View Full Version : [Core Class Variant]Taking Down CoDzilla, Part 2: Druid [PEACH]

That Lanky Bugger
2007-02-08, 01:30 PM
The problem with Druids is pretty complex, unlike the Cleric. A Cleric's main power comes from a few hideously powerful spells. Without those three spells the Cleric is mostly in line with the other classes. A Druid's problem, however, is spread out over her abilities. Specifically, her problems is her Wildshape.


HD: d8

1|+0|+2|+0|+2|Animal companion, nature sense, wild empathy
2|+1|+3|+0|+3|Woodland stride
3|+2|+3|+1|+3|Trackless step
4|+3|+4|+1|+4|Resist natureís lure
5|+3|+4|+1|+4|Wild shape (1/day)
6|+4|+5|+2|+5|Wild shape (2/day)
7|+5|+5|+2|+5|Wild shape (3/day)
8|+6|+6|+2|+6|Wild shape (Large)
9|+6|+6|+3|+6|Venom immunity
10|+7|+7|+3|+7|Wild shape (4/day)
11|+8|+7|+3|+7|Wild shape (Tiny)
12|+9|+8|+4|+8|Wild shape (plant)
13|+9|+8|+4|+8|A thousand faces
14|+10|+9|+4|+9|Wild shape (5/day)
15|+11|+9|+5|+9|Timeless body, wild shape (Huge)
16|+12|+10|+5|+10|Wild shape (elemental 1/day)
18|+13|+11|+6|+11|Wild shape (6/day, elemental 2/day)
20|+15|+12|+6|+12|Wild shape (elemental 3/day)[/table]

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the druid. If a Class Feature is not explicitly listed here, it works per the SRD's Druid entry (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/classes/druid.htm).

Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Druids are proficient with the following weapons: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear. They are also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form they assume with wild shape.

Druids are proficient with light and medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, they may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. (A druid may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. See the ironwood spell description) Druids are proficient with shields (except tower shields) but must use only wooden ones.

A druid who wears prohibited armor or carries a prohibited shield is unable to cast druid spells or use any of her supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter.

Wild Shape (Su)

At 5th level, a druid gains the ability to turn herself into any Small or Medium animal and back again once per day. Her options for new forms include all creatures with the animal type. This ability functions like the alternate form special ability, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 1 hour per druid level, or until she changes back. Changing form (to animal or back) is a standard action and doesnít provoke an attack of opportunity. You do not regain lost hit points as if you had rested for a night.

Any gear worn or carried by the druid melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When the druid reverts to her true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on her body that they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items worn in the assumed form fall off and land at the druid's feet.

The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with.

A druid loses her ability to speak while in animal form because she is limited to the sounds that a normal, untrained animal can make, but she can communicate normally with other animals of the same general grouping as her new form. (The normal sound a wild parrot makes is a squawk, so changing to this form does not permit speech.)

A druid can use this ability more times per day at 6th, 7th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, as noted on Table: The Druid. In addition, she gains the ability to take the shape of a Large animal at 8th level, a Tiny animal at 11th level, and a Huge animal at 15th level.

The new formís Hit Dice canít exceed the characterís druid level.

At 10th level, a druid can use some uses of her wild shape to heal herself as well as transform. When using wild shape to tranform into another form, she will regain hit points as if she had one night's rest. At 14th level she can do this twice a day, and at 18th level she can do this three times a day.

At 12th level, a druid becomes able to use wild shape to change into a plant creature with the same size restrictions as for animal forms. (A druid canít use this ability to take the form of a plant that isnít a creature.)

At 16th level, a druid becomes able to use one of her wild shape uses to change into a Small, Medium, or Large elemental (air, earth, fire, or water) once per day. These elemental forms count against her normal wild shape usage. Due to the draining nature of changing into a being of pure elemental energy, these transformation last for 10 minutes instead of 1 hour. In addition to the normal effects of wild shape, the druid gains all the elementalís extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities. She also gains the elementalís feats for as long as she maintains the wild shape, but she retains her own creature type. At 18th level, a druid becomes able to assume elemental form twice per day, and at 20th level she can do so three times per day. As noted, these uses count against her uses of Wild Shape.

