[Pathfinder] The sword and board ranger
Time for another character build. Many theorycrafters would tell you that the “best” Pathfinder rangers follow switch-hitter builds, using the archery combat style to get ranged attack options and the normal feat progression for melee options (notably Power Attack and Quick Draw). It’s hard to argue with that. I play a switch-hitter in PFS and have little trouble adapting to and excelling in a variety of encounters, switching from bow, to polearm, to sword and shield as needed.
Recently, however, I’ve been looking at the other combat styles available to rangers. I often use fighting styles to define a large element of my characters’ pesonalities – how one treats combat should connect somewhat to one’s own philosophies and beliefs, shouldn’t it? Well, for my first new ranger build, I’ll be looking at a sword and board build that focuses on teamwork (especially with an animal companion).
Ranger Human 20 point buy
S 18 D 15 C 14 I 10 W 12 C 7
01 – Improved Shield Bash
01 – Quick Draw
02 – Two-Weapon Fighting (Weapon and Shield Combat Style)
03 – Combat Reflexes
05 – Boon Companion
06 – Shield Master
07 – Tandem Trip
09 – Improved Critical (Scimitar)
10 – Bashing Finish
11 – Broken Wing Gambit
13 – Co-ordinated Charge
The build is defense focused, but the feat slot at level 3 is pretty much open for more offensive choices like Power Attack. I aimed to make more use of an animal companion with this build, since I normally go with the spirit ranger archetype for more casting options. You need to remember to bump the animal’s Intelligence so that it too can take teamwork feats though. I would suggest fighting with a quickdraw light shield, which would still allow for some switch-hitterness, but a heavy shield and a kukri would work too. As for archetypes, any that don’t lose combat style feats or the hunter’s bond are fair game.