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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2010

    Default Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Index
    The guide is made up of 5 posts:
    • Post 1: Some introduction, viability check, spells by save/attack type, rating color key, your staple damage spells
    • Post2: the three available paths, a little about base form ac, a little about wildshape mount path options, & multiclassing
    • Post3: Feats, Skills, Backgrounds
    • Post4: PHB & Volo's races, Other druid guides, some quick rider build suggestions.
    • Post 5: Summaries of spells, Thanks
    • Why is this broken up in all these posts? The message board places a limit on how long a single post can be (around 50,000 characters) & more than one of the posts are just barely shy of the 50k cap. if another setting/volo's style book comes out, tis would almost certainly need to be reposted into a new thread with 6+ posts claimed for the guide


    Mea Culpa
    When I first started this ever evolving guide, I was trying to focus on the "meat & potatoes" as they say. I was surprised at the number of people who consider the summary I scroll past to get to them was so critically important. Ta-dah!

    Druids operate in a weird limbo of a full divine caster that forks down a couple roads. Like cleric, those roads involve a more caster centric role vrs a more up close & personal capable role. People tend to forget that either way they are a full caster & abandoning that is problematic.
    Spoiler: So... What's wrong with making an amazing bear?
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    So... "What's wrong with making an amazing bear?" Is the obvious question. You can see a full list of well summarized beasts in Hymer's guide here, since I don't disagree with those summaries, there is no reason to repeat them. The problem with wildshape is subtle & less obvious than it would seem

    Up until level 9, there is a pretty good & varied selection of beast form options you can use for wildshape when things start to fall apart. At first the crumbling is disguised by elemental wildshape at 10. Unlike beast form wildshape, elemental wildshape does not scale... instead it lets you "transform into an airelemental, an earth elemental, a fire elemental, or a water elemental."

    Being a 126 HP 17AC CR5 Large earth elemental with +5 to hit & resistance to nonmagic weapons is pretty awesome at level 10 fighting a swarm of nonmagic weapon bearing goblins; but you will see less & less nonmagic weapon/their equivalent bearing foes as you continue. The fact that the elemental uses both charges of wildshape removes the hp sponge capability displayed early with moon druids & bears too.
    being a 126HP 12AC CR6 Huge Mammoth with +10 to hit at 18 or that same elemental is undeniably less awesome if you ignored your casting. Pair that with the peak & canyon seesaw progression of wildshape along the way & you should be seeing the trouble.

    The guide is built to help make sure you as a druid are aware of other viable options to give you flexibility when wildshape is stumbling or just poor for the situation. Originally it focused on the role of a caster able to confidently stand their ground when sharp pointy objects are heading their way; but there was some disappointment that it did not cover other good choices like a specialized independent mount


    Spoiler: Independent Mount?
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    Page 198 of the PHB explains this term that seems wildly obscure & esoteric given the rarity of things like players getting a fricking dragon for a mount; but it's not nearly that odd. A druid in wildshape meets every criteria for an independent mount once a buddy climbs on & mounts up. In the process, they both gain some great benefits.

    The first benefit for the rider is that their mount doesn't need to be a 19 hp 400gp warhorse that dies to any fireball even with save for half. The other benefits to being on a mount are pretty well known, mode detailed later, & not needed for this summary.

    To the wildshaped druid mount, you move & attack like normal with no impediment from your rider friend. If your friend has fighting style:Protection, they can use a reaction to impose disadvantage on attack rolls against you! If your friend is a rogue.... "You donít need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it" say hello to all sneak attack all the time. If your friend is a paladin level 6 or higher, you get their awesome aura all the time. If your friend is a paladin & your gm reads the "might allow other..." Section of find steed to apply to a willing druid, you both get lots of cool benefits. That says nothing about the awesome fun a feat or two allows you both. Just don't forget your spellcasting!
    .

    Spoiler: doing damage & more
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    I'm not going to get into a long rehash of "by the way, moonbeam/call lightning/flaming sphere are pretty cool guys"; because that's no big secret. Ihis is going to be about how you will typically deal damage & effectively function within a group on long days that end with a "Y" (For the google translated... in English, every day of the week ends in a "y"). Utility & stuff will be in another section

    As with any character with multiple ways to deal damage, you will need to take into account the damage type & save type that works best for you & the situation. I've broken it down into a list of damage spell sorted by their save/attack type, a quick summary on the great cantrips you can get as a druid, & a list with all the spells levels 1-9 summarized with some great obvious & less obvious uses for those spells. Don't forget to check out the shifting roles to help you leap from the mindset of managing opponents with things like trip, shove, grapple, & other in your face options vrs doing it with the great tools in your toolbox as a druid.

    Color Scheme
    • [/B]
    • You definitely need this or possibly an equivalent
    • This can be very good, but situations can vary. There is no one size fits all solution
    • This is good. It will regularly be useful, though it won't provide many tactical choices.
    • This is ok. It might be great sometimes, but it doesn't stand significantly above or below other similar options.
    • Bad. It will be extremely rare that it's useful at all.
    • Awful. Admiral ackbar should be shouting you know what if your about to write this down
    • Regardless of color, anything underlined has the potential to significantly enhance something else. Even if this is Awful. There may be situations where it is both reasonable and/or good
    • If something is listed in two places (I.e. damage spells by save & spells), it might only be colored in one.


    Spoiler: so why not just make a nature cleric?
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    First off, I need to preface this with a bit about clerics, paladins, &druids.
    • Clerics are a d8 hit die medium armor magic using class with minor specializations in close combat (channel divinity, divine strike, etc) and depending on domain another area of specialization that may or may not overlap/enhance one of those areas
    • Paladins are a d10 hit die heavy armor class with specializations that grant minor spellcasting & one other area depending on oath.
    • Druids are also a d8 medium armor magic using class with a functional close combat capability that pales in comparison to their attack cantrips & a choice between specializations to focus on up close combat/versatility wildshape or one of several spellcasting specializations.


    Each of those classes can choose to specialize through skill & feat choices to improve existing aspects and/or bring a poor/functional aspect up into the realm of pretty decent to quite/extremely good. There are all kinds of guides floating out in the ether for building & optimizing clerics towards different roles, and nobody has a second thought when they hear things like "My cleric is setup for front line combat" OR "my arcane trickster/eldritch knight/arcane domain cleric/etc is pretty effective at wizardy stuff"; but say the same about a druid doing doing druidy stuff & modest yet respectable & steady damage as a tankly front lines type without ending the statement along the lines if "as a bear/mammoth... until 12 or so when it starts to slide" & people lose their Yarking **** while perhaps starting to froth at the mouth if you suggest that doing otherwise is not only possible but an extremely reasonable process.

    Like the Cleric guides, there are a good number of guides for various aspects of druidry. A good number of those guides focus heavily on effectively squeezing the most out of wildshape & the like with possible vague notes about how other specialized classes start overtaking wildshape's party gap filler capabilities; but I've chosen to go a different way with this one because even if you specialize on a particular gap, you are still going to pale compared to the specialized specialist. The reason for the alternate direction on druidry is because I see a lot of people who think druids are great until 12ish when they start to decline or make claims how they are like other casters; but truth be told front line druids are very much not like other casters & are more like valor bards, eldritch knights, arcane tricksters, etc that start with solid melee capabilities & add some niche magic. So stop thinking druids are all long bearded hermits in robes & read on.

    Druids start functionally as sort of a weird mix between cleric & wizard with d8 hit die, medium armor, capable healing, semicapable damage spells, lots of utility spells & god awful melee skills that never get better. In case that wasn't clear enough there, on a good day, your melee proficiencies are about as useful at hacking down a wooden door as a finesse rogue vrs that same door. Yes you can do some awesome melee stuff while wildshaped; but that doesn't keep up so well because you are a full caster & your casting massively blooms about the time everyone else is catching up to or roaring past those wildshapes. That's not to say those wildshapes aren't great at gapfilling; but competent gapfill is different from skilled & specialized.

    Starting with the most important part of "should I play a front line druid", I'll get into an area some consider to be somewhat controversial. Sadly, it's imperative to ask your gm if he or she will even let you play a druid not fitting the mold of dawnflower honeyblossom the tree hugger.

    I'll go over a great many things in the guide; but it's not a map to a specific build, don't confuse it as such. Just because something has the potential to be good/bad & is listed as that, it's not always going to be the case as the situations, group makeup, any your own personal preferences will place their thumbs on the rating scale for you.


    Spoiler: So what's front line mean?
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    It has recently become oddly trendy to argue about things like what the meaning of "is" is. The first 10 or so pages of "discussion" in this thread transparently display just how trendy it is.

    "Front line has no particular meaning. It doesn't mean tank, meatshield, or otherwise; but it also means that you are able to deal steady respectable damage while being able to not immediately fear for your life just because something walks up wanting to hit you. If there's a need, you can comfortably interpose yourself between a pointy stabby critter & a more glass cannon type of party member/thorn whip something 10 feet so your buddy can

    do their own pointy stabby thing & move rather than having to use disengage/avoid doing either by keeping foes contained with battlefield control while other individual threats are focused on by your group. Nothing is a one size fits all solution, even Og the barbarian needs to think about their options by doing things like switching to something else if his target is immune to the slash damage his greataxe does . Flaming sphere & moonbeam are great spells capable of providing a nice bump to your damage output, but if you use the dex save flaming sphere against high dex critters or con save moonbeam against high con ones they will seem pretty awful.


    How do I do all that in studded leather, or even worse hide?

    That's pretty simple & there are really two things you want to listen for when you ask your GM "can my druid wear metal armor" (which iscalled out as fine here). The best thing you can hear is along the lines of "pff yea, the no metal thing is stupid". Failing that, it might be ok if you hear something like "no.... but nonmetal armor is common" If you get something less agreeeable, I suggest one of the other 11 classes or finding a gm, the AL section below gets into the obnoxious whys of the matter.

    But wait.. I play in AL, there's no way the first two will fly there... right?
    Spoiler: Wearing armor, can you -really- do it?... or is it just hypothetical
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    There are quite a few options for druid in AL & a thread that is collecting a bunch here. The unfortunate thing is that they all rely on one of two ridiculous, obnoxious, and/or unreasonable hurdles to be met. Because of how obnoxious they are, & how "It's rare" (also explained below) I focus the guide around the assumption of 1:Your gm says things like "sure" on metal armor or 2: "no but it's common"
    • AL allows you to trade magic items with some restrictions in the ALPHB. If you can get a suit of magic nonmetal armor with one character & then an equivalent tier magic item on your druid, you can trade them. Unfortunately, we all know how that works in MMO's when someone wants to give $Rarething to their alt instead of letting you have it to use yourself. Rules for that situation if you are a druid across the table from the person with the alt or the person with the alt sitting across the table from the guy who wants to use $thing that you just want so you can trade it are in the ALDMG.
    • Start a druid & build for it; but keep playing in hopes of doing one of the few specific adventures that include one of the (non)magic nonmetal armors and you don't get overruled by someone else. STK103 has a nonmagic stone breastplate seemingly identical in every way to the base breastplate on phb145 but 25% more expensive; but there is not currently any allowed way to get it other than have a reason to know of/visit One Stone and have your GM spring that particular suggested encounter and not have someone else fight you for it and win it if they do.


    Either way, It's pretty obnoxious unless they add a way to buy it through your druid grove/faction/armor or stone smith type like the other 11 classes can buy usable base gear


    The absurd problems with getting that nonmetal armor for a druid in AL are related to why I didn't bother throwing out an option like "or ironwood or something". It's great if ironwood or something exists; but if the only way you will ever encounter it is if:
    • 1: The dm decides to roll on the minor property table on page 143 in the dmg for a piece of armor
    • 2: The dm rolls either a 13 or 20 then 13
    • 3:after the dm rolls that 13, they decide through whatever means that the
      strange material is ironwood
    • 4 hope to all that is holy that the armor is not light armor, pray that the armor is one of the 4 nonhide medium armors or 4 heavy armors and is so nice that you can justify doing something to get heavy armor proficiency.


    Because it's trivial for "oh yea nonmetal options exists, but are rare" to turn into what effectively amounts to "does not exist", I avoided directing people into that trap with some warning signs to be aware of by only mentioning "nonmetal exists & is common after the yes you can use metal.

    In my experience over the years, the types of people most likely to say no to those sort of requests rather than something like "no, but what about..." are also most likely to be huge fans of using random generation of treasure far more than is reasonable resulting in all the 3.5 "our party wiped because our GM does not believe in giving out useful nonrandom loot & we were all woefully ill equipped, how do we make him understand his mistake" type of threads from the past. That's why I did not gently entertain the idea & bluntly gave clear direct warnings to a player going in on a dangerous assumption.



    Spoiler: No & Rare is the same as doesn't exist... Find out if you will be denied the vast majority of the armor in the game
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    This one is pretty simple. There are 12 types of armor plus shields. 8 of those +the shield you are proficient with as soon as you write "druid" on your character sheet. 4 of those 8 can be in metal or nonmetal varieties. You can pickup the remaining four metal armor variants by taking the heavy armor feat or appropriately multiclassing just as any of the other 11 classes can. This is critically important because some people seem to think it's critical that druids never wear metal armor as a holdover based on older editions & dead mechanics of some spells & abilities that were capable of being more than a bit broken when paired with those better armors. These sorts of sacred cows were almost universally slaughtered in fifth edition for every class. everyone had the broken spells & abilities fixed, the sacred cow of metal armor wear revoking all druid powers for 24 hours was shot in the head; but unfortunately the bullet missed the brain & the sacred cow was left squealing "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of Metal" on the ground. If you talk to your gm & he or she says they think the "rule" is stupid so you can wear it just fine or "nonmetal medium/heavy armor is dirt common/the norm"... great, problem solved. front line druidry might be right for you!

    If you talk to your gm & get told no & that nonmetal variants are rare or uncommon... look at the other 11 classes & pick one of those, perhaps war cleric, eldritch knight, or arcane trickster. For more on why, I suggest this thread where several pages are devoted to weather or not it's acceptable for a gm to just shriek something like "it says will not, your druid will never want to, end of discussion" before devolving into all manner of ridiculous suggestions like multiclassing nature cleric to get the medium armor proficiency druids already have, if rare is effectively the same as none or not before picking back up over here here where the "but rare is totally different from 'effectively none so it's ok for me to mislead my players & their fault if they expect to take me at my word with not none being reasonably common'" crowd refuses to answer questions & eventually flees the topic entirely.
    The fact of the matter is that "if it's rare", it effectively means "you probably will never see anything better than the base stuff you buy in a town somewhere". If you have a good chance of seeing it, then it was never rare to begin with & the gm has either had a change of mind or is going to blame you for misinterpreting a technicality obfuscated to the point of practically being a lie if you take them at their word and go with a front line druid. This might seem ok, but when bob is putting on his third or so suit of magic medium/heavy armor & even the light armor folks have switched magic armors a couple times while you are still wearing the nonmetal nonmagic armor & shield that you bought 15+ levels ago it's a very different situation. Play a different class or find a different gm if they say no.

    Once again, Unless your gm says something like "pfft, sure, I think the no metal is stupid in 5th", prepare to play "moonbeam dawnflower, lover of trees" or even better pick some other class. "Can my druid wear metal armor" and getting "It's rare" is on par with a ranger asking a question like "I'm thinking of picking either giants or monstrosities for favored enemy, how common are they going to be/should I pick something else" and still getting told "I'm sure they exist, but not giving a list" without being told "I'm running ravenloft , you want undead y0!" When your coming up on 6th & getting ready to pick your rangger's second favored enemy. People having problems with a druid matching a cleric's AC is just sad & I suspect a holdover from earlier editions where druids built in ways that let them use full medium/heavy armor could be horrifically broken; but I honestly donít give a bleep & neither should you. Take it to another thread if you want to argue that point, may the mods be quick, merciless, & aggressive with moderation of this guide's thread.



    Spoiler: Shifting of roles the front line comfortability allows
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    Everyone knows the whole fighters & such can do things like grapple/trip/shove/etc to be "sticky", you shouldn't bother with any of that & don't generally need to be within 5' to do it. Don't worry.

    While some wildshape beast forms will have abilities to shove/knock things prone on a successful charge/attack, they usually have a laughably sad save dc & are just a nice occasional bonus you can sometimes get with to their charge/pounce.

    Instead of needing to be sticky, you have abilities to manage, control, & sculpt the battlefield to your party's advantage. The lines aren't always that clear since some spells can do more than one Some examples are below:
    • Control: Don't like how things are arranged?.. Change it. Drag that angry troll away from your wizard buddy Merlin with thorn whip so he can run his move speed away -and- burn the troll to cinders with a spell instead of disengage & run for his life.
    • Control: Gust of wind those goblins away from your buddy, send them all away down that hallway!
    • Sculpt:Don't like those archers/casters/etc hiding out in that defensive position near that evil magical artifact?... drop something like fog cloud on it & either significantly weaken their ability to aid their more up close allies or force them to stumble out away from the artifact so your barbarian friend Thog can safely crush them.
    • Sculpt: Don't like that bbeg using that lifedrinking weapon on your bud?... heat metal will make him hurt a lot or drop it in favor of some other attack method
    • Manage: Don't want those ogre guards running free? setup a spike growth/wall of thorns/wall of whatever to make difficult terrain that slowly funnels them towards Thog & your fighter friend Ben Grimm

    You won't always need to do that though. Sometimes being a big bear/elemental/mammoth/etc and/or casting cantrips is all that's needed for the party to handle that group of mooks to the point where even your buddy Merlin is just casting cantrips too.

    Other times you might feel like your best bet is to burn things down fast with a concentration based damage spell like moonbeam or flaming sphere alongside your cantrips since there isn't much managing/controlling/sculpting the situation warrants.

