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D&D General Which Edition Had the Best Ranger?

Which Edition had the best Ranger?


  • Total voters
    159

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
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So you're agreeing with me? Rangers are pretty lightly armed, and armored in the US military. I should know, I've worked with plenty of them when I was in.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The heaviest normal armour I allow anyone to sleep in is leather; if someone's rich (or lucky!) enough to have mithril chain they can also sleep in that.
This is unrealistic. The main drawback to sleeping in armor is hygeine, but that’s just as true for any armor. Sleeping in armor that fits you correctly isn’t that bad.
 

Keep in mind this was also incorporating the Paladin's code, as in UA Paladins were made a sub-class of Cavalier.

If our group banned Cavaliers, why would we ever play with Cavalier Paladins instead of PHB Paladins? Discarding the UA class also discards the part that says Paladins have different rules.

My guess is the writers naively expected the other party members to be treated as 'peers and equals' rather than 'beneath your station'. But, just like any other bit of 1e that try to overly restrict how one roleplays (e.g. hard-line alignment rules) it's best to just treat these as guidelines.

That's what I would say, but the class description repeatedly goes out of it's way to emphasize how strict the code of conduct is and how the DM should adjudicate it. I think the book is very clear that the code of conduct is supposed to be rigid, inflexible, and deliberately onerous.

It's the UA Barbarian and their hatred of magic, magic items, and magic-users that's more in line with a class description that only has a subtext of disruptive play. With Cavaliers, it's just text.

I've done it, and seen it done.

It needs a party run by Captain Kirk rather than Captain Picard, to be sure, as diplomacy with these guys is often pretty much off the table. But if you put the Cavvy in the lead such that his-her charge won't trample anyone else in the party, chances are you'll be OK.

Or, you could play characters that aren't so disruptive that they require the rest of the party to warp reality around your PC's obnoxious personality. There are, after all, multiple people at the table who want to play.

Yes, it's funny when B. A. Baracus has to be drugged with spiked milk every time the A-Team wants to fly, but that's because it's a throwaway gag every few episodes that takes all of 30 seconds. If you were playing in a game where characters routinely handwave away hours of air travel and now you can't because one player decides to play a character that refuses to cooperate, well, you've just forced everyone else at the table to stop playing the game and put up with your character trait whenever they want to get something done. It's hard not to label that obnoxious. It's hard not to say that you've taken your character and turned them into an obstacle. It's not really a huge leap to call a player-contrived obstacle disruptive to the game. It's certainly fine if everyone is on board with these kind of diversions, but if most of your table is expecting Henry V and someone keeps injecting Twelfth Night you shouldn't be surprised that you might upset some people.

That said, one of the best literary examples of a Cavalier I've ever seen is Mandorallen from Eddings' Belgariad series. Play a Cavalier as if it's him and you can't really go wrong. The trick is to have someone in the party that the Cavalier looks up to as a leader and whose orders s/he will follow; this gets around the 'cannot be controlled' bit.

I'm fairly certain that, on more than one occasion, the party has to distract Mandorallen and get him away from where the action is taking place so he doesn't immediately ruin the quest by attacking or killing some less savory individual because they don't look the part. Mandorallen comes across as an idiot to be endured because his battle prowess was unmatched. Indeed, I'm fairly certain Polgara or Beldin said as much. Frankly, I find him a pale shadow of the Pandion and Cyrinic Knights from Eddings' other major work.

These kinds of character traits might make for comedic moments in literature, but like Kender and Gully Dwarves it very easily makes gameplay excruciating. It means that one character gets to dominate every interaction with NPCs to the extent they their characters must be effectively taken out of play before anyone else can play the game. It means one PC has to be "dealt with" before the rest of the party can actually roleplay their characters.
 

DnD Warlord

Adventurer
Toss up 4e and 1e

but for different reasons. 4e could do everything I want a ranger too without magic.

1e doubled down on the magic making him both arcane and divine caster
 

DnD Warlord

Adventurer
If someone were to tell me, "You have a power that you can use once per day where you can shoot an arrow and knock that dragon backwards 20ft and knock it prone." and I said "Oh, like a spell would." And they laugh at me? They're pretty clearly a jerk.

