Druids in 2.0

Discussion concerning the upcoming Toril 2.0 update as well as general 3.5 edition D&D discussion
moritheil
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Druids in 2.0

Postby moritheil » Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:10 am

Having considered issues with paladins, barbarians, and psionicists in 2.0, a druid thread seems a bit overdue.

Specifically, in tabletop 3.5, the strength of a druid is essentially in NPC tanking. Where the cleric's niche is healing, the druid's niche is summoning allies (the druid spontaneously converts prepared spells into summons, just as the cleric spontaneously converts prepared spells into hit point recovery for either living or undead allies.)

We haven't heard anything one way or the other as to whether the focus will be taken away from PC tanking and fighter-type classes converted into the damage powerhouses they are in 3.5, so it can't be ruled out that druids will be summoners, but I would be quite surprised. Turning druids into great summoners, while faithful to 3.5 material, would shift the class's focus from what it has been in Toril for a long time (utility.) It would also be a reversal of a decision made long ago to phase out conjurers and downgrade elementals and shaman spirits.

Another thing I note is that the closest spell to moonwell in 3.5 is teleportation circle, and that is primarily a mage spell (certain clerics may get it, but it isn't a druid spell.)

How much will Toril 2.0 druids be like tabletop 3.5 druids? Do people think they should be alike?
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Postby Shevarash » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:37 pm

I'm not quite ready to talk about this, but I'd be very interested to hear what the rest of you think...

P.S. It's funny you posted this when you did, as I had just finished up the Teleportation Circle spell when I saw it.
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Postby Sarvis » Thu Jan 18, 2007 8:53 pm

Shevarash wrote:I'm not quite ready to talk about this, but I'd be very interested to hear what the rest of you think...



I think we should talk about rangers... ;)
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Postby Ragorn » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:36 pm

In 3.5 D&D, Druids can spontaneously summon monsters, but this is not where their true strengths lie. In fact, there are very few feats and even fewer prestige classes that support a summon-centric style of play... I tried to build a Summoner once, and couldn't come up with a solid build. Augment Summon, possibly the Alienist class... but whatever, different thread.

A Druid's power comes from a combination of factors. First is their rather impressive spell list. While arguably less powerful than the Cleric/Wizard lists, the Druid spell selection is still rife with powerhouses and utility spells. Second is the Druid's animal companion, whose impact on combat can rival the Druid himself. From wolves at low levels, to dire animals at mid levels, to even Elementals with certain feats, the Druid's companion is like having an extra half-a-player in the party. And finally is the Druid's Wild Shape ability, which allows him to shapechange into a combat powerhouse while still retaining his armor bonus (with Wild armor) and full spellcasting ability (with Natural Spell).

How does this fit into Toril? I dunno, you tell me :P Letting Druids choose an animal compaion would be a good start, maybe offering a list of choices with strengths/weaknesses and letting Druids pick one that will compliment their style of play? Want a tank? Pick a bear. Call a jungle cat for damage, a bird or sneaky thing for scouting, whatever. Tie the animal companion to the Druid like a Shaman's totem animal... no switching around, except perhaps at designated levels (every five?). Implement feats to let Druids take Elemental companions, or even Aberrations...

Shapechange is easy, same idea. Give Druids a list of forms, and widen the list as they gain levels. Provide a tanky form, a melee damage form, a sneaky form, a magic resistant form, whatever. Make them usable, but not as strong as comparably-leveled Fighters/Rogues (obviously).

Dunno. Sounds like you've already got most of the ideas in your head, Shev ;)
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Postby Lilira » Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:37 pm

I like a LOT of the spells the druids in tabletop have. They can be quite powerful, though I'm curious to see how some of them will translate to text. Will there be instances that will allow druids to set up our own little area of defense then lure the bad guys to us? (Spike Growth and Plant Growth as well as entangle the way it should be....)

What about meld with stone or Tree Shape? "Hey.. where'd Lili go?" "No idea, she was just here." *Lilithelle steps out of the stone wall* "Oh.. there she is!"

To sorta quote the guy with the Delorian... "Rogues? Where we're going we don't need... rogues."

Archery?? I think not.. Wind wall!!!

Will the nature flags be getting a facelift with incoming changes?

Oh man, I am looking forward to Wild shape!! *scratches head* "Dude.. where'd that elemental come from?" "Well crap, it ate Sotana... cus she was RIGHT THERE just a second ago."

