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D&D 1E Why did you like the ad&d ranger?

dmhelp

Explorer
Looking at the rangers thru the ages thread it got me thinking....

The only edition that I liked the ranger was ad&d.

Even without unearthed arcana/weapon spec, rangers were cool. It was all about double hit dice at first level (esp w a high con) and getting a high damage bonus against a large group of very common enemies (~evil humanoids).

By giving RP choice to play non good rangers with narrowly focused favored enemies (the aberration hunter) that you never encounter and with benefits that don’t matter the class has been watered down into something undesirable in every other edition.
 

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collin

Explorer
I tend to agree the 1st ed ranger in D&D was more powerful than later edition incarnations. That was the trade off for needing more XPs to advance the character instead of being a regular fighter. Although I do think the ranger has become watered down in overall combat effectiveness compared to other classes (e.g., fighter, barbarian, paladin, rogue), I do think the depowering has been minimal. IMO, the ranger requires some minor house-rule tinkering and agreement with the playing group on those rules, but it is not so bad as I read many players complaining about.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
My first, and last, ranger was a 1E version. He was pretty awesome and felt unique in how he progressed, not only at first level but as they leveled up. Now? I may play one some day, but I'm not really sure what their niche is any more. A rogue scout is better at being a sneaky woodsman, an Oath of the Ancients paladin a better back-to-nature warrior, animal companions don't scream "ranger" to me and aren't worth much at mid-to-high level. 🤷‍♂️
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Why was the 1e Ranger so good?

I prefer the argument from simplicity. If you wanted a martial character, and you made the prerequisites, the Ranger was a better choice in almost all aspects than the Fighter.

Because it was a "subclass" you generally got everything the fighter got, AND MORE! Sure, it had some restrictions (no more than two in a party, limitations on "stuff you can carry + your horse"), but the reason it was such a good character option was that, quite frankly (and similar to the Paladin), it was just better than the Fighter at most things. It was that weird way that 1e worked sometimes- if you were already really awesome (by rolling high stats), you were allowed to be even more awesome (by being a special class).

Which brings up a separate, but related question-
Why did the Fighter's subclasses (Paladin, Ranger) rock so hard, while the other subclasses feel so meh?

Look, I loved the Assassin, the Illusionist, and the Druid for various reasons ... but all of them (except, possibly, the Druid, which was just very different in a lot of ways but not better) were not notably better than the main class.

Possibly related point- maybe it's because the Assassin, the Illusionist, and the Druid are based on thematic archetypes, whereas the Paladin and the Ranger were created based on a specific literary example.
 

John R Davis

Explorer
The fact you start with 2 hit dice, good attack matrix, and +1 damage at first level against decent range monsters. Multi class with cleric and you have a great starter half elf pc......not quite as cool as a half orc cleric/assassin but still great to play!
 

It was a fighter subclass,
Mostly I saw him played without spell,
Its favored enemy including Giant were relatively common at those time,
Tracking and surprising was an exclusive feature,
he was not trap in a mono fighting style, bow, shield, two handed sword were ranger weapons.
 


nevin

Adventurer
Looking at the rangers thru the ages thread it got me thinking....

The only edition that I liked the ranger was ad&d.

Even without unearthed arcana/weapon spec, rangers were cool. It was all about double hit dice at first level (esp w a high con) and getting a high damage bonus against a large group of very common enemies (~evil humanoids).

By giving RP choice to play non good rangers with narrowly focused favored enemies (the aberration hunter) that you never encounter and with benefits that don’t matter the class has been watered down into something undesirable in every other edition.
It was the first jack of all trades character.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I liked it because you got to play Aragorn.

...and that half-elves could multiclass as ranger/clerics was super cool (and unique, in the day). Played a bunch of those.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
First, I'd like to mention that there's a pretty big contrast between the 1e Ranger and the 2e Ranger. One's a good class (1e), the other is a muddled and weak redesign (2e) that needed a lot of reworking.

My first 1e character was a ranger so, yeah, it appealed to me. You got to play a character based around Aragorn who was the epitome of cool in a number of ways. But the cachet of being a warrior who acts as a guide, scout, and tracker was also really attractive to us kids living in rural environments and used to heading out on local trails or fields to "go on quest" with our imaginations.
Plus, he got some good abilities like the melee damage bonus against giant-class humanoids (which scaled well and encompassed a broad range of likely opponents so that it was hard to completely obsolete it), tracking, and better chances to surprise/avoid surprise that weren't qualified by being alone or sneaking about. He was, generally, a pretty good addition to a party in lots of situations without restricting it - a contrast with the paladin who tended to be 'fussy'.
 

jgsugden

Legend
In the 80s, Ranger was new. The Ranger was unique. The Ranger was something else to try. There were a little druid-ish. A little fighter-ish. A little wizardy. They were something else to try. Everything was interesting in that era because there were so few options.

