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5E Improving the Ranger

reelo

Explorer
Once I get a group going, I'm planning to add Great Weapon Fighting to the list of fighting styles Rangers have access to. I'm picturing a ranger wielding a longsword (versatile) with 2 hands like Aragorn wielding Narsil. Right now, rangers are already sub-par compared to fighters, so upping their possibilities seems logical to me and an additional fighting style doesn't seem overpowered to me. What do you think?
 

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As I see it, adding a fighting style option to a class will have small (if any) impact on game balance. That said, I don't believe rangers need any help right now. I'm not a fan of the beastmaster, but the hunter is very strong. The hunter in my Night Below game is the top damage dealer in a group that also has two fighters.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Once I get a group going, I'm planning to add Great Weapon Fighting to the list of fighting styles Rangers have access to. I'm picturing a ranger wielding a longsword (versatile) with 2 hands like Aragorn wielding Narsil. Right now, rangers are already sub-par compared to fighters, so upping their possibilities seems logical to me and an additional fighting style doesn't seem overpowered to me. What do you think?
The ranger is supbar compared to the fighter at combat, yes.
But the 5th edition ranger is a lot better at exploration and survival than a fighter.
The 5th ed ranger was designed to be primarily for exploration tasks like tracking, scouting, sneaking, navigating, making camp, keeping watch, foraging, and survival. The ranger's combat ability was its tool to deal with the living threats, thus rangers are only good in ambushes and skrimishes.

It a campaign is more hack & slash than most, rangers are suboptimal.
An additional fighting style is good adjustment to make rangers work in a combat heavy game.
 

Pickles JG

First Post
The ranger is supbar compared to the fighter at combat, yes.
But the 5th edition ranger is a lot better at exploration and survival than a fighter.
The 5th ed ranger was designed to be primarily for exploration tasks like tracking, scouting, sneaking, navigating, making camp, keeping watch, foraging, and survival. The ranger's combat ability was its tool to deal with the living threats, thus rangers are only good in ambushes and skrimishes.

It a campaign is more hack & slash than most, rangers are suboptimal.
An additional fighting style is good adjustment to make rangers work in a combat heavy game.
The ranger is slightly weaker than a fighter in combat and somewhat better at wilderness stuff, or substantially better if he can leverage his favoured aspects.

Adding a fighting style will have next to no Impact as it will not be better than archery. Great weapon is also a bit of a trap as it needs STR not dex like his AC and missile 2wf options. Nothing wrong with allowing it though especially on theme grounds.

To make him a bit better I would buff 2wf - give him a quick draw type effect? Also look at making his spells that replicate archery stunts a little stronger. Conjure volley could do 5 dice not 3 Etc I'm not sure why they're so weak.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Rangers can use a Longsword.

The longsword is a "Versatile" weapon.

Versatile weapons can be used with one or two hands and deal higher damage (d10 in the longsword's case) when used with two hands.

So, Aragorn charging into battle with Narsil is...there. It's done. Spears, staves, battleaxes, war hammers, longswords layin' the smackdown using two hands. If that's the "archetype" image you're trying to achieve, you have it.

Why does the Ranger need something added to it to give you this?

They also can already use "Heavy" weapons, because heavy weapons are Martial weapons. So if you want to say "But Narsil's a two-handed sword" (it isn't, but if you want to argue it is) you can use that sword already, as well. Or a glaive or halberd or whatever. It's just not, understandably, one of the things Rangers, as a class, prefer enough to warrant a mode of "fighting style." Other ways of combat are more effective and keep with the flavor of the class.

But hey, do i think it will "break" anything? No. If it's something you want in your game and your DM says it's ok, then who the heck am I? My opinion is completely irrelevant.

I, personally, would see no reason to add this to/ask this of the ranger class if I wanted to play one. And would I add it in, if requested as a DM, for a particular PC?...Probably...and follow the DMG suggestion that, by virtue of that addition, a different ranger ability would get removed. But I would not just alter the class as a whole for this...admittedly narrow, if not singular, image of how someone charged into battle...not even in the neighborhood of a "trait", let alone "iconic" or "archetypal."
 

Redthistle

Explorer
A ranger should be less skilled at combat than a fighter; the difference is what provides the space for the other cool things that a ranger can do.

Combat is a fighter's whole schtick.

It's what makes them feel special.

They pout when they feel that just anyone can do what they do.

And then they hit you.

Hard.

Because hitting people - that's like comfort food to a fighter.

So let fighters keep Great Weapon Fighting to themselves.

