Level Up (A5E) Druid/Berserker Multiclass Build

Anselm

Adventurer
Hi all, I'm doing some theory crafting for a 1-20 build of a druid/berserker multiclass using the Untamed synergy feat tree. Given the conversation on this thread, Level Up (A5E) - "Untamed" synergy feats, my thoughts on speeding into the second and third feat have changed and I think those cannot be assumed to be part of the build.

I started with the assumption that the O5E reasoning of focusing on druid for spell casting and better wild shapes still holds and the reason to get berserker is rage and then the prerequisite of 3 berserker/3 druid for the feat tree. Having built out the below I'm not sure that is the case with option here. More thoughts below.

With Standard Point buy we put our 15 in Wis, 14/13 into Dex, 14/13 into Con and use our two plus ones into whatever gives 16/14/14 and the 12/10/8 can go in dealers choice.

Character LevelClass ProgressionFeature selected
1Berserker 1/ Druid 0Start Berserker for the Constitution saving throw and d12 hit die. This level will be a bit awkward if its actually played. Rugged Defense and Agile Sprinter for the Developed Talent?
2Berserker 1/ Druid 1Not sure if the Secrets of Nature matter much for the build but maybe go with Mountain Climber and Aquatic Delver for maximum mobility in and out of wild shape later? Grab some reasonable cantrips, maybe something useful for when you're not in wild shape? Guidance and Produce Flame?
3Berserker 1/ Druid 2Wild shape and Skinchanger archetype! Probably grab lion for pack tactics et al. in combat, giant eagle cuz flying and giant octopus for swimming.
4Berserker 2/ Druid 2Combat Maneuvers: I'm not going to pick out each individually, I'd look for synergies with whatever wild shapes chosen and would probably mostly focus in the Tooth and Claw tradition. For furious critical I don't see any specifically that are going to be better with wild shapes. The extra damage of Elemental Wrath and prone advantage of Knockdown strike would be nice though. Also get the 3 rages/LR.
5Berserker 3/ Druid 2Not sure if warrior born option matters much. Rager Archetype for the two features it grants to a raging wild shape. Additional wild shape/LR
6Berserker 3/ Druid 3Not sure if Natural Demeaner choice matters to the build much. 2nd level spells. CR 2 wild shapes.
7Berserker 3/ Druid 4Untamed - the heart of the build. Boost wisdom over strength.
8Berserker 3/ Druid 53rd level spells.
9Berserker 3/ Druid 6Nature's Wrath is nice. Additional Wild Shape/LR and CR 2 wild shapes. Finally get multiattack* with a polar bear and first plant wild shape default options with Awakened Tree/Wall Flower
10Berserker 3/ Druid 74th level spells. Not sure if Druidic Lore options matter much.
11Berserker 3/ Druid 8Druid ASI, boost wis.
12Berserker 3/ Druid 95th level spells. CR 3 wild shapes.
13Berserker 3/ Druid 10+ Wild Shape/LR. Always in wild shape. Not sure if this benefits the build much but its cool.
14Berserker 3/ Druid 116th level spells. Improved natural bond.
15Berserker 3/ Druid 12If your DM has allowed the rare version of conjure animals, it seems like now would be the time to grab Living Stampede to utilize those rage benefits on the summons. If that rare spell came up earlier (prior to Char level 11, you could have also grabbed it there and then get Wild Rioter here but then your Wis is sitting at a +3 bonus still.) If no rare version of the spell, the stick with the ASI/feat that boosts Wis. CR 4 wild shapes.
16Berserker 3/ Druid 137th level spells.
17Berserker 3/ Druid 14Shifting form: Swap between wild shapes, not sure if this benefits the build.
18Berserker 3/ Druid 158th level spells, Boost to wild shapes in Tyrannize. CR 5 wild shapes.
19Berserker 3/ Druid 16
20Berserker 3/ Druid 179th level spells
* Edit: Apparently a giant vulture also has multiattack.

