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Are rangers underpowered and lack definition?

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  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 858
    Skatan said:

    Skatan said:

    Fighters get higher THAC0 from higher levels...

    Fighters and Rangers have the same THAC0 progression tables, so level-wise, they have the same THAC0. The bonus that fighters can get is only due to weapon mastery.
    Skatan said:

    They get higher AC (usually).

    Unkitted rangers have access to the same armour selection as unkitted fighters. So, they both have the same AC, provided they are using the same equipment.
    1: Fighters have a leaner EXP curve for levels than rangers, thus they get their level based THAC0 sooner.
    2: Ranger kit, like stalker, get armor restriction. Though I wrote our "usually" which was indeed an exaggeration.
    ThacoBell said:

    @Skatan Rangers scout better than fighters.

    True, that's why I stated for fighters that they do not get stealth.
    Fighters don't get more than a 1 level advantage over the Ranger until past 1.75M at 15th (the Ranger hits 13->14 at 1.8M). And they both hit the minimum THAC0 at 20th. Fighters do it at 3M exp, Rangers do it at 3.6M. At 3M, the fighter just hits 1 THAC0, the Ranger just 18th at 3 THAC0.

    I would never trade stealth over 5%, even 10% (1-2 THAC0) extra chance to hit. First, because chances are I'm ALREADY going to hit. Second, stealth allows me first strike capability before the enemy can respond, as you don't appear until the attack.

    ThacoBellAerakarDJKajuruRAM021
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 667
    Hm maybe thats why original bg2 the grandmastery was toned down in the meaning of extra apr ? Because in that times, the rangers and fighters are closer than now and had some own space for rangers in the class chain.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,189
    I have to say, in the BG1 wilderness maps between levels ~2-6, Animal Empathy can actually be pretty handy.

    - Guy: "Help, there's a polar bear across that bridge!"
    - Me: befriends a brown bear
    - Bearfight!

    - Ogre Berserker: "Smash you to goo!"
    - Two friendly black bears: maul ogre, wander off to hibernate.

    Balrog99StummvonBordwehrAerakarThacoBell
  • Good for you, I never managed to charm a bear - every attempt resulted in Minsc getting mauled. This ability doesn't improve, does it? In retrospect I chose an unfortunate topic title, as my gripe is mainly with lack of uniqueness, less raw power.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 983
    Bears have pretty poor saving throws. A black bear for example has a save vs spell of 16. Meaning a bit more than 3 out of every 4 times you use Charm Animal it'll work.

    I'd suggest you've been unlucky with the ability.

    Grond0JuliusBorisovThacoBellRAM021
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,596



    Fighters don't get more than a 1 level advantage over the Ranger until past 1.75M at 15th (the Ranger hits 13->14 at 1.8M). And they both hit the minimum THAC0 at 20th. Fighters do it at 3M exp, Rangers do it at 3.6M. At 3M, the fighter just hits 1 THAC0, the Ranger just 18th at 3 THAC0.

    I would never trade stealth over 5%, even 10% (1-2 THAC0) extra chance to hit. First, because chances are I'm ALREADY going to hit. Second, stealth allows me first strike capability before the enemy can respond, as you don't appear until the attack.

    To each his own. The way I play, I max out levels early in BG1 thus playing 80-90% of the game at max level where a fighter will be higher than a ranger. Same with SoD, low level party in the beginning, max out levels and then add NPCs and keep on playing normally. In BG2 I stop powerplaying and usually don't rush for exp the same way. So for me, and since I don't care about ToB, the fighter will pretty much always be a level ahead of the ranger. I never use stealth with a non-thief. I find it meaningless since pause on sight of enemy and -10+ AC more then make up for any need for stealth. 3 million exp+ is pointless IMHO, because by then all classes are amazing.

