"'Cause the eyes of a Ranger are upon youSo you have your Elite Redshirts. They're on the good side, they're a group of (usually) non-heroes, and they are AWESOME. So... what do you call them? Easy: Rangers. It seems that, every time you hear the word "Ranger", the person/people bearing the title will proceed to kick butt for quite a long time, and will almost never suffer from Badass Decay. In short, "Ranger" is shorthand for awesome. As can be seen from the Real Life folder, there's some Truth in Television to this. When applied to military units (Such as the US Army 75th Rangers Regiment), they will typically be some form of light infantry Spec-Ops who specialise in mobility , stealth and occasionally guerrilla/counter-geurilla tactics. The accepted vulnerability in these tactics (reduced armour, firepower, numbers, etc) add to the badass credentials. See also the Army Scout, who may be equally badass, but tends to work alone scouting ahead of the army. See also Forest Ranger.
Any wrong you do, he's gonna see
When you're in Texas, look behind you
'Cause that's where the Ranger's gonna be."
Any wrong you do, he's gonna see
When you're in Texas, look behind you
'Cause that's where the Ranger's gonna be."
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Anime & Manga
- The Survey Corps in Attack on Titan.
- The Rangers in the Marvel Universe.
- Steve Rogers (a.k.a. Captain America) served in a Ranger unit during WW2.
- Badass superspy Nick Fury was an Army Ranger during World War II.
- The Cursed Earth Auxiliary, who patrol the Cursed Earth in the vicinity of Mega City One, in Judge Dredd are commonly known as the Rangers. The Texas Rangers still exist too, though they're more of a Bounty Hunter with a uniform.
- Tomahawk's Rangers in Tomahawk.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Pacific Rim: Jaeger pilots are called Rangers.
- Der Schuh des Manitu: Ranger. He has no other name besides that.
- Cameron Poe from Con Air.
- In The Lord of the Rings, during the extended cut of The Two Towers, Saruman has a rather visible Oh, Crap! moment when Gríma Wormtongue mention that one of the men at Edoras, Aragorn, appeared to be a Dúnedain Ranger (of course, Saruman has a bigger one when Gríma mentions he's wearing a ring of entwined serpents and realizes not just what but who he is).
- In addition to the Dúnedain, there's also the Ithilien Rangers led by Faramir, who are shown in The Two Towers to be elite and badass guerilla fighters, conducting raids against Haradrim convoys moving through the region to link up with Mordor's forces.
- Captain Miller and his squad (except Cpl. Upham) from Saving Private Ryan.
- The eight rangers of whom the Lone Ranger was the last surviving member.
- Along with being a highly decorated Delta Force operative. Major Gates from Three Kings also has a Rangers tab. Meaning he attended and passed Ranger school.
- The A-Team were all US Army Rangers before being framed and dishonourably discharged.
- Blackhawk Down gives us Colonel McKnight's Army Rangers and a team of Delta Force operators trapped in the city of Mogadishu after a raid goes south when two helicopters are shot down. In exchange for many of Mohamed Farrah Aidid's militia killed, the Rangers lose 19 men in the resulting battle. Based on a True Story.
- The Lord of the Rings has the Dúnedain Rangers, fearsome guerilla fighters who are dedicated to protecting the free peoples of Middle Earth from Sauron's forces. They are split into two groups; the Rangers of the North led by Aragorn, who defend the peoples of the former Kingdom of Arnor, and the Rangers of Ithilien led by Faramir, who patrol the border between Gondor and Mordor.
- Obviously, the Rangers of the Ranger's Apprentice series. They're Badass Normal special forces and investigators, Famed In-Story for stealth and archery skills. They're no slouches when it comes to close-quarters combat, either. Just the knowledge that a Ranger is in the area is generally enough to make bad guys think twice.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe has the Antarian Rangers, an organization of clans founded to support Jedi Knights; they interbred somewhat with the Jedi, so Force-Sensitivity was common. Wraith Squadron member Tyria Sarkin is the last of the Antarian Rangers from her planet, and puts the infiltration skills she learned to good use.
To be a Ranger meant knowing how to move in any environment. To blend in with the forest or grasslands, to sail, to swim, to dive, to pilot. To be masters of our surroundings. We were good spies, good warriors, very adept at intrusion and escape.
- The "Ranger Girls", female federal agents in Don Pendleton's The Executioner novels.
