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The Thinktank => Min/Max It! => Handbooks => Topic started by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:54:45 AM

Title: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:54:45 AM
The Druid Handbook
(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/ph2_gallery/97108.jpg)

Because Druids and Druid derivatives are so popular and powerful, I think that BrilliantGameologists should have its own Druid Handbook.  I had some time on my hands so I figured "Why not me?"  I must confess that I am no expert on the topic, that I stand on the shoulders of giants, and that this is primarily a recompilation effort.  Much of the material presented will be derived from sources from the Wizards of the Coast d20 Character Optimization forums (http://forums.gleemax.com/forumdisplay.php?f=339), including but not limited to:
Dictum Mortuum's "CO Project: The Quickstart Druid (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?p=16495014)
A Man In Black's "Druid Handbook revived" (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=733400)
Dead Weasel's "Alternative Class Features III" (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=967118)
Lord_of_Rivendell's "Revisiting Spells for the Optimized Druid" (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1558.0)

This should not be considered an authoritative guide.  I welcome any collaboration and polite feedback.  Thanks for reading!

Table of Contents

1. Introduction (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1354.msg35412#msg35412)
2. Class Features and Alternatives (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1354.msg35413#msg35413)
3. Skills, Skill Tricks, and Feats (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1354.msg35414#msg35414)
4. Spellcasting (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1354.msg35415#msg35415)
5. Animal Companion (http://-http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1354.msg35416#msg35416)
6. Wild Shape
7. Equipment
8. Controversy and Miscellany
9. Appendices

Changelog
2008-08-05: "Animal Companion" section completed and linked.
2008-08-03: "Class Features and Alternatives"; "Skills, Skill Tricks and Feats"; and "Spellcasting" sections completed and linked.  Link to a Primary Ranged Druid added.
2008-08-02: Guide created, "Introduction" completed and linked.
Title: Druid 101 - Introduction to the Druid
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:55:08 AM
Druids are guardians of nature, able to call down the wrath of the natural world, befriend wild animals and take on their aspects, yadda yadda yadda.  You didn't come for a flowery description of druids, though given time I could come up with one.  We're here for the crunchy bits that matter to many players.

Attribute Distribution
Party Role(s)
The Druid's variety of class abilities allow for an equally diverse number of roles in the party.

Racial Selection
I won't waste time with every racial option, just highlight some interesting options.  Most unlisted races either clearly suboptimal or simply mediocre.
Title: Class Features and Alternatives
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:55:20 AM
Standard Class Features
"I am a Druid, I have special abilities that are more powerful than your entire class!" (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0346.html)  'Nuff said.

I'd like to start this section by introducing my own visual rating system.  Derived from Dictum Mortuum's Blue/Red SystemTM, I chose to go with Green/Red, to correspond to traffic lights.  Green means "go" and red means "stop/danger."  To modify the colors, italics are used to emphasize real steals or Admiral-Ackbar-sized-traps.



Alternate Class Features
Many of these abilities are situational, so I won't rank any of them.  Decide which ones you like best for yourself.

Alters Armor/Weapon Proficiencies
[spoiler]Deadly Hunter (UA, p 58): Gain bonus to AC when unarmored and fast movement (as monk). Gain favored enemy, track, and swift tracker as a ranger. Lose armor and shield proficiency and wild shape.[/spoiler]

Alters Spellcasting
[spoiler]Druidic Avenger (UA, p 51): No Animal Companion or Spontaneous Casting, penalty to Wild Empathy. Gain Fast Movement and Rage.
Fangshields Druid 4 (CoV, p 40): Must be non-humanoid.  Spontaneous Curing.  Replaces Resist Nature's Lure.
Halfling Druid 1 (RotW, p 157): Add Climb, Hide, Jump, and Move Silently to skill list.  6 skills points per level.  Spontaneous Casting (Special list of spontaneous spells), Enhanced Link (bonus to ride animal companion)
Half-Orc Druid 6 (RoD, 159): d10 hitdice, Add Intimidate as class skill.  6th level: Augmented Nature's Allies (+4 Str/Con on SNA's), lose one wildshape/day.
Goliath Druid 1 (RoS, p 151):  Elemental Bond (better earth summons, can't summon other elements)
Spontaneous Affliction (EoE, p 21): lose ability to spontaneous SNA, gain ability to sicken humanoids.
Spontaneous Rejuvenation (PHB2, p 39): Lose spontaneous SNA spells. Gain the ability to sacrifice spells to give allies fast healing.[/spoiler]

Alters Animal Companion
[spoiler]Aquatic Druid: (Storm, p 50): Choose an aquatic animal companion.
Druidic Avenger (UA, p 51): No Animal Companion or Spontaneous Casting, penalty to Wild Empathy. Gain Fast Movement and Rage.
Elemental Companion (CM, p 33): Gain an Elemental as a companion instead of an animal.
Halfling Druid 1 (RotW, p 157): Add Climb, Hide, Jump, and Move Silently to skill list.  6 skills points per level.  Spontaneous Casting (Special list of spontaneous spells), Enhanced Link (bonus to ride animal companion)
Half-Orc Druid 1 (RoD, 159): d10 hitdice, Add Intimidate as class skill. Animal Companion gains Toughness.
Goliath Druid 6 (RoS, p 151): Earth Companion (animal companion gains earth-type and some stat changes)
Phynxkin Companion (DrM, p 13): Gain a phynxkin instead of your normal animal companion.
Shapeshifter (PHB2, p 39): Lose animal companion and wildshape. Gain the ability to change into several forms, with set bonuses, at will.
Shifter Druid 1 (RoE, p 126): Add Balance, Climb, and Jump to class skills.  Beast Spirit (grants powers and abilities as level increase). Replaces animal companion.
Urban Companion (City, web): Instead of a normal animal companion, instead gain something similar to a familiar.[/spoiler]

Alters Nature Sense
[spoiler]Urban Sense (City, web): Lose nature's sense, gain a +2 bonus to sense motive and knowledge: local checks.[/spoiler]

Alters Wild Empathy
[spoiler]Druidic Avenger (UA, p 51): No Animal Companion or Spontaneous Casting, penalty to Wild Empathy. Gain Fast Movement and Rage.
Half-Orc Druid 4 (RoD, 159): d10 hitdice, Add Intimidate as class skill. Bully Animal (use Str instead of Cha for wild empathy), lose resist nature's lure.
Root Walker (DS, p 9): Lose Woodland Stride, Resist Nature's Lure, and Wild Empathy. Gain Wild Empathy towards vermin; move over earth, stone, and rock debris; and +4 bonus on saving throws against spell like abilities of abberations.
Voice of the City (City, web): Lose wild empathy to gain the ability to communicate with people who speak languages you do not know.[/spoiler]

Alters Woodland Stride
[spoiler]Crowd-Walker (City, web): Exchange woodland stride for the ability to move in crowds more easily.
Root Walker (DS, p 9): Lose Woodland Stride, Resist Nature's Lure, and Wild Empathy. Gain Wild Empathy towards vermin; move over earth, stone, and rock debris; and +4 bonus on saving throws against spell like abilities of abberations.
Sandskimmer (Sand, p 47): Gain Sandskimmer, lose Woodland Stride.[/spoiler]

Alters Trackless Step
[spoiler]Go to Ground (City, web): Lose trackless step, gain the ability to hide from Urban Tracking.[/spoiler]

Alters Resist Nature's Lure
[spoiler]Fangshields Druid 4 (CoV, p 40): Must be non-humanoid.  Spontaneous Curing.  Replaces Resist Nature's Lure.
Half-Orc Druid 4 (RoD, 159): d10 hitdice, Add Intimidate as class skill. Bully Animal (use Str instead of Cha for wild empathy), lose resist nature's lure
Heat Endurance (Sand, p 47): Gain Heat Endurance, lose resist nature's lure.
Iron Constitution (City, web): Lose Resist Nature's Lure. Gain the Strong Stomach feat, and +2 bonus to saves against disease.
Planar Druid 4 (Pla, p 31): Gain Knowledge: The Planes as a class skill.  Resist Planar Might (+2 bonus to saves to resist spell-like abilities of outsiders).  Lose Resist Nature's Lure.
Root Walker (DS, p 9): Lose Woodland Stride, Resist Nature's Lure, and Wild Empathy. Gain Wild Empathy towards vermin; move over earth, stone, and rock debris; and +4 bonus on saving throws against spell like abilities of abberations.
Shifter Druid 4 (RoE, p 126): Add Balance, Climb, and Jump to class skills. Reckless Nature (+2 initiative checks and reflex saves, -2 to will saves) replaces Resist Nature's Lure[/spoiler]

Alters Wild Shape
[spoiler]City-Shape (City, web): Smaller wild shapes, but gain the ability to change into vermin.
City-Soul (City, web): Lose the ability to wild shape into an elemental, turn into animated objects instead.
Aspect of the Dragon (DrM, p 11): You don't gain wildshape. Instead take on various aspects of dragons.
Drow Druid (DotU, p58): Wildshape into a monstrous spider instead of animals.
Halfling Druid 5 (RotW, p 157): Add Climb, Hide, Jump, and Move Silently to skill list.  6 skills points per level.  Undersized Wildshape (wildshape limited to smaller forms, usable more times per day)
Half-Orc Druid6 (RoD, 159): d10 hitdice, Add Intimidate as class skill.  Augmented Nature's Allies (+4 Str/Con on SNA's), lose one wildshape/day.
Fangshields Druid 5 (CoV, p 40): Must be non-humanoid.  Wild Shape Hands (form hands while wildshaping)
Fangshields Druid 7 (CoV, p 40): Must be non-humanoid.  Wild Shape (Humanoid), lose 1 use of wild shape.
Goliath Druid 12 (RoS, p 151): Earth Wild Shape (change into an earth elemental instead of plant)
Shapeshifter (PHB2, p 39): Lose animal companion and wildshape. Gain the ability to change into several forms, with set bonuses, at will.
Shifter Druid 5 (RoE, p 126): Add Balance, Climb, and Jump to class skills.  Wild Shifting (can use racial shifting an extra time per day, and add Wisdom bonus to duration. At 8th level claws are treated as one size larger, at 15th level they are treated as two sizes larger. Gain additional uses each time you would gain more uses of wildshape.).  Replaces normal wildshape ability. At 16th level, gain the ability to change into an elemental as normal.
Waste Vermin Wildshape (Sand, p 47): Wildshape into a wasteland vermin, lose 1 wildshape/day.[/spoiler]

Alters Venom Immunity
[spoiler]Planar Druid 9 (Pla, p 31): Gain Knowledge: The Planes as class skill.  Planar Tolerance (become attuned to planes).  Lose Venom Immunity.[/spoiler]

Alters Thousand Faces
[spoiler]Halfling Druid 13 (RotW, p 157): Add Climb, Hide, Jump, and Move Silently to skill list.  6 skills points per level.  Camouflage.  Lose Thousand Faces.
Planar Druid 13 (Pla, p 31): Gain Knowledge: The Planes as class skill.  Counter Summoning (counter summon monster spells).  Lose Thousand Faces.[/spoiler]

Title: Skills, Skill Tricks, Feats
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:55:28 AM
Druid Class Skills

Cross-Class Skills

Skill Tricks
Introduced in Complete Scoundrel, tricks provide little abilities that are usable once per encounter but are not deemed as powerful as a feat.  Each trick has skill prerequisites and requires
two ranks to learn.

Feats
Feats are a very limited resource, barring embrace the dark chaos/shun the dark chaos cheese.
Title: Spellcasting
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:55:38 AM
Druids are full casters, no matter how much you beat things up with your bare paws.  Your ability to escape from danger or create danger for your opponents is, at least, partially dependent on what spells you have available.

0th Level[spoiler]
Create Water: Never run out of water. Plus, you can make a scrying pool.
Cure Minor Wounds: One point isn't a lot, but this can stabilize a dying ally.
Detect Magic: One of the most powerful and versatile zero-level spells, for any caster.
Guidance: Tell your Rogue to ask for "guidance" prior to every trap he attempts to disarms or UMD roll he has to make (outside of combat). That +1 bonus can be critical.
Light: Remember, you lose darkvision when you Wild Shape, even if your chosen form has it. (Obviously, this doesn't apply to situations where you're getting Ex special qualities of your form, as with Exalted or Dragon Wild Shape.)[/spoiler]

1st Level[spoiler]
Acquatic EscapeCSc: Change into a fish for 1 round/level. Good for sudden escapes or quick responses to getting dumped into water.
Aspect of the WolfSC: This is a fairly handy melee self-buff for early levels (instead of going the wooden club route with Shillelagh). At later levels, you can share it with your Animal Companion to help deal with the practical issues of traveling with a snarling bear the size of a bull elephant.
Babau SlimeSC: Great for grappling druids, and a general-purpose damage buff for any Wild Shaping Druid.
Beget BogunSC: Creates a small little creature to do your chores.
CamouflageSC: +10 to Hide, and it works in any environment.
Endure Elements: A great travelling spell, and especially handy in any game that takes you into harsh environments.
Enrage AnimalSC: A solid buff for your animal companion, enabling it to rage like a barbarian without the fatigue.
Entangle: A best-in-class battlefield control spell.
Eyes of the AvoralBoED: Long duration, big Spot bonus.
Faerie Fire: Good for dealing with invisible foes.
Lessor VigorSC: This spell actually outperforms Cure Light Wounds, especially out of combat. Wands of Lesser Vigor are great for healing between fights.
Magic Fang and Silvered ClawsBoED: Decent buff to help your Animal Companion bypass DR. Not very good for anything else.
Obscuring Mist: The next best thing to invisibility, when it comes time to get out of a fight. Cast Mist, walk 5 feet backwards, and run away in a different direction.
Omen of PerilSC: Poor man's Augury. Quite possibly the most versatile first-level divination in the game, and doesn't even have a costly component or XP cost, like many similar divinations.
Pass Without Trace: Not for the druid, but to cover the tracks of her companions.
Produce Flame: Fairly powerful attack spell. You'll probably be relying on this to attack until you get Wild Shape, and makes a decent buff (due to the way holding touch spells works) after you get Wild Shape.
Rot of AgesDrM: lol no sneak attack 4 u. Too bad about the short duration, though.
Shillelagh: It's pronounced "shi-lay-lee." Dramatically increases club/quarterstaff damage (to the point where you'll actually want to wield a club or quarterstaff), and stacks with Spikes and Brambles. Decreases in usefulness after you get Spikes, until you're high enough level to Quicken it.
Spider HandBoVD: Best. Scouting. Spell. Ever. Send out a nondescript spider to do all the scouting, with only negligible consequences if it dies? Yeah, I'll take that. It's not even an evil spell.
ThunderheadSC: 1d6 damage per round/level unless they make a reflex to negate, and also acts as a tracker against targets who turn invisible
Twilight LuckBoED: +1 on saves is always handy, especially at higher levels. Just lay off the booze.
Winged WatcherCSc: Change into a bird for 1 round/level. Good for sudden escapes or quick responses to needing to fly.
Wood WoseSC: Unseen Servant, only druidic. It just can't handle doorknobs.[/spoiler]

2nd Level[spoiler]
Acorn of Far Travel (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fw/20040710a)WotC - A nice spell from the "Far Corners of the World" article series that lets you emulate forested terrain to improve spells such as deadfall, creaking cacophony, fey ring, or splinterbolt.  You can also use the acorn as an oak tree for spells like tree stride or transport via plants.
Align FangSC: Handy for DR problems.
Animalistic PowerPHB2: Versatility over the animal stat buffs, traded for half the power. It's a style thing; either way is good.
Barkskin: Excellent for use while Wild Shaped, since your AC will often be pretty poor.
Bear's Endurance and Bull's Strength: As useful as it is for everyone. Bear's Endurance will be your main in-combat healing spell for low levels; just keep people alive until you can use Vigor.
Bite of the WereratSC: A variety of handy stat buffs, plus an additional bite attack for forms that don't have a natural bite.
Blinding SpittleSC: Absolutely broken. Blindness with no save, with a ranged touch attack at:4. Why do they keep reprinting this spell?
Blood SnowFrost: Only prep it during the winter or when in an arctic or otherwise frozen area, but d2 Con damage/round is awesome.
BramblesSC: Excellent weapon buff, especially coupled with Shillelagh.
Briar WebSC: A handy entangling spell that may also cause damage.
Creeping ColdSC: A great attack spell, and replaces produce flame.
DesiccateSand: d6/level (max 5d6) on a single target, with a weird damage type that ignores DR and energy resistance. Can even cause dehydration (which is fatigue on steroids).
EarthbindSC: Ground those fliers.
Embrace the WildSC: and Listening LorecallSC: Hopelessly nerfed in Spell Compendium. Unless you really, really need Scent for something, Blindsight is just plain better, save for duration. Embrace the Wild is generally better because of the skill boosts, until you have 12 ranks in Listen, when Listening Lorecall's Blindsight kicks in. Either way, Blindsight is worth it, despite the higher spell level.
Gust of Wind: Very underrated utility spell. Clears fogs, blows away small foes, extinguishes torches, and disperses swarms.
Halo of SandSand: Yet another druid AC buff. This one is deflection, though, so it stacks with Barkskin and armor.
KelpstrandSC: I like to think of this spell as webshooters. This spell is excellent for tying down not-particularly-strong foes, and remember that you can throw multiple strands on one target. The low grapple DC and the slow scaling for multiple strands means that this spell goes stale quickly, however.
Lesser Restoration: Very handy for healing ability damage.
Luminous ArmorBoED: An AC boost while you're Wild Shaping, plus light and another -4 for enemies to hit you in melee. Stacks with Barkskin, but not Wilding armor. Mind the Str damage, though.
Master AirSC: Self-only flight, with short duration. Still handy, though.
Nature's FavorSC: Excellent (swift!) animal buff spell; cast it on your Animal Companion or summons. Technically better than Greater Magic Fang, but has a shorter duration and doesn't bypass DR. The Complete Divine version is even stronger, but the spell was nerfed in Complete Adventurer.
Resist Energy: Fairly handy when you know a certain type of energy damage is in the offing.
Share HuskSC: A great scouting spell. Use it if Spider Hand isn't available.
Snake's Swiftness, MassSC: The lower-level, single-target version of this spell isn't anything special, but giving a free attack to all of your party members, plus your animal companion, plus any summons you have nearby is just too fun.
SplinterboltSC: its the druidic scorching ray, but with no SR (and coupled with a nice high dex animal form, (e.g., Legendary eagle) its nearly as easy to hit with). 4d6 x3 with a 18-20 threat range isn't half bad. thanks jackmojo
Wild InstinctsRoE: +1 to spot + listen just for preparing it, swift cast for +10 to both and retain dex when flatfooted or vs unseen opponents for min./level.[/spoiler]

3rd Level[spoiler]
Alter FortunePHB2: Fantastic spell. Great for emergencies (reroll a save!)
Arctic HazeFrost) and HaboobSand: Damaging and opaque fog. Useful as battlefield control. TremorSC: can be used similarly, but it doesn't damage and doesn't block line of sight.
Attune FormSC: Immunity from planar effects for caster level/3 characters. A handy spell for high levels, and much more useful than the lower-level Avoid Planar EffectsSC: due to the longer duration.
Bite of the WerewolfSC: Again, a variety of nifty stat buffs and a spare bite attack.
BlindsightSC: 30' Blindsight. Who needs See Invisibility?
Call Lightning: Good damage, and gives you plenty of turns of attacks. The attack spell you'll be using when you get 3rd-level spells.
CrumbleSC: Think of this as druidic Knock. Lots of things won't stand up to a casting of this spell.
Cure Moderate Wounds: Should be self-explanatory.
Energy BarrierKey of Destiny: It lets you put up an immobile protective barrier against acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic energy and their residual effects (e.g. fire: also blocks heat, acid: water, cold: snow, etc.). This amorphous barrier can completely surround you if you like and the duration is "concentration +1 round/level," which could be huge in some circumstances.  If your DM allows Dragonlance materials, this is a great protective spell.
Entanging StaffSC: Free action grapples with a +8 bonus. Great for when you're out of Wild Shape for some reason or if you're using a Spikes-enspelled staff as a Legendary Ape.
Evard's Menacing TentaclesPHB2: To the extent that you have a good strength bonus, this spell provides some battlefield control and meets out some damage and gives a climbing bonus to boot
ForestfoldSC: +10 on Hide and Move Silently checks in a natural environment of your choice.
Giant's WrathSC: An interesting alternative to Call Lightning. At early levels, the lack of a need for an attack roll, the lack of DR issues, and the greater number of uses per cast makes Call Lightning the better choice. At higher levels, though, the high strength of Wild Shape forms, the caster-level based damage bonus, and the lack of SR on Giant's Wrath helps it catch up.
Girallon's BlessingSC: This spell gives the creature touched an extra set of arms for 10/minutes per level, which can be quite handy if your wildshape form could use some arms to manipulate objects.  There are probably better ways to mete out damage, but solid choice if you think your shark form may need to open a door, chest, etc.
Greater Magic Fang: Handy self-buff and good to share with your Animal Companion.
Junglerazor[sup]SC
: Does 1d10/level (up to 10) in a 120ft line. Because it's target specific, shoot through your friends to damage only plants, plant critters, vermin, fey and animals.
Plant Growth: A powerful battlefield control spell (or a nice way to help the local economy) in the right circumstances.
Poison: Con damage is always handy, and the DC scales upward as you increase in level. A much-overlooked spell.
Primal FormSC: This spell isn't overwhelmingly powerful, but it's a versatile self-buff. Flight and swim speed are easy to get with Wild Shape, but this spell is available before plentiful Wild Shape uses, and you can choose on the fly among a melee buff, a defensive buff, or a source of flight.
Protection From Energy: A versatile, effective defensive buff. You'll rarely regret prepping it.
Remove Disease: Not something you're going to prep every day, but handy when you need it.
Sleet Storm: Handy battlefield control. Great for covering an escape. Not as good as Arctic Fog or Haboob, though.
SpiderskinSC: Barkskin, plus a save bonus against poison and a Hide bonus. Use it on the party sneak, or when you're fighting monstrous vermin or Yuan-Ti.
SpikesSC: Improved Brambles. Higher attack, better threat level; what's not to like?
SpritjawsSC: I love this spell, and it's one of a druid's few good force spells. Throw this spell out there and it's a combination of Spiritual Weapon and Telekinetic Grapple. It damages and confounds enemies, doing an especially good job of pinning down spellcasters and incorporeal foes.
Stone Shape: Good for making your own entrance or exit. Great for throwing the GM a loop in a dungeon crawl.
Swift Lion's ChargeMiniHB/Lion's ChargeSC: Pouncing is very handy, but this spell can start to eat up spell slots pretty quickly. A similar, overpowered spell named Lion's Charge is in Savage Species, and, while it isn't swift, it gives the Pounce ability for a duration.
ThornskinSC: Good as a wildshape buff, especially for grapplers, since even trying to escape hurts your enemy.
Touch of JubilexBoVD: Evil. A great early save-or-die. Whatever it is, in four turns, it'll be dead. Not something you can safely use repeatedly, though, because of the Corruption cost.
VenomfireSK: Ridiculously broken spell at high levels. For level/hours, +d6/level damage with no cap added as an additional effect to a poisonous natural attack. Great for Fleshraker Wild Shape, or a poisonous breath weapon or AoE effect.
Vigor and Mass Lesser VigorSC: Both can be better than Cure Moderate Wounds at low levels, but only outside of combat. It works when you can't summon Unicorns yet and you don't have that handy wand of Cure Light Wounds. Doesn't work with Extend Spell (see CD FAQ), but Mass Lesser Vigor does work with Persistent Spell.
Wind Wall: Another highly underrated spell, this stops archers, swarms, and foes size Tiny or smaller cold.[/spoiler]

4th Level[spoiler]
Arc of LightningSC: A decent no-SR spell, with damage competitive with that of a wizard or psion. It's a conjuration spell, so, that Spell Focus: Conjuration feat you had to pick for Augment Summoning might be useful.
Aspect of the WerebeastRoE: Nothing about this Shifter-only self-buff says it only works when you're in a humanoid form. Add +4 to two different attributes, and add Improved Grab, Pounce, or wolf-like Trip to whatever form you're in.
Bite of the WereboarSC: Useful stat buffs, a spare bite attack, and one of the better AC buffs around.
Blast of SandSand: Cone of Cold lite (cone, d6/level, max 10d6), only without the energy type. No SR!
Boreal WindFrost: Does decent cold damage, has a fairly big AoE, blows enemies away, disperses fogs and swarms, and keeps going for multiple turns without concentration. Compares favorably even to Flame Strike.
Claws of the SavageBoVD: Got claws? This gives you a +2 enhancement bonus on them, and also gives increases your claw damage as if you were two sizes larger. It is an Evil-typed spell, though.
Enhance Wild ShapeSC: You can pick up plant forms early or get minor stat buffs, but the big bonus is the access to extraordinary abilities. Pick up the Blindsight of a Desmodu War BatMM2, or abuse Master of Many FormsCAdv.
Flame Strike: Excellent damage and an AoE. Should replace Call Lightning as your attack spell of choice.
Freedom of Movement: Makes you immune to grapples, able to fight underwater, and immune to spells that impede movement. A very handy defensive spell.
Giant Vermin: Ridiculously powerful at high levels: at level 20 you can make a 40 HD monster.
Greater Luminous ArmorBoED: As Luminous Armor, only +8 AC instead of +5. Again, mind the Sacrifice cost.
Hibernal HealingFrost: Self-only Heal...as long as you're in a frostfell area, anyway.
Last BreathSC: In Complete Divine, this is druidic Revivify, but with a caster-damaging side effect. In Spell Compendium, this is a no-level-loss Reincarnate that must be cast immediately. Both are useful as an emergency option.
Passage of the Shifting SandsDrM: Druidic Gaseous Form, but with an actual move speed, the ability to blind people, and other bennies.
Scrying: The gold standard in sneaky divinations.
Sheltered VitalitySC: Immunity to ability damage or drain is situational, but very powerful when you need it. Cast this before fighting yuan-ti, giant vermin, undead, or anything else with a nasty ability damage or poison attack. The immunity to fatigue can also be handy for the party barbarian.
Superior Magic FangSC: GMF on all of your attacks. It's self-only, though.
Unholy BeastCoR: This is an odd one. It's a lesser, single-target Animal Growth...but with a Dominate Animal effect tossed in. Great for stealing Animal Companions, but still usable as a general-purpose buff.
Vortex of TeethSC: A spell that does force damage, and can tear apart anything that can'tget away. This makes a mess of anyone caught in Entangle.
Wall of SaltSand: Not quite Wall of Stone, but effective for battlefield control and deterring pursuit.
Wind at BackSC: It lets you double the party's overland speed, lasts 12 hours and can let you speed up multiple beasts of burden, as well.[/spoiler]

5th Level[spoiler]
Animal Growth: Multiple animalsyour pet and any summons running around) get bigger and get some nice bonuses. One of the best buffs in the game, let alone in core.
Anticold SphereSC: Immunity to cold and great protection from anything with the Cold subtype, with a nice long duration and an area large enough to protect the whole party.
Baleful Polymorph: Turn your opponent into something inoffensive. Toad and cat are both classy forms that offer no advantages to your target. Also handy for transporting oddly-sized Animal Companions or water- or air-breathing Animal Companions Pokemon-style, since, as a permanent spell, it's dispellable.  Classy tricks include polymorphing your Roc Animal Companion into a raven for cramped quarters, or polymorphing your T-Rex companion into a frog to go underwater.
Bite of the WeretigerSC: A very high str boost, a variety of other boosts, extra attacks, and free Power Attack.
BlizzardFrost: Instant battle ender. Great for buying some time to parley or obscuring your plans. Huge area of effect.
Call AvalancheFrost While it doesn't cause overwhelming damage (only 8d6), it can bury many opponents in its huge area (size of creatures you can bury scales up as well). It only works outdoors, but it does damage and potential immobilization at long range. For a good trick trick, follow it up with Blood Snow and all the poor buried victims start taking CON drain while trying futilely to escape.
Call Lightning Storm: Call Lightning, only more so. 5 dice of damage instead of 3.
Choking SandsSand: Miasma, only less so. Alternately, nonpsionic Crisis of Breath. Good for shutting down a caster for a turn.
Cloak of the SeaSC: When you're underwater, it's Water Breathing, Freedom of Movement, and Blur, all in one neat little (long-duration!) package. A must-have for any underwater adventures.
Control Winds: Gets you a minimum of hurricane force winds (assuming no wind when you cast it) at Caster Level 13, which covers a 520ft radius, lasts for over 2 hours, and slaughters medium enemies while stopping anything smaller then gargantuan from doing anything useful. And again as soon as you hit 15 its gets even worse, cause you get tornado winds, which will stop anything and destroy cities and non fortified structures.
Death Ward: Powerful, if conditional, defensive buff.
Owl's InsightSC: A long-duration scaling boost to Wisdom with an unusual bonus type? Yes please.
PancaeaSC: A broad-based restoration spell, removing pretty much any condition other than ability damage/drain, disease, or death.
Phantom StagSC: Conjure a very fast mount that it gains a lot of useful additional effects based on caster-level, so that even though its only level 5 its well, it's worth preparing at higher level still, since it, for example, can make you ethereal (as the 9th level cleric sor/wiz spell). (thanks jackmojo)
Quill BlastSC: After the Spell Compendium rewrite, this once-broken spell is now not quite as hot. It still outperforms typical blasts for a couple of levels, but by level 9 blasting is probably not the most optimal thing to be doing. It is a really mean spell for a GM to use on the PCs, though.
Rejuvenation CoccoonSC: A decent out-of-combat Heal alternative.
Ice ShieldFrost and Stoneskin: Excellent defensive spells (Ice Shield is stronger but has a shorter duration), but both are too monetarily expensive to use too often.
Tree Stride: Poor man's Teleport. Saves on overland travel time, but that's about it.
Wall of Thorns: This is a nice battlefield control/stop pursuers/obstruct sight spell, with nice size and a nice duration.  Not always useful, but sometimes key.  Of course, if you're summoning Greenbound creatures, choose something else.[/spoiler]

6th Level[spoiler]
Antilife Shell: Exceedingly powerful defensive spell. Anything living without SR just can't touch you.
Bite of the WerebearSC: Bite of the Weretiger only moreso.
Chasing PerfectionPHB2: Handy as a self-buff, since it's hard to use magic items in Wild Shape. Won't be terribly useful to the rest of the party at level 13, though.
DrownSC: Save or dying (0 hp). Handy for capturing enemies alive. Not death magic, but obviously doesn't work on non-living creatures, water-breathers, or creatures with no lungs. This has replaced the repeatedly-nerfed MiasmaSC.
Energy ImmunitySC: Powerful, of a bit situational, defensive buff. Has a long enough duration to have it on all the time.
Enveloping CocoonSC: This will let you turn the save of any number of nasty spells (Miasma and Baleful Polymorph being the nastiest) into a Reflex save, essentially, or just tie up one enemy that doesn't have a light/natural weapon handy (including incorporeal foes).
Find the Path: Never, ever, EVER be lost.
Fire Seeds: Excellent trap spell when used to make holly berry bombs. Couple it with some sort of fire resistance or immunity and you have a killer emanation-from-yourself nuke.
Fires of PuritySC: A hefty melee damage buff, plus Flame Shield lite. Note that, while this spell is three levels higher than Venomfire and only adds one point per caster level instead of d6, it's still a good spell. That's how silly Venomfire is.
Greater Dispel Magic: Unlike mages and clerics, druids very rarely lose caster levels, so this is often a worthwhile spell to prep.
Greater Scrying: Scrying without the long casting time and relatively short duration; the minor spells you can cast through the sensor aren't that useful.
Liveoak: Handy if you need a Treant to guard your camp or home. The casting time and casting limitations limit its general usefulness, though.
MummifySand: Save or die. Plus, it's not death magic.
Spellstaff: One extra spell slot, of whatever level you can cast. Clerics with Miracle have no reason not to duplicate this very handy spell.
Superior ResistanceSC: +6 on all saves, all day. Its utility is obvious. (Spell Compendium upped the level, but also the duration. It's still worth it, unlike the pounding Major Resistance took.)
Tortoise ShellSC: Basically, Greater Barkskin. Not as good as Greater Luminous Armor, but is natural armor instead of armor.
Valiant SteedBoED: Calls a Unicorn or Pegasus that serves you for an entire year.[/spoiler]

7th Level[spoiler]
Constricting ChainsBoED: Whatever it is, it's entangled and can't move. No save, no SR. Unless it has at least a +20 Escape Artist mod or a 34 Strength, it's staying stuck unless it wears down the chains with attacks (and half of that damage is in turn redirected to the chained target). Mind the Sacrifice cost, though (which doesn't take effect until the spell ends).
Cry of YsgardBoED: Calls 2d4 defenders of Ysgard that serve for a year.
Death By ThornsBoVD: The Corruption cost is very painful, but this will take the target out of the fight, no matter what. Obviously an evil spell.
Heal: Its uses are obvious.
Master EarthSC: Quite nice as it allows teleportation, a rarity for druids, without chance of error to any location touching the earth, and also  it doesn't have the teleportation descriptor so it can thwart problems such as forbiddance, dimensional anchor/lock, etc.
Rain of RosesBoED: Continuing Wisdom damage over an area, to evil creatures only. Great if you can limit the target's mobility, as the Wis damage doesn't allow a save.
True Seeing: Magic bullet for illusions, invisibility, and shapechanging.
Word of BalanceSC: Somewhat unreliable because of the odd alignment restrictions, but very powerful when it works.
[/spoiler]

8th Level[spoiler]
CocoonSC: Lets your Cleric buddy cast true resurrection 2 levels earlier, or if you don't have friends lets you reincarnate with no level loss a week later; it has an XP cost, but it's negligible at best at this level.
FrostfellFrost: Caster level/20' cubes freeze, and anyone in this area rolls a Fort save or turns to ice (and still takes caster/d6 frostburn damage if they save). Think of it as shapable super druid Wail of the Banshee, with an extra heaping helping of awesome.
Leonal's RoarBoED: Druidic Holy Word, plus some sonic damage. Sweet.
StormrageSC: Flight, the ability to throw respectable lightning bolts, and immunity to projectile ranged attacks and wind effects of all kinds.
Word of Recall: A quick escape spell, and one of the very few teleportation spells available to druids.[/spoiler]

9th Level[spoiler]
Nature's AvatarSC: Very, very powerful animal buff, and now a swift spell. Cast it on your Animal Companion, and go to town.
Shapechange: Broken spell, but you already know that. Ridiculously powerful, even if you don't abuse the ChronotyrynFF or Choker or Efreeti or ZodarFF or...well. You get the idea.
Summon Elemental MonolithSC: The elemental monoliths are ridiculously powerful, especially given the very high save DCs of the whirlwind and vortex abilities of air and water monoliths.  This spell's true value comes to life when you have the skill trick Swift Concentration.
TsunamiSC: The fight is over. This spell will end anyone smaller than Gargantuan who can't immediately get out of the way of the 40-ft-high wave. The spell component is rather expensive, however.
UndermasterSC: Awesome power indeed. This gives you a whole variety of great spell-likes, some of which aren't even on the druid list.
[/spoiler]

Summon Nature's Ally
Druids have the ability to spontaneously cast Summon Nature's Ally, making memorizing the spells pointless. Given the short duration of these spells and the disposable nature of summoned creatures, you're going to want to use them as distraction and cannon fodder. Speak With Animals is especially handy when you're summoning animals, as it allows you to direct them to flank, concentrate on particular foes, or do other useful things other than "attack closest foe or biggest threat."
[spoiler]

Aquatic Summons
If you're underwater, you might want to instead summon...



Greenbound Summoning
If you took Greenbound (LEoF), things are a bit different. Obviously, you're going to want to summon animals, and the bonuses make multiple lower-level creatures, particularly grapplers, more powerful. As such, you'll spend a lot of time summoning d3 grappler creatures. Remember, you can still summon utility creatures like Unicorns or Pixies. They just don't benefit from Greenbound.  If you cast Speak With Plants, you can have your Greenbound summons cast Entangle or Wall of Thorns for you. Take advantage of this![/spoiler]
Title: Animal Companion
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:55:45 AM
Animal Companions don't talk, and they share buffs with you. In practice, this means that they're really only useful as partners in combat and/or fighting mounts.

Save for war-trained animals (of which there are few), your Animal Companion isn't going to be proficient with armor. Despite this, get them some masterwork or magical leather or padded barding; every little edge is worth it, and they take no penalties as long as there are no armor check penalties. Likewise, remember that your animals get feats from their bonus hit dice (but they don't get size increases).

This list assumes that size Medium or smaller is the ideal size for an animal companion, so that the companion isn't getting in the way of the rest of the party. Companions larger than Medium are marked as such. The best Medium Animal Companion is without a doubt Fleshraker Dinosaur, but if that is inappropriate for your game you'll probably want to stick with Riding Dog or Crocodile, or look into the alternate Animal Companion feats (like Exalted Animal Companion or Vermin Companion.)

Implied by not explicitly stated is the suggestion that you could make any dire animal a Horrid Animal and take it as your Animal Companion at effective druid level -3. In that case, a Horrid Eagle is far superior to a Horrid Bat, and a Horrid Tortoise would be absolutely unstoppable. In general, Horrid gives much better bonuses than three levels of druid boosts.

Level 1:
Level 4
Level 7
Level 10
Level 13
Level 16
Level 19
Title: Wild Shape
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:55:56 AM
Wild Shape
Here lies the majority of the Druid's ultimate power.  Powerful forms come from almost every supplement, and with so many different forms available, take advantage of the opportunity to specialize!

Grappler
A specialty of the various varieties of bear and squid, and one of the most powerful Wild Shape strategies, as it maximizes your strengths (high Str, large size) while minimizing your weaknesses (generally poor AC). These forms are generally some of your best pure combat forms, whether or not you decide to actually grapple.

All of these forms have Improved Grab, and most of them have high strength, large size, and/or Abilities like Constrict and Swallow Whole.  Swallow Whole is a double-edged sword: yes, you're damaging the victim and keeping it from harming your friends or casting spells, but it can attack your very, very low gullet AC and do nasty damage. (If you get a chance to Swallow something with no light slashing/piercing weapon or natural attacks, go for it.) And never, ever, ever eat anything immune to acid. (Grapple checks, where noted below, don't include BAB. Just add your BAB to the grapple number listed below to get your grapple check total when in that form.)

Charger
Bipedal dinosaurs and big cats specialize in charging into battle and dealing as much damage as possible as fast as possible. The best forms usually have pounce and rakes, but a few forms with a single powerful natural attack and the powerful charge ability are also worth using.

Not many charger forms are bolded as recommended; this is mostly because charger forms are a matter of taste. Big cats dabble in grappling and can only bring their rakes to bear when charging or grappling, bipedal pouncer dinosaurs hit slightly harder and don't grapple, triceratopses have the Triceratops Shuffle, and rhinos have one powerful gore that does double damage on a charge. If you use big cats and bipedal dinosaurs often enough, you may want Multiattack, and if you use horned chargers often enough, you may want Power Attack.

Trampler
A specialty of elephants, herbivorous dinosaurs, and Treants. Most tramplers are Large- or Huge-sized, and have a high-damage attack or two. Trampling is great for taking out mooks (including swarms!), but most of the tramplers can also do a decent job of slugging it out with individual larger enemies. When buffing, remember that increased Strength ups the save DC for your trample as well as your damage.

Defensive
Sometimes you just need to avoid or shrug off attacks. Maybe you're focusing on spellcasting, or maybe you just want to get away. These forms have high AC, sometimes paired with defensive abilities (which will need to technically be "Special Attacks", due to the limitations of Wild Shape).

Aerial
Besides the obvious long-distance travel and scouting uses, druids who favor using their spells for offense will spend most of their time in aerial forms, not just because of the maneuverability but because of the high Dex for touch attacks, AC, and initiative checks. (Contrast this with grappling forms, where combat spellcasting is usually confined to buffs before or at the beginning of a fight.) Generally, they aren't as good in melee as the land- or water-bound alternatives, but maneuverability does come at a price.

Aquatic
Sometimes, you're going to have to spend some time in the water. Look for forms with swim speeds, and, water breathing.

Spy
Sometimes you need to sneak in, all subtle-like. These forms will help you do that; nobody will ever be suspicious of a horse.


Level 5
Level 8

    * Level 9
          o Cave Tyrannosaurus (MiniHB) - Grapple check: +11 - Not quite as hardhitting as Polar Bear, but this is your first form with Swallow Whole (which only works on Small or smaller foes, mind).
          o Smilodon (Sabre-Toothed Tiger) (Frost) - Grapple check: +11 - A marginal improvement on Dire Lion: x3 critical on bite, best attack is primary, claw attacks can start grapple.
    * Level 12
          o Dire Bear - Grapple check: +14 - Like the Polar Bear, only moreso.
          o Warhound Impaler (Lesser Battlebriar) (MM3) - Grapple check: +10 - This isn't the hardest-hitting or strongest grappler, but it can impale (Medium-sized or smaller) grappled foes on its thorns with a free-action grapple check, rendering them helpless. Not pinned, not grappled, but helpless. Plus, it has an AOE attack and tramples! Plant.
    * Level 15
          o Giant Banded Lizard (Sand) - Grapple check: +17 - Comparable to the Dire Bear in damage output, but has better grapple check and poisoned claws. It has terrible AC, though.
          o Ironmaw (FF) - Grapple check: +N/A - This isn't strictly a grappler, but it fights like one. Ironmaws have six tendrils with ridiculous reach, and a tendril hit can attach to a foe, pulling them within reach of the Ironmaw's so-so bite or OMG Engulf ability, which does fair damage and suffocates. Tendril hits also cause bleeding and Con damage. Did I mention the Ironmaw has great AC? The only drawback is the exceedingly low speed, which keeps you from staying in Ironmaw form all day. Plant.
          o Octopus Tree (FF) - Grapple check: +18 - Eight(!) Improved Grab attacks, Swallow Whole, great damage, and frightful presence. A top-tier grappler form. Too slow on land to spend all your time in this form outside of an aquatic campaign, and it isn't clear if it breathes water or air. Plant.
          o Tendriculos - Grapple check: +17 - The ultimate Swallower. Anything that can't make the DC 20 Fort save before cutting its way out will die. Plant.
    * Level 18
          o Dire Polar Bear (Frost) - Grapple check: +23 - The ultimate grappler form.
          o Tyrannosaurus Dinosaur - Grapple check: +17 - The core-only alternative to the Dire Polar Bear or Giant Banded Lizard. Isn't as tough or hard-hitting, but it's a heck of a lot more stylish, and it does have Swallow Whole.



