Hunter Rangers, or, How I learned to love the Long Knife

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So I've been thinking about using the Hunter Ranger option for a while, but never had the opportunity to play that role in my party, so I never bothered. Obviously, it won't be doing as much DPR as a two-weapon twin-striking ranger, but I still want to see it as a valid option because it's interesting.

To that end, I came up with the following character:

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====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
M'kaal Cro'kidil Duun'dii, level 11
Drow, Ranger, Veiled Master
Build: Hunter Ranger
Fighting Style Option: Hunter Fighting Style
Ranger Option: Running Attack
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 11, CON 12, DEX 23, INT 11, WIS 19, CHA 9
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8
 
 
AC: 26 Fort: 21 Ref: 26 Will: 23
HP: 74 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 18
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +15, Athletics +9, Nature +14, Perception +14, Stealth +17
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +5, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Dungeoneering +9, Endurance +5, Heal +9, History +5, Insight +9, Intimidate +6, Religion +5, Streetwise +4, Thievery +10
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Drow Racial Power: Cloud of Darkness
Hunter's Quarry  Power: Hunter's Quarry
Ranger Attack 1: Twin Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Fading Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Hunter's Pounce
Ranger Attack 1: Commanding Confrontation
Ranger Utility 2: Stalker's Mist
Ranger Attack 3: Parting Strike
Ranger Attack 5: Tracing Shot
Ranger Utility 6: Thorn Ward
Ranger Attack 7: Finishing Cut
Ranger Attack 9: Invigorating Confrontation
Ranger Utility 10: Verdant Flames
Veiled Master Attack 11: Veiled Strike
 
FEATS
Quick Draw
Level 1: Manticore's Fury
Level 2: Lethal Hunter
Level 4: Xen'drik Weapon Training
Level 6: Heavy Blade Expertise
Level 8: Improved Defenses
Level 10: Wintertouched
Level 11: Lasting Frost
 
ITEMS
Xen'drik boomerang
Frost Drow long knife +2 x1
Anakore Hide Armor +2 x1
Gloaming Shroud +2 x1
Dwarven Throwers x1
====== End ======


I love the mobility this character has.

I chose Drow to qualify for Xen'drik Weapon Training, which means I didn't have to use multiple feats to get proficiency with multiple weapons, and it made enchanting my weapon easier. I liked the flavor/benefits of Veiled Master when combined with being a Drow (especially because of cloud of darkness), but I can be persuaded to change the PP.

If you're here to tell me to "just go with a two-weapon ranger," please don't. I'm trying to make this work, not a two-weapon ranger. Nor am I trying to start a debate. Both have their merits.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
A boomerang, and a long knife... and Hunter Style... so this is the Drow Crocodile Dundee? :p

Also, have you thought of Avalanche Hurler as a PP?  Grab a boost to the die sizes of your weapons, which'll help a bit with the relatively low damage of your weapons.

I do like this little build of yours  If you do decide to go with Avalanche Hurler, you'll be dualwielding a 1d8 Heavy Blade and a 1d8 Light Blade, which will qualify for a lot of neat feats and enhancement options. 
At least you can't challenge him on the size of his knife ;)

I was thinking of that, but doesn't the boost only apply when used as a thrown weapon? That would still be a good chunk of an increase in damage, but wouldn't do anything in melee.
I was thinking of that, but doesn't the boost only apply when used as a thrown weapon? That would still be a good chunk of an increase in damage, but wouldn't do anything in melee.

I assumed you were going to stay in range, since your Strength score is kinda derp.  If you were planning to mix it up, then yea, you're right - it only applies to weapon rolls when Thrown.  Still, it's a neat option, and the other features the PP gives you are all very nice.
I was actually planning on mixing it up to take advantage of Running Attack and Manticore's Fury. I was also gonna be using Fading Strike over Twin Strike (mostly to use the shifting back and forth). Twin Strike would be for multi-targetting or if I'm stuck at ranged.

But I do agree, the other features are all quite nice. So it might be worth it.

EDIT: Renaming the character to Crocodile Dundee
I don't have anything productive to add.  I just feel like you should "drow-ify" the name.  Something like M'kaal "Crocodile" Dun'adee.  Or something.

;)
I don't have anything productive to add.  I just feel like you should "drow-ify" the name.  Something like M'kaal "Crocodile" Dun'adee.  Or something.

;)



I was actually just thinking of how best to do that.
M'kaal Cro'kidil Duun'dii

Sounds about right :P
Honestly?  The Xen'drik Boomerang stinks.  Just use two long knives, then you can still chuck stuff just as effectively, and you can use melee powers if you want to.  Reflavour it.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
So looking at PP's, Avalanche Hurler is certainly an option (arguably the best one). I like the flavor and powers on Herald of Madness and Ruthless Punisher. They look really amusing and actually pretty good. Also, Ruthless Punisher's level 11 feature gives me a bonus to damage against my quarry equal to my wisdom (4), which could help make up for my low damage dice.

