Wildshape is pointless unless duration is fixed


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Scarab Sages

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Wildshape should be about versatility, not power. Heavily restricted durations and no "natural spell" equivalent makes wildshape very limited. Wildshape, like many spells, is just a combat buff now.

From what I have seen, the combat forms of wildshape are respectable, but there is no variance: every druid uses the same stats - you might as well say you're tagging Bob in for the fighting as it doesn't seem to be your character anymore.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber

It sounds like wild shape should have two separate pools one for utility shapes one for shorter duration combatvforms.

Since Wild Claws seems out of place in wild shape you could spell points for utility shapes and wild shape pool for combat.


On the flip side, I am really delighted that wildshape starts from level 1.

This at least is a massive step in the right direction.


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Matthew Downie wrote:

Being the party scout is core to the Rogue's identity. In any party with a Druid in it, this didn't work in PF1.

(I mean, it probably still won't work, because there'll be a familiar or an invisible wizard with a walk-through-walls spell or something. But it's a step in the right direction to reducing caster-martial disparity.)

I'd argue this is closer to the ranger's core identity. That being said, I've never seen a rogue or ranger player be upset at having backup nearby that could sneak along with them. Almost like they appreciate the extra sword arm/claw.


Coming from 5e, I did expect more time however; the forms scale completely differently.

I think if they had a nerfed control form at level 2 as a class feat (extended wildshape for specifically pest form and (later animal form)) It would solve most of the problems.

(I'm still trying to figure out if wildshapes benefit from potency runes or not)


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I'm seeing a lot of "OP-or-not" arguments here. That's really not the point. For utility spells, 1 minute is just not enough time. I can make that argument for other utility/useful spells along the board, not just druids.

With 1-minute transforms, it's severely punishing, period. On the other hand, let's be honest, guys. A full day of polymorph is ridiculous on the other side. I'd be happy if the 'regular' animal forms had 10 minute increments, at least. Or hell, a few minutes per level would work too.

Give the beast-focus druids a bone, let them spend extra spell points while in form to 'refresh' the use. 10 minutes isn't bad, but that's still a hell of a risk if I need to go mouse-form and scurry around, and pray like hell that my time doesn't run out right in front of a hostile. If I can pop another Spell Point as my time's getting close to running out to reactivate it, I'd be happy with that, too.

Granted, some of it depends on your GM. But in my case, my GM likes lengthy fights. If a round is 6 seconds, that means that I'm a good melee combatant bear if I need to be, for 10 rounds. Not bad, but sometimes our combats go over that. If a round is 10 seconds, well, that's going to be horrid; only 6 rounds of beast-form usefulness? C'mon.

EDIT: Also, I'm good with a feat to extend the time. But 10th level to get it? That's going to be torturous to get to that point. At the least, could we maybe get that feat a -few- levels sooner?

Liberty's Edge

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I think a lot of the changes to the wild shape druid are good. I like the way the stat blocks of the shapes are baked into the spells. I like how explicit the spells are. I even like not being able to cast spells while in a form, to some degree.

That said, I don't like a number of aspects of the wild shape druid.

1) Durations are entirely too short. 10 minute durations as a base would actually be better, with pest form starting at an hour since it is strictly out-of-combat.

2) The strength tie is weird because wild druids don't actually use strength for much outside of crappy melee at low level. Wild shaping out of the spell pool would feel more natural and would make the spell pool feel less useless at higher levels. Having the pool build would give a natural progression to more shapes (and you could have the more powerful shapes use more points).

3) I don't actually mind not being able to cast while in a form... but it is only an interesting tactical choice if the cost isn't quite so high. If uses were more plentiful (as in #2), dropping out of shape to throw an emergency heal is an interesting tactical choice instead of an agonizing one.

4) Animal companions need work to clarify their mechanics. Right now, my understanding is that they can only be commanded if you can speak, something you explicitly can't do in a form. That makes them just kind of stand there while you're rampaging around as a bear, which is weird.

