Guide to Build Horizon Walker Ranger: DnD 5e

When building a horizon walker in Dungeons and Dragons 5e, consider the following elements:

  • Choose a race with high Dexterity and Wisdom
  • Build initial ranger with Two-Handed Fighting Style
  • Learn special horizon walker spells and abilities
  • Pick ranger spells that compliment interdimensional travel

Horizon walker rangers are keepers of interdimensional boundaries in Dungeons and Dragons 5e.  Therefore, we can think of them as teleportation experts, tactically fading between dimensions in combat and keeping order to reality.  We’re in a niche category, to be sure, but this ranger build could fit a high-magic wizard adventure well.  I like the concept of a portal guide.

Before we dive in, why not give your Horizon Walker try in my premade pirate adventure?  Click here or below to learn more.

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Choose a race with high Dexterity and Wisdom

I want to build a ranger around the concept of an interdimensional guardian.  Therefore, I’ll lean into races that grant me Dexterity and innate magical features.  My favorite choices are wood elf and feral tiefling.

Wood elves offer a +2 Dexterity/+1 Wisdom combination—a classic choice for any ranger.  However, the woodland realms connect these elves to portals between places like the Feywild.  Plus, their Mask of the Wild ability and elven resistances to being charmed or put to sleep magically.  Oh, and I would come prepackaged with Keen Sense, giving me proficiency in Perception.

Feral tieflings offer a +2 Dexterity/+1 Intelligence combination with inherent magic and fire resistance.  Spells like thaumaturgy, hellish rebuke and darkness all come in handy.  The devastating hellish rebuke is cast once a day as a level-2 spell, dealing 3d10 fire damage.

Build initial ranger with Two-Handed Fighting Style

My basic ranger build will include leather armor, two shortswords and a longbow—along with the typical adventuring gear.  I’ll make Dexterity and Wisdom my highest 2 scores, followed by Constitution.

Natural Explorer adds a whole list of abilities that relate to exploration, hunting, travel and stealth.  A few key takeaways from this list are:

  • Difficult terrain doesn’t slow my party’s travel
  • I can forage twice as much food as normal
  • When tracking, I can tell the number and size of creatures I’m tracking and how long ago they moved through the area

These key abilities make the ranger an adventure expert, something I’ve always been drawn to.  The concept of a portal-crossing explorer gives this classic trope a weird and cool spin.

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Rangers also gain a Favored Enemy, specializing in hunting a certain type of monster or creature.  I could choose dragons, elementals, fiends, etc.  I gain advantage on Wisdom rolls to track this type of monster.  Plus, I can understand the language spoken by the monster.  I’ll be able to choose other favored enemies at level 6 and 14.  For this character, celestials, fiends, fey, undead or elementals make the most sense.

I’ll choose Two-Handed Fighting Style at level 2, granting me my Dex bonus for the second damage roll.  This should be loads of fun with my teleporting around the field.  However, I’ll use my longbow as well, depending on the situation.

Learn special horizon walker spells and abilities

Level 3 grants me my horizon walker archetype, along with several cool abilities at the start: Detect Portal and Planar Warrior

Detect Portal gives me the ability to find out where and how far a planar portal is located.  This ability can seem strange or unnecessary outside of a campaign that implements planar travel.  Therefore, I may want to discuss with my DM about planar story elements.  However, this class has far more to offer without the need for portals in the storyline.

Planar Warrior grants me energy from the multiverse I can use to deal an extra 1d8 force damage.  I’ll need to use this ability as a bonus action before the attack is made.  This damage increases to 2d8 at level 11.

At level 7, I learn Ethereal Step and can cast etherealness without expending a spell slot.  However, the spell will end at the end of my current turn and requires rest between uses.  Essentially, I’ll be able to slip into an alternate dimension with the ability to see the dimension I came from.  I can move at half speed in this border dimension, popping back into reality in another location.

Distant Strike comes at level 11 and allows me to teleport up to 10 feet before each attack.  This crazy ability allows me to slip attacks of opportunity and attack multiple foes.  If I teleport between 2 attacks, I receive an additional attack against a 3rd opponent.  Like I said, teleportation expert.

Finally, level 15 grants me Spectral Defense, giving me resistance against all damage types as a reaction.  The idea is that I slip between two dimensions, giving my body a ghostly consistency.

Horizon Walker Spells

Horizon walkers are granted a unique spell list connected to their planar archetype.  These spells use a spell slot to cast, but don’t count against my ranger spells learned.  We can think of them as bonus spells.

  • Protection from evil and good: (Level 3) Protect a target I touch against aberrations, celestials, fiends, elementals, undead and fey. These creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target.  Plus, the target cannot be frightened, charmed or possessed by them.  If the target is already in one of these states, they gain advantage on rolls to break the spell.
  • Misty step: (Level 5) teleport up to 30 feet away. This will be earliest teleportation option.
  • Haste: (Level 9) jack up a target with 2X speed, +2 AC, advantage on Dex saving throws and gain an additional action on each turn. However, target can’t attack or move the turn after because of exhaustion.
  • Banishment: (Level 13) target makes a Charisma saving throw. On a failed roll,  they are banished to their home realm.  If the target is native to the realm you’re currently in, they are banished to a harmless demi-realm.  The spell lasts 1 minute.
  • Teleportation Circle: (Level 17) these are wizard gates created within a 10-foot circle using a sequence of magic sigils. Many temples and magical ruins have permanent teleportation circles.  If I can learn the sigil sequence, I can connect my circle with another.

Pick ranger spells that compliment interdimensional travel

Now that we know what sort of bonus spells this ranger will receive, we’ll pick 1st and 2nd level spells to compliment my playstyle.  I’ll need options for adventuring, healing and combat.  Plus, I’ll want to utilize classic ranger trickery.

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1st-level spells

  • Hunter’s mark: As a bonus action, place the hunter’s mark on a target and gain an extra 1d6 damage whenever I hit it with a weapon attack. Along with my Two-Weapon Fighting Style, this spell increases my damage output tremendously.
  • Cure wounds: Heal me or an ally for 1d8 + Wisdom modifier. Increases by 1d8 for each spell slot above level 1.  I’ll be in the mix more than most rangers, so this will be useful.
  • Detect magic: I can sense where magic is coming from and what kind of magic it is. I feel like this will fit my whole vibe of inter-planar guardian and give me another option to track my prey.
  • Ensnaring Strike: Target makes Strength saving throw after being hit with attack. On a fail, vines constrict the target for 1 minute, dealing 1d6 piercing damage  at the begging of each turn.  This should be a fun addition to my Ethereal Step and Distant Attack, capturing foes in vines as I teleport away.

2nd-level spells

  • Cordon of arrows: lay a trap by placing 4 arrows into the ground. Any enemy who begins or ends their turn within 30 feet of this trap must make a Dexterity saving throw.  On a fail, they take 1d6 piercing damage.  I like the idea of laying traps while I teleport around a battlefield.
  • Lesser restoration: cure a target of blindness, paralysis, deafening or poison. Alternate planes of existence have varying effects on players.  Better be prepared when far from home.

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