D&D 5E Druid's Wild Shape

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My solution to issues like this one is the same as just about all others that arise in the game: Remember the Goals of Play. Basic Rules, page 2, tells us the "win conditions" of D&D. Paraphrased, that's to have a good time and create an exciting, memorable story as a result of play. So for any decision a DM or player makes, it's good for them to consider whether it will be fun for everyone at the table and will lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story. It's not enough to do the most optimal thing or do "what my character would do" or hand out logical but boring consequences to PC actions. These things must be fun and they must lead to the creation of a good story or else you risk failing to achieve the goals of play.

Same goes for our druids. Is it going to be fun for everyone at the table if you shift into a bear every time there's a combat and maul everything? Does this lead to an exciting, memorable story if you keep doing it over and over? If the answer is "Yes" to both questions, then carry on! If the answer is "No" (and it's probably "No," right?), then choose to do something else.

So whether it's the druid's wild shape or conjuring pixies that polymorph the whole party into rampaging dinosaurs, remember the goals of play and you can't go far wrong.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Same goes for our druids. Is it going to be fun for everyone at the table if you shift into a bear every time there's a combat and maul everything?

This is the wrong question to ask, because it's more rare that the druid could shift into a bear every time there's combat.

Arguments about the druid's wildshape being OP seem to be predicated on one or more of the following being true:

* level 2 window of XP lasts forever (the only level where the druid's wild shape really does more than other fighting types)
* you allow short rests after every encounter
* there is never a need for the druid to use a different shape for drop out of shape for any reason (like talking, grabbing things, casting a spell, etc)
* ignores the rule that the druid has to have actually seen the creature at some point (most campaigns don't actually have huge zoos that a class that is based around living away from civilization would know about or even go to.)


It seems every time we have this discussion, most people who have actually played the moon druid for several sessions have said the OP, while there, isn't nearly as OP as people think it is who haven't had that experience. Barkskin gets brought up, but then again, in order to cast that spell, the druid has to be level 3, at which point all the other classes get their level 3 boost, which of course makes the bear shape a lot less OP anyway.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
This is the wrong question to ask, because it's more rare that the druid could shift into a bear every time there's combat.

Arguments about the druid's wildshape being OP seem to be predicated on one or more of the following being true:

* level 2 window of XP lasts forever (the only level where the druid's wild shape really does more than other fighting types)
* you allow short rests after every encounter
* there is never a need for the druid to use a different shape for drop out of shape for any reason (like talking, grabbing things, casting a spell, etc)
* ignores the rule that the druid has to have actually seen the creature at some point (most campaigns don't actually have huge zoos that a class that is based around living away from civilization would know about or even go to.)


It seems every time we have this discussion, most people who have actually played the moon druid for several sessions have said the OP, while there, isn't nearly as OP as people think it is who haven't had that experience. Barkskin gets brought up, but then again, in order to cast that spell, the druid has to be level 3, at which point all the other classes get their level 3 boost, which of course makes the bear shape a lot less OP anyway.

I think it's the right question to ask for every single decision that is made in the game, whether a DM or player. Your other points are fine though and I agree with them. I don't find the druid to be overpowered and find concerns about it to be overblown, especially in light of the fact that players should be considering the goals of play when making decisions.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I'm curently DMing a game with a Moon Druid (currently 3rd level) that shifts into Dire Wolf, and thus far, yeah... he's been a beast in combat (pun intended). But thus far, it hasn't been an issue because he's the third melee character so they certainly could use the extra meat and damage capability. And the rest of the party has been happy with him, because the protection paladin is taking all the attacks, the champion fighter is doing the heavy damage, and the druid is the one running around the battlefield engaging anyone else not currently in the middle of the fight (thereby allowing the crossbow-wielding rogue and the archery ranger to stay on the fringes taking shots to whichever enemy needs knocking down the most.)

Thus, the extra HP the shaped druid has is really useful (because no one is drawing attacks away from him, he has to eat everything), and the damage + knocking prone ability of the dire wolf means he can keep enemies from running up to engage the rogue and ranger. So the fact that the druid has these extra HP and really good damage doesn't bother the party a bit, because his actions are really useful and he's not overlapping anyone else's job.

And as far as my side of the table... if I find that the druid does overbalance things on the PC's side... I'll just throw more powerful stuff at them. That's my job. ;)
 

Um...how can you say it's true if no one at your table has actually played it?

This topic has been argued to death. My advice? Actually play the moon druid, because it's not nearly as powerful as you think it is just by glancing over the description. Heck, in my in-game experience, the barbarian had a lot more staying power in combat than a wild shaped moon druid due to resistance.

Right but what I mean was in our current table (as a player) and when I play DM I present that option. We never wnforced that table rule before, and it was fun at first until level 5 when eventually we came up with that rule. for us it needs to be toned down a bit, it throws off the CR balance of the encounters for us. Eventually the ex-druid player agreed too, then we reset a campaign.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I think it's the right question to ask for every single decision that is made in the game, whether a DM or player..

My bad, I worded that badly. I mean, I agree with your overall point and question, but for that specific question, I don't think it's accurate because it assumes the druid will be able to wild shape in every combat encounter.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
My bad, I worded that badly. I mean, I agree with your overall point and question, but for that specific question, I don't think it's accurate because it assumes the druid will be able to wild shape in every combat encounter.

Ah, okay, understood. I was being a little hyperbolic for effect rather than going for accuracy with regard to mechanics. Thanks for clarifying!
 


I've got an 11th-level moon druid in my party of four (along with a champion fighter, life cleric, and oath of vengeance paladin). He spends most of combat in beast or elemental form. And while he can do some impressive stuff, he is nowhere near game-breaking, and he absolutely does not outshine the fighter or paladin in combat.

Honestly, it's a non-issue, IME.
 

Joe Liker

First Post
Crap like this is the reason that the first level in a second class in my campaign takes 250 days and 250gp.
That's your prerogative as DM, of course, but I believe you're overreacting.

Dipping into monk sets the druid back a level in his shapeshifting CR, not to mention his spellcasting.

In general, "crap like this" has drawbacks that people don't consider when first presented with an "OP" new multiclass build. We already went through a big long discussion about multiclassing, and no one could actually come up with a multiclass build of any kind that was truly OP, including this one. In the end, even people who hated the idea of multiclassing had to admit that the 5e version doesn't have nearly abuse potential of 3.5.
 

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