Way back in 2001, there was nothing cooler than Aragorn and Legolas when Fellowship of the Ring released in theaters. Both the heir of Isildur and Woodland Elf defined the Ranger trope when they were first written further back in 1954, and to this day, these iconic characters still kick ass. Luckily, Baldur’s Gate 3 features a deep and varied Ranger class that lets you roleplay either character if you really want to satiate your inner Lord of the Rings nerd—or you can create a new character within this bow-and-sword-wielding, forest-dwelling class. Here’s our guide to the best races and ability scores for your Ranger in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The Ranger has a few neat class-specific options that truly make you feel like you’re a master of the wild. Foremost, they can choose a Natural Explorer trait, with the options to resist certain elements or to summon a familiar. They also choose a favored enemy that grants them a proficiency in a certain Skill along with advantages against a subset of foes. What’s more, as Baldur’s Gate 3 has so many different races, you don’t have to settle on a Human or Elf, either. In fact, other races fit the Ranger role even better.
Best Races for Rangers in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3)
Because Baldur’s Gate 3 does away with race ability bonuses, there’s no penalty to making a Ranger of any race. That said, both the Halfling (Lightfoot subrace) and Gnome (Deep subrace) have advantages that the Ranger can use.
The Lightfoot Halfling gains proficiency in the Stealth skill—a valuable tool for a class that often likes to stalk prey and attack from afar. This frees you up to select other Skills, such as Survival or a utility skill for dialogue, such as Persuasion, when creating your character. Likewise, Deep Gnomes have Advantage on Stealth checks. Advantage allows you to roll twice, meaning you’re far more likely to succeed. If you pick a background to nab Stealth proficiency, you’re all set.
If you’re not keen on making a stealthy, pint-sized Ranger, going with the Wood Elf or Half Wood-Elf class for the increase in movement speed is likely your best bet—and thematically the best choice.
All Ranger Subclasses in BG3
- Hunter: This subclass hunts specific types of prey, gaining powerful bonuses against them, such as Giant Killer, which grants you a bonus attack against enemies bigger than you.
- Beast Master: You gain the Summon Companion ability, which allows you to summon one of several powerful animals to fight with you.
- Gloom Stalker: The most unusual of the bunch; this subclass focuses on using the shadows, giving you bonuses in the dark while also providing the ability to move further during combat.
Best Ability Scores for Rangers in BG3
Ability scores give a modifier bonus to your dice rolls, and you have a total of 27 to allocate into six skills. Furthermore, you have the option to grant a +2 and a +1 bonus to two different abilities. For a Ranger, the following spread is recommended for any build that wants to focus less on spellcasting and more on shooting bows:
Dexterity: 17 (+2 bonus)
Wisdom: 15 (+1 bonus)
Note that with Strength so low, not using Finesse melee weapons that scale with Dexterity instead will be to your detriment. However, this allows you to focus on picking off enemies from afar with bows and other ranged options. Furthermore, if you go with the Beast Master subclass, you can rely on a ferocious bear to deal melee damage and take hits for you. However, Wisdom is still important for plenty of the utility spells you’ll have at your disposal.
Next, this build leans into the Gloom Stalker subclass:
Dexterity: 14 (+1 bonus)
Wisdom: 17 (+2 bonus)
With even Strength and Dexterity, you’ll be able to wield all weapons with ease. However, the high Wisdom ability score will give you a modifier bonus for plenty of spells, along with a subclass specific bonus to your Initiative (turn order) roll. Once again, you should definitely choose a background like Criminal or Urchin, to gain proficiency in Stealth to pair with the Deep Gnome’s advantage for it.
As for backgrounds for other builds, you should go for whichever makes the most sense for the character you wish to play rather than the skills you’ll receive. The Outlander background thematically makes the most sense for this class; however, as backgrounds also grant mini-quests to solve in order to earn Inspiration Points, roleplaying your character is much more important than getting a full subset of Skills. An Acolyte Ranger that gains inspiration from finding religious texts, for example, is just as viable as a nature-based one, and perhaps more enjoyable.
Regardless of what background you choose, our guide to the best races and ability scores for your Ranger in Baldur’s Gate 3 will have you ready to roleplay Aragorn and Legolas—or maybe Frodo, if you go with the Halfling route. You can respec your character in Baldur’s Gate 3 if a certain build isn’t working for you, so feel free to experiment during your incredibly lengthy adventure through Faerun. We also have guides to the other races in the game and plenty other tips as well, so take a look through our archives for more information on the game.