How can I build a brokenly good druid?

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OK, I've posted two threads on this board recently about character optimization. I'm sorry to write yet another thread asking for advice, but I'm just trying to find my "niche" in 3.5 power gaming. It's recently come to my attention that druids are apparently brokenly good at higher levels. How can I build a level 7 druid that is as powerful as possible? My only constraint is that the druid be an elf or human, and besides that I'm open to using any feat, spell, etc. from any book. And which options should I take at higher levels as well?
Try not to give up caster levels or wild shape if you can help it, whatever prestige classes you want to take. Give up Wild Shape if you NEED to, but not casting. If you want to be very powerful, casting is it in 3.5 other abilities are just things casters could do with spells anyway (for the most part).

If you do straight Druid levels it's probably best, but there are a few noteworthy exceptions to what I just said.

Warshaper, up to 2 levels. It doesn't actually advance EITHER casting or Wild Shape, it does however make you a passible tank when in wild shape, giving +4 Str, +4 Con, immunity to critical hits and stunning. It's not something all druids should take, but if you feel you're going to be in the tank role, it's worthwhile.

Natures Warrior's another alright choice, it loses some casting but advances wild shape HD. It's got some neat tanking abilities and some stuff that makes for good melee controller fodder. Again, specialized, do not take if you want to be generalized or a solid caster.

Arcane Hierophant, one of the only Theurge classes worth really talking about. Unfortunately it's MAD, but it makes one of the best Pet buffing classes (again specialized).

Summoning? There's good stuff for that, but most of the better stuff is for Shifter's not Elves or Humans.


Fochulacn Lyrist... it's a Bard PRC right? Wrong... minimize Bard for Entry (3 levels tops), get Evasion from Combat Medic and this makes for an interesting combat Druid with as high as 16 BAB, CL 17 as a druid and Bardic music to inspire your summons and yourself. 

I'm not going to get into build right yet. Some specifics about how you'd like to work this druid. 
Just looking over the druid spell list in the Player's Handbook, I think I'd like to mostly stand back and deal massive damage to enemies with spells, healing my allies when necessary. I don't think I want to spend too much time using Wild Shape in melee combat if possible. I also think I want to take straight druid levels unless there is some prestige class that offers amazing options for a spellcasting druid.
Any class too I assume? If so just look into the Planar Shepherd... this is a 'Hello, I'm a druid but better' class. It's in Faiths of Eberron and a handbook is here:

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758... 
Remember though spells aren't just for damage they are what make you so powerful, via the utility and support you provide to your party and summons and all the hazards and debuffs you cause your enemies inside and outside of combat spells are the most helpful thing and usually answer any problem somehow

The only druid prestige class that is better than druid 20 is planar shepard, which is so good its stupid. 


Druid 20, take natural spell. Is all the advice you need to outshine your avergae PC. 


Until level 6, you generally are right about your spells. From level 6 onwards your tactic becomes "Turn into a bear and be a bear all day. Buff yourself and your bear companion with spells. Wade into melee."


You can also summon some more bears if you want a little buff. 


I like bears, but others prefer wolves. Fleshrakers dinosaurs are also super good. I go bears because they are cooler. 


My suggested druid feat order for a human (which I'd take over elf) is 



  • H - Spell focus conjuration

  • 1 - Augment summoning

  • 3 - Beckon the Frozen - Frostburn. Remember you don't have to use this feat if they use fire.

  • 6 - Natural Spell

  • 9 - Frozen Wildshape - Turn into cryo hydras

  • 12 - Dragon Wild Shape - does what it says

  • 15 - Hover - Monster Manual. - Check with your DM, they may not use this sort of thing. If so, take flyby attack.

  • 18 - Multiattack


Ask your DM if natural bond offsets a stronger companion, or only benefits multiclass druids. If it offsets, take it.  at 3 and move everything else but natural spell down a slot.


Basically turn into awesome stuff, buff yourself and your companion. Then summon awesome stuff. 


Stats are Wis > Con > Int > Cha > Str > Dex. If you are doing point buy, you literally do not care about str and dex. To give an example, with 25 point buy, I would do 8, 8, 13, 10, 18, 10. The more points you get, the higher your con goes. 


If you can find an elven race that gets a str or dex penalty and a boost to anything else it might be worth it over human. 

"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"

"Your advice is the worst"

... I'm open to using any feat, spell, etc. from any book ...


Druid 20
6) ... Natural Spell
and any of the above posts combined randomly.

You could pick up random books, throw them down
the stairwell; whatever they land on, is what you "pick".
(y'know like English Teachers grade papers, right ?)

The funny thing is this works fine with Druid,
just maybe a retrain or two as you level up.

Here comes your 19th forums breakdown ... ohh who's to blame, it ain't 5E driving you insane.

 

Trick to being a Druid:

Step 1: Live to level 6 (which isn't hard, Entangle I'm looking at you).
Step 2: Aquire Natural Spell at level 6.
Step 3: Proceed to dominate those who oppose you.

Druids don't need optimization, it's built into the class.  A companion that's better than a Fighter PC, full divine casting (off an incredible list), shapeshifting into ridiculous forms (and at disgustingly early level), average base attack and both fort and will saves.

Sadly, what DM Golem stated holds some water.  One can easily pick up a random monster manual, flip it to a random page and say, "I'm that now."  Buff yourself (and your companion with share spells) and eat anything that you think might be tasty.


...To be fair, I still think the Factotum is better than the druid.  I mean, come on. Factotums can turn into a T-Rex (just like a druid) but also get extra standard actions.  Also, playing a Factotum has a significantly less chance of having a sharp object or book thrown at you. 
Sadly, what DM Golem stated holds some water.  One can easily pick up a random monster manual, flip it to a random page and say, "I'm that now."  Buff yourself (and your companion with share spells) and eat anything that you think might be tasty.



