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View Full Version : [DnD 3.5] Vow of Poverty Shapeshift Druid



Warclam
2010-01-29, 05:21 PM
Like the title says. I had a bizarre idea for a character who never leaves shapeshifted form, except in dire emergencies to cast. I'm using the shapeshift variant from PHBII so he can stay shifted all day from the get-go and also to get back to normal easily when forced to go humanoid. I plan to take Vow of Poverty since he's almost completely incapable of using items anyway, and use reserve feats for the ability to fight without getting into melee every time.

The trouble is, I'm not sure what kind of spells I should prepare, considering I'll seldom be casting them. What very long-term buffs do druids get? Is it worth trading spontaneous summoning for the much- and rightly-maligned spontaneous rejuvenation to have something else I can do without unshifting? Or is summoning just what I want for spells since summons are massively versatile and keep working after transforming back?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Tyndmyr
2010-01-29, 05:42 PM
Take natural spell. Thus, you don't need to shapeshift to cast.

Enjoy life as a furry.

Warclam
2010-01-29, 05:46 PM
Shapeshift doesn't work with Natural Spell, unfortunately.

Optimystik
2010-01-29, 05:49 PM
What very long-term buffs do druids get?

Google-fu, Activate! (http://www.google.com/custom?q=Level:+Drd+Duration:+hour+more:magic_spel ls&hl=en&client=google-coop-np&cof=FORID:1%3BAH:left%3BS:http://www.d20srd.org/%3BCX:Hypertext%2520d20%2520SRD%2520Search%3BL:htt p://www.d20srd.org/images/logo.png%3BLH:78%3BLP:1%3BBGC:%23f2e6da%3BLC:%2300 0099%3BVLC:%23663399%3BGALT:%2399826b%3B&cx=015155386140379294602:k9hv7ukafn4&adkw=AELymgWebxt6M8ILoZXGJ82gjboAC1T_IF4M8z0cRH0Nq LIYh_QP8aPnNssFT3bXEfbB0L1fPmVC2JsbTEcQaIs2dUiH4oo 6kHnsAdYAoo9Fw7b439AJJES7Pztq8n29EB1dSsVQWfEkOU6NQ 4omGVOUw7wec1ORrA&boostcse=0&filter=0)

Tyndmyr
2010-01-29, 05:53 PM
What level are you starting from? It seems that such a disadvantage is worth going straight druid to avoid if you'll be starting at level 5+...since wild shape lasts hr/level anyhow, per shift.

Huh, wonder how much fun a druid doppleganger would be. More variety.

Anyway, you'll probably want some way to deal with DR/magic, incorporeal creatures, etc. IE, cover the possible contingencies not solvable by shift/beatdown.

Noble Savant
2010-01-29, 05:54 PM
Shapeshift doesn't work with Natural Spell, unfortunately.

And yet it works with the superior wild shape, am I the only one who can see the irony? Talk to your DM about that, it's arbitrary.

Gnorman
2010-01-29, 06:14 PM
Oh, come on now. You can shift as a swift action. Any round in which you don't want to be tearing a dude's throat out with your beasty claws, you should be popping back into humanoid form to toss out a spell.

If you really want to play this archetype, I suggest you clamp the Shapeshifting abilities on to a spell-less Ranger chassis, and play it as a melee-focused character. The strength of the druid is the spells. Animal Companion, Wild Shape (I know you've traded both of those away), Shapeshift Variant, yeah, they're all fun, but they're not the point of the class. It's spells. Spells spells spells.

I don't care how in-character it is, how great your backstory is, how real and relevant your avatars' neuroses and anxieties are, don't screw yourself and your party over by not casting spells as a friggin' druid.

Soranar
2010-01-29, 06:27 PM
Many who intend to wildshape dip into monk to get their Wisdom to AC. They also take the intuitive attack feat (Wis to hit) and use the druid spell for a Wisdom bonus, which can give more than +4 and it also lasts longer.

Not sure how interesting that would be for a shapeshifter though.

Os1ris09
2010-01-29, 06:31 PM
Oh, come on now. You can shift as a swift action. Any round in which you don't want to be tearing a dude's throat out with your beasty claws, you should be popping back into humanoid form to toss out a spell.

