D&D 5E Ranger fight: PHB vs. UA

Which version?


Mercule

Adventurer
The spate of recent class-battles has me wondering how this will go. Very straightforward and limited poll. I don't care if you like some parts of one and some of the other or if you like the UA version except for the stupid Spirit Companion. Gun to your head, no creativity allowed, pick one to use at your table. If you think the Ranger is hopeless and should be abandoned, go make your own poll.

Creativity and commentary welcome, below.
 

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AaronOfBarbaria

Adventurer
I think that how people feel about the 5th edition ranger (any version) comes down to their expectations of what the ranger is "supposed to be".

In most cases, from what I have seen, people have expectations that don't match to what the designers intended. I've even seen people that appear unable to tell which features of the class are intended to be important, and which are "ribbons" added primarily for flavor rather than function.

I feel like I must have had the same expectations as the designers because the PHB version looks just fine to me, Beastmaster and all.
 

mellored

Explorer
I think the PHB ranger just needs to know more spells, or at least flexible spells.

That way, they can actually use the ranger specialties, like animal friendship, instead of only having space for hunter's quarry and ensnaring shot.


I do like the UA ranger though. Not because it's more "rangery", but because it's different, with unique (if OP) mechanics.
 

Mercule

Adventurer
I think that how people feel about the 5th edition ranger (any version) comes down to their expectations of what the ranger is "supposed to be".
Agreed. My expectations are different from yours. I want something that vaguely resembles special forces, I guess. He can't be the best at everything, because that would be out of balance; real-world commandos just tend to have gained quite a few class levels.

The Fighter is better at straight-up fighting. Put the Ranger in an arena with a Fighter of equal level and the Fighter probably wins. The Ranger tries to avoid a fair fight, though, and is better at making the terrain work for him, whether by stealth or other movement.

The Rogue hides better than the Ranger (probably even in natural surroundings). The Rogue packs a heck of a punch, if he can catch you with your guard down, whether that means from hiding or while you're worried about his brutish friend. The Ranger has more staying power, if he can get the Rogue in the open and/or disable/avoid the friend. The Ranger is also hard to sneak up on.

The Barbarian can better survive being run through with a sword. The Ranger is going to be better able to avoid and ease ongoing environmental effects and small scrapes (wasn't part of my core, but I really, really like this impact of the 2D6 hit dice). Otherwise, most of the comparison to the Fighter holds. I'm actually not a fan of the Barbarian class, but that's another topic.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
PHB ranger. There is no secret for many here that i prefer the spellcasting, skilled warrior as the ranger for D&D.

To me, the easiest as most foolproof way to do the ranger is to ranger is to give it spells and have D&D's magic system do all the heavy lifting.

It works for wizards and clerics. Why not rangers?

Take every little ranger trick.... Every ranger gimmick... And make it into a spell. Then let the player snatch the ones they see as the ranger.

The hunter warrior will take the damage spells. The archer will take the arrow spells. The beastmaster will take the animal spells and beast buff spells. The tracker will take the tracking and perception spells. The stalker will take stealth spells. The ranger lord will take the healing and divination spells. The racist xenophope will take the racist xenophobic spells. The "nonmagical" ranger will take the "easiest to reflavor as mundane skills" spells. The "spirit" ranger will take the "spirit" spells.

Just need more spells. PHB ranger no doubt. The UA ranger aren't my cup of herbal tea.
 

akr71

Hero
PHB. It just needs a tweak or two. Give Favored Enemy some combat usefulness (not just tracking) and give the capstone ability at 20th something more in-line with other classes. As for the Beastmaster, allow the beast to continue to do whatever it was commanded to do, or act of its own free will.
 

I like the Ranger version in the phb, I've always hated that they could cast spells. The UA version is not perfect but feels like the ranger I always wanted in my game.

Side note, it's weird and cool to see Wotc posters posting here now. Names I was use to seeing over there. :)
 

PHB Ranger. Because the latest UA version is half-baked over-powered munchkin-bait. (Also, I like hyphenated put-downs.)

I would have liked to see the previous variant Ranger from UA on this poll. That one was interesting too.
 

PHB ranger because rangers are supposed to have real animal friends, not imaginary ones. And as DM I have a LOT of fun role playing their beasts. Sometimes* to the players' detriment**.

*often
** acute stomach churning horror
 

Mercule

Adventurer
PHB Ranger. Because the latest UA version is half-baked over-powered munchkin-bait. (Also, I like hyphenated put-downs.)

I would have liked to see the previous variant Ranger from UA on this poll. That one was interesting too.
I was very, very tempted to include it as a third option. Maybe I'll do a follow-up with the winner of this poll.
 

