A beginner's guide to playing a ranger
As the title of this article suggests, this is a guide for new players who are interested in becoming rangers. Hopefully, returning players may also learn something useful about changes made to the profession in their absence. This guide provides an overview of character creation and advice for playing a ranger. In particular, there are some very general suggestions for the placement of statistics, setting skill goals and training paths, hunting strategies as well as roleplay and character development in addition to highlighting a few perks that come with being a ranger.
What is a Ranger?
A ranger is someone who appreciates and respects the beauty and simplicity of nature. Someone who may value the company of delightful forest creatures over that of other people. Someone who is happy to sleep in the nook of a tree under a starry sky. Due to a deep appreciation and understanding of nature, rangers can call on nature to aid in their defence or summon nature to assist in attacking unfriendly creatures through knowledge of their unique spell circle.
A ranger may eventually form an everlasting bond with a companion animal. This companion will provide the ranger valuable assistance in hunting as well a friendship that will play a significant role in both their lives.
More technically speaking, rangers are one of the three semi professions in Elanthia. Thus, rangers typically hunt using a combination of physical attacks and spells (using spells from the ranger base and minor spiritual spell circles). Popular hunting tactics for rangers are diverse. Rangers can succeed using any tactic from ranged sniping using some spells to help conceal themselves; wielding a sword and shield while summing nature to help smite their foes; hunting armed only by a runestaff and their own spells or anything in-between. Rangers are also the best at foraging and skinning.
When creating a new character, there are a number of things the player must decide upon. Here, we present each step of the character creation process in the order they appear when a player creates a new character through the game's main website.
Gender is entirely up to personal preference as it provides no mechanical advantage in any way during gameplay.
Because this is a ranger guide, it is recommended that “Ranger” is chosen here.
While there are many factors that players should consider before selecting a race, the most important are really personal preference and roleplay decisions. Members of all races can be perfectly viable and capable rangers.
However, race affects the statistics bonuses a ranger receives and the growth rates of these statistics. In addition, different races are subject to other racial modifiers which are unrelated to statistics, but may still play an important mechanical role. These racial modifiers will typically play a significant role in the placement of statistics and may play a small role in the particulars of a training path (though these effects are still not nearly as large as the effect of racial selection on roleplay).
For an example of how racial modifiers play a role in hunting style, let us examine some of the differences between a halfling and giantman ranger. Halflings suffer a penalty to their strength bonus due to their size. This means that the halfling ranger will be more limited in how much weight she can carry around and how fast she can fire her bow. However, since halflings have a bonus to dexterity, she will have higher attack strength (AS) when using a bow and her small size gives her a bonus to hiding so she may get away with neglecting her training in stalking and hiding more than a ranger from a larger race. Her bonuses to dexterity and agility also mean that she will swing melee weapons faster, but she will have a slightly lower melee AS due to her negative strength bonus. In comparison, the giantman is physically powerful, so he can carry more and fire a bow faster, but his negative bonus to dexterity means that his ranged AS will be slightly lower. However, he will have a bonus to his melee AS, though he will suffer from a longer round time due to his negative bonuses to agility and dexterity. Additionally, since the giantman is very large, he will not generally be very good at hiding and ambushing his prey, so he will have to ensure that he dutifully trains in stalking and hiding if he wants to hunt this in this manner. In this way, each race is brought to life through their particular strengths and weaknesses.
This setting allows players to choose between their selected race’s cultures. It proffers no mechanical advantages beyond opening up the ability to speak in the language associated with that culture where applicable. Otherwise, this is completely up to roleplaying choices, since an adventurer's culture says much about their background.
Culture is also one of the only options that players are not required to select while creating a new character. If a player is not ready to choose a culture for their character during character creation, they may select it at any time later using the title command. Note that this choice is fairly permanent (unless a player wishes to purchase a culture reset from the Simucoins store), so if a player is uncertain of their character's culture, it is a good idea to leave it alone.
Appearance is where players set their character's features. These provide a description of a character for other players when they look at the character. These options are entirely cosmetic and up to the player’s creative preferences. Beyond the basics (hair style and color, eye color etc), all other options here may be set later, if at all. Once in game, players have the opportunity to change these traits as they please in the New Look Pavilions located in every major city. Occasionally, feature alteration services may be offered by special merchants so that players may further customize their appearance and there are also some feature altering potions.
