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Thread: [4e] PHB II

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    Default [4e] PHB II

    so there is a image up on wizards for the new PHB II over here

    and its actually got me thinking about the druid. and im worried that it wont meet the expectations some might have from 3.5.

    in 3.5 a druid was a striker and defender and healer or a controller or several at the same time if they were a wildshaped black bear with entangling roots on several opponents while casting cure on themselves or others.

    in 4e the druid must inevitably be pigeonholed into one of these roles as its primary role. and much in the same way as the mage regressed into the blaster mage (not something i mind personally but perhaps one of the strongest criticisms about the classes) the druid is going to either regress into the 3.5 PHBII class variant striker druid, a vine summoning weather manipulating controller druid, or a natural remedy dispensing leader druid.

    again this is something i personally can accept. i have zero expectation to open the PHBII next year to find any mention of the word "wildshape" for two reasons, the first is obvious if you ever tried using polymorph/wildshape in a "sanctioned" game, the second is barbarian has about a 50/50 chance of filling the striker role. but i wondered what everyone else thinks about this?
    Last edited by Jarlax; 2008-07-09 at 08:25 AM.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlax View Post
    so there is a image up on wizards for the new PHB II over here

    and its actually got me thinking about the druid. and im worried that it wont meet the expectations some might have from 3.5.

    in 3.5 a druid was a striker and defender and healer or a controller or several at the same time if they were a wildshaped black bear with entangling roots on several opponents while casting cure on themselves or others.

    in 4e the druid must inevitably be pigeonholed into one of these roles as its primary role. and much in the same way as the mage regressed into the blaster mage (not something i mind personally but perhaps one of the strongest criticisms about the classes) the druid is going to either regress into the 3.5 PHBII class variant striker druid, a vine summoning weather manipulating controller druid, or a natural remedy dispensing leader druid.

    again this is something i personally can accept. i have zero expectation to open the PHBII next year to find any mention of the word "wildshape" but i wondered what everyone else thinks about this?

    Obviously they are going to nerf the class from 3.5 since 1) Everything in 4ed sucks compared to 3.5 in the first place and 2) It was one of the most overpowered classes in the game even for 3.5.

    The 3 iconic 'druidic' things that druid has to do are:

    1) Use nature magic that can heal, control nature and work with animals.

    2) Ethier have an animal friend or be able to become one (depending on the trope you are going for).

    3) Be unhindered by the ravages of the wilds and have a noted 'home field advantage' in his chosen environment.


    Of all these, I expect the 4e druid to only have #1 with MAYBE some striker-style powers that are flavored like "you grow animal claws and slash them" which isn't the same thing at all, but would be typical 4e.

    Kinda like "Fly" isn't the same thing as "hover slightly for a brief period". Nor is "Blind" the same thing as "cause minor eye irritation for a round or 2". You get the idea.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Some of the 3rd ed Spell Compendium Spells worked like that for druids: werebeast type forms, but not a full shapechange.

    They might do it that way. Or it might resemble the Diablo 2 druid: very few minions, wind, cold, volcanic powers, etc.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlax View Post
    in 3.5 a druid was a striker and defender and healer or a controller or several at the same time if they were a wildshaped black bear with entangling roots on several opponents while casting cure on themselves or others.
    But that's not something we want to keep, right? The 3.5 Druid was an entire party on its own. I suspect it'll be toned down a bit.

    in 4e the druid must inevitably be pigeonholed into one of these roles as its primary role. and much in the same way as the mage regressed into the blaster mage (not something i mind personally but perhaps one of the strongest criticisms about the classes)
    I thought the Wizard was a Controller, not a Striker. The Warlock is basically the blaster mage (although the Wizard has some damage spells too, obviously).

    the druid is going to either regress into the 3.5 PHBII class variant striker druid, a vine summoning weather manipulating controller druid, or a natural remedy dispensing leader druid.
    I don't think the roles are quite that restrictive. The three different strikers are pretty different (and the ranger can take more damage than the others). And I'm not quite sure, but doesn't the paladin also have some healing abilities, despite being a Defender instead of Leader?