    Still other times, your best option might be running around in beast form with your fighting style:Protection fighter/paladin/ranger/etc or sneak attacking rogue buddy making great use of that mounted position with you, who cares if that plate armor wearing <15 strength only has a move speed of 20 when a friendly bear acting as an independent mount has 40.

    The important part is that you have fun & use the tools in your toolbox where they will be of good use



    Spoiler: Damage spells by save
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    Spoiler: ranged spell attacks
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    Produce Flame

    Spoiler: Melee spell attacks
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    Thorn Whip A great staple cantrip spell that allows you to manipulate the battlefield.
    Flame blade: Not a bad spell & does respectable damage, but it's a concentration spell.... wouldn't you rather concentrate on flaming sphere/moonbeam/call lightning while pelting with poison spray/thorn whip/produce flame to do both
    Shillelagh: IT'S A TRAP this cantrip does bot scale at all. Unless you are doing some weird monk/druid build for extra attacks with maxed wis/dex for ac but using that nonmagic holy avenger vorpal club of smiting or somethig... this does 1d8/attack & never gets better. By the way... did I mention... IT'S A TRAP

    Spoiler: Str save
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    Gust of wind: While it does no damage on its own... see that cliff 15 feet over that way monster monster?... meet my friend gravity. Gravity is 1d6/10' & does up to 20d6, not bad for a second level spell that can hit multiple foes. This one is underlined because it can cause massivedamage when paired with the right spell(s)/situation(s),
    Wind Wall: Unlike gust of wind, this one is straight forward d8's, save for half
    Control Water (Whirlpool option)
    Tsunami: save for half




    Spoiler: Con save
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    Moonbeam: Much like flaming sphere, but different save, different damage die, & different damage type. Save for half
    Thunderwave: Damage, knockback, & save for half
    Contagion: slimy doom option
    Insect Plague: save for half. low damage but lonnng duration without concentration requirement & nifty effects
    Sun Beam: Similar to moonbeam/flaming sphere/call lightning damage+blind. Save for no blind & half
    Blight: necromantic.
    Poison Spray:1d12-4d12 poison damage, save for none. 10' range.While both produce flame & thorn whip require a ranged/melee spell attack, this simply requires the vicim make a save to give you a vital secondary way or delivering cantrip damage.
    Heat metal save to drop held items or damage & disadvantage on attacks. no save or drop option for worn armor
    Sunburst: damage & blind, save for seeing & half

    Spoiler: Wis Save
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    Polymorph: Oops, sorry mister dragon... I guess frogs can't fly off that 200' cliff after all.... guess bob wins the bet & that looks like it hurt, but we are all healed up nice. Sorry that frog only had 1hp to buffer that 20d6 fall damage after we finished our rest & cut that string holding you over the cliff.

    Spoiler: Dex Saves
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    Wall of thorns: Victims need to move through it... but it says nothing about if that needs to be willing or not you can do lots of things to help really well with that. Thorn whip & gust of wind will take this 6th level spell & let you do some pretty horrific levels of damage to someone that really needs to be torn apart with slashing
    Fire storm: save for half
    Flaming sphere: A concentration based spell that you can pound things with as a bonus action while casting other cantrips/spells save for half
    Call Lightning: Much like moonbeam & flaming sphere save for half
    Wall of fire: save for half.
    Reverse Gravity: save for none
    Earthquake (fissures): save to avoid falling in 1d10x10 foot deep pits, but gm decides where they form & could be great, useless, or pyrrhicÖ. So beware
    Ice Storm: save for half

    Spoiler: Charisma save
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    Plane Shift: Hey there tall green & ugly, say hello to the plane of fire/water/insanity/etc.

    Spoiler: Special
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    Storm of Vengeance: many parts... Con for thunder & deaf, then no save acid, followed by dex Lightning, & finally cold w/ no save
    Giant Insect: Makes a critter to do your bidding
    Any spell such as conjure animals/conjure fey/conjure elemental lets you pull up a bunch of critters to run around anklebiting & maybe taking a hit here or there. Other guides have plenty on neat stuff you can summon with these. Some of the other guides go into great detail on things that you can do with these & repeating it would just add a second copy to be maintained & confuse if they diverge.
    Awaken: Plenty of "Hey gang, I want to introduce you to mister & misses cave bear & you already know the direwolf pack. Oh, by the way... we can ask that big oak tree to keep an eye on the front gates while we are out too " type fun to be had here. Even if you are not planning to play high enough for archdruid to matter, pushing this off hurts because of all the awesome you can do with it alonee & combined with spells like animal shapes.

    Confusion: While technically, this has a very small chance of dealing damage if the placements are right & you get lucky... If you are using this to deal damage, odds are good that you are already running away
    Animal Shapes: The awakened squirrel friends are now mammoths guys!

    Spoiler: They get nothing, there is no save for this!
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    Heat metal is a neat little spell that lets you do pretty nice damage and potentially force someone to drop a weapon, but if they are wearing metal armor there is no save & removing armor in combat is pretty much a big nono because it takes minutes.
    Hallucinatory terrain/Mirage arcane: aww, sorry about the lava & cliff dude, I replaced it with what looked like a dirt covered plane & I guess you didn't notice.




    Spoiler: Your Bread & butter damage output
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    Wildshape is always an option, for moon druids with a rider it's fantastic especially; but that peaks early & goes downhill as others get up to speed if you lack a good rider. You should never take feats solely to improve your wildshapes unless future supplements that unlock really cool options or you are taking them to improve how you work with a specialized rider. I'm covering the cantrip spells you will be casting 90% of the time you cast stuff. I'm only rating this purple because you can do good damage here; but
    Unlike the gish type class archtypes noted above, your melee capabilities are awful & you do not get any better. so we aren't even going to try changing that. Coincidentally everything we focus on will help you shift gears & keep rocking as wildshape starts to fade in later levels. Don't worry, once you have warcaster, this works out fine & better in some ways. While joe fighter/barbarian/paladin/gish is cranking out extra attacks with their melee weapon of choice on a regular attack action with melee attacks to things right next to them/almost next to, you are choosing between melee spell attack, ranged spell attack, & con saves with 30' 30' & 10' ranges each dealing d6 d8 &d12 damage. Those numbers may not sound too impressive at first, but at 5th, 11th, &17th level they gain an extra die to reach 4d6/4d8/4d12.
    Not only can you somewhat pick & choose what kind of damage type/resistance you want, but you can also do the full thing on a reaction attack of opportunity & then take the dodge action on your turn without sacrificing damage that round You might never need to swing your scimitar, but it's useful for chopping wood or defensive duelist anything that raises your melee weapon damage is pretty much a waste.
    The main options here are produce flame, thorn whip, & poison spray they get more detail inside:
    Spoiler: Cantrips
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    • Druidcraft: This manages to simultaneously be both more & less powerful than the wizard's cousin equivalent minor illusion. First the fluffy stuff: This lets you predict the weather for the next 24 hours; while that's not likely to make a big difference, it can be useful sometimes. Being able to makle a flower blossom, seed pod open, or leaf bud bloom can sometimes be used creatively in social and/or attention drawing situations. Being able to light or snuff candles, torches, and bonfires at 30' can be useful in all sorta ambush type ways, that goes double if most of the group has darkvision. Finally, " create an instantaneous, harmless sensory effect, such as falling leaves, a puff of wind, the sound of a small animal, or the faint odor of skunk. The effect must fit in a 5-foot cube." Your version discards voices for signs of life... make that Wizard's minor illusion corpse the zombies you all know are ignoring for not being a real corpse smell l& maybe sound like a freshly wounded human bleeding out with painful wheezing.... people rarely want to investigate if poo is real, put some rat poo on the unstable bbeg's plate at the banquet from 30' away. Work out some animal sounds for basic communication between group & scout (or vice versa).
    • Guidance: +1d4 on a skill roll, useful, but your cantrip allotment is tight & you need to think hard even if you take the bonus land druid cantrip. Clerics can also get this & are less dependent on cantrips for damage with 1 damage cantrip & 4-5 of 7 total to pick compared to 3-4 of 8. Think hard
    • Mending: No matter how you slice it, the situations where this could possibly be useful are pretty few & far between & not extremely time critical If there does happen to be a use for it. Maybe your gm will let you use it to fix arrows, but it won't restore the magic "damn, if only we had one gold piece to buy another 20 arrows for the group" said no one ever...
    • Resistance: This can be nice if you know that one guy is going to get hit by a trap, but as a concentration spell with a pretty short duration (1 min), it's alternative uses are pretty slim. Probably better than mending, but that's not hard
    • Produce Flame: Yea it's a great damage cantrip, but it also doubles as a torch if you want. at 10' bright & 10' dim it's less than light's 20' & 20'Ö but light doesn't do damage either. This is a great choice early on for the torch effect, but also because you are pretty crappy up close till you have warcaster & some hp so the 30' range & d8 damage is great.
    • Shillelagh has no utility value & is pretty useless once you have warcaster & does not scale at all beyond 1d8 for the one attack max you get as a druid, It's a trap.
    • Thorn Whip: Like produce flame, this is another cantrip that has a useful side effect. As a melee spell attack with a range of 30', it won't work with stuff like spell sniper (like that's important on the front line); but it allows you to deal damage while pulling things large & under that you hit 10' closer for free (no save, you hit it happens w/ no save & that could be the difference between hiding in a safe spot or getting pelted with the other baddies by cone of cold, that says nothing about pulling things off cliffs/balconies/etc (1d6 per 10' of fall & max20d6), rearranging the battlefield so a wizard can smack a couple extra guys with a fireball can be huge... doing it with a cantrip while attacking is even better.
    • Poison Spray: D12 cantrip to pretty closely match the greataxe swinging extra attack making greataxe wielder, but it's your only damage cantrip that requires a save instead of attack roll making it a great card to keep in your toolbox.


    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-05-06 at 04:35 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    This next section goes into a very brief bit of detail on the three paths you can take as a front line druid to help your party.

    Spoiler: Three Paths to the front
    Show

    No this is not about land vrs moon, that distinction is relevant sometimes, but not really here. There are three paths available to you but moon druids are vastly more effective at the independent mount option & land have some options poor for moon.

    If you go for heavy armor or with medium, in your non-wildshape form, the difference is 1 point of AC at most & can get well over 20 ac & Personally, I think the medium option is better for moon druids, but a and druid who wants to take a level of cleric gets re some obscene benefits o top of heavy armor with its first level goodies... more on that in the multiclassing section.

    Both of those paths will need war caster to be effective whatsoever as it allows you to cast while wielding a weapon and/or shield. The third path is as an independent mount with a friend, it is effing amazing & detailed in the next section of the guide.

    In addition to all of that fun, warcaster also allows you to make concentration checks with advantage on the roll when you do get hit. When the opportunity rolls around, it also lets you make Attacks of Opportunity with a spell that takes 1 action (like your cantrips, or something better).

    While this won't let you cast two spells in one round, it will let you cast a cantrip/spell as an AoO & do a dodge action on your turn if the opportunity comes up so attackers roll at disadvantage while you make dex saves at advantage. If you happen to get an AoO spell/cantrip like thi with a bonus action & don't feel a particularly huge need to cast something else on your action, you can use it to take a dodge action & impose disadvantage on anything trying to attack you between now & next turn. Alternately, if you happen to get a AoO as a reaction & cast a cantrip, you could cast a second/the same cantrip again as your action & vice versa depending on if the AoO came before or after your action.



    Spoiler: The path to ~19-25+ AC in mundane armor & no spells
    Show

    If you choose to go this route, you want at least 14 dex to hit the +2 dex mod cap on medium armor, possibly 16 if you plan to take medium armor master to bump it to +3 & gain some other nifty features like the ability to not have stealth disadvantage while in stealth.

    All together, this gives 15+dex mod(max 2 or 3)=17 or 18 AC with your shield adding 2 more with all nonmagic mundane gear. You can also multiclass to gain or gain heavy armor for the same 18+shield base via feat, but you pretty much give up stealth & heavy armor master is of dubious value None of the medium armor variants default to a dex cap above 2 & some disadvantage stealth, but you can make them all allow 3 from dex while not hindering stealth with medium armor master if you'be got a free feat or something.

    If you are going the land druid route, defensive duelist is allows you to add your proficiency bonus to ac by using your reaction so you can attempt to parry an attack that would have hit you. all said this will bump things to 25-26 before factoring in magic armor, shields, & protection items for another 6 or more.

    You are proficient with a number of finesse weapons that fit defensuve duelest's needs. The scimitar is one & I suggest it simply because it's a martial weapon granted to you & anyone else who can use them almost certainly has better options on the chance that an interesting scimitar shows up in a treasure hoard. Dropping from a d12/2d6/d8 great axe/great sword/rapier/etc to a d6 scimitar because it's got some nifty effect is going to be an"'erm... I dunno.... but it is a holy avenger/defender... but scimitar?...." type choice rather than "ooh wow I'd be great with a +# scimitar". If you come across an interesting magic finesse weapon with some cool property beyond simply +x, it's not a bad idea to pick it up if there is no better choice salivating in the party since even a dagger that lights up is great if you lack darkvision & it's not like you're going to be poking anything with it.

    On top of the lower desirability of scimitars for most nondruid folks who can use them, supposedly since druids are a class based on a secretive group of Celtic people in a place known as western europe who killed by the romans in the [j]first & second[/i] century & thus a weapon developed & used by the Persian people 12-14 centuries later is somehow thematically appropriate. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you pretend is a weapon as long as it's finesse. Defensive Duelist needs Finesse. Unlike Defensive Duelist, Warcaster does not appear to care what kind of weapon you flail about with & you need that feat for shield+weapon+casting.

    While most(all?) classes have at least one tailor made "oh wow, me want with every fiber of my scales" magic item created by the wizard who lives on the coast that requires a specific class to attune. Druids have some interesting doodads (prayer beads, rod of resurrection, or staffs of charming/fire/frost/healing/swarming insects/the adder/the python ) that can be attuned by x y or druids, almost none of them (if any) are finesse weapons. Unfortunately there is one really awesome druid magic item, that being "staff of the woodlands", it is versatile rather than finesse. So unless your GM is willing to let you defensive duelist with a quarterstaff or say that it's something else of the woodlands.... you can't defensive duelist with a staff of the woodlands. Perhaps a nameless inhabitant will choose to be celebrated for decades to come by acknowledging front line druidry is just as valid as a battlecleric & does not require wildshape to do it. Not only is it bad for land druids that go this route, it's generally going to be useless for a moon druid who runs as an independent mount as well.

    Either way you cut it (Medium/Heavy armor), what is you wind up with extremely respectable AC without factoring in your ability to self heal/wildshape/etc if something stabs you somewhere extra special. The end result is that you can hang up there hanging with an ac on par with the big boys with the cleric's d8+healing instead of the fighter/paladin/ranger/barbarian's d10/d12.


    Things for the third path "Independent mount" to be aware of

    I'll start with the most obvious & point out how a paladin with an aura and fighting style:Protection, but a rogue or kobold can massively benefit for huge damage & still give you some nifty benefits.

    First up is "can my paladin buddy cast find steed on me?" Theoretically it would do something I don't believe any mundane nor magic item in any(?) edition of d&d has ever given. Armor that turns into clothes?... oooold. A set of chain mail considered light armor?... Had that too!. Settle the debate on if specific beats general so the gm can decide on just weather it is practical for your beast form to wear your magic armor instead of practical -and- if it grows to size?... .oh sorry you need magic bardingÖ. Too bad it takes minutes to put on, won't fit you outside of beast form, & is probably about as rare as +5 holy avengers if you were hoping to find some in a magic variety.

    So if you're looking in here, either you 1: thought it sounded like a pretty cool option (it is phenominal, not just cool), or 2: you want to play in AL & don't know when/if you will ever come across one of these or are worried you will have to fight for it like that raid where the cleric demanded that ultra rare drop hunter item for their alt half your level... and got it.; worry not, this is actually pretty darned awesome. Check out the spoiler below for details.
    Spoiler: Independent mount+rider
    Show

    I break this down into a couple sections, "How exactly does mounted combat work?", "Things to look for in a rider", nifty class based tricks" (some of them are freaking awesome), & "awesome feats for both". Each section is pretty self explanatory about what is contained within them

    How exactly does mounted combat work?
    While I remember some complexities and edge cases in previous editions of d&d, but in 5th it's very simple... Almost to the point of "fugidaboudit". Page 198 of the PHB have the rules for it.

    Mechanically: it takes half of the rider's movement to climb on a mount. A domesticated animal trained to accept a rider can be controlled in a way that wildly limits its options or left independent; but that's not you provided you aren't suffering from int damage or something. "Intelligent creatures, such as dragons (and druids), act independently." If an effect moves the mount while a rider is on it, the rider must make a dc10 dex save or land prone. "An independent mount retains its place in the initiative order. Bearing a rider puts no restrictions on the actions the mount can take, and it moves and acts as it wishes." Soo.... That's easy, all the checks are SEP as far as the druid acting as a mount is concerned. Keep in mind that a GM could rule that being hit with a melee attack counts as moved against your will even if no knockback, I'm unable to find any rules suggesting that they should however. If the mount does something to expose themselves to an AoO, you are the rider is also a valid target.


    Things to look for in a rider

    Feat choices aside, those can dramatically change things for both of you, but some of the first things you want to look for on a mechanical level are as follows...
    1. : does someone in the party have fighting style:Protection +1,
    2. is someone in the party a paladin of level 6 or higher so you can share the aura? +1.
    3. Is someone in the party a rogue with sneak attack so the duo grants always qualified for sneak attacks with melee weapons? +1
    4. do they have a high enough dex to reasonably not fall prone if you get "moved" against your will? +1.
    5. do they have one or more feats that are awesome for you?... +whatever you want
    6. do you have a preference? +/- whatever you want.


    nifty class based tricks

    There are a few nifty things that can be done between rider & independent mount to accomplish useful things. Some of those are what they are designed to do by strict RAW, some of them fall under things like the feature including words along the lines of "the dm might allow...", some could fall into other areas.

