Help with a Halfling Ranger


Advice


Hi all,

I'm new to Pathfinder 2e, but not to pen-and-paper RPGs. We're starting out at first level and I'm trying to build a Halfling Ranger specializing in the Staff-Sling. The other two characters in the party are a Gnome Druid and a Goblin Monk (we're short).

What advice would you give? Right now I've got 18 Dex, 10 Strength, and mostly use a staff-sling with precision strike, which takes an action to load, but does 1d10+1d8 against my hunter's target.

I'm stuck a bit on the Ranger Feat as none of them seem to work with a Staff Sling, except maybe Animal Companion. Am I aloud to ride a bear companion? If I'm riding my animal companion and use an action to give it two actions, can it move twice, then I use one action to reload the staff-sling and another to shoot? If I ride a pony instead, does it help when shooting a staff-sling, or only with melee weapons? Is there a better option than animal companion I'm not seeing, assuming the staff-sling?

I have LOTS of other questions, like what can I expect to maybe do at later levels? Will I ever be able to reduce the load time of the staff-sling? Does having it count as a "simple" weapon help gain expertise or mastery later?

How would you build it, assuming a halfling ranger with a staff-sling? Would a halfling rogue or fighter with a staff-sling work better?

Thanks in advance!


My advice would be to revise your ability scores.

You're going to want more strength, for bonus damage, and you have little use for mental stats except wisdom (for saves and perception, which functions as initiative except when using stealth).


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You will want Running Reload at lvl 4, so you can move and reload with only one action, other feats that works with the Slings are Perfect Shot, Hunters Aim, Deadly Shot and Penetration Shot.

I personally like Quick Draw, the Archer Ranger in my Age of Ashes campaign is making good use of it when they have to drop the bow to stab someone with a shortsword.


I honestly wouldn't worry too much about the strength, though there's likely room for it with the 4-stat advancement:
Dexterity > Wisdom > Constitution > Strength > Intelligence/Charisma.

This would lead me to a starting strength of 12 (from the 4 free boosts at level 1) and then sinking stat boosts into it each time. From the sounds of things, though (you're a halfling, so -2 to strength puts that at 10...), that might be what you're thinking? You *could* also manage reasonably well with a slightly lower Con score, though if that's at 12, I'd definitely prioritize Dexterity and Wisdom over any additional Strength at level 1.

I'm assuming you're going the precision damage Ranger route? In that case, there's even less need for Strength.


Also, for anything with a reload (such as the staff-sling), I honestly do like Ranger over Rogue. The advantage of Rogue is you can sneak attack multiple times in a round, but with a reload weapon, you're unlikely to attack multiple times anyways. Turns out 3d8 averages to 13.5 vs 4d6's average 14, so basically the same. Ranger comes with a lot of other really good perks for combat, such as being able to identify and give advantages against enemies (I'd definitely go this route, as you can pump Nature and do all the identification for the party).


With such a small group, I'd pick up MCD Cleric, which as well as access to some more spells it'll widen the skills for your party.
The sling operates well with just Running Reload 4 & Penetrating Shot 10, which leaves lots of room for spellcasting. The spellcasting feats are average in the beginning, but ramp up to very useful at high levels, so maybe don't bother if a short campaign.

10 Str, 18 Dex, 14 Con, 10 Int, 16 Wis, 10 Cha
Typical round:
Hunt Prey, Strike, Running Reload
Strike, Running Reload, Strike
Mix in Hunt Prey (as needed) & Shield spell (when at risk)

If going pure combat
14 Str, 18 Dex, 12 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 10 Cha
You'll be much better in melee (though not a star), and a tiny bit better at ranged, which I don't see as worth it, but it's your call.

Rogue works better because of Dex to damage and skill dominance, which will be quite useful in a smaller party. But that means ditch the staff-sling and go flank w/ the Monk.
8 Str, 18 Dex, 14 Con, 10 in, 16 Wis, 10 Cha (w/ another +2 to place)
That still works well w/ MCD Cleric.
And maybe you could get Cha & some face skills.

