Quintessential Ranger (book)
THE QUINTESSENTIAL RANGER
By Striderr Slayn
The Ranger. What comes to mind when we think of that word? The Fearless Defender of the forest protecting Nature from the ravages of Evil. The Guardian of the forest who can survive where no other dare tread. Yes, we think of these things when we hear the word "Ranger." But why? What is it that makes us the guardians, and why do we choose to walk down this path? What is the calling that draws us to this honored profession of Huntsman, Trailblazer and Guardian? In the following pages I will discuss the basic points of Rangerhood from A to Z.
When I first walked into the Crossing guild so long ago I wondered why my destiny had led me to do this. Why did I now stand here among these people and what was my purpose? I write this book for the inexperienced Ranger and for the curious from another profession who enter the guild wanting to know everything about the Ranger. From our humble beginnings to the skills we command. Why animals trust us so and the way of the Ranger.
Chapter 1: THE RANGER
The following chapter I write as my opinion. There are as many different kinds of Rangers as colors of leaves in the forest, and their opinions are as varied as the flowers that bloom in the field. The words I write are my own personal code that I think I should follow as a Ranger. It is meant to be either followed and broadened by your own deeds and actions or ignored if that is your desire.
1) Rangers never steal except to survive. As it is all right for the starving man to steal bread to feed his family, so it is all right for us to steal--but only to survive. We are taught to be self-sufficient. The comforts of the cities only make us grow lax in our skills of survival.
2) Rangers should always know their position. We should never be lost. We are the silent ones who move quickly and easily through the forest and fields. We should always know what dangers lie ahead and the quickest paths through or around them.
3) Rangers always help. We should never walk past a poor soul who has fallen without helping them in any way possible. We are the guardians and protectors of everything and everyone in our realm, and none are beneath our notice.
4) Rangers are able to fight, but use their minds first. We are the guardians of Nature. As such, we are well-versed in the ways of weapons and magic to help us defend Her as best as possible. Not all battles are won with force, however, and we should keep our mind as keen as our blade.
Chapter 2: THE SKILLS OF THE RANGER
Rangers are versed in many skills to help us survive in any hostile environment. In this chapter I discuss our various skills as told to me by Kalika when she taught me how to be a Ranger.
Plant Lore: "Foraging," as some of my colleagues put it, is the skill in which we are closest to Nature. It is how we thrive. In this manner, we get everything we need from Nature. From herbs to soothe our battered bodies to berries to satisfy our bellies. It is by this skill that we also find many of the branches and limbs to make some of our weapons.
Climbing and Swimming: A good ranger lets no obstacle lie unconquered in his path. Whether this be a sheer cliff face or a raging river the Ranger will prevail. These skills allow us to traverse all terrain that lies in our path--from the mightiest of mountains to the gentlest of streams.
Hiding, Tracking and Stalking: I group these three skills together as the hunter's skills. These skills are what makes a Ranger a Ranger. We must use all three as we hunt our Prey. Hiding to conceal us from the sharp eyes, ears and nose of our prey, Stalking to follow our prey unnoticed until we are ready to strike, and Tracking to locate our prey if it escapes or runs off, wounded. These skills allow us to survive and thrive in the wilderness.
The Lore of Mechanics: Even though we may be able to find the herbs which will heal us and the supplies to make our bows, we also need the skill to be able to know how to work the raw materials. Mechanical Lore helps us crush a leaf to release its soothing pulp or shape an ordinary stick into a deadly arrow.
Skinning: Although we live deep in the wilderness, we find ourselves coming to various towns in our travels. Reluctantly, we enter into these towns to buy those few essentials we are not able to create ourselves. Selling the pelts and skins of beasts we encounter brings us the money that allows us to buy everything from a bright new blade to the lockpicks we use to open treasure boxes. It is also rumored that some magical animal parts are of use in the craft of alchemy.
Trap Disarming: This skill allows us to detect and disarm most traps encountered in the wilds, from a simple snare lying in our path to the deadly poison needle hidden inside a box. While most would consider this a skill of thieves, this ability helps us to disable many of the traps we may find.
Lockpicking: While we are not required to learn this skill, it is most helpful and I recommend it for young Rangers to learn. From escaping the chains of fools who would dare try capture us to opening a locked chest of gold, this skill will prove its value time and again.
