Twin Takedown and Sneak Attack: Ranger with Rogue Dedication: Can be combined?


Rules Discussion

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Actually, I think I you and I have more common ground on this than you think...

Is the honeymoon back on?

All seriousness aside, great post. Thank you for the discussion.

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I think where you and I diverge is that I'm coming at it from the perspective of a GM who has been running a wilderness adventure for a couple years now. I've thought a lot about the feat and how it should actually work in practice, in much the same way Hammerjack describes, and I guess I took for granted other GMs would do the same.

Yes, I think you're way on the end of the bell curve in terms of normative GMing in PFS. I'll even argue the same when it comes to AP's and home brews for a very specific reason. The attention to detail you have to pay as a GM to make this useful is/can be exhausting and as such it creates, imo, substantive hurdle for the players to benefit from this feat in contrast to others.

And granted, you can argue that this is fine for a skill feat or two to work this way, but it's a skill feat that is aimed squarely at the Ranger (and possibly Druid). So when compared to things more pertinent to other classes, it feels like a kick in the shin. It doesn't help that I think things like Wild Empathy and Trackless Step fall into the same category.

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IMO, this is one of several skill feats that deserves more editorial direction on how it works in practice. The APs I've read so far don't do a great job of accounting for them

Bingo. I'd be one thing if this conveyed some substantive benefit, then I could see it being offset by less rigorous application, but even if you coax a GM into giving you a bite, so what? There's no real substantive benefit.

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If a bunch of gugs have moved into an old temple, and are pooping in or around it, shedding, and doing other gug things, I'm inclined to let you Survey them.

Yes, I would certainly allow it. But it's not obvious and, as written, it seems to suggest no. You can easily see a GM thinking/insisting this is only for creatures that live in the wilderness ("scat", "nests", are not usually terms used with humanoids, who would instead just leave tracks). What's ironic is that when Mark commented on this feat, I said that Paizo needed to create better foundation for Rangers by mandating that creatures inhabiting an area always leave tracks around it. This would mandate your interpretation. But Paizo obviously didn't agree.

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IMO, if there isn't a compelling reason why the party can't be stopping periodically to Survey, then I'm inclined to say the party should get a Survey roll about as often as there are encounters while overland traveling

There is a compelling reason: it's not practical. Suggesting a PC on caravan duty, or heading to a lost ruins, is going stop and periodically SW isn't credible. Go hiking or backpacking or read about expeditions, nobody stops and take 10 minutes to look for bears or mountain lions or whatever on a reoccurring basis. When you travel through the wilderness, you keep moving. You might stop to take a rest, but then you're resting.

The only time something like this makes sense is if you're actually hunting something. You may not realize it, but you're bending over backwards to try and rationalize how this feat should be useful. But it's analogous to the party that wants to Take 20 every 5' to look for traps. No GM, I've ever played with, allows that. Even though it takes no time OOC to concede it in IC, I've never seen it be acceptable in game play. The fact that it takes 10 minutes is, imo, a specific flag that it is not intended to be usable as part of normal or even cautious traveling, but intended for specific/obvious locations for an encounter.

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This gives the player a chance to ID most upcoming encounters, which is quite potent...

I don't see how this is potent in actual game play. So what if you know gugs are in the temple? Players see a structure in the wilderness, they are expecting an encounter. What's more, it's taken me 10 minutes to figure that out. I'd have a better chance of success convincing the GM to let me look for tracks. I might not even suffer the -2 RK check for Monster Hunter when I designate it as my Prey because no such penalty is hard-coded into that.

I think the very fact that you're having to talk at length about how you make this kind of work, affirms the problem. But whatever. It's only one useless skill feat and it's not even required for the Ranger class, so the fact that Paizo laid an egg here is not a deal breaker, but it is another brick in the wall, thorn on the path.


HammerJack wrote:
Nonsense. Players determine their own traveling precautions.

No, not really. Unless explicitly stated in the rules, the GM determines whether any precautions the players can take has a benefit.

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There's nothing about making periodic wildlife surveys that would be an exception.

Neither is Taking 20 on Perception every 5' step in a PF1 game. Try that and see how it goes over with the GM.

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If you've been playing with people that declare that it's impossible to attempt things that your characters are capable of, with no special circumstances to make them impractical, that's a problem with the people you're playing with, not something baked into the system.

The bottom line is it's impractical in IC. No party crawls around a dungeon Taking 20 and neither would they go around using SW every time the left the "area" the last check covered, even if it were technically possible. It's not a problem with the people, it's a problem thats baked into the system. I've played RPGs for over 20 years. I've played PFS for over 10. I've probably had 30 different GMs, if not more. I think I have a sense for normative game play in PFS.

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You keep using this phrase "normal game play" in ways that make no sense and seem to assume a bizarrely adversarial GM mindset.

No, it's not adversarial. It speaks to how an overwhelming number of GM's approach the game. Using SW on the entire caravan trip or trek to a lost ruin is not something the average GM is going to agree is practical...nor should they. Especially because I don't think it was intended to work the way you're allowing it to work. The feat should be rewritten.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:

Yes, I think you're way on the end of the bell curve in terms of normative GMing in PFS. I'll even argue the same when it comes to AP's and home brews for a very specific reason. The attention to detail you have to pay as a GM to make this useful is/can be exhausting and as such it creates, imo, substantive hurdle for the players to benefit from this feat in contrast to others.

Sorry not all GMs are as good as me. ;) More seriously, I think lots of skill feats run into this problem. Take Hobnobber. How often do you need to Gather Information twice as fast? If you're Gathering Info you are in downtime and can usually not in a rush.

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What's ironic is that when Mark commented on this feat, I said that Paizo needed to create better foundation for Rangers by mandating that creatures inhabiting an area always leave tracks around it. This would mandate your interpretation. But Paizo obviously didn't agree.

Hard disagree here. Check out the suggested DCs for Track:

Untrained the path of a large army following a road
Trained relatively fresh tracks of a rampaging bear through the plains
Expert a nimble panther’s tracks through a jungle, tracks after the rain
Master tracks after a winter snow, tracks of a mouse or smaller creature, tracks left on surfaces that can’t hold prints like bare rock
Legendary old tracks through a windy desert’s sands, tracks after a major blizzard or hurricane

These examples clearly establish that creatures are always leaving tracks, even if the DCs to follow them can be quite high. Even in terrain that can't hold prints.

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There is a compelling reason: it's not practical. Suggesting a PC on caravan duty, or heading to a lost ruins, is going stop and periodically SW isn't credible. Go hiking or backpacking or read about expeditions, nobody stops and take 10 minutes to look for bears or mountain lions or whatever on a reoccurring basis. When you travel through the wilderness, you keep moving. You might stop to take a rest, but then you're resting.

The only time something like this makes sense is if you're actually hunting something. You may not realize it, but you're bending over backwards to try and rationalize how this feat should be useful. But it's analogous to the party that wants to Take 20 every 5' to look for traps. No GM, I've ever played with, allows that. Even though it takes no time OOC to concede it in IC, I've never seen it be acceptable in game play. The fact that it takes 10 minutes is, imo, a specific flag that it is not intended to be usable as part of normal or even cautious traveling, but intended for specific/obvious locations for an encounter.

You're not entirely wrong. But I tend to assume it can be abstracted out to be happening when, say, another party member is cooking your 3 meals for the day, or while they are making camp for the night, or someone had to stop to take a dump. The game assumes you are only actually moving for 8 hours of any given day. An hour for daily preparations, 10 hours and 40 minutes spent sleeping with a 4 man watch rotation still leaves you with 4 hours and 20 minutes to account for during any given day of hard travel. Assuming that there are periodic breaks where a Ranger can take some time to Survey while the less hardy wizards is resting his bunions is pretty reasonable, IMO.

But again, this kind of thing is poorly spelled out by the feat or the system, so you can certainly feel otherwise.

