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Treantmonk's Guide to Rangers (Optimization)


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Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Brox RedGloves wrote:

Treant,

Thank you for validating the switch-spec. I've actually played that build in one form or another from Advanced D&D, through 3.0-.5 to Pathfinder, finally retiring my venerable ranger at level 18. Admittedly, I didn't follow your exact spec (I took some prestige class levels as part of roleplay...etc) but it's good to see something I thought out long ago become a respected optimization.

Don't take this the wrong way, but the feeling that you need "validation" to play the way the character has actually been working for you, is part of what I feel is majorly wrong with this generation of gamers. Because apparently the " if you're "not playing the way I'm playing you must be doing it wrong" mentality has been growing ever since Third Edition hit the scene.

It's one of the things I hate the most about D20 play.


Love the guide Treantmonk and am new to Pathfinder, playing for the first time, going to try this out as I want my ranger to be more Aragorn than Drizzt or Legolas, but I have a questions/observations maybe you or someone could clear up for me.

1. Reading your guide, I do not really understand the emphasis and inclusion of "skirmishing" feats like vital strike for the switch hitter. To me it seems like the main strength of the switch hitting ranger is efficiency in making use of his full attack options. Starting with bow in hand/arrow nocked, shouldn't he open fire (full attack) every round until the enemy closes with him, then drop his bow, quick draw his falchion and continue full attacking? If so, doesn't it make more sense to merely keep a spare bow/falchion sheathed on you to quick draw if your enemy flees out of melee range rather than chase it around trying to vital strike it? Just seems inefficient to me, I must be missing something.

2. Rather than buying Heavy Armor Proficiency, is it worth considering dipping a level into Fighter and picking up a free feat instead or will losing 1 Ranger level be not worth it do you think?


Hello!
I must thank you Treantmonk for a great build. Its fun to play and I have loads of posebilities.

I started my char a couple of months back and at my next session il be going for 3. level.
What Im a bit iffy on is the next feat. The guide is whery spesific for archery feats, but not melee.
To be sure I dident squander a feat I used my level 1 feat to get Quick draw early on instead of a melee feat.
So on level 3 I have a various of posebilities. Offcource Cleave is great so I could take that, but is there other smarter feats?

Iv wondered about vital strike, shield of swings and improven trip and even combat expertice, but im pretty new to this and would love to get some feadback.

Iv also been thinking on Teamwork feats like Precise strike:
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/combat-feats/precise-strike-combat-teamwork
I was thinking it might be a great feat to add to my animal companion to get a little ekstra. Also the back to back teamwork might do something but a bit of a waste.

Also. Great tips to feats for Animal companion? Either its Chetaah or wolf.

Primary melee in small party.

Got
17str(upping on level 4)
14dex
13con (upping on level 8)
11 int
14 wis
8 cha

Greatsword masterwork
Longbow +1
Chainmail +1 so 19AC.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

id like to add with the release of Pathfinder companion Animal Archive, the feat Boon Companion is a must have.

Boon Companion
Ben:The abilities of your animal companion or familiar are calculated as though your class were 4 levels higher, to a maximum effective druid level equal to your character level. If you have more than one animal companion or familiar, choose one to receive this benefit. If you lose or dismiss an animal companion or familiar that has received this benefit, you may apply this feat to the replacement creature.
Spec: You may select this feat more than once. The
effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies
to a different animal companion or familiar.


Hi there,

I read this thread with keen interest; thanks to the OP for doing the heavy lifting.

In my situation, I am looking at a multiclass fighter/ranger, probably a variant of the "switch hitter" idea this handbook pioneered (so far, the rough idea would have levels evenly split such that by 12 he's got 6 levels on each class; I haven't got him planned out past that yet). My question is this: if my ranger levels are that sparse relative to my total character level, shouldn't I just forsake the animal companion? I'm not gonna have the little guy around just to be clubbed to death; I'd sooner take the less powerful bonus of the other nature-bond-thingy.

Thanks.

Red


ON an note.. perhaps this has been pointed out previously, and perhaps you've already addressed the possibility, I didn't read though all of the thread here. If so, my apologies, if not, here's something to think about.

