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  1. #1
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    Red face Some questions about druid and its mechanics. Also seeking advice on how to build one

    I've been thinking of rolling a druid as my next/new character and I have some questions I would like some answers for. I would not want to screw up my character on the first levels so I figured I could ask people who are more familiar with them. I'll just start with the list:

    1) I've seen people doing monk splits for druid, I am assuming it is for the centered bonus to AC and evasion, but is there any other reason to go for monk?
    2) Are you centered when shifting into an animal form, if you wore an armor before shifting?
    3) Does halfling work as a race? I figured the sneak attack bonuses would work well with a druid wolf form
    4) Ranger DWS lines Improved Weapon Finesse works with druid animal form attacks?
    5) Druid animal form attacks work with weapon focus bludgeoning and improved critical bludgeoning?
    6) As an animal form druid, do I have need for spellcraft & heal skills?
    7) Is there a way to make bluff skill work as a druid? Seems silly its not a class skill, but so many mechanics rely on it.
    8) Are the halfling dragonmark abilities of any use? I know I am spread quite thin with feats as a druid. Would they be worth it?
    9) I've read something about the elemental forms being efficient in melee also, is there any truth to that? How would such a build work?

    The build I had in mind was Druid 18/Ranger 2, where the ranger is there for some SA dice and the improved weapon finesse. Make the druid as dex based to work better with halflings stats. Would it be better to get some levels of monk there? Such as Druid 16/Monk 2/Ranger 2 or is the whole ranger redundant to begin with? I was also thinking of a possible rogue splash for traps, but I could not really get myself around to figure out which skills to pick.

    I would accept any advice on building my druid to be as efficient as possible, though there are a few things I would not like to stray from: I would like to have as many druid levels as possible, A druid 9/X/X/X is not something I am looking for. I also dislike half-elf looks so I will not be rolling one. Elf might be okay, but I guess there is no way to get scimitar with weapon finesse? Str based is okay too, but I was kinda hoping to go for the halfling. I got 32 pt build available and veteran & vip status. I am not really thinking about EDs yet though, as I was hoping I could reincarnate the druid a few times at some point, depending how smooth and nice it turns out to be. Currently my main is a warchanter bard, going through its second life.

  2. #2
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuinainenKoski View Post
    1) I've seen people doing monk splits for druid, I am assuming it is for the centered bonus to AC and evasion, but is there any other reason to go for monk?
    2) Are you centered when shifting into an animal form, if you wore an armor before shifting?
    Centering is based on gear (and encumbrance); you have to meet all requirements (i.e., robes & ki weapons only, no shield, light encumbrance) in order to count as centered, regardless of form.

