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Ranger FAQ by DarthMuffin

Version: V1.01 | Updated: 11/05/09

                             Neverwinter Nights 2
                                 Ranger Guide

By DarthMuffin                                               |
Started on: July 11th, 2006                                  |
Posted on: October 25, 2009                                  |
Last Update: November 4, 2009                                |
Version: V1.01                                               |

"Butt kicking for goodness!"
-Minsc (human ranger), Baldur's Gate

|                                     NOTES                                 |

-I must say that English is not my primary language, so you might find some 
mistakes/oddities in this guide.  Fear not, however; I have been told by past 
readers that my English is on par with that of native speakers, so rest 
assured that the guide is at least perfectly understandable.  

-Neverwinter Nights 2 is based on the 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons d20 rules.  
While you can enjoy the game even if you do not know what the rules are about, 
it helps if you understand at least the basics.  This time, the game manual is 
actually comprehensive, and I think you should go through it once.   

|                                  WHAT'S NEW?                              |


Corrected a small mistake on Duergar. 


First version. Completed. 

Well, sort of. There are still a few rough spots, and there is bound to be 
some mistakes and oddities around, but at this point in time I think I have 
postponed my guide's release way too much for its own good already. To say 
that I originally wanted to have it up weeks after the game launched! 

As of now, no updates are planned. I will not maintain a readers' submissions 
section as I did in my previous guides.  

|                                 INTRODUCTION                              |

Of all the playable classes in the Dungeons and Dragons computer games, the 
Ranger is probably one of the most underrated. 

Nice way of starting a guide, is it not?

Well, it is the truth. Even if the class was somewhat immortalized in the 
Baldur's Gate games by the famous NPC Minsc (and his intelligent miniature 
giant space hamster Boo!), the class remains largely misunderstood. 

In the original Neverwinter Nights, the Ranger was probably the least popular 
class. The foundations of their unpopularity are twofold: first, the class did 
not offer enough unique abilities because it was badly implemented in the 
game. Second, the game was based on the 3.0 D&D rules, which are rather bad 
concerning some aspects (no wonder they came up with 3.5, on which NWN2 is 
based, a few years later). The ranger happened to be on the "bad" list. 

NWN2 being based on the newer 3.5 ruleset, rangers have had a bit of a make-
over. Less hit points, but more skills and a broader range of abilities. NWN2 
also implement tracking, a hallmark ranger ability that was missing from NWN1. 
Overall, the ranger class works much better in this game. 

Thus, here it is: my Ranger guide for Neverwinter Nights 2. Finally. I guess I 
could say that I am three years late. The truth is that most of it has been 
completed some time ago (I even started some of the basics before the game was 
released!), but I simply lacked the drive to give it a final polish. Then MotB 
came out, I started to update the guide, but I got very busy with other things 
(and NWN2 never tickled my fancy as much as the first game did to start with). 
I finally decided to wait for the second (and probably final) expansion to 
release it, just like I did for the original NWN. 

I hope that both the new player and veteran will find some useful bits of 
information in this piece of work. Before e-mailing me, be sure to check the 
Contact Info section first [:SJCO1:]. 

|                           PURPOSE AND DISCLAIMER                           |

The purpose of this guide is first and foremost to familiarise the reader with 
the ranger as a class. I will also deal with numbers to try and point out what 
is, in my opinion, good and bad for the class. Basically, I want to get the 
most out of the class. 

That being said, you will not find any "min/max" or "munchkin" builds in this 
guide. I believe in characters, not race/class/attributes combos. This might 
sound contradictory with what I just wrote, but what I am saying is that I 
think one should follow some basic gameplay-related guidelines in order to 
create an effective ranger, while still keeping in mind that this game is 
first and foremost about playing the role of a character, not a bag of high 

Ultimately, what I am trying to do in this guide is give guidelines that will 
hopefully help the reader understand the class better, as to create an 
interesting character while maintaining gameplay at a good level. I have tried 
to keep things as newbie-friendly as possible, and so this guide focuses more 
on giving a nudge to new players (and players new to the ranger class) as to 
set them down (what I think to be) the right path. 

|                               GAMES OVERVIEW                              |

-= Neverwinter Nights 2 =-

There has been a lot of criticism thrown at NWN2 since its launch. It does 
lack the polish of the first game, but I think it gets the job done. As far as 
rangers are concerned, NWN2 is a significant improvement thanks to the 3.5 
rules. Implementing tracking was also a nice idea. 

The official campaign here is rather uneventful. I guess I was so used to 
high-quality community-made modules in NWN1 that when I played the NWN2 
campaign I found it to be lacklustre. In any event, it was decent enough to 
keep my attention for nearly two playthroughs, which is something. 

-= Mask of the Betrayer =-

Mask is Obsidian's try at going back to their roots, i.e. to a Planescape: 
Torment style of gameplay heavily focused on role-playing and centred on the 
player character's unique situation. I am going to make a lot of enemies by 
saying this, but I think that PS:T is a rather overrated game. Still, I think 
MotB gave NWN2 a much needed facelift, fleshing out things more properly than 
in the original. As far as rangers are concerned, MotB made strength-based 
rangers some of the best damage dealers. A real change from the original NWN. 

Information relating to Mask of the Betrayer -only material will be followed 
by (MotB). 

-= Storm of Zehir =-

If MotB was Obsidian's attempt at going back to PS:T, SoZ is the comeback of 
the Icewind Dale days. SoZ allows you to create a party of four adventurers 
from scratch and explore a set of rather large overland maps. Skills tend to 
be much more important in the SoZ campaign - including ranger class skills 
such as survival, search, spot and listen. That made me rather happy. With the 
preposterous number of loading screens you have to sit through, which is not 
helped by the random encounters system, bringing in a ranger who covers the 
aforementioned skills is nearly a must to make sure you keep your sanity. 
Overall, this expansion was full of good ideas but messed them up a bit in the 

Information relating to Storm of Zehir -only material will be followed by 

-= Mysteries of Westgate =-

This "adventure pack" is basically a fancy module, like the premium modules 
for the first game. As of this writing, I have not completed it yet but so far 
it is quite nice. I do think it falls short of some NWN1 modules (including 
Ossian's first venture, the famous Darkness over Daggerford), but this is 
probably as good as it will ever get for NWN2. 

|                               TABLE OF CONTENT                            |

Section A : The Ranger>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SATR0:
1 - General Facts.................................................... :SATR1:
2 - Ranger Abilities................................................. :SATR2:
3 - What to Expect................................................... :SATR3:

Section B : Types of Rangers>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SBTR0:
1 - Archer........................................................... :SBTR1:
2 - Dual Wielding Ranger............................................. :SBTR2:
3 - Two-handed Weapon Ranger......................................... :SBTR3:

Section C : Creating your Ranger>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SCCR0:
1 - Race............................................................. :SCCR1:
2 - Attributes....................................................... :SCCR2:
3 - Skills........................................................... :SCCR3:
4 - Feats............................................................ :SCCR4:
5 - Animal Companion................................................. :SCCR5:
6 - Favoured Enemies................................................. :SCCR6:

Section D : Divine Spells>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SDDS0:
1 - Level One Spells................................................. :SDDS1:
2 - Level Two Spells................................................. :SDDS2:
3 - Level Three Spells............................................... :SDDS3:
4 - Level Four Spells................................................ :SDDS4:

Section E : Equipment>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SEEQ0:

Section F : Multiclassing>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SFMU0:
1 - Core Classes..................................................... :SFMU1:
2 - Prestige Classes................................................. :SFMU2:
3 - Summing Up....................................................... :SFMU3:
4 - Character Development............................................ :SFMU4:

Section G : Playing Tips>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SGPT0:
1 - General Tips..................................................... :SGPT1:
2 - Concerning Archers............................................... :SGPT2:
3 - Concerning Dual-wielders......................................... :SGPT3:

Section H : Party Creation (SoZ)>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SHPC0:

Section I : Recommended Modules>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SIRM0:

Section J : Newbie's Guide to Dungeons and Dragons Rules>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SJDND:

Section K : Conclusion>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> :SKCO0:
1 - Contact Info..................................................... :SKCO1:
2 - Copyright ....................................................... :SKCO2:
3 - Versions......................................................... :SKCO3:
4 - Self Promotion................................................... :SKCO4:
5 - Thanks........................................................... :SKCO5:

Navigation : Copy (ctrl-c) the code at the end of each line, use the find 
command (ctrl-f) and paste (ctrl-v) the code to quickly jump to a specific 
part of the guide.  Please let me know if one of the links does not word.  

|                           SECTION A : THE RANGER                   :SATR0:|

1 - General Facts ----------------------------------------------------:SATR1:

The original D&D ranger was mostly based on Aragorn, from The Lord of the 
Rings books written by J.R.R. Tolkien (in fact, D&D itself was born from these 
books). The class was as such a rather generic warrior with ties to the wilds. 

The ranger class has considerably evolved since then. In newer rulesets, the 
class shifted its focus to dual-wielding prowess. The (in)famous drow ranger 
Drizzt Do'Urden, of R.A. Salvatore's fame, is another figure that started to 
influence the class. 

In the 3.0 ruleset, rangers reached a life-time low. Although they still had 
special dual-wielding abilities, they simply did not have enough unique 
abilities or particularly interesting advantages over the other fighting 
classes like the fighter and barbarian. In the original Neverwinter Nights, 
which was based on the 3.0 rules, rangers were extremely unpopular. And I 
tried to fight that trend with my guide. 

And now we have the 3.5 rules. Rangers have come into their own as a class, 
and Neverwinter Nights 2 does a very decent job at bringing alive the ranger 

As the 3.5 Player's Handbook puts it, the ranger is a "cunning, skilled 
warrior of the wilderness". The ranger is essentially a mix of the fighter, 
rogue and druid classes, being a good warrior, but also relying on skills and 
being tied to nature. 

2 - Ranger Abilities -------------------------------------------------:SATR2:

- Full base attack bonus, making rangers one of the best classes for combat
- Combat Styles: rangers get several free feats for their chosen combat style, 
either archery or two-weapon fighting, even if they do not meet the 
requirements. This notably means that ranger is the best suited class to 
follow the strength-based dual-wielding route. 
- Rangers are by far the most skilled of the warrior classes
- Rangers get favoured enemies, which help them fight a select number of 
enemies against which they get very significant bonuses
- Rangers have access to a few spells and an animal companion

- Lower hit points compared to other warriors
- Limited to light armours, which means a dependency on dexterity for AC
- While skilled, rangers do not have the important disarm traps and open locks 
as class skills
- Only a handful of spells are actually useful. And saying "handful" here is 
being very generous. 

-= In a nutshell =-

The ranger is a skilled warrior class with limited magical abilities and 
better suited for opportunistic attacks and hit-and-run combat strategies. 

3 - What to Expect ---------------------------------------------------:SATR3:

The ranger is, before anything else, a warrior class. As such, most of your 
time will be spent hitting things with a sword (or other melee weapons) or 
shooting things with a bow. In a party-setting, the primary role of the ranger 
is that of a damage dealer, secondary warrior, and scout. 

Unlike other "simplistic" warriors, rangers are very skilled. Although opening 
locks or disabling traps is not your forte, you can stealth like the best, and 
will virtually never be caught off guard thanks to tracking, spot and listen. 
You are also adept at healing others with healing kits, and you can create 
traps to ambush your enemies. 

Finally, rangers have a strong tie with nature. You will eventually be able to 
summon an animal companion to help you, and you will also learn to cast a 
handful of spells to make your life easier. 

All in all, playing a ranger is playing a smart warrior. Wearing light armour, 
and having lower hit points, you cannot mindlessly rush into combat like the 
average paladin or barbarian. You have to be prepared, and therefore make good 
use of your skills to make sure that you hold every advantage. You may not be 
able to take a particular boss head-front like a fighter, but if you lure it 
into a trap and have your animal companion ready to lounge at it, you can 

Down the road, the biggest mistake one can make is to try and play a ranger 
like a fighter or barbarian. This will only result in frustration, since a 
ranger is not a fighter and thus does not have the same strengths and 
weaknesses. Of course, the Neverwinter Nights games have always been heavy on 
in-your-face combat and lighter on skills, but I daresay that most of the 
negative feedback seen on gaming forums and such comes from people who try and 
play the ranger in a way that it should not be played. If your idea of the 
class is to rush in groups of enemies and cleave them down, you might want to 
rethink about your choice a bit. It might work sometimes, but in the end the 
ranger class was not made for this and you might end up getting mowed down if 
you try this in more difficult encounters. 

|                         SECTION B : TYPES OF RANGERS               :SBTR0:|

Whether or not you choose to multiclass, there are three main types of 
Rangers.  At level 2, you will be able to choose which combat style, archery 
or two-weapon fighting, you want your character to focus on. As you add more 
Ranger levels, you will get free feats depending on the combat style you 
chose. You also have the option of going for a two-handed weapon and ignore 
the special feats. 

1 - Archer -----------------------------------------------------------:SBTR1:

Choosing archery at second level will give you rapid shot right away, as well 
as manyshot (6), improved rapid shot (11) and one shot (21) (MotB) abilities. 

Rangers are traditionally associated with archery, despite their "melee" 
origins. Indeed, in many other games, rangers are quite often considered as 
the "archer" class. 

The archer ranger obviously uses a bow. Now, that does not mean that you will 
be confined exclusively to ranged combat. At lower levels (which means for a 
good part of the game), it is crucial that you adapt to the situations. 
Whether you are playing the campaign or a module, it would be simply stupid, 
for lack of a better word, to use a short bow doing less than 1d6 piercing 
damage against skeletons in a crypt. Like I said previously, the Ranger is 
still a warrior. Get that mace out! 

Archers will have a harder time in NWN2 compared to melee warriors because 
ranged combat is gimped. Also, the two rapid shot feats give less in terms of 
attacks than the dual-wielding ones, and manyshot appears to be somewhat 
wobbly. As far as epic levels are concerned, the one shot feat is nothing 
compared to perfect two-weapon fighting. I strongly recommend you to 
multiclass to Arcane Archer later on if you want to be a serious, full-time 
archer in a high level module. Otherwise, be ready to spend tons of gold on 
magic arrows. 

With Mask of the Betrayer, things are slightly better. Although you cannot 
take more than 10 arcane archer levels, you can pick the Bane of Enemies feat 
at epic levels, which considerably improves your damage output against 
favoured enemies. The problem is that you might still end up struggling 
against the enemies that you do not favour. 

All in all, ranged combat is not particularly well done in games based on the 
Aurora Engine. NWN2 is no exception, and thus you should be aware that playing 
an archer in NWN2 is not a straightforward thing. That being said, it is 
perfectly possible to enjoy such a character - the first time I went through 
the campaign in NWN2 was with a moon elf ranger-archer. I just feel like I 
must point out that the path of the archer is not for everyone in this game. 
To put in bluntly, do not expect "Diablo 2 Amazon" or "World of Warcraft 
Hunter" potential. 

2 - Dual Wielding Ranger ---------------------------------------------:SBTR2:

There are two types of dual-wielding rangers: strength-based and dexterity-
based. Strength-based rangers will end up doing more damage, at the expanse of 
a generally slightly lower AC, lower reflex saves and a lower bonus to 
dexterity-based skills. Dexterity-based rangers will generally have a higher 
AC, reflex saves and better skill checks at the expanse of lower damage. 

Come Mask of the Betrayer and epic levels, strength-based dual-wielders are 
meat grinders. They are arguably the best melee damage dealers in the game. 
The reason? Rangers get perfect two-weapon fighting for free at level 21, 
which effectively doubles your number of attacks per round. No other class can 
get it while being strength-based, since it requires a dexterity of 25. Also 
considering that the number of attacks actually goes up through epic levels 
(unlike in real D&D), and it is pretty easy to figure how mean a ranger can 

Dexterity-based rangers are much less straightforward to play, but still 
easier than the archer in my opinion. As will be discussed later, the 
itemisation (how common and how powerful magic items are) and level range of 
the module you play influences dexterity-based rangers a lot. 

Because of the way the engine runs, melee combat is generally superior to 
ranged combat (spellcasting aside, of course). Add to this the fact that there 
are much more feats for melee combat than for ranged combat. All in all, the 
dual-wielding route is probably the safest for new players. 

3 - Two-handed Weapon Ranger ------------------------------------------:SBTR3:

Although rangers do not get special feats for this, the option to ignore the 
combat styles is still open to you. The advantage here is the 1.5x strength 
bonus to damage. 

Given how the class evolved in 3.5, I think that going for this route is a bit 
counter-productive when trying to play the class to the best of its abilities. 
If it is pure damage you are after, a strength-based dual-wielder will most 
likely end up being better in the end (especially when considering the final 
upgrade with Mask of the Betrayer). The thing here is that if you want to play 
a two-hander character only for its gameplay value, another class will suit 
your needs better. 

Note that it is perfectly fine for other types of rangers to use two-handed 
weapons as a backup. An archer, for instance, might want to carry a big scary 
weapon for the occasional melee moment. In the same line of thought, a 
dexterity-based dual-wielder might want to have a two-hander around when 
fighting an enemy with damage resistance. 

This guide will focus more heavily on the two main types, i.e. the archer and 

|                     SECTION C : CREATING YOUR RANGER               :SCCR0:|

The Golden Rule of character creation in any RPG: the choices you make are the 
good ones. The most important thing is to like the character you create and 
play, and you should only use the following section as a general guideline. 

I also want to drop a few lines on other sources of information, such as 
discussion forums. Players on forums have the habit of always making the One 
Build to Own Them All, and as such their advices are (generally) purely based 
on numbers. Although I am also playing with numbers more than anything else 
here, I daresay that many people on the internet at large are much more 
extreme than I am. I think that following only numbers takes away the reason 
of the game, which is about playing the role of a character. So do yourself a 
favour and do not let numbers ruin your fun!

