Ranger Design Goals

Sir Brennen

I agree with the sentiment entirely . . . but the item in question does say "They do so by using an appropriate theme". It does seem like they're divorcing it from the class itself, which is good. If archer or tempest is a theme, and you can still build a ranger who's a lurker or a slayer or whatever, then that's perfect.

It also says "Many Rangers focus on a particular combat style." So I assume some don't. There's probably going to be other themes besides these two combat styles, like a Chris Hemsworth Huntsman twirling around all manner of axes, or even a more mystical ranger theme that allows minor spell casting as an option for the class.

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First Post
I like the intimation that the fighting styles are linked to themes and not the ranger class itself. So presumably, you can just pick a different theme and not worry about TWFing. I do worry a little that themes seem to be doing a little too much - what if I want to use the TWF style AND I want to be a guardian? If werewolves and the like going to be themes like they were in 4th then what if I want to be a dual-wielding werewolf?

I don't particularly like rangers as protectors. Rangers should emphasize being travelers more than being bound to a fixed area to protect something natury. That's a job best left for druids. A class can be linked to the wilderness without necessarily having any care about protecting the wilderness; most frontiersmen were more concerned about what they could take from the wild and not what they could give back.

Last, I hope they don't incorporate animal companions too deeply into the class. I'd like to be able to opt out of that and not just be ceding a portion of my class features.

Ranger is my favorite class and I must say I'm a little worried that I vehemently disagree with two of the four design goals. I think numbers three and four are fine as traits for individual rangers but should not encompass the entire class.
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First Post


If there's one thing that is my pet peeve in D&D, it's the idea that if you go around in the woods, you have to either know how to use a bow, or swing a pair of swords. Why?!

Seriously, my blood boils. For a game that wants to be modular, can we just please cut that crap out of the description of the class? If I want a ranger who prefers to use bolas, or spears, or a single sword (like ARAGORN!), why should the rules push me to pick some other fighting style?

The good news is that the description said "many" not all. And it didn't appear to indicate that choosing a predetermined fighting style was mandatory. This should fall in with what they have mentioned about being able to create our own themes and backgrounds.

Hopefully those who have a different image in their mind of a ranger will be able to make that work.


First Post
I see the ranger fighting style determined by theme to be a good thing. I don't see why ranger, fighter, and rogue would need different archer themes. They all primarily attack with a ranged weapon, and get some sort of a boost to it. Similarly the two weapon fighting style could be applied to a ranger, fighter, or rogue. Theoretically, it's just a fighting style, it's not what the class does. If the class does something better than others, that could be handled with some other mechanic. For instance let's say you want everyone to have access to the Archer theme, but you want rangers to be the best at it. The Archer theme might say, if you are a ranger, you deal an additional +1 damage when using this style.

The goals look like pretty much what I would expect.


I'm with everyone else who can't stand forcing rangers into a binary "two-weapon vs. archery" decision. Those are both perfectly reasonable ranger character concepts, but it's a little batty to divide up the whole class between those two options.

At its core, a ranger is a fighter that trades armor and a little fighting capability for skills and wilderness expertise. Any fighting style available to the fighter should be similarly available to the ranger. Notably, this includes a "good with many weapons" style that should be a canonical option. I'm optimistic that themes will provide this flexibility, and hope that a ranger with a more druidic (or wizardly) theme will be an effective way to create a really "old school" style character.

And I agree that "ranger = protector" doesn't make any sense. If you can say that rangers are protectors, then you can say that about practically any class. (Are rangers any more "protector-y" than clerics, druids, fighters, paladins, monks or avengers?)

Edit: I wish they were a little more flexible about the ranger "favored terrain." In my experience, an urban ranger is often the best class for representing a constable / detective type of character. A rogue can work for some of those characters, but many want a more "straight up" fighting style than you get from a rogue.

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First Post
These design goals start out OK but go down-hill very quick.

1. This is great

2. The part about being a warrior is OK. The rest of it could be hit-or-miss. The Fighter is the best two-weapon warrior class, and the best archer. The Ranger is a warrior and should be able to pull some of the same themes if he wants to have a specialist fighting technique - but never be better at it than the Fighter.

