Pathfinder 2nd Ranger


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Is it me or is it hard or almost impossible to build a good ranger like Aragorn. You can make a duel wielding ranger or a good archery ranger and you can make a ranger with a pet but no single weapon using ranger.Why is this?

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Because Aragorn is a PF Fighter, not a PF Ranger.


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Wow this is the only game I can recall that calls him a fighter and not a ranger then.


Caladan wrote:
Is it me or is it hard or almost impossible to build a good ranger like Aragorn. You can make a duel wielding ranger or a good archery ranger and you can make a ranger with a pet but no single weapon using ranger.Why is this?

Perhaps he's a Monster Hunter?

Gorbacz wrote:
Because Aragorn is a PF Fighter, not a PF Ranger.

The master tracker and herbalist healer is a Fighter? Maybe in the playtest but definitely not in Pathfinder First Edition.


The Once and Future Kai wrote:
Caladan wrote:
Is it me or is it hard or almost impossible to build a good ranger like Aragorn. You can make a duel wielding ranger or a good archery ranger and you can make a ranger with a pet but no single weapon using ranger.Why is this?

Perhaps he's a Monster Hunter?

Gorbacz wrote:
Because Aragorn is a PF Fighter, not a PF Ranger.
The master tracker and herbalist healer is a Fighter? Maybe in the playtest but definitely not in Pathfinder First Edition.

He could be Kai.


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A lot of the ranger feats lend them self towards a leader archetype where you are giving boons to your companions.

1: Monster Hunter
2: Monster Warden
4: Scout's Warning
8: Warden's Boon
10: Master Monster Hunter
12: Double Target
14: Shared Target
14: Warden's Guidance
20: Triple Threat

Not sure if those are necessarily good feats but there is clearly a design intention to have a leadership spec.


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Caladan wrote:
Is it me or is it hard or almost impossible to build a good ranger like Aragorn.

It is indeed.

In the other hand, Path's ranger isn't based on Aragorn, he's based on Gimli. Gimli with a crossbow.

Spoiler:
It is hard to build a ranger like the Gimli of the books.

But it's really easy to build him like the Gimli of the films. Take nothing useful, make some joke because you're small and you're a dwarf, done!


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Gorbacz wrote:
Because Aragorn is a PF Fighter, not a PF Ranger.

No.

Type in "Lord of the Rings Ranger" in google images and tell me who's picture you see most.

---

Gaterie wrote:
Caladan wrote:
Is it me or is it hard or almost impossible to build a good ranger like Aragorn.

It is indeed.

In the other hand, Path's ranger isn't based on Aragorn, he's based on Gimli. Gimli with a crossbow.

No.

Gimli is a Fighter.
PT2e Ranger is much more like Legolas.


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Gorbacz wrote:
Because Aragorn is a PF Fighter, not a PF Ranger.
Caladan wrote:
Wow this is the only game I can recall that calls him a fighter and not a ranger then.

Early in 3.0 I came to an epiphany. What we players call "class" is, very often, not what the PCs and NPCs in the game world would call their profession.

A group of "Rangers of the North" (where Aragorn gained the "Class" that we players think is Ranger) would, in-game, consist of a bunch of fighters, rangers, rogues, maybe a few barbarians and druids, maybe even a few paladins. Not even counting multiclass options. And every one of those guys, regardless of "Class", would call himself a "Ranger of the North".

Note: None of them would say "My Class is Ranger of the North" just like I don't say that my class is software engineer. That's my profession. All those "Rangers of the North", regardless of their "class" would say that their profession (or maybe their occupation, association, or calling) is "Ranger".

If you look at it this way, recognizing that "class" is a very out-of-game description that helps GMs and Players define and talk about characters and in no way reflects the characters' actual occupations, professions, or self-descriptions, then you come to the same epiphany that I did:

The "class" written on a character sheet or stat block is for metagame purposes only; the individual character would never use "class" to define himself and may actually call himself something very different than what his "class" entry says on the paper."


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Because Aragorn is a PF Fighter, not a PF Ranger.
Caladan wrote:
Wow this is the only game I can recall that calls him a fighter and not a ranger then.

Early in 3.0 I came to an epiphany. What we players call "class" is, very often, not what the PCs and NPCs in the game world would call their profession.

A group of "Rangers of the North" (where Aragorn gained the "Class" that we players think is Ranger) would, in-game, consist of a bunch of fighters, rangers, rogues, maybe a few barbarians and druids, maybe even a few paladins. Not even counting multiclass options. And every one of those guys, regardless of "Class", would call himself a "Ranger of the North".

Note: None of them would say "My Class is Ranger of the North" just like I don't say that my class is software engineer. That's my profession. All those "Rangers of the North", regardless of their "class" would say that their profession (or maybe their occupation, association, or calling) is "Ranger".

If you look at it this way, recognizing that "class" is a very out-of-game description that helps GMs and Players define and talk about characters and in no way reflects the characters' actual occupations, professions, or self-descriptions, then you come to the same epiphany that I did:

The "class" written on a character sheet or stat block is for metagame purposes only; the individual character would never use "class" to define himself and may actually call himself something very different than what his "class" entry says on the paper."

I've tried explaining this to people in my group and they just can't get a grip on the idea. You would not believe the arguments we've had on it


Greylurker wrote:
I've tried explaining this to people in my group and they just can't get a grip on the idea. You would not believe the arguments we've had on it

That's because it's not accurate. There's every reason wizards would call themselves "wizards" and belong to a wizard's academy. People self-identify all the time. I consider myself a trail mountain biker as opposed to a downhill biker. I seek out and group up with other trail riders. I own a mountain bike that's targeted for trail mountain biking.

In Lord of the Rings, the barkeep at the Prancing Pony specifically calls Aragon "one of those Rangers," "dangerous folk." So clearly there are people who consider themselves Rangers, are known as Rangers, and identify as such.


Plus the game itself disagrees.
Being a member of the Paladin class for example is not metagame only, it's part of the setting.


Wizards conceptually have a defined role, but cantrips need to expand to cover more things. Spell durations should be a lot longer. Like, customize yourself for the day, and have a couple 'big gun' spells with the way the spell casting is distributed.


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N N 959 wrote:
Greylurker wrote:
I've tried explaining this to people in my group and they just can't get a grip on the idea. You would not believe the arguments we've had on it

That's because it's not accurate. There's every reason wizards would call themselves "wizards" and belong to a wizard's academy. People self-identify all the time. I consider myself a trail mountain biker as opposed to a downhill biker. I seek out and group up with other trail riders. I own a mountain bike that's targeted for trail mountain biking.

In Lord of the Rings, the barkeep at the Prancing Pony specifically calls Aragon "one of those Rangers," "dangerous folk." So clearly there are people who consider themselves Rangers, are known as Rangers, and identify as such.

Nothing you said contradicts anything I said. Saying "He's one of those Rangers" means, literally, "He's a guy who might be a fighter, rogue, paladin, druid, ranger, monk, slayer, bruiser, bounty hunter, or whatever else, who joined the Rangers of the North and now calls himself a ranger."

You know what ol' Barliman Butterburr never said? How about "He's a guy who has levels in the ranger class". Because that's what the Pathfinder ranger is, a class, a metagame construct that we players use to categorize different kinds of characters.

Aragorn didn't have a class. I doubt he had an occupation. Or a profession. He was just a guy who called himself whatever was handy. Strider, Dunedain, Aragorn, Ellesar, Ranger of the North, tracker, pathfinder, wayfinder, King of Gondor, Companion of the Fellowship, and probably a few others I'm overlooking.

One of those names refers to his time spent hanging out with the Rangers of the North. That doesn't mean he suddenly has levels in the ranger class. It doesn't even mean he has the skills that Pathfinder players associate with rangers (archery, dual wielding, animal companions, tracking, spellcasting, druidish stuff, nature lore - he wasn't particularly good at any of this stuff, letting Legolas do almost all of the above instead).

Sure, a wizard probably calls himself a wizard. He might also call himself a conjurer or a necromancer or a diviner or maybe even an Istari, just for example. In much of fiction, wizard and sorcerer are interchangeable, and one man might call himself both things in the course of a single story. Oddly enough, clerics and sorcerers might call themselves such things too.

Oddly enough, Gandalf is not really a wizard at all. He's something a lot more like an angel and, by Pathfinder rules, would be some kind of outsider, perhaps from Celestia, wielding some divine magic. And yet, he calls himself a wizard, sometimes, and is also called a sorcerer, but nobody calls him a cleric or angel. Odd how his perceived metagame "class" has no bearing on what he is called or even on what he calls himself.

You know what Gandalf doesn't say? "I'm an immortal Maia with class levels in wizard." Because he doesn't have a class.

Finally, neither does your character if you ask him. Even if you're playing a ranger, if somebody in game asks him in game to describe himself, he wouldn't say "I belong to the ranger class." He would much more likely say "I'm a hunter" or "woodsman" or, maybe, if he actually works as a ranger, you know, like the Ranger in the Yogi Bear cartoons, or like Walker, Texas Ranger, then maybe your character would actually say "I'm a ranger". But, I bet Walker (the Texas Ranger), if he had levels in any Pathfinder classes, is mostly leveled in Monk or Bruiser, yet he too would also call himself a Ranger.

TL;dr: our metagame "class" is a label to classify what our character can be or do. It's not an in-game description of the character.


DM_Blake wrote:
stuff

So let me start by saying, I've run into your exact arguments before. I was playing 3.5 and the GM took this position OOC, though thankfully he did not impose it in the game. I've also seen this mindset manifest itself in different formats: no one knows the name of spells, no one know what levels are, etc. Let me try and address this more formally.

1.

Quote:
"He's one of those Rangers" means, literally, "He's a guy who might be a fighter, rogue, paladin, druid, ranger, monk, slayer, bruiser, bounty hunter, or whatever else, who joined the Rangers of the North and now calls himself a ranger."

