Author Topic: [CO Build] As good as it gets: Building the best Druid build step-by-step!  (Read 18952 times)

Offline Dictum Mortuum

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besides augment summoning, there are not many summoning-related feats that are worth it.

Sure there might not be MANY feats for summoning, but the ones that exist are pretty great.  Greenbound Summoning allows you a 5th level spell at level 1 and never becomes weak.  Ashbound is great too.  And I keep hearing praise for Rashami Elemental Summoning, although I haven't really looked into that myself.

Sure, I'm not suggesting that greenbound, ashbound and rashemi summoning are not great. It's just that they are mutually exclusive somewhat (first of all greenbound & rashemi are faerun and ashbound is eberron, but I'll leave this out for the moment): greenbound affects animals and rashemi elementals. Animals are becoming incresingly less and less useful as you gain levels (although greenbound does a good job keeping their power level high enough to be useful) - earth and storm elementals do a fantastic job nuking and kicking butt, even with just an Augment Summoning feat. Even if you actually fit all those feats in a build (Rashemi, Ashbound, Greenbound and Augment Summoning), you've got  a total of 6 feats, counting spell focus and Natural spell, which means that you still have room for something more!
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Offline Mooncrow

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Bestial ChargeCC gives some nice combat bonuses for those who don't want to go into Lion of Talisid.  Pounce in all forms/+3 to attack if already a pouncer + Twisting Charge.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Apprentice level Druid / Divine Minion ... is a little tricky.
Apprentice level Druid is known via 3.0e dmg.
1/2 level of Divine Minion isn't known, but can be guessed at.

Anyway ... Druid 1 / Divine Minion LA+1 (as mentioned earlier)
is an LA Buy-Off candidate. Exp loss is gone by about level 10.
Effectively trading earlier wildshaping for delayed class abilities, semi-delayed casting.
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Offline Look

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I submit to the thread:

THE SUMMONER

Shifter Druid 5/Moonspeaker 4/Planar Shepherd 5/Contemplative 1/Thamaturgist 5

Feats: Spell Focus (Conjuration), Cloudy Conjuration, Greensinger Initiate, Natural Spell, Summon Elemental, Rashemi Elemetal Summoning, Ashbound, Greenbound Summoning

Bonus Feats: Augment Summoning

Flaw: Shakey

Domain: Dragon Below (Grants Planar Ally & Gate)

Pros:
-Full Casting
-Summons last 4 times longer, and enter with a variety of Excellent Buffs and Improvements.
-Additional Summoning Options, Planar Ally Tree & Gate added to spell list.
-Summon Free, Heavily Augmented Elementals at Will, that come in with a sickening "Poof!".
-Permanent Planar Ally and Contingent Summons
-Planar Bubble of Your Favorite Plane
-Reliant on a Single Attribute

Cons:
-Loses out on both Animal Companion and Wild Shape.
-Reliant on little buddies that don't scale well at lvl 15+
-Uses Planar Shepherd, and that just feels dirty.

Summoned Creature Bonuses
   Animals: +10 Str, +2 Dex, +8 Con, +4 Cha, +3 Attack
   Elementals: +4 Str, +8 Con, +3 Attack
   Others: +4 Str, +4 COn, +3 Attack

On Planar Blubble
   I won't bother going into the details regarding how abusable Planar Bubble hijinks are. Assuming you don't plan on abusing free wishes or quintuppled time-streams any plane which grants a reliable healing field will go a long way in improving summon survivability. As will any source of concealment. Naturally the Planar Cohort should probably be similarly attuned, and ideally also have bardic music (looking at you Eladrin).

NOTE: Divine Minion goes a ways to counteract the wild shape hit, as does a "Wild Shape Amulet" from MoF (+4 Effective Druid Level for Wild shape).

Offline X-Codes

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The Summon Elemental reserve feat does not benefit from any of your other feats.  It is not a Conjuration (Summoning) spell.

Offline Mooncrow

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The Summon Elemental reserve feat does not benefit from any of your other feats.  It is not a Conjuration (Summoning) spell.

That's an interesting interpretation of how reserve feats work.  So, you would argue that the effect from Winter's Blast could not be boosted by feats that boost [cold] descriptor spells?

Offline Look

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The Summon Elemental reserve feat does not benefit from any of your other feats.  It is not a Conjuration (Summoning) spell.

I was actually wondering that. It says in the feat that "The elemental acts as if summoned by a summon monster spell (PH 285)". But perhaps that is a generous reading of the feat on my part.

