Mounts (and animals trained for other purposes)are a powerful addition for any character.
If you have a Druid and someone with the animal handling skill in the party they are pretty easy to get and train, on a similar time scale to making a magic item, whilst they scale comparatively well against animal companions and special class mounts.
See Peterrco's guide to Druids section 3 on animal training.
Patrick Juola wrote:
The Animal handling skill allows for both. Whilst the distinction is not made clear in the main body of the description, it is clear from the section on untrained use:
***Untrained: If you have no ranks in Handle Animal, you can use a Charisma check to handle and push domestic animals, but you can't teach, rear, or train animals. A druid or ranger with no ranks in Handle Animal can use a Charisma check to handle and push her animal companion, but she can't teach, rear, or train other nondomestic animals.***
The implication of this is that a Druid or Ranger with ranks in Handle Animal ***IS*** able to train other nondomestic (i.e. wild) animals.
The benefit of the "rear animal" skill is that untrained characters can use them as "domestic" animals.
Hope that this is clear.
Great that you are bringing someone new to the game. We rp geeks sometimes get a bit worked up about how new players... particularly ones we care about.... see the game. But at the end of the day it boils down to a dinner party a conversation and a game.
Having said that. A multiclass character, with the additional complexity of an animal companion? That is a lot for an experienced player to deal with, let alone a new player.
Rogues and ninjas do not suck. But you should still roll her a fighter. It is traditional and relatively easy way for a new player to come to grips with the concepts of the game and ensures that she will have something to do all the time whilst allowing for growth and complexity as the character levels.
The character you have designed is great as a second character to build on the concepts learned with a pure fighter.
A lot of the baseball and cricket skills crossover so if you enjoy watching one you will probably like the other.
Dilshan - Alchemist
The Australian Team - Kobolds
Are you able to perform Combat Manouevres on other party members, as the description often states that these are used against foes.
If I did use a Combat Manouevre on a fellow party member would:
1. The fellow party member be required to carry out an AOO? (I'm pretty sure that they wouldn't)
The scenario I have in mind is where, say, a Wizard has got himself badly positioned in the front line and, say, a fighter uses the Reposition Manoeuvre to reposition him to safety. Useful as this would mean that the Wizard would be moved out of the way of danger, and his movement whilst being repositioned would not attract AOO....
Xarthos Darkblade wrote:
This is a really good guide. I love the detail on everything, especially the animal companions and summoning options. The feat options for animal companions only seems to include the base option feats though. Once the companion has some int, a lot more feats open up and teamwork feats become amazing. Nothing like having Outflank with your companion. Or Lookout with a high perception companion.
Thank you, I hope you enjoyed reading it.
I initially left out feats that an animal companions could look at with a higher Int score, as what is available is subject to GM approval, and I didn't want to start speculating beyond what the rules specifically allowed. However, on reflection, I think I was being over cautious so I am planning to expand on that section (with suitable health warnings).
Xarthos Darkblade wrote:
I'm still reading through it all, so I'm not sure if you have touched on effective 1 level dips or multiclassing at all. I really like 1 ranger/19 worldwalker druid. You have to take a feat (from UC, can't remember name right now) but effectively you end up with full favored enemy and terrain on top of all the normal druid goodies.
I haven't looked at multi-classing at all. It's on my list of things to do, but probably not in the next update. I've found that just dealing with the single class druid is a bigger job than I thought, so this might have to wait for a bit. But you are certainly correct, there are a number of dips and multi-class options that deserve a look.
Thank you for your input.
Yes, I'm planning an update, and more detail on Summon Nature's ally is definately going in there. I like the idea of going into more detail on equipment as well. Thank you for the input. Glad you enjoyed the guide.
This is going to be a brute of a character once you hit level 7, and should be more than playable before then. My only thoughts are that you probably don't need superior summoning quite so early, and I think Powerful Shape is so useful to a druid, particularly a shaman where animal wild shapes are a key part of the mix, that I would want to try and slip it in at ninth level if possible. Looks an awesome build though, have fun.
Yes, I agree, I've kind of focused on the core rulebooks on this version, but I will add this to my next update. Thank you for the idea.
