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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Name View Post
    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.
    My idea of a ranger.. from a comic book perspective.. would be Wolverine or maybe Batman (an urban ranger). Both have areas where they are most effective, but both are productive wherever. Does that make sense?

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    My idea of a ranger.. from a comic book perspective.. would be Wolverine or maybe Batman (an urban ranger). Both have areas where they are most effective, but both are productive wherever. Does that make sense?
    Wolverine is a cool idea for a Ranger: he grows claws (natural attacks), he tracks by scent (animal ability), and he regenerates (uh... starfish ability?). Those features could be made into a class. The claws would be the analog for weapons, since they are deadly blades. The scent ties in with Ranger's tracking ability. The regeneration is just a tiny bit better than the 1e "2d8 hp", but both are aligned towards toughness.

    Batman isn't a good fit for any weapon-using class -- he solves problems with either fists or weird limited-use gear, and he has lots of gear created via money. He's probably some kind of Monk / Artificer.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Wolverine is a cool idea for a Ranger: he grows claws (natural attacks), he tracks by scent (animal ability), and he regenerates (uh... starfish ability?). Those features could be made into a class. The claws would be the analog for weapons, since they are deadly blades. The scent ties in with Ranger's tracking ability. The regeneration is just a tiny bit better than the 1e "2d8 hp", but both are aligned towards toughness.

    Batman isn't a good fit for any weapon-using class -- he solves problems with either fists or weird limited-use gear, and he has lots of gear created via money. He's probably some kind of Monk / Artificer.
    You know, I think you have something! Regeneration would make a great ranger ability. Definitely something to ponder..

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    My idea of a ranger.. from a comic book perspective.. would be Wolverine or maybe Batman (an urban ranger). Both have areas where they are most effective, but both are productive wherever. Does that make sense?
    It does. My point was that the classical Ranger abilities tend to feel less relevant when you move away from their area of expertise - whereas a Fighter, a Paladin and a Rogue all have enough breadth that they never feel like they're superfluous to the party: the Fighter will always be good at hitting things, the Paladin is a good frontline fighter and backup healer even when not fighting fiends and undead, and the Rogue's stealthiness can come in handy in a lot of situations.

    But if the game is weighted towards making the Ranger's unique skillset - tracking, hunting, surviving in the wilderness - something that stops coming up past a certain point, then there is an issue. If you keep hexcrawling and tracking viable and relevant at all levels of play, even not necessarily in a wilderness setting, then the Ranger doesn't feel like his abilities are pointless.

    Making the Ranger productive whenever while maintaining the feeling of the class is a good way to address this issue. Wolverine is a perfect wilderness Ranger, but I agree Batman tends more towards a jack of all trades (in D&D terms, and depending on which iteration you pick, he's probably a multiclass character). My go-to Urban Rangers are Green Arrow or Hawkeye - they both have much of the skillset associated with the class as well as the aesthetic of being stealthy bow-and-arrow fighters with lots of tricks up their sleeves.

    Also, IMHO, Rangers always made more sense as a Rogue subclass: there is much more overlap between a Ranger and a Rogue than between Rangers and Fighters. But it wouldn't be a dealbreaker.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Rather then give flat bonuses for favoured enemy, I've always liked the idea that favoured enemy should make the Ranger better at killing that enemy... and that this translates to other things as well.

    So instead of a +X to hit and +Y to damage VS Giants, make it so they're capable of running through the spaces of creatures bigger then them, confusing the large oafs with their close quarters nimbleness

    The ability itself would be that Rangers can move through enemies larger then themselves unimpeded and 1/turn (or encounter or day) when doing so, the ranger can apply (or force a save vs) some sort of minor debuff (confused for 1 turn, an ac penalty, etc...).

    This way a ranger who's spent years killing giants doesn't get immediately nerfed when fighting a dragon or iron golem (though these may be immune to, say confusion by way of magic or abilities or whatnot).

    Dragon slayers get to ignore some damage reduction/armour values through training at finding the weak scale/thinner parts of the hide or they get better at dodging those lines and cones of pure elemental murder, gaining something akin to evasion.

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    Rather then give flat bonuses for favoured enemy, I've always liked the idea that favoured enemy should make the Ranger better at killing that enemy... and that this translates to other things as well.

