Tabaxi are one of the most versatile races in D&D 5e. Their racial Dexterity bonus can be good on virtually any class as it can give a healthy bolster to a character’s Armour Class.
However, if you put your energy into a Dexterity main class like Ranger, you’ll get the best possible outcome for your Tabaxi character.
Tabaxi Ranger: The Basics
You’ll want your primary and highest stat to be Dexterity, for starters. Since Tabaxi gets a +2 racial bonus to Dexterity, you can even start with a 20 in Dexterity if you roll your stats and roll an 18!
When putting Ability Score Increases into your character sheet, you’ll want to put as many as you can into your Dexterity stat.
Once your Dexterity is maxed out at 20, you’ll want to put your remaining ASIs into Wisdom, Constitution, Strength, Intelligence, and Charisma in that order.
When you reach the third level in Ranger, you’ll be able to choose a Ranger Archetype. Rangers are incredibly versatile and can fill many roles in a team.
If your team needs more damage, consider the Hunter archetype, giving the most comprehensive damage output. Support Ranger players will want to take the Fey Wanderer archetype.
For a background, Outlander will give you two skill proficiencies, proficiency with a musical instrument, a language, and some equipment that will be useful for your journey.
You can consider taking a feat when you’ve reached your benchmark stats. For example, Crossbow Expert and Sharpshooter provide comprehensive benefits for a Ranger while Tough and Lucky are just never bad on any character.
Rangers: How To Play Ranger Effectively
Rangers are a comprehensive “jack-of-all-trades” class. They get a little bit of everything from martial and spellcasting classes but tend not to excel at either one as strongly as more mechanically focused classes.
As a ranger, you gain the following class features.
- Hit Dice: 1d10 per ranger level
- Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + your Constitution modifier
- Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + your Constitution modifier per ranger level after 1st
Rangers are very squishy. They’re meant to be damage dealers and support characters, not tanks.
If you want to wear Heavy Armor, consider dipping one level into Nature Cleric for their Heavy Armor proficiency and some extra spellcasting.
- Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
- Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
- Tools: None
Rangers are proficient with medium armor and shields, which can be suitable for crossbow Rangers who want to add a little more to their defensive stats.
While the Strength saving throw is perhaps one of the most niche saving throws in the game, proficiency with Dexterity saving throws will help your Ranger evade damage from long-range and Area of Effect spells.
Choose three from Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival
Rangers get a vast array of skill proficiencies to choose from. Of course, you’ll want to choose anything besides Athletics or Survival, which you’ll already be getting from your Outlander background.
Beginning at 1st level, you have significant experience studying, tracking, hunting, and even talking to a certain type of enemy.
Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead.
Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.
You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
When you gain this feature, you also learn one language of your choice that is spoken by your favored enemies, if they speak one at all.
You choose one additional favored enemy as well as an associated language at 6th and 14th level. As you gain levels, your choices should reflect the types of monsters you have encountered on your adventures.
Favored Enemy is the bread-and-butter feature of the Ranger class. It allows you to have extra information regarding the enemies your party has most commonly encountered.
This feature can be handy as your campaign ramps up and your party needs to spend more time tracking specific bad guys.
Favored Foe (Optional)
This 1st-level feature replaces the Favored Enemy feature and works with the Foe Slayer feature. You gain no benefit from the replaced feature and don’t qualify for anything in the game that requires it.
When you hit a creature with an attack roll, you can call on your mystical bond with nature to mark the target as your favored enemy for 1 minute or until you lose your concentration (as if you were concentrating on a spell).
The first time on each of your turns that you hit the favored enemy and deal damage to it, including when you mark it, you increase that damage by 1d4.
You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
This feature’s extra damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d6 at 6th level and to 1d8 at 14th level.
Favored Foe is an optional feature that Rangers can take instead of Favored Enemy. This version of the feature substitutes the information gathering features of Favored Enemy for higher damage output.
Therefore, damage-focused Rangers are recommended to take Favored Foe instead of Favored Enemy.
Also at 1st level, you are particularly familiar with one type of natural environment and are adept at traveling and surviving in such regions.
Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark.
When you make an Intelligence or Wisdom check related to your favored terrain, your proficiency bonus is doubled if you are using a skill that you’re proficient in.
While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:
- Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.
- Your group can’t become lost except by magical means.
- Even when you are engaged in another activity while traveling (such as foraging, navigating, or tracking), you remain alert to danger.
- If you are traveling alone, you can move stealthily at a normal pace.
- When you forage, you find twice as much food as you normally would.
- While tracking other creatures, you also learn their exact number, their sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
- You choose additional favored terrain types at 6th and 10th level.
Natural Explorer is a support ability that allows Rangers to extend their extensive wilderness survival experience to their party members. Support-focused Rangers may get some good use out of the Natural Explorer ability.
