• 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
I would be very interested in seeing some work at reworking the ranger's subclasses into their choice of favored enemy, with favored environment as an additional floating feature. An undead hunter, a dragon hunter, a beast Slayer, a bounty Hunter ... These could all have different doodads that make each of these rangers feel distinct while also solidifying the base concept of the ranger:

A Hunter. The kind of creature they hunt could determine their subclass features, like the Monster Slayer.

I think favored terrain should be changed with attunement. The ranger spends some time in a region, they acclimatize to it magically, and they gain some features.

I'd be fine with their Animal Companion becoming a spell. Higher level castings of it get you a more powerful companion (either higher CR, or upgrading your lower CR one). The paladin has a 2nd and 4th level spell for their mount, and the second level spell allows for a CR 1/2. Having to cast it every day could be a limitation of it was needed for balance.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
The Ranger has a clear ID.
If you're saying you have a clear ID for what YOU want the Ranger to be, sure. Otherwise, this and other threads clearly reveal nobody can agree to what the Ranger is and should do; and that the inability of the devs to pick an ID and then give us a strong execution of said ID is really the core reason why people consider it weak.

More known spells, and upgrading Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy to real features, is all the class needs.
That's funny - I'd say all it needs is one subclass where TWF and Hunter's Mark doesn't trip each over, and a second class offering a sturdy combat pet that survives at least as well as any other party member!
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
I don’t know about that. The Ranger has a clear ID, and it ain’t “has advanced fighting styles”.
Except that /was/ it's identity in 2e & 4e (OK, and 3e, really, ever since the whole TWF thing took off - and it makes /no/ sense, nothing about the ranger before 2e screamed "TWF," DEX was one of the few stats it /didn't/ need, and back then DEX was critical to TWFing). OTOH, the Ranger seemed to scream 'Archer' to a lot of people even back then, even more specifically, Robin Hood (I guess because of the woodsiness & good alignment?), to the point that The Dragon presented an Archer-Ranger variant. And, if you did trick out a 1e PC to be great at archery, with high STR (made-for-STR bow for damage) /and/ DEX (ranged attacking adjustment), he also just happened to be really good at TWFing, /also/.

So, maybe, that's where it came from: mechanical artifacts of early D&D. Wouldn't be the first thing that graduated from glitch to exploit to feature to identity. (OK, actually, might be one of the earliest - certainly not the only.)

And before that, it's identity was Aragorn. The guy what originally wrote it up came right out and admitted it.

So what third identity is all that clear, really? And how does it square with that original identity, and it's assumed system-artifact identity?

I think what what we will see with upcoming Ranger related playtesting will be similar to what Mearls showed on the happy fun hour, and that will be enough. Groups that wanna can just add those features, rather than treating them as alternate options, and give BM and Hunter rangers bonus spells.
Yeah, putting on your Game Design hat and adding stuff from whole cloth is so much easier than trimming what you don't need... said Sarcastro.

But it I’m not interested in rebuilding the class. More known spells, and upgrading Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy to real features, is all the class needs.
Or no spells at all...
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
If you're saying you have a clear ID for what YOU want the Ranger to be, sure. Otherwise, this and other threads clearly reveal nobody can agree to what the Ranger is and should do; and that the inability of the devs to pick an ID and then give us a strong execution of said ID is really the core reason why people consider it weak.

That's funny - I'd say all it needs is one subclass where TWF and Hunter's Mark doesn't trip each over, and a second class offering a sturdy combat pet that survives at least as well as any other party member!
Then you aren't trying to make a Ranger by concept, but by CharOp battle standards.

I don't know what threads you're reading, but there is only broad disagreement about a few things, most of which is about execution, not concept. How natural explorer should work is execution. Everyone agrees that the Ranger should have benefits in natural exploration that go beyond what a rogue with expertise can do.
Everyone agrees that the ranger should be an excellent hunter in a way that contributes to combat, and be able to focus on an enemy. There's disagreement on whether that should still include a favored enemy, as such, or should shift to a new type of execution, but the concept is the same.

