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Welcome to Flutes’ exhaustive guide for Ranger multiclassing character builds. Multiclassing is often daunting for new players, but multiclassing is rewarding and exciting for experienced players. It’s an iconic part of D&D 5e. I consider myself plugged into the greater D&D community, so I’m happy to share some of my favorite concepts from the internet in addition to my own character ideas.
Some Ranger multiclass concepts involve Ranger as the primary class with the majority of the levels. Other concepts will include the Ranger as a secondary class with minimal level investment. The secondary class may be referred to as a “dip” into that class if the concept only needs 1-3 levels in the second class. Being a secondary class does not mean a character won’t start at level one as that class; some classes get more armor and hitpoints at level one.
Ranger Multiclassing Quicklinks by Subclass (skip ahead)
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General Notes on Ranger Multiclassing and Building
Anyone who tells you Rangers are bad is getting their information from outdated memes. Rangers are good! Don’t miss the optional class features from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything because they’re premium. Multiclassing is still common in the double-digit levels because the Ranger features cease to offer substantial benefits. When high-level features are lame, it’s time to multiclass.
Rangers are typically optimized by making them ranged attackers with hand crossbows. This means their bonus actions are already crowded, so multiclass concepts that interfere with that fact will need to consider how much they want to deviate from the damage output that Crossbow Expert + Sharpshooter feats afford. This is one reason Hunter’s Mark is not great for a Ranger, by the way.
One of the big questions for your DM is how summoning spells will function in your game. Rangers can summon powerful creatures to fight beside them. Will you choose to summon charging elk and constricting snakes, or will your DM decide? Will your DM take suggestions or somehow roll randomly to see what you summon?
Don’t forget that multiclassing requires minimum ability scores in both new and prior classes (as described on page 163 of the PHB, or page 54 of Eberron RftLW for Artificers). For example, if you are a Cleric multiclassing as a Rogue, you’ll need a Wisdom score of 13 or higher, and a Dexterity score of 13 or higher.
Class Ability Score Minimums:
- Artificer – Intelligence 13
- Barbarian – Strength 13
- Bard – Charisma 13
- Cleric – Wisdom 13
- Druid – Wisdom 13
- Fighter – Strength 13 or Dexterity 13
- Monk – Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
- Paladin – Strength 13 and Charisma 13
- Ranger – Dexterity 13 and Wisdom 13
- Rogue – Dexterity 13
- Sorcerer – Charisma 13
- Warlock – Charisma 13
- Wizard – Intelligence 13
Dipping 1-2 Levels to/from Ranger
As mentioned earlier, dipping one or two levels can be enough to justify multiclassing. Let’s review which combinations get enough value from dipping and don’t require extensive multiclassing.
Which classes have the best reasons to dip into Ranger?
Rangers offer a unique mix of spellcasting and martial prowess, but many of their best toys require multiple levels. However, dipping into Ranger is a quick path to proficiencies with weapons, light/medium armor, shields, and a skill. Dexterity and Wisdom are required to be thirteens, so classes and build that use those stats already can conveniently fit in one or two levels of Ranger.
Rogues may have reasons to multiclass with Rangers, particularly for light spell utility, additional skills, improved defenses, and the Archery Fighting Style.
You get a Fighting Style at level two, but Fighters would be a better dip since they get a Fighting Style at level one. Spellcasting is the main draw over the Fighter for a two-level dip, but Fighters get Action Surge at that level. For this reason, your character may want to select Ranger for one or two levels of multiclassing dip if they want some of the awesome first-level Ranger spells.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is important to consider with its additional/variant Ranger class features. If you use the additional Ranger features in TCoE, Canny at level one will give you Expertise in a skill, and Favored Foe will give you a damage-boosting option with your concentration.
When all you want is the proficiencies and Fighting Style (or you really want Action Surge), Fighter is better. Ranger is better if you want to cast Fog Cloud, Goodberry, or Absorb Elements (or whatever you fancy, pick two).
Which classes do Rangers want for multiclass dips?
