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D&D 5E [GUIDE] Into the Woods We Go: The Ranger Guide


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
[h=1]Into the Woods We Go: The Ranger Guide[/h]As originally published by GladiusLegis on the Wizards of the Coast message boards
Also available on Google Docs.

“You're no ranger, Jon, only a green boy with the smell of summer still on you.”

  • A Game of Thrones

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Proficiencies, Attributes, Backgrounds and Class Features
  3. Ranger Archetypes
  4. Races
  5. Feats
  6. Spells
  7. Equipment
  8. Multiclassing
  9. FAQ
  10. Builds and Combos

This guide will use the following ratings:
Red is dead. A choice that either adds nothing of value to your character or might even actively hurt it.
Purple is a substandard choice. It might be useful in corner-case situations, but overall it's not worth the investment.
Black is average. You're not hurting your character by taking this, and it might even help in some situations, but there are better choices.
Blue is a good choice. It definitely helps your character in the majority of cases.
Sky Blue is a fantastic choice. An option you should strongly consider above most others.
Gold is mandatory. It's a rare rating that denotes something that is so good that you must take it, or you can't call yourself optimized.

This guide takes from the following sources:
PHB - Player’s Handbook
MM - Monster Manual
DMG - Dungeon Master’s Guide
EEPC - Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
UA:X - Unearthed Arcana (title of article)

[h=3]I. Introduction[/h]
What's a Ranger?

The common motif about the Ranger in D&D is a skilled hunter, tracker and woodsman, most at home on the fringes of civilization and the first line of defense against threats from the wilds. It was loosely based on Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, originally.

The other details have varied from edition-to-edition, to the point that it's often debated as to what a Ranger is really supposed to be.

The 1e AD&D Ranger was able to cast low-level Magic-User spells (in addition to Druid spells) and use all the items that a Magic-User could. It also was especially effective at killing Giants (with HUGE damage bonuses against them), had the stealth abilities that's still associated with the class to this day, and was pretty much impossible to catch by surprise and was often effective at having the party get the jump on enemies. Its combat skills were also as solid as ever, capping out at the same number of attacks as the Fighter, but just at a couple levels later. It also had to be of Good alignment or risk losing all its abilities (a convention most closely represented now by the Oath of Ancients Paladin).

The 2e Ranger was something of a curiosity. Because right before the release of 2e, a Drow Ranger named Drizzt Do'Urden, the ultimate Mary Sue of the Realms, was renowned for his ability to dual-wield scimitars. Ignoring the fact that Drizzt dual-wielded because he was Drow (who had an enhanced ability to dual-wield in 1e), the makers of 2e decided instead to give that ability to the Ranger, thus setting the stage for the next few renditions of that class as THE dual-wielding class — an arbitrary addition to its identity. The Ranger's Giant-killing abilities were extended instead to a choice of "racial enemy" or "favored enemy," which made the 2e Ranger more effective against a certain type of foe, although not NEARLY as much so as the 1e Ranger was against Giants, being just a +4 bonus to attack (not damage) rolls. The stealth parts of the Ranger remained, as did the alignment restrictions and the Druid spells (the Mage spells were removed). The 2e Ranger was considered mostly solid in performance (it was still mostly a Fighter-plus, after all, minus weapon specialization/mastery), if not uninspired and dissonant in its design.

In 3e, the Ranger could select multiple favored enemies as they leveled for the first time, although the way those damage bonuses scaled was ineffective (you basically had to commit to a strong enemy type you most likely never faced at 1st level to max out that bonus). It also, for the first time, removed the alignment restriction, because it was determined that a character shouldn't need to be Good-aligned to be an effective tracker. Although, the 3e Ranger wasn't effective at much of anything, really. It got "free" dual-wielding, a carryover from 2e, but dual-wielding was a weak style in 3e in general, and the Ranger's free dual-wielding never got any better. Also, all classes got the ability to use Stealth to a certain degree, making the Ranger less special in that category, and its spell list left a lot to be desired. The 3e Ranger, as a result, was considered one of the weakest classes, if not THE weakest.

3.5's revision to the Ranger gave it a solid boost, with favored enemies that scaled MUCH better and removed the "pick the strongest enemy you're going to face at Lv. 1 or else" dilemma, and for the first time actually gave the Ranger an option to focus on archery instead of dual-wielding. (Amazingly, Rangers had long been associated with archery in mind, but never specificially in deed to this point.) The 3.5 Ranger also got more skill points to be more versatile out of combat and in exploration and scouting, and gave it more effective spells as well. Eventually, it got another indirect buff with the Scout class, which was like a Ranger without the Druidic-type spellcasting and an ability to be effective in combat on the run; with the Swift Hunter feat it was possible to effectively gestalt the best of the Ranger and Scout abilities when multiclassing between the two classes.

4e kind of took the idea of the Scout as a non-magical warrior of the wilds and ran with it for its Ranger class. Or, rather, tried to. The 4e Ranger was, for the first time, purely a Martial class, with no spellcasting. And boy, was it effective. It was by far the strongest Striker class in that edition, with the real possibility of killing Elites with a single nova if optimized properly. Unfortunately, it was also really boring flavor-wise. The "warrior of the wilds" flavor just wasn't really there; the 4e Ranger's claim to fame was to be the archer or dual-wielder who just did damage and lots of it. Again, effective without a doubt, but also really boring. Stealth was also not a much-exercised option in 4e, further reducing the 4e Ranger to basically the big-damage combat unit. The Essentials subclasses, Hunter and Scout, came along later to add some modicum of its magical origins back into the Ranger concept, although the spellcasting of old wasn't there; the magic was represented more by the stances reflecting animal names.

Now with the coming of 5e, the Ranger gets another makeover. For the first time since 1e, dual-wielding is not an assumed aspect of the class; and for that matter neither is archery. Both of those are still options, to be sure, but are no more a part of the Ranger class' identity than the Fighter's. The features give it an emphasis on use of skills in their preferred environments, some abilities to stealth and scout that other classes don't get, and while favored enemies make their return, the impact of those are lessened. Spells also make a return to the Ranger's arsenal, better than ever. The overall results, as you'll see, are mixed.

Mechanical overview

Rangers are back to being a half-caster in 5e. Which actually isn't nearly as bad as that was in earlier editions. They top out at the same number of spell slots at Lv. 1-4, and only one less at Lv. 5, as the full casters do. Furthermore, as the effectiveness of spells is determined by proficiency bonuses that increases for all classes equally, a spell cast by a Ranger is just as effective as that same spell cast by a Druid or Wizard. In addition, Rangers also have a much stronger spell arsenal overall than in the past, and as you'll discover, that is a major saving grace of the class.

Rangers now learn spells instead of prepare them from a list as they used to; they are now more like the Sorcerer and Bard in that respect than the Cleric and Paladin, and they only learn a few of them. So spells must be chosen with care.

Rangers have always been multiple-attribute dependent (MAD), and that hasn't changed in 5e. Although MAD isn't quite as debilitating this time around as it was in the past, it still means that Rangers are limited on the feats they can take, and must pick those wisely.

The class features for the Ranger are, to put it mildly, a mixed bag of highly situational talents. Many of their abilities seem to be geared toward solo play rather than party play, or at least a role in which they're scouting well ahead of the party all on their own. And if you're coming over from 4e, the Ranger is no longer the ticking nova bomb of this edition; indeed, against single-targets the Ranger is rather lacking compared to the Fighter or Paladin. Instead, the Ranger is now geared more toward fighting off multiple foes and hordes (think 4e's Essentials Hunter), and it is the most effective of the martial classes at doing that. Whether that's a talent worth noting, YMMV.

Strengths and weaknesses


  • The best of the martial classes against multiple enemies and hordes. Many of a Ranger's combat abilities are devoted toward attacking multiple foes in a turn, and to bolster that role, Rangers also have spells that can damage multiple foes.
  • Solid array of skills, as far as that goes. Their three skills from class are more than most classes aside from the Bard and the Rogue.
  • Solid spells. Although they have to learn them, instead of prepare them, Rangers are supported just fine in this department. In fact, spells are where much of the power in this class lies, including strong offensive and defensive buffs, conjurations, and area of effect damage spells.
  • When they ARE in their preferred environments and/or dealing with their favored enemies, they are as effective as anything else as far as their use of Survival and Perception goes and top-tier in the exploration tier of play.


  • Weak against single targets. A Ranger is not who you want to rely on in a fight against a boss enemy. Sure, Rangers have their ways to get their sustained damage-per-round figures up to a respectable amount, but their lack of nova abilities means they will never be as effective at dealing with the big game as Fighters or Paladins are.
  • While their spells are solid, they learn them instead of prepare them, making them less versatile than, say, the Paladin in that department. Moreover, Rangers learn the fewest spells in the game.
  • Many of their abilities, including their signature favored enemies and terrains and their stealthy features, are highly situational and don't always mesh well with a party setting, especially a combat-heavy setting where opportunities to advance scout are at a minimum.
  • When Rangers are NOT in their favored terrains or dealing with their favored enemies, their skill effectiveness and exploration ability is sharply lessened.
  • One particular build option, the Beast Master, is quite underpowered as a whole.

[h=3]II. Proficiencies, Attributes, Backgrounds and Class Features[/h]

Armor: Basically everything except heavy armor. You're good to use shields, too. Good enough for you.
Weapons: All simple and martial weapons is as good as it gets.
Tools: None. If you get any proficiencies here, they'll likely be from your background. Also, at least you can actually spend money and downtime to pick up proficiencies in this category.

Saving Throws: Every class gets one "common" save (DEX, CON, WIS) and one "uncommon" save (STR, INT, CHA). Yours are Dexterity and Strength. DEX is arguably the weakest common save, since all it really protects you from is damage (as opposed to CON and WIS which deal in most of the game's really nasty effects). STR is the most common "uncommon" save, by far, so good for you there, but the consequences of failing STR saves typically amount to little more than prones and forced movement ... usually not the worst things in the world.