5) Forms-as-class-feats is a paradigm that no other class has because they are mutually exclusive and offer no residual benefits. The scaling of forms isn't broad enough for a given set of forms to last more than ~5 levels after you take them, making those early feats kind of useless. They don't build like almost every other class's feat choices and you end up having to retrain them or be stuck with something that's pretty useless.

6) Vestments are required past a certain point. At that point, the druid is a better whatever than his beast-form, which is weird.

---

How would I fix them?

a) Flip the paradigm. The class spell pool should go toward wild shaping and wild claws should be changed from a power into a set of class feats that boost natural attacks. If you want to retain the option of a brutish, low wisdom druid, let them choose wisdom or strength to base the spell pool off of.

b) Reduce the number of shape feats and have them boost the spell pool. Fold pest form and aerial form into animal form, dinosaur form, and insect form, as appropriate. (this would necessitate a scaled down animal form being what the player gets at level 1, which is actually a great thing).

c) Expand the scaling on form spells a little. If someone's concept is "bear druid", then they should be forced to be a dinosaur at higher level to remain viable. To a degree, they can do this now via vestments, but it's weird to have a class that requires one specific magic item to function.

d) Bump up duration on shapes slightly. Ten minutes is fine. That is useful without being "all day" (and very rarely would that mean two combats with one use).

---

TLDR: Wild shape druids want to be in forms. That is where their fun is. Find ways to enable that while balancing it.


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I would just have two casting times

* Action casting time (e.g. in combat) - duration 1min
* 10min casting time - duration 8h


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Taenia wrote:

It sounds like wild shape should have two separate pools one for utility shapes one for shorter duration combatvforms.

Since Wild Claws seems out of place in wild shape you could spell points for utility shapes and wild shape pool for combat.

Another possibility might be to have varying durations elapse depending on what you are doing. For example, a single round of combat could use up an entire hour of wild shape, while simply traveling in wild shape would use up a duration in hours at only an hour per hour.


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Boli32 wrote:

I would just have two casting times

* Action casting time (e.g. in combat) - duration 1min
* 10min casting time - duration 8h

Be careful, a 10 minute cast time in Exploration mode means you'd turn into a fatigued animal.


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Oof.

Druids being able to shapechange has always been a core part of the class. You could scale the abilities they get from wild shape for balance, but let them have the duration. Flying forms, for example,happening at a later level. Greater fly speed happening at a yet greater level. Having them spend feats to gain overall wildshape abilities is another. Nerfing their spell list is yet another, and I believe Natural Spell is gone, isn't it?

Limit what they can do when transformed, unless they take a feat to do x thing.

There are balances fixes. Let them roleplay. :p

Basically, all they're saying is, "I want to be the spirit of nature, inhabiting the form of an owl, because that is what being a druid means to me." The owl doesn't need all of those abilities at once, and for free--but it should let be to be an owl.

Death by Hummingbird was silly. It's something to learn from, to be sure--but, we don't want to hurt folks in the meantime.

Silver Crusade

Boli32 wrote:

I would just have two casting times

* Action casting time (e.g. in combat) - duration 1min
* 10min casting time - duration 8h

That translates, 90+% of the time, to duration forever.

It will be especially overpowered when, eventually, the feat or magic item or class ability to allow druids to cast spells while wild shaped is introduced

I kinda like the current situation actually. You want utility, you go pest form or you take the class feature at level 10. Your combat spells last one combat.

If the duration extended then we get back to the old problem of throwing your 10 minute buff spells and rushing through the dungeon to get everything done in 10 minutes.

I would like it if Form Control came a little earlier AND if a higher level version allowed you to Wild Shape into your highest level wild shapes.

But that would probably be overpowered when it came on line, especially when druids get to cast spells while wild shaped :-(.

The current situation is quite useful, it really is. And, lets face it, PF1 specialty wildshaped druids were too powerful.


Kodyboy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
There is: at level 10, you can take the Form Control feat that makes Wild Shape last an hour.
You would think. As of now who wants to be a druid?