The only conceptual disagreements I've been seeing are magic being part of the concept (and hell, I don't think spells should be part of the Paladin class, so there are always outliers), whether the beast is core or subclass material, and some folks not knowing the difference between a ranger and a woodsman in general, non game related, terms, but there isn't much mechanically to leverage the actual concept of a ranger as someone who patrols the wild and it's border with civilization to protect people and/or the wilds. It's just something to keep in mind while building the class.

That's details, not identity.

Except that /was/ it's identity in 2e & 4e
I don't care about 2e, and the 4e ranger was just a fighter with a bonus skill, incorrectly labeled. They needed a fighter striker and hadn't decided yet that a class could be multiple roles, so they just didn't make a ranger but used it's name anyway. Like 4e "Eladrin" or Zach Snyder's "Batman".

So, maybe, that's where it came from: mechanical artifacts of early D&D. Wouldn't be the first thing that graduated from glitch to exploit to feature to identity. (OK, actually, might be one of the earliest - certainly not the only.)

And before that, it's identity was Aragorn. The guy what originally wrote it up came right out and admitted it.

So what third identity is all that clear, really? And how does it square with that original identity, and it's assumed system-artifact identity?
History usually informs the evolution of identity, but it never defines it. The thread already covers sufficiently what the ranger is, and pretty much no one who is seriously engaging with the question is sitting there just listing some historical trivia as if it answers the question.

[quote[Yeah, putting on your Game Design hat and adding stuff from whole cloth is so much easier than trimming what you don't need... said Sarcastro. [/quote] If you trim from an already mechanically weak class, you have to also add. So, yes, it literally is easier to add without also taking a hatchet to the class.

Or no spells at all...
As long as it's an optional variant.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
If you trim from an already mechanically weak class, you have to also add. So, yes, it literally is easier to add without also taking a hatchet to the class.
As long as it's an optional variant.
It's easier to trim unwanted, but balanced, options, leaving a smaller list of alternatives, than to add - and balance - new options, conceptually, was the point. I'm in no way defending the extant Ranger class...

...really, I can't personally defend any version of it, sure, the 4e ranger was arguably balanced, but I found it personally unappealing to the point I doubt I could speak up for it too convincingly.


In the final analysis, /having/ a ranger class, and leaving it to the DM to toss in favor of Outlander Fighters or Rogues or whatever is preferable, from a design & presentation standpoint, because it's less onerous to those who find it pointless to cut it, than to those who wish for it to have create it from whole cloth.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
It's easier to trim unwanted, but balanced, options, leaving a smaller list of alternatives, than to add - and balance - new options, conceptually, was the point. I'm in no way defending the extant Ranger class...
But you'd still have to either create new features to replace them, or beef up what's left, which requires even more design work and balancing than simply beefing up the weakest links that are thematically appropriate but don't do their job.

...really, I can't personally defend any version of it, sure, the 4e ranger was arguably balanced, but I found it personally unappealing to the point I doubt I could speak up for it too convincingly.
I will always (correctly) posit that people who don't even like a concept to begin with, aren't necessary to consult in determining how to execute it. I don't need to be part of a design discussion on the cleric, because I think it's a garbage class that shouldn't even exist. If I was a dnd designer, I would advise Mike and Jeremy to ignore my input on the class, unless they randomly catch me in a good mood toward a subclass of it or something and I'm jacked up about it. Because my input isn't as important as those on the team who love clerics. I'm not the cleric's target audience.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't value your opinion in general, but it does mean that your not seeing the ranger's identity or why the 4e ranger (a striker, which you don't see the appeal of in general by your own admission) is appealing to people, isn't a surprise to me, and doesn't really impact my view of the discussion much.

Anyway, the 4e ranger is a really good martial skirmishing striker. They make a great foil to the lighter less durable rogue, they're fun to play, they just aren't actually a ranger until essentials came out and gave them primal utility powers and let them take a feat to get wilderness knacks.

