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D&D 5E The Dual Wielding Ranger: How Aragorn, Drizzt, and Dual-Wielding Led to the Ranger's Loss of Identity


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Nah, I’d definitely make it as a ranger class.
why it seems so easy to just get rid of it, its points in its favour are things that should be universal it eats an aspect of play worse than a bard and it lacks any archetype other than lone wander of the wilds which is not a class idea but a character idea, why not kill it and let something else grow?
 

Except that it placed arbitrary restrictions on the concept of a ranger in a pointless effort to mechanically differentiate it more from a fighter. Why, for example, would no ranger be able to use a two-handed weapon effectively? Likewise, why would a fighter not be able to pursue archery effectively?
Because if a fighter pursued archery, she'd be a ranger instead. That's just where the line between the classes exist.

If you want to do both, that's what multiclassing is for.

Classes can't do everything, or they shouldn't exist. Fighters also can't cast spells or use ki without multiclassing, but that's not an issue for anyone I know of. 4e just draws the lines very close together: the fighter is for strength-based combat styles, not all weapon styles.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Because if a fighter pursued archery, she'd be a ranger instead. That's just where the line between the classes exist.

If you want to do both, that's what multiclassing is for.

Classes can't do everything, or they shouldn't exist. Fighters also can't cast spells or use ki without multiclassing, but that's not an issue for anyone I know of. 4e just draws the lines very close together: the fighter is for strength-based combat styles, not all weapon styles.
I don't think anyone is saying that classes should be able to do everything - but I think that the difference in do-able things between classes perhaps shouldn't hinge on specific weapons. 4e went all-in on their particular formulation of class roles - a bold move. But it was one that made liking the game a more difficult prospect for some D&D fans, myself included. I really disliked that aspect of 4e.
 

I don't think anyone is saying that classes should be able to do everything - but I think that the difference in do-able things between classes perhaps shouldn't hinge on specific weapons. 4e went all-in on their particular formulation of class roles - a bold move. But it was one that made liking the game a more difficult prospect for some D&D fans, myself included. I really disliked that aspect of 4e.
You might not have liked it - but it isn't a wrong way to design a game, or even really a weakness since it fits well with the rest of the system.

In other words "I don't like it" is not a design criticism. Or even "many people don't like it," unless you can prove "most people don't like it." And since 4e sold pretty well and has it's share of fans, I'd need proof to accept the last point.
 

Voadam

Legend
There are options.

You can do warrior, skilled guy, spellcaster and be done with classes. True20 and 3.5 Unearthed Arcana optional rules did and it works conceptually.

You could collapse from the current selection down by combining say the 4e ranger and rogue concepts and giving them all options from either class (although there are issues like rogue stuff only working with light weapons while rangers can use big ones).

You can have different classes of the same concept together and it works fine (4e base classes or essentials in the same party).

You can have lots of classes based off of more specific mechanics and concepts to varying degrees and it can work fine.

There was a huge AEG d20 book on mercenaries that had a dozen or so variant ranger and fighter classes. Iron Heroes was built around mechanically complex epic but non magical distinct martial classes.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
You might not have liked it - but it isn't a wrong way to design a game, or even really a weakness since it fits well with the rest of the system.

In other words "I don't like it" is not a design criticism. Or even "many people don't like it," unless you can prove "most people don't like it." And since 4e sold pretty well and has it's share of fans, I'd need proof to accept the last point.
Sold pretty well and has its share of fans isn't a lot of proof either considering D&D lost its 800 lb gorilla status under 4e before 5e. That doesn't exactly say that it was the right way to design a game either.
 

Because if a fighter pursued archery, she'd be a ranger instead. That's just where the line between the classes exist.

If you want to do both, that's what multiclassing is for.

Classes can't do everything, or they shouldn't exist. Fighters also can't cast spells or use ki without multiclassing, but that's not an issue for anyone I know of. 4e just draws the lines very close together: the fighter is for strength-based combat styles, not all weapon styles.
but arcane archer is a fighter subclass and give them the outlander background and guess what we have a ranger.
it lacks a solid hook so cutting it from the line up would work.
 



Voadam

Legend
but arcane archer is a fighter subclass and give them the outlander background and guess what we have a ranger.
it lacks a solid hook so cutting it from the line up would work.
There are often numerous ways to execute a concept in D&D.

