A Spell-less Ranger for 5th Edition – Updated on 9/13/16

ranger4

Class Options

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.

RANGER VARIANT

THE  RANGER
     
Level Proficiency Bonus Features 
1st +2 Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer
2nd +2 Fighting Style, Natural Lore
3rd +2 Hunter’s Instinct, Ranger Archetype
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Extra Attack
6th +3 Land’s Stride
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
18th +6 Feral Senses
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Foe Slayer

CLASS FEATURES

As a ranger, you gain the following class features:

HIT POINTS

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

PROFICIENCIES

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

EQUIPMENT

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

FAVORED ENEMY

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.

NATURAL EXPLORER

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.

FIGHTING STYLE

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.

NATURAL LORE

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.

HUNTER’S INSTINCTS

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.

RANGER ARCHETYPE

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.

EXTRA ATTACK

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.

LAND’S STRIDE

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.

VANISH

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.

FERAL SENSES

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.

FOE SLAYER

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.

RANGER ARCHETYPES

The ideal of the ranger has two classic expressions: the Hunter and the Beast Master.

Hunter

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.

Hunter’s Prey

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.

Defensive Tactics

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.

Multiattack

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.

Beast Master

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.

Ranger’s Companion

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.

Exceptional Training

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.

Bestial Fury

Starting at 11th level, your beast companion can make two attacks when you command it to use the Attack action.

FERAL BOND

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.

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24 thoughts on “A Spell-less Ranger for 5th Edition – Updated on 9/13/16

  1. This is significantly weaker than either the PHB version or the WotC spell-less variant. Low level rangers rely on spells like Hunter’s Mark to do damage. Replacing Cure Wounds is nice, but this ranger needs a little help in the damage department.

    1. Hmmm. Any proposed fixes? I was thinking of granting an added Extra Attack at higher levels BUT didn’t want to step on the fighter’s toes too much.

      1. I suspect that that is also why you went a different direction from the Wizards Spell-less variant, where they basically removed spellcasting and inserted the fighter’s Battle Master material.

        It would take some work to test, but maybe bump by one die the potential power of each of the Hunter abilities, and bump up the challenge rating of the beast companion?

  2. When I get a chance I’ll have to re-think the variant and bump it up in a way that doesn’t overcomplicate things or tread on another class’s niche.
    Thanks for the feedback!

    1. Hey Nick,
      I’ve bumped up the class a little. Hopefully you see this and get a chance to look it over.

      1. I would bump up the companions CR to 1/2 maybe. I like this variety but without the spells, I think I would go beast master, and this would give it a little more power but not too much. I’m alittle confused how the companion attack works, can the ranger and the companion attack each turn?

      2. These are very creative updates — I especially like the additions to the 3rd level Hunter abilities. They fit very well into the team-oriented style of 5E.

  3. Hey Scott,
    The companion “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.”

    So, basically, it acts on your initiative but can only take combat actions if you give up your bonus action.

    I was thinking of bumping up the companion’s CR and still may. I’m still mulling it over.

  4. This is what I came up with tonight, as I too wanted to play a spell-less ranger in an upcoming campaign and was going to run it by my DM. While googling I found this article, and a lot of the ideas were very similar tp mine as I flipped through my old AD&D PHB (the herbal salves I borrowed from this though). My version is kind of harsh in the fact that if the Ranger is not in his Favored Terrain or fighting his Favored Enemy he is mediocre (I believe still effective and interesting to play – at least this is what I’m going to play with my DM’s permission), but when he IS in his comfort zone, he’s the most valuable member of the party. It is true that a Ranger can’t shine when not presented with what he is good at, but that can be said for a lot of classes.

    Pro

    – Extra damage dice against Favored Enemy.
    – Can heal 1-5 party member’s during a Short Rest (based on his Wisdom modifier).
    – Skill Expertise with Survival, Animal Handling, Perception, and Stealth.
    – Extra Attack when taking the Attack Action (3).
    – Hide as a Bonus Action at level 9. Disengage and Dodge as a Bonus Action at level 7.
    – Additional Fighting Style via Archetype.
    – Advantage on Knowledge checks for Favored Enemy.
    – Natural Explorer Benefits.

    Con

    – Rogue’s Sneak attack extra damage scales better than Hunter’s Quarry.
    – Bard can heal all party member’s during a short rest and doesn’t require Favored Terrain.
    – Requires Favored Terrain and natural surroundings for Skill Expertise unlike the Rogue.
    – Fighter can do more attacks per Attack Action (4).
    – Rogue can Dash, Dodge, Disengage or Hide as a Bonus Action at level 2.
    – Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer perks useless when not allowed to be used.

    Ignoring all Favored Enemy and Favored Terrain features this is what a Hunter Ranger would look like at level 20 if not given the opportunity to shine.

