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DM's: How relaxed are you when it comes to Wild Shape?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Knowledge nature: 3(class)+5(ranks)+2(nature sense)+1(int)(assuming a 12int, most druids wont have much higher than that) = 11.

This means a success on a 4 for a DC10+5CR creature. Not that bad imo for someone specializing in nature. However, to REALLY know the creature you must acheive a higher result. For every 5 points you beat the check by you get another peice of information. It could be said that you are not familiar until you get all of the useful information.

For a basic animal I would say that is a +5 (attacks, defenses) thus a total DC of 10+5CR+5 = 20. A 45% chance at level 5.

For an animal from an environment you havent even been in I would raise the difficulty accordingly by assigning a circumstance penalty. It is far from automatic in my opinion.

However, this is interpretation. There is no RAW on what 'familiarity' actually qualifies as. It could be anything. The devs could mean for druids to be familiar with anything and everything, only what they personally experience, or anything inbetween. We simply do not know.

- Gauss


shallowsoul wrote:

In my games the druid has to have actually seen the creature in person, Knowledge checks don't cut it. I have had people tell me that since they were druids that they automatically knew about all animals, suffice to say, I laughed.

How relaxed are you with Wild Shape?

You play much like our referee does. She lets you pretty much automatically change into any animal from the area your druid comes from, since your familiar with them from first hand knowledge and interaction.

As the druid travels he can spend time in new regions and get to 'know'/commune with the new land and creatures. There is no hard and fast rule on this but it has never become a problem at our table.

Yes this means that we usually don't have any druids changing into velociraptors or such since there are no dino's in 99% of my GM's world but we are not an overly optimizing game group so changing into the more readily knowable animals is not an issue.

And in those times we DO run across rare creatures, the druid can spend some time and use animal friendship to have one tag along for a bit and get to know the species well enough to change into one. Usually doesn't take more than a day or two of contact for it to happen.

Hasn't been a real issue in our games.

Andoran

This be my problem with your "havnt seen cant do" rule

Druid walking through jungle see's a raptor, roll's 10 on d20 +7 from knowledge bonus=17. now he can stand there and go "oh that is a raptor, which means there are probably more sneaking up on us, they are fast runners, pounce like a cat, ect....

BUT until he see's one he cant wildshape into one? scratches head.

If you are worried about him picking all the best shapes,I'd say sit down and make a list, roll random for #1, roll knowledge check, add to what can wildshape into until he has enough on said list to satisfy you.

You did ask us for opinions, so please refrain from sarcasm when it is offered. This was sarcastic to me.
Wild Shape is a potent ability as it is. Boo hoo that the druid had to actually work for it. The Wild Shape ability doesn't automatically give you the ability to turn into any animal you want. I'm sorry that he didn't get to flip through the bestiary, make a Knowledge roll when he found something that he would like to try and turn into because it has some killer attacks, and add it to his list of Wild Shape options.

Osirion

shallowsoul wrote:
...

Pathfinder is FULL of metagame. How is allowing a druid to shapeshift into any creature any more metagamey than a druid being able to see the statblocks of creatures summoned with Summon Nature's Ally, or allowing them to even have access to a list of every summonable creature?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the big deal is with letting the druid wildshape into any of the animals in the Bestiary. This isn't 3e wildshaping and polymorphing. The relative benefits gained by wildshaping are much better controlled by the nature of the beast shape spell rules.

I guess you could mark me down as being fairly permissive. I'll let the druid turn into anything in their local climate - so if the animal is on the region's random encounter chart, it's fair game.


Gauss wrote:
A question: why are you applying Wisdom to knowledge nature? It is an intelligence skill. - Gauss

Good point, I missed that! :0

But it only changes things by a few of points, probably. If I'm a Druid, I'm probably going to try to have at least a +1 to my int (for the skill selection).


Gauss wrote:

Knowledge nature: 3(class)+5(ranks)+2(nature sense)+1(int)(assuming a 12int, most druids wont have much higher than that) = 11.

This means a success on a 4 for a DC10+5CR creature. Not that bad imo for someone specializing in nature. However, to REALLY know the creature you must acheive a higher result. For every 5 points you beat the check by you get another peice of information. It could be said that you are not familiar until you get all of the useful information.

For a basic animal I would say that is a +5 (attacks, defenses) thus a total DC of 10+5CR+5 = 20. A 45% chance at level 5.

For an animal from an environment you havent even been in I would raise the difficulty accordingly by assigning a circumstance penalty. It is far from automatic in my opinion.

