The Horizon Walker is a Striker, plain and simple. It does give the ranger some non-combat options related to traveling the planes, but the vast majority of the time you’re just a ranger with some multiverse-themed combat options. It’s not an especially complex subclass, but it’s strong and easy to play effectively without much work.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.

Horizon Walker Ranger Features

does provide other benefits that you might want.
  1. Horizon Walker Magic: Almost all excellent options.
    • 3rd-Level: An absolutely fantastic buff.
    • 5th-Level: Fantastic, especially if you’re built for melee.
    • 9th-Level: One of the best buffs in the game, and it gets better the more allies you have. The extra attack also gives you another chance to apply the bonus damage from Planar Warrior. You might look at Haste’s additional action alongside Distant Strike and think that you can trigger Distant Strike’s additional attack twice. You do get the teleportation, but since you only make one attack there’s no way to attack two creatures to get the extra attack. It’s often more efficient to cast Elemental Weapon if all you care about is damage output, but Haste also provides movement and defensive buffs which you might want.
    • 13th-Level: A wonderful spell, but you likely don’t have the Wisdom to back it up with a decent spell DC unless you’re built around Druidic Warrior, which is a poor choice for the Horizon Walker.
    • 17th-Level: One of the safest and easiest ways to transport your entire party long distances, but full casters have been casting this since level 9.
  2. Detect Portal: Situational. In most games this won’t matter much, but in a plane-hopping campaign it could be extremely useful.
  3. Planar Warrior: Since this consumes your Bonus Action, two-weapon fighting and other sources of bonus action attacks like Crossbow Expert generally won’t work well for you, and the damage boost from Hunter’s Mark is rarely worth the spell slot and action cost to cast or re-target it. Despite shaking up much of the typical ranger build strategy, the benefits are excellent. Bonus damage, and weapon damage on the affected attack all becomes force damage (which is resisted by almost nothing). It only works once per turn, so you may be able to do more total damage by investing heavily in two-weapon fighting or taking Crossbow Expert, but this is free, it scales on its own at level 11, and without the need for two-weapon fighting, melee rangers can easily justify using a shield.
  4. Ethereal Step: One round is frequently all you need. Walk through walls or doors or slip past enemies (including those which have Blindsight or can see invisibility). Etherealness even lets you move upward or downward, allowing you to move through floors and ceilings (albeit at half the rate as moving horizontally).
  5. Distant Strike: The teleportation is on top of your normal movement. If you have two enemies to attack in a small enough area, you could teleport back and forth between the two while attacking in order to trigger the additional attack from Distant Strike. This isn’t limited to melee, so this gets much easier with ranged weapons, allowing you to teleport out of melee before attacking multiple targets, and then easily triggering the additional attack.

    You don’t need to hit both targets, so think of the additional attack from Distant Strike as a free attack against a different enemy while you’re busy focusing on your primary target.Consider casting Haste before you jump into combat. The additional attack provided by Haste is an Attack action, so it qualifies for triggering Distant Strike’s teleportation (though not another free attack since the Haste action only gets you one attack), allowing you to teleport and attack four times (2 from Extra Attack, one from Haste, one from Distant Strike) in a turn without using your bonus action. You can still use your Bonus Action to engage in two-weapon fighting, but it won’t trigger the teleportation because it’s not part of the Attack action.

  6. Spectral Defense: You don’t need to use this until you get hit, so if your AC is decent and you manage to avoid drawing too many attacks, this can prevent a ton of damage. Spectral Defense works against all forms of attacks, including spell attacks, but since it gives you resistance to the damage it won’t stack with any other resistances. This isn’t quite as good as Uncanny Dodge (which halves the damage rather than granting Resistance to it), but it’s close.

Horizon Walker Ranger Ability Scores

No different from typical rangers.

Horizon Walker Ranger Races

Little different from typical rangers. The limited appealing feat options may make custom lineage and human less appealing, but otherwise there are few unique interactions between the Horizon Walker Ranger and any given race.

Horizon Walker Ranger Feats

For the most part, the Horizon Walker’s feat options are the same as those for any other ranger. However, you want to avoid options which will consume your Bonus Action like Crossbow Expert, and you should pay careful attention to the DPR math when considering feats like Sharpshooter. You should also avoid the damage type feats because Planar Warrior changes the damage type of your first hit, making the feats considerably less reliable.

That eliminates some of the most popular feat options available to rangers, which means that there are few appealing feat options. Feats which provide useful defenses and which rely on your Reaction remain good options, as do feats like Skill Expert which can close the skill gap between the Ranger and the Rogue.

Horizon Walker Ranger Weapons

No different from typical rangers.

Horizon Walker Ranger Armor

No different from typical rangers.


Little different from typical rangers, but avoid classes which give you other ways to use your Bonus Action like monk and rogue. You need that for Planar Warrior.

