View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next New Ranger Subclasses

2015-04-14, 11:14 AM
So, I came to the conclusion that the ranger needed some subclass love. As such here are some subclasses that I'll be using in my own campaign. I see the ranger as a jack of all trades sort, and these focus on specializing him in one aspect of his abilities. The first, Arcane Archer, increases his magical abilities, focusing especially on blasting enemies and battlefield control. The second, Nightstalker, focuses on stealth and ambush tactics, making him a hunter of exotic beasts par excellence.

"What do you expect that puny little arrow to do against 10 men!"
-Drake Darkguard, former warlord and tyrant

The Arcane Archer focuses on improving the offensive magical abilities of the ranger. Forming a mystical connection with his bow and expanding his access to damaging magic and battlefield control spells. Along with this, he learns to do things with an arrow that even the most experienced warriors or skilled mages can't duplicate.

Arcane Archery
You may treat your bow as an arcane focus for the purpose of casting any spells you know. Furthermore, you may cast spells with somatic components even while wielding a bow.
Also, you may select from among the following spells when choosing your spells known. These spells are treated as ranger spells for you in all ways.
Spell Level Spell Name
Level 1 - Chromatic Orb, Guiding Bolt, Magic Missile
Level 2 - Scorching Ray, Web, Snilloc's Snowball Swarm*
Level 3 - Fireball, Lightning Bolt, Sleet Storm
Level 4 - Blight, Ice Storm, Storm Sphere*
Level 5 - Cloudkill, Insect Plague, Maelstrom*
*Spell's marked with an asterisk are in the free Elemental Evil web enhancement on the WOTC site.

You may perform an arcane ritual that creates a magical bond between yourself and your bow. After completing a short rest you may designate a single bow on your person as your spellbow. You may only have one spellbow at a time, and repeating this ritual causes the bond with your previous spellbow to fade away. Having a spellbow grants the following benefits.
Firstly, your bow and any arrows fired by it are considered magical.
Secondly, you no longer are required to carry ammunition for your bow (though you may still choose to use mundane or magical arrows). Whenever you draw your bow you focus your magical energies to create an arrow. This arrow disappears shortly after being fired, lasting just long enough to be used for an attack.

Natural Recovery
From 7th level onward, you can regain some of your magical energy by sitting in meditation and communing with nature. During a short rest, you choose expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level equal to or less than half your ranger level (rounded up), and none of the slots can be 6th level or higher. You can't use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

One With The Bow
At 11th level the bond with your spellbow strengthens. You may now summon your spellbow to you hand from anywhere on the same plane of existence as a bonus action. As long as you are wielding your spellbow it cannot be disarmed or destroyed.

Enspell Arrow
Beginning at 11th level you gain the ability to fire an enspelled arrow. You may expend a spell slot as a bonus action. Any arrows you fire until the end of the turn gain the following benefits, dependent on the level of spell slot expended. These benefits are cumulative, so that a 3rd level slot grants the benefits of a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level slot.
1st level or higher - You may see from the point of view of any arrow you fire until it finishes it's flight. You are able to see as well as if you were walking, despite the speed of the arrow. Your vision is in a 360 degree arc around the arrow, and you gain the benefits of any abilities that enhance your sight, such as darkvision or the see invisibility spell.
2nd level or higher - You may guide your arrow to make a single turn of up to 90 degrees. This can be used to ignore the benefits of cover or concealment, provided you can manuever around the source of these effects.
3rd level or higher - Ignore the effects of high winds, such as that of a storm or the wind wall spell.
4th level or higher - You gain advantage on your attack roll.
5th level or higher - You may see onto the ethereal plane. Furthermore, your arrow may transition freely between your plane and the ethereal, allowing it to bypass most obstacles, such as walls. Some obstacles and effects, such as a wall of force, extend onto the ethereal plane. It is also possible that in rare instances there will be different obstacles and effects on the ethereal plane.

Death Arrow
Starting at 15th level, you may use an action to make a single attack with your spellbow. If an enemy is hit by this attack and has 75 or less current hit points, they are automatically slain unless they are immune to necrotic damage. If an enemy is hit by this attack and has 76 or more current hit points, they instead take 10d6 necrotic damage in addition to the arrow's normal damage. Once this ability has been used, hit or miss, it cannot be used again until you complete a long rest.

