On the Hunt: FedoraFerret's Guide to the Ranger


Advice


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You are the hunter. They are the prey.

As always, feedback is welcome. Just like last month, I have next month's guide up and ready to go on Patreon, and if you want more than just guides you can follow the blog for weekly feats, homebrew rules, and more.


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Thank you. I always found these kind of guides enjoyable reads and am glad that you are filling a void.

Sovereign Court

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I'm reading this right now and I like your writing style.

I have one quibble about the layout though; you could use a bit more hierarchy in your headings. For example in your evaluation of races, the name of the race is styled in the same size as it's heritages and feats, which makes it a bit hard to scan where one race ends and the next one ends.


Few notes.
Snare crafting feat is required to get any of the ranger snare feats. From my reading of the rules snare specialist let's you make x amount of snares during daily prep for free with 3 actions each, then deploy them later. All of the other snare feats just make regular snare crafting more action efficient, but still costs resources. So there's a big difference in just using snare specialist to get some free snares against going all in with the other feats to quickly craft, using resources, snares in combat.

Disrupt prey doesn't trigger against ranges attacks, so it's a little less useful then AoO.
I think camoflage, and thus ancestries that give stealth bonus, is better then meh. For one action anytime your in natural terrain , aka outside a town\ruins, you become hidden. The enemy might not want to waste actions seeking for you if other targets are available, even if they do, a few bad rolls and you've saved yourself from some damage. If you can hide then get out of seek range it's even better.
Also for bow users, having natural weapons means you don't ever need to pull out another weapon when someone rushes into your face.


OrochiFuror wrote:
From my reading of the rules snare specialist let's you make x amount of snares during daily prep for free with 3 actions each, then deploy them later. All of the other snare feats just make regular snare crafting more action efficient, but still costs resources. So there's a big difference in just using snare specialist to get some free snares against going all in with the other feats to quickly craft, using resources, snares in combat.

This is wrong. Snare Specialist allows you to 'prepare' snares. Prepared snares take three actions to Craft and don't cost you money, but you're still Crafting them when you deploy them (because snares can't be moved after you craft them).

Lightning Snares works fine with Snare Specialist, because all Lightning Snare does is speed up crafting speed. There's no reason you couldn't use Lightning to Craft a prepared snare, though you could definitely also use it to deploy an unprepared snare and pay the gold.


My issue is it makes it sound like your suffering through the rest of the snare line to get quick snares to make it all useful. But I have the same issue with snares as I do talismans, cost efficiency is a big deal to me and I have a hard time justifying consumables. Thus snare specialist alone is very appealing to me, and unless I can find a way to ensure I get good use out of them, I'm not sure I can fit more snare feats into my build. The idea of being able to do area denial with putting out multiple snares sounds great, but for the number of feats you can put into it it's still very situational and can end up expensive.


I agree with most of your points, but I have to point out that you overlooked the Main-gauche for TWF. It's better than the Clan Dagger, as it's common and has Agile, disarm, finesse, and parry, along with versatile S. The versatile B of the Clan Dagger is probably better, but the Main-gauche wins overall.

Quick Snares is a 100% dead feat. It lets you craft snares in combat for their full price, at the same speed that you can craft your daily prepared snares, that you got for free. It's extremely unlikely that you are going to be able to use more snares per day than you prepared, given they take 3 actions to deploy. The only reason to ever take Quick Snares is because in the errata, it was decided that snares weren't weak enough, and it was added as a prerequisite for Lightning Snares.


Aratorin wrote:

I agree with most of your points, but I have to point out that you overlooked the Main-gauche for TWF. It's better than the Clan Dagger, as it's common and has Agile, disarm, finesse, and parry, along with versatile S. The versatile B of the Clan Dagger is probably better, but the Main-gauche wins overall.

Quick Snares is a 100% dead feat. It lets you craft snares in combat for their full price, at the same speed that you can craft your daily prepared snares, that you got for free. It's extremely unlikely that you are going to be able to use more snares per day than you prepared, given they take 3 actions to deploy. The only reason to ever take Quick Snares is because in the errata, it was decided that snares weren't weak enough, and it was added as a prerequisite for Lightning Snares.

Main-Gauche is certainly better for a finesse build, but if you're going strength based I wouldn't say it is better. And dwarves get the dagger for free and feats that give you new options with it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

You mention a companion guide in part two, where is that? Still on it's way? Really appreciate the guide, it's been really useful for plotting out my character.


Precision DPR and Flurry DPR are on par. So if Flurry is 4 stars, Precision should be 4 stars. Precision is often overlooked, but it's far from being bad.


