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Help build a Single-Classed Ranger.


Registered User
I'm one of those players who has never been a big fan of the PHB Ranger class but I'm going to give it a try in a FR campaign that a friend is running. I guess part of the problem is that there is so many things that I'd like Ranger to be able to do but you can only select a few things. This campaign is a bit 'over the top' in terms of power so don't bother commenting about the high stats.

The original player concept was a specialized giant killer but I generally like playing characters that are very flexible. I'm open to any suggestions.

So, make some suggestions and lets see what comes out. The feat selection pretty much needs to be limited to the WotC products (FR feats, splat books, oriental adventures).

Character Info:
Wood Elf:
9th Level Ranger.
Stats at first level:
STR 19
DEX 19
CON 16
INT 14
WIS 15
CHA 12

The stats are 'over the top' but as mentioned before so is the campaign that my friend runs.

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Kai Lord

It would help if you told us some of the things you want to do with the character. I could tell you the feats I would choose, but I'm not playing your guy.

At first glance he's a prime candidate for a Mighty Composite Longbow, so I'd be inclined to suggest building an archery tree, but that's my first impulse with every character. :cool:


First Post
Ok...I've played a few single classed Rangers, and I think I have some good tips, for my Ranger always seems pretty flexible.

Since your strength and dex look equal, Make sure you pick up a bow along with your melee weapons. A lot of people I've gamed with like to limit their usage of weapons to either melee or ranged. Don't do this.

Having said that, stay away from weapon focus. This feat will persuade you to use a specific weapon. If you really want to take it, take it more than once, but I recommend using your feats somewhere else.

Is there any other fighters in the group? Not just any fighters, but the power attack/cleavers. If so, then you could use some feats in the point blank shot chain. If there are no fighters, you are gonna want to snag power attack at minimum (nishruus are hard to kill without it). If you are not sure about the other classes, take a mix (maybe point blank shot, powr attack, and the others you want).

Onward to favorite enemies...Beasts and abberations (sp?) are definitely the most common, but if you are determined for your theme, make sure your DM is going to use giants before you select it as a fav enemy. Have you heard of a giant killer in a world without giants? Most DMs I game with don't mind telling you a little about what you may face, but I never did ask for specified races. :)

Also, as much as some people say you have to, you DO NOT have to fight with twf, but remember it is an option. If you find you are using your bow a lot, then don't feel bad for not fighting with two weapons. Just remember that when an enemy tries to corner you, you have the opportunity to draw two weapons and surprise them. They may even try to retreat (at 9th level, you have 4 attacks fighting 2 handed!). If this seems like a tactic you may use (as I did a bunch with my Rangers), pick up the quick draw feat.

Lastly, your skill point distribution...I like the stealth skills (spot, listen, hide, move silently) If you have any extra skill points, wilderness lore will save you and your group quite often. Never underestimate tracking. Animal empathy may also save you, but I don't have my PhB with me, and I'm not sure if it is a class skill.

That's about all I can rack up for now. Good luck, and have fun!

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
If you can, I'd recommend switching your CON and INT scores - The extra skill point is really valuable considering the ranger skill list.

For a ranger with a difference, take Animal Empathy and max out Animal Handling. Start training dire animal or dinosaur pets ASAP, you could even consider training one as a special mount. By the time you reach 10th level you can easily have trained tyrannosaurs :) Animal Handling beats the animal friendship spell hands down for rangers!

Quite a good feat combination for rangers is Exotic(bastardsword) and quickdraw - since you can fight with the bastardsword 2H, but quickdraw your secondary weapon if you get into a full attack situation where it might be useful. Of course, with your mighty strength you can do nearly as well just using a standard longsword 2H... but the quickdraw is always useful for the ability to switch instantly to TWF if the situation calls for it.

I recommend avoiding weapon finesse like the plague.

You first favoured enemy will clearly be giants, you might want to take as a secondary the kind of creatures that control giants, and as a tertiary the kind of minions that giants might have working for them (campaign specific?).



