Gloom Stalker is a highly sought-after subclass that offers a range of powerful features without any wasted abilities. It takes the already impressive skill set of the ranger class and enhances it, providing exceptional damage potential and improved stealth and utility. While its underground specialization might seem limiting, most of its features work just as effectively in broad daylight. In this guide, we will explore the various aspects of the Gloom Stalker subclass to help you maximize its potential.
Table of Contents
- Gloom Stalker Features
- Gloom Stalker Ability Scores
- Gloom Stalker Races
- Gloom Stalker Feats
- Gloom Stalker Weapons
- Gloom Stalker Armor
- Example Build – Hitman with Fur (Abilities, Race, Background, Skills and Tools, Feats, Levels)
The Gloom Stalker subclass is renowned for its ability to amplify a ranger’s combat capabilities and provide unparalleled stealthiness. Unlike other subclasses that can feel lackluster at times, the Gloom Stalker offers a full arsenal of impressive features that are always useful. Whether you find yourself in dimly lit underground caves or on sun-drenched battlefields, the Gloom Stalker will prove to be a formidable and versatile choice.
At RPGBOT, we utilize a color-coding system to rate various options within our guide, providing a quick and easy way to evaluate their usefulness. Here’s a breakdown:
- Red: Bad or useless options that are hardly ever helpful.
- Orange: Okay options or useful in rare circumstances.
- Green: Good options that are frequently useful.
- Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to your character’s effectiveness.
We prioritize official content in our handbooks and do not include 3rd-party or Unearthed Arcana content. Our advice is based on the current state of the Character Optimization Meta, considering the latest official source materials. Keep in mind that the meta may change as new content is released, and we will update our guide accordingly. RPGBOT is an unofficial Fan Content under the Fan Content Policy and is not approved or endorsed by Wizards of the Coast.
Gloom Stalker Features
The Gloom Stalker subclass offers a range of powerful features that enhance your combat prowess and stealth capabilities. Let’s explore each feature in detail:
Gloom Stalker Magic: This feature grants you access to several useful spells. While some require a high spell save DC, they still provide situational benefits. Key spells include Darkvision, Rope Trick, and Greater Invisibility, which are particularly advantageous for stealthy characters.
Dread Ambusher: In combat, the first round is crucial, and Dread Ambusher ensures you have a significant advantage. With this feature, you gain extra attack, bonus damage, and a substantial initiative boost, allowing you to obliterate enemies before they even have a chance to react.
Umbral Sight: Darkvision is a valuable trait, but Umbral Sight takes it to a whole new level. This feature grants you not only free Darkvision but also the ability to become functionally invisible to Darkvision. In combat, this means you can remain unseen and strike from the shadows, making it one of the best class features available.
Iron Mind: Additional saving throw proficiencies, especially for commonly targeted saves, are always beneficial. Iron Mind provides you with the necessary mental fortitude to resist various types of magic and other harmful effects.
Stalker’s Flurry: While not as powerful as an additional attack, Stalker’s Flurry is still incredibly helpful. With this feature, you have a consistent option for dealing damage, increasing your chances to hit even against well-armored foes.
Shadowy Dodge: As a Gloom Stalker, staying unseen is your forte. However, if your enemies manage to attack you while you’re not concealed or invisible, Shadowy Dodge provides insurance by allowing you to dodge their attacks with your Reaction.
Gloom Stalker Ability Scores
When determining your ability scores for a Gloom Stalker, consider the following:
- Str: Unless you plan on dual-wielding and using finesse weapons, you can safely dump Strength.
- Dex: This is your primary stat, powering your attacks and essential skills. Prioritize increasing Dexterity.
- Con: While more hit points are always beneficial, Gloom Stalkers work well at range, so you don’t need to focus heavily on Constitution.
- Int: Dump Intelligence; it’s not a priority for this subclass.
- Wis: This stat powers your spells, as well as certain class features and Scout skills. It should be your secondary focus after Dexterity, but not as crucial to max out.
- Cha: Unless you plan on utilizing the expertise gained from the Canny section of the optional class feature Deft Explorer for social skills, you can dump Charisma.
Consider using the Point Buy system or the Standard Array to distribute your ability scores effectively.
