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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Blackthorn Savage [UPDATED, WIP]

    Inspired by discussion in other threads, I'm working on a "raging druid" homebrew prestige class for D&D 3.5. While I could just do Barbarian 1/Druid 19 with the Extra Rage feat, or the Druidic Avenger alternate class feature, I feel like making a PrC, so that's what I'm doing. I'm basically thinking like a Feral Druid from WoW, where you've still got casting but most of your fighting is done in melee as an animal.

    This class takes barbarian and ToB features and wraps them into a Druid PRC. In some ways it is similar to the Ruby Knight Vindicator for Clerics or Jade Phoenix Mage for Wizards.

    A quick note on balance: This is not meant to increase, decrease, or balance the Druid. I am doing it simply to get something I'm interested in, and while I wouldn't want it to fall below tier 2, balance considerations are not a priority.

    I've been pretty busy lately, but Nightgaun7 has gone through and collated stuff and fiddled with it, and I'm putting the new version below.

    I've spoilered the previous version.
    Spoiler
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    Here's what I'm thinking so far:
    Blackthorn Savage
    Requirements -
    Alignment: Neutral Good, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Evil
    Skills: Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks , Concentration 8 ranks
    Feats: Improved Natural Attack
    Special: Wild shape ability

    Hit die
    d10
    Skill points
    4 + Int

    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref|Will|Special|Casting
    1st| +1 | +2 | +0 | +2| Rage 1/Day | --
    2nd| +2 | +3 | +0 | +3 | Instantaneous Rage | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    3rd| +3 | +3 | +1 | +3 | Wildshape (Large) | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    4th| +4 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Fast Wildshape, Rage 2/Day| +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    5th| +5 | +4 | +1 | +4 | Tireless Rage | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    6th| +6 | +5 | +2 | +5 | | --
    7th| +7 | +5 | +2 | +5 | Wildshape (Huge), Rage 3/day | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    8th| +8 | +6 | +2 | +6 | Greater Rage | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    9th| +9 | +6 | +3 | +6 | Swift Wildshape | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    10th| +10 | +7 | +3 | +7 | Wildshape (Gargantuan), Rage 4/day | +1 Level of existing divine casting class
    [/table]

    Wildshape:
    Gain an additional use of wild shape per day per class level in Blackthorn Savage, as per Master of Many Forms

    What I'm really looking for are cool abilities this class could have, especially a capstone! Right now it's very bland.

    One idea I had was applying a template of some kind for free to all wildshapes, but the downside to that is even more paperwork for an already paperwork-intensive class.

    (and/or ways to combine it with Martial Adept classes. Call me crazy but I love ToB and dipping it, even at the cost of caster levels. Druid 6/Swordsage2/Druid 12? Sign me up)


    BLACKTHORN SAVAGE

    Entry Requirements:
    Alignment: Any non-lawful
    Skills: Knowledge (Nature) 8 ranks or Survival 8 ranks, Concentration 8 ranks.
    Feats: Improved Natural Attack
    Special: Wildshape or other shapechanging ability as a racial ability or class feature.
    Other: Must have killed an Evil creature of your level or higher in Blackthorn Forest without help.

    Hit Die: d10

    {table=head]Level|BAB|Fort|Ref |Will |Man. Known| Man. Ready |Stances |Special| |Casting
    1st |1 |2| 0| 2| 1| 4(2)| 1| Favored Form| Rage 1/day|
    2nd |2 |3| 0| 3| 1| 4(2)| 0| Killer Instinct| Wildshape (Large)| +1 level in existing class
    3rd |3 |3| 1| 3| 0| 4(2)| 0| Frenzied Transformation| Rage 2/day| +1 level in existing class
    4th |4 |4| 1| 4| 1| 5(2)| 0| Nature's Panoply| Tireless Rage| +1 level in existing class
    5th |5 |4| 1| 4| 1| 5(2)| 1| Hybrid Vigor| | +1 level in existing class
    6th |6 |5| 2| 5| 0| 5(3)| 0| | Rage 3/day |
    7th |7 |5| 2| 5| 1| 6(3)| 0| | Wildshape (Huge) |+1 level in existing class
    8th |8 |6| 2| 6| 1| 6(3)| 0| | Rage 4/day |+1 level in existing class
    9th |9 |6| 3| 6| 0| 6(3)| 1| | Greater Rage |+1 level in existing class
    10th |10 |7| 3| 7| 1| 7(3)| 0| | | +1 level in existing class
    [/table]
    Class Skills (6 + int modifier per level): Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Escape Artist, Handle Animal, Heal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (Local), Listen, Move Silently, Ride, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival, Swim, Tumble.

    As you can see, we haven't quite decided what should be available at which level.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency
    Blackthorn Savages do not gain any weapon or armor proficiencies.

    Wildshape
    You gain an additional daily use of your Wildshape ability with each level you take of Blackthorn Savage.

    Rage

    You gain Rage, as per the Barbarian class feature.

    There's an issue with these two in terms of stacking with other class features, but I'm not sure how to handle it. For instance if you get into this as a Barbarian who went with Bear Warrior, your rage progression and turning into a bear will both be a bit screwed up. Advice on this issue would be appreciated.

    Killer Instinct [Ex]
    You gain a bonus to your initiative equal to one-half your Blackthorn Savage class level.

    Frenzied Transformation [Ex]
    You may wildshape as a swift action, so long as you enter a rage at the same time. You gain Frightful Presence with a DC of 10 + Blackthorn Savage level + Str bonus for the remainder of the round.
    How's the DC for this?

    Nature's Panoply [Ex]
    Your natural weapon damage increases by one size category. The threat range of your natural weapons increases to 18-20. In addition, you gain a natural armor bonus of 1, which increases by 1 every 2 levels.
    SirAxealot put the Natural Armor on here, and I'm on board with the idea, but I'm not sure if it should be increased or not.

    Unleashed Wrath [Su]
    Gain one extra swift action per round while raging.
    I really like the intended flavor for this one, the beast spirits that this class taps into guiding you in your rage. However I'm not sure if an extra swift action every turn is overpowered. Should it be changed, or limited somehow?

    Natural Talent [Ex]
    Feats that apply to a specific attack, such as Improved Natural Attack or Multiattack, can be allocated to any eligible attack your wildshape form has. For example, if you have Rapidstrike and Improved Natural Attack and assume the form of a dragon, you could apply the Improved Natural Attack to your bite and Rapidstrike to your claws. If you later wildshaped into an octopus, you could then apply rapidstrike to your tentacle attacks.
    This seems like a nice little way to encourage a variety of forms and make sure your limited feats aren't useless a chunk of the time, like the Warblade's Weapon Aptitude.

