The PHB presents 12 classes (barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, warlock, and wizard), each with several archetypes that allow for greater diversity within those classes. On top of this, character backgrounds grant additional proficiencies, boons, and roleplaying considerations that further distinguish one character from the next.
So why mess with the ranger?
With all of the options presented, a player can easily create countless characters without feeling like their characters are cookie cutter duplicates of one another… even if they create multiple characters with the same class.
The options presented in The Player’s Handbook could easily allow a player to run a spell-less ranger by making a fighter, rogue, or barbarian with the outlander background. WotC has even provided a spell-less ranger variant for those who feel the need for one (I guess I’m not the only person who didn’t dig the ranger as presented in the PHB).
Still, as a finicky nerd, I felt the need to come up with my own variant. To download a PDF copy of this class, click HERE.
|1st||+2||Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer|
|2nd||+2||Fighting Style, Natural Lore|
|3rd||+2||Hunter’s Instinct, Ranger Archetype|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement|
|7th||+3||Ranger Archetype feature|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement|
|9th||+4||Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer improvements|
|10th||+4||Hide in Plain Sight|
|11th||+4||Ranger Archetype feature, Extra Attack (2)|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement|
|13th||+5||Call Natural Allies|
|14th||+5||Ability Score Improvement, Vanish|
|15th||+5||Ranger Archetype feature|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement|
|17th||+6||Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer improvements|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement|
As a ranger, you gain the following class features:
Hit Dice: 1d10 per ranger level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per ranger level after 1st
Armor: All armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Tools: Herbalism kit
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Skills: Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) chain mail or (b) leather armor
- (a) two shortswords or (b) two simple melee weapons
- (a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
- A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows
Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy.
Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.
You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice that is spoken by your favored enemies, if they speak one at all.
You choose one additional favored enemy, as well as an associated language, at 9th and 17th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.
You are particularly familiar with one type of natural environment and are adept at traveling and surviving in such regions. Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark. When you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to your favored terrain, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill that you’re proficient in.
While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:
- Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
- Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
- Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
- If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
- When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
- While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th and 10th level.
At 6th level and beyond you may render your tracks and those of your allies untraceable while traveling at a normal pace in one of your favored terrains. Under such conditions you and a number of allies equal to your proficiency bonus + Wisdom modifier cannot be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail.
At 2nd level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
- Archery: You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
- Defense: While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
- Dueling: When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Two-Weapon Fighting: When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
At 2nd level your knowledge of herbalism allows you to gather medicinal herbs when foraging (PHB 183). During a short rest you can create a number of non-magical herbal salves equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). These salves must be applied within 24 hours of their creation or they lose their potency. Application of herbal salves takes 1 minute. This ability may only be used once per long rest.
At 2nd level your herbal salves can be used to replicate the effects of a Cure Wounds spell when applied to a creature.
At 9th level your salves can be used to replicate the effects of a Lesser Restoration spell when applied to a creature.
At 3rd level, your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with any two of the following skills: Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival.
At 10th level you can choose another two skill proficiencies to gain this benefit.
At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that you strive to emulate: Hunter or Beast Master, both detailed at the end of the class description. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 11th, and 15th level.
ABILITY SCORE IMPROVEMENT
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. Starting at 11th level, you can attack three times, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
Starting at 6th level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. You can also pass through nonmagical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the Entangle spell.
HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT
Starting at 10th level, you can spend 1 minute creating camouflage for yourself. You must have access to fresh mud, dirt, plants, soot, and other naturally occurring materials with which to create your camouflage.
Once you are camouflaged in this way, you can try to hide by pressing yourself up against a solid surface, such as a tree or wall, that is at least as tall and wide as you are. You gain a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks as long as you remain there without moving or taking actions. Once you move or take an action or a reaction, you must camouflage yourself again to gain this benefit.
CALL NATURAL ALLIES
Starting at 13th level, when you are in an area of your favored terrain, you can call natural creatures from that terrain to fight on your behalf, using your attunement to the natural world to convince them to aid you. The DM chooses beasts appropriate to the terrain to come to your aid from among those that could hear you and that are within 1 mile of you, in one of the following groups:
- One beast of challenge rating 3 or lower
- Three beasts of challenge rating 1 or lower
- Six beasts of challenge rating 1/2 or lower
- Twelve beasts of challenge rating 1/4 or lower
These beasts approach you from their current location, and will fight alongside you, attacking any creatures that are hostile to you. They are friendly to you and your comrades, and you roll initiative for the called creatures as a group, which takes its own turns. The DM has the creatures’ statistics.