New players should definitely refer to the statistics section in the New Players' Guide for a very broad overview of all the statistics available to them as well as general advice for setting their statistics if they have not already done so.
The primary statistics for rangers are dexterity and intuition while the mana statistic for rangers is wisdom. This means that when setting statistics, rangers will receive a free +10 points to each of dexterity and intuition and these statistics will have twice the effect on the number of training points a ranger receives at each level compared to the other statistics. Meanwhile, the ranger's wisdom bonus will affect how many mana points they have.
When deciding how to set statistics, the extreme cases are to set them for growth or to set them for maximum TPs and enjoyment at early level. Setting statistics for growth allows a player to maximize the number of total statistics points their character will have at higher levels by setting the fastest growing statistics relatively low. However, this can make early levels difficult and limit the number of available TPs. Often, players will select statistics that are somewhere in between growth and playability or that are maximized for mid-level play (e.g. have the most possible statistic points somewhere around level 50-60).
The most important factors for setting statistics to best enjoy play at early levels are a ranger's race and target hunting style. For example, Strength is very important for those who hunt with either ranged or melee weapons. It benefits those who use ranged weapons by reducing the roundtime (RT) associated with firing of a bow and melee weapon users by adding to their total attack strength (AS). Dexterity helps with ambushing, increases ranged AS and, together with agility, decreases RT for melee weapons users. So some players choose to set some of these statistics relatively high at the outset.
Other statistics which can be useful to set high early on include discipline and logic, which together help determine the size of one's experience pool and the latter also determines a character's rate of experience absorption. Additionally, aura determines a character's total spirit points, which can be important for rangers who choose Council of Light as their society.
Setting statistics strictly for growth or strictly training points and early-level enjoyment each have their drawbacks. However, since it is possible to reset statistics up to five times until reaching level 20, new rangers have the opportunity to try a few different ways of setting their statistics before settling on more permanent settings (though they should be sure to remember have their final statistics settled before level 20 and are still advised to consult others for assistance in this matter).
A ranger's skill selection will vary somewhat depending on the path they have chosen. This is intended to be a very general training guide for any ranger. For further details on training in particular hunting styles, please refer to The Archer Ranger for a more specific guide on training a ranged ranger and (links to other specific hunting guides go here).
These are the very basic things that every ranger should train in each level. Due to the versatility of the ranger profession, this list is quite short because much of a ranger's training will depend on their particular hunting style and weapon choice.
Here, Cost refers to the training point (TP) cost expressed as (PTP/MTP) for a full single train at each level. A second training at each level costs double the TPs of the first one (so double training a skill will cost three times the listed value). Note that since level zero exists, it is possible to train at one's level plus two for the single training costs. This is referred to as being fully single trained. The skills listed here should be fully single or double trained unless indicated.
|1x||4/0||Physical Fitness||Necessary for full hitpoints, good as a cheap defense for maneuvers and for redux.|
|2x||Weapon Skill||Whatever the weapon choice, the training should be maxed out.|
|1x||0/17||Spell Research||Learning new spells, improving the effectiveness and duration of others.|
|1x||0/5||Harness Power||Should be exactly at the character's level (not fully 1x) for 3 mana at each level.|
The total cost of this training does not include weapon training since it is meant to be very generalized. Weapon training costs for a single weapon can vary from 9/3 for edged and ranged to 21/6 for polearms (if there are actually any rangers who hunt with polearms).
Depending on weapon choice and hunting style, a ranger will want to train in different skills each level as well. For example, an edged weapons user may wish to single train in Shield Use for an additional (5/0) training points. Meanwhile, archers will typically want to double train in perception (+0/6) and either single or double train in ambush (3/3 or 9/9) as well as double training in stalking and hiding (6/3) if they plan on sniping.
Although spell research can be fully singled, it is not possible to use a spell with a spell number higher than one's level. Fortunately, rangers have access to two spell circles, so they can pick up the first rank or two in the Minor Spiritual spell circle while still learning a new Ranger Base spell each level. Since this provides the ranger with an additional buff spell, it is often a good idea to do this, though not strictly necessary since many other professions know this spell and others may offer assistance.
