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Baldur's Gate 3 best Ranger build

This Baldur's Gate 3 Ranger build hits the bullseye

A Ranger character in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image credit: Larian Studios / Rock Paper Shotgun

Do you need a strong Baldur's Gate 3 Ranger build? In Baldur's Gate 3, Rangers are the typical archer archetype. Whether you aspire to be Faerun's equivalent of Robin Hood or are simply out for blood with the help of a bow and arrow, the Ranger is a powerful class that deals consistent damage from a distance and is typically at home in the natural world.

If you want to create a Ranger, you're going to need to make a lot of character-building decisions that amplify the power of your bow-shooting nature-dweller. Here's everything you need to know about building your Ranger character, including the best race, subclass, background, Natural Explorer options, Favored Enemies, and spells.

Note: Looking for lots more builds to choose from? Check out our dedicated list of the best builds in Baldur's Gate 3 for each class!

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Baldur's Gate 3 Ranger best build

The Ranger's primary ability is Dexterity, meaning that an good Ranger build can catch enemies off-guard and strike them before they even know what they're up against. Rangers are also great at traversing the wild, tackling difficult terrain, and slinking from tree to tree. We've emphasised this with all of our options in this guide, which puts the focus on a stealthy arrow-slinger who traverses the shadows and picks enemies off one by one.

Ranger weapon, armour, and class proficiencies:

  • Ranger weapon proficiencies: Simple weapons, martial weapons
  • Ranger armour proficiencies: Light armour, medium armour, shields
  • Ranger skill proficiencies (choose three): Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, Survival
  • Ranger saving throws: Strength, Dexterity

Ranger Natural Explorer options

At Levels 1, 6, and 10, Rangers can choose from several Natural Explorer environment options that are unique to the class.

  • Beast Tamer: You've formed a bond with animals and can cast Find Familiar without using a spell slot.
  • Urban Tracker: Tracking enemies incities has given you proficiency in Sleight of Hand.
  • Wateland Wanderer - Cold: You gain resistance to cold damage.
  • Wasteland Wanderer - Fire: You gain resistance to fire damage.
  • Wasteland Wnderer - Poison: You gain resistance to poison damage.

Ranger Favoured Enemy options

At Levels 1, 6, and 10, Rangers can choose one of several Favoured Enemy options that give them extra bonuses.

  • Bounty Hunter: Gain Investigation proficiency, and creatures hit with your Ensnaring Strike spell will get disadvantage on their saving throw.
  • Keeper of the Veil: Gain Arcana proficiency and the ablity to cast the spell Protection from Evil and Good.
  • Mage Breaker: Gain Arcana proficiency and the ability to cast the cantrip True Strike, which grants an advantage on your next attack roll.
  • Ranger Knight: Gain History proficiency and heavy armour proficiency.
  • Sanctified Stalker: Gain Religion proficiency and the ability to cast the cantrip Sacred Flame, which does radiant damage.

Ranger Fighting Style options

At Level 2, Rangers can select a Fighting Style from the following:

  • Archery: +2 bonus to ranged weapon attacks.
  • Defense: +1 bonus to armour class when wearing armour.
  • Dueling: Deal +2 damage when you wield a melee weapon that is not two-handed or versatile in one hand and no weapon in the other.
  • Two-Weapon Fighting: When attacking with an off-hand weapon, add your ability modifier to your weapon damage.

Ranger subclass options

At Level 3, Rangers can choose from the following subclass options:

  • Beast Master: Gain a beast companion with added subclass features that strengthen it as you progress. You can choose from a bear, boar, giant spider, raven, or wolf.
  • Gloom Stalker: Emphasises stealth and surprise, including several features that render you difficult to detect.
  • Hunter: Focuses on hunting mastery and allows you to choose one of three bbilities: Horde Breaker, which allows you to target two creatures standing near one another in quick succession, Giant Killer, which allows you to use a reaction to make a melee attack when a large or bigger creature attacks you, and Colossus Slayer, which makes your weapon attack deal an extra 1d8 damageonce per turn if your target is below the hit point maximum.

Best Ranger race, background, and skills

Your race, background, and skills introduce attributes that buff your Ranger character. These are our favourite picks.

The best Ranger race is Wood Elf.

The Wood Elf subrace endows the player with Fleet of Foot, which results in an increased movement speed of 10.5m (relative to 9m of most other races). The subrace also grants a proficiency bonus to Stealth checks, which is great for the sneakiest Ranger build imaginable.

