This build started with a narrative concept:
Legend tells of a tribe so fast they could circle the earth without seeing the sunset.
This concept lends itself to certain themes which support the features:
- Speed: moving fast
- Sun: fire damage, radiant damage, shining light
I don’t actually draft the narrative blurb until all the class features have been developed. Sometimes, exploring those mechanics can change the narrative of how the class works. In this case, in order to support the Ranger’s damage output, I took the concept one step further and leaned on the idea of stealing fire from the sun,
When it came time to write the narrative, I folded this concept together with the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. The great Sunchaser legend Usher Tempo is not just a pun that means “move fast”–it’s an anagram for Prometheus.
The Sunchaser’s speed and nimbleness are expressed through Swift Sprint (giving a free Disengage when you Dash) and Gone in a Flash (allowing you to escape the area when you make a Dexterity save).
Damage support comes from Sun Strikes. While this was modeled after the Horizon Walker’s Planar Warrior class feature, which adds an additional 1d8 (up to 2d8 @ level 11) and converts all your damage to force damage. I increased the damage die from a d8 to a d10 because force damage is really strong, and we’ll be changing that flavor. Also, Planar Warrior converts ALL your damage to force, which we won’t be doing. Instead, we’re just adding d10 fire damage at first, which is a frequently-resisted damage type. At the level 11 bump, we’re adding another d10 radiant damage, which is less likely to be resisted.
Attack support also comes from Illuminated Target, which gives you advantage against targets within light you’re creating, bringing together the Ranger’s spell and attack features.
Finally, in a blend of damage support and battlefield control, we have Trailblazer, which ignites every time you deal fire damage. You can track fire all across the battlefield, separating areas and threatening creatures who move through the area. Trailblazer also lasts until your next turn, so it will continue working while you’re taking your extra movement from Gone in a Flash.
The first entry on the spell list is expeditious retreat, which lets you Dash as a bonus action. This spell supports the class options, especially Swift Sprint and Trailblazer.
Scorching ray matches the flavor of damaging sun rays. The fire damage can be used to ignite Trailblazer.
The spell list includes both daylight and dawn, since I wanted to give access to a non-concentration option for illuminating your foes. These work with Illuminated Target and also provide damage and tactical support. Dawn is a must from a thematic standpoint, but if you don’t have access to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything (XGE), you can swap for flame strike (from Basic Rules/Player’s Handbook) or immolation (from Elemental Evil Player’s Companion/Princes of the Apocalypse).
You also get fire shield, which has several great interactions. It doesn’t require concentration, so you can leave it on while using expeditious retreat or dawn. While fire shield doesn’t boost your Armor Class (AC), it does give damage resistance. It also provides some defense in that attackers take fire damage, which can in turn ignite Trailblazer. Finally, it sheds light around you, marrying nicely with Illuminated Target.
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