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b) Make the shapeshift powers genuinely powerful AT SOME LEVELS. Say, the shapeshift power of a level 8 druid makes him a better fighter than most level 8 fighters, but by the time both reach level 10 the fighter's superiority has resumed.

 

That sounds like a bad idea. A class that becomes totally or even mostly useless comes the endgame is not good a class. It's a newbie trap made all the worse because you couldn't even see it coming.

 

It's one of the reasons VtM: Bloodlines' endgame gets so much flack. Invested a lot into dialogue skills because they were so useful early on? Too bad! Should've rolled a gunslinger.

 

Rolled a druid because shapeshifting sounded fun? Sucks to be you! Should've rolled a fighter if you actually wanted to finish the game.

 

 

While I see your point, rpgs inevitably have class types that are stronger at certain points in the game than others - whether by virtue of the class design or simply because certain dungeons/chapters favour certain classes. It's also worth pointing out that surely boosting a druid at certain points is a better mechanic than simply having them consistently worse than everything else all the time!

 

On VtM:B, you're the first person I've ever heard give that game flack at any of its points (beyond it being a bit short). The end-game content is perfectly playable depending upon whatever skillset you've rolled, and really if you're got to the end-game then it seems pretty implausible that you are incapable in all forms of combat. My main character had dialogue skills as a priority, AND I played it on a very under-souped PC that made a lot of combat a nightmare, and I still managed to finish it.

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I have only one request to make of Obsidian in regards to druids (and magic in general): If you're going to implement some form of shapeshifting, please make it functionally viable and not god-awful. If you can't figure out how to make shapeshifting functionally viable (which I am guessing must be really hard because I can't think of a single successful example right now), come up with something that isn't shapeshifting, instead.

 

Shapeshifting (for PE druids, it's called Spiritshift) allows druids to turn into anthropomorphized forms, with abilities that are more inspired by the emulated creature rather than literally transforming the druid into that creature.   Druids will always be allowed to continue spellcasting while spiritshifted.  We definitely want it to be an ability you want to use often.

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Shapeshifting (for PE druids, it's called Spiritshift) allows druids to turn into anthropomorphized forms, with abilities that are more inspired by the emulated creature rather than literally transforming the druid into that creature.  Druids will always be allowed to continue spellcasting while spiritshifted.  We definitely want it to be an ability you want to use often.

So it is somewhat similar to the 3.X feats and alternate rulesets that allow the Druid to take on aspects of animals/nature rather than take the form of a beast or elemental? That sounds really damn cool.

 

Will there also be an elemental spiritshift available at higher levels?

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D&D 3 druids make great solo or small-party characters. They have boss summoning abilities and animal companions, almost as good self-buff and debuff abilities as mages and almost as good heal/defensive magic abilities as clerics, and even un-buffed they fight as well as or better than clerics (the limited equipment selection doesn't mean much when some of that equipment is perfectly viable). And for scouting they can shapeshift into something discreet. 

 

The trick is not to min-max. Have above-average scores in everything but Cha and Int. Don't over-invest in WIS, use items instead to bring it up to the level you need to cast your spells. You don't need more than 14 WIS to start with, and can bump it up as you level up.

 

Try it once in, say, NWN 1 or 2, where you can't have a full party. You'd be surprised. They're almost as lethal in every situation as a character optimized for that situation, at every level. I can't think of another (standard) class that manages that quite as well, although mmmaybe a well-optimized cleric is close. Of course at high levels you can create crazy multiclass/prestige class combos that might inch ahead, but it's usually a slog to get there.

 

So short end of the stick, no. Not in D&D 3 at least. Druids are powerful.

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On VtM:B, you're the first person I've ever heard give that game flack at any of its points (beyond it being a bit short). The end-game content is perfectly playable depending upon whatever skillset you've rolled, and really if you're got to the end-game then it seems pretty implausible that you are incapable in all forms of combat. My main character had dialogue skills as a priority, AND I played it on a very under-souped PC that made a lot of combat a nightmare, and I still managed to finish it.

 

 

We must go to different sites, then. The way I hear, everybody hates the Hollywood sewers and the fact that the endgame is all combat all the time with no opportunity for dialogue and very little for sneaking.

 

Anyway, yeah, my first run through the game was as a Malkavian, which was fun. Until it turned out they don't have defensive Discplines and the offensive ones they get barely work on bosses. I don't mind admitting I only managed to beat one of the final bosses because they glitched out and got stuck.

 

In my opinion, if a game gives you multiple ways to approach its content (in the case of Bloodlines fighting, talking and sneaking), you should be able to complete the game in all those ways. Or a clever combination of them, anyway. My Malkavian could turn totally invisible for a long time, which should be useful when it comes to launches sneak attacks for a lot of damage or something, but the bosses saw through my magical invisibilty anyway.

 

 

But anyway...

 

Druids don't shapeshift into a complete animal form? Well, fair enough. Prevents overlap between them and the Ranger's pet, I suppose.