I don't want to come across as snarky, but several of my players.

A pair of them have been more or less arguing over who gets to play the druid in my next campaign.


Elleth wrote:
Kodyboy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
There is: at level 10, you can take the Form Control feat that makes Wild Shape last an hour.
You would think. As of now who wants to be a druid?

I don't want to come across as snarky, but several of my players.

A pair of them have been more or less arguing over who gets to play the druid in my next campaign.

My group just finished Doomsday Dawn Part 2 and I was running a wild shaping druid. Had a lot of fun and largely kept up with the barbarian on damage.

I certainly would like longer duration forms because, like someone who posted above, I don't actually care about the spellcasting aspect of the class so much and want to spend most/all of my time as a bear. Unfun, though? Nah.


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Druids are my favorite class. I play a Druid primarily because wildshaping is fun and cool not because of how op or not it is. When I play a Druid I want to be wildshaped the whole day if possible, not because it’s mechanically great, because it’s fun. The design of 2E seems hellbent on stripping fun out of the game.


pogie wrote:
Druids are my favorite class. I play a Druid primarily because wildshaping is fun and cool not because of how op or not it is. When I play a Druid I want to be wildshaped the whole day if possible, not because it’s mechanically great, because it’s fun. The design of 2E seems hellbent on stripping fun out of the game.

That's pretty hyperbolic. Fun is entirely subjective. As I said, I really enjoyed the druid.


Saedar wrote:
Elleth wrote:
Kodyboy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
There is: at level 10, you can take the Form Control feat that makes Wild Shape last an hour.
You would think. As of now who wants to be a druid?

I don't want to come across as snarky, but several of my players.

A pair of them have been more or less arguing over who gets to play the druid in my next campaign.

My group just finished Doomsday Dawn Part 2 and I was running a wild shaping druid. Had a lot of fun and largely kept up with the barbarian on damage.

I certainly would like longer duration forms because, like someone who posted above, I don't actually care about the spellcasting aspect of the class so much and want to spend most/all of my time as a bear. Unfun, though? Nah.

That's totally fair.

I personally dislike the Druid spell list, but I know my players really like it.
It's a bit sledgehammery for me, but that makes sense. Occult is likely more my jam.


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Saedar wrote:
pogie wrote:
Druids are my favorite class. I play a Druid primarily because wildshaping is fun and cool not because of how op or not it is. When I play a Druid I want to be wildshaped the whole day if possible, not because it’s mechanically great, because it’s fun. The design of 2E seems hellbent on stripping fun out of the game.
That's pretty hyperbolic. Fun is entirely subjective. As I said, I really enjoyed the druid.

Do you know what hyperbole is? Objectivity or subjectivity has no bearing. “Paizo is the worst company ever and their decisions on wildshape are the worst design decisions made in the history of rpgs”. That’s hyperbole.

I gave an example of something fun I enjoyed in 1e that is now not possible. This is just one example of quite a few decisions that have been made that just simply remove fun parts of the game. See prestidigitation.


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pogie wrote:
The design of 2E seems hellbent on stripping fun out of the game.

That is a hyperbolic statement. The design isn't hellbent on anything. You are projecting your own preferences as a sweeping generalization.

I'm having quite a bit of fun. The design doesn't seem anti-fun, just unpolished in some places. You can insist all day that you have some special knowledge of the game design or developers' intents but that doesn't make it true.


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Saedar wrote:
pogie wrote:
The design of 2E seems hellbent on stripping fun out of the game.

That is a hyperbolic statement. The design isn't hellbent on anything. You are projecting your own preferences as a sweeping generalization.

I'm having quite a bit of fun. The design doesn't seem anti-fun, just unpolished in some places. You can insist all day that you have some special knowledge of the game design or developers' intents but that doesn't make it true.

I’m glad you’re having fun and think the game just needs some touch ups. Great. That’s not the issue. I’m objecting to you dismissing my statement as hyperbole. Hyperbole requires extreme exaggeration, as in the example I gave above. It’s not extreme exaggeration to claim this design is removing fun from the game. There are hundreds of posts on the boards from people saying the same.

