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D&D 5E Why are non-caster Ranger themes so popular?


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Stalker0

Legend
I see a lot of people who want a non-casting Ranger. I am wondering what the draw is here and why people don't like a casting Ranger?

Specifically why do we see this with the Ranger but not with the Paladin?

Not saying it is right or wrong, just kind of curious about why the push for it.
I think the paladin has implicitly in its flavor the idea of "drawing from a holy source of power". The paladin is not a "fighter" aka a veteran of war, that they are a holy warrior connected to the gods.

A paladin "holding his hands in a holy gesture and crying out to the gods for power to see their will done", aka casting a spell, is just perfectly in line with the flavor.

In contrast, I think the ranger flavor draws heavily on the self-reliant person motiff. This is the person who can live on their own by their own grit and whit, they need nothing but their own strength. So I think on the one hand, that flavor is less magical to begin with, and then the notion that you are drawing on a secondary source for your strength I think flies in the face of the core flavor.
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I think the paladin has implicitly in its flavor the idea of "drawing from a holy source of power". The paladin is not a "fighter" aka a veteran of war, that they are a holy warrior connected to the gods.

As such the idea of drawing forth this secondary power through "spells" is perfectly within the flavor.

In contrast, I think the ranger flavor draws heavily on the self-reliant person motiff. This is the person who can live on their own by their own grit and whit. So I think on the one hand, that flavor is less magical to begin with, and then the notion that you are drawing on a secondary source for your strength I think flies in the face of the core flavor.
Yep. People want a survivalist type character who relies on themselves and their knowledge of the natural world, not magic spells. A few preternatural tricks like being able to discern some weirdly specific details from looking at tracks or putting an ear to the ground is probably acceptable, but most spells are just too overtly magical to fit the concept well. The ranger’s abilities should be uncanny, but not outright supernatural, in my opinion,
 
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MarkB

Legend
I see a lot of people who want a non-casting Ranger. I am wondering what the draw is here and why people don't like a casting Ranger?

Specifically why do we see this with the Ranger but not with the Paladin?

Not saying it is right or wrong, just kind of curious about why the push for it.
Probably because Aragorn. He's the archetypical Ranger, and he has no explicitly magical powers.
 

fedosu

Garbage Bear
I want to be a non-casting ranger because the archetype of "guy who wanders around in the woods" isn't about spellcasting.

EDIT: Also I think WotC spent so much time focused on making the spellcasting system that they felt like any ability that wasn't 100% mundane should be modelled as spellcasting or something close to it.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
No, but they could, just build out a Background or Feats. :)
A background only gives you a couple of proficiencies and one mostly-fluff ribbon. Feats eat up a highly limited character building resource. But a class can trade in some of the fighter stuff that a survivalist character really doesn’t need (like heavy armor) for stuff that actually serves the archetype (like natural explorer and primeval awareness).
 

Minigiant

Legend
I see a lot of people who want a non-casting Ranger. I am wondering what the draw is here and why people don't like a casting Ranger?

Specifically why do we see this with the Ranger but not with the Paladin?

Not saying it is right or wrong, just kind of curious about why the push for it.

Because many fans see rangers as archers or TWF fighters with green hoods and better skills.
Few people actually read the ranger class description and realized that the class would need magic to do their stated jobs.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Probably because Aragorn. He's the archetypical Ranger, and he has no explicitly magical powers.
It’s funny, Aragorn also gets pointed to as the reason the ranger has spells (though it usually comes down to “Aragorn could heal, so rangers need healing spells”). And also, I don’t know that he’s really even the blueprint for the D&D ranger any more. He’s certainly the original inspiration, but I think the concept has drifted away from that origin.
 

Original Ranger abilities were :
Damage bonus on selected monsters
Tracking
Increase chance to surprise opponents, or avoid being surprised
Limited Druid spells
Limited Wizard spells
it was a fighter sub class
+ some others

To recreate this
give expertise on survival, perception and stealth skills
give the alertness feat
1/3 caster on Druid and wizard spell lists.
A hunter mark similar effect on specific set of monsters
Give this in a fighter sub class.
 

Scribe

Hero
I think that as with many conversations here, it boils down to ones interpretation of the central concept.

If the Ranger is to be a self sufficient survivalist, then fair enough. They dont need magic, as yes its a dependency (within your own setting's definition) on an external source.

