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Druid Guide by Raama

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 03/29/2003

Neverwinter Nights Druid FAQ 
======Version 1.0 =======
by Raama

This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, 
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publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other 
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violation of copyright.
All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.  Copyright 2003.

I. Introduction
II. Druid Basics
III.  Character Creation and Feats Analysis
IV.  Druid Spells
V.  Druid Tactics, Roleplaying, and Archtypes
VI.  Extraneous

I.  Introduction:

Unfortunately, druids are often misunderstood.  Players often see them as 
tree-hugging ritualists fitting somewhere between Rangers and Clerics.  Druids
can be much more than that.  

So what are Druids?  They are guardians of the earth, who draw strength and
power from the forces of nature.  If you look at their special abilities, 
Druids excel in natural settings, making them potent characters in uncivilized
areas.  These skills allow druids to effectively protect nature and the
forests, and keep an entire environment in harmony and balance - the highest
charge of affairs within a Druidic Order.  

Druids derive their power from nature rather than gods, although some may
worship deities with an affinity for nature.  This allows them to cast spells,
some of which are unique to the class, without fear of armor-related chance of
spell failure.  Nevertheless, a druid's environment and Order may restrict the
weapons and armor they may carry.  Ultimately, being a druid is unique to the

As stated before, being a druid requires a strict adherence to the
preservation of balance, a concept to ensure harmony and well-being in the
world.  In other words, sometimes unpopular decisions or actions must be taken
in order to effect the best result for Mother Nature.  Although Druids may
help assist a city thwart a plague, Druids may just as easily allow a wolf to
continue feeding on a farmer's chickens.  In roleplaying terms, Druids are
treated with skepticism by townsfolk and have difficulty forging long term
alliances and relationships.  The ethos of balance overrules all other

Of course, most Druids aren't truly neutral in all respects - they do have
values unique to each individual; therefore, most druids will attempt to shape
the environment in the way he or she thinks best.  Neutral good druids will
take the time to assist travelers through a dense forest.  Neutral evil druids
may try to forcefully prevent such incursions from happening.

In conclusion, you will be an asset in your party, in any number of roles,
from backup tank and to dedicated healer.  Your special abilities also provide
you independence, giving you greater influence and freedom.  As such, druids
are only second to the bard in flexibility.  Later, I will explain how the
class is master of countermeasures, bar none.

II. Druid Basics

Alignment/Class Restrictions:  You must have some measure of Neutrality, or
the druid will no longer gain levels.  This is a critical restriction, and
players should watch their decisions carefully - much like a paladin would.
Do not veer in any one "ethical" direction too far.  Remember the mantra:  
Balance is everything.  Select from Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, True 
Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, and Neutral Evil.  This also means you will NEVER
be able to multi-class as a paladin.

Hit Die:  d8.  This is a rather robust sum of hitpoints, allowing druids to
take some big hits.  In a party, druids can temporarily take the role of the
tank, if need be.  Be sure maximize hitpoints every time you level up.

Proficiencies:  Proficient with druid weapons (club, dagger, scimitar, sickle,
spear, quarterstaff, and sling), as well as shields and light and medium
armors.  Although the weapon selection is rather thin, some racial
proficiencies or multiclassing may offset this.  Needless to say, scimitars
are a good value, as are clubs.  Don't dual wield a druid (your few feats
should be saved for more critical needs), otherwise get a ranger or fighter.
Your druid should be able to fight well with these weapons, but he shouldn't
be wading through the hoards like an angry paladin with a holy avenger.
Take advantage of having a shield, as any AC bonus will be a boon while you
cast spells.  And because you don't have armor-related chance of spell
failure, be greedy and take the best armor you can use.

Saving Throws:  Fortitude and Will is Primary, while Reflex is Secondary.
Your druid will do well in situations requiring good fortitude or will saves,
primarily because of high wisdom scores and decent constitution scores.
Dexterity and reflex saving throw Improvements should be considered by the
player, especially if you're solo.  Take advantage of any equipment that
comes your way to do this.

Skill Points:  4+ Int Modifer (x4 at 1st character level).  Druids have a
nice selection of skills to choose from, and assignment of points is
determined by your playing style and/or druid concept.  These skills 
include Animal Empathy, Concentration, Diplomacy: Persuade, Heal, Lore, Parry,
and Spellcraft.  You should always maximize Heal (save $$$ on healing kits)
and Concentration (reduce spell failure).  I strongly discourage Parry (feel
free to disagree) because Druids have exceptional access to high-quality
defensive spells.  If you play solo or multi, Animal Empathy provides
additional allies and sources of information, making it quite useful
(remember, it can also backfire if you fail your roll).  Persuade is always
a good skill, if you are solo.  Spellcraft provides some outstanding bonuses,
and worth putting a few points in.  Lore is purely optional.

Class Packages:  The game provides some class packages tailored to certain
archtypes, but you are always better off configuring your own character.
Unless you are lazy or just interested in Bioware's interpretation of a Druid
type, stick to making your own decisions.  Note that these packages do not
provide any special bonuses or features.