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You may not realize it, but you're bending over backwards to try and rationalize how this feat should be useful.

Oh, that is absolutely what I'm doing. But I think one of the jobs of a GM is look at the abilities their players choose as an indicator of the sorts of things that player wants to be doing and trying to include some of that to the game. And if that sort of thing doesn't make sense for the game, encourage the player to take something different. If we are playing War for the Crown, I should discourage the player from taking Survey Wildlife. If we are playing Ironfang Invasion, I should be figuring out how to actually let them Survey and make that matter.

This sort of thing is completely lost in PFS, but that's part of why I don't play PFS. It can feel a little lost in an AP, but a good GM who knows what the PCs are going to look like should be able to make it work. (That doing so is a struggle is a failing, and indicates a need for either better feats or better guidance on making those feats relevant.)

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I don't see how this is potent in actual game play. So what if you know gugs are in the temple? Players see a structure in the wilderness, they are expecting an encounter.

The "so what" depends a lot on specifics about your builds and the enemies. You SHOULD be able to Track the enemy, and that can bare minimum let you apply Hunt Prey's circumstance bonus to initiative, and might even be able to predict where they are with enough accuracy to prebuff (which you've likely already done with Hunt Prey.) With Swift Tracker you can get a free stride into melee.

If the enemy has notable weaknesses, you may have the opportunity to exploit them. For example, gugs are terrified of ghouls and the right party could use illusions or disguise to look like they are traveling with ghouls, potentially avoiding an encounter entirely, or providing a notable circumstance bonus on Intimidating the gugs.

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I might not even suffer the -2 RK check for Monster Hunter when I designate it as my Prey because no such penalty is hard-coded into that.

This is actually another big problem I have with the rules. You should be able to reattempt a Recall Knowledge check when you gain new information, especially for ID'ing a monster. Just because you can't recognize gug scat doesn't mean you can't recognize gugs. I can't recognize tiger scat but I can sure as heck recognize a tiger.

I don't think the rules as written support retrying knowledge checks as new information comes to light, but they absolutely should and so should a GM.

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I think the very fact that you're having to talk at length about how you make this kind of work, affirms the problem.[.quote]

I totally agree there's a problem. My goal here isn't to convince you there isn't, it is to illustrate solutions to solve the problem. You may recall I rewrote the entire skill feat chapter during the playtest to fix problems like this. The final product fixed a lot of issues I had, but not all of them, and this is a clear example of one.

It might not help at your local PFS, but maybe some other GM will read it and be able to at least fix it at their own tables.


Malk_Content wrote:

The Ranger asks if they can identify any tracks, and if so begin tracking it. Once tracking, they can Hunt. Thats the rules.

If you are completely unaware, yeah you can't hunt. Which is why I said "Anytime you aren't suprised"

Say the ranger makes out the tracks of a bugbear heading down the corridor to the east and an ogre heading down the corridor to the west.

The ranger then Hunts one and follows it's tracks. But as he turns a corner up ahead he finds himself approaching a chamber in the tomb in which it's the other creature - and now initiative is rolled because the order of every action matters, including whether the ranger can Hunt Prey on a creature in this encounter before getting noticed and possibly attacked.

It's not a surprise by any definition, it's just that the ranger wasn't aware that the tomb is sort of a big square corridor with a few chambers branching off it so he wasn't aware the tracks he saw were two circling paths going opposite directions.

Or it could be any other number of completely normal, not at all surprising, reasons that the tracks you follow don't always lead to either the creature you expected or "you are surprised."

And of course, there is the little detail that you have assumed the ranger can't have failed to identify a specific set of tracks.


Another good post Captain.

Captain Morgan wrote:
More seriously, I think lots of skill feats run into this problem. Take Hobnobber. How often do you need to Gather Information twice as fast? If you're Gathering Info you are in downtime and can usually not in a rush.

I don't doubt. From where I sit, Paizo has a blindspot on a lot of these such that the way the game is typically played, these things aren't useful. I would love to hear them tell us how they think this is useful? How often in an AP does Paizo expect Hobnobber to be useful? I tried to get Piazo to add intrinsice value to a lot of the Ranger-esque feats, but nothing doing (unless one can assume they changed SW from Playtest based on my feedback).

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Hard disagree here. Check out the suggested DCs for Track:

Untrained the path of a large army following a road
Trained relatively fresh tracks of a rampaging bear through the plains
Expert a nimble panther’s tracks through a jungle, tracks after the rain
Master tracks after a winter snow, tracks of a mouse or smaller creature, tracks left on surfaces that can’t hold prints like bare rock
Legendary old tracks through a windy desert’s sands, tracks after a major blizzard or hurricane

These examples clearly establish that creatures are always leaving tracks, even if the DCs to follow them can be quite high. Even in terrain that can't hold prints.

I really like that you've interpreted those examples as proof everything leaves tracks. Unfortunately, I don't think that the majority of GMs are going to allow Rangers to find them. It's one thing to agree that if a creature travels somewhere, it leaves tracks. It's a different thing to say that creature has automatically left tracks that you can find around its current location. I'm talking about the latter. Agreeing creatures leave tracks doesn't automatically mean the GM is going to agree the spiders hiding in the old lodge left tracks outside of it. Or that the mitfits have been walking where you are currently searching. IMO, Paizo should have have hard-coded that tracking works in that situation. Tracking should reveal tracks of any ambulatory creature in like a 60' radius, of its domicile or current location (barring the obvious).

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If we are playing Ironfang Invasion, I should be figuring out how to actually let them Survey and make that matter.

Well, I think we are in agreement that the GM shouldn't have to work that hard to make outdoor feats beneficial in the outdoors.

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The "so what" depends a lot on specifics about your builds and the enemies. You SHOULD be able to Track the enemy, and that can bare minimum let you apply Hunt Prey's circumstance bonus to initiative, and might even be able to predict where they are with enough accuracy to prebuff (which you've likely already done with Hunt Prey.)

It should do a lot of things, but it doesn't. It does really nothing. In normative play, there's no situation where SW is going to give you any more warning of an encounter than the GM laying down the grid map or simply taking the time to read you script from the numbered box. I think we are in agreement that, as written, it's more likely to be useless than useful, even in situations where you'd expect it might have some value.

The problem, as I see it, is a systemic one. The tight math and nerf-bat mentality of PF2 means that these feats can't do much mechanically. When you try and throw on situational/Setting-based applicability, you're backing yourself into a corner of uselessness. There are a couple of ways you could make it useful:

1. A rolling radar dectector for the outdoors. "Stop! There are orcs nearby." This allows parties to routinely pre-buff for encounters and it should not be precluded by some other exploration activity. Ramp up the benefit depending on Survival proficiency.

2. An anywhere ability to figure out what's specifically in the house, dungeon, cave. Essentially a free RK check on trained or untrained creatures. Ramp up with Proficiency.

But in the context of PF2, those seem way too good. After all, it's just a lvl 1 Skill Feat, so how much benefit should it really offer? I fear that is the approach Paizo took with some of these: "So what if they aren't useful in your campaign, just re-train out of them."


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
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HammerJack wrote:
Nonsense. Players determine their own traveling precautions.
No, not really. Unless explicitly stated in the rules, the GM determines whether any precautions the players can take has a benefit.

I said the players determine what precautions they take. I never said they determine the results of those precautions. Those aren't the same thing.

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There's nothing about making periodic wildlife surveys that would be an exception.

Neither is Taking 20 on Perception every 5' step in a PF1 game. Try that and see how it goes over with the GM.

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If you've been playing with people that declare that it's impossible to attempt things that your characters are capable of, with no special circumstances to make them impractical, that's a problem with the people you're playing with, not something baked into the system.
The bottom line is it's impractical in IC. No party crawls around a dungeon Taking 20 and neither would they go around using SW every time the left the "area" the last check covered, even if it were technically possible. It's not a problem with the people, it's a problem thats baked into the system. I've played RPGs for over 20 years. I've played PFS for over 10. I've probably had 30 different GMs, if not more. I think I have a sense for normative game play in PFS.

