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Shillelagh - Why no scaling?

ehren37

Explorer
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.

Cleric? Bard?

Druids don't need extra attack. If they got it, we may as well formally delete the ranger.
 

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Let me clarify my position.

In previous editions of the game, you have various levels of at-will weapon damage for the classes. Some classes were great at it, some weren't that great. 5e maintains that sort of spectrum.

In previous editions the way this was brought about differed by edition. In AD&D only certain classes got multiple attacks. Others may not have had their melee weapon attacks scale at all.

In 3e, everyone had multiple attacks, and where on the spectrum your class was expected to fall determined how many of those you got and how fast you got them.

In 5e, the way in which this scaling happens differs by class, and sometimes by options within the class. The primary weapon users get Extra Attack, and often get something else to go along with it. Other classes might get Extra Attack without anything else to help it out, or a lesser option such as Divine Strike. And the classes that aren't traditionally great with melee weapon scaling get green-flame blade and booming blade as options in case they do want some melee weapon scaling.

Druid, traditionally somewhere in the middle to lower-middle on that spectrum is lacking a damage scaling option in 5e. It is singled out in that situation. (Sorcerer, Wizard, and Lore Bard were also lacking an option until SCAG, which gave them an option.)

The reason I find this particular lack annoying, beyond mechanical reasons, is that a druid that wields a staff (or scimitar) is one of the most iconic images of early D&D druids. When I say, "wields a staff" I don't mean someone who goes into battle in a whirling staff frenzy, using all sorts of spells to boost his staff damage. No, most of the time druids have traditionally stood back and used their spell slots. But when they do want to make a weapon attack, it should have (at least the option of) damage scaling like every other class, with the weapons that fit the image.

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?

It's not a weapon using melee druid build. That's rarely been a thing in D&D history (I almost said "never" but I'm sure someone has done it.) It's the option to have their melee weapon damage scale when they are using it, so they are not uniquely denied that scaling damage.

Cleric? Bard?

Druids don't need extra attack. If they got it, we may as well formally delete the ranger.

Divine Strike, and Extra Attack and/or green-flame blade or booming blade.

You're right, druids don't need Extra Attack. They probably should have been designed with something like Divine Strike, because they should be on the same part of the spectrum as clerics for melee weapon damage.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
I don't get the people who say "we shouldn't have a melee druid, because it's too much like the ranger."

That's like saying, "we shouldn't have a melee cleric, because it's too much like the paladin."
 

A melee cleric is nothing like a paladin. And we do have a melee druid, that is nothing like a ranger. It's called Circle of the Moon.

And, as I have pointed out, it is perfectly possible to build a staff-melee druid using one feat, if that is what floats your boat.
 

It's not a weapon using melee druid build. That's rarely been a thing in D&D history (I almost said "never" but I'm sure someone has done it.) It's the option to have their melee weapon damage scale when they are using it, so they are not uniquely denied that scaling damage.

Between Wild Shape, haste, flame blade, and primal savagery, druids are not lacking in options to go melee, but if you really want to scale weapon damage, I don't think that adding a cleric-like divine strike to the land druid will change the game balance. Unless you're in an organized play campaign, just do it.
 

ehren37

Explorer
I don't get the people who say "we shouldn't have a melee druid, because it's too much like the ranger."

That's like saying, "we shouldn't have a melee cleric, because it's too much like the paladin."

Paladins are a ton better than rangers, which are probably the worst PHB class. Clerics also have a long history of whacking things with maces, so there's traction and expectation. Druids whack things with bear paws. The melee weapon druid is about as essential as the spell-less ranger (also known as a rogue/fighter multiclass).

You want an outdoor guy with 2 attacks and 9 levels of spells, or an outdoor guy with 2 attacks and 5 levels of spells (and as a bigger kick in the nads, limited in spells known). Rangers deal low damage as is with their base chassis, and their exploration ribbons are easily replaced with spells.
 

ehren37

Explorer
Divine Strike, and Extra Attack and/or green-flame blade or booming blade.

You're right, druids don't need Extra Attack. They probably should have been designed with something like Divine Strike, because they should be on the same part of the spectrum as clerics for melee weapon damage.

Greenfire Blade and Booming blade arent cleric/bard cantrips.

They don't need divine strike either. It's more or less a ribbon a cleric, and is just there so people playing the iconic hammer wielding cleric arent entirely hosed by choosing to use that over your basic (superior) sacred flame option. There's a lot more traction for the melee priest than the staff wielding druid outside of some weird 3rd edition build with Spike Staff or whatever the stupid spell was.

