Ranger Multiclass Options: DnD 5e Guide

Rangers get a bad rap on many DnD forums. At the Black Citadel, we think this is dumb. Straight up.

Not only are Rangers awesome, but there is no such thing as a bad class, only a bad circumstance for the class you are playing.

But did I mention Rangers are awesome? Because they are, and there is literally no bad circumstance in which a Ranger can’t help.

You got a monster problem? I always slay, Queen. You got a dungeon? Consider it crawled.

Delicate social situation? Let me just stand here and look rugged so they can make their own wrong assumptions before I bust us out of here.

Rangers can do all of these things. A multiclassed ranger can do them even better. If you want a little insight into how to hone your ranger to fit the gaps in any metaphorical armor, this guide is for you.

For more on multiclassing, click here.

Welcome, Traveler, to the Black Citadel.

Is Multiclassing Ranger a Good Idea?

First, you have to decide if you want to multiclass. You might be fine packing up and living in the woods. Multiclass has a downside: you carry the risk of overspecialization.

It is possible to be so good at one thing that you suck at everything else.

So, if you decide to multiclass, look around at your table. Where are the gaps in your party’s skillset? How many niches do you fill?

If your party is fairly well covered and there is a “thing you do,” whether it’s scouting, skirmishing, shielding, or spell slinging, multiclassing can make you better at that particular thing.

In general, if you need to stay versatile, consider staying Ranger, but if you can rely on your party to pick up the slack while you specialize, then prepare yourself to see some fairly amazing combinations.

The Single Best Multiclass Option

Before we get into any comprehensive and detailed nitty-gritties, allow me to just tell you what the best bang for your buck is.

Gloom Stalker/Assassin

We vote this option as the best for Ranger multiclassing because it takes one of the primary conceptions of a ranger, that of a predatory monster hunter, and plays up that killer mentality to its fullest.

To be honest, any Ranger subclass will best be supported by any martial-oriented rogue subclass, but we’ve picked Gloom Stalk and Assassin to make this Ninja-Beowulf.

Consider:

Sneak Attack. The ranger is a natural stealth hunter. Sneak attack adds power to that stealth. Furthermore, the ranger is proficient with every type of weapon. A throwing weapon, a melee weapon, and a long-range weapon can all benefit from sneak attack if you choose your targets well.

Favored Enemy/Foe grants you bonuses to hit a single target. Combined with sneak attack, you are getting bonuses on top of bonuses without spending a single action! So even if you are only 2nd level, you are getting weapon damage + sneak attack + favored foe with a single attack.

Fighting Style. This will give you more bonuses to your favored weapon style.

Hunter’s Mark will again allow you to add +1d6 damage for 1 minute to a single target.

Dread Ambusher. At 3rd-level Ranger, you gain a speed bonus, an extra attack, and a damage bonus in the first round of combat.

Assassinate. At 3rd-level Ranger, you have advantage on any target that has not yet acted in the first round of combat, and your attack is considered a critical hit.

Therefore, at 3rd-level Ranger (Gloom Stalker) and 3rd-level Rogue (Assassin), you can shoot a longbow in the first round of combat and gain sneak attack, favored foe, hunter’s mark, and dread ambusher, and (oh, yeah) it’s a critical hit.

The Dice roll, please!

Assuming you have a maxed-out Dexterity of 18 and archery as a Fighting Style, you are dealing between 18-94 piercing damage in the first round of combat!

This would be like if Legolas just walked into Morder, shot Sauron’s tower in his big peeping eyehole, and packed it up for the day.

Other Options To Consider for Ranger Multiclassing

Rangers fill in the gaps. They are edge-walkers – between planes, between wild and domestic, between magic and mundane. To multiclass a ranger, make sure you fill in a gap.

We’ve pieced together four general gaps that can occur in a party and how you can fill them to maximum effect.

As mentioned before, Rogue always has the best multiclass options for Ranger. There is a great Rogue subclass combination for all of the gaps mentioned below, such as Soulknife, Swashbuckler, Scout, or Inquisitor.

Yet, to avoid being too repetitive, we wanted to give you a list of non-rogue options here.

Remember, if possible, try to wait until after you have gotten five levels in Ranger. The Extra Attack feature is worth the wait and will become your staple maneuver.

If there is a gap in your party’s front-line melee, consider multiclassing fighter. Our favorite option for this is Rune Knight.