A common way to train in spells is to obtain one rank in minor spirituals, and study in the ranger base each level up to level 40, learning Wall of Thorns. At this point, rangers will often focus on the minor spiritual spell circle at least until they learn Lesser Shroud before switching back to the ranger base for Assume Aspect. However, some rangers continue in the minor spirituals until they learn Spirit Guide, especially if they are interested in rescuing and are not a member of the Order of Voln before resuming study of the ranger base spells while others may skip the rest of the minor spiritual spells entirely until they have finished leveling.
Some rangers also stop training in spell research after learning all the spells they wish to learn (typically around level 60, after reaching 120 and 640), but many continue to study ranger base spells due to the additional benefits to ranger spells achieved in this manner. Rangers who choose to fully single train in spell research at each level typically end up learning 40 ranks in minor spirituals and 62 in ranger base (possibly 30/72 or 20/82, depending which minor spiritual spell they decide will be their last).
Defensive Core Skills
The following is a list of skills which provide the ranger with more defensive capabilities. While it is possible to train all of these skills every level, most rangers will not. However, all rangers should single train in at two of or more of these skills, selecting those which best compliment their hunting style.
|1x||7/5||Dodging||Dodging helps one avoid incoming attacks entirely.|
|1x||6/4||Combat Maneuvers||Adds attack, defense or other special abilities.|
|1x||5/0||Shield Use||For rangers who use a one handed weapon and are looking for something else to do with their other hand.|
|1x-2x||0/2-0/6||Perception||It's cheap, provides maneuver defense, helps foraging, helps spot traps.|
While dodge is listed here and most rangers train in this skill, others find the relatively high TP requirements a bit high, especially at low levels (and especially ranged snipers). However, since mobility provides rangers with 20 ranks of dodge (plus an additional rank for each subsequent ranger spell learned), rangers can be effectively more than single trained in dodge after level 18 without ever actually training in dodging as long as they continue to train in the ranger base. Thus, it is often advised to save the TPs for other skills, though dodging is certainly not a bad defensive skill to select.
Training in combat maneuvers is another good option for a ranger looking to increase their defenses. There are combat maneuvers that directly add to defensive strength (DS), target defense (TD) or general maneuver defenses (Combat Movement, Combat Focus and Cunning Defense, respectively) and training in a particular offensive combat maneuver also provides defense against that maneuver when it's used by an attacker.
Depending on a ranger's chosen hunting style, combat maneuvers can be beneficial in other ways too. Melee weapons users (e.g. edged, two handed) may want to fully single train in this skill from the outset because every two ranks in this skill will add one to their attack strength (+1 AS). Ranged weapons users may choose to avoid studying combat maneuvers until later in their career since they miss out on this bonus, although they can benefit from the abilities unlocked by specific combat maneuvers (e.g. Shadow Mastery) as well as obtaining additional defense against combat maneuvers (Disarm is especially popular for this purpose). Ranged weapons users should be aware that although the combat maneuver Multi-Fire sounds cool, it is not really as fun as it sounds (seriously, do not bother with this skill).
This is definitely a relatively cheap skill for a single-handed edged weapons user to pick up. It is an essential part of the training for a sword and board type ranger.
This is the one skill listed in this section that absolutely everyone should train for at least ten or twenty ranks (not just rangers). This is also a skill that perhaps all rangers choose to single train in at least due to its relative low cost and myriad benefits. Perception is the only way to counteract attacks from hiding and it is very useful when it comes to spotting traps laid down by bandits in addition to providing benefits for foraging tasks and simply being able to observe more of the world, including finding hidden paths to hunting grounds.
These are skills you can train and then forget about. Once again, the costs listed here are the costs for a skill that is fully single trained at most.
|30+||5/0||Armor Use||30 ranks is required to use brigandine with minimal spell and maneuver hindrance.|
|10+||2/0||Climbing||For low- to mid-level hunting grounds, somewhere around 10-15 should be enough to get around. You can add more ranks as necessary.|
|5+||2/0||Swimming||For low to mid-level hunting grounds, somewhere around 5-10 should be enough to get around. You can add more ranks as necessary.|
|25||0/5||Spirit Mana Control||24 ranks for perfect sharing and an additional one for double incanting ability.|
All rangers wear some kind of armor, so training in this skill is definitely necessary. While many rangers find that brigandine armor provides sufficient protection, others choose to wear heavier armors if they want additional protection and spell hindrance doesn't bother them. So training armor use up to 70 ranks for minimal spell hindrance on augmented chain or up to 110 ranks for chain hauberk is also possible. The spell casting penalty beyond chain armor cannot be fully reduced, however. It is also generally a good idea to train this skill only when a ranger wishes to move to their next armor sub group (AsG) goal.