    So instead of a +X to hit and +Y to damage VS Giants, make it so they're capable of running through the spaces of creatures bigger then them, confusing the large oafs with their close quarters nimbleness

    The ability itself would be that Rangers can move through enemies larger then themselves unimpeded and 1/turn (or encounter or day) when doing so, the ranger can apply (or force a save vs) some sort of minor debuff (confused for 1 turn, an ac penalty, etc...).

    This way a ranger who's spent years killing giants doesn't get immediately nerfed when fighting a dragon or iron golem (though these may be immune to, say confusion by way of magic or abilities or whatnot).

    Dragon slayers get to ignore some damage reduction/armour values through training at finding the weak scale/thinner parts of the hide or they get better at dodging those lines and cones of pure elemental murder, gaining something akin to evasion.
    Traditionally a ranger would get a bonus to damage against his/her favored foe. I see it as more a bonus to hit and AC, due to their knowledge of said foe. I'm thinking to add "hunter's mark" to provide extra damage to a specific enemy, but only a limited number of times/day.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Traditionally a ranger would get a bonus to damage against his/her favored foe. I see it as more a bonus to hit and AC, due to their knowledge of said foe. I'm thinking to add "hunter's mark" to provide extra damage to a specific enemy, but only a limited number of times/day.
    I'm with the other guy, Favored Foe +damage is not great.

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    I'm with the other guy, Favored Foe +damage is not great.
    Well I wish there was something cool like Smite Evil that I could give the ranger as its "thing"; but I am trying to keep this to features that have historically been applied to the ranger in Some version of D&D/D20/C&C/whatever.

    Skills-wise, the ranger is between a fighter and a thief, outside of tracking and animal handling. Combat-wise, the ranger will always be a bit behind the fighter (unless there is a favored enemy about). We've considered damage reduction, but that's nothing cool either.

    Still open to suggestions

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    You do you, my dude. Just tossing ideas out there.

    now 4e did have a Hunter's Quarry as a damage bonus for the ranger.

    paraphrased from that edition: As a minor action, they could call out one enemy as their quarry. The target would stay quarried until it died or the ranger decided to swap the quarry with a minor action. The effect was that once per round, when the Ranger did damage to a target, they could add an extra couple of damage dice. if you had a power that resolved multiple different attacks you'd choose which one that hits to add your bonus damage to, and AoEs would only apply the extra damage to one target.

    It wasn't tied to any particular favoured enemy, as 4e didn't give the ranger that feature.

    but Hunter's Quarry was a thing.

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    I am not as well versed in LotR lore nor in D&D history, but allow me to add my personal bent on the topic, the one of game "balance" or issues. Aside from the obvious need for some class to fit the story templates of Tolkien. Other than the Ranger being to the Druid what the Paladin was to the Cleric (don't get me started on why nature or religious priests need combat skills....), the ranger always filled one niche.

    The one of the archetypical hunter. It does three things.

    1) Finding their prey.

    2) Bringing down their prey.

    3) Protecting others and themselves from becoming prey.

    No pseudo druidic proto-clerical bullcrap. Not expecting his prey to fit his schemes (aka favored enemy). Not even a favored enemy. They should be able to track their targets and danger. To follow it around to set up an advantageous combat scenario. And to avoid his group to fall into enemy traps. You might fluff their abilities with primal awareness or other hubbub, but the basic kit should remain free from such burdening crunch.

    I have backed down from playing rangers several times, be it either from their burdened history or the fact that druid crap litters their toolkits but it required for them to function.
    Until further notice 21st of October, please DM me for important stuff, and let the game master control my characters

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    You do you, my dude. Just tossing ideas out there.

    now 4e did have a Hunter's Quarry as a damage bonus for the ranger.

    paraphrased from that edition: As a minor action, they could call out one enemy as their quarry. The target would stay quarried until it died or the ranger decided to swap the quarry with a minor action. The effect was that once per round, when the Ranger did damage to a target, they could add an extra couple of damage dice. if you had a power that resolved multiple different attacks you'd choose which one that hits to add your bonus damage to, and AoEs would only apply the extra damage to one target.

    It wasn't tied to any particular favoured enemy, as 4e didn't give the ranger that feature.

    but Hunter's Quarry was a thing.
    Which is much like my Hunter's Mark feature, methinks

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Spore View Post
    I am not as well versed in LotR lore nor in D&D history, but allow me to add my personal bent on the topic, the one of game "balance" or issues. Aside from the obvious need for some class to fit the story templates of Tolkien. Other than the Ranger being to the Druid what the Paladin was to the Cleric (don't get me started on why nature or religious priests need combat skills....), the ranger always filled one niche.

