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How to Create Great Pathfinder 2nd Edition Characters: Ranger

Another Pathfinder Second Edition (PF2) change that I’d like to briefly touch on before today’s regularly-scheduled programming is the Hero Point. During the Playtest, this was a polarizing topic; people tended to love it or hate it.

Hero Points are session-specific boons that are awarded by the Gamemaster (GM) for great achievements and major accomplishments. At the beginning of every session, each player should get a Hero Point. These can be cashed in for a free reroll on a check, or you can hand over all your Hero Points to save your character from death.

Fans of the Glass Cannon Podcast will recall that Troy has particularly strong feelings about Hero Points. He is firmly in the camp that using Hero Points to thwart death eliminates the threat of failure from combats. Essentially, they take away the consequences that can build tension and force heroics.

On the other side of the coin, having a mechanic to reroll dice is nice to have. Even the folks at the Glass Cannon Network have their bottlecap system to help give bonuses to rolls. Players spend their Hero Points at big moments – they’re heroes after all!

I used to be with Troy, but I’ve come around. Players don’t have to expend all of their points to save their character; they can just let the dice lie where they are. Hero Points give the option, but they never force your hand. That’s important.

Anyways, before I ignite some hot feelings about Hero Points, let’s talk about this week’s focus: the Ranger! If you recall that scene from The Fellowship of the Ring where Aragorn is at the back of the Prancing Pony in Bree – that’s my visceral image of what a Ranger is all about. There are, as you will soon see, many other directions to take a Ranger build. Paizo built in a lot of flexibility on that front.

Prepare yourself for five character concepts and a Pathmap containing mechanical choices to help you mechanically. Let’s range!

Pathfinder 2nd Edition Ranger Class

Pathfinder Second Edition Ranger Iconic, Harsk, wielding a pair of war axes and a crossbox on the back of his stout dwarvish frame.
Harsk, the 2E Iconic Ranger

Rangers are perceptive. They are constantly scouting around, trying to understand their environment better. For most Rangers, this means getting the literal lay of the land and analyzing the terrain. However, it is important to note that Rangers can put their skills to use in urban environments as well. Swap out foxes and deer for diplomats and nobles, and you have the makings for a master of political intrigue.

Rangers are hunters. Again, when thinking about hunters you don’t necessarily have to settle on wild animals. At their core, hunters are patient and meticulous planners. They will often wait for their prey for hours on end, silently waiting for their opportunity to strike. They are usually respectful of their prey, and bask in the sanctity of the hunt.

When danger approaches, Rangers are quick to react and find an advantage. It might be a higher position, a different formation, or a trick to turn the tables on assailants. They know the weak points of their enemies and the strengths of their allies.

Typically, Rangers aren’t inclined to settling down in a civilized area, but it’s not completely unheard of. Even if they do, they generally have more affinity to the natural parts of the world. They tend to be free-spirited and weathered by the elements. Rangers rely on their experience to survive.

  LEGENDARY SLAYER

Your name is sung in taverns and around campfires throughout the land. Tales of your exploits are something of legend. From minor nuisances to fabled creatures, you have tamed and hunted some extraordinary beasts and have the scars to back up your claims. You probably keep a trophy or two to commemorate your hunts.

Whether you prefer to work alone or in a group, the boldness of your leadership is unrivaled. You push your luck, rushing into battle with ferocity and precision. Capitalizing on the weaknesses you’ve researched, you have a game plan from the beginning, but you’re not afraid to adapt to the situation if things don’t go according to plan. You improvise; in this line of work it’s a requirement.

What are some of the beasts that you’ve killed? Have your hunts confirmed the existence of creatures that most thought only lived in myth? What is your most well-known kill? Do you specialize in a certain type of creature, like incorporeal haunts or dragon-kind? Are there any pre-hunt rituals that you perform? Are you superstitious? Have you ever abandoned a hunt, or do you believe in fighting to the death?

Where have you traveled? When did you first become interested in hunting down the beasts of legend? Have you lied about a hunt? How much criticism do you get for your actions? Have you ever been hired or contracted to take care of a particular beast? Do you openly share your tales or do you leave that up to the professional storytellers? Do you correct embellishments? Are you humble or more boisterous about your deeds? Are you well-versed with supernatural beings?