Honestly?  The Xen'drik Boomerang stinks.  Just use two long knives, then you can still chuck stuff just as effectively, and you can use melee powers if you want to.  Reflavour it.



Actually, I really wasn't planning on using the boomerang. It was just there as a back-up if for whatever reason I lost the long knife during a fight. The Long Knife is my main melee and ranged weapon (which is why I went for it - makes enchanting easier and is more feat efficient) 
I think if you're going to go Hunter, I'd look at the following combo. Unfortunately, it does contain a Dragonmark, but...

Hungry Greatspear
Fading Strike
Polearm Gamble
Hunting Spear Student
Mark of Passage

Okay, so here it goes:
You have a weapon that you can throw with Twin Strike that's +3/1d10 - you do lose the benefits of Wintertouched/Lasting Frost, but then you're doing a d10 vs d6+5+CA without spending those 2 feats. And not insignificantly better range of 10/20 instead of 5/10.

When someone moves up to you, you can use Fading Strike as an OA(Hunter). If you hit them, they're slowed(Hunting Spear Student) and you shift 3(+1 from Mark of Passage)

It still basically works without Mark of Passage, but not quite as annoying as it would be in many cases - i.e. target moves up to you because they're medium with reach 1, you OA them, slow them, and then shift out of reach.
In terms of manticore's fury style bonuses, the easiest way I know of to turn them on each round is Throw and Stab.
My Works
My House Rules Cryptic Commander: a Tiefling Wizard|Warlord - Arcane Wayfarer - Planeshaper that focuses on controlling every creature in an encounter. Feyknight: A Half-Elf Knight - Gladiator Champion - Marshall of Letherna build that uses Eldritch Strike and the White Lotus Riposte feats to create a decent catch-22 with his mark aura. Novamancer: a Wizard/Swordmage - Malec-Keth Janissary - Radiant One that specializes in area damage, somewhat item dependent but is capable of massive damage. the Epic Crit-Fisher: Avenger/Ranger-PMC-Eternal Seeker with a 2,560 damage crit-fishing nova. Eldritch Slayer: A Slayer - Kulkor - Destined Scion that uses a similar trick to the Knight, combined with Kulkor for some decent DPR. Polearm Seeker|Fighter: A Seeker|Fighter/Psion - Kensei - Destined Scion build that uses Polearm Momentum to not be super bad. Generic Runepriest: A generic type Runepriest/Fighter - Hammer of Vengeance - Destined Scion
One does not
111819409 wrote:
99856009 wrote:
by RAW, you can't horse into the forge of the dawn titan.




...Couldn't resist.


I think if you're going to go Hunter, I'd look at the following combo. Unfortunately, it does contain a Dragonmark, but...

Hungry Greatspear
Fading Strike
Polearm Gamble
Hunting Spear Student
Mark of Passage

Okay, so here it goes:
You have a weapon that you can throw with Twin Strike that's +3/1d10 - you do lose the benefits of Wintertouched/Lasting Frost, but then you're doing a d10 vs d6+5+CA without spending those 2 feats. And not insignificantly better range of 10/20 instead of 5/10.

When someone moves up to you, you can use Fading Strike as an OA(Hunter). If you hit them, they're slowed(Hunting Spear Student) and you shift 3(+1 from Mark of Passage)

It still basically works without Mark of Passage, but not quite as annoying as it would be in many cases - i.e. target moves up to you because they're medium with reach 1, you OA them, slow them, and then shift out of reach.


If I were to go with this, would it be better to go Eladrin for the feat economy with spears?

Also, the Mark just adds the 1 extra space when shifting, so the tactic is perfectly functional without it, right?
In terms of manticore's fury style bonuses, the easiest way I know of to turn them on each round is Throw and Stab.


I'm not that big a fan of Throw and Stab, at least for this build. I think Fading Strike works better, since it lets you shift two squares, which is just enough to activate Manticore's Fury and Running Attack.
I think if you're going to go Hunter, I'd look at the following combo. Unfortunately, it does contain a Dragonmark, but...

Hungry Greatspear
Fading Strike
Polearm Gamble
Hunting Spear Student
Mark of Passage

Okay, so here it goes:
You have a weapon that you can throw with Twin Strike that's +3/1d10 - you do lose the benefits of Wintertouched/Lasting Frost, but then you're doing a d10 vs d6+5+CA without spending those 2 feats. And not insignificantly better range of 10/20 instead of 5/10.

When someone moves up to you, you can use Fading Strike as an OA(Hunter). If you hit them, they're slowed(Hunting Spear Student) and you shift 3(+1 from Mark of Passage)

It still basically works without Mark of Passage, but not quite as annoying as it would be in many cases - i.e. target moves up to you because they're medium with reach 1, you OA them, slow them, and then shift out of reach.


If I were to go with this, would it be better to go Eladrin for the feat economy with spears?

Also, the Mark just adds the 1 extra space when shifting, so the tactic is perfectly functional without it, right? 



Right. Just the target who thought he was going to move up to you and hit you with his encounter power now has to charge you instead with his MBA. If you get the extra +1 space, they can't even charge you.

