The "Bear" Druid
I believe, after two years and several updates to DDO, the Druid class required an update. The original vision of the class:
'The Druid was designated as a multi-option class, dps, tank, offensive caster and healer, with the idea that you would move in one direction but have flexibility to change (somewhat) to other rolls. The shape change is supposed to offer a very different feel on how they work, interact and function. They are ultimately masters of nature and from reviewing the update 15 new class announcement they are the guardians, and portal keeper'. This is a paraphrase and summary as I understood it.
Overview of suggestions focusing specifically on Nature’s Warden:
1) Increase base damage in animal forms as level increases;
2) Move the casting cool down from 2.5 to 1.5 as an enhancement option;
3) Lengthen the Vigor and Regenerate spells duration;
4) Add a new spell point reclamation feature, maybe called ``Elemental absorption``;
5) Additional 9th level spell;
6) Pet options.
Natural attack base damage should scale. For example the animal form could be lesser bear, greater bear, lesser dire bear, greater dire bear, and maybe supreme dire bear as a capstone. You should only be able to pick one natural form as a class feat and it would increase as the number of levels of Druid increased.
The animal form are not only a stat increase but also were a size increase (larger base weapon category size, 4 legs bonus to forced movement includes trip, knockdown and pushes). The bear is big and it should have base damage step ups
Animal form at level 2 die 8 when the wild shape feat is taken,
level 5 1.5(die8).
Level 8 dire form grants current d12 base damage and normal stat bonus, add resistance to forced movement.
level 11 damage to 1.5(d12),
level 14 2(d12)
at level 17 2.5(d12)
and finally at level 20 3(d12) and a chance of a grapple attack effectively pinning the target for a few seconds.
Dog would have similar increases, less for damage, but melee attack speed instead and a chance of tendon slice effect.
Named weapons would apply an addition +1 to the critical multiplier.
Change the casting cool down from 2.5 to 1.5 as an enhancement option, particularly for defensive spells.
The Vigor and Regenerate spells need to last longer. Vigor spells should be in flat minute value and Regenerate should be the higher value and short increments based on level like displacement or haste.
A new feat or enhancement called ``elemental absorption`` should be added demonstrating how Druids are attuned to nature. For example, when a Druid is magically damaged they are rebated a small number of spell points back as a natural sacrifice. This feature would be truly unique and set the Druid apart from other classes
Elemental absorption would function similar to fire/cold shield but would be 30% elemental absorption with 60% to damage, and 10% spell points rebate. Quick example: A fire trap does 50 points 30 absorbed by a protection spell, if applicable. Of the remaining 20 points, 30% (6) would be absorbed by the shield, 60% (12) taken as damage, and 10% (2) rebated into spell points.
Same example using a 300 point fireball would be:
boat buff or spell elemental resistance (30) leaving 270 points
Shield (30%) -81
Damage (60%) -162
Rebate (10%) -27
Note: Absorption/damage/rebate could be affected by seasons.
A level 9 spell for the Bear would be appreciated as current there is none. I would suggest something like 'Nature Warrior': Calling forth spirits of fallen spirits to aid you. Your base becomes the same as a fighter of you level and you gain +1 to critical range for melee attacks
Another option would be a natural banish. A similar effect as turn undead, the druid could have an option to dismiss (area/mass) animal, vermin, magic beasts, or command the animal(s) to be passive on partial success unless it is successfully attacked.
Pet companions could have masters link, the pet receives/shares all healing and buffs cast on the owner, but based on the stance of the pet. Also a new pet ability might be snap arrow, snapping projectiles out of the air and tossing them harmlessly aside. This is to help keep the pet near and not running off getting into trouble without direct orders.
Capstone: Supreme Dire Bear spirit: True Beast Form -spirit claws and spirit form -take on the true nature of the animal form. You have become the master of the nature wardens drawing on the best nature and the spirits have to offer. In animal form you gain evasion, ghostly attacks and your shield and armour become one with the spirit plane (changes any armour and shield to spirit form 'changing the base material to 'spirit' you are considered un-armoured.
In summary, these are some ideas to focus the animal form of the Druid into a uniquely playable form as an alternative to some of the other melee classes. Thanks for taking the time to consider these suggestions.
Paws For the Cause