D&D General Druid, Ranger & Barbarian: What distinguishes the magic of the Primal classes?

Incenjucar

Legend
But that's a racial archetype trumping a class one right?7

Like is a high elf fighter spamming Cantrips mean fire bolt is a fighter element?
It's just a mechanic. You can make it a feat or a background or whatever. 5E has no barriers to using it, there's just not an official rule block for the general case.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
It's just a mechanic. You can make it a feat or a background or whatever. 5E has no barriers to using it, there's just not an official rule block for the general case.
The point is that it isn't a ranger thing.

Not in 5e. Or 4e. Rangers last had animalistic combat in 3e.

That aspect was firmly given to Druids and Barbarians in 4e. 5e continued. 5e Rangers can get animalistic enhancements but in 5e Rangers fight Martially first not Primally. Heck they don't aren't even getting Primal Cantrips to spam like druids.
 


Incenjucar

Legend
The point is that it isn't a ranger thing.

Not in 5e. Or 4e. Rangers last had animalistic combat in 3e.

That aspect was firmly given to Druids and Barbarians in 4e. 5e continued. 5e Rangers can get animalistic enhancements but in 5e Rangers fight Martially first not Primally. Heck they don't aren't even getting Primal Cantrips to spam like druids.
Sure, but it's a pretty easy homebrew.
 

This has been driving me nuts for some time. I discussed it in another thread a little while ago about whether Rangers should have spellcasting at all. I strongly feel they should, but I hate that they have no unique identity as a spellcaster. Their magic just exists as an extension of the Druid's. It's the same magic, just weaker because they have martial abilities as a primary focus. Their only difference from Druid is mechanical. There's no thematic niche they fill. Unlike Paladins to Druids, who are quite distinct. Then there's Barbarian, who I really like as a class to form the trinity of Primal magic classes. But they have the same problem, their spellcasting flavour just feels like repackaged stuff from other classes. Literally so in the case of Wild Magic Barbarian.

So yeah. Should any folks bite, I wanna talk about that. How are the magic of the primal classes distinct from eachother? How (ought) one be different from the other two and vice versa)? What I'm hoping is, someone'll say something and it'll nudge my brain into an idea that I love, or someone'll say something that I love and I can integrate into my own understanding of the classes.

I may disown these thoughts if they do not help me reach a satisfying conclusion, and people are free to ignore them, but these are things I think just on the face of it:
  • There is magic in all of nature. Not all of nature harnesses it as directly as the awakened races can, but it's there. Even beings that have distinctly out of nature origin points (Tieflings, Aasimar etc.) can find connection within nature if they open themselves to it.
  • Druids are in touch with the whole, even if they embody a singular facet of nature's processes. It's all intertwined. I think that's the generally agreed upon interpretation of Druids?
  • Rangers in my personal reckoning, best I've been able to express in words, find peace in their particular part of nature rather than seeking to connect to the whole directly. They're a branch, they don't seek to become the whole tree. I think it makes sense if instinct plays into their magic somehow. Like, it may not be something they intellectually understand, but their intent reaches that wellspring within themselves and it produces the desired effect. (just don't ask me why that couldn't necessarily apply to or be the case for the other two).
  • Barbarians are more awkward to pin down. Obviously not all Barbarians are magical and not necessarily all magic ones are Primal ones, but for the sake of this discussion. You could maybe say, what connects Barbarians to nature is that essential drive to survive? Y'know, like Guts put it; "We humans are fragile and mortal. But even if we are wounded or tortured, we must continue to live". But I don't know how magic figures into that.
That's what I got as it stands! I hope at least most of all that makes sense. Someone talk about it also! I need others to either relieve this irritation by presenting a solution I like, or at least share in the irritation with me!
If you think you're being cynical, I don't think anything distinguishes any of the magic from any of the classes.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I hate that too! I'd at least appreciate Druidcraft.
There was a 4e class concept of the Warden that was a Very Primal warrior as the Warrior equivalent of the Druid. Armor of hide, stone and bark with blades and hammers soaking in fire and ice.

