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/they)
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.

Here's our Build-a-Arakatzzt

Base Class:
The masters of the wilderness. Silent stalkers, stealthy trackers. Experts at ranged combat, keeping out of sight and out of reach. Core class features focus on these features. Ambush, bonus damage, etc.

Archetypes:
Druid-Lite: 1/3 caster. Rituals, healing
Horse-Whisperer: Gotta have pets
Hunter: I mean, this already exists. But more, I guess

E: Driraganiss?
 

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Stalker0

Legend
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.
Probably the only version that would truly cater to the majority would be a "Build a Ranger" approach that Level Up used for their Adept class.

Effectively a large list of abilities, and at each level (or even level or whenever) you choose an ability from that list (which in many ways is how the warlock class operates). This allows for a very high level of customization, and lets players craft all sorts of different rangers to fit whatever flavor believes they feel are needed. The issue is the difficulty in balancing it (more options = more opportunities for abuse), but I think its the only way you could go that could have success in the face of such differing opinions.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
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.

Based on the poll the 5e Ranger need to:

  • Offer expertise in Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival
  • Based on that choice, you get an increasing set of fantastical class features
    • Animal Handling - Bonuses to summoned,charmed, and companion beasts
    • Athletics- Melee Ranger and speed bonuses
    • Insight- ????
    • Investigation- Scrying and detective bonus
    • Nature- Bonus spells and healing
    • Perception- Archery and detection bonuses
    • Stealth, Hiding and nondetection bonuses
    • Survival
  • This choice is in addition to subclass
  • The "Aragorn/Jon Snow" aspect that any ranger who makes it to mid-level ranger is a "special" and either has a unique bloodline, has been "touched" by some force, or is such a prodigy at hunting that they attract kindred spirits who help them.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I see the following as the key:
  1. Nature (don't touch the poison oak!)
  2. Stealth (unseen, unheard, etc.)
  3. Archery is discounted because you can choose whatever weapon you want. The important aspect is below.
  4. Aragon is also discounted because you can play your character however you want. The important aspect is below.
  5. Magic (mini-druid) (defeated in the poll by #1 above)
  6. Monster Hunter. The important aspect is below.

Being adept in Nature and knowing how to maneuver around without notice are obvious IMO.

What is important aspects about Archery, Aragon (who already has Nature and Stealth), and Monster Hunter is that the Ranger be also adept at combat, both ranged (the "bows") but also in melee (like Aragon), with the Monster Hunter representing that the ranger is particularly adept against certain creatures.

I like the idea that the ranger excels at the terrain(s) he knows, including Urban as an option as a "nature" terrain. The ranger should still be viable outside of those terrains, but not as well.

In many respects, I feel the 5E ranger does most of this, and doesn't need much tweaking to make it ideal.

Of course, subclasses can fill the niche roles (beastmaster, etc.) which people want, but the above should be universal to all rangers IMO.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Monster Hunter. The important aspect is below.
Monster hunter is the one I understand least. What about the ranger just screams this "favored enemy" concept? I mean every class in dnd fights monsters, fighters fight monsters just fine. Why do rangers need to be this weird monster specialist?

I can understand them having interesting monster knowledge (mainly because they have things like nature knowledge that a lot of classes wouldn't have), but why do they need to be more expert at fighting orcs than these other seasoned master of war fighters?

now don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of specializing....I just don't get why it needs to be a ranger thing that no other class gets.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Monster hunter is the one I understand least. What about the ranger just screams this "favored enemy" concept? I mean every class in dnd fights monsters, fighters fight monsters just fine. Why do rangers need to be this weird monster specialist?

I can understand them having interesting monster knowledge (mainly because they have things like nature knowledge that a lot of classes wouldn't have), but why do they need to be more expert at fighting orcs than these other seasoned master of war fighters?

now don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of specializing....I just don't get why it needs to be a ranger thing that no other class gets.
I think if its expanded into tracking, identifying, interacting with, on top of combat bonuses, it puts the ranger as an expert on a particular type of being. This crosses several pillars and makes it a unique feature. Otherwise, yes I agree with you that its not a great concept for a class.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Monster hunter is the one I understand least. What about the ranger just screams this "favored enemy" concept? I mean every class in dnd fights monsters, fighters fight monsters just fine. Why do rangers need to be this weird monster specialist?