    I expect the Druid to be toned down a lot, but that doesn't mean it won't be flexible. I think it'll be a different kind of Controller. Compare him to the Wizard, who has ranged damage, close damage, area damage, and lots of funky battlefield manipulation. Similarly, the Druid can no doubt do cool stuff with vines grabbing people and slowing them down, can summon animals, but can also change himself into an animal and do some damage.

    I see him as a versatile controller who, unlike the Wizard, can survive on the front line -- if he takes a good shapeshift power.

    In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the shapeshift powers would be extremely limited. Like a power that changes you into a rhino, you perform a single charge with a big load of damage, and then you change back again. Basically just a load of damage with a funky side effect (which is essentially what all powers seem to do), and the turning into a rhino is just cosmetic.

    (Yeah, that would be lame, but we're talking 4e here. Everything has to fit into a single, well-defined, single-turn power.)

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    I suspect that, going by Spell Compendium, Bear and Wolf will be the signature animals, mostly.

    If shaman is leader, that does free up Druid to be controller. Big if. But it would be nice to see some area control: vines, earthquakes, lava, wind.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    I'm guessing they'll handle the Druid the same way they handled everything else, by turning Wildshape and spells into a number of discrete powers. I assume that the animal companion (way too powerful at low levels, way too weak at high levels) and summons will be gone.

    I'm actually hoping that they make a Summoner class similar to what you see in Final Fantasy, and that your summon monster basically replaces you in combat (ie, you have to spend a Standard Action every round to maintain it).

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    I'm guessing they'll handle the Druid the same way they handled everything else, by turning Wildshape and spells into a number of discrete powers. I assume that the animal companion (way too powerful at low levels, way too weak at high levels) and summons will be gone.
    I remember hearing somewhere that the 4e Martial Handbook will have some kind of Animal Companion for the Rangers. If that's so, maybe Druids won't have that.

    I don't know what role a druid might fulfil. They have healing, and nature spells, and can turn into animals. I'd like to see the shapeshifting play a big part in their role. Though perhaps (like with pacts, styles etc) they will have a choice between types of shapes.

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    They've said that shapeshifting will be the chief feature of druids, haven't they?

    There are a few ways they can take it, but I would expect to see something like a Primal Leader or Striker with some Leader abilities for healing, with Ritual Casting tacked on to handle the communing-with-nature magic side of things.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Well if it's true that shapeshifting will be the chief feature then I'd expect defender or striker with some leader abilities like the paladin. If not I was thinking druid could make a good controller (again with some leader abilities thrown in).
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    They could just build them like WOW, and make it where based on the powers you pick (your spec), you can excel at whatever. So if they want to be a controller, they choose to be an Enviromental Druid, if they want to be a defender, they go Bestial Druid. Maybe Bestial Druid would have a subset of powers that even let them be a striker. And Enviromental Druid could have a subset of powers that let them be a Leader.

    Because the system is based on having high ability score in the stats you are going to use a lot, by simply spreading out each stat to favor a different spec, they can make it where the Druid can be really good at 1 or 2 things, but not 3. And if a Druid decides to spread his points around, he can probably make a decent everything.

    Sounds a lot like the WOW Druid, actually.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    I'm hoping they simply make them a Nature-based Controller. Really, Wizards being the only controller is kinda restricting for any party that wants all the roles covered. Personally, I dislike Wizards (no reason, other than the fluff of it doesn't do anything for me), so I won't likely be playing a controller. However, if Druids cover that role in the future, I'll be all over that.

    Of course, it'll likely have some branching power, much like how the Warlock is a Striker with a bit of Controller Power, or how a Paladin is a Defender with a minor in Leader, but so long as the primary role is Controller, I'll be happy.
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    maybe look at existing classes. Warlock has 3 build options and tightly focussed paragon paths: maybe it will follow that route, if they wish to avoid the overgeneralised druid.

    Buth then, the Warlock route has problems for multiclassers.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Druids will have Wildshape as their primary feature, but will also have regular spells, generally damage oriented ones.

    Keep in mind that the first PHB featured the simple classes who stay by the rules, in order to establish the rules clearly. In PHB2, classes are going to start bending and breaking the rules we saw earlier. Druid's Wildshape and Barbarian's Rage do not fall into the traditional class features that the roles have been defined by so far, that of Marking(Defender), Bonus Damage(Striker), Surging Words(Leader), and AOE/Debuffs(Controller).

