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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AttilaTheGeek's Avatar

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    Default Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    It struck me today that Druids are tier one, incredibly powerful, and supremely versatile because they have three class features, each of which could make a character in their own right. There's Wild Shape, which gets better the more monsters are printed, Animal Companion, described as a "fighter as a class feature", and 9th-level casting, which speaks for itself.

    My idea is to force the druid to specialize in one or two of the three. Similar to the combat/tech/biotic six-class paradigm of the Mass effect series, there would be six archetypes. Essentially, a Druid will be able to choose two of the main class features (Wild Shape, companion, or casting) and use them weakly, or specialize in one of them by effectively "choosing it twice". The other features are not available. My goal is to force the Druid down into T2/T3, depending on what they choose.

    The Shaper* (Wildshape/Wildshape) is a master of transforming himself, able to take the form of any beast in the world. The Beast Master* (companion/companion) calls a supremely powerful ally to his side, enhancing it and himself. The Hierophant* (casting/casting) strengthens and supports allies with divine magic. The Harrier (wildshape/companion) tears enemies to shreds in melee with support from an animal companion. The Shaman (companion/casting) calls down nature's wrath on his enemies, unleashing hordes of animals as well as offensive magic. The Hunter* (wildshape/casting) dominates the battlefield while casting spells from melee range or behind hostile lines.


    As for a more crunch-based "who would get what", here's what I have so far.
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    {table=head]Subclass|Spec 1|Spec 2|Class features
    Shaper*|Wildshape|Wildshape|Wild shape between all medium (and small?) core animals at level 1, expanding sources and sizes as they level.
    Beast Master*|Companion|Companion|The companion gets some summoner evolutions, and so does the druid. They can merge (capstone?), share evolutions and health, and so on.
    Hierophant*|Casting|Casting|Gets full 9th-level casting, with an emphasis on defensive magic and buffing.
    Harrier|Wildshape|Companion|Chooses a limited number of forms, and gets a mediocre companion. Very melee, in contrast to the Shaman.
    Shaman|Companion|Casting|Probably gets 6th-level spells from a reduced spell list. They summon lots of things (up to SM IX?) and cast damaging/bfc spells.
    Hunter*|Wildshape|Casting|Cast similarly to a normal druid of half their level, and like the Harrier, gets a limited number of forms.[/table]

    *name pending

    Before I decide whether or not it's worth expanding these ideas into a full "generic druid", I'd like some feedback on what I have so far. Is it viable? Would it still be overpowered? Would people play it?
    Homebrew: Temporalist Quotebox Avatar by Kris on a Stick
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    I've seen this exact idea before, actually, I've seen at least one proposal like this on the board (by ngilop, maybe?) within the last few months. I support it, but it's not really original. Depending on how powerful you make certain features, I really think that casting, Wildshape, and animal-companion(s) could probably all support a solid tier-3 or higher class on their own, without ANY of the other two.

    When I posted my own druid fix a while back I did a lot to alter Wildshape (nerfing it to be less OP) and doing things like gutting Natural Spell, to try and force druids into more or one or the other. I've got a refix in the works, that splits Wildshape and Casting even further, and just does away with the animal companion entirely (make it more of a ranger thing).

    Nothing is posted for that yet, but feel free to check my extended sig to see what I did with Wildshape, if you want to use that for inspiration.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2013-06-14 at 09:10 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    holy moly.. I was reading just the OP and going to toss in my druid fix ( the primal) that is just really Wildshape: the class)

    I originally thought about going to 6th level spells but to me that was still too powerful, so i went with a limited set of onvocations.


    then Vaz came up with the whole hybridization idea nd POW it was awesome.

    anyways, it just struck me that deepbluediver mentioned my creation. But its nice to be be acknowlegded finally by a memer of these Forums. makes me happy deep in my heart :)

    but from what i gathered on the 'tier' ranks and where druids sit

    it goes
    casting 1st
    Wildhape 3rd
    Animal companion 4th

    SO if you are going to give one of the other casting id knock that casting down to bard or ranger/paladin casting. or else you end up with the same schtick again.
    Last edited by ngilop; 2013-06-14 at 09:08 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    It struck me today that Druids are tier one, incredibly powerful, and supremely versatile because they have three class features, each of which could make a character in their own right. There's Wild Shape, which gets better the more monsters are printed, Animal Companion, described as a "fighter as a class feature", and 9th-level casting, which speaks for itself.

    My idea is to force the druid to specialize in one or two of the three.
    Ive always split the druid class in my mind into two classes

    d6 HD, good will, half bab, nature worshipper with animal companion and full 9th level casting.

    d10 HD, good fort and reflex, full bab, wild shaper and animal adaptions.

    I did two versions of the wild shaper, one 3.5 and one pathfinder. figured it might give some ideas to you at the very least.
    Last edited by LordErebus12; 2013-06-16 at 03:16 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    I like this idea a lot. I'm not sure what the balancing will look like, but I'm eager to see the results. To answer your direct questions, I think it could absolutely remain viable, and yeah, I'd play it.

    My Homebrew:
    The Eldritch Stalker, Warlock/Rogue Gish PrC
    The Divergent Elementalist, an arcane casting PrC based on the Fire/Ice duality/opposition
    The Arcanist, a Metamagic Focused Arcane Base Class
    Paladin Fix
    Divine Crusader Fix (Abandoned)

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    You're not contributing to the discussion, so I guess I'll have to.

