Let's Make Rangers Cool Again

The place to discuss Classic Fantasy; rules, classes, treasure, loot, lutes, ranks, monsters and mayhem. Come and share your experience, seek clarifications on rules, and discuss dungeoneering d100 style.
Joined: June 6th, 2016, 5:05 am

April 25th, 2018, 6:03 am #11

raleel wrote:
alex_greene wrote:Rangers are trackers, hunters, gamekeepers. So they'd know the flora and fauna inside and out. They'd know the lay of the land, the resources available, the places to avoid.

Huge levels of skills such as Locale, Survival, Stealth and Track are pretty much a given. Lore (Herblore), Lore (local wildlife species such as bear, deer, cats, birds) and make them Mystics if you've got Mythras. Some of their talents make their skills ridiculously easy, and they could really do with walking silently in their environment and leaving no trace, always knowing where you are and where your prey is, being able to go without food and water for days, being able to surprise anyone in the woods while never being surprised in turn, and being able to exude an aura that brings all but the most disease-crazed animals to heel.
The ranger in classic fantasy is modeled on the 1e ranger, so it’s not burdened by all this talk of nature stuff! ;)

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That's actually my issue with the CF Ranger. As indicated, it is specifically stated to be Greymoor Ranger but it's basically a nature paladin class. You have Piety, Channeling, an Oath to chivalric do-good order to help people out. Sure, those rangers should be seen in the game but I was thinking more of the AD&D Ranger... military scout/tracker with some cool abilities that (insert handwave) could be magical and maybe not. I don't really have an issue with the magic just the required Oath, the paladin-like approach, and wanted to focus more on the wilderness expert side of it. That being said, I'm looking at Common/Rune Magic as a replacement for some of the Druidic stuff so it's not going completely mundane. 

But I do want to create some options. I've been kicking some ideas around and will post them once coagulation and composition kicks in.

Joined: June 6th, 2016, 5:05 am

June 13th, 2018, 6:29 am #12

All right, work kicked my butt for two months and I realized I had done nothing on it since then. So I banged this out this afternoon. It's a very rough draft but a vision of where I'd like to go with the class. Feel free to denigrate. I shall continue working on it. Note that [brackets] are footnotes.

Please feel free to dissect. As I mentioned, I love Rangers and am hoping not to Mary Sue this.

