Iluzry's Guide To The Ranger...Sort Of.


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So hi, it's me, Iluzry again.

SO this is my third guide to pathfinder, this time for the core class: Ranger.

OR at least...it was supposed to be. If anyone has seen my posting style, you'll know I love nothing more than finding the most broken and amazing thing about a class and making it common knoweldge but um...the ranger...well paizo hasn't been kind to the ranger. Not like it has to a lot of other classes.

And that hurts because I actually really like the idea of the ranger, especially for an adventure setting! They always seemed sort of like the quintessential adventurer you know? A little steel, a little sorcery, rugged but determined...and as a person who loves the idea of the ranger, I got really frustrated when that class wasn't supported with features that really made that fantasy...fun to play. Not in the same way other classes get it.

BUT...where there is a will, there is a way, and the Ranger Class isn't the only way to play a Ranger Character. SO this isn't a guide on the pathfinder ranger proper, but rather, how do we play a version of the ranger that we all deserved.

Iluzry Guide To Not-Ranger's


There's some ranger archetypes which trade out favored enemy for something more generally applicable. The guide is notable there as is the poison darter.

Endurance and favored terrain are crap features on their own, but together they're what makes the horizon walker prestige class doable for a ranger. Horizon walker = dimension door every 1d4 rounds (with no daily limit) from character level 9. It's not part of the grizzled veteran or nature's warden ideas that fuel the ranger, but it's the closest to a broken ranger character I can think of.


avr wrote:

There's some ranger archetypes which trade out favored enemy for something more generally applicable. The guide is notable there as is the poison darter.

Endurance and favored terrain are crap features on their own, but together they're what makes the horizon walker prestige class doable for a ranger. Horizon walker = dimension door every 1d4 rounds (with no daily limit) from character level 9. It's not part of the grizzled veteran or nature's warden ideas that fuel the ranger, but it's the closest to a broken ranger character I can think of.

Added Guide and Poison Darter

For horizon walker it seems that there is a daily limit of 3+wis and it only seems to work on the Astral Plane if you are there. Where are you getting 1d4 rounds without a daily limit?


IluzryMage wrote:
avr wrote:

There's some ranger archetypes which trade out favored enemy for something more generally applicable. The guide is notable there as is the poison darter.

Endurance and favored terrain are crap features on their own, but together they're what makes the horizon walker prestige class doable for a ranger. Horizon walker = dimension door every 1d4 rounds (with no daily limit) from character level 9. It's not part of the grizzled veteran or nature's warden ideas that fuel the ranger, but it's the closest to a broken ranger character I can think of.

Added Guide and Poison Darter

For horizon walker it seems that there is a daily limit of 3+wis and it only seems to work on the Astral Plane if you are there. Where are you getting 1d4 rounds without a daily limit?

Ah Found it. 3.5 Horizon Walker. If we are getting 3.5 involved then all bets are off, s!$+ was wild back then.


Horizon walker dimension door does work anywhere, but it's changed from 3.5 to the point where it's no longer great. Sad.


I see no guide about Divine Tracker archetype for Ranger. Did I miss something ?

Accessing Destruction and Strength, this archetype can really rocks and even makes certain builds such as 2WF possible and interesting (vs 2H).

Why so few feedback about it in all Ranger's guides (or wannabe rangers :-))


I'm not a big fan of Poison Darter. As you need to use the Blowgun you lose out on higher dmg dice (1d2 vs 1d8), Manyshot, and ranged increments (20 vs 110) compared to a normal archery build.

At level 1-7 you're behind a longbow Ranger that doesn't even benefit from Favored Enemy. And that's assuming you've invested resources to always get sneak attacks. If your target is more than 30 ft away or the Ranger fights a FE then it's not a contest. Even sniping goggles won't help much as your ranged increment is horrible.
Maybe the poison can help somewhat, but it just seems like a playstyle that requires way more system mastery for a lesser benefit.


The poison is the point of the poison darter, yes - it's the actual replacement for favored enemy. Considering it without that is, um, missing the point.


...but how does a measly Dex poison keyed to a secondary attribute tilt the scales?


