This chapter of the Baldurs Gate 3 game guide describes a ready Ranger build. We suggest which race works best as a Ranger, how to best spend ability points, what equipment and spells to choose, and what skills to select.
In Baldurs Gate 3, Ranger can be developed in many ways. Ranged combat enthusiasts can focus on using short and long bows, while fans of a famous Drow Elf named Drizzt Do'urden can opt to use two weapons at once (dual wielding) and engage in melee combat. In the proposed Ranger build, we focus on ranged combat and the Hunter specialization (subclass) because we believe that this playstyle produces the best results.
- Favored Enemy
- Natural Explorer
- Fighting style
- Specialization (subclass)
- Upgrading abilities
- General tips
When choosing the right race for the Ranger class, it is definitely worth choosing a Wood Elf. Below is a list of bonuses your character will receive.
- + 2 to Dexterity - Ranger's main ability;
- +1 to Wisdom - the ability allowing Rangers to cast spells;
- Keen Senses: the hero is proficient in Perception;
- Base race speed: the distance you can travel in each round is 9 metres;
- Mask of the Wild: the character is proficient at Sneaking.
- Fey Ancestry: the hero will have an advantage during saving throws against charms, and the magic can't put them to sleep;
- Darkvision: the character can see in the dark within a radius of 12 meters;
- Short Swords Proficiency - an excellent option for auxiliary weapons for close combat, especially dual-wielding ones;
- Long Swords Proficiency
- Long Bows Proficiency - Ranger's main weapon;
- Proficiency with short bows.
If for some reason you don't want to play as an Elf, you can also opt for Strongheart Halfling. The race bonuses you get are +2 to Dexterity and +1 to Constitution, plus proficiency in sneaking.
When choosing a background for your Ranger, it is worth choosing options that benefit from a developed Wisdom ability and avoiding those that guarantee skills related to Intelligence that Rangers don't develop much. As a reminder, Rangers use Wisdom to cast spells. There is no need to focus on a background that grants proficiency in sneaking, as you will gain this ability as the Wood Elf race.
- Folk Hero: Animal Handling proficiency (Wisdom), Survival Proficiency (Wisdom);
- Sailor: Perception proficiency (Wisdom), Athletics proficiency (Strength);
- Outlander: Survival proficiency (Wisdom), Athletics proficiency (Strength);
- Guild Artisan: Intuition proficiency (Wisdom), Persuasion proficiency (Charisma).
By creating a Ranger-class character in Baldur's Gate 3, you will be able to choose your Favored Enemy, which in turn will provide your character with additional skills or properties. We particularly recommend two options: Bounty Hunter or Sanctified Stalker.
- Bounty Hunter - the hero has Investigation proficiency and gains access to the Thieves Cant passive skill. If you want to use the Ensnaring Strike spell, it will be more difficult for the creatures affected to escape (break free from the spell);
- Sanctified Stalker - the protagonist gains Religion proficiency and access to the Sacred Flame spell, which has a range of 18 meters and causes 1d8 Radiant damage.
Natural Explorer is a class-based ability of the Ranger that gives him an advantage in combat under certain conditions or provides other useful skills. We particularly recommend two options: Beast Tamer or Urban Tracker.
- Beast Tamer: the protagonist has a strong bond with animals, thanks to which he has been given the ability to use the Find Familiar spell, which summons one of several companions - spider, raven, rat, frog, crab, and cat. Each has different abilities;
- Urban Tracker: the protagonist gains Thieves Tools proficiency and Disguise Kit proficiency.
If your hero is going to be the only character on the team who can pick the locks, it's definitely better to choose the Urban Tracker. However, if you want to keep Astarion on the team, it is worth noting that he is already proficient in the use of Thieves Tools so you can go with the Beast Tamer.
When choosing skills for your Ranger, pay particular attention to those that will benefit most from Ranger's main abilities such as Dexterity and Wisdom. Avoid those associated with Intelligence.
Depending on the background you choose, opt for any of the following options:
- Acrobatics - a skill associated with Dexterity;
- Slight of Hand - a skill associated with Dexterity;
- Survival - a skill associated with Wisdom;
- Insight - a skill associated with Wisdom;
- Perception - a skill associated with Wisdom;
- Animal Handling - a skill associated with Wisdom.
For more information on all the skills available in Baldurs Gate 3, see the separate page of this guide revolving entirely around skills.
In developing the Ranger's abilities, one must first focus on Dexterity and Wisdom - the ability that allows Rangers to cast spells (Spellcasting). The third ability worth considering is Constitution.
Our proposition of assigning Ranger's points is as follows:
- Dexterity: 16 points;
- Wisdom: 16 points;
- Constitution: 14 points;
- Strength: 10 points;
- Charisma: 10 points;
- Intelligence: 8 points - Rangers don't use this ability.
