• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

What is the Ranger to you?

Xeviat

Explorer
Hi friends. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite classes, the Ranger. But my view of the Ranger may be different from everyone else's view of the Ranger, so I wanted to hear about that. What is the ranger to you? What things do you feel it has to be able to do to be the ranger to you (if mechanical, general answers, not gritty specifics). I don't want this to be edition warring, but definitely you can talk about what you liked about the ranger in certain editions and what you missed about them in others.

For me, the ranger is the fantasy interpretation of the woodsman. Resourceful. Knowledgeable about nature. Able to do things that the common folk see as mystical or magical. Where a Rogue can be a master of skills and be a good scout, tracker, or hunter, and where a fighter could cover a similar, if not more martially focused, role, the ranger takes things to a different level.

Like the paladin, which is a fantasy interpretation of the romance era knights in shining armor, magic is an important part of the ranger to me. It shows that their connection to nature is more than a skill, that it is something spiritual.

And though it is very hard to implement mechanically, I feel that "favored enemy" is an important part of the Ranger. This is difficult to get right in a game, because it's power is going to be dependant upon the adventure being played, but it just feels like it is a part of the Ranger's legacy.

Lastly, to really mechanically differentiate them, I feel that animal companions are important to Rangers. I'd be happy if it was something all rangers got, but I know plenty don't feel that way. To me, it just makes them feel intrinsically different from a fighter or rogue built for a similar archetype.

What do you think? What is the Ranger to you?
 

Tallifer

Villager
When I was young, a Ranger was Aragorn. When I came back to D&D in 2009 with 4E, a Ranger became a nature-loving Striker dishing out enormous damage, and that's what I prefer now.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
To me, the ranger is a bushcrafter. A mountain man/woman. Lives off the land, master scout and tracker. Daniel Boone. Don’t really care about Aragorn

Mechanically, that means light armor only, and no heavy weapons. Practical weapons that have multiple uses (as a bushcrafter myself, this is a golden rule). Space is limited and precious, especially if you have to hike an entire day. Or week. That means weapons are an axe over sword (along with a good knife and bow). Probably the most robust HP die of any other class.

No spells in the traditional sense, but could have spell like abilities that support that theme. Poultices, supernatural tracking and long range accuracy, etc. powers to enhance the ability of their animal companion. The ability to resist harsh climates and keep going when you’re beaten down.
 

Monayuris

Explorer
A ranger is a wilderness specialist. Navigation, tracking , foraging for food, hunting and so on. In a hex crawl they would be extremely valuable. I consider them as fighter subclass so would share the combat skill of a fighter type.

I prefer no spells and no animal companions. They definitely shouldn’t be forced into a dual wield or archery situation. A ranger would be distinguished by their advantages in wilderness.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I'm pre-Drizz't when ranger got set in my head, and Aragorn described as a ranger wasn't the same thing as the D&D class of the same name.

To me a ranger is an outdoorsman first. They don't have the same connection or reverence of nature that a druid has, but that doesn't mean that they can't do things that others can't. (Mechanically I'd be happier with invocations like the warlock rather than spells.) They should eb a master of tracking, roughing it, knowing about animals practically and possibly theoretically as well - and dealing with them (not just handling, but vet skills as well), as hunters they should be able to do snare and other traps. Potentially also be able to do things like identify healing herbs and poisonous berries and the like, but that may not be all of them.

They might have a dedicated animal companion with a bond, or might not (subclass likely). Actually, if they want a battle pet I'd make that a subclass, so that the it balances out. for a scout-type pet instead (or in addition) I'd allow that for all of them in a natural Find Familiar sort of way.

But even if not they should get more out of pets and mounts than others, including care for them.

They aren't a fighter and should lose to one in a slugfest locked in a featureless room - and should dominate them in a natural setting where they can use their mobility but also their ability to use the terrain in ways others couldn't. As hunters they should be great at the stalk, the ambush, and at archery. From a fighting perspective a ranger probably should have more in common with a rogue than a fighter-type.

Actually, rogue's in some ways the flip side of the coin. Urban skills instead of natural. both skirmishers who can stealth, good at killing with a first shot from ambush, etc. Not saying that 5e Rogue with some skill substitutions would be ideal ranger, but I could easily see a single class that handles them all ina warlock-like two-choice. One about type @ 1st level (urban or natural, but probably more broken down) and then a subclass like choice later.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
Rangers to me are guides, trackers, hunters and masters of survival. This could be the loner, who has embraced the wild over civilization, or the guardian, protecting villagers and farmers from the dangers in the wilds. I don't like rangers having spells, but definitely unique abilities, which could border on magical. Animal companions and favoured enemies should be options. I don't mind the urban ranger concept; the shadowy figure who knows every corner of the city and its dangers, but is probably not a criminal.

