The ranger is a hunter and woodsman who lives by not only his sword, but also
his wits. Robin Hood, Orion, Jack the giant killer, and the huntresses of Diana
are examples of rangers from history and legend. The abilities of the ranger
make him particularly good at tracking, woodcraft, and spying.
The ranger must have scores not less than 13 in Strength, 14 in Constitution,
13 in Dexterity, and 14 in Wisdom. The prime requisites of the ranger are
Strength, Dexterity, and Wisdom. Rangers are always good, but they can be lawful,
neutral, or chaotic. It is in the ranger's heart to do good, but not always by
A ranger who has Strength, Dexterity, and Wisdom scores of 16 or more gains a
10% bonus to the experience points he earns.
Although the ranger can use any weapon and wear any armor, several of his
special abilities are usable only when he is wearing studded leather or lighter
Although he has the basic skills of a warrior, the ranger also has several
advantages. When wearing studded leather or lighter armor, a ranger can fight
two-handed with no penalty to his attack rolls (see "Attacking with Two Weapons" in Chapter 9: Combat). Obviously, the ranger cannot use a shield when
fighting this way. A ranger can still fight with two weapons while wearing heavier
armor than studded leather, but he suffers the standard attack roll penalties.
The ranger is skilled woodsman. Even if the optional proficiency rules are not
used, the ranger has tracking proficiency. If the proficiency rules are used
in your campaign, the ranger knows tracking without expending any points.
Furthermore, this skill improves by +1 for every three levels the ranger has earned
(3rd to 5th level, +1; 6th to 8th level, +2, etc.). While wearing studded
leather or lighter armor, the ranger can try to move silently and hide in shadows.
His chance to succeed in natural surroundings is given on Table 18 (modified by the ranger's race and Dexterity, as given on Tables 27 and 28). When attempting these actions in non-natural surroundings (a musty crypt or
city streets) the chance of success is halved. Hiding in shadows and moving
silently are not possible in any armor heavier than studded leather--the armor is
inflexible and makes too much noise.
In their roles as protector of good, rangers tend to focus their efforts
against some particular creature, usually one that marauds their homeland. Before
advancing to 2nd level, every ranger must select a species enemy. Typical enemies
include giants, orcs, lizard men, trolls, or ghouls; your DM has final
approval on the choice. Thereafter, whenever the ranger encounters that enemy, he
gains a +4 bonus to his attack rolls. This enmity can be concealed only with great
difficulty, so the ranger suffers a -4 penalty on all encounter reactions with
creatures of the hated type. Furthermore, the ranger will actively seek out
this enemy in combat in preference to all other foes unless someone else presents
a much greater danger.
Rangers are adept with both trained and untamed creatures, having a limited degree of animal empathy. If a ranger carefully approaches or
tends any natural animal, he can try to modify the animal's reactions. (A
natural animal is one that can be found in the real world -- a bear, snake, zebra,
When dealing with domestic or non-hostile animals, a ranger can approach the
animal and befriend it automatically. He can easily discern the qualities of the
creature (spotting the best horse in the corral or seeing that the runt of the
litter actually has great promise).
When dealing with a wild animal or an animal trained to attack, the animal
must roll a saving throw vs. rods to resist the ranger's overtures. (This table is
used even though the ranger's power is non-magical.) The ranger imposes a -1
penalty on the die roll for every three experience levels he has earned (-1 at
1st to 3rd, -2 at 4th to 6th, etc.). If the creature fails the saving throw, its
reaction can be shifted one category as the ranger chooses. Of course, the
ranger must be at the front of the party and must approach the creature fearlessly.
For example, Beornhelm, a 7th-level ranger, is leading his friends through the
woods. On entering a clearing, he spots a hungry black bear blocking the path
on the other side. Signaling his friends to wait, Beornhelm approaches the
beast, whispering soothing words. The DM rolls a saving throw vs. rods for the
bear, modified by -3 for Beornhelm's level. The bear's normal reaction is
unfriendly, but Beornhelm's presence reduces this to neutral. The party waits patiently
until the bear wanders off to seek its dinner elsewhere.
Later, Beornhelm goes to the horse market to get a new mount. The dealer shows
him a spirited horse, notorious for being vicious and stubborn. Beornhelm
approaches it carefully, again speaking soothingly, and mounts the stallion with no
difficulty. Ridden by Beornhelm, the horse is spirited but well-behaved.
Approached by anyone else, the horse reverts to its old ways.
A ranger can learn priest spells, but only those of the plant or animal spheres (see "Priest" later in this chapter), when he reaches 8th level (see Table 18). He gains and uses his spells according to the rules given for priests. He
does not gain bonus spells for a high Wisdom score, nor is he ever able to use
priest scrolls or magical items unless specially noted otherwise.
Rangers can build castles, forts, or strongholds, but do not gain any special followers by doing so.
At 10th level, a ranger attracts 2d6 followers. These followers might be normal humans, but they are often animals or even
stranger denizens of the land. Table 19 can be used to determine these, or your DM may assign specific followers.
Of course, your DM can assign particular creatures, either choosing from the
list above or from any other source. He can also rule that certain creatures are
not found in the region -- it is highly unlikely that a tiger would come
wandering through a territory similar to western Europe!
These followers arrive over the course of several months. often they are
encountered during the ranger's adventures (allowing you and your DM a chance to
role-play the initial meeting). While the followers are automatically loyal and
friendly toward the ranger, their future behavior depends on the ranger's
treatment of them. In all cases, the ranger does not gain any special method of
communicating with his followers. He must either have some way of speaking to them or
they simply mutely accompany him on his journeys. ("Yeah, this bear's been with me for years. Don't know why--he just seems to
follow me around. I don't own him and can't tell him to do anything he don't want
to do," said the grizzled old woodsman sitting outside the tavern.)
Of course, the ranger is not obligated to take on followers. If he prefers to
remain independent, he can release his followers at any time. They reluctantly
depart, but stand ready to answer any call for aid he might put out at a later
Like the paladin, the ranger has a code of behavior.
A ranger must always retain his good alignment. If the ranger intentionally
commits an evil act, he automatically loses his ranger status. Thereafter he is
considered a fighter of the same level (if he has more experience points than a
fighter of his level, he loses all the excess experience points). His ranger
status can never be regained. If the ranger involuntarily commits an evil act
(perhaps in a situation of no choice), he cannot earn any more experience points
until he has cleansed himself of that evil. This can be accomplished by
correcting the wrongs he committed, revenging himself on the person who forced him to
commit the act, or releasing those oppressed by evil. The ranger instinctively
knows what things he must do to regain his status (i.e., the DM creates a
special adventure for the character).
Furthermore, rangers tend to be loners, men constantly on the move. They
cannot have henchmen, hirelings, mercenaries, or even servants until they reach 8th
level. While they can have any monetary amount of treasure, they cannot have
more treasure than they can carry. Excess treasure must either be converted to a
portable form or donated to a worthy institution (an NPC group, not a player
(See also The Complete Ranger's Handbook)
Table of Contents