Feats:  Druids get the standard feats (at 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and
18th) that all classes get, so you must be especially prudent in your
selection.  Feats are covered in Character Creation, but suffice to say,
determine how you want your druid to be (concept, playing style, etc.) and
choose carefully.  Feats that boost saving throws are always good, as well as
some of the metamagic feats.  Weapon based feat selections should be done with
utmost consideration.  If you know you will multiclass, do not select a feat
that the other class will be able to get for free.  All this requires long
term planning.  For example, don't select the martial weapons feat if you plan
on choosing a fighter class level at a later time.

Special Features and Abilities:
Level 1:  Animal Companion.  Immediately, you will have access to an animal
companion, who will be your most trusted ally.  Your choice is half pragmatic,
half roleplay - so feel free to experiment.  Everytime you level up, you can
change your companion.  At lower levels, choose more heartier creatures to
take the hits for you.  At higher levels, choose an animal that suits your
playing style or one with special abilities you can maximize to effect.
Remember to "FEED" your companion after every battle; they will recover any
lost hitpoints and at no cost to you!.  This is a huge, and perhaps unfair,
benefit you should abuse.  You can find a brief description of each animal
in the in-game menu; I offer some analysis and insight to aid your decision.
Try each one to sample their abilities.  Your choices are:

BADGER:  Its small size, rage feature and spot skill make it a good companion
in tight places, particularly caverns, dungeons, and sewers.  In combat, it
won't be very effective other than as a nuisance or distraction.  Druids who
put a premium on mobility (or multiclassed with rogue/ranger) may find them
a comfortable fit.

BROWN BEAR:  This animal has the most hitpoints and a strong attack.  It is a
good choice for low level druids as they are ideal meat shields.  You can just
hang back and attack from a distance, making them quite effective for druids
who emphasize spell-casting or ranged weapons.  Unfortunately, they are not
nimble enough to walk around large traps or other similar hazards.

DIRE BOAR:  Much like the badger, with a few more hitpoints and a stronger
bite.  It’s ideal for a city or indoor environment, with enough speed to make
on-the-fly tactical decisions more effective in closer confines.  It's a good
balance between the badger and the dire wolf.  I've noticed that Dire Boars
are quite good at harassing enemy spellcasters.

DIRE WOLF:  Second only to the Bear in sheer hitpoints, the dire wolves can
also dish out damage.  They are ideal for the forest and open spaces, where
they can run to close the gap against the enemy.  They are quite effective
against enemy rogues because they move often and rarely get backstabbed.
Unfortunately, they also tend to go off on their own and chase down the
baddies (sometimes into traps), so they require a bit more micro-management
when you are engaged in combat.

GIANT SPIDER:  Quite interesting from a roleplaying perspective.
Nevertheless, they are somewhat frail and easy to hit, and will not last long
in battle.  If you are a melee-orientated druid, they can do some great poison
damage from the side while you keep the enemy engaged.  They have some good
benefits, like being able to cast web (and immune to it, as well), which offer
tactical options.  This can be devastating against enemies with low reflex
saving throws - i.e. wizards and sorcerers.  

HAWK:  Another interesting companion, hawks have immense non-combat value.
They are excellent scouts due to their speed and stealth, and can effectively
find traps.  Hawks will later gain the Disarm feat, which would be a unique
way to "soften up" a particularly difficult opponent prior to a battle.  They
are tough to hit, and can serve as an effective screen while you take action.
They are perfect in outdoor settings with narrow valleys and walkways, easily
identifying traps and enemy positions ahead.

PANTHER:  Another unique animal, the panther works like a rogue.  With its
stealth, it can backstab the enemy while you fight.  It has a decent number of
hitpoints, but can also be hit - so don't use it like a tank.  Eventually, it
gains the ability to be invisible, making it a great creature to scout with,
especially in rural or forest environments.

WOLF:  The wolf is a nimble but aggressive animal that can scout and fight.
It is rather quick, making it effective in a dynamic battlefield.  I suggest
using its stealth and speed to entice an enemy into following it, with you
waiting with some nasty trick in the shadows.  The wolf, IMO, has the best
AI and pathfinding, so you won't find it getting stuck next to a tree.  It
probably shines the most in fluid, multiplayer settings.

Level 2:  Woodland Stride.  This special feat gives you immunity to grease,
web, and entangle spells.  It's a nice feature to have, especially in areas
infested with ettercaps or spiders.

Level 3:  Trackless Step.  This feat grants a +4 competence bonus to Hide
and Move Silently checks in wilderness areas.  Although pure druids rarely
specialize in stealthiness, this is an outstanding bonus for multiclassed
druids (ranger/rogue).  Halfling druids need only invest a few points into
Hide and Move Silently to be effectively stealthy in a wilderness area.