    Any +[W] modifiers you pick up from, say, stances or GMoF will carry over to animal forms, which is one incentive for going the Drunk Route.
    3) Does halfling work as a race? I figured the sneak attack bonuses would work well with a druid wolf form
    Halfling or HE w/rog dilly are both reasonable choices for a sneak-atk-based wolf build, since it stacks w/wolf SAs.
    5) Druid animal form attacks work with weapon focus bludgeoning and improved critical bludgeoning?
    Correct: animal-form atks count as unarmed and fall under blunt weapons, regardless of actual dmg type. Skip WF unless you're going Kensei, though; +1 to-hit is (almost) meaningless under the current AC system.
    6) As an animal form druid, do I have need for spellcraft & heal skills?
    I would; even as a STR- or DEX-based melee-oriented druid, you can still have great heals & decent DPS from no-save spells like Ice Storm & Creeping Cold. Plus druids get 4 skill pts per lvl, giving you plenty to max out both. The tricky part is Nature's Warrior doesn't provide any Spellpower (unless latest patch fixed that); so you have to spend at least a few pts in Season's Herald if you want to buff up casting.
    7) Is there a way to make bluff skill work as a druid? Seems silly its not a class skill, but so many mechanics rely on it.
    If you're a pure druid, you can put 11 ranks into it and still have it work sometimes on trash. Also, I think Deception items will cause Shifting Rake to proc (since it counts as a bluff effect), but have not verified that, so don't quote me on it.
    8) Are the halfling dragonmark abilities of any use? I know I am spread quite thin with feats as a druid. Would they be worth it?
    Depends on the rest of your build, frankly. As a druid, you already have plenty of cure spells, so the DMs could be seen as overkill. OTOH, they would save some SPs and if you're doing a heavily-MCed build (i.e., below 15 lvls of druid), you won't have the Heal spell, so getting it as a DM can be helpful.
    9) I've read something about the elemental forms being efficient in melee also, is there any truth to that? How would such a build work?
    Elemental builds are totally separate from animal builds; they're more like conventional melee or melee/caster builds, only with some survivability & caster perks from elemental form. Since a wolf builds wants Natural Fighting feats while a elemental does not, it's a good idea to decide early which path you intend to take.
    The build I had in mind was Druid 18/Ranger 2, where the ranger is there for some SA dice and the improved weapon finesse. Make the druid as dex based to work better with halflings stats.
    Not a bad idea, presuming IWF applies to animal atks. Would definitely find out before committing to it, though. And I think a rgr splash would go better on a TWF+Manyshot druid, rather than an animal-form one. [Currently the TWF feats apply to animal forms, but that is not WAI, so I wouldn't plan any wolf build based on them.]
    Would it be better to get some levels of monk there? Such as Druid 16/Monk 2/Ranger 2 or is the whole ranger redundant to begin with?
    Two extra feats + Evasion is never a bad thing, even if you don't intend to go down the centered drunk path. It's mostly a question of how many feats you need vs how many druid spells you want.
    I was also thinking of a possible rogue splash for traps, but I could not really get myself around to figure out which skills to pick.
    I've been kicking around the idea for a DEX-based halfling rog 5 / druid 13 / <splash> 2: TWF w/daggers (Knife Specialization from Assassin for +1 crits), upwards of 10d6 sneak atks, ice elemental form (100% fortification + freezing spray), UMD, trap skills, druid spells to round things out (buffs, heals, Sleet Storm for blinding, no-saves cold DPS). [Fatal Harrier / Reaving Roar are also options, but cost 13 APs to max out and I'm not sure there's enough in NW I want to spend that many APs on.] The splash would probably be either ftr for 2 extra feats & cheap Haste Boost; or rgr for extra feats (pick up Manyshot), +2d6 SA, extra Devotion (got nerfed but still worth up to 30 Pos Spellpower, I think).
    Elf might be okay, but I guess there is no way to get scimitar with weapon finesse?
    You can either invest in elven enhs to get Grace; or add enough rgr for Tempest enhs (lvl 3 gets you DEX to-hit; lvl 6 gets you DEX to dmg).

    Druids are probably my favorite caster class at the moment, because I think they're the most versatile. Of course, "versatile" is a 4-letter word to a lot of DDO vets, because if you're pretty decent at a bunch of things, it means you're not optimal for any one thing. I see them as a support class, though, like bards (probably my second-favorite class): no, I can't heal as well as clerics nor spam DPS as well as sorcs nor melee as well as barbs; but I can pinch-hit in all three areas without being a drain on anyone else's resources to keep alive (knock on wood).
    Last edited by unbongwah; 09-25-2013 at 11:52 AM.

  3. #3
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    iwf from dws should work but I've heard it's bugged with animal forms and does not I think. Won't swear to it though.

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    RE: monk levels

    These add a ton to a druid:
    1. stunning fist: you're already going for wisdom based effects on a druid, why not have the amazing stunning fist?
    2. Stance: mountain stance gives 15 PRR +4 CON +1 crit on 19-20. that takes a feat on top of the two bonus ones, but even the feat-neutral master stances are excellent. Water is also great for max DCs/saves. Air is very convenient for leveling. Fire sucks, but they can't all be winners .
    3. monk enhancements: Sneak attack from ninja spy, PRR in mountain stance from shintao (and healing amp + positive spellpower), cold/fire vulnerability from heshin. And fists of iron and wisdom (if you have 3+ levels) from any of them.
    4. Dance of flowers twist: 1.5W = 8.25 dmg/hit
    5. 2 feats
    6. evasion
    7. saves
    8. Die steps, movement speed if you take enough lvls.

