[Druid] Beast Shape, Elemental Body, Plant Shape


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:

Wow, you own vicious cats...

I've pretty much had two cats at all times over the past 25 years or so, and I've never had them rake me.

Not once.

Not vicious at all. They're Maine Coons. They consider it playing. Considering they weigh 17 and 19 lbs respectively, their playing is a bit more energetic than you might expect. :)

DM_Blake wrote:


However, you said "it's one attack" which technically is true, but it's still two attack rolls because there are two rear legs involved:

d20 SRD wrote:

Rake

A creature with this special attack gains extra natural attacks when it grapples its foe. Normally, a monster can attack with only one of its natural weapons while grappling, but a monster with the rake ability usually gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. Rake attacks are not subject to the usual -4 penalty for attacking with a natural weapon in a grapple.

Hmmm,

Missed that, thanks.

DM_Blake wrote:


Wow, big cougars in your neck of the woods. Enormous. You sure you're thinking of cats?

According to the San Diego Zoo facts, males top out at 227 pounds and average only 187 pounds. Females are tiny comparatively, topping out at just 132 pounds.

I can no more imagine a 300 pound cougar pouncing on me (well, of the feline variety) than I can imagine a 300 pound griffon pouncing on me - both are creatures of myth. :)

I'm in Texas, we grow everything big here. :)

That's a lie (both that I'm in Texas, and that we have 300 lb Cougars). I'm in the midwest, and we have 200lb cougars. What you see above is the infamous 'laptop typo' which is caused by big fingers on small keyboards. :)

Scarab Sages

The Wraith wrote:
Nethys wrote:

This has been covered before, but multiple attacks from a high BAB only apply to a single attack, their 'primary' weapon. They could feasibly apply to a single off-hand attack, but you would need Two Weapon Fighting for that.

A creature with a bite and ten tentacles would likely get their full BAB with the single bite, and one attack with each tentacle at a -5 penalty (unless they had the Multiattack feat, then the penalty is only -2).

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Sorry to contradict you, but...

Official 3.5 FAQ, page 97:
"How do I know whether a monster gets multiple attacks for a high base attack bonus? Some of the monsters in the MM have multiple attacks, but others don’t, even with the same base attack bonus. Why doesn’t a great wyrm red dragon get eight bite attacks per round? After all, its base attack bonus is +40.
The rules for multiple attacks are different for manufactured weapons (such as swords and bows) and for natural weapons (such as claws and bites). A creature wielding a weapon gets multiple attacks based on its base attack bonus, regardless of whether that creature is a goblin, a giant, or a pit fiend. Regardless of its base attack bonus, a creature never gets more than four attacks with any given weapon purely from its base attack bonus (see the sidebar on page 207 of the DMG)— thus, if a great wyrm red dragon could wield a manufactured weapon, it still could make only four attacks with it as part of a full attack action (at +40/+35/+30/+25).
Creatures do not receive additional attacks from a high base attack bonus when using natural weapons. A young adult red dragon gets only one bite attack per round, even though a fighter with the same +19 base attack bonus attacks four times per round with a sword or other manufactured weapon."

This should be sufficiently exhaustive.

As a 'foam-rubber polymorphed Druid', you still have to resort to Natural Attacks... and those fall under the aforementioned rule.

This is correct. I am ashamed at my error. I do not know how I shall recover from this mista-

Alright, all better!

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys


The Wraith wrote:
Nethys wrote:

This has been covered before, but multiple attacks from a high BAB only apply to a single attack, their 'primary' weapon. They could feasibly apply to a single off-hand attack, but you would need Two Weapon Fighting for that.

A creature with a bite and ten tentacles would likely get their full BAB with the single bite, and one attack with each tentacle at a -5 penalty (unless they had the Multiattack feat, then the penalty is only -2).

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Sorry to contradict you, but...

Official 3.5 FAQ, page 97:
"How do I know whether a monster gets multiple attacks for a high base attack bonus? Some of the monsters in the MM have multiple attacks, but others don’t, even with the same base attack bonus. Why doesn’t a great wyrm red dragon get eight bite attacks per round? After all, its base attack bonus is +40.
The rules for multiple attacks are different for manufactured weapons (such as swords and bows) and for natural weapons (such as claws and bites). A creature wielding a weapon gets multiple attacks based on its base attack bonus, regardless of whether that creature is a goblin, a giant, or a pit fiend. Regardless of its base attack bonus, a creature never gets more than four attacks with any given weapon purely from its base attack bonus (see the sidebar on page 207 of the DMG)— thus, if a great wyrm red dragon could wield a manufactured weapon, it still could make only four attacks with it as part of a full attack action (at +40/+35/+30/+25).
Creatures do not receive additional attacks from a high base attack bonus when using natural weapons. A young adult red dragon gets only one bite attack per round, even though a fighter with the same +19 base attack bonus attacks four times per round with a sword or other manufactured weapon."

This should be sufficiently exhaustive.

As a 'foam-rubber polymorphed Druid', you still have to resort to Natural Attacks... and those fall under the aforementioned rule.

And yet a human monk resorting to natural attacks gets his full iterative attack.

