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Are rangers underpowered and lack definition?

13

Comments

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 16,760
    Skatan said:

    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).

    This is that discussion: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/43659/what-is-your-class ;)

    SkatanDreadKhanRAM021
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,834
    edited November 2018
    Skatan said:

    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.

    That's a good way to put it.

    Originally kits were supposed to be something like professions. That's what you saw in early versions in the Complete Fighter and Thief books: is your thief a burglar, or a scout, or an assassin? Is your fighter a soldier, or a gladiator? They all had basically the same abilities - very little of BG-style "kit abilities." The most extreme example of this was in the Complete Cleric's book, where the kits were like "Noble Cleric," "Peasant Cleric," "Middle-Class Cleric" :lol:

    Abd of course there was no reason these kinds of kits couldn't work for different classes. Both fighters and thieves could be Swashbucklers, for instance.

    I keep toying with the idea of making a mod where kits are more universal - why not make Barbarian available to clerics and thieves? Why not make Assassin available to fighters and druids? Why not turn Ranger into a kit for fighters, thieves, and druids?

    And a couple of us have been talking about making a single universal class, and have the player choose abilities - fighting, thief skills, divine or arcane spellcasting, Vancian or spontaneous spellcasting... anything, really - as feats or perks that you choose when you level up. It could be interesting... though probably more work than anyone has time for.

    Skatan
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 507

    Skatan said:

    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.

    That's a good way to put it.

    Originally kits were supposed to be something like professions. That's what you saw in early versions in the Complete Fighter and Thief books: is your thief a burglar, or a scout, or an assassin? Is your fighter a soldier, or a gladiator? They all had basically the same abilities - very little of BG-style "kit abilities." The most extreme example of this was in the Complete Cleric's book, where the kits were like "Noble Cleric," "Peasant Cleric," "Middle-Class Cleric" :lol:

    Abd of course there was no reason these kinds of kits couldn't work for different classes. Both fighters and thieves could be Swashbucklers, for instance.

    I keep toying with the idea of making a mod where kits are more universal - why not make Barbarian available to clerics and thieves? Why not make Assassin available to fighters and druids? Why not turn Ranger into a kit for fighters, thieves, and druids?

    And a couple of us have been talking about making a single universal class, and have the player choose abilities - fighting, thief skills, divine or arcane spellcasting, Vancian or spontaneous spellcasting... anything, really - as feats or perks that you choose when you level up. It could be interesting... though probably more work than anyone has time for.
    There are rpg system without classes. You have a blank page as character and choose everything, and everything is nearly customizable. Like open d6 system.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 11,292
    Skatan said:

    (yes, I know noone use the word "kudos" anymore, but I'm old!)

    Yeah, the kids say "kooders" now. It's one of those words that manages to sound cute and obscene at the same time.

    Skatan
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,629

    Skatan said:

    (yes, I know noone use the word "kudos" anymore, but I'm old!)

    Yeah, the kids say "kooders" now. It's one of those words that manages to sound cute and obscene at the same time.
    Sounds a bit like that word I've heard in american movies/series many times, I think it's called "cooters"? A child's phrase to indicate they can get afflicted by being near someone of the other gender, I think.

    .. and that phrase really sealed my position as an ancient man trying to understand youth culture.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 574
    Skatan said:

    Skatan said:

    (yes, I know noone use the word "kudos" anymore, but I'm old!)

    Yeah, the kids say "kooders" now. It's one of those words that manages to sound cute and obscene at the same time.
    Sounds a bit like that word I've heard in american movies/series many times, I think it's called "cooters"? A child's phrase to indicate they can get afflicted by being near someone of the other gender, I think.

    .. and that phrase really sealed my position as an ancient man trying to understand youth culture.
    I think you're thinking of "Cooties", but maybe they say it "cooters" in some places, or maybe it's changed since I was a kid.

    Cooter can also be a bit of a crude term for a woman's genitals.

    SkatanThacoBellDreadKhan
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,629


    I think you're thinking of "Cooties", but maybe they say it "cooters" in some places, or maybe it's changed since I was a kid.

    Cooter can also be a bit of a crude term for a woman's genitals.

    Yes, that's the correct term. The first one, I mean. But let's get back on topic :)

    semiticgod
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,574
    ...so, do Rangers have cooties? How exactly does this work?

