D&D (2024) New Wild Shape


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Chaosmancer

Legend
How hard is it to take any other tiny mammal stat block and give it a swim speed equal to its normal speed?

Not hard per say, but which one?

Do I take the badger and give it a burrow speed? Also, 20 ft swim seems to slow for an otter right?

Cat? They have a climb speed, so I'd have to take that out, as well as their stealth proficiency.

I could do a crab, right? Except blind-sight doesn't make sense and otters should be stronger...

And sure, if you asked me to do it now, then it isn't terribly HARD to make up a statblock, but as soon as the player asks me then I have to make it up at the table, flipping through the book and trying to reference "what will make sense". And that is going to take how much time at the table?

Which, sure, could be stopped by the player having figured it out before hand, but then that isn't "creativity" at play, that is "plan for everything that could ever happen" at play.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
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.

What I would like to see is:

Step One:
When you shift, you have some default stats (HP, AC, attacks, etc.) that scale with your druid level.

Step Two:
You also pick from one of a smallish number of templates (5-8?), such as "Tiny Infiltrator", "Shaggy Brute", "Ferocious Hunter", etc. Each template comes with modifiers to the basic form, both up and down, and also at least one special ability. (You don't have to add a template.)

On the character sheet, this could either be some boxes for the base form, and then a list of templates with modifiers, in which case when you level up you erase and update the base form, and then apply the template modifiers in play.
Or it could be a table with a row for each template, and when you level up you have to update each row, but in play there's nothing extra to do. Either way it's some amount of work, but a lot less than figuring out spell lists.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Should there be no classes or subclasses that reward the player who wants to actually dive into their build and look through options? It isn't like 5e was rich with such options to begin with.
The problem is that the class incentivizes PCs to root around in books that are typically reserved for DMs. It also forces the DM to watch what monsters they use as anything with the beast type that a druid faces now becomes an option for them to fight with. (And reverse, a setting with no prehistoric animals is highly limiting to high level druids.) It also means the DM must be careful about what books he is using not only for PC options, but for DM options (if the DM is using Tomb of Annihilation for example, the druid gets a bunch of new options he wouldn't necessarily have if the DM was running Curse of Stahd).

Fwiw: conjure spells run the same problem. And those have been phased out for summons that have fixed stat blocks as well.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Another thing that crossed my mind; the current system forces the druid to keep swapping animal forms for the most powerful they can find and punish druids who would want to keep a particular animal (such as a druid that wants to turn into wolves because they're his spirit animal). With one scaling stat block, the druid can use wolves or other more mundane forms if they want without falling behind.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Another thing that crossed my mind; the current system forces the druid to keep swapping animal forms for the most powerful they can find and punish druids who would want to keep a particular animal (such as a druid that wants to turn into wolves because they're his spirit animal). With one scaling stat block, the druid can use wolves or other more mundane forms if they want without falling behind.

Yeah, this is another facet of what I've been saying about roleplaying. The current Druid forces you to choose between roleplaying and...I was going to say 'optimization' but really 'viability' wouldn't be hyperbolic. Shifting into Wolf form because its your preferred totem just isn't going to get you very far at Tier IV.
 

Yeah, this is another facet of what I've been saying about roleplaying. The current Druid forces you to choose between roleplaying and...I was going to say 'optimization' but really 'viability' wouldn't be hyperbolic. Shifting into Wolf form because its your preferred totem just isn't going to get you very far at Tier IV.
Entirely true and a very real problem I'd like to see solved. Moon Druid definitely needs tuning, just not the way this playtest did it. Or even close. There's a lot of space between how it is now and utter ruination found in the playtest.
 


OK, I've been reading this thread off and on, so I've seen a lot of the discussion, but far from all of it. Still, this idea occurred to me, and I thought I'd share and see what people's thoughts were.

1) Keep the basic template idea. I'm not sure which features to base the template on, but likely something other than the land/sea/air templates. Maybe mount/predator/tiny/elemental, or some such. Possibly restrict some templates (eg: elemental) to certain subclasses. I'm not sure about stats just yet.

2) Get rid of the restriction on wildshapes per day. You can use it casually, whenever you want, for however long you want (til a long rest, at least). Though also get rid of the free Alter Self feature.

The above gives us an unrestricted, but bland option that seems both overpowered and underpowered at the same time. So:

3) Add a "metamagic" feature for Wild Shape. This grants traits to the basic template, similar to how metamagic modifies a spell. And this is where your limiter comes in. You only have so many "sorcery" points to spend each day, and the number and types of traits you can add would be gated per level, similar to how you can select new metamagics as you gain levels in sorcerer.