Assuming it doesn't work, what would be a good substitute? Imbued summoning is nice, though the Druid's more restrictive spell list keeps it from being as powerful as it is in Clerical or Wizardly hands. Rapid Spell serves summoners surprisingly well in a pinch.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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<snip>

So like ... Druid 5 / Bloodline 3 / Ardent 2 / Psychic Theurge 10
just needs 1 feat on the Ardent side. Not sure about the exact order.
Uses Ph00's magic mantle  bloodline trick for Psi 9s and PsyRef as soon as possible.
Bloodline donates extra feats to compensate for lesser Wildshaping.
Magic Mantle of course, Natural Mantle for the flavor even though it isn't necessary.
Charm Mantle perhaps for some face-y abilities.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 03:54:01 PM by awaken_D_M_golem »
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Hey wait ... Sigma Jargon's Old H.I.V.E. can be done with Druid.

Druid 10 / Vermin Lord 10 , act intrigued.
Gregg Popovich:  "I don't deal in maybe.  I have enough trouble with reality."   :drunk

Offline Look

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Hey wait ... Sigma Jargon's Old H.I.V.E. can be done with Druid.

Druid 10 / Vermin Lord 10 , act intrigued.

Oooh, aaaah. Time to throw out my summoner, H.I.V.E. commands minions waaay better.

But seriously, H.I.V.E. is awesome, but doesn't really come into its own until Vermin Lord lvl 10 (15th level or so). At this point it takes off so monstrously that the DM's best bet is to abandon the game and move on.

On another point, it looks to me like a lot of these builds, while awesome and multipurpose, are not really druid centric. Psychic Theurge and Beholder Mage are incredible, but the objective here is to construct a sort of Druid "Gold Standard" so focusing heavily on nondruid classes seems off the mark.

Offline Halinn

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On another point, it looks to me like a lot of these builds, while awesome and multipurpose, are not really druid centric. Psychic Theurge and Beholder Mage are incredible, but the objective here is to construct a sort of Druid "Gold Standard" so focusing heavily on nondruid classes seems off the mark.

It's really hard to improve on the druid 20 chassis, because most prestiges aren't worth losing wild shape/animal companion progression for, and most of the ones that are worth it are flat-out broken.

Offline Look

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On another point, it looks to me like a lot of these builds, while awesome and multipurpose, are not really druid centric. Psychic Theurge and Beholder Mage are incredible, but the objective here is to construct a sort of Druid "Gold Standard" so focusing heavily on nondruid classes seems off the mark.

It's really hard to improve on the druid 20 chassis, because most prestiges aren't worth losing wild shape/animal companion progression for, and most of the ones that are worth it are flat-out broken.

Forgive me if I speak blasphemy but I don't really see why 20 lvls worth of Wild Shape and Animal companion are necessary. The abilities themselves are important, but losing a few levels for additional features does not look as awful as people are making it out to be (especially given that the loss can be offset with items and feats).
________________________________

Wild Shape:
While this power is AMAZING and ultra powerful, it is also heavily front loaded. By level 10 a druid can change 3/day, for 10 hours each, into an Animal ranging from small to large size. That list is so large that a player could choose a completely different form every time they change, and still never even cover half the possible variations, and many of its REALLY abuseable effects come from feats and PrCs. Dragon Shape, Aberrant Shape, and of course the Magical Beast and Outsider forms from Planar Shepherd. Since the Druids ability to choose a form is based on the form's size, not HD, it is entirely possible for him to go the whole game simply relying on the abilities of small - large creatures.

Add to this the fact that an Amulet of Wild Shaping (40,000gp) will make up for 4 levels of lost shaping (or the Divine Minion template), and that most Druid PrCs tend to progress and (more importantly) expand wild shaping after a few levels. The fact of the matter is, unless you are dead set on assuming Elemental forms (which ARE great), it is entirely possible for a druid to remain strong even with only 5-10 levels of Wild Shape progression.

Animal Companion:
Animal companion is also awesome, no doubting that. Especially at low levels where having a furry murder wall is an invaluable asset. However, as levels progress, the quality of the companion does not really keep pace with the abilities of the party. The base animal companion doesn't have much function outside combat, and even then its combat options are mostly limited to mauling a single target. By level 15 the other Tier 1's of the party will be summoning equally dangerous creatures (via Planar Binding and Planar Ally), and these summons have casting, spell-like abilities, and native powers well beyond what a standard Animal Companion will possess.

Also consider that a single feat can make up for 3 levels of lost companion progression, and Animal Companion benefits cap at level 18. This means that you can safely lose 5 levels of AC and still end up the same as a straight druid.
________________________________

A druid can lose 4 levels to PrCs with no negative impact on Wild Shaping, and 5 without a lasting effect on Animal companion. So dipping Sacred Exorcist or Contemplative is viable, and the loss from Moonspeaker or Lion of Talisid can be offset. (This is assuming lvl 20, if you are building from level 1 a slight delay in power may be seen, but hopefully the PrC in question is making up for that momentary lapse)

Offline OblivionSmurf83

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Technically, there's still value in maximising your animal companion. Ie, a Druid who has an theoretical level of 24 for the purposes of their animal companion could just take a Brown Bear that's treated as if they were an 18th level Druid.

