Saurian Shaman Build Help / Advice / Critique


Advice

Liberty's Edge

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Hello!

This is my first post, so please bare with me. As my post title suggests, I'm building a Saurian Shaman Druid (level 6) for a campaign I'm in. I'm hoping to focus on being a Battle Druid.

My primary goal with this character is to try and be a melee combatant, split focus on damage and control, letting the Inquisitor focus on pure damage. Using summons to help get the extra damage, take up space, and eat attacks. Mostly I just want to make sure that our party will be competent in combat without a full martial (obviously we have enough utility to do other things well).

I'm looking for whatever advice or critique people have for anything I post. I have read Trentmonk's and Peterrco's guides.

My Play Experience:

I've been playing in this campaign and one other since August, before that I had played a few times in my undergrad with some friends, but none of us really knew what were doing and only ever got a few sessions in. I have spent the past few months browsing the boards and occasionally reading through guides.

Background Fluff, Mild Spoiler for Dragon's Demand:

We recently completed a story arc, it's got some basis in Dragon's Demand but with a lot of homebrew going on. Anyways, we just fought the dragon, at level 5, and managed to chase it away with assistance of several "friends" we've made. The campaign will be picking up three or so months later and our GM gave us the ability to change classes if we wanted. I was playing a Paladin but got a little tired of trying to figure out how to properly role play as one. But, more so, I mostly just got tired of "I power attack". So I decided that a class like a Druid would be a little better at providing options. I also love the idea of being a "Dino Warrior".

Current Party:
Alchemist (Mad Bomber sort of build, will have some buffing and debuffing focus as well, only one to not change characters)
Druid (Me)
Inquisitor (Melee Focused, probably going for a 2-handed weapon)
Wizard (Divination School, focus on buffing and battlefield control, splashed with some damage).
Zen Archer (Player may or may not be continuing, looking like a no.)

Race=Human
Bond= Animal Companion or Feather w/ Boon Companion

Stats:
Our GM gave us set stats, no buying or rolling, with freedom to assign them how we please. Currently I'm debating between two different arrays. Any help on which would be better would be appreciated, currently I'm leaning towards the 14 dex build.

Strength= 16+2
16+2
Dexterity= 13+1
13
Constitution= 14
14
Intelligence= 12
12
Wisdom= 15
15+1
Charisma= 12
12

Feats
1) Spell Focus Conjuration
1) Augment Summons
3) Superior Summoning
5) ?
7) Natural Spell (the pain of not getting Wild Shape till level 6)
9) Powerful Shape
9) Vital Strike/Power Attack
11) Planar Wildshape

Right now I'm trying to really figure out what to do with my 5th feat slot. I was originally going to go with Craft:Wondrous Item, but the GM said there probably wouldn't be a whole lot of downtime to do it so I'm considering other things. My other contenders are Power Attack, Toughness, Heavy Armor Proficiency, or Boon Companion (in this case taking feather domain instead of AC).

What are people's thought's on the value of the perception bonus and spells for the feather domain route?

Do you think the summoning feats will be viable instead of other more combat orientated feats?

I've also considered just dropping the extra feat (and just moving everything up one space, removing my woes over my 5th slot) for a +2 strength to my Animal Companion.

Traits
1) Reactionary/Dirty Fighter
2) Not Sure

Animal Companion
I had a tough time with this choice, my initial considerations were Allosaurus, Velociraptor, Stegosaurus (the Spinosaurus's fin creeps me out O_o). I ended up deciding on the Allosaurus. The reason for this was that I feel it offers a nice balance between striking (3 attacks+pounce) and control (reach+grab). Plus it seem's sort of BA (conceptually) to have an Allosaurus fighting alongside you. It was hard to resist the temptation to get a female Velociraptor and make "clever girl" jokes all day.

I'm putting the level 4 attribute into it's intelligence.

Allosaurus Feats
1) Toughness
2) Weapon Focus Claws
5) Unarmed Strike
8) Improved Grapple
10) Greater Grapple

I'm hoping the GM will let me drop the Multiattack and let me replace it with something like "weapon focus: bite", but I don't mind if not.

Essentially I'm trying to build him towards being a decent striker (to help with our martial woes) along with being good at making use of his grab attack. Does anyone know if an Allosaurus AC get's grab on all of it's attacks? The way it's written it looks like it to me.

Equipment
I'm a little lost on this one. Not having "Wild" will hurt, but hopefully that option will eventually come up.