When choosing a weapon for your Ranger, we suggest opting for a long bow and two one-handed weapons, such as short swords. With this combination, your hero will be extremely effective in ranged combat, and will also be able to quickly finish the target off with the bonus action gained by carrying two one-handed weapons - Offhand Attack. Your Ranger should wear light armor, which provides a Dexterity bonus.
It should be noted here that the Offhand Attack to which your hero will have access after equipping him with two one-handed weapons is a Bonus Action. This means that in a single turn he can shoot from the bow (action) and then finish off the opponent with a bonus action - Offhand Attack.
Upon unlocking experience level 2, Ranger is given the opportunity to choose his preferred fighting style. Because the described build is based on a character using a bow, we suggest choosing Archery.
- Archery: the hero receives a bonus of 2 to ranged weapon attacks which influences the chance of hitting the target;
By choosing the Wood Elf race and Archery fighting style, the hero will receive a significant point bonus to attack rolls whilst using bows.
Upon unlocking experience level 2, you will be able to choose two spells for your Ranger. Upon unlocking experience level 3, you will be able to choose another spell, so you will have three spells in total. Depending on your preferred playstyle, consider Speak with Animals, Hail of Thorns, Ensnaring Strike, and Hunter's Mark.
Once you have selected the spells, you will not be able to change them until you have advanced to the next level of experience, and the spent spells only renew after a longer rest.
Speak with Animals
Effect: you gain the ability to understand and communicate verbally with animals.
Hail of Thorns
Effect: you fire thorns that deal 1d6 X (X - depending on the character level) Piercing damage and explode, dealing an additional 1D10 Piercing damage to the main target and the creatures around it.
Range: 18 meters, 2 meters of explosion range.
Additional information: after a successful Save Throw, targets receive only half of the damage from the blast.
Effect: mark a creature with the Hunter's Mark to deal an additional 1d6 piercing damage each time you hit him with a weapon attack.
Range: 18 meters.
Additional information: if the marked target dies before the spell is over, you can use an additional action to mark another being.
Effect: the character's attack summons thorny vines, which deal 1d6 X (X - depending on the character's level) piercing damage and can immobilize the target.
Range: 18 meters.
Additional information: injuries are inflicted at the beginning of each round. The creature or an ally of the trapped target can use their action to try to tear the vines apart.
After reaching level 3, a Ranger will have to choose one of two specializations (subclasses). In this build, we focus on the Hunter subclass, which will greatly increase your hero's combat capabilities. By choosing this subclass, you will be able to choose one of three powerful passive skills. We suggest you choose between the Horde Breaker and the Colossus Slayer.
- Horde Breaker: target two nearby creatures and attack them one after another. With this ability, your hero will be able to execute two attacks for the price of one action, provided the targets are close to each other;
- Colossus Slayer: once per turn an attack deals additional 1d8 fire damage if the target does not have a maximum number of health points.
Although the description of the Colossus Slayer skill in Baldurs Gate 3 Early Access suggests that the target must have fewer health points than its maximum, in practice, the passive skill is enabled during each attack in a given round - on all targets, regardless of their health level. It is possible this is a bug and will be fixed in future updates.
After reaching experience level 4, you will be able to improve your Ranger's abilities by spending additional 2 points on chosen abilities. This is the best time to increase Dexterity to 18 points.
Before you start playing Baldurs Gate 3 as a Ranger, you should know a few key tips that will greatly affect your hero's combat effectiveness and help you choose the right targets.
- Appropriate shooting position: if possible, try always to take a position above your opponent (on the hill, roof, stairs, balcony, etc.) before starting the fight to gain the High Ground advantage. This greatly increases the hero's chance of hitting the target;
- Sneak attack or attack in the back: by attacking the opponent in the back or from behind, you gain Advantage on attack, which increases the chance of hitting the target and can also create a Surprise effect, which means that your hero will be able to execute two attacks before the opponent can use his or her turn.;
- Ensnaring Strike: use this spell to stop opponents engaged in melee combat. They do not have a ranged weapon so they will not pose any threat to your team for some time. You can also immobilize Wizards in this way so that they are unable to get close enough to cast a spell;
- Hail of Thorns: this spell is useful for attacking several targets close to each other, but can also be used successfully on a single enemy to deal additional damage. Note that Hail of Thorns can damage your allies so choose your targets carefully;
- Offhand Attack: a skill that your hero will gain access to when using two one-handed weapons (dual-wielding). As this attack counts as an additional action, you will first be able to shoot an arrow towards your opponent and then quickly finish off the target with a small number of health points without having to wait for the next turn.