season to taste.
 

Interesting feedback friends. Thanks. Not saying I'm purporting mine to be better, just taking a stab (snicker) at it. The UA version from my read deals with the issue of 'my favored enemy might not come up, and my favored terrain might not either' by making some of the benefits everywhere and against everything. I like that. The initiative and advantage benefits in the UA at first level might be tempting for a 1 level MC dip. Good thoughts though.
 

Interesting feedback friends. Thanks. Not saying I'm purporting mine to be better, just taking a stab (snicker) at it. The UA version from my read deals with the issue of 'my favored enemy might not come up, and my favored terrain might not either' by making some of the benefits everywhere and against everything. I like that. The initiative and advantage benefits in the UA at first level might be tempting for a 1 level MC dip. Good thoughts though.
If you wish to stay closer to the PHB version, a somewhat popular quick fix for Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer is to allow them (enemy and terrains) to be changed after a long rest/period of observation. Natural Explorer has other issues, but this change alone allows the ranger to acquire the right tools for the adventure and obtimise the use of their lvl 1 abilities

[edit] in addition (or instead) of the ranger UA, have a look at the class feature variant UA for the ranger. Some of them will appear in the upcoming Tasha's Everything book (some seem to have been modified).
 




GlassJaw

Hero
Here's an abbreviated list of my ranger changes:

Deft Explorer
You are an unsurpassed explorer and survivor. Choose one of the following benefits, and then choose another one at 6th, 10th, and 15th level.

Canny
Choose one skill: Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Stealth, or Survival. You gain proficiency in the chosen skill if you don’t already have it, and you can add double your proficiency bonus to ability checks using that skill.
In addition, thanks to your extensive wandering, you are able to speak, read, and write two languages of your choice.

Expertise
Choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with cartographer’s tools or the herbalism kit. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.

Natural Explorer
You are a master of navigating the natural world and are adept at traveling and surviving in the wilderness. While traveling for an hour or more, you gain the following benefits:
• Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
• When traveling, your group has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to avoid becoming lost though nonmagical means.
• Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
• If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
• When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
• While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

Roving
Your walking speed increases by 5, and you gain a climbing speed and a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.

Tireless
As an action, you can give yourself a number of temporary hit points equal to 1d10 + your proficiency bonus. You can use this special action a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
In addition, whenever you finish a short rest, your exhaustion level, if any, is decreased by 1.

Favored Prey
At 1st level, determine how you hunt your prey. Choose one of the following options:

Favored Enemy
You have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy.

Choose a type of favored enemy: beasts, fey, monstrosities, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies. You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against creatures of the chosen type. Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.

When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice, typically one spoken by your favored enemy or creatures associated with it. However, you are free to pick any language you wish to learn.

Whenever you gain a level in this class, you may replace one of your favored enemies (or two humanoids) with another from those available to you.

Favored Foe
You can call on your bond with nature to mark a creature as your favored foe for a time.

You know the hunter’s mark spell, and Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for it. You can use it a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once) without expending a spell slot and without requiring concentration. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

When you gain the Spellcasting feature at 2nd level, you always have the hunter’s mark spell prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day.

Fighting Style
Per PHB, add styles fro, UA Class Feature Variants

Spellcasting
As druid (remove spells known)

Primal Awareness
Per Class Features Variants UA

Extra Attack
Per PHB

Improved Favored Prey
At 6th level, your favored prey improves, based on your initial choice at 1st level.

Improved Favored Enemy
You are ready to hunt even deadlier game. Choose an additional type of favored enemy: aberrations, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fiends, or giants. Your bonus to damage rolls against all your favored enemies increases to +4. You also gain an associated language or one of your choice.

Additionally, you can use your reaction to gain advantage on a saving throw against a spell or ability used by one of your favored enemies.

Improved Favored Foe
Your hunter’s mark damage die increases to a d8.

Fleet of Foot
Beginning at 8th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. In addition, you can use the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn.

Hide in Plain Sight
Starting at 10th level, you can use the Hide action as a bonus action on your turn.

Additionally, if you avoid moving on the turn you use the Hide action, you gain a bonus to the Dexterity (Stealth) check you make to hide equal to your Wisdom modifier. You lose this bonus if you move or fall prone, either voluntarily or because of some external effect. You are still automatically detected if any effect or action causes you to no longer be hidden.

Greater Favored Prey
At 14th level, your favored prey improves again, based on your initial choice at 1st level.

Greater Favored Enemy
Choose an additional type of favored enemy from either list. You also gain an associated language or one of your choice.

Greater Favored Foe
Your hunter’s mark damage die increases to a d10.

Vanish
Starting at 14th level, you can’t be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail.

You can use a bonus action to magically become invisible, along with any equipment you are wearing or carrying, until the start of your next turn. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Feral Senses
Per PHB

Foe Slayer
Per PHB
 

How to redesign the Ranger class.

Step one: come up with new exploration rules which make it easy to generate incidents, challenges, dangers, rewards, in other words, stories, on the spot.
Step two: rebuild the Ranger with these rules in mind. The new Ranger should be able to anticipate the kind of dangers generated by the new system, should be able to switch those challenges around (for example switching a skill challenge for a combat challenge) and should reap bigger rewards (treasure, food, allies, shortcuts, information, etc.)
Step three: success.
 

Arvok

Explorer
I've never had a problem with rangers choosing favored enemies or terrain that don't work well with the campaign. I'm of the mindset that the DM should work with his players when they make choices like this to ensure their choices aren't wasted. If the player says he wants to choose a terrain or enemy that isn't going to figure into the campaign, the DM should suggest something better. If the player goes ahead and chooses poorly, that's on him.

That's not to say that a ranger's choice won't ever be nearly useless, just that these are times the DM has planned so that the ranger (and probably the rest of the party) is a fish out of water.

This idea of working with the players isn't limited to rangers, by the way. If a player wants to build a charismatic rogue who focuses on social interaction and the campaign is going to be a lot of wilderness exploration and dungeon crawling, the DM should give him fair warning.
 

Presents for Goblins

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