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D&D 3E/3.5 3.5 Druids - what to do about them?

IcyCool

First Post
Jack said:
BardStephenFox

I don't regard being in wildshaped form as equalling given enough time to prepare. once a druid has natrual spell why not be in animal form most of the time you're adventuring. I haven't seen a druid have several rounds to buff up. they seem quite potent without it.

Inability to talk to the party, for one.

That aside, BardStephenFox gave you several examples of other classes dishing out far more damage. Why don't you feel that those classes are overpowered?
 

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Thanee

First Post
Well, if you are semi-permanently in rhinoceros form, the enemies surely get a few rounds of preparation usually... :p

Bye
Thanee
 

two

First Post
I think the reason people freak over Druids sometimes is that they can be outrageously effective given a lot of "normal" adventuring conditions.

They can out-scout a scout in a lot of situations, particularly when the Druid can wildshape into a small or tiny animal -- and do it all day.

They can search ahead on wing, or on land, or at sea, checking for ambushes and getting around traps.

A very difficult situation (party must go to site X through enemy territory chancing dangerous attacks/harrasement) can be turned into a relative cakewalk for a party with a Druid. A party without a Druid could be dead halfway there.

Similarly, give a Druid a round or two of buffing and it can get gnarly - this is obvious.

Etc. All these sorts of things put pressure on the GM, pressure that other classes (such a rogue or bard or wizard) don't really do at low-mid levels.

The GM might end up "never giving the party any chance to prepare for attack" even when the party earned it, or it's logical, simply to foil the druid...

The GM might curtail or nerf outdoor dangers/adventures, because the Druid shines too brightly...

The GM might never allow the party to ambush or trap an opponent, which gives a Druid plenty of time to buff...

Might never let the Druid turn into a bat and perch over the enemy's head in their cave, listening to the various discussions they are having...

Etc.

I personally don't think Druids are all that, but they DO put pressure on GM's. That I grant you. And sometimes GM's don't want that pressure. I sometimes don't.

Does that make Druid overpowered? I don't know. I do know that a party without a druid and party with a druid, at levels (for example) 6+, are two very different beasts.

(as it were)
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
IcyCool said:
Inability to talk to the party, for one.
This is very true. In my games I enforce it with draconian efficiency. It's one of the few rules I treat thusly. Once the druid realizes he can't talk to the party while wildshaped, his desire to remain always wildshaped decreases rapidly.
two said:
They can out-scout a scout in a lot of situations, particularly when the Druid can wildshape into a small or tiny animal -- and do it all day.
I'm not particularly arguing with you entirely, just responding to a few of your assertions that I've found to be untrue in my games, though of course they could very well be true in others.

For instance, this assertion that druid's can outscout the scout. This is only true if the druid has spent the skill points in Spot and Listen that a scout needs. If he has, then yes, he's a good scout. But he isn't outscouting the scout, he is the scout. If he doesn't spend the skill ranks, he's only going to be good at scouting out large encampments that aren't trying to hide themselves, which is only a mediocre scout at best.
A very difficult situation (party must go to site X through enemy territory chancing dangerous attacks/harrasement) can be turned into a relative cakewalk for a party with a Druid. A party without a Druid could be dead halfway there.
Again, I disagree. Whether or not its a cakewalk depends on if the party has a good scout, not wither they have a druid. Yes, the druid can be a good scout, but the rogue can be just as effective.

As a note: Some DMs assume that a flying creature, like a hawk, can automatically see everything underneath it. On the contrary, it is my opinion that in forested areas, a flying creature will actually have a serious negative circumstance bonus working against it (provided by the forest canopy.) Therefore scouting as a hawk is generally a bad idea.

A wolf or fox doesn't have to deal with the canopy, but does have to make move silently/hide checks, and deal with the fact that if spotted/heard, marauding villains are likely to take shots at it for the pelt, and enemy spellcasters will get a Spellcraft check to notice the ongoing magical effect (wildshape) if they catch sight of it.