    – 1d10 hp class.
    – 3 Attacks per Attack Action.
    – Two Fighing Styles.
    – Ignores movement penalties and damage from non-magical terrain.
    – Advantage on saving throws against plants and plant-like effects.
    – Hide, Disengage, Dodge as a Bonus Action.
    – Evasion
    – No disadvantage when attacking blind
    – Blindsense

    It would look like a Rogue with a bit of Fighter thrown in. Which to me, is a Ranger. Then you get to add all the other cool stuff he can do when he is at his best.

    – Favored Enemy.
    – Natural Explorer.
    – Natural Remedy.
    – Wilderness Expertise.
    – Hunter’s Quarry.
    – Foe Slayer.

    Anyway, here’s my changes.

    Favored Enemy: – No change
    Natural Explorer: – No change
    Fighting Style: – No change
    Remove Spellcasting: – Replaced with Natural Remedy

    Natural Remedy: At 2nd level your knowledge of herbalism allows you to forage for medicinal herbs and create salves to help revitalize your wounded allies during a short rest. You gain proficiency with the Herbalism Kit, and during a short rest you can create and apply a number of non-magical herbal salves equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) as long as you’re within your Favored Terrain. These salves take 1 minute to apply and a creature cannot do anything else while they are being treated. At the end of the short rest, each creature treated with a salve regains 1d4 hit points. The hit points increase when you reach certain levels in this class: to 2d4 at 9th level, to 3d4 at 13th level, and to 4d4 at 17th level. A creature may only be healed by a salve once per short rest. At 5th level you can choose to make herbal salves that replicate the effects of a Lesser Restoration spell instead. These take up the limit of how many salves you may create as normal.

    Note: This version is more like the Bard’s Song of Rest, which I feel is simpler than keeping track of how many salves the ranger is carrying. It also stops players abusing short rests and stocking up on lots of salves (though I doubt a good DM would let them do that anyway).

    Primeval Awareness: – Replaced with Wilderness Expertise
    Wilderness Expertise: Your proficiency bonus is doubled when making a Survival, Animal Handling, or Perception check while within your Favored Terrain. While wearing light or no armor in natural surroundings, you may double your proficiency bonus for Stealth Checks.

    Note: This is taking from my AD&D PBH, in which a Ranger could hide and move silently under certain conditions, and could automatically tame non-hostile animals and had great survival skills.

    Ability Score Improvement: – No change

    Extra Attack (changed): Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class.

    Note: Multiattack and Volley both allowed the Ranger to make multiple attacks, but either at range or melee. I cut the average and just allowed an Extra Attack which to me was simpler.

    Land’s Stride: – Gained at 13th level instead of 8th.
    Hide in Plain Sight: – Gained at 7th level instead of 10th.
    Vanish: – Gained at 9th level instead of 14th.

    Note: The reason I lowered the level requirement is a lot of these abilities for me, are general things you learn through survival. Making camouflage and learning how to hide your tracks. Ignoring difficult terrain is the strongest ability, which is why it took the place of where Vanish used to be, and the other two abilities moved forwards.

    Feral Senses: – No change
    Foe Slayer: – Adds Wisdom modifier as a bonus to both attack and damage instead of choosing between the two.

    Hunter Archetype

    Hunter’s Prey (changed): Hunter’s Quarry – At 3rd level your tenacity can wear down your chosen quarry. When you hit a creature that is your Favored Enemy with a weapon attack, the creature takes an extra 1d8 damage. You can deal this extra damage only once per turn. This damage increases when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).

    Defensive Tactics (changed): At 7th level you may use the Dodge or Disengage action as a bonus action on your turn as long as you’re only wearing light or no armor.

    Multiattack (changed): Additional Fighting Style – You can choose a second option from the Fighting Style class feature.

    Superior Hunter’s Defense: – Changed to Evasion (as opposed to allowing 3 choices).

    Level 1: Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer
    Level 2: Fighting Style, Natural Remedy
    Level 3: Ranger Archetype, Wilderness Expertise
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 5: Extra Attack, Natural Remedy (Lesser Restoration)
    Level 6: Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer Improvements
    Level 7: Ranger Archetype Feature, Hide in Plain Sight
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvment
    Level 9: Natural Remedy Improvement, Vanish
    Level 10: Natural Explorer Improvement
    Level 11: Ranger Archetype Feature, Extra Attack (2)
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 13: Natural Remedy Improvement, Land’s Stride
    Level 14: Favored Enemy Improvement
    Level 15: Ranger Archetype Feature
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 17: Natural Remedy Improvement
    Level 18: Feral Senses
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 20: Foe Slayer

  5. This is what I came up with tonight, as I too wanted to play a spell-less ranger in an upcoming campaign and was going to run it by my DM. While googling I found this article, and a lot of the ideas were very similar tp mine as I flipped through my old AD&D PHB (the herbal salves I borrowed from this though). My version is kind of harsh in the fact that if the Ranger is not in his Favored Terrain or fighting his Favored Enemy he is mediocre (I believe still effective and interesting to play – at least this is what I’m going to play with my DM’s permission), but when he IS in his comfort zone, he’s the most valuable member of the party. It is true that a Ranger can’t shine when not presented with what he is good at, but that can be said for a lot of classes.