If you really want to play this archetype, I suggest you clamp the Shapeshifting abilities on to a spell-less Ranger chassis, and play it as a melee-focused character. The strength of the druid is the spells. Animal Companion, Wild Shape (I know you've traded both of those away), Shapeshift Variant, yeah, they're all fun, but they're not the point of the class. It's spells. Spells spells spells.

I don't care how in-character it is, how great your backstory is, how real and relevant your avatars' neuroses and anxieties are, don't screw yourself and your party over by not casting spells as a friggin' druid.

I agree with the quote above

Warclam
2010-01-29, 07:11 PM
Google-fu, Activate! (http://www.google.com/custom?q=Level:+Drd+Duration:+hour+more:magic_spel ls&hl=en&client=google-coop-np&cof=FORID:1%3BAH:left%3BS:http://www.d20srd.org/%3BCX:Hypertext%2520d20%2520SRD%2520Search%3BL:htt p://www.d20srd.org/images/logo.png%3BLH:78%3BLP:1%3BBGC:%23f2e6da%3BLC:%2300 0099%3BVLC:%23663399%3BGALT:%2399826b%3B&cx=015155386140379294602:k9hv7ukafn4&adkw=AELymgWebxt6M8ILoZXGJ82gjboAC1T_IF4M8z0cRH0Nq LIYh_QP8aPnNssFT3bXEfbB0L1fPmVC2JsbTEcQaIs2dUiH4oo 6kHnsAdYAoo9Fw7b439AJJES7Pztq8n29EB1dSsVQWfEkOU6NQ 4omGVOUw7wec1ORrA&boostcse=0&filter=0)
Ah, excellent! Only PHB spells, but I can check other lists similarly. Thanks!

@Soranar:

Can't be a druid/monk with exalted feats due to alignment restrictions (just as well, I don't like multiclassing). Intuitive attack is a good idea, since in some forms (especially the flying form) my wisdom may end up higher than my strength, and I get a bunch of bonus exalted feats anyway from the vow. Especially with owl's wisdom, good call.

@Tyndmyr:

DR/magic is covered by shapeshift already (also by VoP, actually); it gives an enhancement bonus of level/4 on your new natural attacks. That also halfway deals with incorporeal. Good idea to look for specific problems that may come up, I'll keep that in mind.

Starting at level 5, so I could be using wild shapeŚ just not all the time. I realize that this character concept is shooting itself in the foot, but I really want to see what can be done with it. Also:

And yet it works with the superior wild shape, am I the only one who can see the irony? Talk to your DM about that, it's arbitrary.
I did so, and we ended up deciding that I could use natural spell, but not before fifth level, like a normal druid (sixth, effectively, due to lack of feat at 5th). Yay!

@Gnorman and Os1ris09

The original character design uses the spells, indirectly, to fuel reserve feats. I know they're much weaker than spells, I really do, but I like the idea of being able to fly around all day raining down mini cones of cold or whatever as often as I want. A ranger can't do that. A dragonfire adept could, but wouldn't be able to go for the jugular against some d6 HD punk with evasion. As far as I know, nothing else can do what I'm proposing with this build, whether or not that's a good thing.

I know I can't neglect spells entirely, and don't intend to. My talk of dire-emergency-only casting was exaggerated. Shifting is only a swift action, and my guy can jolly well swallow his dislike of his natural form to pop off a summon or a heal or a flame strike or whatever. But his main tactic is to stay in animal form and use diverse ways of hitting people without spells, and I probably won't even take Natural Spell after the coup of getting it allowed simply because it's thematically inappropriate and not really necessary. There are also a cleric and another druid in the party, so we aren't wanting for divine might.

I was asking for help picking long-lasting spells to go with this concept, and whether spontaneous rejuvenation would be worth taking since it can be used while shifted. Your post was not helpful, because it ignored the parameters of the request.

I'm sorry for getting offended and preachy. Maybe you can suggest some spells that wouldn't conflict too grossly with the concept (keeping in mind that the character will almost certainly already be shifted at the start of combat) since spells are definitely important.

