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I started as a Ranger, and I'm almost to 3rd level. I am interested in multiclassing to add thematic and mechanical advantages, such as improved spellcasting and better armor proficiencies. Is there a class I can multiclass into which provides these things, and to which a Ranger foundation would be advantageous?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You are going to need to provide constraints on what you consider 'advantageous'. Damage per round, skill monkey, spellcasting, etc. are all things that can be optimized depending on how you want to play. Right now, this needs to be closed until you clarify what it is you're specifically looking for. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Nov 8 '17 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would like to increase the spell casting ability and or armor proficiency of my character. Which class(es) would allow that? \$\endgroup\$ – Beesinger Nov 8 '17 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Beesinger I've edited your question to include those clarifications, and hopefully make the question less broad. Can you look it over and let me know if you're happy with the changes i've made? \$\endgroup\$ – inthemanual Nov 8 '17 at 23:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like the amended version of the original question. Thanks THiebert \$\endgroup\$ – Beesinger Nov 9 '17 at 0:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ It would also be helpful to know how deep into the second class you will go. One or two levels may give a different answer than eight. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Nov 9 '17 at 0:39
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Rogue is a great multiclass for pretty much any base class, but (IMO) especially Ranger. It's a great thematic fit (both rogues and rangers are sneaky, agile, and tend to use finesse or ranged weapons), and you get a few incredibly strong benefits at very early levels:

Level 1

Expertise gives you double proficiency in two skills, which is unbelievably strong. This will let you become (for example) an even better tracker, or extra super sneaky, or an absolute master of nature lore. Additionally, just for multiclassing you get one additional skill from the thief list (which is extensive).

You also unlock sneak attack, which is a hefty damage boost (an extra 1d6 per round is nothing to sneeze at).

Level 2

Level 2 unlocks cunning action, which allows you to dash, disengage, or hide as a bonus action. This is a ridiculous buff to your action economy - being able to disengage or dash in while still spending your action to attack is extremely powerful. This also unlocks the dash-disengage combo, which allows you to cover double distance in one turn without provoking opportunity attacks. Hiding as a bonus action is also the key to a stealthy archer playstyle - you take a shot, move to cover, and Hide as a bonus action.

Level 3

At level 3 your sneak attack damage increases to 2d6 and you unlock a roguish archetype. You could go Assassin, which gives you advantage on attacks against creatures that haven't taken a turn yet and automatic crits (!!) against surprised enemies. You could also go for Arcane Trickster, which gives you additional cantrips and spells from a different spell list, as well as additional spell slots (make sure to check out multiclassing spell slot rules in Ch 6). Arcane Tricksters also get a sexy upgraded mage hand that can do crazy things.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I should note that I didn't see OP's additional comment while writing this. For spellcasting, Warlock is a strong multiclass for only a few levels (some of their best features are in levels 2-3), but Druid is a great thematic fit for Ranger (both very nature-oriented) and uses Wisdom to cast spells. As for armor, no multiclass will give you heavy armor (the next step up in armor proficiency) - you'll have to take a feat for that. \$\endgroup\$ – Dacromir Nov 8 '17 at 21:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not true: Multiclassing as a Cleric can give you Heavy Armor if you snag the Life, Nature, Tempest, or War Domain. The Heavy Armor proficiency gained there is a Divine Domain Feature, not a base class-level proficiency \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Nov 8 '17 at 21:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @guildsbounty Very good catch! I always forget that Cleric doesn't have heavy armor by default, because the only Clerics I've ever played were Life or Nature domain. \$\endgroup\$ – Dacromir Nov 8 '17 at 21:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dacromir you should edit this to reflect the change in the OP's question. Right now, you're answering a different question than was asked. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Nov 9 '17 at 13:31
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Improved spellcasting and armor proficiencies

Nature cleric is hands down the best choice of multiclass for these two areas for a Ranger.

You get heavy armor proficiency immediately at 1st level.
You get thematically sound new abilities (charm beasts and plants at 2nd level).
You get full spellcasting progression (including more nature-based spells) that matches the ranger's spellcasting ability.

And with ranger as the base class, you'll have access to the fighting styles to make you more threatening in actual combat, making you more effective as frontline support.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If you're a melee fighter as a ranger, you also can choose to get Shillelagh as a cantrip when you go Nature domain which can actually reduce the multiple ability dependency of Rangers. Though heavy armor proficiency may increase that, due to the Str requirements/penalties on the various heavy armors. \$\endgroup\$ – CTWind Nov 9 '17 at 17:19
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Cleric is the only thing that fits your requirements

Granted, not all domains will fit. Tempest, Nature, War, and Life all grant heavy armor proficiency, fulfilling your second requirement, and the cleric chassis is that of a full caster, accelerating your spell slot growth.

As a bonus, Ranger and Cleric both use wisdom as their spellcasting ability, meaning that this multiclass isn't going to make you MAD (multiple ability dependent).

Thematically, Tempest, Nature, and Life all fit with the ideals of a druid, but that's where your choice comes in, and I think it comes down to how you want to use your spellcasting feature the most. Tempest will make you a better blaster, able to cast more damaging spells; Nature will be an explorer, able to augment several of the Ranger's innate abilities with similar spells; and Life will be a healer who helps keep their team alive. If you choose to consider War, you'll be using your spellcasting to augment your martial attacks.

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