View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Wild Shape / Animal Companion redesign

Markoff Chainey
2016-05-11, 02:55 PM
The title says it all... heavily inspired by Easy_Lee and Belac93 and the DM Guild new Druid Circles, I thought to bring them in line and solve the well known issues with the druids and the Ranger Beastmaster.

Please let me have feedback, especially about balance.

The following rules apply to Druids and Rangers (Beastmaster). As of now, included in those changes are the following Druid Circles: Land, Moon, Beast, Water and Deathbloom.

To apply these changes, exchange the abilities written on the following pages with the text of the original ones.

Druid Abilities

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your action to switch in or out of the shape of a beast that lives on land (no flying or swimming speed), that you have chosen upon receiving this feature (DMís approval upon form). You must be familiar with that beast and its CR must not exceed 1/4.

Each time you do so, any conditions or HP loss the form has sustained are retained until the next time you finish a long rest.

You can stay in a beast form for a number of hours equal to your proficiency modifier. Afterwards, you must spend the same number of hours in your humanoid form or gain one level of exhaustion when you revert back to your normal form. You automatically revert back to your normal form when you use your action to do so, fall unconscious, drop to 0 hp or die.

Death in a form / or dropping to 0 hp, reverts you to your humanoid form and you gain one level of exhaustion. You may not use the dead form again until you finish a long rest.

During a short rest, you may use any of your forms hp dice to heal as you do yourself.

You gain 2 more forms at later levels:
At druid level 4, the max CR of the chosen beast is 1/2 and it must not have a flying speed.
At druid level 8, the max CR of the chosen beast is 1.
You may change one of your beast forms whenever you level up as a druid.

While you are shifted into beast form, the following rules apply:

Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your alignment, personality, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creatureís bonus instead of yours. If the creature has any legendary or lair actions, you canít use them.
When you transform, you assume the beastís hit points and hit dice. Should the hp of the creature be lower than 4x your druid level, you may use that number instead.
You canít cast spells and your ability to speak or take any action that requires hands is limited to the capabilities of your beast form. Transforming does not break your concentration on a spell youíve already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that youíve already cast.
You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race or other source and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so. However, you cannot use any of your special senses as those are linked to your body, such as darkvision. You gain the special senses of the form instead.
Treat natural attacks from the stat block of the beast that you use as light weapon attacks to determine if you can use them with abilities of your normal form. Attacks that use a dexterity modifier to calculate damage and to-hit-bonus may be treated as light finesse melee attacks.
You may recalculate skill bonuses in forms using your native proficiency bonus and the formís relevant statistic.
You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your new form, or is worn by it. Worn equipment functions as normal, but the DM decides whether it is practical for the beast form to wear a piece of equipment, based on the creatureís shape and size. Your equipment does not change size or shape to match the new form and any equipment that the new form cannot wear must either fall to the ground or merges with it. Merged equipment counts as Ąon a different plane of existenceď until you revert back.

Circle of the Land Abilities

Wild Shape
change to: Animal Companion - see below

Beast spells
change to: Spell Mastery (see PHB p. 115, Wizard)

change to: Signature Spell (see PHB p. 115, Wizard)

Circle of the Moon Abilities

Combat Wild Shape
When you choose this circle at 2nd level, you gain the ability to use Wild Shape on your turn as a bonus action rather than as an action.
Additionally, while you are transformed by Wild Shape, you can use a bonus action to expend one spell slot to regain 1d8 hit points per level of the spell slot expended.
You gain an additional bonus while you are within beast form:
If your spell attack is higher than a formís attack bonus, you may use your spell attack in that form instead of its native attack bonus.
If your spell attack is higher than a formís special ability DCs (such as pounce for panthers), you may use your spell DC in that form instead of its native DC.

Elemental Wild Shape
You may add one form to your known forms that is an elemental.

Rename to: Wild Rejuvenation
Once per long rest, refresh the HP and conditions on all forms as though you finished a long rest.

Circle of the Beast / Ranger (Beastmaster) Abilities

Animal Companion / Rangerís Companion
You gain a beast companion that accompanies you on your adventures and is trained to fight alongside you. Choose a beast that is no larger than medium, that has no flying speed and that has a challenge rating of 1/4 or lower. You may also choose a beast with flying speed that is no larger than small. The beast must be an inhabitant of either your chosen landtype or your favored terrain.

It hit point maximum equals its normal hitpoints or 4x your druid or ranger level, whichever is higher. Add your proficiency bonus to the beastís AC, attack rolls, damage rolls, as well as to saving throws and skills it is proficient in. (Your Ranger and Druid level stack for terms of determinating the hitpoints and abilities of your animal companion.)

The beast takes turn on your initiative and will obey your commands as good as it can. It will not act until you command it, but it will defend itself and will attack or frighten anybody whom it thinks is about to attack you or itself. You can verbally command the beast where to move to (no action required by you).

You can take an action to direct its course of action (run there, attack, stay here, flee, ..) Once you gain an extra attack feature, you may decide to give up one attack to command your beast to make an attack instead giving up your whole action.

While traveling in your favored terrain or chosen land with only your beast, you may move stealthy at normal pace.

When the beast dies, you can obtain another by spending 8 hours magically bonding to a beast who is not hostile to you (the land / favored terrain restrictions are not in place anymore).

Natural Selection / Exceptional Training
rename to: Exceptional Training
You may use your bonus action instead of your action to command the beast to take the Attack, Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action on its turn. - You must have a free hand to do so, though.

Bestial Fury (Ranger only)
Starting at 11th level, whenever your beast companion makes an attack that you directed it to (not one of the extra attacks), it may attack one extra time. If it has the Multi attack feature, it may use it now.

2016-05-11, 06:27 PM
Very nice. I find the fact that archdruids get signature spells and wizard abilities instead of the norm interesting.

2016-05-12, 03:26 PM
So if you order your companion to attack something, it will keep attacking it until the thing is dead? That seems like a good way to keep the companion relevant. Good job.

Markoff Chainey
2016-05-14, 04:33 AM
So if you order your companion to attack something, it will keep attacking it until the thing is dead? That seems like a good way to keep the companion relevant. Good job.

Sorry, while it would make more sense and the game more easy when the beast would just continue with what it is doing, it would also make the beastmaster quite broken.

But, the effort is heavily reduced (to one attack / bonus action) and the companion stays relevant with those changes.