Level 4:  Resist Nature Lure.  This special feat gives a +2 insight bonus
on saving throws against fear spells and effects.  Another nice bonus for
the druid, although it’s nothing exciting.  Of course, don't use it as a
crutch against enemies who induce fear (like red dragons), but it's a nice
cushion to have.

Levels 5, 6, 7, 10, 14, and 18: Wildshape.  The druid can take the shape of an
animal at will, and at higher levels, you can do this with more frequency per
day.  This is great for scouting (but why not just use your companion?) or for
engaging in melee if you don't have great fighting skills.  Remember, you
can't cast spells while in Wildshape, so don't hang back - go into the fray!
Choose between Badger, Boar, Brown Bear, Panther, or Wolf.  At high levels,
you will have access to better shapechanging options, and eventually,
Wildshape loses relevance as enemies become stronger.

Level 9:  Venom Immunity.  The druid becomes immune to most poisons, making
fights against creatures with venomous bites less dangerous.  At this point,
Druids are perfect spider-hunters.  Squish!  

Levels 16, 17. and 19:  Elemental Shape.  The druid can take the shape of an
elemental (Huge at 16th, and Elder at 20th), with more frequency per day at
higher levels.  The duration is about 1 hour per class level, and the druid
can choose among Earth, Air, Fire, or Water.  This is perhaps the most awesome
special ability of the druid.  You will be nearly unstoppable if you wisely
choose your form in response to the threat.  As an Elder Elemental, you can
charge right into the battle and start tossing ogres like they were dolls.

III.  Character Creation

Sex:  Male or Female, it's all about aesthetics.  Choose whatever you prefer.

Race:  No race has a penalty to Wisdom, so any race can be a good druid.  This
is purely a roleplaying choice.  However, the choices are:

Humans:  Choose the human for an extra feat and bonus skill points.  A good
choice if you plan on multiclassing, or want a balanced and safe option.

Elves:  Elves are a great choice because of their racial bonuses, including
access to quality weapons like the bows, longswords, and rapiers.  Druids who
will avoid melee or use stealth may find elves to be a good choice.
Half-elves:  A safe choice, sharing some of the benefits of both elves and

Dwarves:  Dwarves have an amazing array of special racial bonuses, and will
be perfect for a robust, rough-and-tumble type of character.  Because of their
high constitution scores, they can have high hit points and can be effectively
multiclassed with rangers or fighters.

Gnomes:  Most of the racial bonuses aren't geared for the druid, although this
makes for a unique character.  Gnomes don't make great warriors, but they
multiclass well with arcane magic using types (watch the armor restrictions!)

Halflings:  Best for stealthy druids, and they have some great racial bonuses.
Another safe choice.

Half-orcs:  Like the dwarves, the half-orc is great for a melee-orientated

Multi-classing:  As you level up, you will have options to multiclass.  But
like any spellcasting class, you sacrifice some high end capabilities to
diversify your talents.  This is entirely your option, but you should always
consider what you want for your druid during the course of his or her career.
Remember, you immediately lose some benefits if you multiclass, including the
ability to shapechange into an Elder Elemental.  If you must, I strongly
suggest rogue (choose rogue at first level to take advantage of the bonus
skill points) or fighter.  These classes provide immediate benefits with
special and bonus feats at early levels.  Remember the trade-off you are
making.  Rangers are tempting because of the dual-wield bonus, but remember
that you are restricted to light armor to make use of it.  Dual-wielding may
be cool, but remember that you are a spell-caster first.  I'm not discouraging
a multiclass with ranger, but I'd ask you to consider the benefits and
drawbacks carefully.  Monks are also worth a look (must be Lawful Neutral)
because of the benefits they receive from high Wisdom scores; unarmed combat
bonuses may aid your melee capability during Shapechange.

Ability Scores:  The Druid's primary attribute is Wisdom, since it controls
every aspect of spellcasting - much like the cleric.  Unlike the cleric, you
cannot spontaneously cast a curative/heal spell in place of a previously
memorized spell.  High scores provide spell and will-save bonuses.  You should
have a minimum of 14 as a starting druid, and you should take note that a
druid must have at least a 10 in Wisdom to cast druidic spells.  Your
spellcasting ability is tied to your wisdom score and you must have a score
of 19 in Wisdom to cast 9th level spells.  Spell levels are tied to the score
10 base + 1 for every level), so you must have 13 for 3rd level spells, 14
for 4th level spells, et. al.  

The other major ability scores are constitution and dexterity, to increase
your survivability.  These should be at least 12 in each.  The rest of the
attributes can be arranged as you see fit.  Although increasing strength is
very tempting, remember that within a short time, you will have access to
Bull's Strength, so you can hold off.  Also note that Animal Empathy and
Persuade are directly tied to Charisma, so you don't want penalties.  If you
have to cut points, do it from Intelligence (try not to have less than 10, as
it will affect your skill point totals and your ability to speak properly).
I won't suggest any particular combination, because it all depends on your
play-style.  For first timers, I suggest:

STR:  at least a 10, but not much higher.  Remember, you get Bull's Strength
very soon!

