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D&D 5E Rangers in 5e

paladinm

First Post
Looking over the history of the Ranger class.. In the original Strategic Review article (and 1e), the Ranger was a fighter with some (relatively) minor druid spells, a few Magic User spells as well, tracking, and bonuses when fighting a "giant class" monster. Starting in 2e, the class shifted a purely wilderness character, lost the MU spells, gained a few Thief skills, and broadened the "giant class" fighting to "favored enemy". 3e continued this progression and added the archery or 2-weapon options, and 4e dropped just about all "spells" and made the Ranger a completely martial character, a sort of fighter/rogue hybrid.

In BECMI, there was no real "ranger" class; but "foresters" had the same fighter/MU abilities as elves, and "druidic knights" were paladins that used druid spells.

Going forward, should rangers go back to having some limited "magic" abilities, or should they remain strictly martial? If the latter, could not the class be replaced by fighters with the right skills/feats/theme?

If there is still a "ranger class", I'd personally like to see more of a return to the "original" concept. But then, I am a grognard.

Thoughts?
 

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Grazzt

Demon Lord
Looking over the history of the Ranger class.. In the original Strategic Review article (and 1e), the Ranger was a fighter with some (relatively) minor druid spells, a few Magic User spells as well, tracking, and bonuses when fighting a "giant class" monster. Starting in 2e, the class shifted a purely wilderness character, lost the MU spells, gained a few Thief skills, and broadened the "giant class" fighting to "favored enemy". 3e continued this progression and added the archery or 2-weapon options, and 4e dropped just about all "spells" and made the Ranger a completely martial character, a sort of fighter/rogue hybrid.

In BECMI, there was no real "ranger" class; but "foresters" had the same fighter/MU abilities as elves, and "druidic knights" were paladins that used druid spells.

Going forward, should rangers go back to having some limited "magic" abilities, or should they remain strictly martial? If the latter, could not the class be replaced by fighters with the right skills/feats/theme?

If there is still a "ranger class", I'd personally like to see more of a return to the "original" concept. But then, I am a grognard.

Thoughts?

I'd like to see it go back to the original concept as well. If it means designed through skills/feats/themes/whatever, that works. Stand-alone class works too.
 

Yora

Legend
I think magic should be optional. There are many good reasons to have spellcasting rangers and non-casting rangers. Being able to chose to learn spells or focus more on other aspect of the class would be great.
 

paladinm

First Post
I kinda liked how they did the "hybrid" classes in BECMI. Paladins (and Avengers - Not the same as in 4e) progressed as fighters until they hit "name level"; then they gained the casting and turning abilities of a cleric of 1/3 level (rounded down). I personally would start this at level 1, which means a paladin would operate like a 1st level cleric. Just extend that to rangers using druid spells and we're all set. Very simple. You could do something similar with Bards (except they use thief/rogue as the "base" class).
 

Astrosicebear

First Post
I think if they are going to make the Ranger a core class it has to differentiate itself from an archer themed fighter, which leads to basically adding some kind of magic system to the 'wilderness' base themed ranger.

I would like to see a strong argument for stronger archer fighters than archer rangers, except when dealing with the wilderness. Its the Rambo vs Aragorn argument, but the archer fighter is a killing machine with a bow, where the archer ranger is a wilderness survivalist. These are base assumptions, themes in the system would allow any customization.
 

Khaalis

Adventurer
JMHO, but this goes back to having to define what one means when using the term "Ranger".

The modern definitions are:
* an official in charge of a forest, nature reserve, etc. aka 'forest ranger' or 'warden' (UK)
* WWII soldier specialized in surprise raids and attacks in small groups (aka Commando)
* a soldier specially trained in guerilla warfare, especially in jungle terrain
* a person who ranges over large areas; a rover
* one of a body of armed troops employed to police a district (e.g. Texas Rangers)
* (UK) a member of the senior branch of the Guides (Ranger Guide)


Tolkien Archetype: Secretive, independent groups of extensively trained grim and hardy warriors skilled with sword, bow and spear also known for their keen senses and great tracking ability; patrolled the boundaries of Eriador and Ithilien, defending their territories from evil forces.


