[Ranger] Less "natural terrain", more Monster Hunter


Classes


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The Ranger class seems to have issues stemming from quite a few abilities triggering off bonuses in natural terrain.

This seems like a thematic and mechanical miss to me.

In terms of thematics, the Ranger can represent detectives, bounty hunters, slayers, tomb raiders, bodyguards, pillagers and all sorts of adventurers which aren't intrinsically tied to natural terrain.

In terms of mechanics, it makes players disproportionally favor one type of adventure/setting over others, creating repetitive gameplay patterns.

What I propose is that these features, baseline, are replaced by things closer to Monster Hunter – the idea that the Ranger is the best at finding, tracking and identifying foes is a strong concept that can be applied in a lot of adventures, ranging from intrigue campaigns to dungeon delves and yes, wilderness exploration as well, but also planar exploration too.

So yeah, less "natural terrain", more Monster Hunter would be my advice to tuning the Ranger into its own class with a stronger identity.

Shadow Lodge

I can only agree with this.


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Secret Wizard wrote:

The Ranger class seems to have issues stemming from quite a few abilities triggering off bonuses in natural terrain.

This seems like a thematic and mechanical miss to me.

In terms of thematics, the Ranger can represent detectives, bounty hunters, slayers, tomb raiders, bodyguards, pillagers and all sorts of adventurers which aren't intrinsically tied to natural terrain.

In terms of mechanics, it makes players disproportionally favor one type of adventure/setting over others, creating repetitive gameplay patterns.

I'm totally with you up to this point.

While I love the thematic nature of being in "the wild." My experience with six ears of PFS is that while there are adventures that occur outdoors, the vast majority of what happens is either underground, in an urban setting, or in some other structure above ground.

What's worse, even when you have stuff outdoors, scenarios have little to nothing that contemplates Rangerish type of activities. Like Survey Wildlife, that has to be changed from "animals" to "creatures."

Quote:
What I propose is that these features, baseline, are replaced by things closer to Monster Hunter – the idea that the Ranger is the best at finding, tracking and identifying foes is a strong concept that can be applied in a lot of adventures, ranging from intrigue campaigns to dungeon delves and yes, wilderness exploration as well, but also planar exploration too.

Totally agree with this as well.

Quote:
So yeah, less "natural terrain", more Monster Hunter would be my advice to tuning the Ranger into its own class with a stronger identity.

Here we are starting to diverge. I think the Ranger needs terrain based modifiers. But they can't be limited to "natural" settings because so little of the game takes place in "natural" settings. What's more, the benefits conveyed aren't even that beneficial in normal play.

A major disappointment for me after reviewing the class is how much of the class is now tied to "natural" settings. In P1, this is wasn't the case because you could take Favored Terrain Urban or Underground.


@N N 959: I think Terrain Bonuses are better off as a Class Feat. Something you can pick if you are going to expect a terrain heavy campaign, but not something that locks you off from being a dungeon delver or manhunter by trade.

My proposal for a fix is as follows:

  • 1. Add "You may use Recall Knowledge against a creature studied with Hunt Target for ◇ (free action)." This would encourage Rangers to have monster identification abilities baseline.

  • 2. Add a baseline ability (or Class Feat) as such:

Hunter's Instincts – Xth
You are trained in Instinct, a special Wisdom-based skill that can be used only to Recall Knowledge, but can be used to Recall Knowledge on any enemy creature. If you are legendary in Survival or Perception, you become an expert in Instinct, but you can’t increase your proficiency rank in Instinct by any other means.

With this feature, INT-Rangers or WIS-Rangers would be equally viable. This would allow for more build variety, and give Rangers a unique niche, as they are able to Recall Knowledge for free while getting their combat boosts and have extra tools to do so.

  • 3. Finally, add more terrain options as class feats and replace the baseline features that deal with natural terrain with other bonuses to Recall Knowledge. For example, Trackless Step could be replaced with a feature that grants a versatile bonus (to AC, damage or saves) against an enemy if you successfully Recall Knowledge, and something like Wild Stride could allow you to pick two different bonuses instead if you critically succeed on those checks or something like that.

  • 4. Make things like Trackless Step and Wild Stride into Nature/Survival Skill Feats.

Scarab Sages

I wouldn’t make anew skill. If you were going to go with the instinct mechanic (I’m not sold on it), make it a lore skill that can use wisdom instead of int.


redpandamage wrote:
I wouldn’t make anew skill. If you were going to go with the instinct mechanic (I’m not sold on it), make it a lore skill that can use wisdom instead of int.

But are you down for changing the focus on the Ranger?


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1. Hard vote no against adding more Class feats that add flavor because these compete and lose out against feats that add combat viability. This means Rangers lose a ton of flavor, or, players are punished for having more RP-friendly Rangers.

2. Honestly, you're lobbying for the Ranger to become the Inquisitor of P2. I don't want that. Conceptually, I like that nature based theme. But it does marginalize the Ranger's abilities in a way that no other class, not even the Druid, seems to suffer.

