Rangers are the long-ranged eyes and ears of most Dwarf settlements. They patrol far from the safety of the hold, often spending long periods out in the wilderness, keeping watch on the Dwarfs’ many enemies and tracking dangerous beasts. It is they who explore hidden valleys, push through collapsed sections of the Underway and scale the cliffsides in search of new pathways. Rangers will hunt down and dispose of lone monsters or ambush small mobs of Goblins, but when they confront larger creatures or enemy armies on the march, the Rangers send signals to the nearest outposts to alert them of the encroaching danger.
While all holds are thankful for such services, that doesn’t mean the Rangers are well respected. Rangers are a wandering lot — often moving between holds. After months surviving in the wilderness, far off the beaten track, they are, at best, weather-beaten and travel-worn. Most consider them to be outcast clans, desperate to earn their way back into a hold. Sometimes this is the case, but just as often, the Rangers turn out to be an independent-minded breed of Dwarf, small groups from respectable clans that feel more at home on the mountainsides. Unlike most of their kin, they camp under the stars, moving from rough camp to camp. With such free spirits, it is no wonder that so many Dwarfs are mistrustful of Rangers, generally believing them to be a bit unhealthy from breathing so much open air and exposing themselves so often to the sun.
To survive on the harsh mountain slopes without the security of a nearby hold to fall back to, Rangers have learned to be stealthy and to fight in a manner unique for Dwarfs. They are ambush-hunters, experts at approaching the enemy from unexpected angles. Where possible, they will trigger avalanches, misdirect wayward foes over cliffs, or lead them into the teeth of an oncoming icestorm. Rangers are walking arsenals and carry a slew of different weapons — crossbows to skewer foes at long range, throwing axes for close ranged slaying while on the move, an axe for close combat and, for truly imposing foes, great axes. They have learned to keep bedrolls, pots, pans, and climbing gear secreted in camps hidden along their mountainous routes, yet still, they must carry all their provisions on their backs as well.
When dealing with large enemy forces, Rangers will first attempt to forewarn all Dwarfs in the invaders’ path and then they will trail the foe, picking off stragglers and waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc. In this way, when the enemy finally confronts a Dwarf force, the Rangers will often be in position to outflank the foe, arriving behind their battle fines to destroy war machines, pincushion lone wizards, or launch an attack to otherwise help gain an advantage for the Dwarfs. Many times, a Ranger’s greatest deed go unwitnessed — acts of sabotage such as rolling gunpowder barrels downhill onto enemy camps, spiking the foe’s water supplies with intoxicating agents (a battle-winning tactic, but also resource wasted on those that don’t appreciate it!), or leading the wild beasts that haunt the mountain passes onto the enemy trail, allowing wild Manticores or hungry Wyverns to do some of their work for them. Still, no matter how many Night Goblin Fanatics they lure into rockpiles, many Dwarf clans will give them only cursory thanks and little respect.
Rangers are mysterious figures, and it is not surprising that many tales are told of their deeds. The most famous of their kind is the regiment known as Bugman’s Rangers— vengeance-seekers who follow their brewmaster, turning up out of the wilds with grim tidings before lending a hand in the batde that is sure to follow. Others, too, have grown in status — the Redbeards that haunt the High Pass; the grim survivalists called Ulthar’s Raiders, known for the trail of Goblin heads they leave on stakes near Karak Eight Peaks; and the Frostbeard Clan, hardy Rangers who set clever traps to ensnare monsters on the slopes north of Karaz-a-Karak.