I'd probably go with something that has both a Dex and either a Str or Wis bonus. That makes it a lot easier to get into Polearm Gamble with a maxxed out Dex at 11th.

Well, here's what I came up with using the Greatspear build.
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 ====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Garyk, level 11
Eladrin, Ranger, Avalanche Hurler
Build: Hunter Ranger
Fighting Style Option: Hunter Fighting Style
Ranger Option: Running Attack 

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 15, CON 11, DEX 22, INT 13, WIS 17, CHA 9 

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 14, CON 10, DEX 17, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8 

AC: 26 Fort: 22 Ref: 26 Will: 23
HP: 73 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 18 

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +15, Athletics +13, Intimidate +9, Nature +13, Perception +13, Stealth +15, Thievery +15 

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Arcana +8, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +4, Dungeoneering +8, Endurance +4, Heal +8, History +8, Insight +8, Religion +6, Streetwise +4 

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Eladrin Racial Power: Fey Step
Hunter's Quarry  Power: Hunter's Quarry
Ranger Attack 1: Fading Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Twin Strike
Ranger Attack 1: Sure Shot
Ranger Attack 1: Skirmish Shot
Ranger Utility 2: Stalker's Mist
Ranger Utility 2: Ranger's Agility
Ranger Attack 3: Parting Strike
Ranger Attack 5: Excruciating Shot
Ranger Attack 7: Hunter's Shot
Ranger Attack 9: Marked for Death
Ranger Utility 10: Root Gate
Avalanche Hurler Attack 11: Landslide Strike 

FEATS
Quick Draw
Level 1: Eladrin Soldier
Level 2: Hunting Spear Student
Level 4: Battle Awareness
Level 6: Spear Expertise
Level 8: Lethal Hunter
Level 10: Improved Defenses
Level 11: Polearm Gamble 

ITEMS
Hungry Spear Greatspear +2 x1
Anakore Hide Armor +2 x1
Dwarven Throwers x1
Raven Cloak +2 x1
Boots of the Fencing Master x1
====== End ======

So at this point these are two completely different characters, in terms of role. The Greatspear wielder, ironically, is focused almost completely on ranged combat, while the Drow switches between melee and ranged.
I just wanted to mention that since movement is not instantaneous, but rather iterative - move one square, move one square, move one square, etc., not "move 5 squares" - your ability to shift away from attackers will not guarantee safety.  Any attacker with enough movement left will still be able to pursue you and attack you as before.

Obviously the OA for moving next to you is valuable, and the tactical ramifications of avoiding melee combatants is still significant, especially if near someone else with good OAs.  Just wanted to point out that it doesn't require an enemy to make a charge in a substantial number of situations.
I just wanted to mention that since movement is not instantaneous, but rather iterative - move one square, move one square, move one square, etc., not "move 5 squares" - your ability to shift away from attackers will not guarantee safety.  Any attacker with enough movement left will still be able to pursue you and attack you as before.

Obviously the OA for moving next to you is valuable, and the tactical ramifications of avoiding melee combatants is still significant, especially if near someone else with good OAs.  Just wanted to point out that it doesn't require an enemy to make a charge in a substantial number of situations.


Actually, I play with a DM who tends to stick on a defender once he is marked (otherwise will go after other people), and we tend to have multi-marking defenders. So other than area or blast/burst attacks, enemies specifically targetting non-defenders isn't that huge of a deal.

But even in a normal campaign, slowing an enemy, then moving two squares away will usually make it so that a charge is the only way to melee attack this character, since slow would reduce the amount of movement available.

However, both of those points are completely valid and should be considered when building/playing this character, so thank you  
I just wanted to mention that since movement is not instantaneous, but rather iterative - move one square, move one square, move one square, etc., not "move 5 squares" - your ability to shift away from attackers will not guarantee safety.  Any attacker with enough movement left will still be able to pursue you and attack you as before.



The Hunting Spear Student means the target now has a max speed of 2 due to being slowed. He's already moved at least 2 in order to trigger the OA, so if he's hit by the OA, that's it for his movement for that move action.

The Hunting Spear Student means the target now has a max speed of 2 due to being slowed. He's already moved at least 2 in order to trigger the OA, so if he's hit by the OA, that's it for his movement for that move action.



I see, my mistake.  That works beautifully, then.  Neato.

EDIT: Further, I see how the Dragonmark would prevent even a charge attack, due to the slow.  Even cooler.
The Dragonmark would be amazing, but, unfortunately, my DM doesn't allow them. C'est la vie. Still a very cool tactic, even without it. And the Ranger's Agility utility actually helps it. Increases shift distance by 1 and speed by 2 for an encounter, as a daily power.
Thank you everyone for all the help

As soon as my current Blackguard dies and/or we have a TPK, I'll give one of these builds a try: drow if we need a mix, or Eladrin for strictly ranged. (Or Feycharger for melee/Swordmage for defender, but that's a whole 'nother thread.)