1985 Arcana Alternate Ranger Features 1.1

1985 Arcana Alternate Ranger Features 1.1

Hello and welcome to 1985 Arcana! A place where I (Jeremiah) work on creating new and interesting rules for DnD 5e. Here we’ll release new playtest material for everyone to download and test out. If you like it, let us know in the comments. If you think we need to make any changes, where happy to hear them! This is meant to be a collaborative project between 1985 Games and our community.

Alternate Ranger Features 1.1

Find a new style of play for the classic Ranger in this installment of 1985 Arcana. This playtest document presents revised class features for the ranger to be used in place of the standard abilities found in the PHB. All attempts were made to stick as close to the source material as possible. With hopes of creating a version of the ranger that see's more play.

We’ll release a playtest survey soon. When we do, please let us know what you think of these options. Your feedback can help us better the rules, and may end up in future products!

This Is Playtest Material

The DnD material in this article is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your DnD campaign but not refined by full game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game and aren’t created by the Wizards of the Coast team.


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Hey George Allison,

I think you make a good point. My thought process in recreating “Natural Explorer” was to accomplish two things.

1st- I wanted to make the ability more versatile by adding this text “If you’ve spent at least 5 days in a new terrain type you may choose to make that terrain your favored terrain.” This now allows you to gain those minor benefits in every terrain type.

2nd- I wanted to nerf the ability slightly, due to the changes made to Favored Enemy. With Favored Enemy now a more versatile and useful skill in combat, I removed the “double proficiency bonus on Int and Wis-based skills”. My thoughts were that having two powerful abilities at 1st level would make the class unbalanced compared to fighters or paladins.

With all that being said I think you might have nailed it on the head. It might make more sense to have the ability automatically kick in after traveling for a certain amount of time in any environment.

1985 Games- Jeremiah

What is the purpose of “favored terrain”? If you take out the double proficiency bonus on Int and Wis-based skills, as you have, the other benefits of Natural Explorer are really quite minor. Why not remove favored terrain altogether, and just say “While traveling for an hour or more in the wilderness, you gain the following benefits…”

The problems with the original Favored Enemy and Natural Explorer are that they give benefits that are totally conditional based on the campaign. They may come up all the time, or never come up at all. You dealt with that correctly in Favored Enemy by removing the need to name a specific enemy type, why not also do it with Natural Explorer?

Party: “We must enter this swamp to reach the hag’s lair. Ranger, lead us!”
Ranger: “Sorry, I only really know forests.”

George Allison

We’ve updated the error in Favored Enemy!

1985 Games

I’ve always felt like the ranger as written is a bit, blah. So I like both the subtle and not so subtle changes you’ve made.
I especially like the use of ranger spells as abilities. I always thought it was dumb that the every ranger spell requires concentration, an so adding them as abilities really frees the ranger up to choose and use different spells.

Jon Belham

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