The world of D&D lets adventurers pick and choose between various ranged and melee weapons.
However, some weapons stand out above the rest, fitting an adventurer’s background, build, flavor and simply giving more useful stats to that character.
In the case of Rangers, their backstories and playstyles mainly include bows, daggers, staffs, and certain one-handed weapons (swords or sickles).
Rangers have a similar role to the Rogue but have more options when it comes to magic without selecting a subclass, which might make you lean towards using bows for ranged and daggers for melee.
Ranger Weapon Proficiency
- Simple weapons
- Martial weapons
Best Weapons for the Ranger in 5e
Cost: 2 SP
Damage: 1d6 Bludgeoning
Weight: 4 lbs
Properties: Versatile (1d8)
Quarterstaffs can serve a Ranger well, but you’ll need to look at a few features to really make it shine.
Use the Spellcasting Focus (optional feature), which will allow you to use the Quarterstaff as a weapon and a focus for your spells.
You can even use the Quarterstaff as a Druid can by casting Shillelagh, but you’ll need the Druid Warrior Fighting Style. Picking up the Polearm Master Feat is also a good idea.
9. Weapon of Warning
Rarity – Uncommon (requiring attunement)
Item Type – Weapon (any)
This weapon warns you of danger. While on your person, you have advantage on initiative rolls. You and any of your companions within 30 feet also can’t be surprised, except if incapacitated by something that’s not nonmagical sleep.
The weapon will magically awaken you and your companions within range if you’re sleeping naturally when combat begins.
Rangers often take up the role of searching for food or setting up camp because of their Survival and Nature skills.
They also take responsibility for their party’s safety when they’re camping or traveling on the road.
Therefore, Weapon of Warning is a great addition to any Ranger’s build, especially if they also want advantage on initiative rolls.
Cost: 10 GP
Damage: 1d6 Piercing
Weight: 2 lbs
Properties: Finesse, Light
Rangers are similar to Rogues in the sense that both of them find great value in using the Shortsword as their go-to weapon for two-weapon fighting.
Daggers can also be used because of their thrown property, but because you’ll most likely have a bow, it’s better to have Shortswords with higher damage dice than Daggers that are out-damaged by your bow anyway.
Cost: 25 GP
Damage: 1d8 Piercing
Weight: 2 lbs
Rangers who want to go for a Dueling or a Defender build should consider taking the Rapier as their main one-handed weapon because of its large damage die.
It also has finesse, which allows you to use Dexterity (your highest ability score) for the attack and damage rolls.
6. Moon Sickle
Rarity – Uncommon (+1), Rare (+2), Very Rare (+3) (requiring attunement by a Druid or Ranger)
Item Type – Weapon (sickle)
Holding this weapon lets you gain a bonus to both attack and damage rolls made with it, and you also gain a bonus to spell attack rolls and save DCs of Druid and Ranger spells.
The bonus is determined by the rarity of the weapon, and the sickle can also be used as a spellcasting focus for Druid or Ranger spells.
Casting a spell that restores HP lets you roll a d4, adding the number rolled to the amount of HP restored if you’re holding the sickle.
The Moon Sickle is an interesting weapon, as it can easily be used for two-weapon fighting, but it also does well if you want to use spells.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that the Moon Sickle functions best when held by a Ranger who focuses on spells, but it can be used for two-handed fighting in combination with the War Caster Feat.
Another great addition is the fact that it lets you roll a d4 when a spell restores HP and allows you to add the number to the HP restored, which helps a lot, especially in the early game.
Cost: 50 GP
Damage: 1d8 Piercing
Weight: 2 lbs
Properties: Ammunition, Range (150/600), Heavy, Two-handed
If you’re going for an Archery Ranger, then the Longbow is your best option.
There’s not much to say here. Rangers are known for being deadly with a Longbow!
4. Ephixis, Bow of Nyela
Rarity – Artifact (requiring attunement)
Item Type – Weapon (shortbow)
Nylea is the wielder of Ephixis, and she grants this bow to her followers to perform great deeds, like casting down the arrogant or disposing of foul creatures.
Bow of the Wild – This weapon includes a shortbow and a quiver containing four arrows, each tied to one of the four seasons.
You also gain a +3 bonus to damage and attack rolls with the bow, suffering no disadvantage when attacking with the weapon’s long range. Ephixis will also score a critical hit on a 19 or 20 when rolled on a d20.