    • Fighting Style: Protection - an independent mount will always be within 5 feet of their rider. Anything attacking you within 5 feet can be forced to roll the attack at disadvantage by the rider using a reaction & this fighting style. When it's all said & done it's strikingly effective
    • Find steed: This spell has a ""]not precisely worded" caviat of "Your DM might allow other animals to be summoned as steeds.)". and as the tweet suggests, your DM can also let the druid share self targeting abilities up to the paladin.. If youíre a moon druid, see if you can burn spell slots to heal your rider buddy & vice versa with the paladin sharing self targeting spells down by raw. The 1 mile telepathy on top of all that is effing incredible

      even if you never act as a mount & never share a spell it's a great way to let you simply communicate considering you normally need to wait till level 18 to speak at all in the vast majority of your wildshape forms If your GM is really super nice (or perhaps evil), you might even be summonable by the paladin afterwards. This permissive "let the gm decide" ambiguity is much more important than it sounds & I'll get into it in the awesome feats section.

      Tired of grunts & pictionary practice?... See if your GM will let your buddy cast this on you!
    • sneak attack:While this one does just about nothing specifically for the druid acting as a mount like the stuff above, it does great damage & lets your rogue friend meet this optional condition for sneak attack "You donít need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isnít incapacitated, and you donít have disadvantage on the attack roll." The rogue doesn't need to sneak around all the time that way. It's an awesome enough benefit that they might even decide to snag a feat with some kinda mutual benefit.
    • High dex: depending on how often your gm forces the rider to make a dc10 dex save, this is more or less important. But no matter what, having your buddy on the ground & prone is a bad thing.
    • [b]Possibly other stuff?


    awesome feats for both
    There are a lot of mutually awesome feats here that give some dramatic boosts. Unfortunately for anyone without a regular partner, some of the best ones need to be taken by the other side.
    • Mounted Combatant: It seems reasonable to start with the biggest game changer of them all. This is the feat I promised to discuss in the find steed entry & it's a big one, the rider needs to take this eventually & almost anyone with this will be better than someone without it due to how dramatic an effect it has on things for you as an independent mount.

      That CR6 126hp AC12 Mammoth & only slightly better AC earth elemental are pretty much going to be hit on any attack rolls a little better than a 1 by the time a moon druid is wildshaping into it & those 126 hp are going to evaporate fast... even if the roll is at disadvantage because your buddy used combat style:protection

      This feat does three things. 1: The rider who takes this feat gets advantage on attack rolls whenever they are attacking something smaller than their mount (like that huge mammoth, or even better a CR5 Gargantuan Brontosaurus for those times you want the rider to have advantage against an adult dragon 2:It allows the rider to "force an attack targeted at your mount to target [the rider] instead.", that one has a super important wording that I'll cover down the list 3: It sounds strange, but this is on par with #2 for the independent mount's benefit. Any time the bearer of this feat's mount makes a dex save where they would normally save for half the mount saves for none & a failed save only takes half.

      This feat really should allow the mount to copy stuff up to the rider & perhaps use moon druid heals on the rider. It does not say anything about that; but perhaps your gm will let it if they don't let moon druid burning spell slots to self heal be directed to the rider anyways.
    • Sentinel: This is a pretty well understood feat for most melee types, for a mount & rider team though It's especially awesome due to a few interactions. The three things it does are going to be listed backwards for reasons that will be immediately obvious.

    1. When a creature within 5 feet of you, & that target doesn't have this feat, you can use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack against the attacking creature. Page 10 of the monster manual confirms that natural weapons count as melee weapons. The wording on that #2 point forcing the attack to target the rider in mounted combat is extremely important here because now any attack against either of you lets the mount pop the target
    2. Creatures within 5 feet of you provoke AoO's even if they take the disengage action. This lets the mount pop the victim if they try to run.
    3. When you hit a creature with an opportunity attack, the creature's speed becomes 0 for the rest of the turn. This stops your new best friend from getting away if it makes an attack or tries to run.


    Spoiler: so what can I wear while wildshaped?
    Show

    There are not a lot of clear answers to the question of what you can wear in both base form & wildshape, but the folks at wotc are happy to point out situations where strict RAW prevents unless the gn invokes "DM decides weather it is practical for the new form to wear an item".. unfortunately, that unless tends to get left out leading to GM's taking it as the word of god to be enforced with no variance like some in this thread cloaking their choice's responsibility in ""RAW is clear". Thankfully, there was recently this podcast with roughly the first 40 minutes devoted to clearing it up despite headlining that it is about a planescape torment enhanced edition that gets a little time after the wildshape stuff. Unfortunately, being a 40 minute conversation between two WoTC folks, it makes it hard to easily quote like a twitter tweet & will require a reasonable gm willing to listen to it or take your word.

    This is also why taking to your gm about armor options is of critical importance. If the gm says "sure it's a stupid restriction", odds are really good they won't screw you too badly here& deny you things like a ring of protection on a bear. If your gm said "no but nonmetal options are common", odds are still pretty good for you.... anything else you are taking some very risky chances that you will be able to use nothing in wildshape.

    if a MedHuman can wildshape into tiny bat/cat/rat/crab/etc & merge their equipment into the new form, it's not unreasonable to say "hm.. can I.." and ask your gm if you can merge barding & other items merge back from a Large bear/Huge Mammoth/Gargantuan Brontosaurus/etc back into your base form? & hope for the best If your GM says yes, you could do the same with a saddle & such as well rather than having to carry the awkward & currently useless thing around in your base form before getting a friend to put it on you.

    Almost anything else falls under phb67's wildshape equipment point where it says "Worn equipment functions as normal, but the DM decides whether it is practical for the new form to wear a piece of equipment". Make no mistakes, your DM decides it & trying to blame "raw says" is simply a naked & transparent attempt to avoid taking responsibility for that choice.





    stats:
    Spoiler: Learn about S.A.D. & M.A.D.in here!
    Show

    Frankly I was pretty surprised at how many people were up in arms over not including this section. For those more recent to d&d, S.A.D. & M.A.D. stand for Single Attribute Dependent & Multiple Attribute Dependent/Death The numbers below should be shifted about as needed based on your racial bonus' & preferences
    • Str: You have no important skills or abilities that really hinge on this, even a 6 is fine if you take a hit. While a land druid taking a level of life cleric for heavy armor & obscenity covered in multiclassing might consider "hmm, plate says str 15", It's pretty irrelevant to you:
      Spoiler: what happens when your strength is below what your armor lists?
      Show

      Not. Much.
      Quote Originally Posted by PHB page144
      Heavy Armor. Heavier arm or interferes with the wearerís ability to move quickly, stealthily, and freely. If the Arm or table shows ďStr 13Ē or ďStr 15Ē in the Strength column for an arm or type, the armor reduces the wearerís speed by 10 feet unless the wearer has a Strength score equal to or higher than the listed score.
    • Dex: A dex of 14 will let you max out the dex bonus on medium armor, a dex of 16 will cap out medium armor master's +3 dex bonus cap if you plan to take it.
    • Con: Everyone needs HP & sticking a 14 here is great, resilient con will turn a 13 into a 14
    • Int: Nature is a pretty good int based knowledge skill for you, but overall it's pretty minor
    • Wis: Your spells are tied to wisdom, make it your highest stat. If you are going land druid, this is critically important. If you are going moon druid for the third path of independent mount, it's important; but you can get by fine with a 16-18
    • Cha: You don't really need any of this either, but with the 8 in strength & a 10/12 to shuffle into int/cha it pretty much comes down to your preference.




    Spoiler: Multiclassing
    Show

    I strongly suggest listening to this podcast if you are even considering maybe multiclassing, or just curious since it clears up a lot of common misconceptions on multuclassing
    A lot of people will say that druids don't get much out of multiclassing, & they would be right to a certain degree. I'm not a fan of the idea of MC to get a heavy armor proficiency just because it's barely an improvement over medium armor & a paltry 14 dex. Don't take a level in monk just to make your wildshapes a few ac tougher, take a level in something to get lots of stuff that ugh.. "synergizes" with stuff you have.


    Druids don't appear benefit much from a level in wizard like sorc's picking up ritual casting & some utility cantrip type stuff or martial classes picking up shiny stuff from a level in some other martial. Most other classes do that multiclass level to enhance their existing strong abilities and/or add a good variety of options; but with little obvious connection to druid abilities & other class abilities what's the point eh?... That's where things get into the realm of mwahahaa.

    Cleric:
    Spoiler: multiclassing Cleric gives you
    Show

    • light/medium armor & shields
    • 3 cleric cantrips that advance based on your character level. Cantrips advance based on character level rather than class level.
    • Potentially heavy armor if you pick life/tempest/war domain.
    • Channel divinity
    • Life1: Disciple of life lets you add 2+spell level to any healing spells. Just "looks" Nifty, but when paired with goodberry you can heal 40hp with a level 1 slot after a fight that has a maximum of +/-1hp over/under healing. That makes for a pretty awesome benefit. If you are casting it out of a 9th level slot, you can effectively make ten healing potions recovering a flat 12hp each to hand out if you can manage the fact that the berries only last one day.
    • Life 1's magic stuffBless & cure wounds are always treated as prepared spells without costing prepared spell slots because they are free prep spells you get as domain spells, From this point on, you can prepare cleric level+wis mod cleric spells. even if you only ever take the one level in cleric, use the chart on page 165 for your available spell slots.... but you prepare spells as a 1st level cleric plus a whatever level druid, so druid 16 cleric 1 could cast that cure wounds out of a 9yh level slot if you chose to.
    • Life 1: three cleric cantrips plus access to the first level cleric spell list. Since bless & cure wounds are free prep domain spells that leaves your choice of cleric level+wis mod from bane, command, create or destroy water, detect evil & good, detect magic, detect poison & disease, Guiding bolt, healing word, Inflict wounds, Protection from good & evil, purify food & drink, sanctuary, & shield of faith. even if you are level2 with a mere +2 wis mod, that's free cure wounds from your druid prep count to prep some other druid spell & prep it free, gain bless & prep it free, plus prep 3 other spells from the first level cleric list that you could/could not prepare before. Remember that cantrips scale based on character level rather than class level
    • Tempest1: a lightning/thunder damage 2d8 dex save half strike you can deal on a reaction if you get hit.
    • Tempest1: Divine favor & shield of faith are always prepared as vonus domain spells. Plus you can prepare Cleric level+wis mod additional 1st level cleric spells but I strongly suggest looking at life cleric if that appeals to you.
    • Tempest2: Wrath of the storm lets you use channel divinity to deal maximum damage on lightning or thunder damage instead of rolling. While this could make a spell like call lightning pretty awesome, channel divinity uses take a long rest to recover.
    • War: also gives you martial weapons you don't really need.


    A 1 level Life Cleric dip is really a winner option for land druids going for heavy armor & some incredible healing. While the tempest cleric can give you a damage bump on a couple spells, the life cleric can do something really awesome & gets heavy armor to boot making it into clear winner option for a 1 level dip. Even a moon druid with rider partner might be tempted to make a bunch of goooooooood berries before shifting.

    Ranger:
    Spoiler: Multiclassing ranger gives you
    Show

    • martial weapons remember, your weapon is pretty much just for show!
    • some armor you already know how to use.
    • one skill chosen from: Athletics, Insight, Investigation, Nature, Perception, Stealth, and Survival
    • A favored enemy to have advantage when tracking them. As a bear & some others, you already get this pretty much all the time.
    • A language spoken by your fe (if it has one)
      All in all, ranger is a pretty poor choice for a druid to multiclass into & you will really be hurting yourself if you take enough levels to get any spellcasting benefits.


    Monk:
    Spoiler: Monk gives you
    Show

    • Proficiency with simple weapons & short swords, which you shouldn't care about as stated many times. remember, your weapon is pretty much just for show!
    • Unarmored defense lets you add your wisdom mod to AC if not wearing armor. As exciting as that may sound, it's not really going to make a huge difference for you in wildshape even with 20 wis, find a rider willing to take mounted combat instead & your armor is going to be better anyways
    • Martial Arts: This one is pretty much useless to you, but will probably let you attack with a d4 as a rat instead of 1 piercing damage


    Rogue:
    Spoiler: rogue gives
    Show

    • light armor proficiency that you already have & don't need
    • One skill proficiency from the rogue skill list (Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception. Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance. Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth)
    • Proficiency with thieves tools
    • Thieve's cant: Most likely this will be almost as useless as druidic. The big difference is that you are more likely to brush up against some thieve's guild members over any given campaign than druidic sect of any sorts other than the yellow ! Type druid with a "quest". Some parts of eberron however have a significant presence, influence, and/or problem from various flavors of druids. It's unfortunate that people don't think druids really do anything & probably part of why so many think that the only true way to play a druid is to be a tree hugging hippie.
    • Sneak attack: deal an extra d6 of damage 1/round if attacking with advantage and the attack is made with a ranged weapon or finesse weapon. That sounds great and all, but unless your gm is really nice, keep in mind that ranged & melee spell attacks are neither finesse nor ranged weapons... so not likely to be very useful for druids
    • Expertise: Double your proficiency bonus on two skills that you have(or just took!). You can do some pretty impressive stuff with doubled proficiency added to a skill roll.




    If your GM will let you trade something for dex save proficient or something, it might be better if you plan to get shield mastery.. but still just soso at best.

    [Bard:
    Spoiler: Bard gives
    Show

    • some light armor proficiency that you already have & probably won't use again
    • A musical instrument of choice.
    • Proficiency at any one skill.
    • a d6 bardic inspiration die that's kinda like guidance with charisma mod uses/long rest.
    • Ritual casting that you already have as a druid.
    • 4 bard cantrips (Blade ward, [u]Dancing lights[u], Friends, Light, Mage Hand, Mending, Message, minor illusion, Prestidigitation, True Strike, Vicious Mockery) underlined cantrips are of dubious value to you... Yes human,, even dancing lights because produce flame gives you a smaller light & lets you attack.
    • 2 first level bard spell slots/known. I recommend comprehend languages because you don't get it on the druid spell list & & detect magic so you can always have it available for ritual casting without burning a druid spell slot.



    all in all pretty soso on a good day

    Barbarian:
    Spoiler: multiclassing gives you
    Show

    • Shield, Simple Weapons, Martial weapons. Most of those you either have, or don't particularly have any use for.
    • con+dex Unarmored defense: Monsters could have up to 30 in stats sure, but not so much when it comes to useful wildshapes. Find a rider willing to take mounted combatant instead. This is one of those things that sounds pretty awesome.. But even dex based beast forms are mediocre on the combo, CR2 saber tooth tiger goes from 12->14AC, Deinonychus 13->15... & those are the big winners.
      Unfortunately there is not really a useful progression of beasts in the winner box for wildshape to progress through (even with volo's). The vast majority of the winners are cat type things that trade damage for it (ie MM cave bear vrs saber tooth tiger). That's a shame as well since it could be great if it scaled well combinedd with bear totem. The monk's unarmored defense is only slightly better with few great beast forms having much above +1-2 dex
    • Reckless attack: Gain advantage on an attack & let all attacks against you have the same to make them virtually certain automatic hits.
    • Rage 2/day: The B/P/S resistance is the only benefit if you take less than 3 levels. You can't cast as a beast before druid18, so the no cast while raged has almost no impact on you. Natural weapons from beast forms are melee weapon attacks. Page 10 & 11 of the monster manual make that extremely clear in the "Melee and ranged attacks" section where it says "These can be
      spell attacks or weapon attacks, where the "weapon" might be a manufactured item or a natural weapon, such as a claw or tail spike
    • Danger Sense: advantage on dex saves against "effects you can see" is pretty nice.
    • If you go to barbarian3 & get an extra rage, Berserker is terrible, Bear Totem is pretty decent though & grants resistance to all damage but psychic while those 3-rage/day are active. Keep in mind though... as awesome as that may sound, you can only do it for 1 minute (10 rounds) for each of those rages & your ac is still just mediocre->ok at best instead of the "bad" it would have been. There's not much beyond 3 though unless you are planning to stay barbarian & druid 3 is a pretty poor help to a barbarian17.


    Barbarian is one of those ones that looks pretty awesome if you go 3 levels, but the reality is that you are a tier behind on wildshape & three levels back on spellcasting so doing things like making do with a souped up brown bear/hyena/etc when you should be thinking about what to do with the fading cave bear till elemental wildshape comes along. Unfortunately, wildshape beast forms kind of fall apart at cr3 leaving the barbearian stick with a cr2 polar/cave bear/sabertooth tiger till elemental wildshape rolls around at13.... That's an awful vortex of pain I'd not wish on anyone. Find a rider to take mounted combatant & eat some faces!
    ]Fighter:
    Spoiler: multiclassing Fighter gives you
    Show

    • armor & shields you already have + simple&martial weapons you don't really need.
    • a fighting style: +2 tohit on attacks with ranged weapons (spells/cantrips are not ranged weapons), +1 ac when wearing armor (ie not wildshaped), +2 damage when wielding a 1 handed melee weapon &(ie not wildshape & not cantrips/spells).
    • Second wind: recover 1d10+fighter level hp/short rest. The value here is pretty minimal consideringa moon druid can get 1d8/spell slot level in beast form & both land/moon druid can just cast a spell in base forms.
    • Going to 3 could let you gain some neat options from battlemaster maneuvers for moon druids; but what you gain will almost certainly be kneecapped up for by being 3 levels behind on wildshape forms


    Paladin:
    Spoiler: multiclassing Paladin gives you
    Show

    [list] [*] armor you already have+simple & martial weapons you don't really need [*] Paladin 1 will cost you a level of spellcasting[*]Divine Sense: know the location of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60' your charisma mod/long rest. [*]Lay on Hands: Paladin level*5 LoH pool to heal someone 5hp or cure a poison/disease. You can cast better heals & the poison/disease can probably wait for you to switch your prepped spells in worst case [*] Going further into paladin can have some neat options, but then you are more of a paladin with a splash of druid, or your druid stuff has fallen too far behind to be worth it [*]Paladin2 will give you some nice stuff, quite a bit in fact, but it will seriously hurt your wildshape advancement. Level 1 paladin
    • spells & charisma+paladin level paladin prepped slots for them. The ones not on the druid or cleric spell list are compelled duel, divine favor, heroism, heroism, divine favor, & searing/thunderous/wrathful smite. Unfortunately all of those smites have a verbal component & won't be usable in wildshape prior to 18
    • a choice between defense, dueling, great weapon fighting, & protection fighting styles. With defense, this will only effect your base form unless your gm lets you wear armor/find barding in beast form. Dueling gives you +2 damage when "holding" only a melee weapon (ie no shield), while wildshape certainly makes melee weapon attacks there is room for debate if you are "holding" it or not.Great weapon fighting is great for fighters & such, but as a druid you will generally be better off using cantrips or being wildshaped than you would using a 2h weapon. Even a very generous GM is probably not going to buy "my claws/antlers/etc are two handed?". Protection lets you impose disadvantage on an attack against an ally if you are holding a shield, so base form only
      /list]
    • Personally I considered the hit to wildshape advancement too significant to justify paladin2, but if you are going land druid it might be a more interesting choice for you. If you are going paladin 2 as a land druid though, it's probably worth picking up paladin3 for divine health (disease immunity), & a sacred oath; but if you are going paladin3, you are probably going more into sorcadin type territory & building something very different than I can cover in this guide. I'd suggest that sorcadin guide for guidance if you are considering that route.


