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Playing a Druid

It has been a long, long time (pre-EE) since I tried a Druid CHARNAME. In a few recent runs, I have started planning on getting Faldorn once I hit Cloakwood, but now I'm thinking a Druid protagonist might be in order. Any advice, other than "have fun"? I'm looking for suggestions on weapons, strategies, companions, etc.


  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,514
    I like Avengers. They get some really beefy spells, and Web works well with Spider form. I'd probably skip the other two forms most of the time though.

  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 5,106
    Depends on how you want to play it:

    A tanking Druid can go Berserker -> Druid /w a scimitar shield (or dual wield) casting spells like Aid and Iron Skins to help them battle. The Berserker enrage ability can help out with mind effecting spells

    A spell slinging druid can go Totemic to get a meat shield, I mean spirit animal to aid them as they buff and hex and send lightning bolts and insect plagues upon their foes.

    If you are more interested in the druid's shapeshifting ability then Avenger is definitely a good bet, allowing you to shift into more shapes.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 5,267
    Totemic is my personal favorite Druid kit with an innate summon that is very nice all the way through SoA. If you're feeling saucy, go with a shapeshifter. Good secondary fighter through BG1, while greater werewolf is fantastic all the way through SoA. No matter what you pick though, you will likely shift towards a full time caster by ToB, when all the kits reach parity with each other and their kit abilities become less useful.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 2,238
    edited August 2017
    There are some nice custom kits, way better than the vanilla ones.

    The Lost Druid, the Circle Enforcer, the Hivemaster and the famous Oozemaster from Divine Remix. Shapeshifters become viable all the way through ToB with a component from Tweaks Anthology.

    Anyway, you really want the IWD Spells and probably an Animal Companion.

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889
    Raduziel said:

    There are some nice custom kits, way better than the vanilla ones.

    The Lost Druid, the Circle Enforcer, the Hivemaster and the famous Oozemaster from Divine Remix.

    Anyway, you really want the IWD Spells and probably an Animal Companion.

    Thanks for the info, but I want to play one without the mods first. That way I can enjoy the Druid and THEN enjoy the mods.

  • JumboWheat01JumboWheat01 Member Posts: 1,028
    Consider a Shaman, it's in essence a Druidic Sorcerer, with dancing that can constantly summon things, making amazing walls, they learn Druidic spells like a Sorcerer would, meaning no swapping them out, but always having them prepared. As some note, the Druid spell list isn't the greatest (though it's still quite nice,) so as long as you know what spells you'll pretty much always prepare, it's no problem what-so-ever.

    Plus it has a different weapon list to chose from. Like Shortbows, for instance. Lot better than slingin' it.

  • AnterosAnteros Member Posts: 37
    I'd advise to go Fighter/Druid unless you want a druid kit, and to choose your kit in function of the style of play you prefer: Avenger is best if you like being a caster, while Shapeshifter is a good kit if you prefer to focus on melee and Totemic Druids are excellent summoners.

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889

    Consider a Shaman, it's in essence a Druidic Sorcerer, with dancing that can constantly summon things, making amazing walls, they learn Druidic spells like a Sorcerer would, meaning no swapping them out, but always having them prepared. As some note, the Druid spell list isn't the greatest (though it's still quite nice,) so as long as you know what spells you'll pretty much always prepare, it's no problem what-so-ever.

    Plus it has a different weapon list to chose from. Like Shortbows, for instance. Lot better than slingin' it.

    Right now I play on an iPad, so until the next release (hopefully before iOS 11 comes out) that shot is not on the board. But I will keep it in mind.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,514
    The fun thing about Avengers imho is you dodge somewhat the 'weak' spell level issues Druids have, notably 1 to 3. Chaos is also a very nasty crowd manipulation spell, and has a fat -4 penalty to its save, something to consider. Chromatic orb is nothing huge, but its a useable spell. I enjoyed my playtime with Avenger, but it can end up feeling like a druid/wizard multi, so that might not be what you want.

    If you want a pure druid with more bang for the buck, dual fighter to druid is much better if you time your dual till late and don't mind downtime, much stronger in BG1 than the multi. You can try any kit, though there aren't many serious caster fights to warrant a Wizard Slayer to druid, but darts on a WS druid could be enjoyable. I'd powergame it though and take berserker probably. Kensai iirc can do a bit extra with animal forms, fwiw, which isn't much.

    Totemic will play similar to a normal druid spellwise, but those summons I hear are decent, but enjoy subpar casting otherwise at lower levels.

