Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

druid skills and feats

Tags:
  • Games
  • Video Games
Last response: in Video Games
Share
Anonymous
January 4, 2005 3:29:58 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

I think my next class I play will be a druid, and I'm wondering if
anyone has any advice for creating one. Things like melee or ranged, is
concentration important, best feats to choose, etc.

Thanks.

More about : druid skills feats

Anonymous
January 6, 2005 2:59:37 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

John Salerno wrote:

> I think my next class I play will be a druid, and I'm wondering if
> anyone has any advice for creating one. Things like melee or ranged, is
> concentration important, best feats to choose, etc.

A general piece of advice that I've found invaluable for learning about
a new class is to get one of the "character builder" modules such as
"The Halls of Advanced Training". That way you can quickly and easily
try out different build concepts and test them out in combat with
whatever sort of weapons, armour etc you envisage using. You can also
quickly test things that aren't documented in the manual, such as "can
I use knockdown/power attack/whirlwind attack feats while
shapeshifted?" or "precisely which innate abilities of my shifted form
do I get given while shapeshifted?".

I strongly recommend this. It can also save you from embarking on a
fatally flawed build concept, such as wanting to your Fighter to become
a Weapon Master but neglecting to assign the necessary 13 INT for the
Expertise feat and only realising after 3 hours of gameplay (d'oh!).
http://tinyurl.com/4f95g


Rather than specific advice about your druid I'll describe my own
limited experiences and try to point out various aspects of the class
that you might want to consider, leaving you to make your own choices.
I'm sure more experienced people in here will correct my inevitable
mistakes and misconceptions...

I wasn't overly impressed by the druid class on paper, but I was /so/
wrong. Having played one all the way to level 16, I find the druid,
like the cleric, to be a class that's very flexible between melee and
ranged and between physical combat and spell-casting. It's an equally
effective class at both low and high levels and gives probably the most
scope of all classes for ad hoc variation of play style without
sacrificing too much flexibility.

Of course, you need to keep at least one dimension of your alignment
neutral, which can be irksome if the module's author has, whether
consciously or carelessly, linked the best XP rewards with "good"
alignment shifts, as happens sometimes. In such modules it will,
unfortunately, be much less frustrating to role-play a neutral good
druid than, say, a chaotic neutral one. I don't play online, but I
imagine that with a human DM in charge this would not be an issue
provided you role-play effectively.


First, here are the "immediately obvious" things you need to consider
about the class:

* Like the cleric, you get access to the full spell list at each level,
so you can choose from the full spell list each time you rest.

* Unlike the cleric, you don't get the ability to sacrifice prepared
spells for healing spells (in PnP druids can sacrifice prepared spells
for summoning spells IIRC, but this isn't implemented in NWN).

* You get an animal companion, just like the ranger's. You can change
it each time you level up.

* As you level up, you get access to various shape-shifted forms. The
animal forms give you temp HP and early access to 4 attacks per melee
round, which is great for crowd control against mobs of weak critters.
The elemental forms give you elemental damage and abilities (and in the
case of the air elemental, very fast movement speed, which is great if
the module is a non-linear one and you need to zip back and forth
across the maps for whatever reason).
NB: Don't write off the shape-shifted forms just by looking at their
stats the first time they become available: they improve quite a lot as
you level up.

* Your shifted form is is wholly independent of items. This can be a
god-send if a module or DM decides to drop you "naked" into the county
jail, your cushy bedchamber in Waterdeep, or something like that.

* Note that you can't cast spells while shape-shifted. Also, when you
shape-shift, additional spell slots granted by items are emptied, stay
empty until you explicity re-assign them (in your normal form), and
even then only get recharged when you rest. So, if you plan to
shape-shift a lot, items that grant additional spell slots could be
more bother than they're worth.


There are various directions in which you can take a druid. These are
all matters of degree, and you can pretty much mix-and-match without
unduly harming the ability to assume a different role if need be.