    Spirit Calling [Su]
    You channel some of your mystic power to the beast spirits, strengthening their connection to your movements. You may sacrifice a prepared spell as a swift action to immediately recover any maneuver you know of equal or lower level, even if you did not ready it. It is immediately available. If it is a maneuver you did not ready, then once you use it it may not be recovered in the encounter, unless you use this ability again.

    Savage Spell [Su]
    You are able to, as an immediate action, sacrifice a prepared spell to use a boost of equal level on an attack you make with a natural weapon. You may combine two boosts in this way, or add a boost to an attack that would not normally be eligible, such as an attack of opportunity. This may only be used on unarmed strikes or natural attacks.

    These are rough ideas right now, but we wanted some interaction between melee/maneuvers and spellcasting

    Hybrid Vigor
    At 4th level, while wildshaped and raging, you may augment your current form with an extraordinary ability from the following list. For example, while wildshaped into a polar bear you could assume the trample extraordinary ability. You pick which ability, if any, you would like to assume when you wildshape, or if you are already in a wildshape and then rage, when you begin your rage. When you stop raging, the extraordinary attacks are lost. You may not use this ability while exhausted.
    You may choose from the following: one of the second form’s natural attack types (with the appropriate reach), or an extraordinary special attack: attach, constrict, crush, engulf, impale, improved grab, leap, pounce, powerful charge, push, rake, rend, rend armor, snatch, swallow whole, tail sweep, trample, trip, acid, blood drain, corrosive slime, disease, extract, ferocity, filament, howl, moan, paralysis, poison, quills, spit acid, spittle, spores, stench, or web.
    Hybrid Vigor II: At level 8, you may assume two extraordinary abilities beyond those your form grants you.

    Not quite sure with this one, since we would ideally like you to be able to be a flying polar bear or something equally cool, but not sure how to word this so that you can get the cool stuff without being able to turn into an efreeti and doing wish hilarity or something equally nuts. I found the master transmogrifist, which is actually similar in some ways to what we're working on, and a few of it's class features are listed below for ideas on wording and such.

    Manifest Senses (Su): At 2nd level and higher, a master transmogrifist gains the senses of his favored shape when he assumes its form. Senses include extraordinary special qualities such as blindsense, blindsight, darkvision, low-light vision, scent, and tremorsense.
    Manifest Qualities (Ex): At 8th level and higher, a master transmogrifist has all the extraordinary special qualities of any favored shape he assumes. For example, he could change into a troll to make use of the troll’s regeneration ability, or take the form of a green hag to gain spell resistance 18.
    tremorsense, scent, low-light vision, fast healing, darkvision, blindsight, blindsense, breath weapon,
    Add an extraordinary special quality of the second form.


    Favored Form [Su]
    Choose a favored form when you take your first level of Blackthorn Savage. You may choose another at level 5, and a third at 10. You may change your chosen forms by performing a ceremony requiring 24 uninterrupted hours of prayer and meditation.
    You gain access to all feats that the base shape has.
    You gain all extraordinary abilities (both attacks and qualities) of your favored form. You also count as being a creature of that type.
    At 10th level, you may make one of your favored forms an aberration, fey, giant, magical beast, or monstrous humanoid. You may thus transform into creatures you would not otherwise be eligible for.
    For your Favored form, starting at 4th level, any one non-instantaneous spell is automatically applied to your form when you Wildshape into it, with a duration equal to your Wildshape. At levels 6 and 10 you can apply one additional spell.
    The other big headache, Favored Form! This is really just some ideas listed rather than an ability right now. Would the bit about counting as a creature of that type let you take things like Rapidstrike?
    Last edited by SirAxealot; 2013-01-29 at 10:25 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    nonsi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    1. Where's the part in the prereqs that says Barbarian ?
    2. When you get one in there, you're gonna have a a character that gains Tireless Rage at 12HD, Gargantuan size by level 17HD, 2 points shy of full BAB and 2 levels shy of full spellcasting. I'm not sure you'd wanna do that.
    3. In glaring contrast to the above, you've left level 6 dead (no, BAB & save boosts are not actual features).

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    1. Where's the part in the prereqs that says Barbarian ?
    2. When you get one in there, you're gonna have a a character that gains Tireless Rage at 12HD, Gargantuan size by level 17HD, 2 points shy of full BAB and 2 levels shy of full spellcasting. I'm not sure you'd wanna do that.
    3. In glaring contrast to the above, you've left level 6 dead (no, BAB & save boosts are not actual features).
    I was primarily thinking of it for druids who want to spend more time in melee, but I suppose I could rework it a little bit to work for bear warriors, Primevals, and a couple of other Barbarian PrCs.

    Re: 2 - I can eliminate tireless rage, but it seemed like a relatively minor way to benefit raging to add in at that level. Gargantuan size at level 15 doesn't really bug me (MoMF can get it at the same level, and the ability to actually use it can often be limited by being inside, etc) but if the general consensus is that's horrifically overpowered I can get rid of it. I definitely don't mind the class being tier 1-2 though, since so many responses to "how should I multiclass as a druid" are "take more druid" --you need a good reason not to

    re: 3 - I'm busy trying to think up some good abilities to add in here. I fully intend to have a fair few more class features as I think of them.

    Two I've come up with so far:

    Frenzied Transformation - Rage and wildshape at the same time [There should be some limit to this - maybe have it take a standard action, or reduce the amount of time you can spend in wildshape, or something else]

    Savage Spell - While raging, you may cast spells 2 levels lower than your highest, or make a concentration check with a DC of (something) to cast at your max level - 1, or something along those lines.

    I really like the token systems that a number of pathfinder classes, and the maneuvers and such ToB classes have. I'm pondering various ways to incorporate one, the other, or both.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Another thing I thought of:

    Something where you're in one form and gain an ability from another - IE a hippopotamus with octopus tentacles or a bear with ram horns: this might make a good capstone. Not sure how to write it out exactly though.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Symbiosis - At 5th level, while wildshaped, you may augment your current form with an extraordinary ability from another creature you can wildshape into. For example, while wildshaped into a polar bear you could assume the trample extraordinary ability. You pick which ability, if any, you would like to assume when you wildshape. You may switch abilities as a swift action. At level 10, you may assume two extraordinary abilities beyond those your assumed form grants you.

    Rabid Brute: As a 7th level Blackthorn Savage, you have the option to, after successfully making a bite attack, force the victim to immediately make a fortitude save or become temporarily enraged. This functions as the Barbarian's Rage class feature, but does not grant any stat increases. The victim may make a fortitude save once per round to end the condition, otherwise the condition will end after a number of rounds equal to the Blackthorn Savage's base Con score.