    So don't say that the PHB2 classes are going to be more shallow 2W+Effect attacks replacing dynamic abilities. The PHB was specifically minimizing dynamic abilities in order to ease people into the system. The PHB2 will not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtale View Post
    I remember hearing somewhere that the 4e Martial Handbook will have some kind of Animal Companion for the Rangers. If that's so, maybe Druids won't have that.
    That's certainly possible, but I hope not. Anything that leads to an "Action Advantage" - more time to do stuff then other players - is inherently game breaking. Animal Companions, Mounts, Cohorts, Summoned Monsters, Time Stop, Celerity, AoO abuse, Quickened/Swift actions, etc. Balance between players becomes ridiculously difficult (if not impossible) when Player A can essentially Move and Do Something, but Player B can Move, Do Something, Quicken Something, and have his companion Move and Do Something. It was broken in 3.5, and they've done a half decent job of keeping Action Advantage out of 4E (for characters at least - monsters break all the rules).

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    My presumption is that sustain actions will be needed. For example, you might have a summoner who has to sustain minor for each level appropriate minion he creates, and sustain standard for a level appropriate standard monster he creates.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtale View Post
    I remember hearing somewhere that the 4e Martial Handbook will have some kind of Animal Companion for the Rangers. If that's so, maybe Druids won't have that.
    Like in WoW?

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    I'm really hoping the druid to be a divine controler, with leader as secondary role, in the same way cleric is a divine leader, with defender as secondary role.

    Shapeshifting could work as it was intended to work in 3.0: The ability to temporarily become a striker (and losing the defender/leader abilities meanwhile), or gain additional utilitary abilities.

    I could see animal companion as something like a daily power, "using up" that slot all day long, but that's just a guess.

    And I have no idea how summon will work

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Isn't it pretty clear what the Druid will be?

    Pick your average Wizard Power, replace the INT mod with some other stat, and perhaps a slightly different additional effect, which of course lasts for 1 round.

    There's your brand new Druid controller.
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    Wizards are controller/strikers, paladins are defender/leaders, and everything else has some level of hybridization. I foresee druids being another hybrid, altho which roles is up for grabs. In the preview, they specifically indicate that wild shape will be the primary feature of the class, while healing and summoning are "expected of other classes." Combined with the language indicating barbarians are strikers, and highly doubting that Wizards would put two primal strikers in the same book(altho there are two martial strikers in the PHB), I would tend toward the druid's combat role being defender.

    I think there's actually a shortage of interesting defenders in the PHB, and Wizards should move to include more options for the role you "should double up on first."
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    WotC has already said that Druids will focus primarily on their Wild Shaping ability, since that was the most unique thing about the class in 3rd.

    To me this says that the Druid will be the Primal Defender, while the Barbarian will be the Primal Striker, with a Summoner in the Controller roll, and maybe a Shaman or something in the Leader roll.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by MammonAzrael View Post
    WotC has already said that Druids will focus primarily on their Wild Shaping ability, since that was the most unique thing about the class in 3rd.

    To me this says that the Druid will be the Primal Defender, while the Barbarian will be the Primal Striker, with a Summoner in the Controller roll, and maybe a Shaman or something in the Leader roll.
    I disagree.

    To me it says that Druid will most likely be a striker.
    While I can see ways for WildShape to be a defender ability, it has always seemed more of a striker's role.

    Also, I figure that the Barbarian will be in the defender's role. Barbarians are more likely to use heavy armor than a Druid (especially if they keep the "no metal" clause that 3.x had), which is why I believe this to be the case.

    But, who knows? we're not going to have the class powers until, what, next June. Maybe you're right, maybe I am, and maybe we're both wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    I'm really hoping the druid to be a divine controler, with leader as secondary role, in the same way cleric is a divine leader, with defender as secondary role.
    I could also see it flipped from that, primarily leader with controller as secondary role. I think controller is the most likley though.

    Shapeshifting could work as it was intended to work in 3.0: The ability to temporarily become a striker (and losing the defender/leader abilities meanwhile), or gain additional utilitary abilities.
    This could be problematic unless done extremely carefully. There would need to be some sort of equivalency between the two in order to ensure that the shapeshift doesn't effectivley grant a druid double the encounter/daily powers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackfang108 View Post
    I disagree.