Skills: You get more than most classes, being able to pick three from your list. Although as you'll see, those three you get from your class will likely be all but spoken for. (Your background will give you more skill proficiencies, which are not restricted to this list. Your race may also give you more chances to pick skill proficiencies, again not limited to this list.)

  • Animal Handling (WIS): Has its uses, but you usually have better things to worry about. If you plan to be mounted this is a bit more useful.
  • Athletics (STR): Most Rangers will prefer to increase DEX rather than STR, but it still helps to be able to climb, jump and swim. If you ARE going to attack with STR, then this skill is much more important, as it will be your main defense against grapples and shoves. And if you're going Shield Master as a STR-based Ranger, this will be mandatory to get somehow, as it governs how effective your shove is.
  • Insight (WIS): Good for countering against lies and attempts to deceive you, so it’s a fairly important skill. With a strong a WIS as you're likely to have, you'll be effective at this.
  • Investigation (INT): Can be a useful skill, although INT is not a priority for you, so generally this one is on the back-burner.
  • Nature (INT): Its most significant use is for harvesting poisons. If you’re a Beast Master of a Giant Poisonous Snake, you can harvest that companion for Serpent Venom (which is pretty good, half of 3d6 damage even on a successful save, on all melee weapon hits for one minute) whenever it’s asleep. Depending on your DM you may even be able to harvest venom from beasts you summoned with Conjured Animals. You won’t be great at it, since your INT isn’t likely to be high, but proficiency at least gives you some chance at successful harvesting (DC 20). On the other hand, you can train during downtime for poisoner’s kit proficiency, instead, which eliminates the need for this skill unless you planned to somehow Expertise it. (Or … just have an Assassin or Wizard ally do the extracting.)
  • Perception (WIS): Take it. Period. End of sentence.
  • Stealth (DEX): Rangers without Stealth just aren't Rangers. And you at least want to get some use out of their stealthy features, situational as they might be.
  • Survival (WIS): This skill lets a Ranger do a lot of what Rangers are supposed to do, such as track, hunt, guide, assess what creatures are near, avoid hazards and predict weather. And as it's a WIS-based skill, it's enhanced by the Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer features. As such, it's essential.

Non-class skills: You can’t get these with your class options, but you might get these from your background or race:

  • Acrobatics (DEX): If you're DEX-based and can get proficiency in this somehow, do so. This is often a substitute for Athletics. It’s the DEX option for escaping from grapples and resisting shoves (but NOT for grappling or shoving yourself), and it can also do things like help you stay on your feet or on a tightrope.
  • Medicine (WIS): You'll be good at it if you take it, and it can come in handy if you need to play medic.
  • Sleight of Hand (DEX): While it has its uses, there are simply more all-around useful skills for Rangers to consider.
  • Arcana/History/Religion (INT): These skills are pretty useless for the most part, especially for you since your INT won’t be very high.
  • Deception/Intimidation/Persuasion/Performance (CHA): Rangers have all the Charisma of a wet paper bag and will thus have no use for these skills.


Your biggest decision will be whether you want to attack with Dexterity or with Strength. That will also determine what array you'd prefer to use, assuming point buy is an option. DEX-Rangers are less MAD on the whole; in fact, they can literally get away with 15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8. STR-Rangers, on the other hand, are much more MAD (they still need some DEX for Armor Class in medium armor) and will have to take an array more like 15, 14, 14, 12, 8, 8.

The attributes in order of how you'll want to prioritize them:

  1. Dexterity OR Strength: Your attack attribute, which you want as your highest to start, and you want to get it to the maximum 20 as soon as possible. Most Rangers will go with DEX, and for good reason, as it makes for higher initiative, higher DEX save, the ability to get away with wearing less expensive armor, and much less MAD overall. Basically, if you’re going with STR instead, there’s two reasons for doing so. One is pure vanity: Dual-wielding non-finesse weapons. Meh, whatever floats your boat. The second is to actually use that STR for mechanically sound reasons: Builds based off feats such as Great Weapon Master, Polearm Master or Shield Master.
  2. Wisdom: Does a lot of things for the Ranger class. It determines the DC of certain Ranger spells. Many of the Ranger's favorite skills (especially Perception and Survival) are tied to this attribute. WIS saves are also important against mind-affecting conditions, which can get quite nasty. DEX-based Rangers can and should get this one up pretty high (especially if they're archers). Melee Rangers, especially if STR-based, can afford to make some concessions here, starting WIS at around 12 if need be; it helps them that a lot of other Ranger spells don't require a high WIS to be functional.
  3. Constitution: More hit points are always a good thing, and many of the nastiest things in the game require a CON save. In addition, concentration checks to maintain a spell are CON saves. Should be a strong third stat at the least; if you're melee this is likely as important or moreso than WIS. No lower than 12 in any case, and melee Rangers will want this at least a 14.
  4. Strength OR Dexterity: If you're a DEX-attacker, you can actually dump STR. On the other hand, a STR-attacker actually needs DEX at 14 to get the maximum AC possible out of medium armor. (This is why STR builds are far more MAD.)
  5. Intelligence: Generally a dump stat, but using Nature or a Poisoner’s Kit to extract poisons is worth something, at least. You still can’t really afford to put anything more than a 10 here, though. Such as they are, your INT-based skills can work with Natural Explorer’s bonus, so there’s that.
  6. Charisma: If there's one thing all Rangers have in common, they're pretty antisocial. Charisma does absolutely nothing for this class, and you need to dump it.


You can customize your background with help from your DM, but here are the "official" backgrounds.

Also keep in mind that if a background gives you a skill you already had from your class or race, you get to pick any other skill to replace it (including a non-class skill). This is a good way to pick up, say, Acrobatics for you DEX-Rangers.

Acolyte: Insight is good, but everything else is so not Ranger-worthy. You don't even get any tool proficiencies.
Charlatan: Nope.
Criminal/Spy: Thieves' tools proficiency and Stealth (which in practice gives you another skill you may want) save this background. Criminal contacts can come in handy, but you're stuck with a skill in Deception that's useless to you.
Entertainer/Gladiator: Well, you get Acrobatics at least. Everything else sucks, though.
Folk Hero: Very solid, and pretty appropriate as well for the Ranger flavor-wise. You get Survival, which means you can take another skill you may want, and Animal Handling has its uses, if nothing else. Plus Rustic Hospitality is nice.
Guild Artisan/Guild Merchant: Insight is good. Persuasion is not. On the other hand, proficiency with a set of artisan's tools (or navigator's if Merchant) and guild membership's benefits are pretty nice.
Hermit: One decent skill in Medicine, but that's not enough to make up for the fact the rest of this is useless for a Ranger.
Noble/Knight: Two useless skills. Get out of here.
Outlander: Thematically appropriate and a top pick for a Ranger. Survival is one of your essentials (if you have it from your class, pick up Acrobatics), and Athletics is great especially if you're STR-based. Amazingly, the Wanderer benefits are not redundant with the Ranger's own terrain features, but rather complement them very nicely and even give the Ranger something to work with, exploration-wise, even if not in their favored terrain.
Sage: Ha. Ha. Ha. No.
Sailor/Pirate: Perception, woo! (Which should translate to a free pick of Acrobatics as you get Perception from your class already.) Athletics is also good, especially if you're STR-based. Also great tools proficiencies in navigator's tools and water vehicles, and both Ship's Passage and the Pirate's Bad Reputation certainly have their uses. A top background choice, for sure.
Soldier: You get Athletics, and that's about it as far as relevance to Rangers. Stick with Outsider or Sailor/Pirate.
Urchin: Much like Criminal/Spy, Stealth/free skill pick and thieves' tools proficiency save this one. City Secrets is also nice if you want to be more of an "urban Ranger."

Class Features

Lv. 1

Favored Enemy (Lv. 6, 14): One of the Ranger's long-time signatures makes a return, but this time around it has nothing to do with combat until the class' capstone at Lv. 20. Instead, it gives you advantage to track your favored enemies with Survival and advantage on those useless INT knowledge skills about them, along with one language of said enemy. Which wouldn't be too bad if grading based on the exploration tier it's obviously meant to fulfill, but you only get three of these your entire career (or up to six humanoid races), making this feature the very definition of situational.

Natural Explorer (Lv. 6, 10): You pick a favored terrain, and eventually two more, and you get what amounts to Expertise in all INT skills (bleh) and WIS skills (yay Perception and Survival) when dealing in your terrain. In addition, you get a lot of other benefits including normal travel through difficult terrain, never becoming lost, constant alertness, stealth at normal pace if you're alone, double the food from foraging (which can be rendered unnecessary with one of the Ranger's spell options), and more enhanced tracking. How useful this feature is depends on just how much of your campaign takes place in your favored terrains. It's certainly excellent if your campaign features your terrain often, but practically dead weight if you spend extended time away from it. To be fair, it's probably less situational than Favored Enemy, which is why it rates a step higher on balance.

Lv. 2

Fighting Style: Choose one among the following.

  • Archery: If you're going to attack primarily from range, then you take this without a second thought. The +2 to hit is especially sexy when it partially mitigates the penalty from the Sharpshooter feat's hit-for-damage trade.
  • Defense: Mariner is strictly better for the types of Rangers who would’ve taken this style. That said, if you multiclass into Fighter, this is a solid second style ONLY IF you’re using a shield (otherwise, Mariner is, again, strictly better).
  • Dueling: The best choice if you plan to primarily use a single one-handed weapon, thanks to the flat damage bonus on each hit. Works with a shield.
  • Two-Weapon Fighting: Well, if you're going to dual-wield, then obviously you'll go for this style. Question is if you want to. Dual-wielding isn't exactly the strongest in 5e, although if you've got Hunter's Mark up against the biggest threat it does help.
  • Mariner (UA: Waterborne): You gain a swimming and climbing speed in light or medium armor and no shield, along with +1 AC. Strictly better than Defense for the types of Rangers who would’ve cared about that style before — namely Polearm Masters and Great Weapon Masters, who have no in-class access to Great Weapon Fighting. This is also a great second style for archers and dual-wielders who picked up a Fighter MC.

