Druid Combat


Advice


So I am currently on one of my games play a animal druid with order explorer into wildshape.

Most combat I end up spending the bulk of my rounds spending one action to command my velocraptor and the other two for electric arc.

We have a human (thief) rogue in the party and a dwarf freedom champion and a naff wizard. So I quite often need to use the velociraptors speed to facilitate the thieves sneak attack.

I am level 4 and I expected wildshaping more often but quite often I feel as the only person with the heal spell and battle medicine I need to be available for fire fighting and the gm seems dead set on killing feathery (my dromeosaur bff) so I have surprisingly often ended up using heal animal more than I ever expected
too.

Tactical how do most people end up balancing spell-casting and wildshape ?


I am not an expert. I will just throw my 2 cents. In general I feel like animal+wild is tough on the action economy. You should have mature animal companion though so you don't have to command it every round.

So in general if you really want to wild shape in combat you are just going to have to let your animal combat get downed sadly. There really isn't another option.

About balancing spell-casting and wild shape, I would probably prioritize casting 1 or 2 strong debuffs/buffs than just going into combat as an animal. Also on "easy" fights you can just skip casting and just fight as an animal.

I do think that wild brings a lot of utility out of combat.

With all these factors I decided to just go pure animal Druid with Bard dedication so I could focus on pure support when it come to my companion and party members. Wild Order just seems like to much investment and my character would have been pulled in all sorts of directions.

Special note: Wild Shape And Animal Companions both require a lot of feats. I haven't calculated it in awhile but pretty much every single feat you take will be some sort of shapeshift or animal companion feat and you can't get them all.


That sounds like exactly the normal pattern for Animal Druids.
Animals are secondary, so struggle in the front lines. It may feel like the GM's targeting Feathery, yet it's the animal's stats & you putting it in flanking positions that's putting it close to death. Hopefully the Champion mitigates the damage and provides emergency healing, yet many rounds, yes, you have to Heal the animal (or an ally).
You + animal is only supposed to be as effective as a single PC, despite all the resources it may use. Heal Animal being a Focus spell aids significantly though! I'd try to get more Focus points and the ability to renew them. Maybe even pull the animal back when you're out so your normal spells can be used on PCs and blasting.

I would not recommend trying to Wild Shape in combat, not while your animal lives (and that's not even counting the Focus point you'd be spending instead of healing). You're right, your spells do need to be available. IMO Wild Shape takes some dedication & investment for it to become a primary tactic. I think most players balance it by choosing the tactic that best fits the encounter. Do we need another melee person (thugs), healer (boss), or blaster (minions)?

I'd only do Wild Shape on top of an Animal Druid in an easy campaign, and it sounds like yours isn't.


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I'm currently playing a gnome animal druid with bard dedication. I'm playing age of ashes, my character is level 10. My animal is a wolf.

I've played low levels, including level 4, with a party composition of
melee rogue, ranged ranger, and a blaster wizard. Like you, I used my animal companion to help ensure sneak attack for the rogue. It seems our party compositions are pretty similar with the exception being the champion.

Looking back at level 4 druid, I do empathize with your struggle. It's really difficult, and for a lot of reasons:
1) Dex-based companions are supposed to have good AC, but really, their AC starts to shine once they become nimble. Before then, their AC is actually pretty bad, being just +4 dex from mature, and unable to benefit from shield AC. I'd look into getting barding. Heavy is ideal until you become nimble, but heavy also has a lot of downsides. At the very least you should get light barding.

2) Low level druids have a very low number of spells. Other classes like wizard and sorcerer either have a lot of spells naturally or can regain spells, but you have so few spells that it isn't feasible allocating preparations into utility spells. This problem gets alleviated at higher levels, where your highest level spells can be used for strong effects and low spells can be used for utility (like the fear spell). However, at low levels (like level 4), all prepared spells need to carry their weight. When I played my character at level 4, I didn't have a backup healer in the party so literally every spell I prepared was heal. At higher levels, hopefully someone in your party can pick up continual recovery feat and/or get a staff of healing. That should let you prepare other kinds of spells.