There is a very large difference, in character, between having a ranger do ranger things, and check the surroundings every once in a while, while you water the horses, or whatever else you need to do (and likely only in areas that people are already treating as dangerous enough to employ exploration tactics that cut travel speed in half) and taking an hour to move 150 feet.

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You keep using this phrase "normal game play" in ways that make no sense and seem to assume a bizarrely adversarial GM mindset.

No, it's not adversarial. It speaks to how an overwhelming number of GM's approach the game. Using SW on the entire caravan trip or trek to a lost ruin is not something the average GM is going to agree is practical...nor should they. Especially because I don't think it was intended to work the way you're allowing it to work. The feat should be rewritten.

Allowing SW to have perfect precision in identifying exactly and only the creatures you care about would be unreasonable. Treating it as a passive effect that comes into play at all times when traveling at any speed would be unreasonable. Allowing the feat that someone invested in to function at all, and give them the relevant information about their surroundings when they use it, from which they have some grounds to guess what might be relevant is pretty basic.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:

The Ranger asks if they can identify any tracks, and if so begin tracking it. Once tracking, they can Hunt. Thats the rules.

If you are completely unaware, yeah you can't hunt. Which is why I said "Anytime you aren't suprised"

Say the ranger makes out the tracks of a bugbear heading down the corridor to the east and an ogre heading down the corridor to the west.

The ranger then Hunts one and follows it's tracks. But as he turns a corner up ahead he finds himself approaching a chamber in the tomb in which it's the other creature - and now initiative is rolled because the order of every action matters, including whether the ranger can Hunt Prey on a creature in this encounter before getting noticed and possibly attacked.

It's not a surprise by any definition, it's just that the ranger wasn't aware that the tomb is sort of a big square corridor with a few chambers branching off it so he wasn't aware the tracks he saw were two circling paths going opposite directions.

Or it could be any other number of completely normal, not at all surprising, reasons that the tracks you follow don't always lead to either the creature you expected or "you are surprised."

And of course, there is the little detail that you have assumed the ranger can't have failed to identify a specific set of tracks.

I'd call that a surprise. Explicitly following the tracks of thing A and going away from thing B,then bumping into B first would surprise me. And if that happened regularly I'd I'd honestly start to wonder if the gm just doesn't like people tracking but doesn't want to say no.


Malk_Content wrote:
I'd call that a surprise. Explicitly following the tracks of thing A and going away from thing B,then bumping into B first would surprise me. And if that happened regularly I'd I'd honestly start to wonder if the gm just doesn't like people tracking but doesn't want to say no.

Now you're shifting the goalposts.

Both on the front of "anytime you aren't surprised" with that now being any time you didn't expect the right thing for some reason, and on the front of originally having said always and now appearing to just be talking about "regularly."


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Your right always was too strong, a reactionary hyperbole against never. Often and with improved reliability achievable from both player and gm perspective is a more true stance.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I've never seen preemptive reactionary hyperbole before now.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thenobledrake wrote:
I've never seen preemptive reactionary hyperbole before now.

preemptive if only following this thread. Way back in October when I first made that comment, there were several threads in which the prevailing theory was ranger always losing actions at the start of every combat.


"losing actions" is not a thing unless you are talking about the slowed or stunned conditions.

You meant to say "using actions" because that's the actual, non-hyperbolized, statement of what is happening if a ranger has to use their Hunt Prey action (whether it's inside, or outside, of an encounter)

And yeah... you'll have to excuse me if I'm not aware of every post ever made on the forum.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
thenobledrake wrote:

"losing actions" is not a thing unless you are talking about the slowed or stunned conditions.

You meant to say "using actions" because that's the actual, non-hyperbolized, statement of what is happening if a ranger has to use their Hunt Prey action (whether it's inside, or outside, of an encounter)

And yeah... you'll have to excuse me if I'm not aware of every post ever made on the forum.

Geez fine I said I was wrong. People wonder why folks online dont make concessions.


I've played (and DMed) a PFS adventure where you are attacked in the middle of the forest miles away from anything by creatures who happen to have a 300 year-old document from the person you are investigating on.
I changed it as there's no way I'll inflict that to my players. But I know I'm a rarity.

Playing a Ranger in PFS is frustrating if you expect to use Survival a lot as there's extremely few logic and context around encounters. How this creature got there? How does it survive? Why is it not moving from its cave? Where are his friends?
So many questions handwaved. As such, determining what clues you can gather before meeting it can be hard and completely at GMs discretion. And considering that the creature can have a 300 year-old document despite being a random encounter in the middle of the forest, avoiding the encounter like any sane party would do can just be a bad thing...

Very often, encounters are thrown at you without any kind of warning. And, actually, I don't criticize it too much. If you want to keep an adventuring vibe you have to chain combats. If you spend half an hour before each combat in context and preparation, the game becomes way too slow and boring.

It is better for me to consider as a GM that Survival will be sometimes very important, and create a real and proper skill challenge for these moments and mostly ignore it the rest of the time to keep a proper pace (and to balance each player contribution as the Ranger is not the only character in the party).


SuperBidi wrote:
Playing a Ranger in PFS is frustrating if you expect to use Survival a lot as there's extremely few logic and context around encounters. How this creature got there? How does it survive? Why is it not moving from its cave? Where are his friends?

This definitely true in PF1 and I was hoping Paizo would recognize that in PF2 and change the way Survival worked and hardcode benefits that were of general use. They easily could have hardcoded benefits for things like Trackless Step.

Yes, they listened to Playtest feedback and improved the combat mechanics. But I don't choose to play a Ranger because of the combat mechanics. I'll make a point I've made before. Ask yourself how many times a party is glad there is a Ranger in the group to do Ranger things vs any other class doing its signature thing?

Oh well. Here's hoping I'm still alive when PF3 comes out and someone who really likes the Ranger gets to design it..


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Ask yourself how many times a party is glad there is a Ranger in the group to do Ranger things vs any other class doing its signature thing?

Just my experience, but constantly. Running Age of Ashes and Fall of Plaguestone for different tables right now. Each has a ranger.

Survival and Nature checks are incredibly frequent. Perception obviously even more so. The rangers in each party are pretty much the masters of all three of these skills. This is as "Ranger things" as anything gets outside of combat. So I don't know what you are specifically looking for, but rangers seem to be absolutely killing it this edition--and definitely so in combat.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Sporkedup wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Ask yourself how many times a party is glad there is a Ranger in the group to do Ranger things vs any other class doing its signature thing?

Just my experience, but constantly. Running Age of Ashes and Fall of Plaguestone for different tables right now. Each has a ranger.

Survival and Nature checks are incredibly frequent. Perception obviously even more so. The rangers in each party are pretty much the masters of all three of these skills. This is as "Ranger things" as anything gets outside of combat. So I don't know what you are specifically looking for, but rangers seem to be absolutely killing it this edition--and definitely so in combat.

Yeah, the rangers have been great in all of my campaigns. Particularly in Age of Ashes-- her scouting has basically let the players plan complete routes of most of my encounters. Terrain Stalker is no joke.


Sporkedup wrote:
The rangers in each party are pretty much the masters of all three of these skills.

The Ranger does not "master" Survival or Nature. You're equating having a skill with mastery of it. In fact, the Ranger's Survival and Nature will be significantly (in PF2 terms) worse than that of a Druid (or Cleric that chooses them). You're party would be better served by a Fighter or Rogue who took Survival and Nature. Outside of Master Monster Hunter (which requires three feats) and some lvl 17 Prey tracking bonus, the Ranger gets zero ability to leverage either of those skills over any other class.

And let's remember that these skill have to be specifically bumped if a Ranger wants to improve them. It's not like the Ranger is getting it outdoor skills improved automatically or can raise them higher than anyone else. Bard, Druid, Fighter, Rogue, can all keep pace with a Ranger's Survival and Nature Proficiency.

