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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Not All Who Wander are Lost
    A Ranger's Guide

    Image Copyright WotC

    "All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost."

    -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

    Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's Aragorn and the Rangers of the North, the Ranger first appeared as a class in one of the first original Dungeons & Dragons supplements. The wandering warrior has been a mainstay of the series ever since. Known for the variety of fighting styles they utilize, Rangers are equally skilled with blade and bow, often wield two blades at once, and are capable hunters and trackers. The archetypical Ranger wanders the wilderness as its sentinel and protector, often accompanied by a wild beast. Rangers are mobile, efficient stalkers who make excellent and versatile warriors.

    Oh, and you can ride a pet pteranodon at level 3.

    Color Scheme
    • This is freaking amazing! It provides many options, or will do one thing extremely well.
    • This is really good, but not quite phenomenal.
    • This is good. It will regularly be useful, though it won't provide many tactical choices.
    • Bad. It will be extremely rare that it's useful at all.


    • Occasionally very useful, but limited in scope or applicability.


    Table of Contents:
    1. Wilderness Basics
    2. Races of the Wilds
    3. Paths of the Wanderer
    4. Powers of Nature
    5. The Ever Prepared Wanderer
    Last edited by EvilAnagram; 2016-04-26 at 11:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Not All Who Wander are Lost
    Wilderness Basics

    Image Copyright WotC

    Ability Scores
    • Strength: Good for skill checks, and some melee builds will need STR, but most won't. If you're planning on using non-finesse melee weapons, make this your primary. Otherwise, it doesn't matter much.
    • Dexterity: This will almost always be your primary stat. Ranged attacks and melee attacks with finesse weapons both rely on DEX. Aside from that, it's a common save, it will determine your AC and Initiative, and it's the ability for a lot of skill checks.
    • Constitution: Hit Points are good.
    • Intelligence: You won't need this very much. It's a good dump stat. Still, some important saves and skill checks rely on INT.
    • Wisdom:: This is your spellcasting ability, and several skills rely on it.
    • Charisma: CHA is great for skill checks. That's about it. Also a candidate for a dump stat.


    The two principal builds for a Ranger are the Archer build and the Two-Weapon build. There's more spell support for the Archer build, but both are perfectly capable combatants. Both rely on DEX as their primary Ability.

    Class Features
    • Hit Dice: 1d10 per level. Hell yes. Same as a Fighter or Paladin. Only Barbarians have it better, and they're jerks anyways. This places your firmly in the "I can walk up to things and stab them without dying" range.
    • Armor Proficiency: Light, Medium, and Shield gives you everything you need for any style you want. You don't get plate, but you're supposed to be a mobile wanderer of the wild, so you shouldn't want plate. Most of you will pump DEX and go for Light armor anyways.
    • Weapon Proficiency: You get all the weapons.
    • Saving Throws: DEX is extremely common, and it should be your primary. STR is less common, but it's not the worst to have handy.
    • Skills/Tools: You have no Tool proficiencies, but you get some great skills. Athletics, Insight, Perception, and Stealth are great. Nature will probably come up. Animal Handling is important if you want to be a Beast Master, but otherwise unimportant. Survival can be great in certain campaigns, but you might not need it in an urban setting.
    • Favored Enemy: The power of racism is extremely situational. It doesn't increase your damage output like in past editions, but the languages you learn can be useful, and the advantages might come into play. When it comes into play, it will help you feel like a skilled hunter, but it won't help much aside from that.
    • Natural Explorer: You have an easier time moving through certain types of wilderness. This makes absolute sense, and it makes you feel like a Ranger. It's still situational, but the benefits can be pretty useful in a wilderness campaign.
    • Fighting Styles:
      Archery is the favorite for archers (duh)
      Two-Weapon Fighting is the classic melee Ranger style, and it's great for Hunters. It's worth noting that there is no definitive answer to whether or not commanding a Beast Companion to attack triggers TWF. It's also a 50% boost to Hunter's Mark damage.
      Dueling is probably going to be the favorite choice for melee Beast Masters, unless your DM rules that attacking with the beast triggers TWF.
      Defense is not the best choice, but if you don't plan on sticking with one attack style, or if you want to use two-handed weapons, go ahead and take this.
      Mariner is obviously great for sea adventures, but otherwise not so great.
    • Spellcasting: This makes you competitive with the other martial classes. You get a pretty small list compared to full spellcasters, but the Ranger list is great at modifying your martial abilities.
    • Primeval Awareness: It can be useful. It usually won't be worth the spell slot.
    • Ability Score Improvement: Obviously good for obvious reasons. The only reason it's not sky blue is that the Fighter gets more.
    • Extra Attack: Again, it would be nice to have more. Still, this is amazing for the Beast Master, since you and your companion will finally both be able to attack.
    • Land's Stride: Not bad. It's not a major advantage, but it keeps you mobile.
    • Hide in Plain Sight: A good, nonmagical way to help yourself with scouting.
    • Vanish: Making it easier to Hide is great, but it's not much of a high-level bonus.
    • Feral Senses: Too situational to be Blue. It's still a useful ability.
    • Foe Slayer: The bonus is way too small for a capstone. This is really underwhelming, and it probably should have showed up as a Class Feature much, much earlier. Useful, but disappointing.


    As you can see, there's a reason for the popular notion that the Ranger is the weakest class in the 5e Player's Handbook. Rangers have a great deal of very situational abilities, and the capstone ability should have been rolled into Favored Enemy to begin with.

    However, the Ranger's access to spells provides solid boosts to damage, and its situational abilities are flavorful and can be useful outside of pure-combat campaigns. The argument for the Ranger's worth lies in the assertion that the spells and archetypes make up the for the lack of basic damage bonuses.
    Last edited by EvilAnagram; 2016-09-15 at 08:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Not All Who Wander are Lost
    Races of the Wilds