Perception: Perhaps one of the most valuable skills we posess. By paying close attention to what our eyes, nose and ears tell us, we are able to know where our enemy hides in ambush or if a monster stalks us. With this skill we survive in the wilds by remaining acutely aware of our surroundings. Part of surviving in nature is keeping our mouths shut and our senses open. In this way we can identify whether the crashing in the brush ahead is a threat or merely someone in need of guidance.
First Aid: Although we are not as accomplished as the Empaths who take wounds as their calling, we are well-versed in the ways of tending wounds and fighting infection that one may encounter in the wilds.
Lore of Animals: As we travel down the grassy path of life and grow in skills, some rangers are able to earn the trust of their fellow wilderness denizens. This skill is Animal Lore, and it ranges from the one of us who hunts with a wolf by his side to the other with the mischievous raccoon in his arms. It takes a lot of time and caring to earn the trust of our forest brethren and even greater caring to keep it. My brothers and sisters, this companionship is a gift, so cherish it if you are chosen.
Evasion: Even though we are skilled in the ways of weapons and armor, consider this: Only a fool will allow himself to be hit when he can dodge the attack, and evasion is the study of the acrobatic dodges or leaps that keep us out of harm's way. Many times I have dodged an attack that would most certainly have proved fatal had I allowed it to land.
Armor Skills: Most of us will usually choose the light, supple comfort of leather to protect our bodies. While not as protective as the bulky plate of the Paladin, it allows us to move quickly and silently through the forests with a minimum of hinderance.
Weapon Skills: Perhaps this is what makes us most unique in our abilities. This is the skill that makes us the hunter. It is how we protect the wilds and what makes us feared in the woods. We can use any weapons we choose. I have friends who are skilled with a variety of weapons, while I know of others who concentrate on mastering only two. We can use both melee and ranged weapons, but it is our bow skill that we are famed for. While not all of us are great bowmen, we can count among our ranks many of the best in the Realms.
Chapter 3: MAGIC
As our skills grow in the mystical arts we are able to choose what spells we would learn to aid ourselves in our travels. The Guild leaders tell us when we are ready and show us the sacred passages in the ancient tomes that we may commit them to our memories. In the following chapter we discuss not the spells themselves, for there are constantly new books of knowledge being found and this book would soon become antiquated, but the skills we use to cast these spells.
Perception of Power: Before one tries to cast a spell, one must first see if there is enough power to support one's spell. By concentrating and focusing our magical senses, we are able to detect how great the power is in the surrounding area--from the barest hint to a massive temple-pounding rush.
Magic: While not as skilled as the Warrior or Moon Mages who devote their life to magic, we are able to control to a degree certain aspects of Nature through the use of our magic. From enhancing our senses to the equal to those of animals or the calling of them to aid us in battle, we can call upon Nature to help us in almost any situation.
Harnessing: The magic power obtained for spells is drawn from different aspects of the planes. While the Warrior Mage draws his power from the elements, we draw our power by borrowing a small piece of the essence of the life which surrounds us. We can even share some of this energy to help a Cleric or Empath cast spells of their own.
Magical Devices: While the power of life is our primary magic, we are able to cast other spells using various magical devices we may acquire. Many items are embedded with magical chains of energy. By focusing on these lines of power we are able to identify, charge and use these magical objects for our own purposes. However, one must always be careful when tinkering with such artifacts, for one unskilled in their ways can break the chains causing the item to become powerless--sometimes harming the tinkerer in the process.
Target Magic: While not often used by Rangers, I include this into this chapter of magic. Targetted magic is the ability to center your spell on a specific area or foe. Most often used by the Warrior Mages to strike down their enemies with deadly-accurate fireballs, Rangers can use targetted magic with certain runes.
Chapter 4: THE WILDERNESS OF LIFE
I use this last chapter as a tribute to our home and as an epilogue to this book. What can I say about our dear Mother Nature? She shelters us all and provides all we could ever need. It is in Her womb we are all raised, and we grow to maturity under Her gentle care. I speak of Her with great reverence and caring. Without our beloved wilderness we would be as naked babes in the night. Always remember, my brothers and sisters: It is only through constant vigilance and respect that we survive here. We are the guardians of our domain; the Hunters and Explorers of a great frontier. We have chosen this life and it is not the easy path, but the greatest achievements are won down the hardest paths. We are bonded in our lives here, a great family of caring and respect. The struggles we face we all face together. We may spend our individial lives in the solitude of the wilderness, but we all share a bond in this, our wilderness of life.
Farewell and Cherish these moments-
Striderr Slayn - Ranger