Pathmap

  • Hunter’s Edge: Outwit
  • Ability Scores: Strength, Intelligence
  • Skills: Spirit Lore, Occultism, Intimidation
  • Spirit Animal: Shedu
  • Ranger Feats: Monster Hunter, Monster Warden (2nd), Disrupt Prey (4th), Skirmish Strike (6th), Warden’s Boon (8th), Master Monster Hunter (10th), Double Prey (12th), Shared Prey (14th), Legendary Monster Hunter (16th), Manifold Edge (18th), Triple Threat (20th)

  SEARCH AND RESCUE EXPERT

When someone goes missing, you are the first to venture out into the wilds to find them. You know all the tricks that people use to try and stay hidden, or to throw others off their trail. Snapped twigs, torn clothing – you’ve seen it all. No matter the weather or terrain, you have a keen eye for detail. You’ve successfully found livestock, kidnapped officials, children, and escaped pets.

You don’t just focus on lost-and-found activities, however. Sometimes people underestimate their own abilities and get stuck on top of a mountain or on the wrong side of a raging river. You are fearless in your pursuit of making sure everyone comes back home safely. Your moral code transcends allegiance or nation; if someone is in desperate need you will assist them to the limits of your abilities.

Pathfinder Second Edition Ranger by Kent Hamilton, dressed in thick white furs and equipped with slender pink claws protruding from the tops of her hands.

What happens when you’re not successful in a rescue mission? What’s going through your head in the beginning and end of an attempt? Have you ever saved someone close to you on a personal level? Do you dwell more on your failures than your successes? Do you require payment upfront? Have you ever staged a situation that would require your services? What has been your closest call?

Have the odds ever been completely stacked against you, yet you still succeeded? What are your tools of the trade? Is there something that you bring along as a good luck charm rather than as a necessity? Do you try and educate people you rescue on what happened? Are you just as skilled at tracking down objects? How do you act towards the people you rescue? How do you show compassion? Does it take you long to recuperate after a particularly harrowing operation?

Pathmap

  • Hunter’s Edge: Precision
  • Ability Scores: Dexterity, Wisdom
  • Skills: Swamp Lore, Survival, Athletics
  • Spirit Animal: Hoar Fox
  • Ranger Feats: Animal Companion, Wild Empathy (2nd), Scout’s Warning (4th), Swift Tracker (6th), Hazard Finder (8th), Warden’s Step (10th), Second Sting (12th), Warden’s Guidance (14th), Improved Twin Riposte (16th), Impossible Flurry (18th), To the Ends of the Earth (20th)

  FEARLESS ANIMAL TRAINER

Dogs aren’t your only best friend; you have an affinity for all animals. You’re always up to the task of training a creature that seems beyond understanding. Over time, you’ve taught tricks and obedience to personal pets and creatures that occupy esteemed court presence. Animals seem to welcome your guiding hand. In fact, it’s almost supernatural how well you can understand their core habits.

You know when to press the issue and when to back off. There’s no sense in getting injured when you could just take some extra time to express that you’re not a threat. Sometimes you have to lay down the law; it just depends on the creature’s temperament. Before training a new beast, you always figure out its behavior from the locals. Most of your knowledge is gained through word of mouth and experience.

Do you keep many pets or do you focus on one at a time? Have you ever rehabilitated an animal? What is the most exotic creature that you’ve trained and how did you accomplish it? What are the best ways to gain the trust of others? Do your skills translate well to interacting with people? Who is your current animal companion and what’s their story?

How do you deal with people who aren’t fitting to be pet owners, either through lack of responsibility or demeanor issues? What are the core tricks or abilities that you teach? Have there been any outlandish requests for you to teach to an animal? What’s the longest amount of time it’s taken an animal to warm up to you? What’s your favorite animal?

Pathmap

  • Hunter’s Edge: Flurry
  • Ability Scores: Dexterity, Charisma
  • Skills: Animal Lore, Performance, Nature
  • Spirit Animal: Furcifer
  • Ranger Feats: Animal Companion, Wild Empathy (2nd), Companion’s Cry (4th), Mature Animal Companion (6th), Blind-Fight (8th), Incredible Companion (10th), Side by Side (12th), Sense the Unseen (14th), Specialized Companion (16th), Masterful Companion (18th), Ultimate Skirmisher (20th)

  EXPERIENCED GUIDE

Travel is tough, especially when you don’t know where you’re going. If you don’t know the safest roads or viable mountain passes, you can find yourself robbed, mauled, or worse. You traipsed over every hill, through every valley, and across every river. Nobody knows the topography like you, and people pay for that expertise. Safe passage is the name of the game, and you’re the main player.