Offline Halinn

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Technically, there's still value in maximising your animal companion. Ie, a Druid who has an theoretical level of 24 for the purposes of their animal companion could just take a Brown Bear that's treated as if they were an 18th level Druid.

But without shenanigans aimed at increasing AC level, you won't go over your HD.

Offline Hallack

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Since the goal was explicitly Druid builds that would actually be allowed at the table (or at least most) I also vote for focusing initially on just Druid20.

As is always mentioned in thread after thread as and answer to questions, "Druid20".  So as nice and sacred exorcists, moonspeakers, planarshepards, etc... are, they are not that all so often recommended answer of "Druid20".

It would be a good place to start.  We can add the more complicated dipping/prc builds later. 

Offline Dictum Mortuum

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Since the goal was explicitly Druid builds that would actually be allowed at the table (or at least most) I also vote for focusing initially on just Druid20.

As is always mentioned in thread after thread as and answer to questions, "Druid20".  So as nice and sacred exorcists, moonspeakers, planarshepards, etc... are, they are not that all so often recommended answer of "Druid20".

It would be a good place to start.  We can add the more complicated dipping/prc builds later.

Exactly my thoughts. I will post some ideas for the first level later.
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Metamorphic Transfer feat instead of Assume Surpernatural.
More combat useful. Needs the psi support to get to it,
so it's basically a level 15 choice. Not bad.
Doesn't screw up the overall chassis, and kicks in right where the Wizard gets Shapechange.
Allow the Druid to keep up.

 :???
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Offline Bearchucks

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Since the goal was explicitly Druid builds that would actually be allowed at the table (or at least most) I also vote for focusing initially on just Druid20.

As is always mentioned in thread after thread as and answer to questions, "Druid20".  So as nice and sacred exorcists, moonspeakers, planarshepards, etc... are, they are not that all so often recommended answer of "Druid20".

It would be a good place to start.  We can add the more complicated dipping/prc builds later.
All right, I know I'm not the best at this, but for an everywhere-accepted simple SRD "Druid20", here goes. (If nothing else, this can serve as a chassis for the excellent people here to mod [for some reason Pimp My Ride comes to mind])

Human Druid 20
8/12/16/8/16/8 (24 pt buy--yes, that's a low buy, but again, we're going for most stringent requirements) the common wisdom from the druid handbook http://www.minmaxboards.com/index.php?topic=940.0 for attribute distribution well known, the every four levels stat-bump goes to wisdom.

Level 1: You've got a war-trained riding dog.  You've got the druid spell list, although your ability to summon gets brutal.  You've got a few nice skills and more per level than some.  Feats--Spell Focus Conjuration and Augment Summoning
Level 3: Second level spells, Animal Companion improvement, and another feat.  Feat: Extend Spell.  Animal Companion Feat: Power Attack
Level 4: The question here is whether you want a Dire Bat or a Crocodile off-the-rack or to stick it out with your current Animal Companion.  This is a question you'll be asking about every three levels or so.  The answer: what do you need and what does each one provide? 
Level 5: You get Wild Shape.  Now you no longer CARE that your physical stats are crap. 
Level 6: Another feat.  Natural Spell is exactly what you're looking for.
Level 9: Multiattack for your Animal Companion as a class feature.  Not bad.

Here on out, you've got a handle on what you play like, what sorts of things are useful for your game, and how the game works.  Best part is, even if you take weapon focus: dead parrot or the like from here on out, your Wild Shape still improves, your Animal Companion still improves, your spells still improve.  This is the Druid Triangle--versatility and power, an extra set of actions, and magic.  Good luck.

Offline Hairygin

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Is there any way to get 5 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) on a Druid by level 3 without spending a feat, or losing Druid caster levels (i.e. levels in Sor/Wiz)? Wanting to get Born of Three Thunders on a caster Druid by 9th level and having trouble getting Energy Substitution (Electricity) into the build. I want Natural Spell at 6th, of course, and our campaigns don't often last much beyond 12th to wait till then to get it.

Also if the campaign does go beyond 12th, would Wild shaping into a plant (unable to be stunned) keep one from being Dazed, or is that a leap? If not, what prevents being Dazed?

Thanks much


Offline Risada

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Is there any way to get 5 ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) on a Druid by level 3 without spending a feat, or losing Druid caster levels (i.e. levels in Sor/Wiz)? Wanting to get Born of Three Thunders on a caster Druid by 9th level and having trouble getting Energy Substitution (Electricity) into the build. I want Natural Spell at 6th, of course, and our campaigns don't often last much beyond 12th to wait till then to get it.

Also if the campaign does go beyond 12th, would Wild shaping into a plant (unable to be stunned) keep one from being Dazed, or is that a leap? If not, what prevents being Dazed?

Thanks much

Answering your first question: you can take feats like Education (Eberron Campaign Setting) and Knowledge Devotion (Complete Champion). Both of them grant access to knowledge skills. There are some other similar feats around...

Questions like this one can be posted here;)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2011, 12:04:19 PM by Risada »