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New Paths #1: The Expanded Spell-less Ranger (PFRPG) PDF

***** (based on 4 ratings)

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Aragorn Didn't Cast Spells!

Just because some designer thought rangers should be spell-slingers doesn't make it right! With The Expanded Spell-Less Ranger, you can now play an authentic ranger without spells, but with great new abilities.

Welcome to the Expanded Spell-Less Ranger, a base class for the Pathfinder RPG that was first presented in Kobold Quarterly #11 and which reviewers called a "must-read" at RPG Geek.

The removal of spells makes this a true ranger-type, but the new powers and expanded abilities mean that the Spell-Less Ranger can hold his own in a fight. With new animal companion options and Ranger Talents, this class covers the hunter's bond, fast movement, expanded tracking, hunting, additional favored enemies, trap handling, and much more, all in keeping with the ranger you know from The Lord of the Rings.

The Expanded Spell-less Ranger includes much new material beyond the original magazine version, such as two new archetypes for the companion-bound ranger and the dual-style ranger, plus new feats specific to this ranger that make them masters of their terrain. Includes a full 20-level character progression plus tracking sheets for favored terrain, enemies, and companions.

Be a real ranger! Get The Expanded Spell-Less Ranger today!

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 4 ratings)

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Now we are talking

*****

Every change is in most of cases both:, Flavorlful and utiity. im not going to specif what it has inside, the other reviewers do it so well that i have nothing more to tell about.

This is a mix between ranger and rogue, in fact, this is the way i always want to play a ranger without spells!!

it Must be into your "must to have it"


Rangers how they were meant to be

*****

This pdf is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 12 pages of content, so let's check this one out!

For those of you not in the know: In KQ #11, Marc Radle created an alternate version (meaning no multiclassing with the regular ranger-class) of the ranger-class that fits closer with irl mythology: The spell-less ranger replaces spells with a selection of neat ranger talents - a great approach that has been expanded in this pdf, but let me give you the run-down:

The spell-less ranger gets full BAB, d10, 6+Int skills per level, good fort- and ref-saves, up to 5 favored terrains, up to 4 favored terrains and additionally stealth attack (which is a terrain/favored enemy-based, weaker variant of sneak attack), combat styles, 4 special uses of the healing-skill when in favored terrain (including treating deadly wounds, poisons and diseases) and so-called ranger talents: A total of 25 are provided and run the whole gamut from additional animal companions, bonus feats, less fall damage, scent, the ability to negate concealment via hawk's eyes, trackless stride and improved swimming and climbing capabilities. High-level rangers also can look forward to quarry, improved quarry, hide in plain sight etc.

The result of the changes made to the class are evident - looking at the ranger talents it becomes rather clear that a regular fighter won't outshine a guerilla-style archer ranger, for example, defining the niche of the class more closely. 18 new feats help the ranger by providing further customization options that range from the rather simple "Additional favored terrain" to very interesting feats: "Coordinated Attack" gives your companion access to all your teamwork feats. Another interesting one would be "Defensive Shot", which FINALLY gives you the chance to use ranged weapon in melee with a penalty. A godsend for campaigns without divine magic (or groups without primary healers) is "Improved Nature's Healing", which significantly improves the amount of Hp you may heal by using that ability. Add to that the increased damage output via "Deadly Accuracy" and its improved version (which let you reroll 1s and 2s of ranged attack-damage-rolls) and we have a great class to simulate e.g. the deadly elven guerilla fighter. All in all, I considered the feats to be well-crafted and none of them to be overpowered or utterly boring. (I'd btw. suggest to add SGG's Knacks from their Ranger-book to the list of available ranger talents!)

This is not where the pdf stops, though: We also get two new archetypes for the ranger: The Dual-style ranger gets only one favorite enemy, but two combat styles. The companion-bound ranger is rather complex and can select from a druid's companion-list, enhance his companion, gain aforementioned coordinated companion etc., but at the cost of his favored terrain, camouflage etc.

The pdf also includes info on the 5 styles introduced in the APG and does something EXTREMELY useful: It provides us with a favored-enemy/terrain-char-sheet to add to your regular char-sheet - useful, well-constructed, awesome! Even better, we get yet another extra sheet for animal companions that could also be used for familiars etc. and makes for one of the most clearly arranged ones I've seen so far. Kudos for this great bonus!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read, relatively printer-friendly 2-column standard. The pdf has a beautiful front cover, but no bookmarks, which is a bummer in this day and age. Due to being relatively short, I'm willing to let that one slip, though. The spell-less ranger is popular for a reason - Marc Radle has crafted an excellent alternate class and with the new expanded material herein, there are even more reasons to go spell-less than before. This alternate class is awesome, well-designed and the additional content lacks any feats, crunch, etc. I'd consider badly designed or unbalanced. In fact, I absolutely love this take on the ranger, as it makes the class feel more unique and less than a fighter/druid-hybrid. After SGG's stellar "Ranger's Options: Knacks of Nature", this is the second book in a short space that easily can be considered to be a stellar pick for any fans of the concept of the ranger, but not its core-execution. Even for the adherents of spellcasting this pdf is well worth the pick for the archetypes/feats and if you can spare the bucks, combine its talents with SGG's knacks (by e.g. adding the talents as knacks or vice versa) - I guarantee you won't find the result unbalancing. When all's said and done, a great start for the new line, Marc Radle did an awesome job and I look forward to seeing more! My final verdict? 5 stars + Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


15 Pages of Absolute Glory

*****

Okay this is my first product review on the Paizo site, and I really feel like this was the book to receive my praise. I am very hard to please when it comes to OGL content, and most I have read are pretty good at best but this one definitely takes the cake. Marc, Wolfgang and the crew from Kobold Quarterly have brought forth this piece of magic (haha magic from a magic-less book) and have presented us with a way to play the original iconic rangers we grew up to love. From the complete list of Ranger Tricks to the new Feats and Archetypes, this is a book with enough options for anyone. Personally I found the Dual Style Ranger Archetype to be pretty awesome if you're into focusing on 2 different combat styles at the cost of only having 1 favored enemy. So all in all, if you are a ranger fan like I am or have always wanted to play the "classic" ranger then pick up this book...you will not be disappointed =D


****( )

Weighing in at 15 pages (Front cover -1 page, credit/PID – 1 page, 2 pages of tracking sheets, OGL) we’ve got roughly 10 pages of new material here to work with.

