In SLASH'EM, Rangers can be doppelgangers, drow, elves, gnomes, hobbits, humans, lycanthropes, and orcs. Elves, gnomes, and hobbits are always neutral, drow, lycanthropes, and orcs are always chaotic, and doppelgangers and humans can be either.
A Ranger begins with the following equipment:
- +1 dagger (elven dagger for elves, orcish dagger for orcs)
- +1 bow (elven bow for elves, orcish bow for orcs)
- 50-59 +2 arrows (elven arrows for elves, orcish arrows for orcs)
- 30-39 +0 arrows (same as above)
- +2 cloak of displacement (+2 elven cloak for elves)
- 4-8 cram rations (lembas wafers for elves)
As in Vanilla, Rangers are weak in melee but very strong in ranged combat. In the early game it is critical to acquire new missile weapons, enchant them, and max out your luck as quickly as possible so that you don't run out of ammunition. Arrows, darts, and daggers are all good candidates for an early ranger to invest in. Elven rangers will have a distinct advantage in the early game because SLASH'EM gives additional multishot benefits for the elven bow and elven arrows. An elven ranger can have a chance of firing a volley of up to six arrows at a time from his second turn (if he wields his bow on his first turn). Additionally, SLASH'EM gives additional multishot benefits for enchanted bows.
A chaotic ranger has an advantage in sacrifice weapons, having access to powerful gifts like Bat from Hell, Doomblade, Serpent's Tongue, and Stormbringer. A neutral ranger will have a more difficult time finding a decent melee weapon, as only Magicbane, Mjollnir, and Cleaver are worth their salt as a main melee weapon of the neutral sacrifice gifts. Thus, a ranger should focus on training bow and either dagger or dart skills and building up a stack of blessed, enchanted arrows and daggers/darts, and use them as his primary weapon until he gets a better alternative such as a crysknife (much improved over Vanilla). For these reasons it may be worth going straight for the luckstone at Mine's End before trying sokoban, and any clear potions costing 100 zorkmids should be altar-tested at Minetown and, if blessed, used to bless your main stack of arrows.
Once the ranger has a decent weapon from the midgame on, a ranger plays much like any other role but should continue to rely on ranged attacks. It is better to enchant a stack of (preferably elven) arrows to +7 than to spend the enchantment on a melee weapon, as you will be able to fire up to 6 shots per round with a +7 bow (9 if you are an elf firing elven arrows with a +7 elven bow), with an average damage of 10.5 per hit (double if firing silver arrows at silver-haters) plus any applicable strength and skill bonuses. To put this in perspective, an elven ranger, expert in bow, firing +7 elven arrows from a +7 elven bow will fire 4.3 arrows per round, for an average of 3.5 base damage + 7 enchantment bonus + 2 skill bonus = 54 damage per turn. If firing blessed +7 silver arrows from a +7 elven bow at Demogorgon will fire an average of 3.7 arrows per turn, for an average of 3.5 base damage + 7 enchantment bonus + 2 skill bonus + 2.5 blessed bonus + 10.5 silver damage = 93.5 damage per turn. This is comparable with the damage that can be achieved with firearms.