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What is the Ranger to you?

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think its telling that when Aragorn does magic even the herbalism one might associate with a nature magic Tolkien's writing is talking about Aragorns Kingship ... and the ability of nobility to bring out better traits in what they put their hands to... not his connectivity with the nature/world.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
By this time is should be readily apparent to all of us WotC can't write "ranger" abilities. They don't have a clue is the only conclusion when these abilities allow you to trivialize or entirely skip the challenges you signed up for Ranger to focus on.

As for proficiencies, just about the only path forward I see is to split up Expertise to restrict Rogues to urban usage and give Expertise to the Ranger for use in rural environs.

Perhaps not very exciting but there really isn't more to Aragorns healing or tracking or persuasion than that in the context of D&D. You simply can't say Rangers should be the only ones doing that stuff - ANY high-level hero can do stuff like that. Expertise just nudges you towards a certain class.
 
It wasnt their personal race name it was a race name given them by others ... I do not see the difference honestly. If it was in more D&D style they would be a kind of half elf.
It's a descriptive title based on what they do, not who they are. It's occupational, like Bounders in the Shire. This is plainly apparent when you consider Faramir's Rangers of Ithilien. Some few citizens of Gondor are rangers, but not all.

Beren was a human nobleman again who was outlawed in the Silmarillion his Luthien his elfen lady did a sleep spell. Has some in common.
I very distinctly meant Beren. He does rather more than that.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It's a descriptive title based on what they do, not who they are. It's occupational, like Bounders in the Shire. This is plainly apparent when you consider Faramir's Rangers of Ithilien. Some few citizens of Gondor are rangers, but not all.
Sure maybe, and it's not like they arent also Dunedain blood lines

I am making that sound less like you convinced me than is true.... i think its an occupation with very strong bloodline associations.

I very distinctly meant Beren. He does rather more than that.
You are saying this human is doing spell casting... it has been literally dozens of years sinceI read the Silmarillion but damn I would have thought that would have stood out.
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think its telling that when Aragorn does magic even the herbalism one might associate with a nature magic Tolkien's writing is talking about Aragorns Kingship ... and the ability of nobility to bring out better traits in what they put their hands to... not his connectivity with the nature/world.
This right here is why I do not think it was occupation but rather blood-line that brought on the magical flavor of the Ranger. Ranger just isn't the source of "the magic"

And in a game with easy multiclassing... shrug
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
By this time is should be readily apparent to all of us WotC can't write "ranger" abilities. They don't have a clue is the only conclusion when these abilities allow you to trivialize or entirely skip the challenges you signed up for Ranger to focus on.

As for proficiencies, just about the only path forward I see is to split up Expertise to restrict Rogues to urban usage and give Expertise to the Ranger for use in rural environs.

Perhaps not very exciting but there really isn't more to Aragorns healing or tracking or persuasion than that in the context of D&D. You simply can't say Rangers should be the only ones doing that stuff - ANY high-level hero can do stuff like that. Expertise just nudges you towards a certain class.

Many of us seem to be playing in the esoteric and you are being so practical
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
By this time is should be readily apparent to all of us WotC can't write "ranger" abilities. They don't have a clue is the only conclusion when these abilities allow you to trivialize or entirely skip the challenges you signed up for Ranger to focus on.
In 4e there was a I want to call it adventure design paradigm expressed in Skill Challenges (and I think described explicitly in the DMG2 rather well). Let me see if I can present it. Make sure a worthwhile challenge is complex enough, and that rituals (or Martial Practices - basically the martial analog to those) are not sufficient to undermine anything but a fraction of it. In 4e those practices and rituals had a price so spending that price was an auto success on that fraction but only that fraction.

If the 5e ranger abilities are too broad and overwhelming for the whole of it that is problematic.

tldr maybe the ranger abilities might need a cost that goes across arenas the way healing surges did.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
Yeah. And it should be noted that Aragorn is hardly the only example of a woodsman-type hero in Tolkien's work. The rangers that he's lord of in the north spend all their time beating back monsters in the wilderness to protect civilization. As do many other ranger-type figures in the Silmarillion and expanded work - Beren, Barahir, Faramir, etc. None of them raise undead armies.
Sure, and it’s also important to recall that Tolkien isn’t the whole of Ranger class inspiration, and that it matters what folks expect *now*, and that tends to include magic, but not wizard-like magic. They surveyed and playtested for this.

