Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 67
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Classic "Rangers"

    Still working on my OSR hybrid game. There has been no official “Ranger” class in Basic/Classic D&D, although there was one in OD&D (in the Strategic Review) that made its way into AD&D. BECMI did have two ranger “analogs”: the Forester, basically a human with elf abilities, and the Druidic Knight (from VotPA), a paladin-like fighter who got Druid spells and couldn’t wear metal armor.

    Having gone a different direction with the paladin, I feel I need to do the same for the ranger. I want to keep spellcasting for actual spellcasters. The ranger (unlike the paladin) has always been a spellcasting class since the SR article. Originally the class got both limited magic-user spells And limited cleric spells (since there was no druid class at the time). In AD&D it was changed (logically) to MU and druid spells, and eventually to druid-ish spells in 2e.

    The question is, if spellcasting is removed, is there really justification for a ranger subclass? The ranger has always seemed to me to be in need of a purpose.. a “thing”. If using a skill system, there is nothing that a ranger could do that an ordinary fighter or thief couldn’t do (for some things, the thief does them better!) IMO, there are 3 abilities that are at least somewhat unique to a ranger: tracking, animal handling and fighting “giant class”/humanoids. Of these, the last seems to be the most “useful” at least in combat.

    So here is my $.02 on the matter. A ranger is a fighter subclass first and foremost; and like the paladin, it branches off the “core” fighter class at level 3. A ranger receives a number of abilities:

    1. Detect Danger
    2. Animal handling/ Friendship (maybe even charm-like)
    3. Neutralize Poison

    In addition, a ranger gains Basic skill in a number of abilities usually had by rogues: climbing, stealth, etc. S/he gains Expert skill in tracking and survival.

    Rangers choose one “favored enemy.” Typically this is humanoids, giants and the like (anything with a humanoid shape); but a DM can allow a different category if the campaign requires (i.e. dragons). Against his/her favored enemy, a ranger receives a bonus to hit and armor class equal to his/her Wis modifier plus his/her Basic ability bonus (i.e. +1 at 3rd level, +2 at 5th, etc.) . So a 5th level ranger with 18 Wis would get +5 to hit, plus any Str mods, and +5 AC. S/he also gets an improved critical, scoring a critical hit at 18 or above. This is all to reflect his/her knowledge of the favored foe.

    My one concern about this is that it’s somewhat situational. Granted, most campaigns will feature humanoid foes at some point; and as defined, even humanoid fiends and undead would be susceptible. Pathfinder has a ranger spell called “Instant Enemy” that allows the favored enemy benefit to be applied to whatever enemy a ranger is facing. But I’m not giving rangers spells, so not sure how this might be applied.

    Any thoughts on all this? Is there even a need for a ranger sub/class? I think this would make the ranger distinct from fighters, paladins and rogues as well.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    I would drop the favored enemy and lean more towards a favored fighting style... two-weapon, archer, horseman (I think rangers as mounted troops is sorely under-developed).

    It is more broadly applicable (there will be times when you can't use it, but you usually can), and gives flavor to the ranger.

    I would be inclined to make the ranger fall behind the fighter, slightly, in fighting ability, but have their preferred style be where they keep up (which is a bit more OSR, I think)
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Avatar is from local user Mehangel
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    I would drop the favored enemy and lean more towards a favored fighting style... two-weapon, archer, horseman (I think rangers as mounted troops is sorely under-developed).

    It is more broadly applicable (there will be times when you can't use it, but you usually can), and gives flavor to the ranger.

    I would be inclined to make the ranger fall behind the fighter, slightly, in fighting ability, but have their preferred style be where they keep up (which is a bit more OSR, I think)
    As I'm designing, a ranger would be a bit behind a core fighter, simply because the fighter would get more combat skills/ weapon skills/ ASI's. I'm looking for something that would be uniquely Ranger. The only thing historically that has been somewhat unique is the favored foe/enemy thing. And technically any fighter-type could get a fighting style.