Link Arcane Archer Adventures.
This is a nice start to your guide. I enjoyed reading it.
Are you able to combine imbue arrow with phase arrow? That would be a nice way of putting an area effect into a room full of enemies before kicking down the door.
Takes real grit to play a character like this. Real old school gaming.
An undead cleric with wisdom 11 wouldhave serios restrictions on the max level of spellthey could cast.
I would build on the charisma strength and push it up to 16, and then play an undead lord Oracle.
moon glum wrote:
Tendriculous makes a decent tank because it has regeneration.
Quickwood is probably a better option than Treant as a Plant form because of it 60ft reach and good resistances.
The great Paizo gods of balance have declared that all classes are equal.......
More seriously they do if different things and a good player will be able to make both of them powerful whilst a weak player will struggle whatever class they play.
What a sweet idea. Sadly it doesn't work. Even if there was a creature that could spit poison, the "spit" special attack is not on the list of abilities available on Beast Shape 3. It would make an interesting house rule though.
Hmm... I could be sold on poison being useful, but only with a different mindset than the one you are currently using...
The mindset that I am currently using is that poison is ONE of MANY options that a druid can choose from dependent on the situation.
I'll admit to being a little surprised that a thread which I thought (and hoped) was going to be about druids has turned out to be a thread about poisons.
That said, the question has been asked, and I stand by my position that poison is an interesting and useful part of the much larger druidic toolkit, so I'll try and answer.
As stands, I can't see it being used by a wildshape druid, due to their low DCs. (No, DC 20 at level 12 isn't good... My 3rd level conjuration spells have a DC 20 at level 5.) But a caster druid is already sporting a good wisdom, ahd I could see a good poison-spitter form being better than call lightning style spells when the caster doesn't want to waste spells.
If I was to choose a form with purely with combat in mind, then I agree, a poison using form is not the first (or even second or third) option that would come to mind. I don't see poison as a primary attack form for druids in wildshape.
There are situations where I could see it coming into play. For example an Emperor Cobra, with it's climb and swim (which comes with a free waterbreathing effect) would be an excellent form for exploring a tomb raider style dungeon with lots of climbs and flooded sections. The sort of environment that a Dire Tiger is not built for, but an Emperor Cobra is. If I was to be attacked in that situation then I would certainly want to get the benefit of the poison attack.
Remember that in this case it would be a natural poison attack, not one that is stuck to a blade. Which means that every time I successfully attack, the opponent has to make a save or be poisoned. It only takes one failed save with a poison that does 1d3 con and requires 2 consecutive saves to cure for the poisoned creature to be on a very slippery slope.
That said, this is a fairly restricted situational benefit where poison might assist a druid in wildshape.
I think that poisons actually become a powerful part of the druids arsenal if you see the druid not as a USER of poisons but as a SUPPLIER of them.
There are a number of classes that provide the poison use, the alchemist being the most obvious. Yet most of the time these classes just don't get the full benefit of all their abilities because poisons generally take an age to make, cost a fortune and because they have a save are not sure to work. This also removes from the general role playing table builds that are based on poison use. With a Druid to supply large quantities of free poison either from a wildshape or from a captured animal you can activate the poison users ability, and at the same time increase their enjoyment of the game and the effectiveness of the party as a whole.
Alchemists (and to lesser extent the Poisoner archetype of rogue) can pull all sorts of tricks with poisons, increaseing their potency, making them sticky and most interesting of all changing their form.....There are role playing opportunities in having quantities of snake/octopus etc venom converted from injury poisons to contact/inhaled and injested poisons.
Of course most parties don't have a specialised poison user, but that doesn't mean that the option loses it's value. Its fairly easy to convert a normal character into a temporary poison user. It's not much use to a melee character because the poisons wipe of the blade after a single use, but an archer or crossbowman would benefit.
First: cast Delay Poison on them, so that "The subject becomes temporarily immune to poison"
Second: Give them a selection of poisons to put on their arrows (100 doses would allow an efficient quiver to be filled)
Third: Make sure that you have a Neutralise Poison in memory or on a scroll in case there is an accident so that you can cast it before the end of the delay poison spell.
