D&D General What is a Ranger? A miserable pile of secrets! (+)

What is a Ranger? (pick up to 3)

  • Archery! Rangers and Bows. They just make sense.

    Votes: 48 40.0%
  • Dual wielding! Just like Drizzt taught me!

    Votes: 8 6.7%
  • Nature! But none of that magic crap, more like, "hey, that's poison oak, don't touch that"

    Votes: 67 55.8%
  • Magic! Like a mini-druid. Maybe poultices. Plants and animals are friends! With magic!

    Votes: 27 22.5%
  • Animal companions! Just like Drizzt taught me!

    Votes: 21 17.5%
  • DPS! Damage on damage on damage. Doesn't matter how, just keep magic out of it! They're martial!

    Votes: 10 8.3%
  • Favored foes! The "X killed my family" trope is due for a comeback! You'll see! You'll all see!

    Votes: 13 10.8%
  • Stealth! Stalking through the woods, unseen, unheard, unsmelt. This is the way.

    Votes: 58 48.3%
  • Aragorn! Just being Aragorn. That's all it ever was.

    Votes: 39 32.5%
  • Rogues! Just replace buildings with trees

    Votes: 8 6.7%
  • Monster Hunting! Toss a coin to your Drizzt!

    Votes: 29 24.2%
  • Environmental Adaptation! A Drizzt of all seasons!

    Votes: 10 8.3%
  • Magical Weapons Combat! Look I don't even know at this point

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • Katniss! Dump Strider in the past! The future is catching fire and mocking jays!

    Votes: 2 1.7%

Gradine

The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
Thread title. We all like to talk about the Ranger. How it's crap, how it lacks an identity, how it's great, how it's supposed to have magic, how it used to be crap but now it's great, how it's perfectly fine, how its identity is clear, how its not supposed to be magical, how it used to be great but now it's crap, the usual. With all the polls going on, let's have a knockdown dragout fight poll over what the actual identity of the Ranger is! Pick the three most central ideas! Mix and match to make your perfect Ranger! It's just like Build-a-Bear, except instead of a teddy bear filled with love, you're making Drizzt. Build-a-Drizzt.

Oh and this is a (+) thread for the following reasons:
(a) It's actually worthwhile to figure out what a Drizzt Ranger is supposed to look like. Especially with a half edition on the horizon; half-editions love tinkering with Rangers!
(b) This thread isn't about critiquing any individual iteration of the class. This isn't about whether 6e droolz and 2.5 rulez or whatever. Argue aspects, not editions
(c) Keep it civil. All ideal Rangers Drizzts are valid. Everything listed has been a part of some kind of Drizzt at some point or another, and that Drizzt has at lease one mother who loves him. Advocate for your position, don't tear other factors down.

Let me know if I've missed anything. Or you know what? Just throw out any random idea. "I think Rangers brew potions!" "I think Rangers should be psionic!" "I think dogs should vote!" Whatever it is, I'll toss it on the poll. The court of public opinion* will decide.

NEW OPTIONS WILL BE ADDED!
Please change your votes if you like some of the stuff others have added better. I'm not going to stop you!

*public opinion being ENworlders, so take that with all the grains of salt in China
 
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The key thing about Rangers, which people overlook, is that they are beloved archetype for people NEW to TT RPGs. Especially women/girls (though not exclusively), who are still underrepresented.

Why? Pets, bows and nature.

So that's how I voted. D&D's Ranger shouldn't be a shoddy Aragorn knock-off or a Drizzt wannabe because honestly people who are into those archetypes actually rarely pick Ranger. But new players? The look the classes, and Ranger sticks out to them - and it's that nature, pets, bows combo. Stealth also factors in, but those three are the main things. Knowing about nature and being able to operate in the wilderness. Having cool animal companions. Shooting jerks with a bow. There's a reason Hunger Games and Katniss was so stunningly popular and she was only 2 out of 3 on these (nature and shooting bows). That's your modern Ranger archetype right there - Katniss Everdeen.

And what's really bad is, people picking Ranger tend to end up disappointed. I won't critique particular editions, but I will say that most versions of the Ranger have been lacking in some way or another, often in an ill-conceived attempt at "balance" (which doesn't seem to impact other classes as hard).

Also pets that force the Ranger to not act so they can act is just a silly idea (as more and more people seem to realize). Better to down-power the Ranger core chassis than have a pet who needs an Action to be commanded or the like.

Oh and because it's a class beloved to people new to RPGs, stuff like Favoured Enemies, i.e. "weird D&D-specific kinda creepy-seeming stuff" should be outside the main chassis of the class and inside a subclass for people who want the "Classic Ranger" or whatever.
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The key thing about Rangers, which people overlook, is that they are beloved archetype for people NEW to TT RPGs. Especially women/girls (though not exclusively).

Why? Pets, bows and nature.

So that's how I voted. D&D's Ranger shouldn't be a shoddy Aragorn knock-off or a Drizzt wannabe because honestly people who are into those archetypes actually rarely pick Ranger. But new players? The look the classes, and Ranger sticks out to them - and it's that nature, pets, bows combo. Stealth also factors in, but that's the main thing.

And what's really bad is, they tend to end up disappointed. I won't critique particular editions, but I will say that most versions of the Ranger have been lacking in some way or another.

Also pets that force the Ranger to not act so they can act is just a silly idea (as more and more people seem to realize). Better to down-power the Ranger core chassis than have a pet who needs an Action to be commanded or the like,
I don’t see pets as essential to the archetype, but they work. Especially if you can pick a horse as your “pet.”
 



I don’t see pets as essential to the archetype, but they work. Especially if you can pick a horse as your “pet.”
Pets are absolutely huge to attracting people to the class and to how a lot of people, especially outside TT RPGs, see this archetype. Unlike most D&D archetypes, this archetype does exist in the greater culture.

Are they absolutely essential? No. It's toss-up between them and Stealth, I'd say, but they're far more important than Magic (which is actively antithetical to the general archetype of Ranger) or Aragorn (who originated the concept, but doesn't really act very Ranger-y).
 

Call it confirmation bias, but I've always noticed a disproportionate amount of women playing rangers.
I don't think it's confirmation bias, I've seen the same thing. I'm not going to speculate on reasons, I will once again point us to Katniss Everdeen (Nature, Bows, Stealth) easily the most Ranger-like big pop-culture character in the last decade or two, and it's no accident she's female. But this trend started long before Katniss - I saw it in the '90s.
 


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