So, because weapon finesse applies to the elven curve blade, which is normally an exotic weapon, but due to weapon training, a martial weapon for elven rangers, and has the same critical range as the falchion and a uses a d10 instead of 2d4 for damage potential, the elf switch hitter can come out very well also, as their high dexterity can then apply to hit for both their melee and ranged weapon... a good build would have a higher base dexterity, so wouldn't do quite as much damage, though they could potentially hit for more damage with the curve blade and they would have a higher chance to hit so it balances out a bit, though they would still be better at archery.

Admittedly, you MUST take weapon finesse as one of your feats for this to work, and your going to have to depend a bit more on dexterity then strength, but a higher dexterity gives you a better chance to hit in this situation, you might not hit as hard, but you would hit more often, so I wouldn't completely lose them from the list of good switch hitters..

Also, they can trade out elven magic for silent hunter, which is nice alternate option... and the elven battle training feat is not bad either, though both of these options are in the advanced race guide rather then the core

Liberty's Edge

@Krul: Weapon finesse is almost always a trap and is even more a trap when you're using it on a 2handed weapon. The biggest advantage of the switch hitter is that it doesn't need a super high dex, any damage you get from ranged combat is basically bonus damage.


@Shadowcat: First off, I don't entirely agree about weapon finesse, so we're going to have to agree to disagree there.. but fair enough, I suppose it would be creating more of a archer with a stronger melee possibility, but it can still comes out as better in some ways then a straight archer build.


@Krul: Yeah, there are some questions in such a build. Some DMs won't let you combine Weapon Finesse and Power Attack in the same attack, seeing them as antithetical. I can see their point, but I believe the rules are silent on it.

There is always the concern that now you have to focus on two attributes for melee - one to hit, one for damage, and your two-handed weapon loses bonus damage faster from reduced Strength than you gain to hit from increased Dexterity.

What's the average damage for a falchion vs an elven curved blade? 5 vs 5.5? That's not terribly compelling for the min/maxer.

All that said, I have two rangers doing exactly what you suggest for the same reasons you cite. They are fun. Not optimized, but fun. One DM lets me power attack with weapon finesse so I get some of my lost damage back from sacrificing some strength. The other has stated that I can either attack with brute force (use Strength, not Dexterity, to hit) and get my bonus damage from Power Attack, or I can finesse my hits using Weapon Finesse. So she either hits much more often or she hits harder. I haven't actually calculated out the difference in her average dpr -- typing this to you makes me want to do so. Hmm...


Very quick and dirty analysis. Of course, the damage per hit is higher at lower AC for power attack. The question for me is at what AC the average damage is better for the finesse attack. At lower levels, it appears to be in the AC 17 - 18 range. Mid-levels, it's a toss-up at AC 23 - 25 for her target. Extending it a little further, Power Attack continues to overtake the finesse attack as the penalty/bonus increases. I did not take it all the way to 20th level.

Somehow, I'm sure there are a lot of folks that have done this calculation already that are rolling their eyes at me right now, but this is the first time I've actually put pencil to paper to compare the two. I find it interesting. I have to look at her in a whole new light now.

Thanks for prompting that line of thought, Krul.

Liberty's Edge

AinvarG wrote:
@Krul: Yeah, there are some questions in such a build. Some DMs won't let you combine Weapon Finesse and Power Attack in the same attack, seeing them as antithetical. I can see their point, but I believe the rules are silent on it.

RAW there is absolutely nothing wrong with power attacking with weapon finesse. Even so, finesse < str builds.


Did something happen with the formatting?


Yeah, the guide on google docs dun got screwed up, the pictures are all out of place, and I think some text sections are as well. :/


Posted in another thread but got no response, so I figured I'd try here.

I'm working on a kasatha ranger and am wondering if Treatmonk's "switch hitter" still works.

For anyone not familiar, the kasatha is a four-armed +dex/wis race.

I was considering multiweapon fighting at first level but was unsure how this would interact with the rest of the build.