Except that the WS description states that you need to be familiar with the creature.  I suppose you could justify it by saying that you studied a book in a library, but...


Damn...I just realised that my Druid's planned path wouldn't have worked.  I was going to go Reaping Mauler (sneak in under the guise of something innocent, find the leader, shift to something with a grapple ability, then destroy), but I found out that when you shift, you don't keep your Ex abilities :/  
Except that the WS description states that you need to be familiar with the creature.  I suppose you could justify it by saying that you studied a book in a library, but...

Damn...I just realised that my Druid's planned path wouldn't have worked.  I was going to go Reaping Mauler (sneak in under the guise of something innocent, find the leader, shift to something with a grapple ability, then destroy), but I found out that when you shift, you don't keep your Ex abilities :/  



1- You have ranks in knowledge, scry spells, and if its really that big of a deal, summon one and study it. 
2-  If you become large size or greater you loose all of reaping maulers class features. Its also one of the few classes that taking levels in makes you worse at your end goal, so its debatable on whether or not loosing those features is a good thing. Its not debatable that you should never take levels in it.

"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"

"Your advice is the worst"

Sadly, what DM Golem stated holds some water.  One can easily pick up a random monster manual, flip it to a random page and say, "I'm that now."  Buff yourself (and your companion with share spells) and eat anything that you think might be tasty.



Except that the WS description states that you need to be familiar with the creature.  I suppose you could justify it by saying that you studied a book in a library, but...



That's what knowledge checks are for.  If you fail a knowledge check, then summon the creature (or similar off the list).
Except that the WS description states that you need to be familiar with the creature.  I suppose you could justify it by saying that you studied a book in a library, but...

Damn...I just realised that my Druid's planned path wouldn't have worked.  I was going to go Reaping Mauler (sneak in under the guise of something innocent, find the leader, shift to something with a grapple ability, then destroy), but I found out that when you shift, you don't keep your Ex abilities :/  



1- You have ranks in knowledge, scry spells, and if its really that big of a deal, summon one and study it. 
2-  If you become large size or greater you loose all of reaping maulers class features. Its also one of the few classes that taking levels in makes you worse at your end goal, so its debatable on whether or not loosing those features is a good thing. Its not debatable that you should never take levels in it.






1.  Knowledge (Nature) wouldn't do a damn thing...the feature even states:

"For example, a druid that has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."

Scrying and summoning would work, but scrying isn't a Druid's forté and summoning tends to summon the basic critters that most Druids are familiar with anyway.


2.  I was planning on shifting into a snake or something medium-sized, so no features would be dropped.  The fact that they're all Extraordinary means that they fail in WS anyway, so...    
 

1.  Knowledge (Nature) wouldn't do a damn thing...the feature even states:  "For example, a druid that has never been outside a temperate forest could not become a polar bear."

2- Scrying and summoning would work, but scrying isn't a Druid's forté and summoning tends to summon the basic critters that most Druids are familiar with anyway.



changed your formatting. Text is the same. I added a #2.


1- How do you know druid hasn't left a temperate forest? My backstory can be "I went to every continent during my initial druid training, and have seen all environments before I became level 1". If that bit of backround fluff invalidates a statement, it isn't a rule, but fluff.


1b- that quote isn't in the actual wildshape rules, but rather the wildshape fluff text. To see the actual rules, see the SRD.


1C - The knowledge skill

In many cases, you can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s HD. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster.

Thats explicitley what this does. Let you identify monsters and learn useful information about them. If I can remember obscure facts about an animal, I can probably say I am "Familiar" with it.

2- Druids get the scry spells before clerics. How is it not their forte?


2b - Summon natures ally can summon all sorts of stuff, including specifically fey, unicorns, dinosaurs, and genie. Not all that basic.

"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"

"Your advice is the worst"

Being familiar with creatures is not the same as knowing about them. I know about elephants. I'm not familiar with elephants. I know about horses...I'm not familiar with horses.

I know about President Obama. I can't say I'm familiar with him.

"Familiar" implies direct, personal experience via repeated contact.

Also, you have to consider the relative level of sophistication of the world people live in. A dinosaur is as exotic and mysterious to a druid as a summoned celestial eagle is to a city dweller. An elephant can be as fantastic to a Native American as a Grizzly Bear is to an African bushman. He may well have heard of those things, but being "familiar" with them is a whole other level.

==Aelryinth
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
A dinosaur is as exotic and mysterious to a druid as a summoned celestial eagle is to a city dweller. An elephant can be as fantastic to a Native American as a Grizzly Bear is to an African bushman. He may well have heard of those things, but being "familiar" with them is a whole other level.

And if you're living in an area that has lots of big lizards (a.k.a dinosaurs) in the same way that other places have big mammals (like lions and elephants) then you may be familiar with the former instead of the latter.

That said, I do think that a Knowledge skill is the most likely mechanical method for demonstrating some degree of familiarity (short of a direct in-game encounter with one of the creatures in question).

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.
"Familiar" implies direct, personal experience via repeated contact.



Implies, not states.  Ultimately, it's up to the DM to define what 'familiarity' means.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Being familiar with creatures is not the same as knowing about them. I know about elephants. I'm not familiar with elephants. I know about horses...I'm not familiar with horses.



I'd say you probably are. You know the right colors to make your skin change, you know how big to grow. You know you need some tusks and big ears. A trunk is also important.  You know enough to shapeshift into them. 


Thats also funny, because when people say "Hey have you heard of this [politician] guys policy on [thing]" I use "I'm familiar with it" to mean "I have heard of it, skimmed it, but don't know a whole lot outside the basics".

"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"

"Your advice is the worst"