Introduction

The Ranger is somewhat MAD, but not so much as the Monk or the Paladin. Dexterity increases are crucial, and increases to Constitution and Wisdom are helpful. Things get even more complicated with a Strength-based build because rangers only get medium armor proficiency so you also need 14 Dexterity. It’s absolutely crucial that your race supports your ability score needs.

If you’re going for a melee build, look for things that improve your durability like Constitution increases and damage resistances. Rangers get d10 hit points and can cast some healing spells, but rangers are not as durable as the Fighter and can’t heal as well as the Paladin, so you either need to make up the difference in durability or play like a bit like a rogue does.

If you’re going for a ranged build, you have more space to explore things like flight and innate spellcasting. Non-magical flight is spectacular for any ranged build, and innate spellcasting can offer

If you’re in a small party or if you’re playing your party’s Rogue-equivalent, look for additional skill proficiencies. Rangers get three skills and with the Canny Optional Class Feature they get Expertise in one thing, which is good but not enough to match a rogue, so races with extra skill proficiencies bring the Ranger closer to the Rogue’s skill capabilities.

After reading this handbook, I encourage you to read our CLASS Handbook.

Table of Contents

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Ranger Races

Keep in mind that not all races will be available in every game. Consult your DM about which races are welcome in your game, as not all settings are appropriate to every setting or even to specific campaigns within a setting which might otherwise welcome any and all races.

AarakocraEEPC

UpdatedMMoM: Flight is still great, but the reduced speed in exchange for bad innate spellcasting is not an improvement. The Fairy and the Owlin remain better options.

Customized Origin: The Aarakocra was already a great option for the Ranger, and the custom origin rules do little to change that. However, other flying options like the Fairy, the Owlin, and the Winged Tiefling offer more interesting benefits than just the ability to fly really fast.

Default Rules: Bonus Dexterity, Wisdom, and flight. A perfect archery ranger.

AasimarVGtM

UpdatedMMoM: Melee rangers should consider Radiant Consumption and ranged rangers should go for Radiant Soul. Healing Hands removes the temptation to learn Cure Wounds as an emergency healing option, leaving room in you limited spells known for more interesting things.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. Transformation is still the big reason to play the Aasimar. The damage bonus applies once per round, but it’s wasted if you don’t hit, so you want to make as many attacks as possible. Normally I would recommend an AOE damage spell, but that’s a really hard choice for the Ranger, so your best bet is to look for Advantage while you’re transformed and/or make numerous attacks against low-AC targets.

  • Fallen: The range is short so this is only viable in melee, and the DC of the fear effect is Charisma-based so it will never be reliable.
  • Protector: Flight when you need it. Ideal for archery or thrown weapon builds.
  • Scourge: Viable in melee, and a great way to handle crowds of enemies, but be sure that you have a good source of healing ready to go because it eats your hit points.

Default Rules: The Aasimar’s traits are really fun, but without a Dexterity increase your options are extremely limited.

  • Fallen: A Strength increase looks like it will be enough for a Strength-based build, but the secondary effect of Transformation is Charisma-based and the Ranger is already too MAD to survive a Charisma dependency.
  • Protector: A Wisdom increase could work with a Druidic Warrior build, but that’s the only way to make this viable.
  • Scourge: Bad ability spread.

Aasimar (DMG Variant)DMG

Customized Origin: The Ranger already gets access to Lesser Restoration and Daylight, so you’re not gaining anything new here except Darkvision and the damage resistances.

Default Rules: A Wisdom increase could work with a Druidic Warrior build, but that’s the only way to make this viable.

Air GenasiMMoM

Build around Druidic Warrior. If you have decent Wisdom, you can make Levitate meaningful. The rest isn’t great, though. Feather Fall is nice, but it doesn’t help you actively accomplish anything.

Bugbear

UpdatedMMoM: Darkvision, Stealth, and Surprise Attack. Even Long-Limbed is decently useful. Go for a two-weapon fighting or Crossbow Expert build and throw down as many attacks as possible on turn 1.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Long-limbed is great for rangers focusing on damage output durability, and Surprise Attack provides a great damage boost if you can go early in combat. I recommend building around Dexterity and Constitution, and plan to rely primarily on two-weapon fighting from just outside of your enemies reach.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: For a martial class limited to medium armor, the +1 Dexterity increase is easily enough to fill out your +2 Dexterity bonus to AC so you can focus on your Strength. Reach is nice, and you get Stealth proficiency for free, making it easier to keep up with other sneaky, skilled classes like the Rogue. The Bugbear may be one of the best options for a Strength-based ranger build. Weirdly, Surprise Attack relies on your going early in combat, which depends on you having high Dexterity. Frustrating, but not insurmountable.

Centaur

UpdatedMMoM: A good option for Strength-based builds. Grab the Mobile feat and cast Longstrider and you can manage hit-and-run attacks with Charge every turn provided that you have sufficient space.

Classic (Customized Origin)GGTR: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and Fey creature type. Rearrange the Wisdom increase into Constitution, and you’re set up for a very effective Strength-based melee build. Grab Mobile and consider casting Longstrider, and you can do hit-and-run tactics with as many attacks as two-weapon fighting while still using a shield or a two-handed weapon.

Classic (Default Rules)GGTR: An interesting choice for a Strength-based melee build. Charge provides similar benefits to two-weapon fighting while allowing you to use a shield, allowing you to achieve a unique blend of durability and speed. Throw Mobile into the mix and you can easily achieve very effective hit-and-run tactics.

Changeling

UpdatedMMoM: The Changeling’s skill options are all Charisma-based, which means that Fey Wanderer is your only easy build option,

Classic (Customized Origin)ERLW: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Shapechanger is neat, but very situational and won’t be consistently useful in most games. Instead, consider a race that can cast Disguise Self as an innate spell.

