PDA

View Full Version : [3.5] Ranger Variants



Drend
2010-03-20, 04:32 AM
I like the ranger, and most of his abilities. There are 2 that I just can't get into. One is the spell casting. I'm not particularly fond of the Complete Warrior variant either. It just seems like they are taking away the variable casting, and giving them 4 spells that really aren't that great, at a slower progression. The second is the animal companion. The way my DM plays companions is retarded. You are only allowed one, it doesn't really progress, and he constantly targets the companions instead of the characters. He also treats them like familiars, in that they dock XP when they die, and we have to spend a bunch of money (for my last wolf, it was like 3000 GP) to train them. I want to nix that whole class feature, but every variant I find keeps the companions. Anyone know where to find something like this? Do they exist? Or better yet, any suggestions as to moderately balanced features that I could add on to replace these? I really would like to focus on the combat abilities of the Ranger, specifically the 2-weapon fighting.

Thanks for any advice.

zagan
2010-03-20, 04:57 AM
The distracting attack variant in the PHB II p55, replace the animal companion in it's place each time you it an enemy with an attack he is considered flank, it's usefull if you have a rogue in the party.

And complete champion p50 allow you to replace the spellcasting by four bonus feat, from a list.

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-20, 05:00 AM
I prefer the Comp Champ version also, for Rangers that don't need spells.

If you want to give up the combat styles, you can also get a bit of wildshaping from the Unearthed Arcana. Likely not what you're looking for, but it's another option that provides a lot of personal power.

There's also a couple variants in Complete Mage that are interesting, and there's some in the PHB2 that are at least worth looking at.

PinkysBrain
2010-03-20, 05:04 AM
Complete Champion. Sacrifice spellcasting for 4 bonus feats.

A phenomenally bad deal if you can use spell compendium and champions of ruin though. Hunter's Mercy, Find the Gap, Arrow Storm, Bloodfreeze Arrow (instantaneous duration, can be stockpiled ... get a wand if you have a ton of money).

Drend
2010-03-20, 05:09 AM
The distracting attack variant in the PHB II p55, replace the animal companion in it's place each time you it an enemy with an attack he is considered flank, it's usefull if you have a rogue in the party.

And complete champion p50 allow you to replace the spellcasting by four bonus feat, from a list.

I like that one. The 4 bonus feats will allow me to get almost every TWF feat available. This one may even go tempest... I'd never even considered looking in Complete Warrior. Thanks for that one.

I also found this DR347 P91. They call it the Solitary Hunter. Ditch the animal companion in favor of an enhanced version of the Favored Enemy, which lets you add the bonus on the to hit too.

Geiger Counter
2010-03-20, 05:13 AM
It might also help if your DM understood the rules correctly.

Rainbownaga
2010-03-20, 05:13 AM
Wow, your dm sux. Ranger animal companion is weak enough already without making those adjustments; he does know that non-shapeshifting rangers are tier 4, not tier 1, right?

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-20, 05:14 AM
Wow, your dm sux. Ranger animal companion is weak enough already without making those adjustments; he does know that non-shapeshifting rangers are tier 4, not tier 1, right?

Heck, shapeshifting rangers are only tier 4 also.

It's only when you add MoMF that it bumps up to Tier 3.

Vizzerdrix
2010-03-20, 05:16 AM
You may also wist to look at the Mystic Ranger variant. You get you spells right from level 1. Maybe tat would help? If not the Complete Champion has a variant to swap them out.

Can't help ya on the animal companion. Maybe tell your DM to stop being a douche?

Drend
2010-03-20, 05:37 AM
It might also help if your DM understood the rules correctly.

Oh, he understands them all right. He just says, "I'm God, I make the rules." It is kinda frustrating because he is an ex-navy dude, and got a head injury that makes him forget a lot of stuff, so the rules change every 3 hours or so. Only problem, is that out of everyone I know who plays, I'm the only one willing to DM other than him...


Wow, your dm sux. Ranger animal companion is weak enough already without making those adjustments; he does know that non-shapeshifting rangers are tier 4, not tier 1, right?

We don't follow any tier system. Good roleplaying can make a Ranger better than an optimized Druid any day, and vice versa. Knowing how to play to your characters strengths and work as a party is infinitely more effective than having a bunch of 'tier 1' characters who don't work together, and don't know what they are doing.


You may also wist to look at the Mystic Ranger variant. You get you spells right from level 1. Maybe tat would help? If not the Complete Champion has a variant to swap them out.

Can't help ya on the animal companion. Maybe tell your DM to stop being a douche?

I looked at it, but I'd play a druid if I wanted to put more emphasis into nature casting. I prefer arcane casters over nature casters any day.


It's only when you add MoMF that it bumps up to Tier 3. MoMF?

Geiger Counter
2010-03-20, 05:44 AM
I think you might be interested in some of the feats in my crafty fighter link in my signature.

Kobold-Bard
2010-03-20, 05:48 AM
I personally give the Ranger a Druid's Animal Companion and up their spellcasting to Bard Progression using the Druid Spell list (with some thematic additions etc.)

I've turned TWF into one feat so I might let them have both styles. Thoughts on this last thing?

PinkysBrain
2010-03-20, 05:53 AM
Good roleplaying
Good roleplaying doesn't get you out of a crushing room trap, a dimension door does though. Or in other words, it's always nice to have options.

Drend
2010-03-20, 06:43 AM
I personally give the Ranger a Druid's Animal Companion and up their spellcasting to Bard Progression using the Druid Spell list (with some thematic additions etc.)

