D&D (2024) Fix for the Druid's Wildshape: A limited number of beasts

Clint_L

Hero
Scaling stat blocks are the right solution. Have maybe a handful of them, and plenty of skills you can point-buy to add to it, with the number of points increasing with the Druid level.

Extra attack, poison sting, climbing ability, etc., buy it and add it to a stat block
This kind of proposal is exactly what a lot of folks don't like about templates - instead of shapeshifting into animals, and being constrained by the beasts that actually exist in the game world, you would have players gaming out combinations and maybe (or maybe not) slapping a label on them - a level 5 spider-cat-turtle, or so on. I don't think the template option is going anywhere; when a majority of players are against it, I don't see WotC thinking "let's tinker with it," I see them thinking "back to the drawing board." Which is pretty much what they said.
 

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mamba

Legend
This kind of proposal is exactly what a lot of folks don't like about templates - instead of shapeshifting into animals, and being constrained by the beasts that actually exist in the game world, you would have players gaming out combinations and maybe (or maybe not) slapping a label on them - a level 5 spider-cat-turtle, or so on. I don't think the template option is going anywhere; when a majority of players are against it, I don't see WotC thinking "let's tinker with it," I see them thinking "back to the drawing board." Which is pretty much what they said.
so pick ones that go better together, these were just examples.

Have an extra claw or bite attack, a leap and call it a wolf, done. Poison sting and web, a spider, and so forth

As long as the drawing board results in scaleable templates I am fine with that. Going back to static animals is a wasted opportunity
 

OB1

Jedi Master
The more I think about the problem with wildshape, the more I think the real issue was with the 2014 Moon design.
Keep regular wildshaping as in 2014 (maybe restricted to PHB beasts). Then for Moon Druids, give them the modifications to their wildshape as they gain levels instead of the higher CRs. Additional damage, enlarge/reduce, AC bump, additional HP, multi-shape with one use (like the movie), resistances, etc. so that their wildshapes remain relevant for combat at higher levels.

That's plenty of utility for most Druids, and for those who want to fight as a beast, they have a good way to do so while still keeping the available CRs at 1 and under, so that designers don't have to balance higher CR beasts for Druids.
 

Remathilis

Legend
The more I think about the problem with wildshape, the more I think the real issue was with the 2014 Moon design.
Keep regular wildshaping as in 2014 (maybe restricted to PHB beasts). Then for Moon Druids, give them the modifications to their wildshape as they gain levels instead of the higher CRs. Additional damage, enlarge/reduce, AC bump, additional HP, multi-shape with one use (like the movie), resistances, etc. so that their wildshapes remain relevant for combat at higher levels.

That's plenty of utility for most Druids, and for those who want to fight as a beast, they have a good way to do so while still keeping the available CRs at 1 and under, so that designers don't have to balance higher CR beasts for Druids.

If you're going to take an animal statblock and then change all the numbers in it (AC, HP, attacks and damage, etc) what's the point of using the monster statblock?

It's the worst of all worlds; I still flick though a bunch of statblocks, now with the possibility of being limited to only what they fit in the PHB, and I have to modify them constantly, rewriting them as I go. It takes the worst part of 2014 (comparing statblocks) and adds the worst of templates (redoing the math) without the benefits of either.
 

Remathilis

Legend
The PHB has the following animal stats that a druid can transform into.

Bat CR 0
Black Bear CR 1/2
Boar CR 1/4
Brown bear CR 1
Cat CR 0
Constrictor snake CR 1/4
Crocodile CR 1/2
Dire wolf CR 1
Frog CR 0
Giant eagle CR 1
Giant spider CR 1
Hawk CR 0
Lion CR 1
Mastiff CR 1/8
Mule CR 1/8
Owl CR 0
Panther CR 1/4
Poisonous snake CR 1/8
Rat CR 0
Raven CR 0
Reef shark CR 1/2
Riding horse CR 1/4
Tiger CR 1
Warhorse CR 1/2
Wolf CR 1/4


Would people be happy if these were the ONLY choices a druid got for wild shape? Ever?
 

Mecheon

Sacabambaspis
As long as polymorph can do the whole "Dive into every source you have to transform an opponent", Druid has to have something comparable.

