Author Topic: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?  (Read 947 times)

Offline Nifft

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Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Topic Start: November 22, 2016, 10:35:01 AM »
+1
Any rules reason why a Totem Druid would be unable to benefit from one of the Wild Shape enhancement feats?

I'm talking about one of:
- Aberration Wild Shape
- Dragon Wild Shape
- Exalted Wild Shape
- Frozen Wild Shape

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #1: November 22, 2016, 06:11:36 PM »
Tight :
If Exalted works mostly like the Celestial template it can add at level 10, or Frozen just adds the subtype.

Loose :
The Level 5 Pun-pun build occasionally took challenges to the type of WS the Divine Minion allowed, but T.O. said (or wanted to say) it worked.

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Offline Nifft

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #2: November 25, 2016, 04:35:39 PM »
+1
After poking around & asking in other places, this is what seems to be true:

Totem Shape SHOULD count as Wild Shape by RAW, since it says that it works the same: "Totem shape uses the same rules as wild shape, although a druid can only take the shape of her totem animal." By a strict RAW reading, "using the same rules" would mean that all rules which apply to Wild Shape must also apply to Totem Shape, including rules found in feats and so forth.

Totem Shape MUST count as Wild Shape by RAI, or else the Totem Druid would be unable to make use of Natural Spell, which the Totem Druid gets as a bonus feat at 2nd level. Therefore it seems clear that it's intended for Totem Shape to count as Wild Shape, except with the listed restriction.

Totem Shape provides only one size of creature, so even though you could take Aberration Wild Shape, your utility would be significantly more limited.

Dragon Wild Shape provides its own list of sizes, so you would get full utility out of that one.

I think this is correct. But if there's something that I'm missing, please inform me.

Thanks, -N

Offline Argent Fatalis

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #3: November 28, 2016, 12:01:12 AM »
+1
This is how I have seen it handled the few times it has come up, mostly by my hand. I asked in person the general opinions of my group and they came to the same conclusion that it was a Wild Shape limited to only a specified and eventual handful of forms. The real question I am curious about is, if you gain access to new forms and sizes through progression in a prestige class, are those in addition to Totem Shape's limited form, or just modifications exclusive to it?

Offline PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #4: December 26, 2016, 02:12:21 PM »
Honestly whenever a WS-er plays in a game, or any other ability that grants t3+ status alone, its only fair/good form to ask the DM how much he's okay with. "One lump or two?"

In my case, I purposely limit myself to a handful of forms. Like 1 traveling, 1 tanking and 1 DPSing with maybe one funny utility form. That way a DM knows the 4 options available and doesn't get totally blindsided when you try to turn into a force dragon versus his magic missile wandificer.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #5: December 29, 2016, 05:02:14 PM »
hmm Totem druid 2 gets Natural spell already ?!

That's sweet very sweet.
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Offline Nifft

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #6: December 30, 2016, 03:34:37 PM »
Honestly whenever a WS-er plays in a game, or any other ability that grants t3+ status alone, its only fair/good form to ask the DM how much he's okay with. "One lump or two?"

In my case, I purposely limit myself to a handful of forms. Like 1 traveling, 1 tanking and 1 DPSing with maybe one funny utility form. That way a DM knows the 4 options available and doesn't get totally blindsided when you try to turn into a force dragon versus his magic missile wandificer.
The way we usually play it, you can only turn into things that you've personally met.

Starting as a Druid at level 1 buys you access to all the animals common to your background region. So e.g. an Eberron Halfling might have access to a bunch of plains-dwelling dinosaurs, but most characters would not.

Similarly, access to an Epic dragon would not be possible until the PCs met one in the game. This puts the DM notionally in charge of which forms a shape-changer can emulate.

Taking a Totem Druid is already kinda self-nerfing, at least past level 5 -- or even below, if you don't pick an optimal Totem -- so I wouldn't feel too guilty about taking this class variant.

Finally, of course everything is up to DM scrutiny, but there are plenty of DMs who want to know what the rules actually say before amending the rules. That's what I'm trying to lay out here -- what the rules actually say, and what they mean in practice. Knowing is half the battle, and stuff.

hmm Totem druid 2 gets Natural spell already ?!

That's sweet very sweet.
Arcane Hierophant beckons, loudly.

Divine Minion of Nephthys gets 3 different forms, still with the LA+1.
Yeah, Totem Druid gets free Natural Spell at level 2.

It's a pretty fun class variant.

It needs a bit of help transitioning to Epic, though.

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #7: December 31, 2016, 12:07:54 PM »
Any rules reason why a Totem Druid would be unable to benefit from one of the Wild Shape enhancement feats?
Sort of but no not really.

Quote from: Per Google Searching
Totem Shape (Su): Totem shape uses the same rules as wild shape, although a druid can only take the form of her totem animal. She gains the ability to change into this shape once per day at 1st level.
All through it uses the same rules, it's not actually Wild Shape. Think of it like how Polymorph is not Alter Self.

