Once the book is complete, physical copies will be released and I will update to address the new content. The Ranger is an interesting mix of Druid-style spellcasting, Fighter-style combat capabilities, and Rogue-style skills. The Ranger can fill the role of either a Fighter-equivalent or a Rogue-equivalent sometimes both , and works well as a Scout and Striker, but can't match the Fighter's capacity as a Defender. Standard for martial characters, d10 hit points gives you plenty of hp to get through the day.. Dexterity saves almost exclusively prevent partial damage from AOE effects, and Strength saves are relatively rare.
Medium armor, shields, and martial weapons are great, but without heavy armor almost every Ranger will go for a Dexterity-based build. Rangers also get three skills, which is unusually high, but since Rangers fall somewhere between a Fighter-equivalent and Rogue-equivalent, it makes sense that they get an extra skill.
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Situational by nature, and the bonuses you gain against the subject are really minor. The big bonuses come later from features like Foe Slayer. One of the more numerous creature types, but very few have a CR above Beasts are common at low levels, but very few beasts have a CR above 5 so you'll stop facing them early in your career.
Like Fiends, but only select this in an evil campaign. There aren't a lot of constructs in the Monster Manual, and they don't appear frequently because they're hard to shoe-horn into many adventures. Plus, how often do you need to track a golem which was created to guard a room? Dragons are a tempting option because they're so iconic and scary, but they're also a bad option because there are so few of them.
There are very few elemental creatures which frequent appearances as enemies. A great option, especially in an all-good campaign. Fiends are numerous, and run the whole CR range. There aren't a ton of giants, and their highest CR is There are a lot great mosnters which qualify as "Monstrosities", but very vew of them have a CR above There are almost no oozes in the Monster Manual. There are very few plant monsters in the game.
Iconic, numerous, and consisting of a long list of enemies running the whole CR range. Undead pop up in many campaigns, even those where undead aren't a major them, so they're a good, reliable option. Humanoids are hard to pin down. Depending on your campaign, you may face a huge number of humanoids or you may face absolutely none. Only select humanoids if you know that you're going to face them.
Since you get to pick two types of humanoids, I recommend Humans and another race which is prominent in the campaign's setting. You get three choices over the course of your career, so hopefully your campaign doesn't involve a huge amount of traveling. The bonuses are fairly small, but fit the flavor the class. Rangers get a subset of the Fighting Styles available to Fighters, but the ones they get offer plenty of options. Unlike Fighters, Rangers only get one Fighting Style so it's important to pick one that fits your build sincey you won't get to pick a supplemental style.
The obvious choice for ranged builds. AC boosts are great, but Rangers are a Strikers at heart and you need a Fighting Style which boosts your damage output. Of course, Beast Master Rangers may prefer to rely more heavily on their companion for offense, so a boost to AC can allow you to protect yourself while your companion does the work.
Note that this works while using a shield. One of the biggest issues with two-weapon fighting is that you don't get to add your ability modifier to your off-hand attack without this fighting style, and taking this style makes it considerably more viable. Hunter's Mark adds a small but notable damage boost which closes the damage gap between greatswords and short swords, making TWF highly effective for Rangers.
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Rangers have a really interesting spell list with a lot of unique options exclusive to the Ranger. However, nearly every spell on the list uses Concentration, so it's really hard to use more than one spell at a time. Situational, and not terribly useful since you can't pinpoint the creatures' locations in the 6 mile radius. You're no Fighter, but two attacks is still a considerable boost to your damage output. Difficult terrain is very frustrating for melee characters, so this will give you a big advantage in some fights. Hide in Plain Sight: You don't get to move while using this, but it's very effective.
Very helpful for sniping, but not as important for Rangers as Cunning Action is for Rogues since you don't get Sneak Attack. Also note that it doesn't work with Hide in Plain Sight. Invisible creatures are hugely problematic, and even knowing what square they are in is a big advantage. Being able to locate and attack them without penalty is a massive bonus.
It's also important to note that many options are outright wasted because the Ranger's proficiency bonus doesn't add to the DC of the companion's abilities. This considerably limits the number of viable options, and excludes iconic and popular choices like the Mastiff and the Wolf.
DnD 5e - The Ranger Handbook
If your DM is nice, you may be able to convince them to let you add your proficiency bonus to ability DC's in addition to the other stats. There are some rulings on how ranger companions work addressed in the FAQ at the bottom of this document. Be sure to check the FAQ before selecting a companion. Dexterity dominates the Ranger's abilities, but be sure to put points into Wisdom to support your spells.. Since you have Dexterity for AC, you may as well use it for weapons. Since you're using Dexterity for weapons, you can dump Strength.