Charger:
Bipedal dinosaurs and big cats specialize in charging into battle and dealing as much damage as possible as fast as possible. The best forms usually have pounce and rakes, but a few forms with a single powerful natural attack and the powerful charge ability are also worth using.

Not many charger forms are bolded as recommended; this is mostly because charger forms are a matter of taste. Big cats dabble in grappling and can only bring their rakes to bear when charging or grappling, bipedal pouncer dinosaurs hit slightly harder and don't grapple, triceratopses have the Triceratops Shuffle, and rhinos have one powerful gore that does double damage on a charge. If you use big cats and bipedal dinosaurs often enough, you may want Multiattack, and if you use horned chargers often enough, you may want Power Attack.


    * Level 9
          o Smilodon (Sabre-Toothed Tiger) (Frost) - This is a marginal improvement on the Dire Lion. It has x3 critical on its bite, its best attack is primary, and its claw attacks can start a grapple). That said, you're unlikely to notice the difference between the two in practice.
    * Level 16
          o Dire Tiger - An incremental improvement on Smilodon and Dire Lion, and good for the same reasons.
          o Triceratops Dinosaur - The real deal when it comes to the Triceratops Shuffle. Charge, trample and move away, charge, trample and move away, repeat until dead. If you've got Power Attack, you're going to want to use it.


Trampler
A specialty of elephants, herbivorous dinosaurs, and Treants. Most tramplers are Large- or Huge-sized, and have a high-damage attack or two. Trampling is great for taking out mooks (including swarms!), but most of the tramplers can also do a decent job of slugging it out with individual larger enemies. When buffing, remember that increased Strength ups the save DC for your trample as well as your damage.

    * Level 8

    * Level 9
          o Diprotodon Dinosaur (Sand) - Large, 2d6+12, DC 22 - It tramples, doing a better job than the Cave Dinosaurs. Other than that, it's fairly unremarkable, besides the pathetically low AC.
    * Level 12
          o Warhound Impaler (Lesser Battlebriar) (MM3) - Large, d8+9, DC 22 - Besides rendering grappled foes helpless and blasting everyone nearby with an AOE attack, it also tramples. Not well, but it tramples. Plant.
    * Level 15
          o Dire Tortoise (Sand) - Huge, 4d8+12, DC 25 - Respectable trample damage, great AC, and it always gets a surprise round. An OMG form.
          o Elephant - Huge, 2d8+15, DC 25 - The first core trampler you'll get access to, but it's inferior to the non-core alteratives.
          o Grizzly Mastodon (MM2) - Huge, 4d8+18, DC 29 - A massively hard-hitting trampler, either in a trample or a melee. It isn't as tough as the Dire Tortoise, though.
          o Saguaro Sentinel (Sand) - Huge, 3d6+16, DC 27 - A compromise between Grizzly Mastodon (it's almost as strong) and Dire Tortoise (it's almost as tough). It doesn't trample as well as either, though. As a nice little bonus, though, it talks. Plant.
    * Level 16
          o Triceratops Dinosaur - Huge, 2d12+15, DC 28 - Not quite the trampler the Grizzly Mastodon is, but it can do the Triceratops Shuffle.


Defensive - I need to hit my books, because this section is out of date. Now, I need to check for high AC without worrying about Con.
Sometimes you just need to avoid or shrug off attacks. Maybe you're focusing on spellcasting, or maybe you just want to get away. These forms have high AC, sometimes paired with defensive abilities (which will need to technically be "Special Attacks", due to the limitations of Wild Shape). Note that this list doesn't include any non-core choices without AC of 20 or better or Con of 22 or better. (This means that there are few core defensive forms.) Exceptions are made for forms with exceptional special abilities.

* Level 8
          o Cave Anklyosaurus (MiniHB) - AC 24, Con 21 - Ridiculously high AC for this level, as well as decent attacks and effective trample.
          o Dire Bat - AC 20, Con 17 - This will be pretty much your only core defensive form for most of your career, if you don't have any access to non-core choices. AC 20, with touch AC 15, goes a long way.
    * Level 12
          o Ironthorn (Sand) - AC 24 - A massively tough form, and has ridiculously high-DC paralytic poison (along with decent reach and some mediocre grappling ability). Too slow to stay in this form all the time, though. Plant.
          o Legendary Eagle (MM2) - AC 25, Con 17 - A very evasive form, with a ridiculous touch AC of 21. Doesn't hurt at all that it's a fast flier.
          o Treant - AC 20, Con 21 - Plant immunities, decent AC, and fairly good Con, rounded out with decent attacks and okay trample. It's not great at one thing and there are non-core forms that eclipse it, but it's a versatile mid-level form. Plus, it talks! Plant.
    * Level 14
          o Legendary Wolf (MM2) - AC 24, Con 27 - A well-rounded defensive form, but not strong or large enough to be an impressive tripper or even much of a melee combatant.
    * Level 15
          o Dire Tortoise (Sand) - AC 25 - The Dire Tortoise is one of the toughest forms in the game, and it's nearly impossible to ambush to boot.
          o Saguaro Sentinel (Sand) - AC 22 - Plant immunities and great AC, paired with strong attacks and usably-strong trample. It hits, it takes hits, and it even talks. Plant.


Aerial:
Besides the obvious long-distance travel and scouting uses, druids who favor using their spells for offense will spend most of their time in aerial forms, not just because of the maneuverability but because of the high Dex for touch attacks, AC, and initiative checks. (Contrast this with grappling forms, where combat spellcasting is usually confined to buffs before or at the beginning of a fight.) Generally, they aren't as good in melee as the land- or water-bound alternatives, but maneuverability does come at a price.

* Level 8
          o Desmodu Guard Bat (MM2) - Speed 60 ft. (good) - Exactly like Dire Bat, only faster. A balanced flier form.
          o Dire Bat - Speed 40 ft. (good) - A typical aerial form, with good AC, good Dex, and a single, mediocre attack. Inferior to the non-core options.
          o Dire Eagle (RoS) - Speed 60 ft. (average) - Very strong for a flier, able to attack somewhat effectively or carry a party member or two. Compared to the other fliers, its AC and Dex aren't very good, but they're passable.
          o Dire Vulture (Sand) - Speed 80 ft. (average) - Inferior to the other choices for fliers, but not egregiously so, and it's handy if you need to fly and need a monstrously high fort save for some reason. Plus, its Stench ability can disable low-Fort enemies.
    * Level 12
          o Desmodu War Bat (MM2) - Speed 40 ft. (good) - A fairly hard-hitting attacker, large enough to carry party members. Only slightly less evasive than Legendary Eagle, but physically much stronger.
          o Legendary Eagle (MM2) - Speed 100 ft. (average) - Renders obsolete all the previous flying forms. Massive Dex means great AC and initiative checks.
    * Level 15
          o Dragonhawk (5N) - Speed 120 ft. (average) - A hard-hitting and fast flying form, large enough to carry your allies. Not as agile as Legendary Eagle, though. It has Blindsense you can pick up with Enhance Wild Shape, as well.


Aquatic:
Sometimes, you're going to have to spend some time in the water. These forms have swim speeds, and, unless noted otherwise, can breathe water indefinitely.

    * Level 8
          o Polar Bear - Grappler (Grap +??) form. Same as the reasons above. Doesn't breathe water.
          o Giant Octopus - Grappler (Grap +??) form. Not as strong as polar bear, but has vastly many more attacks, Constrict, and water breathing.
          o Large Shark - Utility form. Speedy swimmer, but not terribly handy in a fight compared to the alternatives.
    * Level 15
          o Giant Squid - Grappler (Grap +??) form. Hard-hitting and awesome in a grapple. One of the best aquatic forms period.
          o Octopus Tree (FF) - Grappler (Grap +??)/utility form. Eight Improved Grab attacks, Swallow Whole, great damage, decent swim speed, and frightful presence. Still need to compare this to Giant Squid.
    * Level 18
          o Dire Polar Bear (Frost) - Grappler (Grap +??) form. Like the Polar Bear, only moreso. Doesn't breathe water.


Spy:
Sometimes you need to sneak in, all subtle-like. These forms will help you do that; nobody will ever be suspicious of a horse.

    * Level 8 - Mule and Heavy Warhorse
    * Level 11 - Tiny Viper (use Venomfire (Serp) and it's the perfect assassination form), Cat, Rat, Hawk, and Raven
    * Level 18 - Legendary Horse (MM2) - One of the very few spy forms with some combat ability.


Tool-User
Medium-sized, more-or-less-human-shaped forms which can use your equipment normally instead of having it meld into your Wild Shape form. This is a hideously powerful strategy at high levels, but you need to drop all your stuff and pick it up again, meaning you'll need a long Wild Shape duration as well as time to prepare. (Many GMs will house-rule this controversial rule; see more below in the Controversial Options section.)

    * Level 5
 
    * Level 12
          o Vine Horror (FF) - Str 18 Dex 10 AC 18 - Inferior to Legendary Ape (except in that it can talk), but Vine Horrors are naturally intelligent and tool-using, so a strict GM may be more lenient. (Plus, spiffy plant-type immunities.) Useless at this level except as a tool-user. Plant.
    * Level 13
          o Legendary Ape (MM2) - Str 30 Dex 17 AC 19 - Massively strong and surprisingly tough, and has a full set of powerful natural attacks to go with any weapons you might have. It's still useful without the item-melding rule, because of high Str, powerful attacks, and rend.


Utility
Everything else. They may have useful or unusual in- or out-of-combat abilities, or otherwise deserve special mention.

    * Level 5
          o
    * Level 8
          o Dire Wolf - Has the strength and size to actually use trip ability, in those situations where tripping is possible but grappling isn't feasible. AC is fairly low, however.
          o Valenar Riding Horse (EbCS) - Long distance travel form, with its 80 ft. land speed. Plus, you can carry a party member.
    * Level 12
          o Ironthorn (Sand) - This tough form has a paralytic posion with an insanely high DC for the level. Use it to paralyze your foes.
          o Myconid Sovereign (MM2) - The Sovereign has a range of spell-likes that aren't really spell-likes. Handy ones you can use include telepathy spores, animate dead spores, and pacifying spores.
          o Warhound Impaler (Lesser Battlebriar) (MM3) - It grapples foes and makes them completely helpless. It has an AOE attack with decent damage. It tramples. It's just a handy, versatile form.
    * Level 15
          o Dire Tortoise (Sand) - The perfect form for while you're on guard duty. Yeah, other forms may get boosts to Spot, Listen, or Hide, but how many forms guarantee that you can't be ambushed? Always acting in the surprise round (even if you don't surprise your foes at all!) is a great ability.
          o Grizzly Mastodon (MM2) - At Str 35, this is almost the strongest Wild Shape form there is. Use it when Walls of Stone need to be pushed over, or you need to win a tug of war against the entire clan of orcs on your own.
          o Treant - Besides being a versatile combatant, Treants do double damage against objects. When you need to sunder an Unholy sword or break down a door, the Treant is the form for the job.
          o Yellow Musk Creeper (FF) - The Yellow Musk Creeper's Mind Puff ability makes enemies helpless at range. Plus, you can eat your opponent's brain, and then as long as you stay in that form, they will serve you until they die in two months.
    * Level 18
          o Dire Polar Bear (Frost) - Besides being a great grappler, at Str 39 this is the single strongest Wild Shape form you can get. (Can anyone find any that are stronger?) Use it when you need to lift a house off its foundations or break through an adamantine door.


Title: Equipment
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:56:09 AM
reserved until finished
Title: Controversy and Miscellany
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:56:23 AM
Venerable Dragonwrought Kobolds
There have been several suggestions that Venerable Dragonwrought Kobolds are "teh ub4r" and need to take the top spot as far as optimized races go.  As a practitioner of practical optimization, this is a bit more juice than we need to squeeze out for most campaigns.  Games that involve not just high-level, but theoretical optimization will lend themselves better to +9 mental stat boosts for a feat.  Furthermore, any class that benefits from high mental stats can benefit from being a VDK, so it isn't a Druid-specific optimization either.

With that said, if your campaign demands nitrous just to keep the game moving or you are dying to play an ancient kobold shaman, by all means do so.  But don't expect to change this author's mind about the Druid-specific utility of the VDK.

Prestige Classes

Moonspeaker
Arcane Hierophant: Druid 3/Sorcerer 1/Mystic Theurge 6/Arcane Hierophant 10 (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1561.msg42563#msg42563)
Planar Shepherd
Fochluchan Lyricist
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:56:30 AM
reserved until finished
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:56:39 AM
And...go!  If necessary, I can edit this post for more space.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BobismyRhino on August 03, 2008, 08:36:45 AM
Ooh! I like this. *makes self at home*

This is making me very happy.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on August 03, 2008, 11:25:39 AM
Ooh! I like this. *makes self at home*

This is making me very happy.
Ah, another fan of the druid, excellent :D *high fives Bobismyrhino*

Looking forward to this, Blade2718 :)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Gorbash on August 03, 2008, 12:26:35 PM
What's the deal with basketweaving anyway? I've noticed it mentioned on Gleemax, too, but never really got to the bottom of it...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BobismyRhino on August 03, 2008, 12:29:00 PM
Yeah... a fan... We'll call it that...

[spoiler]
Favorite Class Type: Divine casters
Favorite Class: Druid. That's pretty much the only thing I'm ABLE to play. Even when I don't play a druid, I find myself wishing I could be one. I've given up trying to be diverse. I play low level druids. I rock at them. :P
[/spoiler]
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ieniemienie on August 03, 2008, 12:32:52 PM
Yeah... a fan... We'll call it that...

[spoiler]
Favorite Class Type: Divine casters
Favorite Class: Druid. That's pretty much the only thing I'm ABLE to play. Even when I don't play a druid, I find myself wishing I could be one. I've given up trying to be diverse. I play low level druids. I rock at them. :P
[/spoiler]
It must be an OCD fixated on the Druid... Can't blame you though, Druids rock  :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bayar on August 03, 2008, 02:59:07 PM
Dictum Mortum's Dragonwrought Jungle Kobold has the following stats: -4 STR, +2 DEX, +1 INT, +3 WIS, +3 CHA. It costs you a feat, but I think it is worth it. (proof once again that kobolds can do anything better than anyone)

Druids are not good multiclassers and there are not alot of PrC for them that are worth taking. The only one that is worth mentioning is Planar Shepherd from faiths of Eberron. If your Dm thinks that druids are overpowered...take this PrC and make him weep.


Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 04:20:16 PM
Dictum Mortum's Dragonwrought Jungle Kobold has the following stats: -4 STR, +2 DEX, +1 INT, +3 WIS, +3 CHA. It costs you a feat, but I think it is worth it. (proof once again that kobolds can do anything better than anyone)

Druids are not good multiclassers and there are not alot of PrC for them that are worth taking. The only one that is worth mentioning is Planar Shepherd from faiths of Eberron. If your Dm thinks that druids are overpowered...take this PrC and make him weep.
I was going to put it into the Controversy section because of Dragonwrought-aging cheese, but if the consensus shows it to be acceptable, I'll move it back.  Also, any venerable character would get the +3 to mental stats.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bayar on August 03, 2008, 09:32:55 PM
Dictum Mortum's Dragonwrought Jungle Kobold has the following stats: -4 STR, +2 DEX, +1 INT, +3 WIS, +3 CHA. It costs you a feat, but I think it is worth it. (proof once again that kobolds can do anything better than anyone)

Druids are not good multiclassers and there are not alot of PrC for them that are worth taking. The only one that is worth mentioning is Planar Shepherd from faiths of Eberron. If your Dm thinks that druids are overpowered...take this PrC and make him weep.
I was going to put it into the Controversy section because of Dragonwrought-aging cheese, but if the consensus shows it to be acceptable, I'll move it back.  Also, any venerable character would get the +3 to mental stats.

but no penalty to phisycas stats, right ?  :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 10:24:19 PM
Dictum Mortum's Dragonwrought Jungle Kobold has the following stats: -4 STR, +2 DEX, +1 INT, +3 WIS, +3 CHA. It costs you a feat, but I think it is worth it. (proof once again that kobolds can do anything better than anyone)

Druids are not good multiclassers and there are not alot of PrC for them that are worth taking. The only one that is worth mentioning is Planar Shepherd from faiths of Eberron. If your Dm thinks that druids are overpowered...take this PrC and make him weep.
I was going to put it into the Controversy section because of Dragonwrought-aging cheese, but if the consensus shows it to be acceptable, I'll move it back.  Also, any venerable character would get the +3 to mental stats.

but no penalty to phisycas stats, right ?  :D
I don't know what is a "physycas" stat is, so I couldn't comment.  If you mean "physical stat", then I should redirect your attention to the part where I said I might put it in the Controversy section because I don't support Venerable Dragonwrought Kobolds as low-level characters.  Furthermore, 15th level Druids also ignore additional aging penalties (incorporating ones already accrued).

Also, I probably won't comment on multiclassing much at all.  Maybe a short list in the Miscellany section.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: carnivore on August 03, 2008, 10:29:48 PM
Druid Archer for review, this is to demonstrate the feasability of a Druid Archer.... using Wildshape to get a Strong Form(gain Strength and Size and Natural Armor and Natural Attacks(to threaten adjacent) while using Wisdom instead of Dex for Attacking and Rage for a Boost to Str and an Extra Attack

(http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/mm4_gallery/98670.jpg)
Anthropomorphic Bat (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ask/20061009a) ... (+0 LA,Small size, +6 Wis,-4 Str,-2 Cha, Fly 20'(Average))
ECL 12

Druidic Avenger Variant (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/unearthedCoreClass.html#druidic-avenger) with Whirling Frenzy rage variation (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/unearthedClasses.html) 12


28 point

5 Str(9 base - 4 racial)
8 Dex(8 base )
12 Con(12 base)
16 Int(16 base)
30 Wis(17 base +3 lvls +6 Racial +4 amulet)
6 Cha(8 base -2 racial)

feats:[spoiler]
Flaws: (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/35/sovelior_sage/unearthedFlaws.html)Slow
Feeble

Feats:
Educated
Knowledge Devotion
Natural Spell
Zen Archery
Exotic Weapon(Composite Greatbow)
Extra Rage
Extend Rage[/spoiler]

Wildshape (4/day)
Whirling Frenzy(duration 9 rounds each time, 5/day)(with Con 19 Briarvex form)


stats when wildshaped into Briarvex Form(MM4):
Large Size
Str 29(25+belt)(33 Str with Whirling Frenzy)
Dex 10
Con 19
Int 16
Wis 30(17+3 lvls +6 Racial +4 amulet)
Cha 8

Combat Stats:
Attack BAB+9 +10 Wis+5 Enhancement +5 Insight +1 haste = +30

Damage (+9 Str+5 insight+5 Enhancement)+(1d10x2 size increases(1d10>2d8>3d8)(Huge)=3d8)= 3d8 +19(32), with Whirling Frenzy +34

base results:
+29/+24 ... all day ... 32 damage per shot....... very respectable considering it is also a Full Spellcaster
+30/+30/+25 ... with haste
+28/+28/+28/+23 .... 34 damage per shot ... with Whirling Frenzy and Haste,...... very nice for any class even a Fighter


Items:
+1 Dragonbone Composite GreatBow(huge)(Dracominicon)
Strongarm Bracers (MIC)
+4 Amulet of Wisdom(DMG)
+4 Monks Belt of Str(DMG/MIC)...combine items
Tooth of Dahlver Nar(Leragne)...GMW @ 20th CL 1/day... use on bow(Tome of Magic)
Vagabonds Boots of Speed (immune to Fatigue(constant), haste 10 rounds/day) (Complete Champion)


Briarvex form stats (MM4)
[spoiler]
Briarvex
8HD
Large
+10 NA
spd 30'
Att:2 spiked fists 2d6+str
25 Str
10 Dex
19 Con
(EX) Imp Woodland Stride [/spoiler]


bottom line ..... i think that does it, fun Archer .... @12th lvl  ;)
before this.... his main combat form:
Dire Ape
Str 22, Dex 15, Con 14
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 15 ft.
+4 Natural Armor
10' reach
[spoiler]
DIRE APE
Large Animal
Hit Dice: 5d8+13 (35 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), climb 15 ft.
Armor Class: 15 (–1 size, +2 Dex, +4 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 13
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+13
Attack: Claw +8 melee (1d6+6)
Full Attack: 2 claws +8 melee (1d6+6) and bite +3 melee (1d8+3)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Rend 2d6+9
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, scent
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5
Abilities: Str 22, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 7
Skills: Climb +14, Listen +5, Move Silently +4, Spot +6
Feats: Alertness, Toughness
Environment: Warm forests
Organization: Solitary or company (5–8)
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 6–15 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: —
A dire ape stands about 9 feet tall and weighs from 800 to 1,200 pounds.
Combat
Dire apes attack anything that enters their territory, even other dire apes. If an opponent’s armor foils a dire ape’s attacks, the creature will attempt to grapple and pin, then rend the prone opponent.

Rend (Ex): A dire ape that hits with both claw attacks latches onto the opponent’s body and tears the flesh. This attack automatically deals an extra 2d6+12 points of damage.
Skills: Dire apes have a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.
[/spoiler]

 :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 03, 2008, 10:34:49 PM
If you can source everything and make it a little bit more organized, I'd love it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: carnivore on August 04, 2008, 12:13:06 AM
 :weep do i have to  -_-' .... ok .... will adjust

 :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: carnivore on August 04, 2008, 12:25:58 AM
Done  ;)

 :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 04, 2008, 01:24:45 AM
OK, I'll link it up when I get to builds.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: carnivore on August 04, 2008, 01:29:54 AM
ill add some more later 

:D

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: iconoplast on August 05, 2008, 12:28:56 AM
So, CO-wise, is it better to keep advancing a fleshraker or to trade it in as new animals become available?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on August 05, 2008, 12:32:03 AM
If venomfire is allowed there is no doubt :P
I'd probably advance a fleshracker anyway though. They are pretty tough.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 05, 2008, 05:14:38 AM
So, CO-wise, is it better to keep advancing a fleshraker or to trade it in as new animals become available?
As far as I can tell, it depends on the goals you have for your animal companion.  I think that the fleshraker, even without venomfire, is the most versatile companion out there, and only gets better with added HD.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DetectiveJabsco on August 14, 2008, 09:02:53 AM
Don't be so quick to throw out PrC, Look into the Moonspeaker from races of Eberron. It is quite proficient for the more spell focused Druid.
Though you do have to be a shifter.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on August 15, 2008, 01:50:55 AM
Don't be so quick to throw out PrC, Look into the Moonspeaker from races of Eberron. It is quite proficient for the more spell focused Druid.
Though you do have to be a shifter.
I read about Moonspeaker from the original Druid Handbook on Gleemax; I like it fine.  All I don't want to do is get into the ins and outs of every single PrC a Druid can get into.  Moonspeaker is alright and Planar Shepherd is broken, and that's just about all I have to say on PrCs.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tshern on August 15, 2008, 09:32:05 PM
Awesome to see a handbook on my favourite class! I was planning on doing one as well, but so far I had nothing but notes ready. Nice to see someone doing this for the community.

You have been added to the Handy links.

Edit: I try to come up with a decent example melee build here to show these people some serious kick ass.
Title: Sample Summoner Druid
Post by: Blade2718 on August 27, 2008, 05:29:12 AM
Based on ShriekingDrake's VoP Druid Saint found HERE (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1561.msg43507#msg43507).

Human Druid 20 (assumes your campaign allows flaws (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/buildingCharacters/characterFlaws.htm))

Level 1: Spell Focus (Conj), Augment Summoning, Ashbound (flaw)
Level 3: Greenbound Summoning
Level 6: Natural Spell
Level 9: Extend Spell
Level 12: Dragon Wild Shape
Level 15: Summon Elemental
Level 18: (free)

I like Rashemi Elemental Summoning to go with the Augement and Ashbound, if you can mix settings.  If not, you can go with Persistant Spell for low-level buffs you like, or Rapid Spell, to cut the casting time of summoning.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bayar on August 27, 2008, 12:02:55 PM
I wish I could make a kobold summoner, but they cant possibly take that many feats AND Dragonwrought. Might take Ashbound, Dragonwrought and something else.

Manifest druid can empower a 1st level arcane spell. The kobold can get a 1st level arcane spell for 100 GP and 1 HP casted once per day...good synergy ? I am making a PVP druid....Enraging his companion and/or summoning wolves at the opposition.

And Initiate of Malar at level 3.

Oh, and Greenbound, BoED, BoVD, MM2...they are banned.


Edit: Light of Lunia (SpC) looks promicing. Ray of clumbsiness/enfeeblement are decent too, the lesser orbs are tempting...someone should compile a list of arcane spells that a kobold can use effectiely...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on November 02, 2008, 10:51:24 AM
I have to disagree on venom immunity being useless.  You can coat yourself in contact poison, and dramatically increase the effectiveness of your grapples.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Blade2718 on November 02, 2008, 11:53:15 AM
I have to disagree on venom immunity being useless.  You can coat yourself in contact poison, and dramatically increase the effectiveness of your grapples.
While true, it's a very costly (without the creation line of spells) and specialized tactic.  I'll give it a mention, though.

I haven't forgotten this!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: woodenbandman on November 16, 2008, 09:10:08 PM
I would like to mention how incredibly great the Dire Eagle, or in fact any bird is. Eagles, in particular, can get a +30 modifier to their spot checks at around level 10, fucking up invisible creatures and any other fool trying to hide. The great AC, high damage output, and use as a flying mount don't hurt either.

As a final note, Eagles are surprisingly good at Bull Rushes (any person with less than strength 30 is at a big disadvantage). My eagle bull rushed two people into an 80 foot hole the other day, and it was quite hilarious.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ninjarabbit on November 19, 2008, 01:48:30 AM
Immunity to poison is nice if there's awizard in the party that likes to throw around cloudkills or other AoA poison spells.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Surreal on December 30, 2008, 07:03:54 AM
Just mucking around with things, and thought I'd throw together a bunch of underused druid stuff...

Warforged Druid 5*/Landforged Walker 5/Wavekeeper 10
*deadly hunter variant, UA - lose wildshape and armor proficiency, gain monk bonus to AC and a bunch of ranger abilities
- BAB 13, saves 15/5/12
- casting as Druid 18
- resist cold/elec 10
- warforged immunities
- polymorph immunity
- fortification 50%
- +4 will saves vs mind effects
- speak with plants & commune with nature 1/day
- plant shape (small to huge) 3/day
- water elemental shape (small to huge) unlimited use? you also gain all the feats
- animal companion 14 (natural bond for 17)
- gain a domain
- tract, swift tracker, fast movement, favoured enemy
- Wis to AC

The whole idea kind came about when I was wondering if I could trade away wildshape for an alternate feature and then find a way to gain it back without losing too many effective wildshape levels. The partial solution then came in the form of Tree Shape and Wave Form, which to my understanding are based on character level rather than class level. So in the above build, we've lost two caster levels and animal forms, and a slightly weaker animal companion, but we've gained Wis to AC, a reasonable stack of immunities, and either plant or elemental forms earlier than normal (depending which PrC you take first).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Endarire on January 06, 2009, 04:35:56 AM
I request you at least add a link to my Greenbound SNA Summonling List (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=3140.0).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Endarire on January 20, 2009, 11:24:41 AM
The spell is desiccate, not dessicate.  See Sandstorm for details.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: archangel.arcanis on February 09, 2009, 06:40:20 PM
quick question on the spells section, where is the splinterbolt stuff coming from. You have it marked as x3 in the description but the spell doesn't say that and in the Acorn spell from the Far corners article it state added benefit for splinterbolt but not what that would be.  i'm just wondering if there was a sage ruling or something since it isn't in the errata.  I would love this since splinterbolt is one of my favorite spells.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: johnboy069 on March 03, 2009, 05:58:48 AM
Cool handbook, for a very cool class. Thank you. :clap
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Endarire on March 04, 2009, 05:19:04 AM
A boar topiary guardian (Monster Manual III 174) makes an excellent tank form come level 7 when you first get enhance wild shape.  It's a Medium 5 HD creature that acts normally at less than 1 HP, has DR 10/slashing (!), and weighs about 100 pounds among other things.

BOAR TOPIARY GUARDIAN
Medium Plant
Hit Dice: 5d8+10 (32 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (+3 Dex, +4 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+6
Attack: Gore +6 melee (2d6+4)
Full Attack: Gore +6 melee (2d6+4)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Ferocity, merciful
Special Qualities: Damage reduction 10/slashing, freeze, low-light vision, plant traits, tremorsense 90 ft., vulnerability to fire
Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +1
Abilities: Str 17, Dex 16, Con 14, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1
Skills: Move Silently +11

A boar topiary guardian stands 3 feet high at the shoulder and is 4 feet long. It weighs about 100 pounds.

Combat
Ferocity (Ex): A boar topiary guardian continues to fight without penalty even while disabled or dying.

Topiary Guardian Traits
Merciful (Ex): A topiary guardian can deal nonlethal damage with any of its attacks without taking the standard –4 penalty on attack rolls. The creature chooses whether to deal lethal or nonlethal damage depending on the orders it is given by its creator. Orders to capture or subdue enemies cause the topiary guardian to use nonlethal attacks; any other attack order causes the creature to deal lethal damage.

Freeze (Ex): A topiary guardian can hold itself so still that it appears to be a normal sculpted shrub. An observer must succeed on a DC 30 Spot check to notice that a topiary guardian is actually an animated creature.

Plant Traits (Ex): A plant creature possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).

    * Low-light vision.
    * Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).
    * Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph, and stunning.
    * Not subject to critical hits.
    * Proficient with its natural weapons only.
    * Proficient with no armor.
    * Plants breathe and eat, but do not sleep.

Skills: A topiary guardian has a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on March 04, 2009, 08:14:41 AM
Topiary Guardian is a template. You can't shape into templated creatures.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Endarire on March 07, 2009, 06:45:41 AM
From what I see, Topiary Guardian isn't a template.  MMIII includes rules for making TGs of all creatures Medium to Huge- including its 3 base creatures- and has its templates in a separate section.

Also, eagles and owls, but especially owls, make for airborne scouts and messengers from level 1 via SNA I.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on March 07, 2009, 10:02:21 AM
Indeed, I'm puzzled why Topiary Guardian is not marked as a template, because it is one - it takes a creature and modifies it. The ways of WotC are mysterious.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Caelic on March 16, 2009, 06:36:13 PM
As I recall, Enhance Wildshape allows you to either assume plant form early OR gain the special qualities of the creature, no? 
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on March 16, 2009, 06:41:53 PM
Multiple castings.
Title: armor
Post by: cru on April 06, 2009, 03:31:03 PM
The equipment section is empty. Here's a start, a discussion about druids and armor.

Light and Medium Armors

premise: druids are proficient with light and medium armor, with wooden shields and cannot wear metal (except druids of Mielikki, FRCS)

Start with leather (light) or hide (medium) armor for a handy +2 or +3 to AC.
Consider sharkskin armor (stormwrack), +3 AC, light, +6 escape artist to cut bonds, 85 gp
Chitin armor (stormwrack): +4 AC, medium, 75 gp
Mammoth leather, +4 AC, light (RoS) is an exotic armor, ergo it sucks.
Living coral (+6) from Stormwrack is probably not worth it.

Next, consider dragonhide (dmg) or chitin (RotD) breastplate, 700 gp, +5 AC, +3/4 max dex, medium
[or bluewood (UE), wildwood (RotW, -1 AC)...]

If you suspect to stay longer with low funds, +1 or +2 magic enhancement of the armor might be worth it. This will hopefully be enough for you to survive until you can wild shape.


Shields

Druids can and probably should use shields, such as Darkwood Shield (dmg): It weighs 5 pounds and has no armor check penalty. Price 257 gp.

Talking about shields... there's the exotic Rider's Shield (RoS), granting your shield bonuses to your mount. If you tend to stay on the back of your animal companion, an (animated) rider's shield is an uncommon, but possibly interesting option.

Wearing shield negates the effect of monk's belt.


Full plates and Monk's Belt and Wild Shape

A character who is wearing armor with which she is not proficient applies its armor check penalty to attack rolls and to all skill checks that involve moving, including Ride.

Druids are not proficient with heavy armors. Taking feat sucks. Still, druids might want full plates. There have been suggestions armor melded with body in wild shape (with wild enchantment) does not incur penalties. Maybe. But for now, here are some definitely legal options.

Blue Ice (material from Frostburn) is treated as 1 category lighter, +7000 gp, +1 max dex, half weight, grants penalty -1 to Reflex and Initiative unless you're tolerant to cold

Sentira (material from Sarlona) - organic, stats as mithril (+9000 gp, +2 max dex)

We've got the armor, how to keep it in Wild Shape?

Wild armor (price +3 bonus) - keep armor and enh.bonus in WS; while in WS, armor can't be seen

Wilding Clasp 4000 gp - attached to any item worn on the body; prevents the worn item from melding into your new form when you use wild shape (as long as the item could reasonably be worn by the new form). Thus, the item remains fully functional...

Provided you can use Wilding Clasp, it is the most cost-effective solution. 1800+7000+4000 = 12800 gp for a blueice fullplate (+8 AC, 2 max dex) + the clasp. You can enchant the armor as you wish. Not bad.

+1 Wild blue ice full plate costs considerably more, at 24800 gp, and it's more expensive to add further magic to it.

Unclear points:
- can clasp be used? it doesn't mention changing sizes, and e.g. small plate cannot reasonably be worn by the new form. discuss
- new form can have high dex and armor limits it. RAW it seems that clasp will limit it. wild armor enchantment might not limit it (armor not seen = melds). discuss

Then there's Monk's Belt (DMG, 13000 gp), granting armor bonus equal to Wis bonus +1, also if flatfooted or vs. touch attacks. You might need a wilding clasp to keep it functional in WS (or not). What's not to like? Well - you can use neither armor nor shield. I miss the animated/wild shield.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on April 06, 2009, 03:35:06 PM
The equipment section is here (http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid#Equipment).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bayar on May 25, 2009, 08:44:38 PM
I just found out something weird.

Open your 3.5 DMG at page 208. Look at Epic Druid. Animal companion to be precise. Is that a rule for 3.0 ?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Salt_Crow on May 25, 2009, 11:49:18 PM
I just found out something weird.

Open your 3.5 DMG at page 208. Look at Epic Druid. Animal companion to be precise. Is that a rule for 3.0 ?

Hey, it is too! Maximum number of animal companions goodness!
Title: Re: armor
Post by: bayar on May 27, 2009, 01:32:42 PM

Wild armor (price +3 bonus) - keep armor and enh.bonus in WS; while in WS, armor can't be seen

Wilding Clasp 4000 gp - attached to any item worn on the body; prevents the worn item from melding into your new form when you use wild shape (as long as the item could reasonably be worn by the new form). Thus, the item remains fully functional...

Provided you can use Wilding Clasp, it is the most cost-effective solution. 1800+7000+4000 = 12800 gp for a blueice fullplate (+8 AC, 2 max dex) + the clasp. You can enchant the armor as you wish. Not bad.

This, with Rhino Hide (DMG 220) = Goodness for a charger druid ?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Arcane-surge on May 28, 2009, 04:29:13 AM
They fixed the Epic Druid entry in the errata for the DMG.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on June 03, 2009, 11:50:17 AM
Megalodon Empowerment (Druid 8, Stormwrack) is a nice spell. Apart from other cool stuff (e.g. divine power for druids), it allows you to wild shape into animals one category larger than normally allowed. I am not sure how long this larger form can last, but I assume the duration is not limited by spell. Thoughts?

List of all gargantuan animals I could find:
MM1 has 12 HD Whales (35 Str) and Roc (18 HD, 34 Str flyer).
MM2 has two 20 HD choices: Spinosaurus with Frightful Presence and Dire Elephant with 40 Strength.
Frostburn has a 15 HD Zeuglodon: fish, 38 Str and stunning tail attack (DC31 fort for 2d4 rounds).
SK has 18HD Stegosaurus, underwhelming.
Stormwrack has 16 HD Plesiosaur, aquatic, faster but weaker than Zeuglodon.


Suggested additions to the druid equipment section:
Minor Schema of Goodberry (400 gp) - food
Minor Schema of Healthful Rest (400 gp) - especially for faster healing of ability damage
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on June 03, 2009, 11:56:43 AM
To bad you lose your casting ability with the Form of the Killer.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on June 03, 2009, 12:39:20 PM
To bad you lose your casting ability with the Form of the Killer.
Indeed. But after the 1 round/level of Form of the Killer, a druid can remain in the gargantuan animal form for 1 hour per druid level, right? Losing the extra BAB and other Form of the Killer goodies, regaining access spellcasting (with Natural Spell, obviously). Is this a valid interpretation?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on June 03, 2009, 01:13:12 PM
Yes.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on June 03, 2009, 02:08:40 PM
Methinks so, yes.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: nijineko on August 05, 2009, 08:02:15 AM
would there be interest in a method of qualifying for druid-intended prestige classes without taking a single level of druid? this is mostly useful for wildshaping specialists.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on August 05, 2009, 08:25:34 AM
Bamboo spirit folk?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on August 05, 2009, 09:33:45 AM
Shamelessly stolen from Lists of Stuff (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=662842) + added some more stuff

Wild Shape
[spoiler]Druid 5
Ranger variant 5 (UA)
Monk variant... Dragon???
Abolisher 1, ecl 7, Lords of Madness
Lion of Talisad 3, ecl 8, Book of Exalted Deeds
Moonspeaker 5, ecl 13, Races of Eberron
Landforged Walker 5, ecl 10, Eberron: Secrets of Xen'Drik - "plants shape", see text

Mulhorandi Divine Minion: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/mb/20050209a[/spoiler]

Animal Companion
[spoiler]Druid 1
Ranger 4
Ranger 4 (elf racial substitution level), Races of the Wild, Elven Hound, advances as animal companion, see text
Peregrine Runner 1, ecl 8, Races of Stone, peregrine falcon only
Beastmaster 1, ecl 6, Complete Adventurer, also gains extra companions, see text

Musicless Bard - http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantcharacterclasses.htm
Sorcerer/Wizard - http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantcharacterclasses.htm
Wild Cohort feat - http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031118a[/spoiler]

Wild Empathy
[spoiler]Druid 1
Druid 1, class variant, Dungeonscape, vermin empathy, replaces wild empathy
Ranger
Spirit Shaman 1, Complete Divine
Initiate of Nobanion, feat, Champions of Valor - only useable on felines
Animal Lord 1, ecl 6, Complete Adventurer
Beastmaster 1, ecl 6, Complete Adventurer
Chameleon 1, ecl 6, Races of Destiny, wild focus
Totemist 1, Magic of Incarnum
Totem Rager 1, ecl 7, Magic of Incarnum
Black Blood Hunter 2, ecl (8?), Player's Guide to Faerun
Primeval 1, ecl 9, Frostburn - specific animal only
Vandalis Beastkeeper 1, ecl 5, Eberron: Dragonmarked
Call of the Beast, least warlock invocation, Complete Mage, can also speak with animals
Natural World, mantle, Complete Psionic
Weretouched Master 2, ecl 7, Eberron Campaign Setting
Vermin Keeper 1, ecl 6, FR: Underdark, vermin only

Stacks
Scorpion Wraith, ecl 6, Eberron: Secrets of Xen'Drik, also treat vermin as magical beasts
Swanmay, ecl 6, Book of Exalted Deeds

Special Mention
Urban Savant 2, ecl 7, Cityscape, urban empathy[/spoiler]

Trackless Step[spoiler]
Druid 3
Scout 3, Complete Adventurer
Wildrunner 1, ecl 6, Races of the Wild
Nightsong Infiltrator 3 (self), ecl 10, affects your team at level 7
Justice of Weald and Woe 4, ecl 10, FR: Champions of Ruin
Duraak'ash 5, ecl 10, Eberron: Dragonmarked
Bamboo Spirit Folk, race, Oriental Adventures
Holt Warden 3, ecl 8, Complete Champion

Special Mention
Druid or Scout 3, class variant, Cityscape Web Enhancement, "lay low", can't be found with urban tracking[/spoiler]

Able to cast spell xxx
[spoiler]
cleric with access to plant or other domain can sometimes qualify
dragon with "child of eberron" learns druidic and casts spells from the druid spell list as arcane spells
[/spoiler]
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on August 05, 2009, 01:03:37 PM
would there be interest in a method of qualifying for druid-intended prestige classes without taking a single level of druid? this is mostly useful for wildshaping specialists.
Bamboo spirit folk?
Wildshape Ranger, Divine Minion etc.

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: QOShea on August 25, 2009, 03:13:44 AM
Any suggestions on equipment?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on August 25, 2009, 11:20:58 AM
Yes. (http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid#Equipment)
Title: Wild Shape into Vermin
Post by: cru on August 26, 2009, 02:09:18 PM
This post offers information about the various ways a druid can wild shape into vermin. Some possibly attractive forms are listed. I was inspired by http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid#Vermin_Wild_Shape.


