Ranger playtest discussion

Natural explorer was a good idea terribly implimented. Giving rangers abilities based on their favoured terrain was a good idea. But where it went wrong was that it gave them abilities in that terrain rather than transferrable abilities they learned from the terrain but could use anywhere.

So for example a mountain specialist in the 2014 PHB got a collection of abilities like "tracks better on a mountain" and "forages better on a mountain". What they should have gained was abilities like a climb speed, expertise in athletics, and the ability to easily guide people in climbing because as a mountain ranger they spend a lot of time (a) climbing and (b) doing mountain rescue. But these abilities apply anywhere, so the expert mountain climber can also climb buildings pretty easily.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Natural explorer should have been global ability (not being 100% dependent on DM charity) that gives you:

You can always stay alert to danger while doing other tasks,
You have advantage on Survival checks
You can use stealth while moving at normal pace, and with disadvantage while moving at fast pace.


Then if you just need to have favored terrains, all terrains should give global benefit that is most useful in that terrain.

Arctic:
cold resistance and advantage on saves vs cold.
Advantage on acrobatics to retain balance.

Desert:
fire resistance and advantage on saves vs heat/fire
You can survive twice the time without food and/or water

Urban:
gain proficiency in 2 skills from:
History, Insight, Deception, Intimidation, Persuation
Learn 2 languages

Underdark:
Gain or improve darkvision by 60ft
You can Hide as Bonus action

Plains:
improve base speed by 10ft
you can Dash as Bonus action

Swamp:
resistance and advantage vs poisons
immunity do diseases(non magical)

Aquatic:
breathe water
swim speed

Forest:
Climb speed
proficiency in athletics or expertise
That would be great, yeah.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Any character can stay alert to danger if their Perception is good enough.
Not true. Staying alert to danger is a travel task one has to choose, at the expense of other travel tasks (unless one is a ranger).
And while getting lost isn't the only hazard, it is about the only one that dumps you in the exploration pillar for any length of gameplay time. So, yeah, skipping.
What do you mean? Exploration has many hazards.
So, spells.
Right, which I don’t love, but it’s better than taking away the Ranger’s exploration abilities and replacing them with nothing at all.
 

Horwath

Hero
Wizards likes to stay close to formula. There's a reason why most races get dark vision and now they even come with their own spells. They've been adding spells to every class. In Tasha's the fighter Barbarian and Rogue subclasses all had some sort of magical ability attached. They need to think outside the box. Give us something that stands out from the others
if they want to stay at the formula, then we do not need all this classes.

then we need;

warrior type:
d12 HD. extra attacks at levels 5,11,17

some kind of gish/half caster:
d10 HD
spell levels 1-5
extra attack at 5th level(bladesinger style), bonus action attack after casting a spell at 11th,

2/3rd caster:
d8 HD
spell levels 1-7

full caster:
d6 HD
spell levels 1-9, or maybe 10th level spells at 19th level

give a feat or two every class level and build on.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
In my somewhat jaded, looking back at 4E perspective, rangers need to have spells because there's a vocal contingent who is going to be upset at any powerful ability from any class that's explicitly called out as non-magical. I recall the most common answer to the question, at what level should a ranger be able to non-magically create the effects of Leomund's tiny hut was effectively "never".

So, it seems to me that the best way to get around it is to make the spell-less ranger a subclass and give them ways to expend spell slots to create effects that are flavored as non-magical (including the ability to create a non-magical equivalent of Leomund's tiny hut when they can cast third-level spells).

I was going to post basically the same thing. Having the abilities be spells is the "safe" option to appease the VERY vocal "but it's not realistic...." crowd.

Take Nature's Veil (13th level ability) bonus action to become invisible until your next turn. This is something that, I think, a ranger should be able to do. By 13th level they become so good (and fast) blending into terrain that invisible is a good term. There are LOTS of examples in film of special forces (or the like) appearing out of nowhere because "they're just that good." But make it a "normal" ability and it guarantees endless quibbling about how is that "realistic."

Make it a magical ability? You might get a few complaints of how too much is magic, but there will be NO complaints (especially during play) that the ranger can turn invisible. It's irritating, but I can certainly see why WoTC chose the side it did.
 