Example Build – Extraplanar Gunner

This is a high-damage striker build, plain and simple. We’ll have plenty of skills to serve as a Scout so your party won’t miss having a rogue in the party, and between firearms, spells, and Planar Warrior, we’ll deal plenty of damage. The subclass itself isn’t complex to play, but we can squeeze a lot of value out of it by looking at our DPR progression in great detail.

Since we’ve rated the Horizon Walker blue, we’ll use all of the optional ranger class features except Nature’s Veil, as described in our Ranger Handbook’s section on Optional Class Features. The build will still function without these changes, but they certainly make the Ranger more satisfying to play and cover some gaps in effectiveness. Even with all of it, the Horizon Walker’s capabilities in combat aren’t so amazing that they’ll cause trouble in your game.

Ability Scores

We’ll take the ability scores for Dexterity-based rangers suggested in our Ranger Handbook. We’ll put our +2 into Dexterity and our +1 into Wisdom.



MotM Bugbear. We get +2/+1 ability scores, Surprise Attack, proficiency in Stealth to keep up with the Rogue’s larger number of skills, and Surprise Attack for bonus damage when we roll well on initiative. Bugbears are also descended from fey, which feels appropriate for a horizon walker.

There are a ton of great race options here. I also considered centaur, goblin, harengon, orc, and tortle, and any of those options would work great here with little change to the build or tactics.


Far Traveler. It feels thematically appropriate since we’re traveling the planes. Insight and Perception are good skills for the Ranger, and we can trade the instrument/language proficiencies for thieves’ tools and another tool like land vehicles.

Skills and Tools

We’ll take Investigation, Nature, and Perception from our three class skills. We get Stealth from our race, Insight from our background, and we can trade redundant Perception for something else. We could take animal handling or survival, but neither are especially useful. We’ll get two tools, and one of them should be thieves’ tools.


At level 4, we’ll take Gunner. We have an odd-numbered ability score, so there’s room for a hybrid feat. This gets us +1 Dexterity and we can upgrade from a crossbow to a musket.

At level 12, we take Sharpshooter. The math is explained below. It’s complicated.

Beyond that we have two feat slots where we can take whatever we want. Gift of the Chromatic Dragon, Skill Expert, and Resilient are all good options. You might also take Ability Score Increases to boost Wisdom so that you can use Banishment effectively.


Level Feat(s) and Features Notes and Tactics
– Stealth
Favored Foe (1d4)
For our starting equipment, take leather armor, two short swords, either pack, and the longbow.

This level is pretty dry. Jumping into melee with the two short swords works great, especially if you can get Surprise Attack and try to apply it twice on round 1. Favored Foe provides a small damage bonus, but against bigger foes it’s helpful.

We have great skills to serve as our party’s Scout, so we’re very helpful both in and out of combat.
2Fighting Style (Archery)
Spells Known:
– Entangling Strike
– Zephyr Strike
By now you should have a bit more gold. Drop your longbow and grab a heavy crossbow. It’s a minor upgrade over a longbow, but we’re trying to squeeze every bit of damage out of this build that we can. Between upgrading from d8 damage die to a d10 and Fighting Style (Archery), our DPR gets a nice boost.

For spells we’re going to take Entangling Strike to handle big single enemies and Zephyr Strike to get us out of melee if we’re in a pinch. We could instead take Hunter’s Mark and retrain it at level 3, but Favored Foe is likely sufficient for the brief time that we’ll be at level 2.
3Ranger Archetype: Horizon Walker
Primal Awareness
Horizon Walker Magic
Detect Portal
Planar Warrior (1d8)
New Spell Known:
– Entangle
At level 3 we go from a cool explorer to a real explorer of the planes. Detect Portal lets us find nearby portals, which is helpful both when you need to hop planes and when you need to avoid accidentally falling into the Feywild or something. If you’re in a Planescape game, it will see a lot of use.

Horizon Walker Magic and Primal Awareness both add some spells known to handle specific situational challenges. Protection From Evil and Good is a situational but excellent defense when we encounter extraplanar enemies, and Speak With Animals lets us handle beasts non-violently.

Planar Warrior immediately becomes our go-to use of our Bonus Action, and almost any time we cast a spell we need to ask ourselves “is this better than using Planar Warrior?”

Hunter’s Mark notably does less damage and costs a spell slot, so unless we’re fighting a single enemy with a ton of hit points, Hunter’s Mark isn’t worth the cost. Favored Foe notably doesn’t require an Action, but provides a similar damage boost. We can’t move it, so it’s not quite as good, but combined with Planar Warrior we’re doing fine, and the difference between 1d4 and 1d6 isn’t going to break us.

