Blog (A5E) Level Up Class Preview: Ranger

The Kickstarter is halfway through! Last week we shared the adept with you. Today, it’s the most frequently requested class of them all — the ranger!

With the ranger, our initial surveys showed a lot of interest in a spell-less class. While the Level Up ranger can do fantastic things in the wilderness — think of Aragorn leading Legolas and Gimli as they chased the orcs in The Two Towers — those things are a product of skill, experience, and knowledge. Their abilities may even sometimes look like magic to the uninitiated, but they are not. The Level Up ranger is the undisputed master of the exploration pillar, with exploration knacks and other features which interact with the journey rules and other aspects of the game.

But we know some people like the spellcasting ranger, and so we have included an archetype (subclass) for that, as well as a rule which enables you to use existing spell-casting ranger subclasses with our new version of the class.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Nephilim00

Villager
So sweet. You completely had me... until level 20. When the previously non-supernatural ranger suddenly starts talking with elemental creatures and nature spirits. Oh well.

Anyhow, re: Hunter's Intent. What's the frequency of use? Do they get the Wisdom bonus to damage with one weapon attack in their entire lifetime? Do they get it with every weapon attack they make from that point forward?

Great work, otherwise!
 

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niklinna

Legend
Another question that occurred to me: p224, Trained Accuracy, Accuracy Bonus to do extra damage, when do you declare it? Before your attack roll, before determining whether the attack hits, before rolling regular damage, or after rolling regular damage? (I've added this to my first post.)

Also I edited my first post regarding all the "choose one" features: They shouldn't be lumped in with exploration knacks but should be their own category, the way Adept's Focus Features are.

And @lichmaster, good catches!
 


Stalker0

Legend
Like the adept I'll throw in on a few more comments, again trying not to replicate my old playtest comments.

Immediate Concerns (possible typos)
  • Trained Accuracy's format seems to imply its a "pick one" ability but that's not mentioned. I would explicitly say this is a pick one if that was a mistake or say you get both to avoid confusion.

General Concerns
  • Answering Silence is neat, but could stand to have a liiiiitle more range. 5 ft is very very tight, even 10 feet would give this a bit more general use.
  • Game Hunting has definately improved from the playtest, but I argue it is still much too niche. With all of the focus in the class on "pick 1" abilities, I would have expected this one to be high on that list. As an option this is a cool solid ability, as a "always have" for a ranger....I really don't like it.
  • Big Game Traps: The pendulum trap does pretty meager damage for a 12th level ability. Also my guess is a lot of people are going to ignore/forget the pit trap clause that it "conceals an existing pit" and just assumes the ranger makes a pit as part of the trap. That's not the end of the world but I did find I glossed over that language the first few times I read it.
  • Probably very intentional, but a major new relevation. Does cover actually provide bonuses to stealth checks now? (that is implied in the covered shot ability). My honest first reaction to that is: "It makes perfect sense, but my lord stealthy characters are already so stealthy, do they really need more"
  • Woodlore is too weak for a 16th level ability, I can't ever see taking it over under the stars. At that level it should just be thrown in as a ribbon.
  • Enraged Fauna: Is a "native creature" codified anywhere? That seems a little bit too vague even for 5e.
  • Beast Whisperer: A trend I've noticed in LU previews so far that I'm not liking, there are a lot of abilities that penalize certain build order preferences. In this example, if a 1st level ranger wanted the beast friend knack (which if they are planning to take beast master at 3rd seems reasonable to me), they effectively lose a knack compared to a ranger that waited until 3rd to get it from the ability. That seems unnecessarily restrictive, why not just allow a ranger that already had beast friend to pick another knack.
  • Not the worst thing in the world but it feels like my ranger subclass choices are "take a pet" or "gain spells". There is no subclass to support the loner ranger who just does his thing out in the wild.

