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The ranger is one of the player roles in NetHack. Rangers can be either neutral or chaotic, and can be humans, elves, gnomes, or orcs.

Rangers can get expert in dagger, sling, dart, boomerang, javelin, bow and crossbow, and also in divination spells. Rangers cannot use two-weapon combat.

The guidebook entry for the ranger has this to say about them:

Rangers are most at home in the woods, and some say slightly
         out of place in a dungeon.  They are, however, experts in archery
         as well as tracking and stealthy movement.


  • Rangers can get extra shots when using stackable ranged weapons.
  • Rangers have an advanced rate of natural healing.
  • Rangers can throw up to 4 daggers at once giving them on an average 2.5 times the damage as the same weapon in melee. Basic skill can randomly hurl up to 1 extra weapon, 2 extra for Skilled and 3 for Expert.
  • Use your +2 arrows last; they do more damage, hit more often and break less--and so using them on weak monsters like newts and lichens is a waste. Changing from normal arrows to your +2 arrows doesn't take any time in combat--take advantage of this when facing more powerful enemies. Note that while arrows are made of metal which can corrode, elven arrows are made of wood so regardless of strategy, its a good idea to keep a few elven arrows to dispatch acidic monsters and rust monsters.
  • It is important to remember that enchanted arrows and arrows which have been blessed break less often than other arrows. Luck plays a factor as well so a blessed luckstone is essential for long term arrow use.
  • Consider poisoning your arrows by dipping them in a potion of sickness. This will cause even more damage and 10% of the time will instantly kill a poison vulnerable target. Some will become unpoisoned, however, giving you two stacks of arrows, some poisoned and some not. Use the unpoisoned arrows when attacking targets which are not vulnerable to poison. When you intend to enchant your arrows further, poison the unpoisoned arrows and put them back into the quiver.
  • Arrows can be acquired off of dead bodies or by untrapping arrow traps. If you're a procrastinator, you can get a couple hundred arrows from the first level of the Ranger quest off of dead centaurs and untrapping the two arrow traps before the quest boss' lair. Also, the Ranger quest artifact, The Longbow of Diana, can be invoked to summon arrows of its corresponding blessed/cursed status.
  • A good strategy is to maintain a distance from opponents. Humans and Orcs start with a cloak of displacement which helps with this strategy. A good idea is to levitate while firing your arrows or daggers. Even though you will only fire a single missile, you will float in the opposite direction which keeps you away from monsters allowing your natural healing ability to work while still dispensing damage.
  • Wishing for Magicbane (even if you're lawful or chaotic) is a good strategy as well because daggers are one of the few skills Rangers get. Uncursed athames such as Magicbane may be used to enscribe Elbereth on the ground without dulling the blade which has roughly the same effect as reading a scroll of scare monster. In addition to damage it also dispenses useful magical effects on opponents (cancel, probe, stun, scare).
  • In the late game, having a silver backup weapon such as a silver dagger or silver spear is a good choice. While Rangers can't use silver sabers without penalty, silver daggers and spears can be thrown at incoming silver vulnerable creatures to soften them up. Silver arrows are precious and should be used only on especially nasty vampires and demons such as the demon princes
  • Because so many things need to be enchanted (eg melee weapon(s), arrows, silver arrows, bow, silver dagger/spear etc), scrolls of enchant weapon are at a premium. Consider putting magic markers and wands of polymorph high on your list of priorities.

Starting equipmentEdit

Elven and orcish rangers start with racial equipment (elven dagger or orcish dagger instead of dagger, etc.). Elves get an elven cloak instead of a cloak of displacement and lembas wafers in the place of cram rations. Orcish rangers get orcish bow and orcish arrows but still get a cloak of displacement. Chaotic rangers also have a 1% chance of their starting arrow stacks being generated poisoned. Gnomish rangers start with a crossbow and crossbow bolts instead of a bow and arrows.

Because elf rangers begin with an elven dagger, they are able to create Sting immediately, with all the advantages and disadvantages that entails.



Rangers can become powerful spellcasters later in the game when they learn some of the divination spells. Although other types won't be as easy to cast, divination has a lot to offer. Some of the best spells in the game are magic mapping, identify and detect unseen. A good spell to practice with is light as it's easy to cast and does not take up a lot of power. Below is a table of all possible spells a Ranger can get at least Basic at.

Skill Spells
Basichealing, cure blindness, cure sickness, extra healing, stone to flesh, restore ability, jumping, haste self, invisibility, levitation, teleport away
Expertdetect monsters, light, detect food, detect unseen, clairvoyance, identify, detect treasure, magic mapping

Quest Edit

Main article: Ranger quest

The quest sees you fighting for The Longbow of Diana, the artifact bow that creates arrows when invoked and grants ESP when carried. It also provides reflection when wielded. The Ranger quest is arguably one of the harder ones since centaurs are very fast and use projectiles. In addition to that, all of the quest levels are full of traps. It is advised to have speed boots when going on the quest so that the centaurs don't hit you as much per turn. Be sure to also have reflection (centaurs are intelligent enough to use wands), having magic resistance also helps a whole lot. The quest is full of items, however. You are guaranteed to find lots of scrolls and a decent amount of potions.

The easiest way to fight centaurs is using ranged attacks. Poisoned arrows work extremely well, even unenchanted ones. Keep your distance away from enemies, only switching to your melee weapon when fighting wimpy monsters (such as scorpions or bats).

Once in Scorpius' cavern, you might want to burn "Elbereth" on the stairs, then wake him up. Race back to the staircase as fast as you can and fight from there.

Rank titlesEdit

The status line shows you to be one of the following ranks when you reach the specified experience level:

  • XL 1-2: Tenderfoot
  • XL 3-5: Lookout
  • XL 6-9: Trailblazer
  • XL 10-13: Reconnoiterer/Reconnoiteress
  • XL 14-17: Scout
  • XL 18-21: Arbalester
  • XL 22-25: Archer
  • XL 26-29: Sharpshooter
  • XL 30: Marksman/Markswoman


Ranger skills
Max Skills

Encyclopedia entryEdit

"Lonely men are we, Rangers of the wild, hunters -- but hunters
ever of the servants of the Enemy; for they are found in many
places, not in Mordor only.
If Gondor, Boromir, has been a stalwart tower, we have played
another part. Many evil things there are that your strong walls
and bright swords do not stay. You know little of the lands
beyond your bounds. Peace and freedom, do you say? The North
would have known them little but for us. Fear would have
destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless
hills, or creep from sunless woods, they fly from us. What
roads would any dare to tread, what safety would there be in
quiet lands, or in the homes of simple men at night, if the
Dunedain were asleep, or were all gone into the grave?"

[ The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien ]

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