3. I think the solution is to allow the abilities to work in all settings but have bonuses in Natural settings.

4. Trackless Step is entirely pointless. Honestly, how is this of any use to a Ranger who travels with a party? Paizo wants to keep this for flavor? Fine. But put Wild Empathy along with it. I'd argue that is should be given out at 2nd level, but I'm wondering if they hold it off until 5 to stop Multi-classers from getting it too easily.

Again, hard no on the adding more feats, the just need to make it have general use and boosted use in natural settings.

Scarab Sages

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I agree somewhat, but I’m not sold on hunt target. I think I’d be more okay if it also allowed you to hunt target from the tracks or evidence of the target instead of having to see them and be in range. I still don’t really like how it’s not that close to actual biting and how it locks the ranger into full attacks that make any two action feat, like favoured aim, much worse. I do think your change might make the ranger better, but I would also like the some terrain abilities to stay so you don’t have to pick between thematic abilities and combat bonuses. Honestly, I’m pretty frustrated by the implementation of the ranger and haven’t really gathered my thoughts, so I want to wait and play the class before making any definitive conclusions.


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The nature thing doesn't really interest me one way or another. I'd honestly like a little less monster hunter too.

But what I'd really like is for the class feats not to center around justifying Harsk's bad choices in PF1.

Its too much crossbows and dual hatchets and both the fighter and the rogue are snickering up their sleeves, thinking how adorable it is for him to try.


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Voss wrote:
But what I'd really like is for the class feats not to center around justifying Harsk's bad choices in PF1.

While I would agree that a crossbow hunting Ranger seems like the designer's pet project, it has no net negative effect, assuming we aren't losing feats because of it. One simply does not choose those feats that are intended to revitalize P1 Harsk.


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N N 959 wrote:
Voss wrote:
But what I'd really like is for the class feats not to center around justifying Harsk's bad choices in PF1.

While I would agree that a crossbow hunting Ranger seems like the designer's pet project, it has no net negative effect, assuming we aren't losing feats because of it. One simply does not choose those feats that are intended to revitalize P1 Harsk.

Given the limited number of feats, I'd say its hard to argue that we aren't losing feats. 1st level is seriously companion, trivial group bonus, or crossbow Harsk or hatchet Harsk.


True, but I already feel like there are too many feats to choose. Hatchet Harks is really an attempt to give TWF a leg-up on THF when it comes to Resistance. It's hard to know the value of it without playing the game as context is so important.

Scarab Sages

I want to be able to make an archer ranger and there isn’t really a way to do it, even ignoring the fact that longbows were nerfed to hell for no reason.

Scarab Sages

Voss wrote:

The nature thing doesn't really interest me one way or another. I'd honestly like a little less monster hunter too.

But what I'd really like is for the class feats not to center around justifying Harsk's bad choices in PF1.

Its too much crossbows and dual hatchets and both the fighter and the rogue are snickering up their sleeves, thinking how adorable it is for him to try.

This sums up a lot of my thoughts. Thanks for putting them more succinctly than I can.


redpandamage wrote:
I want to be able to make an archer ranger and there isn’t really a way to do it, even ignoring the fact that longbows were nerfed to hell for no reason.

Isn't there? What's so bad about a Companion + Longbow build? Seems pretty effective to me.


N N 959 wrote:

1. Hard vote no against adding more Class feats that add flavor because these compete and lose out against feats that add combat viability. This means Rangers lose a ton of flavor, or, players are punished for having more RP-friendly Rangers.

2. Honestly, you're lobbying for the Ranger to become the Inquisitor of P2. I don't want that. Conceptually, I like that nature based theme. But it does marginalize the Ranger's abilities in a way that no other class, not even the Druid, seems to suffer.

3. I think the solution is to allow the abilities to work in all settings but have bonuses in Natural settings.

1. I meant Skill Feats – they fit Survival Skill Feats more than Class Feats.

2. The Inquisitor is a better Ranger than the Ranger is in PF1. I don't think it's a bad thing to imitate.

3. I could see this working too, I guess. But I hate binary "on/off" features like Camouflage.


redpandamage wrote:
I want to be able to make an archer ranger and there isn’t really a way to do it, even ignoring the fact that longbows were nerfed to hell for no reason.

There is. I am in the same boat.

What many may be overlooking is that Rangers get a "weapon expertise" at 3rd level. If you take this for the Bow, you modifier goes up by 1, and you get the "critical specialization" for that weapon

Quote:
Bow If the target of the critical hit is adjacent to a surface, it gets stuck to that surface by the missile. The target is immobile and must spend an Interact action to attempt a DC 10 Athletics check to pull the missile free before it can move from its space. The creature doesn’t become stuck if it’s incorporeal, liquid (like a water elemental or some oozes), or could otherwise escape without effort.

However, I haven't found a feat that improves ranged damage from modifiers, except a composite longbows which add half STR (Propulsive). With the higher multiple attack penalties, ranged damage for Rangers is going to be a lot less than dual wielding melee with Agile weapons. Especially if Rangers are relegated to shortbows and doing 1d6.

