[UPDATED!] Return of the Ranger: Alpha Version 2.2

UPDATE!: Due to feedback given by valuable readers (which can be viewed below, in the Comments section), I have made minor adjustments to the class, updating it to version 2.2. I added the Adrenaline Surge feature at 6th level, in order to grand added survivability, and replaced the Nature’s Ward feature of the Seeker path with the more expansive Spirit Guide.

So, finally, I have a Ranger Alpha which I am comfortable handing over to you. Because, let’s be real, guys. The last alpha was a bit of a mess. It was rushed and sloppy: a product of my own attempt at biting off WAY more than I could chew. The various features which were designed to make use of the Bonus Action mechanic in 5e actually just created a major limiting factor for the class: it had a lot of cool shit to do, but not enough actions to do it all. I’ve mitigated that by getting away from the original “bonus action playground” mentality of version 1.0. Instead, I’ve gone with more of a streamlined approach, primarily focusing around triggered abilities and passive benefits.

I’ve also distanced myself, thematically, from the “wandering mystic” version of version 1.0, and have focused instead on a more general survivalist idea. And I played with the concept of the ranger being more of a warrior than it was before, specifically focusing on skirmishing tactics.

The good news of is that this is a decidedly better version of the ranger than the last version I put out (and, if I’m being bold, I would say that it’s better than the core class).

The bad news is that what I’m presenting here is only a 6 level build. It’s small because I’m working my way up. I have a general layout for a full 20-level build, but I’m not sure how all of the pieces fit together (and my recent attempt at building and playing a level 11 version for playtesting resulted in kind of an overload of features, so things are still very much in flux).

I’m not going to go point-by-point with this version of the ranger. I have a few design notes, but nothing significant.

Why Six Levels?

I decided on six levels, rather than five or ten, because I wanted to give enough for a ranger that’s just starting out, but also allow you to play the low-level ranger to its fullest potential. In order to do that, it needs to have its Strider feature, which allows it to maneuver through difficult terrain. And that comes at level 6. And, besides that, if I only included 5 levels, then you’d really only be getting 3 levels of content, since levels 4 and 5 are taken up by an Ability Score Increase and Extra Attack respectively, and those features are a dime-a-dozen.

You can download a PDF copy of my new ranger playtest here: The Ranger: Alpha v2.2

Continue reading “[UPDATED!] Return of the Ranger: Alpha Version 2.2”

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Treasure Type Z: The Revised Hunter

So, I’m working on an updated and revised version of my Ranger class right now. I can’t make any promises as to when it will arrive. Unlike last time, I’m not working toward a deadline. I’m just going to work on it when I can (this season is hell on my free time) until I’m done. Until then, however, I do have something to share.

See, one of the things I was rather disappointed with last time was how I was unable to do a complete write-up for the Hunter subclass. Of course, the Hunter already exists in the standard ranger, but I wanted to change things up and make something a bit more active and focused on battlefield control, rather than the oddly-situational benefits that the normal hunter gets.

Therefore, I have created THIS version of the archetype. It’s intended to be used with my upcoming version of the ranger, but can definitely function with the existing class in the Player’s Handbook.

I’m not going to give a whole lot of analysis or justification for this. It’s a Treasure Type Z article, so it’s just supposed to be new stuff. But I still wanted to give a bit of a preface to this, considering the odd situation. Also due to this odd situation, I will not actually be including a pdf link for this subclass until my updated ranger is complete.

And, without further rambling, here’s the revised Hunter archetype for the ranger class. Continue reading “Treasure Type Z: The Revised Hunter”

Monstrous Monday: The Changeling Race

Let’s do one for the players, shall we?

When the very first Unearthed Arcana came out, long ago in the far off past, it included a new race for players to toy with: The Changeling. Effectively, it’s a shapeshifter that can transform into any humanoid it wants.

I had a problem with it. Not with the concept, of course. Shape shifting infiltrators are AWESOME. My problem was with the name. See, when I think Changeling, I don’t think of a shifter. I think of the children of the sidhe: fey- and monster-born. Trollkin and hagborn and the children of faeries and men. In mythology, changelings were faerie-children who were swapped with human children in order to infiltrate human civiliations.

