Heya, all. Long time troll, first time poster. Be kind. ;P
However, I have been considering this character for an upcoming campaign. Actually, it isn't so much a full build as it is a pretty straight forward character. Instead I'll just kinda tell you what I was considering. Basically the concept is a Dwarven Saurian Shaman who is rather barbaric in the sense that he reveres saurians (dinosaurs) as an advanced evolutionary design. He believes that these beasts were the most well suited for their rolls and that most "modern animals" pale in comparison to these great beasts. He even takes his belief so far as to believe that they are ideally suited for battle and is ready to prove it.
Mechanically, I want to take all but one of his levels into Saruian Shaman. The other level I'm kinda torn on. I want the character to be a tank that wears heavy armor. There isn't a lot of heavy armor available that can be worn by druids but one that I find very suitable for this character is Stoneplate. So here were the options I was considering and why:
1. Mounted Fury Barbarian archetype. He is going to have an Ankylosaurus animal companion. He is likely going to ride it early on. Since when wearing heavy armor he will not be able to benefit from his movement bonus it makes sense to allow his normal mode of transportation to benefit from it instead. Although, actually, I was considering eventually giving the Ankylosaurus heavy armor proficiency as well although technically this movement bonus for a mount isn't affected by armor. Also, rage is good as it stacks with the polymorph effects that this character will often be using.
2. Armored Hulk Barbarian archetype. Well, there is his heavy armor proficiency without having to spend a feat. And since I can't benefit from barbarian movement bonus when wearing heavy armor anyway getting Indomitable Stance can only help. Also, rage is good as it stacks with the polymorph effects that this character will often be using.
3. Fighter. I get heavy armor proficiency free and get an extra feat to boot.
The feats that I was considering for this build include:
Diehard (although it requires me to waste a feat on Endurance)
Shield Focus and Mounted Shield
The Vital Strike line of feats (especially usefull when wild shaped into particular dinosaurs)
Planar Wildshape (cause a T-Rex with DR x/evil, SR, and smite is cool!)
Superior Summoning plus it's prerequisites
Now obviously I can't take them all but I do want to note that this character's focus is to be an effective tank. That being said no druid is a 1 trick pony (no pun intended) so other feats are not off the table. His animal companion is supposed to nearly an equal to his level of tankishness as well. The character will definately be using a shield so I didn't feel the power attack line of feats were particularly good. Although the vital strike line of feats did seem particularly nice especially when combined with Shillelagh or when wild shaping into something like a T-Rex that has a bite attack of 4d6 (thus bumping it up to a 8d6 or way more when using Animal Growth).
Equipment wish list:
Muleback cords (to allow him to ride his animal companion earlier)
Boots of Striding and Springing (to make up for his poor movement speed)
Magic armor and shield
Masterwork exotic riding saddle
Kick ass barding for his animal companion/mount
So at this point I guess I would just like ideas, opinions or thoughts on the build. Anyone got any ideas of what would work good for this type of character? Oh, one other thing... I am a bit undecided on a primary 1 handed weapon for him. There are many things to consider for this including the potential use of Shillelagh.
You have a really cool character concept there but there are a couple of things you should note. First you can't actually wildshape into a T-Rex since it is gargantuan. You should look at an Allosaurus as your primary wildshape form if you want to be a predator like dinosaur with a big bite. Otherwise if you want a form with one big attack you should stick with a stegosaurus. Second wildshape doesn't change your type so you aren't able to benefit from animal growth. Lastly you muleback cords won't really help you ride your companion before it becomes large, as an ankylosaurus is still medium and not suited as a mount for a medium character.
I think you can eliminate toughness, you're a dwarf so you already have built in toughness with your +2 to con. Power Attack would really help your, since you will be getting a lot of attacks at your highest BAB the penalty really doesn't hurt you. Vital strike is a nice as a bonus feat you can pickup from your archetype.
I wouldn't burn feats on mounted combat since it sounds like a lot of your plans involve you wildshaping for combat.
Ah, so you are right that a T-Rex is outside of the size that I could shape to. Allosaurus is still pretty cool. It isn't all that pivotal to the build for me actually. I mostly wanted to go druid for the animal companion.
Where do you get that a medium sized creature can not ride on a medium sized creature? If the mount has sufficient strength to bear it's rider then I do not see the issue.
I actually did not plan on wild shaping for combat but it is certainly an option. That would be more for offense, I suppose. The biggest concept was to make a very sturdy dwarf tank with a tanklike dino mount. I can't think of another way to do that aside from using druid and it really fits the concept. Aside from not being able to use Totem Transformation, there isn't really a downfall to wildshaping for combat though since if I have wild armor and shield then it can just stack with the natural armor granted from wild shape. I'm not sure if I would rather focus on getting wild armor or just bump the +x bonus on the armor for use as a tank and save wild shaping for use as offense and just forgo the armor.
Personally, I think Toughness is always a useful feat and while a dwarf does get +2 Con there is nothing to say that having even more HP for a character built is a tank is bad thing. In fact, tanks should be the first classes to take Toughness.
I did consider power attack even though it is less useful for a sword and board type. It would increase the offensive capabilities of the character some. The other issue though is that druid is not full BAB so taking a negative to hit is more painful. Both are useful in wild shape though but as vital strike gives no negatives for use with a creature that only has a single big attack but rather works with it I thought this might be the better choice. That and the fact that with a medium BAB class his itterive attacks aren't going to come as fast or hit as often anyway. But you are correct that I could just pick it up as a bonus feat, but I could do the same with Power Attack.
Your right about the mounted feats though. Most of them are situational at best since you will not always be able to be riding your mount into combat. Even if this character can Mounted Combat doesn't give much of an advantage if any at all. The mount's AC is going to be nearly as sky high as the character's and it will be tough to roll a ride check higher than his standing AC anyway.
Thank you for your post, Jaryn. Any other suggestions?