I know, I know; “no new content for months and the first new product is a class that already exists?” Well… okay you’ve got me there. And obviously the Ranger is a very common homebrew/fix, more common than Artificers if I had to guess. But that’s because the problems with the original class from the Player’s Handbook are so fundamentally obvious that everyone wants to take a crack at improving it. I’ve simply decided to throw my own hat into the ring. A bit late, maybe, but I think waiting has given me certain benefits.
The Ranger class presented in this document is about 70% PHB Ranger; most of the mechanics of the base class and the Hunter archetype were not touched. The things that were changed help to make the Ranger a more interesting and effective class with a stronger theme around being the ultimate predator. The Beast Master is completely rebuilt so that it falls more in line with the way other classes use “pets” such as necromancer wizards, without over tuning the beast companion itself. Finally, both the Hunter and Beast Master were given an additional feature at lvl 3; both subclasses now gain additional subclass spells like the new subclasses found in Xanathar’s. This helps bridge the gap between the new subclasses and the old, so that playing a PHB subclass no longer feels like you are missing out on features.
At least, that’s the hope.
We hope you enjoy this latest work from the Arcane Athenæum’s collection!
Version 2.0 19Apr2021
- The class has been re-designed following the release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. It incorporates a few of the concepts and optional features released in Tasha’s, while improving on certain base aspects of the class.
- Marked Enemy – Similar to the Favored Foe feature, this is meant to be the class’s main form of extra damage. Essentially just removes the concentration, since that aspect of the feature completely misses part of the point that the ranger has too many concentration abilities and therefore can’t play with any fun spells.
- Favored Prey – Name is meant to invoke the idea that the Ranger is, at it’s core, a hunter and predator of specific creatures. Much like the PHB Favored Enemy, you pick certain kinds of creatures to be particularly good at fighting. These can be swapped out whenever you level, allowing you to make changes over the course of a campaign to focus on new types of threats as they become more prominent. Works with Marked Enemy by allowing you to apply the marked damage to every attack you hit your favored prey with, not just once per turn.
- Seasoned Explorer – Basically Tasha’s Deft Explorer, but with a few bonus abilities (and the extra languages removed, since you are getting languages from Favored Prey).
- Primeval Tracking – Primeval Awareness, but with a range that changes as you use higher-level spell slots and gives you more reasonable information (like not just how far away or how many of your Favored Prey are around, but also a general idea of the size. Also lets you start tracking one of the “groups” of enemies that you sense (group here is meant to be a general term; the idea is that if you sense, say, 1 big dragon to the north and 4 small dragons together to the south, you could start trackinig the big dragon or the 4 small dragons).
- Fade Away – Basically the PHB Hide in Plain Sight combined with Tasha’s Nature’s Veil feature; you can Hide as a bonus action, turn invisible until the end of your next turn, and you can Hide as a free action on the same turn that you turn invisible.]
- Primal Resilience – Gives the ranger some much-needed defenive support against various abilities.
- Apex Predator – The PHB Capstone of Foe Slayer isn’t very good (max of +5 extra damage a turn? Whooooo) and also pretty boring. Apex Predator isn’t mechanically complicated, but the ability to crit more often can bring out a lot of damage in a way that makes sense for a legendary hunter, and you are even *more* likely to crit your Favored Prey since you, theoretically, know exactly where to hit them to make them hurt. With the extra dice from Marked Enemy and spells like Hunter’s Mark or Flame Arrows, this feature can make the Ranger feel like the powerful killing that it should be at 20th level.
- After some consideration, I swapped out a few of the spells that the Hunter and Beast Master get, to be a bit more flavorful and tie better to the intended playstyle for both. Also it should be noted for the Beast Master, Catnap has even more of a use now since this newest revision gains a few abilities that recharge on a short rest.
Version 1.1 13Nov2019
- Only change has been adding a note about the latest class feature variants UA as valid alternatives to the features that appear in this document (save for the Beast Master companion, though I suppose you could make it work if you really wanted to but I think this PDF offers more). The Druidic Warrior fighting style is listed here while the other fighting styles in the UA aren’t only because I absolutely love it and think it and its variants should be a core option for all half-casters.
Version 1.0 07Feb2019
- Was lost, and now found.