DEX:  at least a 14.  This will aid your Armor Class and any stealth abilities
you may want to develop.		

CON:  at least 12.  This will give you a +1 bonus to your hitpoint dice roll.
With a possible 9 hitpoints gain per level, you will be quite healthy.
Remember, you aren't a true warrior so you needn't get stack this.

INT:  keep it at 10, so you suffer no penalties.  No reason to raise this,

WIS:  minimum of 14, and continue to add points as you gain levels.  This is
very critical.

CHA:  12 is enough if you plan on using Animal Empathy and Persuade. Any
additional points can be placed where you see fit.

Skills:  Choose those in accordance to the ideas discussed in Section II.

Feats:  This is perhaps the most critical character development decision you
have to make.  Choose in accordance to the points discussed in Section II.
Remember, don't duplicate choices if you plan on multiclassing, as some
classes get certain feats for free.  Be prudent and know your character.  The
following is quick synopsis of my analysis:

Value Level:

Alertness:  <Bronze>  This is only good for scout-type characters.  You are a
druid.  You have an animal companion that may be able to do that.  You can
shape change for the same purpose.  Why bother?

Ambidexterity:  <Silver> Unless you plan on dual-wielding, don't bother.
Taking a level in Ranger and sacrificing Medium armor may be a better option.

Armor Proficiency: Heavy:  <Fool's Gold>  With the outstanding selection of
defensive spells you will have, why would you take this for a feat?  You might
as well take a level of fighter and gain an additional feat.  

Armor Proficiency: Light:  You already have this.

Armor Proficiency: Medium:  You already have this.

Called Shot:  <Fool's Gold>  Even if you are a melee-orientated druid, you
don't need this.  You have spells which can accomplish the same thing (Grease,
Poison, etc.).

Cleave:  <Silver>  This is a great feat if you can get it, but unfortunately
you need to invest in a Power Attack Feat first.  Aggressive warrior-druids
may take it, but the cost is too high for any other type of character concept.

Combat Casting:  <Bronze>  This is vital for arcane casters who have low Armor
Class, but most of your spells will be cast before battle and remember, you
will be maximizing your Concentrate skill and have an animal companion to
boot.  If you find your spells being interrupted often, go ahead, otherwise,
skip it.

Deflect Arrows:  <Bronze> Requires Improved Unarmed Strike as a prerequisite.
Unless you are a monk-druid, this is too expensive for a marginal benefit.

Disarm:  <Fool's Gold>  Although this is rather cool, you will rarely succeed
against fighter types.  Additionally, it requires an Intelligence of 13+,
making it a painful sacrifice to acquire.  If you really want it, get the Hawk
companion and have your pet do it.

Dodge:  <Platinum>  Excellent because it leads to Mobility, which allows
effective escape and movement through traffic.  The bonus to defense makes
this a great choice.

Empower Spell:  <Silver> For those focused on spellcasting, this is a great
feat, although you must prepare it as if the spell is worth two levels
higher.  One empowered spell can change the course of battle.

Extend Spell:  <Gold>  The spell must be memorized one level higher than
normal, but the benefit of extending the duration of some spells (such as
Bull's Strength) can be quite rewarding.  This is great for buff-type spells.

Extra Turning:  Not applicable to you as a druid.  

Great Fortitude:  <Silver> Druids generally do good with fortitude rolls - put
the effort into reflex saves.  But if you can't decide, this feat has its

Improved Critical:  <Gold> Go ahead and choose this.  The feat simply provides
outstanding benefits, no matter what weapon you use.  

Improved Disarm:  <Fool's Gold>  See comments on Disarm.  This is not
something druids should be doing.

Improved Knockdown:  <Bronze>  You need Knockdown first, and most warrior
types will resist this anyway.  Unless you are something of a 10/10 
fighter/druid, this is not for you.  Stick to what you are good at.

Improved Parry:  <Fools' Gold>  You need an INT score of 13+, which is pretty
steep.  Additionally, if you need this, why the hell aren't you using your
outstanding array of defensive spells?

Improved Power Attack:  <Fool's Gold>  You need the Power Attack Feat first
and a STR score of 13+.  Very significant prerequisites, which are simply
too expensive.  Even warrior-druids should be wary.  The uses are too limited
and your offensive capabilities won’t be that much better.  With the penalty
to attack, you will almost always miss against the very enemies you want this
feat for.

Improved Two-Weapon Fighting:  <Bronze>  Are you sure you didn't want to be a

Improved Unarmed Strike:  <Bronze>  You really don't need this.  You can
afford weapons.  You have spells.  Why duplicate your capabilities with the
ability to fight unarmed?  Take a level in monk and get Cleave as a bonus.

Iron Will:  <Silver> This is safe choice, but since your Wisdom score will be
high, it's not too critical.  10/10 Rogue/Druids may want to pick it up, but
otherwise look for better options.