The abilities of an arcane archer are restricted to bows for theme reasons. There are no mechanical or balance issues with allowing other projectile weapons, such as crossbows or slings, from being used with these abilities. Kobold fire slings, ahoy!

"He's what monsters have nightmares about."
-Karuzz the bloodcloaked, half-orc assassin

Nightstalker Magic
The following spells are added to your spells known at the indicated levels, and are considered rangers spells for all purposes. Unlike other ranger spells, these spells may not be forgotten and retrained into other spells as you gain levels.
3rd level: Disguise Self (1st level spell)
7th level: Invisibility (2nd level spell)
13th level: Greater Invisibility (4th level spell)
17th level: Mislead (5th level spell)
*If slightly overpowered, instead add Disguise Self, Invisibility, See Invisibility, Greater Invisibility, and Mislead to class spell list, but they must take them as spells known normally.

From 3rd level onward, your vision has improved markedly. Darkness, fog, plants, or other nonmagical enviornmental effects do not impose disadvantage to your attack rolls or Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight. Nightstalkers benefiting from darkvision see clearly in darkness as though it were bright light (normally, darkness is lightly obscured for creatures with darkvision), though their sight is still in black and white only.

Beast Stalker
At 7th level you gain the ability to confound the special senses of creatures. You may attempt to hide from creatures with darkvision, blindsense, tremorsense and similar abilities as though they did not have those senses. This ability has no effect on divination spells or truesight.

Sure Stike
When a nightstalker of 11th level or higher hits a suprised creature with a weapon attack, do not roll for weapon damage. Instead, the weapon deals it's maximum possible amount of damage. This does not effect damage from critical hits, spells, abilities, magical effects, poisons, or similar sources of additonal damage, such as Hunter's Mark, Sneak Attack, or the additional damage of a Flame Blade.

At 15th level you gain the ability to hide even from powerful magic. You are invisible to all divination effects, as well as any magical effect that is triggered by your presence. You and any object you carry cannot be seen by scrying spells, located with spells such as locate creature, or trigger magical alarms such as the alarm spell. Even the True Seeing spell will not reveal your presence. There are two exceptions to this effect. Spells that give only a vague prediction of success or failure, such as augury, still account for your presence when determining their results. Also, magic that contacts powerful extraplanar creatures, such as commune or contact other plane may still allow those creatures to answer questions regarding you.
This ability has one additional effect. When invisible you may attempt to hide from creatures with truesight. Doing so requires a successful Dexterity(Stealth) check (with advantage from invisibility), and allows you to remain invisible to that creature's senses. Doing anything that reveals your presence, such as attacking, speaking, or moving an object requires you to make another dexterity stealth check on your turn. If successful you remain invisible to that creature. As soon as you fail to make a successful Dexterity(Stealth) check, be it from neglecting to take the action or simply failing your roll, you remain visible to that creature's truesight for as long as it can see you. Successfully hiding normally, such as through the use of cover, concealment, and the like, allows you to attempt to use this ability once more.

Tenser's Regalia
1st level transmutation
Bard, Ranger
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: 8 hours
You immediately don a set of armor that you are touching or carrying. For the duration of this spell you may cast spells while wearing armor, and do not have disadvantage on strength and dexterity based attacks, checks, or saving throws from wearing armor that you are not proficient in. If you remove the armor that was donned by casting this spell, the spell immediately ends.

Hand and a Half
Fighter, Paladin, Ranger
As long as you are wielding a versatile melee weapon with two hands, you gain a +1 to attack and +1 to AC.

Fighter, Ranger
As long as you are not wearing armor or wielding a shield, your base Armor Class is 13 + your dexterity modifier.

Fighter, Ranger
You gain a +2 bonus to ability checks made to determine initiative, and a +2 bonus to weapon attack and damage rolls in the first round of combat.

I will likely add more to this post as I come up with new subclasses. I may also add links to other ranger homebrew that I find and particularly like.

2015-04-14, 11:15 AM
Wanted to add a link to Samhain's Seeker subclass. There are a bunch of great subclasses there, but that is the ranger one. It is a spin off of the Battlemaster subclass for the fighter.

2015-04-14, 11:46 AM
Arcane archer is a bit weird.

He can use his bow as a focus, but until level 11 he's just holding his bow, and blasting fireball and magic missile like anybody else.