I've turned TWF into one feat so I might let them have both styles. Thoughts on this last thing?

Well, DDO gives rangers both combat paths anyway. Nixing the spellcasting in favor of both might work. Around the same number of feats as the CW alternate. I just don't think Rangers should cast spells. Animal companions are ok in certain circumstances, but rangers are a martial class, and should focus their attention on that. All the TWF in one feat? Just PHP or ALL of them? There are 12 feats, not counting 2 handed weapon specific feats. Even so, combining the 3 feats is still pretty broken... You could annihilate stuff pretty quick...

PhoenixRivers
2010-03-20, 06:47 AM
MoMF?

Master of Many Forms, which is a very effective (not unbalanced, but highly effective) prestige class in Complete Adventurer. From there, you add in perhaps a couple levels of Warshaper, or Nature's Warrior, and you end up with a rather effective Wildshaper. They are highly flexible, good for stealth (shape into a humanoid and disguise, or an innocuous creature), combat, and a lot in between. Great role playing opportunity, also.

Adding it to the ranger chassis gives you the strength of Wildshaping, without the imbalance of all the other features druids get. It makes for a very nice front line beatstick.

Eldariel
2010-03-20, 09:00 AM
Even so, combining the 3 feats is still pretty broken... You could annihilate stuff pretty quick...

Ahem... You do realize that Two-Handed Fighting requires zero feats and is more efficient than fully feat-empowered Two-Weapon Fighting, right? Quick comparison between the two:
Two-Weapon Fighting vs. Two-Handed Fighting
- TWF requires a feat just to get you started. THF doesn't, leaving it an extra feat with which to increase damage.
- TWF requires 15 Dex to start with and 19 Dex by the end of your career. So TWF is more MAD and thus has less Str and thus deals less damage and hits worse, or spends two feats to make up for this (and that's given all sources).
- TWF will never get the 4th iterative off-hand, no matter how many feats you invest. This matters especially since you can't Power Attack either.
- Every extra attack you gain increases THFer's damage more; hello, Haste, Whirling Frenzy, etc.
- Whenever you move, your entire TWF-chain and all related feats do nothing.
- On AoOs, TWF deals less damage.
- TWF can't make proper use out of Power Attack, most usable damage enhancer in the game.
- In spite of all this, TWF full attack deals as much damage on pure weapon+Str basis as THF full attack (before level 16 where THF full attack deals more again).
- It costs more to get magical weapons for a TWFer than THFer.
+ TWF benefits more of weapon enhancements based on hits than THF.
+ TWF adds generic extra damage more often.

boomwolf
2010-03-20, 10:30 AM
I personally fail to realize WHY to do want a ranger?

Once you take out both the companion and the spellcasting, what have you got left?

Tracking (and forest movement), Weapons Style and Favored enemy.

...

Not much.

Tracking is easy to copy by any class by a few feats. woodland stride, swift tracker, camouflage and hide in plain sight are a bit trickery, but doable.

weapon styles honestly sucks. you are better off with bonus fighter feat to get them. (many classes give these)

Favored enemy? well. it has its uses.


So practically, maybe if we find what is it exactly in the ranger you seek, we can get it with another class.



Eldariel-you obviously don't know all TWF feats then. and while they require great defecation they have great potential. (true that ubercharger wins. but he is cheesy as hell.)
and you forgot "ability to disrupt multiple foes" that your THF don't have.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2010-03-20, 10:46 AM
I personally fail to realize WHY to do want a ranger?
Not too sure about this, but I think I agree. Maybe try going with Wilderness Rogue (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#rogueVariantWilderness Rogue), possibly combining it with the Fighter feat variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#rogue) to trade your sneak attack class feature for a Fighter's bonus feat progression. I'm pretty sure that can get every useful Ranger class feature, plus it gets lots and lots of fighter feats, more skills, trapfinding, improved uncanny dodge, etc. in exchange for a poor Fort save, 3/4 BAB, and slightly lower HP.

Furthermore, if your character has the Handle Animal skill he can train his animal companion himself. There's no need to hire an NPC to do something that you're already capable of, so if it comes up again just insist that you hire yourself to train your own companion and pay yourself that fee.

PinkysBrain
2010-03-20, 10:52 AM
Eldariel-you obviously don't know all TWF feats then. and while they require great defecation they have great potential. (true that ubercharger wins. but he is cheesy as hell.)
and you forgot "ability to disrupt multiple foes" that your THF don't have.
I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Anyway, cheese doesn't provide balance ... master thrower boomerang thrower (or whatever) doesn't make TWF balanced, it just shows how broken the master thrower boomerang thrower is.

At higher level any character can cheese it up.

Eldariel
2010-03-20, 11:07 AM
Eldariel-you obviously don't know all TWF feats then. and while they require great defecation they have great potential. (true that ubercharger wins. but he is cheesy as hell.)
and you forgot "ability to disrupt multiple foes" that your THF don't have.

...combining the three TWF-feats into one doesn't grant you the other TWF feats. You're still paying feat per ability. THF can pay feat per ability and gain just as good stuff.

‹bercharger wins in pure damage, but that's neither here nor now. THF without any feats is just as good as TWF with all 3 TWF feats. Think about that for a moment. Then THF invests a bunch of feats and kicks TWF's ass as TWF has less feats to invest.


And TWF doesn't have ability to disrupt multiple foes, what the heck are you talking about? You can't take any more or less AoOs by default as a TWFer and just attacking more opponents isn't exactly disrupting them.

