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 Druid optimization

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Rich Merchant

Posts : 80
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Join date : 2010-08-24
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PostSubject: Druid optimization   Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:13 am

Really druid 20 is probably the most optimized druid build you could make. Unless you want to take levels in Planar Shepherd (faiths of ebberon) and break the game over your knee with your godlike might.

The Planar Shepherd Handbook

The planar shepherd is a new prestige class found in the Faiths of Eberron. At first glance it seems like a very horrible idea. A druid tied to a specific plane of existence in Eberron that gets special bonuses from said plane. However, upon closer examination, we can see that the class really takes what it is given and shines like no other. So, without further ado, I give you the Planar Shepherd with a level by level breakdown.

Entry Requirements

Knoweldge (nature) 8 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 4 ranks - These are easily obtained through Druid 5 (the "natural" precursor to this class). You can always take the Education feat to get all Knoweldges as class skills.[/INDENT]
Greensinger Initiate or Nightbringer Initiate - This is more of a flavor choice for most players. Greensinger Initiate is going to help you with your social skills (adds Bluff, Hide and Perform along with some enchantment spells) while the Nightbringer Initiate enhances your offensive capabilities (adds Hide and Move Silently as well as "dark" spells). If it were my choice, I would take the Greensinger Initiate over Nightbringer Initiate. However, if you chose Mabar as your favored plane (see below), Nightbringer Initiate is for you.[/INDENT]
Wild shape class feature - Ah, they've hit the spot with this one. The obvious entry choice is Druid 5. However, there are alternative methods. Wildshape Ranger 5 (Unearthed Arcana) is a great precursor for those who want a slightly higher BAB. However, in the case of the Planar Shepherd, I would stick with Druid 5 for a few simple reasons. Planar Shepherd HD stack with Druid HD for purpose of wildshaping and the Druid spell list is MUCH more superior to the Ranger spell list (It is a 10/10 spellcasting class). Also note that WotC got creative and specifically made it Wild shape class feature. This means no cheesy entry with the Divine Minion template.[/indent]

Level by Level Breakdown
Animal companion, planar attunement, wild shape
Animal companion allows you to stack your Druid levels with your Planar Shepherd levels for your animal companion, not a bad deal.
Planar attunement makes you pick a plane that is of like alignment with yourself. You ignore any harmful effects from your lane's elemental or energy traits...not bad. It also helps your allies.
Wild Shape is exactly that. Your levels with Druid stack and, there are some nice goodies to come at later levels that really "make" this class.
Detect manifest zone
Mainly fluff IMO. It will allow you to find areas on the material plane where your plane is more closely connected. This will grant you some bonuses at later levels.[/indent]

Wild shape (Magical Beasts)
This is where it starts to get fun. You can now wild shape into any magical beast native to your chosen plane. This also applies to templated creatures. Very nice.[/indent]

Plane shift 1/day
Good way to get out of combat. Remember though, with it being once per day, you can get there but you can't really get back.[/indent]

Planar Bubble
Effectively, you bring part of your "home plane" back with you. This can enhance some of your spells, abilities, etc. Remember, you are unaffected by its' negative traits (such as fire, etc.). OUTRAGEOUS ability!!!! This allows you to harvest the time traits of planes as well. Dal Quor will give you 10 rounds to play with for every one round on the Material Plane. Xoriat will allow a minute to be an hour...awesome.[/indent]

Nothing at this level except a caster level and increases to BAB and saves
Intensify manifest zone
You can use a SLA once per day...it's a fair ability, but, not gamebreaking.[/indent]

Plane shift 2/day
Same as 4th level but, now you can come home.[/indent]

Wild shape (elemental or outsider)
And this is where the fun truly climaxes. You can now wild shape into any outsider or elemental from your native plane (within your HD, size, etc.). Here's the kicker, you retain ALL of their extraordinary, supernatural and spell-like abilities. This ability is so amazing that it makes one wonder why it's not called Druids of the Coast.[/indent]

Planar bubble 3/day, planar self
You can planar bubble two extra times and, you become an Outsider native to your chosen plane. You also get a +1 caster level on all spells when in a manifest zone from your plane.

Busting In
Druid 5
The easiest and most obvious entry into the class. As I stated earlier, this is my favorite entry so long as you take the Education feat from ECS (for Knowledge (the planes)).

Wildshape Ranger 5
Another discussed entry. As I stated earlier, it works better for MoMF than it does this class. The spellcasting is pretty shabby eventhough the higher BAB is pretty handy.

Divine Minion Template
Controversial entry and, by RAW, not acceptable. However, if you can squeeze this by your DM, go for it. However, you still have to wait until 5th level to get in due to skills required. I don't recommend it at all.

Shapeshifter (OA)
I'm not to keen on this route either, Druid 5 is still your best bet.

Wrapping Up
Okay, so, you've taken Druid 5/Planar Shepherd 10...now what? Let's look, shall we?

Warshaper 5
This suffix works really well especially if you're planning on using your Wildshape a lot. Extended reach, increased strength, immune to crits and stunning? Sign me up. Watch your Caster Level though as this class has no spellcasting advancement. No wild shape increases will hurt you though.

Nature's Warrior 5
This got interesting. You now have all the supernatural, SLA and extraordinary abilities of your elemental wildshapes. This makes this slightly better than before. Still though, watch your CL because you'll take quite a hit for this one. Also, it increases your Wild Shape ability which is very handy.

Prioritizing Ability Scores
Strength - Not entirely that important thanks to your wildshapes. Most forms have fairly good strength scores.

Dexterity - Again, if you plan on wildshaping a lot, not all that important. However, it is handy outside of wildshape for your initiative, your AC and your ranged attacks. I would keep this one up.

Constitution - One of the "ex" dump stats for a Druid. However, with the revisions to wild shape, you no longer gain extra HP for wildshaping. As with any character, get this one as high as you can without taking away from your spellcasting stats.

Intelligence - This is your skill setter. You really only need two skills to focus on but, there are others that you really need to give a few ranks in. Survival is always a handy one to have some ranks in and ALWAYS...ALWAYS keep Concentration maxed out. You cast spells in melee many a times, this is a must have.

Wisdom - This is your prime stat. Keep this one as high as possible because it gives you bonus spells and higher DCs. Don't forget it is the key ability for 80% of your skills. This is your most important stat...period.

Charisma - As with most druidic builds, this is a dump stat. The only reason to keep this up is for your Wild Empathy. However, your Planar Shepherd levels don't give you increases in Wild Empathy. I would make this at least a 10 (I hate negative modifiers) just because you may need to be diplomatic at times...especially when dealing with your "friends" from the planes.

Planar bubble...easily the most broken ability the class gets. Pick Dal Quoar as your domain for example. Now, you and everyone within your 40-foot diameter planar bubble gets 10 rounds of actions for every single round of actions those outside the bubble get. Although you need to keep concentration on the effect, the rest of your party doesn't.

Time Stop eat your heart out.

Don't believe me? The class ability clearly states you get all of the physical qualities of the plane. If you look up the physical qualities in the DMG, it clearly specifies that this includes gravity and time traits as well. That's RAW. Teehee.

Other examples:

Pick a plane with no gravity, you can now fly. Pick a fire plane, everything in the area takes 3d10 fire damage per round. Pick a plane of cold, the temperature instantly drops to 0 degrees and every living thing dies from the "flash frost." Pick a plane where time goes slower (such as Xoriet) so if you can withstand 24 minutes in a bubble of chaos and madness, a whole day passes on the outside--kinda like some PC roleplaying games I know of.
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