Author Topic: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?  (Read 11621 times)

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LordBlades

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2010, 11:30:19 AM »
Looking at an ancient night twist vs. 15th level druid, my best bet is that your player neglected the defensive aspect of druid melee.

Many of the very good offensive animal forms suffer from low-ish AC, which means they are pretty vulnerable to damage in the long run. However, the druid has more than enough means to get a respectable Armor Class.
1. Wear armor with wilding clasps on it (or beasthide/wild enhancement). A Dragonhide breastplate with magic vestment from a friendly caster should provide 5(base)+3 enhancement=8 AC(at least)
2. Defensive spells: Halo of Sand (druidic version of shield of faith) gives up to +4 ac, bite of the werebear also provides a healthy amount of natural armor bonus(+7).

So, with these buffs, your Ac would have been 10(base)-1(size)+1(dex)+14(natural)+8(armor)+4 (deflection)=36. Not quite autohit (ancient night twist attacks at +33), but still not impressive. You can get much higher with other wild shape forms though.

The main strength of the druid is it's versatility. Unlike a traditional beatstick, you don't have to play beatstick unless it suits you at that particular time. As you could see, going dire bear vs. that thing isn't a very bright idea. What I would have done was either wild shape into a flying form (legendary eagle or desmodu/dire bat for example) and simply start raining spells and/or summons on it from range. alternatively, if i really had to tank it I would have gone with an ultra defensive form (cave ankylosaurus IIRC has somewhere around 20 natural armor and there are other even better at higher level). and focus on getting hit as little as possible, and still flooding it with summons and/or spells.

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2010, 12:02:27 PM »
I'm just going to bump this to give it a...

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Eldariel

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2010, 01:15:11 PM »
Looking at an ancient night twist vs. 15th level druid, my best bet is that your player neglected the defensive aspect of druid melee.

Many of the very good offensive animal forms suffer from low-ish AC, which means they are pretty vulnerable to damage in the long run. However, the druid has more than enough means to get a respectable Armor Class.
1. Wear armor with wilding clasps on it (or beasthide/wild enhancement). A Dragonhide breastplate with magic vestment from a friendly caster should provide 5(base)+3 enhancement=8 AC(at least)
2. Defensive spells: Halo of Sand (druidic version of shield of faith) gives up to +4 ac, bite of the werebear also provides a healthy amount of natural armor bonus(+7).

So, with these buffs, your Ac would have been 10(base)-1(size)+1(dex)+14(natural)+8(armor)+4 (deflection)=36. Not quite autohit (ancient night twist attacks at +33), but still not impressive. You can get much higher with other wild shape forms though.

The main strength of the druid is it's versatility. Unlike a traditional beatstick, you don't have to play beatstick unless it suits you at that particular time. As you could see, going dire bear vs. that thing isn't a very bright idea. What I would have done was either wild shape into a flying form (legendary eagle or desmodu/dire bat for example) and simply start raining spells and/or summons on it from range. alternatively, if i really had to tank it I would have gone with an ultra defensive form (cave ankylosaurus IIRC has somewhere around 20 natural armor and there are other even better at higher level). and focus on getting hit as little as possible, and still flooding it with summons and/or spells.

Frankly? You should be using Monk's Belt. Combined with Owl's Insight (hour/level), it's easily +13 or more Armor on level 15. Use Greater Luminous Armor from BoED for +8 Armor bonus (and your Lesser Restoration will painlessly remove the ability damage). This alone would place you in 50s AC, way more respectable already. Or, if not using Monk's Belt, at least deploy an Animated Shield. Heck, simple +5 armor and Animated Shield would land you in the 50s. Note that these are all more or less all-day buffs; Owl's Insight takes the largest effort to keep up and more or less using your level 6 slots on Extended versions covers you for ~8 hours rather easily.

Attack, I'm not sure what was the problem but any generic offensive form with some Str buffs, Greater Magic Fangs and Bite should have little trouble hitting AC 36 on level 15. Frankly, more or less the same with the AC too; Armor, Animated Shield (if the party has a Cleric, socializing Magic Vestment in exchange for Barkskin or so could work), cast some buffs on it and it'll have at least mid 40s AC and a decent To Hit.

LordBlades

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2010, 05:17:32 PM »

Frankly? You should be using Monk's Belt. Combined with Owl's Insight (hour/level), it's easily +13 or more Armor on level 15.

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #44 on: October 21, 2010, 05:33:56 PM »
The AC bonus includes wisdom to AC.
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Benly

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2010, 05:34:41 PM »
I only  see mention of Unarmed Damage and AC bonus (which I assume it refers to the Monk's class ability to gain a bonus to AC every few levels). Or am I understanding it wrong?

One popular interpretation is that it includes Wis to AC. Not every DM agrees but it's pretty common and there's a pretty good case to be made for it as I recall.

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #46 on: October 21, 2010, 05:36:30 PM »
Quote
Since monks get WIS to AC, "treated as a monk of 5 levels higher" reads as giving that same benefit unless the DM expressly limits it.
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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #47 on: October 21, 2010, 06:25:26 PM »
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The wearer’s AC and unarmed damage is treated as a monk of five levels higher
Since monks get WIS to AC, "treated as a monk of 5 levels higher" reads as giving that same benefit unless the DM expressly limits it.