But WOTC thinks new classes are bad and obvious overt 4e ideas are bad press so there is no Warden class nor subclass officially or from a major 3rd party. The best you can get is a Storm or Beast Barbarian.

Sure, but it's a pretty easy homebrew.
The Warden is likely the easiest homebrew of any tertiary D&D class to cover to 5e.
 

ChameleonX

Explorer
Druids protect nature from civilization. They act as an intermediary between the mortal world and the spirits, conveying their will to the people, and channeling the spirits' power to punish those who earn the wrath of nature. They become the conduit of nature, and their magic flows from this unity.

Rangers protect civilization from nature. They learn the secrets of of the wild, the hidden paths, the speech of beasts, and how to negotiate with the spirits. Then they bring this knowledge to civilization. That is their "magic." The tricks and tips they've picked up to treat wounds, avoid danger, and survive a trek across the wilderness so you can return home.

Barbarians don't care about civilization either way. They live as beasts, in the wild, part of nature instead of negotiating with it. Their "magic" comes from the spirits of nature that they invite into them, inhabiting their flesh. Their rage is the wrath of the spirit world, the wild bloodlust of the feral beasts, and the fury of the ancestors who have joined with the great elders.
 

Rocker26a

Explorer
Druids protect nature from civilization.

Rangers protect civilization from nature.

Barbarians don't care about civilization either way.

I don't wanna get super into it all over again or anything, but I dislike these pigeonholes for these classes. Much as I get why they may be appealing as answers to their respective roles. That said, I do like parts of the following descriptors.

They act as an intermediary between the mortal world and the spirits, conveying their will to the people, and channeling the spirits' power to punish those who earn the wrath of nature. They become the conduit of nature, and their magic flows from this unity.

Like yeah, that's a neat way of putting part of Druid's thing.

They learn the secrets of of the wild, the hidden paths, the speech of beasts, and how to negotiate with the spirits.

I like this as a part of Ranger's flavour. I just wouldn't personally attribute it to always being about protecting civilization.

Their rage is the wrath of the spirit world, the wild bloodlust of the feral beasts, and the fury of the ancestors who have joined with the great elders.

This as a way of flavouring Rage is also nice.
 
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Rocker26a

Explorer
There was a 4e class concept of the Warden that was a Very Primal warrior as the Warrior equivalent of the Druid. Armor of hide, stone and bark with blades and hammers soaking in fire and ice.

But WOTC thinks new classes are bad and obvious overt 4e ideas are bad press so there is no Warden class nor subclass officially or from a major 3rd party. The best you can get is a Storm or Beast Barbarian.

Maybe this is a dumb question, but. Is there especially a reason why the Ranger can't be more this? Either through a complete retooling, or just options, or spells similar to the Smite spells, or what have you?

Obviously I know WOTC won't ever do it, but. For the sake of spitballing. Even just for homebrew. I don't think it conflicts with the tidbits of flavour that already exist for Ranger as is, necessarily.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Maybe this is a dumb question, but. Is there especially a reason why the Ranger can't be more this? Either through a complete retooling, or just options, or spells similar to the Smite spells, or what have you?

Obviously I know WOTC won't ever do it, but. For the sake of spitballing. Even just for homebrew. I don't think it conflicts with the tidbits of flavour that already exist for Ranger as is, necessarily.
It could be done.

But much like in 2e and 3e when it was attempted, you'd have to trade out some many features and elements to have a worthwhile experience that it would much easier to make a new class called something else.

Because the D&D ranger is designed around a guy in medium armor with 2 swords and a bow or crossbow leaping out of some natural terrain and going Blender or Galting Gun on some unsuspecting foes.

Part of the reason why you might be having an issue finding the distinction between the Druid, Ranger,and Barbarian is because you have a preference of them being almost the same and disagree with the default lore around them in the edition. If youwant them to have the same features you will have issues finding the differences between them.
 

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