If you want to add anything to Shillelagh, here is my suggestion:

While this spell is in effect, you may also take the following Action starting at 11th level:

Shillelagh Strike - make a single melee attack as part of this action. If you hit, you deal an additional d6 cold, fire, or electricity damage. This damage bonus increases to 2d6 at 17th level.

Not abusable with multiattack, polearm mastery or opportunity attacks. Roughly balanced against Produce Flame, as at 17th level the Shillelagh Strike deals 16.5 varied elemental damage compared to Produce Flame's 18 fire only damage.
 

adersondasilva

Villager
No, it is not common. Like, at all.

Most players of a martial class do not dip into magic abilities. Those who do, they either look for boosts on their own attacks or for complementary abilities (some tricks their characters could otherwise not be able to do). But to a martial class character that already has martial weapon proficiency and likely doesn't have higher Wisdom than Strength, the Shillelagh doesn't offer any other boost than the weapon counting as magical, which can help in low-level or low-magic campaigns, but scaling-damage cantrips still do better.

The only non-Druid character who can really benefit from Shillelagh is the Monk.
Uhh.... Wis-SAD Ranger?
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
I dont really get why SS is sneaky but hand axe is not.

My guess would be they are assuming the sneak attack is with a fencing lunge. I believe this wasn't common in our own world until the 16th Century so maybe in Faerun it is also a new, sneaky technique where you suddenly increase your attack range by 1.5x the distance against an unsuspecting and distracted foe. Obviously the lunge doesn't work very well with a hand axe.
 

auburn2

Adventurer
What you said makes sense for anything but a cantrip in my opinion. You can endlessly cast the cantrip and keep inflicting damage. Sure you only cast Shill once but you have to roll to hit to do any damage. So is there a difference between casting Produce Flame over and over again and rolling to hit and casting Shill once and then having to roll to hit over and over again as you attack?
They require an action to cast over and over. If you had to take an action to cast shill every turn it would not be an issue. As it is, it is a bonus action and it lasts an entire battle.

I think this would be a fine homebrew cantrip Jack's Shill - as an action you make a spell attack while holding a club or staff. If sucessful the target takes 1d10 damage, this increases to 2d10 at 5th level and 3d10 at 10th level.

Then you could cast that over and over.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My guess would be they are assuming the sneak attack is with a fencing lunge. I believe this wasn't common in our own world until the 16th Century so maybe in Faerun it is also a new, sneaky technique where you suddenly increase your attack range by 1.5x the distance against an unsuspecting and distracted foe. Obviously the lunge doesn't work very well with a hand axe.
Short swords can also cut throats, be rammed into vital organs from behind, etc.

Stabbing people with long knives is a pretty historically common thing.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Let me clarify my position.

In previous editions of the game, you have various levels of at-will weapon damage for the classes. Some classes were great at it, some weren't that great. 5e maintains that sort of spectrum.

In previous editions the way this was brought about differed by edition. In AD&D only certain classes got multiple attacks. Others may not have had their melee weapon attacks scale at all.

In 3e, everyone had multiple attacks, and where on the spectrum your class was expected to fall determined how many of those you got and how fast you got them.

In 5e, the way in which this scaling happens differs by class, and sometimes by options within the class. The primary weapon users get Extra Attack, and often get something else to go along with it. Other classes might get Extra Attack without anything else to help it out, or a lesser option such as Divine Strike. And the classes that aren't traditionally great with melee weapon scaling get green-flame blade and booming blade as options in case they do want some melee weapon scaling.

Druid, traditionally somewhere in the middle to lower-middle on that spectrum is lacking a damage scaling option in 5e. It is singled out in that situation. (Sorcerer, Wizard, and Lore Bard were also lacking an option until SCAG, which gave them an option.)

The reason I find this particular lack annoying, beyond mechanical reasons, is that a druid that wields a staff (or scimitar) is one of the most iconic images of early D&D druids. When I say, "wields a staff" I don't mean someone who goes into battle in a whirling staff frenzy, using all sorts of spells to boost his staff damage. No, most of the time druids have traditionally stood back and used their spell slots. But when they do want to make a weapon attack, it should have (at least the option of) damage scaling like every other class, with the weapons that fit the image.



It's not a weapon using melee druid build. That's rarely been a thing in D&D history (I almost said "never" but I'm sure someone has done it.) It's the option to have their melee weapon damage scale when they are using it, so they are not uniquely denied that scaling damage.



Divine Strike, and Extra Attack and/or green-flame blade or booming blade.

You're right, druids don't need Extra Attack. They probably should have been designed with something like Divine Strike, because they should be on the same part of the spectrum as clerics for melee weapon damage.

