Anyone who starts playing D&D usually goes for classes like Clerics, Wizards, Druids, etc. These are the most selected classes, as they are balanced and provide great spells and abilities. There is one class that doesn’t get as limelight as the others, and that is the Ranger 5e class. The Ranger 5e class will sound familiar when you try to select a backstory for them. They are sort of a mix of Rogue, Fighter, and Druid classes.
Some even consider this to be the weakest class in D&D 5e, but this was before they introduced the Revised Ranger 5e class. They are still a far cry from being top-class but they still have certain interesting abilities. While we will discuss our opinion of the Ranger 5e class, we shall also provide you with info to decide that for yourself. If you are ready to enter the magical world of D&D with a Ranger 5e class the following information will help you.
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What is a Ranger 5e Class in D&D?
Rangers are people that usually prefer to stay away from the crowd and the bustling life of cities and villages. They keep to themselves and stay deep in the woods. Rangers aren’t just some weirdos that stay away from civilization but they are hunters, fighters, trackers, and guides. They protect their lands from monsters and humans that mean to exploit or destroy them. One of the best qualities of a Ranger 5e is its ability to hunt any kind of monstrosity.
Unlike many other classes, Rangers have specific abilities and skills to deal with those specific tasks. These class characters can use combat and spells to fight their enemies. Those spells draw power from nature and can deal damage or buff their character. They are always going to be the first ones to handle all kinds of incoming attacks. As mentioned earlier, they use the stealth of rogue and druid type of spellcasting abilities in battle.
There is one huge drawback to this class, which is now mostly rectified in the Revised Ranger 5e class but still plagues the game. Ranger often has to face specific enemies that they are specialized to deal with their skills. Features such are Natural Explorer and Favored Enemy force rangers to explore places that best suit their build and enemies that they can handle. The sad thing here is that most of the time they end up with naught as they may not face such enemies at all.
Regardless, of those things, there are two important things that every Ranger 5e requires, and that is Dexterity & Wisdom. These are essential ability scores for every Ranger. In case, you want your Ranger to hold heavy or two-handed weapons then add Strength too.
Ranger 5e Class Features
Every class in D&D has certain unique features and abilities which differentiate them from other classes. When it comes to the Ranger 5e class, there are as many abilities as there are for any other class. Only when you understand and know them all can you make the best use of this class. So here we will list out and discuss all the class features that are essential to understanding Rangers in D&D 5e.
Just like many other classes, at level 1, Ranger will have a +2 proficiency bonus. This proficiency bonus is added to the ability checks of a character. An increase in a character level will also increase your proficiency bonus. The maximum it can reach is +6 at level 20. One other thing that you might wanna know about this class is that they cannot use spells at level 1. This is because they don’t have any spell slots at level 1. Another fact is that Rangers don’t have any cantrip spells in their list.
D&D 5e Ranger Hit Points
Ranger has a 1d10 hit dice, which is applicable per every level of the class. This means, 1d10 is added with every ranger level and is the damage value your character can handle. If you want to know its hit points then you add a 10+constitution modifier of your character, this gives you the hit points. This also increases for increased levels of ranger making the hit points 1d10(or 6) added with the constitution modifier for every level.
Class Proficiencies and Equipments
Since all Ranger are battle-ready classes, they can use light and medium types of armors. Add shield to that and you can make a decent amount of damage. There aren’t any tools available for a Ranger class, but you can still make do with it. Coming to weapons, rangers can only use light simple weapons or martial weapons. As you start the game, you will have to choose between Leather armor or a scale mail. Then choose a weapon from two shortswords or 2 simple melee weapons.
Some other common stuff is also available as the option to pick a dungeon’s pack or an explorer’s pack. Since rangers are well-known hunters it should be obvious that they get a longbow with around 20 arrows in their quiver. One important proficiency feature is saving throws, and rangers will need Strength and Dexterity saving throws.