Classic (Default Rules)ERLW: Shapechanger is neat, but the Charisma increase doesn’t cater well to the Ranger’s typical skillset, and the Changeling’s skill options are mostly Charisma-based so it’s not as effective as choices like the Orc or the Tabaxi.

Deep GnomeMMoM

120 ft. Darkvision, Disguise Self so no one knows who you are, nondetection so divinations can’t spot/detect/unmask you, Svirfneblin Camouflage to complement your Stealth, and Gnomish Magic Resistance to protect you from many spells.

DragonbornPHB

Chromatic: The 30-foot line AOE is less useful for melee builds, but for ranged builds it can be helpful for keeping at a safe distance while still potentially hitting two or more targets. Chromatic Warding is helpful, but not crucial.

Gem: Better damage types offensively, but worse defensively. The cone AOE is better for melee builds, and Gem Flight can get melee builds into the air temporarily when you need to reach flying enemies. Of course, if you need a counter to flying enemies you can usually use Ensnaring Strike and throw or shoot something at the target.

Metallic: The cone AOE is better for melee builds, but the additional breath weapon options are unlikely to be effective. It makes more sense to invest in your Wisdom to improve your spells than to improve your Constitution to improve your breath weapon’s save DC since you get many more spells than breath weapon uses, which means that it’s unlikely that your breath weapon save DC will be good enough to be consistently effective with the all-or-nothing effects of the additional breath options.

Customized Origin:

  • ClassicPHB: The Dragonborn’s breath weapon is a passable way to handle crowds, but the Ranger doesn’t suffer from a lack of damage output so there’s little to be gained here..
  • DraconbloodEGtW: Forceful Presence is not useful for the Ranger.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Vengeful Assault is great on a class which frequently relies on making multiple attacks to repeatedly apply Hunter’s Mark.

Default Rules:

  • ClassicPHB: Bad ability spread.
  • DraconbloodEGtW: Bad ability spread.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Probably the best option if you want a dragonborn ranger, but you’ll still need to stick to a Strength-based build.

DuergarMMoM

Enlarge/Reduce works with ranged weapons, so even if you’re built to fight at range it’s still a helpful damage boost. Invisibility is likely more helpful since rangers are typically Dexterity-based and sneaky, and you can re-cast it using spell slots. Neither spell is on the Ranger’s spell list. Dwarven Resilience protects you from one of the most common non-weapon damage types..

DwarfPHB

For the updated version of the Duergar, see their separate race entry on this page.

Customized Origin: One +2 increase and a second increase from your subrace, poison resistance, plus a bunch of proficiencies which you’ll trade for tool proficiencies.

  • DuergarSCAG: Invisibility as an innate spell is nice, but that’s the only big appeal here. Sunlight Sensitivity is a pain, and Enlarge/Reduce isn’t especially useful for the Ranger.
  • HillPHB: Bonus hit points are always nice, especially since the Ranger’s AC tends to be slightly lower than the Fighter’s and the Paladins so you’re likely to be hit more frequently.
  • MountainPHB: On a MAD class like the Ranger, two +2 increases is a really big deal. That means that you’ve got room to easily fit a feat into your build beyond level 1. Start with 17 in two scores (probably Dexterity and Constitution), raise them both to 18 at level 4, and you’re off to a fantastic start.

Default Rules: Nice and durable, but without a Dexterity increase your options are limited.

  • DuergarSCAG: Nothing useful for the Ranger.
  • HillPHB: A bit of Wisdom works for Druidic Warrior builds, and the extra hit points reduce your reliance on Constitution which will help reduce some of the Ranger’s MAD issues.
  • MountainPHB: With no Dexterity increase, you’ll need to rely on Strength and medium armor. Get your Dexterity to 14 at first level and grab a pair of hand axes. You won’t be as sneaky as Dexterity-based rangers, but otherwise this is a solid choice for a Strength-based ranger due to the Dwarf’s natural durability and the mathematical effectiveness of two +2 increases.

Earth GenasiMMoM

Blade Ward as a bonus action adds some helpful durability, but rangers lean heavily on their bonus actions so using it will often mean a major drop in your damage output for that round. Pass Without Trace is already on the Ranger’s spell list, and you get it at the same level. The extra spell slot and spell known are nice, but not very impactful.

EladrinMMoM

Most rangers don’t get access to Misty Step, and the ones that do need to spend their limited number of spell slots to do so, so Fey Step is great for the Ranger. But rangers also tend to be less durable than other front-line martial characters, so for melee builds you might consider the Shadar-Kai as an alternative. Trance can get you proficiency in a tool like Thieves’ Tools, and Perception is among the Ranger’s best skill choices.

ElfPHB

For the updated versions of the Eladrin, the Sea Elf, and the Shadar-Kai, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, one skill (which you should leave as Perception).

  • DrowPHB: Decent in a subterranean campaign, but nothing good enough to offset Sunlight Sensitivity.
  • EladrinMToF: The teleportation is neat, but the rider effects are all Charisma-based, so avoid everything except Spring.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Trade the standard Eladrin’s rider effect for four weapon proficiencies which you’ll trade for tools. They’re roughly equivalent, so choose whichever you like better.
  • High ElfPHB: Access to Booming Blade is tempting, but using it will result in a significant reduction in damage output compared to using Hunter’s Mark with more frequent attacks.
  • Pallid ElfEGtW: With the ability to rearrange your ability scores, the Pallid Elf loses much of its appeal. Consider the Glasya Tiefling instead.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Great for melee builds, teleporting into melee with resistance to damage makes it easy to dive into melee and focus on high-priority who might be protected by their allies or otherwise difficult to reach.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Thematically excellent, but mechanically the Wood Elf has fallen far behind other racial options. Without the advantage of having perfect ability score increases, the Woof Elf’s signature traits are a tiny speed increase and Mask of the Wild, neither of which are going to make a significant difference.

Default Rules: Dexterity and free Perception proficiency.

