Golarion is home to towering city-states and untamed wilderness – sometimes side-by-side. Rangers are those brave individuals who seek to straddle that divide, making the hinterlands safe for settlers and traders and bringing the bounty of nature (and perhaps a bit of its animalism) back to civilization. While many folks make their livelihoods on the borderlands, not all of them are rangers.
Rangers are a common sight in rural communities, although some find work in even the most cosmopolitan cities. Many rangers prefer solitude to social responsibility. Some are hermits who survive on what they can gather or make themselves, while others are trappers and hunters who spend seasons in the wilderness, returning to town only to trade and resupply. These woodsmen are often a source of geographical information for would-be explorers and settlers.
Rangers are integral members of borderland communities, leading hunts and gathering wild plants to supplement the food supply. Diligent rangers also protect roads and villages from natural dangers and unnatural menaces. Some rangers use their talents to subdue nature in the face of civilization’s inexorable advance.
Yet not all rangers are rural. Their sharp senses prove useful even in a metropolis; some rangers track humanoid prey for bounty in the urban jungle of the great cities. Even then, urbanites tend to look down upon rangers, mistaken their often-ragged and unkempt appearance for a lack of sophistication.
It’s not unusual for a ranger to be struck with wanderlust and take up the life of an adventurer. Some transient rangers have lost the wilds they love to fierce mosteres or encroaching civilization. Many travel in search of their favored enemies.
Wherever civilization borders on wilderness, rangers are found. They are particularly common in Avistan since the fall of Imperial Cheliax, as many of its former holdings have been reclaimed by the wild. It is only the work of rangers that keeps many trade routes from disappearing.
Most armies employ a handful of rangers to act as scouts. The armies of Andoran, Kyonin, Molthune, Nirmathas, and the River Kingdoms, however, rely heavily on rangers. Although these soldiers lack the discipline and martial training of a traditional army, they make up for it with mobility and camouflage. The rangers of Nirmathas – trained in the wilds of the Fangwood – raised guerrilla warfare to new levels, securing Nirmathas from the machinations of Molthune and the druids of the Wildwood Lodge. The marines of Korvosa’s Sable Company are all rangers.
Rangers who join a military unit sometimes focus their training on a single animal, to the exclusion of all others, forming a tight bond. These rangers have no special connection to other animals, but their companion is mostly as strong as a druid’s.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting