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  1. - Top - End - #181
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    I'm brand new to 5th Ed, had my first game yesterday. Started with a Paladin, my backup was a Rogue, because I figured "no one plays Paladins, or Rogues", turns out everyone at the table was either a Paladin or a Rogue. So I decided to go Druid.

    I really appreciate this guide, especially as a newcomer, but had a question: You rate Polearm Master as Red and say even with Shilelagh it's weak because you can only attack once per round, but the way I'm reading Polearm Master, you'd get 2 attacks per round, and anyone who steps up to you would get an Opportunity Attack, for a potential 3 per round... Unless of course I'm mis-reading the rules.

  2. - Top - End - #182
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodokai View Post
    I'm brand new to 5th Ed, had my first game yesterday. Started with a Paladin, my backup was a Rogue, because I figured "no one plays Paladins, or Rogues", turns out everyone at the table was either a Paladin or a Rogue. So I decided to go Druid.

    I really appreciate this guide, especially as a newcomer, but had a question: You rate Polearm Master as Red and say even with Shilelagh it's weak because you can only attack once per round, but the way I'm reading Polearm Master, you'd get 2 attacks per round, and anyone who steps up to you would get an Opportunity Attack, for a potential 3 per round... Unless of course I'm mis-reading the rules.
    For one there is a factor with the action economy. The 2nd attack on PAM uses your bonus action, as does casting shillelagh, so you are burning a second attack on round 1 just to go from 1d6 to 1d8.

    On another point there is the fact that spell cantrip scale pretty decently in general. At level 5 produce flame does 2d8, Polearm w/ shillelagh is doing 1d8 and 1d4 so its still behind.

  3. - Top - End - #183
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by tieren View Post
    For one there is a factor with the action economy. The 2nd attack on PAM uses your bonus action, as does casting shillelagh, so you are burning a second attack on round 1 just to go from 1d6 to 1d8.

    On another point there is the fact that spell cantrip scale pretty decently in general. At level 5 produce flame does 2d8, Polearm w/ shillelagh is doing 1d8 and 1d4 so its still behind.
    Shillelagh has a 1 minute duration and isn't concentration, cast it as soon as combat begins, then use Produce Flame. If the baddies close take your Opportunity Attack using WIS for to hit and damage, then attacking him twice on your turn, and you won't be at disadvantage for trying to attack at range. You're also 1d8+4/1d4+4 at 5th level which is MUCH better damage than 2d8 (15 average damage compared to your 9 average damage). If we're variant human and took PAM at first level it's your 4.5 to my 13 average damage (+3 instead of +4).

    I don't know when you look though the feats and the only one not red is Warcaster, PAM seems like a solid choice, especially for Variant Human Druids.

    EDIT: And if you include the Opportunity attack, it's really 23.5 average damage to your 9 at 5th level.
    Last edited by Jodokai; 2017-04-25 at 02:19 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #184
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    @ Jodokai: Polearm master gets a Ďcould be a waste of your stuffí rating because it enormously shores up an ability youíre hoping you wonít have to use, and costing you a very scarce resource (ASIs/feats) to do it.
    Consider the suggestion youíre making: You have to spend your time with your staff in one hand and your shield in the other*, because letting go of your shillelagh ends the effect. With no free hand, you canít cast spells with Somatic components unless you get Warcaster, so thatís Produce Flame out for a start. And if you do have Warcaster, you get competing uses for Reactions, though likely a minor matter compared to how many resources we're sinking into making shillelagh better.
    Polearm Master is a pretty good feat at the very early levels. As youíve shown, it can potentially pack quite a wallop for level 1 (though not entirely in your control, depending on the enemy closing with you). But it wonít actually improve much from there. And I believe a time will soon be coming, when youíre trying very hard indeed to keep away from the frontline (so as to not take up space from your friends and minions, and to avoid getting attacked and losing hp and Concentration), which is where youíd have to be to use Shillelagh and PAM.
    Also consider that youíre not helpless in melee without Shillelagh, unless your physical stats suck that badly. Youíre proficient in scimitar at least, which can use dex or str. You assumed a +4 wis, so youíre not playing with point buy or standard array, or youíre pretty high level. Whatís your dex? My druids tend to have 16 (if elves) or 14 dex. Thatís quite decent enough for emergency scimitar purposes. If your dex isnít at least close to +3, then that affects your AC and is just another reason to stay out of melee range.
    Finally, the rating is Ďcould beí a waste. Itís a niche feat, but not completely out of bounds. But you have to be pretty sure youíre okay with being a frontline druid. How many of all those paladins and rogues are melee, do you think?

    * As an aside opinion, what an ugly image quarterstaff & shield fighting is even without the Ďattacking with the other end of the staffí, but I digress

    Edit: To be fair, the somatic problem could go away with a sufficiently lenient DM. I'd ask about it, at least, if you intend to head down this way.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-04-26 at 03:20 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    We are using point buy, I assumed +4 at 5th level for Variant Human (PAM 1st level, stats 4th level), but even at +3 the damage seems pretty good. Even considering that you'll be raising your WIS every chance you get, the damage won't be high enough at later levels?