Especially since it requires multiple opponents clumped so you can reach 'em all in one full attack without moving. THF is actually better at covering more opponents due to the ready availability of THF reach weapons.

Pluto
2010-03-20, 11:35 AM
Have you considered the Scout in Complete Adventurer?
It sounds closer to what you want than the Ranger does.

Also, Urban Companions (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a) are really neat (they scale based on your abilities rather than your class level/2, they get your skills, they're not as big or threatening as Animal Companions and they explicitly do not cost XP when they croak.)

If you aren't opposed to homebrew, Radical Taoist has a pretty superb ToB-based Ranger here (http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19519074/Sublime_Way_Variant_Ranger) that loses casting for maneuver progression. It's pretty slick.


Eldariel-you obviously don't know all TWF feats then. and while they require great defecation they have great potential. I like this sentence. :smallbiggrin:

Math_Mage
2010-03-20, 11:38 AM
Well, the Shooting Star substitution levels will solve one problem (the companion) and make the other worse, but in a good way (your spellcasting gets better). YMMV.

Drend
2010-03-20, 11:45 PM
Not too sure about this, but I think I agree. Maybe try going with Wilderness Rogue (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#rogueVariantWilderness Rogue), possibly combining it with the Fighter feat variant (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#rogue) to trade your sneak attack class feature for a Fighter's bonus feat progression. I'm pretty sure that can get every useful Ranger class feature, plus it gets lots and lots of fighter feats, more skills, trapfinding, improved uncanny dodge, etc. in exchange for a poor Fort save, 3/4 BAB, and slightly lower HP.

Furthermore, if your character has the Handle Animal skill he can train his animal companion himself. There's no need to hire an NPC to do something that you're already capable of, so if it comes up again just insist that you hire yourself to train your own companion and pay yourself that fee.

Trust me, I tried to do the handle animal thing, proving that it was a wasted skill when he said the 3k gp was for 'supplies and magical components.' Animal companions are a wash out. Not using them.

I looked at the Wilderness rogue, but didn't see the alternate that nixed sneaks in favor of fighter bonus feats. I don't like the decreased HD, saves are irrelevant via a house rule, and High BAB is a must.

Not interested in Wild shaping. We have druids for that.

For at least the third time, our DM puts more emphasis on role playing than overpowered class optimization. If you can't give him a damn good reason for WHY your druid is casting Call Lightning, (A spell that, according to the source material and published novels, alters the very state of nature, which goes against a Druids prime directive, to preserve nature in its current state) guess what? Your druid ISN'T casting it. Meaning you just wasted an entire round debating with yourself on a moral dilemma. Thanks for wasting your time, and getting us all killed. My Ranger can easily drop into the middle of a swarm of orcs and tear them to shreds on the mere implication that they are orcs, and I have them as a favored enemy, without repercussion. Your ungodly over powered druid would have to have previously encountered these particular orcs doing something that violates his nature protection codes to attack them. He has a very "no munchkin" specific clause in our game, and nerfs anything he thinks is too munchkiny with RP restrictions.

Reasons I like the Ranger:
Good Hit die. House rule gives certain classes double hit die at 1st level, including the ranger.
Great BAB: I can hit enemies just as well as the fighter.
Good feat progression: With some of the changes I've implemented so far, I get almost as many fighting feats as a fighter.
Good skills: Not only does the ranger get 6+int skills (second only to a rogue) I personally like the skill selection, and with the way DM runs, they are all skills I need class access to.
Cool special abilities: Favored enemy rocks. Some of the other movement and natural settings hiding stuff is pretty cool too.

Yes, I've run Scouts before, and it is most definitely NOT what I want. They are ranged skirmishers, I want a TWF Death dealer.

I have yet to find a 'two handed fighting' feat. Much less something that is superior to the ability to have 7 attacks a round w/ Bastard Swords + STR damage + Rend Damage + pounce damage (On charges) + weapon special abilities + Death from massive damage (house ruled to include full round attacks) all at once. Not to mention both weapons at standard penalties on Attacks of Opportunity with Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook). With how he works TWF, if I hit with all, I can easily get 150 points of damage in a round. Ranger picks up the TWF feats faster than a fighter, and can get Tempest pretty quickly too. I only really need 12 levels in Ranger, maybe 14 for the last bonus feat.

Just to give perspective, I also have a Monk built out for this campaign. I like the sparsely armored fighter types with multiple attacks.


Eldariel-you obviously don't know all TWF feats then. and while they require great defecation they have great potential. (true that ubercharger wins. but he is cheesy as hell.)
and you forgot "ability to disrupt multiple foes" that your THF don't have.

So far as I'm concerned, Sig worthy.

Temotei
2010-03-21, 12:00 AM
retarded

I saw this word and stopped reading.

Spread the word to end the word!

Coidzor
2010-03-21, 12:33 AM
I looked at the Wilderness rogue, but didn't see the alternate that nixed sneaks in favor of fighter bonus feats. I don't like the decreased HD, saves are irrelevant via a house rule, and High BAB is a must.

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantcharacterclasses.htm


Rogue

The rogue who favors martial training over stealth and cunning can profit if she chooses her fights carefully.
Gain

Bonus feats (as fighter).
Lose

Sneak attack.


Cool special abilities: Favored enemy rocks. Some of the other movement and natural settings hiding stuff is pretty cool too.

Favored Enemy does not rock. It's most useful as a way to get precision damage to apply to an enemy type. Hell, by the way your DM sounds, you probably couldn't even choose your own favored enemies in any sort of useful way.


