When it comes to the ranger classes I'd say we have a slightly underpowered and underused base class, with an outstanding kit (Archer), a very interesting one (Stalker), and a potentially cool concept wasted with an incredibly weak implementation (Beast Master). As always I'd like to discuss what has to be done to make sure we can please as much players as we can while maintaining the goal to rebalance the classes.
"Rangers are often stereotyped as wild frontiersmen and are thought of as woodland hunters of deadly prey, skilled in wilderness lore. This is not, however, true of all rangers and others are more at home within ancient ruins, vast deserts, caverns of the Underdark, or city sewers. The stereotype is not without merit, however, and many rangers fit the image of cunning hunters and protectors of forests or other wildlands. These rangers see themselves as the enemies of nature's enemies and have a special affinity for barbarians and druids, who often share similar goals. As their aspirations may differ so do rangers' backgrounds, some coming from special military training while others learn under solitary mentors who vest them with lessons on how to survive in places where few of the civilized races care to tread. Whether through military or personal training, all rangers are fairly self-reliant and as much, if not more, at home in the wild as they are in a bustling city.
Most rangers worship gods of the wilderness, such as Mielikki or Silvanus, which grant their followers a limited amount of divine spells, as long as they retain a good alignment and doesn't intentionally commits an evil act. The most famous of all Toril's rangers is by far the legendary drow Drizzt Do'Urden.
Rangers can be useful scouts, but they can also be deadly fighters, capable of holding their own against many foes with their skill in dual weapon melee combat. Generally, they prefer to be lightly armored, as it allows them more agility and use of their reflexes and stealth than heavier armor makes possible."
- Rolls d8 for hit points.
- Can use light and medium armors.
- Can specialize (++) in any weapon proficiency.
- Gets +4 bonus to attack rolls against a selected Racial Enemy
- Can use Stealth to hide and move silently with a 30% chance. This improves by 5% for every level, up to 100% at level 15.
- Can use Tracking at will. This ability improves significantly at level 10.
- Can use Wild Empathy at will. This ability improves significantly at level 4.
- At 1st level, gets two points in two-weapon fighting style.
- At 2nd level, gains Hunter's Quarry. This ability improves significantly at level 11.
- At 4th level, gains Divine Spellcasting.
- At 5th level, gains Woodland Stride.
- At 7th level, the ranger gains an additional half attack per round. This increases to a whole attack per round bonus at 13th level.
TRACKING: Each round the ranger has a 50% chance to detect hidden creatures within 30 feet. While tracking, the ranger suffers -2 penalty to attack rolls and -4 penalty to movement rate. This stance lasts for 6 rounds.
At 9th level, the movement rate penalty while tracking is halved, and the chance to detect hidden creatures is raised by 10%.
WILD EMPATHY: targeted animal must save vs. spell or be charmed. This ability cannot be used multiple times against the same creature.
At 4th level, the ranger can use this ability to summon a wolf.
HUNTER'S QUARRY: after studying the opponent for a brief moment the Ranger designate a target as his quarry. For 2 turns, all attacks against the marked creature are made with a +2 bonus to the attack roll, and ranger's chance to detect the quarry using Tracking is doubled.
At 11th level, all physical attacks against the marked creature deal 10% more damage.
DIVINE SPELLCASTING: the ranger can cast 1st level divine spells. At levels 8, 12 and 16 he can cast 2nd, 3rd and 4th level spells respectively. At level 6 and every other 4 levels he can memorize one more spell per day for each spell level he currently knows.
WOODLAND STRIDE: the ranger can move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at his normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment.
KR's Ranger is still largely based on AD&D Ranger, but I've also taken some inspiration from 3E and Pathfinder.
- unfortunately there's little I can do about Racial Enemy.
- I've only slightly altered Stealth progression to make it more reliable at low levels but almost identical at mid-high levels.
- I've added a low level Tracking ability because it has always been a classic feature of this class since AD&D and it makes no sense to wait till HLAs to have something similar.
- I've renamed Charm Animal into Wild Empathy, made it an "at will" ability and slightly improved it.
- Divine Spellcasting has been revised with a progression more similar to 3E and a more appropriate spellbook (similar to druids but not identical).
- I've added a 3E-like Woodland Stride feature, which might be refined or expanded in later versions.
"The archers are rangers trained to become the pinnacles of archery and are typically imagined as unrivaled in the use of bows. Calm in the heart of battle, archers rarely miss and and their arrows are quite often lethal. Unlike other rangers who generally prefer to take their quarry on in a melee, archer rangers prefer to hunt from afar, resorting only to close combat when ranged attacks are no longer practical. Archers often are lone hunters, but they commonly work with others as well because working with allies allows the archer to take tactical advantage of their combined efforts. While archers are common among both humans and elves, sylvan archers are well-known for their almost artistic dedication to archery and though other rangers may be similarly skilled in the use of a bow few are as graceful and beautiful in their use of it as a sylvan archer.
The archer is the epitome of skill with the bow. He is the ultimate marksman, able to make almost any shot, no matter how difficult, but to become so skilled with the bow, the archer has to sacrifice his training with melee weapons. He is also more nimble and less armored than most fellow rangers, focusing on mobility, finesse and delicate skill over brutal power in a fight."
- Can achieve grandmastery (+++++) in short bow and long bow
- At 1st level, gains a +1 bonus to hit and damage with missile weapons. For every 4 levels, this bonus increases by +1, up to +5 at level 16.
- At 4th level, can use Called Shot once per day. For every 4 levels, the ability can be used an additional time per day.
- At 11th level, gains a +2 bonus to AC vs. missile weapons. This bonus increases by an additional +1 at levels 14 and 17.
- Can only become proficient (+) in melee weapons (including those that can also be used as missile weapons.)