  6. - Top - End - #186
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodokai View Post
    We are using point buy, I assumed +4 at 5th level for Variant Human (PAM 1st level, stats 4th level), but even at +3 the damage seems pretty good. Even considering that you'll be raising your WIS every chance you get, the damage won't be high enough at later levels?
    If you're really concerned about "damage" then the biggest issue IMO about being a front line druid is that you're going to be taking a lot of damage and losing your concentration a lot. Variant Human PAM or not, you're not going to be beating the potential damage you could get from spamming conjuration spells and maintaining your concentration on them.

    Or if you prefer, maintaining concentration on a spell like call lightning or moon beam. These spells have AoE potential, 3d10 (avg 17) at a level 3 slot. This beats out your PAM build UNLESS you get a reaction attack every turn.

    Additionally even IF you want to avoid utilizing concentration spells (but why be a druid?) and want to be a front-liner. Then it's still probably more efficient to just play as a moondruid and utilize wild shape. At level 5 you can be a brown bear doing 1d8+4 and 2d6+4 per turn (assuming hits, +5 total to hit though) and at level 6 you can be a polar/cave bear doing 1d8+5 and 2d6+5 per turn (assuming hits, +7 total to hit though). PLUS you get a ton of "free" hitpoints as well.


    So long story short, PAM isn't bad for a druid as you've shown but that's only because PAM is just a strong feat. It's still sub-par to other options though.
    Last edited by dejarnjc; 2017-04-26 at 08:04 AM.

  7. - Top - End - #187
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    I think Shillelagh druids really come into their own with the SCAG melee cantrips. The extra damage from those makes non-Wild Shape melee quite viable.
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
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  8. - Top - End - #188
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodokai View Post
    We are using point buy, I assumed +4 at 5th level for Variant Human (PAM 1st level, stats 4th level), but even at +3 the damage seems pretty good. Even considering that you'll be raising your WIS every chance you get, the damage won't be high enough at later levels?
    Right, of course. You said as much. I got all focused on level 1 because then it is actually impressive - my bad. Speaking to level 5, that sort of damage just isn't too impressive any more. You'll have barbarians GWMing for twice or three times that much damage (2d6+13 or 14 twice, -5 to hit but advantage, including tha tasty extra chance to crit, for 40-42 dam with normal hits), or fighters also with PAM outperforming you easily (1d10+3 or 4 x2 or x3 if they get the Reaction off, and 1d4+3, or 4 for a total of 31-35), and soon adding tricks like PAM + Sentinel. And yes, their AC might be just behind yours (though no guarantees, they get better armour options), but then their basic hp are also slightly better than yours. And, of course, they have ways to mitigate damage, and they don't suffer from losing their Concentration the way druids do.
    I wouldn't get too hung up on how much damage you can do without expending your daily resources. You won't do more than the experts in the field, nor should you expect to. As has been pointed out above, your strength lies in your spells, which (when used wisely) can do damage at need, and do a whole host of other stuff in addition. Considering your group, how about giving them advantage on their attack rolls by Entangling your foes? That will increase your friends' damage by something like 25% (more or less), much more than you could hope to do yourself. And you inconvenience the enemy while you're at it, reducing the need to heal after the fight.
    And all druids can do this, spending no feats or cantrip slots on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    I think Shillelagh druids really come into their own with the SCAG melee cantrips. The extra damage from those makes non-Wild Shape melee quite viable.
    I've never actually seen that, or thought much about it for that matter. I'll have to run some tests to see how I like it.
    Last edited by hymer; 2017-04-26 at 10:29 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #189
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    I want to thank everyone for discussing this with me, I'm learning a lot. I'm trying to make the transition from Pathfinder. This has brought up some more questions, so I think it would be better to start my own thread.

  10. - Top - End - #190
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    PirateWench

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Shillelagh Druids (and Druids in general) can get quite the nice bonus from a level of Arcana Cleric. Guidance for skill checks, Sacred Flame for a nice backup damage option that is a Dex save (which complements the Druid Frostbite as a Con save and attack cantrips), and Arcana gives some low-level utility spells as well as melee or attack cantrips. That is a lot of boost for very little investment.
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
    All it takes is once:

    "Grandpa, tells us that story about the Ricalison the Great again!"

    Hours later...

    "... and that, kids, is how he conquered the world with dancing lights."

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    As sort of a side note, I want to comment that I've been having my druid conjure quicklings for combat encounters lately and they are quite good (perhaps too good). With an AC of 16, disadvantage on attacks against them (unless immobilized), a +8 to acrobatics, a +6 to dex, and an evasion feature...they're surprisingly hard to kill despite having the HP of a commoner.

    Just one of these suckers can put out an average of 25 damage a round (if all attacks hit). If you utilize a 6th level spell you can conjure 4 of them for an average of 100 damage a round. That's better than disintegrate! Yeah they'll potentially die fast but they'll put out the hurt before doing so.

    I think I'll avoid using them to be honest. I generally self-police and avoid things I find a bit too strong (hypnotic pattern, conjuring tons of low CR creatures, polymorph as a buff, conjuring pixies for polymorph as a buff, etc. as I don't want to outshine the rest of my party or break the DM.

    Anyway, just wanted to mention that these guys are amazing as conjures for any optimizers that may read this thread.