My initial thought is to wield starknives in the off hands and switch from the greatsword to the composite bow as needed, as wielding anything larger would incur hefty penalties on attack rolls. During ranged combat, the character could throw starknives in addition to firing the bow, and in melee the starknives would complement the greatsword.

Any thoughts on this?


delroland wrote:

Posted in another thread but got no response, so I figured I'd try here.

I'm working on a kasatha ranger and am wondering if Treatmonk's "switch hitter" still works.

For anyone not familiar, the kasatha is a four-armed +dex/wis race.

I was considering multiweapon fighting at first level but was unsure how this would interact with the rest of the build.

My initial thought is to wield starknives in the off hands and switch from the greatsword to the composite bow as needed, as wielding anything larger would incur hefty penalties on attack rolls. During ranged combat, the character could throw starknives in addition to firing the bow, and in melee the starknives would complement the greatsword.

Any thoughts on this?

At low lvls, you could just take quickdraw and full-attack with chakrams until the enemy comes at melee range, then quickdraw your primary weapons. But it becomes less and less effective as you lvl up, unless you have a way to cast greater magic weapon on them. I would probably use the retraining rules after some point, and make sure that I have some kind of pounce or lockdown mechanic until then.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Now that I've read this whole thread, I've a couple of questions:

Treantmonk suggested at one point in the thread that he would not recommend starting with Ranger if your goal is to eventually go Arcane Archer, yet in the guide he says that if you're a Ranger the "obvious" prestige class is AA. I suppose the two statements are not mutually exclusive, but they are confusing - to me, anyway. Can someone make better sense of it for me?

In the guide, Treantmonk says that if you're going to go AA, "of course" you're going to choose elf or half-elf for your race. Is this a rules thing (you must choose one of these races) or something else? If it's a rules thing, can somebody point me to the rule? I certainly didn't see anything like it in the core rules description of the class, although I did note the reference to "elven traditions" or some such. Still, I have the impression that any race is (legally, anyway) a candidate for this class.

Where can I find this "studded gauntlet" folks keep talking about?

A couple of off topic comments:

Aragorn is a direct descendant of Arvedui Last-King and his wife Firiel. Arvedui was a direct descendant of Isildur, and Firiel was a direct descendant of Anarion. Both Isildur and Anarion were sons of Earendil, who was High King of *both* Arnor and Gondor. Somebody claimed that Aragorn does not have a legitimate claim to the throne of Gondor "because the line was broken". I disagree. Even if the line of descent from Anarion was broken, he's still descended from the High King of *both* kingdoms through the other line, so he has a legitimate claim to both kingdoms. Note also that Earendil took the throne of Arnor, and Isildur and Anarion *jointly* ruled Gondor. So if Aragorn can trace descent from either of Earendil's sons, his claim to Gondor (and to Arnor) is legitimate.

If the LOTR wiki and wikipedia disagree as to the fate of the House of Haldor, I'd probably go with the former - although really I'd want to go back to the books (and no, I don't have all - what is it, twenty? - of them), I could visit the library, though (something that probably wouldn't even occur to youngsters today). :-)


This question is for Treantmonk, mostly, but I welcome additional input. We're just starting up a game of Pathfinder and I love the idea of the switch-hitter, however...the guide says to take Heavy Armor Proficiency to be able to wear Mithral Full Plate. I noticed that ComradeQuestion and Sub_Zero commented on this on page 9 of the thread. When the question was asked of *how* you wear Mithral Full Plate, the answer was essentially "because it's made of mithral".

My problem with that explanation is that nothing in the mithral description negates the very specific class requirements for the Ranger's combat style feats. Here's the text.

From the PCR, in the Ranger class description: "The benefits of the ranger's chosen style feats apply only when he wears light, medium, or no armor. He loses all benefits of his combat style feats when wearing heavy armor."

Mithral Full Plate is still a heavy armor (I've included the text for mithral below). That armor is treated as a category lighter for purposes of movement and other limitations (such as Acrobatics and Swim, you know, other movement skills) but the category change doesn't affect proficiency. It doesn't BECOME medium armor, the bonuses to movement are just calculated that way.