  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 858
    edited October 2018
    Skatan said:



    Fighters don't get more than a 1 level advantage over the Ranger until past 1.75M at 15th (the Ranger hits 13->14 at 1.8M). And they both hit the minimum THAC0 at 20th. Fighters do it at 3M exp, Rangers do it at 3.6M. At 3M, the fighter just hits 1 THAC0, the Ranger just 18th at 3 THAC0.

    I would never trade stealth over 5%, even 10% (1-2 THAC0) extra chance to hit. First, because chances are I'm ALREADY going to hit. Second, stealth allows me first strike capability before the enemy can respond, as you don't appear until the attack.

    To each his own. The way I play, I max out levels early in BG1 thus playing 80-90% of the game at max level where a fighter will be higher than a ranger. Same with SoD, low level party in the beginning, max out levels and then add NPCs and keep on playing normally. In BG2 I stop powerplaying and usually don't rush for exp the same way. So for me, and since I don't care about ToB, the fighter will pretty much always be a level ahead of the ranger. I never use stealth with a non-thief. I find it meaningless since pause on sight of enemy and -10+ AC more then make up for any need for stealth. 3 million exp+ is pointless IMHO, because by then all classes are amazing.
    Not in classic BG1, or BG1:TotSC, they both cap at the same (7 or 8 respectively). In SOD the Fighter ends up 1 level higher (10 v 9, because of the luck of rounded numbers). In classic BG2 the Fighter ends up 2 levels higher (19 v. 17). And in classic ToB and BG2EE the Ranger is 6 levels lower.

    Funny enough, a mage has a higher cap in BG1-ish levels, matching Fighter at 14th/1.5M exp and Ranger at 18th/3M. Any lower and the mage has the edge on the leveling curve.

    RAM021
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,189

    Good for you, I never managed to charm a bear - every attempt resulted in Minsc getting mauled. This ability doesn't improve, does it?

    I use aTweaks "Animal
    Empathy Improves with Level"

    I use a bunch of things to make rangers a bit more special:
    - x2 backstab because they are experienced with stealth and combat, so why not stealthy combat too?
    - a few warrior and/or thief feats
    - tweaked spell list
    - tweaked kit abilities

    StummvonBordwehrThacoBell
  • TrollopsAndPlugTailsTrollopsAndPlugTails Member Posts: 47
    edited October 2018
    That explains it :) In BG1 it certainly boosts their power and uniqueness. Is animal empathy of any real use in BG2? I never tried simply of a habit, but I don't remember many animals. I don't like the next two tweaks for two reasons: first, I think that combined they may actually make rangers surpass fighters in raw power. Second, and more importantly, they only make their play closer to F/T, even more eroding their flavour. For individual kits like Stalker it would be fine (and I do think that they are completely dominated by F/T), but rangers as a whole deserve something more special!

    As for flavour reasons, say backstabbing is against their moral code, or simply that their sneakiness is more of an outdoor type and they can't get as close as thieves? Yes, it's stretching it, but the whole mechanic of backstab is frankly undefensible. How exactly do you come behind someone in the middle of a room or open ground?

    Also, if anyone here possesses the know-how about providing additional tracking information, I can probably restart my current play and volounteer to prepare files for all areas in BGEE with UB. At least if it will be possible to gather the data on the iOS, as I don't currently own a desktop version and prefer playing on the tablet anyway.

  • WatchForWolvesWatchForWolves Member Posts: 170

    Bears have pretty poor saving throws. A black bear for example has a save vs spell of 16. Meaning a bit more than 3 out of every 4 times you use Charm Animal it'll work.

    Black Bear is also the single weakest type of bear there is.

    I didn't want to comment about Rangers being underpowered(though it seems that way to me) but now that the thread name includes "lack definition" then yeah, that was always something that never sat right with me.

    Rangers running around the wilderness - in full plate - and somehow sneak in it - and... are natural dual wielders? How does that tie in? And why Favored Enemy is even a thing? If it's a thing, why can you only pick one instead of one every x levels?

