OneDnD Ranger playtest discussion

Shrug. Hey, people like what they like... but to me a spell-less Ranger that replaces spells with "Ranger features" results in the exact same thing-- a Ranger that does nature stuff. And to me... there is no actual difference between the game telling me that the Ranger PC healing someone via herbalism and herbs versus healing someone via Cure Wounds, or that the Ranger giving his party a bonus to stealth checks via some weird Ranger stealth feature versus casting Pass Without Trace. If the results are mechanically the same, I don't see the need for two different names and mechanical systems to represent it. But I know a lot of folks here on EN World get all bent out of shape about "too much magic" thing... so it is what it is. I just don't think the WotC designers have nearly the same problem with magic that the players here do, so everyone's kinda out of luck.
WotC have consistently had no idea what a Ranger is, or what to do with, or how to make really anyone happy with Ranger for three editions now. It's one of the very few classes which was a total mess (thematically, at least) in 4th edition, as well as in 3E and 5E.

If they would like, "pick a lane" as people say, and drive it with the Ranger we could at least say "This is WotC's vision of the Ranger!", and agree with it or not. But we can't even say that. WotC are just sliding all over the road like someone about to get arrested for being 5x over the legal limit.

If they're supposed to be reliant on magic, and magic to be a major part of what a Ranger is, that needs to be part of the lore of the Ranger class, rather than being a brief aside, despite being the entire core and crux of their abilities, which it demonstrably is, people have argued well that it is.

Like, check it out if you have Beyond: Ranger

The Ranger description goes for five paragraphs of flavour and really building the class up before briefly mentioning (literally two fairly short sentences!) that they can do magic! Then we get another two paragraphs with magic unmentioned! PICK A LANE!

What is this class? Is it a nature magician who also does some fighting and skill stuff? Okay, if so, fine, but that's not how you're presenting it in terms of descriptions. It's not what players expect. But it is how it exists in the rules. Even moreso in 1D&D than 5E, this is a nature magician who can fight more than anything else.

What's particularly striking to me is that new players love the Ranger concept (which doesn't really include magic, note, it's a brief aside at most), but then the actual mechanical class, they often find very off-putting. Far too much of the class' power is in the spells, and the spells are boring and weird and don't at all seem like anything Katniss, Aragorn, or Drizzt would do. Or even in most cases a videogame hunter-type (who tend to have flashier abilities). That you see no difference is fine for you, but then if you really feel that way, why don't we give Fighters some spells to cover the abilities, and just re-theme them, for example? Why don't we do that with all classes? I mean Rogues would gain a gigantic advantage if they could cast some spells and we could theme them as Rogue abilities! Why not? Why is it fine here and not there?

TLDR: The real "magic problem" with Rangers is that it's not part of their D&D/class lore in any real/serious way, and no iconic or memorable Ranger-type characters in fiction - which is a common archetype, note much more common than, say, Bard! - use Ranger-style magic at all. YET the Ranger class in 5E is totally reliant on magic to do its job (as has been well argued).
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
TLDR: The real "magic problem" with Rangers is that it's not part of their D&D/class lore in any real/serious way, and no iconic or memorable Ranger-type characters in fiction - which is a common archetype, note much more common than, say, Bard! - use Ranger-style magic at all. YET the Ranger class in 5E is totally reliant on magic to do its job (as has been well argued).

The iconic Ranger is characters are video game characters like WOW's Rexxar or LOL's Ashe as only video games have the level of magic spells and magic items close to D&D.

The biggest sticking point with D&D is there is too much magic around in both mid school and modern base D&D. No ranger would not use it.
 

The iconic Ranger is characters are video game characters like WOW's Rexxar or LOL's Ashe as only video games have the level of magic spells and magic items close to D&D.
They're simply not, though. Rexxar is an obscure-but-nerd-popular WoW/WC3 character known only to fairly serious Warcraft fans.

He is in no way iconic outside of WoW/WC3. He is not well-known. He is not a trope-forming character ("lol basically batman" memes are about as famous as he got), nor is he a character most people aspire to be. And even after all that? HE DOESN'T USE MAGIC IN WOW! Canonically he not a spellcaster of any kind, and doesn't even use Hunter magic. Abilities-wise, and you can look this up, the NPC has Warrior abilities!

In the long-forgotten HotS, he's a Beastmaster, but doesn't use any magic not directly relating to his animals. This is strictly non-canon though, a lot of HotS characters have wildly divergent abilities from their WoW/WC3 self.

Ashe doesn't have any Ranger abilities, isn't really a "nature person" beyond being the leader of a "horde", and her magical abilities are those of an Arcane Archer in D&D terms. The only things even making you think she's a ranger are:

A) She has a bow.

and

B) She's technically a rip-off of Sylvanas from WC3/DotA, who is an ex-Ranger who became sort of Death Archer.

