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I realize this is similar to How can I take multiple fighting styles? but it's been still a nagging question that I'd like to find a solution to without multiclassing.

I like playing a Ranger who focuses on archery skills, but that tends to leave me open to melee attacks. Unlike the linked question, Rangers don't get to learn another fighting style at higher levels, which has left me to balance between archery and two-weapon as a fighting style and getting the opposing feat Sharpshooter and Dual Wielder, or multiclass just to get another fighting style.

That said, I wanted to dive deeper into the rules to find a better and faster way to keep on the ranger path and maintain a good balance without relying on the feats. I've considered multiclassing as a ranger (ranger to ranger) and seeing if there was a loophole in a feat that would allow me to learn two feats at once or different fighting styles but in the end, I felt like I might be overcomplicating things.

XGE P.134, under Training states

Given enough free time and the service of an instructor, a character can learn a language or pick up proficiency with a tool.

Could that also apply to learn new fighting styles?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello Victor! I'm not sure why this question is getting down-voted, but I can guess that it's because you have the answer inside the question. \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 9 at 13:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by this? I've considered multiclassing as a ranger (ranger to ranger) Do you mean a multiclass to a level of fighter, or an attempt to get two Ranger sub classes in one character? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 9 at 13:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ To the question about multiclassing ranger-ranger, that's a "no" covered in this question: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/46700/… \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 9 at 13:26
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I know I'm late here, but thought I'd post none-the-less.

The answer by @Wizo is correct, as is your own question's assessment of your question--as per 5e RAW you cannot gain a new fighting style through any means except multiclassing.

My suggestion would be to dip into fighter for one level to grab your second fighting style--but there are considerations.

  1. Multiclassing delays class abilities - It is often recommended that a base class take at least 5 levels in that base class to start with so that they gain a second attack and/or 3rd level spell (Ranger's case is 2nd attack). So, if you do multiclass, waiting until level 5 is a good tip, although it could be more contextually dependent than that.

  2. Ability score improvements are granted by class level - Unlike previous editions and Pathfinder, ability score improvements are granted by class level, not character level. So, multiclassing into more than one class will result in suboptimal ability scores at higher character levels. It may be more optimal for you to simply focus on Dexterity and use finesse weapons--you may not have the

  3. No capstone abilities - The second real drawback to multiclassing, which doesn't often come into play (because many tables don't rise up to level 20...) is that levels are capped at 20, meaning that characters who multiclass won't ever get their capstone abilities, i.e. you can gain no more class levels and thus you can not gain any more class features.

  4. Two Weapon Fighting is only... ok - In this player's opinion, dual-wielding is only good at low levels but loses effectiveness quickly. The major problem with dual wielding is that it takes a bonus action, and as you level up your class will have more and more bonus actions to use, meaning that at low levels it's an additional attack but at later levels it becomes just another option. I'd suggest Defense or Dueling.

All that said, I totally understand the flavour of a Ranger requiring something more than just a ranged attack--TWF is very cool and flavourful, but using a finesse weapon in a single hand makes Dueling a better choice for the long run. However, in this player's mind neither may be worth the dip into Fighter.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the issues regarding multiclassing that you've mentioned and are things I try to avoid. In my campaigns I often get 2 or 3 guys on me, negating the dueling style, but I will admit that I've never considered TWF as a waste of a bonus action instead of a second attack. Given what you said, I'm starting to wonder if the solution to my conundrum is questioning TWF's merit in the first place. Thank you for that insight. \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 10 at 14:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB Maybe I'm missing something, but how does facing multiple opponents negate the Dueling fighting style? That just grants +2 damage when wielding (only) a one-handed weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – Marq Mar 11 at 10:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed, @VictorB, I don't think you actually need to be duelling to take advantage of the duelling style--it's reference is mostly to the one-handed weapon. Please also consider the advantage of using a buckler with the bow & dueling style: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/29522/… \$\endgroup\$ – TigerDM Mar 11 at 13:00
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In short, no. You already answered your question.

Training does not let you pick up a whole new fighting style. that is something completely different than just a proficiency or language.

You already know the answer, you just don't want it to be true. Sorry man.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm sorry if I'm misunderstanding, but I don't see how learning fighting styles is that different than learning tool proficiencies. Many martial artists advance their skills by learning new fighting styles (without starting from scratch) by finding a good instructor and devoting enough time, the same as XGE requires for tools. They can learn to fight with different styles, new weapons, etc, so I'm confused how I'm in denial to see a link.... \$\endgroup\$ – Victor B Mar 9 at 11:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VictorB if you want an in-universe explanation: Learning a new fighting style means that you have to keep practicing it. That is doable if you gain it as part of your class - but if you don't, that means that you learn something else from your class instead, which also requires training, leaving no time to train your fighting style. The real reason, however, is just balancing. Language or tool proficiencies have no real impact on combat balancing, but fighting styles do - which is why you can't learn them "for free". \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Mar 9 at 11:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Victor, a DM might find your argument persuasive and allow you to do as you propose. That would be a homebrew rule, though. As written, tool proficiencies are a separate thing from fighting styles and can't be trained using the same mechanic. \$\endgroup\$ – Rykara Mar 9 at 11:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is mention in the dmg of getting feats or other things as a reward, would a fighting style work in that case? \$\endgroup\$ – Jihelu Mar 9 at 21:56

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