Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Druid: My thoughts

I don't think I have ever seen anyone at our gaming table play a druid. I kinda remember a druid way back in 3.5's Age of Worms but we have not had any since the switch to Pathfinder.

I can think of several reasons this may be the case. The first one is pretty straight forward. Most game session we have 4-6 players present and its a struggle to keep everyone's turn moving as quickly as possible. Any class rolling lots of dice, having many variable modifiers to rolls, and/or pets just seems to take forever. Its fairly common to hear the old question: "Did I get skipped?" and most of the time the answer is no and we just haven't made it back around yet. A straight up caster druid turn should move along pretty quickly but other druid builds break lots of the guidelines. You have lots of different wildshape bonuses and buffs to consider, you have to move around your summoned monsters as well as your animal companion. Nobody likes a turn hog.

This leads into the next difficulty with druids. Some classes are simpler to play than others. With a little bit of guidance any newb can make and play effectively a fighter. Rogues and Monks take a great deal of system mastery to make a decent character but are pretty easy to play. Primary casters just have to know their spell list inside and out. The druid is so complicated. They have 9 levels of spells they need to know and understand their application. They have Wildshape and need to know what options are available (and there are so many). They can convert spells into Summon Nature's Ally. What creatures are on those lists and what are their strengths and weaknesses? And lastly they may have an animal companion that they have to know and understand. That is a lot of class features that are very complicated! Not even the summoner has so many options.

As I've been playing around with different character builds to throw at the evil PCs in Way of the Wicked, I have come to see the power of the druid. I already have an Inquisitor, Barbarian, Cleric PC that I'd love to play, I have now added Druid to the list. Wildshape is just so awesome. Scout the enemy stronghold as a cat. Sit on a branch as a bird and blast your enemies with lightning. Become a Lake Octopus with 8 attacks and 20' reach. Earthglide as an Earth elemental. So many options!

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