Can anyone help me explain the Ranger’s strong points?

Can anyone help me explain the Ranger’s strong points?

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.

Woo, first-time DM (and first experience in general) for a DW oneshot today, it went great!

Woo, first-time DM (and first experience in general) for a DW oneshot today, it went great!

Woo, first-time DM (and first experience in general) for a DW oneshot today, it went great! Explaining the rules took little under an hour, people picked it up really naturally. I used a Pathfinder module and converted it into DW, it went really smoothly. Some observations from our group:

– Druid has a hard time gaining XP, as his Wildshape goes off his mainstat, and he can also perform regular attacks with it. Basically, only if he went into melee in normal form or failed challenges, he got XP.

– Fighter tears through enemies amazingly fast when he’s a 2 armor-piercing and +1 damaging weapon (and rolls crazy high). He two-shotted the boss of the dungeon.

– Wizard complained that his spell selection is a bit lacking. He can either get lots of weak spells, or one big one. Say, as a level 3 character, you naturally want Fireball and by default has to choose one extra level 1 spell. I’d say this is remedied at higher levels, but I agree that the first few levels, he’s pretty meh. Then again, all casters are.

– I was a good DM, which surprised some players. 😛 It helped that I played the module already and knew what was happening, but this was my second big DM-experience, so I liked it. The only complaint I got was that the enemies didn’t attack as often, so they weren’t really a threat (they only attacked on a 7-9, which didn’t always happen). I promised they’d make more auto-attacks in a next session.

– DW is perfect for a few quick sessions, but my players agreed that they wouldn’t want a big epic campaign, as it has less variety than, say, D&D or Pathfinder. Especially things like Druids, who can only shapeshange into a select amount of animals (my Druid had prepared his list of animals, which still was pretty small), or the lacking spell list of the casters.

– The players really liked the mechanics. When they saw their leading questions in effect, it gives a bigger sense of involvement. Especially when one of the characters basically wrote an entire encounter for me. 😛 Classes were well designed (the Paladin had a lot of joy playing him, while not exactly being the standard Paladin type), and Bonds were an interesting concept to encourage roleplay.

– I dislike the fact that there aren’t really any difficulty checks. In Pathfinder, you can say it’s DC30, which implies it’s pretty difficult, here I can only give circumstance penalties, which removes some of the oomph of a dice roll. “It’s going to be really difficult!” “I rolled an 8.” “Fine, you did it,” doesn’t exactly cover it.

In short, we had a blast, and everyone agreed to play another oneshot a few months from now (not too quick after this one, it’s nicer as a diversion). I’d like to thank everyone here for everything, I’ve been browsing the Tavern for the past two weeks now and I have a lot of inspiration for other stuff. You guys are awesome.