Making a magical warrior for instance can go along about a dozen class paths in 5e. I can't think of one specifically off the top of my head for non-multiclassed sorcerers but I can think of options for every other class.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
4e provided a mechanical and narrative concept that worked very well IMO. Martial striker with wilderness skills. Lighter armor high damage, some mobility. Executed generally through a couple different combat paths, archery versus two weapon versus animal companion.

They were even very mechanically different from the other martial striker in the PH, the urban skills rogue who focused on significantly exploiting tactical advantage and tumbling for defense and mobility while the ranger picked a target to increase damage against and had some interrupt attacks.
The 4e ranger worked because all the reality warping was bundled into rituals which were only one feat of cost and healing and most skills were easier to access.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
You might not have liked it - but it isn't a wrong way to design a game, or even really a weakness since it fits well with the rest of the system.

In other words "I don't like it" is not a design criticism. Or even "many people don't like it," unless you can prove "most people don't like it." And since 4e sold pretty well and has it's share of fans, I'd need proof to accept the last point.
(Bold emphasis added.) I don't follow the bolded claim. How do subjective personal opinions of an RPG fail to qualify as design criticism? When I express my opinion of a game's design aren't I critiquing criticizing that design, by definition?

Edit: interestingly, the dictionary definitions of "critique" are not as related to "criticism" as I thought. To avoid confusion, I've changed my language above.
 
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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
If it were up to me.

Fighters would have being designed around the weapons and armors they used: bows, throw weapons, one handed melee, two handed melee, shield, heavy armor, medium armor, light armor, light weapons,

Rangers would be designed around the type of enemies they faced: infantry, cavalry, large beings, warriors, casters, lurkers, elementalists, fatties, squishies.

I wrote this constantly in 5e playtest surveys. I got Colossus Slayer, Horde Breaker, and Giant Killer. Eh it's something Here's hoping for 6e for them to replace Ranger Fighting Styles.
 

Einlanzer0

Explorer
why it seems so easy to just get rid of it, its points in its favour are things that should be universal it eats an aspect of play worse than a bard and it lacks any archetype other than lone wander of the wilds which is not a class idea but a character idea, why not kill it and let something else grow?

The problem is that basically any existing class could be conceptualized as a subclass of a different class. ALL of these lines are arbitrary, which makes it silly to act like classes HAVE to be designed around a precise uniqueness.
 

(Bold emphasis added.) I don't follow the bolded claim. How do subjective personal opinions of an RPG fail to qualify as design criticism? When I express my opinion of a game's design aren't I critiquing criticizing that design, by definition?

Edit: interestingly, the dictionary definitions of "critique" are not as related to "criticism" as I thought. To avoid confusion, I've changed my language above.
That's a fair point: it's technically a criticism, but not a critique.
 

Xetheral

Three-Headed Sirrush
That's a fair point: it's technically a criticism, but not a critique.
The more I look into various dictionaries, the more conflicting information I'm seeing about what "critique" actually means. It feels a little surreal, since I thought I had a good understanding of the word.

Most dictionaries seem to restrict "critique" to a detailed analysis, so a bare "I don't like it" without further analysis indeed wouldn't qualify, but "I don't like it, and here's why... " when combined with a subsequent analysis would qualify as a design critique.

By contrast, other dictionaries require a "critique" to be written, which would make all of the numerous uses of the phrase "oral critique" into oxymorons. So, according to these dictionaries, a forum post might qualify as a critique, but the same analysis presented at a lecture or in discussion would not. (One lists "essay" as a synonym, suggesting that "critique" can refer to the written work containing the analysis, rather than the analysis itself.)

None of the dictionaries I've seen appear to allow for the (in my experience) common usage of "critique" as "an item of criticism" even though that's common enough to appear near the top of the Wikipedia page on Criticism. So, at least for now, the phrase "I have a few critiques" appears to be non-standard usage no matter which dictionary one goes by (unless you actually have multiple detailed analyses and/or critical essays on hand).

I did not realize I was kicking a lexicographical hornets nest when I asked my question!
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
To get back on topic.