You can dismiss my statement as a “sweeping generalization” but that does not make it hyperbole.

Liberty's Edge

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Saedar wrote:
want to spend most/all of my time as a bear. Unfun, though? Nah.

I'm sure a bunch of people have said that (including me), but it seems to be lost in the current design. I'd be a fan of giving druids a ton of shapeshifting for long periods and with multiple uses but keeping the restrictions on being in a form in place so that they're not able to cast spells that way. I'd even be a fan of a rage-esque minor penalty for dropping a form to discourage people from popping in and out constantly.

As others have pointed out, if you want to be in a beast form most of the time, you're actually better off as a barbarian than a druid. That just strikes me as wrong.

I also dislike the fact that the class eventually forces you to get a specific magic item to make shifting viable in combat. That should either be baked in to the class or it should be part of a feat somewhere along the way.


swordchucks wrote:
Saedar wrote:
want to spend most/all of my time as a bear. Unfun, though? Nah.

I'm sure a bunch of people have said that (including me), but it seems to be lost in the current design. I'd be a fan of giving druids a ton of shapeshifting for long periods and with multiple uses but keeping the restrictions on being in a form in place so that they're not able to cast spells that way. I'd even be a fan of a rage-esque minor penalty for dropping a form to discourage people from popping in and out constantly.

As others have pointed out, if you want to be in a beast form most of the time, you're actually better off as a barbarian than a druid. That just strikes me as wrong.

I also dislike the fact that the class eventually forces you to get a specific magic item to make shifting viable in combat. That should either be baked in to the class or it should be part of a feat somewhere along the way.

Wait, is the item in question Druidic Vestments? Because those don't seem necessary to make shifting viable in combat. I haven't run anything super in depth, but the combat statistics of appropriate level battle forms seems quite competitive. You'd have to be pretty optimized for melee to make the Druidic Vestments an improvement over what you get from a top level spell. But for the non-melee built druid those vestments are probably a downgrade.

The big advantage of the vestments seems to be that you can make lower level spell slots more relevant for combat shifting, which is probably nice with form control. But it doesn't actually increase your damage dice, so even that loses some of its luster once you get to a high enough level. Still gives you better mileage out of low level slots though. I struggle to see how these are mandatory though.

Also, the idea that anyone would take the barbarian shifting into animals for 3 rounds at a time over the druid doing it for an hour at a time seems bizarre. Yes, technically a barbarian could do that all day, but why the heck would they? It is like peasant railgun level silly. An absurdist thought experiment doesn't really seem like it should influence game design.

Liberty's Edge

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Captain Morgan wrote:
swordchucks wrote:
I also dislike the fact that the class eventually forces you to get a specific magic item to make shifting viable in combat.
Wait, is the item in question Druidic Vestments?

Yes, and there are two ways this hits you.

1) You want to be a druid that goes into a particular type of form. Your combat stats will stop scaling when the spell stops scaling, which happens at different points for different spells (animal and insect get their last bump at level 9, for instance).

2) You are at high levels. The last bump any of the forms gets is at level 15 with the jump to 9th level spells. By level 16 or 17, you're starting to feel the pinch pretty bad. By level 20... it's not good.

The vestments feel like a clumsy fix for the lack of scaling (and damage doesn't scale, which makes it a half-way solution at best).

---

I still think what I want to emphasize is that if a druid wants to spend their time in forms, let them spend their time in forms. Also, if a druid wants to focus on one specific form, make that a viable and natural progression all the way to level 20. All druids don't need to be able to do all things, though, and I kind of like that my current storm druid can't wild shape while my wild shaping druid rarely cast spells.


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Reading over the Druid in the new handbook is what turned me off completely to this system. I thought maybe I misread the rules. They couldn't have really meant to do that to wildshape surely! Every benefit of the doubt vanished, and reading the other classes over had me shaking my head.