  12. - Top - End - #192
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    So after seeing this: You can hold a focus in the same hand as you do your somatic components. A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spellís material componentsóor to hold a spellcasting focusóbut it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components. The Druid can use a staff as a spell casting focus, meaning you can use a shield and cast spells, without ever letting go of your staff. I'm thinking Shillelagh and and PAM are a strong choice especially for Variant Humans

  13. - Top - End - #193
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodokai View Post
    So after seeing this: You can hold a focus in the same hand as you do your somatic components. A spellcaster must have a hand free to access a spellís material componentsóor to hold a spellcasting focusóbut it can be the same hand that he or she uses to perform somatic components. The Druid can use a staff as a spell casting focus, meaning you can use a shield and cast spells, without ever letting go of your staff. I'm thinking Shillelagh and and PAM are a strong choice especially for Variant Humans
    1) technically that breaks down for spells with somatic components but no material components. that said, i for one think that rule is stupid and allow you to perform somatic components with a focus whether there are material components or not, and i think many others do too. but it isn't official.

    2) even if you're allowing point number 1, you still run into the problem that you're spending a feat for really weak melee capabilities. i mean, less weak than without polearm mastery and shillelagh, but still, weak. you're going to be making 2 melee attacks for 1d8 + 5 damage and 1d4 + 5 damage (there's an official clarification last i heard, shillelagh is overwritten by polearm mastery). and that is really weak. even if you allow d8 on the bonus action attack, it's still terrible. your damage output maxes out at almost a level 3 rogue with no feats and a pair of shortswords (the rogue does a bit better because if either of their attacks hit, they deal all their sneak attack damage) unless you use the more generous shillelagh rule, and even that only gets you barely better. it is well below a level 5 fighter with a greatsword, even without feats or archetype.

    so, yeah... for the price of a feat, you can do about as much damage at level 12 (8 for a variant human) as a level 3 rogue with no feats. i dunno about you, but i feel like i can do much better things with a feat than that.
    Last edited by SharkForce; 2017-04-27 at 02:02 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    1) technically that breaks down for spells with somatic components but no material components. that said, i for one think that rule is stupid and allow you to perform somatic components with a focus whether there are material components or not, and i think many others do too. but it isn't official.

    2) even if you're allowing point number 1, you still run into the problem that you're spending a feat for really weak melee capabilities. i mean, less weak than without polearm mastery and shillelagh, but still, weak. you're going to be making 2 melee attacks for 1d8 + 5 damage and 1d4 + 5 damage (there's an official clarification last i heard, shillelagh is overwritten by polearm mastery). and that is really weak. even if you allow d8 on the bonus action attack, it's still terrible. your damage output maxes out at almost a level 3 rogue with no feats and a pair of shortswords (the rogue does a bit better because if either of their attacks hit, they deal all their sneak attack damage) unless you use the more generous shillelagh rule, and even that only gets you barely better. it is well below a level 5 fighter with a greatsword, even without feats or archetype.

    so, yeah... for the price of a feat, you can do about as much damage at level 12 (8 for a variant human) to do as much damage as a level 3 rogue with no feats. i dunno about you, but i feel like i can do much better things with a feat than that.
    Right, but you're forgetting about everything else a druid can do. How many times as a druid do you cast produce flame? Every time you use produce flame you do 1d8, or 2d8, congrats you're doing less than half as much as a druid using shillelagh at level 1.

    I'm not saying it should be your primary focus, but my variant human will be just as strong in other areas an any other Druid, and on top of that, won't waste time with a 1d8 attack.

  15. - Top - End - #195
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodokai View Post
    Right, but you're forgetting about everything else a druid can do. How many times as a druid do you cast produce flame? Every time you use produce flame you do 1d8, or 2d8, congrats you're doing less than half as much as a druid using shillelagh at level 1.

    I'm not saying it should be your primary focus, but my variant human will be just as strong in other areas an any other Druid, and on top of that, won't waste time with a 1d8 attack.
    well, first off, it isn't less than half if i'm doing 1d8 and you're doing 1d8 + 3.

    secondly, both of those are things you do because it's better than doing nothing, and the situation doesn't call for a spell, so who cares if you wasted time on a 1d8 attack. if the situation calls for you to really throw your weight around, you're not using a shillelagh *or* produce flame, you're using call lightning, or entangle, or heat metal, or faerie fire, or whatever else. or, if you're a moon druid, at level 2 you get bear form and do that much damage with no feat at all, and it only increases from there.

    thirdly, by the time i hit level 11, my damage isn't far behind yours. 3d8, average 13.5, as compared to 1d4 + 1d8 + 8, average 15. your feat gained you a whole 1.5 extra damage, except you also currently have 1 lower attack bonus, one less spell prepared, and one lower spell DC, and you also have to be in melee while i can sit at range. at level 12, you match those things and get an extra 2 damage on your "i don't care enough to use any resources" action, and i get +4 (soon to be +5 in one more level) to con saves, or warcaster, or observant for +5 to passive perception, or alert so i can act first more often and can function better while blinded, or i've got the healer feat for major healing output on a short rest with no spell slots and infinite revives from 0 HP, or lucky for emergencies... there are just *so many* better options. even just +2 con sounds more useful than doing a tiny bit of extra damage that requires me to be in melee instead of range and costs a feat/ASI.

    i mean, if you desperately want to be a melee combat druid, i suppose that's a better option than shillelagh without polearm master. but i'm not convinced it's good. heck, if you want shillelagh + shield, go for shield expert. knocking an enemy prone sounds *way* more useful than an extra chance for 1d4 + 5 damage, and it comes with some defensive bonuses too.