    Shapechanger is imho a bit gimicky, but could be fun. Again, spells aren't good at low levels, but you can run Barkskin at least. Again imho, Shapechanger is the weakest option other than vanilla single class druid.

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 2,434
    First time I ever finished the series in an unmoded game, was with the Avenger. B) Gauntlets of crushing added a bit more fun time to the spiderform later on.

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 485
    Some stuff I remember about Druids in BG1:
    Your early-game is going to suck. A lot. Level 1 spells are basically going to be Cure Light Wounds and Entangle, maybe Bless, and you might as well not even have level 2 spells. It'll be... Slow Poison and Charm Person/Mammal? So to rectify this, I would recommend getting some companions that can carry you until level 5, when you start getting good Druid spells. For main warrior types, I'd recommend either Kagain or Minsc, with Ajantis as a possibility as well. I'd stay away from Khalid and Jaheira, simply because adding ANOTHER character with weak druid spells is... why? You could also go for Montaron and Xzar, but I rarely go Evil and know little about their strengths and weaknesses. If you're planning a full party of 6, I'd also recommend two warrior types, if you can fit them in your party.

    I would also possibly recommend Branwen or Viconia, as a Cleric's strongest spell levels are their early spell levels, precisely what you're looking for. Doubling up on the Cure Light Wounds doesn't hurt either if you play as recklessly as I do. You'll also want a Thief, for traps and locks, but that choice is for out-of-combat and the Druid CHARNAME doesn't really affect any strengths or weaknesses of any thieves. Ditto for all of the Mages, though I personally prefer mages with Constitution > 14, if only so they're not dying every 2 seconds on me. Dynaheir and Edwin are the only mages with that criterion, though. Finally, I'd stick far away from Garrick and Rasaad, because their early games are frankly worse than a Druid's. And that's REALLY hard to do.

    OK, onto equipment: since BG1 is the game of ranged weapons, you'll want one proficiency in either Darts or Slings. Slings are safer, due to their range, but Darts of Wounding and Stunning are nothing to gloss over in BG1. If you have a beefy frontline, I'd personally go Darts, but either is fine. The melee proficiency is kind of irrelevant, since anything immune to ranged weapons is something a Druid wants to stay far away from anyways with their 1d8 + 2 HP/level. But Quarterstaff is generally considered the strongest if you must use one, since Aule's staff exists, and there's no especially good Daggers, Spears, or Clubs in BG1. If you're going to go more Evil, Drizzt's scimitars are an option, I suppose, but unless you're going Fighter/Druid I see little reason to use them.

    Tactics: Early game, before level 5, you're a heal-bot that can sometimes fill the map with green vines that are sometimes more hindrance than help. And shoots stones or throws darts. I'm not kidding when I say that Druid early levels are terrible. Your only tactic here is to entangle a group of melee enemies while you shoot them to death, which you could've done anyways with good kiting. Maybe Charm a random mage or Fighter in a fight? I've never had good experiences with the Charm line, but maybe that's just me.
    Level 5: Now you're cooking. You're now a caster-murdering machine, with Summon Insects essentially destroying a mage that fails its save (breath at -4!), Miscast Magic for targeting Clerics and Druids due to their weaker save, and you can even buff up your allies with Strength of One. Call Lightning is also a solid damage spell if you're outside, and only gets stronger with levels. Sadly, most important battles are inside structures, so...
    Level 7: You should be casting no level 4 spells besides Call Woodland Beings. The Nymphs are outright broken at the levels you get them, boasting multiple Hold spells and even a Mass Cure, a 5th level spell! You also get your wildshapes here, which IMO is only worth it if you're an Avenger. If you're playing with a mod that gives equipable shapeshift tokens rather than Aura use, Avengers get downright silly here.
    Level 9: Max level, but only if you're single-class. You now have a couple more options, like Pixie Dust for group invisibility, Chaotic Commands as a longer Greenstone Amulet, True Seeing for Slythe, Iron Skins for taking huge hits, and Insect Plague for a stronger mage shutdown.

