Excerpts Archive | 10/25/2010
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Essentials: Ranger
Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms Excerpts

Imagine a world of bold warriors, mighty wizards, and terrible monsters.

Imagine a world of ancient ruins, vast caverns, and great wild wastes where only the bravest heroes dare to tread.

Imagine a world of swords and magic, a world of elves and goblins, a world of giants and dragons.

This is the world of Dungeons & Dragons. You take on the role of a legendary hero—a vigilant druid, a resolute paladin, a versatile ranger, or a charismatic warlock. In today’s excerpt from the forthcoming Players Essentials book, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, we preview the ranger.


Ranger

Martial and Primal Striker: Rangers such as the scout mix a singular two-weapon combat style with a mastery of primal magic to overwhelm their foes.

Why This Is the Class for You: You want to play an adventurer who combines wilderness prowess with primal magic.

Some heroes are more at home among the trees or in open fields than they are when walking the streets of a city. In ages past, rangers kept the peace along the farthest frontiers of civilization, wandering the land to root out monsters and keep the roads clear of threats. Today, the empires of old are long gone, their roads fallen into ruin. Yet even as the encroaching darkness grows ever bolder, rangers continue the valiant fight to keep the borderlands safe and secure. So well do they perform this task that many of those on the frontier never realize the debt they owe to those who protect them.

Many common folk are suspicious of rangers, knowing their kind only as loners who have no ties to kin or community. Indeed, some rangers eventually become little more than hermits watching over specific areas of the wild. However, as the darkness encroaches upon civilization, many rangers take on a protective role that prompts them to wander throughout all settled lands.

A ranger’s abilities reflect the divide between civilization and wilderness. Although rangers learn to master weapons, most commonly bows and those used in two-weapon fighting, they augment this martial training with their knowledge of primal magic. A ranger in the wild counts on his or her woodcraft and mastery of magic to survive.

Scout

Key Abilities: Dexterity, Wisdom

Scouts learn to wield two weapons at once, from the supple combination of longsword and short sword to the brutal double assault of battleaxe and handaxe.

This tactic denies the defensive benefit of a shield, but allows a scout to strike hard and fast. At their best when outnumbered and surrounded, scouts count on speed and accuracy in combat to overwhelm their foes.

Scouts augment their combat prowess with primal magic, channeling the supernatural power of the natural world to their advantage. Primal power allows a scout to pass by foes unseen, to discourage pursuit, and to keep his or her companions alive in the wild under conditions that would slay lesser explorers outright.

Class Traits

Hit Points: You start with hit points equal to 12 + your Constitution score. You gain 5 hit points each time you gain a level.
Bonuses to Defenses: +1 to Fortitude, +1 to Reflex
Healing Surges per Day: 7 + your Constitution modifier
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, leather, hide
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple melee, military melee, simple ranged, military ranged
Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Athletics (Str), Dungeoneering (Wis), Endurance (Con), Heal (Wis), Nature (Wis), Perception (Wis), Stealth (Dex)
Trained Skills: Dungeoneering or Nature, plus four more from the list of class skills

Heroic Scout

In the heroic tier, you learn to master the art of fighting with two weapons. Your mobility serves as your shield, while your fighting style devastates your foes.

Total XP Level Feats Known Class Features and Powers
0 1 1 Two-Weapon Style
Dual weapon attack
Attack Finesse
Power strike
Aspects of the wild
Wilderness knacks
1,000 2 +1 Utility Power
2,250 3 -- Improved Power Strike
3,750 4 +1 Ability score increase
Wilderness knack
5,500 5 -- Reactive shift
7,500 6 +1 Utility Power
10,000 7 -- Aspect of the wild
13,000 8 +1 Ability score increase
Wilderness knack
16,500 9 -- Improved Dual Weapon Attack
20,500 10 +1 Utility Power

Level 1: Two-Weapon Style

From the time you first took up the scout’s two-weapon fighting style, you have learned to maximize the effectiveness of your favored weapons. You gain one of the following features, depending on your choice of off-hand weapon.

Flashing Blade Mastery: With a light blade in your off hand, you maintain the agility that lets you keep your foes off balance and susceptible to your attacks.

Benefit: You gain a +1 bonus to weapon attack rolls while you wield a light blade in your off hand.

Spinning Axe Mastery: The axe is a brutal weapon that you trust to deal consistent damage. Scouts who face off against the largest, toughest enemies often favor the axe fighting style.

Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to weapon damage rolls while you wield an axe in your off hand.

Level 1: Dual Weapon Attack

You have learned the importance of traveling fast and light as you stand between your foes and the folk you are sworn to defend. Other warriors define their combat style with the largest and most powerful weapons, often at the expense of maneuverability. You have learned to fight with two weapons, maximizing your mobility as you cut through foes with unparalleled ease.

Benefit: You gain the dual weapon attack power.