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    I think Shillelagh druids really come into their own with the SCAG melee cantrips. The extra damage from those makes non-Wild Shape melee quite viable.
    Uh, i hate to be the "druids dont get access to the SCAG cantrips" guy, but uh, druids dont get access to the SCAG cantrips.

    Better to go arcana cleric and take MI - druid or go wood elf and take the new racial feat for shilellagh than go druid for shilellagh and get the the cantrips through an MC or feat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belltent View Post
    Uh, i hate to be the "druids dont get access to the SCAG cantrips" guy, but uh, druids dont get access to the SCAG cantrips.

    Better to go arcana cleric and take MI - druid or go wood elf and take the new racial feat for shilellagh than go druid for shilellagh and get the the cantrips through an MC or feat.
    I didn't say they could pick them, I said they got better with access and because I didn't feel like listing them all because I felt that the community was intelligent enough to think of how to pick those up without stating them, especially since such was stated earlier. Since the cantrips don't really scale with the casting stat (GFB gets some extra damage, but BB isn't affected at all), it doesn't matter where you get the cantrips from. Feats, dips, racial features, what have you.

    As for your second point... Did you read the title of the thread? This is a guide for druids, and is discussing the viability of Shillelagh within the Druid class because some might want the other druid goodies while being a melee attacker. Saying "You would be better off being another class and picking up Shillelagh though a feat" is about as helpful as telling someone who wants to be a Rogue for Reliable Talent and is trying to figure out how to deal good damage and telling them to just be a Barbarian.
    Quote Originally Posted by krugaan
    All it takes is once:

    "Grandpa, tells us that story about the Ricalison the Great again!"

    Hours later...

    "... and that, kids, is how he conquered the world with dancing lights."

  18. - Top - End - #198
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by RickAllison View Post
    I didn't say they could pick them, I said they got better with access and because I didn't feel like listing them all because I felt that the community was intelligent enough to think of how to pick those up without stating them, especially since such was stated earlier. Since the cantrips don't really scale with the casting stat (GFB gets some extra damage, but BB isn't affected at all), it doesn't matter where you get the cantrips from. Feats, dips, racial features, what have you.

    As for your second point... Did you read the title of the thread? This is a guide for druids, and is discussing the viability of Shillelagh within the Druid class because some might want the other druid goodies while being a melee attacker. Saying "You would be better off being another class and picking up Shillelagh though a feat" is about as helpful as telling someone who wants to be a Rogue for Reliable Talent and is trying to figure out how to deal good damage and telling them to just be a Barbarian.
    Apologies for joining in on a conversation. Won't happen again, good sir/ma'am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    well, first off, it isn't less than half if i'm doing 1d8 and you're doing 1d8 + 3.
    1d8 = 4.5
    1D8+3 + 1D4+3 = 13
    You're right it's almost 1/3 the damage(2 attacks with PAM)
    or if you want to go level 5
    1D8+3 + 1D3+4 = 13, to your 9, so that's about 1.5x less, and that's still comparing level your 10 to my level 1.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    secondly, both of those are things you do because it's better than doing nothing, and the situation doesn't call for a spell, so who cares if you wasted time on a 1d8 attack.
    Which is exactly my point. You seem to be okay with throw away actions, I'm not.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    if the situation calls for you to really throw your weight around, you're not using a shillelagh *or* produce flame, you're using call lightning, or entangle, or heat metal, or faerie fire, or whatever else. or, if you're a moon druid, at level 2 you get bear form and do that much damage with no feat at all, and it only increases from there.
    Which you can still do, again my contention is that PAM+ shillelagh is a better option than Produce Flame, especially at lower level.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    thirdly, by the time i hit level 11, my damage isn't far behind yours. 3d8, average 13.5, as compared to 1d4 + 1d8 + 8, average 15. your feat gained you a whole 1.5 extra damage,
    Nice of you to stop at level 11, that's true, until we hit level 12 when my damage is almost 4 points higher, just like it was from level 1-10. You're also not figuring in the Opportunity Attacks PAM will make very easy to get adding another 1d8+5 at level 12. Add Thorn Whip and those OA become much more likely.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    except you also currently have 1 lower attack bonus, one less spell prepared, and one lower spell DC, and you also have to be in melee while i can sit at range. at level 12, you match those things and get an extra 2 damage on your "i don't care enough to use any resources" action, and i get +4 (soon to be +5 in one more level) to con saves, or warcaster, or observant for +5 to passive perception, or alert so i can act first more often and can function better while blinded, or i've got the healer feat for major healing output on a short rest with no spell slots and infinite revives from 0 HP, or lucky for emergencies... there are just *so many* better options. even just +2 con sounds more useful than doing a tiny bit of extra damage that requires me to be in melee instead of range and costs a feat/ASI.
    Except none of that, because I will have the exact same stats as you. When you go Variant Human (and that's all I've talked about) you have to use it for a feat, so there is no +2 con. I can also sit at range, the difference being, that I'm not screwed if the baddies don't follow my plan and close with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    i mean, if you desperately want to be a melee combat druid, i suppose that's a better option than shillelagh without polearm master. but i'm not convinced it's good. heck, if you want shillelagh + shield, go for shield expert. knocking an enemy prone sounds *way* more useful than an extra chance for 1d4 + 5 damage, and it comes with some defensive bonuses too.
    And again, you're missing the point, it's your back up option, and it's not a "chance" at 1d4+5, it IS an extra 1d4+5, and if they try to close with you, it will be 2d8+10 + 1d4+5.