  • DrowPHB: Nothing useful for the Ranger beyond what you get from the base elf racial traits.
  • EladrinMToF: Unless you want the rider effects on Fey Step, Shadar-Kai is strictly better.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: The Shadar-Kai’s ability score increases work better for the Ranger.
  • High Elf: Access to Booming Blade is tempting, but using it will result in a significant reduction in damage output compared to using Hunter’s Mark with more frequent attacks.
  • Pallid ElfEGtW: The same ability increases as the Wood Elf, but arguably better traits for the Ranger. The skill bonuses are good, and while the innate spellcasting isn’t great, casting Invisibility once per day is much more broadly useful than Mask of the Wild.
  • Sea ElfMToF: A great option in a game that involves a lot of water.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Dexterity and Constitution, coupled with a damage resistance and the ability to teleport are a fantastic combination for the Ranger, especially if you prefer melee combat.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Bonus Wisdom and Mask of the Wild is fantastic for Rangers. The Wood Elf is perhaps the most iconic race choice for the Ranger.

FairyWBtW / MMoM

Trading some of the Aarakocra’s speed for innate spellcasting, the Fairy is an exciting choice. Faerie Fire and Enlarge/Reduce can both be very effective for the Ranger. However, it can be difficult to make all of the Fairy’s traits effective at the same time. Faerie Fire is great, but requires high Wisdom to make it reliable, which means that you’re likely building around Shillelagh, which then means that you’re rushing into melee with poor AC due to lacking Dexterity. Your best bet is just to stick to a typical Dexterity-based archery build and be okay with the idea that Faerie Fire is going to be unreliable.

Firbolg

UpdatedMMoM: Access to Disguise Self and invisibility via Hidden Step are tempting for a class which often replaces a rogue. Speech of Beast and Leaf may not be useful since most rangers need to dump Charisma, but the Fey Wanderer can still make Charisma-based skill effective for the Ranger.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases. The innate spellcasting is somewhat situational, but thematically the Firbolg is a nice fit. Speech of Beast and Leaf can be helpful if you’re doing a lot of nature-y ranger stuff, and Hidden Step mimics the benefits of the Nature’s Veil feature a long time before you get access to it.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Decent ability increases and several excellent innate spellcasting options which fit the theme of the ranger very well.

Fire GenasiMMoM

The Ranger’s damage boost options don’t work with spell attacks, so Produce Flame is minimally useful. Burning Hands is decent at short range, and it certainly beats the Ranger’s other AOE damage options. Darkvision is great for sneaking around in the dark, and fire resistance is always good.

GenasiEEPC

For the updated versions of the Air Genasi, the Earth Genasi, the Fire Genasi, and the the Water Genasi, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), but the vast majority of the Genasi’s traits come from the subraces.

  • Air: Play a race that can fly.
  • Earth: Nothing new for the Ranger. You can already cast Pass Without Trace.
  • Fire: The Constitution-based innate spellcasting is interesting, but it won’t ge good enough to outdo weapons. Burning Hands might be helpful at low levels, but don’t expect to get much use out of Produce Flame.
  • Water: Only in an aquatic campaign.

Default Rules: Bonus Constitution is always nice.

  • Air: A bit of Dexterity, and Levitate is nice for archers provided that you don’t need to move horizontally. But at that point, why not just play a race that can fly?
  • Earth: Nothing new for the Ranger. You can already cast Pass Without Trace.
  • Fire: Bad ability spread.
  • Water: Wisdom works for Druidic Warrior builds, but I would probably only try this in an aquatic campaign.

GithMToF

For the updated versions of the Githyanki, the Githzerai, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), but the bulk of your notable racial traits come from your subrace.

  • Githyanki: After you trade away the redundant proficiencies, you’re left with one skill, five tools, and the innate spellcasting. Mage Hand is neat, but Jump is borderline useless. You’re here for Misty Step. Compare the Githyanki to the Variant Eladrin: The Variant Eladrin gets to use Misty Step on a Short Rest, and the Githyank gets to cast Mage Hand and Jump and gets one more tool proficiency. It’s not a great trade.
  • Githzerai: Resistance to common charm and fear conditions, and interesting innate spellcasting. Keep in mind that you need a free hand to cast Shield, so the Githzerai loses effectiveness unless you’re using a two-handed weapon like a polearm or a bow.

Default Rules: The Intelligence bonus is wasted on the Ranger.

  • Githyanki: The Strength bonus, one skill, and Misty Step once per day are nice, but compare that to the Shadar-Kai: the Githyanki provides similar benefits, but adds the challenges of a Strength-based build.
  • Githzerai: Tempting for a Druidic Warrior build at a glance, but you can’t cast Shield without a hand free and going without a mundane shield isn’t worth the risk, so there’s minimal benefit here.

GithyankiMMoM

An extra skill helps close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue. The innate spellcasting is helpful, but if you just want teleportation you may prefer the Eladrin, the Shadar-Kai, or the Horizon Walker subclass.

GithzeraiMMoM

Despite needing Wisdom for spells, most rangers don’t have great Wisdom saves because few rangers go beyond 14 Wisdom, making Mental Discipline a useful defense. Shield offers some extra durability, but can quickly eat through your limited spell slots, and you need a free hand to cast it. I recommend either archery or using two-handed weapons, and in both cases I recommend a subclass with a Bonus Action damage boost so that you don’t need to rely on Hunter’s Mark.

GnomePHB

For the updated version of the Deep Gnome, see their separate race entry on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace offers a +1 increase), Darkvision, and Gnome Cunning.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: You’re not saddled with Sunlight Sensitivity, but the Svirfneblin still doesn’t offer enough that it’s useful outside of a subterranean campaign.
  • ForestPHB: Minor Illusion is great. It’s easy to compare the Forest Gnome to the High Elf: you give up the ability to pick your cantrip and a skill in exchange for Gnome Cunning.
  • RockPHB: Tinker is not useful enough to make this appealing.

