D&D (2024) New Wild Shape


I fully agree if the goal had only been to make a tankable wildshape. However my self healing boost suggestion was also intended to cover the complaint that there is nothing good to use spell-slots on. Barkskin with its duration, and for this purpose useless upcasting do not fill this purpose.

(And the inspiration suggestion was not to improve tank at all, but rather a light weight mean to give mechanical meaning to some flavor the players might want from the shape - like deception of chosing a shape to blend in, intimidate if going for something ferocious, or perception if using something for heighten senses)
I could never see WotC going for that kind of use of the inspiration mechanic. Be better off going for alternative templates and/or feat support.

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I'm starting to think, inspired by the paladin's multiple smite-spells, that the best way to do wild shape would be to make specific shapeshift-spells, where an appropriately generic-and-yet-category-filling stat-block can be included: Form of Critter; Beastial Form; etc. They could find their balance based on that, and then give the Druid's Wild Shape free castings (say, the way that Ranger's Favored Foe now gives them access to non-concentration Hunter's Mark), and give Moon Druid additional buffs, or whatever.


Well this one is the controversial part. Changes include:
  • Wildshape uses your personal hit points rather than being ablative armour
  • It's no longer a near mandatory ability; there are two other Channel Nature options. One of which is Find Familiar and the other healing.
  • You get one statblock (or three later; land, water, air)
  • You can make it look how you want
  • It doesn't get much in the way of special abilities
  • Land forms only get multiattack and climb speed at level 5; you only get aquatic at 7 and flying at 9
  • Tiny only at level 11 meaning no bypassing soooo many things
  • Level 13 lets you switch in and out of wild shape as a bonus without losing the wild shape as long as you go back within a minute
  • Circle of the Moon now needs its fluff text re-written and probably the name changed because it's now the weird wild shapes for combat. Kinda always was, but this isn't pretending to be natural.
    • Level 3 lets you Unarmed Strike (read: grapple/push/trip) as a bonus action. Technically you can't grapple without hands. (You're also only good at grappling, pushing, and tripping in land form). This is where things like a tripping wolf go.
    • Level 3 also lets you use abjuration spells including healing while wild shaped.
    • Level 6 lets you add elements to the mix, partly cosmetically, partly you get elemental resistance and may do elemental damage
    • Level 10 is a straight up elemental damage buff.
    • Level 14 is the old Thousand Faces.
The overall changes to non-moon druids are that they've lost ablative temp HP from Wildshape and personal tiny spider scouting but gained a free fey familiar and extra healing. Circle of the Moon has gone from one of the tankiest things in the game to probably the flimsiest - but with a whole lot of cool effects.
The play test druid is bad design. It takes away the fun of the class. The Druid's iconic ability is to take other forms out of the gate which other classes cannot easily or frequently do until later levels. This is what Druid players want. There is no one who like the idea of the druid not playing the class because of the complexity. Mr. Crawford's expressed desire was for the Druid to be simpler, and to continue to be a 'tank', but the play test takes away the most 'tanky' feature. It also takes away the special features of the creature being duplicated. The generic template I think, was an attempt to stop the argument of, 'when did your character ever see a gorilla?' Now, you can be a wolf, you can even be a wolf that looks like a gorilla as flavor, fine, but you can’t knock the target prone like a wolf without using your bonus action. I recommend that 1. If the Temporary Hit Points are too much, then say, 5thp for a medium beast, 10 for a large, 15 for huge and 20 for gargantuan. 2. If any beast is too much, say you start knowing 1 beast form per point of Wisdom bonus, and that you can learn others as you see them or level in Druid. gain 1 swimming form at a later level, and 1 flying form after that. Let the form have it's own actions including special attacks and abilities except it gets your wisdom bonus to x,y, and z. 3. There is no good reason to give Elemental Wild Shape only to the Circle of the Moon. Make Wild shape a bonus action for all druids. In this play test, I have to think to come up with reasons for the Druid to Wild Shape at all at any level. The Channel Nature idea, I think is fine but the healing one is not necessary. Making Wild Shape 1st level instead of second is good and so is letting the wild form look cosmetically how the player likes as flavor. There is no reason to wait one level for the ability or for fun flavor. Using Abjuration (only) in Wild Shape does not make sense to me. Just make the ability to cast some spells in Wild Shape a high level ability. One of our players has been a druid to high levels twice and this was balanced and appropriate in our game under the current 5E rules.