Climbing and Swimming
These skills are necessary to enter certain hunting grounds that involve climbing or swimming checks. If a ranger can get into her current hunting grounds, she does not need to continue training these skills. However, when she moves into a new hunting ground, she may need to train in one or both of these skills more and might also be advised to set aside a few extra TPs in the event that she does not train enough. Also note that climbing or swimming while encumbered will require higher skill than doing so in an unencumbered state.
Spirit Mana Control
While the rest of these skills are immediately useful and should be trained by all rangers at low levels, many rangers avoid studying more than about 10 ranks spiritual mana control until they are very high level. However, if a ranger has a regular hunting partner who also uses spiritual magic (e.g. a sorcerer, empath, cleric or paladin), he may find it useful to train in this skill more seriously earlier on in his career.
Finally, here are some additional skills you should train when you can spare the training points after your core training is complete. Don't worry if you cannot afford to train all of these skills early on and do not sacrifice your core training to add these skills to your repertoire.
|5||10/4||Multi-Opponent Combat||Enables mstrike for melee attacks on two opponents at once.|
|0/5||Magic Item Use||This skill increases the odds of activating a magic item, increases the duration of spells contained therein.|
|0/10||Spiritual Lore, Blessings||Increases the benefits and abilities for spells.|
|0/10||Spiritual Lore, Summoning||ibid|
|1-2x||1/1||Survival||Helps skinning, helps foraging, helps move around in tricky places.|
|1-2x||2/1||First Aid||Helps skinning, decreases roundtime for eating herbs, allows effective wound tending.|
While this skill provides some defensive capabilities against multiple foes, it is very costly for that purpose alone. Therefore, this skill is mostly useful for melee weapons users since it allows them to attack multiple opponents at once (so ranged weapons users can generally skip this one). In principle, additional training allows for strikes on even more foes, but most rangers who train this skill will stop at five ranks.
Magic Item Use
This skill can be especially useful for rangers, who have the ability to create items capable of holding magic. In particular, rangers find this spell useful if they have a friend who is able to put spells into these items (e.g. a wizard or sorcerer) so having a few ranks of this skill can definitely come in handy.
Rangers will typically avoid studying lores very early on in their careers as they are often too busy using their TPs on threshold skills. Due to the many benefits of lores on a number of spells, most rangers end up training in some lores at some point in their careers and some rangers choose to single train in lores eventually. However, since rangers are limited to single training in Spiritual Lores, each ranger must choose how they balance their lores since these each offer different benefits to different spells, which are outlined in great detail in the lore chart.
More generally, a ranger who hunts in a more magical style may choose to learn more summoning lore to increase the effectiveness of their vine, spike thorn and nature's fury attacks (in addition to others) as well as for creating better imbued items. A ranger who hunts in a more physical style may prefer to learn more blessing lore since this will increase the defensive benefits of natural colours, resist elements, self control and their ability to give their armor better resistance to nature. Eventually, all rangers typically train up to some threshold in each to achieve some sort of balance.
First Aid and Survival
Both of these skills are quite cheap and therefore easy to fit into a ranger's training. Training at least 0.5x in a combination of both first aid and survival is also necessary to unlock skinning tasks through the Adventurer's Guild. Since rangers are generally pretty good at skinning (especially with the skinning spell running), this is an easy way to gain experience and Adventurer's Guild points, so achieving this level of training is highly recommended.
In addition, gaining some ranks in first aid is particularly beneficial for reducing the round time on herbal remedies. Therefore getting some ranks of this is generally a good idea for a character who lives in a small town with few empaths, one who often hunts when nobody else is around or for healing wounds quickly out in the field (since minor wounds can stack to become major wounds).