- Side Note: Drizzt's character class is "solo protagonist of a story-book" not something you play at a D&D table. Don't look to him as an archetype.

3. This is a natural character motivation a player might choose for his ranger. There are plenty of other rangers that conquer, subjugate, or beat-back the wilds. Some folks are ambivalent, they just live out there because it is part of their job or they want to get away from people.

- Core lesson here: Don't use a character class to tell me what my character feels.

4. More Ranger-as-Hippy garbage that needs to be dropped. Rangers have great knowledge and skill with wild beasts. That's great. Ranger A wants to be friends with a bunch of dire badgers? Awesome. Ranger B wants to cruelly subjugate and dominate a vicious wolverine or something? That's awesome too.

- Remember: Nature is often cruel, uncaring, violent, and eat-or-get-eaten and humanoids are at the top of most food-chains.

- Marty Lund


First Post
Apparenty the masses want this, but so far the Palladin and now the Ranger could be handled with backgrounds and themes . Do we really need a new class for these?

My thoughts on Ranger and Paladin match yours. It could easily be done through themes and backgrounds. Doing so would also leave open a ton of interesting options.

If the Paladin is built onto a cleric it would feel one way. If it is built onto a fighter it would have another feel entirely.

The modularity would work great using the 4 cornerstone classes as the skeleton to build upon.

Then, with multi-classing, you would have an incredible range of character flexibility.

Hey WotC, things should still be early enough to test this idea, how about it?
Can't hurt, might even help point up some weak spots that can be corrected in the base system.


That was a really vague blog. And it sounds to me like they're trying to make a ranger that takes from all four editions...

"Being at home in the wilderness" is obviously key to the class.

"Rangers have learned hard lessons... and are tougher than other characters" is an exceptionally feebly justification. Should a ranger who roughs it regularly be tougher than a veteran soldier? Tougher than a barbarian? It would make sense for them to have more endurance, which could be represented as a class bonus to Con or a couple of bonus hit dice for out-of-combat recovery.

"Protector" sure, why not? Let's wait to see what class abilities they propose to represent it. A ranger protects his companions by avoiding encounters, not by bodyguarding them in the midst of combat. But it would make sense for them to have combat stunts or tricks to influence the behavior of natural critters (make them choose a different target, make them flee for a round, that sort of thing).

"In their guise as hunters, rangers can choose to focus on an individual quarry, whereupon their hunter’s instincts kick in, allowing them to strike with enhanced lethal force."

This is the one statement that rubs me the wrong way. Like the statement about "Rangers are tougher", I don't understand how in the game world you justify this hunter's focus as something rangers have while fighters, barbarians, or assassins do not. I understand all the problems with favored enemy, but at least it made sense in the game world.

Now, the mundane classes have to have something to differentiate them, and the most important something is how they excel in combat. Each one should have a class ability that makes them an effective warrior (at least in some situations) and leads to a unique play experience. Barbarians have rage, rogues have sneak attack, fighters have a pretty consistent upgrade to AC and damage, and so on.

So what do you give rangers? I'd like to see a compromise between 3E's favored enemy, which makes sense in the world but doesn't come up often enough, and 4E's hunter's quarry, which works in every combat but feels like a generic fighter skill. A couple of months ago, someone else on the board suggested that they could get better with a chosen enemy as an encounter progresses--in effect, they could choose a new favored enemy for each adventure, and the more often they met that enemy the better their bonuses got. I thought that idea was excellent.


First Post
Oh, also, since clerics get free temple services and paladins get free lodging for those who recognize their station, I think rangers should be able to provide basic sustenance in the wild for their party for free while not in deserts/wastelands. This gives a tangible DM-provided circumstance ability for the ranger to shine without necessary having to derail the game for 20 minutes every time you make camp.


Regarding fighting styles:

A wilderness fighter might avoid using shields as part of their fighting style. You want to have a free hand for climbing and navigating difficult terrain. And if you're avoiding shields for this reason, it makes sense to learn tricks from the TWF style or missile combat.

So I think there is some justification for having them select from these two styles, or at least to avoid sword-and-board. But why wouldn't a ranger focus on two-handed weapons such as greatswords and spears?