Interesting new style of guide. Right away, Rogue/Ninja and Swashbuckler spring to mind as additional Pathfinder 1st Edition classes that merit Not-Class guides like this.

Hunter: A Boy And His 9-Foot Tall Death Beast: "Fully leveled and without limitation, unlike the rangers, your animal companion can also take advantage of your animal focus...and in fact, can do so indefinitely, while even if it only lasts a few minutes for you." -- something seems messed up here.

Sacred Huntsmaster Inquisitor: Holy Hunter Batman: Actually, most Inquisitors don't get the spells of whatever Domain they choose, nor do they get Domain Slots. Some Inquisitor archetype that I can't remember off the top of my head actually does get Domain spells, but it isn't Sacred Huntmaster. So go ahead and choose an Inquisition if it suits you -- you won't be missing out on any spells (only question is whether that archetype can be combined with Sacred Huntmaster).

I Wanna Be a Ranger: Archetypes: Other notable archetypes

Beastmaster -- if you can cram in all the Boon Companion feats you're going to need, you can have multiple Animal Companions. Although Beastmaster Ranger isn't the only way to do this -- see this guide and its discussion thread.

Bow Nomad -- having a hard time choosing between Archery and Two-Weapon Fighting? Why not do Two-Weapon Archery? (Must be Kasatha or something else that has 4 arms.) For bonus points, it replaces some Ranger class features that aren't very good to start with.

Divine Tracker -- getting proficiency with your deity's favored weapon is only useful in a few cases, but you also get Warpriest Blessings.

Falconer -- get a Bird Companion at 1st level, which becomes full progression at 4th level, and at 6th level starts to be able to Stagger enemies when successfully dive-bombing them (as well as doing serious damage on a confirmed Critical).

Flamewarden -- trading out Hunter's Bond for Flaming Weapon a few rounds per day without even an Enhancement Bonus isn't all that hot, but trading out the late Evasion for being able to cast Breath of Life once per day is not too shabby, and later on, being able to remove some nasty conditions from yourself when you get hit by Fire damage is pretty good, and note that unlike many Pathfinder damage-taking-dependent abilities, you don't actually have to be hurt by the Fire damage, and you also get Druid Fire spells, so you could get yourself some Fire Resistance or Immunity and then bomb yourself with Druid Fire spells to cure yourself. You eventually get a Phoenix's death (so be careful at levels 18 and 19), but at 20th level you also get Phoenix's resurrection once per week.

Freebooter -- be a pirate, and trade in Favored Enemy for Freebooter's Bane, which is much more flexible and buffs your whole party.

Nirmathi Irregular -- trade out flexibility in Favored Enemy and Favored Terrain (you only get the 1st one of each) in exchange for more spell slots and the ability to prepare 1 Druid spell per day. This is a real specialist, but might be good for a campaign like Ironfang Invasion or Kingmaker.

Sable Company Marine -- if you want ride a Hippogriff in the service of Korvosa, this is for you.

Toxophilite -- never mind Hawkeye, be Lars Andersen, and note that you can even go into a StarCraft 2 Point Defense Drone mode (also demonstrated in the video).


UnArcaneElection wrote:

...

Divine Tracker -- getting proficiency with your deity's favored weapon is only useful in a few, but you also get Warpriest Blessings.

Yeah, that's the point ! Hello Liberation, Destruction and Strength blessing for instance :

Liberation : at level 1, you get freedom of movement which is SL 4 and get out of grapple (ok once at level 1)

Destruction : half your level as a morale bonus to atk for 1 min (10 rounds is usually two times the duration of low level fights no ?)

Strength : half your level as an enhancement bonus to dmg for 1 round but as a swift action (hurts action economy ok)

What's not top interesting ?


Ilsurian Archer is probably one of my favorite archtypes, even if you do lose casting for it.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Interesting new style of guide. Right away, Rogue/Ninja and Swashbuckler spring to mind as additional Pathfinder 1st Edition classes that merit Not-Class guides like this.

Hunter: A Boy And His 9-Foot Tall Death Beast: "Fully leveled and without limitation, unlike the rangers, your animal companion can also take advantage of your animal focus...and in fact, can do so indefinitely, while even if it only lasts a few minutes for you." -- something seems messed up here.