I've generally heard that Precision is better than Flurry for rangers with animal companions. Is that the case?


Flurry is better if you expect to attack a lot. Precision is better if you don't expect to attack a lot.
If you have an animal companion, you lose one action per turn to use it, so Flurry gets behind Precision in general (I say in general because other considerations may change this fact, like if your casters love to Haste you).

Basically, if you do 2 attacks, Precision is better. If you do 3 attacks, they are roughly equivalent. If you do more than 3 attacks, Flurry is better.
You also have to consider your damage per hit. If you have maxed damage per hit (high strength, top of the notch equipment) Flurry gets a bit better. If you are not maxed in damage (low strength, difficulty to have all the nice runes), then Precision gets better.


Salamileg wrote:
I've generally heard that Precision is better than Flurry for rangers with animal companions. Is that the case?

I disagree. The two best animal companions IMO are the Bear and the Bird, because of their support abilities. The more you hit, the more their support abilities proc. Barring Masterful Hunter at 17+, precision can only deal it's damage once per target per round, but support abilities deal the extra damage all the time. Plus, over time, increased accuracy is almost always better than increased damage, since you have to hit first for damage to matter at all.

My Archer Ranger with Bear rarely misses and does tons of damage.


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The Bird can only proc once. So you're just speaking of one animal companion out of the whole list. And as I said, many people are considering Flurry to be better than Precision, but DPR calculation shows they are equivalent. Increased accuracy is not better than increased damage, they're just different.

As a side note, if you have increased damage, it's better for Flurry than for Precision Rangers. So, for your build, Precision and Flurry should be very close. The question is: Do you manage to always attack 3 times per round. If yes, then Flurry should net you a small advantage. Otherwise, Precision is better.


Copied and pasted from the 2nd Edition Guide to the Guides thread (posted when I didn't know this thread existed):

Part 1

Chassis: "Hunt Prey (****) The primary engine of your class, you pick an enemy, hunt them, and all your stuff now works on that person. It’s a bit annoying to burn an action per enemy every combat just turning on but it’s not much worse than fighter or monk stance and." -- seems like something is missing at the end.

Goblin introduction: "Darkvision (****) Protection from stubbing your toe when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night." -- win.

Part 2

"Firebrand Braggart (LOCG) ()" -- the rating is blank.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Comments: I disagree a little about the stat recommendations. Specifically, for a TWF build, it's very reasonable to go 18 STR and as low as 12 DEX. A starting character can afford Chain Mail, or maybe even Breastplate if they don't buy too much else, so a 12 DEX can max out AC for a medium armor class. Hatchets, Light Hammers, and Light Picks are agile but not finesse, and you'll be using Strength for damage in either case. So for a Str-Based TWF Ranger, I'd probably put Wis and maybe Con above Dex.

Also, I'd probably bump Orc Weapon Familiarity up to two stars. It gives access to the Orc Necksplitter, and makes it a Martial weapon for you. The Necksplitter is basically a Battleaxe with the Forceful trait tacked on, and being a TWF Ranger there will be turns where you attack with your primary weapon multiple times a turn. It also gives access to the Orc Punching Dagger, which is a fine choice but isn't really better than your other Agile weapon options, unless you value the Disarm trait more than I do.


Re: the Snare discussion, my understanding, at least, regarding snares is that anything that applies to your snares also applies to your free daily snares. As far as Quick Snares, I rate it two stars because for someone who wants to make deploying combat snares a core part of their build and who is willing to spend the gold, they are going to run out of their prepared snares every day so having the option to spend gold for more is better. I do wish that the cost reduction for snare crafting was a bit more forgiving, but hey, what're ya gonna do, am I right?

Re: Main-gauche, I'll freely admit I slept on this one until the ranger in my Age of Ashes game picked it up, and you're right Artorin, unless you're a dwarf it's the superior off-hand weapon. Expect a mention in the next patch.

Re: flurry vs. precision, I hadn't done the DPR calculations on it myself, although it does check out, and I will also agree that precision is better for most companions because you effectively get to proc it twice per turn. Going on the "reevaluate for the patch" list.

UnArcane Election: Ope, thanks friend.

First World Bard: I gave very little consideration to STR-based TWF but I like where you're coming from. My intention was a more general recommendation and generally a ranger wants Dex more than Str, but I'll make a note of your thoughts later on.