    The one of the archetypical hunter. It does three things.

    1) Finding their prey.

    2) Bringing down their prey.

    3) Protecting others and themselves from becoming prey.

    No pseudo druidic proto-clerical bullcrap. Not expecting his prey to fit his schemes (aka favored enemy). Not even a favored enemy. They should be able to track their targets and danger. To follow it around to set up an advantageous combat scenario. And to avoid his group to fall into enemy traps. You might fluff their abilities with primal awareness or other hubbub, but the basic kit should remain free from such burdening crunch.

    I have backed down from playing rangers several times, be it either from their burdened history or the fact that druid crap litters their toolkits but it required for them to function.
    And I largely agree, which is why I'm trying to remove spellcasting from the equation. If there's not enough justification/utility for the ranger, it shouldn't even be a subclass. Just make a kit and call it a day.

    As much as I Don't want to do it, rangers originally were a spellcasting class. Without spells, I'm finding it hard to have a viable-yet-distinct ranger sub/class. The favored enemy/foe and hunter's mark features may not be sufficient to justify the class. And if it's just a matter of skills, Anyone can be a ranger, and thieves would probably do it better.

    If I did give rangers spells, I would most likely use the BECMI "druidic knight" model of druid spells at 1/3 level. So if druids get spells at 2nd level, rangers would get them at 6th, with other features starting at 3rd.

    My quandary is, my paladin is spell-less, and the smite feature still makes the class viable and distinct. But if the ranger has spells, the paladin should as well, so I'm back to the BECMI model.

    Decisions, decisions...
    Last edited by paladinn; 2020-07-02 at 11:45 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Tolkien could be too subtle for his own good, but the Northern Rangers were probably gishes, with some magical ability... less because they were Rangers and more because they were Dunedain. The Bree folk thought Rangers could talk to birds and beasts. Rangers tried to fight off the Nazgul. Aragorn hints at keeping Bree safe from Barrow-wights. In chasing the orcs, Aragorn puts his ear to the ground.. And discerns things at implausible range.

    In the South, Faramir seems to be a mild mind reader, like his father, and gives Frodo walking staves set with virtues of finding and returning.

    A simple approach might be giving them 'speak with animals' and Pathfinder's arcane strike feat as class abilities.

    The "favored enemy" thing has always baffled me, I would just drop it.

    The modern Ranger is special forces, highly trained at independent small group operations. So, PCs. :)

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by mindstalk View Post
    The "favored enemy" thing has always baffled me, I would just drop it.
    I think the favored enemy was meant to emulate the 1e "giant class bonus", but allow it to be more customizable. The problem is that it became too specific, so it would be frequently useless, and switching to a +4 to hit made it suck a lot.
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  15. - Top - End - #45
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Rangers choose one “favored enemy.” Typically this is humanoids, giants and the like (anything with a humanoid shape);
    In earlier editions, "humanoid" specifically referred to all the evil humanoid races, like orcs, bugbears, goblins, and kobolds.

    Giants were a completely different thing altogether.

    "Demihumans" was used for the not-necessarily-evil races, like elves, dwarves, and halflings.

    D&D historically has hangups about race.

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Maglubiyet View Post
    In earlier editions, "humanoid" specifically referred to all the evil humanoid races, like orcs, bugbears, goblins, and kobolds.

    Giants were a completely different thing altogether.

    "Demihumans" was used for the not-necessarily-evil races, like elves, dwarves, and halflings.

    D&D historically has hangups about race.
    This from the 1e PM: "Giant class creatures are:
    bugbears, ettins, giants, gnolls, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, ogres, ogre magi, orcs, and trolls."

  17. - Top - End - #47
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    If you don't know what you want a Ranger class to be, why are you trying to build one?

    Figure out what you want a class to be first. Name it second.

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    If you don't know what you want a Ranger class to be, why are you trying to build one?

    Figure out what you want a class to be first. Name it second.
    This is my point. The Ranger sub/class has been a fixture of D&D since 1e. I don't think it was well designed when it was introduced in SR (SR/Dragon classes were usually best as NPCs at most), and it has had a severe "identity crisis" ever since. Is it a fighter/thief hybrid, a junior druid, a nature-oriented paladin?