    Regarding a 1 class system, you'd need to give out quite a few choices for each level, I would think if it was based on 3.x, you'd need at least 3 feats per level roughly, with feats that grant extra hp, bab, skill points, spells, to say nothing of class abilities. I am assuming the Commoner class would be the base class I guess. Wouldn't that get cumbersome vs just taking a level in a standardized class? Not that its a bad idea, it could generate very unique characters I expect.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,870
    Personaly, I like having so many and varied classes. Give me a dfined role with options to customize within the role. Having a single "class" that is customized overtime sounds either too complicated or boring.

    RAM021
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,834
    edited November 2018
    I don't think it would make sense to try to shoehorn it into the 3.5 system. Just use what we have already in the engine:
    - Everyone is in the mage/thief class. That gives everyone access to thief skills, if they choose to enable them, and spellcasting, if they choose to enable it.
    - Massively consolidate the weapon proficiencies to just 3-4 categories: simple weapons, martial weapons, ranged weapons. Everyone is on the rogue thac0 table but weapon specialization gives you +2 thac0 and +1 damage with each rank, so if you spend the feats you can get down from 10 thac0 to 0, like a proper fighter.
    - Now we have ~17 proficiencies that can be replaced with other feats that can progress from 1 to 5 ranks.
    - The HLA tables can be used for feats that you only take once. Give everyone one proficiency feat and one HLA feat each level.
    - At 12th or 15th level, you could choose something like a prestige class, based on choices you've already made. (This is only necessary under the hood to clear out the HLA table.)

    The devil's in the details, of course, but it would certainly be possible to do something like this. For a ranger, you would take a bunch of ranks in simple and ranged weapons, a bunch of ranks in the stealth skill, and one or two ranks in druidic spellcasting. For a bard, you would take ranks in some thief skills and arcane spellcasting and the bard song feat, but when it is time to choose a prestige class, you would not choose one of the ones that gives access to high-level spells.

    And yeah, generating unique characters would basically be the point. Standard classes are fine, but there is always the desire to create characters that have characteristics a little bit in between. 3.5 went a good way toward scratching that itch, at the cost of making character generation all about finding the strongest "builds," which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Skatan
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,574
    Sorry, I tend to put everything into 3.x because it is most intuitive for me, and the progressions are so formulaic. I agree if you wanted to try that with the infinity engine the 2nd ed games are the way to go.

    Ha, 3.x definitely if indirectly encouraged powergaming, and the CR system especially at higher levels really punished you if you didn't design a strong character.

    Now, an issue I see is hit dice... if the 'standard' is the mage d4, do you invest feats to improve it? Also, would it be possible to build a character with fewer spell slots (while still gaining higher level slots, maybe 1 or 2 slots per level) while taking a higher THAC0, or would the spells be like buying 1 more level as the relevant caster, ie 5 caster feats makes you a 5th level wizard or cleric? Probably that I suppose.

    Do cleric and druid types still gain wis bonus spells, and any way to work in sorcerers?

  • How does ranger's falling work in the engine? Is it possible/easy to disable it in a kit? Similar for the alignment restriction: I would assume it's only checked at character creation and likely not hard-coded but using a universal mechanism to access a class-defined list?

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,834

    How does ranger's falling work in the engine? Is it possible/easy to disable it in a kit? Similar for the alignment restriction: I would assume it's only checked at character creation and likely not hard-coded but using a universal mechanism to access a class-defined list?

    You fall if your rep goes too low, I believe. Under 8 or something? You can't get un-fallen except in one place in SoA.

    In patch 1.3 and earlier falling was totally hard-coded. But since 2.0 it's pretty easy to make kits that don't fall. In Faiths & Powers we make "true" rangers subject to falling, because it's part of how they are defined, but we removed falling and loosened the alignment restrictions for Archers, Stalkers, Mage Hunters, and others. (And similar for paladins: instead of being limited to lawful-stupid paladins and superbad blackguards, we can have a range of holy champions dedicated to deities across the alignment spectrum.)

    Grond0SkatanThacoBell
  • NoloirNoloir Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 285
    edited December 2018

    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.
    From the AD&D Handbook 2nd Edition Rangers are predominantly defined by the characteristics of self reliance and survival. A particular example for this archetype is "An orphan who had his village marauded and burned by bandits is forced to fend for himself for years within the wilderness. One fateful day a Ranger discovers this forlorn youth, teaches him the ways of the Ranger. The youth takes his newly acquired skills to exact revenge upon the marauders who murdered his family and defend nearby local forest villages from suffering the same fate."