Sacred Huntsmaster Inquisitor: Holy Hunter Batman: Actually, most Inquisitors don't get the spells of whatever Domain they choose, nor do they get Domain Slots. Some Inquisitor archetype that I can't remember off the top of my head actually does get Domain spells, but it isn't Sacred Huntmaster. So go ahead and choose an Inquisition if it suits you -- you won't be missing out on any spells (only question is whether that archetype can be combined with Sacred Huntmaster).

I Wanna Be a Ranger: Archetypes: Other notable archetypes

Beastmaster -- if you can cram in all the Boon Companion feats you're going to need, you can have multiple Animal Companions. Although Beastmaster Ranger isn't the only way to do this -- see this guide and its discussion thread.

Bow Nomad -- having a hard time choosing between Archery and Two-Weapon Fighting? Why not do Two-Weapon Archery? (Must be Kasatha or something else that has 4 arms.) For bonus points, it replaces some Ranger class features that aren't very good to start with.

Divine Tracker -- getting proficiency with your deity's favored weapon is only useful in a few...

I mean if people are really interested in them, I'd be happy to write more NOT-Guides I just thought people would be mad at me. That said, all of your notes are welcome, and Ill start implementing them ASAP


It's a great guide. Thank you for making it.


Off the top of my head, I can't think of any Not-Class guides before yours. The closest things are rare sections in other guides, like the "Out-of-Class Archetypes" section of Myrrh, Frankincense, and Steel.

By the way, I should also mention for Not-Rangers: the Hinterlander prestige class, if you're willing to be a worshipper of Erastil. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your point of view), like the overwhelming majority of prestige classes that progress spellcasting, this becomes turbocharged if you can manage to cheese in a 9/9 spellcasting class on it. Here's my Limburger (weapons-grade) cheese: Human Ranger 2/Cleric (Foundation of Faith, Separatist) of Erastil 3/Hinterlander x (except replace the 9th level floating feat with Clustered Shots, and all level-up ability score increases go to Wisdom). You get the Imbue Arrow with Anti-Magic Shell cheese online at level 12, 2 levels before a Caster-Centric Arcane Archer, and at level 20, you will have just 1 fewer Archery Combat Style Feats than a single-class Ranger, BAB of 18 (and thanks to Erastil's Blessing you will be a pretty good shot despite having totally mediocre Dexterity), and the ability to cast 9th level Cleric spells (gained at 19th level instead of 17th level, just 2 levels behind a single-class Cleric and with no impairment of your caster level except at level 6).


IluzryMage wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

Interesting new style of guide. Right away, Rogue/Ninja and Swashbuckler spring to mind as additional Pathfinder 1st Edition classes that merit Not-Class guides like this.

Hunter: A Boy And His 9-Foot Tall Death Beast: "Fully leveled and without limitation, unlike the rangers, your animal companion can also take advantage of your animal focus...and in fact, can do so indefinitely, while even if it only lasts a few minutes for you." -- something seems messed up here.

Sacred Huntsmaster Inquisitor: Holy Hunter Batman: Actually, most Inquisitors don't get the spells of whatever Domain they choose, nor do they get Domain Slots. Some Inquisitor archetype that I can't remember off the top of my head actually does get Domain spells, but it isn't Sacred Huntmaster. So go ahead and choose an Inquisition if it suits you -- you won't be missing out on any spells (only question is whether that archetype can be combined with Sacred Huntmaster).

I Wanna Be a Ranger: Archetypes: Other notable archetypes

Beastmaster -- if you can cram in all the Boon Companion feats you're going to need, you can have multiple Animal Companions. Although Beastmaster Ranger isn't the only way to do this -- see this guide and its discussion thread.

Bow Nomad -- having a hard time choosing between Archery and Two-Weapon Fighting? Why not do Two-Weapon Archery? (Must be Kasatha or something else that has 4 arms.) For bonus points, it replaces some Ranger class features that aren't very good to start with.

Divine Tracker -- getting proficiency with your deity's

...

