At the top of my very, very short list of non-core classes that should always be a part of D&D sits the ranger. I dig rangers, and I say that as someone who has only played the class a couple times over decades of role-playing and never with a particularly long-lived character. My appreciation for the class actually comes from my perspective as a DM. Since I view the class as something of a midway point between fighter and thief, I think simply playing either of those classes and just calling the PC a ranger doesn’t really get it right. I’ve also been lucky to have some great ranger players over the years, which certainly biases my opinion in their favor.
Issue #6 of the awesome Crawl! Fanzine presents a few new classes for the DCC RPG from potential versions voted on by members of the Goodman Games forums. There’s some really good stuff in there, but in the DIY spirit of the OSR I’m putting together my own take on the ranger class for my game. Here are the versions of the ranger that were in the running:
Raskal’s version was the winner and was the only one I had read before starting to formulate my own take; not surprisingly some of the tweaks and additions I thought of are similar to parts of some of the other proposed versions (we’re all drawing inspiration from a shared legacy). I’m mixing and matching some other’s stuff with my own, and primarily drawing from Raskal’s version. They all deserve full credit for their creations.
Hit Points: A ranger gains 1d8 hit points at each level.
Weapon Training: As Raskal’s version.
Combat Path: At 1st level, rangers must choose one of these two options:
Archer: Archers suffer no penalty to missile fire at medium range, and only receive a -2 modifier at long range. They ignore the 50% chance to hit an ally when firing into melee.
Two-Weapon Fighter: Two-weapon fighters dual wield melee weapons as though their Agility was a 16. The two weapons can be of equal size.
Wilderness Skills: As Raskal’s version.
Favored Enemy: At 1st level, rangers must choose a type of monster as their favored enemy. How specific or broad the definition of the favored enemy is left to the player and judge to determine. When attacking the favored enemy, the ranger’s action die is improved by one step and has a critical threat range of 20-24. In addition, the ranger uses an improved crit die and crit table versus the favored enemy, as noted below.
Healing Herbs: Rangers have the ability to heal wounds using natural herbs and saps, which they often carry with them. Using this ability takes 1 turn and functions as the cleric’s Lay on Hands ability per the “Adjacent” column for all targets.
If a ranger rolls a natural 1 when healing, they have inadvertently poisoned the patient. The target of the healing must make a Fortitude save versus DC 20 minus the ranger’s level. If the save is successful, the patient only temporarily loses one point of Stamina. If the save fails, the unfortunate soul permanently loses 1d6 Stamina.
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