    Sorcerer
    Spoiler: multiclassing Sorcerer gives you
    Show

    • 4 sorcerer cantrips that advance based on your character level. Cantrips advance based on character level rather than class level plus spells & slots. A sorcerous origin (draconic bloodline/wild magic)
    • draconic bloodline: speak draconic & gain resistance to one type of elemental damage & ac13+dex. the ac13+dex
    • Wild Magic: Wild Magic surge & tides of chaos both have use across the divide on your druid stuff, but that table can be dangerous.
    • second & third level sorcerer give you font of magic @2 & Metamagic @3, which can give you some nice & useful stuff(moreso as a land druid who will be casting more attack spells than moon). This is probably a terrible option for a moon druid, but a land druid might find it & more a good thing


    I've never been a fan of wild magic, but there are those who always seem to be asking "can I roll on the table" after fireballing the group in the middle of the bbeg's fight. for a one level dip, it's not bad if you like wildmagic

    Warlock:
    Spoiler: multiclassing Warlock gives you
    Show

    • Light armor & simple weapons
    • pact magic, otherworldly patron You can get some neat things from these, but awakened mind will let you speak telepatically to anything you can see
    • 2 warlock cantrips, 2 warlock spells known, 1 warlock spell slot . I recommend Armor of Agathys & mabe hex or comprehen languages. Remember that you can cast armor of agathys from higher level spell slots you gain from MC. in wildshape, your AC will be trash & you will be dealing pretty good damage back at anything attacking you from it
    • at warlock 2 you get to pick two eldritch invocations, quite a few of which are interesting, but you are limited to the ones available with only 2 warlock levels. The best combo with your druid abilities is probably to take the eldritch blast cantrip at warlock 1 then pickup aldritch spear & repelling blast at warlock 3. That gives you decent damage and an incredible 300' range on a cantrip, but more importantly you can pair it with something like wall of thorns that deals damage to creatures moving through it& thorn whip to really wreck someone's day by pushing/pulling them through the pain. The fact that at 5, 11, & 17 you get an extra beam you can target independently means that you could attack a bunch of things with one cantip, but 1d10+cha/beam to each target is generally not going to be an exciting thing at those levels unless you can pair it with something like each target being stuck in wall of thorns.


    Overall very little to gain despite some nifty possibilities
    Wizard:
    Spoiler: multiclassing Wizard gives you
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    • Wizard spellbook with 6 wizard spells, scribe in more first level spells as you find them.
    • 3 wizard cantrips, int+level wizard spell prep slots, but your int bonus is probably not very high so this is probably more like "one or two, maybe three"
    • Arcane recovery wizard level/2 rounded up (min 1). With the way that multiclassing works for casters, you simply have spell slots rather than druid/cleric/etc spell slots, so an extra 1st level spell slot
    • While mage armor & shield could be really nice & sometimes nice, this doesn't give you nearly the jump you get from something life life cleric.
    • Ritual caster for wizard spells in your wiard spellbook (i.e. just first level ones due to rules surrounding adding spells to it)
    • The first level wizard spell list has a good number of ritual spells, most of them are utility spells that you can probably live just fine without.


    While wizard has some useful first level spells you could always treat as prepared ritual cast & mage armor will give you 8 hours of no less than 13 ac, it's probably not worth the loss to your druid levels even beast forms don't take that long to approach, meet, and//or pass 13ac.


    The 1 level cleric dip is clearly the massive winner there for land druid types.

    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-05-06 at 03:06 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Spoiler: feats
    Show
    • Alert: Getting a +5 to initiative can let you do some battlefield sculpting/management early on before allies can move in & make it more difficult. Of course, if you are in a party with a dex based rogue & rogue/bard where one or both have this.... the value is minimal & you each quickly learn that rushing out is their own fault
    • Athlete: There really isn't much of value to you in this feat & it almost feels like one of those old3.5 feats that people needed to take to qualify for the feat they wanted to take. Granted it gives you better jump/climb/stand up from prone & all; but those are pretty situational at best.
    • Actor: Really none of this stuff falls under your umbrella, a bard, sorcerer, etc will probably be better even if you take it... Let them shine.
    • Charger: You do not make melee weapon attacks against anything you want to hurt & this does not apply to melee/ranged spell attacks.. however, if you are specializing yourself as a mount, this could be black or mayyybe blue
    • Crossbow expert: If you are thinking that using a crossbow over cantrips might sound like a good idea because this removes the loading penalty & disadvantage for being within 5 feet of your target... you might want to see your doctor about that concussion.
    • Defensive duelist: This is a wonderful feat to bump your AC by adding your proficiency bonus to AC when you use a reaction to deflect it if you are going the land druid route. It's only good for one attack/round, so you will usually want to use it vrs the big ogre rather than his two goblin slaves if you gt stuck in a situation like that. Unfortunately, they need to be hitting you with a "melee attack", something like a ranged/melee spell[ attack does not count. This requires that you be wielding a finesse weapon narrowing your options to dagger & scimitar unless your race/background gives you an additional finesse weapon. Since you never get additional attacks & instead get a variety of cantrips which improve as you level, it doesn't matter which you use. You absolutely need to take warcaster before this or you've just traded the ability to add to your ac on one attack/round in exchange for your ability to cast spells/cantrips.
    • Dual Wielder: Much like I suggested checking for a concussion in the event of an interesting looking crossbow master, I make the same advice; but this time get them to check for brain damage too on account of +1 ac &being able to dual wield a pair of weapons you will be awful at being so blatantly worse than a +2AC shield. You can be in & around the melee, that doesn't mean youshould seek it out for a smidge more damage.
    • [COLOR="#FF0000"]Dungeon Delver: This one is more for the rogue types out there & druids really don't fit that bill. Save it for them. If you are regularly pushed into the role of party scout however, the benefits could be better, especially if your gm finds tomb of horrors inspirational.
    • Durable: The +1 con may or may not do anything for you, but getting extra hp during rests isn't bad. You migt want to think about tough first though since that can work out to about 30-40% higher max hp depending on your con bonus. I'm rating this bold red because the wording, here the con bonus will not affect wildshape forms that happen to have odd con scores & there is really no reason why you would have an odd con score short of a strange unremovable curse. even if you did have an odd con score somehow that bothered you enough, an ASI would let you put a second point elsewhere & your healing means you probably don't need the other effect much.
    • Elemental Adept: One of the best things about doing the front line druid thing is that they have a plethora of options to efficiently dish out consistent respectable (as opposed to poor, average, or amazing) damage while choosing between different save/damage types.. sorcerer/wizard/etc going for broke will top the charts for a few rounds no problem. A martial type might dish out average/maybe even great damage more efficiently depending on how they specialize with race/class/background/feat choices. All of that is fine, don't worry about taking this feat though because the damage increase is pretty minimal at best If you are spending your time as a mount, it doesn't apply at all.
    • Grappler: You probably lack the strength to really make good use of this; but you also have lots of spells that can do just about everything it describes. If you are regularly acting as a mount, this could be better in some groups & could be a neat way for you to synergize with your regular rider taking defensive stuff themselves to shift attacks up to them. But, a sentinel+mounted combatant duo will put this to shame.
    • Great Weapon Master: See crossbow master & dual wield. Your weapon is just for show & not really used beyond possibly defensive dualist.
    • Healer: Other than a dungeon crawl classics type low level one shot situation, there is almost no reason for anybody to ever take this feat... least of all someone with the healing abilities of a druid. While some people will point out how it would allow you to save resources (spell slots/potions) for other things, the value of 1d6+4 healing fon someonemaking death saves erodes so quickly that any possible benefit is massively overshadowed by the opportunity cost in taking this over somehinfg else.
    • Heavily Armored: Heavy armor isn't bad, but 14 dex & half plate is only 1 ac behind full plate. If you are going to be doing the land druid thing & want heavy armor, you get some incredible stuff for a 1 level dip in llife cleric in addition to heavy armor proficiency & a pretty massive bump in spellcasting options. While heavy armor proficiency might be a great thing, taking this feat is probably the worst way that you could get it. In short, it's important to remember that 5e multiclassing does not work the same as 3.5 & a full caster multiclassing a level in a different full caster class can actually be fairly awesome.
    • Heavy Armor Master: You odds are good that you can't use heavy armor anyways; but there are plenty of threads scattered around the interwebs where people debate the dubious value of a 3 point damage reduction against nonmagic piercing/slashing/bludgeoning if you can & are wondering.
    • Inspiring Leader: save this for the bard/sorcerer/etc charisma heavy classes. Cast a healing spell after the damage is done if you need to.
    • Keen Mind: You don't really need an extra point of int, survival should pretty easily tell you which way is north & likely about how many hours are left in the day. Ok remembering things you've seen for a month could be cool... but do you really need to do that often enough to justify a feat?... survey says...
    • Lightly armored: You already have light armor proficiency & probably should not want to use it once you can afford or are able to find a breastplate/halfplate either. If you really need +1 dex, pick an asi & put the extra point somewhere else
    • Linguist: You probably lack the charisma to really make v,ery good use of the extra languages. There is also a decent chance that someone else can cast comprehend languages or something if needed to.
    • Lucky: The odds of rolling a 1 you absolutely cannot risk failing 3x/long rest are pretty slim, this is actually a pretty decent feat if you can't find something else to snag & don't need an ASI
    • Mage Slayer: This is an iffy choice for you even if the party runs into lots of spellcasters. The first benefit simply because of the wording between warcaster & mage slayer is not as cool as it looks. That first benefit is to let you use your reaction to make a melee weapon attack rather than an opportunity attack that warcaster would let you convert to a spell/cantrip on a bonus action. The second option is pretty nice if you see a lot of casters, especially given all your ranged options. The third option isn't half bad either, but with all of your ranged options, you might not actually be within 5 feet. Overall though, this isn't so hot, but could be nifty for the right mount/rider team.
    • Magic Initiate: This can open up a lot of options for noncaster classes who want to pickup some utility/flavor cantrips/basic spells, but you have a lot of that & don't need it. Because of the wording, these will always be cast as a level 1 spell even if you pick druid... overall, not very useful for you. Take a dragonmark if you want more casting options. With that said, there are some interesting options you can pickup (mostly involving booming blade & such) that might be desirable as a land druid... Unfortunately, that also requires you to intentionally be close to an opponent.
    • Martial Adept: This is mainly only useful for a battlemaster fighter who wants extra combat manuvers. Getting three combat maneuvers isn't bad & can give some pretty cool options; but only having one superiority die/rest pretty heavily erodes its value to aalmost nothing even for rider/mount teams. If magic initiate didn't have the cantrips there would be a lot less interest in it from folks & this is pretty much the equivalent of that hypothetical.
    • Medium Armor Master: This lets you wear medium armors without being disadvantaged at stealth. While stealth probably is not as important to you as for rogues, it's a nice little perk when paired with being able to squeeze an extra point of ac from dex out of it & bring your half plate in line with the 18 AC of full plate. If your dex is under 16, don't bother.
    • Mobile: This could help some of your charging wildshape forms not getting stuck/slowed by difficult terrain & not gettig smacked around by AoO's while you are charging., but generally you don't really need this too much compared to other things you could get between giant wildshape hp pools, great AC, & the ability to say "Druid, heal thyself!" For a mount/rider team it depends entirely on how their gm interprets the AoO rules to allow the rider to make opportunity attacks or not; but even then pretty iffy.
    • Moderately Armored: You start with this proficiency too & have no reason to take it
    • Mounted Combatant: Lacking any class reasons to ride around mounted & with the wording giving advantage with melee attack rolls (not melee spell attack rolls) against unmounted targets; The first benefit does you nothing. The second & third benefits of being able to make your mount more survivable are pretty pointless when you lack a reason to be on one to begin with. There is no real reason for this. For a mount/rider team however, this jumps to an immediate teal for the dedicated rider to take for the benefit of both
    • Observant: Not bad if you have an odd wisdom score. Getting +5 to passive perception & passive investigate can be nice given your already high wis. Barring an odd wis score though, there isn't too much need for this
    • Polearm Master: There is no reason to take this. The fact that you are not even proficient with most of them is even further reason. Yes, you can use it to bump your damage a bit, but it's going to be ia negligible benefit. Yes you can do some nice daage when you pair this with stuff like booming blade/shillelagh, but I'm ot really sold on the value of that benefit either given that you would need to take a level in wizard or take something like magic initiate:wizard for that & either option is prety pricey.
    • Resiliant: +1 to a stat & start treating its saves as proficient... This is a great feat for you & I suggest con, dex, or both. The con is for concentration saves, dex is for dex saves when paired with shield master's or your rider's mounted combat evasion-like feature.
    • ]Ritual Caster: You appear to already have this, but the feat version gives you a book & lets you pick bard/cleric/druid/sorcerer/wizard ritual spells that you can scribe into the book & cast without needing to prep them like the ritual caster class feature that you get as a druid. as a land druid, this might go up to blue or teal, but probably going to be less appealing for a moon druid.
    • Savage Attacker: There is not much reason for this even for moon druids. You shouldn't be making melee attacks very often & the mathematical difference is usually going to be pretty low. save this for the folks with multiple attacks & heavy weapons. It might feel pretty cool at the table, but when it's all said & done the difference is not likely to compare to what some other feat could grant.
    • Sentinel: with the way warcaster is worded, the only thing that this feat really does for you is to make an opportunity attack & cast a spell allowed by warcaster in its place. The other two are still awesome because MM10 confirms natural weapon melee attacks are melee weapons. With a dedicated mount/rider with the mounted combatant feat combo, this is an "amazing!!" way for the mount to be ultra sticky and make an AoO if either of you gets attacked or the victim tries to flee/isengage. with the way mounted combat words the ability of the rider to force the attack to target the rider, this still works if the attack target is redirected.
    • Sharp Shooter: See crossbow master & dual wield
    • Shield Master: Like defensive duelist, this is can be an awesome feat for front line druids. Unfortunately the knockback does nothing for you because a ranged/melee spell attack or casting a spell are not an "attack action". The second benefit lets you add your shield's AC to dex save attacks that target only you, There is a list of them below. Finally, & most importantly, when you have your shield in use & get hit by a dex save for half spell that you successfully save against... you save for none. If you are proficient in dex saves through feat/multiclass, this much better!

    Spoiler: List of those things in here
    Show

    • Acid Splash
    • Chain Lightning
    • Cordon of Arrows
    • Disintegrate
    • Grasping Vine
    • Guardian of Faith
    • Hellish Rebuke
    • Light
    • Otiluke's Resilient Sphere
    • Sacred Flame
    • Storm of Vengeance
    • Acrobatics checks to avoid being tripped/shoved/knocked prone/etc type effects
    • Potentially some monster effects, did that dragon spit on everyone, or just you?... That's up to your GM
    • There is also a reasonable case to be made for existing aoe effects like blade barrier & such that you yourself choose to enter since it falls into a grey area of dm choice since it is then both targeting only you & not actually targeting only you at the same time.