* Offensive spell-caster.
You start off in the back row, cast your offensive and/or debilitating
spells, then help clean up with physical combat (perhaps
shape-shifted). You get better offensive spells than a cleric, and
earlier, so this is perhaps the default focus.
You will probably focus your feats towards Concentration/Combat
Casting, etc.

* Combat generalist with spells
You get stuck into combat in your own shape, either ranged or melee,
and cast healing and offensive spells as necessary on an ad hoc basis.
You only shapeshift if you're in trouble or you deem that your shifted
combat abilities have become more useful than your spells.
You will definitely focus your feats towards Concentration/Combat
Casting.

* Healer/protector
You are a mite less powerful in healing than a cleric, but can
certainly do the biz and you also get early access to some useful
debilitating spells. You get slightly earlier access than the cleric to
the spells of restoration and curing poisons and diseases. More of a
multi-player direction this one.
You will probably focus your feats towards Concentration/Healing, etc.

* Shifter/tank or shifter/scout
Your shifter abilities are flexible between either role, but you might
wish to focus your feats in one direction of the other. Spell-casting
becomes less important and you probably focus more on buffs that you
can cast before shifting.
You will probably pay less attention to Concentration/Combat Casting
and more towards either combat feats or stealth feats. You might also
consider multi-classing in Shifter.


Races:
I don't have too much to say here: perhaps others can add some
insights. I will say that my character concept was a she-elf druid, and
at times I was glad of the elf weapon proficiences, especially
longsword.


BTW, a great module for a druid is "An Ancient Heart".
http://tinyurl.com/552do
It's a lovely Hall of Fame module, very highly recommended. And the
sequel is now out.


I hope all this helps,
Richard.
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 2:00:24 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

It's nice to see that the druid class is much more useful in 3rd
edition computer games than in 2nd edition. It's always been a great
PNP class, but the skills don't necessarily translate well to a
computer game.

For your original question, max out concentration and spellcraft. I
like the style of play with a high lore, and I'm solo so I take at
least one rank of open lock and disable trap. As for feats, I always
take Dodge. I've often wished for Power Attack, but that requires a 13
Strength, and I tend to play high INT characters (for the skills and
for the dialogue options) and of course have superhuman WIS, so I
usually don't have it. The extra weapon and armor proficiencies you
can get are useful, and there are options to getting these that I
discuss below.

Anyway, I had a couple things to add to what Richard said. I just
finished playing through the first two chapters of HOU with my druid
character. I stopped at the third chapter, because the game is too
driven by magic items then. Your druid (and by extension, the shifter,
my new favorite class) is superior in magic poor realms. When
characters are defined by things like the Helm of Thorns (MR, regen,
10/- resistance to all elemental forms, etc) you significantly weaken
yourself to not use those things, so you end up as a marginal fighter.

There's a ton to tell, I'll try to remember it all. Summonings and
your companion make you pretty tough. I chose the panther, and was a
bit surprised to see that it is classified as a rogue. What this means
is that it gets a pretty nasty sneak attack at high levels - and since
the enemy is usually focused on me, he was always getting sneak
attacks. Summoning III, the dire wolf, has a good knockdown attack.

I'd suggest a level or two of something else. If selected at judicious
times - say, a character level where you can get a feat - you can pick
up some other weapon/armor proficiencies. Being stuck with Druid
proficiencies alone is tough. A level or two of fighter gets you those
for free. As long as you are human, half-elf, or dwarf it won't give
you an XP penalty. Monk is my standard extra class - take it at third
level to get the martial weapons feat. You're already going to have a
superior wisdom - let it work for you as an armor class enhancement in
all your shifted shapes. Plus, evasion and cleave for free are
fabulous. This does exchange your multiple creature attacks with the
number of unarmed attacks you'd get as a monk (luckily of your total
character level), but it's only a consideration for a few levels, and
it's a big advantage when you get to Elemental shapes.

The immunity to poison is a godsend in so many modules.