As for focus points, for your level, I would stick to heal animal. At your level, heal animal is really strong because it can be cast once every 10 minutes, which is a lot better than the once per hour of potentially failing medicine checks. You want your companion to be getting attacked, because you have infinite healing for your companion. If your companion goes down but buys your party the time to finish off the enemy, then your companion got the job done.


siegfriedliner wrote:
Tactical how do most people end up balancing spell-casting and wildshape ?

It's a choice you make at the beginning of each combats. Depending on the encounter, you choose if you go wild or not. Lots of fighter type melee opponent => Wild. Low on spells => Wild. Ranged combat => spells. Boss => spells. For example.

But you should avoid as much as possible to switch between wildshape and not wildshape during the same combat. It may happen, but it must not be common.

In your case, you are your main party combat healer. So you have a strong incentive in not going wild. You may end up using wild shape only in very specific situations where you don't have any spell left, for example.

In my opinion, your party doesn't seem balanced around healing. In a party of 4 there should be 2 healers. Otherwise, the only healer ends up being a healbot against his will (I assume you didn't play a Druid to be a healbot).


I wasn't expecting the cleric to be so flaky but obviously irl doesn't care for my careful design. To be fair its not that bad none of my others spells feel massively impressive and I never regret having heal prepped.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"velocraptor"

Nice.


IN the campaign I'm in I played a druid that was both an animal and wild druid and I loved it. He did end up dieing due to some craziness but he was a little good at everything.

He only ended up getting to level 4, but he could pass for a melee combatant if needed, with his pet helping (tag teaming they did very well together), or my character could just go full support/cantrips while the pet went in. He was also focused on medicine, so he could cast heal, use battle medicine, heal out of combat really well, and heal his pet in combat with focus. Eventually, while getting all the pet pet upgrading feats, he would've also gotten flight form and dragon form. And with form control and nabbing a sorcerer focus spell, he could stay in animal form as long as he would want.

I only wish other casters had as many awesome options as druids do, being able to fill so many roles depending on feat choice makes them so appealing.


Fumarole wrote:

"velocraptor"

Nice.

A typo on my part I am afraid.

Silver Crusade

Gaulin wrote:


I only wish other casters had as many awesome options as druids do, being able to fill so many roles depending on feat choice makes them so appealing.

A significant part of what the druid brings to the table is its sheer versatility. Unfortunately, that value is somewhat lessened in a home campaign (as opposed to, say, PFS) since in a home campaign the characters will very quickly develop niches. It looks like in THIS campaign the druid is being pigeonholed as the party healer. That is a role they CAN fit but don't excel at.

If the GM allows it I'd be tempted to change the character to a cleric who multiclasses into druid. Still get most or all of the flexibility (as you still get wild shape and some druidic spell casting) but much better fitted for the healing role. My highest level (PFS, admittedly) is exactly this and I'm finding that I really like it. As long as you worship a nature oriented god it will FEEL a lot like a druid in play. Well, except for not having an animal companion, of course. As a multiclass an Animal Companion is absolutely NOT worth the investment.


I went into after the fun but op 5e druid where I could cast a spell in the first turn of combat and then bonus action transform. Quite often I end up snookered by the action cost of trasnforming in 2e and just don't do it.

Shadow Lodge

siegfriedliner wrote:
I went into after the fun but op 5e druid where I could cast a spell in the first turn of combat and then bonus action transform. Quite often I end up snookered by the action cost of trasnforming in 2e and just don't do it.

Personally, I found the D&D5.0 Moon Druid ridiculously powerful at 2nd level, but it really failed to scale up after that: By 5th level, you're just a 'martial wannabe' who can't stay in form for more than a round or two (boy, were those ACs and non-scaling HPs bad). Given the prevalence of low-level 'resistant to non-magical weapons' creatures in the particular campaign we played, I was typically better off just smacking things with my Shillelagh.

Unfortunately, our campaign ended long before I could get Air Elemental form and dip into monk for the AC bonus...

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