Spellcasting: With many of the Ranger's leveled class features being highly situational, it is the spellcasting that is the one MAJOR saving grace for the class, power-wise. Despite being only a half-caster, the Ranger gets much of its combat prowess, utility and exploration from a spell list that really is quite solid. With that said, however, the mechanics of the Ranger's spellcasting feature are arguably the weakest in the game. They learn only a very limited amount of spells; similar in manner to the Bard, Sorcerer and Warlock but not even as many as they do. So the Ranger must pick spells wisely and eliminate many options right off. Even compared to, say, the Paladin, the Ranger's spellcasting is very lacking in versatility. And as for material components, it's a component pouch or bust.

Lv. 3

Ranger Archetypes will be described under their own section.

Primeval Awareness: Has its uses in some situations. Like if you want to make sure certain creatures are present in the area there and now (as opposed to just living there a la Survival checks). Or when you suspect you might be on the doorstep of some undead, fiends, celestials, aberrations, etc., and you have no time to spare making Survival or Perception checks lest you get ambushed or they escape. Or if you have a spell slot at the end of the day, and you already used any other end-day spells you wanted, and you just want to make sure you’re in a safe rest area. Very situational, to be sure, but it’s there if you need to use it.

Lv. 4 (8, 12, 16, 19)

Ability Score Improvements: You get the standard 5 that everyone else who isn't the Fighter or Rogue gets. You're a pretty MAD class overall, so you'll likely just have room for a couple of feats.

Lv. 5

Extra Attack: Obviously great; at this level it literally doubles the power of your Attack action. Like every other major weapon-using class that isn't the Fighter, this caps at two attacks.

Lv. 8

Land's Stride: Move normally through nonmagical difficult terrain, along with advantage on saves vs. magical plants that impede your movement. This one's decent enough.

Lv. 10

Hide in Plain Sight: In party play, you’d typically use this if you’re on night watch in an area with nowhere else to hide otherwise, getting surprise rounds if you detect approaching enemies with Perception and manage to stay hidden. Otherwise, this feature is clearly meant for either solo play, advance scouting or an entire party of Rangers. And even in those cases, it's very limited, since it takes a full minute to set up and you have to stay still and not take actions. Aside from night watch, you could use this for eavesdropping on a hostile warband's meeting or something similar, when you already somehow figured out the location of said meeting in advance and arrived there to camouflage yourself before they arrived. If you're in a team of Rangers this would be useful for setting up an ambush. Much like Favored Enemy, this feature is the very definition of situational.

Lv. 14

Vanish: Essentially get one part of the Rogue's Cunning Action — the hiding part — 12 levels later than the Rogue. Along with the added bonus of covering up your tracks. Better late than never, I suppose. (Really, it's a decent enough ability, particularly for longbow archers who can use it to get consistent advantage.)

Lv. 18

Feral Senses: Attack creatures you can't see normally, along with auto-detecting invisible enemies within 30 feet. This one's actually pretty good.

Lv. 20

Foe Slayer: Finally, at the capstone, your Favored Enemy gets a combat application. And it's actually pretty nice, being a WIS modifier's bonus to any one attack roll or damage roll on each of your turns. It's best to save this until you miss with an attack on your turn, to possibly change it into a hit, and only apply this bonus for damage if you hit with all your attacks that turn. Sounds good, so what's the problem? Well, being attached to Favored Enemy, it has the same problem Favored Enemy has: It's the very definition of situational. Furthermore, not all Rangers are going to max out their WIS entirely (especially not melee Rangers, and most likely not STR-Rangers), which can also reduce the impact of this capstone. All in all, you might want to consider grabbing a single level of another class to round out your Ranger.

*** Spell-less Variant (UA: Class Design Variants)

This version of the Ranger seeks to emulate the spirit of the 4e Ranger and any other attempt at a Ranger in the past that did not cast spells. Obviously, this version does not get the Spellcasting feature at Lv. 2 and instead gains the following features at the following levels.

Overall, I’d have to say that while the spell-less variant of the Ranger is a valiant attempt, it is not quite as effective as the regular spellcasting Ranger. For all the faults of the Ranger's spellcasting feature itself, there's simply nothing the spell-less variant gets that will match the likes of Hunter's Mark, Conjure Animals, Lightning Arrow, Conjure Volley, Silence, Spike Growth, Goodberry, Swift Quiver, and so forth.

Lv. 2

Combat Superiority: The Spell-less Ranger version of Combat Superiority is decent enough. You start with the same number of superiority dice per short rest as the Battle Master Fighter does (four) and eventually (albeit a couple levels later) end up with the same amount as well. Unlike the Battle Master, the dice are fixed at d8s, but that isn't too bad. You learn fewer maneuvers than the Battle Master (only two to start, then one more each at Lv. 5/9/13/17), but as anyone who has tried to plan out a high-level Battle Master will tell you, that isn't exactly a disadvantage considering how diminishing returns those extra maneuvers are after you get the two or three you really like. Don't expect the damage potential of the default Spellcasting Ranger with Hunter's Mark from this, but some extra damage and neat control effect on a hit here and there is definitely workable.

NOTE: Many of these can be used with ranged weapons as well as melee weapons. Spell-less Archer Rangers will want to keep that in mind. The ones that are melee only will be denoted as such.

  • Commander's Strike: Value of this varies greatly depending on what allies you have. Terrific with a Rogue, still pretty good with a Paladin. Otherwise pass on this one.
  • Disarming Attack: Pretty good for a melee Ranger who faces a lot of powerful weapon-using opponents. Make sure you use your free object interaction for the round picking up the enemy’s weapon so they can’t take it back. For range, not nearly as good, unless you have a melee ally ready to pick up the enemy’s weapon for you.
  • Distracting Strike: Good if you have a Rogue in the party, in which case this will set up a free Sneak Attack. Otherwise, it’s pretty middling, since the advantage only lasts for one attack.
  • Evasive Footwork: Extra AC against Opportunity Attacks for your move that turn is OK. If you’re a Hunter who plans on taking Escape the Horde at Lv. 7, however, stay away from this.
  • Feinting Attack: Melee only. Uses your bonus action and the advantage only lasts on your next attack. Only worth a look at all if you have at least a few Rogue levels.
  • Goading Attack: Leave the defender schtick to Fighters who have the defenses and staying power for that sort of thing.
  • Lunging Attack: Melee only. No. Just … no.
  • Maneuvering Attack: Give an ally a free safe move to safety or into attack position. Very versatile and very nice.
  • Menacing Attack: This one’s great. Frightened until the end of your next turn is a pretty strong condition and duration. That means the enemy has disadvantage on all attacks and ability checks and can’t move closer to you, making this ideal for ranged and melee both. A high-priority pick for sure.
  • Parry: Actually can be done with a ranged weapon, believe it or not. Pretty solid pick for all DEX-Rangers to reduce damage from a hit. Those with the Defensive Duelist feat won’t care nearly as much, though. Hunters with Uncanny Dodge, too, but that’s not until Lv. 15.
  • Precision Attack: Should be priority No.1. Keeping this maneuver in the arsenal along with Superiority Dice on hand means you’re prepared just in case you rolled low on an attack, and you’ll stand a good chance of turning a miss into a hit. A huge boost to effective damage per round.
  • Pushing Attack: Can push up to 15 feet if they’re Large or smaller. Good especially for archers to keep separation. Even better if environmental hazards or a Wizard’s damaging wall spell is nearby.
  • Rally: You? A Ranger? Charisma? Ha. Ha. Ha.
  • Riposte: Melee only. If an enemy misses, it’s a reaction attack with your Superiority Die damage! Top pick for a melee character.
  • Sweeping Attack: Melee only. Some collateral damage (Superiority Die’s worth) on an adjacent second enemy. Pretty weak and insubstantial as far as “crowd control” abilities go.
  • Trip Attack: Knock prone any enemy Large or smaller. If you’re melee, you’d want to do this as soon as possible in your routine; if ranged, you want this as the finisher to avoid disadvantage for yourself and set up advantage for any melee allies. Either way, this one’s great. STR-based Shield Masters don’t need this, though.

Lv. 3

Poultices: WIS modifier determines how many you can make and carry per day. The poultices’ healing numbers are pretty fair (Lv. 10 poultice = 5d6 = 17.5, vs. 3rd-level upcast Cure Wounds w/ 16 WIS = 3d8+3 = 16.5), and they last as long as Goodberries do. So a decent healing ability, considering.

Lv. 9

Natural Antivenom: Advantage vs. poison, resistance to poison damage and cure poison with a poultice. Fair enough.

Lv. 13

Call Natural Allies: A summon sort of like the Conjure Animals spell that only works in Favored Terrain. The ad hoc nerf to conjure spells means the DM picking your creatures isn’t such a disadvantage in comparison now, though the Favored Terrain is bound to make the choices even more limited. Still, it’s a summon, and at the end of the day, having a summon is still better than not having one.

Lv. 17

Relentless: Same as the Battle Master Fighter’s, a feature that lets you start every battle with one Superiority Die on hand. Not spectacular, but at least it gives you some latitude to “nova” with your dice if you need to.

[h=3]III. Ranger Archetypes[/h]
Basically, your choice is whether you want to be a better warrior in your own right, or have a pet. The two archetypes play out very differently.

Hunter: This is essentially the more combat-oriented Ranger build, and at each stop along the way in this archetype, you get a choice of how you want to tailor your combat abilities. This archetype is meant to reflect the tactics the Ranger uses to fight against his or her most targeted enemies, moreso than the old Favored Enemy bonuses of the previous editions did. Overall, this is typically the more effective of the Ranger archetypes.

