Ranger Archetype: The Robot Hunter

Magnus: Robot Fighter

Magnus, Robot Fighter by Barry Windsor-Smith

You are humanity’s first line of defense against the robot menace, and you use both your ability to control machines and your ability to destroy them to protect the natural world. That means smashing robots and other mechanical creatures better than anyone else, but it also means being able to get inside them and learn how they work. You have learned specialized techniques for dealing with these threats.

In order to take the following features, you must have selected constructs (which includes robots and clockworks) as your favored enemy. These features are gained in addition to the choices from your Hunter archetype. You may only use one feature from each level at one time. When you finish a short or long rest, choose which feature you plan to use. Once you have made a choice, you may not change it until you finish a short or long rest.

Hunter’s Prey
At 3rd level, you gain the following feature.
Reprogram or Recycle: You gain proficiency with Engineer’s Tools, which you can use to shift the attitude of constructs (including robots and clockworks), provided you are not in combat with them, as though making a Charisma (Diplomacy) check. In addition, your attacks do an additional 1d4 points of damage to construct creature (including robots and clockworks).

Defensive Tactics
At 7th level,  you gain the following feature.
Predictable Machines: When constructs (including robots and clockworks) with multiattack use their action to attack you, they have disadvantage on all attacks after the first.

Multiattack
At 11th level, you gain the following feature.
Terminator: When you take the Attack action on your turn, you may make one additional attack for each enemy construct (including robots and clockworks) adjacent to you.  These attacks can be made against the same target, or divided among multiple targets. In addition, your attacks against constructs (including robots and clockworks) are considered critical hits when you roll a 19 or a 20.

Superior Hunter’s Defense
At 15th level, you gain the following feature.
Baffle: You can make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to hide from constructs (including robots and clockworks), even during combat, while they are observing you. If your check succeeds, those creatures can not detect your presence until you make noise or attack. Other creatures can perceive you as normal, regardless of the result of your check.


Hacking the Ranger

The 5th Edition ranger is a strange class. Messages boards are full of posts with titles like “Ranger: The Most Disappointing Class” and “Beastmaster Ranger: Useless or Hilariously Useless,” and I’ve heard more than one reviewer go after it for being much weaker than the other classes. I’ve also seen it argued that the ranger is on par with other classes, when played carefully. It’s a finesse class. Just today, the blog Tribality posted a decent revised Beastmaster (thought I’d make a couple of tweaks).

In previous editions, the ranger was all about the favored enemy and the fighting style. In 5th Edition, other classes get a fighting style, and the favored enemy is less impressive. The ranger now sacrifices damage output for versatility, and it has somewhat less versatility than it once did.

The thing is, it’s still a class with a deep bench: favored enemy and terrain, spells like hunter’s mark, cordon of arrows, and conjure barrage (which, used in the right situation, can do hundreds of points of damage in a round) give it a lot of choices, and the Hunter ranger has a lot going for it, particularly in terms of the options.

In adapting the saboteur ranger archetype to 5th Edition, I considered the versatility of the Hunter ranger, and the fact that the favored enemy class feature no longer has any mechanical effect in combat (until 20th level, that is). If the ranger can choose which Hunter feature to have access to, they can either focus their efforts on their favored enemy or use their abilities more broadly. This represents, I think, the value of preparation. If Magnus, here, knows that he’ll be fighting robots, then he can focus his energies in that way, but his focus makes it harder to call on the precision of the “colossus slayer” feature.

This tweak can be easily adapted to other favored enemies, to make the ranger a little more flavorful, and a little more powerful, in the right circumstances. While the fighter can consistently charge in and do the same damage, the ranger ought to benefit from preparation and scouting.

Next time: More Smashing: The Robot Smasher barbarian archetype!

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5 responses to “Ranger Archetype: The Robot Hunter

  1. Pingback: Thundarr, the Robot-Smasher Barbarian | dungeonhacking

  2. Pingback: Iron Gods: Session summaries and some adaptations | Dungeon Hacking

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