Multiclass Mondays #8 – Ranger

Multiclass Mondays #8 – Ranger

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Welcome back to Multiclass Mondays!

Multiclass Mondays is a continuation of the “You, Version 2.0″ posts (here and here) that were put up a few weeks back regarding using the Theme mechanics to more effectively multiclass characters.  The concept seemed to be a hit with many players and DMs around the Web, so we’re going to go through and provide Themes for all current D&D classes (even Psionics!) and maybe.. just maybe…  throw in a few bonus Themes.  For now, though, let’s stick to the basics.

Last week, we entered into a foul bargain with the Warlock. This week, we look at the Ranger…  preferably at a solid 20 squares’ distance.

I’ve received several questions since last week about why I dislike the Ranger so much. To be honest, it’s not entirely the Ranger’s fault. I’m going to let you all in on a little secret about me and D&D. Ready?

I hate damage. I hate it with a bloody, howling passion. Damage in D&D, especially 4E, is the utter antithesis of everything I like about roleplaying games. Dealing damage to a target doesn’t really do anything to the target until it passes a certain threshold at which point the target suddenly dies. It isn’t clever or dynamic. It doesn’t require skilled play. It just sits there. The worst part of it all? Damage is ultimately the solution to everything! You can disarm nearly any trap by hitting it hard enough. You don’t need to have a wooden stake to defeat a vampire or silver to defeat a werewolf. You don’t need to keep a Wish spell handy in case the Tarrasque shows up. Just pile enough damage on it and voila! Problem solved. As a DM, I go out of my way to create combat scenarios where sheer damage output won’t win the day or is at least a suboptimal solution.

Now look at the Ranger and in particular, the bow ranger. The Ranger is the king of damage…  and generally very little else. This guy usually just stands there (sometimes on the previous map), asks his forward reconnaissance allies for fire coordinates and then proceeds to nuke from orbit. I play with a Ranger in an ongoing epic-level campaign, and it’s infuriating. Just a couple weeks ago, Perren delivered nearly 300 points of damage in a round while dazed. It’s not uncommon for him to have a turn where he rolls 17 or more damage dice.  We’re getting to the point as a party where nearly every character has or will be picking up an “I hit them with the Ranger” power because it’s clearly the best idea in almost every combat. As a player who loves the intricacy, thought and immediate interference ability of  playing Controllers and Leaders, the fact that the Ranger is ultimately many, many times more effective than me is maddening. (I’ll clarify that it’s the character not the player that I dislike; Greg is a really cool guy and I enjoy having him at the table.)

Do I think the Ranger is broken? No, of course not, nor would I ban them from my table. It’s just not my playstyle in the least. Thus I’m very glad to be getting them out of the way this week and moving on to more interesting classes in the future.

Precise Stalker

You count as a Ranger for all feat, theme and paragon path requirements. In addition, you gain the Hunter’s Quarry class feature and may use it with Ranger class and paragon path powers.

If you choose to apply Hunter’s Quarry damage to a power, you may not simultaneously apply any other striker damage feature (Flurry of Blows, Arcane Might, Oath of Enmity, etc.) to that power.

One standard striker damage feature, coming right up! As an amusing sidenote, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this called “Hunter’s Query.” I suspect it’s some kind of linguistic crossover since many roleplaying gamers are also computer geeks, but something about it strikes me as funny.

Theme at Level 1

Wilderness Predator (Multiclass Ranger)

Prerequisite: Ranger

Theme Feature: Throw and Stab (encounter usage, Dark Sun only)
Lv 1. Theme Power: Throw and Stab (encounter usage, non Dark-Sun only)

I did in fact consider putting Twin Strike here but ultimately decided against it. The decision is not so much based in the power’s raw damage output but the uniqueness of it. It feels like something only a full Ranger (or Paragon multiclassed Ranger or, oddly enough, a Half-Elf) should be doing. The Theme presented below tries to highlight the Ranger’s ability to effectively utilize both melee and ranged attacks with panache; Throw and Stab feels like a better fit.

Theme at Levels 2+

  • Lv 2: Invigorating Stride
  • Lv 3: Disruptive Strike
  • Lv 5: Bloody Throw
  • Lv 6: Weave Through The Fray
  • Lv 7: Hawk’s Talon
  • Lv 9: Marked For Death
  • Lv 10: Shed The Mark

There’s the Ranger.  From here forward, we’re going to present two or three Themes at a time; next week, we’ll finish up the obviously Divine classes with the Paladin, Invoker and Avenger.


P.S. Multiclass Themes will continue to be in the Dark Sun format since we’re primarily concerned with power swaps, not features. That’s not to say I don’t like the new Theme format which is really solid for what it does. Expect to see some Themes in the new format coming soon! As to this last week’s Themes:

Ordained Priest – Not at all flashy, but it will make you an adequate secondary Leader in Heroic Tier at close range. Some of the powers, particularly Word of Protection, are going to be only situationally useful. I don’t see the Utility powers being thrown down beyond about level 13.  B-

Seer – HAWT! This Theme presses all the right buttons with me.  Darkvision, immediate interrupt defense bonuses and being able to perceive from a second origin square are some of my favorite tricks. Cast Fortune has stirred up a good bit of contention about its usefulness and I’m firmly on the side of “awesome.” I love powers that reward player skill and this is definitely high on the list. Interestingly enough, you can’t use it on yourself as written (“Target: an ally”). Hands down my favorite Theme so far. A+

Scholar – This Theme nearly obsoletes the Linguist feat which is sort of a design faux pas in my opinion. That being said, having all languages and Read Magic at-will is very nice. Encounter-level damage type modification can be handy. It strikes me as being a magical Indiana Jones.  A


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About the Author

Ryven Cedrylle was introduced to 2nd edition D&D by his father at age 8 and has been hooked ever since. When not out somewhere with his nerd-loving wife, he spends an inordinate amount of time staring at small objects - primarily beakers, stars, books about religion and virtual gaming miniatures. Follow him on Twitter for previews of upcoming material and random nuggets of wit! There's also a guy Ryven knows who's trying to adopt a baby. Take a look at the site, see if you can help him out.