Options are what made Druids so cool. You didn't have to be a melee mauler, but could relish in utility and spell slinging. The new wildshape in quality(fewer forms, melee oriented) and quantity (ridiculously short duration) is beyond disappointing. I wish they would have just renamed the class itself it's that alienated from what it was.

I just hope they keep publishing material for original Pathfinder.


All I can see there will be plenty house rules to fix wildshaping if the wildshaping rules are not fixed from this beta version, especially duration aspect.


One minute seems pretty short. I would probably go with a 10 minute base duration so it could last through a couple combats or maybe be used effectively in one out of combat situation. I would then increase the duration to one hour if heightened.

I would then change form control to make the base duration one hour but not require the spell be heightened. However, if heightened, it would increase the duration to four hours or something.


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Data Lore wrote:

One minute seems pretty short. I would probably go with a 10 minute base duration so it could last through a couple combats or maybe be used effectively in one out of combat situation. I would then increase the duration to one hour if heightened.

I would then change form control to make the base duration one hour but not require the spell be heightened. However, if heightened, it would increase the duration to four hours or something.

I really think this design philosophy, Paizo, not yours is a misstep. People like to be wildshaped when playing a Druid. That is a huge part of the appeal of the class. If casting spells, or scouting while wildshaped is so game breaking why don’t we see more of them in 1e? From my experience Druids are one of the least represented core classes I see at tables.


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Can I just note that I am increasingly tired of hearing "but at this later 2-digit level you can play the character you like" as an answer to people not liking the current design of something? By all that in changeable in the First World, why would I want to spend 10 or 12 or 15 levels playing something that isn't what I want to play when there is this whole other game system out there that lets me play my character concept right from the start?

I see that reply on this thread about druids, I see it given as an answer to the hybrid classes question, I see it bandied about on the tight math discussions, I even see it tossed out as an answer to the eviscerated races ancestries where you are half the elf you used to be. It's just not a very good answer.


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Requielle wrote:

Can I just note that I am increasingly tired of hearing "but at this later 2-digit level you can play the character you like" as an answer to people not liking the current design of something? By all that in changeable in the First World, why would I want to spend 10 or 12 or 15 levels playing something that isn't what I want to play when there is this whole other game system out there that lets me play my character concept right from the start?

I see that reply on this thread about druids, I see it given as an answer to the hybrid classes question, I see it bandied about on the tight math discussions, I even see it tossed out as an answer to the eviscerated races ancestries where you are half the elf you used to be. It's just not a very good answer.

^ This. Most play in PF is below level 10. If your answer to something being not fun is "take a level 10 feat", you might as well be saying it doesn't exist for most characters.

Wild Shape is a symptom of one of the biggest issues I have with 2e. It's mechanically soulless. They gutted the really fun options in the name of balance. 1 minute Wild Shape takes what is supposed to be a core feature of the class and makes it have absolutely no application anywhere outside of an in combat effect. The fun non-combat and RP stuff you could do with it is completely obliterated, sacrificed on the altar of mechanical balance at the expense of all else.

Druids were already not super popular to play in 1e because they're so complicated to play, with a lot of things to track and a lot of system mastery required to really get their potential unlocked. I don't see how the 2e version is even supposed to be fun.

Silver Crusade

pogie wrote:
Druids are one of the least represented core classes I see at tables.

Not at my tables :-).

Seriously, though, I suspect that class preference is a place where local tastes vary a lot from "the norm". People (especially in PFS) tend to gravitate towards "cool" builds that they've seen (or are inspired by them, at least)

Liberty's Edge

I actually like the core design of the druid. It's very similar to the way 13th Age druids work with being able to choose types of casting or abilities and not get the entire toolkit. That lets you have a wild shaping druid that doesn't have an animal companion and a casting focused druid that doesn't wild shape. That's fine with me. That actually makes druids feel really distinct from each other.

Overall, my complaints are confined to wild shaping not feeling right. I actually like the way storm druids look right now. Plant druids and animal companion druids aren't bad (though they could use some work). It's the wild shaping druid that just feels like it's very far off the mark.

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