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Wild shape AC help!


Advice

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I'm currently struggling to find a way to get decent ac on a melee druid. I'll be level 4, 15pb.


Try an amulet of Natural armour, which will stack with your Natural Armour bonus from the wildshape. Barkskin is also a good option. If you've chosen one particular form that you really like, then barding may be an option.


Well Amy of NA doesn't stack with barkskin.

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
I'm currently struggling to find a way to get decent ac on a melee druid. I'll be level 4, 15pb.

Well, stat-wise you should be aiming for something like this (from an optimization perspective):

Str 16 Dex 14 Con 14 Int 11 Wis 14 Cha 7

And thus an AC of about 14 in velociraptor form (15 if you grab Dodge. Not a bad call, actually. I might go with that and Power Attack). Which isn't too bad all things considered.

But frankly, your AC is going to suck while Wild Shaped until you get the 16K together for +1 Wild Hide armor (using your own resources anyway). This is simply a fact, accept it and move on. If you can talk them into it, get the othewr PCs to advance you the money (should be doable by 6th level or so if veryone chips in), paying them back by not taking a share of any treasure until it's paid off.

All that said, at this level you do have some options: a Ring of Protection helps, so does Cat's Grace and other Dex enhancers, and so does Barkskin (or an Amulet of Natural Armor). If you have prep-time, Leather or Hide Barding may a worthwhile investment, but putting that on is a bit difficult mid-fight. If you happen to have a Wizard available, stealing a page from the Monk and buying him a 1st level Pearly of Power to share his Mage Armor with you is one of the best ways, but it requires a Wizard (or Witch). As of 4th level, those are pretty much your options.

Sczarni

You also have to take into account what your wild shape will be. Some creatures have insane natural armor as well as some pretty good dodging abilities. For example, a Grizzly Bear has an AC of 16 while a Hippopotamus has an AC of 17, both of these at the same CR to avoid confusion on the subject. Any Fighter or Monk will tell you that 1 point of AC makes all the difference in combat, so your Wild Shape also factors in as well.


SinBlade06: The AC, natural or otherwise, of the creature whose shape you take doesn't matter at all. Wild shape uses the beast shape spells as its base, and those specify the natural armor you get (regardless of the chosen creature's own natural armor).

Andoran

Are wrote:

SinBlade06: The AC, natural or otherwise, of the creature whose shape you take doesn't matter at all. Wild shape uses the beast shape spells as its base, and those specify the natural armor you get (regardless of the chosen creature's own natural armor).

This. Becoming any Large creature (not available until 6th level, for reference) grants a +4 bonus to NA, whether the original creature has +0 or +10.

Sczarni

Oh. Whoops. My mistake, thanks for the correction.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

A 1st lvl wand of mage armour will set you back 750 gp and lasts for an hour per charge. Split the cost with your arcane caster / monk / rogue buddy (preferably someone who can activate it!) and it will easily see you through until you all can afford something more permanent.


At a 4th level 15 point buy, your opponents aren't going to be all that great either.


beej67 wrote:
At a 4th level 15 point buy, your opponents aren't going to be all that great either.

My DM likes to make encounters hard. You'll rarely ever see an encounter CR appropriate for our party. It's always +1 +2 and sometimes +3.


It hurts your casting and wildshape, but depending on how high your wisdom is, a single level dip into Master of Many Styles Monk (I like to add Sohei to that, but apparently many think adding options "alters" a class feature and it's incompatible...) at any odd level can be a tremendous help.

You want to have dodge feat beforehand. Enter monk, take Crane Style as your odd level feat (you needed IUS for it, hence taking monk at an odd level) and Crane Wing as your bonus feat. You now suddenly have (fighting defensive w/ 3 ranks in acrobatics) +4+wis mod AC bonus and first melee hit is deflected each round, for -2 to hit.

That and an ally to mage armor you, and you'll have quite good AC at the cost of druid progression. If you picked Animal (Feather) domain, you'll still be able to recoup full animal companion progression w/ Boon Companion, as it's still only 4 levels behind.

Andoran

StreamOfTheSky wrote:

It hurts your casting and wildshape, but depending on how high your wisdom is, a single level dip into Master of Many Styles Monk (I like to add Sohei to that, but apparently many think adding options "alters" a class feature and it's incompatible...) at any odd level can be a tremendous help.

