Ranger – D&D Character Class Guide

DND –> D&D Classes –> Ranger

I have spent a lot of time compiling all the essential rules, options, equipment, feats, skills, races, alternatives, and styles of the ranger D&D character class all in one place. Great for new players, or experienced players who want to try something new, the ranger character class can also be fun and challenging.

Rangers are generally viewed as supporting characters, but they can be highly effective fighters in their own right. Rangers are very versatile, with a wide range of abilities and class options. In my opinion, the best ranger builds focus on damage dealing, rather than on tanking, healing, or support – most of the time.

This guide will give you everything you need to get started playing a ranger in D&D, including how the class changed over the years, the pros and cons of the class, tips for making your character, and playing a ranger in your campaign.

Ranger Overview

The ranger character class in Dungeons & Dragons is the ultimate wilderness warrior, combating vile creatures that dwell in the dark, desolate places of the world. The class emphasizes tactical combat skills, with the ability to strike with precision from a distance, set ambushes, and excel at following tracks and picking up signs of danger.

Over the years, the ranger class has gone through many changes (small and large) from original D&D to today with Fifth Edition. Luckily, the class had maintained a number of its core concepts, such as versatility and the ability to strike from a distance. Playing a ranger of any race in D&D can be an enjoyable experience, with your character becoming a living embodiment of the untamed wilderness.

You should play a ranger in D&D if you enjoy playing a versatile warrior that can master any situation, fight in both melee and ranged combat, and excel at traversing the wilderness. Overall, this D&D character class is great for players who like to be in the thick of the action.

Ranger Class in Various D&D Editions

On this page, I’m going to take a look at the ranger class in various editions of Dungeons & Dragons. I’ll likely be starting with the latest edition (5e) and work my way backwards until I have everything. With that in mind, let’s learn a little more about playing a ranger in D&D.

Ranger 5e D&D
Ranger 5e D&D

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition

The ranger was one of the standard character-classes available in the original Player’s Handbook. It was one of five subclasses.

Basic Dungeons & Dragons

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

The ranger 5e character class has a lot of the flavor and spirit of earlier versions of the ranger, but there’s a lot that makes it even more memorable. You can read more about the ranger 5e D&D class in this section. (Go to Ranger 5e Guide)

D&D Ranger FAQ

Here’s some frequently asked questions (and answers) about playing a ranger in Dungeons & Dragons.

What is a ranger in D&D?

Is ranger any good in D&D?

Why is ranger so bad in D&D?

This is funny right after our last FAQ (Is ranger any good in D&D). Haha. It goes to show that it’s all about how you look at life sometimes.

Why is the ranger considered weak?

Some people (not me!) might consider the ranger as weak because it doesn’t have as many or as flashy bonuses as some of the other classes. That doesn’t mean you can’t build a kick-ass ranger character in D&D. With a bit of patience, good dice rolls, and careful planning, you can level-up a ranger that would make Drizzt himself proud.

How much money does a ranger get in D&D?

Do rangers Need Intelligence?

Do Rangers need charisma?

Do Rangers need strength?

What stats are important for a Ranger?

Can D&D Rangers be Evil?

What race is good for Ranger?

Can Rangers heal in D&D?

Is playing a Ranger fun?

Are Rangers underpowered?

Is Ranger weak in D&D 5e?

Related to the question above, this is specifically about Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. And the answer is – it depends. I know it’s a cop-out in some regards, but there’s some times you might end up playing a “weak” ranger in D&D 5e. Then again, it’s really all about what you put into your character. Even if you have “bad” stats, your ranger could be strong in a number of other ways.

What are Rangers good for in D&D?

Do Rangers get Cantrips in D&D 5e?

Where do Rangers get their magic?

How do Rangers get their power in D&D?

This depends on your definition of your power. If you mean magic, you can read the entry above. Basically, though, a ranger’s magic is primal and comes from nature itself. They must prepare what spells they are going to cast for the day, but most players don’t find this annoying as they usually have a set group of spells that they pick for different situations. As you play a ranger, this will all become second nature.

Which Ranger archetype is best?

What is the best Ranger subclass?

Can a halfling be a Ranger?

Yes, a halfling can be a ranger in D&D! In fact, they’re one of the favorite races to choose for a ranger build. (Wood elves are even more common, but the halfling is close behind.) The stout halfling is nimble and quick and has a racial dexterity bonus.

How do you play Ranger well?

Does Ranger and fighter fighting style stack?

Basically, while a good idea, it’s not possible to stack the same ability, even if you’re gaining it from a different character class. There’s more specifics involved, but for most cases, it is NOT possible to stack ranger and fighter fighting styles. Again, as a DM, I like the way you’re thinking outside of the box. Just don’t think too far outside of the box, or I might just make the box a mimic! Small smile.

Can Rangers change fighting style?

Basically, yes, thanks to a massive Unearthed Arcana drop back in 2019. You’ll want to read all the nuts and bolts and check with your DM, of course, but basically it’s likely going to be possible. This means that your ranger character can adapt and grow as you level up. This is good news for players who enjoy playing the ranger class and want it to be as powerful as possible without breaking the game.

Did Tashas fix Ranger?

This came up on an interesting thread at DND Beyond back in October 2020. The conjecture was that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything fixed the ranger class in D&D 5e except for concentration. Yes, the fact that a lot (most?) of the ranger spells are concentration based is a downer for some, but it’s all about how you play your ranger. It’s not about brute force with this class most of the time.

Other D&D Ranger Character Class Content

Here’s some other D&D ranger related content here at the site.

Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.

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