The 5e Ranger isn’t unsatisfactory because it has magic, it’s unsatiafactory because it’s two main low level abilities are ribbons that require making choices, and it’s spellcasting feels weaker than even the 1/3 casters, because you know so few spells, so many of your useful spells are concentration, and the paladin is over there being mechanically similar enough that comparison is unavoidable.

It needs a balance fix. That’s all. And not even a major one, because it isn’t actually significantly behind other classes once your out of tier 1. Conceptually, the 5e Ranger is excellent.


None of them cast anything approaching a D&D spell ...
Neither do the actual wizards in the story.

Spells were a poor patch job for having no skill system
they could easily have had the same kind of rules as the rogue, but specific to survival instead of skullduggery. Instead, they had spells, because the concept was partly magical.

Faramir is a Nobleman leading armies I do not know how
he fought at a personal level but I bet it wouldn't have
been using magic missile or fire ball and a shield spell.
He was a Ranger, who could disappear into the background like an elf. “Like an elf” in Tolkien is magic in dnd.

No no one in Tolkien throws fireballs or magic missiles or has anything like the shield spell. Gandalf fights with weapons, and does very subtle magic, and he is the Wizard of the story.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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.
By the way I really do like a lot of these ideas.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
No no one in Tolkien throws fireballs or magic missiles or has anything like the shield spell. Gandalf fights with weapons, and does very subtle magic, and he is the Wizard of the story.
Giving the ranger spells pasted tacky onto subtle originally and was only as a relatively high level after thought on the class (so using that as an excuse seems poor) which has become somehow central because nope its not Aragorn anymore AT ALL.

Forcing rangers to be spell casters to have awesome nature skills seems horrible to me.

Gandalf did some flash bang in early story (lightning flashes mostly off camera and arguably fireball effects against the Orcs during the Hobbit - something they resurrect for video games and to lesser effect in movies of course)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I do not actually see how do we make the ranger class work better as the concept of this thread... it really is about the identity of the ranger.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
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.

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.
How long this has been true...

And yes I think roles made a lot of things rather worthwhile
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
He was a Ranger, who could disappear into the background like an elf. “Like an elf” in Tolkien is magic in dnd.
To me that is saying like sufficient skill == magic
and since this is D^D it must involve incantations and hand waving daily spells
And unless you are magic you are inferior.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
To me that is saying like sufficient skill == magic
and since this is D^D it must involve incantations and hand waving daily spells
And unless you are magic you are inferior.
No, it’s just that lotr is a vastly lower magic level than dnd. LOTR Elves are magical. In the context of the world they’re in, they’re *very* magical.

But 5e spells don’t require incantations and wizardy handwaving. The ranger’s Spells are noticeable enough to be counter spelled, but that doesn’t mean they’re flashy wizard spells.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
By the way I really do like a lot of these ideas.
Thanks. I think the Aragorn discussion is pretty tangential, tbh. The dnd ranger has an identity, and enough of the player base thinks it’s magical that they shot down a spellless Ranger in the playtest and later in unearthed arcana.

I do think it would be fine to give a variant option that trades spells for manuevers, though.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
The Ranger is an Outdoorsman/Survival Expert, a Wilderness Warrior, a Borderlands Guardian. Magic or magical seeming abilities are something that might come in/be picked up or figured out in time, but hey are FAR from integral. For a very magic/spell ranger (like 5e's half-caster) -have a subclass. For animal companion/"if there's no WoW pet they're not ranger" types -have a subclass. For a shadowy tracker/"urban ranger/investigtor"/bounty hunter type -have a subclass.

A Ranger must have wilderness and survival skills. They are a skill-dependent class, primarily, making them more akin/directly relate [thematically] to rogues rather than warriors. So Stealth must be part of the equation.

A Ranger must have above average combat ability. In keeping with their roguish "specialization" [vs. the general combat competence of Fighter-types] this is primarily expressed through the "Favored Enemy/Prey/Hunter's Quarry" type of mechanic to give better/impressive attack and damage bonuses, but only against certain creatures/specific situations (again, like sneak attack). Things like dictating "fighting styles" are kinda superfluous/meaningless.

A Ranger must "range," i.e. be able/have features to move more/better/faster/extra. This may be fluffed as some spiritual/mystical connection with the natural world, preternatural skill, experience, whatever -a ranger [again, like other rogues] needs to be an extra-maneuverable class when compared to other classes.

