Druid Class Deck Preview

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In the wake of Paul's lovely but sadly ill-conceived Best Character Ever blog, I'm here to talk tree-huggers. Hippies. Lovers of the natural world. Two-thirds of them are even wearing clothes!


Gronk's too sexy for his shirt, so sexy it hurts.

We've mentioned all three of these characters in previous blogs, but now I've got a chance to go into a little more detail. Our design goal for this deck was to make three characters that play differently but can each use the full range of cards in the set effectively. So even characters that aren't, say, Pack Lords can make good use of Animal allies.

When the design team thinks of druids, we think of three main features: animal companions, wild shape abilities, and nature spells. So we designed each druid to showcase a different one of these features. As Paul mentioned last week, Class Deck Lini is all about the Animal trait. So we made her some new friends!


Expecto Pat-Giant Weasel?

Gronk, as you might infer from his art, is a master of shapeshifting. He's in tune with the flora and fauna of the forest, and can alter his form to serve the situation. In testing, he proved quite self-sufficient, and I think he'll be a popular choice.


Everyone loves the Swiss Army elf.

Maznar is the classic “nature's wrath” druid, wielding elemental magic to zap his enemies and succor his friends. I love his art—it immediately told me what sort of character he'd be. Maznar is a follower of the Green Faith, a natural spiritual tradition that abhors abominations and reveres wild things and places. Acolytes of this faith wander the world as a sort of magical park ranger, keeping things as they should be.


If you've got tentacles where you shouldn't, he's gonna send you packing.

Finally, here's a peek at some classic druid spells we were thrilled to bring to the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game!


Those looks like some good berries, if you know what I mean.

The Druid Class Deck is now available for purchase!

Tanis O'Connor
Adventure Card Game Designer

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Tags: Class Decks Druids Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As a New England Patriots fan I want Gronk. For reasons.


Let the nerdy sports memes begin...


Gronk's non-random heal looks awesome: selective healing (& burying) should let him curate his deck as he sees fit, which should enable some choice slim-deck play. Should be excellent for solo play, looking forward to him.

I don't love Maznar's free d4 buff from a design standpoint, as it's always an automatic decision. Even a rider like 'if that player fails the check, discard the ally' would make for more interesting gameplay. but I suppose I have plenty of bard-type characters I can play already, so there's nothing wrong with having a character for the crowd that doesn't enjoy the tension of tradeoffs (although, that's arguably the crux of the game, so I'm not sure how many PACG fans like that exist).

Fruit of Life looks like a 'fixed' restoration. Although, Maznar's animal fetching should make Mastiff an excellent animal companion to get around such limitations in WotR, at least :).


Gronk eh/ I guess Marvel might have sued if you used the other guy right? ;)

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That Stag is pretty awesome

Of course, I am GROOT! GRONK!

That Feral Shifter role is pretty awesome, I especially like the free heal every turn. That would be my first role feat without a doubt. Depending on how versatile he is with his skills, the bury to heal benefits could likely far outweigh the cost.


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Andrew L Klein wrote:
Of course, I am GROOT! GRONK!

That joke was low-hanging fruit.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So wait, why does the Fruit of Life have the healing trait? It's not actually healing anything?

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Iammars wrote:
So wait, why does the Fruit of Life have the healing trait? It's not actually healing anything?

Sure it is, you get to recharge a card, and it lets you choose whether you want to heal the one you just drew or another card from your hand. I see it as a very minor heal that could come in at just the right moment.

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Johnny Chronicle wrote:
Andrew L Klein wrote:
Of course, I am GROOT! GRONK!
That joke was low-hanging fruit.

Low hanging fruit just begging to be picked.


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Johnny Chronicle wrote:
Andrew L Klein wrote:
Of course, I am GROOT! GRONK!
That joke was low-hanging fruit.

Yeah, it's a poplar joke, but it's so old I think I sawdust on it; I'm going out on a limb here, but there was no need to bark it out. I'm knot joking, either.