I have yet to find a 'two handed fighting' feat.
That's the point. It takes feats to make Two Weapon Fighting competitive with what someone with a weapon proficiency can do with a two-handed weapon.

You don't need a feat to be competent with a two-handed weapon, you just need to be a class that's proficient with 'em. This frees up feats that build upon whatever direction the character is going in, like, say, Shock Trooper, or Improved Trip and Combat Reflexes.



Anyhoos, There's only one other variant ranger that I can recall that hasn't been mentioned so far, other than racial ones, and that's the Moon-warded one, which trades something for the monk's wisdom to AC thing. It's in the basic classes pdf off of Crystal Keep.

lsfreak
2010-03-21, 12:38 AM
I have yet to find a 'two handed fighting' feat. Much less something that is superior to the ability to have 7 attacks a round w/ Bastard Swords + STR damage + Rend Damage + pounce damage (On charges) + weapon special abilities + Death from massive damage (house ruled to include full round attacks) all at once. Not to mention both weapons at standard penalties on Attacks of Opportunity with Double Hit (Miniatures Handbook). With how he works TWF, if I hit with all, I can easily get 150 points of damage in a round. Ranger picks up the TWF feats faster than a fighter, and can get Tempest pretty quickly too. I only really need 12 levels in Ranger, maybe 14 for the last bonus feat.

Yes, well here's the thing: no THF feats because they don't need them. Pick up Power Attack and you're already better than TWF, and with how many less feats? THF does more than twice the damage per swing than TWF, you don't need a feat to give you all your iteratives, and you start out at 100% AoO effectiveness without needing a feat. You can now free your feat up for things like Shock Trooper (drop your AC by an amount equal to your BAB, and add twice the damage to your damage), AoO builds with Robilar's Gambit, Improved Trip for battlefield control.

Math_Mage
2010-03-21, 12:43 AM
For at least the third time, our DM puts more emphasis on role playing than overpowered class optimization. If you can't give him a damn good reason for WHY your druid is casting Call Lightning, (A spell that, according to the source material and published novels, alters the very state of nature, which goes against a Druids prime directive, to preserve nature in its current state) guess what? Your druid ISN'T casting it. Meaning you just wasted an entire round debating with yourself on a moral dilemma. Thanks for wasting your time, and getting us all killed. My Ranger can easily drop into the middle of a swarm of orcs and tear them to shreds on the mere implication that they are orcs, and I have them as a favored enemy, without repercussion. Your ungodly over powered druid would have to have previously encountered these particular orcs doing something that violates his nature protection codes to attack them. He has a very "no munchkin" specific clause in our game, and nerfs anything he thinks is too munchkiny with RP restrictions.


I'm trying to avoid anything offensive, but I have to wonder what your DM thinks about 'altering the state of nature' by summoning obscuring mist in a desert, creating a sleet storm in the tropics, creating vertical wind walls in places that don't support that kind of air flow, mutating spiders into Huge Vermin, etc etc etc. Half the druid's spell list seems to be about giving him/her the power to alter nature responsibly, as a bond of trust between the druid and Obad-Hai or Ehlonna or . Also, regarding the encounter with orcs, the DM is apparently claiming that the druid's RP motivations are purely represented by the predetermined flavor of 'Nature's protector', and nothing else from the character concept can enter into it at all. Per your description, your DM's too heavy on RP fiat for my taste. Mandating that the druid [I]cannot do a basic thing like help his party in the face of an orc horde, only because of what WotC tells him about the druid, isn't good roleplay. But that's just based on what I'm reading, and I could be missing things.

EDIT: Also, the glaring inconsistency between the aforementioned tight lockdown on Druid behavior and the free rein given to the Ranger based solely on the Favored Enemy mechanic gnaws at me a little. For someone so heavily into roleplaying, the DM is inordinately focused on fitting your RP into a neat little box dictated by the mechanics on your charsheet. Heck, Favored Enemy's text doesn't even say anything about having an abnormal dislike for your chosen Enemy, only that you have undergone "extensive study on his chosen type of foe and training in the proper techniques for combating such creatures." So why can a ranger get away with attacking orcs unprovoked, based only on his expertise in fighting them?

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2010-03-21, 01:50 AM
It sounds to me like this DM has no business running a game. He seems the type to completely ignore/change a character's capabilities, motives, and actions for the sake of making it adhere to his idea of what a given class should be stereotyped as. At that point, there's not really any reason to play any more, because you get told who/what your character is rather than deciding for yourself who you want your character to be. The worst part is, people like this will never listen to criticism, constructive or otherwise, and it would probably be impossible to persuade him to change or even to be more open to suggestions for his idea of what the game should be. If I were you, I'd quit this DM, or better yet tell him he's fired, and either find another person to DM or find another group to play with.

herrhauptmann
2010-03-21, 01:53 AM
Ahem... You do realize that Two-Handed Fighting requires zero feats and is more efficient than fully feat-empowered Two-Weapon Fighting, right? Quick comparison between the two:
Two-Weapon Fighting vs. Two-Handed Fighting
- TWF requires a feat just to get you started. THF doesn't, leaving it an extra feat with which to increase damage.
- TWF requires 15 Dex to start with and 19 Dex by the end of your career. So TWF is more MAD and thus has less Str and thus deals less damage and hits worse, or spends two feats to make up for this (and that's given all sources).
- TWF will never get the 4th iterative off-hand, no matter how many feats you invest. This matters especially since you can't Power Attack either.
- Every extra attack you gain increases THFer's damage more; hello, Haste, Whirling Frenzy, etc.
- Whenever you move, your entire TWF-chain and all related feats do nothing.
- On AoOs, TWF deals less damage.
- TWF can't make proper use out of Power Attack, most usable damage enhancer in the game.
- In spite of all this, TWF full attack deals as much damage on pure weapon+Str basis as THF full attack (before level 16 where THF full attack deals more again).
- It costs more to get magical weapons for a TWFer than THFer.
+ TWF benefits more of weapon enhancements based on hits than THF.
+ TWF adds generic extra damage more often.