Quote from: SRD, Monk
AC Bonus (Ex)
When unarmored and unencumbered, the monk adds her Wisdom bonus (if any) to her AC. In addition, a monk gains a +1 bonus to AC at 5th level. This bonus increases by 1 for every five monk levels thereafter (+2 at 10th, +3 at 15th, and +4 at 20th level).

These bonuses to AC apply even against touch attacks or when the monk is flat-footed. She loses these bonuses when she is immobilized or helpless, when she wears any armor, when she carries a shield, or when she carries a medium or heavy load.

This is what you get when wearing a Monk's Belt.  For a Monk, "Five levels higher" applies to the unarmed damage and gives an additional +1 Armor Class.  It's extremely clear what is being said.
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Eldariel

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #48 on: October 21, 2010, 06:33:20 PM »
I only  see mention of Unarmed Damage and AC bonus (which I assume it refers to the Monk's class ability to gain a bonus to AC every few levels). Or am I understanding it wrong?

One popular interpretation is that it includes Wis to AC. Not every DM agrees but it's pretty common and there's a pretty good case to be made for it as I recall.

Frankly, it ultimately makes little difference. Wild Dragonhide Plate + Heavy Wooden Animated Shield result in very similar AC boost. However, the thing is allowing it to grant Wis-bonus to AC suddenly makes the item worth a dime. As such, I find that interpretation preferable. I've heard of DMs houseruling it but by RAW, it grants the whole Monk "AC Bonus" ability, which includes Wis to AC. And frankly, I can't for the life of me fathom why DMs would nerf a perfectly fair item into unusability for anyone but high level Monk (ergo categorical unusability).

Benly

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #49 on: October 21, 2010, 07:41:46 PM »
Frankly, it ultimately makes little difference. Wild Dragonhide Plate + Heavy Wooden Animated Shield result in very similar AC boost. However, the thing is allowing it to grant Wis-bonus to AC suddenly makes the item worth a dime. As such, I find that interpretation preferable. I've heard of DMs houseruling it but by RAW, it grants the whole Monk "AC Bonus" ability, which includes Wis to AC. And frankly, I can't for the life of me fathom why DMs would nerf a perfectly fair item into unusability for anyone but high level Monk (ergo categorical unusability).

Personally I favor it allowing Wis to AC too - like you say it's more in line with the cost in terms of utility, and the case for it is pretty decent. It's not inarguable RAW, though, and I think characterizing DMs who read it differently as viciously nerf-hungry is somewhat unfair.

Of course, if it's available I also favor having similar items for other stats to AC. Because, y'know, it's not like druids are the class most in need of a boost. :)

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #50 on: October 21, 2010, 07:53:47 PM »
Frankly, it ultimately makes little difference. Wild Dragonhide Plate + Heavy Wooden Animated Shield result in very similar AC boost. However, the thing is allowing it to grant Wis-bonus to AC suddenly makes the item worth a dime. As such, I find that interpretation preferable. I've heard of DMs houseruling it but by RAW, it grants the whole Monk "AC Bonus" ability, which includes Wis to AC. And frankly, I can't for the life of me fathom why DMs would nerf a perfectly fair item into unusability for anyone but high level Monk (ergo categorical unusability).

Personally I favor it allowing Wis to AC too - like you say it's more in line with the cost in terms of utility, and the case for it is pretty decent. It's not inarguable RAW, though, and I think characterizing DMs who read it differently as viciously nerf-hungry is somewhat unfair.

Of course, if it's available I also favor having similar items for other stats to AC. Because, y'know, it's not like druids are the class most in need of a boost. :)

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Godless_Paladin

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #51 on: October 21, 2010, 07:53:57 PM »
With full casting, wild shape, SNA, and an animal companion the Druid class should ROCK in combat.

Meh.  Haven't seen it yet.  We've had a couple of players play Druids, and they just don't even seem like they were a Tier 1 class.

Yes, Natural Spell was taken.  Yes, a good animal companion was chosen (Fleshraker dinosaur).  And yes, good spells (like the Bite series) and wild shape forms are used (like Dire Bear).

It just doesn't seem to all come together for some reason.

I've seen a Druid wildshape into a Dire Bear, charge in to attack, and then be killed in the first round!

So clearly, we are not doing something right.

I've read The Druid Handbook, but it doesn't have a tactical guide on a round by round basis.  Any examples of what works would be terrific.
Do you cast an AoE, then Bite spell, then wildshape, etc.  Our combats last typically in the 3-7 rounds range.

What would be an optimized Druid's spell list?

Thanks for help in advance!

Why are you casting your self-buffs mid-combat?

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #52 on: October 21, 2010, 08:23:04 PM »
...Kung Fu Genius. Think there's one for Cha also.
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Benly

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #53 on: October 21, 2010, 09:25:12 PM »
...Kung Fu Genius. Think there's one for Cha also.

Kung Fu Genius is feat + item, not "a matching item for other stats". And again, it's only for one stat, which is the key stat of the other class least in need of a boost. :)

So yeah, I recommend that if Monk's Belts are around, Kung Fu Genius belts and Martial Arts Superstar belts and, I dunno, Beefy Martial Artist belts should be around too. Just a matter of personal taste.

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #54 on: October 21, 2010, 10:35:01 PM »
The AC bonus includes wisdom to AC.
Just an addendum to this: This fact has been clarified by the Sage. Not that it means much, but still.

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Re: Druids should ROCK in combat - so why don't they?
« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2010, 03:17:10 AM »
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