    If you are going the moon druid with rider+independent mount combo, It's both worthless as well as having the evasion duplicated by mounted combatant to drop it way down
    • Skilled:Pickup three more skills: If you've got nothing else to spend a feat/asi on, this could open some interesting doors with new skills... but there are too many other great things to pickup instead
    • Skulker: Save this for the rogue. Even if you are the party scout, itís probably not a great option... If you are the party scout, meatshield, & healer, wtf is the rest of the party doing? If you are a specialized mount who started rogue & went druid to have better skills, it could be better.
    • Spell Sniper: The first benefit is good for doubling the range on all sorts of cantrips & spells that you have. The second benefit could be nice if your gm uses cover often. On the third benefit, an extra cantrip isn't bad, the fact that cantrips are based on character level rather than class level means that you can take a cantrip from any other class's cantrip list & have it keep improving as you level
    • Tavern Brawler: you really have no reason to ever use this.
    • Tough: This can amount to 30-40% higher max hp depending on your con bonus to put you on par with the pre-con modifier max hp of a barbarian. This bonus will not apply to wildshape beast forms, so I'm knocking it down a peg to black underline. Jeremy E Crawford provides an official answer for that here, your gm may choose otherwise.
    • Warcaster: While you will see warcaster called a feat tax pretty often, no really. & it probably feels that way to a gish trying to cast their one spell; but unlike them, you can make extensive use of all three features warcaster uses. It's anything but a feat tax for front line druidry. If you are specializing yourself to function as a badass mount, this may drop to blue or black depending on howmuch time you spend as a mount instead of yourself.
    • Weapon Master: See crossbow master, dual wielder, & sharpshooter... but also check for traumatic brain injuries while looking for a concussion & general brain damage. Your weapon is really just for show



    I' m not going to color code skills & backgrounds, because there is too much personal preference involved & what is great in one group might be a pointless 5th player with that skill.
    Spoiler: Skills
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    • Athletics: In addition to the obvious defend against grapples... Want to lift that stone door as a 19 strength bear for your dex & caster based party?... this is your skill. Aside from grapples, you will usually be able to wildshape into a high strength form if you really need this though. What you might not realize is that if you want to use your rather high strength wildshape strength, you can use this to shove or knock an opponent prone (PHB195). While you do not get extra attacks like fighter/paladin/barbariane/etc, there are a number of wildshape forms that have multiple attacks like the bear.
    • Acrobatics: This skill can be more useful for druids than it may seem. Want to jump from the door eave/lintel onto tall green & angry's "armor" while out scouting the bbeg's lair as a rat?... this is the skill that will let you ride the stench of stale sweat all the way till it's time to disrupt that charge towards your buds with the "ack what the?!" Of an angry bear or spell & cantrip flinging 2-6ish foot tower of scary. You can use it to defend against grapples, but that defense allows the defender to choose between athletics & acrobatics. If you are a moon druid, athletics is a better option because of the strength on many beast forms, a land druid concerned about it will probably have better dex than strength & be better off with using acrobatics than athletics
    • Sleight of Hand: This one is probably not going to be very useful to druids under the best of circumstances
    • Stealth: This can be a great skill even if you are lacking a sneaky rogue type.... but then again, the danger faced when being noticed scouting about as a location appropriate rat/cat/common raven/etc is usually far less significant than being noticed as a rogue wandering around the bbeg's lair. If you do get noticed, you should be able to use either nature or animal handling in place of a charisma based skill in order to act like a critter that should be ignored. Keep in mind though that pass without trace is a +10 bonus to stealth for you & your allies & that's enough to sneak past a great many creatures even in plate mail provided you have a positive dex mod.
    • Arcana: Know stuff about all kinds of magical things. Fairly useful, but odds are almost certain that there will be a wizard/sorcerer/bard/maybe rogue who has this covered better than your average intelligence self can spare.
    • History: In the past, fighter types had one way to know about basically anything at all... specifically, turn to the wizard/cleric/etc & ask, now people use this. You might not learn everything & it might not always be right.... but odds are good that someone has heard a story where someone or thing battled against a particular type of dragon & the type of breath weapon was likely at least mentioned in passing. This is the skill that you use to know a little about anything at all
    • Investigation: Watson, this is the skill that Sherlock has double expertise in from that broken PrC he found.
    • Nature: Officially this lets you "recall lore about terrain, plants and animals, the weather, and natural cycles"; but if history can tell thog about the duke's rumored sadistic streak, a dragon/lich's strengths & weaknesses, or the most common way to a particular city... this can do a lot of that & more. A green dragon uses a poison breath weapon & there is an herb that is particularly effective at treating it. A lich tends to carry/cause a particular sort of blight in animals/plants around it. That sadistic duke has an unusual amount of both a succulent known for treating burns & foul smelling herbs best applied to cuts & bruises to speed their healing... so on & so forth. It's also closely tied to animal handling. Don't forget that this lets you do things like extract poison/venom from poisonous creatures like your new best friend "ssnek" the awakened giant snake/giant spider What you can do with that poison is between you & your GM as there are pretty much nosolid rules there but that poison deals 3d6 with a dc 11 save for half... which is wildly better than the 100gp 3 use dc10 save for none basic poison on phb153. Giant scorpion venom is 4d10 dc12 save for half
    • Religion: "to recall lore about deities, rites and prayers, religious hierarchies, holy symbols, and the practices of secret cults." Like arcana & the wizard, save it for the cleric/paladin/maybe bard.
      • Wisdom skills: These are your domain of expertise! I suggest a lot of situations where a "proficiency might reasonably apply to a different kind of check" & yes that's a direct quote from page `175 in the phb; as is don't be afraid to "ask your DM if you can apply a proficiency to a different check."
      • Animal Handling: Officially this lets you "calm down a domesticated animal, keep a mount from getting spooked, or intuit an animalís intentions" & do things with a mount... & that's why the skill is usually maligned as being useless for everyone not heavily invested in mounted combat; but anyone who has ever been to a dog training course or knows "that guy" who does sales stuff but gives animals the creeps knows that it's a lot more than that. You have all kinds of spells that you can use to speak to critters, use this to do it regardless of spell. Without the spells, you can still do some of the basic calming & such it mentions by RAW, but you should also be able to use it and/or nature in place of persuade & such. Not to mention knowing how to act like an angry intimidating bear when you want to intimidate something. If there's any doubt about that, most animals have intelligence and charisma stats in the 1-3 range with the occasional 5-6ish charisma. Your gm will probably be thrilled for the chance to play out unusual roles in conversations & such too....
      • Insight: General catch all understanding f people/motives/etc
      • Medicine: used to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness & such. It might not be a bad skill for a fighter who wants to not be helplessly watch his group bleed to death around him; but you can just cast a heal spell.
      • Perception: Almost everyoe should value this. Combined with your high wisdom, taking this will put you right up there with the rogue/bard who too expertise or observant. Take it & enjoy seeing things.
      • Survival: Officially this lets you "follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through frozen wastelands, identify signs that owlbears live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid quicksand and other natural hazards." But as a druid you can add things like "track/follow a scent" by wildshaping appropriately. Use it for all kinds of useful stuff & combine it with nature/animal handling where appropriate. Don't be afraid to get creative.
    • Deception: If you are wildshaped, you can probably use animal handling, nature, or survival in place of a lot of these if you are just trying to pass yourself off as a regular critter of that sort.
    • Intimidation:If you are wildshaped, you can probably use animal handling, nature, or survival in place of a lot of these. If you are just trying to pass yourself off as a regular critter of that sort... for example, an angry bear or a panther protecting the cave their young/mate is inside even if the things inside are the rest of the party & those refugee villagers. You don't need to kill the persuers, just be scary enough to make them consider it not worth risking a fight
    • Performance: probably not the most useful thing for you & a bit niche even for classes like bards
    • Persuasion: People tend to react a lot better when you fail to persuade them than when you fail to deceive or intimidate them; but it's generally a useful catchall social interaction skill.

    Spoiler: Backgrounds
    Show

    • Acolyte: insight, religion, & two languages. Two languages are nice & all; but the class spending significant time as an animal incapable of speech is probably not the best interpreter. Save this for someone else.
    • Charlatan: Deception, Slight of hand, Disguise kit, Forgerykit. While certainly useful bits & bobs there, it's really not your area. If you need to disguise yourself, look like a rat in your bud's pack/among the cart's baggage. This might be great for certain rogues/bard types, but not likely to fit very well for you,
    • Criminal/Spy: Deception, Stealth, & a gaming set. While the criminal contact could be useful, the rest is pretty badly meshing with front line druidry & there are better ways to get stealth if you are the party scout.
    • Entertainer/Gladiator: Acrobatics, Performance, Disguise kit, performance, & a musical instrument. Great stuff for some; but not really for you.
    • Folk Hero: Animal Handling, Survival, one type of artisan's tools. This has a lot of the same benefits of the guild artisan with different skills & slightly different shading
    • Guild Artisan/Guild Merchant: Insight, Persuasion, Artisan's tools. I'm a big fan of these for a few reasons, especially if you pick a flavor that can mix the whole nature stuff well with society. First off, they give you the extremely useful insight & persuasion. A type of artisan's tools to be proficient with (ie stonemason/woodworker/etc) that will also let you add your proficiency bonus to all sorts of stuff. Finally & most importantly they give you possible ties to the different classes of society (upperclass folks who need stuff built, middle class folks who need stuff built/supervise the building in some way/lowerclass laborer types). The feature has all kinds of useful applications to it as well.
    • Hermit: Medicine, Religion, Herbalism kit: While the repeat herbalism kit allows you to pick any other toolkit, having a background that weakens your ties to society is an awful choice unless you want to be the tree hugging "moonblossom sundew" stereotype. druids in Eberron do all kinds of cool & interesting stuff, you should too even if you are playing in something like the generic forgotten realms... doing that takes some degrees of understanding & interaction with society.
    • Noble/Knight: History, Persuasion, a gaming set. While the possible societal ties could be interesting, the rest is iffy. John Clayton is pretty well known though & this is probably not a great choice unless you have something really special in mind.
    • Outlander: Athletics, Survival, & a music instrument. You can take survival from druid & probably lack the strength to make good use of athletics. Overall, there's not much to offer here & it suffers from the same far from civilization troubles that hermit has.
    • Sage: Arcana, History, Two languages. While the researcher feature could be useful in some campaigns, the rest is iffy. Arcana is probably better handled by the wizard/bard/etc, let them shine. The problem with languages described in acolyte still applies here even if you are going land druid.
    • Sailor/Pirate: Athletics, Perception, Navigator tools, vehicles (water), You probably lack the strength for really good use of athletics, perception you can get lots of ways (including from druid), & the navigator tools pretty much just let you find your way around like survival lets you. While the feature can be useful, the rest is probably better for a fighter/barbarian/etc.
    • Soldier: Athletics, Intimidation, a gaming set. In an eberron style game where war was/is everywhere in the very recent past/present, this could be pretty useful for gaining access to military folks & always has the "where did you serve" type conversations as an option; but the proficiencies are a pretty awful match for you & a fighter or something might take it anyways.
    • Urchin: Slight of Hand, Stealth, Disguise kit, Thieve's tools: If your party is going to be lacking a rogue, this can give you some urban ties & the important bits of unlocking stuff/disabling traps/sneaking about; but rogues are pretty good & you probably won't need to fill that role. Let the rogue shine & do his thing without you bumbling behind because this doesn't really mesh too will with the stuff that you can do.

    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-06-03 at 01:18 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Spoiler: PHB Races
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    • Hill Dwarf:Con+2, wis+1 & +1 hp/level. Front line druidry would not a bad choice for them & their race t lets you turn a 12 invcon/15 in wis into a 14 &16 so you can put the 14 in dex & arrange the rest however
    • Mountain Dwarf: +2 con, +2 strength & medium armor proficiency you'd get from druid anyways. Really nothing of note here for you; pick something else in life my drunken friend.
    • High Elf: dex+2, int+1, proficient with perception, darkvision, advantage on saving throws against sleep, int+1 & some weapon proficiencies you don't care about, & a wizard cantrip you probably don't much need. Not another easy skip
    • Wood Elf: dex+2, wis+1, proficient with perception, darkvision, advantage on saving throws against sleep, wis+1, some weapons you don't care about, 35 foot move speed, some benefits to hide. Probably on par with hill dwarf but switch con & dex.
    • Dark/Drow Elf: dex+2, cha +1, proficient with perception, , advantage on saving throws against sleep, Charisma+1, superior darkvision, sunlight sensitivity, & some spells you can either cast or probably won't want to because of the sunlight sensitivity.
    • lightfoot Halfling: dex+2, +1 cha, small size, advantage for save against fear, 25 foot speed, reroll the first 1 on attack/save/ability checks, move through spaces of creatures 1 size larger than you (instead of the normal 2 sizes), the same/very similar stealth bonus as one of the elves gets. There are better paths in life for these guys than a front line druid; but the reroll 1 thing could feel great.
    • [COLOR="#800080"]Stout Halfling +2 dex, +1 con small size, advantage for save against fear, 25 foot speed, reroll the first 1 on attack/save/ability checks, move through spaces of creatures 1 size larger than you (instead of the normal 2 sizes), Con+1, advantage on saves for& damage resistance to poison. There are better paths in life for these guys than a front line druid; but it could work out since the dex/con dovetails them reasonably ok into the mold of it. Not bad.
    • Human: It's anybody's guess why these even exist instead of making variant the default. there's no real reason to be one; but you never know.
    • Variant Human: There are not that many great feats for front line druids; Plenty useful, but they are not as feat starved as some classes. The few that exist are either 1: like warcaster & limited in usefulness on account of everyone not having enough hp to risk getting close enough they could hurt much by a single attack or 2: like warcaster the benefit of taking it being fairly minimal if taken early on. Unless Eberron adds some new & interesting feats for front line druidry, there really is no significant reason for these extra feated variant humans to be/not be front line druids. Unlike some classes where "duh, go variant human, what's wrong with you?" is the obvious choice, they are just a somewhat neutral one for front line druids; pick whatever you want. Sure it can give you a jump, but that jump might not always be as useful as something like darkvision& more, pack tactics, or whatever.
    • Dragonborn: Neither strength nor charisma is all that important for you. You have plenty of elemental damage & probably don't need the breath weapon. While an elemental resistance can be great, you could just heal yourself. Pretty poor choice unless your gm is going to let you scale the breath weapon up based on how many steps above medium size your beast form is... and even then probably not great.
    • Forest Gnome: Since I chose Kobold, these lying savages should all just be thrown in a bottomless pit; However.... +2 int, small size, 25 foot speed, darkvision, advantage on wisdom &charisma saving throws against magic, +1 dex, minor illusion, speak with small beats (woodpeckers/squirrels/beloved pets)... Yep, to the bottomless pit with them.
    • Rock Gnome: Since I chose Kobold, these lying savages should also be thrown in a bottomless pit as well; However.... +2 int, small size, 25 foot speed, darkvision, advantage on wisdom &charisma saving throws against magic, +1 con, effectively expertise on some situational int checks, tinkers tools, & some clockwork stuff... pit for these abominations too.
    • Half Elf:+2 cha & +1 to 2 other stats, darkvision, advantage on save against charm. These tall crossbreeds are probably better off pursuing other paths in life aside from being a front line druid.
    • Half Orc: strength +2, con+1, darkvision, relentless endurance, proficient with intimidate, savage attacks. If it were not for relentless endurance, I'd suggest these guys pursue other paths after they finish throwing the gnomes down that bottomless pit; but that could be the difference between making death saves and healing yourself or using saving a wildshaped beast form & not. Otherwise, the benefits they bring to front line druidry are dubious compared to their full blooded cousins
    • Tiefling: cha+2, int+1, darkvision, fire resist, some minor spellcasting abilities. again, tfront line druidry may not be the best choice of paths for these folk either



    Spoiler: Volo'sRaces
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    • Protector Aasimar: +2 charisma, darkvision, necrotic resistance, some very minor healing that's probably better for a class than can't just cast a healing spell, +1 wis, & a brief flight speed 1/long rest. All in all, there are probably much better ways for these guys to cast spells or dance about on the front lines thamn as a druid
    • Fallen Aasimar: +2 charisma, darkvision, necrotic resistance, some very minor healing that's probably better for a class than can't just cast a healing spell, +1 str,& minor fear effect... also probably better unrelated paths
    • Scourge Aasimar: +2 cha, +1 con, darkvision, necrotic resistance, some very minor healing that's probably better for a class than can't just cast a healing spell, minor short lived damage bump, probably better paths for these too
    • FirBolg: +2 wis, +1 str, detect magic & disguise self 1/rest, a 1 round invisible/rest ability, the ability to have speech understood by plants & animals but not understand them. Not a bad choice & some interesting possibilities for speaking to plants/animals... but you should be using animal handling/nature/survival for that generally.
    • [COLOR="#FF0000"][B]Goliath[/b ]: +2 str, +1 con, athletics proficient, powerful build, accustomed to high altitudes & cold climates. In all honesty, these would make for a better fighter/barbarian/paladin/maybe even ranger than a front line druid.
    • Kenku: dex+2, wis+1, advantage when making forgeries/duplicates, mimicry, pick 2 of acrobatics/deception/stealth/slight of hand. All in all these aren't a bad choice & mimicry+animal handling/nature/survival could open some very interesting conversational doors if your gm lets you use them to communicate on a basic level with beasts.
    • [COLOR="#0000FF"]Lizardfolk[color]: Con+2, Wis+1, a useless bite, a skill that could replace your shield if you ever lost it, hold breath 15 min, pick 2: animal handling/ nature/perception/stealth/survival, some natural armor on par with a chain shirt but without the dex cap. If your gm says no to metal armor, these guys going for a front line druid role is actually a fairly decent choice & only 2 ac behind with really nice stat bumps to boot.
    • Tabaxi: +2 dex, +1 cha, darkvision, double your speed on one turn until you move 0 distance on a turn, some useless claws, proficient with perception. Overall front line druidry wouldn't be bad for these guys & the speed boost when paired with thorn whip to move 60' & drag someone 10' on one turn has a lot of useful potential. The fact that it doesn't hurt you to stay there one turn while you cantrip/direct concentration spells/cast means that you can probably do that just about as often as you need to. These guys are a pretty great option for a front line druid.
    • Triton: dex+1, con+1 cha+1, amphibious, minor spellcasting, These don't really apply themselves well to druidry in general.
    • Bugbear: str+2, dex+1, darkvision, long limbed, powerful build, stealth proficient, kinda sorta 2d6 sneak attack 1/fight type thing. All things considered, these make for some interesting classes, just not really any reason for them to dive into druidry of any sort.
    • Hobgoblin: con+2, int+1, darkvision, some weapon proficiencies that you don't care about, a bonus to attack/skill/save rolls 1/rest based on how many allies you have nearby. These are another class thatcould works out fairly decently; but probably not even a little bit ideal
    • Goblin: dex+2, con+1, darkvision, a damage boost to anything larger than you 1/rest, disengage or hide as a bonus action each turn. These smelly little monsters make surprisingly effective front line druids. Con/dex lets them use 13/12 For 14/14 with 14/15/10/8 or something in the other stats.
      [*Kobold: For someone going the independent mount route, your buddy giving you pack tactics on top of everything else is incredible. For the other two routes they are still not bad dex+2/str-2, darkvision, grovel cower & beg, pack tactics, sunlight sensitivity. If any of your allies are within 5 feet of a creature, your attacks get advantage, grovel cower & beg lets all of your allies get advantage on attacks given proper positioning. Front line druidry is a great choice for my fellow kobolds & works well with their weak strength scores. Having a bear/rhono/mammoth/etc with pack tactics is awesome.
    • Yaun-Ti: cha+2, int+1, darkvision, some very minor spellcasting, poison spray, advantage on saves against spells & other magic abilities, poison immunity. By strict RAW, that poison spray is probably different from the druid's; but your GM might let you treat it like the druid's to free up an extra cantrip & use the same DC as your druid spells to effectively gain an extra cantrip, advantage on magic saves is nifty too, Unfortunately there isn't much else that fits well with druid & I's say that front line druidry is going to be "maybe ok" for these if your gm is lenient with poison spray. They should probably choose some other path though.
    • Orc: str+2, con+1, int-2, proficient with intimidate, darkvision, powerful build, the ability to move up to your speed towards an enemy as a bonus action. These guys really need some way to take advantage of that aggressive bonus action move, or at least something that cares about having a high strength; druidry of any sort is not that however. The best thing going for these guys with druidry is that the int penalty won't hurt too much & a bonus to con is good for everyone. Unfortunately for orcs, druids don't really need to worry about strength & orc in general is lackluster at best if not just fllatly "umm... bad".


