The 3.5 Ranger Handbook

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typo: Your second listing under non-standard races is blank.
Finally, another edition of "PrCs and you: a ranger's guide to not being a ranger:"

- Stonelord (Complete Warrior): while there is some synergy between the two in terms of prerequisites and skills, the stonelord is more useful to characters only dipping in ranger levels as it doesn't continue most iconic ranger features. If that's okay with you, you get a slew situationally useful abilities. Useful for dwarven rangers with high constitution score; consider pairing it with a few deepwarden levels for a high-constitution, low-dexterity build. If the campaign takes place underground, the PrC can be very useful.

Occult Slayer (Complete Warrior): quite useful to any ranger expecting to face more than a few enemies with magical powers, whether from class levels or racial abilities. The PrC boosts the ranger's single weak save (will), gives you a bonus to saves vs spells, and other useful features in detecting, avoiding, or defeating casters. Great for any ranger who wants to be slightly more useful against casters than the usual warrior. Let's face it - ToB or no ToB, casters are likely to be your biggest problem.

Kensai (Complete Warrior): this is a PrC for rangers who want to focus on their martial prowess and on having a really good weapon regardless of what the DM decides the loot for the campaign is. One of the good options for archer rangers, as a bow is a legitimate kensai weapon (and with enhanced arrows you can get a bucketful of enhancements on each shot); TWF rangers can get some good mileage out of it by choosing a double weapon or the SUS feat/monk levels. The power surge and other abilities are nice if you have a few ranks in concentration. Not an incredible PrC, overall, but a useful one. Beats me why it's not full BAB - whatever the flavor text says, it's not overpowered. Lawful only

Justiciar (Complete Warrior): rangers make damn good bounty hunters, and this is, essentially, what this PrC is. The extra damage (if nonlethal) can be quite useful for TWF rangers, as can the crippling strike feature. You also get some nifty grapple-related features, which a strong ranger can make good use of. Overall an interesting PrC which can be useful if your campaign doesn't require you to kill every enemy you come across - or at least not immediately, as an unconscious enemy one round away from coup-de-grace death. You might want to get merciful weapons, though, or enter the PrC as a monk/ranger with ascetic hunter. Lawful only.

Eye of Gruumsh (Complete Warrior): while not a ranger PrC by any means, this can be quite useful to orc or half-orc rangers who want to improve their combat potential. The PrC requires two sub-standard feats for entry imo, but at least TWF ranger can find the orc double axe a versatile weapon. In combat, the rage, extra AC, blinding spittle and blindsight abilities are likely to prove very useful. Orc or half-orc only, requires NE, CE or CN alignment.

Dragonstalker (Draconomicon): the value of this PrC, like that of the darkwood staker, depends on how often a particular enemy group come into play. Against dragons, the PrC is quite decent - especially if you can put that sneak attack to good use. Against any other enemies, it is not very good. Still, it has a good reflex/will save and abilities that foil scent and blindsense or allow you to ignore natural AC a few times per day for a guaranteed shot or (favored) power attack goodness.

Warmind (Expanded Psionics Handbook): a ranger wanting to boost his combat potential can find this PrC more than useful, especially if taken after a level or two in a psionic class (I recommend psychic warrior for the extra feats) to get the required skills at a lower cost. The abilities and powers can be great for both TWF and archery-oriented rangers. More than most other PrC presented here, however, the warmind will detract from a ranger's outdoorsman/skillmonkey role. If that's okay and your specialization won't hinder the party, then the PrC is a good option. Requires a lawful character with some PP pool (psionic race/class levels or the wild/hidden talent feat)

Dread Commando (Heroes of Battle): easily one of the better ranger PrCs, all things included. The sudden strike gives you a little more damage in a few situations, and a TWF ranger with weapons having a high critical threat range (i.e. kukri) can make good use of it and the Telling Blow feat. The armored ease and stealthy movement features are both often useful, and the initiative boost is simply great - especially as often applies to your entire party.

Darkrunner (Lords of Madness): unlike most of the PrCs I've discussed so far, this one improves your outdoorsman role (ok, undergroundsdwarf/drow will likely be more appropriate) at the expense of some of your combat potential. Between a serious insight bonus to many skills, abilities to deal better with aberrations, and other very useful abilities, it is almost worth it. If the party can cover for you in combat and spends a lot of time underground, this is easily one of the better options. It requires (and improves) your darkvision and makes good use of a good intelligence score. Ranger/scouts might want to pay particular attention to this PrC, as can characters who want to add a few more levels to a Dark Hunter build.

- Umbral Disciple (Magic of Incarnum): this medium-BAB PrC offers some sneak attack and a selection of interesting abilities to make you a better sneaksman. Abilities such as concealment/HiPS in shadowy environments or blindsight are great for a stealth-oriented ranger, and the prerequisites are easy enough to meet. I'm not sure how good the higher-level abilities are in practice, but on paper they look, well, awesome. Incarnum-wielding rangers should at least consider this prestige class if they're not hell-bent on focusing only on their martial abilities.

Chaotician (Planar Handbook): many of the PrCs in that book can be interesting for a ranger, but this one is probably the most fascinating. Anarchic grace is a great ability if you get in trouble, and babble is simply great if you surprise an enemy who can raise an alarm or, even more importantly, cast spells. The other abilities are also useful, particularly for a character with a decent charisma - chaotic contagion even looks as if it can stack with itself.

Shadowblade (Tome of Magic): despite the medium BAB progression, this PrC should not be overlooked. Both archers and twf rangers can benefit from a good sudden strike progression, although the unseen weapon ability marks this prestige class as melee-oriented (as if the name wasn't a dead giveaway). Ideally, rangers can use unseen weapon with two weapons or at least a double weapon, and some of the abilities aren't half bad, either - from ignoring concealment (which, as you remember, prevents you from dealing precision damage) to resolving attacks as touch attacks. Bonuses to stealth skills and vision help round out the PrC as a sneaksman's choice, but I can't help but think that it, and not the shadowsmith, was supposed to have 6+int sp/level. That would make it even better

Shadowsmith (Tome of Magic): a good mix of combat and support abilities, and a self-sufficiency that ties in well with ranger levels. Like with the shadowblade, a ranger benefits from some good stealth-related features, but the class' main feature is the ability to create items - including weapons, armor, or tools - from shadow. At higher levels, these weapons and armor can be enchanted, allowing you to quickly come up with the perfect item for the situation. You also get an ability that gives you a deflection bonus to AC and a few low-level mysteries per day. All in all, a pretty amazing PrC for rangers who want something different than the PHB class abilities.

- Note: the below are useful for characters with wildshape, such as from the UA wildshaping ranger levels:

- Nature's Warrior (Complete Warrior): between good BAB and a choice of several very good passive abilities for your wildshaped forms, this PrC is great for a ranger using wildshape as his primary attack mode.

- Warshaper (Complete Warrior): this is a very specialized PrC, but a very useful one. Despite the medium BAB, the abilities you get for your wildshaped form are amazing - immunity to stun and precision damage, extra strength and constitution (great before the PHB II polymorph/wildshape nerf), extra reach, healing, and eventually the ability to change shapes in the same use of wildshape.

- Master of Many Forms (Complete Warrior): a great way to bypass the wildshaping restrictions of the UA wildshaping ranger variant; compared to druids, rangers have a lot less to lose from this PrC and bring more skills and better fighting abilities to it. When you start getting all extraordinary abilities of your shifted form, your versatility becomes practically unmatched
heres a fun Build:

Core only Ranger based Dragon Slayer


Enemy: CR 20 Old Red Dragon...but this works vs ANY Dragon

Gargantuan
HD 28d12+196 (378 hit points)
Speed:40 ft., fly 200 ft. (clumsy)
Initiative +0
AC 33 (–4 size, +27 natural), touch 6, flat-footed 33
DR 10/magic
SR 24
Sorceror caster lvl =11th , 5th lvl spells

35 Str
10 Dex
25 Con
20 Int
21 Wis
20 Cha
BAB+28/+52 Grapple
+36 Attack Bonus
saves(FRW) +23/ +16 /+21
Breath Weapon 16d10 (save DC 31) 60' cone
Frightful presence DC 29
Blindsense (Ex): Dragons can pinpoint creatures within a distance of 60 feet. Opponents the dragon can’t actually see still have total concealment against the dragon.
Keen Senses (Ex): A dragon sees four times as well a human in shadowy illumination and twice as well in normal light. It also has darkvision out to 120 feet.


vs:

Human
Ranger 6/ Fighter 4/ Horizon Walker 6/ Shadowdancer 4

28 Str (Base 14+4 inherent +4 levels+ 6 item)
28 Dex (Base 16+5 inherent +1 level +6 item)
20 Con (Base 14+6 item)
12 Int (Base 12)
10 Wis (Base 10)
8 Cha (Base 8)

Base Saves(FRW)15/12/6 ...
+1 Luck all
+1 Haste(Ref)
+5 Fort(con)
+9 Ref(Dex)
+4 Resistance(rod) all
+2 Morale All
final saves:
FRW 27/29/13

BAB +19
Attack: BAB+19 + 1 Haste + 1 Insight +2 Competence +7 Enhancement+ 9 Dex +2 Morale = +41 Attack

Full Attack with Rapid Shot and Haste @ 330'= +35/+35/+35/+30/+25/+20

Damage:
4.5 Composite Arrow + 4 Fav enemy + 2 Morale +1 Insight + 1 Competence +9 Str +2 Wpn Spclz + +7 Holy +7 Axiomatic +7 Bane +5.25 frost = average 49.75 points of Damage + 1pt Con damage with each hit(2 Hits do 28 additional points of Damage from Con loss)

estimate 1 1/2 rounds of Combat to Kill...if 4 shots Hit(199 damage+56 from con damage) round 1, 4 shots Hit(199 damage+56 from con damage) round 2

AC +1 Haste +1 Insight +2 Deflection(Magic Circ vs Evil)


Skills:.... these might be higher, havent checked for everything yet
29 Spot 23 ranks + 4 competence + 2 Morale
26 Search 23 ranks +1 Int+ 2 Morale
25 Listen 23 ranks+ 2 Morale
38 Hide 23 ranks + 4 competence+ 2 Morale+9 Dex
34 Move Silent 23 ranks + 2 Morale+9 Dex



Horizon Walker Terrain Mastery chosen

Desert: You resist effects that tire you. You are immune to fatigue, and anything that would cause you to become exhausted makes you fatigued instead. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against desert creatures.

Forest: You have a +4 competence bonus on Hide checks. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against forest creatures.

Mountains: You gain a +4 competence bonus on Climb checks, or a +10- foot bonus to your climb speed if you have one. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against mountain creatures.

Plains: You have a +4 competence bonus on Spot checks. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against plains creatures.

Underground: You have 60-foot darkvision, or 120-foot darkvision if you already had darkvision from another source. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against underground creatures.

Shifting (Planar): You instinctively anticipate shifts in the reality of the plane that bring you closer to your destination, giving you the spell-like ability to use dimension door (as the spell cast at your character level) once every 1d4 rounds. You gain a +1 insight bonus on attack and damage rolls against outsiders and elementals native to a shifting plane.

[sblock=Stealth and Detection in Mountains]
Stealth and Detection in Mountains: As a guideline, the maximum distance in mountain terrain at which a [b]Spot check for detecting the nearby presence of others can succeed is 4d10
Uh, Dust of Sneezing and Choking is so not Core and actually not even 3.5 and is such unimaginable cheese that I wouldn't expect it allowed in any campaign ever. Buut I'm pretty sure you forgot the comparison-part between the Dragon and the Dragon Slayer...you only posted the stats :o

Anyway, as for the guide, I suggest you add Darkstalker (Lords of Madness) to the feats-section; for any Whisper Gnome Ranger ever, it's the #1 feat to pick. No longer do Dragons, Beholders et al. sense you, but rather they have to roll Spot and Listen just like everyone else. I'd even post a build for a character like that, but I realized that I can't come up with any good damage bonuses outside Swift Hunter for a Hooked Hammer-melee Gnome, so I'll skip (since this isn't Swift Hunter-handbook) that part until I've got something playable figured out. That doesn't make Darkstalker any worse though.
AFAIK... it is in the DMG ... under Cursed items...how is that not Core??