Lv. 3, Hunter's Prey: Pick one of the following.

  • Colossus Slayer: This one is geared toward single-target damage with its extra once-per-turn 1d8 damage on an enemy that's already injured. A solid pick for both melee and ranged that makes you more effective in focus-fire assaults against strong enemies. Also, the important thing to note about this damage being once per turn, as opposed to per round, is that it also applies on your Opportunity Attacks or other reaction attacks you make, making those more threatening. (Especially nice if you use the DMG marking rules.)
  • Giant Killer: A reaction attack after an enemy Large or larger hits or misses you. Sounds good, right? It does ... until you realize that the enemy has to be within 5 feet of you, and if a creature is Large or larger, chances are pretty good they have reach. Even if you ended your turn bearing down on the enemy, there's a chance it can attack one of your allies instead from its position. If you have the Sentinel feat, you can still get an attack in that situation and make this feature actually work for you indirectly, but what does it say about a feature that requires a feat to be remotely useful? If you're an archer, don't even think about this one.
  • Horde Breaker: The Ranger's overall strength in combat is against multiple enemies and hordes, and if you want to hone that strength to a sharp point (as opposed to being more versatile with Colossus Slayer), then this one's for you. The best thing about this feature is that the extra attack, although somewhat situational, is literally free; as in, it costs no bonus action or reaction.

Lv. 7, Defensive Tactics: Pick one of the following.

  • Escape the Horde: OAs against you at disadvantage. This does wonders for your survivability, mobility and targeting ability when navigating a horde or a group of multiple enemies. Overall, this one is typically the melee Ranger's favorite pick at this level (especially with Whirlwind Attack coming four levels later).
  • Multiattack Defense: This one is good for defense against strong enemies (often bosses) with multiple attacks in a single action, making their focus-fire attempts against you more difficult with a hefty +4 to AC after it hit you. Likely a ranged Ranger's favorite. Actually is good for melee Rangers as well, but most will prefer Escape the Horde.
  • Steel Will: Plenty of higher-level bosses can frighten you, and frightening is a rather annoying condition, so advantage on saves against that seems like a good thing. Problem is, Rangers do not have proficiency in WIS saves (which frightening typically targets), and only DEX-Rangers (in particular archers) will have a WIS high enough to make this advantage work for them appreciably. You can take the Resilient feat for proficiency in WIS saves, which does make this better, but that means not taking that feat for CON save proficiency, which is typically the better choice for Rangers. If you started as a class with WIS save proficiency and multiclassed into Ranger, then this gets better, as well. But, overall, you should stick to one of the other two options at this level.

Lv. 11, Multiattack: Pick one of the following for what is effectively your at-will AoE.

  • Volley: This ranged weapon option is overall the more effective of the two, with double the area of effect (10' radius) of Whirlwind Attack. The ammunition requirement for each target generally limits this to arrows and bolts, however, as opposed to thrown weapons. With Sharpshooter's damage bonus and Archery fighting style in play, you can deal quite a lot of damage to a group of enemies at once.
  • Whirlwind Attack: The melee option isn't quite as sexy, targeting enemies within 5 feet of you only (even if you're using a reach weapon). And getting in a position to attack a significant about of foes with this can be rather hazardous, to say the least. (Escape the Horde helps A LOT there.) If you took Horde Breaker, that one does work with this for a nice double-tap against one enemy, so there's that.

Lv. 15, Superior Hunter's Defense: Pick one of the following.

  • Evasion: 8 levels after the Rogue gets it. Better late than never with this wonderful ability, though. If you absolutely, positively want to ensure you survive a dragon's breath, accept no substitute.
  • Stand Against the Tide: Meh. Very situational, and typically for not a whole lot of damage even then.
  • Uncanny Dodge: Effectively cut one hit's damage in half every round. Pretty good, although if you took Defensive Duelist, that feat will directly compete for your reaction and do it better.

Beast Master: Not quite as feeble as it was originally, but this archetype still has some issues. One spell has made this archetype a bit more appealing if you’re melee-focused, but overall the Hunter is still pretty superior. Certain niche builds do exist from this archetype (grapplers, Halflings riding their beast), but those are more just interesting than particularly strong. Details on the best companions (Medium size or smaller, CR 1/4 or less) are in another existing guide, but generally, your best options will be Wolf, Panther, Boar, Pteranodon, Giant Crab, Giant Centipede, Giant Poisonous Snake, and Giant Wolf Spider.

  • Ranger's Companion (Lv. 3): The beast has a few real issues to be concerned about. One is the scaling of hit points; even 4x your level isn't enough to keep the beast from getting ganked after a round or two, unless you make it retreat somewhere, and what's the point of it, then? Second, for the first four levels as a Beast Master, you have to give up your action to get the beast to actually do anything other than move. Finally, beast attacks generally do less damage on a hit (even with your proficiency bonus) than your own weapon attacks do, although the arrival of the Beast Bond spell has narrowed the gulf in that department (or at least made other companions besides the Wolf appealing choices).
  • Exceptional Training (Lv. 7): Finally, your beast actually becomes useful. Too bad you had to wait four levels for that to happen. Now your beast can Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help with your bonus action instead of taking up your action. The bonus-action Help is the big draw here, letting you effortlessly grant advantage to someone (yourself or an ally) on one attack every round.
  • Bestial Fury (Lv. 11): Your beast can now attack twice if you give up your second attack on your Attack action. (Or use multiattack, but that’s weaker for the one CR 1/4 beast that has it … we hardly knew ye, Giant Badger.) With Beast Bond in play now, this is a much more viable all-around option than it was before (if you’re melee).
  • Share Spells (Lv. 15, Spellcasting ONLY): Your beast becomes affected as well when you cast a spell on yourself. There are definitely some good spells to take advantage of this (Freedom of Movement and Stoneskin, to name two).
  • Beastly Coordination (Lv. 15, Spell-less Variant ONLY) (UA: Class Design Variants): Basically Uncanny Dodge for your beast. As long as it has a reaction it’ll cut one attack’s damage against it in half. Fair enough.

[h=3]IV. Races[/h]
Common races

Dwarf: +2 to CON is a big deal, along with advantage on saves vs. and resistance to poison, and Darkvision. Bonus proficiencies in an artisan's tools are a neat little bonus.

  • Mountain: +2 to STR makes this the obvious subrace of choice for a STR-Ranger.
  • Hill: Decent for DEX-Rangers, with the extra hit point per level being quite nice, along with the +1 WIS. STR-Rangers should definitely go Mountain, though.

Elf: All Elves get a +2 to DEX, so make that your attack stat. Immunity to magical sleep and advantage vs. charms are very good, as are Darkvision, Trance and automatic proficiency in the all-important skill Perception.

  • Wood: Well, they say cliches exist for a reason. Easily a top Ranger choice with the extra speed, the WIS bonus and the ability to hide in light obscurity.
  • High: Don’t even think about it. The INT-based cantrip is worthless, and a bonus to INT isn't the best.
  • Drow: Sorry, Drizzt fans, but the Drow is a pretty suboptimal choice. The CHA bonus is worthless, you won't be able to use the Drow's Faerie Fire effectively because it's CHA-based, and while there are ways to get around Sunlight Sensitivity in a lot of cases, it can still be a pain in the butt. At least Darkness is stat-independent and can be effective.
  • Eladrin (DMG example): +1 INT isn't great, but at least Misty Step 1/short rest is worth something.

Halfling: +2 to DEX, so you know which route to go with your attack stat. Lucky is straight-up awesome, protecting you from that dreaded natural 1, and moving through occupied spaces opens up a lot of options on the battlefield. Halflings can also ride their animal companions as a mount (provided it's a Medium animal), making the Beast Master option somewhat more useful for them.

  • Lightfoot: Hiding behind a Medium or larger ally is pretty nice, somewhat making up for its useless +1 CHA.
  • Stout: The +1 CON of this subrace is more useful overall, and plucking the Dwarf's anti-poison defenses is great, too.

Human: Meant to be the most versatile race. One particular variant delivers on that promise.

  • Default/Stock: +1 to all attributes, the bottom three of which aren't going to make a difference, is really quite tame.
  • Variant: The Variant Human, on the other hand, is absolutely fantastic, and in a game that uses feats, arguably the best race for this class considering its attribute needs. The bonus feat means you get a potentially build-making ability at Lv. 1 that other races have to wait until at least Lv. 4 to get, while being a full ASI ahead. That’s huge. And just having an extra feat on top of the other one, maybe two, you planned to take is also really beneficial. On top of that, you get two +1s you can put in any attributes you want, as well as a skill proficiency of your choice.

Uncommon Races

Aaracocra (EEPC): Yeah, this race is pretty unfair in general with its at-will flight from the start, and especially so for DEX-based Rangers, for whom the +2 DEX and +1 WIS are a perfect stat match. The introductory paragraph pretty much leaves it up to the DM whether or not to even allow you to play this race, and for good reason.

Aasimar (DMG example): Resistance to necrotic and radiant damage and the +1 WIS are about all this race has going for it as a Ranger, but everything else, especially the CHA bonus, is pretty useless.

Changeling (UA: Eberron): +1 to DEX is about all this race has to offer for a Ranger. CHA bonus is useless, you’re going to suck at Deception, and at-will humanoid Polymorph just isn’t enough to make up for this race’s deficiency in this class.

Dragonborn: +2 to STR, so it's obvious which type of Ranger this is for. Resistance to one type of energy is solid, and since you're likely to have a decent CON score, you'll be able to use the Breath Weapon decently under bounded accuracy. That CHA bonus is a waste, though, but this race has enough strong abilities to make up for it.

Genasi (EEPC): All Genasi get a +2 to CON, a solid stat bonus for all characters. All subraces get a 1/day free spell with no material components.

