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Ursus the Grim
2011-09-05, 09:33 PM
I was hoping the title would catch you.

My group's next campaign appears to be quite interesting indeed. We've been asked to create Gods and a mortal form for them to inhabit. There are some specific creation rules we've followed when making our characters, spoilered below.

Maximum hit points per level
Roll 4d6b3 seven times, using six highest results.
+2 Divine Bonus to all Ability Scores.
Damage Reduction (Half ECL)/+1
Starting level 10.
No Full Spellcasters.
Two specific 'aspects', chooseable based on our domains.

So basically I went with a god of big nasty animals, a little bit like Obad-Hai and Kord's lovechild, a god of strength and natural selection. The aspects I picked up were Greater Shaper (At-Will Wild Shape as a Druid = ECL and +4 stacking divine bonus to Constitution) and Lesser Warrior (+4 stacking divine bonus to Strength, and a Fighter Bonus feat at ECL 10). My premise was that I was going to spend a good deal of time Wild Shaped into big nasty things.

I'm basically asking for monster suggestions for Wild Shape, though any other advice is useful too. However, my DM knows cheese when he smells it, so I have to point out the following things.


VoP not an option. Not even good-aligned.
Wouldn't let me take prestige classes before ECL 10.
We are starting with no WBL.
An Ubercharger will likely get a book thrown at me.
Attempting to take advantage by trading in my unlimited usages will also get books thrown at me.


On the plus side.


He's ruled that the divine bonuses apply when Shape'd.
I can take feats for weapons I don't naturally have.


This means I get +6 Str, +6 Con, and +2 to all other stats even when in an alternate shape, plus the DR (as low as it may be) and full BaB. Plus I have Rage and Fast Movement I can slap on.

Now I mostly need to figure out what my go-to form is going to be. I'm looking at Dire Lion and Cave Tyrannosaurus, mostly. I think I've got to keep my selections to carnivorous plants and animals, which is fine by me.

Relevant character basics.

Wood Elf Barbarian 10
24/16/20/12/13/12
1 Track?
3 Improved Toughness?
6 Improved Natural Attack (Bite?)
9 Improved Critical (Bite?)
10(Fighter)

I'm going to be easy to hit, but I should have enough HP to survive. (10d12+50+10=180)

Feats and skills are still to be selected. Thoughts?

Flickerdart
2011-09-05, 09:41 PM
DR/+X is 3.0, 3.5 replaces it with DR/magic.

Barbarian kind of sucks from level 8 onward, so take Barbarian 8/Fighter 2 unless you're after Streetfighter (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a). You might also want to consider a Totem of some kind, since Barbarians get a lot of crap you can trade away.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-05, 09:45 PM
DR/+X is 3.0, 3.5 replaces it with DR/magic.

Barbarian kind of sucks from level 8 onward, so take Barbarian 8/Fighter 2 unless you're after Streetfighter (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a). You might also want to consider a Totem of some kind, since Barbarians get a lot of crap you can trade away.

Yeah, I'll run that by him.

Wouldn't Greater Rage be useful, at least to keep me in until 11? I guess I was planning on taking a Wild Shape PrC to increase my size options. Why go Fighter 2?

I've always been concerned about the balance of the totems, mostly because I've seen pounce abused so often. Not that I'd need it if I really wanted to build a charger.

Flickerdart
2011-09-05, 09:53 PM
You probably have enough stats that a +2 to Strength and Constitution isn't going to do as much for you as two Fighter bonus feats and then 10 levels in a PrC - Warshaper is nice, take that.

The totems...there's a couple of good ones. Spirit Lion is the most often mentioned one because melee really needs the mobility it offers, but Spirit Bear is good for grapplers (Improved Grab, hell yeah). Wolf Totem is great because it gives you Improved Trip without the Intelligence prerequisite. Dragon's not bad if you routinely face a lot of creatures with HD less than yours, but it isn't common. Aside from those four, Totems suck, but even these four aren't exactly overpowered.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-05, 09:57 PM
You probably have enough stats that a +2 to Strength and Constitution isn't going to do as much for you as two Fighter bonus feats and then 10 levels in a PrC - Warshaper is nice, take that.

I suppose that's true.
Do you have a recommendation for the feats? Weapon Focus and Specialization sounds like a trap (I admit, I rarely play Fighters), and I don't want to pigeonhole myself by picking up Improved Grapple/Trip/Disarm.

Though I guess I could certainly see Improved Grapple being useful in most shapes, I can't think of another one, and I still have that bonus bonus fighter feat for the 'Warrior' Aspect.

Flickerdart
2011-09-05, 10:08 PM
Improved Initiative is always nice. Improved Toughness is actually a Fighter bonus feat, which frees up another regular feat slot for you (I suggest Aberrant Wild Shape or Frozen Wild Shape, to broaden your options when 'shaping).

Alternatively, you could take Swordsage or Warblade levels. Two levels at 9th and 10th means that you have an IL of 6, which entitles you to 3rd level maneuvers. You don't care so much about those if you're full attacking, but stances will be your friend - for instance, Punishing Stance would add 1d6 to all your attacks, and Assassin's Stance grants you +2d6 Sneak Attack.

A Totemist 2 dip would give you the Totem chakra, meaning that you could get some more natural attacks through soulmelds.

Ursus the Grim
2011-09-05, 11:45 PM
Hm. I probably won't go Warblade, but I could see a use for those Fighter feats. The hit to HP isn't terrible, either, and once I get some Wild Armor I can make use of the armor proficiency.

Now I'm looking at Wild Shape options
Smilodon
Large
Speed 40
+4 Natural
Bite 2d6/x3
2 claws d6
Augmented Critical, Improved Grab, Pounce and Rake
24/14/16
+4 Balance, Hide, Move Silently

Cave Tyrannosaurus
Large
Speed 40
+4 Natural
Bite 2d6
Improved Grab, Swallow Whole
25/14/17

Dire Lion
Large
Speed 40
+4 Natural
Claws d6
Bite d8
Improved Grab, Pounce, Rake
25/15/17
+4 Hide and Move Silently

It seems like the Smilodon narrowly beats out the others, though Cave Rex is a close second and probably useful when fighting smaller enemies. That Sabre-toothed bite is nasty enough, and INA plus Improved Crit will bring it up to 3d6+10 19-20/x3.
Okay, I opted to go Fighter 2. My feats currently look like this.
1.Rapid Assault
3.Track
6.Improved Natural Attack (Bite)
9.Multiattack
9F.Improved Toughness
10F.Improved Initiative
10F.Improved Critical (Bite)

I couldn't find anything that fit the flavor of the character that had the (cold) subtype and what was there (aside from Cryohydra) was a little underwhelming. Abberant Wild Shape would probably be forbidden, given his portfolio. Finally, I opted to pick up Rapid Assault. If he's going to be in Smilodon most of the day, he's probably going to charge in the first round of combat, adding a total of 5d6 extra damage. That sounds like a sweet spot for me. Not overwhelming, and not entirely useless.

Track is still on there in case we lose the railroad tracks at some point.

Thoughts/better ideas?