If you see it as a fighter with some magic centered on nature/primal power source, then half caster makes sense.
 

Minigiant

Legend
It’s funny, Aragorn also gets pointed to as the reason the ranger has spells (though it usually comes down to “Aragorn could heal, so rangers need healing spells”). And also, I don’t know that he’s really even the blueprint for the D&D ranger any more. He’s certainly the original inspiration, but I think the concept has drifted away from that origin.

The hilarious part is the many fans would never ever allow nonmagical aspects of Arargorn, Jon Snow, Dar, or Aquaman.

Every iconic ranger thing needs to be a spell or a large percentage of the fanbase will riot.

  • Healing HP
  • Cure Disease
  • Cure Poison
  • Talk to animals
  • Talk to plants
  • Charm animals
  • Make animals into companions
  • Resist extreme elements
  • Find meals in the desert or barrens
  • Find shelter in the desert or barrens
  • Track without footprints
  • Heightened sight
  • Heightened hearing
  • See in the dark
  • Arrow trick shots
  • Be invisible to magical creatures
  • Find lost items
  • Find lost people
 

fedosu

Garbage Bear
If the Ranger is to be a self sufficient survivalist, then fair enough. They dont need magic, as yes its a dependency (within your own setting's definition) on an external source.

If you see it as a fighter with some magic centered on nature/primal power source, then half caster makes sense.
And given that non-caster is a common request, the spellcasting should be an option. I have always just wanted an option that lets you trade the Spellcasting feature for other things.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I suspect some desire for a spellless ranger variant comes from gamers who'd like to run Ranger-type characters in a very low magic sword & sorcery setting. They need a class that neatly fills the archetype of "martial survivalist", a competent fighter who's also an expert in terrain, tracking, foraging, etc. And they'd like to have that as a purely magic-free option for settings where magic is reserved for overtly magical characters like royal wizards or cult warlocks.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I'm not sure.

To me, both need to be half casters within their own domains.

Otherwise, they are fighters?

Fighters don’t get abilities focused on wilderness survival and exploration.

No, but they could, just build out a Background or Feats. :)

Ranger could arguably not even be class but a fighter subtype layered on top.

This is a phenomenon I like to call "Fighter Erosion." In past editions, every time a Fighter could have potentially done something other than just stab people with a sword, it got pruned off and made into it's own class. From Rogues to Rangers to Barbarians to Warlords. In 5e, a spell-less ranger could be a Fighter Subclass, or perhaps more accurately a Rogue Subclass that focused on wild living instead of city living.

EDIT: Also I think WotC spent so much time focused on making the spellcasting system that they felt like any ability that wasn't 100% mundane should be modelled as spellcasting or something close to it.

Everything in 5e is directly based on the spellcasting mechanics. Including mundane stuff like Battlemaster Dice. Mearls said that in one of his Happy Fun Hour shows (that were pulled from youtube, unfortunately)
 
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Slit518

Explorer
I never understood why Rangers had spells.

I think in earlier editions perhaps the spells were supposed to act like some sort of skill or ability one could use in the field.

But, I think it would be much better if the Ranger could have something to supplement caster levels -- for example extra damage toward a Favored Foe? Like by the time you get 1st level Ranger spells you instead get an increased 1d6 against Favored Foes? It turns to 2d6 when the Ranger would get 3rd level spells, and finally 3d6 when the Ranger would get 5th level spells.

As for what would replace 2nd and 4th level spell slots? Perhaps Expertise in any Ranger skill for when the Ranger would get 2nd level spells?

And to replace 4th level spells? Perhaps something the Ranger could use for its own Survival? Like some healing; poison removal; disease removal?
 

Minigiant

Legend
I want to be a non-casting ranger because the archetype of "guy who wanders around in the woods" isn't about spellcasting.

The issue is that's not the WOTC ranger nor TSR ranger.

Both are explicitly monster hunters and border guards for dangerous areas.

EDIT: Also I think WotC spent so much time focused on making the spellcasting system that they felt like any ability that wasn't 100% mundane should be modelled as spellcasting or something close to it.

Well look at Primeval Awareness, Vanish, HIPS, and Land Stride.
WOTC obviouly doesn't know how to make 100% mundane but fantastical ranger features and neither does most of the D&D community.
 

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