The new and improved Ranger is here from Wizard of the Coast’s Mike Mearls! After a few cracks at the ranger, we get an 8 page PDF that renames its archetypes to conclaves and they hope will have everyone loving the class again. We also see the re-introduction of the Deep Stalker Conclave who is most at home in the Underdark and was last seen in Unearthed
Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark!. They basically fixed the base class, left the Hunter alone and fixed the Beast Master.

“Over the past year, you’ve seen us try a number of new approaches to the ranger, all aimed at addressing the class’s high levels of player dissatisfaction and its ranking as D&D’s weakest class by a significant margin.”

I’ve only read it once, but on first reading here are some highlights…

  • Natural Explorer – for any terrain!
    • You ignore difficult terrain.
    • You have advantage on initiative rolls.
    • On your first turn during combat, you have advantage on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted.
    • Plus the other stuff from before when traveling for an hour or more
  • Primeval Awareness now allows communication with beasts
  • Land’s Stride is now Fleet of Foot and just gives you the ability to Dash as a bonus action
  • At level 6 Ranger’s get Greater Favored Enemy with +4, advantage on saves and more
  • Hide in Plain Sight is reworded and puts a -10 on Wisdom (Perception) checks
  • Vanish, Feral Senses and Foe Slayer all appear unchanged.
  • Beast Conclave
    • rolls for initiative on its own, no multiattack if it has that ability
    • you determine its actions, decisions, attitudes, and so on… if you are incapacitated or absent, your companion acts on its own
    • a list of Traits and Flaws are provided for your beast such as this example flaw “If there’s food left unattended, I’ll eat it.”
    • New features such as Coordinated Attack, Beast’s Defense, Storm of Claws and Fangs, Superior Beast’s Defense
  • Hunter Conclave
    • Basically the same as current and I think this is a good thing.
  • Deep Stalker Conclave
    • From Unearthed Arcana: Light, Dark, Underdark! and relatively unchanged
    • Deep Stalker Magic now gives darkvision 90′, plus additional spells for stalking from before
    • Other features remain from previous UA: Extra attack at 5th level, Iron Mind (proficiency in Wisdom saves), Stalker’s Flurry (make another attack when you miss), Stalker’s Dodge (impose disadvantage on an attack as a reaction, even after roll is made!)

Read the Full Story | Download the PDF

I’ve had players in my campaigns play both the Beast Master and the Hunter. The Hunter seems pretty good in combat, but I really like seeing the improvements to the Ranger as an explorer. I’ll be asking my current player if she is interested in playtesting this. As always, remember this is playtest material.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. I’m hoping one of us can have a more detailed analysis out later in the week.