Good or less built, guides are always interesting as they give a reading of gameplay, rules and globaly a return on experience.


Good to have some more rangery-like guides out there for PF1e. ;)


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^All of the Ranger guides so far posted on the Guide to the Guides (this one isn't on there yet) are WAY out of date, unless somebody did a stealth update and it didn't get reflected in the document date label. (And so is the Slayer guide.)


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^All of the Ranger guides so far posted on the Guide to the Guides (this one isn't on there yet) are WAY out of date, unless somebody did a stealth update and it didn't get reflected in the document date label. (And so is the Slayer guide.)

Hm okay. I'll start thinking about that. I need to finish the sorcerer guide and then I have the incomprehensible urge to do a Mystic Theurge mini guide and after that, I'll probably do a not guide to the swashbuckler, since it's one of the only other classes I see that is just blatantly massively outclassed.

...Other than the shifter of course. Maybe the shifter deserves a not guide too, IDK


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^You're right, I forgot about the Shifter! That class was truly forgettable, but it definitely deserves a Not-Guide which needs to double as a Don't-Even-Think-About-It-Guide. Ranger and Swashbuckler are at least good for dipping, and if you build right can be at least serviceable if not great for going all the way up (at least for Ranger, see some of the archetypes I linked above).

If you really want to do Mystic Theurge, here is a good look at what once was, before the SLA FAQ NerfSledgeHammer that just about killed it. One thing that still works if you are okay with a Wizard-focused true Mystic Theurge is to get Faith Magic to be able to cast a 2nd level divine spell, dip 1 level of Living Grimoire Inquisitor (makes it Int-based), and then go into Mystic Theurge -- normally progressing a 6/9 casting class (or worse yet, 4/9 casting class like Ranger) with a prestige class is bad, but in this case, you pay so little for what you get that it works out.

As for Not-Mystic-Theurge (which is now the better option in most circumstances), Witch can actually be a pretty good stand-in if you build right, and Shaman can also be a pretty good stand-in, although since the class is more complicated (or at least written more confusingly) than Witch, it's easier to miss something critical or otherwise shoot yourself in the foot. On the spontaneous casting side, certain builds of Oracle can do it (and Ley Line Guardian Witch is also a possibility), although you will have trouble with limited spells known feeling even more cramped than usual, and if you go the widely recommended Spirit Guide Oracle with the Lore Shaman Spirit, some GMs may rule that due to the exact wording of the Arcane Enlightenment Hex, it doesn't work for you (mean, but Rules As Written they are supported). Spell Sage Wizard also works if you don't need to cast divine spells very fast or very often. Also see this post but ignore the Bard stuff if you don't need it.

None of the above is useful for hybridizing in Ranger (because it is a 4/9 casting class), so your Not-Ranger guide + some of the standout archetypes of actual Ranger are the way to go.


^Editfail for above: Razmiran Priest Sorcerer is another possible Not-Mystic-Theurge, if you're really EeeEeeeEeeevvvviiiiillllll . . . doesn't help our current topic though . . . unless maybe you use Ranger dip + Razmiran Priest Sorcerer into Eldritch Knight? Eldritch Knight doesn't get good until high levels, though, and you miss out on progression of the Razmiran Priest Sorcerer archetype features as well as the opportunity cost of missing the Razmiran Priest prestige class.

On the non-Evil side, I just realized that Nature-Bonded Magus built to add Knowledge (Nature), Survival, etc. is both sort of a Not-Ranger and a 6/9 Not-Mystic-Theurge. It isn't great (doesn't have Magus Arcane Pool or the accompanying ability to enchant weapons on the fly), but better than trying to progress 6/9 or 4/9 spellcasting classes with Mystic Theurge. Unfortunately, although stacking it with Magic Warrior to give you even more nature-themed abilities (including more Druid spells at level 19) is technically legal, it won't work very well, because some Magic Warrior abilities need Arcane Pool. So you really have to build Nature-Bonded Magus into a Not-Ranger using traits (see this guide or search for Survival in Traits on Archives of Nethys) and/or alternate racial traits (like Fey Thoughts) to get you the Ranger skills you want in class.

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