1 - Race -------------------------------------------------------------:SCCR1:

Note on ECL races: ECL stands for "effective character level". Some races are 
deemed more powerful than others (better attribute spread and special 
abilities) and are thus labelled as ECL+1, +2 or +3. A level 1 character of an 
ECL+1 race is considered a level 2 character for the purpose of experience 
needs for levelling (but has the same hit points, attacks, etc. as a level 1 
character). Essentially, that means that an ECL+1 character will always be 1 
level "late", i.e. they level slower than other races.

ECL+1 (such as Tiefling) are not too bad. ECL+2 and +3 start to significantly 
tax your progression, and so I would not recommend these races to new players. 
Overall, it depends a lot on the module you are playing. Going into a low-
level module with a slow progression with an ECL+2 is asking for trouble, and 
even ECL+1 might be tedious. If the module has a fast levelling progression 
(like the official campaign), then ECL races are much more "acceptable". That 
being said, if you are new to the game, I really recommend sticking with the 
normal races. 


Humans are, as always, the most versatile class. With no attribute bonuses or 
penalties, and a few useful racial abilities (henceforth referred to as 
"racials"), humans are equally suited for most classes. As a rule of thumb, 
you cannot go wrong with humans. If you are new to the D&D system, and you do 
not want to spend time thinking about favoured classes and racials, then go 

As far as rangers are concerned, humans are definitely a good choice. The free 
feat and extra skills points are particularly not wasted, since rangers get 
few feats and have a vast number of class skills. Since the favoured class 
counts as the highest level class, you can also indulge into unique 
multiclassing options that would give other races an experience penalty.  


All elves gain a few interesting racials, such as immunity to sleep, charm 
resistance, keen senses and weapon proficiencies (not an issue for rangers). 
As always, you cannot say no to any kind of "free bonuses" like that. Even 
though the proficiencies are wasted on rangers, keen senses are neat, and so 
are the resistances. 

- Moon Elves

These fellows get a +2 to dexterity and a -2 to constitution.  For the 
uninitiated, that means lower hit points and higher armour class and hit 
chance with ranged weapons (or melee weapons that work with the weapon finesse 

In the ranger's case, this is not a bad trade-off. Although rangers now have 
lower hit points (d8 instead of d10), they are now the "official" agile 
warriors in D&D (archery and dual wielding in light armour screams for a high 
dexterity). The favoured class (wizard) is fine if you want to indulge in a 
ranger/mage character who wants to make it to Eldritch Knight, and perfect for 
archery-based rangers who wish to become Arcane Archers. 

- Wood Elves

Drastically different from the other elf sub-races, wood elves are warriors at 
heart. They get +2 to strength and dexterity, at the expanse of -2 to 
intelligence and constitution. Combine this with ranger as the favoured class, 
and you have the best race for single-classed rangers and most multiclasses. 
Strength and dexterity are the two most important attributes for rangers, as 
they determine your chance to hit and damage with both melee and ranged 
weapons. Constitution is important, so it's the big downside here. 
Intelligence is neat for additional skill points too, but the strength and 
dexterity bonuses overshadow the need for skill points (especially now that 
rangers have more points to start off with). Wood elves are prime candidates 
for strength-based dual-wielders. 

- Sun Elves

The sun elves are pretty much the D&D equivalent of the high elves from other 
games, i.e. snobby magic users. In NWN2, they get +2 to intelligence and -2 to 
constitution. Could be interesting for a ranger who wants to go for eldritch 
knight and wants a high intelligence for the spells, but overall sun elf is 
certainly not the best choice for most ranger builds. 

- Drow Elves (Dark Elves)

Drows have a bonus to dexterity, intelligence and charisma, and the usual -2 
to constitution. They also enjoy a few additional racials, including spell 
resistance. These powerful bonuses do not come without cost, however, and they 
suffer a penalty to rolls when in daylight and an effective character level 
(ECL) of +2.  In other words, they level slower. A lot slower. The wizard 
favoured class gives them the moon elf multiclassing options. 

I would not recommend drow to new players, as the ECL +2 can be a pain to cope 
with. Other than that, the racials are quite nice. Are they worth the ECL +2? 
Possibly, mostly because of the great spell resistance. In the ranger's case 
though, the attribute spread is not ideal. If I had to make a drow ranger, it 
would be a dexterity-based dual-wielder (or archer). In my opinion though, the 
Tiefling is a better alternative. It should be noted that SoZ's Yuan-ti 
Pureblood has essentially the same bonuses as drows, but without the -2 to 

- Wild Elves (MotB)

Although the attribute spread here is rather interesting (+2 dexterity, -2 
intelligence), the favoured class in sorcerer is rather limiting. Still, wild 
elf is a very decent alternative to moon elf for those who wish to become 
arcane archers. I personally think that the intelligence and wizard route is 
superior (since intelligence means more to rangers than charisma, and wizard 
gives more versatility even for one level), but generally speaking there are 
few differences between the two routes.  


Dwarvers have a few neat racials that cover resistances to poison and spells, 
as well as combat bonuses against select enemies. 

- Shield Dwarves

Your classic ale-loving bearded warrior. Dwarves have a +2 to constitution and 
a -2 to charisma. Pretty neat trade-off for rangers, as hit points are never 
wasted. Shield dwarves are one of the most newbie-friendly races because of 
their attribute spread and balanced racials. That being said, the fighter 
favoured class is very limiting for us rangers. Some people swear by weapon 
specialization for every warrior class, but I personally consider four fighter 
levels for a +2 to damage to be a big waste (especially now that rangers 
actually get some special abilities). Overall, shield dwarves are certainly 
not a bad race - provided that your multiclassing needs can be met by prestige 
classes and fighter. 

- Gold Dwarves

Basically shield dwarves with a penalty to dexterity instead of charisma. A 
penalty to dexterity is a no-no in the ranger's case, so gold dwarves should 
not be considered. 

- Duergar (Gray Dwarves)

This evil sub-race has the traditional dwarven +2 to constitution, but suffers 
a -4 penalty to charisma. To compensate, they get a few additional racials, 
but suffer from an ECL +1. This is not too bad, but the attribute spread is 
not quite ideal for a ranger. 


I am treating these two at the same time, since there is only one difference: 
lightfoots (or lightfeet?) get +1 to all saves, whereas stronghearts get an 
extra feat at first level. Halflings get +2 to dexterity, which is nice, but -
2 to strength. Overall, this is not such a bad thing for rangers, but the real 
problem is that they are a "small" race, and are therefore limited in their 
weapon selection. They cannot wield longbows, and if they dual-wield two small 
weapons (like short swords) they get the -4/-4 penalty (you need a tiny 
weapon, like a dagger, in your off-hand if you want the regular -2/-2). 

Halfling is still an interesting choice for ranger/rogues wielding two kukris, 
and you can use Mask of the Betrayer's Invisible Blade prestige class to give 
it some flavour. 

I must also point out that Belkar, a character in the "Order of the Stick" 
webcomic (best webcomic ever made! - www.giantitp.com) is a (chaotic evil) 
Halfling ranger. 


- Rock Gnomes

A +2 to constitution and -2 to strength is not the best attribute spread for 
rangers. Favoured class in bard does not help much, and gnomes are also a 
small race which means limited weapon selection. As lovely as these chaps are, 
I would stay clear of them for a ranger. 

- Deep Gnomes

+2 dexterity, +2 wisdom, -2 strength, -4 charisma and spell resistance to 
boot. The problem is, they have the same problems as their surface cousins, 
and an ECL +3 on top of that. The attribute spread is not that bad by itself, 
but considering the other factors I really think that you should pick another 
race for a ranger. 


Half-Elves get a few racials similar to that of the elves, except in less 
powerful versions. They really look like mongrels though (the head models), so 
you better be prepared to deal with a freaky character (strange thing that 
they get a bonus to diplomacy; perhaps everyone pities them?). They are 
otherwise similar to humans (losing the extra feat and skills for the semi-
elven bonuses), sharing a universal favoured class. Again, from an analytical 
point of view, there is no point in picking a half-elf over a human except for 
personal preferences.  

The half-drow is essentially the same, but with darkvision as a plus. They 
also have much, much better head models...

(Yes, I do have some sort of a fixation on head models. I really miss the good 
old Baldur's Gate days with pixelated sprites for characters. At least we 
could use our imagination a bit back then, and be spared of horrendous models 
like those in NWN2!)


Half-orcs get a +2 to strength, but a -2 penalty to charisma and intelligence.  
It seems a bit odd that the wood elf gives better stats overall than the half-
orc. Half-orc basically gives more hit points compared to the wood elf.  
Favoured class is barbarian, which is a nice multiclass option for dual-
wielding rangers; pretty neat to expand the whole "warrior of the wild" 
notion, and gives the crucial uncanny dodge to the mix. Half-orcs are more 
suited for dual-wielding rangers. 


- Aasimar

The ultimate goodie-goodie paladin race, aasimars are not a very good choice 
for rangers. +2 to wisdom and charisma does not work well with rangers, and 
the favoured class in paladin is not terribly great either. The ECL +1 means 
that an aasimar will level a bit slower, but it is more acceptable than the 
drow's +2.  

- Tiefling

Tieflings are another great race for rangers. They get +2 to dexterity and 
intelligence, two important attributes for rangers. Also, the rogue favoured 
class is one of the best options for dexterity-based dual-wielders. All in 
all, Tiefling is one of the top choices for a stalker-type of ranger. The 
"outcast" feel of the tiefling also works well with the loner type of ranger. 

- Air Genasi (MotB)

This one has rather interesting attributes, +2 to dexterity and intelligence 
and no constitution penalty being rather nice. Still, a -2 to wisdom hurts a 
bit, and as far as a ECL +1 race is concerned, I think that the air genasi 
looks like a poor man's tiefling. The fighter favoured class does not help 

- Earth Genasi (MotB)

Interesting attributes for a strength-based ranger. The constitution bonus 
helps to make up for the ranger's lower hit points. However, a ranger 
shouldn't really be the one taking the hits up front. The fighter class as 
favoured class is disappointing, but the earth genasi is probably the most 
interesting genasi for rangers; so if you want to play as a shiny (well, rocky 
in this case) new race, I would go with this one. 

- Fire Genasi (MotB)

Bad attribute spread, bad favoured class and an ECL +1. No go. 

- Water Genasi (MotB)

Slightly more interesting than the fire variant, but still mostly useless for 
a ranger. 


Another race with ranger as the favoured class (we are breaking records here). 
These creepy fellows have +2 to dexterity, intelligence and charisma; in a 
ranger's case, this is not a totally ideal spread but it is still better than 
what many other races offer. On top of that, purebloods offer spell resistance 
and a couple of spell-like abilities. The catch? An ECL of +2, which means 
that they are basically drow elves without a -2 to constitution. I am not a 
big fan of ECL +2 races, so once again I would not recommend this race for new 
players or for use in low-level adventures. 


The chaps have +2 to strength and wisdom, and -2 to intelligence and charisma 
with a favoured class in cleric. They can also track hidden and invisible 
enemies, which works well with ranger abilities. This race is actually quite 
interesting as an alternative to half-orc. Obviously better suited for 
strength-based builds though, and the favoured class can be a bit limiting. 
Has an ECL +1, which is acceptable. I still find wood elf and half-orc to be 
better alternatives though. 


As I keep saying, you must choose the race that you want. The most important 
thing is to enjoy your character after all. 

That being said, some races tend to make better rangers than others. 

In my opinion, the top races are (in no particular order) humans (half-elves), 
tieflings, half-orcs, yuan-ti pureblood, moon elves (wild elves) and wood 

Humans are good for both the new player and the experienced one. New players 
will enjoy the lack of any penalties and the multiclassing freedom, and 
experienced players will undoubtedly make great use of the extra feat and 
skill points. Half-elves have the same attributes and multiclassing freedom, 
but lack the extra feat and skills. They do have a few semi-elven racials and 
a diplomacy bonus though. However, most players consider this to be inferior 
to what humans get. I will leave such a decision to you, though it is hard to 
find something going for half-elves from a pure gameplay point of view. 
Recommended build: any (although only half-elves can go arcane archer). 

Tieflings have good attributes for rangers, especially dexterity-based dual-
wielders because of the favoured class. Rogue is one of the top choices for 
dual-wielding rangers. The small penalty to level advancement (ECL +1) is a 
thorn in the side, but remains easily manageable (unlike the drow's +2 or the 
svirfneblin's +3, which are much more noticeable). 
Recommended build: dexterity-based dual-wiedling. 

Half-Orcs have the strength bonus and favoured class in barbarian. If you want 
to play as a strength-based dual-wielder, it is a great race. Adding some 
barbarian levels give the uncanny dodge feat, more hit points and a nice rage. 
The ultimate warrior of the wilds. 
Recommended build: strength-based dual-wielding, or possibly a two-handed 
weapon (more suited for barbarian-heavy builds)

Yuan-ti purebloods have very strong bonuses, and their only weakness is that 
they are ECL+2. In a very high-level module with fast progression, yuan-ti 
might very well be the best race for rangers. In most cases though, the ECL+2 
is a bugger more than anything else. 
Recommended buid: dexterity-based dual-wiedling

Moon elves are probably the best choice for archery-based rangers who want to 
become arcane archers. A straight +2 to dexterity and -2 to constitution is a 
good start for archers, and intelligence remains untouched which allows some 
good to be brought from the required arcane caster level(s). Wild elf is an 
interesting alternative here, but intelligence brings more to rangers than 
Recommended build: archery and arcane archer. 

Finally, wood elves offer interesting attributes for the combat-focused 
ranger. +2 to both strength and dexterity is as good as it gets, as both 
attributes are important to any ranger build. The lower hit points and 
intelligence is the downside you will have to live with. The favoured class in 
ranger allows multiclassing freedom. For most ranger builds, wood elf is one 
of the top choices. 
Recommended build: any, though arguably the top race for strength-based dual-

2 - Attributes -------------------------------------------------------:SCCR2:

As you probably know already, there are six different attributes in the 
Dungeons and Dragons system.  The thing to understand about attributes is that 
only the attribute modifiers are important. The modifiers go up at every even-
numbered value in a given attribute. The result is that there is absolutely 
*no* difference between a strength of 12 or 13. The modifier will be +1 in 
each case, and the +2 only comes at 14. Therefore, it is important to plan 
your attributes ahead so that you don't end up with odd-numbered scores 
(although items will probably interfere with this a little).  

Another important point is that the higher the attribute, the higher the cost 
to improve it at character creation. Because of this, it is generally better 
and more cost-effective to start off by raising a multitude of attributes at 
character creation, and later improve your higher ones as you level (you will 
be able to add one point every 4 levels, for a total of 5 times within the 
level 20 cap in NWN2, or 7 times with MotB's level 30 limit).  

- Strength
Strength determines your chance to hit (attack bonus) with melee weapons, as 
well as the damage you deal with both melee and ranged weapons (bows need to 
have the mighty enchantment to allow a certain strength modifier to be used). 
Strength also determines how much your character can carry.  

As a warrior class, rangers need strength. Even if you go the finesse or 
archery route, remember that, in the end, strength governs the damage. So you 
need to have a moderately high strength score for these builds too. 

Generally speaking, a ranger should never have below 14 in strength (yes, even 
archers). Strength-based rangers will most likely start at 16, or higher if 
you go for a min/max machine. 

- Dexterity
Dexterity determines your chance to hit with ranged weapons and with a select 
group of melee weapons if you pick the weapon finesse feat. It also adds to 
your armour class and to your reflex saving throws.  

Dexterity is probably the most important attribute for rangers. Like I said, 
rangers are the light warriors of D&D. Their two combat styles also gain a lot 
from a high dexterity for two reasons. First, archers obviously need a lot of 
dexterity to hit enemies, and dual-wielders can go the finesse route and use 
dexterity for their attack rolls. Second, these combat styles only work when 
the ranger wears light or no armour, and therefore dexterity is crucial if you 
want to have a decent armour class; this also means that even strength-based 
dual-wielders need a reasonably high dexterity. 

The "heaviest" basic armour is the chain shirt, which is 4/4. So you would 
need 18 (+4) dexterity to get the most out of it. Strength-based rangers can 
leave dexterity at 16 without any problem. 

- Constitution
Constitution governs your hit points and fortitude saving throws. Even though 
it is important for all classes (the fewer hit points, the faster you die), 
rangers are not supposed to take the heaviest hits. Still, you cannot protect 
yourself with spells like a mage if things go astray, so it's important to 
have a decent score here as well. When dealing with hit points, "the higher 
the better" is a pretty good philosophy to follow. 

Remember that rangers get the toughness feat for free quite early, which is 
basically a free modifier in constitution (+1 hit point per level). Elven 
rangers will often end up with 12 here, dwarves at 16, and others at 14. 

- Intelligence
Unless you are a wizard, intelligence only determines how many skill points 
you get. So yeah, you can be a total idiot in NWN2 and it does not matter that 

Skills are important for rangers, since they are weaker physically than 
fighters and co. So you actually need to have a few tricks up your sleeves to 
make up for that. Since they get more skill points in 3.5 than in 3.0, a high 
intelligence is not that crucial. Raise or lower intelligence according to how 
many skills you wish to develop. 

Going for a 10 in intelligence will allow you to develop 6 skills, so that 
might be quite enough for most people. 12 adds another one, which is nice if 
you want to aim for more "obscure" skills (like crafting, spot and listen). 

Intelligence can be pretty neat for archers. For starters, archers really do 
need all the help they can get and some skills like craft trap and set trap 
can have more value for them. Also, should you decide to go for arcane archer, 
you can take more than one wizard level and get some neat low-level spells. 

- Wisdom
Wisdom is used to determine which spell levels you can cast, the difficulty 
class (DC) of said spells, and your will saving throws. Rangers can have up to 
four levels of spells, so you need a wisdom of at least 14 to be able to cast 
all of these spells. As will be discussed later, rangers don't get much in the 
spell department and it wouldn't be a big waste to pass on them. Determine if 
you really want to have all the spells and set your wisdom accordingly. At the 
very least, you should have 12 in wisdom since the level 2 spells are arguably 
the best you get. Will saves are also weak on rangers, and wisdom comes in 
play here. 

