Baldur's Gate 3Ranger

Ranger (Gloom Stalker) Build Guide for Baldur’s Gate 3

Gloom Stalker Ranger Build and Guide

In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Gloom Stalker Ranger build guide, we’ll be covering the class’s pros and cons, recommended races/backgrounds, level progression, and more.

Do you see yourself slinking about in the shadows, stalking your enemy, full of initiative in order to make the first strike? If so, then you are going to enjoy playing a Ranger with the subclass of Gloom Stalker.

Sure, it’s nice to talk your way out of a fight, or play it safe and avoid the risks of being detected, but the payoff to this playstyle is very well conceived, due to the Gloom Stalker’s innate abilities gained during progression that aid in high damage from ranged positions, getting the jump on the enemy, and gaining extra attacks on hits, and eventually, even on misses.

Plus, there is a lot of strategy in this class that is fun to play out, whether it’s using Arrows of Ice to place an icy surface down with a chance to knock enemies prone, dipping in and out of subterfuge in order to continuously damage a priority target, or – my personal favorite – knocking off little beasty targets with Arrows of Roaring Thunder, letting gravity take its toll.

Overall, the Gloom Stalker is definitely my pick when it comes to ranged classes. Arrows don’t rely on spell slots, and although you won’t be relying on many spells, you still have the option of having some pretty good spells that will ease your combat fears quite quickly

Find out where the Ranger ranks in our Baldur’s Gate 3 class tier list.

Pros and Cons


  • Strong single target damage
  • High initiative and bonus movement speed
  • Stealthy and less likely to be surprised


  • Limited AoE
  • Less durable than other subclasses
  • Best spells require Concentration

Being able to take your first turn and knock out priority targets is very integral to this subclass of Ranger. Gloom Stalkers have the option to use Hunter’s Mark as a Bonus Action – AND – should the enemy perish while having it on them, they can reapply it to another enemy, without spending any Spell Slots. Using this every time you engage in combat is essential and not to be overlooked.

Meanwhile, with the options to pick a Favoured Enemy and choose a focus for Natural Explorer, the versatility of adding a little different flare to your own playstyle is offered in these ways.

Another huge advantage that the Gloom Stalker has is a passive +3 bonus to initiative and this usually gives you the first turn in combat engagement, in order to get the jump on the enemy, lay down some good damage, and then with your Dread Ambusher: Hide skill, you move back into dark areas and avoid retribution for your sneaky actions.

dread ambusher hide

And, when the enemy does find you, and attempt to catch you, this is when you can shine even more with a well-placed Spiked Growth spell, which does require Concentration, but in my opinion, is one of the best spells in Baldur’s Gate 3, because you can then, again, hide out of line of sight to keep your Concentration going while slowing down any advancing melee enemies – and each turn you can pick off any creature that keeps advancing.

spike growth official

The downside though, is that, as a Gloom Stalker, you will not have much AOE damage other than Spike Growth, unless you can find a steady supply of Arrow of Many Targets, you will then have to rely on your companions to deal with the more intelligent opponents you face who refuse to walk through the tangled terrain, or happen to have teleporting skills like Misty Step, etc.

The idea is to make sure the enemy cannot catch you, because if they catch you, they may certainly kill you, in one turn – unless you manage to kill them first!

In relation to the other Ranger subclasses, Gloom Stalker is focused on assassinating key targets in early rounds while the Beast Master instead focuses on having a beast companion nearby in order to have more utility and action economy.

fire arrow in game screenshot

Hunters, on the other hand, tend to be more well-rounded and can specialize into particular combat styles but their damage is not very comparable to the Gloom Stalker and they do not receive additional attacks.

In both cases, the Gloom Stalker’s main tradeoff for having the highest damage output and assassination potential is being less durable and having less utility.

Races, Background, and Skills

For Ranger Gloom Stalker, Wood Elf is the absolute go to. You may have some success with Drow, but extra movement is superior with the Wood Elf.

As far as Backgrounds, Outlander is the best, in my opinion, but Folk Hero can be an alternative.
You definitely want to focus on Stealth, Survival, and Perception.

As for your Ability Points, there are many ways you can go with your Ranger and still be decent. Depending on the companions that you plan to take along with you, you could opt to have no negative stats and round yourself out to having 12 STR, 16 DEX, 14 CON, 14 WIS, while leaving the rest at 10.

gloomstalker high con

Another option is keeping 16+ DEX, 16+ WIS because your Archery Skills depend on Dexterity while your Concentration Spells rely on Wisdom.

gloomstalker high wis

If you don’t like these options, there is another spread of Ability points that allows you to bring your DEX up to 17, but you will have to lower STR under 10 which means that you will be relying on Light Armor throughout your early game levels.

Luckily, you can respec your starting Ability Points quite soon, after you begin your adventure, so you can always experiment with your preferences in that area. NOTE: You cannot respec your RACE or BACKGROUND, so pick wisely.

Leveling Progression

Check back soon for Acts 2 and 3 of our Baldurs Gate 3 Gloom Stalker Ranger build. Here’s our progression for Act 1.

