Ranger

Those warriors known as "rangers" on Ektau are heir to a number of different martial traditions, men and women who draw on a wide range of styles and schools to produce fighting techniques that bear a certain resemblance to each other. Historically, a number of elven Creeds of ages past preferred a light, highly mobile style of combat that relied on archery and two-weapon combat to quickly bring down intruders into their forested lands. These "rangers" soon found their name passing to other warriors who favored the bow or the paired blades, whether or not those fighters ever had any contact with elven fighting techniques. The term survives in modern Xian as a shorthand for a combatant especially skilled in archery or two-weapon combat.

Such specialists are most often found in the wilder portions of the isles, reliant upon their bows to bring down supper and familiar with the hazards of an untamed land. Others have less interest in the wilderness, and are concerned only with mastering the ancient techniques of two-weapon combat taught by their particular tradition. Outside their favored combat styles, rangers can be drastically unalike. The only thread that unites them is their superlative prowess with their particular fighting forms.

Example Flavors:

Elven Heritor
The ancient elven traditions find favor with this variety of ranger, albeit more than a few are nothing more than fops and idlers who imagine that they can earn better renown if they claim to be a disciple of these paths. The specific Creeds which pioneered these fighting techniques have long since disintegrated into countless subgroups and factions, and it can often be difficult to tell whether two heritors of this tradition should be comrades or enemies. Whatever their philosophy, they share the elven tradition of high mobility, expert at both pop-up sniping with their bows (Nimble Strike at-will) or weaving in to thrust paired blades into an enemy (Hit and Run at-will). Occasionally, enemies will give them such a perfect opening for movement that they'll cross half the battlefield after one particularly good stroke (Evasive Strike per-encounter power). And for those enemies that are too quick to evade, a deft cut or arrowhead planted in a leg will slow them down nicely for an escape. (Hunter's Bear Trap at-will)

Dwarven Tunnel Fighter
Elves aren't the only ones who find use in mobility. The tunnels that lace many of the island mountain ranges can be too cramped for shieldwork or heavy armor, even on the compact bodies of dwarven warriors. Hard-bitten dwarvish tunnel fighters are trained to defend themselves with short stabbing weapons and to wear flexible armor that won't hang them up in cracks and crevices. Ranges tend to be so short in the tunnels that missile weapons are rarely useful, but they know all the tricks for pitching knives or axes all the same. Even so, they prefer a swift pass from their paired weapons (Twin Strike at-will), and they're trained in techniques to find the weak spot in the armored carapaces of subterranean horrors (Careful Strike at-will). A careless enemy will give them the chance to bury both blades in tender flesh. (Two-Fanged Strike encounter power) With luck and correct positioning, they can even use their weapons to create a fence of iron, certain to do some measure of maiming injury to anything in front of the angered dwarf. (Jaws of the Wolf daily power.)

Xianese Army Scout
Proud men and women of the Xianese Army, these troopers often spend months in the hillcountry and mountains, scouting out goblin bands and worse things for the benefit of their superiors. Their martial skills are a typical human stew of techniques, forms, and tricks gathered from half a hundred more formal styles, all harmonized under the pitiless eye of the drill instructor. Any scout talented enough to survive to muster out shows not only mastery of these arts, but a great deal of luck as well. They favor quick, pop-up attacks from the undergrowth to harry enemies when there is need to stand and fight (Nimble Strike at-will), while eliminating sentries is done with calm, careful setup and sniping (Careful Strike at-will). Goblins can occasionally mob these warriors, and the initial rush often gives them an opening to kill two or three of the little devils at once before they look to their own defenses (Dire Wolverine Strike per-encounter power). At necessity, their bows can skewer both an orc raid leader and his shamaness lieutenant. (Split the Tree daily power).

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