Ways to get access to vermin forms

Vermin Shape (ECS 62) feat
require: druid5, nongood, child of winter
benefit: lose access to animal forms, get access to vermin forms

Wild Shape (Waste Vermin)  (Sandstorm 47)
10th level druid alternative class feature
lose one wild shape use per day, gain access to "waste" vermin forms

Vestment of Verminshape (DMG2 273)
20000 gp, get access to vermin forms, no strings attached

City-Shape (Cityscape web enhancement)
5th level druid alternative class feature
slower size progression (max. large), can shape to both animals and vermin; lose plant shape, gain swarm shape

Spider-Shape (DotU 58)
5th level druid alternative class feature
lose animal forms, gain monstrous spider forms (only the spiders from MM (?))


Suitable vermin forms

SRD vermin: http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/monsters.htm
Wizards monster list: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/lists/monsters&tablefilter=vermin
searchable list: http://www.imarvintpa.com/dndLive/FindMonster.php

lvlverminbookHDsizeAC/touchstr/dex/conspeedattacks
5Giant CockroachUd4M20/1621/18/1640, climb1 melee, stench (DC15 vs nausea)
-Giant Beesrd (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/giantBee.htm)
3M14/12-fly 80 good-
-Monstrous CrabStorm3M16/1015/11/12202 melee, improved grab (+6), constrict 2d6+2
6Dire MaggotLiM6S19/1313/15/1240, climb1 melee+poison
-Lesser Knell BeetleMM36M20/1118/12/1840, burrow3 melee, rend, trample (2d8+6/DC17), shake the earth
8Giant Stag Beetlesrd (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/giantStagBeetle.htm)7L19/923/10/1720 1 melee, trample 2d8+3/DC19
-Sword SpiderMonoF5L17/918/10/1420, climb9 melee, impalement, poison
-Spitting SpiderDotU7L18/1222/17/1840, climb3 melee; ranged touch (spit), dex poison, pounce
-Large Monstrous CrabStorm6L18/921/11/12202 melee, constrict, improved grab (+13)
-Monstrous Crabonline (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fw/20040221a)7L19/1122/14/2140, swim2 melee, constrict, improved grab (+14), powerful claws
-Giant Praying Mantissrd (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/giantPrayingMantis.htm)4L14/819/8/15fly 40 poor2 melee, improved grab (+8)
-Giant Waspsrd (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/giantWasp.htm)5L14/1018/12/14fly 60 good1 melee+poison
10Monstrous Toebiteronline (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fw/20030822a)10L18/1026/13/2020, swim3 melee, poison, improved grab (+12), blood drain
12Knell BeetleMM312L24/926/10/2350, burrow3 melee, rend, trample (4d6+12/DC24), shake the earth
-CheliceraMM312M19/1414/19/12303 melee, improved grab, blood drain
-Tangle TerrorDotU12M22/1414/19/1830, climb1 melee+poison; web 8/day, mad.webs (confusion)
13LeechwalkerMM213M12/1018/11/1630, swim2 melee+wounding, improved grab (+4), blood drink
-WidowmakerDotU13L24/1220/17/2230, climb1 melee+poison; improved grab (+9), blood drain
15BonespearFF15L27/1222/17/19403 melee, 2 ranged, poison, attach, drag, horns
-Huge Monstrous CrabStorm12H22/825/11/14302 melee, constrict, improved grab (+19)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on August 26, 2009, 10:44:41 PM
Please do contribute back to the wiki.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on September 04, 2009, 06:12:12 AM
Please do contribute back to the wiki.
I think you've got the lineage of this particular guide mixed up. (Also, this guide is awesome and I fully approve of it.)

Uberling and Yekoj wrote a 3.0 druid guide, which has been eaten by the Gleemax upgrade. I want to say Yekoj maintained it through most of 3.0, but that's my spotty memory.

Around the 3.5 transition, Paradisio wrote the Updated Druid Handbook, which was pretty typical of the 3.0-3.5 straddling guides in that it not only taught the class but sifted through a lot of the errata and revamps and redundant stuff. I asked him permission to supercede his guide and got it.

Paradisio and I rewrote the Druid Handbook Revived, expanding on Paradisio's work. I maintained it for something like a year and a half. My guide was heavy on "Here's a bunch of awesome stuff, make a build from it" and not so much actual strategies, but it seems to have been successful enough to form the core of the successive projects.

Around this time last year, two different succession projects were started, again largely using the guide Paradisio and I wrote as a base. (BTW, I'm entirely cool with this, and I haven't talked to Paradisio in years to know what he'd think.) This guide was started on Aug '08, and the wiki article was started on the last week of July '08 (http://coboard.wikia.com/index.php?title=Druid&diff=2134&oldid=2038).

They're both forks of Druid Handbook Revived, and neither should be implied to be stealing from the other.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CannibalSmith on September 04, 2009, 01:30:11 PM
I suspect you think I implied ownership or something with that request. Not so. In fact, I dislike it being mostly my effort, which is actually why I asked to contribute. It's a wiki - edit it!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ReaderOfPosts on September 25, 2009, 01:56:23 PM
Just a note, Magebred Tiger (and Magebred Bear) replace 10th level animals rather than 7th on the list of animal companions (despite being mentioned that they can be taken by 7th level druids... maybe a clause preventing 6th level druids with natural bond from taking them?).

Of course, if you do argue they're 7th level, Magebred Brown Bears are strictly better than normal ones.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: phoenix6e on September 25, 2009, 08:28:09 PM
if you want a good prestige class think fist of the forest, your con to ac (deflection) is pretty ultime since that is usually one of the big stat of many animal couple with a monk belt you become a BIG FUCKING KUNG FU BEAR!!!!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on September 27, 2009, 01:23:57 AM
if you want a good prestige class think fist of the forest, your con to ac (deflection) is pretty ultime since that is usually one of the big stat of many animal couple with a monk belt you become a BIG FUCKING KUNG FU BEAR!!!!
A caster level, a WS level, and two feats set on fire in return for maybe 8 AC on a good day and a super-goofy COC? Emphatically not.
Title: Re: Spellcasting
Post by: A Man In Black on October 04, 2009, 12:08:33 PM
My old notes for this are long gone, but I remember some unpublished updates to my old spell advice. Let's see what I can scrounge. If I omitted a spell that's on the list, I don't have any comment. If I struck a spell, it's because I think it should be removed, with reasons in italics. The rest of the entries are rewrites (either for grammar or rethinking) or new spells.

I looked at the Heart spells from CM, but only Heart of Water with its swift Freedom of Movement a level early on top of an already-spiffy spell effect is worth casting. The others are meh.

Can we lose the spoiler tags? They don't play nicely with the PSP web browser.

[spoiler]0th Level
Guidance: Tell your Rogue to ask for "guidance" prior to every trap he attempts to disarms or UMD roll he has to make (outside of combat). That +1 bonus can be critical. This doesn't stack with Inspire Competence or pretty much any skill-boosting magic item, however.
Light: Remember, you lose darkvision when you Wild Shape, even if your chosen form or your natural race in humanoid form has it. (Obviously, this doesn't apply to situations where you're getting Ex special qualities of your form, as with Exalted or Dragon Wild Shape.)

1st Level
Aquatic EscapeCSc: Change into a fish for 1 round/level. Good for sudden escapes or quick responses to getting dumped into water. This spell just plain sucks, even before you get Wild Shape. Less than 30 seconds of swimming/water breathing is not going to save you, and even if it would, you can't cast this spell because it has a verbal component!
Babau SlimeSC: Great for grappling druids, and a general-purpose damage buff for any Wild Shaping Druid. The shortish duration and relatively low damage, along with the situational inconvenience of being covered with acid, makes this a rather poor spell. It doesn't do enough damage to make up for the fact that it pretty much must be cast in combat.
Faerie Fire: Good for dealing with invisible foes assuming your cleric or wizard can't. This is too situational and weak to bother with otherwise.
Rot of AgesDrM: lol no sneak attack 4 u. Too bad about the short duration, though. This spell is stone cold terrible, I don't know what I was thinking.
ThunderheadSC: 1d6 damage per round/level unless they make a reflex to negate, and also acts as a tracker against targets who turn invisible This does ONE damage per round/level, and you can't cast this on a foe you can't perceive. I can't imagine any situation where you'd be happy you prepped this for the day.

2nd Level
Bear's Endurance and Bull's Strength: As useful for a druid as it is for everyone. Bear's Endurance will be your main in-combat healing spell for low levels; just keep people alive until you can use Vigor. Grammar fix
Blinding SpittleSC: Absolutely broken. Blindness with no save, with a ranged touch attack at -4. Why do they keep reprinting this spell? Typo fix
Blood SnowFrost: Only prep it during the winter or when in an arctic or otherwise frozen area, but d2 Con drain/round is awesome when you combine it with battlefield control spells or flight effects to make sure your enemies have to stand in it.
BramblesSC: Excellent weapon buff, especially coupled with Shillelagh. After the CD/SC nerfs to this spell, it is overrated in the extreme. It's strictly worse than Shillelagh, and doesn't stack.
Creeping ColdSC: A great attack spell, and replaces Produce Flame as a blasting spell.
EarthbindSC: Ground those fliers. Kelpstrand and Gust of Wind do this and much more besides.
Gust of Wind: Very underrated utility spell. Clears fogs, blows away small foes, extinguishes torches, and disperses swarms. On top of all of this, it just plain wins any fight with any flier smaller than large.
Halo of SandSand: Yet another druid AC buff. This one is deflection, though, so it stacks with Barkskin and armor and helps against touch attacks.
KelpstrandSC: I like to think of this spell as webshooters. If it's not huge, it's pretty much just screwed. Your grapple DC will exceed that of most enemies who aren't grappling specialists or very large and very strong, and even if they are they'll need to spend at least one round bursting each strand of kelp. This spell is silly broken.
Master AirSC: Self-only flight, with short duration. Still handy, though. Winged Watcher is lower level and does 95% of what this spell does.
Nature's FavorSC: Excellent (swift!) animal buff spell; cast it on your Animal Companion or summons. No real need to go into previous versions any more, since SC is pretty much definitive.
SplinterboltSC: It's druidic Scorching Ray, but with no SR. Three 4d6 damage bolts with a 18-20 threat range isn't half bad.(Thanks jackmojo) Grammar edits
Wild InstinctsRoE: +1 to spot and listen just for preparing it. Casting it is kind of useless; a min/level ability to give you Uncanny Dodge is only useful when you know you're going to be surprised. Some playtesting realizations

3rd Level
Attune FormSC: Immunity to planar effects for caster level/3 characters. A handy spell for planehopping games, and much more useful than the lower-level Avoid Planar EffectsSC, due to the longer duration. Grammar edits and some fiddling
Call Lightning: This is a good lead-off for long or unchallenging fights, as it gives you lots of turns of attacks with okay damage. Prep one or two a day and use it as your fallback when your specialty (be it summoning, melee, whatever) isn't the best tactic.
CrumbleSC: Apparently druids get Shatter at third level. It's still handy.
Cure Moderate Wounds: Should be self-explanatory. This is not a good spell at second level, why the hell would you cast it at third? Not sure what I was thinking.
Energy BarrierKey of Destiny: It lets you put up an immobile protective barrier against acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic energy and their residual effects (e.g. fire: also blocks heat, acid: water, cold: snow, etc.). This amorphous barrier can completely surround you if you like and the duration is "concentration +1 round/level," which could be huge in some circumstances.  If your DM allows Dragonlance materials, this is a great protective spell. This is a super situational third-party variant of Protection From Energy. Why is it here?
Entanging StaffSC: Free action grapples with a +8 bonus. Great for when you're out of Wild Shape for some reason or if you're using a Shillelagh-enspelled staff as a Legendary Ape. Spikes sucks, so this gets an edit.
Evard's Menacing TentaclesPHB2: Assuming you have a good strength bonus from a Wild Shape form, this spell provides some battlefield control, metes out some damage, and gives a climbing bonus to boot. Grammar edits
ForestfoldSC: +10 on Hide and Move Silently checks in a natural environment of your choice.
Giant's WrathSC: An interesting alternative to Call Lightning. At early levels, the lack of a need for an attack roll, the lack of DR issues, and the greater number of uses per cast makes Call Lightning the better choice. At higher levels, though, the high strength of Wild Shape forms, the caster-level based damage bonus, and the lack of SR on Giant's Wrath helps it catch up.
Heart of WaterCM: The winner in a so-so spell family. The main effect of swimming/gills is handy when you get the spell, and on-demand swift-action Freedom of Movement is perfect for a bad grapple or failed save.
JunglerazorSC: Does 1d10/level (up to 10) in a 120ft line. Because it's target specific, shoot through your friends to damage only plants, plant critters, vermin, fey and animals. This is super situational. I'm not sure if it's worth listing.
Plant Growth: This is druidic Solid Fog, as long as there's some undergrowth. Alternately, make yourself every farmer's friend. Some more detail on what it does
SpikesSC: Improved Brambles. Higher attack, better threat level; what's not to like? How about the fact that it doesn't stack with anything and just plain blows? Don't cast this spell.
Swift Lion's ChargeMiniHB/Lion's ChargeSC: Pouncing is very handy, but this spell can start to eat up spell slots pretty quickly. A similar, overpowered spell named Lion's Charge is in Savage Species, and, while it isn't swift, it gives the Pounce ability for a duration.
ThornskinSC: Good as a wildshape buff, especially for grapplers, since even trying to escape hurts your enemy. This is two levels higher than Babau Skin, has a shorter duration, and does less damage. And Babau Skin isn't very good.

4th Level
Arc of LightningSC, Blast of SandSand, and Flame Strike: The last blast spells worth casting. Flame Strike is a staple and core. Arc of Lightning and Blast of Sand have more-specialized areas of effect (Arc of Lightning is sure to hit two guys and pretty much nobody else, whereas Blast of Sand's 30' cone is Very Large), ignore SR and benefit from Spell Focus (Conjuration). Blast of Sand is probably the most useful due to its large AOE, but it caps out at 10d6 whereas the others cap at 15d6. All of them have situational advantages (and none of them are more potent than Boreal Wind), so choose the one best-suited to your game. This replaces the individual writeups on these three spells, since they're pretty interchangeable.
Aspect of the WerebeastRoE: Nothing about this Shifter-only self-buff says it only works when you're in a humanoid form, but it is severely limited by its round/level duration. Prep it instead of Bite of the Wereboar anyway, and use Tiger aspect exclusively. Round/level pounce that you can share with your pet is delicious.
Boreal WindFrost: This is a mix of Gust of Wind and an AOE blast. In a fight, the damage is okay but lasts for multiple turns and enemies who don't save have a hard time approaching you, and out of a fight, this has a bunch of interesting utility and RP uses. This is a stylish, versatile, and powerful spell.
Claws of the SavageBoVD: Got claws? This gives you a +2 enhancement bonus on them, and also gives increases your claw damage as if you were two sizes larger. It is an Evil-typed spell, though. I should really learn to read durations. This is higher level than Greater Magic Fang and only slightly stronger, while being inexplicably evil to use and shorter duration. Bleh.
Superior Magic FangSC: GMF on all of your attacks. It's self-only, though. Aaaand has a really short duration. Not worth the in-combat action.
Vortex of TeethSC: A spell that does force damage, and can tear apart anything that can't get away. This makes a mess of anyone caught in Entangle. Typo fix

5th Level
Animal Growth: Multiple animals (your pet and any summons running around) get bigger and get some nice bonuses. One of the best buffs in the game, let alone in core. Typo fix
Baleful Polymorph: Turn your opponent into something inoffensive. Toad is a classic form that offers no advantage to your target. This is the core option for transporting Animal Companions in cramped quarters or inappropriate environments Pokemon-style, since, as a permanent spell, it's dispellable.  Classy tricks include polymorphing your Roc Animal Companion into a raven for cramped quarters, or polymorphing your T-Rex companion into a frog to go underwater. Some grammar fiddling
Call Lightning Storm: Call Lightning, only more so. 5 dice of damage instead of 3. This is emphatically not three spell levels better than Call Lightning. Not worth bothering with.
Choking SandsSand: Miasma, only less so. Alternately, nonpsionic Crisis of Breath. Good for shutting down a caster for a turn. Far too situational. It's neat that this always works, but nothing about the spell says someone can't still talk/spellcast, just that they can't breathe. Most opponents can hold their breath for the duration of a fight.
Cloak of the SeaSC: When you're underwater, it's Water Breathing, Freedom of Movement, and Blur, all in one neat little (long-duration!) package. A must-have for any underwater adventures.
Owl's InsightSC: A long-duration scaling boost to Wisdom with an unusual bonus type? A must for focused druidic casters, although summoners and wild shapers can give this a pass, since it doesn't do anything but raise spell DCs.
Phantom StagSC: Phantom Steed, only two spell levels higher and with slightly beefier stats. Since druids already have always-on flight at this level from Wild Shape, this is mainly useful for the Etherealness ability it gains at 18th level. This isn't that great except for the etherealness.
Quill BlastSC: After the Spell Compendium rewrite, this once-broken spell is now not quite as hot. It still outperforms typical blasts for a couple of levels, but by level 9 blasting is probably not the most optimal thing to be doing. It is a really mean spell for a GM to use on the PCs, though. It just isn't worth it. Every time I prepped this I ended up dropping it for a pack of crocs or an elemental. Blasting just isn't that great at this level, especially self-targeted bursts.
Ice ShieldFrost and Stoneskin: Excellent defensive spells (Ice Shield is stronger but has a shorter duration), but both are too monetarily expensive to use too often. My home group houseruled that the monetary costs off of these spells and I still didn't cast them much. They're just not that great.
Tree Stride: Teleport, but self-only and your GM can arbitrarily limit your use of it, since you need a chain of trees to travel long distances. It's still good.

6th Level
Bite of the WerebearSC: Bite of the Weretiger only moreso. You'll probably be fine simply prepping Bite of the Weretiger instead; this spell offers relatively small benefits over that spell.
DrownSC: Save or dying (0 hp). Handy for capturing enemies alive. Not death magic, but obviously doesn't work on non-living creatures, water-breathers, or creatures with no lungs. This has replaced the repeatedly-nerfed MiasmaSC.
Enveloping CocoonSC: A reflex-based save-or-lose, force-based to boot. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on anyone who can cast Dimension Door (or any similar non-somatic escape spell), anyone who has a natural weapon or a light weapon in hand, and unless you just want to trap them for caster level/rounds, you'll need to follow it up with another spell (like Baleful Polymorph).
Fire Seeds: Excellent trap spell when used to make holly berry bombs. Couple it with some sort of fire resistance or immunity and you have a killer emanation-from-yourself nuke. What was I thinking? Fire damage at 11th level? Blasting at 11th level? No, no, no, no, no.
Greater Scrying: Scrying without the long casting time and relatively short duration; the minor spells you can cast through the sensor aren't that useful. So why don't you just cast Scry?
Tortoise ShellSC: Basically, Greater Barkskin. Not as good as Greater Luminous Armor, but is natural armor instead of armor. A level 6 spell for only +1 AC over a level 2 spell? I know it scales upward, but this is drek.

7th Level
CloudwalkersSC: 10 min./level flight for the entire group. This is getting into the "If you can't fly you can't play" levels, but it is handy for anyone who hasn't gotten their wings yet.
Master EarthSC: Quite nice as it allows teleportation, a rarity for druids, unerringly to any location touching the earth. As it doesn't have the teleportation descriptor, it can thwart problems such as Forbiddance, Dimensional Anchor/Lock, etc.
Word of BalanceSC: Somewhat unreliable because of the odd alignment restrictions, but very powerful when it works.

8th Level
Red TideSC: Save, and you're prone and have a -2 to pretty much everything. Don't save, and you're limited to move actions and poisoned with a nasty strength-damage poison. Save-and-you-suck-anyway is always a good choice, and this is a huge 30' radius burst.
StormrageSC: Flight, the ability to throw respectable lightning bolts, and immunity to projectile ranged attacks and wind effects of all kinds. This is more of a spirit shaman or cleric spell due to the flight, but the immunities are helpful.
Word of Recall: A quick escape spell, and one of the very few teleportation spells available to druids.[/spoiler]

-EDIT- I did a second wave of updates to this on a post on page 5 of this thread.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: awaken DM golem on October 04, 2009, 08:42:44 PM
Hey, it's A Man In Black ?!
Yay !!

iirc - your old guide was very well referenced in the Druid guide previous to this one. (back on 339)
It's possible that your old guide is in the Web Archive.
It's also possible that a google cache exists for it.
Hah. Jokes on me.
Your old thread is from the Boards1 epoch. And somehow it survived.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19868802/Druid_Handbook_revived
Druid's are more powerful than wizards.com board biffs and change overs.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: PhaedrusXY on October 04, 2009, 09:35:23 PM
Hah. Jokes on me.
Your old thread is from the Boards1 epoch. And somehow it survived.
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19868802/Druid_Handbook_revived
Druid's are more powerful than wizards.com board biffs and change overs.

:lmao
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 05, 2009, 12:54:47 PM
Hey, it's A Man In Black ?!
Yay !!

iirc - your old guide was very well referenced in the Druid guide previous to this one. (back on 339)
It's possible that your old guide is in the Web Archive.
It's also possible that a google cache exists for it.
Oh, the thread is still there; it's linked prominently in the OP. However, my own unposted notes from my old hard drive are not there or anywhere, save on a hard drive lost to read errors. Most of the advice in the WOTC board version of the guide either came from previous versions of the thread or my own playtesting experience (which is why there wasn't a lot of advice on, say, gestalt or venerable dragonwrought kobalds or whatever).

I've been playing a spirit shaman lately, so I've had a lot of time to intensely playtest my way through the spells, and some of my old advice is just plain nuts.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bearsarebrown on October 05, 2009, 04:55:57 PM
I disagree on Fire Seeds for a couple reasons.

1. the amount of damage. yes, it may be blasting, but 8d8 + 160 is great blasting (compared to CL/d6, which is almost all blasting)
2. It's sneaky! You don't need to do it in combat! Extend the spell, keep them in your bag, when combat starts, place the bag on a summon.

I'm not saying its a perfect spell, but I actually found use for it, especially in cramped spaces were there was no room to summon. (but yeah fire damage sucks)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shadowhunter on October 05, 2009, 08:23:36 PM
Always liked Fire Seeds, but it seems to me to be a wee bit to high of a level for it's effect.
Lvl 6 spell?
Naw, 4 or 5, but not 6.


Note about Faerie Fire though:
It's greatest asset is not to negate invisibility, but to negate concealment from things like Blur or Displacement.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on October 06, 2009, 07:17:40 AM
Second level: Body of the Sun
Awful, unless you sculpt it.  Then it's actually decent.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 07, 2009, 08:05:56 AM
Second level: Body of the Sun
Awful, unless you sculpt it.  Then it's actually decent.
No, it isn't. Assuming you have a feat most druids don't take, you can make an area effect of relatively paltry damage with no movement impairment to keep people in it. Contrast with Haboob, a 20' spread that does the same amount of damage and blocks LOS and lasts min/level, or Arctic Fog, which is a 30' spread that also blocks LOS and does 4 damage and lasts 10 min/level and has a neat little damage chaser if you disperse it with wind.

Battlefield control needs to be so horrible you want to be out of it right now (Stinking Cloud), needs to block LOS (clouds of all sorts), needs to block movement (walls), needs to trap people in it (Web), or preferably multiples of these. Sculpted Body of the Sun doesn't cut it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on October 07, 2009, 08:40:45 AM
hiven that the effect is centered on you (120' straight ahead), you can redirect it while doing all your other stuff just by turning to the side during your five foot step.

That means you can do consistent ranged damage simultaneously with melee.  It's not a particularly large amount of damage, I admit, but it's a decent choice.  Extending (or possibly persisting, though there are better spells to do that with) would make it better, but as is it compares favorably to call lightning.

'course, my experience typically involves a horde of mooks going around with the big guys, which may overemphasize the effectiveness of multi-round area damage.  And it's excellent in corridors.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on October 07, 2009, 10:28:03 AM
Second level: Body of the Sun
Awful, unless you sculpt it.  Then it's actually decent.
No, it isn't. Assuming you have a feat most druids don't take, ...
Taking the feat? Perhaps not. Buying a lesser metamagic rod for 3k? Certainly recommended!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 09, 2009, 08:38:26 AM
hiven that the effect is centered on you (120' straight ahead), you can redirect it while doing all your other stuff just by turning to the side during your five foot step.

That means you can do consistent ranged damage simultaneously with melee.  It's not a particularly large amount of damage, I admit, but it's a decent choice.  Extending (or possibly persisting, though there are better spells to do that with) would make it better, but as is it compares favorably to call lightning.
Not quite. The spell ceases to be an emanation when you sculpt it, because you're turning it into a spread or cubes or whatever. From the SRD:

Quote from: Spell Descriptions
An emanation spell functions like a burst spell, except that the effect continues to radiate from the point of origin for the duration of the spell. Most emanations are cones or spheres.

As radiating from you is a quality of emanations and it is no longer an emanation, it no longer radiates from you. Extending is kind of silly; that gets you 2 x rd/level and how many mooks can you possibly have to kill? Also, seriously, you are a druid. You can fly around as a bird or just wade into melee as whatever with non-sculpted Body of the Sun if you really need to kill that many mooks.

It just doesn't work, and it's not that uber even if it does.

Taking the feat? Perhaps not. Buying a lesser metamagic rod for 3k? Certainly recommended!
Unless you do the gear-drop trick, druids don't benefit nearly as much from metamagic rods (other than extend, which is still as silly as ever) as other casters. Plus, there's just not a lot to sculpt; druids lack the long-lived staples that wizards rely on.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 09, 2009, 10:33:24 AM
Second wave of updates. I never did get a chance to really pore over Spell Compendium, Stormwrack, or some of the other last-wave books before other interests and demands on my time meant I stopped updating the old druid guide. I may also sift some of those books for wild shape forms (or other stuff, Stormwrack has a ton of new summons and such). At some point, I may write a new wild shape guide with quick-reference for stats and page numbers, a spell guide with duration and page numbers, and/or an Enhance Wild Shape guide. It really depends on mood/interest/attention span/computer access/alignment of the stars.

Anyhoo. More spell thoughts.

BTW, I copied all my edits from the previous post for Blade2718's convenience. Anything with a † is a new addition/modification in this post.

0th Level
Guidance: Tell your Rogue to ask for "guidance" prior to every trap he attempts to disarms or UMD roll he has to make (outside of combat). That +1 bonus can be critical. This doesn't stack with Inspire Competence or pretty much any skill-boosting magic item, however.
Light: Remember, you lose darkvision when you Wild Shape, even if your chosen form or your natural race in humanoid form has it. (Obviously, this doesn't apply to situations where you're getting Ex special qualities of your form, as with Exalted or Dragon Wild Shape.)

1st Level
Aquatic EscapeCSc: Change into a fish for 1 round/level. Good for sudden escapes or quick responses to getting dumped into water. This spell just plain sucks, even before you get Wild Shape. Less than 30 seconds of swimming/water breathing is not going to save you, and even if it would, you can't cast this spell because it has a verbal component!
Babau SlimeSC: Great for grappling druids, and a general-purpose damage buff for any Wild Shaping Druid. The shortish duration and relatively low damage, along with the situational inconvenience of being covered with acid, makes this a rather poor spell. It doesn't do enough damage to make up for the fact that it pretty much must be cast in combat.
Enrage AnimalSC: A solid buff for your animal companion, enabling it to rage like a barbarian without the fatigue. One or two turns of rage isn't worth it, and concentrating is generally less effective than just breaking out your sling. Not worth casting.
Faerie Fire: This is an odd magic bullet. By the time you're worrying about invisible foes, all of the casters in the party will have better tools, like BlindsightSC, See Invisibility, Glitterdust, or just plain old Dispel Magic. However, this is lower level and it works on Blur and Displacement and the like. Faerie Fire is a situational tool at best. I'm not entirely convinced that this belongs on the list still.
Rot of AgesDrM: lol no sneak attack 4 u. Too bad about the short duration, though. This spell is stone cold terrible, I don't know what I was thinking.
ThunderheadSC: 1d6 damage per round/level unless they make a reflex to negate, and also acts as a tracker against targets who turn invisible This does ONE damage per round/level, and you can't cast this on a foe you can't perceive. I can't imagine any situation where you'd be happy you prepped this for the day.

2nd Level
Bear's Endurance and Bull's Strength: As useful for a druid as it is for everyone. Bear's Endurance will be your main in-combat healing spell for low levels; just keep people alive until you can use Vigor. Grammar fix
Blinding SpittleSC: Absolutely broken. Blindness with no save, with a ranged touch attack at -4. Why do they keep reprinting this spell? Typo fix
Blood SnowFrost: Only prep it during the winter or when in an arctic or otherwise frozen area, but d2 Con drain/round is awesome when you combine it with battlefield control spells or flight effects to make sure your enemies have to stand in it.
BramblesSC: Excellent weapon buff, especially coupled with Shillelagh. After the CD/SC nerfs to this spell, it is overrated in the extreme. It's strictly worse than Shillelagh, and doesn't stack.
Creeping ColdSC: A great attack spell, and replaces Produce Flame as a blasting spell.
EarthbindSC: Ground those fliers. Kelpstrand and Gust of Wind do this and much more besides.
Embrace the WildSC and Listening LorecallSC: These are very nearly the same spell, and both are quite handy. Use Embrace the Wild until you have 12 ranks in Listen, then switch over to Listening Lorecall. BlindsightSC is more potent but is higher level and shorter duration. More SC revamp antics
Gust of Wind: Very underrated utility spell. Clears fogs, blows away small foes, extinguishes torches, and disperses swarms. On top of all of this, it just plain wins any fight with any flier smaller than large.
Halo of SandSand: Yet another druid AC buff. This one is deflection, though, so it stacks with Barkskin and armor and helps against touch attacks.
KelpstrandSC: I like to think of this spell as webshooters. If it's not huge, it's pretty much just screwed. Your grapple DC will exceed that of most enemies who aren't grappling specialists or very large and very strong, and even if they are they'll need to spend at least one round bursting each strand of kelp. This spell is silly broken.
Master AirSC: Self-only flight, with short duration. Still handy, though. Winged Watcher and Updraft are lower level and do 95% of what this spell does.
Nature's FavorSC: Excellent (swift!) animal buff spell; cast it on your Animal Companion or summons. No real need to go into previous versions any more, since SC is pretty much definitive.
SplinterboltSC: It's druidic Scorching Ray, but with no SR. Three 4d6 damage bolts with a 18-20 threat range isn't half bad.(Thanks jackmojo) Grammar edits
Wild InstinctsRoE: +1 to spot and listen just for preparing it. Casting it is kind of useless; a min/level ability to give you Uncanny Dodge is only useful when you know you're going to be surprised. Some playtesting realizations

3rd Level
Attune FormSC: Immunity to planar effects for caster level/3 characters. A handy spell for planehopping games, and much more useful than the lower-level Avoid Planar EffectsSC, due to the longer duration. Grammar edits and some fiddling
Call Lightning: This is a good lead-off for long or unchallenging fights, as it gives you lots of turns of attacks with okay damage. Prep one or two a day and use it as your fallback when your specialty (be it summoning, melee, whatever) isn't the best tactic.
CrumbleSC: Apparently druids get Shatter at third level. It's still handy.
Cure Moderate Wounds: Should be self-explanatory. This is not a good spell at second level, why the hell would you cast it at third? Not sure what I was thinking.
Energy BarrierKey of Destiny: It lets you put up an immobile protective barrier against acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic energy and their residual effects (e.g. fire: also blocks heat, acid: water, cold: snow, etc.). This amorphous barrier can completely surround you if you like and the duration is "concentration +1 round/level," which could be huge in some circumstances.  If your DM allows Dragonlance materials, this is a great protective spell. This is a super situational third-party variant of Protection From Energy. Why is it here?
Entanging StaffSC: After the Spell Compendium rewrite of this spell, it's now a way to add an extra entangling effect onto hitting someone with your Shillelagh. The constrict after the grab is extra damage, but you probably don't want to stay grappling with them. This is no longer very useful with club-wielding Legendary Ape cheese, though, as continuing the grapple now requires normal actions. After a SC rewrite, this is now a weaker spell that works in a less lame way. It's still good but needs a new entry entirely.
Evard's Menacing TentaclesPHB2: Assuming you have a good strength bonus from a Wild Shape form, this spell provides some battlefield control, metes out some damage, and gives a climbing bonus to boot. Grammar edits
ForestfoldSC: +10 on Hide and Move Silently checks in a natural environment of your choice.
Giant's WrathSC: An interesting alternative to Call Lightning. At early levels, the lack of a need for an attack roll, the lack of DR issues, and the greater number of uses per cast makes Call Lightning the better choice. At higher levels, though, the high strength of Wild Shape forms, the caster-level based damage bonus, and the lack of SR on Giant's Wrath helps it catch up.
Heart of WaterCM: The winner in a so-so spell family. The main effect of swimming/gills is handy when you get the spell, and on-demand swift-action Freedom of Movement is perfect for a bad grapple or failed save.
JunglerazorSC: Does 1d10/level (up to 10) in a 120ft line. Because it's target specific, shoot through your friends to damage only plants, plant critters, vermin, fey and animals. This is super situational. I'm not sure if it's worth listing.
Plant Growth: This is druidic Solid Fog, as long as there's some undergrowth. Alternately, make yourself every farmer's friend. Some more detail on what it does
SpikesSC: Improved Brambles. Higher attack, better threat level; what's not to like? How about the fact that it doesn't stack with anything and just plain blows? Don't cast this spell.
Swift Lion's ChargeMiniHB/Lion's ChargeSC: Pouncing is very handy, but this spell can start to eat up spell slots pretty quickly. A similar, overpowered spell named Lion's Charge is in Savage Species, and, while it isn't swift, it gives the Pounce ability for a duration.
ThornskinSC: Good as a wildshape buff, especially for grapplers, since even trying to escape hurts your enemy. This is two levels higher than Babau Skin, has a shorter duration, and does less damage. And Babau Skin isn't very good.

4th Level
Arc of LightningSC, Blast of SandSand, and Flame Strike: The last blast spells worth casting. Flame Strike is a staple and core. Arc of Lightning and Blast of Sand have more-specialized areas of effect (Arc of Lightning is sure to hit two guys and pretty much nobody else, whereas Blast of Sand's 30' cone is Very Large), ignore SR and benefit from Spell Focus (Conjuration). Blast of Sand is probably the most useful due to its large AOE, but it caps out at 10d6 whereas the others cap at 15d6. All of them have situational advantages (and not a one of them is more potent than Boreal Wind), so choose the one best-suited to your game. This replaces the individual writeups on these three spells, since they're pretty interchangeable.
Aspect of the WerebeastRoE: Nothing about this Shifter-only self-buff says it only works when you're in a humanoid form, but it is severely limited by its round/level duration. Prep it instead of Bite of the Wereboar anyway, and use Tiger aspect exclusively. Round/level pounce that you can share with your pet is delicious.
Boreal WindFrost: This is a mix of Gust of Wind and an AOE blast. In a fight, the damage is okay but lasts for multiple turns and enemies who don't save have a hard time approaching you, and out of a fight, this has a bunch of interesting utility and RP uses. This is a stylish, versatile, and powerful spell.
Claws of the SavageBoVD: Got claws? This gives you a +2 enhancement bonus on them, and also gives increases your claw damage as if you were two sizes larger. It is an Evil-typed spell, though. I should really learn to read durations. This is higher level than Greater Magic Fang and only slightly stronger, while being inexplicably evil to use and shorter duration. Bleh.
Frostfell SlideFrost: The first of the [blank]stride spells. This is probably the most situational, but use it in winter in even a temperate climate and it's almost as good as Teleport.
Miasma of EntropySC: This is one of the Spell Compendium stinkers, with issues like having a saving throw in the statblock but no explanation of what that saving throw does in the spell description. However, as written, everyone in the area who isn't wearing metal or magic clothing or armor ends up naked. And, really, isn't that worth a fourth-level spell slot? My handwritten notes from reading SC are: "miasma of entropy - seriously what is up with this spell seriously"
MoonboltSC: Anti-undead save-or-die that won't make you feel bad for prepping it on a day where you meet no undead. Note that it can hit two targets if they are within 15' of each other.
Murderous MistSC: AOE save-or-lose, with a gigantic area and targeting reflex? That's worth it. Someone suggested I add this to the list back when I was still maintaining it, and I didn't think it was that good. What in the HELL was I thinking?
Superior Magic FangSC: GMF on all of your attacks. It's self-only, though. Aaaand has a really short duration. Not worth the in-combat action.
Vortex of TeethSC: A spell that does force damage, and can tear apart anything that can't get away. This makes a mess of anyone caught in Entangle. Typo fix

5th Level
Animal Growth: Multiple animals (your pet and any summons running around) get bigger and get some nice bonuses. One of the best buffs in the game, let alone in core. Typo fix
Baleful Polymorph: Turn your opponent into something inoffensive. Toad is a classic form that offers no advantage to your target. This is the core option for transporting Animal Companions in cramped quarters or inappropriate environments Pokemon-style, since, as a permanent spell, it's dispellable.  Classy tricks include polymorphing your Roc Animal Companion into a raven for cramped quarters, or polymorphing your T-Rex companion into a frog to go underwater. Some grammar fiddling
Call Lightning Storm: Call Lightning, only more so. 5 dice of damage instead of 3. This is emphatically not three spell levels better than Call Lightning. Not worth bothering with.
Choking SandsSand: Miasma, only less so. Alternately, nonpsionic Crisis of Breath. Good for shutting down a caster for a turn. Far too situational. It's neat that this always works, but nothing about the spell says someone can't still talk/spellcast, just that they can't breathe. Most opponents can hold their breath for the duration of a fight.
Cloak of the SeaSC: When you're underwater, it's Water Breathing, Freedom of Movement, and Blur, all in one neat little (long-duration!) package. A must-have for any underwater adventures.
Owl's InsightSC: A long-duration scaling boost to Wisdom with an unusual bonus type? A must for focused druidic casters, although summoners and wild shapers can give this a pass, since it doesn't do anything but raise spell DCs.
Phantom StagSC: Phantom Steed, only two spell levels higher and with slightly beefier stats. Since druids already have always-on flight at this level from Wild Shape, this is mainly useful for the Etherealness ability it gains at 18th level. This isn't that great except for the etherealness. I would boot it except that it's still okay for spirit shamans.
Quill BlastSC: After the Spell Compendium rewrite, this once-broken spell is now not quite as hot. It still outperforms typical blasts for a couple of levels, but by level 9 blasting is probably not the most optimal thing to be doing. It is a really mean spell for a GM to use on the PCs, though. It just isn't worth it. Every time I prepped this I ended up dropping it for a pack of crocs or an elemental. Blasting just isn't that great at this level, especially self-targeted bursts.
Ice ShieldFrost and Stoneskin: Excellent defensive spells (Ice Shield is stronger but has a shorter duration), but both are too monetarily expensive to use too often. My home group houseruled the monetary costs off of these spells and I still didn't cast them much. They're just not that great.
Tree Stride: Teleport, but self-only and your GM can arbitrarily limit your use of it, since you need a chain of trees to travel long distances. It's still good.

6th Level
Bite of the WerebearSC: Bite of the Weretiger only moreso. You'll probably be fine simply prepping Bite of the Weretiger instead; this spell offers relatively small benefits over that spell.
DrownSC: Save or dying (0 hp). Handy for capturing enemies alive. Not death magic, but obviously doesn't work on non-living creatures, water-breathers, or creatures with no lungs. This has replaced the repeatedly-nerfed MiasmaSC.
Enveloping CocoonSC: A reflex-based save-or-lose, force-based to boot. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on anyone who can cast Dimension Door (or any similar non-somatic escape spell) or anyone who has a natural weapon or a light weapon in hand. On top of that, unless you just want to trap them for caster level/rounds, you'll need to follow it up with another spell (like Baleful Polymorph). Not so sure about this one...
Fire Seeds: Excellent trap spell when used to make holly berry bombs. Couple it with some sort of fire resistance or immunity and you have a killer emanation-from-yourself nuke. What was I thinking? Fire damage at 11th level? Blasting at 11th level? No, no, no, no, no. Even with holly berry suicide bombing, it's just not worth it. Plus, in certain environments it's a huge liability; Holly Berry Bombs set buildings and forests on fire.
Greater Scrying: Scrying without the long casting time and relatively short duration; the minor spells you can cast through the sensor aren't that useful. So why don't you just cast Scry?
StormwalkSC: The best of the various druidic teleports. It's strictly worse than the usual sorc/wiz Teleport, but unlike all of the other druidic teleport spells it works on the whole party and doesn't require pre-planning or a tree/pool/snowdrift/whatever.
Tortoise ShellSC: Basically, Greater Barkskin. Not as good as Greater Luminous Armor, but is natural armor instead of armor. A level 6 spell for only +1 AC over a level 2 spell, and it comes with a disadvantage? Forget it.

7th Level
CloudwalkersSC: 10 min./level flight for the entire group. This is getting into the "If you can't fly you can't play" levels, but it is handy for anyone who hasn't gotten their wings yet.
Master EarthSC: Quite nice as it allows teleportation, a rarity for druids, unerringly to any location touching the earth. As it doesn't have the teleportation descriptor, it can thwart problems such as Forbiddance, Dimensional Anchor/Lock, etc. Grammar edits
Word of BalanceSC: Somewhat unreliable because of the odd alignment restrictions, but very powerful when it works.