The only exception is if you decide to use a polearm for some reason. As a martial character rangers should expect to draw a lot of fire, so you need the hit points to handle it. A bit for Investigation and Nature might be nice, but you don't really need it. Bonus Dexterity, Wisdom, and flight. A perfect archery ranger. Nothing useful for the ranger. Reach is nice, and you get Stealth proficiency for free. Nothing useful for the Ranger. A bit of Wisdom helps with your spells.
Dexterity and free Perception proficiency. Nothing useful for the Ranger beyond what you get from the base elf racial traits. Unless you want the rider effects on Fey Step, Shadar-Kai is strictly better. A great option in a game that involves a lot of water. Dexterity and Constitution, coupled with a damage resistance and the ability to teleport are a fantastic combination for the Ranger, especially if you prefer melee combat.
Bonus Wisdom and Mask of the Wild is fantastic for Rangers. Decent ability increases and several excellent innate spellcasting options which fit the theme of the ranger very well. Bonus Constitution is always nice. A bit of Dexterity, and Levitate is nice for archers. Wisdom isn't as useful as Dexterity, but the Water Genasi's other abilities are much more interesting than the Air Genasi's. Rangers nearly always build around Dexterity, so the Githyanki offers little beyond their psionics. A bit of Dexterity and Stone Camouflage are tempting, but not enough to make this viable.
A bit of Dexterity is nice, but not enough to justify the choice. Great ability increases, and Nimble Escape gives you the important parts of Cunnin Action. The Charisma is totally wasted on the Ranger, but the other abilities are great. Only if you're in an aquatic campaign. Some decent magical options. Rangers rely too much on weapon attacks, and don't really need utility cantrips. The sidebar describing half-elf variants specifices that you can take Keen Senses in place of Skill Versatility, or a trait based on your elf parentage.
Keen Senses give you a single fixed skill, and you're giving up proficiency in any two skills. It should be immediately apparent that this is a terrible trade. The Wood Elf is a great option for Rangers, so taking some of its abilities is great for a Half-elf. The skills are great on a highly-skilled class like a Ranger. Bonus Dexterity, and Lucky is absolutely fantastic. A wisdom bonus is fantastic for your spellcasting. Silent Speech is cool, too, but unfortunately won't work with an animal companion because none of the available companion choices can learn languages.
The Charisma is wasted, and Naturally Stealthy isn't as useful for the Ranger as it is for the Rogue. Bonus Constitution and resistance to poison. Versatile and fantastic at everything. Half of the bonuses are totally wasted. You still get crucial bonuses to your Dexterity and Wisdom, and you can get an awesome feat at level 1. Fantastic ability increases, and the free skills help close the skill gap between rangers and rogues.
Be sure to pick up Thieve's Tools proficiency if you're playing your party's Rogue-equivalent. Pack Tactics is absolutely unfair when you combine it with beast master ranger. Extremely durable, though the lack of a Strength or Dexterity increase means that your damage output will lag a bit until you get some Ability Score increases. Half-orc is objectively better, but neither are great for rangers. Kenku is a better option, but the two provide many of the same benefits.
The vanilla Tieflin's ability scores are terrible for a Ranger, but the other abilities are fun, and the Feral variant subrace does a bit better. The biggest issue is that Charisma does very little for the Ranger, and the Charisma increase is one of the Tiefling's biggest benefits. Legacy of Malbolge provides some useful stealth options not typically available to rangers. Much better than the Vanilla Tiefling, but the Intelligence bonus is till wasted. Tortle natural armor matches the AC cap for medium armor.
That means that you get the same AC as other Strength-based rangers without needing to get 14 Dexterity to fill out your armor, allowing you to focus elsewhere. The tortle's ability scores are perfect for a Strength-based ranger, and you even get Survival for free.
Not awful, but the triton doesn't complement the ranger's spellcasting ro skills. Rangers can get every skill their need with their three class skill choices. If you're acting as your party's Rogue-equivalent, pick up Thieves' Tools proficiency. Otherwise, pick up whatever you want. Many backgrounds will give you bonus languages, but with no social skills the Ranger has no way to make use of them. Only once they get Bestial Fury. That means that companions like the Giant Badger don't get multiattack until 11th level. RAW, the poison damage is a separate damage roll, but I think that RAI the damage boost should only apply once per attack.
July 26th, Disclaimer I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance. Introduction The Ranger is an interesting mix of Druid-style spellcasting, Fighter-style combat capabilities, and Rogue-style skills. Ranger Class Features Hit Points: See "Subclasses - Ranger Archetypes", below. More mechanically complex than the Hunter, the Beastmaster emphasizes having a cool pet.
The archetype faces several mechanical issues, the largest of which is the lack of viable companion options. Assuming you're fine with one of the handful of truly effective options, your companion can be an effective addition to the party. However, remember that your companion gets just 4 hit points per ranger level and will have a fairly low AC compared to yours, so your companion will require frequent healing and protection.