    Image by Jee Hyung-Lee

    Player's Handbook
    • Hill Dwarf: You boost your two secondary stats and gain some defensive features. Not great, but decent.
    • Mountain Dwarf: Like the Hill Dwarf, but subs in a tertiary stat for a secondary one.
    • High Elf: Like all Elves, High Elves get Trance, proficiency with Perception checks, and a DEX boost. Not enough to let them shine compared to the others.
    • Wood Elf: Excellent option. You get your two most important stats, everything great about being an elf, extra speed, and Mask of the Wild will definitely help out.
    • Drow: DEX is good, but CHA is not. Improved Darkvision is good, but Sunlight Sensitivity is not. The spells are good, but they're based on a dump stat. It's an okay choice.
    • Lightfoot Halfling: The Halfling racial powers are great, Naturally Stealthy is useful, and you get DEX +2. However, CHA is useless to you.
    • Stout Halfling: Boost to a primary and secondary stat? Absolutely! The other racial powers combine to make this choice phenomenal.
    • Human: Plus one to every stat? Sure.
    • Variant Human: Feats are fun.
    • Dragonborn: You get stat boosts to a tertiary stat and a dump stat. The rest of it is cool, but not cool enough to pick it over an elf.
    • Forest Gnome:Your main stat boost goes to a dump stat, but you do get a boost to DEX and Gnomish cunning is great. You can mount an animal companion as a Gnome.
    • Rock Gnome: Same as the Forest Gnome, but without the DEX boost.
    • Half-Elf: You get a Charisma bonus and a boost to your two favorite stats. Add in Skill Versatility, and you've got a solid start.
    • Half-Orc: You get a bump to a secondary and tertiary score, and you get solid combat features. Good for someone who intends to go melee without finesse, but otherwise they aren't particularly good.
    • Tiefling: You get a bump to two dump stats and a few neat powers. Not good for a Ranger.


    Dungeon Master's Guide:
    • Aasimar: The WIS boost is okay, but the spells aren't great. The resistance is nice, though.
    • Eladrin: Fey Step is nice, but INT isn't great.


    Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide
    • Duergar: The spells are very nice for your purposes. Great for a STRanger.
    • Deep Gnome: DEX is great, and you can get advantage on a lot of saves and Stealth. A very cool option for an Underdark campaign. It still sucks that your primary stat boost is for a dump stat.
    • Ghostwise Halfling: It's just like Stout, but with psychic crap and the other secondary stat.


    Volo's Guide to Monsters
    • Aasimar: Charisma is not great, and the other stat boosts aren't ideal, but damn those are some nice features. Healing, resistances, and extra radiant damage are all nice in my book.
    • Firbolg: This is a perfect stat spread for a STR build, and the invisibility and utility spells are pretty solid to top it off. It's very nice.
    • Goliath: STR, CON, and damage reduction on a short rest. If you want to focus on STR, this is a solid option.
    • Kenku: A perfect stat boost, and some utility features for being sneaky. Very nice.
    • Lizardfolk: If you want a STRanger, look no further than this guy. Extra offense, extra defense, and both secondaries go well with that sweet frill.
    • Tabaxi: The mobility and DEX are both very nice, and it frees up some class skills.
    • Triton: They could be decent STRangers, but I just don't think these guys ever wanted to be Rangers. It's cool, though. They can do other things.


    Volo's Monstrous Races
    • Bugbear: Rangers, when played well, should utilize ambushes and skirmishes to maximize their efficiency. Bugbears boost both potential primaries and improve the effectiveness of both your ambushing and skirmishing. They're quite excellent.
    • Goblin: The stats are good, and the bonus action to disengage/hide gives you a big chunk of what Rogue dips offer.
    • Hobgoblin: Saving Face is really the only reason to pick a Hobgoblin. You don't need the Martial training, and the stat boosts aren't great, but Saving Face is very good for a primary attacker.
    • Kobold:Pack Tactics is extremely good and will often wash out the Sunlight Sensitivity, and you at least get a +2 to DEX.
    • Orc: Less impressive than a Half-Orc, really. Aggressive is nice, but not nice enough to justify picking this.
    • Yuan-Ti Pureblood: Boost two dump stats and cast with one dump stat.


    Elemental Evil
    • Aarakocra: You can fly, and you get perfect stat boosts. This is great.
    • Genasi: All the Genasi options provide a CON boost and casting with a secondary stat.

    Spoiler: Genasi Subtypes
    Show
    • Air Genasi: DEX and CON are important, and being able to levitate is fun.
    • Earth Genasi: It's better as a STR build.
    • Fire Genasi: No boost to a primary stat, but you get resistance to a common damage type and you can cast Wizard spells with CON.
    • Water Genasi: You get a boost to both your secondary stats, and you have some cool abilities to boot.


    Plane Shift Zendikar
    Holy crap, it's a Magic/D&D crossover. A lot of the races in this supplement don't fit the races in traditional D&D settings that well, so be sure to talk to your DM before utilizing them.
    • Human: About what you'd expect.
    • Kor: Ghostwise Halfling drops psychic shenanigans for a climb speed.
    • Merfolk: Emeria aren't bad: a Druid cantrip and WIS boost are really nice. The Ula and Cosi are less impressive for Rangers.
    • Vampire: This guy doesn't really give you anything that helps Rangers.
    • Goblin: A boost to Constitution and two resistances is going to be nice for any class.
    • Elf: Tajura get the basic WIS boost, but not much else that helps. Juraga are basically Wood Elves, and Mul Daya have WIS spell boosts and a STRanger boost.


    Unearthed Arcana supplements have provided a few new options:

    Eberron
    • Changeling: The only thing that Changelings have to offer Rangers is a tiny DEX boost.
    • Shifters: Shifters tend to be solid Rangers. Having a boost to your primary stat never hurts, nor does the shifting temp HP.

    Spoiler: Shifter Subtypes
    Show
    • Beasthide Shifter: The bonuses to AC, CON, and DEX make a decent Ranger option.
    • Cliffwalk Shifter: Your DEX is good, and you get the shifter temp HP, but other shifter options are simply better.
    • Longstride: Another pure Dex option, but with a cool mobility option. Wizards need a spell slot to get this mobility.
    • Longtooth Shifter: You can go either STR or DEX with this option, and melee Rangers get a solid attack with a free grapple.
    • Razorclaw Shifter: This is a great option. You can take the Dueling fighting style and Tavern Brawler, then you essentially have the benefits of both Dueling and Two Weapon Fighting.
    • Wildhunt Shifter: This race provides a lot of awesome bonuses to WIS abilities, not to mention a DEX bonus. Shifting temp HP is just gravy.

    • Warforged: Good ability bonuses, a bonus to AC, and Living Construct bonuses. STR Ranger is even better.


    Waterborne
    • Minotaur: You get a bonus to STR and WIS, and you get some cool attack options. It's a great option for STR Rangers.
    Last edited by EvilAnagram; 2017-01-05 at 11:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Not All Who Wander are Lost
    Paths of the Wanderer

    Image by Stefan Ristic


    Hunter
    Hunters are an excellent choice if you want to consistently deal decent damage. By level 11, you'll be able to take on hordes or take down giants with ease.