Knockdown:  <Bronze>  First of all, you will most likely fail against any
serious opponent.  Second, the rounds you spend to do this could be better
spent casting spells.  It's OK if you want a thuggish druid.

Lightning Reflexes:  <Gold>  This is a great feat because Druids will
generally have low reflex saving throws.  Feel free to take it at any time.

Maximize Spell:  <Silver>  You must prepare the spell as if it is worth three
levels higher, which makes this a bit too costly for the average druid.  This
is a choice dictated by your playing style.

Mobility:  <Platinum>  This is a must have, especially if you plan on moving
about in battle.  Perfect for ranged attackers and spellcasters who want to
avoid attacks of opportunity.  All druids should have this, no matter the role
that they play.

Point Blank Shot:  <Platinum>  The value of this feat depends entirely on your
playing style.  If you use ranged weapons, especially a bow, take this.  If
not, it won't do you any good.

Power Attack:  <Silver>  This requires a STR of 13+, but gives access to
Cleave.  Choose it only if you have lots of fighter multiclass levels.

Quicken Spell:  <Bronze>  You must prepare the spell as if it is 4 levels
higher.  There is no spell in your arsenal worth this sacrifice, especially
to replace a slot held by your high level spells.  The price is simply too
heavy.  Don't be lazy and do some scouting ahead, and you won't be surprised
to the point of needing a quicken spell.  Alternatively, you can sacrifice
your animal companion to the enemy as your prepare your spell.

Rapid Shot:  <Platinum>  Ideal for elven druids or mulitclassed druids who
plan on using the bow.  This feat does not work for crossbows, so be careful.

Shield Proficiency:  You already have this.  Use it!

Silent Spell:  <Silver> You must prepare the spell as if it's one level
higher.  Again, this depends on the style of your character.  Will it make
an impact on your spellcasting capabilities?

Skill Focus:  <Fool's Gold>  No skill is truly worth taking a feat for.  You
will maximize the most important skills, so don't worry.

Spell Focus: <Fool's Gold>  Yes, you are a spell caster.  No, you are not a
wizard.  It is not worth an entire feat to boost a narrow band of spells in
your arsenal.

Spell Penetration:  <Gold>  If you encounter enemies with high spell
resistance, this can be highly effective.  Take it if you have a feat to burn.

Still Spell:  <Fool's Gold>  Must prepare spell as if one level higher.  You
really don't need this because you don't cast arcane spells and have no chance
of armor-related spell failure.  Bard-Druids may want to take this.

Stunning Fist <Fool's Gold>  You need Dex of 13+, Wis of 13+, Improved Unarmed
Strike, and a high attack bonus to get this feat.  Ugh.  Too much for so
little.  Just take a couple levels of Monk.

Toughness:  <Gold>  This is a favorite because you can never go wrong with
more hitpoints.  

Two-Weapon Fighting:  <Bronze>  Unless you are intent on building a dual-wield
warrior-druid, don't waste your time.  Take a ranger level, instead.

Weapon Finesses:  <Silver>  An intriguing option, especially for elven druids.
It allows you to be less reliant on your STR score.

Weapon Focus:  <Gold>  Choose your favorite weapon and go for it.  This feat
can provide the difference in combat.

Weapon Proficiency: Exotic  <Bronze>  There are some nice choices, but
nothing a druid truly needs.  You are better off with a Focus in a druid
proficient weapon than with the ability to have a few more options.

Weapon Proficiency: Martial:  <Silver> Many people will want access to
crossbows, bows, axes, hammers, and swords.  Choose a level in fighter, or
better yet, use an elf.  Not the best pick for a feat, but you won't regret
it either.

Weapon Proficiency: Simple  <Bronze>  You will be able to use most of the
weapons on this list.  Better yet, why not just choose the Martial Feat, if
you want to expand your options?  

Weapon Specializing:  <Gold>  Unless you plan on having several levels of
fighter for your multiclassed druid, don't bother.  Nevertheless, the bonuses
can be tremendous.

Use Magic Device: Not applicable to you as a druid.  

Name/Age/Diety/Subrace:  Choose whatever you fancy.

Appearance:  Anything you like.

Congratulations!  You've created your druid!  Remember to make a rogue first,
if you plan to multiclass, to take advantage of the bonus skill points.

IV:  Druid Spells

As you gain druidic levels, you will have access to higher level spells.  You
must select and memorize the spells prior to using them, making it important
to have a variety of different spells to facilitate any contingency.  Special
equipment and high Wisdom bonuses provide additional spell castings.

Spell Notes:  I won't rewrite spell descriptions which can be found easily in
the game, but I will offer my own thoughts and opinions.