Wildshapes merge your armor properties. What that means is that you
get to retain any magical enhancements from your armor, shield, or
helm. +3 leather/plate/anything/shield is converted to a deflection
bonus for your shape (only the highest of is applied). The monk Robes
of the Dark Moon provide a haste effect to every shape you change to.
A mirror shield provides magic resistance. The appropriate helm gives
you immunity to mind affecting spells.

I did a short look at the highest possible strength for various
character classes, and the druid (as bear after level 5, dire bear,
elemental, and so on) tops the list without magical item enhancement
until sometime around level 30, where shifters (as an Iron Golem) and
Red Dragon disciples can catch up. Your 5th level druid can have a
strength of 29+, from bear shape and having cast Bull's Strength prior
to the change.

Spell enhancements are a big advantage to the class. Barkskin improves
with caster level. Strength and Dex can be enhanced for everyone.
Owl's Wisdom add's half the caster's level as a wisdom enhancement (1/4
of the caster's level as an AC bonus for those who are monks also).
Stoneskin and it's kin are great defensive spells.

Offensive spells are surprisingly good. Call lightning is a good low
level spell. Ice storm and flame strike are also good. The king for
me was fire storm - huge area, large damage, 7th level. I took the
Empower spell feat and cast it at 9th level, and it did about 100
points of damage to each and every enemy. Elemental swarm is the best
non-epic summoning spell (it might be better than the epic ones too).
Once the first summons (equal to MS IX) is killed, a second, then
third, then fourth come to your aid. I was a tad disappointed with
Shapechange, since it isn't a true polymorph, and no items merge.

Back to wildshape, your forms become dire forms at level 12. It's good
for a pretty nice stat and AC bonus for your forms. I found the most
useful form to stay as to be a Dire Panther/Wolf (same stats).
Strength is 25, AC is 20, Con is 17 with +30 HP (if you started at 12
con, you now have 54 more HP at 12th level). The AC number looks
dangerous to your health, but with the item merge, spell enhancements,
and monk wisdom bonus tend to send this quite a bit higher. At 12th
level, I was routinely 18-20 AC more than the nominal creature AC, and
by 20th level, I was 29 AC better as...

Elemental and Elder elemental wildshapes. Unaltered stats for these
are pretty good, and the advantage is that you don't ever have to be at
the unaltered stats. Anyway, all forms have their advantages, and all
have DR 10/+1 with Elder forms getting DR 15/+1. Fire Elemental is
immune to fire (a pretty weak advantage). The water elemental is good
all around (25 strength, AC 26+, Con 19). The Air Elemental is hard to
hit (AC 30, 19 strength), and the Earth Elemental has an unaltered
strength of 30. The elder shapes add to this - I usually used the
elder water elemental - Str 29, Dex 22, Con 23, AC 26 (+29 from spells,
items) +180 HP more than I had.

John Viveiros
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 2:00:25 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