......Which character would you rather have at your side, the archer with normal arrows, or the archer with poisoned arrows?.....
But again. To stress, I am not saying that a druids main ability is with poisons, all I am saying is that creative use of the tools that you have is the key to playing a versatile class, and that as poisons are one of the druids tools, then he should make sure it is used to its full effect, for the benefit of the party even if it does not directly benefit himself.
Why do I care about poisons when they effectively do less damage than an attack? Let alone an 18 dc fort save is pretty easy to pass at level 9 for a good amount of creatures. Let alone a lot of things a immune to poison. 1d2 con damage and some pathetic attack damage for two standard actions? On top of that you have to hit their ac and they have to fail their save. I know it's not saying much but my level 4 druid saves on an 8 against that. I just don't see how you can justify trying to take a weak poisonous snake over a pouncing, grabbing, raking tiger.
Hmm, I think we agree on the point that the Dire Tiger is a truly great combat form to take. No argument on that.
Where we disagree, is that I don't think that just because we have the Dire Tiger available to us, that this means we can draw a line, and stop thinking about the class.
Dismissing all other options out of hand, without considering the situational (perhaps even non-combat) benefits that they have, seems a little complacent at best.
Please don't take this as a criticism. I am sure that you have an amazing game just turning into Tigers, that you have great fun doing it, and that you maximise the role playing opportunities of the "Tiger Only Druid" to the full.
Play the passive aggressive.
Do you have selective channelling? Remove the character with the offending mount from your heals...
Declare that by owning an undead hose that they cannot be considered an ally when casting bless etc...
You do not have to go destroying the mount to make it very clear in role playing terms how much you disapprove.
It doesn't matter their strength still sucks. an ape at level 4 has 22 strength. it has 11. Poison isn't worth investing in considering that anything with okay saves can ignore the effects. The DCs on poison are pathetic and should be treated as such.
The save DC's on poison's are pretty good when you take on wild shape. With polymorph's the DC is based not on the poison DC of base creature, but 10 plus the spell level plus your wisdom, so making a conservative assumption that your druid would have a Wisdom of 16 at level 8, even normally quite poor creatures start to look pretty nasty.
Take the Viper (Familiar), one of the weakest poisons in the Bestiary.
Base animal Poison is: Bite - injury; save Fort DC 9; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect; 1d2 Con; cure 1 save.
Not good, but apply wildshape to it, using Beast Shape 3, a 5th level spell, and the save jumps to Fort DC 18, which is something that you can't just handwave away.
Take one of the better poison options, the Snake, Emperor Cobra:
Bite - injury; save Fort 17; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Con; cure 2 consecutive saves.
Increase the Save to Fort 18 in wildshape, and keep biting. Sooner or later the target is going to lose the initial save and will then have to make 2 consecutive saves to get out of the mire. Unlikely whilst it's losing 1d3 points of con per round.
Plant poisons are potentially even better, as Plant Shape 3, a seventh level spell, at lvl 12, with a 16 wis (how likely is that?) would have a save of 20.
I don't think that you can just write of the power of the poison attacks that the druid has available, especially when you consider that you get the attack damage on top, and unlike manufactured poisons, your not limited to one attack and then re-apply to your weapon. You get to keep on biting for the whole fight.
I think it is because whats fun in the game is different to whats fun on a forum.
In game cooperation is what counts and the only interpretation that matters is the GMs. In forum we are here to discuss and debate the game and sometimes a good (non flaming and constructive) well argued disagreement can be fun and help peoples understanding of the game.
Reading this, I'm not sure that you've understood how Wild Shape works.
It isn't 1 round per level, it's 1 hour per level per wild shape.
The abilities that you get when you are wildshaped are based on your Druid Level, which effects which polymorph spell you are able to use, as well the form that you are taking. So as a sixth level Bear Shaman you would be able to change into a Bear for 8 hours, using the Beast shape 3 ability, but would have to wait until you were level 8 before you could use the Elemental Forms.