At 9th level you will have the following:

+9 BAB

9d10+27 HP

good fortitude save

2 favored enemies

ambidexterity (virtual)
twf (virtual)
track (virtual)

4 feats

72 skill points w/ max at 12 ranks

2nd level casting ability as ranger

9th level starting gold

I would recommend certain things regardless of what your History is:

1. mitril breast plate
2. Something that gives bonuses to Saves (primarily will) - perhaps consider iron will
3. a Mighty +4 MasterWork Long Bow (or magical if you can) w/MasterWork arrows
4. Wand with best level healing spell you can cast (IDHMBWM - not sure if you can cast anything better than CLW).
5. Scrolls of specialty spells on the Ranger list that you can cast but would probably never prepare.
6. Boots and CLoak of elvin kind (cheaper than enchanting your armor, I think)

I would recommend considering the following information when making selection of feats and skills:

THe benefit of a ranger with regards to feat selection is that you already have the twf feats, you have good skills (don't need to take alertness or skill focus), you have some spells for utility to suppliment your abilities, w/good BAB, spot and listen class skills, and the restriction on twf, you ought not to specialize in a weapon as the WF, IC, EWP, will not be as worthwhile to your character. For feats for a ranger (especially a non-human ranger) choose feats that augment your abilities, make up for your weaknesses, have synergy with your party, or some combination of the three. I personally really enjoy the Dodge feat chain as it gives you access to Spring Attack and Shot on the Run. (I like mobility (not the feat) for rangers because of their light armor restriction - both for twf and skill use.)

If you want to go with the mobile ranger, get boots of spring and striding, take dodge, mobility and spring attack. DO NOT TAKE QUICKDRAW. Because you have mobility this would be a waste as you can move (60 feet with the boots), draw your weapon while moving as a free action, and then ready an attack against your opponent, who will at most get one attack against you (all else being equal) and only after you attack them with your readied action. This would draw an AoO, but you can fight defensively and with mobility your AC will be 6 higher. Expertise would have great synergy with this combo.

If you max out spot and listen, consider the bow feats - PBS, Rapid Shot, Far Shot and Shot on the run as useful bow feats for a ranger. Precise Shot is not as useful as you can also be a front line warrior and don't need to worry about staying out of melee (this also applies, if to a lesser degree, to far shot).

For a less mobile ranger consider power attack. Be aware that doing this will mean that every chance you get do something to increase your attack bonus (this with twf makes for some abominatably low attack bonuses). That or only fight with one weapon. You may want to also consider capitalizing on your twf style and possibly interchange a weapon for a shield and take shield expert - that way you always have the AC bonus and still have the twf option - greatly increases versatility. Moreover, you can take some pretty devasting feats for this combination - like shield bash - moves opponents opening them up to AoO and shield charge.

For Skills, you need to decide what you want for your character. If you want archery, then you will need Spot at the minimum - for more effect take Hide, Listen and Move Silently. If you want a more nature oriented Ranger, take wilderness lore, animaly empaty, animaly handling, and Knowledge Nature. I would recommend a few things regardless of character-type - take wilderness lore to utilize your track feat - this will be tremendously useful (at least if your DM is a good DM it will be). Spot is also a great skill. If you max out spot, there really is not much need to max out listen - also see if there is a rogue in the party with listen. Animal handling is great for your animal companion(s). Having them able to attack upon command, scout ahead, etc. is really where some of the more subtle powers of the ranger come from. Whatever you are going to focus in, definitely max out the skill or almost max it out.

My last recommendation is maximize the use of your spells. As a ranger that is not immediately obvious. The rangers spells have high utility. Always have an animal friendship on hand - (probably in scroll form). Even if you already have an animal companion, have that spell - if RttToEE has taught me anything it has taught me that.

Lastly, definitely consider taking leadership. Having a few expert and commoner wood elves (or other races) at your disposal to craft and repair your equipment, provide knowledge, wealth, information, etc. can be incredibly useful. Also, don't underestimate the power of having a cohort. Your cohort can be used in multiple ways:

He can make your magical stuff (most of its low leveled stuff anyway), can complement you in adventuring - perhaps a druid, cleric, or bard. Or can make up for your weaknesses - Wizard for your lack of magical battle power.

Good Luck, hope this has helped.


Registered User
Kai Lord said:
It would help if you told us some of the things you want to do with the character. I could tell you the feats I would choose, but I'm not playing your guy.

I'll admit that your question is part of the problem. I'm in search of a concept as much as anything. I really like Plain Sailing's suggestion of training dire animals and such. It is very different from any of the characters currently in play.

My first thought was to take these three feats for the huge flexibility in adjusting my attack bonus:
power attack, expertise and possibly quick draw.

I'll develop a character based on the comments here and post him later.

Thanks for all the input,


First Post
Another Perspective

19 strength, 19 dex, and 16 con are excellent stats for a melee ranger. They're also excellent stats for archery but you can use archery without focussing in it.

