Here is the long awaited follow-up to my first post on the 5e Ranger class. Funny how weeks can fly by between posts when the real world intrudes on fantasy.
So, where was I?
That's right, my thoughts on the Ranger are that for the most part, the class is a workable, playable, jack-of-all-trades. It is competent in a few things, but lacks any truely defining abilites and just doesn't standout or really define the niche role that is an archetypal Ranger.
Many of the attempts to fix the class that I have researched and reviewed attempt to fix the class with whole-cloth rewrites. Many of those I feel fail spectacularly by attempting to make up for the perceived lack of abilities by wildly overpowering their versions.
I took a different approach. My own opinion on the class is that it's fuctional yet boring and that it lacks any defining abilities. So my own approach is to simply make several minor alterations.
- Give the Ranger expertise in the survival skill at 1st level. Similar to a Rogue's skill expertise. Rangers should be the absolute best at wilderness survival and tracking.
- Give them a small boost to the Favored Enemy ability. In this case, we grant a small combat bonus to damage based upon the Ranger's WIS modifier.
- Give the base Ranger a larger more defined combat boost by adding the ambush ability as described under the "Deep Stalker" Ranger archtype in the Unearthed Arcana Underdark article, at 2nd level.
- I also rewrote the Foe Slayer capstone ability to apply to all foes, all the time.
- Because ambush now allows the Ranger to hide as a bonus action, we removethe Hide in Plain Site and Vanish abilities.
- We also slightly modify Primeval Awareness & Feral Senses. They are now lumped together under a new header Primal Instincts and no longer cost a spell slot to activate.
Here are the detailed write-ups as they would appear written into a class document:
Beginning at 1st level, you are an expert outdoorsman, knowledgeable in the skills needed to survive and thrive in the wilderness. You double your proficiency bonus for any ability check you make that uses the Survival (Wisdom) skill.
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. Alternately, 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.
You gain a bonus to damage on each attack against your favorite enemies. This bonus is equal to your Wisdom modifier.
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 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.
At 2nd level, you master the art of the ambush. On your first turn during combat, you gain a +10 bonus to your speed. If you use the attack action on that turn, you can make one additional attack.
You gain an additional benefit on all turns after your first turn. At the end of each such turn, you can attempt to hide as a bonus action if you meet the normal requirements for hiding.
At 3rd level your survival training has honed your senses to an uncanny level. You can spend an action, and 1 ranger spell slot to use this feature to heighten your senses and gain one of the following benefits.
At the 3rd level you can use Primal Instincts to focus your awareness on the region around you. For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead. This feature doesn't reveal the creatures' location or number.
At 18th level, you gain preternatural senses that help you fight creatures you cannot see. When you attack a creature you can't see, your inability to see it doen'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. On each of your turns, you can now add your Wisdom modifier to both your attack and damage rolls when you make an attack against any foe you face. They no longer need to be one of your favored enemies.