A bit of help with a Fochluclan Lyrist in 5e

Hey

I have recently come up with an invitation to do Descent into Avernus as a player. I'm used to DM a lot and this will be a blast I am sure. I am looking for a bit of advice into how I should plan the future how this weird multiclass I came up with and what I could do to improve it as of now also.

GOALS :

1 -Being a primary grappler, so a good damage migitation.

2 - A secondary support that adds a lot of small pieces to help out in various tasks.

3 - Good damage so we do not get ignored by the mobs.

4 - Key off magic spells to help us fight as a melee combatant (mostly in Wild Shape form).

Wood Elf with Point Buy :
Strenght 13
Dexterity 14
Constitution 14
Intelligence 13 (19 with headband of intellect)
Wisdom 14
Charisma 9

As for magic items the character will start with is Bracers of defence, Ring of protection, Headband of intellect.

The character starts off as a level 6 hybrid with 3 classes.

1 - Barbarian 1. We get Constitution saves, 12 hit points as a starter, 2 rage per day and some nice proficiencies. Unarmored defense will also provide a good AC calculation alternative for Wild Shape and regular form.

2 - Druid 1. My first dip. Longstrider, Faerie Fire and Healing Word are what I mostly prepare.

3 - Druid 2. Circle of the moon. Wild Shaping will be our primary mean to tank. Brown Bear is an excellent bruiser. At this level, we mostly rely on rage and wild shape to makes us a tanky as possible, which is probably one of the best ways to do so in the game in my opinion at this particular early stage. I would prepare Entangle on top of my initial 3 druid spells.

4 - Wizard 1. Our second dip. The main goal of this is to get Extra Attack at 6 and Bladesong at 2. Wizard spells are a big tool to help us become a more large grappler or to get a reliable source of advantage through Find Familiar. Shield, Silent Image, Grease, Detect Magic, Tasha's Hideous Laughter and Find Familiar.

5 - Wizard 2. We get our Bladesong, lets us add our Intelligence (+ 4) to our ACand get advantages on concentration checks. The + 10 feet part is also nice. Alarm and Detect Magic.

6 - Wizard 3. Enlarge/Reduce and Mirror Image.

As a bear we have an AC of 20 (my DM let Headband, Bracers and Ring meld into a bear form so that the bear can equip them. You can expect DM variance here).

I don't have a feat yet and I do not know what to aim at. I could also replace the Ring of protection with another magic item if I want (I don't own all of them but trading is an option in AL).

Thanks for reading my post. I'd like to read your take on what I am trying to build. Cheers.

TheDeadPoet
 

tommybahama

Explorer
I don't know about the multiclassing, but I can say from experience that you should never grapple with a barbed devil.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Well - one thing I'd throw in there is that you can't cast or concentrate on spells while Raging. So any spells you want up while in melee need to be cast both before you wild shape and can't be concentration. That leaves out Enlarge/Reduce, though Mirror Image is still possible.

No shield while raging or in wild shape.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
Personally, I think you're trying to do way too much, and aren't going to be able to do anything well.

In addition to the conflicts pointed out by Salthorae above, understand that Wild Shape is very level-dependent. It requires focusing on your Druid levels to remain competitive. (And even then, Wild Shape tend to lag a little bit in power in mid-level play.)

If you were only going to be playing a strictly low-level campaign that would end at Level 5, then a build like this dipping 2 levels of Moon Druid would be fine. But Avernus goes all the way to Level 13ish. That CR 1 Brown Bear form from your 2 level Druid dip might be useful at Level 3, but won't be very useful at Level 7 or 9 or 13.

So a more optimal path would be to decide which you want more, and focus on that... If you're more interested in being a Wild Shape Grappler, drop the Bladesinger levels and just be a Moon Druid with a 1 level Barbarian dip, or just a straight Moon Druid. Otherwise, if you're more interested in wanting a flavorful mix of Nature and Arcane magic, you should consider something like a Bladesinger with a 2-3 level Ranger dip or a 1 level Nature Cleric dip, or a Land Druid or Nature Cleric with a 2 level Bladesinger dip. Or just roleplay it, and be something like a straight Bladesinger with some of your Arcane spells reflavored to have a Nature-style bent, plus taking Nature and Survival skill proficiencies.
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Or just roleplay it, and be something like a straight Bladesinger with some of your Arcane spells reflavored to have a Nature-style bent, plus taking Nature and Survival skill proficiencies.
There is also feats to get some Druid flavor without spending levels on it, though that is a drop of the whole grappling/wild shaping trope.

Feats to take:
  • Magic Initiate (Druid): 2 cantrips + 1x 1st level spell
  • Ritual Caster (Druid)
  • Wood Elf Magic: +1 druid cantrip, and you learn longstrider & pass without trace
With those three feats, the right skills/background, and RP you can do a great nature/arcane blend.

If the wildshape/grappling is the more important idea, then... I agree that dropping wizard/bladesinger or maybe doing that flavor with feats in teh other direction are a good idea.

