Officially featured in the latest D&D source book, the Drakewarden Ranger shares a special bond with a dragon spirit that strengthens their power.
The last Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook takes a long and careful look at everything dungeon masters and players alike need to know about dragons. With the official introduction of the Drakewarden Ranger subclass, Fizban’s Dragon Treasure provides an opportunity for Rangers to bond with a dragon spirit that can manifest in the form of a drake.
As Drake and Ranger grow together, the bond they form a united front as they storm the battlefields together, often with the Ranger in combat on their mate’s back. Building a Drakewarden Ranger is easy, but certain races, achievements, and background ensure that this duo are a mighty force of nature.
Focus on dexterity for the Drakewarden
Dexterity is a Ranger’s most important stat as it contributes to the Guardian’s armor class and influences ranged weapon attacks that Rangers are famous for, as well as the finesse weapons they sometimes have. available to them for close combat. Since these Rangers will often fight in the back of their drake, they will almost certainly deploy ranged attacks in many situations, so don’t be afraid to pour whatever is available in DEX.
Wisdom is the second most important stat for Rangers as it fuels their magic attacks and damage. WIS is also the primary stat used for many of the Ranger’s core skills, such as Animal Handling, Perception, Insight, and Survival. Constitution is also important for Rangers, especially those who take a ranged approach to combat, because the more courageous they are, the more time and effort they can put into combat and the easier it is for them to stay focused on things. spells like Hunter’s Mark.
Best racial picks for the Drakewarden
The Kobolds are one of the more notable racial choices for the Drakewarden Ranger because not only do they have a bit of dragon ancestry, but they start off with a +2 boost to the Ranger’s most important stat: DEX. The Kobolds also have dark vision and pack tactics, giving them an advantage on attacks if allies are within 5 feet of their target. Kobolds can crawl, curl up, and beg when enemies attack to provide a distraction for their allies to gain an advantage over attacks. Kobolds tend to revere dragons as well, so it makes perfect sense thematically.
Tabaxi are another great choice due to their +2 DEX bonus. They also have feline agility, which doubles their movement in some cases, bringing them closer to where they need to be or far enough away from targets to take effective ranged shots. The Feral Tiefling also gets a +2 DEX boost, and they have the added bonus of Hellish Resistance to protect them from fire damage and access to Hellish Rebuke and Darkness spells, both of which are incredibly useful.
Because the Drakewarden will likely take a lot of ranged fire from the air when flying into combat with their drake, the Sharp Shooter feat is a must. Sharp Shooter negates the disadvantage on ranged weapon attacks, meaning the Ranger can fire a shot from afar and more than likely hit. Ranged attacks with this feat ignore half and three-quarters of the cover, so enemies can’t easily hide from arrows and bolts. They can also choose to subtract five from their attack rolls and, on a successful hit, add +10 to their damage total – and if the target is also marked by the hunter, the damage really starts stacking up.
The Mounted Fighter is the perfect feat for a Drakewarden because, once he begins to fly in combat against his drake, he will want to take extra precautions to keep the drake safe. Even though the drake is flying, and much of the Ranger’s combat will likely be ranged, there will certainly be times when they are faced with hand-to-hand combat.
Fortunately, a mounted fighter has an advantage over attacks against unmounted enemies smaller than their drake. If an enemy starts targeting the drake, the Ranger can attack instead, and if the drake is forced to make a Dexterity saving throw against an effect, a successful save negates all damage, while a failure guarantees that the drake only takes half damage.
Crossbow Expert is another useful feat, especially when enemies make it impossible to distance themselves and the Ranger in combat. This feat allows the Ranger to fire lightning up close and personal with no disadvantage. They also don’t have to waste their actions reloading bolts, and if they attack with a one-handed melee weapon, they can use their bonus action to launch an additional attack with the crossbow.
They may also want to consider tackling one of the three new Draconic Achievements to make their drake bond stand out even more. Each dragon feat deals damage, protection, or resistance depending on the type of dragon the gift is drawn from.
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