So again, a druid can be an effective scout if he's put the appropriate ranks in scouting skills. But while wildshape has certain advantages, it also has enough disadvantages to keep it from making scouting into an automatically successful endeavor.
Similarly, give a Druid a round or two of buffing and it can get gnarly - this is obvious.
Setting aside the fact that clerics and wizards can get "gnarly", this is even true of my paladin. One round to summon his griffon mount, another to cast bull's strength (shared with the mount) then a series of Spirted Charges = evil.

My point here being that it's pointless to claim the druid is overpowered because he can lay the smackdown with 2+ rounds of preparation. Any class can do that. Even the fighter can do that at mid to high levels, if he's invested in the right magic items. (Ring of Spell Storing with Enlarge Person and Bull's Strength stored therein, for instance.)
I personally don't think Druids are all that, but they DO put pressure on GM's. That I grant you. And sometimes GM's don't want that pressure. I sometimes don't.
This I agree with. You need to know how to deal with the various things the druid can do. It helps to think through various scenarios ahead of time.
 

BSF

Explorer
Jack said:
BardStephenFox

I don't regard being in wildshaped form as equalling given enough time to prepare. once a druid has natrual spell why not be in animal form most of the time you're adventuring. I haven't seen a druid have several rounds to buff up. they seem quite potent without it.

Why not be in Wildshape? Well, talking with your fellow PCs is a big reason. Talking with NPCs is another big reason. What if you are in an average dungeon bash? Rhinocerous is not very handy in such tight corridors. Let's take it a step further and assume you are assaulting a kobold or goblin lair. In such a case, a Druid's wildshape into a smaller form is a wonderful thing. But the large animal companion is stuck outside. What if you need to use a wand/staff/rod? What if you want to use a potion?

Wildshape is great. Druids are fun to play. Although I appreciate the RP aspects much mroe than the mechanics. I have played Druids from 1st Ed on up. But I also run games where combat might not even happen in a session. Even in sessions where combat is heavy, a Druid's Wildshape wouldn't have been overbearing. Heck, the last major fun combat we ran was on a flying ship being powered by necromantic engines over the ocean. The rhino in that situation would have been difficult to pull off since the PCs were on a dirigible at the beginning of the encounter.

If you give the PCs the opportunity to project the situation they will be in, there will always be optimizations that provide a strong response from them. If they know they are going to assault a Red Dragon, you expect that they will be heavy on energy resistance spells and you had better expect your Druid to memorize Quench. If they are out on the plains for days on end, a rhinocerous makes wonderful sense. It certainly isn't DM vs Players, but sometimes encounters will not be exactly what the PCs expected. The hobgoblin shaman casting spells on the hill is protected by a dozen hobgoblin spear wielders hiding in the grass. The Druid and his companion charge and suck up all that damage from the suddenly appearing hobgoblins with spears set to receive a charge. Or they charge across the area that has already had Spike Growth cast. Or they find that the ground is rough and the companion cannot charge. The Druid might be able to, but suddenly she is ahead of the group, by herself.

These aren't difficult situations to envision. You don't need to use them all the time. Your PCs should excel at what they do. But you do need to give each PC that room to shine. Sometimes that means the opponents are in a situation where the PCs favorite tricks aren't usable. When the PCs overcome the unexpctedly difficult challenge, they will become even better and they will remember that particular challenge all the more. Lull them into the sense of security with their 'unstoppable' tactics, then change things a little and watch them squirm.
 

MoogleEmpMog

First Post
A druid will never (barring outrageously convoluted circumstances) be the least effective member of the party. He'll never be as poor a fighter as the sorc/wizzy/psion (or the rogue against non-sneak-attack-able enemies). He'll never be as poor a scout as the fighter. He'll never be as poor a spellcaster as the non-primary spellcasters or even the bard. On top of all that, he has his own schticks (summoning and interacting with nature), and in those he's vastly better than anyone else.