I'd call the copse on it, but I'm bushed. It's just that something that sappy leaves me pining for something more rooted, or ashtonishing. I willow you all acorny comment when next I log on.


cartmanbeck wrote:
Iammars wrote:
So wait, why does the Fruit of Life have the healing trait? It's not actually healing anything?
Sure it is, you get to recharge a card, and it lets you choose whether you want to heal the one you just drew or another card from your hand. I see it as a very minor heal that could come in at just the right moment.

If the card doesn't specify, the card has to come from your hand. So there's no healing there.


However, if you have a card you don't find very useful (for example Caltrops) you can draw a card to replace caltrops and then recharge caltrops. You are not taking any hitpoint damage by discarding a card but it is giving you a little more variety in your hand.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Still I think it's a bit nderpowered for an Adventure 2 card...

I also love Gronk. He could be a really good solo char or going well in a small group of 2 or three chars...

Adventure Card Game Designer

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zeroth_hour2 wrote:
cartmanbeck wrote:
Iammars wrote:
So wait, why does the Fruit of Life have the healing trait? It's not actually healing anything?
Sure it is, you get to recharge a card, and it lets you choose whether you want to heal the one you just drew or another card from your hand. I see it as a very minor heal that could come in at just the right moment.
If the card doesn't specify, the card has to come from your hand. So there's no healing there.

This card—one that restores your deck as you play, just like Cure—fit enough into our conception of what Healing meant that we kept the trait on it. Cards like Bard deck Lem, Cleric deck Kyra, and the WotR1 villain Faxon care about cards with the Healing trait, and we wanted Fruit of Life to get caught in those cards' nets.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Fair enough - I'll have to remind myself to count Fruit of Life effects as Healing in PFACG from now on.

Which is going to be super-relevant, since I'm pretty sure that Fruit of Life is going to be seeing a bunch of play from me.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

Thinking of it from the RPG side instead of card side for a second - let's say that it heals you for _1_ hp, and also makes you feel healthy and full like you ate a full day's worth of food. That definitely makes you feel better, but in card terms that 1 hp is so small it's rounded down in terms of the discard pile. That said, your hand likely improved, so that's feeling a bit healthier :)


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I do NOT understand Gronk's first ability. You may discard a card to roll a d10 instead of your Strength or Constitution die for any check.

So, if I am rolling a Divine check (which is included in *ANY* check) how do I use this? I can just use d10s or d12s for anything I want?

Or is it supposed to say "instead of your normal die for any Strength or Constitution check"?


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Keith Richmond wrote:
Thinking of it from the RPG side instead of card side for a second - let's say that it heals you for _1_ hp, and also makes you feel healthy and full like you ate a full day's worth of food. That definitely makes you feel better, but in card terms that 1 hp is so small it's rounded down in terms of the discard pile. That said, your hand likely improved, so that's feeling a bit healthier :)

So it's basically a sucky goodberry? The card seems mediocre at best to me, and I can't see why it merits a slot in AD2 given that. The best use for it I can think of is a case where you both need the top card of your deck and have a crap card in hand you want to get rid of. The card to me seems like a very situational pick, not applicable in the majority of situations. If I did pick it, I'd likely use it almost immediately just to get it out of my hand so I can hopefully draw something more useful.

Off the top of my head, these are the only situations I can see the card being useful rather than simply being the card disadvantage it is (note that you're spending 2 cards to get 1 card back, so the situation needs to be worth it for that to make sense, otherwise you're just harming yourself or someone else):

  • S&S Lini or other characters with powers to topdeck cards in order to get those cards back. In fact with S&S Lini I'd grab this spell ASAP for that exact reason -- a situationally useful card now turned into an always useful card since at the very least it's an extra explore. The card goes from "meh" to "omg awesome" when combined with such powers.
  • You (or someone at your location) acquired a card you don't care about and is somewhat low on health so discarding it while resetting is not an option. This gives you another avenue to get rid of that card without taking damage doing so.
  • There's a card in your (or someone at your location's) hand that does bad things and you'd like to be rid of it, such as the Fulsome Queen cohort from WotR when you know there are no demons to be found in the location deck.
  • Mediocre synergy with Handy Haversack, but I doubt I'd grab the spell for this combo as that's using up 2 hand slots for a very not great power when the haversack does the job pretty well by itself.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SkyeGuy wrote:

I do NOT understand Gronk's first ability. You may discard a card to roll a d10 instead of your Strength or Constitution die for any check.