    Rabid Brute probably needs an adjustment or two, but I just wanted to get something down so people can see it

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    dspeyer's Avatar

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Gargantuan wild shape doesn't actually add a ton of options. In core, it's just two whales and the Roc (granted, the Roc is nice). Splatbooks add the Dire Elephant and a few dinosaurs. Magical Beast wildshape might be a more useful option. On the other hand, this class is awfully powerful already.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Why is it so strong? You lose a couple of caster levels. Rage is nice but not anything remotely game breaking. It has more uses of wildshape, and can wildshape quickly, but not as much versatility as MoMF or even regular druids. The other abilites I haven't finished tinkering with. I'm really looking for some feedback here and perhaps some suggestions on the way forward.

    I'm also trying to figure out abilities that will help with things other than dealing damage. For instance, symbiosis can help with damage if it's essential, but it can also be used to assume a number of utility abilities.

    I haven't played much in the way of melee characters before. What are good things to give the class, that won't be easily replicated by druid spells or simply increase damage?

    Optionally, what weaknesses or flaws does a normal wildshaping druid suffer from, that should be rectified to make a good melee fighter?

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Oh, maybe do some bonuses when you're both wildshaped and raging? Dice size increases on natural weapons, maybe low-grade fast healing?
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyntonian View Post
    Oh, maybe do some bonuses when you're both wildshaped and raging? Dice size increases on natural weapons, maybe low-grade fast healing?
    I was thinking to do the first one for certain, and possibly the second. Like I said, I'm really looking for versatility more than damage

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I've been thinking about something similar for a while. Shall I PM you with what I've been working on?

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Sure thing.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    So after some PMing, here's what we've got:

    {table=head]Level|Class Feature
    1st | Killer Instinct – Gain a bonus to your initiative equal to your Blackthorn Savage class level
    2nd | Frenzied Transformation – You may wildshape as a move action so long as you enter a rage at the same time
    3rd| Symbiosis - At 3rd level, while wildshaped, you may augment your current form with an extraordinary ability from another creature you can wildshape into. For example, while wildshaped into a polar bear you could assume the trample extraordinary ability. You pick which ability, if any, you would like to assume when you wildshape. You may switch abilities as a swift action. At level 8, you may assume two extraordinary abilities beyond those your assumed form grants you.
    4th| Natural Empowerment - Your unarmed strikes and natural attacks are treated as magic weapons. If your unarmed strikes and natural attacks are already magical, they instead are treated lesser ghost touch weapons. They deal full damage against incorporeal creatures 50% of the time and half damage the rest of the time.
    5th| Feral Grace: You may choose a bonus feat from the following list: Improved Critical, Improved Natural Attack, Combat Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Multiattack, Weapon Focus, Bestial Charge, . You do not need to meet the requirements of these feats (if any), but they are only applicable while you are both raging and wildshaped. Any animal shape she assumes when using her wild shape ability has access to any feat chosen as a bestial feet, but the feat is lost when the wild fury returns to her humanoid form.
    6th| Something to do with martial maneuvers or a stance or something?
    7th| Savage Spell - While raging, you may cast spells 2 levels lower than your highest, or make a concentration check with a DC of (something) to cast at your max level - 1, or something along those lines. Also thinking about: something like a spellblade's spell channeling
    8th|
    9th| Primal Power – Your wrath empowers your wildshaping. When in a rage, you may wildshape into a Magical Beast. You gain the extraordinary and supernatural abilities of your new form, but not the spell-like abilities
    10th|
    [/table]

    Still need a capstone, but how do the rest of those look? Obviously the exact grammar and such will need polishing.
    Last edited by SirAxealot; 2012-12-26 at 05:15 PM.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    300 looks, 11 replies. Most of them from me. Anyone else have ideas? I'm really trying to make an interesting and engaging class here.

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I like the class. Tho I could see a couple of levels adding a couple of Rage powers not just tireless rage and such like. A normal barbarian progression it gets Rage Powers every few levels.
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I assume you're talking about the pathfinder barbarian here?

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Question Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    So here we were, trying to think of what to do about the inconvenient Animal Companion, the ways druids can get into this thing (Primary method seemed to be taking a level or two in unarmed swordsage, which seemed inelegant), and a couple other things, when it struck me – replace Animal Companion with Initiator progress. Siraxealot still wants to do something to sort of grandfather in animal companion advancement. Here's what I whipped up in the meantime:

    SAVAGE SHAPER Alternate Class Feature

    Savage Shapers are more in tune with the animal spirits and martial virtues than most druids. Rather than spending time training an animal companion, these druids begin training as martial initiators, drawing on their experience fighting in animal form.
    Class: Druid
    Level: 1st
    Replaces: If you select this class feature, you do not gain an animal companion.
    Benefit: You gain maneuver and stance progression as a Swordsage, except that you know one less maneuver and one less stance at 1st level. To represent the more instinctive and inspired nature of your martial ability, you gain and recover maneuvers as a Crusader. You can use maneuvers and stances from the Devoted Spirit, Setting Sun, Stone Dragon, (whatever we name the custom one), Tiger Claw, and White Raven disciplines. Natural Attacks count as discipline weapons for all your Disciplines. You also gain Unarmed Strike, as per the Monk class feature.

    We're a bit uncertain as to which disciplines to include as base.

    Devoted Spirit seems to work well for tanking and being tough, which we figured was pretty important for a melee druid, and can represent the druid drawing on the power of nature.
    Setting Sun is about grapples, and is one of the main ways many druid forms seem to fight
    Stone Dragon has a strong earth bond.
    Tiger Claw is obvious
    White Raven has a strong focus on charging and such. The leadership emphasis is not the main focus of this ACF/PrC, but it's a good option to have, especially as a druid-based character.

    Personally I would nominate Stone Dragon for removal, while Sir Axealot thinks White Raven should go.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Nightgaun7; 2012-12-29 at 07:16 PM.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Bump in hope of some comments

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I was just thinking if we should reduce the no. of maneuvers readied instead of the number of overall maneuvers, but then since we were planning to use the crusader recovery mechanic that would make them refresh maneuvers more or less instantly at 1st level, wouldn't it?

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    It would make them refresh once every 3 turns, I think.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Does anyone have suggestions for class features here? Right now I fell like too many of them are simply buffing up the damage capacity rather than being actual cool new abilities.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Oh, and what changes might make the druid spell list more thematic for this?