You want to have dodge feat beforehand. Enter monk, take Crane Style as your odd level feat (you needed IUS for it, hence taking monk at an odd level) and Crane Wing as your bonus feat. You now suddenly have (fighting defensive w/ 3 ranks in acrobatics) +4+wis mod AC bonus and first melee hit is deflected each round, for -2 to hit.

That and an ally to mage armor you, and you'll have quite good AC at the cost of druid progression. If you picked Animal (Feather) domain, you'll still be able to recoup full animal companion progression w/ Boon Companion, as it's still only 4 levels behind.

This is actually a good point, and one of the few times dipping as a caster might be worth it. Emphasis on the might, though.

Cheliax

StreamOfTheSky wrote:

It hurts your casting and wildshape, but depending on how high your wisdom is, a single level dip into Master of Many Styles Monk (I like to add Sohei to that, but apparently many think adding options "alters" a class feature and it's incompatible...) at any odd level can be a tremendous help.

You want to have dodge feat beforehand. Enter monk, take Crane Style as your odd level feat (you needed IUS for it, hence taking monk at an odd level) and Crane Wing as your bonus feat. You now suddenly have (fighting defensive w/ 3 ranks in acrobatics) +4+wis mod AC bonus and first melee hit is deflected each round, for -2 to hit.

That and an ally to mage armor you, and you'll have quite good AC at the cost of druid progression. If you picked Animal (Feather) domain, you'll still be able to recoup full animal companion progression w/ Boon Companion, as it's still only 4 levels behind.

I second Monk master of many styles but 2 level dip. If you wild shape alot go Dragons Style + Dragons Ferocity + Feral Combat training


You could try to mulitclass with sorcerer and take shield and mage armor ... slap the natural spell feat and you're golden. Though at lvl 4 ... ask the mage to mage armor you

The problem with wild armor is that at minimum its 16K just for the enchantments which is 10K more than what a 4th lvl character should have.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

+1 Wild Dragonhide Full Plate.


Can you guys look at my stats?

Dwarf druid
favored in hp, average hp
16 strength
16 con
14 wisdom
14 dex
10 int
5 cha

feats:
dodge
power attack

trait:

Magic items:
ring of protection +1
cloak of resist +1
hide shirt
darkword heavy shield

normal ac:20
wild shape ac:18
Barkskin: +2
mage armor: +4
Hp: 8+4.5+4.5+4.5+16=37.5 rounded down.

My DM only allows one trait so which one should I take? reactionary seems like a pretty good choice.

I need help with magic items as well since I still have about 2k left for magic items.


Robespierre wrote:

Can you guys look at my stats?

Dwarf druid
favored in hp, average hp
16 strength
16 con
14 wisdom
14 dex
10 int
5 cha

feats:
dodge
power attack

trait:

Magic items:
ring of protection +1
cloak of resist +1
hide shirt
darkword heavy shield

normal ac:20
wild shape ac:18
Barkskin: +2
mage armor: +4
Hp: 8+4.5+4.5+4.5+16=37.5 rounded down.

My DM only allows one trait so which one should I take? reactionary seems like a pretty good choice.

I need help with magic items as well since I still have about 2k left for magic items.

As a medium wildshape you gain another +2 natural armor and the ring bomus will still apply


I'm aware of this.
I lost 2 ac because of the +4 from hide.


Thorkull wrote:
+1 Wild Dragonhide Full Plaote.

That's a cost equal to a +4armor17 not easy to get at level 4

I agree 1 level of monk is a nice idea you instantly get Wis mod to AC and touch AC


Natural armor you get from wild shape stacks with barkskin spell or natural armor amulet but the spell doesn't stack with amulet you get the higher of the two which stacks with your wildshape natural armor

Andoran

Looks good and workable.

You actually lose a total of 6 AC from Armor and Shield while Wild Shaped, but gain the +2 for Medium critters, totalling to an AC of 16. 18 with Barkskin, 20 with Mage Armor, 22 with both. I have no idea to what extent you're aware of this, but it seems worth noting.

And if you're counting on Mage Armor, I'd burn 1k of that remaining gold on a 1st level Pearl of Power for a Wizardly friend to use on you.

