Carrion Crown Death Druid


Evening all,
I'm about to start a brand new Carrion Crown game (level 1). I found the Death Druid from the new book Horror Adventures rather fitting, from what I could gather from the setting. However, I've never played a druid, nor a spiritualist. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience playing the death druid, and what build you ended up going with? Apologies for the lack of substance, but right now all I've got is the class I'd like to play :L

Scarab Sages

What does the death druid do differently from a regular druid? I would prepare a cure spell once a day, there are a some undead incorporeal creatures that you can at least flank if you cast and hold the charge.

Silver Crusade

I don't know the Death Druid in Horror Adventures, but I have run The Great Death Druid twice (from an infamous dungeon scenario published years ago by Gygax post-TSR, called The Abduction of Good King Despot). I've also played an evil druid up to level 9 in 3.5e.

The Great Death Druid exhibits high AC and physical strength, uses area of effect damage spells plus necromancy, and wild shapes into physically powerful forms. He's intended to be a foe you should run from. In terms of pathfinder build he would have the following feats and abilities:

crafted robes of armour (need Craft Arms and Armour feat), keen scimitar (or Improved Critical feat), high physical stats and/or belt of physical perfection, spell focus (necromancy), spell focus (evocation), powerful shape.

He doesn't bother much with summons. He has cultist followers. Pathfinder equivalent would be the (frequently banned) Leadership feat, and reasonable Charisma.

My evil druid did use a lot of summons, but mostly because he had a ring of invisibility. He also liked to melee with a greatsword and a spell that gave him two tentacles. In pathfinder terms he'd be a CE Besmaran Kraken Caller with martial weapon proficiency or a race with weapon familiarity and an appropriate big sword (half orc or tengu would work).

Standard druid feats are spell focus (conjuration), augment summoning, and natural spell. Nearly every (single classed) druid takes these feats.

Ah, I'll post the changes the archetype makes, would probably be helpful ^^

Flavour: Places the importance of the cycle of life above all else. Primarily they focus on destroying undead and pacifying restless spirits.

The Death Druid replaces Nature Bond and Wildshape with the spirtualist's phantom and etheric tether abilities. At 4th level they gain bonded manifestation, and at 14th level they gain the spiritual bond class feature. They don't gain any other spiritualist abilities other than the ones listed above, HOWEVER they are constantly trying to help their phantoms move on to the other side (task determined by GM). Once they've done this, they lose their current phantom, but gain a new one within a week, at no penalty.

They also replace nature sense and wild empathy with a set of themed spells, such as ghostbane dirge (and mass ghostbane dirge at 6), undeath to death (6), speak with dead, speak with haunt, calm spirit etc.

Finally they swap resist nature's lure for +4 saves against death effects, negative energy and energy drain, culminating in immunity to negative energy and energy drain (swapping out venom immunity).

It sounds like a pretty good fit for Carrion Crown, but I'm not used to playing with phantoms, and the druid spell list doesn't look like it really works for buffing. Any advice would be much appreciated :)

Scarab Sages

Ghostbane is a major boon in the first book. Less so in the second. I myself would not give up wild shape, but I like wild shape. It looks like a good fit. There are a few good buffs, bull's strength, aspect of the falcon, but they don't have the best spell list for buffing.

ouch, this has to be one of the most atrocious loss of power archetypes I've ever seen

phantom is a downgrade from nature bond alone, and they lump wildshape in there too?

cool flavor, not sure what to tell least you are playing carrion crown where the ghostbane business could be handy

Phantoms are better than applying debuffs than animal companions (having a little int and cha, besides the abilities of their emotional focus), and many druid spells are decent debuffs too (or can be made so with metamagic like rime spell). It might be worth focusing on those.

I'm guessing that when you get your phantom to move on you can pick another with a different emotional focus so being stuck with a bad choice shouldn't be crippling.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Be a caster Druid (as opposed to a melee Druid) and send your phantom in to fight while using touch attack spells (Druid has some good ones).

What touch spells are you guys thinking of? Frostbite doesn't work well because of the text that phantom cannot hold charge. Frigid touch is the only other one I can think of off the top of my head. Damn, I hate loving the flavor so much despite it being so bad lol

Dark Archive

Rusting grasp or inflict spells come to mind. I'm sure there are more if you look.

Vine strike should work via share spells and work well. Aspect of the X likewise. Genuine touch spells include touch of bloodletting (exhausted is a nasty condition), poison, fungal infestation, contagion and touch of slime as well as the frigid touch (+rime spell?) and rusting grasp mentioned. Druids don't get inflict spells but cures can be repurposed for similar effect against undead in an emergency.

The phantom can get intimidate and feats to use it in melee (cornugon smash or dazzling display or whatever) as well.

The problem is a lot of these spells/phantom ideas don't actually do much against undead, which I imagine will be the primary enemies in Carrion Crown. They're immune to disease, fatigue/exhaust, most stat damage, mind-affecting (including shaken), and pretty much anything that requires a fortitude save.
Honestly, looking at people's opinions so far, I think I'm going to steer clear of it. I love the flavour of the archetype immensely, but the druid's spell list doesn't seem that effective against undead, and giving up both wildshape and nature bond for phantoms, on top of the aforementioned spell list problems, makes me think it's probably best to shelve this archetype for another occasion.
Thanks guys :)

If only they had allowed you to select a spell from the spiritualist list each level rather than the preassigned ones, then you could customize to be more anti-undead, or have more touch spells.

I have run Carrion Crown several times, and I have some advice for you...

First off, take Iron Will. Even if you have a great Wisdom score. Even my party Cleric liked it.

You may want to change your concept to a Cleric of Pharasma. There's something VERY VERY special in it for you later on in the campaign. Also, Clerics rock at taking out the undead, of which there are hordes of in CC.

Get a Cloak of Resistance, and spare no expense in maxing it out.

He wants help with a Druid build not to get spoilers about what's in each book, guys.

From what I can see, the Phantom gained is a rough trade for both wild shape and bond. However you can (if I remember) gain DR on those. So that's a huge plus.

The immunity and resistances to negative energy and drain instead of poison? That's a very good trade off, given the campaign it seems.

Personally I like Tengu for druids. If you're not changing shape you may as well focus on getting some natural attacks of your own and boost THOSE with your spells. You could bite claw claw your way to victory.

I think the archtypes a fair trade, just a massive change from a "druid"

Undead isn't the only thing ur gonna be facing and the Druid will be useful for quite a bit of the campaign. Not against every enemy but tbh the first book is really the only one that focuses HEAVY on undead, but ud be lvl 3 or 4 by the end of it. Book 2-6, u will have plenty of chances to shine :)

I'll take a look at the class when I get home and offer some advice

Actually, almost all of the enemies encountered in CC are undead of some sort. There are lycanthropes (werewolves), but they only show up in one book. There are a handful of constructs and oozes, but that's not going to justify crafting your PC around resisting them.

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