All classes choose any two skills from a skill pool, and rangers do get a few options. So pick your 2 favorite skills from Nature, Perception, Survival, Animal Handling, Stealth, Insight, and Athletics.
Rangers aren’t as adept at casting spells like Clerics, Bards, or Sorcerers but they do have some interesting spells in their list. There are two things to know first, one is that they need to reach level 2 to be able to use any spell. The other thing is something we did discuss, rangers don’t have any cantrips. Cantrips may not be a huge deal but they can be lifesavers in some situations. At level 2, you will have two level 1 spell slots and 2 unknown spells.
Every spell uses a spell slot and the same level of spell slot is needed for that. Do not worry if you use up all those spell slots, as they are replenishable after a long rest. Every spell you have is replaceable with another, provided you have appropriate slots. For Ranger spells, you need Wisdom for spellcasting. Every spell saves and attack modifier requires a Wisdom modifier.
When you throw a spell save DC, 8+Wisdom modifier+your proficiency is added for the check. Similarly, for a spell attack modifier, you add wisdom modifier+your proficiency bonus.
This is something I mentioned in the early sections of the article when we were talking about who d&d 5e rangers are. If you remember I said that this is one of the drawbacks of playing as a ranger. This ability is something that you get at level 1 which allows you to select one specific favored enemy from the various race. Races like Dragons, giants, beasts, elementals, fiends, and many others. After you select a particular race, you make a wisdom check to see if you get an advantage on the favored enemy to track and find them.
Players can also make an intelligence check, which will help them to find information about them. This ain’t the only thing, but you can also learn the language of your favored enemy, provide they have one. When you reach the 4th and 16th levels, you get to add another favored enemy to your list. As useful as this sounds, it all depends on your flavor and DM. That is because certain enemies like dragons and undead completely depend on the terrain you explore.
Rangers are travelers and adventurous creatures who are adept at surviving in different conditions and terrain. Just like Favored enemy, players will get to choose a natural environment or a terrain where their ranger can survive easily. Swamps, Underdark, forest, deserts, coast are a few of the options available to choose from. So what happens when you select a particular terrain? It’s simple, your ranger will have certain benefits when they are traveling through such a place.
Some of those advantages include
- You and your group cannot get lost unless some magic is involved.
- Favored terrain will not slow you or your party.
- The ranger’s normal steps become stealth. This is when traveling without a party.
- More amount of food is found while you are foraging.
A few such benefits are added to the favored terrain, but this is when you travel for more than an hour in the same terrain. One other thing to note is that the player’s proficiency is doubled in case they make an intelligence check or wisdom check. This is when the player is using a skill they are proficient with.
The ranger class may be able to use spells, but that’s not what they are most known for. Rangers are skilled combatants that use various fighting styles. After you reach level 2, you can pick a fighting style for your ranger. There are a total of 4 fighting styles to choose from and the list contains Archery, Two-handed weapons, Defense, and Dueling.
Each has its benefits. For example, Archery grants a +2 bonus on ranged attacks for attack rolls. A similar +2 bonus is added to damage rolls when you have a single weapon in one hand. My personal favorite is Archery as there are great options for bow and arrow. Two-weapon fighting is also a great choice as many players prefer to use two-handed weapons for faster gameplay.
All Ranger Subclasses 5e
The subclass feature in D&D is a crucial element of every character as they help use certain unique abilities and skills. Some ranger archetypes even allow one class to use the spells/abilities of other classes. Subclassing improves characters and makes them more fit for certain situations. When it comes to Ranger 5e subclasses, we get to choose various types of ranger archetypes each with unique backstories, feats, abilities, and spells.
With the newly revised ranger 5e class, people are finding this class interesting because who wouldn’t want to keep a pet companion. We are going to list out some of the interesting and most preferred Ranger subclass 5e in D&D. Check them all out and choose your pick. This list isn’t in any particular order.
