Advice on a PFS Druid


Advice

Grand Lodge

Hello, everyone!

I've been toying with an idea for a PFS Druid character. Even though I have a lot of experience playing PF, I haven't played PFS before.

So, I've been looking to build a well-rounded character focused on summoning and battlefield control. After going through some threads and guides, this is what I've come up with.

Human Druid 1:

Behr'enn
Male Human Druid 1
N Medium humanoid (human)
Init +6; Senses Perception +7

DEFENSE

AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 armor, +2 Dex, +2 shield)
hp 10 (1d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +5

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.
Melee oak branch +1 (1d6+1)
Ranged sling +2 (1d4+1)

Druid Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +4)
1st — cure light wounds (DC 15), shillelagh
0th (at will) — guidance, light, spark

STATISTICS

Str 12, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 8

Base Atk +0; CMB 11; CMD 13
Feats Improved Initiative, Spell Focus (conjuration)
Skills Diplomacy +4, Handle Animal +3, Heal +7, Knowledge (nature) +8, Perception +7, Sense Motive +8, Spellcraft +6, Survival +9
Languages Common, Druidic, Elven, Sylvan
Traits Insider Knowledge (Diplomacy), Outcast's Intuition
SQ nature bond (animal companion, wolf named Fell'an), nature sense, wild empathy +0
Combat Gear alchemist's fire (2), cold iron sickle, scimitar; Other Gear heavy wooden shield, leather armor, bedroll, belt pouch, blanket, common backpack, compass, crowbar, grappling hook, holly and mistletoe, silk rope (50 ft), smelling salts, sling bullets (10), spell component pouch, trail rations (7), waterskin, 15 GP

I plan on picking up Augment Summoning, Superior Summoning, and possibly Versatile Summon Nature's Ally. Though, I'm not sure how useful VSNA would be. Any thoughts?

Combat-wise, at later levels, I think Wild Shape and my AC will allow me to hold my own or, preferably, support a more martial oriented class. Having never played PFS before, though, I'd appreciate some feedback on it.

I was thinking of going for the Mooncaller archetype, just for the flavor of it. Wolf Shaman gave me the jitters for a second seeing as summoning as a standard action is nice, but after realizing there are no huge canines to wild shape into, it felt kinda underwhelming. Bear or Saurian Shaman might get more use here, but story-wise, it doesn't fit my character.

And one thing I am not clear on is the difference between Come and Heel as tricks. Don't they basically do the same?

So, what do you think, how viable is this character? I'm not looking for a super optimized build as I've played the death kitty druid before, but it looks like this one could do well.

Appreciate the feedback! Thank!


Looks good overall, but you Str is pretty low for melee/Wild Shape.


Drakkonys wrote:
And one thing I am not clear on is the difference between Come and Heel as tricks. Don't they basically do the same?

"Come" gets the animal to come to you, wherever you are.

"Heel" gets an animal who is already near you to stay by your side as you move.

They're two different things. "Come" is for when the animal is far away from you and you need it back by your side. "Heel" is when you're moving around.

They overlap, but they're not the same thing.

Grand Lodge

RumpinRufus wrote:
Looks good overall, but you Str is pretty low for melee/Wild Shape.

I guess I can switch Str with Dex. I was partial to Dex thinking it's better to have that +1 to AC, Reflex, and Init than a +1 to hit and damage.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I would drop Int to 12, keep Str, Dex, Con all 14.

If you plan on summoning, pre-gen your summoned allies! Especially once you have Augment Summoning, where all the maths get changed.


Drakkonys wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
Looks good overall, but you Str is pretty low for melee/Wild Shape.
I guess I can switch Str with Dex. I was partial to Dex thinking it's better to have that +1 to AC, Reflex, and Init than a +1 to hit and damage.

Just depends on what you're going for, either choice is reasonable.

Grand Lodge

Thanks for the input!

Silver Crusade

I've played a Druid in PFS from level 1 through level 18. She was quite flexible in terms of stats (decent physical stats, decent wisdom) AND magic. I had something like 6 different spell load outs so I could decide my role in a scenario when I got to the table and saw what else was present,

Be careful about summoning in PFS. Do NOT overdo it or you'll be "that guy" who is totally dominating the table. Not so much in power (although that is part of it) but in terms of table time and just dominating the (often quite small) battle map.

If you do summon it is absolutely essential that you be very well prepared. Know what you're summoning ahead of time, have the stats ready, pre-roll as many attacks as the GM will allow. At mid levels I sometimes had enough pieces on the board that I was spending the entire round rolling dice so I was ready when my turn came up and I could just read out numbers. If the GM hadn't trusted me to do that I'd have literally been taking as much time as the rest of the group combined.

One thing that PFS rewards is flexibility. Be very careful about the guides, they all pretty much suggest that you focus. Good idea in a home campaign but poorer in PFS.

In her career she has been the tank, the DPS, the healer, the controller, the blaster, the scout, etc. Obviously she was better in some of those roles than others but she was at least passable in all of them.

If you do want to go summoner a <Blort> Shaman is an attractive option. Standard action summons is a big thing and you'll have a clear thematic and mechanical reason to summon the same thing a lot (which reduces dithering :-)). A Lion Shaman is a good pick, the Saurian Shaman is clearly by far the most powerful (overpowered, in my opinion)


My 11th level Saurian Shaman Druid is my favorite character in PFS. My thoughts:
-dump improved initiative. You still need Augment Summoning, and Natural Spell is your must take at lvl 5. For combat oriented Druids you will need Combat Casting and Power Attack all of which I would take over Improved Initiative.
-work towards planar wild shape. It’s a very powerful feat
-why the Diplomacy trait, with 8 cha your diplomacy is going to stink regardless. Druids aren’t really face characters
-I would drop int and raise charisma if you are going to be playing with GMs who run handle animal checks. Some hand wave this some don’t.

