3.5 The Core Druid

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hey guys this is my first post here.

I just startet a Core Only (dont ask why, my DM wanted it so much) campaign... that means only PHB DMG and MM and i was wondering how to get the most out of the core druid i've started playing, as there is no abberant wildshape, no planar sheperd, no frozen wildshape etc..

So please help me with the best usage of the rather poor animal forms in wildshape as with what feats to go and what equipment apart from a wild armor to get... we're starting lvl one, and i'm going on augmented summoning feat first.
Wilding clasps are not core only... that sucks hard.

Personally, I am not a big fan of wildshaping, but not because it's underpowered. Poor animal forms? With Wild Shape you can climb, swim and fly easily. You can get pretty crazy physical stats with no investment. You can also get a neat selection of natural weapons (even if it is at the expense of manufactured ones).

Natural Spell is a must if you plan to Wild Shape at all.

Augmented Summon is a decent enough route to go down too, given the Druid can always have a SNA spell on hand.

Bear in mind that whilst you have less cheese available to you in Core-only, so does everyone else, and to be honest, the Druid usually comes out on top.

(On a related note, there's a bunch of UA and a little Divine stuff available in the SRD. I don't know if that's out too but there are a couple of extra options there if it's available).
i'm sorry but im not that familliar with the abbreviations, as i'm not playing the game in english, also our core books arent...
so whats UA, and i'm not sure the SRD is a legitimate source here for stuff that isnt in core.
i'm sorry but im not that familliar with the abbreviations, as i'm not playing the game in english, also our core books arent...
so whats UA, and i'm not sure the SRD is a legitimate source here for stuff that isnt in core.

"UA" stands for Unearthed Arcana, which is basically an entire book full of variant rules.  While it's not actually part of the SRD (System Reference Document), it's still one of the things that's available as open content for anyone to use in developing their own d20 products.  The d20srd site that The Fred linked is a very convenient online version of the SRD officially made available by Wizards of the Coast, including all the errata along with some other open content, like the UA material.

Technically, only the three main books (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual) are "core" material, but some fundamental rules for psionics, deities, and epic play, also appear in the SRD.  A few things from the core books do not appear in the SRD, like unique D&D monsters and the names of famous characters, since those are not available for developers to freely use.  You also won't find rules describing how to create a character or advance them with experience.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I just startet a Core Only (dont ask why, my DM wanted it so much) campaign... that means only PHB DMG and MM and i was wondering how to get the most out of the core druid i've started playing, as there is no abberant wildshape, no planar sheperd, no frozen wildshape etc..

This thread was started with the intention of showing someone how to break a Core-only game with a druid.  That's frowned upon, unles you have good cause (he did), but it will still give you tips on how to "get the most" out of the Core druid.  Just... don't break your game with it.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Hey guys this is my first post here.

I just startet a Core Only (dont ask why, my DM wanted it so much) campaign... that means only PHB DMG and MM and i was wondering how to get the most out of the core druid i've started playing, as there is no abberant wildshape, no planar sheperd, no frozen wildshape etc..

So please help me with the best usage of the rather poor animal forms in wildshape as with what feats to go and what equipment apart from a wild armor to get... we're starting lvl one, and i'm going on augmented summoning feat first.
Wilding clasps are not core only... that sucks hard.




You'll appreciate the Quickstart Druid guide. It's not perfect for core games, but it'll help a lot.

THE core-only druid is thus:
-Max out Wisdom and Constitution, anything left over in Dexterity isn't a bad call.
Human bonus feat: Spell Focus: Conjuration
Druid 1: Augment Summoning [Note - you won't actually summon much for a few levels, but with a high Constitution, decent ranged attacks, and a good animal companion (riding dog trained for war) you won't need to summon much.)
Druid 3: Extend Spell.
Druid 6: Natural Spell
Druid 9: Quicken Spell or any other feat to improve your preferred approach (casting, wild shaping, summoning).
Druid 12/15/18: Entirely up to you. They could be TOUGHNESS and you'd still rock the kazbot. If you didn't get Quicken at 9, get it at 12.

Equiment is also entirely secondary to this, even in core-only. Although +Con and +Wis items aren'ta bad call, and neither are general-purpose casting items (Pearls of Power, incense of meditation, etc). You're a spellcaster first, even if you favor Wild Shape.

This is also the approach taken in the previuos thread, actually - although there the specific tactics involved were desiged to educate an unwise GM. Really, this build is as mature as its player.

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

Weekly Optimization Series

Show
These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Bleed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Druids have a lot going for them.



  • They are one of the strongest classes, tied/beating wizards. 

  • You can change your spells every morning, and can wildshape into anything. You aren't locked into bad choices.

  • Really easy to build/hard to mess up.


For feats, the important one is to take natural spell at level 6. Aside from that anything you want won't be bad. Augment summoning is a very good choice.


Wis >Con > Dex = Int = Cha = Str for stats. If you start at level 5+ I'd say int and cha are more important than dex.


Good companions are the riding dog (that you trained for war) and wolf. Tripping is awesome, and they are good at it. Bears are good as you get higher level. I like wolf over dog because its less effort. Both are very good.


Your level 1 tactics should generally be run away and use a sling. Let your dog go trip people and eat them. Its level 1 and a single hit can kill pretty much any PC. Throw out entangle spells if you ever are in a fight without ranged foes.


If you are at a loss for good wildshapes, summons or companions go for wolves and bears (and their advanced forms) until you are familiar with more stuff. 


Don't prestige class, none (in core) are as good as straight druid.


Human is the default good race, but no one would fault you for being a dwarf or gnome. Halfling isn't awful either. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"

i Rolled up a gnome (needed the Con Boost) With Wis 16 Con 16 , Cha 14 Dex 12 Str and Int 10...
Went Spellfocus Conjuration on 1st lvl, going on augmented summoning on third, after that natural spell and possibly some sort of improved nat. attack and multiattack from the MM if DM allows it..
Riding dog is getting trained for war atm (for the improved trip ability).
What do i have to do with this doggie if i want to keep it till high levels and still be effective with it (RP reasons). I know its getting a reasonable AC boost and with magic barding on higher lvls, evasion and improved evasion its probably going to stay quite stable and tanky, but the damage output would be wayy sub-par, getting one additional attack, also with 1d6 +Strengh...
giving him improved nat. attack gives a little bonus here, and stuff like improved grapple would be nice, but needs defensive fighting which has a Int 13 prerequisite.. Is it worth switching a dog i can get on high AC, good saves and nice evasion for a Bear with some more HP and nice Damage but a horrible AC?

Also i've noticed that most of our battles are going to happen in small areas, which makes entangling and the like very less usefull.. spiking the floor your mates are running over is not really appreciated is it.
Riding dog is a tough ally once he gets those bonus HD and stuff, and trip is very nice. Personally, I like the Leopard, since it gets Pounce and Improved Grab + Rake. It's a bit more fragile but looks like a great striker.

At higher levels the Deinonychus is awesome, but you lose out on a lot of progression for that (contrast a 4HD dino with a Leapord at the same level - 5HD, similar HP and AC, Leopard has Imp Grab + Rake and Evasion, though Deino still has better attacks and faster movement for an awseome Pounce). Of course, the Leopard at that level compares more with the Tiger, which is also awesome.

Just bear in mind that there's a balance between better animals, and all those advancement goodies. For example, a quick glance suggests an advanced Tiger would beat out a Dire Lion most days.

The Bear is certainly an option, and would be a bit more fearsome than the Dog. I'm not sure it's worth switching out Trip without getting something like Pounce in return, though. In small areas, you might actually just be better sticking with the Dog, at least for now.