2015-04-14, 01:02 PM
Part of the idea for that ability was it made it mechanically sync up to describing your character as firing a fireball arrow. So mechanics would not get in the way of the fluff (requiring you to put down your bow as use an object, then cast a spell, then pick it back up the next turn as your one free use an object that turn). Furthermore, I realized that the range on something like fireball isn't all that different from that of a bow anyways. I originally had a version of the class that let you cast your spells at bow range, granting advantage on any saves made if the spell went out to long range, yadda yadda, but I realized that it honestly didn't add that much to the gameplay and just didn't seem to be worth the complication.

2015-04-15, 11:36 AM
Rangers use Divine spells, not Arcane, and subclasses (Such as Warlock Patrons, Cleric (and Favored Soul Sorcerer) Domains, Druid's Circle of the Land, and Paladin Oaths only add two spells per spell level to your spell list/spells known list/spells prepared list.

2015-04-16, 08:05 AM
The arcane/divine divide is pure fluff, and the ranger gets spells like lightning arrow, etc, that make sense for an arcane archer. Also, since it's only adding to the class spells list and not spells known, that doesn't seem a big deal. The point is to give more blasty and battlefield control options and focus on the magical part of the ranger. Thanks for the feedback though, will bear both points in mind and look over it again.

What about the nightstalker, does it look good, or just so horrible noone knows where to start, lol?

2015-04-16, 08:34 AM
With regards to the arcane/divine thing, it was more a typo I noticed than anything else.

2015-04-16, 11:01 AM
By the way, your sig quote made me chuckle.

2015-04-16, 08:38 PM
For Arcane Archer, you may simply allow Arcane Archers to select Evocation spells from the Wizard's spell list every other or every third time they gain spells. I think your spell list is fine as it is, but that would allow future supplements to add to your list with no work on your part.

I would reword the nightsight ability to be: From 3rd level onward, your vision has improved markedly. Darkness, fog, plants, or other nonmagical enviornmental effects do not impose disadvantage to your attack rolls or Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight. Nightstalkers benefiting from darkvision see clearly in darkness as though it were bright light (normally, darkness is lightly obscured for creatures with darkvision), though their sight is still in black and white only.

Does that capture the gist of what you intended? I almost think the third sentence is redundant, but better to be clear I suppose.

I like the Nightstalker subclass as a whole, both from a mechanical and fluff perspective, but I wonder if it is more beneficial to DMs than Players.

2015-04-17, 10:07 AM
I do like that phrasing for nightsight better, blue, think I'm going to use it. Thanks.

I'm not 100% about what you mean by "better for a dm than a player". As far as using it as an npc opponent, not many pc's have blindsight and such, so it's not particularly awesome there. If you mean as a mechanical explanation of background story, than I suppose that is true. I actually made it while thinking of things I would want to be able to do as a ranger. Stalking dragons and the like seemed to very much fit, and is something even the rogue has to be careful about. This way the "Ranger-Huntsman" has something unique to call his own and doesn't just look like a "Rogue-Assassin with survival", without completely upstaging him. I believe the playtest had some similar abilities at one point, and that was a partial motivation for this, as I saw the ability and thought it was awesome.

As far as the spells for arcane archer, that would work alright, but not all of the spells are evocations. Spells like web and cloudkill very much put me in mind of the sort of special arrows that a certain comic book archer may have fire, and give the ranger their own unique feel. By taking an insect plague here, and a guiding bolt there, I think it makes for a much more flavorful and interesting spell list than just stacking on every possible damage effect. There are certainly pros and cons to both sides, but as their is already a warrior with access to evocation spells (eldritch knight) I think this works better.

On a side note, does anyone else have an idea for a ranger subclass niche that needs to be filled? A balanced and satisfying beastmaster would take a lot of tweaking (and I doubt any one build can satisfy all parties, to be honest), and I'm not up for that yet. I feel that a ranger without spells can be very well done via rogue, fighter, or a combination, so that is unnecessary. I'm kind of looking for things that slipped through the cracks in the phb. I'm in the processing of homebrewing subclasses, feats, fighting styles, spells, the works for my home campaign, so the more ideas I have bouncing around to build off of each other, the better.

2015-04-19, 03:26 PM
Just letting anyone who is interested know that I have adjusted the wording for nightsight as blue recommended, have added 3 fighting styles, and a spell. Also, a question, is it possible to change the title of the thread, not just of a particular post? I realized that this is going to be more than just subclasses, and so I wanted to change the thread name to reflect that it was lots of different ranger options.

EDIT: Added in a link to the Seeker subclass by Samhain.