She's also not exactly one of the top-flight LoL characters. She's no Jinx, Ahri, Garen, Teemo or the like. She's one of the basically second-tier (arguably pushing third-tier at this point) characters in terms of how popular she is. People don't even do 10% as much fan art of her as the top-tier ones. Literally the only reason she's even remotely known is that she's a tutorial character (or was, I dunno if it still works that way).

So the idea that she's particularly iconic is also pretty questionable, given she's a rip-off of a WoW character, and not even a Ranger in any meaningful sense.

The biggest sticking point with D&D is there is too much magic around in both mid school and modern base D&D. No ranger would not use it.
I don't really understand what you're saying here, I'm afraid. Perhaps could you rephrase significantly?
 

TheSword

Legend
All cantrips are spamable, by virtue of being at-will and unlimited. Casting spells is hardly a thing I want rangers to do at all, let alone with no limitations. At least with leveled spells they only get a few per day. They don’t need and shouldn’t have cantrips on top of that, in my opinion.
To me to qualify as spamable as spell needs the circumstances to favour casting it repeatedly as well as the means to do so.

You may be able to repeatedly cast thorn whip but you are highly unlikely to ever find it useful - so as far as I’m concerned I don’t think it is spamable.

I actually think I you can easily play a low magic Aragorn ranger with the new rules. You take guidance and resistance as cantrips and your ranger spells are things like cure wounds, lesser resistance, detect poison, goodberry, augury, etc. none of which are flashy or out of theme for a ranger knowledgeable in herbs and nature
 

TheSword

Legend
Sure, but to me “the best half-caster ranger possible” does not round up and does not have cantrips. To me, the best half-caster ranger possible is one that relies the least on the spellcasting it’s stuck with to be effective. Preferably with some non-spell ability it can expend spell slots to power, Paladin smite style.
The ranger only rounded down for the purposes of multi-classing. The single class ranger already rounds up.

What is the virtue of a non spell smite, rather than a spell smite?

Ranger magic synergises plenty with their fighting, they have a decent number of bonus action spells, healing and utility. Rangers are unique and play well with lots of party types. They’re a Jack of all trades, just favoring the fighting side, while the bard favors the magic.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
To me to qualify as spamable as spell needs the circumstances to favour casting it repeatedly as well as the means to do so.

You may be able to repeatedly cast thorn whip but you are highly unlikely to ever find it useful - so as far as I’m concerned I don’t think it is spamable.
But the ability to cast it as often as they want is athematic to the ranger in my opinion.
I actually think I you can easily play a low magic Aragorn ranger with the new rules. You take guidance and resistance as cantrips and your ranger spells are things like cure wounds, lesser resistance, detect poison, goodberry, augury, etc. none of which are flashy or out of theme for a ranger knowledgeable in herbs and nature
Their effects are not necessarily out of theme, but them being spells is. Moreover, the ability to take a bunch of bad spells doesn’t make a non-spellcasting ranger actually a viable option to play.
 

In the video, the tone of Crawford seems to worry that they think this version of the Ranger is too powerful and may need to be nerfed at some later date. To me, it still does not seem powerful enough.
I saw the video after reading comments about how this Ranger still isn't good enough, so I got a laugh out of Crawford's "oh man, this new Ranger is probably really OP".
 

Horwath

Hero
I was excited for ranger playtest, then I saw rangers AGAIN with spells?!?

Can we get a martial ranger? Please?

Or at least ranger with spellcasting ability that explicitly says that ranger spell DO NOT HAVE VERBAL components.

You are not stealthy guerrilla fighter if you have to yell out your spellcasting.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The ranger only rounded down for the purposes of multi-classing. The single class ranger already rounds up.
No it doesn’t? The 2014 ranger follows the standard spell slot progression at half their level rounded down - they get new spell slots on even-numbered levels, starting from 2nd. This UA ranger follows the standard spell slot progression at half their level rounded up - they get new spell slots at odd-numbered levels, starting from 1st.
What is the virtue of a non spell smite, rather than a spell smite?
Giving you a use for spell slots that aren’t spells.
 


I saw the video after reading comments about how this Ranger still isn't good enough, so I got a laugh out of Crawford's "oh man, this new Ranger is probably really OP".
I mean Crawford is the dude who things that natural weapons that do 1d6 damage are a hugely advantageous racial feature on-par with Darkvision or Spellcasting, so unfortunately he clearly has some issues around balancing things.
 

Horwath

Hero
I mean Crawford is the dude who things that natural weapons that do 1d6 damage are a hugely advantageous racial feature on-par with Darkvision or Spellcasting, so unfortunately he clearly has some issues around balancing things.
well, at least we got hunters mark back like in UA for rangers back then.

let's see how long will it last this time.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
They're simply not, though. Rexxar is an obscure-but-nerd-popular WoW/WC3 character known only to fairly serious Warcraft fans.
Rexxar actually gets most of his popularity for the once massively popular game Hearthstone where he hits you with magic arrows and traps and hasbears and pigs run over you.

