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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Hi there,

    I have one question and hope you guys can help me. I already tried to figure out the whole thing on my own, but without success so far.
    My character is a Greensinger Shifter Druid / Planar Shepherd, with Thelanis as the chosen plane. By that my character gains access to the Eladrin forms.
    My question is this: when my character wild shapes into a Ghaele, does he get spells as a Level 14 Cleric? Are Spells an Extraordinary Special Attack or how are they classified? I know SLA is an Ex SA, but I'm still unsure concerning spells.
    Thanks for your efforts.

    Cheerio

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Alleran's Avatar

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    As I recall, spellcasting falls into the nebulous "natural ability" category, being neither extraordinary, spell-like or supernatural.
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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Spells are an Extraordinary Ability and a Special Attack. However, you'll have to rest/memorize or pray for spells to get them. If the form has sorcerer casting, this won't help you because you have no sorcerer spells known. If it has wizard casting, you need a spellbook and a bunch of spells to memorize. If it has cleric casting, you must pray to get spells.

    However, instead of asking the board I suggest you run it by your DM. This is because picking up free spellcasting by Wildshape is incredibly, brokenly, and ridiculously overpowered and the DM that will allow it is few and far between. I'd also say one that allows it is insane, but that's another issue entirely.

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspenor View Post

    However, instead of asking the board I suggest you run it by your DM. This is because picking up free spellcasting by Wildshape is incredibly, brokenly, and ridiculously overpowered and the DM that will allow it is few and far between. I'd also say one that allows it is insane, but that's another issue entirely.

    Given the fact that he's playing a Planar Shepherd, which is easily (along with Incantatrix and Dweomerkeeper) one of the Top 3 most powerful PrCs in this game, I take it he's playing at a pretty high power level already. So getting 14th level cleric casting might not be such a big deal (esp compared with other things you could get, like multiple actions/round).

    Also, in regards to the OP, the exact nature of spellcasting (natural or extraordinary) is one of the most widely debated RAW topics (along with whether DWK Kobolds are true dragons or not) of this game so yeah, your best bet is to ask your DM
    Last edited by LordBlades; 2011-03-10 at 09:33 AM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    True, but Planar Shepherd is quite playable if you change up a few things, such as this particular matter. There is, of course, the time manipulation exploitation, but as long as you stay away from both that and the spellcasting it's quite a playable class.

    I'm not saying it isn't still very strong, it is. Access to a lot of spells as SLA's is extremely strong.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleran View Post
    As I recall, spellcasting falls into the nebulous "natural ability" category, being neither extraordinary, spell-like or supernatural.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aspenor View Post
    Spells are an Extraordinary Ability and a Special Attack. However, you'll have to rest/memorize or pray for spells to get them. If the form has sorcerer casting, this won't help you because you have no sorcerer spells known. If it has wizard casting, you need a spellbook and a bunch of spells to memorize. If it has cleric casting, you must pray to get spells.

    However, instead of asking the board I suggest you run it by your DM. This is because picking up free spellcasting by Wildshape is incredibly, brokenly, and ridiculously overpowered and the DM that will allow it is few and far between. I'd also say one that allows it is insane, but that's another issue entirely.
    By RAW, Alleran is correct. Spellcasting is a Natural Ability. It's not specifically named as Ex., Su. or SLA. Per Rules Compendium, a Natural Ability is any ability that is not specifically called out as either Ex. Su. or SLA. Unless Wildshape specifically grants all natural abilities, then it does not grant spellcasting.

    The few examples of Spellcasting we see as an Ex. ability don't actually call out Spellcasting as an Ex. ability, rather an ability that GRANTS spellcasting is what is labelled as Ex.

    For your consideration, the Hobgoblin Warcaster:

    Arcane Talent, Ex.: A Warcaster casts spells as a 4th level wizard.

    Therefore, Arcane Talent is an Ex. ability. Specific > General, therefore Arcane Talent does not represent the wider category of Spellcasting, but rather is a one-off ability. If every character who cast Wizard spells had a class feature called, "Arcane Talent", then it might be logical to infer from this example that all Wizard spellcasting was Ex., but as this is not the case, Arcane Talent is clearly a case as labeled above.