    Some might be confused or bewildered by the lack of any teal races; but it's not really that odd. Druids are very flexible & their spells/abilities allow them to fill a wide range of roles (albeit sometimes in unusual ways) making a great many of the races into good or ok with no clear "be X race fool" winner


    Spoiler: Other druid guides
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    So what if you are explicitly building to be a rider, what do you suggest?
    Spoiler: some rider details
    Show

    A dex based paladin that picks up fighting style:Protection at 2 & mounted combatant at 4 is a great choice. The rider should have good dex to help with making those dc10 dex saves.

    Tabaxi in Volo's have +2 dex/+1 con, a really useful & generally not easy to get climb speed of 20, & proficient with Perception & stealth. Modify the criminal backgroundd(or any other background that you like) per the rules alongside the paladin skill choices & you can add thieves tools with more charisma based social skills to be really awesome in s rogue free group.

    Add in medium armor mastery at some point & you can have +3 dex on halfplate with no stealth disadvantage to make a pretty good sneaky trap/lock guy that pairs great with a druid mount.

    A level of rogue at some point will add a d6 of sneak attack whenever mounted & expertise on stealth or thieve's tools if you want.

    While I'm sure you could do all kinds of neat optimizations for a rider, this section is really more just general advice than an actual guide for that
    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-05-06 at 03:11 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Spoiler: Utility spells (Obvious & less so)
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    Spoiler: First level utility spells
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    • Animal Friendship This could be useful for situations like keeping a whole kennel of guard dogs you need to sneak past from alerting on your presence; but mostly it's going to be a spell that you prep suspecting you will need it. If your GM will let you use this instead of the higher level & differently working appropriate spell such as dominate monster to affect monstrosities like an owlbear/hellhound/etc, it gets even better, but that's a pretty huge & unlikely stretch.
    • Charm Person: This is not like the older charm spell from earlier versions that removed a threat & made it an instant expendable ally to help you kill his friends. The new effect of charm is that the charmed victim considers you a "friend" & can't attack the "charmer"(i.e. you) or harm them with spells & the charmer gets advantage on social ability checks against the charmed target.... Unfortunately, the victim knows that you charmed them after the spell ends. Were it not for the last bit it would be quite a bit more useful. Even in a prison break type situation, it only means that the guards sound the alarms an hour after letting you out instead of before. Probably not going to be on your daily prep list. You might be able to find situations like the stretched one of the prison guard/gaoler one here & there; but generally there will be better solutions that don't require you taking the time to change your prep list or keeping this spell on it.
    • Create or destroy water: might be useful for helping some villagers/refugees, but again not likely to be on your daily spell prep list. There will be few situations where you need to create or destroy 10 gallons of water & can't wait to change your spells around. If you have reason to expect a raid on a village type situation where flaming arrows could be a concern it becomes extremely useful though since one of it's functions is to extinguish flames in a 30' cube.
    • Cure wounds: a great healing spell, but at very early levels goodberry is probably a better choice for its predictable 10hp that you can split however you need across a bunch of folks with 10's or less max hp. After the first few levels this starts to make ground & overtake/pass goodberry once you have some spell slots to spare.
    • [B]Goodberry[/b ]: This is a great spell early on when spell slots are tight & max hp's are so low that a d8 could be way too little, way too much, or too dangerous to risk another hit even though someone is only down a couple hp. This lets you get a reliable 10hp that you can split as needed without worrying about over/under healing while nobody can really take more than 1-2ish hits from anything. After a few levels when max hp pools & spell slots grow it quickly changes Being able to feed 10 people could be situationally good too. For what it's worth, disciple of life [url="http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/sage-advice/rules-answers-august-2015"] makes this give 40 hp worth of healing with minimal chance of overhealing for a single first level spell slot; That & the early level use is mostly why this gets underlined.
    • Detect Magic: You get ritual casting & can cast this as a ritual without using a spell slot. You will almost never be in a situation where you need to cast it with a spell slot... trying to find the invisible attacker is the best I can think of for reasons not to ritual cast. With that said, itís a great spell that lets you pick out magic stuff & will regularly be at home on your prep list.
    • Detect poison & disease: This is another ritual spell, but it's probably going to be fairly situational that you might need to detect this very often. Wanna know if those plants are poisonous?... roll nature instead of wasting a prep slot on this.
    • [B]Entangle: This gives you a 20' square where victims need to make a strength check or be restrained. Restrained is pretty nasty with disadvantage on dex saves & attack rolls against others while others get advantage attacking the restrained victim(s). It's a concentration spell with a 1 minute save or suck duration. Even cooler is that the spell doesn't include any means of a victim hacking/burning their way out like the web spell & beast abilities.
    • Faerie Fire: Great spell: Wrecks invisibility, gives you all advantage (or just a straight attack roll depending on interpretation of fog cloud type effects) on attacks if the target fails a dex save & can do fun stuff like "lets all hide in the fog cloud & wreck that baddie with advantage while it has disadvantage against the folks pelting it from outside"
    • Healing Word: Less healing than cure wounds (d4s instead of d8s), but it works at range of 60' instead of touch could be useful to heal a squishy that got pelted by something, but so could the squishy's 50gp potion.
    • Jump: PHB182 has rules for jump distances, this spell triples them. Unfortuntely for this spell the times people might need to jump are pretty few & far between while often being situational as well.
    • Longstrider: Target gains an extra 10' of movement for one hour Mobile is a feat that gives an extra 10' as one of the things it grants, I'd guess nobody takes it for that reason alone. It could be useful in some situations, but nothing wrong with a first level spell that doesn't spend much time being prepared regularly. Most likely, you will either almost never or almost always prep this spell so I'm rating it with a bad underline since there are situations where it could be great.
    • Purify food & drink: Get invited to the big feast? It might be time to prep this if you suspect your host or that host's security!
    • Speak with animals: These two let you talk to plants or animals , the animals version is ritually castable. While this might seem fairly useless on account f the fact that animals are not generally much concern once you have spell slots to spare or time to ritual cast this... the truth is not quite so obvious. Scrying is a 5th level spell with a on this plane too range that lets you spy on a target you have at least heard of for 10 minutes with a 1000gp mirror & commune with nature is a 5th level spell with a 3 mile range... this is a first level spell. Want to know what you are heading into?... ask that bird, they work for cheap bread/seed/etc... want to know where the scary trolls are hiding in the cave & how many there are?... ask some local cr0 bats, they should be happy to know that you will be hunting the things that sometimes kill them.... so on & so forth. It's going to be dependant on your gm, but a lot of them will be thrilled that their murderhobo's are interacting with things & be happy to encourage it. Birds fly over that orc camp pretty often, maybe your gm will give you advantage on stealth/perception rolls to sneak & search through it after you got some vague descriptions from all those crows
    • Thunderwave: In addition to the damage, this lets you push things 10' away. It's stretching for "utility" here, but knocking stuff off cliffs/bridges/etc can be very useful. Wall of thorns>thorn whip>thunderwave>thorn whip is just effing cruel. Being able to give yourself breathing room if mobbed is no small accomplishment either.


    Spoiler: Second level utility spells
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    • Animal Messenger: Ritual castable spell able to send a message over 25-50 miles per level of spell slot you use. While the delivery reliability is a bit iffy at best, it can probably improve significantly be pairing it with speak with animals to get a bit of back & forth so the critter is more certain of the thing you want it to tell.
    • Barkskin: Sadly, this spell is pretty useless & awful. While it's true that it gives an extra 3 ac over mage armor's 13 ac, a set of hide or studded leather with 14 dex & a shield is all it takes to hit 16 ac. While your wildshape forms almost certainly cant use a shield & wearing your magic armor on them is up to your gm there are far better things to use your concentration on. Mage armor is great because it's an 8 hour duration so you can cast/concentrate on other useful stuff... this?... not so much considering 16ac is pretty trivial to reach with just studded leather/hide& 14 dex with a shield.
    • Darkvision: Grants someone darkvision 60' for 8 hours. This is great to keep your party's humans & such from running around with torches/lantern/light spells if you have a light sensitivity. Unfortunately, casting this from higher level spell slots does not allow you to affect multiple people & it could use up a significant portion (potentially all ) of your second level spell slots to cover the blind. I underlined this because a party with a good mix of daylight sensutuve & darkvision lacking can cripple itself with light spells or not using them. This will let you find a happy middle ground.
    • Enhance Ability: Pick a stat, there are six ways to cast this & each grants advantage on ability checks that use the chosen stat. At higher levels when you have more prep/spell slots & options to play with, this can get far more useful to a party by acting like aid on steroids when your party rogue starts getting ideas on the way through those tomb of horrors level traps. This will not grant advantage on attack rolls or saving throws
    • Find Traps: Just pretend this spell doesn't exist. The only thing it tells you is the presence of traps within line of sight & only if it was intentionally set by someone/something for harmful/undesirable effects by its creator; because of that, it won't tell you things like a rotted wood/crumbling floor unless someone somehow rotted, It won't tell you where the trap is or anything about it, It's not ritually castable either, so it doesn't even have that as a possible saving grace othat would let it be a safe way to sanity check your rogue.
    • Flame blade: It's not a bad spell, but it doesn't take long for your cantrips to match or surpass it & you should have warcaster by 4 about the time you get 2nd level spells at druid level 3 just as your cantrips are about to jump to 2d6/8/12 at 5. Flaming sphere & such+cantrips are both more powerful & versatile uses for concentration spells. Just because you can risk being up close & personal with baddies doesn't mean you should.
    • Flaming sphere: Yes it does less damage than flame blade, but it does that damage as a bonus action letting you cantrip attack & tack on a few extra d6's with a bonus action as well as to anything that ends a turn within 5 feet of it. Druids don't get the same kind of "omg wow" burst damage spells that wizards can get, but they do get a plethora of ways to dish out steady & reliable damage well into the respectable end of the charts at both melee & range. This one is almost always on my prep list, but dropping it to fit something else situations will need won't kill my ability to contribute so I made it blue underlined.
    • Gust of wind: Deals no damage & strength save to be thrown/pushed 15 feet. Angry monster next to a cliff?... use this to fix it. Your favorite victim thorn whipped close?... use this to sent it away Anthony, that'll be real swell if you send it to the cornfield. Being able to make a 60x10 foot long area be 15 feet away in a direction you choose is nothing to sneeze at either.
    • Heat Metal: Yes it's primarily for damage, but while that fortress gate might be warded against magic, the chains holding it up might not be so well protected. Get your wizard bud to transmute that catapult rock to an iron ball & send a red hot iron ball over the wall. Almost all of the creative stuff you can do with this boil down to how far your gm ill let you push the rule of cool. The important part is that you can use it to strongly encourage an opponent into disarming themselves or taking no save fire damage if wearing metal armor.
    • Hold person: This opens a lot of fun doors, need to sneak some villagers/farmers past those guards so they are far enough away before the guards sound the alarm?.. This is the spell to use. The guards will know & helplessly watch the whole thing, but they won't be able to move or speak. That's all before you look at PHB291 to see that everyone attacking them has advantage & that any attack hitting counts as a crit. With only a one minute duration, hope you can kill them all first. On the up side, higher level spell slots let you affect extra targets.
    • Lesser Restoration: pick one valid condition to remove. Options are Blind, Deaf, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Diseased. This is another one I usually try prepare, but I will quickly drop it for other stuff that feels more pressing.
    • Locate animals/plants: This is usually going to be one of those things that you prepare when you need it, but lets say you are tracking an assassin who uses a particular variant of rare flower based toxin or a stag for dinner... usefulness goes up
    • Locate Object: with only a 1,000 foot range, odds are good that you won't have it prepped in time to chase the bbeg with that funny staff who escaped, but it's an excellent way to track down wherein the city that he and/or his bodyguard with the funny cloak sleeps at night.
    • Moonbeam. Damage spell that works like flaming sphere but takes an action to move the damage field if your victim moves. shapeshifters save at disadvantage con save to flaming sphere's dex save.
    • Pass without trace: Pack a bunch of people within 30 feet of you & give them all +10 on stealth checks for up to an hour while you maintain concentration. This will keep those paralyzed guards noted earlier from seeing most of those villagers! if you think that stealth might be of huge importance, don't forget to prep this one. being able to add +10 stealth to a bunch of players is a crazy big boost when you take into account bounded accuracy. Tired of the rogue's casting timestop on the table by uttering the words "I use stealth to sneak..."? This spell will let the whole group follow him in stealth.
    • Protection from Poison: Remove one poison from a target or give them advantage on saving throws vrs poison for the next hour. Limited value in most situations; but you rarely run into things like a great wyrm green dragon unexpectedly. but it does not take concentration so you can use it to do things to coordinate like dance around in your wizard pal's stinking cloud or cloudkill & such.
    • Spike Growth: A lot like entangle, but deals a little damage if they move through the difficult terrain you just created with it. Difficult terrain forces half movement speeds


    Spoiler: Third level utility spells
    Show

    • Call Lightning: Like moonbeam & flaming sphere but deals more damage & takes an action to call down. The range & everything within 5 feet of a point you choose can make this great for poking holes in a far away but tightly packed group of baddies.
    • Conjure animals: This is a great 3rd level spell that lets you create a bunch of critters/a big critter to do your bidding. at higher levels this can do devastating things. Don't forget the fact that these critters can let any rogues in your party get sneak attack damage by being within 5 feet of whatever those sneak attackers want to puncture. This works because sneak attack has this as one of the optional conditions "You donít need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it"(phb96).
    • Daylight: as a kobold, this is a terrible spell that creates a 60' light that isn't specified as bright dim, or otherwise & the spell doesn't say if casting it on something like the guard's visored helm will blind them. It would be wonderful if you could flip it for darkness to let your daylight sensitive allies go to down at high noon; but you can't do that either... There are some creatures that are disadvantaged in some way by this that a light cantrip would not; but there are reasonable odds that you would be doing the same or similar to some allies. I could be wrong, but I don't think daylight kills any monsters. Enough about this horrible thing.
    • Dispel Magic: Useful for getting rid of all sorts of magical effects; but baddies are rarely going to be affected like say.... your fighter friend losing his +3 shield, +3 plate, +3 sword, & gauntlets of ogre power. Be careful with this.
    • Feign Death: ritual castable, but touch range. "The prisoners are all dead!", "Looks like they all poisoned themselves before we got here boss". While the spell certainly has the potential to be useful from time to time, I rated it red underline because so many wow-> d&d transplants find themselves surprised when it doesn't work like the FD they are used to.
    • Meld into stone: There is no better hiding place than inside a rock/wall/floor. Think that your friends can lure that dragon away within the next 8 hours/want to long rest in its cave?... this is the spell for you. Because you have to exit from the same point you entered, I've never really found a situation where I found myself saying "wow, if I prepped it, I could..." having to make perception checks at disadvantage makes it of minimal use for discretely standing watch too & any sort of eavesdropping situation could be done without disadvantage as a rat/cat/etc in most cases too. I'm rating it as just bold black because I've never really found a situation I wanted to cast it so find it even less likely that anyone could regret casting it when it seemed so great.
    • Plant Growth: This spell is ridiculously useful. The difficult terrain causing 4 feet of movement for every 1 foot of actual distance traveled can be pretty spiffy given that you can effect a 100 foot radius 150 feet away, like a significant chunk/most/all of that orc raiding party or the band of raiders closing in on the caravan you are protecting can be great; but that's not the only great thing this can do & the other is less obvious. Doubled crop yield for everything within a half mile radius of a spot you cast this over 8 hours is a potentially huge bargaining chip you can use with most any village & some merchants. Even noble types aren't likely to be immune to the offer of things like "what if I could double the yields in your vinyard for the next year."
    • Protection from energy: acid, cold, fire, lightning, thunder... Pick one & give someone you touch resistance to it for up to an hour while you maintain concentration. sadly you can't target multiple people by using a higher spell slot so I'm rating it bold red on account of needing concentration too.
    • Sleet Storm: Con save or break concentration, makes terrain difficult (2:1 movement), dex save or knocked prone. It can also douse flames an an occasionally useful feature. Unfortunately you can't move the storm, but it's pretty big.
    • Speak with Plants: sadly this is not ritually castable, but you can ask plants questions, let them move (but not uproot) ask them to do o stuff for you. The limits are "at the dm's discretion". The difficult terrain portion is less impressive than plant growth, but could be really useful for keeping things within 30 feet of you & away from your ranged squishies or hindering an escape/assault. Unfortunately, unlike plant growth's actual change to the plants, this only lasts for 10 minutes; but it does not require concentration like most of your other ways to make difficult terrain. Unfortunately, it may technically no longer be "nonmagical difficult terrain" for purposes of the 6th level land druid land stride ability, talk to your gm to see about an exception given the "usefulness" of land's stride. fortunately speaking is a free action, so you can do things like tell your entangle & such not to grab your friends.
      [*]Water Breathing: This is one of those spells that's either what you need, or not going to get used generally... ,but it can do some useful stuff like letting you walk across the bottom of a moat/lake/etc.
    • Wind wall: this does some damage & can stop arrows, but generally not too useful for utility unless you find yourself facing lots of small or smaller creatures you want to keep from approaching/chasing medium & larger sized attackers since they can just walk through the 1 foot thicj wall if 3d8 damage isn't enough to give them pause.