Feat Change

Alternative Spellcasting [General] (replaces Natural Spell)
Prerequisites: Ability to cast 3rd level Arcane or Divine spells
You can complete the verbal and somatic components of spells while in a form which would normally not allow you to cast spells. You substitute various noises and gestures for the normal verbal and somatic components of a spell. Spells cast in this manner are counted as being 2 Spell Levels lower for the purpose of determining it's Saving Throw DC and 4 Character Levels lower for the purpose of determining any level-based effects.
You can also use any material components or focuses you possess, even if such items are melded within your current form. This feat does not permit the use of magic items while you are in a form that could not ordinarily use them, and you do not gain the ability to speak.
Example: Juni the Druid is Level 13 and has a Wisdom of 20 (+5). Spotting a group of soldiers heading towards the party, she casts Flame Strike on them while in the form of a sparrow. Normally the spell would have a range of 230 feet, deal 13d6 damage and have a Reflex Save DC of 19. However, because she's in the form of a sparrow, the spell instead has a range of 190 feet, deals 9d6 damage and has a Reflex Save DC of 17.

Summary of Changes: The only real change has to do with the Druid's Wild Shape ability. While the Druid can still Wild Shape, she's no longer able to do it practically all day. Likewise, I've taken back the Druid's ability to spend hours at a time hanging out in an Elemental form. The ability to change into an elemental and still cast spells is powerful, so I dropped the duration to 10 minutes to keep it as something reserved for battle.

Unless the Druid is in an epic battle, 10 minutes is going to be more than enough time to be an elemental for the battle the whole way through. This means that the Druid has to think a little more carefully about how often she's willing to use the ability. Likewise, counting the Elemental transformations against her normal Wild Shape transformations was a move to make the Druid think a little harder about when she transforms and why.

The big change was Natural Spell, a feat which is plainly broken and needed to be fixed.

○ Natural Spell as a feat was, put bluntly, broken beyond belief. For a Wizard or Sorcerer to try to match the ability to cast while in a form other than their original, they'd have to take both Still and Silent Spell for the spellcasting, a proposition which would require them to take two feats AND cast their spells in a slot two Spell Levels higher than the original spell. Alternative Spellcasting now fills a niche and gives the Druid a reason to take Still and Silent spell as well as opening the feat up to Wizards and Sorcerers. The power reduction is explained as a loss of power due to the fact you're not using the REAL words and gestures, but vaguely appropriate substitutes.

I'd especially appreciate feedback on this CoDzilla variant, guys. Unfortunately the crew I'm running which tested my Cleric variant doesn't play Druids normally so I've been unable to get an idea about what an experienced Druid might think of these changes.

2007-02-09, 12:01 AM
I noticed you left the spell casting off the table. Is this becouse it got pull (fingers crossed) or becouse you couldn't be bothered with putting it up (a HUGE time saver)?

The elemental thing still seems... broken to me. Perhaps clearing a few things up will help.

In addition to the normal effects of wild shape, the druid gains all the elemental’s extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities
In addition to her own? Or instead of?

She also gains the elemental’s feats for as long as she maintains the wild shape, but she retains her own creature type.
In addition to her own? Or instead of?

Aslo with natural spell... how about making casting as naural spell a full round action, and takes up higher level spell slots... similar to a meta-magic feat applied spontaneously?

That Lanky Bugger
2007-02-09, 09:48 AM
Yeah, you're reading that correctly. Druids still get Divine spells and gets all of the Elemental's abilities. However, the Druid can't be an Elemental all the freakin' time anymore (30 minutes as opposed to 3 hours), and the maximum time they can spend in another form is now 6 hours (and that's with no Elemental transformations) or 3 1/2 hours (with 3 elemental transformations) as opposed to 9 hours (with three hours being in Elemental form). She also no longer gains HP every time she transforms.