Finally, survival training decreases a character's odds of being poisoned while skinning certain creatures, slipping in icy areas, getting stuck in marshy areas and incurring weather-related damage from extreme conditions. This skill is definitely more useful in some towns than others.
A character’s name. This is one of the few settings players will never be able to change, no matter how much they beg and plead.
Playing a Ranger
Once you have successfully created your ranger, it is time to start playing. In the first few levels, gameplay is roughly the same for everyone and is covered to some detail in the New Players' Guide, though it will depend a little on where you start. In general, you should start by either following the sprite quest or looking around town (go into the shops), then visit the Raging Thrak if your ranger is starting out in the Landing, Trevor Dabbings in Icemule Trace or the Retired Airship Officer Tedrik in Ta'Vaalor (the other cities lack these extremely safe options to gain experience).
This guide will focus on playing after those first few levels, with a brief introduction to the useful spells you will learn as a ranger and popular hunting tactics for rangers. Following that will be a description of something many new rangers look forward to: Animal Companions and suggestions on how to roleplay your ranger.
Although most rangers primarily use physical attacks to bring down their foes, they also have access to a great deal of spells which can help them.
Here is a highlight of attack spells available to rangers with a brief description of their general uses.
- Sounds (607): Reduces a creature's DS, can cause creatures to flee the room or forget spells.
- Sun Burst (609): Useful for bringing hidden opponents out of hiding or finding arrows.
- Tangle Weed (610): Useful for knocking down opponents. Sometimes injures/stuns them.
- Call Swarm (615): Can knockdown foes, give AS/DS penalties, injure them, give them additional round time or poison/disease them.
- Spike Thorn (616): Great for jabbing creatures with spikes. Especially good if the creature is lying down.
- Mass Calm (619): Good in swarms. Prevents creatures from attacking until they are attacked (or the spell wears off).
- Nature's Fury (635): Also very good in swarms, except that this spell can kill/stun/injure creatures instead of just preventing them from attacking.
An additional spell useful for hunting is Breeze (612), which can be used to remove gas clouds from a room.
Buff spells are spells which confer a character with additional AS, DS, TD or other benefits. These spells are typically ones that characters will cast upon themselves if they know them or ask others about if they do not. Here is a brief summary of buff spells available to rangers.
The first spell circle rangers typically focus on is the ranger base, which contains a number of very useful buff spells. Most of these spells should be cast outdoors unless a ranger has Nature's Touch running. The following buff spells are self-cast limited and can be stacked, unless otherwise noted.
- Natural Colors (601)/Mass Colors (611): +10 DS with a bonus to Stalking and Hiding. 601 is self-cast limited, while 611 is the mass spell version.
- Resist Elements (602): +15 DS (against fire, ice, bolt). Can be cast and stacked on others.
- Foraging (603): Provides a bonus to foraging skill (duration is short, stacking not usually necessary).
- Skinning (604): Provides a bonus to skinning skill (duration is short, stacking not usually necessary).
- Whispering Willow (605): Allows a character to whisper to others in different rooms. Can be cast and stacked on others.
- Phoen's Strength (606): +10 AS, +10 to strength bonus (reduced encumbrance, round time).
- Camouflage (608): +30 AS, automatic hiding. AS boost only remains in effect while hidden.
- Self Control (613): +20 DS, +20 TD, enhancement to disarming traps, aim and provides additional resistance to Sheer fear.
- Sneaking (617): Enhanced stalking and hiding skills, enables ranger sneaking movement style.
- Mobility (618): +20 Dodge ranks. Can be cast and stacked individually on other characters.
- Nature's Touch (625): Allows the ranger to use all ranger base spells indoors.
- Wall of Thorns (640): +20 DS and a chance to block incoming attacks.
- Assume Aspect (650): Various buffs to statistics, skills and spells depending on the chosen aspect. Refreshable.
If these spells are known to you:
- It is typically useful to stack 601, 602, 606, 613, 617, 618, 625 and 640 on yourself while resting and prior to going out for a hunt.
- 603 and 604 are typically cast just before foraging or skinning, respectively. Stacking these spell is less common, but might be done before going out to forage or skin.
- 605 can be cast and stacked while resting, but it is mostly used for fun so some rangers choose not to run this spell normally.
- 608 is typically cast while hunting after spotting a creature one wishes to attack.