THere's a bunch of weapon style variants out of dragon magazine. Grappling, sword and shield, Two handed weapon to name a few. If your DM will allow dragon magazine, you can find the details on crystal keep in a pdf (and download the magazine somewhere...)

Drend:
Have you considered the HOrizon walker Prestige class? It's core, and easy access for rangers.

Drend
2010-03-21, 02:32 AM
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantcharacterclasses.htm





Favored Enemy does not rock. It's most useful as a way to get precision damage to apply to an enemy type. Hell, by the way your DM sounds, you probably couldn't even choose your own favored enemies in any sort of useful way.


That's the point. It takes feats to make Two Weapon Fighting competitive with what someone with a weapon proficiency can do with a two-handed weapon.

You don't need a feat to be competent with a two-handed weapon, you just need to be a class that's proficient with 'em. This frees up feats that build upon whatever direction the character is going in, like, say, Shock Trooper, or Improved Trip and Combat Reflexes.



Anyhoos, There's only one other variant ranger that I can recall that hasn't been mentioned so far, other than racial ones, and that's the Moon-warded one, which trades something for the monk's wisdom to AC thing. It's in the basic classes pdf off of Crystal Keep.

I'm gonna stick to 2 bastard swords over a great sword. Lets give Max damage with a greatsword (2d6) Plus greater weapon specialization and power attack. Wow. 96 damage for all 4 attacks. Max (barring STR). No thanks. 17 damage 7 times is 117. I can still take power attack and use it with TWF. May not be the most efficient thing to do (Hit wise), but that isn't the point. It is a different form, not inferior, not superior. I've seen enough head to head between barbs and rangers to show me the equality. Remember, regardless of penalties, there is always the die roll involved. The sheer number of rolls puts favor (in my opinion) in the Ranger's hand.


I'm trying to avoid anything offensive, but I have to wonder what your DM thinks about 'altering the state of nature' by summoning obscuring mist in a desert, creating a sleet storm in the tropics, creating vertical wind walls in places that don't support that kind of air flow, mutating spiders into Huge Vermin, etc etc etc. Half the druid's spell list seems to be about giving him/her the power to alter nature responsibly, as a bond of trust between the druid and Obad-Hai or Ehlonna or . Also, regarding the encounter with orcs, the DM is apparently claiming that the druid's RP motivations are purely represented by the predetermined flavor of 'Nature's protector', and nothing else from the character concept can enter into it at all. Per your description, your DM's too heavy on RP fiat for my taste. Mandating that the druid [I]cannot do a basic thing like help his party in the face of an orc horde, only because of what WotC tells him about the druid, isn't good roleplay. But that's just based on what I'm reading, and I could be missing things.

EDIT: Also, the glaring inconsistency between the aforementioned tight lockdown on Druid behavior and the free rein given to the Ranger based solely on the Favored Enemy mechanic gnaws at me a little. For someone so heavily into roleplaying, the DM is inordinately focused on fitting your RP into a neat little box dictated by the mechanics on your charsheet. Heck, Favored Enemy's text doesn't even say anything about having an abnormal dislike for your chosen Enemy, only that you have undergone "extensive study on his chosen type of foe and training in the proper techniques for combating such creatures." So why can a ranger get away with attacking orcs unprovoked, based only on his expertise in fighting them?

Trust me, I know. I wouldn't be so frustrated trying to find a way around his nerfification if I didn't know how irritating it is. He plays WAY too much into the Emerald Enclave style of Druids. If it doesn't in a very obvious manner, help nature in the long run, they shouldn't do it. Altering nature without cause is against a druids beliefs, but not an arcanists. Fireballs burn down forests all the time. Part of the reason he hits druidic casting is to force people to focus on what he thinks is the major class features, wild shape and nature affinity. He also treats Favored Enemy as something like a racial hatred. A dwarf could easily get away with attacking goblins for no reason, whereas a kobold wouldn't.

Biffoniacus_Furiou: Do you know where Topeka, Kansas is? There are MAYBE 30 D&D players in town. Total. I've advertised looking for a group, but the only people looking for players are 4e (blech) or even worse than him. Out of the people that I know who play, only him and myself are willing to DM. I'm DM right now. He is a lot looser if you can give good reasons for things. Good roleplay makes up for a lot of shortcomings in the classes, and can make even a LG Paladin have a higher slaughter count than any CE Drow Wiz. He has some house rules, nerfs some class features, pumps others, nerfs some classes, pumps others. It is easier to play a Ranger with him than a Druid. I've played both under him. He is currently a Kobold Rogue in my world. I'm not the most eloquent person ever, and many of his house rules may just be coming off a little too strict or different due to my opinionated view of them, and merely be mistranslated. More than one person has quit playing with him because of some of these things, and more characters have committed suicide to avoid some of these problems.

herrhauptmann: Yeah, it is one of the prestiges I've looked at. I'm probably going to go Tempest though. Maybe a couple of other homebrews for TWF. I don't like the other combat paths as much. I prefer fighters for starting the Order of the Bow Initiate over the ranger, but with the CW alternate version (No spells in favor of more bonus feats), I may go the other way.

