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D&D (2024) New Wild Shape

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
For the record, I find all three of those options to be not ideal. Purely my opinion.
A shapeshifter should be able to put their forms on their character sheet or have a separate smaller sheet for all their forms.

Basically
No PC should have a stack of both spell cards/sheets and a stack of form cards/sheets in the base game.


That's too much for the base game. If your table wants to houserule a class using a binder, that's a table decision.
 

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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
so knocking enemies prone would give my allies disadvantage on their ranged attacks.

This is an issue in general. I love the Shield Master feat, but knocking enemies prone is a real problem when there are archers in the group, which there almost always are because D&D applies so few penalties to archery, regardless of circumstances. If shooting into a melee was more difficult in general...creating an incentive for archers to put their bow away in more circumstances...then knocking enemies down would be more appealing.

Imagine if rogues could not get ranged sneak attack against targets who are engaged in melee?
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
A shapeshifter should be able to put their forms on their character sheet or have a separate smaller sheet for all their forms.

Basically
No PC should have a stack of both spell cards/sheets and a stack of form cards/sheets in the base game.

That's too much for the base game. If your table wants to houserule a class using a binder, that's a table decision.

I agree! Get rid of Druid spellcasting and make them primarily shifters.

(Actually, I don't agree with the premise, but I couldn't resist plugging the spell-less Druid.)
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
You are definitely taking creativity away from the players with the version of wild shape in the current playtest. It doesn't take any creativity to say "I use wild shape" when, for the first tier of play there is one option and set of stats, or at higher levels the only choice is "walk, swim, or fly?" The "freedom to flavour" is simply the freedom to think of a specific animal for your generic template...or not. I suspect many players won't even bother unless prompted by the DM.

The current system does not require "encyclopedic knowledge," it requires players to either do a little research beforehand (ideal), open a monster manual, or do a quick google. Or just say what they want to transform into and let the DM handle it. I teach new players a lot, and when they are choosing druid I ask them to take a few minutes to come up with their favourite wild shape options. Some players leave it at that, and some get really into it and spend hours, because it's fun for them.

You can't have much creativity when you have one tool available, which is what the current proposal offers. Which you basically acknowledge by then adding in "there should be scope for more abilities and mechanical customisation in wild shape than that currently shown." Okay, now we're back to where I started, which is that the more we add complexity to the template, the more it starts to look like what we currently have. Except generic.

1. We've previously discussed this a lot, but no, I don't think it is bad that druids have options that other classes don't. Different classes do different things, inside and outside of combat. I don't think martial classes are suffering in 5e. I think druids, aside from moon druids, are considered a pretty average class, and 90% of the discussion on how to "fix" (i.e. nerf) druids is a discussion about that one sub-class.

2. So barbarians? As I've previously discussed at length, with math, I think the current method of druid tanking ("damage sponge") is different from other methods of tanking and that makes it interesting. It's just unbalanced at low levels.

3. As I discussed previously, if you are going to have templates, the player needs to still be required to come up with a specific animal form or the whole exercise is generic and boring. "I assume water form and swim across" is not very fun or imaginative. Right now, the character has to do some interesting thinking - "what would my character know? What specific animal would be most useful here? Oh, I want to swim underwater and open a grate, so maybe...an octopus? Or an otter?"

4. I agree - I've already argued that elemental forms need to be much more robust than what is in the playtest, and have never made sense for moon druids.

Definitions on creativity aside, you've actually inadvertently given a problem that hasn't been discussed yet. You say you want to turn into an otter? You can't. There is no otter statblock. And it isn't an obvious reskin either, because there is no creature in the MM with a swimming speed that has fur, everything is either a fish, an amphibian, ect.

So, the DM just makes up a statblock? Well at that point, why does it matter if the statblock is a generic template? There are actually a LOT of animals that don't have statblocks, and it is frustrating for the DM to have to come up with reskins on the fly, because that means pulling out the books and trying to find something that is logically close enough, which either takes time away from the table, or you don't end up with any creativity, just a list of prescribed forms that you pull from.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Also, the first line of the 5e version of Wild Shape specifically states that you can assume the shape of “a beast that you have seen before.” I have a feeling many players overlooked that little caveat when choosing the optimal form to change into. (I also don’t see that mentioned anywhere in the 1DD version of WS).

This was one of the worst rules EVER to try and adjudicate.

1) What does it mean to have seen an animal? If you have a teacher who turns into that animal, is it good enough? What if you have seen detailed anatomical sketches of them? Illusions of them?

2) Why do species with longer lifespans get to be more versatile druids? It isn't hard to say you are an elf druid who has lived with a nomadic druidic circle for the last 150 years, and they will have certainly seen more animals than an 18 year old human who lived in the same forest for three years after a terrible accident. Making people far more likely to twist backstories into giving them this access than any balance.

3) It requires the DM to do something no other class has ever required. Lock down the biodiversity of their world and locations. Dinosaurs are in the books, are they in the great plains, or locked on a single isle? I know the druid player is going to get told "talk to your DM" but the DM then has to either make on the fly decisions or have looked over the ENTIRE selection of all beasts, and taken a map and determined where those beasts could have possibly been seen. All for... really no purpose.