Highlights
  • I like the +2 passive perception on Familiar Terrain. Now all of the other abilities are solid, but may or may not come up in various adventures. But perception is so common is so many dnd adventurers that its a really solid "general" powerup here.
  • Explorer's Instinct is very cool.
  • I like the simplicity tied with the power of Flash of Steel. This was one of my favorite things in the playtest and glad to see its been kept on.
  • The High Ground ability to make terrain you move through difficult is such a simple and cool ability....I really like the idea of this ranger using his surroundings to his full advantage like that.
  • I like the beast whisperer's use of temp HP, that both augments the beast and reduces the healing burden on it, so I'm a fan.
  • Master Tracker: Nuff said.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I also just realized that at level 1 a ranger with Wis 16 and Healing Salves can heal more than a 1st level Herald with lay on hands.
Healing for the ranger should be a marginal utility feature, while should be much more prominent for a herald, as the scaling of the features would suggest. But this is not true at the first 2-3 levels (unless of course the herald also burns spells slots for healing)
I think this is the point right here. A herald can heal more if they commit to it. And it takes a ranger a full hour to provide healing.... if your unconscious after a fight that's not going to help you much, whereas a Herald can always heal you immediately.

I think that's a pretty reasonable balance between the two.
 

niklinna

Legend
I also just realized that at level 1 a ranger with Wis 16 and Healing Salves can heal more than a 1st level Herald with lay on hands.
Healing for the ranger should be a marginal utility feature, while should be much more prominent for a herald, as the scaling of the features would suggest. But this is not true at the first 2-3 levels (unless of course the herald also burns spells slots for healing)
I was gonna say, well healing salves are out of combat only—but they aren't! They take an hour to make, but once done, just require the ranger to apply them and then take effect instantly. That's odd. I'd expect they would take a minute to apply them, 10 minutes minimum to take effect.
 
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niklinna

Legend
@Stalker0 good points all. These two stood out for me:
  • Beast Whisperer: A trend I've noticed in LU previews so far that I'm not liking, there are a lot of abilities that penalize certain build order preferences. In this example, if a 1st level ranger wanted the beast friend knack (which if they are planning to take beast master at 3rd seems reasonable to me), they effectively lose a knack compared to a ranger that waited until 3rd to get it from the ability. That seems unnecessarily restrictive, why not just allow a ranger that already had beast friend to pick another knack.
I've seen that too, and really hope they have general language in the classes chapter about alternate picks if you gain something you already have.
  • Not the worst thing in the world but it feels like my ranger subclass choices are "take a pet" or "gain spells". There is no subclass to support the loner ranger who just does his thing out in the wild.
Yeah, Warden looks close at first blush, but has two big features that are all about a mount, which is technically a pet. If you don't want that, you probably don't want to be a Warden. Considering the number of "choose one" features in the base class, I'm kind of surprised at this!

I haven't looked back at O5E ranger subclasses to see how those would mesh with this A5E base class, but so many of them add on spells now.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
I think this is the point right here. A herald can heal more if they commit to it. And it takes a ranger a full hour to provide healing.... if your unconscious after a fight that's not going to help you much, whereas a Herald can always heal you immediately.

I think that's a pretty reasonable balance between the two.
Not really, it take one hour to prepare the salve, but after that it's just 1 action to apply
 

Horwath

Hero
I have some issues with this class, but I'm mostly happy.

So, not to repeat myself, I'll link my thread below:
 

Stalker0

Legend
Not really, it take one hour to prepare the salve, but after that it's just 1 action to apply
I mean effectively it means your party has to take an extra short rest to use the ability early. If you have the time for that go for it, but players won't always have that time AND the herald can still use spells for big healing if they want to.
 

lichmaster

Adventurer
I mean effectively it means your party has to take an extra short rest to use the ability early. If you have the time for that go for it, but players won't always have that time AND the herald can still use spells for big healing if they want to.
I don't know, I think it makes sense that is an activity that can be performed as part of a short rest.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I also just realized that at level 1 a ranger with Wis 16 and Healing Salves can heal more than a 1st level Herald with lay on hands.
Healing for the ranger should be a marginal utility feature, while should be much more prominent for a herald, as the scaling of the features would suggest. But this is not true at the first 2-3 levels (unless of course the herald also burns spells slots for healing)

I'm not seeing the ranger's salve as stepping on anyone's toes--no more than the bard's healing (which I assume is still a thing in A5e) does. I see it almost more as a justification for how the ranger can survive out in the wilderness all alone for so long without magic. Plus, it's optional ability, and many PCs may decide not to take it (especially if there's a herald or cleric in the party).