The spells that you have listed are good caster druid spells, but as combat druid, there are better options. At first level, Longstrider springs to mind, allowing you to move more quickly for 1 hour per day (stacking with the Barbarian bonus). Remember that Druids cast spells like Clerics so that you can change your spell selection every day.
In terms of having a Bear Companion, they are not great, have you considered instead taking the Strength Domain (Ferocity Subdomain) which sounds like it would suit your concept really well, give you extra spells (Enlarge Person at level 1, Rage at level 3), some cool powers, and is available to you as a Bear Shaman?
Whilst the Bear Companion is fairly weak, the Base animals, the Grizzly Bear and Dire Bear are pretty good,you can use Call Animal to capture and then Train a bear for fighting/guarding or even as a mount quite easily. You can do this with Call Animal on the Grizzly Bear at caster level 4 as a druid (learn Wartrain Mount that day as well to ensure that you can get it home to your training area), and the Dire Bear at caster level 7.
But because of your specialization you're actually limiting your options. Not only that but poison sucks and a lot of creatures you're not going to effect them with trip. On top of that the Giant Chameleon can't grab and attack in the same turn and has 17 strength at level 4. Another thing to consider is the Stegosaurus sucks at until level 7. It only has a strength of 10 so it's not going to hit anything.
Any choice that you make limits your options, the reason that I rate the Saurian Shaman so highly is that they have such a wide range of options that the restrictions hurt less..
I think we will have to just disagree on the suckiness of poisons. I am not saying that they are always the best option, but I would rather have them in my tool kit than not.
There are a lot of creatures that cannot be effected by tripbut that does not mean that we should ignore the value of the attack on the creatures that it does effect.
In your Str calculations, have you remembered to add in the normal Str progression of animal companions?
There is a different way of getting good mounts apart from riding other players or your cohort.
A Druid can cast the Call Animal Spell, this calls an animal of the same CR (not HD) as the caster level of the spell. The spell has a range of potentially dozens of miles, with it effecting any animal of the chosen species within range, which is one hours travel for that creature per caster level. The animal comes to the Druid with an "indifferent" attitude, which allows "Wartrain Mount" to be cast on it, which temporarily adds the Combat Training general purpose to the mount, so you can take it back to a training area for more permanent instruction. With your expert trainer ability you can be riding it within six days. So a 9th level Druid (level 6, with the right traits and feats) could call you a fully fledged Mastadon, and you could be riding it into combat a week later.
You can make additional use of your handle animal skill by getting the druid to summon animals not as mounts, but as fighting or guard animals, to assist you in combat.
If you want to follow through on the cohort idea, why not have the Druid cast Awaken on your favourite mount, it then gets an intelligence score and two extra HD....
The Druid is one of your best friends in the party. But I think riding him as mount is not the best way to go about it.
Saurian Shaman is rated so highly because it allows for so many options. In terms of the combat forms Dire Tiger, might be by itself the best pounce, grab and rake option. But what if you want to trip someone, or tank them, or poison them? And it isn't all about combat, what about movement, a Dire Tiger does not get a swim speed or a climb speed, or a fly speed. In terms of wild shapes, by having a bonus on all "Dinosaurs and Reptiles", then you get a bonus wildshape ability on not just one or two animals, but on Dinosaur's, Lizards, Snakes, Crocodiles, Turtles etc.....The Saurian Shaman is actually better at wildshaping into Lizards than the Dragon Shaman, which supposedly specialises in it. More important than the wild form is the summoning, which again includes "Dinosaurs and Reptiles", so you can pick and choose amoungst many more different options to cast as a standard action than any other Achetype. It's not often that a mid-high level Saurian Druid will actually need to cast Summon Natures Ally as full round action. The versatility of the option is what makes it so powerful, not any particular animal.
I rate combat manoeuvres so highly for a Druid, because you DON'T give up the damage. Unlike a typical, for example, trip attack, when you use a natural weapon with the trip property, you make the attack, and if you are successful, you roll your damage and then you get a free attempt to trip your opponent.....no attack of opportunity....no counter trip. So throughout the guide I have rated animals with attacks which have attacks which deal damage and give a combat manoeuvre more highly than animals where the attacks just deal damage. This is also my answer to your question about why I rate the Stegasaurus over the Ape, it's about the stegasaurus having the trip ability, whilst the Giant Chameleon is not just about the damage, it's about the grab, the pull, and the relatively fast land and climb speeds.