:D
AFAIK... it is in the DMG ... under Cursed items...how is that not Core??

:D

Riight, I remembered it being from A&E. Well then, wops :o
Which book can the primal hunter spell be found in?

Edit: Found it, Dragon Magic.
I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri rock! I need scissors! 61! " 'Giving up' kills people. When a person refuses to give up, he earns the right to walk down the road of humanity." - Alucard
http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=941812

:D

Thanks. Added

typo: Your second listing under non-standard races is blank.

Ops. Fixed. It was the centaur race.

Finally, another edition of "PrCs and you: a ranger's guide to not being a ranger:"

:heehee

The force in you very strong is... Master Shaman...

Lot's of thanks.


heres a fun Build:

Core only Ranger based Dragon Slayer

Great job.

Added.

You have won for this awesome build the Dragon Slaying Smiley
:fight!:

Anyway, as for the guide, I suggest you add Darkstalker (Lords of Madness) to the feats-section; for any Whisper Gnome Ranger ever, it's the #1 feat to pick. No longer do Dragons, Beholders et al. sense you, but rather they have to roll Spot and Listen just like everyone else. I'd even post a build for a character like that, but I realized that I can't come up with any good damage bonuses outside Swift Hunter for a Hooked Hammer-melee Gnome, so I'll skip (since this isn't Swift Hunter-handbook) that part until I've got something playable figured out. That doesn't make Darkstalker any worse though.

Mmmm. I missed completely that feat. Very good point.

Added.

Thanks to all.

Please, continue adding build and suggestions.
Yep, darkstalker is very good. Any sneaksman who expects to fight enemies with blindsense or a similar ability can't go wrong with it. Anyway, back to the PrC workshop...

Abolisher (Lords of Madness): This is a PrC for those who hate aberrations - maybe your family was devoured by mind flayers, maybe you got dumped by an elan girlfriend - and rangers are very good in the hating business. Oh, it also requires some familiarity with nature: in this case, a few ranks in class skills and features you get automatically at level 1. Among a few other things, it gives the equivalent of FE (aberrations), wild shape, stacks fully with your effective druid level for purposes of the animal companion, and gives you 8/10 divine spellcasting. The medium BAB is a bit of a bummer, as is the only good will save, but you can manage (you have good fortitude and reflex saves anyway). It's a pretty decent class, which as you can imagine means it was designed for druids - but like with the Lion of Talisid, you can hitch a ride. The PrC works okay for single-class rangers, but can be even better for ranger/clerics or ranger/druids who will get more use of the spellcasting advancement. BTW, wildshaping is limited to medium animals... hey, nothing a level or two in Master of Many forms can't fix. Non-chaotic iirc

Sanctified Mind (Lords of Madness): the book talks about this PrC as an option for psionic characters and clerics, and it is a good choice for them. However, any ranger who meets the prerequisites (iron will, some skills, and a PP reserve from race, levels, or feats) can find it useful - full BAB, 5/6 divine casting or manifesting, 2 good saves and 4+int skill points are not bad for a start. The abilities aren't anything to sneer at, either - partition mind delays mind-affecting effects that get past your will save, cleansing strike gives you a nice anti-psionic smite (fueled by wisdom, thankfully), disrupting blow can effectively neutralize a psionic enemy, so what's not to like? Oh, and eventually you get a bonus to evade grapples (good) and some power resistance (which, given the default psionic/magic transparency, equals spell resistance) that essentially gives you a 25% chance to resist a power cast with a manifester level of your character level and eventually means a high chance to ignore a racial ability or a dorje effect. Interestingly enough, you meet the prerequisites by lvl 4. If I expected a campaign with a lot of psi-using enemies, I'd be drooling as a Cthulhu-lookalike at the sight of a Japanese schoolgirl. Still, it works better for multiclass rangers that can advance a better form of spellcasting/manifesting. Non-chaotic.

Topaz Guardian (Lords of Madness): in a nutshell: Sanctified Mind that's almost been made to suck. But hey, maybe your DM gets an apoplectic fit if someone mentions pionics, and you don't have someone else to game with. It does get a free upgraded topaz diadem, an ability to smite aberrations, a good will save and a bonus to resist or escape grapples that can be useful at times. Skill list and points are quite poor, though - acceptable for a paladin gish combo, but not what a ranger needs. If you're expecting a heavily psionic campaign, the full BAB and 3/5 spellcasting make this a tolerable PrC - for five levels. You're losing a lot of skills and stealth-related features, but you do gain some measure of specialized combat skills and a good will save. Multiclass ranger/casters can use this to boost a better progression. Good alignments only

Eldritch Knight (DMG): while often overlooked, ranger levels make good dips for gish builds. Eldritch knight requires only proficiency with all martial weapons, and a ranger1/wizard 5 can qualify easily. The extra skills and feats from a few ranger levels can be useful for a gish, and the FE feature allows you to take a CMage feat that makes your spells more potent against a certain (sub)type of enemies. Just make sure and remember that mechanically, you're not a ranger.. you just have some stuff in your character sheet. Ruathar, dragonslayer or abjurant champion levels can fill in the build.

Stoneblessed (Races of Stone): daddy and mommy accidentally happened to be elves? Oh dear - well, nothing that this PrC won't fix. Think of it as racial paragon levels for the born-again goliath or dwarf (or a gnome, but for a ranger it makes little sense) - you get some racial abilities, including their +4 AC vs giants and attack bonus vs certain enemies, and eventually a +2 to constitution. Oh, and you qualify for racial PrCs, feats and items, which can be nifty too. Goliath stoneblessed class skills tie in okay with the ranger skill list. And speaking of goliaths...

Peregrine Runner (Races of stone): before swift hunter, this was a decent PrC for rangers who wanted some scout abilities, and it's still not too bad. Apart from the skirmish and the hawk animal companion (better than nothing, I guess - have someone permanence a speak with animals on you) you get a climb speed, a bonus to your movement speed, and immunity to fatigue and exhaustion. The catch? It's a medium-BAB prestige class. Still, if you're not worried about your combat prowess suffering and you want to get some faux-scout levels, you can take it. Goliath only

Goliath Liberator (Races of stone): a giant-focused PrC. Unlike many similar ones, though, it's not too bad. First, it's a 5-level thing, so you don't lose too much. Second, it has one awesome ability - equal footing. First, it gives you improved trip; second, it gives a +4 to your check if the enemy happens to be large or larger. Combine this with the powerful build bonus if you're an actual goliath and this gets pretty insane - get them down and chop them up. The extra AC vs thrown weapons and enemies not adjacent to you (Large +) doesn't hurt, either. Goliath only

Stonedeath Assassin (Races of Stone): well, I'll be: a PrC for goblins - and a halfway decent one, at that. As the name implies, you get stealth-related and underground abilities, which aren't limited to fighting dwarves. Trapfinding is always useful to a ranger who likes to scout before the party, and sneak attack is likely to come in handy as well. At level 5, you actually get a death attack of sort - although unlike others of its kind, I doubt the DC stacks with other classes that give death attack. Overall pretty decent if you want to get some rogue goodness - and rangers, often being the party scouts, can definitely put those talents to good use.

Wasp Bounty Hunter (Rokugan CS): Appearances deceiving can be, as a grammar-challenged little green man once said. As a bounty hunter, this PrC is nothing special - but as far as archer PrCs go, this is one of the best. As usual, you don't get spellcasting or animal companion, and as a PrC modeled after the 3.0 ranger, it only gets 4+int skill points. On the up side, you get bonuses to attack, damage and range with bows, a boost to initiative if you have an arrow nocked when combat starts, and a capstone ability that lets you take 20 on an attack roll with an arrow as a full-round action. This is, quite honestly, a must-see for any non-casting archer looking for prestige classes.

Shinjo Explorer (Rokugan CS): while the animal companion mechanic it has is pretty weird, this is a decent PrC for a self-sufficient ranger with several animal companions - the character can choose between a mount, a wolf (okay, big dog), and a falcon. The class also gives bonuses to survival and some unusual - for Rokugan - feats. Not really impressive in a mainstream game, but can be pretty okay for a wilderness campaign that takes place in a fixed region. 3.0 material, campaign-specific. Quite honestly, I wouldn't bother - but hey, a generous translation of this PrC could make it worthwhile for a ranger who wants a more explorer-like feel and no magic.

Master of Flies (Savage Species): some monstrous rangers or the odd wildshaping one might decide to give this PrC a try. Its main feature - swarmshifting - can be very useful against enemies not having spells or splash weapon, or in moving through spaces you normally couldn't enter. Expect DMs to be increasingly frustrated if you use the class abilities to the fullest - awakening vermins, for example, can create a lot of useful allies at practically no cost. Medium BAB, good will save, and as weird as can get, in a good way. Peter Parker? You're the real Spiderman, baby.

Scaled Horror (Savage Species): an interesting option for aquatic or reptilian rangers - an often neglected part of the monster manual character option. At least, it be interesting if you weren't concerned about your BAB, and chances are you are. Still, you get casting out of the ranger list at a separate progression - which, accidentally, is equal to what you'd get as a lvl 17 ranger. DR and bonus feats - some related to combat, some to magic - aren't too bad, either. In an aquatic campaign, this PrC is very good, but on land, it's mediocre.

Waverider (Savage Species): consider this basically an underwater-oriented version of the CWar cavalier, and treat it accordingly. Ranger levels allow you to be a little more skilled and versatile before you enter this class, and if you use one of the alternative weapon styles in the Dragon magazine, you can get some better feats to tie in with the trident/harpoon abilities you get from the PrC. Consider asking your DM to allow you to somehow stack ranger levels for the mount a la devoted tracker - or just use a ranger variant that doesn't get an animal companion. Useful for an aquatic campaign, but of limited use if you get ashore.

Forest Master (Faiths and Pantheons): remember what I said about good PrCs usually being designed for other classes? Here's something that's supposedly best suited to clerics and druids, but rangers can take it just fine - just don't expect to have a lot of skill points (a feature shared by most PrCs in that book). Medium BAB can be a problem, but as far as combat goes, you're actually doing quite well - the class offers a good way to enhance any maul you wield (TWF or alternative ranger styles can help you get the most of this situation), a very good enhancement to your natural armor, ability boosts, and the plant subtype - alongside some okay spell-likes. Unfortunately, the requirement for 3rd level spells - plant growth and control plants - might delay entry in the PrC until after lvl 10 (meaning you don't get all the goodies before epic) unless you multiclass with druid or cleric. Still, Ranger 12/FM 8 is nothing to sneer at - bonus points if you're the party tank. 3.0 material, campaign- alignment- and deity-specific. Might be best approached with prestige ranger levels.

Silverstar (Faiths and Pantheons): another cleric-oriented PrC, unfortunately not as good as the FM due to the intensive feat prerequisites and less combat-oriented abilities - and the poor number of skill points is a problem if you want to be the party skillmonkey. Still, it does offer some okay abilities, such as auto-enhancing any heavy maces you wield,some additions to your spell known list, okay spell-likes, etc. Overall, however, pass unless you have some cleric levels or really like some of its tricks. 3.0 material, campaign- alignment- and deity-specific.

Waveservant: (Faiths and Pantheons): Let's start with the bad news - you need a WF in tridents, you don't get them auto-enhanced, you have the usual problems of the above two classes - and some morons can even mock you for worshipping a deity usually called the b...h queen. Of course, they seldom do so twice, unless someone animates them. Anyway, prerequisites are fairly mild, and you get some rather... interesting abilities. You rebuke aquatic creatures, get some good underwater- and poison-related abilities, and eventually become immune to critical hits or sneak attacks. Oh, and more - from having a swim speed to a rage-like feature. If you're playing a marine campaign a la stormwrack, it's a good option - arguably among the best. If not, it's okay, but once again you're better off advancing another kind of spellcasting instead of the ranger one. 3.0 material, campaign- and deity-specific.