From the PCR, in Equipment, Special Materials: "Most mithral armors are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations. Heavy armors are treated as medium, and medium armors are treated as light, but light armors are still treated as light. This decrease does not apply to proficiency in wearing the armor. A character wearing mithral full plate must be proficient in wearing heavy armor to avoid adding the armor's check penalty to all his attack rolls and skill checks that involve moving."

Please tell me that there's something I'm missing that makes wearing Mithral Full Plate possible without losing any feats, because if it's just because the armor's made of mithral, my DM won't allow it.


They are one category less, ie. it becomes medium, you just still need proficiency with heavy armor. Thats why lots of people use mithril breastplate, so they can still move 30 in medium armor.


I don't see how you can take the statement "...one category lighter for purposes of movement..." and extrapolate that to "it becomes medium, so it doesn't affect your combat feats", please explain it to me. What I'm seeing is if you have to take heavy armor proficiency to wear it, it's still heavy armor. Just with milder penalties due to material.


It isn't just for movement. It is for movement "and other limitations."


Welll, you cut off the quote, for one. It actually reads:
" are one category lighter than normal for purposes of movement and other limitations.
...This decrease does not apply to proficiency in wearing the armor."

"other limitations" isn't qualified, so should reasonably read as all other limitations BESIDES the only one specifically said not to be subject to the category shift: proficiency. Thus, the armor counts as one category lighter for purpose of the Ranger Class Ability's limitation on armor type you can wear while still benefitting from the Class Ability.

========================================================================

Ed Reppert wrote:
In the guide, Treantmonk says that if you're going to go AA, "of course" you're going to choose elf or half-elf for your race. Is this a rules thing (you must choose one of these races) or something else?

The PrC still has flavor text relating it to elves, and at one point the rules text also restricted it to those races, but that was later Errata'd to open it to other races. TM may have written that passage when the old rules were still in effect, or may have overlooked the change to that requirement, since the PrC does still mention elves and half-elves prominently (albeit, basically as flavor text, likewise with the mention of Alignment which talks alot about Good tendency but doesn't end up imposing any real restriction).

Quote:
here can I find this "studded gauntlet" folks keep talking about?

I assume they mis-worded that, and were referring to Spiked Gauntlets, which are Core Equipment items.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Quandary wrote:


In the guide, Treantmonk says that if you're going to go AA, "of course" you're going to choose elf or half-elf for your race. Is this a rules thing (you must choose one of these races) or something else? If it's a rules thing, can somebody point me to the rule?

In the original printings of the Core Rulebook, the Arcane Archer class was limited to Elves and Half-Elves. That requirement has been since removed via errata. (Please do remember that the guide was written in 2009! That's before almost 5 years of game development.)

Also keep in mind that Treantmonk no longer seems to be active in the scene so just deal with the changes that have occurred in the game since then.


Thank you both for the response, though I seriously doubt my GM will agree with you. I mostly wanted to know if there was something else in the rules that allowed Rangers to wear non-magical Mithral Full Plate without losing access to class combat feats, or if this was entirely based on the description in the special materials for mithral.

For the record, I did include the full quote on my post just above that one.


Nocteris wrote:

Thank you both for the response, though I seriously doubt my GM will agree with you. I mostly wanted to know if there was something else in the rules that allowed Rangers to wear non-magical Mithral Full Plate without losing access to class combat feats, or if this was entirely based on the description in the special materials for mithral.

For the record, I did include the full quote on my post just above that one.

No problem. Hope your GM changes his mind, but it is his game and can house rule whatever he wants. It can be frustrating when a GM "believes" they are using the rules as written but are just wrong.


@BigDTBone: Yeah, this guide is still viable if you are only playing with the Core Rule Book, but there is alot of material beyond that in terms of Races, Feats, Combat Styles, Archetypes, Spells, etc.