After 1 hour, these beasts return to their previous location. Once you use this feature, you cannot use it again in the same general area for 24 hours, since the same animals will not repeatedly heed your call.
Starting at 14th level, you can use the Hide action as a bonus action on your turn. Also, you can’t be tracked by nonmagical means, unless you choose to leave a trail, regardless of terrain or travel pace.
At 18th level, you gain preternatural senses that help you fight creatures you can’t see. When you attack a creature you can’t see, your inability to see it doesn’t impose disadvantage on your attack rolls against it.
You are also aware of the location of any invisible creature within 30 feet of you, provided that the creature isn’t hidden from you and you aren’t blinded or deafened.
At 20th level, you become an unparalleled hunter of your enemies. Once on each of your turns, you can add your Wisdom modifier to the attack roll or the damage roll of an attack you make against one of your favored enemies. You can choose to use this feature before or after the roll, but before any effects of the roll are applied.
The ideal of the ranger has two classic expressions: the Hunter and the Beast Master.
Emulating the Hunter archetype means accepting your place as a bulwark between civilization and the terrors of the wilderness. As you walk the Hunter’s path, you learn specialized techniques for fighting the threats you face, from rampaging ogres and hordes of orcs to towering giants and terrifying dragons.
At 3rd level, you gain one of the following features of your choice:
- Giant Killer: When a Large or larger creature within 5 feet of you hits or misses you with an attack, you can use your reaction to attack that creature immediately after its attack, provided that you can see the creature. In addition, when fighting Large or larger creatures you may Dodge as a bonus action.
- Horde Breaker: Once on each of your turns when you make a weapon attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 feet of the original target and within range of your weapon. In addition, when within 5 feet of two or more foes, you may Help an ally as a bonus action.
- Relentless Harrier: Your tenacity can wear down the most potent foes. When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, the creature takes an extra 2d4 damage if it’s below its hit point maximum. You can deal this extra damage only once per turn. At 7th, 11th, and 15th levels, you gain an additional d4 of damage, to a maximum of 5d4 at levels 15 and higher.
At 7th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice:
- Escape the Horde: Opportunity attacks against you are made with disadvantage.
- Multiattack Defense: When a creature hits you with an attack, you gain a +4 bonus to AC against all subsequent attacks made by that creature for the rest of the turn.
- Steel Will: You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
At 11th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice:
- Volley: You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon’s range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.
- Whirlwind Attack: You can use your action to make a melee attack against any number of creatures within 5 feet of you, with a separate attack roll for each target.
Superior Hunter’s Defense
At 15th level, you gain one of the following features of your choice:
- Evasion: You can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon’s fiery breath or a lightning bolt spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.
- Stand Against the Tide: When a hostile creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction to force that creature to repeat the same attack against another creature (other than itself) of your choice.
- Uncanny Dodge: When an attacker that you can see hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to halve the attack’s damage against you.
The Beast Master archetype embodies a friendship between the civilized races and the beasts of the world. United in focus, beast and ranger work as one to fight the monstrous foes that threaten civilization and the wilderness alike. Emulating the Beast Master archetype means committing yourself to this ideal, working in partnership with an animal as its companion and friend.
At 3rd level, you gain a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and is trained to fight alongside you. Choose a beast that is no larger than Medium and that has a challenge rating of ¼ or lower (appendix D presents statistics for the hawk, mastiff, and panther as examples). Add your proficiency bonus to the beast’s AC, attack rolls, and damage rolls, as well as to any saving throws and skills it is proficient in. Its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or four times your ranger level, whichever is higher.
The beast obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes its turn on your initiative, though it doesn’t take an action unless you command it to. On your turn, you can verbally command the beast where to move (no action required by you). You can use your bonus action to verbally command it to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action.
While traveling through your favored terrain with only the beast, you can move stealthily at a normal pace. If the beast dies, you can obtain another one by spending 8 hours magically bonding with another beast that isn’t hostile to you, either the same type of beast as before or a different one.
Beginning at 7th level, on any of your turns when your beast companion doesn’t attack, you can command the beast to take the Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action on its turn with no action required by you.
Starting at 11th level, your beast companion can make two attacks when you command it to use the Attack action.
Beginning at 15th level, your beast companion shares the Hunter’s Instinct and Land Stride abilities with you, so long as you are within 1 mile of it.