    Overall the benefit is pretty huge IMO.
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  5. #5
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Not the be all end all of wolf builds but it's one I have going on a first life toon, some +3 tomes notably strength are needed as a warning. I'm constantly changing little things so it's always in motion as well, but it gives you a place to start. With ee adamantine knuckles right now I'm at 6.5[1d10] 17-18 x3 19-20 x5 and 24% doublestrike (ds could go up much farther with better gear). also still only level 25
    Code:
     Character Plan by DDO Character Planner Version 03.16.01
    DDO Character Planner Home Page
    
    Level 25 Lawful Neutral Human Male
    (2 Fighter \ 9 Monk \ 9 Druid \ 5 Epic)
    Hit Points: 363
    Spell Points: 568
    BAB: 14\14\19\24
    Fortitude: 18
    Reflex: 9
    Will: 18
    
    Starting Feat/Enhancement
    Abilities Base Stats Modified Stats
    (32 Point) (Level 1) (Level 25)
    Strength 18 23
    Dexterity 8 11
    Constitution 14 17
    Intelligence 8 11
    Wisdom 16 23
    Charisma 8 11
    
    Tomes Used
    +1 Tome of Strength used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Dexterity used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Constitution used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Intelligence used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Wisdom used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Charisma used at level 3
    +2 Tome of Strength used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Dexterity used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Constitution used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Intelligence used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Wisdom used at level 7
    +2 Tome of Charisma used at level 7
    +3 Tome of Strength used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Dexterity used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Constitution used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Intelligence used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Wisdom used at level 11
    +3 Tome of Charisma used at level 11
    
    Level 1 (Druid)
    Feat: (Human Bonus) Empower Healing Spell
    Feat: (Selected) Quicken Spell
    
    
    Level 2 (Druid)
    Feat: (Druid Wild Shape) Wild Shape: Bear
    
    
    Level 3 (Druid)
    Feat: (Selected) Least Dragonmark of Passage
    
    
    Level 4 (Druid)
    Ability Raise: STR
    
    
    Level 5 (Druid)
    Feat: (Druid Wild Shape) Wild Shape: Wolf
    
    
    Level 6 (Druid)
    Feat: (Selected) Toughness
    
    
    Level 7 (Druid)
    
    
    Level 8 (Druid)
    Ability Raise: STR
    Feat: (Druid Wild Shape) Wild Shape: Winter Wolf
    
    
    Level 9 (Druid)
    Feat: (Selected) Natural Fighting
    
    
    Level 10 (Monk)
    Feat: (Monk Bonus) Power Attack
    
    
    Level 11 (Monk)
    Feat: (Monk Bonus) Stunning Fist
    
    
    Level 12 (Monk)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Selected) Natural Fighting
    Feat: (Monk Path) Path of Harmonious Balance: Fists of Light
    
    
    Level 13 (Monk)
    
    
    Level 14 (Monk)
    
    
    Level 15 (Monk)
    Feat: (Selected) Natural Fighting
    Feat: (Monk Bonus) Toughness
    
    
    Level 16 (Monk)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    
    
    Level 17 (Monk)
    
    
    Level 18 (Monk)
    Feat: (Selected) Master of Forms
    
    
    Level 19 (Fighter)
    Feat: (Fighter Bonus) Cleave
    
    
    Level 20 (Fighter)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Fighter Bonus) Great Cleave
    
    
    Level 21 (Fighter)
    Feat: (Selected) Improved Critical: Bludgeoning Weapons
    
    
    Level 22 (Fighter)
    
    
    Level 23 (Fighter)
    
    
    Level 24 (Fighter)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Selected) Overwhelming Critical
    
    
    Level 25 (Fighter)
    