DPR with Heavy Crossbow+Planar Warrior: 10.25
DPR with Heavy Crossbow+Planar Warrior+Favored Foe: 12.25

Alternatively, we can use Ensnaring Strike on big single targets. We give up a little bit of damage on our first turn, but making the target Restrained boosts our DPR as well as helping our allies:

DPR with Heavy Crossbow: 6.65
DPR w/advantage with Heavy Crossbow+Planar Warrior: 13.16 + 3.5 ongoing

If we compare two turns of Planar Warrior+Favored Foe (total 24.5 damage) to Ensnaring Strike turn 1 followed by Planar Warrior (23.1), Planar Warrior+Favored Foe wins slightly in terms of our own DPR. But if you have any allies relying on attack rolls or Dexterity saves, Ensnaring Strike is almost certainly the better choice.
4Feat: Gunner (Dex 17 -> 18)
Martial Versatility
At some point around level 4 a musket falls out of an extraplanar portal and replaces our heavy crossbow, giving us another minor boost to damage. The +1 to Dexterity keeps us on the Fundamental math. We want to stay accurate to consistently apply the damage bonus from Planar Warrior.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior: 11.8
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Favored Foe: 13.8
5Extra Attack
New Spell Known:
– Misty Step
Extra Attack and 2nd-level spells come online at the same time, and both are great.

Extra Attack doubles our chances to apply the damage bonuses from both Planar Warrior and from Favored Foe since each work once per turn, but that doesn’t mean “twice as likely” because that’s not how math works. Following the Fundamental Math, we have a 70% chance to hit, and adding a second attack gives us a 91% chance to hit at least once each turn, so Planar Warrior and Favored Foe are extremely likely to apply.

Now is also a great chance to compare the DPR between Planar Warrior+Favored Foe and just using Hunter’s Mark. Since Hunter’s Mark applies on every hit, it’s entirely possible that it will outdo the damage bonuses from Planar Warrior and Favored Foe.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior: 21.37
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Favored Foe: 24.13
DPR with Musket+Hunter’s Mark: 22.0
DPR with Musket+Hunter’s Mark+Planar Warrior: 26.97

This is notably the first point that we go from the “target DPR” range into “high DPR”, and we don’t stay there for long.

Hunter’s Mark just barely beats Planar Warrior if we only look at one turn. 0.63 damage certainly isn’t enough to justify a spell slot, but we should also look at the following turns. Using Hunter’s Mark instead of Favored Foe boosts our DPR after turn 1 by 2.84. If we assume a 3-round combat, that’s a little more than 5 extra damage for that encounter.

But that also assumes that you won’t need to switch targets. So against big single enemies, Hunter’s Mark is worthwhile. If there are two or more enemies, Planar Warrior and Favored Foe will do just fine because you won’t need to spend a Bonus Action to change targets.

We should also revisit Ensnaring Strike when we’re looking at big single enemies:

DPR with Musket: 16.4
DPR w/advantage with Musket+Planar Warrior: 27.01 + 3.5 ongoing

Against big single foes, Hunter’s Mark beats Ensnaring Strike by ~2 damage over our first two turns, then Ensnaring Strike Catches up on turn 3. If you have allies who can benefit from your target being Restrained, Ensnaring Strike is easily the better option.

2nd-level spells also means that we can upcast Ensnaring Strike for more ongoing damage, but it’s rarely worth the cost. We’re here for the status condition. We can also learn Misty Step to get us out of grapples or anything else that we couldn’t walk out of with Zephyr Strike.
6Favored Foe (1d6)
Improving Favored Foe’s damage boost changes our math a bit, but doesn’t change our tactics significantly. Hunter’s Mark still beats Favored Foe against single targets by about 3 damage over the course of 3 turns, which likely isn’t worth the spell slot.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior: 21.38
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Favored Foe: 25.24
DPR with Musket+Hunter’s Mark: 22.0
DPR with Musket+Hunter’s Mark+Planar Warrior: 26.97
7Ethereal Step
New Spell Known:
– Enhance Ability
Ethereal Step lets you move through a wall, a door, etc. once per rest. It’s excellent for bypassing obstacles, but be careful about walking into a room and being stuck there by yourself.
8Ability Score Increase (Dex 18 -> 20)Our last DR improvement for a while.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior: 22.87
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Favored Foe: 26.74
DPR with Musket+Hunter’s Mark: 23.50
DPR with Musket+Hunter’s Mark+Planar Warrior: 28.47
9New Spell Known:
– Elemental Weapon
3rd-level spells gets us access to Elemental Weapon, which offers yet another contender in our complicated mix of Planar Warrior, Hunter’s Mark, Favored Foe, and Ensnaring Strike. Elemental Weapon gives us bonuses to both attack and damage, and crucially it lasts an hour without needing to spend a Bonus Action to change targets. That means that in many encounters we can pre-cast it and walk into combat ready to use Planar Warrior every turn.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Elemental Weapon: 28.40

That’s nearly as much damage as using Hunter’s Mark does on turn 2, and we don’t have to reassign it and we don’t lose damage output on turn 1. Elemental Weapon+Planar Warrior is clearly our best option in terms of our damage output. Ensnaring Strike may still outdo Elemental Weapon against single targets, provided that our allies can capitalize on it.