I'd honestly also ditch the shield and grab a Masterwork Scythe. Why? Because you're gonna need to fight sans Wild shape sometimes (it's only 4 hours a day, after all), and with it you'll still be effective pretty effective (+6 hit for 2d4+7 with Power Attack).


Your armor becomes useless unless you have the wild enchantment have someone case mate armor for u plus ring of protection amulet of NA and your set maybe get 1me level of monk to get your Wis to AC and touch AC


Deadmanwalking wrote:

Looks good and workable.

You actually lose a total of 6 AC from Armor and Shield while Wild Shaped, but gain the +2 for Medium critters, totalling to an AC of 16. 18 with Barkskin, 20 with Mage Armor, 22 with both. I have no idea to what extent you're aware of this, but it seems worth noting.

And if you're counting on Mage Armor, I'd burn 1k of that remaining gold on a 1st level Pearl of Power for a Wizardly friend to use on you.

I'd honestly also ditch the shield and grab a Masterwork Scythe. Why? Because you're gonna need to fight sans Wild shape sometimes (it's only 4 hours a day, after all), and with it you'll still be effective pretty effective (+6 hit for 2d4+7 with Power Attack).

I think i'll settle for both and switch between the two. Once I'm level 6 I probably won't need the scythe. Does animal barding work with wild shape? I saw a thread that some people were debating whether or not it works. Also what are some good tactics for getting mage armor, barding, and/or barkskin up before combat? Also is there anyway for me to communicate with others while I'm in my wild shape form?


Another item you can grab: Cracked Vibrant Purple Ioun Stone (price 2000gp, source: Seeker of Secrets). This will get you 1 level of spell storing. Have friendly mage cast shield into it. Activate at leisure for a short term boost to AC.

- Gauss

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
I think i'll settle for both and switch between the two.

Probably a good call.

Robespierre wrote:
Once I'm level 6 I probably won't need the scythe.

Yup, the jump at 6th from 5 hours to 12 per day is enormous.

Robespierre wrote:
Does animal barding work with wild shape? I saw a thread that some people were debating whether or not it works.

It should...but someone would need to put it on the animal (since you lack hands in that form), and it's not really an option to put on in combat.

Robespierre wrote:
Also what are some good tactics for getting mage armor, barding, and/or barkskin up before combat?

Well, as you level up, Mage Armor won't be a problem (1 hour/level duration, so by 8th the wizard just casts it on himself and then you when you both get up), but as long as it is, I reccomend just having the Wizard cast it on you as you change forms, that'll make it last as long as you're Wild Shaped since their durations are identical. Just get the Wizard to agree to this and you're golden.

Getting Barding or Barkskin up is trickier (though you can just buff yourself with Barkskin or Cat's Grace once you've got Natural Spell at 5th), and involves transforming before the fight (and casting before you transform) and knowing that said fight is coming...so it's very much a situational sorta thing.

Robespierre wrote:
Also is there anyway for me to communicate with others while I'm in my wild shape form?

Buy some sort of inter-party code as a language with Linguistics, or grab a spell or magic item that lets you do it. There...really aren't a lot of options here. sadly.


Getting Barkskin up isnt that hard, there is a feat that allows you to cast spells while wildshaped. - Gauss

Andoran

Gauss wrote:
Getting Barkskin up isnt that hard, there is a feat that allows you to cast spells while wildshaped. - Gauss

That you can't get till 5th level. I was talking about 4th specifically (and have edited my post above to clarify that).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gauss wrote:
Getting Barkskin up isnt that hard, there is a feat that allows you to cast spells while wildshaped. - Gauss
That you can't get till 5th level. I was talking about 4th specifically (and have edited my post above to clarify that).

Guess that's what I get for responding while you were editing. LOL :)

- Gauss


I'm aware of the feat you guys are talking about. It seems required for druids.


Regarding communication. Someone else can use speak with animals to speak with you. While wildshaped you can communicate with other animals. A wand of speak with animals should allow someone to understand you.

- Gauss

Edit: this presumes they have UMD.

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
I'm aware of the feat you guys are talking about. It seems required for druids.

It basically is. Of course, so's Power Attack for almost all Fighter and Barbarian builds, and Weapon Finesse for most Rogues and Ninjas...many classes have required Feats when you get right down to it.

