D&D 5E What is/should be the Ranger's "thing"?

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Thanks for the correction on Beast Bond. I don't see anything in that spell though that makes the beast want to follow you around and fight for you. If there's a grizzly bear, Animal Friendship will prevent it from eating you, but it won't prevent it from eating your fellow PCs, and it won't join your party, any more than Charm Person would make a human guard join your party.

That's where the animal handling skill comes in. Presumably someone with animal handling can train an attack dog if they buy a domesticated puppy. Animal friendship takes care of the domesticated part, while beast bond gives you the ability to communicate to the beast exactly what you want it to do (and promises of treats.) You would still be relying on animal handling to attack train the beast, which is why I made the comment about the need for a period of downtime.

That's where the animal handling skill comes in. Presumably someone with animal handling can train an attack dog if they buy a domesticated puppy. Animal friendship takes care of the domesticated part, while beast bond gives you the ability to communicate to the beast exactly what you want it to do (and promises of treats.) You would still be relying on animal handling to attack train the beast, which is why I made the comment about the need for a period of downtime.

But... you could do that anyway even without magic! A barbarian at my table did exactly that, and I don't think he was even proficient in Animal Handling.

Animal friendship doesn't domesticate the animal, it just charms it. Animal Handling isn't a social check but I can imagine a DM ruling that you get advantage anyway; still it merely speeds up the training process.

The beast bond/animal friendship part of animal domestication seems superfluous to me. If you've got physical control over an animal, and it's trainable, it will be trained, with or without magic. If it's not trainable, nothing will work.


If your character comes face-to-face with a wild bear, the best you can hope for with animal handling is to each back away respectfully. Animal friendship would, at my table, give you a chance to use animal handling to domesticate the bear, probably requiring a daily animal handling check each day with 3 successes before 3 failures or something. Beast bond would allow communication such that the character could role play the encounter, as well as allowing complex training that might make a bear able to handle complex tasks as well as, for example, a sheepdog.

I would say that without magic, a bear would only be trainable if it had been raised from a cub, and would probably be limited to come here, fight, don't fight, run away, and break this thing. With magic you could get an adult wild bear to understand flanking, grappling, and choosing to not kill a target reduced to 0 hit points.


First Post
The ranger as a magic using class never met LOR in my opinion, especially when compared against the movie. Classes like the ranger, battlemaster (warlord), and even the bard would be great with a more robust ritual system. If you had a middle ground with rituals as a basis to both caster and non-caster magic, that bridged into magic item creation, alchemy, etc. oh what a wonderful world it would be!

They issued a version 1.1. It's on the website.

Ah, thanks. Finally found it on the Sage Advice page.

The interesting thing about this ruling is that it makes explicit two things that up till now has been controversial: "is short rest healing only for PCs?" and "do undead skeletons and zombies heal naturally over time?" I've been going with the "anyone can short rest for healing" until now but it's interesting to have it explicitly confirmed.

I wonder why they didn't work the errata for the errata for unarmed strikes (http://tencopper.com/article/2015/06/dnd-5e-unarmed-attacks-errata-phb/) into this 1.1 document. Maybe it's too late to change the printed PHB so they didn't change the errata either?


To me, Aragorn is a Fighter Champion with proficiency in medicine and survival. Kingsfoil is a feature of Middle Earth that interacts with an element of Aragorn's background to effect a cure wounds and lesser restoration effect, but isn't a class feature.


Which is interesting. Because I've never gotten the "rangers must have magic from level 1" thing. :)
Level 2.
All 5th ed rangers get at level 1 is FE and Natural explorer. Probably so you could dip and go Ranger1/FighterX for your spell-less ranger.
Well, the idea they would encounter drow walking around on the surface is the silly part to me. But tackling a squad of orcs? An ogre or giant? Picking away at a camp of goblins or bandits via sniping and ambushes, skirmishing and then disappearing into the woods to come harass them more later? Yeah. Sure. Absolutely I would expect a ranger [with or without a wolf companion] to be able to do that.
The issue is you can't do any of tat in 5th edition without spells. 5th edition rangers lack the crazy offense of 1st edition and 4th edition rangers. The 1st and 4th rangers were sneaky murder machines that giant mothers would scare their children with.

"Eat your carrots or you wont see the ranger sneak up behind you and hit you for a billion damage."
"Go to bed or you be rested enough to spot the ranger sneaking up behind you and hitting you for a billion damage."

Herb lore/non-magical healing skill. Alertness/keen senses. Herb lore/non-magic healing skill (maybe "survival" check). Movement enhancement/terrain movement expertise. Bonus languages. Trap detection skill...."Hide from a mage if they brought "one" what?

I'll give you D&D is crazy. Sure. But there's little to nothing a ranger should need magic for that they can't get away with built in skill(s)/expertise. Hiding from scrying...Ok. Maybe. Unless it was a built-in feature "Knowledge of scrying magic" business that let's you know some little trick or charm/talisman that can hide you. That requires "lost/forbidden/arcane" knowledge...not necessarily "magic use", as per 'spells."

And this could be done. But it would just be a skill system replicating a spell system.

Instead of cure wounds or goodberry, you have healing poultices.
Instead of lesser restoration, you have healing poultices than heal poisons.
Instead of beast sense you have crystal balls.
Instead of nondetection, you have warding talismans.
Instead of longstrider and jump, you have healing poultices with PEDs in it.
Instead of conjure animals, you have call natural allies.

