D&D 5E Simplifying Wildshape using Summon Spells/Ranger's Beasts as templates

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Hey folks,

So in my games, my players absolutely love the idea of druids but cant seem to manage playing one because of all the book/card/memos juggling required by Wildshapes.

So I had in mind to use the new templates provided by Tasha's for the ranger's beast of the land/sea/air.
Example:

Beast of the Sea

Medium beast
Armor ClassHit PointsSpeedPB
13 + your spellcasting ability modifier (natural armor)5 + five times your druid level5 ft., swim 60 ft.equals your bonus
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
14 (+2)14 (+2)15 (+2)8 (-1)14 (+2)11 (+0)
Senses darkvision 60 ft.
Amphibious.
The beast can breathe both air and water.
Actions
Binding Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: your spell attack modifier to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 + 2 + your spellcasting ability modifier piercing or bludgeoning damage (your choice), and the target is grappled (escape DC equal to your spellcasting save DC)

Elemental Form

Medium elemental
Armor ClassHit PointsSpeedPB
14 + your spellcasting ability modifier (natural armor)20 + 5 five times your druid level40 ft., burrow 40 ft. (earth only), fly 40 ft. (air only hover), swim 40 ft. (water only)equals to your bonus
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)15 (+2)17 (+3)4 (-3)10 (+0)16 (+3)
Damage Res. lightning and thunder (Air only); piercing and slashing (Earth only); acid (Water only)
Damage Imm. poison; fire (Fire only)
Condition Imm. exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60 ft.
Amorphous Form (Air, Fire, and Water Only).
The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Actions
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: your spell attack modifier to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d10 + 4 + your spellcasting ability modifier bludgeoning damage (Air, Earth, and Water only) or fire damage (Fire only).

The general druid would follow the basic progression of the class: Beast of the land at 2nd level, sea at 4th, air at 8th. The Moon druid would benefit from a faster progression: Land and sea at 2nd, air at 4th, elemental at 10th. Furthermore, the Moon druid's Primal Strike would give them Extra attack when wildshaped at 6th in addition to the usual ''magic natural attacks''.

Also, Wildshape would allow a druid to create a tiny version of a wildshape (for scouting/utility purpose) gaining advantage on stealth check, but losing the ability to use any other action than dodge, dash, disengage.


So, in short, my druid players would only need 3 (4 for moon druids) stat block instead of asking for the MM every.damn.time.

What do you think of this solution? Thoughts and comments?
 
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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I think it would certainly be worth trying! I'll look into it more and run it by my table Saturday, see what they think of the idea.

My initial thoughts are this could work quite well, or maybe with just some minor tweaks.
Obviously you lose some minutiae and small features from regular wildshape beast, such as web-walker, sure-footed, pounce etc, but in my case, its not like my players know those features exist!

Bunch of eternal, evergreen n00bs :p

I guess that would allow them to play something else than champions and thieves...

let me know how it went!
 

DND_Reborn

Legend
Obviously you lose some minutiae and small features from regular wildshape beast, such as web-walker, sure-footed, pounce etc, but in my case, its not like my players know those features exist!
Well, you could add something simple, like when you wildshape you can gain a feature from a list, such as those in your example. Make a list of maybe 10-12 features, they can pick one when they wildshape?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Most of wildshape is narrative permission to X. Fit under a door, climbs walls, swim, breathe underwater, fly, etc. Give them advantage on things the animal should be good at. HP and damage are all that’s left. They mostly come in three kinds. Utility with lots of narrative permissions, low hp, and low damage. Tank with few narrative permissions, lots of hp, but low damage. Damage dealer with few narrative permissions, low hp, and lots of damage. Use the druid’s stat block as the baseline. Low hp is a free block of hp about half or less than the druid’s. High hp is a free block of hp about twice or less than the druid’s. Same with damage. Look at Dungeon World and how it handles druid shapechanging.
 
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Li Shenron

Legend
Hey folks,

So in my games, my players absolutely love the idea of druids but cant seem to manage playing one because of all the book/card/memos juggling required by Wildshapes.