In the dark wilderness of these times exists a solitary individual, a wanderer and a protector of the boundary between wilderness and civilization. Some of them were raised in these wilds, others were drawn to it after a lifetime of scouting and pathfinding, and still more were called to it from all kinds of backgrounds. The Ranger is a wilderness protector, a sentinel on the borderlands and a trailblazer into the lost wilderness of the lands.
Their outlook varies greatly with some working side by side with the expanding borders of civilization by showing the colonists how to appreciate the bounty of the wilderness, assisting them with prospering while respecting the wilderness. Others work with the armies of the civilized world by leading their columns deep into the abandoned wilderlands. Seeking out food, water, and the ever-encroaching enemy. Still others are night-clad avengers of despoliation. From mischief[1] to mayhem and murder, the Ranger is a deadly and relentless foe against those who would carelessly destroy the bounty of Nature. These Rangers become the very image of their rage as they strike back against the uncompromising and see civilized folks as invaders into their territory. Arrows in the dark that never miss their mark, destroyed supplies, wrecked tools, traps, heightened aggression from the local wildlife… all of these are actions that a Ranger may take in defense of their ‘home.’
The greatest despoilers of all are the beastmen races: the goblin, orc, ogre, troll and other bestial humanoids that set upon the wilderness like a plague of locusts and leave nothing behind. They kill animals for the sheer joy and no other group of sentients compares to the level of violence that a Ranger will mete out to these destroyers.
Eventually, these unsung sentinels become recognized by Nature itself. As they serve a mistress that does not make demands, their path is often chosen by them in how to best serve the passions that burn inside of them.
Alignment:[2] Lawful or Neutral (never Chaotic)
Required Passion: Loyalty (Nature)[3]
Passions: Loves Nature, Respectful of Nature[4], Red In Tooth and Claw, Duty, Sentinel, Loyalty (Territory), Loyalty (Rangers), Loyalty (Civilization)
Standard Skills: Athletics*, Combat Style (Ranger)*, Endurance*, First Aid, Perception*, Stealth, Swim
Professional Skills: Animal Training*, Area Knowledge (any), Lore (Naturalism)*, Navigation*, Survival*, Track
Additional Ranked Skills: Boating, Craft (Hunter/Gatherer),
Available Combat Traits: Skirmishing, Ranged Marksman, Longshot, Do or Die, Excellent Footwork, Blind Fighting, Reload Drill
See Ranger, p.60 CFMRB.
Ranger Sign (INT+INT)(or Loyalty?)
Over the centuries, the Rangers have adopted a fairly flexible woodcraft code for hazards, trails, past visits and to connect with other Rangers. These are placed in locations that the Ranger constantly is looking for. A Ranger automatically spots a Wild Sign unless it has been disturbed or destroyed. Any other individual can neither find the Sign or comprehend it when shown. The types and locations of these Signs are dictated by lore passed down in the oral tradition. There are a great many variables that confound anyone seeking to find or intercept these Signs.[5]
            Wild Sign is fairly old and established but its variability causes difficulty from region to region. The Ranger must spend a month in an area to fully comprehend the messaging. Otherwise, the Ranger takes 1-3 degrees of difficulty based on terrain type (how different from her own) and distance from her locale.
-For example, in the Clagspike Mountains, Jenna the Ranger is walking through the wilderness and spots a hawthorn tree growing on the east-facing side of the hill. This is one of the preferred locations for a Sign by the local Rangers. Sure enough, Jenna walks a dozen paces toward the sun and finds a small rock with a red and black arrow crossed and a series of dots below the paint. [Orc warband.][approximately 60.] From the direction of the painted arrows, she now knows that an orc warband is up ahead about 3-4 miles away and it has nearly sixty members!
See Ranger p.62 CFMRB.
Secrets of the Wild (POW+CHA)[6]
Passed down by word of mouth, taught over campfires on lonely moors, the Secrets of the Rangers are a tradition that has lasted for centuries. Each ranger seeks to gather and pass along this knowledge. Many Rangers know only a handful of these wilderness charms. Once the loose fellowship has accepted another, they induct another into the Secrets of the Wild.
-The Ranger may learn the Secrets of the Wild (Low Magic) professional skill from another Ranger. This requires training and the usual expenditure of an experience roll.
-A teacher will often provide a student Ranger with a number of Secrets equal d2+1 with a combined Magnitude of d3+3.
-Additional Secrets must be obtained from meeting, training and working with other Rangers.
Available Spells:
Beastcall (any), Cleanse, Coordination, Deflect, Dry, Dullblade, Extinguish, Find (Arrows, Livestock, Plant, Animal), Firearrow, Heal, Ignite, Mimic, Mobility, Pathway, Pet, Pierce, Potion (Herbal), Preserve, Repair, Speedart, Vigour, Warmth
-Beast Ward (hunting bones)
At Rank II, the Ranger may also choose one of the following packages:[7]
-5 experience rolls and 2 month training from another Ranger are required for accessing one of the following packages.
-The combat trait is included in the cost of the package. All other abilities must be purchased separately.
-Specific abilities require (n) experience rolls and 1 month per (n) after the package has been purchased.
Trained Beast (combat trait)
Beast Whisperer (2): All Animal Training rolls are one-degree difficulty for a particular family of land or air animals (canines, felines  etc.)[8]
Beast Companion (3)
A Ranger who has successfully trained a wild animal can establish a bond that transcends a partnership. While the bond does not equal that of a mage’s familiar, the Ranger can understand the nuances of their behavior and communication, give instructions to the animal
Forest Ghost
Skirmishing (combat trait)
Leave No Trace (3)[9]
The Ranger has become so attuned to the ways of the wild that they can pass through wilderness areas without leaving a trace (per Druid spell).[10] This ability differs from the spell in that it is not direct magic. While the Ranger’s ability is uncanny, it is through their relationship with the wilds and the respect shown by the Ranger and returned by Nature itself. As such, it is not detectable by magic as per the spell description. The Ranger cannot, at this Rank, use this ability to assist others in leaving no trail. The ability comes from a close relationship with Nature as well as years of muscle memory and experiences.[11]
While using this ability, the Ranger must test against Fatigue for each [Time Increment] that she is moving and leaving no trace. If the Ranger already has to make a Fatigue roll, the degree of difficulty is increased by one (1).
-The Ranger cannot use this ability while Sprinting.
-The Ranger cannot engage in combat or any other Actions while using this ability. It is the Ranger’s action.
[Example: Jenna misread the Wild Sign or maybe it was old and out of date. Either way, she walked right into a goblin ambush. She spies them 100m away and decides to run for it. She leaps off the trail and heads into the thick, gnarled forest crowning the mountain slope. Her Run (18m) is a Medium Effort which requires her to make a Fatigue roll every (CON) minutes. With a CON of 15, she runs and avoids leaving a trail for 1,620m while the goblins are flailing about behind her.
Jenna’s Physical Effort roll is based on Medium so it is usually an Easy degree of difficulty. Due to her use of Leave No Trace, backtracking and sweeping and so on, she ups that difficulty to Average.]
Terrain Familiarity (2)
The Ranger has become so adept in a particular terrain (desert, forest, swamp etc.) that all skills interacting, moving through or discerning information in that terrain is one degree easier.
Identify Plants and Animals

