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

Well now rangers are seen as

  1. Protecting civilization from nature
  2. Protecting nature from civilization
  3. Protecting natural civilization from urban or rural civilization
  4. Protecting fey civilization from nonfey civilization
  5. Protecting non fey civilization from fey
  6. Protecting civilization from barbarians
  7. Protecting barbarians from civilization
  8. Protecting the king's or lords land
  9. Protecting themselves and their family.
  10. Protection civilization from demons
  11. Protection civilization from lone monsters
  12. Everything in between
The issue is that D&D has no setting.

If you're setting has a wilderness area that is inherently corrupted, perhaps by an ancient evil civilisation that was once there, and needs a group of guardians on the border who also travel within that wilderness to keep an eye on it and to ensure the evil never rises again, you have your classic Ranger archetype with parallels from the Lord of the Rings and Song of Ice and Fire.

Of course just having such an organisation in your setting isn't enough, because setting less class design means that the core Ranger class is not a particularly good fit.

I feel like the Ranger is actually a pretty appealing and powerful fantasy archetype - it's that it doesn't really make a lot of sense in isolation from a setting with a place for them. Once you move the Ranger from setting element to rules element it quickly loses a clear identity.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Yeah but modern classes do have a parent archetype.

There's a limit as to how much we need to allow ourselves to be tied to the past.

One person I play with was not even born when 3e came out. What the ranger was in 1e is of academic interest, and not formative of their experience with the game.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
No other class has such fuzzy edges.

I disagree. Every class has fuzzy edges. Clerics make a great examples of this. Are they primarily melee? No. Primarily buffing? No. Primarily ranged spellcasters? No. They can do any of these things effectively. Do they have one primary mission? No. One primary philosophy? No. One primary role in society? No.

Clerics serve roles as widely varied as the gods themselves. But rangers are the fuzzy ones?
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The issue is that D&D has no setting.

If you're setting has a wilderness area that is inherently corrupted, perhaps by an ancient evil civilisation that was once there, and needs a group of guardians on the border who also travel within that wilderness to keep an eye on it and to ensure the evil never rises again, you have your classic Ranger archetype with parallels from the Lord of the Rings and Song of Ice and Fire.

Of course just having such an organisation in your setting isn't enough, because setting less class design means that the core Ranger class is not a particularly good fit.

I feel like the Ranger is actually a pretty appealing and powerful fantasy archetype - it's that it doesn't really make a lot of sense in isolation from a setting with a place for them. Once you move the Ranger from setting element to rules element it quickly loses a clear identity.

I think the ranger could be setting neutral.

The issue was early D&D didn't have movable parts and D&D is still iffy on making rangers have moving parts outside of favored enemy/terrain.

There's a limit as to how much we need to allow ourselves to be tied to the past.

One person I play with was not even born when 3e came out. What the ranger was in 1e is of academic interest, and not formative of their experience with the game.
I'm not saying the parent class is the old class.

I'm saying the parent class is the parent of the subclasses. The fighter is the parent of the champion, cavalier, eldritch knight, rune knight, etc.

Ranger's issue is the original ranger is a subclass and a kitbash posing as a fully designed parent class. And because of nostalgia, D&D designers never sat back and designed a true parent ranger from scratch.
 

I disagree. Every class has fuzzy edges. Clerics make a great examples of this. Are they primarily melee? No. Primarily buffing? No. Primarily ranged spellcasters? No. They can do any of these things effectively. Do they have one primary mission? No. One primary philosophy? No. One primary role in society? No.

Clerics serve roles as widely varied as the gods themselves. But rangers are the fuzzy ones?
Exactly. Clerics for most of 1st to 3rd edition were modelled off Templar Knights of all things -but if you asked a player to create a "templar knight" style character now they would go for a paladin.
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I'm not saying the parent class is the old class.

I'm saying the parent class is the parent of the subclasses. The fighter is the parent of the champion, cavalier, eldritch knight, rune knight, etc.

I understand. But, it follows that that parent class is not defined by theme. The parent is merely a convenient mechanical basis upon which to build other things.

Ranger's issue is the original ranger is a subclass and a kitbash posing as a fully designed parent class. And because of nostalgia, D&D designers never sat back and designed a true parent ranger from scratch.

I honestly couldn't care less. This seems to me to be either an argument of aesthetics, or that purity automatically and necessarily leads to better results. I am not moved by the aesthetics, and find the latter to be empirically false. I think a combination of approaches to class design is probably, all in all, more robust.

And, honestly, I think only the Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, and Cleric have what you're arguing here - most of the other base classes (Artificer, Druid, Bard, Ranger, Monk, Paladin) are similar kit-bashes. I find Sorcerers and Warlocks to be efforts to enable mechanics dressed up in the clothing of classes.

And to be clear, I'm okay with all of them!
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I disagree. Every class has fuzzy edges. Clerics make a great examples of this. Are they primarily melee? No. Primarily buffing? No. Primarily ranged spellcasters? No. They can do any of these things effectively. Do they have one primary mission? No. One primary philosophy? No. One primary role in society? No.

Clerics serve roles as widely varied as the gods themselves. But rangers are the fuzzy ones?
Clerics serve their deity and perform what tasks their deity wants. That kind of counts as their primary mission and philosophy.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I understand. But, it follows that that parent class is not defined by theme. The parent is merely a convenient mechanical basis upon which to build other things
Which rangers never had.



I honestly couldn't care less. This seems to me to be either an argument of aesthetics, or that purity automatically and necessarily leads to better results. I am not moved by the aesthetics, and find the latter to be empirically false. I think a combination of approaches to class design is probably, all in all, more robust
I'm not arguing aethestics..

I'm arguing the the Ranger was first designed to mimic an unique member of a special organizations that represents a heroic theme by snagging features of 4 different classes that looked closed to it.


And, honestly, I think only the Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, and Cleric have what you're arguing here - most of the other base classes (Artificer, Druid, Bard, Ranger, Monk, Paladin) are similar kit-bashes. I find Sorcerers and Warlocks to be efforts to enable mechanics dressed up in the clothing of classes.

And to be clear, I'm okay with all of them!

My point is that many of the other classes grew over time.

Whereas D&D is still trying to sell a subclass with houserule mechanics as a full class instead of making a stinking herbalism system.
 


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