Default Rules: Gnome Cunning is always nice, but the Intelligence is wasted.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: A bit of Dexterity and Stone Camouflage are tempting, but not enough to make this viable unless you’re in a subterranean campaign.
  • ForestPHB: A bit of Dexterity is nice, and Minor Illusion can do a lot before you care about your terrible Intelligence. Speak With Small Beasts is amusing, and if anyone’s going to make it useful it’s the Ranger.
  • RockPHB: Bad ability spread.

Goblin

UpdatedMMoM: Nimble Escape helps you get out of melee when you need to, enabling hit-and-run tactics and protecting ranged builds from getting dragged into melee. Fury of the Small is a nice damage boost.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Nimble Escape helps you get out of melee when you need to, enabling hit-and-run tactics and protecting ranged builds from getting dragged into melee. Fury of the Small is a nice damage boost.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Great ability increases, and Nimble Escape gives you the important parts of Cunning Action.

Goliath

UpdatedMMoM: Athletics proficiency and damage resistance. Stone’s Endurance will help make up the durability gap between the Ranger and the Fighter caused by the Ranger’s slightly lower AC.

Classic (Customized Origin)EEPC: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and damage resistance. Stone’s Endurance will help make up the durability gap between the Ranger and the Fighter caused by the Ranger’s slightly lower AC.

Classic (Default Rules)EEPC: A viable option for a Strength-based build. Stone’s Endurance will help make up the durability gap between the Ranger and the Fighter caused by the Ranger’s slightly lower AC.

Half-ElfPHB

Customized Origin: For a MAD class like the Ranger, three ability increases is a huge benefit. You also get Darkvision and Fey Ancestry.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: The innate spellcasting is Charisma-based so it’s minimally useful. Darkness is the only part that you’ll benefit from consistently, and you can get that from several varieties of Tiefling which may be a better fit.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Booming Blade is your best bet, but rangers typically rely on the damage boost from Hunter’s Mark, so reducing your number of attacks by relying on Booming Blade will reduce your damage output.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: The combination of three increases, two skills, and Darkvision makes the Half-elf an excellent go-to race option for the Ranger. The ability increases allow you to be effective in the Ranger’s full breadth of capabilities without making huge sacrifices, and the two skills close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue, allowing you to thrive in non-combat roles, too.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: The Wood Elf is a decent package for the Ranger, but breaking up their traits and making you pick one of them is a terrible trade. The Wood Elf is a much better option than a Wood Half-Elf.

Default Rules:

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only if you’re in an aquatic campaign, and even then the Aquatic Elf is a better choice for the Ranger.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: The innate spellcasting is nice, but it’s Charisma-based so you’ll find that Faerie Fire is unreliable.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Booming Blade is your best bet, but rangers typically rely on the damage boost from Hunter’s Mark, so reducing your number of attacks by relying on Booming Blade will reduce your damage output.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: The skills are great on a highly-skilled class like a Ranger.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: The Wood Elf is a decent package for the Ranger, but breaking up their traits and making you pick one of them is a terrible trade. The Wood Elf is a much better option than a Wood Half-Elf.

Half-OrcPHB

Customized Origin: It’s nice to not be locked into a Strength-based build, but rearranging ability scores doesn’t address the big problem that the Half-orc’s most distinguishing trait is only impressive with a greataxe so half-orc players will likely keep their ability increases right where they started.

Default Rules: Passable for a Strength-based build, but Savage Attacks won’t be noteworthy since you’re likely using two-weapon fighting with weapons that use d6 damage dice. Consider the full Orc instead.

HalflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Brave, and Lucky. A great starting point.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Silent Speech is great for stealth, but unfortunately won’t work with a Beast Companion because none of the available companion choices can learn languages. You’ll need to use it to communicate with the humanoids in your party instead.
  • LightfootPHB: Naturally Stealthy is only situationally useful without Cunning Action to enable you to hide in combat without sacrificing your Action.
  • LotusdenEGtW: Great for any ranger, but the innate spellcasting is especially effective for Druidic Warrior builds. You may choose to rearrange the ability score increases, but Dexterity/Wisdom still works great so you may not need to do so.
  • StoutPHB: Poison resistance is really nice. Poison damage is common.

Default Rules: A Dexterity increase, Brave, and Lucky. Basically any subrace will work with those traits as a basis.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: A wisdom bonus is fantastic for your spellcasting. Silent Speech is cool, too, but unfortunately won’t work with a Beast Companion because none of the available companion choices can learn languages, so you’ll need to use it to communicate with the humanoids in your party instead.
  • LightfootPHB: The Charisma is wasted, and Naturally Stealthy isn’t as useful for the Ranger as it is for the Rogue.
  • LotusdenEGtW: Great for any ranger, but the Wisdom increase and innate spellcasting are especially effective for Druidic Warrior builds.
  • StoutPHB: Bonus Constitution and resistance to poison.

HarengonWBtW / MMoM

The Harengon’s traits bring the Ranger a bit closer to the Rogue in many ways. The additional skill proficiency reduces the skill gap, Lucky Footwork brings you closer to Evasion, and Rabbit Hop can help in place of Cunning Action. If you’re debating between a rogue and a ranger, a harengon ranger is a great way to split the difference.

Hobgoblin

UpdatedMMoM: Rangers use their Bonus Action heavily, making Fey Gift difficult to use in combat. The Hospitality option works fine, but if that’s all you want, play a variant human and take Eldritch Adept (Fiendish Vigor).

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and three proficiencies which you’ll trade for tool proficiencies. The Hobgoblin’s noteworthy feature is Saving Face. It provides a great way to turn near-miss failed rolls into successes, especially if you have numerous allies nearby. This provides great insurance against problematic saving throws, but you generally shouldn’t waste it on an attack roll.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Human

Customized Origin:

  • Standard: With perfect ability scores on the table for every race, there is no reason to play the Standard Human.
  • Variant: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Variant Human.

Default Rules: Versatile and fantastic at everything.