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Not true. Staying alert to danger is a travel task one has to choose, at the expense of other travel tasks (unless one is a ranger).
Two words: Passive Perception.
What do you mean? Exploration has many hazards.
None of which Natural Explorer really addressed. Otherwise, all its abilities do is prevent you from getting lost and making sure you have enough food and travel at standard pace, which in execution leads you to skipping exploration entirely.
Right, which I don’t love, but it’s better than taking away the Ranger’s exploration abilities and replacing them with nothing at all.
3 of the 5 Primal Awareness spells have the ritual tag. Which in 1D&D any spellcaster can now cast without using up spell slots.

And since Rangers are now prepared casters, you can just prepare those as you need them. This new Ranger also has more spells prepared than the old Ranger, even with Primal Awareness, knew at the same levels.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
You know how both fighter and rogue, as base classes, have no spells but offer subclasses that use magic?

Yeah, ranger should follow their lead.
You know the number one reason why this won't happen you wouldn't like it if they did this.

If you get nonspell ranger features, guess

who chooses which nature features you get
how many features you get
how often you get to use it
how often your options are updated in new books....


WOTC tied a nonspell ranger twice, the community hated it.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Two words: Passive Perception.

A PC not expressly focused on danger detection (as in doing one of the other travel tasks like Navigating, foraging or mapping) cannot contribute their Passive Pereption to the task of noticing threats. A ranger can do another task AND be on the lookout for danger - that's an exception.
 



gorice

Adventurer
The real test of the ranger's wilderness abilities is going to be how skills interact with changes to the exploration rules (if at all). Personally, I much prefer design where the designer trusts an existing system (i.e. skills) and makes it work across multiple situations, rather than adding lots of finicky ribbon abilities.

It's underwhelming and flavorless. Hunters mark will turn into an action tax. Round 1 you cast hunters mark while everybody else attacks.
I really hate it when they design abilities that are just buttons you have to push in order to push other buttons. Like, what actually is a hunter's mark? Or a smite, for that matter? It's a button youh push to make numbers go up. There's no flavour, and no interaction with the fictional world.

Anyway, I think PF2 nailed the feel of the ranger pretty nicely. Note that the ranger is not a spellcaster, but has the option to choose feats that give them weird but subtle (for Pathfinder) nature magic.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
You know the number one reason why this won't happen you wouldn't like it if they did this.

If you get nonspell ranger features, guess

who chooses which nature features you get
how many features you get
how often you get to use it
how often your options are updated in new books....


WOTC tied a nonspell ranger twice, the community hated it.
Level Up did it, and it's great.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
It's underwhelming and flavorless. Hunters mark will turn into an action tax. Round 1 you cast hunters mark while everybody else attacks.
It's a bonus action, so you can cast it AND attack - that's the appeal. It's what rangers have been doing anyway. At least now it's less of a spell tax (it's always known and always prepared) and it no longer takes concentration.
 

As for the Hunter's Multiattack, this new one obviously sucks, but it's not like the old one was great, either. They really just need to make it a meaningful expansion of the Attack Action, so that Multiattacking doesn't cancel out things that specifically only work with Attack Actions. Like, something simple like you can use your Attack Action to attack up to 4 times as long as each attack is against a different target, or something like that.
 



For the Hunter if they're going to lean on using Conjure Barrage for shooting off volleys of arrows, maybe they should be allowed to cast it as a Bonus Action or as an Attack in the Action Action.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
To heck with the community. Particularly the community of the time. We have a new community of D&D players now, let’s let rangers do those things without magic.
Yes, we have a new community of D&D players... that has been playing rangers with magical abilities throughout 5e's increasingly popular tenure, more magic than the 1e-3e time frame. So, why would you expect them to want a magicless ranger?
 

niklinna

Abstraction is a tool that streamlines gameplay.
I mean, they really need to get rid of spellcasting.

It's not like most of the things the spells can do fit Rangers thematically or are at all interesting. The vast majority of people who actually play Rangers aren't going to miss them, I'd suggest.

You know what they actually need to do? Bring back Wardens. Spellcasting Rangers should become Wardens, the weird Druid-hybrid class. Spell-less Rangers become Katniss Everdeen and her ilk.
Rangers should just be the warlocks of martials, with a shopping list of special abilities that you only get to pick 8 from, and at least three of them are viewed as mandatory upgrades to your basic bow & arrow or two-weapon fighting ability. Oh and you only get two attacks per short rest but they do maximum damage. ;-)
 


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