I haven't tried to write a guide to the druid in combat, but to the druid out of combat as well, so damage and attacks, whilst a major factor in ratings, is not the only factor.
In terms of armour..I take your point
A highly regarded expert wrote:
If by "format it like other guides" you mean split it into different sections. Then you need to create a separate page for each section, and then create a hyperlink to them from you introduction/welcome page.
You can learn how to create hyperlinks in googledocs here:
I think allowing medium character, which are much more effective as fighter, to have access to a racial trait that effectively gives unlimited exotic weapon proficiencies (Including guns and seige weapons) is a bit powerful, and the reason why only gnomes get it, so they can play around with bomb throwers and other weird stuff.
I'd restrict it to gnomes only. If you want to use the gnome as an effective medium fighter, take the risk of getting him reincarnated or invest in a Greater Hat of Disguise (which lets you have alter self at will)
As an evil aligned sorceror with a social bent, I'd be tempted to just have the standard combat/utility spells, firstly so that I could handle combat, and secondly so that I had an iron hand beneath the velvet glove thing going.
For the social side of things I would concentrate on skills, there are four fairly underrated social skills......
Bluff - sounds like you've already got the hang of that.
Diplomacy - Improving NPC's attitudes and also Gather information...be the silver tongued spider at the centre of a web of contacts and informants....
Intimidate - Where diplomacy doesn't work, you need to be able to convincely threaten magicy death/maiming/humilation.
Sense Motive - If you're an evil manipulating slimeball you don't expect people to like you, but you do need to know when they are lying to you or are trying to double cross you. Don't ignore this skill.
Magic Items can you use could include the relatively cheap Circlet of Persuasion, whilst if your GM agrees custom made skill items are some of the cheapest on the table.
I love the idea of the idea of the Social Sorceror, tell us how it goes.
OK - first re-write in place
It definately needs some tidying up, which i'll get on with over the next few days.
A fair bit more detail in here, so if you find any errors or ommissions, please let me know.
I'll add the ratings and the colours in later (Within the next couple of days)
Advice would be appreciated on how to break this up into different sections like I see on other guides.
I think you should sunder someone's heirloom weapon at least once. Just to send a message. At the moment you sort of get the feeling that people are using this as a half price exotic weapon proficiency. Reminding them that you take a big risk by building a character around a single item rebalances the trait.
Sunder is the great leveller of over powered parties, however many people are in them. The problem here is that you have previoiusly balanced the game so that two players can handle it and you now have lots more than you intended. Destroy their expensive weapons, armour, spell foci etc and the game will be more balanced for a larger party, without you having to kill anyone or reduce peoples stats (which they will hate much more than a sunder).
I think with Paladins Code issues, if you need to think about whether or not what you are doing is right, or worse, try to find a way of justifying an action that you feel uncomfortable about, then you just shouldn't be doing it. Being a shining light for good and order should come naturally to you. If your checking the fine print and looking for loop holes in the Paladin's code then you should be docked for lawful neutral (at the very least) behaviour.
Sounds to me like you have a very inexperienced role player, thrown in with a group of very experienced role players, and he is sinking fast.
Think back to when you started roleplaying. How many stupid mistakes did you make, that you now wince about, without intending them to be stupid crass moves.
This is compounded by you introducing him to a goofy campaign, and then switching a six month year old green behind the ears roleplayer to a serious one....after he had been introduced to the group as a way for him to have fun and get his mind off RL....
What did you actually expect? that he'd gain five or ten years of role playing experience in a few sessions? That when the RP got serious he'd be able to make that switch, when we all know that serious RP is difficult and not an easy jump for novices?
It's you that brought the noob into the hobby, it's your responsibility to train him up. Not drop him in the deep end and then criticise when he sinks.
Animal companion stats:
Megalania - Does not have the poison statistic line, so if you take this you have to assume that you have the same poison as the parent creature, which is overpowering.