And if a fighter drops his sword and starts punching the beholder in the eye, that fighter still gets his iterative attacks with his punches.

If a high-level druid drops his scimitar and joins the fighter in punching the beholder in the eye, that druid gets iterative attacks with his natural fist attack.

And if that druid wildshapes into a pretend lion, he isn't really a lion, he doesn't suddenly have animal intelligence, nor does he forget all that XP or those class levels that give him iterative attacks, so, ergo, that druid/lion can claw the beholder in the eye with all of its iterative attacks, and still take a bite and another claw attack.

Creatures don't follow the iterative attack rule with their natural attacks because they don't have weapon training, they don't have months or years of adventuring XP, they don't have class levels that represent training in how to fight effectively. So, they use their natural attacks to the best of their limited ability.

Not so for a druid in a lion suit. He still thinks like a highly trained druid with all his experience and all his class levels and all his combat knowledge, and he will use that, even when he's disguised like a lion.

Or like a squid.


DM_Blake wrote:

And yet a human monk resorting to natural attacks gets his full iterative attack.

And if a fighter drops his sword and starts punching the beholder in the eye, that fighter still gets his iterative attacks with his punches.

If a high-level druid drops his scimitar and joins the fighter in punching the beholder in the eye, that druid gets iterative attacks with his natural fist attack.

These are not (by rules) Natural Attacks.

These are Unarmed Strikes, and follow yet another different subset of rules.
They do, for example, provoke Attacks of Opportunity - you have to take Improved Unarmed Strike (a Monk gains it automatically) to avoid provoking an AoO.
They do not deal Lethal Damage normally - you have to take a -4 penalty to deal Lethal Damage, otherwise you stick only with Subdual Damage (again, being a Monk or taking IUS allows you to bypass this).
And they deal considerably less damage (again, not if you are a Monk...) than a Natural Attack of your size (a claw from a Medium creature deals at least 1d4, often 1d6 - while an Unarmed Strike deals 1d3).

An answer in the Official 3.5 FAQ related on the matter (page 20):
"Can a monk who has natural weapon attacks (such as a centaur monk) attack unarmed and still use his natural weapons? For example, let’s say he’s a 4th-level monk. Can he use a flurry of blows and attack at +5/+5/+0 unarmed (plus other bonuses) and then at +0/+0 for 2 hooves?
If the creature normally is allowed to make both weapon attacks and natural weapon attacks as part of the same full attack routine, the monk can do the same (making unarmed strikes in place of weapon attacks). Since a centaur can make two hoof attacks in addition to his longsword attack, a centaur monk can make two hoof attacks in addition to his unarmed strike attack (or attacks, depending on his base attack bonus). The monk can’t use his natural weapon attacks as part of a flurry of blows, but he can make natural weapon attacks in addition to his flurry. Such attacks suffer the same –2 penalty as the monk’s flurry attacks in addition to the normal –5 penalty for secondary natural attacks.
An 4th-level centaur monk has a base attack bonus of +7 (+4 from his 4 monstrous humanoid Hit Dice, and +3 from his 8 monk levels). If he performs a flurry of blows, he makes three unarmed strikes, at +5/+5/+0. He can add two hoof attacks at –2/–2 (–5 as secondary weapons, and –2 from the flurry)."
As you can see, Natural Attacks and Unarmed Strikes are not interchangeable.

Scarab Sages

A quicker reply for the Monk would have been this:

Rules wrote:
A monk’s unarmed strike is treated both as a manufactured weapon and a natural weapon for the purpose of spells and effects that enhance or improve either manufactured weapons or natural weapons.

Since it can be treated as a manufactured weapon, it can benefit from the multiple attacks on a high BAB. As it says, it's treated as both for spells and effects that "enhance or improve", not effects that "hinder". So when given the choice between manufactured and natural weapon options for high BAB (manufactured = multiple attacks, natural = one) they would take the more beneficial option.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:

And yet a human monk resorting to natural attacks gets his full iterative attack.

And if a fighter drops his sword and starts punching the beholder in the eye, that fighter still gets his iterative attacks with his punches.

If a high-level druid drops his scimitar and joins the fighter in punching the beholder in the eye, that druid gets iterative attacks with his natural fist attack.

And if that druid wildshapes into a pretend lion, he isn't really a lion, he doesn't suddenly have animal intelligence, nor does he forget all that XP or those class levels that give him iterative attacks, so, ergo, that druid/lion can claw the beholder in the eye with all of its iterative attacks, and still take a bite and another claw attack.

Creatures don't follow the iterative attack rule with their natural attacks because they don't have weapon training, they don't have months or years of adventuring XP, they don't have class levels that represent training in how to fight effectively. So, they use their natural attacks to the best of their limited ability.

Not so for a druid in a lion suit. He still thinks like a highly trained druid with all his experience and all his class levels and all his combat knowledge, and he will use that, even when he's disguised like a lion.

Or like a squid.

Do you have text to support this? I am researching the material, but it is not immediately clear that an unarmed strike is any different from other natural attacks in terms of getting more than one attack for a high BAB. A monk is different, as his unarmed strike may count as a manufactured weapon if it benefits him (as shown in my post above).