8th Level
Red TideSC: Save, and you're prone and have a -2 to pretty much everything. Don't save, and you're limited to move actions and poisoned with a nasty strength-damage poison. Save-and-you-suck-anyway is always a good choice, and this is a huge 30' radius burst.
StormrageSC: Flight, the ability to throw respectable lightning bolts, and immunity to projectile ranged attacks and wind effects of all kinds. This is more of a spirit shaman or cleric spell due to the flight, but the immunities are helpful.
Word of Recall: A quick escape spell, and one of the very few teleportation spells available to druids.

9th level
Summon Elemental MonolithSC: The elemental monoliths are ridiculously powerful, especially given the very high save DCs of the whirlwind and vortex abilities of air and water monoliths. Unlike previous Concentration-duration summons, these are worthwhile even if you can't cheat on the concentration requirement. (And no, Swift Concentration from Complete Scoundrel doesn't work.) Obviously, this is a spirit shaman's ultimate spell. Swift Concentration lasts for one round a fight, like all skill tricks.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Negative Zero on October 10, 2009, 06:01:11 AM
I don't see Quill Blast as a blasting spell, I see it as a debuff. If you're fighting someone who is medium, they take a -8 to all attack rolls, saves, and checks, -4 on a successful save. -4 to attacks/saves/checks, no save, is pretty solid already. (Like a maximized Enervate) If they're huge or larger, that's a potential -12. A -12 to saves is a death warrant for most anyone.

Edit: Wait, it says noncumulative. Those don't stack? Okay, nevermind, that spell's pretty horrid. My fault.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Emy on October 10, 2009, 10:28:22 AM
9th level
Summon Elemental MonolithSC: The elemental monoliths are ridiculously powerful, especially given the very high save DCs of the whirlwind and vortex abilities of air and water monoliths. Unlike previous Concentration-duration summons, these are worthwhile even if you can't cheat on the concentration requirement. (And no, Swift Concentration from Complete Scoundrel doesn't work.) Obviously, this is a spirit shaman's ultimate spell. Swift Concentration lasts for one round a fight, like all skill tricks.

Sonorous hum could work if you have some way of getting access to it - like an artificer buddy using Spell Storing Item to give you a hat that has sonorous hum in it, spellstitching, UMD and a wand, a friendly archivist (imbue with spell ability and the divine bard version of sonorous hum), craft contingent spell, or... ick... multiclassing.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 11, 2009, 10:45:07 AM
Sonorous hum could work if you have some way of getting access to it - like an artificer buddy using Spell Storing Item to give you a hat that has sonorous hum in it, spellstitching, UMD and a wand, a friendly archivist (imbue with spell ability and the divine bard version of sonorous hum), craft contingent spell, or... ick... multiclassing.

Or Arcane Heirophant and Familiar Concentration.

There's no non-ugly way for a druid to get free concentration, so I'm assuming you can't get it. Monoliths are still worth it even if you can't.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on October 13, 2009, 08:37:05 AM
Claws of the SavageBoVD: Got claws? This gives you a +2 enhancement bonus on them, and also gives increases your claw damage as if you were two sizes larger. It is an Evil-typed spell, though. I should really learn to read durations. This is higher level than Greater Magic Fang and only slightly stronger, while being inexplicably evil to use and shorter duration. Bleh.
Actually, I kinda like this. GMF affects a single natural weapon, claws of the savage affect all (usually 2) claws. Arguably (but perhaps not raw), it could also affect rake attacks.
At lvl 8, polar bear form:
claws of the savage grant +2 to attack and +8 to damage for 80 minutes for 2 claws
greater magic fang gives +2 to attack and +2 to damage for 8 hours for 1 claw (or +1 / +1 to all nat.attacks)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 13, 2009, 09:27:30 PM
At lvl 8, polar bear form:
claws of the savage grant +2 to attack and +8 to damage for 80 minutes for 2 claws
greater magic fang gives +2 to attack and +2 to damage for 8 hours for 1 claw (or +1 / +1 to all nat.attacks)
And GMF is better for all of the other level 8 staple forms unless you houserule CotS to be better. Bears seems to be the only WS forms with so much combat mojo tied up in claws.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: johnboy069 on October 14, 2009, 12:58:47 AM
What would you rate the spell from Complete Adventurer, Wracking Touch? It is a touch attack that adds sneak attack damage if you have it. It is good for druid/swordsages and druid/rogues.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Alastar on October 14, 2009, 01:00:13 AM
What would you rate the spell from Complete Adventurer, Wracking Touch? It is a touch attack that adds sneak attack damage if you have it. It is good for druid/swordsages and druid/rogues.


....  druid swordsages and druid rogues exist?

Man... I pity the guys who play that...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on October 14, 2009, 02:33:53 AM
The spell is alright if you're playing a rogue/druid/daggerspell shaper or something, but wild grapple from the same book is probably a better choice most of the time. 
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 14, 2009, 08:25:32 AM
What would you rate the spell from Complete Adventurer, Wracking Touch? It is a touch attack that adds sneak attack damage if you have it. It is good for druid/swordsages and druid/rogues.

It's, um, good if you have sneak attack and don't have a flask of acid laying around. What kind of comments are you looking for?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: johnboy069 on October 14, 2009, 09:12:40 PM
I was just looking for how it stands up to other choices really. I have never used it myself, but a friend has and I wanted some input from the community before I chose it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Alastar on October 14, 2009, 09:20:09 PM
Well... if your friend is playing a rogue/druid/dagger spell sucker build... he might not really care what is optimal or not anyways... 

So, if your stuck with that build because a raving geeky madman is pointing a gun at our head and saying: YES, TRY TO DO TOMB OF HORRORS WITH THIS, COME ON TRY TO DO IT NOW, I WANT TO SEE YOU FAIL!!!!  Then you have no choice to play, your sheet appearing to your eyes between tears of fear, then.... well an acid flask is much better anyways, as was already said.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 15, 2009, 01:21:40 PM
I was just looking for how it stands up to other choices really. I have never used it myself, but a friend has and I wanted some input from the community before I chose it.
It really depends on how much value you think you can get out of the sneak-attack-without-the-setup aspect of the spell, because otherwise the spell is absolute rubbish. (Compare it to Produce Flame, for example.)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on October 15, 2009, 01:35:32 PM
Any opinions on the Wild Reaper variant?  Turn Undead, fast healing, ability score healing, seems pretty strong to me.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on October 15, 2009, 09:18:06 PM
Any opinions on the Wild Reaper variant?  Turn Undead, fast healing, ability score healing, seems pretty strong to me.
It's kind of puzzling. Looking at Crystal Keep, I don't know how good the spontaneous casting is, but other than that what you lose (plant wild shape) is much less than what you gain (fast healing, turn undead which means divine feats). If Enhance Wild Shape is allowed in your game and the wild reaper spontaneous casting is good, then it's strictly better than straight druid.

If you want a carrion-eating pet chain, it's wolf - brown bear - allosaurus/dire tortoise - dire bear - horrid bear. Get ready to get in lots of dumb arguments about what does and does not eat carrion.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on October 16, 2009, 05:25:10 AM
I'm suddenly reminded of the 10pg argument I once read over whether or not a giant squid is considered "prehistoric" for the purposes of the Primeval prestige class =)
Title: Re: Spellcasting
Post by: A Man In Black on October 18, 2009, 10:34:22 AM
This is a rewrite of the spell section with my advice included. Blade can use it or not, but I figured I'd stick it here since I was working on a spirit shaman guide anyway.

I made a few more fiddling changes. I think the only major one was dropping Bite of the Wererat, because it's just not worth the in-combat action to bite for piddling damage and get +5 AC for a few rounds.

-edit- I'm going to be updating this with realizations made while writing the spirit shaman guide. It's all minor stuff so far.

[spoiler]Druids are full casters, no matter how much you beat things up with your bare paws.  Your ability to escape from danger or create danger for your opponents is, at least, partially dependent on what spells you have available.

0th Level
Create Water: Never run out of water. Plus, you can make a scrying pool.
Cure Minor Wounds: One point isn't a lot, but this can stabilize a dying ally.
Detect Magic: One of the most powerful and versatile zero-level spells, for any caster.
Guidance: Tell your Rogue to ask for "guidance" prior to every trap he attempts to disarms or UMD roll he has to make (outside of combat). That +1 bonus can be critical. This doesn't stack with Inspire Competence or pretty much any skill-boosting magic item, however.
Light: Remember, you lose darkvision when you Wild Shape, even if your chosen form or your natural race in humanoid form has it. (Obviously, this doesn't apply to situations where you're getting Ex special qualities of your form, as with Exalted or Dragon Wild Shape.)

1st Level
Aspect of the WolfSC: This is a fairly handy melee self-buff for early levels (instead of going the wooden club route with Shillelagh). At later levels, you can share it with your Animal Companion to help deal with the practical issues of traveling with a snarling bear the size of a bull elephant.]
Beget BogunSC 26: Creates a small little creature to do your chores, if you've taken Create Wondrous Item.
CamouflageSC: +10 to Hide, and it works in any environment.
Endure Elements: A great travelling spell, and especially handy in any game that takes you into harsh environments.
Entangle: A best-in-class battlefield control spell.
Eyes of the AvoralBoED: Long duration, big Spot bonus.
Faerie Fire: This is an odd magic bullet. By the time you're worrying about invisible foes, all of the casters in the party will have better tools, like BlindsightSC, See Invisibility, Glitterdust, or just plain old Dispel Magic. However, this is lower level and it works on Blur and Displacement and the like. Faerie Fire is a situational tool at best.
Lessor VigorSC: This spell actually outperforms Cure Light Wounds, especially out of combat. Wands of Lesser Vigor are great for healing between fights.
Magic Fang and Silvered ClawsBoED: Decent buff to help your Animal Companion bypass DR. Not very good for anything else.
Obscuring Mist: The next best thing to invisibility, when it comes time to get out of a fight. Cast Mist, walk 5 feet backwards, and run away in a different direction.
Omen of PerilSC: Poor man's Augury. Quite possibly the most versatile first-level divination in the game, and doesn't even have a costly component or XP cost, like many similar divinations.
Pass Without Trace: Not for the druid, but to cover the tracks of her companions.
Produce Flame: Fairly powerful attack spell. You'll probably be relying on this to attack until you get Wild Shape, and makes a decent buff (due to the way holding touch spells works) after you get Wild Shape.
Shillelagh: It's pronounced "shi-lay-lee." Dramatically increases club/quarterstaff damage (to the point where you'll actually want to wield a club or quarterstaff).
Spider HandBoVD: Best. Scouting. Spell. Ever. Send out a nondescript spider to do all the scouting, with only negligible consequences if it dies? Yeah, I'll take that. It's not even an evil spell.
Twilight LuckBoED: +1 on saves is always handy, especially at higher levels. Just lay off the booze.
Winged WatcherCSc: Change into a bird for 1 round/level. Good for sudden escapes or quick responses to needing to fly.
Wood WoseSC: Unseen Servant, only druidic. It just can't handle doorknobs.

2nd Level
Acorn of Far Travel (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fw/20040710a)WotC - A nice spell from the "Far Corners of the World" article series that lets you emulate forested terrain to improve spells such as deadfall, creaking cacophony, fey ring, or splinterbolt.  You can also use the acorn as an oak tree for spells like tree stride or transport via plants.
Align FangSC: Handy for DR problems.
Animalistic PowerPHB2: Versatility over the animal stat buffs, traded for half the power. It's a style thing; either way is good.
Barkskin: Excellent for use while Wild Shaped, since your AC will often be pretty poor.
Bear's Endurance and Bull's Strength: As useful as it is for everyone. Bear's Endurance will be your main in-combat healing spell for low levels; just keep people alive until you can use Vigor.
Blinding SpittleSC: Absolutely broken. Blindness with no save, with a ranged touch attack at -4. Why do they keep reprinting this spell?
Blood SnowFrost: Only prep it during the winter or when in an arctic or otherwise frozen area, but d2 Con drain/round is awesome when you combine it with battlefield control spells or flight effects to make sure your enemies have to stand in it.
Briar WebSC: A handy entangling spell that may also cause damage.
Creeping ColdSC: A great attack spell, and replaces Produce Flame as a blasting spell.
DesiccateSand: d6/level (max 5d6) on a single target, with a weird damage type that ignores DR and energy resistance. Can even cause dehydration (which is fatigue on steroids).
Embrace the WildSC and Listening LorecallSC: These are very nearly the same spell, and both are quite handy. Use Embrace the Wild until you have 12 ranks in Listen, then switch over to Listening Lorecall. BlindsightSC is more potent but is higher level and shorter duration.
Gust of Wind: Very underrated utility spell. Clears fogs, blows away small foes, extinguishes torches, and disperses swarms.
Halo of SandSand: Yet another druid AC buff. This one is deflection, though, so it stacks with Barkskin and armor.
KelpstrandSC: I like to think of this spell as webshooters. If it's not huge or larger, it's pretty much just screwed. Your grapple DC will exceed that of most enemies who aren't grappling specialists or very large and very strong, and even if they are they'll need to spend at least one round bursting each strand of kelp. This spell is silly broken.
Lesser Restoration: Very handy for healing ability damage.
Luminous ArmorBoED: An AC boost while you're Wild Shaping, plus light and another -4 for enemies to hit you in melee. Stacks with Barkskin, but not Wilding armor. Mind the Str damage, though.
Nature's FavorSC: Excellent (swift!) animal buff spell; cast it on your Animal Companion or summons.
Resist Energy: Fairly handy when you know a certain type of energy damage is in the offing.
Share HuskSC: A great scouting spell. Use it if Spider Hand isn't available.
Snake's Swiftness, MassSC: The lower-level, single-target version of this spell isn't anything special, but giving a free attack to all of your party members, plus your animal companion, plus any summons you have nearby is just too fun.
SplinterboltSC: It's druidic Scorching Ray, but with no SR. Three 4d6 damage bolts with a 18-20 threat range isn't half bad. (Thanks jackmojo)
Wild InstinctsRoE: +1 to spot and listen just for preparing it. Casting it is kind of useless; a min/level ability to give you Uncanny Dodge is only useful when you know you're going to be surprised.

3rd Level
Alter FortunePHB2: Fantastic spell. Great for emergencies (reroll a save!)
Arctic HazeFrost and HaboobSand: Damaging and opaque fog. Useful as battlefield control. TremorSC: can be used similarly, but it doesn't damage and doesn't block line of sight.
Attune FormSC: Immunity to planar effects for caster level/3 characters. A handy spell for planehopping games, and much more useful than the lower-level Avoid Planar EffectsSC, due to the longer duration.
Bite of the WerewolfSC: Again, a variety of nifty stat buffs and a spare bite attack.
BlindsightSC: 30' Blindsight. Who needs See Invisibility?
Call Lightning: This is a good lead-off for long or unchallenging fights, as it gives you lots of turns of attacks with okay damage. Prep one or two a day and use it as your fallback when your specialty (be it summoning, melee, whatever) isn't the best tactic.
CrumbleSC: Apparently druids get Shatter at third level. It's still handy.
Entanging StaffSC: After the Spell Compendium rewrite of this spell, it's now a way to add an extra entangling effect onto hitting someone with your Shillelagh. The constrict after the grab is extra damage, but you probably don't want to stay grappling with them. This is no longer very useful with club-wielding Legendary Ape cheese, though, as continuing the grapple now requires normal actions.
Evard's Menacing TentaclesPHB2: Assuming you have a good strength bonus from a Wild Shape form, this spell provides some battlefield control, metes out some damage, and gives a climbing bonus to boot.
ForestfoldSC: +10 on Hide and Move Silently checks in a natural environment of your choice.
Giant's WrathSC: An interesting alternative to Call Lightning. At early levels, the lack of a need for an attack roll, the lack of DR issues, and the greater number of uses per cast makes Call Lightning the better choice. At higher levels, though, the high strength of Wild Shape forms, the caster-level based damage bonus, and the lack of SR on Giant's Wrath helps it catch up.
Girallon's BlessingSC: This spell gives the creature touched an extra set of arms for 10/minutes per level, which can be quite handy if your wildshape form could use some arms to manipulate objects.  There are probably better ways to mete out damage, but solid choice if you think your shark form may need to open a door, chest, etc.
Greater Magic Fang: Handy self-buff and good to share with your Animal Companion.
Heart of WaterCM: The winner in a so-so spell family. The main effect of swimming/gills is handy when you get the spell, and on-demand swift-action Freedom of Movement is perfect for a bad grapple or failed save.
Plant Growth: This is druidic Solid Fog, as long as there's some undergrowth. Alternately, make yourself every farmer's friend.
Poison: Con damage is always handy, and the DC scales upward as you increase in level. A much-overlooked spell.
Primal FormSC: This spell isn't overwhelmingly powerful, but it's a versatile self-buff. Flight and swim speed are easy to get with Wild Shape, but this spell is available before plentiful Wild Shape uses, and you can choose on the fly among a melee buff, a defensive buff, or a source of flight.
Protection From Energy: A versatile, effective defensive buff. You'll rarely regret prepping it.
Remove Disease: Not something you're going to prep every day, but handy when you need it.
Sleet Storm: Handy battlefield control. Great for covering an escape. Not as good as Arctic Fog or Haboob, though.
SpiderskinSC: Barkskin, plus a save bonus against poison and a Hide bonus. Use it on the party sneak, or when you're fighting monstrous vermin or Yuan-Ti.
SpritjawsSC: I love this spell, and it's one of a druid's few good force spells. Throw this spell out there and it's a combination of Spiritual Weapon and Telekinesis's grapple option. It damages and confounds enemies, doing an especially good job of pinning down spellcasters and incorporeal foes.
Stone Shape: Good for making your own entrance or exit. Great for throwing the GM a loop in a dungeon crawl.
Swift Lion's ChargeMiniHB/Lion's ChargeSC: Pouncing is very handy, but this spell can start to eat up spell slots pretty quickly. A similar, overpowered spell named Lion's Charge is in Savage Species, and, while it isn't swift, it gives the Pounce ability for a duration.
Touch of JubilexBoVD: Evil. A great early save-or-die. Whatever it is, in four turns, it'll be dead. Not something you can safely use repeatedly, though, because of the Corruption cost.
VenomfireSK: Ridiculously broken spell at high levels. For level/hours, +d6/level damage with no cap added as an additional effect to a poisonous natural attack. Great for Fleshraker Wild Shape, or a poisonous breath weapon or AoE effect.
Vigor and Mass Lesser VigorSC: Both can be better than Cure Moderate Wounds at low levels, but only outside of combat. It works when you can't summon Unicorns yet and you don't have that handy wand of Cure Light Wounds. Doesn't work with Extend Spell (see CD FAQ), but Mass Lesser Vigor does work with Persistent Spell.
Wind Wall: Another highly underrated spell, this stops archers, swarms, and foes size Tiny or smaller cold.

4th Level
Arc of LightningSC, Blast of SandSand, and Flame Strike: The last blast spells worth casting. Flame Strike is a staple and core. Arc of Lightning and Blast of Sand have more-specialized areas of effect (Arc of Lightning is sure to hit two guys and pretty much nobody else, whereas Blast of Sand's 30' cone is Very Large), ignore SR and benefit from Spell Focus (Conjuration). Blast of Sand is probably the most useful due to its large AOE, but it caps out at 10d6 whereas the others cap at 15d6. All of them have situational advantages (and not a one of them is more potent than Boreal Wind), so choose the one best-suited to your game.
Aspect of the WerebeastRoE: Nothing about this Shifter-only self-buff says it only works when you're in a humanoid form, but it is severely limited by its round/level duration. Prep it instead of Bite of the Wereboar anyway, and use Tiger aspect exclusively. Round/level pounce that you can share with your pet is delicious.
Bite of the WereboarSC: Useful stat buffs, a spare bite attack, and one of the better AC buffs around.
Boreal WindFrost: This is a mix of Gust of Wind and an AOE blast. In a fight, the damage is okay but lasts for multiple turns and enemies who don't save have a hard time approaching you, and out of a fight, this has a bunch of interesting utility and RP uses. This is a stylish, versatile, and powerful spell.
Enhance Wild ShapeSC: You can pick up plant forms early or get minor stat buffs, but the big bonus is the access to extraordinary abilities. Pick up the Blindsight of a Desmodu War BatMM2, or abuse Master of Many FormsCAdv.
Freedom of Movement: Makes you immune to grapples, able to fight underwater, and immune to spells that impede movement. A very handy defensive spell.
Frostfell SlideFrost: The first of the [blank]stride spells. This is probably the most situational, but use it in winter in even a temperate climate and it's almost as good as Teleport.
Giant Vermin: Ridiculously powerful at high levels: at level 20 you can make a 40 HD monster.
Greater Luminous ArmorBoED: As Luminous Armor, only +8 AC instead of +5. Again, mind the Sacrifice cost.
Hibernal HealingFrost: Self-only Heal...as long as you're in a frostfell area, anyway.
Last BreathSC: In Complete Divine, this is druidic Revivify, but with a caster-damaging side effect. In Spell Compendium, this is a no-level-loss Reincarnate that must be cast immediately. Both are useful as an emergency option.
Miasma of EntropySC: This is one of the Spell Compendium stinkers, with issues like having a saving throw in the statblock but no explanation of what that saving throw does in the spell description. However, as written, everyone in the area who isn't wearing metal or magic clothing or armor ends up naked. And, really, isn't that worth a fourth-level spell slot?
MoonboltSC: Anti-undead save-or-die that won't make you feel bad for prepping it on a day where you meet no undead. Note that it can hit two targets if they are within 15' of each other.
Murderous MistSC: AOE save-or-lose, with a gigantic area and targeting reflex? That's worth it.
Passage of the Shifting SandsDrM: Druidic Gaseous Form, but with an actual move speed, the ability to blind people, and other bennies.
Scrying: The gold standard in sneaky divinations.
Sheltered VitalitySC: Immunity to ability damage or drain is situational, but very powerful when you need it. Cast this before fighting yuan-ti, giant vermin, undead, or anything else with a nasty ability damage or poison attack. The immunity to fatigue can also be handy for the party barbarian.
Unholy BeastCoR: This is an odd one. It's a lesser, single-target Animal Growth...but with a Dominate Animal effect tossed in. Great for stealing Animal Companions, but still usable as a general-purpose buff.
Vortex of TeethSC: A spell that does force damage, and can tear apart anything that can't get away. This makes a mess of anyone caught in Entangle.
Wall of SaltSand: Not quite Wall of Stone, but effective for battlefield control and deterring pursuit.
Wind at BackSC: It lets you double the party's overland speed, lasts 12 hours and can let you speed up multiple beasts of burden, as well.

5th Level
Animal Growth: Multiple animals (your pet and any summons running around) get bigger and get some nice bonuses. One of the best buffs in the game, let alone in core.
Anticold SphereSC: Immunity to cold and great protection from anything with the Cold subtype, with a nice long duration and an area large enough to protect the whole party.
Baleful Polymorph: Turn your opponent into something inoffensive. Toad is a classic form that offers no advantage to your target. This is the core option for transporting Animal Companions in cramped quarters or inappropriate environments Pokemon-style, since, as a permanent spell, it's dispellable. Classy tricks include polymorphing your Roc Animal Companion into a raven for cramped quarters, or polymorphing your T-Rex companion into a frog to go underwater.
Bite of the WeretigerSC: A very high str boost, a variety of other boosts, extra attacks, and free Power Attack.
BlizzardFrost: Instant battle ender. Great for buying some time to parley or obscuring your plans. Huge area of effect.
Call AvalancheFrost While it doesn't cause overwhelming damage (only 8d6), it can bury many opponents in its huge area (size of creatures you can bury scales up as well). It only works outdoors, but it does damage and potential immobilization at long range. For a good trick trick, follow it up with Blood Snow and all the poor buried victims start taking CON drain while trying futilely to escape.
Cloak of the SeaSC: When you're underwater, it's Water Breathing, Freedom of Movement, and Blur, all in one neat little (long-duration!) package. A must-have for any underwater adventures.
Control Winds: Gets you a minimum of hurricane force winds (assuming no wind when you cast it) at caster level 13, which covers a 520ft radius, lasts for over 2 hours, and slaughters medium enemies while stopping anything smaller then gargantuan from doing anything useful. And again as soon as you hit 15 its gets even worse, cause you get tornado winds, which will stop anything and destroy cities and non fortified structures.
Death Ward: Powerful, if conditional, defensive buff.
Owl's InsightSC: A long-duration scaling boost to Wisdom with an unusual bonus type? A must for focused druidic casters, although summoners and wild shapers can give this a pass, since it doesn't do anything but raise spell DCs.
PancaeaSC: A broad-based restoration spell, removing pretty much any condition other than ability damage/drain, disease, or death.
Phantom StagSC: Phantom Steed, only two spell levels higher and with slightly beefier stats. Since druids already have always-on flight at this level from Wild Shape, this is mainly useful for the Etherealness ability it gains at 18th level.
Rejuvenation CoccoonSC: A decent out-of-combat Heal alternative.
Tree Stride: Teleport, but self-only and your GM can arbitrarily limit your use of it, since you need a chain of trees to travel long distances. It's still good.
Wall of Thorns: This is a nice battlefield control/stop pursuers/obstruct sight spell, with nice size and a nice duration.  Not always useful, but sometimes key.  Of course, if you're summoning Greenbound creatures, choose something else.

6th Level
Antilife Shell: Exceedingly powerful defensive spell. Anything living without SR just can't touch you.
Bite of the WerebearSC: Bite of the Weretiger only moreso. You'll probably be fine simply prepping Bite of the Weretiger instead; this spell offers relatively small benefits over that spell.
Chasing PerfectionPHB2: Handy as a self-buff, since it's hard to use magic items in Wild Shape. Won't be terribly useful to the rest of the party at level 13, though.
DrownSC: Save or dying (0 hp). Handy for capturing enemies alive. Not death magic, but obviously doesn't work on non-living creatures, water-breathers, or creatures with no lungs. This has replaced the repeatedly-nerfed MiasmaSC.
Energy ImmunitySC: Powerful, of a bit situational, defensive buff. Has a long enough duration to have it on all the time.
Enveloping CocoonSC: A reflex-based save-or-lose, force-based to boot. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on anyone who can cast Dimension Door (or any similar non-somatic escape spell), and it merely slows down anyone who has a natural weapon or a light weapon in hand. On top of that, unless you just want to trap them for caster level/rounds, you'll need to follow it up with another spell (like Baleful Polymorph).
Find the Path: Never, ever, EVER be lost.
Fires of PuritySC: A hefty melee damage buff, plus Flame Shield lite. Note that, while this spell is three levels higher than Venomfire and only adds one point per caster level instead of d6, it's still a good spell. That's how silly Venomfire is.
Greater Dispel Magic: Unlike mages and clerics, druids very rarely lose caster levels, so this is often a worthwhile spell to prep.
Liveoak: Handy if you need a Treant to guard your camp or home. The casting time and casting limitations limit its general usefulness, though.
MummifySand: Save or die. Plus, it's not death magic.
Spellstaff: One extra spell slot, of whatever level you can cast. Clerics with Miracle have no reason not to duplicate this very handy spell.
StormwalkSC: The best of the various druidic teleports. It's strictly worse than the usual sorc/wiz Teleport, but unlike all of the other druidic teleport spells it works on the whole party and doesn't require pre-planning or a tree/pool/snowdrift/whatever.
Superior ResistanceSC: +6 on all saves, all day. Its utility is obvious. (Spell Compendium upped the level, but also the duration. It's still worth it, unlike the pounding Major Resistance took.)
Valiant SteedBoED: Calls a Unicorn or Pegasus that serves you for an entire year.

7th Level
CloudwalkersSC: 10 min./level flight for the entire group. This is getting into the "If you can't fly you can't play" levels, but it is handy for anyone who hasn't gotten their wings yet.
Constricting ChainsBoED: Whatever it is, it's entangled and can't move. No save, no SR. Unless it has at least a +20 Escape Artist mod or a 34 Strength, it's staying stuck unless it wears down the chains with attacks (and half of that damage is in turn redirected to the chained target). Mind the Sacrifice cost, though (which doesn't take effect until the spell ends).
Cry of YsgardBoED: Calls 2d4 defenders of Ysgard that serve for a year.
Death By ThornsBoVD: The Corruption cost is very painful, but this will take the target out of the fight, no matter what. Obviously an evil spell.
Heal: Its uses are obvious.
Master EarthSC: Quite nice as it allows teleportation, a rarity for druids, unerringly to any location touching the earth. As it doesn't have the teleportation descriptor, it can thwart problems such as Forbiddance, Dimensional Anchor/Lock, etc.
Rain of RosesBoED: Continuing Wisdom damage over an area, to evil creatures only. Great if you can limit the target's mobility, as the Wis damage doesn't allow a save.
True Seeing: Magic bullet for illusions, invisibility, and shapechanging.
Word of BalanceSC: Somewhat unreliable because of the odd alignment restrictions, but very powerful when it works.


8th Level
CocoonSC: Lets your Cleric buddy cast true resurrection 2 levels earlier, or if you don't have friends lets you reincarnate with no level loss a week later; it has an XP cost, but it's negligible at best at this level.
FrostfellFrost: Caster level/20' cubes freeze, and anyone in this area rolls a Fort save or turns to ice (and still takes caster/d6 frostburn damage if they save). Think of it as shapable super druid Wail of the Banshee, with an extra heaping helping of awesome.
Leonal's RoarBoED: Druidic Holy Word, plus some sonic damage. Sweet.
Red TideSC: Save, and you're prone and have a -2 to pretty much everything. Don't save, and you're limited to move actions and poisoned with a nasty strength-damage poison. Save-and-you-suck-anyway is always a good choice, and this is a huge 30' radius burst.
StormrageSC: Flight, the ability to throw respectable lightning bolts, and immunity to projectile ranged attacks and wind effects of all kinds. This is more of a spirit shaman or cleric spell due to the flight, but the immunities are helpful.
Word of Recall: A quick escape spell, and one of the very few teleportation spells available to druids.

9th Level
Nature's AvatarSC: Very, very powerful animal buff, and now a swift spell. Cast it on your Animal Companion, and go to town.
Shapechange: Broken spell, but you already know that. Ridiculously powerful, even if you don't abuse the ChronotyrynFF or Choker or Efreeti or ZodarFF or...well. You get the idea.
Summon Elemental MonolithSC: The elemental monoliths are ridiculously powerful, especially given the very high save DCs of the whirlwind and vortex abilities of air and water monoliths. Unlike previous Concentration-duration summons, these are worthwhile even if you can't cheat on the concentration requirement. (And no, Swift Concentration from Complete Scoundrel doesn't work.) Obviously, this is a spirit shaman's ultimate spell.
TsunamiSC: The fight is over. This spell will end anyone smaller than Gargantuan who can't immediately get out of the way of the 40-ft-high wave. The spell component is rather expensive, however.
UndermasterSC: Awesome power indeed. This gives you a whole variety of great spell-likes, some of which aren't even on the druid list.[/spoiler]
Title: Re: Spellcasting
Post by: cru on October 18, 2009, 04:24:10 PM
I made a few more fiddling changes. I think the only major one was dropping Bite of the Wererat, because it's just not worth the in-combat action to bite for piddling damage and get +5 AC for a few rounds.
Let me take the devil's advocate role again. I say it has its uses, especially rod-extended at levels 3~7. E.g.: an average druid with ~10 str and ~12 dex, riding dog animal companion, fleshraker wild shape. Wild armor and monk's belt are probably not yet available. This single spell will grant you and your animal companion up to 6 AC and +3 or more to your melee attack bonus (when wielding a finessable weapon, such as a dagger or any natural attack) and +3 to your ranged attack bonus to help you land those splinterbolts or whatever.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Negative Zero on October 18, 2009, 09:06:58 PM
Keep in mind that a Druid's shared spell ends if the animal companion gets more than 5 feet away from the druid.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on October 18, 2009, 09:24:57 PM
Keep in mind that a Druid's shared spell ends if the animal companion gets more than 5 feet away from the druid.
Companion Spellbond ;)
Title: Re: Spellcasting
Post by: A Man In Black on October 19, 2009, 06:08:28 AM
Let me take the devil's advocate role again. I say it has its uses, especially rod-extended at levels 3~7. E.g.: an average druid with ~10 str and ~12 dex, riding dog animal companion, fleshraker wild shape. Wild armor and monk's belt are probably not yet available. This single spell will grant you and your animal companion up to 6 AC and +3 or more to your melee attack bonus (when wielding a finessable weapon, such as a dagger or any natural attack) and +3 to your ranged attack bonus to help you land those splinterbolts or whatever.

But it's an in-combat action (and none of it stacks with Cat's Grace/Bear's Endurance/Barkskin). You're better off just casting Splinterbolts again, or prepping a buff you don't have to cast in combat.

Yeah, sure, if it was free with regards to the action economy, it'd be worth casting. But it's not.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tshern on November 04, 2009, 05:32:25 PM
In case it has not been mentioned, MM III has blessed us Druid fans with Runehounds. Assume supernatural ability+Aberrant wild shape gives you 500 feet blindsight. At level five.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on November 04, 2009, 06:16:30 PM
In case it has not been mentioned, MM III has blessed us Druid fans with Runehounds. Assume supernatural ability+Aberrant wild shape gives you 500 feet blindsight. At level five.
Nine. You need Wild Shape before you can take either feat. I guess if you could figure out a way to get one of the feats as a bonus feat you could get into it earlier, but there's no way to get either feat before level 6.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tshern on November 04, 2009, 08:36:53 PM
Ah, an excellent point. I was just looking at the HD of the creature rather than the feat prerequisites. It is a decent scout form at that point, especially if you can get flight (bully the party Wizard to help).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: PhaedrusXY on November 04, 2009, 08:42:07 PM
In case it has not been mentioned, MM III has blessed us Druid fans with Runehounds. Assume supernatural ability+Aberrant wild shape gives you 500 feet blindsight. At level five.
Nice. Another trick to add to my Elan Cerebremancer build via Alter Self + Metamorphic Transfer. At level 5. :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bigtuna on November 09, 2009, 05:05:52 PM
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0346.html

- which is why Companion Spellbond (PHII) is pretty nice for Druids.
Your animal companion can be nice - with Bite of XXX they are  - well better...

A sneaky Druid - well not optimized as Druid 20 - BUT desent sneak attack + savage Grappel + som Wild shape that are good at grappling + has many attacks are just - mean...

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on November 10, 2009, 06:33:10 AM
A sneaky Druid - well not optimized as Druid 20 - BUT desent sneak attack + savage Grappel + som Wild shape that are good at grappling + has many attacks are just - mean...

Wildshaping ranger does it beeeetter...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ithamar on November 17, 2009, 11:53:20 PM
Has there been any kind of write up regarding the various [Aberration] forms available via Aberrant Wild Shape?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on November 18, 2009, 10:28:35 AM
Has there been any kind of write up regarding the various [Aberration] forms available via Aberrant Wild Shape?

A sketchy one. I never did finish dumpster-diving for aberration, vermin, or Enhance Wild Shape forms.

Here's what I had at the time:

If you take Aberration Wild Shape (LoM), you can use Wild Shape to turn into aberrations, subject to the other usual limitations of Wild Shape.

This is another section still in development. As such, take the advice with a grain of salt. Any suggestions would be appreciated. In the meantime, here's some advice on Aberration Wild Shape.

Quote from: Alansmithee, on the old WOTC CO boards
Generally, you can find more attacks with abberations than with animal forms, but usually at a lower Str. Many creatures with these attacks will have poison, grab, or both with them. Obviously, these forms get the most milage out of Greater Magic Fang, as usually 4+ of the attacks are with the same type of natural weapon. As was said above, having access to assume supernatural form makes abberation wildshaping stupidly good (a prime target for this feat would be the Beholder's Eye Ray ability, which nets all 10 rays for use). Another benefit of abberation wildshaping is the humanoid form many take, which makes using equipment much easier, and often will allow for speech.

And from the above list, some of my favorites are the cloaker for casting early on (if you don't want to waste a spell, fly up and moan), the rukanyr for it's multiple attacks and stun/poison, the darktentacles for it's insane grapple, and the lifeleech otyugh for it's grab and high stats.

Level 5


Level 8


Level 9


Level 10


Level 11


Level 12


Level 15


Level 18


Level 20


Someday, I'll go back and finish my dumpster diving, but not today.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ithamar on November 18, 2009, 11:58:20 PM
Wow, for incomplete that is still very useful.  Thanks!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on November 19, 2009, 03:41:12 PM
Here's my list:
Name + ReferenceSize + TypeHDACStatsAttacksMisc
Tentacle Spider (SoX)Medium aberr.31611/17/144x touch +4 (dex poison) + biteRanged entangle
Fiery Sandhog (online)Medium aberr.41715/12/124 bite +5 melee and 2 claws +0burrow, climb
Dustblight (Sand)Medium aberr.52020/17/12Bite +8 (1d8+5), 2 claws +6 (1d3+2)Burrow 30 ft.
Dolghast (MoE)Medium aberr.61719/14/132 claws +8 (1d6+4), bite +3 (1d6+2)Con damage
Vivisector (MM5)Medium aberr.72115/18/142 claws +8 melee (1d8+2), sting +4Poison DC15 1d6/1d6 str, fly
Squamous Spewer (Drac)Large aberr.82219/13/176 bites +10 (1d10+4)Roar (fear)
Dharculus (PlH)Medium aberr.822+12/14/206 tentacles +8 (1d4+1)Improved grab, ethereal bite
Otyugh, Lifeleech (mm3)Large aberr.92127/16/234 tentacles +14 (1d8+8) and biteConstrict, improved grab
Stone Singer (mm3)Large aberr.92120/10/18Bite +10 and 6 claws +8DC 18, 1d4 Dex/1d4 Dex
Chwidencha (DotU)Large aberr.122422/17/204 claws +15 (1d6+6), PounceImproved grab, climb/burrow
Thoon Elder Brain (mm5)Large aberr.122626/14/308 tentacles +17 (1d6+8+2d6 acid)Dual action (!), acid burn, fly
Madcrafter of Thoon (mm5)Huge aberr.102030/10/26Bite +16 (2d8+15+4d6 acid)
Five-headed Terror (mm3)Medium aberr.152113/18/155 bites +16 (1d6+1+poison), Pouncevenomfire target

Sandhog: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fw/20020817a
(how do I insert hyperlinks here?)

Also, according to this article (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ebee/20050704a), aberrant dragonmark can be used as a prerequisite for aberrant feats (instead of aberrant blood).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ithamar on November 19, 2009, 07:53:37 PM
That Thoon Elder Brain would be amazing to try and optimize!  Good find, Cru!

Combine with Fuse Arms for a nice STR boost when needed.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on December 01, 2009, 10:29:42 AM
Just a note, Magebred Tiger (and Magebred Bear) replace 10th level animals rather than 7th on the list of animal companions (despite being mentioned that they can be taken by 7th level druids... maybe a clause preventing 6th level druids with natural bond from taking them?).

Of course, if you do argue they're 7th level, Magebred Brown Bears are strictly better than normal ones.
"A druid or ranger may never acquire a magebred animal as a companion. " (ECS 37)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on December 01, 2009, 11:02:20 AM
Just a note, Magebred Tiger (and Magebred Bear) replace 10th level animals rather than 7th on the list of animal companions (despite being mentioned that they can be taken by 7th level druids... maybe a clause preventing 6th level druids with natural bond from taking them?).

Of course, if you do argue they're 7th level, Magebred Brown Bears are strictly better than normal ones.
"A druid or ranger may never acquire a magebred animal as a companion. " (ECS 37)

Is Wild Cohort different enough to warrant availability, though?  They are not animal companions per se.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on December 01, 2009, 11:31:23 AM
Just a note, Magebred Tiger (and Magebred Bear) replace 10th level animals rather than 7th on the list of animal companions (despite being mentioned that they can be taken by 7th level druids... maybe a clause preventing 6th level druids with natural bond from taking them?).

Of course, if you do argue they're 7th level, Magebred Brown Bears are strictly better than normal ones.
"A druid or ranger may never acquire a magebred animal as a companion. " (ECS 37)

Is Wild Cohort different enough to warrant availability, though?  They are not animal companions per se.
Don't think so
Quote
When selecting an alternative animal cohort, use the list of alternative animal companions on page 36 of the Player's Handbook, but treat yourself as a druid three levels lower than your character level. For example, once you reach 7th level, you can choose an animal cohort off the list of animal companions available to a 4th-level druid.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on December 01, 2009, 12:30:12 PM
Ah well, at least that cements Natural Bond for non-druids (or for druids who want an AC on crack).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on December 02, 2009, 01:18:06 PM
Just a note, Magebred Tiger (and Magebred Bear) replace 10th level animals rather than 7th on the list of animal companions (despite being mentioned that they can be taken by 7th level druids... maybe a clause preventing 6th level druids with natural bond from taking them?).

Of course, if you do argue they're 7th level, Magebred Brown Bears are strictly better than normal ones.
"A druid or ranger may never acquire a magebred animal as a companion. " (ECS 37)
Well, this was true until Five Nations was released (p. 75):
A druid from Breland of 7th level or higher or a ranger from Breland of 14th level or higher may select a magebred brown bear as her animal companion instead of a polar bear.
A druid from Breland of 7th level or higher or a ranger from Breland of 14th level or higher may select a magebred ghost tiger as her animal companion instead of a dire lion.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: PhaedrusXY on December 02, 2009, 10:25:27 PM
http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0346.html

- which is why Companion Spellbond (PHII) is pretty nice for Druids.
Your animal companion can be nice - with Bite of XXX they are  - well better...
You don't need Companion Spellbond for that.

Quote
Additionally, the druid may cast a spell with a target of "You" on her animal companion (as a touch range spell) instead of on herself.
This is a separate effect from the one that is limited to 5'. If you cast a personal buff on the AC instead of yourself (instead of casting it on yourself and having it also affect the AC), then the AC can go as far as it wants and still keep the buff.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Lektor on December 25, 2009, 12:22:45 PM
The link to draconic wildshape forms appears to lead nowhere useful. I searched around but couldnt find it, anyone still have a copy of it lying around?