Dual Weapon Attack
Ranger Attack
You follow your successful swing with a quick strike from your off hand.
At-Will (Special)Martial, Weapon
Free Action Melee weapon
Requirement: You must be wielding two melee weapons.
Trigger: You hit with a melee basic attack on your turn.
Target: One creature
Attack: Dexterity vs. AC (off-hand weapon)
Hit: 1[W] + Dexterity modifier damage.
Special: You can use this power only once per round.

Level 1: Attack Finesse

Your two-weapon fighting style marks you as a warrior who relies on speed and grace more than on brute strength. Others try to cut through their foes as if they were chopping wood, but you have a more refined approach to melee.

Benefit: When you make a melee basic attack, you can use your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier for the attack roll and the damage roll.

Level 1: Power Strike

Power strike is a quintessential exploit for many warriors. This power is usable with a wide range of tactics and a variety of weapons. The exploit ensures that your weapon has a devastating effect on a foe.

Benefit: You gain the power strike power.

Power Strike
Ranger Attack
By pushing yourself beyond your normal limits, you unleash your full wrath against a foe.
EncounterMartial, Weapon
Free Action Personal
Trigger: You hit an enemy with a melee basic attack using a weapon.
Target: The enemy you hit
Effect: The target takes 1[W] extra damage from the triggering attack.
Level 17: 2[W] extra damage.
Level 27: 3[W] extra damage.

Level 1: Aspects of the Wild

The weapon training and tactics you have developed drew both from martial training and from the teachings of druids and other masters of primal magic. You have struck a careful balance between the two approaches, mastering a fighting style that employs two weapons but augmenting it with primal magic that draws on the hunting tiger, the stalking wolf, and the soaring eagle.

This combination grants you mastery of primal aspects, reflections of natural beasts that guide you in combat. Quite literally, you fight with the strength, speed, and ferocity of an animal. Yet you temper this primal ruthlessness with the cool approach of a veteran warrior, giving you the best parts of both the primal and civilized worlds.

Benefit: You gain two of the following powers of your choice.

Aspect of the Cunning Fox: A ranger trains to fight, but sometimes the best tactic is one that allows you to escape from a battle. Like a fox, you use speed and cunning to outwit your foes. They might attempt to hinder your movement, but you easily dodge their attacks. When you strike, you remain one step ahead of your foes, dancing in and out of the battle.

Aspect of the Cunning Fox
Ranger Utility
Like a fox, you move with stealth, speed, and cunning. Your foes cannot hope to harm you while you are in motion, and you always keep an open escape route at hand.
At-WillPrimal, Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You assume a stance, the aspect of the cunning fox. Until the stance ends, you gain the following benefits.
You take only half damage from attacks made against you during your turn.
Whenever you hit or miss with a melee attack or a ranged attack on your turn, you can take a free action to shift up to 2 squares.

Aspect of the Charging Ram: The ram relies on brute force to overwhelm its enemies, favoring a deadly charge. You mimic its tactics, drawing on primal magic to deliver a brutal attack. With this aspect, you run rampant over the battlefield. Your enemies shrink away as you barrel forward, unwilling to attack you or stand between you and your target.

Aspect of the Charging Ram
Ranger Utility
You barrel past your foes with such speed and strength that they are unable to react to your assault.
At-WillPrimal, Stance
Minor Action Personal
Effect: You assume a stance, the aspect of the charging ram. Until the stance ends, you gain the following benefits.
Your movement during a charge doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks.
If you hit with a charge attack, you can knock the target prone.
You gain a +2 power bonus to the damage rolls of charge attacks.

Aspect of the Dancing Serpent: A serpent strikes like lightning and retreats like a ghost. It lands deadly attacks but never lingers near its enemy. You mimic these tactics with this aspect, pouncing upon an isolated enemy and not letting it bog you down in close quarters.

Aspect of the Hungry Shark: The loremasters hold that a shark can smell blood from miles away. Whether or not that is true, this aspect turns you into a single-minded killer. When you smell blood, you attack mercilessly.

Aspect of the Lurking Spider: Many other predators rely on strength and overwhelming force, but the spider is a patient slayer. Using a combination of stealth and maneuverability, it lures its foe into its lair and strikes to kill.

Aspect of the Pack Wolf: A wolf pack is a whole that is stronger than the sum of its parts. When you enter this aspect, you develop an instinctual understanding of your allies’ movements and attacks. When you make your own attack, you use your allies’ presence to land a telling blow.

Aspect of the Regal Lion: The lion is the king of the savannah, a proud hunter and a ferocious enemy. When you enter this aspect, you gain the lion’s unmatched bravery and resolute determination. No foe, regardless of its size or strength, can hope to match your tenacity.

Aspect of the Soaring Hawk: From its perch among the winds, high above the ground, a hawk keeps careful watch on the land. When it spots its prey, it strikes in the blink of an eye. This aspect allows you to channel the hawk’s speed and also take advantage of the hawk’s high perch. In battle, your spirit almost rises out of your body, allowing you to strike true regardless of the obstacles before you.

Excerpt Schedule

Monday Friday

October 18

Druid: Sentinel

October 22

Paladin: Cavalier

October 25

Ranger: Scout

October 29

Warlock: Hexblade