Rogues may want one level of Ranger to increase their hitpoints and get proficiencies with medium armor, shields, and a skill. They also get an extra Expertise option this way with the Canny feature in TCoE. Favored Foe can function like an extra Sneak Attack die.
Beyond Rogues, most classes get what they want already from their class or they have a better multiclass option for dips. Once we get to subclasses, we’ll have more options for Rangers. For now, they’re not the best class for dipping.
How to Roleplay When Your Ranger Multiclasses
Not all level-twenty abilities are worth getting; for example, Rangers have a poor level-twenty class feature, so they gain more from multiclassing. Other classes like Druid and Paladin have excellent level-twenty abilities. I typically shy away from recommending multiclass if they’re a character’s core class. The exception would be if I have a fun concept or I want to focus on lower levels of play; after all, most campaigns end by level ten. Several of my recommendations are thematically cool or unusually unique to D&D.
Most players don’t foreshadow or roleplay their core class features anyway, so why should it be so difficult to justify what you gain from multiclassing? Just because you’re not sticking with a single class doesn’t mean you should feel more excessively burdened than other characters to narrate your character’s progress. You could treat the multiclassing as a mere mechanical change. You don’t have to suddenly tell people that you’re two classes. Pretend your core class has something different about it that is justified by multiclassing.
Ranger Multiclass Recommendations by Subclass
These subclass-specific combinations are a mix of optimal builds and fun concepts. Some might say flavor is free with whatever optimal build you want, but some players prefer to stay true to mechanics without reflavoring. Let me know if you know of multiclass combinations that include Ranger subclasses so I can add them to the list!
You’ll find a brief synopsis of what each subclass can do, followed by multiclassing ideas that involve each subclass.
Summary of subclass features: Train a beast to be your companion and fight by your side. This subclass has been updated in TCoE to make it more viable with a choice of three spirit forms to act as your beast companion. You share your action economy with your beast companion, somewhat.
Notes: The Beast Master is much better than it used to be in the PHB. I recommend using the version from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Beast Master Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Beast Master Ranger (11) / Nature Cleric (9)
Another earthy multiclassing set. I don’t have the same disdain for the Beast Master Ranger as other players. The Nature Cleric’s bonus proficiencies are useful, and its level-six ability to grant elemental resistance as a reaction is premium for any party and for your partner beast. You can also charm many animals at once with Channel Divinity: Charm Animals, suiting the Beast Master Ranger part of the character.
The Nature Cleric’s domain spells are on-theme for Rangers as well. If you really want to share spells with your beast companion, go for fifteen levels in Ranger, but you’ll be giving up other features of the Cleric that might be better anyway.
Beast Master Ranger (3) / Shepherd Druid (17)
This character focuses on summoning spells. The beast companion is complimentary and not meant to function as an attacker. You can pick up a familiar to further fill out your menagerie. Beast of the Sky can make flyby attacks with your bonus action while remaining airborne and out of reach.
Beast Master Ranger (5) / Life Cleric (15)
You can be like Mowgli and Baloo eating Goodberries with extra spice (healing). Five levels of Ranger isn’t required, but it’ll get you Extra Attack and a stronger beast companion. You could also deviate from Life Cleric if you want other levels in something like Paladin to gain smiting, but I recommend focusing on crossbow attacks.
Drakewarden Ranger Subclass (FToD)
Bonus cantrips: Thaumaturgy
Summary of subclass features: Learn Draconic and use Thaumaturgy for elemental flavor. Get a small drake companion that develops based on your Proficiency Bonus and Ranger levels (varying from feature to feature). The drake later grows in size to eventually be large, evolves resistance opportunities, gains flight, and magic-infused elemental attacks. The flight becomes limited if you mount the drake before level fifteen. You also gain a kind of dragon’s breath for your character at higher levels. Your bonus action may often be used to command your drake. At later levels, your reaction may become busy as you share damage with your drake.
Notes: The updated Beast Master from TCoE is probably stronger at low-to-mid levels, while the Drakewarden pulls ahead beyond fifteenth level. However, the Drakewarden may feel thematically stronger compared to a dull beast (depending on player style).