At WORST, the druid will be second best at almost everything, and not worse by a wide margin, and best at his own schticks. At best (and 'best' means 'any situation where he has time to prepare'), he'll be better than most at their specialties.

Compare that to the bard. He's never the best at fighting; under the right circumstances (the spellcasters have a chance to prepare), he may be the very worst. He's almost never the best spellcaster - even in enchantment spells he has no real edge over a sorcerer of the same level, if any. He's maybe an OK scout, if he took the skills, but nothing special - worse than a rogue and arguably worse than a druid with the same skills. He has his own schtick (buffing others) and he's extremely good at it.

At worst, the bard is third best at something, if not last, second or third best at another, and best at a narrow focus. At best, he's the best within a narrow specialty and second best at everything else.

Also, I find it interesting that many people equate 'the party having time to buff' with 'the DM fails to challenge them.' Your PCs, when tactically astute, rarely if ever have twelve to twenty-four seconds to spare? They never ambush their opponents as opposed to the inverse? Never delay entering a room or charging an encampment to prepare themselves?

As for the fix I favor, I would reduce the druid's spellcasting progression to the bard's. Animal growth then becomes one of the class's capstone spells rather than its "mid-level" buff. Removing the Natural Spell feat would significantly lower the druid's powerlevel, but in a less flavorful way.
 

nharwell

Explorer
I find this fascinating. While I agree that the Druid is potent in 3.5, it's been my experience that this just finally makes him almost as good as the Cleric....
 

boolean

First Post
The rules mention in several places that multiple effects that increase size don't stack.

A medium druid wild shaped into a large creature has already increased his size one category. One possible interpretation is that Animal Growth would then not have full effect. No size increase, no enlargement bonus to str/con.

Animal Growth is still useful, on the companion and summoned animals, and still gives the save bonus and DR to the druid.

As for huse rules, make Natural Spell a metamagic feat, with the restriction that a spell prepared with the feat can not be cast when in the druid's normal form.
 

gabrion

First Post
The most sensible thing to do would be to take away the druid's spells. Or give them a different list that doesn't progress so well, like the ranger.
 

dagger

Explorer
Once again it seems that when some folks argue something is too powerful, than other argue its not, I tends to make me feel its 'just right'. ;)


And no we have not have any problems with our powergamer and his min/maxed 19th level Druid.
 

I find that my druid is greatly limited in his ability to fix conditions. While he can heal almost as good as a cleric, he doesn't get Remove Blindness/Deafness, Remove Curse, Restoration, Break Enchantment, Raise Dead, or Protection from Evil (any other enemy caster could negate his summons with that simple spell). Six spells whose absence is sorely noted. Party members have been blinded, cursed, killed, charmed, and subjected to negative levels and ability damage. We have a Reincarnate on deck for next session.

His animal companion (a riding dog) has far fewer of the obstacles that you get with a ludicrous beast like a rhino or giant crocodile, but it still has its problems. Had to baleful polymorph the poor thing into a monkey when the party was on a several-day mountain climb. Several times, my druid would have fled a fight in eagle form but for the fact that the dog would be left behind... the animal companion gets to be a hinderance at high levels.

Wild armor? Don't have it. It costs a feat to make it, plus a whole lot of money. Monk's belt? Couldn't make one. If you allow PCs to buy whatever items they want, yeah, druid is overpowered, but that's why magic shops are a bad idea. It really doesn't fit with the character class.

Now, in a party with no cleric and no wizard, the druid is very useful and versatile. But we have to go up against an evil druid, and it's going to be EASY. Summonings? Paladin can cast Magic Circle vs. Evil, problem solved, and the enemy druid can't do anything to defend against my summonings (unless he summons a unicorn). Wildshape? Poor AC, so rogues flank and sneak attack, paladin and barbarian Power Attack, 1 round he's down. Other spells? My druid will counterspell and will have prepped everyone with Mass Resist Energy (electricity and fire).
 
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boolean said:
The rules mention in several places that multiple effects that increase size don't stack.

