5E Would it break the Ranger to give him Natural Explorer in every terrain?

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It just needs little tweaking and being spread across few levels

I.E.
Change rangers starting skills from 3 class skills to pick from to fixed 4 skills:
Stealth, Nature, Perception, Survival.

Move fighting style to 1st level.

At 1st level; ranger stays alert while doing some other activity,
Ranger finds twice the food while foraging.

2nd level: expertise in Survival and Nature
Ranger an move stealthy at normal pace,

6th level: expertise in Perception and Stealth
Ranger is not slowed down by natural difficult terrain

10th level: Endurance training; ranger gets proficiency in Con saves.
No. The fixed skills is a non-starter.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I wouldn't go with fixed skills either but the Ranger needs proficiency in Nature and Survival.
I mean, maybe. At level one they don’t need it in their home terrain, expand that to most terrains, and the ranger works fine regardless of those proficiencies.

but hey, give them free survival, and it’s fine. Nature is an a academic skill, IMO, and so rangers don’t necessarily need to all be trained in it.
 

GlassJaw

Adventurer
I mean, maybe. At level one they don’t need it in their home terrain, expand that to most terrains, and the ranger works fine regardless of those proficiencies.
I'm eliminating the need to choose terrains, a la Revised Ranger. It's much cleaner design.

but hey, give them free survival, and it’s fine. Nature is an a academic skill, IMO, and so rangers don’t necessarily need to all be trained in it.
That's fair.
 

Asisreo

Explorer
I personally like the specialization in one terrain that Rangers get. I tend to see homebrew worlds move terrain types and enemy types far too quickly as compared to actual modules. One type is usually fine for any official WoTC material but if you're homebrewing a world with being in a grassland to underdark before giving the party a chance at level 6, then I think they should have multiple favored terrain as well.
 
Favored terrain is boring anyway. Let’s get rid of it. Rangers shouldn’t be the "Never get lost" class, they should be the "Let’s get lost in interesting /cool /rewarding ways" class.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
Like many, I find the base chassis of the Ranger underwhelming.

In my opinion, this is in large part due to the "Natural Explorer" ability only working in a specific favored terrain. If that terrain is not encountered, the Ranger really isn't any better at exploring than the rest in the party. I find this regrettable; the Ranger is the quintessential outdoorsman, and as such should be competent on every terrain.

Would it break the game if the benefits of Natural Explorer applied to every terrain - as if every terrain was "favored"?

As a reminder, this would mean the that Ranger would, in all terrain:

  • Allow group travel through difficult terrain without losing speed
  • Never get lost
  • Always remain alert to danger while traveling
  • Move stealthily at normal pace when alone
  • Find twice as much food when foraging
  • When tracking creatures, learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.

None of these abilities seem overpowered to me. All of this is stuff that a Ranger should be good at, period.

So why not give it all to the Ranger?

Now having all terrain favored right at level 1 might encourage dipping Ranger too much. Instead, the Ranger could gradually become a master of all terrains. I suggest the Ranger learns two favored terrains at level 1, and learns one additional favored terrain every level after that.

This means the Ranger would become master of every terrain at level 7, which seems reasonable to me. By level 7, most of the troublesome environment challenges can be solved by magic anyway.
For a short period of time, I entertained allowing the Ranger to alter Natural Explorer or alter Favored Enemy. The basic mechanic was:

Superior Adaptation
A ranger must be capable of adapting, learning quickly, and preparing for new challenges on short notice. At any time, a ranger may spend an hour scouting an environment that is not their selected favored terrain. If they do so, they may treat this new terrain as their selected favored terrain, foregoing access to their normal selected terrain. The ranger must continue to scout the environment each day for at least an hour to keep knowledge fresh in their mind, but as long as they do so the effect continues. A ranger must have proper equipment to prepare for the new environment. Therefore, they must have access to either an Explorer's Pack or a Dungeoneer's Pack, as appropriate to their new selected environment. Each time a pack is used, roll a d20. On a result of a 1-3, the pack's gear has become worn or expended and it must be replaced or restocked.

The DM may rule that certain environments are non subject to this kind of adaptation. The terrain may be too alien or simply not something the ranger carries equipment to handle.
There was a similar effect for Favored Enemy, though I can't seem to find it now. If I remember right, I didn't allow the ranger to completely speak the new language, but they were able to get rough understandings or communicate simple ideas or questions like, "I'm friendly," or, "where is the bathroom?" Tourist speak, basically. I was kind of to the point where I felt like switching a Favored Enemy should take an hour, cost a 1st level spell slot and last 24 hours, however, because a lot of what you get aren't really things you can just prepare for. Or just make it a 1st level spell and be done with it.

At this point, however, I would probably just use Deft Explorer and Favored Foe from the Class Feature Variants Unearthed Arcana. I think they're just better overall.
 

Asisreo

Explorer
Favored terrain is boring anyway. Let’s get rid of it. Rangers shouldn’t be the "Never get lost" class, they should be the "Let’s get lost in interesting /cool /rewarding ways" class.
I've never felt getting lost is what exploration, or even survival, was meant for in D&D. Getting lost somewhere isn't particularly dangerous for the group of expert magic casters and fighters, killing animals for food is easy and a compass usually prevents getting lost.

I think what's interesting is when environmental hazards are thrown at the players. For instance, place a river of lava between them and their destination. The Ranger might want to make a survival check to see if they can find an area where it's skinny enough to jump across or something. If it has to do with their favored terrain (not exactly be in it), they have expertise in the roll. This scene wasn't a "Ranger wins, congrats" type but the Ranger is more likely to succeed than any other party member.
 
How so, precisely? The only things I can personally think of that would potentially lessen the experience of outdoor exploration (let alone make it irrelevant) are 1) food issues...but those are already easily circumvented with spells like Goodberry or Create Food and Water...and 2) getting lost...which I'm not sure is all that hugely important as far as outdoor exploration goes (and is probably ALSO easily circumvented with spells). I don't know, if one is worried about that latter bit you could add the rider "does not get lost in non-magical terrain" to be able to selectively make it an issue; or take into account things like illusory terrain; fairy rings in dark, brooding forests; and/or oddly dizzying flatlands.

I mean, you can always call for a survival checks to avoid dangerous areas; nature to avoid poisonous or irritating plants; or perception/investigation to avoid traps and ambushes; or just include harsh weather and force the PCs to take appropriate actions to get a long rest in and avoid a level of exhaustion. Or, you know, come up with any number of interesting, qualitative, terrain-based challenges, features, or encounters for the PCs to interact with.
You could. And then you could always come up with a Fighter or a Barbarian with Survival, or better yet a Rogue with expertise in Survival to deal with them.

It's rather beside the point - which is that the specific feature that the Ranger gets to make them good at interacting with environments is boring because it effectively makes itself obsolete.
 

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