- Can only become specialized (++) in non-bow missile weapons (ie darts and slings.)
- Cannot wear armor heavier than light.
- Cannot use shields.
CALLED SHOT: When making a Called Shot, a warrior attempts to hamper fighting ability or mobility. For one round, the archer takes a -4 penalty to attack rolls, but his first successful ranged attack carries dire consequences for his opponent. Targets struck are allowed a save at +2 bonus to reduce the effects. At 8th level and every other 4 levels the saving throw difficulty class improves by 2, up to -4 penalty at 16th level.
CALLED SHOT (DISARM): With this attack, the archer chooses to impede fighting ability. When hit, the target will suffer a -4 penalty to hit rolls for 6 rounds. If a save vs. breath is made the duration is halved.
At 10th level, any target who fails the save is also unable to attack for 1 round.
At 19th level, any target who fails the save will also have his strength reduced by 50% for 1 turn.
CALLED SHOT (TRIP): With this attack, the archer chooses to impede mobility. When hit, the target will suffer a -50% penalty to movement speed for 6 rounds. If a save vs. death is made the duration is halved.
At 10th level, any target who fails the save is also knocked down for 1 round.
At 19th level, any target who fails the save will also have his dexterity reduced by 50% for 1 turn.
Conceptually, KR's Archer is pretty much identical to vanilla's one, which seems like a mix of Pathfinder's Archer and Elven Archer.
- bow-armed characters in general were somewhat overpowered within BG1 because of the better thac0 and 2 apr but IR tries to rectify this (a full in-depth discussion on this can be found here).
- the progression of hit/damage bonuses with ranged weapons has been slightly changed to take into account BG1 low levels.
- Called Shot currently works as the same ability from KR's True Fighter, but the Archer can perform them only with missile weapons.
- Evasive Archer's AC bonuses vs. missiles comes straight from Pathfinder's Archer
"Beastmasters take their strength from a natural affinity with animals, and a primal bond with his animal companion. Through this bond, beast masters and their beast companion can communicate telepathically and become a formidable team, acting out as extensions of one another. Unlike most adventurers, the beastmaster does not command, train, or control his animal companions, rather they are his friends and comrades-in-arms. Misunderstood and feared by nobles and common folk alike for his unnatural abilities with animals, a beast master seldom stays in one place for long, nor is he comfortable in civilized lands.
Many beast masters take on a bear or similarly durable beast as their companion, others choose instead a panther or beast of similar cunning and stealth, but rarer and more exotic companions are also sometimes used. This generally reflects the beast master's attitude, as well as his approach when it comes to fight his enemies, but most beast masters focus on a spirit of coordinated action, and together with their companion they can carry out flanks and other advanced maneuvers all on their own. Animal companions learn beside the beast master, improving in capability as the ranger does, and developing their own abilities."
- Animal Companion (can choose between a bear and a panther)
- Has access to a limited number of unique spells (Enrage Animal, ...)
- Cannot wear metal armors.
- Can only wield "weapons usable by druids" and bows.
Vanilla's Beastmaster had great potential but a terrible implementation. KR's version remains very close to AD&D kit.
- I've replace vanilla's Find Familiar (yeah, because a ranger summoning a Fairy Dranog familiar makes sense) with a more appropriate Animal Companion (at the moment I'm implementing only a panther, but I'm not excluding multiple choices in the future).
- vanilla's bonus spells (Animal Summoning I/II/III) used as normal divine spells might be replaced by a similar Animal Horde innate ability.
- Beastmaster's armor and weapon proficiency is pretty much identical to vanilla's Druid, except that he can use bows
"At first glance, these soft-spoken, rather nondescript characters seem hopelessly out of place in most adventuring parties, looking instead like a town dweller who's wandered into the wilderness by mistake. But the drab demeanor is only a facade, concealing keen senses, a shrewd mind, and remarkable insight. Few realize the extent of his expertise in intelligence-gathering. And that's just the way he likes it. Stalkers serve as spies, informants, and scouts. Unlike other rangers, Stalkers are comfortable in both wilderness and urban settings. A Stalker may covertly observe a bandit camp to inventory their supplies and hostages, or eavesdrop in the corridors of an evil wizard's castle, always ready and prepared to take the action if necessary.
Advanced senses, swift strikes, surprise, and cunning are the key weapons of a Stalker. His fighting skills, combined with his mastery of stealth makes him a deadly opponent. Even his spellcasting abilities are particularly tailored to fit his necessities, allowing an experienced stalker to disappear in plain sight and avoid detection through magical means."
- +20% to stealth ability
- At 1st level, can backstab with a x2 damage multiplier, which increases to x3 at level 9 and x4 at level 17.
- Has access to a limited number of unique spells (Camouflage, Briar Web, Non-detection, Improved Camouflage).
- Can only wield "weapons usable by thieves" (we should re-write this imo)
- Cannot wear armor heavier than light.
- Cannot use shields.
- No Charm Animal ability.
KR's Stalker is just an improved/refined version of vanilla's kit, clearly based upon AD&D version. The only similar class I could find in more recent PnP editions is 3E Darkwood Stalker.
- the Stalker is now limited to use weapons suited to backstab as per AD&D.
- vanilla's Backstab progression has been slightly revised. An early x2 multiplier is essential to make the kit behave as it should from the start of BG1, while the higher x4 multiplier is there to make the Stalker competitive compared to a F/T which can get both x5 multiplier and grandmastery.
- I've replaced vanilla's bonus spells (Haste, Minor Spell Turning, Protection from Missiles) with a list of more appropriate spells with higher sinergy imo (Camouflage, Briar Web, Non-detection, Improved Camouflage), distribuited among the various spell levels.
Edited by Demivrgvs, 20 September 2014 - 01:54 AM.