The idea would be that the "flavor" of a druid being a shapeshifter exists no matter what. You can play with it freely instead of feeling like you can't use it without screwing with your ability to be effective in combat at some point in the day. (I'd probably do a similar thing for at least the "advantage on strength checks" aspect of Rage for barbarians.)

Instead, the specialized utility and combat effectiveness is the only part that's limited, but in a way that your druid has control over what types of things to focus on. Instead of the power limiter being the number of times you can transform per day, and all the arguing being over what you're allowed to transform into (and monster manuals and such), make the limiter be the power that's being exhibited.

So a spider-themed druid might pick up wall/web crawling, webs, a poisonous bite, and chitinous armor. Without it, she could still turn into a spider and scuttle around (which might be sufficient for many purposes, including roleplay), but would be more limited in both combat and scouting.

Or you could have a mount template that starts off as a horse, but when the "flight" trait is added becomes a hippogryph or pegasus. Or use an "aquatic" trait to become a kelpie.

Maybe have a "mastery" feature (like wizards, or Level Up's fighters) where at certain levels you gain the ability to always add a given trait to your Wild Shape form, without needing to spend your "sorcery" points on it (or reduce the cost, depending on how it's implemented). For example, if "flight" was a trait, a druid who liked turning into an owl would eventually always be able to fly in that form without spending resources on it.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
OK, I've been reading this thread off and on, so I've seen a lot of the discussion, but far from all of it. Still, this idea occurred to me, and I thought I'd share and see what people's thoughts were.

1) Keep the basic template idea. I'm not sure which features to base the template on, but likely something other than the land/sea/air templates. Maybe mount/predator/tiny/elemental, or some such. Possibly restrict some templates (eg: elemental) to certain subclasses. I'm not sure about stats just yet.

2) Get rid of the restriction on wildshapes per day. You can use it casually, whenever you want, for however long you want (til a long rest, at least). Though also get rid of the free Alter Self feature.

The above gives us an unrestricted, but bland option that seems both overpowered and underpowered at the same time. So:

3) Add a "metamagic" feature for Wild Shape. This grants traits to the basic template, similar to how metamagic modifies a spell. And this is where your limiter comes in. You only have so many "sorcery" points to spend each day, and the number and types of traits you can add would be gated per level, similar to how you can select new metamagics as you gain levels in sorcerer.


The idea would be that the "flavor" of a druid being a shapeshifter exists no matter what. You can play with it freely instead of feeling like you can't use it without screwing with your ability to be effective in combat at some point in the day. (I'd probably do a similar thing for at least the "advantage on strength checks" aspect of Rage for barbarians.)

Instead, the specialized utility and combat effectiveness is the only part that's limited, but in a way that your druid has control over what types of things to focus on. Instead of the power limiter being the number of times you can transform per day, and all the arguing being over what you're allowed to transform into (and monster manuals and such), make the limiter be the power that's being exhibited.

So a spider-themed druid might pick up wall/web crawling, webs, a poisonous bite, and chitinous armor. Without it, she could still turn into a spider and scuttle around (which might be sufficient for many purposes, including roleplay), but would be more limited in both combat and scouting.

Or you could have a mount template that starts off as a horse, but when the "flight" trait is added becomes a hippogryph or pegasus. Or use an "aquatic" trait to become a kelpie.

Maybe have a "mastery" feature (like wizards, or Level Up's fighters) where at certain levels you gain the ability to always add a given trait to your Wild Shape form, without needing to spend your "sorcery" points on it (or reduce the cost, depending on how it's implemented). For example, if "flight" was a trait, a druid who liked turning into an owl would eventually always be able to fly in that form without spending resources on it.

I had some somewhat conceptually similar thoughts. Here's my latest:

1. Templates that scale with Druid level.

2. Scaled-back spellcasting. Whether that's 2/3 or 1/2 spellcaster, or maybe using the Warlock model, I don't know. But not full caster.

3. Subclasses are based on specific animals, and one feature of each subclass is that you can shift into a totally mundane (MM) version of that animal at will. So if you go with the Spider subclass, for example, you might get:
  • Become a normal 1/8 CR spider whenever you want
  • Speak with Animals at will, but only with spiders
  • When you use your Channel Nature to shift, you gain some additional spider-like abilities (suggesting that you become a giant spider, but it's a template so fluff it however you want)
  • At higher level, some cool thematic abilities (phase spider?)
 

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