    Hunter's Prey
    • Colossus Slayer: It starts out competitive with Sneak Attack, but doesn't scale at all.
    • Giant Killer: It's a decent reaction that triggers on a common occurrence, but it still uses up your reaction.
    • Horde Breaker: More attacks are always good.


    Defensive Tactics
    • Escape the Horde: It's a really consistent advantage against op-attacks. I like it.
    • Multiattack Defense: This can keep you alive against nasty multiattacks. It won't help against a group of single-attacking enemies, though.
    • Steel Will: Halflings already have this. Still, a lot of those high-level creatures can inflict Fear.


    Multiattack
    • Volley: An at-will ranged burst attack? Yeah, that's sky-blue.
    • Whirlwind Attack: Similar to Volley, but for melee.


    Superior Hunter's Defense
    • Evasion: A lot of classes have something similar to this, and it's always worth taking.
    • Stand Against the Tide: It's similar to a Swordmage power from 4e, but less fun. It's useful if you keep getting into the thick of battle against numerically superior foes. It's still less useful than Evasion.
    • Uncanny Dodge: This can keep you alive against heavy-hitters, but it eats your reaction.


    Beast Master
    Beast Masters have it rough. They lose access to all the fun abilities of the Hunter, and in return they gain an animal companion who uses their attack to make its own attack. However, you can get a good bit of battlefield control out of having another creature's opportunity attacks, and by level 7 you can make more attacks with greater consistency than a Hunter in melee. Gnome and Halfling players can even ride their companion if it's medium sized, and that does include wolves and pteradons. Really, if you're clever and can use it well, your animal companion can be a massive boon.

    The recent errata has put an end to some debates, as companion animals can definitely use opportunity attacks, and they can multiattack with Bestial Fury. We can now definitively say that the Beast Master has access to several companion options that boost his damage above that of Rogues and Barbarians. And with Beast Bond, having an animal companion with permanent advantage is now possible.

    • Ranger's Companion: The primary feature has proven itself, despite its detractors, to be solid. Having a mount or a poisonous snake you keep on hand is pretty neat, and some animals pump your damage into the stratosphere.

      There are limitations: you can only acquire beasts no larger than medium and of CR 1/4 or lower, so no bears or lions or sharks. You can still get a few cool companions, but they eat up your action to attack. At level 5, you get to make two attacks, which raises the usefulness of a companion up to blue . For example, your pet wolf attacks and knocks your enemy prone, then you walk up and stab it while you have advantage. Furthermore, a beast companion can occasionally outperform you in the damage department. Of course, your companion will have about 20 HP around that time because its HP scales terribly. In the mid game, you can lose a companion very quickly.
    • Exceptional Training: This is a very good thing, especially if you're mounted on your companion. Many companions can move in, attack, and grant you advantage on your next attack.
    • Bestial Fury: Depending on you choice of Beast, this could make you more powerful than just about any other character when it comes to single-target damage.
    • Share Spells: It's solid. It can definitely increase your companion's survivability.


    Spoiler: List of Beast Companion Options
    Show
    Beast Companions
    Note that I'll be rating these from a utilitarian and optimization perspective. If you particularly enjoy a certain beast, even one that's mechanically inferior to another, go ahead and grab it. Any animals that have terrible stats and deal a max of 1 damage before proficiency will receive a similar rating.
    • Baboon: It's a wolf that sucks.
    • Badger: Like a Giant Badger, but terrible. And adorable.
    • Bat: Useless outside of scouting, but it's a very good scout.
    • Blood Hawk: It's a flying scout with an okay attack thanks to Pack Tactics. The best avian pet.
    • Boar: A small PC mount that deals sweet damage and has both speed and endurance on its side.
    • Cat: You're a Ranger, not a witch!
    • Crab: You're a Ranger, not a mermaid!
    • Deer: If you want a mount that doesn't have any interesting offensive capabilities, this is for you!
    • Eagle: Not as good as a Blood Hawk, and the name isn't as metal.
    • Flying Snake: Flying provides reasonable utility potential, and having a poison flyby attack with no save is very nice. It's one of the higher-damage pets for certain.
    • Frog: Excellent for putting in your sister's hair, but possesses no combat abilities.
    • Giant Badger: The damage is okay, and a burrow speed is great, but you can't use the Multi-Attack until you get Bestial Fury according to the Errata.
    • Giant Centipede: The damage is really solid, and your DM might let you milk the poison. It's basically a small Giant Poisonous Snake with a climb speed and some slightly inferior stats.
    • Giant Crab: The AC is basically as good as animal companions get, and the claw attack is nothing to sneeze at.
    • Giant Fire Beetle: This is not a creature ever intended for combat?
    • Giant Frog: The Swallow effect is interesting, especially if you convince the DM to add your proficiency to the save. There's also the possibility of an amphibious assault.
    • Giant Poisonous Snake: Small PCs can mount it, it potentially deals more damage than just about anything else, it has a swim speed, and its AC is solid. It's a pretty great companion.
    • Giant Rat: Like a Wolf, but weaker. Or, conversely, like a Baboon, but stronger. Giant Rats are a bit sneakier than Wolves, but are otherwise weaker in combat.
    • Giant Weasel: The most euphemistic of the animal companions, the Giant Weasel can act as a mount and deal okay damage, but it's generally outshone by its competition.
    • Giant Wolf Spider: A mount with Spider Climb and a nasty bite. If your party has a Sorcerer or Wizard with Web, then you can squeeze a good bit of cheese out of this one.
    • Goat: It's essentially a Boar, but slightly weaker and less resilient. If you really want a goat, ask your DM if you can just call your Boar a Goat.
    • Hawk: Again, the Blood Hawk is far beyond less metal raptors.
    • Hyena: Its stats are simply too poor to make an effective pet, especially compared to the Wolf.
    • Jackal: Its numbers are worse than the Hyena's.
    • Lizard: It's basically useless when it comes to anything but eating tiny insects.
    • Mastiff: It's nearly on par with the Wolf, but it's a bit behind in raw numbers.
    • Mule: It has the carrying capacity of a Large creature, so you might be able to convince your DM that it can be a mount.
    • Octopus: A super sneaky underwater companion that can't really hurt anything, though it can ink, which is cool.
    • Owl: Another bird that doesn't stack up to the Blood Hawk.
    • Panther: By RAW, Pounce can work. This makes your only feline option fairly powerful.
    • Poisonous Snake: The damage is decent, and it's easy to keep by your side. Plus, your DM might let you harvest poison.
    • Pony: Huh. His damage is nearly as high as a Polar Bear's bite. Plus, he can serve as a mount for small PCs and teach you about friendship.
    • Pteranodon: A Halfling or Gnome can grab a flying mount at level 3. And it's a dinosaur! True story: I named mine Falcor. This is awesome for any archer, though melee Rangers may want to think twice. The real drawback is that it only really offers you flight. Nothing else is that impressive.
    • Quipper: If you pick a Quipper in any campaign that does not take place exclusively underwater, it's going to die immediately. If it is exclusively underwater, talk your DM into letting you pick a Reef Shark. They're basically Wolves, but underwater.
    • Rat: It's like a Giant Rat, but small and useless.
    • Raven: Mimicry is the only reason to take this over a Blood Hawk.
    • Scorpion:If you want a tiny creature with which to poison people, get a Poisonous Snake.
    • Sea Horse: Like a Quipper, but without any offensive or defensive capabilities.
    • Spider: Worse than the Scorpion.
    • Vulture: Not useless, but less useful than a Blood Hawk.
    • Weasel: Has precisely zero benefits over the Giant Weasel.
    • Wolf: Advantage is really, really nice, and the damage is damn fine as well. Knocking enemies prone is just gravy, though it will be a key tactic if you can talk your DM into There are some play styles that rely on essentially making the Wolf your primary attacker while you support it, and they work pretty well.




