View Full Version : Starting another campaign: Need Druid advice

10-24-2008, 04:07 AM
About 2 months into our current campaign, one of the players would like to DM. He tends to only DM for about three sessions at which point he loses interest, but I digress...

I have been playing a Monk and have so far seen them to be lacking some firepower and, from what I can tell, have no real role within the group. Since I have been playing something nigh useless, I was wanting to play a Wild Shape Druid who has taken VoP and be semi-powerful.

So, has anyone ever done one of these things before? What kind of animals should a Druid shape into at different levels?

Best of luck

10-24-2008, 12:56 PM
first, a digression. if you feel you have no role in the party, then create one! a monk is good at what? movement. so use that movement for battle field control. set up flanks for the rouge and others. ham up some your characteristics so that your acting as a player is your role. specialize in one of the monk areas. anyway.... ^^

about druids: one has to be really careful with a wild-shaping specialist druid. it is very easy to slow the game to a crawl while you flip through the monster manual(s) and decide. and have to refer constantly to your new stats, whatever they may be.

study carefully the limits of wild-shaping. go download the 3.5 general faq and read all the sections about wild-shaping and the new polymorph rules. it will affect what you can do, and what choices you make.

ideally, and to make your group (and dm) happy with you, you need to do a lot of set up work ahead of time. first off, figure out where your character is from, and what they've been doing. the higher level you start, the more you have to come up with.

why, you ask? the answer is simple. where you come from determines what animals and creatures you can wild shape into. no arctic bears for the druid from the tropics, and so forth. it will make your character much more believable.

once you have a regional origin, pick a selection of animals (and whatever else you qualify for) to be your repertoire. every animal you pick should have it's stats filled out on one of those "animal companion/familiar" mini stat cards you can find and download for free all over the net. this will be your flash card for when your character is in that shape. make sure it has all the adjustments applicable to your character from the base creature.

obviously, the more forms you pick, the more work you have to do when you level, or something else happens to you. you may want to keep a few blank index cards handy to write down temp effects just to make it easy on yourself. (or use a computer)

that should cover your base set-up.

picking stats is easy for a wild-shaping specialist. your str and dex are whatever you wild shape into, but it's a good idea to have a high con. then your casting stat, and then skill stats.

pick skills that you can use in any form, but don't forget to have some useful skills as an humanoid too. spell casting will be limited unless you take the natural spell feat. in which case you need to figure out a way to avoid focuses and the like being absorbed by the wild shape. the same goes with equipment, it will be absorbed, even if the new shape could use it, unless you either take it off and re-don it, use a wilding clasp, or spend some gold to enchant it. note that even these latter two options do not apply to some items and situations.

pick forms that have useful abilities. a wild shaper is a lot like a swiss army character. on the one paw, you'll be able to match many different classes at some of their specialties, so be careful about stepping on feet. on the other paw, you'll be able to fill in for a missing role in the party, or if that character is down for a bit.

some examples include common everyday animals, like a cat, dog, rat, horse, goat, chicken, and so forth. a well acted (disguise and bluff skills!) animal is unnoticeable in a town, village, or... enemy camp. who would suspect one of the horses of untying the rest of the horses? or one of the chickens in the yard of listening into a conversation? or a cat sunning itself in a patch of sun of infiltrating a stronghold?

birds grant mobility and speed, and are also less noticeable. a pigeon can listen to what two people are saying on a bench or street corner without notice or comment. a falcon in a noble's hunting retinue, might pick up all sorts of gossip and inside court information.

then there are your sensory options. you can pick up the (ex) abilities, so look for those that grant low light vision, blindsense, scent, and other sensory skill bonuses.

combat options include things like wolves, apes, great cats (pounce ability for the move-full attack win!), boars, bears, elephants, and the like... subject to what your character has seen and experienced. look for various abilities like tripping, swallowing, trampling, constricting, rending and so forth. (limiting your selection is an important factor in avoiding your dm starting to apply big limitations to your wildshaping, because you can do almost anything.)

eventually elementals provide some seriously nice options.

daggerspell shaper effectively adds weapons to two of your natural attacks. master of many forms specializes in wild shaping and has some useful abilities. warshaper has some invaluable abilities and nice bonuses-but they only apply while you are wildshaping, note. natures warrior also has some nice boosts. note that monk abilites still apply when in wild shape. ^^ (monkey-fu anyone?) there are a few other prestige that have some useful odds and ends. =D

oddly enough, psions and psychic warriors make excellent druidic types. they don't have to take any extra feats to use their abilities in any form. psychic warriors in particular are chock full of buffs that really make a wild-shaper scary.

i have a thread here somewhere where i demonstrated how to build a non-druid wild-shaper, including some very nice psionic options. =D

hope this is of some help. ^^

10-24-2008, 07:28 PM
About 2 months into our current campaign, one of the players would like to DM. He tends to only DM for about three sessions at which point he loses interest, but I digress...

I have been playing a Monk and have so far seen them to be lacking some firepower and, from what I can tell, have no real role within the group. Since I have been playing something nigh useless, I was wanting to play a Wild Shape Druid who has taken VoP and be semi-powerful.

So, has anyone ever done one of these things before? What kind of animals should a Druid shape into at different levels?

Best of luck

first off, nijineko that was an awesome post, seriously, I think you hit pretty much every facet that needed addressing.

secondly what is VoP? know what VoIP is ;)

and we've done wild shaping druids successfully before, one player did a winter/cold themed druid and used Frostburn book to great effect. It was a super powerful outdoors character with a ton of flavour.