    Moreover, you'll note that every other example of Ex. spellcasting in a monster entry is actually named as an individual ability. The Lilitu, for example, has an ability that grants it 9th level cleric casting, called "Mock Divinity".
    Last edited by Gullintanni; 2011-03-10 at 02:02 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    The problem with that logic is that spellcasting is called out as a Special Attack. Special Attacks are, by RAW, one of Ex, Su, or Sp. They cannot be Na.

    See p. 6 in the MM: Special Attacks and Special Qualities. This section explicitly breaks Special Abilities into these two groups. This same section also explicitly states that Special Abilities are one of Ex, Su, or Sp.

    On p. 299-300 of the MM, "Spells" is explicitly listed under Special Attacks.

    As "Spells" is a special attack, and special attacks are special abilities, and special abilities can only be one of Ex, Su, or Sp (they cannot be Na), then Spells must be one of these three.

    Su are stated to be magical in nature, are not spells (MM 315, Special Abilities). Sp are also explicitly stated to not be spells on the same page. By simple process of elimination, Spells MUST be Ex because Na are not Special Abilities at all.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Spellcasting is called out as a Special Ability, per MM. RC to my knowledge, is the primary source, and in the cases of contradictory RAW, primary source takes precedence.

    Even then, spellcasting can't be an Ex. ability. Ex abilities Function in an AMF, can't be dispelled. etc...

    Obliging that section of the SRD in favor of the RC interpretation creates inconsistences all over the RAW.

    PHB + MM = Spells as SA therefore must Ex. Su. or Sp.
    PHB + RC = Spells are not named therefore must be NA.

    PHB + MM + RC = Dilemma

    Assuming that RC is the primary source, the hierarchy of rules is as follows:

    Unnamed abilities are natural. RC - Primary Source
    Spells are Unnamed. PHB - Secondary Source
    Spells are Special Attacks, therefore must be Ex. Su. or Sp. MM Secondary to RC, Tertiary to PHB.

    Therefore in the case of contradictory RAW, RC>PHB>MM.
    Last edited by Gullintanni; 2011-03-10 at 03:32 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gullintanni View Post
    Spellcasting is called out as a Special Ability, per MM. RC to my knowledge, is the primary source, and in the cases of contradictory RAW, primary source takes precedence.

    Even then, spellcasting can't be an Ex. ability. Ex abilities Function in an AMF, can't be dispelled. etc...

    Obliging that section of the SRD in favor of the RC interpretation creates inconsistences all over the RAW.
    You can cast spells in an AMF, they just don't have any effect. Spellcasting is an Ex ability that creates a magical effect. The actual process of casting, though, is Ex.

    RC? What is RC? Not familiar with the acronym.

    Edit: nevermind, Rules Compendium, got it. The Rules Compendium, to my knowledge, says nothing that trumps the MM. Nowhere does it say that an Na ability is a Special Ability. Spells are specifically Special Abilities, precisely Special Attacks, and as such must be one of Ex, Su, or Sp.

    IIRC, in later publications Spells was even labeled Ex. Supposedly in the Lilith monster stat block, but I can't find that.
    Last edited by Aspenor; 2011-03-10 at 03:34 PM.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspenor View Post
    You can cast spells in an AMF, they just don't have any effect. Spellcasting is an Ex ability that creates a magical effect. The actual process of casting, though, is Ex.

    RC? What is RC? Not familiar with the acronym.

    Edit: nevermind, Rules Compendium, got it. The Rules Compendium, to my knowledge, says nothing that trumps the MM. Nowhere does it say that an Na ability is a Special Ability. Spells are specifically Special Abilities, precisely Special Attacks, and as such must be one of Ex, Su, or Sp.

    IIRC, in later publications Spells was even labeled Ex. Supposedly in the Lilith monster stat block, but I can't find that.
    The spells were not labelled Ex. The abilities that granted them spells were labelled Ex. And each ability had a different name. Therefore, these specific abilities refer to just that...their specific ability.

    In otherwords, because the spell casting is labelled as Arcane Talent, Ex or Mock Divinity, Ex, it becomes a specific subset of spellcasting, and does not override unnamed spellcasting as a general concept.