Math_Mage
2010-03-21, 03:33 AM
You, uh...don't want to get started on the DPS optimization argument. It'll be long, it'll be bitter, and they will always win, because they have too many tricks that you either don't know about or won't use out of disdain for mozzarella. (Nothing wrong with mozzarella, of course, I love it in my toasted sandwiches.)

Anyway, regarding the original topic: if you don't want either the animal companion or spellcasting, my first suggestion of Shooting Star substitution levels is right out. The Champion of the Wild variant you mention, from Complete Champion, which trades casting for bonus feats, is probably the best swap you'll get for your casting. As for the animal companion, someone mentioned Distracting Attack from PHBII already; if you don't have a rogue/BSF in the party to benefit from the flanking, another option is Spiritual Guide, again from Complete Champion, that gives some nice skill bonuses (though the commune with nature spell doesn't really do anything in the face of your lost casting).

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2010-03-21, 03:37 AM
I'm in the vicinity. (http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&source=hp&q=topeka%2C%20ks%20to%20harrisonville%2C%20mo&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=qtylS-wLkZi2B-XD1YsK&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&ved=0CAYQ_AU)

This search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=dungeons+and+dragons%2C+topeka%2C+kansas&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=) looks a bit slim, but this one (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=dungeons+and+dragons%2C+lawrence%2C+kansas&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=) seems promising. Always check the nearest college town first, you're sure to find plenty of gamers.

Math_Mage
2010-03-21, 03:43 AM
I'm in the vicinity. (http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&source=hp&q=topeka%2C%20ks%20to%20harrisonville%2C%20mo&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=qtylS-wLkZi2B-XD1YsK&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&ved=0CAYQ_AU)

This search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=dungeons+and+dragons%2C+topeka%2C+kansas&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=) looks a bit slim, but this one (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=dungeons+and+dragons%2C+lawrence%2C+kansas&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=) seems promising. Always check the nearest college town first, you're sure to find plenty of gamers.

Hear, hear. On the other hand, I never found any while I was round here (http://www.google.com/search?q=ithaca%2C+ny&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a)...maybe I wasn't looking hard enough.

Eldariel
2010-03-21, 07:53 AM
I'm gonna stick to 2 bastard swords over a great sword. Lets give Max damage with a greatsword (2d6) Plus greater weapon specialization and power attack. Wow. 96 damage for all 4 attacks. Max (barring STR). No thanks. 17 damage 7 times is 117. I can still take power attack and use it with TWF. May not be the most efficient thing to do (Hit wise), but that isn't the point. It is a different form, not inferior, not superior. I've seen enough head to head between barbs and rangers to show me the equality. Remember, regardless of penalties, there is always the die roll involved. The sheer number of rolls puts favor (in my opinion) in the Ranger's hand.

Do you really need me to do this? Fine, but it'd be nice if you thought it true so we'd save time:
Your Ranger has now invested:
- 1 feat in EWP: Bastard Sword
- 1 feat in Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting
- 3 feats in Two-Weapon Fighting

Your Two-Hander has invested:
- 1 feat in Power Attack


Let's assume level 12 (so your precious Ranger can have his Two-Weapon Rend), Str 27 (18 Start + 4 Orc + 3 Level + 4 Item), Haste (from Boots of Speed or whatever) and Greater Magic Weapon (+3 weapons). THF has a +3 effective weapon (+5 total damage bonus as per Collision), TWF has two +2s (+2.5 total damage bonus each)

Let's invest some feats and levels on the Two-Hander Side:
- 3 levels of Barbarian + 2 of Fighter into Frenzied Berserker.

Feats:
- Power Attack
- Cleave
- Destructive Rage
- Intimidating Rage
- Extra Rage

Let's further invest in Steadfast Determination, Crystalmask of Mindarmor and so on to basically ensure we never enter Frenzy. We now have Improved Power Attack. We also have Whirling Frenzy.

THFer attacks at (assuming Rage) 12 BAB + 10 Str + 3 Weapon + 1 Haste - 2 Whirling Frenzy for a total of +24.

TWFer attacks at 12 BAB + 8 Str + 3 Weapon + 1 Haste - 2 TWF for a total of +22

Now, our full attack looks like:
+24/+24/+24/+19/+14 for THFer
+22/+22/+22/+17/+17/+12/+12 for TWFer

THFer's damage is:
2d6 (avg. 7) + 15 Str + 5 weapon ability + 3 weapon.

TWFer's damage is:
1d10 (avg. 5.5) + 8 Str + 2.5 weapon ability + 3 weapon. And 4 Str for off-hand.

So THFer deals average of 30 damage per hit. TWFer deals an average of 18 mainhand and 14 off-hand. Let's throw your TWR in there too and let's toss Weapon Spec while at it. So 20 and 14 and 1d6+12 Rend (we can toss that as an extra attack in there).

Now then, we need a target AC. Things on this CR tend to have a ****ty AC overall since they're big stupid beaters like Purple Worms, Frost Worms, Colossal Scorpions, Hydras, etc. Let's say AC 22; it's from higher end of that row. Kolyarut is the single exception at AC 27.


THFer PAs for 6, giving him a total of +18-line at 48 damage (Improved Power Attack). TWFer does his +22-line. We get an average damage of:

166.32 for THFer
61.69 Mainhand + 32.28 Off-hand + 15.5 Rend = 109,47 for TWFer

And this is on full attacks, where TWFer should, according to you, be at his best.