  • Air: +1 DEX, hold your breath forever as long as you’re not incapacitated, and Levitate as the racial spell. Pretty nice.
  • Earth: +1 STR, ignore some difficult terrain, and the very useful Pass Without Trace as the racial spell. Good.
  • Fire: +1 INT is a waste. making this the worst subrace for Rangers. Darkvision and fire resistance aren’t bad, though.
  • Water: +1 WIS is a relevant Ranger stat even if not optimal, and breathing air and water and having a real swim speed can come in handy in campaigns with a lot of water.

Gnome: Generally a bad race for Rangers, with that +2 to INT being a complete waste. Advantage on all mental stat saving throws vs. magic is about the only real positive. Stick to Halfling if you want to be small.

  • Forest: +1 DEX, a cantrip that’ll be useless without a good INT score, and a cute talk to small animals ability. Not enough to make you a good Ranger.
  • Rock: Nope. +1 CON is OK, but Rangers have no use for tech knowledge.
  • Deep (EEPC): +1 DEX and Superior Darkvision. Probably the best Gnome Ranger race by default (damning with faint praise much?), but still not enough for success.

Goliath (EEPC): +2 STR and +1 CON, automatic Athletics proficiency, reduce damage taken from something once per short rest and ability to carry and lift more stuff round out a terrific race for STR-Rangers.

Half-Elf: The immunity to magical sleep and advantage vs. charms that Elves get, plus the two free skills of your choice are tempting, but the +2 CHA bonus is mostly a dealbreaker. The +1 to two other stats helps, but not enough to ever recommend this over a Wood Elf or Variant Human.

Half-Orc: +2 to STR and +1 to CON are great, but what really puts this race over the top as a STR-Ranger are things like adding an extra weapon die to a crit, Darkvision, and staying upright once per day on a would-be KO. Intimidation proficiency is sort of a waste, but the rest of this package is awesome.

Minotaur (Krynn) (UA: Waterborne): Typically you’ll choose +2 STR, or maybe +1 STR and WIS, going the STR-Ranger route. The big deal besides that is the free Charger-esque ability you get with your horns. Decent, but not spectacular.

Shifter (UA: Eberron): All Shifters get +1 to DEX, Darkvision, and a short-rest recharge Shifting power that gives them a solid amount of temp HPs plus a subrace-dependent benefit. Pretty solid.

  • Beasthide: +1 CON and extra AC when shifting. Good.
  • Cliffwalk: An extra +1 DEX and climbing speed when shifting. Decent, although Longstride is usually better for the same type of build.
  • Longstride: Extra +1 DEX and Dash as a bonus action while shifting. Overall the best subrace for a DEX-based Shifter Ranger.
  • Longtooth: +1 STR, but the bite attack while shifting is kinda weak. Pass.
  • Razorclaw: Extra +1 DEX and a bonus action slashing unarmed strike while shifting. Presumably, you can’t use a shield, a second weapon or a two-hander when making this attack, which really limits your build options. Unless you can kick, but then you probably can’t wear boots. Really depends on how your DM adjudicates this, but I’m going to err on the side of caution and recommend Longstride, instead.
  • Wildhunt: +1 WIS is helpful, plus advantage on WIS checks and saves while shifting. Fair.

Tiefling: Bonuses to your two least useful stats! Don't be a Tiefling.

Warforged (UA: Eberron): +1 STR and CON, free +1 to AC and no need to eat or breathe make for a solid STR-Ranger race.

[h=3]V. Feats[/h]
Rangers are pretty MAD overall, so they're likely going to limit themselves to one or two feats (maybe three if a Variant Human). So it's important to pick wisely.

For archers:

  • Sharpshooter: If you plan to make your living with missile weapons, it's literally a matter of when, not if, you're taking this feat. With the Archery fighting style, you might even take this feat before taking DEX boosts; it's that good. Ignoring cover up to three-quarters is terrific when fighting in the woods or areas where cover is plentiful, and even long-range attacks without disadvantage can be useful. And then, finally, there's the -5/+10 hit-damage trade that can add a lot of damage against relatively easy-to-hit enemies; especially nice with a DEX 20 and the Archery style to partially mitigate the penalty.

If using a crossbow:

  • Crossbow Expert: Taking this feat makes a pair of hand crossbows the archer's setup of choice. In fact, you may even take this one before taking Sharpshooter, although you'll want that feat as well, eventually. (It can be said that the advantage of going with the longbow instead is you have an extra feat or ASI.) But yes, this one is mandatory if you plan to use crossbows, and with a pair of hand crossbows, you'll get bonus-action attacks every round with your full DEX-mod added to the damage (and one more attack every round for Sharpshooter's damage bonus to do its thing). In addition, you can shoot someone at point-blank without disadvantage, which means you can handle a melee just fine.

If using a two-hander:

  • Great Weapon Master: Bonus-action attack when you either kill an enemy or crit makes you that much more damaging against hordes and bosses alike. Then there’s the -5/+10 hit-damage trade that can result in a huge damage boost if you’re buffed with advantage, Bless and the like. If you’re using a greatsword or maul this one’s pretty much mandatory; why else would you go with STR as your attack stat and use such a weapon? If you’re using a polearm, then Polearm Master is higher priority, but this feat in addition is still a nice pick because the -5/+10 works on that feat’s butt-end attack.

If using a glaive or halberd:

  • Polearm Master: Let’s face it, this feat is THE VERY REASON you went with STR for your attack stat and decided to pick up a glaive or halberd. Bonus action attack with the butt-end of your weapon automatically comes with your STR-mod attached, and is effectively like dual-wielding except at reach and thus even better. And then there's the OAs you get when an enemy enters your reach, which is particularly nice when in conjunction with the Sentinel feat. Or instead you can take Great Weapon Master for the damage boost.

If using a shield, STR-based:

  • Shield Master: Solid set of benefits, with some limitations on them all that keep this feat from true greatness. The bonus action to shove is great if you’re a STR-attacker with Athletics proficiency, creating free advantage for your ensuing Attack action if you choose the prone option — but remember that shove is limited to Large or smaller. Shield bonus to DEX save, likewise, great against single-target effects, but no use against area of effect abilities like a dragon’s breath. The last benefit gives you a partial Evasion-type effect when you make any DEX save (this one works against AoEs), using your reaction to take no damage; STR-attackers who are most likely to take this feat will only benefit from this every so often. Overall, still a very good pick, but just mind the limitations.

For dual-wielders:

  • Dual Wielder: +1 to AC while dual-wielding is pretty nice, and you now also get to dual-wield with weapons that aren't light (e.g. rapiers, longswords, battleaxes, warhammers, etc.) for an extra point of damage above the usual shortswords setup. Not a bad feat to take, for admittedly an unoptimal mode of attack to begin with.

General options:

  • Defensive Duelist: If you’re a melee DEX-Ranger with a finesse weapon, this is a solid pickup that far more often than not is going to turn a hit against you into a miss every round.
  • Lucky: A solid feat for anyone to consider if they have room to spare, with three free rerolls of d20s per day that can apply to attacks, saves, ability checks or even an enemy's attack roll.

  • Mounted Combatant: Might be worth a look for a Halfling Beast Master riding their companion as a mount.
  • Resilient (Constitution): Getting proficiency in CON saves, along with a +1 to CON itself, is as good a pick as any for you. CON is targeted often and by some of the nastiest stuff in the game. And then there's concentration saves so you stand a better chance of keeping that Hunter's Mark or that Conjure Animals active when you take damage.
  • Sentinel: If you played the Fighter in 4th Edition, this will look very familiar; this is essentially the 4e Fighter's Combat Challenge and part of Combat Superiority packaged into one feat. And while Rangers aren't quite as well suited to playing a defender role as Fighters, Paladins and Barbarians, getting or threatening more damage is still pretty nice (especially if the DMG marking rules are in effect). If you're a Polearm Master build, the value of this goes way up, as it takes on a whole new meaning with its OAs stopping enemy movement and keeping approaching enemies possibly out of reach from you.
  • War Caster: In conjunction with Resilient (CON) (which you should take before this one), the advantage on concentration saves can really help you maintain spells like Hunter's Mark or Conjure Animals when you take damage. The ability to perform somatic components with both hands full is also nice for dual-wielders and shield-users, in particular.

[h=3]VI. Spells[/h]
You are a class that has to learn spells, rather than prepares them, thus limiting your versatility as compared to a class such as the Druid, Cleric or Paladin. Furthermore, you learn the least amount of spells in the game, so you must pick wisely. (At most you'll know around two spells per spell level on average.) Also, you can retrain a spell after every level you gain, and you might be making use of that at times.

For your convenience, spells will have their components listed, along with their action type (action, reaction, bonus action) and if they require Concentration. An "M" with an asterisk (*) means that the material component has a cost and/or is consumed by the spell, which means you need more than just your component pouch. Also, since not all Rangers will max Wisdom, a spell listing will also denote if it can be saved against.