Rune Knight/Hunter

Giant’s Might

Colossus Slayer

Fire or Stone Rune

Multiattack Defense

These abilities, plus the Hit Dice, armor, weapon, and shield proficiencies of the combined Fighter/Ranger make you a damage-dealing bulwark to protect the hobbits—I mean, spellcasters —from big, scary monster slobber.

In addition, the Rune Knights runic magic allows you to add extra damage without using an action like all good ranger abilities.

If there is a gap in your party’s ability to skirmish and complete secondary objectives, consider multiclassing with Fighter (Cavalier) or Barbarian (Path of the Beast).

Cavalier/Drakewarden

Born to the Saddle

Drake Companion

Unwavering Mark

Drake Mount

This combination will take a while to reach its zenith.

You’ll need to have seven levels in Ranger in order to use your Drake as a mount, but once you get there, you can use all of the Cavalier’s mounted combat abilities to ride your little dragon around the battlefield accomplishing those noncombat objectives that advance the story or make the battle more of a success for your party.

Imagine playing a halfling ranger who rides around on a little dragon shooting with his bow while he protects the rogue or the wizard while they accomplish the party’s most important objective. How fun would that be?!

Path of the Beast/Beastmaster

Natural Attacks

Ranger’s Companion

Movement Bonuses

Extra Attack

The fast movement and natural attack bonuses provided by the Barbarians core class abilities will allow you to move to wherever the secondary objective is while leaving your hands free to manipulate an object, whether that is freeing a particular prisoner, taking out a particular enemy, or guarding the rogue or wizard while they disarm a particular trap or look for a particular magic item.

The Companion will allow you to have an extra token on the board that can alternatively aid your companion, move around the board, or join you in attacks.

In addition, the Barbarian’s Claw attacks will allow you to attack twice while still giving your companion a chance to attack.

If there is a gap in your party’s support structure, consider multiclassing as a Druid (circle of the Shepherd).

Circle of the Shepard/SwarmKeeper

Spirit Totem

Gathered Swarm

Mighty Summoner

Writhing Tide

The circle of the shepherd is an amazing support system for your party. The Spirit Totem ability, druid spells, and Mighty Summoner will allow you to support your front line, protect your rear line, and heal.

Druid spells are Wisdom based, so those will combine with your Ranger spells nicely.

The swarmkeeper abilities will essentially allow you to manipulate allies and opponents on the battlefield to keep them within range of your druidic abilities in addition to doing the classic Ranger ability to add damage to your spells without costing an action.

If there is a gap in your party’s ranged spellcasting or combat ability, consider multiclassing as Fighter (Arcane Archer) or Warlock (Hexblade).

Arcane Archer/Hunter

Fighting Style

Horde Breaker

Piercing Arrow, Bursting Arrow

Ranger Spells

Another common ranger identity is that of the archer/sniper.

Both Fighter and Ranger gain the fighting-style ability, allowing you to take archery and one other. In addition, the Ranger’s spell list is loaded with abilities to boost your archery’s versatility and impact.

Combine that with the Hunter Ranger’s Hordebreaker and the Arcane Archer’s Piercing and/or Bursting Arrows, and you can be just as effective at long-range crowd control as any wizard with the added benefit of NOT being a glass cannon.

You, my friend, will have Hit Points while the other back-of-the-line people can be blown away by a stiff breeze.

Any Warlock/Fey Wanderer

Improved Pact Weapon

Dreadful Strikes

Pact Magic

Ranger Spells

Warlocks have Pact Magic, and Rangers have limited spell slots. If you combine the two, you get extra spell slots you can use for your awesome ranger spells that refresh every short rest!

In addition, with the Pact of the Blade ability, you will always have a weapon at your side. However, you will need to make it to 5th level before you can make a longbow with your Pact Weapon.

However, it is absolutely worth the wait. Once you gain a Pact weapon, you can increase your abilities with it by adding more invocations to your list, such as Thirsting Blade.

The Fey Wanderer Ranger adds psychic damage to their attacks at any range without using an action. Combine that with the Warlock’s hex abilities, and you get stackable damage for free.

Plus, the Fey Wanderer gets Charisma-related abilities by their association with the Fey. The Warlock is Charisma dependent, so they gel nicely there.

Final Thoughts

Rangers are iconic in DnD, and in 5th edition they are no different. While some players may think them useless, the truth is that those players just don’t know how to play them.

But you do.

Go and Slay, Queen.