Just play a fighter with a bow, it’s way better. Alright, fine, I’ll talk about the class. Rangers, the other of the bisexual style of classes… Where it likes Fighter, but it also likes Druid and flips between the two depending on which one looks cuter at the moment. Hell, it even steals a few things from Rogue because it’s so indecisive. And despite the name Ranger, you’re not actually restricted to use any sort of ranged weapon in order to be effective. As far as combat goes, you get the usual Fighter (but not really Fighter) set of features. Fighting style, all weapons, extra attack, spellcasting, D10 hit die… Hey, Macarena! From Rogues, it steals the ability to channel your inner chameleon and blend into the environment. Except instead of hiding in the shadows and watching where you step, it’s more like putting on makeup. So you need to take some time, have a good look in the mirror, maybe look up some tutorials while you’re at it. Then start over when you realize you were using the wrong shade of foundation. From Druid, it steals some of that “being one with nature” flavor it’s got going on and a whole lotta spells. But not without a few exclusive spells of its own. Like having a target explode a bunch of thorns when hit with a ranged attack… Plant arrows in the ground and turn them into proximity-based fireworks except the gunpowder is magic and the lights are bits of enemy brains… And single-handedly, the objectively best Ranger spell, Swift Quiver. Not for the unlimited ammo, that’s dumb, nobody keeps track of their arrows anyway… But because it turns your ranged weapon into a rapid-fire machine gun. “But Joseph, you said you don’t need to use a ranged weapon to be effective as a ranger!” “Those all sound like ranged weapon-exclusive spells!” That may be true, however! [silence] Anyway, when it comes to actual unique Ranger features… You can use the power of racism to decide what kind of creatures you’re going to perform extra potent hate crimes on… And preferred terrain, where you can pick your favorite environment and after trotting around picking flowers or litter (depending on what it is)… You can become a fantasy Bear Grylls. Which is basically real life Bear Grylls, except with a Kobold crew filming you instead. And if you worry that that sounds too situational and that if you picked the forest terrain and the entire campaign took place in the snowy mountains… Would mean the feature would be more useless than a football player who got tapped on the shoulder and started clutching their knees, crying in the fetal position… Don’t worry. You’re right. And it is. What isn’t situational is just about everything else involving the environment. You can sense what kids are trespassing on your lawn and then not have to worry about the weeds that might otherwise slow you down from catching them… And givin’ them a good WHAPPIN. When it comes to flavors of the “no really, trust us, you can totally use melee and still be useful” class… You have “Pokemon Trainer (With a Gun)”, “Like Rogues (But Even Dodgier)”, “Literally a Monster Hunter”, “Thinking with Portals”, and “PEW, PEW, PEW PEW PEW.” Alright, let’s address the beholder in the room. The vanilla incarnation of the Ranger has the reputation of being less useful when compared to the other classes due to questionable abilities and how they function. That’s not to say the class can’t be useful or powerful in the right circumstances. But some consider the Ranger’s situational and sometimes under-powered features to leave something to be desired. However, there’s nothing wrong about talking to your DM about changing how certain skills work if that happens to be the case… So that you can have more fun at your roleplaying table. But you know what? At the end of the day, it’s not about how many numbers you can do to the bad guy. It’s about whether or not you can… And now you know how to play Ranger! You’re welcome.