4) This is a limit not given to other, similiar, things. No one asks if the Wizard has seen a pheonix before to allow them to make an illusion of one. No one asks the bard if they have seen a Giant Ape to allow them to polymorph into one. And on and on and on, but we want to nail down whether the druid has ever seen a Polar Bear before allowing them to turn into one? Why?
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Definitions on creativity aside, you've actually inadvertently given a problem that hasn't been discussed yet. You say you want to turn into an otter? You can't. There is no otter statblock. And it isn't an obvious reskin either, because there is no creature in the MM with a swimming speed that has fur, everything is either a fish, an amphibian, ect.

So, the DM just makes up a statblock? Well at that point, why does it matter if the statblock is a generic template? There are actually a LOT of animals that don't have statblocks, and it is frustrating for the DM to have to come up with reskins on the fly, because that means pulling out the books and trying to find something that is logically close enough, which either takes time away from the table, or you don't end up with any creativity, just a list of prescribed forms that you pull from.

I'm not sure if you mean to be arguing for templates here, but it's one of the strongest arguments in favor of it.
 

MarkB

Legend
Definitions on creativity aside, you've actually inadvertently given a problem that hasn't been discussed yet. You say you want to turn into an otter? You can't. There is no otter statblock. And it isn't an obvious reskin either, because there is no creature in the MM with a swimming speed that has fur, everything is either a fish, an amphibian, ect.
How hard is it to take any other tiny mammal stat block and give it a swim speed equal to its normal speed?
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
How hard is it to take any other tiny mammal stat block and give it a swim speed equal to its normal speed?

Some subjective amount harder than grabbing the "Aquatic Form" template and calling it an Otter.

And what happens when the 15th level Druid says, "I want to be a hoary old bull walrus, a big one." What MM beast are you going to base that on? And maybe you personally have the MM so well memorized that you know the answer, but I don't, nor do I want to hold up the game while I look.
 

mellored

Legend
A shapeshifter should be able to put their forms on their character sheet or have a separate smaller sheet for all their forms.
You can have options, without having 20 stat blocks.

I.e.
Have the stat block, and choose one of the following.
Spider: you gain spider climb and can cast web
Snake: you gain reach.
Turtle: your gain +2 AC and your move speed is half.
...
Your DM may allow other abilities bases on the forms you chose, using these features as guidelines.
 

You are definitely taking creativity away from the players with the version of wild shape in the current playtest. It doesn't take any creativity to say "I use wild shape" when, for the first tier of play there is one option and set of stats, or at higher levels the only choice is "walk, swim, or fly?" The "freedom to flavour" is simply the freedom to think of a specific animal for your generic template...or not. I suspect many players won't even bother unless prompted by the DM.

The current system does not require "encyclopedic knowledge," it requires players to either do a little research beforehand (ideal), open a monster manual, or do a quick google. Or just say what they want to transform into and let the DM handle it. I teach new players a lot, and when they are choosing druid I ask them to take a few minutes to come up with their favourite wild shape options. Some players leave it at that, and some get really into it and spend hours, because it's fun for them.

You can't have much creativity when you have one tool available, which is what the current proposal offers. Which you basically acknowledge by then adding in "there should be scope for more abilities and mechanical customisation in wild shape than that currently shown." Okay, now we're back to where I started, which is that the more we add complexity to the template, the more it starts to look like what we currently have. Except generic.

1. We've previously discussed this a lot, but no, I don't think it is bad that druids have options that other classes don't. Different classes do different things, inside and outside of combat. I don't think martial classes are suffering in 5e. I think druids, aside from moon druids, are considered a pretty average class, and 90% of the discussion on how to "fix" (i.e. nerf) druids is a discussion about that one sub-class.

2. So barbarians? As I've previously discussed at length, with math, I think the current method of druid tanking ("damage sponge") is different from other methods of tanking and that makes it interesting. It's just unbalanced at low levels.

3. As I discussed previously, if you are going to have templates, the player needs to still be required to come up with a specific animal form or the whole exercise is generic and boring. "I assume water form and swim across" is not very fun or imaginative. Right now, the character has to do some interesting thinking - "what would my character know? What specific animal would be most useful here? Oh, I want to swim underwater and open a grate, so maybe...an octopus? Or an otter?"

4. I agree - I've already argued that elemental forms need to be much more robust than what is in the playtest, and have never made sense for moon druids.
The current system rewards players with access to the Monster Manual and the time to peruse it. Let alone other supplementary materials. (Never run an encounter with Bristled Moorbounders in against a party with a druid in it.)

"More scope for abilities and mechanical customisation in wild shape than that currently shown" does not equal "as complex as the current situation". There is room for middle ground, not just extremist positions.

1. The ability of druids to easily scout and spy areas where a rogue would have to be making multiple skill checks has already been pointed out. Even if a Strength-based martial invests as much as they can in it, much of the out-of-combat usage of that is going to involve pulling, lifting etc. They will rarely be able to do this as well as a Moon Druid taking a big, high-strength form.

2. OK. Could go with something slightly less simple like: As part of the magic action or Bonus action used to assume Wild Shape, the druid may spend a spell slot. This grants the following changes to the Wild Shape template used for that use of Wild shape:
Hit points: The druid gains Temporary hit points equal to 10x the level of the spell slot spent.
AC: The template AC calculation is increased by Prof bonus + the level of the spell slot spent.
Bestial Strike: deals additional damage equal to the level of the spell slot spent.


3. Yes, but the druid gets to choose what their form looks like in the new system, rather than it be dictated by the statblock they dug out of the monster manual. If the player likes otters, then they can say that their Druid turns into a giant otter rather than having to turn into a seal, or a shark, or whatever the statblock they have dug out of the MM is called.
 

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