Aelasyl's Ranger Design Guide v1.2
You knew it was coming and here it is. Again these are my personal views and opinions on the class. A couple things to remember, I'm personally and RP'er and an elf lover and my builds normally reflect this. I love Rangers, I think it is a great class in DDO. I break the typical Ranger classed characters into four archetypes. I know there can be more, but these are the four most prevalent. I will update this post as I get comments and suggestions.
The Ranger class is one of the most versatile in DDO. You get a good selection of skills, solid class abilities and bonus feats, the best base attack bonus (BAB) progression, and great Fortitude and Reflex save progressions. The Ranger class lends itself very well to multiclassing. Two levels in you get two free feats that are useful for any type of combatant. Rangers also get favored enemies, animal empathy, and divine spellcasting ability with just the first level. So with all this stuff you get in the first two levels, how can there possibly be anything left in the last eight? Well you get more favored enemies and higher bonuses for your previous ones, you actually get spellpoints to cast those Ranger spells, another two free feats at level 6, and evasion at level 9. If you look beyond what DDO has right now, there are more free feats at levels 11, more favored enemies, and boosts to stealth abilities. So Rangers can be mostly broken down into four categories. The Pure Ranger (Rgr10), the Archer Ranger (Rgr2/Ftr8), the Two-Weapon Fighting Ranger (Rgr6/Ftr4), and the Stealth Utility Ranger (Rgr7/Rog3).
The Pure Ranger
The pure Ranger takes every level in Ranger and loves every minute of it. Against favored enemies the bonus damage starts to get insane. Without dipping into other classes, the Pure Ranger nets three favored enemies, evasion, four free feats, wild empathy, and some divine spells.
For the Pure Ranger there’s a few important abilites. Wisdom controls the classes spellcasting and poor Will saves, Dexterity adds to the ranged attack bonus, Reflex Saves, and Armor Class, Strength adds to the melee attack bonus and damage at range and in melee. Intelligence can add a few extra skills points per level to the base six. Constitution can keep a Ranger in melee with additional hitpoints and bonuses to an already good Fortitude save. Charisma controls the Wild Empathy class ability.
A pure Ranger nets four free feats and may want to use the character level feats to improve one of the combat styles. Point Blank Shot, Dodge, Mobility, and Shot on the Run can take you up to ninth level. Weapon Focus, Weapon Finesse, Dodge, and Improved Critical can help with the melee aspect.
A pure Ranger will have around 6 skills he can keep maxed at each level. Move Silently, Search, Hide, Spot, and Listen take up five of these. Use Magic Device, Tumble, or Concentration are all solid possibilites for the last slot.
Pure Rangers can get the best enhancements in the Ranger class. 50 bonus spellpoints, bonuses to attack against favored enemies, increased healing, bonuses to Dexterity, and skills. Really the pure Ranger can use any of these to add some focus to their character and make all the multiclass Rangers jealous.
Elf Ranger10 – Str 14 Dex 23 Con 10 Int 10 Wis 14 Cha 8
Starting scores - Str 14 Dex 18 Con 10 Int 10 Wis 14 Cha 8
Rgr1 – Favored Enemy (Undead), Wild Empathy, Dodge
Rgr2 – Combat Style (Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting)
Rgr3 – Mobility or Weapon Focus (piercing)
Rgr4 – Ability Increase (Dexterity 19)
Rgr5 – Favored Enemy (Giants)
Rgr6 – Improved Combat Style (Manyshot, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting), Point Blank Shot or Weapon Finesse
Rgr8 – Ability Increase (Dexterity 20)
Rgr9 – Evasion, Shot on the Run or Improved Critical (piercing)
Rgr10 – Favored Enemy (Dragon)
Enhancements: Skill Stealth V, Ranger’s Dexterity III, Favored Attack III, Elf Dexterity II
Skills: Concentration +13 (13), Hide +26 (13), Listen +17 (13), Move Silently +26 (13), Search +15 (13), Spot +17 (13).
The archer Ranger is a multiclass Ranger/Fighter. Taking the free archery feats from the Ranger and using the Fighter’s bonus feats to improve accuracy and damage. The archer Ranger has fewer skills but more feats. Enhancements aren’t as good as a Pure, but they are more diverse.
The archer Ranger focuses on Strength and Dexterity. He is built for damage and more damage but at range. Constitution is of medium importance, extra hit points are nice, making Fortitude saves are a good bonus. The mental stats really have no bearing on combat. Drop points in them to try and keep them at ten, but don’t sacrifice your physical scores too much for it.
Anything and everything that can help an Archer hit more or do more damage is needed. Weapon Focus (ranged), Weapon Specialization (ranged), Improved Critical (ranged), Point Blank Shot, Dodge, Mobility, Shot on the Run. This build is all about the feats and you need to pick up as many as you can.
Secondary to the feats, skills can be somewhat important. Invest in Balance, Jump, and Tumble. Use your skills to perch and fire from a safe place. Sure you can take or hit or two, but that -4 to AC while holding a bow and in melee combat really hurts.
Elves are solid choices for their ranged damage enhancement. Pickup Ranger’s Dexterity, the Fighter’s Strength, the Elven Dexterity and the Elven Ranged Damage.