Lv. 1 Spells (Ranger Lv. 2)

Hunter's Mark: 1 bonus action; V; Concentration. This spell might as well be (and probably should've been) a class feature. It is the Ranger class' staple damage boost, applying to every single weapon attack you make against the target you marked with this. Every other Concentration spell you consider will have to be measured against this one. You can mark a new target after you killed a prior one as long as you're still concentrating on this spell, using another bonus action. (It's why Rangers are rather bonus-action heavy.)
Beast Bond (EEPC): 1 action; V,S,M, Concentration. It took a while, but Beast Masters (well, melee-based ones at least) finally get their staple offensive buff. Your companion gets advantage on all attacks vs. enemies next to you, greatly mitigating what was one of the beast’s biggest drawbacks. If your companion is a Wolf you don’t need this, but this spell opens up some other appealing choices besides the Wolf now. At Lv. 11, with the two attacks from Bestial Fury in play, you may straight-up prefer to concentrate on this one instead of Hunter’s Mark.
Goodberry: 1 action; V,S,M. Overall, the Ranger's "healing" spell of choice, as long as it's cast out of combat. The total healing amount just edges out a Cure Wounds cast with a 1st-level slot, and it can be spread out among allies as need. This spell also doubles as free food creation, which amusingly also means it renders the Ranger's enhanced foraging ability kind of redundant.
Absorb Elements (EEPC): 1 reaction; S. Reduces elemental-type damage as a reaction, then lets you make a strong, elemental-powered attack when it’s your turn. Pretty good, indeed.
Ensnaring Strike: 1 bonus action; V; Concentration; Save. Restraining with piercing damage round-to-round when you hit with a weapon attack (melee or ranged) after casting this. Best used on Medium or smaller creatures that don't have high STR scores. A good one early on, although you'll want to retrain it as you face more Large enemies at higher levels.
Hail of Thorns: 1 bonus action; V; Concentration; Save. Ranged weapons only, your next attack that hits spreads thorns to all enemies within 5 feet of the enemy you hit. This is your first AoE spell to use against hordes, and generally a pretty good one for the early levels. You'll want to retrain it later as you get higher-level AoE spells with more radius and damage.
Jump: 1 action; V,S,M. This one is quite useful in a lot of scenarios, whenever you need to leap onto a tree branch for a better vantage point, or leap across a chasm, etc.
Longstrider: 1 action; V,S,M. Never underestimate the benefits of extra speed. That it doesn't require Concentration makes this particularly good to keep around.
Cure Wounds: 1 action; V,S. Well, if you want to play the Ranger with the "hands that heal," a la Aragorn, this is as close as you'll get to it. It's generally inferior to Goodberry, though. While it's true that this spell can get someone back up from a KO, unlike Goodberry, if your party relies on you to do that and give up an action that you should've been attacking, it was in dire straits to begin with. A Beast Master Lv. 15 or higher might consider this more closely, as a self-cure with this also helps their beast.
Alarm: 1 minute; V,S,M. Has its uses, but you can do without it.
Animal Friendship: 1 action; V,S,M; Save. Charm an animal for a day. Eh.
Fog Cloud: 1 action; V,S; Concentration. Creating a place to hide on a whim is neat, but, again, your opportunies are too few to give this a serious look.
Speak with Animals: 1 action; V,S. Interesting, probably fun, and can get decent information, but generally pass.
Detect Magic: 1 action; V,S; Concentration. Your repertoire of learned spells is limited and precious. Don't waste such opportunities on spells like this.
Detect Poison and Disease: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration. No.

Lv. 2 Spells (Ranger Lv. 5)

Silence: 1 action; V,S; Concentration. This is pretty much death to spellcasters, as nearly all spells have a verbal component.
Spike Growth: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration; Save. This is a terrific battlefield control spell for archers, who are likely to have the high WIS to put it to optimal use. Enemy hordes without a good Perception skill will die in bunches from the damage this spell can do, with your arrows or bolts picking off any survivors.
Lesser Restoration: 1 action; V,S. Ends one disease, or one of blinded, deafened, paralyzed or poisoned. Good one to keep around.
Pass without Trace: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration. A massive group stealth buff, and you leave no tracks, either. This one's actually pretty good.
Darkvision: 1 action; V,S,M. Basically, if your race doesn't already have Darkvision, this is very helpful. If your race does, or you have an item granting you Darkvision otherwise, then it's useless.
Beast Sense: 1 action; S; Concentration. Has its uses in scouting, but generally you should pass on it.
Protection from Poison: 1 action; V,S. Generally inferior to Lesser Restoration. The advantage on saves against poison and resistance to poison damage is too situational to really matter.
Animal Messenger: 1 action; V,S,M. Cute, but no.
Barkskin: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration. Trap. Shame what an old classic has been reduced to. By the time you get this, your AC will likely be 16 or higher already. A Beast Master might make use of this early, depending on their pet choice, but eventually even the beast's AC will scale to or past 16. And it's a Concentration spell besides, so it competes with Hunter's Mark, and just doesn't measure up. So, nah, pass.
Cordon of Arrows: 1 action; V,S,M; Save. The damage is a joke. Pass.
Find Traps: 1 action; V,S. Your Perception skill should find most traps without this spell.
Locate Animals or Plants: 1 action; V,S,M. No.
Locate Object: 1 action; V,S,M. No.

Lv. 3 Spells (Ranger Lv. 9)

Conjure Animals: 1 action; V,S; Concentration. With the ad hoc nerf of conjurations in general from July’s Sage Advice, this spell isn’t the auto-pick it used to be. The DM actually gets the final word on what animals appear when you cast this, which means you can no longer rely on getting a full pack of wolves in combat. Still a great selection with endless utility, though. If your DM gives you more of a say in what animals show up then this is still probably mandatory.
Lightning Arrow: 1 bonus action; V,S; Save. If you liked Hail of Thorns, you’ll absolutely love this one. While the area of effect (10’ radius) is much smaller than that of Conjure Barrage, Lightning Arrow’s advantage is that it’s used as part of your usual attack routines — it can even be used as the first shot of a Volley for some mean stacking AoE damage! The initial attack deals half damage on miss and can crit like anything else (and a 4d8 plus any extra dice from upcasting, doubled on a crit, is no joke). The AoE damage after also happens on hit or miss, making this very reliable. (It’s debateable whether Sharpshooter damage trade applies on the initial attack.)
Conjure Barrage: 1 action; V,S,M; Save. 3d8 (save for half) is a bit on the low side damage-wise, but the 60-foot cone is a pretty large area of effect. Archer Hunters will want to stick with Lightning Arrow, but for Beastmasters, or for melee Rangers keeping a thrown weapon on hand, this is actually preferable — even if this never hits the heights an Archer Hunter with Lightning Arrow + Volley can hit, and no one’s going to accuse you of obsoleting an Evoker any time soon.
Wind Wall: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration; Save. Really good defensive spell against hordes of Small or smaller enemies, who can’t pass through it. Also good against hordes of enemies who use ranged attacks short of boulders or siege engines.
Flame Arrows (EEPC): 1 action; V,S; Concentration. Clearly for archers, this spell adds the same amount of damage on each hit that Hunter’s Mark does, except said damage can be applied to any enemy with no extra bonus action costs (so looks particularly appealing to Crossbow Experts). The duration means you can cast this spell well within advance of an anticipated combat. Has its place in fights against multiple foes, though hardly a gamechanger.
Daylight: 1 action; V,S. Has its uses, but just doesn't make the cut.
Nondetection: 1 action; V,S,M*. Good when the situation warrants, but said situation is too infrequent to spend a learn on this one. Leave this to a full caster.
Plant Growth: 1 action/8 hours; V,S. Leave this one to Druids and Paladins of the Ancients.
Protection from Energy: 1 action; V,S; Concentration. Useful when it's warranted, but again, one best left to a caster with more flexibility.
Speak with Plants: 1 action; V,S. Interesting, but pass on this.
Water Breathing: 1 action; V,S,M. Again, one best left to more flexible casters. If you spend most of your time at sea this might be worth a look.
Water Walk: 1 action; V,S,M. Again, leave to other casters.

Lv. 4 Spells (Ranger Lv. 13)

Freedom of Movement: 1 action; V,S,M. Ignoring difficult terrain is good, automatic escapes from grapples is great, and immunity to paralyzed and restrained is bloody fantastic. A key defensive buff, moreso since it doesn't require Concentration.
Conjure Woodland Beings: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration. Again, with July’s Sage Advice that puts the DM in control of the creatures that show up, this spell takes a pretty big hit from its once-almighty status. Probably not a bad thing for the game in the case of this spell, though, because summoning 8 Pixies, truth be told, was hilariously broken. None of the other things you can summon with this spell compares to Conjure Animals’ options in combat, so this one rates lower on balance; that said, a DM letting a Dryad appear every now and then for some Goodberries still makes this a solid choice.
Stoneskin: 1 action; V,S,M*; Concentration. The old classic gives resistance to all the typical weapon damage types from nonmagical weapons, which protects you from a lot of things even at high CRs. Only the 100 gp cost per casting keeps this from being an unqualified recommendation. However, a Beast Master should practically consider this mandatory, especially once they get Share Spells.
Grasping Vine: 1 bonus action; V,S; Concentration; Save. A fairly neat battlefield control spell, but one you don't really need.
Locate Creature: 1 action; V,S,M; Concentration. How about no.

Lv. 5 Spells (Ranger Lv. 17)

Conjure Volley: 1 action; V,S,M; Save. The Ranger's best anti-horde spell, and it's a good one. Damage is actually slightly above that of a Fireball upcast with a 5th-level slot, with twice the radius (which equals 4 times the area of effect). No Ranger at this level, melee or ranged, should go without this spell; a melee Ranger should still keep a thrown weapon handy for this.
Swift Quiver: 1 bonus action; V,S,M; Concentration. Limitless ammunition while it's in effect, plus two extra ranged attacks every round as a bonus action. The concentration requirement, unfortunately, means you can't have it running at the same time as Hunter's Mark or Conjure Animals, so it competes directly with those spells. And against an upcast 5th-level Conjure Animals for 16 wolves, this one absolutely pales in comparison DPR-wise. That said, this spell is still good to have on hand if you're facing a flying enemy (after all, Giant Owls aren't nearly as threatening) and/or an enemy with great AoE capability that can wipe out your wolf pack in one round. (But if neither of those apply, summon the wolves, please.)
Commune with Nature: 1 minute; V,S. The knowledge gained can be nice, but this is best left to Druids and Oath of Ancients Paladins, who have more flexibility.
Tree Stride: 1 action; V,S; Concentration. Can't deny the cool factor and the convenience at times, but your limited spell opportunities are best spent elsewhere.

