Dark Ranger (5e Class)
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This is an adaptation from a 3.5e homebrew. For the 3.5e version, look at 
Not all rangers draw their power from nature. Some turn to occult and dark forces, harnessing the power of death, using it to fuel their magical power. These are the Dark Rangers, deadly hunters who use a combination of necromancy and martial prowess to track and kill their prey. Dark rangers are polar opposites of regular rangers not only in the source of their power - using the power of death instead of the power of nature and life - but also in niche. Regular rangers, albeit hunters, often assume the role of guardians, hunting in order to protect their allies, settlements and communities. Dark rangers, on the other hand, assume a more aggressive role, usually pursuing the path of a professional killer, able to hunt any living creature with relentless dedication.
What a dark ranger lacks in attunement to the natural world, they make up for it with study and dedication to the arcane arts. Dark rangers understand death on a deeper level, and use their killings as an opportunity to comprehend and analyse death in all its aspects. Dark rangers that are not currently pursuing their prey will often be found on libraries, studying tomes on necromancy and death related topics, or looking for necromantic knowledge in any place they can find it.
Creating a Dark Ranger
You can use the same questions posed to a regular ranger, in addition to the following: Why did you turn to the study of necromantic arts, instead of learning how to attune with nature? Have you been trained by an assassin clan run by dark rangers? Or you discovered the necromantic secrets by yourself, while pursuing a career as an assassin?
- Quick Build
To create a Halberdier quickly, you can follow the following suggestions. First, Dexterity should be your highest ability score, followed by Intelligence and Constitution. Then, choose the Criminal background.
by Zhan Fei
As a dark ranger you gain the following class features.
- Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d10 per dark ranger level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 10 + Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d10 (or 6) + Constitution modifier per dark ranger level after 1st
Armor: Light armor, medium armor, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Intelligence
Skills: Choose three from Arcana, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Stealth, and Survival
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- (a) scale mail or (b) leather armor
- (a) two shortswords or (b) two simple melee weapons
- (a) a dungeoneer's pack or (b) an explorer's pack
- A longbow and a quiver of 20 arrows
|Features||Spells Known||—Spell Slots per Spell Level—|
|1st||+2||Black Blade, Hunt Living||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2nd||+2||Fighting Style, Negative Energy Conduit, Spellcasting||2||2||—||—||—||—|
|3rd||+2||Dark Ranger Archetype, Command Undead||3||3||—||—||—||—|
|4th||+2||Ability Score Improvement||3||3||—||—||—||—|
|6th||+3||Negative Energy Conduit Improvement, Undead Servant||4||4||2||—||—||—|
|7th||+3||Dark Ranger Archetype feature||5||4||3||—||—||—|
|8th||+3||Ability Score Improvement, Deadly Darkness||5||4||3||—||—||—|
|11th||+4||Dark Ranger Archetype feature||7||4||3||3||—||—|
|12th||+4||Ability Score Improvement||7||4||3||3||—||—|
|15th||+5||Dark Ranger Archetype feature||9||4||3||3||2||—|
|16th||+5||Ability Score Improvement||9||4||3||3||2||—|
|18th||+6||Parasitic Black Blade||10||4||3||3||3||1|
|19th||+6||Ability Score Improvement||11||4||3||3||3||2|
Starting at 1st level, you learn how to enchant a weapon with negative energy. As a bonus action, you can enchant a weapon, for 1 minute. An enchanted ranged weapon will infuse any piece of ammunition fired from it with the same profane energy.
For the duration, once in each of your turns when you hit a creature with the enchanted weapon, you cause additional 1d4 necrotic damage. This feature's extra damage increases when you reach certain levels in this class: to 1d6 at 6th level and to 1d8 at 14th level.
You can use this feature to mark a favored enemy a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
At 1st level, a Dark Ranger is the nemesis of living creatures. You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks made to track living creatures that are on their plane of origin, if you are on the same plane of that creature.
In addition, while tracking a living creature that is on its original plane, you can move stealthy at a normal pace, you are not slowed by difficult terrain, you can't become lost by non-magical means and you remain alert to danger.
At 2nd level, you adopt a particular style of fighting as your specialty. Choose one of the following options. You can't take a Fighting Style option more than once, even if you later get to choose again.
You gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls you make with ranged weapons.
While you are wearing armor, you gain a +1 bonus to AC.