    Still open to suggestions:)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    The 1e Ranger had a killer app at level 1: party is surprised less, enemies are surprised more.

    Tracking was also a nice thing the times we did hex-crawling.


    Suggestion regarding "favored enemy": don't make it a choice. Making it a choice means an expectation negotiation between the player and the DM, but the DM needs to know to pick up on that choice. If the DM is running a module, then that choice may require extra work.

    Your original idea is better. Ranger gets all humanoids and giants as "favored enemy". That's flavorful as heck, because it means the Rangers are frontier lawmen who have studied in killin' bandits, outlaws, and also you my good citizen. Rangers are people you respect and fear a bit, and they prefer staying in the woods because they're not liked in towns, because everyone in town remembers how that one Ranger put down a peasant rebellion by brute force, all alone.

    Rangers are prohibited from taking the Folk Hero background. They are lawmen, like Paladins, but Rangers are the sneaky dirty Special Forces type and not the shiny parade type.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Rangers being better at fighting people than anything else always seemed wrong to me. Isn't the whole idea that they are specialists in dealing with the threats of the wild? Which pretty much is by definition "where people usually aren't".

    If you want to make it a fighter variant first, I would start with a fighter who gets weaker versions of some thief skills, and perhaps a more powerful version of whatever mechanics regular characters would use to track something.
    I think for a Basic class, that's already enough.

    The halfling class is often used as a starting reference point.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    I think what I'm shooting for is an Aragorn-type ranger with options that could take in a Legolas-like direction. After all, Legolas was probably closer to a "modern" D&D spell-less ranger. If a ranger takes the right combat skills (in my game), s/he could be like either one, or something different.

    I may be talking myself out of having a distinct ranger sub-class. The way I'm doing skills, Any fighter could be a ranger. The big difference is the level of skills. Rangers can track, hide and climb better than anyone (thieves would be about tied for hiding and climbing). They are better at pure combat than thieves, but not as good as a core fighter (depending on the skills they take). They can wear medium or even heavy armor, but not if they're going to be stealthy.

    To have a discreet ranger sub/class, it needs to have a "thing", something a ranger can do that no one else does. That is why I'm evaluating alternatives to favored enemy. Paladins will be able to smite; rangers should have something similar, but preferably increasing attack and defense rather than damage.

    I'm actually liking the comparison of the paladin as a "sheriff" type and the ranger as the "Navy SEAL" type!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    If you want to make Aragorn, I would start with "is Aragorn a class or a PC?"

    If you think Aragorn is a class, the question would be what he needs that is different from any other fighter.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    If you want to make Aragorn, I would start with "is Aragorn a class or a PC?"

    If you think Aragorn is a class, the question would be what he needs that is different from any other fighter.
    Indeed! Which is what I'm looking for. What is a ranger class' "thing"?

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Indeed! Which is what I'm looking for. What is a ranger class' "thing"?
    - Spotting potential hostile operatives, even when they're disguised as bar patrons or birds.

    - Hiding from drunks and birds hostile operatives, both human and otherwise.

    - Reconstructing a crime scene to learn where the hostages fled.

    - Tracking a falcon on a cloudy day.

    - Navigating uneven natural terrain swiftly.

    - Evoking some limited low-level elf magic when a hobbit got poisoned.


    Aragorn was also the Hidden True King so he did things which would be atypical for a Ranger, such as confronting an army of the undead, and leading an army into Mordor. Neither of those need to be class abilities for every Ranger; they should be folded into the Hidden True King background package.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    One thing I noticed several years ago is that not a single edition of D&D had a ranger class that people really liked. It's always the scrappy class that doesn't live up to its promise and people play it because they like the idea, even though the mechanics don't seem quite right.

    And I think the reason for that is because nobody has ever been able to really figure out what a ranger is supposed to be: It's probably mostly a fighter. But also a bit of a thief. And it certainly can track. Since it's a wilderness class, let's give it druid magic as well.