Drakewarden Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Drakewarden Ranger (3) / Shepherd Druid (17)
This is a summoner Druid who has a draconic companion and a few useful Ranger spells. The drake uses its reaction to infuse allied attacks with elemental damage, but the drake will stay out of immediate danger. The Druid will stay behind the drake since it can be protected by it while casting spells.
Drakewarden Ranger (7+) / Divine Soul Sorcerer (3+)
This is a unique build from YouTube commenter Rob Vera. This build is excellent for using the drake as a grappling shutdown machine! You have the drake grapple someone on round one. You cast Sanctuary on the drake during round two. Giving the drake damage resistance with Warding Bond, casting Sanctuary to protect it, and buffing its hit points with Aid, the enemy will be stuck and ineffective. You can also keep healing the drake. If you want to cast Enlarge/Reduce on the drake to increase its size for grappling larger targets, you can pick the Fairy race at character creation to learn the spell.
Drakewarden Ranger (16) / Wildfire Druid (4)
You can have a drake and a fire spirit. The fire spirit can teleport you and your drake when an enemy approaches, allowing you to reposition yourselves. This can be a spicy fire posse you put together! Get two levels of Druid early on so you can use your fire spirit, but take the other two Druid levels at high levels so you can expand spell options and get a feat.
If you worry about your bonus action being too busy to use both companions, remember you don’t have to command them at all. Your bonus action is only required to vary their action on their turn from defaulting to Dodge. They can still move and interpose themselves between you and enemies.
Drakewarden Ranger (16) / Life Cleric (4)
Life Cleric is a great companion to any Ranger since it multiplies Goodberry’s healing potential (make sure your DM doesn’t think this is banned cheese). You can grab one level of Cleric in the early phases of the game, and take three more levels when you think you’re done taking Ranger levels. The extra Cleric levels will accelerate your spell slot progressions while expanding your spells options and netting you a feat.
You might choose to take more levels in Ranger if the feats don’t tempt you. After all, your drake becomes stronger as you take levels in Ranger. You might choose a race/lineage for your character that makes you small-sized so your drake can be your mount when it grows to medium size at level seven.
If you become incapacitated, your drake may be able to feed you a Goodberry if your DM allows it. This is because the drake’s rules say it can take actions other than Dodge when you become incapacitated. Incapacitation can occur from other effects like the Sleep spell, so your drake can help stir you from that dilemma.
Drakewarden Ranger (16) / Twilight Cleric (4)
If you don’t like the Goodberry/Life Cleric combo, Twilight Cleric is a strong option. You and your drake can gain super darkvision out to 300 feet, and you can give yourself advantage on Initiative checks. Your Channel Divinity at level two is seriously strong as a team support option, giving temporary hitpoints to you and nearby allies (drake included) each round. You also gain the option to use heavy armor if you want to invest in Strength. This can work well if you choose to be a melee ranger instead of the classic expert with a crossbow or longbow.
Drakewarden Ranger (16) / Arcane Archer Fighter (4)
This Ranger build relies on the common feat combination of Sharpshooter’s bonus damage and Crossbow Expert’s bonus action attack. The character mounts its drake companion once it grows large for the added speed but doesn’t use its bonus action to order it to attack. At later levels, a flying mount is very helpful. It’s notable that you could be carried by the drake when it learns to fly since the subclass says you can’t use it as a mount for flight until level fifteen. This means it can fly very slowly while you take shots from above.
Drakewarden Ranger (16) / Glory Paladin (4)
Pick a small race for this combination so you can mount your drake sooner. Make your character a melee attacker who rides a dragon and bestows glory to the battlefield. You can use Channel Divinity to help you drag enemies across Spike Growth, or you can use temporary hitpoints to help you and your allies when you smite. You could go for seven levels of Paladin if that’s more your thing and you don’t need the level-fifteen drake boosts. The level-seven aura would be great while riding your mount around at high speeds.
Fey Wanderer Ranger Subclass (TCoE)
Bonus proficiencies: Choice of Deception, Performance, or Persuasion
- Charm Person
- Misty Step
- Dispel Magic
- Dimension Door
Summary of subclass features: Deal more damage once per turn and add Wisdom to Charisma skill checks. Turn charms and fright effects back on their users. Summon fey creatures and teleport like crazy around the battlefield.