Since you're planning on being a giant slayer, this is what I'd recommend:

Quickdraw, Iron Will, Improved Two Weapon Fighting (my understanding is that this is not a virtual feat for rangers--if it is, pick up Improved Crit: Greatsword instead).

Stat Increases: +1 Str, +1 Dex

+1 Shock Mighty Composite Longbow [+4]
A bunch of Masterwork arrows
+1 Giant Bane Greatsword
+3 Mithril Chain shirt with +1 frost Armor spikes
+1 Buckler
Gloves of Dex +2
Ring of Protection +1
Amulet of Natural Armor +1
The best cloak of Resistance you can afford
Boots of Striding and Springing
Several Wands of Cure Light Wounds (more cost efficient than better ones and at 9th level, a wand of cure moderate won't be sufficient for combat healing anyway).
A wand of Hunter's Mercy
Several Potions of Cure serious wounds
A potion or two of either See Invisibility or Invisibility Purge
Several scrolls of Protection from Elements (2nd level cast at 4th level by a Ranger)
A few scrolls of Greater Magic Weapon cast by a 9th level good cleric or cleric of a good deity.
A few potions of Fly
If you have any cash left over, see about getting a belt of strenght +4

That will give you really good attacks against giants, and pretty good attacks against everyone else. With your high dex, you get more milage out of a mithril chain shirt than a mithril breastplate. All told, your AC should end up: 27 vs. ranged, 25 melee (you can't get the buckler bonus while you're using the greatsword). If you can afford it, bump up the ring of protection and amulet of natural armor one each. Boots of striding and springing are meant to enable you to keep out of melee if you want to avoid it. If you're not concerned about that, go for boots of Speed instead; that will enable you to up your AC to 31 or 29.

Your strategy should be to Use your bow to get a few shots in while your enemies close. When your enemies close with you, drop the bow, quickdraw your greatsword and lay the smack down dual wielding your greatsword and armor spikes.

Against giants, you'll be attacking four times at +15/+10 and +13/+8 for 2d6+12+2d6 and 1d6+4+1d6 for an average of 26 damage/hit with the greatsword an 11/hit with the armor spikes.

Against other foes, your damage output won't be nearly so high, but their damage output isn't usually as high as giants' damage output either. . . .


Elder-Basilisk - If I am not mistaken, I believe that mithril adds the quality of +3 to max dex - IDHMBWM though, so you may be right that the chain shirt is better.

I missed the part about giant killer. To be versatile and still focus on defeating giants you need to consider what are the strengths and weaknesses of giants and how can you take advantage of them but still apply how you do so to other encounters.

Strengths (in general)

Giants have great Str - good for melee and grapples
Gaints have lots of HP
Giants have reach

Weaknesses (in general)

Low will and reflex saves
not many skills
not extermely intelligent
Relatively low AC's (unless they wear armor)

You really need to watch out for Giants grappling - the idea of spiked armor with enchanted spikes is a good one. However, you still need to win a grapple check to get out of a pin if the giant decides to do that - even with your high str, giants are still going to wipe the floor with you when it comes to grappling. Consider close quarters combat - this will be useful against the giant's advantage as well as any other creature with improved grapple or snatch. However, this is a response feat rather than an iniate feat meaning you have to wait for something to happen - in general that is not as useful as forcing the opponent to respond to you.

Giants have lots of HP so one's first response is - POWER ATTACK. While this is very useful and will also capitalize on their generally low ACs (as well as its versatility with other combatants) I would not consider this feat as a foregone conclusion. Don't forget - to capitalize on the strengths of the class you are already taking a hit to your Attack bonus. I have played a combat oriented ranger before with Power Attack and inevitably every time I used the feat I missed - (I think it was more a dumb luck sort of thing than anything - but that was my experience).

There is something important to consider when fighting something with lots of HP - massive damage can be dealt in numerous ways and it is not in fact that amount of damage one can deal that makes them dangerous - it is the amount of damage they can deal relative to the amount they take/HP. If you deal less damage than PA but force the giant to only get one attack against you every round because you are spring attacking, the end result can be even better than power attacking - it is simply spaced out over a greater amount of time. Again, not to say PA is a bad feat - in fact it is one of the best for a combat oriented character in the game. Just keep the above in mind.