Maybe your experience came from years of herding sheep or patrolling for the King’s Guard. Or maybe you’ve spent countless hours studying cartography. You probably have some decent connections with government officials; you might even have a standing deal with local gangs to give yourself amnesty. People can be hesitant about traveling, and you understand how important it is to portray confidence, even if you’re afraid.

Do you regularly experience issues while guiding people on their journey? How do you ensure safe passage? Are you a part of a company that does this line of work? Do you double-up and help transport goods for merchants at the same time? Which region is your expertise? Do you prefer a specific mode of transportation, like wagons or horses?

Does your animal companion scout the way? What are some of your closest calls on the road? Have you written any atlases or books on travel? What are your favorite places to visit? Have you adopted practices from other cultures? Do you have a reputation for being skilled at combat, or is it mostly just survival? Have you been approached from rival factions offering unrealistic sums of money for you to ‘lose your cargo’ along the way? Do you ever travel by yourself anymore? What’s it like not having a permanent place to hang your hat?

Pathmap

  • Hunter’s Edge: Outwit
  • Ability Scores: Intelligence, Constitution
  • Skills: Desert Lore, Society, Medicine
  • Spirit Animal: Karkadann
  • Ranger Feats: Animal Companion, Favored Terrain (2nd), Favored Enemy (4th), Swift Tracker (6th), Terrain Master (8th), Camouflage (10th), Distracting Shot (12th), Sense the Unseen (14th), Greater Distracting Shot (16th), Impossible Volley (18th), To the Ends of the Earth (20th)

  TOURNAMENT BOWMAN

Pathfinder Second Edition Ranger, hooded and covered in vibrant colors, wielding a bow.

If there’s an archery tournament, odds are pretty high that you’ll be there. You are never quite as happy as when you’re pulling back the bowstring and hitting the center of the target. Sure, you have yet to win any major tournaments, but you’re always improving. You live off your winnings, so that’s extra motivation for you to excel at the game. When you aren’t shooting, you’re watching others to see how their techniques compare to yours.

Your skills on the tournament green are useful in combat as well. Hunting, battle – you’ve done it all. With enough recognition, you might even gain some favor with the local lords and ladies. You are bound and determined to make them notice you, even if it means putting on a bit of a show to turn their heads. On the tournament scene, it’s important to have a bit of bravado and charisma, so you cultivate that in droves.

When did you first pick up a bow and when did you discover that you were an exceptional shot? What is your standard practice regiment? Have you won any significant tournaments, or mostly smaller ones? Do you have a patron to help sponsor your entry? Does it take you a while to line up your perfect shot, or can you dial in on the target quickly? Have you participated in tournaments under an alias?

Do you craft your own arrows? Are they any distinguishable markings or fletching that you use? What’s the craziest shot you’ve ever made? Do you hunt often, or do you strictly shoot at targets? How does your background benefit an adventuring party? Do you have any side jobs that you run in between tournaments? Are you trying to impress someone in particular? Does your bow have a name?

Pathmap

  • Hunter’s Edge: Precision
  • Ability Scores: Dexterity, Charisma
  • Skills: Theater Lore, Diplomacy, Performance
  • Spirit Animal: Kirin
  • Ranger Feats: Hunted Shot, Hunter’s Aim (2nd), Far Shot (4th), Snap Shot (6th), Deadly Aim (8th), Penetrating Shot (10th), Distracting Shot (12th), Targeting Shot (14th), Greater Distracting Shot (16th), Perfect Shot (18th), Legendary Shot (20th)

Pathfinder 2E Ranger Class – Fire Away!

Rangers are great utility class, because their tracking and survival skills are incredibly useful outside of combat. Plus, who doesn’t want the opportunity to have an animal companion?

Next week we’re onto one of the classes that I’ve played the least: the Rogue! It’s a class that many people gravitate towards, thanks to the delight of sticking to the shadows and stabbing before you can say ‘pin cushion.’

Until next time, may your arrows strike true!

How to Create Great Pathfinder Second Edition Characters