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Druids and Rangers... Oh my!

There's this article making the rounds lately. It's about a man who had to cut down a 30-year-old tree by a city council. He swore revenge and then got that final revenge by planting seeds of sequoias. One of the said seedlings even ends up in the mayor's front yard. Now, I'm not here to debate the authenticity of the article. I'm just here to tell you about another conversation I had with one of my betas after we both read the article. Have patience here, this is a post that will have numerous roleplaying and D&D references.

Never F*ck with a Druid or a Ranger.

Some love to throw around the saying, "Never screw over a Bard, because they will do as Bards do."
Why is that?

Let's look at the historical account of what a Bard was (and thus did). You'll note that there are many similarities between the Bard and the modern journalist, with a little bit of rockstar and storyteller thrown in.  They won't actually do anything to you but your reputation will be completely trashed.

It's a valid point, sure, but I find the bigger threat in fantasy will always be either the druid or the ranger.  Druids need magic in the environment, where Rangers do not. That should tell you why the latter is more of a threat than the former.

In a high magic world, the Ranger even has access to magic... the very same magic as the Druid, if on a smaller scale, but they make up for it in the same way as the Rogue or Assassin does.  Yoy have a powerful, even overpowered, hybrid of a few different archetypes and all are dangerous.

The Ranger is the fantasy version of the Navy SEAL, US Marine, British SAS and who knows what else.  If it's a special forces type character you want to play then the Ranger is by far the right one to pick.

Rangers are also right at home in either an urban or wilderness adventure, making them versatile.

Oh, and they wear armour and use the same weapons as the Rogue with one striking difference - their reputation (and rightly earned) as users of either the longbow or dual swords... sometimes even both.

The Bard is more of the fantasy-based Assassin crossed with roles pulled from those noted above and are more likely found in urban roles by a King or Queen, or part of the court.

But the Ranger is also right at home in those same situations.

When you take that into account, the bigger threat is the Ranger.

... Wait... Did You Model the Rangers of Walden off of the D&D Ranger?

Yes and no.

First, the world of the Kingdom of Walden series has no magic in it.
It is the same as our world, only post-apocalyptic and set just slightly into the future.

As such, comparing Derek Moss to Drizzt Do'Urden would not be a direct comparison. Yes, there are some striking similarities that mark them both as Rangers in their respective worlds.  Derek doesn't have access to magic. What he does have access to is what's left of modern technology.  Drizzt, on the other hand, has many magical whatnots and items that sometimes make little sense.

Unlike Drizzt, Derek doesn't use dual swords either.

Beyond that, there are numerous similarities because a Ranger is a Ranger is a Ranger... their versatility will never change, and neither will their role in the party.

In that, you see Derek doing many of the same things that you would see Drizzt doing.  Advance scouting, guerilla warfare, using the cover of darkness or the environment to move unseen and unheard until far too late... as well as working with others when the need arises.  Derek also can slip into the role of negotiator and urbane noble as needed.

But, the comparison of D&D and the roles within 'parties' didn't come until a bit later.  If I used any game at all in the early days when the Kingdom of Walden was a setting for a game (because it was), it was a cross between Beyond the Supernatural (Palladium Games), Dead Reign (also Palladium Games), and Palladium Fantasy (notice a pattern yet?) with all mention of magic in the rules, items, skills, or anything else otherworldly or too futuristic stripped from the game.

But, even if you compare the class role of a Ranger to a Bard here, the Ranger is still the deadlier of the two.

Back to the original argument...

A Bard may be able to ruin a reputation but the bigger danger is the one that will wipe any trace of the offender's existence from the face of the planet, and/or make their life a living hell. Rangers and Druids hold the same role within the game - they are the guardians of the natural world where everyone else is just allowed to play on it. Even the mages (*if such a thing exists in the world that the Ranger happens to be in) have to exist within that world. They can bend the rules, but their study is the world the Ranger knows instinctively and can use in not only the defense of that world but also to defend the Ranger - and the Ranger's interests. Think back to Lord of the Rings when Galdalf the White bent knee to the Ents.

The Ranger lives and breathes that world.  They are the bridge between it and the rest.

They are the same thing whether magic exists or not.

Let's use a modern example here.  You are out hunting.  You haven't poached or fished past your limit, and have been careful.  If you're an honest sort who has a respect for nature, there is no other reason to do this other than the respect of the land you're on.  But, imagine that you would like to go past your limit but something stops you.  What is that?

I'm guessing the answer was a) The Park Ranger or (if you're in Canada) b) the possibility of someone from the ministry of natural resources (coincidentally enough often called a...).

And you never know when they're going to show up.  They just do... even when you haven't gone past your limit, you occasionally just run across one randomly and have absolutely zero idea how the hell they managed to get to where you are without being seen or heard.  No lie.

In another situation, one more military in nature, the 'ranger' type is often the special forces.  US Army Ranger, Navy SEAL, Marine... in Canada we also have our equivalent, the British have the SAS.

All of these the perfect example of "Ranger" in a modern and zero magic setting.

Now, I ask again... who is the bigger threat to use in fiction?

The Bard or the Ranger?

What about the Crocodile Hunter?

... I think that would be the prime example of a Ranger/Bard with more points in Bard.

Also the original story that spawned the blog post.   No, I have no idea whether this really happened or not, but it's great plot fodder!


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