  • Vanilla: Half of the bonuses are totally wasted, but the Ranger is fairly MAD so the vanilla human’s numerous increases may somehow work out. A Strength-based build could more easily afford to hit 16 Strength, and 14 in Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom than most characters.
  • Variant: You can get crucial bonuses to your Dexterity and either Constitution or Wisdom, and you can get an awesome feat at level 1.

KalashtarERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases. Resistance to psychic damage is nice, though psychic damage isn’t common. Dual Mind provides an important defense, but other options like the Yuan-Ti Pureblood and the Verdan are more appealing and may be more broadly effective at protecting you from stuff that hurts your brains.

Default Rules: An exciting choice for a Druidic Warrior build, the Kalashtar’s Wisdom increase and mental defenses are exciting, but they have nothing that makes them more physically durable and they don’t get additional skills so their capabilities as a ranger are very limited.

KenkuVGtM

UpdatedMMoM: Two skills and the Advantage mechanic from Kenku recall do a lot to close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Expert Forgery and Mockery aren’t particularly impactful.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Fantastic ability increases, and the free skills help close the skill gap between rangers and rogues. Be sure to pick up Thieves’ Tools proficiency if you’re playing your party’s Rogue-equivalent.

Kobold

UpdatedMMoM: Rangers often lean heavily on their Bonus Action, and few of the Kobold Legacy options are great for the ranger. If you’re your party’s primary front-line martial character, go for Defiant. If you need skills, Craft may help despite the limited skill choices.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2 increase and Darkvision. The Customizing Your Origin optional rule does little to change the Kobold unless you’re dead set on a Strength-based build for some reason. Pack Tactics is still great, and Sunlight Sensitivity is still a pain, but Pack Tactics conveniently provides a way to negate it.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: A Dexterity increase and Darkvision are a great start. Pack Tactics is absolutely unfair. Make as many attacks as you possibly can, and your damage output will be reliably high. If you need an easy way to keep an ally in melee, play a Beast Master and keep your companion in melee with your target.

LeoninMOoT

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Daunting Roar provides a great crowd control effect, and since the DC is Constitution-based it should be reasonably reliable, assuming you go for a Dexterity-based build so you’re not extremely MAD.

Default Rules: A possibility for Strength-based builds, but you may struggle to keep your Constitution high enough to keep Daunting Roar effective.

Lizardfolk

UpdatedMMoM: Two skills and natural armor. If you’re fine with Hungry Jaws being unreliable, you can build around Dexterity and hit 20 AC with a shield and 20 Dexterity.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and natural armor. If you’re fine with Hungry Jaws being unreliable, you can build around Dexterity and hit 20 AC with a shield and 20 Dexterity.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Extremely durable, though the lack of a Strength or Dexterity you’ll likely want to pursue a Druidic Warrior build. The Lizardfolk’s natural armor will allow you to exceed the AC offered by light or medium armor once you reach 20 Dexterity, though that will likely take a long time to achieve.

LocathahLR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Leviathan Will. Among the better aquatic options, Leviathan Will provides a robust defensive option against a long list of harmful status conditions which any adventurer is sure to face.

Default Rules: Increases to both Strength and Dexterity make it easier to build a Strength-based build because you can more easily afford 16 Strength and 14 Dexterity without making sacrifices elsewhere, though sticking to Dexterity still works fine. Two additional skills help close the skill gap with Rogue, and Leviathan Will protects you from several annoying status conditions. Taken as a whole, the Locathah is a versatile and capable race which can work in a variety of builds.

LoxodonGGTR

Customized Origin: The Loxodon’s natural armor works equally well for Strength-based and Wisdom-based builds, allowing you to dump Dexterity without sacrificing crucial AC. In fact, a Strength-based build would allow you to use Trunk in combat (though it’s mostly a novelty since the rules for where your hands are during a Grapple/Shove are ambiguous), so a high-Strength loxodon ranger could do very well without the normal MAD issues typically of Strength-based builds.

Default Rules: An excellent option for a Druidic Warrior build, though not a good choice for other builds. The Loxodon’s natural armor is Constitution-based, and with the Loxodon’s Constitution increase you can easily match the AC progress of rangers in light armor while splitting your increases between just two ability scores instead of three or four as is typical for the Ranger. Beyond that, the Loxodon’s other traits provide defenses against common charm and fear conditions and some situational bonuses to Wisdom-based skills which you’ll be very well-suited to use.

Minotaur

UpdatedMMoM: Hammering Horns is of limited usefulness to the Ranger, and without their signature trait there is little reason to play a minotaur.

Classic (Customized Origin)GGTR: Hammering Horns is of limited usefulness to the Ranger, and without their signature trait there is little reason to play a minotaur.

Classic (Default Rules)GGTR: While the Minotaur is typically a great choice for Strength-based characters, it’s a hard choice for the Ranger. Hammering Horns eats your Bonus Action, which is hard for rangers since you typically rely on two-weapon fighting or some other Bonus Action damage boost (Planar Warrior, etc.). You also never get more than two attacks, so unlike the Fighter you won’t get much benefit out of knocking a foe prone since you’ll get at most one attack against them before they can stand back up.

Orc

UpdatedMMoM: Rangers lean heavily on their Bonus Action, so using Adrenaline Rush presents a significant reduction to your damage output which is often hard to justify. If you want the temporary hit points, go for variant human and take Eldritch Adept to get Fiendish Vigor.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, two skills. A great option for any melee build, Aggressive allows you to quickly close to melee without sacrificing your Action to Dash, but keep in mind that it will conflict with crucial Bonus Action options like two-weapon fighting, Hunter’s Mark, and many subclass features, so your first round will necessarily result in less damage output than you might expect if you spend your Bonus Action to get into melee. Compare that to the Tabaxi, which provides similar benefits but is less dependent on your Bonus Action.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: A good option for an aggressive Strength-based melee build, the Orc’s Aggressive helps close to melee quickly, and the two skills help to close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue. Where the Goliath is sturdy and safe, the Orc is comparably high risk but also high reward.