Steel Dragons' "World of Orea" Homebrew Setting Ranger Class

Primary abilities: Dexterity (the Ranger is a Rogue category class, hence Dex is default Prime abilitiy); Constitution; Intelligence (you need to know and remember a lot of things. It's not about "mystical connections to nature" -that's what druids are for- it's about accumulatng and implementing knowledge)
d10 HD (+ Con mod)
Light armors to start
All simple, All ranged, Single-handed Martial.
Skills: STEALTH, Lore: Nature; Survival; 1 bonus Language of your choice (nothing assists learning language like travel).

1: Wilderness Expertise: choose a favored terrain, +2 to all ability, skill, or save rolls within the chosen terrain. +3 to Stealth, Survival, Nature Lore, and Tracking in your favored terrain. Accumulate new ones very 4 levels.
"Tricks & Tasks" ["TnT"] my system's way of doling out Rogue-specific skills: Flat +5 bonus to roll (in addition to ability mod) on specific tricks or tasks the Rogue-class is trained/learned to do: Tracking [Int] -the ranger's primary class shtick that no other class knows how to do; Concealment [Dex] -making camouflage (self or area, e.. hunting blinds, etc...) in natural surroundings; 1 additional Player's Choice "TnT". You accumulate additional "TnT" as you level.
Keen Senses: +2 regardless of ability score to Perception, Search/Investigation, or other rolls reliant on senses.

2: Strider:
Gain 10' of movement. Do not suffer loss of movement in natural difficult terrain (enchanted terrain effects normally).

3: Martial Prowess: Armor Advancement:
Gain proficiency with shields, ring mail, & chain shirts. Ranger treats these armors as "light" and do not impose on their movement or skill rolls.
Hunter's Strike: Select two creatures to be Hunter's/Favored Marks/Prey/Quarry [whatever phrase you prefer]. Pick one more each level after.
+2 to hit and damage, Lore, and Tracking rolls against these creatures. Must choose from Beast, Plant, Humanoid, or Undead.

4: (Choose another one Rogue "Tricks/Tasks")

5: Ability Boost (+1 primary ability, +1 to another ability -cannot be primary. cannot exceed racial maximums)
"Mark"ed Improvement: Your Hunter's Strike bonus is now +3 and you can choose creatures from the Faye, Giants, Giantkin, Dragonkin, or Shapeshifter creature categories.

6: Champion's Renown (a homebrew feature of my system that all classes receive)
Expertise Improvement: Wilderness Expertise bonus increases to +3 skills/saves/ability checks, +4 for Stealth, Survival, Nature Lore or Tracking. Choose a second terrain type.

7: Natural Affinity: Herbal Healing: make a survival check (to find appropriate medicinal plants) heal up to 2hp per level or end one poison effect (as 1 dose of antitoxin) per day; Wild Empathy: improve/calm disposition of natural/normal animals, magical beasts, sylvan, and faye creatures of intelligence no higher than 9.
Martial Prowess: Armor Advancement: Gain proficiency with all Medium armors. Ranger treats these armors as "light" and do not impose on their movement or skill rolls.
(Choose another one Rogue "Tricks/Tasks")

8:
Retributive Strike: Gain one free melee attack, immediately, when you are attacked in melee by one of your Hunter's Mark creatures.

9:
"Mark"ed Improvement: Your Hunter's Strike bonus is now +4 and you can choose two creatures at 9th level (back to one per level after). May now add/choose from Dragons, Elementals, Fiends, or Aberration creature categories.
Ability Boost: Add 1 point to your primary class ability and 1 point to another (not prime) ability of your choice, up to your racial maximum. if your prime ability is maxed, you may apply these points to other abilities as you choose.

10: Monster Slayer: choose one category of creature from among your Hunter's Marks and yu now apply your Hunter's Strike bonus to all creatures in that category.
(Choose another one Rogue "Tricks/Tasks")

11: Expertise Improvement: Wilderness Expertise bonus increases to +4 skills/saves/ability checks, +5 for Stealth, Survival, Nature Lore or Tracking. Choose a third terrain type.

12: Secret Lore: limited cantrip and nature magic & item use (Won't bore with the details of the homebrew)

13: "Mark"ed Improvement: Your Hunter's Strike bonus is now +5 and you can choose two creatures at 13th level (back to one per level after). May now add/choose Marks from any/all creature categories.
Ability Boost: At 13th level, your 2 "boost"points can be used to exceed racial maximum in your primary class ability, to a maximum of 20.

