Often employed as way watchers and pathfinders, Rangers have a unique skill that sets them on the fringe of society, more at home in the wilds than among their own kind. They are versatile fighters who excel at setting ambushes, striking with lethal force and then melting away before they can present a target. While this style of combat lends itself well to ranged weapons, Rangers are also very proficient with close combat and will not shy away crossing blades with their foe. Some rangers even receive formal military training, acting as advanced scouts, raiders, or hit-and-run units. Others go on to forge their own path, retreating from the confining walls of towns and cities, but rising to the occasion when called upon for tasks that suit their skills.
Rangers are thought of as solitary figures and operate well in this capacity, however they make invaluable allies when embarking on any adventure or quest that requires traveling through the wild places of the world. Their survival skills are unparalleled and they are capable of fulfilling almost any role in a group. Rangers themselves acknowledge the value of sharing experiences and pooling their resources to take on larger contracts. To this end, Ranger Guilds can be found throughout the Realm of Strife, both in prominent roles such as the valiant Angenway Rangers, who tirelessly patrol the underground Dwarven Highways, or operating in secret like the silent wild elf forest-wardens known as the Guardians of Athelnon.
Typical Roles: Tank, Support/Utility, Stealth, Melee Damage, Ranged Damage
Damage Types: Physical
Class Mechanic: Vigor and Stealth
Available Races: Wild Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Human, Anakim, Half-Elf, Orc, Half-Orc
Initial Gold: varies by race from 137.8 to 253.8
During Character Creation you may choose to use the Default Stat Line, before racial modifiers, instead of rolling for stats, or if after rolling ten sets of stats you don’t like the results
Natural Proficiency: Cloth, leather
Trainable Proficiency: Mail
Natural Proficiency: Knives, Swords, Bludgeons, Axes, Bows
Trainable Proficiency: Swords(2-handed), Crossbows, Firearms
See Equipment section for details. When using a weapon that your class is not proficient with, see Combat Penalties. There is no level or title prerequisite to train in a new proficiency, however you must receive the appropriate Training.
Class Passive Skills: Hit and Run
Class Secondary Skill: Bushcraft, Traps, or Animal Trainer
While Rangers tend to be solitary, they do gather together for the purposes of training. In this regard there is an element of soldierly skill, as Rangers are adept with a variety of melee and ranged weapons. Though their tactics vary greatly from rank and file soldiers, they fight with a cumming that can confound and infuriate their enemies. Striking from the shadows or concealed in the natural world, Rangers excel at hit and run tactics and leverage their intense training to overcome any foe. However, as with any Vigor class, Rangers should avoid prolonged combat or at the least learnt to fall back on their stealth abilities when they begin to tire.
For Rangers, learning new Vigor Skills follows the standard methods of Vigor training. Those Rangers who choose to operate as part of a Guild most often receive Vigor training from their superiors. However, they could just as easily pick up new skills from an experienced warrior, soldier, marksman, or other vigor class. At times they may even just pay a Combat Trainer to learn a new skill. Once a skill is learned though, it can be improved simply though repeated use.
New vigor skills require training unless they are upgrades (i.e. Offensive Stance -> Improved Offensive Stance), see Learning New Vigor Skills for details.
What separates a Ranger from the common soldier is their expert use of Stealth tactics, striking at their opponents and then fading away unseen. Rangers follow the standard rules for Stealth classes and Learning New Stealth Skills.
Stealth Costs for Rangers are as follows:
- All offensive or aggressive Stealth actions reduce Stealth by 2 prior to taking a Stealth Test
- All offensive or aggressive Stealth instants reduce Stealth by 1 prior to taking a Stealth Test
- Increase the Stealth cost by 1 if the offensive or aggressive instant or action is NOT a Stealth skill (i.e. a regular attack action)
- All regular movement reduces Stealth by 1 per tabletop inch moved prior to taking a Stealth Test
Rangers have the following restrictions for Stealth Disciplines:
- Primary Discipline: Survival
- Available Disciplines: Sabotage, Dirty Fighting, Assassination, Suppression
- Forbidden Disciplines: Thievery, Subterfuge
Upon character creation, Rangers automatically gain the following Stealth skills (prior to applying level ups):
- Escape Artist (Rank I)
- Evade (Rank I)
To learn new stealth skills require training unless they are upgrades (i.e. Rank1 Stealth Shot -> Rank2 Stealth Shot). Stealth training is typically facilitated through a Rangers Guild.
