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arangatang
2010-11-13, 01:05 AM
Hey, I have a second level human druid coming up on third and need some help selecting a feat.

Books: Core
Stats: 12 12 14 13 17 12

Feats So Far: Augment Summoning, Spell focus: Conjuration

Planned Sixth Level Feat: Natural Spell

Present members of party: rogue, archer ranger, monk, cleric/fighter

I have been debating the following:

Improved Initiative, Skill Focus: Concentration, Scribe Scroll, and Craft Wondrous Items

The cleric will definitely not be taking any crafting feats.

I was thinking of SF: Concentration because I couldn't really think of other ways to boost the skill. Am I missing something?

Choosing between Scribe Scroll and Wondrous Items is a tough one. Any advice?

Finally, if anyone knows of a must-have feat from any of the Completes of the Environment books, do tell.

Toptomcat
2010-11-13, 01:18 AM
Are your sources limited to the Completes and the environment books? Because frankly Lost Empires of Faerun's Greenbound Summoning is *the* obvious choice for you.

fireinakasha
2010-11-13, 01:20 AM
A few suggestions:

Natural Bond - Complete Adventurer, +3 to your druid level for the purposes of animal companion bonuses
Practiced Spellcaster - Complete Arcane (or Divine?), +4 to caster level, up to a max of your HD. Useful since you seem to be focusing on casting.
Rapid Spell - Complete Divine, metamagic, full round casting time spells can be cast as standard actions. Useful since you seem to be focusing on summoning.

Toptomcat
2010-11-13, 01:23 AM
Practiced Spellcaster in this case is completely useless because the OP's character is a single-classed druid on a race without LA or racial HD- their caster level is already equal to their Hit Dice!

Vladislav
2010-11-13, 01:23 AM
If the DM allows the somewhat cheesy Natural Bond trick, definitely take Natural Bond.

(the trick involves taking one of the alternate animal companions upon reaching level 4 (eg. Dire Bat), subtracting 3 from your effective Druid level, then adding 3 due to Natural Bond. The legality of this order of stacking is questionable, and it seems overpowered, as it leads to a 6-HD animal companion on level 4, but some DMs allow it)

If you're not interested in cheese, go Scribe Scroll, it's a good feat, you can make a lot of situationally-useful scrolls for cheap.

fireinakasha
2010-11-13, 01:30 AM
Practiced Spellcaster in this case is completely useless because the OP's character is a single-classed druid on a race without LA or racial HD- their caster level is already equal to their Hit Dice!

Wow, you are absolutely correct. Someone in a campaign I was in once used it to pump their effective caster level up above their character level by using it like Duelist INT to AC - +X, up to number of HD. So he had caster level 8 at level 4. Since the DM allowed it I figured it was kosher (I've never used it myself). You just prompted me to go back and read it, and man do I want some of my kills back from that sorcerer :smallmad:

Darrin
2010-11-13, 08:24 AM
A few suggestions:
Rapid Spell - Complete Divine, metamagic, full round casting time spells can be cast as standard actions. Useful since you seem to be focusing on summoning.

I've always been fond of starting with Extend Spell, because there are so many duration-based Druid spells that can benefit from it (well, ok... mostly creeping cold.) After that, Sculpt Spell is oodles of goodness for Druids (call lightning in four 10' x 10' cubes).

Rapid Spell is best paired with Ring of the Beast (8000 GP, Complete Champion p. 141). With the ring, you still get a higher spell level with the metamagic increase.

There's also a special spell component that can be used to reduce the casting time of summons down to 1 standard action without increasing the spell level:

Golden Desert Honey (100 GP, Complete Mage p. 135). A little expensive for a spell component, but definitely worth it.


If the DM allows the somewhat cheesy Natural Bond trick, definitely take Natural Bond.

(the trick involves taking one of the alternate animal companions upon reaching level 4 (eg. Dire Bat), subtracting 3 from your effective Druid level, then adding 3 due to Natural Bond. The legality of this order of stacking is questionable, and it seems overpowered, as it leads to a 6-HD animal companion on level 4, but some DMs allow it)


The general rule of timing effects allows the player to pick the order in which effects occur, so I think that may be legal by RAW.