    I mean I'm done arguing the point, as a Variant Human, you're not losing anything, and gaining quite a bit.

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    It's a fine option it's just not "strong". A druid's power comes largely from their concentration spells. By playing a front line druid without the war caster and/or resilient (con) feat you risk losing your concentration (and HP) every time you get hit.

    And another reason why this option is not "strong" (p.s. I'm not saying it's not viable or even not "good") is because a standard moon druid will generally outperform as a front liner just by utilizing wildshape, both in terms of damage and survivability.


    Anyway none of this says your build isn't cool or fun or viable, it just says that from an optimization viewpoint, it is not ideal.

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Jodokai View Post
    1d8 = 4.5
    1D8+3 + 1D4+3 = 13
    You're right it's almost 1/3 the damage(2 attacks with PAM)
    or if you want to go level 5
    1D8+3 + 1D3+4 = 13, to your 9, so that's about 1.5x less, and that's still comparing level your 10 to my level 1.


    Which is exactly my point. You seem to be okay with throw away actions, I'm not.


    Which you can still do, again my contention is that PAM+ shillelagh is a better option than Produce Flame, especially at lower level.


    Nice of you to stop at level 11, that's true, until we hit level 12 when my damage is almost 4 points higher, just like it was from level 1-10. You're also not figuring in the Opportunity Attacks PAM will make very easy to get adding another 1d8+5 at level 12. Add Thorn Whip and those OA become much more likely.


    Except none of that, because I will have the exact same stats as you. When you go Variant Human (and that's all I've talked about) you have to use it for a feat, so there is no +2 con. I can also sit at range, the difference being, that I'm not screwed if the baddies don't follow my plan and close with me.


    And again, you're missing the point, it's your back up option, and it's not a "chance" at 1d4+5, it IS an extra 1d4+5, and if they try to close with you, it will be 2d8+10 + 1d4+5.

    I mean I'm done arguing the point, as a Variant Human, you're not losing anything, and gaining quite a bit.
    ah ok. so for the first few levels, your damage is meaningfully higher, if and only if you're a variant human and you spend your feat on being a teensy bit more effective for those first few levels.

    frankly, if you want more usefulness at low levels, i recommend you pick a feat that helps at low levels, and scales better. like healer. you now have what amounts to an incredibly powerful action at low levels available to you on a short rest (at level 1, a 1d6 + 5 heal is insanely powerful, and the ability to semi-infinitely heal people from 0 to 1 is also very strong). you don't need to risk being on the front line, the action is much higher impact than a small damage boost that fades into irrelevance by the time you're level 5 where you will almost always have better options available to you, and the heal will still be useful clear through to level 20.

    also, you don't get to make opportunity attacks because of thorn whip. only the target moving with their own "movement action" (for lack of a better term) triggers opportunity attacks. if you get any opportunity attacks from people approaching you at all (which you might, but you might not), it will probably be once or twice, and that's it. polearm master is good for taking a good action (full attack on a combat class) and making it just a little bit better. it can also take a lousy attack and make it slightly less lousy, but that's of questionable value; it is still basically a wasted action. you're paying a feat for the privilege of doing damage comparable to a level 3 rogue, and less than a level 5 damage-dealing class of any variety, and you never get that investment back. it costs you, because that feat could have been any number of other feats, and some of those feats have lasting value instead of a very brief period of being kinda decent.

    and yes, as a spellcaster i'm comfortable with sometimes doing very little so that i can sometimes do a whole awful lot. that's the name of the game as a spellcaster. giving up something that can help me be more effective in crunch situations (and there are certainly a few ways you can spend a feat to get better in crunch situations) so that i can instead be slightly more effective when it doesn't matter doesn't sound like a wise investment to me, on a druid or otherwise. shillelagh, with or without polearm mastery, is a filler action, just like any other cantrip. you use it so that you still feel like a druid instead of feeling like a commoner.

  22. - Top - End - #202
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    I don't know why people seem to think that PAM & shillelagh is such a great set of options for druids, the benefit is negligible after the early levels & both require giving up something strong (ie attacking from range, a shield/casting before warcaster, moondruid combat/elemental wildshape, etc) for what is a pretty minor improvement over the more reasonable & less costly "this situation does not call for expending resources guys" options like produce flame.

    I think the desire might be due to fond memories over 3.5's version of the spell where it gave an enhancement bonus and considerably raised the damage on a quarterstaff by making it count as two sizes larger
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Very thorough guide, nice! Some questions / things. I din't read trough 7 pages of post, sorry if something was adressed earlier.


    - the lay-out: it would be much easier to read of you could add the races from volo and SCAG to the 'races', same for all other additions. Now, somebody who looks for a race, spell, or something, might miss it because it's added to the bottom of the handbook.

    - Races: variant human. You can pick the stats you need (+1 wis / +1 con or dex), and can pick a feat. That's at least good, isn't it?