Gloom Stalker Races
The Gloom Stalker subclass benefits from races typically suited for rangers. Here are a few race suggestions:
- MotM Bugbear: The Bugbear’s recent changes make it an excellent choice for the Gloom Stalker. The Surprise Attack feature synergizes well with this subclass, and racial Darkvision complements Umbral Sight. Additionally, proficiency in Stealth allows you to allocate your resources elsewhere.
- Variant Human/Custom Lineage: These options are ideal if you want to gain Crossbow Expert or Sharpshooter early on and take advantage of the invisibility granted by Umbral Sight.
Gloom Stalker Feats
Gloom Stalkers generally benefit from the same feats as other rangers. However, a couple of feats synergize particularly well with this subclass. Consider the following feats:
- Crossbow Expert and Sharpshooter: These feats are crucial for increasing your damage output and complementing the invisibility granted by Umbral Sight.
- Piercer: With the Gloom Stalker’s high volume of attacks and advantage, you’ll likely roll many critical hits. Piercer allows you to reroll low damage rolls and further enhance your damage potential.
- Resilient (Constitution): As a Gloom Stalker, you can gain proficiency in all three common saving throws, making you incredibly resilient and versatile.
Gloom Stalker Weapons
The Gloom Stalker subclass doesn’t require specific weapons, but some options work particularly well:
- Hand Crossbow: If you follow the example build described below, you’ll see how wielding a Hand Crossbow can turn you into an unstoppable force.
- Longbow: If you prefer a build with fewer combat options, the Longbow is a reliable choice that doesn’t require additional feats.
- Short Sword: If you want to focus on melee combat, the Short Sword is a viable option. Consider dual-wielding them if you prefer close-range encounters.
Gloom Stalker Armor
There are no particular differences regarding armor for the Gloom Stalker subclass. However, it’s worth noting that since Gloom Stalkers have shield proficiency, you can consider using a shield if you plan on taking a more melee-oriented approach.
Multiclassing can provide additional options and synergies for your Gloom Stalker. Here are some potential multiclassing routes to consider:
- Rogue, Fighter, and Monk: By dipping into these classes, you can create a character capable of dealing over 400 expected damage in the first turn. If someone can Haste you, that number can exceed 450. Action Surge from Fighter is particularly beneficial, and the interaction with Dread Ambusher allows you to make use of it on your first turn. Additionally, Assassin rogues can further enhance your damage potential, while Way of Shadow monks can provide unique advantages for melee-oriented Gloom Stalkers.
- Warlock: Consider multiclassing into Warlock to gain the Devil’s Sight invocation, which synergizes well with the dark and shadowy nature of the Gloom Stalker. By increasing your Charisma to 13, you can access this powerful combination.
Example Build – Hitman with Fur
Let’s take a closer look at an example build for a Gloom Stalker, referred to as the Hitman with Fur:
- Abilities: As a Gloom Stalker, you gain early access to Fighting Style (Archery), enabling you to ignore some fundamental math progressions. Prioritize increasing Dexterity for better accuracy and damage output.
- Race: The MotM Bugbear is an ideal choice, as explained above. Leverage its unique abilities to their fullest potential.
- Background: The Haunted One background offers thematic advantages such as Undercommon proficiency, Survival, and a free Monster Hunter’s Pack. Adjust the background to suit your character’s story, replacing languages with Thieves’ Tools proficiency and swapping a skill for Sleight of Hand.
- Skills and Tools: Choose Perception, Insight, and Investigation as your three class skills. The Haunted One background grants you Survival and Sleight of Hand.
- Feats: Prioritize acquiring Crossbow Expert and Sharpshooter. At level 12, consider taking Piercer to maximize your critical hits. Lastly, Resilient (Constitution) at level 16 provides proficiency in all three common saving throws.
- Levels: Refer to the table provided in the original article to track the progression of your build, its associated feats, and features. This information will help you make informed decisions about your character’s development and execute effective tactics in combat.
With this build, you’ll embody the essence of a stealthy and deadly assassin, dealing massive damage while remaining hidden in the shadows.
Remember to adapt the build to suit your playstyle and character concept. The Hitman with Fur is just one example, offering a balanced and potent Gloom Stalker build.
In summary, the Gloom Stalker subclass is an exceptional choice for rangers seeking enhanced combat capabilities and stealth prowess. With its array of powerful features, this subclass ensures you will always have a valuable role to play on the battlefield. Consider your ability scores, race, feats, and multiclassing options carefully to create a Gloom Stalker character that excels in any situation.