Further, Elves gain Darkvision and can see in dark and dim settings. They also gain Elven Weapon Training for weapon proficiency with longswords, shortswords, longbows, and shortbows. Last but not least, Fey Ancestry grants an advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed, magic can't put elves to sleep, and they also gain Perception proficiency.

The best Ranger background is Charlatan.

To boost our stealthy Ranger build, take the Charlatan background, which grants Deception and Sleight of Hand proficiency bonuses. Deception helps you hide the truth about matters, while Sleight of Hand grants checks on acts of manual tricks such as lockpicking, pickpocketing, and hiding items.

The best Ranger skill proficiencies are Nature, Stealth, and Survival.

Nature improves your Intelligence checks to relay information relating to terrain, plants, and animals in the wild. Stealth allows you to make a Dexterity check when attempting to hide, slip away, or sneak up on someone. Survival grants a Wisdom check when faced with the opportunity to follow tracks or traverse difficult terrain.

Best Ranger Natural Explorer environments

The best Ranger Natural Explorer environment for Level 1 is Wasteland Wanderer: Fire, since fire is a common enemy attack damage type, and resistance to it will always come in handy for surviving big attacks like Fireball. At Level 6, select Wasteland Wanderer: Poison, as poison becomes more common later in the game and can be extremely debilitating. At Level 10, we recommend Wasteland Wanderer: Cold, as it's generally helpful to round out all your resistances with the ability to endure cold damage.

Best Ranger Favoured Enemy

For your Favoured Enemy at Level 1, we recommend going with Bounty Hunter for the improvements it grants your Ensnaring Strike spell, which can be useful as an opener at early levels. At Level 6, go with Mage Breaker to gain the True Strike cantrip, which grants advantage on your next Attack Roll. At Level 10, choose Sanctified Stalker for Religion proficiency and the Sacred Flame Spell.

Best Ranger Fighting Style

The best Ranger Fighting Style is Archery for +2 damage to ranged attacks. You're a nimble ranger attuned to long-distance combat, after all - it's not bad to lean into the stereotype!

Best Ranger subclass

The best Ranger subclass is Gloom Stalker, which grants the Umbral Shroud Action. This action covers the Ranger in shadows, which turns them Invisible when obscured. This is extremely powerful for sneak attacks, though you'll lose it once you attack, cast another spell, perform an action, or take damage.

The Gloom Stalker subclass also grants Superior Darkvision so you can see further distances underground and Dread Ambusher for a +3 bonus to initiative and increased movement and damage on your first combat turn.

The subclass gets even stronger as you progress. At Level 7, you'll earn Iron Mind, which gives proficiency in Wisdom and Intelligence saving throws, and at Level 11, you'll earn Stalker's Fury and can make a free weapon attack when you miss a strike.

Best Ranger spells

Rangers gain access to a limited number of spells, and their spells only go up to spell level 3.

Best Ranger spells

These are the best Ranger spells by spell level:

Level 1: Ensnaring Strike, Cure Wounds, Enhance Leap, Hunter's Mark

Level 2: Pass Without Trace

Level 3: Lightning Arrow

Best Ranger feats

Rangers can choose feats at Levels 4, 8, and 12. The best Ranger feats are:

  • Level 4: Sharpshooter
  • Level 8: Lucky
  • Level 12: Tough

Sharpshooter keeps your ranged weapon attacks from receiving any penalties when you shoot from high ground. You can also choose to take a -5 penalty to your ranged weapon attack roll in favour of dealing an additional 10 damage, which can be a useful tradeoff especially when tackling a boss that needs to be downed quickly. Lucky grants three Luck Points, which you can use to gain advantage on attack rolls, ability checks, or saving throws. You can also use them to make an enemy reroll their attack rolls. Finally, Tough is infinitely useful because it increases your Hit Point maximum by 2 for every level you have gained, which is retroactive and applies going forward for 24 points by the time you reach Level 12.

That's everything you need to develop the best Ranger build possible in Baldur's Gate 3. Once you've mastered your Ranger, you may also want to check out our guide to multiclassing. If you'd like to try an entirely different build, you can always respec your Ranger with our Baldur's Gate 3 respec guide, and if you plan to choose a new class, you'll also want to see our best builds guide for a complete overview.

Disclosure: Former RPS deputy editor Adam Smith (RPS in peace) now works at Larian and is the lead writer for Baldur's Gate 3. Former contributor Emily Gera also works on it.

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