Gauss wrote:
Edit: this presumes they have UMD.

Or the spell on their list. So Bards, and Rangers can use it as well as Druids without that.


Since my companion is going to be an ape would it just be best for me to be an ape as well? What should my ape take? I'm thinking toughness and power attack. Also what are some good traits to consider?

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
Since my companion is going to be an ape would it just be best for me to be an ape as well?

Mechanically? Go Deinonychus. It's got four attacks (three primary), Speed 50, and Pounce. Though you can vary it every time you shapeshift, of course.

Of cfourse, mechanically, you should also switch companions to a Lion or Tiger at 7th level, as well.

Robespierre wrote:
What should my ape take? I'm thinking toughness and power attack. Also what are some good traits to consider?

I'd go Iron Will and Power Attack for the Ape, then get him Masterwork Studded Leather Barding. Always good to make your companion less susceptible to mind control and harder to hurt.

As for Traits, unless you want a new Class Skill, Focused Mind is good for Casters, Reactionary is good for everyone, and Deft Dodger is good for those with low Reflex saves.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Robespierre wrote:
I'm aware of the feat you guys are talking about. It seems required for druids.

It basically is. Of course, so's Power Attack for almost all Fighter and Barbarian builds, and Weapon Finesse for most Rogues and Ninjas...many classes have required Feats when you get right down to it.

Gauss wrote:
Edit: this presumes they have UMD.
Or the spell on their list. So Bards, and Rangers can use it as well as Druids without that.

True, I should stop making partial statements. :P

- Gauss

Edit: For that matter there are gnomes..and any number of other ways to acquire a 1st level spell that you do not otherwise possess.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Robespierre wrote:
Since my companion is going to be an ape would it just be best for me to be an ape as well?

Mechanically? Go Deinonychus. It's got four attacks (three primary), Speed 50, and Pounce. Though you can vary it every time you shapeshift, of course.

Of cfourse, mechanically, you should also switch companions to a Lion or Tiger at 7th level, as well.

Robespierre wrote:
What should my ape take? I'm thinking toughness and power attack. Also what are some good traits to consider?

I'd go Iron Will and Power Attack for the Ape, then get him Masterwork Studded Leather Barding. Always good to make your companion less susceptible to mind control and harder to hurt.

As for Traits, unless you want a new Class Skill, Focused Mind is good for Casters, Reactionary is good for everyone, and Deft Dodger is good for those with low Reflex saves.

How am I going to communicate with my ape though if I'm a dinosaur? Also what are some good archetypes? I'm thinking of world walker because half of the land in our campaign is frozen tundra.

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
How am I going to communicate with my ape though if I'm a dinosaur? Also what are some good archetypes? I'm thinking of world walker because half of the land in our campaign is frozen tundra.

Talking to the animal companion is a luxury, have them trained to attack your enemies, then move to flank (or have someone else do it). It's probably the best you're gonna get.


The best archetype is Menhir Savant. It's potent AND cool. Every druid should be one.

And there's a Wild Speech feat in UM. But considering you'll want Natural Spell at 5, by the time you can get it at 7 or so, elemental forms (in which you can talk) start becoming available, so not sure it's worth the feat.

Osirion

Dementrius wrote:
A 1st lvl wand of mage armour will set you back 750 gp and lasts for an hour per charge. Split the cost with your arcane caster / monk / rogue buddy (preferably someone who can activate it!) and it will easily see you through until you all can afford something more permanent.

A pearl of power will set you back 1k and allow the caster to use their own level.

Since most casters that have access to mage armor use it, this should not be an issue.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Robespierre wrote:
How am I going to communicate with my ape though if I'm a dinosaur? Also what are some good archetypes? I'm thinking of world walker because half of the land in our campaign is frozen tundra.
Talking to the animal companion is a luxury, have them trained to attack your enemies, then move to flank (or have someone else do it). It's probably the best you're gonna get.

How does a velioceraptor wild shaped druid have pounce when it's not a listed ability in beast shape I? What are some ways I can communicate with others by the use of spells and/or magic items.


You could take the trait Two World Magic to add Ghost Sound as one of your orisons. And then use that with Natural Spell to communicate with the party.