And as Sacrosanct says, light armour and practical weapons.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Hi friends. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite classes, the Ranger. But my view of the Ranger may be different from everyone else's view of the Ranger, so I wanted to hear about that. What is the ranger to you? What things do you feel it has to be able to do to be the ranger to you (if mechanical, general answers, not gritty specifics). I don't want this to be edition warring, but definitely you can talk about what you liked about the ranger in certain editions and what you missed about them in others.

...

What do you think? What is the Ranger to you?
So .... the bolded part is, fundamentally, why I don't much like the Ranger. Not hate, as in Paladin, more like ... why?

Look, we have the ol' original Ranger, Aragorn (OD&D via periodical, 1e).

And then we have various permutations after that to make it make sense.

Archer?
Dual wielder?
Drizzt?
Pet wrangler?

None of that really makes sense, to me, and so other than the name, I don't much care for any archetype.

I guess, if I had to, I'd keep with an outdoors-y theme (Ranger is to Fighter as Druid is to Cleric) and perhaps a more special forces/commando type feel.

Oh, and the ability to use crystal balls. Because reasons.
 

Krachek

Explorer
I’m not a fan of the ranger, a subclass of the fighter would have been sufficient.
a 1/3 caster similar to EK.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Hi friends. Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite classes, the Ranger. But my view of the Ranger may be different from everyone else's view of the Ranger, so I wanted to hear about that.
The Ranger was, originally, Aragorn. Sorry, it was just a model-one-hero-from-fiction class, a testimony to the profound inflexibility of the class/level system.

What do you think? What is the Ranger to you?
To me, it's a superfluous/redundant class in most editions since that Aragorn thing in the early game. Prettymuch since we got Kits and non-weapon proficiencies, it's been questionable whether it was called for at all. Once we had skills & modular multi-classing, it was pretty pointless. 4e arguably briefly redeemed it as a martial striker - though, one of two, so still redundant. In 5e, with fighters getting a better choice of skills, seamlessly going DEX or STR, and the Outlander Background (and potential to customize similar ones to exactly the rangerness you want), it seems completely redundant - but then, 5e doesn't shy away from redundancy, at all.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
The Ranger is an outdoors person, sure, but is much more than that. A rogue with the right expertise and background is a bushman.

The Ranger is someone who guards the land, protecting nature from man and man from nature. If they weren’t that, they’d be called the Hunter or The Scout or something.

In dnd, they are connected to nature in a way that is generally denoted with magical abilities. Classically, they train with Druids and are often part of their groves, and should be able to easily befriend animals and calm angry nature spirits, but not as simply as a Druid does (Druid casts a spell and it happens, Ranger makes checks and it happens if they succeed).

The animal companion should be a boost to the base class ability to befriend beasts, forming a mystical bond with a beast that allows that beast to exceed their normal limitations and the two to work together in ways that are decidedly supernatural. The Ranger’s abilities should combine with the beast. If the ranger has spells, they should be able to boost the beast just like they can themselves. If they have maneuvers, there should be manuevers that combine ranger and beast actions.

They should be reasonably competent in any terrain, and be exceptional in their primary environment, and that training should provide benefits wherever they are. So, plains rangers could be faster, forest rangers could be stealthier, mountain rangers could have climb speed and ignore certain types of difficult terrain, etc.

favored enemy should be a “study your enemy” benefit that requires no action when used against your favored enemy.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
So .... the bolded part is, fundamentally, why I don't much like the Ranger. Not hate, as in Paladin, more like ... why?

Look, we have the ol' original Ranger, Aragorn (OD&D via periodical, 1e).

And then we have various permutations after that to make it make sense.

Archer?
Dual wielder?
Drizzt?
Pet wrangler?

None of that really makes sense, to me, and so other than the name, I don't much care for any archetype.

I guess, if I had to, I'd keep with an outdoors-y theme (Ranger is to Fighter as Druid is to Cleric) and perhaps a more special forces/commando type feel.

Oh, and the ability to use crystal balls. Because reasons.

I think this comes up a lot with the more specific story focused classes, like the Bard, druid, paladin, and ranger. These aren't as "archetypical" as the core four (cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard). The ranger just seems like it has been through more changes than others.
 

Laurefindel

Villager
honestly, I just want an unarmored or lightly armored fighter. The outdoorsman theme is fitting since it comes to reason that one forced to live in the wild must travel light and must be self-dependant. Whereas the paladin bridges the cleric and the fighter, i'd like the ranger to bridge the fighter and the rogue (rather than fighter and druid).

Spells are nice, but for me they aren't central to the class and could be optional (subclass). However, building off 5e half caster frame, the ranger could be a good chassis to make spell-slot powered "mundane" abilities. It's not far off actually; a redesign of the ranger spells (and spell list) would probably do the trick.
 