If swimming is unavailable ‘til 7th and flying until 10th, being tiny does not need to be restricted to 11th. At 1st, the druid can potentially have a familiar, and by 7th level the Druid can use Polymorph to take other forms anyway (Including tiny and flying forms). Other full caster classes can use the Fly spell by 5th. It is not unbalanced in any manor. Perhaps make feats that allow Elemental Wild Shape, Tiny Wild Shape, or other creature types.

It seems to me that you might have good feedback for them about how to make the idea work, but it was hard to tell amidst the cloud of hatred and vitriol.
OB1 has the best ideas I've seen on how to make it work re: Wild Shape.

The Druid design is remarkable because every single other design change they've made has been conservative and highly compatible with previous editions, including the Paladin right here in the same packet.

Whereas the Druid is overall a massive nerf to a class that was only "about as good" overall as other Full casters (all things considered, assuming equally good subclasses), esp. given they'd already nerfed the dodgiest thing about it (Goodberry), and a huge change to how the class plays in a very real way. Given the Bard and Cleric weren't nerfed in any meaningful ways (just a couple of dodgy spells), and even arguably buffed (Clerics at least), I don't think we can see this as any kind of trend, which otherwise would have been interesting.

It's been pointed out online that the biggest beneficiary of the Druid changes would be the 3D VTT. I know there's supposedly no direct influence between the teams, but the designers aren't idiots, so they'll have some understanding of what will work for it. Doing Wild Shape the 5E way would be something of a nightmare for the 3D VTT (even BG3 has it limited a ton, albeit in slightly confused ways).

I will say I think being mad is a valid reaction to something in a playtest - as long as you tell them! They're not reading our detailed solutions/suggestions (there's literally no way, given the number of surveys), just our numbers - and I know a bunch of people are just mindlessly positive about virtually everything, so the clarity of "I hate this" is helpful. There was a game designer on Twitter actually pointing this out - saying "Don't just quit the playtest when you hate something, tell them! It helps!".


I think it's OP. But nerfing it to the ground like this is going to outrage players. I also think it makes druid an extremely weak class in general, and a much less interesting one. There has to be a middle way.

If it's the same edition and they can always choose either one because they're totally compatible, doesn't that mean any outrage is unwarranted?

If it's the same edition and they can always choose either one because they're totally compatible, doesn't that mean any outrage is unwarranted?
No - if they were guaranteeing the previous version would continue to exist and be available as long as 1D&D did, and saying that DMs who allowed one should allow the other (obviously the RPG police can't make them, but a suggestion helps), then I think there would be a real case for that position.

However, that is not the case.

Whilst WotC have danced around it, the most likely outcome is that the 5E PHB will simply go out-of-print and cease being available on digital (certainly on Beyond). Thus after a certain point, anyone getting into D&D new will have to use the new version. There will also be DMs who only allow the new one, for reasons good or insane (or anywhere in-between), and thus it's extremely important the new one is balanced pretty well, and not a massive weird nerf.

It's also likely the 3D VTT, which may be the future of D&D for a lot of people, will only support 1D&D material.

Outrage is unwarranted more because this isn't the final version. Concern is totally warranted, though, and the time to voice that concern is now.
They're essentially interchangeable at this stage, so it's a bit of a distinction without a difference. The concern level should be significant, because history shows unless stuff is pushed back against significantly, WotC may just think it's fine, due to the large number of people who simply are positive about everything.

They did sort of obliquely refer to this in the video re: the last playtest where they pointed out that some stuff had very positive numbers but the text said "meh".

I don't think they should just eliminate the ablative armour aspect of wild shape. That might have been a better way to go back in 2014, but after 10 years with it, taking it away fundamentally changes how the class plays. That's the core of playing a moon druid, in particular.

I think it's OP. But nerfing it to the ground like this is going to outrage players. I also think it makes druid an extremely weak class in general, and a much less interesting one. There has to be a middle way.
Sorry, but it needed nerfing it to the ground...

But some THP are totally warranted. You can easily get them by barkskin though.
Maybe moon druid should allow casting self transmutations in beast form. And give some bonus to keep concentrating.


At 1st, the druid can potentially have a familiar, and by 7th level the Druid can use Polymorph to take other forms anyway (Including tiny and flying forms).
I wouldnt take that for granted. Polymorph in 5ed is tightly coupled with the wild shape in how it is formulated, so I would expect a similar rework of that if this way of handling wildshape survive the playtest.

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