However, this is interpretation. There is no RAW on what 'familiarity' actually qualifies as. It could be anything. The devs could mean for druids to be familiar with anything and everything, only what they personally experience, or anything inbetween. We simply do not know.

- Gauss

I think that's exactly how I would think to play it.


Shallow, I think that a lesson in prudential and diplomatic responses might be more helpful for the building up of the community.

Silver Crusade

Bill Dunn wrote:

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the big deal is with letting the druid wildshape into any of the animals in the Bestiary. This isn't 3e wildshaping and polymorphing. The relative benefits gained by wildshaping are much better controlled by the nature of the beast shape spell rules.

I guess you could mark me down as being fairly permissive. I'll let the druid turn into anything in their local climate - so if the animal is on the region's random encounter chart, it's fair game.

Do you allow Wizards easy access to all spells?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the big deal is with letting the druid wildshape into any of the animals in the Bestiary. This isn't 3e wildshaping and polymorphing. The relative benefits gained by wildshaping are much better controlled by the nature of the beast shape spell rules.

I guess you could mark me down as being fairly permissive. I'll let the druid turn into anything in their local climate - so if the animal is on the region's random encounter chart, it's fair game.

Do you allow Wizards easy access to all spells?

That's not an equivalent issue. Spells may have radically different effects. Beast shape spell effects are a lot less varied. All changes to the same size have cause the same change in stats. Limited sets of special abilities and natural weapon attacks are granted. The range of results is a lot smaller.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Do you allow Wizards easy access to all spells?

Yes. Do you? That was the impression I got when you stated "When you play a Wizard and you *the player* see a new spell in a new book then you can A: Add it to your spellbook when you level"

As for B. If the scroll can be bought for less than the towns market value, then can pretty much find whatever scroll he wants.

Now I do generally fix the allowable material list when I start a campaign. Its pretty much every book I own at the time the campaign starts. I try not to add books, though if I use something in a campaign then its fair game for the players to use it as well.

Shadow Lodge

I would think that part of any druid's training would be to meet other druids and comparison shop on their pets to gain familiarity with the form.

Failing that a walk through the market of Absalom should turn up one of almost anything.

Just don't blow your knowledge: local check and spend the afternoon trying to turn into a tengu.

Shadow Lodge

I would think that part of any druid's training would be to meet other druids and comparison shop on their pets to gain familiarity with the form.

Failing that a walk through the market of Absalom should turn up one of almost anything.

Just don't blow your knowledge: local check and spend the afternoon trying to turn into a tengu.


OMG.

A druid is SO connected to the natural world that s/he GETS SPELLS from that connection.

Along with the ability to assume the forms of natural critters, after a bit of experience.

Get a GRIP.

Yeah, I can see an initial limit on creatures being chosen from the 'native' terrain of the druid... but seriously. Until you start wild shaping into magical beasts, there's really nothing unbalancing about any creature form. They're ANIMALS, dude: they really aren't much threat, or use, aside from blending into the environment for scouting/spying purposes...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Well being 1st level doesn't necessarily mean you have traveled the depth of the world and seen a lot.

No, but being a 1st-level druid does strongly imply you've been in divine contact with nature. While it's possible you've spent the first few years of your adult life trying to start a logging company, or being an arsonist who specializes in forest-fires, those are realistically going to be minority cases. Yes, we're talking fluff versus crunch here.

Why is a 1st-level fighter any better than a 0th-level human with no NPC class levels? Why can he get +1 to hit with a weapon the moment he's declared a PC but his identical twin brother can't? Presumably because he's been messing around with daddy's old heirloom sword, or someone showed him a few tricks. Hitting 1st-level demands that you've got some background that got you there.

Quote:
What you can presently turn into at 4th level is probably what you have encountered in your first four levels. You don't get the ability until 4th level so that gives you three levels of "in game" time to come across certain animals that you want to turn into.

That's your table. It seems thread consensus is that it's a very rare viewpoint. That doesn't make you wrong, but it does mean that you're applying a restriction almost nobody else sees the need for, which in turn suggests... there may just not be a need for it.

Mechanics aside, I just don't agree on this. A typical human in a D&D setting will likely have encountered dogs, cats, horses, squirrels, birds, deer and the like throughout their lives. A typical nature-loving kid is going to have gone further and played with frogs, bats, lizards, little furry animals like weasels and so on. I'm NOT saying that a fresh 1st-level PC will have encountered rhinos if they were raised in northern climes. But what I am saying is that if the same PC hits 4th and decides to wild shape into a bobcat or a lynx... I absolutely can't fault the logic.

Quote:
No DM is going to sit there and allow you to write a backstory that says you have encountered every animal in the bestiary so you can choose what ever you want at 4th level.

