D&D General Iconic characters that have changed in later editions


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Which is why AD&D Rangers didn’t get spells until late in their career.

Via newer rules a lot of those “classic rangers” are Fighters with nature skills.
I mean, you're putting the cart before the horse.

The problem here is that the rules approach to Rangers in 3E and 5E (and arguably 4E) has been progressively more at odds with:

A) ALL portrayals of "rangers" in D&D fiction. Not just Drizzt. I can't think of a single Ranger in D&D fiction who cast a spell. Bloody Aragorn doesn't cast spells.

B) ALL portrayals of "rangers" in material that inspires D&D.

The problem is designers who have no idea what to do with Rangers, or who have progressively idiotically made them more and more magical because they couldn't think of anything else to do with them, and they were happy for Fighters (for some ungodly reason) to be the be-all and end-all of martial combat (rather than say making them primarily the "tough melee guy", which is literally 98% of Fighters in D&D fiction and fantasy fiction).

At this point we've moved from 1E/2E's Ranger who was very much a skilled martial type who later acquired a tiny smattering of spells (most people didn't even play that long), to 3E's Ranger who starts as a skilled martial, then abruptly gains some magic, and it's just a bit weird/messy, to 5E/1D&D's Ranger who is magical almost from the get-go, or indeed from the get-go with 1D&D, and is more like a permanent Fighter/Druid multiclass.

Indeed your whole analysis is problematic in that sense, because you're confusing the rules and the fiction. The fact is, the fiction doesn't flow from the rules, generally speaking, and the problem with a lot of D&D's rules-design is that it's not great for fantasy fiction in general, not even D&D fiction specifically. There's just too much "game-ism" and frankly a serious lack of ideas in a lot of the design team. I can sympathize because the last time they did go wild with the ideas, it was 4E and it wasn't universally well-received.
 

“5e rogues are subpar” is definitely a take I haven’t heard before.
Really?

I've expressed that sentiment and it wasn't particularly controversial. Someone did a long thread on Rogues a few years back and the fact that most of the subclasses were pretty bad and the original chassis isn't great was discussed at some length.

I mean, with 5E, just like 4E, nothing is THAT terrible. The worst classes are 7/10 classes (compared to the best which are 10/10). It's not like 3.XE/PF1 where classes range from 2/10 to 15/10 (the latter being once PrCs etc. get involved).

The big issue with Rogues is that, compared to a level 7+ full caster who is run by an intelligent player, there isn't a whole lot they can do. Especially as casters have powers that work essentially by fiat. You describe what happens within the bounds of the spell, and it happens, and unless an enemy is involved, there isn't even a roll! A Rogue has to roll for literally everything where there is any conceivable risk of failure, which is 95% of things worth doing. The Rogue player can't just say "X happens", but the full caster can, and does. Even cantrips are frequently more powerful than Rogue stuff. You don't even the the "can't roll less than 10" thing until level 11 as a Rogue, by which time full casters are on 6th-level spells.

You can say "Oh a Rogue can do it infinitely!", but they absolutely cannot. Adventuring days are only so long, and it's not usually that long, and further one bad roll can easily end a Rogue's entire plan (RAW/RAI though I think we're moving to a place where DMs are increasingly smarter than that), whereas a full caster often isn't even rolling. The number of opportunities to pull of something are usually quite limited, and again, after level 7 or so, a full caster has a lot of spells, plenty for stuff like this.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
I'd probably just make Drizzt a fighter with appropriate skills in 5e, I think that's actually how he was statted up by one of the dndteam for a game they were running. He really doesn't need any ranger levels and since that would grant him higher levels of fighter, it means that he can keep being a whirling tornado of death.
 

DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
I mean, you're putting the cart before the horse.

The problem here is that the rules approach to Rangers in 3E and 5E (and arguably 4E) has been progressively more at odds with:

A) ALL portrayals of "rangers" in D&D fiction. Not just Drizzt. I can't think of a single Ranger in D&D fiction who cast a spell. Bloody Aragorn doesn't cast spells.