When you are wielding a melee weapon in one hand and no other weapons, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with that weapon.
- Two-Weapon Fighting
When you engage in two-weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of the second attack.
By the time you reach 2nd level, you have learned to use the magical essence of darkness and death to cast spells, much as a necromancer does.
- Spell Slots
The Dark Ranger table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.
For example, if you know the 1st-level spell inflict wounds and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast inflict wounds using either slot.
- Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher
You know two 1st-level spells of your choice from the dark ranger spell list.
The Spells Known column of the Dark Ranger table shows when you learn more dark ranger spells of your choice. Each of these spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 5th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.
Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the dark ranger spells you know and replace it with another spell from the dark ranger spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
- Spellcasting Ability
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your dark ranger spells, since your magic draws on your understanding of death. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a dark ranger spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier
Negative Energy Conduit
At 2nd level, you can channel pure necrotic energy through your hands. As an action, you can spend spell slot to cause 1d10 necrotic damage, plus 1d10 for each level of the spell slot spent. A creature can make a Constitution saving throw against your spell save DC to halve this damage.
In addition, you can use this feature to restore your hit points or the hit points of an undead you touch, instead of causing necrotic damage.
Dark Ranger Archetype
At 3rd level, you choose an archetype that you strive to emulate. Your choice grants you features at 3rd level and again at 7th, 11th, and 15th level.
Since the Dark Ranger is a variant of the ranger class, you can select any of the ranger subclass available to the regular ranger.
In addition, you can choose one of the following, meant to be used with the dark ranger: Archer of Divine Undeath and Cursed Blade
A Dark Ranger can command undead creatures by channeling negative energy through his body. Starting at 3rd level, as an action, you can spend a spell slot and target one undead creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must obey your commands for the next 24 hours, or until you use this feature again. An undead whose challenge rating is equal to or greater than your dark ranger level is immune to this effect.
Ability Score Improvement
When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, 16th and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can't increase an ability score above 20 using this feature.
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn.
At 6th level, when you kill a beast or humanoid of small or medium size using your black blade, you can use your reaction to use the residual necrotic energy to reanimate the corpse, bringing that creature back as zombie under your service. The Zombie stand up immediately with 1 hit point. It remains animate for 1 hour, after which time it collapses and dies.
In combat, the zombie's turn comes immediately after yours. It obeys your mental commands, and the only action it can take is the Attack action, making one melee attack.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.
Negative Energy Conduit Improvement
At 6th level, a Dark Ranger becomes a living conduit to the Negative Energy Plane. Whenever a creature casts a spell against you that causes necrotic damage by spending spell slots, you regain hit points equal to the amount of hit points that spell would cause in damage.
In addition, whenever you cause necrotic damage to an undead controlled by you, that undead regains hit points equal to the amount of damage you would cause.
At 8th level, you can instantly kill a living creature with your black blade. When you hit a living creature with a weapon or piece of ammunition under the effects of Black Blade, you kill that creature if it has a number of hit points equal to 5 x your Dark Ranger level or lower. After killing a creature in that manner, the Black Blade power ends earlier.
You can't kill creatures that are outside their plane of origin using this feature.
At 10th level, you gain the ability to hide and sneak upon your prey like a living shadow. If you are in dim light or darkness, you can take the Hide action even when being clearly seen or is in combat.
In addition, you can take the Hide action as a bonus action.
Starting at 14th level, your body becomes akin with the undead. you can't be blinded, deafened, frightened, or poisoned, and any critical hit against you counts as a normal hit instead, unless you're incapacitated. Also, effects that cause instantaneous death automatically fail against you.
Parasitic Black Blade
At 18th level, the Dark Ranger may enchant a weapon with a life-draining effect. When you hit a creature with a weapon or piece of ammunition enchanted by Black Blade, you can choose to mark that creature with the parasitic mark.
While marked, your weapon lose the Black Blade enchantment. The creature affected by it takes 1d8 necrotic damage at the start of each of its turns, while you regain the same amount of hit points as the necrotic damage caused by this roll. If you are at your maximum amount of hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to the necrotic damage caused instead.
An humanoid or beast reduced to 0 hit points by this feature returns as an Undead Servant under your command.
At 20th level, you craft a phylactery. Thanks to the phylactery, you can no longer die. If you die, you return to life in 1d10 days, regaining all your hit points. Your body appears within 5 feet of the phylactery, if both are in the same plane of existence.