    
    Level 26 (Fighter)
    Feat: (Selected)ED Martial Feat  tactics
    
    Level 27 (Fighter)
    Feat: (Selected)Grand Master of Forms
    
    Level 28 (Fighter)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Selected)Haste Feat

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    er)
    Feat: (Selected)Grand Master of Forms

    Level 28 (Fighter)
    Ability Raise: WIS
    Feat: (Selected)Haste Feat
    I don't think you can take that at 28, it's a "epic feat" not a "destiny feat" and AFAIK can only be taken at 27.
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  7. #7
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SerPounce View Post
    2. Stance: mountain stance gives 15 PRR +4 CON +1 crit on 19-20. that takes a feat on top of the two bonus ones, but even the feat-neutral master stances are excellent.
    That takes 2 feats if you have less than 6 monk lvls: one for Adept of Forms, another for Master.
    Fire sucks, but they can't all be winners .
    At low lvls, I like fire stance for the faster ki generation and +25% heal amp from Jidz-Tetka bracers. But at higher lvls it just can't keep up.

    Forgot to mention: in the past, the biggest drawback to MCing a wolf build is you lost the capstone (Natural Adept) which reduced the spell cooldown penalty from 2.5x to 1.5x. But it looks like Natural Adept is now a T5 enhancement in the Nature's Warrior tree; while the new capstone (Beast Form Mastery) seems rather so-so to me. MCing still costs you spell slots, SPs, etc., but I'm thinking monk 6 / druid 13 / <splash> 1 is the most viable alternative to the 9/9/2 builds; basically trading Imp Evasion for higher-lvl druid spells, more SPs, and either another feat or Divine Might from the splash. Either Master Earth for +1 crits or GM Wind for max doublestrike.

  8. #8
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SerPounce View Post
    I don't think you can take that at 28, it's a "epic feat" not a "destiny feat" and AFAIK can only be taken at 27.
    ah still 25 so that parts up in the air probably take silver then because I have the ee knuckles for addy, bypass cold iron with monk levels, so silver is the only big one I don't have an easy way to bypass at this point.

  9. #9
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    At low lvls, I like fire stance for the faster ki generation and +25% heal amp from Jidz-Tetka bracers. But at higher lvls it just can't keep up.
    pretty much this.

    I just wanted to add my seconding this statement, low level fire stance works great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SerPounce View Post
    RE: monk levels

    These add a ton to a druid:
    1. stunning fist: you're already going for wisdom based effects on a druid, why not have the amazing stunning fist?
    2. Stance: mountain stance gives 15 PRR +4 CON +1 crit on 19-20. that takes a feat on top of the two bonus ones, but even the feat-neutral master stances are excellent. Water is also great for max DCs/saves. Air is very convenient for leveling. Fire sucks, but they can't all be winners .
    3. monk enhancements: Sneak attack from ninja spy, PRR in mountain stance from shintao (and healing amp + positive spellpower), cold/fire vulnerability from heshin. And fists of iron and wisdom (if you have 3+ levels) from any of them.
    4. Dance of flowers twist: 1.5W = 8.25 dmg/hit
    5. 2 feats
    6. evasion
    7. saves
    8. Die steps, movement speed if you take enough lvls.

    Overall the benefit is pretty huge IMO.
    Would the stances not require you to be centered though? Which in turn would mean I could not use shield for doublestrike. So for a build going for monk centered, it would be best for me to skip shield masteries and aim for things like cleaves instead?

    What to use as a weapon combo then? I read somewhere, that the IWF does not work with handwraps (possibly even in druid form) due to a bug, whats should you use? Would a club suffice? I read somewhere, that shillelagh causes your weapon damage to increase by 0.5 in the forms also. Is this true?
    Last edited by MuinainenKoski; 09-26-2013 at 10:20 AM.

  11. #11
    Hero LOOON375's Avatar
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    My pure Druid is my most survivable and versatile of the my EE worthy toons.

    Granted it's taken me a lot of trial and error to see what works and when, but it does everything pretty darn good. DPS, CC, and can heal pretty darn good.