- If there are others around, including your animal companion, you may wish to cast 611 instead of 601.
- Note that some of these spells cannot be cast indoors without 625 active, but 625 itself can be cast indoors. It is therefore advisable to cast this spell first if you know it and are casting indoors.
- 650 has a large variety of possible buffs, see the main spell page for details.
Returning rangers who have been absent from the lands for some time should be aware that the Nature's Touch spell lasts much longer than it used to.
Typically, when rangers have learned the Wall of Thorns spell, they will shift their focus to the minor spiritual spell circle. The following spells are included in the Minor Spiritual circle. They are generally not self-cast limited and can be stacked, except where noted.
- Spirit Warding I (101): +10 spiritual TD, +10 bolt DS.
- Spirit Barrier (102): +20 DS, -20 AS to melee, ranged and unarmed attacks. Self-cast limited, unless the target is warded.
- Spirit Defense (103): +10 DS. Stackable when self-cast, refreshable when cast on others.
- Disease Resistance (104): Additional warding against disease.
- Poison Resistance (105): Additional warding against poison.
- Spirit Warding II (107): +15 spiritual TD, +25 bolt DS.
- Water Walking (112): Allows a character to walk on water. Prevents slow down and allows dragging in marshy areas.
- Fasthr's Reward (115): Allows a second chance to defend against a failed warding. Self-cast limited.
- Spirit Strike (117): +75 AS on a single strike (or two minutes), not stackable.
- Lesser Shroud (120): +15 DS, +20 spiritual TD. Self-cast limited.
- Wall of Force (140): +100 DS, refreshable, short duration.
If these spells are known to you:
- It is typically useful to stack 101, 103, 107, 115 and 120 on yourself while resting and prior to going out for a hunt.
- 102 is useful for casters since it does not affect CS nor bolt AS. It can also be helpful for those who use physical AS while they perform a non-attacking task such as climbing, searching or foraging. This spell can be stopped.
- 104 or 105 can be helpful to stack when hunting or skinning certain creatures that are likely to disease or poison you. 105 can also be useful for foraging.
- If you live in River's Rest and intend to cross Maelstrom Bay, casting and stacking 112 is very useful. It is also useful in marshy areas (e.g. outside the Marsh Keep or in the Vipershroud), to keep from getting stuck in the mud.
- 117 can be useful for dangerous creature tasks through the Adventurer's Guild, when helping lower level characters with a hunt or in general if you just need the AS boost after finding a creature.
- 140 is very useful while foraging, searching for heirlooms, climbing over difficult obstacles, during invasions or other risky situations.
Note that many rangers will learn at least the first spell from this circle early in their training, but also that most of these spells can be obtained from other adventurers. Indeed, clerics, empaths, paladins and sorcerers all have access to this spell circle. So do not be shy about asking your friends for "blues" and "a look".
Once a ranger has all of their buff spells on and their preferred weapon in hand (note: this may be different than the one they spawned with), they're ready to go hunt. Before deciding which creatures to hunt, it might be a good idea to check out a map of the local area to see which creatures are available at an appropriate level. Typically, the creatures at the lowest levels are very close to town so new adventurers shouldn't have to venture too far. It's also generally a good idea to stick with hunting grounds with a similar level grouping at first.
Another good source of ideas for where to hunt is the Adventurer's Guild, located in each major town. There, a ranger can ask the taskmaster for a bounty. Bounties can be very beneficial since they give additional experience for completion, rewards later on by collecting bounty points and an immediate sense of accomplishment. Rangers generally have a huge advantage for completing bounties since they are exceptionally skilled at both foraging and skinning (two of the nine primary bounty types) so it's a good idea to start on those early for maximum experience and reward. Also note that even when not assigned skinning tasks, many rangers like to skin their kills since this can be a good source of silvers.
Before a ranger reaches level 10, they should also make sure to acquire some deeds, which will grant the ranger the favour of the goddess Lorminstra, allowing them to avoid the effects of Death's Sting should they fall in combat. It is generally advised to have at least two deeds in case nobody else is available for a rescue and the ranger decays instead of being resurrected.