14: Hero's Boon (a homebrew feature of my system all classes receive)
(Choose another one Rogue "Tricks/Tasks")

15: Monster Slayer (2): choose another category of creature from among your Hunter's Marks and you now apply your Hunter's Strike bonus to all creatures in that category.

16: Wilderness Warrior
(homebrew system-specific mechanics going on here): The ranger is a warrior of the wild. Unlike other non-Warrior category classes, rangers continue to gain Hit Points (2) at each level beyond 15th. Also, for your weapon proficiencies at 17th and 19th levels, the ranger is allowed to choose any from all weapon lists, including those normally restricted to Warrior classes only.

17: Class Paragon (a homebrew system-specific feature): Warden: You are a beacon of excellence in your class and your near pinnacle experiences grant the following abilities:
  • Nature Magic Resistance: Auto-reroll failed saves (once per effect) against Nature magic or a magical or supernatural power of sylvan creatures, fayekin, or magical beasts. The ranger may use the higher of the two rolls.
  • Armor Advancement: Gains Splint, Banded, and Plate mail (Partial Plate) as proficient armors. You suffer no penalties to your movement or skills for wearing these armors, treat as "Medium armor" for the ranger's purposes. Penalties accrued for over-encumbrance may still apply normally.
  • Unerring Strike: 1 + Dex. mod. per day. Auto re-roll a missed attack on a Hunter's Mark target.
Ability Boost: A 17th you may apply the points to any ability scores to exceed racial maximums to a maximum score of 20.

18: Expertise Improvement: Wilderness Expertise bonus increases to +5 skills/saves/ability checks, +6 for Stealth, Survival, Nature Lore or Tracking. Choose a fourth terrain type.
(Choose another one Rogue "Tricks/Tasks")

19: Monster Slayer (3):
choose a third category of creature from among your Hunter's Marks and you now apply your Hunter's Strike bonus to all creatures in that category.
Unimpeded Stride: You ignore natural or magical diffcult terrain. Additionally, Dex mod times per day, you automatically avoid any attempts (grapples, spells, etc...) to hinder or force the ranger's movement.

20: Ranger-Lord:
  • Beast-Lord: Normal creatures of the natural world: normal Beasts and Plants; and Sylvan, Magical Beasts or Fayekin creatures that are True Neutral or share moral alignment (Good, Neutral or Evil) of the ranger will not attack the Ranger unless they are under some form of dominance or other magical control.
  • Master Hunter: The ranger may select any single creature, and spends a minimum of one round observing it. After which they apply their Hunter's Strike bonus (+5 to hit and damage) to an attack against it whether the target is a chosen Hunter's Mark or category of Monster Slayer the Ranger has or not.
  • Horizon Wanderer: The ranger enjoys the use of their Wilderness Expertise bonuses in any terrain type.


That's a Ranger to me.
--SD
 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Thanks. I think the Aragorn discussion is pretty tangential, tbh. The dnd ranger has an identity, and enough of the player base thinks it’s magical that they shot down a spellless Ranger in the playtest and later in unearthed arcana. .
Ad populum great... gating skill behind spell casting classes is still the functional design effect... even if you guys all voted Aragorn I mean those with highest nature skills should be able to shoot magic missiles and levitate things and the like.

The effect is narrowing the character design choices.

To be clear this problem seems to happen all over in this latest D&D so its not a ranger specific issue.
 
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Cap'n Kobold

Explorer
Ad populum great... gating skill behind spell casting classes is still the functional design effect... even if you guys all voted Aragorn I mean those with highest nature skills should be able to shoot magic missiles and levitate things and the like.

The effect is narrowing the character design choices.

To be clear this problem seems to happen all over in this latest D&D so its not a ranger specific issue.
Who has suggested that the Ranger should be shooting magic missiles and levitating things?
Other than you?

Many Ranger spells are simply ways of moving fast, or moving quietly or unseen. Attunement to the natural world to communicate with animals or to take on aspects of them. Asking nature to aid you in small ways. Finding things. If you didn't have a detect magic spell up while you watched, you might write them off as simple phrases to help the ranger concentrate rather than actual charms or prayers.

Only at higher levels do they start approaching the flashier stuff.
 

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