    That's a list of traits, but it's not a concept. What is the purpose of having a ranger class? "Make Aragorn" is the typical reply that most people can think of. But Aragorn could just be a fighter who can track, especially once you get rules that allow any character to learn tracking as a skill, feat, nonweapon proficiency, or something like that. What ranger needs to be a working class is a niche. And "tracking and finding food in the wilderness" is just not a niche that is worth having a class for. That's way too specialized in activities that very rarely come up. So with each edition designers try to give the class more traits to give it more versatility, but none of these really help the ranger find a niche. Stealth? Thieves do it better. Limited druid magic? Druids have full druid magic. Archery? Fighters usually do it better. Favored enemy? That's just a small passive bonus that comes up in limited situations that the player has no influence over and doesn't give the player "something to do" that everyone isn't already doing.

    I actually think that ranger is not a valid class concept. A class variant of fighter or thief perhaps, but "ranging" is not a party role that contributes anything useful.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    It's weird that we've seen this many niche proposals, many of them useful and interesting, and yet we're still seeing "what's the niche?" as if it were a novel or valid objection.

    We've also seen several coherent concepts, and many defined activities -- not just traits -- so it's weird to see all of those dismissed out of hand without any engagement.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Lightbulb... I've redesigned the Paladin class to remove spellcasting. A paladin gets improved saves, detect evil, minor healing ("lay on hands"), immunity to disease, turn undead, and a smite ability.

    For a "ranger".. I'm thinking detect danger, neutralize poison, some outdoor skills (tracking, stealth, animal handling, etc.). Not spellcasting. But for the ranger's "thing", how about a Very limited form of the druid's wildshape? I'm looking to give it to druids anyway. If the ranger subclass branches off from the fighter at 3rd level, s/he can wildshape 1/day at 3rd level, 2/day at 5th level, 3 at 10th level, 4 at 15th level.

    Definitely makes it distinct and powerful, but is it OP?

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Lightbulb... I've redesigned the Paladin class to remove spellcasting. A paladin gets improved saves, detect evil, minor healing ("lay on hands"), immunity to disease, turn undead, and a smite ability.

    For a "ranger".. I'm thinking detect danger, neutralize poison, some outdoor skills (tracking, stealth, animal handling, etc.). Not spellcasting. But for the ranger's "thing", how about a Very limited form of the druid's wildshape? I'm looking to give it to druids anyway. If the ranger subclass branches off from the fighter at 3rd level, s/he can wildshape 1/day at 3rd level, 2/day at 5th level, 3 at 10th level, 4 at 15th level.

    Definitely makes it distinct and powerful, but is it OP?
    Might be fine, but it's certainly magical even if it's not spells.

    Another notable aspect of Rangers, including but not limited to Aragorn, is that they walk in two worlds (or more).

    Aragorn walks in the world of men, the wild, and the world of the elves. He's an informal ambassador, and he's not the only one. Martin from the Riftwar Cycle walks the same divide, and is a welcome outsider in both worlds as a result.

    Aragorn's elf-magic might be the result of walking in the elf-world, and wild shape might be the result of a different Ranger who is also walking in the beast-spirit world.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Morty's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    The thing about using Aragorn as an example of a ranger is that he doesn't even do "ranger things" that much. He gets the hobbits to Rivendell and then tracks the orcs through Rohan, but other than that he's a warrior and a leader. Even his healing skills are part of his legacy as the king of Men.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    The thing about using Aragorn as an example of a ranger is that he doesn't even do "ranger things" that much. He gets the hobbits to Rivendell and then tracks the orcs through Rohan, but other than that he's a warrior and a leader. Even his healing skills are part of his legacy as the king of Men.
    I think by the end of LotR, Aragorn was pretty close to paladinhood. Between the healing, plate armor (at least in the movie), his influence over the oathbreakers (undead), etc. Yep, he was a paladin at the end.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Euphonistan
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    One thing I noticed several years ago is that not a single edition of D&D had a ranger class that people really liked. It's always the scrappy class that doesn't live up to its promise and people play it because they like the idea, even though the mechanics don't seem quite right.

