The Ranger, by Fairfax of Chesapeake; Edited by Xena Dragon
A man dressed in brown runs through a deep wood. He is moving at an incredible speed yet he does not make even the slightest noise. In his hand is a bow,masterfully carved that very morning. At his side is his faithful companion, a wolf. The man stops. He cocks his head to the side and listens. Where normal ears hear only the wind, he hears so much more. With an agile leap that would put a deer to shame, he is behind the trunk of a large yew tree. For a moment the only thing to be heard is a soft breeze rustling the leaves on the ground, causing the saplings to sway. Then a soft grunting is heard. The man raises his bow to his cheek,his muscles tighten as he draws the string. He relaxes his body and lets out his breath. He could sense his prey near by. After a short period he lets loose his arrow. It sprints through a bush and strikes it's target. At that moment the man's wolf bounds over the bushes and silently finishes off the prey. The man walks over to his victim. "Vile orcs" he thinks as he looks down at the sprawling figure. He bends down to pet his wolf. Then he stands up with a start. More grunting. Then just as stealthily as he came, the man was gone.

Know now that a ranger is one of the hardest characters you will ever build. Rangers are people who can survive on their own- they are self sufficient. With so many skills to be used, it will be hard to make your ranger. But once you have gotten past the building stage, you will find that your ranger is your most rewarding character.

Although you will probably end up changing your mind about a few things, it is best to try and plan what skills you will be using. This is what makes being a ranger so hard. This is why I am writing this essay. Because I went through months(yes months) of frustration before finally settling on a template that I thought would make a good ranger and still allow me to do certain other things. There are many skills that can be considered "ranger skills". You have to figure how to balance these skills,with the skills needed for survival.
When most people think of a ranger they think of someone proficient with a bow and arrow. If you wish to best present the "ranger image",I would go with archery. But you also use fencing as well. As rangers are hunters,many carry spears.

Tactics is a must. This is necessary for all combat skills. That is to say if you want to be effective in your skill.

Anatomy is also a must.Especially if you are using archery. It also boosts your healing power considerably.

Ranger Skills
This is when it gets hard. You probably won't be able to use all of these so pick what you think will best suit your playing style.

Camping is good for a few reasons. If you plan on staying in the woods almost all the time,never staying in one place too long,camping will allow you to log out without fear of being attacked. It is also useful if you have cooking as a skill.

Tracking is a fun skill indeed. At first glance it may seem useless,but I have found that it is actually quite useful. If you happen to be following someone with a better connection than you,this will ensure you do not lose them. It is also useful for keeping track of monsters while in dungeons and such. And if ever you are pick-pocketed, just start tracking the thief, even if he hides you will still be able to follow the blinking arrow to him.Plus at 21.1 skill you are essentially GM. After 21.1 there is no difference in how well tracking works.

Animal Taming/Lore. Rangers of legend have always been able to find a bond with nature. Having these two skills mean you will never be alone in the woods. Pets can also be used to fight. But rangers aren't interested in things like gold, so don't camp a spawn. Then you are just a tamer with archery.

Hiding/Stealth. Rangers have the ability to move from place to place without being seen or heard. These skills come in handy when you are hunting in your favorite dungeon.

Bowcrafting/Fletching. A hard skill to GM, but worth it in the long run. Allows you to be as self-sufficient as possible, making your own bows and arrows.

Veterinary makes sure your pets stay alive and happy.

Helpful/Necessary Skills

These are the ones that give you an easier time playing.

Healing. You must have either this or magery to heal. Potions are good but if you are using a two handed weapon like a bow you must first disarm to drink it. And since you will probably already have anatomy,this seems like a logical choice.

Magery. While making my character this skill gave me the most trouble. If I had high magery I could hide myself and heal myself,thus getting more skill for my skills. But how many rangers have you heard of that were proficient mages? Unless you are heavy into role-playing(or just don't like people) it is good to have at least a little skill for recalling. And if you chose to use taming, you will need to be able to gate to take your pets with you.

Magic Resist. While I know of a few people who do enjoy some success in fighting monsters without resist, I would advise you to get at least 90-GM of this skill. This goes double and triple if you think you may PvP at all.

Lumberjacking. You have to get the wood for bowcrafting somehow right? Or you could just buy the wood. But that becomes expensive.