Early on, rangers typically hunt much like squares (albeit squares with a few buff spells) due to a combination of the lack of especially useful attack spells at early levels, small mana pools and limitations on casting ranger spells indoors (e.g. Camouflage and Tangle Weed do not work indoors without Nature's Touch). In addition, while rangers become very good at hiding, sneaking around and ambushing their prey (indeed, they compete with rogues for the title of the sneakiest profession), new rangers may find that they have much to learn to use these skills well. Thus, even rangers who wish to adopt an ambush or sniping style might find it easier to hunt from the open early on (until maybe level 15-20 or so) and all rangers might prefer to hunt outdoors between levels 8 and 24 (or whenever they learn Nature's Touch).
There is not much to say about a general physical hunting style, especially at early levels and the general beginner's guide to combat covers many of the basic principles. Without spells available (either because they are not yet known or because they cannot be used indoors) it might be a good idea for rangers to avoid swarms (large groups of creatures concentrated in one area) and to run out of an area when a significantly higher level creature enters, especially while solo hunting (hunting by oneself). Specific strategies for physical combat will depend on a particular ranger's weapon choice, desired hunting style and whether or not the ranger is hunting in a group with like-level adventurers.
When magic is involved, however, there is much more to say. While hunting either indoors with Nature's Touch or outdoors, it is generally a good idea for rangers to make use of the camouflage spell when they know it. The +30 AS bonus is quite significant at lower levels, even if it only lasts one hit for users of melee weapons or possibly just a few for archers who have little skill in stalking and hiding. This spell is especially useful for dangerous creature bounties (even moreso when stacked on top of a blue crystal), but it never hurts to kill something quicker if one has the magical power available for it.
Another early spell that many rangers find useful is Tangle Weed (which again, has limitations indoors). This spell is especially useful in swarms since it will often repeatedly knock one creature down (meaning that the creature will require additional time to attack and it is also easier for the ranger to attack it) and may drive other creatures out of the area, decreasing the ranger's odds of injury. However, the effectiveness of this spell is highly level-based so it will be much less effective when hunting creatures that are a bit higher level than the ranger who cast it.
The next attack spell that most rangers who use magical attacks make at least some use of normally is Spike Thorn. This spell can be used indoors without Nature's Touch, but it is less effective in those cases. Additionally, new rangers typically have insufficient magical power to use this spell repeatedly and, like Tangle Weed, it is level based. However, if a creature is already knocked down (either due to some attacks to its back or legs, from Tangle Weed or maybe your wizard friend used ewave), this spell is much more effective.
Many rangers will use make use of other spells in particular situations (e.g. archers will sometimes use Sun Burst to find lost arrows). However, these are probably the most popular attack spells for low level rangers once they have the mana to hunt with spells regularly (or rangers who lack the magical power to regularly use Nature's Fury when they want to hit everything in the room).
There are three societies in Elanthia: the Order of Voln, the Council of Light and the Guardians of Sunfist. These societies are mutually exclusive all impart members with some sorts of bonus to AS, DS and TD as well as other mechanical benefits. Some details and drawbacks for each society are presented in the main New Players' Guide, but more detail can be found on each of the society pages. It is definitely a good idea to investigate each of the societies before choosing one to join.
It is quite common to find rangers who are members of any of these societies as they all have their particular advantages and disadvantages and there isn't necessarily one society that is best for all rangers. While it is always a good idea to join a society as soon as possible, it is also a good idea to balance the mechanical benefits with roleplay choices when choosing a society (alternatively, a player can allow the mechanical benefits of a particular society to shape their roleplay).
Animal Companion (630) is the pet spell accessible to rangers. Unlike many of the other creatures summoned by pet spells, a ranger's animal companion is there for life so a ranger who has bonded with an animal will always summon the same animal every time. If treated well, an animal companion will be a faithful friend and will come to the ranger's aid while hunting by attacking a creature if told to do so or automatically if the ranger is stunned in combat. Animal companions can also guard a ranger while they forage or while they perform other tasks.
In addition, animal companions will often play a significant role in a ranger's life. Thus, many rangers will not only spend time hanging out with their companions on a daily basis, but they may also incorporate their companions into their background story for roleplay. It is thus very common for rangers to name their companions (although this is not done officially).