Correct. But no DM should be writing their players' characters for them. "Oh, no, you couldn't possibly be familiar with crocodiles despite being raised in a warm, swampy area. You need to QUEST to hang out with them before you can use the nice ability you just got this level. Sorry."

Let me be clear about how I react to your interpretation of this rule: I would not play a wild-shaping druid at your table. There are a bunch of other classes that you (probably) wouldn't be able to rip me off with. Same thing goes for wizards. I don't mind that there's a percentage chance whatever scroll I'm looking for is available in Town X based on town size, but if the response is "nope, but there's probably one buried under the Haunted Evil Certain-Death Tomb of Proba-Blia-L'Ich" more than once a campaign, it's sorcerer time for me.

Final word... in my opinion, it is the job of a DM to find ways for players to be successful in what they wish to do. If a player wants to climb down a well, the DM should find ways to give the player a chance. It might not work. It might hurt. But the player should have an opportunity to do anything that isn't ludicrous. "I want to eat a mountain today" is not sensible. But when your druid's player says "I want to turn into a fox" and he's lived near a wooded region, it's contrary to your duty as a DM to look for ways to say "no". Unless the question is obnoxious, impossible, or balance-breaking, a DM should almost always find the answer "yes".

Silver Crusade

Maezer wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
Do you allow Wizards easy access to all spells?

Yes. Do you? That was the impression I got when you stated "When you play a Wizard and you *the player* see a new spell in a new book then you can A: Add it to your spellbook when you level"

As for B. If the scroll can be bought for less than the towns market value, then can pretty much find whatever scroll he wants.

Now I do generally fix the allowable material list when I start a campaign. Its pretty much every book I own at the time the campaign starts. I try not to add books, though if I use something in a campaign then its fair game for the players to use it as well.

That was just two examples I gave and i don't make all Wizards spells accessible. All cities don't carry Wizard spells and all mages don't have to sell anything.

Silver Crusade

Alitan wrote:

OMG.

A druid is SO connected to the natural world that s/he GETS SPELLS from that connection.

Along with the ability to assume the forms of natural critters, after a bit of experience.

Get a GRIP.

Yeah, I can see an initial limit on creatures being chosen from the 'native' terrain of the druid... but seriously. Until you start wild shaping into magical beasts, there's really nothing unbalancing about any creature form. They're ANIMALS, dude: they really aren't much threat, or use, aside from blending into the environment for scouting/spying purposes...

It is unbalancing "dude"! Not all animals are just lions, tigers and bears. Dinosaurs fall into that category as well.

Silver Crusade

Anguish wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
Well being 1st level doesn't necessarily mean you have traveled the depth of the world and seen a lot.

No, but being a 1st-level druid does strongly imply you've been in divine contact with nature. While it's possible you've spent the first few years of your adult life trying to start a logging company, or being an arsonist who specializes in forest-fires, those are realistically going to be minority cases. Yes, we're talking fluff versus crunch here.

Why is a 1st-level fighter any better than a 0th-level human with no NPC class levels? Why can he get +1 to hit with a weapon the moment he's declared a PC but his identical twin brother can't? Presumably because he's been messing around with daddy's old heirloom sword, or someone showed him a few tricks. Hitting 1st-level demands that you've got some background that got you there.

Quote:
What you can presently turn into at 4th level is probably what you have encountered in your first four levels. You don't get the ability until 4th level so that gives you three levels of "in game" time to come across certain animals that you want to turn into.

That's your table. It seems thread consensus is that it's a very rare viewpoint. That doesn't make you wrong, but it does mean that you're applying a restriction almost nobody else sees the need for, which in turn suggests... there may just not be a need for it.

Mechanics aside, I just don't agree on this. A typical human in a D&D setting will likely have encountered dogs, cats, horses, squirrels, birds, deer and the like throughout their lives. A typical nature-loving kid is going to have gone further and played with frogs, bats, lizards, little furry animals like weasels and so on. I'm NOT saying that a fresh 1st-level PC will have encountered rhinos if they were raised in northern climes. But what I am saying is that if the same PC hits 4th and decides to wild shape into a bobcat or a lynx... I absolutely can't fault the logic.

Quote:
No DM is
...

You are giving first level a little too much credit.

There is no RAW that supports anybody's side to be factually honest. The doesn't specify just what "familiar" means.

Just because you are a druid that doesn't make you the druid of all known nature, you get that as you go up in levels until you reach the very high levels.

Because you are granted druid spells doesn't make you expert on everything that is druid or nature. Do you have a better understanding than some others, yes you do but while your knowledge and connection maybe high compared to others, it could be very small, and I expect it to be at low levels, in the over all scheme of things.

