5E Please help with my Ranger character.

Vichrae V.

Visitor
Good day! I'm looking for help with my ranger build, as I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out an effective direction. I'm joining a campaign currently at 4th level.

Decided so far: He's a Wood Elf, Outlander, with close ties to the forest in which he lives. I envision him as a warden of the wild, protecting the plants, animals and wild places from corrupting influences, evil monsters, and the encroachment of civilization on sacred druid groves, faerie rings, and the like. He goes where others fear to travel, such as into deep caves to root out ancient evils, or sneaks into camps of orcs to rescue captured innocents. His knowledge of and connection to the wild is innate, and this gives him a strong rapport with animals and people who live in the wild. He is driven by the need to make a difference, and to help those who share his love and concern for the good and pure wild things of the world.

I like options, and don't like gimmick builds that have me doing the same thing in every round because it's just so good. I was thinking at least Ranger 5 and possibly Druid 2...maybe some Rogue if it made sense for the theme. The party has a ranged Xbow fighter, a life cleric (on the front line), and an evoker wizard.

My DM allows multi-classing for thematics (not power builds) which I agree with. Anything in official materials is ok (no UA or homebrew).

Wish list: Strong nature-related skills (animal handling, nature, perception, stealth, survival, and natural explorer (forest)), affinity with animals, capable in battle with flexibility (able to swap between ranged and melee as required), some wild shaping for utility (scouting) as opposed to combat.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
With one melee and two ranged characters, I'd probably go melee with a two-weapon Ranger (either Hunter or Monster Slayer subclass), using the feat at 4th level to take Dual-Wielder. This way you can fight with two battleaxes or longswords or other martial weapon. Your skills are pretty much set from what you wrote down.

In terms of leveling, I would at the very least wait until after getting to 5th level as a Ranger so that you can have Extra Attack. If multiclassing you feel is actually necessary for this character, I'd probably go Druid over Rogue, if only because Wildshape for exploration is less redundant than Sneak Attack would be (with Hunters and Monster Slayers both already getting damage bonuses from either their subclass abilities or Hunter's Mark.)
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
I'd recommend putting all 4 levels into ranger and keep going at least until extra attack. It's a big power boost that you'd be missing out on otherwise. And at level 4 you're past the rough early levels of ranger since you'll have your fighting style, spells and archetype.

For fighting style since you say you want to be able to do both melee and ranged combat I'd recommend defense since +1 AC is applicable for both scenarios and static bonuses to AC are hard to come by in this edition. But archery and dueling are both great for helping your damage if you want to lean one way or the other.

Two weapon fighting is good early and then loses value at higher levels. If you don't foresee the game going must past level 10 I wouldn't worry too much about the disparity in damage. The real consideration will be your action economy switching from ranged to melee. You basically have to invest in the two weapon fighting feat to be able to draw two weapons at once. Dueling style doesn't require a feat and also allows you to keep your bow in one hand while you stab with the other.

For spells it depends on what you want to focus on. You have a life cleric so you probably don't need healing unless you want to be able to have some in case of emergencies. Hunter's mark is the go to for damage. Zephyr Strike from Xanathar's is a solid choice for mobility and a bit of extra damage. Ensnaring Strike and Fog Cloud offer a bit of control options which can be nice. Animal Friendship is a great role playing choice to represent your connection to nature.

For ranger archetype I'd recommend against the beastmaster as it is pretty lackluster as written. I've seen both the Hunter and Gloom Stalker in my games and both have made for quite effective damage dealers (at least when the Hunter wasn't wasting his time trying to use sharpshooter against high AC enemies). Colossus Slayer on the hunter is very consistent, it's pretty rare things go down in one hit. And the Gloom Stalker's opening turns can be quite insane.
 
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Mort

Community Supporter
I'll also state that you should keep straight ranger until minimum 5th level. Not only do you get the extra attack, you get 2nd level ranger spells, some of which (like pass without trace) are quite good.

The ranger in my group went gloomstalker and is enjoying it, nice collection of abilities and still feels very rangery.

What do your stats look like (or what method are you using to generate them if you haven't yet)? Suggesting whether to stay single classed or go multi -can really depend based on that.

For effectiveness I'd probably suggest an ASI at 4th - very little beats a +1 to hit, AC AND dex saves. Unless you have an odd dex - then Elven accuracy may be a great idea (and you still get the benefit of the Dex bump). Especially if you go gloomstalker, advantage will likely come up often enough for the feat to be worth it.
 

Vichrae V.