    The Hunter archetype is arguably more powerful than the Beast Master. That said, the Beast Master certainly has extremely fun and powerful options with tons of utility and damage, so it's up to you which you prefer. It should be noted that the Beast Master with the Giant Poisonous Snake is potentially the most powerful single-target damage dealer.

    Deep Stalker
    Though not yet allowed in Adventurer's League play, Wizards has released an official homebrew class for the Ranger. The Deep Stalker, in addition to being ripe for dirty jokes, is really freaking powerful, especially in the Underdark. They don't have the single target damage or utility of a Beast Master, and they don't have the at-will mass damage of a Hunter, but they do have amazing combat utility and defensive options. Make sure you ask your DM for permission to use Unearthed Arcana material, though this will eventually be published, according to Wizards of the Coast.
    • Underdark Scout: In darkness, this is really great. A melee Ranger has a better chance to get to the thick of combat, an archer can attack and get out of sight quickly, and the bonus action hide is awesome. When it isn't dark, and you can't play off the limits of darkvision, it's less impressive.
    • Deep Stalker Magic: I realized they were upping their game the moment I read this description. You get extra spells? Including Greater Invisibility?! And 90' darkvision?!? This is great!
    • Iron Mind: Well, failing a Wisdom save can mean being out of combat, so this is pretty damned sweet.
    • Stalker's Flurry: They get a redo? This is starting to seem unfair.
    • Stalker's Dodge: Yeah, it's a little unfair.
    Last edited by EvilAnagram; 2016-09-15 at 09:50 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Not All Who Wander are Lost
    A New Path

    Image Copyright WotC... probably

    The Revised Ranger is here, and it will probably be published at some point! It might change a bit before it's published, but until then we have this work in progress to play with, so let's play!

    The basic features (hit dice, proficiencies, starting equipment) are unchanged, so let's skip the basics and jump to the meat!

    • Favored Enemy: Well, this is quite nice. Advantage on knowledge and Survival checks is good on its own, but +2 damage is great! And you can share that benefit with your beast companion! And a language!
    • Natural Explorer: The slew of situational benefits is quite nice on its own, especially without the old restrictions. Of course, you also ignore difficult terrain and get advantage on initiative rolls and first round attacks! This is really, really good, especially if your group does a lot of traveling.
    • Fighting Styles:
      Archery is the favorite for archers (duh).
      Two-Weapon Fighting is the classic melee Ranger style, and it's great for all options. The Beast Conclave, unlike the original Beast Master, definitely gets this.
      Dueling is pretty solid for both javelin specialists and melee Rangers. The Quarterstaff Polearm Master combo needs this.
      Defense is not the best choice for offensive Rangers, but if you don't plan on sticking with one attack style, or if you want to use two-handed weapons, go ahead and take this.
      Mariner is obviously great for sea adventures, but otherwise not so great.
    • Spellcasting: This is the key to your DPS, your control, and your buffing abilities. Don't get me wrong, this isn't full casting by a long shot, but it's the perfect compliment to your martial abilities.
    • Primeval Awareness: Solid situational ribbon material. Not every feature can add damage.
    • Ability Score Increase: Super good, but limited compared to Rogues and Fighters.
    • Greater Favored Enemy: Excuse me while I take a sip of this delicious Bombay green chai as I read this abili- fffppttptptt cough cough hack sputter cough gasp It's good. hack cough extra damage cough and hack save shenanigans cough on top of the normal sputter Favored Enemy is burp super good.
    • Fleet of Foot: More movement is nice.
    • Hide in Plain Sight: They took the original ability and made it much, much better.
    • Vanish: Not bad, but it's a bit weak for a high level feature.
    • Feral Senses: Still situational to a degree, but it's just so damned useful when those situations arise.
    • Foe Slayer: It's more widely applicable, which makes it a much nicer capstone.


    Well I''ll be a goblin's nanny. This is a much, much more powerful base Ranger.

    ______________________________

    Beast Conclave
    The Hunter and Deep Stalker are essentially unchanged - the only difference being that the 5th level Extra Attack is a Conclave feature, not a Ranger feature - so let's just look at the Beast Conclave.

    I still enjoy the old Beast Master, but the new Beast Conclave is better. It fixes the save DC vagueness, and it creates a more immediate, natural feeling to your beast's actions. Also, it's a straight up power boost for the early levels.

    • Animal Companion: You guys want a sub-list? Let's do a sub-list!