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I hope it's not illegal to bump this

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Jumping in here from the PEACH exchange; if you feel my commentary was helpful, please return the favor by PEACHing my monk.
    As an FYI, I think it's always against the rules to bump, but so long as no one reports it you won't really get in trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    Inspired by discussion in other threads, I'm working on a "raging druid" homebrew prestige class for D&D 3.5. While I could just do Barbarian 1/Druid 19 with the Extra Rage feat, or the Druidic Avenger alternate class feature, I feel like making a PrC, so that's what I'm doing. I'm basically thinking like a Feral Druid from WoW, where you've still got casting but most of your fighting is done in melee as an animal.

    Here's what I'm thinking so far:
    Blackthorn Savage
    Requirements -
    Alignment: Neutral Good, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Evil
    Skills: Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks , Concentration 8 ranks
    Feats: Improved Natural Attack
    Special: Wild shape ability
    I want to speak first about balance. I read you line about how you want this to compete with a standard druid, but I'm not sure as a stand-alone fix thats an ideal goal. Personally, I don't think tier 1 is a good place to aim for, and if you want something to be opted for over the druid, start by nerfing or replacing that class.

    One of the things people sometimes lose sight of when tiering a certain build is that versatility is as much a measure as power, so anthing that is more specialized (whether it's melee combat or healing or being a diplomancer, etc) will inherently start to slide down the tier ladder. Just something to keep in mind.

    Also, using the Feral Druid from WoW is a nice inspiration, but there are a couple major differences in the MMORPG made for the sake of balance, which I will reiterate for the uninitiated :
    1) druids in WoW, if they are focused on melee combat, cannot cast most of their spells while in feral form/Wildshape
    2) when they can cast spells, these spells do fairly piddling amounts of damage or healing
    3) all their spells are much more limited in variety, being limited to damage, healing, or weak CC (weak compared to D&D that is)

    To conclude, if you want a druid focused on melee, I would find ways to DISCOURAGE them from casting. Ideally, do both of the following: reduce further the improvements to existing casting, probably to 1 in 2. I.e., this PrC is a half-caster/gish.
    Secondly, under the "Special" sections of the prerequisites, add the following: cannot have the Natural Spell feat. That feat horribly breaks the most basic rule of balance (if everyone takes it, it's too strong) and casting spells it exactly the opposite of the focus of this class.

    Wildshape: Gain an additional use of wild shape per day per class level in Blackthorn Savage, as per Master of Many Forms
    This is good, since you want the character to be able to WS without worrying about running short. I think Pathfiner eventually lets it's druid WS at will, and while I don't like limitless abilities for base classes, it's the kind of thing you might consider sticking in a PrC.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    Symbiosis
    I like this, but the only thing I would change is not letting you swap extraordinary abilities within one use of the same WS. With the huge variety of abilities out there, this creates the potential for abuse, and I doubt the class will lack for WS uses to expend anway.

    You might also consider things that aren't specifically listed as extraordinary abilities, such as wings or gills or claws, etc, but that would take a little more work to spell out exactly what is an isn't allowed.
    Or you just do the old fallback of including a line that "the DM has final say over what is and isn't allowed" and let people work it out for themselves.
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    Bear Cavalry: we're in trouble now
    FLYING Bear Cavalry: ....can we reconsider those terms of surrender?


    Rabid Brute:
    Seems like it screws over casters a lot more than melee, especially since casters tend to have the worst fortitude saves. Personally, I'd say let it give some small increases to strength (but not con), and let casters make a concentration or spellcraft check each round to be able to cast anyway. Yes that makes it less powerful, but also more interesting to use, IMO.


    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    What are good things to give the class, that won't be easily replicated by druid spells or simply increase damage?
    There isn't much, unfortunately, that can't be replicated by magic, especially since druids can summon hordes of furry creatures to do their bidding. Sorry to say, but that's just the way it goes.

    Optionally, what weaknesses or flaws does a normal wildshaping druid suffer from, that should be rectified to make a good melee fighter?
    Since you take on all the qualities of creatures that where intended for an encounter against an entire group, the only thing I can really think of is combat-related feats. With the shapeshifting, a druid doesn't NEED too many feats in a normal game, but that doesn't stop any particular focus from feeling a little lean.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    So after some PMing, here's what we've got:
    Killer Instinct- nice, especially since Dex is not really a high priority for most druids

    Frenzied Transformation- since you can't rely on your enemies to snuggle up close in the first round of combat, I'd make this a swift action so you can both move AND attack without wasting a turn.
    I don't know what the normal ruling on swift+full-round actions is, but if you are worried about it being OP you could specify that you cannot make a Full-round attack in the same turn as you Wildshape.

    Symbiosis- see above

    Natural Empowerment- How about this instead: since equipment is absorbed into your body when you wildshape, what if your natural weapons assume the properties of any one weapon you absorb? What I mean is, if you have a +3 Longsword with the Icy Burst enchantment, your teeth/claws/tentacles/etc become +3 Icy Burst natural weapons? That way it scales exactly as your equipment does.
    Spoiler
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    FLYING bear cavalry and holy $#!t it's breathing snowstorms!
    ...
    oh god just let the end come quickly

    Feral Grace- I have no problem with handing out bonus feats, but the name of this ability doesn't really seem to fit the effect. Particularly since a "raging" creature isn't exactly known for it's grace.
    Bonus feats also make nice fill-ins for dead levels, at least until you can replace them with something better.

    Something to do with martial maneuvers or a stance or something?- a passive bonus or a stance would certainly be nice. You might want to avoid things that heal the druid, since they still do have spells for that.

    Savage Spell- Like I said, if you want the player to be meleeing, then don't make it easy for them to use spells. But if you want to offer the ability with limitations, try this: the player can expend one use of their WS ability to cast a spell as normal while wildshaped (including while wildshaped and raging).
    Of course, this means you absolutely cannot give unlimited wildshaping at any level, but you'll need to decide what is more important.

    Primal Power– Time for another rant!
    Giving a core class feature that lets you shapeshift into anything/use any spell means that every time some one publishes a new splatbook the versatility and power of the ability increases.
    When you do something like adding new feats, even if they are great feats, the classes that rely on them need to choose between the new and the old.

    What I would do is make this your capstone, with the following changes:
    upon reaching 10th level the player chooses 1 (exactly one and no more) magical beast whose shape they can assume, including all extraordinary, spell-like and supernatural abilities. However, they cannot use the SL and SU abilities more than once per expenditure of Wildshape (this gives the player the feel of a magical beast, without the gamebreaking at-will spamming).
    In addition, the magical beast can be of any size that the druid can assume, chosen when first activating the wild shape. (so you could, for example, become a gargantuan Shocker Lizard and try to pass yourself off as a dragon)

    This gives players plenty of options, without giving every player EVERY option.