Fey Wanderer Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Undead Warlock (2) / Fey Wanderer Ranger (16) / Divine Soul Sorcerer (1) / Twilight Cleric (1)
I like this concept as a power build that plays into the fey trickster archetype. You’re slippery and efficient in and out of combat. The Fey Wanderer is a solid subclass to focus on. Rangers don’t get much above fifteenth level, freeing you up for multiclass dips for better features.
I recommend flavoring the Undead Warlock as if it’s a manifestation of your history as a pickled fey creature. You can also pretend it’s the Archfey Warlock Patron, but with a better level-one ability for your purposes. Form of Dread pairs well with your Fey Wanderer features involving fear. I’d describe the temporary hitpoints gained as a phasing effect as attacks phase through you until your temporary hitpoints deplete.
Twilight Cleric gives you a lot in one level, including enhanced darkvision and advantage on Initiative rolls. You can make use of the extra spells and spell slots, too. Twilight is a decent theme for this character, too.
Divine Soul Sorcerer will net you the Favored by the Gods feature to reinforce your saving throws. I’d treat this as a fey feature instead of a godly intervention.
Nature Cleric (1) / Fey Wanderer Ranger (19)
Fantastic Wisdom synergy if you use Shillelagh. If you want to concentrate on an alternative to Hunter’s Mark, Bless or Divine Favor work great, especially if you’re attacking multiple targets in a single round. If you snag polearm master, you can rock a shield and still get three attacks regularly thanks to your bonus action pommel attack. Add in dueling style and you get really good damage output!
These two subclasses pair well with one another thematically as well. Rangers and Nature Clerics both focus on nature. Fey Wanderers are saturated in fey energy, connecting them to the land through strange or divine tethers.
Inquisitive Rogue (17) / Fey Wanderer Ranger (3)
This combination makes a useful face of the party because of the Fey Wanderer’s Otherworldly Glamour feature. It allows your character to add its Wisdom modifier to Charisma skill checks and gain proficiency in one social skill. Since the Inquisitive Rogue uses Wisdom for several of its abilities, it can double up on Wisdom’s usefulness with levels of Fey Wanderer. Ranger spellcasting will be useful for your investigations, especially Charm Person from the Fey Wanderer Magic feature.
In combat, this combination can play into the fey influence by making Insightful Fighting into a trickster’s way of reading movements, feinting attacks, and otherwise tricking enemies into disadvantageous battle stances. I imagine this character narratively pulling an enemy’s hat over their eyes to gain Sneak Attack.
Wild Magic Barbarian (4) / Fey Wanderer Ranger (16)
The influence of the Fey has instilled you with unstable magic when you become emotional. You’re normally a mischievous person of whimsy, but you get upset, things can get crazy. This combination makes for an interesting character narrative, though the synergy is minimal. I honestly don’t love the Path of Wild Magic, so I’m not struck with much else for inspiring multiclass ideas.
Rune Knight Fighter (4) / Fey Wanderer Ranger (16)
I picture fey powers as trickery. The Cloud Rune’s ability to change an attack’s target is very strong and useful, and Fighter levels will further augment the Fey Wanderer’s abilities. Cool combo!
Echo Knight Fighter (4) / Fey Wanderer Ranger (16)
Fey Wanderers who can create doubles of themselves from alternate realities? Awesome! The Echo Knight is incredibly strong, so it consistently excels as a Fighter multiclass option. Instead of always bringing it up, I bring it up when I think it fits the character theme (such as here).
Gloom Stalker Ranger Subclass (XGtE)
- Disguise Self
- Rope Trick
- Greater Invisibility
Summary of subclass features: Bonus to Initiative, additional attacks with speed and damage boosts, darkvision, and invisibility in the dark to creatures relying on darkvision. Wisdom saving throw proficiency, additional attacks after missing, and imposing disadvantage on enemy attacks.
Notes: This subclass is insanely powerful, and Tasha’s made it even better.
