Look, I don’t want to mince words here. My first-ever D&D character was a ranger. As was my second. My third wasn’t a ranger but only because I rolled awful stats, so I had to be a cleric of nature instead, and then it was right back to ranger for character number four. I’ve played a ranger in every single system of D&D, and I’ve never regretted it… until 5e. I’ve never enjoyed animal companions, and the Hunter just doesn’t have that spark that draws me in. The ranger just doesn’t feel dynamic enough compared to the rest of the released classes. When even Christopher Perkins turns D&D’s most iconic ranger, Drizzt Do’urden, into a fighter, you know things are bad.
Since the beginning of DMs Guild, I have spent far too much time searching for a quick fix to a class which seems too underwhelming to live up to my hopes and dreams. And it’s obvious there are many of us who feel the same way because there are just so many of them! While there are plenty of ways to make the ranger different from the version found in the PHB, it takes a certain level of skill to build something that is interesting without going completely overboard to get every ranger concept into a single class. Do you want a spellcaster or a beastmaster? A silent stalker or an urban investigator? The list of two star reviews is staggering, as no one seems to be able to hit the perfect vision of what the ranger class should be.
After a series of dashed hopes, I caught a glimmer of wonder when I saw the name Claudio Pozas attached to a recent release. I’ve been following Claudio’s artistic work for years online, and I was very excited when he broke through and helped write multiple books for 4E as well as becoming an artistic contributor to the 5E PHB. With his recent experience, I knew that By Blade and Claw would be something very exciting to bring into a campaign.
Do you want to play a ranger without spells, but with a more Tolkein-esque ability to move and heal using herbs and poultices? Check. Or what about a beastmaster ranger that uses powerful new Bond spells to permanently enhance their pet at the cost of some spell slots? Yup. Or an entirely new Seeker archetype, with archery cantrips and options to allow your spirit companion to wreak havoc on the battlefield? Claudio’s got that too. Plus new animal training options and a host of new animal companion stat blocks. And best of all? The entire document is filled with original and fantastic artwork.
Clearly, Claudio takes my own point of view: that rangers are like, totally rad. The options presented in By Blade and Claw are very powerful, and DMs looking for a more low-powered game may want to read closely and consider how well they fit into their campaign. The archery cantrips provide strong and unlimited firepower to a ranger, and the Seeker gains a lot of options compared to the PHB ranger archetypes. But in the right hands, this supplement will make your ranger truly shine.
Are you a 5E D&D Superfan? Then the DMs Guild is for you! Check out this marketplace of fantasy ideas for the latest in what D&D fans are writing, all using an official license from Wizards of the Coast and the official Forgotten Realms setting! Every episode, Rich scours the Guild for the most clever and ingenious options to add to your campaign.