User:Zhenra-Khal/Project Free Range(r) (5e Variant Rule)
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Project Free Range(r)
Ranger in 5th Edition D&D... Need I say it?
Since the dawn of the class in the earlier editions, Ranger has been a combination of three things - The nimbleness, stealth and scouting of a Rogue, the combat prowess and martial expertise of the Fighter, and the primal, natural magic of the Druid. And in a lot of respects, originally, it was somewhat disjointed - These abilities weren't exactly entwined in any unique and cohesive fashion, but instead, they were just available in the same cut-and-dry fashion as they were to the Ranger's progenitor classes, save for its unique tracking and traveling expertise.
Now, strangely, the Ranger's Clerical counterpart, the Paladin, originally had some of the same problems - Combining the combat skills of the Fighter, and the divine magic of the Cleric (A class notably restricted, in those days, to using only bludgeoning weapons, as it was against their morals to draw blood). The class's spellcasting and fighting abilities were disjointed, with no bridge between the two; And through the editions, this problem persisted, up until 5th Edition, where their magic and fighting skills were inextricably linked by their Divine Smite ability, an ability which, in older editions in which it was present, such as 3rd Edition, was much weaker and had its own pool of uses, rather than being a core part of their magical strength.
Unfortunately, Ranger had no such evolution - Their spellcasting and fighting are still disjointed, having no ability to link them. And the Ranger has also long suffered from somewhat of an identity crisis - They are originally described as a nimble and dexterous hunter, able to track down and eliminate their foes skillfully - To quote 1st Edition, "Rangers are a sub-class of fighter who are adept at woodcraft, tracking, scouting, infiltration, and spying."; And to quote 2nd Edition, "The ranger is a hunter and woodsman who lives by not only his sword, but also his wits. The abilities of the ranger make him particularly good at tracking, woodcraft, and spying." - And yet, the mechanics, from the beginning, didn't really back this up. Even 5th Edition describes the Ranger as a "Deadly Hunter", speaking of their prowess at tracking, woodcraft, and the slaying of their favored foes. Their druidic magic is mentioned, largely, only as something they've picked up from the time they've spent in the wild; So, why is that such a huge part of their mechanical ability, when their peerless skill is mentioned far more often?
Despite the repetitive mention of their skill - An attribute long ruled tyrannically by Rogue, and more recently Bard - Ranger is seen largely by the community as a combination of Fighter and Druid alone, mostly because that is what the mechanics reflect. They gain few woodcraft abilities that Druid does not, and yet again, there are very few things to bridge the gap. Their lack of uniquity and identity prevents them from finding the same level of belonging in the world as Paladin has. They are torn between their flavor identity as a skilled hunter and their mechanical identity as a druidic guardian of nature, and thus in this project, I've elected to divide the Ranger class down the middle, into two separate classes that fill those two roles.
And thus, the Hunter and the Warden were born.
The Hunter is a martial class that focuses on skill, utility, mobility, and the systematic identification, location, and destruction of your chosen foes.
Hunter Archetypes - Uncanny Knack
The Warden is a half caster that focuses on defense, using their primal magic to protect humanity, the natural world, and the supernatural from each other.
Warden Archetypes - Primal Bond
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