Winkie_Phace: Next week's post will be the Companion mini-guide, it'll be posted in this forum and linked in this guide on release.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
First World Bard wrote:
Comments: I disagree a little about the stat recommendations. Specifically, for a TWF build, it's very reasonable to go 18 STR and as low as 12 DEX. A starting character can afford Chain Mail, or maybe even Breastplate if they don't buy too much else, so a 12 DEX can max out AC for a medium armor class. Hatchets, Light Hammers, and Light Picks are agile but not finesse, and you'll be using Strength for damage in either case. So for a Str-Based TWF Ranger, I'd probably put Wis and maybe Con above Dex.

I agree. Going DEX for melee means you're going to do significantly less damage per strike. Even with a 14STR/18DEX start, you'll hit 2 less per strike which is pretty significant if you're assuming a 1d6 die weapon. It becomes less so in later levels, but still you'll be a wet noodle for the first half of the game.

And as First World Bard pointed out, you only need a 12 DEX to get max AC as Ranger. So the opportunity cost for going a DEX build seems pretty high since you'll have to invest far more ability score points into STR than you would have to invest in DEX.

DEX is totally viable if that fits your concept, but seems clearly weaker unless you really value DEX based Skills and a higher Reflex save.


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Personally I do really value Dex based skills and a higher Reflex save, but for a two-weapon fighting ranger that extra static damage will add up and it's worth counting.

As promised, the animal companions mini-guide.


I would have thought for ranger the highest damage you could get reliably after 6th level would be by being a small duel wielding Flurry ranger riding a bear or a velocraptor (40ft and 50ft speed) even if you don't command your companion you can get a free 40_50ft move toward the enemy or a free attack from your companion.

or if you do command them you an can get two attacks for an action, move 40_ 50 ft and attack for an action, cover 80 to 100ft for an action. move 40ft and do an additional 1d8 - 2d8 damage per swing of your duel weapons on all of your subsequent attacks that round (likely 2 or 3 attacks) for an action. And from level twelve you can do all of this with a reliable +2 to hit. At 18th level your have a lot easier time pulling off the six attack Flurry and you will be making all the attacks without penalty because of flank.


The bird seems almost as good for precision rangers as the bear is for flurry rangers.

Since the pets share hunter's edge, you want something that can get a hit in. High speed flight plus a move-attack-move style option means that it can get in, get that one big hit in, and get out.

Even if you are going as a melee ranger, having the option to use a bow and a bird to get two big hits in seems like a safe back up plan. It is one of the better options to get into a flank if you are darting around the battlefield with skirmish strike.


Siegfried: I am a big fan of the mounted bear build, but the highest damage that I've seen out of a ranger wasn't small, it was a human ranger riding a horse and dual-wielding lances. His plan was to eventually specialize in hit and run where he would take the feat to spend 2 actions giving his horse 3, first action support, second action move, flurry in the middle of his horse's move, third action move away again to set up the jousting again for the next round.

Lemeres: I think for most companions I would suggest precision, the bear being the big exception since its special ability wants it to hit twice and it needs all the help it can get there. Even then, though, stacking precision on your attack with the bear's support benefit is hella tempting.

Sovereign Court

It's interesting that you gave Ancient Elf 3 stars and Otherworldly Magic 4 stars. By choosing the Wizard Dedication, my Ancient Elf didn't just get Shield, she also go 3 other cantrips a well, and can choose 2 of them to prepare each day, and also got Trained Arcana to boot! Unless there is some other dedication you want to take, I think that is the better way to get the Shield cantrip.


Samurai wrote:
It's interesting that you gave Ancient Elf 3 stars and Otherworldly Magic 4 stars. By choosing the Wizard Dedication, my Ancient Elf didn't just get Shield, she also go 3 other cantrips a well, and can choose 2 of them to prepare each day, and also got Trained Arcana to boot! Unless there is some other dedication you want to take, I think that is the better way to get the Shield cantrip.

Ancient Elf also locks you into the dedication, and intelligence is generally a dump stat for rangers. Ancient Elf doesn't let you circumvent the 14 Int requirement. Sorcerer dedication might be more worthwhile, but only if you're an Outwit ranger.


Some small notes:

--) You might state straight up that despite being so lackluster, Hunter's Aim is worth retraining to at high levels, because of the excellent feat for which it's a prerequisite.

--) I'd grade Relentless Stalker, which isn't hard to access in organized play and (apart from Hunter's Aim as a means of qualifying for Targeting Shot) may be the only 2nd level ranger feat that's worth taking instead of an archetype's dedication feat.