Level 1

Beginning at Level 1, the Ranger gets to choose the first of their Favoured Enemy, which is a Class Feature, as well as Natural Explorer. It is recommended to get Bounty Hunter for proficiency in Investigation (as well as giving creatures a Disadvantage on their Saving Throws when you land a successful Ensnaring Strike).

sneaking gloomstalker

Then pick up Beast Tamer, since you will not be very strong at the start of your adventure, and you can use the extra distraction of a summoned pet to help you with Find Familiar, which will not take a Spell Slot upon casting it after each Long Rest.

Level 2

At Level 2, you gain access to two Spells and you may choose a Fighting Style, which should be Archery, of course and from here on out your journey of finding amazing enchanted Short Bows, Longbows and even Crossbows begins.

The must-have spell is Hunter’s Mark, while your second spell is recommended to be Ensnaring Strike.

ensnaring strike

Although Ensnaring Strike will take an Action, Bonus Action, and a Level 1 Spell Slot, this is a good early option for Crowd Control.

Meanwhile, Hunter’s Mark is a must-have, must-use, whenever you begin combat, so definitely take advantage of it.

hunter's mark

Level 3

Level 3 is when you can officially call yourself a Gloom Stalker and choose this subclass.

gloomstalker subclass features

Immediately you will receive Dread Ambusher, Superior Darkvision, Dread Ambusher: Hide, Umbral Shroud, and Disguise Self.

dread ambusher

This is your life now: Sticking to the shadows and making the most out of your surprise attacks, hidden from the beginning of combat.

umbral shroud

Level 4

When you reach Level 4, you can choose a Feat and at this point, you can choose from a few Feats that help you at this level, but ideally, the most advantageous ones to you will be Ability Improvement or Sharpshooter.

sharpshooter all in

While Sharpshooter is definitely good, you will have a better chance to miss your targets so the option to take this feat later in your leveling progression can be argued – since at this point – doing damage and doing it fast may be more important than doing very high damage with a higher chance of missing.

sharpshooter low ground

NOTE: Feats are also things you can respec so go with your gut – or – be different and see what works for you. I hear Lucky is not that bad as well.

Level 5

Finally, at Level 5, this is when the higher damage output comes into play, when you receive your Extra Attack, which is a class feature, and is the crux of your playstyle when it comes to outputting enough damage before sneaking back into your subterfuge of safety.

gloomstalker shooting

You will also gain another Spell Slot, access to Level 2 Spells, and it is highly recommended to get Spike Growth, for your main AOE CC and Damage. In my opinion, this is a MUST HAVE.

Additionally, you get the Spell: Misty Step, which is amazing and helps in combat as well as during gameplay navigation, getting to hard to reach spots that often contain hidden treasures and other loot.

Level Progression beyond this point is still amazing, but seeing as this is only my second play through on my Gloom Stalker, I want to test some more things out so I will be updating this section as I progress further. Check back soon!


The early game is a little sparse on equipment for the Gloom Stalker, although there are a few pieces to look out for on vendors in the Druid Grove.

Be on the lookout for +Initiative, +Dexterity or +X bonus to Dexterity Saving Throws and Checks.

Here are a few recommended items to equip that you can get very early on:

Spell Thief


Hedge Wanderer Armour

hedge wanderer armour

Gloves of Missile Snaring

BG3 gloves of missile snaring

Leather Helmet

leather helmet

The other consumable items that are very important in early game, are Oil of Accuracy Coatings (especially if you take the Sharpshooter Feat), Potions of Speed and Healing, and a variety of special Arrows, including Arrows of Fire, Arrows of Roaring Thunder, and Arrows of Ice.

Oil of Accuracy

oil of accuracy

Potion of Speed

potion of speed

Arrow of Fire

arrow of fire

Arrow of Roaring Thunder

arrow of roaring thunder


Overall, I have enjoyed my playthroughs of Baldur’s Gate 3 on many different classes, but none so much as Ranger Gloom Stalker. Even when I am not a Ranger, I still find myself carrying around a bow and some arrows because I love the versatility in the enchanted Arrows and the conditional Arrows. This ends up happening so much that I just end up respecing back to my Ranger Gloom Stalker because I love the extra attacks and the higher damage and the range.

gloomstalker splash

It’s an especially great subclass if you are planning on playing through on Tactician mode, since you will definitely want to out-damage the enemy during combat before they can get to you. Some enemies will just demolish a character once reaching melee distance, and it’s highly advantageous to be a Gloom Stalker Wood Elf with lots of initiative, with the ability to surprise range attack and strike multiple times while still being able to go back into hiding with superior movement distance.

There is also plenty of gear to keep a Gloom Stalker feeling up to par with the other companions since you will often find bows, arrows, and light or medium armor regularly, and there are some great quest-related rewards that are just not as rewarding as being anything but a piece of Archery equipment.

And, if you aren’t convinced that this is one of the best subclasses in the game, you can always respec and try a variety of other classes and subclasses since Wood Elves are pretty versatile, but heads up, you will be right back to your Ranger Gloom Stalker again in no time!

“The archer is the true weapon; the bow is just a long piece of wood.” – Sebastien de Castell, ‘Traitor’s Blade’