I certainly don't expect people who actually like the fighter to care about my dislike of it. I do like most of it's subclasses, though, and would like the class if you got your subclass at level 1, so you're just playing a battle master or eldritch knight, and can ignore the word fighter entirely when looking for inspiration within your class.

In the final analysis, /having/ a ranger class, and leaving it to the DM to toss in favor of Outlander Fighters or Rogues or whatever is preferable, from a design & presentation standpoint, because it's less onerous to those who find it pointless to cut it, than to those who wish for it to have create it from whole cloth.
I agree! And I think that the only deficit for most people who want the ranger in the game is execution, and that their play experience should be the priority of any change or alternate feature for the class.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
But it I’m not interested in rebuilding the class. More known spells, and upgrading Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy to real features, is all the class needs.
It's spellcasting is incredibly weak sauce. Compare paladin smiting. The ranger needs way more than known spells - had they been able to convert spell slots to bonus damage on top of their regular damage, that could mean that feature would be worthwhile.

As is, nah. Just remove it entirely and hope WotC deems that to be a significant loss, so they make either the attacks or the pet significantly stronger...
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
Then you aren't trying to make a Ranger by concept, but by CharOp battle standards.

I don't know what threads you're reading, but there is only broad disagreement about a few things, most of which is about execution, not concept. How natural explorer should work is execution. Everyone agrees that the Ranger should have benefits in natural exploration that go beyond what a rogue with expertise can do.
Everyone agrees that the ranger should be an excellent hunter in a way that contributes to combat, and be able to focus on an enemy. There's disagreement on whether that should still include a favored enemy, as such, or should shift to a new type of execution, but the concept is the same.

The only conceptual disagreements I've been seeing are magic being part of the concept (and hell, I don't think spells should be part of the Paladin class, so there are always outliers), whether the beast is core or subclass material, and some folks not knowing the difference between a ranger and a woodsman in general, non game related, terms, but there isn't much mechanically to leverage the actual concept of a ranger as someone who patrols the wild and it's border with civilization to protect people and/or the wilds. It's just something to keep in mind while building the class.

That's details, not identity.
Sorry but you don't get to decide my issues are unimportant while yours are.

And I don't know what threads you're reading, but you have certainly missed a crap-ton of them, all saying the Beastmaster is essentially :):):):):).

What the Ranger most definitely does not need, is MMearls faffing around with relatively unimportant details while missing the greater picture, which is that the class basically can't compete.

Which is my entire point: fix the basic effectiveness, don't worry which exact abilities you keep or drop, and the players will come

If he instead keeps pretending the class is basically fine, and somehow just needs pointless tweaking around, he could just as well forget about it.

Replacing one woodsman ability for another, or giving it one more slot in which to cast it's weaksauce spells, or arguing which ribbon ability is really a power ability will accomplish very little in the way that really counts: getting the class up to snuff compared to the others.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's funny - I'd say all it needs is one subclass where TWF and Hunter's Mark doesn't trip each over, and a second class offering a sturdy combat pet that survives at least as well as any other party member!
And one where my Aragorn isn't casting spells.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
It's spellcasting is incredibly weak sauce. Compare paladin smiting. The ranger needs way more than known spells - had they been able to convert spell slots to bonus damage on top of their regular damage, that could mean that feature would be worthwhile.

As is, nah. Just remove it entirely and hope WotC deems that to be a significant loss, so they make either the attacks or the pet significantly stronger...
No. Not only does a spell-less ranger survey poorly, it's completely unnecessary to do so, as anything other than an optional variant that stands alone. (ie, you drop it and get X ability set instead)
The ranger's spellcasting is perfectly normal. It shouldn't mimic the Paladin, nor should the class hyperfocus on DPR. The game isn't built for DPR CharOP powergaming, and that's a good thing.
The Ranger has too many of it's good spells with the concentration tag, and not enough known spells. Spellcasting doesn't need to carry the Rangers damage output to be a worthwhile feature. Every subclass gets damage boosts, and it gets Extra Attack. It's barely behind the other weapon users, and isn't even behind them at every tier.