A medium druid wild shaped into a large creature has already increased his size one category.

That is, at best, a highly-debated assertion.

Personally, I do not treat polymorph-like effects as size increases.

The druid has not benefited from a size-increasing effect; rather, what you have is a perfectly normal-sized bear.
 

My only beef with the druid is the arbitration that has to occur regarding what wildshapes are available. More concrete rules that helped the DM and player reach an accomodation would be nice. I don't have a problem with a high-level druid being able to assume many forms, but the 'wonder twin' aspect of it bugs me.
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Patryn of Elvenshae said:
That is, at best, a highly-debated assertion.

Personally, I do not treat polymorph-like effects as size increases.

The druid has not benefited from a size-increasing effect; rather, what you have is a perfectly normal-sized bear.
If it were an Instantaneous spell I'd agree. But wildshape is a continuing magical effect. It can be detected with a Spellcraft check and, as such, is certainly an "effect that increases size."

I won't turn this into a "does wildshape count as a magical effect that increases size" thread. Good enough to say I agree with you, this is a highly debated topic. ;)
 

Storyteller01

First Post
Brother MacLaren said:
Now, in a party with no cleric and no wizard, the druid is very useful and versatile. But we have to go up against an evil druid, and it's going to be EASY. Summonings? Paladin can cast Magic Circle vs. Evil, problem solved, and the enemy druid can't do anything to defend against my summonings (unless he summons a unicorn). Wildshape? Poor AC, so rogues flank and sneak attack, paladin and barbarian Power Attack, 1 round he's down. Other spells? My druid will counterspell and will have prepped everyone with Mass Resist Energy (electricity and fire).

Will a Circle vs Evil effect animals from a driudic summons? Aren't the animals a neurtral alignment? Near as I can tell, they Summon Nature's Ally (most of the critters called are neutral), not Summon Monster. Also, as far as I know the spell descriptor (Good vs Evil) is dependant on the creature summoned, not the alignment of the caster...
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Storyteller01 said:
Will a Circle vs Evil effect animals from a driudic summons? Aren't the animals a neurtral alignment? Near as I can tell, they Summon Nature's Ally (most of the critters called are neutral), not Summon Monster. Also, as far as I know the spell descriptor (Good vs Evil) is dependant on the creature summoned, not the alignment of the caster...
srd said:
Protection from Evil
Abjuration [Good]
Level: Clr 1, Good 1, Pal 1, Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Target: Creature touched
Duration: 1 min./level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: No; see text
This spell wards a creature from attacks by evil creatures, from mental control, and from summoned creatures. It creates a magical barrier around the subject at a distance of 1 foot. The barrier moves with the subject and has three major effects.

First, the subject gains a +2 deflection bonus to AC and a +2 resistance bonus on saves. Both these bonuses apply against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures.

Second, the barrier blocks any attempt to possess the warded creature (by a magic jar attack, for example) or to exercise mental control over the creature (including enchantment (charm) effects and enchantment (compulsion) effects that grant the caster ongoing control over the subject, such as dominate person). The protection does not prevent such effects from targeting the protected creature, but it suppresses the effect for the duration of the protection from evil effect. If the protection from evil effect ends before the effect granting mental control does, the would-be controller would then be able to mentally
command the controlled creature. Likewise, the barrier keeps out a possessing life force but does not expel one if it is in place before the spell is cast. This second effect works regardless of alignment.

Third, the spell prevents bodily contact by summoned creatures. This causes the natural weapon attacks of such creatures to fail and the creatures to recoil if such attacks require touching the warded creature. Good summoned creatures are immune to this effect. The protection against contact by summoned creatures ends if the warded creature makes an attack against or tries to force the barrier against the blocked creature. Spell resistance can allow a creature to overcome this protection and touch the warded creature.

Arcane Material Component: A little powdered silver with which you trace a 3-foot -diameter circle on the floor (or ground) around the creature to be warded.
Protection from Evil prevents [Evil] and [Neutral] summoned creatures from attacking the warded creature. Only [Good] creatures are immune to this effect.