    The Pathfinder druid was nerfed on three points:

    • All Concentration checks are much higher, and the Concentration skill was removed. This means that Natural Spell is neat, but not as good of a feat choice unless the druid also chooses to take concentration feats.
    • Animal companions have been reigned in a little. They now depend on a table that lists their stats by level, keeping their abilities finite. Their BAB is also reigned in and reduced because of their Strength bonus, so a combat-optimized druid's animal companion has approximately 3/4 BAB compared to the rest of the party. The druid's choice of species simply grants a handful of extra abilities (size, tripping, pounce, etc).
    • Polymorph was nerfed. It was broken into a handful of different spell chains, their text basically boils down to "you get the natural attacks of your chosen form, and a small stat bonus depending on the creature type, and the only other (Ex) abilities you can gain are on the ones on the following short list". This had the effect of making polymorph, and druid wild shape, finite in scope.

    Despite all this, druids remain Tier 1 casters with 9 spell levels in Pathfinder. They still get an excellent selection of damage, crowd control, utility, summoning, buffing, and healing that lets them dominate any encounter with careful planning. Just like wizards, at the highest levels they get spells that let them trivialize encounters and obstacles. These daily prepared spells from their entire class list are why they are Tier 1.

    Oh, and they still have an animal companion who is as good as a cleric before any buff spells are cast, and wild shape to gives them daily uses of Pathfinder's versions of the incredibly useful swiss army knife polymorph spell.

    Pathfinder nerfed all Tier 1 casters a bit with the Concentration changes, and that works great in combat, but out of combat or in the first round of combat is still where Tier 1 classes really shine. Pathfinder did not fix the Tier system, it just improved the lower tiers a tiny bit at early levels and made the worst classes good enough at their specialties that they could somewhat keep pace with the casters at mid-to-high levels (but a martial character can still only match a caster's versatility by maxxing out UMD and carrying around a bucket of scrolls).

    Anyways, I think it's neat to homebrew, and good luck with that. However, my current solution is simple: ban Tier 1 casters. In Pathfinder core this is the cleric, druid, wizard, and witch. Pathfinder has a lot of support for this. If you want to be a book-studying mage use the sorcerer sage archetype and/or arcane bloodline. Pathfinder already has the oracle class in their PHB2-equivalent and SRD, its abilities are equivalent to both the cleric and druid (depending on your chosen Mystery). The oracle is a bit weird in its class features and how it fits into campaign cosmology, but any GM worth his salt will have put some thought into the campaign world's distinction between acolytes, priests, healers, nature mages, and undead slayers. If you want to be a shapeshifting combat machine, play a psychic warrior.

    I will throw this idea out here: nature paladin. The D&D Next playtest packed has one of these as a paladin archetype, right next to blackguard. It could be a fun exercise to re-write the paladin class to have Lawful paladins get a mount, Neutral paladins get wild shape, and Chaotic paladins get the ability to grow wings and claws.

    EDIT: I would also like to point out that a druid with spellcasting only should definitely get beast shape and elemental shape (Pathfinder equivalents to polymorph) on its spell list. If you do this, it may be best to simply throw out the wild shape ability entirely.
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2013-06-16 at 10:31 PM.
    "...I worry that modern gaming is gradually shrinking the wide spectrum of gameplay mechanics into a single narrow red bar with "KILL" written on it sideways. Exploration, navigation, puzzles, platforming, all gradually shrinking away until only one thing remains, being taken by the hand from room to room, moving on only when nothing remains alive in each one." - Yhatzee Crosshaw

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    You could always just ignore pathfinder's druid fix if you'd like.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ4vPCY11eM
    Last edited by Hanuman; 2013-06-16 at 10:24 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanuman View Post
    You could always just ignore pathfinder's druid fix if you'd like.
    I figured it would be helpful to AttilaTheGeek if we elaborated on some of the deeper changes Pathfinder made that affected the druid. All you did was post a link.
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2013-06-16 at 10:27 PM.
    "...I worry that modern gaming is gradually shrinking the wide spectrum of gameplay mechanics into a single narrow red bar with "KILL" written on it sideways. Exploration, navigation, puzzles, platforming, all gradually shrinking away until only one thing remains, being taken by the hand from room to room, moving on only when nothing remains alive in each one." - Yhatzee Crosshaw

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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    AttilaTheGeek's Avatar

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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    Sorry I haven't responded to anyone's posts- I have been really sick the past couple of days, and I still am.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomar_of_Uointer View Post
    I figured it would be helpful to AttilaTheGeek if we elaborated on some of the deeper changes Pathfinder made that affected the druid. All you did was post a link.
    I was actually inspired to write this druid fix after joining a Pathfinder game with a druid in it who outdid the fighter, cleric, and magus in every way. I'm primarily a Pathfinder player, but that explanation was still helpful because I'm not nearly as familiar with the 3.5 version, so I could extrapolate backwards to it a little.
    Last edited by AttilaTheGeek; 2013-06-17 at 07:05 AM.
    Homebrew: Temporalist Quotebox Avatar by Kris on a Stick
    Blue is for sarcasm Call me Attila

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Idea: Druid fix/rewrite

    Quote Originally Posted by AttilaTheGeek View Post
    I was actually inspired to write this druid fix after joining a Pathfinder game with a druid in it who outdid the fighter, cleric, and magus in every way. I'm primarily a Pathfinder player, but that explanation was still helpful because I'm not nearly as familiar with the 3.5 version, so I could extrapolate backwards to it a little.
    In case it wasn't clear, the Pathfinder druid has been nerfed across the board compared to the 3.5 version. It's still overpowered. The only addition I can think of is at-will level 0 spells.
    Last edited by Thomar_of_Uointer; 2013-06-17 at 01:57 PM.
    "...I worry that modern gaming is gradually shrinking the wide spectrum of gameplay mechanics into a single narrow red bar with "KILL" written on it sideways. Exploration, navigation, puzzles, platforming, all gradually shrinking away until only one thing remains, being taken by the hand from room to room, moving on only when nothing remains alive in each one." - Yhatzee Crosshaw

    Check out our zombie survival sandbox video game!

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