If you're not interested in cheese, go Scribe Scroll, it's a good feat, you can make a lot of situationally-useful scrolls for cheap.

Very useful for things like lesser restoration, remove disease, and neutralize poison, for those things you really should have handy but don't want to waste a spell slot on them unless you *know* you'll need them: "Dagnabbit, I didn't know we'd be fighting something with poison/ability damage/mummy rot!"

I usually grab Craft Wondrous Item first, though... there are a few low-level magic items that are easy for druids to create (pearl of power, goodberry bracelet, slippers of spiderclimb, boots of striding and springing, bag of tricks). That may depend on what other spellcasters are in the party (the cleric can take care of scrolls for remove disease, artificer may already be crafting wondrous items, etc.).

If your druid uses primarily buff spells on the party, consider Craft Skull Talisman from Frostburn. Similar to brew potion, but unlike potions can be used with Personal range spells, and can be used for spells above 3rd level. This helps shift the action burden to the other PCs to buff themselves while you spend those precious first couple of rounds getting call lightning or your SNAs up and running. Also, if you can figure out a way for your enemies to break the skull, could be used offensively (fire trap, explosive runes, suggestion... still trying to work that out).

Dr.Epic
2010-11-13, 08:27 AM
I'd go improved initiative. You can never go wrong with it.

gbprime
2010-11-13, 10:08 AM
Healing

Spontaneous Healer (complete divine) would allow you to spontaneously cast heal spells and serve as a better emergency healer.

Touch of Healing (Reserve, Complete Champion) would allow you to be a post-battle healbot with a long battery life. This feat fits best if the DM is one who gives you lots of encounters between rest opportunities.

Summoning

Rapid Metamagic (Complete Divine) deserves a second vote. +1 to the spell level is worth it when it means your summoned critters attack the same round you cast the spell instead of waiting 1 round. You could also consider taking a later level feat for Metamagic School Focus (Complete Mage), which would remove that +1 spell level, but by the time you have the feat slot to blow on this, it's kind of a moot point.

Animal Companion

Natural Bond (complete adventurer) as previously mentioned increases druid level for purposes of your animal companion. But for a single classed druid, it doesn't make powerful animals available any earlier, it just gives them more abilities and HD earlier. (Example, at 4th level you choose a Dire Weasel, and it has the bonus HD etc of a 1st level druid (aka none). But with Natural Bond, it has the bonus HD etc of a druid 3 levels higher.)

Blasting

Searing Spell (Sandstorm) adds +1 level to your fire spells, but allows them to IGNORE fire resistance, and do half damage to fire immune targets.

Spell Focus (Evocation) and then later Peircing Evocation (Complete Mage) is an expensive combo in feats, but it means the first 10 points of any energy damage you do to any target is untyped energy damage instead. This makes Call Lightning and Produce Flame viable for your entire career, though the combo is Tier 3 at best.

Crafting Feats

Scribe Scroll is only good if you have specific spells you want to make a reserve stash of for odd occasions, and its best if you use spells that don't rely on caster level. Otherwise take Craft Wondrous Item.

Eloel
2010-11-13, 10:40 AM
I'd go improved initiative. You can never go wrong with it.

This, Natural Bond (+3 AC level. Yay.), or Improved Natural Attack: Claws (all forms that matter have claw attacks)

mint
2010-11-13, 10:49 AM
Ashbound summoning is nice. And slightly less cheesy than greenbound summons. Ashbound is an eberron feat.

Urpriest
2010-11-13, 10:58 AM
Animal Companion

Natural Bond (complete adventurer) as previously mentioned increases druid level for purposes of your animal companion. But for a single classed druid, it doesn't make powerful animals available any earlier, it just gives them more abilities and HD earlier. (Example, at 4th level you choose a Dire Weasel, and it has the bonus HD etc of a 1st level druid (aka none). But with Natural Bond, it has the bonus HD etc of a druid 3 levels higher.)