Perception? There are four classes that start out as Experts in Perception: Bard, Fighter, Ranger and Rogue and all four of them get to Master proficiency. A Druid and Cleric will typically start with higher Perception than a Ranger on account of the higher Wisdom. The Fighter and Rogue get the same Proficiency bump at 7. But a Fighter gets an extra +2 to Init at 7th that the Ranger does not get. And while the Ranger eventually gets to Legendary, that doesn't happen until 15th level where as the Rogue gets it at lvl 13. Sorry, the Ranger is not the "master" of Perception...at all.

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This is as "Ranger things" as anything gets outside of combat. So I don't know what you are specifically looking for, but rangers seem to be absolutely killing it this edition--and definitely so in combat.

I'm looking for "Ranger things" that are unique to the class and that are intrinsically valuable. Tracking could have been that thing. But the Ranger gets no bonus or ability to do it, outside of Prey. Nor is tracking general useful, which is the real crime because it could have so easily been improved. Paizo could have really made Tracking the Ranger thing without infringing on any other class.

There's nothing the Ranger does that isn't done better by the Rogue (for skills) or Fighter (for combat). And both those classes can completely cover what they aren't better at. But don't get me wrong, it's not like the Ranger was uniquely valuable in PF1 either. Tracking was of no use in PF1. But it least PF1 gave the Ranger a ton of versatility/utility on account of the Spell/Skills advantage. It's lost both in PF2.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Yeah, the rangers have been great in all of my campaigns.

Every class is "great" at low levels where the game has gone out of its way to make everyone generally useful. Casters might disagree, but in truth, they are more useful at low level than they were in PF1.

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Particularly in Age of Ashes-- her scouting has basically let the players plan complete routes of most of my encounters. Terrain Stalker is no joke.

Terrain Stalker isn't a Ranger feat/ability. Anyone trained in Stealth can take it and do whatever your Scout is doing. A Ranger doesn't even get any special or added bonus for using TS in their Favored Terrain (should they take the feat).

Look, I appreciate that an AP is asking for a bunch of Survival checks. I don't know how that compares to PF1. But there are any number of classes that can roll Survival and Nature and at least two or three classes that will roll them with a better chance of success. It'd be one thing if the Ranger got a unique bonus to them, it doesn't. A Rogue built for the outdoors, gives up nothing to the the Ranger besides the ability to track Prey. How often is that needed?

To put it another way, other classes can fairly easily duplicate the Ranger's (lack of a unique) contribution. The Ranger cannot duplicate what those other classes bring. Yes, there are some feats that are unique, but the base level Ranger does not have the intrinsic value that other classes do and that could have easily been fixed.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber

The Monster Hunter/Warden tree, especially Master Monster Hunter, make Rangers truly exceptional Nature bosses. There are tons of feats the improve their tracking and terrain mastery, adding in Survival skills that other classes can't touch. Druids and Clerics, while they often will have a higher bonus from using wisdom as their primary stat, are well outstripped by the ability of the Ranger to double down on Nature and Survival via class features (which is what we were talking about, not just base wisdom bonus to rolls, because that doesn't mean much).

If you're just looking at level 1 features that classes intrinsically have, you're right--the Ranger only shows for tracking. Which is still more than Barbarians, Champions, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Fighters have, unless you count "spells."

I dunno, man. The Rangers at both of my tables, one of which is level 9 and not "early levels," enjoy their classes significantly in and out of combat. They have a lot more to do than most of their peers (really only the Bard and the Sorcerer respectively do more, but that's mostly due to them being faces), and it's often work on my part to make sure other classes have ways to shine outside of combat when there is a Ranger around and they aren't in a city... It might be helped by a lack of a Rogue at either table, but that's not really a worthwhile measurement of their value.

It sounds like you haven't played much Rogue or haven't seen much of one at your table. They are effective and impressive in combat and constantly in the mix out of it in my eight months of experience GMing this game.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
Sporkedup wrote:
The rangers in each party are pretty much the masters of all three of these skills.

The Ranger does not "master" Survival or Nature. You're equating having a skill with mastery of it. In fact, the Ranger's Survival and Nature will be significantly (in PF2 terms) worse than that of a Druid (or Cleric that chooses them). You're party would be better served by a Fighter or Rogue who took Survival and Nature. Outside of Master Monster Hunter (which requires three feats) and some lvl 17 Prey tracking bonus, the Ranger gets zero ability to leverage either of those skills over any other class.

And let's remember that these skill have to be specifically bumped if a Ranger wants to improve them. It's not like the Ranger is getting it outdoor skills improved automatically or can raise them higher than anyone else. Bard, Druid, Fighter, Rogue, can all keep pace with a Ranger's Survival and Nature Proficiency.

Perception? There are four classes that start out as Experts in Perception: Bard, Fighter, Ranger and Rogue and all four of them get to Master proficiency. A Druid and Cleric will typically start with higher Perception than a Ranger on account of the higher Wisdom. The Fighter and Rogue get the same Proficiency bump at 7. But a Fighter gets an extra +2 to Init at 7th that the Ranger does not get. And while the Ranger eventually gets to Legendary, that doesn't happen until 15th level where as the Rogue gets it at lvl 13. Sorry, the Ranger is not the "master" of Perception...at all.

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This is as "Ranger things" as anything gets outside of combat. So I don't know what you are specifically looking for, but rangers seem to be absolutely killing it this edition--and definitely so in combat.
I'm looking for "Ranger things" that are unique to the class and that are intrinsically valuable. Tracking could have been that thing. But the Ranger gets no bonus or ability to do it, outside of Prey. Nor is tracking general useful, which is the real crime...

I don't really see how the Ranger is unique in that other classes can do their schtick. The Fighter schtick is literally just fighting, which everyone does and the Ranger and Barbarian both compare nicely to fighters in combat. The Ranger has a more distinct niche than either of those two. Heck, the sorcerer is really just "spontaneous versions of 1 of 4 other classes" at that level of simplification.

Rangers also have class feat options that make them better at Nature, (using it to identify all creatures) Stealth, (keeping the party in stealth mode as they use other tactics, or bypassing the need for Hide actions and cover in natural terrain) Tracking (Hunt Prey + Swift Tracker) and Snare Crafting. (I'll admit it is hard to use snares frequently, but when you do get to use them they are devastating. That is before we touch on Outwit which actually does make Rangers better than anyone else at a variety of skill checks, albeit at a substantial cost to their DPR. Sparing a few class feats is easy for the Ranger though, who can generally have a well fleshed out combat style by level 2, and usually no later than 4.


Sporkedup wrote:
There are tons of feats the improve their tracking

No there aren't. There are two feats and one of them is a capstone, which won't be relevant for 99% of most PF2 play. Swift Tracker is a nice skill, it mostly just lets you move faster while tracking. That's definitely nice, but not some new, unique feature that no one else can touch. Depending on what the rest of your party is doing it might not even help. In my last campaign the Ranger skipped out on Swift Tracker because Defend, Detect Magic, Search and Scout were regularly being used by the rest of the party anyways.

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which is what we were talking about, not just base wisdom bonus to rolls, because that doesn't mean much

So getting +2 or 3 from Wisdom doesn't mean anything, but getting +2 from a class feature that probably just makes up for the Wisdom gap is huge and makes Rangers the best ever? That doesn't make sense.

I think N N 959 is being a little hyperbolic, but some of the claims you're making are outright false and that just makes it harder for everyone else to talk about how useful Rangers can be.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, PF Special Edition Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Sporkedup wrote:
There are tons of feats the improve their tracking

No there aren't. There are two feats and one of them is a capstone, which won't be relevant for 99% of most PF2 play. Swift Tracker is a nice skill, it mostly just lets you move faster while tracking. That's definitely nice, but not some new, unique feature that no one else can touch. Depending on what the rest of your party is doing it might not even help. In my last campaign the Ranger skipped out on Swift Tracker because Defend, Detect Magic, Search and Scout were regularly being used by the rest of the party anyways.