[h=3]VII. Equipment[/h]
The basics:

  • Rapier (DEX-based, single weapon); 2 shortswords (DEX-based, dual-wielding); longsword (STR-based, Shield Master); OR glaive or halberd (STR-based, Polearm Master)
  • Longbow; OR hand crossbow (Crossbow Expert)
  • Shield (if not dual-wielding or Polearm Master)
  • Component pouch, for material spell components
  • Medium armor (chain shirt at Lv. 1). If you take DEX to at least 18, switch to studded leather. If you're STR-based, get breastplate once you can afford it.

Noteworthy magic items

Remember that a character can only be attuned to three magic items at one time. If an item requires attunement, it will be noted, along with other important properties like rarity and types of armor/weapon.


  • Weapon +1/+2/+3: Uncommon/rare/very rare. In practice, the humble basic magic weapon will be your best option in a lot of cases. A weapon that gives a bonus to hit and damage will actually do more for your DPR figures than most other fancier magic weapons that do not have such bonuses (especially the hit bonus). That it doesn’t require attunement is an added plus.
  • Oathbow: Very rare; Longbow; Attunement. Basically, a bosskiller weapon. Gives you advantage against one enemy until they’re dead, along with a hefty damage boost (3d6) on each hit. That easily makes up for the lack of straight plusses to hit/damage in such fights and then some. Not as strong battle-to-battle as a straight +X weapon, but definitely awesome at its purpose.
  • Scimitar of Speed: Very rare; Scimitar; Attunement. If you’re a melee DEX-Ranger going sword-and-board, this is the way to get your bonus attack. It’s also a +2 hit/damage weapon. Very solid.
  • Sunblade: Rare; Longsword; Attunement. It’s literally a lightsaber! It’s nominally a longsword, but it’s finesse, making it fair game for a DEX-attacker to use. +2 to hit and damage, plus 1d8 extra damage vs. undead.
  • Vorpal Sword: Legendary; Any sword that deals slashing; Attunement. +3 hit/damage weapon, so top of the line there, and on top of that you get to ignore damage resistance. Plus your crit can deal either death or big extra damage, depending on the enemy. Pretty well worth the attunement slot, all things considered. If you’re DEX-based, your only Vorpal option is the scimitar, if you were wondering.


  • Shield +1/+2/+3: Uncommon/rare/very rare. More AC from your shield is good. Not requiring attunement is even better.
  • Armor +1/+2/+3: Rare/very rare/legendary; Any armor. The basic magic armor is as good as anything, straight plusses to AC being the most universally useful benefit. It doesn’t require attunement, either, leaving a slot open for something else.


  • Amulet of Health: Rare; Attunement. Sets CON to 19. Good for you, as you’re not likely to boost your CON that high naturally.


  • Belt of Giant Strength: Rare/very rare/legendary; Attunement. Depending on the type of giant it’s based on, sets your STR from anywhere between 21 and 29. If you're a melee Ranger, this is definitely your overall preferred type of belt to wear, and should definitely be one of your three attuned items as soon as you get one. For STR-Rangers, this can mean delaying a STR 20 in favor of a feat you really want. For DEX-Rangers in melee, consider this one a boost to attack and damage rolls with more weapon options open to you.


  • Bracers of Archery: Uncommon; Attunement. +2 to damage with longbows and shortbows! If one of those is your main weapon, you want this one ASAP.


  • Headband of Intellect: Uncommon; Attunement. Sets INT at 19. If you plan on harvesting poisons often, you might give this a look.

[h=3]VIII. Multiclassing[/h]
Basics to remember:

  • You need to meet the attribute prerequisites of ALL your planned classes, including your initial class. So, to multiclass as a Ranger, you’ll always need at least DEX 13 and WIS 13, in addition to the prerequisite of any other classes you want. Making it a little more difficult for Rangers to multiclass and limiting their class options.
  • Multiple instances of Extra Attack do not stack. Want three attacks? Take 11 Fighter levels. It’s the only way.
  • Ability Score Increases, and by extension feats, are considered class features at set levels like everything else. Which means in many cases, you may fall short of the five expected of most single-class characters’ progression. Sometimes being an ASI/feat short may be worth it, but more often it may not be. Being two or more ASI/feats short is almost never worth it. Consider the tradeoffs carefully, in any event.
  • You NEVER get the saving throw proficiencies of your new class. If you want another class’ save proficiencies to start, then you need to start as a member of that class.

Strive for 5:

A general look at all the classes will show you that the class’ 5th level is where a MASSIVE power jump occurs, particularly offensively. Warrior-type classes get their Extra Attack at that level. Full spellcaster classes get 3rd-level spells, the first real powerful level of spells. For Rogues, that’s when Sneak Attack really starts taking off. While all classes have their other major and significant levels, Lv. 5 is the first and most important of them all.

Ergo, if you’re going for a multiclass build of any sort, your first goal is to hit Lv. 5 in one class ASAP, likely your major. Pretty much without exception. Which means if you’re starting and majoring as a Ranger, you want to be a Ranger 5 and get Extra Attack before you even think of branching out.

If you started as Lv. 1 in another class (which does have its merits for some builds, notably Fighter and Rogue dips), then you need to take your next 5 levels in the Ranger class. Getting to Lv. 5 one level behind is probably tolerable, at worst you limit yourself to just one level of inadequacy. Falling two or more levels behind in that department, on the other hand, is a terrible idea.

Example of above: If dipping Fighter, starting as a Fighter gets automatic CON save proficiency without giving up anything else (you gain your extra skill back when multiclassing into Ranger). That’s great! But your next 5 levels should be all Ranger. You’ll get Extra Attack at character Lv. 6, then, which is a level late, but probably tolerable for most. As tempting as Action Surge looks at Fighter 2, hold off on it until you took your 5 vital Ranger levels. (After all, Action Surge works much better with Extra Attack in play, anyway.)

What you give up:

When planning a multiclass build for the long term, all the way to Lv. 20, it’s important to look at your primary class’ last few features, counting backwards from Lv. 20, and compare them to the levels from your secondary class(es)’ to see if it’s a build worth pursuing.

  • Lv. 20 Ranger for Lv. 1 dip: You give up that weak Ranger capstone, and that’s it. Plenty of Rangers will EAGERLY give this up for another class’ Lv. 1 gains.
  • Lv. 19 Ranger for Lv. 2 dip: You give up your last ASI or feat, your final learned spell, and one 5th-level spell slot (if you don’t multiclass with another caster). That is pretty significant. You want to make sure that what you gain at Lv. 2 (or Lv. 3 if you’re going further in your dip) is worth this sacrifice. Fighter’s Action Surge or Rogue’s Cunning Action? Yeah, I’d say that’s worth it. The Monk’s Lv. 2, on the other hand? Not worth it at all.
  • Lv. 18 Ranger for Lv. 3 dip: You give up Feral Senses, which is a solid feature, but nothing that can’t be traded away for another class’ robust Lv. 3 abilities (looking at Fighter and Assassin Rogue, in particular.)
  • Lv. 17 Ranger for Lv. 4 dip: Well, if you want to get back to your maximum number of ASIs/feats, here you go. Unfortunately, the price you pay for that is 5th-level Ranger spells, a few of which are pretty strong, and another learned spell. It’s up to you to decide whether such a trade is worth it.
  • Lv. 16 Ranger for Lv. 5 dip: You give up another ASI/feat, knocking you back to one less than the maximum. This is not a level you want to give up lightly. Remember that Extra Attack from another class does not stack. And while a full caster’s 3rd-level spell list might look good, it’s probably not enough to consider taking Lv. 5 in that class unless you’re going for something else a few more levels into that class. Thus, if you’re going to stop at a Lv. 5 dip, that class needs to have a particularly appealing feature beyond a new spell level or Extra Attack (the Rogue’s Uncanny Dodge might qualify); otherwise, don’t bother.
  • Lv. 15 Ranger for Lv. 6 dip: Hunters and Beast Masters both give up a fairly significant feature here, along with a learned spell, and (if you didn’t MC with another caster) a 4th-level spell slot. Not a level to be given up lightly. That Lv. 6 feature from your dip class had better be really strong.
  • Lv. 14 Ranger for Lv. 7 dip: You give up Vanish and your third Favored Enemy. Very easy level to give up for a Rogue MC that’s made it this far. (Vanish is mostly redundant with Cunning Action, and Rogue 7 gets Evasion.) Otherwise, Vanish does have its appeal, but isn’t anything that can’t be given up, and a third Favored Enemy is quite easy to sacrifice.

Potential Multiclass options:

Cleric: One-level dip here can get you cantrips and 1st-level Cleric spells (which are stat-compatible being WIS-based), along with a potentially nice 1st-level Domain benefit. If you start as a Cleric, you get Wisdom save proficiency, which is better than DEX on the whole, and you still get your extra skill back when you MC Ranger.

  • Lv. 1: 3 cantrips (WIS-based), 1st-level Cleric spells in your arsenal, and a 1st-level Domain Benefit. You have several options there. Nature’s Acolyte of Nature can get you Shillelagh, which would open up an interesting option to use WIS as a melee attack stat. Light, Tempest and War are also solid choices.

Druid: Much like the Cleric, get WIS-based cantrips (including possibly Shillelagh for WIS-based melee) and 1st-level Druid spells. Also like with the Cleric, you might want to start Lv. 1 as a Druid to get Wisdom as a save proficiency.

  • Lv. 1: 2 WIS-based cantrips (including possibly Shillelagh) and 1st-level Druid spells in your arsenal. A solid level, and can be more useful overall than the Ranger’s capstone.

Fighter: If you plan a multi here, it’s pretty much strictly better to start as a Fighter. You get Constitution as a save proficiency, the best “common” save to get, and you get your extra skill proficiency back when you MC into Ranger. Easy as cake to enter for all Rangers who have the DEX 13 prerequisite covered.