The class that goes all in on shapeshifting should always be the best shapeshifter
 

OB1

Jedi Master
If you're going to take an animal statblock and then change all the numbers in it (AC, HP, attacks and damage, etc) what's the point of using the monster statblock?

It's the worst of all worlds; I still flick though a bunch of statblocks, now with the possibility of being limited to only what they fit in the PHB, and I have to modify them constantly, rewriting them as I go. It takes the worst part of 2014 (comparing statblocks) and adds the worst of templates (redoing the math) without the benefits of either.
I'm not suggesting that there are a ton of modifications for Moon Druids to make, just ones that make the list of beasts bigger, stronger, tougher versions of what they are so that they are still effective forms at higher levels. IE, maybe an 11th level Moon Druid can shape into a large wolf with a 17AC, who's attack does 4d8 slashing, resistant to BPS and cold, prof bonus to saves and skills, and can bonus action switch into another form without using another channel nature with all of the same bumps to the regular form.

And while I think that list of beasts would be fine, they could also add another 10-15 beast stat blocks to the PHB for Druids and Beastmaster Rangers to choose from. For the beast master Ranger, all that's needed is to give the same kind of psycic link that familiars get and either a 1 hour ritual to raise your companion from the dead or an ability to escape to a pocket dimension at 0HP where it remains stable at 1 HP until pulled out.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I'm not suggesting that there are a ton of modifications for Moon Druids to make, just ones that make the list of beasts bigger, stronger, tougher versions of what they are so that they are still effective forms at higher levels. IE, maybe an 11th level Moon Druid can shape into a large wolf with a 17AC, who's attack does 4d8 slashing, resistant to BPS and cold, prof bonus to saves and skills, and can bonus action switch into another form without using another channel nature with all of the same bumps to the regular form.

And while I think that list of beasts would be fine, they could also add another 10-15 beast stat blocks to the PHB for Druids and Beastmaster Rangers to choose from. For the beast master Ranger, all that's needed is to give the same kind of psycic link that familiars get and either a 1 hour ritual to raise your companion from the dead or an ability to escape to a pocket dimension at 0HP where it remains stable at 1 HP until pulled out.
I'm still failing to see how picking a dire wolf and upping it's attacks, damage, AC, and HP (plus giving it defense abilities like damage reduction or whatever) is any better than having a template for "Hunter" animals that basically does the same thing, but I can flavor as a dire wolf, an owlbear or a raptor dinosaur.

Second, another 10-15 animals isn't going to do much to fill out the animal kingdom. A review of CR 2 beasts adds a bunch of giant variants, rhinos, reef sharks, and cave bears. You still don't have the ability to turn into an elephant, a llama, a duck, or other unlisted beasts, and if the answer is "pick another stat block and reflavor it" then I seriously question why it's superior to the template.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I think there is a tendency to underestimate the importance of story to class concept. The concept of a druid, cemented after decades not just in D&D but in other media such as World of Warcraft and so on, is of a spell caster empowered by their link to the natural world, which allows them to shape shift into beast from the natural world. Specific animals. I think what a lot of advocates for templates are resisting is the fact that a lot of folks demonstrably do not want a la carte templates. That is not what the druid is, conceptually, to many people, and I don't think trying to force the template option is not going to change their minds. It's not changing mine.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
I think there is a tendency to underestimate the importance of story to class concept. The concept of a druid, cemented after decades not just in D&D but in other media such as World of Warcraft and so on, is of a spell caster empowered by their link to the natural world, which allows them to shape shift into beast from the natural world. Specific animals. I think what a lot of advocates for templates are resisting is the fact that a lot of folks demonstrably do not want a la carte templates. That is not what the druid is, conceptually, to many people, and I don't think trying to force the template option is not going to change their minds. It's not changing mine.
Agreed. Picking a real beast, and then having a set way that it get's 'better' as you level up as a moon druid makes the story of the moon druid one who's magical link to nature enhances the real beast they turn into, rather than an a la carte template for 'creating' any type of beast.

As a side note, I think it would be fine to limit the number of different beasts that the druid can wildshape into. I'm not sure the story of the druid is the ability to turn into ANY beast, but rather the ability to turn into specific ones that are meaningful to the character. 1 per druid level seems appropriate, perhaps with the ability to switch those out by spending 1 hour with a new beast you want to wildshape into. That would help reduce endless stat block searching as well.
 

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