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which is what we were talking about, not just base wisdom bonus to rolls, because that doesn't mean much

So getting +2 or 3 from Wisdom doesn't mean anything, but getting +2 from a class feature that probably just makes up for the Wisdom gap is huge and makes Rangers the best ever? That doesn't make sense.

I think N N 959 is being a little hyperbolic, but some of the claims you're making are outright false and that just makes it harder for everyone else to talk about how useful Rangers can be.

Fair enough about the tracking feats. Though you could say that feats that improve your Hunt Prey count do benefit your tracking ability, as you can track more enemies at once if needed, but you're probably right. I might be being a bit hyperbolic back.

And maybe it's just my tables, but I have a Cleric and a Ranger in each. Both Clerics started with 18 wisdom, and the Rangers started with 14 and 16 respectively. For about half the levels, the Rangers are -2 and -1 to the Clerics, and the other half they are -1 and even to the Clerics. That makes a +2 actually pretty effective in the long run. You can have Rangers dump wisdom, sure. My players did not and they have been using their array of abilities constantly, which is all I'm trying to say.

I'm sorry for not double checking my response via Nethys to be sure before I posted. Probably why I shouldn't post right after I roll out of bed from a nap...


Thinking of Survey Wildlife as witcher sense from Witcher 3 makes it a lot cooler.


Oh the +2 from hunt is really good, but a lot of the time it's just going to put them equal to or slightly past what the Druid or Cleric can do, so it feels weird to say that the Wisdom bonus doesn't matter, when they're essentially both doing the same thing.

Ultimately I think a lot of the issues come down to just the kind of campaign you're running. If the game handwaves travel time and keeps enemies in locked boxes that you explore discretely, Hunting and Tracking probably doesn't feel good and it sounds like N N is playing in a lot of games like that.

While in a more open ended game you can get a lot of mileage out of being an effective tracker, it becomes a major out of combat role and by extension will let a Ranger start many more fights with Hunt already up.


Sporkedup wrote:
The Monster Hunter/Warden tree, especially Master Monster Hunter, make Rangers truly exceptional Nature bosses.

Uh...no. The MMH track is useful for combat. It doesn't make the Ranger a "Nature boss." It makes Nature extremely valuable. One is not the same as the other. Outside of using MMH on your "Prey" and your Prey alone, the Ranger isn't getting any extra benefit from Naure.

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There are tons of feats the improve their tracking and terrain mastery, adding in Survival skills that other classes can't touch

1. There aren't tons; 2. They are not generally useful; 3: They require feat investment that come at a huge opportunity cost vs the conveyed benefit.

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Druids and Clerics, while they often will have a higher bonus from using wisdom as their primary stat, are well outstripped by the ability of the Ranger to double down on Nature and Survival via class features (which is what we were talking about, not just base wisdom bonus to rolls, because that doesn't mean much).

As a martial, the Ranger has the same need for Acrobatics, Crafting, Athletics, some sort of Lore skill and some social skill that other classes have. More to the point, there's nothing stopping a Rogue or Fighter from taking the same skills and matching Proficiency and doing 99.9% of what a Ranger can do via those skills (MMH and Prey tracking being the exception).

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If you're just looking at level 1 features that classes intrinsically have, you're right--the Ranger only shows for tracking. Which is still more than Barbarians, Champions, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Fighters have, unless you count "spells."

What tracking? The Ranger can only Track Prey with an advantage. So if you're looking for Tracks, the Ranger gets no advantage for something s/he hasn't tracked yet. Anyone can track as well as the Ranger initially, and scenarios aren't written to rely on or leverage Prey tracking.

And here's the real issue, normative gave play doesn't use "tracking." It uses Survival checks that anyone can make. The Ranger isn't bringing anything unique to the picture. It could have, but it doesn't.

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I dunno, man. The Rangers at both of my tables, one of which is level 9 and not "early levels," enjoy their classes significantly in and out of combat.

That doesn't speak to my complaint...at all. At no point did I say people couldn't enjoy playing the class. My point is the Ranger has no intrinsic value to a party. There's no purpose for the class. At best, it simply packages Survival, Nature, Perception. But that's like Burger King offering the #1 Combo for the same price that you can buy a whopper, fries and a drink and then trying to claim the #1 is the master of the whopper, fries and a drink.

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They have a lot more to do than most of their peers (really only the Bard and the Sorcerer respectively do more, but that's mostly due to them being faces and it's often work on my part to make sure other classes have ways to shine outside of combat when there is a Ranger around and they aren't in a city

This doesn't really add up unless no one else in the party has taken Nature or Survival. And if you're "doubling down" on those two, then you're not getting to Master(or Expert) in any other skills by lvl 9.

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... It might be helped by a lack of a Rogue at either table,

Ya think?

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but that's not really a worthwhile measurement of their value.

It absolutely is a measure of their value, perhaps what you mean to say is that doesn't preclude them being enjoyable?

It's also relevant that no one is playing a Fighter or Rogue that is trying to mimic a Ranger, which is what I am contending would trivialize the Ranger's schtick. What is the Ranger better at than any other class? Nothing.

Swift Tracking? Worthless. Covering their tracks? Worthless. Hitting enemies in difficult "natural" terrain better? Okay...add that up for me in an AP and tell me how often that comes? Moving through difficult "Natural" terrain better. Okay...Ranger +.5, Fighter, Rogue (Ranger) + 5

You can build a Fighter or Rogue to cover the thing that the Ranger does because Tracking your Prey is not a cornerstone of PF normative play. You cannot build any other class to out fight a Fighter, or out skill a Rogue.

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It sounds like you haven't played much Rogue or haven't seen much of one at your table.

You mean a Ranger? I have only played Rangers in PF2 and they are my main class in PF1.

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They are effective and impressive in combat and constantly in the mix out of it in my eight months of experience GMing this game.

So is every other class played by competent players. But my point stands. There's nothing that every Ranger brings to the table that isn't easily duplicated by other classes and you can't say that about any other class. Sure, they've got a some nice feats that come at great opportunity cost, but so does everyone.


Sporkedup wrote:
I'm sorry for not double checking my response via Nethys to be sure before I posted. Probably why I shouldn't post right after I roll out of bed from a nap...

No apologies needed on my part. I appreciate the discussion and hearing your point of view/impression.

I think we're talking about different things. Or rather I'm trying to make a very specific point and I think you're pointing out that it isn't really an issue because the Rangers at your table are helping. I'm asking how much of it really has anything to do with them being a Ranger vs any other class that took Nature, Survival, and bumped Wisdom to 16?

Liberty's Edge

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N N 959 wrote:
I don't think that the majority of GMs are going to allow Rangers to find them. It's one thing to agree that if a creature travels somewhere, it leaves tracks. It's a different thing to say that creature has automatically left tracks that you can find around its current location.

Cover Tracks is a trained use of the Survival skill. Unless the creature is Trained in Survival and making an active effort to cover tracks the default assumption should be that tracks exist and can be found with the basic roll.


Squiggit wrote:
While in a more open ended game you can get a lot of mileage out of being an effective tracker, it becomes a major out of combat role and by extension will let a Ranger start many more fights with Hunt already up.

But not really. Unless by "open ended" you mean homebrew where the GM is really tailoring it for the classes involved.

Someone necro'd a PF2 review of Plaguestone in the General Discussion. I had forgotten that I specifically asked about Tracking and Covering tracks and the response was that these had essentially zero value in the AP unless the GM was inserting something, and then only for tracking.

And then someone posted this

Pickles Grr wrote:
I'd say it was better (or worse) - my players latched onto one target and successfully tracking them would have short circuited the adventure. So I was a bit heavy handed in foiling this. This is a weakness of the module and my under preparedness rather than the system of course.