    Pro

    – Extra damage dice against Favored Enemy.
    – Can heal 1-5 party member’s during a Short Rest (based on his Wisdom modifier).
    – Skill Expertise with Survival, Animal Handling, Perception, and Stealth.
    – Extra Attack when taking the Attack Action (3).
    – Hide as a Bonus Action at level 13. Disengage and Dodge as a Bonus Action at level 7.
    – Additional Fighting Style via Archetype.
    – Advantage on Knowledge checks for Favored Enemy.
    – Natural Explorer Benefits.

    Con

    – Rogue’s Sneak attack extra damage scales better than Hunter’s Quarry.
    – Bard can heal all party member’s during a short rest and doesn’t require Favored Terrain.
    – Requires Favored Terrain and natural surroundings for Skill Expertise unlike the Rogue.
    – Fighter can do more attacks per Attack Action (4).
    – Rogue can Dash, Dodge, Disengage or Hide as a Bonus Action at level 2.
    – Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer perks useless when not allowed to be used.

    Ignoring all Favored Enemy and Favored Terrain features this is what a Ranger would look like at level 20 if not given the opportunity to shine.

    – 1d10 hp class.
    – 3 Attacks per Attack Action.
    – Two Fighing Styles.
    – Ignores movement penalties and damage from non-magical terrain.
    – Advantage on saving throws against plants and plant-like effects.
    – Hide, Disengage, Dodge as a Bonus Action.
    – Evasion
    – No disadvantage when attacking blind
    – Blindsense

    It would look like a Rogue with a bit of Fighter thrown in. Which to me, is a Ranger. Then you get to add all the other cool stuff he can do when he is at his best.

    – Favored Enemy.
    – Natural Explorer.
    – Natural Remedy.
    – Wilderness Expertise.
    – Hunter’s Quarry.
    – Foe Slayer.

    Anyway, here’s my changes.

    Favored Enemy: – No change
    Natural Explorer: – No change
    Fighting Style: – No change
    Remove Spellcasting: – Replaced with Natural Remedy

    Natural Remedy: At 2nd level your knowledge of herbalism allows you to forage for medicinal herbs and create salves to help revitalize your wounded allies during a short rest. You gain proficiency with the Herbalism Kit, and during a short rest you can create and apply a number of non-magical herbal salves equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum 1) as long as you’re within your Favored Terrain. These salves take 1 minute to apply and a creature cannot do anything else while they are being treated. At the end of the short rest, each creature treated with a salve regains 1d4 hit points. The hit points increase when you reach certain levels in this class: to 2d4 at 9th level, to 3d4 at 13th level, and to 4d4 at 17th level. A creature may only be healed by a salve once per short rest. At 5th level you can choose to make herbal salves that replicate the effects of a Lesser Restoration spell instead. These take up the limit of how many salves you may create as normal.

    Note: This version is more like the Bard’s Song of Rest, which I feel is simpler than keeping track of how many salves the ranger is carrying. It also stops players abusing short rests and stocking up on lots of salves (though I doubt a good DM would let them do that anyway).

    Primeval Awareness: – Replaced with Wilderness Expertise
    Wilderness Expertise: Your proficiency bonus is doubled when making a Survival, Animal Handling, or Perception check while within your Favored Terrain. While wearing light or no armor in natural surroundings, you may double your proficiency bonus for Stealth Checks.

    Note: This is taking from my AD&D PBH, in which a Ranger could hide and move silently under certain conditions, and could automatically tame non-hostile animals and had great survival skills.

    Ability Score Improvement: – No change

    Extra Attack (changed): Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn. The number of attacks increases to three when you reach 11th level in this class.

    Note: Multiattack and Volley both allowed the Ranger to make multiple attacks, but either at range or melee. This cut the average and just allowed an Extra Attack which to me was simpler.

    Land’s Stride: – Gained at 13th level instead of 8th.
    Hide in Plain Sight: – Gained at 7th level instead of 10th.
    Vanish: – Gained at 9th level instead of 14th.

    Note: The reason I lowered the level requirement is a lot of these abilities for me, are general things you learn through survival. Making camouflage and learning how to hide your tracks. Ignoring difficult terrain is the strongest ability, which is why it took the place of where Vanish used to be, and the other two abilities moved forwards.