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys


Nethys wrote:


Do you have text to support this? I am researching the material, but it is not immediately clear that an unarmed strike is any different from other natural attacks in terms of getting more than one attack for a high BAB. A monk is different, as his unarmed strike may count as a manufactured weapon if it benefits him (as shown in my post above).

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Text to support it?

No.

Just logic, and a lack of text that directly contravenes the logic.

Point A: Fred the level 20 fighter picks up a sword and whacks at a dragon. He can attack the dragon 4 times.

Point B: Swords are somewhat heavy. Heavy objects in your hand have inertial mass that makes you slower as your raw muscle power must overcome the inertial mass of that heavy sword to accelerate and decelerate it when attacking.

Point C: Fred puts down the sword and decides to punch the dragon. Fred is still level 20 and now he is not slowed by having a heavy sword in his hand. He should be able to attack just as fast as he did before. Faster in fact.

Point D: I find no text that says Fred may only punch one time, other than the text already mentioned in this thread that refers to creatures with natural attacks.

Point E: That text makes no sense in Fred's case. Why would putting down his heavy sword instantly reduce him from 4 attacks to 1 attack per round? Did he forget how to fight? Of course not. Is it a reach thing? No, because he can use a punch dagger or a gauntlet as a weapon for 4 attacks and they have no more reach than his empty hand.

Point F: The natural attack limit refers to creatures with natural attacks. Not to people or humanoids. Not to any creature with class levels.

Point G: Class levels is a massive distinction. It represents learning (gaining XP) and training (using that XP to get better, including increasing BAB). Anyone with class levels is automatically lifted out of "creature" status since they are engaging in combat as a trained combatant rather than a natural combatant.

Point H: Ergo, there is no logical reason for Fred with class levels and combat training to lose 3 attacks per round just because he puts down his sword and punches. If anything, he should be likely to gain attacks now that he's not being slowed down by the sword's inertial mask.

Point I: Since the polymorphed druid is still a trained combatant, relying on training, class levels, and iterative attacks in his natural form, just like Fred the fighter, and the druid retains all that training and experience when he wild shapes, he also retains the ability to use all his training and experience in wild shaped form, including the ability to make iterative attacks.

Point J: A level 20 druid, with 3 attacks per round with a magical scimitar of incredibleness would never ever choose to wildshape into a critter and be limited to just one bite attack. However, if he could still pull off 3 attacks, it might be a viable choice. Without the logically reasoned ability to attack iteratively, druid wildshaping for combat becomes less and less useful as his class level increases.

Given those points, I don't see any reason to interpret that a limitation applying to "creatures" with no class levels must also be applied to experinced, highly trained combatants, with high class levels, and combat knowledge to use their natural attacks in ways that untrained "creatures" cannot.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:


Just logic, and a lack of text that directly contravenes the logic.

Point A: Fred the level 20 fighter picks up a sword and whacks at a dragon. He can attack the dragon 4 times.

Point B: Swords are somewhat heavy. Heavy objects in your hand have inertial mass that makes you slower as your raw muscle power must overcome the inertial mass of that heavy sword to accelerate and decelerate it when attacking.

Point C: Fred puts down the sword and decides to punch the dragon. Fred is still level 20 and now he is not slowed by having a heavy sword in his hand. He should be able to attack just as fast as he did before. Faster in fact.

All this makes sense (as in, I agree), I've never thought the natural attack vs bab attacks made a whole lot of sense. The only time it does is when the creature in question has multiple secondary attacks (like a dragon).

DM_Blake wrote:


Point D: I find no text that says Fred may only punch one time, other than the text already mentioned in this thread that refers to creatures with natural attacks.

Point E: That text makes no sense in Fred's case. Why would putting down his heavy sword instantly reduce him from 4 attacks to 1 attack per round? Did he forget how to fight? Of course not. Is it a reach thing? No, because he can use a punch dagger or a gauntlet as a weapon for 4 attacks and they have no more reach than his empty hand.

Point F: The natural attack limit refers to creatures with natural attacks. Not to people or humanoids. Not to any creature with class levels.

Point G: Class levels is a massive distinction. It represents learning (gaining XP) and training (using that XP to get better, including increasing BAB). Anyone with class levels is automatically lifted out of "creature" status since they are engaging in combat as a trained combatant rather than a natural combatant.

Point H: Ergo, there is no logical reason for Fred with class levels and combat training to lose 3 attacks per round just because he puts down his sword and punches. If anything, he should be likely to gain attacks now that he's not being slowed down by the sword's inertial mask.

Point I: Since the polymorphed druid is still a trained combatant, relying on training, class levels, and iterative attacks in his natural form, just like Fred the fighter, and the druid retains all that training and experience when he wild shapes, he also retains the ability to use all his training and experience in wild shaped form, including the ability to make iterative attacks.

Point J: A level 20 druid, with 3 attacks per round with a magical scimitar of incredibleness would never ever choose to wildshape into a critter and be limited to just one bite attack. However, if he could still pull off 3 attacks, it might be a viable choice. Without the logically reasoned ability to attack iteratively, druid wildshaping for combat becomes less and less useful as his class level increases.