    Edit: The monster you're looking for is called a Lilitu from FC1 IIRC. They have Mock Divinity, Ex. Which grants them 9th level cleric casting.
    Last edited by Gullintanni; 2011-03-10 at 03:40 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gullintanni View Post
    The spells were not labelled Ex. The abilities that granted them spells were labelled Ex. And each ability had a different name. Therefore, these specific abilities refer to just that...their specific ability.

    In otherwords, because the spell casting is labelled as Arcane Talent, Ex or Mock Divinity, Ex, it becomes a specific subset of spellcasting, and does not override unnamed spellcasting as a general concept.
    I was talking about something else, but I don't have the time to find it right now.

    Also, Spells are explicitly Special Abilities. Natural Abilities are explicitly NOT special abilities. As such, Spells cannot be Natural Abilities under any circumstance, since spells are explicitly Special Attacks.

    Also, natural abilities are defined as abilities that a creature has due to its physical nature. Spells do not align with this definition.
    Last edited by Aspenor; 2011-03-10 at 03:43 PM.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspenor View Post
    I was talking about something else, but I don't have the time to find it right now.

    Also, Spells are explicitly Special Abilities. Natural Abilities are explicitly NOT special abilities. As such, Spells cannot be Natural Abilities under any circumstance, since spells are explicitly Special Attacks.

    Also, natural abilities are defined as abilities that a creature has due to its physical nature. Spells do not align with this definition.
    This is all per MM. But the monster manual contradicts the PHB.
    PHB states that any ability that is not named is unnamed and therefore natural.
    MM gives spellcasting a name.

    The two conflict. Primary source takes precedence. In this case, PHB.

    Bolded portion for emphasis. I have a brain because of my physical nature. My brain allows me to make decisions. For example, the decision to study and master arcane magic. Result - My brain allows me the ability to cast spells, therefore my ability to cast spells is dependent upon a part of my physical body.

    Clerics - same thing. They make a concious choice to worship and accept a divine gift. Choice depends on intellect, wisdom and in DnD charisma. Therefore, spellcasting is dependent upon my physical nature.

    Case-in-point. Turn a caster into a rock. Give the rock two feats for still and silent spell. Can it cast spells? No. It doesn't have a mind.
    Last edited by Gullintanni; 2011-03-10 at 03:49 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gullintanni View Post
    This is all per MM. But the monster manual contradicts the PHB.
    PHB states that any ability that is not named is unnamed and therefore natural.
    MM gives spellcasting a name.

    The two conflict. Primary source takes precedence. In this case, PHB.
    Interesting, hadn't seen PHB p. 180 before this point. As usual conflicting rules.

    It could be argued that since we are discussing wildshaping into monsters, though, that the PHB no longer holds precedence as the primary source, but that would be a pointless, subjective argument.

    Thanks for the discussion, though.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspenor View Post
    Interesting, hadn't seen PHB p. 180 before this point. As usual conflicting rules.

    It could be argued that since we are discussing wildshaping into monsters, though, that the PHB no longer holds precedence as the primary source, but that would be a pointless, subjective argument.

    Thanks for the discussion, though.
    Blame WoTC. Contradictory is just how they roll.

    You're welcome.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: D&D 3.5: Planar Shepherd Wild Shape question

    *Applauds*

    Well done, you two. An entertaining and enlightening discussion to read--quite civil, too.

    While I am far from an optimizer (or even that well read when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons rules), I believe I'll have to side with Aspenor.

    What else is considered a Natural Ability? Movement Modes? It seems to me that the Solar gains its spellcasting ability purely through virtue of being a Solar--it is a part of what being a Solar is, just as you would gain flight through use of its wings.


    Edit:

    Although, now that I think about it, the character's original Movement Mode is overwritten by that of the new form. Hmm, I guess I'll have to change to the conclusion that you two had: all these here rules be whack. Still, I don't think it's as cut and dry as Gullintanni initially argued it to be. Taking into account the fact that you get everything else, I think you're meant to get, "all the good stuff."

    I agree it's terribly unbalanced, but I may try to play with it in a solo campaign just to see how it goes. (I don't plan on using the temporal properties of a plane--that just seems like an immediate "I win" button and wouldn't even be entertaining.)
    Last edited by Sidaris; 2011-04-25 at 09:20 PM.

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