@Nocteris: All I can say if your GM wants to rule that way, and say the rule applies ONLY to movement restrictions, is that he is basically saying that the phrase "and other limitations" exists for NO reason whatsoever. Likewise, the passage "This decrease does not apply to proficiency in wearing the armor." is superfluous if one understood the previous sentence as explicitly applying ONLY to movement restrictions. It's understandable enough that he didn't happen to catch onto that distinction on his first reading of the rule, that's not really any horrible fault on his side... But aside from stubborness there is no real reason to stick with that inaccurate understanding: that is just not what the rule is.


Quandary wrote:

Yeah, this guide is still viable if you are only playing with the Core Rule Book, but there is alot of material beyond that in terms of Races, Feats, Combat Styles, Archetypes, Spells, etc.

Even if you are playing all Paizo products allowed it is still a great place to start.


True, the "core Feats" you want are still basically the same anyways, especially for Archery.


Thanks, Quandary, I'm gonna try to use your comments to sway him. I appreciate the help. =)


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber

Can anyone else still access this guide? This one and several others are giving me an error that they aren't accessible. Lots of others work though. I'm wondering if it's an issue with my mobile devices or if some of the guides have been taken down by the owners.


It's still working for me.


Athos710 wrote:
Can anyone else still access this guide? This one and several others are giving me an error that they aren't accessible. Lots of others work though. I'm wondering if it's an issue with my mobile devices or if some of the guides have been taken down by the owners.

I haven't taken it down, though it's pretty outdated now.

try this link and see if it helps:

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/extras/community-creations/treatmonks-lab/test2/tre antmonk-s-guide-to-rangers

Dark Archive

Any chance you might feel like the (admittedly monumental no doubt) task of updating your guides to current rulebooks Treantmonk? They're all still really good starting points despite the extra books now published, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't look forwards to your take on all the new options as well.


Suthainn wrote:
Any chance you might feel like the (admittedly monumental no doubt) task of updating your guides to current rulebooks Treantmonk? They're all still really good starting points despite the extra books now published, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't look forwards to your take on all the new options as well.

There are SOOOOO many supplements out now that I agree it would be monumental.

Being that I don't even play with all the supplements myself, the odds are I won't be updating the old guides.

I am glad they still see some use regardless.


I'm very new to roleplaying (about to start my first campaign next week), having played a couple of 1-day games to get some idea of the basics.

So I'd love to make an archery ranger or switch hitter for the campaign. Is it a difficult class to take on as a first timer? The rest of the group are all rather experienced it should be noted.

Also, I understand this guide is rather aged by now. Is it still viable or are there some things I should be mindful of. Should perhaps note that we will be playing with quite a few supplements and the GM will be open to certain reasonable additions.


Lostcause78 wrote:

I'm very new to roleplaying (about to start my first campaign next week), having played a couple of 1-day games to get some idea of the basics.

So I'd love to make an archery ranger or switch hitter for the campaign. Is it a difficult class to take on as a first timer? The rest of the group are all rather experienced it should be noted.

Also, I understand this guide is rather aged by now. Is it still viable or are there some things I should be mindful of. Should perhaps note that we will be playing with quite a few supplements and the GM will be open to certain reasonable additions.

Welcome to Pathfinder! I hope you enjoy your upcoming game!

Ranger is actually pretty good for a beginning player, especially if you have more experienced players that are willing to give you in game advice and reminders about your abilities. Rangers have a ton of abilities that can be relevant in a variety of situations, so you won't have to often sit at the sidelines watching as other people have their fun without you.

The Treant Monk guide is still pretty relevant, at least on the conceptual level. There are more options now obviously, but for your first character, you don't want to mess around with to many complicated options.


Thanks for the info, Ranger it is then!

Silver Crusade

I actually wish that there were core only guides for every core class. My group will be starting a Pathfinder game near the end of September and my GM is only allowing the core book. This is because he doesn't want to be inundated with hundreds of complex options from other books while we are all learning the system (yes, some people have yet to even play the game ;) ). I used Treantmonk's guides extensively when preparing for this game, and it would have helped greatly if the other core classes had similar treatments.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

check out the Guide to the Class Guides thread in the advice section of the boards.
Guide to the Class Guides
There are plenty of guides available linked there, some of them are core only as well.

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