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Shillelagh - Why no scaling?


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Li Shenron

Legend
On first glance it looks like it is intended to be a melee weapon using druid's at will damage scaling spell. However, it utterly fails at this, and druid has no other option for a melee weapon spell that provides scaling damage. What shillelagh is actually useful for is Nature domain cleric or bard, as a supplement to their other damage scaling options (Divine Strike for clerics, Extra Attack or Magical Secrets (green flame blade or booming blade for bard). Since it is on the druid class list, rather than the cleric or bard list, I'm counting this a failure. It also represents a failure of design in the druid class not supporting a melee weapon druid beyond low levels.

I think that if there is any design failure, it is the failure of designing something for one class that ends up being of little use for such class but of great use for other characters. It's like a red herring, which might be acceptable in a game designed around the concept of "system mastery" (e.g. purposefully include some bad choices that can be redeemed by an appropriate "build"), but I thought with 5e we had managed to leave that idea behind.

BTW, I am not counting Shillelagh as a failure tho... it's not bad at all at low levels, to the contrary it's a damn good damage boost compared to the scimitar if you want your Druid to fight in melee. It just has this limitation of diminishing returns as you grow in level, but that happens to other spells as well. It would be nice if it scaled in order to keep supporting the character concept of a melee weapon Druid at all levels, without necessarily require magic items.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This makes it a little bit attractive to rogues as a cheap way to get an additional chance of Sneak Attack but I don't think that's a good enough benefit to worry about. EDIT: Nope, quarterstaff is not a valid Sneak Attack weapon, so never mind!).
Nor the club, which is just frustrating. SA should key off Light, not Finesse.
 



5ekyu

Hero
Yep, and quick, finesse, weapons. I definitely see the place for rapiers and scimitars, but I also think that clubs, handaxes, and some others should be included.
I can see that as well. I dont really get why SS is sneaky but hand axe is not.

But net result would likely be slight changes of d6 to d4 vice versa and griping about how "it shoulda been...".

Honestly, i think if you go away from "dex based" why not just go all one handed melee weapons and all ranged weapons?

I do not think its a big diff.

Maybe do that but... Make it a feature called "well balanced" that doubles the cost?
 

Baumi

Explorer
Druid is a bit strange. The Class has medium Armor and some martial Weapons, but is still one of the worst melee-spellcasters since he cannot use half of the (best) medium Armors and gains neither Extra Attack nor Extra Weapon Damage. He doesn't even have a Gish-Subclass, so nearly all other Spellcasting Classes (Bladesinger, Valor Bard, Hexblade,..) can become better Melee Fighters then the Druid even though he look quite good on first glance.

The Moon Druid is of course a great Melee Sub-Class, but the Armor and Weapon Features are useless for him and he cannot easily switch between casting and fighting like other Gishes.

The Druid ist still a great class, but it can be quite frustrating if you want to play a Druid that is capable of standing in Melee without having to rely on Wildshape.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
Given how many nature-themed classes and subclasses that can go melee (ranger, totem barbarian, storm barbarian, scout rogue, and oath of ancients paladin off the top of my head) and how poor most of the 9th level casters who occasionally swing a sword are at swinging the sword, I am having a hard time seeing either the need or the appeal of a melee druid. Perhaps someone can explain.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I've always viewed Shillelagh and Primal Savagery as an oh crap button when you are out of wildshapes and unable to back out of melee range.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Given how many nature-themed classes and subclasses that can go melee (ranger, totem barbarian, storm barbarian, scout rogue, and oath of ancients paladin off the top of my head) and how poor most of the 9th level casters who occasionally swing a sword are at swinging the sword, I am having a hard time seeing either the need or the appeal of a melee druid. Perhaps someone can explain.

It's not a desire for "melee druid" it's a desire for "doesn't totally absolutely suck at melee druid."