    Spoiler: Fourthlevel utility spells
    Show

    • Bligh: In addition to being a fairly decent attack spell (though flaming sphere/moonbeam/etc are better bang for buck over a few rounds when paired with cantrips, especially when you cast them out of the same 4th level slot), you can use this to make a tree/shrub/etc wither & die.
    • Confusion: Fairly useful save or be useless spell. This spell is probably the closest to the old save or be my bff charm person/monster spells with only a 20% chance each round of your victim getting to do what they want as long as it keeps failing its wis save. The other 80% of the time it's doing things like use all movement, make a melee attack against a random target in reach or just do nothing for a turn. The fact that this can affect everything within 10 feet of a point bumps this from black to blue underlined
    • Conjure minor elemental: in addition to the obvious beatdown options, elementals can do loooots of useful stuff. Mephits/gargoyles/etc can do all sorts of nifty stuff for you...
    • Conjure woodland beings: plenty of useful stuff you can do with fey including get them to cast spells for you. Some of the other guides go into good detail here.
    • Control Water: Whirlpool can be great against a pirate ship type thing... This is the spell that you want to use when you want to move the moat over part of the 30 story (300foot!) castle wall & continue doing so for the next 10 minutes. Need to walk a bunch of refugees across a 300 foot wide river?... again, this is your spell. I'm giving this a low rating because of how rare you will unexpectedly encounter a situation where you might need it without also being paired with your gm saying things like "the trip will take the ship several days/weeks". The ones left behind can usually also be solved with a rest to change your prepped spells. As always, situations & the particulars of your campaign are important things to consider... a campaign centered around a sea elf city will find much ore use for this sort of thing than most others.
    • Dominate beast: This one is pretty darned iffy in use & probably not going to be prepared all that often, Most of what this can do is going to be either too short lived or too easily replicated with some combination of animal handling/nature/survival. Since it only applies to beasts, you can't use it for monstrosities like owl bears, winter wolves, hellhounds, etc even though the mentioned skills or violence.
    • Freedom of movement: Going crazy creating rough terrain & need to be able to move through or let a buddy ignore it, this spell can do it for the next hour. The usefulness here is going to depend a lot on group makeup, & how much your GM uses rough terrain but it's a pretty nice spell.
    • Giant insect: Make some giant bugs & use verbal commands or animal handling to guide them around... of course, if said bugs have been hit by an awaken spell maintained long enough to make it permanent& you keep them happy in a small terrarium type thing... Well that changes everything. The fact that it doesn't say damage beyond 0 affects the bugs makes it more interesting if the insect is awakened.
    • Grasping vine: Hold this door! Keep anything away from my friends, keep everything near me, drag those unlucky baddies around my wizard friend's wall of fire over & over again. The fact that the vine can't be attacked or take damage makes it possible to even stick it inside the wall of flame or whatever. On it's own, it's not very useful other than battlefield control due to concentration; but paired with a caster buddy who preps a damage field, it can be a minute of "Ignore that guy while the damage field & vine keeps killing him". Takes a bonus action w/ dex save to grab things
    • Hallucinatory terrain: Oops, guess you thought that the cliff was behind us or that the magma field started behind that dirt... sorry I hid it. On top of all that it can be great for doing things like hiding the giant plant growth difficult terrain before an invasion so it looks like clear terrain for everyone to fill the hapless attackers slooooowly working their way through. The fact that you can take a rest after casting either/both spells means that you can probably use a spell like grasping vine, gust of wind, etc to make the arrows even more effective.
    • Ice storm: In addition to the damage, you make difficult terrain; but only for one turn, so you are probably casting something else because the damage is only slightly better than your cantrips unless a bunch of things are clustered up... Once you can cast this & a spell like moonbeam/flaming sphere/etc+ cantrips will easily bypass it over the duration... especially if you cast those concentration spells out of the same 4th level slot even when stuff is clustered.
    • Locate creature: Pretty much the same as locate object, but you can do fun stuff like locate doppelgangers within 1,000 feet for up to an hour.
    • Polymorph: sorry mister dragon, guess frogs reallly can't fly when thrown hard off a 1,000 foot cliff & all sorts of fun changing yourself/others. Conveniently, this shows up at level 8, or right about the time that land druids cap out on wildshape but moon druids can make good use of it too... want to be a dragon or something not of the beast type?... this is your spell. Unlike wildshape, this changes mental stats too, so your orc buddy with 6 int will get smarter... it does not change alignment/beliefs/etc however. There are a lot of nifty things that you can transform yourself/allies into however. Your level 7 friend into a giant ape for example.
    • Stoneskin: This costs 100gp to cast & grants resistance to nonmagic pierce/bludgeoning/slash damage for up to 1 minute while you maintain concentration. Great for a bunch of weak goblins or something, but so is an aoe spell. The nonmagic caveat has the same nonmagic trouble that heavy armor master's 3 point damage reduction has though. Luckily, there is a very different opportunity cost between 100gp & heavy armor mastery's feat & stone skin's resistance is a lot better than the feat's dr3/magic. Besides... what else are you gfgoing to spend gold on? Use this when it makes sense, but there are times it will be a godsend.
    • Wall of fire: This spell is mostly for blocking off part of a battlefield with a cross under penalty of pain, but when paired with something like gust of wind& thorn whip, or shield mastery's shove it can get pretty nasty.


    Spoiler: Fifth level utility spells
    Show

    • Antilife Shell: any living creature (not undead not construct) is kept 10' away by a shimmering barrier for up to an hour with concentration. Wildshape into an earth elemental & hold the gate by yourself while taking a quick nap Ranged attacks & spells can get you, but otherwise it's not a bad panic button type spell if you get mobbed up too close for comfort by nonranged attacking baddies.
    • Awaken: awakened trees are slow. But pretty useful if you have a keep you might want to keep track of while gone & you can pair awakened stuff with some really useful spells like giant insect, animal shapes, etc.
    • Commune with nature: Lets you learn some pretty useful stuff about the world 3 miles around the point where you cast this spell . Not too useful in cities, but most villages are still going to have a good bit of usefulness. If you can spend 30 days making it stick, your new owlbear/ mammoth/ etc buddy can be a lot of help too.
    • Conjure elemental: all sorts of useful stuff you can do with elementals beyond the obvious break things & kill stuff applications if you get creative.
    • Contagion: Lets you apply some mildly interesting effects to a victim if you can make a melee spell attack. If that were all, this would be a pretty crap spell... but this is a nonconcentration spell with a 7 day duration to make it into a great save or suck spell if you can deliver it (touch) before someone gets away. Being able to force disadvantage on attacks, saves, & skill rolls tied to a given stat along with some other nifty stuff like being stunned until the end their next turn whenever they take damage can effectively turn this save or suck spell into a save or die slowly & helplessly while we poke you.
    • Geas: a quick way to force someone to do/not do something for the next 30 days & you get to treat them as being charmed for that time
    • Greater Restoration: Much like lesser restoration; but includes things like charm, petrify, curses, etc. While this is a great spell, you will almost never need to cast it in a situation where you didn't expect it (medusa/cocktrice/etc petrifies) or can't wait to cast it later. The low rating is simply because you will rarely need to or want to prep it "just in case" without some idea of wwhy it's a good idea.
    • Insect Plague: This is a spell that falls into the "almost coulda been great" category. 4d10 damage across 20 feet sounds impressive; but out of a 5th level slot moonbeam is 5d10, flaming sphere 5d6, & call lightning 4-5d10. While all of those spells differ obviously by affecting everything within 5 feet of a point or a single point... there is a much more important difference that spikes insect plague down; insect plague is the only one of those spells that cannot be moved. a 10 minute concentration aoe covering a 20 foot circle that everyone immediately knows to avoid is less useful to a dramatic extent in most cases.
    • Mass cure wounds: It's a heal spell that targets up to 6 folks within 30 feet of you. Great for rinsing away that fireball/dragon breath/etc. While a life cleric will be far more impressive with this than you, "oh maaaannn wtf!... why'd you heal us" said no party ever. You can do fine without it, but it's a really great spell to keep prepped.
    • Planar Binding: Want to enslave an elemental/fey/fiend for 24 hours? use this... There are all sorts of useful things those can do that don't involve smashing your face even before debating how permissible that your gm might be with creative requests/orders/commands given to your victim. All around it's pretty bad given the cost when cast as a level 5 spell... but with 180-365 days with an 8-9th slot & it starts looking much better.
    • Reincarnate:for the cost of a 1000 gp gem, bring someone back to life as something else. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately to some, this does not include volos (pc and monstrous races all missing) or eberron races. that really should get errata'd or updated in the future with other lists that can be chosen. You will probably never cast this & your dead friend probably will not accept it even if you do.
    • Tree stride: Move up to 500 feet by crossing between 2 trees or similar for the next minute with concentration. This one is inversely useful to how large you are because it requires the tree/plant/etc be at least the same size as you. Want to jump your small kobold tail from that shrub near the gate to the shrub in the pallace's private garden?... this is your spell. Because you can keep this going for a minute, you can move truly staggering distances across a forest/desert with occasional cacti/etc in that minute... even if trees are all 30 feet apart you can move about a mile over than one minute. If it was a dense forest with trees & stuff 5-10 feet apart this crosses over into the territory of outrunning an airship with elementals at full bore /perhaps catching up to that lightning rail& getting into position to try jumping on as it passes. There are very few things in the d&d universe that can reach speeds of 60 miles an hour at all... let alone doing it for a full minute. That inute can let you travel about a mile.
    • COLOR="#0000FF"]Scrying[/color]: Spy on a person/creature/ or place, but it needs a 1,000gp silver mirror & only lets you see for 10 minutes. Luckily it does not say that it destroys the mirror so you could use this for 10 minutes every 24 hours if you wanted to without having to go find another 1000gp mirror.
    • COLOR="#0000FF"]Wall of stone[/color]: Useful for building all manner of structures. Such as walls, ramps, possibly even a rough scalable very tall pole fused to the side of a castle/tower. If you have stonemason's tool proficiency like the original Irhtos, you can probably even convince your gm to let you put hand holds holds and/or attachment points for crampons & rope.


    Spoiler: sixthlevel utility spells
    Show

    • Conjure fey: There are all kinds of useful applications for this including a decent bit of having them cast multiple concentration spells for you. Some of the other guides go into great detail on this.
    • Find the path: Unfortunately, this is going to be a fairly situational contrived to let you use it spell; because it requires that you have an object from the location andthat you be fairly specific and that the location be stationary.
    • Heal: a verbal only 70 point heal with a range of 60 feet.
    • Heroes' Feast: a 1,000 gp feast that cures all active diseases, & neutralizes all active poisons , grants immunity to disease, poison, advantage on wisdom saving throws, & raises max hp by 2d10 24 hours. Up to 12 people can partake in the feast.
    • Move Earth:wall of stone is the spell that you use to create things out of stone where you have air/water. This however is the spell that you use to create a place for air/water that was previously dirt, sand, or clay ;but not rock or stone construction
    • sunbeam: This lets you make a pretty painful beam of sunlight for up to a minute of concentration. Not likely to be much utility stuff you can do here without significant gm leeway. It takes an action to make it do anything.
    • Transport via plants: This is basically the druid's 6th level teleport equivalent spell. in some ways it's both more & less powerful since the 7th level teleport can jump caster+up to 8 others while this can jump as many as can fit through a large or larger tree/plant in one round. You need to have seen both trees before, but scrying can cover you there pretty easily It's a great spell, but you can't always use it as an emergency panic escape on account of needing to have a large or larger plant near your point of panic
    • Wall of thorns: When paired with repeated use of thornwhip & potentially a friendly wizard's gust of wind & other foe moving abilities, this has the potential to be the single most effective damage bump that exists. Get an ally that also has thorn whip & it's practically a "teleport away/gasious form or die" spell.
    • Windwalk: Lets you & ten friends transform into a gaseous form with a speed of 300 feet & some other stuff for 8 hours. It's the "let's make that week & change trip today guys" spell.


    Spoiler: Seventh level utility spells
    Show

    • Fire Storm: This lets you arrange ten 10' cubes of fire as long as they each touch side to side with one or more other cubes. Pretty significant damage with the ability to avoid hurting your allies. The strength is greatly reduced by it's instant damage/duration compared to the various concentration spells like flaming sphere/moonbeam/etc.+cantrips.
    • Mirage arcane: everything that's useful about hallucinatory terrain, but better because you can physically change the terrain for 1 mile around the next 10 days after casting this. This is a great way to make sure a battle takes place on a field of your choosing. While it explicitly lets you do things like turn a lake into a grassy plain, it does not say what happens if you make a grassy plain into a lake & someone is in/under the water 10 days later.
    • Plane shift: This is one of those spells where you either need it, or have no use. Unless your game has things going on across multiple planes, you probably won't even have a reason to cast it.
    • Regenerate: This one heals a bit & grants 1 hp/turn (10/minute)recovery, but also it allows things like the rarely ever needed reattachment of limbs & such. If your gm is a fan of things like ad&d's(?) critical failure table, the need might go up; but it's generally unusual at best that you will need to heal anything capable of recovering up to 600/hour though could let you fully heal & regrow the wings of that nearly dead ancient dragon your party just rescued in about a half hour or so. With only a one hour duration, you can't exactly toss it on thog the high level barbarian and quit worrying about having to heal him between fights for long enough to make using a 7th level slot worth it.
    • [B]Reverse gravity: It's rare that you will need/want to use this for lifting as bunch of folks 100 feet up in the air so they can grab onto something rather than something like fly/windwalk/etc. Respectable way to make someone go away for a bit & resort to ranged attacks while you handle their friends though


    Spoiler: eighthlevel utility spells
    Show

    • Animal Shapes: This functions like wildshape (targets retain wis/cha/int/alignment/etc) & lets you change "any number of willing creatures" within 30 feet into large or smaller beastsof 4dh or less. Like wildshape, damage rolls over making it potentially dangerous to your terrarium of awakened critters; but if you have say.... a warren of kobolds living under a city about to be attacked by raiders, this is a spell that you can use to make dozens of them into mammoths or something.
    • Antipathy/Sympathy: make something be drawn to/repulsed by something for the next 10 days. Pair it with a spell like windwalk to give them a big head start & it gets really interesting. Keep in mind that "something" can be that continual flame "torch" tossed around to keep your victim from approaching your squishy friends or from running away from your sharp stabby antlers. This is a great spell with lots of options for you & the group
    • Control Weather: While this can help call lightning do a little extra/less damage 10 minutes from now,using an 8th level spell to add/remove one extra die of damage is... unlikely to be a good use of an 8th level spell slot. Most likely you will be using this to change the weather for story/plot type reasons.
    • Earthquake: This is the spell that you want to use In order to create deep fissures in the earth and/or destroy buildings. Your GM gets to make a lot of decisions about it though, make sure you brought pizza/cookies/[url="http://www.food.com/recipe/kahlua-fudge-brownies-115841"]kahlua fudge brownies[/color]/beer to the games where when you hope to use this. Keep in mind that this could do nothing of use or result in utter disaster if your gm dislikes the usage strongly enough.
    • Feeblemind: Intelligence & charisma of a victim become 1 until affected by heal, greater restoration, or wish. How stupid & uncharismatic is that?... a giant centepede has 3 charisma, a giant crocodile 2 int 7 charisma. You've pretty much got to look at oozes to hit 1/1.... the victim won't be casting spells, activating magic items, understand any language, or communicate "in any meaningful way" until cured. in other words. Save or drool quietly till someone finds you, figures out that something is wrong, figures out what is wrong, & chooses to fix you.... oh, it does some damage too. This can be really useful to disable someone/something without having to kill them or worry about escape. Being an 8th level spell, there are often plenty of ways to accomplish that; but few of them last until someone actively takes steps to negate it. I'm listing it black underline instead of a flat higher
    • Sunburst: con save or blind & 12d6 damage. While the damage is nice & blind is great, instant instead of a concentration spell like one of the moonbeam/call lightning/flaming sphere from an 8th level slot+cantrips will vastly outdamage this within a round or two. The blind is really the thing you are going for with this if you prep it To put it into perspective, flaming sphere out of the same 8th level slot will be doing 8d6, moonbeam 8d10, etc
    • Tsunami: This is another wall of damage type spell, but it's insanely large at 300x300x50 & restricts movement to swim speeds. The damage this deals is almost incidental to the fact that it's sized to hit all the things.