    And I think the reason for that is because nobody has ever been able to really figure out what a ranger is supposed to be: It's probably mostly a fighter. But also a bit of a thief. And it certainly can track. Since it's a wilderness class, let's give it druid magic as well.

    That's a list of traits, but it's not a concept. What is the purpose of having a ranger class? "Make Aragorn" is the typical reply that most people can think of. But Aragorn could just be a fighter who can track, especially once you get rules that allow any character to learn tracking as a skill, feat, nonweapon proficiency, or something like that. What ranger needs to be a working class is a niche. And "tracking and finding food in the wilderness" is just not a niche that is worth having a class for. That's way too specialized in activities that very rarely come up. So with each edition designers try to give the class more traits to give it more versatility, but none of these really help the ranger find a niche. Stealth? Thieves do it better. Limited druid magic? Druids have full druid magic. Archery? Fighters usually do it better. Favored enemy? That's just a small passive bonus that comes up in limited situations that the player has no influence over and doesn't give the player "something to do" that everyone isn't already doing.

    I actually think that ranger is not a valid class concept. A class variant of fighter or thief perhaps, but "ranging" is not a party role that contributes anything useful.
    Well I kind of agree and somewhat disagree for instance the 4e ranger is very popular and is on the whole the most dangerous single target killer in the game melee or ranged. In addition I have known many people that liked the 1e ranger but many would probably say that while they like the class it may not fit exactly what they think a ranger should be.

    The 2e ranger is pretty bad though and a straight 2e fighter is a better bet especially since you have the faster XP progression and weapon specialization is actually good if limited.

    The 3e version is flat out terrible. The 3.5 version is much better but is best known for having a decent number of skills and if you really dumpster dive enough you can make favored enemy into something nasty (but that takes serious diving to make it more broadly applicable). Still did not make everybody happy mostly because favored enemy is kind of bleh unless you do a lot of work with it.

    The 5e ranger gets a lot of flak though I find it is mostly for not being what people want rather than actual effectiveness (though people often conflate the two in online discussions).

    So a lot of variation for sure and only a few abilities that are consistent between editions. Oddly the most consistent ability for all those rangers is one that often gets the most complaints on being there which are the spells.
    A vestige for me "Pyro火gnus Friend of Meepo" by Zaydos.

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/shows...5&postcount=26

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Morty's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    I think by the end of LotR, Aragorn was pretty close to paladinhood. Between the healing, plate armor (at least in the movie), his influence over the oathbreakers (undead), etc. Yep, he was a paladin at the end.
    I've never thought about it this way, but yes, he's got at least as strong a case for being a paladin as he does for a ranger.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeeposFire View Post
    Well I kind of agree and somewhat disagree for instance the 4e ranger is very popular and is on the whole the most dangerous single target killer in the game melee or ranged.
    The 4E ranger is a skirmisher with some extraneous baggage, for the most part.
    Last edited by Morty; 2020-06-24 at 06:47 AM.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Ok, I think I've got it:

    Rangers choose one “favored enemy.” Typically this is humanoids, giants and the like (anything with a humanoid shape); but a DM can allow a different category if the campaign requires (i.e. dragons). Against his/her favored enemy, a ranger receives a bonus to hit and armor class equal to his/her Wis modifier plus his/her Basic ability bonus (i.e. +1 at 3rd level, +2 at 5th, etc.) . So a 5th level ranger with 18 Wis would get +5 to hit, plus any Str mods, and +5 AC. S/he also gets an improved critical, scoring a critical hit at 18 or above. This is all to reflect his/her knowledge of the favored foe.

    In addition, once/day/Basic bonus (1 at 3rd level, 2 at 5th, etc.) a ranger can "hunter's mark" a specific creature. If the creature is one of his/her favored foes, s/he gets the bonus to hit And can apply the same bonus to damage. If the creature is Not a favored foe, the ranger only adds to damage.