If we look at wikipedia, about Rangers, it says this:

Wikipedia on Rangers wrote:

In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Rangers were two secretive, independent groups organized by the Dúnedain of the North (Arnor) and South (Gondor) in the Third Age. Like their Númenórean ancestors, they appeared to possess qualities closely attributed to the Eldar, with their keen senses and ability to understand the language of birds and beasts.[1] They were great trackers and hardy warriors—defending their respective areas from evil forces.

The two groups of Rangers were the Rangers of the North and the Rangers of Ithilien. The two groups were not connected to each other, though distantly related by blood.

Emphasis mine. This does not support the notion that the "Ranger of the North" were a hodge bodge of unrelated skill sets, linked only by name. It clearly suggests that the Rangers were a group of individual with some core skillsets. It makes it clear that the Rangers knew who they were and organized themselves as Rangers and would tell you they were a Ranger if they had cause to.

2.

Quote:
"He's a guy who has levels in the ranger class".

This comes up a lot and is fundamentally a different issue. One of the disconnects D&D/PF have with real life is that you acquire skills/abilities in a step fashion. One day, you cannot rapid shoot, the next day you can. In really life, you'd gradually gain abilities. Video games can do this more readily. Morrowind is an example of a game where using a skill increased the probability it would work. Pen and paper RPGs can't really do that and have to simulate that by tracking levels and having clean points for when to award improvements.

However, in real life, people absolutely use rank and level as indication of proficiency. It's just more appropriate for certain contexts and not others. In organized recreational tennis, there is national grading system. All players who use this system will talk about their proficency in tennis in terms of a grade e.g. 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, etc. There are formal requirements to be considered a 3.0 vs 3.5 and those involve demonstrated proficiency with certain maneuvers e.g. backhand, volley, serve, etc. Frequently, when I talked to people about playing tennis, they ask me what my ranking (level) is.

The problem that arises in 3.5/Pathfinder is that some subset of players find it immersion breaking to think about medieval warriors or barbarians having a formal recognition of proficiency. And yet, we can easily imagine wizards going to great lengths to classify their individual power levels, especially when those power levels are readily determinable via spells.. Wizards, would very very very quickly figure out how spells work and that spells had variables that corresponded to levels e.g. Any wizard that could cast spells in X category (essentially level 2) power range, can also cast lower spells exactly 10ft farther than someone who could not cast spells in X category.

3.

Quote:
In much of fiction, wizard and sorcerer are interchangeable, and one man might call himself both things in the course of a single story.

I've seen this come up before as well. The answer to this is pretty straight forward;

Fantasy fiction is not attempting to recreate the physics of any RPG. What happens in a movie is not cannon for how the game works, even a movie licensed by said RPG. The fact that X movie doesn't differentiate between sorcerers and wizards is like saying the average American can't tell the difference between Japanese and Chinese, or Spanish and Portugese so there is no real difference to people who speak the language. The game differentiates and that differentiation is substantive and real. So it's inconsistent with the game to insist the actual PCs don't recognize any distinction. I can imagine that IC, a sorcerer might be annoyed at being confused for a wizard and vice versa.

4.

Quote:
Aragorn didn't have a class. I doubt he had an occupation.

One of the oversights people have with this topic is the concept of context. Depending on the context I will self identify with different "classifications" When it comes to biking, my class is Mount Biking. When it comes to indoor sports, I might consider myself a basketball player. When it comes to baseball, I would consider myself a catcher. The context in which are discussing the topic defines what classification I would use. None of these are my profession.

The other aspect of your argument is the over emphasis on nomenclature and formalized terms While PCs might not use the formal world of "class" they would all know when someone was interested in the IC equivalent of their class and be able to provide it. Barbarians (who went on adventures with non-barbarians) would know their skills and extraordinary abilities were markedly different than non-barbarians and they would recognize they their fighting is born from their tribal upbringing. They would certainly recognized that others classified them as barbarians, because barbarian would be synonymous with any group of individuals with the same fundamental qualities: Empowered by their rage, inability to function in heavy armor, etc. And yes, people would be aware that barbarians might have variations in abilities, just like everyone else.

5.

Quote:
Finally, neither does your character if you ask him. Even if you're playing a ranger, if somebody in game asks him in game to describe himself, he wouldn't say "I belong to the ranger class."

That would be entirely false in Middle-Earth. Rangers would absolutely tell you they were Rangers. And Rides of Rohawn would tell you that they are Riders of Rohawn, which IC, you'd know was an archetype of cavalier. You're getting hung up on the world "class" and it's irrelevant. The context of the discussion would make it clear that people are talking about their "class" without having to use that term.

6.

Quote:
But, I bet Walker (the Texas Ranger), if he had levels in any Pathfinder classes, is mostly leveled in Monk or Bruiser, yet he too would also call himself a Ranger.

This argument is predicated on the idea that the label conveys/requires no functional proficiency. In PF, IC-society would recognize that everyone who self-identified as a Ranger did so because of their skill set, or because they were lying. Unlike a movie, a Rogue has a specific skill set and th world would recognize that those with that skillset belong to the class of individual who are known as Rogues.

Even if you did not think of yourself as artsy or techy, once you got out in the world and exhibited your skills, you'd become aware of what label applied to you and you'd be able to use it in the appropriate context.

The real question is why? Why is it so important to eschew this aspect of the game? Is your immersion that much better when your players can't tell each other what they are directly? In games where players have tried to go this route, I find it undermines the IC and OOC communication. Getting the stink-eye because my PC calls someone a Fighter or Barbarian is counter-productive for me. Pathfinder and especially PFS, is a game intended to foster cooperation. That requires people can communicate efficiently. Expecting or even suggesting a game view that slows down retards that communication and info exchange, is, in my experience, a net negative.

Let me remind you that all classes in AD&D had actual names for each level, up until the name level. So this was a definite indication that TSR expected PCs to use these titles to indicate their level to others, in-game. Unfortunately, WoTC and Paizo have left those titles off and there's no colorful way to convey level without giving a number. And while I agree that his isn't sexy, I find it far more helpful than hurtful.

YMMV.


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A ranger discussion started in the thread Jason on Know Direction (Jan 16th) with Greylurker's comment #221 on Sunday, January 27, that began with, "My Ranger felt lousy to play."

The discussion continued, with many comments about the design of the ranger class. Even Jason Bulmahn and Mark Seifter spoke up, despite their busy schedule. Mark Seifter also asked, in comment #314:

Mark Seifter wrote:

Hey guys,

I feel like we've gotten a bit off track of the original topic of Jason's interview with the ranger and that talking about ranger theme and history might deserve it's own thread where those who are passionate can discuss it as the only topic. That said, since we don't have that yet (could someone interested in rangers start one up?) in terms of the question about survey results on spells and rangers, basically the results were the "Default no spells, with add an option to get spells like monk" option won by a landslide (and that'll guarantee we add that option at the soonest possible juncture we can fit it in), followed by the "Ranger never get spells" option with a sizeable chunk but nowhere near enough to challenge the leader, and in last place was the "Ranger has mandatory spells like in PF1" option.

Thus, let's continue the discussion here.

The survey favoring, "Default no spells, with add an option to get spells like monk." sounds good to me. Maybe the option to gain spells will show up in the 2nd Edition Core Rulebook or maybe it will show up in the first supplemental book. But these will be powers (which might be renamed "focus spells," so I will call them "focus powers") like the monk has rather than spells like the druid has. The list of potential focus powers would be small.

I have two questions I am curious to discuss.

1. Which Pathfinder 1st Edition ranger spells should be ported to Pathfinder 2nd Edition as focus powers?

2. N N 959 made a passionate case in comment #293 for the ranger as J. R. R. Tolkien's Rangers of the North, such as Aragorn. What more does the PF2 ranger need to be able to play a Pathfinder character based on Aragorn.


Okay, let's answer my own first question, which PF1 ranger spells should become PF2 ranger focus powers. My Pathfinder ranger Abu multiclassed at 6th level, so he never got past 1st-level ranger spells. He prefered Longstrider and Aspect of the Falcon. I think that Aspect of the Falcon can wait until Paizo introduces the Shapeshift archetype for ranger to Pathfinder 2nd Edition.

As for other 1st-level ranger spells.
Alarm so the ranger can sleep without others on watch.
Charm Animal because the focus powers would represent harmony with nature.
Endure Elements because maybe the harmony with nature is with the environment rather than the animals.
Longstrider for travelers.
Speak with Animals for the same reason as Charm Animal.
Tireless Pursuit to represent tracking.

I left off the popular Gravity Bow and Leaden Blades because I feel the focus powers should directly relate to nature or travel. I was tempted to add Abundant Ammunition because my characters have been stuck in the wilderness with no way to buy arrows, but it does not directly relate to nature or travel.

I heard that Instand Enemy was the favorite ranger spell, but I never reached a level where my ranger could use it.


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For your second question, I think it might be tied in the the first. Many of the things Aragorn did that were awesome could be available as focus spells and I think that would help. One thing in particular I'd like to see for that concept is herblore-based healing.

Another thing, which seems to be the direction Paizo is already going based on playtest changes, is to make Hunt Target less a Ranger version of Rage and more a thing that affects your playstyle both in and out of combat. The change to let you Hunt Target a creature when you find their tracks was the single biggest thematic improvement to the Ranger during the playtest, imo.


I think thematically you can easy play Aragorn with the current ranger, but it might not be so mechanically strong. Maybe a few more skill points to better ensure he could have all the skills needed. The hunt target feats all seems like decent candidate and something like Skirmish Strike also seems pretty reasonable for a ranger wielding a two-handed weapon.

I would likely need to take fighter dedication for getting some of the free-hand combat he also does a lot, unless some of this is included in the ranger class feats in the final version.