Windwalker (Faiths and Pantheons): this bears mention for several reasons. First, it's a pretty decent PrC on its own, possibly on par with the Forest Master and with tolerable prerequisites (which you can meet by lvl 5) and an okay number of skill points/level (4). However, what is more interesting that unlike most of the PrCs in this book, this one seems to be intended for rangers - but is just fine for clerics (more like awesome, really): full BAB and full casting = nice. The class abilities are pretty solid - you add two domains of spells to your ranger list, get a slew of useful spell-likes at will or for several rounds per day, cold resistance, can smite fiends... Oh, and at level 10, you get an impressive fly speed (100, average maneurability). This is some good stuff, especially if you have druid or cleric spellcasting to boost. Note that some of the abilities depend on charisma, though. 3.0 material, setting- and deity-specific
Bloodclaw Master: Easy requirements.
Do you want to lesser the 2WF penalties? Take a swordsage level, and then, dip here.

You actually need to take three levels of either sword sage or warblade as there are only two first level Tiger Claw manuevers, and you need to know 3 TC manuevers to qualify for the PrC.
You actually need to take three levels of either sword sage or warblade as there are only two first level Tiger Claw manuevers, and you need to know 3 TC manuevers to qualify for the PrC.

Someone hasn't done his Tome of Battle homework. As long as you take the one-level dip on level 5 or higher, your IL will be 3+ thus enabling you to take level two maneuvers instantly. Tome of Battle isn't like Magic, you still get advancement even in non-ToB classes.
Oh, fart. Its been a while since I had pulled ToB off my shelf and I had completely forgotten about that.
Another slew of PrC reviews (Admiral Ackbar edition):

Corrupt Avenger (Heroes of Horror): notable for getting a bonus vs one organization/enemy type that is similar to Favored enemies and stacks with it somewhat (untyped bonuses to certain skills). While it does not stack for the damage bonus, Tainted Fury is a mini-barb rage that could come in handy. However, its poor number of skill points and charisma dependency make it a sub-optimal choice. If you don't care about losing your outdoorsman focus, have a decent charisma and have a burning desire to put that corruption score to good use, go for it. I wouldn't bother - it's more viable for one of those tragic ex-paladins who want some class level tradeoff but are too principled to become blackguards. Non-evil corrupted only

Arboreal Guardian (Ghostwalk): I have a serious problem with that one. I wish I could plainly say that it is crap, but between +5 to NA, 1/2 spellcasting progression with some decent spell-likes and some okay abilities, I can't in all honesty do that. Still, medium BAB, 1 good save and very situational abilities make it substandard at best. I can't imagine wasting ten minutes of my and my DM's time to update it to 3.5, anyway.

Cavelord (Underdark): "tolerable" would be a good way to describe it. "Vaguely disappointing" would be another. Certainly in concept it is very ranger-oriented and some of the abilities are useful - swim speed, good darkvision (especially for those who don't have any), eventually you get tremorsense. Still, losing 10 levels of ranger abilities and 2 skill points/level is not exactly worth it imo. I would have put it down as a decent short dip, but one of its prerequisites strikes me as absurd: 8 ranks in Knowledge (Local, Underdark) makes it practically unavailable for single-class rangers until lvl 11 or so. If you want to try it - and it has some okay features, at least for the first 4-5 levels - talk to your DM, as this prerequisite makes little sense. You're a spelunker, not an information broker.

Imaskari Vengeance Taker (Underdark): useful for ranger/mages who are heavy on the mage side, this PrC is another odd goose. Meeting the prerequisites is easy except for the "cast lvl 3 arcane spells" bit, and the class doesn't advance spellcasting all that well. Its abilities are tolerable if you want to make an assassin-ish character, but not particularly impressive. If the DM allows the death attack DCs to stack if you already have the ability but have not yet reached lvl 10 in IVT, it could be a good way to continue a ranger/assassin progression. Ranger 1/Wizard 5 would be another way to enter, but you might be unable to effectively fill any role in a smaller party. If you are thinking of trying this - and the concept is pretty cool imo - try to trade those spell-likes for a more decent spellcasting progression, say 7/10 or so. Lawful only.

Prime Underdark Guide (Underdark): while one can't help but notice WotC's imagination sometimes fails them in thinking of names for PrCs, at least this one is pretty upfront at what it does. It's specialized in working in the Underdark, and it's a guide - meaning, it's the guy who works for larger groups and whose main - heck, only - job is to prevent them from killing themselves with the scenery. As for "prime," well... 2 out of 3 isn't so bad. The PrC's most iconic features are expanded use of aid another and giving the rest of the party danger sense, and while these are useful, I haven't had them used so much in any game I've played. Also, it gets a spellbook-based intelligence progression with some useful utility spells. The catch is that it only has medium BAB and 4+int skill points/level. Okay if the party doesn't need extra muscle and is light on the spellcasting side, but hardly impressive.

Vermin Keeper (Underdark): one of the typically druid PrCs, this is an interesting choice for a wildshaping ranger. To sum it up, it's a druid, but with "vermin" - you get a vermin companion, can shapeshift into a vermin, etc. Still, between full spellcasting progression (druid stuff), being able to assume forms from fine to huge, and some additional abilities, this is a good option for a ranger who somehow gets wild shape. Unfortunately, keep in mind that your vermin companion is not mindless - and thus can be affected by mind-affecting spells/powers. Overall, a useful option - wildshaping alone can't be overrated.

Avenging Executioner (Complete Scoundrel): while it loses many ranger abilities and has only medium BAB, it is tolerable for dipping and an okay choice especially for urban-based rangers (UA variant or RoD half-elf substitution levels). The skill selection is good, and the skills synergize well and patch some of the ranger's typical problems (social interactions). Extra damage never hurts, and for a fear-focused class treating shaken or frightened enemies as flat-footed can be valuable for any class - particularly one with SS damage. Unfortunately, the trademark ability is charisma-based. Okay option for ranger-thieves, but nothing to write home about. Avoid taking the 5th level: no BAB increase and no save improvement make it sub-optimal even with the extra 1d6 sudden strike damage. Non-good alignment.

Battle Trickster (Complete Scoundrel): the prerequisites are light, and the benefits tolerable for rangers who have already resigned themselves to losing some of the higher-level class abilities. Rangers, with their extra skill points and many skills, are natural tricksters. A pity the class skills are rather underwhelming, but it's only for 3 levels anyway.

Uncanny Trickster (Complete Scoundrel): if you have several levels you don't know what to do with, chances are this is a good option. The prerequisites should not be a problem as, as before, rangers easily qualify for skill tricks and can often make good use of them. Advancing the features of another class with some extras isn't bad, either - past lvl 1, you lose practically nothing. A tolerable option for single-class rangers, but better for a multiclass build.

Bloodclaw Master (Tome of Battle): while the strike prerequisite can be rather hard for a single-class ranger, ranger/swordsages and ranger/warblades can find this PrC quite intriguiging. It keeps the ranger saves and some of the class skills, but having only 2+int skill points/level can be a pain. The abilities are good, especially at the start: shifting is useful for the strength bonus, and the claws might come in handy anyway. Superior TWF is tolerable, although as a medium-BAB PrC the adept loses 1 point of BAB right at the start; claws of the beast and the tiger stance synergy are better. Consider it for a 3-level dip - levels 4 and 5 are imo not worth it between the few abilities and the extra point of lost BAB (which makes superior TWF next to useless).
+1 Dragon Bane Flaming Frost Holy Axiomatic Wounding Composite Longbow

It just sucks that ranged weapons can't have the "Wounding" ability. Besides that, a bow like that rocks! ;)
It just sucks that ranged weapons can't have the "Wounding" ability. Besides that, a bow like that rocks! ;)

Try Splitting and Force for starters; no DR, and double the damage. Oh, Magebane is preferable to Dragon Bane; all Dragons have spells, so Magebane is Bane against them and tons of other things too, for the same cost. Finally, Flaming and Frost aren't very impressive later on with immunities and resistances running rampant. More generic sources would be preferable.
I'll drop a build off here. Mostly ranger.
Ranger 14/ Scout 4/ Stalker of kharash 2
Strongheart halfling scout 1/ ranger 6/ Stalker of kharash 2/ scout +3/ ranger +8

Feats:
1) PBS, Precise
3) ancestral relic
6) favored of the companions
9) nemesis(evil)
12) greater manyshot
Scout 4) Swift hunter
15 Improved Skirmish
18) darkstalker

Varients assumed: urban companion (for alertness), arcane hunter.

Really matures at level 12.
I'll drop a build off here. Mostly ranger.
Ranger 14/ Scout 4/ Stalker of kharash 2
Strongheart halfling scout 1/ ranger 6/ Stalker of kharash 2/ scout +3/ ranger +8

Feats:
1) PBS, Precise
3) ancestral relic
6) favored of the companions
9) nemesis(evil)
12) greater manyshot
Scout 4) Swift hunter
15 Improved Skirmish
18) darkstalker

Varients assumed: urban companion (for alertness), arcane hunter.

Really matures at level 12.

IMAGE(http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i108/Lairdboy/URL.jpg)

Solid.
Is there more on the Wildshaping Ranger? Esp "What do I get that a Druid wouldn't get?"

I've been looking at an embryonic build of something like Ranger (wildshaping) 5/Master of Many Forms 9/Warshaper 4/xx 2 in some order.

Droping the one level one spell for an extra feat at level 4 means the feat requirements of MoMF are free, since rangers already get Endurance.

And...I can use heavier armor since I gave up the combat track for Wildshaping.

The rest seems kinda iffy. The Wildshape form uses its own BaB, Str, Dex and Con. I get my own hp, so I still need Con, but Str and Dex arent useful. I get better BaB than a Druid.

I can dump Str, Dex, Wis and Cha (no spells), but if playing from level one, the rest of the party will fillet me for being useless before we get to level 5.

All in all, it seems I'm trading level 5 Druid spellcasting for 2 feats and some skill points. At level 5, not a good deal. Better at higher levels, maybe.

On the bonus side, the new rules for wildshaping seem insane for Warshapers. "You regain hp as if you had rested a night. " With Warshaper fast healing, that's all of them!
With the swift Wild Shape feat, that heals all your hp as a swift action.

(That is the latest ruling? They change so often)
if draconomicon is allowed, you can actually skip master of many forms and get dragon wild shape ^^
Dictum Mortuum's Handbooks - My personal Character Optimization blog. 
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Looked it up, and you can get it at level 12, I think. Which is sweet, but it is the same level as you get to assume the EX abilities of whatever form you're in. Which is sweetness.

I think it would be better if you wanted to skip the last level of MoMF, in case you don't care about epic. (Level 11 is sweetness too)
The Dragon wildshape thing is versatile, sure, but wyrmlings aren't always the best you can get - they are up to medium and in combat they are rather poor for the levels you get them. 7+ levels of MoMF get you a lot more versatility - and with Assume Supernatural ability, as I read it, you can choose one of the Su abilities of the form to keep.

Bergtann, any reason you're not doing a ranger 6 in the build? The bump to saves and the extra wildshape aren't bad. Also, if you want to be really versatile, the 5th level of warshaper can be worth it (even though I hate 5th levels in a medium-BAB class): changing forms in the same instance of wildshape means you can shapeshift literally at will as opposed to several times per day.
The Dragon wildshape thing is versatile, sure, but wyrmlings aren't always the best you can get - they are up to medium and in combat they are rather poor for the levels you get them. 7+ levels of MoMF get you a lot more versatility - and with Assume Supernatural ability, as I read it, you can choose one of the Su abilities of the form to keep.

Bergtann, any reason you're not doing a ranger 6 in the build? The bump to saves and the extra wildshape aren't bad. Also, if you want to be really versatile, the 5th level of warshaper can be worth it (even though I hate 5th levels in a medium-BAB class): changing forms in the same instance of wildshape means you can shapeshift literally at will as opposed to several times per day.

MoMF as I remember gives one extra use of Wildshape per level. So I figured the gains from Ranger 6 weren't enough to postpone the MoMF levels. MoMF has two good saves as well, so its +2 +2 +0 at level one. And since I hope to do fighting in Wildshape, the BaB bump isn't too important.