    To me it says that Druid will most likely be a striker.
    While I can see ways for WildShape to be a defender ability, it has always seemed more of a striker's role.

    Also, I figure that the Barbarian will be in the defender's role. Barbarians are more likely to use heavy armor than a Druid (especially if they keep the "no metal" clause that 3.x had), which is why I believe this to be the case.

    But, who knows? we're not going to have the class powers until, what, next June. Maybe you're right, maybe I am, and maybe we're both wrong.

    Only time will tell.
    Possible. Though the Barbarian doesn't really seem to be the armor wearing type, to me, and Rage focuses on damage more than defense. And I guess I just can't get the idea of a Druid going Dire Bear and soaking damage out of my head. (Damn you Blizzard and Diablo 2 for sucking me back in!)

    Though, oddly enough, I could almost see the Barbarian in a Leader roll, albeit a far more front-lines leader. Like a Warlord on crack.
    Last edited by MammonAzrael; 2008-07-09 at 12:19 PM.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackfang108 View Post
    Also, I figure that the Barbarian will be in the defender's role. Barbarians are more likely to use heavy armor than a Druid (especially if they keep the "no metal" clause that 3.x had), which is why I believe this to be the case.
    The barbarian preview article seems to go both ways. On the one hand, they speak of tying the barbarian more closely to the druid, a la cleric & paladin, and also of separating the barbarian more fully from the fighter. While I don't think we should take this to mean the druid is a leader(like the cleric), it is some evidence to suggest the barbarian is a defender. However, other language in the preview article(a major focus on damage and rage, description of a power that involves dealing damage while mobile), indicates that the barbarian is a striker. Maybe Wizards doesn't think this way, but I doubt they would talk about separating the barbarian from the fighter, and then stick them in the exact same role (defender/striker.) Perhaps the best bet for the barbarian's role is striker/defender, one we haven't seen yet.

    EDIT: Mammon, your image of the druid seems to be the one shared by WOTC. I've got the book I've been talking about in my hands as I type(well, not literally, typing would be impossible. I've got it about 6 inches from my hands ).
    Last edited by skywalker; 2008-07-09 at 12:23 PM.
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Also, has anyone thought of how the Druid will play into multi-classing?

    I assume each Wildshape form will give you a boost to one (or more) physical stats, and some secondary benefit (different movement, a special attack, scent, AC bonus, etc).

    Considering how everything in 4E is d20 + 1/2 your level + Stat bonuses (that you often put all of your eggs into), I assume that everyone who relies on Str, Dex, or Con will want to multiclass into Druid in order to pick up the stat bonus from a particular Wildshape power. They'll walk around in that form all day (or turn into it at the start of each combat, if its an Encounter Power), making parties composed mostly or entirely of were-like-animals common. Hows that for interesting party fluff?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackfang108 View Post
    I disagree.

    To me it says that Druid will most likely be a striker.
    While I can see ways for WildShape to be a defender ability, it has always seemed more of a striker's role.

    Also, I figure that the Barbarian will be in the defender's role. Barbarians are more likely to use heavy armor than a Druid (especially if they keep the "no metal" clause that 3.x had), which is why I believe this to be the case.

    But, who knows? we're not going to have the class powers until, what, next June. Maybe you're right, maybe I am, and maybe we're both wrong.

    Only time will tell.

    You do know that Barbarians and Druids both wear light or medium in 3.5, yeah? Barbarians don't get heavy. And, seeing as how 4e is going to make the Barbarian more primal, rather than 3.5's angry guy Barbarian, they'll probably have the same armor list as the Druid.

    My guess is that the Barbarian will be a hit-and-run sorta guy, much like the Scout. The Druid will probably be a controller, and might be given the option between a daily Wild Shape or daily Summon spells. Maybe encounter, but probably daily. Vines grappling, brables blocking and tornadoes throwing is just too much Controllery stuff to not let the druid have.
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Wildshaping will likely severely limit most class's ability to use equipment that they rely on, such as armor, weapons, and implements. Assuming its even available for those multiclassing.