    Also, here's an idea for a class feature for one of those dead levels.
    Rather than Wildshaping into an elemental, allow the druid to apply the fire, air, water, or earth creature template to his WS form, again chosing which template if any to use when activating WS.
    Spoiler
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    Oh snap! FLYING bear cavlary that's breathing icy-death and is ON FIRE!
    *whimper* /pee-self


    Quote Originally Posted by Nightgaun7 View Post
    So here we were, trying to think of what to do about the inconvenient Animal Companion...

    SAVAGE SHAPER Alternate Class Feature
    This is a nice alternate feature for some one who doesn't want to deal with the druid's animal companion, but I'm not certain how much it fits in with the rest of PrC. I don't know what exactly the rules about activating martial manuevers while raging are (if any), but neither a barbarian nor a raging-druid really scream "disciplined weapons-master" to me.

    So mechanic wise I'm sure it's fine, but fluff-wise I'm on the fence. For simplicitie's sake, I would just strip the animal companion CF from the druid entirely. I seriously doubt anyone will miss it.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2013-01-13 at 09:02 PM.
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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I have tried four times to PEACH the this PrC: once failed because my computer crashed and I forgot to reopen the tab, once because my phone crashed and I forgot to reopen the tab, and twice where I've lost my comments because of a badly-timed page refresh. I am working on it, though.

    I just wanted to get this out there so that you know I am looking at it, in case more technological shenanigans prevent me from giving your work the critique it deserves.
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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Savage Spell would be a nice feature for the dead level 6. I also liked the alternate class feature.

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    I realized that the preface to my comments is big enough that I should put it in a spoiler.
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    Like DeepBlueDiver, I was directed here by the PEACH Exchange. If you found my comments helpful, I'd appreciate a look at my Rune Knight.

    First and foremost, I've never played 3.5, Barbarian, or Druid, so if my comments make no sense at all, that's why. In fact, I'm going to avoid looking up Druid, and use the fact that I don't know how they work to try and comment on how I think they should work.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    I'm basically thinking like a Feral Druid from WoW, where you've still got casting but most of your fighting is done in melee as an animal.
    I have, however, played WoW. Take from that what you will.

    I also see two class tables- which am I supposed to look at? (I'm assuming the second) You should edit the OP to contain the entire updated class.


    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Personally, I don't think tier 1 is a good place to aim for, and if you want something to be opted for over the druid, start by nerfing or replacing that class.
    (snip)
    To conclude, if you want a druid focused on melee, I would find ways to DISCOURAGE them from casting. Ideally, do both of the following: reduce further the improvements to existing casting, probably to 1 in 2. I.e., this PrC is a half-caster/gish.
    This is definitely true. You might want to look at some other gish classes for inspiration. As far as gishes go, there are two types- those that cast spells OR attack, and those who cast spells AND attack. The first group contains the Eldritch Knight and probably some others I don't know because I play pathfinder, and they are able to be almost a full melee and almost a full caster, just not both at the same time. The second group, which the Magus exemplifies, uses magic in melee, and is casting a spell most every round. Some of your class features, like Rage and Savage Spell, directly conflict here. Decide what kind of gish you want the class to be, and you'll be able to be more focused in your design.

    One thing it might be interesting to take from WoW is the concept of dedicated forms- the Blackthorn Savage gives up his wider wild shape abilities and restricts himself to the form of a bear because he's feral whatever his totem animal is, which is probably Large. That would give the class the ability to compete with straight melee in terms of DPS DPR as well as cast limited spells. This works better with the first type of gish, which switches between melee and casting, as it gives two forms specifically for melee and casting.
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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    First off, I want to post a few little odds and ends for people to think about:
    1) How does the mix of swordsage and crusader seem to work to you? I really like the Crusader mechanic and think it works very well, and having more maneuvers prepared means you aren't chewing through the same ones every couple of rounds and can't make "idiot crusaders" so easily.
    2) Right now we're giving up the animal companion. Should spontaneous summons be sacrificed instead? There are some issues with this that the animal companion doesn't have, but it's an idea. I mention a few more thoughts on this below.
    3) Bear in mind that without an animal companion to buff, a number of druid spells are effectively worthless in most cases. There could possibly be changes to the spell list?

    Now then, on to the comments, but first I want to thank you all for taking a look.

    Re: Deepbluediver - spoilered for length
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    I want to speak first about balance. I read you line about how you want this to compete with a standard druid, but I'm not sure as a stand-alone fix thats an ideal goal. Personally, I don't think tier 1 is a good place to aim for, and if you want something to be opted for over the druid, start by nerfing or replacing that class.

    One of the things people sometimes lose sight of when tiering a certain build is that versatility is as much a measure as power, so anthing that is more specialized (whether it's melee combat or healing or being a diplomancer, etc) will inherently start to slide down the tier ladder. Just something to keep in mind.

    Also, using the Feral Druid from WoW is a nice inspiration, but there are a couple major differences in the MMORPG made for the sake of balance, which I will reiterate for the uninitiated :
    1) druids in WoW, if they are focused on melee combat, cannot cast most of their spells while in feral form/Wildshape
    2) when they can cast spells, these spells do fairly piddling amounts of damage or healing
    3) all their spells are much more limited in variety, being limited to damage, healing, or weak CC (weak compared to D&D that is)

    To conclude, if you want a druid focused on melee, I would find ways to DISCOURAGE them from casting. Ideally, do both of the following: reduce further the improvements to existing casting, probably to 1 in 2. I.e., this PrC is a half-caster/gish.
    Secondly, under the "Special" sections of the prerequisites, add the following: cannot have the Natural Spell feat. That feat horribly breaks the most basic rule of balance (if everyone takes it, it's too strong) and casting spells it exactly the opposite of the focus of this class.
    To begin with, this is not intended as a nerf or a fix or a buff or anything, so if you are approaching things from that angle, my apologies for the misunderstanding. I simply wanted a druid that was more oriented to melee fighting, and when Nightgaun7 messaged me, he was, I believe, thinking the same thing. I personally have no problem with powerful classes, and I definitely would not like this to go down to tier 3, since I have no intention of messing with the standard Druid, and I think a two tier drop is too much.

    For what it's worth, here are the basic sources of Druid power:
    Wildshape
    Casting
    Spontaneous Summons
    Animal Companion (increasingly irrelevant at high levels)
    Natural Spell – lets you combine 1, 2, and 3

    The animal companion is frequently accused of invalidating any melee character in the group. I think this is overstating things a bit, but if you have friends who play Fighter 20, it may be.

    As has been said by many others, Natural Spell might as well be a class feature of the druid. Raging already limits your casting, and you have many incentives to be raging, I hope. We could have raging eliminate casting entirely, but one problem there is that it severely limits one of the best things about any character, the versatility. Since there's no way to end Rage that I know of that would work here, if you get in to trouble and desperately need a spell, you are well and truly screwed.

