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D&D 5E Which version of the Ranger?

ehren37

Explorer
Because you don't have to?
D&D exploration is so bad a half caster can do it.

It's all low level except for Stealth, Detection, and Lock Picking. The only thing that really progresses is Tracking and all it does is open up options to be lazier.

The druid is also better in combat situations and has more utility. If your argument is that 5E is just face rolling easy, that still doesnt mean the ranger isnt weak compared to other classes.
 

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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Without Expertise a Rogue will always be better at those.

Only if the Rogue picks those skills to give Expertise. They only get 4 Expertise total.

It makes it easier, but it doesn't really require it.

No it requires it.
Once enemies start flying, swimming, teleporrting, and burrowing, you can't use Survival to track them as well. That's why you start summoning animals or using beast sense. Then you have natural hazard that require class features or spells to resist or bypass.

And the fact that you have to introduce homebrew or include all the newer subclasses to make the Ranger anything approaching a capable unit doesn't scream to you that the PHB Ranger is deeply flawed?

Have to?
The ranger works fine. Because the exploration pillar is so bad.
The homebrew is just to make the process go from "okay" to "good". The most common howebrew either add just 2 spells of just gives you HM for free.
Oh, and heavy armor for the Paladin.

A rage doubles your durability and healing done to you. Suppose 12 con; then a Barbarian has 13 HP, possibly times two, and possibly doubling healing. The Ranger has 11 HP, 42% of the Barbarian's durability before healing. If you include HD healing, that is 41 HP vs 17.5, same ratio.

The adventuring day/XP required before level 2 is tiny, so you are going to be raging in the vast majority of challenging fights before level 2.

When raging, the barbarian has top-notch (level 1) damage output. Ranger's have baseline martial.

Barbarians also get the unarmored defence ribbon feature, which is about as useful as both of the Ranger's ribbons combined (ie, not very, and if so, very situational).

---

For the Paladin, you get divine sense, which is a better situational ability than both of the Ranger's abilities combined.

Plus LOH, which brings the 12 con Paladin from 17.5 HP/day to 22.5 HP/day, or can be used to save a downed ally in smaller pieces.

Yet but the ranger doesn't need heavy armor or a combat boost. And it doesn't rely on getting hit to work like a barbarian.
The single skill profiency and favorable primary scores give it a significant Exploration pillar boost.

Again the issue is that The Ranger is a Combat + Exploration class. But the Exploration pillar in 5e is terrible and only skilled DMs are willing to fix it. So the version of ranger totally depends on whether the player is going hard on exploration and if the DM is bothering with the pillar at all passed Stealth.
 

Only if the Rogue picks those skills to give Expertise. They only get 4 Expertise total.
The point is that a Rogue who wants to hone their "Ranger-like" skills can be better at them than the Ranger is.

Once enemies start flying, swimming, teleporrting, and burrowing, you can't use Survival to track them as well. That's why you start summoning animals or using beast sense. Then you have natural hazard that require class features or spells to resist or bypass.
First of all, even at higher levels many creatures in the MM travel don't fly, swim, teleport or burrow.

Second of all, I'm reading the Tracking section of the DMG right now. Basically, the only situation that tracking is impossible is if the DM rules that it is.

Have to?
The ranger works fine. Because the exploration pillar is so bad.
Exploration is only as "bad" as the DM allows it to be. It's the pillar most ignored or handwaived by most DMs.

But a well-designed class works in any game, regardless of what pillars the DM emphasizes or doesn't. The fact the Ranger doesn't work without the exploration pillar fleshed out (and really doesn't work well even with it) is a fundamental issue with the class, not the game.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Yet but the ranger doesn't need heavy armor or a combat boost.
"Need"? It is arguably the worst combat class in 5e at level 1, because its combat features are "medium armor, shields, martial weapons".

There are no other classes in 5e whose in combat abilities are strictly dominated by another class. NONE.

The closest you get is Artificer vs Wizard, but even then different cantrips/spells make it non-strict.
And it doesn't rely on getting hit to work like a barbarian.
Huh? Rage grants damage and durability and even utility (strength advantage at-will, if costly).
 
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ScuroNotte

Explorer
I've played an extensive amount of 5E since its release; but surprisingly enough, I never played nor had a player play the ranger. So I have almost no idea of the intricacies of the class. However, I'm introducing a friend of mine to tabletop RPGs and he's really excited by the class fantasy. I want to make sure he has a great time and I'm willing to shift to a different version of the Ranger or even homebrew some stuff.

I know there's been a revised version of the class released and I've often seen snippets of people saying it was not doing too bad but definitely had some issues.
  1. I'd like if you guys could shed some light on the issues that the class has. Which features are especially lacking? What are the core issues that people complain about?
  2. Which version would you recommend to use?
  3. If not a version, what homebrew ideas did you incorporate to better the experience of player Ranger?
I'll be doing a deep dive of this topic today and hopefully I should have a better idea on how to approach this!

It has features that are very specific. If you are a playing long campaign with different terrains and enemies, you have features and attain levels that offer nothing. This is the reason why this class has the most revision than any other class.