In any event, I would get at least 12 here since level 2 spells *are* 
interesting. A bonus to will saves (the only weak save on rangers) is welcome 
too. Going to 14 does not hurt a lot. 

- Charisma
Charisma plays a major role for some classes (especially sorcerers and 
paladins), but rangers don't get anything special from it (except for a bonus 
to diplomacy, which is not even a class skill). Unless you want to make a 
specific multiclassed (or role-playing) character, leaving it at 10 or even 
lower will not hurt you much.  

So what would be the ideal attribute spread?  It really depends on the player 
and the build in mind. Here are some templates that you can follow and/or 
modify to your leisure. Just keep in mind the various facts I wrote above and 
you should do fine. 

Here are some examples:

-=Basic human (half-elf) builds=-

STR 14 (+2)     OR      14 (+2)
DEX 16 (+3)             16 (+3) 
CON 14 (+2)             14 (+2) 
INT 10 (+0)             10 (+0) 
WIS 12 (+1)             14 (+2) 
CHA 10 (+0)             08 (-1)

The first character would not be able to cast level 3 and 4 spells without 
improving wisdom (which could be done relatively easily through items).  
Alternatively, charisma could be lowered to 8 to allow the 14 wisdom required 
to cast all spells.  

Humans and half-elves are better suited for melee builds (although half-elves 
can technically become arcane archers too). Since going for a strength-based 
dual-wielder is very demanding on strength and dexterity, humans should 
probably follow the finesse way and focus on dexterity. That being said, with 
appropriate dexterity-enhancing items and cat's grace, it is quite possible to 
make a strength-based character too (in which case you could start with STR at 
16 and DEX at 14). 

Humans can indulge in constitution more than elves, which make for more 
resilient characters overall. The extra skills points also mean that you can 
cover more skills without having to spend too much in intelligence. 

-=Strength-based dual-wielder, wood elf=-

STR 16 (+3)     OR      16 (+3)
DEX 16 (+3)             16 (+3)
CON 12 (+1)             12 (+1)
INT 10 (+0)             12 (+1)
WIS 14 (+2)             14 (+2)
CHA 10 (+0)             08 (-1)

For strength-based dual-wielding rangers, this is the one. Alternatively, you 
could lower CHA to improve STR or DEX further. If you plan on multiclassing a 
lot (you should not with a strength-based), a WIS of 14 could be a waste. In 
that case, you can lower it to 12. Intelligence can be raised to 12, but not 
higher because of the greater cost associated with the wood elf's penalty. 

-=Dexterity-based dual-wielder, tiefling=-

STR 14 (+2)     OR      14 (+2)
DEX 18 (+4)             16 (+3) 
CON 14 (+2)             14 (+2) 
INT 12 (+1)             14 (+2) 
WIS 12 (+1)             14 (+2) 
CHA 08 (-1)             06 (-2)

The first one is more combat-oriented, focusing heavily on dexterity. The 
second one adds an additional skill point instead, and can thus be interesting 
if you multiclass to rogue and want to cover a larger array of skills. 

-=Archery-based, moon elf=-

STR 14 (+2)     OR      14 (+2)      OR      14 (+2)
DEX 18 (+4)             18 (+4)              20 (+5) 
CON 12 (+1)             12 (+1)              12 (+1) 
INT 10 (+0)             10 (+1)              10 (+0) 
WIS 12 (+1)             14 (+2)              10 (+0) 
CHA 10 (+0)             08 (-1)              08 (-1)

The archer is technically very similar to the dexterity-based dual-wielder 
attribute-wise (the first two are essentially like the human one, but with the 
elven racials). Alternatively you could use the second build with 12 wisdom 
and improve intelligence to 12 for more skills. If you want to go crazy on 
dexterity, you can bring it to 20 as an elf. As I said before, I believe that 
it is preferable to spread out your points at the start; but from a straight-
up fighting point of view, you badly want your arrows to hit so you might as 
well try it out. I kept strength to 14 for the +2 to damage with composite 
bows, which is pretty useful, and you still need to be able to carry things. 

3 - Skills -----------------------------------------------------------:SCCR3:

In 3.5, Rangers get 6 skills points per level, and you add your intelligence 
modifier to this. So unless you have a negative score in intelligence, you can 
expect to be able to fully develop 6 skills. 

Appraise (INT - cross-class skill): 
Quest rewards and loot selling is what makes a difference, in my opinion. 
Getting a few extra coins when selling a sword, or saving a few when buying an 
axe, does not justify developing a skil. Possibly more useful on persistant 
worlds where gold is harder to come by, but I do not think that it is worth it 
in the end anyway. Plus it is a cross-class skill. 

Bluff (CHA - cross-class skill):
I am not a huge fan of bluff. For a conversation skill, I would rather pick 
diplomacy, as it seems to come up more often in conversations. Unless you have 
a specific character model in mind, or wish to use the feint feat, I would 
leave it home. 

Concentration (CON - class skill):
As we will see in the next section, rangers really do not get that much in the 
spell department. Furthermore, most of the few useful ones will be cast 
outside of combat. As far as taunts are concerned, I have never seen a monster 
using the ability. All in all, a fairly useless skill for rangers. 

Crafting Skills (INT - class skills): Alchemy, Armour, Trap, Weapon:
The problem with these is that crafting is pretty much used only in the 
official campaign; I do not remember playing a module that used the system. If 
you are playing the official campaign, then they can be useful - but remember 
that party members can also use crafting skills so it is not really a must for 
your main character (unless you absolutely want to craft with your own 
character, of course). Craft trap seems rather appropriate for a ranger since 
you can actually use them yourself. If I were to develop a crafting skill with 
my main character, I would pick that one. 

Diplomacy (CHA - cross-class skill):
In modules with a decent amount of role-playing and dialogues, diplomacy can 
be quite useful (also a bit of a money maker when turning in quests). Since it 
is a cross-class skill, it is a bit tedious for rangers to develop it enough 
to make a difference in the long run. If you multiclass to a class with it as 
a class skill (like rogue), it is a good idea to drop a few points there. 

Disable Device (INT - cross-class skill) & 
Open Locks (DEX - cross-class skill):
These traditional rogue skills are cross-class for rangers, meaning that you 
will most likely not be able to develop them to a satisfactory level over the 
course of your character's lifespawn. It could be argued that a few points 
might end up being useful, but down the road I think it is a waste. In a party 
setting, you will most likely have a rogue to do this for you. If you are 
alone, you can always bash chests (though it has the tendency of breaking 
things inside) and take traps head-on (high reflex saves and evasion helping). 
Of course, should you multiclass to rogue, these two skills should be your 
priority when taking rogue levels. 

Heal (WIS - class skill):
Heal lets you attempt to cure poison and diseases with healing kits, and also 
improve the amount of points healed. A pretty useful skill, especially at 
lower levels and for when you are alone. I would develop this skill 

Hide (DEX - class skills) & 
Move Silently (DEX - class skills):
Do not leave home without these! Rangers are natural stalkers and scouts, and 
these two skills govern your sneaking ability. Although you cannot make sneak 
attacks like a rogue (unless you multiclass), being able to stealth around is 
still useful for general scouting and to position yourself for your initial 
attack. If you see a spellcaster or an archer in the back of the ranks, it 
really helps to target him preferentially and to direct your initial onslaught 
on him/her/it. If you are in a party, leave the front lines to the armoured 
warriors and go work behind. Once you reach level 17 and get hide in plain 
sight in outdoor areas, having a high rank in these skills can also serve as a 
quick getaway when things turn messy. Remember: rangers are not stupid brutes 
in combat - they have to think a bit to win. Launching your initial attack on 
the right enemy can make a difference. 

Intimidate (CHA - cross-class skill)
See Bluff. This one is not even used out of conversations, so its use is even 
more limited. Once again, I would pick diplomacy as a dialogue skill before 
this one. 

Listen & Spot (WIS - class skills):
These two skills are mostly used to detect hiding enemies. I do not remember 
being sneaked on by monsters during my many trips in both user-created modules 
and the campaigns. However, I would suppose that these skills could be very 
valuable in persistant worlds, especially the full-PvP ones. From a non-combat 
point of view, listen and spot checks are sometimes made when examining things 
or listening at doors. Of course, this is all scripted and depends on whoever 
made the module. But I have seen in happen. Overall, not a bad pick. What I 
tend to do here is to start with 2 points in each and develop them on the 
side. Used in Storm of Zehir. 

Lore (INT - class skill):
Apart from a few dialogue picks, lore's main use is to identify items for free 
and by yourself. This is actually quite useful, and it saves you a decent 
number of gold. Rangers are supposed to be somewhat knowledgeable in various 
things, so it fits the theme well enough. 

Parry (DEX - class skill):
Last time I heard, this skill was broken. It is not all that great in NWN1 so 
unless they somehow change how it works I would not consider this one. 

Perform (CHA - Bards only):
Unless you multiclass to bard, you cannot pick this one. I will let you decide 
whether or not taking bard levels is worth it. If you do, be sure to drop a 
few points here. If you do. 

Search (INT - class skill):
Used mainly to detect traps and hidden doors. Although you cannot disable 
traps, keep a high search skill can prevent you from walking directly into 
one. This mostly applies to elves, since they are always in search mode thanks 
to keen senses. For the other races, the value is diminished but it remains a 
decent pick overall. 

Set Trap (DEX - class skill):
This one can actually be pretty useful. The better traps can be rather 
powerful and the skill actually saved my butt a few times when up against 
tough enemies. Of course, you are dependant on trap kits for this one. Since 
your disable device skill will either be nil or quite low, you cannot recover 
traps. So you have to craft them or buy them. 

Sleight of hand (DEX - cross-class):
Rangers are not thieves - besides, picking pockets is not a terribly 
profitable thing to do in the long run. 

Spellcraft (INT - class skill):
Identifying what spells are cast at you is neat, but it will generally not 
make or break a fight. The saves bonus is interesting, but you need too many 
points to make it significant. Accept the fact that you are not a mage and 
leave spellcraft home. 

Survival (WIS - class skill):
Rangers finally get tracking in this game. Survival essentially lets you enter 
tracking mode (automatic without speed decrease after level 8), which shows 
nearby enemies on the map. The higher the skill, the higher the radius. Once 
it has been developed to a decent level, and when you have the swift tracker 
feat, you will be always aware of nearby enemies. Definitely a nice skill on 
paper, but it has two important limits. 

First, survival only shows hostile enemies. So if there is a group of bandits 
up ahead and they force-start a conversation when you approach before 
attacking, you will not be able to track them. Furthermore, some modules use 
random spawning enemies that generally pop near your place when you enter a 
certain trigger area; by the time you see them on the map they will often be 
all over you. (I would guess that this happens more frequently in PWs - I 
never seriously played one in NWN2 but enemies popping over your head was a 
common sight in some NWN1 PWs.)

So overall, survival is still a decent skill to have - if only for the fact 
that it is a hallmark ranger skill. I do not think it is worth it to raise it 
through the sky though; decide for yourself when you think the radius is large 
enough for you. 

In Storm of Zehir, survival is used on the world map, which makes it nearly a 

Taunt (CHA - cross-class skill):
Reduces your enemy's armour class if they fail their discipline check. I am 
not a big fan of this one either, but at higher level it apparently affects 
multiple enemies. Coupled with the ranger's curse of impending blades, it 
might actually make a difference. 

Tumble (DEX - cross-class skill):
A very interesting skill, that is sadly cross-class for rangers. Moving around 
during a battle is very interesting, since you will often want to target 
specific enemies - such as spellcasters in the back. It also bring an armour 
class bonus for every 5 points. Of all the cross-class skills I think it is 
the most interesting to develop. Should you multiclass to a class that has it 
as a class skill (like rogue once again), I think it is worth it to 
extensively develop this one. 

Use magic device (CHA - cross-class skill):
Technically it could be useful, but since it is a cross-class skill it makes 
it hard to develop it to satisfactionary levels. 

-= Which skills to pick? =-

Rangers get 6*4 (24) skill points at creation and 6 additional points each 
level. This is modified by your intelligence modifier, so if you have 8 you 
only get 5 points (and 20 at creation), if you have 12 you have 7 points (28 
at creation). 

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to identify 6 skills (or more if you 
have higher intelligence) and focus exclusively on them, since having highly 
developed skills is better than having a bunch of weak ones. An exception here 
is if you multiclass and want to boost some cross-class skills by doing so. 

I think that any ranger should focus on the following skills:
-Move Silently

Hide and move silently can be qualified as situational; their usefulness does 
depend a lot on what kind of module you are playing, as well as your own play 
style. Still, scouting ahead to see what kind of enemies await is one of the 
tasks a ranger should be able to accomplish; it is also not a bad idea to 
stealth between battles so that when you run into enemies they attack your 
armoured warriors before your ranger. Also, they take a special importance in 
Storm of Zehir, as they help to avoid encounters (something that you will 
probably want to do at all costs eventually to preserve your sanity). From my 
experience, heal is one of the most useful skills whether you are soloing or 
not. Healer's kits are cheap, easy to acquire, quick to use and do make quite 
a difference in combat. 

Then you have a pool of interesting skills to choose from:
-Set Trap

These four skills have their moments. Lore is great when soloing and in lower 
level settings when gold is sparse. Search is very nice for elves since it 
effectively prevents you from running into traps (since elves are always in 
search mode, with no movement speed penalty). Set trap can make your life 
easier when up front hack and slash does not work (I have had first-hand 
experience in the matter). Survival help you anticipate enemy numbers, but is 
limited by the game mechanics outlined previously. It also helps in Storm of 

Then we have some situational skills:
-Crafting skills
-Spot and Listen

These three are not the most useful, but can be interesting to have in some 
situations. For example, craft trap can be neat to have in the official 
campaigns, but is essentially useless if a module/PW does not support the 
system. Spot, listen and discipline are mostly PvP skills, though spot and 
listen are sometimes used in role-play modules. They also help a lot on the 
overland map in Storm of Zehir. 

Finally, there are a few cross-class skills that can be helpful:
-Open lock and Disable trap

I would only indulge in these if you multiclass. Obviously, rogue is a prime 
candidate here. Tumble helps the AC a bit and lets you move around during a 
battle, something that you might end up doing often as a ranger (useful to get 
to that caster in the back). Diplomacy is self-explanatory; in modules with a 
reasonable amount of dialogues, it might very well be one of the most used 
skill check. Open locks is actually nicer to have in NWN2 than in NWN1 because 
bashing chests often breaks items this time around. Disable Trap is a pretty 
big thing since traps generally range from annoying to deadly. Why it is not a 
class skill for rangers is beyond my understanding. If they can make and set 
traps, they should be able to remove them as well! This is 3e D&D stupidity at 
its finest. 

All in all, skills play a central role in the ranger gameplay. As a class that 
does not have the up-front rudeness of a barbarian or fighter, nor the 
opportunistic ways of the rogue, rangers need to use all of the tricks they 


As I said previously, ranger skills are very prominent in Storm of Zehir. The 
skills used on the overland map are the following: hide, move silently, spot, 
listen, search and wilderness survival. 6 skills, so even if you are not human 
or with 12 or more intelligence you can still cover them all. And it is a very 
good idea to pick them; it will make your life much easier on the overland 

4 - Feats ------------------------------------------------------------:SCCR4:

For the sake of sanity, I will break down the feats into separate categories. 

-= Proficiency Feats=-

Rangers only get light armour and normal shields for free at level 1, so you 
would have to pick some of these to equip bigger things. Do not. Seriously, if 
you wield anything heavier than light armour, you loose your combat style 
bonuses. And you cannot wield a shield if you have a weapon in each hand or a 
bow. An exception here would be those who choose to go for a two-handed 
weapon, though a multiclass to fighter or barbarian would undoubtedly serve 
you better in that case. 

As far as weapons go, the only feat that you do not get for free is for exotic 
weapons. NWN2 does not have "double weapons" like NWN1, so the value of this 
feat is much diminished for anyone but a dedicated fighter with too many feats 
to spare. Since kukris are martial weapons now, even halfling and gnome 
rangers will not find this feat to be of much use. 

-=Background Feats=-

NWN2 allows you to pick one of these at character creation only. These feats 
offer rather marginal bonuses but can be interesting in some cases. For 
rangers, I do not think that there is much material to work with here. Luck of 
Heroes is interesting, but beyond that the small bonuses to skills is not 
worth it in my opinion. 

-=Crafting Feats=-

These feats all require some spellcaster levels. Despite having a horrible 
repertoire, rangers do qualify as casters once they start getting spells at 
level 4. Since you only get 4 levels of spells, you will only be able to get 
brew potion, craft wondrous items and scribe scroll unless you multiclass to a 
caster class. As I said in the skills section, I do not think that much of 
crafting skills, especially when there is a party available. In any event, 
scribe scroll could be neat to create lots of scrolls of your few interesting 
spells (like cat's grace) as well as of your situational ones (like cure 
disease). Going for the others is stretching thin your limited number of 

-=General Feats=-

Blind fight: 
I think this is a good example of a situational utility feat that can be great 
at times but that you cannot really allow yourself to pick because of the 
small number of feats that you actually get. 

Cleave is a popular feat for melee warriors, which let you get a free attack 
on an adjacent enemy when you defeat one. Great cleave lets you chain this one 
indefinitely, but it is only useful when you can fell enemies in one hit - so 
I do not think it is quite worth it. 

Moving 5% faster is not really that much of a necessity, even more so because 
rangers naturally move faster by 10% in outdoor areas at level 7. 

Dinosaur companion (SoZ):
Unless you really want to have a dinosaur following you around, I do not think 
it is worth a slot. Animal companions are not that useful for rangers, and 
burning a feat on what is essentially a cosmetic choice is a bit of a waste 
(and the model does not even look that good). 