    Right now I know I Don't want a junior druid. The nature paladin would be in keeping with the "druidic knight" concept. But ultimately I'd like paladins to be spell-less, so the fighter-with-skills seems more the ranger ticket; but you can get that result with a "kit" and not need a sub/class at all.

    Decisions, decisions..

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    To go back to the original source material:

    In those days no other Men had settled dwellings so far west, or within a hundred leagues of the Shire. But in the wild lands beyond Bree there were mysterious wanderers. The Bree-folk called them Rangers, and knew nothing of their origin. They were taller and darker than the Men of Bree and were believed to have strange powers of sight and hearing, and to understand the languages of beasts and birds. They roamed at will southwards, and eastwards even as far as the Misty Mountains; but they were now few and rarely seen. When they appeared they brought news from afar, and told strange forgotten tales which were eagerly listened to; but the Bree-folk did not make friends of them.
    and

    When the kingdom ended the Dúnedain passed into the shadows and became a secret and wandering people
    so rather than an elite force like Gondor or US rangers, the northern ones may simply have been the men of a hunter-gatherer people (with magical inheritance.)

    ‘And yet less thanks have we than you. Travellers scowl at us, and countrymen give us scornful names. “Strider” I am to one fat man who lives within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly. Yet we would not have it otherwise.

    If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and we must be secret to keep them so. That has been the task of my kindred, while the years have lengthened and the grass has grown.
    The only such foes we know of are the Barrow-wights and maybe the Old Forest.

    ‘Where sight fails the earth may bring us rumour,’ said Aragorn. ‘The land must groan under their hated feet.’ He stretched himself upon the ground with his ear pressed against the turf. He lay there motionless, for so long a time that Gimli wondered if he had swooned or fallen asleep again. Dawn came glimmering, and slowly a grey light grew about them. At last he rose, and now his friends could see his face: it was pale and drawn, and his look was troubled.

    ‘The rumour of the earth is dim and confused,’ he said. ‘Nothing walks upon it for many miles about us. Faint and far are the feet of our enemies. But loud are the hoofs of the horses. It comes to my mind that I heard them, even as I lay on the ground in sleep, and they troubled my dreams: horses galloping, passing in the West. But now they are drawing ever further from us, riding northward. I wonder what is happening in this land!’
    I am weary as I have seldom been before, weary as no Ranger should be with a clear trail to follow. There is some will that lends speed to our foes and sets an unseen barrier before us: a weariness that is in the heart more than in the limb
    ‘They are a strange company, these newcomers,’ said Gimli. ‘Stout men and lordly they are, and the Riders of Rohan look almost as boys beside them; for they are grim men of face, worn like weathered rocks for the most part, even as Aragorn himself; and they are silent.’
    Even ignoring Aragorn's special healing abilities, if you put aside D&D tradition, and just try to emulate all that, what would you do?

  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Dunedain are just homeopathic elves. ;-)

    Seriously, though, as discussed, figure out who a ranger *is*. I kind of like my druidic paladin version, but I also want to have a fighter/thief version available. Once you know who they are, it gets a lot easier to build them.
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  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Dunedain are just homeopathic elves. ;-)

    Seriously, though, as discussed, figure out who a ranger *is*. I kind of like my druidic paladin version, but I also want to have a fighter/thief version available. Once you know who they are, it gets a lot easier to build them.
    If I were to go with a druidic equivalent of the BECMI paladin, it would be simple. VotPA has the "druidic knight." I would change both the paladin, avenger and "ranger" to get clerical/druidic abilities at level 3. For paladins that means detect evil and turn undead; for rangers I would have detect danger and probably animal friendship. Spells for all would start at 6th level, 1/3 cleric level, much the same BECMI spell chart. I would keep the VotPA restriction on armor (i.e. no metal) but I would allow rangers to use any weapon.

    The thing is, I really prefer to keep spells for the "real" spellcasters (mages, clerics and druids). I would really hope to go back to something close to the OD&D paladin model: no spells, but turn undead, lay on hands, detect evil, protection from evil, immunity to disease and (I would add) smite evil. I'm just not sure how that could translate into "ranger" abilities.

    Do we need 2 classes: a "warden" or some such with druidic abilities and a scout who is more of a thief?
    Last edited by paladinn; 2020-08-26 at 10:33 PM.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    Do we need 2 classes: a "warden" or some such with druidic abilities and a scout who is more of a thief?
    So, when I'm not freestyling it, I have come to regard many classes as being, essentially, multiclasses.

