Content Type: Gaming Guides
Do you want to be a Ranger in Skyrim? Well, you’re not alone! Rangers are a common archetype in fantasy literature and games, and are commonly known for their hunting prowess, woodsmanship, and wisdom. A good Ranger is at home in the wilderness and a survivalist by nature, living off the land, but never despoiling it. Rangers are caretakers of the forest — guardians of the Wild. They are skilled with the bow and the art of concealment, using stealth to move quickly and quietly along hidden paths through the deep underbrush.
Besides hunting and stealth, Rangers are also adept in the healing arts. Their knowledge of natural remedies is second to none, and they mix potions and poultices from the herbs and plants that grow wild in the hidden places of the forest. Often they can be seen in the company of animals, for Rangers are skilled in speaking the languages of all wild creatures.
History of Rangers in Fantasy and Gaming
Probably the best known Ranger in fantasy literature is J.R.R. Tolkien’s Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. Before Aragorn was crowned King of Gondor, he was known as Strider — a Ranger in the North. As Strider helps Frodo in his quest to destroy the One Ring, he aptly demonstrates the tracking, hunting, and healing skills associated with the Ranger.
Like many of Tolkien’s characters, the ranger then became an archetype in D&D. D&D defines the ranger with their use of bows, ability to dual-wield weapons, animal companion, and limited spellcasting ability. The class is a staple of the game, and led to its most recognizable character, the Dark Elf Drizzt Do’Urden.
From Aragorn and through D&D the ranger became a staple of the fantasy genre inspiring characters both in the video game series Final Fantasy and Warcraft, as well as in the novel series A Song of Fire and Ice and its hit TV adaption Game of Thrones.
Be a Ranger in Skyrim
How does that archetype translate to Skyrim and the world of the Elder Scrolls?
Well, there’s a lot of ways of going about it. Within the Elder Scrolls series lore there are a lot of potential options for your ranger. You could be a Khajiit hunter at home in the wilds, or one of the many kinds of warriors talked about in the in-game book Mixed Unit Tactics. That book outlines just how the Khajiit use the terrain to their advantage in battle, just as a ranger would.
Alternatively, you could be one of the Bosmer of the Valenwood the Khajiit fought in that book. The people of Valenwood worship the plants of the forest, and by sacred oath are forsworn from consuming its fruits. As a result the Bosmer must be agile and quick to sustain their exclusively carnivorous diet. With a bone bow in hand and a hunting animal by their side the Bosmer ranger hides among the green and strikes at their prey at the perfect moment.
Of course, bone bows and other Bosmer crafts are in short supply in the northern wastes of Skyrim. This shouldn’t trouble your Bosmer character though – they are only forbidden from harming the plants of Valenwood. Plants elsewhere are fair game.
Among the Dunmer there are a tribal people who are shunned from the cities and live off the wilderness. Known as the Ashlanders, these people live by hunting and trade and know the volcanic wastes of their home like the back of their hand. An Ashlander ranger might have difficulty adjusting to Skyrim’s comparatively pleasant landscape, but the skills do transfer. Dark elf items from the Dragonborn DLC will be essential for such a character. You might not be Drizzt, but you’ll make do.
The Redguards too have their own kind of ranger native to the tribes of the vast Alik’r. These desert warriors live more by camel than horse, but they know the worth of bow and dual-swords just as well as any other ranger of the world. You can see these kinds of characters in Skyrim, too. Just watch for the Redguard warriors near Whiterun, or meet a certain individual in the Dark Brotherhood.
Among the Bretons rangers a bit of a disgrace to the cosmopolitan people of the Illiac Bay, but an everyday part of live in the North and in both halves of the divided Reach. Reachman rangers often waylay travelers in the Nord occupied Reach, but in the western Reach they are perfectly civilized members of the community. In Northern High Rock the rangers draw far more from the traditions handed down to them by their ancient Nord rulers than elsewhere in the Breton lands.
An Imperial ranger may sound a bit strange, but they do exist. The Legions employ them, and such a ranger is far more likely to use heavy armor than rangers elsewhere. In central Cyrodiil and the Colovian Highlands rangers are a part of live as well, and are often the most devote of Kynareth’s worshipers. They shun the cities and roam the Great Forest in reverence of their goddess.
Argonian rangers are nothing unusual either. In the endless swamps of the Black Marsh there are few cities to find. Bows are more effective than swords, and living in the land is a matter of survival.
An Altmer ranger may sound a bit strange, but they do exist. They are far more likely to be skill in a variety of magicks than their counterparts elsewhere, and probably know the Destruction skill in place of One-Handed.