General Gaming: In most fantasy games/fiction, rangers are mostly synonymous with archers and hunters. They are woodsman skilled at surviving in the wild. They may be lumped in with Fighters or Rogues but can often be a separate tree of classes all their own. Archery is generally their favored skill, although most can fall back on swordplay if necessary. Rangers may also be skilled in some form of wilderness or nature magic. They may be very good at fighting a specific type of enemy, and often take on the role of The Hunter against such foes. Rarely, a Ranger may have access to guns as well as bows. Common sub-classes of the ranger archetype in these games:
* Sniper Ranger
* Bow and Blade Ranger
* Beastmaster Ranger
* Dual Wielding Ranger
* Trapper Ranger
* Magical Ranger


When you look at the modern definition, it pretty much defines the martial aspects of the ranger as we know it. In general, the ranger archetype covers:
* More skilled with a bow than the 'average' fighter, generally because they are game hunters.
* Skilled with other forms of combat, often dual-weapon and stealth.
* Stealth/Stalking/Hunter skills
* Detecting and Creating hunting traps
* Tracking and leaving no trail
* Taming/Training animals
* Medical/Herbal skills

Only rarely, mostly in D&D and 1 or 2 other sources do rangers have any minor magical skill.

Thus I would like to see the base ranger be the Commando/Scout/Hunter archtype. It could be a standalone class to maintain verisimilitude with older versions, or better yet be a build option under the Fighter class. I do think an "option" should be allowed to have the magical ranger, but it shouldn't be the core build. It appears that most people don't prefer the magical Ranger over the martial, except those that see the Ranger as the Paladin equivalent to the Druid.

As for Fighter Archers vs. Ranger Archers, I would have to disagree. Throughout history, most archers fit the Ranger archetype far more than the Fighter archetype. Even in military use archers were lightly armored and armed. Yes heavy warriors could use bows, but not to the extent of a trained archer. If Ranger is going to a sub-class of Fighter then there is your Archer Fighter. If Ranger remains its place as a stand-alone class, then this should be one of their primary choice for combat training (and it should be better than a generalist fighter).
 

paladinm

First Post
So where would Aragorn (arguably the "model ranger") fit into all this? He wasn't particularly known for his use of the bow, or of "two-handed fighting." Yes, he was great in the wild, and was an amazing tracker. He had some herbalist healing ability, which got ramped-up into full blown "lay on hands"-type healing when he accepted his destiny. Would he have switched or multi-classed into paladin then? He did have some undead control (when holding Anduril).

I don't see that he fit either the druidic or martial molds. Maybe he wasn't a true ranger??
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The main thing is to define what a ranger is.

To me, a ranger is a warrior trained to survive in the wilderness alone.

The ranger knows spells out of neccesity. Rangers often spend a lot of time away from town and other people. They learn magic to make up for this lack of back up. Healing spells to patch up after dealing with some wolves. Posing removal to deal with a snakebite. Animal charms to escape an angry mama bear.

Most of these things could be done with with nonmagical methods too.
 

Yora

Legend
I think rangers get their spells for the same reasons that bards do. They spend a lot of time on their own in dangerous places, so they try to pick up some of the tricks that other people they meet there use to survive. Rangers are expected to have contact with druids and share many interests with them, so they learn some of the basic spells druids use for survival in the wilds.
 

Khaalis

Adventurer
So where would Aragorn (arguably the "model ranger") fit into all this? He wasn't particularly known for his use of the bow, or of "two-handed fighting." Yes, he was great in the wild, and was an amazing tracker. He had some herbalist healing ability, which got ramped-up into full blown "lay on hands"-type healing when he accepted his destiny. Would he have switched or multi-classed into paladin then? He did have some undead control (when holding Anduril).

I don't see that he fit either the druidic or martial molds. Maybe he wasn't a true ranger??

Actually, to me, Aragorn is a true ranger (either as a sub-fighter or a martial class of its own), but he multi-classed. In fact he is the commander of the Rangers of the North. He is a highly skilled tracker, hunter and survivalist as well as an accomplished Ranger (aka commando) warrior. He prefers the sword but is also described as being trained other weapons including the bow and short blades.

As for the multi-classing, I would say he multi-classed into Warlord. He is after-all a leader of men. He led the Rangers of the North. He led almost every battle he was in, in the stories. He inspired people to follow him including other rulers, and in the end he became the twenty-sixth King of Arnor, thirty-fifth King of Gondor and the first High King of the Reunited Kingdom.

As for the magical properties vs, undead.... eh. That could either be a property of Narsil/Anduril (it IS magical after-all) or it could simply be his incredible leadership ability, or in D&D terms, a Paladin-like PrC atop his other classes.
 

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