Deft Explorer (Optional)
This 1st-level feature replaces the Natural Explorer feature. You gain no benefit from the replaced feature and don’t qualify for anything in the game that requires it.
You are an unsurpassed explorer and survivor, both in the wilderness and in dealing with others on your travels. You gain the Canny benefit below, and you gain an additional benefit when you reach 6th level and 10th level in this class.
Deft Explorer replaces the Natural Explorer ability. You’ll need to substitute Natural Explorer for Deft Explorer if you want to take advantage of Canny and get double proficiency (Expertise) on skill proficiencies.
Canny (1st Level)
Choose one of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make using the chosen skill.
You can also speak, read, and write two additional languages of your choice.
Roving (6th Level)
Your walking speed increases by 5, and you gain a climbing speed and a swimming speed equal to your walking speed.
Tireless (10th Level)
As an action, you can give yourself a number of temporary hit points equal to 1d8 + your Wisdom modifier (minimum of 1 temporary hit point).
You can use this action a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
In addition, whenever you finish a short rest, your exhaustion level, if any, is decreased by 1.
Canny is the most compelling feature of Deft Explorer. However, expertise is hard to come by and can be helpful.
If you decide to take Deft Explorer, consider sinking your Expertise into Perception. That will aid you and your teammates and make up for the fact that you took the more selfish feature rather than the support-oriented one.
At 2nd level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can’t take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
- Archery. You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
- Blind Fighting. You have blind sight with a range of 10 feet. Within that range, you can effectively see anything that isn’t behind total cover, even if you’re blinded or in darkness. Moreover, you can see an invisible creature within that range, unless the creature successfully hides from you.
- Defense. While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
- Druidic Warrior. You learn two cantrips of your choice from the Druid spell list. They count as ranger spells for you, and Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for them. Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of these cantrips with another cantrip from the Druid spell list.
- Dueling. When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Thrown Weapon Fighting. You can draw a weapon that has the thrown property as part of the attack you make with the weapon. In addition, when you hit with a ranged attack using a thrown weapon, you gain a +2 bonus to the damage roll.
- Two-Weapon Fighting. When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
When you successfully start a grapple, you can deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage to the grappled creature. Until the grapple ends, you can also deal this damage to the creature whenever you hit it with a melee attack.
There are several options for Fighting Style that make sense for Rangers. Which one is best tends to be determined by your goals as a player, but a few are notably worse than others.
Dueling is only good if you’re a melee Ranger. Thrown-Weapon Fighting is good if you’re using thrown weapons, but it’s useless otherwise.
Two-Weapon Fighting is challenging to use as a Ranger since there are few Ranger weapons that can be dual-wielded unless you’re playing a melee Ranger.
By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of nature to cast spells, much as a druid does.
The Ranger table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your ranger spells of 1st level and higher.
To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell Animal Friendship and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast Animal Friendship using either slot.
Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher
You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the ranger spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Ranger table shows when you learn more ranger spells of your choice.
Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 5th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the ranger spells you know and replace it with another spell from the ranger spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for your ranger spells since your magic draws on your attunement to nature. You use your Wisdom whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability.
In addition, you use your Wisdom modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a ranger spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
- Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
- Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier
Spellcasting Focus (Optional)
At 2nd level, you can use a druidic focus as a spellcasting focus for your ranger spells.
A druidic focus might be a sprig of mistletoe or holly, a wand or rod made of yew or another special wood, a staff drawn whole from a living tree, or an object incorporating feathers, fur, bones, and teeth from sacred animals.
Rangers get very limited spellcasting. They only get spells up to the fifth level and don’t have many spell slots to use.
Additionally, the spells that they have don’t have the same firepower as primary spellcasting classes.
When choosing spells, Rangers don’t have the same options as other classes. You’ll want to take Hunter’s Mark, Revivify, Guardian of Nature, and Swift Quiver as these will most support the Ranger modus operandi.
Beginning at 3rd level, you can use your action and expend one ranger spell slot to focus your awareness on the region around you.
For 1 minute per level of the spell slot you expend, you can sense whether the following types of creatures are present within 1 mile of you (or within up to 6 miles if you are in your favored terrain): aberrations, celestials, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead.
This feature doesn’t reveal the creatures’ location or number.
Rangers’ Primeval Awareness is another support-oriented feature designed to aid the whole party. Rangers who are not playing a support role will want to swap Primeval Awareness for Primal Awareness , which will bolster their spellcasting.
Primal Awareness (Optional)
This 3rd-level feature replaces the Primeval Awareness feature. You gain no benefit from the replaced feature and don’t qualify for anything in the game that requires it.
You can focus your awareness through the interconnections of nature. You learn additional spells when you reach certain levels in this class if you don’t already know them, as shown in the Primal Awareness Spells table.
These spells don’t count against the number of ranger spells you know.
Primal Awareness adds a secondary table of spells that Rangers can pick from. It’s an incredible feature for spellcasting-focused Rangers.