Forgotten Realms: Birthright
Ability Requirements: Strength 13, Dexterity 13, Constitution 14, Wisdom 14
Though a ranger might make a living as a hunter, a guide, or a tracker, a ranger’s true calling is to defend the outskirts of civilization from the ravages of monsters and humanoid hordes that press in from the wild.
This fierce independence makes them well suited to adventuring, since they are accustomed to life far from the comforts of a dry bed and warm water. Some rangers find the responsibility of protecting the rest of an adventuring party to be burdensome, but most quickly find that other adventurers who can carry their own weight in a fight against civilization’s foes are worth any extra burden. City-bred adventurers might not know how to feed themselves or find fresh water in the wild, but they make up for it in other ways. A ranger’s talents and abilities are honed with deadly focus on the grim task of protecting the borderlands.
Warriors of the wilderness, rangers specialize in hunting the monsters that threaten the edges of civilization—humanoid raiders, rampaging beasts and monstrosities, terrible giants, and even dragons. They learn to track their prey as a predator does, moving stealthily through the wilds and hiding themselves in brush and rubble. Rangers focus their combat training on techniques that are particularly useful against their specific favored foes. Thanks to their intimate familiarity with the wilds, rangers also acquire the ability to cast spells that harness nature’s power, much as a druid does. Their spells, like their combat abilities, focus on speed, stealth, and the hunt.
Animal Empathy: If a ranger carefully approaches or tends any natural animal, he can try to modify the animal’s reactions. 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.
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. 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.
- Specialisation: A ranger is a skilled warrior and can specialise in any number of fighting styles. A ranger receives a free fighting style specialisation of his choice. A ranger cannot take weapon specialisation, however.
Bane: Rangers learn the vulnerabilities of wilderness foes. Before advancing to 2nd level, every ranger must select a type of creature. Typical enemies include giants, orcs, lizard men, trolls, or ghouls. Whenever the ranger encounters that enemy, he gains a +4 bonus to his attack rolls but 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.
The ranger chooses a second type of creature at 5th level.
- Stealth: The ranger can Hide in Shadows and Move Silently when in natural surroundings and wearing nothing heavier than light armour. The Ranger’s race, Dexterity, and armour worn modify the scores, as per the rogue skills of the same name.
- Tracking: The ranger is a skilled tracker. The ranger receives the Tracking proficiency for free and gains a +1 bonus per three levels to all Tracking proficiency checks.
- Survival Expert: Rangers are masters of the wilds. At 1st level, they get a free Survival non-weapon proficiency. Choose one type of terrain to which it applies. They get another free slot at 10th level, and another at 20th level.
- Combat Dominance: The ranger can attack once per level every round against foes with less than one Hit Die.
- Extra Attack: The ranger gains an extra attack every other round with all melee weapons.
Spells: A ranger can learn priest spells when he reaches 8th level. A ranger never gains bonus spells for a high Wisdom score, nor is he able to use priest scrolls or magical items. A ranger does not prepare his spells, instead, he meditates in the presence of his deity as a priest each day. Rangers gain minor access to the Plant and Animal spheres, and one sphere in their deity’s portfolio.
A ranger will usually worship a nature deity, or those related hunting, the wilds, or travel. Common choices include Silvanus, Selune, and Mielikki. Nonhuman deities include Marthammor Duin, Thard Harr, Solonor Thelandira, Rillifane Rallathil, Baervan Wildwanderer, and Arvoreen.
Followers: At 10th level, a ranger attracts 2d6 followers, but his followers are far different from those granted to a fighter. To determine the type of follower acquired, consult the following table (rolling once for each follower).
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 behaviour 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.
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 time.
Slaying Arrow: A 20th level ranger can fire a deadly arrow once per day that can fell an opponent in a single stroke. The ranger makes an attack roll against any opponent within range. If the attack hits, the opponent suffers normal damage from the blow and must save vs. death magic or die. Their defensive bonuses from protective devices (such as magical armour and rings of protection) apply to the saving throw.
Opponents with more Hit Dice/levels than the ranger are immune. Creatures that would normally be vulnerable to damage from the weapon the ranger is using in the attack also are immune.