Celondon

Explorer
The most recent UA Ranger has significant balance issues and power creep, especially when looking at MCing.

The Ranger as written in the PHB has a couple of abilities that are incredibly niche and provide little in the way of tangible bonuses -- namely Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer and Primeval Awareness. On top of that, there are issues with their Spells being overly limited. Add in the clunkiness of the Beastmaster spec and you have a problematic class.

Favored Enemy has out of combat advantages, but does little in combat. Advantage on Knowledge checks and Tracking is just an "Okay" bonus. The main benefit comes in identifying the weaknesses of a given monster in a combat situation.

Natural Explorer let's you travel and survive in your favored environment better than others, and you can extend that to your party members, as well. It's a good ability, but again, has no combat utility.

Then, there is Primeval Awareness. Use a spell slot to know if a specific type of monster is present somewhere nearby. Note it doesn't say where, specifically nor how many of that creature type there are. Only a binary "Yes/No".

The Ranger DOES have some good class abilities -- Hide in Plain Sight, Vanish and Foe Slayer, but those come fairly late and don't make up for the weaknesses in other areas.

The Rangers spell selection is pretty cool. They have a lot of abilities which increase their combat damage or alter terrain or hamper opponents. However, nearly all their effective spells are Concentration effects. Hunter's Mark, Silence, Barkskin, Spike Growth, Conjure Woodland Beings, Grasping Vine, Stoneskin -- all Concentration effects. Hunter's Mark or Swift Quiver is necessary for the Ranger to be competitive in terms of damage done compared to Fighters, Barbarian's and Paladins meaning a great many of your spells will be ignored in favor of one of these two in most combat situations. Even in non-combat situations, you end up having to decide whether or not casting Goodberry to help heal a party member is worth the loss of several d6 potential damage in the next combat. There are simply too many restrictions on an already fairly limited pool of effects for the Ranger.

Lastly, we have the Beastmaster. In theory, they aren't bad, but in practice, the pets do not have enough survivability and the fact the Ranger himself has to give up actions to command the beast every turn or it stands there stupidly means that in actual play it just *feels* bad and is relatively ineffective.

You can make a Ranger that is fun to play -- I've played one up to level 7 and enjoyed it immensely. I went into it, however, knowing the weaknesses of the class and was therefore not disappointed by it.
 


El Mahdi

Muad'Dib of the Anauroch
For me, neither the PHB Ranger, or either UA Rangers, have gotten it right yet (so I didn't vote for either option). There are aspects of each though, that I do like. I seem to be in the minority, but I like the 2d6 Hit Points and Ambuscade of the latest UA iteration. I think those fit the Ranger and are something I'd like in my ideal version.

I think there should have been four poll options: PHB version, UA version #1, UA version #2, and None of Them.
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I didn't vote because neither choice accurately expresses my stance. I don't like the PHB Ranger very much, but I wouldn't want to replace it with the UA version. Nor do I think it's even a fair comparison as one is a "finished" class and the other is a rough sketch.

I am glad, however, that they are experimenting with new ideas.

I wish I could know that they read forums like this one and incorporate good ideas. It would make posting homebrews a lot more fun.
 


ChrisCarlson

First Post
In most cases, from what I have seen, people have expectations that don't match to what the designers intended.
I attribute a good chunk of this malaise towards the 5e ranger to the last edition. In 4e it was a striker class. A damage-dealing machine (often the leader in many DPR challenges) with a few explorer ribbons tossed onto it as window dressing. But the 5e ranger, IMO, is more of an explorer first who can also fight well.
 


Greg K

Hero
I attribute a good chunk of this malaise towards the 5e ranger to the last edition. In 4e it was a striker class. A damage-dealing machine (often the leader in many DPR challenges) with a few explorer ribbons tossed onto it as window dressing. But the 5e ranger, IMO, is more of an explorer first who can also fight well.

A think it goes further back. During 3e, there was a lot of clamor for a non-spellcasting ranger. WOTC gave one in Complete Warrior that drew ire, because it still had spell-like abilities. They provided a second version that substituted fighter bonus feats for spells in Complete Champion. I preferred the Complete Champion version, but WOTC was very late to the party with it given that the same thing was already on messageboards back in 3.0 including as a suggestion from one third party designer (I think it Monte, but I might be wrong)
 

Greg K

Hero
Given the choices, the PHB version. However, I am not going to mark it in the poll. The first UA version was on the right track for me until 9th level (not that I am completely happy with the mechanics for Poultices at 3rd level)
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
Ranger fight: PHB vs. UA

iu
 

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