Just The Rules: Ranger Up

The more I think about it, the more I want the ‘ranger’ to be a more skill-oriented class. They are still warrior-types, but I think I want their prowess to come mostly from knowledge of their foes and gaining advantage from their surroundings. They can still gain combat styles and other weapon skills, but they likely do so through feats.

Favored Enemy

Favored enemy in D&D tends to be pretty lackluster. Useful when it applies. After all, when isn’t +2n to certain skill checks, attack rolls, and damage against a target useful?

Oh yeah, when it doesn’t apply at all. Favored enemy bonuses are all or nothing, and the ‘nothing’ can come up with annoying regularity.

I expect favored enemy will still provide bonuses, it each favored enemy type will also provide abilities or traits that will help when dealing with the favored enemies. However, the abilities are not limited to use only when facing those enemies.

For instance, if a character has ‘dragon’ as a favored enemy, the following abilities could certainly be of use:

  • Evasion
  • Resistance to fear
  • Energy resistance
  • Flight
  • Improved evasion
  • Immunity to fear
  • Energy immunity

I think each favored enemy will have six steps of ability. Each step gives certain abilities specific to dealing with those enemies, and a bonus that increases every odd step (steps 1-2 are +1, steps 3-4 are +2, steps 5-6 are +3). All abilities scale the same: at level 18 the ranger has six favored enemies at the sixth step.

Favored enemy choices are likely to be very similar to the base rules, but instead of the ‘+2n bonuses’, a ranger gains:

  • Level 3: First favored enemy, all step 1 (+1)
  • Level 6: Second favored enemy, all step 2 (+1)
  • Level 9: Third favored enemy, all step 3 (+2)
  • Level 12: Fourth favored enemy, all step 4 (+2)
  • Level 15: Fifth favored enemy, all step 5 (+3)
  • Level 18: Sixth favored enemy, all step 6 (+3)

I see the shape of it, I’ll come back later for the details. I am almost absolutely certain I posted about ‘favored enemies I like’ that identified a published favored enemy system much like this, and it aggravates me greatly that I cannot find it!

I can lean on the [Tome] ranger and on various ranger archetypes from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game for ideas to flesh out (there are several that focus the ranger on specific enemies). I have a starting point, which is enough for now.

Favored Terrain

Favored terrain will, to no one’s shock, look almost exactly the same but with entirely different details. Gain six favored terrains, bonuses to certain checks increase +1 +2 +3 as the character reaches higher path levels, and associated abilities similarly increase.

I know for fact (because I looked) FantasyCraft has terrain-specific feats that suit what I’m looking for, though I’ll want to tune them up a bit. I see energy resistance as being likely, plus abilities that are likely to prove useful in the specific terrains (but not limited to use those terrains).

Favored terrain choices are likely to be very similar to the base rules, but instead of the ‘+2n bonuses’, a ranger gains:

  • Level 3: First favored terrain, all step 1 (+1)
  • Level 6: Second favored terrain, all step 2 (+1)
  • Level 9: Third favored terrain, all step 3 (+2)
  • Level 12: Fourth favored terrain, all step 4 (+2)
  • Level 15: Fifth favored terrain, all step 5 (+3)
  • Level 18: Sixth favored terrain, all step 6 (+3)

Again, I see the shape of it and need to provide adequately excellent options to fill in the detail.

Summary

This seems pretty simple, possibly simplistic, but honestly it’s pretty close to what I’d like paths to look like. I can describe the path in a fairly straightforward manner.

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