Rangers use the following chart for levelling up:
- Re-calculate Vigor Max each level
- Re-calculate Base Stealth each level
- New vigor abilities require training unless they are upgrades (i.e. Offensive Stance -> Improved Offensive Stance), see Learning New Vigor Abilities for details
- New stealth abilities require training unless they are upgrades (i.e. Rank1 Stealth Shot -> Rank2 Stealth Shot), see Learning New Stealth Abilities for details
Specializations are recommended for advanced players only, and are accomplished through the Secondary Skill system (see Specialist Skills). Rangers may choose to specialize their skills in up to one weapon use, one combat style and/or one Stealth discipline, but can not have more than two specializations in total.
- Max one Weapon Specialist skill (choose from: Knives, Swords, Bludgeons, Axes, Bows, Corssbows)
- Max one Combat Specialist skill (choose from: Freehand, Great Weapon, Paired Weapon, Freestyle, Sharp Shooter, Skirmisher, Peltast, Mounted)
- Max one Stealth Specialist skill (choose from the following Stealth Disciplines: Traps, Sabotage, Dirty Fighting, Assassination, Avoidance)
Rangers gain titles based on their rank and standing within an organization of other Rangers, called a Guild. Ranger Guilds are the least clandestine of all Stealth guilds, focusing mostly on training and equipping their members to perform their duties as hired pathfinders, local way watchers, and skilled huntsmen. Being a part of a successful and well respected Rangers guild opens up numerous doors for employment and advancement that would otherwise be challenging for lone Freelancer to attain. When Rangers are deployed in larger numbers they are led in the field by Ranger Captains, or in the case of an entire Guild being mobilized the guilds own Ranger General takes to the field.
The titles awarded by a Rangers Guild are as follows:
|Title||Level||Qualifications||Rewards & Consequences|
A freelancer is any Ranger that takes on work outside of a Guild. This could be because they do not belong to a Guild, either by choice or simply failing to be recruited by one thus far. It could also be a result of being kicked out of their existing Guild, for a variety of reasons, including Guild misconduct, failing to pay a guild fee or cut, failing to meet a job quota, failing a probationary period or breaking a vow of secrecy. Every Guild is different, and governs itself according to a variety of rules and regulations that allow them to fulfill their desired function. As such there could be a variety of reasons why one may be labelled as a Freelancer.
Freelancers are certainly looked down upon by Guild members, who will at the very least shun and discredit them. Some may even actively interfere with a Freelancers work to prove a point. Guilds may attempt to apply some pressure for the Freelancer to join a Guild, but that pressure is not likely to go much beyond threats and attempts at intimidation.
In the end though, most Ranger Guilds are not overly strict in enforcing or insisting membership and as such Freelance Rangers are quite common. While this grants a higher degree of freedom, Freelancers do miss out on Guild resources such as training of new skills, discounts, job postings, and information networks.
- take on work outside of the authority of a Guild, either because of not belonging to one, having been kicked out, or caught secretly attempting to avoid guild cut/dues
Rewards & Consequences:
- Not required to pay Guild cut, fees, or dues, but do not benefit from any resources or training
- With the exception of guild resources and command positions, retain any other title rewards gained prior to becoming a Freelancer
Ranged Damage Builds
Undoubtedly ranged damage is the most common build for Rangers. A Rangers ranged damage build relies on mainstay abilities like Focused Stance and Hail of Arrows (for unrivaled multi-target damage), or a variety of powerful Stealth/Vigor combos such as Concentration + Stealth Shot (for reliable and sustainable single target damage) or Take Aim + Hawk Shot (for massive single target burst damage). However even among common ranged damage builds there are many variations to explore:
Focusing on high single target damage with long range bows and crossbows, a sniper sits in stealth at a distance attacking high priority targets. The Sharp Shooter specialization is key to this build, however specializing in either Bows or Crossbows (at least up to Rank2) to is also recommended to increase damage output and remove the risk of critical misses. To maximize their damage output, a Sniper should ensure that they almost never miss, either through increasing their hit chance or using an ability like Snipe (stealth) to negate heavy armor. Snipers typical do not focus much on defense, taking steps to ensure they remain undetected and assuming that in the event their position is compromised they can keep their distance from their foes. To that end, traps and other movement impairing abilities like Severing Shot (stealth) are extremely useful.
Between Hail of Arrows and a variety of shooting Spree combos (Spree instant plus any “shot” type ability), a Ranger can provide impressive multi-target damage. The Skirmisher specialization works very well with this build, allowing the Ranger to stay highly mobile and keep his enemies guessing. Multi-target builds can be inherently dangerous, as hitting so many targets is sure to draw unwanted attention. However, unlike many multi-target ranged damage builds of other Classes, the War Archer Ranger build benefits from the improved defense and survivability found in both its class mechanics. Also the Ranger Class Passive, Hit-and-Run, allows for an easy disengage from unwanted close combat. When all else fails and Ranger finds himself engaged by multiple enemies who have grown tired of being peppered by arrows, the option to wear Mail armor helps keep the Ranger alive.