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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by MammonAzrael View Post
    Possible. Though the Barbarian doesn't really seem to be the armor wearing type, to me, and Rage focuses on damage more than defense. And I guess I just can't get the idea of a Druid going Dire Bear and soaking damage out of my head. (Damn you Blizzard and Diablo 2 for sucking me back in!)

    Though, oddly enough, I could almost see the Barbarian in a Leader roll, albeit a far more front-lines leader. Like a Warlord on crack.
    To part one: I'd become a dire bear to rip the head off a Kobold/Vampire/whatever is trying to kill us. I just don't see a bear "taking one for the team. And aside from Bears, Pachyderms, armadilos, and turtles, I can't think of many "defensive" animal forms. I see where you're coming from, though.

    To part 2: I'd so play that. I haven't ben a Barbarian for a couple of years. This'd bring me back.

    You do know that Barbarians and Druids both wear light or medium in 3.5, yeah? Barbarians don't get heavy. And, seeing as how 4e is going to make the Barbarian more primal, rather than 3.5's angry guy Barbarian, they'll probably have the same armor list as the Druid.

    My guess is that the Barbarian will be a hit-and-run sorta guy, much like the Scout.
    As stated above, It's been a while. Personally, I never used Heavy armor in 3.5 b/c my DM liked Krakens too much, and my swim checks were bad enough to begin with.

    Probably is not will, first off. And I have a feeling that Barbarian will get Chainmail in 4e, but Druid won't. (again, assuming the no metal clause.)

    Don't forget, also, Damage Reduction was a class feature of the Barbarian as well. I can see this playing well into the defender role, as well as the extra HP you got from Rage. I see them as being a "line blur" of Defender/Striker or Leader/Striker.
    Last edited by Blackfang108; 2008-07-09 at 01:26 PM.
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    And, seeing as how 4e is going to make the Barbarian more primal, rather than 3.5's angry guy Barbarian,
    From Races and Classes: "barbarians are more feral, and, well, angrier, than ever."
    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    My guess is that the Barbarian will be a hit-and-run sorta guy, much like the Scout.
    Same source, two lines further down: "My playtest barbarian used a rage ability[...] to move across a dungeon chamber and chop down five skeletons in one round."
    Quote Originally Posted by Burley Warlock View Post
    The Druid will probably be a controller, and might be given the option between a daily Wild Shape or daily Summon spells. Maybe encounter, but probably daily. Vines grappling, brables blocking and tornadoes throwing is just too much Controllery stuff to not let the druid have.
    According to the preview article, wildshape is "the foundation on which the druid is built." Which makes me think it's not a daily. I seriously doubt there will be any summoning for the druid at all. Each specific shape is a power, and the druid is specifically described as switching from one shape to another. I'd say each shape is an encounter power, but you don't get a shape at every new power level, because the article also says druids get ranged and utility spells(like you mentioned, brambles and vines?) to give an incentive for spending time in human form. I'd imagine a hawk or bird form would be a utility power, because why would you want to be a hawk in combat(natural spell is dead. Long live natural spell!).

    Person_Man, maybe they specify an implement you need to wildshape that other classes can't get? Maybe the multi-class feat specifically omits the ability to use that implement? What you're suggesting seems like the type of thing Wizards would be trying to prevent. It would be cool, tho.
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    Default Re: [4e] PHB II

    Just to add to the pure speculation, did anyone else notice that the power sources on the cover of the PHB2 are "Arcane, Divine, and Primal..."?

    Looks like the only new power source we're getting is Primal. Safe to assume that includes our barbarian and druid. Maybe we'll see a shaman like character that will take some of the powers the 4e druid will have to shed.

    As for arcane, I'll make the safe assumption that at least includes the Bard many of us are waiting for. The Swordmage is already included in the FR players guide. I'm going to take a safe guess that we'll see maybe see a wizard subtype such as Necromancer (although I thought that would be under some sort of Necrotic power source), Illusionist, Summoner, etc.

    Divine is where I'm stumped. Besides adding some cleric subtypes (maybe the route they want to take the Necromancer or Shaman) I don't really see the calling for another Divine class. If they're just going to add a chapter of extra powers and prestige classes for the Paladin and Cleric, great, but I'd rather see that in a smaller (cheaper? ) splat book.

    I dunno... Like I said this is all speculation. Hopefully we'll know more before march.
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