Then get the hell out of their way and pepper them with ranged fire weapons.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Call me old-fashioned but I kind of like the fact that fighters are better at, ah, fighting than rangers and rogues - unlike a certain previous edition. Kinda makes sense, no?
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
Call me old-fashioned but I kind of like the fact that fighters are better at, ah, fighting than rangers and rogues - unlike a certain previous edition. Kinda makes sense, no?
They all fought equally well in AD&D... but the balance was that the fighter would level slightly faster.
 

Grimstaff

Explorer
The Ranger in my group consistently does as much and often more damage than anyone else, and has spells and skills on top of that. So, I really don't see the "subpar" element.
 

Coredump

First Post
Once I get a group going, I'm planning to add Great Weapon Fighting to the list of fighting styles Rangers have access to. I'm picturing a ranger wielding a longsword (versatile) with 2 hands like Aragorn wielding Narsil. Right now, rangers are already sub-par compared to fighters, so upping their possibilities seems logical to me and an additional fighting style doesn't seem overpowered to me. What do you think?
If you want to make the Ranger better, fine. But don't do it by making him more like the Fighter, improve his *ranger* aspects.

Things Like:
Give him more favored terrains
Give him more (non-combat) advantages regarding favored enemies, perhaps stealth, or perception checks or... whatever
Have Primeval Awareness give a general direction, and/or some indication of power level.
Boost his known spells by 2-3 (over time)

IOW, boost the things that make him a Ranger.
 

ehren37

First Post
I think rangers could probably use a boost (and the beastmaster needs a complete re-write).

I'd give them a couple cantrips and up spells known by 5, spread over the levels. Right now, they know less spells than Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters, who are tertiary casters to the ranger's secondary casting. They certainly have less than paladins, which add domain spells.

Possibly consider just giving them the animal companion. Paladins get the equivalent in Find Steed at 5th level for free, and I think their "pet" is better as it is smarter, has 1 mile telepathic communication (better than a familiar!) and can act independently.

Grant the equivalent of "Advantage" on damage vs. favored enemies. Paladins deal d8 extra damage with smites vs. undead and fiends, so I don't see why a situational damage boost is out of the question for rangers as well. You raise their average damage, but keep the same maximum. That way you feel less cheated if you don't fight favored foes.

Increase duration of primeval awareness to at least 10 minutes per spell level. Double duration in favored terrain, and you can tell if you are moving closer to the closest source (which might not be the most powerful or numerous).

I don't see anything wrong with granting great weapon fighting as a choice, but given your lighter armor, strength probably isn't your high stat anyways.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
I'm considering the following changes to Primeval Awareness, because as written it's so vague as to be almost useless.

1. One free use per short rest (duration 1 minute).

2. In your favored terrain, instead of having a bigger radius you get more specific info. I haven't decided exactly how yet, but I'm thinking letting the ranger choose X options out of Y potential ones. Some ideas are: What creature type(s), how powerful the nearest/most powerful one is, how near the nearest/most powerful is, what direction the nearest/most powerful is, how many there are (of different creature types if that's chosen as well).
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
The only thing the ranger needs is being abke to cast all his ritual spells in the whole spell list as rituals and the ability to use his downtime for adding extra favoured terrains.
The beast master ranger needs a ritual to revive his animal companion and the ability to let his companion go rampage, i.e. fight at its own under DM control, for when the ranger does not directly controll it.

His power is high enough. Really. Hunter´s mark and giant slayer allow him to deal a lot of damage.

Edit:
maybe adding some spells depending on chosen favoured terrains seems useful.
 
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UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I'm considering the following changes to Primeval Awareness, because as written it's so vague as to be almost useless.

1. One free use per short rest (duration 1 minute).

2. In your favored terrain, instead of having a bigger radius you get more specific info. I haven't decided exactly how yet, but I'm thinking letting the ranger choose X options out of Y potential ones. Some ideas are: What creature type(s), how powerful the nearest/most powerful one is, how near the nearest/most powerful is, what direction the nearest/most powerful is, how many there are (of different creature types if that's chosen as well).
In his favoured terrain, he can sense presence of UP TO 6 miles. I interpret that as an ability to "scan" incresing the radius from 0 to 6 miles in 100ft increments, taking one round each.
This way it is a lot more useful to the ranger and well enough in the RAW terrain.
 

ehren37

First Post
His power is high enough. Really. Hunter´s mark and giant slayer allow him to deal a lot of damage.
Vengeance paladins get hunters mark as well, and all paladins by default also deal an extra d8 bonus damage at 11th. Relying on a single spell to patch the class seems off.
 