    In my experience, most druids use wildshaping and their animal companion as primarily defensive measures, and handle offense with their spells and summons, usually seeing a limited selection of both. I would like to reverse this, and in so doing allow Druids to try out more of their spell list.

    Now, that being said, part of the goal of this class was to streamline the Druid, since it's so paperwork intensive, a complaint both of us had. You have to work out wildshapes, summons, and spells, and you may need to do either of the first two on the fly. We've already removed the animal companion and reduced casting. We were considering eliminating summons and giving back the animal companion, but that has some issues as well.

    The WoW Feral Druid was intended more as a flavor reference so people could easily grasp what we were thinking of, rather than a design goal. One idea inspired by it was having a limited spell list while wildshaped and/or raging, but I'm not real keen on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    I like this, but the only thing I would change is not letting you swap extraordinary abilities within one use of the same WS. With the huge variety of abilities out there, this creates the potential for abuse, and I doubt the class will lack for WS uses to expend anway.

    You might also consider things that aren't specifically listed as extraordinary abilities, such as wings or gills or claws, etc, but that would take a little more work to spell out exactly what is an isn't allowed.
    Or you just do the old fallback of including a line that "the DM has final say over what is and isn't allowed" and let people work it out for themselves.
    We actually have been making a list of specific qualities you could assume, in an attempt to curtail abuse. Nightgaun7 was of the opinion that you ought to be able to be a bear and grow wings (Why does everyone immediately think of flying bears? Seriously, at least 6 people have thought of that first thing), whereas I thought that might be changing your shape a little too drastically, but the more I think about it the more I'm inclined to agree with him. Although that does open up some serious silliness.
    Perhaps more limitations, like not being able to grow them when you first wildshape, or only being able to change them as a standard action or something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Seems like it screws over casters a lot more than melee, especially since casters tend to have the worst fortitude saves. Personally, I'd say let it give some small increases to strength (but not con), and let casters make a concentration or spellcraft check each round to be able to cast anyway. Yes that makes it less powerful, but also more interesting to use, IMO.
    So enemy casters who are enraged should be able to cast, but this class shouldn't, if your other comments are taken in tandem with this one. Seems a bit screwy. I admit the idea needs working on, but I don't think that's the best way to do it. Perhaps force them to make a Fort save for X number of turns, and every turn they fail they can't cast, but manage to control themselves in the next round?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Since you take on all the qualities of creatures that where intended for an encounter against an entire group, the only thing I can really think of is combat-related feats. With the shapeshifting, a druid doesn't NEED too many feats in a normal game, but that doesn't stop any particular focus from feeling a little lean.
    Could you elaborate a bit more here?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Frenzied Transformation- since you can't rely on your enemies to snuggle up close in the first round of combat, I'd make this a swift action so you can both move AND attack without wasting a turn.
    I don't know what the normal ruling on swift+full-round actions is, but if you are worried about it being OP you could specify that you cannot make a Full-round attack in the same turn as you Wildshape.
    Will tinker with it a bit

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Natural Empowerment- How about this instead: since equipment is absorbed into your body when you wildshape, what if your natural weapons assume the properties of any one weapon you absorb? What I mean is, if you have a +3 Longsword with the Icy Burst enchantment, your teeth/claws/tentacles/etc become +3 Icy Burst natural weapons? That way it scales exactly as your equipment does.
    That's definitely a good idea. Would have to think on it a bit more. I do like the fact that it would streamline things considerably, and deal with a major weakness natural weapons have!

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Feral Grace- I have no problem with handing out bonus feats, but the name of this ability doesn't really seem to fit the effect. Particularly since a "raging" creature isn't exactly known for it's grace.
    Bonus feats also make nice fill-ins for dead levels, at least until you can replace them with something better.
    The name is a hold-over from something else, and yes, bonus feat is just a filler til we can think of something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Something to do with martial maneuvers or a stance or something?- a passive bonus or a stance would certainly be nice. You might want to avoid things that heal the druid, since they still do have spells for that.
    Really drawing a blank on what to do here. Ideas welcome : )

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Savage Spell- Like I said, if you want the player to be meleeing, then don't make it easy for them to use spells. But if you want to offer the ability with limitations, try this: the player can expend one use of their WS ability to cast a spell as normal while wildshaped (including while wildshaped and raging).
    Of course, this means you absolutely cannot give unlimited wildshaping at any level, but you'll need to decide what is more important.
    On the one hand I agree, but on the other hand, casting in combat chews up actions and limits your mobility, among other things. And I don't want the player to have to pop in and out just to cast something like create water. Which is why I included the level limit, to allow some spell use while discouraging your "big guns". But I'm not sure exactly how that work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Primal Power– Time for another rant!
    Giving a core class feature that lets you shapeshift into anything/use any spell means that every time some one publishes a new splatbook the versatility and power of the ability increases.
    When you do something like adding new feats, even if they are great feats, the classes that rely on them need to choose between the new and the old.
    Given that 3.5 has been effectively dead in terms of new content for a while now, I think this concern is less important than it might otherwise be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    What I would do is make this your capstone, with the following changes:
    upon reaching 10th level the player chooses 1 (exactly one and no more) magical beast whose shape they can assume, including all extraordinary, spell-like and supernatural abilities. However, they cannot use the SL and SU abilities more than once per expenditure of Wildshape (this gives the player the feel of a magical beast, without the gamebreaking at-will spamming).
    In addition, the magical beast can be of any size that the druid can assume, chosen when first activating the wild shape. (so you could, for example, become a gargantuan Shocker Lizard and try to pass yourself off as a dragon)

    This gives players plenty of options, without giving every player EVERY option.
    Really, I just chucked it in there to fill out a level, since I was having a hard time thinking of more stuff at the time. We're already looking at a "Favored Form" ability, might incorporate the two? The problem is that one beast, forever and ever, is incredibly limited, but every beast ever is incredibly unlimited. tough to balance! Maybe a HD penalty? Nightgaun7 mentioned aberration wildshape, since he's a big fan of umber hulks for some reason, and that might fit better with the twisted forest these guys are from.

    EDIT: I had what seems to be a flash of brilliance: you have a HD penalty for most forms, but you can select a few favored forms that don't suffer from it! This might not seem so good when it's not 2 AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    Also, here's an idea for a class feature for one of those dead levels.
    Rather than Wildshaping into an elemental, allow the druid to apply the fire, air, water, or earth creature template to his WS form, again chosing which template if any to use when activating WS.
    Believe it or not something like this was already under discussion! We were (I was) a bit undecided, since the class is supposed to be a group of druids who fight in a huge, ancient forest - think Fangorn from Lord of the Rings. But we might find a way to work it in. Maybe in adapting it for other settings, since Nightgaun7 is in a FR game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepbluediver View Post
    This is a nice alternate feature for some one who doesn't want to deal with the druid's animal companion, but I'm not certain how much it fits in with the rest of PrC. I don't know what exactly the rules about activating martial manuevers while raging are (if any), but neither a barbarian nor a raging-druid really scream "disciplined weapons-master" to me.