- Discworld: Bush rangers are shown in The Last Continent as being outlaws. Rincewind, however, makes the mistake most of us would probably make if we heard the word "ranger". The Last Continent is a mishmash of Australian culture, pop culture and nostalgia for things long since abandoned. The term "bush ranger" refers to criminals operating beyond the settled and adequately policed areas of the time, analogous to American Wild West outlaws.
- In Dale Brown's books, Hal Briggs and Trevor Griffin are Air Force officers who have gone for the Ranger course. Sergeant Major Ray Jefferson was also a Ranger.
- In Tom Clancy's Literature/Jack/Ryan series, Domingo Chavez is a graduate of Army Ranger school, later bringing that expertise to the anti-terrorist Rainbow team.
- The rangers of the Night's Watch from A Song of Ice and Fire. There are builders, and they are necessary to keep the Wall at its present height (in previous years there were enough to build it higher every year). There are the stewards, and they keep track of accounts, equipment, and most importantly food stores, vital during the long winters. But virtually every person who still holds the Night Watch in any sort of respect tends to think of the rangers, the ones who go out beyond the Wall, more or less looking for trouble (at which point it won't be trouble for much longer). Especially if the ranger in question is Qhorin Halfhand.
- In the Paladin of Shadows books, US Army Rangers are sometimes detailed to guard the Keldara valley while the normal occupants are away on a mission. We get to see some up close in Unto the Breach. Colonel Nielson was also Ranger-tabbed.
- Honor Harrington:
- The Sphynxian Forest Rangers are the local wilderness experts, tasked with patrolling and protecting the Crown's lands, fighting wildfires, helping people who get stranded in the wilderness, and protecting the interests of the Sphynxian Treecats, the native intelligent lifeforms on Sphynx.
- Stephanie Harrington and several of her friends are Probationary Forest Rangers, a Scouting-esque organization for youths that want to receive wilderness training and assist the Rangers in their work.
- Game of Thrones: Benjen Stark is first ranger, which is a high position held in the Night's Watch, the group responsible for defending the Wall, and tasked with ranging beyond it.
- The Power Rangers in all their forms.
- Some (but not all) of the Super Sentai teams.
- Specifically: Goranger (1), Turboranger (13), Zyuranger (16), Dairanger (17), Kakuranger (18), Ohranger (19), Carranger (20), Megaranger (21), Timeranger (24), Gaoranger (25), Hurricanger (26), Abaranger (27), Dekaranger (28), Magiranger (29), Boukenger (30), Gekiranger (31), Go-Onger (32), Shinkenger (33), Goseiger (34), Gokaiger (35), Kyoryuger (37), Tokkyuger (38), zyuohger (40), kyuranger (41), and Akibaranger (Unofficial).
- Some (but not all) of the Super Sentai teams.
- Walker, Texas Ranger, of course.
- The Anla'Shok in Babylon 5, known to the humans as the Rangers. Starting as a religious order dedicated to preparing for the Shadows' return, they operated as intel operatives and messengers through the early part of the third season, eventually becoming a Badass Army in their own right, before eventually becoming a sort of Space Police by the end of the series, keeping the peace between the members of The Interstellar Alliance.
Myths & Religion
- Irish myth (and perhaps a speck of reality) gives us the fianna, wandering knights who lived off the land during the summer but were sheltered by lords in exchange for protection in the winter. The Irish Army Rangers get their nickname from these guys.
- The Dungeons & Dragons class Ranger.
- Particularly in 1st Edition AD&D, where they almost define Badass Normal. Rangers start their career with 2 Hit Dice rather than the 1 everyone else gets, a whompin' 90% base tracking chance (by comparison, a 1st level thief with maximum Dexterity would have 20-40% in all but one skill), a 50% chance to surprise anyone, and a huge (by 1st Edition standards) damage bonus to pretty much any humanoid monster. At high levels they can learn magic drawn from the spells of two different classes (druid and magic-user) and start to attract loyal followers, potentially up to storm giants and copper dragons. Yeah.
- Of course, now they are Tier 5 and only see use at all because there aren't any official ranged disciplines and none of the effective melee classes have wilderness skills. Or the rare instances of binkered grognard DMs who see no problem with a party of two Tier 1s, a Tier 4, and a Tier 5.
- Some editions indicated that having any player class is a sign of being someone at least somewhat special (that's why 3E had NPC classes). A ranger therefore is not your average wilderness fighting person regardless of where they might be in relation to other player classes... when this was consistently applied, which wasn't always the case even in editions where it was indicated.