The biggest issue I see with this is, taking a dragon for example, there's no reason for him (with his long life) not to take class levels. For example, it might only take the dragon 15 or so years to get to level 20 in a class, considering how long he lives that's a blink in the eye.

So, he'd add 20 to his BAB, and could then attack four times with his bite, and then once with all his secondaries (claw, claw, wing, wing, tail). Let's assume he started out fighter instead of taking racial hit dice to make it easier. By adult hood (20 hit dice) he'd have a base attack of 20 (+6 for STR), which is 1 better than an adult dragon that didn't take class levels (assuming an adult black dragon). He could make 4 bite attacks at 26/21/16/11, and then continue on to make a claw, claw, wing, wing, and tail all at 21 (secondary attacks, although I suppose you could rule it was at 11 or 6, since he had all those primary weapon attacks). Even with a 6 or 11, he's got a chance of rolling a 20, and against low level stuff those will still hit. Plus, he'd have the 7 feats a dragon normally has, plus all the fighter feats. A rather nasty dragon indeed.

Not that I have a solution, mind you, I think this is a glaring inconsistency in the system that was put in for balancing purposes, but not because it makes sense no matter how you do it. Just because it's an attempt to keep things balanced.

Scarab Sages

First of all, if we're speaking from a 'sense' viewpoint, you're assuming that one's iterative attacks are the number of literal attacks they use in a given round. I would assume that a fighter at level 1 is swinging much more than once per round, he just only has a chance of really doing any 'damage' or some other abstraction to the enemy once per round. Of course, the entire system is very abstract, since a level 1 rouge should be swinging their dagger a lot more than a level 1 fighter with their greatsword. But then you get into Weapon Speeds and it just gets silly.

Secondly, you can argue sense back and forth all day long. In the case of a game, it's much easier to go by the mechanics. As it stands, I neither agree nor disagree with your rulings, petty 'it makes more sense this way' reasoning aside.

Now the mechanics. If quotes are requested they can be provided.

Unarmed strikes and natural attacks are classified differently. There are numerous places in both the Pathfinder Beta and the PHB 3.5 where the text says "...unarmed attack or natural weapon attack..." in some context. This differentiates them.

However, there is other text where it uses an unarmed strike as an example natural weapon. Such as under the spell Bless Weapon, where it specifically states that the spell cannot be used on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike. Magic Fang also uses a fist as an example as a natural weapon.

Now, it is correct that natural weapon attacks do not gain extra attacks for a higher base attack bonus. This is due to the text in the Monster Manual for natural attacks and also backed up with some examples in the Pathfinder Beta (Claw attacks for some sorcerer bloodlines, for example, specifically mention that as natural attacks they do not gain more attacks for a higher Base Attack Bonus).

So, the summary. I am not prepared to offer a ruling on whether or not an unarmed strike should be considered a natural weapon or not. It certainly seems clear that some spells consider it as such, but it is separated from them in many other instances. Until I find a more solid ruling, I would leave it up to the individual DM to decide whether a non-Monk should get iterative attacks with their fist.

Druids in wild shape, however, are much more clear. They use natural weapons, plain and simple. Natural weapons do not gain extra attacks for a higher Base Attack Bonus. This is, by RAW, solid, and it is up to the individual DM if he or she wishes to House Rule it.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:
Alphabetical points

Holy **** your posts are long. Every time I see one of your posts I need to scroll down the page just to read all of it. Learn to consolidate! :)

As for the Points, sense is kind of a thing not to expect 100% of in D&D. Why should an Ancient Wyrm Red Dragon not get iterative attacks with its bite, but a level 10 druid in wild-shape would get a couple? Or a level 6 fighter get two with his great-axe? I think it's pretty safe to say the dragon outshines the fighter and druid in experience, intelligence, and everything else.

D&D does not always make sense. This is the nature of playing a game. Sometimes sense is sacrificed for a balanced rules system.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Karui Kage wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:
Alphabetical points

Holy **** your posts are long. Every time I see one of your posts I need to scroll down the page just to read all of it. Learn to consolidate! :)

As for the Points, sense is kind of a thing not to expect 100% of in D&D. Why should an Ancient Wyrm Red Dragon not get iterative attacks with its bite, but a level 10 druid in wild-shape would get a couple? Or a level 6 fighter get two with his great-axe? I think it's pretty safe to say the dragon outshines the fighter and druid in experience, intelligence, and everything else.

D&D does not always make sense. This is the nature of playing a game. Sometimes sense is sacrificed for a balanced rules system.

I know this isn't a 'pro-4e' forum, but I think this is one of the reasons 4e moved the way it did. As you gain in levels you typically do a single action a round, but the actions become more effective either in damage or secondary effects at higher levels, but it is still a single action. As opposed to iterative attacks which get into the quasi-logical realm of huh?


Nethys wrote:

The biggest issue I see with this is, taking a dragon for example, there's no reason for him (with his long life) not to take class levels. For example, it might only take the dragon 15 or so years to get to level 20 in a class, considering how long he lives that's a blink in the eye.