    As for an "urban ranger" they're basically described of environmentally conscious Law Enforcers commissioned by Kings and Dukes to protect the land....From the AD&D Manual "Certain rangers, such as Wardens and Sea Rangers, may be charged with enforcing the laws of the local ruler. They arrest and punish poachers, patrol the lands they guard, and sometimes negotiate land use agreements with farmers, loggers, and others. If a royal decree protects a particular animal species, the ranger may be charged with enforcing it. Some rangers have the authority to act as judge and jury, allowing them to try cases on the spot and pass sentences as they see fit. Fines may be levied for minor infractions, such as trespassing, while more severe crimes, such as killing an animal from the king=s private stock or picking fruit from the king's tree, may be punishable by death. In such cases, the ranger will have a charter or royal writ from the ruler."

    Stalkers kind of suit this role as members commisioned by a ruling faction to stop the trafficking of endagered animal species through cities. Animals that might potential bring diseases that could ravage the community and devastate local ecosystems!

    Post edited by Noloir on
    DJKajuruThacoBellAerakarRAM021
  • NoloirNoloir Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 285
    edited December 2018
    If base kit Rangers gained high innate elemental resistances up to a max of 65% and resistance to all types of combat damage up to a maximum of 30-35% (slashing, piercing, missle, and blunt) in spirit with this classes hardiness and constitution it'd have a niche. Even if the combat resistance is a bit much the elemental resistances give it a unique advantage and flavor other classes lack in combat. Granted, potions can make up for that which is why I suggest the combat damage resistances as well but with certain traps and spells like fireball prevalent in BGEE Ranger can serve a unique roll as an elemental damage tank. Justified by his/her years of experience in the rugged wild.

    Danacm
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 507
    Noloir said:

    If base kit Rangers gained high innate elemental resistances up to a max of 65% and resistance to all types of combat damage up to a maximum of 30-35% (slashing, piercing, missle, and blunt) in spirit with this classes hardiness and constitution it'd have a niche. Even if the combat resistance is a bit much the elemental resistances give it a unique advantage and flavor other classes lack in combat. Granted, potions can make up for that which is why I suggest the combat damage resistances as well but with certain traps and spells like fireball prevalent in BGEE Ranger can serve a unique roll as an elemental damage tank. Justified by his/her years of experience in the rugged wild.

    Yeah, i can imagine a 10% elemental resistant per 5 levels and poison and disease resistant as well. Top of that 2 save vs death at lvl 1. I dont know about physical resist, or maybe d12 hp for the hard life in the wild, but its very likely to barbarian features. But yes that will be anotherarchetype, its like a barbarian-survivir hybrid. But i like the idea.

  • NoloirNoloir Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 285
    Danacm said:

    Noloir said:

    If base kit Rangers gained high innate elemental resistances up to a max of 65% and resistance to all types of combat damage up to a maximum of 30-35% (slashing, piercing, missle, and blunt) in spirit with this classes hardiness and constitution it'd have a niche. Even if the combat resistance is a bit much the elemental resistances give it a unique advantage and flavor other classes lack in combat. Granted, potions can make up for that which is why I suggest the combat damage resistances as well but with certain traps and spells like fireball prevalent in BGEE Ranger can serve a unique roll as an elemental damage tank. Justified by his/her years of experience in the rugged wild.

    Yeah, i can imagine a 10% elemental resistant per 5 levels and poison and disease resistant as well. Top of that 2 save vs death at lvl 1. I dont know about physical resist, or maybe d12 hp for the hard life in the wild, but its very likely to barbarian features. But yes that will be anotherarchetype, its like a barbarian-survivir hybrid. But i like the idea.
    Read somewhere that good Barbarians and Rangers are kindred spirits in mamy cases when it comes to roaming the land and being societal outliers so I feel like it makes sense to ground their identity in being resistant to natural/elemental hardships.

  • NoloirNoloir Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 285
    @Danacm Also, instead of physical damage resistance maybe give Ranger the innate spell Resistance to Fire the same way that Paladin has Protection from Evil. As a Ranger it'd make sense for them to be responsible for putting out forest fires. Giving them Prot from Fire with the Charm Animal ability will give it more flavor and uniqueness.

