I Gotch'yer Martial Controller Right Here!

I say in a poorly affected Brooklyn accent, while grabbing and vigorously shaking my balls.

So in October's installment of Bill Slavicsek's Ampersand column, the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Ranger was previewed.

And finally, everyone who has been clamoring for a martial controller can shut the fuck up and suck contentedly on WotC's teat.

The Essentials Ranger has two sub-classes, much like the Fighter had the Slayer and Knight in Heroes of the Fallen Lands.

Previewed in the article is the Hunter...an archery-based controller that is a dual-source class from both the martial AND primal sources. I know, I know...doesn't seem like it quite counts as "martial", but from the preview it looks like the Hunter's attacks are fairly mundane weapon-based stuff, while the utilities are where they get the magic-y effects.

The other Essentials Ranger subclass, the Scout, only mentioned briefly in the article, is a melee-based striker.

So what goodies does the Hunter get? Pfft! Buy a DDi subscription you no-account, good for nothing leeches....is what I would say if this weren't a blog where we are expected to spread hype and offer opinions/insights on things...so for your viewing pleasure:

The Hunter-ter-er-r...

Archery style: Either crossbow or bow. You gain the associated weapon expertise feat for free.

Expert Archer
grants the Hunter 3 at-will attack powers. The wording for these are odd, as they are classified as attack powers, but the descriptive text has them as modified basic ranged attacks.

They are:

Aimed Shot: which ignores cover and concealment, and lessens the penalty for superior cover and concealment.

Clever Shot: which has three effects from which to choose: A slide effect, a prone effect, and a slow effect.

Rapid shot: essentially it's a close burst 1 within the bows range with a -2 penalty to the attack rolls. This penalty seems a bit unnecessary as spellcasters get to do this all the time without penalty. But then again, we haven't seen the full class yet. It could be that with the weapon proficiency bonus and a 4/per encounter damage boosting ability that works on successful hits, this may just be an important balancing factor.

Aspect of the Wild
grants a couple of utility stances, that seem to be totemic in flavor:

Cunning Fox allows you to shift as a free action after making an attack...also you take only half damage from attacks made against you during your turn.

Dancing Serpent allows you to shift as a free action at the end of your turn, as well as granting a damage bonus against against lone targets.

The class table shows the As[ects of the Wild feature a few times, meaning that there are probably other stances gained down the line as well.

Wilderness Knacks are class features that grant passive benefits...previewed here is Ambush Expertise, which grants nearby allies a bonus to stealth checks. Like Aspects of the Wild, Wilderness Knacks are listed several times in the classes level chart, leading me to believe that there are several that the Essentials Ranger will pick up during the course of his/her/it's/dwarf's career.

It does not appear as though the Essentials Ranger gets daily powers...they do get an ability called "Disruptive Shot" which was not detailed. I assume this to be an encounter ability similar to "Power Strike" and "Back Stab".

I'm looking forward to seeing what the Scout has to offer, in light of this preview.


  1. I like it!
    the ranger had always a little magic in bygone editions and it's good to see it back :)

  2. ps the ampersand is open not only for subscribers ;)

  3. For Rapid Shot I want to say that yeah, the -2 might account for the weapon's proficiency bonus, except that it will target AC and not a NAD. Even so, I don't think it's a big deal since casters get no proficiency bonus, while bow-users will still get a net +1.


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