Sorry Lili and Sotana if I'm abusing your names. *laugh*
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Postby Mirlantharn » Fri Jan 19, 2007 8:35 am

Though already in gameplay at one time (I'm not so sure about the current implementation, it's been a while since I've seen any druids use the spell), I'd like to see some interaction between druid spells and the sorcerer classes. I seem to recall that druids were able to change the weather, and I think that they should be able to create thunderstorms within the zone. Maybe not exactly be able to direct the thunderbolts, but allow random thunderbolts to flash down from above for the entire duration of the thunderstorm. Perhaps add a 200 hp damage additional modifier to any lightning bolts created by the sorcerer classes during that period also.
I'd also assume that anything flying at that time would have a higher chance of getting hit by lightning, and also would have trouble staying in the air: they might get blown from the room!

Dust devils in the desert areas would be neat. Also perhaps not under direct control of the druid.

An ice storm also would be kinda nice. Though _please_ make it different than the sorcerer spell (I seem to recall there being a spell by such name already?), as to have enough of a difference to be desireable to cast yet with a unique effect.

Maybe a single-shot "gust of wind" to prevent the enemy archers' arrows from reaching their targets.

How about a "6th sense" to notice a disturbance/problem with nature? Essentially a diviniation spell, giving vague yet directional info?

Heh. How about allowing a high level spell to turn the druid into a plantform, say a tree, that can't move/talk but the mobs have a much more difficult time noticing the druid? (Think the saying is "Can't see the forest for the trees"... Heh.)


I'll try to think up more later. :)

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Postby daggaz » Fri Jan 19, 2007 9:13 am

Wildshape + Natural Spell Feat needs to be nerfed. Its completely imbalanced in 3.5..

1. Wildshape duration and type are far more limited. No dire apes. No ten hour animal sessions.

2. If Wildshape is limited, Natural spell is no longer such a big deal. (I think it would be more in line with the flavor this way too.) Otherwise, if you can be a bear all day long, then heavily limited spellcasting abilities. Perhaps only the first 3 circles or so.

So looking at that, I would say I'm most in favor of just heavily limiting the duration of wildshape. (Thats both total duration AND number of times per day it can be done). This would cut out most of the cheese, keeping the druid more to their role while preserving the DnD 3.5 look of things. It would also allow for some interesting, tho heavily limited, solo druid maneuvers, which I have always felt added a lot of fun and spice to the game, and would go a long ways to preserving some fun in these times of dire pbase levels.
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Postby Ragorn » Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:08 pm

Well, yeah. The "main" power problem with Druids is that they can essentially morph into a killing machine (with an equally deadly animal companion) without losing their ability to cast high-level divine spells. But a lot of that power has to do with the near-infinite nature of Wild Shape in pen & paper... you can shape into ANY monster you're familiar with.

Toril has the ability to restrict Wild Shape to a number of balancable forms. No, no Dire Apes wearing equipment and fighting with Flame Blade. But spending six hours in bear form might not be so bad, depending on the stats that Shev assigns to the bear form.
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Postby moritheil » Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:55 pm

So, most people seem to think that a much heavier emphasis on shapeshifting is warranted. I wonder if the elemental and plant forms will be made available.
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Postby Sarvis » Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:06 pm

moritheil wrote:So, most people seem to think that a much heavier emphasis on shapeshifting is warranted. I wonder if the elemental and plant forms will be made available.


Wild Shape: Daffodil? *snicker*
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Postby Sarell » Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:11 pm

Ragorn wrote:a lot of that power has to do with the near-infinite nature of Wild Shape in pen & paper... you can shape into ANY monster you're familiar with.


I love the sound of this! I'd shape into a Marilith! TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH TOUCH!

I like the last big overhaul druids got a fair bit. Doom could work better, not lose rounds in drag like rot or maybe swap spiked stones back for it! I mean spiked stones is an awesome target spell, but doom was something a bit different for druids. Shapechanged shapes could use a bit of love, particularly with functional things like being able to be sent tells. I always thought it would be neat to take elemental forms like Robin the druid in the Moonshae FR Books. Druids on WoW take shapes and do different things, but really, if I wanted to be a warrior maybe it would be better to just be a warrior? Wild forms that do take on many more abilities, for example a bear that can rescue, would actually fit in with how druids work in groups at the moment; currently I love playing druids because you can decide your focus based on what the group needs. Healing / Damage / Utility. This would work quite well with actually deciding what shape to use to be useful in a group, not just for touching people with your trunk, or doing something twinkeriffic.
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Postby Taka » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:27 pm

Hopefully all animal shapes would be more unique and we would see them use more (not exclusively nor as better then other classes, but as needed).