So, if I am rolling a Divine check (which is included in *ANY* check) how do I use this? I can just use d10s or d12s for anything I want?

Or is it supposed to say "instead of your normal die for any Strength or Constitution check"?

It does what it says -- it replaces your Strength or Constitution die. It does not replace any other die type. If you were attempting a Divine check and somehow got a Strength die in there (maybe there's a Shoryuken spell that says "For your combat check, discard this card to use your Arcane or Divine skill plus your Strength die"), you could use Gronk's power to replace the strength die part of that with a d10, and bury another card to net another d8 on top of that.

Or let's say you picked up an Onyx of Constitution recently and are about to attempt an Acrobatics check. You play the Onyx on the check to use your Constitution die instead of the d4 (due to not having Acrobatics), then use Gronk's power to swap that out with a d10.


SkyeGuy wrote:

I do NOT understand Gronk's first ability. You may discard a card to roll a d10 instead of your Strength or Constitution die for any check.

So, if I am rolling a Divine check (which is included in *ANY* check) how do I use this? I can just use d10s or d12s for anything I want?

Or is it supposed to say "instead of your normal die for any Strength or Constitution check"?

The power replaces Gronk's Strength or Constitution die with a d10; if the check isn't using one of those dice, the power doesn't do anything.

The reason it doesn't specify "Strength or Constitution check" is that there are a few edge cases where some other check uses those dice. The only example I can think of is if Gronk uses a Longbow, and rolls Dexterity skill + Strength die. It's a Dex check but he can replace his Strength die with a d10.


I like the concept of Gronk but that 4 card starting hand size is going to make his early games rough. But then I'm generally not a big fan of 4 card starting hands. Those characters tend to get hurt by bad draws and either have to toss cards away (damaging themselves) or not do much more than explore once per turn.

Silver Crusade

Maznar is definitely my choice here. I love divine casters. I just hope he has enough spell slots for combat spells, support spells, and a couple of cures.


skizzerz wrote:
Keith Richmond wrote:
Thinking of it from the RPG side instead of card side for a second - let's say that it heals you for _1_ hp, and also makes you feel healthy and full like you ate a full day's worth of food. That definitely makes you feel better, but in card terms that 1 hp is so small it's rounded down in terms of the discard pile. That said, your hand likely improved, so that's feeling a bit healthier :)

So it's basically a sucky goodberry? The card seems mediocre at best to me, and I can't see why it merits a slot in AD2 given that. The best use for it I can think of is a case where you both need the top card of your deck and have a crap card in hand you want to get rid of. The card to me seems like a very situational pick, not applicable in the majority of situations. If I did pick it, I'd likely use it almost immediately just to get it out of my hand so I can hopefully draw something more useful.

It can work well with characters like Ezren or Feiya, who have frequently-triggerable 'draw the top card of your deck if it's an X' powers that stall out when a dud is on top, as it can draw them past it. Other than that, it's minor deck manipulation---not amazing, but helpful for smoothing out people's draws (too many/too few weapons/armors/etc.). The bigger the variance in card-power-level in someone's deck, the better it becomes, so it's probably more useful in AD2 (when people have a few good cards to dig for) than it would be at the start.


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skizzerz wrote:
Keith Richmond wrote:
Thinking of it from the RPG side instead of card side for a second - let's say that it heals you for _1_ hp, and also makes you feel healthy and full like you ate a full day's worth of food. That definitely makes you feel better, but in card terms that 1 hp is so small it's rounded down in terms of the discard pile. That said, your hand likely improved, so that's feeling a bit healthier :)
So it's basically a sucky goodberry? The card seems mediocre at best to me, and I can't see why it merits a slot in AD2 given that. The best use for it I can think of is a case where you both need the top card of your deck and have a crap card in hand you want to get rid of. The card to me seems like a very situational pick, not applicable in the majority of situations. If I did pick it, I'd likely use it almost immediately just to get it out of my hand so I can hopefully draw something more useful.