    Spoiler: Beast Companions
    Show
    • Ape: It is strong, it has reach, it has range, and it takes a couple ASIs before it outsmarts the Barbarian. Frankly, the reach and range are totally worth it.
    • Black Bear: Tanky, strong, and great for archers.
    • Boar: Its Charge is a nice little bonus to damage, and it can not die instead of dying. A Halfling or Gnome with Beast Bond is going to be a pretty powerful Boar rider.
    • Giant Badger: I don't know what you can do with Burrow movement, but I want to hear about it. Decent damage and a burrow speed make this a decent choice.
    • Giant Weasel: This is probably the least impressive of the potential companions to begin with, but it's essentially a two-stat creature, so you can build a surprisingly survivable and durable companion with it.
    • Mule: A mount for any medium creatures, which is pretty much the reason you picked this.
    • Panther: Pounce is pretty solid, and getting a maximum of three attacks per round is awesome. Again, less great for archers.
    • Wolf: Advantage on attacks is super awesome, and tripping is awesome, too! Note: Tripping is less awesome for archers.


    • Companion's Bond: Yeah, this is how you make those animals really effective at their job. It boosts their hit points, their attack values, their damage mods, their save DCs, and their AC. And you get to give them ASIs!
    • Coordinated Attack: Attack three times a round when all those suckers not paling around with a Giant Badger are only attacking twice! Except Monks.
    • Beast's Defense: Advantage on all saving throws while it can see you is... good.
    • Storm of Claws and Fangs: It gets its own Whirlwind Attack! And it doesn't have to give up anything at all! Cool!
    • Superior Beast's Defense: You know all those high-level hits that hurt super duper bad? This makes them hurt much less, although your beast is giving up an attack to do it.


    The Hunter and Deep Stalker are essentially unchanged, save that they now get Extra Attack as Conclave features rather than Ranger features. I'm not covering the Whirlwind Attack difference until it's confirmed that there is one. Everyone who asks about it deserves smallpox.
    Last edited by EvilAnagram; 2016-09-29 at 09:00 AM.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Not All Who Wander are Lost
    Powers of the Wild

    Again, not my picture. This is from Mortal Kombat.

    Rangers augment their martial skills through spells. They are not full spellcasters, and their spellcasting abilities should not be judged according to those standards. It's more fair to judge them against Paladins and Monks, as those classes also augment martial abilities with magic.

    Now updated with Elemental Evil spells.

    Spoiler: 1st Level Spells
    Show
    • Absorb Elements (EE): This is an excellent ability. It allows you to both reduce incoming damage and also augment your next attack, and you can do it as a reaction.
    • Alarm: This spell is only occasionally useful and is really better left to a full caster.
    • Animal Friendship: For the Hunter who wants a pet bear. It's okay, but all Ranger spells have a lot to compete with.
    • Beast Bond (EE): There are Beast Master builds that rely entirely on this spell.
    • Cure Wounds: Healing can be scarce, so more healing is good.
    • Detect Magic: Situationally useful. Leave it to the wizard.
    • Detect Poison and Disease: Can be pretty useful, but it's not your best choice with so few spells that you can learn.
    • Ensnaring Strike: Solid ability that can be nasty if your enemy fails a few saves.
    • Fog Cloud: For being sneaky and keeping yourself safe. Not bad.
    • Goodberry: Meh. More like okayberry. It can bring someone from the brink, and it can keep you nourished, but it's a poor use of limited resources. It has a higher healing potential than Cure Wounds for the first few levels, but it's not any good in combat and doesn't scale.
    • Hail of Thorns: The first in a series of Ranger powers that amount to, "Magically shoot more arrows than you had in your hand." It's a solid ability for both crowd control and extra damage.
    • Hunter's Mark: Competitive with sneak attack, especially if you picked Colossus Slayer. It scales in a very strange way, but being able to continue marking folk for more damage is nice.
    • Jump: You're going to pick three or four spells from this level. Don't get this.
    • Longstrider: Again, just don't.
    • Speak with Animals: Again, it's a very flavorful, situational power that you might get mileage out of, but not much. Good for a Beast Master, I suppose?


    Spoiler: 2nd Level Spells
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    • Animal Messenger: You might occasionally use this, but you only know 11 spells by level 20, so it has competition.
    • Barkskin: Great for a Beast Master that wants his pet safe. Otherwise, you should already have an AC above 16.
    • Beast Sense: Good for scouting. Otherwise, not that good at all.
    • Cordon of Arrows: The damage is minor, but it's more fun than Alarm.
    • Darkvision: Most players will already have Darkvision.
    • Find Traps: Not as nice as you hope it is, but it can help against a trap-happy DM.
    • Lesser Restoration: Solid power for any Ranger.
    • Locate Animals or Plants: Helpful for hunting or gathering specific herbs. Not helpful for anything else.
    • Locate Object: Helpful when looking for a Macguffin. Not helpful at all other times.
    • Pass Without Trace: It's arguably the best spell for stealth in the game.
    • Protection from Poison: Exactly what it says on the tin.
    • Silence: This can be a decent debuff against enemy spellcasters and help out during stealth missions.
    • Spike Growth: This can be a nasty trap when you're facing a numerically superior foe, and it can halt pursuers. Very nice.


    Spoiler: 3rd Level Spells
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    • Conjure Animals: When Bear's Attack. This is a very useful spell with a wide variety of applications. Definitely worthwhile.
    • Conjure Barrage: Another in the "shoot more arrows than you were holding" line. It deals quite a bit more damage over a larger radius, though.
    • Daylight: Can be useful. If you're fighting Drow, I would consider getting this.
    • Flame Arrows (EE): It's like Hunter's Mark, but not as good and costs a third level slot! The only time this spell could possibly be useful is if you're up against something that's weak against fire... and Hunter's Mark will still be better because it doesn't have a 12 arrow cap and can be used with melee weapons. At the cost of a 1st level slot. Don't get this.
    • Lightning Arrow: The damage is excellent, and it spreads out nicely. I like it.
    • Nondetection: This is a spell you should leave to a full caster.
    • Plant Growth: This is a weird one. It's situational, yes, but it's very good at these situations. It can stop pursuers or people you're pursuing, and it can endear you to locals because you ended the blight on their crops. Definitely worth considering.
    • Protection from Energy: Solid spell. Absolutely worthwhile.
    • Speak with Plants: This spell embodies "situational at best" more than any other.
    • Water Breathing: Pirate campaign? Sure! Anything else? Don't touch it.
    • Water Walk: Same as above.
    • Wind Wall: Solid spell, both offensively and defensively.



    Spoiler: 4th Level Spells
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    • Conjure Woodland Beings: As many have pointed out, this spell is open for abuse. Summon Pixies who can cast spells for a jolly good time.
    • Freedom of Movement: Decent buffs for situations that might not come up much.
    • Grasping Vine: Battlefield control, but not very good at it.
    • Locate Creature: Again we have something that is situational at best.
    • Stoneskin: I like not taking damage. Do you like not taking damage?