    A lot of folks on the forum with state that you HAVE to focus in only one area, otherwise it's not worth it. This I don't agree with.
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  12. #12
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuinainenKoski View Post
    Would the stances not require you to be centered though? Which in turn would mean I could not use shield for doublestrike. So for a build going for monk centered, it would be best for me to skip shield masteries and aim for things like cleaves instead?

    What to use as a weapon combo then? I read somewhere, that the IWF does not work with handwraps (possibly even in druid form) due to a bug, whats should you use? Would a club suffice? I read somewhere, that shillelagh causes your weapon damage to increase by 0.5 in the forms also. Is this true?
    If you splash monk go with handwraps you will get more dps out with the build with wraps. You build similar to a monk with enough str to qualify for feats and to hit and pump the rest into wisdom for a better stunning fist. Monks are only centered with wraps, kamas, shortswords, and staves, problem is that going with a weapon doesn't let you get the monk die step increases. (I do however sometimes use an epic souleater when I want to farm soulgems, takes a little longer than doing it on a caster but....)

  13. #13
    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuinainenKoski View Post
    Would the stances not require you to be centered though? Which in turn would mean I could not use shield for doublestrike. So for a build going for monk centered, it would be best for me to skip shield masteries and aim for things like cleaves instead?
    Correct: when making a wolf build one of the first things you need to do is decide if you're going the S&B (Shield Mastery) route or the centered Drunk (usually Earth or Wind stance) route.
    What to use as a weapon combo then? I read somewhere, that the IWF does not work with handwraps (possibly even in druid form) due to a bug, whats should you use? Would a club suffice? I read somewhere, that shillelagh causes your weapon damage to increase by 0.5 in the forms also. Is this true?
    Again, depends on which approach you're going for. If you're making a Drunk wolf, you have to use ki weapons to stay centered; i.e., wraps, staff, kamas, short swords if Ninja. If S&B wolf, you can use anything in your main hand; but if you use a wooden club or scepter, then the +0.5[W] modifier from Shillelagh will carry over. Note that you can only have one weapon-mod spell at a time; so using Shillelagh means you can't have, e.g., Magic Fang or Frostbite instead. [I think this includes arty spells as well.]

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by unbongwah View Post
    Correct: when making a wolf build one of the first things you need to do is decide if you're going the S&B (Shield Mastery) route or the centered Drunk (usually Earth or Wind stance) route.

    Again, depends on which approach you're going for. If you're making a Drunk wolf, you have to use ki weapons to stay centered; i.e., wraps, staff, kamas, short swords if Ninja. If S&B wolf, you can use anything in your main hand; but if you use a wooden club or scepter, then the +0.5[W] modifier from Shillelagh will carry over. Note that you can only have one weapon-mod spell at a time; so using Shillelagh means you can't have, e.g., Magic Fang or Frostbite instead. [I think this includes arty spells as well.]
    Taking shield mastery out of the equation does sound more reasonable. I was fiddling around with a monk build but I ended up not being able to invest enough points to natural attacks when I had to take shield masteries and stuff all the time :P

    How would you go around having dex to damage with a centered druid? Or would that mean I would have to go for str/wis route and trust stuns? My "main" toon is currently str based bard and I end up dead a lot because I lack the hp and avoidance to not get hit. I would like to try a more AC oriented approach, I figured being dex based would help. Centered even more so with highish wisdom. No way to get wis to damage? Or can that be done with flame blades? I guess that would exclude any other weapon mods though?