Level 0:
Cure Minor Wounds - This is the easiest spell choice you can make for this
level of spells.  Always have a couple of them ready to go, just in case.  	
Light - Eventually, you will acquire items that provide light.  Nevertheless,
this is a nice money saver because you don't have to buy torches.  
Resistance - Any bonus to saving throws is a good thing.  Use this if you know
you need it (like prior to opening a trapped chest)  or when you face enemy
Virtue - a temporary bonus to hitpoints is a double-edged sword.  It will help
you last longer in battle, but it's only a temporary crutch.  The bonus
hitpoints will eventually disappear and you may die if you don't heal yourself

Level 1:
Cure Light Wounds - Another good healing spell.  It's good to keep a couple
ready to go, just in case.
Endure Elements - This is an amazing spell, allowing you to take considerable
elemental damage.  Perfect against Elemental monsters or magic users.  Have
at least one in the ready.
Entangle - This works great against a group of weak creatures who are hanging
in the same area.  Use it with glee.
Grease - It won't hold down enemies like Entangle, but there is a better
chance it will work.  Use it slow down advancing monsters as you come up with
a strategy or make an escape.
Sleep - Hardly ever works against a serious monster.  Weak creatures will be
made effortless with this spell.
Summon Creature I - A badger is not a big deal, but anything that distracts
the enemy is worth a spell slot.
Ultravision - Unless you are a human stuck in the Underdark, don't bother.

Level 2:
Barkskin - Use it to reduce damage during combat.  This should always be used
during travel and battle.
Bull's Strength - Like Barkskin, your Druid should always have this "on."  
Charm Person or Animal - Hardly works on anyone who is a serious threat.
Try animal empathy instead.
Flame Lash - If you have trouble in fights, use this for a potent punch.
However, it eventually becomes irrelevant as you gain in power and get better 
equipment.  Early on, you can also use it to destroy doors and chests.
Hold Animal - This is one of those spells that you will probably never use.
The only animal worth a hold spell is a bear.  
Lesser Dispel -  Effectively, a weak version of dispel magic.  Use it to shake
off some basic magical effects on your allies or strip some protections off
enemy spellcasters.
Lesser Restoration - Removes all effects that apply ability score, AC, attack,
damage, spell resistance, or saving throw penalties.  Always keep one 
memorized.  Vital in muliplayer settings.
Summon Creature II - You get a dire boar, which can actually challenge some
weak creatures and defeat them.
Resist Elements - An upgraded version of Endure Elements.  Keep at least one

Level 3:
Call Lightning - Rather decent damage, use it to nail your enemies!  This is
the first big time offensive spell.  Also effective against locked doors or
chests.  Remember, it works indoors, too.
Contagion - disease a target.  This can be OK to weaken a specific target, but
anyone tough will probably save.  Not really worth considering.
Cure Moderate Wounds - Healing is always good, so you can’t lose here.
Dominate Animal - If you MUST have another ally and cannot risk a backfired
Empathy check.
Neutralize Poison - As described, try to keep healing kits or potions for this
type of job.
Poison - poison the target; good for weakening a tough target.
Protection from Elements - Another upgrade, you should always have elemental
Remove Disease - As described.  You may have healing spells, but you
shouldn’t insist on being a cleric.
Summon Creature III - Get a dire wolf.  See companion description above.

Level 4:
Cure Serious Wounds - Outstanding healing, but you should be able to afford
high-quality healing kits by now.
Dispel Magic - Keep this when you know you will battle spellcasters.  A
potential life-saver.
Freedom of Movement - Yes, you may be immune to paralysis, but how often is
that the case?  Take only if you’re in a party.
Flame Strike - Another offensive spell.  Use it to burn your foes!  Can’t
target doors or chests.
Hold Monster - Tough enemies will resist this.  You can use it against a
target to block a narrow passageway.  
Stoneskin - damage reduction spell.  You should always have this on. Barkskin
can go.
Summon Creature IV - Get a dire spider; get notes from above.

Level 5:
Awaken - Turn your animal companion into a true beast.  Always cast this on
your companion after your rest.
Cure Critical Wounds - Great, but you should be able to afford potions of the
same name by now.
Death Ward - If you are up against powerful spellcasters, use this to defend
Ice Storm - a great way to soften up a room full of nasties.
Slay Living - Sometimes you get a lucky role and can kill some tough beasties.
Most of the time, they will make the save.
Spell Resistance - Again, if you are against big time spellcasters, use it to
frustrate them.
Summon Creature V - get a dire tiger.  Powerful and nimble.  Great for mopping
Wall of Fire - Good for weakening rushing enemies, but it has more
applications in a team-based environment, where you can use it to create
traps and the like.

Level 6:
Energy Buffer - Another upgrade to resist elemental damage. 
Greater Dispelling - Powerful version of dispel magic.  Keep some handy if you
plan on running into spellcasters.
Greater Stoneskin - Powerful defense, always have this on.  Replaces standard
Healing Circle - Sounds good in theory, but will never really work unless you
micromanage all your allies.  Great in multiplayer.
Regenerate - Increase your survival in battle, especially if you find yourself
facing a tank.
Summon Creature VI - Get a dire bear, he should provide enough distraction for
you to cast another spell.

Level 7:
Aura of Vitality - Great prep spell, especially in a party-setting.  
Creeping Doom - the IDEAL spell to disrupt and harass enemy spellcasters.
Fire Storm - Soften up enemies over a wide area.
Harm - Have plenty of these powerful spells, just one lucky roll could make
your day.
Heal - Keep one on the go, just in case.
Summon Creature VII - Summon a huge elemental.  Then watch!
True Seeing - Find those pesky hidden baddies.  Great against clerics who use

Level 8:
Finger of Death - A nice attack spell.  When you face a tough guardian who is
solo, you may want to gamble with this.
Nature's Balance - Lower enemy spell resistance; use prior to Harm.  TRUST ME.
Premonition - You will be virtually invincible.  Always have this on.  Replace
Greater Stoneskin.
Summon Creature VIII - Greater Elemental; watch him smash and crush!
Sunbeam - Great against a hoards of undead.

Level 9:
Elemental Swarm - Send in Elementals to sweep through the area and take out
anything in the way.  At this point, you can laugh maniacally as you watch the
Mass Heal - A fantastic way to turn the tide in a losing battle, but this
should only be necessary in a party setting.  
Shapechange - Become the monster you most fear, including Red Dragon or
Iron Golem forms.  You can crush through almost any hoard of monsters.
Summon Creature IX - a powerful Elder Elemental will demonstrate its anger.
Storm of Vengeance:  Wide area acid damage, great for softening a large group.   

Druid Tactics and Roleplaying:

Animal Companion:
Druids should always have an animal companion with them.  They are more than
just henchmen.  They will die for you (which of your multiplayer friends will
o that?), even if you are an ungrateful coward who uses their death to escape
attention and flee.  Take care of them and they will take care of you.  That
means Feeding them whenever they are hurt.  Additionally, they will almost
always take the initial blow of any attack, giving you time to get into
spell-prep mode.  Don’t abuse your pet; use that time to take decisive action
while you have the time.  Finally, give them an advantage by providing healing
and buffing spells.  Awaken is the spell that shows you care.

Summon Creature:
Because of the long time a summon creature will serve you, you should take
advantage of this capability, even if its just a badger.  Anything between you
and the enemy is good to have.  You don’t really have to care for this
creature; you can even summon them on top of traps to set them off.  You can
send them to their death to check or test enemy reaction and capabilities.
The more powerful versions can serve as bodyguards, keeping you safe while you
concentrate on spellcasting.  Use and abuse them, you have my permission!

You should always maximize the Concentration skill, and always have defensive
spells up.  This includes Barkskin, Stoneskin, Greater Stoneskin, and
Premonition.  Imagine the frustration of a fighter trying to kill you.  First,
he has to get past your pets and any offensive spells you lob at him, and when
he finally reaches you, you are absorbing those few hits getting past your
AC.  In the meantime, you turn to an Iron Golem and give him the smackdown...
This is your core competency.  Your ability to raise so many walls between
the enemy’s weapon and your skin makes you very annoying to fight.  Take
advantage of your spells!  Remember, you also have great and unique offensive
and healing spells.  When you are close to death, cast a Heal.  As the enemy
approaches you, hit him with a Harm Spell and watch your pet Dire Wolf take
him out.  Call Lightning is an underrated spell that few are prepared for,
USE it.  Creeping Doom is ideal for annoying enemy spellcasters.  Keep some
dispel spells in multiplayer to save your friends. You will be the most
irritating SOB any enemy has ever fought.

Choose a one-handed weapon that provides additional damage, such as acid or
fire.  You ability to hit often will add up more than the occasional big hit
by a two-handed weapon.  Scimitars are perfect for this.  If you are elf,
choose rapier.  Weapon Focus is a great feat to take once you choose your
playing style.  Get the best shield and armor you can find, taking advantage
of the high AC you can acquire.  You want to make it very difficult for
someone to hit you.  Don’t worry so much about ranged weapons, even a sling
is fine.  In the end, you ultimately want your shapechange and spells to do
the damage.  If you must dual-wield, choose to multiclass (ranger, fighter,
monk) so that your attack bonuses are higher, otherwise the penalties will
only make you miss your target.  In DM controlled games, the DM may restrict
your weapon or armor choice.  This is a holdover from previous versions of
Dungeons and Dragons.  You may want to ask him or her beforehand, and in most
cases, the issue revolves around metal equipment. 

Yes, you get some animal shapechanging abilities early on, but they are rather
puny forms.  They can be OK against weak enemies, but you cannot last
indefinitely.  It’s rather cool for roleplaying, however.  Once you get the
elemental shapes, use it as often as you can in combat.  You will be a one man
wrecking crew against most monsters.

Healing Spells:
You have access to a wide range of healing and restoration spells, but you
shouldn’t focus on being a cleric.  Take a few spells for emergency purposes,
but most of your adventures should depend on healing kits and potions.  Of
course, in multiplayer, you may be the only cleric-type in the party, and
players may look to you for help.  In that case, do what is best for the

Choose Wisdom, because it ultimately affects every aspect of your
capabilities.  Don’t choose Strength, for example, because you have access
to Bull’s Strength.  The only other ability you may want to increase is
Dexterity, because of its effect on AC and ranged weapons.  This is better
served by Dexterity-enhancing equipment.  You really don’t need Charisma
because you can remedy the deficiencies by putting more skill points into
Animal Empathy and Persuade.