There are many homebrews offered here, giantitp, reddit, DMSGuild, etc..

EDIT: The best "official" Ranger is the Rogue scout. Gains survival and Nature skills and then expertise on top of that.
 
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Mistwell

Legend
The ranger is fine as is. People just like to complain.

It's OK, but it's fair to mention that prior to the release of 5e's final version the Ranger ranked in popularity in the top 5 classes. After publication, and ever since then, it ranks near the bottom. In surveys, the Ranger routinely gets more dissatisfaction with mechanics than most classes. And WOTC has made multiple attempts to address this in UA space, more than any other class. So, it's probably more than just people complaining.
 

Here's how I run Ranger:
  1. Start with the base 5e Ranger in the PHB.
  2. Unless you're playing a campaign where the abilities would be extraordinary (hint: you aren't) replace Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy with the alternatives from the Variant Class Features Unearthed Arcana (and which, IMO, are likely to appear in November's Tasha's book).
  3. Do not use the Beast Master subclass. Not even with the variant class feature rules. WotC vastly, vastly, vastly overestimates how powerful an animal companion is.
The Variant Class Feature rules correct every issue I have with the base class. I'm fine with writing Beast Master off entirely because WotC's dev team has a wildly inflated perception of how good Animal Companions are.
Also, an animal companion works better as a separate player character, so the player plays two characters.
 


Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The point is that a Rogue who wants to hone their "Ranger-like" skills can be better at them than the Ranger is.

The point is that without spells, you can't do Ranger-like stuff unless the DM is generous. This is because there is almost no rules for overcoming ranger-like stuff with skills.

First of all, even at higher levels many creatures in the MM travel don't fly, swim, teleport or burrow.

Second of all, I'm reading the Tracking section of the DMG right now. Basically, the only situation that tracking is impossible is if the DM rules that it is.

A lot of monsters fly. You would be relying on DMs being generous to track wihout magic past Tier 1. The DMG litterally saysit there are no track,the DM can say tracking is impossible.

insert Divination magic. Locate Object is clutch. Big step up from the 3e ranger.

Exploration is only as "bad" as the DM allows it to be. It's the pillar most ignored or handwaived by most DMs.

But a well-designed class works in any game, regardless of what pillars the DM emphasizes or doesn't. The fact the Ranger doesn't work without the exploration pillar fleshed out (and really doesn't work well even with it) is a fundamental issue with the class, not the game.

It shouldn't be. Combat and Social don't need the DM to reinvent them to work.

Giving the Ranger Expertise wouldn't even "fix" it. In the Class Features UA, the designers give it expertise, a speed boost, and 2 extra movement modes to make it better at Exploration. And they still give it THP because they couldn't help shifting to Combat. There is no surprise that the new Tasha book has new supernatural environments and natural hazards. The Exploration pillar was lacking. And Wilderness Exploration is barely 2 pages altogether.

If you design a class around 1/3 the game and you flop that 1/3 of the game is lacking, the flaw is in the game system. That might be why the 4e ranger was just a combat beast. It was easier to cut all of the exploration out of the class. Many of the custom rangers don'teven increase the Ranger's Exploration strength as it is a lot of work for not enough payoff. The way 5e's exploration was designed, especially in the wilderness, the Ranger was never going to be a top class unless it was made into just another combat only warrior.

That's why you should only play the Ranger as designed, find a Ranger homebrew, or just run a Fighter in a green hood RPing as a ranger while ignoring Exploration.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
However, I'm introducing a friend of mine to tabletop RPGs and he's really excited by the class fantasy.

Meh... your friend is at his/her first experience of RPG, and you want to start by telling them that something is wrong with the game, but you know how to fix it? That's a very sad approach IMHO. Why don't you just let them try play anything they want out of the PHB and then build their own opinion?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Meh... your friend is at his/her first experience of RPG, and you want to start by telling them that something is wrong with the game, but you know how to fix it? That's a very sad approach IMHO. Why don't you just let them try play anything they want out of the PHB and then build their own opinion?
Exactly. Your friend doesn't know what he doesn't know. And as you say you haven't seen any 5E Rangers in action, so you also don't know what you don't know. So don't waste your time trying to fix something you've never even experienced as being broken in the first place.

Remember that a lot of the talk right now are folks complaining about the FIRST LEVEL of a Ranger... a level specifically designed to be completed in about one session. One single session where your ranger player will probably never even get the chance to compare his abilities to the Barbarian raging twice, or the Paladin healing 5 hit points before everybody levels up and the Ranger starts getting to use its spells.

So at the end of the day... if you really think you want or need to cut off some supposedly massive problem with the game right from the beginning... sure, go ahead and find a variant ranger to use. There are plenty to choose from. But just also know that if you just decide to do nothing (for ease-of-use if nothing else)... your friend will most likely never have a problem with his Ranger character (provided the rest of the group doesn't play a Druid, Eagle Totem Barbarian, Rogue Scout, and DEX-based Battlemaster Fighter, each of them trying to overshadow the Ranger's niche.)
 