Fighter is best for PCs focusing on one weapon (or class of weapon) if you want to go all out with the staff-sling. The problem is the reload action will interfere with many of the best Fighter feats. Ranger's synergy works better because of Running Reload. Also, your small group needs the broad skills of the Ranger to cover all bases.


Honestly if I was going to MC, I'd probably look to either Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard to get access to True Strike. With a single powerful attack, it's a good go-to to boost your damage.


Thanks everyone!

As to stats, yes, as a halfling I started at a -2, and brought it up to 10. It seems like its a LOT of work to bring it up to 14 just for a +1 to damage with the staff-sling. My 1st level stats are 10, 18, 14, 10, 16, 10

Yes, I'm precision damage focused. That helps an animal companion, too, right?

Running Reload sounds like a must have. Will do at level 4.

One of the other characters is a druid, so I might leave spell-casting to them. But I do have a starting 16 Wis, so it could work.

Let me focus my question. Which ranger feat would you take at 1st level? Crossbow Ace, Hunted Shot, and Twin Takedown don't work with a staff sling, so it's down to Monster Hunter and Animal Companion.

Monster Hunter seems underwhelming, as you have to have the right skill, and then you have to have a critical success, and then you and allies get a +1 to hit on only the very next attack. So it _sometimes_ gives a +1 to hit once per battle.

That leads me to Animal Companion. What animal companion would you think about? I'm small, so I could ride a pony right away, but pretty soon I could ride a bear or wolf, too. I could even soon ride the bird! What do you think?


I suggest you twin take down.

It is Normal to swap weapon if enemies come close to you, and as a ranger would be nice to be at least slightly versatile.

You could go with animal companion by lvl 2 ofc, but try not to always rely on a ranged weapon, because sometimes you will eventually have to switch to melee.


Yes, you can ride a bear, but then you can't use running reload.

The other thing you might want to take is snares. Those can be pretty good.

Shadow Lodge

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tivadar27 wrote:
Honestly if I was going to MC, I'd probably look to either Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard to get access to True Strike. With a single powerful attack, it's a good go-to to boost your damage.

A 14 wisdom is a lot easier to fit into a Ranger build than a 14 Charisma or Intelligence.

K1 wrote:

I suggest you twin take down.

It is Normal to swap weapon if enemies come close to you, and as a ranger would be nice to be at least slightly versatile.

You could go with animal companion by lvl 2 ofc, but try not to always rely on a ranged weapon, because sometimes you will eventually have to switch to melee.

Twin Takedown doesn't seem very good for switch-hitting like this, since it's an action to draw each weapon.


Taja the Barbarian wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Honestly if I was going to MC, I'd probably look to either Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard to get access to True Strike. With a single powerful attack, it's a good go-to to boost your damage.

A 14 wisdom is a lot easier to fit into a Ranger build than a 14 Charisma or Intelligence.

K1 wrote:

I suggest you twin take down.

It is Normal to swap weapon if enemies come close to you, and as a ranger would be nice to be at least slightly versatile.

You could go with animal companion by lvl 2 ofc, but try not to always rely on a ranged weapon, because sometimes you will eventually have to switch to melee.

Twin Takedown doesn't seem very good for switch-hitting like this, since it's an action to draw each weapon.

Not necessarily.

He could be using a buckler and simply draw a weapon.

If he want not to use a buckler, it would simply be 1 more action to draw a weapon. Maybe one with the parry trait.

The whole point of this would be to deliver a strong hit with the highest attack possible, instead of 2 attacks.


Styrix wrote:


Monster Hunter seems underwhelming, as you have to have the right skill, and then you have to have a critical success, and then you and allies get a +1 to hit on only the very next attack. So it _sometimes_ gives a +1 to hit once per battle.

Actually the Monster Hunter gets ridiculously good at level 10 when you get Master Monster Hunter. It allows you to use nature for any monster, and gives you the bonuses on a success or critical success... I thought the same thing as you re: Monster Hunter at first until I saw that...


First, a single caster can't handle all the spellcasting during emergencies (which with an MCD's limited slots, yours would be for).
Somebody has to be able to heal the Druid when he goes down.