Honestly though I could just as easily see Aragorn as a fighter, since the main aspect of his character (besides fighting) is done via skills like nature and survival and not really depending on class features.


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Yes, you can certainly define your character conception differently than the name of your class. Okay fine, in PF2, the best Ranger is a Fighter with a Druid Dedication or a Druid with a Fighter Dedication.

But to me it is a shame that in order to make a classic Ranger conception that you have to use something other than the Ranger class.

Its a natural outcome of change. If Paizo wants to redefine the Ranger then, well, its their rules. I don't have to like it. We all know where we stand.

Liberty's Edge

Answers To Questions:

1. I think the six you definitively need are basically as follows:

-Animal Communication/Control. This seems valid as a single spell as long as it's more Diplomacy-type control than mind control.
-Endure Elements, or something much like it, and a group version as they level.
-Healing. Probably herbal and non-combat, but effective. Something for condition removal might also be good.
-Overland Travel Enhancer. Probably a combination of Longstrider and Tireless Pursuit thematically, again with the ability to expand it to a whole group as you level.
-Mobility Enhancer. In PF1, Rangers can get the ability to run on air or walk on water, and eventually Freedom of Movement. Something similar seems like a good call.
-Perception Enhancer. Probably not numerically in PF2, but Rangers have a lot of this stuff that jacks up Perception, som something in that vein seems warranted.

That seems like a solid, reasonable, list. And not all need to be in the corebook by any means (Endure Elements, Animal Communication, Healing, and the Overland Travel thing, would be my vote for corebook).

2. Frankly, Aragorn is best served by the Ranger being durable, not forced to do TWF in melee (or forced to do any particular combat style, really, Aragorn is a bit of a switch hitting pragmatist combat-wise), and the above mentioned healing option (especially the condition removal). Ranger being excellent woodsmen (a must for most versions) and good at defending people are also solid enablers in this regard.
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Personally, I think the best way to improve the Ranger is making them actually better at Skills and Skill Feats than anyone but Rogues (Bards have their own skill stuff...but no extra Skill Feats and Ranger should definitely have some of those).

Paizo Employee

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N N 959 wrote:


That's because it's not accurate. There's every reason wizards would call themselves "wizards" and belong to a wizard's academy. People self-identify all the time. I consider myself a trail mountain biker as opposed to a downhill biker. I seek out and group up with other trail riders. I own a mountain bike that's targeted for trail mountain biking.

In Lord of the Rings, the barkeep at the Prancing Pony specifically calls Aragon "one of those Rangers," "dangerous folk." So clearly there are people who consider themselves Rangers, are known as Rangers, and identify as such.

Rangers in this sense refers to a specific group of people, much like "the men of the Night's Watch". I would expect that none of those characters would have "Night Watchmen" on their character sheets (unless perhaps it was a prestige class, but then I wouldn't expect all of them to qualify for or possess said PrC). And while some class names like "wizard" lend themselves well to things in world, other class names like bard would be unlikely to be used self-referentially unless the character specifically attended a bardic college, and I would imagine virtually no one refers to themselves as a "barbarian" or "fighter"; they'd be more likely to call themselves warriors, champions, guardsmen, etc. depending upon how they used their skills. Similarly, rogues would be far more likely to refer to themselves as a "thief", "agent", "spy", "smuggler", "assassin", or any of a number of other more specific and descriptive terms before they'd refer to themselves as a rogue.

Deadmanwalking wrote:


Personally, I think the best way to improve the Ranger is making them actually better at Skills and Skill Feats than anyone but Rogues (Bards have their own skill stuff...but no extra Skill Feats and Ranger should definitely have some of those).

Word. It would have been nice if the Ranger's skill edge had been maintained when they rebalanced the other classes starting number of skills. The ranger to me has always been a combat/skill character who's good with animals and knows how to leverage nature to his advantage (magically or otherwise, though I kind of prefer the non-magical variant). Losing the skill edge did more to infringe on the ranger's identity from my perspective than removing the classes spells did.


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I'm thinking the Ranger's role/claim to fame moving forward should be a "skills leader". He isn't the best at skills, that's the Rogue's job, so instead, he could be like a skills force multiplier. He's there, so everyone is more watchful. There's a Ranger in the party; ergo, everyone scales that cliff like it's nothing. Did you travel with a Ranger in your party recently? Congratulations, you can now achieve much more on your Knowledge checks than otherwise.

Basically, make him like the Marshal or the Warlord, but not so much through leadership but through accumulating and disseminating lore (so, the martial Bard, I guess). And then his animal companion could be a subset of this practice, where instead of treating his fellow party members like his pets, he has his own pet (that he is still directing and drawing out better performance from).

Alternatively, they could fix a decades-old mistake and finally give the Ranger the giant transforming robot dinosaur he should have had since forever (Tolkien really dropped the ball with Aragorn).


We're still working our way through the playtest. From my perspective skills don't provide a meaningful differentiation between classes. The feats to add skill training are popular because they give tangible benefits. I often see the "specialist" bested by somebody else at the table or a skill DC that makes everyone incompetent.


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I'm in the "Ranger should be better at skills" camp myself. I don't think giving them more TRAINED skills was ever a good answer though, because a Ranger should excel at their skills, not just be passable at them. As such I'm pretty OK with the other classes closing that particular camp.

Which makes the most obvious solution giving them more skill increases or skill feats. I lean towards the latter myself. IMO the ranger isn't about being good at a bunch of different skills like an investigator or bard, but being great at a few. Giving lots of skill feats which are either gated by proficiency or scale with it lets the Ranger really lean into the things that make them, well, Rangers.

I think combining this with an idea that's been floating around of making some class feats into "skill feats with class tags" would be really good. Monster Hunter would be an excellent skill feat that requires Hunt Target to take. Snare Savant could be an additional effect you get for Snare Crafting if you are a Ranger.


Ssalarn wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


That's because it's not accurate. There's every reason wizards would call themselves "wizards" and belong to a wizard's academy. People self-identify all the time. I consider myself a trail mountain biker as opposed to a downhill biker. I seek out and group up with other trail riders. I own a mountain bike that's targeted for trail mountain biking.

In Lord of the Rings, the barkeep at the Prancing Pony specifically calls Aragon "one of those Rangers," "dangerous folk." So clearly there are people who consider themselves Rangers, are known as Rangers, and identify as such.

Rangers in this sense refers to a specific group of people, much like "the men of the Night's Watch". I would expect that none of those characters would have "Night Watchmen" on their character sheets (unless perhaps it was a prestige class, but then I wouldn't expect all of them to qualify for or possess said PrC).

Actually, no. 'Ranger' in the Tolkien sense is referring specifically and only to a certain ethnic group. There are no non-Dunedain Rangers, and possibly no Dunedain that aren't Rangers (except possibly the women, because Tolkien).

It isn't a profession in LotR, it's a lineage.


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PF2 ranger concept was not based on the concept of Aragorn.

They just happen to share the same name.

DM Blake is correct.

While you can have characters who may identify themselves as the same title as their mechanical class, it's just as possible to have many characters that would describe themselves differently.

This is the truth.

So when Aragorn says he's a ranger, he's right. He just doesn't mean he's a Pathfinder 2E ranger, and Paizo didn't write the Ranger class to be Aragorn.

As to why? Maybe they didn't want to. Maybe they had other inspiration in mind for the class. Paizo based the concept on the first edition ranger, except separated (and made it difficult) to mesh them together (which you could kind of accomplish in first edition as a switch hitter. But the only reason that really worked was because the only feat you needed in first edition to be effective with two-handed weapons was power attack.

Paizo Employee

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Voss wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
N N 959 wrote:


That's because it's not accurate. There's every reason wizards would call themselves "wizards" and belong to a wizard's academy. People self-identify all the time. I consider myself a trail mountain biker as opposed to a downhill biker. I seek out and group up with other trail riders. I own a mountain bike that's targeted for trail mountain biking.

In Lord of the Rings, the barkeep at the Prancing Pony specifically calls Aragon "one of those Rangers," "dangerous folk." So clearly there are people who consider themselves Rangers, are known as Rangers, and identify as such.

Rangers in this sense refers to a specific group of people, much like "the men of the Night's Watch". I would expect that none of those characters would have "Night Watchmen" on their character sheets (unless perhaps it was a prestige class, but then I wouldn't expect all of them to qualify for or possess said PrC).

Actually, no. 'Ranger' in the Tolkien sense is referring specifically and only to a certain ethnic group. There are no non-Dunedain Rangers, and possibly no Dunedain that aren't Rangers (except possibly the women, because Tolkien).

It isn't a profession in LotR, it's a lineage.

I don't know if you're arguing with me or NN959, but either way neither of us said anything in contradiction to your point. The "men of the Night's Watch" and the Rangers (specifically Rangers of the North to separate them from the Rangers of Ithilien, though both groups are from the same lineage) are both groups identified by a common nomenclature that is not necessarily representative of their character class. Whether that group is based on lineage or organization is irrelevant to the point that class names are mechanical constructs and appear in-world only incidentally when the class name matches up to the colloquial word for individuals who perform some significant percentage of the basic functions enabled by the class.

Just as the Rangers of the North and the men of the Night's Watch are undoubtedly made up of all kinds of classes (cavalier, fighter, rogue, or slayer all being just as likely as ranger), most characters in Pathfinder undoubtedly are more likely to be known by the common name of whatever their societal role is rather than what their class name is. Cavaliers are much more likely to be called knights, warriors, skirmishers, etc. than they are cavaliers, which is just a word with Latin roots meaning "horseman". Of the hundreds of thousands of characters in Golarion who refer to themselves as "hunters" it's unlikely that more than a tiny fraction actually have the hunter class. Those that do are just as likely to be known in-world as "the houndmaster/mistress", animal tamers, falconers, rangers, or even druids (since druid is an in-world designation for individuals who practice nature magic and have their own organizations). I would imagine that virtually no one with the oracle class is referred to as an oracle in-world, given that nothing in the base class itself outside of a small number of specific mysteries and some spells that clerics also have access to lends itself to prophesying.