Your creature type changes to undead and you no longer needs to sleep, eat or drink water. You no longer age, but your body still decompose with the days and years. You can be affected by effects that turn undeads, but you have advantage on your saving throws against it.
The only way to kill you is by destroying the phylactery. It has AC 18 and a number of hit points equal to your level multiplied by 5. It is immune to all conditions, it is resistant to cold, lighting and necrotic damage and it is immune to poison, bludgeoning, piercing and slashing from nonmagical attacks. When the phylactery is damaged, you receive the same amount of damage.
Archer of Divine Undeath
Dark Ranger Conclave
The Archer of Divine Death is a priest with a bow who uses the necromantic arts to aid them in their journey. Unlike other necromancers, the Archer of Divine Undeath isn't seen as evil when casting necromancer spells, instead they are seen as divine miracles of the gods. They tend to serve good and neutrally aligned deities of death, and use the aid of unnatural deathless creatures to slay their quarry.
Many of them are loyal servants of Wee Jas or the Raven Queen, and use the power of necromancy in order to oppose demonic forces of the abyss, such as the demon prince Orcus, fighting fire with fire, retaking the control over the undead creatures and lending it to the true masters of death.
- Conclave Spells
You gain conclave spells at the dark ranger levels listed:
|Dark Ranger Level||Spells|
- Divine Undeath Arrow
Starting at 3rd level, when you make an attack with a ranged weapon, you can charge the projectile with necrotic energy. Whenever you hit a creature with a projectile, you can use your bonus action to cause additional 1d8 necrotic damage on a hit. This damage increases to 2d8 at 11th level.
If you reduce a humanoid to 0 hit points with your divine undeath arrow, you can raise that humanoid as a zombie, using your reaction. The zombie act as if it was animated by an animate dead spell, without duration. When you command the zombie to make an attack, it uses your spell attack bonus to do so.
You can't use the divine undeath arrow again while the zombie is under your control. You can release the zombie from your control as a bonus action on your turn.
- Necrotic Empathy
Starting at 3rd level, you have advantage on all Charisma (Persuasion) and (Intimidation) checks made against undead. You also gain resistance to the necrotic damage dealt by undead creatures.
In addition, undead have difficulty harming you. If an undead targets you directly with an attack or a harmful spell, that creature must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC (an undead needn't make the save when it includes you in an area effect, such as the explosion of Fireball). On a failed save, the creature must choose a new target or forfeit targeting someone instead of you, potentially wasting the attack or spell. On a successful save, the creature is immune to this effect for 24 hours. An undead is also immune to this effect for 24 hours if you target it with an attack or a harmful spell.
- Channel Divinity
7th level, you can channel divine energy from your Death God to fuel magical effects. You gain two channel divinity options:
When you use your Channel Divinity, you choose which option to use. You must then finish a short or long rest to use your Channel Divinity again.
Some Channel Divinity effects require saving throws. When you use such an effect from this class, the DC equals your dark ranger spell save DC.
- Life Transfer. You can transfer the remainder of the life essence of a recently deceased creature to another. Immediately after you reduce a creature with your Divine Undeath Arrow feature, you can use your Channel Divinity as a reaction and restore hit points to creatures of your choice within 30 feet of you, which can include you. The total number of hit points restored equals the damage dealt, divided among the chosen creatures however you like.
- Control Undead. As an action, you target one undead creature you can see within 30 feet of you. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, the target must obey your commands for the next 24 hours, or until you use this Channel Divinity option again. An undead whose challenge rating is equal to or greater than your dark ranger level is immune to this effect.
- Undead Companion
At 11th level, you gain the service of a undead servant. You add the spell summon undead to your spell list, and you can cast this spell once, without spending a spell slot. Once you do so, you can't do it again until you finish a long rest.
Whenever you start casting the spell, you can modify it so that it doesn't require concentration. If you do so, the spell's duration becomes 1 minute for that casting.
- Command Undead
Starting at 15th level, you can use magic to bring undead under your control, even those created by other necromancers. As an action, you can choose one undead that you can see within 60 feet of you. That creature must make a Charisma saving throw against your dark ranger spell save DC. If it succeeds, you can't use this feature on it again. If it fails, it becomes friendly to you and obeys your commands until you use this feature again.