    - Races tiefling/fire genasi. How can fire genasi be rated decent, mostly because of fire resistance, and tiefling bad? Tiefling has other strong abilities, like the spells (aside from the great variants in SCAG, inclusing a flying one, and one that increases dex).

    - cantrips: guidance. In my games, this is a game defining cantrip. It gets used every time somebody scales a cliff, searches for secret doors, disables a trap, tries to find a trap, tries to recall significant information, makes a disguise.... it gets into play at least 10 times per sessions, and can be life saving / adventure defining (yes or no setting of a trap, or finding the secret door that bypasses a difficult part of the dungeon, etc.). Great stuff, in my book. I understand what you saying about animal form / long time concentration spells, but even then, the rating it has strikes me as low.

    - spells (land druid): lighting bolt. Very strong area effect spell, the druid has nothing like it at this level. That's a great additon to a spell list, because it adds versatility.

    - spells (land druid): cone of cold. Same as "lighting bolt".

    - spells (land druid): misty step. Great stuff, again, as far as I'm concerned. Only a bonus action, great panic button, and the druid list lacks other decent teleports (until the lvl 5 tree stride).

    - spells (land druid): mirror image. One of the best defensive spells, stacks with everything, no concentration. That's better than 'decent'?

  24. - Top - End - #204
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by Waazraath View Post
    Very thorough guide, nice! Some questions / things. I din't read trough 7 pages of post, sorry if something was adressed earlier.
    @ Waazraath: Thank you very much for the comments and the praise! I appreciate the feedback very much. As for the cases of going back to already mentioned stuff, I'll just restate what I've said before. It's been a while anyway.

    - the lay-out: it would be much easier to read of you could add the races from volo and SCAG to the 'races', same for all other additions. Now, somebody who looks for a race, spell, or something, might miss it because it's added to the bottom of the handbook.
    I agree with you. Unfortunately, there can only be a certain amount of characters in each post (50k IIRC), and the first post is just about full. But I could add some pointers towards the other race overviews, like Iíve done with beasts and fey. Itís stopgap measure, of course. Eventually Iíll have to remake and relocate the guide. Just not a job Iím looking forward to.

    - Races: variant human. You can pick the stats you need (+1 wis / +1 con or dex), and can pick a feat. That's at least good, isn't it?
    The merits of the various races is often debated. Iíve previously run this comparison between VHuman and the Wood Elf.

    VHumans get +1 to two different stats. That'd likely be +1 wis and +1 con or dex.
    Wood elves get +1 to wisdom, +2 to dex.
    Prettty even so far.

    VHumans get a free skill proficiency.
    Wood elves get proficiency in what is possibly the most used skill for anyone: Perception.
    Again, pretty close.

    VHumans get an extra feat.
    Wood elves get darkvision, 35' base move, trance, resistance to charm, immunity to sleep, proficiency in some weapons, and the ability to hide more effectively behind natural effects.

    Bottom line is that wood elves get more stuff. VHumans get more flexible stuff. So how good are feats for druids? Druids don't have feats along the usefulness of Great Weapon Master for a barbarian or Heavy Armor Master for a low level paladin. Feats are good for a druid, but they do not turn things upside down for them the way they do for many other classes. And let's not forget that if feats are in play, eventually the non-human druid will also get the best feats.

    All in all, humans are very similar to the usefulness of dwarves, elves and gnomes. I think that rating one of them higher than the other might be true in strict cases (human moon druid from level 1-3 e.g.), but actually misleading. They are too close to usefully call, particularly when you consider the DM-dependence of such abilities as Trance (Is that a Long Rest in 4 hours?) and Mask of the Wild (How often does it come up? How does stealth work exactly?).
    Suffice it to say, I personally prefer playing a wood elf over a variant human just from a mechanical standpoint.


    - Races tiefling/fire genasi. How can fire genasi be rated decent, mostly because of fire resistance, and tiefling bad? Tiefling has other strong abilities, like the spells (aside from the great
    variants in SCAG, inclusing a flying one, and one that increases dex).
    I agree that theyíre pretty close. The difference in rating pretty much comes down to their stat increases. The tiefling gets cha and int, while the fire genasi at least gets int and con. The SCAG variants get their say in the Sword Coast Musings, and they can indeed increase the usefulness of the mechanics.

    - cantrips: guidance. In my games, this is a game defining cantrip. It gets used every time somebody scales a cliff, searches for secret doors, disables a trap, tries to find a trap, tries to recall significant information, makes a disguise.... it gets into play at least 10 times per sessions, and can be life saving / adventure defining (yes or no setting of a trap, or finding the secret door that bypasses a difficult part of the dungeon, etc.). Great stuff, in my book. I understand what you saying about animal form / long time concentration spells, but even then, the rating it has strikes me as low.
    I think the reason I weigh heavily that others seem not to weigh so much is that I like to have a bunch of minions about me, or perhaps some spell like Pass Without Trace, and they require my concentration. I also play in campaigns where casting spells in public is an alarming thing to do most of the time, so there are a lot of times when using cantrips for minor stuff will make the situation worse.

    - spells (land druid): lighting bolt. Very strong area effect spell, the druid has nothing like it at this level. That's a great additon to a spell list, because it adds versatility.

