Ranger Design Goals (with Bruce Cordell)

1. The ranger is a wilderness hunter and tracker.


Cool.

2. The ranger is a warrior.

Also cool.

3. The ranger is a protector.

Eh, not so much.  And certainly not 3rd.

4. Rangers are friends with wild creatures.

Cool.  A better third.

I would have liked to seen some divine nature domain or primal source goal.  No spells for rangers in 5th?

I agree -- "the ranger is a protector" feels really out of place.  That's totally the druid's milkshake.

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Agreed with that.  Druids are protectors of the land and the forest, not the rangers.

The rest is fine.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I'm ok with most of the goals presented here, the Ranger was my very first class and character way back in 2e carrying on to 3.5... Just one thing don't make the Ranger a spellcaster, we always house ruled to use the uneathed arcana version of a none magic Ranger
Agreed with that.  Druids are protectors of the land and the forest, not the rangers.

The rest is fine.



I think the world is ending because I agree as well.  Rangers both in life and in fiction are not wilderness protectors nor were (and are) used as such in war.  Rangers are fundamentally wilderness scouts with a very elite and peculiar skill set.  I also think that a Ranger is not a warrior.  He is a rogue.


-Polaris
number 3 would have been better summerized as "A ranger is a warden"
Is the ranger really unique enough within the system framework to justify a discrete class anymore?
Is the ranger really unique enough within the system framework to justify a discrete class anymore?



That would depend on what kind of skill/feat system you have I think.  If it's one like 3e or even 4e, then no, I really don't think so.  A Ranger is nothing more than a wilderness oriented rogue with the special wilderness skills to go with it (or a wilderness oriented fighter I suppose).  With the limited/non-existant skills of 1e, then....let's give it a qualified maybe.

Honestly IMO and from what I remember, the only reason the Ranger was invented at all originally in DND was because people wanted to play "Aragon son of Arathorn" and the old DND rules wouldn't let them.


-Polaris  
IMHO based on Background and Theme, number three can be different than druid somehow. but...

My issue is, how can a Ranger hold up thematically when the archetype is basically a Fighter with Woodsie Background and Two themes?  Like Healing and (Archer).  Archer a theme totally base off the assumption of Mr Cordell's 2nd item.  And Two Themes based off of Mr Mearls two themed Fighter proposal.

You might even pass as a druid with Fighter/Priest/Healer/Guardian

I think the power of Backgrounds and Themes allows class dopplegangers.  The focus should be, why do I want to play a Ranger?

EDIT:  QMark Ninja'd

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I'm drinking the same milkshake a lot of people are here. The tree-hugging feyness should be left to the Druids. That's their swimming pool.  Rangers always struck me as more territorial; but not because they respect the land, but because it's THEIR TERRITORY. 
Favored Terrain strikes well with this chord.  Being that they have claimed a particular territory of their own, they naturally would be so intuned with their land that they would benefit. 
Yeah but it's a horrible mechanic unless the player has some ability to spread their terrain because then the DM has to either gimp the class or restrict adventuring outside of that terrain.
Okay.


Copypasta from comments:


1. The ranger is a wilderness hunter and tracker.

I agree. First and foremost, a ranger is a tracker and hunter. Tracking is essential. As for hunting, I prefer to have some sort of bonuses with dealing with their quarries. Not all damage. Bonuses to perception, stealth, and social interaction as well

2. The ranger is a warrior.

Agree. Only cannot hunt if one cannot fight. I love removing combat style from the base ranger. The ranger chooses how he will fight.

3. The ranger is a protector.

Bwhuh? Sounds like fluff. What does this mean?

4. Rangers are friends with wild creatures.

Don't forget. There are more than just animals out there in the D&D wilderness. Magical beasts, fey, and monstrous humanoids are out there too. Now the ranger might not have fey and monstrous humanoid servants but he should have a leg up on making their allies.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Yeah. I think classes outside Spellcaster, Warrior, and Expert are all pretty fluffy.

But I could see this doppleganger:

C - Fighter/BG - Naturalist/T - Bounty Hunter/T - Beastmaster

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Wow. Glad I'm not the only one who thinks "protector" totally isn't the ranger's schtick.

If druids are the forest's shield, the ranger is its sword.

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1223957875/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

When it comes to favored abilies, I think one solution is to make the feature less focused and more general helpful items.

Favored Environment Desert:
Fire resistance
Bonus AC in no armor
Stronger endurance when traveling

Favored Enemy Dragon:
Advantage when rolling saves against fear and breath weapons.
Speak Draconic
Advantage when attacking flying enemies.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I agree with Polaris.  FWIW the Ranger first appears in "The Strategic Review" (prior to the Dragon)

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

The ranger always has been the classic archer (like Robin Hood), and "master" of wild nature (with/next to druid). He is the man to look for trails in the wood. Do you rebember the "classic" sword-and-sorcery 1982 movie Beastmaster? (the secuel was bad).