    None of this makes any sense, certainly not in the way Paladin(the Cleric equivalent of Ranger) does.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,066

    Bears have pretty poor saving throws. A black bear for example has a save vs spell of 16. Meaning a bit more than 3 out of every 4 times you use Charm Animal it'll work.

    Black Bear is also the single weakest type of bear there is.

    I didn't want to comment about Rangers being underpowered(though it seems that way to me) but now that the thread name includes "lack definition" then yeah, that was always something that never sat right with me.

    Rangers running around the wilderness - in full plate - and somehow sneak in it - and... are natural dual wielders? How does that tie in? And why Favored Enemy is even a thing? If it's a thing, why can you only pick one instead of one every x levels?

    None of this makes any sense, certainly not in the way Paladin(the Cleric equivalent of Ranger) does.

    Wait, are we discussing Ranger mechanics in BG or in AD&D in general? Because everything you said applies in PnP as well.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,282
    My mod High Power Baldur's Gate makes rangers really, really good. This is because animals in the mod are made very powerful, and in a variety of ways; they will serve as great allies if you can charm them. Bears in particular have elemental powers.



    Squirrels explode on death. You can charm them, lead them to an enemy, and then blow them up. Just be prepared to make a run for it.



    Even powerful animals still have poor enough saving throws in the mod that you can charm them.

    I made it so that the ranger Charm Animal ability is by far the best way of charming animals (-1 penalty to save per ranger level), overshadowing the Ring of Animal Friendship and Charm Person or Mammal.

    semiticgodThacoBellNoloir
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,066
    You, not being overpowered doesn't make a class "underpowered and lacking definition" .
    Rangers have fighter thac0,are able to specialise , can dual wield , go stealth and charm animals . It ain't the full PnP package but it's a pretty balanced thing .

    ThacoBell
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,189
    edited November 2018
    DJKajuru said:

    not being overpowered doesn't make a class "underpowered and lacking definition" .

    Let's be honest though: the ranger class stems from a particular moment in the early 80s when some particular fans of fantasy literature designed a class with a particular archetype in mind: Aragorn, Robin Hood, etc. It's a classic example of having a character in mind, and trying to shoehorn a kit or class into that character concept. There's no real reason for rangers to exist; especially once you have stuff like multiclasses and kits, it actually makes more sense for rangers to be specialized fighter/thieves. Especially once you get something like the 3E class/skill rules, there's no reason for the ranger to exist anymore.

    The fact that the class doesn't have a well-defined and flexible niche is inherent in its design. It's always been like that. Not sure there's much to do about it...

    Post edited by subtledoctor on
    SkatanAerakarBelgarathMTHArtona
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,066
    @subtledoctor but the class did gain shape along the years , specially in the Forgotten Realms, so I think it's a bit unfair to judge it based on its initial conception.

    ThacoBellAerakarRAM021
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 983

    Bears have pretty poor saving throws. A black bear for example has a save vs spell of 16. Meaning a bit more than 3 out of every 4 times you use Charm Animal it'll work.

    Black Bear is also the single weakest type of bear there is.

    I didn't want to comment about Rangers being underpowered(though it seems that way to me) but now that the thread name includes "lack definition" then yeah, that was always something that never sat right with me.

    Rangers running around the wilderness - in full plate - and somehow sneak in it - and... are natural dual wielders? How does that tie in? And why Favored Enemy is even a thing? If it's a thing, why can you only pick one instead of one every x levels?

    None of this makes any sense, certainly not in the way Paladin(the Cleric equivalent of Ranger) does.

    Ranger's can't sneak in full plate...

    DJKajuruThacoBellDreadKhanRAM021
  • WatchForWolvesWatchForWolves Member Posts: 170

    Let's be honest though: the ranger class stems from a particular moment in the early 80s when some particular fans of fantasy literature designed a class with a particular archetype in mind: Aragorn, Robin Hood, etc. It's a classic example of having a character in mind, and trying to shoehorn a kit or class into that character concept. There's no real reason for rangers to exist;

    Well, I wouldn't go that far. Paladins are Fighters with a Cleric bent, and Rangers are Fighters with a Druid bent. The institution of a ranger did historically exist, and they really had a job of protecting the countryside, though mostly from poachers. It's easy to see how this concept could be extended to a fantasy setting full of monsters.