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
How does a velioceraptor wild shaped druid have pounce when it's not a listed ability in beast shape I?

Ah, my bad, you don't. The speed and number of attacks still make it worth it (and at 6th level plus it also grants pounce if you're somewhere too cramped to be a Dire Tiger or something instead).

Robespierre wrote:
What are some ways I can communicate with others by the use of spells and/or magic items.

Well, there's a Feat (as someone mentioned), and I mentioned Linguistics and a party code, but that's really all I've got. Sorry.


You know what it doesn't matter much if I communicate with my party. I'll just stick with being an ape considering that my companion will be an ape and there is a lot of difficult terrain in our campaign. Why is Menhir Savant so good for a melee oriented druid? I'm wondering because it seems better to get favored terrain considering there is only like three different types.


Robespierre wrote:
I'm currently struggling to find a way to get decent ac on a melee druid. I'll be level 4, 15pb.

Not sure what your race is but if I had intended on making a melee druid, I would have rolled a human for the extra feat and taken Dodge and Shield Focus. With Hide Armor and a Heavy Wooden Shield, your looking at 18 AC without throwing in your dex bonus, bark skin, or cat's grace. Also I would use Aspect of the Bear (APG) over bark skin for the gained combat manuevers.


I'm being a dwarf because they make good druids and humans are boring.

I'm still looking at feats:
Iron hide(Is this better than dodge?)
Dodge(Is this better than iron hide?)
Power Attack(doesn't seem as important but idk)
Feral Speech(House rule as feat)
Steel Soul(maybe later)

Also my DM changed his mind and made it 20 point buy with two traits

So I'm thinking

18 str
14 con
14 wis
14 dex
10 int
6 cha

traits(not quite sure yet):
Reactionary
Glory of Old

Items I'm consider:
breastplate armor barding for my druid(masterwork)
breastplate armor(masterwork)
Studded leather master work barding for my druid(masterwork)
two cloaks of resist
clw wand
darkwood heavy shield
ring of protect +1
(some basics)
ioun torch x2
stone masterwork battleaxe
masterwork sling
sling ammo X20

next item to consider:
Str belt
or amulet of natural fists(menacing or normal)
something to increase movement speed

archetype Menhir Savant

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:

I'm being a dwarf because they make good druids and humans are boring.

I'm still looking at feats:
Iron hide(Is this better than dodge?)
Dodge(Is this better than iron hide?)
Power Attack(doesn't seem as important but idk)
Feral Speech(House rule as feat)
Steel Soul(maybe later)

Alright, looking at Feats:

Power Attack is awesome. Grab it. It's not absolutely needed right now, but it wil be wanted before 7th level and you pretty much need Natural Spell at 5th. It's really just too nice a damage boost to give up, IMO.

Feral Speech is worth a Feat...assuming your GM will let you take it at 3rd level...which is pre-Wild Shape.

Iron Hide debatably doesn't stack with the AC bonuses of Wild Shape while Dodge does, so of the two Dodge is better for you.

Steel soul is pretty cool, but as you say, more for later.

I'd probably skip the shield for a two-handed weapon (Masterwork, if possible) but your items otherwise look pretty good.


is the 3.5 damage(including power attack) really worth it considering the shield will give me two more ac? So feral speech or power attack and dodge perhaps. I know I get -2 plus 4 pretty soon and tiger form but idk if it's a significant damage increase considering my bonus to hit.

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
is the 3.5 damage(including power attack) really worth it considering the shield will give me two more ac?

Since you can't cast with a Heavy Shield, but can with a two-handed weapon? Yes.

Robespierre wrote:
So feral speech or power attack and dodge perhaps. I know I get -2 plus 4 pretty soon and tiger form but idk if it's a significant damage increase considering my bonus to hit.

Your to-hit is pretty good with your Strength alone, and should get better via AoMF and strength enhancers. Also, you can always choose not to use it, if you really feel the need.


Oh yeah that's right, thanks a lot.

Do you know of a form fillable character sheet with an animal companion section that's free?

Andoran

Robespierre wrote:
Oh yeah that's right, thanks a lot.

Always happy to help. :)

Robespierre wrote:
Do you know of a form fillable character sheet with an animal companion section that's free?

Sorry, no, I tend not to use form-fillable sheets.

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