The ranger is one of the simplest classes to build and play, but your choices of talents will determine what kind of ranger you are. Rangers can vary from animal-companion assisted trackers, deadly archers, to frighteningly efficient melee characters.
The ranger is a simple class, nothing flashy. Basic attacks, modified with expanding crit ranges or increasing the number of attacks possible. The first build focuses on multiple attacks, the second here on expanded crit ranges.
A third build possible involves magic (fey queen’s enchantments and ranger ex cathedra), animal companions, and ranger’s pets. This has the ranger as a magic user who supports their animal companion with spells. I’ve seen such builds work very well in the past, with a panther as the front line fighter and the ranger staying in cover and picking off enemies that try to hurt the beast.
Ranger talent clarifications
You should note two important things about the ranger’s talents. The first is that the ranger’s animal companion talent is superseded by the druid’s version found in 13 True Ways. If you only have the core book don’t worry about it, if you have both books use the updated version of the talent.
The second note about talents is a tiny wrinkle in favored enemy. Favored enemy lets us pick a race type (aberration, beast, construct, dragon, etc…) against which our attacks have an expanded crit range. Picking the humanoid type as your favored enemy is worth two talent slots instead of just one. The wrinkle comes in the adventurer-tier feat which lets us switch favored enemies during a full heal-up. What happens if you spend two talents on favored enemy to get humanoid but then switch to a non-humanoid favored enemy? The answer is that if you spend two talent slots and a feat you can get humanoid as your favored enemy and switch to two non-humanoid monster types simultaneously (dragon and ooze, beast and plant, devil and demon, etc).
Download the Multi-Attack Ranger character sheets here.
This ranger focuses on making as many attacks in a round as possible. It’s simple to play—attack and see if you can keep attacking.
Tactically your best bet in a fight is to get stuck in to melee, withdrawing and switching to ranged attacks when you get hurt, and returning to the fray once you’ve received some healing.
At champion tier you get access to a tiny bit of healing magic (a once per battle heal and a daily cure wounds), which you should use wisely to keep yourself and your allies in the fight. Being a ranger we’ll rename heal ‘Verdant Vitality’ and cure wounds ‘Wild Restoration’ on our character sheet.
Double Melee Attack
This talent drops damage dice down one die type (d8s become d6s, d6s become d4s), but when a melee attack roll is a natural even (hit or miss) a second melee attack is possible.
Double Ranged Attack
This is the same as double melee attack, but for ranged weapons.
This gives a +1 bonus when fighting with two melee weapons, with feats that increase miss damage and give extra attacks when enemies fumble.
Wood elves’ elven grace grant extra standard actions, increasing the potential number of attacks.
For this ranger, Dexterity is most vital, with Strength important for melee damage: Str 17 (+3) Con 12 (+1) Dex 19 (+4) Int 9 (-1) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 8 (-1)
Attributes: Str 17 (+3) Con 12 (+1) Dex 19 (+4) Int 9 (-1) Wis 10 (+0) Cha 8 (-1)
Racial Power: elven grace
Talents: double ranged attack, double melee attack, two-weapon mastery
Feats: heritage of the sword
New feat (two-weapon mastery).
New feat (double melee attack).
+1 to three attributes (Strength, Constitution, Dexterity), new feat (double ranged attack).
New talent (ranger ex cathedral: cure wounds as 5th level spell), new feat (ranger ex cathedral: heal).
New feat (double melee attack).
+1 to three attributes (Strength, Constitution, Dexterity), new feat (elven grace), level-up spells (cure wounds).
New talent (favored enemy), new feat (double melee attack).
New feat (favored enemy), level-up spells (cure wounds).
+1 to three attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence), new feat (favored enemy).