Edit: Found some good info on the wiki http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid (http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid). I'll repost it here for convenience

The Dragon Wild Shape feat from Draconomicon gives all the Su and Ex abilities of a dragon. While dragons aren't quite as much melee combatants as your better animal forms, the ability to speak, good natural armor, breathweapons, immunities, SR, and miscellaneous other supernatural abilities make this a very powerful choice, especially for druids who prefer to cast spells.

Several dragons have Alternate Form several times per day, usually for medium or smaller humanoids and animals. This can be used to effectively multiply your wild shape choices, though it prevents large forms and plants.

    * Level 12
          o Young Steel Dragon (DoF) Move 60 ft. fly 200 (poor) 30 ft swim, 19 AC, SR 20 (30 vs spells of 4th level or lower), Alternate form 5 times per day, acid immunity, poison resistance and a 3 con damage breath weapon (reflex half). The SR and con breath weapon make this a worthwhile form.
          o Juvenile Mercury Dragon (DoF) Move 60 ft. fly 250 (good), 24 AC, , Alternate form 3 times per day, fire immunity, and a 4d8 breath weapon (reflex half). Good AC and a great flyer.
          o Juvenile Mist Dragon (DoF) Move 40 ft. fly 150 (poor), 21 AC, Mist Form, fire and acid immunity, and a 5d6 breath weapon (reflex half). The Mist form ability is a great defensive ability, especially in conjunction with a way of conjuring mist or fog.
          o Young Shadow Dragon (Drac) Move 80 ft. fly 150 (average), 24 AC, SR 15, 1 negative level (reflex half) breath weapon and total concealment out of sunlight. The last one is probably the best ability of bunch (Total concealment is a superb defensive ability), but nothing to complain about for any of them.

    * Level 13
          o Juvenile Steel Dragon (DoF) An extra 2 AC and 2 SR over the young steel dragon, as well as breath weapon and stat boosts. Remains a solid choice
          o Juvenile Shadow Dragon (Drac) A boost to AC, SR, Stats, size, and best of all breath weapon at the cost of maneuverability. A good upgrade.

    * Level 15
          o Young Adult Mercury Dragon (DoF) The typical breathweapon/AC boosts, but gains DR, SR, and frightful presence.

    * Level 16
          o Young Adult Steel Dragon (DoF) The typical boosts as well as DR and Frightful presence from Young Adult.
          o Young Adult Shadow Dragon (Drac) The normal boosts to Young Adult (DR, Frightful presence) and the normal SR/Stat/AC boosts.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: nijineko on December 29, 2009, 08:47:39 AM
would there be interest in a method of qualifying for druid-intended prestige classes without taking a single level of druid? this is mostly useful for wildshaping specialists.
Bamboo spirit folk?
Wildshape Ranger, Divine Minion etc.

i did not use any of those methods actually. thank you for those tips, at the time i made this method i had not thought of, or did not know of those options.

the idea is simply to qualify for the shapeshifter prestige class (oriental adventures, updated to 3.5 in the dragon mag article). this requires a bab+3, 10 ranks in concentration and some form of ability (magical via spell, innate, etc) to alter self, polymorph, or shapechange. the method i use to qualify for this is psionic. there is a psion:egoist alternate class feature (player's handbook 2: web enhancement: part two of four) granting minor shape shift as a changeling, allowing one to qualify for not only the shapeshifter prestige, but the warshaper as well.

in any case, the shapeshifter class grants wildshaping as a class feature without requiring it as a prerequisite. so does the bear warrior, but the mechanics are more suited to the style of the shifter race in general. once you have the wildshaping class feature, you can fairly easily qualify for many other druid/shaping prestige: master of many forms, natures warrior, etc.

i find it an added bonus that you have at least 7 levels of psionics to work with, completely unimpeded by one's form. i imagine that it is possible to achieve this more gracefully. wasn't there a psionic version of a ranger somewhere? while one must take at least one level of egoist to accomplish this method, any other class with concentration as a class skill will work. i have thought of taking psychic warrior levels after the first egoist level, as the powers work better with a wildshaper, not to mention the slightly better progressions in some areas.

of course, one need not take all psionic classes either.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: deuxhero on January 21, 2010, 06:07:30 AM
Don't blow a feat on track if you want to track (as suggested next to survival), instead grab a Mask of the Tiger (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20070308a)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Optimator on January 24, 2010, 02:51:50 AM
DoF... Dragons of Faerun?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: dougch on January 25, 2010, 08:01:42 PM
ide reccomend checking out dragon 311 for some really cool alternate druids

wild reaper druid is 10 lbs of awesome
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bayar on January 26, 2010, 10:19:13 PM
ide reccomend checking out dragon 311 for some really cool alternate druids

wild reaper druid is 10 lbs of awesome

Wild Reaper is awesome.

Lots of options for spontaneous spellcasting, fast healing, Turn Undead...and some limitations on what animal companion and wildshape forms you can have (no plants unfortunately...but bears are still omnivores).

The rest...mediocre at best (the ice specialising one looks preety good, but the metal druid is terrihorrible).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Prime32 on January 27, 2010, 01:41:54 AM
As Phaedrus mentioned in the lycanthrope thread, clawfoot dinosaurs are good for low-level wildshape. 4 natural weapons and a +8 bonus on Hide, Jump, Listen, Spot and Survival checks.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on January 29, 2010, 03:22:50 PM
I just figured out that fangshields druids get wild shape (humanoid), to a humanoid creature of medium size. It requires you to be nonhumanoid to get the alternative levels. What does that mean? Can a race of the outsider type get these alternative levels, even if it is roughly humanoid?
If not, does anyone know of playable non-humanoid races?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Rebel7284 on January 29, 2010, 03:26:10 PM
Well Venerable Dragonwraught Jungle Kobold is a good non-humanoid :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on January 29, 2010, 03:38:10 PM
That's what i'm asking. Is it? It still has two legs, arms and a head.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BowenSilverclaw on January 29, 2010, 04:21:44 PM
That's what i'm asking. Is it? It still has two legs, arms and a head.
So do Treants and Medusas :P

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on January 29, 2010, 08:28:54 PM
That's what i'm asking. Is it? It still has two legs, arms and a head.
So do Treants and Medusas :P



This is sooooo great. HELLO HOBGOBLIN WARSOUL.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on February 01, 2010, 06:42:55 AM
As for interesting wild shape options, I'd like to point out the Planar Shepard prestige class.

Yes, I realize it has it's own topic discussing it, but it never seems to be discussed outside of an eberron setting, and while some DMs may enforce a rule such that non-eberron games have no eberron material, that by itself gets rid of many good druid feats used here (Ashbound being my particular favorite), and with a logical extension into Forgotten Realms settings, more great options.

At 3rd level, a Planar Shepard gains the ability to wild shape into an magical beast native to it's chosen plane.  The options are even expanded into the use of templates.  Now, as to "native to it's chosen plane", since only those planes that have minimal occupants (such as the Positive or Negative energy planes) have 'extensive' occupant lists, this option allows wild shaping into magical and templated creatures, assuming they follow certain rules which would allow them to be considered 'native' to another plane.

There are no hard-and-fast rules as to what creatures inhabit what planes, but it's fairly easy to assume that a creature can be native to (born on) any plane that it is similar to, and not opposed to. Basically, the creature must share the alignment of the plane on at least one axis, and not oppose any other axises(sp?), and/or must share a similar alignment/elemental subtype to the plane.

For those of us that pick a Neutral Good plane, for example, we'd be able to shape into almost ANY non-evil Magical beast through this, even templated ones.

Some interesting options this allows, template wise:

Celestial/Fiendish/Anarchic/Axiomatic templates
What it Offers:  The alignment templates are the bread and butter for this.  Any Animal or Vermin that has this template becomes a Magical Beast, and it's alignment shifts to match that Template.  Thus, a Monstrous Scorpion under the Celestial template becomes a Good Magical Beast.  Note that these templates cannot be added to any creature that opposes it's alignment, but for Animals and Vermin, this is not much of an issue, being almost always Neutral.  With Enhance Wild Shape, there are a number of special qualities one can pick up, such as Darkvision, Spell Resistance, Energy Resistance, and Damage Reduction.  Smite abilities are possible with Assume Supernatural Ability.

The Draconic Creature  (RotD)
What It Offers:The Draconic Creature is a useful template in that it does not chance the creatures type, other than the ever useful Animal->Magical Beast.  More importantly, the template adds two (weak) claw attacks (One may consider taking the INA: Claw feat), but most significantly, increases the form's Natural Armor by 1 (Not an enhancement bonus, an increase to the base value), and gives +2 STR and +2 CON (and +2 CHA, but you don't get that).
Note:  The claw attack granted by this form, according to the table in RotD, is the strength of a creature one size category SMALLER than the base critter.  It's odd, but there was never any errata.

The Woodling Template  (MM3)
What it Offers:The Woodling Template does not change a creatures type, but adds some HEFTY bonuses.  A nice Slam attack, and a +7 bonus to your existing natural armor.  Like Draconic, this is not an enhancement bonus, the two stack.  This template does come with a downside.  If you use Enhance Wild Shape, while you do gain Damage Reduction 5/Slashing and Low Light Vision, you also gain their Vulnerability to Fire.


Yes, by the rules of this template, you can shape into a Celestial Draconic Woodling Dire Lion if you feel like it.

I leave this to you guys to find interesting mix/match templates and critters for this.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Negative Zero on February 01, 2010, 11:44:01 AM
The planes in Eberron have a set list of creatures that exist in them - "All kinds of magical beasts" is in the flavor text of the twilight forest, I believe, so that should work fine.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on February 01, 2010, 02:51:19 PM
Templates stacking is the way to hell. Don't.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on February 01, 2010, 09:59:11 PM
Yeah, it's defiantly cheesy and cheap, but mostly I'm wondering what other templates there are that are usable in this manner.  Face it, Planar Shepard is already considered -THE- broken class, might as well have some fun with it, ya know?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Hitoshura on February 01, 2010, 11:02:14 PM
Aside from Cyrohydra, are there some others forms worth assuming?

I've just found three others so far... Tlalusk (Frostburn), Frost Worm (MM) and Frost Salamander (MM2)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on February 02, 2010, 11:52:52 AM
@Akkristor: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19869266/Master_Template_List
@Hitoshura: I guess you're talking about Frozen Wild Shape, and basically its really only the Cryohydra that shines. As for Tlalusk, e.g. Grizzly Mastodon from MM2 is similar, and it's an animal (see 3.5 update). Worm and salamander are underwhelming. Another option is Whitespawn Iceskidder from MM4 (but better animals exist). Guulvorg (MM5) does not have [cold] subtype, but it actually could. So could Steelwing or Thrym Hound. Beg your DM.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on February 02, 2010, 04:00:45 PM
I've just found three others so far... Tlalusk (Frostburn), Frost Worm (MM) and Frost Salamander (MM2)

Look at the abilities you get. I already checked those, and they're not very good compared to animals.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ithamar on February 02, 2010, 07:51:37 PM
The Urskan (or Urksan?) is an interesting choice for that.  Bipedal, can easily wear armor and wield weapons, can speak, has hands.  And decent STR and CON as I recall.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Hitoshura on February 02, 2010, 08:20:53 PM
Well, i'm assuming we're using Assume SU, since Cyrohydra is also an option, animal forms cant benefit much from that, but all the forms i mentioned have something at last userful...

Yes, i forgot to mention Frozen Wild Shape... My mistake.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on February 03, 2010, 12:02:21 PM
Well, i'm assuming we're using Assume SU...

Then you win D&D. Assume Supernatural Ability completely breaks the game open the moment you get non-animal wild shape forms.

Quote
The Urskan (or Urksan?) is an interesting choice for that.  Bipedal, can easily wear armor and wield weapons, can speak, has hands.  And decent STR and CON as I recall.

Urskans weren't as good as some default option. Legendary Ape I think. It's been a while. Remember that con doesn't matter much if you're playing with 3.5 first-wave errata or PHB2 polymorph.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bayar on February 03, 2010, 07:07:55 PM
Hey, A Man in Black, do you happen to have a saved version of the old Druid handbook by you and Paradisio ?

Currently playing in a game that does not use the polymorph eratta (or any eratta for that matter)...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on February 05, 2010, 02:57:16 AM
For Summoning Druids, how high do you guys recommend the Sudden Empower feat?

3/day Empower one of you summons, boosting the 1d3 or 1d4+1 from lower level lists.

Granted, it requires another metamagic feat, but it seems useful enough for those who like to summon en masse.

Rapid spell also seem useful, and if I had to pick a Metamagic feat to serve as the prereq that'd be it, reducing the casting time from 1 round to 1 full round.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on February 05, 2010, 06:22:43 AM
I think Sudden Empower is only 1/day, which considerably drops its usefulness in my opinion.

Rapid Spell I like, though not enough to bump my summons down a level.  But as a rod, or combined with a metamagic reducer (metamagic spell focus (conjuration) is what I tend to end up using), it's a very good feat.  You can offset this with a ring of the beast from CC, however (preparing SNA III with Rapid spell in a 4th level slot, and the ring of the beast makes it SNA IV with rapid spell).

The problem as I see it is that summoning druids are already feat-hungry.  You want/need augment summoning (and probably spell focus (conjuration) to get that), greenbound summoning (if allowed), ashbound summoning (if EBCS is allowed), natural spell, rashemi elemental summoning (if Faerun material is allowed), the summon elemental reserve feat, rapid spell, a metamagic reducer for rapid spell, AND any other good feats like companion spellbound, quicken spell, or dragon wildshape. 

Unless you're human and have a pair of flaws, it's tough to get the feats you want in a timely order as a summoner druid, which makes picking up Rapid Spell something I'd wait a bit on.  Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on February 05, 2010, 10:46:42 AM
I guess thats one of the magic rules of optimization.  Never spend a feat on it if you can spend GP on it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on February 06, 2010, 09:40:27 AM
Hey, A Man in Black, do you happen to have a saved version of the old Druid handbook by you and Paradisio ?

Currently playing in a game that does not use the polymorph eratta (or any eratta for that matter)...

Nah. I had a link to it on the WOTC boards, but that was three or four boards ago and it's long gone. Assuming you're talking about 3.5 polymorph, this guide or the last version on the WOTC boards works just fine; the only real difference for most druids is that you get the con score of forms and that affects HP and saves.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on February 07, 2010, 01:20:56 AM
Can't Animal Growth affect a druid Pre-polymorph errata?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on February 07, 2010, 01:27:55 PM
If a Druid were to cast Aspect of the Wolf, s/he would gain the Animal type.  If s/he were to then Wild Shape into another form, wouldn't s/he retain the Animal type?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Man In Black on February 11, 2010, 08:00:38 PM
If a Druid were to cast Aspect of the Wolf, s/he would gain the Animal type.  If s/he were to then Wild Shape into another form, wouldn't s/he retain the Animal type?

It depends on whether you feel that Wild Shape is a similar effect that overwrites Aspect of the Wolf entirely or piecemeal. There's no definitive right answer.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Nihilus on March 19, 2010, 12:31:22 AM
Hey guys, i was reading up on being a druid, and i would like to be one who is great at summoning as well as wildshaping.
is this a possible feat?
i was reading that summoning druids are already hard-pressed for feats, so i dont know...
anyone have a good, detailed build for a summoning/wildshaping druid lvl.20 (no multiclass)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 19, 2010, 01:06:05 AM
Hey guys, i was reading up on being a druid, and i would like to be one who is great at summoning as well as wildshaping.
is this a possible feat?
i was reading that summoning druids are already hard-pressed for feats, so i dont know...
anyone have a good, detailed build for a summoning/wildshaping druid lvl.20 (no multiclass)
can you narrow down the concept a little?  i.e.:
- setting (this includes type of primary environment)
- which one do you want to focus in more
- general vision of the character

The first page of this thread should have everything you need; but if you can narrow down the concept a little more, I can help narrow the feats for you.
Just make sure to take Natural Spell at 6th level -- that's the only maxim.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Nihilus on March 19, 2010, 01:33:48 AM
an you narrow down the concept a little?  i.e.:
- setting (this includes type of primary environment)
- which one do you want to focus in more
- general vision of the character

The first page of this thread should have everything you need; but if you can narrow down the concept a little more, I can help narrow the feats for you.
Just make sure to take Natural Spell at 6th level -- that's the only maxim.
[/quote]

well, here's the thing.
this is my first go at d&d. (yes, yes, i know people are sick of explaining things to new people, but we were all at this level once.)
so anyways, we are in an urban setting, but, for instance, we are traveling into an icy environment for a long mission.
So, the environments are pretty non descript.
Could you list down some of the pros/cons of choosing the different types of druids?
I think overall i would like to be able to cast a few buff/heal spells for the party/me, summon some creatures to help us out in battle, and then shape change.
I dont particularly need to be the best at all of these, as it is all of our first goes at this game,
but being as close as possible while accomplishing these things would be stellar.
To be honest, i like having a wide assortment of spells to be able to use.
also, are there any deities that are advised?
i was looking at the intiate of malar thing, what exactly is that?
im not really sure how that works.
Im sorry if i am unintentionally being vague
and thanks for the help in advance
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Havok4 on March 19, 2010, 01:40:12 AM
Well once you have a basic build outline you should start a thread in the main minmax section. But for now what level will you be starting at? For general feats if you plan on being casting/summoning focused you only really need natural spell as a wild shape feat. Then your action order would be to wildshape first, then cast spells to either ruin your enemies or help your allies.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 19, 2010, 04:54:49 AM
okay, just seeing the term "icy" seals the deal on what I had in mind:
human:
1) spell focus - conjuration
1) augment summoning
3) greenbound summoning
6) natural spell
9) frozen wild shape
12) beckon the frozen
15) dragon wild shape
18) imbued summoning

but that's just my 2 cp.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on March 19, 2010, 10:48:00 AM
okay, just seeing the term "icy" seals the deal on what I had in mind:
human:
1) spell focus - conjuration
1) augment summoning
3) greenbound summoning
6) natural spell
9) frozen wild shape
12) beckon the frozen
15) dragon wild shape
18) imbued summoning

but that's just my 2 cp.

I like this build, here's an alternative take on it:

human:
1) ashbound summoning
1) spell focus - conjuration
3) augment summoning
6) natural spell
9) companion spellbound
12) dragon wild shape
15) Quicken Spell
18) frozen wild shape
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on April 12, 2010, 03:45:31 PM
Has anyone managed to find a good character sheet for a Wild Shape and/or Summoning druid?

So far i've gotten by using DM Genie for my summoned critters, but keeping track of my Wild Shape options is another thing.  I've tried making my own, but it looks like crap and i keep forgetting to add in my Base attack Bonus whenever I attack (though I am loving the Triceratops Shuffle, well, Cave Ankylosaurus shuffle.)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on April 12, 2010, 04:13:21 PM
Has anyone managed to find a good character sheet for a Wild Shape and/or Summoning druid?

So far i've gotten by using DM Genie for my summoned critters, but keeping track of my Wild Shape options is another thing.  I've tried making my own, but it looks like crap and i keep forgetting to add in my Base attack Bonus whenever I attack (though I am loving the Triceratops Shuffle, well, Cave Ankylosaurus shuffle.)
While I haven't found what you are specifically looking for, here's what my players have done -- index cards:
- one for each summon-able creature, with all the vital stats,
- one for each wild shape form, with all the vital stats (while, yes, this can potentially be a huge stack of cards, you really only need to have 5-6 on hand at any one time).

my 2cp, for what it's worth.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: johnboy069 on April 12, 2010, 08:07:06 PM
Has anyone managed to find a good character sheet for a Wild Shape and/or Summoning druid?

So far i've gotten by using DM Genie for my summoned critters, but keeping track of my Wild Shape options is another thing.  I've tried making my own, but it looks like crap and i keep forgetting to add in my Base attack Bonus whenever I attack (though I am loving the Triceratops Shuffle, well, Cave Ankylosaurus shuffle.)
While I haven't found what you are specifically looking for, here's what my players have done -- index cards:
- one for each summon-able creature, with all the vital stats,
- one for each wild shape form, with all the vital stats (while, yes, this can potentially be a huge stack of cards, you really only need to have 5-6 on hand at any one time).

my 2cp, for what it's worth.

This is what I have done as well. It is a good, cheap way to keep track of any minions or forms you might have.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on April 17, 2010, 07:09:46 PM
Can you use a computer during your play? I am using an excel sheet with 5-6 favorite forms. I type my level, temporary strength bonuses (bull's strength?), temporary to-hit bonuses (haste, GMF, charging, flanking,...). Very simple, quite useful.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: S_Jerusalem on April 23, 2010, 07:48:08 AM
Is the Wild Reaper variant from Drag 311(?), just the absolute nuts?

I know it restricts your WS somewhat, but you get Turning, and therefore access to DMM. If a DM would allow it, is there any reason not to aside from the fact they are kinda creepy? WS with Travel devotion also seems pretty sick.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on April 23, 2010, 08:38:36 AM
It's pretty nuts.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ivory Knight on April 23, 2010, 09:30:23 PM
I found the Metal-Druid equally nuts, just not in terms of overpowered :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on April 24, 2010, 03:57:42 PM
Would a level 1 cleric/19 druid with Persistent divine metamagic be useful in any way?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CantripN on April 24, 2010, 04:02:17 PM
Would a level 1 cleric/19 druid with Persistent divine metamagic be useful in any way?
Sure it would, but why lose Spellcasting for DMM when you can get it in so many other ways?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on April 24, 2010, 04:07:49 PM
what other ways are there to get Turn Undead attempts?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CantripN on April 24, 2010, 04:35:34 PM
Knight of the Raven is the one I like best, myself.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Garryl on April 24, 2010, 04:39:38 PM
what other ways are there to get Turn Undead attempts?

Wild Reaper variant Druid, Planar Touchstone (Catalogs of Enlightenment (Sun Domain)), the Bone Talisman spell (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/mb/20040721a), numerous PrC dips. There's many more, but those are the one's I know of. See this post (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=2546.msg79488#msg79488) for more information.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CantripN on April 24, 2010, 04:52:24 PM
And of course, a Druid has 1 Turn Undead attempt a day already, as per UA. So losing a level of casting for 2+CHA more isn't always a good idea - better just take Extra Turning a couple of times.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on April 24, 2010, 05:12:18 PM
Thank you, but what is UA?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CantripN on April 24, 2010, 08:29:16 PM
Unearthed Arcana. It's a book, of course.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Agita on April 24, 2010, 08:29:47 PM
Thank you, but what is UA?
Unearthed Arcana, basically a book of optional house rules. There's one in some sidebar in there that gives Druids a domain, so you get Sun for a Greater Turning attempt per day.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Chando on April 25, 2010, 08:33:30 PM
Hey guys, I was thinking of making a druid that specializes in big poucing cats... now would the Shock Troper feat line be any good, or its too much trouble for the increase in damage it gives? Would I be better off just taking Caster/Wildshape/Initiate feats, even if I want to go melee?
This is what I had in mind...
H-Companion Spellbound(probably)
1-Power Attack
3-Improved Bullrush
6-Natural Spell
9-Shock Troper
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Optimator on April 26, 2010, 12:16:19 AM
Shock-Trooper-ing as a big cat druid is great.  Go nuts.  If you need it, there's a tactical feat for Wildshaping Druid chargers in the CC.  Could be useful.
Title: Re: Skills, Skill Tricks, Feats
Post by: Bastian on April 26, 2010, 04:41:44 AM

Wild Shape Related Feats
  • Dragon Wild ShapeDrac: Another great feat, a must have at level 12. You get all supernatural and extraordinary abilities of the dragon you wild shape into. Note that dragons normally speak and can cast spells, so you probably don't need natural spell, but a consensus is needed here.  More on fun dragon forms here (http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archive/index.php/t-404381).
This link is broken.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Propaganda on April 26, 2010, 05:12:38 AM
Dragon wildshape optimization question:

If you (and your DM) buy the argument that spellcasting is ex, it follows that if you wildshape into a young adult Steel Dragon (16 hd), you gain the abilities of a 9th level sorcerer.

1.  Am I understanding this correctly?

2. How might a druid best optimize their choices of up to 4th level wiz/sorcerer spells?

(Apologies if  this is not the right topic for this question.)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Solo on April 26, 2010, 05:22:19 AM
Celerity and Wings of Cover
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Suzerain on April 26, 2010, 05:39:44 AM
Dragon wildshape optimization question:

If you (and your DM) buy the argument that spellcasting is ex, it follows that if you wildshape into a young adult Steel Dragon (15 hd), you gain the abilities of a 9th level sorcerer.

1.  Am I understanding this correctly?

2. How might a druid best optimize their choices of up to 4th level wiz/sorcerer spells?

(Apologies if  this is not the right topic for this question.)

I think you should make a new thread in the normal Min/Max forum. You could get all sorts of input.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Propaganda on April 26, 2010, 06:10:50 AM
Dragon wildshape optimization question:

If you (and your DM) buy the argument that spellcasting is ex, it follows that if you wildshape into a young adult Steel Dragon (15 hd), you gain the abilities of a 9th level sorcerer.

1.  Am I understanding this correctly?

2. How might a druid best optimize their choices of up to 4th level wiz/sorcerer spells?

(Apologies if  this is not the right topic for this question.)

I think you should make a new thread in the normal Min/Max forum. You could get all sorts of input.

Ok.  Will follow your suggestion, Suzerain.  Moving the topic there.

(Also:  thanks for the first reply, Solo.)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Jopustopin on April 29, 2010, 02:55:45 AM
Warrior Poet

Neutral Good Human druid 20 (Rolled Stats, no flaws - traits)

gargantuan Humanoid (Wild Shape: Dire Polar Bear w/enlarge person)

Hit Dice: 20d8+80
Initiative: +2
Speed: 35
Armor Class: 31 Touch: 8 Flat-footed: 29
Base Attack: +15
Attack: (+15 bab +18 strength +1 Enhancement -4 size) Unarmed Strike +30 (6d6+19/x2)
Full Attack: Unarmed Strike +28/+28/+23/+18 (6d6+19/x2) and Bite+23 (4d8+10/x2) and Claw +23 (2d6+10/x2)
Space/Reach: 20ft/15ft
Special Attacks:Improved Grab
Grapple: (+15 bab +18 strength +12 size +4 Improved Grapple) +49
Saves: +21, +6, +19
Abilities: str 46 (Dire Polar Bear, +5 enhancement, +2 size), dex 14 (Dire Polar Bear, +5 enhancement, -2 size), con 29/16 (Dire Polar Bear/Natural, +6 Enhancement), int 10, wis 24 (+6 levels +5 enhancement), cha 9
Skills: Spellcraft +23, Concentration +32, Knowledge (Nature) +27, Balance +22, Appraise +1, Handle Animal +8, Survival +14, Tumble +2
Feats: Improved Unarmed Strike 1st, Improved Toughness Human, Improved Grapple 3rd, Natural Spell 6th, Superior Unarmed Strike9th, Lion's Pounce12th, Snap Kick15th, Stunning Fist18th.
Languages Spoken: Ice Folk, Common, Druidic
Level Adjustment: +0.

Notable Possessions: +1 Wild Chitin Full Plate, +1 Animated Chitin Heavy Shield, Necklace of Natural Attacks (+1 Transmuting Unarmed Strike/Bite/Claw), Belt of Growth


Various Notes:



Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on April 29, 2010, 09:36:15 AM
How are you getting +5 enhancement bonus to stats?
Is Improved Natural Attack (Unarmed Strike) a valid choice for a non-monk?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Jopustopin on April 29, 2010, 09:56:58 AM
1) I didn't bother to look them up; belt of giant strength + wilding clasp etc.  To get odd bonus's look in the DMG it's like bonus ^2 * 1000 gold pieces.

2) Yes.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Phaxi on April 29, 2010, 10:46:01 AM
2) Yes.
Improved unarmed strike =/= the monk Unarmed Strike class feature. Non-monk humans dont have any natural weapons. But I guess its up to your DM.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ivory Knight on April 29, 2010, 03:12:14 PM
Acutally Improved Unarmed Strike is a Feat, you can look it up in the SRD ;)
IIRC the monk gets the feat automatically, but fighters can choose it as a bonus feat.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Jopustopin on April 29, 2010, 05:36:43 PM
Well I learn something new everyday.  I'll just change the feat.  What is an unarmed strike considered? It seems to be neither manufactured or natural.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Rebel7284 on April 29, 2010, 05:44:42 PM
Well I learn something new everyday.  I'll just change the feat.  What is an unarmed strike considered? It seems to be neither manufactured or natural.

"A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons. "

 I think this may apply to all characters with the improved unarmed strike feat.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Optimator on May 01, 2010, 06:51:34 AM
Well I learn something new everyday.  I'll just change the feat.  What is an unarmed strike considered? It seems to be neither manufactured or natural.

"A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons. "

 I think this may apply to all characters with the improved unarmed strike feat.
I was under the impression that was a Monk perk only.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Jopustopin on May 01, 2010, 07:44:00 AM
I spent like an hour going around looking at previous arguments from yesteryear.  It appears that the reason unarmed strike do not count as "natural attacks" is because unarmed strikes get iterative attacks and natural attacks do not.  They are also not "manufactured weapons" (unless you're wearing a gauntlet)  Thus Unarmed strike is neither manufactured or natural.  Unless you're a monk then it's both manufactured and natural.  It's slightly ridiculous and probably should have been defined better.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on May 01, 2010, 09:51:46 AM
As a sidenote, the Half-Orc Druid substitution levels are terrific for a tanking druid.  Increases your HD to a d10 on each of the 3 levels, and gives your AC toughness at 1st level (when it's actually useful).  Plus, a Dragonborn Desert Half-Orc has -2 Dex, +4 Con, -2 Int and some dragonborn stuff like a breath weapon.  All very solid stuff for a druid.

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on May 01, 2010, 04:03:42 PM
As a sidenote, the Half-Orc Druid substitution levels are terrific for a tanking druid.  Increases your HD to a d10 on each of the 3 levels, and gives your AC toughness at 1st level (when it's actually useful).  Plus, a Dragonborn Desert Half-Orc has -2 Dex, +4 Con, -2 Int and some dragonborn stuff like a breath weapon.  All very solid stuff for a druid.


don't for get augment summoning for the low, low price of 1 use of wild shape per day
and my favorite feature -- bully animal (the imagery of that cracks me up every time).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on May 02, 2010, 09:11:11 AM
I just picture the druid wildshaping into a dire bear and growling until the wolves tuck their tails between their legs, roll over onto their bellies, and try to make him happy.
Title: Re: Class Features and Alternatives
Post by: Nunkuruji on May 06, 2010, 03:56:43 AM

  • Timeless Body (Ex): Say goodbye to aging penalties!  If you're starting at this level, feel free to age yourself to venerable for the extra untyped +3 to mental stats.



If you want to age cheese it, without the I've Only Got 5 Years to Live stigma, an Old Killoren might be appropriate. Immortal, and can still pick up the Old Age category mental bonuses.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on May 18, 2010, 10:48:37 PM
If level 20 druid wild shapes into a wolf, does the wild form get bonus HD, so it equals druids?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Havok4 on May 18, 2010, 11:30:53 PM
A druid would keep his own HD, HP and BAB which are derived from his druid HD. If you are asking if you turn into an advanced version of the creature I believe the answer is no.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on May 18, 2010, 11:51:28 PM
so basically, fleshdraker dinosaur is going to get useless eventually. Since at level 20 there are far better grapplers and higher strenght classes. Am i correct? If i am, then, when is a good time to switch fleshdraker to something more advanced?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Freshums on May 19, 2010, 12:39:23 AM
so basically, fleshdraker dinosaur is going to get useless eventually. Since at level 20 there are far better grapplers and higher strenght classes. Am i correct? If i am, then, when is a good time to switch fleshdraker to something more advanced?

Whenever your class features give you a larger size category to shift into.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on May 19, 2010, 06:30:55 AM
so basically, fleshdraker dinosaur is going to get useless eventually. Since at level 20 there are far better grapplers and higher strenght classes. Am i correct? If i am, then, when is a good time to switch fleshdraker to something more advanced?

Eventually there might be better animals, but remember that tight spaces inside dungeons and houses are an issue for large/huge wildshape forms.  There just aren't many good medium sized forms, so the fleshraker remains solid pretty much from 5-20.  Anytime you're outdoors, of course, a dire bear or whatever will probably be better though.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on May 19, 2010, 08:04:29 AM
so basically, fleshdraker dinosaur is going to get useless eventually. Since at level 20 there are far better grapplers and higher strenght classes. Am i correct? If i am, then, when is a good time to switch fleshdraker to something more advanced?

Remember also that while the save DC for the Fleshraker's poison is based off it's CON, it is also half your Hit Dice.  A 20th level Druid wild shaped into a Fleshraker has more virulent poison than a 8th level druid would.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on May 19, 2010, 10:15:09 AM
Thank you all, that helped alot. I, for example, didnt know that poison is tied to your HD. I assume, its the same on every other creature you can morph into, like SWINDLESPITTE RDINOSAUR.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on May 19, 2010, 01:29:37 PM
Save DCs for abilities are either 10+Spell level+Ability Mod or 10+1/2 HD + ability mod
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ivory Knight on May 19, 2010, 02:27:57 PM
Is the DC based on the Hitdice of the (unaugmented) animal, or on the Hitdice of the Druid?
I had one DM that argued it would be based on the HD of the base animal(so no scaling with my druid levels).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: stenver on May 19, 2010, 03:33:01 PM
Logic tells me it scales with druid level.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Havok4 on May 19, 2010, 06:00:03 PM
You are a creature with the poison ability which has a DC based on your hit dice. How you come by that ability does not matter.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ed-Zero on July 21, 2010, 05:28:04 PM
So these are in the forms of posts that I've copied from elsewhere on the internet. This doesn't mean they lose relevance, just their opinion that I thought was interesting!

Also, I'd like to know if anyone has any advice for a druid in Ptolus where we can use the following books: The Book of Hallowed Might I, The Book of Iron Might, The Book of Roguish Luck and The Complete Book of Eldritch Might as there is a game I will be entering and it only allows core + those books. Since I'm going to be a druid, I might as well ask here.


--

As for small druids, I'm looking at a new campaign where I might play a druid again. But this time as a halfling mounted on a dire weasel with the Mounted Combat and Natural Bond feats. Use spells (like Greater Magic Fang) to boost the attack bonus and have the Weasel gain the Spring Attack feat tree. Then he can close and attach (Ex) and then blood drain (Ex) a round later, relying on Spring Attack to get out of the way if he misses the attack. The druid could then rely on Mounted Combat to try and protect the attached weasel from one attack per round. The druid can also use the weasel for cover! And the dire weasel moves at 40ft.

--

I've created the animal companion for my level 16 druid using 3.5 rules. It's a tiger (12 HD) with the following feats: Alertness, 2x Improved Natural Attack (claw & bite), Power Attack, Multiattack (special due to effective druid level 10). He has the pounce and improved grab ability.

If the tiger charges at an opponent, he could make a full attack (pounce) AND start a grapple including damage dealing? All without provoking an AoO. Need to add Rending feats here as well.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Yves on July 23, 2010, 04:05:12 AM
Where does it say that Storm Elementals when summoned deal 12d6 damage and 4d4 nonlethal damage?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Garryl on July 23, 2010, 04:14:54 AM
Where does it say that Storm Elementals when summoned deal 12d6 damage and 4d4 nonlethal damage?

It`s part of their Thunder and Lightning ability and their Shock ability. It`s basically assumed that the first thing you have the elemental do is fire off its Shock as a free action and its Thunder and Lightning as a full-round action. Thus, you can safely assume that summoning a Large Storm Elemental will allow you to deal 4d4 nonlethal, 4d6 sonic, and 8d6 electricity damage to the creatures in those abilities respective ranges, with various saves for half. That isn`t that bad for a 6th level spell from a druid, and it only gets better from there. Huge Storm Elementals are probably the best damage per spell level. Either way, be careful to summon the elemental where it won`t blow up your own party members. The AoE is pretty large and with summoning spells`usually short ranges, you could easily catch yourself in it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Yves on July 23, 2010, 04:20:07 AM
thx for the quick reply!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: anrke on July 25, 2010, 08:35:39 AM
Searching for 'age' isn't easy, so my apologies if this is a question which has been asked before.

Do age modifiers, such as being a venerable Human, also carry over when you're wild shaped to say, a Black Bear?  I've been using the SRD on Alternate Form (http://"http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Alternate_Form") as reference.  
- The creature gains the physical ability scores (Str, Dex, Con) of its new form. It retains the mental ability scores (Int, Wis, Cha) of its original form. Apply any changed physical ability score modifiers in all appropriate areas with one exception: the creature retains the hit points of its original form despite any change to its Constitution.
- Except as described elsewhere, the creature retains all other game statistics of its original form, including (but not necessarily limited to) HD, hit points, skill ranks, feats, base attack bonus, and base save bonuses.

The second part of the first point, about applying changed physical ability score modifiers, is referring to changes you would make after assuming your Wild Shape form (i.e. adjusting melee attack for your new strength.  To me, the second point regarding all other game statistics could refer to age modifiers, except they were already explicitly mentioned in the first point!  The next quandary is, if age modifiers do continue to apply... would you still use the human age modifiers or would you need to use the (presumably non-existent) age modifiers of a Black Bear?

Sigh.

So, would a venerable human druid turning into a black bear would assume the form of a venerable black bear ?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shadowhunter on July 25, 2010, 06:37:34 PM
No, the bear would just be a standard version of its kind. Much like you can't Wild Shape into creatures with HD advancements.

Note that this is a good thing, since if you somehow managed to shift into a venerable bear, said bear would have -6 to all its physical stats.
This way, you keep your higher mental scores and replace your (possibly) weak physical ones.
I say possibly since Druids to get Timeless Body.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Gavinfoxx on August 06, 2010, 09:11:13 AM
Hey, is there any item that easily facilitates communication between an "always in wild shape" druid and any humanoid companion she might have?  Does the torc of animal speech from Masters of the Wild actually help a druid in animal form to OTHER folk?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Ivory Knight on August 06, 2010, 10:39:35 AM
Most Items will fuse with your body and become nonfunctional while you're in Wildshape.
There are ways around this(have someone take the Item and put it on your animal form after shaping, Wilding Clasp, some PrC-abilities).

Better to pick the right race, for example Ghostwise Halflings(Forgotten Realms Subrace) get limited telepathy.

Barring that, somehow gaining telepathy will be your best bet, since most animals lack the ability to produce meaningful speech.
How about getting the rest of your group some Item of 'speak with animals'?
Also you can communicate with any Forest Gnome, provided you shaped into a forest animal :P
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on August 09, 2010, 09:50:52 PM
Ring of Communication, MIC.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tornhelm on August 12, 2010, 04:18:39 PM
Is the DC based on the Hitdice of the (unaugmented) animal, or on the Hitdice of the Druid?
I had one DM that argued it would be based on the HD of the base animal(so no scaling with my druid levels).
If Skip's a good enough source for that DM, then its your HD.

Small Viper DC10 poison.
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rg/20060523a
Mirye (Small Viper Form) DC 13 poison.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Mixster on September 07, 2010, 04:29:07 PM
In my spell Compendium, Thunderhead only deals 1 damage per round? You list it as dealing 1d6, which is a bit better IMO.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Nunkuruji on September 30, 2010, 09:14:00 PM
Healthful Rest from SpC, 24hour buff, Druid 1

Doubles natural healing rate. Not only do you recover 2x the hp while resting for the day, it will also double the healing granted each time you wild shape.

It's been mentioned as a regeneration/fast-healing or potentially a vigor booster, but I've never seen it mentioned in combination with the healing from wild shape.

Quote
Each time you use wild shape, you regain lost hit points as if you had rested for a night


Similarly, the feat Faster Healing (CW)


Combine for 4 hp/HD recovered on a Wild Shape
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on October 01, 2010, 05:21:08 AM
In my spell Compendium, Thunderhead only deals 1 damage per round? You list it as dealing 1d6, which is a bit better IMO.
The original printing was 1d6. The SpC reprint changed it too 1.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on October 10, 2010, 09:27:50 PM
The Animal Companion list has Dire Eagle listed at available at 7th level, but my copy of Races of Stone says it's available at 4th level.  I cannot find any errata on Races of Stone, either.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Monotremeancer on October 10, 2010, 09:30:59 PM
The Animal Companion list has Dire Eagle listed at available at 7th level, but my copy of Races of Stone says it's available at 4th level.  I cannot find any errata on Races of Stone, either.
Don't you need to be raptoran for that to apply?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on October 10, 2010, 09:45:44 PM
The Animal Companion list has Dire Eagle listed at available at 7th level, but my copy of Races of Stone says it's available at 4th level.  I cannot find any errata on Races of Stone, either.
Don't you need to be raptoran for that to apply?

No.  Here's the text, straight from my PDF.

"Dire Eagles as Animal Companions
A dire eagle may be selected as an animal
companion by a druid of 4th level
or higher. Treat the druid’s level
as three lower than normal
for the purpose of deter-
mining the companion’s
characteristics and spe-
cial abilities."
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Monotremeancer on October 10, 2010, 09:50:34 PM
The Animal Companion list has Dire Eagle listed at available at 7th level, but my copy of Races of Stone says it's available at 4th level.  I cannot find any errata on Races of Stone, either.
Don't you need to be raptoran for that to apply?

No.  Here's the text, straight from my PDF.