I miss the "pets" animal companion, and I wish all the options, but without breaking balance of power. What about if any gamer wish a wolf and other a dread bear or a magic beast?

What if a amazon-like female ranger wants riding a pegasus or a unicorn like animal companion&mount?

A option would a "lighter" alternative second of stats blocks of some creatures to be used like "pet" by PCs.  But it would be like a generic customizable monster class (with moster powers like interchangeable class features). It would need a lot of playtest to avoid abuse by munchkins.

* Yes, Qmark, ranger is enough special to be core class.

* Please, I would like some spell-like primal (primal, no divine) powers for rangers. (a theme or background could allow it). 

* What do you think about seeker (4th ed) and scout (complete adventurer)?

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I thought the Seeker rocked but never got the change to test the class, so I can't tell for sure. 
But the Seeker could be a theme, too much classes is bad. 
I think this would have been better.

3. The ranger is a racist.

Rangers have a favored enemey...
3. The ranger is a protector. Bwhuh? Sounds like fluff. What does this mean?

The base trope Ranger builds upon is the scruffy guy a gang of clueless idiots hire as a guide for whatever godforsaken place they're going.  That's where the "protector" thing is coming from.
I think this would have been better.

3. The ranger is a racist.

Rangers have a favored enemey...




Hey, the best "enemy" for a ranger has always been "human" IMX anyway.  Fits well with a ranger==warden/sheriff concept.

-Polaris   

well favored enemy isen't mentioned in the article.

maybe you will need to get a bounty hunter theme to get it. 
I like the Design Goals for the Ranger so far and really hope it gets a full Class write-up and not relegated to a Theme. Never been a Drizzt fan myself but the AD&D 2nd Edition Ranger that introduced this concept has help forged one of the Ranger's core Design Feature for 20+ years and so i am happy that Combat Style is retained as a trademark.

Also, the Ranger was a proptector of nature and wildlife in AD&D and i am fine with this goal returning. Its in part what sets it aparts from other lightly armored two-weapon or bow wielding Fighters -his affinity and respect for nature and the wild.

I hope it gets a Favored Enemy too. No word about this or Spellcasting abilities.   

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

* Yes, Qmark, ranger is enough special to be core class.

Why?
There's been at least three posts in this thread about Ranger just being a Fighter with a wilderness theme painted on.  What, exactly, justifies mantaining a discrete Ranger class any longer?

If you have some insight the rest of us do not, please share.

I see the whole "protector" role more the realm of Druids, as some posters have mentioned. I would ask the designers how or why most evil rangers would seek to protect nature, or even revere it. Sounds like a narrow-minded, pigeonholeing approach.

Also, I don't know why some people think rangers should TWF. A couple characters in a couple books should not set the standard if you ask me.
If dual-wielding is a core ability of the ranger, I would hope it would be, like, hand axes and shorts words or shield and spear or something more relevant to a woodsman warrior. Imagine trying to hunt with two long swords!

Finally, it would be cool with me if the ranger's deep natural connection would manifest supernaturally rather than as spells. It's a small difference, but important in distinguishing the ranger from the Druid and fighter.

Either way... Just my 2cp

Chillin' like a villain.

Ranger only getting one combat style makes little sense to me. 

Why can't they have both?

I have never been given a reasonable answer...ur, an answer that I liked Laughing


EDIT:  Maybe the Ranger should have Rogue Schemes

Like:

Ranger/Whisperer
Ranger/Warden
Ranger/Huntsmen
Ranger/Drizzt
Ranger/Aragorn

Or whatever..

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Bleh. #4 is just terrible. Rangers don't need any natural ability to communicate with the wild just to show that they understand and respect it. This is the RP baggage I was glad to be rid of back in 4E.

@Alarm

I know the archetype of the ranger is the tough guy who leads the party from point A to point B without "going missing".

But what is this protecting trees and packs. Are the fey hiring out rangers now. Do ranger get a hot fey master at level 1? Dryads pay poorly.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Dryads pay poorly.

[innuendo goes here]

Bleh. #4 is just terrible. Rangers don't need any natural ability to communicate with the wild just to show that they understand and respect it. This is the RP baggage I was glad to be rid of back in 4E.


I agree with this. The Druid is the resident Dr. Dolittle for communing with nature and animals. I like the Ranger as someone who understands nature and feels at home in the wilderness, but not at a mystical level of trying to join with it.
i hope they manage to balance it well.

