Hallo! It's been a bit since my last update, but I haven't abandoned my ranger rework! I've been tapped to plan for and run a game at a small local convention, which has eaten up a lot of my creative free time. On the upswing, it let me explore some fun fantasy-Wild-West campaign options that I may rehash for a future article.
Returning to the ranger, I wanted to present the first of three archetypes I've been working on. This is the one that's closest to a first draft, so I figured I'd toss it up for consumption. It needs an editing pass and probably some rewording in some places, and as always, it's not been playtested yet. Initially, my thoughts are that Elusive Guardian may be too... I dunno, weird? And that Adaptive Defense is too powerful. Anyway, here goes!
The Sentinel is a bastion against threats from the wilderness beyond civilization. It is they who intercept and execute humanoid tribal leaders before they can muster to attack villages, or who hunt and slay rampaging dragons that burn their way through the frontier. They are expert guides and are highly skilled at protecting their wards as they escort them through the dangerous wildernesses of the world.
When the ranger selects this archetype at 2nd level, they gain access to the Fighting Styles of Great Weapon Fighter and Protection (which must be selected normally; this archetype merely broadens the selection). They also gain proficiency in Heavy Armor. Their speed is not reduced while wearing heavy armor of any sort.
Few possess the single-minded determination of the Sentinel. While intent on their prey, they are nearly impossible to shake from their focus. As a bonus action, the Sentinel may select a target as their prey. Prey status persists until the target is slain or the Sentinel elects a new target with a bonus action.
While a victim is the target of this ability, the Sentinel gains advantage on saving throws against spells or effects that originate from the prey. Additionally, at the end of any turn the ranger takes where they are not restrained, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to act or move, they may move 10 feet directly towards their prey. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks.
A Sentinel is an expert at maneuvering in combat to get allies out of danger and slip in to deliver killing blows on their hated enemies. Beginning at 6th level, the Sentinel may use this ability up to three times, and regains all uses after taking a long rest. Any time one of the following conditions is met, the Sentinel may use their reaction to expend a use of Elusive Guardian to achieve the corresponding effect. The Sentinel must be awake and not subject to conditions that would otherwise render them helpless.
- A hostile target enters the threatened area of an ally within 30 feet. The Sentinel may move up to their movement speed towards the hostile target or, if the enemy belongs to a hated type (per the Peerless Hunter class feature) the ranger may make a single ranged or melee attack against that target.
- An ally is reduced to zero hit points. If the Sentinel may elect to immediately mark the triggering monster as their prey (per the Relentless Pursuit feature) and make a single ranged or melee attack against it.
- An enemy marked as the Sentinel’s prey scores a critical hit against an ally. The Sentinel makes a single ranged or melee attack against that enemy before damage is rolled and, if it hits, the critical hit is negated (damage is rolled as though it were a normal attack).
The Sentinel may make a third attack whenever they take the Attack action upon reaching 11th level.
Once the Sentinel achieves 15th level, the ranger may focus their defensive training to shore up weaknesses. After any rest the ranger takes, they may choose become proficient in any saving throw in which they are not already proficient for up to four hours.For example, a Sentinel knows they will be going up against a beguiling fey creature that has tormented a local lumber mill for weeks. The ranger, upon tracking the fey to its lair, risks taking a short rest to become proficient in Wisdom saving throws for four hours; hopefully long enough to root out and dispatch the troublesome enemy.