So, he'd add 20 to his BAB, and could then attack four times with his bite, and then once with all his secondaries (claw, claw, wing, wing, tail). Let's assume he started out fighter instead of taking racial hit dice to make it easier. By adult hood (20 hit dice) he'd have a base attack of 20 (+6 for STR), which is 1 better than an adult dragon that didn't take class levels (assuming an adult black dragon). He could make 4 bite attacks at 26/21/16/11, and then continue on to make a claw, claw, wing, wing, and tail all at 21 (secondary attacks, although I suppose you could rule it was at 11 or 6, since he had all those primary weapon attacks). Even with a 6 or 11, he's got a chance of rolling a 20, and against low level stuff those will still hit. Plus, he'd have the 7 feats a dragon normally has, plus all the fighter feats. A rather nasty dragon indeed.

Maybe.

But only if he cared about such things.

He is, after all, a superior being. Training as a fighter is beneath the dignity of such a physically and intellectually superior race.

He has better things to do with his time.

Besides, nature gave him all the weapons he will ever need.

Now, sure, a few dragons actually do take some class levels.

I compare it, vaguely any way, to a real world person who is born a prince (sheik, etc.) and so never has to work a day in his life to be rich and powerful, but actually goes out and gets a real collegiate degree in some applied field like engineering. Doing something like that is really beneath their station in life, but a few do it anyway.


Nethys wrote:
First of all, if we're speaking from a 'sense' viewpoint, you're assuming that one's iterative attacks are the number of literal attacks they use in a given round. I would assume that a fighter at level 1 is swinging much more than once per round, he just only has a chance of really doing any 'damage' or some other abstraction to the enemy once per round. Of course, the entire system is very abstract, since a level 1 rouge should be swinging their dagger a lot more than a level 1 fighter with their greatsword. But then you get into Weapon Speeds and it just gets silly.

Maybe.

btw, it's "rogue".

However, it's interesting to note that a fighter with just one attack per round, facing an orc, does not get to attack the orc more often after his cleric buddy successfully lands a Hold Person on the orc.

Hopefully, when the fighter no longer has to duck, dodge, weave, look for openings, etc., he could wail away on that held orc to maximum effect, but he still gets just one swing.

A few levels later, when he gets two attacks per round, and his cleric buddy lands Hold Monster on a troll, the fighter still only gets two attacks on the troll.

Nethys wrote:
Secondly, you can argue sense back and forth all day long. In the case of a game, it's much easier to go by the mechanics. As it stands, I neither agree nor disagree with your rulings, petty 'it makes more sense this way' reasoning aside.

I only drag sense into it when:

A - the rules are lacking in clarity, and sense is needed to resolve the ambiguity.
B - the rules are crystal clear but are whimsical, nonsensical, or arbitrarily gamist, in which case some sense might improve the rule in question.

Nethys wrote:

Now the mechanics. If quotes are requested they can be provided.

Unarmed strikes and natural attacks are classified differently. There are numerous places in both the Pathfinder Beta and the PHB 3.5 where the text says "...unarmed attack or natural weapon attack..." in some context. This differentiates them.

However, there is other text where it uses an unarmed strike as an example natural weapon. Such as under the spell Bless Weapon, where it specifically states that the spell cannot be used on a natural weapon, such as an unarmed strike. Magic Fang also uses a fist as an example as a natural weapon.

Now, it is correct that natural weapon attacks do not gain extra attacks for a higher base attack bonus. This is due to the text in the Monster Manual for natural attacks and also backed up with some examples in the Pathfinder Beta (Claw attacks for some sorcerer bloodlines, for example, specifically mention that as natural attacks they do not gain more attacks for a higher Base Attack Bonus).

So, the summary. I am not prepared to offer a ruling on whether or not an unarmed strike should be considered a natural weapon or not. It certainly seems clear that some spells consider it as such, but it is separated from them in many other instances. Until I find a more solid ruling, I would leave it up to the individual DM to decide whether a non-Monk should get iterative attacks with their fist.

This falls under Case A above, where the lack of clarity calls for a common sense ruling, as you suggest.

Nethys wrote:


Druids in wild shape, however, are much more clear. They use natural weapons, plain and simple. Natural weapons do not gain extra attacks for a higher Base Attack Bonus. This is, by RAW, solid, and it is up to the individual DM if he or she wishes to House Rule it.

Except, they are not using their "natural" attacks.

There is nothing "natural" about a druid, or anyone else, changing their "natural" body into something entirely different.

A druid's "natural" attack is his fist. Or maybe a kick with a good leather boot.

A druid in a lion's form is not thinking like a lion, is not limited to the lion's natural instincts, is not limited by the lion's animal intelligence, and has not lost one bit of the druid's lifetime of experience or training.

Even more, that druid has spent years (probably) training in his profession, and has been in countless battles, many of which involved him swinging his scimitar (sickle, staff, etc.) at his enemies. Now he looks like something else (a lion) but he doesn't really feel like something else (he still feels like himself - if not, his mental ability scores would be impacted by wild shaping) and he still relates to his world like himself, including how he thinks and reacts in combat.

Years of training have taught the druid to hit his enemies twice with his scimitar.

