• NOW LIVE! -- One-Page Adventures for D&D 5th Edition on Kickstarter! A booklet of colourful one-page adventures for D&D 5th Edition ranging from levels 1-9 and designed for a single session of play.
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 5E It's official, WOTC hates Rangers (Tasha's version of Favored Foe is GARBAGE)

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Well something came before something, and I have a hard time believing the focus on two-weapon fighting in 2e Ranger design predated Drizzt if only because it's so bad. There had to be something driving that design.

That would require actually working more than 10 minutes on a ranger mechanic.

Not gonna happen.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

The problem I have with that, though, is where did the TWF ranger come from if not from Drizzt? I don't remember any prior precedence in characters or source material. When 2e dropped, the ability seemed really out of left field (a lot about the 2e ranger did, in fact). I'm not saying that Zeb isn't being honest, I just have never been able to see where else this version of the ranger could have come from. It's just such a huge jump from the previous version of the ranger.

Well something came before something, and I have a hard time believing the focus on two-weapon fighting in 2e Ranger design predated Drizzt if only because it's so bad. There had to be something driving that design.

Zeb Cook himself said:

I'm not sure where the [2e] ranger took shape, though I know it wasn't an imposition because of Drizzt. (Frankly, I've never read more than bits of the Drizzt series.) It was more to make them distinct and it fit with the style and image.


So it looks to me like rangers got TWF for the same reason 5e Sorcerers got metamagic.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Zeb Cook himself said:

I'm not sure where the [2e] ranger took shape, though I know it wasn't an imposition because of Drizzt. (Frankly, I've never read more than bits of the Drizzt series.) It was more to make them distinct and it fit with the style and image.


So it looks to me like rangers got TWF for the same reason 5e Sorcerers got metamagic.
But where did that "style and image" come from? How and why did the concept of Ranger-as-wilderness-Fighter get butchered into Ranger-as-wilderness-Thief?
 

But where did that "style and image" come from? How and why did the concept of Ranger-as-wilderness-Fighter get butchered into Ranger-as-wilderness-Thief?
I can't help but think that someone somewhere in the process was thinking of Drizzt. Maybe not Zeb Cook himself, and maybe he just liked the idea, or after all this time forgot the initial spark, buit I have a hard time believe Drizzt was not the initial spark in some way.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
I can't help but think that someone somewhere in the process was thinking of Drizzt. Maybe not Zeb Cook himself, and maybe he just liked the idea, or after all this time forgot the initial spark, buit I have a hard time believe Drizzt was not the initial spark in some way.
It's impossible someone on the design team didn't have Drizzt pop up in their mind once or twice but I think it could have flowed naturally too.

When I think of a generic Ranger, maybe this is just conditioned, I have an image of a lithe, graceful woodland-dweller that's skilled in hunting (i.e. being silent).

This leads me to believe in dexterity being their main physical stat rather than strength. When I think of dexterity-based fighting, I think of throwing knives, archery, dueling, and dual-wielding.
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
The problem I have with that, though, is where did the TWF ranger come from if not from Drizzt? I don't remember any prior precedence in characters or source material. When 2e dropped, the ability seemed really out of left field (a lot about the 2e ranger did, in fact). I'm not saying that Zeb isn't being honest, I just have never been able to see where else this version of the ranger could have come from. It's just such a huge jump from the previous version of the ranger.
As someone who was actively playing at the time, I remember it as being a solution to the "armored ranger" problem. Someone felt that rangers in plate mail was badwrongfun, and so decided to incentivize rangers to wear studded leather armor by giving them a benefit that only worked when they did. As two-weapon fighting was very popular in 1st ed - with those who could afford the high DEX requirement anyway - it would have been well-received, and give rangers a scout-like "bowie knife in my off-hand" feel.
 

I can't help but think that someone somewhere in the process was thinking of Drizzt. Maybe not Zeb Cook himself, and maybe he just liked the idea, or after all this time forgot the initial spark, buit I have a hard time believe Drizzt was not the initial spark in some way.
Well, part of the point is that the timelines don't really make sense for that. 2e was published in 1989, yes, but development started in 1987. You've got to get the book printed. Before that you've got to do layout. Before that, you've got to write and edit the content. Before that, you need to finalize the designs. Before that, you need the playtesting done. Before that, you need the initial designs. Like TWF on the 2e ranger had to be in 1987 early in development. Yeah sure, maybe it was a late change, but Zeb Cook himself says it wasn't a change to accommodate Drizzt and that any changes went through an approval process.

Meanwhile FR5 Savage Frontier and The Crystal Shard were published in 1988, but Salvatore has stated that Drizzt being a character at all was kind of a last minute change in the manuscript:


Tell me about Drizzt.