    - spells (land druid): cone of cold. Same as "lighting bolt".
    I rate direct damage spells only so-so in general, seeing as how they do just the one thing. Lightning bolt and Cone of Cold have interesting AoEs as you note, but they also have some of the more resisted damage types (not as bad as poison, but about on par with fire). All in all, I come out at about green for them.

    - spells (land druid): misty step. Great stuff, again, as far as I'm concerned. Only a bonus action, great panic button, and the druid list lacks other decent teleports (until the lvl 5 tree stride).
    I do rate it blue. Itís great when you need it, but you can go for sessions and sessions and not need it, so I donít go all the way to bold blue.

    - spells (land druid): mirror image. One of the best defensive spells, stacks with everything, no concentration. That's better than 'decent'?
    Mirror Image is one where I just canít seem to get on the same page as everyone else in the forum. When thinking about it and when seeing it in play, it just doesnít cut it as a great spell for me. The duration is too short, so you probably canít cast it between fights, and for that action and the spell slot, you get protection that only really works well against single-target, slow-hitting enemies. Against a group of enemies, youíre better off just Dodging. Sometimes youíll lose images to a blow that would have missed you, which is just galling. Since druids routinely wear armour and shield, this makes a difference in the ACs.
    I suppose itís a spell that gets better at higher levels? Being able to stop a Titanís blow as well as a goblinís arrow? Though at higher levels, you can do even more with an action, and might be expected to make those actions count towards ending the encounter. And once you get above a CR of 5 or 6, monsters just have multiple attacks. Even the T-rex gets two attacks.
    The wording of how you lose images is a little confusing, too. Are you running it so that AoE damage might not affect the Mirror Imageíd caster? Or that it isnít an automatic loss of all images? I donít, and that may account for our difference in perspective.
    At any rate, I hear your opinion, and note that Iím in a minority. But I canít in good conscience rate it higher than green.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook - My D&D 5th ed. Campaign Wiki

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    @ Waazraath: Thank you very much for the comments and the praise! I appreciate the feedback very much. As for the cases of going back to already mentioned stuff, I'll just restate what I've said before. It's been a while anyway.


    I agree with you. Unfortunately, there can only be a certain amount of characters in each post (50k IIRC), and the first post is just about full. But I could add some pointers towards the other race overviews, like Iíve done with beasts and fey. Itís stopgap measure, of course. Eventually Iíll have to remake and relocate the guide. Just not a job Iím looking forward to.


    The merits of the various races is often debated. Iíve previously run this comparison between VHuman and the Wood Elf.

    VHumans get +1 to two different stats. That'd likely be +1 wis and +1 con or dex.
    Wood elves get +1 to wisdom, +2 to dex.
    Prettty even so far.

    VHumans get a free skill proficiency.
    Wood elves get proficiency in what is possibly the most used skill for anyone: Perception.
    Again, pretty close.

    VHumans get an extra feat.
    Wood elves get darkvision, 35' base move, trance, resistance to charm, immunity to sleep, proficiency in some weapons, and the ability to hide more effectively behind natural effects.

    Bottom line is that wood elves get more stuff. VHumans get more flexible stuff. So how good are feats for druids? Druids don't have feats along the usefulness of Great Weapon Master for a barbarian or Heavy Armor Master for a low level paladin. Feats are good for a druid, but they do not turn things upside down for them the way they do for many other classes. And let's not forget that if feats are in play, eventually the non-human druid will also get the best feats.

    All in all, humans are very similar to the usefulness of dwarves, elves and gnomes. I think that rating one of them higher than the other might be true in strict cases (human moon druid from level 1-3 e.g.), but actually misleading. They are too close to usefully call, particularly when you consider the DM-dependence of such abilities as Trance (Is that a Long Rest in 4 hours?) and Mask of the Wild (How often does it come up? How does stealth work exactly?).
    Suffice it to say, I personally prefer playing a wood elf over a variant human just from a mechanical standpoint.



    I agree that theyíre pretty close. The difference in rating pretty much comes down to their stat increases. The tiefling gets cha and int, while the fire genasi at least gets int and con. The SCAG variants get their say in the Sword Coast Musings, and they can indeed increase the usefulness of the mechanics.


    I think the reason I weigh heavily that others seem not to weigh so much is that I like to have a bunch of minions about me, or perhaps some spell like Pass Without Trace, and they require my concentration. I also play in campaigns where casting spells in public is an alarming thing to do most of the time, so there are a lot of times when using cantrips for minor stuff will make the situation worse.


    I rate direct damage spells only so-so in general, seeing as how they do just the one thing. Lightning bolt and Cone of Cold have interesting AoEs as you note, but they also have some of the more resisted damage types (not as bad as poison, but about on par with fire). All in all, I come out at about green for them.


    I do rate it blue. Itís great when you need it, but you can go for sessions and sessions and not need it, so I donít go all the way to bold blue.


