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%

Stalker0

Legend
I don't mind pets in the ranger class, as long as I have an option not to have a pet. Afterall, the "lone wanderer" is a common ranger flavor as well.

The issue with pets seems to be the design space. 5e is extremely sensitive to action economy changes, you really can't have a competent battle pet that gets its own actions in addition to yours, it just becomes OP too quickly. Trading out your actions for the pets has not been popular.

Probably the best answer is a separate class, where a bulk of the class's power is the pet, and so you can make the pet hardy and strong without imbalance. This to me lends itself best to the "pokemon trainer" style of flavor, a relatively weak master with a strong series of pets. Could it work for the "beastmaster" archetype....probably.... you would probably need to give the class some options at certain points to "boost the master" or "boost the pets", so you can design where on the spectrum you want to fall. Beastmaster would take more master perks and a few beast perks, Ash Ketchum would take all pet perks, that kind of thing.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
So funny enough, I consider one of the real rangers in the world, the "Army Ranger" as the perfect example of a subclass in real life. To be a ranger, you first have to be a soldier (ie fighter). You have to gain experience and high proficiency in several aspects of soldiering (aka gain a few levels in fighter) and then you can start specializing by going to ranger school (aka subclass).
The issue is the Army Rangers of real life train only to deal with humans and some animals and only on normal Earth conditions

The D&D rangers must be prepared to deal with supernatural monsters and environments. So they shouldn't really start as fighters. Or not for longer than basic. An Earth military would be training their rangers with magic and roguery if they had to deal with vampires, liches, dragons, and giants.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
So funny enough, I consider one of the real rangers in the world, the "Army Ranger" as the perfect example of a subclass in real life. To be a ranger, you first have to be a soldier (ie fighter). You have to gain experience and high proficiency in several aspects of soldiering (aka gain a few levels in fighter) and then you can start specializing by going to ranger school (aka subclass).
If only we have some sort of class that you took later in the game after gathering all the necessary mechanics from the core classes that we for some reason can't get more of that rewarded you for the... I don't know, prestige of commitment to the concept.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The issue is the Army Rangers of real life train only to deal with humans and some animals and only on normal Earth conditions

The D&D rangers must be prepared to deal with supernatural monsters and environments. So they shouldn't really start as fighters. Or not for longer than basic. An Earth military would be training their rangers with magic and roguery if they had to deal with vampires, liches, dragons, and giants.
I think your looking at higher levels though, I don't know many 3rd level rangers trapsing around the feywild for example. So I don't see anything really supernatural in the low level rangers job description. Now at high levels absolutely, but also there is no real world analog for that.... if there were mystical places with vampires and giants that are military had to fight in, I guarrantee you there would be ranger training for it.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
I think your looking at higher levels though, I don't know many 3rd level rangers trapsing around the feywild for example. So I don't see anything really supernatural in the low level rangers job description. Now at high levels absolutely, but also there is no real world analog for that.... if there were mystical places with vampires and giants that are military had to fight in, I guarrantee you there would be ranger training for it.
If we get to level 3 without encountering something cool, I would demand to know why we're adventuring in West Virginia instead of a fantasy land.

Well not even West VA, as that's full of cryptids. Regular Virginia.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I think your looking at higher levels though, I don't know many 3rd level rangers trapsing around the feywild for example. So I don't see anything really supernatural in the low level rangers job description. Now at high levels absolutely, but also there is no real world analog for that.... if there were mystical places with vampires and giants that are military had to fight in, I guarrantee you there would be ranger training for it.

Monsters can appear at any level. You can fight faeries, fiends, undead, and elementals at level 1. The whole "supernatural only appears at high levels" thing is an anachronism. There has being low level supernatural monsters, traps, and obstacles in core and early books for two decades now.

A ranger who ranges the forest would be wary of fey at level 1.
 

I don't mind pets in the ranger class, as long as I have an option not to have a pet. Afterall, the "lone wanderer" is a common ranger flavor as well.

The issue with pets seems to be the design space. 5e is extremely sensitive to action economy changes, you really can't have a competent battle pet that gets its own actions in addition to yours, it just becomes OP too quickly. Trading out your actions for the pets has not been popular.

Probably the best answer is a separate class, where a bulk of the class's power is the pet, and so you can make the pet hardy and strong without imbalance. This to me lends itself best to the "pokemon trainer" style of flavor, a relatively weak master with a strong series of pets. Could it work for the "beastmaster" archetype....probably.... you would probably need to give the class some options at certain points to "boost the master" or "boost the pets", so you can design where on the spectrum you want to fall. Beastmaster would take more master perks and a few beast perks, Ash Ketchum would take all pet perks, that kind of thing.
I think you can make it work as a ranger per se but it means a lot of design space goes to your subclass. That is, the beastmaster ranger without their companion is just a dude with martial weapons and survival expertise. The power and versatility of the class comes from having two (rather basic) characters.

The pet doesn’t need to hit hard, nor does the ranger. You’re getter an extra attack.

Other subclasses, therefore, get a whole bunch of room to play with for things like spellcasting, fighter maneuvers, or whatever else we come up with.
 

Late to the thread. Obviously a lot of what I think has already been said. The ranger started off as one thing, has morphed along the way, picked up things that are now legacy, sometimes ran headlong into issues like D&D never being afraid to go to the same well twice, nor consistent about whether classes are supposed to be as broad or as narrow as possible, etc. IMO, as always I think the primary goal is to facilitate those new to the game achieving iconic concepts they've picked up in overall fantasy tropes (experienced players should be able to houserule and use 3pp as needed). Thus I think we need animal friend havers, nature fighter-mages, Aragorns/Katnisses, and whatever else. They don't all need to be on the same frame, though. I think there should be a 1/2-caster ranger, a rogue subclass ranger, a fighter subclass ranger (perhaps even an non-magical one and a 1/3 druidic caster) and maybe even a druid archetype that gets the bladesinger treatment. There's no reason the game can't have multiple routes to achieving this (it certainly has with 'fighting guy who heals').

Although the "spells are better than skill checks" trope is deeply embedded in D&D design. Many threads have been made on this subject. So this spell-less Ranger would need some kind of "skill unlocks" to allow them to do much more than normal skill use allows for.
Just in general, unless 5.5E comes with a huge expansion of non-spell, non-combat resolution mechanics (more than 3e, even post-skill-tricks), I think the scout-rogue has taken spell-less rangering to the logical conclusion. I think it would be interesting if they could do a whole bunch of non-combat 'battlemaster maneuvers, but for skills' type things, but it would be a hefty shift to the game.

So funny enough, I consider one of the real rangers in the world, the "Army Ranger" as the perfect example of a subclass in real life. To be a ranger, you first have to be a soldier (ie fighter). You have to gain experience and high proficiency in several aspects of soldiering (aka gain a few levels in fighter) and then you can start specializing by going to ranger school (aka subclass).
That ranger makes sense as a fighter subclass. A forest ranger makes sense as a non-magical-skill-monkey (which in D&D is a rogue) subclass.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Considering the results of this poll how would everyone rebuild a new version of ranger? Currently Nature, Stealth and Bows top the poll, followed by ‘Aragorn’ then Magic:druid-lite and monster hunting, Although it’s not technically on the poll I think healing is a significant part of their makeup coming under both nature(through herbalism) and part of the druid’s spell list, the current ranger spells focus mainly around magic weapons, field control, healing and interacting with animals and plants, plus the obligatory mention of the class’s iconic hunters mark.
 

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