This review has been sponsored by the publisher. Find more 5e reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

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Designed by: Heavyarms

At this point in D&D 5e’s life cycle we can all agree that the Ranger got the short end of the design stick. Signature features such as Favored Enemy, Natural Explorer, and Land’s Stride are rarely if ever used in most games. If not for subclasses, the Ranger would often feel like a gimpy Fighter with crappy Druid spells.

Simply titled The Ranger, 5e designer Heavyarms redesigns the troublesome class by borrowing from some of my favorite 5e class features.

The new Ranger strips away all the baseline features you’d come to expect – druidic spellcasting, animal companion, fighting styles, literally anything to do with the wilderness, etc, and replaces them with two new features: Focus and Bushcraft.

Bushcraft operates like a Warlock’s Invocations. Starting at 1st level, the Ranger can choose two Bushcraft skills from a list of about two dozen options.

Unlike Invocations, however, Bushcraft skills aren’t extra spells and features; they’re critical components of the class.

Want an animal companion? That’s a Bushcraft skill. How about spellcasting? You’ll need the Hedge Magic skill. Bushcraft skills also include redesigns for Natural Explorer, Primal Awareness, and Woodland Stride, while adding some nifty new features such as Field Dressing (healing kits become Lesser Restoration scrolls!) Mutagencraft (Hello, the Witcher!), and special arrow crafting, with nearly a dozen craftable new arrows.

On the plus side, I love being able to pick and choose my abilities as I level up. The Ranger gains two Bushcraft skills at level one, then another skill every two levels. Many of the Bushcraft skills include tiered prerequisites, such as animal companion and hedge magic, expanding and specializing in certain playstyles and features.

Yet it also feels like the Ranger’s baseline abilities have been stripped away, forcing players to pick mostly the same Bushcraft skills just to keep up with other classes.

I also have no idea how this unique pick-and-choose class would interact with subclasses — this redesign doesn’t include any new (or redesigned) subclasses whatsoever. Subclasses should absolutely be expected with any new class in 5e, and that includes redesigns of existing classes!


Beginning at second level the Ranger earns focus points at the start of each turn. Like Monk Ki points, focus points can be spent on different abilities, such as Lightning Reflexes (gain advantage on Dex saves), Blade Dance (extra 1d6 damage with light weapons) or Rapid Fire (spend 2 points to gain an extra attack with a ranged weapon).

But wait, you cry, this new Ranger can potentially gain three attacks when they hit 5th level?

Ah, no. This Ranger doesn’t ever get Extra Attack! Instead the Ranger gains Focus much quicker, such as gaining up to their WIS modifier at the start of combat (3rd), or simply gaining twice the Focus each turn (5th).

I’m not sure how the math works out, but I imagine most Rangers would want to spend Focus on Rapid Firing as much as they can. Rapid Fire would be a much more exciting feature if it weren’t simply replacing Extra Attack, and making you expend a resource for it (even if it’s one that’s readily available).

While the redesign lacks subclasses, it does include a few other goodies in the form of feats, adventuring gear, and magic items. The adventuring gear include the cool craftable special ammunition, such as poison arrows, heavy shot arrows (knock prone!), and light arrows.

Magic items mostly offer new weapons, including an icy dagger that can encase foes in ice, and a legendary bow that evolves into more powerful forms by completing tasks.

The Ranger does an admirable job at redesigning a baseline 5e class. Focus and Bushcraft are interesting features that put a lot of choice into the player’s hands. I would’ve loved to see some new, or rebalanced subclasses that could compliment this new build, however.


  • Earn and expend Focus during combat to gain rogue and monk-like abilities.
  • Specialize your ranger with over two dozen Bushcraft skills.
  • Over half a dozen magic items designed for rangers.


  • Lacks subclasses.

The Verdict: Inspired by Monk Ki points and Warlock Invocations, this Ranger redesign provides interesting flexibility and choice-driven progression.

A review copy of “The Ranger” was provided by the publisher. Find more 5e reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using my affiliate links and pledging via Patreon.