As 2 weapon fighting comes trough a theme as sugested in the article my mind already starts to wonder.
What if i put that theme on a rogue, the curent playtest rogue had no limit on how many times he can use sheak attack in one round.
 
oooh fun
I vote for the removal of the two-weapon fighting from Ranger.  If Ranger and Fighter are different classes I would like Rangers to be the better archers not the paired melee guys.  Though it would be fine if they removed both 2Weap and Archery from Ranger and try to focus more on being scouts to seperate them from Fighter or Rogue. 

I'd also be more than fine with Ranger being background and theme applied to Fighter, Rogue, and/or Druid and abandon it as an extra base class.  That is one thing I felt that 3x and 4E (I enojy both style games immensely) got out of hand was too many base classes (and prestige or paragon paths).  If the new rules could condense the base classes into fewer with small subclasses I'd be happier. 

Or allow for better multiclassing, perhaps a cleaned up 3x leaning style.  Then you could make a Ranger = Fighter/Rogue, Rogue/Druid, or whatever combo needed to mix the skills/stealth, fighting, and magic as desired.  The larger number of base classes the game has will likely force design decisions to try to make each class special and will likely result in stuff breaking.  I actually ran a homebrew d20 game (before 4E) that only had 3 base classes: fighter, rogue, and caster.  You got all the other classes by different ratios of multi-classing.

Back to the original topic, I'd also like to see that two-weapon fighting if it exists in the game to be limited to normal 1H weapon and light 1H weapon or two light 1H weapons and not allow the old style Drizzt of two normal 1H weapons.
Why rangers are a class and not a class/bg/theme?


Because the aspects of a ranger are too complicated to be just a background and theme. You can't fit all of the essential aspects if a ranger in 4 skills, 1 trait, and 2 feats WHILE giving them all customization.

Sure if all rangers were clones, then fine. The ranger could be a class/bg/theme combo. But they are not clones. Some are archers. Some ride bears. Some are sand walkers. Some are fast talkers. Some are brute.

Class has the biggest design space.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Well, I think I would like to see a few changes:

1) The Range is wilderness hunter and tracker

 The ranger is an excellent place to build bounty hunters if he isn't limited to the wilds. I've played a few great rangers that were 'urban rangers' and DM'd for many more.

2) The Ranger is a warrior

Yes! Too often the Ranger is 'balanced' with fluff and weak magic reducing it's warrior feel and power.

3) The Ranger is a protector

Protector of the land? I don't think so...that's a druid.
Protector of those he's trveling with or of the weak...maybe.

4)Rangers are friends with wild creatures

Sure. Of course implementation is everything


Not Mentioned, but important:

Spells

In 1E - 3E the ranger was defiened in part with VERY WEAK spell casting. It was mostly a joke in play, all of the Ranger's spells could be cast by others more ften, for greater effect, at vastly lower levels. This mechanic was a terrible way to define the ranger either give them limited, but level appropriate magic - or make them have more non-spell special abilities.
" In their guise as hunters, rangers can choose to focus on an individual quarry, whereupon their hunter’s instincts kick in, allowing them to strike with enhanced lethal force."  == "favored enemy"?  No?
Sure if all rangers were clones, then fine. The ranger could be a class/bg/theme combo. But they are not clones. Some are archers. Some ride bears. Some are sand walkers. Some are fast talkers. Some are brute. Class has the biggest design space.

I thought all rangers were products of one of three molds (Aragorn, Drizzt Drow-face, and Robin Hood).  Anyone can ride a bear, rogues/assassins/fighters are your Assassins Creed/Sands of Time sandwalkers, and bards/rogues are your fast talkers.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Why rangers are a class and not a class/bg/theme? Because the aspects of a ranger are too complicated to be just a background and theme. You can't fit all of the essential aspects if a ranger in 4 skills, 1 trait, and 2 feats WHILE giving them all customization. Sure if all rangers were clones, then fine. The ranger could be a class/bg/theme combo. But they are not clones. Some are archers. Some ride bears. Some are sand walkers. Some are fast talkers. Some are brute. Class has the biggest design space.



I dunno, class complexity in our eyes may entirely be different in the eyes of the game designer...as some of us have already noted from the OP.

If a class doppleganger can do the job as well or better, then why do we need a Ranger.  I don't want to play a drizzt or aragorn, why should I play a Ranger?  I think that is what should be addressed.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

@AzureShade

My point is that if you make rangers a Background and Theme combo, you use up the characters Background and Theme. You can't be a commoner who becomes a ranger. You can't be a ranger who is a healer. You can't be a elf guardian knight who under orders from the elf queen patrols the royal forest as a ranger.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!



beastmaster movie


This movie made me want to play a ranger more than Aragorn or Drizzt or Robin hood.