Alchemy. Good for the truly self-sufficient ranger.

Starting Out
Hopefully you have some idea of what skills you want to use. As there are so many combinations, it is really up to you how to start. This is what I would suggest for a nice, rounded start:


Most everyone will tell you to start with max STR. Stats are really easy to raise if you know how to. In my experience, it is easier to get the desired stats if they are closer in range to each other from the start.

Now, for starting skills it really isn't that hard to decide. The tried and true method is to get 50 of your combat skill (for ranger probably either archery or fencing) and 50 tactics. After that, pick a skill that will give you a newbie item that you will use. I would suggest Tailoring for scissors or Magery for the book and reagents.

I would suggest starting out in either Skara Brae, Britain, or Moonglow. Make your rounds to the shopkeepers to "train" your skills. Of course if you are doing this strictly RP, you might want to skip this. You will need healing and anatomy first and foremost. Go to the healers and get them raised. Then go over to the nearest bowyer and get bowcrafting raised. After that go to a carpenter to get your lumberjacking raised. The last thing is to buy a cheap hatchet to chop wood with. You have just made a cost effective start.For supplies, go to Moonglow. There you can pick cotton for bandies, chop wood for arrows, and there are plenty of birds to provide feathers and food. For armor just look around the bank for leftovers. You will be playing either archery or possibly fencing which are both DEX based. So armor can be a hindrance in some respects.

Skill/Stat Raising
My first character I did not make any attempt at skill gaining. I let it happen naturally. This took many months to GM even a few of my desired skills. While doing things this way will give you better appreciation for your character, it will frustrate you at times. I will outline a few details to help you out. Some skills I will simply refer you to another essay to get help from. This is shaping up to be a long one so I will just go over "common ranger skills".

First thing to do is raise your stats to their desired levels. This can be very tricky if you do not yet know what skills you want to use. The best way to raise stats is the see-saw method. This method requires you have all 700 skill points used. So go to Britain Graveyard or the Red NPC fort that is just beyond the mountain pass by Britain for some gold. You must buy all your skills up with the exception of Arms Lore, Musicianship, and Spirit Speak. These will be your "stats skills". Lock all your skills except one which will be pointing down(to lose skill points). Then have one of the three skills mentioned pointed up(to gain skill).

Arms Lore for STR.
Spirit Speak for INT.
Musicianship for DEX.

Use a combination of these skills(or all 3) to gain the desired stat. Raise one skill manually(don't buy it) up to 10 points real skill. Then set that skill arrow down. Then set one of the other skills to "up". Use that skill until all the points from the previous skill are gone. Then repeat the process with another of the three skills. Keep doing this and you will notice your stats going up pretty quick. You don't have to be in power hour either. (Note: for Musicianship a musical instrument is required.) Just remember to have all skills locked except for the three you are "see-sawing".

Unfortunately raising skills are a bit harder. Here is what you can do for the common ranger skills.

Archery - Shoot anything and everything up to 75 real skill. After that, try shooting ogre lords and bone knights. The spawn in the "Bone Knight Room(or The Wall)" has recently been increased so be careful and bring lots of bandies. Tactics will go up with your archery so no worries there.

Camping - Use the 8x8 method. Get a boat. Get a lot of kindling. Take boat into ocean during your power hour. Set sail going East to West. Use camping. When you gain in skill, stop the boat and keep doing it from that spot. Then move 8 tiles forward and do it again. Then repeat. If you stop gaining you have to find a new spot.

Tracking - Don't even waste a powerhour with this one. Just keep using the skill up to 21.1 real skill. At that point you will be able to track just as well as a GM tracker.

Animal Taming - Tame everything you can up to about 60 real skill. At this point tame bulls and grizzlies to GM. It's not as simple as it sounds though.

Animal Lore - Get your boat out again. Tame a few polar bears and bring them onto your boat. Start sailing in one steady direction that will not take you close to shore. Release one bear and have the other attack it. Heal both of the bears. Once you gain,stop the boat. Keep healing the bears until you haven't gained for awhile. Then move on and try and find another spot.

Veterinary - See above. This will also gain you veterinary.

Bowcrafting/Fletching- This is a hard skill to raise. It will take you many hours of practice. Check the Bowcrafting/Fletching Essay for a table of what to make and when for the best gains.