    Spoiler: 5th Level Spells
    Show
    • Commune with Nature: A good way to search an area quickly for what you need, but overshadowed by other options.
    • Conjure Volley: The very best "shoot more arrows than people expected" spell you can get! This can take a solid chunk out of an army!
    • Swift Quiver: More dakka! It would be sky-blue if you could use it in tandem with Hunter's Mark, but you can't.
    • Tree Stride: You should not pick this over any other spell at this level.



    _________________________________________________

    The Ever Prepared Wanderer


    Spoiler: Multiclassing
    Show
    • Barbarian: Unarmored Defense is nice, and raging could be fun for a melee Ranger, but only if his primary is STR. Danger Sense and the Bear Totem path also make this a solid choice.
    • Bard: No spellcasting synergy. Maybe if you have a good CHA for some reason. Although the skill bumps are nice.
    • Cleric: Good choice if you want to expand your spellcasting since both Ranger and Cleric use WIS.
    • Druid: If you want to be a better caster, this is your other good option.
    • Fighter: Fighting Style, Extra Attacks, Second Wind, Action Surge, Combat Maneuvers... this is a great multiclassing opportunity.
    • Monk: Unarmored Defense is nice, and you get to use DEX to attack with Monk weapons. Four levels in Monk will net you a decent unarmed attack, Ki powers, Deflect Missiles, and a Monastic Tradition. Another level nets you another attack and Stunning Strike.
    • Paladin: Your spellcasting abilities don't mesh. Probably not worth it when there are better options.
    • Rogue: Sneak attack and skill expertise make this worth it all by themselves. Six or seven Rogue levels are worth it.
    • Sorcerer: Spellcasting with your dump stat is a bad idea.
    • Warlock: Again, spellcasting with your dump stat is a bad idea.
    • Wizard: Don't cast spells with your dump stat!



    Spoiler: Feats
    Show
    • Alert: If you multiclass into Rogue and take the Assassin route this goes sky-blue.
    • Athlete: It's okay. It makes you a better skill monkey, but that's it.
    • Actor: If you want to be the face, I don't know why you chose to be a Ranger.
    • Charger: It's okay. You get to charge, just like you did in the last system. Nothing special.
    • Crossbow Expert: If you want to use a crossbow, it's either necessary or broken, depending on how your DM rules it.
    • Defensive Duelist: Great for any melee build, and archers will find it useful when combat gets tight, too.
    • Dual Wielder: Solid if you went the Twin-Weapon route.
    • Dungeon Delver: Great if your DM is a bit trap-happy.
    • Durable: It's okay. Nothing special, but it's a good half-feat bonus.
    • Elemental Adept: More of a full-caster feat.
    • Grappler: Good if paired with Tavern Brawler in a STR Ranger, but otherwise I wouldn't get it.
    • Great Weapon Master: Good if you want to wield a two-handed weapon, but Rangers don't get much support for that.
    • Healer: More Heals based on a WIS check? Worth it.
    • Heavily Armored: You really shouldn't need Heavy Armor. At all. In fact, Medium Armor Master makes it completely unnecessary. Don't get this feat.
    • Heavy Armor Master: This is the only reason to get Heavily Armored, but the benefits aren't worth sacrificing two Ability increases.
    • Inspiring Leader: You probably won't have the Charisma to make it work, but if you do it's not bad.
    • Keen Mind: There's nothing wrong with it, but there's also nothing particularly good about it.
    • Lightly Armored: You already have the benefit.
    • Linguist: In my experience, knowing the right language at the right time can save your ass.
    • Lucky: This is an exceptionally powerful feat. Definitely worth taking.
    • Mage Slayer: Good for a melee Ranger who frequently has to deal with mages. Otherwise, skip it.
    • Magic Initiate: Expand your casting ability. I like it.
    • Martial Adept: Might be worth it if you multiclass into Battle Master. Otherwise, I'd skip it. 1d6 per short rest is just not worth giving up the Ability Points.
    • Medium Armor Master: Good for a STR build that relies on Medium Armor, since you won't have to pump DEX quite as much to get a great AC.
    • Mobile: Amazing for a melee build, still great for archers.
    • Moderately Armored: You already have the benefit.
    • Mounted Combatant: Obviously, this is only good if you are frequently mounted. I'm looking at you, Gnome and Halfling Beast Masters.
    • Observant: It's a great bonus to two skills that are extremely important to a party.
    • Polearm Master: Great synergy with Sentinel. Only for STR-based builds.
    • Resilient: For a single ability point, you gain a save proficiency. That's awesome.
    • Ritual Caster: Save your spell slots and gain more spells. This is great!
    • Savage Attacker: More damage is a good thing. Only for melee.
    • Sentinel: A melee Ranger could benefit from this in theory, but it's really much better for a tank. Moves up to Blue if you have Polearm Master.
    • Sharpshooter: Great benefits for a ranged Ranger.
    • Shield Master: Great if you use a shield, and you won't even have to take Evasion if you're a Hunter!
    • Skilled: Almost required for a skill monkey.
    • Skulker: Sneaky stuff can always work to your advantage.
    • Spell Sniper: This is not made for a Ranger.
    • Tavern Brawler: This is only good if you're playing around with an unarmed character concept.
    • Tough: It's a fairly good benefit, and it ends up giving you 40 HP at level 20.
    • War Caster: Definitely more helpful to a melee Ranger or one who has multiclassed into a full-casting class. I wouldn't take it on an archer build.
    • Weapon Master: You already have proficiency with everything.


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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    I would argue that you should rate the Ranger's class abilities compared to other classes, not compared to itself.

    For example, while the Ranger's spellcasting may be one of the Ranger's best class abilities, it is literally half as powerful as any full caster. Marital Weapon Proficiency provide "at-will" damage that is comparable to the damage provided by Cantrips. Its not better. All of the Fighting Styles provide small bonuses to-hit, damage, or AC. They're good. But they're not amazing, nor are they unique to the Ranger (and thus worth taking at least 2 levels of Ranger to get), and its not as powerful as the bonuses gained from things like Sneak Attack, Ki Powers, Smite, a large number of spell buffs, etc.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    I would argue that you should rate the Ranger's class abilities compared to other classes, not compared to itself.
    How would that be useful to a Ranger Guide, in which the goal is presumably to help players who want to play a Ranger?