John Viveiros wrote:
> It's nice to see that the druid class is much more useful in 3rd
> edition computer games than in 2nd edition. It's always been a great
> PNP class, but the skills don't necessarily translate well to a
> computer game.
>
> For your original question, max out concentration and spellcraft. I
> like the style of play with a high lore, and I'm solo so I take at
> least one rank of open lock and disable trap. As for feats, I always
> take Dodge. I've often wished for Power Attack, but that requires a 13
> Strength, and I tend to play high INT characters (for the skills and
> for the dialogue options) and of course have superhuman WIS, so I
> usually don't have it. The extra weapon and armor proficiencies you
> can get are useful, and there are options to getting these that I
> discuss below.
>
> Anyway, I had a couple things to add to what Richard said. I just
> finished playing through the first two chapters of HOU with my druid
> character. I stopped at the third chapter, because the game is too
> driven by magic items then. Your druid (and by extension, the shifter,
> my new favorite class) is superior in magic poor realms. When
> characters are defined by things like the Helm of Thorns (MR, regen,
> 10/- resistance to all elemental forms, etc) you significantly weaken
> yourself to not use those things, so you end up as a marginal fighter.
>
> There's a ton to tell, I'll try to remember it all. Summonings and
> your companion make you pretty tough. I chose the panther, and was a
> bit surprised to see that it is classified as a rogue. What this means
> is that it gets a pretty nasty sneak attack at high levels - and since
> the enemy is usually focused on me, he was always getting sneak
> attacks. Summoning III, the dire wolf, has a good knockdown attack.
>
> I'd suggest a level or two of something else. If selected at judicious
> times - say, a character level where you can get a feat - you can pick
> up some other weapon/armor proficiencies. Being stuck with Druid
> proficiencies alone is tough. A level or two of fighter gets you those
> for free. As long as you are human, half-elf, or dwarf it won't give
> you an XP penalty. Monk is my standard extra class - take it at third
> level to get the martial weapons feat. You're already going to have a
> superior wisdom - let it work for you as an armor class enhancement in
> all your shifted shapes. Plus, evasion and cleave for free are
> fabulous. This does exchange your multiple creature attacks with the
> number of unarmed attacks you'd get as a monk (luckily of your total
> character level), but it's only a consideration for a few levels, and
> it's a big advantage when you get to Elemental shapes.
>
> The immunity to poison is a godsend in so many modules.
>
> Wildshapes merge your armor properties. What that means is that you
> get to retain any magical enhancements from your armor, shield, or
> helm. +3 leather/plate/anything/shield is converted to a deflection
> bonus for your shape (only the highest of is applied). The monk Robes
> of the Dark Moon provide a haste effect to every shape you change to.
> A mirror shield provides magic resistance. The appropriate helm gives
> you immunity to mind affecting spells.
>
> I did a short look at the highest possible strength for various
> character classes, and the druid (as bear after level 5, dire bear,
> elemental, and so on) tops the list without magical item enhancement
> until sometime around level 30, where shifters (as an Iron Golem) and
> Red Dragon disciples can catch up. Your 5th level druid can have a
> strength of 29+, from bear shape and having cast Bull's Strength prior
> to the change.
>
> Spell enhancements are a big advantage to the class. Barkskin improves
> with caster level. Strength and Dex can be enhanced for everyone.
> Owl's Wisdom add's half the caster's level as a wisdom enhancement (1/4
> of the caster's level as an AC bonus for those who are monks also).
> Stoneskin and it's kin are great defensive spells.
>
> Offensive spells are surprisingly good. Call lightning is a good low
> level spell. Ice storm and flame strike are also good. The king for
> me was fire storm - huge area, large damage, 7th level. I took the
> Empower spell feat and cast it at 9th level, and it did about 100
> points of damage to each and every enemy. Elemental swarm is the best
> non-epic summoning spell (it might be better than the epic ones too).
> Once the first summons (equal to MS IX) is killed, a second, then
> third, then fourth come to your aid. I was a tad disappointed with
> Shapechange, since it isn't a true polymorph, and no items merge.
>
> Back to wildshape, your forms become dire forms at level 12. It's good
> for a pretty nice stat and AC bonus for your forms. I found the most
> useful form to stay as to be a Dire Panther/Wolf (same stats).
> Strength is 25, AC is 20, Con is 17 with +30 HP (if you started at 12
> con, you now have 54 more HP at 12th level). The AC number looks
> dangerous to your health, but with the item merge, spell enhancements,
> and monk wisdom bonus tend to send this quite a bit higher. At 12th
> level, I was routinely 18-20 AC more than the nominal creature AC, and
> by 20th level, I was 29 AC better as...
>
> Elemental and Elder elemental wildshapes. Unaltered stats for these
> are pretty good, and the advantage is that you don't ever have to be at
> the unaltered stats. Anyway, all forms have their advantages, and all
> have DR 10/+1 with Elder forms getting DR 15/+1. Fire Elemental is
> immune to fire (a pretty weak advantage). The water elemental is good
> all around (25 strength, AC 26+, Con 19). The Air Elemental is hard to
> hit (AC 30, 19 strength), and the Earth Elemental has an unaltered
> strength of 30. The elder shapes add to this - I usually used the
> elder water elemental - Str 29, Dex 22, Con 23, AC 26 (+29 from spells,
> items) +180 HP more than I had.
>
> John Viveiros