Now he's in disguise as a lion, but all that training and all his intellect are still with him, so he would still strike twice with his weapon, which in this case, is a leonine paw.


Karui Kage wrote:

As for the Points, sense is kind of a thing not to expect 100% of in D&D. Why should an Ancient Wyrm Red Dragon not get iterative attacks with its bite, but a level 10 druid in wild-shape would get a couple? Or a level 6 fighter get two with his great-axe? I think it's pretty safe to say the dragon outshines the fighter and druid in experience, intelligence, and everything else.

A dragon with no class levels has spent his whole life fighting like a dragon. Hudreds, maybe thousands of years diving into battle and letting nature and instinct take over, slashing, tearing, rending the way nature has provided.

And nature provided it with an array of powerful attacks, so why should it improve?

Besides, it has far more important dragonish things to do that wasting time training in boring combat tactics when it can just roast any silly lesser beings as easily as your or I can blow out the candles on our birthday cake.

Now, occasionally, a dragon decides to study some of the ways of those lesser beings. In game, this works into taking class levels in some adventuring class.

If it takes enough of those class levels to get iterative attacks, IMO, this means it has studied enough combat to use those iterative attacks.

Again, IMO, I believe the passage in the MM that says "creatures" don't get iterative attacks with natural weapons is only relevant to "creatures" who are fighting like nature intended "creatures" to fight.

Once those "creatures" override their natural instincts by applying intellect, training, and experience (D&D class levels), they can learn to fight better than ordinary "creatures".

Some cannot do this. No matter how hard he tries, a lion with an INT score of 2 cannot take fighter class levels.

A dragon can, if it wants to bother with it. Most don't (which is why most dragons we encounter have no class levels). But there are exceptions, and for those exceptions, I generally apply my sense of the rules to their combat capabaility.

Karui Kage wrote:
D&D does not always make sense. This is the nature of playing a game. Sometimes sense is sacrificed for a balanced rules system.

You're right, sometimes sense is sacrificed for balance.

But I don't see how a high level druid, who can remain in human (et. al.) form and swing his powerful magical scimitar 3 times for tons of damage is balanced by turning into a t-rex and biting just once.

It looks to me like the druid, at high enough level, is being punished by stripping him of his iterative attacks when he wild shapes.

Why don't we drop him down to INT 2. We could also make it so he can' tell friend from foe, and might chomp on the rest of his adventuring group, or maybe even devour his own animal companion? I mean really, we could just turn him into the animal, plant, or elemental he wildshaps into so deeply that he might forget to change back to his human form.

How badly must we nerf the druid for using his wildshape?

I know, years of 3.5 wildshape being so overpowered has made us want to tear it apart, reduce it to rubble, and nerf it into non-existence.

But if we're going to bother leaving it in the game, then we ought to make sure it doesn't punish druids for being clueless enough to use it.


Galnörag wrote:
I know this isn't a 'pro-4e' forum, but I think this is one of the reasons 4e moved the way it did. As you gain in levels you typically do a single action a round, but the actions become more effective either in damage or secondary effects at higher levels, but it is still a single action. As opposed to iterative attacks which get into the quasi-logical realm of huh?

I disagree.

4e went to the "balanced economy of actions" methodology for a number of reasons, and their forums are full of posts from official 4e designers explaining those reasons.

Chief among them were:

1. Nobody gets extra actions, like druids with animal companions, summoners who conjure up animals or monsters, necromancers who control undead minions, or those with the Leadership feat who have cohorts and minions.
2. Nobody loses actions, such as with Hold Person, paralysis, petrification, etc.

The idea that everyone gets "equal time" at the gaming table, that nobody takes extra turns (moving their pets and minions) or loses turns (Hold Person, etc.) was central to the "economy of actions" ideology.

And once they decided on this ideology, they went for it full bore, then proclaimed it for the world to see and defended it with the zeal of religous fanatics with their dying breath.

I'm not saying the're right or wrong.

But in reading those forums during 4e design, and following the "economy of actions" threads from the beginning, I never saw anyone complaining too much about higher level characters getting iterative attacks.

Though they did mention, almost in passing, that removing iterative attacks would speed up play, and the last attacks with the lower bonuses usually miss anyway, so removing them won't unbalance higher level characters.

But that was more or less a side effect of the rules which were enacted for other reasons.

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:

Except, they are not using their "natural" attacks.

There is nothing "natural" about a druid, or anyone else, changing their "natural" body into something entirely different.

Except that they do.

Pathfinder Beta, pg.159 wrote:


In addition to these benefits, you gain any of the natural
attacks
of the base creature. These attacks are based
on your base attack bonus, modified by your Strength or
Dexterity as appropriate, and use your Strength modifier
for determining damage bonuses.

This is pretty "cut and dry", as you mortals might say.

Also, the ruling for natural attacks does make an inkling of sense. These creatures that the druid turns into already can have plenty of attacks, feasibly more than the druid has with his sword. They may have two claws and a bite, or a tail swat and a bite, or two claws, two possible rakes, etc. The number of natural attacks a creature can get is not limited by their BAB, but neither are they increased by it. They function differently. Even if the creature only gets one bite and this happens to be less than the druid's normal attacks, this is just a result of the abstract system in place.