A nice chunk Beastmasters popularity built on MMORPG rangers/hunters and Hearthstone ME GO FACE HUNTER decks from video games.

I don't really understand what you're saying here, I'm afraid. Perhaps could you rephrase significantly?

The ranger is described a tracker and slay of wildnerness monsters. They are not going to ignore all the abundance of utility and slaying magic dumped into D&D since 2000.

The nonmagical ranger only makes sense if you go the 4e route and make it a walking blender or SMG and churn out some much raw damage you don't need utility as you turn everything into a slurry with your massive offensive prowess.
 

TheSword

Legend
No it doesn’t? The 2014 ranger follows the standard spell slot progression at half their level rounded down - they get new spell slots on even-numbered levels, starting from 2nd. This UA ranger follows the standard spell slot progression at half their level rounded up - they get new spell slots at odd-numbered levels, starting from 1st.

Giving you a use for spell slots that aren’t spells.
Ranger spell progression from the PHB and in the current SRD.

081B759E-972B-47BC-BA44-72A2D94C1370.jpeg


This is the UA ranger. So wrong on both counts I’m afraid.

ECA9F2A7-0F14-4C94-81FA-1BA34E62DFEC.jpeg
 
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The ranger is described a tracker and slay of wildnerness monsters. They are not going to ignore all the abundance of utility and slaying magic dumped into D&D since 2000.
The same logic applies to Fighters, Rogues, etc. Especially Rogues. If we apply this logic, the default subclass for all Rogues should be Arcane Trickster, and other kinds of Rogues should be seen as weird freaks.

Your 4E comment is weird as hell because the 4E Ranger is heavily magical, and it was a common complaint because it didn't need to be, but was anyway.
 

Horwath

Hero
I mean Crawford is the dude who things that natural weapons that do 1d6 damage are a hugely advantageous racial feature on-par with Darkvision or Spellcasting, so unfortunately he clearly has some issues around balancing things.
If you add that you can make one natural attack as Bonus action then it gets to the level of Darkvision/spellcasting.
also with option to do 1d4 damage if based on Dex.
 

The ranger only rounded down for the purposes of multi-classing. The single class ranger already rounds up.

What is the virtue of a non spell smite, rather than a spell smite?

Ranger magic synergises plenty with their fighting, they have a decent number of bonus action spells, healing and utility. Rangers are unique and play well with lots of party types. They’re a Jack of all trades, just favoring the fighting side, while the bard favors the magic.
What's the virtue of a ranger existing at all? Flavour and fun.

For me there are a number of reasons I want a spell-less ranger including:
  • For the archetype - as mentioned both Aragorn and Katniss were and Drizzt for all practical purposes was. The archetype is not that of a caster
  • Because I want to see more interesting and varied characters rather than the same cookie cutter abilities (and ones that do better than the 2014 ranger)
  • Because I sometimes want to run more varied campaigns and this includes low to no magic and at the moment the range of non-casters is extremely narrow.

(And @TheSword I don't think "Page not found" was meant to be a joke about ranger spell progression but the attachment doesn't seem to work for me?)
 

What is this class? Is it a nature magician who also does some fighting and skill stuff? Okay, if so, fine, but that's not how you're presenting it in terms of descriptions. It's not what players expect.
"It's not what players expect" is a massive assumption here.

I started in 3.5, so if anything the initial nonmagical 4E Ranger was the anomaly. It got followed up by the explicitly magical Seeker class before the magic-using Ranger returned in Essentials (when WotC was likely trying to win back older players who were put-off by 4E). Given that early 5E was essentially the attempt to disown 4E and return to "Iconic" D&D, it seems half-caster Rangers are what WotC has seen the majority expects.

Me personally, I feel like two-weapon fighting fits the Ranger less than magic does. The Ranger fights at range, and the Fighter is a melee attacker. Melee Rangers and Ranged Fighters are playing against type.

I'm admittedly also biased in that the Fey Wanderer, the most magical Ranger of all, is my favorite Ranger subclass by far
 
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If you add that you can make one natural attack as Bonus action then it gets to the level of Darkvision/spellcasting.
also with option to do 1d4 damage if based on Dex.
Yeah that's probably right if it's:

A) At will

B) Uses a stat bonus (probably STR)

Because that's roughly equivalent to being able to Dual-wield, but you can also carry a Shield, so would be pretty nice.

But there are no races in D&D 5E which can do that (unlike PF1E, which has several). At best you're getting stuff like Lizardfolk which can do that PB/long rest, which is just not that great. I don't think there's even a race which has Finesse/DEX as an option for their natural weapons outside of 3PP material (correct me if I'm wrong).
 


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