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Topic: D&D Topic: Building a Better Ranger
King Parcelan
Chicken of the Sea
posted 06-04-2002 05:42:51 AM
For a long time now, exchanges over Rangers in 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons have been more akin to debate than discussion.

As many of our munchkin players point out, there is a problem with the ranger. And that problem is: A Ranger is not worth playing past 1st-level.

Harsh as it may be, it is true. Rangers get their best abilities (two-weapon fighting and track) at 1st-level. Unbelievable as it may be, Favored Enemies and Spells aren't really worth pursuing a Ranger to their highest levels. This becomes very true in the face of such abilities as the Monk's and Druid's.

Ergo, the solution is to give greater reason to play a Ranger.

I have created a list of abilities that would both suit the role of a Ranger as well as give them greater appeal to the masses. They are as follows:

Abilities marked with an asterik denote they are prototype and may not fit the model of a Ranger, or they may need testing/opinions.

Non-Unique Abilities: These abilities are already common to some other classes, but would fit a Ranger well.

Save Changes: In order to further distinguish the Ranger from a Fighter, he advances the same rate on his Reflex saves as a Rogue as well as his normal Fortitude advancement.

I've also been thinking of giving Paladins the Will save advancement of a cleric.

Woodland Stride and Trackless Step: Given a) a Ranger's familiarity with the wilderness and b) their close kinship with druids, I feel these two druidic abilities would greatly compliment their arsenal, as well as fit from a role-playing standpoint.

Woodland Stride is the ability to move through undergrowth (briars, thick underbrush, etc) without movement penalty. And Trackless Step speaks for itself.

Uncanny Dodge: We've always thought of Rangers as light, mobile opponents capable of great feats of agility. I feel it would compliment a Ranger greatly to give them the ability to never be flanked and never be caught flat-footed.

I do not include the third evolution of uncanny dodge, which is a bonus to saves against traps, as a Ranger would not have much experience with such mechanisms.

Evasion*: It may or may not make sense. Opinions?

Venom Immunity*: On one hand, a Ranger would be familiar with venomous creatures of the world. On the other, he may not have supernatural ties to be immune to them. Opinions?

New Abilties: These are abilities created by me with the thought of a greater appeal to the players. They are highly subject to testing.

Greater Enmity: The Ranger's hatred/expertise of his Favored Enemies results in this ability. When fighting his Favored Enemies, he gains a +1 competence bonus to his AC and his damage bonus affects creatures normally immune to them (such as undead and constructs).

Superior Tracking: The Ranger gains a +2 to +5(?) bonus to his tracking checks, and can now track creatures normally untrackable (such as those who use Trackless Step or Pass Without Trace), albeit at a penalty.

Uncanny Sense: The Ranger's sharpened senses and keen alertness of his surroundings have resulted in one of his most powerful abilities: to be aware of almost everything around him.

He can become aware of all enemies within a 10-50(?) ft. radius with a successful Spot or Listen check. He is also never caught by surprise.

Advanced Two-Weapon Fighting*: This ability is intended to give Rangers an edge in the Two-Weapon Fighting business. Though it may be overkill, and definitely ( definitely ) needs more work.

The ability is to give the Ranger the option to use two weapons of the same length at the same penalty as using two weapons of different sizes, or two weapons of different sizes at no penalty.

OPINIONS DIRELY NEEDED

So there you have it. Opinions from all D&Ders are welcome and extremely encouraged

Lalamile
My title doesn't even make sense any more
posted 06-04-2002 06:02:40 AM
What about Bonus Bow Feats?
Tarquinn
Personally responsible for the decline of the American Dollar
posted 06-04-2002 07:14:07 AM
Have you ever tried a different system?
~Never underestimate the power of a Dark Clown.
`Doc
Cold in an Alley
posted 06-04-2002 08:39:43 AM
I don't have my books in front of me at the moment, so I may revise or revisit later some of the statements I make now.

Giving the ranger fast-progressing saves in both FORT and REF makes sense, so long as they are not also getting the fast-progressing WILL save. No class should progress quickly in all three of its saves. (Do not give the paladin more power. Too many people munchkin paladins as is.)

Woodland stride and trackless step are both appropriate to the ranger, though trackless step should be gained at a higher level for the ranger than for the druid. Uncanny dodge is also appropriate to the ranger, though at a higher level than the rogue gets it (as with trackless step for the druid).

I'll have to address Evasion when I have my books in front of me.