Dodge, Mobility, Spring attack:
This line of feat is basically about allowing you to move around during combat 
unhindered by attacks of opportunities. Dodge gives a flat +1 to AC against 
the enemy you face, which is not bad but nothing breathtaking either (though 
it is surely not bad in low-level modules in which you have to go solo). 
Mobility gives a +4 bonus against attacks of opportunities and spring attack 
does not allow enemies to get AoO against you while you move around. Rangers 
are not that keen on standing there and trading blows. I think it is important 
to move around in combat sometimes, if only to go and target specific enemies; 
running from caster to caster in back, for example. It is quite an investment 
to take three feats for this though. If you find yourself moving around a lot 
during combat, then I think these are worth a look. Also interesting for 
archers who partake in the infamous "run around in circles and shoot once in a 
while" technique.   

Expert tactician:
Gives you some bonuses when you hit a creature with an attack of opportunity. 
Once again, a very situational feat that does not shine enough on its own to 
justify a slot. 

Expertise lets you sacrifice your attack bonus for additional AC. This can be 
pretty interesting for the light armour-limited ranger. If you have the 
requirement (INT 13), I think it is worth it to pick it for those rough 
moments when fighting defensively is better. 

Improved critical:
Doubles the critical threat range of the selected weapon. Quite worth it. 

Improved initiative: 
I have never been a big fan of this one. In the party setting of NWN2, I think 
it is even less crucial. You do not have enough feats to burn to pick it.

An all-time favourite disabling feat. More useful for strange-based 

Monkey Grip: 
This one basically allows you to wield large weapons with one hand, with an 
additional penalty. Normal-sized races can thus dual wield greatswords, and 
small-sized ones could dual wield longswords. Since dual-wielding already 
comes with penalties, I do not think it is such a good idea to add others on 
top of that. 

Natural bond:
Useful if you like to rely on your animal companion and want to bring it up to 
scratch if you multiclassed. Ranger animal companions are not all that great 
to start with though. 

Point-blank shot:
Negates the attack penalty for using ranged weapons in melee, and improves 
your attack and damage by one against close enemies. Arguably a must-have for 
archers, and it happens to be a prerequisite to arcane archer. 

Power attack:
This one grants you more damage at the expanse of attack bonus. Nice for chest 
bashing and is a prerequisite for cleave. 

Steadfast determination:
Since you will most likely have a constitution score quite close to the 
intelligence one, the value of this feat is dubious. 

Two-weapon defence:
It gives you a +1 bonus to AC. It is not that much, but can make a difference 
if you pick it up early on. The improved version nets you a +2 bonus. Not bad, 
though I would not call it a priority. 

Two-weapon fighting:
Free at level 2 for rangers choosing the appropriate fighting style, though 
limited to light armour. 

Weapon Finesse:
Lets you use your dexterity modifier for attack bonus when wielding some 
weapons. This is the big feat for dexterity-based dual-wielders. The 
"compatible" weapons are the following: dagger, handaxe, kama, kukri, light 
hammer, mace, rapier, short sword, sickle, whip and unarmed strike. Note that 
the three main damage types are all supported: slashing (handaxe), bludgeoning 
(mace, light hammer) and of course piercing (dagger, short sword, rapier). 

Weapon Focus:
As I keep saying, rangers are still a warrior class. And with a warrior class 
that spends most of its time hitting things with a weapon, it helps to make 
sure your character knows how to use their weapon well. Weapon focus gives a 
+1 to attack. This might not sound like much, but it can really make a 
difference in the early game. 

Whirlwind attack:
Whirlwind attack has very steep requirements (BAB +4, INT 13, DEX 13, dodge, 
mobility, spring attack) and lets you attack everyone around you. I think this 
is the kind of feat that you pick if you already have the prerequisites for 
other reasons; but making it a goal in itself is a bit harder for the feat-
limited ranger. 

Zen Archery:
I guess some sort of multiclass with cleric, druid or monk could make this 
work out a bit, but dexterity is very important for rangers if only for armour 
class, so you will most likely never end up with more wisdom than dexterity.  

-=Class Feats=-

Favoured power attack:
You can pick this feat for your favoured enemies. The bad thing here is that 
you have to pick it for each group, which in my opinion makes the feat largely 
useless. The extra damage can be welcome against certain enemies though. 
Dexterity-based dual-wielders might want to consider picking it for undeads if 
they find themselves in an adventure with lots of undeads, since most of these 
have damage resistance and finesse characters often have trouble with that. 

Improved favoured enemy:
Improves the damage you deal against a particular favoured enemy by +3. 
Interesting if the module you are playing has an abundance of a specific 
creature, but otherwise quite situational. 

-=Divine Feats=-

These are not available unless you multiclass to paladin or cleric. As will be 
discussed in the multiclassing section, these two classes are not particularly 
interesting for ranger. If you do end up getting some levels in them, for 
whatever reason, I would pick divine might (watch out for the 13 STR and CHA 
requirements) and possibly extra turning. 

-=Spellcasting and Metamagic Feats=-

Some of these are actually potent. Rangers get only a handful of interesting 
spells, and if you find yourself lacking spell slots for these, it might be 
worth it to take a metamagic feat to, for example, transform your level 4 
spell slots with level 2 ones. That being said, I do think that you have 
enough slots to take what you need for a day, and I would say that taking a 
metamagic feat is a bit of a waste. If you do want to take one, consider 
extend, still or silent (one slot higher) and empower (two slots higher). 

-=Skills, Saves and Resistances Feats=-

There are quite a few of these, which give rather small bonuses to various 
skills and saves. As far as the skills ones are concerned, I do not think that 
such small bonuses to skills (we are talking about +2 to spot and listen from 
alertness) are worth a feat - especially since rangers do not have as many as 
fighters. The most interesting are those that add to saves, like iron will for 
a +2 (will is the ranger's only weak save). The poison and disease resists are 
not worth it in my opinion. Energy resistance is decent, but only if you 
happen to know you will run into enemies who use lots of that specific element 
(and do not forget that one of your few good spells cover resistances). 
Finally, an interesting feat here is able learner. Those of you who played 
Knights of the Old Republic 2 should not confuse it with the "class skill" 
feat. Able learner reduces the cost of a rank in a cross-class skill to 1 
skill point, down from 2. However, it does not allow you to develop these 
skills as much as a class skill. So even with the feat, any cross-class will 
never be more than half of a class skill in rank. Able learner is useful when 
you want to develop more than one cross-class skill. In the ranger's case, 
this could be disable device and persuade or open locks. Overall, it is a 
decent feat; but be sure to have your skills planned if you choose to follow 
that route. 

-=Epic Feats (MotB)=-

Amour skin:
+1 to armour class. Not particularly impressive. 

Bane of Enemies:
Woop! +2 to attack bonus and +2d6 damage against your favoured enemies. This 
one is extremely nice. 

Epic prowess:
+1 to all attacks. Pretty interesting for dual-wielding rangers, as it helps 
offset the penalties a bit. 

Epic toughness:
Gives a +30 to hit points, up to a maximum of +300. Not bad at all if you find 
yourself dying too easily. Pretty good to take if you have everything you 

Expose weakness:
Requires epic prowess and evasion (which you get for free). Interesting feat: 
by sacrificing your attacks for a round, you automatically damage a creature 
for the amount of your dexterity bonus each round for five rounds. So if you 
have 22 dexterity (+6 bonus), you would essentially deal 30 damage over 5 
rounds. That might not sound like much, but I think that dexterity-based 
characters do need all the help they can get. Sacrificing all of your attacks 
for the round is rough, but depending on your weapons and equipment in general 
it could be an interesting option. 

Great attribute:
Not particularly useful for rangers, since feats requiring high attributes 
that would be useful to rangers (such as perfect two-weapon fighting) are 
free. An alternative to epic toughness when you have what you need. 

-= Which feats to pick? =-

You get a feat at level 1 (two if you are human or strongheart halfling) and 
an extra feat every level that is a multiple of three: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18. 
For epic levels, you get a feat every other level: 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29, as 
well as at levels 23, 26 and 29. That is 7 (8 if human or strongheart) before 
epic levels, and 8 after. 

- Weapon finesse if you are a dexterity-based dual-wielder. It is also worth 
it to consider picking it later on with an archer character to spice up your 
melee a bit, which might be needed in solo modules. 
- Weapon feats (focus, improved critical, power critical). Although I do think 
it is important not to get "married" to a specific weapon (adapt to the 
situation!), the fact remains that you are playing a warrior character in a 
combat-focused game. Taking these feats for your preferred weapon is not a bad 
idea at all. Focus's +1 to attack is nothing to write home about by itself, 
but it can make a difference at low levels and help to reduce dual-wielding's 
- Remember that Rangers get toughness for free at level 3, so do not touch it!
- Two-weapon defence. Not a bad pick in low-level modules. 
- Power attack. Useful for bashing chests if you do not have a rogue with you 
(or open lock yourself). The best thing about it though is that it opens up 
- Cleave. Gives you a free attack against a nearby enemy after killing 
another.  Melee characters only. 
- Great cleave. For strength-based characters only, since a dexterity-based 
ones will rarely kill enemies in one shot. 
- Knockdown. Useful for crowd-control. 
- Dodge, mobility, spring attack: if you like to move around in combat. Useful 
when manoeuvring to go and get that archer or mage in the back. 
- Iron will: will saves are the ranger's lowest saves and thus it is not bad 
to improve it if you have a feat to burn. 
- Bane of Enemies. Come epic levels, this should be on top of your list. 
- Epic Prowess is nice for dual-wielders, especially those that try the 
medium/medium route

5 - Animal Companions ------------------------------------------------:SCCR5:

Ranger get their animal companion at level 4 (down from 6 in 3.0). Although 
they will not be as powerful as the druid's version, they can still save your 

Remember that you cannot change your animal companion. Your choice at level 4 
is final, and you will have to stick to it. 

There are 6 companions to choose from, each having slightly different 
abilities. From my experience though, the choice is not that crucial; meaning 
that picking one or another will not make or break your character. So, really, 
I think that you should pick the one you want. That being said, some 
companions are more situational than others and you might want to check their 
abilities a bit before making your final choice. 

This little fellow with a rather rabid demeanour has high dexterity and 
constitution. Its main ability is that to rage like a barbarian, which gives 
it +4 to strength and constitution, as well as a +2 to will saves and a -2 to 
armour class. It also has the fatigue penalties after the rage expires. It 
gets evasion and improved evasion, along with iron will. Not a too bad choice, 
but I do not think that the rage makes a big difference in the long run. Fits 
well with small races. 

A very classic companion, the wolf is an all-around animal with the highlight 
of being able to knockdown opponents. It is a rather useful ability overall, 
since it essentially disables an enemy for some time. Of course, you cannot 
really have the wolf use the ability over and over again, and its AI is rather 
limited as far as this is concerned. It has high strength and dexterity, and 
medium constitution. It also has low-light vision and eventually both evasion 
feats. All in all, the wolf is pretty much the companion you end up picking 
when you do not really know what else to pick. 

Brown Bear:
The bear is basically a powerhouse, with high strength, dexterity and 
constitution. So it hits hard and has lots of hit points. It will also 
eventually get iron will and both evasion feats. This should be one of the top 
choices for archers, as these types of characters do better when there is 
something between them and their enemies. Any ranger can benefit from using 
the bear though; what it lacks in special abilities is made up by their 

The boar has high strength and constitution and the alertness feat (+2 to spot 
and listen), and eventually both evasion feats. Overall, it is mainly a pure 
combat pet like the bear. 

Giant Spider:
The spider is a bit of an odd bag. It gets important melee attributes 
(strength and dexterity), but low hit points; making it a bad front liner but 
good attacker nonetheless. It also gets the darkvision feat (useless since you 
cannot toggle it), iron will, as well as evasion and improved evasion. The 
spider thus works like a light combatant that can be used as a decoy. 

Panther (MotB):
If I am allowed to make a less pragmatic comment, I have to say that I think 
the panther looks extremely goofy. Anyway the panther is back with MotB, but 
without its sneak attacks ability from NWN1. As a result, the panther is not 
really a "cannot go wrong with it" animal anymore. That being said, it does 
have both evasion and improved evasion, which means that it will survive 
longer against spellcasters. It also gets skill focus in both hide and move 
silently, as well as low-light vision. Its high strength and dexterity and 
medium constitution gives it good fighting potential.  

6 - Favoured Enemies -------------------------------------------------:SCCR6:

Favoured enemies are one of the hallmark ability of the ranger class. Unlike 
fighters, who train to become better with weapons, a ranger trains to become 
better against select groups of enemies. 

You get to choose a first favoured enemy at first level, and every 5 levels 
thereafter. So that means 5 favoured enemies by level 20, 7 by level 30. 

Each time you add a new favoured enemy (i.e. every 5 levels) you also get +1 
to attack and +1 to damage against all of your existing favoured enemies (yes, 
it is different from "real" D&D). So by level 20 you have +5 against 5 groups, 
and +7 against 7 groups by level 30. 

Come epic levels (21+), you can pick (I daresay you *must* pick) the Bane of 
Enemies feat which adds +2 to attack and +2d6 damage against all of your 
favoured enemies. 

Therefore, a pure level 30 ranger with Bane of Enemies ends up with +9 attack 
and +(7+2d6) damage against 9 groups of enemies. If you pick the right one, 
you will be very powerful in combat.  

There are two golden rules when it comes to choosing favoured enemies. You 
want to pick groups that encompass:
1) the most numerous and common enemies
2) the most dangerous enemies

A good example here is undeads. The undead group covers a very broad range of 
creatures, ranging from the lowly zombie, to the masses of skeletons or to the 
powerful lich. Interestingly enough, module-makers tend to love to put lots of 
undeads in their modules (the "infested crypt" is an all-time favourite in the 
genre). All in all, you can rarely go wrong by picking undeads as favoured 

Another good one is humans. Most of the time, the vast majority of actors in a 
module are humans. There are plenty of human brigands to kill, evil 
adventurers to defeat, and crazy masterminds to take down. 

A note on Persistant Worlds: if you are unfamiliar with the module and do not 
really know which enemies you should take, it is very easy to ask other 
players what you should expect - even in-character if role-play is enforced. 
Of course you still have to make an initial choice at character creation; and 
that is where undeads and humans make good choices. 

As far as offline modules are concerned, you generally learn enough about the 
setting and story as you level to be able to identify what the most common 
enemies will be. If the story revolves around a kingdom of humans beset by 
hordes of orcs, it might be a good idea to take orc as a favoured enemy (the 
chances of an amazing plot twist in which sand gnomes rise from the depths of 
the very soil to spread fear and destruction upon said kingdom are very slim). 

So gather information and try and make good choices out of that. There is no 
magic trick; sometimes you will pick the right ones, sometimes your choice 
will be lousy. But if you are careful, favoured enemies should still be a 
major advantage for your character. 

|                         SECTION D : DIVINE SPELLS                  :SDDS0:|

Rangers are not powerful spellcasters. But they are, in a way, the "warrior" 
version of the druid, just like the paladin is that of the cleric.  

Not much as changed here since the first game. Actually, we lost blade thirst, 
one of our few good spell. There are very few useful spells that Rangers can 
cast overall, and I do (perhaps foolishly) hope that the developers will 
eventually add more through an expansion or patch (they did add quite a few 
spells to druids through a patch, and it is not like that class needs any 
help!). Paladins are much better off because they have more buff spells, 
whereas we end up with useless offensive spells. 

The big problem is that many spells involve saving throws from enemies. Since 
rangers are not primary spellcasters, the difficulty class (DC) of the spells 
you cast will be very low. Also, you get your spells quite late (first at 
level 6), and dedicated spellcasters in your party will be miles ahead of you 
anyway. The interesting spells for rangers are a few buffs that will make your 
character somewhat scarier. But then, D&D's "Vancian" spells-per-day system 
(which is quite idiotic if you ask me) means that your use of these few spells 
will be limited. 

As someone pointed out in my first guide, it can actually be beneficial to 
take one of the metamagic feat. The level 4 spells are so useless that it's 
much more interesting to be able to cast level 2 or 3 spells in your level 4 

1 - Level One Spells -------------------------------------------------:SCCR1:

- Camouflage: Gives you a +10 to hide checks. That is pretty big, and 
considering what the other spells are, I would say that it is very good. 
Rangers who multiclassed to rogue and/or shadowdancer will probably find it 
especially useful. 

- Cure Light Wounds: Heals a very small amount (1d8 +1/lvl) of damage. By the 
time you get it (level 6), druids will be able to heal for twice that amount, 
and clerics 3d8 +1/lvl. Of course, if you are alone, it could get useful for 
those shitty moments. Do not forget that there are still healing kits (cheap 
as hell) and potions out there, and you have healing as a class skill. 

- Entangle: A decent crowd control spell, although enemies will end up saving 
most of the time at this point.

- Low-Light Vision: Since this spell is useless for elves (who get it as a 
passive racial), many rangers will probably find no use to it. For the others, 
it could be worth a slot; they reworked the mechanics of darkvision in Storm 
of Zehir and being able to see clearly helps to make very dark areas easier to 
the eyes. Of course, it pretty much has no real gameplay value whatsoever 
since you can already highlight everything with the "z" key.   

- Magic Fangs: Beefs up your animal companion a bit by giving it a +1 to hit 
and damage. Not bad. 

- Resist Energy: 20/- resistance to all elemental damage. By far the best 
spell for the level. It really should be your top pick for now, and filling 
your slots with this later on is probably the smartest thing to do. 

- Summon Creature I: The casters of your party will be able to summon more 
powerful kitties by this point. Can be useful as a trap-buster though.  

Summary: Energy Resistance is pretty much the only interesting spell this 
level. Camouflage and magic fangs deserve to be mentioned.  

2 - Level Two Spells -------------------------------------------------:SCCR2:

- Barkskin: Improves your AC. This one is actually quite useful. Rangers often 
end up with rather low AC since they are confined to leather armours and their 
combat styles don't work with shields. Never say no to additional protection.  

- Bears Endurance: +4 to constitution = +2 hit points per level. A real 

- Cat's Grace: +4 to dexterity. More AC, and you hit more often with ranged 
weapons and finesse weapons. Another winner.  