I get wanting the Int to AC, but... I'm not sure it's worth the bang for your buck.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
I get wanting the Int to AC, but... I'm not sure it's worth the bang for your buck.
It's definitely not worth delaying your Wild Shape progression by several levels.

A Moon Druid delaying their Wild Shape and spell progression by 1 level for a dip into Barbarian/Monk for an Unarmored Defense boost to their Wild Shape AC is worth it. Any dip going beyond 1 level is not worth it, in anything but a strictly low level campaign.

For example a Barbarian1/Moon Druid 2/Bladesinger 2 could be a nifty 5th level character. If one were doing a 5th level one-shot adventure, I'd totally try it. But it'll be severely hampered as you progress beyond 5th in a long-running campaign. (And Descent Into Avernus in particular tops out at 13th level.)
 
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the Jester

Legend
I've made a custom bard Fochluchan College, which basically gives the bard some wild shape abilities. If you're interested, I'll be happy to post the details.
 
I've made a custom bard Fochluchan College, which basically gives the bard some wild shape abilities. If you're interested, I'll be happy to post the details.
Since it is Adventurer's League stuff, it would not be allowed. Also, I can emulate what they were through Bladesinger and Druid (or Druid/Bard).
 
There is also feats to get some Druid flavor without spending levels on it, though that is a drop of the whole grappling/wild shaping trope.

Feats to take:
  • Magic Initiate (Druid): 2 cantrips + 1x 1st level spell
  • Ritual Caster (Druid)
  • Wood Elf Magic: +1 druid cantrip, and you learn longstrider & pass without trace
With those three feats, the right skills/background, and RP you can do a great nature/arcane blend.

If the wildshape/grappling is the more important idea, then... I agree that dropping wizard/bladesinger or maybe doing that flavor with feats in teh other direction are a good idea.

I get wanting the Int to AC, but... I'm not sure it's worth the bang for your buck.
The Int to AC in Wild Shape is basically what allows the Brown Bear to scale pretty decently into the mid-game without a lot in Druid.

I'm currently looking at + 4 AC from Intelligence,+ 2 AC from Bracers of defence and + 3 AC from the Constitution from Bear. 19 AC as a Brown Bear is not too shabby, considering it's where I'll get my+ 4 Strenght modifier for grappling.

Also, I should emphasize that Extra Attack is worth a lot as a grappler/tank. The Wild Shape grappler still wants it. It's a weird build, I know. I can replace the whole Bladesinger with Valor bard, but I'd be losing Enlarge (which is a critical spell for grappling in mid-game). Not sure if losing Enlarge is worth for so long.
 
It's definitely not worth delaying your Wild Shape progression by several levels.

A Moon Druid delaying their Wild Shape and spell progression by 1 level for a dip into Barbarian/Monk for an Unarmored Defense boost to their Wild Shape AC is worth it. Any dip going beyond 1 level is not worth it, in anything but a strictly low level campaign.

For example a Barbarian1/Moon Druid 2/Bladesinger 2 could be a nifty 5th level character. If one were doing a 5th level one-shot adventure, I'd totally try it. But it'll be severely hampered as you progress beyond 5th in a long-running campaign. (And Descent Into Avernus in particular tops out at 13th level.)

Barb 1/Druid 6/Bladesinger 6

That was my final idea of where I wanted the chatacter. I think Brown Bear with all these features can actually be more relevant then you think it could be. If you're getting hit a lot, then the job is getting done in a sense. Sure the bear can pop out in no time, but you have two forms for tough combats.

The form still has 19 AC and a possibility to rage. The party already has enough casters. I just don't want to do a regular tank with PAM and Sentinel.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Also, I should emphasize that Extra Attack is worth a lot as a grappler/tank.
When you wild shape as a Bear you gain the Bear's Multiattack Action, which is redundant with Extra Attack isn't it? You get that with wild shape at level 2.

Extra Attack from Bladesinger only matters when you're not in Bear form.

If you dropped all your bladesinger levels for Druid, you could also at those levels be using Wild Shape to turn into an Earth Elemental starting at Druid 10.

With the Bracers of Armor, you've got 19 AC, a possibility to rage, but your attacks are +8 & 2d8+5 vs. +6 & 1d8+4 for a Brown Bear or +7 & 1d8+5 for a Polar/Cave bear, not to mention 126 hp as an Elemental with damage resistances and immunities vs. 34 hp for Brown Bear and 42 hp for Cave/Polar. Also, Elementals still have the multiattack feature.

If you take Tavern Brawler if you hit with any attack you can initiate a grapple as a bonus action as well. So that will play more into your grappler concept than whatever forms you choose.
 

RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
19 AC on a bear is pretty good, but 34 HP on a 13th (or 10th, or 8th) level Wildshape isn't. 19 AC will still get hit, especially by higher level enemies. Not to mention the damage sources that target saves instead of AC. And at those higher levels against high CR monsters or higher level spells, you'd be knocked out of Wildshape with one hit. Even an AC-buffed bear just can't compare to the higher level Wild Shape forms, especially the Elementals as pointed out above.

So your combat would be you turning into a bear, lasting a round or so, turning into a bear again, lasting another round or so, and then finding something else to do. And with your mish-mash of middling stats, you won't be really all that effective at anything else, like attacking in your normal form or casting spells. (Okay, the item-boosted INT means you'd be pretty good at Wizard spells, but you'd be limited to only 1st/2nd/3rd level spells, while everyone else is tossing out 4th/5th/6th/7th level spells.)

If all you're going to be doing is soaking damage for a couple rounds, you can do the same with a less-multiclassed Druid or Wizard with a couple summoned creatures, while also allowing your character to contribute in other better ways at the same time.
 
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RogueJK

It's not "Rouge"... That's makeup.
Better. I still think a Druid with Bladesinger dip would work better with a different caster-focused Druid subclass, but it still looks workable with a Moon Druid.

Since they're so reliant on Wild Shape, Moon Druids lag a bit in power at levels ~7-9, just at the tail end of Tier 2, before they get their Elemental Wild Shapes at 10th. A 1 level dip is doable, and a 2 level dip could be doable, but understand that you're extending that "lag period" up into early Tier 3 at 10th and 11th level.

This is why most Moon Druids are single classed, or have just a 1 level dip into Barbarian or Monk.

Compare:

Barb1/Moon Druid X gets Rage for damage resistance, +2 damage, and STR advantage, plus anywhere from +1 to +3 AC on most of their Wild Shape forms from CON Unarmored Defense (depending on the CON score of that animal). Your spells and spell slots are 1 level behind, as well as your Wild Shape forms.

Monk1/Moon Druid X gets +5 to AC on their Wild Shape forms from WIS Unarmored Defense (with 20 WIS). Your spells and spell slots are 1 level behind, as well as your Wild Shape forms. But you can focus on just one main stat: WIS.

Your 19 INT Bladesinger 2/Moon Druid X gets +10 speed and +4 to AC/Concentration when Bladesong is active, plus a few Wizard cantrips and 1st level spells. Your spell slots are not delayed, but your Druid spells known are delayed by 2 levels, and your Wild Shape forms are 2 levels behind. (Normally, this would have the further downside of being extra MAD by requiring you to focus on INT which is normally a dump stat for Druids, but your free +INT item partially negates that.)


Remember that your Moon Druid can't both Wild Shape and activate Bladesong/Rage in the same turn, since they're both Bonus Actions, so your full benefits won't come online until Round 2 at the earliest with those. And a number of your Druid spells will be competing for your Bonus Actions too. The traditional pattern for a Moon Druid is to cast a Concentration spell like Moonbeam in Round 1 and then Wild Shape as a bonus action. Rounds 2+, you Attack with your Wild Shape form while controlling the spell as a Bonus Action. Tossing in extra Bonus Actions like Rage/Bladesong can mess with that pattern, and requires a slightly different approach. And Rage in particular prevents Concentration altogether, so that totally eliminates the ability to have a spell running while Wild Shaped, which noticeably cramps your efficiency and potential damage output. Bladesong only messes with your action economy. And Monk doesn't mess with either Concentration or action economy.
 
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Esker

Abventuree
@RogueJK said a lot of what I was about to say in their last post (re: monk dip and bladesong action economy), but a few things to add:

Is the headband of intellect locked in, or could you switch it out if you decided not to go bladesinger? It feels to me like unarmed defense is more useful than the AC bump from bladesong, particularly if you can also swap in a different magic item in place of the headband, though the concentration boost is nice too.

If you went Monk 1 / Druid X, by dropping the multiclass stat requirements for STR and INT you can put more points into DEX and WIS, and wind up with nearly the same AC always on that you would have had with bladesong, and with less delay in your wildshape progression.

For example, suppose you went variant human, bought something like:

STR 8
DEX 13+1
CON 15
INT 10
WIS 15+1
CHA 10

took Resilient (CON) as your feat, and took +2 WIS at level 5. Then, at level 6, you'd have AC equal to 10(base)+2(DEX)+4(WIS)+2(bracers)+1(ring) = 19 in elf form, and your concentration saves would be at +6 (compare bladesinger base AC 16, 20 with bladesong, assuming 16 DEX instead of 14, and +7 concent). Brown bear has lower DEX, so you lose some AC, though you could wildshape into a dire wolf instead, which maintains the 19 AC and has some nice benefits to make up for the lower STR and lack of multiattack (pack tactics and a prone rider on your attacks, which works great with grapples).

At level 7 you get CR 2 wild shapes, including the giant constrictor snake, which automatically grapples and restrains on a hit.
 

Esker

Abventuree
Note also that druids get enhance ability, which gives some of the benefits of enlarge/reduce.
 

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