"Dire Eagles as Animal Companions
A dire eagle may be selected as an animal
companion by a druid of 4th level
or higher. Treat the druid’s level
as three lower than normal
for the purpose of deter-
mining the companion’s
characteristics and spe-
cial abilities."
I see what has happened here, move to page 189

"Dire Hawks as Animal Companions
A raptoran who has the animal companion class feature
can choose a dire hawk as an alternate animal companion
when his effective level for the animal companion class
feature is 4th or higher. The raptoran’s effective druid
level for determining the dire hawk’s abilities is reduced
by three."
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on October 10, 2010, 09:55:28 PM
Dire Hawk in Races of the Wild is 7th level for non-raptorans, but Dire Eagles in Races of Stone are 4th level for everyone.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Monotremeancer on October 10, 2010, 09:56:38 PM
Dire Hawk in Races of the Wild is 7th level for non-raptorans, but Dire Eagles in Races of Stone are 4th level for everyone.
Ooops, wrong Bird of Prey.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Yves on October 15, 2010, 11:23:44 PM
Is there a compiled list of nonstandard summons for SNA I-IX? i.e. summons from books besides MMI like the storm elemental.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on October 16, 2010, 11:14:16 AM
here's what I have
Non-core SNA:
MM3 – storm elementals SNA3 – SNA8
MM5 – fetid fungus SNA2
FF – bloodthorn SNA4, dire rhino SNA7, fossergrim SNA5, kelp angler SNA7 (SLAs), kelpie SNA9, octopus tree SNA9, oread SNA6 (earth SLAs!), sporebat SNA8 (enervation), spriggan SNA4 (shatter), viper swarm SNA6, yellow musk creeper SNA4
Stormwrack – various aquatic creatures
PlH – elementite swarm
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CantripN on October 16, 2010, 02:45:39 PM
Holy Orders of the Stars (Dragonlance book) has the Wild Fury of Schilev on pg. 58.
You need to be able to cast Greater Magic Fang and have Endurance and Toughness.
It has 10/10 Casting, 10/10 Wildshape (Full), no AC, and you get a TON of class features.

Class Features include:
5 bonus feats from a good list. Ex: Natural Spell, Multiattack, Improved Natural Attack, Improved Critical...
+20' Speed while Wildshaped.
Constant Greater Magic Fang.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Yves on October 16, 2010, 07:29:09 PM
here's what I have
Non-core SNA:
MM3 – storm elementals SNA3 – SNA8
MM5 – fetid fungus SNA2
FF – bloodthorn SNA4, dire rhino SNA7, fossergrim SNA5, kelp angler SNA7 (SLAs), kelpie SNA9, octopus tree SNA9, oread SNA6 (earth SLAs!), sporebat SNA8 (enervation), spriggan SNA4 (shatter), viper swarm SNA6, yellow musk creeper SNA4
Stormwrack – various aquatic creatures
PlH – elementite swarm

For the ones in Fiend Folio where does it give the list? I don't see it in the monster entries.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on October 16, 2010, 08:50:36 PM
Well, look again. E.g., for bloodthorn, page 24, left column, line 4 and 5.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on October 19, 2010, 08:02:54 PM
Does anyone think that adding Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning as prerequisites for Greenbound Summoning might make it be a bit more balanced?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Agita on October 19, 2010, 08:35:42 PM
Does anyone think that adding Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning as prerequisites for Greenbound Summoning might make it be a bit more balanced?
No.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Havok4 on October 19, 2010, 08:40:33 PM
Does anyone think that adding Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning as prerequisites for Greenbound Summoning might make it be a bit more balanced?
No.

It was originally intended to be a +2 metamagic, which would make it much less of a no brainier pick.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on October 19, 2010, 10:55:07 PM
Does anyone think that adding Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning as prerequisites for Greenbound Summoning might make it be a bit more balanced?

"Prerequisite: a feat you were going to take anyway" is not much of a balancing factor.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Gods_Trick on October 20, 2010, 04:31:12 AM
Does anyone think that adding Spell Focus (Conjuration) and Augment Summoning as prerequisites for Greenbound Summoning might make it be a bit more balanced?

"Prerequisite: a feat you were going to take anyway" is not much of a balancing factor.

Sure it is, it means you get that feat that many levels later. Its always seemed dishonest to me to bloat a good feat by requiring you to take mediocre and/unrelated feats as a balance mechanism. Thank god for Dodge variants!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Leafburner on October 25, 2010, 07:47:06 AM
Hi All,

I'm brand new and this is my first post.  Thanks for having me.

I have a PVP match coming up on Nov 12th.  EL12 and I've drawn Druid.  But I've never played one before.

I've taken a look at the Handbook, but was confused by a coupple of things.  The Anthropomorphic Bat example given as a Druid Archer looks good, but I'm confused about items.  How can the Wildshape Briarvex form have the items it does without the Bat form having them too?  Wouldn't the items have to be Wild or have Wilding Clasps attached?  And how cold the Bat form hold a Monk's Belt, Bracers, Composite GreatBow?

Thanks in advance.  I'm loving these forums.

Leaf
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Solo on October 25, 2010, 08:14:13 AM
Quote
And how cold the Bat form hold a Monk's Belt, Bracers, Composite GreatBow?
I can't answer all of that, but you can definitely put a belt around a bat.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on October 25, 2010, 01:41:05 PM
Quote
And how cold the Bat form hold a Monk's Belt, Bracers, Composite GreatBow?
I can't answer all of that, but you can definitely put a belt around a bat.
anthropomorphic bats have arms, AND wings, not just wings that also have arms. You're like a normal human, except you have bat wings sprouting from your shoulders and a bat-head. Check the Anthropomorphic template in Savage Species.

Essentially, no change in body slots, at all. Want washboard abs and bat wings? You've got it!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: RelentlessImp on October 25, 2010, 01:48:37 PM
Quote
And how cold the Bat form hold a Monk's Belt, Bracers, Composite GreatBow?
I can't answer all of that, but you can definitely put a belt around a bat.
anthropomorphic bats have arms, AND wings, not just wings that also have arms. You're like a normal human, except you have bat wings sprouting from your shoulders and a bat-head. Check the Anthropomorphic template in Savage Species.

Essentially, no change in body slots, at all. Want washboard abs and bat wings? You've got it!

Stupid comb-over (http://gotischoberst.deviantart.com/art/DeviantID-Cellphone-background-152542170) and piercings optional.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on October 25, 2010, 07:21:49 PM
See: Manbat from Batman
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Leafburner on October 26, 2010, 07:39:15 AM
I don't have a copy of SS, or many 3E books.  But I can get a hold of one.  Thanks for the answer.  That makes sense.  I thought they were actual animals with human-like characteristics.

Thanks everyone.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on October 27, 2010, 04:39:55 PM
Is there a way to be treated as effectively higher than your level for purposes of Wild Shape?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on October 27, 2010, 04:45:51 PM
Is there a way to be treated as effectively higher than your level for purposes of Wild Shape?
Bloodline shenanigans?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bearsarebrown on October 27, 2010, 05:16:30 PM
There is an item in Magic of Faerun granting +3 or +4. I forget.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on October 27, 2010, 05:19:55 PM
There is an item in Magic of Faerun granting +3 or +4. I forget.

Well, the idea is hinging upon optimizing Fangshield Druid, preferably from a Wild Reaper base, and gaining the ability to effectively mimic characters.  Assuming that is indeed possible :D

EDIT : Dragon Wildshape allows shifting into any Medium or smaller dragon, correct?  Advance HD on a Bozak Draconian, anybody?  Free Sorcerer 20 (or more, if you can slap shit onto it) per wild shape use?  I.e. any Sor/Wiz spell ever available as long as you have a wild shape use available (which is always with persistent Unfettered Heroism), with nice NA and lots of natural attacks to boot?  Sign me up!  I can get pounce and poison with spells :P
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on October 28, 2010, 08:18:20 AM
> EDIT : Dragon Wildshape allows shifting into any Medium or smaller dragon, correct?
no, its medium or small

>  Advance HD on a Bozak Draconian, anybody?
while polymorphing into advanced creatures is not forbidden by the rules, FAQ recommends against it
however: Draconian, Bozak from DLCS has Advancement: By character class

> Free Sorcerer 20 (or more, if you can slap shit onto it) per wild shape use?  I.e. any Sor/Wiz spell ever available as long as you have a wild shape use available
no, dragon wild shape explicitly does NOT grant spell casting

> (which is always with persistent Unfettered Heroism),
no, unfettered heroism grants 1 temporary AP per round that is lost at the beginning of your next round, wild shape requires 2 AP

> with nice NA and lots of natural attacks to boot?
3 natural attacks dealing 1d4+1? *faints* bozak has abysmal stats (12 str, 10 dex, 10 con)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Leafburner on November 05, 2010, 04:09:36 AM
I have another beginners Druid question for you.

Can a Druid wild shape from one wild form directly into another?  Or do you have to revert back to your original form before you can wild shape into another form?

Example:
Can a human druid wild shape into a tiger, then from the tiger into an eagle?
Or does the human have to change into the tiger, then back into a human, then into an eagle?

Thanks in advance for your expert advice.  :)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on November 05, 2010, 05:36:41 AM
Human to tiger to eagle would be the correct version.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on November 05, 2010, 11:22:30 AM
Just adding that this is indeed stated in FAQ (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/er/20030221a):
Can a druid currently wild shaped as a wolf change
directly into another animal form (such as a bear)?

The druid can go straight from one animal form (or plant
form, or elemental form, depending on her level) to another.
She doesn’t need to wild shape back to her normal form first.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on November 12, 2010, 09:07:13 AM
If anyone is interested, the 3.0 Masters of the Wild book has the "Blindsense" feat.  It requires you to be able to wild shape into a Dire Bat, and gives you permanent 120ft Blindsense.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on November 12, 2010, 09:50:30 AM
Updated in Complete Adventurer:

BLINDSENSE [WILD]
You can sense creatures that you cannot see.
Prerequisites: Wild shape class feature,
Listen 4 ranks.
Benefi t: You can expend one daily
use of wild shape to gain blindsense
for 1 minute per Hit Die, enabling you to
pinpoint the location of a creature within 30
feet if you have line of effect to that creature
(see page 306 of the Monster Manual). You
retain this benefi t regardless of what form
you are in.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: IlPazzo on November 12, 2010, 11:38:08 PM
Blindsense 30' for 1 minute/level is not good enough for a feat.
It's better to obtain some similar effect via spells. Example:

Quote
Embrace the Wild (CAdv/Spell) and Listening Lorecall (CAdv/Spell) - Hopelessly nerfed in Spell Compendium. Unless you really, really need Scent for something, Blindsight is just plain better, save for duration. Embrace the Wild is generally better because of the skill boosts, until you have 12 ranks in Listen, when Listening Lorecall's Blindsight kicks in. Either way, Blindsight is worth it, despite the higher spell level.

(taken from "Revisiting Spells for the Optimized Druid" http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?PHPSESSID=7rgfkogvpkoo0c9giaaustq8u4&topic=1558.0 (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?PHPSESSID=7rgfkogvpkoo0c9giaaustq8u4&topic=1558.0))

Blindsense 30' can be taken from:
embrace the wild (either blindsense or scent)
listening lorecall if you have 5 ranks in listen

both are 10 minutes/level, 2° level spells.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: fuinjutsu on November 13, 2010, 11:09:33 AM
Any advice on playing a druid with the Shifter Sub levels?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CantripN on November 14, 2010, 07:39:45 AM
Any advice on playing a druid with the Shifter Sub levels?
Don't take the 5th Sub. Level? Go for Moonspeaker? Other than that, it's as usual, mostly.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: fuinjutsu on November 16, 2010, 04:44:03 AM
Any advice on playing a druid with the Shifter Sub levels?
Don't take the 5th Sub. Level? Go for Moonspeaker? Other than that, it's as usual, mostly.
I took the 5th sub level, since I was going into Gatekeeper mystagogue, which deson't advance wildhsape anyway.  i'm not going for uber powerful druid, just asking for any advice on shifter specific druid spells and using the Beast Spirit
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Torvon on November 26, 2010, 11:38:34 PM
Quote
Initiate of Nature

Ok, I'm not quite sure how that feat works. I thought druids have very handy spells to control animals and plants. Moreoever, what's the point of controlling trees and bushes - shake of some leaves?

I obviously didn't get the point, although I read the description in PGF and also the rebuke description in PHB I.

Thanks for helping me out :)

ta-ta
T.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on November 27, 2010, 06:58:14 PM
Quote
Initiate of Nature

Ok, I'm not quite sure how that feat works. I thought druids have very handy spells to control animals and plants. Moreoever, what's the point of controlling trees and bushes - shake of some leaves?

I obviously didn't get the point, although I read the description in PGF and also the rebuke description in PHB I.

Thanks for helping me out :)

ta-ta
T.

Free Animal Army
Animal Growth
Strikes freaking hard :)

Of the top of my head.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on November 27, 2010, 07:04:22 PM
Shambling mound army.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akkristor on November 28, 2010, 06:57:42 AM
Army of  1/2 HD Squirrels!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on November 28, 2010, 05:22:54 PM
(http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=12458&type=card)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: nijineko on November 29, 2010, 06:52:04 AM
beastmaster of squirrels.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: IlPazzo on December 11, 2010, 11:21:19 PM
Hi all!
I'm playing a campaign in faerun
"whoa, I finally get to use venomfire cheese on my fleshraker!"

however, since we're starting in a cold region (the north), the master is not allowing animals from warm habitats (but he didn't check every animal's habitat in respective description, in fact I temporarily use a dire bat)

we're at ECL 5

can you think of a great animal companion and/or wild shape and/or other animal that I may use with venomfire in a cold setting?
Or, maybe, is there a way I can buff my animal with a long duration spell so it can produce venom?

thanks!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: mottalol on December 12, 2010, 05:44:12 AM
this guide is my very favorite :3

Just using it to rule in my actual campaing: core only, just the PrCs from core and Complete's are allowed...

So i've decided, no PrCs for me =P
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on December 13, 2010, 09:34:17 PM
Hi all!
I'm playing a campaign in faerun
"whoa, I finally get to use venomfire cheese on my fleshraker!"
however, since we're starting in a cold region (the north), the master is not allowing animals from warm habitats (but he didn't check every animal's habitat in respective description, in fact I temporarily use a dire bat)
we're at ECL 5
can you think of a great animal companion and/or wild shape and/or other animal that I may use with venomfire in a cold setting?
Or, maybe, is there a way I can buff my animal with a long duration spell so it can produce venom?
thanks!
Looking at the options listed in the poison handbook (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=4854.0)

Animal companions:
[spoiler]1st:
* Snake, Medium Viper: a pretty weak choice.
*Sea Snake, Medium: Stormwrack also weak, but slightly better with +2 to the DC of the bite.
* Stingray Stormwrack: the poison is quite excellent (DC 12 or nauseated for 1d4 hours, on a successful save sickened for 1d6 rounds), so this is a decent low-level companion for an aquatic game or for a druid that takes it during downtime to get poisons, and uses another companion while adventuring.  
*Swindlespitter: MMIIIThis is a dinosaur with a blinding poison, and probably the best combat choice for this level if the DM allows dinosaurs.
4th: Fleshraker Dinosaur MM3: An awesome choice - pounce, grapple, rend, and poison!
7th: Snake, Huge Viper: A good grappler with constrict, but the poison DC is low.  A sea snake adds +2 to the poison DC and can swim as well.
13th: Giant Banded LizardSandstorm: a huge grappler with a decent poison (DC 21, 2d4/2d4 Strength).  [/spoiler]

Gear
[spoiler]Collar of Venom BoVD: granting all natural attacks a d10 poison effect seems like a good deal to me!  The only problem is the low DC and the high cost.  The Collar of Virulent Venom gets the DC to 20, but is ridiculously expensive.  Still, either collar would be an insane combination with Venomfire for a druid in wildshape.
Poison Fangs Serpent Kingdoms: For 8,000 gold, give yourself poisonous fangs for free poison!  The DC scales with your level and Con modifier, which helps this scale much better than many abilities.  
[/spoiler]
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: IlPazzo on December 14, 2010, 04:54:24 PM
Thanks a lot! I think Poison Fangs qualifies for venomfire (as the spell requires a creature naturally capable of producing venom).
I don't think the master is going to allow such an expensive item, however, since 8000 gp is almost all the standard wealth at ECL 5, but I may try. Also, the guide you listed is going to help a lot on this.


... think I'll ask the party to move near a warm forest, where fleshrakers live...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on December 14, 2010, 05:42:04 PM
Vermin have often poison. Check the section on vermin companions here: http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid. Perhaps you'll find something useful. The online article listed there seems more powerful than the ECS/DotU options.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on December 18, 2010, 08:50:31 PM
Has anyone else noticed what I think is an error in the description of Summon Nature's Ally VII Pixie summons in the OP to this thread?  I don't think that SNA VII will summon a Pixie that can cast Irresistible Dance.  I think you have to wait until Summon Nature's Ally IX to do that.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on December 18, 2010, 10:54:05 PM
Good luck with the poisonous animal, Ilpazzo!  Realistically, the poison can be as weak as a d2 dex damage, because the 5d6 from Venomfire is going to wreak encounters.  Personally I'd go for anything with a strong bite attack. 

Unfortunately, most of the natural poison-using creatures are reptiles, so you would need to cast Endure Elements every day (and probably use a skill trick for 'slither in snow') for them to feel comfortable following you into the arctic without hibernating or going into 'OMG what the hell is this ice stuff??' mode.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: nijineko on December 19, 2010, 08:14:13 AM
shrews have a poison bite.... but not many in cold habitats i'm thinking.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on December 19, 2010, 08:38:39 AM
shrews have a poison bite.... but not many in cold habitats i'm thinking.
Wrong! (http://Wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_Shrew)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: E-mail on January 05, 2011, 12:26:00 AM
Great guide!

There is just one little detail that I disagree with, or perhaps I am reading something wrong. I am currently building a druid myself, but when I reached the question of my starting Animal Companion, something struck me.

Quote
Riding dog: Make sure yours is trained for war, per the monster entry. Tough, relatively hard-hitting, can wear barding without wasting feats. Superior in every way to a wolf. Good mount (small druids only) and substitute low-level tank if you give it barding.

Emphasis mine. While a riding dog certainly gives a wolf a run for its money, I think that the wolf at least deserves to be mentioned for its trip attack. For quite a while, I actually thought that the warbeast template gave the base creature trip, but it apparently doesn't.

Does anyone agree?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: juton on January 05, 2011, 01:09:57 AM
I'm using a riding dog as an animal companion in a current game, and they are superior in about every way. They get trip just like a wolf but they have higher strength so they will trip more reliably. They have a higher AC as well, the only thing they have going for them is their 'coolness' factor, they also move slightly faster so may be more appealing as a mount.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: E-mail on January 05, 2011, 01:11:33 AM
But where does the riding dog get Trip from? I don't see it in the MM entry for riding dogs, or the warbeast entry.

EDIT: D'oh! I missed the 'if trained for war' part. My bad. Move along :-p
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bortasz on January 31, 2011, 11:26:06 PM
My proposal for 6 (or higher) lvl Druid Animal Companion:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/wolverine.htm (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/wolverine.htm) witch Battle beast Template :]

Why?

Average wilverine have 3 HD witch Template he have +1HD and when Become the 6 LVL Druid Animal Companion he have extra 2 HD
So 3+1+2= 6HD

And when Wolverine have more then 4HD he become Large. So our Druid can ride on him into the Battle :]

Now because of Battle Beast template our Wolverine can wear  All Armours :] But i think that Chain Shirt will be Fine (Cost only 400gp)

So our 6 HD wolverine will have that Stat:
Str: 14+3(Temlapte)+8(Size)+1(Animal Companion)=26
Dex: 15 -2(Size)+1(Animal Companion)=14
Con: 19+3(template)+4(Size)=26
Int: 1
Wis 12+2(template)=14
Cha: 10
AC: 10+2(dex)+2(Natural)+2(size)+2(Animal Companion)-1(Size)=17 +4(Chain Shirt)=21
Attack: 2 Claws +11 and Bite 6
Damage
Claws D6+8
Bite d8+4
Speed 30+10(Template)
Feats: Rage, Scent and Dodge.

3 Attack Two witch +11 and one +6
Damage from 9-14 and 5-12
AC like Warrior in Mitril Full Plate or Ranger witch Mitril Chain Shirt.

Add to that. Druid is Riding him like Horse. So what the Problem Casting Long Step and Oak Body?
Fist have Duration 6 hours and give +10 foot Speed.
Second give only for 1 hour +3 to Natural Armour.

if You have a 9 lvl Druid get iven Better. Because our Battle Wolverine get +2HD and +2 Natural Armour and +1 to Str+Dex

20 lvl Druid have bi his site a 14HD Battle Wolverine. Witch AC 10+4(dex)+14(Natural Armour)=28
Str 30 plus Rage...

For my its Monster. I'm not Sure but if you could combine Templates than Battle Best (training) + Magebred(Born) will create a Biggest Monster.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: GrokThis on February 02, 2011, 06:02:22 AM
My DM had said once about the Domain Druid (UA) that giving a druid a domain would be fine, but I would have to trade off one of the other staple druid features like Wild Shape or Animal Companion. I never did get to play the druid, but I'm still curious as to what would be acceptable. My idea was a sort of "Lord of the Elements," taking Contemplative @ 11-16 for the two bonus domains and finishing out the druid 17-20, with my first epic feat being Extra Domain. Turn, rebuke, and command all elemental creatures, and maybe even take Extra Domain (Cold) at level 24. Sure, being a cleric instead would net me 4 domains (w/Contemplative) by level 16, but I liked the druid flavor more, and undead were only a sometimes issue in his games.

As a side note, it would be really sweet if you could apply Undead Mastery (Epic) to your elemental turning, but that's probably taking it too far. :D
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on February 02, 2011, 11:25:13 AM
Losing wild shape or animal companion is a big loss. Even losing the progression for 6 levels is a big loss. Usually, druids are ill-suited for prestige classing.

Note that Contemplative does not require to have a domain to enter. I.e., you don't need to sacrifice anything. Complete Divine has rules on what happens if a character without domains gains them. Of course, you lose the 6 levels of progression.

Contemplative, however, needs knowledge (religion) 13 ranks, you need to spend a feat to make it a class skill.

Sovereign Speaker (Faiths of Eberron) is a 10 level prestige class and gives one domain on each level. Requires a domain to enter.

If you desire 2 domains, go drd10/con1/ss1/drd8. You waste 2 feats, 2 levels of wild shape, 2 levels of animal companion, and 1 level of spell casting for 2 domains. Of course, it's generally not worth it.

If you desire domains above all else, Sovereign speaker is the way to go! Certainly better than spending epic feats. Just make sure you realize that domains are much weaker than companion or wild shape.


But you can have elemental flavor as a druid even without shooting yourself in the foot. Just stick to druid. Cast elemental spells. Summon elementals. Get the elemental companion ACF (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20061010a). Get Summon Elemental reserve feat (Complete Mage). Wild shape to elementals at levels 16+.

Edit: I guess you could go Cleric 1 / Druid 19.
Edit: Actually, your turning level would suck. Hmm.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on February 02, 2011, 11:57:30 AM
Reflavoring Initiate of Nature? :rollseyes
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bortasz on February 02, 2011, 01:05:15 PM
I have question.

LEoF and UE i don't recognize this short cut. Can somebody can give me the whole name of this Book?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Agita on February 02, 2011, 01:07:44 PM
I have question.

LEoF and UE i don't recognize this short cut. Can somebody can give me the whole name of this Book?
Lost Empires of Faerûn and Unapproachable East, respectively.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bortasz on February 02, 2011, 02:10:05 PM
Thank You :)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: GrokThis on February 02, 2011, 09:58:49 PM
Losing wild shape or animal companion is a big loss. Even losing the progression for 6 levels is a big loss. Usually, druids are ill-suited for prestige classing.

Note that Contemplative does not require to have a domain to enter. I.e., you don't need to sacrifice anything. Complete Divine has rules on what happens if a character without domains gains them. Of course, you lose the 6 levels of progression.

Contemplative, however, needs knowledge (religion) 13 ranks, you need to spend a feat to make it a class skill.

Sovereign Speaker (Faiths of Eberron) is a 10 level prestige class and gives one domain on each level. Requires a domain to enter.

If you desire 2 domains, go drd10/con1/ss1/drd8. You waste 2 feats, 2 levels of wild shape, 2 levels of animal companion, and 1 level of spell casting for 2 domains. Of course, it's generally not worth it.

If you desire domains above all else, Sovereign speaker is the way to go! Certainly better than spending epic feats. Just make sure you realize that domains are much weaker than companion or wild shape.


But you can have elemental flavor as a druid even without shooting yourself in the foot. Just stick to druid. Cast elemental spells. Summon elementals. Get the elemental companion ACF (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/ex/20061010a). Get Summon Elemental reserve feat (Complete Mage). Wild shape to elementals at levels 16+.

Edit: I guess you could go Cleric 1 / Druid 19.
Edit: Actually, your turning level would suck. Hmm.

I should have been clearer, sorry. It isn't just about summoning elementals, but being able to control (turn, rebuke, etc.) any creature with an elemental subtype, unless my interpretation of the domain powers is incorrect. As written, each elemental domain says you can turn or destroy it's opposing creatures as a cleric does with undead, and you can rebuke, command or bolster creatures of the corresponding element. I take that to mean anything such as undead, outsiders, aberrations, and even dragons, that have an elemental subtype. But as I said, I may be misinterpreting things.

Now as a druid, your turning checks would be abysmal without levels of cleric, but what if you allowed the druid the power to turn like a paladin? Or even as a full cleric? (only as those domain powers though.)

I guess it's really all academic and subject to what a particular DM would allow. One could simply play a cleric and maybe give that cleric an animal companion for some druid flavor. I just didn't want to make the druid more powerful than it already is, since most would agree that it's one of, if not the most powerful class in the game. Just trying to find some balance for what I think would be an interesting variant. :)

EDIT: Thanks for the tip on the Sovereign Speaker! I looked it over and got the wheels turning some more. :)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 08, 2011, 09:39:01 AM
Dragon wild Shape out of Draconomicon is nice, but only allows for a Small or Medium dragon shape. This seems to be a waste of a feat given a Medium Gold is a wyrmling before becoming large. Largely I was less than impressed with this feat UNLESS it in fact scales with a druids ability to take on larger forms, for example a 15th level Druid's ability to be a huge creature. Could I in fact be a Mature Adult Gold? How about a Very Old Silver? An Ancient White? Lol, just kidding, every one knows White dragons are lame.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on March 08, 2011, 01:54:45 PM
Dragon wild shape from Draconomicon is indeed limited to small and medium dragons. Size does not scale with level (only HD). This means, dragons suck as melee attackers. However, they shine as mobile defensive spell casting platforms. Read more e.g. here: http://coboard.wikia.com/wiki/Druid#Dragon_Wild_Shape
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 08, 2011, 10:37:39 PM
Another problem that I have with Dragon Wild Shape is that the PH 3.5 clearly says that a Druid can only assume a form she is familiar with, that said, a 12th level druid that has never seen a dragon before ever cannot take the shape. Same goes for Any wild shape. Frozen Wild Shape is awesome, but if you've never fought a Hydra before... The Fleshraker wild shape is awesome, but if you've never seen a Fleshraker before... The Dire Tortoise is awesome, you see where I'm going with this.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on March 08, 2011, 10:43:19 PM
What the fuck is Knowledge (nature) meant for, do you think? As far as regular Wild Shape goes.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 08, 2011, 10:54:18 PM
What the fuck is Knowledge (nature) meant for, do you think? As far as regular Wild Shape goes.
oh, there you go -- trying to bring in logic and reasoning, and wanting to actually use your skill checks .... :nonono
...
 :P
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 08, 2011, 11:12:09 PM
What the fuck is Knowledge (nature) meant for, do you think? As far as regular Wild Shape goes.

I've seen Michael Cera movies, but I'm not familiar with Michael Cera. I'm familiar with his acting, I'm familiar with a verb. Essentially a Druid is like an Animorph, they can only take the shape of animals they have seen.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on March 09, 2011, 01:33:37 AM
^You may limit yourself to that if you like it, but it surely is not the only concept potential the ability can give you. And really, fluff hardly matters when talking about class potential anyway.

What the fuck is Knowledge (nature) meant for, do you think? As far as regular Wild Shape goes.
oh, there you go -- trying to bring in logic and reasoning, and wanting to actually use your skill checks .... :nonono
...
 :P

 :(
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 09, 2011, 01:34:28 AM
^You may limit yourself to that if you like it, but it surely is not the only concept potential the ability can give you. And really, fluff hardly matters when talking about class potential anyway.

What the fuck is Knowledge (nature) meant for, do you think? As far as regular Wild Shape goes.
oh, there you go -- trying to bring in logic and reasoning, and wanting to actually use your skill checks .... :nonono
...
 :P
:(

 :lol
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on March 09, 2011, 01:37:30 AM
^
(http://irowiki.org/ow/images/1/1d/Sob.gif)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 09, 2011, 04:15:52 AM
^You may limit yourself to that if you like it, but it surely is not the only concept potential the ability can give you. And really, fluff hardly matters when talking about class potential anyway.

"The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

I'm not "limiting myself to that if I like it" It's literally how the class works.

Now what we could do is discuss ways to work around this annoying little limitation instead of arguing about the truth of the matter because without such a discussion the entire Wild Shape section of this guide is as if to say "An Epic level Periapt of Wisdom +10 would be great for a level 3 druid, but you're never gonna see one."

SNA 1-9 offer a great selection of animals the druid can use to gain familiarity. But as far as a hydra or a dragon, I dunno.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on March 09, 2011, 06:01:44 AM
What about a druid who went everywhere?

edit: I'm not arguing about Dragon or Frozen Wild Shape here, since technically speaking a Druid doesn't have Knowledge (arcana), but one could get it anyway.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 09, 2011, 08:31:49 AM
What about a druid who went everywhere?

edit: I'm not arguing about Dragon or Frozen Wild Shape here, since technically speaking a Druid doesn't have Knowledge (arcana), but one could get it anyway.

Alright, since you still wanna fight me on this we're about to get specific. Let's take into account the Savage Tides adventure path that takes place in southern tropical Greyhawk. Nowhere on ANY of the random encounter tables from adventures 1-12 which take players from 1-20th level is there a wolf. A simple wolf. So a player goes from 1-20th level never having seen a fucking wolf without summoning one. Not even a bear. So we have a druid that has never seen a wolf or a bear in the fur. That automatically rules out the possibility of having one of those or their Dire forms as an animal companion or a wild shape form.

Point: An adventure that starts at higher levels could have a druid that has a background story of a "world traveler" but a low level campaign you're out of luck.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 09, 2011, 08:56:54 AM
What about a druid who went everywhere?

edit: I'm not arguing about Dragon or Frozen Wild Shape here, since technically speaking a Druid doesn't have Knowledge (arcana), but one could get it anyway.

Alright, since you still wanna fight me on this we're about to get specific. Let's take into account the Savage Tides adventure path that takes place in southern tropical Greyhawk. Nowhere on ANY of the random encounter tables from adventures 1-12 which take players from 1-20th level is there a wolf. A simple wolf. So a player goes from 1-20th level never having seen a fucking wolf without summoning one. Not even a bear. So we have a druid that has never seen a wolf or a bear in the fur. That automatically rules out the possibility of having one of those or their Dire forms as an animal companion or a wild shape form.

Point: An adventure that starts at higher levels could have a druid that has a background story of a "world traveler" but a low level campaign you're out of luck.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/summonNaturesAllyIII.htm
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 09, 2011, 09:42:51 AM
What about a druid who went everywhere?

edit: I'm not arguing about Dragon or Frozen Wild Shape here, since technically speaking a Druid doesn't have Knowledge (arcana), but one could get it anyway.

Alright, since you still wanna fight me on this we're about to get specific. Let's take into account the Savage Tides adventure path that takes place in southern tropical Greyhawk. Nowhere on ANY of the random encounter tables from adventures 1-12 which take players from 1-20th level is there a wolf. A simple wolf. So a player goes from 1-20th level never having seen a fucking wolf without summoning one. Not even a bear. So we have a druid that has never seen a wolf or a bear in the fur. That automatically rules out the possibility of having one of those or their Dire forms as an animal companion or a wild shape form.

Point: An adventure that starts at higher levels could have a druid that has a background story of a "world traveler" but a low level campaign you're out of luck.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/summonNaturesAllyIII.htm

Are you trying to say that the druid could use that spell to gain familiarity with a bear or wolf? Cause if you are thanks for agreeing with the point I made 4 posts above this one.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on March 09, 2011, 10:18:19 AM
Dragon wild Shape out of Draconomicon is nice, but only allows for a Small or Medium dragon shape. This seems to be a waste of a feat given a Medium Gold is a wyrmling before becoming large. Largely I was less than impressed with this feat UNLESS it in fact scales with a druids ability to take on larger forms, for example a 15th level Druid's ability to be a huge creature. Could I in fact be a Mature Adult Gold? How about a Very Old Silver? An Ancient White? Lol, just kidding, every one knows White dragons are lame.

I'm using shadow dragon. A lot. +16 natural armor, energy drain immunity and total concealment almost 24/7. Plus a breath weapon that deals negative levels.

Oceanus dragon is good underwater. Ethereal dragon has an awesome breath weapon and battle dragon has high stats/decent breath weapon.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on March 09, 2011, 02:25:34 PM
You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 09, 2011, 03:25:03 PM
You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.
right -- this was mentioned already.
I think the point is this: how much of a break with reality are you willing to make.  My knowledge check could be over 9000, but if I had never encountered a creature, if I have literally never had the opportunity to even be made aware of such a creatures existence, then how does it make sense that I would know to take its form?

really though, it's all just a matter of the flavor of game you want ....
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 09, 2011, 09:44:32 PM
You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.
right -- this was mentioned already.
I think the point is this: how much of a break with reality are you willing to make.  My knowledge check could be over 9000, but if I had never encountered a creature, if I have literally never had the opportunity to even be made aware of such a creatures existence, then how does it make sense that I would know to take its form?

really though, it's all just a matter of the flavor of game you want ....
I've done intensive study upon the physiology of sea sponges.

I have never been scuba diving.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 09, 2011, 10:04:21 PM
^Do I have to quote the PH again?

You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.

That goes for you too, buddy.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 09, 2011, 10:12:50 PM
^Do I have to quote the PH again?

You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.

That goes for you too, buddy.
I am very familiar with the physiology of the sponge.  Much more familiar than a guy who just goes diving every weekend and say "ooh, look at the pretty sponges"
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 09, 2011, 10:52:12 PM
^Do I have to quote the PH again?

You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.

That goes for you too, buddy.
I am very familiar with the physiology of the sponge.  Much more familiar than a guy who just goes diving every weekend and say "ooh, look at the pretty sponges"
Yeah, me too, and his Starfish and Squid neighbors, and his Crab boss, and his Squirrel friend
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on March 10, 2011, 01:33:21 AM
May you be happy with your narrow view on how familiarity with something is gained when defined in game terms. I'm out. :eh
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 10, 2011, 02:06:51 AM
^Do I have to quote the PH again?

You could also use knowledge checks, Doc. The DC to know everything about a creature is relatively low, all things considered.

That goes for you too, buddy.
I am very familiar with the physiology of the sponge.  Much more familiar than a guy who just goes diving every weekend and say "ooh, look at the pretty sponges"
which has nothing to do with whether or not you actually know what it looks like.
besides, I don't see druids as being that much in to theoretical study ... I see them as having more of a hands-on approach (as in "show me, don't tell me")
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 02:23:58 AM
May you be happy with your narrow view on how familiarity with something is gained when defined in game terms. I'm out. :eh

Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

It's not a "narrow view on how familiarity with something is gained" It's literally how the class works.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: TenaciousJ on March 10, 2011, 02:29:30 AM
May you be happy with your narrow view on how familiarity with something is gained when defined in game terms. I'm out. :eh

Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

It's not a "narrow view on how familiarity with something is gained" It's literally how the class works.

You write a tidbit in the character's background story that says where they're from, where they have been, what druidic sect they've been involved with, etc.  Level 1 doesn't mean you just popped out of the womb and it's pretty easy to come up with a reason a character is familiar with an animal.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 02:56:50 AM
^ Now there's someone with an idea. More of that
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Nytemare3701 on March 10, 2011, 04:40:38 AM
Is everyone forgetting that you can't throw fluff at a rules requirement? Familiarity has to be fulfilled by some ingame or mechanical source.

Am I wrong here?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 10, 2011, 04:42:52 AM
It's throwing fluff at a fluff requirement.  It's like saying "yeah, before I started adventuring I got lost when I went to find a cup of sugar, and I eventually somehow ended up in the lost jungle temples of the Coatls."
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Nytemare3701 on March 10, 2011, 04:49:55 AM
It's throwing fluff at a fluff requirement.

Fair enough. I fixed that for the rewrite.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 05:00:36 AM
It's throwing fluff at a fluff requirement.  It's like saying "yeah, before I started adventuring I got lost when I went to find a cup of sugar, and I eventually somehow ended up in the lost jungle temples of the Coatls."

ONCE AGAIN "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

It's not fluff, it's literally how the class works.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tshern on March 10, 2011, 05:05:09 AM
So what do you count as familiar? They need to be married or something? The druid needs to raise a few dozen of those animals and open a zoo for them?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 05:41:52 AM
So what do you count as familiar? They need to be married or something? The druid needs to raise a few dozen of those animals and open a zoo for them?

Familiar=Actually seen the thing in the fur, scale, feather

Also, what the crap does your signature say, cause it looks Finnish
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 10, 2011, 06:04:52 AM
Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

It's not fluff, it's literally how the class works.

Oh wait a minute -- I think I finally see what's going on here.  Let me see if I can aggregate this thing ....
While, yes, you could use your know(nature) skill to identify a creature (as well as various things about it), that doesn't mean that you are "familiar" with it.  
And, yes, we can get a decent idea of what "familiar" is supposed to mean from the example -- in this case it would suggest that the creature should be terrain-appropriate to the character's home.  I mean, seriously, when you have to start contriving silly excuses of how your 1st-level, 20-year-old character is actually an established world traveler (because the DM actually does know everywhere you've been since then), then you're just doing an end-run around the basic assumptions of the rules.

Additionally, I would put forth that "fluff" and "crunch" are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  in the case of the whole WS thing -- while it is a fluff issue, it is actually there for a rules reason.  Rules influence how the game is played.  When something specific like WS form restrictions are put in, it's intended to give you a frame of reference on what some of the basic assumptions are.

Oh, and as to the know(nature) check:  if you lived all your life in a specific terrain type, then the check for anything within that terrain type would indeed be "really easy", or possible even "basic".  The further away you get from that terrain type (i.e., the bigger the differences between 2 given terrain types), the harder that check is gonna be (based on the likelihood of encountering a given creature in a given terrain type).

Yes, I realize that most of this may be RAI; but trying to interpret RAW without a solid nod towards RAI is just silly.


So what do you count as familiar? They need to be married or something? The druid needs to raise a few dozen of those animals and open a zoo for them?

Familiar=Actually seen the thing in the fur, scale, feather

Also, what the crap does your signature say, cause it looks Finnish
Yeah, pretty much.  on both counts.
as to the first -- see above.
as to the second -- I believe that would be his native language.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 07:24:40 AM
Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

It's not fluff, it's literally how the class works.

Oh wait a minute -- I think I finally see what's going on here.  Let me see if I can aggregate this thing ....
While, yes, you could use your know(nature) skill to identify a creature (as well as various things about it), that doesn't mean that you are "familiar" with it.  
And, yes, we can get a decent idea of what "familiar" is supposed to mean from the example -- in this case it would suggest that the creature should be terrain-appropriate to the character's home.  I mean, seriously, when you have to start contriving silly excuses of how your 1st-level, 20-year-old character is actually an established world traveler (because the DM actually does know everywhere you've been since then), then you're just doing an end-run around the basic assumptions of the rules.

Additionally, I would put forth that "fluff" and "crunch" are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  in the case of the whole WS thing -- while it is a fluff issue, it is actually there for a rules reason.  Rules influence how the game is played.  When something specific like WS form restrictions are put in, it's intended to give you a frame of reference on what some of the basic assumptions are.

Oh, and as to the know(nature) check:  if you lived all your life in a specific terrain type, then the check for anything within that terrain type would indeed be "really easy", or possible even "basic".  The further away you get from that terrain type (i.e., the bigger the differences between 2 given terrain types), the harder that check is gonna be (based on the likelihood of encountering a given creature in a given terrain type).

Yes, I realize that most of this may be RAI; but trying to interpret RAW without a solid nod towards RAI is just silly.


So what do you count as familiar? They need to be married or something? The druid needs to raise a few dozen of those animals and open a zoo for them?

Familiar=Actually seen the thing in the fur, scale, feather

Also, what the crap does your signature say, cause it looks Finnish
Yeah, pretty much.  on both counts.
as to the first -- see above.
as to the second -- I believe that would be his native language.

What he said. ALL this. A million times all this.

Also, Google Translate agrees that it is Finnish, but the translation is all backwards and fucked up. I'd really like to know what it actually says.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on March 10, 2011, 08:37:53 AM
Guys, I think you're doing it wrong. That ruling is there to limit a druid, from, say, becoming a yeti in a sandstorm-like world. Besides, it's dumb, because if you take it literally, it means that if you get out of a temperate forest, you gain the ability to wild shape to a polar bear.

Now, other than that, familiarity is not defined. For example there might exist zoology books in-game (sort-of like Monster Manuals) that you can read. If you find that you can wild shape in them, just move to a different area, that might work for you :p
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on March 10, 2011, 09:45:53 AM
A somewhat sane compromise my DM and me agreed on: my druid is automatically familiar with all MM1 forms + everything else we meet.

