Unearthed Arcana: Ranger and Rogue Analysis

This week the D&D Team provides three new Archetypes, two for the Ranger and one for the Rogue.

Ranger Archetypes

It is mentioned that these Archetypes can be used with the Player’s Handbook Ranger as well as the Unearthed Arcana one. The only modification needed is the addition of the Extra Attack feature at level 5 to the Unearthed Arcana Ranger.

Horizon Walker

Rangers of this conclave face threats coming from other planes. They guard planar portals as well as travel to various planes to hunt down said threats.

  • Planar Magic. At 3rd, 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level you learn an additional spell. The list in general is pretty good. The spell Banishment gives a lot of power to this Archetype.
  • Planar Warrior. As a bonus action you can ignore the resistances of an enemy and also deal an extra 1d6 force damage. At the level you gain this feature it can be very helpful. In 5th Edition magic items are not so easy to get as in other editions. So there’s a chance that at 3rd level a character may not have one, which makes this feature helpful against enemies that have resistances against non magical weapons. Other than that, the 1d6 is still a good bonus.
  • Portal Lore. You can use your action to detect any planar portals 1.000 feet from you. You can use this feature once per short or long rest but you can also spend a spell slot of 2nd level or higher if you want to use it again. That’s an interesting feature and I really like the alternative for multiple uses. It also fits the flavor of the Archetype perfectly.
  • Ethereal Step. You can cast the spell Etherealness as a bonus action. It only lasts until the end of your current turn and you can cast it once every short or long rest but either way you gain a lot of mobility.
  • Distant Strike. Before each of your attacks you can teleport up to 10 feet. Also, if you attack at least two different enemies you get an extra attack against a third one. This is an extremely good feature because it gives you a huge mobility advantage during combat. Moving from enemy to enemy without provoking attacks of opportunity and still having your move action left is amazing. Obviously, this works best against three or more enemies.
  • Spectral Defense. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to halve it. It’s like the Rogue’s Uncanny Doge but better.

Overall, the Horizon Walker looks very good. It has great mobility which gives them a big advantage in combat. However, since the most powerful features are gained at 11th and 15th level it doesn’t seem very overpowered. Personally, I like the theme of this Archetype since I like magic but it may not be suitable for every campaign.

Primeval Guardian

This conclave of Rangers follows a tradition that’s tied with druidic magic. They prefer to stay in ancient forests which they protect since they believe it’s their duty to do so.

  • Guardian Magic. At 3rd, 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level you learn an additional spell. The spell list feels very druid inspired, which I believe is the point.
  • Guardian Soul. You transform into a treelike person as a bonus action. You can transform as many times as you want. During your transformation you become Large, your reach increases by 5 feet, and at the start of each of your turns you gain temporary hit points equal to half your Ranger level. Of course there is a major drawback which is that your speed becomes 5 feet. That means you can be a hell of a tank but you have to get to a good position before transforming or you are going to wast a lot of your bonus actions.
  • Piercing Thorns. You can do an extra 1d6 piercing damage with an attack that hits, once per turn. Nothing special here.
  • Ancient Fortitude. During your transformation, your hit point maximum and current hit points increase by 2 per Ranger level. When you go back to your normal form, your hit point maximum goes back to normal but your current hit points stay the same or go down to your current maximum. That’s a lot of hit points that have no limit of usage. Mike Mearls mentioned that it will probably change through the playtest, and I agree.

  • Rooted Defense. When transformed, the ground within 30 feet of
    you is difficult terrain for your enemies. This is a very powerful feature. The difficult terrain covers a good chunk of the combat area and the most important is that it affects only your enemies. Also, it’s not something that you have to activate. It’s always on when you’re transformed.
  • Guardian Aura. While transformed you get to heal as well. Any ally starting their turn within 30 feet of you gets healed for half your ranger level. However, they also must be below half hit points to be healed by this feature. This reminds me of the Bloodied mechanic of 4th Edition and, to be honest, it’s one of the ones I miss.

Overall, the Primeval Guardian is quite powerful, in my opinion and I believe there are going to be changes before we get it as official material. However, I like its concept because it gives a different role to the Ranger.

Rogue Archetype


These Rogues are skilled in surviving in the wild and serve as scouts in war bands. Well, this looks very range-y to me. Also, last January we got a Fighter Archetype called Scout as well. Does this mean it wasn’t liked by the community or that the D&D team couldn’t come up with another name for this Archetype in time? Anyway, let’s check it out.

  • Survivalist. You gain proficiency and expertise(I guess you could call it that) in Nature and Survival. Nothing special or unexpected here.
  • Skirmisher. When an enemy ends its turn within 5 feet of you, by spending your reaction you can move half your speed without provoking attacks of opportunity. That’s another good use for the Rogue’s reaction.
  • Superior Mobility. This one adds 10 feet to your speed. If you have a climbing or a swimming speed they’re also affected. Basically, it’s a nice boost for Skirmisher.
  • Ambush Master. That’s an interesting one. On your first turn and if at least one of your enemies is surprised, you can spend a bonus action to give your allies a +5 to their initiative. If they would surpass yours, they just equal it. They also get an extra 10 feet of movement until the end of their turn. This is a tremendous advantage since your allies may surpass the initiative of your enemies and this can easily turn the outcome of a fight. However, it may be a problem having to rearrange initiatives.
  • Sudden Strike. You get to spend your bonus action to make an additional attack and apply your Sneak Attack for a second time, if that attack targets a different enemy. It’s obvious that with his feature you can deal a lot of damage. At level 19 you get to deal 20d6 Sneak Attack damage.

Overall, the Scout is a good Archetype. It may be argued that it should be a Ranger background and I understand why. However, I like it as a Rogue Archetype as well.

This week we got some interesting Archetypes. I like the flavor of all of them but I also believe that there will be a few changes before we see them again.

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here. And don’t forget, the survey about the Artificer class can be found here. Taking the survey is one of the best things you can do in order to make future content as awesome as possible.

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