Salvatore:
The character first appeared in 1988, The Crystal Shard.

Your first book.

Salvatore:
First published. And it was funny. I had sent the manuscript to TSR. They liked the manuscript. One of the characters [had to be changed]. The editor called me at work and said, "I've got to go to a marketing meeting to sell the book, and we can't use [that character], and I really need to be able to tell marketing." I said, "Give me a little while. I'll call you back." She said, "Oh, no. You don't understand. I'm two minutes away from where I have to be five minutes ago." And off the top of my head I said a Dark Elf. And there was this long pause. "Yeah, a Dark Elf Ranger, that's cool. Nobody's done that." And there was a long pause, and she said, "There's a reason why no one's done that." I said, "No. It will be all right. It will be all right. It's just a sidekick character." And another pause. "What's his name?" And off the top of my head I said, "Drizzt Do'Urden?" Then a long pause. "Can you spell it?" I said, "Not a chance." It came to me off the top of my head.


Salvatore had a completed manuscript for Crystal Shard and it was in TSR's hands before Drizzt as a main character was even a thing. That means swapping Drizzt for the other character happened late. That's going to be much closer to the 1988 publishing date.

And nobody who worked on FR5 appears to have a credit in the 2e PHB that I can tell.

Like these timelines just do not line up for Drizzt to have been a driving force here. He was a known character, but he was far, far, far removed from being an iconic ranger at the time he would have had to be in order to influence the design.
 

Remathilis

Legend
The problem I have with that, though, is where did the TWF ranger come from if not from Drizzt? I don't remember any prior precedence in characters or source material. When 2e dropped, the ability seemed really out of left field (a lot about the 2e ranger did, in fact). I'm not saying that Zeb isn't being honest, I just have never been able to see where else this version of the ranger could have come from. It's just such a huge jump from the previous version of the ranger.
I don't remember where I saw it, but I recall seeing some rationale that since rangers were mostly forest pathfinders and scouts, they wouldn't favor two-handled weapons (hard to swing in a polearm or greatsword in a forest) or shields (again, clumsy in a narrow woodland) so they felt that a ranger would opt for a small off-hand weapon (knife, handaxe, etc) as an alternative. They also moved rangers to light armor (studded leather) to further that archetype as a scout, skirmisher, and archer rather than the heavier armor and weapons of a fighter.

Likewise, they moved the ranger's "move undetected in the woods" into thief like stealth abilities.

It's probably fair to view the 2e ranger less as Aragorn and more as Davy Crockett.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
As someone who was actively playing at the time, I remember it as being a solution to the "armored ranger" problem. Someone felt that rangers in plate mail was badwrongfun, and so decided to incentivize rangers to wear studded leather armor by giving them a benefit that only worked when they did.
Who thought the armoured Ranger was a problem? I never did!
As two-weapon fighting was very popular in 1st ed - with those who could afford the high DEX requirement anyway - it would have been well-received, and give rangers a scout-like "bowie knife in my off-hand" feel.
Truth be told, despite running 1e for ages I rarely see characters lean into TWF other than Thieves who can't use shield; for everyone else, the added defense of a shield - preferably magical - is just too important to forego.

Disclaimer: as with 3e and forward, shields in our game give 2 AC points, bucklers give 1.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
As someone who was actively playing at the time, I remember it as being a solution to the "armored ranger" problem. Someone felt that rangers in plate mail was badwrongfun, and so decided to incentivize rangers to wear studded leather armor by giving them a benefit that only worked when they did. As two-weapon fighting was very popular in 1st ed - with those who could afford the high DEX requirement anyway - it would have been well-received, and give rangers a scout-like "bowie knife in my off-hand" feel.
Yeah, it kinda felt like they needed a gimmick for rangers and they gave TWF and studded leather to rangers to make it theirs. If you look at early D&D, a lot of the warrior classes and kits were just different weapon/armor set ups plus a skill and/or a few spells.

It was the era before true game design and mostly "jamming spells and incentives together that creates an image".
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I don't remember where I saw it, but I recall seeing some rationale that since rangers were mostly forest pathfinders and scouts, they wouldn't favor two-handled weapons (hard to swing in a polearm or greatsword in a forest) or shields (again, clumsy in a narrow woodland) so they felt that a ranger would opt for a small off-hand weapon (knife, handaxe, etc) as an alternative. They also moved rangers to light armor (studded leather) to further that archetype as a scout, skirmisher, and archer rather than the heavier armor and weapons of a fighter.

Likewise, they moved the ranger's "move undetected in the woods" into thief like stealth abilities.

It's probably fair to view the 2e ranger less as Aragorn and more as Davy Crockett.
All of that but the light weapons fits Aragorn, too.
 