10-25-2008, 01:04 AM
vop in this case stands for "vow of poverty" a feat in one of the only two books i outright ban from any game i play in or run.

the basic idea is giving a player who wishes to play an aesthetic type of character who eschews material possessions a way to match the enhanced abilities of the typical magic item laden character. let's face it... d&d as written expects every hero to have some serious magic items. one doesn't have to play that way, of course. but, anyway, that's what it was designed to address.

due to my search in getting my shapeshifting character just the way i wanted him, i did a lot of research on druids, shapeshifting, the problems of shapeshifting, and ways around being a druid. ^^

10-25-2008, 04:19 PM
Yes, VoP is a terrible feat. At higher level, the magic items you get outweigh the rewards of going VoP. However, a Wild Druid that gets no benefits of equipment most of the time gets a huge advantage of getting +5 Armor AC, +3 Natural, +2 Defelection, and +6, +4, +2 to three stats. They won't have more AC than a decked out Fighter, but if they were going to be in Bear/Wolf/Tiger Form, why not grab at some of the benefits? =-)

10-26-2008, 05:25 PM
i understand the design reasoning behind the vow of poverty. i don't really have an issue with the idea of the feat. i've explained elsewhere why i don't happen to like those books. ^^

10-27-2008, 09:20 AM
So what about this character? Who are they, what are they doing and where do they want to be? Where is the character in the character?

Game stats are dry, and a role in the party is made not on stats alone. If you are depending on the stats to "make" the character, you're doing it wrong. Put some flesh and blood on the bones of the numbers.

10-27-2008, 07:40 PM
heh, silly me. i addressed that issue a bit with the monk, and again only partially with the druid! characterization deserves much more treatment.

10-30-2008, 07:08 AM
Ki’Jaedan the Vengeful Druid
STR: 8 (Yes, we use a 40 point system...)
DEX: 8
CON: 12
INT: 16
WIS: 18
CHA: 16

Sacred Vow
Vow of Poverty
Nymph’s Kiss {Bonus Exalted}

Alignment: True Neutral or Neutral Evil with Chaotic tendencies

Back story:

Kil’Jaedan was born Trei Hugha to mercenary parents in the Band of the Hawk. His mother was a typical bar maiden harlot who was constantly drawing men to her while his father was the pinnacle of ignorance and intolerance; a Half-Orc Barbarian by the name of Iggutz. Thanks to some higher powers that Trei never understood, he was born a Human and he was able to suppress his tell-tale ears that would give away his true heritage. Trei was a supreme embarrassment to Iggutz and he was constantly beating down his illegitimate son for his lack of physical prowess. Trei’s mother had abandoned him while he was only 6 and essentially forced him to stay with the Hawks. His father tried to improve Trei, so he would not be a total waste of his father’s seed. Considering that Trei could hardly hold his father’s helmet with his entire body, Iggutz efforts were in vain.
Trei was cast from his cruel and evil father when he was 13 after he was discovered tending to a sick squirrel that had fallen from a tree. Iggutz smashed his son’s hands together has he held the squirrel, in effect putting the blame of killing a defenseless animal of Trei. After being thrown into the camp bonfire by his drunken task-master, much to the delight of the rest of the Hawks, Trei ran off into the woods. Iggutz would later father 6 other children and would die by their revolt. Trei desecrates his grave ever few months for some petty revenge.
As he sat in the freezing woods, barely able to even stand on his own feet after the years of ‘training’ endured by the Hawks, Trei found his way into a cave and passed out; his feet were frostbitten so badly he lost half of his left big toe. When he awoke, he found himself face-to-face with a rather angry looking bear. Trei didn’t even shutter when it rose upon its hind legs, ready to strike. To Trei’s fortune, the bear was actually a Werebear Druid by the name of Ursa.
Ursa would train Trei to utilize all of Nature without prostituting it like average men who are more concerned with how quickly they can obtain more of Nature’s wonders without caring what damage has been caused. Ursa also gave Trei a more fitting name; Kil’Jaedan, meaning “Reckoning Wind” in Sylvan. Ursa would leave Kil’Jaedan at the age of 19, allowing him to explore the world for himself and try to hasten the Overthrow of Man depicted in countless Druidic Prophecies.
Now, I highly doubt that the campaign is going to happen; this is more of a backup for if it actually does happen or if my 'Warder' is killed in the other campaign (we have a 2 character per campaign policy, Start a new character at the same level if you wish when your main is killed). Kil'Jaedan is a total Mother Nature Anarchist; who despises steel and other kinds that pillage from the earth, this his VoP.
He would spend his money giving it to organizations that hold his similar qualities, be they terroristic or lawful good, and I would probably try to convince the GM to allow me to hire peasants to plant trees throughout the area for some wages and hire some guards to protect the workers. Than, if the town decides to try and kill me or my group, I highly doubt that the men that are being paid very decently by me would raise their shovels in anger.

So far, I have no idea what climate/geographic location he would be from because it is not clear cut what campaign he'll be used in. Until level 5, he will be nearly useless except for the fact that he's spells will be as difficult to resist as a Wizard's because of his Wisdom.

Of course, if anyone has any idea how Wildshape works, post on my other thread because my brain just can't understand it but I've seen what a Druid can do...

Best of luck folks