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    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuinainenKoski View Post
    Taking shield mastery out of the equation does sound more reasonable. I was fiddling around with a monk build but I ended up not being able to invest enough points to natural attacks when I had to take shield masteries and stuff all the time :P

    How would you go around having dex to damage with a centered druid? Or would that mean I would have to go for str/wis route and trust stuns? My "main" toon is currently str based bard and I end up dead a lot because I lack the hp and avoidance to not get hit. I would like to try a more AC oriented approach, I figured being dex based would help. Centered even more so with highish wisdom. No way to get wis to damage? Or can that be done with flame blades? I guess that would exclude any other weapon mods though?
    http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Cloak_of_Invisibility

    http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Bracers..._%28Level_4%29

    will do more for your defenses than any amount of dex for ac, with my build above my reflex saves for evasion were poor till epic levels but since I could stun the casters quickly it really didn't matter much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charononus View Post
    http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Cloak_of_Invisibility

    http://ddowiki.com/page/Item:Bracers..._%28Level_4%29

    will do more for your defenses than any amount of dex for ac, with my build above my reflex saves for evasion were poor till epic levels but since I could stun the casters quickly it really didn't matter much.
    Your build is a bit too heavy on the monk side though. I would prefer to have druid at least 16 levels, 17/3 or 18/2 split would be the best.

    I've yet to hit epic content on any of my toons, since I tend to go the reincarnation route. So I have no idea whats going to happen then as of yet. So I am not actually looking for anything EE viable here.

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    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuinainenKoski View Post
    Your build is a bit too heavy on the monk side though. I would prefer to have druid at least 16 levels, 17/3 or 18/2 split would be the best.

    I've yet to hit epic content on any of my toons, since I tend to go the reincarnation route. So I have no idea whats going to happen then as of yet. So I am not actually looking for anything EE viable here.
    The items still go ac is not that great of a defense anymore, and with monk levels you get wis to ac anyways. There are some definate reasons I went monk heavy, with those splits you proposed I'd go 16/4 as then you'd still get an extra .5 die step to your weapon dice from monk levels. I went 9 monk because the next die step increase is at 8, and if you have 8 you might as well grab nine for improved evasion.
    Last edited by Charononus; 09-29-2013 at 10:30 PM. Reason: had some wrong info to correct

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    Build Constructionist unbongwah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuinainenKoski View Post
    How would you go around having dex to damage with a centered druid?
    At the moment, I'm not sure you can add DEX to dmg on Drunk wolves, if Imp Weapon Finesse / Ninja / Dagger in the Back aren't working with animal-form atks.
    I would like to try a more AC oriented approach, I figured being dex based would help. Centered even more so with highish wisdom.
    Protecting yourself in DDO (esp. at higher levels) is about layered defenses: Dodge, incorporeality, and concealment are at least as important as AC (perhaps more so); while PRR is important too. And anyway, I think a WIS-based Drunk makes more sense than a DEX-based one, as that boosts your AC & DCs on monk/druid abilities.
    No way to get wis to damage? Or can that be done with flame blades? I guess that would exclude any other weapon mods though?
    Correct. And the WIS-to-dmg&to-hit from Flame Blades only applies while in humanoid or elemental form; in animal form you revert back to using STR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LOOON375 View Post
    My pure Druid is my most survivable and versatile of the my EE worthy toons.

    Granted it's taken me a lot of trial and error to see what works and when, but it does everything pretty darn good. DPS, CC, and can heal pretty darn good.

    A lot of folks on the forum with state that you HAVE to focus in only one area, otherwise it's not worth it. This I don't agree with.
    This, this, and more of this.

    Pure druids do just fine if you play them right.
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  20. #20
    Community Member Charononus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LOOON375 View Post
    My pure Druid is my most survivable and versatile of the my EE worthy toons.

    Granted it's taken me a lot of trial and error to see what works and when, but it does everything pretty darn good. DPS, CC, and can heal pretty darn good.

    A lot of folks on the forum with state that you HAVE to focus in only one area, otherwise it's not worth it. This I don't agree with.
    The problem is if you don't specialize you won't have the cc, without max wis, spell focus evo, greater spell focus evo, epic spell focus evo, precise evocation twisted, evocation specialist twisted, +5 evocation dc item, and mantle of the icy soul you will not period cc mobs with earthquake in ee stormhorns. If you do do all of that you will have absolutely horrid melee dps and you won't be in wolf form anyways because you need to be in water elemental form. So pretty much everything you've said is wrong.

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