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S-Class Ranger

What Are S-Class Characters?

S-class characters are a request from Kenneth Zike. They are built using the summoner class, as originally presented, as the basis against which all other classes are balanced. The “S” in this case stands for both summoner and, as a more appropriate in-world reference, superior. If you have played—or GM’d for—a summoner and felt it was fine as is, you should have no problem running with an s-class character.

S-class rangers are feared throughout the land for their masterful tracking and hunting skills. Through nearly any terrain, an experienced s-class ranger can find and defeat almost any foe she sets her sights on.

Role: An s-class ranger is always on the hunt, learning about the enemies she faces and efficiently taking them down in battle. An expert adventurer, she is equally capable of helping her allies when exploring any region of the world.

Note: The s-class ranger is an alternate, superior version of the ranger class. When choosing ranger archetypes for the s-class ranger, treat the nearest level down of favored enemy or favored terrain to replace. For example, if an archetype says to replace the ranger’s 3rd favored enemy, the favored enemy gained at 9th level is replaced instead.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.)

Class Skills

The s-class ranger’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (geography) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: S-Class Ranger
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1st +1 +2 +2 +0 Favored enemy, track, wild empathy
2nd +2 +3 +3 +0 Combat style feat, favored terrain
3rd +3 +3 +3 +1 Endurance, favored enemy, hunter’s bond
4th +4 +4 +4 +1 Favored terrain 1
5th +5 +4 +4 +1 Combat style feat, evasion, favored enemy 2
6th +6/+1 +5 +5 +2 Favored terrain 2
7th +7/+2 +5 +5 +2 Favored enemy, woodland stride 2 1
8th +8/+3 +6 +6 +2 Combat style feat, favored terrain, swift tracker 2 2
9th +9/+4 +6 +6 +3 Camouflage, diehard, favored enemy 3 2
10th +10/+5 +7 +7 +3 Favored terrain, improved hunter’s bond 3 2 1
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +7 +3 Combat style feat, favored enemy, quarry 3 2 2
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +8 +4 Favored terrain 3 3 2
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +8 +4 Favored enemy, improved evasion 4 3 2 1
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +9 +4 Combat style feat, favored terrain 4 3 2 2
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +9 +5 Favored enemy, hide in plain sight 4 3 3 2
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +10 +5 Favored terrain 4 4 3 2
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +5 Combat style feat, favored enemy, greater hunter’s bond 5 4 3 2
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +6 Favored terrain 5 4 3 3
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +6 Favored enemy, improved quarry 5 4 4 3
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +6 Combat style feat, favored terrain, master hunter 5 5 4 4

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the s-class ranger.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

An s-class ranger is proficient with all simple and martial weapons and with light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).

Favored Enemy (Ex)

At 1st level, an s-class ranger selects a creature type from the ranger favored enemies table. She gains a +2 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks against all of her favored enemies. Likewise, she gets a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against them. An s-class ranger may make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify these creatures.

At 3rd level and every odd level thereafter (5th, 7th, and so on), the ranger may select an additional favored enemy. In addition, at each such interval, the bonus against all of her favored enemies increases by +1.

If the ranger chooses humanoids or outsiders as a favored enemy, she must also choose an associated subtype, as indicated on the table below. (Note that there are other types of humanoid to choose from—those called out specifically on the table below are merely the most common.) If a specific creature falls into more than one category of favored enemy, the ranger’s bonuses do not stack.

Track (Ex)

An s-class ranger adds half her level (minimum 1) to Survival skill checks made to follow tracks.

Wild Empathy (Ex)

An s-class ranger can improve the initial attitude of an animal. This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check to improve the attitude of a person (see Using Skills). The ranger rolls 1d20 and adds her ranger level and her Charisma bonus to determine the wild empathy check result. The typical domestic animal has a starting attitude of indifferent, while wild animals are usually unfriendly.

To use wild empathy, the ranger and the animal must be within 30 feet of one another under normal visibility conditions. Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

The ranger can also use this ability to influence a magical beast with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but she takes a –4 penalty on the check.

Combat Style

At 2nd level, an s-class ranger chooses her combat style, a method of combat she employs when going into battle. Her expertise manifests in the form of bonus feats at 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 20th level. She can choose feats from her selected combat style, even if she does not have the normal prerequisites.

The benefits of the ranger’s chosen style feats apply only when she wears light, medium, or no armor. She loses all benefits of her combat style feats when wearing heavy armor. Once an s-class ranger selects her combat style, it can only be retrained by spending at least 5 days of downtime to do so. After the 5 days, she can retrain any number of the feats she has chosen within the same combat style, or choose a different style entirely.

A full list of combat styles can be found here.

Favored Terrain (Ex)

At 2nd level, an s-class ranger may select a type of terrain from Table: Ranger Favored Terrains.

The ranger gains a +2 bonus on initiative checks and Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks when she is in this terrain. An s-class ranger traveling through her favored terrain normally leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (though she may leave a trail if she so chooses).