    Rangers are either Fighter/Druids or Fighter/Thieves... or, sometimes, fighter/druid/thieves, depending on how you slice them.

    Druids I tend to think of as Cleric/Mages,s ince their spells tend to be a bit more magey.
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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    I found my personal table fix to the 5e Ranger to be giving them Rituals at their spell start. Looking at the "3/4 casters" (restricted spell lists, spells known): Sorcerors & Warlocks don't have Ritual casting, whereas Bards do. Looking at the "1/2 casters (paladin & ranger): paladins have a flexible spell list like clerics & spell prep, so why not help rangers' spell known restriction with ritual casting?

    The point of me mentioning that here is I really like the idea of Rangers emulating 'Aspects of Nature' like Starfish Regeneration (a la Wolverine).

    And instead of re-inventing the wheel you could borrow some Ranger & Druid spells (or create new ones like "Starfish/Lizard Regen") and attach Ritual casting as a time limitation to the ability. This way an ability requires setup before or after combat, which favors Rangers' Exploration pillar for such setup. You could even attach a Climate/Biome "Local Lifeforms" restriction to keep each Ranger more regionally unique!

    I might use this as my own table's OSR reimagining of the Ranger. Thanks!
    Last edited by opaopajr; 2020-08-28 at 02:42 PM.

  24. - Top - End - #54
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    This is my point. The Ranger sub/class has been a fixture of D&D since 1e. I don't think it was well designed when it was introduced in SR (SR/Dragon classes were usually best as NPCs at most), and it has had a severe "identity crisis" ever since. Is it a fighter/thief hybrid, a junior druid, a nature-oriented paladin?

    Right now I know I Don't want a junior druid. The nature paladin would be in keeping with the "druidic knight" concept. But ultimately I'd like paladins to be spell-less, so the fighter-with-skills seems more the ranger ticket; but you can get that result with a "kit" and not need a sub/class at all.

    Decisions, decisions..
    Actually, the Ranger sub-class was introduced before 1e. It first appeared for original D&D in the Summer 1975 issue of The Strategic Review (precursor to The Dragon). It was primarily a wilderness version of Fighting Men1, with tracking abilities and benefits against all giant-class monsters (kobolds, goblins, orcs, ogres, etc., up to giants).

    1Yes, that was the name of the class.

  25. - Top - End - #55
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    Actually, the Ranger sub-class was introduced before 1e. It first appeared for original D&D in the Summer 1975 issue of The Strategic Review (precursor to The Dragon). It was primarily a wilderness version of Fighting Men1, with tracking abilities and benefits against all giant-class monsters (kobolds, goblins, orcs, ogres, etc., up to giants).

    1Yes, that was the name of the class.
    Thanks. I think my words were "I don't think it was well designed when it was introduced in SR (SR/Dragon classes were usually best as NPCs at most)"

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Rangers are kind of like gnomes... they've never had a terribly strong idea of who they were supposed to be in AD&D, and so they became a mis-mash of things.
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  27. - Top - End - #57
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    So I agree with most of what has been said above, so here is my two cents:

    The classic inspirations for the "modern" Ranger are arguably Aragorn/Legolas, Drizzt, and "The Beastmaster"(for the animal aspect; also, the movie came out at roughly the right time in 1982 and was based on a novel by the great Andre Norton).

    The "closest" class to the Ranger is arguably the Bard. The original Bard wasn't even a "true" class, if I recall correctly, but a "prestige class" for granting "musical magic" on top of a fighter, rogue and wizard. The Ranger meanwhile is a mix of fighter, rogue, and druid, but lacked that extra bit that mad it stand out.

    Another part of the ranger's problem is that they are trying to do too many things (wilderness scout/tracker, archery, two-weapon fighting via Drizzt, animal tamer), and not going deep in enough into any of them. Meanwhile the "traditionally/narrative tools" the ranger has to draw on, the favored enemy/terrain are highly DM/campaign dependent. So the solution is to either subsume the ranger into one of its "parent" classes, differentiate it from its parents and carve out it its own identity (and probably rework its core iconic features), or "scrap" its history and rework the class to give it a new focus. (OP mentioned working on an OSR hybrid game, which means they also have the option of removing some pieces of other classes t give the Ranger its own "design space").

    For the first option(subsume), I'd actually have the Ranger as a nature/druidic themed "Rogue" subclass, rather than a Fighter offshoot. Give a rogue some nature/survival skills, maybe swap out its thievery/criminal centered abilities for some about avoiding natural hazards and difficult terrain, and a Rogue arguably already makes a better Ranger than the Ranger.

