D&D Next – Ranger

By Ken Wai Lau

"The rogue has run off with my strawberry jam - again!!!" Artwork © by Svetlana Vorobyeva

“The rogue has run off with my strawberry jam – again!”
Artwork © by Svetlana Vorobyeva
Merchandise available for purchase here

The D&D Next ranger is a woodsman, hunter and explorer who is equally comfortable in both the urban environment and the wild. While she tends to be a lone wolf, she can work well with the local community in order to drive back raiders and bandits.

Happy Hunting Ground

A well trained ranger makes a valuable traveling companion for those who expect to spend a while in the woods. The amount of time she spends in the wilderness requires her to be self sufficient and provide for herself as well as those in her care.

As long as the conditions are optimal, the ranger can pick up the trail of creatures that have traveled through an area. Just by studying the trails, the ranger can work out the general direction the creatures were headed, plus the size and number of individuals.

An experienced ranger can negotiate natural terrain with ease and her familiarity with the natural environment allows her to avoid getting lost. She can function well as a scout, guide and explorer.

More Than One String…

d&d next ranger

If only she could enjoy the beach in peace…
Artwork © by Nigel Hendrickson

Rangers are proficient in the use of all types of weapons and shields. They tend to travel light and generally do not equip themselves with heavy and expensive armours.

The ranger generally focuses on archery as her favoured style of combat, though it is not uncommon for the ranger to study other forms of combat instead.

In addition to her combat training, the ranger will eventually gain a measure of power from the natural world akin to that of druids, though her connection to the land is comparatively limited.

The ranger excels at laying ambushes, moving silently through the forest and blending with her surroundings to remain unnoticed by her quarry until it is too late.

In time, her experience as a hunter hones her senses to the point where the ranger can sense hidden enemies and fight well against those who use magic to mask their presence.

A true master of the hunt can often end a fight before it begins if she can catch her opponent off guard. Even without this advantage, a ranger’s familiarity with the terrain gives her an edge over foes who are not used to fighting in the wilderness.

Arrow in the Quiver

While the fighter is more accomplished as a warrior, the ranger is more efficient when outnumbered or fighting against larger opponents, depending on her area of expertise.

A huntress who wishes to become a slayer of the giants must learn not to give into her fear when faced with a creature at least twice her size. An accomplished slayer knows where to hit a giant where it hurts and a legendary slayer’s trained reflexes helps her avoid the breath of a dragon.

Other rangers believe that the greatest threats lie in large numbers. The savage tribes rarely attack on their own and raiding parties can be a source of grief for villages and towns that do not enjoy the same level of protection as most major cities.

A skilled hordebreaker operates best when outnumbered and are adept at avoiding the swords of their enemies when moving around, even in tight circumstances. Elite hordeslayers can scatter opponents around them like a whirlwind and those who seek to ambush her and her companions will often find no joy, her keen senses cancelling out any advantage gained by her hidden enemies.

Fair Game

If there is one thing I am not comfortable with, it’s the fact that ‘evasion‘ from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 is now called ‘uncanny dodge’. If you have played or are still playing D&D 3.5, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

That aside, I like the direction Wizards are taking with the favoured enemies. Focusing on a type of threat as opposed to a specific type of creature ensures that your favoured enemy choices do not become redundant as it did in earlier editions such as D&D 3.5.

Another good thing is that the favoured enemy feature is not just about damage bonuses and you gain abilities that are more likely to be useful against the type of threat you face.

Personally, I think it’s a change for the better, but please feel free to let me know whether you agree or disagree in the comment box below. If you disagree, what would be in your wishlist in terms of ranger class features?

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