Second, there will likely be Divine magic items your party will want to use which aren't Primal too.

Third, an animal companion will put a strain on the Heal spells. ACs are kinda vulnerable and IMO overrated. Not that they aren't a nice pool of emergency h.p., but I've seen them fall too fast to value the investment of feats.

Fourth, the Master Monster Hunter feat Tivadar mentions would do well to cover lots of skills if y'all are playing into high level where you really want to ID those bizarre enemies.

(Oh, and I agree the 14 Str is a strain for little gain unless combat's all your PC does, which in a small or even normal group, it shouldn't be.)


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Styrix wrote:
What do you think?

Take Field Medic as your background. With a group that small you're all going to need to contribute to healing. With Battle Medicine you can get two Treat Wounds out of the skill. The regular use of Treat Wounds can be used during a 10 minute rest (or for a full hour for double heal) and heals from 2d8 to 4d8 depending on success or crit success at low level and the target can't be healed with treat wounds for 1 hour. Battle Medicine does the same healing for the same DC check but it can be done in 1 action, but the target is immune to YOUR Battle Medicine for 1 day.

This is a lot of healing for one skill and one feat. If you add Assurance to it at level 3 and Medicine Expertise you can choose not to roll and get auto-success, which is sometimes important because a crit fail does 1d8 damage to your patient.

So in combat you can slap a fake lay on hands to a friend for 1 action and out of battle you can heal them again. That's 4-64 points of healing total. Half of that can be done again after an hour.


How likely are critical successes with Recall Knowledge? It doesn't seem very helpful until 10th level, and even then, I'm not so sure. Isn't it a one-time +1 bonus to a couple things? Is a sometimes +1 really that valuable at that level?

I'm hearing the need for more healing. I don't know the system very well. Is healing, especially self healing, something the Monk will be able to do? Are druids any good at healing, especially healing animal companions? What would be better for healing, MC Cleric, or Field Medic? I'm not sure I want to dedicate too many feats just to healing, but I think it could work within the theme of the character.

Another thought about animal companions. If the druid and ranger both have animal companions, are there any spells or abilities that would affect them both? We're also thinking about animal companions because we have a small party, only 3 PCs.


I took a stab at making a character for you, but I'm not really sold on it.

A lot of the ranged attack feats don't really mesh well with a reload 1 weapon (or do little to directly increase combat output, but more help ameliorate bad combat circumstances such as distance/cover/concealment).

Quote:

Halfling Ranger

Male halfling ranger 20
Common, N, Small, Halfling, Humanoid
Perception +33 (+35 when using the Seek action to sense unseen creatures within 30ft., +37 to Seek your target.); low-light vision
Languages Common, Halfling
Skills Acrobatics +28, Athletics +26, Diplomacy +22, Forest Lore +23, Intimidation +22, Medicine +33, Nature +33, Stealth +34, Survival +27 (+29 to Track your target.)
Str 18 (+4), Dex 22 (+6), Con 20 (+5), Int 12 (+1), Wis 20 (+5), Cha 10 (+0)
Other Items leather armor, unarmored defense, +2 greater striking halfling sling staff, [i]bag of holding I[/i], purse (109,918 gp)
--------------------
AC 41; Fort +31 (When you succeed at a saving throw, treat the outcome as a critical success.); Ref +34; Will +29
HP 306 Hero Points 1
--------------------
Speed 30 feet
Ranged [1] +2 greater striking halfling sling staff +34 (halfling, propulsive, range increment 80 feet, reload 1), Damage 3d10+8 bludgeoning+2d8 S
Feats Adopted Ancestry, Animal Companion, Battle Medicine, Ceaseless Shadows, Continual Recovery, Cultural Adaptability, Deadly Aim, Expeditious Search, Feather Step, Fleet, Foil Senses, Forager, Guiding Luck, Halfling Luck, Hunted Shot, Hunter's Aim, Incredible Companion, Legendary Medic, Legendary Sneak, Masterful Companion, Mature Animal Companion, Natural Ambition, Perfect Shot, Quiet Allies, Robust Recovery, Running Reload, Side By Side, Specialized Companion, Swift Sneak, Targeting Shot, Titan Slinger, Train Animal, Untrained Improvisation, Ward Medic
Other Abilities evasion, hunt prey, improved evasion, juggernaut, keen eyes, masterful hunter, nature's edge, precision (+3d8), second skin, swift prey, trackless step, wild stride

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at https://www.wolflair.com
Pathfinder and associated marks and logos are trademarks of Paizo Inc., and are used under license.

