View Full Version : Limiting Wildshape Options

2009-11-26, 07:58 PM
How strict are you with the Must be an animal the druid is familiar with rule?

2009-11-26, 08:01 PM
How strict are you with the Must be an animal the druid is familiar with rule?The issue is that Familiar is undefined. Between Know:Nature, SNA, and backstory, the Druid should have a basic working knowledge of whatever animals exist in your setting.

2009-11-26, 08:04 PM
As long as a player maxes their Know: Nature (As they should), I don't make an issue, if the bonus is no more than 1 under the HD.

2009-11-26, 08:04 PM
I'd go with "split Druid into Spirit Shaman and Wildshape Ranger", but strictly speaking, I'd use the requirement that either a. they have encountered it or b. could pass what the "lore" check for the animal in question is.

2009-11-26, 08:18 PM
How strict are you with the Must be an animal the druid is familiar with rule?
That's a bit of a leading question ... strictness assumes a highly specific meaning to the word from which DM rulings can directly follow. Asking "How do you define familiarity?" would be much more useful and avoid a lot of discussion about whether or not it has anything to do with balance.

Since I'm easily baited I will of course make note that no matter how you define it, it has bugger all to do with balance unless you write the characters background for him and railroad the campaign completely. Since it matters not for balance the definition which has the least impact on gameplay should be the preferred one. If they know it from written background or from a knowledge role or from an encounter it's all good.

Everything else would be needless hoop jumping which adds no fun.

2009-11-26, 11:39 PM
This definitely becomes a "well what's 'reasonable' in this world" kind of question. So if there's no arctic tundra around then a polar bear would seem a little bit weird. But at the same time what about wizards and what spells they get to jot down in their spell books?

How does a wizard even know about the mere existence of "disintegrate" unless they've seen it in action, or have researched it somewhere? It's not like casting spells is just pulling out the spell compendium and saying "oooooh, I want that one!" Each spell has instructions about the precise magical language of the spell, along with each movement of the body at which times, and what to do with any spell components at any point in time. That's a lot of information that's not going to be found in the library of town "Who Cares" with population 300.

So I would say to not worry about this too much except to talk before hand about what animal knowledge is even possible (like does the underdark even exist in your world) and the such. After that then go with their knowledge nature is a combination of observed knowledge and research like how a Wizard must be theoretically researching new spells at every opportunity.

2009-11-27, 12:30 AM
I rule, more or less, that the Druid must have had personal contact with the animal, preferably with time to study it to some extent. But I also rule that they only have one animal in each category, that they can change when they level up. So...

2009-11-27, 12:48 AM
I look at a characters backstory and the history/geography of the world they're in. To be familiar enough with the animal to turn into it they have to have lived within (or near enough for regular contact with) that animals enviornment. A druid who lived her whole life in a temperate forest might know what a polar bear is, but they wouldnt be familiar enoughwith the animal to become that animal.

I houserule this for learning new animals.
If a druid meets a new animal and decides that that animals form is a form they would like to add to their repitoire, they must spend one week(can be broken up over a much longer span) in the complany of that type of animal under friendly circumstances and after that spend 24 hours practicing. then they get the new form.

I know it's limiting but I dont feel like that little nerf is really THAT big a hit to a druids over all power. I'll also mention that if a player approaches me ahead of time with somthing they want i'll write the opportunity in for them. I just like them to have the RP and player history to back up they're abilities. Writting in a little flavor is preferably to randomly becoming gorilla when they're from the tundra. . .

(as a side note: I treat any Non php core spells for wizards in a similar way. they have to see it used and they have to spend a week researching it to find a scroll or talk someone who knows it into teaching it to them.)