High level AD&D rangers could almost be the poster child for my frustration with AD&D: so much colour (the followers, the palantiri, etc), but (i) so hard to bring in to play (earning 325,000 XP) and then (ii) so hard to actually put to good use within the mechanical framework and conventions of AD&D play.Just as easily as an AD&D ranger attracts a body of followers at name-level. The process described in the text is just that of him meeting the hobbits and then being joined by the rest of the Fellowship after the journey to Rivendell. This is emulated by an AD&D ranger reaching 10th level, and it doesn't require extraordinary luck other than that needed to attain the required experience. It just happens. Although it does require a fair amount of luck of a different kind for the DM to roll up a body with the same composition as the Fellowship, it is nevertheless possible!
I see similar things in monks, druids and even paladins.
At the moment, if someone asked me for advice on what system can somewhat reconcile the promise of flavour with some of the basic play conceits, without the heartbreak, I'd recommend Torchbearer.