Honestly, they have more in common with the 5E Valor bard than they do the 5E Ranger. If you like playing a Valor Bard, you might have had a preference for AD&D rangers back in the day.
 

It was just a more interesting and cool version of the fighter. the thematics were cool too, the hardcore hunter/survivalist who dedicated his career to fighting <insert humanoid here>. My ranger instantly ran into a bunch of demon worshipers. From then on those where his enemy (I got the DM to allow this). It was great. The only thing I would have liked was an option for an animal companion or something like that. You had to wait till level 9 to get followers, and then the animals you got were pretty weak. I think the other option was to cast Animal Friendship (you got some druid and M.U. spells).
 

Voadam

Legend
Gwydion from The Book of Three was a noble rescuer warrior in the woods who used a burning hands spell crafted out of some twigs which fit really well with a 1e ranger concept.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Which brings up a separate, but related question-
Why did the Fighter's subclasses (Paladin, Ranger) rock so hard, while the other subclasses feel so meh?

Because the fighter barely had any unique class features. Most of it was based on DMs giving them favorable adjudication.

Any addition was a big jump.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Because the fighter barely had any unique class features. Most of it was based on DMs giving them favorable adjudication.

Any addition was a big jump.

I am going to have to 100% disagree with that, because it ignores a lot of things the fighter could do, under the rules, that people tend to overlook that did not play extensively in 1e.

To start:
1. Fighters were the only class that could take advantage of percentile strength, which made fighters the best melee combatants, which made fighters the best combatants (since melee was better than missile in 1e). Just think- any class other than fighter was restricted to +1, +2, whereas fighters could go all the way to +3, +6, and they could even open magically locked doors.

2. Fighter were the only class that could take advantage of the hit point bonuses for having a Con of over 16. If you wanted more hit points, you needed to be a fighter- otherwise you were stuck, at best, with +2hp/level (fighter could get up to +4).

3. Of course, fighters were also the only class that got d10 hit points. So there was that, too.

4. Fighters were the only class that could use any weapon (okay, assassins as well). Every other class had massive weapon restrictions- not the fighter.

5. Fighter (and clerics) were the only class that had unrestricted armor and shields.

6. Fighters got multiple attacks per round; no other class did.

Finally, fighters had a huge selection of magic items because they had unrestricted armor and weapons- in addition to the things they had as fighters.

I can't emphasize this enough- fighters rocked in 1e. The ability to wear any magic armor and use any magic shield meant that the fighter would have a low ac, quickly- and low ac really, really mattered. The ability to use any magic weapon (subject to proficiencies, of course, which again ... the fighter was best at) meant that the fighter was dealing the most consistent damage.

The issue was just that the Paladin and the Ranger got everything the fighter did, plus more.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
I am going to have to 100% disagree with that, because it ignores a lot of things the fighter could do, under the rules, that people tend to overlook that did not play extensively in 1e.

To start:
1. Fighters were the only class that could take advantage of percentile strength, which made fighters the best melee combatants, which made fighters the best combatants (since melee was better than missile in 1e). Just think- any class other than fighter was restricted to +1, +2, whereas fighters could go all the way to +3, +6, and they could even open magically locked doors.

2. Fighter were the only class that could take advantage of the hit point bonuses for having a Con of over 16. If you wanted more hit points, you needed to be a fighter- otherwise you were stuck, at best, with +2hp/level (fighter could get up to +4).

3. Of course, fighters were also the only class that got d10 hit points. So there was that, too.

4. Fighters were the only class that could use any weapon (okay, assassins as well). Every other class had massive weapon restrictions- not the fighter.

5. Fighter (and clerics) were the only class that had unrestricted armor and shields.

6. Fighters got multiple attacks per round; no other class did.

Finally, fighters had a huge selection of magic items because they had unrestricted armor and weapons- in addition to the things they had as fighters.

I can't emphasize this enough- fighters rocked in 1e. The ability to wear any magic armor and use any magic shield meant that the fighter would have a low ac, quickly- and low ac really, really mattered. The ability to use any magic weapon (subject to proficiencies, of course, which again ... the fighter was best at) meant that the fighter was dealing the most consistent damage.

The issue was just that the Paladin and the Ranger got everything the fighter did, plus more.

You mistake me saying fighters barely having exclusive class features with them being bad.

1e Fighters were awesome. But by the rules, they only did things other classes could do just better. So fighter subclass automatic got something exclusive and unique. It was purely additive.

That's why later editions subtracted the fightery stuff from fighter "subclasses" to add to the class.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I liked it because the first D&D character I played was a ranger.
Same here.

And that first character became and remains one of my favourite character concepts (which, sadly, really can't be done well in anything newer than 2e), that being the "heavy Ranger": a plate-clad tank who could both take damage and give it out while also having half a clue how to find his way from A to B in the wild.
 