Protection from Good actually wards against [Good], [Neutral], and [Evil] summoned creatures.
 

Lord Pendragon said:
Protection from Evil prevents [Evil] and [Neutral] summoned creatures from attacking the warded creature. Only [Good] creatures are immune to this effect.
This is what I would count on. Few of a druid's summons are good-aligned, and they tend to be not that powerful (giant eagle, unicorn, pixie, a few others).

Lord Pendragon said:
Protection from Good actually wards against [Good], [Neutral], and [Evil] summoned creatures.
One of those cases where if the letter of the rules seems to contradict the spirit of the rules, I will go with the spirit of the rules. Most DMs would do likewise and consider it a "logical interpretation" rather than a "house rule." To blindly accept every instance WOTC's poor writing as evidence of actual intent is, I think, a bit foolish. The spirit of the rules is generally clear that the Evil/Good/Law/Chaos axes are basically symmetrical.
 

Lord Pendragon

First Post
Brother MacLaren said:
This is what I would count on. Few of a druid's summons are good-aligned, and they tend to be not that powerful (giant eagle, unicorn, pixie, a few others).
What are you counting on? Protection from Evil protects against Neutral summoned critters. Meaning that nearly all of the critters summonable by Summon Nature's Ally...the neutral animals...would be blocked. Those few critters that are Good would be the only ones who could get through. And if it's Protection from Good, then even those won't.
One of those cases where if the letter of the rules seems to contradict the spirit of the rules, I will go with the spirit of the rules. Most DMs would do likewise and consider it a "logical interpretation" rather than a "house rule." To blindly accept every instance WOTC's poor writing as evidence of actual intent is, I think, a bit foolish. The spirit of the rules is generally clear that the Evil/Good/Law/Chaos axes are basically symmetrical.
What I think is foolish is posting in the Rules Forum, then calling people who respond with rules citations foolish.
 

Lord Pendragon said:
What are you counting on? Protection from Evil protects against Neutral summoned critters. Meaning that nearly all of the critters summonable by Summon Nature's Ally...the neutral animals...would be blocked. Those few critters that are Good would be the only ones who could get through. And if it's Protection from Good, then even those won't.
No, you're right. I agree with you. I, as the opponent facing an evil druid (see above), would count on Protection from Evil blocking most summoned creatures that a druid can call.

Lord Pendragon said:
What I think is foolish is posting in the Rules Forum, then calling people who respond with rules citations foolish.
I don't think I'm calling you foolish. Do you truly believe that everything written in the PHB 3.5 perfectly reflects the designers' actual intent? Have you never read any clarification posted by one of the designers, or any opinion that seemed to contradict what was actually written?

Whether you have or not, I apologize for insulting you. I do think, and I have said, that the rules forum is a valid forum for more than just a strict literalist interpretation of what is actually written. It is also for discussing how the rules are the way they are, and why, and what rulings seem most in keeping with the overall game design. WOTC's writing is not perfect, nor was TSR's. For that reason, among others, the spirit of the rules is definitely part of the rules. The general effort that d20/3.5 has made for symmetry among all of the alignment axes seems to suggest that the proper interpretation of their poor writing is that "Protection from Good is like Protection from Evil except that Evil creatures can make physical contact with the subject and Good creatures cannot." To do otherwise would seem to, in my opinion, violate one of their design principles. The wording I have is verbose and clumsy, but accurate with what I think is the intent, whereas the wording in the PHB is shorter and more elegant but astoundingly counter-intuitive with no logical explanation.

The emphasis on following what is written as literally as possible without any judgment calls can produce some amazingly absurd results and that is what I call foolish... I have no reason to believe you actually do that. I can dig through the books to come up with the most insane literal rulings, or I can ask Hypersmurf to do it for me.
 
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Storyteller01

First Post
You could just ban natural spell. They can get similar effects with the Silent/Still Spell feat combo, and you limit their available spells while in animal form...
 

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