    Some general game advice: Get all 3 Wisdom Tomes in the game, and boost your Wisdom to 21. This grants an additional level 5 spell, and is the only way to do so outside cheating or waiting until Mad Lum's Machine in BG2. Basilisks are your friend due to their absurd experience early-game, so going down to Nashkel for the Protection from Petrification scroll or purchasing a couple copies from High Hedge for your mage to try to scribe is completely worth it. You could even do that bit solo, before recruiting anyone, and end up recruiting everyone at max level (5 or 6) instead of at level 1, but that's a bit metagamey if you're against that. Let's see, what else... Stats should be something roughly like 10/18/16/11/18/15, which is a roll of 88. If you're going for Fighter/Druid instead, I'd recommend 15/18/16/6/18/15 for the same roll, but this leaves you extremely weak to Mindflayers in BG2. Fighter/Druids need ridiculous rolls to function well, honestly, since you don't have a good dump stat.

    And finally, a build suggestion that has not been mentioned that I think is pretty cute: Fighter 2 -> Druid. In exchange for a Druid kit, you gain the ability to wear Plate and Full Plate and Heavy shields, as well as get on average 3 extra health. You also gain the ability to get to Grand Mastery, but that's not going to come online until level 12. Wizard Slayer 2 -> Druid can be pretty funny in BG2, because you can use Fireseeds for mass spell failure application, but that's not until Druids get level 6 spells.

    Hope this long ramble helps!

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,889
    Thanks, @Neverused it does.

    I agree on darts; considering how many bosses and tough foes are spellcasters, they are quite underrated. Darts with a healer can be a handy build, from my experiences with Jaheira, Faldorn, and Cernd.

    I was thinking of Branwen for a cleric: you can get her early, she's the same alignment, and she's not a bad tank. Th
    e thing is, she would benefit greatly from [some armor in a hidden cache that one can get at the end of Chapter 1/start of Chapter 2] that my own Druid could use, assuming my kit doesn't forbid armor.

    Since druids can't use medium or large shields, are they worth equipping? I think there could be a useful buckler at the FAI, if memory serves, but would that + a scimitar be better than a staff?

    For the record, I've generally found Khalid to be a pretty good tank once he gets to second level; maybe Jaheira should front-line an ankheg at first level. But that is meta-gaming and I'm not a fan of that.

    The dual and multi sound interesting, but I've taken Jaheira along so often in BG and SoA that I feel like I know how that goes. Maybe I'll try it at a later date.

    Thanks for the info. Once I complete my latest run I'll give this a try.

  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member, Moderator Posts: 2,434
    edited August 2017
    With a single class druid it means reaching 9th lvl and being the only class in BG1 to get 5th lvl spells. By 10th with a 21wis ya get 3. So there's ya Ironskins, Chaotic Commands, Insect Plague and Pixie Dust.

    Plain and Totemic druids get Ankheg plate to wear. While the Avenger does not get the that armor, with the extra wis, can throw out many a chromatic orb and I. Invisibility (orb better with G. malison and doom).

    Just as a note on the animal forms, the weapon styles help their natural weapons. SWS for all but the Salamander when TWS helps. Spider form is pretty darn good in webs with I.Invis and haste, and stoneskin.

    Many a way to go. B)

    Just as a note for future purposes with mods:
    If you were modding Id say clubs with BGNPC project and UBusiness, or spears (2 darn good clubs and a kickin spear ). Also a darn good druid shield to be had in those two ifin ya like Faldorn.
    Silver staff of Aule item mod would give one that works on doggie island against Mr Big himself.

    EDIT:Just about forgot my goto mod for druids, @Ulb 's Animal Companions.

    Post edited by Zaghoul on
  • NoobaccaNoobacca Member Posts: 129
    I've always leaned towards shapeshifters but one of my last runs was with an Avenger which I really enjoyed. I did find an issue that one of the extra forms (either spider or wyvern) wasn't immune to web, even though it was stated in the spell description which was a little frustrating when throwing down a few webs and wading in thinking I was immune. I'll have to double check which form it was when I get home. This is also on an unmodded game as well so I'm sure there are some mods that probably address the issue.

    Besides that, the Avenger was really cool. I did what a lot of others have posted and made him more of a caster/summoner/buffer, sitting in the back lines with slings or throwing daggers.

    Something else to keep in mind is although they can be proficient with scimitars, they still can't use ninja-tos or waikashis. Not a big deal but I was a little disappointed that I couldn't use the ninja-to from level 1 of Watcher's Keep :/

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,030
    I think that's a deliberate design choice rather than a bug - druids are able to use scimitars, but not all weapons that share the same proficiency.

  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    edited August 2017
    Scimitar's came in later than the scythe or the sicle but before things like the katana and such became popular. But they've somehow become this like staple idea weapon for druids over the last like 20 or so years.

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