NotAYakk

Legend
The first level of the ranger is horrid. The second level merely bad. The third depends on subclass. 4th and 5th are ok. Then you proceed on a long slow slog of meh features and half casting.
 

The point is that without spells, you can't do Ranger-like stuff unless the DM is generous. This is because there is almost no rules for overcoming ranger-like stuff with skills.
Except in literally the descriptions of the skills in the PHB.

A lot of monsters fly.
And a lot don't. To insinuate that Expertise in Survival would be entirely useless past a certain point is disingenuous.

The DMG litterally saysit there are no track,the DM can say tracking is impossible.
"Can." Not "must."

insert Divination magic. Locate Object is clutch. Big step up from the 3e ranger.
Which literally every other class that can cast spells has. The Ranger isn't special here.

It shouldn't be. Combat and Social don't need the DM to reinvent them to work.
You don't need to reinvent anything. You just have to actually develop it in the campaign. Combat and social are easier to develop because inserting a few monsters or NPCs requires less effort than making out entire maps of places with hazards, traps, places to hide and take cover, climb, swim and such.

Giving the Ranger Expertise wouldn't even "fix" it.
Actually, giving Rangers Expertise in Stealth and Perception they can use everywhere, and not just in one specific type of terrain, would definitely fix a problem with the class. Not the entire class, but definitely one part of it.

If you design a class around 1/3 the game and you flop that 1/3 of the game is lacking, the flaw is in the game system.
If the class isn't properly functional except for one specifically designed type of campaign, then the flaw is in the class.

That's why you should only play the Ranger as designed, find a Ranger homebrew, or just run a Fighter in a green hood RPing as a ranger while ignoring Exploration.
That you can't simply say play the Ranger as designed is a problem with the Ranger as it's designed.
 

Objectively I feel the alternative class variants already linked previously do largely address the concerns of the base class.

In regards to beastmaster, it is less an issue of the pet's damage and action economy being complicated and more an two different issues of preference and performance. Those who complain about the action economy of how the PHB beast master work are not wrong in saying that they might not like the way one has to choose between trading attacks to let their beast act, but it is more so an opinion of what is "fun" or not than complaints of actual mechanical issues.

Where the beastmaster does suffer mechanically is related to survivability of the pet. The PHB version of the class does not grant the beastmaster any way to really revive their pet other than as players do (which is costly and expensive), nor a way to heal their pet outside of the base rules of the game (the pet only gets 2 or 3 hit dice for short rests....ever and often results in the ranger spending all their spell slots just to heal their pet (or taxing their party healer's slots). Additionally, after 7th level or so the pet begins to start having severe survivability issues as AOE effects become outright lethal to pets, and the DM can't exactly be blamed for having an enemy wizard drop a fireball or cloudkill, even if it does result in a dead pet like 80% of the time. This is effectively no different than if one was to buy a dog or other animal with a low CR during high level play.

The Revised Ranger Beastmaster largely fixes the survivability issues of the pet in spades, but I do think that the full base class redo is a bit overkill. You might consider using the ruleset from the revised UA version of the class (mainly for scaling concerns defensively) and then either force them to spend one attack to have their pet attack (as per PHB), or use their bonus action to have their pet take their actions (as per artificer).

I would just give them the subclass abilities listed there at the appropriate levels (or as close to the original if they are different levels, I cannot remember at present), with one exception: leave off is the revised versions 5th level ability (which in the originally replaced Extra Attack), as as long as the pet gets one attack per round it is fine.
 

houser2112

Explorer
Locate Object is clutch.

The locate object spell is crap. To quote a very wise poster of yesteryear:

houser2112 said:
It's funny, my group came to the conclusion that locate object is one of the most useless spells in the game. 1000 ft is an incredibly short range, so it doesn't obviate the need for research. Anything worth casting it to find is likely going to be (a) something you aren't already intimately familiar with, and (b) in a place where you can't walk in a straight line to it.

So you've somehow found yourself within 1000 ft of the mcguffin (using means other than the spell), which happens to be unique enough for the location so the spell shows you the way to the Holy Avenger (which you happen to already have seen) instead of the rusty POS carried by orc #34. Since it only provides straight-line direction instead of telling you which direction to turn, and doesn't also tell you distance, you need to be a trig expert to know whether the mcguffin being "that way" is on the other side of the dungeon, or the other side of the wall. Since its duration is Concentration, the spell is vulnerable to all the encounters between you and the mcguffin, either due to damage or being forced to cast another Concentration spell to resolve the battle.

Finding your own stuff is probably the only use for the spell, so if you're really fond of that tactic, I suppose this spell is problematic for you, but for virtually any other use (would you really cast a spell to find any old <object of a particular type>?), I think you're perceiving the spell to be better than it actually is.

In case you can't glean it from context, I was responding to a DM that was complaining locate object was making it too easy for PCs to find their gear after being captured. I am of the opinion that this is the only use for the spell, and even if there are other uses that the clever might be able to come up with, it's hardly worth burning a spell known for.
 

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