Roleplay and Character Development
Since Gemstone is a roleplaying game, this mostly means that players are restricted from using out of character (or OOC) speech or actions in game. It also means that players are encouraged to have their characters interact with other adventurers, non-player characters (NPCs), creatures or even the environment. Indeed, players can be rewarded for roleplaying their characters well. However, if someone is new to Gemstone, they may also be new to roleplaying in general. For those who are new to roleplay entirely, there is a very general guide to roleplaying for some guidance. New roleplayers should also remember that if they find the idea of roleplaying someone with a very different personality intimidating, there is no shame in playing a character with a personality very much like their own.
Before creating your character, it is very helpful to familiarize yourself with the world of Elanthia and its lore since having at least a vague concept of the world may help you decide your character's race, culture or age (though the latter two can be set after initial character creation using the title and age verbs respectively). It is also possible to decide your character's general concept after you have made all of these decisions and you can always revise your character's background story and general theme at any time. It's really up to you and how much research you would like to do before you begin playing.
When deciding how to roleplay your ranger, there are a number of factors you can consider. Some of the most basic ideas can arise from the race and culture choices you made during character creation. You might want to ask yourself who your ranger really is and why they became a ranger in the first place. Is your ranger a half-elven pariah, exiled from some remote city in the Turamzzyrian Empire who views others with contempt? Is he a giantman from the Grishknel Wolf Clan; a scout for his nomadic village who is helpful, hard-working and cooperative? Is she an Aelotoi of the Vaer'sah clan who learned survival skills on Bre'Naere after escaping the subjugation of the Kiramon who only yearns to maintain her independence and freedom? Perhaps he is a Sylvan or Forest gnome, who simply enjoys a very special relationship with nature. Any race and culture combination can choose to be a ranger, even ones that others may not understand at first meeting (in fact, sometimes those have the most interesting stories).
It can also be helpful to think about what sort of ranger your character is and how this will affect your gameplay or how your character will interact with others. For example, if your ranger loves animals and strongly empathizes with them, she may only hunt undead or bipedal creatures (in which case, joining either the Order of Voln or Guardians of Sunfist would be very suitable roleplay decisions). If your ranger is a misanthropic survivalist who only comes to town to procure supplies, he may only interact with other characters out of great need and even then, only gruffly (perhaps with a cold demeanor and often using the swear verb) and he will perhaps refuse healing from others, preferring to rely on herbal remedies. Conversely, your ranger could simply be shy and enjoys spending time in nature because she understands it, unlike other people (in which case, she may hide in the bushes and speak quietly only when necessary); she may also take a long time to open up to others. If your ranger worships nature, she may be otherwise friendly to others (and she may choose to follow an Arkati like Imaera or Aeia).
Rangers can also use their companions to help their roleplay. A ranger can incorporate his or her companion into their life story. A ranger could have befriended her fox after rescuing him from an attacker and nursing him back to health or maybe a ranger grew up with his leopard and the two have been inseparable since childhood. Here, it's important to note that you do not necessarily have to restrict yourself to background stories where you met your companion after some time of adventuring (the order of events in your background story does not have to match their order in game).
Furthermore, animal companions have some idle messaging, which a ranger can use as roleplay opportunities with other adventurers. For instance, if a lion drools hungrily at a burghal gnome adventurer while resting in town, the ranger can assure their lion that the other adventurer would be too stringy or assure the other adventurer that the lion hasn't eaten another person in a really long time or even scold the lion for begging and apologize to the other adventurer for your lion's poor behaviour. Rangers can also interact with their animal companions by feeding, petting, playing and of course, they can talk to their companion and pretend that their companion responded to them in some fashion.
Finally, do not worry if you don't have a good idea of your ranger's personality and life early on. Characters normally continue to develop as they continue to experience new things, make friends, get involved with life in Elanthia (e.g. by joining a house or watching the calendar for upcoming events) and travel the world. Indeed, playing your character and interacting with others are some of the best ways to understand and develop your character as well as to have the most fun with their adventure.
- Ranger (main article)
- New Players' Guide (a comprehensive beginner's guide for new players of any profession)
- The Art of the Bow (guide)
- Aurach's Two Weapon Combat Guide: A Ranger's Perspective
- The Archer Ranger
- Whirlin's Ranger Guide
- The Art of Roleplaying in GemStone IV (guide)
- Player Guide Contest