A spell-less Ranger…this class has long been plagued by the fact that whereas any class tossing spells about is kinda cool in its own right, the iconic characters who inspired this particular class were men existing by their own skill, and their ability to utilize the lands around them to some amazing feats. I’ve seen a few attempts to go spell-less with a ranger in the past, and it has always come out looking very much like a pigeon-holed fighter…so let us take a look and see if Mr. Radle has found the balance required to ground the ranger back in the land of the everyman, without taking away all that made this class one that people would want to play.

Interestingly enough, once again I find myself going through a Marc Radle design, missing his artwork, lol. Luckily the artists tapped for this piece were more than up to it, and the PDF comes off with a very good look and feel to it visually speaking. Now, having said that, I do have a complaint regarding artwork…the background image, as it is, makes it very hard to read the text in the corners of the pages from time to time. Perhaps a slight fade on the background image might have aided with that. Editing wise, I only found two mistakes, and they were essentially the same mistake, and an extremely minor one at that. An errant “s” was added in two different spots to a word, but truly did not alter enough of the meaning to disturb the reading of the text.

Right off the bat, taking away spells from the progression of this class, the spell-less ranger finds himself the beneficiary of a host of new class abilities, and Ranger Talents (similar in nature to Rogue Talents)…at 2nd level the decision must be made what path of combat you are looking to advance your character down with the Combat Style Feat. Now, the PDF opts for the up close and gritty two-weapon combat style or the archery combat style , but does leave it open for you to choose from any of the ranger combat styles available under your GM. The advantages behind this particular class ability is that the combat styles come with a pool of feats that you will be picking from as you progress that allow you to ignore prerequisites. Next up in the realm of cool has got to be Nature’s Healing, gained at 3rd level. Giving game mechanics to bring to the table the fact that a ranger, in their favored terrain, knows which root, which mushroom, snail, leaf or mud is going to allow them to gain the absolute best results out of their Heal skill checks. Therefore, this ability grants bonuses to heal checks, in various differing manners. Hunter’s Bond is another of those choice situations, this time with the options of sharing a percentage of your favored enemy bonuses with allies, or picking up an animal companion (trust me, looking through all the different options here, you want the animal companion). Now, I did think there were a few animals that would have been obvious choices for the list of animal companion options, but that would be a personal choice issue. It would be wrong of me to not mention the Stealth Attack class ability, as any ranger worth his salt had better be able to attack unseen within their own terrain.

The Ranger Talents, 25 of them, are an interesting alternative to a spell progression for a ranger class, and offer everything from extra feats, to additional animal companions. Faster movement, farther range, and critical hit modifiers. There is enough here to allow for several different styles of play to evolve in comfort never feeling limited by choice.

Following this we are given 18 new Feats, covering everything from Additional Favored Enemies or Terrain, Extra Ranger Talents, an Expert or Master option for Favored Terrain granting additional bonuses on top of the normal ones already given by Favored Terrain. Coordinated Companion allows your animal companion to benefit from teamwork feats you possess as if they also had them. And Savage Terrain Warrior (my personal favorite of this batch) gives what every ranger needs…HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE!! For the animal companions, on top of the coordinated companion feat, we also get an Improved, Greater and Invulnerable – adding a DR to yer critter companion.

We are presented with two archetypes here that are both limited in their way, but in taking the limitation are both extremely more powerful within their parameters.
The Dual Style Ranger gives up multiple favored enemies in favor of learning a second combat style, and applying all further advancements that would normally give a new favored enemy back into the single enemy.
The Companion Bound Ranger gives up multiple favored terrain for a singular concept, but forms a bond with their animal that hearkens back to the classic ranger/animal duos of literary history.

The APG’s list of ranger combat styles is re-presented here in appendix form for ease of character build, in case one wishes to choose a style outside of the two presented here as options.
Following the appendix are two tracking sheets for ease of handling favored enemy/terrain and animal companions. They remind me greatly of sheets I remember using during the 3.0 days, and have that feel to me.

So, final thoughts…did this PDF present a ranger sans magic that is worth playing? That is what it comes down to, right? The answer to that is resting on my printer, in the form of an NPC I will be introducing tomorrow evening at my regular game night. This class is not only playable, its exciting and intriguing. For a player like myself, there are a massive amount of options presented to really explore the concept of an animal companion. Or go the complete other direction, and create that whisper in the trees, who’s only detected when his arrow is in your throat. Now, flipping to the other side, the background on the pages make some pages hard to read, and I would have preferred to have seen the background done with a lighter hand perhaps, but that is truly the only design/layout choice I can see worth complaining about or even pinging against the rating. Yes, I know I stated that the letter S shows up twice for no reason, but again, it does not change the meaning of the text it is within, nor does it make it any harder to understand. So, final tally…this is going to be one of those I want to give a 5 to, as the design is excellent, but layout is going to hold it back, and am finalizing with a 4.5. For those sites where I must go 4 or 5, I’ll have to round down to a 4.



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