By earnestly working and patrolling the wilderness, the Ranger has become an expert in flora and fauna. She is able to recognize animals and plants as well as their associated properties, value, herbal potential and husbandry on a successful roll based on her Loyalty (Nature).[12]
May purchase one additional ability from previous Ranks that has not been chosen at this time.
The following abilities are granted free to any Ranger who establishes a Territory.
Rangers may be wanderers but many of them live within a particular tract or stretch of land. This space can be from a simple lake and its shores to the entire range of a mountain. Within that territory, the Ranger is supreme and works tirelessly and unceasingly to protect it and stave off hostile encroachments from any comer. The Ranger must establish a Passion for the land; a personal dedication to protecting, maintaining the territory.
A Territory can, and often does, contain settlements and sentient residents such as humans, elves, dwarves etc. This is part and parcel of the duty that Rangers lay upon themselves. Just as a Ranger might tend to a wounded squirrel, they will also safeguard any like-minded races in the Territory through scouting and hostility.
-Area Lore (Territory)-starts at Loyalty (Nature).
Beastfriend/Loyalty Reciprocated (Territory Established)
A Ranger at this level has served Nature’s cause long enough to be recognized by local wildlife. The animals will name the Ranger and share her scent and appearance to other animals. In this manner, the Ranger’s role in protecting the wilderness and hunting down humanoids becomes known to all fauna. As such, animals rarely react to her presence unless startled. While the Ranger cannot speak their language (unless she can), the nuances of behavior and their limited communication through sound can provide sufficient information to call for help, provide warning or basic information (bad monsters in valley! Timmy’s down a well! My breath smells like cat food!).
-Furthermore, over time, specific animals will become fixtures and grow more helpful and coherent over time.[13] These animals will interact more regularly with the Ranger while in the Territory. These animals are often pack or herd leaders (deer, wolves, horses), powerful (bears) and can even be
-The Ranger will be called upon for all manner of odd tasks by her wilderness friends.
-But, in return, the Ranger will have access to a rapid information flow regarding their Territory (see Elves modifications).
-When in doubt, roll Passion (Territory) or (Nature).
-After long months in a Territory while doing their duty, a Ranger’s scent and name will have spread beyond their own Territory. Communication checks are made at one or more degrees of difficulty based on the distance from the Territory.
Note that a Ranger does not have to adopt a Territory. It usually arises naturally as they tend to hang around in the same region and eventually just shoulder the burden on their own initiative.
Additional Availability
The Ranger can choose any previously unchosen option/package for the experience cost/training time listed here or in the MRB. The following additions are also available for the cost of 2 experience rolls and 1 month of training.
Ranged Marksman (combat trait)
Longshot (combat trait)
Sentient Beast Companion
After long months and years of association, a Ranger’s beast-companion becomes more than before as its soul benefits from the connection between the Ranger and the animal. The animal gains a functional INT (not INS), may convey its thoughts clearly and communicate freely with the Ranger and she can communicate in turn.[14] The animal can gain Experience Rolls as per Henchmen and may learn skills including other languages.[15].

[1] Monkeywrenching!
[2] Alignment adheres to ACKS in my planned campaign (Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic). The specific moral imperatives still fit within those categories although Lawful has a bit more range now.
[3] This is the mindset that places Rangers beyond that of mere scouts. The Ranger feels deeply about Nature and its role. Those who despoil it, such as greedy humans or foul subhumanoids, are wheat for the scythe. However, they may also approach their role as a teacher and guide the young minds in small communities. They are guardians in times of danger, teachers in times of peace, and custodians always. In between, they are veterinarians, mercenary scouts, bounty hunters, and terrifying foes.
[4] Ranger must take one of these three.
[5] Wild Sign is the best way to make contact with other Rangers. It is the only reliable way to learn of communal meeting places, find mentors for training etc.
[6] In my campaign-in-planning, I have added Folk/Low Magic as ‘Secrets’. These are the magical secrets maintained and trained by various secret, influential (or not) organizations, guilds and cults. It is not ubiquitous like Glorantha but it does provide an edge. It represents that elder knowledge that is handed down for generations in certain circles (Thieves Guilds, cult loyalists etc.) There are also Racial Secrets (Sylvan Secrets for Sylvan Elves and Duergar Secrets for the mountain dwarves.) They are aptly titled Secrets.
[7] Aquatic Ranger package?
[8] Note that prehistoric animals, even mammals are a category all their own. See ACKS Lairs and Monsters.
[9] Please note that the future Hardened Body/Endurance ability may be used in conjunction with this ability at higher ranks.
[10] See CFMRB p. 168.
[11] In other words, Rank IV.
[12] This represents how a Ranger who is tending to their self-imposed duties stays current with flora/fauna. A Ranger who neglects their wilderness role likely suffers a loss in Loyalty and, subsequently, their lack of immersion is evident in their reduced chance to IFF.
[13] Rangers are lonely folk… you end up talking to the animals a lot. And trees. And rocks. Problem is, if they talk back you don’t even think of your sanity… you just figure you became a Druid without noticing it.
[14] Observing one of these conversations is often an unsettling experience due to a lack of words and more subtle movements of appendages and bodies. In addition, the occasional growl or animal noise will emanate from the Ranger to clarify a point.
[15] It can only speak directly to the Ranger. But it can understand just fine and is intelligent enough to play ‘charades’ to get their message across to anyone other than the Ranger.