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Do Druid Shapeshifting Forms Benefit from Weapon Style PIPs?

So I'm wondering, if playing a Druid Avenger, is it worth it to put a point into Single Weapon? My thoughts are that once I get past the first couple levels, I will hardly ever do melee combat outside of shifted form, so putting points into Quarterstaff/Two-Handed Weapon style is a waste, and I'd be better going with slings AND darts from the get-go and then dropping a point into Single Weapon Style at level 4 to benefit my shifted forms.

I've read different things, but some posts I've seen say when you are shifted into standard and/or avenger forms (wolf, bear, sword spider, etc.), you benefit from having a point in Single Weapon Style proficiency with critical hits on a 19-20.


  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,055
    Why don't you try it out? The AC bonus should be easy enough to verify.

    (I'm using a mod that alters druid shapeshifting so I can't test this for you)
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,644
    edited February 4
    Yes, weapon styles work for them. In the standard rules, they're single-handed weapons that disallow an off-hand weapon, so your options are single-weapon style (nothing in the off hand) or "sword" and shield style (shield in the off hand). Your shield options in the BG1 campaign are pretty thin, but SoD has a +2 buckler and BG2 has the Shield of the Lost that druids can use.

    Addendum: While you can't put a new shield on while transformed, existing shields stay equipped and provide their benefits.
    Post edited by jmerry on
  • BuffaloSolider95BuffaloSolider95 Member Posts: 25
    edited February 14
    I did some testing and sword & shield is definitely preferable. You lose out on +1 to crit rolls, but the benefits of the buckler from SoD are worth it, and while shifted, you seem to get an extra -1 AC vs missiles, even with a buckler (but still get +1 vs piercing AC).

    Also, two weapon style has no effect on anything, but you can equip a weapon in the off-hand and still get an extra APR, and with no penalties to main-hand and -2 to off-hand (basically, while shifted you will behave as if you had three pips in two-weapon style, even if you don't). Fire Salamander is the only exception as it ONLY benefits from two-handed style and nothing else.

    In conclusion:
    Sword & Shield>Single Weapon
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,465
    I dunno, I would think doubling your critical chances are better than ranged armor class bonuses. Perhaps the ranged bonuses are better for certain parts of BG1, but by SoD and especially BG2, the ability to have high damage output is better. And BG2 has very few dangerous ranged attackers. A one in 10 critical chance is quite strong actually!

    I also can't imagine using an Avenger as your primary tank, unless you're soloing or playing a small party for some reason. Sword and shield style is of course great, imo, for your primary tank in BG1. But I just cannot see that being an Avenger, given their relatively poor armor options. And shifted forms are more about dealing damage than tanking, imo. Single weapon style is giving you a full AC point reduction too.

    For example the sword spider should expect to score a crit every two rounds, as it has five attacks per round (with innate haste). Whereas you expect to crit every four rounds without the style. Seems like a stronger benefit than reducing missile attack hit chances by 10%.

    I can imagine a party composition where you're relying on the Avenger to tank, but I think that'd be a very special, peculiar kind of play through.
  • BuffaloSolider95BuffaloSolider95 Member Posts: 25
    I should've added that I decided to install IWDification, so I have more tankable forms like Boring Beetle and Elementals. I suppose you're right about the crit chance though.
  • BuffaloSolider95BuffaloSolider95 Member Posts: 25
    What about a weapon in the offhand? If you equip, say dagger of venom, do you an extra APR, and it applies the poison damage? That would make sword spider a lot cooler. And then there's Belm.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,644
    edited February 15
    About that off-hand attack ... there's a flag in the EE for "disable off-hand weapon". The single-handed shapeshift weapons in BG2EE have it, which means an off-hand weapon does nothing at all.

    The shapeshift weapons in BGEE don't have it.

    Edit: Tested. In BGEE, equipping a weapon in the off hand means your shapeshifted druid gets that extra off-hand attack, and no dual-wielding penalties at all. As previously noted, this does not work in BG2EE; you don't even get passive bonuses of a magical off-hand weapon in that case.
    Post edited by jmerry on
  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 168
    @BuffaloSolider95 @jmerry

    Thank you guys for the testing and answering of this question. I had recently been toying around of the idea of an Avenger>Fighter dual class--with the concept behind the build being that you would benefit from high level Fighter THAC0, proficiencies, and HLAs while in the Avenger shapeshift forms.

    This is all extremely useful information so thank you. Conversations about his topic are scattered over the internet but I think you guys succinctly and concretly summarized it correctly and in one place.
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