- Curse of Impending Blades (MotB): -2 to your enemy's AC. Not bad, but 
casting this in battle might end up being a waste of time. Also, level two 
spells are the highlights of a ranger's spellcasting career, and you cannot 
really afford to stock such a situational spell. 

- Hold Animal: Paralyses an animal; if it does not save, and it probably will.  
Considering the other spells this level, giving this one a slot would be a big 

- Mass Camouflage: You and your party members get a +10 to hide checks. It's 
basically a large version of the level 1 camouflage. If your party is full of 
rogues, it's probably worth it to memorise one, as it may really give you a 
hedge. For the balanced party consisting of plated warriors and squishy mages, 
its use is greatly diminished.  

- Owl's Wisdom: +4 to wisdom. Not useful unless you want to buff your will 
saves. Or if you somehow multiclass to monk. Of course you could also buff a 
fellow monk/cleric/druid with it, but these classes already have enough tricks 
on their own and in the ranger's case it is not a bad idea to be egocentric 
from time to time. 

- Protection from Energy: A 30/- version of the level 1 spell. A neat upgrade. 

- Sleep: Sleep is a very useful spell for level 1 mages. By now anything 
serious will resist against it. 

- Spike Growth: The damage is not terribly significant, but it could be 
interesting when coupled with traps and when fighting multiple enemies. 

- Summon Creature II: As with the first one, it will simply not be powerful 
enough to really make a difference. 

Summary: The level 2 spells are arguably the best a ranger can get his hands 
on. Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance and Barkskin are the highlights, and should 
be cast before large battles or after rest periods at higher levels. 
Protection from Energy is also nice to have around, but the other three spells 
should be prioritised.  

3 - Level Three Spells -----------------------------------------------:SCCR3:

- Aid: 1d8+1 temporary hit points. That's one extra hit from the enemy if you 
are very lucky with de d8 roll. Don't take this one.  

- Cure Moderate Wounds: As with the first one, it's too late now for it to 
make a difference. Leave those spells to the divine casters and use healing 

- Greater Magic Fang: Animal companion gets +1/3 of your level to hit and 
damage. This is actually quite good, since it improves as you level. Worth a 

- Heal Animal Companion (MotB): Keep one ready for those though times. 

- Invisibility Purge: Very nice to scrap the annoying 50% concealment. If 
nobody else can cast the spell, it's worth it. 

- Mass Curse of Impending Blades (MotB): Now it gets interesting, for these 
times when you have to fight lots of enemies at once. 

- Neutralize Poison: Poison stinks. Neutralizing it is nice. To pick if you 
have an extra slot, and definitely useful if you know you will be fighting 
poisoning enemies (such as spiders).  

- Remove Disease: Like Neutralize Poison, this one can be useful. Diseases 
give pretty bad penalties in the long run, so it's kind of nice to remove them 
as soon as possible. 

- Summon Creature III: Like the previous two. 

Summary: Level 3 is marked by a few situational spells. Heal Animal Companion 
is handy, and Neutralize Poison and Remove Diseases are not bad to have in 
your pocket, and Greater Magic Fangs can really make a difference in battle. 
Invisibility Purge is neat against mages (and their various multiclasses) who 
survive because of their concealment bonuses. 

4 - Level Four Spells ------------------------------------------------:SCCR4:

- Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8 +1/level. This one can actually cure a bit. Still, 
healing kits are there and chances are that you have at least a cleric or a 
druid in your party. 

- Freedom of Movement: You will not even have to save against entangle now! 
Still not that bad considering what spells you get this level.  

- Shapechange: Memorise it once to check out the forms, and erase it 
immediately after. 

- Summon Creature IV: Like for the healing spells, this one ends up being a 
bit better than the others. Still do not forget that you often have companions 
in NWN2, so the need for summons is greatly reduced. If your party cannot 
handle a fight on its own, mages and druids will have better summons than this 
to help.  

Summary: Level 4 spells are laughable. Unless you really want to have one of 
these very situational spells, it's probably a better idea to take a metamagic 
feat to have extra second and third level slots instead. The spells do get 
more value if you solo, but that will probably not happen very often in NWN2. 
Of course, should you choose to multiclass extensively, you will not miss 
these spells. 

|                           SECTION E : EQUIPMENT                    :SEEQ0:|

Just like in NWN1, equipment is not *such* a big deal in this game. Of course, 
having a +5 bow is better than a normal one; but because of the storytelling 
nature of modules (as opposed to pure action a la Diablo or MMO) whoever wrote 
the module is expected to balance the adventure for what items they give the 
player. Some modules are extremely itemised (like the official campaigns), 
some are more low-magic (and realistic?). In the end, there is no real "item 
hunting" in this game. The idea is simply to know what to wear amongst the 
items you get. 

As I said before, the ranger still belongs to the warrior classes. Despite 
lower hit points, they still have the full base attack bonus, just like 
fighters and barbarians. Therefore, a ranger can technically wield any weapon 
he or she gets his/her hands on. The moral here is that if you are ever stuck 
fighting lots of skeletons (which are resistant to slashing and piercing 
damage), you would do much better with a blunt weapon. It should also be noted 
that using a bow in melee provides the attacking enemy with attacks of 
opportunities at the higher difficulty level (hardcore D&D rules). Thus, a 
ranger should really carry around different weapons. The weapon focus feat is 
by no means a "must" to use a specific weapon. 

Any ranger, archery or dual-wield -based, should be able to deal the three 
main types of physical damage (slashing, piercing and bludgeoning), as well as 
being able to fight in either close or ranged combat. Your combat 
specialisation determines your preferred combat style, but does not force you 
to stick to it in every single situation. 

Typically, a ranger should have 1) a long bow (piercing and ranged) 2) a long 
sword (slashing and melee) 3) a mace of some sorts (blunt and melee).  Tweak 
that to your liking and according to your combat style.  Dexterity-based dual-
wielding rangers will often use two piercing melee weapons (short swords, 
rapiers, etc.) because they will probably want to use weapon finesse (and 
finesse weapons are generally piercing, with the exception of hand axes). If 
that is the case, do carry a long sword around in case you end up against 
something resistant to piercing. The long bow being the best way to deal 
ranged damage, it should also be in your inventory. For the sake of gameplay 
and realism, I would not advise carrying more than that. You do not want your 
character to be slowed down by too much weapons in your backpack (after all, 
you need to keep some space for all the loot you will find). As for realism, 
it would not make much sense for a swift ranger to carry a king's armoury 
worth of weapons on your back. 

As far as armours are concerned, rangers only get the light armour for free 
this time. However, their combat styles only work when wearing no or light 
armour.  Therefore, taking additional armour feats (or multiclassing for said 
feats) is a waste (unless you choose to go for the two-handed weapon approach, 
in which medium armour could be an acceptable compromise of protection vs 
skill penalties). It should be noted that light armours now include chain 
shirts, which are probably your best bet early on, and later too unless you 
skyrocket your dexterity as a finesse or archer ranger.  

The thing to know about armours is how they give you the armour class bonus.  
Notwithstanding magical bonuses, armours give a "direct" AC bonus and allow 
for a certain bonus based on your dexterity. Heavier armours give more direct 
bonus, but allow less dexterity bonus. Let's say that you have 20 dexterity; 
that gives you a +5 dexterity modifier. If you wear absolutely nothing, you 
get this +5 bonus to AC.  If you don a 4/4 armour (4 direct bonus and allows 4 
dexterity modifier), you will get 8 to AC. A 3/5 armour will give you the same 
amount, but a 2/6 armour will only give you 7 (because you only have a +5 
dexterity modifier). Generally speaking, you will want to wear armours that 
give a higher direct bonus at lower levels when your dexterity is generally 
lower.  As you improve your dexterity through items and levels, it will 
eventually go over the armour limits and, in extreme cases, you might even 
want to stick to clothes and wear bracers of armours instead. That being said, 
you must take into accounts the magical enchantments that are common on 
armours. Strength-based rangers, who will typically have 16 or 14 base 
dexterity, will want to stick to chain shirts (or highly magical lighter 

There is one problem with relying on dexterity for your AC needs.  Unless you 
have the uncanny dodge I feat (which is class specific to rogues and 
barbarians), an attacking enemy bypasses your dexterity bonus to AC if you are 
flat-footed, which basically means if you are engaged in something else when 
the enemy attacks you (fighting two enemies at once, for example; the one you 
are facing will need to beat your total AC, but the other one will bypass your 
dexterity modifier).  Still, this is less of a problem in NWN2 because you 
have a party with you this time; and a ranger should not be the "tank" on the 
front who takes the damage. You also have an animal companion with you 
starting at level 4. 

Although helmets are generally ugly, they do protect your character against 
critical hits (which can only happen on D&D hardcore and up).  So it might be 
a good idea to have one.  And given how ugly some of the head models are, it 
might actually be an improvement...

For the rest, I would look for bonuses to the 3 physical attributes (strength, 
dexterity and constitution), as well as resistances (physical and elemental). 
Regeneration can also be handy, and of course be on the lookout for anything 
that can improve your armour class. Note that even archers should occasionally 
look for strength-enhancing items, since strength improves the damage you deal 
with composite bows (or any bow with the "mighty" property). Items that confer 
physical damage resistance (such as a swordsman belt that reduces slashing 
damage) are wonderful (arguably too powerful sometimes). 

|                         SECTION F : MULTICLASSING                  :SFMU0:|

Those of you who read my Ranger guide for NWN1 know what I think about 
multiclassing.  Or rather what I thought, since I have softened on the subject 
since then. The thing is, I prefer well-defined classes in games like D&D. The 
multiclassing system since 3.0 feels unnatural and too open for my taste (and 
as far as open systems are concerned, I would rather have a class-free one 
like in Elder Scrolls than the one we have in the 3rd edition rules). 

That being said, rangers should remain nearly pure. Back in NWN1, I preached 
pure rangers a lot without much support from the game; but here the situation 
is different, especially if you have the Mask of the Betrayer expansion. You 
will want to go at least to the lowish 20s, to get your final combat style 
feat as well as Bane of Enemies. After getting to at least 21, you might as 
well stick to ranger to further improve your favoured enemies, skills and 
animal companion. 

Still, NWN2 offers a lot in the muticlassing department. Of special note is 
the Arcane Archer, which makes up for the absolutely gimped (for lack of a 
better word) ranged combat system in games based on the Aurora engine (or 
evolutions of said engine). The other interesting feature is the inclusion of 
the Wood Elf subrace, which is particularly interesting for us because of its 
favoured class. The subrace is also tailored more or less around rangers. The 
tiefling is also extremely interesting for dexterity-based dual-wielders. 

There are obviously a lot of possibilities. With many classes to choose from 
and the ability to make combinations of up to 4 classes, you can really do 
pretty much anything you want.  

Still, I do believe that there are a few guidelines to follow. If you are 
reading my guide at the moment, it is because you are somewhat interested in 
playing a ranger. Playing a Ranger2/Rogue18 does not qualify as "being a 
ranger" in my book, so if that is what you want, seek your help elsewhere. All 
this to say that if you want to play a ranger, you must use the ranger's 
abilities to their best. This can be done firstly by taking more levels in the 
ranger class than anything else, since rangers gain new abilities all the way 
to the 20s. Here is the abilities progression for rangers:

Level 1: Weapon: Simple/Martial, Light Armour, Shield, Track, Favoured Enemy I
Level 2: Combat Style (I)
Level 3: Toughness
Level 4: Animal Companion, First level spells
Level 5: Favoured Enemy II
Level 6: Improved Combat Style (II)
Level 7: Woodland Stride
Level 8: Swift Tracker
Level 9: Evasion
Level 10: Favoured Enemy III
Level 11: Combat Mastery (III)
Level 12: Third level spells
Level 13: Camouflage
Level 14: -
Level 15: Favoured Enemy IV
Level 16: Fourth level spells
Level 17: Outdoor Hide in Plain Sight
Level 18: -
Level 19: -
Level 20: Favoured Enemy V

*Epic levels, Mask of the Betrayer expansion only*

Level 21: Combat Style IV
Level 25: Favoured Enemy VI
Level 30: Favoured Enemy VII

To make a long story short, if you are a dual-wielding ranger, you *must* take 
at least 21 ranger levels. For archers, the special feat is much less 
interesting and you might be better with 9 arcane archer levels. 

1 - Core Classes------------------------------------------------------:SFMU1:

Multiclassing to a core class can net you an experience penalty if you do not 
follow the (in my opinion ridiculous) rules set by the folks at Wizards of the 
Coast. If your classes are more than 2 levels apart, you get a 10% penalty to 
experience gain; 20% if you have three classes more than two levels apart from 
each others, and so on. The trick is that your race's favoured class does not 
count when calculating this penalty (humans and half-elves use their highest 
level class as favoured class). So if you are a moon elf ranger10/rogue5, you 
have a penalty, but ranger8/rogue7 is fine. If you have a wood elf 
ranger/rogue, the ranger class does not count so you can do any ranger/rogue 
level spread. However, being a wood elf ranger10/rogue5/barbarian1 gives you a 
penalty, but ranger10/rogue3/barbarian3 does not. 

So when determining whether or not you want to multiclass, and to which core 
class, you have to be careful if you do not want to end up with a penalty. I 
personally think that streamlining races into specific classes is a load of 
bull feces, but hey I am not the one writing the rules. 

I remember the old NWN1 days when people on the forums would end almost all of 
their posts with "and take a few fighter levels for additional feats and 
weapon specialization". This is very misleading, since taking fighter levels 
for weapon specialization is a huge waste for most classes. For a ranger, 
fighter does not bring much; additional feats, including specialization, but 
that's pretty much it. Specialization adds +2 to damage with a specific 
weapon. Certainly neat, but you need 4 fighter levels for this, which scraps 
your ranger abilities to a noticeable extent. If you are aiming for a pure 
ranger, taking fighter levels will simply diminish your ranger's few good 
abilities (favoured enemies and combat styles). 

That being said, fighter levels can be useful. Dual-wielding rangers who have 
made it to level 21 for their final upgrade (or 25 for another favoured enemy) 
might want to pick some fighter levels for even more damage and some feats. 
Whether or not this is more useful than, say, barbarian or rogue levels (or 
remaining pure) is subject to play style and opinions. Archers can also 
benefit from weapon specialisation. If, for some peculiar reason, you do not 
want to take arcane archer levels, that +2 to damage is worthwhile. 

Barbarian is a very interesting option for melee rangers for three main 
reasons. First, they use d12 for their hit points, which somewhat 
counterbalances the ranger's d8. Second, they bring a rage ability which makes 
you more powerful in melee, something you simply cannot refuse (remember: the 
higher the better). Finally, taking as few as two barbarian levels will give 
you the all-important uncanny dodge feat, which effectively allows you to 
skyrocket your dexterity and still get away with it as your only AC provider. 
You also get to run 10% faster (which I assume stacks with the ranger's own 
10% in outdoor areas). For people out there looking for a classic "warrior of 
the wild" theme in a dual-wielding ranger, barbarian is a prime candidate. 
Since the rage builds up the strength attribute, it is particularly 
interesting for strength-based rangers. That being said, dexterity-based ones 
still benefit from the uncanny dodge I feat and the higher damage from 
Possible builds: Ranger28/barbarian2, ranger27/barbarian3, ranger21/barbarian9

Paladins are the warrior branch of the clerics, just like rangers are that of 
the druids. Because of this, the classes do share a few similarities, which 
are a similar spell level progression (although paladins get, once again, much 
better spells than rangers) and various special abilities as they level. 
Paladins pretty much epitomise the warrior in shining armour, which is really 
not what we are trying to create here (if anything, the ranger is a warrior in 
muddy armour!). On a more practical side, paladins are largely dependent on 
charisma for their special abilities, which happens to be the least 
interesting attribute for a ranger. Overall, I do not think that taking 
paladin levels would do much good to a ranger because of the conflicting 
nature of the combat styles of each classes and the fact that they both 
benefit in their own way from being high level in their respective classes. 

Along with mages, monk is one of the classes that benefit the most from 
staying pure. Their very unique combat style and gameplay does not fit very 
well with rangers either. Some people might preach for a particular kama dual-
wielding ranger/monk build, but that would imply going heavy on the monk side 
and I shall leave that to monk fans to sort out. 

Just like rangers, bards got beefed up a little in the 3.5 rules. Bards are a 
kind of warrior/arcane caster mix, with the perform skill thrown in. Most 
bards usually multiclass to rogue or fighter later on to broaden their 
abilities a bit, and I suppose that one could make some kind of ranger/bard 
character to add some arcane abilities to the ranger (both classes work well 
in light armour). Still, such a character would not have access to the higher 
level songs, and the bonuses would be minimal in the end: when it comes down 
to spellcasting, it is better to really focus on it (and rangers get so weak 
spells to start with, they do not really need a bunch of useless level 1 and 2 
bard spells to add to the insult!). I admit though that bard is the class I 
have the least experience with, so I am not the most reliable source 
concerning minstrels. 

Arguably the most overpowered class in the NWN games. They heal well and deal 
good damage but wear heavy armour, which does not suit our ranger. If you want 
to multiclass to a divine caster, the druid is a better choice overall both 
from a role-playing point of view and the fact that druids are confined to 
lighter armours (dexterity dependence). Charisma is also less important to 
druids, whereas clerics are tied to it for some of their abilities. 

An interesting note though: the air domain gives the uncanny dodge I feat for 
free. So technically, cleric is the fastest way to the feat. Uncanny dodge is 
not *crucial*, but can help a lot at higher levels for dexterity-based rangers 
who solo a lot. 

Divine casters are really powerful in NWN2, and the druid is no exception. 
Comparable to the cleric on many levels, the druid offers a slightly more 
offensive repertoire of spells. A ranger/druid is a pretty good warrior/caster 
character, although you will not have access to the higher and more powerful 
druid spells if you stick to ranger as a major class. In my opinion, such a 
character is actually better with more druid levels than ranger, so I will 
pass on it.  