    It's just that execution is crap.

    ThacoBellRAM021leeux
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,189

    Let's be honest though: the ranger class stems from a particular moment in the early 80s when some particular fans of fantasy literature designed a class with a particular archetype in mind: Aragorn, Robin Hood, etc. It's a classic example of having a character in mind, and trying to shoehorn a kit or class into that character concept. There's no real reason for rangers to exist;

    Well, I wouldn't go that far. Paladins are Fighters with a Cleric bent, and Rangers are Fighters with a Druid bent. The institution of a ranger did historically exist, and they really had a job of protecting the countryside, though mostly from poachers. It's easy to see how this concept could be extended to a fantasy setting full of monsters.
    Fighter + certain skills or fighter/thief work perfectly well to fill that niche.

    Paladins are notably distinct because they are holy warriors. Joe Fighter can't just decide to be a paladin, if he doesn't have the holy favor and supernatural abilities granted by a god. Rangers are largely defined by tactics, skills, ethics, motivation, etc. All of which could be adopted by Joe Fighter given a sufficiently flexible ruleset.

    But they get spells! Sure, you could play up the connection to druids and nature, but a fighter/druid works perfectly well in that role. "Well okay," you say, "it's sort of the theme and supernatural abilities of a fighter/druid, plus the tactics and skills of a particular brand of fighter/thief." Fine, but how small are we going to make this niche? Seems like it's starting to vanish. It certainly no longer applies to Aragorn or Robin Hood.

    And how do kits fit into this? Why does an Archer get nature spells? What about a Stalker? What the heck does it mean to be an "urban ranger?" The concept is really fragile - pull too hard at this or that thread, and it starts to unravel.

    SkatanArtona
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25

    Let's be honest though: the ranger class stems from a particular moment in the early 80s when some particular fans of fantasy literature designed a class with a particular archetype in mind: Aragorn, Robin Hood, etc. It's a classic example of having a character in mind, and trying to shoehorn a kit or class into that character concept. There's no real reason for rangers to exist;

    Well, I wouldn't go that far. Paladins are Fighters with a Cleric bent, and Rangers are Fighters with a Druid bent. The institution of a ranger did historically exist, and they really had a job of protecting the countryside, though mostly from poachers. It's easy to see how this concept could be extended to a fantasy setting full of monsters.
    Fighter + certain skills or fighter/thief work perfectly well to fill that niche.

    Paladins are notably distinct because they are holy warriors. Joe Fighter can't just decide to be a paladin, if he doesn't have the holy favor and supernatural abilities granted by a god. Rangers are largely defined by tactics, skills, ethics, motivation, etc. All of which could be adopted by Joe Fighter given a sufficiently flexible ruleset.

    But they get spells! Sure, you could play up the connection to druids and nature, but a fighter/druid works perfectly well in that role. "Well okay," you say, "it's sort of the theme and supernatural abilities of a fighter/druid, plus the tactics and skills of a particular brand of fighter/thief." Fine, but how small are we going to make this niche? Seems like it's starting to vanish. It certainly no longer applies to Aragorn or Robin Hood.

    And how do kits fit into this? Why does an Archer get nature spells? What about a Stalker? What the heck does it mean to be an "urban ranger?" The concept is really fragile - pull too hard at this or that thread, and it starts to unravel.
    Isn't a lot of that also true for Paladins and Fighter/Clerics though? I know that there is a strict Paladin ethos and they always serve good etc, but what would the difference between a Paladin of Tyr and a Fighter/Cleric of Tyr? Is it much more of a difference than a Ranger and Fighter/Druid or Fighter/Thief?

    Rangers seem to me to be warriors with a powerful connection to nature and who serve to protect that. I guess an urban ranger would be protecting a community (e.g. Robin Hood stealing from the taxman to protect the poor, or the ranger stronghold protecting a village).