In rereading the entry, I'm kind of sad that it doesn't scale. It should be like cantrips: 1d4 at 1st level, 2d4 at 5th level, 3d4 at 11th level, and 4d4 at 17th level. And maybe Herbal Bitters should actually remove one level of exhaustion (probably usable 1/long rest per person) at, say, 11th level.

Actually, these could just be new homebrew knacks, since I'm sure that lots of people will be coming up with their own knacks.
 

Horwath

Hero
I'm not seeing the ranger's salve as stepping on anyone's toes--no more than the bard's healing (which I assume is still a thing in A5e) does. I see it almost more as a justification for how the ranger can survive out in the wilderness all alone for so long without magic. Plus, it's optional ability, and many PCs may decide not to take it (especially if there's a herald or cleric in the party).

In rereading the entry, I'm kind of sad that it doesn't scale. It should be like cantrips: 1d4 at 1st level, 2d4 at 5th level, 3d4 at 11th level, and 4d4 at 17th level. And maybe Herbal Bitters should actually remove one level of exhaustion (probably usable 1/long rest per person) at, say, 11th level.

Actually, these could just be new homebrew knacks, since I'm sure that lots of people will be coming up with their own knacks.
ranger can survive without instant HP regeneration. It would be more thematic for a ranger if those salves help/improve short/long/haven rest healing.
 

Stalker0

Legend
I don't know, I think it makes sense that is an activity that can be performed as part of a short rest.
If we look at the Short Rest Definition (assuming it hasn't changed in LU): "during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds."

I would absolutely consider gathering herbs and making salves more strenuous than any of that, just the grinding of herbs alone is probably putting you over the top there. Now I think what is likely is that other classes will take their short rest while the ranger does their herb thing. Afterall this ranger doesn't seem to have many (if any) short rest recovery abilities, so they likely won't mind forgoing their short rest unless they are very hurt already. But that still means some adventuring has occurred without the ranger having access to their healing.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
ranger can survive without instant HP regeneration. It would be more thematic for a ranger if those salves help/improve short/long/haven rest healing.
There was another thread on the D&D forums that had at least one person insisting that rangers needed magic just to survive. So while I agree with you, there's some people who really want rangers to have access to healing magic.

Plus, this is useful for people who don't use standard long rest full-healing. I like to have people spend HD to regain health after a long rest.
 

niklinna

Legend
If we look at the Short Rest Definition (assuming it hasn't changed in LU): "during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds."

I would absolutely consider gathering herbs and making salves more strenuous than any of that, just the grinding of herbs alone is probably putting you over the top there. Now I think what is likely is that other classes will take their short rest while the ranger does their herb thing. Afterall this ranger doesn't seem to have many (if any) short rest recovery abilities, so they likely won't mind forgoing their short rest unless they are very hurt already. But that still means some adventuring has occurred without the ranger having access to their healing.
The secret reason for Under the Stars is revealed!
 


Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Gnolls are still humanoids? I hope they got de-demon-background'ed in the MM, then. I felt they were still kinda too demony in the monster playtest. (My actual hope is that "gnolls" is just a mistake brought over from o5e and you fix it to read, I dunno, elves or something.)
Gnolls evolved from hyenas, but they worship demons who they thank for the transformation. Their connection to demons is clearly cultural.
 

VanguardHero

Adventurer
Gnolls evolved from hyenas, but they worship demons who they thank for the transformation. Their connection to demons is clearly cultural.
Traditionally perhaps, but it's kind of an old 'Excuse for all of them to be evil' mindset that is thankfully on its way out the door. Super excited to see them playable in the Zeitgeist book, so at least in that setting looks like there'll be more depth to them.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Gnolls evolved from hyenas, but they worship demons who they thank for the transformation. Their connection to demons is clearly cultural.
Well, in 5e the transformation is literal, since Yeenoghu can actually turn hyenas into gnolls, as per VGM (and it’s implied they don’t reproduce except through this). So gnolls either need to be full demons or just humanoids who aren’t created and micromanaged by a demon prince.
 

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