Your choice of companion is as defining as your choice of Fighting Style. When selecting your companion, consider what you want it to do: Do you want a Scout, a Striker, or a Mount?
Ranger Handbook by U.S. Department of the Army
Different options work better for different roles. Mounts are somewhat difficult since you're limited to Medium size. Proficiency in Perception makes the Blood Hawk a fantastic aerial Scout. Passable at low levels, especially thanks to Charge, but won't scale well. Great bite damage and a swim speed, but that's all. Blood Hawk and Pteranodon are strictly better. Multiple movement types including good flight, Flyby, Blindsight, and impressive poison damage which doesn't allow a save.
Continue to be amazing once you get Bestial Fury at 11th level. Burrow speed, Darkvision, Keen Smell. According to the errata, giant badgers don't get multiattack until you get Bestial Fury at 11th level, which unfortunately means that the giant badger is limited to a single attack.
They're still a decent option and they'll probably do more damage one a single attack than you will. Blindsight, a Climb speed, and poison with very solid damage, but the poison allows a save and the DC won't scale so you'll be less effective against creatures with good Constitution saves. The Giant Crab's big scary mechanic is grappling with its claws, but since it doesn't have proficiency in Athletics and your companion's abilities never increase the DC to resist the grapple never scales.
Still, grappling a target on a hit means that you can reliably restrict the targets movement. While this won't matter for a great many creatures who are fine standing still and murdering your pet crab, it can be problematic for highly mobile creatures or creatures who don't like to be in melee. It still costs the target their action to escape the grapple, so if they want to get away from your crab you're still getting some of the benefits of your crab grappling. Giant Fire Beetle MM: This is an easy option to overlook.
Bite not only grapples but restrains the target. Grappled is a great way to restrict enemies' movements, but Restrained also provides advantage on melee attacks against the target. Swallow adds an additional way to inhibit and often kill small creatures, many of which are bad at escaping grapples. Despite the low DC to escape the frog's grapple, it still costs the target their action to do so, which means that the target is wasting the bulk of their turn just offsetting the effects of your pet.
In many encounters, that could be a fight-winning advantage. Once you get Bestial Fury at 11th level, remember that Swallow is a specific action, not a type of attack, so your frog can't bite something and swallow it on the same turn. Giant Poisonous Snake MM: Blindsight though the range is tiny , poison with very solid damage, and a swim speed, but the poison allows a save and the DC won't scale so you'll be less effective against creatures with good Constitution saves.
Darkvision, Keen Smell, and Pack Tactics. Unfortunately the Giant Rat has no special movement types and its damage is bad. Fast, Darkvision, and Keen Hearing and Smell. No special movement types and bad damage. Giant Wolf Spider MM: Very similar to the giant poisonous snake, but the giant wolf spider gains better speed and Spider Climb in exchange for 1d6 poison damage. I think it's a good trade, but it further compounds the issue of unreliable poison damage due to the saving throw. Very similar to the Hyena, but it trades damage for Keen Hearing and Smell.
Perception, Keen Hearing and Smell, and decent damage with a knockdown effect. Unfortunately the DC of the knockdown effect won't scale. It's a decent option on its own, but Wolf gets all of the same things with better numbers. If you really want a dog instead of a wolf, use the wolf stat block and call it a "wolf hound" or something.
The Pony is better unless you want your companion to pull a wagon. The abilities are tempting, especially since it's one of few flying options with Stealth proficiency, but Blood Hawk and Pteranodon are both so much more effective in combat that it will be hard to justify the Owl. Perception, Stealth, a Climb speed, and Keen Smell. The Panther's damage is decent, but Pounce's knockdown DC won't scale.
The giant version is strictly better. The best option for a mount, but at medium size it only works for Halflings. Darkvision and flight, and surprisingly good AC. Blood Drain looks very tempting, but since the Stire detaches after dealing 10 damage it will become less and less effective as your proficiency bonus increases.
Tiny with decent damage and Pack Tactics.
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- Trail Ranger Handbook - Montgomery Parks?
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Unless you need a companion which will fit into small spaces, Wolf is considerably better. Its damage won't match that of the Blood Hawk of Pteranodon, but it's not completely awful. Even though the knockdown effect won't scale, the Wolf is still a decent Scout and Striker, and once you get Bestial Fury at 11th level it can bite twice and hope to get lucky with the knockdown effect.
Sometimes it will be better for you to attack twice than to have you companion attack. On those occasions, givine your companion some extra movement might set them up to attack on the following round, or you can always have them Dodge while they draw fire. This doesn't invalidate your ability to make a single weapon attack, so your beast gets two and you get one. If your beast has multiattack, they can now use multiattack instead of making two attacks, effectively doubling their damage output.
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