Gadget

Explorer
Rangers have always been an elite, special forces type of vibe to me. Combined with the ability to function independently for long periods of time and survival away form the the group/civilization. While the isolated woodsman/tracker type can certainly meet the requirements, to me the concept has always represented being part of an elite group, perhaps with a similar purpose. It could just be elites who follow some obscure wilderness code of honor, or a more focused group ala Aragorn and his people in tLotR. Even being part of a 'good' organization like the 1e requirements isn't too objectionable. One thing I do not care for is having them be some sort of Greenpeace-like "defender of nature" type. Or Druid-lite. Sure there is some overlap there, and individual Rangers could share that sentiment and outlook, but I don't like it as a whole.

Mechanically, I can take the spellcasting, especially since this helps distinguish them from Fighter/Rogues with a similar skill set, but I like that 5e has given them their own spell list that is not a complete overlap with the Druid or other spellcasters. This gives them their own unique flavor. I have always felt that things like favored enemy/favored terrain were misguided and troublesome features, as they tend to be too limiting and finicky, requiring a DM-mother-may-I type of play. I think a more general Hunter's Mark/Quarry like feature would be a better direction overall. Similarly, I find the attempt to shove an animal companion on them irritating, cumbersome, and unnecessary with a class that has spells like Animal Friendship and Speak with Animals on their spell list, though I can understand the desire for others to have some sort of a "pet" affectation. I just find that a little burdensome in practical play. I would like it if any class could use the new Sidekick rules to have something similar, be it a henchman, loyal follower, or animal companion and let groups opt in if they so desire.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
I think this comes up a lot with the more specific story focused classes, like the Bard, druid, paladin, and ranger. These aren't as "archetypical" as the core four (cleric, fighter, rogue, wizard). The ranger just seems like it has been through more changes than others.
Yep.

I don't begrudge anyone their like (or love) of the Ranger, or their various permutations* over the years, it's just not my scene, and I have difficulty holding on to the essence of "Ranger-ness."


*Except the pet classes. Whether it's a Beastmaster, or a Summoner, or a Necromancer ... do not like.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
"What do you think? What is the Ranger to you?"

The key features for a ranger are (to me):

Martial expert - primary fighter but without heavy armor
Wilderness- Scout, tracker, hunter, survivalist
Hedge Druid - Some variation on low end druidic type magic tho this could be replaced by some form of herbalist or ritual casting into fetishes etc. Truthfully if it were a " prepared" caster" where the " prep" was making fetishes and poultice- I would be fine.

Specifically, the animal companion beastmaster never worked it's way into my view of ranger, nor did dual-scimitars - honestly, archer and spear kinda fit the bill for me.
 

Shiroiken

Explorer
The Ranger is the Paladin for the Druid. Just as the Paladin is the divine champion of a particular deity, the Ranger is the champion of nature. Using special skills and druidic magic, they hunt down their enemies and defend the followers of the Old Faith.
 

MarkB

Adventurer
To me, the Ranger is the Lord of the Rings standard, but not so much Aragorn, who's been many things in his life - it's Faramir and his soldiers, wilderness scouts who can survive in the wilds for extended periods, track enemies, and if necessary ambush them very effectively.

I'd consider them to have more in common with Rogues than Fighters, with a useful skillset centred around stealth and perception, and while they'd have specialised abilities I wouldn't build anything magical into the base class - that could be an option to be explored in a subclass or two.
 

Li Shenron

Adventurer
What do you think? What is the Ranger to you?
Aragorn, with a magical upgrade.

The defining characteristic of Rangers for me is their mythical task of patrolling and defending the borders of the world. This eventually implies a good survival capability, feeling at ease in the wilderness, mobility, and having stray lore of weird and monstrous things.

Magic is for me an essential part of the D&D Ranger, but not as a primary occupation, rather as a complement, and part of their stray lore. However, Ranger's magic is at its absolute best when it feels somewhat borderline between magical and not at all... when you see an edition's Ranger casting spells that could have been non-magical abilities instead, or viceversa having non-magical abilities that make you think should be spells, that's the best Ranger, truly at the borderline!

Without magic and lore, a Ranger risks feeling like a scout, and demoting Rangers to scout is like demoting Paladins to altar boys...

Everything else, especially mandatory weapon styles like 2WF or archery, favored enemies and animal companions are for me irrelevant BS. Good to have some options there, but none of those are part of the Ranger identity for me, and making them mandatory to every Ranger sucks.
 
Last edited:

DM Dave1

Present
She can kill with a blade, she can wound with her bow
She can pass without trace with her animal companion
And she only casts spells when she wants you to bleed
She hides like a rogue but she's always a ranger to me


She can lead you through woods, she can mark you or snare you
She can forage for food but she'll never feed you
And she'll take what you give her as long as it's free
Yeah she steals like a thief but she's always a ranger to me...
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
She can kill with a blade, she can wound with her bow
She can pass without trace with her animal companion
And she only casts spells when she wants you to bleed
She hides like a rogue but she's always a ranger to me


She can lead you through woods, she can mark you or snare you
She can forage for food but she'll never feed you
And she'll take what you give her as long as it's free
Yeah she steals like a thief but she's always a ranger to me...
Damn you, take your +1, and get that song out of my head.
 

Advertisement

Top