- Deadlands uses the Texas Rangers—see the Truth in Television section below—and uses them shamelessly. One Riot, One Ranger is still the Catch Phrase, but the "riot" in question may well be undead, werewolves, worshippers of an Eldritch Abomination, whatever. If that seems unfair to the Rangers, that's because it is; even Player Character Rangers are told to "make do" when encountering adversity. Especially Player Character Rangers.
- Warhammer 40,000 has Rangers, a troop choice for the Craftworld Eldar. They're Eldar who have decided to leave the ultra-regimented Craftworlds to seek excitement and adventure out in the galaxy. Between their highly accurate long rifles, their ability to traverse difficult terrain easily, and skills at infiltration and survival, the Rangers make for excellent scouts, assassins and guerilla fighters, and they will often return to their home craftworlds to aid them and fight for them. There is also an elite version of the Ranger, the Pathfinder, Rangers who have been Rangers for so long that they will never willingly return to their craftworlds and have centuries of experience; just small groups of them have been known to harass and stall entire Imperial Guard columns, exacting devastating tolls on their numbers, supplies and morale while receiving very few casualties themselves.
- Mutant Chronicles has several varieties. The Capitol Airborne Rangers are frontline assault infantry, who fly into zones the Air Force has just bombed, take strategic positions, and hold them until the Army arrives. Bauhaus has the Venusian Rangers, who are selected from the best Bauhaus has to offer, sent through a two-year program known as "The Forge", and are then thrust into any situation where failure simply is not an option.
- BattleTech gives us the 12th Vegan Rangers, a mercenary command that's somewhere between three and four regiments strong and has survived over 300 years of warfare and have their own planet to boot—no other mercenary unit can make that sort of claim in its entirety. Averted with the Waco Rangers, who, while a regiment-sized Ragtag Bunch of Misfits with great raiding skills, got so wound up in a bloody vendetta that it blinded them to danger, especially when dealing with the Clans. This got 90% of them killed in a single mission before finally being wiped out to a man when the Jihad started. Takes a turn for the silly with the Arcade Rangers, so named because most of them were recruited from the local virtual-reality Battletech arcade games of their home planet. Ironically, I Know Mortal Kombat turned out to be in full effect; these former mall rats turned out to be a surprisingly skilled if extremely unconventional team precisely because they'd had so much practice fighting alongside each other and trying crazy things to see if they worked in the arcades.
- 2300 AD is set in a future where Texas is independent again. The Texas Rangers are the national police force, including on Texas's offworld enclave. One published adventure, called Ranger, deputizes the player characters into the Rangers to deal with a difficult alien species.
- The World of Warcraft High Elven class Ranger.
- Subversion: In Call of Juarez, Ray meets a squad of Texas Rangers and helps them assault a farm, which, they claim, is robbers' base. And he believes them completely until The Reveal.
- Pokémon Ranger.
- Rangers in Final Fantasy XI are defined as being ranged attack masters. Indeed, until a few years ago, Rangers were so far and away the top DPS job it didn't seem possible for anyone else to catch up... at least, until ranged attacks got Nerfed. While many see it as being a little bit too much, Rangers are still a good candidate for any party.
- Subverted in Command & Conquer: Generals where Rangers are the basic infantry unit for the US. Possible Double Subversion in that there isn't a single unit on the US side that isn't elite and the US as a whole is defined by superior skill and technology.
- NetHack has a ranger class, focused on stealth and death from far-off, which is
a nerfed D&D rangerstrong but very well-balanced compared to its contemporary in AD&D
- Ramirez from Modern Warfare 2, who DOES EVERYTHING, is from the 75th Rangers Regiment. General Shepherd too, who stabs Soap in the chest with his own knife and nearly manages to beat Captain Price to death with his bare hands shortly after surviving a helicopter crash.
- Featured in several of the Dragon Quest games that use a Character Class System, including Dragon Quest IX.
- Fallout: New Vegas features on the cover a New California Republic Veteran Ranger in their Gas Mask, Longcoat getup; in the game, they're the best of the NCR's soldiers.
- The NCR Rangers are the best of the NCR (and have been since first seen in Fallout 2), and mostly handpicked from the army, with only a few especially badass exceptions. The Veteran Rangers are the best of the NCR Rangers, with a fair portion of them inherited from the Desert Rangers of Nevada (if Tycho and what he says is anything to go by, also badasses).