By analogy, look at the difference between a tempest cleric and a storm barbarian. The storm barbarian is MUCH better at melee, but the tempest cleric isn't totally worthless in melee, the way, say, a bog-standard druid is.
 


It's not a desire for "melee druid" it's a desire for "doesn't totally absolutely suck at melee druid."

By analogy, look at the difference between a tempest cleric and a storm barbarian. The storm barbarian is MUCH better at melee, but the tempest cleric isn't totally worthless in melee, the way, say, a bog-standard druid is.

This.

Every other class in the game has a way to have a decent melee weapon at-will attack option: no multiclassing, feats, or shenaniganerry required.

Druid should not be singled out as the one class that doesn't get a scaling melee weapon damage option.
 

By design, the Moon druid is the melee option, and a ranger is the gish option.

However, there are ways to build a druid who is stronger in melee without using widshape. Here is a list of suggstions:

* pursuade the DM to make non-metalic medium armour available. Ankheg armour is an old stalwart. Non-metallic shields are generally available. Dragon Scale armour (DMG) is non-metallic.

* choose a race with natural armour. Lizardfolk or tortles in the Realms, warforged in Eberron, Loxodon in Ravnica.

* Use Magic Adept feat to learn Booming Blade (you can get a familiar at the same time). edit: or Mage Armour.

* learn the Pole Arm Master feat.

* Wood elves make competent archers.
 
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5ekyu

Hero
This.

Every other class in the game has a way to have a decent melee weapon at-will attack option: no multiclassing, feats, or shenaniganerry required.

Druid should not be singled out as the one class that doesn't get a scaling melee weapon damage option.
What was the scsling melee weapon damage option for the sorc again?
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
This.

Every other class in the game has a way to have a decent melee weapon at-will attack option: no multiclassing, feats, or shenaniganerry required.

Druid should not be singled out as the one class that doesn't get a scaling melee weapon damage option.
Thorn Whip?

It's a cantrip, and not technically a weapon, but allows Melee attacks at 30'.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
This.

Every other class in the game has a way to have a decent melee weapon at-will attack option: no multiclassing, feats, or shenaniganerry required.

Druid should not be singled out as the one class that doesn't get a scaling melee weapon damage option.

Not This. I will ask again: "nature orientated melee PC" is one of the most supported concepts in 5e. That isn't an opinion, it is math. So other than checking a box, what possible reason is there for a weapon using melee druid?
 


A grassland druid can make good use of shillelagh by casting haste. Cast shillelagh as a bonus action, haste as an action, move up to 60 feet and make a melee attack with the extra action. Two attacks per turn after that, or you can attack once and disengage if things are not looking good, but the +2 bonus to AC should provide a much-needed boost to remain in melee.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
A grassland druid can make good use of shillelagh by casting haste. Cast shillelagh as a bonus action, haste as an action, move up to 60 feet and make a melee attack with the extra action. Two attacks per turn after that, or you can attack once and disengage if things are not looking good, but the +2 bonus to AC should provide a much-needed boost to remain in melee.

When you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can't use your regular action to cast a spell of 1st level or higher. So this won't work on round 1. But on subsequent rounds it is a pretty good move. (And it's another reason why, if you do add scaling damage to shillelagh, it should be once per turn, similar to the cleric's Divine Strike.)
 

When you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can't use your regular action to cast a spell of 1st level or higher. So this won't work on round 1. But on subsequent rounds it is a pretty good move. (And it's another reason why, if you do add scaling damage to shillelagh, it should be once per turn, similar to the cleric's Divine Strike.)

My bad, I always thought that cantrip as a bonus action + leveled spell as an action was a valid move. Still, you could cast shillelagh and attack, casting haste in the following round. A small loss of movement and AC, but same damage overall. Average damage of 19, against 18 from a 4d8 produce flame, or you could cast a spell and still attack once using wisdom as your attack stat. I may be missing something, but it appears to be a strong option for a lvl 5+ grassland druid.
 

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