Visitor
It's 27 point buy. I'm narrowing in on Ranger 2/Druid 2 (shepherd). Medium armor/shield with the +1 AC fighting style. Fight up close normally but be able to switch to a bow when needed.

Will continue to level Ranger to at least 5th, and go with Gloom Stalker. Not sure after that, it would depend on the needs of the party, most likely.

I know this isn't optimal at 4th, but I want him to have the ability to speak with animals and other druidic abilities early rather than come into them later, as I consider them core to the concept.
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
It's 27 point buy. I'm narrowing in on Ranger 2/Druid 2 (shepherd). Medium armor/shield with the +1 AC fighting style. Fight up close normally but be able to switch to a bow when needed.
Given your overall concept described above why not go straight moon Druid?
I think that going straight to Druid is a better idea that fits with the description of your original concept. I wouldn't go Moon Druid, since you don't want to use wideshape for combat, but Shepherd or Land would be solid for your. You would lose out on the +1 AC from the fighting style, but gain better healing and more utility due to being a full spellcaster. By using Shillelagh and either Frostbite or Thorn Whip you have a combination of melee and ranged options, and can use a shield the entire time since the quarterstaff is also your druidic focus. It's not a "martial" character in the traditional sense, but I've played it (as Land Druid) and it can be very effective.
 

Horwath

Explorer
Rogue(scout)3/fighter1: better at "rangering" than a ranger.

Take archery, goes great with Cunning action and wood elf hiding feature, in natural enviroment you have good chance of having advantage every round.
 
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akr71

Explorer
The druid suggestions above made me go back and check the book to see if druids start with proficiency with bows. I couldn't remember, since I've never played one. They do not, which seems a little odd to me, however as a wood elf, you already have proficiency with bows, so maybe its a moot point.

However, I second the Monster Slayer or Hunter Ranger suggestions. Four levels in Ranger, keep going until at least 5th. A few levels in druid would certainly add an interesting dimension to this character. I would like to suggest that if the main reason for the levels in druid is to gain access to Speak with Animals then why not consider a Forest Gnome? They can speak with small beasts at will, right from level one.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
One trick you can do with the two weapon fighting feat is carry one weapon and go Dex based.

You still provoke and you can draw another weapon and dual wield or put it away draw a bow and use hunters quarry.
 
Druids don't get proficiency with bows, but elves do.

I have a player in my group who has an elven (hunter) ranger who is an archer with the Sharpshooter feat. They proved very effective DPS, but he confessed to me the other day that he was finding the character boring to play.

I would suggest a Rogue (scout) 3 /Fighter (battlemaster) as a character with a similar theme that might be more interesting to play.
 
In terms of leveling, I would at the very least wait until after getting to 5th level as a Ranger so that you can have Extra Attack. If multiclassing you feel is actually necessary for this character, I'd probably go Druid over Rogue, if only because Wildshape for exploration is less redundant than Sneak Attack would be (with Hunters and Monster Slayers both already getting damage bonuses from either their subclass abilities or Hunter's Mark.)

I completely agree with you on the leveling aspect it might be wise to not only do that but also to multiclass as a sorcerer or spell caster in general
 

gyor

Hero
Rogue(scout)3/fighter1: better at "rangering" than a ranger.

Take archery, goes great with Cunning action and wood elf hiding feature, in natural enviroment you have good chance of having advantage every round.
Alternate none Ranger class Ranger would be Arcane Archer, with the Ritual Caster: Druid feat and maybe magic innate feat: Druid. You'd end up three Druid Cantrips, 1 regular Druid Spell, and a bunch of Druid Rituals, fighter abilities, and magic archery.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
A different way to go that might be cool is to do a two or three level dip in Warlock, with Archfey as your patron. Having a fey of summer court as your patron would still be very much in character but it's a much less common combo than Druid. It fits in really well with Gloomstalker too.
 

aco175

Adventurer
Some of this may depend on how long you are planning to play the PC. I would be tempted to stick ranger since that is what you said you wanted to play. Like what others said, stick ranger until 5th level to get the extra attack. Then feel free to branch out, but your spells will suffer.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
A different way to go that might be cool is to do a two or three level dip in Warlock, with Archfey as your patron. Having a fey of summer court as your patron would still be very much in character but it's a much less common combo than Druid. It fits in really well with Gloomstalker too.
Yes, as a Warlock you can also take an invocation that let's you at-will speak with animals.
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
A fun build, from a play standpoint for an archer is ranger to 5 and then (lore) bard to 15. You get a lot of options and can fill in a lot of roles in the campaign.
 

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