--) Deadly Aim is a one-star trap option. Run the numbers: you'll find it's a net loss in pretty much every realistic case (unless you're a high-level ranger inexplicably using a bow without striking runes), and indeed worse for precision rangers rather than better (since the damage bonus makes up a smaller proportion of their damage overall, the accuracy penalty hurts more). While statistically bad accuracy-for-damage trades can occasionally be useful in "go big or go home" cases where damaging but not killing a target isn't any better than missing it, even this doesn't apply because Deadly Aim is also cutting into your crit chances.

--) Second Sting should be at least 3 stars. Again, run the numbers: despite their reduced MAP, even flurry rangers will generally have at least a 50% chance to fail on their third and subsequent attacks, and close to that on their second. Especially if they can get circumstance bonuses to damage (e.g. from a sawtooth saber) this is significant addition. Look at it this way: if you need a 12 or better to hit, the Second Sting adds exactly as much expected damage as a feat that just doubled your static damage bonuses. (Counting crits, each attack has a .5 chance to fail and delivers .5 expected hits.) And anyone would jump at the chance to take a feat that doubled their static damage bonuses! To be fair, the feat's usefulness does drop off somewhat at extremely high levels because you can't combine it with Impossible Flurry, but this hardly obsoletes it since Impossible Flurry (while enabling more or less the highest DPR in the game) is by no means usable every round.


siegfriedliner wrote:

I would have thought for ranger the highest damage you could get reliably after 6th level would be by being a small duel wielding Flurry ranger riding a bear or a velocraptor (40ft and 50ft speed) even if you don't command your companion you can get a free 40_50ft move toward the enemy or a free attack from your companion.

or if you do command them you an can get two attacks for an action, move 40_ 50 ft and attack for an action, cover 80 to 100ft for an action. move 40ft and do an additional 1d8 - 2d8 damage per swing of your duel weapons on all of your subsequent attacks that round (likely 2 or 3 attacks) for an action. And from level twelve you can do all of this with a reliable +2 to hit. At 18th level your have a lot easier time pulling off the six attack Flurry and you will be making all the attacks without penalty because of flank.

The Bear can't use his support ability if you are riding it. Only the Horse can do that.


SuperBidi wrote:

The Bird can only proc once. So you're just speaking of one animal companion out of the whole list. And as I said, many people are considering Flurry to be better than Precision, but DPR calculation shows they are equivalent. Increased accuracy is not better than increased damage, they're just different.

As a side note, if you have increased damage, it's better for Flurry than for Precision Rangers. So, for your build, Precision and Flurry should be very close. The question is: Do you manage to always attack 3 times per round. If yes, then Flurry should net you a small advantage. Otherwise, Precision is better.

While I still think Flurry is better in straight numbers overall, I respecced into Precision after finishing book 1 of Age of Ashes. Because of the way Paizo does bosses, Ranged Flurry ends up being unneeded overkill in regular encounters, and constant whiffing in boss fights. With the system the way it is, I'd rather hit the boss once for lots of damage.

If I was TWF with agile weapons, I'd definitely still do Flurry though.


Aratorin wrote:
While I still think Flurry is better in straight numbers overall

Flurry is better in theory.

Practically speaking, I think Precision is better in most cases as it doesn't lose too much edge in messy combat situations (which means most tough combats). The only build I would take Flurry with is a bow ranger as you can play like a machine gun turret. For any other build, it's Precision all the way for me.


Samurai: The difference is Wizard Dedication takes up a class feat, which are generally the most valuable type of feat in the game. Plus, as was pointed out, it has an Int prerequisite, making it only really useful if you're going Outwit Monster Hunter.

Ludovicus: In order, I prefer to look at feats in a vacuum and not based on what they're a prerequisite for

I don't include options from module adventure toolboxes, save for the animal companion options from Age of Ashes, for a variety of different reasons most of which boil down to "I don't want to buy module books I'm not going to run and I don't want to rate them outside of the context in which they were given."

You make a good point about the numbers, but that doesn't make it a 1 star option in my estimation, because it still has value. If I don't expect my second attack to hit, I would rather take a -2 to my first to increase the damage output, trying to put down as much damage as I can possibly get in that one hit.

And lastly, the main problem I had with Second Sting was that I was operating under an assumption of a fairly low static damage modifier. Taking into account a Strength based build, it's far more worth a feat slot, particularly as it has no opportunity cost to use. Going in the patch notes.

Speaking of patch notes, I'll be doing an update for the Sunday after Gods and Magic is added to Archives of Nethys, so that new content can be added and hyperlinked immediately (also so I can fix the lack of hyperlinking on class feats, because I forgot to do that.)

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