OwlinSCoC

Flight, Darkvision, and Stealth proficiency are perfect for nearly any ranger. You’ll likely want to fight at range to capitalize on flight.

Satyr

UpdatedMMoM: Rangers typically don’t make good Face characters, and the proficiencies won’t fix that. Magic Resistance is nice, but that’s basically all that you care about in most cases. Fey Wanderer gets a bit more since the proficiencies are more meaningful.

Classic (Customized Origin)MOoT: +2/+1 increases, two skills, Fey creature type, and Magic Resistance. Not quite as durable as the Yuan-Ti Pureblood, but you give up that durability for extra skills which are important on a class like the Ranger which is generally serving as the party’s rogue-equivalent.

Classic (Default Rules)MOoT: Basically just a +1 Dexterity increase and Magic Resistance. Everything else is hard for the Ranger to use.

Sea ElfMMoM

A great option in an aquatic campaign. The Ranger’s magic options aren’t nearly so numerous as the Druids, so built-in water breathing is great for rangers in an aquatic campaign. You can cast Animal Friendship, but Friend of the Sea is a passable substitute (assuming that you’re underwater), and with limited spells known that’s a helpful asset. Perception is a great skill for the Ranger, and you can use Trance to get proficiency in Thieves’ Tools, helping to close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue.

Shadar-KaiMMoM

A better teleportation than the Eladrin if you’re building for melee.

Shifter

UpdatedMMoM: Rangers already lean very heavily on their Bonus Action, but if you can manage the action economy, Shifting is helpful. Beasthide is great for melee builds. Longtooth is helpful for some Strength-based melee builds, offering you as many attacks as a two-weapon fighting build while still allowing you to use a shield. Swiftstride is tempting for archery builds, but if you’re worried about getting stuck in melee you can cast Zephyr Strike. Unfortunately, the skill options aren’t great.

Customized OriginERLW: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), Darkvision, and one skill. The Shifter’s signature trait is Shifting, which is a Bonus Action combat buff which works great but can compete with the Ranger’s numerous other uses for their Bonus Action (Hunter’s Mark, Two-Weapon Fighting, subclass features like Planar Warrior, etc.). It’s a decent buff on its own, and your subrace will offer additional effects.

  • Beasthide: A bigger pool of temporary hit points and a modest AC bonus can help melee rangers stand on the front lines unassisted for short periods.
  • Longtooth: An interesting way to get an extra attack from your Bonus Action. The attack is Strength-based, so this works best on Strength-based melee builds which aren’t using two-weapon fighting.
  • Swiftstride: A good option for archery builds. Use the Shifting Feature to safely escape enemies who attempt to engage you in melee. On your turn, shoot them from 10 ft. away, then move to safety. Of course, the Goblin can do this without limit, so while this is a good benefit it’s not unique.
  • Wildhunt: The shifting feature is borderline useless.

Default RulesERLW: Many subraces of the Shifter are good options for the Ranger, though Shifting may compete with your Bonus Action if you rely heavily on Hunter’s Mark.

  • Beasthide: Strength is a hard choice for the Ranger, but not impossible, and the additional durability from Beasthide’s Shifting can let the Ranger stand as a front-line Defender for brief periods.
  • Longtooth: If you’re fighting in melee and not using two-weapon fighting, you’re not using your Bonus Action to get extra damage out of Hunter’s Mark. This offers a way to do that while still using either a shield or a two-handed weapon, though remember that the attack is Strength-based so you’ll either need to build around Strength or you’ll need to suffer having an unreliable bite attacj.
  • Swiftstride: A good option for archery builds. Use the Shifting Feature to safely escape enemies who attempt to engage you in melee. On your turn, shoot them from 10 ft. away, then move to safety. Of course, the Goblin can do this without limit, so while this is a good benefit it’s not unique.
  • Wildhunt: The best ability spread of the Shifter’s subraces, but the Shifting Feature is nearly unusable for the Ranger.

Simic HybridGGTR

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Simic Hybrid. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: Fantastic and versatile, but the Ranger can replicate most of the Animal Enhancement options using either spells or class features so the Simic Hybrid’s usefulness is diminished compared to many other classes.

Tabaxi

UpdatedMMoM: Climb speed, Darkvision, two of the Ranger’s favorite skills. The extra skills help close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue, making it even easier to serve as your party’s Scout, but the Tabaxi just isn’t as good as comparable races like the Half-Elf and the Kenku.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, two skills. Feline Agility is the Tabaxi’s signature trait. It’s roughly equivalent to the Orc’s Aggressive, but it also allows you to run away (rather than only toward an enemy) and doesn’t eat your Bonus Action so it’s arguably a little better.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Kenku is a better option, but the two provide similar benefits.

TieflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and damage resistance. Most subraces/variants offer innate spellcasting of some kind. The innate spellcasting is Charisma-based, so anything which requires an attack or a save is difficult for the Ranger to use.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: Hellish Rebuke will be unreliable, so just expect it to always deal half damage. Darkness is the biggest benefit here, but remember that you don’t have a way to see in magical darkness.
  • BaalzebulMToF: The spells are too offensive to be useful.
  • DispaterMToF: Situational utility options.
  • FiernaMToF: The spells are too offensive to be useful.
  • GlasyaMToF: The Innate Spellcasting provides some useful stealth options which feel at home on the Arcane Trickster, but which are not typically available to rangers.
  • LevistusMToF: Ray of Frost and Armor of Agathys will be useless, so this is strictly worse than the Asmodeus Tiefling.
  • MammonMToF: Situational utility options.
  • MephistophelesMToF: The spells are too offensive to be useful.
  • ZarielMToF: The spells are too offensive to be useful.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: The Customizing Your Origin optional rules make the Feral variant obsolete. All it does is rearrange your ability score increases.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: The spells are too offensive to be useful.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is a harder choice because it takes your Action and the save DC will be too low for it to be reliable.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight in up to medium armor. You trade some of the Aarakocra’s speed for Darkvision, damage resistance, and some innate spellcasting that’s not going to be particularly effective, but it’s still a good trade. The Owlin is likely a better option, but the Winged Tiefling is still good.