So when someone would realistically have been able to track someone, the GM had to blow it up....lol.

This is a problem with the system. Really tracking something is totally disruptive to a game unless the scenario/GM wants it to happen. And then, the DC are usually so low anyone can do it.

It's too bad. But it's not like 5e didn't screw up the Ranger either.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I don't really see how the Ranger is unique in that other classes can do their schtick. The Fighter schtick is literally just fighting, which everyone does and the Ranger and Barbarian both compare nicely to fighters in combat. The Ranger has a more distinct niche than either of those two. Heck, the sorcerer is really just "spontaneous versions of 1 of 4 other classes" at that level of simplification.

Perhaps the best way to answer that is to say that so far in PF2, there's nothing I'm needed for. The Ranger isn't the best at anything and the baked in Hunt Prey isn't anything other than a combat trick. I would argue that each of other classes have something unique that isn't covered by a buff to damage or attack. Sure, we can quibble about Sorcerer vs Wizard, but the point remains.

I mean, what really is the Ranger's "schtick?" Hunt Prey with a little wilderness seasoning? The problem is that apart from the fluff of being outdoors, it isn't really of any use as the game is normally played. The some total of what is baked into the Ranger is a slight outdoor advantage. And then you have something like Nature's Edge which is totally made worthless if you take Distracting Shot or a Cat companion. The design of the class is just so *facepalm* inducing.

t I think what pains me is that the way Paizo chose to implement the theme for the class is just so pointless and useless in normative play. Yes, it's a solid martial platform, but so what? So are all the other martials.

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Rangers also have class feat options that make them better at Nature***and Snare Crafting.

But you're talking about build choices that any given Ranger won't have.

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That is before we touch on Outwit which actually does make Rangers better than anyone else at a variety of skill checks, albeit at a substantial cost to their DPR.

I don't consider the Outwit Ranger to be a Ranger in the traditional sense. It's more like an archetype. If/When I come across it in PFS, I'll try and post about it.

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Sparing a few class feats is easy for the Ranger though, who can generally have a well fleshed out combat style by level 2, and usually no later than 4.

Well, i have to emphatically disagree with that. First, the idea that the Ranger is all set by lvl 4 in terms of combat viability doesn't hold water by virtue of the fact that there are so many combat-centric feats at higher levels. Given the tight math, Paizo wouldn't put them in if the designers didn't feel that they were necessary. Incredible Companion, Deadly Aim, Distracting Shot, Penetrating Shot, Twin Riposte, etc. All of these are offering a significant improvement to the Ranger's combat and are obviously needed.

Second, the Ranger is ridiculous tight on feats because Paizo commoditized all the PF1 Ranger abilities. So if you want back Wild Empathy, Favored Enemy, Favored Terrain, Animal Companion, etc. you're having to sacrifice. You want party buffs? You're giving up a ton. Starting at lvl 8, you're having to make really really hard choices. And unlike PF1, you can't go back and buy back all the combat via general feats. Nor can you swap out low level feats for higher level stuff.

The PF2 nerf bat hit the Ranger really hard, but they called it "Customization." It is a class that needs a lot more backed into it, but Paizo was more concerned with making it fit the template designed for the non-themed classes.

Oh well.


N N 959 wrote:
I mean, what really is the Ranger's "schtick?"

High damage focus against single targets?

N N 959 wrote:
First, the idea that the Ranger is all set by lvl 4 in terms of combat viability doesn't hold water by virtue of the fact that there are so many combat-centric feats at higher levels. Given the tight math, Paizo wouldn't put them in if the designers didn't feel that they were necessary.

This makes absolutely no sense. Nearly all class feats are combat-centric in some way or another. Let's look at the feats you listed;

Incredible Companion - This one's fair to consider "mandatory". It's a needed upgrade to allow an animal companion to keep up in combat. However, it's also just as easy for a ranger to not take animal companions at all, freeing up several feats.
Deadly Aim - I can't really comment on this since I don't know the math behind this feat. It more or less functions like an oldschool power attack, so a lot of it's power depends on how good the damage bump is vs the accuracy loss.
Distracting Shot - Distracting Shot is great, and unlocks Greater Distracting Shot. It's basically a strict upgrade for a bow user, but that still doesn't make it "mandatory" to keep up with the game's math. Both your own strategy and that of the party's determines how useful this actually is in practice - if the party already has tons of ways to inflict flat-footed it loses a lot of value and it would be entirely reasonable to pick something else.
Penetrating Shot - I don't see in what world this feat is mandatory. It's a cool, but at times somewhat situational, special attack. Not mandatory for bow rangers at all.
Twin Riposte - This is a reaction, so it competes with all your other reactions. I'd say picking up at least one reaction sooner or later is basically mandatory for a martial, but I don't see why it has to be this one in particular.

N N 959 wrote:
Second, the Ranger is ridiculous tight on feats because Paizo commoditized all the PF1 Ranger abilities.

In a different game, the core toolkit of classes are going to change. Personally I'm glad the 2E ranger wasn't beholden to legacy and was allowed to be it's own thing.


Henro wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
I mean, what really is the Ranger's "schtick?"
High damage focus against single targets?

I would call that the Ranger's limitation. I don't think that a Ranger's single target damage is better than a Fighter's or a sneak attacking Rogue. Hunt Prey and all the feats that rely upon it, are really a way for Paizo to box in the Ranger's combat effectiveness, or limit its scope. In other words, Hunt Prey allows the Ranger to feel viable in very limited context. Context-limited effectiveness is a very obvious technique use by game designers and I applaud Paizo for using it in PF2. I will even concede that they've done a great job of selling it as "Hunt Prey" back when it mechanically didn't simulate hunting in any way, shape, or form i.e. Flurry.

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This makes absolutely no sense. Nearly all class feats are combat-centric in some way or another.

Uh what now?

Captain Morgan is trying to suggest that a Ranger has lots of build freedom past lvl 4 because the class is combat viable from that point on. I'm saying that you can't claim a Ranger is set by lvl 4 for combat because the proliferation of combat-centric feats means Paizo expects combat prowess to increase. You're going a step farther and saying "nearly all class feats" feed combat. From where I sit, you're agreeing with me....the class feats are focused on improving combat.

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Let's look at the feats you listed...

I just listed a a few feats...it was not meant to be exhaustive. Nor was I saying that any of them was "mandatory." What I said was that they provide a substantive improvement to combat and that Paizo put them in there expecting people to take some of them. That means taking something like Wild Empathy, or Terrain Master, or Hazard Finder, or Swift Tracker (if you're not melee), all feats that are more thematically Ranger, all have a huge opportunity cost for combat. To put it another way, they should have given more of these strictly outdoor utility feats to the class for free.

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Personally I'm glad the 2E ranger wasn't beholden to legacy and was allowed to be it's own thing.

But it's not it's own thing because the "core toolkit" is really nothing unique. There's nothing unique about the base Ranger that a scenario or AP game-play leverages as a default. Can the Ranger kill things? Can it make SKill checks? Yes. So can everyone else..and more. Does the Ranger have a little something extra outdoors? Technically yes. At level 9 Nature's Edge. How often do you get to fight creatures who are surrounded by Difficult natural terrain?

And honestly, if you are not going to base a class on legacy from your own game, then why even give it the same name? They could have called this class the Hunter.


What I don't see, N N, is what you would consider an appropriate set of abilities for the Ranger? Are you complaining because the Ranger is weak in regard of other classes or because he should have abilities that no one else can have?

Because having abilities that noone else can have is the best way to never use them as noone would ever write an adventure where at some point you either have a Ranger or go home.

As a side note, I find the link between Hunt Prey and Survival right on spot. Hunt Prey gives you a small bonus on Survival. Nothing impressive, but it should allow you to stay the official tracker on your team. And Being able to follow tracks before combat allows you to Hunt Prey and then get a bonus in the first round of combat. So, if you do your schtick, you fight better (which is in general one of the major concern of most players).