    So mechanic wise I'm sure it's fine, but fluff-wise I'm on the fence. For simplicitie's sake, I would just strip the animal companion CF from the druid entirely. I seriously doubt anyone will miss it.
    I don't know of anything that would inhibit maneuvers while raging. And I must disagree that all initiators are disciplined weapon masters. Crusaders are warriors inspired by faith, swordsages are quasi-mystics (and unarmed or "spellsages" take it even farther), and your average Warblade can already be a feral combatant with Tiger Claw and maybe White Raven. As far as I am concerned, it's a system for livening up melee. Flavor it as needed.

    Also, simply removing the animal companion entirely breaks what I consider an important thing in character design - don't take something for nothing (Right after no dead levels. Nothing worse than going to the hard work of killing dozens of enemies only to get...a Fort save bonus! Or something like that)


    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    As far as gishes go, there are two types- those that cast spells OR attack, and those who cast spells AND attack. The first group contains the Eldritch Knight and probably some others I don't know because I play pathfinder, and they are able to be almost a full melee and almost a full caster, just not both at the same time. The second group, which the Magus exemplifies, uses magic in melee, and is casting a spell most every round. Some of your class features, like Rage and Savage Spell, directly conflict here. Decide what kind of gish you want the class to be, and you'll be able to be more focused in your design.

    One thing it might be interesting to take from WoW is the concept of dedicated forms- the Blackthorn Savage gives up his wider wild shape abilities and restricts himself to the form of a bear because he's feral whatever his totem animal is, which is probably Large. That would give the class the ability to compete with straight melee in terms of DPS DPR as well as cast limited spells. This works better with the first type of gish, which switches between melee and casting, as it gives two forms specifically for melee and casting.
    One of the issues here, in choosing between gish types, is that insofar as I have seen, Druids require some buffing to be competitive in melee. This hurts them because they have to spend a round or three buffing, and by then the battle is mostly over. Now, I haven't played a gish before, so I'm not sure how they work around such issues.

    Nightgaun7, who has played WoW more than I (although I don't know if that's what inspired this) also brought up the idea of a favored form. I'm not entirely clear on how you were thinking your suggestion would work, though. Would you care to elaborate?

    (thanks for your devotion to PEACHing this!)

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    One quick comment before I go to bed too was that one thing under discussion was making the Druid less SAD. In my opinion this is going to be damn hard to do, and personally I very much despise MAD classes like the fighter or monk, but it's out there.

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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    The WoW Feral Druid was intended more as a flavor reference so people could easily grasp what we were thinking of, rather than a design goal. One idea inspired by it was having a limited spell list while wildshaped and/or raging, but I'm not real keen on that.
    (snip)
    Nightgaun7, who has played WoW more than I (although I don't know if that's what inspired this) also brought up the idea of a favored form. I'm not entirely clear on how you were thinking your suggestion would work, though. Would you care to elaborate?
    Instead of limiting the spell list, why not just make it more difficult to cast? I'm imagining something that functions exactly like WoW's feral druid- even if it's not what you're going for now, I think it'd work well:
    • You'd have a single form which comes with enough buffs to be effective in melee.
    • You would be able to enter or leave that form as often as you wanted (as a move action?).
    • To cast spells in that form, you'd have to make a Concentration check, and then another check if you wanted to cast defensively.


    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    We actually have been making a list of specific qualities you could assume, in an attempt to curtail abuse. Nightgaun7 was of the opinion that you ought to be able to be a bear and grow wings (Why does everyone immediately think of flying bears? Seriously, at least 6 people have thought of that first thing), whereas I thought that might be changing your shape a little too drastically, but the more I think about it the more I'm inclined to agree with him. Although that does open up some serious silliness.
    Perhaps more limitations, like not being able to grow them when you first wildshape, or only being able to change them as a standard action or something.
    I can't believe I forgot to mention this before- the Summoner from Pathfinder has a a whole bunch of different evolutions that include things like Claws, Tail, Flight, Darkvision, SLAs, or a Breath Weapon. It seems to be exactly what you're looking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    One of the issues here, in choosing between gish types, is that insofar as I have seen, Druids require some buffing to be competitive in melee. This hurts them because they have to spend a round or three buffing, and by then the battle is mostly over. Now, I haven't played a gish before, so I'm not sure how they work around such issues.
    That's one thing I was trying to address with my straight Feral port up above. Why not automatically attach some buffs to the form, or let them put some on for free? The way "melee OR casting" gishes deal with that is by casting buffs and Quickened buffs, or just by going in straight. Without buffs, they're almost as effective as a straight melee character. The way "melee AND casting" gishes fix that problem is by going in without buffs and using spells to replace the damage they're losing by not being buffed.
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    Default Re: Blackthorn Savage - Barbarian/Druid PrC

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    Quote Originally Posted by SirAxealot View Post
    First off, I want to post a few little odds and ends for people to think about:
    1) *snip*
    I don't know enough about ToB to weigh in here, sorry.

    2) Right now we're giving up the animal companion. Should spontaneous summons be sacrificed instead? There are some issues with this that the animal companion doesn't have, but it's an idea. I mention a few more thoughts on this below.
    IMO, Wildshape alone is enough to build an entire class of off, but I'll understand if you disagree.

    Personally, the animal companion is the bigger nerf. Not being able to summon spontaneously just makes your daily spell selection a little more important. Frankly, I'd consider a choice between giving up animal companion or giving up summoning entirely to be more of a fair exchange.

    3) Bear in mind that without an animal companion to buff, a number of druid spells are effectively worthless in most cases. There could possibly be changes to the spell list?
    Must...resist...bear puns...
    Frankly, I think the druid still has plenty of variety. What sort of things would you consider adding? Self-buffs/target debuffs? Humanoid mind control? Evocation? Necromancy? (ala the Blighter)


    To begin with, this is not intended as a nerf or a fix or a buff or anything, so if you are approaching things from that angle, my apologies for the misunderstanding. I simply wanted a druid that was more oriented to melee fighting, and when Nightgaun7 messaged me, he was, I believe, thinking the same thing. I personally have no problem with powerful classes, and I definitely would not like this to go down to tier 3, since I have no intention of messing with the standard Druid, and I think a two tier drop is too much.
    Ok, got it. I'll keep this in mind.