Thylacine - The lvl 4 advancement makes this animal medium, larger than the parent creature.
OK, just started work on the re-write. With lots more detail, and the standard colour code.
I'll certainly be updating the information on poisons, with the correct save DC's, based on level of spell plus Wisdom bonus. This actually makes a lot of the poisons, especially the plant based ones, much stronger than they otherwise would be, and expanding this section. I hadn't expected the couple of paragraphs on poisons to be so debated when I wrote the guide.
Whilst I sympathise with the suggestions that make wildshape poisons temporary, only effective whilst the wild form lasted, having re-read the relevant parts of the book, I think that they would have to count as house rules at the moment. (Although I think I'd still impose them on a player who wanted to play a Druid in a game that I ran myself).
I'm certainly still open to ideas and suggestions if anyone has anything else to add?
oh and eos eschew materials so you can cast spells while in your wildshaped form that require material components. this is nice since your spell component pouch would be absorbed when you assume a wild shape or change to a new wildshape. being able to fly above a group of people as a roc while still casting crowd control spells and summoning monsters is pretty bad ass.
First thank you for the advice. This is my first attempt at a guide, and it does need reworking.
The Natural Spell feat does state: "You can also use any material compenents or focuses you possess, even if such items are melded within your current form"
My actual suggested feat at third level is Craft Wondrous items.
I had thought of options for abuse when creating poisons in terms of the cost, and purposely left that out of my guide. Some of the poisons available are worth several thousand gp per dose, and you could make an argument that you could produce one dose per round. I'd expect most GM's to make it very difficult to sell them on the open market, almost an adventure in itself ;) ...... There are other ways of milking poison if you really want to. Wizards familiars, Diabolists imps. Normal animals, that with the new spells are easy to call, and can then be trained and harvested. wildshape is easy and convenient, but I think that the genie is out of the bottle on this one.
By the way, I'm English, and we spell Armour with a "u" here. We don't understand why you yanks changed it....LOL
Vestigal arms can by used for combat but not for extra attacks, so you have a number of options:
1. Use one of your vestigal arms to carry a shield and the other to hold a spear, or something else that you can throw or for potions etc.
2. Use your vestigal arms for a bow/crossbow......you become pretty much the perfect switch hitter. You use the bow whilst you are at range and then switch to a claw/claw/bite whilst you are in melee.
3. Use your vestigal arms for a reach weapon........You get to fight things at range with your longspear, and up close with your claws. Just switch what you are doing from round to round. As an alchemist your going to spend a chunk of time enlarged so this option lets you threaten stuff up to 20 feet away.
In short don't think of vestigal arms as a way of getting extra attacks, but as a way of getting extra attacking options, and you'll be fine.
Does sound like you have to talk about it with the GM.
Every GM I've known (I include myself) goes through a phase where they think that the best game is one where the characters are being challenged constantly to the point where they feel that they are at the edge of death all the time. GM's do this because they think that this makes the game hard core and realstic and ....... because he genuinely thinks that you want to play this sort of game and enjoy the hard challenges he is putting you up against.
Your comment about nobody having been killed, even in really hard fights, suggests that your GM is using a little bit of psychology on you. One of the best ways to build up tension is for the GM to act up how much he wants to kill you and pretend that he is playing against you because he thinks that the "GM can win" when really he is putting very hard but balanced combats at you (and fudging to keep you alive if necessary). I do think that he has overplayed his hand on this though.
In time wisdom comes and you realise that this is not fun to play and rips your narrative to shreds, because if every fight is close to being a TPK, then there is no room to build up tension, no room to relax and have some comic relief before turning the screw again, and perhaps most importantly, your boss fight just feels like any other fight, because every fight is right on the edge so there is no nice feeling of victory at the end of the scenario.
Granted, in a "game of thrones" type world, you would expect things to be a bit grittier than normal.
There are also occasions when you expect to be pushed hard, in a recent game we had all been reading Treantmonk and announced our intention to roll play fully optimised characters. The GM warned us that if we did so he would not pull any punches, and has stuck by his word. It's an excellent game and turned into a proper role play as well.