N N 959 wrote:
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This makes absolutely no sense. Nearly all class feats are combat-centric in some way or another.

Uh what now?

Captain Morgan is trying to suggest that a Ranger has lots of build freedom past lvl 4 because the class is combat viable from that point on. I'm saying that you can't claim a Ranger is set by lvl 4 for combat because the proliferation of combat-centric feats means Paizo expects combat prowess to increase. You're going a step farther and saying "nearly all class feats" feed combat. From where I set, you're agreeing with me....the class feats are focused on improving combat.

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Let's look at the feats you listed...
I just listed a a few feats...it was not meant to be exhaustive. Nor was I saying that any of them was "mandatory." What I said was that they provide a substantive improvement to combat and that Paizo put them in there expecting people to take some of them. That means takings something like Wild Empathy, or Terrain Master, or Hazard Finder, or Swift Tracker (if you're not melee), all have a huge opportunity cost for combat.

Now, that does make more sense to me. Terrain Master in particular does offer a combat boost (and a pretty substantial one, I would argue), and the free action from Swift Tracker cannot be ignored (especially for the action-hungry Ranger).

However, feats like Wild Empathy and Hazard Finder* offer very little within a fight - making taking them an opportunity cost vs taking most class feats. It appears I was looking at your argument backwards, so I'm thankful for your clarification.

This isn't exclusive to the ranger - rogue has similar trap finder feats that don't have any in-combat usage*. I do agree this is a problem; as the game progresses we might see more and more combat-useless class feats, leading back towards the trap builds of 1E. Picking one or two class feats with little or low combat use is totally doable without sacrificing too much, but at some point if you pick too many you're going to fall too far behind on the power curve. Personally, I'd have preferred if at least some of these feats had been skill feats. Wild Empathy is a great example of something I'd have liked to be a Druid/Ranger skill feat rather than a class feat. Hazard finder I'm not too sure about - personally I don't like Trap/Hazard class feats but Paizo seems to assume traps and hazards will be frequent occurrences within adventures.

So ultimately, while I agree that what you describe is an issue, I don't think it's as prolific as you make it out to be within the ranger class. Out of the four feats you listed, I can only agree that two of them are definite opportunity costs vs combat-centered class feats (Hazard finder and Wild Empathy). The other two both offer significant upside within combat (especially Terrain Master), and can thus be picked without fear of falling far behind the power curve.

*Hazard/Trap finder also does have in-combat use, since hazards/traps can appear within a fight. But that's GM-dependent and situational enough that I've willing to call it a purely out of combat feat. Wild Empathy can uncontroversially be called an out-of-combat class feat though.


SuperBidi wrote:
What I don't see, N N, is what you would consider an appropriate set of abilities for the Ranger?

I'd take anything that makes the Ranger the best at something that was actually useful in the game. The only thing that comes close to this is Master Monster Hunter and that takes a huge feat investment and doesn't pay off until lvl 10....lol.

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Are you complaining because the Ranger is weak in regard of other classes or because he should have abilities that no one else can have?

I'm pointing out that there is nothing the Ranger brings to a party by virtue of its class that is unique. At no point in any adventure have I felt like, "Wow...so glad I'm a Ranger rather than a Rogue/Fighter with the same skills." And it is frustrating because Paizo could have addressed that.

Have you ever GM'd a game and said, gee...the party could really have used a Ranger and not just someone good at Survival / Nature? Every other class I definitely say they are best at things that others can't readily duplicate (Monk might be harder to qualify).

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Because having abilities that noone else can have is the best way to never use them as noone would ever write an adventure where at some point you either have a Ranger or go home.

That's right. Which is why Tracking Prey is a broken concept for the Ranger outside of a combat gimmick. So one solution is to hard-code tracking's general utility beyond just Prey designation. There are others.

Look, making these games isn't easy. There's so much that went into PF2 that isn't even on my radar when talking about the Ranger. I get that they didn't have a lot of cycles for every class. I understand why they did a lot of the things they did, even if I don't think it makes the game better for me.

Ranger is a unique class in that its schtick (master of the outdoors) is already context-limited in a way no other class is, not even the Druid. It's clear Paizo wanted all classes to follow a strict format and it's one I don't think worked well for the Ranger unless all you really want is another combat chassiis with Survival and Nature already picked out for you.


Henro wrote:
Terrain Master in particular does offer a combat boost (and a pretty substantial one, I would argue)

I would disagree. Terrain Master requires you take 1 hour "practicing" in order to swap out your Favored Terrain. That's not 1 hour of adventuring, that's 1 hour of you doing nothing and the party doing nothing, while you acclimate. So yeah, if the GM let's you and the entire party stop for an hour as soon you enter the dungeon, or enter the cave, then you're getting FT benefits

And let's say the GM handwaves the 1 hour (or it has no impact), what are you getting? From FT, just ability to move through difficult terrain in natural settings (which Wild Stride gives you for free 3 levels later) and some increased movement once you get to lvl 11. I guess I don't see how a climb speed helps me so much in combat.

Now, if I got Terrain Master for free, I'd love it. But I can't afford to pick it up and get MMH and even half the other feats I want past lvl 6. But TM is exactly the kind of Rangerish thing all Rangers should get...but most won't.

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free action from Swift Tracker cannot be ignored (especially for the action-hungry Ranger).

yeah...not really. First, it's useless for a bow using Ranger. Second, I am finding that time and time again, the creature I am tracking is not a viable target when I start combat. Worse, getting the free action to run into combat on early Init is kind of a no-no IME because you get ganged up on. Now, if Swift tracker let me move away from my target on account of using a longbow, then it would be a much better feat. But for a bow user, the feat is pointless and as Squiggit points out, tracking at full speed is equally pointless in typical game play. Sure, at Legendary its free Tracking...great.

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Personally, I'd have preferred if at least some of these feats had been skill feats. Wild Empathy is a great example of something I'd have liked to be a Druid/Ranger skill feat rather than a class feat.

OMG, this and 1000x this. I wish I had thought of this during the Playtest. This, alone, would totally fix my major issues with the Ranger. Thank you for suggesting this. Maybe Paizo can figure out how to manage that in a splat book.


On the topic of class-exclusive skill feats; the game already supports this. Many archetypes (Scrollmaster, Animal Trainer and more) have archetype-exclusive skill feats. So this is something you can already do in the game; seeing class-exclusive skill feats in the future wouldn't surprise me in the least.

On Terrain Master, we're probably going to have to agree to disagree. The movement options can be massively clutch, and if you're adventuring in a particular location for an extended time, you only need to spend 1 hour and the benefit stays until you leave the area. Getting movement suited to a particular location when you're in that particular location is an amazing benefit in my view.

Swift Tracker being bad for bow rangers really isn't that different from something like twin takedown being bad for a bow ranger. Still, I concede that it's bad that bow rangers who want to be extra good at tracking have to take something that doesn't help them at all in combat. (this is somewhat countered by the fact that they can still take skill feats to improve their tracking instead, but regardless I agree at least a bit).


Henro wrote:
On Terrain Master, we're probably going to have to agree to disagree. The movement options can be massively clutch.

As someone who uses Longstrider religiously in PF1 and who has taken Fleet on both my Rangers in PF2, extra movement is an asset. But there are a couple of issues in this case:

1. You don't get the extra movement until lvl 11, so from 8-11 you're just getting to move through difficult terrain.

2. The three places I would like extra horizontal movement speed: Forest, Mountains, and Underground, you're getting a Climb speed. Not that helpful.

3. IME, the extra movement matters most at the beginning of combat. 10+ of horizontal movement is probably worth 1 action an encounter. Once the melee'ers are in reach of each other, I've noticed the movement generally stop and that the 30' I get from Fleet is sufficient

4. You're giving up two feats for an ability that is gutted three levels later.

5. Terrain Master is a lvl 8 choice, and that is a tough field. Blind-Fight and Deadly Aim (yes its Power Attack bow-style) are two great feats...BF is great no matter what your combat style is.. But from lvl 8+ the Ranger feats are great in terms of power boosting and I honestly can't see what I'd give up for TM (because I've tried).