    For the second option(differentiate), we must first look at its "parents": the Fighter, a trained and drilled combatant with a mastery of armor and weapons; the Rogue, a criminal with a single devastating attack, with the rest of their abilities based on avoiding and mitigating damage; and the Druid, a shape-shifting "nature mage". The Druid is of minor concern, as either we go spell-less and the Ranger loses any connection other than flavor, or the Ranger's spell-casting ability will never be strong enough to "step on the toes" of the Druid.

    For deviating from the Fighter and the Rogue, I suggest we start at the thematic level. Fighters are controlled, relying on their training to either provide them with maneuvers that can be employed against the foe, or merely strengthening their general combat abilities. Rogues contribute with their skills, set up for the perfect blow, and then try to stay alive. Rangers need to be in between these two extremes. In my opinion, the 5e Hunter Ranger subclass actually does this well in principal with its range of situational options (e.g. extra damage on wounded foes, finding openings for counter attacks against large foes, attacking a large number of foes, defense against multi-attacks, etc), failing only because these options are too few (i.e. Hunter Ranger gets to select one situational ability at each milestone, rather than gaining a selection), come too late, and are bolted on to the subpar main class.

    A Ranger shouldn't have most of its options at its command, like a Fighter, nor spend its time setting up options like a Rogue, but instead should have a plethora of situational options, that they can react decisively to the situation they find themselves in. As for the Ranger's iconic abilities, the Favored Terrain and Favored Enemies should be scrapped at their core, because they are too situational; For a replacement for the latter, I'd suggest something like the Pathfinder "Slayer" class (which is an explicit hybrid between a Ranger and a Rogue), which has as its iconic feature "Studied Target"; essentially rather than being trained and experienced with dealing with a specific creature type, the Slayer is trained and experienced with studying a specific individual target. As this can be applied to any creature, it lacks the specificity of type that plagues "Favored Enemy"; Favored Terrain can be reworked to be a general opposite: rather than focus and study one creature (for generally offensive benefit), it can be an increased (and generally defensive) situational awareness.

    Finally, for the third option (rework), I'd argue to choose a new focus of either "archery" or "fey" (or both). Ditch the two-weapon fighting that Drizzt got from being a 2e Drow, and replace it with with a renewed focus on archery. This "Yeoman" Ranger is an expert shot, master of all sorts of trick shots and perhaps some forestry skills as well. At moderate to higher levels, these trick shots may be beyond mortal ken (not to mention ranger spells like various editions "quiver" spells or things like "volley of arrows" or "lightning arrow". Rather than being "arcane magic", have them be of fey influence. This also might solve some issues with "beast masters", if the ranger's "animal companions" are actually fey spirits.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharur View Post
    So I agree with most of what has been said above, so here is my two cents:
    Bards are similar in many ways to rangers, at least thematically. And they were also introduced in Strategic Review. The original bard didn't bear that much resemblance to what was intro'd in 1e, which was very much a prestige class.

    For my hybrid game, I've decided to use the paladin as a "template" for classes outside the "core 4" (the druid being the exception). BECMI had the paladin as a fighter with 1/3 cleric casting and undead turning. If I were to have a spellcasting ranger, I would use druid spells and limit to leather armor. Instead of turning undead, I would use Basic Fantasy's Animal Affinity druid feature, which works a little like turning undead. Swap Detect Danger for Detect Evil and it's all done.

    If I don't allow casting for non-casters (as I'd prefer), the model for paladins is a little more complicated. They get improved saves, immunity to disease, limited healing, detect evil and 1/3 undead turning; and I would grant a limited version of smite evil (from 3e).

    Following that model, it's a matter of substituting abilities appropriate to the ranger; but it's even more convoluted. A ranger gets detect danger, neutralize poison and animal affinity. Maybe nightvision (if not an elf). They can hide and move silently like a thief of 1/3 level. Limited to leather armor. I would adapt the original bonus to fighting "giant class" to apply to all humanoids, due to the ranger's knowledge; they get a +2 to attack and AC.

    I think that makes for a viable sub/class. I also like the idea of both paladins and rangers as fighter subclasses, branching off about 3rd level.

    Thoughts?

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    I'm so glad I found this thread! I've struggled with the same concept, trying to eliminate spellcasting from rangers but still allow them to be a viable martial class. Everyone brings up some really good points that I will certainly fold into my future designs.