To be honest, the Druid is inferior to the Cleric. The Druid's main strength is her transformations and her Animal Companion. She can't spontaneously cast her healing spells like a Cleric, and her armor saves are terrible. Even her spell list is generally inferior to the spell list of a Cleric. Her only decent spells are her summons, and her best (Elemental Swarm) takes ten minutes to cast.

I considered actually raising the spell level on the Alternative Spellcasting feat, but it wouldn't have worked with a prepared spellcaster like the Druid (who the feat is really intended for). Say the Druid prepares a 3rd Level spell, but finds herself needing to cast it with your variant. Does she burn a 4th Level spell's slot and keep the 3rd Level spell slot, or does she use up both prepared slots? The former is a little too powerful (since it essentially lets her cast as a Sorcerer) and the latter weakens her by taking a lower and a higher level Spell Slot to do something she's used to doing in the RAW.

The lowering of the Caster and Spell Level works out pretty well, I think. It essentially gives the Druid the choice of casting at full effectiveness OR casting while in a more powerful form. The Elemental transformations, while powerful, have a pretty limited duration. Ten minutes is only enough time for a single combat, since the rest of the party is going to want to loot corpses for items after they've killed the enemies.

I've actually been considering forcing the Druid to align herself with one primal element or another (and maybe adding a secondary and tertiary) so that she has to think strategically about her transformations. For example, she could pick Air as her primary, Fire as her secondary, and Earth as her tertiary. She could be any size Air elemental (Large, Medium, or Small), with less choice for her Fire elemental (Medium or Small) and fairly weak with her Earth (just Small). That would mean she'd still be effective against SOME foes while in her primary elemental form, but she'd be out of luck against others.

Anyway, thanks for the feedback!

2007-02-09, 10:49 AM
I was thinking of making Druid into a Spontaneous Wisdom based caster with poor base attack. It just seemed that Druid spell casting should be looser than the more regulated prayers that clerics make. The whole warrior priest thing never made much sense either.

Gerry Sezzler
2007-02-09, 05:40 PM
You mentioned in your Cleric thread that one the problems with the Cleric was that it could cast spells in it's powered up form making it better than a wizard under the effects of Transformation.

Well what about making the Alternative Spellcasting feat be a Metamagic feat you apply to spells like Silent of Still spell? That way if the druid knew she wanted to cast spells while in Wild shape form she'd have to specifically prepare them to be or otherwise they would be unavailible.

That Lanky Bugger
2007-02-09, 06:24 PM
Closet Skeleton: Actually, Spontaneous casting would suit the Druid better, wouldn't it? I'll toy with it and see what I can come up with.

Gerry: It was a vastly bigger problem for Clerics, really. The Druid's problem is that it could cast at full power in any form AND the fact it could spend 9 of the 15 hours available for adventuring in a better, more powerful form. Plus I got rid of the Huge elemental status, which means the Druid lacks the biggest cheese it can dish out already.

2007-02-09, 10:40 PM
When i comes down to it, this druid is still heaps powerful. My case:

- full caster
- moderate BAB
- two good saves
- two dead levels

verses, say, a bard:

- secondary caster
- moderate BAB
- two good saves
- ten dead levels

No one talks about a bard being unbalanced (correct me if im wrong somwhere else, make a new thread etc), and the druid is ahead by three spell levels and eight class ability boosts.

I'm not saying its a step in the wrong direction, what your doing here, far from it, just is it enough?

That Lanky Bugger
2007-02-10, 01:40 AM
A Bard's strength is that he's mainly a support unit. He's got spells, but his main benefit lies in the various bard abilities which can bolster his group.

Though believe me, I'm eyeing him next for a power boost. Personally I think Bards should have a spell progression to 7th Spellcasting level and their Performance abilities could be enhanced a bit... but that's something for another topic.