Gloom Stalker Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Gloom Stalker Ranger (16) / Twilight Cleric (1) / Battle Master Fighter (3)
I consider this a power build. Gloom Stalker is already a solid subclass. It’s incredibly strong and easy to play. Battle Master Fighters will allow the Gloom Stalker to add more damage and additional effects to its attacks for more damage potential. Twilight Cleric enables the character with greater darkvision and advantage on Initiative rolls. Using Action Surge in the first round of combat to use the Attack action a second time will allow you to trigger Dread Ambusher a second time.
During the first round of combat, Action Surge can be used to make the Attack action twice. This allows the Dread Ambusher feature to trigger twice on the turn for two additional attacks instead of one.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (14) / Assassin Rogue (3) / Battle Master Fighter (3)
This is a reliable burst-damage build for ranged attacks. If you want damage output and options that run smoothly together, this is a great build. Gaining advantage or landing auto-crits during round one of combat can make short work of enemies.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (15) / Barbarian (2) / Battle Master Fighter (3)
This is a classic burst-damage build for melee attacks. Rage and Reckless Attack from the Barbarian are extremely helpful for damage and survivability. Gloomstalker and Battle Master speak for themselves.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (15) / War Cleric (5)
A steady dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords under the sun (paraphrasing some famous quote). Get five levels of War Cleric so you can get both Spiritual Weapon and Spirit Guardians. Gloom Stalkers don’t rely on stealth, so feel free to wear heavy armor. Both core and secondary classes have abilities that will allow for additional attacks beyond the Ranger’s Extra Attack feature. You could potentially take even more levels of War Cleric if you don’t care much for the level-fifteen Ranger subclass feature, Shadowy Dodge, but I like it.
Assassin Rogue (17) / Gloom Stalker Ranger (3)
There is massive synergy with this combination. I love the Assassin’s ability to land critical hits on surprised foes automatically, and it gets even better with the Death Strike feature at level seventeen. The Gloom Stalker Ranger compliments the Assassin in several ways. Umbral Sight grants a buff to the character’s darkvision. More importantly, it makes the Assassin invisible in darkness when hanging around creatures that are confidently relying on their darkvision to see.
The Gloom Stalker is also a natural ambusher like the Assassin is. The Dread Ambusher feature will buff the character’s incredible Assassinate attacks when ambushing a target. Movement speed is also increased by Dread Ambusher, and it also grants a bonus to initiative rolls equal to the character’s Wisdom modifier. I am giddy to see how much synergy exists here. If there is a Grave Cleric in the party, you’re gonna have a good time.
Thief Rogue (17) / Gloom Stalker Ranger (3)
I know I already suggested this for the Assassin Rogue, but it’s just so good for the Thief too! When I play a Thief, I want my presence to be completely hidden. The Gloom Stalker can literally make this character invisible in the dark to creatures with darkvision, meaning you can perform heists with ease on monsters that would normally be deadly encounters. Your initiative rolls will be boosted too. Your character may also be relieved to receive new or buffed darkvision from the Gloom Stalker. The Ranger’s spell list ain’t bad either for heist purposes, such as Longstrider, Fog Cloud, Jump, Detect Magic, and Alarm. Hunter’s Mark will also be useful if you’re tracking down someone you need to rob.
Zealot Barbarian (17) / Gloom Stalker Ranger (3)
You are the shout in the deep that rages against the Underdark’s denizens. You are invisible in the dark to creatures relying on darkvision, making you even more terrifying as you rain blows upon them. The character has a special attack each round that deals radiant damage and scales with your Barbarian level; your first attack in a combat encounter grants you another attack that deals extra damage. These damage gains will be extra satisfying when you roll their dice twice from your Reckless Attack crit fishing.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (13) / Battle Master Fighter (3) / Life Cleric (3)
You become a sniper who disappears into the shadows. You have excellent survivability and utility through your features and spells. There is a write-up for this build on the Form of Dread – D&D Tactics blog. It’s very clear, and it showcases the potency of the Gloom Stalker. Check out the DPR graph at the bottom. You’ll want to check with your DM about how summoning spells will function for you.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (12) / Scout Rogue (8)
This combination allows you to get the best class and subclass features from the Gloom Stalker while complimenting the build with Rogue levels. The Scout Rogue is particularly thematic for playing as an archer, and Rangers excel with the Crossbow Expert feat. The Rogue boosts your damage with Sneak Attack and gives you evasive, defensive options. This prescribed level split allows you to still get five feats.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (12) / Conquest Paladin (8)
Gloomstalkers are creepy already, and Conquest Paladins may serve a dark deity. Lore also fits here. Where Gloomstalkers hope to vanquish threats totally before they come to light, which is similar to the conquest mindset: it’s not enough to defeat an enemy. Shatter their will to fight forever.