    I think that gives the ranger that little extra uumph, but is still distinct from the core fighter, paladin and rogue.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Craig, Co
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    This might be a odd position, but I do not think that the ranger should be a subclass of the fighter. What is really is, is a wilderness version of the rogue. One of the archtypical rangers is Robin Hood, who is very much a thief type character. Seperating the ranger from the fighter might be what is needed to find its niche.
    Spoiler
    Show


    Warforged Upgrades
    Blade Lord Vestige
    Soulforged PrC
    Transformers RPG Now Updated as PDFs on Google Drive.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by lightningcat View Post
    This might be a odd position, but I do not think that the ranger should be a subclass of the fighter. What is really is, is a wilderness version of the rogue. One of the archtypical rangers is Robin Hood, who is very much a thief type character. Seperating the ranger from the fighter might be what is needed to find its niche.
    Robin fought in the Crusades before he was the prince of thieves. Maybe he was multi-class?

    I want archery to be an option for the ranger, but not the basis. Aragorn and (I think) Drizzt were not archers. But it should be a definite option.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    NYC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Drizzt was weird.

    1e Rangers were normal weapon users, but Drow were these weird alien underground ambidextrous genius evil elves.

    Between the books about Drizzt and the next edition, demand to play "a Ranger like Drizzt" was sufficient that all Rangers became ambidextrous, and other Drow forgot that talent.

    He was a bad example of a Ranger when he was written, but then the rules got bent around him to make him the default.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Drizzt was weird.

    1e Rangers were normal weapon users, but Drow were these weird alien underground ambidextrous genius evil elves.

    Between the books about Drizzt and the next edition, demand to play "a Ranger like Drizzt" was sufficient that all Rangers became ambidextrous, and other Drow forgot that talent.

    He was a bad example of a Ranger when he was written, but then the rules got bent around him to make him the default.
    Agreed. I'm not sure anything from the Realms fantasy is a good boilerplate for anything.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Morty's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Robin fought in the Crusades before he was the prince of thieves. Maybe he was multi-class?

    I want archery to be an option for the ranger, but not the basis. Aragorn and (I think) Drizzt were not archers. But it should be a definite option.
    Robin Hood did fight in the Crusades and he was very skilled at fighting with both a sword and a quarterstaff.

    What this runs up against is that a) the thief/fighter distinction is very arbitrary and b) "ranger" is a label that you can apply to many kinds of characters. Only the favored enemy part really implies some kind of martial skill.
    Last edited by Morty; 2020-06-25 at 07:20 AM.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Decide what a ranger is, in your setting, then how to design the class gets more clear. "Ranger" isn't really an archetype or a standardized job title with universal expectations like "fighter" or "thief" would be.

    In LotR, the rangers of the north were descendants of the Dunadain who were living in hiding, so they learned to survive in the wilderness and were naturally hardy fighters, tracking the agents of Mordor all over the place. The rangers of Ithilien were warriors of Gondor who had some wilderness skills so they could track and ambush enemies with guerilla style tactics in an occupied territory.

    I think of rangers almost more like a prestige class than a base class. Start as a fighter or rogue, then join the "rangers org" at some point and get to add on some specialized wilderness skills/tracking and maybe extra hiding and awareness in wild terrain, and a bonus fighting the org's particular enemies. Since it's only extra stuff on top of your base abilities, it's fine that it's only situationally applicable.

    As a base class, I think of them as a hybrid fighter/thief with slightly less fighting than a fighter and slightly less skills than a thief, with wilderness specializations- appropriate for a game that heavily leans into hex crawl/wilderness exploration and outdoor survival with limited/tracked resources. If those things aren't an element of the game, I'd not bother with a base ranger class. Unless you're also doing other hybrid classes: the elf is already the hybrid fighter/magic user. You might also want a hybrid thief/magic user (a Gnome?).
    Last edited by Thrudd; 2020-06-25 at 08:19 PM.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I think of rangers almost more like a prestige class than a base class. Start as a fighter or rogue, then join the "rangers org" at some point and get to add on some specialized wilderness skills/tracking and maybe extra hiding and awareness in wild terrain, and a bonus fighting the org's particular enemies. Since it's only extra stuff on top of your base abilities, it's fine that it's only situationally applicable.