As I have said before, there are many skills that can be considered ranger skills. If I were to list them all here with a complete description of how to gain skill, there would be almost no point in having any of the other Professions Essays. The few I provided are just among the most popular skills used by rangers.

(Note: While I have hunted specific creatures for skill gain in archery and tactics, I have never used the 8x8 method or any other skill gain method that requires you to manipulate the skill gain system. This is perfectly legal and I am assuming it works as so many people do it. But I cannot say first hand that it will work. If nothing else, it won't get you worse gains right?)

Playing Your Ranger
So you have your desired skills and you know you are ready to claim yourself to be a man(or woman) of the wilderness. Great. You will find that there is not one thing you cannot do with your ranger. All hunting spots are open to you. You can now roam the land in search of adventure and excitement. Do not concentrate on petty things such as gold, but it doesn't hurt to take some from the fallen bodies of your foes. Or maybe you just want to play a peaceful ranger, coexisting in harmony with all of nature. Perhaps instead you wish to travel a darker path, and become an evil "Shadow Ranger". The choice is yours to make. I can help you decide what skills you would like to use, but I cannot determine your fate. I hope someone will read this and find it useful. It may not seem like much, but if I had this guide when I was making my first ranger, it would have saved me much time and sanity. What's that? You still can't think of a good skill template of your own?! You had the whole fifteen minutes it took you to read this essay! Ok ok, below are some templates to help you out.

Shadow Ranger:
GM- Archery(or Fencing)
GM- Tactics
GM- Anatomy
GM- Healing
GM- Hiding
GM- Stealth
GM- Magic Resist
Pros: Good fighter. When action gets too thick, can always sneak away.
Cons: No magic for recall or any other spell. Will have to bum gates from others-or run.

Classic Ranger 1:
GM- Archery
GM- Anatomy
GM- Healing
GM- Magic Resist
20- Magery
22- Tracking
80- Camping
40- Taming
38- Animal Lore
Pros: Good fighter. Can recall to get around. Can track as well as a GM Tracker and can safely log out in wild. Can tame own mounts.
Cons: Pretty basic. Skills are spread a little thin. Not capable of any high level spells. Use of scrolls is required for recalling.

Classic Ranger 2
GM- Archery
GM- Tactics
GM- Anatomy
GM- Magic Resist
GM- Bowcrafting/Fletching
GM- Healing
75- Lumberjacking
25- Magery
Pros: Another good fighter. Enough magery to recall (with scroll). Enough lumberjacking to provide wood for bows and arrows that you will craft yourself.
Cons: Won't be able to do other ranger abilities.

Tamer/Ranger GM- Archery(or Fencing)
GM- Tactics
GM- Anatomy
90- Healing
GM- Animal Taming
GM- Animal Lore
37- Magery
73- Veterinary
Pros: Can tame anything can hold own when alone. Veterinary can be substituted for GM Magery for Healing purposes. This also can free up Healing and allow for another GM skill. Can gate with scroll.
Cons: Will not be able to do many other ranger type skills like Camping. Will fail a lot with minimum magery for gate.

Ranger Warrior
GM- Archery
GM- Fencing
GM- Tactics
GM- Anatomy
GM- Healing
GM- Magic Resist
78- Magery
22- Tracking
Pros: Pair this up with a fast connection, and you have a lean, mean killing machine. Enough magery to do most spells. Tracking adds a little flavor and fun to the hunt.
Cons: Take away Tracking and you don't have much of a ranger. Having 78 magery will almost make you want to go to GM.

Spiritual Ranger
GM- Archery
GM- Tactics
GM- Anatomy
GM- Healing
GM- Veterinary
78- Magic Resist
GM- Magery
22- Tracking
Pros: Can Heal anything in a small amount of time. Mainly used for role playing.
Cons: Unless you are role playing you will find that having both Healing and Magery is a waste of skill.

These were just some examples. There are many skills that can be used. Being a good ranger is not knowing what you are, it's knowing what you are not. You are not like everyone else. You feel comfortable both alone and in groups. While others may flock to cities you are roaming the deepest woods of the lands. I hope I may have helped you to see a path with this essay.

- Fairfax of Chesapeake