Sorry but you don't get to decide my issues are unimportant while yours are.

And I don't know what threads you're reading, but you have certainly missed a crap-ton of them, all saying the Beastmaster is essentially :):):):):).
I don't know what post you read that you think this is a counterpoint to.

And CharOp comparisons don't matter. Objectively. They're fun. That's it.

What the Ranger most definitely does not need, is MMearls faffing around with relatively unimportant details while missing the greater picture, which is that the class basically can't compete.

Which is my entire point: fix the basic effectiveness, don't worry which exact abilities you keep or drop, and the players will come
No, they won't.

If he instead keeps pretending the class is basically fine, and somehow just needs pointless tweaking around, he could just as well forget about it.

Replacing one woodsman ability for another, or giving it one more slot in which to cast it's weaksauce spells, or arguing which ribbon ability is really a power ability will accomplish very little in the way that really counts: getting the class up to snuff compared to the others.
This whole tirade is so patently absurd that I don't even know where to start. The ranger doesn't need any kind of overhaul, or to lose abilities in favor of a less interesting class with higher DPR. DPR is a small part of the game.

The ranger needs it's early features to contribute to success reliably, and to not be stuck with a number of spell options comparable to a paladin with a 12 charisma. Making Hunter's Mark not a concentration spell would help, or making some of the other attack spells not concentration. Before you even say it for the thousandth time, no, it isn't a problem that HM is a bonus action. You're not casting it every round, and it applies to every attack. It's fine.

And one where my Aragorn isn't casting spells.
Absolutely a great optional variant. I mean, I think an "Aragorn" that isn't adjusted at all for being in a vastly higher magic setting works just fine as a righter or rogue, but a Ranger option to trade spells for maneuvers would be fine.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
No. Not only does a spell-less ranger survey poorly, it's completely unnecessary to do so, as anything other than an optional variant that stands alone. (ie, you drop it and get X ability set instead)
The ranger's spellcasting is perfectly normal. It shouldn't mimic the Paladin, nor should the class hyperfocus on DPR. The game isn't built for DPR CharOP powergaming, and that's a good thing.
The Ranger has too many of it's good spells with the concentration tag, and not enough known spells. Spellcasting doesn't need to carry the Rangers damage output to be a worthwhile feature. Every subclass gets damage boosts, and it gets Extra Attack. It's barely behind the other weapon users, and isn't even behind them at every tier.

I don't know what post you read that you think this is a counterpoint to.

And CharOp comparisons don't matter. Objectively. They're fun. That's it.

No, they won't.

This whole tirade is so patently absurd that I don't even know where to start. The ranger doesn't need any kind of overhaul, or to lose abilities in favor of a less interesting class with higher DPR. DPR is a small part of the game.

The ranger needs it's early features to contribute to success reliably, and to not be stuck with a number of spell options comparable to a paladin with a 12 charisma. Making Hunter's Mark not a concentration spell would help, or making some of the other attack spells not concentration. Before you even say it for the thousandth time, no, it isn't a problem that HM is a bonus action. You're not casting it every round, and it applies to every attack. It's fine.



Absolutely a great optional variant. I mean, I think an "Aragorn" that isn't adjusted at all for being in a vastly higher magic setting works just fine as a righter or rogue, but a Ranger option to trade spells for maneuvers would be fine.
Now you're getting dangerously close to actively seeking out an argument with me. I've repeatedly said that while I might have preferences (much like everyone else) I have no real stake in what MMearls chooses to focus the class on. Just that whatever that focus is is a real improvement, so that the Ranger becomes actually best at *something*. Except that that something mustn't be "best at sucking all the fun out of woodland challenges". Which means that never getting lost or having an always-on fool-proof radar is not only not a power ability (it's a ribbon) but an incredibly uncool and unfun one at that.