I would like to point out that this is a controversial interpretation. Bonus stacking order aside, the fact that an animal companion is receiving benefits as if your druid level was lower does not necessarily mean that your "effective druid level" is lower, and thus does not necessarily mean that Natural Bond will do any good whatsoever. Most people think that the penalty from a higher level animal companion is not the sort of penalty that Natural Bond counteracts.

Kaww
2010-11-13, 11:09 AM
I would like to point out that this is a controversial interpretation. Bonus stacking order aside, the fact that an animal companion is receiving benefits as if your druid level was lower does not necessarily mean that your "effective druid level" is lower, and thus does not necessarily mean that Natural Bond will do any good whatsoever. Most people think that the penalty from a higher level animal companion is not the sort of penalty that Natural Bond counteracts.

They should stack (the -3 and the +3), they both say that they modify druid's effective level for the purpose of animal companion advancement. Also, this is something seen in Wild mage and practiced spellcaster (I think that's what it's called)... The DM has his final say, but these two should be equally treated.

Urpriest
2010-11-13, 11:29 AM
They should stack (the -3 and the +3), they both say that they modify druids effective level for the purpose of animal companion advancement. Also, this is something seen in Wild mage and practiced spellcaster (I think that's what it's called)... The DM has his final say, but these two should be equally treated.

They're utterly different though. Caster level is a very well-established rules element. It goes up, it goes down, etc.

However, while Natural Bond raises your effective druid level, the "penalty" from having a more powerful animal companion has no such language. It says the companion receives bonuses as if you were a lower level druid, but that doesn't mean your "effective druid level" decreased. Your effective druid level is the same, you just have an animal companion that receives less benefit from it.

Think about it like Practiced Spellcaster and Spells Known. Raising your Caster Level does not mean that you can now cast higher-level spells, nor does it mean you can cast lower level spells more times per day. It means you cast as if you were exactly the same level you were before, just with higher caster level. Similarly, Natural Bond on a full druid doesn't change the fact that you're taking on a companion that gets less hit dice from your ability. The fact that the companion gains abilities more slowly is independent of your "effective druid level" and is more analogous to spells known.

Valameer
2010-11-13, 11:33 AM
Books: Core

Just to echo a few core feats, here.

Extend spell improves a lot of the druid's offensive spells, which usually have lower damage, but last for a round/level.

Improved Initiative can be nice for getting your crowd controlling spells off before the enemy can move around (ever notice how monsters tend to start a battle clumped up?), but with a good team it's less important to go first (since you may just end up wasting spells on trivial encounters).

Scribe Scroll is really good at bolstering your spell list with those spells you won't often use, but you need them when you need them. Stuff like neutralize poison, restoration, et cetera are really great to have (effectively) unlimited supplies of.

Of course at 6th level you'll be taking natural spell, but all of these are good core feats to pick up eventually for a druid. It all depends on what you want to be able to do better first. Offense = extend spell, crowd control = improved initiative, de-cursing, buffing = scribe scroll.

Kaww
2010-11-13, 11:36 AM
Alternative Animal Companions: A druid of sufficiently high level can select her animal companion from one of the following lists, applying the indicated adjustment to the druidís level (in parentheses) for purposes of determining the companionís characteristics and special abilities.

This says that your druid lvl suffers a -x for for purposes of determining the companionís characteristics. Feat says you get a +3 for purposes of determining the companionís characteristics. What is the difference?

Urpriest
2010-11-13, 11:51 AM
This says that your druid lvl suffers a -x for for purposes of determining the companionís characteristics. Feat says you get a +3 for purposes of determining the companionís characteristics. What is the difference?

-x for that specific companion. Note that to select the companion to begin with you need a specific minimum druid level. This means that you have already applied all bonuses and penalties to general druid level before taking that -x. Otherwise you wouldn't have a druid level with which to select the animal companion to begin with.

Look, my whole argument was that it's controversial. Seeing a several people on this thread have prefaced their suggestions with "if your DM lets you" I don't really see how you can dispute that.