Drakewarden Ranger 5e
This ranger subclass 5e wasn’t previously available in the game and was added in the Fizban’s Treasury Of Dragons. It is relatively a new class but one of the good ones that were introduced for the game. You might have heard that rangers can keep pet companions, and this one is one such class that lets you do that. This time though you get to keep a spirit that can be summoned for assistance in battle. This Draconic spirit is immune to draconic spells, can fly(when it reaches higher levels), had good defense, and support capabilities.
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While the Draconic pet is a great companion in every way, our Drakewarden ranger has his own merits. This subclass has good offense and defense to lead others in battle. When taking the fight to the enemy, use melee attacks and the fly ability that you get at level 7. Apart from the Draconic Gift, Drake Companion, and Drake Mount(mount the companion to fly), there are a few other useful abilities. Some of those are Darke’s Breath, Magic Fang, Empowered Bite, Reflexive Resistance are a few to look out for.
When it comes to choosing a race for your Drakewarden ranger, go for Dragonborn or Elf races.
Rangers are well-known hunters and trackers, and this subclass just compliments those features. This is one of those subclasses that was pretty early in the game. For some, this might just look like a normal ranger, but it is much more than the vanilla character. The hunter subclass rangers are fighters that use various weapons, both one hand and dual-wielding. They can even handle a large group of enemies as they reach higher levels. All it takes is the right kind of customization.
With all that talk about offensive abilities, you might think that they can only deal damage, but no. Rangers also have a good amount of defense which lets them deal and take damage. They also have rogue-like stealth abilities, but not as effective as the Gloom Stalker subclass(newly added subclass). Abilities like Hunter’s Prey, Colossus Slayer, Horde Breaker, Multiattack, and Uncanny Dodge are Rogue’s best friends.
Stealth, Defense, and Offense are what most Hunger rangers are known for. For this, races like Dwarves, Humans, and Elves are the best races.
Beast Master Ranger
Well, well, if the name doesn’t ring a bell, then I suggest you read the following information carefully. Beast Master subclass for a ranger will allow players you choose a beast companion. This companion is gonna stay with you during and off the battle. As you level up so does your pet companion, and this companion can either be a small or medium-sized one. Depending on the beast that you select, they can fight battles with you, scout locations, and track enemies.
Now, there are two slightly different ways to use the beast companion. One is with the Ranger’s Companion feature that is from the Player’s Handbook guide. The other one is by using the Primal Companion from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The latter one is the better and the updated option as it doesn’t take your action move for your companion. You can say that this is a revised ranger 5e subclass.
Beasts like Giant Badger, Flying Snake, Giant Frog, Wolf, Giant Poisonous snake are a few of the pet companions that are available for this subclass. Based on the pet you choose, you can get them to do various things. Remember, these pets can die in battles. Abilities for Primal Companion ranger are Exceptional Training, Beastial Fury, and Share Spells.
Fey Wanderer Ranger Subclass 5e
This is one of the interesting subclasses for a ranger and a pretty useful one at that. Though newbies might have a bit of difficulty using this class, seeing how unique and wide of abilities they have. Once you know what you are doing with this subclass, then you can do pretty well in all sorts of situations. To prove this statement let me tell you this, this subclass is very versatile as you can play your ranger with many fighting types.
Players can use Archery, become a Druidic warrior, or use a throwing weapon style. Those aren’t the only things this subclass can do. Since they are blessed with fey magic from Archfey, they can use spells that work for dealing damage and even escaping enemies. For this subclass, you need to add Charisma and Wisdom, which will grant you an advantage on saving throws.
Spells like Dimension Door, Charm Person, Misty Step, Mislead, etc are your best bets for this class. Though you will have a few more Illusion and enchantment spells, the above-mentioned ones are to go for. Hald Elves and Humans are better-suited races for this subclass.
