Friday, September 29, 2017

The Farmer Ranger

Most folks don't think too much of Old Man Prichard. Sure, he raises some of the best vegetable crops in the valley, and his long-tooth hound Brutus is a near-legendary beast among the wee ones who've tried to steal from his apple orchard, but he's just another old-timer. He comes down from his place with his walking staff in hand, and a satchel that always has a few berries nestled next to his pipe, and he has a pint or two at the local inn. He always knows where to find the best tobacco hereabouts, and he's wood wise enough that other farmers listen when he talks. He takes no guff, either, and his thick-knuckled hands can still shoot arrows straight as he sees.

And, while no one would call him such, Prichard might be most accurately represented as a ranger.

Aragorn? Never heard of her.


Rangers Can Put Down Roots, You Know


When we think of rangers, we tend to think of the iconic characters from Lord of The Rings. The rangers in Tolkien's work were more of an irregular military unit, specializing in guerrilla warfare and unusual tactics, using stealth and sudden strikes to overcome superior foes. However, too often we confuse the profession of ranger (a guerrilla fighter at home in the wilderness) with the class of ranger (which is just a pack of abilities, proficiencies, and skills). And that kind of confusion can often mean we ignore fun concepts... like the farmer ranger.

Rangers' abilities are meant to allow them to function in nature with minimal problems. They're survivalists with the ability to adapt to any climate, and whose knowledge allows them to track prey, and identify not just what a plant is, but what may have harmed it recently. Rangers have a special bond with a certain kind of land, or they have a trusty animal companion who goes everywhere with them. They're also gifted at fighting, and hunting, certain types of creatures. Skills and features which would be completely at home tending crops in goblin country, or riding the range in disputed orc lands.

There's a quote from a fantasy novel I once read that I'm going to paraphrase. "Farmers? That's the best insult you have? I don't know about you, soldier, but I want farmers in my army. They work from sun-up to sun-down, they know what to eat and what to keep out of their mouths, and they've raised cute little animals since they were babes, and looked into their eyes when they gutted them for the winter meals. Farmers know how to handle a blade, and when it comes time to eat or be eaten, they do what it takes to survive."

While the lands may change, and the crops you can grow change with them, people will always need food. And while these homegrown rangers might have sheepdogs in the forests, hunting hawks on the plains, or great horned goats in the mountains, their ability to read the land, and to always find a way to get the job done, never wavers.

Even better, a lot of them can cook!

That's all for this installment of Unusual Character Concepts. Hopefully it got the juices flowing in your creative centers. For more gaming articles by yours truly, check out my Gamers archive. I'm growing it a little every month, and you never know what I'll add next! If you want to stay on top of all my latest releases, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to support Improved Initiative, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to toss a little love in my cup. For at least $1 a month, I'll even send you some free gaming swag as a thank you.

5 comments:

  1. Hm... it seems there was another character from LotR, who was a farmer, and went into the woods. And, was more than he seemed...

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    1. You mean the actual main character that carry around the stupid chosen Hobbit who constantly trying to kill himself?

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  2. I am not sure this is as rare as you thinking. Jason stathem in in the name of the king comes to mind as a farmer ranger and I have seen it before in other fantasy stories where a farmer rises to do battle...wearing light armor and using a bow

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    1. The name of the feature is not rare character concepts, but unusual ones. There's pretty much an example of every entry in this whole section. However, lots of players don't build their characters based off of those examples, so I point out that you can translate them to your Pathfinder game (and in some cases, any fantasy game) if you want to.

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  3. I am not sure this is as rare as you thinking. Jason stathem in in the name of the king comes to mind as a farmer ranger and I have seen it before in other fantasy stories where a farmer rises to do battle...wearing light armor and using a bow

    ReplyDelete