Tips for a Ranger

I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 2003. That’s not a long time for most people who talk about how long they’ve been playing, but it’s still pretty significant exposure to the 3ed/3.5 rules, and. all things considered, I’m probably going to stick to those rules. It’s not that I dislike 4ed (I’ve never touched it before), but I just don’t have the money to upgrade, nor do I have the impetus to do so, as I don’t get to play nearly as often as I’d like.

Anyway, I’ve had a few ideas here and there on gameplay, and today I’d like to share one. There’s a method of multiclassing called “dipping,” which refers to taking just one level of a class to gain the big benefits of the first level. Note that many people refer to this as “cheating,” but I, for one, don’t.

Now, for this, you’re going to need a) a ranger, and b) a story that suggests that maybe he’s into arcane magic. Preferably, the ranger should be at least 5th level so he doesn’t end up feeling all diluted by the mage class. You’ll also want to be human or maybe an elf to avoid that nasty multiclassing penalty. Now, the idea is to get utility spells over flashy spells. Rangers aren’t about flashy, and besides, a first-level spell cast by a first-level caster isn’t going to be very useful at 6th level, let alone 16th.

Suggestions for 1st-level spells: Feather Fall and True Strike have some obvious use and no somatic component, and that’s a  big benefit to a fellow in armor. Spells with somatic components include Protection from (Alignment), Shield, Mount, Identify, Tenser’s Floating Disk (which will last one hour), Jump, Enlarge Person, Reduce Person, and Magic Weapon.

Why Enlarge/Reduce Person?  A melee ranger casting Enlarge Person gains 1 point of damage and five feet of reach at the cost of 1 point of AC, and his weapons go up one size category. A bow-based ranger Reduce Person on himself gains 1 point of AC and 2 points of attack, and although his weapon will go from 1d8 to 1d6, the Dex bonus offsets that for no effective change in damage, just a slightly more average roll.

Now, wizard or sorcerer?

Wizard:

A wizard naturally gets 3/1 spells per day at level 1, but the ranger probably already has at least 12 Int, so that changes to 3/2. A ranger/wizard will probably want to specialize in Diviner (giving up enchantment, which he isn’t using anyway), getting a free True Strike every day. The ranger/wizard can already knows all of the cantrips and can learn all eleven 1st-level spells.

Sorcerer:
The sorcerer’s strength, of course, is that he can cast 5/3 spells per day, and can cast what he wants whenever he wants, and a +2Charisma bonus isn’t that hard to get for 5/4 spells. Problem is that he can only learn 4/2 spells, and, playing strictly by the rules, can never change those out. That puts Magic Weapon right out, for instance. Some cantrip suggestions: Arcane Mark,  Resistance, Detect Poison, Detect Magic, Prestidigitation.

Personally, I’d go with the wizard.

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