Sometimes the opposite happens as well, where someone is referred to in-world as a "wizard" when what they really are is an immortal outsider incarnated in a physical form to provide protection and guidance against the forces of evil. Or like, a character with the sorcerer class; this is actually directly reflected in Golarion's lore through the story of Count Varian Jeggare, who discovers that the reason he's always been such a bad wizard is because his power actually comes from his draconic lineage (this story also reveals that Jeggare, despite being extremely well-traveled, speaking numerous languages, and having one of the very best educations obtainable in Golarion, doesn't even recognize the word "sorcerer", meaning it is super unlikely that it's a self-referential or commonly used term for members of that class).


I started writing this post on the ranger class last week, but it did not come together properly. Thus, I did what I always do--I analyzed the ranger more and more. I figured out why Paizo had to change major features of the class and what they did to replace them. The themes of the ranger class lost some of their meaning in the transition and might feel like a hodgepodge of unrelated features. Nevertheless, Paizo's design is elegant at its core. The new PF2 ranger has a good solid foundation on which a strongly themed ranger class can be played once we get the parts aligned toward an appropriate theme.

While I pondered the ranger, I read N N 959's own branch of the ranger discussion, Ranger discussion spillover from Know Direction thread.... That discussion has been locked for arguing in circles with a few angry posts removed. I respond to a few ideas from there that might no longer be in that discussion, but ought to be address regardless.

I. Image

The image of a class helps people decide whether to play it. We have experienced players familiar with the Pathfinder 1st Edition ranger, arriving players who played rangers in other games, and new players familiar with rangers only from fact and fiction. The PF2 ranger has to meet these three different expectations.

The Wikipedia disambiguation page on Ranger says,

Wikipedia, Ranger wrote:

Ranger most often refers to:

  • Park ranger or forest ranger, a person charged with protecting and preserving protected parklands
    --National Park Service Ranger, an employee of the U.S. National Park Service
    --Ranger of Windsor Great Park, a ceremonial office of the United Kingdom
  • Ranger (character class), a class that appears in many different role-playing games

The page mentions several other entries on rangers:

1. State-wide law enforcement agencies such as the Texas Ranger Division, the Colorado Mounted Rangers, and the New York State Forest Rangers.
2. Elite infantry soldiers, such as the United States Army Rangers.
3. Similar fictional elite teams or individuals, such as the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers or the Rangers of Babylon 5 or The Lone Ranger or Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers.
4. Sports teams named Rangers.
5. Ships and automobiles named Ranger.

The entry Ranger (character class) introduces the ranger as:

Wikipedia, Ranger (character class) wrote:

A Ranger (also known as Hunter, Archer, Scout, or Tracker) is an archetype found in works of fantasy fiction and role-playing games.

Rangers are usually associated with the wisdom of nature. Rangers tend to be wise, hardy, cunning, and perceptive in addition to being skilled woodsmen. Many are skilled in woodcraft, stealth, wilderness survival, beast-mastery, herbalism, tracking, and sometimes "nature magic" or have a resistance to magic. Rangers spend a great deal of time hunting, fishing, and camping—whether on a short- or long-term basis—and their preferred martial arts weapons leans towards practical-utility: archery, knife fighting, stick-fighting, axeplay, spearplay and swordplay.

The page also lists examples of the ranger class from 15 tabletop and computer games (beginning with Dungeons & Dragons, of course) and 1 young adult book series.

My wife, well read in Tolkien literature, points out that the Dúnedain of the North in Lord of the Rings did not call themselves Rangers. That was a name given to them by the folk of Bree, who knew then as a mysterious people that ranged in the north.

And rangers are named after ranging. They were assigned to a wide range of land to protect, so they had to keep traveling over it. That does seem to make them natural for an adventuring class, for adventurers roam far from home, if they have a home. Rangers usually have a duty they serve as they roam. Jason Bulmahn posted the original early-D&D ranger class and it was lawful, perhaps because of that duty.

If a fighter is a person who is always ready for a fight, then a ranger is a person who is always ready for a journey.

II. Mechanics

I have reverse engineered a few of Paizo's design tools for Pathfinder 2nd Edition. The Pathfinder 1st Edition ranger has trouble fitting them; hence, Paizo had to radically change the ranger. For example, not only is Favored Enemy a very situational mechanic that falls flat when the ranger does not encounter a favored enemy, but it also violates the PF2 tight math. Gaining a PF1 favored enemy bonus would be too big for PF2. Reducing a favored enemy bonus to manageable size still would encounter the problem that it would be a circumstance or conditional bonus often overwhelmed by larger bonuses, an awkward situtation for a primary ability. In fact, the playtest Hunt Target bonus confusingly reduced several individual penalties rather than giving a straight bonus, probably to avoid that problem of not stacking with other bonuses.

The PF1 ranger has 4 spell levels of spellcasting. PF2 dropped the 4-spell-level and 6-spell-level spellcasting. The 6-spell-level spellcasting of the bard was promoted up to 9 spell levels. The 4-spell-level spellcasting of the paladin was changed to powers (AKA focus spells). The 4-spell-level spellcasting of the ranger was dropped.

Another design tool Paizo used for the ranger is the preliminary action. The barbarian and bard are the best examples of preliminary actions, because both must spend an action to activate an iconic continuing ability, rage for barbarian and composition (bardic performance) for bard. Fighters and monks also take a preliminary action to enter a stance. The preliminary action is both a cost to balance a class and a quirk that helps distinguish the class. The ranger's preliminary action is Hunt Target. Paizo seems to be moving away from Hunt Target as a preliminary action, because Rules Update 1.6 allows the ranger to activate it in advance if he or she was tracking the target. The redesign retained the dependence of many ranger class feats on Hunt Target.

The PF1 ranger's combat styles gave the ranger access to bonus feats without meeting the usual prerequisites. However, PF2 reduced the prerequisites on feats and does not grant bonus feats, so the ranger's combat styles don't fit PF2, either. Fortunately, Paizo invented an equivalent. Just like barbarians have totems, rangers have Hunter's Edge, granted by Rules Update 1.6. I will call it edge, because limiting it to hunter themes reduces its potential. The three edges are flurry, precision, and stalker.

Hunter’s Edge
You have trained for countless hours to become a more
skilled hunter and tracker, gaining additional benefits when
you Hunt a Target. The three edges presented in this book are
flurry, precision, and stalker.
Flurry: You have trained to unleash devastating flurries of
attacks at your target. Your multiple attack penalty on attacks
against your hunted target is –4 (–3 with an agile weapon) if
it’s your second attack of the turn instead of –5, and –8 (–6
with an agile weapon) if it’s your third or subsequent attack of
the turn instead of –10.
Precision: You have trained to aim for your target’s weak
points. The first time you hit your hunted target in a round,
you deal 1d6 extra precision damage.
Stalker: You have additional benefits in outwitting and
evading your target. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus to
Deception checks, Intimidation checks, Stealth checks, and any
checks to Recall Knowledge about the target.

Edges fall under one of the design tools: specialties. Specialties are like mini-archetypes and several classes have them: barbarian totems, bard muses, cleric domains, druid orders, sorcerer bloodlines, and wizard schools. However, since the edges were tacked on after the Playtest Rulebook was written, they are not integrated with the class feats like the other class's specialties are. In addition, Paizo made the edges depend on Hunt Target.

I like edge, because it feels like a return of bonus feats from ranger combat style. Flurry is Two-Weapon Combat style. Precision is Archery combat style though it aids melee, too. Stalker is new but favors Intimidation like Menacing combat style from Ultimate Intrigue. The Stalker edge shows that some edges could focus on non-combat abilities. This means that future edges could give a ranger magic spells, better snares, or good travel abilities.

III. Distinctiveness

What makes a ranger different from other classes? The travel flavor is not enough, because all adventuring parties travel. The edge specialties are not enough, because martial specialties don't stand out. The Hunt Target preliminary action relies on feats for most of its effect, so it is no more unique than the feats.

Ranger is is one of the four martial classes in the PF2 Core Rulebook. Martial classes in PF2 are the ones that start trained in all martial weapons: barbarian, fighter, paladin, and ranger. A few of the martial classes need just one more iconic ability to stand out. Fighter is the martial class with expert proficiency, and paladin is the martial class with powers. In contrast, both barbarian and ranger are martial classes with a preliminary action that gives bonuses and activates several feats. Barbarian stands out due to its strong savage tribes theme encouraged by its totem.

The article A Handful of Classic Stories has an interesting tale about ranger combat distinctness:

A Handful of Classic Stories by Shannon Appelcline wrote:
Rangers saw even bigger changes in AD&D 2e (1989) when they picked up the ability to dual-wield weapons, making them dangerous hand-to-hand fighters. This new ability is widely attributed to the popularity of Drizzt Do’Urden, a ranger from The Crystal Shard Trilogy (1988-1990) that could dual-wield due to his drow heritage. However 2e designer Zeb Cook says the new ability came from a more general desire to make rangers distinct.

Zeb Cook believed that an unusual combat style, dual wielding, could differentiate the ranger.

The ranger's other distinctive combat style From Dungeons & Dragons is archery. Good archery requires a high-Dexterity character. The only other PF2 classes that favor maximizing Dexterity are the monk and rogue. Dexterity is also a secondary stat of spellcasters who use ranged attacks. The archery and dual wielding feats were gated by Dexterity in D&D 3rd Edition and Pathfinder 1st Edition except for rangers, so dual-wielding was also known as a high-Dexterity style. This gave the ranger a distinction as a high-Dexterity martial character. Pathfinder opened more combat styles for the ranger that did not have a reputation for dexterity, so this distinction has faded a little.