Giant's reach is a big issue (no pun intended). This can devastate you, especially if they have feats like large and in charge, have reach weapons themselves or combat reflexes. There are is one way to deal with this - make their reach irrelevant - you can do this with a reach weapon (usually), ranged attacks - if you take many shot, this is an excellent option because as a standard action you can get more than one attack, thus still getting to move (again, the boots are key here). Finally, there is spring attack. Spring attack will allow you to get in and out regardless of the giants reach. You don't have tumble as a class skill so that option is out.

If you take spring attack and have the boots you will pretty much force the giant to try and fight you on your own terms or he will have to grapple you to get you to stay in one place - refer to close quarters combat.

Not to mention Dodge would increase your precious AC - something that is one of your main weaknesses due to the light armor restriction and mobility (one of the most underrated feats in the game can be used against other combatants while spring attacking).

Low reflex and will saves mean ENTANGLE ENTANGLE ENTANGLE - catch the giant on your own terms in heavy vegetation. Grant it, he won't be immobilized, but his movement will be reduced while you pick him off with arrows.

The lack of skills means HIDE AND MOVE SILENTLY - the giant will not see you or hear you - its all about the sniping.

The relatively low Int can be used to your advantage by using good tactics like the hit and run tactics and then having close quarters combat - dumb things are easy to predict.

The relatively low AC is a boon for the ranger - PA is the obvious choice, but a less obvious choice is expertise - this will balance out their attack bonus with their AC by making you harder to hit and effectively making them harder to hit. Since you have OA available, consider Superior Expertise but not until you gain a few more levels and have magic and items to buff up your attack some.

Again, if you decide to go with the mobile ranger, stay away from quickdraw. Also, stay away from improved two weapon fighting as usually you will only get one attack. If you think you may want to go with the sniping tactics or at least surprise tactics and are going to use a reach weapon to over come the reach problem consider combat reflexes and expert tactician. This will not be quite as effective as if you were a rogue, but can still carry you. You would get 5 extra AoO per round, greatly increasing your versatility vs. multiple opponents and with a reach weapon will get to exercise those AoO often. If you do this, don't go for mobility as you will want to take quickdraw to switch between your reach weapon and lighter weapons. Also if you go for any sort of two handed weapon, make sure you can get an item or a buff that adds +2 to your Str as that will give you +2 to damage rather than just +1.

I personally would go with Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, and Close Quarters Combat or Expertise with Iron Will and Shot on the Run as other feats down the road.

Other good options:

Power Attack, Combat Reflexes, Expert Tactician, Quick Draw - this will be slightly better than exotic weapon spiked chain as your damage would be greater with whichever weapon you are using, you can use two weapons, and can switch to bow.

Iron Will, Close Quarters Combat, Point Blank Shot, Blind Fight (if going for versatility)

I have no idea of your terrain but brachiation may be of incredible use to you giving you movement through trees would be an incredible way to avoid land bound opponents and with your hide and move silently, you could be truly deadly (but again that would depend on setting).

For fighting vs. giants definitely get the best armor you can afford while maintaining the dex bonus and pump up your AC every way possible (think barkskin might be on the ranger's list), ring of protection, buffs from your party cleric/wizard/sorcerer/bard/druid.

Finally keep the low int of giants in the forefront of your mind - use it against them - use tactics, traps, terrain advantages, lighting, etc. against them.


First Post
Mithril gives +2 max dex, 3 point reduction in armor check penalty, and halves the weight of armor. Consequently, with just a slight increase in his dexterity, he can get more milage out of a mithril chain shirt.

Plus a mithril chain shirt +3 is still cheaper than a +2 mithril breastplate for the same AC.

As for giants grappling, the big problem for them is that since they don't have improved grab, they provoke an AoO and if that hits, the grapple automatically fails. If I were running a melee oriented high strength ranger with a giant bane sword and energy enhanced armor spikes, I'd triple-dog dare any giant I was fighting to try to grapple me. The first grapple attempt would earn the giant some 24 to 26 hit points worth of giant bane greatsword damage. The second attack would only initiate the grapple and wouldn't deal any damage. On my initiative, I'd quickdraw a shortsword and stab the giant to death dual wielding the shortsword and armor spikes. (The full attack action and AoO from the round before would have probably dealt close to 100 points of damage so the giant is quite likely to die on the grappled full attack action).

The spring attack and power attack suggestions are very good though. If using my suggested setup, replacing Iron Will with power attack would make you an even more effective giant slayer. (Come to think of it, if you've got the cash, adding shock to armor spikes would be a good move as well).

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