    Danacm
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,815
    Noloir said:

    If base kit Rangers gained high innate elemental resistances up to a max of 65% and resistance to all types of combat damage up to a maximum of 30-35% (slashing, piercing, missle, and blunt) in spirit with this classes hardiness and constitution it'd have a niche. Even if the combat resistance is a bit much the elemental resistances give it a unique advantage and flavor other classes lack in combat. Granted, potions can make up for that which is why I suggest the combat damage resistances as well but with certain traps and spells like fireball prevalent in BGEE Ranger can serve a unique roll as an elemental damage tank. Justified by his/her years of experience in the rugged wild.

    Resisting hard weather is different from resisting elemental damage. By pnp rules creatures that can't die from extreme cold or drought (such as undead) can still be hurt by cold or fire damage.

    I see your point of making rangers greater survivors, but making class balanced class kits is more of add this/ nerf that logic than justifying a background with new skills. A ranger who can resist cold would have penalties in different climates , for instance.

    ThacoBellAerakarRAM021
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 507
    Because ranger is not just not equal but inferior to fighter or paladin, i always say ir needs some buffing.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,834
    edited December 2018
    Noloir said:

    From the AD&D Handbook 2nd Edition Rangers are predominantly defined by the characteristics of self reliance and survival.

    Again, that seems more like a character trait than skills associated with a profession. Contrast this with weapon mastery for fighters, thief skills for rogues, spellcasting for mages, turn undead for clerics, etc. This is my while point: the traits originally conceived as defining the class/profession of rangers were really more focused on the traits of the characters envisioned by the class's creators. And this led to conceptual problems that persist to this day, ~40 years later! Look at the recent brouhaha about 5E rangers: I submit that, in part at least, it stems from this original conceptual problem.
    Noloir said:

    From the AD&D Manual "Certain rangers, such as Wardens and Sea Rangers, may be charged with enforcing the laws of the local ruler. They arrest and punish poachers, patrol the lands they guard, and sometimes negotiate land use agreements with farmers, loggers, and others. If a royal decree protects a particular animal species, the ranger may be charged with enforcing it. Some rangers have the authority to act as judge and jury, allowing them to try cases on the spot and pass sentences as they see fit. Fines may be levied for minor infractions, such as trespassing, while more severe crimes, such as killing an animal from the king=s private stock or picking fruit from the king's tree, may be punishable by death. In such cases, the ranger will have a charter or royal writ from the ruler."

    Stalkers kind of suit this role as members commisioned by a ruling faction

    All well and good but then where does the spellcasting come from? If the game system has multiclassing then why doesn't a fighter/thief fit this role perfectly well? Why make a whole new class when you already have that?

    Why is Coran a fighter/thief? He has mastery with bows and is in the wilderness hunting monsters. Sounds like an Archer to me. (Maybe a 3E-style one with loosened ethical restrictions.) Why is Valygar a ranger? He hates magic and seems more focused on nonmagical self-reliance. Sounds like a fighter/thief to me.

    It just seems to me that the ranger class, to justify existing as a separate class, should have a little more elbow room. Call it something like a warrior scout, and make "Ranger" a kit in that class. Or just make rangers kits in the fghter/thief class! One ("Ranger") would have some nature magic; one would have special bonuses with missike weapons; one would have shadow-y/stalker-ish abilities; one would have an affinity with wild animals; etc.
    Noloir said:

    If base kit Rangers gained high innate elemental resistances

    Love this - I'm totally stealing this idea. :sunglasses: Would have to be balanced for the stupid BG2 Monty Haul loot, but that should be possible.

    Elemental resistance, and, say, advantage on saving throws versus poison/disease/nausea/sleep? Those sound like good bonuses for rangers.

    DJKajuru
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,815
    Danacm said:

    Because ranger is not just not equal but inferior to fighter or paladin, i always say ir needs some buffing.

    Same armor and weapon proficiencies, free dual wield and skill in stealth. Why are they inferior?

    ThacoBellAerakarRAM021
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,815
    @subtledoctor I still don't see the logic in trying to make ranger not a legitimate class. Should sorcerer go back to being a mage kit,then? Monk be a fighter kit? Druid be a cleric kit and so on?

    ThacoBellRAM021
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 665
    edited December 2018
    DJKajuru said:

    Danacm said:

    Because ranger is not just not equal but inferior to fighter or paladin, i always say ir needs some buffing.

    Same armor and weapon proficiencies, free dual wield and skill in stealth. Why are they inferior?
    A exp penalty that is up to 20% per level (Paladins in the same boat).