The traditional thing in D&D class design was to:
  1. Design the fighter, cleric, rogue/thief, wizard.
  2. Design all other classes as variants of the above 4 classes by
    1. Choosing on of the 4 core as a base
    2. Adding aspects of another class
    3. Adding a few unique flavor features.
That's how the ranger was made. It was a "fighter with tracking and C and MU magic" to "fighter with tracking, TWF, and druid magic" to "fighter with tracking, TWF, druid magic, and a weak pet" to "fighter with tracking, TWF OR Archery, druid magic, a weak pet, and rogue skills" to "fighter with TWF OR Archery OR Beastmastery OR Throwing, and rogue skills" to "fighter with TWF OR Archery OR Beastmastery OR Throwing, druid and wizard magic, and rogue skills"

Notice the ranger was never given it's own fighting style. The ranger was only given a fighter or druid fighting style. in 4e, they took away the fighting style from the fighter and druid to make it exclusive to the ranger but it wasn't theirs.

If it were up to me, fighting styles would be
  1. Exclusive to each class. You need to be a member of a class or take a feat to get a fighting style.
  2. Designed for each class.
Fighting StyleClass
Reckless FightingBarbarian
Wild FightingBarbarian
ArcheryFighter
DuelingFighter
Great Weapon FightingFighter
Heavy Armor ArmorFighter
Medium Armor FightingFighter
Light Armor FightingFighter
Shield FightingFighter
Tavern BrawlingFighter
Thrown Weapon FightingFighter
Two Weapon FightingFighter
Martial ArtsMonk
Spiritual ArtsMonk
Colossus SlayingRanger
Giant SlayingRanger
Horde SlayingRanger
Man SlayingRanger
 

Voadam

Legend
The traditional thing in D&D class design was to:
  1. Design the fighter, cleric, rogue/thief, wizard.
  2. Design all other classes as variants of the above 4 classes by
    1. Choosing on of the 4 core as a base
    2. Adding aspects of another class
    3. Adding a few unique flavor features.
That's how the ranger was made. It was a "fighter with tracking and C and MU magic" to "fighter with tracking, TWF, and druid magic" to "fighter with tracking, TWF, druid magic, and a weak pet" to "fighter with tracking, TWF OR Archery, druid magic, a weak pet, and rogue skills" to "fighter with TWF OR Archery OR Beastmastery OR Throwing, and rogue skills" to "fighter with TWF OR Archery OR Beastmastery OR Throwing, druid and wizard magic, and rogue skills"

It goes back farther and deeper than that.

Originally it was just Fighters and Magic-Users out of Chainmail. Arneson came up with hybrid fighter magic-users with some unique things to execute a Doctor Van Helsing character concept for a player to be a foil to a vampire bad guy side character. So we got a hybrid who used crosses to repel vampires and did healing.

Thieves were a variant of magic users with variant non magical spells for thief abilities and a touch of fighter (some weapons and light armor) to balance out their less powerful spell variants.

I am a fan of the two class concept. Fighters are not dumb and unskilled conceptually there.
 

Reading through all of this I am left with two main thoughts.

1) The Current DnD Ranger is not Aargon, so stop saying it. I think that is nowhere made more clear than in the OP where it lays out that high-level rangers are supposed to be heavily armored warrior-kings with castles and followers. None of that sounds like a DnD ranger to me. In fact, many of the ranger "classics" would rather gnaw off their own arms than do that.

Aargon is a fighter/Paladin with the Outlander background and some racial skill proficiencies for his divine birth. Yes, he shares some skills with some rangers, but he is not a ranger.


2) I think @Undrave really hit the nail on the head for me. If we are going to rethink and redesign the ranger, then I think the strongest place to start is by saying "Rangers are the people standing at the Border."

This could simply be the classic Border between the Town and the Woods, like everyone always says. It could be the border between the Underdark and the Surface World, like the Gloomstalker shows. It could be the border between the Outer Planes and the Material Plane, like the Horizon Walker. All of this works.

And, it ties a lot of the ranger's key aspects into a solid purpose that makes sense. Why do Rangers track? Because something got past them, and they need to find it. Maybe it was a child that fell through to the Fey or maybe it was an Starspawn cracking open reality, but the ranger will find them. How do they hunt? It depends on what they are doing. You could have the classic archer, you could have a slightly more heavily armored warden, you could have a fleet-footed dervish. It depends on what they are doing.

But, vigilance, watchfulness, maybe the occasional companion to aid them. Magic because magic is at these borders. It all slides together in a very coherent way, and it gives the ranger a rather unique identity. No body else is holding this role in the DnD worlds, but it makes sense to give it to Rangers and Druids as balance keepers and those on the fringes.
 

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