Silver Crusade

Bill Dunn wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:
Bill Dunn wrote:

I'm having a hard time figuring out what the big deal is with letting the druid wildshape into any of the animals in the Bestiary. This isn't 3e wildshaping and polymorphing. The relative benefits gained by wildshaping are much better controlled by the nature of the beast shape spell rules.

I guess you could mark me down as being fairly permissive. I'll let the druid turn into anything in their local climate - so if the animal is on the region's random encounter chart, it's fair game.

Do you allow Wizards easy access to all spells?
That's not an equivalent issue. Spells may have radically different effects. Beast shape spell effects are a lot less varied. All changes to the same size have cause the same change in stats. Limited sets of special abilities and natural weapon attacks are granted. The range of results is a lot smaller.

Actually it's spot on. Gaining spells beyond your 2 per level is up to the DM, there is no rule for beyond that.

Same goes for the druid's Wild Shape, which actually states it in the description that the druid must be familiar.

Now how you decide that is up to you but there is no RAW that supports either one.


Yeah... small or medium ones @4th level wild shaping capacity. Still not feeling balance threatened any more than it is by spells like, oh, web, invisibility, blindness/deafness...

I forget what level druid you need to be to wild shape into a 'large' critter... but @ 5th level people start hurling lightning and really manipulating other people's minds. So dinosaurs really fail to be a problem.

Silver Crusade

Alitan wrote:

Yeah... small or medium ones @4th level wild shaping capacity. Still not feeling balance threatened any more than it is by spells like, oh, web, invisibility, blindness/deafness...

I forget what level druid you need to be to wild shape into a 'large' critter... but @ 5th level people start hurling lightning and really manipulating other people's minds. So dinosaurs really fail to be a problem.

At 8th level they can shape change into huge creatures and at 6th level large.

What other classes can do at X level has absolutely nothing to do with the druid and the discussion.


Familiarity is an association with the subject in question, association is a connection with the subject through ideas or things, which equates to familiarity is a connection with the subject through ideas or things. Knowledge checks are to show your education in the field of subjects and Knowledge (nature) checks show your education in the field of the subject you are rolling for, which I hope has to do with nature.

What you argue (Shallowsoul) is not familiarity with the animal, the subject, but the level of contact. Familiarity, association, can be gained through a "simple" knowledge check. I can say I'm familiar with something I haven't seen, as I have a connection to the idea (I heard a friend talk about it).

If you equate this to spellcasting, a spellcaster who fails to research a spell can always attempt again. As stated in the rules if you fail a Knowledge check you cannot attempt it again, as that equates to sum of your knowledge of the subject, that you have no familiarity with it.


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No, what other classes can do is intrinsic to a discussion of the power of wild shape; it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Druids don't exist in a vacuum.

The point I'm making by referencing the abilities of the other classes is that the power of wild shape doesn't NEED to be so sharply circumscribed by the limitations you're imposing... it is equalled or exceeded by the powers of other classes.

Obviously, it's your game: you'll do as you like. I wouldn't come kick in your door on account of your wild shape nerfing, even if I knew where you were nerfing it...

But that (nerfing) is what you're doing, and -- in my opinion -- quite unnecessarily. I don't see using the Bestiary to pre-select what forms to take as problematic: how ELSE does one simulate the broad knowledge of a druid?

We have vastly different views on How Things (Ought To) Work.

Silver Crusade

naive_wolf_joshua wrote:

Familiarity is an association with the subject in question, association is a connection with the subject through ideas or things, which equates to familiarity is a connection with the subject through ideas or things. Knowledge checks are to show your education in the field of subjects and Knowledge (nature) checks show your education in the field of the subject you are rolling for, which I hope has to do with nature.

What you argue (Shallowsoul) is not familiarity with the animal, the subject, but the level of contact. Familiarity, association, can be gained through a "simple" knowledge check. I can say I'm familiar with something I haven't seen, as I have a connection to the idea (I heard a friend talk about it).

If you equate this to spellcasting, a spellcaster who fails to research a spell can always attempt again. As stated in the rules if you fail a Knowledge check you cannot attempt it again, as that equates to sum of your knowledge of the subject, that you have no familiarity with it.

The problem is the description of the ability makes neither side wrong and at the same time causes a problem. Now just going by a Knowledge check has shown to be prone to abuse while the other is not.

Being familiar carries multiple definitions which leaves people with the same problem. Now last time I checked, the bestiaries are for the DM to flip through and not the players. Assuming that all creatures from the bestiary are going to be there is a mistake. I'm seeing the reason why the ability was described, the DM is the one who decides what happens.