In contrast to the ranger's faded Dexterity reputation, the PF1 ranger's class skills had mostly outdoor skills such as Climb, Ride, and Survival with no focus on Dexterity-based skills, such as Acrobatics. Moreover, ranger gains 6+Int skills per level. Among the PF1 core classes, that is matched only by the bard and overshadowed only by the rogue. In PF2 Updated rules, the ranger starts as trained in Survival, but gains 5+int other trained skills. Among the PF2 core classes, the ranger's number of starting trained skills is overshadowed by the bard and rogue and is one more than all other core classes. Quantity of skill ranks made the ranger stand out in PF1, but training one more skill is not as distinctive in PF2.

The ranger also starts expert in Perception, which is impressive but not outstanding, because the barbarian, fighter, and rogue also start as expert.

IV. Hunting

N N 959 strongly objects to the phrase, "First and foremost, the ranger is a hunter," from the July 2, 2018,Paizo Blog: Ranger Class Preview. Fortunately, Paizo toned down the emphasis on ranger as hunter for the actual Playtest Rulebook.

That is a relief, because the PF2 ranger is not particularly good at hunting.

The ranger has many features and feats named after hunting, such as Hunt Target, Hunter's Edge, Masterful Hunter, Hunted Shot, Hunting Companion, Monster Hunter, Quick Snares, Snare Savant, and Swift Tracker. None of these abilities are used for hunting. They are used to find, fight, and entrap characters and creatures, not food.

Hunting game for food is the Survive in the Wild action under Survival skill. Some Survival featshelp with Survive in the Wild, but none improve its rolls. Instead, Forager prevents total disaster upon failure and Planar Survival adapts it to unworldly environments. The ranger cannot increase his Survive in the Wild check by tracking animals. The ranger cannot set up snares that catch food animals (Snare rules are on pages 357-358 of the Playtest Rulebook). if a ranger fought and killed an edible creature, such as a boar (Playtest Bestiary page 34), he cannot prepare the carcass as food without making a Survive in the Wild check that is not made easier by having a dead boar at his feet. Maybe a generous GM would let the ranger use the boar as raw material for a Crafting check to craft rations, but the ranger would have to spend gold to craft quickly.

Being good at hunting via Survive in the Wild requires only high proficiency in Survival and a good Wisdom bonus. The PF2 ranger has only one feature that uses Wisdom: the Crossbow Ace feat. All other ranger uses of Wisdom are through Perception and the Wisdom-based skills, which are Medicine, Nature, Religion, and Survival. We expect the ranger to be good in Nature and Survival due to the outdoor image. The ranger had Nature and Survival among the class's Signature Skills, when PF2 still had Signature Skills, and currently the ranger is automatically trained in Survival. However, the ranger has no individual need to be good at those skills. A ranger optimized for combat would probably be given Wisdom 12 at character creation.

Thus, the roleplaying premise that the ranger is adapting hunting skills for adventuring is an illusion, because the ranger has lackluster hunting skills in game. Paizo ought to fix this. Let me play with possible solutions.

Paizo could make the ranger as good at Survival has the class is at combat, perhaps with a revised Signature Skill system. In that case, the connection between hunting and the ranger's hunting-themed abilites would not be direct. They would be linked by theme rather than mechanics. That strengths the illusion that the ranger adapts hunting skills but does make it real.

To create direct impact, the good Survival skill ought to benefit the hunting-themed abilities. Then the player will optimize Survvival in order to optimize the other abilities. Fortunately, Paizo designed a mechanic for the ranger that connects all the hunting-themed abilites: Hunt Target. I want to extend Hunt Target regardless to reduce the action tax of the preliminary action. What if avoiding the action tax required a Survival check?

[[A]] HUNT TARGET (Survival check version)
Ranger
You designate a single creature as your hunted target and your efforts
against that creature benefit from the singular focus. You gain a
+2 circumstance bonus on all Perception and skill rolls to hunt for
or fight against the hunted target. You also gain a +1 circumstance
bonus on attack rolls, AC, and saving throws against the hunted target.
You may Hunt Target on a place instead. Then the bonuses apply to
finding and scouting the place but not to overcoming its challenges.

If you can see or hear the creature or place, you can designate it as
the hunted target. You could also designate a creature or place as a
hunted target based on the situation regarding it, but that requires
10 minutes examining or pondering clues and a successful Survival
check. A ranger tracking a target may make the Survival check after
10 minutes of tracking. The DC of the Survival check depends on the
situation, as described in the Hunt Target table. The GM may lower
the DC if the ranger has an abundance of clues or raise the DC if
the target is especially obscure.

Hunt Target Table
Tracking the target or backtracking prints to their origin: DC 10
Target was hunted previously within one day: DC 15
Target seen or heard within one day: DC 20
Target known by name and reputation (e.g., finding a resident in a town): DC 25
Target known only by activities (e.g., finding a witness to a crime): DC 30
Target obscured (e.g., finding the culprit of a crime): DC 35

If the ranger encounters an unknown target under circumstances
where he would not recognize the target, then the target does not
count as the hunted target for rolls unrelated to the hunting
situation.

The designated creature or place remains the hunted target until
the ranger designates another hunted target or takes 8 hours of rest.

For example, imagine that the party is ambushed on the road by four bandits. The ranger takes an action for Hunt Target on one bandit and kills him in combat. After combat, the party decides to find the bandit camp by tracking the bandits' footprints back to their camp. The ranger succeeds at a DC 15 Track action. He spends 10 minutes tracking the footprints and succeeds at a DC 10 Survial check to Hunt Target on the bandit camp. When the ranger has to make another Track action to continue tracking, he gains the +2 circumstance bonus from Hunt Target. When the party approaches the camp, the ranger gains the +2 circumstance bonus to Perception to spot the camp and scout its sentries.

If the ranger failed the initial tracking roll, then he has to spend 1 hour before he can track gain. During that time, he can examine the bodies of the bandits and the surrounding area for clues and make a Survival check DC 30 (bandit camp is known only by the activities of bandits) once every 10 minutes in hopes of rolling high to designate the bandit camp as his hunted target for the +2 circumstance bonus.

If the party is attacked by a bear while tracking the bandit camp and the ranger takes a Hunt Target action designating the bear, then he has to make another 10-minute Survival roll (DC 10 with tracking and DC 15 without) to return to hunting the bandit camp afterwards.

Or imagine that the party is hired to find stolen jewels (I like some mystery adventures in my campaigns). The ranger cannot hunt the jewels directly but can hunt the jewel thief, DC 35. The butler is the thief, but is not yet connected to the theft, so the ranger gains the +2 circumstance bonus on the butler only when questioning the butler about the theft, secretly added to the roll by the GM. In contrast, if the lord's daughter is kidnapped, she is a creature and the ranger could chose to hunt her (DC 25) rather than the kidnapper (DC 35).

I had pointed out that a circumstance bonus from Hunt Target would often be overwhelmed by another bonus. For example, the +1 circumstance bonus to AC is less than the +2 circumstance bonus from cover or Raise a Shield. But the circumstance bonus from Hunt Target would apply to many skills, so it should seem relevant despite being overshadowed in a few cases.

We also need an action for butchering an animal killed in combat for meat. At first, I thought that that could be tacked onto the Survive in the Wild action. After attempting to do so, I found that Survive in the Wild is not suited for my campaigns. It is about a lone character building shelter and surviving for days living in the wilderness while not adventuring. We need a Survive in the Wild built around adventuring. I will leave that task for later.

On the Edge

The Hunter's Edge mechanic is a clear way to give a ranger the PF1 spells that some players say they will miss. It is a reasonable customization mechanic. However, I have a wish list for it.

1) I wish a ranger could take multiple edges. The simplest way for that would be to convert the heart of the ability into a feat and have the edge grant the feat.

For example, the Flurry edge could grant a Ranger's Flurry feat.

Ranger's Flurry Feat 6
Ranger
You have trained to unleash devastating flurries of
attacks at your target. Your multiple attack penalty on attacks
against your hunted target is –4 (–3 with an agile weapon) if
it’s your second attack of the turn instead of –5, and –8 (–6
with an agile weapon) if it’s your third or subsequent attack of
the turn instead of –10.

2) I wish for a ranger to be outstanding at skills more than training one more skill than most characters of equal intelligence. Edge could do this. Like Captain Morgan on his February 1 comment above, I favor giving the ranger extra skill feats. If the edge granted a bonus skill feat that relates to the edge, then the ranger would gain such a theme.

Flurry Edge: You gain Ranger's Flurry. When your Athletics skill proficiency becomes expert, you gain an additional Athletics skill feat.
Precision Edge: You gain Targetted Precision. When your Acrobatics skill proficiency becomes expert, you gain an additional Acrobatics skill feat.
Stalker Edge: You gain Stalker's Wit. When your Stealth skill proficiency becomes expert, you gain an additional Stealth skill feat.


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Mathmuse, I may not always agree with your conclusions, but I have mad, mad respect for the amount of research you put into building them.

In this case I think you are pretty spot on, although the wording of your suggested Hunt Target replacement is a bit awkward. "Based on the situation regarding it", in particular, is hard to parse.


MaxAstro wrote:
Mathmuse, I may not always agree with your conclusions, but I have mad, mad respect for the amount of research you put into building them.

If I don't have an occassional bad conclusion, then I am staying in my comfort zone and not challenging myself enough. Point them out so I can challenge myself by learning how I went wrong.

MaxAstro wrote:
In this case I think you are pretty spot on, although the wording of your suggested Hunt Target replacement is a bit awkward. "Based on the situation regarding it", in particular, is hard to parse.

Let me try again.