First Post
Apparenty the masses want this, but so far the Palladin and now the Ranger could be handled with backgrounds and themes . Do we really need a new class for these?

I've never understood why people keep pushing for Rangers and Paladins to no longer be distinct classes. D&D has always been a class-based system; if we're going to start whittling classes down to just a few, why not just go completely classless?

Remember that one of the biggest points of D&D Next is to rope back in grognards; departures from the commonly-accepted ways of doing things in the past in NOT going to be a feature of this edition.

Also keep in mind - classes sell books. More people will buy a book that has a class they want to play in it then will buy it for any other reason. Trying to limit classes would be like trying to limit profits for WotC.


Honestly the ranger sounds more like a fighter with a forester background a theme emphasizing a fighting style than a unique class itself. And honestly, I'd prefer if that's what it was.

The ranger started life as a subclass of the fighter, and that's what it should go back to being.

EDIT: apparently I'm not the first to have said this. The point still stands.


First Post
I also do not want the Ranger railroaded into certain fighting/weapon styles, my two-hander should be perfectly viable, especially as they mention Aragorn (not that he's the only example, but he was not particularly into archery or TWF).

The Theme thing is sounding great.


Limit Break Dancing
What fighting styles would you want for the ranger, besides just Archery and TWF? Off the top of my head:

1. No fighting style. Not all rangers are about fighting.
2. Mounted combat (such as an Outrider, for example.)
3. Spear combat (good for tribal cultures, or aquatic hunters.)
4. Non-lethal (like manacles, nets, and such...good for bounty hunters.)
5. Thrown (good for knife hunters and alchemists.)

Any others?


It just means you have something to fight for.

Everybody's got something to fight for or they wouldn't be fighting. Joe Munchkin whose whole motivation is "kill monsters and take their stuff" has something to fight for. He's fighting for the monsters' stuff.

What does "something to fight for" mean in the context of class design?


None of those design goals suggest "class" to me. They strongly scream theme, background or plain character personality.


Honestly the ranger sounds more like a fighter with a forester background a theme emphasizing a fighting style than a unique class itself. And honestly, I'd prefer if that's what it was.

The ranger started life as a subclass of the fighter, and that's what it should go back to being.

EDIT: apparently I'm not the first to have said this. The point still stands.

I agree that these classes should be "subclasses," but I don't think they could be done as background/theme. There's more to the ranger than a few skills and a fighting style, and there's more to the paladin than... well, whatever you could fit in a first level feat.

These classes should have their own entries like any other class, but at the beginning of each, make it clear that "a ranger is a special kind of fighter" or "a druid is a special kind of cleric" or "an assassin is a special kind of rogue."

dangerous jack

First Post
1. I'd drop wilderness and replace it with hostile environment, because I could see an enemy controlled city as a place where a ranger was more comfortable than other characters. But aside from splitting hairs like that, I reallly like the awareness about ambushes/trails aspect. I'm not sure how that is consistent with focusing on a singular enemy, but I'll remain optimistic.

2. Warrior... Yes to light armour, but I'd say it's because movement is key to them. Focus on a combat style? That's a silly design goal for the ranger, unless the point of that sentence is just to point out that the combat style is the theme's responsibility and not actually the ranger's.

3. Protector... the bulk of the paragraph sounds accurate (especially the "guide for those out of place in the wilderness" aspect). I suppose I can think of the stalking and hunting aspect as "protecting through offence".

4. Friends with animals... I suppose the beastmaster is a common archetype of the ranger. For some reason, this feels more like something that should be a theme though.

Overall, it doesn't make me want to play one yet. There just seems to be something missing.


I'm surprised at how many people see "Many rangers focus on a particular combat style - by picking a theme" and read it as "All rangers must pick a theme to chose their combat style"

Based on everything we know about D&D Next. They just told us that Rangers DO NOT pick a fighting style UNLESS THEY WANT TO (by picking a fighting-style theme)

The opposite of what most people seem to be reading into it.

This means if you build a ranger you could pick "Lurker" like the rogue has in the playtest and get extra hiding abilities, or heck, use the Wizard's one and have a few cantrips.

All they're saying there is IF you want to, you can get TWF or Expert Archery as a theme. IF that's the kind of ranger you wanna play.

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