The rogue is arguably the best multiclass option for dexterity-based dual-
wielding rangers (and even strength-based ones), and both classes work 
extremely well together. Rogue levels will bring the useful pick lock and 
disable device skills, as well as the all-powerful sneak attack ability which 
can make your damage skyrocket. Since rangers are not supposed to be the ones 
taking the hits on the front, they will often be in a good position to 
backstab enemies; which makes rogue levels particularly worthwhile. This comes 
at the cost of lower (d6) hit points and attack bonus, but the awesome sneak 
attack counterbalances this pretty neatly. Finally, rogue also brings uncanny 
dodge at level 4, which opens the door to massive dexterity builds. 
Possible builds: Ranger25/rogue5, ranger21/rogue9

Since the coming of the 3.0 rules, the rule of thumb has always been "don't 
multiclass arcane casters". If you want a powerful caster, you have to remain 
pure. Similarly, wizard levels tend to kill off warrior classes. It is a bit 
different in NWN2 with the inclusion of the Eldritch Knight class, but the 
fact remains that multiclassing to wizard is certainly not to be taken 
lightly. In the ranger's case, there are two reasons why someone might want to 
take wizard levels: springboard to arcane archer and a ranger/mage character. 
Arcane archer is pretty much a must for archery-based rangers (or any 
character that wants to use a bow effectively), but only one level in wizard 
is required. Ranger/wizard/eldritch knight is a bit more complicated. One 
could argue that fighter would be a better choice overall, but a dual-wielding 
ranger with high dexterity can still be a very strong candidate. Still, such a 
character would end up with more eldritch knight and wizard levels than ranger 
levels, so I will pass. 

There are two main differences with wizard here that affects us: sorcerers get 
their spells slower and they use charisma instead. Since a ranger who wants to 
multiclass to an arcane class will take few levels in that class, getting 
spells slower is bad (unless you only take 1 caster level, which is perfectly 
acceptable, but I like to take a couple for a broader repertoire as will be 
discussed later). Also, intelligence benefits rangers more than charisma, so 
as far as attributes are concerned, wizard also wins. 

Being dependant on charisma and abilities that increase as you level, warlock 
do not multiclass well with rangers. They also do not "open doors" to 
worthwhile prestige classes (like the arcane archer), so it is really a waste 
to pick warlock levels. Yes, dexterity is good for the eldritch blast. But you 
need a good eldritch blast to start with. 

Spirit Shaman (MotB) and Divine Champion (MotB):
I am treating both of these as one because they suffer from the same problem: 
they require a focus on wisdom *and* charisma. The spirit shaman needs wisdom 
to cast their spells (level 9 spells require 19 wisdom, level 8 spell require 
18 wisdom, etc), but use charisma to calculate the difficulty class. For the 
divine champion, it is the other way around. Although it would be possible to 
get something out of these (especially the spirit shaman), this would require 
a major focus in the caster class and relinquish ranger levels to the back 
seat. Still, as far as I am concerned, I think that druid makes a better 
choice overall because of the much easier attribute spread. To put it bluntly, 
I have no idea what Obsidian was thinking when they added these two classes. I 
could easily start a long rant on the subject, but lets just say that this is 
one of the aspects of the 3E ruleset that I hate: whoever wrote these rules 
seem to think that players cannot use their imagination (how ironic 
considering what D&D is all about!) to broaden the purpose of a class and that 
we need to have an "all new" class with a fancy name to play as a militant 
cleric or shamanistic druid. 

Swashbuckler (SoZ):
Quite interesting. The swashbuckler is actually similar to the ranger in a 
way, as they are both warriors who favour skill/elegance/whatever over brute 
strength. Beside some nice special abilities, including increases to AC, the 
swashbuckler allows you to add your intelligence modifier to damage rolls for 
finesse weapons. Since dexterity-based characters crave for damage, having 
that bonus can be interesting. Of course, you need a high intelligence to make 
it worthwhile, so you have to plan accordingly. 

2 - Prestige Classes--------------------------------------------------:SFMU2:

Unlike core classes, you cannot get an experience penalty with prestige 
classes. So you can technically do anything you fancy. 

Arcane Archer:
The saviour of archer characters in NWN1, the class is back in NWN2. The big 
difference, which only affects MotB users, is that you are limited to 10 
levels (of any PrC). This limits archers come epic levels, since they must 
rely on their base class, and they do not get the improving enchanted arrows 
of the arcane archer. Rangers make possibly the best archers to start with, 
since they can improve the base damage rather considerably with favoured 
enemies and bane of enemies. Throw in some arcane archer levels, and you will 
end up with a somewhat powerful archer. Level 10 (with death arrow) is mostly 
useless, so you could aim for ranger20/wizard1/AA9. However, I think you 
should go for 21 in ranger to get bane of enemies. You will only end up with 
enchanted arrows +4, but I think bane of enemies makes up for it nicely. 

An alternative is to take some additional wizard level. For example, I am 
partial to ranger16/wizard5/AA9. Ranger levels are more handicapped, true, but 
5 levels of wizard has the advantage of bringing more magical power. Level 2 
arcane spells have some neat protection spells (such as mirror image), and 
level 3 has some all-time favourites such as fireball. You also get a few 
situation spells, such as knock at level 2. You can use your scribe scroll 
ability to create scrolls of such spells to help you along the way (you could 
also pick up the craft wand feat).  

Arcane Scholar of Candlekeep (MotB):
Totally arcane caster oriented, so I shall pass. 

Arcane Trikster:
Not terribly ranger friendly. Some rogue/mages might wand to take a few ranger 
levels for the dual-wielding feats, but beyond that the arcane trickster will 
not serve you well. 

Basically a rogue-like class with less skill points and a special sneak 
attack. If that is your bag, I would rather recommend multiclassing for the 
rogue itself instead. And in my humble opinion, evil rangers do not make that 
much sense. The only case in which I can see it actually being interesting is 
if taking rogue levels would mess up your character with an experience 
penalty. In that case, the assassin brings a few roguish abilities (including 
uncanny dodge) with no worries of experience penalties. 

Actually quite interesting for evil characters. The blackguard gives you some 
sneak attacks with a full BAB progression, which is rather nice. The spell-
like abilities are decent if anything. Of course, you might want to aim for a 
higher charisma score with such builds, which can mess up a bit your attribute 

Divine Champion:
Although it might seem to be more suited for heavily armoured characters, the 
divine champion is a pretty decent class for rangers overall. Nice special 
abilities and feats, and you can build up a pretty interesting character by 
focusing on your deity. That being said, I do not think that these bonuses are 
enough to justify a slowing in your ranger progression. Reliance on charisma 
can also be a problem down the road. 

Doomguide (SoZ):
Kelemvor is an available deity for lawful neutral rangers, so if you fancy 
some sort of ranger/cleric this one can be used to add some flavour the build. 
It notable gives you access to some nice effects for your weapon, which is 
particularly interesting for damage-hungry dexterity-based rangers. I guess 
picking undeads as favoured enemies is nothing short of mandatory from a role-
playing point of view. 

Duelists gain bonuses for not wielding armours and shields, and with piercing 
weapons, so they seem like a potent choice for dexterity-based dual-wielders. 
The duelist remains a bit of a situational class in my opinion, and I do not 
really think that it is worth it to slow down your ranger progression for 

Dwarven Defender:
This is a brute class more than anything else, more suited for heavy frontline 
warriors. This is really not the ranger's place in battle. Higher hit points 
and more defensive abilities are never wasted however, and some sturdy dwarves 
might love combining the ranger's flexibility with the defender's 
survivability. Note that it brings uncanny dodge as well. 

Eldritch Knight:
Deep inside, I cannot help but think that Obsidian decided to throw in this 
one as a bone to Baldur's Gate II players. Back in that awesome little game, 
the infamous fighter/mage multiclass was one heck of a bloody meat grinder. 
But I digress. The eldritch knight effectively allows you to merge a warrior 
class with an arcane caster and get some good results, something that is as a 
whole impossible to do in 3E without prestige classes. This is one of the 
occasions for which I deem fighter a better choice than ranger; mostly because 
starting out as a ranger means that you will need at least 11 wisdom (though 
you could always start as a wizard and later take ranger levels). The premise 
of merging martial prowess with magic is quite demanding on attributes, so 
that wisdom requirement can be a pain. If you want a dual-wielding eldritch 
knight with a focus on dexterity, ranger could work well though. 

Frenzied Berserker:
This one tries to improve on the barbarian class. Barbarian itself is a good 
option for rangers, but aiming for the berserker in the long run does not 
really allow you to develop ranger abilities to a satisfactory level. 

Harper Agent:
This lets you keep a spell progression and adds some rather random features, 
such as a lore boost and some save bonuses. I do not think that the benefits 
as that impressive for rangers, but bonuses to saves are still welcome. 
However, it uses d6 for hit points and a slower BAB progression, and I do not 
think that the features are worth it when taking into account the fact that 
your fighting prowess will take a hit. 

Hellfire Warlock (SoZ):
Warlock does not work that well with rangers to start with. 

Invisible Blade (MotB):
I actually think that the concept behind this class is pretty neat. It is 
aimed more for rogues in mind, and the focus requirement in daggers or kukris 
is kind of limiting for most races. For a Halfling ranger/rogue though, I 
think it is kind of nice. That being said, the class features are not that 
impressive and some of the more pragmatic players might prefer rogue levels 
instead for better sneak attacks and better class skills. 

Neverwinter Nine:
This is really more a flavour class than anything else. The bonuses are 
marginal compared to what you can get from other classes or remaining pure. 
Some abilities like franctic reactions and all-out assault can be useful 
against strong opponents, but will not see much use in the long run given that 
you can only use them once a day. 

Pale Master:
Even for arcane casters, the pale master is a relatively poor choice. 

Red Dragon Disciple:
The highlight here is the high attribute bonuses that you can get. You still 
need at least one sorcerer or bard level though, and going through 10 levels 
of trouble to get the best bonuses is too much. 

Red Wizard of Thay (MotB):
For arcanists again, with no real benefits even for ranger/mage multiclasses. 

Sacred Fist (MotB):
As was said previously, a ranger/monk character could turn up nicely though 
with more monk levels (and so this is beyond this guide's purpose). The sacred 
fist requires you to be able to cast first level divine spells, so 4 levels of 
ranger does the trick. 

Shadow Thief of Amn:
Actually quite interesting. This class brings rogue skills as class skills, 
which gives you a chance to invest in skills such as disable device, open 
locks and diplomacy. It also opens up sneak attacks and gives uncanny dodge at 
level 2. Overall quite useful if your race/class combo is not permissive of 
rogue because of experience penalties. 

This was actually pretty good for a ranger back in NWN1, but in the 3.5 
ruleset context of NWN2, rangers actually get hide in plain sight (though only 
for outdoor areas and much later than the shadowdancer), as well as evasion. 
Still, shadowdancer brings uncanny dodge at level 2 and other useful goodies 
later on (such as improved evasion). Like for Shadow Thief of Amn, this is a 
pretty good class to use when you are trying to avoid the experience penalties 
of the core classes. 

Stormlord (MotB):
Rangers can eventually qualify for this one without prior multiclassing. 
However, improving the ranger's spellcasting is not exactly useful to start 
with, and the other abilities focus on thrown weapons. For a ranged ranger, 
you might as well go arcane archer. 

War Priest:
Pretty much made for heavily armoured front-liners. Rangers do not have a very 
interesting spell choice anyway and becoming a war priest seems silly. If you 
want more spellcasting oomph, try the druid. 

Weapon Master:
These chaps have steep feat requirements (requiring high dexterity and 
intelligence), but gain very nice bonuses with their chosen weapons. For a 
dual-wielding ranger who uses the same weapon in each hand, it is even better. 
A strength-based 21/9 Ranger/weapon master is probably one of the best melee 
damage dealer in the game. You have to be very careful with your feat 
selection though. 

3 - Summing Up -------------------------------------------------------:SFMU3:

I think that there are three main multiclassing options for rangers: rogue, 
barbarian and arcane archer (and, incidentally, wizard). 

Dual-wielding rangers can benefit from either rogue or barbarian. Barbarian 
brings more melee power, whereas rogue is more about skills. Both classes will 
bring the nice uncanny dodge feat. Generally speaking, dexterity-based rangers 
should consider rogue (as sneak attacks help improve the damage a lot), 
whereas strength-based rangers might want to lean toward barbarian. 

Archery-based rangers will want to go arcane archer. Of course, you *can* play 
pure archery-based ranger. However, be warned that it takes, shall we say, a 
certain state of mind to enjoy playing a character that will ultimately end up 
being rather weak (I happen to possess this state of mind, though from my 
experience few people have it). The system is so broken with ranged combat 
that the designers obviously realised that they had to add something to make 
it comparable to the other gameplay styles. Fortunately, we did not have to 
wait for an expansion this time. 

4 - Character Development --------------------------------------------:SFMU4:

Earlier in this section I gave my opinions on recommended builds that include 
other classes, for example "ranger25/rogue5". This is fine when looking at it 
on paper (or on screen), but in practice you do not magically pop out as a 
level 30 character (unless the module requires this, and I am fairly sure that 
such module does not exist yet in NWN2). In fact, it is a common mistake for 
people to plan out their build for maximum efficiency at the level cap: 99% of 
your play time will be spent making your way to the level cap, so in the long 
run it is better to have a character that has an easier time at low and medium 
levels than one who is marginally better at the end! NWN2 is not an MMO. 

It should also be noted that, aside from the official campaigns (and perhaps a 
few persistent worlds), you will not take a character from level 1 to 30 very 
often (chances are that it will never happen, in fact). 

Considering the above, I think that the order in which you pick the classes is 
at the very least as important as which class you pick. The idea here is to 
look *when* each class gets which ability, and plan accordingly. 

Since the goal of this guide is to analyse the ranger class, I will of course 
focus on the ranger here. Truth be told, if you want to play as a ranger, then 
it should be your major class anyway. 

Dual-wielding rangers will want to plan at least 21 levels in the ranger 
class, in order to get the awesome Combat Style IV upgrade (which gives you as 
many attacks with the off-hand as with the main-hand). If you are dexterity-
based, and wish to multiclass, I think it is worth it to try and get uncanny 
dodge I quite early (rogue 5 or barbarian 3). For the strength-based chaps, it 
is less crucial and thus I think ranger should be the main priority. 

As a side note, take care of the BAB progression when multiclassing to a class 
that has a lower BAB (such as rogue). At lower levels, every hit counts. In my 
opinion, the sooner you get a second attack per round the better. The first 
and fifth levels in rogue do not give +1 to BAB, for example, so I would 
postpone multiclassing to rogue until you have your second attack at ranger 6. 

Archers have it a bit different. If you want to go arcane archer, you should 
do so as soon as possible. The upgrade to your combat style at level 21 is not 
all that great, and I do think arcane archer levels are more important for the 
well-being of your character. I would recommend getting 9 arcane archer levels 
as soon as possible, and then completing it with ranger levels. 

If you want to take more than one wizard level (such as the 
ranger16/wizard5/AA9 build I outlined earlier), you might want to be careful 
with when you take these wizard levels. Since most offensive spells will be 
much less useful at higher levels, I think it is worth it try and take these 
levels early so that you might benefit a bit from the offensive spells. On the 
other hand, taking these levels early can severely cripple your combat 
abilities. In this case, I think it is important to consider the module. If 
you have a strong party with you early on (like in the official campaign), 
then taking the wizard levels early is quite acceptable. If you have to solo a 
lot, then direct combat abilities are more important and you might want to go 
straight for arcane archer then. 

|                          SECTION G : PLAYING TIPS                  :SGPT0:|

1 - General Tips -----------------------------------------------------:SGPT1:

-=What type of ranger is good for me?=-

Archer or dual-wielder? Dexterity- or strength-based?

For starters, decide if you want to fight primarily ranged or in melee. As I 
said before, archery can be difficult in NWN2, especially in modules that have 
you solo a lot.  

As far as dual-wielders go, it is mostly a matter of damage vs versatility. 
Dexterity-based rangers enjoy greater bonuses in skills like stealth, as well 
as better bow potential and reflex saves (nice with evasion). Depending on 
available items, they might also end up with higher armour class. Strength-
based rangers will do more damage, and have the luxury of using non-finesse 
weapons, which are generally bigger and meaner. 

-=I am new to NWN2 and/or to rangers. Which build would you recommend?=-

I would go for a wood elf strength-based dual-wielder, with feats for the 
longsword. Here are my reasons:

- Wood elves have the best bonuses for rangers, and give you multiclassing 
freedom should you want to multiclass.
- In NWN2, melee combat is generally more powerful than non-magic ranged 
- NWN2 is a very action-oriented game. No matter the module, the only way you 
can "lose" is by dying in combat. Even the most role-play friendly modules are 
like this. (There are a few exceptions for this in NWN1 - though I have yet to 
see one in NWN2 - but they all involve "picking an obviously bad choice" and 
forcing you to reload after getting killed under impossible odds). Bottom line 
is this: the difficulty in the game lies in combat. And as far as combat is 
concerned, the more damage you do the better; and a strength-based dual-
wielding ranger is one of the classes that have the most damage-dealing 
- Longswords are an all-time favourite item. More often than not, you will 
find magic longswords before anything else. 

The idea is to start with a longsword in your main hand, and a light weapon 
(short sword, dagger, etc.) in your off-hand. Later on, you might want to 
consider going for two longswords once you have shiny feats for it. That being 
said, there is nothing wrong with staying medium/light all the way through; in 
fact I would only recommend dual-wielding to medium weapons in high-magic and 
high-level modules (such as the official campaigns). 

-=Party-based gameplay (NPCs/companions)=-

One of the main differences between NWN2 and NWN1 is that NWN2 supports "real" 
group play with NPCs (called companions/cohorts this time around). One thing 
to consider is the AI. Simply put, it is rather limited. Despite some 
improvements in Mask of the Betrayer, AI-controlled spellcasters can still fry 
your entire group (of course, this only applies to D&D hardcore rules; which I 
believe to be the only sensible way to play NWN2). When you play as a caster 
yourself, it is less of a problem since your brain should be more developed 
than the AI, and you will generally be accompanied by brutes since you already 
fill the caster role. 