    The point about Natural Spell is a good one though; it should either be a class feature or the feat should be nerfed. From either angle it's at a bad spot right now.

    If you want players to explore other parts of the druid's spell choices, maybe add something like this at first level:

    Alpha Animal- the Blackthorn Savage is the most feroucious creature in the land; he fights his own battles and does not rely on fuzzy little woodland creatures to help him.
    All Summon Nature's Ally spells are removed from your spell list.


    We actually have been making a list of specific qualities you could assume, in an attempt to curtail abuse. Nightgaun7 was of the opinion that you ought to be able to be a bear and grow wings (Why does everyone immediately think of flying bears? Seriously, at least 6 people have thought of that first thing), whereas I thought that might be changing your shape a little too drastically, but the more I think about it the more I'm inclined to agree with him.
    The ability to fly is a pretty universal human desire. And bears are the largest living land predator, so when some one thinks "battle-mode" the bear is what comes to mind (although honestly, an elephant would probably be at least as good).


    I still think that you should pick which qualities you gain at the start of your wildshape, and you keep those for the whole wildshape. Otherwise you're not imitating Polymorph you're immitating Shapechange.

    That way, the ability requires just a smidgeon of thought (as opposed to the at will version which doesn't require any thought).

    Here's my suggestion-
    At 3rd level, symbiosis allows you to add any one of the following:
    • Wings, which grant a fly speed of 40 ft. and poor maueverability.
    • Gills and a swim speed of 30 ft.
    • Tremorsense and a burrow speed of 20 ft.
    • Any additional natural weapon attack your base form does not already posses
    • Any extradordinary or special ability (improved grab, trip, constrict, poison, etc.)
    • Increase or decrease size by 1 category


    At level 6 you can add any two, and at level 9 any three.
    That will hit most of the major benefits that I think you are going for. If there's anything on your list not included under any of my headings, let me know and we'll discuss it.


    So enemy casters who are enraged should be able to cast, but this class shouldn't, if your other comments are taken in tandem with this one. Seems a bit screwy
    Yeah ok, that's a fair point. Maybe we should just not say it's like rage at all then? I'm still on the fence about complety shutting down casters without any kind of a save though.
    What if it was like: Any target who takes damage from one of your natural attacks takes a -4 penalty to AC for 1d6 rounds and must succeed on a Concentration check (DC= 10+1/2 HD+Con) each round to take any action other than Movement and Attack actions.


    Could you elaborate a bit more here?
    I can try.
    The druid's spells cover almost as much territory as the Wiz/Sor list; direct damage, CC, buffing, healing, summoning, etc.
    The druid's wildshape covers more territory than any one other melee class: rhino for defense, lion for offense, bear for both, fish and birds for mobility, etc.

    So if you are making a melee-heavy druid class, the only things that I think are missing is the feat-mongering that most melee classes can use (fighter, obviously, but even most other classes have some preferred chain or selection).

    Or maybe mental-ability based skill checks, I guess.


    The name is a hold-over from something else, and yes, bonus feat is just a filler til we can think of something else.
    What about that Swashbuckler ability that let's you charge over rough terrain or while making jump and tumble checks (or it's something like that). I'll try to look it up when I dig out the splatbook later.

    Edit: Acrobatic Charge, thats the name.
    Seems particularly appropriate, since a forest or other natural habitat doesn't always provide the nice smooth worked-stone flooring you so conveniently find in dungeons.


    Really drawing a blank on what to do here. Ideas welcome : )
    I got nothing to help off the top of my head right now, let me brainstorm a bit more.

    On the one hand I agree, but on the other hand, casting in combat chews up actions and limits your mobility, among other things. And I don't want the player to have to pop in and out just to cast something like create water. Which is why I included the level limit, to allow some spell use while discouraging your "big guns". But I'm not sure exactly how that work out.
    Hmm...I think I understand what you are getting at, but I still don't agree it's necessary. I don't have a problem with a class having the potential to accomplish everything, so long as they can't do everything all at once. If the druid can't cast Create Water because he's in Wildshape, all that really means is that he is temporarily limited to merely what other melee classes can do. After all, if your druid keeps the natural spell feat, all he was to do to cast is wait until his rage wears off.

    Otherwise, the druid has to make a decision if whatever spell he wants to cast is worth burning a use of WS and a turn spent getting back into form. I view choices like that as an interesting part of gameplay, not a penalty.

    That's why I simplified the process for my original suggestion to let the druid use up Wildshapes as a resource to power raging-spellcasting.


    Given that 3.5 has been effectively dead in terms of new content for a while now, I think this concern is less important than it might otherwise be.
    The point remains that you can still only have 1 feat or even one prepared spell at a time, but if that spell is "transform into any creature" you have the entire library of core and splatbooks to pick from.

    I'd have to see what your mechanics for the favored form looked like before deciding.

    If you think only 1 magical beasty is too limited, then what if it was only 1 at a time?

    Basically, with 8-24 hours of rest and meditation, the druid can alter which magical beast he can wildshape into. That gives the variety you favor, but doesn't mean that the druid can wait to see what any given encounter is like before picking his choice of shapes.


    Believe it or not something like this was already under discussion!
    I believe it.
    What about if combined this with an aspect of the favored form class feature. You can give your Wildshape one of the templates, but you in exchange you lose a HD or two. Again, this brings up the "player making choices" that I keep harping on about. You can trade off raw power for special abilities and immunities.


    As far as I am concerned, it's a system for livening up melee. Flavor it as needed.
    Alright, I can accept that.


    Also, simply removing the animal companion entirely breaks what I consider an important thing in character design - don't take something for nothing (Right after no dead levels. Nothing worse than going to the hard work of killing dozens of enemies only to get...a Fort save bonus! Or something like that)
    Dead levels are a pain in the arese, on this we agree. But a druid gets his animal companion at level 1, so I'm not exactly sure how your argument applies here.


    One of the issues here, in choosing between gish types, is that insofar as I have seen, Druids require some buffing to be competitive in melee. This hurts them because they have to spend a round or three buffing, and by then the battle is mostly over. Now, I haven't played a gish before, so I'm not sure how they work around such issues.

    Nightgaun7, who has played WoW more than I (although I don't know if that's what inspired this) also brought up the idea of a favored form. I'm not entirely clear on how you were thinking your suggestion would work, though. Would you care to elaborate?
    For your Favored form, starting at 4th level, any one non-instantaneous spell is automatically applied to your form when you Wildshape into it, with a duration equal to your Wildshape. At levels 6 and 10 you can apply one additional spell.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2013-01-16 at 10:58 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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