If you don't want to be stealthy you could switch that to Survival. Nature and Medicine overlap a little bit in the sense that you could take natural medicine. If someone else plans to go to legendary with Medicine you could also switch medicine to survival.

Since ranged attach class feats just don't feel that attractive to me, I went with the Animal Companion feats in a lot of cases, to help fill out your DPR.

It works together well since running reload lets you reload as part of a move, you can move, strike, and command your companion each turn.


Don't take Monster Hunter for the bonuses, they're irregular and small.
Take it to save an action when IDing monsters, and then take Master Monster Hunter so one skill (hopefully at Master using one of your best stats) can do the IDing.
Of course, if the GM is feeding you all the info you need or you're mainly fighting humanoids in the city, avoid these feats. But if going regularly against outsiders, advanced undead, & aberrations, you'll really want to ID them. And I doubt the Druid or Monk have the actions to do so.


Styrix wrote:
How likely are critical successes with Recall Knowledge? It doesn't seem very helpful until 10th level, and even then, I'm not so sure. Isn't it a one-time +1 bonus to a couple things? Is a sometimes +1 really that valuable at that level?

I'd agree it's pretty strictly bad until 10th level, but I think at 10th level it shoots up in usefulness. So maybe it's something you retrain into once you get there?

At 10th level, though, with 3 feats (a lot..., including monster warden), you're giving everyone in the party a +1 on their next attack and a +1 on their next save against the monster, and a +1 to their AC on that monster's next attack. This is all essentially for free, as you'll be spending the action to hunt anyways. That's actually *really* good. Beyond this, at level 16, that bumps up to a +2 to all of those.

Grand Lodge

I like the idea of MCing into cleric to help out with some basic spells. As others have said, you don’t need many feats to be useful. Taking MC spellcaster feats would be a good way to fill those gaps, and TBH divine spells are pretty good. You could even worship Gorum, Iomadae, or Erastil to get True Strike as a divine spell.

You don’t need strength tbh. Propulsive is a trap trait and you will barely notice the damage difference. It’s only 1 point of damage tops with 14-16 Str, 2 points of damage with 18 Str, and 3 points of damage per hit with 22 Str, which can only be obtained by level 20 if you start at 18 Str at 1st level. Nah, you have better abilities to invest in. Of course if you fine yourself in melee the few points of damage a decent Str score will give you is okay but not necessary when you factor in striking and property runes, and weapon specialization.

You really only need penetrating shot and running reload, so don’t worry too much about feats. Take what you want. I personally like wardens boon, because granting the fighter bonus precision damage is always appreciated.


Styrix wrote:
How likely are critical successes with Recall Knowledge? It doesn't seem very helpful until 10th level, and even then, I'm not so sure. Isn't it a one-time +1 bonus to a couple things? Is a sometimes +1 really that valuable at that level?

Not likely to roll a crit.

At level 10, it becomes pretty decent. Combine all 4 feats and it's very good.

Quote:
I'm hearing the need for more healing. I don't know the system very well. Is healing, especially self healing, something the Monk will be able to do? Are druids any good at healing, especially healing animal companions? What would be better for healing, MC Cleric, or Field Medic? I'm not sure I want to dedicate too many feats just to healing, but I think it could work within the theme of the character.

You really want at least 1 person to take medicine, as that will be your primary way of healing without burning all the druid spells.

And since the Druid can already do some healing, probably better to spread it out between you and the monk. Thus if the druid drops, one of you can get them back up.

There is also the Natural Medicine feat.