Before getting the untamed feat, the probably general order of combat will be to wild shape turn 1 to utilize as much of the temporary HP before it disappears when raging on turn two. Spell choices would focus on utility plus the ones that can be cast in wild shape if necessary and non-concentration prior to level 7 to avoid breaking it when you start raging. Early on the only thing I think might be worth swapping is going to druid 3 before berserker 2/3 since furious critical doesn't trigger in wild shape but then you miss out on combat maneuvers.

Thoughts after building out the table:
  • I don't know that focusing on Druid to 17 makes the most sense to utilize the Untamed feat. It seems like the late multiattack at level 9 as well as the fact that wild shape does not utilize HP from the higher CR like in O5E, means that it might be better to go berserker 3/druid 3 and then to berserker 5 at char level 8 for the extra attack, bigger hit dice, and higher rage HP maximum.
  • As I read it, the temp HP changing to rage HP from wild shape would get lost after 15 HP (at berserker 3), meaning the higher CR wild shapes wouldn't necessarily get you much more HP when rage/wild shaping.
  • # of Wild shapes/LR is based on Proficiency bonus. There's not a lot of benefit in druid for wild shape that you can't get from berserker (like extra damage) until you get up to druid 10 and even that is questionable.
  • The main thing you give up going heavier into Berserker is spell progression and given the limits of what you can cast in wild shape/rage still being touch/self, I think that's okay. On the flip side, additional levels of berserker grant higher rage HP/round, higher max rage HP, more rages/LR.
  • If your DM allows the Rare version of conjure animals, going Berserker 4/Druid 3 for untamed -> Berserker 5 for extra attack -> Druid 4 for Living stampede ->Druid 5 for 3rd level spells (conjure animals) seems like the most effective way to go though you are missing out on a lot of ASI/wisdom bumps for your AC. Go to berserker 15 after that grabbing Wild Rioter when it fits after that.
  • Edit: another downside here is that attack bonus and damage scale off CR so if you stick with a CR 1 the whole game you've got a +5 to attack at lvl 20. That's rough buddy.
  • Edit: I very much missed Ferocity or Serenity at Druid level 9. The +2 attack and higher rage hp when shifting is pretty good. I'm really starting to lean toward an even split, prioritizing druid and taking a level of berserker occasionally when survivability requires it. Maybe end at a berserker 11/ druid 9 or maybe 10/10 to maximize number of wild shape options/known.

That all may be a bit rambling but I'm hoping some conversation can help me solidify some of these ideas. What do you think? Did I miss anything obvious putting together the progression or are any of my assumptions flawed? Any better combinations of levels in the long run to think about?
 
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This analysis largely just confirms to me that, while I like the idea of synergy feats, I’d rather just wait for/homebrew a hybrid class, since then all the little things that don’t quite match up nicely (like not getting a second attack without severely sacrificing available creature shapes) would match up a bit more nicely.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
maneuvers are very significant to any martial build. Adamant mountain, Mirror's glint, Rapid Current, Tempered iron, & Tooth and Claw are available to berserker. AG432 has rules for relearning things like maneuvers & some of the strongholds include a feature to cut that time significantly. With the ability to swap them out without needing to wait till a level where more are gained to swap it's not a serious problem if new wildshape forms don't mesh as well with current maneuver selections as they would some other selection. My players are level 2 with no multiclasses among them & already talking about taking time to relearn some maneuvers due to developments they couldn't predict like the treasure they would find.
 

Anselm

Adventurer
This analysis largely just confirms to me that, while I like the idea of synergy feats, I’d rather just wait for/homebrew a hybrid class, since then all the little things that don’t quite match up nicely (like not getting a second attack without severely sacrificing available creature shapes) would match up a bit more nicely.
I don't know if I'd agree that there aren't things that match up nicely but there's no question that this build requires a bit more thought. It's like when a new hero come out in a moba or a balance patch comes to a digital card game. It takes some players (myself) time to see how the pieces that are there fit together. It's not that they don't, but seeing the forest for the trees takes some time and thought. I think either direction advice is viable but I'm trying to iron out some of the kinks to make it more optimal so I can guide one of my players who I know won't take the time to do it. I'd rather give her some considerations about how things work and know how to make calls as gm so everyone has more fun at the table.
 
