A Man, Lean, Dark, Tall: Rangers in DCC RPG

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.

deviantART by Deelane

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:

Ranger by raskal
Ranger by beermotor
Ranger by oncelor
Ranger by Hoplitenomad

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.

Level Attack Standard Crit Die/Table Favored Enemy Crit Die/Table Action Dice Ref Fort Will
1 +1 1d10/II 1d12/III 1d20 +1 +1 +0
2 +1 1d12/II 1d14/III 1d20 +1 +1 +0
3 +2 1d14/II 1d16/IV 1d20 +2 +2 +1
4 +3 1d16/II 1d20/IV 1d20 +2 +2 +1
5 +3 1d20/II 1d24/V 1d20+1d14 +3 +3 +1
6 +4 1d24/II 1d30/V 1d20+1d16 +4 +4 +2
7 +5 1d30/II 1d30/V 1d20+1d16 +4 +4 +2
8 +5 1d30+2/II 2d20/V 1d20+1d20 +5 +5 +2
9 +6 1d30+4/II 2d20/V 1d20+1d20 +5 +5 +3
10 +7 1d30+6/II 2d20/V 1d20+1d20 +6 +6 +3

About John Carr

Gamer, comic guy, office drone.
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4 Responses to A Man, Lean, Dark, Tall: Rangers in DCC RPG

  1. Beermotor says:

    I don’t mind telling you, I hate the way this turned out. It’s way too much like 3.x rangers… boring…zzzzzz.

    I rather liked mine. 🙂 At least it was a bit different. And not just a re skinned warrior lite / archer.

    • John Carr says:

      Dissenting opinion welcome, of course 🙂

      I do think that there is a pretty strong through-line from the 2E ranger into the 3.x version, which is probably why I tend to think of that is the baseline to work from.

      • beermotor says:

        One of the things about DCC is that each class is really unique (dwarves and elves skirt the line a bit, halflings are a bit better). I really had high hopes for the additional optional classes being unique and different in their own ways, but that’s not how it turned out, probably because of the taint of 2E/3.x, as you point out. To each his own, but I find the classes which ended up as the suggestions to be pretty boring… there’s just not enough interesting newness, distinctness, there to get me to introduce them into my game. I only watched 4E played once, but as I recall, everybody had similar powers they just got different names… to me, that’s really, really lame. Again, to each his own, of course.

      • John Carr says:

        I think what helps with the uniqueness of the classes in the DCC RPG book is that their D&D legacies are also unique. Even in very simple rules incarnations, the main four classes form the points on a compass, in everything else tends to fall somewhere between or around them.

        Which isn’t to say it’s not possible to do other things, just that the strong and distinct underlying concepts of those classes are also pretty simple concepts, and it’s hard to match the quality of that.

        I think the perception also hinges somewhat on the degree to which you view DCC as a distinct RPG versus an edition of D&D, albeit an independently published one. I think a lot of people lean in the D&D direction; I know I certainly do.

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