Changeling Parent

Pathfinder has a Changeling race as well, though specifically focused on being the children of hags, rather than any number of monstrous creatures.

Therefore, the Eberron Changeling is known as the Faceless in my campaigns. And changelings…well, why don’t you see for yourself? Continue reading “Monstrous Monday: The Changeling Race”

The Ranger Class: Alpha Playtest

Well, here it is! It took me a month, but I finally built my ranger! After four weeks of teasing and taunting and over-long articles about class design, it’s finally here. And not only am I presenting it to you all, but I’m actually also going to talk about the design of the class. What abilities I chose, which ones I didn’t, and why.

Before any of that, though, I have a couple of notes.

Regarding Playtesting

When I said that it took me a month to build this class, I wasn’t lying. I went through several variations on class abilities and builds before I finally came to a configuration with which I was comfortable. And I’m still not 100% on the thing. You will see more versions arrive as I playtest and observe where the class exceeds and wanes.

In addition to my own playtesting, I would love to see the community participate. Share this document everywhere you can. Convince your DMs to let you try it out. DMs, let your players take it for a test drive. I know it might be imbalanced, but this is how the classes in the Player’s Handbook got to where they are: RIGOROUS PLAYTESTING. And please, if you do playtest it, send me your feedback. You can click the About/Contact Me tab at the top of this page to send me a message, and here, I’ll even Provide you with a link.

Regarding Legality

I want to make something entirely clear. I have no idea whether or not my version of the ranger is legal. This is free, which I figure counts in my favor, but I still wanted to cover my bases (unknowable as they are). I am using the 3rd edition OGL here, as I don’t think I’ve used any copyright terminology in this class. I did my level-best not to re-print any features word-for-word from the Player’s Handbook. I specifically used different names for similar features, and changed up the function of some of them. Most of this is due to the different direction of my ranger, but some of it is admittedly to prevent copyright infringement. I also made the conscious decision to NOT print features that saw no change from one version to the other. If you don’t own a Player’s Handbook and you’re looking for a free look at the ranger, then you have come to the wrong place.

With those out of the way, let’s get to it, shall we? Hold onto your butts, because this is gonna be a long one. Continue reading “The Ranger Class: Alpha Playtest”

Free Halloween Adventure: Night of Samhain

So…uh…surprise! I guess…

I wrote an adventure! For Halloween! And, uh, here it is! Seriously, wow. I had the plan to do this at the start of October, and didn’t know if I’d be able to bust it out. But I did. It’s Tuesday night, and I did it! I finally finished the adventure! So, if you’re wondering why this is such a surprise, and why I didn’t talk about it earlier…it’s basically because I didn’t have any idea whether or not I’d actually finish the damn thing in time. If I didn’t I was going to post it next week, since I’m running it for my group this weekend. As it stands, I’m still going to do a post-mortem, but now I can actually present it to all of you!

And it’s pretty impressive! For me, anyway. It comes with 3 custom monsters (one of which is brand new to this blog!), two new magic items, and a fun mystery to solve! I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope you have a lot of fun playing it.

The title of the adventure is Night of Samhain. For those of you who aren’t up on their wiccan, or those of you who learned the word from that one really terrible episode of Supernatural, that’s pronounced “SAH-win,” not “Sam-HANE.”

Which…actually brings me to the very first topic I wanted to bring up. I want to apologize up front to any and all of my wiccan readers. Because this is a spooky mystery adventure with a villain who is named after a cherished holiday in your tradition. It features zombies, vampires, a demon, and a Frankenstein, and overall does not paint your holiday in a fair light. My only hope is that you can find the spirit and the fun of the season in my adventure and embrace some of the silliness of Halloween. If you cannot, then please send me hate mail. I probably deserve it.

A Short Description

The small town of Owen’s Mire has existed in peace for hundreds of years, but someone has opened the old crypt outside of town. Undead prowl the streets, and a deadly secret is keeping Mayor Ethan Burke up at night. Can you stop the undead rising from their graves? Can you solve the mystery of the Blood Guard’s crypt? Can you save these people, before they are consumed by the Blood Moon? Take on the challenge and face your fears in Night of Samhain.
Continue reading “Free Halloween Adventure: Night of Samhain”

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