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General Which Edition Had the Best Ranger?

Which Edition had the best Ranger?


  • Total voters
    158

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Despite a lot of the complications of 1E, I feel they did the best job with the Ranger overall. It was very useful in wilderness exploration, which was fairly uncommon but normally deadly. In combat it was almost as good as the fighter, and even got weapon specialization in Unearthed Arcana just like the fighter did. The late spellcasting allowed them to diversify a bit when facing harder challenges.

Outside of 1E... I think 5E did the best job, as even though it's the overall weakest class, the difference isn't nearly as noticeable as in prior editions. 2E and 3E had problems due to the method of non-weapon proficiency/skills used in the edition, which really hampered a lot of concepts. The 4E "ranger" was mechanically fine, but completely lacked any feel of the ranger class to date.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I voted 1e.

The 2e ranger was a crashing disappointment compared to 1e. It went from having some good, reliable abilities to weaker ones limited by unreliable die rolls.

The first crack 3e took at it was similarly feeble, but the 3.5 iteration was a significant improvement. PF1 takes it a step further and I might have chosen it if a specific choice.

The 4e version was probably one of my favorite parts of 4e, but wasn’t enough to save the overall edition for me.

In 5e, my players are having fun with their rangers. But I do think the beast master needs work.

What I have a hard time understanding is just how designers lurch around with the ranger from edition to edition. Maybe it‘s linked to ranger abilities being so focused around elements that can be so campaign dependent and how much the designers for the current iteration trust DMs to incorporate the things that make a particular ranger worthwhile.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The Essentials Ranger options made the 4e PHB Ranger into a real Ranger, for me. With those Utility Powers and using a feat to gain Wilderness Knacks, and the Fey Beast Tamer Theme or the maligned but perfectly functional Beast Companion, I could finally make a Ranger that did everything I’d been wanting the Ranger to do since I first got disappointed by the D&D ranger in 2e and 3/.5.
 



Raith5

Adventurer
I have played a ranger in 1e, 4e and 5e (Horizon Walker). I really liked (and miss) the mobility and defensive tricks of 4e, especially Disruptive Strike and Combined Fire. I am finding the 5e Horizon Walker pretty good as well.
 

payn

Explorer
Technically, 3E I guess, but my fave is the Pathfinder Ranger. So I voted other.

I enjoyed the mix of combat and environment choices. I could go bow, two weapon, or even two handed. Pets were ok and a nice option if you wanted it. Front loading and ala carte multiclass are some of my favorite bits of 3E, and this class delivered in 3E/PF.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The 4e ranger was a skirmisher with tracking skills and mostly mobility utility powers, IIRC. Add in exploration rituals with a feat and you’ve got a solid ranger thematically, but it doesn’t really come together until you can do nature magic with utility powers form the Essentials ranger options.
 

Horwath

Hero
How can you even put 3.0E ranger together with 3.5E/PF1 ranger as an option to vote?

In 3.0E you took more than 1 level of ranger only if you are on a quest to make the worst PC ever(in terms of game mechanics).

I would vote for 3.5E/PF1, but I can't as it is glued to the worst version of ranger.
 

Cyan Wisp

Explorer
Based on a true story:

DM: All classes are allowed in this campaign except the Ranger
Player 1: I absolutely must play a Ranger now.
Player 2: Me too. No other class will do.
Player 3: Same. I will fight you if I have to.
I just remembered a weird rule about 1e rangers: no more than 3 can work together!

I voted 1e, but I'm not sure I can back it up. They played quite different to fighters. I remember it could track, cast druid and mage spells, and boy could it smash "giant class" creatures - but, like favoured enemy, this could be very campaign-dependent.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I just remembered a weird rule about 1e rangers: no more than 3 can work together!
Yes - one of the very first rules I threw out when I started DMing in 1984.

Ranger alignment restrictions were, I think, next.
I voted 1e, but I'm not sure I can back it up. They played quite different to fighters. I remember it could track, cast druid and mage spells, and boy could it smash "giant class" creatures - but, like favoured enemy, this could be very campaign-dependent.
1e Rangers could fight just fine, to the point where you could easily enough play one as nothing more than a Fighter-with-extras for at least the first half dozen levels. The only thing that did them in a bit at higher levels was their hit points were on a d8 rather than d10 (though they did get an extra d8 at 1st level) and thus they tended to lack starch later on.

Full disclosure: the very first character I ever played was a 'heavy Ranger' - a plate-clad crazy-strong (beginner's luck on the dice!) tank who could, when he took his armour off, also track and do some other useful things. Thus, the heavy-Ranger character concept is one I will defend against anything; and also thus my utter disdain for the polar-opposite Drizz't-style Ranger. :)

In 3e I tried to replicate the heavy-Ranger idea, to rather dubious results even though the character managed to last a good long time.
 


ccs

40th lv DM
1e.
Past that it's just been a never ending train wreck of trying to re-make/improve upon the 1e class everyone loved for some reason.

But then I am biased as 1e is still my favorite edition.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The best rangers I've seen were entirely about the person playing it, not the class itself.

Even the best game mechanics in the world don't result in good characters if the person playing it isn't a very good player. This is why white-room analysis to me is absolutely pointless. Because no player plays their character in a white room.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
I voted 1e, but I'm not sure I can back it up. They played quite different to fighters. I remember it could track, cast druid and mage spells, and boy could it smash "giant class" creatures - but, like favoured enemy, this could be very campaign-dependent.
Since "giant class" creatures were most of the humanoids and giants, it would be a fairly unusual campaign to not feature them once in a while. That's the benefit of having broad definitions of what's a favored enemy rather than overly narrow ones.
And, of course, the broadest definition would be "what the ranger chooses to be his current favored enemy" - then it isn't campaign dependent at all. It allows the ranger to adjust to the current situation in a campaign.
 

Aaron L

Hero
1st Edition AD&D:
Rangers are a sub-class of fighter who are adept at woodcraft, tracking,
scouting, and infiltration and spying.

Heavily armed and armored magical commandos.
1E Rangers didn't get Druid spells because they worshiped nature, they learned them as a practical matter because they worked in nature, along with magic-user spells for utility and some offense. They're job was patrolling the wilderness slaying monsters.
 
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