    Spoiler: 9th level utility spells
    Show

    • Foresight: give one creature that you touch advantage on basically everything it tries to do & everything trying to attack them needs to roll at disadvantage. Lasts for a flat 8 hours, but is a pretty impressive catch all buff that's almost guaranteed to be widely applicable.
    • Shape Change: Kind of like polymorph& the like. Keep your int/cha/wis/etc, but this allows you to change yourself/someone else into a creature with a CR equal to their level. There's not too many CR18 critters & they are almost universally scary.
    • Storm of Vengeance: This is mostly an aoe damage spell with a massive 360 foot AOE & 1 minute concentration duration. Over it's lifespan, it does a bunch of different stuff.
    • True Resurrection: This is the very very expensive spell that your buddy's dust needs after it falls in an active volcano immediately following the killing blow where a couple beholders were blasting him with disintegrate. I'm rating it red underline because you will probably never need to cast this spell with a 1 hour cast time without also being in a situation where something has gone horribly wrong & waiting to change your rep list falls under the category of "Yea I do that too" -> "sure whatever"





    Thanks
    Lots of thanks & the usual slobbery wild shaped appreciation to all of those who provided thoughtful criticism, advice, encouragement, & more.
    Spoiler: The growing list
    Show

    Specter, KevinSormast, Socrotov, Ludic Savant, Astofel, Dr.Samurai, The Zoat, Arkhios, Coidzor, Jaappleton, DeathChallenged, Sabeta
    Thanks everyone!
    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-05-06 at 04:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    You should clarify that only the first level of your career gives you any save proficiency. Taking a multiclass to be proficient in dexsaves doesn't exist.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Are you really going to start the metal discussion again? Proficiency is clear, table is clear, book is clear on nonmetal.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Really, there are no feats to be had by a front line druid? What about Sentinel, Warcaster, Resilient: Con?

    Heck, I picked Variant Human for my front liner Druid, and picked Observant. Was really helpful too.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by tkuremento View Post
    Are you really going to start the metal discussion again? Proficiency is clear, table is clear, book is clear on nonmetal.
    I know I shouldn't, but I will anyway. I agree, Player's Handbook is very clear on nonmetal. Note, that saying "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal" doesn't mean the same as "druids can not wear armor or use shields made of metal". A druid wearing armor or using a shield made of metal doesn't cause a druid to explode and suddenly lose their abilities because the rules don't say anything of the sort.
    Last edited by Arkhios; 2017-03-20 at 03:22 AM.
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    Note: Blue text written in italics implies lighthearted sarcasm. Don't take it seriously.


    sarcasm
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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    So basically walls-of-text of "Argue with your GM if you can don a full plate for a class that will shapeshift into something that can't wear said plate".
    I don't know what you are trying to achieve here but I see too much work being put into turning the druid into the nature domain cleric.
    Well there is already the nature domain cleric for that. And the druid has better things to do as a class than emulate a single cleric domain.
    "Those who fear Darkness...
    ...have never witnessed what Light can do"


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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadarai View Post
    I don't know what you are trying to achieve here but I see too much work being put into turning the druid into the nature domain cleric.
    Well there is already the nature domain cleric for that. And the druid has better things to do as a class than emulate a single cleric domain.
    I think the thread does have a point, and it's not trying to emulate the Nature Domain Cleric. Druids are, as a class, much more interesting than Clerics, in my honest opinion. Trying to make the druid a worthwhile choice in controversial ways and somewhat in comparison to clerics is a valid cause. Druids should have equal opportunity to shine in melee as Clerics do, with or without wild shapes, which only last for a short while at a time. Whatever armor you wear can't be taken away from you, but a wild shape can and will be worn out.
    My 5th Edition D&D Homebrew:
    Note: Blue text written in italics implies lighthearted sarcasm. Don't take it seriously.


    sarcasm
    /ˈsɑːkaz(ə)m/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anon von Zilch View Post
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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    • @specter: you are right, I think that changed between the playtest & eventual printing; but my wires got crossed or something. I'll need to update that section when I have time to rewrite it.

    • @Cespenar: I don't disagree, I just don't feel like front line druids are as feat starved as some other classes. I don't say that variant human is a bad choice, just that it's not the ultimate top marks winner choice (there really isn't one of those imo). You are probably right that I'm not clear enough on that given my wording at the end of their section & I'll fix it.

    • @tkuremento: Thanks for your input, but it was preemptively addressed in the spoiler section near the top of the first post titled "Spoiler: Check if you will be denied the vast majority of the armor in the game" where I quite clearly suggest things like: "If you talk to your gm & get told no & that nonmetal variants are rare or uncommon... look at the other 11 classes & pick one of those, perhaps war cleric, eldritch knight, or arcane trickster. " before including a warning about unwitting players getting obnoxiously & either maliciously or negligently misled by a gm willing to lie to their player about "it's rare" being different enough from words like "effectively none" to warrant disagreement over the assessment. If you disagree with my suggestion to find another gm, play a different class, or fully embody the most obnoxious & overbearing stereotype beyond even the extreme LA aligned paladin of "sorry guys"moonbeam dawnflower does not care about those concerns of civilization... kindly follow one of the links to the two threads that section directs you to & post about it there. Here they are again 1 2.

    • @kadari: Nature Cleric is an extremely different class with wildly different capabilities, specialties, and ways of operating. Given their Acolyte of Nature class feature and a couple channel divinity abilities to charm/dominate beasts/plants rather than using the appropriate equivalent spells they often lack... I feel safe going as far as saying that the nature cleric is a cleric trying to add a watered down section of a front line druid's toolkit to their own cleric toolkit. A druid that focuses on handling the front lines in medium armor+shield using druid spells & cantrips is not emulating a cleric in any way. Even if for some reason that druid chooses to go the heavy armor route I recommend against , he or she is still not emulating a cleric as there are two classes that start with "all armor" & out of the 7 cleric domains in the PHB only life tempest & war domains are granted heavy armor. A front line druid is wildly different from those two classes (fighter/paladin) and all seven of the cleric domains. The same is true of a front line druid not emulating a ranger with it's extra attacks full weapon options, fighting style choice, favored enemy, & so on.
    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-03-20 at 11:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    You left out the names of some of the spells in your descriptions of utility spells. On most, you started with the name, and then you made your points. On a few, you went with your points but left the name out.

    Example: the spell you listed under Animal Friendship, which is presumably a charm spell. That isn't the only one, but I'd suggest a scrub to clean up the few you did that with.

    Direct Question: how high of a level did your front line Druid achieve in your play test of this idea?
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2017-03-20 at 11:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    You left out the names of some of the spells in your descriptions of utility spells. On most, you started with the name, and then you made your points. On a few, you went with your points but left the name out.

    Example: the spell you listed under Animal Friendship, which is presumably a charm spell. That isn't the only one, but I'd suggest a scrub to clean up the few you did that with.

    Direct Question: how high of a level did your front line Druid achieve in your play test of this idea?
    Thanks, I think I fixed them all now. The first one was tier 3 & doing pretty well; but I learned a lot & made some mistakes like half orc & savage attacker @4. The second one is working its way through tier II games (levels 5-10) & even as a moon druid started encountering situations where nonbear was a better option than bear at the height of its power as early as 4 with warcaster & spikewhip to safely manage the battlefield & pull heavy hitters away from squishies where they could chase me/someone else crunchy down or get pelted to death with ranged stuff while the squishy runs back unworried about choosing between Disengage/AoOs. Group composition for the first was pretty random, but the second was mostly him, a kenku rogue, drow rogue/bard(I think), paladin of something, a tempest cleric, human illusionist, & wood elf ranger. I have little doubt that it will continue to be great all the way up since even a huge+ critter probably comes with small to large sidekick goons thornwhip can pull rather than huge+ones. I'm not s big fan of multiclass, & probably won't; but included it because some people like it & it does open some interesting options

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrasodium View Post
    The first one was tier 3 & doing pretty well; but I learned a lot & made some mistakes like half orc & savage attacker @4.

    The second one is working its way through tier II games (levels 5-10) & even as a moon druid started encountering situations where nonbear was a better option than bear at the height of its power as early as 4 with warcaster & spikewhip to safely manage the battlefield & pull heavy hitters away from squishies where they could chase me/someone else crunchy down or get pelted to death with ranged stuff while the squishy runs back unworried about choosing between Disengage/AoOs.

    Group composition for the first was pretty random, but the second was mostly him, a kenku rogue, drow rogue/bard (I think), paladin of something, a tempest cleric, human illusionist, & wood elf ranger. I have little doubt that it will continue to be great all the way up since even a huge+ critter probably comes with small to large sidekick goons thornwhip can pull rather than huge+ones. I'm not s big fan of multiclass, & probably won't; but included it because some people like it & it does open some interesting options
    Cool, thanks, sounds like fun.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Cool, thanks, sounds like fun.
    It has been yea. It makes me hope that Eberron includes gatekeeper, & Warden circles. maybe one of them "encourages the wearing of metal armoreven more than other circle members typically choose to wear it" & instead of the moon druid bad ass wildshape/land druid extra casting they get a feat at 6&14 with the normal default weapon proficiency druids have or something else fitting with the front line druid capabilities to give them the long accepted font line capable battle/tempest/war cleric type optional paths and finally kill the treehugger moonbeam dawnflower "sorry guys I don't care about the city problems" type stereotype all in one blow.
    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-03-20 at 02:41 PM.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    You forgot one part:

    Spoiler: Check to see if you willingly chose to play a class and then suddenly decide that restrictions which are clearly imposed upon said class suddenly don't apply to you, because "reasons"
    Show

    Ask your DM. And then go read any of the other guides that exist for druids floating around the interwebs.


    I guess that could have just been the entire guide right there.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2017-03-20 at 02:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    You know what is better than advantage on concentration checks?

    Not getting hit, don't stand in front line.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Tetrasodium View Post
    It has been yea. It makes me hope that Eberron includes gatekeeper, & Warden circles. maybe one of them "encourages the wearing of metal armoreven more than other circle members typically choose to wear it" & instead of the moon druid bad ass wildshape/land druid extra casting they get a feat at 6&14 with the normal default weapon proficiency druids have or something else fitting with the front line druid capabilities to give them the long accepted font line capable battle/tempest/war cleric type optional paths and finally kill the treehugger moonbeam dawnflower "sorry guys I don't care about the city problems" type stereotype all in one blow.
    I like the idea of a druid whose motivation, at least early on, is to improve the green space in a great city that is the typically dirty, filthy, nasty medieval slop zone ... a combination of social activist and adventurer who always has something to do during down time:
    "Over in the fifth ward, the project to improve the two parks is running into trouble with the leather workers' guild ..."

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Oh look, something that might be useful for my new land druid.

    This is critically important because some people seem to think it's critical that druids never wear metal armor as a holdover based on older editions & dead mechanics of some spells & abilities that were capable of being more than a bit broken when paired with those better armors. These sorts of sacred cows were almost universally slaughtered in fifth edition for every class. everyone had the broken spells & abilities fixed, the sacred cow of metal armor wear revoking all druid powers for 24 hours was shot in the head; but unfortunately the bullet missed the brain & the sacred cow was left squealing "druids will not wear armor or use shields made of Metal" on the ground. If you talk to your gm...
    Huh.

    (looks at who posted the thread.)

    I guess not.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Could you post a "guide" to Barbarian spellcasting next? After all, the book very clearly says you only can't cast spells while you're raging if you were able to cast spells.

    Obviously, this means you can cast spells while you're raging if you weren't a spellcaster in the first place. The idea that barbs can't do this is outdated thinking from an older edition.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I like the idea of a druid whose motivation, at least early on, is to improve the green space in a great city that is the typically dirty, filthy, nasty medieval slop zone ... a combination of social activist and adventurer who always has something to do during down time:
    "Over in the fifth ward, the project to improve the two parks is running into trouble with the leather workers' guild ..."
    Mine works to improve things by symbiotically introducing kobolds to cities. Kobolds get tools & such for building/maintaining a sewage system & a safe place to dog a second set of tunnels to live in... Cities get a whiz bang sewage system connected to a stream or whatever happens to be nearby.
    Last edited by Tetrasodium; 2017-03-21 at 03:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I like the idea of a druid whose motivation, at least early on, is to improve the green space in a great city that is the typically dirty, filthy, nasty medieval slop zone ... a combination of social activist and adventurer who always has something to do during down time:
    "Over in the fifth ward, the project to improve the two parks is running into trouble with the leather workers' guild ..."
    Or, you know, be inspired by WotC's other urban life focused world building effort and join the Gruul in their nature reclamation effort.
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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    Spoiler: Check to see if you willingly chose to play a class and then suddenly decide that restrictions which are clearly imposed upon said class suddenly don't apply to you, because "reasons"
    Show

    Ask your DM. And then go read any of the other guides that exist for druids floating around the interwebs.
    Well, when your "reasons" include that its an arbitrary, outdated restriction and that the Managing Editor and Lead Designer of the game says its not a mechanical rule, it might be worth having the discussion.

    It sounds like the assumption is that somebody decides to play a druid and then unilaterally decides he will wear metal armor. In my experience, its been something that's been mulled over when considering a character concept. (Ie, a Paladin of the Ancients that learns to Wild Shape.)

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ursus the Grim View Post
    the Managing Editor and Lead Designer of the game says its not a mechanical rule,
    That is not what he said. Nice try though.
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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    That is not what he said. Nice try though.
    Quote Originally Posted by March 2016 Sage Advice
    [...] Druids have a taboo against wearing metal armor and wielding a metal shield. The taboo has been part of the classís story since the class first appeared in Eldritch Wizardry (1976) and the original Playerís Handbook (1978). The idea is that druids prefer to be protected by animal skins, wood, and other natural materials that arenít the worked metal that is associated with civilization. Druids donít lack the ability to wear metal armor. They choose not to wear it. This choice is part of their identity as a mystical order. Think of it in these terms: a vegetarian can eat meat, but the vegetarian chooses not to.

    A druid typically wears leather, studded leather, or hide armor, and if a druid comes across scale mail made of a material other than metal, the druid might wear it. If you feel strongly about your druid breaking the taboo and donning metal, talk to your DM. Each class has story elements mixed with its game features; the two types of design go hand-in-hand in D&D, and the story parts are stronger in some classes than in others. Druids and paladins have an especially strong dose of story in their design. If you want to depart from your classís story, your DM has the final say on how far you can go and still be considered a member of the class. As long as you abide by your characterís proficiencies, youíre not going to break anything in the game system, but you might undermine the story and the world being created in your campaign.
    Its pretty obvious he's explaining that this is purely a matter of preference in the Druid's story. Character choice, lore, and story are important, but they are not mechanics. Ability and proficiency are. Storywise, a Paladin is usually Lawful Good. Mechanically, they don't have to be.

    For the sake of discussion, could you highlight any other (ostensibly) mechanical rule for PCs that dictate what their character will do? Does the Cleric lose all of their features if they don't pray daily? Does the Rogue lose their Expertise if they don't steal in 24 hours? Are these situations any different than a Druid wearing metal armor?

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Socratov View Post
    Or, you know, be inspired by WotC's other urban life focused world building effort and join the Gruul in their nature reclamation effort.
    Not sure what you are talking about. Is this a D&D lore thing, a MtG thing, or something else?
    Wait a sec, is this a WoW Hearthstone thing? That's Blizzard, not WoTC.
    Last edited by KorvinStarmast; 2017-03-22 at 03:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ursus the Grim View Post
    Its pretty obvious he's explaining that this is purely a matter of preference in the Druid's story. Character choice, lore, and story are important, but they are not mechanics. Ability and proficiency are.

    For the sake of discussion, could you highlight any other (ostensibly) mechanical rule for PCs that dictate what their character will do? Does the Cleric lose all of their features if they don't pray daily? Does the Rogue lose their Expertise if they don't steal in 24 hours? Are these situations any different than a Druid wearing metal armor?
    What you claim to be "pretty obvious" is not what he said.
    The rule is that they will not wear it.
    That's the rule.
    Rules are mechanical.
    What he said was that DMs are freed to go ahead and change the rules as they see fit.
    That is not the same as claiming it isn't a rule.
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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    What you claim to be "pretty obvious" is not what he said.
    The rule is that they will not wear it.
    That's the rule.
    Rules are mechanical.
    What he said was that DMs are freed to go ahead and change the rules as they see fit.
    That is not the same as claiming it isn't a rule.
    Well, it was pretty obvious to me. I guess I shouldn't assume everyone possesses English as a first language, and even when bolding his words and reiterating them in the rest of my post, the interpretation will differ between readers.

    Anyway, I never said it wasn't a rule. You're changing the argument and ignoring everything I said.

    This is player choice and agency. As I said, if you can provide any other rule imposed by telling a player what their character chooses not to do, I would appreciate it. There are no other rules I can think of that dictate the 'fluff' of how a character acts.

    To restate: Its a rule and no 'handbook' should assume that a DM will waive it. But its arbitrary, outdated, and the last vestige of draconian restrictions that were nearly all left behind. Druidic aversion to metal is the wisdom tooth of 5e. Its serves no useful purpose, causes pain and inconvenience, and we've all dealt with it way too long.

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    Default Re: Irhtos Sauriv's guide to front line druidism

    Quote Originally Posted by Ursus the Grim View Post
    Well, it was pretty obvious to me. I guess I shouldn't assume everyone possesses English as a first language, and even when bolding his words and reiterating them in the rest of my post, the interpretation will differ between readers.

    Anyway, I never said it wasn't a rule. You're changing the argument and ignoring everything I said.

    This is player choice and agency. As I said, if you can provide any other rule imposed by telling a player what their character chooses not to do, I would appreciate it. There are no other rules I can think of that dictate the 'fluff' of how a character acts.

    To restate: Its a rule and no 'handbook' should assume that a DM will waive it. But its arbitrary, outdated, and the last vestige of draconian restrictions that were nearly all left behind. Druidic aversion to metal is the wisdom tooth of 5e. Its serves no useful purpose, causes pain and inconvenience, and we've all dealt with it way too long.
    Not only is English my first language, but I studied to be an English teacher in decades past.
    You said that he claimed that it wasn't a mechanical rule.
    All rules are mechanical. If it doesn't restrict or guide game mechanics, then it doesn't need a rule, does it?
    So you're claiming that he said that it wasn't a rule.

    I guess I shouldn't assume that everyone possesses English as a first language.
    Last edited by DivisibleByZero; 2017-03-22 at 03:51 PM.
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