    As a base class, I think of them as a hybrid fighter/thief with slightly less fighting than a fighter and slightly less skills than a thief, with wilderness specializations- appropriate for a game that heavily leans into hex crawl/wilderness exploration and outdoor survival with limited/tracked resources. If those things aren't an element of the game, I'd not bother with a base ranger class. Unless you're also doing other hybrid classes: the elf is already the hybrid fighter/magic user. You might also want a hybrid thief/magic user (a Gnome?).
    This is mostly what I'm doing. Rangers (and paladins) start as fighters and branch-off at level 3. Paladins' main combat "thing" is smiting. Rangers get attack and AC bonus vs their favored foe, and a damage bonus a few times a day; but they also get skills that otherwise belong to thieves (at a lower level). Rangers can climb, hide, move silently, etc., but only rogues can gain Expert rank in them. Likewise, core fighters end up with more combat skills than rangers. There are trade-offs all around.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Personally, always hated favored enemies. For one passive bonuses the player does not get to really actively decide how to use do not make the player feel different in playstyle. For two it’s always too DM dependent to be functional.

    If I could attempt to convince you to try something else. I would ask: how do you think the Ranger should play in combat as opposed to the generic fighter. And what do you want them to do out of combat.

    For most the martial classes they can all be judged by how they compare to the fighter. A Paladin is like a fighter but they get to decide when to Smite and when to heal. This changes their active playstyle. A Rogue must set up their Sneak Attack either through hiding or positioning. A Barbarian must choose to fly into a rage and take actions to keep that rage going as long as they can.

    A Ranger... gets some static bonuses sometimes.

    It’s kinda dull, and if you remove spell casting it’s even duller. I’d suggest first figuring out what their round for round playstyle is.

    Personally, I like the idea of focusing the Ranger as more of a hunter. They can pick an enemy and get bonuses to their damage as well as non-combat features like tracking. Hunter’s Mark from 5e is a good start for such an ability or Quarry from Pathfinder. It’s simple, and can be upgraded as you level up in different ways and works for whatever weapon style you want to use.

    But others such as trapping or the animal companion can also effectively be these differing fighting styles. But it’s important they have something.

    Then out of combat I’d just be certain that they can do things that others can’t. Anyone can forage for food, but a Ranger can forage for food in a way that also clears out poisons and heals. Or can prepare a natural tea that gives your allies bonuses. Or anyone can follow tracks but the Ranger can look at the tracks on the ground and tell the full story of what happened there the last week.

    That’s the sort of things that justify the existence of the Ranger, to me anyway.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    For most the martial classes they can all be judged by how they compare to the fighter. A Paladin is like a fighter but they get to decide when to Smite and when to heal. This changes their active playstyle. A Rogue must set up their Sneak Attack either through hiding or positioning. A Barbarian must choose to fly into a rage and take actions to keep that rage going as long as they can.

    A Ranger... gets some static bonuses sometimes.

    Personally, I like the idea of focusing the Ranger as more of a hunter. They can pick an enemy and get bonuses to their damage as well as non-combat features like tracking. Hunter’s Mark from 5e is a good start for such an ability or Quarry from Pathfinder. It’s simple, and can be upgraded as you level up in different ways and works for whatever weapon style you want to use.

    Then out of combat I’d just be certain that they can do things that others can’t. Anyone can forage for food, but a Ranger can forage for food in a way that also clears out poisons and heals. Or can prepare a natural tea that gives your allies bonuses. Or anyone can follow tracks but the Ranger can look at the tracks on the ground and tell the full story of what happened there the last week.

