Can anyone help me explain the Ranger’s strong points? I GMed a one-shot last night and someone played a Ranger, and we were all pretty confused about it. Called Shot never came in useful, as most enemies were already aware of the players (I ruled that someone engaged in combat with someone else is also surprised to give him some chances to use it), Hunt & Track didn’t came in useful (though that’s probably campaign-dependent), and both player and GM found the animal companion clunky. There is pretty much no way a Ranger wouldn’t use his animal companion all the time for the increased bonuses, and I, as a GM, found it overly punishing to keep separating the two just to get rid of the bonuses (“your wolf is now surrounded by skeletons, there’s no way he’s able to help you now”). Besides, I was hesitant to injure the companion as he has no HP and harming him would just be a freebie for the players, unless I used the mechanics to screw over the ranger (“the owlbear swipes at your wolf and knocks him unconscious against the wall”).
In general, we both found the Ranger to be unwieldy, clunky, and difficult to find a niche to excel in, but that might be just our lack of experience with the system (I GMed twice, and he was a player for both of these oneshots). I’ll gladly be proven wrong.