Silver Crusade

pogie wrote:


-I would drop int and raise charisma if you are going to be playing with GMs who run handle animal checks. Some hand wave this some don’t.

I disagree with this. Even a druid with Cha 5 (yes, I've seen it :-)) can get up to the magic +11 quite easily by level 4 (4 ranks, 3 class, 2 M/W tool, 4 for Animal Companion, 1 from Ioun stone). At +11 you never need to roll for any trained trick (and everything you need should be trained at level 1 :-))


pauljathome wrote:
pogie wrote:


-I would drop int and raise charisma if you are going to be playing with GMs who run handle animal checks. Some hand wave this some don’t.

I disagree with this. Even a druid with Cha 5 (yes, I've seen it :-)) can get up to the magic +11 quite easily by level 4 (4 ranks, 3 class, 2 M/W tool, 4 for Animal Companion, 1 from Ioun stone). At +11 you never need to roll for any trained trick (and everything you need should be trained at level 1 :-))

I don’t think you get attack anything at level 1 and the dc to push an animal companion is pretty high. If you happen to lose your original pet training a new one can be tough.


Come effectively becomes heel since a druid can do it as a free action. They'd be different on a normal critter but since animal companions are normal compared to store bought there's not much difference for normal play.

Silver Crusade

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pogie wrote:


I don’t think you get attack anything at level 1 and the dc to push an animal companion is pretty high. If you happen to lose your original pet training a new one can be tough.

You got whatever tricks you want at level 1. Certainly I've always taken the second attack trick as one of my 7 tricks.

Sure, pushing is high. Who cares? I think that my (now L18) druid has pushed her animal handling in combat something like once. Out of combat she has pushed a few times but that has never been an issue. You very very quickly have more tricks trained than you need.

As long as you have some ranks in animal handling your new companion will get trained up pretty quickly. But I always try and take VERY good care of my companions (for RP reasons more than mechanical ones. Flutter would be proud of me :-)). If you do NOT treat Animal Companions as expendable resources they are actually pretty darn hardy. I think my druid cast raise animal companion once in her career.

Charisma CAN be useful for a druid. I have one druid who is built around animal empathy (Flutter lite :-)). I've another who isn't a terrible face. But Handle Animal, once you get past the very low levels (3 or 4), is NOT a good reason


guide for animal companions the item chart guide a few pages in is out of date.


Versatile Summon Nature's Ally is pretty awesome but I was told before that it is not allowed in PFS.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

One of the things that is different about PFS to PF is you can COMPLETELY rebuild your character at any point until first Level 2 session.
This means that you could have a useful feat instead of Spell Focus (conjuration) e.g. Toughness for 3 extra hp and then swap it to SF(C) just before your level 2 session.
This makes your character more survivable for level one and still able to get the summon chain
You can even change classes, stats etc if you want
Test things out and have fun!

Grand Lodge

The reason I went for Diplomacy is that I want the character to be useful in social interactions since you never know what other people at the table will have. Besides, it kind of fits the whole "cooperate" feel of PFS. A lot of guides I read online suggest Diplomacy as one of the more useful skills. I was hoping the bonuses can off-set my low CHA.

I'm not sure how well a character with no social skills would work in PFS. Is it possible?

As for preparation, I have some nice index cards from Dyslexic Character Sheets.

BTW, what are the skills I should keep maxed or close to maxed out? I was thinking of Perception, obviously, but also Survival or possibly Sense Motive.

I was also thinking of putting some ranks in several important Knowledge skills so that I can at least roll the check.


If you're going to have an 8 charisma, not much reason not to go for the 7. Oddball druid builds can use charisma, but most druids can Function just fine without it.

You can take a trait to get int to diplomacy clever wordplay which is social, going from -2 to +2

Extremely fashionable (an equipment trait) would give it to you as a class skill with a +1, for a net +4. Would require you getting a pretty collar or something for your character


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I do think Diplomacy is important for a PFS character, for the sake of having fun if nothing else. I don't really enjoy playing characters that can't even attempt Diplomacy checks, since in the one-off format of PFS I find they end up being a significant amount of the RP opportunities.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I played a druid with 8 Charisma that dabbled in Diplomacy. I played him from level 1 to 16, so it is doable.

Grand Lodge

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There are multiple traits that allow you to use wisdom for diplomacy if you want to be better at it.

Empathic Diplomat

Persuasive Insight

Grand Lodge

pogie wrote:

-dump improved initiative. You still need Augment Summoning, and Natural Spell is your must take at lvl 5. For combat oriented Druids you will need Combat Casting and Power Attack all of which I would take over Improved Initiative.

Why do you recommend Combat Casting? You can buff before you're in melee range, right?

Wouldn't Toughness be good on a melee druid as well?


If you're going to melee summoning takes too long. You've got you and your pet running into battle, thats going to be all the melee real estate right there.


Left field idea and maybe too feat intensive but what about going with a nature fang druid? That way you could go ranger combat archery and when your summons and animal companion are in the front row you could go shooting from the back. You would have to compromise on feats, maybe just go with spell focus and augment summons with the archery chain. Thought is since you will have the front line filled along with allies there is no point to get in there yourself. This gives you room to cast the long summons and other control spells.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
If you're going to melee summoning takes too long. You've got you and your pet running into battle, thats going to be all the melee real estate right there.

Why do you say that. A lot of the power from Lion and Saurian Shamans is their standard action summon.

The Exchange

On first level switch CLW with Goodberries.
Better for groups imo.

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