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Ok, I'm looking for some advice as to what to do with my Druid in a Pathfinder game.
I usually play warrior-types - Paladins or Rangers, typically, but I went with a Druid this time because
A) I had an image in my head of a beastmaster-like char with animal companions (plural) and turning into an animal himself occasionally, but who fought with a greatsword and a longbow
B) I've heard many times on this board that Druids are (one of) the most powerful class(es)
But I haven't been totally satisifed with how he's turned out. I do okay in combat, but not spetacularly. This is perhaps because I continue to mostly play as if I was a warrior, but I've experimented with using spells and summons as well without complete satisfaction.
We're playing Pathfinder with basically any 3.5 books allowed and a few house rules, including the alternate defense from UA, and free regional feats (Forgotten Realms) for every 2 levels of Knowledge Local.
The character considers himself a priest of Mieliki, the Goddess of Good Rangers. Conceptually, if Rangers is conceived of as a midpoint between a fighter and a druid, he'd think of himself as somewhere between the ranger and a pure druid. But, mechanically, he's a Druid 9.
He fights with a greatsword thanks to his free Militia feat. Its enchanted to +2 with a lesser fiery assault crystal. This makes the modest bonuses of Pathfinder's Wildshape seem somewhat unimpressive for combat, as far as I've been able to tell so far.
Summoning tends to annoy me because I have to wait a full round for it to have an impact. Sometimes the fight is over by then. Even fi it isn't, the idea of waiting a full turn while everyone else does their stuff, then just saying "I begin summoning" and waiting another full turn kind of annoys me. Maybe I should be doing more of it, though. I took Augment Summoning, so my summons are buffer than usual, and I've just picked up a Summoner's Totem so I could further buff them.
What are some good (Pathfinder or Spell Compendium) spells that I should be using?
Games have consisted mostly of a series of easy to moderate combats against humanoids (goblins, kobolds, orcs, ogres) with class levels. Rumor has it there's a dragon (details unknown) in our future. There haven't been a lot of terrain issues, problem solving, or the like.
I have the Leadership feat (despite a somewhat sucky Leadership score (-2 for having an animcal companion sucks)), and a cohort who is an awakened Light Warhorse (Warhorse 5/Druid 1 at the moment with the PHB2 shapeshifting variant). She needs help, too, with not dying.
I know conventional wisdom is that I should stick with Druid, but I'm continually tempted to give up and take some full-BAB levels. Ranger makes the most sense conceptually, but since I'm not really much of an archer (I wanted to have it as an option and carry a +1 long bow but have had almost no occasion to use it, due to there not having been situations preventing melee) nor a two-weapon fighter (greatsword or beast shape), it doesn't seem like it would offer much. I suppose Barbarian or Fighter could be useful, or something from TOB (I'm only peripherally familiar with TOB but from talk here I assume it would be the best warrior option).
For feats, I have Power Attack (house-ruled to 3.5 standard), Augmented Summoning, Natural Spell, Leadership, Iniate of Nature, and a few regional feats (Militia, Hero's Luck, Foehunter). We're allowed to retrain feats.
Any other info I should give?
Reliable party members are a Bard and a Cleric - both fairly standard, I think, although the Bard seems more effective than talk here would suggest. Our Barbarian has left the party and our Crusader/Swordsage hasn't been showing up much lately and may have left the party as well, so we're a bit low on frontline fighters (which is maybe another argument for me to switch to a warrior class).
It sounds like you have my pain - wanting the ranger to be more than a twf/archery tracker, but less than a shapeshifty druid. I hate the imagery of twf and shapeshifting, and don't get excited about bows in combat.
Right now you're druid 9, which is pretty sweet. Lots of great buffs, and you've got the animal sidekicks which can be fun. I would start taking a couple levels of barbarian. Dip into barbarian at 10, 13, 16 and 19, and go druid for the rest. Now you'll be a real force of nature and primal fury, and able to go toe to toe with just about anyone you please, while still using powerful natural magic. See if you can retrain that militia feat once you've got a level of barbarian.
I think OverDrivePrime has a good suggestion; since you're married to the two-handed weapon (my recent passion with two-weapon fighting has been to have a shield as the second weapon), dipping some Barbarian levels is a good option... their rage does well when stacked with a two-handed weapon.
As for spells, look for ones that do what you want. Barkskin is a great one, since it adds a nice AC bonus. When summoning, don't summon a single monster... use a higher-level slot and summon several. Especially with Augment Summoning, having a small pack of wolves (or whatever) greatly aids a fighter-type... they can trip, or flank, or aid another, making YOU more effective. Throw out Entangle to slow everyone else down and make getting to them easier (since you save against it at a +4). Summon your "pack" and throw an obscuring mist... no one can see, but your wolves can smell. Faerie Fire makes people easier to hit. Jump + Longstrider means you can nearly fly around the battlefield.
I would suggest that you look into the feat "Quicken Spell." There are a number of very useful, low-level spells for a warrior-druid to jump around the battlefield and cause havoc, while still fighting. Also, check with your DM and see if you can use the Aspect of Nature Wild Shape variant... instead of turning into an animal, you gain certain natural creature abilities. That would seem to suit you better than turning into an animal.
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