Default Rules: The standard Tiefling’s ability scores are terrible for a Ranger, but the other traits are fun, and the Feral variant subrace does a bit better. The biggest issue is that Charisma does very little for the Ranger, the Charisma increase is one of the Tiefling’s biggest benefits, and all of the Tiefling’s innate spellcasting options are Charisma-based. Your best bet is to combine the Feral variant with a subrace which provides usable spellcasting or with the Winged variant.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: Bad ability spread, but workable if you combine it with the Feral variant.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Bad ability spread, and the spells are too offensive to be salvageable.
  • DispaterMToF: Bad ability spread, but workable if you combine it with the Feral variant.
  • FiernaMToF: Bad ability spread, and the spells are too offensive to be salvageable.
  • GlasyaMToF: When combined with the Feral variant, this works very well for the Ranger. The Innate Spellcasting provides some useful stealth options which feel at home on the Arcane Trickster, but which are not typically available to rangers.
  • LevistusMToF: Ray of Frost and Armor of Agathys will be useless, so this is strictly worse than the Asdmodeus Tiefling.
  • MammonMToF: Bad ability spread, and the spells are too situational to justify.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Bad ability spread, and the spells are too situational to justify.
  • ZarielMToF: Bad ability spread, and the spells are too offensive to be salvageable.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Dexterity is enough to get a viable ranger.

    According to the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, the Feral Variant is compatible with other variants.

  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Bad ability spread, and the spells are too offensive to be salvageable.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is a harder choice because it takes your Action and the save DC wiull be too low for it to be reliable.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: The Ranger is one of few classes where the Winged Tiefling is a worse choice than the Aarakocra. It’s still a good choice, but the Aarakocra’s ability increases are sligthly better for the Ranger.

TortleTP / MMoM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and natural armor. Having your AC fixed at 17 means that Strength-based and Wisdom-based builds are both considerably easier because you don’t need to raise Dexterity to 14 to max out medium armor.

Default Rules: Tortle natural armor matches the AC cap for medium armor. That means that you get the same AC as other Strength-based rangers without needing to get 14 Dexterity to fill out your armor and without suffering Disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks, allowing you to easily focus one increasing other ability scores instead. The Tortle’s ability scores are perfect for a Strength-based ranger, and you even get Survival for free.

Triton

UpdatedMMoM: Cold resistance and Darkvision are always great, Emissary of the Sea offers allows you to nonviolently handle some creatures that might otherwise require spells like Animal Friendship, and innate spellcasting offers some additional utility options, but the spells aren’t amazing.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: Three +1 increases (rare prior to Monsters of the Multiverse), Darkvision, amphibious, and some innate spellcasting. Like the half-elf, having three increases is great for a MAD class like the Ranger. Unfortunately, the innate spellcasting is situational and Charisma-based so the Triton isn’t quite as effective as the standard Half-Elf.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Not awful, but the triton doesn’t complement the ranger’s spellcasting or skills.

VedalkenGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, one tool. Vedalken Dispassion is a powerful defense, and Tireless Precision can provide useful bonuses with skills and tools, not quite matching the Rogue’s Expertise, but still making up part of the gap.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread. You can go for a Wisdom-based build, but those are already hard and trying to limp along with nothing but a +1 Wisdom increase is extremely difficult.

VerdanAcInc

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Telepathic Insight protects you from the most common mental saves. Black Blood Healing will help pad your hit dice a little bit, but it’s not going to work reliably due to the Ranger’s d10 hit die so it’s not a lot of extra healing. Limited Telepathy is great for sneaky rangers.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

WarforgedERLW

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Warforged. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: The ability increases work fine thanks to the flexibility ability increase, and the bonus resistances and bonus AC make you abnormally durable for a ranger.

Water GenasiMMoM

If you want to attack at range, use a bow. The leveled spells are only situationally useful, and Water Walk is already on the Ranger’s spell list.

Yuan-Ti

UpdatedMMoM: Darkvision, poison resistance, and Magic Resistance. A good package for a durable ranger. The innate spellcasting is garbage, but spamming Animal Friendship on snakes feels like a thing that rangers would do, so maybe you can make it useful somehow.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, poison immunity, and Magic Resistance. A good package for a durable ranger. The innate spellcasting is garbage, but spamming Animal Friendship on snakes feels like a thing that rangers would do, so maybe you can make it useful somehow.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Dragonmarks