[[A]] HUNT TARGET (Survival check version)
Ranger
You designate a single creature as your hunted target and your efforts
against that creature benefit from your singular focus. You gain a
+2 circumstance bonus on all Perception and skill rolls to hunt for
or compete against the hunted target. You also gain a +1 circumstance
bonus on attack rolls, AC, and saving throws against the hunted target.
You may Hunt Target on a place instead. Then the bonuses apply to
finding and scouting the place but not to overcoming its challenges.

If you can see or hear the creature or place, you can designate it as
the hunted target without a skill check. You could also designate a
unseen creature or place as a hunted target after finding clues about
it, but that requires 10 minutes examining or pondering the clues and
a successful Survival check. A ranger tracking a target may make the
Survival check after 10 minutes of tracking. The Hunt Target Table
suggests some typical DCs for the Survival check. The GM may lower
the DC if the ranger has an abundance of clues or raise the DC if the
target is especially obscure.

Hunt Target Table
Tracking the target or backtracking prints to their origin: DC 10
Previously hunted the target within one day: DC 15
Seen or heard the target within one day: DC 20
Target known by name and reputation (e.g., finding a resident in a town): DC 25
Target known only by activities (e.g., finding a witness to a crime): DC 30
Target obscured (e.g., finding the culprit of a crime): DC 35

If the ranger encounters a target under circumstances where he would
not recognize the target, then the target does not count as the hunted
target except for rolls to recognize the target as the hunted target.

The designated creature or place remains the hunted target until
the ranger designates another hunted target or takes 8 hours of rest.


That is much clearer.

In the PF2e theme, the DC for at least "target obscured" should probably scale with the level of the target; a master criminal should be harder to hunt than a petty thief.

Of course, with the way skill DCs work in 2e you are effectively level gating certain uses - that DC 35 is effectively impossible before level 10 or so, and not likely even then.

Might make more sense to tie various uses of Hunt Target to your proficiency in Survival, rather than giving them super high DCs.


MaxAstro wrote:
In the PF2e theme, the DC for at least "target obscured" should probably scale with the level of the target; a master criminal should be harder to hunt than a petty thief.

That is a good idea. How about "DC 25 + target's Stealth modifier"? Or would Deception modifier be better?

MaxAstro wrote:

Of course, with the way skill DCs work in 2e you are effectively level gating certain uses - that DC 35 is effectively impossible before level 10 or so, and not likely even then.

Might make more sense to tie various uses of Hunt Target to your proficiency in Survival, rather than giving them super high DCs.

The Survival check on an unseen target would usually be a Take 20 situation: the ranger can keep rolling until he succeeds. If tracking footsteps takes an hour, the ranger has six chances to successfully Hunt Target before reaching the target. Thus, the DC has to be high. And even if the ranger fails the Survival check for Hunt Target, he misses out only on a +2 circumstance bonus in tracking and has to spend an action for Hunt Target when he finally sees the tracked creaature.

I expect a low-level ranger to barely be a detective. He shouldn't gain the +2 circumstance bonus from just hearing about the activities of a villain. Instead, he will have to rely on his normal tracking and perception skills. He will try to find tracks or a glimpse of the villain in order to gain the +2 circumstance bonus. The high-level ranger, in contrast, would be more like Sherlock Holmes. A description of the crime gives him the +2 circumstance bonus right off, which represents him already figuring out the mysterious villain.

My main purpose for the Survival check is to reduce the action cost of Hunt Target through activites, such as tracking and identifying wounds, that fit the popular image of rangers. Making the ranger better at investigation is only a side effect.

For players who want a ranger detective (my PF1 ranger Abu Gorgani was largely a detective in Burnt Offerings and The Skinsaw Murders), I ought to invent an Expert Detective ranger class feat 4 that requires expert proficiency in Survival. I have only a vague notion for such a feat--maybe it would allow Hunt Target without the Survival check after a successful Recall Knowledge check via Society or Nature on the target.


Probably Stealth, since Stealth usually opposes tracking. 25 + Stealth modifier is really high, though - literally impossible for an even-level target with the same level of investment. It should probably be 10 + Stealth modifier, or 15 if you want to give an advantage to the person hiding.

Consider that as 25+, the Ranger's Survival has to be fourteen points higher than the target's Stealth just to have a 50/50 chance of succeeding. I don't know about you, but if I have a Survival bonus of +25 and the person I am tracking has a Stealth of +11, I feel like I should successfully hunt them most of the time. Especially since as you mentioned, the bonus is relatively mild - it's not like you automatically find out the identity of the person you are hunting.


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I'm with MaxAstro. I don't always agree with you, Mathmuse, but I can respect the work effort.

Quote:
The Pathfinder 1st Edition ranger has trouble fitting them; hence, Paizo had to radically change the ranger. For example, not only is Favored Enemy a very situational mechanic that falls flat when the ranger does not encounter a favored enemy, but it also violates the PF2 tight math. Gaining a PF1 favored enemy bonus would be too big for PF2. Reducing a favored enemy bonus to manageable size still would encounter the problem that it would be a circumstance or conditional bonus often overwhelmed by larger bonuses, an awkward situtation for a primary ability.

So, my main issue with Hunt Target is that not-having it turns off your entire class. Having it requires an action.

Talk about situational and awkward.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

My main issue with hunt target is that the flavor of it is a nonsense mishmash (Or rather, it's very close to being flavor-free in its current iteration). At least with studied target it was obvious that the flavor was taking extra time to analyze your opponent's vulnerabilities before attacking. But Hunt Target is described as 'designating a creature as your target and focusing your attacks on them'.

Why should 'hunting a target' make me better at making subsequent attacks or capable of delivering precision damage?
----

This could be resolved easily by splitting into two abilities with clearer flavor. One could be called 'Hunting Adept' or something, and give you bonuses to track, sneak up on, and spot things you're tracking outside of combat. And a second ability called 'Study Foe' that gives you special bonus effects if you take a moment in combat to study an enemy's unique weaknesses.
----

@Mathmuse: While I like the idea of transforming Hunt Target into a universal investigative ability, I'm not so sure about your current implementation. I particularly don't like that the ability asks you to make a survival check to Hunt Target in order to get a +2 bonus on the survival check to actually track down your target. It seems like redundant flavor and it's mechanically unsatisfying.

Could this be successfully simplified down by making it a rider on normal survival mechanics? Ie. When you successfully use Survival to track something, you get bonuses, plus subsequent attempts to track it get easier.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Considering my own comments above, here's my attempt to represent Hunt Target:

Quote:

HUNT TARGET (Alternatively named 'HUNTING ADEPT')

Ranger
The Ranger is uniquely skilled at doggedly pursuing the prey they
track, and can use the clues they pick up from tracking them to gain an
edge in combat.

Whenever you succeed at the Track action of the Survival skill, you gain
a +2 circumstance bonus on Perception checks to Seek the creature you're
tracking, on further Survival checks to track that creature, on Stealth
checks to hide from that creature, on attempts to Recall Knowledge about
that creature, and on Deception checks against that creature.

Whenever you engage a creature you've Tracked in the last 24 hours in
combat, you automatically gain the benefits of your Study Foe ability
against that creature without having to take an action to study it first,
and you don't lose the benefits of Study Foe for that creature even if
you use Study Foe on another creature.

You can also use the Track action of the Survival skill to follow clues
or evidence (such as that from a crime scene) much like you would follow
tracks. This task is significantly more difficult than following tasks,
and the Survival DC to do so should reflect that. (The Track action
doesn't have DCs provided in PF2E, so I haven't provided numerical DCs
for this either. But I imagine them as 5 or 10 points higher than an
equivalent attempt to follow physical tracks.)

The bonuses from Hunt Target last for 24 hours from the last successful
Track action on a particular creature.

Quote:

[[A]] STUDY FOE

Ranger
The Ranger can analyze a foe to gain insights into its weaknesses

As an [[A]] the Ranger studies one creature within their line of sight.
They gain one of the following benefits (of their choice) against that
creature for 1 minute or until they study a different creature.

- Anticipation - You predict how the creature will move in combat,
gaining a +1 bonus on attack rolls against that creature.
- Spot Weakness - You pinpoint weaknesses in the creature's defenses.
The first time you hit the studied creature with an attack each round, you
deal 1d6 points of extra precision damage, increasing by 1d6 at 11th level.

Obviously this doesn't solve the question of whether a "study target" type ability is the right combat gimmick for the ranger to be based around. But I do think the Hunting Adept portion at least is a neat reward and incentive for Rangers to do more tracking.


Draco18s wrote:

So, my main issue with Hunt Target is that not-having it turns off your entire class. Having it requires an action.

Talk about situational and awkward.

The barbarian has the same problem: most of their feats hang on being able to rage, which costs an action. And the barbarian's rage can be shut down with a single spell, poison, or sleepless night that causes fatigue. The barbarian had the problem in Pathfinder 1st Edition, too, except that rage was a free action.

But why should Pathfinder 2nd Edition have two classes with the same awkward requirement for a preliminary action?

Cellion wrote:

My main issue with hunt target is that the flavor of it is a nonsense mishmash (Or rather, it's very close to being flavor-free in its current iteration). At least with studied target it was obvious that the flavor was taking extra time to analyze your opponent's vulnerabilities before attacking. But Hunt Target is described as 'designating a creature as your target and focusing your attacks on them'.

Why should 'hunting a target' make me better at making subsequent attacks or capable of delivering precision damage?

And that is why requiring barbarians to rage is better than requiring rangers to hunt target. Barbarian rage has a lot of flavor and tradition. It is the viking going berserk or the superhero powering up.

I played a ranger with Guide archetype that traded away Favored Enemy for Ranger's Focus. Ranger's Focus is a lot like Hunt Target except that it required a swift action and could be used only once a day. Ranger's Focus and the slayer's Studied Target were probably the inspiration for Hunt Target.