Horizon Walker Subclass
If you love teleportation as I do then this subclass is the best option. Imagine the sneaky attacks of Gloom Stalker or Hunter subclass, but better, and you get the Horizon Walker Subclass. The sole reason for that is that this subclass uses teleportation both in and out of battle. When it comes to backstory, they are considered the protectors of the realm as they prevent and fight entities that cross over to their plane.
With the teleportation skill and other spells, you will be hitting enemies like Spider-man hits Thanos using the portal. The only difference is that you use teleportation, which is way cooler if you ask me. This subclass can also use two-weapon fighting combined with their teleportation. Pick a Halfling, an Elf, or a Human for this subclass. Your best spells/abilities are Horizon Walker Magic, Planar Warrior, Ethereal Step, Distant Strike, and Spectral Defense.
Other than the ones mentioned above, I suggest you look into a few other subclass options like the Ranger of the North, Swarm Keeper, and Gloom Stalker. Those are some of the best subclass options for Ranger 5e. If you feel like learning a lot more about these subclasses and their abilities then I recommend you take a look at this RPGBOT article.
Pros of Ranger 5e Subclass
- Rangers can use pet companions both during battles and out of them.
- They are well rounded class, and even beginners can play well with them.
- For taracking and hunting requirements, Rangers take the top spot.
- Unlike few classes, rangers can an equip an armor from the start.
- They can uyse both spells and dual-wielding weapons. My favorite is using a bow and arrow.
Cons of Playing as D&D 5e Ranger
- Often considered as the weakest class of all the D&D 5e classes.
- Not the best damage dealers, or spellcasters.
- Tries to get in the shoes of too many roles, that not one is coniseder best. So most rangers are not properly balanced.
- Player’s Handbook makes rangers underpowered.
How to Play a Ranger 5e Class?
There is no best way to play a ranger class, though they are bad ways like going for Player’s Handbook. This made the ranger most hated of all the class, as they weren’t good at anything. Well, this issue is rectified with the revised ranger 5e class. They aren’t very good as tanks, so you are left with a damage dealer or support. Form the two, I would suggest going for the former, as most subclasses allow rangers to deal decent damage using various fighting styles.
When it comes to subclasses, if you wish to play with a beast companion then pick Drakewarden over Beast Master. The former may not have many beasts but the available ones and skills trump others. One of my favorite abilities is to teleport behind enemies to take them down. If you too are into such skills then the Horizon Walker is what you are looking for.
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Many players either ignore Rangers or consider them to be not too fun to play. This may have been true before but the revised ranger 5e is better in many aspects. With some unique skills and various weapons options, this class can be fun to play with. Since every player has a unique flavor and requirements for their character, they should check out all the subclasses for a ranger. Each of them speaks to various players, so you might just something really interesting for your game. Read every piece of info mentioned in this 5e ranger guide to better understand the Ranger 5e class. If you are hungry for more, then we did add a few other interesting links for more info.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
When it comes to picking a few good ranger subclasses 5e, I go with Drakewarden, Horizon Walker, Gloom Stalker as my picks. These 3 subclasses are fun to play and have some amazing abilities that make them worth it.
To be honest, they aren’t the best class in dnd 5e. This doesn’t mean they are completely useless or not fun at all. They do have their perks when you pick a few subclasses and abilities. Just read the above to find out all about them.
They are a lot of subclasses for rangers since there are a lot of guides and homebrew options. It is difficult to give a specific number to it, but there are a few subclasses that most players go for. We did mention those subclasses above.
Yes, you can mutliclass a ranger in dnd 5e. Some options for multiclassing include Bards, Barbarians, Artificers, Druids, Fighters, etc. Take a gander at this thegamer article on multiclassing a ranger.
- 1 What is a Ranger 5e Class in D&D?
- 1.1 Ranger 5e Class Features
- 1.2 All Ranger Subclasses 5e
- 1.3 How to Play a Ranger 5e Class?
- 1.4 Wrapping Up
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)