Silver Crusade

Alitan wrote:

No, what other classes can do is intrinsic to a discussion of the power of wild shape; it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Druids don't exist in a vacuum.

The point I'm making by referencing the abilities of the other classes is that the power of wild shape doesn't NEED to be so sharply circumscribed by the limitations you're imposing... it is equalled or exceeded by the powers of other classes.

Obviously, it's your game: you'll do as you like. I wouldn't come kick in your door on account of your wild shape nerfing, even if I knew where you were nerfing it...

But that (nerfing) is what you're doing, and -- in my opinion -- quite unnecessarily. I don't see using the Bestiary to pre-select what forms to take as problematic: how ELSE does one simulate the broad knowledge of a druid?

We have vastly different views on How Things (Ought To) Work.

The point you are making is pointless to the discussion and doesn't add anything. You can't sit there and talk about a Wizard being able to throw a Fireball at 5th level as something of importance when dealing with a druids Wild Shape.

I can't nerf what isn't RAW I'm afraid. It has been established that there is no RAW except for the fact that "familiarity" is in question.


OK, if relative power levels aren't your problem -- which is what it SOUNDS like -- what IS?

Because if it IS a power thing, then my referencing other classes is PRECISELY on-topic.


Do you limit the creatures a druid can summon with the Summon Nature's Ally spells to creatures he/she knows about?

Silver Crusade

alientude wrote:
Do you limit the creatures a druid can summon with the Summon Nature's Ally spells to creatures he/she knows about?

It is limited to whats on the list.

Has nothing to do with the Wild Shape ability.


No need to get snarky. It was a simple question. I presume you have no problem with a druid wild shaping into any of the creatures on the SNA list, assuming he can cast that level of spell?


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A Wizard can get beast shape I at fifth level - only one level after the Druid gets wild shape. Sure it might not last as long, but it does the exact same thing without requiring familiarity, just to have swung past a market and bought a component pouch.
I don't see how being mentally harsh about your definition of 'familiar' does anything except spoil the fun for anyone wanting to play a Druid.

Unless there is some reason you feel that Wizards need to be better at using beast shape than Druids are?

Also, beast shape doesn't allow anything particularly game breaking. Druids now are not the power houses that they were in 3.5, particularly with point buy as they are a little bit MAD. Is there a reason you feel they should be weakened further?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm quite blessed with me players, as I tend to give them significant mechanical freedom for creative purposes and they respond by not abusing the privilege.
This applies to Wild Shape as: my players can use the stats of any animal, at any size (for example - a large-sized wolverine) provided they can come up with an animal that makes sense for them to be able to turn into that would have those approximate stats. And "Dire" is a valid explanation. I have never had a problem with this being abused. The one limit I do place is that my group only has one copy of each Bestiary, and I get priority on their use. This means that they need to figure out their favored combat forms in advance and write them down.

Silver Crusade

Mighty Squash wrote:
Is there a reason you feel they should be weakened further?

It's not about weakening anything and that is purely based on opinion as to it being weaker.

It's about using the power as written.

It's like someone playing a Wizard who is used to being able to have every spell in the book with magic shops around every corner.


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Boy, am I glad my DM(s) are nothing like you.


shallowsoul wrote:
Mighty Squash wrote:
Is there a reason you feel they should be weakened further?

It's not about weakening anything and that is purely based on opinion as to it being weaker.

It's about using the power as written.

It's like someone playing a Wizard who is used to being able to have every spell in the book with magic shops around every corner.

Haha, no it's not. Spell effects have a much wider variety of effects. Even if wizards being able to purchase whatever spell they wanted WAS abusive (tip: it's not), opening up every wildshape form to a druid has nowhere near the impact of opening up every spell to the wizard for purchase. Opening up every wildshape form for the druid is more like making every martial weapon available for purchase for the fighter - you get a little versatility and ensure that he has the one he actually wants the most, but it's not a big deal. You seem to feel that making knowledge checks to know about an animal form is somehow abusive; have you ever actually played a game with a druid in it? (And/or are you aware of how wildshape works in pathfinder?)

It's also possible that you're using a definition of 'abusive' that doesn't include 'causes any harm' as a prerequisite for use; that might be leading people into thinking you have some kind of (misplaced) power-level concerns.


shallowsoul wrote:


It is unbalancing "dude"! Not all animals are just lions, tigers and bears. Dinosaurs fall into that category as well.

So is it really a problem with dinosaurs then? If so just ban dinos. I can easily see that. - Gauss


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shallowsoul wrote:

Actually it's spot on. Gaining spells beyond your 2 per level is up to the DM, there is no rule for beyond that.