But it apparently gains Natural Spell which is supposed to work with Totem Shape. So the intent is pretty clear, go nuts.
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Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #8: January 04, 2017, 06:23:27 PM »
So that's an ultimate of sorts, being both r.a.i. and maximally overpowered.

What it took only 17 years to find it, eh?
 :clap
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Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #9: January 04, 2017, 06:55:58 PM »
What it took only 17 years to find it, eh?
Nah, the BG site has tones of hits for it and I'm pretty sure I've seen it on WotC before.

It's just semi-obscure enough that it don't get talked about much, Dragon Mag doesn't help and then like a Cleric of Mystra, Dragonspawn, and/or Divine Minion it's just a little too broken not to make it into the line of of acceptable answers in optimization for a real game threads.

Someone would slap together a quick guide on this kind of stuff through.
I'd title it "the stuff the other side doesn't want you to mention in a class vs class debate".
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Offline Nifft

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #10: January 06, 2017, 07:18:43 AM »
So that's an ultimate of sorts, being both r.a.i. and maximally overpowered.

What it took only 17 years to find it, eh?
 :clap
Nah, this is a step down from regular Wild Shape + Aberration Wild Shape at mid-to-high levels.

It's maybe optimal at level 1 where you can have a pet tiger and be a tiger, or an eagle, but after level 8 (when Large Wild Shape is available to vanilla Druids), you're mostly worse off.

Dragon Wild Shape is a way to recover some of the flexibility that you gave up -- but only starting at level 12.

All this strategy does is restore Totem Druid to usability at higher levels. It's NOT better than a vanilla Druid.

Offline nijineko

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #11: January 08, 2017, 06:34:47 PM »
Now if you could just pick a totem pole with a bunch of animals (and/or mystical creatures) on it as your "totem"....
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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #12: January 10, 2017, 02:19:46 PM »
Now if you could just pick a totem pole with a bunch of animals (and/or mystical creatures) on it as your "totem"....
That's kind of the point of Dragon/Aberration Wild Shape, they expand on your choices.

Apparently the Totem Druid doesn't get access to large forms through, which isn't a big deal for Dragon since you're capped at Medium anyway but Aberration uses your WS size access. Plus you're out on using dinosaurs and such. It's one of those trade off things really, less power later but more power now.
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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #13: January 10, 2017, 04:58:27 PM »
Now if you could just pick a totem pole with a bunch of animals (and/or mystical creatures) on it as your "totem"....
That's kind of the point of Dragon/Aberration Wild Shape, they expand on your choices.

Apparently the Totem Druid doesn't get access to large forms through, which isn't a big deal for Dragon since you're capped at Medium anyway but Aberration uses your WS size access. Plus you're out on using dinosaurs and such. It's one of those trade off things really, less power later but more power now.

I was going for a choose-your-own-set-of-animals ala ardent ACF feel.
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Offline kitep

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #14: January 10, 2017, 08:14:18 PM »
One of the options is "bear".  So that's brown bear, black bear, grizzly bear, koala bear, Stephen Colbert, teddy bear, etc

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #15: January 10, 2017, 08:21:39 PM »
One of the options is "bear".  So that's brown bear, black bear, grizzly bear, koala bear, Stephen Colbert, teddy bear, etc
Hey, one of those things isn't a real bear.
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Offline kitep

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #16: January 10, 2017, 08:25:54 PM »
Bear, horse, and tiger are all large animals, so a totem druid should be able to change into large aberrations.  Though I guess RAW would then prohibit a totem druid from turning into his totem animal until 8th level (the same level normal WS gets large).

Many of the dire versions are also large (and one is HUGE), so the totem druid may also get large aberrations at 6th level when she gains dire WS.

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #17: January 10, 2017, 08:57:51 PM »
Bear, horse, and tiger are all large animals, so a totem druid should be able to change into large aberrations.
Not really.

Just because Totem specifically allows a certain animal doesn't mean it's altered the base limitation of sizes. Like you may have a theory of the rule structure that can be disregarded it even one exception is found, but as far as the rules go exceptions are simply part of the stack and even if there is a contradiction one of the statements still remains within the rule structure no matter what.

That being said, there are ways to upgrade your size limit. Epic Feats, certain Druid-related PrCs, and you can also play as a Large creature (isn't anthro whales +0 la?) with Proportionate Wild Shape. Your DM may even let you use Giant Size before Proportionate WS which would be pretty cool too.
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Offline kitep

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #18: January 11, 2017, 02:21:45 AM »
+1
One of the options is "bear".  So that's brown bear, black bear, grizzly bear, koala bear, Stephen Colbert, teddy bear, etc
Hey, one of those things isn't a real bear.

You got me.  A koala is actually a marsupial, not a bear, in spite of the name.  Didn't think anyone would catch that.

Offline awaken_D_M_golem

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Re: Totem Druid (Dragon #335) + Wild Shape feats?
« Reply #19: January 11, 2017, 05:09:45 PM »
 :lol ... Owlbear , ManBearPig (southpark)


Aberration Wild Shape just pre-reqs Wild Shape.
No reference as to how it's gotten, whether class ability or
Divine Minion or Totem's sorta is sorta isn't sorta is anyway.
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