    Feral Senses: – No change
    Foe Slayer: – Adds Wisdom modifier as a bonus to both attack and damage instead of choosing between the two.

    Hunter Archetype

    Hunter’s Prey (changed): Hunter’s Quarry – At 3rd level your tenacity can wear down your chosen quarry. When you hit a creature that is your Favored Enemy with a weapon attack, the creature takes an extra 1d8 damage. You can deal this extra damage only once per turn. This damage increases when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).

    Defensive Tactics (changed): At 7th level you may use the Dodge or Disengage action as a bonus action on your turn as long as you’re only wearing light or no armor.

    Multiattack (changed): Additional Fighting Style – You can choose a second option from the Fighting Style class feature.

    Superior Hunter’s Defense: – Changed to Evasion (as opposed to allowing 3 choices).

    Level 1: Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer
    Level 2: Fighting Style, Natural Remedy
    Level 3: Ranger Archetype, Wilderness Expertise
    Level 4: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 5: Extra Attack, Natural Remedy (Lesser Restoration)
    Level 6: Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer Improvements
    Level 7: Ranger Archetype Feature, Hide in Plain Sight
    Level 8: Ability Score Improvment
    Level 9: Natural Remedy Improvement, Vanish
    Level 10: Natural Explorer Improvement
    Level 11: Ranger Archetype Feature, Extra Attack (2)
    Level 12: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 13: Natural Remedy Improvement, Land’s Stride
    Level 14: Favored Enemy Improvement
    Level 15: Ranger Archetype Feature
    Level 16: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 17: Natural Remedy Improvement
    Level 18: Feral Senses
    Level 19: Ability Score Improvement
    Level 20: Foe Slayer

  6. I suggest adding an extra attack at maybe 3rd level. This may seem overpowered, but it fixes the less damage problem.

  7. Hey Chris,

    Just a question on clarification dealing with Natural Lore. Taking the full hour of rest to create the salves, that is perfectly understandable. My question is if you take multiple short rests in a day (using an example of having 16 Wis); can you keep making 3 salves per short rest, simply replenish up to your 3 and no more at any one time, or can I only make 3 salves in a day?

    1. Good point. I would say that the ability can be used during a short rest but only once per long rest. Otherwise you could have up to 5 salves being made per short rest (10 to 15 salves per day).

      1. Thanks for the response! 😀
        Super looking forward to playing this version of the ranger (currently level one of it now, in my current game).

  8. My question is for Hunter’s Instinct. Making a level 10 character and I only have 3 of the 5 skills. I get the two at level 3, then would I only get 1 at level 10 or could I gain training in one of the skills listed?

    1. As written, you’d only get the bonus with one other skill (since you’re not proficient in a 4th skill). When I get home from vacation I’ll try to remember to re-write this ability in order to make it less dependent on players taking certain skills or face getting the short shrift.

  9. Chris,

    You changed the names of some abilities as you wrote and rewrote, and I think the Lvl 15 Beast Master ability refers to old names of two of the three abilities it allows you to share with your companion.

    I am guessing that Feral Instinct is now Hunter’s Instincts, but I have no idea which one Danger Sense might now be. Any ideas?

    I’m working on trying to blend this with the Revised Ranger that the WotC team released yesterday in Unearthed Arcana, as well as trying to adapt (read: replace the spells from) some of the additional Archetypes that have been published.

  10. To be honest, I haven’t looked at it yet. From the comments I read on EN World, it sounds like they’ve improved the animal companion rules to make them more useful and addressed some of the lackluster abilities of the class.

    1. Well, my wife is getting ready to play one of your rangers, and I’m working on making a spell-less version of the Deep Stalker Conclave they published alongside the Hunter and Beast Master Conclaves. So any thoughts you have will be very much appreciated 🙂

  11. A variant I’m working on is replacing the spells with physical equivalents (akin to the healing salve replacing cure wounds above).

    For offensive spells, make that a type of arrow. For example, some of the effects of hunter’s mark can be mimicked by a barbed arrow. Fog cloud can be an arrowhead in the form of a satchel with ground mushrooms or other powder, rupturing on impact and creating a cloud of dust.

    These arrows, once crafted, have an expiration date (24 hrs for example), so the ranger never carries more than 1 or 2 of each, crafting what he thinks he’ll need during preparation time.

    Non-offensive spells can be replicated with a natural equivalent. E.g. goodberry can be a natural rare berry or seed eaten by a type of animal (like the coffee grains eaten by civets). Speak with animals can be a whistle made of a special wood/tree that the ranger learns to use to communicate with animals. And so on. Obviously the higher-level spells become a bit more challenging (Water Walk?), but with a bit of creativity it can be done.

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