Deck cycling is incredibly useful. If Orbis still haunted these forums he would be drooling about this card.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Yep, being able to consistently recharge cards is power. Trust me, if you've ever played a heavy weapon user like Valeros, your hand can get clogged up with a bunch of duplicate things you don't need really quick, especially with a small hand size. Having a good way to cycle through your hand lets you play the really good cards more often.

Also that Feral Shifter role screams "solo powerhouse" to me. Look at all that free healing!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

skizzerz wrote:
SkyeGuy wrote:

I do NOT understand Gronk's first ability. You may discard a card to roll a d10 instead of your Strength or Constitution die for any check.

So, if I am rolling a Divine check (which is included in *ANY* check) how do I use this? I can just use d10s or d12s for anything I want?

Or is it supposed to say "instead of your normal die for any Strength or Constitution check"?

It does what it says -- it replaces your Strength or Constitution die. It does not replace any other die type. If you were attempting a Divine check and somehow got a Strength die in there (maybe there's a Shoryuken spell that says "For your combat check, discard this card to use your Arcane or Divine skill plus your Strength die"), you could use Gronk's power to replace the strength die part of that with a d10, and bury another card to net another d8 on top of that.

Or let's say you picked up an Onyx of Constitution recently and are about to attempt an Acrobatics check. You play the Onyx on the check to use your Constitution die instead of the d4 (due to not having Acrobatics), then use Gronk's power to swap that out with a d10.

There are a couple cards in the Druid deck that care a lot about this distinction!

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ryric wrote:
Also that Feral Shifter role screams "solo powerhouse" to me. Look at all that free healing!

Eh, I don't know. The major problem I'm seeing with the Feral Shifter is that he only has a hand size of 4 to start, and can only go up to 6. He's going to have some trouble defeating some higher AD villains.

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Iammars wrote:
ryric wrote:
Also that Feral Shifter role screams "solo powerhouse" to me. Look at all that free healing!
Eh, I don't know. The major problem I'm seeing with the Feral Shifter is that he only has a hand size of 4 to start, and can only go up to 6. He's going to have some trouble defeating some higher AD villains.

A fair point. Let's assume he has a hand size of 6, weapon proficiency, and can reveal blessings to get a d12 Strength. That uses up 6 of his power feats, generally you get 7 so he has one more for free heal at reset each turn. With a BoGorum (or Achaekek or Lamashtu) and a late game weapon we can be looking at 3d12+1d10+3+(Str feats), or an average of 28+strength feats. This costs him one card out of his hand, and requires another to be a weapon. Toss in a +d6 animal ally and he's good to go for most henchmen. Might be tricky against some difficulty 40 villains, true, but most of those have other bonuses you can add in.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Gronk would be great for that terrible Arboreal Blight. Can't wait to see what his other role card is, and what the other cards in the deck will be.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Fruit of Life seems like it would be good for CD Lini, who will hopefully be recharging her animal allies for combat check. It will let her get back to those animal allies faster. Heck, if there are 2 in the deck I might want her to have both of them.


Joshua Birk 898 wrote:
skizzerz wrote:
Keith Richmond wrote:
Thinking of it from the RPG side instead of card side for a second - let's say that it heals you for _1_ hp, and also makes you feel healthy and full like you ate a full day's worth of food. That definitely makes you feel better, but in card terms that 1 hp is so small it's rounded down in terms of the discard pile. That said, your hand likely improved, so that's feeling a bit healthier :)
So it's basically a sucky goodberry? The card seems mediocre at best to me, and I can't see why it merits a slot in AD2 given that. The best use for it I can think of is a case where you both need the top card of your deck and have a crap card in hand you want to get rid of. The card to me seems like a very situational pick, not applicable in the majority of situations. If I did pick it, I'd likely use it almost immediately just to get it out of my hand so I can hopefully draw something more useful.
Deck cycling is incredibly useful. If Orbis still haunted these forums he would be drooling about this card.

