We're looking for new writers to join us!

The unsatisfying Ranger goes through enough changes to make it a "brand new class" in the D&D 2024 Player's Handbook

by: Randy -
More On: Dungeons & Dragons

Wizards of the Coast continues its onslaught of page-by-page changes coming to every character class in the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons 2024 Player's Handbook. Now it's the Ranger's turn. A beloved—and belittled—class that never seemed to sit well with D&D 5th Edition players.

The Ranger class, largely built on Lord of the Rings character Aragorn (aka Strider, aka Elfstone, aka Eagle of the Star, aka Hope), never seemed to pull its weight. Which is why Rangers now have more magic and more martial ability. According to designer Jeremy Crawford, "The Ranger, more than any other class in the new Player's Handbook, is a new class." Which is good for such a widely played class, but also one that rated low in player satisfaction surveys.

Spellcasting appears at 1st level instead of waiting until 2nd level. They can now use a Druidic Focus, which was previously only optional from the Tasha's Cauldron of Everything sourcebook. And they can prepare more spells in addition to swapping one out once per day. All spellcasters are gaining this increased flexibility in swapping out spells easier in 2024 D&D.

Also new: Hunter's Mark is always prepared, and you can cast it twice per Long Rest without using a spell slot. That's going to wonderfully bounce your extra 1d6 damage around the battlefield—or make it so you can track down that creature if your Dungeon Master feels like stringing you along for a chase off the battle map.

At level 3, where everyone will get their subclass, there are naturally more changes. The Beast Master subclass sees changes that were in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything but will now come standard. The Fey Wanderer is unchanged from its introduction in Tasha's, but it's now going to be in the Player's Handbook. Gloom Stalkers lose their extra attack on the first round, but deals more consistent damage throughout the day. And Hunters can identify strengths and weaknesses on any creature slapped with Hunter's Mark.

The D&D Beyond post goes on forever (but succinctly) about how the Ranger is basically a new class, all the way from level 1 to level 20. I can't wait until you hit the very pinnacle of D&D leveling at 20th level where a Hunter's Mark will now deal an extra 1d10 damage for every hit instead of 1d6 for every hit.


Hunter's Mark will go from an average of 3 extra damage up to an average of 5 extra damage. At 20th level! It takes years of play to reach 20th level—if you do at all, which you probably won't. Are you kidding me? Two more points of damage on average per attack? Why does D&D hate martial classes so much? 

If you've always wanted to try playing a Ranger—but felt shouted down by the Internet telling you "Ranger bad"—then enough will change in the 2024 Ranger to allow you to give it a shot and find out for yourself.