As a ranger, it is the other way around. You should really consider putting 
your mean casters on puppet mode, and cast the spells you want yourself. Using 
the strategy camera is also a good idea. It does not feel as streamlined as it 
was in Infinity Engine games like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, but at least 
you can quickly give orders to all of your characters, and get a decent 
overview of the action as well. 

It is also very useful to use party commands such as stand ground. When your 
tracking reveals trouble ahead, have the party stand ground and scout out what 
kind of enemies there are. If they are pushovers call the cavalry in. If they 
are a more serious threat, plan accordingly. You can quickslot party commands 
by dragging them from the emote menu. 

-=Impact of the setting=-

The setting of the module you play will have an impact on the gameplay, and 
even character creation for some of the most pragmatic/powergaming players. 

Basically, there are two variables to look for: level range and magic range 

The level range is the starting level of the module as well as the progression 
rate (the "leveling speed"). As a rule of thumb, the higher the level range, 
the more powerful strength-based dual-wielding becomes (mostly due to 
medium/medium becoming a possibility and the fact that enemies often start 
having damage resistance, which hinder dexterity builds). In the lower levels 
range, archery can be surprisingly effective to open encounters since at this 
point the damage is comparable to that of melee weapons but with the distance 
advantage. It is not uncommon to be able to drop an enemy before he/she/it 
reaches your character. Archery by itself is also at one of its strongest 

The magic range is basically about how powerful the equipment can be. The 
higher the magic range, the more powerful melee combat becomes (enchantments 
help compensate the medium/medium penalty for strength characters, and 
enchantments improve the damage of the dexterity ones). Archery starts having 
trouble, since bow enchantments do not add to damage (as it should) - so you 
have to rely on magical arrows at this point, which tend to be very expensive. 
That being said, if you are able to get your hands on a bow with unlimited 
magical arrows, things should go smoothly.  

To sum it up, the higher the level and magic range, the better strength-based 
characters will be. Also note that high-level and low-magic modules, although 
quite rare, are the bane of dexterity-based builds since they need 
enchantments to improve their damage at high levels.

The official campaigns are arguably all high-level and high-magic modules with 
lots of combat. 

-=The damage reduction issue=-

Physical damage reduction is a pain for warrior classes, even more so for 
dexterity-based ones. Before finding ways to counter it, you must understand 
how it works. 

Generally speaking, there are two different types of damage reduction: one 
that comes from spells (such as stoneskin) and one that is intrinsic to a 
creature/character (either through items or racial abilities). Spells that 
give damage reduction can only take that much damage before collapsing. 
Stoneskin gives a damage reduction of 10/adamantine, and up to 100 damage. 
That means that all the physical damage caused to a stoneskined target will be 
reduced by 10, unless the attack is made by an adamantine weapon (in which 
case the weapon bypasses the damage reduction). Additionally, once a total of 
100 points of damage has been absorbed, the spell will collapse. 

The second type works like the first, but with no maximum damage. A 
swordsman's belt that gives a character 5/- damage reduction against slashing 
damage cannot "collapse" like a spell; the 5 first points of slashing damage 
against a target wearing such a belt will *always* be ignored. The "-" after 
the "/" means that no enchanted weapon will be able to bypass the damage 

Physical damage reduction tends to be problematic for dexterity-based 
characters since these characters do not deal as much damage as a strength-
based one. Therefore, not only does it take a longer time for dexterity-based 
characters to break the damage limit on spells like stoneskin, but it makes  
battles against opponents with built-in damage resistance a pain (since the 
damage dealt must be higher than the reduction or no damage will ever be 

Rangers are blessed with favoured enemies, which make bypassing the reduction 
a bit easier. This also means that the favoured enemy choice you make is 
crucial. I have praised undeads as a favoured enemy choice for their 
abundance, and some of the more powerful undeads also happen to have damage 

Melee rangers have an additional goody, a special power attack feat that can 
be taken for each of their favoured enemies (the requirements being the power 
attack feat proper, a BAB of +4 and at least one favoured enemy). When using 
power attack against a favoured enemy for which you also have the favoured 
power attack feat, the damage bonus coming from power attack is doubled, 
tripled with two-handed weapons. Still, with the relatively low number of 
feats available to rangers, this is not a particularly reliable way to deal 
with the problem. 

Of course, that works for melee Rangers alone (yet another proof that archery 
is totally left in the cold again). Archery-based rangers will have a harder 
time. Or should I say a more expensive time, the most straightforward way 
being to use magical arrows with elemental damage (which entirely bypasses 
physical damage reduction). Archery-based rangers could also use a backup 
melee weapon (and they should always have one, in fact).

As a rule of thumb, the best way to deal with physical damage reduction is to 
have elemental damage on weapons. This is especially important for dexterity-
based characters, and it should affect your weapon choice. Even if you have 
feats for the short sword, always try to keep an elemental weapon at hand for 
use when you are in trouble. 

2 - Concerning Archers -----------------------------------------------:SGPT2:

The Aurora engine and its evolutions are not very kind with ranged combat. The 
Shadows of Undrentide expansion for NWN1, which added the arcane archer, kind 
of corrected this. In Knights of the Old Republic, you could dual-wield 
pistols and there were more feats catering for ranged combat, which made the 
experience much more genuine and balanced. 

In NWN2, the arcane archer is back, but only with ten levels. The enchanted 
arrows bonus is still a rather significant bonus, and therefore I strongly 
recommend any would-be archer to pick up some arcane archer levels. 

That being said, the core problems remain. Archers will never do as much 
damage as melee-based characters. For starters, bow enchantment do not add to 
damage in NWN2 (or NWN1 for that matter), whereas it should. So you pretty 
much have to rely on magical arrows, which are pretty expensive and you will 
undoubtedly run through your stock rather quickly at higher levels. Second, 
there are many feats for melee combat, compared to only a handful for archers. 
Of note, you cannot use power attack with ranged weapons. Also, you will never 
have as many attacks as a dual-wielding character. Finally, archers need both 
strength and dexterity for damage and attack respectively (dexterity-based 
dual-wielders also suffer from this problem). 

All in all, I would not really recommend archers to new players. If you think 
you are about to play a Diablo 2 amazon or a World of Warcraft hunter, you are 
much mistaken. An archer character in NWN2 can be quite fun to play (and 
reasonably powerful depending on available items), but you must be ready for a 
very different play style. 

The obvious advantage than an archer has is the ranged factor. Since NWN2 is 
mostly a party-based game, I found it easier overall to play an archer in 
comparison to NWN1 since you pretty much always have companions ready to take 
the blows for you and you have direct control over them. Note that if the need 
arise you can always use the classic "hit and run" tactic (if all your party 
wipes for instance, though depending on how many enemies remain it could be a 
waste of time). 

The range advantage comes into play against enemy casters. Your arrows might 
not do as much damage as a greatsword, but if you can land arrows on that 
caster in the back as soon as the fight start, you can disrupt its casting and 
rob the enemies from magic support. 

3 - Concerning Dual-wielders -----------------------------------------:SGPT3:


-=Light/light, medium/light or medium/medium?=-

Strength-based rangers have the luxury of being able to use medium weapons, 
since they are not limited by weapon finesse. True, the rapier is a medium 
finesse weapon. But it deals 1d6 damage, which is as much as short swords 
(although they do get a better critical rate). The strength folks can use 
weapons like longsword (1d8 slashing) which are rather more powerful than what 
dexterity-based characters can get. 

Using two weapons of the same type means that you get more out of your weapon 
feats, since they affect both hands. However, using two medium weapons nets 
you an extra -2 to attack, for a -4 total. Going for medium/light is an 
alternative that gives you more power in your main hand, at the expanse of 
power in the off-hand. 

Generally, a strength-based character will use either two light weapons or a 
medium/light combo for most of the game. At later levels, when the attack 
penalty becomes less oppressive, and when you start having more feats for a 
specific weapon, it is possible to move from medium/light to medium/medium. 
Light/light is in my opinion better suited for dexterity-based characters, but 
can be interesting nonetheless in low-magic/low-level modules. As I said in 
the previous section, I would recommend a strength medium/light build for new 
players, because of its ease of use and straightforwardness. 

-=Light off-hand: what to pick?=-

One might be tempted to simply take the most damaging light weapon one finds, 
generally a short sword or hand axe. Daggers do less, so there is no point, 
right? Well, it depends. You really need to look at the enchantments. A dagger 
with +1d6 cold damage is better than a short sword +1. Likewise, a dagger that 
has a chance of dazing enemies can be a great boon (at least until the DC 
becomes meaningless against higher-level enemies). Remember that if you go for 
the medium/light approach, you will end up with feats in the big weapon of 
your main hand; so you have no excuse to stick with a specific off-hand 


Weapons that work with weapon finesse do less damage than some other martial 
weapons. More often than not, finesse rangers will end up using short swords, 
handaxes, daggers, kukris (which are not exotic in NWN2) and rapiers. 

-=Light/light, medium/light or medium/medium?=-

The same question applies to finesse rangers, though the only medium finesse 
weapon is the rapier, which does 1d6 piercing just like a short sword but with 
a slightly better critical rating. In my opinion, the advantage of using a 
rapier over a short sword or handaxe is quite marginal, and I think finesse 
characters should rather focus on a light weapon and go for a light/light 
approach. At lower levels, when you have little or no feats for a specific 
weapon, using a rapier in your main hand is perfectly fine, but I do not think 
it is worth it to aim for dual-rapier combat. 

-=What kind of weapons to choose?=-

Dexterity-based characters have lower strength and use lighter weapons that 
their strength-based counterparts, and so they deal lower damage overall. 
Whereas a strength-based character will often wear strength-enhancing items 
and build up his or her strength as he or she levels, a finesse character will 
more often than not focus more on dexterity. Finesse characters are thus very 
dependent on weapon enchantment to improve their damage. Your best friends 
here are elemental damage enchantments, which can really make a huge 
difference. They also help against physical damage resistant enemies, which 
can give a hard time to finesse characters. 

|      SECTION H : PARTY CREATION (SoZ)                              :SHPC0:|

I was unsure at first whether to include such a section. Why? Because creating 
parties is one of things I like the most in games such as Storm of Zehir. In 
fact, the most fun I had with Icewind Dale 2 (SoZ's 2D cousin) was creating 
various types of parties (and I know for a fact that a few others on the 
forums also think like me, so at least I am not the only demented person as 
far as this is concerned). 

Basically, I can only encourage you to try stuff on your own. Beside what 
people might say, I do not think there is a magic combination to create the 
best party. From my experience with these types of games, the less you try to 
make things perfect the most fun it becomes. 

But I digress. 

In this section I will write some seemingly random ravings on the subject of 
party creation. I do not have the pretention of possessing the recipe to the 
perfect group (as I do not think such a thing even exists) nor do I have the 
patience or desire to do some excessive number crunching to min/max 
everything. I shall leave this to forum enthusiasts and be content with giving 
some general tips. 

-General Considerations

In the grand scheme of things, there are three main character roles in role-
playing games: tank, healer, damage dealer. MMO players are obviously familiar 
with this, and the same rules apply more or less to NWN2 or any other group-
based RPG. The D&D system does have a few unique facets though. 

For starters, D&D adds the rogue to the mix, which is somewhat required to 
handle traps and locks. That being said, locks can be bashed (though it breaks 
items) and traps will not wipe out your entire party. Still, it is not too far 
stretched to say that a rogue is a great boon to any group (and let us not 
forget that sneak attacks can really deal a lot of damage). Another important 
role is buffer. Many, many encounters that might seem impossible to win first 
hand can become quite easy with appropriate buffs (it really is amazing; one 
can wonder if extensive buffing does not make the game too easy at times). 
Arcane and divine casters fill this role. 

A "tank" is a character who can take a beating. NWN2 does not have a "threat" 
or "aggro" system like MMOs, but I think it is still important to have a beefy 
character around if only to take the bulk of initial attacks and survive until 
the end of the encounter (there has to be someone left to carry the others' 
corpses to the local cleric in case of a wipe!). Think about a group of 
archers for instance; having a weak character like a rogue or wizard up front 
against them is asking for trouble. A sturdy fighter with heavy armour and 
shield is better suited to withstand the first rounds of combat and live to 
see the end of the day. 

A "healer" is less crucial in the D&D games than in MMOs, but remains a 
necessity in my opinion. Some areas have restricted resting, and so healing 
spells become important if you do not want to constantly back track to a safe 
rest area. In the context of the SoZ campaign, you do not really want to end 
up without healing in the middle of nowhere and being at risk of getting 
attacked whenever you sleep or try to move on the world map. During encounters 
themselves, it is hard to say no to both the healing spells and other goodies 
brought by a cleric or druid. 

A "damage dealer" kills enemies. There is one big difference between MMOs and 
NWN2, and it is the fact that any class in NWN2 can function as a damage 
dealer. Your beefy dwarven fighter can serve both as a tank and damage dealer. 
A cleric has a respectable arsenal of offensive spells and can fight pretty 
well in melee too. Bottom line is that the only kind of damage you need to 
think of is area-of-effect, and that is where the arcane casters (wizard, 
sorcerer) come in. Of course, these classes also bring other great abilities 
(crowd control and buffs) to the mix. 

Where do rangers fit?

Rangers have less hit points than other warriors and can only wear light 
armour; as such, they cannot take up the role of tank. They also cannot heal 
properly. Finally, they do not have access to open lock and disable trap. 
Thus, if we look at things with a pragmatic eye, rangers are only damage 
dealers. In the context of Storm of Zehir though, they also have arguably the 
best set of class skills to operate on the overland map. 

-Multi-role characters

The idea here is that it is possible to condense two roles (or more) in a 
single character without too much trouble, especially with the proper prestige 
classes. Like I said before, damage dealing comes naturally in NWN2 so I do 
not consider a pure fighter who can tank and deal damage to be such a "dual-
role" character. Some examples:

1. Wizard/rogue: Not only do these two classes work rather well together, but 
the arcane trickster prestige class makes things so easy that a crazy ferret 
could work it out. A wizard/rogue/trickster will be able to handle any traps 
and locks with only a modest slowing in spell progression. 

2. Tank cleric: Clerics are potent warriors by themselves, even more so 
considering the great buffs available to them. With their heavy armours and 
shield, they can fill the damage-sponge role quite well. Once again, prestige 
classes such as war priest and divine champion can be used. A dwarf cleric/war 
priest with high constitution and proper spell use can be a real brick wall. 

3. Ranger/rogue: Compacting rogue skills in a warrior character can be 
interesting. I think that having a pure rogue around is not particularly 
useful, and rangers work well with rogues to start with.   

4. Fighter/mage: The eldritch knight prestige class brings this combination 
back to the world of reality. With lower hit points and restricted armour, I 
do not think that it can take up the tank role though. The fighter/mage is 
essentially a mage with beefed up melee abilities, so for the purposes of 
compacting roles in a single character it remains a bit limiting. 

The list can go on nearly as much as your imagination allows it, and the 
combinations can become quite exotic (think about a barbarian/druid/war priest 
for example, which could fit the tank and healer roles). 

-Multi-role characters and rangers

Of course, rangers too can be multiclassed to a great effect. In my opinion, 
the most interesting ranger multiclass in the context of Storm of Zehir would 
be ranger/rogue, which essentially tries to collapse open lock and disable 
device into the ranger, while bringing some extra goodies as well. Given how 
the class works, I do not think that a ranger is the best candidate to become 
a tank, even with some multiclassing. Casters are out of question, provided 
that you want to go heavy on ranger (which this guide assumes to be true). 

So for all intends and purposes, a ranger is Storm of Zehir should primarily 
be a damage dealer and a "skills bag". A couple of rogue levels can improve 
the latter role even more. 

-Samples: two parties I made in Storm of Zehir

I decided to keep my groups 4-man, since I did not want to mix by gallant 
characters with the boring NPCs the campaign offers (why they do not allow us 
to simply create 6 characters is beyond my understanding). 

These parties are a good example of my NWN philosophy, the one I have been 
trying to convey in this guide: while I do think that it is important to 
follow some basic rules to have a functional party (or character), I am not 
one to do some deep number crunching and class optimisation. 

First party:

Human swashbuckler/rogue: the idea here was to have rogue and conversation 
skills in the party, while having a character that can hold her own in combat 
as well. I do not believe much in pure rogues, so I elected to try SoZ's new 
core class. I developed rogue skills to a satisfactory level while keeping a 
potent warrior with persuade and bluff to boot. 

Shield dwarf cleric: with high constitution, strength and wisdom, War domain 
with a battleaxe deity. I could have multiclassed to warpriest or something 
else, but I decided to keep him pure to have early access to the best healing 
spells. If the campaign was longer, I would have gone war priest in the end. 
This guy is essentially a powerhouse with lots of spells. 

Wood elf ranger: strength-based dual-wielder, for massive damage. Also covers 
the important - nay, crucial - survival, hide, move silently, search, listen 
and spot skills. These skills are mandatory to avoid random encounters on the 
world map, which in turn is required if you do not want to lose your sanity to 
the game's loading screens. 

Rock gnome wizard: You do need an arcane caster, and I prefer wizards over 
sorcerers for the greater repertoire of spells. Why not a sun elf or a race 
with an intelligence bonus? Because I think that any respectful party ought to 
have a diminutive fellow around.  

The verdict? This group did not have a real tank, and I found that it was 
lacking a bit in brute strength. My cleric did a fine job, but given how all 
of my other characters had light or no armour, the little lad was a bit 
overtaxed. I also found that rogue skills do not seem that much important in 
Storm of Zehir.

And the second one:

Aasimar paladin: I had her cover diplomacy for the group, and she was 
essentially the main tank warrior. 

Shield dwarf cleric: This one was in fact the same cleric I created for my 
first group. 

Lightfoot Halfling ranger/rogue: developed as a dexterity-based dual-wielder. 
Fills the role of secondary warrior for damage dealing and covers rogue skills 
in addition to the all-important overland map skills. 

