D&D 5E OotA Ranger Favored Terrain

Werebat

Explorer
I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I can't find it with the search engine, which I probably just don't know how to use properly. :p

I'm running OotA, and of course there is a player who is playing a ranger with favored terrain: Underdark. He's an elf who has drow as his favored enemy. Fair enough.

It seems unbalanced to give the ranger favored terrain bonuses for over 90% of the adventure.

What have people done to deal with this situation? In particular, if he is able to have his whole party (all 16 or so counting the fellow prisoners who escaped with the PCs) ignore difficult terrain, they will be able to outrun the drow pursuers with laughable ease (as they will be going twice as quickly).

Of course I COULD just fudge one or two of the drow pursuers as rangers with Underdark favored terrain too...
 

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jodyjohnson

Adventurer
Our group is nearing Neverlight Grove after passing through Sloobludop and bypassing Gracklestugh. Having them travel super fast just means they have less random encounters and will probably be behind the curve for the set piece encounters.

The drow pursuit doesn't matter much, and drow is a pretty uncommon enemy until they get to Menzoberranzen in the 'end game' where Favored Enemy drow will be a hindrance.

You can have an enjoyable experience without needing the Drow pursuit to be on top of the party for the entire adventure.

When player's intentionally take 'easy mode' options I take it as an indicator that they prefer to play in 'easy mode'. As a DM I usually try to pitch softballs but the dice still seem to kill players anyway.
 

jodyjohnson

Adventurer
Favored terrain is tough as a Ranger for the OotA campaign. Either you choose something that never works, or always works.

To have choice maybe it needs a special focus for a campaign entirely in the Underdark - Wet Caverns, Dry Caverns, Mushroom/"vegatative" caves, and Rock climbs. With no benefit in Settlements.
 

Rhogar_Rarr

First Post
I think it's fair to have his features work. The ranger class gets a lot of flak, but this is exactly the sort of situation where they are supposed to excel. Don't punish the players for picking something that works and playing what they want.

As for play experience, my party has a underdark ranger and it has worked out fine. Yes we can travel fine and outrun the drow, but there are plenty of other deadly things in the underdark. Our DM throws at least 1 deadly thing at us everyday. Despite quick travel speeds and good tracking plenty of people (NPCs & PCs) have died and we really haven't made it very far. In game time we've only been travelling for maybe a week? We haven't even made it to a city yet. Having an underdark ranger does not break the campaign.

Just to note: We're level 5-6 and on the dark lake. Not sure what the expected level is, but encounters and progress vary greatly between DMs. We escaped the prison in week 1 and some other groups that escaped in week 3 have already made it to a few different towns. I believe they are lower levels as well.
 

Werebat

Explorer
Is there an upper limit on how many people a ranger can have traveling with them and ignoring difficult terrain? 1000? 10,000?

Does "ignoring difficult terrain" in an Underdark setting mean that the party can walk right through the webs in the "web" hazard encounter (the player actually suggested this)?

I realize this is all DM's call type stuff. I ruled that the party couldn't just bypass the webs, but the player started to get frustrated that his ability wasn't coming into play.
 

Skyscraper

Explorer
I would not punish the player for having the right tool. Let him shine!

It's like punishing a cleric for having Turn Undead by limiting or nerfing its use, in an undead-themed campaign. Can't do that, IMHO.
 

jodyjohnson

Adventurer
Is there an upper limit on how many people a ranger can have traveling with them and ignoring difficult terrain? 1000? 10,000?

DM call, but probably could be based on their Wisdom (patience). One or two times their Wisdom score.

Does "ignoring difficult terrain" in an Underdark setting mean that the party can walk right through the webs in the "web" hazard encounter (the player actually suggested this)?

I wouldn't consider 'Webs' a valid terrain in the catagory of 'Underdark'. It is a terrain hazard one could encounter in many terrains (forest, mountains, shore).

I realize this is all DM's call type stuff. I ruled that the party couldn't just bypass the webs, but the player started to get frustrated that his ability wasn't coming into play.

Kind of curious how he'd react if you had them escape from the Underdark early and had to spend a few levels on the surface until they were level 8 and ready to head to Gauntlgrim.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Is there an upper limit on how many people a ranger can have traveling with them and ignoring difficult terrain? 1000? 10,000?

There is no upper limit by the rules, so I would suggest setting a reasonable limit based on how many people the ranger could feasibly help given the situation. It may vary.

Does "ignoring difficult terrain" in an Underdark setting mean that the party can walk right through the webs in the "web" hazard encounter (the player actually suggested this)?

If you mean the webs referenced on page 27, yes, I would say the ranger's favored terrain allows them to ignore it.

As to the rest, I recommend letting the ranger's class feature shine in this adventure. It's what he or she is good at.
 

jrowland

First Post
If I find myself in that situation, Neverlight Grove, eg, would be "Forest" terrain not "underdark". Menzobranzen, is "City" not "Underdark", etc.

My sensibilities lean towards the Ranger who picked something other than "underdark" and how to count the terrain in the underdark accordingly, rather than the ranger who picked "underdark".
 

What's good for the goose is good for the gander, so you could certainly have some drow rangers....with a favored enemy of elves.

I wouldn’t sweat too much over the favored terrain. While the case could be made that it’s totally metagaming, there are worse things a player can do.

Don’t forget, there’s that middle section of the module where the group potentially ends up back on the surface, where the character will never have favored terrain or enemy to fall back on.

Ultimately, the drow aren't as big a threat as the demons. And you can also play up the urban sections, which arguably would not count as favored terrain.

Of course I COULD just fudge one or two of the drow pursuers as rangers with Underdark favored terrain too...
 

Li Shenron

Legend
I'm running OotA, and of course there is a player who is playing a ranger with favored terrain: Underdark. He's an elf who has drow as his favored enemy. Fair enough.

It seems unbalanced to give the ranger favored terrain bonuses for over 90% of the adventure.

What have people done to deal with this situation?

Nothing. It makes sense that the characters most suited to the job will be the ones undertaking the adventure.
 


Celtavian

Dragon Lord
I just let the Ranger use the benefits. We have a bard in the group with Expertise Perception, so that double proficiencies isn't causing problems. The difficult terrain is helpful, but not overly so. I feel like this is one of the few adventures where the ranger can truly shine in his Favored Terrain. So I let him do it.
 

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