I can understand them having interesting monster knowledge (mainly because they have things like nature knowledge that a lot of classes wouldn't have), but why do they need to be more expert at fighting orcs than these other seasoned master of war fighters?

now don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of specializing....I just don't get why it needs to be a ranger thing that no other class gets.
As the one who suggested the addition,I'll explain.

The Fighter trains to fight.
The Ranger trains to fight you.
The Ranger who fightes orcs knows that an orc's body leans forward do to the different center of mass and that their arms are longer but slower than a mans. So Orc favor overhead and wide swings as those a natural for their bodies. So an Orcslayer will be able to notice and dodge orc attacks. And if the human bandit does an overhead club attack?... he's foighting like an orc... so the ranger's muscle memory kicks in and... sidestep and stab in the liver.

The ranger hunting dragons would have special training. How many wrenches did the ranger's master throw at him to teach him to dodge a blue dragon's lightning breath?

The Giantkiller probably know all about the anatomy of the legs and feet of all common monsters and humaniods as thoses are the easiest to reach with a scimatar when the target is 50 ft tall. Slice here to wound. Slice there to buckle.

The fighter isn't training that way. The Fighter is training the best ways to use all weapons and specializing on the use of a couple.

It's a totally different fantasy. The other warriors are training their abilities via sword exercises, katas, meditation, and prayers. The ranger is asking the party to surround him and throw rocks at him to practice "hordebreaking".
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Monster hunter is the one I understand least. What about the ranger just screams this "favored enemy" concept? I mean every class in dnd fights monsters, fighters fight monsters just fine. Why do rangers need to be this weird monster specialist?

I can understand them having interesting monster knowledge (mainly because they have things like nature knowledge that a lot of classes wouldn't have), but why do they need to be more expert at fighting orcs than these other seasoned master of war fighters?

now don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of specializing....I just don't get why it needs to be a ranger thing that no other class gets.
I suppose it comes from the idea of the medieval-ish hunter searching the woods for food like a boar or a stag, sure the other classes might be good in a fight but the ranger is meant to evoke the forest hunter with his bow, or more modernly a rifle, being an expert of certain types of beast because it’s their job to specifically bring them down, so as a result they know everything about it, what habitats it prefers, what it’s food sources are, how to spot it’s tracks and how to follow it, but most importantly: how to bring it down as quickly and as efficiently as possible to prevent it from running away and losing that valuable source of meat or butchering it into shreds in the process of taking it down.

And in dnd that gets translated into specialising in taking down certain types of monsters, “oh hey you say you got a hill giant problem? You want rick the ranger, that guy knows everythin’ about em bring one down dead fore you’ll even spot it yourself.”

I don’t think the mechanical execution is the greatest but I do think the concept is sound.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I don’t think the mechanical execution is the greatest but I do think the concept is sound.
I think this is the issue.

The mechanics really do not display what the lore and concepts mean.

It's either abstracts everything (0e-3e +2 damage to X, 4e hunter's quarry) so you can see what is really happening or shifted to optional aspects (5e hunter subclass, 3e ranger favored feats) so that you don't understand the core.

For example, why does a ranger deal more damage to a dragon with the same weapon than a fighter? Why does the ranger handle the harsh winter's cold better than the cleric wearing the same clothing and armor?
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
Monster hunter is the one I understand least. What about the ranger just screams this "favored enemy" concept? I mean every class in dnd fights monsters, fighters fight monsters just fine. Why do rangers need to be this weird monster specialist?

I can understand them having interesting monster knowledge (mainly because they have things like nature knowledge that a lot of classes wouldn't have), but why do they need to be more expert at fighting orcs than these other seasoned master of war fighters?

now don't get me wrong, I understand the appeal of specializing....I just don't get why it needs to be a ranger thing that no other class gets.
1st: it is legacy. From the "Giant-Class" opponents in AD&D. Not just giants, but any humanoid that could threaten "civilization" including kobolds to ogres, trolls, and actual giants. Then rangers added their level to the damage against such creatures. This represents the knowledge rangers have against such foes as @Minigiant suggests.

2nd: it has since been expanded to include things such as tracking, etc. in the process of actually "hunting" such creatures.

3rd: it as also been expanded to apply (in 5E anyway) to fiends, dragons, monstrosities, etc.

It is why I voted for "Favored Foe" over Monster Hunter, but Monster Hunter can easily be adapted to it. It is also why we house-ruled rangers add their proficiency bonus to damage against a favored foe once on their turn.
 

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