Sun elf wizard: I turned him into the proverbial glass canon (starting with 20 
intelligence). Basically a straight spell-slinger. With the excess of skill 
points, I also gave him crafting skills; I figured I might as well give the 
system a go. 

This group turned out to be a bit easier to play overall. 

|                   SECTION I : RECOMMENDED MODULES                  :SIRM0:|

I have referred to "modules" in general or "community-made modules" quite a 
few times in this guide. 

I really thought it was common knowledge that the strength of the Neverwinter 
Nights series lies in the toolset and adventures (modules) created by 
community members. Correspondence over my guide for the first game taught me 
that this was not the case. The majority of players who e-mailed me about 
their playing habits talked exclusively about the official campaigns. I have 
said it in my guide for NWN1 and I will say it here again: buying NWN for the 
official campaigns alone is a huge waste of your investment. 

Whereas NWN1 enjoyed a large community, and saw hundreds of great modules made 
for it, NWN2 was not that lucky. The pool of worthwhile adventures for it is 
extremely small (not to say insignificant) in comparison to that of NWN1, 
which in my humble opinion is a testament of the game's relative failure (I am 
not saying NWN2 is bad, but it is a rather bland sequel when you look at 
things with a pragmatic eye). 

What follows is a (non-) exhaustive list of quality modules that were made by 
the community for NWN2. Basically consider this as a starting point if you are 
alien to the wonderful world of custom content. All of these can be found on 
the IGN Vault, obviously for free:


"Asphyxia" by Azenn
A classic snowy adventure set in the famous Icewind Dale. Very nice module 
overall, if a bit confusing at times as far as the story is concerned. 

"Dark Avenger" by Wyrin
This is a very unique series, in which you have a lot of control over what 
happens through dialogues. Great companions and original story to boot. 

"Dark Waters" by Adam Miller
Adam Miller is arguably the most renowned module maker for the NWN games. He 
is the man behind the Shadowlords/Dreamcatchers/Demon series for the first 
game, and for NWN2 he gives us the Dark Waters trilogy. Unlike his modules for 
NWN1, Dark Waters is set in a custom universe of his own creation. While the 
series is definitely a benchmark in custom content and scripting, it is not 
what I would call a very standard adventure and not everyone will enjoy it 
(especially the first chapter). I do think it deserves a look though. 

"Fate of a City" by AmstradHero
A very professional module with great dialogues and companions. The player is 
also free to make some significant choices. Combat can be a bit annoying 
depending on your class, but it is definitely a great module. 

"Harp & Chrysanthemum" by Maerduin
H&C is possibly the most critically acclaimed and popular module NWN2 has to 
offer. With its non-linearity and interesting quests, it is indeed a superb 
adventure in all respects and is easily recommendable to anyone. 

"Moonshadow" by Hugie
Another NWN1 veteran, Hugie brings a classic forest and dungeon adventure set 
in the Forgotten Realms with some great action. Although the areas look 
gorgeous, the linear design he used for them is a bit disappointing. Dialogues 
are also limited. 

"Night Howls in Nestlehaven" by jackyo123
Nestlehaven is a very famous module; it actually became a bit of a benchmark 
on the forums. It is a great module through and through, with good (if 
somewhat hard at times) combat, engaging story, and a city that feels quite 
alive (unlike whatever the official campaigns gave us). 

"Pool of Radiance Remastered" by Markus "Wayne" Schlegel
This one is arguably the first triple-A module that was made for NWN2, back in 
2006. It remains one of the best modules out there and does not look one bit 

"The Subtlety of Thay" by dirtywick
A nice module series set in the Forgotten Realms, blending action and role-
playing in a nice story. 

"A Hunt Through the Dark Remastered" by Markus "Wayne" Schlegel
"Tragedy in Tragidor" by Phoenixus
These two modules are remakes of famous NWN1 modules, made by their original 
authors. They were great back then and still are today. 

Like I said, this is not an exhaustive list. But then again, NWN2 has seen so 
few modules during its lifetime that there is really not that much to write 
about. Still, these modules should provide you with some quality play time. 


This is actually a simple copy/paste of the same section in my ranger guide 
for the first game.  Since the system has barely changed in 3.5 (at least the 
basic rules), it applies for NWN2 as well.  

The NWN2 manual is much better than the first game's as far as the rules are 
concerned.  Still, what follows is, in my opinion, a pretty good summary of the 
real thing.  

Why would you want to learn how things work since the computer calculates all 
the rolls for you? Well, the character sheet is a liar. It has the nasty 
tendency to erroneously report attack rolls in particular. If you want to delve 
deep into the game and make up your own complex builds, it really helps to 
understand how things really work and rely on your brain instead of the 
character sheet. 

First off, you have to understand what those dX mean.  "d" stands for "die".  
The number following the "d" is the number of sides the die has.  Normal dice 
are d6, or dice with 6 sides.  In the 3.5 ruleset, all the attack and skill 
rolls are made with a d20 (20 sided die).  Thus, you can roll from 1 to 20.  
Some weapons use 2d6 to calculate their damage; 2d6 means that you roll a d6 (6 
sides die) two times.  Therefore, the minimum roll would be 2 and the maximum 

Ok, lets get started with the attributes.  

At character Creation, you have to spend your 30 attribute points in the 
desired sectors.  Note that it is possible that you only end up with 27 
points at creation; that means that your class needs a specific number of 
points in a certain attribute.  In the case of the Ranger, the game 
automatically sets your wisdom to 11, since you need at least 11 in wisdom to 
cast your first level spell (you can't lower it).  

Now, we were saying that you had to spend your 30 points.  Since the coming 
of the really crappy (personal opinion here) 3rd edition rules, you can't 
just pump a crazy amount of points in one attribute.  As you add more points, 
the cost for each point goes up.  For example, a human who wants to raise his 
strength from 13 to 14 will cost him 1 point.  If he wants to raise it again 
from 14 to 15, it will cost two.  Here's how it works :
The 6 first points cost 1 point each
The 7th and 8th points will cost 2 points each
The 9th and 10th points will cost 3 points each
The 11th and 12th points will cost 4 points each
Et cetera.  
This table works for any race.  For example, an elf starts out with a 
dexterity of 10; raising it to 16 will cost 6 points, and 10 points to 18.  
Elves also start with 6 constitution; raising it to 12 costs 6 points, while 
raising it to 14 costs 10.  
At levels 4,8,12,16,20,24,28,32,36 and 40, you get to raise one attribute by 
one point.  If your strength is at 19, you can raise it directly to 20 when 
you hit one of these levels.  That being said, it is better to raise many 
attributes at character creation and then pump points in one attribute than 
raising a single attribute at the beginning and spreading the points you get 
when you level up in the others.  
See the end of the section for an example with a sample character.  

Right next to the number of points you have in an attribute, you'll see 
another number with a "+" or a "-" in front of it.  An attribute with 10 
points in it has a "+0".  Any attribute over 10 has "+X", and any attribute 
under 10 has "-X".  This is the ability modifier.  This the number used to 
calculate the various rolls.  You DO NOT get any modifier for an odd numbered 
attribute.  Here's a breakdown :
6 --- -2
7 --- -2
8 --- -1
9 --- -1
10 --- 0
11 --- 0
12 --- +1
13 --- +1
14 --- +2
15 --- +2
16 --- +3
17 --- +3
18 --- +4
Et cetera.  

Now, it gets interesting.  How do I know if I will hit my enemy?  You'll have 
to check your Attack Bonus (if any) in your character sheet.  What the hell 
is an attack bonus?  Simply put, it is your ability to hit with a certain 
weapon, and it is calculated with your ability modifier and special feats 
(weapon focus, two weapon fighting).  For example, you have 14 strength and 
weapon focus in short sword : your attack bonus would be 2 (14's modifier) + 
1 (weapon focus) = 3 + base attack.  Your base attack goes up as you level in 
a certain class (you can get these attacks in the tables at the end of your 
manual).  A level 1 cleric, who has a 0 base attack, with 16 strength and no 
feats would have an attack bonus of 0 + 3 + 0 = 3.  Again, see the end of the 
section for an in-depth example.  Keep in mind that melee weapons use the 
strength modifier to calculate the rolls (except if you chose the weapon 
finesse feat.  In that case, the "finessable" weapons (dagger, short sword, 
rapier etc.) will use the dexterity modifier) and ranged weapons (bows, 
crossbows) use the dexterity modifier.  

To succeed in hitting an enemy, your roll (a d20 in NWN's case) + your attack 
bonus must beat the enemy's AC.  It is as simple as that.  For example (yes, 
like examples), lets say you roll a 12 : add your attack bonus (we'll keep 
the cleric with 3) = 15.  If your enemy has an AC lower than 15, you hit.  An 
AC of 15, you hit.  An AC higher than 15, you miss.  Also, a roll of 20 is an 
automatic hit, and 1 is an automatic miss.  

Weapons also have critical thread range.  Let's take a short sword, with a 
thread of 19-20/x2.  If you roll a 19 or a 20, your next attack will do 
double damage.  Axes, with a thread of 20/x3, will critical only on a 20 
roll, but will do triple damage.  

For the damage rolls, it is even easier.  First, check your weapon's base 
damage.  Let's take a short sword, which has a damage potential of 1d6 (1 to 
6 damage points).  Weapons use the strength modifier to calculate the damage, 
so lets say that our character has a strength of 14 (+2).  The damage 
potential would be :
1 to 6 + 2 = a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8.  
Two handed weapons (Great Sword, Great Axe et cetera) use your strength 
modifier multiplied by 1.5.  For example, a fighter with 14 strength wielding 
a great sword would do :
2d6 + (2 x 1.5) = 2 to 12 + 3 = min of 5 and max of 15 damage.  
Feats like the fighter's weapon specialisation add to the damage.  The same 
fighter with weapon specialisation in great swords would do :
2d6 + (2 x 1.5) + 2 (w.spec.) = 2 to 12 + 3 + 2 = min of 7 and max of 17 
Finally, off-hand weapon only takes one half of your strength modifier.  For 
example, if you have 14 (+2) strength and you dual wield short swords, your 
damage would look like : 
1d6 + 2 = 3 to 8 (main hand)
1d6 + 1 = 2 to 7 (off-hand)

Now, you know the basics.  Lets have an example with a sample character.  

Bob is a level 4 human fighter.
His attributes are : 
STR 16 (+3) --- 6 x 1 + 2 x 2 = 10
DEX 10 (+0) --- 2 x 1         = 2
CON 16 (+3) --- 6 x 1 + 2 x 2 = 10
WIS 10 (+0) --- 2 x 1         = 2
INT 12 (+1) --- 4 x 1         = 4
CHA 10 (+0) --- 2 x 1         = 2
Total                         = 30

He has, among others, the weapon focus and weapon specialisation feats in 
long swords.  

His attack bonus would look like :
4 (base attack) + 3 + 1 (focus) = 8

His damage would look like :
1d8 + 3 + 2 (spec) = min of 6 and max of 13.  

I hope that those of you who did not understand now have a better idea.  Like 
I said before, it is a great idea to read a guide on the D&D rules (there's a 
really good one at gamefaqs.com); you'll learn a lot, and will enjoy the game 
much more.  

|                           SECTION K : CONCLUSION                   :SKCO0:|

The ranger is a special class. That is to say, I think it takes a special 
mindset to enjoy playing the class and to get the most out of it. 

If you look at things from the very basics, the ranger is essentially a spin-
off of the fighter class. Because NWN2 focuses on combat more than anything 
else, one can see the ranger as a fighter with some flavour thrown in. 
Although I think the class really comes into its own in NWN2 as a real 
contender, the fact remains that it is not a class for everyone. Of course, if 
you are a powergamer looking only for the biggest numbers, the ranger is 
actually a good choice this time around. But as I said previously, to enjoy 
playing a ranger you need to like the concept of the class for its intrinsic 
value. Just like some people are motivated by a paladin's holiness and devout 
"feel", I think it is important for a ranger player to like what the class 

In this guide, I tried to cover the "mathematics" of the class, but also some 
broader concepts. I think that a role-playing game should be about playing the 
role of a character - while maintaining a good playability in the setting of 
what is essentially an action-oriented game. My "ultimate" goal with this 
guide was, in fact, simply to give the class as a whole more coverage.

I hope you found some interesting bits here and there. I tried for the most 
part to stray from the patronising "do this and do not do that" approach that 
lurks in many guides - once again because I believe more in characters than 
number bags. So my final message is this: do not let my guide, or another's, 
or posts on a forum ruin your fun. Ultimately the game is about creating a 
character that YOU like. 

1 - Contact Info -----------------------------------------------------:SKCO1:

In my previous guides, I had the habit of including some of the mails I 
received in the guide itself. While I am sure that many people have a lot of 
valuable information they wish to share, I will not maintain a "Readers' 
Submissions" section like I previously did. 

As far as questions and comments are concerned, I am going to go on a limb and 
say that they are welcomed. The truth though is that the nasty little thing 
called "life" has caught up with me over the last couple of years, notably 
with University, and I have mostly stopped reading e-mails for my previous 
guides (if I had that much free time on my hands, this guide would have been 
finished 2 years sooner!). To defend myself though, I have to say that I 
seldom receive mails for my old guides anymore. Let's just say that 
correspondence over a game guide ranks pretty low on my list of priorities 
now. As fellow gamers, you probably understand that I prefer to use the 
fraction of my free time that is dedicated to games to actual gaming, and not 
word processing or e-mail reading. 

There is also the fact that NWN2 has essentially failed to hold my attention 
as much as NWN1 did. I am not saying it is a bad game (I have actually rated 
it pretty high in my reviews, and still stand behind the scores I issued), but 
it definitely lacks the community that NWN1 enjoyed. And as far as the NWN 
games are concerned, a strong community backing is mandatory to their 
continued survival (at least in my opinion). I have played NWN1 more than NWN2 
since the latter's release, which is kind of sad when you think about it. I 
would not go as far as to say that I no longer play the game, but the disc 
sure does not spin very often these days. And with Dragon Age arriving very 

Still, I will try to keep up with e-mails for this new guide though. That 
being said, at the risk of sounding pedantic, I see this piece of work more as 
an essay on the ranger class rather than a true "guide". Since my goal is not 
to help you create the most powerful character ever, I do not feel constrained 
to keep it 100% error-free. Basically, whether or not you agree with the fact 
that I do not like feat X or Y will not change my life and I will undoubtedly 
ignore such mails. What I would like to receive are mails pointing out blatant 
game mechanics mistakes and major oversights. You know, the big stuff. 

Thanks for understanding (if you do, that is!). Should you still want to 
contact me:

My e-Mail address is: darthmuffin@live.ca
Use the following subject: NWN2 Ranger V1.01

2 - Copyright --------------------------------------------------------:SKCO2:

This document is copyright (c) 2009 to DarthMuffin.  

This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any
other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited,
and a violation of copyright.  

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
their respective trademark and copyright holders. 

The Neverwinter Nights 2 Ranger Guide by DarthMuffin is available for free on 
the following websites : 
GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com)
Sorcerer's Place (www.sorcerers.net)

... and *only* on these websites. At this point in time, I have no intentions 
whatsoever of allowing the guide to be posted elsewhere. If I ever change my 
mind concerning this, I will update this note. But for now, do not even bother 
asking me if you can post it on your website, whatever it might be! Such e-
mails will be ignored. 

I will say it again: this guide is only available on GameFAQs (GameSpot) and 
Sorcerer's Place! 

The latest version of this guide can always be found at GameFAQs.  I will only 
"manually" update at GameFAQs.  

3 - Versions ---------------------------------------------------------:SKCO3:

V1.01 - Corrected a small mistake on Duergar (thanks to Aam Ridwan)

V1.0 - First version. Guide fully completed. No major updates planned. 

4 - Self Promotion ---------------------------------------------------:SKCO4:

-=About the Author=-

I first came up with the "internet name" DarthMuffin for my first WarCraft III 
Battle.net account. Darth is because I am a Star Wars fan, Muffin because I 
like muffins (!). 

I have been visiting gamefaqs for quite some time. My first attempt at a guide 
was a Paladin guide for Diablo II. While completed, I never "published" it 
because I was not satisfied with it (both in content and language quality). I 
then started something on Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, but realised that 
the game was not popular enough to justify the amount of work I was going to 
put into it. Finally, I wrote with a friend a complete WarCraft III guide 
covering the campaigns in hard mode and multiplayer strategies. We were in the 
process of covering the expansion when we decided to scrap the project. A real 
shame, since it was quite well done. 

My first published work on the wonderful GameFAQs was a ranger guide for 
Neverwinter Nights (covering both of its expansions, Shadows of Undrentide and 
Hordes of the Underdark). This was followed by a pair of peculiar guides for 
the Knights of the Old Republic games covering a special archetype build 
baptised "duelling Jedi" - basically a melee character who only uses a single 
lightsabre (something extremely unpopular in the game), like nearly every Jedi 
in the movies. Judging from some of the mails I received, these guides raised 
quite a few eyebrows and I guess some people were silently questioning my 
sanity. But then, others praised my originality so I am quite happy with the 
way they turned out. 

This Ranger guide is thus the seventh guide I write, but the fourth I publish.  

Gaming wise, role-playing games and strategy games (both real-time and turn-
based) are my favoured genres. I basically grew up with games like Baldur's 
Gate and WarCraft II and I will love such games forever. I am not a huge fan 
of MMOs, but I do dabble into World of Warcraft (who does not?), mostly for my 
love of the setting. I also think that MMOs offer a much more accessible and 
streamlined multiplayer experience than other RPGs (including the NWNs), so I 
enjoy playing these with friends when I need a multiplayer fit. 

-=Contributed Guides and Reviews=-



...for a list of the guides and reviews I have written.  

5 - Thanks -----------------------------------------------------------:SKCO5:

- Thanks to any reader who gets this far!
- Thanks to Obsidian for actually releasing patches! 

Semi-Useless Trivia: Zhjaeve, the cleric companion from the official campaign, 
seems to have known Dak'kon, a fighter/mage from Black Isle's popular 
Planescape: Torment. Most of Obsidian's developers come from the now defunct 
Black Isle. 

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