Other features – The bow also contains the Blessing of the Wild and Arrow of the Seasons features.
The Blessing of the Wild works off of piety and grants minor and major beneficial properties depending on a follower’s piety. However, it can also give a major detrimental property if the wielder isn’t a follower of Nyela.
The Arrows of the Seasons shows the function of each arrow and indicates that an arrow fired from the bow will immediately disappear, returning in the quiver at the next dusk.
Arrows all have different uses: one giving a buff, the other summoning a creature, another casting a control spell, and the last one casting a damage spell.
Shortbows are often neglected by Rangers, but Ephixis is an exception.
Its flavor works well with a Ranger who lives close to nature, fights for the light, and protects those he cares for.
Worshipping Nyela doesn’t have to be the only requirement, as Nyela can pick certain Rangers if she sees their good-heartedness, bestowing upon them their will made physical.
It is an exceptionally powerful bow and should be used with caution!
3. Dagger of Venom
Rarity – Rare
Item Type – Weapon (dagger)
Gain a +1 bonus to damage and attack rolls with this weapon.
Use an action to cause thick, black poison to coat the blade. The poison will remain for 1 minute or until an attack with this weapon were to hit a creature.
The creature must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution save or take 2d10 Poison damage, becoming poisoned for 1 minute. The dagger cannot be used in this way again until its next dawn.
A Dagger of Venom is a great addition to the Ranger’s kit, even being useful throughout most of the mid-game and only becoming much less effective afterward.
It allows you to dish out insane amounts of damage for 1 minute, which will usually be enough for an entire battle.
Note: The Rakdos Riteknife is also a great choice if you want to become evil or just deal some insane damage and heal for incredible amounts.
2. Dancing Shortsword
Rarity – Very Rare (requiring attunement)
Item Type – Weapon (shortsword)
Use a bonus action to toss the sword into the air, speaking the command word. The sword will begin to hover, flying up to 30 feet and attacking a creature you choose within 5 feet of it.
The sword will use your attack roll and ability score modifier for damage rolls.
While the sword is hovering, you can use a bonus action to make the sword fly up to 30 feet to another area within 30 feet of you. As a part of the same bonus action, the sword can attack one more creature within 5 feet of it.
After the sword attack for the fourth time, the sword flies up to 30 feet and tries to return to your hand. If you don’t have a free hand, it will fall to the ground at your feet.
If the sword doesn’t have an unobstructed path to you, it will move as close as possible to you and then fall to the ground. It will cease to hover if you grasp it or if you move more than 30 feet away from it.
Note: Proficiency with a shortsword lets you add your proficiency bonus to its attack roll for any attack made with it.
I’ve already spoken about how good Shortswords are for Rangers, and the Dancing Shortsword is even better!
You can have your sword attack for you while you draw back your bow and fire from a distance without getting your hands dirty.
Rarity – Very Rare (requiring attunement)
Item Type – Weapon (longbow)
Nocking an arrow makes the bow whisper, “Swift defeat to my enemies” in Elvish. Using it to make a ranged attack, use the command phrase, “Swift death to you who have wronged me.”
The target will become your sworn enemy until it dies or until dawn seven days later. You may only have one sworn enemy at a time. If your sworn enemy dies, you may choose a new one after the following dawn.
Making a ranged attack roll against your sworn enemy gives you advantage on the roll. The target cannot gain benefit from cover other than total cover, and you’ll suffer no disadvantage due to long range.
If your attack hits, your sworn enemy will take a bonus 3d6 Piercing damage.
While your sworn enemy lives, your attack rolls with all other weapons will have disadvantage.
If you’re sick of using a regular Longbow, you’ll need to get your hands on the Oathbow.
It allows you to put as much damage as possible on a single target, as it gives you increased damage and advantage on attack rolls against the target.
You won’t need to worry about having disadvantage due to long range, and you’ll deal 3d6 bonus Piercing damage on a hit to the target.
Note: Try combining the Oathbow with the Arrow of Slaying. You’ll thank me later!
For the most part, each class in D&D has its most used or beloved weapon that is both iconic and functional.
Though some of these weapons might not be the best D&D weapon overall, they remain the best option for that character at the moment.
A good example would be choosing between a dagger or a sword, as both can be useful for you, but certain scenarios (like using a dagger in your off-hand) might be more appealing to you.
In the end, whether you decide to take a conventional or unconventional weapon, as long as you like it and it fits your playstyle, you should roll with it!