- One of the songs in-game, "Big Iron," mentions an outlaw named Texas Red who had killed twenty lawmen who tried to arrest him. Up until an Arizona Ranger armed with the titular Big Iron comes to arrest him. They have a classic showdown, which ends with the Ranger killing Texas Red with an astonishing quick-draw.
- Going back as far as Fallout, recruitable companion Tycho states that he's a Desert Ranger as a Shout-Out to Wasteland. The Desert Rangers were later absorbed into the NCR Rangers prior to the events of Fallout: New Vegas.
- The player can actually join the NCR Rangers in Fallout 2 by wiping out some slavers.
- Used by the Ranger skill of Axton in Borderlands 2. It provides a small boost to numerous statistics, and has the text "Makes you better at just about Everything" describing it.
- In Company of Heroes, the Ranger squad is the most powerful infantry squad the Americans get and is good at killing infantry and armor. Their only competition is the Airborne units, British commandos, and German Knight's Cross Holders.
- Dawn of War: Eldar Rangers, the "invisible sniper" type that does huge morale damage.
- The third Ratchet & Clank had Galactic Rangers, who were generally cowardly and preferred to have Ratchet take care of all the work. However, they pull a Big Damn Heroes in the endgame, helping him clear the path to Nefarious and taking out Giant Mooks in only a few shots.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, we got the Moogle Rangers, which consist of… well, Moogles. And five of them. However, they have hundreds of counts of breaking the peace (and one of trespassing) and need to be taken down by your clan. At the end of the battle, for no reason whatsoever, they leave by rising into the sky.
- The Desert Rangers (the source for Fallout's Desert Rangers) of Wasteland were (in-universe) inspired by the Texas Rangers, and (once they realized other communities had survived the nuclear war) decided to help rebuild and re-establish human civilization in the wastelands. Your characters belong to the group, and will either die or end up doing many impressive things.
- The 2nd Ranger Battalion appears in Call of Duty 2 as the main (and only) American force in-game.
- The Rangers appear in some Medal of Honor games, particularly Allied Assault, Frontline, and Heroes 2.
- The Rangers in Metro 2033 is a faction composed entirely of this trope. Only the most badass gets to become a Ranger.
- One of the single-player missions in World in Conflict starts with you in command of just four infantry squads—but they're Norwegian rangers, so they all start off at the star rank (the highest level of four a unit can evolve to). It is entirely possible for them to remain your main strike force for the entire mission, despite heavier and theoretically more powerful units becoming available half-way through. In the multiplayer, the rangers are the NATO paratrooper units (US has the Marines, instead, while USSR sports VDV Spetznaz)—they don't start off at star rank anymore, but they are still extremely useful in scouting ahead deeply in the enemy territory.
- Subverted in Civilization: Beyond Earth: Far from being Elite Mooks, the Ranger is the most basic type of ranged unit.
- Played straight in Civilization VI, where the lowly Scout unit can be upgraded to a Ranger once the Industrial-era Rifling technology is researched. Rangers can attack enemies without being countered (though they still have to be next to their target), and get a significant Combat Strength boost, allowing then to hold their own in a fight.
- Battle for Wesnoth has the Ranger and Elvish Ranger units. The Ranger is the 3rd level advancement of the bandit Poacher unit, while the Elven Ranger is the 2nd level of the Elvish Archer. In each case the ranger is one of two choices for level advancement, with the other option being a Glass Cannon type unit with Marksmanship. Rangers are more of an all around unit having equally good archery and melee skills as well as better movement rate, health, and defense than the Huntsman or Elvish Marksman.
- In XCOM 2, Rangers specialise in stealth and close-quarters combat, using shotguns and swords to kill the aliens.
- The Earth Defense Force series has the Ranger class.
- Ranger from 8-Bit Theater is a parody, double-classing as Ranger/Ranger to dual-wield his dual-wield. With bows and arrows.
- The Highland Raiders from Drowtales. The various Sarghress units are mostly among the best in the business in their chosen field. The highland raiders may not excel as a group in any specific field, but they compensate by doing a bit of everything for long periods of time. Including expeditions to the surface, where they will suffer from mana deprivation if they stay too long and are too few.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger features quite a group of badasses.
- United States Army Rangers, who are advanced light infantry troops in the United States Army. note
- By extension, people who go to Ranger School are identified as badasses by their Ranger Tab, even though they are not considered to be part of the actual 75th Ranger Regiment ("Scrolled" Rangers are generally required to go earn their Tab if they serve in a combat capacity in the Regiment, especially if they hope to lead one day).