Note:
At level 1, you can detect animals or plants in long range. You can also speak with animals and ask them where a bear lives. You can summon nature's ally to look at Dire rat, Eagle, Monkey, Octopus, Owl, Porpoise, Snake, Small viper, Wolf. You can use SNA at later levels to learn about further animals.
At level 3, you can use survival to locate well-traveled animal areas and then tree shape and wait and observe.
At level 5, you can speak with plants about where the bear lives.
At level 7, you can look at the lay of the land, perhaps using it to locate potential animal dens. You can also use scrying to look at various creatures.
At level 9, you can commune with nature to learn about animals in an area. You can also use tree stride to run through a forest quickly to find them.
At level 11, you can find the path and transport via plants to track stuff you want to meet.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 09:50:07 AM
A somewhat sane compromise my DM and me agreed on: my druid is automatically familiar with all MM1 forms + everything else we meet.

Note:
At level 1, you can detect animals or plants in long range. You can also speak with animals and ask them where a bear lives. You can summon nature's ally to look at Dire rat, Eagle, Monkey, Octopus, Owl, Porpoise, Snake, Small viper, Wolf. You can use SNA at later levels to learn about further animals.
At level 3, you can use survival to locate well-traveled animal areas and then tree shape and wait and observe.
At level 5, you can speak with plants about where the bear lives.
At level 7, you can look at the lay of the land, perhaps using it to locate potential animal dens. You can also use scrying to look at various creatures.
At level 9, you can commune with nature to learn about animals in an area. You can also use tree stride to run through a forest quickly to find them.
At level 11, you can find the path and transport via plants to track stuff you want to meet.

This is the shit I'm talking about, except for the very first line. I guess if the DM will swing for it I can't yell at him for it, but this is the discussion I was wanting to have the whole time.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: TenaciousJ on March 10, 2011, 09:53:23 AM
Or, play in Eberron.  "My character worked for House Vadalis before he had a change of heart and became a druid." or "The Greensingers exposed me to a wide variety of animals on an excursion to Lammania in my training."  There's your excuses for knowing any animal form you want.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 10, 2011, 03:39:02 PM
I must confess that animals that you are able to summon should count as "familiar" -- this seems a no-brainer.  by simply summoning it and seeing it in action for the few seconds that is the spells' duration, you learn all you need to know for using its shape.

as a side note: I've actually had a player that restricted his SNA creatures to the same familiarity standard.  go figure.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 10, 2011, 08:46:44 PM
Guys, I think you're doing it wrong. That ruling is there to limit a druid, from, say, becoming a yeti in a sandstorm-like world. Besides, it's dumb, because if you take it literally, it means that if you get out of a temperate forest, you gain the ability to wild shape to a polar bear.

And if there happened to be a druid living in that forest with a polar bear animal friend, you wouldn't be familiar.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tshern on March 10, 2011, 09:11:05 PM
So what do you count as familiar? They need to be married or something? The druid needs to raise a few dozen of those animals and open a zoo for them?

Familiar=Actually seen the thing in the fur, scale, feather

Also, what the crap does your signature say, cause it looks Finnish
It is Finnish, but accurate translation would be off-topic in this thread.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 09:56:28 PM
Guys, I think you're doing it wrong. That ruling is there to limit a druid, from, say, becoming a yeti in a sandstorm-like world. Besides, it's dumb, because if you take it literally, it means that if you get out of a temperate forest, you gain the ability to wild shape to a polar bear.

And if there happened to be a druid living in that forest with a polar bear animal friend, the polar bear would be DEAD.

FIXT
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: bearsarebrown on March 10, 2011, 10:01:08 PM
why would it die

if you say climate you lose because the druid can magic it healthy with ease
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bozwevial on March 10, 2011, 10:01:45 PM
Guys, I think you're doing it wrong. That ruling is there to limit a druid, from, say, becoming a yeti in a sandstorm-like world. Besides, it's dumb, because if you take it literally, it means that if you get out of a temperate forest, you gain the ability to wild shape to a polar bear.

And if there happened to be a druid living in that forest with a polar bear animal friend, the polar bear would be DEAD. pretty okay with its constant Endure Elements.
FIXT
Fixed your fix.

Edit: bears beat me to my post about bears.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 10, 2011, 11:01:32 PM
So out of the people posting in this thread, which ones live in a temperate forest?

Now, out of the people posting in this thread, how many know what a wolf looks like?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: GrokThis on March 10, 2011, 11:24:52 PM
I live in a temperate forest. I've seen wolves (only in captivity). The rest I've seen in the wild: bear, elk, deer, bobcat, moose, boar, fox, beaver, coyote, werechickens and professional wrestlers. I am not a druid, however, so it's a moot point.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 10, 2011, 11:34:39 PM
why would it die

if you say climate you lose because the druid can magic it healthy with ease

Magic it healthy. I lol'd. Also good point.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 10, 2011, 11:36:53 PM
So out of the people posting in this thread, which ones live in a temperate forest?
you mean actually live and survive in the wild?

Quote
Now, out of the people posting in this thread, how many know what a wolf looks like?
you mean from actually seeing them in the fur, in its natural environment?
I'm not sure how many druids have a TV (or otherwise have access to modern devices).

Your questions are obviously rhetorical -- I think you are taking the amenities of modern society and technology way too much for granted.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 10, 2011, 11:51:11 PM
Your questions are obviously rhetorical -- I think you are taking the amenities of modern society and technology way too much for granted.

Even before modern photography, an educated person in, say, England had a pretty good idea of what a tiger or elephant looked like if he wanted to know. A well-regarded and well-educated anatomist, naturist, or taxidermist would have quite an accurate knowledge of such a creature. With K: nature, you are in fact a highly educated person on that subject.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 10, 2011, 11:54:54 PM
Yeah, if just seeing it was the barrier, you could just go down to the local elementary schools for mages and have them whip up a silent illusion of a dire shark or something.

Now, personally speaking I live in a temperate forest and fed raw meat to tigers without leaving said temperate forest*, but my experiences are somewhat atypical.


*Did I mention that my education was cooler than your education?  No?  Well, now I have.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 11, 2011, 01:25:04 AM
*sigh*
really?
we all know the very basic and simplistic mindset that was used when designing and writing 3.x (or any edition, for that matter) -- their discussion of it is detailed all over the place (both in and out of the published material).  Given that, it's quite obvious what the basic assumptions are in this case.
The more you subject the material to "what if" and "by the way", the further away from those basic assumptions you get; and, thus, the more you're gonna end up banging your head.  Solution: relax, it's just a game -- try not to take it too seriously or look in to it too deep.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 11, 2011, 01:38:56 AM
*sigh*
really?
we all know the very basic and simplistic mindset that was used when designing and writing 3.x (or any edition, for that matter) -- their discussion of it is detailed all over the place (both in and out of the published material).  Given that, it's quite obvious what the basic assumptions are in this case.

It is indeed very obvious! It is, in fact, so obvious that it is immediately apparent to everyone involved in the thread. The fact that different readers have reached different conclusions has no bearing on this.  :)

I don't think it's actually obvious that they intended K: Nature not to qualify you as knowing about creatures outside the terrain you grew up in. The "a druid who has never left temperate forests can't be a polar bear" thing may or may not have been made under the assumption that the druid in question has no ranks of K: Nature, particularly given that a druid who does have those ranks knows everything there is to know about polar bears.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 11, 2011, 02:03:52 AM
the different conclusions comes from 2 places:
1) ignoring the games assumptions
2) people not wanting to be "shackled by fluff"
 
... come to think of it, I think that #2 probably feeds #1.


of course, conversely, to illustrate the other end of the spectrum (as well as the lunacy of the skill system):
I would need pass a know(arcane) check DC 46 to know that the creature in front of me is a Great Wyrm white dragon, and that I might want to try to kill it with fire.  :rolleyes

so I guess I may concede .... but just a little.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 02:15:14 AM
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 11, 2011, 02:18:39 AM
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.
*plays devil's advocate*
even from shadow conjuration or similar spell from a properly pimped-out SCM? ;)
(it's not just real -- it's more that real)
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 02:46:50 AM
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.
So your druid can go "hey I know that that absolutely perfect illusion of a creature I've never seen before is an illusion because I haven't suddenly gained the ability to wildshape into it"?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Echoes on March 11, 2011, 05:58:05 AM
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.

Got a rules quote to back that up, asshole?

The rules say you have to be "familiar" with an animal, that's it. You know what that means in actual English? It means you know about something. When someone says they're familiar with a topic, it means they are aware of it and know something about it. It doesn't mean they have personally visited with it, supped at it's table, and married it's daughter.

So yes, a Druid who can make the Knowledge (nature) checks can goddamned jolly well wild shape into a fucking polar bear despite living in medieval England.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 07:05:04 AM
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.
So your druid can go "hey I know that that absolutely perfect illusion of a creature I've never seen before is an illusion because I haven't suddenly gained the ability to wildshape into it"?

"Simulacrum creates an illusory duplicate of any creature. The duplicate creature is partially real and formed from ice and snow..." PH 3.5 279

So, you're gonna gain familiarity off ice and snow? And that's a 7th level spell. Perfect example of a very powerful illusion spell that DOESN'T WORK.
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.

Got a rules quote to back that up, asshole?

The rules say you have to be "familiar" with an animal, that's it. You know what that means in actual English? It means you know about something. When someone says they're familiar with a topic, it means they are aware of it and know something about it. It doesn't mean they have personally visited with it, supped at it's table, and married it's daughter.

So yes, a Druid who can make the Knowledge (nature) checks can goddamned jolly well wild shape into a fucking polar bear despite living in medieval England.

Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Echoes on March 11, 2011, 07:28:18 AM
The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.

So your druid can go "hey I know that that absolutely perfect illusion of a creature I've never seen before is an illusion because I haven't suddenly gained the ability to wildshape into it"?

"Simulacrum creates an illusory duplicate of any creature. The duplicate creature is partially real and formed from ice and snow..." PH 3.5 279

So, you're gonna gain familiarity off ice and snow? And that's a 7th level spell. Perfect example of a very powerful illusion spell that DOESN'T WORK.

Yes, of course. Because, as we all know, since there's one Illusion spell that wouldn't necessarily work, no Illusion spell possibly could. :rollseyes Your leaps of logic make Monks jealous.

The druid has to have seen the animal in order for it to take the form. No, fuck you, illusion spells don't count. Period.

This is your claim. You've yet to provide a rules quote that backs that shit up.

Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

If you want to cite examples, let's flip over to the Abjurant Champion as a demonstration of the validity of WotC's examples, shall we? Because that's the same issue here. The rules say "the form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with". Not "you must have been in the physical presence of the animal".

Also, way to completely ignore the entire point about what familiar means, and how it relates in this context.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bozwevial on March 11, 2011, 07:47:50 AM
Simulacrum is, you know, kind of a bad example, because if you have a piece of whale blubber in the first place, you probably know what a whale is.  That aside, the point is that if seeing the animal is the only requirement and there exists some sort of magical block that keeps you from wild shaping into a whale if you've only seen a picture of a whale/a simulated whale, then you can abuse that fact to recognize illusions of animals based on the fact that you can't turn into that thing right there, which I'd say is a silly conclusion.

Besides, the druid gets Scrying. Most animals have poor Will saves. If all you have to do to turn into a polar bear is see one, then it literally only takes five steps:

1) Know that polar bears exist (knowledge: nature)
2) Cast scrying until you overpower their puny minds (lol poor will save progression)
3) Watch it chew on some seals for a while
4) Cruise around town and pick up some women
5) aawww yeah check out these claws
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 07:52:05 AM
Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

OK.  I'm a seventh level druid living in a temperate forest which I have never left.  I have a pet polar bear cub.  My friend is a druid, and he has a polar bear animal companion.  He uses summoning magic to summon polar bears.  In fact, he himself is an awakened polar bear.  He's my brother, and my whole adopted family is awakened polar bears.  I ride a polar bear to school, a school where polar bears teach polar bears how to be polar bears.  Every at that school: history, geography, geology, sociology, biology, physiology, medicine, is about polar bears.  

Yet, if we take that quote absolutely literally, apparently I still cannot wildshape into a polar bear.  Yet, if I take one step to the south of my temperate forest, into the eternally flaming desert wasteland, I am now eligible for polar bear wildshaping.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 07:58:27 AM
Once again "The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid who has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."~PH3.5 Page 37

OK.  I'm a seventh level druid living in a temperate forest which I have never left.  I have a pet polar bear cub.  My friend is a druid, and he has a polar bear animal companion.  He uses summoning magic to summon polar bears.  In fact, he himself is an awakened polar bear.  He's my brother, and my whole adopted family is awakened polar bears.  I ride a polar bear to school, a school where polar bears teach polar bears how to be polar bears.  Every at that school: history, geography, geology, sociology, biology, physiology, medicine, is about polar bears.  

Yet, if we take that quote absolutely literally, apparently I still can't wildshape into a polar bear.
Yeah, I guess you could then. Have fun playing an intelligent Polar Bear. But you're trying REALLY hard to circumvent the rule. Why not go ahead and say "I'm a 1st level Wizard that trained under Elminster at Hogwarts and once Dumbledore gave me a blowjob so I have infinity 1st level spell slots."

Also, Simulacrum is the perfect example cause it's partially real, instead of the all fakeness that is lesser illusion spells.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 08:00:42 AM
You're an American, right?  Are you familiar with how a president is elected (electoral college and all that)?

Have you ever seen the electoral college in real life?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bozwevial on March 11, 2011, 08:08:05 AM
Also, Simulacrum is the perfect example cause it's partially real, instead of the all fakeness that is lesser illusion spells.
So does that mean that I'm now partially familiar with a polar bear and can turn halfway into one? Or turn into one 60% of the time?

Besides, if Scrying works to grant familiarity, there's no reason Major Image shouldn't. Major Image even throws in the sounds and smells of cracking seal skulls.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 11, 2011, 08:10:20 AM
So does that mean that I'm now partially familiar with a polar bear and can turn halfway into one? Or turn into one 60% of the time?

The only thing scarier than being charged by a polar bear is being charged by 60% of a polar bear.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 08:11:59 AM
You're an American, right?  Are you familiar with how a president is elected (electoral college and all that)?

Have you ever seen the electoral college in real life?

Submitted the question on the matter to Wizards of the Coast. We'll have our answer shortly from the source. Or maybe not so shortly, I dunno how long this will take. The exact wording of my question is below.

The texts states that "The form chosen must be one that the druid is familiar with. For example, a druid that has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."

That begs one huge ass question. What defines familiarity? My definition is that the druid must have actually seen the creature in question in the fur, scale, feather, flesh in order to take the form. Some players argue that the Knowledge (Nature ) skill gives familiarity.

I also amended the question in regards to illusion spells.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 08:16:21 AM
They don't answer 3.5 questions anymore.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 08:17:50 AM
They don't answer 3.5 questions anymore.

I guess we're gonna be waiting a while then.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 08:26:42 AM
Seriously, though.  Are you familiar with Barack Obama?  Britney Spears?  Margaret Thatcher?  The causes of world war 1?  The announcers of Top Gear?  Manchester United?  The Yankees?  The Statue of Liberty?  The Sydney Opera House?

If I asked anybody sitting with me in in this room one of these questions... screw it, I'm asking them...

The response is universally "yes, what about it/her/them?"  (well, except for manchester united from the American)

Given that "familiar" isn't a reserved mechanical term, it defaults to common English usage.

Now, if you wanted to use other rules as precedent, Sending lets you send a message to anybody you're familiar with... and then goes on to say that if they know you they recognize your voice.  So clearly knowing somebody personally isn't necessary for familiarity.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 08:28:47 AM
Good thing I'm not your DM, cause you'd be pissed at me and the party would be out a Druid. If wording can be abused to interpret a possible infinite damage loop then it certainly be used to define familiarity with a potential druid form as must having seen the creature. It's the opposite side of a cheesey abusive coin.

Also

familiar  (f??m?l??)
 
— adj  (foll by with )
1.   well-known; easily recognized: a familiar figure
2.   frequent or customary: a familiar excuse
3.   acquainted
4.   friendly; informal
5.   close; intimate
6.   more intimate than is acceptable; presumptuous
7.   an archaic word for familial

No, I'm not well-known with Barack. No, He and I are not frequent or customary with eachother. No, we are not acquainted. No we are not friendly or formal. No we are not close or intimate. On and on. I Do know of him, but I am not any of those things that make me familiar with my President.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 11, 2011, 09:59:07 AM
(http://www.eduinreview.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/barack_obama1.jpg)
Who is that?


If you can answer the question, you are "familiar with" Barack's appearance.  (the synonym "acquainted" is probably the most relevant here).  Have you seen him in person?  I doubt it.

Now, the only definition that applies here (as the only definition of familiar that uses the word "with") is the second one.  That is

Quote
well-acquainted; thoroughly conversant: to be familiar with a subject.
Oh, let's look at conversant
Quote
familiar by use or study (usually followed by with): conversant with spanish history.
Why look at that.  You can become familiar with something by studying it.



Note that nowhere in the rules text does it say anything about physically seeing one.  You just made that up.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on March 11, 2011, 01:53:50 PM
OT: I'm a yank, and I'm familiar with Manchester United.

I've also played an absurd amount of EVE in euro-based corps, though, due to my work schedule.

Edit: Actually, that IS on-topic. I've never left north america, I don't follow any sports of any kind (including the Super Bowl or the misnamed World Series), and yet I can still educate those near me about ManU in a fairly decent manner. Oshit knowledge checks fuckyeah.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on March 11, 2011, 02:33:26 PM
You're arguing semantics :P
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 07:22:58 PM
I just dropped the definition of the word familiar on you. The DEFINITION, and it says that your definition of familiar is wrong.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: TenaciousJ on March 11, 2011, 07:34:25 PM
Your entire argument can be subverted with some fluff in a character's backstory.  What are you trying to accomplish in a handbook thread exactly?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 07:43:00 PM
Your entire argument can be subverted with some fluff in a character's backstory.  What are you trying to accomplish in a handbook thread exactly?

What I wanted to do with discuss ways around the limitation that the definition of the word familiar throws at the druid. There were some very good suggestions, and then there were Troglodytic basement dwellers that are unknowing of the word familiar.

And as it turns out, according the the definition of the word familiar, my interpretation of the rule is incorrect. You actually have to study the thing in question so that it become well known or acquainted with the druid. And no matter how you fucking pull at these strings, you aren't acquainted with anything unless you meet it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: oslecamo on March 11, 2011, 07:46:55 PM
Note that nowhere in the rules text does it say anything about physically seeing one.  You just made that up.

Actually, on Scrying:

Knowledge /   Will save modifier

1. You must have some sort of connection to a creature you have no knowledge of.

None /     +10
Secondhand (you have heard of the subject) /    +5
Firsthand (you have met the subject) /    +0
Familiar (you know the subject well) /   -5


As you can see, D&D considers that "familiar" demands even more than just meeting the subject, and much more than just having heard of it on some book or tale.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Faithless tbe Wonder Boy on March 11, 2011, 07:47:26 PM
This is a stupid argument, and it should probably stop.  Generally, once someone starts bringing out dictionary definitions, that's a good sign that the conversation has degraded far beyond the point where there will be any resolution.  It's like Godwin's Law for D&D forums.

"Familiar" is a term that can have a lot of different meanings, and the PHB didn't clarify it enough to definitely say what does or does not count as familiar for a druid.  So I guess it depends on the DM?  RAW is unclear, RAI is basically impossible to determine now that 3.5e isn't supported anymore.

If you are playing in a game where the DM takes familiar to mean "actually interacted with", then your best bet is probably to use the Summon spells.  By the time you can Wild Shape worth a damned, you can probably summon those creatures anyhow, unless you're dealing with Dragon Wild Shape and similar things.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 08:47:37 PM
I fucking love you, Oslecamo
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 11, 2011, 09:24:33 PM
Teleport sets "very familiar" as meaning somewhere you feel at home, so maybe you can't Wild Shape unless you truly feel you are a fleshraker trapped in a human body. However, it acknowledges "studied carefully" as a higher degree of familiarity than "seen casually" or "seen once", so Knowledge seems more applicable than just seeing something a few times if we're willing to compromise on lower degrees of familiarity.

Alternately, it might mean that a druid can't use Wild Shape to turn into anything unless he uses the Urban Companion ACF to obtain it as a familiar. That's a pretty major use of the term "familiar" in D&D rules, right?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on March 11, 2011, 09:32:12 PM
Quote
Dwarves are familiar with valuable items of all kinds, especially those made of stone or metal.

Quote
Gnomes are innately familiar with illusions of all kinds.

Quote
Locate Creature
Divination
Level: Brd 4, Sor/Wiz 4
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 10 min./level
This spell functions like locate object, except
this spell locates a known or familiar
creature.
You slowly turn and sense when you are
facing in the direction of the creature to be
located, provided it is within range. You
also know in which direction the creature
is moving, if any.
The spell can locate a creature of a specific
kind (such as a human or a unicorn)
or a specific creature known to you. It
cannot find a creature of a certain type
(such as humanoid or animal). To find a
kind of creature, you must have seen such
a creature up close (within 30 feet) at least
once.
Running water blocks the spell. It
cannot detect objects. It can be fooled by
mislead, nondetection, and polymorph spells.
Material Component: A bit of fur from a
bloodhound.

Quote
Sending
Evocation
Level: Clr 4, Sor/Wiz 5
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 10 minutes
Range: See text
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round; see text
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
You contact a particular creature with
which you are familiar and send a short
message of twenty-five words or less to the
subject. The subject recognizes you if it
knows you. It can answer in like manner
immediately. A creature with an Intelligence
score as low as 1 can understand
the sending, though the subject’s ability to
react is limited as normal by its Intelligence
score. Even if the sending is received,
the subject is not obligated to act upon it in
any manner.
If the creature in question is not on the
same plane of existence as you are, there is
a 5% chance that the sending does not
arrive. (Local conditions on other planes
may worsen this chance considerably, at
the option of the DM.)
Arcane Material Component: A short piece
of fine copper wire.

Example uses of the word 'familiar' in the Player's Handbook. Dwarves can probably operate the most complex machinery, assuming it's valuable to them. Gnomes probably know everything, because they innately know all kinds of illusions, including, say, an illusory copy of a parchment 'learn how to speak druidic in 12 days'. In Locate Creature, familiar = seen a creature from 30ft away, so get your friends to cast figments of creatures (gnomes fit perfectly, since they have an innate knowledge of all kinds of illusion) and just get within 30ft of it, to gain familiarity; you don't gain a will disbilief roll, because you won't study it carefully or interact with it in any way, so it's real enough for you to gain familiarity.

Are these arguments dumb? Yes. Are these arguments RAW? Probably. Will your DM throw books at you if you use them? Definitely.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 11, 2011, 10:24:25 PM
Like I said before. Good thing I'm not your DM
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Dictum Mortuum on March 11, 2011, 11:24:36 PM
Like I said before. Good thing I'm not your DM

Anyone reading my post would probably understand that I wouldn't use arguments such as these, in a normal game. Thus, since you don't understand me, I'm happy you're not my DM.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 12, 2011, 12:39:46 AM
Dwarves are innately familiar with valuable items of all kind, especially those made of stone or metal, so upon seeing an item they would know whether it was made well or not, instead of a human saying "That was a well put together stone door." The Dwarf has no idea if it is or not based on the off handed comment of a Human, but if he LOOKED at it, yeah, he would probably know.

Gnomes are familiar with illusions of all kinds. So a Gnome Druid would more readily be able to see through the tricks of a Simulacrum Dire Tiger and be able to say "that tiger is bullshit, it ain't real" and based on that alone, they wouldn't be able to take the form, but thank God he knew it was fake, cause that would have turned bad really fast for a 4th level adventuring party.

Locate Creature locates a familiar creature, as in one the Arcane spellcaster knows well enough, as in one the arcane spellcaster has met, and therefore familiar with, so the spell would fail against an offhand description of Hallister Blackcloak, cause that dude never leaves Undermountain, but Elminster would be able to Locate Creature on him no problem, cause he's familiar with him. (If my Faerun lore is wrong, don't hate)

Elminster can use Sending to send a message to Storm Silverhand, but Wizard Noname Schmuck cannot, cause Elminster KNOWS Storm, and is therefore familiar, but Noname Schmuck cannot.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: wotmaniac on March 12, 2011, 01:53:14 AM
good god .... this is starting to get as bad as the "what kind of ability is spellcasting" argument on the Fuck you casters thread. :nonono

and, sadly, I have contributed to both.  :(
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on March 12, 2011, 01:59:23 AM
Again

Quote
Quote from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/familiar
well-acquainted; thoroughly conversant: to be familiar with a subject.
Oh, let's look at conversant

Quote
familiar by use or study (usually followed by with): conversant with spanish history.
Why look at that.  The dictionary says you can become familiar with something by studying it.

Or lets look at a definition of "familiar with" in particular, since you apparently can't differentiate between "familiar to", "a familiar of", "familiar towards", and "familiar with", despite the fact that English is a highly contextual language, and the difference between turning someone in and turning them on is crucial.

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/familiar+with
Quote
familiar with someone or something
to have a good knowledge of someone or something. (*Typically: be ~; become ~; get ~.) Are you familiar with changing a flat tire? I can't speak German fluently, but I'm somewhat familiar with the language.

Do I have a good knowledge of polar bears with my fifteen ranks of knowledge:nature?  I would certainly hope so.

Let's check another dictionary of english idioms to make sure we're using "familiar with" correctly
Quote from: http://www.americanidioms.net/familiar-with-%28someone-or-something%29/
familiar with (someone or something)
What does familiar with (someone or something) mean?   
to have knowledge of someone or something   
My friend is familiar with the streets in the city and can drive there easily.
Yep, looks like that's the idiom.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 12, 2011, 07:43:31 AM
Fuck this. I don't care if you don't agree that's how I'll DM it anyways. Good thing we don't have to game with each other.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 21, 2011, 09:56:46 PM
I was stoned last time, but I'm back and sober. Although a little drowsy.

Well the same definition in your first example uses the word acquainted. And since these words have multiple definitions one can say that acquainted means that you've met someone or something, as in a mutual friend with whom you've become acquainted but don't really know. Furthermore the word conversant has a second definition, albeit archaic. "Archaic . having regular or frequent conversation;  intimately associating; acquainted." So using that, since we are in the realm of definitions, one can say that to be thoroughly conversant as you state, that one would have to meet or see the thing one is trying to become conversant with.

Second example. "Are you familiar with changing a flat tire?" Well from what we've discussed one can say that you're not familiar with it until you've done it, sure you can read about it, and you might know how to do it on your car, just like you might know how to change into a brown bear, but you're not quite sure where to place the jack on this different vehicle because you've never done it before. Sure you know the basics, but it ain't quite enough for familiarity until you've done it, then you're good to change that particular tire a million times. A druid can change into a brown bear, and he knows polar bears exist, but he can't change into it because he's never seen one to study it, to become familiar, thoroughly conversant. Just like I have no fucking idea how to change the tire of an 18 wheeler but I can change the tire on my car.

Third example. "My friend is familiar with the streets and can drive there easily." Yeah, because he's done it before. I sure as hell don't know how to drive downtown Manhattan, I live in California, but I can get you to Concord easy. Sure, I can get a map, I can study the map too, just like I can study Algebra, but unless you DO IT, then you don't really know anything about the streets of Manhattan, do you?

Look, the reason I interpret the rules like this is very simple. The druid has some OP feats, like Dragon wild shape at 12th level that allows the druid to gain 19 Nat. Armor and total concealment so long as it isn't broad daylight out and a breath weapon that bestows negative levels. HOLY FUCK THAT'S POWERFUL! Now am I to grant a 12th level druid the ability to turn into that just because he know's what it is? Let's say he doesn't have the requisite knowledge score. Can he turn to a more powerful wizard and say "Teach me about Shadow Dragons so I can turn into one." Would that count? Cause that's fucked up. If one of the NPCs in your campaign is a very friendly old wizard that's seen some shit in his life and is willing to talk about what he knows of dragons to your druid then a 12th level druid now has an arsenal of ALL DRAGONS.

What about Cold wild shape or whatever it's called from Frostburn? Suddenly the party has a 12 headed cryohydra as their best friend that can spew 36D6 worth of breath weapons every 1D4 rounds? Not on my watch.

My argument is about having your cake and eating it too, sometimes you just can't do it, unless you know how to bake cakes.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on March 21, 2011, 10:04:33 PM
And yet, you can be familiar with baking from memorizing hundreds of recipes without having cooked a cake in your life...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 21, 2011, 10:47:42 PM
That's not the point of the saying, fool!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Faithless tbe Wonder Boy on March 21, 2011, 10:59:53 PM
Doc, if you were my DM I wouldn't argue that for a second - it's a reasonable interpretation of the PHB's text.  I might ask for some thematic exceptions, and I would hope that summoning a creature could establish familiarity, but again, it's not unreasonable.

That being said, it's also not RAW - any more than it is RAW to say that a Knowledge check DC XX will establish familiarity.  Both are reasonable ways to interpret a vaguely worded piece of text that may have been added in to give some fluff to the class feature, and may have been added in as a balance.  Heck, it may have even be left vaguely worded so that DMs can make the call themselves.  And you can pull a million definitions from the dictionary, but it won't change that.  The only thing that would is an official ruling, and again, that ain't gonna happen.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on March 22, 2011, 12:09:12 AM
Diplomacy solves this, argument or not.

Druid - "O hai, I can haz Polymorphez?"
-rolls a OVA 9000! Diplomacy check-

NPC Weezarde - "Kkies, u can haz Polymorphez!  Wantez Shepchenj 2?  lol!!1!1one!eleven!"

Problem solved!  In fact, diplomacy solved the argument, no less, and ironically.

Point being, it's a false restriction with plenty of ways around it, and if the DM is being a douchebag for the sake of being a douchebag by neutering the main reason 99.99% of players play a druid, the game in question has bigger fish to fry than "animal familiarity."
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 22, 2011, 02:46:32 AM
Look, the reason I interpret the rules like this is very simple. The druid has some OP feats, like Dragon wild shape at 12th level that allows the druid to gain 19 Nat. Armor and total concealment so long as it isn't broad daylight out and a breath weapon that bestows negative levels. HOLY FUCK THAT'S POWERFUL! Now am I to grant a 12th level druid the ability to turn into that just because he know's what it is? Let's say he doesn't have the requisite knowledge score. Can he turn to a more powerful wizard and say "Teach me about Shadow Dragons so I can turn into one." Would that count? Cause that's fucked up. If one of the NPCs in your campaign is a very friendly old wizard that's seen some shit in his life and is willing to talk about what he knows of dragons to your druid then a 12th level druid now has an arsenal of ALL DRAGONS.

Under your rule, what's preventing him from asking the friendly old wizard to polymorph into a shadow dragon wyrmling so he can study it? There's no expensive material component and the friendly old wizard is already spending plenty of time to educate the druid about dragons anyway.

Also, Frozen Wild Shape doesn't give Ex or Su abilities, so you'll need something more if you want cryohydra breath. Hydras are still serious beatsticks, but I felt I should mention it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on March 22, 2011, 05:07:46 AM
I posted this notion on another site today in response to a topic about templates on animal companions. On page 35 of the 3.5 Player's Handbook it says (emphasis mine) "A 1st-level druid’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted in the sidebar on page 36. As a druid advances in level, the animal’s power increases as shown on the table in the sidebar."

Admittedly, I never paid much attention to those first few words until today. I had always taken for granted the general consensus that druids could not have templated animal companions. However, RAW, I don't see why a 2nd level druid could not take a templated companion . . . unless there is some errata or other official ruling.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: DocWarlock on March 22, 2011, 07:35:02 PM
Look, the reason I interpret the rules like this is very simple. The druid has some OP feats, like Dragon wild shape at 12th level that allows the druid to gain 19 Nat. Armor and total concealment so long as it isn't broad daylight out and a breath weapon that bestows negative levels. HOLY FUCK THAT'S POWERFUL! Now am I to grant a 12th level druid the ability to turn into that just because he know's what it is? Let's say he doesn't have the requisite knowledge score. Can he turn to a more powerful wizard and say "Teach me about Shadow Dragons so I can turn into one." Would that count? Cause that's fucked up. If one of the NPCs in your campaign is a very friendly old wizard that's seen some shit in his life and is willing to talk about what he knows of dragons to your druid then a 12th level druid now has an arsenal of ALL DRAGONS.

Under your rule, what's preventing him from asking the friendly old wizard to polymorph into a shadow dragon wyrmling so he can study it? There's no expensive material component and the friendly old wizard is already spending plenty of time to educate the druid about dragons anyway.

Also, Frozen Wild Shape doesn't give Ex or Su abilities, so you'll need something more if you want cryohydra breath. Hydras are still serious beatsticks, but I felt I should mention it.

I agree, Polymorph would work, Scrying would work, Summon Monster spells would work. I've said these things before but the argument is does Knowledge based skills grant familiarity, and I say no cause that's WAY too OP.

Of course my example requires the existence of such an NPC, but I'm sure one could even be paid off by the druid. That's right, bitches, pay cash monies for your druid forms! Also, while Diplomacy is a powerful cheesey skill, and I fucking HATE cheese, the way around diplomacy is simply the "don't give a shit rule". Meaning that the person you're trying to diplomacy at simply doesn't give a shit. Like the Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, that little fucker didn't give two shits about what that little blonde slut had to say.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Gods_Trick on March 22, 2011, 07:52:49 PM

You know, this might be theoretical if theres such a thing as a zoo, especially in a magical world, a zoo that can accomodate a wide, weird variety of animals.

Also, would a book written by a druid for druids provide the necessary familiarity?

Theres just too many options to consider without depending on anecdotal evidence, and honestly, the druid WS'ing into a polar bear is not your problem, its chain-binding Efreets and Nightmares.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 22, 2011, 08:13:36 PM
I agree, Polymorph would work, Scrying would work, Summon Monster spells would work. I've said these things before but the argument is does Knowledge based skills grant familiarity, and I say no cause that's WAY too OP.

But how is it overpowered if it's equally trivial to gain familiarity by other means? Making druids pay a wizard to polymorph for them doesn't restrict their access to powerful forms, it just means they'll buy the most powerful forms and never bother with less powerful forms that might have situational uses and make life more interesting. It also has the thematically-bizarre side effect of making druids dependent on wizards for their powers.

If you think dragon wildshape is overpowered, tell your PCs not to use it or come to an agreement with them about which forms you think are broken.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on March 26, 2011, 03:22:26 PM
I posted this notion on another site today in response to a topic about templates on animal companions. On page 35 of the 3.5 Player's Handbook it says (emphasis mine) "A 1st-level druid’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted in the sidebar on page 36. As a druid advances in level, the animal’s power increases as shown on the table in the sidebar."

Admittedly, I never paid much attention to those first few words until today. I had always taken for granted the general consensus that druids could not have templated animal companions. However, RAW, I don't see why a 2nd level druid could not take a templated companion . . . unless there is some errata or other official ruling.

Bumping this to see if I'm off in Lala Land.  I haven't seen this notion expressed by anyone other than myself.  But now that I've stumbled on it, it seems like it's copacetic RAW.  Other thoughts?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on March 26, 2011, 07:19:08 PM
Bumping this to see if I'm off in Lala Land.  I haven't seen this notion expressed by anyone other than myself.  But now that I've stumbled on it, it seems like it's copacetic RAW.  Other thoughts?

If you choose to ignore the following sentence where it describes how a druid's companion gains power as he levels up, sure. Beyond that, it's very much a "the rules don't explicitly say I can't" kind of claim.
Title: Re: Equipment
Post by: Torvon on April 08, 2011, 03:33:59 PM
Equipment:
reserved until finished

Om nom nom nom  :D ...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on April 09, 2011, 02:18:02 AM
Bumping this to see if I'm off in Lala Land.  I haven't seen this notion expressed by anyone other than myself.  But now that I've stumbled on it, it seems like it's copacetic RAW.  Other thoughts?

If you choose to ignore the following sentence where it describes how a druid's companion gains power as he levels up, sure. Beyond that, it's very much a "the rules don't explicitly say I can't" kind of claim.

I'm afraid I don't take you're point.  Here's the entire section.  Perhaps you could explain your point.
Quote
Animal Companion (Ex)
A druid may begin play with an animal companion selected from the following list: badger, camel, dire rat, dog, riding dog, eagle, hawk, horse (light or heavy), owl, pony, snake (Small or Medium viper), or wolf. If the campaign takes place wholly or partly in an aquatic environment, the following creatures are also available: porpoise, Medium shark, and squid. This animal is a loyal companion that accompanies the druid on her adventures as appropriate for its kind.

A 1st-level druid’s companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below. As a druid advances in level, the animal’s power increases as shown on the table. If a druid releases her companion from service, she may gain a new one by performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of prayer. This ceremony can also replace an animal companion that has perished.

A druid of 4th level or higher may select from alternative lists of animals. Should she select an animal companion from one of these alternative lists, the creature gains abilities as if the character’s druid level were lower than it actually is. Subtract the value indicated in the appropriate list header from the character’s druid level and compare the result with the druid level entry on the table to determine the animal companion’s powers. (If this adjustment would reduce the druid’s effective level to 0 or lower, she can’t have that animal as a companion.)
  I'm not seeing what you think prohibits templated animals other than at first level.   I see how the animal would progress, but not what your describing.  I'd appreciate any light you can shed. 


Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on April 09, 2011, 02:26:45 AM
Is your templated animal on one of the alternative lists?  If it isn't, you can't pick it up.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CrimsonDeath on April 09, 2011, 02:39:58 AM
Basically, when you have a class feature, you get what it says you get, and you don't get what it doesn't say you get.

When you get an animal companion at level 1, it's a normal animal off the list, and it gets the bonuses from the first line of the animal companion chart.  As you gain levels, he gets more benefits from farther down the chart.

When you gain "a new one", nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not.  As you advance in level, you can get animals off a different list and take a penalty to your effective druid level before consulting the chart to see what other benefits it gains.  Nothing says it's different in any other way from your first animal companion, so it isn't.

Nothing stops you from applying an acquired template to an animal companion during the game, if you have a way to apply it (a spell, ritual, item, quest, or whatever).  If the ritual upsets the companion (enough that it stops wanting to be your friend) or changes its type to something other than animal, then it might voluntarily leave or become ineligible as an animal companion, depending on the template in question or the manner in which it was applied, but that's probably largely the realm of DM discretion.

Without an alternate class feature (like Phynxkin Companion, from Dragon Magic, for instance) or a particular spell or ritual, there isn't a specific way to attract an animal with an inherited or acquired template, so it doesn't happen.

In summary: "The book doesn't say I can't" isn't valid optimization.  Aside from typical activities like walking and breathing, the books generally describe what you can do and how well you can do it, since such descriptions are more succinct than a list of all the things you can't do.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on April 09, 2011, 05:12:23 AM
Thanks so much for this thoughtful analysis.  Let me consider what you've said more carefully below.

Basically, when you have a class feature, you get what it says you get, and you don't get what it doesn't say you get.
This seems like a good starting place.  While I agree with this, I would not say, nor do I think you would say, that the only place to look for how to interpret the rules of any given class feature is only in the text at that class feature.  For instance, the description of the cleric's and sorcerer's class ability to cast spells have a great deal of information, but say nothing at all about metamagic, as does the wizard's class description.  We would all likely agree clerics and sorcerers can use metamagic because of how metamagic feats are described in other rules.  (I do understand that the rules around metamagic an templates are different, but I am using this as an example of how we get rules information about the class abilities from the class descriptions, which may be altered by other rules or mechanics in the game.)

Quote
When you get an animal companion at level 1, it's a normal animal off the list, and it gets the bonuses from the first line of the animal companion chart.  As you gain levels, he gets more benefits from farther down the chart.
  This too I agree with.  The description says that a "1st-level druid's companion is completely typical for its kind except as noted below."  For first level druids this is completely unambiguous.  Of course, what I find interesting is that the text as written appears to limit the restriction to druids of first level.  It would have been easy and not awkward to describe the class ability in ways that unambiguously limit the companion to being normal at all levels.  For instance, "Animal companions are completely typical for their kind excepts as noted below." or "Beginning at first level a druid may summon an animal companion that is completely typical of its kind except as noted below." . . . etc. etc.  But it doesn't say these things.  In fact, the reference to "1st-level" is completely unnecessary as you've interpreted it, because the prior paragraph identifies that the druid begins play with a companion from the list of animals there--so we've already been told that a druid may gain a companion from the get go.  One could tenably--and I would argue reasonably--conclude that the inclusion of the "1st-level" modifier here is purposively there to do what what I'm suggesting, limiting the typicality of the companions to first level druids.  Why this is a rule, I can't tell you.  But, to me, it appears the stronger of the interpretations, RAW.

Quote
When you gain "a new one", nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not.  As you advance in level, you can get animals off a different list and take a penalty to your effective druid level before consulting the chart to see what other benefits it gains.  Nothing says it's different in any other way from your first animal companion, so it isn't.
  This is where we have a parting of the ways.  I think the text indeed says quite clearly that the limitation of being "completely typical for its kind" applies specifically to "1st-level" druid companions, no matter how many she gains at the first level.  Moreover, based on your proposition/interpretation ("When you gain 'a new one', nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not"), a druid would not be able, at least until fourth level, to gain an eagle when she first chose a riding dog because nothing in the rules says you can select anything "different from your first one."  While I suppose there are good flavor/story reasons to interpret the rules this way, I don't think that's what the rules say.   

I do agree that the druid can gain animals off a different lists as she advances.  But, as I've indicated, I think the RAW clearly focuses the typicality limitation on druids of the first level, rather than druids as a class. 