Now how you decide that is up to you but there is no RAW that supports either one.

Actually there are rules for buying and selling spellbooks, scrolls, and spells. Do you prevent the fighter from buying a sword? If you don't then why would someone prevent the wizard from buying his spells? The two are basically the same, weapons of the class in question. - Gauss


Ultimately, I think that a wildshaped druid in the most powerful form available (whichever one that happens to be for that player, even a dino) is not that big a deal. The power levels are not that different from other classes (worse in some respects). The wide variability is no different than any of the beast shape spells. Regarding power levels I just dont see a problem with them being familiar with every animal in the book. However, a skill check is appropriate and as has been shown, not automatic.

- Gausss


I have no problem with limiting druids to animals from his home terrain. It makes sense from a flavor point of view. "Familiarity" can be defined as closely observing the animal, or perhaps reading a book written by an experienced druid with a knack for writing and illustrations.

Why? Because that is thematic and interesting. I can't say as I care much for Shallow's caustic tone, but I care just as little for the crowd who insist that PC crunch is the be all end all of the game. Druids having to search for new animals in -interesting-. Wizards having to search high and low, and even pay more than recommended market price for a particularly useful spell is -interesting-. It is not limiting the players. It is adding flavor to the game.

Giving players whatever they want, whenever they want is the opposite of interesting to me. Go play WoW and hit the auction houses if you want the whole menu spread in front of you. As a DM, I don't think it's ridiculous to have some degree of control over what my players get their hands on.

Silver Crusade

Toadkiller Dog wrote:
Boy, am I glad my DM(s) are nothing like you.

Well my players are happy.

Silver Crusade

Gauss wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:

Actually it's spot on. Gaining spells beyond your 2 per level is up to the DM, there is no rule for beyond that.

Now how you decide that is up to you but there is no RAW that supports either one.

Actually there are rules for buying and selling spellbooks, scrolls, and spells. Do you prevent the fighter from buying a sword? If you don't then why would someone prevent the wizard from buying his spells? The two are basically the same, weapons of the class in question. - Gauss

Yes, there are rules for buying items but the rules as to if shops exist are not there. Everything to do with that are guidelines and are not set in stone. I rarely have magic shops in my games.

The only rule that guarantees a Wizard spells is the 2 per level. The DM limits everything else.

If a fighter wants a +4 flame sword then he could talk to his DM about maybe putting one in a dungeon or finding someone who can make one but there is no rule that says you have to give him one.

People really need to go and actually read the section on buying magic items. You will see that crazy word "guidelines" pop up a good bit.


Just to clarify: I didn't say they should have the whole menu in front of them. In fact earlier posts of mine stated they would have penalties on knowledge checks for creatures far from their home terrain. But this is partly roleplay.

What I don't see a problem with though is the game balance element when it comes to combat and usefulness. Pretty much any creature in the game that a druid can be wild shaped into is fine in my book. The limitations of what they know is what we are discussing.

Additionally, I never stated I give players access to everything. I stated that not allowing a wizard to buy extra spells was equivalent to a fighter not being able to buy weapons (this in direct response to the 2spells/level concept put forth).

- Gauss


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
The Drunken Dragon wrote:

I prefer to work off two systems. The first depends on where the druid comes from. For example, a druid from the Mwangi Expanse should have no problem taking the Wild Shape of jungle-based animals, i.e. apes, tigers, monkeys, hummingbirds, etc. But I could not reasonably allow them to take the shape of, lets say, a dire wolf, or a bear. Now, if they come from Brevoy, reverse that.

Aside from that, any animals they see during their campaigns also counts. So for example, a Mwangi druid who adventures in Ustalav is bound to encounter a few wolves, and should from thereafter be able to wild shape into a wolf. But unless they meet a polar bear at some point in their journey, they still can't do that. The only exception are characters who somehow had access to a menagerie, except this raises the issue of what a druid would be doing inside one of those other than working to sabotage it...

Jungles are remarkably diverse places. Not really disagreeing with the post above, but adding some commentary and such. Of course, disagreeing a little (about jungles), but that's me. A druid from there could very reasonably seen some form of wolf or bear (think Kipling). Now assuming the form of a specific breed (polar bear, let's say), might be another thing all together. Certainly it should be something of a hurdle to a first level character, but what about a level 15? Shouldn't a level 15 druid have a deeper connection to nature that allows them to transform into something they may have only heard of?