Don't give venom immunity to the ranger in and of itself. Unless the ranger puts training into herbalism, she will not have either the knowledge or the supernatural background to earn this ability.

Use a progression for superior tracking. As with most of the bonuses afforded to monks (ki strike, AC, and unarmed damage), this ability progresses with training and improved understanding of those abilities the ranger seeks to counter.

I don't know if you plan to have the AC bonus for greater enmity stack in the same manner as the attack bonuses on favored enemies do. If you do plan to have this stack, it might be adviseable to reduce the number of favored enemies a ranger gets. If this doesn't stack, then its impact shouldn't be overpowering.

Beware of uncanny sense. This should not be introduced until level 15+, if at all. Though never being caught by surprise is somewhat redundant with uncanny dodge, the ability for a ranger to actually locate enemies around him will be munchkinned to death.
GM: "You hear footsteps."
Player: "I try to sneak up behind the leader."
GM: "What leader? You only heard footsteps."
Player: "Yeah, I heard footsteps and my uncanny sense told me where everyone was. The leader is whichever one moves a lot more or less often than the others."
GM: "And how would you know that?"
Player: "Uncanny sense, duh. I know where they all are, so I obviously know when they're moving."

At the least, it will be a real pain to deal with. If you have it expand in progression, (10 ft radius at one level, then 20, then 30, etc.), you should still not introduce it until at least level 10, and don't let the player get 50 ft clearance until level 18-20.

I'd ditch AT-WF in favor of something more range oriented. The Drizzt image of a ranger isn't what a ranger's supposed to be. I like Lalamile's suggestion of bow-oriented feats instead of this. Let the fighter and monk be experts in melee, while rangers excel in range combat.

Once you've plotted when to give which abilities, compare the resulting table to the monk or druid. If the ranger gets more than either one of them, you'll need to cut it down. After all, the ranger will be getting good combat, limited spells, and special abilities.

There's also nothing wrong with taking out favored enemies altogether, if you feel that the other abilities you offer are more appropriate to a ranger, but find you need to cut something back.

[ 06-04-2002: Message edited by: Ford Prefect ]

Base eight is just like base ten, really... if you're missing two fingers. - Tom Lehrer
There are people in this world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that! - Tom Lehrer
I want to be a race car passenger; just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Man, you really like Tide..." - Mitch Hedberg
Please keep your arms, legs, heads, tails, tentacles, pseudopods, wings, and/or other limb-like structures inside the ride at all times.
Please submit all questions, inquests, and/or inquiries, in triplicate, to the Department of Redundancy Department, Division for the Management of Division Management Divisions.

Maelarr
Pancake
posted 06-04-2002 11:37:31 AM
Though I agree with most of the points Khyron made, Bow mastery feats/abilities instead of two weapon fighting, progressive senses/increased enmity, I would say they should get trackless step relatively early, before 10 maybe. Remember they get the Track feat at level 1 as a free feat, so after tracking for so long, you'd think they'd learn to be able avoid being able to track even themselves. Kind of like a locksmith learning how to pick locks to ensure the safety of his own locks.
A couple ideas for the bow abilities:
Improved Rapid shot- You get another additional attack with a bow per round , or you no longer suffer the -2 penalty for extra shots per round, or the penalty is reduced to -1 at one point and eliminated completetly later on.
Improved Point Blank Shot-An additional +1 yo attack and dmg rolls with Bows at ranges up to 30ft.
Improved Mounted ArcheryThe penalty for using Bows while on horseback is furter reduced to -1 or eliminated.
Pinpoint Shot-You get a small + to hit/dmg when shooting into a meelee.
Perhaps a bow version of Sunder and Improved Critical?

All Empires Fall, You just have to know where to push- Me
Cleric Rogue Sigpic
Cadga
Quite Insane
posted 06-04-2002 11:38:44 AM
make rangers able to summon friendly pit demons to do thier bidding. His name will be Bob
Bob the Pit Demon
Professional Sinner/Heretic
My mindless dribble
`Doc
Cold in an Alley
posted 06-04-2002 12:08:58 PM
quote:
ACES! Another post by Maelarr:
Though I agree with most of the points Khyron made...
Khyron? Where?
Base eight is just like base ten, really... if you're missing two fingers. - Tom Lehrer
There are people in this world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that! - Tom Lehrer
I want to be a race car passenger; just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Man, you really like Tide..." - Mitch Hedberg
Please keep your arms, legs, heads, tails, tentacles, pseudopods, wings, and/or other limb-like structures inside the ride at all times.
Please submit all questions, inquests, and/or inquiries, in triplicate, to the Department of Redundancy Department, Division for the Management of Division Management Divisions.