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Anselm

Adventurer
With the ability to swap them out without needing to wait till a level where more are gained to swap it's not a serious problem if new wildshape forms don't mesh as well with current maneuver selections as they would some other selection.
Totally agree. This is mostly why I didn't try to get a comprehensive list of the maneuvers options. Really I'm trying to start with the basics here and get some pros and cons to the class level balance first. I think I'm leaning mostly toward a more even spread between the classes being the right way to go rather than going heavily into one or the other. Once that's a little more solid, I'll think a bit about maneuvers but really that's more of a likelihood of usefulness than anything.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Totally agree. This is mostly why I didn't try to get a comprehensive list of the maneuvers options. Really I'm trying to start with the basics here and get some pros and cons to the class level balance first. I think I'm leaning mostly toward a more even spread between the classes being the right way to go rather than going heavily into one or the other. Once that's a little more solid, I'll think a bit about maneuvers but really that's more of a likelihood of usefulness than anything.
a maneuver combo writeup with wildshape synergies is probably the most useful thing that could be put together just now. A lot of us are still getting into gear and/or have multiple players each with classes we are kinda eyeing. Sometimes it's easy "yea I can see how improved crit range or extra dice is good", othertimes it takes a deeper dive that combines class ability choices & maneuvers. Even pointing out a few winner gems is great
 

Anselm

Adventurer
Added this above

Edit: I very much missed Ferocity or Serenity at level 9. The +2 attack and higher rage hp when shifting is pretty good. I'm really starting to lean toward an even split, prioritizing druid and taking a level of berserker occasionally when survivability requires it. Maybe end at a berserker 11/ druid 9 it maybe 10/10 to maximize number of wild shape options/known.

As an additional piece I think there's a number of viable ways to build this out and the one I exemplified in the table in the op is probably fine if you're looking to utilize Untamed but not focus on it.

Here's some quick thoughts about the possible combinations without doing the whole exercise above. They all assume going 3/3 first and taking Untamed on the next level up.
  • Druid 17/Berserker 3 (above) - maximizes spellcasting potential. Druid eventually gets 9th level spells but also has some melee utility.
  • Druid 3/Berserker 5, max druid after that - additional melee potential at lower levels but sacrifices end game 9th level spells. Wild shape options is max possible with the multiclass, you get all the way of to tyrannize which gives the dire wild shapes but max rage hp is capped at 25 and number of rages per LR is only 3 - both pretty low.
  • Druid 5/Berserker 3 -> Berserker 5 -> alternate levels to even split, D11/B9, or D9/B11 - I think this maximizes the melee potential of Untamed. Living Stampede and Wild Rioter are both good here too but this really gets the most out of the wild shape and rage combo with CR3, 7 options for wild shape, max rage hp bonus between 45-55 that takes advantage of the doubling a d8 x CR, maximizes damage potential from natural weapons with Berserker expanded crit range/Furious Critical/maneuvers/Ferocity/Natures Wrath.
  • Druid 5/Berserker 15 with same progression as above - really goes heavy into melee while still allowing for the access to Living Stampede and Wild Rioter if desired. High max rage hp, rage bonuses, some spell casting but fairly limited. This seems more like a berserker utility build.
  • Druid 3/Berserker 17 - Seems like the same kind of problems here as druid 17. you get a bit of utility Berserkers normally don't have access to especially in early levels. However, the limit of CR 1 creatures here seems like it would get really hard to justify using wild shape in combat in 3rd tier and beyond. This may even start dropping off at the end of tier 2. The benefit here however is that you don't really miss out on any berserker features except the capstone. Near max rages (just not unlimited), near max rage HP, 5th degree maneuvers. However, if the game goes that long I'd imagine just being disappointed that you didn't go straight berserker. There's no option for retraining class levels (just archetype as far as I can see) so you'd be stuck with that without DM intervention.
 
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