At 4th level and every even level thereafter, the ranger may select an additional favored terrain. In addition, at each such interval, the skill bonus and initiative bonus in all of her favored terrains increases by +1.

If a specific terrain falls into more than one category of favored terrain, the ranger’s bonuses do not stack.

Endurance (Ex)

An s-class ranger gains Endurance as a bonus feat at 3rd level.

Hunter’s Bond (Ex or Su)

At 3rd level, an s-class ranger forms a powerful, natural bond with the natural world. This bond can take one of several forms. Once a bond is chosen, it cannot be changed unless she spends at least 5 days of downtime retraining her bond. A full list of hunter’s bonds can be found at the end of this section.

Spells

Note: Nonmagical S-Class Ranger Utilizing class archetypes like skirmisher and trapper, the s-class ranger can also be played without spells. Because the s-class ranger’s spells per day are not limited in the same way as the standard ranger, these archetypes also grant either Alertness or Toughness (your choice) as a bonus feat at 4th level.

Beginning at 4th level, an s-class ranger gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells, which are drawn from the ranger spell list. An s-class ranger must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, an s-class ranger must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an s-class ranger’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the ranger’s Wisdom modifier.

Like other spellcasters, an s-class ranger can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Ranger. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).

An s-class ranger must spend 1 hour per day in quiet meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells. An s-class ranger may prepare and cast any spell on the ranger spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.

Through 3rd level, an s-class ranger has no caster level. At 4th level and higher, her caster level is equal to her ranger level – 3.

Evasion (Ex)

When she reaches 5th level, an s-class ranger can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the ranger is wearing light armor, medium armor, or no armor. A helpless ranger does not gain the benefit of evasion.

Woodland Stride (Ex)

Starting at 7th level, an s-class ranger may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at her normal speed and without taking damage or suffering any other impairment.

Thorns, briars, and overgrown areas that are enchanted or magically manipulated to impede motion, however, still affect her.

Swift Tracker (Ex)

Beginning at 8th level, an s-class ranger can move at her normal speed while using Survival to follow tracks without taking the normal –5 penalty. She takes only a –10 penalty (instead of the normal –20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking.

Camouflage (Ex)

An s-class ranger of 9th level or higher can use the Stealth skill to hide in any of her favored terrains, even if the terrain doesn’t grant cover or concealment.

Diehard (Ex)

An s-class ranger gains Diehard as a bonus feat at 9th level.

Improved Hunter’s Bond (Ex)

At 10th level, an s-class ranger can choose to either improve her existing hunter’s bond, or gain a second hunter’s bond of her choice. Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed.

Once an improved bond is chosen, it cannot be changed unless she spends at least 5 days of downtime retraining her bond. It takes 1 additional day to retrain both an improved bond and a hunter’s bond.

Quarry (Ex)

At 11th level, an s-class ranger can, as a standard action, denote one target within her line of sight as her quarry. Whenever she is following the tracks of her quarry, an s-class ranger can take 10 on her Survival skill checks while moving at normal speed, without penalty. In addition, she receives a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls made against her quarry, and all critical threats are automatically confirmed. An s-class ranger can have no more than one quarry at a time and the creature’s type must correspond to one of her favored enemy types. She can dismiss this effect at any time as a free action, but she cannot select a new quarry for 24 hours. If the ranger sees proof that her quarry is dead, she can select a new quarry after waiting 1 hour.

Improved Evasion (Ex)

At 13th level, an s-class ranger’s evasion improves. This ability works like evasion, except that while the ranger still takes no damage on a successful Reflex saving throw against attacks, she henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless ranger does not gain the benefit of improved evasion.

Hide in Plain Sight (Ex)

While in any of her favored terrains, an s-class ranger of 15th level or higher can use the Stealth skill even while being observed.

Greater Hunter’s Bond (Ex or Su)

At 17th level, an s-class ranger can choose one of the following options. Once a greater bond is chosen, it cannot be changed unless she spends at least 5 days of downtime retraining her bond. It takes 2 additional days (8 total) to retrain the greater bond, improved bond, and hunter’s bond all at once.

Improved Quarry (Ex)

At 19th level, the ranger’s ability to hunt her quarry improves. She can now select a quarry as a free action, and can now take 20 while using Survival to track her quarry, while moving at normal speed without penalty. Her insight bonus to attack her quarry increases to +4. If her quarry is killed or dismissed, she can select a new one after 10 minutes have passed.

Master Hunter (Ex)

An s-class ranger of 20th level becomes a master hunter. She can always move at full speed while using Survival to follow tracks without penalty. She can, as a standard action, make a single attack against a favored enemy at her full attack bonus. If the attack hits, the target takes damage normally and must make a Fortitude save or die. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the ranger’s level + the ranger’s Wisdom modifier. An s-class ranger can choose instead to deal an amount of nonlethal damage equal to the creature’s current hit points. A successful save negates this damage. An s-class ranger can use this ability once per day against each favored enemy type she possesses, but not against the same creature more than once in a 24-hour period.