Dragonmarked DwarfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Warding: While most of the benefits are situational, Mark of Warding has some interesting benefits for a Dexterity-based ranger. The bonus with Thieves’ Tools isn’t quite as good as Expertise, but it’s helpful. Mage Armor is +1 AC compared to the best light armor and lasts 8 hours, providing a consistent increas in durability. Armor of Agathys is new to the Ranger’s spell list, and provides both an easy source of temporary hit points and a way to punish enemies for hitting you. Taken as a whole, Mark of Warding easily makes up for the AC gap between the Fighter and the Ranger.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Warding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Shadow: You almost certainly won’t benefit from the Persuasion bonus, but the remainder of the subrace’s traits give the Ranger a lot of capabilities similar to the Arcane Tricksters. Combined with the Elf’s base traits, this is an excellent way to split the difference between the Ranger and the Rogue.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Shadow: The base Dexterity increase from the Elf is a great start, and Mark of Shadow’s new spellcasting adds numerous interesting options which typically aren’t available to the Ranger.
Dragonmarked GnomeERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Scribing: The skills and innate spellcasting don’t help the Ranger, and the spells which are new to the Ranger’s spell list are very situational.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Scribing: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked Half-ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace some of your normal racial traits, as described in the entry for each Dragonmark.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Detection: See Invisibility is a great addition to the Ranger, and the expanded divination options help improve your capabilities as a Scout.
  • Mark of Storm: Everything here is situational, so you may have trouble making the racial traits and new spells consistently useful.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Detection: The flexible ability increase can go into Strength or Dexterity (probably Dexterity), and the added divination options allow the Ranger to expand their already excellent scouting capabilities.
  • Mark of Storm: The ability increases are good enough, and the spells add some interesting options, but most of them are very situational so you may not get a lot out of the new spell options.
Dragonmarked Half-OrcERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: This is a great fit for a high-Wisdom ranger, even if you’re not primarily built around Wisdom. The skill bonuses are both on Wisdom-based skills, and while many of the dragonmark spells are already on the Ranger’s spell list, you get some great new additions like Faerie Fire.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: Workable for a Druidic Warrior build, but the spells aren’t good enough to make you viable unless you’re using Wisdom in combat.
Dragonmarked HalflingERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Healing: The added healing options allow you to cover many of the core healing options which typically require a dedicated divine spellcaster. Granted, Cure Wounds and Lesser Restoration are already on the Ranger’s spell list, but this adds the ever-crucial Healing Word, and reduces the strain on your limited number of spell slots and spells known.
  • Mark of Hospitality: The most interesting addition to your spell list is Aid, which is already available if you’re using the Additional Ranger Spells Optional Class Feature.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Healing: Great ability score increases, and the added healing options allow you to cover many of the core healing options which typically require a dedicated divine spellcaster. Granted, Cure Wounds and Lesser Restoration are already on the Ranger’s spell list, but this adds the ever-crucial Healing Word, and reduces the strain on your limited number of spell slots and spells known.
  • Mark of Hospitality: The ability score increases include a crucial Dexterity increase, but the spellcasting isn’t as good as what you get from Mark of Healing, and the skills aren’t helpful either.
Dragonmarked HumanERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your normal racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: If there is anyone who can use Mark of Handling well, it’s the Ranger, but even that it is a stretch. The ability score increases are good, the skill bonuses are good, and you get several spells from the Druid spell list which expand your ability to work with animals. But that doesn’t solve the issue that Beasts and low-Intelligence Monstrosities are a small portion of the monster manual, so the whole spell list is situational at best.
  • Mark of Making: Magic Weapon for free is an interesting choice, and the innate version that you get doesn’t require Concentration so you can combine it with things like Hunter’s Mark. A ranger with Fighting Style (Archery) would be exceptionally accurate. The added spells also offer some great options like Elemental Weapon and Stone Shape.
  • Mark of Passage: Access to spells like Misty Step and Dimension Door offer some very exciting transportation options for the Ranger.
  • Mark of Sentinel: The skill bonuses are both excellent for the Ranger, and the spellcasting adds numerous excellent options to protect your and your allies. Wisdom-based builds may find Compelled Duel and Counterspell appealing, but if you’re built around Strength or Dexterity you can still benefit greatly from spells like Shield and Shield of Faith.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: If there is anyone who can use Mark of Handling well, it’s the Ranger, but even that it is a stretch. The ability score increases are good, the skill bonuses are good, and you get several spells from the Druid spell list which expand your ability to work with animals. But that doesn’t solve the issue that Beasts and low-Intelligence Monstrosities are a small portion of the monster manual, so the whole spell list is situational at best.
  • Mark of Making: The ability score increases are workable, and there are some interesting spellcasting options.
  • Mark of Passage: Perfect ability score increases, and the spellcasting adds capabilities normally limited to the Horizon Walker. In fact, a mark of passage horizon walker ranger would be an incredible master of teleportation and quick movement.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Without a Strength or Dexterity increase you’re limited to Wisdom-based Druidic Warrior builds, but that may actually be the best choice anyway. Compelled Duel requires saving throws from the target, and having a reliably high spell DC will allow you to use it to reliably draw attention away from your allies. But be cautious if you go that route: you’re not as durable as a paladin.

Lineages

Published in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and beyond, no Lineage exists prior to the introduction of the Customizing Your Origin rules, and as such each lineage has flexible ability score increases. Every Lineage has the choice of +2/+1 increases or three +1 increases except for the Custom Lineage which only receives a single +2 increase.

Lineages are applied on top of a base race. While the Custom Lineage isn’t affected by your base race, the three lineages published in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft (Dhampir, Hexblade, and Reborn) borrow from your base race thanks to the Ancestral Legacy trait. Despite selecting a base race, you do not count as a member of your race for the purposes of any other effect, such as qualifying for feats or using magic items.

Custom LineageTCoE

The only ability score that the Ranger absolutely needs is Dexterity, so +2 to Dexterity, a feat, and Darkvision is a fantastic starting point for the Ranger. Of course, Rangers can cast Darkvision (though not until 5th level), so you might prefer the skill proficiency instead.

DhampirVGTR

The Dhampir is an interesting choice which encourages an unusual build. Spider Climb is great for infiltration, especially if you want to use Ancestral Legacy for the skills. Building around Constitution and medium armor can make you unusually durable for a ranger in exchange for being worse at Stealth. Vampiric Bite’s ability to empower skill checks can help offset Disadvantage from half-plate, but remember that you can only do that a few times per day and your DM might ask for multiple Stealth checks in quick succession.

HexbloodVGTR

Hex is mostly redundant with Hunter’s Mark, but it’s effects are easier to apply, so you can rely on Hex and save yourself a spell known. Eerie token offers a useful tool while Scouting, and Ancestral Legacy can get you two skills or a new move speed (probably flight).

RebornVGTR

A good choice for melee builds, the Reborn’s traits add some durability to the ranger which will help you survive in melee alongside more durable characters like the Fighter and the Paladin. If you want to fight at range, the Reborn’s racial traits are much less useful, so consider other race options.