I did it in 1E but it was because I got all the magic items. Scimitar of speed, gauntlets ogre power AC -8 or so (28 5E).
 
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It's not unreasonable to expect a cantrip to keep up with other cantrips. The only good thing about Shillelagh is it works with magical staves and clubs. Of course, you have no way of knowing at level 1 if the DM is ever going to give you good loot.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It's not unreasonable to expect a cantrip to keep up with other cantrips. The only good thing about Shillelagh is it works with magical staves and clubs. Of course, you have no way of knowing at level 1 if the DM is ever going to give you good loot.
It keeps up fine through level 10. After that, if you're relying on cantrips for damage, you're in trouble anyway.
 

It's not unreasonable to expect a cantrip to keep up with other cantrips. The only good thing about Shillelagh is it works with magical staves and clubs. Of course, you have no way of knowing at level 1 if the DM is ever going to give you good loot.
To refer you back to a three year old discussion, Shillelagh does scale - with number of attacks. Which is irrelevant for druids, but in 5e any cantrip can be picked up by any class, and therefore has to be balanced around that.

As our thread necromancer mentions, Tasha's now makes it easy for a ranger to pick up Shillelagh without feats. Although personally I'm dubious about the value of maximising wisdom on a ranger.
 

Dave Goff

Explorer
It's also combatable with other cantrips like Booing Blade
I don't like calling out typo's but I just want to say that I'd love to see a Booing Blade spell! :)

Booing Blade
Level: Cantrip
Casting Time: Bonus Action
Duration: 1 Round
School: Abjuration
Range: Self 5ft
Attack/Save: Melee + Wis
Components: S,M (melee weapon worth at least 1 silver)
Damage/Effect: Psychic

You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target suffers the weapon attack’s normal effects and then becomes sheathed in booing energy until the start of your next turn. This energy boos the victim until they feel really bad about themselves. If the target willingly moves 5 feet or more before then, the target must save versus Wis or lose their action and the spell ends. They also feel bad. And people point at them and laugh and throw rotten fruit.
 

I don't like calling out typo's but I just want to say that I'd love to see a Booing Blade spell! :)

Booing Blade
Level: Cantrip
Casting Time: Bonus Action
Duration: 1 Round
School: Abjuration
Range: Self 5ft
Attack/Save: Melee + Wis
Components: S,M (melee weapon worth at least 1 silver)
Damage/Effect: Psychic

You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target suffers the weapon attack’s normal effects and then becomes sheathed in booing energy until the start of your next turn. This energy boos the victim until they feel really bad about themselves. If the target willingly moves 5 feet or more before then, the target must save versus Wis or lose their action and the spell ends. They also feel bad. And people point at them and laugh and throw rotten fruit.
yoink!
 

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?
I removed all weapon restrictions from Sneak Attack. I've yet to see any thematic or balance issues.

To refer you back to a three year old discussion, Shillelagh does scale - with number of attacks. Which is irrelevant for druids, but in 5e any cantrip can be picked up by any class, and therefore has to be balanced around that.

As our thread necromancer mentions, Tasha's now makes it easy for a ranger to pick up Shillelagh without feats. Although personally I'm dubious about the value of maximising wisdom on a ranger.
I can see an interesting Beastmaster Ranger using Shillelagh-ed staff, Primal Beast companion and/or summoned Beast spell, since those will all key off Wisdom.
 

jgsugden

Legend
If you really want a scaling Shillelagh, this would be an easy implementation.

Shillelagh Smash
Cantrip Evocation
1 action
self (10 ft)
S/M

You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting (quarterstaff or club) and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. You can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls for this attack, and the weapon's damage die becomes a d8. The range of your weapon is extended to 10 feet for this attack. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn't already, for the purposes of this attack.

This spell’s damage increases when you reach certain levels. At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 force damage to the target on a hit. The damage roll increases by 1d8 at 11th level (to 2d8 additional force damage) and again at 17th level (to 3d8 additional force damage).
 

If you really want a scaling Shillelagh, this would be an easy implementation.

Shillelagh Smash
Cantrip Evocation
1 action
self (10 ft)
S/M

You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting (quarterstaff or club) and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. You can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls for this attack, and the weapon's damage die becomes a d8. The range of your weapon is extended to 10 feet for this attack. The weapon also becomes magical, if it isn't already, for the purposes of this attack.

This spell’s damage increases when you reach certain levels. At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 force damage to the target on a hit. The damage roll increases by 1d8 at 11th level (to 2d8 additional force damage) and again at 17th level (to 3d8 additional force damage).
Primal Savagery already does that, but with 1d10 acid damage.
 

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