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DnD Gloom Stalker 5e subclass guide

The DnD Gloom Stalker is one of the strongest Ranger subclasses in the game, and super cool - check out our guide to the 5e Gloom Stalker's features

DnD Gloomstalker 5e - a man with a hood and a big beard carrying axes through a cave.

The DnD Gloom Stalker is the type of Ranger who prefers hanging out in caves to traipsing through forests. They’re a warrior who hunts their foes in the darkest of places, taking them out with their stealth or unique combat prowess. Not content to wait for evil to reach the light places of the world, the Gloom Stalker strides into the dark to root it out. If you want to learn more about the Batman of DnD subclasses, read our dedicated Gloom Stalker 5e guide below.

If you’re a fighter, not a lover, the DnD Gloom Stalker is a brilliant DnD Ranger subclass. When it comes to combat, it’s probably the strongest DnD Ranger of the bunch. Gloom Stalkers get all sorts of busted bonuses, like becoming invisible to monsters using darkvision, or getting an extra attack when you miss.

Before we get stuck in unpacking the Gloom Stalker’s features and talking in detail about 5e feats and DnD character builds, you might want to check out our other guides to the various DnD classes and DnD races you can play. If you’re happy with a Ranger that’s got a lot of DnD Rogue about them, prepare to slink into the shadows.

DnD Gloomstalker 5e - a large cave with giant purple mushrooms

Gloom Stalker Features

Level Gloom Stalker Features Gloom Stalker Spells
3rd Gloom Stalker Magic, Dread Ambusher, Umbral Sight Disguise Self
5th None Rope Trick
7th Iron Mind None
9th None Fear
11th Stalker’s Flurry None
13th None Greater Invisibility
15th Shadowy Dodge None
17th None Seeming

Gloom Stalker Magic

Level: 1

Your Gloom Stalker spells will help make you and your party safer in hostile environments, either through stealth or illusion.

From making a haven for a quick short rest or changing the appearance of yourself and others, the Gloom Stalker’s spells offer plenty of utility for the subtler party. The standout is Greater Invisibility – a brilliant spell for any character utilizing stealth.

Dread Ambusher

Level: 1

The Gloom Stalker’s first ability is already incredible. Firstly, you get a bonus to initiative equal to your Wisdom modifier, helping you to act early in a fight. Secondly, on your first turn of combat, you get an extra 10 feet of walking speed, and you get to make an extra attack that does an extra 1d8 points of damage.

Not all fights have a fifth round of combat, but they all have a first round, so being strong early is a real boon. Dread Ambusher can help the DnD Gloom Stalker take out a foe on the very first turn.

Umbral Sight

Level: 1

Turn out the lights, and the Gloom Stalker becomes a deadly opponent, even against DnD monsters that normally thrive in the dark. Basically, it makes you invisible to enemies relying on their Darkvision to see you, as long as you’re in total darkness.

That’s huge whether you’re pulling off an ambush or taking part in a regular fight, giving you advantage on attacks and foes disadvantage to hit you.

Umbral Sight also gives your character 60 feet of Darkvision, a very nice boon all on its own. And if your race already came with it, the range is extended by an additional 30 feet.

The only trouble is that if your party members aren’t as adept in the dark as you, you won’t be fighting without light very often.

Iron Mind

Level: 7

Iron Mind makes you proficient in Wisdom saving throws, or if you already have this, you can choose proficiency in either Charisma or Intelligence saving throws. A nice little bonus against some very nasty effects.

Stalker’s Flurry

Level: 11

At Level 11 the Gloom Stalker gets some more absurd combat moves. This time, it’s the chance to take a second attack when you miss, every turn.

While this feature doesn’t technically increase the maximum damage you can deal like an extra attack would, it does make your damage output much more consistent. And it feels really good to miss an attack and take another stab at it. It’s like all your attacks have advantage!

Shadowy Dodge

Level: 15

While so far the class has been all about offence and stealth, the final DnD Gloom Stalker feature gives you greater survivability for those times when a foe does manage to get you in their sights.

Essentially, as long as the thing attacking you doesn’t have advantage, you can spend your reaction to give them disadvantage.

DnD Gloomstalker 5e - a blindfolded elf with a snake companion

DnD Gloom Stalker 5e builds

The DnD stats you need to prioritize are Dexterity and Wisdom. Dexterity is the most important stat for basically any ranger, powering attack rolls and various class abilities.

Wisdom is also very valuable. As it’s your spellcasting ability you’ll need some to have any chance of (for instance) successfully inflicting Fear on anything but the most pitiable goblin, and it also helps buff some other class and subclass features like your Dread Ambusher initiative bonus.

For a third stat, you might want some additional Constitution. Bonus hit points is never a bad thing.

DnD Gloomstalker 5e - a bugbear attacking with a club.

In terms of what race you should play, if you’re working from the Player’s Handbook you could be a Wood Elf for the bonuses to Wisdom and Dexterity.

If you want to pick something more exotic, however, the DnD Bugbear 5e is an excellent and very popular option. Here’s why: the Bugbear gets surprise attack, dealing an extra 2d6 damage to enemies that haven’t taken their turn yet.

That pairs beautifully with the Dread Ambusher ability, encouraging you to focus all your energies on a devastating first turn of combat.

For more advice on building a character, check out our guides to the best DnD backgrounds. Or try out these top DnD character creators.