Frequently depicted as the paladins of the natural world, rangers are far more complex than that. They are the fighting force in the places few others dare to tread. They stand on the bridge alone, preventing others from passing. They are loyal to their cause, to an individual, to a group, or to an ideal. While their general mission of protecting those that cannot protect themselves against terrible dangers frequently draws them to the wilderness, they can be found in towns, cities, and royal courts. Some look upon them as vigilantes, working outside of the law while others see them as the only semblance of law where the local guard fears to stand watch.
Join us Fridays as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.
1) Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?
One does not simply walk into the mouth of danger for no reason. Even treasure hunters and tomb plunderers do not seek out terrible danger half as terrible as a ranger encounters on an average Tuesday. You face this danger out of loyalty to someone, some group, or to an idea. What is it that you are loyal to? Describe those you are loyal to. Is it your hometown? Maybe it is just your family. Perhaps it is something larger, like your people who have been persecuted by the crown for generations and no one is coming to help you in your people’s time of trouble? Maybe your kingdom was conquered, and you are one of the last of the royal guard, living in the wilderness to avoid detection by the new rulers, all this time you are carrying out your liege’s final request: protect the people.
2) Why Do You Continue On When Few Others Do?
The obvious answer here is, “because I am loyal to them,” but that is to easy of an answer. Others were loyal as well but they abandoned their such a dangerous situation. You are a ranger and stand your ground when few others do. Something drives you forward when prudence and good sense says to flee. What is it? Are you fighting to earn the respect of the parents of the one you love? Do you seek the safety of your family and your people? Did someone now gone save your life and you are fight on in your memory? What drives you into danger?
3) How Did You Become So Comfortable with Nature?
A ranger works among by the wild places in the same way a physician does surrounded by the sick. Some find those environs so dangerous, they will work hard to avoid them. You, however, fear it not and even find it comforting. That level of comfort does not come without any explanation. It can be as simple as growing up in a small town or as a serf child on a lord’s farm and you played in the woods when ever the adults were not looking. Perhaps you’re an orphan or a runaway that fled a city to avoid those from whom you had no defense, found people that took you in and loved you, so when they were in danger, you stood your ground. Even more, you learned to make friends with animals. Did you share with a wolf some meet from a deer you shot? Did you pull a thorn from a lion’s paw? Did you raise a dinosaur from an egg?
4) What Was The Most Memorable Danger You Encounter Alone?
Remember, this is a world where a hag can disguise a cave as a candy house so unsuspecting children will enter, and it can devour them before the parents realize their young are even missing. So any tale about some deadly foe you encountered should be more interesting than a mundane mountain lion or bobcat. Make it something not from our world like gremlins, kobolds, giants, demons, or a ravaging horde of undead. No matter how you survived, it should not be by strength alone. Relying on your arm strength is for fighters. You should have survived and even overcome by your wits. Did you have the zombie horde run off the cliff edge like lemmings? Did you tie the giant’s shoe laces together when he was asleep? Did you sic the gremlins on the kobolds?
5) Do You Really Like Your Fellow Adventurers More Than Your Animal Companion?
Jokes about rangers loving their wolves a little to much aside, rangers are people that spend less time around others than they do battling monsters. Because of that, they can be socially less adept than other classes. So their interactions with their fellow adventurers should be a little awkward. No place is that better illustrated than in the Lord of the Rings when Aragorn first meets the hobbits. He’s abrupt, gruff, and even off-putting. It is when he proves to the four that he is there to help that they begin to trust him. In the same way, if your character grows up away from civilization and does not choose any Charisma-based skills, then your character should be rough around the edges. While your character should always be well meaning, helpful to the group, and never a jerk, there is plenty of room there for your character to be less than socially graceful. The strong-silent type, always phrasing their thoughts in as few words as possible, is an excellent way of doing this. No matter how you portray your character, remember to be one of the group.
Iragui is our signature ranger. His kind are knows as dragonborn but some call them a dragonspawn or even a wyvaran. He and his kind are no strangers to the wild places far from human civilization. With so much smaller numbers than humans, they have to be brave and delve into deadly places with little backup. Iragui knows the sounds of the woods and the smells of the caves. He know if the smell of mold is harmlessly decomposing something dead or if he should draw his weapon. He knows to be ready for battle when the birds are suddenly silent. All these little cues he constantly pays attention to, sometimes so much he misses the casual conversations of his fellow adventurers. While that doesn’t make him the most friendly of travelling companions, they do appreciate it when he warns then that battle is about to begin.
Find the racial stats on this dragon-based race and all our other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.