Wow, thanks for all that. Definitely some good stuff to consider. You
also said something about adding to what Richard said, but yours is the
only response I see in this thread. Did I miss something?
Anonymous
January 11, 2005 12:42:43 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

> Anyway, I had a couple things to add to what Richard said. I just
> finished playing through the first two chapters of HOU with my druid
> character. I stopped at the third chapter, because the game is too
> driven by magic items then. Your druid (and by extension, the shifter,
> my new favorite class) is superior in magic poor realms. When
> characters are defined by things like the Helm of Thorns (MR, regen,
> 10/- resistance to all elemental forms, etc) you significantly weaken
> yourself to not use those things, so you end up as a marginal fighter.

Actually a Shifter can use many magical items... there's a great Shifter
guide out there detailing everything you need to know about the various
forms. I remember some of the rules:

1. AC bonus of all forms are converted into Dodge AC bonus, so only the
higest one counts.
2. All forms will merge armor (helm, shield and armor) item bonus.
3. Forms that wield weapons (e.g. Drider, Drow Warrior, Kobold Commando)
will merge your weapon's effects.
4. Forms that have more than 2 legs do not merge items (cloak, belt, gloves,
etc.). Other forms merge item bonus too.

There're a few exceptions, but I can't recall them right now.

The Druid and Shifter class in NWN are greatly handicapped - NWN doesn't
give us the "Natural Spell" feat, which allows spellcasting in
animal/shifter forms. This makes Shifter into just another Fighter class,
and you just buff up with long lasting spells before shifting after rest.

> Monk is my standard extra class - take it at third
> level to get the martial weapons feat. You're already going to have a
> superior wisdom - let it work for you as an armor class enhancement in
> all your shifted shapes. Plus, evasion and cleave for free are
> fabulous. This does exchange your multiple creature attacks with the
> number of unarmed attacks you'd get as a monk (luckily of your total
> character level), but it's only a consideration for a few levels, and
> it's a big advantage when you get to Elemental shapes.

That is great advice for a power build... though there're a few drawbacks:

1. Alignment. Monk requires Lawful, and Druid/Shifter requires Neutral. You
can play LN, or begin with LG and enough monk levels then change to NG
(etc.), if the module you play provides the opportunity.

2. The bonus for unarmed attacks are not supposed to work for your shifted
forms in your druid/shifter levels according to the rules. It should
according to your Monk level, which won't be that high. This is a NWN thing.
Anonymous
January 12, 2005 8:35:05 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"KC Wong" <my@privacy.net> wrote in
news:34gp8lF4bq5qnU1@individual.net:
> Actually a Shifter can use many magical items... there's a great
> Shifter guide out there detailing everything you need to know
> about the various forms. I remember some of the rules:
>
> 1. AC bonus of all forms are converted into Dodge AC bonus, so
> only the higest one counts.
> 2. All forms will merge armor (helm, shield and armor) item bonus.
> 3. Forms that wield weapons (e.g. Drider, Drow Warrior, Kobold
> Commando) will merge your weapon's effects.
> 4. Forms that have more than 2 legs do not merge items (cloak,
> belt, gloves, etc.). Other forms merge item bonus too.

Yes. All of the druid shapes merge only armor, while the shifter
shapes merge based on the characteristics of the shape you are changing
to. I've thought about changing my default polymorph.2da to allow the
water elemental form (which uses that staff weapon in the image) to
merge weapon properties, but decided against it - the class really
doesn't need any more advantages. Oh, your bonuses are all converted
to Deflection Bonuses, so only the highest one counts. Your Dodge
Bonuses always sum.