I alway felt Rangers were more 'special forces' than scouts.
Both are equally valid fantasy archetypes. Both have different skill sets. Neither casts spells. Wilderness spellcaster is a separate fantasy archetype (Radagast).

Which is why ranger should be a background (upgraded to something a bit more significant than backgrounds are in 5e) so any class can be a ranger. Within 5e, subclasses are a better option. We have Rogue-rangers (scouts) and we have cleric-rangers (nature), we need Fighter-rangers and Wizard-rangers.

Ranger-as-a-class needs to be hurled into the depths of hell, where is should have been for the past 40 years.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I think ranger would be worth keeping, maybe a name change would be good. They can be a spell-using wilderness warrior as a counterpart to the paladin (I still think we need an arcane counterpart) allowing a lot more archetypes that don't have the ranger baggage attached to them. You could throw in the warden and seeker from 4e, maybe some sort of shaman subclass. Most/All of the current subclasses could stay with the wilderness warrior, some might move across to other base classes such as the hunter becoming a fighter or barbarian subclass.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I'm imagining the 3e, 4e, and 5e rules sweating profusely and avoiding your gaze.
Those editions should have attempted to create classes instead of creating images.

Both are equally valid fantasy archetypes. Both have different skill sets. Neither casts spells. Wilderness spellcaster is a separate fantasy archetype (Radagast).

Which is why ranger should be a background (upgraded to something a bit more significant than backgrounds are in 5e) so any class can be a ranger. Within 5e, subclasses are a better option. We have Rogue-rangers (scouts) and we have cleric-rangers (nature), we need Fighter-rangers and Wizard-rangers.

Ranger-as-a-class needs to be hurled into the depths of hell, where is should have been for the past 40 years.

Rangers have spells because TSR and WOTC
  1. Refused to give Fighters unfiltered access to skills until 5e
  2. Refused to create detailed exploration systems
  3. Used spells as a shortcut to not create detailed skills or explain fantastical skill use.
The ranger was created by an Aragorn fan.
The ranger remained because TSR and WOTC refused to give fighters access stealth, perception, tracking, talk to animals, and talk to plants AND fantastic abilities.

The D&D ranger is special forces. D&D wilderness just has dragons and giants and warlocks in it so it needs magic.
 

I always felt Rangers were more 'special forces' than scouts.

I would say there is a strong case to be made that the best scouts are Special Forces. As anyone who has seen a scouting rogue can attest, the biggest challenge for a scout is the fact that they are alone in enemy territory. If a King needed to send someone to look into those rumors of giants and trolls gathering in the hills, they would need someone highly skilled to go out, because they need to get back out of those hills if the rumors turn out to be true.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I would say there is a strong case to be made that the best scouts are Special Forces. As anyone who has seen a scouting rogue can attest, the biggest challenge for a scout is the fact that they are alone in enemy territory. If a King needed to send someone to look into those rumors of giants and trolls gathering in the hills, they would need someone highly skilled to go out, because they need to get back out of those hills if the rumors turn out to be true.
Exactly.
If the rogue rolls a 3 and the monster sees them, they are dead with their slightly better than wizards combat ability when Sneak Attack is turned off.

And how can you offer the other rangery job of escort if you can't fight alone or without surprise?

Then you have D&D's "Magic must defeat magic" thing where monsters are magic and you can't overcome their brokeness without special training or magic.

It is just fortunate that a butchered version of Aragorn matches how Fantasy Special Forces would look and work.
 

Those editions should have attempted to create classes instead of creating images.



Rangers have spells because TSR and WOTC
  1. Refused to give Fighters unfiltered access to skills until 5e

Fighters have had access to all skills since 3rd edition.
  1. Refused to create detailed exploration systems
Or couldn't - I wouldn't know where to start in creating a "detailed exploration system" for D&D, and I don't know an RPG that has such a thing.
  1. Used spells as a shortcut to not create detailed skills or explain fantastical skill use.
The ranger was created by an Aragorn fan.
No, it was created for and Aragorn fan. And something created to suit a specific player who couldn't get their head around the difference between class names and class abilities (Aragorn is a paladin with a wilderness guy background) is not a good reason for including something in the game.
 
Last edited:

Two fire giants spot a lone 15th level ranger...
1ed ranger: It's gonna be over real quick. Those giants are dead meat.
2ed ranger: It's gonna be though. But I'll manage.
3ed ranger: Where's my back up? Better flee.
4ed ranger: I am dead.
5ed ranger: ok, time to vanish...

1ed ranger is the only one who could fight those giant alone and have a good time doing it. All the others will struggle or will have to flee.

And the first edition's ranger was not necessarily using two weapons. At +15 damage each attacks, a blur spell the ranger could fell those giants in about three rounds, maybe less and criticals were not in the game.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top