So I had in mind to use the new templates provided by Tasha's for the ranger's beast of the land/sea/air.
Example:

Beast of the Sea

Medium beast
Armor ClassHit PointsSpeedPB
13 + your spellcasting ability modifier (natural armor)5 + five times your druid level5 ft., swim 60 ft.equals your bonus
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
14 (+2)14 (+2)15 (+2)8 (-1)14 (+2)11 (+0)
Senses darkvision 60 ft.
Amphibious.
The beast can breathe both air and water.
Actions
Binding Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: your spell attack modifier to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d6 + 2 + your spellcasting ability modifier piercing or bludgeoning damage (your choice), and the target is grappled (escape DC equal to your spellcasting save DC)

Elemental Form

Medium elemental
Armor ClassHit PointsSpeedPB
14 + your spellcasting ability modifier (natural armor)20 + 5 five times your druid level40 ft., burrow 40 ft. (earth only), fly 40 ft. (air only hover), swim 40 ft. (water only)equals to your bonus
STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
18 (+4)15 (+2)17 (+3)4 (-3)10 (+0)16 (+3)
Damage Res. lightning and thunder (Air only); piercing and slashing (Earth only); acid (Water only)
Damage Imm. poison; fire (Fire only)
Condition Imm. exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60 ft.
Amorphous Form (Air, Fire, and Water Only).
The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Actions
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: your spell attack modifier to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d10 + 4 + your spellcasting ability modifier bludgeoning damage (Air, Earth, and Water only) or fire damage (Fire only).


So, in short, my druid players would only need 3 (4 for moon druids) stat block instead of asking for the MM every.damn.time.
I think your idea is ok, but frankly more complicated than just printing out a few stat blocks from the free D&D Basic document. That's what my SIX YEARS OLD child did who wanted to play a Moon Druid as first PC ever, so why couldn't an adult do the same?

And don't says there's too many animals the druid can wildshape into. Most of them are useless in combat and therefore you don't need their full stats if you wildshape only for scouting, hiding or eavesdropping. If quantity is a problem, ask the player to stick to 1-3 animals of maximum CR.
 


renbot

Explorer
I developed a mix and match wildshape option for our last druid similar to some of the newer summoning options. I left all of the aesthetics and ribbons up to him and had a grid of what special abilities were available for land, air, and sea base templates and minimum druid level to access those abilities. He really appreciated the flexibility.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I think it's a great idea, but you need to differentiate between the standard Druid & the Circle of the Moon Druid. Because most druid subclasses are limited to weaker forms which cannot, for instance, be a "Beast of the Sea" at 1st level (i.e. druids normally restricted to no swimming speed forms until 3rd level) or a "Beast of the Sky" until 8th level.

So there's the movement type issue.

But also the fundamental design precept that basic Druids (who are not Circle of the Moon) have a cap on their form's power that is limited. So I think your proposal better tracks with the design intent behind Circle of the Moong, specifically.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Druids in my homebrew have a few things going on for their shapeshifting that is not the same as 5e (or PF or the last few iterations of D&D).

For the one: Shapeshifting (not "wildshape") doesn't kick in as a class feature until 5th level. It begins, as is generally understood, with small and medium animal forms.

As the druid levels up, they gain larger animals (including "giant" versions of smaller creatures if they want), small/medium humanoids -hell, Disguise Self is a 1st level spell. Alter Self is 2nd...but someone who can literally shapeshift from a biped to a quadruped (or serpent or bird) can't figure out how to alter their height and face, skin color, ear shape? C'mon. So, I think it is all the way to at level 9 or so, but still. Strikes me (and always has) as totally fair game for druid shapeshifting. Eventually some (small/medium) elemental options.

Then, they gain a series of homebrewed spells called "Animal Spirit" ["I, II, III..." I don't think anyone's gotten past 3...]. This was developed to give the Druid's "Nature Magic" spell list in my game/world, their own battery of "signature" spells that harken to the Druid class' shamanic flavor and traditions...and my understanding of the "shapeshifting" druid/magic-worker shaman origins. These spells function, more or less, like the powers of DC superhero, Vixen.

Basically, the various versions give you access to a set list of animal options that give you -not the "shape/form" of the animal, but their specific special/nonhuman abilities - speed, strength, climbing on walls, agility/acrobatics, darkvision, sonar/"blindsense," resitances (cold, heat, poison), slashing "claws" or "constricting" grapples (while the shape of your hands/arms does not change, just magically enhanced) up to and including (eventually) things like [short range] flight and breathing underwater. Those are spells, like any other...invoking the aid of the appropriate animal spirit from the Spirit World to temporarily "possess"/assist the druid. Players seem to enjoy it. Sometimes devoting nearly all slots to them.
 

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