In my last post, I looked back to the ranger class of OD&D, 1e, and 2e. When I started that post, I had the now-comical notion that I might discuss all six editions at once. The tale, as the Professor and GRRM have been known to say, grew in the telling, and so it is doing now. Before I move on to 3.0, I want to look at development within editions: 1e's Unearthed Arcana and 2e's Complete Ranger's Handbook and Skills and Powers, which I mentioned in passing before. Ironically, on the same day that I hit Publish on my first post about rangers, WotC released their own retrospective of the Big Four and the Ranger. The bit of history on how rangers came to use two-weapon fighting surprised me.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014
So I have this ongoing difference of opinion with Kainenchen over the ranger class, as a shorthand for the whole system of having more than four classes. Does D&D need more classes than cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard? Can all other important class concepts be represented by some multi-class combination of the Big - nay, even Fantastic, this is fantasy after all - Four? (Also it does not take a physicker of fire-works to get that Mr. Fantastic is a wizard, the Human Torch is a rogue, the Invisible Woman is the cleric - well, a City of Heroes bubble-defender anyway - and the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing is a fighter. But I digress, and note that there's a lot of room for amusing debate over those class assignments.) Why do rangers get druid spells? To tackle the troubling topic of the tree-hugging trooper, I have written you this lovely blog post.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
I'm working on a new subclass for rangers, focused on snares and cunning use of terrain. Working toward that end, I've created five new spells for rangers, and as the druid spell list is largely (though not strictly) a superset of the ranger spell list, I think these spells are appropriate to druids as well. I have a longer post percolating on the basic problems of ranger design, inspired by many conversations with Kainenchen as well as Rob Donoghue's recent review of the class.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
In my (now long-running) D&D Next/5e game, the players explored a dungeon called the Monastery of the Blessed Scroll (layout based on Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire). I run very few dungeons that take much more than 2-3 sessions at most to explore, so this post documents what I did, and what parts of that worked or did not work. Players who were involved in some of those eleven sessions should feel free to chime in with comments. A lot of this post concerns the unusual-to-me format of this campaign, so I'll start there.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
During the public playtest of D&D Next, I did some fiddling around with the sorcerer class to keep it current-ish with later packets, because several of my players were so intrigued by the original class concept. My efforts weren't great, in part because they highlighted what was wrong in the long-term with WotC's original model for the sorcerer - the pool of sorcery points ballooned into something that felt unmanageable. The good thing that came out of this was that I developed a new bloodline concept for the sorcerer, and now that 5e is actually out and doing its thing, I still think that concept is pretty cool.
Friday, August 15, 2014
A few days ago, the G+ thread following +Rob Donoghue's post on Rangers and Rogues led to an idea that really grabbed me: the Mastermind Rogue. This is a Roguish Archetype that roughly parallels some of the functions of the Bard and the assisting functions of the Battle Master archetype. For all that I loved (OMG loved WTFBBQ) 4e warlords and other leaders, this first draft doesn't attempt to offer any real healing effects until 17th level - this is a matter of embracing the apparent style of 5e rather than trying to shoehorn in something from 4e.
Monday, August 11, 2014
In my campaign, the Bounty Hunter background in the playtest documents was one of the more popular options. Since the setting runs more toward late-Renaissance and early-colonial rather than the core medieval setting of most campaigns, players used that background to cover slightly more modern law-enforcement concepts as well. The Player's Handbook doesn't offer a Bounty Hunter per se, though - instead, it's a minor option within Outlander. That's sufficient for the majority of campaigns - I don't think WotC "did it wrong" on this by any means. All in all I'm impressed with how many character concepts are thoroughly covered by the Backgrounds that are in the book. But if, like me, many of your favorite characters are cops, detectives, bounty hunters, vigilantes, thief-takers, or inquisitors... read on.