Again, it's literally called a "power", and it does supernatural effects. End stop.
So a battle master fighter who uses the power of trip on his arrow is now casting a spell in 5e?
 

Basic D&D/BECM: there was no such thing as a Ranger class in this edition. I could have sworn there was a variant rule for it somewhere, maybe in the Rules Cyclopedia? I'm including it in this poll just in case someone remembers. I don't have the energy to get up and look for myself...my books are all in storage at the moment.
It did not (maybe in one of the Gazetteer setting books), but if you look closely at the rules, it's extremely easy to re-skin the Halfling class to be a Ranger instead. It has the ability to hide in woodlands, improved ranged attacks, it has moderate HP (behind only the Fighter and Dwarf classes), and excellent saving throws, though it is restricted to not wielding two handed weapons or longbows (the latter of which is a bit of a bummer, but shortbows work fine, and are more portable).
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Not to take Sancrosanct's defense, he's old enough to do that, but a trip is not a 25 feet knock back prone on a gargantuan dragon... There a whole new ball game in 4ed that is not in 5ed.
Pretty much I can be tripped by a crack in the sidewalk. That crack won't also throw me back 20ft. Also, trip is large size or smaller

Although, that'd be crazy to see...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Not to take Sancrosanct's defense, he's old enough to do that, but a trip is not a 25 feet knock back prone on a gargantuan dragon... There a whole new ball game in 4ed that is not in 5ed.
It's absolutely the same thing. 25ft is just more in the territory of epic heroes than normal soldiers.

But hey, maybe Cu Chulain was casting spells when he got so mad he melted ponds full of water, and Beowulf was as well when he held his breath for longer than any real life human ever could?
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That's what I would say, but the class description repeatedly goes out of it's way to emphasize how strict the code of conduct is and how the DM should adjudicate it. I think the book is very clear that the code of conduct is supposed to be rigid, inflexible, and deliberately onerous.
It's the corresponding penalty to cancel out all the benefits the class gets. In that part, philosophically I like it, but I won't dispute for a second that the implementation could have been much better done.
It's the UA Barbarian and their hatred of magic, magic items, and magic-users that's more in line with a class description that only has a subtext of disruptive play. With Cavaliers, it's just text.
Funny - and also oddly apropos to topic - with the very first character I ever played (the heavy-Ranger I referenced once or twice upthread) I-as-player decided he came from a land and culture that hated - or more correctly was scared to death of - magic and those who used it. He was rolled up as if from the DM's game-world but we massaged his background such that he was a transplant from my still-in-development setting; and as a setting element in the area from which he came magic was dangerously unstable - casting any spell risked blowing up someone's house or starting a forest fire.

End result: to begin with he kinda played very much like a UA Barbarian, only absent the enforcing mechanics. As his career went on he slowly came to accept magic here was more reliable than where he'd grown up.

This was all several years before UA came out, and at a time where I knew absolutely nothing about the game. :)
Or, you could play characters that aren't so disruptive that they require the rest of the party to warp reality around your PC's obnoxious personality. There are, after all, multiple people at the table who want to play.