We also get the option to learn Haste from Horizon Walker Magic. With a duration of just 1 minute, you’re likely going to cast it in combat. It does raise our DPR to 34.29, but giving up a turn worth of attacking to do it isn’t helpful.
10Hide in Plain Sight
11Distant Strike
Planar Warrior (2d8)
New Spell Known:
Distant Strike is the reason we’re built to fight at range, and it changes our tactics quite a bit. The 10-foot teleportation can get us between targets in close quarters, but if enemies are too far apart, we may need to risk an opportunity attack to enable the additional attack. Using a ranged weapon neatly solves that problem, and we can use the teleportation to get out of melee before attacking.

In addition to the third attack, we also get an improvement to Planar Warrior. At this point we have 3 3rd-level spell slots, so running Elemental Weapon in every encounter is not only possible, but expected.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Elemental Weapon+Bonus Attack from Planar Warrior: 40.66

This brings us into the “High DPR” range and we stay there until we hit level 20.
12Feat: SharpshooterNow we’re going to ask a scary question: Should we use Sharpshooter? We’ve been enjoying hitting on a 5 since we started to use Elemental Weapon, and changing that to hitting on a 10 is big hit.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Elemental Weapon+Bonus Attack from Distant Strike+Sharpshooter: 46.17

The fear with Sharpshooter is that the attack penalty will make it hard to apply Planar Warrior, but with three attacks we still have an 88% chance to hit once per turn and therefore apply the damage bonus.
13New Spell Known:
– Any
4th-level spells. Our spell options aren’t great, but we can upcast Magic Weapon to get +2 attack and damage, which introduces yet another potential boost to our damage output.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Elemental Weapon+Bonus Attack from Planar Warrior: 46.38
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+Elemental Weapon+Bonus Attack from Distant Strike+Sharpshooter: 46.89
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+4th-level Magic Weapon+Bonus Attack from Planar Warrior: 46.90
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+4th-level Magic Weapon+Bonus Attack from Distant Strike+Sharpshooter: 54.02

Switching from Elemental Weapon to 4th-level Magic Weapon gets us another 7.13 DPR compared to Elemental Weapon, which is quite a bit.

We don’t have any great 4th-level spell options, so we’ll use those slots exclusively for Magic Weapon.
14Favored Foe (1d8)
By this level Favored Foe is obsolete, and the larger damage die doesn’t help. It’s nice in a pinch if you don’t already have a buff running, but it’s not going to compete with Elemental Weapon or 4th-level Magic weapon.
15Spectral Defense
New Spell Known:
Spectral Defense significantly improves our durability, but since you have both Distant Strike to get out of melee and Sharpshooter to fight at a safe distance, you likely won’t draw many attacks.
16Feat: AnyWe can do essentially whatever we want here. Gift of the Chromatic Dragon is a good option because we can protect ourselves from damage which Spectral Defense doesn’t cover and our Proficiency Bonus is high enough that we’ll get numerous uses per day.
17New Spell Known:
– Teleportation Circle
5th-level spells. Do we use Swift Quiver? It’s a go-to option for archery builds because it fully doubles our number of attacks, but it means giving up both Magic Weapon and Planar Warrior. It also lasts just one minute compared to the full hour duration of Elemental Weapon or Magic Weapon. We can also upcast Elemental Weapon at this level for +2 to hit and +2d4 damage.

DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+4th-level Magic Weapon+Bonus Attack from Distant Strike+Sharpshooter: 54.02
DPR with Musket+Planar Warrior+5th-level Elemental Weapon+Bonus Attack from Distant Strike+Sharpshooter: 60.17
DPR with Musket+Swift Quiver+Bonus Attack from Distant Strike+Sharpshooter: 56.65

5th-level Elemental Weapon is the clear winner. Not only is the DPR higher, but it also lasts long enough to carry between two or three fighters.

So what do we do with our 5th-level spells? Whatever we want! Horizon Walker gives us access to Teleportation Circle, which is a fine choice.
18Feral SensesProbably the last feature that we care about. Now is a great time to multiclass.
19Feat: Any
New Spell Known:
– Any
20Foe SlayerFoe Slayer works with Favored Foe, which means that you need to apply Favored Foe to an enemy to use Foe Slayer. The math for using it gets really complicated, but there is no way that it can outdo the damage output from one of our weapon buff spells. Just the attack bonuses when combined with Sharpshooter are much more impactful.