Quote
Nothing stops you from applying an acquired template to an animal companion during the game, if you have a way to apply it (a spell, ritual, item, quest, or whatever).  If the ritual upsets the companion (enough that it stops wanting to be your friend) or changes its type to something other than animal, then it might voluntarily leave or become ineligible as an animal companion, depending on the template in question or the manner in which it was applied, but that's probably largely the realm of DM discretion.
  While I agree with your interpretation here, I am not sure how this sits comfortably with your "nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not" proposition.  Be that as it may, we agree that it is possible for a druid to apply an acquired template a companion under the rules.

Quote
Without an alternate class feature (like Phynxkin Companion, from Dragon Magic, for instance) or a particular spell or ritual, there isn't a specific way to attract an animal with an inherited or acquired template, so it doesn't happen.
  Here, I think my proposition is at its weakest.  I agree that nothing in the rules says that you get any say over what type of riding dog you summon: male, female, dire, brown, gentile, warbeast, white, playful, etc. You just get to choose an animal off the list.  I think that any of those characteristics does not change the animal's species. 

Quote
In summary: "The book doesn't say I can't" isn't valid optimization.  Aside from typical activities like walking and breathing, the books generally describe what you can do and how well you can do it, since such descriptions are more succinct than a list of all the things you can't do.
  No need for you to conclude with a straw man here, as I haven't proposed that the absence of a prohibition makes the rule argument.  What I have said is that given the RAW language about "1st-level" druids being limited to typical companions, I have not seen a rule that augments, expands, or interprets this at all.  So, while it may be poorly drafted and a bad notion, we are left with a rule that overtly singles out only first-level druids.  But, you are certainly welcome to infer that this rule applies to druids at other levels under the "nothing says it's any different" principle.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CrimsonDeath on April 09, 2011, 08:03:39 AM
For instance, the description of the cleric's and sorcerer's class ability to cast spells have a great deal of information, but say nothing at all about metamagic, as does the wizard's class description.
This is a very poorly worded four terms fallacy (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FourTermsFallacy).  You're comparing a "class ability" to a "class description".  If you want to compare a "class ability" (more properly a class feature) to something, let's compare it to the same thing.

Specifically, consider the "Spells" class feature.  The Wizard's "Spells" ability gives him a certain number of spell slots, a certain number of spells known, and a means of storing spells known in spell slots so he can expend them later to accomplish whatever the spell in question accomplishes (and places certain restrictions on when this can be done, under what circumstances, and what spells among those avialable can be learned and prepared).  There is no mention of metamagic.  (There is a mention of spellbooks.  If we look at the "Spellbook" class feature, it clarifies how many spells a Wizard knows and where he gets them, but still fails to mention metamagic.)

Now let's look at the Cleric's "Spells" class feature.  It's very simiilar to the Wizard entry, except for a few details, and that rather than a spellbook, it references "Chaotic, Good, Evil, and Lawful Spells" and "Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells".  None of these class features mention metamagic either.

Finally, let's look at the Sorcerer's "Spells" class feature.  It's pretty similar to the last two.  The biggest difference is that rather than storing known spells inside spell slots at ahead of time, he does so when he casts it.  Thankfully, it don't reference another class feature-- all the rules for what spells a sorcerer can learn, know, and cast are right there in the "Spells" class feature with no further clarification.

Now, returning to the wizard, let's look at the "Bonus Feats" class feature.  It's very similar to the Fighter's "Feats" class feature, in that both grant the respective characters additional feats above and beyond those that accrue with hit dice.  The main differences are how many additional feats are gained, when they are gained, and the list of feats that may be acquired in this manner.  However, every character gets feats.  The Fighter and Wizard simply get more of them.  The way feats work is that, once you have it, it either improves one of your traits or lets you do something that you couldn't do before.  Normally, nobody can use metamagic, but if Jim the Wizard (or Mike the Sorcerer or Steve the Cleric) takes a metamagic feat, he can.  Similarly, under normal conditions, nobody can subtract from their weapon attack rolls to increase their weapon damage rolls, but if Kevin the Fighter (or Alex the Barbarian or even Jim the Wizard) takes Power Attack, they can.

And actually, Kevin the Fighter could take metamagic feats if he wanted-- the core ones have no prerequisites.  He just has no "Spells" class feature that would permit him to benefit from the feat.  Even if he knows, hypothetically, how to modify a spell to operate differently, he doesn't know any spells to modify or have any spell slots from which to cast them.

Of course, what I find interesting is that the text as written appears to limit the restriction to druids of first level.  It would have been easy and not awkward to describe the class ability in ways that unambiguously limit the companion to being normal at all levels.  For instance, "Animal companions are completely typical for their kind excepts as noted below." or "Beginning at first level a druid may summon an animal companion that is completely typical of its kind except as noted below." . . . etc. etc.  But it doesn't say these things.  In fact, the reference to "1st-level" is completely unnecessary as you've interpreted it, because the prior paragraph identifies that the druid begins play with a companion from the list of animals there--so we've already been told that a druid may gain a companion from the get go.  One could tenably--and I would argue reasonably--conclude that the inclusion of the "1st-level" modifier here is purposively there to do what what I'm suggesting, limiting the typicality of the companions to first level druids.  Why this is a rule, I can't tell you.  But, to me, it appears the stronger of the interpretations, RAW.
My guess would be that the text went through multiple revisions and the editors felt that the intent was clear enough, or didn't anticipate your interpretation.  Yes, a lot of class features start with "Beginning at X level..." or, for those available at first level, "A Y can..."

But the Druid isn't alone in this awkward wording.  Consider the Barbarian's "Rage" class feature (the last paragraph, beginning at the second sentence):

"At 1st level he can use his rage ability once per day.  At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level)."  (bold mine)

Given your reading, we have no idea how often or even whether a Barbarian can rage at 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, or 19th level.  We just lack that information.  Perhaps they should have started with "Beginning at 1st level..." or simply "He can..."  Do you really think the writers intended the Barbarian to go without this iconic class feature for nearly 3/4 of his career?  Or did they intend for him to have unlimited access to the ability at those levels?  Or, like most class features, is he intended to gain access to it as described and continue to make use of it in that manner until further descriptions modify it?

Do you really want to steal from the Barbarians to give to the Druids?

Moreover, based on your proposition/interpretation ("When you gain 'a new one', nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not"), a druid would not be able, at least until fourth level, to gain an eagle when she first chose a riding dog because nothing in the rules says you can select anything "different from your first one."  While I suppose there are good flavor/story reasons to interpret the rules this way, I don't think that's what the rules say.
That's clearly not what the rules say, and I'd like to thank you for providing an excellent example of one of my points above.  I didn't read what I'd written and think about it carefully enough, and I didn't anticipate the manner in which you interpreted it.  When I said it's "not any different", perhaps I should have said "it follows the same rules outlined for acquiring the original".  Being forced to recruit an animal of the same kind as an earlier companion is in contradiction of the rules, since you are explicitly permitted to attract an animal companion "selected from the following list" (bold mine).  What I also meant when I said it's "not any different" is that no new procedure is listed for generating companions that weren't available at 1st level (except the expanded list of kinds of animals available to higher-level druids).  Until new options are added, only the original options are available.

While we're on the subject, if a 2nd level Druid's companion (and, by extension, a 4th level Ranger's) isn't "typical for its kind" (aside from those traits gained from the chart), in what ways is it "atypical"?  Does it generate ability scores like a PC?  Is it strange colors?  Does it breathe fire?  Is it a creature type other than Animal?  Does it have an unusual selection of feats?  Just like the level 2 Barbarian, we have no idea.

While I agree with your interpretation here, I am not sure how this sits comfortably with your "nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not" proposition.  Be that as it may, we agree that it is possible for a druid to apply an acquired template a companion under the rules.
The way it sits comfortably is that the "Animal Companion" class feature only describes the traits of an animal with with the Druid "may begin play" or "may gain a new one".  Once play has begun or a new companion has been gained, other events may modify the companion's traits.  The class feature only describes the companion when it enters play.

No need for you to conclude with a straw man here, as I haven't proposed that the absence of a prohibition makes the rule argument.  What I have said is that given the RAW language about "1st-level" druids being limited to typical companions, I have not seen a rule that augments, expands, or interprets this at all.
My apologies if I offended you.  I wasn't trying to construct a straw man argument in my earlier post.  (I'm still not trying to offend you.  If I seem excessively specific, it's because I'm trying to develop a clear, logically sound argument without excessively broad interpretations or ambiguous phrasing.)  However, it kind of sounded like that's exactly what you were doing.  Maybe experienced Druids aren't restricted to "typical" animals, but without knowing what makes their potential companions atypical, we don't know definitively how to generate properly atypical animals for use as companions.  From what I can tell, this leaves us either continuing to generate typical animals, which we know how to do, or the madness of every option ever (perhaps 36-point-buy advanced pseudonatural half-dragon magebred war badgers-- and no, I didn't actually check to see if such a creature can legally exist).  I don't necessarily think that's where you, specifically, were going with this, but there are a lot of weird people around.

Okay, I suppose there's also the option of resigning ourselves to being unable to generate companions for experienced Druids, but at the rate I've seen Druids go through companions, that would make for a lot of lonely Druids very early in their careers.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on April 09, 2011, 01:17:48 PM
Again, I appreciate your thoughtful response and the time you took to make it.  Let me share some of my thoughts below. 
For instance, the description of the cleric's and sorcerer's class ability to cast spells have a great deal of information, but say nothing at all about metamagic, as does the wizard's class description.
This is a very poorly worded four terms fallacy (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FourTermsFallacy).  You're comparing a "class ability" to a "class description".  If you want to compare a "class ability" (more properly a class feature) to something, let's compare it to the same thing.

Specifically, consider the "Spells" class feature.  The Wizard's "Spells" ability gives him a certain number of spell slots, a certain number of spells known, and a means of storing spells known in spell slots so he can expend them later to accomplish whatever the spell in question accomplishes (and places certain restrictions on when this can be done, under what circumstances, and what spells among those avialable can be learned and prepared).  There is no mention of metamagic.  (There is a mention of spellbooks.  If we look at the "Spellbook" class feature, it clarifies how many spells a Wizard knows and where he gets them, but still fails to mention metamagic.)

Now let's look at the Cleric's "Spells" class feature.  It's very simiilar to the Wizard entry, except for a few details, and that rather than a spellbook, it references "Chaotic, Good, Evil, and Lawful Spells" and "Deity, Domains, and Domain Spells".  None of these class features mention metamagic either.

Finally, let's look at the Sorcerer's "Spells" class feature.  It's pretty similar to the last two.  The biggest difference is that rather than storing known spells inside spell slots at ahead of time, he does so when he casts it.  Thankfully, it don't reference another class feature-- all the rules for what spells a sorcerer can learn, know, and cast are right there in the "Spells" class feature with no further clarification.

Now, returning to the wizard, let's look at the "Bonus Feats" class feature.  It's very similar to the Fighter's "Feats" class feature, in that both grant the respective characters additional feats above and beyond those that accrue with hit dice.  The main differences are how many additional feats are gained, when they are gained, and the list of feats that may be acquired in this manner.  However, every character gets feats.  The Fighter and Wizard simply get more of them.  The way feats work is that, once you have it, it either improves one of your traits or lets you do something that you couldn't do before.  Normally, nobody can use metamagic, but if Jim the Wizard (or Mike the Sorcerer or Steve the Cleric) takes a metamagic feat, he can.  Similarly, under normal conditions, nobody can subtract from their weapon attack rolls to increase their weapon damage rolls, but if Kevin the Fighter (or Alex the Barbarian or even Jim the Wizard) takes Power Attack, they can.

And actually, Kevin the Fighter could take metamagic feats if he wanted-- the core ones have no prerequisites.  He just has no "Spells" class feature that would permit him to benefit from the feat.  Even if he knows, hypothetically, how to modify a spell to operate differently, he doesn't know any spells to modify or have any spell slots from which to cast them.
I think you've committed a few fallacies here yourself, but I don't want to digress into a forensics debate here.  What I will say is that my only point, and it was a small one, was that aspects of class features are not exclusively found within the description of the class.  I agree that I gave a rather poor example, but I believe that we can agree that, as your earlier post may have suggested, it is not the case that all aspects of class features are described exclusively within the class description.  That is, class descriptions may, and often do, include a nexus to aspects of the game that shape our understanding of the class feature.  I had taken your proposition that "Basically, when you have a class feature, you get what it says you get, and you don't get what it doesn't say you get." to be too blunt an instrument.   

Quote
Of course, what I find interesting is that the text as written appears to limit the restriction to druids of first level.  It would have been easy and not awkward to describe the class ability in ways that unambiguously limit the companion to being normal at all levels.  For instance, "Animal companions are completely typical for their kind excepts as noted below." or "Beginning at first level a druid may summon an animal companion that is completely typical of its kind except as noted below." . . . etc. etc.  But it doesn't say these things.  In fact, the reference to "1st-level" is completely unnecessary as you've interpreted it, because the prior paragraph identifies that the druid begins play with a companion from the list of animals there--so we've already been told that a druid may gain a companion from the get go.  One could tenably--and I would argue reasonably--conclude that the inclusion of the "1st-level" modifier here is purposively there to do what what I'm suggesting, limiting the typicality of the companions to first level druids.  Why this is a rule, I can't tell you.  But, to me, it appears the stronger of the interpretations, RAW.
My guess would be that the text went through multiple revisions and the editors felt that the intent was clear enough, or didn't anticipate your interpretation.  Yes, a lot of class features start with "Beginning at X level..." or, for those available at first level, "A Y can..."

But the Druid isn't alone in this awkward wording.  Consider the Barbarian's "Rage" class feature (the last paragraph, beginning at the second sentence):

"At 1st level he can use his rage ability once per day.  At 4th level and every four levels thereafter, he can use it one additional time per day (to a maximum of six times per day at 20th level)."  (bold mine)

Given your reading, we have no idea how often or even whether a Barbarian can rage at 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 18th, or 19th level.  We just lack that information.  Perhaps they should have started with "Beginning at 1st level..." or simply "He can..."  Do you really think the writers intended the Barbarian to go without this iconic class feature for nearly 3/4 of his career?  Or did they intend for him to have unlimited access to the ability at those levels?  Or, like most class features, is he intended to gain access to it as described and continue to make use of it in that manner until further descriptions modify it?

Do you really want to steal from the Barbarians to give to the Druids?
Not at all.  But what I did do was read both the descriptions of the Druid and the Barbarian in the context in which they were presented and also considered the game mechanics a little differently than you did.   For instance, when I read the description of the Barbarian, I noted that the description of the barbarian rage class ability says quite clearly that "A barbarian can fly into a rage a certain number of times per day." and that the "Table: the Barbarian:" quite straightforwardly shows "rage/1/day" and so forth. It isn't described as a first-level limitation the way the druid's typicality of companion is. 

Quote
Moreover, based on your proposition/interpretation ("When you gain 'a new one', nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not"), a druid would not be able, at least until fourth level, to gain an eagle when she first chose a riding dog because nothing in the rules says you can select anything "different from your first one."  While I suppose there are good flavor/story reasons to interpret the rules this way, I don't think that's what the rules say.
That's clearly not what the rules say, and I'd like to thank you for providing an excellent example of one of my points above.  I didn't read what I'd written and think about it carefully enough, and I didn't anticipate the manner in which you interpreted it.  When I said it's "not any different", perhaps I should have said "it follows the same rules outlined for acquiring the original".  Being forced to recruit an animal of the same kind as an earlier companion is in contradiction of the rules, since you are explicitly permitted to attract an animal companion "selected from the following list" (bold mine).  What I also meant when I said it's "not any different" is that no new procedure is listed for generating companions that weren't available at 1st level (except the expanded list of kinds of animals available to higher-level druids).  Until new options are added, only the original options are available.
I take your point, but don't share your conclusion.  That is, while "it follows the same rules outlined for acquiring the original" is sometimes the case for class features, the language here is quite distinct from other class features, both within and outside of the druid class, and there are, at least to my reading, no other bits of language that clarify this in the text, unlike in the barbarian example you gave above.

Quote
While we're on the subject, if a 2nd level Druid's companion (and, by extension, a 4th level Ranger's) isn't "typical for its kind" (aside from those traits gained from the chart), in what ways is it "atypical"?  Does it generate ability scores like a PC?  Is it strange colors?  Does it breathe fire?  Is it a creature type other than Animal?  Does it have an unusual selection of feats?  Just like the level 2 Barbarian, we have no idea.
AS I indicated earlier, I think this is the thinnest point in my reading.  There are just not a lot f surrounding rules to buffer my interpretation.  Granted, that is not an uncommon occurance in the game . . . that is, that the rules create a structure that requires the DM to do a lot of thinking. 

Quote
While I agree with your interpretation here, I am not sure how this sits comfortably with your "nothing says it's any different from your first one, so it's not" proposition.  Be that as it may, we agree that it is possible for a druid to apply an acquired template a companion under the rules.
The way it sits comfortably is that the "Animal Companion" class feature only describes the traits of an animal with with the Druid "may begin play" or "may gain a new one".  Once play has begun or a new companion has been gained, other events may modify the companion's traits.  The class feature only describes the companion when it enters play.

No need for you to conclude with a straw man here, as I haven't proposed that the absence of a prohibition makes the rule argument.  What I have said is that given the RAW language about "1st-level" druids being limited to typical companions, I have not seen a rule that augments, expands, or interprets this at all.
My apologies if I offended you.  I wasn't trying to construct a straw man argument in my earlier post.  (I'm still not trying to offend you.  If I seem excessively specific, it's because I'm trying to develop a clear, logically sound argument without excessively broad interpretations or ambiguous phrasing.)  However, it kind of sounded like that's exactly what you were doing.  Maybe experienced Druids aren't restricted to "typical" animals, but without knowing what makes their potential companions atypical, we don't know definitively how to generate properly atypical animals for use as companions.  From what I can tell, this leaves us either continuing to generate typical animals, which we know how to do, or the madness of every option ever (perhaps 36-point-buy advanced pseudonatural half-dragon magebred war badgers-- and no, I didn't actually check to see if such a creature can legally exist).  I don't necessarily think that's where you, specifically, were going with this, but there are a lot of weird people around.

Okay, I suppose there's also the option of resigning ourselves to being unable to generate companions for experienced Druids, but at the rate I've seen Druids go through companions, that would make for a lot of lonely Druids very early in their careers.
No offense taken or apologies necessary.  I think we're both trying to get to the bottom of this. , even if we view it differently.  I do agree that my interpretation leaves the DM with having to make more difficult decisions. and that it may just be simpler and certainly more balanced to just leave it at typical.  All in all, I'm confident that the game designers did not realize just how much scrutiny their language would get, because they clearly did not draft with the kind of care we give to interpreting the language.  Generally, the legislative bodies rely on the judicial bodies to fill in the spaces between the bricks.  So, it likely just boils down to bad drafting.  I don't think my interpretation here is untenable, given the RAW.  But, my reading may be too exacting, as I haven't seen anyone else take this tack. 

Again, I do appreciate your colloquy here.

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: nijineko on April 09, 2011, 10:06:54 PM
nice to see a heated discussion manage to more or less stay in the discussion end of things. ^^
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on April 10, 2011, 02:17:36 AM
always best to try to keep things civil when ealing with someone who has "death" in his/her name.   :D  Besides, I just stumbled upon my observation and was really looking for someone to come along and help me think through it. 
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: CrimsonDeath on April 10, 2011, 07:12:19 AM
always best to try to keep things civil when ealing with someone who has "death" in his/her name.   :D  Besides, I just stumbled upon my observation and was really looking for someone to come along and help me think through it. 
His, in this case.  But generally, I prefer to be polite, and even if we are disagreeing, it's reasonably fun to dissect the language of the game like this.

If I did use any logical fallacies earlier, I'd like to know about it, since I like to have clear and correct logic.  The main reason I pointed out the four terms fallacy is because it can be particularly insidious and may crop up accidentally even without the user's knowledge.

The main reason I mentioned the Barbarian was because it had the only class feature I could quickly find that used the "at X level" language rather than "beginning at X level" or "at X level and above", and also uses "can" rather than "gains the ability to".  (Does anyone ever lose the ability to do something without Falling?)  Anyway, I kind of wonder if that particular turn of phrase is used anywhere else aside from Barbarian Rage and Druid Animal Companion.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on April 10, 2011, 08:33:26 AM
(Does anyone ever lose the ability to do something without Falling?) 

If your DM uses the "permanent tradeoff" reading of how devotion feats work, it's possible to lose the ability to turn undead after having had it by cashing in all your uses for devotion-feat uses.

It's also possible to lose class features by ceasing to qualify for them without "falling" as such. For example, if you lose Strength points and fall below 13, you no longer meet the prerequisites for Power Attack and therefore lose its benefits and those of any prestige class that requires Power Attack for qualification (as I recall, anyway).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on April 10, 2011, 02:48:09 PM
Wasn't that "permanent tradeoff" errata'd, so no one had to worry about that anymore?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Benly on April 10, 2011, 10:21:52 PM
Wasn't that "permanent tradeoff" errata'd, so no one had to worry about that anymore?

Was it? I'm just used to there not being any useful errata for anything published after a certain point.  :)

Anyhow, you can still lose ability score points (or lose levels due to failed saves on level drain) so it's possible to lose abilities from them without falling. Not as part of normal advancement, though.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: McPoyo on April 11, 2011, 02:34:07 PM
Wasn't that "permanent tradeoff" errata'd, so no one had to worry about that anymore?

Was it? I'm just used to there not being any useful errata for anything published after a certain point.  :)

Anyhow, you can still lose ability score points (or lose levels due to failed saves on level drain) so it's possible to lose abilities from them without falling. Not as part of normal advancement, though.
Yup. Page 4 of the CC errata:
Quote
Page 51 – Domain Feats
[Substitution]
Replace “permanently sacrificing”
with “expending” in the last line of
the third paragraph.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: snakeman830 on April 16, 2011, 06:47:55 AM
There should be a note in the guide about the various Shifter feats and how they can apply to Druids.  For example, Longtooth Elite says that your bite attacks deal 1 point of Con damage.  Not "your bite attacks while shifting", just "bite attacks".  How many wild shape forms don't have that?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: nijineko on April 18, 2011, 02:01:58 AM
There should be a note in the guide about the various Shifter feats and how they can apply to Druids.  For example, Longtooth Elite says that your bite attacks deal 1 point of Con damage.  Not "your bite attacks while shifting", just "bite attacks".  How many wild shape forms don't have that?

enter the warshaper. ^^
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: pixledriven on April 22, 2011, 12:05:58 AM
Quote from: CrimsonDeath
While we're on the subject, if a 2nd level Druid's companion (and, by extension, a 4th level Ranger's) isn't "typical for its kind" (aside from those traits gained from the chart), in what ways is it "atypical"?

This is a rather unfair question, as the traits gained from the chart are exactly what does make the animal atypical.


The problem you guys are running into is that you are taking one sentence of the ability description, and are examining it in a vacuum.
"It says 'At 1st level...'" does not mean that a 2nd level Druid gets to make his/her own rules, it simply references 'The Beginning'.
It Also states, several times, "see below." Which, is referring to the animal companion sidebar.

It becomes fully fleshed out when you add in the DRUID’S ANIMAL COMPANION sidebar which states:
Quote
A druid’s animal companion is different from a normal animal of its kind in many ways. A druid’s animal companion is superior to a normal animal of its kind and has special powers, as described below.
This is then followed up by a table which outlines exactly how the companion is different, based on the Druid's level.

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Torvon on May 11, 2011, 01:19:53 AM
Quote
Initiate of NaturePGtF: This feat allows you to rebuke animals and plants. You have the ability to control 2HD per class level, which results in quite a few creatures.

I can't find anything that says "2HD per class level" - neither on p. 81 PGTF (feat "Initiate of Nature") nor on p. 160 PHB (rebuke undead).
Where do you have that from?

Thanks
Torvon
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bauglir on May 12, 2011, 02:57:21 AM
On an unrelated matter, War Chitin (Secrets of Xen'drik) costs as much as Full Plate, but is nonmetal (with -1 to its armor bonus and +1 to its max Dex). Could be handy if you ever need to save the gp for dragonhide and don't care so much about +1 AC. It's a minor thing, but when you get to the equipment section, it could come in handy.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: cru on May 12, 2011, 10:00:37 AM
of course, it's a full plate so druids are not proficient
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Tshern on May 12, 2011, 03:14:40 PM
Who cares about the proficiency? Psions aren't proficient with fullplates either, but it doesn't stop them.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Agita on May 12, 2011, 05:55:42 PM
Who cares about the proficiency? Psions aren't proficient with fullplates either, but it doesn't stop them.
Psions are far less likely to have to make attack rolls, though. However, there's an armor enhancement in MIC (not the SRD one) that lets armor meld into your form while still granting armor bonus but, IIRC, not imposing the armor check or movement penalties. I used that on a Dwarf MoMF with like 6 Str wearing a suit of mountain plate without proficiency once. Fun stuff.

EDIT: No, wrong, other way around. Reading the Wild armor enchantment in the SRD, it can be argued that it melds in your form (thus counting as if you weren't wearing it and negating penalties), but you still get the AC bonus.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Bauglir on May 13, 2011, 07:52:04 PM
Huh, yeah, I'd completely forgotten about proficiency. I've always thought the Wild enhancement did give the bonus without penalties, but even if it doesn't, you can still technically have it made of special materials that you can make non-metal armors out of, which can help lower that if you need to. Dragonhide Full Plate doesn't have that capability, at least. Then again, there aren't many of those, so I dunno.
Title: Re: armor
Post by: iconoplast on June 09, 2011, 10:11:58 AM
The equipment section is empty. Here's a start, a discussion about druids and armor.

Full plates and Monk's Belt and Wild Shape

Druids are not proficient with heavy armors. Taking feat sucks. Still, druids might want full plates. There have been suggestions armor melded with body in wild shape (with wild enchantment) does not incur penalties. Maybe. But for now, here are some definitely legal options.

Draconomicon 117: Dragoncraft Armor.  Masterwork version of Dragonhide.  Also grants Energy Resistance 5 to appropriate energy type.  Also also counts as one category lighter.  More expensive than Mithral, but it counts as medium armor. 
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Hairygin on June 19, 2011, 01:42:11 AM
Quote
Quote
Initiate of NaturePGtF: This feat allows you to rebuke animals and plants. You have the ability to control 2HD per class level, which results in quite a few creatures.

I can't find anything that says "2HD per class level" - neither on p. 81 PGTF (feat "Initiate of Nature") nor on p. 160 PHB (rebuke undead).
Where do you have that from?

Thanks
Torvon

2 queries.

1)
I was curious about the "2HD per class level" also. I cannot see anywhere that allows for more than your level in hit dice.

2)
On a related note I have been trying to find a way to Command/Rebuke Vermin and not be Drow or evil.
Here is what I have come up with and I’m wondering if anyone would allow (as a DM) or agree (as a player). Sorry if this has been debated and/or put to rest previously.

Initiate of Nature - PGtoF Feat
"You can rebuke or command animals or plant creatures as an evil cleric rebukes or commands undead."

Child of Winter - ECS Feat
"You can use any druid spell that normally targets animals against vermin as well. A mindless vermin is considered to have an Intelligence score of 2 when dealing with you and can be charmed, calmed, or targeted by wild empathy or similar abilities." - I've added the bold

I think you can see where I am going with this.
Since you can command animals, should you not also be able to command vermin?
I’m am unsure as to what other “similar abilities” Child of Winter would be referring to since Spells and Wild Empathy are the only abilities a Druid has for influencing animals.

By no means would this be a game breaking ability, but rather might add the flavour that many have been looking for. Myself included. Your thoughts and rebuttals are appreciated, but please refrain from any English lessons on the proper meaning and/or origin of the word “similar”. Thank you

Just wanted to add great thread, enjoyed reading through most of it.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: studderingdave on July 20, 2011, 04:53:28 AM
can i get a concise list of books that would be deemed "required" to run a solid druid?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: snakeman830 on July 20, 2011, 04:59:05 AM
can i get a concise list of books that would be deemed "required" to run a solid druid?
Player's Handbook
Monster Manual

There you go ^.^
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: A Common User on July 20, 2011, 07:39:00 AM
can i get a concise list of books that would be deemed "required" to run a solid druid?
Player's Handbook
Monster Manual

There you go ^.^

The two most dangerous books in all the d20 system.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on July 20, 2011, 03:08:20 PM
can i get a concise list of books that would be deemed "required" to run a solid druid?
Player's Handbook
Monster Manual

There you go ^.^

The two most dangerous books in all the d20 system.

Actually, the Dungeon Master's Guide is pretty dangerous aswell.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: studderingdave on July 20, 2011, 03:52:03 PM
would you call druids tier 1 when playing core 3.5?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: PhaedrusXY on July 20, 2011, 03:55:43 PM
would you call druids tier 1 when playing core 3.5?
Yes. In general, anything that's tier 1 only gets stronger (relative to the non-tier 1 stuff) if you limit the game to core only. Cleric might be the exception, as they gain so much from Divine Metamagic that it isn't funny at all... But they still deserve their tier 1 place even in core only (especially evil and/or neutral clerics who can use Animate Dead).

Druids only get marginally better outside core. All they really need to kick ass is their base class features and core spells plus the Natural Spell feat. So the TLDR answer is: Absolutely!
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: studderingdave on July 20, 2011, 03:58:56 PM
ok cool. i dont have access to many books outside of the core 3 so im glad i can still run a solid druid.

Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: IlPazzo on July 25, 2011, 12:18:54 AM
Are there ways to get a very high caster level as a druid?
I don't demand something red wizard broken, but I hope something could be around.

A druid would benefit very much from this, as it has lots of great uncapped spells (just think of owl's insight).
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Agita on July 25, 2011, 12:55:24 AM
Are there ways to get a very high caster level as a druid?
I don't demand something red wizard broken, but I hope something could be around.

A druid would benefit very much from this, as it has lots of great uncapped spells (just think of owl's insight).
Druids can enter Hathran (PGtF) and Halruaan Elder (some Faerun book, not sure which), I believe, both of which grant Circle Magic.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: craig_vondragon on August 06, 2011, 10:20:00 PM
i dont know if this has been answered before but can anyone give me some useful spells for the druid to heal ability drain as i dont seem to see much
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Akalsaris on August 09, 2011, 10:22:10 PM
Hrm, that's a surprising weakness...

Druid
-Sheltered Vitality (SC 4) blocks ability drain
-Summon Nature's Ally IX (PHB 9): Summon a celestial charger, which has Restoration
-Shapechange (PHB 9) can probably get you a form with Restoration as a (Su) ability (or spell-casting if your group rules that way)
-Channel Celestial (BoED Sanctified 4, 7, 9) can likewise probably get you a form with Restoration. Of course, you can't be suffering from ability drain when you cast it...
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: craig_vondragon on August 10, 2011, 06:32:45 PM
thanks, i dont, know why i didnt think of the charger, ive been annoying the dm enough by summoning unicorns and stopping his incorporeal undead from using the touch attack with their circle of prots, glad i can give him more unicorn annoyance
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ikopol on August 31, 2011, 09:56:59 AM
I have to thank for this handbook. My group started a new D&D campaign after a long time playing other rpg's. Now we are back and I decided to play a Druid. It helped me a lot reading guides like this, great work.

I've got some comments.

- Initiate of Nature: I don't get it. Like earlier said in the thread it's only 1 HD per Class Level of controlled animals or plants. Because of the way turning/rebuking works, you can only control a creature with half your hd. So reaching Level 20 you can control 2 creatures (animal/plant type) with each 10 hd. But why should you do so? You've got Charm animal, you've got handle animal, you've got dominate animal. You want shamblind mounds? Cast Shambler! (To command Shamblind Mounds using Iniatiate of nature you have to be at least Druid 16 because they've got 8 hd. Shambler is a 9nth grade spell, so you get it as Druid 17.) I don't think it's useless, but I don't think it's extremely powerful, too.

- Multiattack. Some DM's won't allow it? RAW you can't take it, because you don't fulfill the requirements. I think there was something in the FAQ about learning feats while you fulfill the requirements only through magic items. Considered this, you would have to be in wild shape, assuming an animal form with secondary natural attacks when you level up. So you better be listening to the DM, so you are always wild shaped when he gives XP :lmao.

- Assume Supernatural Ability. I don't understand, what's about this feat. You have to assign it to a supernatural ability when you take the feat. (I am not sure, if you have also to assign the kind of creature whose supernatural ability you want to assume.) You can take more feats to assume more supernatural abilities. What are good choices for supernatural abilities? Animals don't even have supernatural abilities. Where is the hidden power, why it's broken?

- Produce Flame: The handbook relates to the rules for touch spells - holding the charge. This doesn't work, because produce flame is not a touch spell. But I think you could first do your melee touch attacks using produce flame and after these all natural attacks (except the one you used as a hand for produce flame) as secondary attacks. I am thinking it would be better using regular unarmed attacks (gaining extra damage from strength) and then using the natural attacks instead of casting produce flame in wild shape! Applying the rules for touch spells to produce flame would be house-ruling.

- Bite of the Werething: I really don't think it is intended to be used with wild shape, but instead wild shape. When I asked my group (we decide about rules together) about learning Bite of the Werething to use it with wild shape, they laughed about it.

- Companion Spellbond (PHB2). The feats section is missing it, I think it is a must-have if you want your animal companion to be useful in melee while you stay in melee yourself. Espescially if you've got a cat with the pounce ability it will be moving over the battlefield, away from the druid.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Agita on August 31, 2011, 01:24:24 PM
I'm not experienced enough with Druids to answer all of these, but here's the easy ones.

- Multiattack. Some DM's won't allow it? RAW you can't take it, because you don't fulfill the requirements. I think there was something in the FAQ about learning feats while you fulfill the requirements only through magic items. Considered this, you would have to be in wild shape, assuming an animal form with secondary natural attacks when you level up. So you better be listening to the DM, so you are always wild shaped when he gives XP :lmao.
Starting at level eight at the very latest, you can be wildshaped literally 24/7, as you'll have three uses of Wild Shape per day, each of which lasts for 8 hours. Stay in forms with at least three natural attacks until you have the feat - after that, if you want to shift into a form with fewer natural attacks, you'll lose its benefit, but regain it when you shift to a form that qualifies.

- Assume Supernatural Ability. I don't understand, what's about this feat. You have to assign it to a supernatural ability when you take the feat. (I am not sure, if you have also to assign the kind of creature whose supernatural ability you want to assume.) You can take more feats to assume more supernatural abilities. What are good choices for supernatural abilities? Animals don't even have supernatural abilities. Where is the hidden power, why it's broken?
Elementals have supernatural abilities, as do some plants, which a Druid becomes able to Wild Shape into eventually. Alternatively, if you take a PrC or feat that allows you to assume forms other than animals... yeah.

- Bite of the Werething: I really don't think it is intended to be used with wild shape, but instead wild shape. When I asked my group (we decide about rules together) about learning Bite of the Werething to use it with wild shape, they laughed about it.
Why wouldn't they? The spells give a flat enhancement bonus to different stats, which is completely separate from Wild Shape changing your stats altogether.

- Companion Spellbond (PHB2). The feats section is missing it, I think it is a must-have if you want your animal companion to be useful in melee while you stay in melee yourself. Espescially if you've got a cat with the pounce ability it will be moving over the battlefield, away from the druid.
This I agree with. You can definitely arrange to work without it, but it's a very convenient ability, and it's not like a Druid is going to be strapped for feats.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: TenaciousJ on August 31, 2011, 07:06:14 PM

- Bite of the Werething: I really don't think it is intended to be used with wild shape, but instead wild shape. When I asked my group (we decide about rules together) about learning Bite of the Werething to use it with wild shape, they laughed about it.


The rules do not exclude using those spells with wild shape.  Sure you get a goofy looking animal, but they are compatible.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: studderingdave on September 01, 2011, 03:45:13 AM
i am finishing off an 11th level druid for a new campaign where i am more or less babysitting a bunch of newer gamers. i have 60,000GP to spend on items and i am looking for suggestions on what to take. a wisdom buffer seems obvious but what else? im a pretty frail HtH figher with only leather armor, my animal companion is a croc. my feats are standard (natural spells, extra wild shape, initiate of nature, extend spell, 1 open)

thoughts?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: IlPazzo on September 01, 2011, 12:20:49 PM
Drop extra wild shape, and if you wanna keep the flavor get fast wild shape (CD). 4 uses of wild shape /day is already enough since the average campaign has 3 battles and one good chance to use wild shape for utility forms /day, plus some extra from time to time. And you don't need to wild shape in any battle, spells can be enough. Also if you need to wild shape, being able to do that as a movement action instead of a standard one helps, even more when you are babysitting as you don't want to leave the other characters alone for a round. Normal wild shape means that in a round you can wild shape and move. Fast wild shape means you can wild shape and cast a spell, or move, or attack if already at range, or other stuff.

Get a studded leather armor instead. Minimal effort for a slighty better armor.

The croc is a good grappler, but not at level 11. If you don't need it normal sized get a giant crocodile instead. Or even better an allosaurus if you don't want to stick to crocodiles. This is assuming you want a grappler.

I never equipped a druid with 60k gp, so I don't know lots about that.
However, since the druid is not object-intensive as other classes, remember you can buy equipment for your animal companion too. If you keep your normal crocodile, make sure to train him to be a warbeast so you can make him wear a barding (plus some other bonuses), unfortunately training stronger animals may be harder (mostly for background reasons. It's reasonable that you trained the animal you got 7 levels ago, not as much for an animal you got the last level).
Otherwise you can always make him wear other items. Just make sure to buy items that will fit your next animal companion in case it dies or you choose to change it. A collar can be worn by most animals, and wondrous items usually resize automatically.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: BackHandOfFate on October 03, 2011, 01:04:13 PM
I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet because I do not have the time to read all 20ish pages of this thread, but...

Has anyone read Serpent Kingdoms page 85?  

No?  Because when you flip to that page and look up a nice little snake called the "Sewerm".  Why you ask?

IT'S A SMALL SIZED SNAKE WITH 17 STRENGTH AND A +16 racial bonus to grapple.  Auto attaches on a successful bite attack.  Deals auto bite damage each round you are grappled.  Has a Poison that numbs your victim, making him unaware of injury unless he actually spots it(AND making Venomfire exceedingly effective..  "Oh whats that you say I have a huge gaping acidic hole in the back of my head and a snake wrapping around my neck, crushing my windpipe?  LOL ur such a kidder.")  The best part of the poison is that it's a contact poison, secreted from the snakes skin and also delivered from its bite attack.  +8 racial bonus to HIDE, Jump and SWIM (ability to take 10 with swim checks).

This snake has a medium and large sized HD progression.  Small(2HD), Medium(3-4HD), LARGE(5-6HD).  Now, I've read the rules on wildshaping, and it's not clear to me if an 8th level druid can assume the form of an animal in a size that is larger than normal if it meets the requisite HD for the size AND the ability to wildshape into that size.  But, if this is in fact the case, we may be looking at the best Large sized grappler in the game.  If not, this is still definitely the best grappling form at levels 5-7.  This snake effectively grapples as a creature FOUR SIZE CATEGORIES LARGER.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on October 08, 2011, 02:11:38 AM
What do you suppose the highest we could get a druid's wisdom without infinite loops and without cohorts/party members doing some of the lifting?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on October 08, 2011, 02:23:47 AM
^Off the top of my head, only assuming Druid 20:

18 Base
+6 Anthropomorphic Bat
+3 Venerable
+5 Levels
+5 Wish/Tome
+6 Periapt
+1 Faustian Pact
+10 Owl's Insight
=54 Total

What else? ???
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: KellKheraptis on October 08, 2011, 05:40:42 AM
^Off the top of my head, only assuming Druid 20:

18 Base
+6 Anthropomorphic Bat
+3 Venerable
+5 Levels
+5 Wish/Tome
+6 Periapt
+1 Faustian Pact
+10 Owl's Insight
=54 Total

What else? ???

Neutral evil with that feat adding +2 to evil creatures (whatever it was) and ability enhancer adding another +2, netting +12 Enhancement (Necrotic Empowerment) and +14 Owl's Insight, for a total of 66?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: The_Mad_Linguist on October 08, 2011, 07:12:00 AM
^Off the top of my head, only assuming Druid 20:

18 Base
+6 Anthropomorphic Bat
+3 Venerable
+5 Levels
+5 Wish/Tome
+6 Periapt
+1 Faustian Pact
+10 Owl's Insight
=54 Total

What else? ???

Neutral evil with that feat adding +2 to evil creatures (whatever it was) and ability enhancer adding another +2, netting +12 Enhancement (Necrotic Empowerment) and +14 Owl's Insight, for a total of 66?

If you go undead, you get an additional +2 on each spell effect from dragon compendium's fell energy spell.  ("Any numerical bonus granted by a spell modified with this feat increases by +2 for all undead creatures it affects.  This increase does not apply to factors such as range, save DC, healing, or other numerical factors relating to a spell. Only effects described as bonuses gain this benefit. )

Not sure if it overcomes the 'creatures can only get a +5 inherent bonus), but it definitely saves you money on wishes.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on October 09, 2011, 06:43:33 PM
So far, that's not too amazing, given what can be done to some other stats.  I suppose, given the power of Clerics and Druids, that this may be a good thing. Nonetheless, I do wonder if there are ways to boost it higher. It seems as if the Saint/VoP route is slightly less effective than an evil route, at least according to what's been posted so far.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Shiki on October 09, 2011, 07:07:04 PM
Perhaps you could get yourself PAO'd x2 (x3?) just so you get a better base Wis score? W/e.
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: ShriekingDrake on October 28, 2011, 07:27:53 PM
How would that work with PaO?
Title: Re: The Druid Handbook
Post by: Damien_Wilacoth on October 28, 2011, 07:59:26 PM
It doesn't.  You can use that trick to get higher Str, Dex, Con, and Int scores, but both Wis and Cha improvements are off limits with PAO shenanigans.