The fifth level of Warshaper I dumped because I am an idiot. For some reason the fact that they specifically mentioned Wildshape gaining multimorph completly slipped past me. (And the mention in the guide as well!) So I thought I'd gain flashmorph of it, and was already thinking of doing wild feats to change as a swift action, and figured it useless. Thanks! That will be beautiful!

That would probably make it best to run Warshaper 5 after MoMF 7, then finish up the build by finishing MoMF.
I guess you're right, the benefits are minimal. Anyway, here's a little more fore the enterprising ranger who wants to fill a new niche in today's bustling adventure market:

Beast Heart Adept: (Dungeonscape) : It looks like a relatively good choice - except for the token feat requirements and having to invest a few cross-class ranks in knowledge (arcana)*, there's nothing a ranger should worry about. That first impression is, ironically, both right and wrong. Mechanically, the PrC grants one very good ability - having a magical beast companion, eventually several of them - and the rest of it revolves around improving your combat skills around said companion/s. Kiss your riding dog goodbye and put it for adoption: hese companions are so much better than anything else you could get it's not even funny - heck, just qualifying for (improved) rapidstrike is already a serious plus in my book. Throw in a good will save and a new use for one of your class abilities (wild emphathy) and you get a very serious prestige class. The drawback is, as usual, the skill selection. First, you only get 4+int SPs/level, but that's the smaller problem. What can be bad is that many iconic ranger skills such as hide/MS and listen/spot/search are not on the class list. If you have gear to compensate for that or the party has someone else to be the scout, go for it and don't look back.

Ebonmar Infiltrator (Cityscape): while this was likely intended to be a class for socialites, and rangers seldom fit the category, it's not that hard to qualify. Okay, not that hard apart from two nearly useless feats, some RP prerequisites and having a few cross-class skill ranks. You get intelligence-based spellcasting, some skill and feature bonuses, and okay abilities if you want to be, shall we say, discreet. Which is good, because your combat abilities tend to deteriorate - between a d6 hit die, medium BAB and a poor fortitude save you are even less of a tank than the average ranger. By and large not a great choice, but possible if you're playing a more intrigue-based game. Some of the higher-order abilities do deserve a look, though, and TWF rangers are likely to appreciate the sneak attack.

Crimson Scourge (Cityscape): another bounty hunter PrC, yawn. This one actually comes with an alignment restriction: you're the hardcore, bad-to-the-bone hunter, so do-gooders need not apply. If you fit the bill to you , it's a pretty decent option for an urban ranger. The prerequisites are relatively light (Urban tracking, some skills - mostly handle animal, strangely enough), you keep a good skills selection, and your combat skill might actually increase a little between your d10 HD and your medium armor proficiency. You also get what amounts to several bonus feats, (EWP, improved disarm, special dispensation) and you get to deal extra damage with your nonlethal attacks a la Justiciar. Some situational abilities and, eventually, scent round out the PrC. I'd say it's one of the better non-magical bounty hunters, so if you want to indulge your inner Boba Fett, you might want to try it out.

Cavestalker (Drow of the Underdark) : probably the best non-magical option for a subterranean ranger. The prerequisites are pretty light, except for having darkvision - which a few other PrCs (dark hunter, darkrunner, etc) can provide if your race does not. The class doesn't advance spellcasting or animal companion. What you get, imo, more than makes up for it: bonuses to skills, to natural armor, easier underground navigation (longer range for darkvision, tremorsense, a Darkstalker feature on steroids), some valuable spell-likes and an exotic combat style that makes you do some pretty crazy things with spiked chains (note the plural) or hand crossbows. Definitely a PrC to consider for a dedicated spelunker.

Kinslayer (Drow of the Underdark): as a party antagonist, it has potential. For a PC, however, it's seldom useful outside of very focused campaigns. Getting rage and mettle (as well as a high will save) can be a plus, but the alignment and character restriction are very hard and imo not worth it for most characters. Unless you're going to fight a lot of elves and nearly nothing else, stay clear of that one. NPC material

Dragon Devotee (Races of the Dragon): this PrC is best used to allow entrance into another - and to get a fairly decent template (draconic creature) free of charge. Meeting the prerequisites is a joke, but the PrC has its drawbacks: medium BAB, mediocre skill selection (spot, listen and some social skills appear there, though), loss of the good reflex save and a d6 HD. On the other hand aside from the template, you get 2 bonus feats and 2 levels of sorcerer spellcasting - yes, even if you hadn't had any before. All in all, the PrC should be considered for rangers who want some arcane spellcasting. Swift hunters can improve their skirmish rather than get bonus feats, should they want to do so.

Unseelie Dark Hunter online article, 3.0 material: Not to be confused with the Dark Hunter from the Complete series; this is the personal tracker and go-getter of the Queen of Air and Darkness, an interesting enough concept that it may deserve attention. As a scout and tracker, the PrC is quite solid, boosting your speed (mounted and on foot) and senses, and giving some additional mobility features. What is perhaps most interesting is that it gets spontaneous arcane casting based on wisdom. Altogether interesting for an NPC, but not exactly recommended for a PC: forget the medium BAB and lack of additional attack options, considering the Code of Conduct and to whom you owe allegiance, this can be more restrictive than the kinslayer.

*: Shooting Star rangers will find the prerequisites a lot easier. Plus, they have the option to trade the animal companion, which the class does not progress. Rangers who have gotten other trades for their animal companion - I prefer the Urban Companion from the Cityscape web enhancement, YMMV - are also welcome to the class.
Unless they made a errota for the +1 spell storeing ability in the 3.5dmg it says spell storein can only be applied to melee weapons.
Antarx, you mention in the feats section something called hidden talent, but when I checked the XPH it wasn't there. Could you please check your source again? That sounds so much better than wild talent!

Thanks,
BBJ
Antarx, you mention in the feats section something called hidden talent, but when I checked the XPH it wasn't there. Could you please check your source again? That sounds so much better than wild talent!

Thanks,
BBJ

I believe it's from Mind's Eye.
Unless they made a errota for the +1 spell storeing ability in the 3.5dmg it says spell storein can only be applied to melee weapons.

I had checked the text, and I haven't found anything that made me think that spell storing only can be aplied to melee weapons. Is true that this ability doesn't appears in the ranged weapons chart, but that doesn't mean that spell storing ability can't be used with ammunition (like arrows).



Antarx, you mention in the feats section something called hidden talent, but when I checked the XPH it wasn't there. Could you please check your source again? That sounds so much better than wild talent!

Thanks,
BBJ

Sorry, I have the book in Spanish, so I'm not sure about the feat name in English.

The feat is called "Talento oculto" (I translated it as hidden talent) and appears in the Expanded Psionic Handbook, page 67.
Antarx, you mention in the feats section something called hidden talent, but when I checked the XPH it wasn't there. Could you please check your source again? That sounds so much better than wild talent!

It's mentioned that it's better, and is suggested only for high-psionics campaigns.
Just a thank you, Antarx!

I don't have any books aside from the three core's, and neither our DM nor us players like to see too many and too exotic feats and classes.

However, it was fun to read and very interesting to see what's out there. ;)

And thanks to your handbook, I know there's a way to get a unicorn as animal companion.
That's just great and something to look forward to, if I should ever reach that required level with my forest-lover.
And since it doesn't seem to be "over-powered", I certainly hope the DM will say: "Yes", and I'll start looking for a companion in the woods...

So thanks again for the effort!
By the way, has anyone playtested the urban companion from the Cityscape web enhancement? It sounds like a familiar, but better - so even with rangers again getting the short stick compared to druids, it should still be a great option.

@Antarx: I'm sorry, the original list went over the 50,000 character limit in a single post, so I'll have to break it in two.

Part 1, from A to M:

Show
Abolisher Lords of Madness: This is a PrC for those who hate aberrations - maybe your family was devoured by mind flayers, maybe you got dumped by an elan girlfriend - and rangers are very good in the hating business. Oh, it also requires some familiarity with nature: in this case, a few ranks in class skills and features you get automatically at level 1. Among a few other things, it gives the equivalent of FE (aberrations), wild shape, stacks fully with your effective druid level for purposes of the animal companion, and gives you 8/10 divine spellcasting. The medium BAB is a bit of a bummer, as is the only good will save, but you can manage (you have good fortitude and reflex saves anyway). It's a pretty decent class, which as you can imagine means it was designed for druids - but like with the Lion of Talisid, you can hitch a ride. The PrC works okay for single-class rangers, but can be even better for ranger/clerics or ranger/druids who will get more use of the spellcasting advancement. BTW, wildshaping is limited to medium animals... hey, nothing a level or two in Master of Many forms can't fix. Non-chaotic iirc

Animal Lord Cadv: I'd go for wolf lord here, although others like the catlord or bearlord aren't shabby either. This PrC boosts your animal companion significantly, adding to your druid level (not ranger level). You lose out on the spells and some skills, but your animal and survival skills improve somewhat. I am partial to wolflord - easy prerequisites, scent instead of near-useless natural weapons, and it advances a tolerable animal companion (wolf/dire wolf, with some DM approval it could hold for riding dogs, too). If you do not want to bother with spells, this is a decent PrC to enter after ranger 6. Consider the natural bond feat and other powers that improve your animal companion.

Arboreal Guardian Ghostwalk: I have a serious problem with that one. I wish I could plainly say that it is crap, but between +5 to NA, 1/2 spellcasting progression with some decent spell-likes and some okay abilities, I can't in all honesty do that. Still, medium BAB, 1 good save and very situational abilities make it substandard at best. I can't imagine wasting ten minutes of my and my DM's time to update it to 3.5, anyway.

Assassin DMG: if you want, you can get the prerequisite skills by lvl 5. What is there to say? You get a somewhat different set of skills, 4+int skill points,medium BAB, and pretty decent SA progression. Oh, and a pretty decent spell list (for applied purposes - how many rangers wish they could cast greater invisibility), some okay sneaky abilities, etc. Consider browsing through the splatbooks for spells. Champions of Ruin is a favourite of mine, particularly for ranged assassins - and standard rangers, for that matter. CAdventurer has some good tricks, etc. Get another PrC with death attack for extra effect. Dark hunter could work okay, I guess. Just try to get your DM to agree to add those classes' levels before they get DA as a separate ability in the end of their progressions – some mention it outright, so why not?

Avenging Executioner Complete Scoundrel: while it loses many ranger abilities and has only medium BAB, it is tolerable for dipping and an okay choice especially for urban-based rangers (UA variant or RoD half-elf substitution levels). The skill selection is good, and the skills synergize well and patch some of the ranger's typical problems (social interactions). Extra damage never hurts, and for a fear-focused class treating shaken or frightened enemies as flat-footed can be valuable for any class - particularly one with SS damage. Unfortunately, the trademark ability is charisma-based. Okay option for ranger-thieves, but nothing to write home about. Avoid taking the 5th level: no BAB increase and no save improvement make it sub-optimal even with the extra 1d6 sudden strike damage. Non-good alignment.

Battle Trickster Complete Scoundrel: the prerequisites are light, and the benefits tolerable for rangers who have already resigned themselves to losing some of the higher-level class abilities. Rangers, with their extra skill points and many skills, are natural tricksters. A pity the class skills are rather underwhelming, but it's only for 3 levels anyway.

Beast Heart Adept: (Dungeonscape) : It looks like a relatively good choice - except for the token feat requirements and having to invest a few cross-class ranks in knowledge (arcana)*, there's nothing a ranger should worry about. That first impression is, ironically, both right and wrong. Mechanically, the PrC grants one very good ability - having a magical beast companion, eventually several of them - and the rest of it revolves around improving your combat skills around said companion/s. Kiss your riding dog goodbye and put it for adoption: these companions are so much better than anything else you could get it's not even funny - heck, just qualifying for (improved) rapidstrike is already a serious plus in my book. Throw in a good will save and a new use for one of your class abilities (wild emphathy) and you get a very serious prestige class. The drawback is, as usual, the skill selection. First, you only get 4+int SPs/level, but that's the smaller problem. What can be bad is that many iconic ranger skills such as hide/MS and listen/spot/search are not on the class list. If you have gear to compensate for that or the party has someone else to be the scout, go for it and don't look back.

