• Justin Handlin

Class Analysis: Druid and Ranger

Listen Now:

Crit Academy breaks down the Druid and Ranger features in the Dungeon and Dragons Player Handbook. We touch on the mechanics and how they function, as well how we would reflavor them to give them a fresh and unique feel.

The Druid is one of the most versatile classes in Dungeons and Dragons, its unique ability to shape change allows them to access a variety of abilities that they wouldn't otherwise have without magical items, feats or spells. Don't have a rogue in the party to stealth and scout ahead? Have the Druid turn into a spider, bird, cat or any other mundane critter that's easy to overlook.

The Ranger gets a lot of flak from optimizers as their damage doesn't quite rate as high as some of the other classes. This is most notable in the Beastmaster. Due to this the beastmaster has a very negative stigma, but the utility it can bring can be absolutely amazing. For example, pick a small race, and you can ride atop your companion as a mount! Pick up the giant snake and become Silver Snake Surfer! Surfs up ya dirty son of an Orc!


You can find a great article on the subject of Beastmaster Ranger here on DnD Beyond!

Unearthed Tips and Tricks: New and reusable D&D content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.

Character Concept:

The Converted Orc

This character concept doesn’t have to be an orc. Any type of normally-savage character (orc, ogre, violent tribal humans, etc.) would do. This character had some moment of awakening that caused them to change their ways. Maybe they were hit by a curse from an enemy spellcaster that addled their brain. Maybe they found an intelligent sword that holds the spirit of a paladin that urges them to be a better person. Maybe they simply befriended a child and the young one’s innocence and optimism has become infectious. Whatever

the case, this character is making an effort to help people rather than hurt them. Sometimes they help travelers who are waylaid on their journey. Sometimes they help defend a town from bandits or others of their own kind that seek to destroy. Maybe a flood is coming, and they help build barriers to keep the town safe.

Whatever the case, the people around them may feel apprehensive towards them at first, but eventually they will grow to love and support the character as they prove themselves.

The Converted Orc could be a PC, and their moment of awakening could be the jumping-off

point for a campaign. Or they could be an NPC, and the players might be the first people to see them as a potential ally. Whatever you do, this character is a great opportunity to break some stereotypes and show players that not all monsters are monsters.

Monster Variant

For our Monster Variants, we choose a normal statblock from the Monster Manual and alter its abilities and features to add some variation to your fights.