Yes, it's funny when B. A. Baracus has to be drugged with spiked milk every time the A-Team wants to fly, but that's because it's a throwaway gag every few episodes that takes all of 30 seconds. If you were playing in a game where characters routinely handwave away hours of air travel and now you can't because one player decides to play a character that refuses to cooperate, well, you've just forced everyone else at the table to stop playing the game and put up with your character trait whenever they want to get something done. It's hard not to label that obnoxious. It's hard not to say that you've taken your character and turned them into an obstacle. It's not really a huge leap to call a player-contrived obstacle disruptive to the game. It's certainly fine if everyone is on board with these kind of diversions, but if most of your table is expecting Henry V and someone keeps injecting Twelfth Night you shouldn't be surprised that you might upset some people.
Heh - round here Henry V wouldn't stand a chance! It's more like a glorious mix of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Xena-Hercules, where sometimes the greatest obstacles to success are the rest of your own party. :)
I'm fairly certain that, on more than one occasion, the party has to distract Mandorallen and get him away from where the action is taking place so he doesn't immediately ruin the quest by attacking or killing some less savory individual because they don't look the part. Mandorallen comes across as an idiot to be endured because his battle prowess was unmatched. Indeed, I'm fairly certain Polgara or Beldin said as much.
That sounds more like what they had to do with Lleldorin (the Asturian archer) all the time. Mando saw Belgarath as a leader and would thus usually follow his orders. Lleldorin wouldn't know an order if it hit him in the face.
These kinds of character traits might make for comedic moments in literature, but like Kender and Gully Dwarves it very easily makes gameplay excruciating. It means that one character gets to dominate every interaction with NPCs to the extent they their characters must be effectively taken out of play before anyone else can play the game. It means one PC has to be "dealt with" before the rest of the party can actually roleplay their characters.
The best times IMO are when the whole party are like that! :) Sure, little to no actual adventuring gets done; but who cares if we're all rolling on the floor laughing all night!
 

paladinn

Explorer
I think the ranger class has an identity crisis. Is it a fighter subclass? A fighter/thief hybrid? A junior druid?

The original SR ranger was obviously designed with Aragorn in mind, using what was available at the time. Aragorn was good fighting Nazgul ("undead"), so the class got cleric spells. He used a palantir (crystal ball), so he had to have some mage about him. He work heavy armor and used a Big sword, so all armor and weapons. 1e changed the cleric spells to druid, as that class had been introduced, and Aragorn was kind of a nature boy.

I prefer a spell-less ranger personally; and the best treatment I've seen is probably the Castles & Crusades rendition. Tough as nails, gets a bonus fighting giants/humanoids; can hide, climb and move silently outdoors; tracks and neutralizes poison; great survival skills. The only things I would add are animal handling and detect danger. I would also give proficiency with any armor or weapon, but a penalty to some abilities if wearing heavy armor.

I guess that makes "Other" my choice.
 

Minigiant

Legend
I think the ranger class has an identity crisis. Is it a fighter subclass? A fighter/thief hybrid? A junior druid?

Theranger doesn't have an identity crisis.
In most editions, the lore write ups for the ranger tells you exactly what the ranger is.

No, the ranger has a mechanical mismatch. TSR and WOTC don't know how to convert the lore of the ranger into mechanics.

"
Warriors of the wilderness, rangers specialize in hunting the monsters that threaten the edges of civilization—humanoid raiders, rampaging beasts and monstrosities, terrible giants, and deadly dragons. They learn to track their quarry as a predator does, moving stealthily through the wilds and hiding themselves in brush and rubble. Rangers focus their combat training on techniques that are particularly useful against their specific favored foes.
Thanks to their familiarity with the wilds, rangers acquire the ability to cast spells that harness nature’s power, much as a druid does. Their spells, like their combat abilities, emphasize speed, stealth, and the hunt. A ranger’s talents and abilities are honed with deadly focus on the grim task of protecting the borderlands." somehow became "a halfcaster archer or dualwielder with a squishy furry friend and a minor bonus to track and talk to a few monsters."
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think the ranger class has an identity crisis. Is it a fighter subclass? A fighter/thief hybrid? A junior druid?

The original SR ranger was obviously designed with Aragorn in mind, using what was available at the time. Aragorn was good fighting Nazgul ("undead"), so the class got cleric spells. He used a palantir (crystal ball), so he had to have some mage about him. He work heavy armor and used a Big sword, so all armor and weapons. 1e changed the cleric spells to druid, as that class had been introduced, and Aragorn was kind of a nature boy.

I prefer a spell-less ranger personally; and the best treatment I've seen is probably the Castles & Crusades rendition. Tough as nails, gets a bonus fighting giants/humanoids; can hide, climb and move silently outdoors; tracks and neutralizes poison; great survival skills. The only things I would add are animal handling and detect danger. I would also give proficiency with any armor or weapon, but a penalty to some abilities if wearing heavy armor.

I guess that makes "Other" my choice.

Yeah the C&C one is pretty sweet.
 

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