Other than that I don't care to feed the parts of your post that comes across as trolling - your wilful ignorance of the abyssal suckyness of the Beastmaster, and your complacency in how much better the Paladin's abilities interact and augment each other. As the game's two main half casters, I see absolutely zero reason to let WotC get away with the Ranger being incredibly milquetoast compared to its "sibling".

So again, just faffing about, like every MMearls Ranger effort so far isn't gonna give us a Ranger that can compete with the other classes. That is why I feel it is time to actually cut away some features, to make MMearls feel better about actually improving the rest to a level where the Ranger gets a couple of niches it is actually best at. Better than any other class.

While the thread sure can't agree which ability is the most quintessential rangery one, you're the only one arguing the Ranger's main ability should be "Jack of all trades, master of none". Which I find quite absurd. Nothing suggests we should be content with the Ranger cemented as this edition's d20 Bard.

If Larian can pressure MMearls into admitting the Ranger is in need of an upgrade, we should obviously push for real improvement, and not play along with his little mind games, where he's basically talking himself into believing nothing drastic needs to be done.

If a change really IS coming (despite WotC shutting down the UA Ranger) join me in hoping for a *real* change!
 
Last edited:

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Now you're getting dangerously close to actively seeking out an argument with me. I've repeatedly said that while I might have preferences (much like everyone else) I have no real stake in what MMearls chooses to focus the class on. Just that whatever that focus is is a real improvement, so that the Ranger becomes actually best at *something*. Except that that something mustn't be "best at sucking all the fun out of woodland challenges". Which means that never getting lost or having an always-on fool-proof radar is not only not a power ability (it's a ribbon) but an incredibly uncool and unfun one at that.

Other than that I don't care to feed the parts of your post that comes across as trolling - your wilful ignorance of the abyssal suckyness of the Beastmaster, and your complacency in how much better the Paladin's abilities interact and augment each other. As the game's two main half casters, I see absolutely zero reason to let WotC get away with the Ranger being incredibly milquetoast compared to its "sibling".
!
LOL okay zapp. You seem to have misunderstood my position on the Beast Master (it doesn’t need an overhaul, it just needs better HP scaling for the most part, and has plenty of room for more fun stuff like sharing spells from level 3), and are taking general disagreement as “trolling”, which is absurd to the point I don’t even take offense, it’s just weird.

You also seem seem to have forgotten what actual improvements I suggested. I never suggested making natural explorer do more powerful travel stuff. I suggested that it should have always on benefits that help in combat and active exploration. I also suggested favored enemy being a damage or accuracy improving feature, which requires no action to apply to a target if the target is a favored enemy, OR use mechanical concepts similar to what the Hunter does, where if you pick humanoids you get bonus damage against multiple targets, while fiends lets you ignore resistance, and giants lets you deal more damage to huge or larger targets, etc.

as for spells known, I honestly think it’s completely bonkers that you can’t see the benefit of knowing more than two spells at level 2. Maybe all you ever do as a paladin is divine smite, but most people actually cast spells, as well. One of the pain points for players is having crappy spell selection bc they “have” to take hunters mark and only get 1 other spell at level 3.

I also suggest making hunters mark not require concentration for rangers, which you ignored as if it doesn’t allow damaging weapon attack spell stacking.

The ranger doesn’t need anything cut, and that isn’t going to be on the table in all likelihood. Not because they won’t admit the ranger needs help. Mearls literally has admitted that. They won’t do it because they refuse to invalidate the phb, or provide something that makes new players feel like they have to have a secondary product in order to play a phb class. They are going to provide optional alternate versions of existing features, or things like “trade spellcasting for manuevers”. I’d rather just figure out the best way to homebrew without rewriting the class. The ranger’s 1-3 abilities are iconic, and need to stay. They don’t have to remain the same, but they gotta stay. If you want to rewrite the class, do so.

But you don’t need to push your concept of fixing the class on every single damn discussion about the ranger.
 

Advertisement

Top