Finally, there are the Nords. The highest god in the old Nord pantheon is Kyne, goddess of Nature and Mother of the Earth. It was her tears that formed the first rains, and her breath that brought the Nords into the world atop the frozen peak of the Throat of the World. Nord rangers are fewer these days as most worship the Imperial pantheon, but they can still be found. You can even meet one in game, who sends you on a quest to conquer spirit animals across the land!
Just like last month’s Dwarf character build , the Ranger isn’t class because Skyrim doesn’t have those, but with the game’s robust character creation system you’ll be a Ranger in no time.
Primary Skills: Archery, Sneak
Secondary Skills: Alchemy, Restoration, One-Handed
Statistic Focus: Stamina 40% / Magicka 30% / Health 30%
Weapons: Bow, One-Handed Sword, Dagger
Essential Perks: Overdraw, Eagle Eye, Steady Hand, Power Shot, Ranger, Stealth, Muffled Movement, Armsman, Alchemist, Regeneration, Apprentice Restoration
Advice: To be a Ranger in Skyrim means that you need to be good with a bow, proficient in sneaking, skilled in arms, and have good healing abilities. Either the Khajiit, Redguard, or Wood Elf races make excellent Rangers due to their Archery bonuses (20, 20, and 25 respectively). The Khajiit and Wood Elf have an advantage over the Redguard insofar as they receive additional bonuses in Sneak (25 and 20), but the Redguard more than makes up for the deficiency with a 25 bonus in One-Handed.
When playing the Ranger, you’ll want to improve your Archery skills as quickly as possible (refer to the Skyrim Fansite article Increase Your Skyrim Archery for helpful tips). You’ll want to spend time adventuring in the Wild, becoming familiar with the lands outside Skyrim’s cities as you explore. Use your Archery and Sneak skills to hunt wild game to earn your coin, and forgo magic with the exception of Restoration spells.
For companions, travel with either Faendal or Aela The Huntress (fellow archers), and perhaps one of Skyrim’s dogs to mimic a Ranger’s animal friendship abilities (see How to Get a Dog as a Skyrim Companion). Train yourself to become a master hunter and healer, and you’ll be a Ranger in Skyrim.
Ranger Friendly Mods
PC gamers can further immerse themselves in the Ranger experience through the use of mods. Here are seven essential mods that every would-be Ranger should use:
- (Yet Another) Ranger Mod by A_Gun allows you to craft a complete set of Ranger armor, including a forest green cloak and hood (players can also craft a set of white winter armor for adventuring in the snow). In addition, you can use the mod to forge a specialized Ranger longbow, short sword, and dagger.
- Camping Kite of the Northern Ranger by The Northern Ranger is a portable camping mod that allows you set up a campsite anywhere in the wilderness. Your campsite is completely customizable, and there are two different tent styles you can set up. Fortify you camp with a barricade, read a book, or play a musical instrument next to a roaring fire — there are lots of camping choices.
- The Hunting Game by TheGreyLight is a mod that makes hunting much more profitable. The mod increases the price of pelts and the number of animal drops (antlers, meat, claws, etc.) to better reflect a true hunting experience. With the vanilla game, it’s difficult to earn a living off the land, but this game gives players who want to be a Ranger in Skyrim a monetary incentive to hunt.
- Elk Hunting by Stripedown increases the number of both male and female Elk in Skyrim. The mod shortens the respawn time from 10 days to 1 day, thus providing ample game for a Ranger to hunt.
- Falkreath Scenic Cottage by MannyGT adds a cottage in the woods outside of Falkreath. The cottage is a great hunter’s getaway, with scenic views, tanning rack, alchemy lab, etc. — a perfect rustic abode for a Ranger tired of camping in the wilderness.
- Dense Vegetation by Galle improves the density of all grass varieties in the wild, giving Skyrim a more realistic, natural look.
- Sounds of Skyrim – The Wilds by Cliffworms adds 115 new sound effects in the wilderness. Everything from the sounds of rustling branches, scampering animals, howling wolves, and the call of loons. The purpose of the mod is to create a more immersive, audible experience.
Playing a Ranger in Skyrim is both rewarding and challenging. Whether hunting animals, roughing it in the Wild, or simply improving your Archery, Sneak, and Restoration skills, a Ranger character build is unique and a lot of fun to play.
So what do you think? Would you want to be a Ranger in Skyrim? Share your opinions in the Speak Your Mind section, and don’t forget to subscribe to the EIP Gaming. We always welcome new fans and Skyrim enthusiasts. Until next time fellow travelers!