member, 280 posts
 I collect hobbies.
Fri 5 Apr 2013
at 03:04
Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
I'm joining a new tabletop group.  My original plan was to go dwarf fighter, possibly two-weaponing a dwarven waraxe and light pick.  Anyway, after meeting with the GM and (for now) only other player tonight, I began to lean more toward druid.  Seeing the Saurian Shaman archetype pretty much sealed it for me.

Now, I'm not too familiar with spellcasters in general, or druids at all, but the idea of a dwarf with a pet ankylosaurus played as a sort of Garruk Wildspeaker (for the MtG fans out there) really appeals to me.  I'm picturing him as the "wade in and brawl" type, but I'm also a fan of less-direct, environment-altering spells.  I noticed druids can't use metal, but I may run the idea of an obsidian dwarven waraxe by my GM (maybe give it the fragile quality if I need to convince him?).  We're starting at level one, and I'm not interested in perfectly-tuned optimization as long as I've got a fairly competent character.

Basically, what I'm looking for here is general tips for being a druid, as well as some advice on this particular concept as far as feats/weapons/spell choices, and so on.

Advance thanks for your boundless wisdom!
 member, 445 posts
 Desk Jocky Extraordinaire
 Theoretical Writer
Fri 5 Apr 2013
at 03:27
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
I don't have much experience with Druids myself, but I can tell you that "wade in and brawl" will not go well for you.  Druids, by my understanding, are support when it comes to melee.  Friend of mine plays a druid in our campaign, and her favored tactic is to summon a bear to tear up anyone we're fighting while she shoots arrows from a safe distance.

Definitely go with battle control spells over damage spells.  That mass of mooks running at you can't do much damage if they can't get through your Entangled area.
 member, 767 posts
Fri 5 Apr 2013
at 03:30
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
  From what I've heard of druids in PF, you'll probably have to choose what to focus on at mid level and build for that.  Do you want to use wildshape (which works very differently than previous editions) to enhance melee combat or focus on support with spells?  While you *can* split your resources (items, feats, etc) between both, it seems that your best bet is to commit to one and use the other as more of a compliment to your primary style.

  Probably the most important question is whether or not you're the primary healer of the group.  Specifically, is there a cleric or oracle?  If not, you should probably focus primarily on spellcasting.  Otherwise, the group *will* have trouble surviving later on.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:31, Fri 05 Apr 2013.

 member, 281 posts
 I collect hobbies.
Fri 5 Apr 2013
at 13:23
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
At the moment it's looking like the other PC will be a bard, so I think we'll have our healing covered well for a two-person party. If we end up with more players, we can work from there.
 member, 300 posts
 Gaming is good!
 Got RPOL in my soul
Fri 5 Apr 2013
at 15:11
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
Dwarves like rock and stones, gems and gold. Aside from metal you can wear a variety of hide or even stone armor. Maybe even a stone weapon. Be imaginative. If you have a GM that will work with you, you can do something fun. Stone axes or hammers with wood handles and stone heads perhaps. Level one is difficult. But as stated already, you have a lot of flexibility as a druid as you gain levels. Being able to shapechange/wildshape is huge in addition to casting spells. Being able to take any of your spells and turn them into summon natures ally version on the fly, is big too. And having access to healing spells is another added bonus. You also have access to a number of buff spells as does the bard. You may want to coordinate with the bard on those types of spells. You have the option of taking feats to improve your animal companion. I don't know what sources are allowed but the advanced players guide also has some nice ability and trait substitutions that you may want to take a look at. Finally, do some searches online for optimized druids dnd/pathfinder and review what they say. It may give you some additional ideas.

EDIT: There's a feat, Natural Spell, that let's you cast in wildshape form. I'd highly recommend that once you can wildshape.

This message was last edited by the user at 15:55, Fri 05 Apr 2013.

 member, 768 posts
Fri 5 Apr 2013
at 15:31
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
In reply to persondude (msg # 4):

  If it turns out that you're the only full caster with healing, you may want to take a certain number of spells per level set aside as a floating pool.  Take them as heal spells, but of course in a pinch, they can be used as Summon Nature's Ally.  Having a bard is nice backup, but her access to new levels of healing spells will grow at a significantly slower rate than yours.

  You may want to consider having the bard handle most out-of-combat healing, since she'll have more spells per level at a lower level, and use your healing in combat, since you can get more bang for your buck at higher levels.  This would be similar to the tactic a lot of people use with wands of CLW.  ;)

  If you go down this path, I'd recommend focusing on melee combat, wildshape and your companion.  That way, you can help reinforce the front lines of battle and retain a decent number of spells for healing/support.  If you rely primarily on offensive spells for combat, you'll not have much left for healing.

