Peterrco's Guide to Druids
I wanted to write a guide to playing Druids because I think that as you progress in level they are a class that gives a wide range of flexibility in many different situations, both combat and non-combat.
Whilst a lot of people say that the Bard is the jack of all trades class in many ways title should go to the Druid for a number of reasons.
Range of Spells: Along with Clerics, Druids are the only class that can learn any spell that they want from their lists. This gives you a range of spells that you useful in varied situations, allowing you to change for a spell list that grows pretty much every time that Paizo brings out a new handbook. In addition you get to spontaneously cast Summon Natures Ally spells, an option that not only gives you flexibility in effectively having two spells memorised in every slot it is also flexible because of the number of different types of creatures that you can summon in different circumstances.
Wildshape: Lets you change into a range of different animals/elementals/plants all with different advantages and disadvantages. True some are better than others, but isn't that always the case.
Remember as well, that when I say these are roles that you can play within the party I do not mean that you can play all of them at the same time. You are likely to learn different spells if you anticipate that a particular role is going to be useful than if you expect a different role is going to be useful. Likewise, you are likely to be in a different wildshape form to suit different types of activity. The point is that all the spells and wildshape forms are available to you to pick and choose from as the scenario develops, but that you ARE going to have to make choices on a day to day basis about which spells and wildshape forms are going to suit you best for that period.
Ratings within the Guide:
Red or * = This is poor option, either because it's abilities are duplicated by a power that you already have, or because it just would not get used.
Orange or ** = This is not a bad option, just one which is not going to be used very often. If it's a spell it might be worth putting on a wand or scroll.
Green or *** = This is a great option. There may be situations where you can't use it, but not many.
Blue or **** = These are the best options, either because they are very versatile for their level, or because they are just so powerful in particular situations that they cannot be ignored.
This guide is split into separate parts:
Section 1 Building Your Character. In this we'll look at the class itself, races, choices of domain or animal companion, as well as feats, traits and Archetypes. To avoid having to write separate guides for each Archetype, I look at these Archetypes, but assume for the rest of the guide that you have chosen a standard core druid, and leave you to adjust the advice in the guide as necessary.
Section 2: Wildshaping. In this section we look at the benefits that you can get from wildshape.
Section 3: Animal Training. Animals are an important part of the druids role-playing experience. This part of the guide helps you to get the most from a valuable resource, even if you do not choose to have an animal companion.
Section 4: Combat. You've built your character, decided what wildshape you want, and trained your animals. This part of the guide suggests ways that you can maximise your character's effectiveness in combat.
Section 5 Non-Combat roles. You aren't always going to be fighting, so what can you do when you aren't?