Beastmaster Cadv: dip, no more. A few levels will significantly improve your animal companion, but unless you intend to bring a local zoo with you, don't bother taking more than, well, one.

Beloved of Valarian BoED, exalted, female only: it could be my dirty subconsciousness speaking, but I don't like the PrC that much. Of course, my no-less-dirty-but-more-pragmatic consciousness can come up with a few reasons - namely, poor skill selection (no stealth and detection) and having a poor spell list. Still, I must admit that a celestial charger companion can come in useful, and some of their spell-like or supernatural abilities can be quite handy - especially being able to telepathically communicate with any animal in your (unicorn's) forest and to become ethereal 1/day. The chastity vow, on the other hand, brings a useful bonus to your will save vs some enchantments and illusions.

Bloodclaw Master Tome of Battle: while the strike prerequisite can be rather hard for a single-class ranger, ranger/swordsages and ranger/warblades can find this PrC quite intriguiging. It keeps the ranger saves and some of the class skills, but having only 2+int skill points/level can be a pain. The abilities are good, especially at the start: shifting is useful for the strength bonus, and the claws might come in handy anyway. Superior TWF is tolerable, although as a medium-BAB PrC the Bloodclaw Master loses 1 point of BAB right at the start; claws of the beast and the tiger stance synergy are better. Consider it for a 3-level dip - levels 4 and 5 are imo not worth it between the few abilities and the extra point of lost BAB (which makes superior TWF next to useless).

Bloodhound Cadv: the standard trackmeister. It is, perhaps, not the most useful direction to take your ranger into, but it is a job rangers certainly do well. You get some social-ish skills, and even a rogue special ability - and one, if I may add, that both TWF and ranged rangers can put to good use. Still, not my choice.

Cancer Mage BoVD, vile: despite its medium BAB and little ability synergy, this may be one of the more interesting - and unconventional - ranger PrCs. You don't lose on your skills and in fact expand your class list, you get a little sneak attack, a rather useful ability (cancer companion) and a smorgasbord of spell-likes. Even in combat - arguably your weakest point - you can become fairly tough due to the mix of active attacks (poison), protection (special armor + insects) and defensive abilities (cancerous uncanny dodge). While it's understandably a tricky PC choice, it makes for fearsome NPCs.

Cavelord Underdark: "tolerable" would be a good way to describe it. "Vaguely disappointing" would be another. Certainly in concept it is very ranger-oriented and some of the abilities are useful - swim speed, good darkvision (especially for those who don't have any), eventually you get tremorsense. Still, losing 10 levels of ranger abilities and 2 skill points/level is not exactly worth it imo. I would have put it down as a decent short dip, but one of its prerequisites strikes me as absurd: 8 ranks in Knowledge (Local, Underdark) makes it practically unavailable for single-class rangers until lvl 11 or so. If you want to try it - and it has some okay features, at least for the first 4-5 levels - talk to your DM, as this prerequisite makes little sense. You're a spelunker, not an information broker.

Cavestalker (Drow of the Underdark) : probably the best non-magical option for a subterranean ranger. The prerequisites are pretty light, except for having darkvision - which a few other PrCs (dark hunter, darkrunner, etc) can provide if your race does not. The class doesn't advance spellcasting or animal companion. What you get, imo, more than makes up for it: bonuses to skills, to natural armor, easier underground navigation (longer range for darkvision, tremorsense, a Darkstalker feature on steroids), some valuable spell-likes and an exotic combat style that makes you do some pretty crazy things with spiked chains (note the plural) or hand crossbows. Definitely a PrC to consider for a dedicated spelunker.

Chaotician Planar Handbook: many of the PrCs in that book can be interesting for a ranger, but this one is probably the most fascinating. Anarchic grace is a great ability if you get in trouble, and babble is simply great if you surprise an enemy who can raise an alarm or, even more importantly, cast spells. The other abilities are also useful, particularly for a character with a decent charisma - chaotic contagion even looks as if it can stack with itself.

Consecrated Harrier Cdiv: another take on the tracker, but for more religious rangers. Overall a decent PrC if you want to go off the typical ranger road and use a different skill set for a similar job; still, I am not amused by how the class skill has been butchered. The loss of hide and move silently I can (somehow) understand, but listen and spot? Unless you decide to “dip” or have party members that can cover the scout position, consider interspersing ranger and CH levels. On the plus side, the PrC offers better spellcasting than ranger levels do until lvl 17, a few additions to the spell list, access to the socialite class skills, a few decent spell-likes and abilities, and a feature that looks like Favored Enemy and stacks with it – but only against targets designated by the church. Oh yeah, you’re a deity’s gofer boy… hope you like it. You even get a code of conduct, although I think it’s more of a code of show-offery. Not quite a typical ranger PrC, but not a bad choice either.

Corrupt Avenger Heroes of Horror: notable for getting a bonus vs one organization/enemy type that is similar to Favored enemies and stacks with it somewhat (untyped bonuses to certain skills). While it does not stack for the damage bonus, Tainted Fury is a mini-barb rage that could come in handy. However, its poor number of skill points and charisma dependency make it a sub-optimal choice. If you don't care about losing your outdoorsman focus, have a decent charisma and have a burning desire to put that corruption score to good use, go for it. I wouldn't bother - it's more viable for one of those tragic ex-paladins who want some class level tradeoff but are too principled to become blackguards. Non-evil corrupted only

Crimson Scourge (Cityscape): another bounty hunter PrC, yawn. This one actually comes with an alignment restriction: you're the hardcore, bad-to-the-bone hunter, so do-gooders need not apply. If you fit the bill to you , it's a pretty decent option for an urban ranger. The prerequisites are relatively light (Urban tracking, some skills - mostly handle animal, strangely enough), you keep a good skills selection, and your combat skill might actually increase a little between your d10 HD and your medium armor proficiency. You also get what amounts to several bonus feats, (EWP, improved disarm, special dispensation) and you get to deal extra damage with your nonlethal attacks a la Justiciar. Some situational abilities and, eventually, scent round out the PrC. I'd say it's one of the better non-magical bounty hunters, so if you want to indulge your inner Boba Fett, you might want to try it out.

Crinti Shadow Marauder Shining South: so you want to play an evil-ish, ranger-ish half-drow in the Realms? Points for style, my friend. Unfortunately, the class is a bit of a mish-mash and does not deliver enough power, per se. Still, an ability to use shadow jump (with pounce)when mounted is pretty badass, and if your DM has enough brainpower to adapt shadowwalk so that you actually get a speed bonus from it when you are mounted, it can be pretty good in going places fast. The sudden strike feature is confusing - it seems rather off on a mounted class, as when you use shadow jump/pounce to get the drop on some freak, or you find a way to make your mount sufficienty stealthy. Oh, and when you are chasing down hapless villagers - I think you lose your dex to AC when running. Ranger 6/WPO 3 with a horse companion is a good entrance build, again, and you can put a few rogue levels to good use as well.

Dark Hunter Cwarrior: a pretty decent nonmagical option for underground rangers. Rangers get one of the prerequisite feats for free, the other - blind fight - is not too bad anyway, especially underground. You don’t get your animal companion and spellcasting progressions, unfortunately, but that’s pretty standard. The good news is that you get some pretty decent darkvision - especially if you are a dwarf, drow etc and have darkvision of your own. A little sneak attack and even death attack can be useful too, especially if you have another PrC that boosts the DA's save. Snipers and stalkers should consider this PrC - just the darkvision can allow you to shoot at targets which can't even see you, no matter how many ranks in spot they have. It may be good for ranger dip multiclasses and non-caster rangers.

Darkrunner Lords of Madness: unlike most of the PrCs I've discussed so far, this one improves your outdoorsman role (ok, undergroundsdwarf/drow will likely be more appropriate) at the expense of some of your combat potential. Between a serious insight bonus to many skills, abilities to deal better with aberrations, and other very useful abilities, it is almost worth it. If the party can cover for you in combat and spends a lot of time underground, this is easily one of the better options. It requires (and improves) your darkvision and makes good use of a good intelligence score. Ranger/scouts might want to pay particular attention to this PrC, as can characters who want to add a few more levels to a Dark Hunter build.

Deepwarden Races of Stone: While not my top choice - even though I have a soft spot for dwarven rangers, this class offers some pretty interesting abilities.. Furthermore, it offers you the ability to add your Con modifier to your AC instead of your dex. Considering that rangers get their weapon style feats regardless of meeting the prerequisites - hence dex score - this is a good way to build a hardy ranger with relatively little MAD. It does not advance animal companion, casting, or other ranger iconic abilities, though. It’s a different take on the entire ranger idea, but a ranger nonetheless. Still, I’d say it works best as a dip; if you want more of the same, cavestalker or dark hunter may be better choices.

Deepwood Sniper Masters of the Wild. While a 3.0 PrC, a decent translation that does not butcher its iconic abilities makes the DS the keyword for long-range combat. Rangers have a decent time qualifying and their high spot will ensure that they can see - and thus nail - long-range targets. Some DMs allow you to see anything that does not hide, some can't be bothered to allow you to see something 200 feet away, but if your DM is from neither, the DS is your man for making insane shots that decimate your enemies without them even seeing you. Having the ability to dish out x5 criticals (Hello, eternal wands of hunter's mercy!) definitely helps.

Dervish Cwarrior: I am not as enamored with this class for a ranger PrC, as the archetypes seem rather different. That aside, Dervish looks good on any light-armored warrior, and TWF rangers fit in that category. The extra AC, ability to get a full attack then dance out of 5-foot-step range, and deal a little extra damage with your weapons always help. Feat-wise, however, it is a problem getting in. Ranger-scouts get the most mileage due to their skirmish damage

Disciple of Dispater BoVD, vile: while it may appear geared more towards warriors, the DoD is fairly useful for rangers who meet its prerequisites (and the ability scores they require). A ranger DoD can advance stealth and detection-related skills, can find and disable traps made out of metal, and can count on some okay combat abilities. Depending on how Iron Power is translated in 3.5, chances are that the DoD also gets to triple critical threat modifiers - and with any iron or steel weapon she wants. Having all good saves is the icing on the cake.

Divine Champion PGtF: what can I say? It is similar to the Pious Templar in concept: you fight better but your woodsman/scout skills deteriorate. Instead of the Templar’s spells and good will save, you get a slightly faster feat progression. Rangers who want to fight better should give it a chance if they have holes in their progression. The extra boost vs divine spells helps, too.

Divine Seeker PGtF: a weirder choice, but a possible one. It is something for the more rogue-oriented rangers, who will value the ability to sneak attack, the resistance to spells, and what might well be interpreted as trapfinding. Both are not exactly solid, but useful.

Dragon Devotee (Races of the Dragon): this PrC is best used to allow entrance into another - and to get a fairly decent template (draconic creature) free of charge. Meeting the prerequisites is a joke, but the PrC has its drawbacks: medium BAB, mediocre skill selection (spot, listen and some social skills appear there, though), loss of the good reflex save and a d6 HD. On the other hand aside from the template, you get 2 bonus feats and 2 levels of sorcerer spellcasting - yes, even if you hadn't had any before. All in all, the PrC should be considered for rangers who want some arcane spellcasting. Swift hunters can improve their skirmish rather than get bonus feats, should they want to do so.

Dragonstalker Draconomicon: the value of this PrC, like that of the darkwood staker, depends on how often a particular enemy group come into play. Against dragons, the PrC is quite decent - especially if you can put that sneak attack to good use. Against any other enemies, it is not very good. Still, it has a good reflex/will save and abilities that foil scent and blindsense or allow you to ignore natural AC a few times per day for a guaranteed shot or (favored) power attack goodness.

Dread Commando Heroes of Battle: easily one of the better ranger PrCs, all things included. The sudden strike gives you a little more damage in a few situations, and a TWF ranger with weapons having a high critical threat range (i.e. kukri) can make good use of it and the Telling Blow feat. The armored ease and stealthy movement features are both often useful, and the initiative boost is simply great - especially as often applies to your entire party.