This message was last edited by the user at 15:35, Fri 05 Apr 2013.

 member, 49 posts
Sat 6 Apr 2013
at 14:23
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
  I think you've gotten some excellent advice thus far.  There are several roles a druid can play in the party.

Here is a link to the Druid Handbook in the Pathfinder SRD if you want very detailed suggestions:
 member, 644 posts
Sun 7 Apr 2013
at 17:50
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
In pathfinder, the druid prohibition against metal is only for armor.  You can use metal weapons normally, though druids are normally limited by their proficiency.  As a dwarf, you have expanded options.

I'd suggest looking at the Saurian Shaman archetype, too, if you want to focus on dinosaurs.  You don't lose much of anything (well, your wild shape takes a hit for non-dinosaur forms, but there are enough dinos that it shouldn't be a huge deal) and you get some nifty bonuses.

One thing to keep in mind with summon spells is that they are a full round action to cast.  That means, you start casting it on your turn and don't finish until just before your turn on the next round.  Thus, they're kind of hard to pull off in combat.  One of the benefits of the Saurian Shaman is that they get to summon dinos as a standard action at level 5.
 member, 8 posts
Sun 7 Apr 2013
at 23:00
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
I'm about to play my first pathfinder game as a druid: level 4

I've played D20 every since it game out.

Is it just me or has pathfinder nerfed every aspect of being a druid?

Wildshape is now crap. It's so crap that I cannot imagine myself using it for anything except movement.

I think it's important to love your character and I'm looking to see something cool in the new druid, but I haven't found it yet. What am I missing? Is there something really fun about the new (much nerfed) druid that wasn't in the D20?
 member, 282 posts
 I collect hobbies.
Mon 8 Apr 2013
at 21:54
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
In reply to Siran (msg # 9):

From Houdini's link:
Druids in Pathfinder, if any class needed some optimization evaluation it is them.  Their previously premiere ability has been seriously powered down, leaving them with only a free beast shape, plant shape and elemental body spells as spell like abilities, the unique opportunity to gain the ability to cast in these forms, primary casting, animal companion or domain option, good skills, good saves, decent HP, some nice skill bonuses, Wild empathy, woodland stride, trackless step, resist natures lure, poison immunity, alter self at will, and resistance to aging effects.  Yep, Druids have it hard.

As for me, I just like the flavor.  To each their own.

Swordchucks, thanks for pointing out the metal weapons bit.  I still like the idea of an obsidian dwarven waraxe though, maybe I'll ask my GM how he feels about giving me keen in exchange for making it fragile.  Saurian Shaman is exactly what I had in mind, though after looking through the bestiary I'm leaning more toward a Stegosaurus than Ankylosaurus.  Stegosaurus was always my favorite dino anyway.
 member, 646 posts
Mon 8 Apr 2013
at 23:33
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
Druids are one of the most powerful classes in the game, even with the Pathfinder nerfs.  In 3.x, druids were better fighters than fighters plus they had full spellcasting and an animal companion on top of that.  In essence, any time you have a caster that's a better melee combatant than a combat class, that's a serious problem.

As for wild shape... Being able to turn into a tiny critter that can fly and cast spells is something most spell casting classes would kill for.  Also, keep in mind how low level the druid is when he gains several of those abilities.  The ability gives you an insane degree of flexibility.  It's kind of greedy to ask for it to also make you a combat god (though, considering how powerful a few of the abilities like Trip and Grab can be at level 6 you still get a bit of that).

Obsidian actually has stats in PF.  Check here:

It's certainly not an advantage.
 member, 1 post
Sat 9 Nov 2013
at 17:24
Re: Tips for a Pathfinder Druid?
In reply to persondude (msg # 1):

well ive only just started playing but as a gnome druid I have acess to my spell, ok str and enough cha to tell my animal what to do. im still really low level but with my regular scythe I was able to do 21 damage to something that the fighter and rouge in my party combined only did 3 damage. if your going to use melee combat you have to remember, druids are not the squishy center of the party, they can do allot of damage and even take a few hits which can easily be healed with your spells. oh, and don't ignore your animal companion, it can do some major damage. in my first scenario my animal companion (which is a wolf by the way) was able to bite someones face off and tackle them as well. so far my gnome has been able to do more damage then the fighters that ive been playing with so far and I don't even have wild shape yet and haven't even touched summon natures ally.