    That’s the sort of things that justify the existence of the Ranger, to me anyway.
    If you've read some of my other posts, you will know my thought processes. A ranger is a fighter, first and foremost; that's why they branch off from the core about level 3. The "favored enemy" is an always-on thing because of their expertise with fighting the favored enemy. The default is humanoids/giants, as it was originally conceived. The "hunter's mark" is a bonus to damage a few times a day, and that is the ranger's choice.

    Most of the other abilities are skills that anyone could learn. For tracking and animal handling, no one can do better. For stealth, only thieves can do better. For combat skills, only core fighters can do better.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    If you've read some of my other posts, you will know my thought processes. A ranger is a fighter, first and foremost; that's why they branch off from the core about level 3. The "favored enemy" is an always-on thing because of their expertise with fighting the favored enemy. The default is humanoids/giants, as it was originally conceived. The "hunter's mark" is a bonus to damage a few times a day, and that is the ranger's choice.

    Most of the other abilities are skills that anyone could learn. For tracking and animal handling, no one can do better. For stealth, only thieves can do better. For combat skills, only core fighters can do better.
    I did actually. And always on or not, I just don’t think favored enemy is worth the paper it’s printed on for the reasons I said. And would argue to ditch it completely to put much more emphasis on the Mark ability rather than just some bonus damage as opposed to all the other benefits you’ve given the favored enemy. Especially when the effect is even lessened when not using it on the favored enemy, so the player becomes motivated to save it for when they’ll get the best benefit: when the GM happens to throw him the enemy he chose which could be every fight in a city campaign (which is odd for a Ranger) or never in a theme dungeon.

    And just saying do tracking and animal handling better doesn’t really matter if the effects are the same. Or at least not much. Better how? I assumed bigger numbers. But if the DC to forage a meal for the group is 15 and they can take 10, the guy with +5 is as useful as the Ranger with +20. Which is why I tried to put in actual abilities tied to the actions a Ranger would typically do.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    I did actually. And always on or not, I just don’t think favored enemy is worth the paper it’s printed on for the reasons I said. And would argue to ditch it completely to put much more emphasis on the Mark ability rather than just some bonus damage as opposed to all the other benefits you’ve given the favored enemy. Especially when the effect is even lessened when not using it on the favored enemy, so the player becomes motivated to save it for when they’ll get the best benefit: when the GM happens to throw him the enemy he chose which could be every fight in a city campaign (which is odd for a Ranger) or never in a theme dungeon.

    And just saying do tracking and animal handling better doesn’t really matter if the effects are the same. Or at least not much. Better how? I assumed bigger numbers. But if the DC to forage a meal for the group is 15 and they can take 10, the guy with +5 is as useful as the Ranger with +20. Which is why I tried to put in actual abilities tied to the actions a Ranger would typically do.
    Thanks for the input

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    EU
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    I think one of the issues Rangers face in modern D&D is that one of its core aspects - being the ultimate outdoorsman-survivalist-hunter rolled into one - ends up being incompatible with the Epic Fantasy most campaigns trend towards as a result of level progression. Being an excellent forager doesn't quite seem relevant when you're fighting mind-flayers in the Far Realm while aboard a Spelljammer ship, especially when your Cleric can just cast Create Food and Water to solve the pesky need for nourishment.

    So, if you want Rangers to feel relevant and an option worth taking, you need to shape your game so that tracking, hunting and foraging are relevant at every level of play. If that sort of stuff is relevant from level 1 to 5 but then stops being a factor in the game, then your Ranger is just a Fighter that's bad at fighting mixed with a Thief that's bad at stealthing and may, every once in a while, get to tame an animal that's too weak to be useful anyway.

    (The Druid doesn't face this issue because the Druid is a powerhouse caster that still feels relevant even if you don't need stuff like "know which way is North" any longer)
    Last edited by Silly Name; 2020-06-26 at 02:43 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •