Posted by : David Guyll October 15, 2013

This for realsies last last playtest packet updates the druid's Wild Shape and adds a new paladin oath, the Oath of Vengeance.

Wild Shape
You cannot do this at all until 2nd-level, but you can now do it once between short and long rests. At 8th-level you can use it twice between rests. There are many forms available at the start, including flying critters and a horse. The time limit is one-half your level in hours. Finally, Circle of the Moon grants access to more dangerous animals like dire wolves, tigers, and cave bears (oh my).

I still do not like it.

Shocking, I know.
You cannot change your shape at all until 2nd-level. Why? Wild Shape is a very unique and iconic class feature for the druid, so why make them wait while barbarians can still rage, monks can flurry, and rogues can sneak attack? Would it really unbalance anything to allow players access all of one level sooner?

The forms are also not made equally: unless you have a major need for Speed, owls are better than hawks, and anything weasels can do, cats can do better (at least until they inevitably start adding more animal forms in splatbooks). Why make each animal its own statblock? All you are doing is downplaying certain animals when they are not rendered obsolete. You could just as easily make thematic benefit packages for a druid to choose from, and let them determine what form they take.

EDIT: I am also opposed to the inclusion of animal statblocks with only slight mechanical variation. The time and space could be better devoted than giving us numerous blocks for cats, dogs, birds, and other critters that probably will only end up having differing skill bonuses, maybe a movement mode or special sense.

Again I am voicing my dislike of Druid Circles (and the whole paths thing in general). With the current system if I choose Circle of the Land then I irrevocably cut off access to "battle forms" for the rest of the campaign, even if I want to delve into them later. There is no reason why characters cannot make more choices, opting into certain concepts down the road if it suits them. The current model is just...lazy.

ANOTHER EDIT: The fact that forms do not scale is another problem. What if I want to make a druid of, say, a wolf clan? Right now I have to wait until 2nd-level before I can turn into a dire wolf, and...that is it. There are no other wolf forms beyond 2nd-level. If forms were based on your level you would not only not have to wait until you could become a triceratops, but if you wanted to stick around as a wolf it would still be viable.

Also, it would be cool if druids could pick up form-based "maneuvers".

Oath of Vengeance
You gain access to a set of oath spells, including the very unpaladin-sounding misty step (short-range teleport). One Channel Divinity option lets you frighten a creature (with a bonus against fiends and undead despite undead being largely immune to fear), while the other lets you gain attack advantage against a creature that hits you or something else.

At higher levels you can move after making an opportunity attack against a creature affected by your oath, make an attack against a creature affected by your oath before they attack (assuming they are in range), and eventually transform into a angel with flight and a fear aura.

The flavor behind the oath of vengeance makes it sound like something that a paladin swears once they hear of something bad going down, and that once they handle said bad thing that they are free to swear another kind of oath. Of course oaths are just another path that you lock in at 3rd-level, so once you pick divine Batman from the list you are stuck with it for no discernible reason except that it is how 3rd Edition handled character advancement.

Being able to swear oaths and gain benefits from them would actually make paladins more interesting and diverse from clerics (or fighter/clerics). Dungeon World lets you do something similar: you gain benefits when undertaking a quest, and once you wrap it up you can gain new ones the next time around. In this instance oaths could be thematic packages to choose from, or the Dungeon Master could assign appropriate bonuses from a list.

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. because they probably dont want players taking 1 lvl of druid to be able to shapechange because of multiclassing absurdity. That is my guess.

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  2. I see nothing wrong with someone dipping into druid for some shape changing goodness. As it stands right now you would just need to snag two levels and be on par with any Circle of the Land druid out there (the only difference that they can maintain the form longer).

    If they gave classes actual options, then wild shaping druids could expand on this, making it necessary to stick with the class in order to get more meaningful benefits out of it.

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