Further, what about more exotic wild shapes? If a druid is only allowed to wild shape into forms they are familiar with, what happens if by level 6 they haven't become familiar with elementals? The rules allow them to transform into a small or medium elemental. Later upgrades allow for plant creatures and more sizes, etc. So let's say our more secluded druid spent the first six levels of their career never seeing a fire elemental, then suddenly sees one. The group's rogue (or whatever) asks, "hey, can you change into one of those?" So far they have only been able to change into furry, feathery, or scaly things. that thing's got fire all over it. And in it. And... is made of it....

This is where a certain amount of metagaming is acceptable. Something tells the druid they can now change into a pile of dirt (air, water, fire...) Whether you define it as instinct, an NPC trainer, general druidic lore, whatever, the druid knows the basics of what they can do. Let's face it, there is no logical step between thrush and living fire outside known lore (re: other druids have done it).

That being said, I do like the idea of it being more difficult for a druid to change into an umfamiliar animal. I can see my player asking if they can change into that animal they just saw for the first time. Off the top of my head, I'd say I'd have him roll the knowledge nature check. Success and he could transform, if a bit slowly. Failure... Id'd probably still allow the change, but with a longer change time, maybe some temporary ability damage or something (mostly for color, but also make 'em think twice about trying something unusual mid-combat). For that matter, aside from the occassional bit of flavor text dialogue, I'd probably find most of that too time consuming in the first place and just let them transform with some penalties, no roll, and get on with it.

Silver Crusade

Avatar Unknown wrote:


Further, what about more exotic wild shapes? If a druid is only allowed to wild shape into forms they are familiar with, what happens if by level 6 they haven't become familiar with elementals? The rules allow them to transform into a small or medium elemental. Later upgrades allow for plant creatures and more sizes, etc. So let's say our more secluded druid spent the first six levels of their career never seeing a fire elemental, then suddenly sees one. The group's rogue (or...

The entry only mentions that the druid must be familiar with animals. It doesn't mention they have to be familiar with an elemental to turn into one.

Silver Crusade

Avatar Unknown wrote:
The Drunken Dragon wrote:

I prefer to work off two systems. The first depends on where the druid comes from. For example, a druid from the Mwangi Expanse should have no problem taking the Wild Shape of jungle-based animals, i.e. apes, tigers, monkeys, hummingbirds, etc. But I could not reasonably allow them to take the shape of, lets say, a dire wolf, or a bear. Now, if they come from Brevoy, reverse that.

Aside from that, any animals they see during their campaigns also counts. So for example, a Mwangi druid who adventures in Ustalav is bound to encounter a few wolves, and should from thereafter be able to wild shape into a wolf. But unless they meet a polar bear at some point in their journey, they still can't do that. The only exception are characters who somehow had access to a menagerie, except this raises the issue of what a druid would be doing inside one of those other than working to sabotage it...

Jungles are remarkably diverse places. Not really disagreeing with the post above, but adding some commentary and such. Of course, disagreeing a little (about jungles), but that's me. A druid from there could very reasonably seen some form of wolf or bear (think Kipling). Now assuming the form of a specific breed (polar bear, let's say), might be another thing all together. Certainly it should be something of a hurdle to a first level character, but what about a level 15? Shouldn't a level 15 druid have a deeper connection to nature that allows them to transform into something they may have only heard of?

Further, what about more exotic wild shapes? If a druid is only allowed to wild shape into forms they are familiar with, what happens if by level 6 they haven't become familiar with elementals? The rules allow them to transform into a small or medium elemental. Later upgrades allow for plant creatures and more sizes, etc. So let's say our more secluded druid spent the first six levels of their career never seeing a fire elemental, then suddenly sees one. The group's rogue (or...

Actually seeing the animal in person qualifies in my opinion as being acceptable but you suddenly turning into something that isn't even native to the region because the druids player just picked up the new bestiary is not acceptable.


I have read the section on buying magic items. I am quite aware of those limitations. And I have also read the section on buying new spells. This section plus the section on buying magic items indicate that adding spells are alot more common than you indicate.

Page 219 indicates that wizards charge a fee (50% of the cost to write it in the spellbook).

Page 163 has guidelines on spellcasting. These could be extended to wizard sharing their spellbooks as per page 219.

Finally, there are scrolls. Finding a scroll of a given spell shouldn't be too difficult (as per magic item limits). Since scrolls are pretty cheap, those limits should be easy to deal with. Since it is a 75% chance (page 460) to find anything under the base value then it should be simple to find scrolls (75% chance if under the base value). The number of minor, medium, and major items are above that limit.

- Gauss

Silver Crusade

Gauss wrote:

I have read the section on buying magic items. I am quite aware of those limitations. And I have also read the section on buying new spells. This section plus the section on buying magic items indicate that adding spells are alot more common than you indicate.