Do same comparison without any extra feats; just basic TWF-line for TWFer and no feats for THFer:
2d6+12+3+5 = 27 weapon damage for THFer

1d8+8+3+2.5 = 18 Mainhand
1d6+4+3+2.5 = 13 Offhand
for TWFer

TWFer attacks at +24/+24/+19/+14 while TWFer attacks at +22/+22/+22/+17/+17/+12/+12

THFer averages 83.16
TWFer averages 52.78 mainhand and 26.51 offhand = 79,29. So, with no feats on THFer's side and three feats on TWFer assuming full attack, THFer still deals more damage. For the record, if we give THFer one feat, Power Attack, his damage climbs to 100.10.


In other words, THF always has TWF beat in terms of pure damage, in terms of feat efficiency, in terms of economy, in terms of damage you can pull off after movement, etc.

And I'm not even using the stronger THF feats like Shock Trooper and Leap Attack along with Pounce for sick Charge-damage. As I said, THF comes out ahead even if you hold back. And I'm not accounting for TWF MAD either.

Now, are we clear on that? Good. Feel free to TWF, but please don't claim it's stronger than THF. And do realize that you need large bonuses to damage on each attack for TWF to be any good at all.

Boci
2010-03-21, 08:00 AM
So, I'm guessing your DM is the type to have a fit if you show him a tiger claw focused warblade? (Good BAB, d12 hitdie, 4 skill points per level, better class features)

PinkysBrain
2010-03-21, 10:25 AM
For at least the third time, our DM puts more emphasis on role playing than overpowered class optimization. If you can't give him a damn good reason for WHY your druid is casting Call Lightning, (A spell that, according to the source material and published novels, alters the very state of nature, which goes against a Druids prime directive, to preserve nature in its current state) guess what? Your druid ISN'T casting it.
Who's roleplaying the characters in your group exactly? The players or the DM?

In most games if the player says the character doesn't have a moral dilemma with it, then the character doesn't have a moral dilemma with it. The DM might change your alignment or warn you that you are breaking a code of your class I guess, but to just ad-hoc say "casting call lightning except in dire circumstances is not revering nature" is well ... not really justifiable by any D&D fluff in existence, it's houseruling ... extremely strange houseruling.

I mean sure you could play a druid like some Indian mystic do no harm character, walking everywhere brushing the dirt in front of his feet so he doesn't crush any bugs ... most true neutral clerics really aren't going to be that concerned with preserving nature though (preserving state is distinctly lawful).

That prime directive, you just made it up ...

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-21, 10:42 AM
So, I'm guessing your DM is the type to have a fit if you show him a tiger claw focused warblade? (Good BAB, d12 hitdie, 4 skill points per level, better class features)

You also forgot the Maneuvers. Maneuvers!!!!!!!!


You, uh...don't want to get started on the DPS optimization argument. It'll be long, it'll be bitter, and they will always win, because they have too many tricks that you either don't know about or won't use out of disdain for mozzarella. (Nothing wrong with mozzarella, of course, I love it in my toasted sandwiches.)


Please don't say stuff like this, you'll make him think that we're winning just by virtue of our better optimization, whereas in this case with out any optimization THF still beats it out. Just do that math. You should be good at that. Teehee, Math Mage.

PinkysBrain
2010-03-21, 10:57 AM
The problem with the TWF feat tree without ridiculous amounts of bonus damage is that it comes at an opportunity cost ... even if you manage to get to just about eek out THF by a couple of points on a full attack thanks to moderate bonus damage (favoured enemy for instance) and you find some way to use THF charges/standard action attacks/AoOs (a glove of holding helps a lot, expensive loot though) you are still out 3 feats.

If you don't take TWF you end up being a very decent archer ... isn't the option to deal better with ranged enemies a lot better than a couple points more damage on a full attack?

PS. of course if you use THF+armor spikes for TWF it gets a lot better, but your DM doesn't strike me as a guy who would allow it.

Eldariel
2010-03-21, 11:14 AM
PS. of course if you use THF+armor spikes for TWF it gets a lot better, but your DM doesn't strike me as a guy who would allow it.

That isn't really worth it either (Armor Spikes being a light weapon with .5 Str to damage and no PA; the -2 costs you more damage than the Spikes gain, and that's before delving into the feats you spent); THF + UA Strike is getting somewhere as UA Strike can actually benefit of Power Attack and adds 1xStr even as off-hand, but that requires great investment of feats and resources to enhance both so even then it still is kinda "Why bother?".

As you said, it's a matter of opportunity cost; whenever you invest resources into TWFing properly, those resources could be used for far greater gains by just not bothering to TWF instead; this isn't helped at all by the Dex-requirements of TWF. If TWF were condensed into one feat and you were able to full attack and move each round and AoO/Haste bonus/whatever with two weapons, it'd be about even. At that point, TWF could be worth it as a normal combat option over THF for high-dex high-str types who only seek damage and don't care much for control-options. Then it'd effectively be "Power Attack or TWF" for paths you can go in the beginning with feat investment enabling the combination; PA on TWF, but with the penalties and opportunity cost, that's still kinda "meh".

