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%

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
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?
Knowing the enemy's weak points due to careful study? I'm reminded of a scene from Pitch Black where Riddick examines a skull of one of the aliens to figure out it has a blind spot in it's range of vision, then later exploits it when he faces one.
 

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GSHamster

Adventurer
Knowing the enemy's weak points due to careful study? I'm reminded of a scene from Pitch Black where Riddick examines a skull of one of the aliens to figure out it has a blind spot in it's range of vision, then later exploits it when he faces one.
That would be a nice Ranger ability:

Tracked Enemy: If the Ranger spends 5 minutes carefully studying a creature, she gains a bonus when fighting that creature's species in combat. A Ranger can only track one species at a time. Studying a creature can include: visual observation, examining a corpse, examining a kill made by the creature, examining the den or lair of the creature, or similar activities.

Might be a little more versatile than traditional Favoured Enemy mechanics, but still plays into lore and nature of the Ranger.
 

After reading MCDM's AMAZING Beastheart class, I now love animal/monster companions and no longer need this thread!

I ultra recc it to ANYONE interested in the concept. It is a better spelless ranger then anything I could have asked for, and is a truly amazing companion systenm.

Have fun!
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Knowing the enemy's weak points due to careful study? I'm reminded of a scene from Pitch Black where Riddick examines a skull of one of the aliens to figure out it has a blind spot in it's range of vision, then later exploits it when he faces one.
The problem with the careful study or specific beast knowledge is that you either get the 2e-3e problem of it not working in most battles and being OP when it does or the 4e problem where it sucks up a ton of your action economy or the Analysis problem of requiring a set up to work.

This is why I prefer the Monster Hunter to Favored For as Monster Hunter can be applied to a multitude of foes at no cost and can be tailored to match the for instead of a generic "+X to damage vs Ys"
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
That would be a nice Ranger ability:

Tracked Enemy: If the Ranger spends 5 minutes carefully studying a creature, she gains a bonus when fighting that creature's species in combat. A Ranger can only track one species at a time. Studying a creature can include: visual observation, examining a corpse, examining a kill made by the creature, examining the den or lair of the creature, or similar activities.

Might be a little more versatile than traditional Favoured Enemy mechanics, but still plays into lore and nature of the Ranger.
The only problem I have with this ability is that you're not always aware of what you will be fighting in future encounters, and the whole "spend time to study a foe" reminds me too much of the level 7 Battlemaster ability, which I only managed to use one time, and it really didn't help me any when I did.
 

Undrave

Legend
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.
Dunno why it's not just feats.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Dunno why it's not just feats.
Because doing it justice requires more design space than a feat and at least the dedication of its own mechanic or subsystem.

Really, the ranger's problem usually comes down to 2 situations. The first one is that most popular ranger inspirations are from low fantasy low magic settings. Those characters experiences do not match what would be expected of D&D adventurers. This diminishes the importance of monster knowledge as the most common does are very human-like humanoids.

The second is the encouragement of creating a unique ranger without creating its own unique mechanics or subsystems and the insistence of reusing the mechanics of other classes to save time or space (fighter style archery/TWC, druid spells, wizard spells, rogue stealth).


I mean look at the poll. Archery, Stealth, Nature with MinDruid Magic is just a Fighter or Rogue with Stealth and Nature Proficiency andthe Magic Initiate Druid feat. The idea is not unique nor complex enough to be it's own class in 5e. Aragorn, Faceted Foe, Monster Hunting, and Environmental Adaption are the only unique options.
 

Undrave

Legend
Because doing it justice requires more design space than a feat and at least the dedication of its own mechanic or subsystem.

Really, the ranger's problem usually comes down to 2 situations. The first one is that most popular ranger inspirations are from low fantasy low magic settings. Those characters experiences do not match what would be expected of D&D adventurers. This diminishes the importance of monster knowledge as the most common does are very human-like humanoids.

The second is the encouragement of creating a unique ranger without creating its own unique mechanics or subsystems and the insistence of reusing the mechanics of other classes to save time or space (fighter style archery/TWC, druid spells, wizard spells, rogue stealth).


I mean look at the poll. Archery, Stealth, Nature with MinDruid Magic is just a Fighter or Rogue with Stealth and Nature Proficiency andthe Magic Initiate Druid feat. The idea is not unique nor complex enough to be it's own class in 5e. Aragorn, Faceted Foe, Monster Hunting, and Environmental Adaption are the only unique options.
There's also the problem that a Specialist in DnD isn't gonna be as good as a generalist who is equally good against every monster type.

Being specialized in a specific terrain and a specific class of monster can be cool and flavourful, but it means there's a strong chance your adventure could bring somewhere where your specialty is utterly useless.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
There's also the problem that a Specialist in DnD isn't gonna be as good as a generalist who is equally good against every monster type.

Being specialized in a specific terrain and a specific class of monster can be cool and flavourful, but it means there's a strong chance your adventure could bring somewhere where your specialty is utterly useless.
This has long been a problem for Rangers, and even being able to choose multiple types of foes over time still puts you in a "am I average in this battle or super good?". Smite has similar issues, though at least many foes were evil. Currently, Paladins don't even care about alignment (though they get bonuses against undead and fiends), so they are even less restricted than in previous editions.

If I really wanted to capture this feel, I think I would do something like this on a subclass level: at level 3, choose a creature type. Once per turn when you hit with an attack, you deal 2d6 additional damage to creatures of that type, or 1d6 to other creatures.

At level 7, you choose a second type of creature. Once per turn when you hit with an attack, you deal 3d6 additional damage to creatures of either chosen type, or 2d6 to other creatures.

At 11th level, you choose a third type of creature. Once per turn when you hit with an attack, you deal 4d6 additional damage to creatures of the chosen types, or 3d6 to other creatures.

At 15th level, you choose a fourth type of creature. Once per turn when you hit with an attack, you deal 5d6 additional damage to creatures of the chosen types, or 4d6 to other creatures.

The bonus damage is only once per turn, and at best, half what a Rogue does, and it's only slightly better against your chosen foes, akin to how a Paladin's Smite is only slightly better against undead or fiends, but it captures the flavor that you are a slayer of certain monsters, but your general knowledge applies to most creatures.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
The ranger has much the same problem as the fighter in that it has the expectations to perform several different archetypes and ideas but in trying to fill all of them it does none of them justice, like was said earlier, the beastmaster pet needs it’s own class to properly flourish as the design space of a single subclass stifles it’s potential, and this is true for most of the other ranger features too, being resigned to a single or maybe two abilities amongst others rather than getting to really stretch their capabilities in their own class or even just subclass.
 

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