Thoughts on the LevelUp 5e Playtest VII – Ranger

Time for the Ranger to get the LevelUp 5e treatment. I mentioned in the Druid post that I’ll be looking at similarities between some of the abilities, since thematically a few of them seemed good to cross over.

Things that stay the same up to level 10:
Natural Explorer and Favoured Enemy at level 1 (though now called Familiar Terrain and Studied Adversary, and with options for changing them up), Ranger Archetype at levels 3 and 7, ASI at levels 4 and 8, Extra Attack at level 5, improvement to Favoured Enemy at level 6 (now called Adversarial Focus).
Things that are gone:
Fighting Style and Spellcasting, gone! Primeval Awareness, gone! Land’s Stride and Hide in Plain Sight, gone!

So what new stuff are we getting instead?
At level 1 we get two Exploration Knacks, at level 2 we get Manoeuvres, something called Stride and Seek (1) (with (2) at level 5) and Trained Accuracy, level 4 gives us Wilderness Mystique, Game Hunting at level 6, Versatile Exploration kicks in at level 8, level 9 brings us Rapid Fire and Sniper’s Focus, and finally Trackless Hunting at level 10.

So, Ranger Exploration Knacks first. I said previously that I liked Druids being able to talk to animals in Druidic at all times. Rangers can do something similar with Calls of the Wild, though not as refined – basic information or a basic request of the animal only. I also like Grub Hunter, which is basically the goodberry spell but with foraged insect larvae. Relentless Pursuit is pretty good too – once a ranger has the tracks on something, they don’t need to make any rolls to keep tracking it for a full week!

Yay, Manoeuvres are back. There’s actually some more in this documents to add to the ones found in the Fighter playtest – these ones are called Soldiering and feature shield focus and mounted combat.

Stride and Seek gives us a couple of options only, and they get the second one at level 5. Presumably there are more options on the way.
One gives a disengage action by spending an exertion, one is much better – it’s basically just spend an exertion for hunter’s mark but it’s not a spell.

Trained Accuracy is another way to spend exertion or not spend it – when a ranger has at least two remaining exertion at the start of a turn, they get +1 to weapon attack rolls for the rest of the turn, AND there’s a table here too of effects for spending exertion and losing reaction for the turn. One exertion gives another +1 to hit, two gives +1d6 damage, three gives +2d6 damage, all the way up to seven exertion which is worth either +3 to hit or +5d6 damage.

Wilderness Mystique is the ranger’s expertise dice sink. Fearsome Mysticism gives expertise on Intimidation checks as long as a creature isn’t proficient in Arcana and can’t cast spells. Kindred Spirit means looking at a creature lets a ranger know whether they are proficient in Stealth or Survival.

Game Hunting gives advantage on.. hunting. And lowers the time to change favoured terrain from two weeks to one week.

Versatile Exploration opens up Exploration Knacks from both the Fighter and the Druid. I really like this ability, it’s a shame it’s all the way up at level 8.

Rapid Fire gives instant access to the Missile Volley manoeuvre and it doesn’t count against the number of manoeuvres known. It also only costs one exertion to use.

Sniper’s Focus means by spending extra exertion, that faux hunter’s mark lasts 8 hours now.

Trackless Hunting means a ranger can only be tracked by magical means, unless they want to leave a trail. Favoured terrain can be changed out after two days of study now too.

And that’s it. I’m not sure I like the ranger without a few more spells to access, but I’ve always thought the ranger was to the druid as the bard is to a wizard -like a hedge druid with a less hermit-like quality to them.
Still looking forward to seeing how the other classes handle the changes with the new mechanics added now.

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