Elf Ranger2/Fighter8 – Str 18 Dex 25 Con 10 Int 8 Wis 8 Cha 8
Starting Scores - Str 15 Dex 20 Con 10 Int 8 Wis 8 Cha 8
Rgr1 – Favored Enemy (Giant), Wild Empathy, Point Blank Shot
Rgr2 – Two-Weapon Fighting, Rapid Shot
Ftr1 – Dodge, Mobility
Ftr2 – Shot on the Run, Ability Increase (Dexterity 21)
Ftr4 – Weapon Focus (ranged), Weapon Specialization (ranged)
Ftr6 – Improved Critical (ranged) Ability Increase (Dexterity 22)
Ftr7 – Manyshot
Ftr8 – Great Weapon Focus (ranged)
Enhancements: Ranger’s Dexterity I, Fighter’s Strength III, Elven Dexterity II, Elven Ranged Damage II
Skills: Hide +12 (5), Jump +12 (8), Move Silently +12 (5), Spot +10 (11), Tumble +10 (3).
The Two-Weapon Fighting Ranger takes advantage of the bonus feats the Ranger provides to be a melee combat damage machine. Strutting around in full-plate armor he is as much a tank as anyone else in the game.
The TWF Ranger focuses on Strength and Constitution. In melee combat, Strength controls everything and needs to be as high as possible. A solid Constitution keeps the TWF Ranger upright in the middle of the fight. Dexterity should be a 13 to get Dodge but in full-plate there’s no point going any higher. Skills and spells are not at all important and the mental stats can be sacrificed for the physical ones.
With Two-Weapon Fighting and Improved Two-Weapon Fighting for free, the TWF Ranger can focus on improving his damage in melee. Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization are a must. Dodge increases the character’s AC a bit more. Other feats should be spent on two-weapon combat feats.
Skills aren’t so important to the TWF Ranger. Sure, tumble is nice, spot and search can be useful at times, but really this Ranger is all about combat all the time and wants to be in the center of it.
Fighter’s Dodge and Fighter’s Strength are musts. The rest are really fluid. If you’re a human pick up the Human Strength, the Action Boosts or the Ranger’s Favored Enemy enhancements aren’t bad pickups either.
Dwarf Ranger6/Fighter4 – Str 21, Dex 13, Con 18, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 7
Starting Scores - Str 18 Dex 13 Con 16 Int 8 Wis 8 Cha 9
Rgr1 – Weapon Focus (slashing), Favored Enemy (giants)
Rgr2 – Combat Style (Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting)
Ftr1 – Dodge, Two-Weapon Defense
Rgr3 – Ability Increase (Strength 19)
Ftr2 – Two-Weapon Blocking
Ftr3 – Power Attack
Ftr4 – Weapon Specialization (slashing), Ability Increase (Strength 20)
Rgr5 – Improved Critical (slashing), Favored Enemy (dragon)
Rgr6 – Improved Combat Style (Manyshot, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting)
Enhancements: Fighter’s Dodge, Fighter’s Strength I, Axe Damage II, Dwarven Constitution II
Skills: Heal +8 (9), Intimidate +2 (4.5), Jump +18 (13), Listen +8 (9), Spot +8 (9).
Stealth Utility Ranger
The Stealth Utility Ranger uses his Ranger combat ability in conjunction with sneak attacks. A very skills based multiclass this character does a lot outside of combat too. This is the build I personally use and am most familiar with.
As a skills class, Intelligence is important. A decent Wisdom is necessary to cast spells. Strength and Dexterity control how well this character performs in combat and with the majority of his skills. Constitution is nice for additional hit points but not really needed. Charisma is once again a dump stat.
There’s two routes you can go with this character. Focusing more on combat side or more on the skills side. Either is very valid but with six levels in Ranger the feats tend to be more in-tune with combat. Point Blank Shot, Dodge, Mobility, and Shot on the Run is a good progression. For a more skills oriented way, go with Nimble Fingers, Dodge, Mobility and Skill Focus (Disable Device)
With the highest and second highest amount of skill points per level, this multiclass can spread the points around. Stealth, recon, and disabling skills are important. Drop points into Disable Device Hide, Listen Move Silently, Open Lock, Search, and Spot. Tumble keeps you out of harm’s way.
Ranger’s Action Boost is a must have. The bonus it gives to all your skills is very important. If you’re an elf you can pick up the Dexterity enhancements from your two classes and your racial.
Elf Ranger7/Rogue3 – Str 16 Dex 22 Con 8 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 8
Starting Scores - Str 15 Dex 17 Con 8 Int 14 Wis 12 Cha 8
Rog1 – Dodge, Sneak Attack +1d6
Rgr1 – Favored Enemy (Undead), Wild Empathy
Rgr2 – Mobility, Combat Style (Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting)
Rgr3 – Ability Increase (Strength 16)
Rog2 - Evasion
Rgr4 - Point Blank Shot
Rgr5 – Favored Enemy (Giants)
Rgr6 – Improved Combat Style (Manyshot, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting), Ability Increase (Dexterity 18)
Rgr7 – Shot on the Run
Rog3 – Sneak Attack +2d6
Enhancements: Ranger Action Boost III, Skill Ingenuity II, Ranger’s Dexterity II, Elven Dexterity II.
Skills: Bluff +3 (4), Concentration +6 (7), Diplomacy +3 (4), Disable Device +19 (13), Heal +8 (7), Hide +18 (12), Listen +9 (8), Move Silently +18 (12), Open Lock +23 (13), Search +15 (13), Spot +14 (13), Tumble +10 (4).
Well, that’s my views on the Ranger class, what they can do and the different archetypes. Comment, criticisms, and suggestions are more than welcome. I hope this helps you all out.
Edit to version 1.1 - Fixed many feat and skills calculation errors. Added in skill ranks.
Edit to version 1.2 - Added in starting ability scores for all the builds.