Intelligent undead are harder to control in this way. If the target has an Intelligence of 8 or higher, it has advantage on the saving throw. If it fails the saving throw and has an Intelligence of 12 or higher, it can repeat the saving throw at the end of every hour until it succeeds and breaks free.
Dark Ranger Conclave
Cursed Blade start out relying solely on their blade and the innate ability to curse their foes, granting the Cursed Blade and his allies an edge. Though the Cursed Blade is strong with melee and is later granted more powerful spells, it is the early studies in their class that a Cursed Blade is weakest. They have the same strength as a warrior, but do not bother with encumbering themselves with larger armor, making them somewhat more fragile in combat.
- Expanded Spell List
When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you broaden your magical knowledge. You can learn spells from the Warlock list. When you choose spells from that list, they are considered Dark Ranger spells for you. The spells must be from either the Enchantment or Necromancy school.
In addition, you gain the following spells below, that doesn't count against your maximum number of spells known, and are gained at the dark ranger levels listed:
|Dark Ranger Level||Spells|
- Hex Warrior
At 3rd level, you acquire the ability to mystically channel your will through a particular weapon. Whenever you finish a long rest, you can touch one weapon that you are proficient with and that lacks the two-handed property. When you attack with that weapon, you can use your Intelligence modifier, instead of Strength or Dexterity, for the attack and damage rolls. This benefit lasts until you finish a long rest.
- Blade Curse
Starting at 3rd level, you can unleash a curse upon a foe. Whenever a creature under the effect of one of your Dark Ranger spells form the Enchantment or Necromancy school that requires concentration, that creature is considered to be under your Blade Curse.
Whenever a creature under the blade curse is forced to make a saving throw against one of your spells, it must roll a d6 and subtract from the result of its save. In addition, the creature also roll a d6 and subtract from any contested ability check it makes against you.
- Relentless Hex
Starting at 7th level, your curse creates a temporary bond between you and your target. As a bonus action, you can magically teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space you can see within 5 feet of the target cursed by your Blade Curse. To teleport in this way, you must be able to see the cursed target.
- Dire Curse
Starting at 11th level, when a creature is under the effects of your Blade Curse, you gain the following additional benefits:
- You gain a bonus to damage rolls against the cursed target. The bonus equals your proficiency bonus.
- Any attack roll you make against the cursed target is a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20 on the d20.
- If the cursed target dies and you are under half your maximum hit points, you regain hit points equal to your Dark Ranger level + your Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1 hit point).
- Aura of Unluck
At 15th level, your hex grows more powerful. If the target cursed by your Blade Curse hits you with an attack roll, you can use your reaction to roll a d6. On a 4 or higher, the attack instead misses you, regardless of its roll.
Dark Ranger Spell List
Dark Ranger can choose spells from a variety of options, usually picking spells that best fit what situations they find themselves in.
- Level 1
Arms of Hadar, Bane, Cause Fear, Command, Detect Magic, Disguise Self, Dissonant Whispers, Expeditious Retreat, False Life, Grease, Hellish Rebuke, Hunter’s Mark, Inflict Wounds, Jump, Longstrider, Ray of Sickness, Searing Smite, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Wrathful Smite.
- Level 2
Aid, Blindness/Deafness, Blur, Crown of Madness, Darkness, Darkvision, Detect Thoughts, Enhance Ability, Gust of Wind, Hold Person, Knock, Locate Object, Magic Weapon, Pass Without Trace, Phantasmal Force, See Invisibility, Silence, Spider Climb, Web.
- Level 3
Animate Dead, Bestow Curse, Conjure Barrage, Elemental Weapon, Fear, Feign Death, Flame Arrows, Gaseous Form, Life Transference, Lightning Arrow, Nondetection, Phantom Steed, Protection from Energy, Slow, Spirit Shroud, Speak with Dead, Summon Undead.
- Level 4
Confusion, Evard’s Black Tentacles, Freedom of Movement, Greater Invisibility, Locate Creature, Phantasmal Killer, Shadow of Moil Summon Greater Demon.
- Level 5
Conjure Volley, Contagion, Danse Macabre, Steel Wind Strike, Swift Quiver, Far Step, Negative Energy Flood.
Prerequisites. To qualify for multiclassing into the dark ranger class, you must meet these prerequisites: 13 Dexterity, 13 Intelligence.
Proficiencies. When you multiclass into the dark ranger class, you gain the following proficiencies: light armor, medium armor, simple weapons, and martial weapons.
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