Aside from the cool flavor, Gloomstalkers get an additional attack at the beginning of combat. Combine this with Conquest’s ability to add +10 to an attack roll, and you’re sure to not waste your abilities.
Gloomstalkers should focus on weapon attacks over casting spells, so use those spell slots for extra Smite damage.
Hexblade Warlock (10) / Gloom Stalker Ranger (3) / Arcane Archer Fighter (7)
A master of menacing archery with an arcane twist.
You’ve lived in the dark, studied with the Drow, and learned how to weave their dark magic into your arrows. Now you call upon a patron to grant you sinister power. All you need is your bow and a target worthy of your attention.
In this build, your character will deal an average of 198 damage to a target with six weapon attacks in the first turn, 79 to another target and banish it in the second turn, and another 27 to the first cursed target in the second turn. You can read more about this build in Opal’s article about it.
Gloom Stalker Ranger (12-14) / Shadow Monk (6-8)
Become a true skulker with this thematic combination. You gain a surprising number of options here. Hunter’s Mark is great for taking down beefy enemies with your Flurry of Blows. You can learn Devil’s Sight via the Eldritch Adept feat to see through your own magical darkness. You can eventually become invisible without the use of the shadows, and you can teleport through shadows freely.
The level split is based on whether you prefer to get level-four spells or get another feat. It depends on what you’re interested in!
Horizon Walker Ranger Subclass (XGtE)
- Protection from Evil and Good
- Misty Step
- Teleportation Circle
Summary of subclass features: Detect nearby portals, add force damage to your attacks as a bonus action, and become ethereal. Teleport between attacks and gain an additional attack, and use your reaction to resist damage from an attack.
Horizon Walker Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Horizon Walker Ranger (3-11) / Phantom Rogue (9-17)
The levels of this multiclass concept are flexible. This combination’s build will depend on what you’re prioritizing for features. These subclasses go together in a neat way. I like their themes, and the Horizon Walker can be flavored to be an extension of the Phantom Rogue. The Phantom Rogue doesn’t need to use its bonus action all the time, so it can utilize the Planar Warrior damage. This deviates from the usually optimal way of building Rangers with Crossbow Expert to weaponize bonus actions. This won’t out-damage those builds, but it’s an alternative with fun mechanics.
Both subclasses have an ethereal-based feature, so decide which one you want to go for (if any). I’d personally be tempted to go eleven levels of Horizon Walker Ranger so I can blink around the battlefield between attacks. It’s not optimal to spread out attacks, but this is so cool to visualize.
Horizon Walker Ranger (16) / Psi Warrior Fighter (4)
Portals typically involve force damage and similar powers, so it makes sense that a Horizon Walker may have telekinetic powers. You can gain slick Fighter features and pick up Psi Warrior augmentations for your attacks and defenses. You also won’t have to sacrifice feats with these level splits. I like to imagine using Planar Warrior and Psionic Strike in unison for attacks.
Horizon Walker Ranger (16) / Soulknife Rogue (4)
Similar to my recommendation of the Psi Warrior above, the Soulknife’s psychic powers thematically fit the Horizon Walker Ranger. The Soulknife allows you to create telepathic walkie-talkies with your allies and bolster your skill checks. You can manifest psychic blades that pair with your Planar Warrior and Sneak Attack features for added damage. I kinda picture this combination as Kabuto from Naruto who could sever muscles and tendons without breaking the skin of his enemies.
