The Ranger is one of the more beleaguered classes in 5th Edition–today we have a look at some of the ways Mike Mearls has been considering revising it.
Let’s talk about Rangers. They’re a class that, on the whole, works just fine–you can find a lot of people who are playing and enjoying the class–but it does tend to crop up consistently when you start talking about classes that need a little tending to. And the biggest things that come up are Spells, Animal Companions, and Favored Enemy/Terrains.
Today Mike Mearls sits down to talk about why they keep coming up in terms of design, and offers a few inroads into how the class might change, or see an alternate progression track to help address some of the issues the community has pointed out.
And it’s interesting how he takes a look at it. One oft he big options is to look at the sort of resources the Ranger brings to it. Mearls offers up an alternate solution, Gift of the Wild, which presents 2nd Level Rangers with a choice of three options to gain: Spellcasting, a Beast Companion, or a series of Martial Exploits.
It’s an interesting choice that addresses some of the common complaints about Rangers. Not everyone who plays one wants to be “the spellcasting guy” or the “two-weapon fighting guy.” Both of which are pillars of the D&D Ranger’s identity. And speaking of two weapon fighting, Mearls’ other big solution recasts Favored Enemy. Rather than picking from a laundry list of possible creatures for your Ranger to hate, Favored Enemy instead becomes a feature that lets you attack in new ways.
Now instead of just having advantage on tracking creatures of a certain type, you designate an enemy as a favored action, and once you’ve done so you can make an extra attack against it once on your turn–it starts off as a reaction, but by the time we get to the second video, when the Revised Ranger has undergone further Revision, it’s just something you can do on your turn. This, coupled with some passive buffs from Favored Terrain go a long way towards making the Ranger feel more like the class people want to play.
The second video helps flesh out some of the groundwork Mearls laid out before. It’s real interesting to see how he feels about bonus action–which mostly comes down to feeling as though two-weapon fighting is too much of a drain on your Bonus Action. And the Ranger doubles down on the two-weapon fighting iconic with a new prototype fighting style, Whirling Blades, which lets you attack with a second weapon without spending your bonus action.
But perhaps the biggest change is the rework of the Beast Companion rules, which allows a Ranger to forgo spellcasting to instead have an animal companion that feels like it fits the aesthetic that most people are going for then they pick a Beastmaster Ranger.
As you can see, the Ranger has a ways to go–but things are looking up for everyone’s favorite forest friends.