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D&D General Ranger D&D Monsters


Rangers are formidable combatants. They make excellent allies in numerous scenarios. As Dungeon Masters, though, we might wonder how they could become foils to our heroic parties or merry vagabond bands. Despite their less-than-welcoming reception in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, rangers still provide a host of abilities, narrative strands, and wild ideas to Dungeon Masters for custom D&D monster creation. Look in the current edition of D&D, gaze into the past, and pick what you like. You're bound to find a nice mound of ranger-scented truffles.

Today, that's what we're exploring: how to make a D&D monster with the ranger player class.

Like any sensible ranger, let's rush right into the fray.

A Simpler Approach​

While crafting a set of traits of our own may be fun and thought-provoking, there is a simpler way to attach ranger abilities and ideas to D&D monsters. Let's check out this simplified method before delving deeper.

Gather and peer through the various ranger subclasses in fifth edition D&D, or look at rangers of editions gone by. Pick a feature, steal it, and plop it right on a monster. There you go: you have a ranger-like monster to pit against your party. Here are a few great ranger subclass features to attach to your monsters.
  • The Gloom Stalker's Umbral Sight. The monster gains darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. If they already have darkvision race, its range increases by 30 feet. They are also adept at evading creatures that rely on darkvision. While in darkness, they are invisible to any creature that relies on darkvision to see them in that darkness.
  • The Horizon Walker's Distant Strike. The monster gains the ability to pass between the planes in a blink of an eye. When they use the Attack action, they can teleport up to 10 feet before each attack to an unoccupied space they can see. If they attack at least two different creatures with the action, they can make one additional attack with it against a third creature.
  • The Hunter's Horde Breaker. Once on each of the monster's turns when they make a weapon attack, they can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of their weapon.
Alright, time to go in-depth. Read the rest here: Ranger D&D Monsters

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I see two methods here. First is taking a monster statblock and adding ranger class features to make something cool. This is what I do since 3e made things so hard and 4e made monsters easy. The second method is taking the monster and adding the ranger class as levels, which is harder but might provide more ranger overall.

To make a monster like you are talking about. I would just do what you are suggesting and add some features that are cool and call it an orc hunter instead of orc ranger. Monsters tend to not last long and do not need to have a lot of abilities or thought.

When I think of adding a ranger suite to a monster I first think of adding animals. I would not make them independent on the monsters actions though and have them just as more monsters to add to the encounter. Maybe a gnoll hunter/ranger hangs out with a few hyenas or a lion. Maybe give him horde breaker power and pack tactics when he fights with the lion. Beef up the HD of each to make them a threat or add more base gnolls to the encounter. If things are out of combat, give him a tracking bonus or advantage to track humanoids. Done.


Dusty Dragon
So my PCs are doing the (excellent!) dungeons of Drakkenheims and have had a few encounters with gnolls - they have bows, great!. eeeeeexcept with a +4 bonus and meh rolls, the gnolls archers have been duds.

You want a quick easy ranged monster? Take a humanoid with a decent/good dex, give them a bow and the archery fighting style, done. One of them isn't a credible threat, but put a few...

"but couldn't the mage blast them away with a shatter or some other ranged AOE spell?" Yup! And the player will feel great, and that's a round you don't have to deal with that mage casting web or hypnotic pattern or some such :D

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