Battlefield Tactics:
Make use of your minions to scout ahead and evaluate the dangers.  You can
then prepare accordingly.  The panther or hawk is perfect for this.  Because
of this asset, you never need to invest in Move Silently or Hide skills.  Have
your pet go ahead and take care of this for you.  In DM controlled games, use
your Animal Empathy to talk to animals and get an idea of the world around
you.  For a short time, you can even control them.  

Your summoned creature should serve to guard you.  With this system, you
should have plenty of time to evaluate the situation and make a decision.
Don’t be afraid to retreat and sacrifice your creatures.  Throw down a Grease
spell and have your pets engage the enemy while you scram.

Additionally, you have access to True Seeing and Shapechanging.  A druid
should rarely be surprised.  In fact, you should be doing the surprise.

Never go up against the strength of another class.  If an enemy fighter runs
toward you, don’t place too much faith your ability to best him with sword and
shield.  That’s not your forte.  If you meet a wizard, don’t get into a 
spell-throwing contest.  You will always lose.  You are warrior, cleric,
scout, and mage all rolled into one.  Use that flexibility to take advantage.
Remember, you are the undisputed master of COUNTERMEASURES.  The breadth of
your class abilities offers a variety of means in resolving an issue.
However, this can only come through experience and experimentation.  Find ways
to exploit an enemy’s weakness, because you have the tools to take advantage.
Remember, play to YOUR strengths.  

Developmental Strategy:
Your druid will never be able to do everything.  No class or combination of
classes can ever be ideal in every situation.  You will have limits and you
must acknowledge it.  That’s why it’s critical to have an idea of what kind
of druid you want to develop.  Play to that archtype.  

Fighter-Druid: You want Weapon Focus and Improved Critical, as well as
Toughness.  Your spell selection should be primarily comprised of buffer and
healing spells.  You will choose a stealthy companion to study your enemy
before you engage them.

Ranger-Druid:  You will probably dual-wield and be proficient with the bow.
You will have tough animal companions who may rush to meet the enemy.  As they
keep the enemy busy, you will pick away the most dangerous monsters with your
bow.  Then you will follow up by entering the fray.  Your spell selection will
be composed of summon creatures, healing spells, and Stoneskin-type protection
spells.  Alternatively, you may choose not to have pets as you travel and get
by with stealth alone, only using your minions as need permits.

Monk-Druid:  You will use your ability to fight without arms to utmost effect
by fighting while shapechanged.  You will generally rush, with your pets, your
enemy and attempt to quickly overwhelm them.  Your spell arsenal will involve
heavy loads of healing spells, elemental resistance, and saving throw
improvement scores.

Barbarian-Druid:  Much like the Monk-Druid build, without the shapechange.
You will find Bull’s Strength to be very useful.  You will invest in Mobility
and Weapon Focus.  

Bard-Druid:  This strange build emphasizes battlefield support.  You will keep
a distance from the enemy and rely more upon your beefy pets to handle the
trouble.  Your crossbow will aim at the most threatening target.  In 
multiplayer, you may also use Bard’s Song.

Cleric-Druid:  As a walking hospital, you will win your battles by simply
outlasting the opponent.  You will take the brunt of the damage as your 
hard-hitting minions pick away.  Dire Wolf or Bear is perfect, and you will 
cast Awaken upon it.

Rogue-Druid:  You emphasize stealth and avoidance.  Your objective is to sow
battlefield confusion while the enemy gets gnawed by your pets.  You will
employ hit and run tactics, backstabbing, and offensive spellcasting (during
Stealth Mode).  In multiplayer, you are the complete scout, doing the same job
as a pure Rogue but having a much higher survivability factor.

You are equal thirds mage, fighter and cleric.  Unfortunately, you must give 
up armor to avoid spell failure and will probably rely heavily on your pet,
your familiar, and your summoned creature to act as a bodyguard retinue.
You will avoid combat and focus on keeping your minions buffed, alive, and
active.  Your success depends heavily upon your tactical decisions and your
ability to adapt to dynamic environments.  Your wide area spells will be used
to soften the enemy, and you will cast magic missile or Melf’s acid arrow to
finish off enemies close to death.

Pure Druid:  You are balanced in all respects, and will choose the course of
action in an a la carte fashion.  The majority of this FAQ dealt with a pure
druid build.


Regardless of anything discussed in this FAQ, you should never feel inhibited in your
character development.  Not everyone has to be the supreme power in the multiverse, 
and sometimes even flawed characters can be rewarding to play, particularly if you
have a very good DM in your gaming sessions.

Use the freedom and flexibility of the D&D 3rd Edition to create your own original
character, and happy trails!







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