Maradon!
posted 06-04-2002 12:12:18 PM
quote:
King Parcelan spewed forth this undeniable truth:
As many of our munchkin players point out, there is a problem with the ranger. And that problem is: A Ranger is not worth playing past 1st-level.

Harsh as it may be, it is true. Rangers get their best abilities (two-weapon fighting and track) at 1st-level.


But getting such good abilities at level 1 justifies thier being imbalanced in the end game

Reyolen
Wanders too much for a custom title
posted 06-04-2002 01:29:01 PM
quote:
Nobody really understood why Maradön² wrote:
But getting such good abilities at level 1 justifies thier being imbalanced in the end game
Does it? Why would you level if you didn't gain anything? His point was there was no point in playing a ranger past level 1, not to never play a ranger.

By the way, I don't whether you're joking or not, so take it like this:
Serious=

Joking=

[ 06-04-2002: Message edited by: Reyolen ]

Arttemis the Rogue
Amethyst's sex toy
posted 06-04-2002 01:34:33 PM
He's using the logic he feels has been applied to EQ Necros.
Khyron
Hello, my mushy friend...
posted 06-04-2002 01:38:45 PM
Maelarr
Pancake
posted 06-04-2002 01:43:38 PM
*Takes a large blunt object and bashes his head with it several times for switching "Khyron" for "Ford Prefect"*

All Empires Fall, You just have to know where to push- Me
Cleric Rogue Sigpic
Pharazha
Pancake
posted 06-04-2002 02:08:04 PM
Im currently playing a Ranger(2)/Fighter(5). I agree that there is no real reason to play a Ranger past 1st level. By the time you get spells they are mostly just for utility, they wont contribute much. Favored Enemy is not very effective. Usually I will choose a favored enemy that has a tendency to never show up in a campaign.

My suggestion to a better ranger is check out the Wheel of Time book for d20. Look at the Woodsman class specifically. I feel that is closer to a better ranger, even tho you won't recieve spells. You get track, 6 + INT mod for skills ( which ranger have alot to keep high ), Fort and Reflex focused saves, some Bonus Feats ( useful for all the bow feats ), Partial Improved Initiative, and Woodland Stealth ( bonus to Hide and Move Silently ).

Some addition feats I think a ranger should have are as follows:

Fast Movement ( Ex ): The character has a speed faster than the norm for his race by +10 feet when wearing no armor or light armor ( and not carrying a heavy load ).

Fast Track ( Ex ): When in forests and other natural environments, the -5 penalty to Wilderness Lore checks for moving at normal speed is ignored. The character can track with no penalty for moving at normal speed.

For my Ranger/Fighter, I wish I got the Wheel of Time book earlier. I would be much happier. A Fighter that takes Track as a feat would be better than a straight Ranger of the same level IMO.

[ 06-04-2002: Message edited by: Pharazha ]

King Parcelan
Chicken of the Sea
posted 06-04-2002 03:13:53 PM
Alright, I think we can safely scrap AT-WF at this point.

Anyway, the Greater Enmity AC bonus doesn't stack. It's a one-time thing, perhaps upgraded to +2 at a higher level. But nothing as ridiculous as +5.

Advanced Tracking may be able to be broken down into little abilities and given progression over time: Track at level 1, Fast Track at level 3, Bonus Track check at level 6, Track Untrackable at level 9, etc.

Uncanny Senses needs more work, I agree, but I originally intended it just for Rangers to be able to locate all enemies as possible. Example: if they hear footsteps and make a successful Listen check, they realize by the light-falling sound of the footsteps that there are eight Gnolls, and they've been surrounded. Nothing more.

Elvish Crack Piper
Murder is justified so long as people believe in something different than you do
posted 06-04-2002 04:56:05 PM
I have played a ranger to level 14, and I am constantly doing nothing more than run up and hit things less effectively than the warrior in our party. The spells were semi-useful till we relized greater magic fang didnt work on my short swords.