I am going to have to 100% disagree with that, because it ignores a lot of things the fighter could do, under the rules, that people tend to overlook that did not play extensively in 1e.

To start:
1. Fighters were the only class that could take advantage of percentile strength, which made fighters the best melee combatants, which made fighters the best combatants (since melee was better than missile in 1e). Just think- any class other than fighter was restricted to +1, +2, whereas fighters could go all the way to +3, +6, and they could even open magically locked doors.
While I agree this MAY be the intent of the rules, both Paladin and Ranger are specifically stated to be 'fighter sub-classes' in the PHB, and all that the Strength rule says is that 'fighters' can get exceptional strength. I think if you take that literally, it extends to all three (sub)-classes.

Beyond that though, this is a trivial limitation in that few PCs will have an 18 to put in anything, plus , though that depends on exactly what method you use to roll up characters. I'd also argue that an 18 DEX or perhaps 18 CON will serve you quite well. Additionally AD&D 1e has ONLY Strength increasing magic items, no other ability score has this, so there's at least always the hope that you will drop a set of Gauntlets of Ogre Power (18/00) or some sort of Girdle (19+). In that case your Strength score is kinda moot from then on. Beyond that, a raw 18 by itself is +1/+2, and you have to roll above 50% to get a +2/+3, +3/+6 is vanishingly unlikely. Thus very few PCs will really be facing this sort of trade off.
2. Fighter were the only class that could take advantage of the hit point bonuses for having a Con of over 16. If you wanted more hit points, you needed to be a fighter- otherwise you were stuck, at best, with +2hp/level (fighter could get up to +4).
Again, this doesn't comport with a strict reading of the PHB from what I can see. In fact this is made explicit on P12, where it explains that Paladins and Rangers ARE fighters (the Strength table lacks this notation, but this strengthens the case for them getting % Strength too).
3. Of course, fighters were also the only class that got d10 hit points. So there was that, too.
True, but a starting Ranger with an 18 CON would get PLUS EIGHT hit points (2d8+8). Even on average fighters don't catch up to Rangers before 5th level, and higher CON can extend that to as much as 12th level. This is all assuming you don't use the common "max hit points at level 1" house rule, which pretty much gives Rangers the most hit points at all levels.
4. Fighters were the only class that could use any weapon (okay, assassins as well). Every other class had massive weapon restrictions- not the fighter.
I don't know of any weapon or armor restriction on Rangers. 1e PHB certainly does not impose any.
5. Fighter (and clerics) were the only class that had unrestricted armor and shields.
Again, I see nothing to indicate that this is true. Depending on how you interpret restrictions of things to "the fighter class" or "fighters" you may or may not exclude them from certain MAGIC weapons. However most such items don't have restrictions at all, fighters are simply the class who can generally wield something like a longsword (thieves, clerics, druids, wizards, all cannot) but rangers and paladins sure can.
6. Fighters got multiple attacks per round; no other class did.
Again, not true. PHB P25 shows that all the fighter sub-classes get this benefit, though rangers version kicks in at slightly higher levels.
Finally, fighters had a huge selection of magic items because they had unrestricted armor and weapons- in addition to the things they had as fighters.

I can't emphasize this enough- fighters rocked in 1e. The ability to wear any magic armor and use any magic shield meant that the fighter would have a low ac, quickly- and low ac really, really mattered. The ability to use any magic weapon (subject to proficiencies, of course, which again ... the fighter was best at) meant that the fighter was dealing the most consistent damage.

The issue was just that the Paladin and the Ranger got everything the fighter did, plus more.
Exactly, they get EVERYTHING the fighter gets, and more. If you qualify for one of these classes there is absolutely no reason beyond personal preference not to go for it, and given how uncommon the prerequisites will be, you are probably silly to pass up the chance!
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
Never played 1E, so this is all 2E recollections.

1) Got dual-wielding for free. Once dual-wielding became the best weapon style after C&T, this was a nice bonus.

2) Had some really nice kits in the Complete Ranger's Handbook.

3) All those cool animal companions after 8th-9th level (?) were pretty inspiring. Pegasi, hippogriffs, etc.

4) Unlike every other class besides the core 4 (sans illusionist, which is just a wizard), it could multiclass. Cleric/Ranger was a great multiclass combo.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
and you have to roll above 50% to get a +2/+3, +3/+6 is vanishingly unlikely. Thus very few PCs will really be facing this sort of trade off.
Weirdly, the chance of getting over 50 on the percentiles always seemed to be much higher than 50% in practice. :)
Exactly, they get EVERYTHING the fighter gets, and more. If you qualify for one of these classes there is absolutely no reason beyond personal preference not to go for it, and given how uncommon the prerequisites will be, you are probably silly to pass up the chance!
At least in 2E, being a fighter was your punishment for screwing up as a paladin or a ranger. I think that pinpoints where they stand in comparison to each other. :)
 

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