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%

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The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
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.


Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I went with bows, stealth, and Aragorn. I'd have considered nature, which I think is also core, but I'm agnostic about whether they interact with it with magic or not so neither of the two nature choices in the poll really worked. I'd have had to pick both and that's just taking up too many of my 3 picks.
Aside from Aragorn being the obvious original inspiration, Aragorn someone who works out in the wilds to protect you from the horrors that populate it. They aren't protectors of the wilderness, though they may respect it, they are protectors of normal people from the wilderness. And in doing so, stealth and archery work well together.

That said, Katniss Everdeen as a more recent inspiration for ranger players is a good call. She also encompasses the upstanding, protective nature of the ranger that Aragorn has.


Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Pets are absolutely huge to attracting people to the class and to how 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).
Yeah, I’d say stealth and pets occupy the same space of being associated with the archetype, but not required for it. Archery too, in my opinion. Really, the defining features of the archetype are being outdoorsy and a loner. Pets, bows, and stealth just tend to come with the territory. I agree that Aragorn actually doesn’t resemble what the archetype has come to be all that closely, but I voted for rangers being like him because he does fit the bill holistically, whereas all the other options only describe individual aspects, none of which I really think are essential besides nature-y. If there was a “Like John Snow” or “Like Katniss Everdeen” option though, I’d pick those over “like Aragorn.”


When I think of a ranger, the core to me is the "Nature Survivalist".

They can survive in the woods indefinitely, living off the land and their wits. They know much about the natural world through hard experience. They track animals for hunting and know what herbs to use for remedies and some healing.

I think stealth goes hand in hand with that, as ambush hunting is a big part of how they survive.

I think pets and favored enemies are absolutely aspects that a ranger needs to have access to (whether its through subclass or spells or xyz) but I don't consider that "core" to the class.


The Elephant in the Room (she/they)
Just a heads up that I've set it so that you can update your vote if any new option pops up that tickles your fancy.

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