Hunter’s Bonds

To select the greater or improved hunter’s bond option, an s-class ranger must first select the prior options.

Allies’ Bond

An s-class ranger with an allies’ bond develops a closer relationship with her allies, fighting as family more than just comrades-at-arms.

  • Hunter’s Bond: The ranger can spend a move action to grant half her favored enemy bonus (rounded up) against a single target of the appropriate type to all allies within 30 feet who can see or hear her. This bonus lasts for a number of rounds equal to the ranger’s Wisdom modifier (minimum 1). This bonus does not stack with any favored enemy bonuses possessed by her allies; they use whichever bonus is higher.
  • Improved Hunter’s Bond: The benefits of allies’ bond apply against all favored enemies of one type chosen when the ranger uses it.
  • Greater Hunter’s Bond: The benefits of allies’ bond are permanent, and the hunter can switch the enemies to which they apply as a swift action.
Companion’s Bond

An s-class ranger with a companion’s bond has formed a connection with a beast who accompanies her on her adventures.

  • Hunter’s Bond: The ranger gains an animal companion of her choice from the following list: badger, bird, camel, cat (small), dire rat, dog, horse, pony, snake (viper or constrictor), or wolf. If the campaign takes place wholly or partly in an aquatic environment, the ranger may choose a shark instead. This animal is a loyal companion that accompanies the ranger on her adventures as appropriate for its kind. An s-class ranger’s animal companion shares her favored enemy and favored terrain bonuses. This ability functions like the druid animal companion ability (which is part of the Nature Bond class feature), except that the ranger’s effective druid level is equal to her ranger level –3 (minimum 1st).
  • Improved Hunter’s Bond: The ranger treats her full ranger level as her effective druid level with her companion.
  • Greater Hunter’s Bond: The ranger can select any animal as her companion, as a druid of her ranger level.
Divine Bond

An s-class ranger with a divine bond has sworn herself to a deity who grants her their blessings. She is an agent of her god, a faithful and fierce guardian of nature.

  • Hunter’s Bond: The ranger selects and gains two minor blessings from among the domains granted to warpriests by her deity. She can select an alignment domain (Chaos, Evil, Good, or Law) only if her alignment matches that domain. If an s-class ranger isn’t devoted to a particular deity, she still selects two blessings to represent her spiritual inclinations and abilities, subject to GM approval. The restriction on alignment domains still applies. An s-class ranger uses her ranger level as her warpriest level to determine the effect of the blessing.
  • Improved Hunter’s Bond: The ranger gains the major blessing from both of her domains. When she wields a weapon with which she has the Weapon Focus feat, she can choose as a swift action to treat that weapon as her sacred weapon. If she wields two such weapons, she can designate both as sacred with one standard action instead. Sacred weapons the ranger wields increase their damage die to 1d8, if their normal damage die is lower.
  • Greater Hunter’s Bond: Sacred weapons the ranger wields increase the size of their damage dice to 2d6.
Terrain Bond

An s-class ranger with a terrain bond sees herself as one with the land itself. She works to protect the world around her, guarding the beauty and majesty of nature itself.

  • Hunter’s Bond: The ranger learns how to direct others as they travel within her favored terrains. When in her favored terrain, an s-class ranger grants all allies within line of sight and that can hear her a +2 bonus on initiative checks and Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks. As long as they travel with her, the Ranger’s allies leave no trail and can’t be tracked. The Ranger can choose for the group to leave a trail, or even specific members of the group to leave a trail if she so desires. This bonus does not stack with any favored terrain bonuses possessed by her allies; they use whichever bonus is higher.
  • Improved Hunter’s Bond: The ranger grants her allies up to half of her favored terrain bonus (rounded up).
  • Greater Hunter’s Bond: The ranger can assist her allies when within 15 feet of them, granting them the benefits of her camouflage and woodland stride features.
Weapon Bond

An s-class ranger with a weapon bond is more than an expert with her combat style. She can enhance her weapons to better combat the threats she faces every day.

  • Hunter’s Bond: As a swift action, the ranger can grant any weapon she wields a +1 enhancement bonus for up to 1 minute. She can do this a number of times per day equal to her Wisdom modifier (minimum 1).
  • Improved Hunter’s Bond: The enhancement bonus increases to +3, and the ranger can use her bonuses to add any of the following weapon properties: Dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the ability is used and cannot be changed until the next time the ranger uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the ranger. Alternatively, the ranger can enhance up to 1 additional weapon in this way, dividing the enhancement bonus between both of her weapons, but losing the ability to add properties.
  • Greater Hunter’s Bond: The enhancement bonus increases to +5, and the ranger can add properties to either of her enhanced weapons.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

S-Class Characters: The Ranger. Copyright 2021, Samurai Sheepdog. Author: Kevin Glusing