Ebonmar Infiltrator (Cityscape): while this was likely intended to be a class for socialites, and rangers seldom fit the category, it's not that hard to qualify. Okay, not that hard apart from two nearly useless feats, some RP prerequisites and having a few cross-class skill ranks. You get intelligence-based spellcasting, some skill and feature bonuses, and okay abilities if you want to be, shall we say, discreet. Which is good, because your combat abilities tend to deteriorate - between a d6 hit die, medium BAB and a poor fortitude save you are even less of a tank than the average ranger. By and large not a great choice, but possible if you're playing a more intrigue-based game. Some of the higher-order abilities do deserve a look, though, and TWF rangers are likely to appreciate the sneak attack.

Eldritch Knight DMG: while often overlooked, ranger levels make good dips for gish builds. Eldritch knight requires only proficiency with all martial weapons, and a ranger1/wizard 5 can qualify easily. The extra skills and feats from a few ranger levels can be useful for a gish, and the FE feature allows you to take a CMage feat that makes your spells more potent against a certain (sub)type of enemies. Just make sure and remember that mechanically, you're not a ranger... just some kid with a little wilderness skills and a couple of phrases in your character sheet. Ruathar, dragonslayer or abjurant champion levels can fill in the build’s arcane potential.

Eldeen Ranger ECS: simple and to the point. You lose your spells and animal companion progression, but keep some of the FE improvement and your skill set and point. The three sect abilities tend to be quite tolerable, if not incredibly potent - I'd say they are on a similar level with bonus feats. Definitely beats most of the stuff you can get with the spellless ranger variants.

Evereskan Tomb Guardian PGtF: is that ever a mouthful... this PrC is weird and rather specialized, but medium BAB, full spell progression and some useful abilities make it work for elven ranger/mages. I would suggest taking 4 levels - the fifth one does not give much, really - and going for Eldritch Knight or Master of the Yuirwood (if you’re allowed to) afterwards. Rangers, I hope I need not say, make decent gishes. Ranger 1 or 2/Wizard 4 would be my first idea for going in this PrC

Extreme Explorer ECS: as an exploration-oriented PrC it is easy for rangers to enter - a welcome feature it shares with other Eberron CS PrCs. I don't have a lot of experience with Eberron so I can't judge how useful the action point feature is, but overall I'm not that impressed by the class. Don't get me wrong, it's quite decent, but very specialized - in most cases rangers are supposed to be among the warriors of the party, so it's not a good idea to give up BAB and HPs without a good reason. Still, some of its abilities are quite good, but I probably wouldn't take that 5th level.

Eye of Gruumsh [i]Complete Warrior[i]: while not a ranger PrC by any means, this can be quite useful to orc or half-orc rangers who want to improve their combat potential. The PrC requires two sub-standard feats for entry imo, but at least TWF ranger can find the orc double axe a versatile weapon. In combat, the rage, extra AC, blinding spittle and blindsight abilities are likely to prove very useful. Orc or half-orc only, requires NE, CE or CN alignment.

Forest Master Faiths and Pantheons: remember what I said about good PrCs usually being designed for other classes? Here's something that's supposedly best suited to clerics and druids, but rangers can take it just fine - just don't expect to have a lot of skill points (a feature shared by most PrCs in that book). Medium BAB can be a problem, but as far as combat goes, you're actually doing quite well - the class offers a good way to enhance any maul you wield (TWF or alternative ranger styles can help you get the most of this situation), a very good enhancement to your natural armor, ability boosts, and the plant subtype - alongside some okay spell-likes. Unfortunately, the requirement for 3rd level spells - plant growth and control plants - might delay entry in the PrC until after lvl 10 (meaning you don't get all the goodies before epic) unless you multiclass with druid or cleric. Still, Ranger 12/FM 8 is nothing to sneer at - bonus points if you're the party tank. 3.0 material, campaign- alignment- and deity-specific. Might be best approached with prestige ranger levels.

Goliath Liberator Races of stone: a giant-focused PrC. Unlike many similar ones, though, it's not too bad. First, it's a 5-level thing, so you don't lose too much. Second, it has one awesome ability - equal footing. First, it gives you improved trip; second, it gives a +4 to your check if the enemy happens to be large or larger. Combine this with the powerful build bonus if you're an actual goliath and this gets pretty insane - get them down and chop them up. The extra AC vs thrown weapons and enemies not adjacent to you (Large +) doesn't hurt, either. Goliath only

Halfling Outrider Cwar: halfling rangers who want to go mounted are rare, sure, but the PrC is pretty decent. You get some okay offensive or defensive abilities, and having a riding dog or a brixa-whatever (RotW) can help if you need some extra muscle in a fight, too. Halfling only, believe it or not.

Harper Paragon [i]PGtF, exalted[i]: now, if your normal FE and FE evil stack, this could be quite cool. Even if not, the class offers some decent stuff. Consider multiclassing with a spellcaster with some social skills - bard or beguiler - to better meet the prerequisites and advance a better form of spellcasting. In fact, the latter advice works best for any character with ranger levels who is interested in the Harper classes (Master Harper, Harper agent, etc.)

Horizon Walker DMG: pretty much made with rangers in mind, looking at it. I can't help but think of it as a dip class, either for 1-2 levels or 6 levels (dimension door every 1d4 rounds? Swwwweet). From the masteries, desert and underground sound cool (desert offers a good reason to dip this class as a barbarian or dervish if you do not plan on reaching high levels in them), and of course shifting mastery is classical. Outside of that, take a level or two if your campaign is likely to be heavily set in a certain environment or to feature certain creatures. Not good for the whole 10 levels imo – 7 or 8 at most, unless you invent some other planar masteries or really spend a lot of time in extreme environments.

(Illithid) Slayer XPH/SRD: Psionic gishes have few better options than the slayer, and rangers are hands-down a great martial class to dip into to get it. The prerequisites become a joke with 1-2 levels, so you can just give your psion, wilder or ardent (I think it works for them) a small ranger dip before starting to hunt the most dangerous game of them all. It works best if ranger and slayer enemy bonuses stack - choose aberrations (or whatever your pray is, if you are using the SRD version) and enjoy. Most ranger features don't improve, but the ranger's good saves offer a useful bump given the slayer - and the probable psionic class's - only good will save. Ranger 1-3/Psion 4+ would be my first idea, but I have not seen the ardent or the other CPsi classes. Consider using another PrC to finish the progression.

Imaskari Vengeance Taker Underdark: useful for ranger/mages who are heavy on the mage side, this PrC is another odd goose. Meeting the prerequisites is easy except for the "cast lvl 3 arcane spells" bit, and the class doesn't advance spellcasting all that well. Its abilities are tolerable if you want to make an assassin-ish character, but not particularly impressive. If the DM allows the death attack DCs to stack if you already have the ability but have not yet reached lvl 10 in IVT, it could be a good way to continue a ranger/assassin progression. Ranger 1/Wizard 5 would be another way to enter, but you might be unable to effectively fill any role in a smaller party. If you are thinking of trying this - and the concept is pretty cool imo - try to trade those spell-likes for a more decent spellcasting progression, say 7/10 or so. Lawful only.

Justice of Weald and Woe Champions of Ruin: ranger meets assassin. Despite its medium BAB and only 2 SA dice, I am pretty impressed by this class. The fluff pretty much limits it to non-good elves (no half-elves need apply). You will eat with your longbow, bathe with your longbow, sleep with your... well, you get the picture. What do you get? Stealth abilities, shooting into melee without AoOs, bonus feats for which JWW levels count as fighter levels, being able to do death attacks with your longbow, a few other things, and spells. Any archer - ranger, assassin, or Justice, should check the CoR spells - they are pretty impressive, and it was high time archery got some love. Wood elves might be at a disadvantage with magic, for once, but any elf except wild elf brings something useful to the PrC. Consider going in it at ranger 6 and continuing with assassin (more spells, more DA) or peerless archer (4 levels mean 2 SA dice, power attack etc, plus you have the extra feats to easily meet PA prerequisites)

Justiciar Complete Warrior: rangers make damn good bounty hunters, and this is, essentially, what this PrC is. The extra damage (if nonlethal) can be quite useful for TWF rangers, as can the crippling strike feature. You also get some nifty grapple-related features, which a strong ranger can make good use of. Overall an interesting PrC which can be useful if your campaign doesn't require you to kill every enemy you come across - or at least not immediately, as an unconscious enemy one round away from coup-de-grace death. You might want to get merciful weapons, though, or enter the PrC as a monk/ranger with ascetic hunter. Lawful only.

Kensai Complete Warrior): this is a PrC for rangers who want to focus on their martial prowess and on having a really good weapon regardless of what the DM decides the loot for the campaign is. One of the good options for archer rangers, as a bow is a legitimate kensai weapon (and with enhanced arrows you can get a bucketful of enhancements on each shot); TWF rangers can get some good mileage out of it by choosing a double weapon or the SUS feat/monk levels. The power surge and other abilities are nice if you have a few ranks in concentration. Not an incredible PrC, overall, but a useful one. Beats me why it's not full BAB - whatever the flavor text says, it's not overpowered. Lawful only

Lion of Talisid BoED, exalted: wow, imagine that: a ranger-available PrC that actually feels strong. Must be because it was designed for druids, tbh. You improve your companion, get full spell progression - even better, working with any class - and some pretty nice spell-likes. Oh, and you get wildshape, which is not limited to great cats. Thanx Santa, now this is what the good boys and girls should get for Christmas. My idea would be Ranger 6/druid 3 or 4, unless you want to get another PrC to boost casting or wildshape. Even the medium BAB doesn’t manage to spoil it; consider topping it off with a few levels in Nature’s Warrior or Warshaper.

Kinslayer (Drow of the Underdark): as a party antagonist, it has potential. For a PC, however, it's seldom useful outside of very focused campaigns. Getting rage and mettle (as well as a high will save) can be a plus, but the alignment and character restriction are very hard and imo not worth it for most characters. Unless you're going to fight a lot of elves and nearly nothing else, stay clear of that one. NPC material

Master of Flies Savage Species: some monstrous rangers or the odd wildshaping one might decide to give this PrC a try. Its main feature - swarmshifting - can be very useful against enemies not having spells or splash weapon, or in moving through spaces you normally couldn't enter. Expect DMs to be increasingly frustrated if you use the class abilities to the fullest - awakening vermin, for example, can create a lot of useful allies at practically no cost. Medium BAB, good will save, and as weird as can get, in a good way. Peter Parker? You're the real Spiderman, baby.

Master of the Yuirwood Unapproachable East: another interesting option for rangers who have taken levels in another (full) spellcasting class, offering 10 levels of spellcasting that you can put to good use. Some of the other abilities are also pretty cool, and ranger/sorcerers, ranger/favoured souls and the like will love the charisma synergy. Uncanny dodge and the like are not bad at all, too. I haven’t tried how it would work with a bard/sublime chord, but I think your DM might throw something fairly heavy at you.

Moonspeaker Races of Eberron: this PrC is supposedly oriented towards druids and ranger/clerics, but full rangers can enter at level 8 - just in time to get all 12 levels of the PrC, and while it would work best if those 12 caster levels advanced a better spellcasting progression, ranger spells can still be useful. You lose some of your skills, but the selection is still decent - Diplomacy and spellcraft, for example, are worthwhile additions. You shifting improves significantly, and you even get to retain some of your shifted features permanently. In between improved combat/shifter abilities, improved spellcasting and wild shape I'd say this PrC is worth considering - but still, 4+ levels or druid or cleric can't hurt.

Mortal Hunter BoVD: a prestige class for outsiders who focus on hunting, tracking or impersonating "mortals," this PrC ties in fairly well with the ranger class. Improved natural weapons, FE-like feature for nearly all non-outsider races (if it works with Improved FE or Favored PA it is nearly broken), and a little spellcasting add in to a dangerous enemy for both PCs and NPCs, as well as a cunning infiltrator. Ironically, neither the PrC itself nor the feat prerequisites require evil alignment, so it can work for non-evil - and even good - outsiders as well. However, the reliance on charisma for spellcasting can be a problem for most races - rangers have enough of a MAD problem as it is.

