Friday, June 17, 2011

Love/Hate the Ranger

I've got a love/hate relationship with the Ranger. Not as much hate as Blackrazor, but certainly not as much love as... well, anyone talks about "dual wielding" and "strikers".

Blackrazor's got some good points. The AD&D Ranger *is* just a fighter with bling. I like using some ability score requirements to keep the class unusual and special, but making that the only disadvantage compared to a parent classe "makes the rich richer". The characters already with an advantage in better attribute get Ranger bling as well. The slower level advancement has merit, but I'm trying to avoid multiple advancement charts in the Tactical Simulation Rule set. Trying to "power up" the Fighter for balance's sake isn't the answer either. While the Fighter could use some love, I don't want the arms race of later editions.

Archetype is a messy word, but I don't think Rangers out of place in any game that involves Halflings. If you let pseudo-hobbits in, why not pseudo-Aragorn? Aragorn was clearly the model for the Stategic Review version that shows up similarly in the AD&D Player's Handbook. Like everyone, I passed through a phase where I wanted the Ranger to be Robin Hood, as a scout or hunter class. Perhaps there should be a lightly armorer archer option, but then why hold onto the name? I've gone back and forth on the quirks of the Ranger: starting hit dice, d8 Hit dice, use of spells and other powers. Nowadays I'm apt to keep them - an artifact of Gygaxian quirkiness. Perhaps the spells and magic powers are part of a class branch, like in The Magestic Wilderness or a pseudo Prestige Class (I've always throught Ranger Lord has a neat ring to it). Or they represent a secret martial order, like the Paladins of Mithras. We'll leave creation of another class to another post.

Where to go with the Ranger:
* This brilliant idea from Blood of Prokopius.
* Using armor as a mix of AD&D weapon proficiency slots with the armor categories 3rd and 4th edition. Fighters are proficient in all armor, but Rangers need to spend slots to get access.
* Starting Weapon Restrictions, a la Unearthed Arcana.
* Attribute requirements remain, but not quite as stringent: Strength 12, Wisdom 12, Constitution 12.
* Multiple attacks versus sub-1HD creatures? Followers? Creation of a keep/stronghold? Not for the Ranger.

You'll see a little of all these in the Tactical Simulation Ruleset.

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