 

Also opens the way for some interesting character design, even though they may not be easy to see what with Eternity's zoomed-out camera. I mean, just what would a spiritshifted spider Druid, for example, look like?

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I like the idea of a pseudo-form, rather than simply "becoming" an animal. Like WotanAnubis said, it immediately doesn't conflict with animal companions as much, AND it pretty much eliminates most of the "But wait, can a bear cast spells with somatic components?" question, heh.

 

I think it'll definitely be a lot easier to make it something you can make use of quite often, even if you're not specializing in some kind of bear-tank role or something.

 

@ Gumbercules:

 

Haha! You beat me to it. I couldn't find an image that would work, quickly enough. 8P

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Shapeshifting (for PE druids, it's called Spiritshift) allows druids to turn into anthropomorphized forms, with abilities that are more inspired by the emulated creature rather than literally transforming the druid into that creature.   Druids will always be allowed to continue spellcasting while spiritshifted.  We definitely want it to be an ability you want to use often.

This is gratifying news, indeed. No one wants to lose their spellcasting abilities while in animal form as that would detract substantially from the usefulness of spiritshifting. Will the body of the druid change significantly or will the spiritshifted character essentially resemble a human with a plush toy head? <---- I hope not. A more beastial body and the addition of fur, feathers, or scales would go a long way towards making spiritshift an aesthetically pleasing ability.

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Or better yet, combined elemental and animal spiritshifts.

 

hMmJMWJ.jpg

 

Hell yeah.

 

I don't know if anyone wants to hear this or even cares. But the Druids from Diablo II were pretty decent. They incorporated the use of natural disasters as a skill tree that worked effectively as offensive, defensive, and stat boosting techniques. The animal companion skill tree was a great passive set of skills that worked well for ranged and immediate area combat. As well as their shapeshifting  tree which in my opinion only fell short on the fact that there were only a bear and a wolf to form into and to make them effective, the player would have to forgo one of them, and sometimes just drop down to one master skill tree. While I don't want a replica of Diablo 2, I believe that observing some of its Druids qualities wouldn't hurt. 

 

And with that note. To have some of the abilities combine and cross qualities I think would be an amazing idea. Making the druid an amazingly powerful and flexible character. So yes.

 

Hell yeah.

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Big fan of the Druid from D2, and I'm excited about the direction druids are headed. Anthromorphism with the ability to cast spells is a thumbs up! Cant tell you how many times I simply refused to use Jaheria's wild shape....

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I like the idea of druids gaining their power by forming symbiotic bonds with the land, nature, or life in general. The longer the druid bonds with a certain place, the stronger the bond becomes, the greater the druid's knowledge of the place, the more powerful the druid becomes, and the more the druid can draw upon the land or manipulate it.

 

In terms of game mechanics, it's basically a trade off between versatility and power. If a druid bonds with only one place, they can draw more and more upon the powers that are unique to that place. For example, they may be able to shapeshift into more powerful versions of the native animals or have greater control over the kinds of natural phenomenons that are more common to that place. So if a druid bonds with an area with a volcano, they can have greater power over fire and magma, if they bond with a snowy mountain, they can gain greater power over ice and wind. If a druid bonds with many places, they can draw from a wide variety of powers but they'll only have access to the lesser forms of those powers.

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I mean, just what would a spiritshifted spider Druid, for example, look like?

 

(Spider-Man)

 

But more seriously, it could mean the druid develops more arms and/or legs and gains the ability to use webs and venom.

 

 

I should've seen this reply coming. Why didn't I see it coming?

 

Actually, I was thinking more driders at the time, but they don't work because they're basically centaurs but with spiders instead of horses.

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Shapeshifting (for PE druids, it's called Spiritshift) allows druids to turn into anthropomorphized forms, with abilities that are more inspired by the emulated creature rather than literally transforming the druid into that creature.   Druids will always be allowed to continue spellcasting while spiritshifted.  We definitely want it to be an ability you want to use often.

This is gratifying news, indeed. No one wants to lose their spellcasting abilities while in animal form as that would detract substantially from the usefulness of spiritshifting. Will the body of the druid change significantly or will the spiritshifted character essentially resemble a human with a plush toy head? <---- I hope not. A more beastial body and the addition of fur, feathers, or scales would go a long way towards making spiritshift an aesthetically pleasing ability.

 

 

Your post made me think of udyr from league of legends. I imagine if there ever was a monk/druid hybrid it would be something like him. 

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In my experience of rpgs, Druids have always felt like one of the weakest classes, due to the nature of their abilities. Every game seems to run with the mechanic of druids being slightly less effective healers/party buffers than Clerics, and with shapeshifting powers that were never quite strong enough to make them front-line fighters.

 

Personally, in terms of druid mechanics, I would like to see either:

 

a) Greater offensive magic powers (though not so much as a mage) combined with healing powers (but not so much as a cleric) - pushing druids and clerics into healer/mage and healer/fighter roles respectively.

