The Rangers of Dungeons & Dragons are known for their connection to their natural environment. Whether they devote their efforts to becoming masters of beasts or developing a bond so deep that the nature spirits themselves are drawn to aid and protect them, there’s no denying how powerful a Ranger’s abilities are. can be helpful to the rest of the group.
The Swarmkeeper Ranger forges a powerful bond with the nature spirits through the magic they wield, and in return, these nature spirits gather into a helpful swarm that can contain anything from insects to birds. to twig burns or pixies. The swarm takes advantage of the Ranger’s tricks by powering up attacks with extra damage or aiding the Ranger by lifting and moving them a short distance.
The best run for a Swarmkeeper Ranger
When building a Ranger, it is important to consider the base stats that will strengthen and enhance their abilities. For this reason, when choosing a race, it’s important to consider what abilities the race will offer and how their stat increases will play into those. Runs that enhance Wisdom as well as Dexterity and/or Strength are great options, as Rangers rely on WIS when casting spells in their arsenal and STR and/or DEX when performing their physical attacks.
The Kalashtar race provides a +2 WIS bonus, which is incredibly useful in bolstering their magic and connection to the swarm. The Firbolgs also provide a +2 WIS boost, as well as +1 to STR, while the Tortle gets +2 STR and +1 WIS. Aarakocra and Kenku gain +2 DEX and +1 WIS. There are also a number of racial variants that allow the player to choose their own stats when building a character, such as Owl, Fairy, or Herringbone, making it much easier to adapt to the demands of the Ranger.
Focus on Wisdom of the Swarmkeeper
Due to the class’s casting ability, it’s important to get the Ranger’s Wisdom modifier as high as possible. WIS provides the base number enemies will need to hit on a saving throw against magical effects, and the higher the Swarmkeeper’s spell save DC, the harder it will be for enemies to succeed. A high WIS score also contributes to some of the Ranger’s most useful skills, such as animal handling, perception, medicine, and survival.
Strength and dexterity are also important, and depending on the abilities the player plans to use, one may be more important than the other. Rangers who rely on stealth and finesse will need to focus on DEX, while those who rely on athleticism and brute force should invest more in STR.
Best Feats for a Swarmkeeper Ranger
Choosing feats over base stat boosts can be risky if the Ranger’s stats aren’t up to snuff, but there are a number of useful options that provide a stat boost in addition to some unique abilities that work well with their talents. For example, Telekinetic grants +1 to WIS, the ability to cast Mage Hand without verbal or somatic components, and the ability to use a bonus action to telekinetically push a creature up to 30 feet away.
Resilient allows the Ranger to increase a base stat by +1 and gain mastery over saving throws using this ability. Fey Touched works particularly well with Swarmkeeper Ranger abilities, and not just because swarms are sometimes Feywild nature spirits. This gives a +1 bonus to WIS, and the Ranger learns the Misty Step spell, plus an additional first-level spell from the Enchantment or Divination school. Having opportunities to increase magical abilities is never a bad thing, especially for a Ranger.
Best Swarmkeeper Ranger Spells
Swarmkeepers have access to a number of relevant spells as they level up, such as Fairy Fire, Mage Hand, Web, Gaseous Form, and Insect Plague, but when it comes to choosing spells, there are many interesting options. Absorb Elements at level one allows the player to use a reaction to gain resistance to certain elemental effects, while Fog Cloud gives them the ability to create a difficult passage for enemies while the party attempts to escape. The second tier spell Healing Spirit works with nature spirits the Swarmkeeper has bonded with, summoning a spirit that restores hit points to injured allies.
The third tier spell Summon Fey provides the ability to summon a faerie spirit to join the Ranger and his allies in battle. The spirit, which shares its turn with the caster, has its own stat block, which includes useful attacks and magic abilities. Conjure Woodland Beasts and Guardian of Nature also utilize the use of spirits to aid the Ranger and his allies.
Fifth tier spells are as far as it goes for Rangers, but Wrath of Nature is incredibly useful. Not only does he call upon nature spirits which further cement the Swarmkeeper’s bond, but these spirits can animate rocks, trees, roots, vines, and grasses to come alive and aid them against enemies by creating a difficult terrain and dishing out attacks and damage to anyone who tries to cross the 60ft cube.
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