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The ranger's Natural Explorer feature allows the ranger and his entire party to ignore difficult terrain when traveling more than an hour. The size of party isn't a factor, nor is whether the party is mounted or not.

Does this mean no matter what the party was to travel across that may be difficult (a heavy quicksand bog, steep icy barrier mountains, windblown desert, very rough slippery dangerous broken landscape, etc) they travel as though they were just moving along an everyday normal road?

This makes any swamp or broken land adventure completely unchallenging for the group and completely removes any sort of time or resource management from the game.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that they won't be travelling as fast as on a road - they will travel as fast as they could go on non-hindering terrain. For example, treating the nasty bog as grassland. \$\endgroup\$ – Greenstone Walker Mar 26 '18 at 0:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you using the Unearthed Arcana Revised Ranger? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 26 '18 at 15:49
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PHB Ranger: on the favored terrain and traveling for 1+ hours, the party's movement is not slowed

Choose one type of favored terrain: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or the Underdark. [...]

While traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain, you gain the following benefits:

Difficult terrain doesn’t slow your group’s travel.

You must choose only one favored terrain

Note that you must, at character creation choose one of the listed terrains as the favored one. And all the benefits apply only to it.

For that one terrain, the party's movement is not slowed

But if they choose swamp and the party is traveling with the ranger in a swamp for more than an hour then yes, their movement will not be slowed down by it.

The narrative reason for this being that the Ranger, being an expert in navigating such terrain, is able to pick safe and quick paths through what would normally be difficult terrain.

Remember that this is one of the things that Rangers are supposed to be good at

If your ranger chose, as part of his class, to be good at traveling across a certain type of terrain then you should let them be good at that. As a DM, allowing the players to feel good at things and powerful is one way to ensure that everybody is having fun.


Unearthed Arcana Revised Ranger: works similarly, but on all terrains

So if your player is using the UA Revised Ranger, then yes, they get the benefit of ignoring all difficult terrain no matter the source if traveling for more than one hour.

UA balancing

UA material is not finalized material and thus even more open to DM tweaking than other parts of the game.

There is nothing inherently overpowered about the ranger being able to ignore all types of difficult terrain unless overland travel and time management are meant to be very important mechanics in your game.

Note that Ranger is widely considered to be one of the most underpowered classes and the buffing of this ability was likely one way they were attempting to put the Ranger on equal footing with other classes. Again, traversing terrain is a mechanic that rangers are designed to be great at. So be careful if you want to remove this benefit from the game for your ranger.

Also, finding a way to narratively explain the character's power is a better option than removing the power because it does not make sense narratively I have found. If this is a concern for you, try that before removing or editing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that TC is talking about the Revised Ranger from UA, and he does have that feature on all natural terrains. \$\endgroup\$ – Manner Mar 26 '18 at 15:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Manner: Good point. I always forget to check that to see if it is different. I have added it to my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 26 '18 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Revised Ranger themselves also ignores difficult terrain in general, including when they're not traveling (e.g. when they're in combat): media.wizards.com/2016/dnd/downloads/UA_RevisedRanger.pdf \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Mar 26 '18 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast yeah I decided to leave that out because it wasn't really relevant to the question as asked. But it might be helpful to add. Or at least clarify that there are other differences. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Mar 26 '18 at 22:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Understood I thought the player was using the Ranger as the PHB but I now realized he was using the Revised Ranger which as I understand it is not official and therefore open to debate on being overpowered. Also, I assume the favored terrain ability Must be a magical/supernatural power given to the Ranger some how as his ( player) entire background is desert and has had no experience with swamp terrain lets say to somehow be able to manage it effortlessly. \$\endgroup\$ – Skidnsf Mar 27 '18 at 14:58

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