"Drooling" is a little strong. I certainly wouldn't dismiss it out of hand, though.

Now, excuse me.

OOOOoooOOOooooOOOOOoooooOOOOooooooo...


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While deck cycling is useful, unless I had a ton of extra spell slots that I didn't care about, I just feel there are probably better spells to fill those slots (barring some other interaction the improves the utility of the spell as I noted in my original post -- I didn't dismiss it out of hand either but nobody quoted that part of the post). That said, I haven't gotten the deck yet (still on its way over), so can't comment too much on how useful the other spells are compared to that and how many spell slots each druid has to see if they have the room to burn on it.


I would only play it if I planned to operate in a support role. Recharging (best case scenario) two cards to draw one is a terrible reason to include a card in your deck. Allowing a friend to recharge a card to draw a card is worth considering for some builds, however.

Pathfinder ACG Developer

It's not my style personally (I'm a lot more offense over defense with a helping of cures to pick up the pieces), but I have considered it several times to support the fighter in the group whose hand sometimes gets clogged up. And maybe sometimes for floating Besmara's Tricorne of Everything-I-Do into my hand.

In WotR I'd probably consider it more, since I would be less worried about potentially failing that recharge check.


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Orbis Orboros wrote:
I would only play it if I planned to operate in a support role. Recharging (best case scenario) two cards to draw one is a terrible reason to include a card in your deck. Allowing a friend to recharge a card to draw a card is worth considering for some builds, however.

Apologies for misconstruing your views, I just had to do something to conjure you.

And I would agree that the card works better in a supporting role.

Silver Crusade

Thinking of Fruit of Life as a support spell, where you help someone else cycle their deck, makes me like it a lot. Especially on someone like Manzar or Alahazra or CD Kyra (I know---druids only) who can use cards with the divine trait for another purpose. But, then, I've been liking support lately.


Joshua Birk 898 wrote:
Orbis Orboros wrote:
I would only play it if I planned to operate in a support role. Recharging (best case scenario) two cards to draw one is a terrible reason to include a card in your deck. Allowing a friend to recharge a card to draw a card is worth considering for some builds, however.

Apologies for misconstruing your views, I just had to do something to conjure you.

And I would agree that the card works better in a supporting role.

No, you weren't too far off the mark, anything that lets you draw catches my eye. I actually like the post.

I haven't been able to get a game in for months, though. So I just stop by every now and then.

Eliandra Giltessan wrote:
Thinking of Fruit of Life as a support spell, where you help someone else cycle their deck, makes me like it a lot. Especially on someone like Manzar or Alahazra or CD Kyra (I know---druids only) who can use cards with the divine trait for another purpose. But, then, I've been liking support lately.

I would be tempted to play it on a bard or similar; traditionally supporty to begin with, and with a way to recharge it for something else if desired. Alahazra was a good idea.


I think Gronk has interesting abilities without being an S-Class character. His d10+2 cap for wisdom is limiting. He has trouble recharging even the simplest of spells though he has lots of abilities that let him recharge those spells other ways. He's a good fighter with d12+4 for combat but it is card intensive to maintain. They have very carefully designed him to not have the breakaway capabilities of Alain, Lini and Damiel.

Both of his roles let him bury annoying cards that he or other players have managed to acquire. (mandatory weapons and armor for people who'd rather not use them.)

As a Woodwose, being able to have 11 allies in his deck without the usually debilitating drawback of having to discard allies to use their abilities is impressive. His restricted hand size is what is the real limiter on extra explores.

As the Feral Shifter he has a lot of innate healing, the ability to move during a turn (not at the beginning or end) but again limited from taking infinite explores and closing every location by a small hand size.

It is an improvement that all of the powers of a role are worth taking vs having 2-6 throwaway check boxes.


Aw man, I was reading the Fruit of Life card wrong. I thought it said recharge a card from your discard pile and draw a card so a combo of a minor restoration and the minor wand of healing. Totally not worth it, especially with such a high recharge difficulty that only CD Lini and Maznar could make.

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