TM is nice, don't get me wrong, but of the feats I can choose starting at lvl 8+, IMO, it's not justified given the cost and ultimate benefit. If I could pick it up using skill feats or general feats, I definitely would.


I'm not sure that getting too deep into the specifics of Terrain Master will be too useful - my main contention was that it's a reasonable combat option compared to something like Wild Empathy, and that picking it does not put a character irreparably behind the power curve.

As for your specific points, I agree with some of them, disagree with some - but ultimately that's alright, we don't both have to like every individual feat. What I'd personally give up for Terrain Master would probably depend on the build - a ranged build would probably get far less value from the feat as you say and has a lot of fantastic options at that level.


Henro wrote:
In a different game, the core toolkit of classes are going to change. Personally I'm glad the 2E ranger wasn't beholden to legacy and was allowed to be it's own thing.

I agree with you to an extent. I think legacy for legacy's sake is bad.

But I can also see why it would be frustrating, because if the PF1 ranger was something you enjoyed, you have to sink tons of resources into emulating what it could do, which also means you don't really get to 'add' anything to the character outside that basic concept until pretty deep in an adventure.

So if your goal is to recreate your cool PF1 ranger, PF2 in a lot of ways will feel like it's just stripped options away from you, rather than opened up the class.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Squiggit wrote:
Henro wrote:
In a different game, the core toolkit of classes are going to change. Personally I'm glad the 2E ranger wasn't beholden to legacy and was allowed to be it's own thing.

I agree with you to an extent. I think legacy for legacy's sake is bad.

But I can also see why it would be frustrating, because if the PF1 ranger was something you enjoyed, you have to sink tons of resources into emulating what it could do, which also means you don't really get to 'add' anything to the character outside that basic concept until pretty deep in an adventure.

So if your goal is to recreate your cool PF1 ranger, PF2 in a lot of ways will feel like it's just stripped options away from you, rather than opened up the class.

I do get this. My solution during the playtest was making these Ranger abilities into skill feats. Now, my preferred solution is to double the amount of class feats all characters get. Overloading on combat feats gets diminishing returns because most of them are mutually exclusive actions that can't be combined in a single turn.

I also don't think the Ranger is unique in this regard. The monk, bard, druid, and champion are all in that boat. Lots of their basic features are now optional class feats they need to buy. Building a champion with all the auras and mercies as their PF1 version leaves you with little to invest in your righteous ally or focus spells, for example. The champion does provide the best damage reduction in the game out the box, which the ranger doesn't, but it only does so at very specific ranged and is the the slowest class in the game. Meanwhile a Ranger provides superior DPR (save against good weakness critters) and can do so at the longest ranges and with the biggest variety of weapons. I've seen plenty of fights where the Ranger's ability to fire on foes at 200 feet away without penalty and pin enemies at that range is more useful than a champions reaction. And I've seen plenty of fights in close quarters where the reaction is more relevant. But at least in the Ranger can still quick draw a melee weapon or shortbow and still perform their primary schtick, which is mroe than the champion can do at long range.

And I really don't think a fighter or barbarian hits harder enough for someone to seriously feel like they would be better off with one than a Ranger.


Captain Morgan wrote:
I also don't think the Ranger is unique in this regard. The monk, bard, druid, and champion are all in that boat. Lots of their basic features are now optional class feats they need to buy.

Sure. And truth be told, I got over this during the Playtest. This is isn't PF1. It's clear, despite Paizo's early representations, that I won't be telling the same stories as I told in PF1. So be it.

My issue is that this format of commoditizing everything strips the Ranger of its Ranger-ness (which isn't a combat thing) as opposed to just its efficacy. That doesn't really happen with any of the other classes (we can quibble about Paladin and Druid). Yes, other's have lost class feats or have had the class re-imagined, but they all have a calling card that is independent of their build choices and is generally useful.

I got into this discussion because someone brought up Survey Wildlife. As Squiggit suggests, this is something that a Ranger should be able to do by default, but can't. On top of it, that ability, which is clearly aimed at Rangers, isn't even useful. The combination of those two things are what got me on this /rant.

Quote:
My solution during the playtest was making these Ranger abilities into skill feats. Now, my preferred solution is to double the amount of class feats all characters get.

Both of those would help. So would allowing us to buy Class feats with General Feats. But that's only half the problem. It still doesn't give the Ranger chassis any calling card that is generally useful. And truth be told, I don't mind the limited Class Feat access. There's a lot of good that comes from not being able to get it all. What I find harder to set aside is the lack of functional benefit from doing uniquely Ranger things, however PF2 wants to define that.

So half the issue is the juxtapostion of "Ranger"-utility feats with combat feats, and the other half is that the Ranger's non-combat schtick in PF2 doesn't really do anything in normative play, so all you really have are Survival, Nature, and Perception...which many others can get.

Quote:
And I really don't think a fighter or barbarian hits harder enough for someone to seriously feel like they would be better off with one than a Ranger.

Despite not having having hard statistics, in IME the Hunt Prey action tax on a Ranger is significant for a Flurry Ranger, perhaps less so for Precision. Comparatively, Fighters are hitting a ton and criting. With the anti-Volley feat, Fighters are getting a huge advantage in damage when Rangers are reduced to using shortbows.

I played with a Barbarian and he raged up and did a ton of damage. Way more than my Action-starved TWF-companion Ranger. Hell, the Druid did more damage in melee with its Companion.


This is pure table experience not backed up by any math, but the dualwielding flurry ranger at my table has been extremely effective. She's the main damage dealer of the group, and greatly benefits from being largely self-sufficient (good damage + defenses) compared to other party members.


Henro wrote:
This is pure table experience not backed up by any math, but the dualwielding flurry ranger at my table has been extremely effective. She's the main damage dealer of the group, and greatly benefits from being largely self-sufficient (good damage + defenses) compared to other party members.

Is there a Fighter, Barbarian, or flankmaster Rogue in the group?


Not in this group, no. The other martial is a paladin. However, in previous games I've had fighters, rogues, monks and even a swashbuckler so I think I have a decent frame of reference.


FWIW, I've found Flurry and Precision rangers to do pretty competitive damage, with the caveat that they suffer more than most other martials as the number of targets increase.

I had one player complain about how Hunt felt like a penalty, because when they were fighting huge groups of weak enemies sometimes he'd have to Hunt almost every round while the Fighter could just Swipe for lots of damage, but when it came time to fight Bosses he didn't feel like he had much of an edge (no pun intended) over the Fighter even though pumping damage into one single, hardy target seemed like it should be his specialty.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The DPR calculations I recall seeing on these boards had the ranger doing quite well. Even on a turn they Hunt, they should still be able to fire 3 times at a net of the same accuracy a fighter gets. A fighter with point blank shot can exceed them, but only within 30 feet which is a dangerous range for an archer. Especially a fighter whose attack bonus is lower outside of their primary weapon group.

Meanwhile, the Ranger performs much better at long ranges. To avoid penalties, the fighter needs to stay within 60 feet with a shortbow and between 35 and 100 feet with a longbow. Hunt Prey means the Ranger's shortbow has a better first range increment than the fighter's longbow and a tremendous effective range on the longbow.

If you're only fighting creatures inside small rooms, I can see the fighter doing better and things like Double Shot can let them do better at splitting their focus. But Rangers functioning better outdoors seems within expectations. And even in close quarters, the Ranger has a much easier time pivoting to melee between Quick Draw, even proficiency across the board, and critical specializations on all weapons.

Edit: Really, what I think it comes down to for me is Rangers are the undisputed ambush masters of this game. If you're never getting an opportunity to plan an attack, you're not getting to enjoy the best the class has to offer.

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