    Agreed that the Archer specialisation would be a more natural fit as a fighter kit rather than than a ranger one, but presumably that's meant to play into the elven ranger archetype and probably also because they were struggling to find additional kits to fit with rangers.

    Maybe Rangers and Paladins should both be kits of some 'holy warrior' class who serves a greater purpose and channels power from that, whether it be nature or divine? (And as a result of the need to serve that purpose have limited weapon specialisation and are granted special powers).

    ThacoBellNoobaccaRAM021
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,530

    Rangers seem to me to be warriors with a powerful connection to nature and who serve to protect that. I guess an urban ranger would be protecting a community (e.g. Robin Hood stealing from the taxman to protect the poor, or the ranger stronghold protecting a village).

    TV has taught me that being an Urban Ranger is primarily about wearing a sweet uniform.

    ThacoBellBalrog99
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,891

    Rangers seem to me to be warriors with a powerful connection to nature and who serve to protect that. I guess an urban ranger would be protecting a community (e.g. Robin Hood stealing from the taxman to protect the poor, or the ranger stronghold protecting a village).

    TV has taught me that being an Urban Ranger is primarily about wearing a sweet uniform.

    Damn you @semiticgod now you've got me wanting to restart, yet again, as Ranger Rick!

    ThacoBellDreadKhan
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,853
    Well, regarding the ranger archtype, I know in 3.x I would always use ranger levels for a character that is a tracker/hunter type, be he bounty hunter, woodsman or a warrior with an emphasis on stealth or wilderness skills, like climb, swim and jump. Rangers in 3.0 were a real ****show, as they weren't very generous skillwise, and tracking eats up 1 skill area. 3.5 rangers could be a bit like a fighter/thief, but neither has any tracking skills or divine magic, and rangers were given some special abilities only useable in natural environs, such as the best stealth without a prestige class, while lacking the sneak attack power that would overpower this.

    Now, if we toss urban rangers and wilderness rogues into the mix, you could argue decently for sure that a wilderness rogue/fighter is a bit too similar to ranger, and an urban ranger is indeed pretty similar to a fighter/thief. That said, I actually built warriors with levels in both urban and normal ranger, and they were pretty cool imho. They were more or less bounty hunters, so they needed town skills and rural skills to get by.

    Regarding 2nd ed rangers, the BG implementation is probably a bit weaker than most fighter choices, imho Wiz Slayer is the worst warrior, followed by vanilla ranger and Beastmaster, but both Archer and to a lesser extent Stalker are quite good. Stalker is solidly crummy in late BG1, when you're rocking Studded Leather vs Sarevok. :/ there are potions for that though.

    RAM021
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 983
    The division between Gods and Nature Gods seems weird to begin with.

    From what I understand it's less weird in other settings, where druidic magic isn't necessarily tied to a god or religious order like a cleric's, but if they're both religious in nature then what makes nature religions special?

    I'm gonna put my hat in with the other guy and say there should really be just one "Holy Warrior" class, that you'd roleplay differently depending on what god you followed. Could be very nature driven with the right god but it wouldn't have to be.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,189
    DreadKhan said:

    3.5 rangers could be a bit like a fighter/thief, but neither has any tracking skills or divine magic,

    Yeah but, in the abstract at least, doesn't it make more sense to just make Tracking a skill or feat for fighters/thieves, and have the character take a couple levels of druid? A whole new base isn't needed to cover that conceptual gap.

    DreadKhan
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,853
    Well, tracking is a feat that requires a skill to be substantially invested in to be useful, but it runs on wisdom, a dumpstat for most rogues, and it isn't a class skill for either. It might be a great solution to make the Tracking feat grant Survival as a class skill, since its a bit narrow as it is, and everybody seeking Track pretty much takes a Ranger level if possible.