> The Druid and Shifter class in NWN are greatly handicapped - NWN
> doesn't give us the "Natural Spell" feat, which allows
> spellcasting in animal/shifter forms. This makes Shifter into just
> another Fighter class, and you just buff up with long lasting
> spells before shifting after rest.

Agreed. Not to mention the fact that, while in humanoid form, you
should be able to manipulate objects in your pack, wear cloaks, etc.

>> Monk is my standard extra class - take it at third
>> level to get the martial weapons feat. You're already going to
>> have a superior wisdom - let it work for you as an armor class
>> enhancement in all your shifted shapes. Plus, evasion and cleave
>> for free are fabulous. This does exchange your multiple creature
>> attacks with the number of unarmed attacks you'd get as a monk
>> (luckily of your total character level), but it's only a
>> consideration for a few levels, and it's a big advantage when you
>> get to Elemental shapes.
>
> That is great advice for a power build... though there're a few
> drawbacks:

I think it's a really natural fit. My first OC character was a
Monk/Druid (predominantly monk), long before I had enough of a handle
on the game to consider power-gaming. It's really a natural alignment
(not in the D&D sense) of two of the wisest characters in the game.
Same for Sorcerer-Paladin or Rogue-Ranger, for different stats
obviously.

> 1. Alignment. Monk requires Lawful, and Druid/Shifter requires
> Neutral. You can play LN, or begin with LG and enough monk levels
> then change to NG (etc.), if the module you play provides the
> opportunity.

Yes, LN is the only choice. Since you are usually at the whim of the
designer for alignment change decisions, and I never do any outright
evil acts, I can't help but drift to good. Sometimes, I work my way
all the way to NG after a dozen levels (having looked in private chests
and such), enough to allow continued growth as a druid.

It's the old "in order to advance as a druid, because I completed the
quests and defeat the evil that was threatening the land, I now have to
go out and murder some innocent civilians".

> 2. The bonus for unarmed attacks are not supposed to work for your
> shifted forms in your druid/shifter levels according to the rules.
> It should according to your Monk level, which won't be that high.
> This is a NWN thing.

I agree. At low level this actually decreases your attacks for your
wildshapes. There should be some advantage to a seasoned unarmed
fighter fighting as an unarmed animal shape, but I agree it's not
implemented in the best fashion in the game.
--
John Viveiros
xxjjv4xx@prodigy.net
remove the x's to reply
Anonymous
January 13, 2005 1:41:55 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

> > The Druid and Shifter class in NWN are greatly handicapped - NWN
> > doesn't give us the "Natural Spell" feat, which allows
> > spellcasting in animal/shifter forms. This makes Shifter into just
> > another Fighter class, and you just buff up with long lasting
> > spells before shifting after rest.
>
> Agreed. Not to mention the fact that, while in humanoid form, you
> should be able to manipulate objects in your pack, wear cloaks, etc.

I tried in the official modules, when shifted, my character is being seen as
another race (e.g. The white dragon in SoU chpt. 1 refers to me as
"monstrous humanoid" when I'm shifted into white wyrmling form ***), and
thus lost all your original abilities and skills - like spell casting and
using items.

So it leads me to think in NWN, the engine does not support a "dynamic"
class - when you shift into drow warrior, your race/class change to that of
a drow warrior, with ability score, equipment and enchantment changes, but
cannot copy any of your original spell casting and item using abilities
over.

I hope they handle this better in NWN2...


*** Dragons have true seeing, don't they?
Anonymous
January 16, 2005 12:06:55 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

"KC Wong" <my@privacy.net> wrote in
news:34m5flF49pohdU1@individual.net:

> *** Dragons have true seeing, don't they?

That's what I've heard. The wyrmling shapes are all supposed to have
true seeing. I haven't been paying attention enough to check on it
against invisible creatures.
--
John Viveiros
xxjjv4xx@prodigy.net
remove the x's to reply
!