  • Lv. 1: Another Fighting Style can be quite good, and Second Wind is there when you need it.
  • Lv. 2: Action Surge, which will give you some sorely needed single-target burst damage capability. And once you have 11+ Ranger levels (Hunter archetype), getting off two Volleys or Whirlwind Attacks in one round can be very sexy.
  • Lv. 3: Battle Master is the best pick of archetype overall, with the healthy short rest-recharge arsenal (4 d8 Superiority Dice, 3 maneuvers). Alternatively, if you plan on going substantially beyond 3 Fighter levels, Eldritch Knight will look a lot more attractive for allowing you to pick up more spell slots beyond your Ranger levels. (NOTE: RAW so far, multiclassing a Spell-less Variant Ranger together with the Battle Master Fighter gets you a truckload of Superiority Dice and maneuvers!)
  • Lv. 11: 3 attacks per Attack action. With 9 Ranger levels, you still have 3rd-level spells. If you went Eldritch Knight, you’ll still have a fair number of spell slots to play with.

Monk: A solid one-level dip for a Ranger to give you a little more versatility.

  • Lv. 1: Unarmored Defense can result in a higher AC than studded leather if you maxed out DEX and WIS (mostly true of an archer build). And Martial Arts gives you a quick, always ready melee option complete with a bonus-action attack every round.

Rogue: Best to start as a Rogue if you're heading this route, since you get one more skill to start, then another one still when you MC Ranger. Both start off with DEX save proficiency, so no change there.

  • Lv. 1: Expertise in two skills and 1d6 Sneak Attack make for a solid replacement for your mediocre capstone. Start as a Rogue and get that extra skill and free thieves’ tools proficiency while you’re at it.
  • Lv. 2: Cunning Action, baby. Cunning Action.
  • Lv. 3: Assassin — Assassinate for the surprise-round auto-crits! (If you plan on taking substantially more than 3 Rogue levels, Arcane Trickster might be worth a look, instead.)

[h=3]IX. FAQ[/h]
Coming soon

[h=3]X. Builds and Combos[/h]
I. Wood Elf, Hunter, Sharpshooter, longbow

Race: Wood Elf
Background: Outlander
Alignment: CG

Proficient skills: Perception (WIS), Insight (WIS), Stealth (DEX), Survival (WIS), Athletics (STR), Acrobatics (DEX)
Proficient tools: Musical instrument (one type)

Armor: Studded Leather
Weapon: Longbow
Other: Component pouch

Point buy array: 15, 15, 14, 10, 8, 8

Attributes and feats:
Lv. 1: STR 8, DEX 17, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
Lv. 4: STR 8, DEX 17, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8, Sharpshooter
Lv. 8: STR 8, DEX 18, CON 15, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8, Sharpshooter
Lv. 12: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 15, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8, Sharpshooter
Lv. 16: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8, Sharpshooter, Resilient (CON)
Lv. 19: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 8, Sharpshooter, Resilient (CON)

Fighting Style (Lv. 2): Archery
Hunter's Prey (Lv. 3): Colossus Slayer
Defensive Tactics (Lv. 7): Multiattack Defense
Multiattack (Lv. 11): Volley
Superior Hunter's Defense (Lv. 15): Evasion

Spells known (cumulative):
Lv. 2: Hunter's Mark, Goodberry
Lv. 3: Ensnaring Strike
Lv. 5: Spike Growth
Lv. 7: Silence
Lv. 9: Conjure Animals
Lv. 11: Lightning Arrow
Lv. 13: Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement (replaces Ensnaring Strike)
Lv. 15: ??? (it's getting retrained at Lv. 17)
Lv. 17: Conjure Volley, Swift Quiver (replaces Lv. 15 spell)
Lv. 19: ???

II. Variant Human, Hunter, Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter

Race: Human (Variant)
Background: Pirate
Alignment: CN

Proficient skills: Acrobatics (DEX), Perception (WIS), Stealth (DEX), Survival (WIS), Athletics (STR), Insight (WIS)
Proficient tools: Navigator's tools, vehicles (water)

Armor: Studded Leather
Weapon: Hand crossbow
Other: Component pouch

Point buy array: 15, 15, 15, 8, 8, 8

Attributes and feats:
Lv. 1: STR 8, DEX 16, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 8, Crossbow Expert
Lv. 4: STR 8, DEX 16, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 8, Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter
Lv. 8: STR 8, DEX 18, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 8, Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter
Lv. 12: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 8, Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter
Lv. 16: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 8, Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter, Resilient (CON)
Lv. 19: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 18, CHA 8, Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter, Resilient (CON)

Fighting Style (Lv. 2): Archery
Hunter's Prey (Lv. 3): Colossus Slayer
Defensive Tactics (Lv. 7): Multiattack Defense
Multiattack (Lv. 11): Volley
Superior Hunter's Defense (Lv. 15): Evasion

Spells known (cumulative):
Lv. 2: Hunter's Mark, Goodberry
Lv. 3: Ensnaring Strike
Lv. 5: Spike Growth
Lv. 7: Silence
Lv. 9: Conjure Animals
Lv. 11: Lightning Arrow
Lv. 13: Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement (replaces Ensnaring Strike)
Lv. 15: ??? (it's getting retrained at Lv. 17)
Lv. 17: Conjure Volley, Swift Quiver (replaces Lv. 15 spell)
Lv. 19: ???

III. Wood Elf, Hunter, 2 shortswords

Race: Wood Elf
Background: Outlander
Alignment: CG

Proficient skills: Perception (WIS), Insight (WIS), Stealth (DEX), Survival (WIS), Athletics (STR), Acrobatics (DEX)
Proficient tools: Musical instrument (one type)

Armor: Studded Leather
Weapon: 2 shortswords
Other: Component pouch

Point buy array: 15, 15, 14, 10, 8, 8

Attributes and feats:
Lv. 1: STR 8, DEX 17, CON 14, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
Lv. 4: STR 8, DEX 18, CON 15, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
Lv. 8: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 15, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8
Lv. 12: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8, Resilient (CON)
Lv. 16: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8, Resilient (CON), Defensive Duelist
Lv. 19: STR 8, DEX 20, CON 16, INT 10, WIS 18, CHA 8, Resilient (CON), Defensive Duelist

Fighting Style (Lv. 2): Two-Weapon Fighting
Hunter's Prey (Lv. 3): Colossus Slayer
Defensive Tactics (Lv. 7): Escape the Horde
Multiattack (Lv. 11): Whirlwind Attack
Superior Hunter's Defense (Lv. 15): Evasion

Spells known (cumulative):
Lv. 2: Hunter's Mark, Goodberry
Lv. 3: Ensnaring Strike
Lv. 5: Silence
Lv. 7: Pass Without Trace
Lv. 9: Conjure Animals
Lv. 11: Conjure Barrage
Lv. 13: Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement (replaces Ensnaring Strike)
Lv. 15: Stoneskin
Lv. 17: Conjure Volley
Lv. 19: ???

IV. Variant Human, Beastmaster, Shield Master, longsword + shield

Race: Human (Variant)
Background: Outlander
Alignment: CG

Proficient skills: Perception (WIS), Insight (WIS), Stealth (DEX), Survival (WIS), Athletics (STR), Acrobatics (DEX)
Proficient tools: Musical instrument (one type)

Armor: Chain Shirt (Lv. 1) -> Breastplate when affordable, Shield
Weapon: Longsword
Other: Component pouch

Point buy array: 15, 14, 14, 12, 8, 8

Attributes and feats:
Lv. 1: STR 16, DEX 14, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Shield Master
Lv. 4: STR 18, DEX 14, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Shield Master
Lv. 8: STR 20, DEX 14, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Shield Master
Lv. 12: STR 20, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Shield Master, Resilient (CON)
Lv. 16: STR 20, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 14, CHA 8, Shield Master, Resilient (CON)
Lv. 19: STR 20, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 16, CHA 8, Shield Master, Resilient (CON)

Fighting Style (Lv. 2): Dueling
Ranger's Companion (Lv. 3): Giant Poisonous Snake

Spells known (cumulative):
Lv. 2: Hunter's Mark, Goodberry
Lv. 3: Beast Bond
Lv. 5: Silence
Lv. 7: Pass Without Trace
Lv. 9: Conjure Animals
Lv. 11: Conjure Barrage
Lv. 13: Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement (replaces Pass Without Trace)
Lv. 15: Stoneskin
Lv. 17: Conjure Volley
Lv. 19: ???

V. Half-Orc, Hunter, Polearm Master

Race: Half-Orc
Background: Folk Hero
Alignment: CG

Proficient skills: Intimidation (CHA), Perception (WIS), Stealth (DEX), Survival (WIS), Animal Handling (WIS), Athletics (STR)
Proficient tools: Artisan's tools (one type), vehicles (land)

Armor: Chain Shirt (Lv. 1) -> Breastplate when affordable
Weapon: Glaive or halberd
Other: Component pouch

Point buy array: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8

Attributes and feats:
Lv. 1: STR 17, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8
Lv. 4: STR 17, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Polearm Master
Lv. 8: STR 17, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Polearm Master, Sentinel
Lv. 12: STR 18, DEX 14, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Polearm Master, Sentinel
Lv. 16: STR 20, DEX 14, CON 15, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Polearm Master, Sentinel
Lv. 19: STR 20, DEX 14, CON 16, INT 8, WIS 12, CHA 8, Polearm Master, Sentinel, Resilient (CON)

Fighting Style (Lv. 2): Mariner
Hunter's Prey (Lv. 3): Colossus Slayer
Defensive Tactics (Lv. 7): Escape the Horde
Multiattack (Lv. 11): Whirlwind Attack
Superior Hunter's Defense (Lv. 15): Evasion

Spells known (cumulative):
Lv. 2: Hunter's Mark, Goodberry
Lv. 3: Ensnaring Strike
Lv. 5: Silence
Lv. 7: Pass Without Trace
Lv. 9: Conjure Animals
Lv. 11: Conjure Barrage
Lv. 13: Conjure Woodland Beings, Freedom of Movement (replaces Ensnaring Strike)
Lv. 15: Stoneskin
Lv. 17: Conjure Volley
Lv. 19: ???

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