Ranger's Focus did not make much sense, but I was willing to accept it as a more flexible substitute for Favored Enemy because a guide would need more flexibility than a dedicated hunter of one prey. Archetypes are a jerry-rig, so we have to apply more suspension of disbelief for them than for the original class.

Sometimes I envision Hunt Target as creating flow, also known as hyperfocus and being in the zone. However, flow has nothing to do with the image of rangers. And entering a special mental condition is too much like the barbarian.

The visualization I mostly use for the PF2 ranger is that Hunt Target is applying the ranger's skill and experience at hunting. As Wikipedia said about rangers the character class, "their preferred martial arts weapons leans towards practical utility: archery, knife fighting, stick-fighting, axeplay, spearplay and swordplay." The fighter might have practiced by sparring against a practice dummy or with wooden swords, but the ranger practiced by hunting live animals with real weapons for his family's dinner. The action to start Hunt Target is because the ranger is not accustomed to combat at a moment's notice. He is accustomed to combat after stalking his prey. And he is accustomed to hunting one animal at a time.

That is why I was shocked to realize that a well-optimized ranger might be mediocre at hunting. It breaks that visualization. Also, by that visualization, the ranger should become less dependent on Hunt Target as he levels up, because he will grow accustomed to dungeon-delving combat.

Hm, that gives me an idea for removing the circumstance bonus I added to Hunt Target--see next comment.

As for the name of Hunt Target, which Cellion splits into "Hunting Adept" and "Study Foe" to be more specific, I am going to keep the name Hunt Target for my variants of Hunt Target, because I want readers to recognize that I dreamed up a replacement for Hunt Target rather than a new action.


Cellion wrote:

@Mathmuse: While I like the idea of transforming Hunt Target into a universal investigative ability, I'm not so sure about your current implementation. I particularly don't like that the ability asks you to make a survival check to Hunt Target in order to get a +2 bonus on the survival check to actually track down your target. It seems like redundant flavor and it's mechanically unsatisfying.

Could this be successfully simplified down by making it a rider on normal survival mechanics? Ie. When you successfully use Survival to track something, you get bonuses, plus subsequent attempts to track it get easier.

I had been working on refiguring the DCs for Hunt Target based on MaxAstro's comment, but I have been slowed down by illness. I will scrap my work. Cellion's idea of Hunt Target as a rider is much better.

[[A]] HUNT TARGET (Survival rider version)
Ranger
You designate a single creature as the hunted target of your well-honed
hunting skills. On skill checks, Perception checks, attacks, AC, and
saving throws to hunt for or compete against the hunted target that
have trained proficiency, you use expert proficiency instead. You may
Hunt Target on a place instead. Then the expert proficiencies apply to
finding and stealthily scouting the place but not to overcoming its
challenges.

If you can see or hear the creature or place, you can designate it as
the hunted target. You could also designate a unseen creature or place
as a hunted target after making a successful Survival check to Track
or Follow Clues for that target. You also may resume Hunt Target on a
creature or place that was your hunted target within the last 24 hours.
The designated creature or place remains the hunted target until you
designate another hunted target or drops the hunt. You can have only
one hunted target at a time unless a feat or ability says otherwise.

If you are a master in Survival, then you can treat your expert
proficiencies as master proficiencies against your hunted target. If
you are legendary in Survival, then you can treat your master
proficiencies as legendary proficiencies against your hunted target.

If the ranger encounters a target under circumstances where he would
not recognize the target, then the target does not count as the hunted
target except for rolls to recognize the target as the hunted target.

[[A]] Follow Clues
Survival trained action
Concentrate
You examine clues left after an event to deduce the behavior and
identity of whoever was involved in the event. Clues are typically
found via Perception in examining an area or talking to witnesses.
The GM determines the DCs for Follow Clues checks, depending on the
abundance and distinguishing features of the clues.
Success You gain an account of what happened in the event.
You may make one Recall Knowledge check to identify a key creature
or object in the event. You may attempt to one Track action to
track the creature that ignores the effects of Cover Tracks.
Critical Success You gain a +2 circumstance bonus on the
Recall Knowledge and Track checks from Follow Clue.
Failure You learn nothing and cannot try again until you
find relevant new information.

I imagine a scene like the following.
RANGER: I examine the body and roll for Follow Clues. I get 17.
GM: You succeeded. The baron was attacked by a wild animal his own garden. Roll Recall Knowledge Nature to identify the animal.
RANGER: But we didn't see any tracks.
GM: Mysterious, isn't it. Do you want to roll Follow Clues again to figure out why or jump to identify?
RANGER: Identify first. And I declare Hunt Target on the animal. 10.
GM: The wounds are the beak and talon of an owlbear. It has a +10 beak attack that deals 2d10+4 piercing damage and +10 talon attacks that deal 2d6+4 piercing damage and allow a grab.
RANGER: Now I roll Follow Clues on the lack of tracks. 8.
GM: You don't know.
RANGER: I try to track the owlbear, regardless, just in case someone Covered Tracks. 14.
GM: You spot a bit of feathery down. Ordinarily you would assume it was from a barn owl, but you are trying to track a beast that is part owl. You continue in that direction for 5 minutes and you reach tall grass where something big went through. The roots of some stalks of grass have been pierced by large talons.
RANGER: That is another clue. Follow Clues about why the tracks were missing. 19.
GM: Someone cleaned up the tracks.
RANGER: Identify. Recall Knowledge Society, right?
GM: Yes.
RANGER: Wait, I am going to Hunt Target on this guy. That makes me expert for the Society check. 17.
GM: You get the impression that he cleared away the tracks after the owlbear left. He seems to be some kind of servant or minion.
RANGER: I was hoping for a lead on the mastermind. I mark this spot in case I want to track the minion and continue tracking the owlbear. It's my hunted target again.

Shrewd Detective feat 2
Skill
Prerequisites Expert in Survival.
You have insight into the smallest clues. Instead of gaining one Recall Knowledge check to identify from a successful Follow Clues check, you gain three Recall Knowledge checks. All the checks gain the bonus from a critical success on Follow Clues.


Cellion: really like that attempt. Thumbs up.

Mathmuse wrote:
Draco18s wrote:

So, my main issue with Hunt Target is that not-having it turns off your entire class. Having it requires an action.

Talk about situational and awkward.

The barbarian has the same problem: most of their feats hang on being able to rage, which costs an action. And the barbarian's rage can be shut down with a single spell, poison, or sleepless night that causes fatigue. The barbarian had the problem in Pathfinder 1st Edition, too, except that rage was a free action.

But why should Pathfinder 2nd Edition have two classes with the same awkward requirement for a preliminary action?

FWIW I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with PF2's rage either. Or for that matter, with PF1's frankly. I never played a barbarian because it wasn't a class that I knew how to best utilize.

That said, a barbarian's rage doesn't shut off when:
- the barbarian changes targets
- the target dies
- the target moves out of range (teleport, fly, whatever)

All of these things are outside of the ranger's control. The barbarian at least has (in PF1) control of when the ability shuts off or (in PF2, original) a predictable timer. The revision wrecked that (and I'm in agreement that it should be done differently, eg roll at the start and it wears off at the end of a turn).


Draco18s wrote:

Cellion: really like that attempt. Thumbs up.

Mathmuse wrote:
Draco18s wrote:

So, my main issue with Hunt Target is that not-having it turns off your entire class. Having it requires an action.

Talk about situational and awkward.

The barbarian has the same problem: most of their feats hang on being able to rage, which costs an action. And the barbarian's rage can be shut down with a single spell, poison, or sleepless night that causes fatigue. The barbarian had the problem in Pathfinder 1st Edition, too, except that rage was a free action.

But why should Pathfinder 2nd Edition have two classes with the same awkward requirement for a preliminary action?

FWIW I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with PF2's rage either. Or for that matter, with PF1's frankly. I never played a barbarian because it wasn't a class that I knew how to best utilize.

That said, a barbarian's rage doesn't shut off when:
- the barbarian changes targets
- the target dies
- the target moves out of range (teleport, fly, whatever)

All of these things are outside of the ranger's control. The barbarian at least has (in PF1) control of when the ability shuts off or (in PF2, original) a predictable timer. The revision wrecked that (and I'm in agreement that it should be done differently, eg roll at the start and it wears off at the end of a turn).

A Ranger does in fact control when they change targets, and Hunt Target doesn't shut off if the target moves out of range.


Draco18s wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:

The barbarian has the same problem: most of their feats hang on being able to rage, which costs an action. And the barbarian's rage can be shut down with a single spell, poison, or sleepless night that causes fatigue. The barbarian had the problem in Pathfinder 1st Edition, too, except that rage was a free action.

But why should Pathfinder 2nd Edition have two classes with the same awkward requirement for a preliminary action?

FWIW I'm not entirely sure I'm on board with PF2's rage either. Or for that matter, with PF1's frankly. I never played a barbarian because it wasn't a class that I knew how to best utilize.

That said, a barbarian's rage doesn't shut off when:
- the barbarian changes targets
- the target dies
- the target moves out of range (teleport, fly, whatever)

All of these things are outside of the ranger's control. The barbarian at least has (in PF1) control of when the ability shuts off or (in PF2, original) a predictable timer. The revision wrecked that (and I'm in agreement that it should be done differently, eg roll at the start and it wears off at the end of a turn).

In Pathfinder 1st Edition, the barbarian starts rage as a free action, so it isn't really a cost. The only reason it is an action at all to to make a clear line between raging and non-raging, since that matters for the fatigue aftermath of rage.

The designers switched rage to requiring a regular action in PF2. Rage ought to have some kind of cost to balance its power (though I would like more power in PF2 rage). A preliminary action fits with some images of rage. But I miss the recklessness of a barbarian who charges into battle as his very first non-free action.