Bow and Blade
Another option for ranged damage is a hybrid build, that aims at wearing the enemy down with ranged attacks and then rushing in to finish them off in melee combat. Again the Ranger’s Hit-and-Run Class Passive works well with this tactic, allowing them to use a stealth based ranged action in one turn and then granting extra movement and vigor to charge in on the next round and gaining the the benefit of attacking from hidden (no block/parry/dodge/ward-off). Even better is to wait until an enemy is caught in one of your well laid traps and then rush in to finish the job while they are vulnerable.
Other Common Builds
Rangers are a highly versatile class that can excel in a variety of rolls, outside of ranged damage. Some other common builds include:
With access to Defensive stance and Taunt, any vigor class capable of wearing heavier armor and benefiting from weapons with a strong parry can certainly act as a tank for a group. However the unique approach of a Ranger tank is that the enemy may not even be aware of the tanks presence until its too late to avoid him, allowing for a variety of highly strategic maneuvers. Think how enjoyable it will be to sling taunts at your foe from the shadows, only to have them waste their efforts searching for you, while your allies deliver a swift death. When it becomes impractical to continue your efforts from the shadows or in the event that an enemy detects your presence, you can rely on the Avoidance discipline to bolster your defensive tanking capabilities.
At ease both at range and in close combat, a Ranger Saboteur aids their allies by stripping the foe of their combat potential with Stealth abilities like Festering Shot and Impair armor. There are also uniquely capable of delivering excellent vigor based crowd control with abilities like Crippling Blow or Mammoth Strike, all from the relative safety of Stealth. While certainly not required, specializing in Sabotage can make this build even more potent.
As the only Stealth class capable of wielding a two handed weapon, Rangers have a unique option for pure melee damage by equipping a two-handed sword and specializing in both Swords and Great weapons. Few things could be more terrifying to your foes than to be attacked out of no where by a massive Claymore. As you lay in wait for your enemy combo up Offensive Stance and Study Prey. Then when they are within reach spring into action with the extra movement from your Class Passive and use combos like Battle Lust + Surprise Attack to deliver a critical hit of epic proportions or come flying across the battlefield with Bleed + Tactical Charge and leave your enemy bleeding out face down in the dirt. If you want to truly frustrate your enemies, use your Hit-and-Run Class Passive to ensure that they seldom have a target to retaliate against or use a Demoralize + Kodiak Strike to send their champion halfway across the battlefield without even giving away your position.
Most Rangers tend to feel at home in the wild places of this world, making them well suited from a lore standpoint to work with a variety of animal pets or companions (particularly so for Wild Elf Rangers). This will of course work most effectively with the Animal Trainer Secondary Skill. The symbiotic relationship between Ranger and beast has a multitude of benefits. Being naturally adept at ranged combat, they can send their animals into close combat while supporting them from a distance or use Taunts and other tank like abilities to afford their more fragile pets some protection. Of course in some cases the roles could be reversed, with a tough tanking-capable beast like a Bear acting to protect the Ranger. Avian beasts are also very popular among Rangers, for scouting missions and relaying messages, or even as additional effectively-ranged attacks in combat (via most avian creatures “fly-by” passive).
There countless Ranger Guilds throughout the Realm of Strife, many existing in relative obscurity, but several well known and highly distinguished Ranger Guilds are:
Mute of the Athel-Leaf Tribe (aka Iulin Lumornor)
Ranger Captain of the Guardians of Athelnon and hero of the War of the Twin Terrors. Rumored to have been afflicted by the werewolf curse. Perished in battle against the Shade of Deathlord Archibald at the foot of the Undead Fortress of Necrodark.
“Now that we have reached the end of things for us all and yet retain this Heavenly gift which has linked our minds, I can sense that you all wish to know the name that my family gave to me. You wish to know me, not just as a companion for our journeys, but as a brother, and I can think of none more worthy to hear my true name. My friends, I am Iulin Lumornor, and it has been an honor to live and die by your sides. Farewell, and may the Life-Father embrace you.”
-Excerpt from the War of the Twin Terrors, Chapter17: “Agamedien Triumphant”
Mute of the Athel-Leaf Tribe
Level 4 Ranger, bow specialist with animal training for combat pets