    I don't think it's a very big deal (24 vs 21 at 4M XP, or 40 vs 34 at 8M XP), with practically no level difference through BG1 or SOD, and obviously less than 3 level difference through most of SoA. I think it's that fighters are far more flexible about dual/multi classing than rangers, since rangers only have one option without mods.

    FWIW, I view rangers as a viably distinct class. They made 3 kits for it even.

    I will agree with Subtledoctor that there is a lot of overlap between F/T and Ranger though, and distinction lies in non-major class features.

    They're both fully capable fighter archetypes that can hide. But the F/T practices more thief abilities with a looser personal moral code, while the ranger has higher standards with access to some divine magic.

    I think Valygar SHOULD be a F/T, but they have him in as a stalker because the kit has mage spells and apparently his entire family must be mages because his great, great, greatx20 grandfather was a superlich (allegedly).

    RAM021
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,815

    DJKajuru said:

    Danacm said:

    Because ranger is not just not equal but inferior to fighter or paladin, i always say ir needs some buffing.

    Same armor and weapon proficiencies, free dual wield and skill in stealth. Why are they inferior?
    A exp penalty that is up to 20% per level (Paladins in the same boat).

    I don't think it's a very big deal (24 vs 21 at 4M XP, or 40 vs 34 at 8M XP), with practically no level difference through BG1 or SOD, and obviously less than 3 level difference through most of SoA. I think it's that fighters are far more flexible about dual/multi classing than rangers, since rangers only have one option without mods.

    FWIW, I view rangers as a viably distinct class. They made 3 kits for it even.

    I will agree with Subtledoctor that there is a lot of overlap between F/T and Ranger though, and distinction lies in non-major class features.

    They're both fully capable fighter archetypes that can hide. But the F/T practices more thief abilities with a looser personal moral code, while the ranger has higher standards with access to some divine magic.

    I think Valygar SHOULD be a F/T, but they have him in as a stalker because the kit has mage spells and apparently his entire family must be mages because his great, great, greatx20 grandfather was a superlich (allegedly).
    Well, XP progression differences is an AD&D thing, and it only works until a certain level and then it becomes linear (300k per level after level 9 in case of ranger and paladin). If it makes them inferior then it it makes most classes inferior, since level differences affect the whole system, from bards to mages and clerics or druids, though.

    As dual classing, people might crash into the same discussion since a ranger/cleric has more skills than a fighter/cleric (which simply gives them different roles in combat, or perhaps not) , and probably doesn't make them mechanicaly better fighter/thieves or fighter/mages but that falls into the dual or multiclassing merits of AD&D, not on rhe ranger class itself.

    Valygar follows the stalker kit which is an official ADnD kit (even though its got some changes in the game) , which is basically a lonely urban ranger who works as a scout or spy, but they're still rangers with a ranger code and everything. It fits Valygar's personality, background and martial+scouting skills.

    ThacoBellAerakarRAM021
  • NoloirNoloir Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 285
    @subtledoctor To top it off Rangers can get an added +1 Proficiency in Axes and Spears being woodsman it resonates with their theme. Though when it comes to Archers these proficiences should be stripped.

    It's odd. Weapons like longsword, bow, and slings are given a niche among elves, and halflings respectively. It'd make sense to expand the concept to other weapons as well.

  • NoloirNoloir Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 285
    DJKajuru said:

    @subtledoctor I still don't see the logic in trying to make ranger not a legitimate class. Should sorcerer go back to being a mage kit,then? Monk be a fighter kit? Druid be a cleric kit and so on?

    It'd be better to give them their own identity like being elemental resistant tanks naturally proficient in axes, spears, and clubs (wood-based weapons for woodsman) rather than removing them altogether.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 507
    edited December 2018
    DJKajuru said:

    Danacm said:

    Because ranger is not just not equal but inferior to fighter or paladin, i always say ir needs some buffing.

    Same armor and weapon proficiencies, free dual wield and skill in stealth. Why are they inferior?
    Cause the bad spell selection,the hide without backstab, charm animal is all nice but nothing more than just minor flavor, actually not enough useful. The weapon mastery-grandmastery and faster progression is better than the ranger tools. And in a game that mainly a battle game, the fight is where we need abilities not the charm animal.
    Maybe if they has a same xp progression it could be somewhat equal the two.
    @subtledoctor has a point about fighter/thief as ranger role.

    Skatan
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