Coredump

First Post
In his favoured terrain, he can sense presence of UP TO 6 miles. I interpret that as an ability to "scan" incresing the radius from 0 to 6 miles in 100ft increments, taking one round each.
This way it is a lot more useful to the ranger and well enough in the RAW terrain.
Well, I don't believe it works that way, but even if it does... its still pretty useless. There is no way you can go every 100'

Lets say you burn a 3rd level slot, so it lasts 3 rounds. You try 1 mile, 1.5, and 2 miles. Nothing detected. So you burn another 3rd level spell, and try 2.5, 3, and 3.5. Lets say you get lucky and find it between 3 and 3.5 miles. That band is still over 10 square miles, and it is spread out in a circle with an 18 mile circumference. What good does that do for you?
 

reelo

Explorer
I think rangers could probably use a boost (and the beastmaster needs a complete re-write).

I'd give them a couple cantrips and up spells known by 5, spread over the levels. Right now, they know less spells than Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters, who are tertiary casters to the ranger's secondary casting. They certainly have less than paladins, which add domain spells.

Possibly consider just giving them the animal companion. Paladins get the equivalent in Find Steed at 5th level for free, and I think their "pet" is better as it is smarter, has 1 mile telepathic communication (better than a familiar!) and can act independently.

Grant the equivalent of "Advantage" on damage vs. favored enemies. Paladins deal d8 extra damage with smites vs. undead and fiends, so I don't see why a situational damage boost is out of the question for rangers as well. You raise their average damage, but keep the same maximum. That way you feel less cheated if you don't fight favored foes.

Increase duration of primeval awareness to at least 10 minutes per spell level. Double duration in favored terrain, and you can tell if you are moving closer to the closest source (which might not be the most powerful or numerous).

I don't see anything wrong with granting great weapon fighting as a choice, but given your lighter armor, strength probably isn't your high stat anyways.
Giving them Cantrips seems like a great idea. What would be the most logical list to chose from: Druid?

I might tinker with primeval awareness as well, making it work like a radar/echolocation ping, giving general direction and vague distance (very close/close/far/very far, within its designated range)
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Well, I don't believe it works that way, but even if it does... its still pretty useless. There is no way you can go every 100'

Lets say you burn a 3rd level slot, so it lasts 3 rounds. You try 1 mile, 1.5, and 2 miles. Nothing detected. So you burn another 3rd level spell, and try 2.5, 3, and 3.5. Lets say you get lucky and find it between 3 and 3.5 miles. That band is still over 10 square miles, and it is spread out in a circle with an 18 mile circumference. What good does that do for you?
How good it lasts 1 MINUTE per spell level... and I never pretended it is exactly how you must interpret RAW, but it is my interpretation, that actually makes it useful for the Ranger...
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Vengeance paladins get hunters mark as well, and all paladins by default also deal an extra d8 bonus damage at 11th. Relying on a single spell to patch the class seems off.
You get another feature as ranger on level 11. Admittedly, it could be better, since it does not work well with his core fighting style, TWF RAW, but it is not that far off.
I also have have not analyzed both classes from an optimizer´s standpoint, but in actual play, the ranger does more than well enough. And the player has fun. And his non combat abilities are really helping so far...

I also admitt, that the ranger as written reads terrible, and some features overshadow other features by a wide margin. Also only 11 spells known at most seems too harsh. Maybe add hunter´s mark as a class feature or something, so it frees up one spell known... I don´t know... but don´t pretend, the ranger is objectively bad as is. It is only slightly off the mark.
 

Minigiant

Legend
You get another feature as ranger on level 11. Admittedly, it could be better, since it does not work well with his core fighting style, TWF RAW, but it is not that far off.
I also have have not analyzed both classes from an optimizer´s standpoint, but in actual play, the ranger does more than well enough. And the player has fun. And his non combat abilities are really helping so far...

I also admitt, that the ranger as written reads terrible, and some features overshadow other features by a wide margin. Also only 11 spells known at most seems too harsh. Maybe add hunter´s mark as a class feature or something, so it frees up one spell known... I don´t know... but don´t pretend, the ranger is objectively bad as is. It is only slightly off the mark.
The ranger isn't terrible.
It just doesn't fit every campaign. It was written weird.
They saw that rangers from 1st to 3rd edition were only good against certain enemies and locked the DM into using certain enemies.
They also saw that making they making rangers generalists in 4th edition made them the deadliest killer in D&D history.


So they made rangers a "Wilderness or bust" class. Rather weird. If you don't chuck storms, water, beasts, trees, and runners at the party, the ranger loses a lot. But they look like a hero if you do.

It's weird. I can't say it was a good or bad idea.
 

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