No, we aren't talking about the kind fellow at the national park who wears the snazzy uniform. We're talking about the forest-dwelling recluse who serves as a self-appointed guardian for their ancient and enchanted home. They may wear green in an attempt to blend in to their forest surroundings. They guard their forest with their bow slung across their back, and would rather take your hat off with an arrow than post a polite notice to please put out your campfire before you leave. In a fantasy setting, expect at least one elf to be this trope. The Forest Ranger may also be a Nature Hero and have similar associating tropes, however, the Forest Ranger is not a hero and may be a member of a large group of forest dwellers, such as elven city, or even be guard to such a city. Supernatural variants, be they The Fair Folk or Tree-spirits, may also be a Genius Loci. Most of these are Archer Archetype, though you'll also find those who use Bow and Sword, in Accord. Compare Nature Hero. Contrast City Guards.
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Anime And Manga
- Most elves in Magic: The Gathering are this to some extent.
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Film — Live Action
- Robin Hood is probably the archetypal ranger, one of England's best archers and no slouch with a sword either.
- "I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees..."
- The Ents were created for this very purpose, according to The Silmarillion. As the Shepherds of the Trees, their main reason for existence is to prevent humanoids from abusing forests, and to prevent trees from getting homicidal.note
- Mercedes Lackey is very fond of this trope.
- In her Heralds of Valdemar series, the Tayledras scouts fill this role, keeping people away from the dangerous Pelligras Forest, killing dangerous warped monsters like coldrake, and keeping the inoffensive magical creatures safe from other people and from magical threats.
- In her Obsidian and Enduring Flame trilogies, the elven cities are protected by scouts of this nature.
- Played with in The Wise Man's Fear. Fae archers stalk the forest surrounding the Cthaeh to kill anyone who talks to it, since it's omniscient and picks the ending to every conversation that causes the most chaos in the world.
- The Witcher-short stories provide a dark Deconstruction to this trope. There are Rangers who fit the general description, being master bowmen and spending most of their time in the forests — but they spend it hunting elves, dryads, rusalkas and other non-humans, some in revenge of their kin who were murdered by the Scoia'tael terrorists, others simply for the reward or out of racist hatred.
- Any druid from Dungeons & Dragons.
- The Ranger class and many of its five million variants from all versions of Dungeons & Dragons also fits, depending on how you play it. There are a ton of prestige classes from 3rd Edition that are all about defending the forest.
- Many of the primal classes in Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition also count, especially the Warden.
- The Wood Elves from Warhammer Fantasy. They're extremely protective of their forests, and will murder anyone who tries to cut it down. There's a specific class, the Waywatchers, for whom this trope is the entire job description.
- The Elvish Rangers from Battle for Wesnoth, and just about all Elves. And also Woses.
- Final Fantasy V's Ranger class uses bows, wears green, and summons animals to fight alongside it.
- In Gauntlet the Elf Ranger wears green, protects the forest, and uses a bow.
- Wood Elves and Grand Elves in Heroes of Might and Magic fall under this.
- The factions they go in, the Sorceress' Town, Rampart, Preserve, and Sylvan in I and II, III, IV, and V respectively generally follow this rule with their philosophies.
- In Warcraft, High elves and blood elves (rangers), night elves (sentinels) and Undead elves (dark rangers) have these.
- The Dalish elves of the Dragon Age franchise, although they're more territorial than custodial and never stay in one place for long if they can help it. A Dalish Warden is introduced keeping humans away from their camp, can get lines reflecting this archetype, and bow use is encouraged by the provision of better quality equipment in the Dalish origin story.
- There is also the "Ranger" specialization for the Rogue class, which gives the character a +5 resistance to natural attacks and allows them to summon predatory animals to attack their enemies.
- Dark Souls has The Forest Hunters, effectively The Wild Hunt, guarding Darkroot Forest and the grave of Abysswalker Artorias.
- Rift has the Ranger rogue soul and the Beastmaster warrior soul.
- The Ranger class in Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 due to the games being technically in the Dungeons & Dragons universe.
- Anden Goodmanner (and potentially the Princess, if leveled as such) in A Dance with Rogues. Anden is a clear, classic example of this, as he's an archer, who wears green clothing, an excellent tracker, feels comfortable in forests and laments their mistreatment. He does possess a few differences in that he isn't hostile to people or self-appointed as a Ranger, but rather is part of a guild that maintains the safety of the forested roads to Betancuria and seems to observe the condition of the woods. Anden is also a human, instead of an elf, and what little is seen of the guild seems to be composed of humans as well.
- The Ranger class from Majesty. Although their main function is as Bold Explorers who dispel the Fog of War, they also vastly prefer nature and wilderness to the city, have herblore enough to poison weapons or make healing potions from the plants your other heroes sow, and will team up with the highly anti-civilization Barbarians when they're present. Their guilds are mobile campsites, and once the whole place is explored they'll go off to more wild regions. They also wear green and fit the Archer Archetype. (Although it's downplayed, as they're more preferers of untamed forest than active guardians of it.)
- According to their lores in Dota 2, both Traxex (Drow Ranger) and Lyralei (Windranger) are protectors/guardians of the forests. They're also very deadly with bows.
- Gyromancer has Laska Terrado, a royal ranger who is assigned to help the mage Rivel track down a group of rogue knights in a large, magical forest. When she's killed there, she's revived in short order by the spirit of the forest, which considers her at least a potential protector.
- J Audubon Woodlore, of The Ranger of Brownstone.
- Roger's Rangers during the mid 18th century colonial North America whose mission was to protect British settlers from raiding Native Americans and their French allies. In the North American wilderness, the European style of standing armies and linear warfare did not work in the woods because the Native Americans did not play by the same rules. They would fight using ambush and Hit-and-Run Tactics. The concept of the "Ranger" was to take frontiersmen who are able to live in the wilderness and adopt the Native American's guerrilla tactics and Beat Them at Their Own Game. The Rangers did two things in history: they patrol and they raid. The idea of "Ranging" or being a borderer means protecting the boundaries of your nation or your home.