*: Shooting Star rangers will find the prerequisites a lot easier. Plus, they have the option to trade the animal companion, which the class does not progress. Rangers who have gotten other trades for their animal companion - I prefer the Urban Companion from the Cityscape web enhancement, YMMV - are also welcome to the class.
Part II, PrCs from N to Z:

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Nentyar Hunter Unapproachable East: it is a sad thing that a 5-level PrC will have more divine magic than 20 levels of ranger, but that's what you get for partying with druids. Then again, a mystic ranger will probably appreciate the added versatility that magic brings, and the abilities aren't bad either. I hate 5-level PrCs with medium or poor BAB, but this one is not a bad deal, and it works in most builds that can actually spare 5 levels.

Nightsong enforcer Cadv: full BAB, some rogue abilities, and decent SA to add to your TWF or sniping. Not as weird a match as it might sound; rangers can be pretty badass with that. The armor training allows you to make better use of a mithral breatsplate/chainmail. Stalkers can find it great, and if you have a scouting buddy, they will appreciate the bonus skills, too. Overall good if you do not want to advance your casting or bother with an animal companion. A ranger 6/rogue 4/NE 10 can be even better, although the multiclass is not necessary. I advise getting TWF, possibly telling blow if your weapons have a decent critical threat range (kukri, scimitars, rapiers, even daggers)

Occult Slayer Complete Warrior: quite useful to any ranger expecting to face more than a few enemies with magical powers, whether from class levels or racial abilities. The PrC boosts the ranger's single weak save (will), gives you a bonus to saves vs spells, and other useful features in detecting, avoiding, or defeating casters. Great for any ranger who wants to be slightly more useful against casters than the usual warrior. Let's face it - ToB or no ToB, casters are likely to be your biggest problem. This PrC does not solve it, but it helps.

Peerless Archer Silver Marches: the Deepwood Sniper is the iconic PrC for long-range bowmeisters, but the Peerless archer is the stuff for a quick-draw bowslinger who can pincusion his foe from point-blank range. The feat prerequisites are harsh, and the low number of skill points indicate that the PrC was designed for warriors. Tough luck - rangers make decent archers and their skills and tricks can only help them move in, get the shot, and move out. The PrC offers you some sweet tete-a-tete goods like ranged sneak attack (4 dice), preparing MW and magic arrows, using your bow as a reach weapon (I wonder if you can flank, I haven't read SM recently) and, get this, power attack with bows. Oh, among other things. A ranger 6/fighter or rogue 4 can make good use of it, and a ranger 6/PsyWarrior 2 can use an unorthodox way to get a few extra feats (and fell shot+ranged power attack go together so well...). A good PrC that, best of all, does not bother you with race or alignment. Still, if you do have certain race and alignment later it mixes well with the Justice.

Peregrine Runner Races of stone: before swift hunter, this was a decent PrC for rangers who wanted some scout abilities, and it's still not too bad. Apart from the skirmish and the hawk animal companion (better than nothing, I guess - have someone permanence a speak with animals on you) you get a climb speed, a bonus to your movement speed, and immunity to fatigue and exhaustion. The catch? It's a medium-BAB prestige class. Still, if you're not worried about your combat prowess suffering and you want to get some faux-scout levels, you can take it. Goliath only

Pious Templar Cdiv: not the obvious choice for a ranger, perhaps - consider it for martial prowess. With the right weapon, you can get mastery for free, some bonus feats, and a taste of an okay spellcasting. Now, if only you could persuade the DM to allow this PrC to give ranger spellcasting for more nature-ish gods, you're golden. Even with paladin spells, you get decent casting, some combat-related stuff, and weapon specialization (read: a road to weapon mastery) that can help a lot if your group needs a reliable frontliner and you’re the only option.

Prime Underdark Guide Underdark: while one can't help but notice WotC's imagination sometimes fails them in thinking of names for PrCs, at least this one is pretty upfront at what it does. It's specialized in working in the Underdark, and it's a guide - meaning, it's the guy who works for larger groups and whose main (or only) job is to prevent them from killing themselves with the scenery. As for "prime," well... 2 out of 3 isn't so bad. The PrC's most iconic features are expanded use of aid another and giving the rest of the party danger sense, and while these are useful, I haven't had them used so much in any game I've played. Also, it gets a spellbook-based intelligence progression with some useful utility spells. The catch is that it only has medium BAB and 4+int skill points/level. Okay if the party doesn't need extra muscle and is light on the spellcasting side, but hardly impressive.

Reachrunner Races of Eberron: ok, you know the drill - no animal companion, no spellcasting, fewer hit points. Boo! Still, you get to add your class level to a couple of useful outdoorsman skills, so your party members shouldn't complain too much. You're also faster and get to work better in difficult terrain, which happens quite often outside - and probably will come in handy in dungeons as well. Eventually, you get something like a mini-pounce, which only works against flat-footed opponents. Ranger/scouts should consider this PrCs most seriously, but other rangers can also find it valuable.

Sanctified Mind Lords of Madness) the book talks about this PrC as an option for psionic characters and clerics, and it is a good choice for them. However, any ranger who meets the prerequisites (iron will, some skills, and a PP reserve from race, levels, or feats) can find it useful - full BAB, 5/6 divine casting or manifesting, 2 good saves and 4+int skill points are not bad for a start. The abilities aren't anything to sneer at, either - partition mind delays mind-affecting effects that get past your will save, cleansing strike gives you a nice anti-psionic smite (fueled by wisdom, thankfully), disrupting blow can effectively neutralize a psionic enemy, so what's not to like? Oh, and eventually you get a bonus to evade grapples (good) and some power resistance (which, given the default psionic/magic transparency, equals spell resistance) that essentially gives you a 25% chance to resist a power cast with a manifester level of your character level and eventually means a high chance to ignore a racial ability or a dorje effect. Interestingly enough, you meet the prerequisites by lvl 4. If I expected a campaign with a lot of psi-using enemies, I'd be drooling as a Cthulhu-lookalike at the sight of a Japanese schoolgirl. Still, it works better for multiclass rangers that can advance a better form of spellcasting/manifesting. Non-chaotic.

Scaled Horror Savage Species: an interesting option for aquatic or reptilian rangers - an often neglected part of the monster manual character option. At least, it be interesting if you weren't concerned about your BAB, and chances are you are. Still, you get casting out of the ranger list at a separate progression - which, accidentally, is equal to what you'd get as a lvl 17 ranger. DR and bonus feats - some related to combat, some to magic - aren't too bad, either. In an aquatic campaign, this PrC is very good, but on land, it's mediocre.

Scorpion Heritor Sandstorm: the PrC feels useful, but strangely... off. I get the feeling that it was made for people who wanted to take levels in rogue but didn't want the XP penalty, and then they added some fluff on it. Well, rangers and rogues do share a lot in common, so you might like it. Stalkers will value the extra SA, the poison, and some of the other abilities. With a little camouflage, it makes for a dangerous assassin. If a berk is dying in the desert, does he make a sound? Rangers and ranger/rogues are equallly suited.

Shaarian Hunter PGtF: while not all abilities synergize well, a ranger will have some good skills to bring to the PrC, as well as a much better mount that you can ordinarily get - and after all this is a PrC that focuses on mounted combat. Ranger 6/WPO 3 would be my best idea of entering the PrC.

Shadowblade Tome of Magic: despite the medium BAB progression, this PrC should not be overlooked. Both archers and twf rangers can benefit from a good sudden strike progression, although the unseen weapon ability marks this prestige class as melee-oriented (as if the name wasn't a dead giveaway). Ideally, rangers can use unseen weapon with two weapons or at least a double weapon, and some of the abilities aren't half bad, either - from ignoring concealment (which, as you remember, prevents you from dealing precision damage) to resolving attacks as touch attacks. Bonuses to stealth skills and vision help round out the PrC as a sneaksman's choice, but I can't help but think that it, and not the shadowsmith, was supposed to have 6+int sp/level. That would make it even better – as it is, it’s simply tolerable.

Shadow Scout Oriental Adventures: with the update of OA in Dragon 318, the Shadow Scout isn't half bad - a survivalist with a favourite enemy feature. I don't have the updated OA at the moment, though, so I can't give you anything more except that a OA ranger can make good use of it.

Shadowsmith Tome of Magic: a good mix of combat and support abilities, and a self-sufficiency that ties in well with ranger levels. Like with the shadowblade, a ranger benefits from some good stealth-related features, but the class' main feature is the ability to create items - including weapons, armor, or tools - from shadow. At higher levels, these weapons and armor can be enchanted, allowing you to quickly come up with the perfect item for the situation. You also get an ability that gives you a deflection bonus to AC and a few low-level mysteries per day. All in all, a pretty amazing PrC for rangers who want something different than the PHB class abilities.

Shinjo Explorer Rokugan CS: while the animal companion mechanic it has is pretty weird, this is a decent PrC for a self-sufficient ranger with several animal companions - the character can choose between a mount, a wolf (okay, big dog), and a falcon. The class also gives bonuses to survival and some unusual - for Rokugan - feats. Not really impressive in a mainstream game, but can be pretty okay for a wilderness campaign that takes place in a fixed region. 3.0 material, campaign-specific. Quite honestly, I wouldn't bother - but hey, a generous translation of this PrC could make it worthwhile for a ranger who wants a more explorer-like feel and no magic.

Silverstar Faiths and Pantheons: another cleric-oriented PrC, unfortunately not as good as the FM due to the intensive feat prerequisites and less combat-oriented abilities - and the poor number of skill points is a problem if you want to be the party skillmonkey. Still, it does offer some okay abilities, such as auto-enhancing any heavy maces you wield,some additions to your spell known list, okay spell-likes, etc. Overall, however, pass unless you have some cleric levels or really like some of its tricks. 3.0 material, campaign- alignment- and deity-specific.

Skylord BoED, exalted : beats me why it's so exalted (they even had to make you choose your own exalted feat instead of thinking of one for you), but getting a winged mount is cool. Archers can get a lot of mileage from a Pegasus or giant eagle, as you can imagine. Also, despite the class’ abysmal number of skill points, skylords get some detection skills as class skills, so it’s not too bad – for a mostly-warrior PrC. I don’t think I’d bother, though.

Stalker of Kharash BoED, exalted: it’s okay, but not that impressive. Scent of evil, track evil and favored enemy evil can be quite useful in your role as a scout, and such a broad FE category can be exploited quite well with the Favored Power Attack feat – or just Improved Favored Enemy. Apart from having to waste 2 feats on alertness and FotC, it’s not a bad choice, especially if you can persuade the DM to allow you to smite with any melee attack – as it is, the feature is nearly useless.

Stoneblessed Races of Stone: oh dear, daddy and mommy accidentally happened to be elves? Nothing that this PrC won't fix. Think of it as racial paragon levels for the born-again goliath or dwarf (or a gnome, but for a ranger it makes little sense) - you get some racial abilities, including their +4 AC vs giants and attack bonus vs certain enemies, and eventually a +2 to constitution. Oh, and you qualify for racial PrCs, feats and items, which can be nifty too. Goliath stoneblessed class skills tie in okay with the ranger skill list.

Stonedeath Assassin Races of Stone: well, I'll be: a PrC for goblins - and a halfway decent one, at that. As the name implies, you get stealth-related and underground abilities, which aren't limited to fighting dwarves. Trapfinding is always useful to a ranger who likes to scout before the party, and sneak attack is likely to come in handy as well. At level 5, you actually get a death attack of sort - although unlike others of its kind, I doubt the DC stacks with other classes that give death attack. Overall pretty decent if you want to get some rogue goodness - and rangers, often being the party scouts, can definitely put those talents to good use. Goblinoids only

Stonelord Complete Warrior: while there is some synergy between the two in terms of prerequisites and skills, the stonelord is more useful to characters only dipping in ranger levels as it doesn't continue most iconic ranger features. If that's okay with you, you get a slew situationally useful abilities. Useful for dwarven rangers with high constitution score; consider pairing it with a few deepwarden levels for a high-constitution, low-dexterity build. If the campaign takes place underground, the PrC can be very useful.