Add to that, shortsword wielding ranger who takes swords for Mastery, is getting some added accuracy benefit from criticals that are keeping the target flat-footed.

I'll also point out that if you're Ranged and you take a Bear animal companion, the Work Together feat suggests that you're getting an extra 1d8 slashing damage with each attack. Not sure if that works with the bow, but it might.


Secret Wizard wrote:


2. The Inquisitor is a better Ranger than the Ranger is in PF1. I don't think it's a bad thing to imitate.

The Inquisitor is a better Monster Hunter but it's not a Ranger. Ranger's are not just flat monster hunters, though P2 seems to offer that option.

Look, the Ranger has to be outdoor-themed. That's the whole point of the class, just like a Druid has to be nature-themed.

On a second reading, at least P2 has gotten rid of the numerous terrain categories and most of the nature-based abilities work in any natural setting, not just tundra or hills.

What is missing is the skill modifiers for being in nature. I'm not seeing basic boosts to Perception or Survival or anything else. Are those there? Maybe in the skill feats?


As I mentioned in another thread: merge Ranger and Fighter. They can both do melee and they can both do ranged. Heck, they both even get the Double Slice feat.

Merge the two and be done with it. If someone wants to play "a ranger" they play a ranged weapon focused Fighter; let the player figure out what feats are appropriate to make that work.

Scarab Sages

Secret Wizard wrote:
redpandamage wrote:
I want to be able to make an archer ranger and there isn’t really a way to do it, even ignoring the fact that longbows were nerfed to hell for no reason.
Isn't there? What's so bad about a Companion + Longbow build? Seems pretty effective to me.

Longbow is a bad weapona and tthere are very few feats to buff archery. Favoured aim has anti-synergy and even Crossbow seems to have more support, not to mention TWF. If I want to use companion, I have to spend less actions full attacking and getting the buff from Hunt Target.


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Draco18s wrote:


Merge the two and be done with it. If someone wants to play "a ranger" they play a ranged weapon focused Fighter; let the player figure out what feats are appropriate to make that work.

This is uh not the Ranger fantasy. World of Warcraft is that way--->

N N 959 wrote:
Look, the Ranger has to be outdoor-themed. That's the whole point of the class, just like a Druid has to be nature-themed.

I don't agree. As noted, Rangers can be all sorts of things from trackers to investigators to looters. Anyone who is gruffer than a dainty Rogue but not as gung ho on weapon mastery as a Fighter.

I think the defeat your enemy by using predatory tactics is a better summary of the class. There's a point to merge it with Barbarian, but that's a legacy class already,huh.

I think the Monster Lore angle is a better summary and fits more concepts than "dude who's good outdoors". I like Rangers to be part of the city watch, I'd like them to be scrounging the waterways of a bustling metropolis, I'd like them to rappel through winding towers while smuggling precious contraband they've brought from distant lands.

Nature is part of the equation, but not a necessary part.

redpandamage wrote:
Longbow is a bad weapona and tthere are very few feats to buff archery. Favoured aim has anti-synergy and even Crossbow seems to have more support, not to mention TWF. If I want to use companion, I have to spend less actions full attacking and getting the buff from Hunt Target.

I think there's plenty great synergy with the companion feats + Skirmish Strike.

Think it like this – what longbow gets is needing less feats to work than crossbow, so you can invest more in stuff like Hunting Companion and Stalker's Shot to work in tandem to sneak on enemies.


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Secret Wizard wrote:
I think the defeat your enemy by using predatory tactics is a better summary of the class.

I have to totally disagree. I think the problem/challenge with the Ranger since AD&D is that its the only outdoor based Fighter so people have wanted to twist it to fit all those fictional archetypes, none of which is an actual AD&D Ranger.

Really, you're wanting a Slayer/Inquisitor, that's not the Ranger, even if the Ranger can fill those shoes. The outdoor theme is what separates the Ranger from the Slayer and Inquisitor. Now, you can argue that the outdoor theme isn't fun for you, and I can't speak against that.

What I believe may be a big part of the problem is that a lot of the natural setting based abilities, address things that have little substantive value, be they attached to a Ranger or not.

For example Legendary Survival, I don't get how this is useful. When/how is a Ranger benefited from being the only one who can survive without food and water and hot and cold extremes? You're adventuring with a party, so if the other five members are too cold and hungry the party is going to solve that problem.

Or look at Survey Wildlife. When/how is it useful to be able to identify "animals" in the area and track them? I'm trying to imagine a universe where the players finds out there are badgers or raccoons in the area and the party agrees to go find one. I don't get it.

Paizo needs to take all these outdoor-based skills and feats and attach substantive mechanics that are things that actually help the party complete the mission.

I have said it, others have said, and I'll repeat. Tracking needs to be fixed. It needs to convey benefits to impending combat and other things beyond just following tracks for an hour.


I agree with everything you mentioned about skills. Skill Feats need a second pass, hard.

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