Os1ris09
2010-01-29, 07:40 PM
The only spells that I can think of since you are going VoP are those that boost you for the mid-term/short-term. For example bull's strength, cat's grace, Owl's Wisdom (for those important will saves vs save or die affects), magic fang, etc etc. Not really "long-lasting" but if you could somehow get the cleric or someone to cast most of those spells on you with DMM-> Persist you would be in good shape ImO

Runestar
2010-01-29, 07:45 PM
Do you think reserve feats can be used while shapeshifted? They are SU abilities, so you technically aren't casting a spell, and you don't lose your prepared spells either, merely can't access them.

If so, you may want to pick up a couple of them. If your spells are going to be largely unexpended, might as well use them to fuel other powers. Complete champion has one which grants a limited form of free healing, while complete mage has quite a few useful ones like summon elemental.

Warclam
2010-01-29, 08:19 PM
@Runestar:
Shapeshift prohibits speaking, wielding weapons, performing "tasks requiring fine manipulation", casting spells, and activating magic items. It says "You keep all extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like special attacks and qualities of your normal form, except for those requiring a body part your new form does not have." Reserve feats therefore work fine, and I'm definitely planning to take some.

I'd forgotten about the complete champion healy ones. I might take one of those, but we really do have a lot of divine casters. Summon Elemental is a must, of course, possibly bolstered at level 12 with Augment Elemental. I'm thinking Winter's Blast (mini cone of cold) early on, switching via retraining to Storm Bolt (call lightning, basically) at level 6, for the extra damage and better range. Also lightning is, ironically, cooler than cold air.


The only spells that I can think of since you are going VoP are those that boost you for the mid-term/short-term. For example bull's strength, cat's grace, Owl's Wisdom (for those important will saves vs save or die affects), magic fang, etc etc. Not really "long-lasting" but if you could somehow get the cleric or someone to cast most of those spells on you with DMM-> Persist you would be in good shape ImO

The cleric is actually the Ghaele monster class from Savage Species. No turning, so no DMM. Also it gets constant circle against evil next level, which will screw with any non-good summons I try to use. Very annoying.

The only really long-term buffs I can think of are the Primal line from Dragon Magic, which last 24 hours and give uncanny dodge if you have at least two on at once, plus some nice bonuses on their own. There's also protection from elements, but yeah. I'll keep looking, there have to be some somewhere. I'll keep an Owl's Wisdom around, probably, and see if there's anything I can play off of using my bonus exalted feats.

I think I'm going to keep spontaneous summoning, since it's just too useful and I can get them to fight alongside me after the summoning. Rejuvenation just isn't very good, even if I can use it while shifted.

Soranar
2010-01-29, 08:22 PM
Well you may not like multiclassing but there are classes that might help despite your alignment restrictions.

If you can't be lawful , a battledancer still gives you your Charisma bonus to AC if unarmored.

Swordsage 2, ninja or the moonwarded ranger variant (2nd level) also gives you your Wisdom bonus to AC. Note that both ranger and swordsage lets you use light armor , should that be relevant.

Swordsage also let's you qualify for the shadow blade feat (Dex bonus replaces strength for damage in melee attacks, works with unarmed strikes). Some of your most useful shapes may have a very high Dex but low Str. And your to-hit can be covered by your Wisdom score anyway so you wouldn't need to take weapon finesse too.

Runestar
2010-01-29, 10:22 PM
After some snooping around on the net, here are my findings.

1) The various heart spells from complete mage (lv2,3,4,5). Long duration (1 hour/lv), especially if extended via item or feat. Good passive powers, crit immunity if you can cast them all, and can be expended for a 1-shot benefit such as freedom of movement.

2) Halo of sand (sandstorm, lv2), grants deflection bonus, 10min/lv, useful because that is what druid forms typically lack.

3) Eye of the avoral (BOED, lv1) - +8 spot check, 10min/lv.

4) Anticold sphere (SC, lv5) - cold immunity within 10-ft radius, 10min/lv

5) The various primal X spells (dragon magic, lv2,3,4,6). Duration is 1 day, each grants a variety of bonuses, plus uncanny dodge if you have 2 up.

More may come later if I can find them.