My own inclination for a barbarian would be that entering a rage is a free action, but continuing a rage past the second turn would require a regular action. That would mean that a barbarian could rage, get three actions that turn to charge and attack. The next turn he either takes three actions and then drop out of rage, or spends the third action to continue raging.

Then we can have four flavors of action taxes.
- A bard performing a composition has to spend an action every turn.
- A fighter or monk entering a stance spends one action at the beginning of combat.
- A barbarian enters a rage for free, but soon has to spend an action every turn or be fatigued every one turn out of three.
- A ranger hunts target at the beginning of combat and has to hunt target again to switch foes, but might be able to avoid the first hunt target action if he managed to track or follow clues.


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Telling Barbarian players that they have to spend an action every turn to keep raging would be an object lesson in what rage looks like, at least. :P


Captain Morgan wrote:
A Ranger does in fact control when they change targets, and Hunt Target doesn't shut off if the target moves out of range.

Deliberate misrepresentation of my argument.

If a target moves out of range, but there is a second one in range, who is sad (and is forced to spend an action)?

Barbarian who's raging
or
The ranger who had the (now invalid) target as their quarry?


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OTOH, if a player fails a save against an effect that causes fatigue, who is sad?

The barbarian who loses all of his class features
or
The ranger who just suffers the normal penalties of fatigue?

I don't think "things cost ranger an action that don't cost barbarian an action therefore Hunt Target is bad" follows, because things shut down Rage that don't shut down Hunt Target. They are different abilities with different requirements.


This discussion of Hunt Target could benefit from knowing how much the ranger depends on Hunt Target. The Rules Update 1.6 version of Hunt Target merely has a +2 bonus (or reduced penalty) to a long ranged attack, Seek, and Track. Tracking is on exploration time so costing a single action does not matter. The other two are too minor to spend an action on. It is the class feats and class features that matter for Hunt Target.

Dependent on Hunt Target
Hunter's Edge: Flurry, Precision, and Stalker
Feat 1: Hunted Shot, Twin Takedown, Crossbow Ace, Monster Hunter
Feat 2: Favored Aim, Monster Warden, Stalker's Shot
Feat 4: Companion's Bond
Feat 6:
Feat 8: Warden's Boon
Feat 10: Master Monster Hunter (partly independent)
Feat 12: Distracting Shot, Double Target
Feat 14: Shared Target, Warden's Guidance
Feat 16: Greater Distracting Shot
Masterful Hunter feature 17
Feat 16:
Swift Target feature 19
Feat 20: Triple Threat

Independent of Hunt Target
Feat 1: Animal Companion
Feat 2: Quick Draw
Weapon Expertise feature 3
Feat 4: Running Reload, Scout's Warning, Snare Savant, Twin Parry
Trackless Step feature 5
Feat 6: Full-Grown Companion, Skirmish Strike, Swift Tracker, Wild Empathy
Evasion feature 7
Feat 8: Hazard Finder, Hunting Companion Quick Snares,
Nature's Edge feature 9
Feat 10: Camouflage, Side by Side, Twin Riposte
Wild Stride feature 11
Feat 12: Incredible Companion
Weapon Mastery feature 13
Feat 14: Sense the Unseen, Stealthy Companion,
Improved Evasion feature 15
Feat 16: Powerful Snares, Specialized Companion
Feat 18: Impossible Volley, Improved Snare
Feat 20: Shadow Hunter (weaker against hunted target)

A ranger could avoid taking any class feat that depended on Hunt Target. The non-Hunt-Target feat 2 Quick Draw is a terrible feat (Drawing your weapon provokes an attack of opportunity in PF2) but the ranger could take a multiclass dedication feat instead. The big loss of ignoring Hunt Target is the loss of the Hunter's Edge abilities.


Draco18s wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
A Ranger does in fact control when they change targets, and Hunt Target doesn't shut off if the target moves out of range.

Deliberate misrepresentation of my argument.

If a target moves out of range, but there is a second one in range, who is sad (and is forced to spend an action)?

Barbarian who's raging
or
The ranger who had the (now invalid) target as their quarry?

Sorry, Draco18s, but the wording in your argument led me to I think that you had misread Hunt Target as expiring when the hunted target moved out of sight. Thus, I suspect that the so-called misrepresentation might have been a similar misinterpretation by Captain Morgan.

Now I see now that you meant that a ranger will have to frequently re-invoke Hunt Target during one combat, because the hunted target will have died or run away or becomes an insignificant threat compared to another foe, so the ranger switches targets. Yes, Hunt Target will be quite annoying when fighting an army of minions.

Using Hunt Target against plentiful minions is probably not worth the action. Ironically, if a druid villain sends a pack of wolves against the ranger, the ranger will probably declare, "I am not hunting these animals. I am merely killing them."

However, the ranger would probably change hunted targets less than once a turn, so the ranger is not as bad off as the bard who has to Perform a Composition every turn or spend focus points on Lingering Composition.

A barbarian will have to spend one action to rage and might have a turn of non-raging fatigue if combat lasts longer enough. But the barbarian will fare better against an army of minions.

The fighter and monk using stances won't have the problems of the ranger, bard, and barbarian.


Mathmuse wrote:


Sorry, Draco18s, but the wording in your argument led me to I think that you had misread Hunt Target as expiring when the hunted target moved out of sight. Thus, I suspect that the so-called misrepresentation might have been a similar misinterpretation by Captain Morgan.

No I am not, see below.

Quote:
Now I see now that you meant that a ranger will have to frequently re-invoke Hunt Target during one combat, because the hunted target will have died or run away or becomes an insignificant threat compared to another foe, so the ranger switches targets. Yes, Hunt Target will be quite annoying when fighting an army of minions.

That. And the fact that it is crap in this scenario is the problem. Telling me "oh, then don't do that" is equivalent to telling me that in 85% of the encounters I'm ever going to be in, I should never use my class features. Because, frankly, "single big boss" is not the majority of situations. Minions are.

Are other features in other classes facing similar problems? Well, then they need similar fixes.


Draco18s wrote:
Mathmuse wrote:
Now I see now that you meant that a ranger will have to frequently re-invoke Hunt Target during one combat, because the hunted target will have died or run away or becomes an insignificant threat compared to another foe, so the ranger switches targets. Yes, Hunt Target will be quite annoying when fighting an army of minions.
That. And the fact that it is crap in this scenario is the problem. Telling me "oh, then don't do that" is equivalent to telling me that in 85% of the encounters I'm ever going to be in, I should never use my class features. Because, frankly, "single big boss" is not the majority of situations. Minions are.

Sadly, the changes that I have proposed for the ranger in this thread don't address the army of minions problem. I was more interested in trying to fit the ranger into the popular image of a ranger.

Trying to track the boss, but find only the footprints of a minion? Follow the minion and he might lead the party to the boss. Looking for clues about the boss, but he sent a hireling to commit the crime? Find the hireling and get him to name who paid him. Ranger skills work fine in exploration mode, even with the limitations of Hunt Target.

I had not examined the weaknesses of Hunt Target in combat beyond the obvious problem of having to start combat by spending an action to activate Hunter's Edge and several class feats.

But since I have been talking about the image of rangers, does anything out of movies, folklore, and other games say that rangers are worse at fighting hordes rather than a big boss? The scenes I recall, involving characters such as Aragorn and Robin Hood, are either the ranger is good at hiding from enemy armies or shoots several of them with archery.

Draco18s wrote:
Are other features in other classes facing similar problems? Well, then they need similar fixes.

To quote MaxAstro from another thread,

MaxAstro wrote:
The problem comes when one character's sphere of "the best at" becomes "combat". Because combat is 50% of the game, so that doesn't leave much room for other people to shine.

This is the underlying problem.

I recall a Paizo quote, might have been from designer Sean K. Reynolds, that the fighter is best in combat, except that the barbarian can be better while raging, the paladin can be better while smiting evil, the ranger can be better against favored enemies, etc. In Pathfinder 1st Edition, those moments of awesomeness had a limiting factor, such as rounds of rage, so that the fighter was usually best in combat. Pathfinder 2nd Edition moved away from putting limits on awesomeness, but is trying to find a new balancing point where the fighter is still almost always the best at combat.

This leads to a mess. Where is the line between "not as good as the best" and "not good enough to stay in the party"?

Suppose that Paizo is willing to compromise for balance and let the barbarian and ranger be as good as the fighter at weapon combat? Then combat style comes into play. How is the barbarian not just a fighter from a savage tribe? Because he gains uncanny rage powers. Okay, that works. How is the ranger not just a fighter who hunts on the side? Um, because he has an animal companion? No, that is an optional feat. Because he has woodland abilities such as Trackless Step. No, that is the hunting on the side. Because he has magic? No, that was dropped from the ranger class. Because he can make snares? Don't make me laugh. Becasue he has a snazzy two-weapon fighting style. No, that is an optional feat and the fighter can learn Double Slice.

Hunt Target is a feature to force the ranger to fight differently from the fighter. It might also be intended to make him often fight worse than the fighter, except when the party really needs him to fight well.


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I do feel like a distinction should be made between "pack of minions" and "there are multiple enemies, but each enemy is a credible threat". I feel like the second scenario is the single most common kind of encounter, and Ranger actually does really well in it because "focus each enemy down one at a time" is the objectively correct response to that encounter in most cases.

In a pack of minions situation the Ranger does have action economy issues, yes. However, I suspect that most "pack of minion" encounters end with a well-placed fireball more quickly than any other class can end them. And not every class needs to shine at every encounter type.

I think "good at taking down single targets one at a time" is a niche that's not covered by other classes, and it seems like a logical fit for the Ranger. It does need to be true, though; a Ranger hunting a single target should kill them more quickly than a raging Barbarian focusing on that target, because the Barbarian isn't limited to one target.

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