The warrior gets lots of feats, the barbarian gets HP and rage, monks do lots of damage and do freaky things and thieves never die. Rangesr hit for lower damage, and get nothing good past level 1

(Insert Funny Phrase Here)
Taylen
Pancake
posted 06-04-2002 05:02:59 PM
I really don't see much of a lack in melee for rangers so far. Most people think of rangers as woodland archers, would be nice to see some extra stuff for archery.
"When correctly viewed, everything is lewd." - Tom Lehrer.
Sadomasochism: It's Fun!
Taylen Ashenbow
Rangers never run we mearly stratigically retreat.
Thats not a train thats a pull, my trains are always much bigger.
Pesco
Is a copyright of Peachis. Don't underestimate his pants, either.
posted 06-04-2002 05:04:09 PM
Posting in this thread because the word "Ranger" was in the title.
Ferret
Poing! Poing!
posted 06-04-2002 06:41:10 PM
Poison immunity sounds like it would be a logical skill. Rangers are herbalists (to an extent) so at some point they probably handle alot of poisonous materials.

You might also want to consider giving them the ability to make type S poison, as they probably would want a way to prevent rabid animals/ insane people from hurting others or themselves without killing them.

Also, to prevent the abuse of the Uncanny Sense ability, You could also make it like rangers get the ability to roll for a Spot/Listen check a second time if they fail the first and not an instant map in their head.

I don't have the book infront of me so I can't exactly read up to see if what I'm saying make sense, I'm going off what I remember from rangers.

[ 06-04-2002: Message edited by: Ferret ]

`Doc
Cold in an Alley
posted 06-04-2002 07:47:48 PM
Just a first stab at organizing my thoughts.

Level :: Ability
1 :: Ambidexterity & Two-weapon fighting w/ light armor
- :: Track
- :: 1st favored enemy
2 :: Woodland Stride
3 :: 1st greater enmity
4 :: Superior Tracking +1/-10
5 :: 2nd favored enemy
6 :: Uncanny Dodge (against flatfoot)
7 :: Trackless Step
- :: 2nd greater enmity
8 :: Superior Tracking +2/-8
9 :: Bonus Bow Feat
10 :: Uncanny Dodge (against flanking)
-- :: 3rd favored enemy
11 :: Uncanny Sense 10ft
12 :: Superior Tracking +3/-6
13 :: 3rd greater enmity
14 :: Uncanny Sense 20ft
15 :: 4th favored enemy
16 :: Superior Tracking +4/-4
17 :: Uncanny Sense 30ft
18 :: 4th greater enmity
19 :: Bonus Bow Feat
20 :: 5th favored enemy
-- :: Uncanny sense 40ft
-- :: Superior Tracking +5/-2

This applies for however you finally decide to describe the Uncanny Sense ability.

Base eight is just like base ten, really... if you're missing two fingers. - Tom Lehrer
There are people in this world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that! - Tom Lehrer
I want to be a race car passenger; just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Man, you really like Tide..." - Mitch Hedberg
Please keep your arms, legs, heads, tails, tentacles, pseudopods, wings, and/or other limb-like structures inside the ride at all times.
Please submit all questions, inquests, and/or inquiries, in triplicate, to the Department of Redundancy Department, Division for the Management of Division Management Divisions.

Cap'n Elethi
I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt...
posted 06-04-2002 08:01:01 PM
Have you looked at the Masters of The Wild book, Parce?

I haven't read the section on Rangers recently, but I think I remember there being some useful feats, and extremely useful prestiege classes.

Elethi Rian, A Man Of Many Talents
122ci of pure skill
`Doc
Cold in an Alley
posted 06-04-2002 08:10:40 PM
Quick note: for superior tracking, the +x bonus only applies to enemies that could be tracked without superior tracking. The -x is for those enemies who can only be tracked with the superior tracking ability.
Base eight is just like base ten, really... if you're missing two fingers. - Tom Lehrer
There are people in this world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that! - Tom Lehrer
I want to be a race car passenger; just a guy who bugs the driver. "Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Man, you really like Tide..." - Mitch Hedberg
Please keep your arms, legs, heads, tails, tentacles, pseudopods, wings, and/or other limb-like structures inside the ride at all times.
Please submit all questions, inquests, and/or inquiries, in triplicate, to the Department of Redundancy Department, Division for the Management of Division Management Divisions.

King Parcelan
Chicken of the Sea
posted 06-04-2002 08:46:31 PM
I've read Masters of the Wild, but what you say doesn't solve the problem.

Feats just to fix problems don't make the Ranger class any more appealing.

And Prestige Classes don't fix the problem, either. The problem, if you'll recall, is having them be able to stand on their own as a class. How is taking a PClass solving that problem?

It's apparent this needs more thought, because looking at Ford's prototype list, it seems a little out of whack to me.

Suggestions?

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