Horizon Walker Ranger (16) / Rune Knight Fighter (4)
This combination is cool because it reminds me of Blink from the X-Men comic books. The Cloud Rune can be flavored as opening a portal to make an enemy attack one of their allies instead of you or your allies. At higher levels, you can teleport between attacks. Aside from the subclass, Fighter levels are always great!
Horizon Walker Ranger (16) / Echo Knight Fighter (4)
The Echo Knight is incredible! It fits the Horizon Walker’s theme, too. Creating echoes of yourself from alternate realities seems like the kind of thing a Horizon Walker would do. The Echo Knight is packed with value, so I can’t sum it up here, but it’s worth a look if it’s allowed.
Hunter Ranger Subclass (PHB)
Summary of subclass features: Choose between two or three options at different levels to specialize in combat against specific foes. You might specialize in taking down enormous enemies or hordes of smaller ones. Some options will favor ranged or melee attacks. Many of the abilities are similar to features from other classes, particularly the Rogue.
Hunter Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Hunter Ranger (3) / Swashbuckler Ranger (17)
The Swashbuckler excels at one-on-one combat, and the Hunter has tools to enhance this specialty. The Hunter’s Giant Killer feature makes it easy for the Swashbuckler to attack as a reaction and deal Sneak Attack damage on an enemy’s turn. It only works against big boys, but it’s a useful tool. Ranger spells are also excellent for Rogues. Goodberry and Pass without Trace, for example, are premium spells for a Swashbuckler and their party.
Hunter Ranger (7-13) / Cavalier Fighter (7-13) / Barbarian (1)
The Hunter’s Multiattack Defense feature at level seven is pretty cool. It’s even better when coupled with an AC boost from the Cavalier’s Warding Maneuver. I wouldn’t consider this to be a top-tier AC multiclass, but it’s not highly dependent on resource management and it can feel unique to the usual Ranger. You can lock enemies down with your melee features instead of relying on the usual crossbow builds for damage. I’m not saying you’ll out-damage crossbow builds, but it’ll be something new.
The level split will depend on whether you want more feats or more uses of Indomitable, but also if you want more spells. The Barbarian level is for grabbing Rage because it can increase your survivability to resist attack damage.
Hunter Ranger (16) / Crown Paladin (4)
Protect the order of the Crown from the chaos of the Wilderness, for this is how you keep society intact.
This Hunter/Oath of the Crown build is the ultimate threat to hordes. Use the Champion Challenge Channel Divinity to keep creatures within 30 feet of you close by, then use Horde Breaker to attack enemies adjacent to your target, Whirlwind Attack to make melee attacks against any number of creatures within 5 feet of you, and Uncanny Dodge to reduce damage against you.
Monster Slayer Ranger Subclass (XGtE)
- Protection from Evil and Good
- Zone of Truth
- Magic Circle
- Hold Monster
Summary of subclass features: Sense a creature’s strengths and weaknesses. Use a bonus action to mark an enemy for bolstered damage and defenses when you combat it. Foil spells and teleportation attempts with your reaction. Marked creatures may be attacked by your as a reaction when they force you to make a saving throw, potentially allowing you to automatically succeed at the save.
Monster Slayer Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Inquisitive Rogue (17) / Monster Slayer Ranger (3)
Archetypal hunters of the occult and alien must be perceptive enough to pierce and expose beguiling facades. The Monster Hunter has the Hunter’s Sense feature at level three to complement the investigative powers of the Inquisitive Rogue. In addition to the mundane investigative skills of the Rogue, the Monster Hunter Ranger will perceive a supernatural creature’s strengths and weaknesses.
Scout Rogue (5) / Monster Slayer Ranger (15)
You have made it your mission in life to hunt down the terrorizing Aboleth in the sea. Wherever your adventure takes you, this goal is on your mind. You’ve navigated the waters adeptly, and you understand the creatures within better than any sailor before. With patience in hand, time is only on your side.
Undaunted like Captain Ahab, you’ll use your skills to track, attack, and defeat the wily sea monster that perfectly ties into your backstory. As you multiclass into a Scout Rogue, you will gain double proficiency in Nature, Survival, and expertise in two additional skills of your choice. You’ll also gain Cunning Action (dash, disengage, or hide as a reaction), a reaction to move away from a foe without provoking an opportunity attack, and negligible Sneak Attack.