    Here are my thoughts on the spell-less ranger:

    First off I agree that the Ranger should be clearly defined in regards to what they are, so borrowing from what has already been said, how about some bullet points

    • Travel experts
    • Natural survivalists
    • Protectors of the realm/wilds
    • Hunters
    • Spec Ops style nature agents



    That sums up the class, especially if we remove any spell-like abilities, (including hunter's mark).

    Travel and Survivalist - This one is probably the toughest. If you're looking at something similar to AD&D or earlier then you are probably familiar with running the game in turns, always. You can extrapolate this to travel times, i.e. it takes 3 days to travel to the dungeon, so here comes 3 wilderness turns. This should be analogous to combat, but instead of whacking things with a sword and lighting them on fire, the enemy is conceptually different, maybe its getting lost, not enough food, hazardous ravines, or just wandering monster. In most of these situations, no other class equipped to directly influence these encounters (short of some magic spells). Just as the rogue is specialized for infiltration-esc encounters, the ranger can excel in these travel encounters. But all this hinges on really focusing on travel, a part which is often seen as tedious filler and most DMs fast forward through. Specifically, the Ranger would have bonuses to finding food/water, discerning direction, safely navigating through hazardous terrain (reduce damage or fatigue suffered by party members) and I really like the idea of gaining the element of surprise on wandering monsters. Also, if the DM sets up travel traps, like an ambush on a forested road, let the Ranger roll to unpack the situation or just straight up inform the Ranger that this looks like a trap up ahead.
    Hunters and Wardens of the Wilds - Here comes the combat flavor. Favored enemy has been a historic staple of the Ranger class, and while that alone shouldn't be the deciding factor to include it, I think it paints a nice picture of these highly trained, knowledgeable and specialized warriors, which reminds of a Witcher (without all the alchemy and pseudo magic). Run with your favored bonuses for sure but here's the catch that I've used in the past: Rangers can change their favored enemy at will. Not for free, it requires time and possibly gold (to pay for information, books, etc.) but this eliminates that concern of having to work with a DM or get screwed. Picked giants and then you're tossed into the underdark? Bummer. Instead, spend a couple of days to switch that up to drow, or myconids. The catch with this is that time has to be a resource in your campaign. If there is no pressure then the Ranger can adapt to all situations, but if the armies of the dark are rallying and the players on have 7 days to assassinate the general, maybe spending 1d6 of those days is a huge gamble/cost to the party, but boy howdy can it be helpful in the last couple of days. Overall, I like to think about the Ranger as a professional monster hunter, or Witcher; give them a couple of days to study the chthonian river monster and they'll know how to kill it better than anyone else.
    Spec Ops - I though this was such a neat way to frame them. so kudos Nifft. Here is where those Thief skills come into play. Not at the same potency but being able to climb, hide and move silently are certainly a skill of nature Navy SEAL.

    Scaling could be a problem. I personally tend to play in the lower level range so my characters rarely hit the dimensional-hoping and space faring levels. They are still challenged by a particularly tall mountain, where the Ranger can still assist. Once you hit those high levels and spellcasters can create food/water, summon portable housing and just straight up teleport, that whole travel master side of the Ranger starts to fall off. Maybe as the characters grow in power so do their travel challenges. Having enough food may no longer be a problem, but maybe just the scent of it attracts these massive night-hunter predators who ambush the party's camp at night reducing the wizard to haggard mound of torn flesh and running off with the yipping thief. All of which could have been avoided, or lessened, with a Ranger to properly store the food/change its scent, or maybe just catch the warning signs of the predators at night. At a cosmic level, maybe the Ranger becomes something more akin to Han Solo, finding ways to make the Kessel run in only 12 parsecs, or safely navigating through an asteroid field no matter what those odds are.

    Just my two cents, hope this helps you find a good home for your Ranger!

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Classic "Rangers"

    Still thinking of a "replacement" for Favored Enemy. I'm thinking that for Any enemy, the first round the ranger has No bonus; but with every addition round, s/he adds +1 attack bonus and AC due to "studying" the enemy. The ranger gets better the longer the battle lasts. No damage bonus, but a cumulative attack bonus, up to a max of the ranger's level.

    I want something different than the paladin's smite evil ability, and fairly unique.
    Last edited by paladinn; 2020-10-16 at 07:05 PM.

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