- Similarly, Irish Army Rangers, although they are actual special forces as opposed to advanced light infantry. They took the Ranger name due to their first members having attended Ranger School in the United States.
- The Texas Rangers, Trope Namer for One Riot, One Ranger.
- Philippine Army Scout Rangers aka the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment. They're a special forces unit, created by Rafael M. Ileto after the Alamo Scouts and the American Rangers since he had served with the American military against the Japanese in the Pacific War. The Regiment is highly known in Asia for their experience in fighting against the communist New People's Army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front with the Islamist terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.
- The Pakistan Rangers. They operate in a paramilitary role with two branches in the Sindh and Punjab provinces.
- The Nepal Army Rangers, being treated as a special forces unit.
- The JGSDF has this, but it's more of a soldier's qualification than a unit. It's been coveted since JGSDF soldiers with Ranger training are for the most part either with the Special Forces Group, the JGSDF's counter-terrorist/elite special forces unit or with the elite paratrooper unit, the 1st Airborne Brigade. JGSDF soldiers with Ranger status are also trained to conduct anti-guerrilla/infiltration operations (alongside other special forces-type training) throughout Japan should there be a future conflict involving commandos/soldiers from intruding nations or terrorists inserted into Japan.
- Vietnamese Rangers, also known as the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) Rangers. They were trained by the 75th Ranger Regiment to operate in conventional/unconventional warfare. After the NVA secured Saigon, NVA officers considered Ranger-trained soldiers/officers to be dangerous that they were incarcerated for long periods of time in redducation camps due to their tenacity and bravery in holding them back.
- The original rangers were colonial troops hired as special forces along the American frontier by various colonies. Rogers Rangers were among the most famous of these.
- The Lebanese Maghaweer aka the Lebanese Army Rangers or the Lebanese Commando Regiment.
- The Swedish Coastal Rangers, Parachute Rangers and Army Rangers (the Swedish name is actually "Jägare", meaning hunter, but it is usually translated as Ranger) make up the elite of the regular Swedish Armed Forces (after the classified Special Operations Task Group). Members of the different units have argued for more then 50 years over who are more elite.
- The term "ranger" derives from authorized hunters, game wardens, and foresters of royal hunting grounds going back to at least 15th century England, from whom units of elite infantrymen were raised. The same concept gave rise to terms like chasseur, jaeger, cacciatore, and others (most of which mean "hunter") which are used for elite light infantrymen, including special forces, in various other European countries. (see the Swedish example above). Naturally, for less-than-elite forces, this makes them all examples of Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
- Royal Ulster Rangers, then the Royal Irish Rangers, now part of the Royal Irish super-regiment of the British Army note Recruited in the Six Counties of Northern Ireland but accepts recruits from the Republic.
- Canadian Rangers (or Rangers Canadiens if you speak French), a volunteer force meant to show Canadian military force in the northern parts of Canada, usually in isolated, coastal or in hard to reach places via surveillance and patrols. It's made up of Inuit, First Nations, Métis and non-Aboriginal volunteers. It's the modern-day successor of the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers, formed in the 1940s in case the Imperial Japanese Army was able to land its forces in western Canada.
- They even do the name proud. As of 2015, the Canadian Rangers have finally opted to get new rifles (one of the ONLY pieces of gear a Ranger is actually issued by the Canadian Forces, they're expected to buy the vast majority of their gear). The previous rifle? Lee Enfield No. 4's. The only reason they're being phased out is that they ran out of parts. And they've been using them since the days of the PCMR.
- The Kenyan Army's Ranger Strike Force or "40RSF" in the Special Operations Regiment. It's established in 2009 when 6 KDF soldiers were deployed to Fort Benning to be trained at the Warrior Training Center. It's existence was only made public after Operation Linda Nchi. Their lineage was traced back to the Rangers Strike Company, formerly under the army's 20th Parachute Battalion.
- The Malaysian Army's Royal Ranger Regiment. Some of its predecessor include the Sarawak Rangers, which fought against pro-communist guerrillas during the Cold War.
- The Thai Army's Thahan Phran, which means Hunter Soldier.
- The Israeli Army has established the 89th "Oz" Brigade under the Central Command, based on experience learned from the Second Lebanon War and Operation Protective Edge.