It's still spells. The ranger would still be using "spells" You just don't have the word "spells". The problem is D&D's skill system. It either didn't exist, was freeform and requires on the DM to okay ranger stuff, or was rigid as all heck and didn't allow a lot to work without using spells with it.



*shrug* IMHO, the 1e Ranger was the best incarnation. At least it was a "specialized" class (like the Illusionist, Assassin and Monk); basically, a class that was really good at it's 'thing', but not a good all-around adventuring class. A Ranger could track, survive, and shoot a bow well. It specialized in monster types that particularly plagued the forested wilderness. Then came Drizz't a messed it all up.

At the 2e onset, the "look how kewl Drizz't is!" fervour was in full rampage mode, so the Ranger got drastically changed. Now, some say it's just a coincidence... I don't buy that for a second. Suddenly, the Ranger wasn't a "wilderness specialist, a loner, a marksman, and a herbalist".... now he was a "covert-ops, stealthy, duel-wielding, killing machine". And from there, all other "Ranger" versions were based, including 5e, it seems.

What I'd like to see them do is put the Ranger back into the "specialist" style class. I want to see them excel at mundane survival in a particular terrain. I want them to drop the silly dual-wielding crap and go back to a more ranged, light-armored type of warrior. I want significantly delayed spells (if spells at all), to say...11th level or so. (hell, I'd like to see them do this with the Paladin too...no spells until a LOT later, like 11th or so... ;) ).

In short, I want someone contemplating playing a Ranger to be thinking: "I could play a ranger, but I'm giving up a lot of flexability in terms of overall adventuring usefulness in exchange for a highly-effective, specialized focus. Hmmmm..... I don't want a player to be contemplating playing a Ranger to be thinking: "I could play a ranger, and basically be just a fighter who fights with two weapons and likes to hang out in the woods and cast spells".

IMHO, WotC needs to bring back the "specialized" classes where choosing one actually needs to be thought about. As it stands, if a party has a Wizard, a Cleric of Healing and a Thief, the last player thinks I guess I'll be the Fighter... or Barbarian... or Ranger... or Monk... because they're all basically the same thing with different ways of doing damage. That is NOT how classes should be. The player should be thinking I guess I'll be a Fighter... but hey guys, what about a Ranger? Think that might be ok? I won't be a tank or anything, but with a Ranger abilities we should be able to take on most foes at range... and we are starting in the town of Woodside in the Grand Forest, so he may be really useful in that regard. More than a regular fighter would be... What do you think? That is one thing that is seriously lacking in all versions of D&D since the class/race splat books started pumping out for 2e; party class make-up.

Back in ye olden days of yesteryear, when a new campaign was being started the players all gathered around the table. The DM then gave a quick overview of the campaign starting premise (and maybe more, if he had a particular 'grand story' he was planning). After that, the players rolled their stats. Then they actually talked to each other about what they wanted to make/play. They decided who was going to be what, and what 'type' of party they wanted to go with. For example, if someone rolled really well (3d6, remember?), and got S/I/W/D/C/C of 14/12/14/10/11/17, he may pipe up with wanting to try a Paladin (classes had stat minimums, remember?). A Paladin was pretty bad-ass in 1e, but that limited other players choices instantly. If someone wanted to play a Thief, well, he was going to need to be a LG, NG or CG thief. Nobody could play an Assassin or Druid. Basically.... there were considerations. Everyone was forced to start thinking and working like a team. With all classes being "equal" to each other in modern RPG standards, this was lost. Its really sad, too, because the whole group dynamic is one of the driving forces that differentiates a table top RPG with a computer RPG or MMO; having actual people at the table in front of you and working with them... not just doing your own thing because "you want to", without regard for anyone else who will be at the table (including the DM). Everyone making their own characters on their own time at their own house/apartment, then showing up and finding out the party consists of a CN Dwarf Barbarian, a LN Human Fighter, a CG Elf Sorcerer, another N Gnome Sorcerer, and a LG Half-Elf Warlock. Yeah, as a DM I know I'd be thrilled to know I'm going to be spending my personal time creating adventures for these characters who have virtually nothing in common, are likely to turn on each other when things get tough, and have almost no sense of "well-roundedness" to them. ( <-- that last sentence was sarcasm, btw, ;) ). I've had this happen too often when I let my group know they can make characters before next weeks new campaign starts... even after I tell them to talk to eachother so they can make a decent group. I get the excuses..."I forgot", "I couldn't get in touch with Josh", "Zoltan was working all week", "Tracey thought Curtis was making a cleric, so she decided on Thief", etc. And they end up with a party like the one I described. And, sure enough, they are all dead within the first two or three sessions because none of the PC's really have anything in common with each other other than half of them are the same fricken' class!

(sorry, person pet peeve of mine...players all making fighter types, then getting a TPK via drowning because they didn't find the trap in the room that fills it with water because they have no way of detecting, defeating, or otherwise overcoming via magic/ability/skill the whole "room filling with water" thing. At least they could have tried to take precautions... but when all of them are fighter types, the mentality is "when we encounter a problem, we hit it until it goes away". When they can't deal damage to a problem...TPK's are very, very real possibilities).

Wow. What a digression! Er...ranger. Yeah. Hmmm.... "Go back to 1e style, nix 2-weapon covert-ops fighter concept, re-embrace light weapon, light armor, and bows/thrown axes/thrown daggers, mundane skills/abilities over magic". Yeah, that. :)


Paul L. Ming

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