Page 219 indicates that wizards charge a fee (50% of the cost to write it in the spellbook).

Page 163 has guidelines on spellcasting. These could be extended to wizard sharing their spellbooks as per page 219.

Finally, there are scrolls. Finding a scroll of a given spell shouldn't be too difficult (as per magic item limits). Since scrolls are pretty cheap, those limits should be easy to deal with. Since it is a 75% chance (page 460) to find anything under the base value then it should be simple to find scrolls (75% chance if under the base value). The number of minor, medium, and major items are above that limit.

- Gauss

You haven't posted anything new and it still doesn't change anything. "If" you meet said wizard and "if" he decides to share his spells then he will charge 50%. Remember those "ifs" because those Wizards and shops don't exist unless the DM says they do.

Again, buying scrolls is fine as long as you can actually find scrolls to buy. Not everyone uses the guidelines in the back of the book. You can't walk into a city and expect there to be shops because you read about them in the corebook. That section isn't for players anyway.

Osirion

GoatToucher wrote:

It is not limiting the players. It is adding flavor to the game.

Giving players whatever they want, whenever they want is the opposite of interesting to me.

I just have to point out that forcing druids to only be "familiar" with animals with which they've had direct contact IS limiting. It absolutely is. Anything that decreases the amount of options available imposes a limit.

This isn't a matter of giving players whatever they want, whenever they want. This is a matter of letting a player play what he wants to play that in no way imbalances the overall power level of the game. It may not make sense to you, but what does preventing my halfling druid from turning into a Velociraptor have to do with what makes sense to you? Is it going to completely overpower your encounters? No. Is it going to look totally unrealistic? No. Is it going to be completely awesome? YES. Being able to turn into a dromeosaur in a land that has never even seen one could provide as many roleplay opportunities as having to take a giant drill to the depths of Orv just to see one.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
shallowsoul wrote:
Actually seeing the animal in person qualifies in my opinion as being acceptable but you suddenly turning into something that isn't even native to the region because the druids player just picked up the new bestiary is not acceptable.

Absolutely no argument about that, here.

By the same token, the mechanics of the transformation aren't into an actual animal. It is by the beast shape spell. Stats change by the spell's definitions, attack forms are gained/lost, etc, by the definition of the spell. The 'fur' around the animal, such as it is, is really just a special effect of sorts, there's not a mechanical difference. the only difference is the paint on the beast. All small animals get a +2 Dex and AC bonus, all medium gain +2 Str and and AC bonus. Furthermore, Beast Shape 1 only allows for various movement mode gains. Damage is by size/attack type (the chart in the bestiary). At higher levels you can get more effects (duplicating Beast Shapes 2 and 3), but a fourth level Druid can change into a medium cat (type they are familiar with, be it tiger, lion, leopard, other roughly size equivalent cat) or bear (black, brown, polar, zebra striped, whatever), the stats are the same. The actual 'packaging' of the animal is mainly for color, and storytelling.

...

Huh. I think I just talked myself into something more along your lines of thinking than what I started with.

shallowsoul wrote:
The entry only mentions that the druid must be familiar with animals. It doesn't mention they have to be familiar with an elemental to turn into one.

Indeed it does not. By the same token, my whole purpose there is pointing out a logical inconsistency (fur to flames), and show how a little handwaving helps fix it. Didn't really appl it to the conversation well, so I probably should have omitted it.


If you are going to be modifying the guidelines then at least you can make that statement up front. I fully agree that those guidelines are just that but if you are basing a discussion on modified guidelines then the premise you are stating changes.

The game was built with those guidelines. Trying to make blanket statements with an altered set of guidelines doesnt apply unless you at least acknowledge that fact. - Gauss


The very notion of a guide as opposed to a hard and fast rule is that it is mutable. If a DM wants to make certain spells or items rarer or more valuable, it is his prerogative to do so. If he wants to make scrolls unavailable in small towns, that too is his prerogative. If he wants to create a culture in which wizards guard their secrets closely,and only share their materials after you have undertaken to earn their trust, well, you get the idea.

No formula in the book is going to control my game world,and, from the language the designers used, they aren't meant to.

As for spells = weapons, not letting wizards find certain spells is not the equivalent of not letting a fighter find a sword, but rather, not having a fighter be able to find a medium sized gnomish hook hammer in some one horse hamlet. Wizards are rarer than warriors,and so too for their equipment. Every town will certainly have a blacksmith, and many will have weaponsmiths, but to have them all have access to scrolls and magic items stretches my suspension of disbelief a bit too far.

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