Good morning, afternoon, or evening! Today we’ll take our first step into looking at specific multiclasses, and what better way than to start out than with the classic Ranger/Rogue combo? Let’s take a deeper dive into what makes this multiclass worth dipping into.
To start off, let’s look at a few similarities and differences between Rogues and Rangers. First, both start with R. Second, both are Dexterity based classes that are equally comfortable with a bow or a shortsword, darting in and out of melee range. They’re also both exceptionally good at certain things; Rogues at detecting traps, stealthing, and picking locks, and Rangers at natural exploration and communicating with animals/plants. They both like to roll lots of dice and are both classes that appeal to first time players!
Their differences come in their secondary stats, their consistency, and spellcasting. Rogues are backed up by intelligence or charisma and are generally much more consistent, being able to use their expertise in stealth/thieves’ tools to constantly succeed on checks in many situations. Rangers, though backed up by the superior wisdom stat, get the short end of the stick, relying on a DM that focuses in on natural exploration. On the contrary, rogues can be unreliable in combat since all of their damage is focused in on one hit. Rangers get Multiattack and a slew of abilities that can deal extra damage on a hit or provide rangers with an extra attack. Rangers can get up to three attacks by level 3 if they’re a two weapon fighter! Rangers also get access to some decent spellcasting, getting great spells like hunter’s mark as well as a few solid control spells. But…. what happens when you combine them?
When combined, the Rogue/Ranger multiclass is adept at a multitude of things:
One, they become an incredible skill monkey, picking up proficiencies from both classes and Expertise at Rogue level 1. Rangers in general tend to be more skill reliant than say, a fighter or a barbarian, so expertise benefits them immensely. Putting this in stealth and combining it with pass without a trace means you’ll almost never roll below a 20 for stealth rolls. You can also pump your expertise in your ranger skills if you find yourself in an exploration campaign, giving yourself an incredible survival and perception score, never losing the path for your allies and spotting any threats before they can ambush you. If you go far enough into Rogue, you can even get the second set of expertise and be good at both of those things!
Two, their damage takes a nice spike. Though just one level in rogue will only net you 1d6, the average 4 damage it provides adds that little extra oomph when used alongside hunter’s mark and one of the many ranger features that lets you add extra damage, such as the Hunter’s Colossus Slayer or the Horizon Walker’s Planar Warrior. Adding more levels in rogue simply increases your ability to deal big damage with your initial hit and a decent follow up with either a multiattack or two weapon fighting. A special shout out goes to Beast Master Rangers, who can send their animal companions into the fray to guarantee sneak attack for them on a target!
Three, Cunning Action. That’s all. In reality, Rangers do have some mobility issues if they aren’t using their spells, even though we tend to envision rangers as able to dart around the battlefield, striking down multiple foes. A simple two level dip into Rogue allows you to do this, using your bonus action to Dash, Disengage, or Hide! While many would think this interferes with a two weapon fighting ranger, I’ve found in my experience and asking friends who have played this multiclass that they much prefer the added versatility in what they can do with their bonus action and very rarely complain that they’re missing out on an attack.
Looking at actually building the character, I think that you have good reason to start in both classes, but Ranger takes the edge. The higher hit die, weapon/armor/save proficiencies, and starting equipment outweigh the skills you get from being a Rogue. I’d go up to 5 levels in Ranger, snagging multiattack, an ASI, Spellcasting, and your Archetype on the way. Pretty much every subclass seems to work, with special props going to Gloomstalker for being the most “rogue-esque”.
When it comes to Rogue levels, I wouldn’t go past 3 levels. You get your main abilities you’re looking for in the first two levels and most Rogue archetypes tend to be front loaded in their skill distribution, so picking those up isn’t too bad. If you didn’t grab expertise in Survival/Nature, definitely consider going for Scout, since it not only fits the multiclass best but it gives you extra mobility and expertise in those two skills. Swashbuckler lets you dash in and out of combat and couples well with your advantage on initiative (if you’re using the UA ranger!), even if it’s a measely +1 (unless you’re the most charismatic ranger like Viggo Mortensen). Lastly, Thief gives you some vertical mobility, allowing you to not spend extra movement to climb and jump a little further. The reason you don’t want to be going further is the abilities get a bit redundant and Rangers tend to get more from higher levels.
That’ll conclude our article on the Ranger/Rogue multiclass! Have you tried out this multiclass? What’s your experience with it? Let us know on our twitter or on our instagram, or even in our forums! Thank you all for taking the time to read your article, we truly appreciate it!