Quote:
Another thought about animal companions. If the druid and ranger both have animal companions, are there any spells or abilities that would affect them both? We're also thinking about animal companions because we have a small party, only 3 PCs.

Magic Fang is nice at low levels. There are a few other buffs as well, but are probably best put on the monk.

Debuffs like fear and goblin pox help everyone.
And Monster Hunter works for them (though i'd still wait till later).


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Thanks!

I’ll grab Combat Medic from background, and wait for Hunter until 10th for retraining. I’ll take Animal Companion at first for more DPS and especially mobility, and fun utility. By 6th level I could be riding a bear or a giant (medium) eagle! Combat Medic will help me heal it, too. I might take MC Cleric, depending on how the campaign goes.

Thanks again!

Grand Lodge

You can’t fly (or burrow, swim, or climb for that matter) on a mount unless it actually has the mount trait. Which currently is only the horse/pony.

If you want a companion but don’t want to invest more than one feat for it I’d suggest getting a horse because they’re really good for utility out of combat as a pack animal, more accepted within urban settings, and the support feature is really, really good.


Actually, you can ride any animal companion, as long as it is at least 1 size category bigger than you. This is an advantage for small rangers, as all the animal companions can be medium by 6th level. What you cannot do is get the support action while it is mounted, but that's no big deal. It can still move twice, or move and strike. That said, I cannot fly riding it, as I just found out (see below), so I'll stick to a bear.

Either way, mounting, even a bear, lets me use 1 of my actions to have it use two move actions, so I can have it move, fire, reload, and then have it move again. Or any combination of it moving (with me on it) striking, and me doing two other things. Kiting-fighting!

From the SRD:
"You or an ally can ride your animal companion as long as it is at least one size larger than the rider. If it is carrying a rider, the animal companion can use only its land Speed, and it can’t move and Support you on the same turn."
https://pf2.d20pfsrd.com/rules/animal-companions/

Grand Lodge

... That's what I said. Your mount can't Fly, Burrow, Swim, or Climb while being ridden unless it also has the mount trait.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Styrix wrote:

How would you build it, assuming a halfling ranger with a staff-sling? Would a halfling rogue or fighter with a staff-sling work better?

Thanks in advance!

Personally, I'd go with (not counting skills):

Halfling (wildwood) [bounty hunter, detective, or street urchin]* ranger
12 Str, 18 Dex, 12 Con, 12 Int, 14 Wis, 10 Cha
1st- Halfling Weapon Familiarity, Hunter's Edge (Precision), Twin Takedown (use two filcher's forks as your melee weapons; Agile and Finesse)
2nd- Quick Draw**
3rd- Ancestral Paragon (Titan Slinger)
4th- Running Reload
5th- +2 Str, +1 Dex, +2 Int, and either +2 Wis or +2 Con; either Halfling Weapon Expertise (if you want to gain the critical specialization effects of the staff sling and filcher's fork vs. all opponents and not just your hunted prey) or Cultural Adaptability (Human; either General Training [Fleet] or Natural Ambition [Animal Companion]; also lets you take Multitalented at 9th level)
6th- either Cleric Dedication or Wizard Dedication (depending on if the party needs Divine spells or Arcane spells more); if you or one of the other characters has Magical Crafting, start using spellstrike ammunition with your staff sling
7th- Improved Initiative
8th- either Basic Cleric Spellcasting or Basic Wizard Spellcasting
9th- at this point, you have a few different routes, depending on earlier choices; if you went with Cultural Adaptability, then you can gain the other dedication (wizard or cleric) with Multitalented and take basic spellcasting at 10th; if you went with Halfling Weapon Expertise, then Unfettered Halfling or Irrepressible can be options, as well as Cultural Adaptability with Multitalented at 13th level, and picking up Divine Breadth or Arcane Breadth at 10th

*- depending on if you need to act as a tracker, gather information, or deal with locks/traps
**- if a foe gets in your face, you can drop your sling staff (free action), draw/strike with one filcher's fork (single action), draw/strike with the other filcher's fork (single action), and still have an action available (Hunt Prey would make sense, to unleash Twin Takedown next round); filcher's forks can also benefit from the returning rune

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