Some ideas:
- Frog: could be very hard to hit with projectile (small shape, bouncy,...)
- Wolf: could be able to summon other wolfs (number based on levels which attack anything they feel like that is aggro to the druid; shaping back to druid you loose the summoned wolfs)
- Rhino: charge
- Snake: constrict, poison,...
- Owl: ultra vision
- Chamelon: hide well, start hidden

Make it such that in civilized places animal shapes may be used to compensate some of the weaknesses (by example use some sort of bird in planes as a damage inflicting class).

Consider having a small amount of spells available, but nothing too overpowering, and maybe only for some of the shapes.
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:40 am

If you guys really want to nerf wildshape, two things are possible:
1. No Natural Spell feat; instead force druids to take Silent and Still metamagic feats and apply them. This means that the highest level spell you can cast is 2 circles below what you could cast normally.

2. Go in the other direction. Nerf unshaped druids by severely restricting their allowed armor. This is the direction tabletop went in.


I should point out that druids languished for years as an underpowered class, so of course I hope that nerfing them is not the sole focus of the 2.0 druid discussion :D
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Postby Ragorn » Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:35 am

I don't think 3.5 D&D Druids need to be nerfed to fit into the Toril environment. A lot of the Druid's power comes from the open-ended nature of wild shape and his animal companion... in a game where shapechange options are restricted and heavily monitored, you're not going to see the ridiculous uber-Druid CoDzillas you see in tabletop.

Also, I doubt the truly powerful summoning feats are going to be in 2.0... I'll eat my hat if Shevy implements Greenbound Summoning ;)
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Postby moritheil » Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:43 pm

Ragorn wrote:Also, I doubt the truly powerful summoning feats are going to be in 2.0... I'll eat my hat if Shevy implements Greenbound Summoning ;)


Funny thing about that feat - the author claimed later that his editors accidentally removed the restrictions on it. It was supposed to make a spell 2 levels higher. Instead, as printed it comes with no real drawbacks.

I would like to see Rashemi summoning, though. That would be thematic and neat!
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Postby Emarin » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:22 am

Just wondering... we gonna be able to wear gear while shapeshifted?!?! A bear possibly wearing tia gaunts?! ooooOOooOoOOoOoo yea random speculation coming way out of left field... i mean like far far away in left field... so far... it comes from another stadiums left field.
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Postby Cirath » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:51 pm

Emarin wrote:Just wondering... we gonna be able to wear gear while shapeshifted?!?!


I expect that, like tabletop, there might be equipment specifically enchanted to work while wild shaped, but for the most part your gear will merge with your body when not in your natural form.
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Postby Larem » Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:02 am

I'm all for druid loving

I'd love to beable to shapechange into animals that can do ANYTHING other than just attack. Spellcasting while changed, sending and recieving tells and petitions, feats like bash/charge/trip/bite/wingslap/buffet/breath/bodyslam/hamstring/molest.........

anything to give us more versatility, and allow Verarb to be a dragon.

I've always thought druids should still be able to cast while morphed, and I do think each animal form should have skills, just like each class has skills.

I also like the idea of a choice companion, i just hope that if it's implemented it isn't like the shaman spirit quest where it's random as to what you get. Makes it rather hard to RP when there is no way of knowing which animal companion you'll end up with at your side until you reroll to get a different one.

being a shapechanged druid, with their animal companion, still being able to cast spells, and by spells i mean damn near everything, since most druid spells now can't penetrate globe, i can see having some real fun

let me just say this: FOOK RANGERS, DRUID POWAH!!
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Postby Birile » Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:49 pm

Not that this is D&D, but even in D&D, druids can't cast while shapechanged unless they have Feats from one of the splat books--that's just a lot of power. Shapechange is already very powerful, the only thing I'd change about it is being able to communicate and maybe add some rudimentary skills based on the form you've assumed.
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Postby Ragorn » Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:49 pm

Birile wrote:Not that this is D&D, but even in D&D, druids can't cast while shapechanged unless they have Feats from one of the splat books--that's just a lot of power. Shapechange is already very powerful, the only thing I'd change about it is being able to communicate and maybe add some rudimentary skills based on the form you've assumed.

It's actually a core feat in the Player's Handbook, called Natural Spell. It is also pretty widely considered to be the best and most universally required feat ever printed for any class in any book ever.
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