Steal This Character: Strength Ranger Knight

In our recent episode, Ready For Hell: The Heavy Metal Holy Ranger, we discuss the Reverend Roswall Daywhisper. He has an extraordinary title, the sort of knightly heraldry sung out in a royal court: Sir Roswall, Reverend Daywhisper, Knight of the Order of the Righteous Brand Nobleman Army, Commander of Dawnbreaker Troop 4, Celebrated Rambler of the Hallow Wastes, Ordained Leader of the High Church of Pelor, Father of Light, Alumni of the University of Saint Trinity, Winner of the 17th Annual Sword's Coast Dog Breeder Invitational.

And while he looks like a knight, or perhaps a paladin in his heavy armor, he’s none of these things. Welcome to another edition of Steal This Character where we show you how to build against tropes. This time we are building a character that is going to look and behave a lot like a paladin in game, but actually uses the Ranger class.

Yes, gasp , we are using the oft-maligned Ranger class. It’s not all bad, and we have a couple little table rules that help. You can find this Character’s Sheet here. So let’s dive into our Heavy Metal Holy Ranger using the DndBeyond Character builder:

1. Choose Variant Human for the Heavily Armored Feat

This is how we put the heavy in Heavy Metal Holy Ranger. The feat also gives a plus 1 bump to Strength, which is great as this build is going to be a Strength Ranger, or as we like to call them, a StRanger. Choose Infernal as your extra language.
Reveren Daywhisper

2. Take 7 Levels of Ranger

This is about the point where things get fun for rangers, and where this character would be ready to descend into the Hells. For proficiencies: Athletics, Perception and Survival. Favored enemies: Fiends. This guy is a demon/devil hunter. And for the other favored enemy, we chose elves because we see him possible fighting Drow for reason we can’t explain. It also means we can choose Underdark and swamp as favoured terrain. Why swamp? Because “Lower Planes” isn’t an option.

Side note about Rangers: Let’s just say, favored terrain isn’t as open to creativity as it should be. I’ve often thought, and this is my table rule, that the best thing to do is just say that the Natural Explorer feature just works everywhere. It’s a small buff, but would really make Rangers more awesome more of the time. It also means choosing favoured terrain is more of a storytelling element than anything. But talk with your DM about this. Another option would be to allow players to add terrain like lower planes, or urban or wherever your game finds itsself located. The other really simple table rule to help buff Rangers without doing lots of crazy new features: let them add their proficiency bonus to damage they do to favored enemies. But again, have a discussion with your DM.

For Fighting Style: choose Defense. This gives the full-plate an additional +1. By the time we are done, your AC will be 22.

For Ranger Archetype, we went with Monster Slayer, which let’s you spend an action to learn a creature’s immunities, resistances and vulnerabilities. It also grants Slayer’s Prey, which as a bonus action let’s you designate one creaute as your prey, and grants an extra 1d6 the first time you hit it each turn. This is all helpful when fighting extra planar fiends. Then at 7th level we gain Supernatural Defense, which stacks with Slayer’s Prey (and “Supernatural” anything sounds cool for our Holy Ranger). It gives an extra 1d6 to make saves and ability checks to escape grapples that come from the target of your Slayer’s Prey.

For the 4th Level ASI, take a point in Strength and another in Constitution.

For the 6th Level Favored Enemy: take Undercommon and Undead.

We will come back to spells at the end.

3. Ability Score Point Buy

Strength: set to 15, and with bonuses it should come to 18. Beefy!
Dexterity: _10. Doesn’t help with heavy armor, so forget about it.
13, plus bonus will take it to 14. By level 7, you should have 60hp. With an AC of 22, that should let you tank a bit.
Intelligence: 8. Dump stat. Deal with the fact that your investigation checks will suck.
Wisdom: 15, with bonuses will come to 16. This is your casting ability, and what will make this knight really stand out among Paladins.
_Charisma _10. This is the other thing that will stand out among Paladins, this characters lack of natural charm.

4. Folk Hero Background

The reverend has come a long way from his humble origins. He has animal handling (loves dogs, and is a prize winning breeder). Also take Religion because, well, Holy Ranger.

5. Big Equipment

This is a build that needs Plate armor. Also a +1 Shield. This will take your AC to 22. Not bad for the addition of just one simple Uncommon magic item.
And maybe for a bit of flavor, something like a Moontouched Longsword, so you can hack and slash in the dark. This is a common magic item, which simply does what a torch does, but also lets you hit things like with a sword. This will give you 1d8+1d6+4 (average 13) against your Slayer’s Prey target’s

6. Jump Back to Spells in Class

The spell list is pretty simple for Rangers, but we want to give him some of the similar abilities a Paladin has. Firstly, healing: take Cure Wounds and Detect Poison and Disease. Also take Healing Spirit.
Then to make up for lack of Divine Smite, take Zephyr Strike. This, which casts as a bonus action, makes it so you don’t provoke opportunity attacks, can move an extra 30’, and get into position on your quarry. Then once within the 1 minute concentration duration of this spell, you gain advantage on one attack, and deal an extra 1d8 damage on that hit. So this combines together with your Slayer’s Prey to do 2d8+1d6+4 on an attack with advantage. Also you still get a second attack, but it will just be 1d8+4.
And finish off with Pass Without Trace. Plate armor may have disadvantage on Stealth checks, but a +10 will help.

(Credit: Header Image, artist unknown)