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Does the ranger have any class features that would be less powerful if they used Strength (instead of Dexterity) as their primary offensive ability? Obviously, this hypothetical ranger would be bad at ranged combat. However, do rangers have any features that are based on their dexterity modifier?

Note: The 13 Dex multiclassing prerequisite is irrelevant for this scenario, as this question is discussing a single-classed ranger.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you interested only in class abilities as such? Everyone benefits from a high Dex via AC, a common save bonus, and the ability to use the stat for both melee and ranged weapon attacks. Dexterity is the most overloaded stat in the game! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20 at 17:56

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There are a few

You are asking two questions: if rangers have specific class features (except ranged combat) that would encourage them to fight with dexterity (in the title), and more generally, if they have any specific features that would reward high Dex and you would miss out on when focusing on Strength. Short answer: yes on both counts.

In addition to benefits for ranged attacks, I‘ll exclude Dex benefits that everyone enjoys, such as better AC when not heavily armored, better Initiative, better Dex saves, and better Dex based skill checks, unless they benefit from some Ranger specific feature. Note that these are all important and quite powerful benefits.

Rangers have several features that reward being good at Dexterity. Here is a list of examples:

  • Hide in Plain Sight: grants you a +10 bonus to your Stealth checks when camouflaged and holding still in the right environment.

  • Vanish: allows you to use the hide action as a bonus action each turn

  • Beast Master Companion: shares your Initiative

  • Hunter Ranger‘s Evasion: allows you to only take half damage on failed, or none at all on succesful Dex saves.

  • Drakewarden Drake: shares your Initiative

There are also several options that benefit ranged combat styles, and that you cannot use as effectively when you forgo ranged combat, like the Archery combat style, or the Hunter Ranger's Volley option.

Several of these are also relevant in combat (shared Initiative, Evasion, even bonus action hiding when you for example have a way to be invisible like the Gloomstalker does in Darkness), and things like Archery and Volley.


P.S. As a side comment: I think neither of them is a big deal, but then they don't have to, because high Dex and ranged combat is generally very good in 5e, and forgoing it without a matching payoff is a big deal, especially for Rangers that have features and specific spells to make ranged combat even better.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be way more work, but you could also consider all of the spells available via the Spellcasting class feature to be valid parts of an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is it permissible to accept this answer now, or should I wait for a certain amount of time? \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Mar 20 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @User23415 we customarily recommend waiting a day, in case someone else would write a better answer still, but could be discouraged by the checkmark to do so. Of course it is your choice, but I think there is some wisdom in that guidance \$\endgroup\$ Mar 20 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nobodythehobgoblin Got it. I asked this question because I noticed that a +X moon sickle is Strength-based. I'm writing a follow-up question about this right now. \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Mar 20 at 20:30

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