D&D (2024) Wild shape? Was the 3.5e PHB2, Shapeshift variant the best wild shape to date?

Horwath

Legend
3.5e PHB2 Wild shape was pretty simple.

chose shape template, add STR to you own, add AC to your DEX(no mundane armor), set speed and damage.

why was it good?
It used your stats instead of preset for an animal.
So, no more dumping STR and DEX to basement.

You had a choice, STR for fighting or WIS for casting. going high in both left your Con and Dex low and you would like 14 in both of those.

templates for 1D&D:
Usage, at-will, Bonus action,

Level 1:
Predator shape: medium size
+4 STR,
AC 12+dex+prof bonus
Speed 50ft,Climb 30ft
Damage: bite 1d8+STR

Level 3:
Aquatic shape: medium size
+2 STR,
AC 10+dex+prof bonus
Speed 30, Swim 30
water breathing
Damage: bite 1d6+STR

Level 5:
ferocious predator shape: large size
+8 STR
AC 14+dex+prof bonus
Speed: 40ft, Climb 20ft
Damage: bite d10+str, claws 1d12+str
Multiattack, attack with claws and bite

Level 9,
flight form: medium size
+2 STR
AC 10+dex+prof bonus
speed: 20ft, fly 60ft
Damage 1d6+str, fly by attack

Level 13,
treant form: huge
+12 STR
AC 17+prof bonus
speed 20ft
Damage 2d12+str, two slam attacks multi attack


Cannot cast spells in wild shape.

Moon druid could add:
magical natural weapons,
+1 AC in all forms
damage reduction in forms equal to prof bonus
double base damage
some extra forms.
temp HPs equal to druid level prof bonus per day when you use wildshape.
 

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Vaalingrade

Legend
I like it, but part of being a shapeshifter is taking the power and agility of the new form. Drop the need to use any of your own physical stats and it's good.

Also smaller critters and flight form at a far, far, FAR lower level.
 

Horwath

Legend
I like it, but part of being a shapeshifter is taking the power and agility of the new form. Drop the need to use any of your own physical stats and it's good.
this is the point, either a good caster or a good shifter.
Also smaller critters and flight form at a far, far, FAR lower level.
That could be in moon druid domain.
Flight at 9th level at-will seem fine.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
this is the point, either a good caster or a good shifter.
Then let's give most of the casting the heave-ho.
That could be in moon druid domain.
It's so iconic for shapeshifters I object to sealing them behind a subclass.
Flight at 9th level at-will seem fine.
Way too high says I. D&D needs to move on from Fear of Flying and it's not going to do that when flying keeps getting shoved in the high levels.
 

mellored

Legend
Way too high says I. D&D needs to move on from Fear of Flying and it's not going to do that when flying keeps getting shoved in the high levels.
There is a big difference between a flying ranged attack, and flying melee attacks.

Being 600' up with a long bow is an auto-win. That should be feared.

Not so much when you still need to be within reach of the enemy.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
There is a big difference between a flying ranged attack, and flying melee attacks.

Being 600' up with a long bow is an auto-win. That should be feared.

Not so much when you still need to be within reach of the enemy.
I'm going to skip my usual explanation of encounter design that isn't a blank plain and just ask how many birds you've seen running round shooting long bows.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
I'm going to skip my usual explanation of encounter design that isn't a blank plain and just ask how many birds you've seen running round shooting long bows.
+1 While there's discussion to be had about flying ranged units, flying melee units are mostly just a confounding factor outside of combat.
 


I really liked this approach. It is flexible so you can pick suitable animals but still useful.

I do agree the aerial form needed to be sooner, like level 5 where the Fly spell is available. The inability to cast spells keeps it balanced.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I liked 2e shapeshifter specialty from the complete Druid’s guide. You could shift at first level (1/2 your level in HD), and you could shift more than two times a day if you were willing to make a saving throw. If you failed, you were stuck in that form until the next day.
 

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