PinkysBrain
2010-03-21, 11:25 AM
Oversized armor spikes ;)

Demons_eye
2010-03-21, 11:44 AM
Do you really need me to do this? Fine, but it'd be nice if you thought it true so we'd save time:
Your Ranger has now invested:
- 1 feat in EWP: Bastard Sword
- 1 feat in Oversized Two-Weapon Fighting
- 3 feats in Two-Weapon Fighting

Your Two-Hander has invested:
- 1 feat in Power Attack


Let's assume level 12 (so your precious Ranger can have his Two-Weapon Rend), Str 27 (18 Start + 4 Orc + 3 Level + 4 Item), Haste (from Boots of Speed or whatever) and Greater Magic Weapon (+3 weapons). THF has a +3 effective weapon (+5 total damage bonus as per Collision), TWF has two +2s (+2.5 total damage bonus each)

Let's invest some feats and levels on the Two-Hander Side:
- 3 levels of Barbarian + 2 of Fighter into Frenzied Berserker.

Feats:
- Power Attack
- Cleave
- Destructive Rage
- Intimidating Rage
- Extra Rage

Let's further invest in Steadfast Determination, Crystalmask of Mindarmor and so on to basically ensure we never enter Frenzy. We now have Improved Power Attack. We also have Whirling Frenzy.

THFer attacks at (assuming Rage) 12 BAB + 10 Str + 3 Weapon + 1 Haste - 2 Whirling Frenzy for a total of +24.

TWFer attacks at 12 BAB + 8 Str + 3 Weapon + 1 Haste - 2 TWF for a total of +22

Now, our full attack looks like:
+24/+24/+24/+19/+14 for THFer
+22/+22/+22/+17/+17/+12/+12 for TWFer

THFer's damage is:
2d6 (avg. 7) + 15 Str + 5 weapon ability + 3 weapon.

TWFer's damage is:
1d10 (avg. 5.5) + 8 Str + 2.5 weapon ability + 3 weapon. And 4 Str for off-hand.

So THFer deals average of 30 damage per hit. TWFer deals an average of 18 mainhand and 14 off-hand. Let's throw your TWR in there too and let's toss Weapon Spec while at it. So 20 and 14 and 1d6+12 Rend (we can toss that as an extra attack in there).

Now then, we need a target AC. Things on this CR tend to have a ****ty AC overall since they're big stupid beaters like Purple Worms, Frost Worms, Colossal Scorpions, Hydras, etc. Let's say AC 22; it's from higher end of that row. Kolyarut is the single exception at AC 27.


THFer PAs for 6, giving him a total of +18-line at 48 damage (Improved Power Attack). TWFer does his +22-line. We get an average damage of:

166.32 for THFer
61.69 Mainhand + 32.28 Off-hand + 15.5 Rend = 109,47 for TWFer

And this is on full attacks, where TWFer should, according to you, be at his best.


Do same comparison without any extra feats; just basic TWF-line for TWFer and no feats for THFer:
2d6+12+3+5 = 27 weapon damage for THFer

1d8+8+3+2.5 = 18 Mainhand
1d6+4+3+2.5 = 13 Offhand
for TWFer

TWFer attacks at +24/+24/+19/+14 while TWFer attacks at +22/+22/+22/+17/+17/+12/+12

THFer averages 83.16
TWFer averages 52.78 mainhand and 26.51 offhand = 79,29. So, with no feats on THFer's side and three feats on TWFer assuming full attack, THFer still deals more damage. For the record, if we give THFer one feat, Power Attack, his damage climbs to 100.10.


In other words, THF always has TWF beat in terms of pure damage, in terms of feat efficiency, in terms of economy, in terms of damage you can pull off after movement, etc.

And I'm not even using the stronger THF feats like Shock Trooper and Leap Attack along with Pounce for sick Charge-damage. As I said, THF comes out ahead even if you hold back. And I'm not accounting for TWF MAD either.

Now, are we clear on that? Good. Feel free to TWF, but please don't claim it's stronger than THF. And do realize that you need large bonuses to damage on each attack for TWF to be any good at all.



I'm gonna stick to 2 bastard swords over a great sword. Lets give Max damage with a greatsword (2d6) Plus greater weapon specialization and power attack. Wow. 96 damage for all 4 attacks. Max (barring STR). No thanks. 17 damage 7 times is 117. I can still take power attack and use it with TWF. May not be the most efficient thing to do (Hit wise), but that isn't the point. It is a different form, not inferior, not superior. I've seen enough head to head between barbs and rangers to show me the equality. Remember, regardless of penalties, there is always the die roll involved. The sheer number of rolls puts favor (in my opinion) in the Ranger's hand.




I dont think he did.

9mm
2010-03-21, 11:48 AM
can we just admit that people TWF because it looks cool and move on? the OP has clearly stated he doesn't care about dpr/optimization ect; just wanted ACFs for animal companion and Spellcasting.

Again Distracting attack is best for ditching the animal, shooting star does as well but that supercharges your spellcasting. Spellcasting is harder to lose; theres the crappy one and the good one, you've taken the good one. there's a Swift hunter handbook over on BG that has most of the AFCs for ranger that you can fiddle with to your hearts content.

Tinydwarfman
2010-03-21, 12:30 PM
I dont think he did.

No, but he did say it wasn't inferior. And that is false without (as other people have said) large amounts of extra damage coming from another source (like SA or dragonfire inspiration)

Math_Mage
2010-03-21, 03:14 PM
You also forgot the Maneuvers. Maneuvers!!!!!!!!



Please don't say stuff like this, you'll make him think that we're winning just by virtue of our better optimization, whereas in this case with out any optimization THF still beats it out. Just do that math. You should be good at that. Teehee, Math Mage.

Meh, I just don't want to go there. I know how the math works out, and the point is that for every trick he adds, you guys can add a trick and still beat him out. The fact that you don't need to add any tricks to beat unoptimized TWF (i.e. TWF w/o large generic per-hit boosts like SA) doesn't change this.