Dragon 387 - Class Acts: Ranger - Scions of Onat

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DnDi_Large.png      Dragon 387
Class Acts: Ranger
Scions of Onat

By Jared Glenn

In today's Dragon article, we get new feats and powers for Beastmaster Rangers, obtained through the practice of the Onat style of fighting that incorporates the worship of Primal Spirits.

This land is sacred to the primal spirits, and though metal and stone now stand where tree and field once did, those spirits remain. They stand by us, as echoes of our own souls. Together we guard Onat.

Talk about this article here.
387-ca-ranger.jpg

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

IMAGE(http://images.onesite.com/community.wizards.com/user/marandahir/thumb/9ac5d970f3a59330212c73baffe4c556.png?v=90000)

A great man once said "If WotC put out boxes full of free money there'd still be people complaining about how it's folded." – Boraxe

I was really impressed by the concept of this article; what a great backstory for an urban ranger! The story element was strong, though I was left wondering more about the nature of Onat city, as well as what exactly the Scions do. Cities are big places, and the complexities of protecting them go beyond simply taking out monsters. Some additionaly content here would give the Scions are better excuse to be integrated into a setting.

The feats were great. Even though none of them are especially "must have", they go a long way in creating a specific type of character motif. I think "Knowing Eyes" and "Terrifying Duo" would make excellent feats for a bounty hunter or similar character tracking down evil in the city. I felt like the powers were competetive with existing options, too, but wasn't as impressed with them as I was with the feats.

The art, while of very high quality, is very misleading. When I think of an urban ranger, I don't think of a leaping, berserker dwarf and boar on a forested hill side.

Great article overall.
The art, while of very high quality, is very misleading.


We've seen that in a couple of articles *cough*Forgeborn*cough*, though it's not that bad in this case. He could be patrolling the area just outside the city (Yeah, weak excuse, I know). Anyway, a dwarf in light armor wielding two axes, accompanied by a wild boar? Totally awesome.
It's funny, because I want to like this article, but I can't wrap my brain around the idea that there are live beasts just roaming this city.  If they're not given free reign of Onat, then that means they're either kept out of the city, or kept in cages.  Either option is not in keeping with Ranger philosophy.

I would have liked to have seen this instead be about Primal classes in an urban environment.  Urban Rangers can be as simple as a relentless hunter that keeps watch over a city, a la Batman.  This seems like a rough shoehorn to get Beastmaster Rangers into a city environment, and I'm afraid it doesn't deliver.

Ironically, my problem with this is the exact opposite of an article I read last week.  There, crunch was sacrificed for fluff.  Here, there's not enough story to outline all the options given.
It's funny, because I want to like this article, but I can't wrap my brain around the idea that there are live beasts just roaming this city.  If they're not given free reign of Onat, then that means they're either kept out of the city, or kept in cages.  Either option is not in keeping with Ranger philosophy.

Maybe the best companion is a big, nasty dog?  Your animal doesn't have to be a wolf or a bear or what have you.

Oh hey look, a beast damage fix.
Maybe the best companion is a big, nasty dog?  Your animal doesn't have to be a wolf or a bear or what have you.





That's true, but, IIRC, the article mentions wild animals as being the companions. Also, the origins of this force are described as a truce between the founders of this city & the primal spirits. How would the primal spirits feel if wild animals were being penned up for use in the ritual that binds the beast to its Ranger friend?

You could say that the beast companion was a big dog, but this article says that the creature in question is patently NOT domesticated.

I don't know. There just seem to be some huge fluff gaps in the article that need to be addressed. It's not a bad idea, I just don't think it's fully fleshed out.

Hey fellas,

Glad you all liked the article, by and large. I'm always looking to get better, so let me know if I screwed up somewhere. =D

Seamus, I hear ya. Unfortunately, this article was only able to scrape the surface of the City of Onat. There wasn't enough space to include how the Scions really work in the city. Maybe, if enough interest is shown, I'll spell a bit more out, but for now let me sum up.

Not everyone who lives in Onat has a beast companion (though an original draft did have it working that way). The Primal Spirits in the land generally keep dangerous beasts out of the city for everyone's protection (beast and humanoid). Those who live in the city are not merely beasts that wander out of the forest or are captured, they are actually the Primal Spirits' way of completing the soul of the initiate into the Scions. In other words, the beasts in Onat are special in the same way that the Scions are special. They are really two halves of one soul, and both the Scion and his companion need to realize this during their first encounter, or face an incomplete lifetime.

In this way, the Primal Spirits have protectors of the land, able to hear both man and beast, but needing power from niether. It's an expression of balance. As far as how they work in an urban environment, I actually imagined them like Batman all the time I was writing this article, so good on you for seeing the same sort of hero.


If you still don't think it delivers, sorry for that. I'm pretty happy with it. I hope you, at least, find some useful powers. =D

Jared Glenn
Host of The Power Source
www.powersourcepodcast.com

I do not entirely get the given explanation for the companion beasts in the city, but for myself I can readily accept it, because I think of a ranger's bestial companion as an intelligent and friendly creature, who, out of respect for his friendly ranger, refrains from eating townsfolk. I would just assume that in any campaign and situation.
Member of Grognards for 4th Edition
That's generally the case with companion creatures - the ranger has control over his beast (however it's expressed), so he can walk down the street with his bear and no one's in danger of getting mauled.

Keep in mind that pre-modern cities generally weren't as big on animal control bylaws and when you move into the realm of fantasy and especially when you have primal spirits intervening, someone walking down the street with his friendly bear companion is probably a rather unremarkable event.

I had another thought, whihc applies to large and very ancient cities (especially in the "these are the dark ages after the lost time of civilization" points of light).

Venerable cities which survived into their senescence usually lose population: thus large tracts of land even within the city walls retrun to gardens, orchards, vacant commons and even farmed or fallow fields. The two best examples I can think of are mediaeval Rome and late mediaeval Constantinople. Farmers used to graze their cattle in the forum, and masons pillaged the colosseum for building materials.

Plenty of space for animals and their fodder.

Member of Grognards for 4th Edition
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