 

 

This reminds me of  the way the Druid functioned in Might and Magic 6 & 7, and I thought it was good. He had worse equipment and was less of a healer than a cleric, but had much better offensive magic.

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Hmm ok so more like "Werewolf" kind of stuff with different animals.

 

Visually, maybe. Mechanically, I don't think so. After all, werewolves are known for becoming very strong and wild when they change and very rarely keep the ability to cast spells.

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In my experience of rpgs, Druids have always felt like one of the weakest classes, due to the nature of their abilities. Every game seems to run with the mechanic of druids being slightly less effective healers/party buffers than Clerics, and with shapeshifting powers that were never quite strong enough to make them front-line fighters.

 

Personally, in terms of druid mechanics, I would like to see either:

 

a) Greater offensive magic powers (though not so much as a mage) combined with healing powers (but not so much as a cleric) - pushing druids and clerics into healer/mage and healer/fighter roles respectively.

 

 

This reminds me of  the way the Druid functioned in Might and Magic 6 & 7, and I thought it was good. He had worse equipment and was less of a healer than a cleric, but had much better offensive magic.

 

 

I never played six, but Might and Magic seven was a cripplingly flawed game with a load of good ideas, and the whole class system was absolutely brilliant.

 

The Druid there was more two parts mage to one part healer, but it also came as the only class with Alchemy Grandmastery, which was so powerful as to make the druid worthy of consideration of a spot on his own.

 

But that was M&M7 all over. If you take a class (particularly the back liners), then what are you missing out upon? Taking a druid would constantly leave you aching for the grandmastery provided by the cleric, but if you took both then how would you balance frontline/rogue/mage (M&M7 had 4 character slots)? Probably the pinnacle of class, weapon and armour use.

 

But before I get too rosetinted, and people start to think it's an awesome rpg, it also had horrific level design, terrible party arrangement mechanics, as much atmosphere as the moon, terrible dialogue, an utter dependence upon the invisibility spell (hoard those scrolls!) and probably the most ludicrous and horrible end-game concept of all time.

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It would also be interesting from a roleplay perspective; I can already imagine using an animal form as a means of intimidation or even simply causing confusion as strangers intrude on a conflict.

 

NPC reactions could be interesting, but in my limited experience people tend to just attack on sight when you're in beast form.

 

Maybe in areas with lots of Druids NPCs won't raise an eyebrow when a spiritshifted druid wanders into town, but in more urban areas the guards may react somewhat nervously or aggressively to the clawed animal walking about.

Edited by WotanAnubis
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I have only one request to make of Obsidian in regards to druids (and magic in general): If you're going to implement some form of shapeshifting, please make it functionally viable and not god-awful. If you can't figure out how to make shapeshifting functionally viable (which I am guessing must be really hard because I can't think of a single successful example right now), come up with something that isn't shapeshifting, instead.

 

Shapeshifting (for PE druids, it's called Spiritshift) allows druids to turn into anthropomorphized forms, with abilities that are more inspired by the emulated creature rather than literally transforming the druid into that creature.   Druids will always be allowed to continue spellcasting while spiritshifted.  We definitely want it to be an ability you want to use often.

 

 

 

My only hope is that the forms take full advantage of the wide range of animals (plants, elements, etc.) and their abilities.  You know, something other than the Bear>wolf>cat progression every game that has had shapeshifting has implemented.  About the only example I was satisfied with in concept, though not in implementation, was in Dragonage.  The Shapeshifting tree of magic, though still sporting the "Bear" component had other (in my opinion) more interesting forms.  My favorite of these concepts was swarm shape which though horrible in implementation gave a unique and fresh feel to shapeshifting.  

 

Some cool concepts can have the druid that Spiritshift into a salamander/newt-type form to gain protection from water/poison and passive regeneration ability combined with some poisoning or bleeding attacks to be some sort of regen "tank-type" shift.  Likewise an insect-themed shift could be more control-oriented, combining some traits such as a paralyzing sting, vampiric/caustic bite or spray, grapple>cocoon, or if more social-insect minded look something like a wasp/bee**/termite**-type with some swarm-calling oriented abilities in conjunction or independent from the others mentioned.  For stealth and quick striking a shift can use a bird**-type form which darts in and out of combat and if caught uses startle or disorient type abilities to confuse/daze/blind the opponent or similarly can stealth.  Granted these are some animal-centric examples, but one can imagine adding some plant** morphs with similar orientations which would greatly enhance the flavor of a true shapeshifting class and break from the monotony of Bear>wolf>cat which plagues current games.

 

**-additional examples.

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The opportunity to have a few meaningful, in-depth conversations with animals and/or nature spirits does a great deal to flesh out the abilities of the class in pen 'n' paper play and I'd very much enjoy having such opportunities in P:E.

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http://cbrrescue.org/

 

Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

http://michigansaf.org/

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Hear hear! Utility variance for the different animal sub-forms! More than just "The bear is a tank, the Leopard is a DPS." And, definitely a yay on the rich plethora of animal forms to take, in lieu of the tiny list of 3-or-so.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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