Vengeance Paladin (8) / Monster Slayer Ranger (12)
Paladins of the Oath of Vengeance choose to fight the greater evil. Monster Slayers vow to hunt creatures with evil magic. Choose your Slayer’s Prey to deal extra damage and counterattack, and combine this with the Vengeance Channel Divinity Vow of Enmity (bonus action) to gain advantage against this foe for 1 minute.
War Magic Wizard (3) / Monster Slayer Ranger (15) / Fighter (2) or Artificer (2) or Paladin (2)
I want this character to be a mage slayer. They pass saving throws, thwart teleports, and punish spellcasting. I would make this a melee character, too. I would grab the Mage Slayer feat because the class features don’t directly conflict with it, and your options can be filled out by it. You can cast silence and grapple an enemy if you go with the Fighter option for Action Surge.
The character needs to take its turn early in combat to make this work with Slayer’s Prey. The War Magic Wizard’s Tactical Wit can help with Initiative rolls.
Choose between Fighter or Artificer for two more levels. Artificer Infusions can be great for boosting your grapple checks and concentration saving throws. Fighters get Action Surge and another Fighting Style. Paladins get Divine Smite!
Swarmkeeper Ranger Subclass (TCoE)
Bonus cantrips: Mage Hand
- Faerie Fire
- Gaseous Form
- Arcane Eye
- Insect Plague
Summary of subclass features: Utilize a swarm of your flavor choice to amplify your attacks. You can push enemies, deal more damage, or move when you attack. Gain slow flight, defensive dispersal, and greater swarm attacks. Spells can be flavored to resemble your swarm of choice.
Notes: I wrote an article about how this subclass can be used to play as Gaara the sand ninja from Naruto. If you’re into that, check it out!
Swarmkeeper Ranger Multiclass Recommendations
Soulknife Rogue (9) / Swarmkeeper Ranger (11)
Reflavoring the psychic abilities of the Soulknife Rogue to fit the swarm theme of the Swarmkeeper Ranger is straightforward narratively and useful mechanically. Your swarm can be summoned in the form of a blade or other tool to help you in a moment of need. Going to level eleven as a Swarmkeeper allows you to gain flight and enhance your swarm’s attack enhancements. You don’t need Swarming Dispersal since the Rogue side of this character will have Uncanny Dodge for its defensive reaction. Mighty Swarm allows you to knock an enemy prone so you can gain advantage on a second attack for Sneak Attack damage (since you’ll have Extra Attack).
As I mentioned earlier, Ranger spells are game-changers for Rogues: Pass without Trace, Silence, and Fog Cloud will help Rogues do what they do best. Gaseous Form from the Swarmkeeper Magic will assist in escapes and infiltrations, and you can describe it like you’re a Naruto character or Yiga Clan member disappearing in a puff of smoke. Web is another amazing spell from Swarmkeeper Magic. You get a plethora of utility from this combination.
Spores Druid (5-6) / Swarmkeeper Ranger (14-15)
This character is all about spores. The Swarmkeeper’s swarm is made of spores. In addition to the other benefits of being a Swarmkeeper Ranger, the Circle of Spores Druid allows you to deal more damage with your swarm of spores. It also allows you to raise enemies as undead spore servants. It’s a pretty cool theme that I’d be happy to play.
The main takeaways should be the following:
- The Ranger class is not weak.
- Dipping into Ranger isn’t usually the best option unless you’re going for a subclass. Other classes like Clerics are tough to beat for multiclass dips since they get so much at level one.
- Rangers are busy with their bonus actions no matter what kind of build you’re crafting, so don’t bog down the bonus action.
- You can deal relevant damage and create fun builds with Rangers!
- Hunter’s Mark isn’t a required spell, and it should often be swapped out after level four.
Which of my concepts/ideas did you particularly like? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments section because I regularly add new ideas to my articles when I think they’re thematic and/or useful. Show love to anyone whose concept I referenced because I certainly didn’t invent all of these on my own.