For Me:
-Scimitar, Light Wooden Quickdraw Shield, Sling
-Either +1 Stoneplate or +1 Dragonhide Breastplate (depending on feats).
-Some sort of barded armor (hide?) for a huge allosaurus.
-MWK Backpack

Allosaurus Equipment:
-Amulet of Mighty Fists (+1 or Shocking/Corrosive)
-Medium Barded Leather (for level 6 and could still be usable for any medium bipedal forms I take later)
-Large Barded +1, Mithral, Kikko Armor (for when he grows into it)
-Training Harness
-Pack Saddle

I admit, I'm a little lost on how I should prioritize my purchases, having to buy for 2, with the expectation of my buddy getting large in a level has made this a tough bit for me. Definitely an area I'm looking for advice on.

I figure that Ant Haul will be my friend for level 6.

One last question (I know this isn't rules, but any thoughts are appreciated), under the Totem Transformation section for a Saurian Shaman it lists that you can gain a Bite and 2 claw attacks, then has a bit about a bonus to grapple and rake. I'm just wondering if the claws are something you only get while grappling (for rakes) or if you can use the claws whenever?

That's pretty much it. Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this was somewhat long.

Thanks!


Spirit’s Gift to give your Animal Companion fast healing 1 or damage reduction 5/adamantin is realy powerfull and fits the build...

Breiti


Ah, saurian shamans actually get wild shape at level 4 like any other druid. It's the later goodies like extra uses which get delayed a couple of levels.

If you're planning to do melee damage Power Attack or some equivalent is near essential. Vital Strike is really useful only in certain highly specialised characters. Since you can by 9th level just change into a lion and charge/pounce even as a saurian shaman there's no reason for you to get it unless you're aiming at one of those specialised builds.

Summoning is definitely useful. The feats you're taking won't be wasted.

With the totem transformation you get the bite and claws for use normally, then when grappling you can attack with one natural or manufactured weapon and a couple of free claw attacks from the rake.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

No, he's right. Animal shamans do not get wild shape until level six. I agree that the wording is confusing, if not outright misleading for that intent. But the question has been asked before and answered by the designer here.


Take Improved Initiative at level 3. Summons are battlefield control, and battlefield controllers need to go first.

Superior Summoning sounds like a great feat, but at low levels especially it's just not very useful. It's almost always better to have a higher-level dino than a bunch of wimpy ones.

Shadow Lodge

Christopher Dudley wrote:
No, he's right. Animal shamans do not get wild shape until level six. I agree that the wording is confusing, if not outright misleading for that intent. But the question has been asked before and answered by the designer here.

It's also in the FAQ

It seems like you have a pretty good plan for your Druid. I have a Saurian Shaman in PFS and it's a blast.
I get a lot of mileage out of the natural attacks transformation.

Some suggestions:
Building Druids to be strong in both casting and combat generally ends up making them kind of weak at both. Based on what you said about wanting to be combat-focused, I recommend ditching the summoning feats. If you're not planning on using the summoning as a primary offense, it isn't sensible to invest so heavily in it with your feats.
That said, a summoning-focused Saurian Shaman can be incredible. Just pick one or the other.

Others mentioned the new Druid-relevant feats from the ACG. Beware that they are very strong feats. I suggest discussing them with your GM before taking them.

Combat feats like Toughness and Improved Initiative, in addition to what you already have picked out, are solid. I suggest taking Power Attack earlier.
Outflank can also be an excellent choice if you also have your animal companion take it and you teach them the Flank trick.

If you do stick with summoning, don't forget about the templates that you can add to your dinos from the Totemic Summons class ability. Read the Dragon Shaman section (where the rest of the text is) and experiment with the results. There are some really nasty ones that you can make.

Carry Companion (Knights of the Inner Sea) is an invaluable spell for this class. Keep a scroll of it around at all times, or prepare it regularly.

Also, be sure to read over Flutter's guide: Druid's Log: Animal Companions


If you do decide to stick with summoning, you might want to consider getting magical lineage for your second trait. Metamagic feats can make summoning multiple creatures actually worthwhile, once you get to a little bit higher level. Temporary hp for each creature is also nice, so saurian shaman is a pretty good option for summoning.

Also, if you want your animal companion to be good at battlefield control, you could pretty easily switch the 13 in Dex for the 12 in Charisma to get the Evolved Companion (reach(bite)) feat somewhere down the line.
By seventh level it would have 15 foot reach with pounce and grab, which could be extremely nice.

Finally, for your allosaurus's feats, I would suggest Improved Natural Attack (bite) rather than Weapon Focus (claw), although I would wait until at least 8th level to get that. Ordinarily, +1 attack would be more useful than increasing the damage die, but this increase would be from 1d8 to 2d6, so I think +2.5 average damage would be worth it when combined with the dramatically reduced chance of rolling a 1 or a 2.

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