Kaww
2010-11-13, 12:02 PM
I was actually interested in what your opinion is. Reasons behind it and all. I haven't used the feat since I personally find it cheesy. I'm just asking what do you think the rules have to offer that contradicts the general opinion. You haven't convinced me, since the feat is a specific entry saying something contradicting the general rule, thus having priority. I believe that most druid players would like to know why you think this isn't correct.
Expanded DAC list states minimal druid lvl you must have and the penalty, correct? If you meet the minimal level requirement, why can't you sum your bonuses and penalties to equal your effective druid lvl for purpose of animal companion bonuses?

Eldariel
2010-11-13, 12:02 PM
Just to echo a few core feats, here.

Extend spell improves a lot of the druid's offensive spells, which usually have lower damage, but last for a round/level.

Improved Initiative can be nice for getting your crowd controlling spells off before the enemy can move around (ever notice how monsters tend to start a battle clumped up?), but with a good team it's less important to go first (since you may just end up wasting spells on trivial encounters).

Scribe Scroll is really good at bolstering your spell list with those spells you won't often use, but you need them when you need them. Stuff like neutralize poison, restoration, et cetera are really great to have (effectively) unlimited supplies of.

Of course at 6th level you'll be taking natural spell, but all of these are good core feats to pick up eventually for a druid. It all depends on what you want to be able to do better first. Offense = extend spell, crowd control = improved initiative, de-cursing, buffing = scribe scroll.

You know, Spell Penetration, Greater Spell Penetration, Improved Grapple (and prereqs) and Improved Trip (and prereqs) are all fine too. Though ultimately, Craft Wondrous Items probably wins out given any chance to use it; any character is gonna want anywhere from 4+ wondrous items by the end of their career and this category includes stat boosters and unslotted stuff so they're just plain awesome for everybody.

Urpriest
2010-11-13, 01:27 PM
I was actually interested in what your opinion is. Reasons behind it and all. I haven't used the feat since I personally find it cheesy. I'm just asking what do you think the rules have to offer that contradicts the general opinion. You haven't convinced me, since the feat is a specific entry saying something contradicting the general rule, thus having priority. I believe that most druid players would like to know why you think this isn't correct.
Expanded DAC list states minimal druid lvl you must have and the penalty, correct? If you meet the minimal level requirement, why can't you sum your bonuses and penalties to equal your effective druid lvl for purpose of animal companion bonuses?

Ah ok, that's fair.

I agree that the argument is shaky, but I think that's partially because at the core it's pointing out that two mechanics, despite being described similarly, are utterly unrelated (in this case, having a lower druid level due to multiclassing and having a lower druid level due to having a more powerful animal companion). They simply describe different parts of the calculation and involve different numbers.

Of course, that sort of "this is simply not how it works" doesn't translate well into a clean argument, since it's basically a reading comprehension thing. We're left with trying to show that it's wrong under the other person's interpretation.

I do think there's a legitimate argument there though. Suppose we are thinking of this process as actually having an "effective druid level for the purpose of animal companions", and that being a well-defined rules entity. Let's call it EDL. You still only get to calculate this value once. Before selecting a fleshraker you need to have a certain minimum EDL. That means that in order to select a fleshraker to begin with you have to calculate your EDL, factoring in any relevant bonuses or penalties. You then get a penalty on your EDL for getting a fleshraker, and you can't counteract this because you already calculated your EDL. If you had done it the other way then you would try to get a fleshraker, but you wouldn't have any EDL at all, since before you decide to add bonuses and penalties the number simply doesn't exist. So you can't choose a fleshraker, or any animal companion. So either way you can't use Natural Bond to mitigate a higher level animal companion.

Kaww
2010-11-13, 01:42 PM
PMed Urpriest.

Akal Saris
2010-11-13, 02:10 PM
Assuming core only, I would go with Improved Initiative. Or Craft Wondrous Item if the game gave lots of gold without having magic-marts, and had downtime for me to craft during.