As it stands, this is entirely RAW and very clear. A druid shapeshifting, even in Paizo, gets the 'natural attacks' of the base creature. You only get one attack per natural attack, as by the d20srd on monster natural attacks.

Any ruling otherwise is a house rule, however you justify it. You can pretend that because their 'natural' weapon is their fist that this does not apply. By RAW, it does. A natural weapon is not the weapon a creature is 'most at home with', and it is silly to think that. A natural weapon is a weapon that is part of their body, plain and simple. There are natural weapons and manufactured weapons.

Even without the quote above, it doesn't take a scholar to think "hmm. is this claw I have as part of my bear form a manufactured weapon? no? It must be natural then."

The text supports this.

Your God of Knowledge,
Nethys

Scarab Sages

DM_Blake wrote:


A dragon with no class levels has spent his whole life fighting like a dragon. Hudreds, maybe thousands of years diving into battle and letting nature and instinct take over, slashing, tearing, rending the way nature has provided.

And nature provided it with an array of powerful attacks, so why should it improve?

I feel the need to point out that it's not class levels that give you iterative attack. You could have an ancient wyrm red dragon with 20 levels in fighter and yet has no iterative attacks. Now if he found some way to pick up a longsword and use it, he would get multiple attacks with that.

There are numerous reasons behind this, and you can house rule them however you want. But it's clear that manufactured weapons get iteratives, natural weapons get one each. Likely because you can have a lot more natural weapons at a time than manufactured ones, but I'm sure there are other reasons as well.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

After reading all the posts, I'm inclined to think DM Blake's got it right: use the animal's full attack (lion shape: claw, claw, bite, rake, rake while pouncing, plus additional iterative attacks if the druid has them)

However for the sake of simplicity, I will only use the animal's standard attacks, and NOT use the druid's iterative attacks.

Iterative attacks and natural primary/secondary attacks are two different systems, and meshing them together sounds like abuse.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
DM_Blake wrote:

You're right, sometimes sense is sacrificed for balance.

But I don't see how a high level druid, who can remain in human (et. al.) form and swing his powerful magical scimitar 3 times for tons of damage is balanced by turning into a t-rex and biting just once.

It looks to me like the druid, at high enough level, is being punished by stripping him of his iterative attacks when he wild shapes.

The comparison here is flawed, it isn't the 17th level druid that is turning into a T-REX it is the 8th. At which level the jump from +7/+2 with an okay sword becomes substatntial when it is a single 3d6 attack with reach from the T-rex.

Maybe the question we have to ask about high level druids, is why does the wild shape progression not continue, why don't they at higher levels gain access to wild shape 4, or dragonshape. Essentially after level 12 they probably will stick to elemental body except where the wildshapes provide movement advantage.

DM_Blake wrote:


Why don't we drop him down to INT 2. We could also make it so he can' tell friend from foe, and might chomp on the rest of his adventuring group, or maybe even devour his own animal companion? I mean really, we could just turn him into the animal, plant, or elemental he wildshaps into so deeply that he might forget to change back to his human form.

How badly must we nerf the druid for using his wildshape?

I know, years of 3.5 wildshape being so overpowered has made us want to tear it apart, reduce it to rubble, and nerf it into non-existence.

But if we're going to bother leaving it in the game, then we ought to make sure it doesn't punish druids for being clueless enough to use it.

I'm not convinced that wildshape was nerfed that bad, the change I think was made for ease of play, not because it was uberpowerful in 3.5. The characters stats become easier to adjust, and you just need to be aware of 1) the attacks you gain 2) special abilities that you gain. Instead of having to do 3rd order calculus every time you change shape.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Galnörag wrote:
DM_Blake wrote:

You're right, sometimes sense is sacrificed for balance.

But I don't see how a high level druid, who can remain in human (et. al.) form and swing his powerful magical scimitar 3 times for tons of damage is balanced by turning into a t-rex and biting just once.

It looks to me like the druid, at high enough level, is being punished by stripping him of his iterative attacks when he wild shapes.

The comparison here is flawed, it isn't the 17th level druid that is turning into a T-REX it is the 8th. At which level the jump from +7/+2 with an okay sword becomes substatntial when it is a single 3d6 attack with reach from the T-rex.

Maybe the question we have to ask about high level druids, is why does the wild shape progression not continue, why don't they at higher levels gain access to wild shape 4, or dragonshape. Essentially after level 12 they probably will stick to elemental body except where the wildshapes provide movement advantage.

Yes, I agree with Galnorag.

The better equalizer would be to keep improving beast shape.

Right now we have: (i'm only gonna use animals with dex or str for comparison's sake, and not include natural armor and any other modifier/abilities)

Beast Shape I (wiz/sor 3): small animal +2 dex, medium animal +2 str
Beast Shape II (wiz/sor 4): tiny animal +4 dex, large animal +4 str
Beast Shape III (wiz/sor 5): diminutive animal +6 dex, huge animal +6 str, small magical beast +4 dex, medium magical beast +4 str
Beast Shape IV (wiz/sor 6): tiny magical beast +8 dex, large magical beast +6 str

IMO, we should also have:

Beast Shape V (wiz/sor 7): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +2 dex or +2 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen form
Beast Shape VI (wiz/sor 8): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +4 dex or +4 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen form
Beast Shape VII (wiz/sor 9): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +6 dex or +6 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen form

Note that Shapechange, a level 9 druid spell, allows for Beast Shape IV, Elemental Body IV, Plant Shape III, but also Alter Self, Form of the Dragon III, and Giant Form II.