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    I'd also argue that the dueling style is not red, and the two weapon style is not sky blue. The dueling style allows you to be a potent damage dealer with high AC. Two weapon fighting feels like a trap, especially with archery style getting more support from spells and such. Two weapon fighting is okay at low levels when you don't have spells for your bonus action or other useful things but it quickly loses pace.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSickFish View Post
    I'd also argue that the dueling style is not red, and the two weapon style is not sky blue. The dueling style allows you to be a potent damage dealer with high AC. Two weapon fighting feels like a trap, especially with archery style getting more support from spells and such. Two weapon fighting is okay at low levels when you don't have spells for your bonus action or other useful things but it quickly loses pace.
    +1

    TWF is okaaay, but Deuling is better in most situations.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    How would that be useful to a Ranger Guide, in which the goal is presumably to help players who want to play a Ranger?
    Interesting question. I've wondered about why guides rate stuff which the class just gets. If there was a choice involved I'd see the reason to rate.
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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Interesting question. I've wondered about why guides rate stuff which the class just gets. If there was a choice involved I'd see the reason to rate.
    It's useful for multi classing as you know what high points to get. It's also useful for someone new looking at the class, you get to what the high-points are. The class guide is an expert interpretation of a classes abilities and the ones they get should be rated so a newcomer can tell why they would want to take it an (possibly more importantly) why they wouldn't.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Interesting question. I've wondered about why guides rate stuff which the class just gets. If there was a choice involved I'd see the reason to rate.
    I suppose it would be okay to have a section like "The Pros and Cons of Choosing Ranger." But ranking each individual ability against the equivalents in other classes seems like overkill, especially if you're just going to find the Ranger wanting at every turn.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
    How would that be useful to a Ranger Guide, in which the goal is presumably to help players who want to play a Ranger?
    I would say that a well written guide helps players assess and use class abilities in the context of the entire game. Should I take one or more levels of Ranger, or one or more levels of another class? What is it about a particular class ability that makes it useful and makes the Ranger worth playing?

    A Ranger's spellcasting ability is the world's tallest midget. Its arguably the Ranger's best ability. It's very useful at low levels. But its still worst then every full caster, and arguably weaker then a Monk's Ki ability (which can be used more times per day if your DM allows at 1+ Short Rest) or a Paladin's spells (who has a slightly better spell list if you choose the right subclass).

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Dueling style polearm master ranger is one of the better low level melee builds in the game.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by DireSickFish View Post
    I'd also argue that the dueling style is not red, and the two weapon style is not sky blue. The dueling style allows you to be a potent damage dealer with high AC. Two weapon fighting feels like a trap, especially with archery style getting more support from spells and such. Two weapon fighting is okay at low levels when you don't have spells for your bonus action or other useful things but it quickly loses pace.
    Good point, though I think TWF moves ahead if you pick up the Dual Wielder feat, and its use doesn't really decline. However, I think you're right about it needing changed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    I would argue that you should rate the Ranger's class abilities compared to other classes, not compared to itself.

    For example, while the Ranger's spellcasting may be one of the Ranger's best class abilities, it is literally half as powerful as any full caster.
    I think that has to enter the equation at some point, but features still have to compare to the Ranger's other abilities. I can't judge the class compared to a full caster because it's not a full-casting class. Ranger spells are meant to aid his martial ability, and they do that quite well. If I were to strictly compare it to a Wizard or a Druid people wouldn't get the sense that the Ranger's Spellcasting ability is extremely useful for the play style for which it's designed. Still, it's a conversation worth having.

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Marital Weapon Proficiency provide "at-will" damage that is comparable to the damage provided by Cantrips. Its not better.
    I'm not budging on this. I was comparing the Ranger's weapon proficiencies to that of other classes. I'm only comparing weapon proficiencies, not at-will damage. The Ranger's is sky-blue because he has proficiency with every single weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    All of the Fighting Styles provide small bonuses to-hit, damage, or AC. They're good. But they're not amazing, nor are they unique to the Ranger (and thus worth taking at least 2 levels of Ranger to get), and its not as powerful as the bonuses gained from things like Sneak Attack, Ki Powers, Smite, a large number of spell buffs, etc.
    I was only comparing the Fighting Styles to each other, but I see your point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Good point, though I think TWF moves ahead if you pick up the Dual Wielder feat, and its use doesn't really decline. However, I think you're right about it needing changed.
    The Dual Wielder feat is nice but is stricly inferior to increasing Dex. It gives the same combat benefits as dex +1 AC and +1 average damage but does not give the other benefits of having a higher dex saves, skills, and imitative. It does let you go above and beyond what a 20 dex gives you so it is useful for that, or if you start as a human, or if you come across magic rapiers earlier than magic shortswords. Otherwise you're looking at picking up the feat at lvl12.

    As far as spells being light blue I agree but a breakdown spell by spell (which Is time consuming, and I don't expect out right away) will be more useful when it comes.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    I really think you are rating standard humans too high. There are maybe 3 ability scores a ranger will care about, and those can all be boosted by just being a variant human with the right feat. Oh, except those actually gain racial abilities. Standard humans also get very boring after a while, because while high elves are using their cantrip every combat and dragonborn get to scorch people, you are stuck saying: 'yeah, I am slightly better at a lot of things, half of which I'll never need'.
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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    I really think you are rating standard humans too high. There are maybe 3 ability scores a ranger will care about, and those can all be boosted by just being a variant human with the right feat. Oh, except those actually gain racial abilities. Standard humans also get very boring after a while, because while high elves are using their cantrip every combat and dragonborn get to scorch people, you are stuck saying: 'yeah, I am slightly better at a lot of things, half of which I'll never need'.
    I find that most characters need most abilities at some point, but the human specifically benefits more from getting a boost to all the important abilities, and they are the only ones who get that. Plus, if you spend your points wisely in the buy, you'll be left with mostly odd scores before the +1s are factored in.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    I gotta say survival is a very important skill. The games I've played and actually most of the campaigns i've seen have a lot of wilderness parts, if not in the middle of the adventure then between them. I've really never seen an episodic campaign the ignores the wilderness with something like "then you got from the forest of doesn't matter to the desert of whatever with nothing relevant, and then you enter the tomb of Pretty Old Pharaoh. What do you do?". It may be that your games are sadly different, but survival was always considered one of the "essential" skills to a group (the others being arcane knowledge, persuasion and, of course, lockpicking).
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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    it should be noted that even though the pet can't attack at low levels you lose absolutely nothing by having it sit in some critters face while you do whatever you want. You dont need to command it to make an attack of opportunity, after all.