Swanmay BoED, exalted, female only: apart from the special prerequisites, the PrC can be quite potent. You lose the good reflex save, animal companion progression, and a few skill points, but overall it's tolerable. You get one - fixed - favored enemy boost, a very limited wildshape-life feature (but one which may serve as a prerequisite) and some fairly decent spell-likes. Speaking with animals or plants at will can be a great asset for someone who is often outdoors. The main appeal, however, is the 9/10 unspecified spellcasting progression in a full-BAB class. Multiclass rangers can really go to town with that one. Eventually becoming a fey has potential as well, both for the type and for the DR.

Sword of Righteousness BoED, exalted: a short dip for bonus feats and possibly a bump to your will save. I don't think there are that many exalted feats that are good enough for a ranger to justify such a dip, but you may disagree.

Tempest Cadv: it is not on the level of ToB, etc, etc - I have heard this PrC dissed a lot. The fact remains, however, that a ranger who has gotten into Dervish probably meets all the prerequisites for Tempest, and it might be worth a try. No penalty on TWF attacks, more AC with something like TWD, and an ability to use your feats with 2 different weapons can help rangers who want to focus on their combat style.

Thrall of Demogorgon BoVD, vile: like most thralls or disciple PrCs, this one offers okay class skills and skill points. The spellcasting progression is fairly laughable, but rangers can appreciate the option to get 4 bonus feats instead. So what do we have... proficiency with all armors and shield, for what it matters, an apparently enhancement bonus to NA (up to +4), a couple of charisma-based spell-likes, summoning a demon, and a few fairly useful supernatural abilities that can get you extra reach in a pinch or the ability to take 2 full-round actions in a round 2/day, Frankly, the last one alone would have made a serious capstone ability, and you get it at lvl 4. At level 10, you get to cast a limited wish 1/day. How can I best put it... wow?

Topaz Guardian [/i]Lords of Madness[/i]: in a nutshell: Sanctified Mind that's almost been made to suck. But hey, maybe your DM gets an apoplectic fit if someone mentions pionics, and you don't have someone else to game with. It does get a free upgraded topaz diadem, an ability to smite aberrations, a good will save and a bonus to resist or escape grapples that can be useful at times. Skill list and points are quite poor, though - acceptable for a paladin gish combo, but not what a ranger needs. If you're expecting a heavily psionic campaign, the full BAB and 3/5 spellcasting make this a tolerable PrC - for five levels. You're losing a lot of skills and stealth-related features, but you do gain some measure of specialized combat skills and a good will save. Multiclass ranger/casters can use this to boost a better progression. Good alignments only

Umbral Disciple Magic of Incarnum: this medium-BAB PrC offers some sneak attack and a selection of interesting abilities to make you a better sneaksman. Abilities such as concealment/HiPS in shadowy environments or blindsight are great for a stealth-oriented ranger, and the prerequisites are easy enough to meet. I'm not sure how good the higher-level abilities are in practice, but on paper they look, well, awesome. Incarnum-wielding rangers should at least consider this prestige class if they're not hell-bent on focusing only on their martial abilities.

Uncanny Trickster Complete Scoundrel: if you have several levels you don't know what to do with, chances are this is a good option. The prerequisites should not be a problem as, as before, rangers easily qualify for skill tricks and can often make good use of them. Advancing the features of another class with some extras isn't bad, either - past lvl 1, you lose practically nothing. A nice option for single-class rangers, but better for a multiclass build.

Unseelie Dark Hunter online article, 3.0 material: Not to be confused with the Dark Hunter from the Complete series; this is the personal tracker and go-getter of the Queen of Air and Darkness, an interesting enough concept that it may deserve attention. As a scout and tracker, the PrC is quite solid, boosting your speed (mounted and on foot) and senses, and giving some additional mobility features. What is perhaps most interesting is that it gets spontaneous arcane casting based on wisdom. Altogether interesting for an NPC, but not exactly recommended for a PC: forget the medium BAB and lack of additional attack options, considering the Code of Conduct and to whom you owe allegiance, this can be more restrictive than the kinslayer.

Vermin Keeper Underdark: one of the typically druid PrCs, this is an interesting choice for a wildshaping ranger. To sum it up, it's a druid, but with "vermin" - you get a vermin companion, can shapeshift into a vermin, etc. Still, between full spellcasting progression (druid stuff), being able to assume forms from fine to huge, and some additional abilities, this is a good option for a ranger who somehow gets wild shape. Unfortunately, keep in mind that your vermin companion is not mindless - and thus can be affected by mind-affecting spells/powers. Overall, a useful option - wildshaping alone can't be overrated.

Warmind Expanded Psionics Handbook: a ranger wanting to boost his combat potential can find this PrC more than useful, especially if taken after a level or two in a psionic class (I recommend psychic warrior for the extra feats) to get the required skills at a lower cost. The abilities and powers can be great for both TWF and archery-oriented rangers. More than most other PrC presented here, however, the warmind will detract from a ranger's outdoorsman/skillmonkey role. If that's okay and your specialization won't hinder the party, then the PrC is a good option. Requires a lawful character with some PP pool (psionic race/class levels or the wild/hidden talent feat)

Warrior of Darkness BoVD, vile: another warrior PrC, this one at least retains a bit of skill use and the stealth skills as class ones. Between that, good will save, and a plethora of feats or other abilities that you can choose, it's not a bad choice for an eeevil ranger who wants to improve their combat skills.

Wasp Bounty Hunter Rokugan CS Appearances deceiving can be, as a grammar-challenged little green humanoid once said. As a bounty hunter, this PrC is nothing special - but as far as archer PrCs go, this is one of the best. As usual, you don't get spellcasting or animal companion, and as a PrC modeled after the 3.0 ranger, it only gets 4+int skill points. On the up side, you get bonuses to attack, damage and range with bows, a boost to initiative if you have an arrow nocked when combat starts, and a capstone ability that lets you take 20 on an attack roll with an arrow as a full-round action. This is, quite honestly, a must-see for any non-casting archer looking for prestige classes.

Waverider Savage Species: consider this basically an underwater-oriented version of the CWar cavalier, and treat it accordingly. Ranger levels allow you to be a little more skilled and versatile before you enter this class, and if you use one of the alternative weapon styles in the Dragon magazine, you can get some better feats to tie in with the trident/harpoon abilities you get from the PrC. Consider asking your DM to allow you to somehow stack ranger levels for the mount a la devoted tracker - or just use a ranger variant that doesn't get an animal companion. Useful for an aquatic campaign, but of limited use if you get ashore.

Waveservant: Faiths and Pantheons: Let's start with the bad news - you need a WF in tridents, you don't get them auto-enhanced, you have the usual problems of having a cleric-oriented PrC - and some morons can even mock you for worshipping a deity usually called the B***h Queen. Of course, they seldom do so twice, unless someone animates them. Anyway, prerequisites are fairly mild, and you get some rather... interesting abilities. You rebuke aquatic creatures, get some good underwater- and poison-related abilities, and eventually become immune to critical hits or sneak attacks. Oh, and more - from having a swim speed to a rage-like feature. If you're playing a marine campaign a la stormwrack, it's a good option - arguably among the best. If not, it's okay, but once again you're better off advancing another kind of spellcasting instead of the ranger one. 3.0 material, campaign- and deity-specific.

Weretouched Master ECS: this is one of those few medium-BAB prestige classes that are worth taking all the way imo, particularly if you can find a way to get your weapons to somehow enhance your natural attacks or, in any other way, qualify for the rapidstrike feat. The other abilities also synergize well, so you can stay at this class as long as you want. Unfortunately, despite a very good class skill list the PrC comes with an abysmal number of skill points/level - 2+int, and shifters already have problems with their intelligence attribute. If you party can cover up for you not developing some iconic skills, go for it. If not, well, weigh the options carefully.

Wild Plains Outrider Cadv: rangers with a big enough animal companion have a good reason to take this short PrC. It adds to your druid level, makes your companion faster, and allows you to make a melee full attack when mounted. Whether you are riding a heavy warhorse, or dire wolf, bat or eagle (Races of Stone, I think the PrC does not prohibit flying mounts), this PrC is probably worth it.

Wild Runner RotW: An interesting barbarian-esque class for elves and half-elves, rangers meet the prerequisites easy and benefit from improved woodcraft, a handy boost in speed and combat power (an ability to pounce deserves mention for the swift hunter lovers out there) to make it a decent package. Rangers with an animal companion or the Animal Cohort feat (DM ruling necessary for that one) might be interested in the feat that allows you to share your rage with your animal companion. The problem is that the iconic WR ability - the scream rage - is keyed off constitution and charisma, two abilities that rangers - and elves - do not excel at. Still, wood elves (ranger as favored class, nice ability mods) might enjoy it. Interesting builds with WR 10 include ranger 6/ barbarian or scout 4.

Windwalker Faiths and Pantheons: this bears mention for several reasons. First, it's a pretty decent PrC on its own, possibly on par with the Forest Master and with tolerable prerequisites (which you can meet by lvl 5) and an okay number of skill points/level (4). However, what is more interesting that unlike most of the PrCs in this book, this one seems to be intended for rangers - but is just fine for clerics (more like awesome, really): full BAB and full casting = nice. The class abilities are pretty solid - you add two domains of spells to your ranger list, get a slew of useful spell-likes at will or for several rounds per day, cold resistance, can smite fiends... Oh, and at level 10, you get an impressive fly speed (100, average maneurability). This is some good stuff, especially if you have druid or cleric spellcasting to boost. Note that some of the abilities depend on charisma, though. 3.0 material, setting- and deity-specific.
Hey has anyone reviewed the Quintessential Guide to Ranger at all? I'm considered having my Ranger go into the wolf lord class. Even though Animal Lord is possible, wolf lord seems more appealing to me.
I have the Quintessential Ranger guide. It's a book full of ideas to roleplay a better ranger.

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I haven't commented it, simply because is not WotC stuff.
This is a extensive guide, and here, we use to comment stuff protected by copyright laws. If we go to far in this way, Wiz'Os will notify to us, or let us continue (their stuff, they have the decision)

But in case of non WotC stuff, I think that the material have not that quarantine of "respect-the-law" Wiz¡Os can hardly manage decisions about others content.

Anyway, ask Wiz'Os. If they agree, I can add the quintessential stuff.
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About the wolf lord... I'ts a cool class, but with a weak point. If your animal companion gets killed, you can't replace him. Instead, you must resurrect it.
At low levels, its very expensive. And at high levels, your companion will be more time dead than alive.

Check with your DM. If he agrees to change this part, then it's Ok. If not, may be its not worth it.
I think you may have missed the part where it says that a new lupine companion arrives in a weeks time. That fixes that weak spot I would think. Not as good as waiting 24 hours (be it with prayer) but still pretty good.
Its defaintly geared more towards a ranger (funny that coming from a Rangers guide) than then Animal lord thats for sure. They are realtively compared in their abilities as well, but the biggest thing is that the wolf lord keeps the ranger spell progression happening, which is another thing.

Now question for me though is should I try and get high sword low axe before I go into this class at level 10 dipping into fighter twice for feats, or stick with ranger and go into it at level 9 (because of skill requirements) and being a full fledged ranger ;)
Is there more on the Wildshaping Ranger? Esp "What do I get that a Druid wouldn't get?"

I've been looking at an embryonic build of something like Ranger (wildshaping) 5/Master of Many Forms 9/Warshaper 4/xx 2 in some order.

IMO, straight ranger doesn't gain all that much - However, Swift Hunters wild shaped into pouncing forms make me smile...
IMO, straight ranger doesn't gain all that much - However, Swift Hunters wild shaped into pouncing forms make me smile...

Well, at higher levels all that improves is their spellcasting, which practically doubles between lvl 17 and 20. However, I guess most ranger spells can be somewhat more useful to rangers in human form.
Bump
Anyway, as for the guide, I suggest you add Darkstalker (Lords of Madness) to the feats-section;

Gah! I can't believe I didn't mention Darkstalker during my initial contributions. It's one of my top feat picks.

Quick Reconnoiter is another one I like a lot but it's one of those "cool" feats that usually gets pushed to the side for other options.
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