B) ALL portrayals of "rangers" in material that inspires D&D.

The problem is designers who have no idea what to do with Rangers, or who have progressively idiotically made them more and more magical because they couldn't think of anything else to do with them, and they were happy for Fighters (for some ungodly reason) to be the be-all and end-all of martial combat (rather than say making them primarily the "tough melee guy", which is literally 98% of Fighters in D&D fiction and fantasy fiction).

At this point we've moved from 1E/2E's Ranger who was very much a skilled martial type who later acquired a tiny smattering of spells (most people didn't even play that long), to 3E's Ranger who starts as a skilled martial, then abruptly gains some magic, and it's just a bit weird/messy, to 5E/1D&D's Ranger who is magical almost from the get-go, or indeed from the get-go with 1D&D, and is more like a permanent Fighter/Druid multiclass.

Indeed your whole analysis is problematic in that sense, because you're confusing the rules and the fiction. The fact is, the fiction doesn't flow from the rules, generally speaking, and the problem with a lot of D&D's rules-design is that it's not great for fantasy fiction in general, not even D&D fiction specifically. There's just too much "game-ism" and frankly a serious lack of ideas in a lot of the design team. I can sympathize because the last time they did go wild with the ideas, it was 4E and it wasn't universally well-received.

Im not sure you are understanding me.

I can make 5E Drizz't a Fighter with nature and sneaking related skills/feats/backgrounds etc and it be a better interpretation of the character than just classing him as "A 5E Ranger".

I could call him a Forester (like the old 2E Kit for Fighters!)
 

Voadam

Legend
B) ALL portrayals of "rangers" in material that inspires D&D.
I wouldn't say all.

In The Book of the Three by Lloyd Alexander (the first in his Newbury Award winning fantasy series) Prince Gwydion is an outdoor competent warrior in the woods. He has a clash with the Horned King and does a thing that creates a blast of magic that seems a lot like a wizard's burning hands that drives off the Horned King. It is the only magic I remember him doing, but when I came on the 1e PH and saw that high level rangers got low level magic-user spells it immediately came to mind, and still sticks out to me 40 years later.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
And rogues prove magic isn’t necessary to make a successful skilled character.
It more proves that the ONLY skills that the majority of the D&D fans allows to consistently work without using magic against actual challenges are the Rogue's 6/7:
  1. Pick Pockets:
  2. Open Locks.
  3. Find/Remove Traps.
  4. Move Silently/Hide in Shadows.
  5. Detect Noise.
  6. Climb Walls.
The Fighter/Barbarian's skills, Ranger's skills, Bard's Skills, Cleric/Druid/Paladin's skills, and Wizard's skills either don't have an agreed upon progression of challenges, don't progress, or use magic to progress.

That's why all the "skill" characters in D&D are nonmagical rogues or some sort of caster.
 

Voadam

Legend
That's why all the "skill" characters in D&D are nonmagical rogues or some sort of caster.
Well, some sort of caster covers a lot. Nonmagical means rogue and fighter mostly (4e being an exception) as 5e barbarians are spirit rage warriors, rangers are casters, and monks are supernatural mystic martial artists (mostly).
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
And rogues prove magic isn’t necessary to make a successful skilled character.
For certain definitions of "successful," depending on edition.

Really?

I've expressed that sentiment and it wasn't particularly controversial.
I suspect Charlaquin was being sarcastic.

I wouldn't say all.

In The Book of the Three by Lloyd Alexander (the first in his Newbury Award winning fantasy series) Prince Gwydion is an outdoor competent warrior in the woods. He has a clash with the Horned King and does a thing that creates a blast of magic that seems a lot like a wizard's burning hands that drives off the Horned King. It is the only magic I remember him doing, but when I came on the 1e PH and saw that high level rangers got low level magic-user spells it immediately came to mind, and still sticks out to me 40 years later.
While that is fair, "literally one time doing something magical" is a bit hard to square with even the early-edition "a few spells every day at high character level level" stuff. Doubly so since it occurs in the first book, which one would think should be early in the Prince's career, rather than late.
 

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