    im AWB, but i think the wording on share spell lets you double up on Ensnaring Strike which is fairly hilarious.

    speaking of which ensnaring strike is pretty much the ultimate screw over a low-str weenie (like a caster) spell and cant be highly ranked enough.

    though its important to note that as a bonus action spell it has action economy issues when commanding pets.
    Last edited by TheDeadlyShoe; 2014-10-01 at 05:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by DiBastet View Post
    I gotta say survival is a very important skill. The games I've played and actually most of the campaigns i've seen have a lot of wilderness parts, if not in the middle of the adventure then between them. I've really never seen an episodic campaign the ignores the wilderness with something like "then you got from the forest of doesn't matter to the desert of whatever with nothing relevant, and then you enter the tomb of Pretty Old Pharaoh. What do you do?". It may be that your games are sadly different, but survival was always considered one of the "essential" skills to a group (the others being arcane knowledge, persuasion and, of course, lockpicking).
    Survival isn't a bad skill, but it isn't necessary. The Ranger already has decent WIS, and he has plenty of advantages in his preferred terrain that make proficiency in the skill somewhat redundant. If I'm a good tracker without proficiency and I can accomplish Survival tasks without needing to roll, I won't pick Survival. And there are more urban campaigns and dungeon raiding campaigns that don't require Survival at all.

    EDIT: I adjusted the language and color to reflect the fact that it can be very useful in some campaigns.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeadlyShoe View Post
    im AWB, but i think the wording on share spell lets you double up on Ensnaring Strike which is fairly hilarious
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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Appreciated the update adding spells. Gives a clear picture as to what they do.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Your picture for multiclassing.... I almost used that exact picture for my Cleric guide, but decided to go with something more class-specific. You have made me smile

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Feats are done, which means this guide is completely done!

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorrin View Post
    Your picture for multiclassing.... I almost used that exact picture for my Cleric guide, but decided to go with something more class-specific. You have made me smile
    Puuuuuhhhleeeaase. Everyone knows that Gandalf was a Cleric Celestial.

    If you want to use this image, I can switch it out.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilAnagram View Post
    Puuuuuhhhleeeaase. Everyone knows that Gandalf was a Cleric Celestial.

    If you want to use this image, I can switch it out.
    Oh no, I made my choice already with my other picture. I just find it funny that we both thought of the same image.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    oh, re; cordon of arrows.

    the thing to remember about this spell is you can basically burn all your relevant remaining spell slots on it. One casting isnt that powerful, but several makes for a very potent defense.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeadlyShoe View Post
    oh, re; cordon of arrows.

    the thing to remember about this spell is you can basically burn all your relevant remaining spell slots on it. One casting isnt that powerful, but several makes for a very potent defense.
    I hadn't thought of that. It seems like a massive waste of spell slots, but I could see it getting use.

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    Default Re: Not All Who Wander are Lost: A Ranger's Guide

    Nice work! I really appreciate this since I will be playing a 5e ranger soon.

    -You forgot to include the Hide in Plain Sight class feature!

    With regard to the rating of spells and other class features:

    -Goodberry: I would rate this spell higher. There is no limit on how many goodberrys you can eat and they last for 24 hours. With healing being a scarce resource in 5e, goodberry is a good option for spending unused spell slots after a lazy adventuring day or on the eve of a long dungeon crawl. A level 5 ranger could thus create a pool of 60 hitpoints for healing between encounters.

    -Hail of thorns: I would give this the highest possible rating. The ranger has a very narrow selection of 11 spells and quite a few abilities like Volley, Horde Breaker or Colossus Slayer that require a ranged attack or could be used together with a ranged attack. Therefore every spell enhancing ranged attacks that can be activated with a bonus action, triggered by shooting your bow and scaling with spell slot used is pure gold for the ranger.

    -Conjure Barrage: I would rate this lower. Granted, it affects a large area but, the damage is rather mediocre and it is not scalable and at this point Volley is only two levels away.

    -Freedom of movement: I would rate this definitely higher. It is a long term non-concentration buff that protects you from some of the worst things that can happen to a mobile warrior. Quite a lot of the larger monsters have very deadly auto success grappling attacks that normally would force you to waste an action on a dexterity/strength check in order to escape.

    - Horde Breaker: This is at least two categories better (it is actually in the highest category if you stick to your premise of rating the ranger's features within the boundaries of the class). Two targets standing within five foot of one another is not that rare a situation and the feature clearly calls only for a weapon attack not a melee attack. So as long as you use your bow for the first attack you will never have a problem with the “within range of your weapon requirement”. Furthermore Horde Breaker combines excellently with other spells and features of the ranger. A fifth level ranger encountering two enemies within five feet of one another could use a bonus action to cast Hail of Thorns in a second level spell slot and use the attack action to shoot his bow at the first enemy, inflicting D8 +4 damage. Hail of Thorns would trigger for another 2D10 damage to both targets (assuming failed saves). Horde Breaker would trigger allowing an attack on the second target for additional D8 +4 damage. Finally the ranger would be free to direct his extra attack on whichever target he wants for a final D8 +4 damage. The same combo works with Volley for even more devastation. The ranger could cast Hail of Thorns, upon hitting with the first Volley attack, Hail of Thorns and Horde Breaker are triggered (assuming there is a valid target), the ranger could continue shooting his remaining volley attacks (including shooting again at the target just hit with Horde Breaker).

    - Colossus Slayer: I think this is overvalued and should be moved down one step. Sure it is a practically guaranteed additional D8 of damage per round, but as you already noted: It does not scale. Now not growing in an environment of universal inflation equals shrinking (like saving money in your mattress). The feature is the strongest right when you get it and I would take it any day, if I would only play up to level five, but in mid to long term perspective it is a mediocre choice.

    - Strength saving throw: This is definitely more useful than just purple. The value of saving throws in 5e looks like this DEX, CON, WIS > STR >> INT, CHA. Intelligence and Charisma only come up in a few fringe cases, but the Monster Manual is packed with Monsters demanding Strength saving throws to avoid extra damge, beeing pushed around, knocked down, trampled over etc. It is not right up there with the big three Dex, Con, Wis but also not too far behind. Somebody with a Dex, Str combination is better served then somebody with a Wis, Cha combination especially when being a melee combatant.
    Last edited by Flötenschlumpf; 2014-10-15 at 12:22 PM.

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