The Ranger class in Dungeons & Dragons has faced a number of indignities over the years, but Larian Studios has followed up on its promise to improve it. The Ranger is a force to be reckoned with in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The fifth edition Player’s Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons has a version of the Ranger class that almost every player considers to be non-canon. The original version of the Ranger was notoriously weak, with the Favored Enemy ability only giving Advantage on Survival checks involving specific types of monsters, while Natural Explorer rarely came up in adventures that didn’t have a survival element. A new version of the Ranger was released in an Unearthed Arcana article and it drastically improved the class, to the point where it’s almost always chosen over the original.
Related: Baldur’s Gate 3: Githyanki, Explained
The New Ranger
It was revealed in 2019 that Larian Studios would be revamping the Ranger class in Baldur’s Gate 3, as many of its abilities didn’t transfer well to a video game. A similar shift is also planned for the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game in the future.
The Early Access version of Baldur’s Gate 3 is live and the Ranger is one of the playable classes in the game. We now know how the Ranger has been changed, and it’s superior to the one in both the Player’s Handbook and Unearthed Arcana. The player now has five choices for Favored Enemy:
- Bounty Hunter – The Ranger gains the Investigation skill proficiency, the ability to speak Thieves’ Cant, and they have an easier time restraining enemies.
- Keeper of the Veil – The Ranger gains the Arcana skill proficiency and adds Protection From Good & Evil to their spell list.
- Mage Breaker – The Ranger gains the Arcana skill proficiency and adds True Strike to their spell list.
- Ranger Knight – The Ranger gains the History skill proficiency and Heavy Armor proficiency.
- Sanctified Stalker – The Ranger gains the Religion skill proficiency and adds Sacred Flame to their spell list.
The Ranger also has five choices for Natural Explorer.
- Beast Tamer – The Ranger adds Find Familiar to their spell list.
- Urban Tracker – The Ranger gains proficiency with disguise kits and thieves tools.
- Wasteland Wanderer: Cold – The Ranger gains resistance to cold damage.
- Wasteland Wanderer: Fire – The Ranger gains resistance to fire damage.
- Wasteland Wanderer: Poison – The Ranger gains resistance to poison damage.
Rangers now have more options for skills and spells, but the Wasteland Wanderer powers are especially impressive. Damage resistance means taking half damage from a specific elemental source. This means that a Tiefling Ranger who takes Wasteland Wanderer: Cold will resist the two most common elemental damage types in the game.
Beast Master = Best Master!
The Beast Master subclass in the Player’s Handbook was easily the worst in the game. The Ranger had to give up their Actions to allow a subpar animal companion to attack. The Unearthed Arcana version of the Ranger dramatically improved the animal companion, as well as giving the Ranger more powers when fighting alongside them.
The version of the Beast Master in Baldur’s Gate 3 might be the best one yet. The Ranger can now summon a bear, boar, giant spider, raven, or wolf outside of combat. These can be used to scout ahead or act as allies in combat. Baldur’s Gate 3 often includes encounters where the player is outnumbered by the enemy, and the animal companion can help even things out. If the animal companion dies, then the Ranger can summon another one when the fight ends. This power doesn’t cost anything, unlike the tabletop version of the Beast Master, who needs to spend eight hours casting a ritual and spend 25gp on components to bring a dead companion back to life. The ability acts as a limitless summon spell, which is especially useful in a game where characters have so few resources when using Actions.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access is available on Google Stadia and PC on October 6, 2020.
Next: Baldur’s Gate 3: Mind Flayers, Explained
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Scott has been writing for The Gamer since it launched in 2017 and also regularly contributes to Screen Rant. He has previously written gaming articles for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. He has been gaming since the days of the ZX Spectrum, when it used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set.
Scott thinks Chrono Trigger is the best video game of all time, followed closely by Final Fantasy Tactics and Baldur’s Gate 2. He pretends that sorcerer is his favorite Dungeons & Dragons class in public but he secretly loves bards.
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