    Seeing as magic isn't much a part of Robin Hood or Aragorn's skillset, the only issue would be having slightly worse BaB, but even 4 levels of rogue amounts to 1 lost BaB, which is rather unnoticeable, while offering a fair bit of versatility. You really don't need many Druid levels to match most of the magic of a Ranger too.

    I really liked the idea of generic classes from 3.5 Unearthed Arcana. All class abilities become feats, and there are 3 classes only, a spellcaster, a warrior, and an expert. You get to decide most of the character's skills/choose which saves they are good at, and for the caster, you'd pick divine or arcane. Its possible to build overpowered characters, but I like the idea boiling down 100 or so pages of Players Handbook into 3 classes.

    AerakarRAM021
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,066

    DreadKhan said:

    3.5 rangers could be a bit like a fighter/thief, but neither has any tracking skills or divine magic,

    Yeah but, in the abstract at least, doesn't it make more sense to just make Tracking a skill or feat for fighters/thieves, and have the character take a couple levels of druid? A whole new base isn't needed to cover that conceptual gap.
    You could say the same for any subclass, such as paladins ,bards, sorcerers, 3.5 warlocks etc.
    I don't get it. They officialized a class, then they made a complete class handbook (AD&D) , most campaign settings have orders,guilds and strict codes for that class , and in 2018 you guys come with "it didn't have to be a class".

    ThacoBellRAM021
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,189
    edited November 2018
    DJKajuru said:

    DreadKhan said:

    3.5 rangers could be a bit like a fighter/thief, but neither has any tracking skills or divine magic,

    Yeah but, in the abstract at least, doesn't it make more sense to just make Tracking a skill or feat for fighters/thieves, and have the character take a couple levels of druid? A whole new base isn't needed to cover that conceptual gap.
    You could say the same for any subclass, such as paladins ,bards, sorcerers, 3.5 warlocks etc.
    I don't get it. They officialized a class, then they made a complete class handbook (AD&D) , most campaign settings have orders,guilds and strict codes for that class , and in 2018 you guys come with "it didn't have to be a class".
    EDIT - never mind...

    Post edited by subtledoctor on
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 983
    DJKajuru said:

    DreadKhan said:

    3.5 rangers could be a bit like a fighter/thief, but neither has any tracking skills or divine magic,

    Yeah but, in the abstract at least, doesn't it make more sense to just make Tracking a skill or feat for fighters/thieves, and have the character take a couple levels of druid? A whole new base isn't needed to cover that conceptual gap.
    You could say the same for any subclass, such as paladins ,bards, sorcerers, 3.5 warlocks etc.
    I don't get it. They officialized a class, then they made a complete class handbook (AD&D) , most campaign settings have orders,guilds and strict codes for that class , and in 2018 you guys come with "it didn't have to be a class".
    It's all makebelieve. There's no point when any of this stuff is really set in stone, and it's harmless to talk about the way things could be.

    Not like anybody's starting up a petition or anything.

    DJKajuru
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,596
    I read a good post a couple of years ago in this forum where a guy discussed the difference between class and profession, where some classes are more like a profession and some are more like a class. I don't remember so much details, but IMHO the ranger seems more like a profession that a rogue or a fighter would have rather than a class in itself. Or you completely remove professions and have just one dimension that is class, which in effect, I think D&D kinda have with all kits (and archetypes for ie PF, if I understand it correctly).

    Would be cool to play a setting where a character is the combo of class and profession, so to be a Ranger you would either use a rogue or warrior class and then add on a Ranger professions and the base class would then add class features to it so that a Fighter-Ranger would be quite different from a Rogue-Ranger, the former the better fighter and the latter the better tracker/sneaky. Personally I don't like the druid part of ranger at all, it just doesn't fit since a Druid fights for nature against its attackers and the ranger kinda does the opposite, fights for 'civilization' against nature (ie defending a village from attacks from wildlife). So why would then a nature deity grant them Divine powers?

    Anyways, just some random ramblings.

    JuliusBorisovArtonaRAM021
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