    Mirror Image is one where I just canít seem to get on the same page as everyone else in the forum. When thinking about it and when seeing it in play, it just doesnít cut it as a great spell for me. The duration is too short, so you probably canít cast it between fights, and for that action and the spell slot, you get protection that only really works well against single-target, slow-hitting enemies. Against a group of enemies, youíre better off just Dodging. Sometimes youíll lose images to a blow that would have missed you, which is just galling. Since druids routinely wear armour and shield, this makes a difference in the ACs.
    I suppose itís a spell that gets better at higher levels? Being able to stop a Titanís blow as well as a goblinís arrow? Though at higher levels, you can do even more with an action, and might be expected to make those actions count towards ending the encounter. And once you get above a CR of 5 or 6, monsters just have multiple attacks. Even the T-rex gets two attacks.
    The wording of how you lose images is a little confusing, too. Are you running it so that AoE damage might not affect the Mirror Imageíd caster? Or that it isnít an automatic loss of all images? I donít, and that may account for our difference in perspective.
    At any rate, I hear your opinion, and note that Iím in a minority. But I canít in good conscience rate it higher than green.
    I agree on variant human for the same reason. Even though there are some great feats you can take as a druid, few/none of them are like taking GWF or something for a fighter/barbarian type & there is not really much of an "ooh, I can't decide between all these feats" because of the interplay with their wording & wildshape often nullifying them during the shift (tough, anything with weapons, etc). Variant Humans offer some interestting options that can get a jump start on but it's rarely going to be a night & day difference between two druids only due to the of the feat/not feat because so many of the races offer nifty things.

    Although I do feel that Kobold should jump from green to blue for moon druids because the wording nixes any vision benefits/penalties of the base race (including sunlight sensitivity) & maintains racial benefits (pack tactics) in wildshape. In base form, all it does is drop you to a single d20 since advantage & disadvantage cancel out as long as an ally is within 5' of the target.

    I think all of the rahrah "mirror image is awesome" is a result of "it's freaking awesome for wizard/sorcerer/etc in no/light armor w/ d4/d6 hp & no significant ways to heal themselves". Druids have much better AC (medium+shield) & looots of ways to make a foe get stuck somewhere they won't be hitting anyone. It is a good spell yes, but it does not protect an area that druids are as vulnerable as everyone else casting it.
    • Murder the Hoonbeam Honeyblossom druid stereotype, read & PEACH My Front line druid guide Good for land and moon circle druids. Last major update 5/05/17

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    Question Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Hey, great guide!

    I'm just starting to look at the Druid class, and i have a question:
    Does the uses of Wild Shape really remain 2 until lv 20 with Archdruid?
    There's no table of scaling but it looks so... lackluster if that's the case.
    Last edited by AlanDjayce; 2017-07-09 at 02:38 PM.

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanDjayce View Post
    Hey, great guide!

    I'm just starting to look at the Druid class, and i have a question:
    Does the uses of Wild Shape really remain 2 until lv 20 with Archdruid?
    There's no table of scaling but it looks so... lackluster if that's the case.
    Yep, it sure does! Note that the length of time the character can remain 'shaped increases with level AND recovers on a short rest.

    See "Beast Shapes" on page 66 of the PH for scaling.

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by EíTallitnics View Post
    Yep, it sure does! Note that the length of time the character can remain 'shaped increases with level AND recovers on a short rest.

    See "Beast Shapes" on page 66 of the PH for scaling.
    Sure, but since you can't cast into Beast Shape, it seems that to remain in that form for too long would be more restrictive than advantegeous.
    And Polymorph allows acess to beasts of greater CR in smaller levels. Hell, you can polymorph into a T-rex at lv 8 while the Moon Druid Beast Shape never gets there.
    (Even considering that Polymorph also change your mental stats, it's kinda of sad.)

    A higher number of uses is more a consolation prize, really.
    Am i missing something?
    Last edited by AlanDjayce; 2017-07-09 at 03:40 PM.

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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanDjayce View Post
    Am i missing something?
    Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you're finding the guide useful.

    If you're thinking that moon druids should be spending most of their combats fighting in wild shapes, then that's where you're wrong. At certain times, especially levels 2-4, wild shapes can do very well for moon druids in terms of fighting prowess. But as spells become more and more powerful as levels go up, there needs to be a balancing factor. If the wild shapes were as good at fighting as fighters, and the druid to add to that had full spell casting, they'd be far more powerful than fighters in addition to being far more versatile (which they are with or without wild shape). So wild shapes are purposefully less powerful for fighting. You'd get a better comparison to e.g. fighters at level 10, when you get acccess to elemental wild shapes, but even then you'd still not be able to outfight the fighter (though you'd be able to do lots of other awesome stuff with those shapes), but it tails off again after that.

    As for comparing Polymorph to Wild Shape, it's very important to keep Concentration in mind. Polymorph can end prematurely at any moment the druid takes damage on a bad Concentration save. And a wild shaped druid could still be concentrating on some other spell, like Conjure X, or Heat Metal, or Wall of Fire. In addition, with polymorph your mental stats switch to those of the beast with all that entails of bad checks, saves and roleplaying differences. And the spell is vulnerable to Dispel Magic, Silence, and the like, and cast as an action, where the moon druid shifts as a bonus action.
    That's not to say that Polymorph, right when first gotten at least, can't be more powerful than Wild Shape. But they are two different options, with different consequences.
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    Default Re: 5e Druid Handbook - Land & Moon

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Thanks for the compliment! I'm glad you're finding the guide useful.
    Oh, i see.
    Barkskin + Wild shape seems nice.
    There's also the whole "you keep your proeficience and add any proeficience the beast shape has" that can't be said to the Polymorph.
    And healing as a bonus action.

    Nice, i think i'll go moon druid next.

    Thanks! o/

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