It is of my opinion that Wild Shape should not include alter/dragon/giant options, so as to stay as true as possible to the original/classic idea of a druid, but I believe Beast Shape should improve somewhat as shown above (and elemental body and plant shape as well).

With these options, I'd be very comfortable leaving iterative attacks at the door, and fully embrace the animal/elemental/plant rates of attacks, as described in the Bestiary...

This way, when Wild Shaping, one simply turns to the appropriate page of the bestiary and swings as many times as listed in the full attack entry, and using the same base damage dice*. A druid's total attack and damage bonus can be worked out ahead of time for each form (i.e. beast shape I medium, beast shape I small, etc.) Voilà! :)

*One would need to watch out for "Improved Natural Attack" within the chosen monster's entry; if present, the druid should downgrade the base dice accordingly, when using that form...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:

[

Beast Shape V (wiz/sor 7): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +2 dex or +2 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen form
Beast Shape VI (wiz/sor 8): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +4 dex or +4 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen...

I think the dragonshape and other wizard poly-spells are the spells that come after the beast shapes to offer enhanced ability and power. But I agree they just don't suit the natural form of the druid. It leaves the druid as awesome ~12 where I think they get the last of their elemental bodies, but really diminishing after that.

They get more shapes per day, but never get better shapes.


Galnörag wrote:

I think the dragonshape and other wizard poly-spells are the spells that come after the beast shapes to offer enhanced ability and power. But I agree they just don't suit the natural form of the druid. It leaves the druid as awesome ~12 where I think they get the last of their elemental bodies, but really diminishing after that.

They get more shapes per day, but never get better shapes.

I remember that Jason was pondering the possibility to improve the bonuses a Druid gains after 12th level, in order to have similar shapes with better physical stats.

This is the link.

We have only to wait for August and see...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
The Wraith wrote:
We have only to wait for August and see...

I know, and it is killing me, I wish they would start trickling hints of final changes. My Beta Barbarian want to know which of the 3 rage systems will be in the final release.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
The Wraith wrote:

I remember that Jason was pondering the possibility to improve the bonuses a Druid gains after 12th level, in order to have similar shapes with better physical stats.

This is the link.

We have only to wait for August and see...

I hope the idea you linked will be implemented in the final version... additional stat boosts for high level druids in wild shape would be a good way to make the druid class better without the need to invent more spells (i.e. with that method no need for the additional beast shape spells I suggested...)

Liberty's Edge

And my bard wants to know what kind of abilities he'll end up with too. Will he still be able to sing someone to death? Are they the jack of all trades? Fork or spoon? :)


Xuttah wrote:
And my bard wants to know what kind of abilities he'll end up with too. Will he still be able to sing someone to death? Are they the jack of all trades? Fork or spoon? :)

Can he sing someone to death?

I thought only Aretha Franklin could do that...

I may have to develop a whole new respect for bards. Yikes!

Perish the thought!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Xuttah wrote:
And my bard wants to know what kind of abilities he'll end up with too. Will he still be able to sing someone to death? Are they the jack of all trades? Fork or spoon? :)

Jack of all trades for sure, including the "hijack" of this thread... :P

Liberty's Edge

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Jack of all trades for sure, including the "hijack" of this thread... :P

Take this thread to Sandpoint or the halfling gets it!

Seriously, I'm really looking forward to having the final version. Let's hope we haven't covered anything that the Paizo staff has not already considered and fixed. ;)


Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Galnörag wrote:
Essentially after level 12 they probably will stick to elemental body except where the wildshapes provide movement advantage.

Yes, I agree with Galnorag.

The better equalizer would be to keep improving beast shape.

Right now we have: (i'm only gonna use animals with dex or str for comparison's sake, and not include natural armor and any other modifier/abilities)

Beast Shape I (wiz/sor 3): small animal +2 dex, medium animal +2 str
Beast Shape II (wiz/sor 4): tiny animal +4 dex, large animal +4 str
Beast Shape III (wiz/sor 5): diminutive animal +6 dex, huge animal +6 str, small magical beast +4 dex, medium magical beast +4 str
Beast Shape IV (wiz/sor 6): tiny magical beast +8 dex, large magical beast +6 str

IMO, we should also have:

Beast Shape V (wiz/sor 7): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +2 dex or +2 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen form
Beast Shape VI (wiz/sor 8): any shape granted by Beast Shape I through IV, but your form gains either +4 dex or +4 str, your choice, in addition to the bonuses already provided by your chosen...

On one of the playtest threads, we suggested to Jason that a druid's wild shape should keep improving after level 12 like that, and he seemed to like the idea. So keep your fingers crossed...

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Excellent... let's hope! :)

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