This Druid is focused upon having everything you need to succeed in order to make your way into the early layers of the Nine Hells, where you will be able to fulfill your role as Druid to the best of your ability with an open race subrace. This build has the maximum achievable dc for Transmutation spells, which are arguably the most important spells for a Druid. It also has acceptable saves, something often missing in Druids (particularly open race ones) and full ranks in lore skill, meaning it's plenty capable of being effective in casting direct damage spells should the need be required.
Druids on Higher Ground are a class that excels in party support. Having access to some of the most essential and requested epics there are available, Druids are always welcome in any party, and for the hardest endgame content, some would even say required. They are not just required for their epic spells either; Druids are the best class bar none for buffing party summons, a role which has recently become important due to the empowerment of summoning spells. They are also the de facto masters of lowering spell resistance, an ability which becomes more and more important the further into the game you progress. In addition, Druids have some excellent snaring and disabling spells which can be useful through levels 1-60 and beyond, and some potentially quite powerful damage based spells.
If you want to play an important, and often underestimated role in your party, without some of the more ostentatious aspects tied to the roles played by other caster classes, then perhaps Druid is the class for you.
Bard is a great class to splash when you would like to maximise both Discipline and Tumble on a one level splash at around level 40.
Bard also allows you to take Use Magic Device for some scroll usage; in addition, it allows you to take your monk level pre epic, the benefits of which will be explained below.
Scroll useage is important for Druids, since they are the only caster class without some inherent sanctuary like ability, as with Clerics, Bards and Mages. Use Magic Device skill allows you to use Greater Sanctuary scrolls, which can be a real aid when you need to regroup your party, or make a quick escape.
There are a number of benefits from taking a monk level. Taking Monk, a class which has high primary saves in Fortitude, Reflex and Will during pre epic, gives you an effective +1 to all your saves for free. It also allows you to bump your Discipline and Tumble skills up early, which makes levelling somewhat easier.
In addition, Monks receive the Evasion feat at level 1, which affords greater survivability against evadeable damage, such as Dragon Breath.
Finally, for druids at level 31 or more, characters with at least one Monk level receive Wisdom modifier * 2/3 bonus armour class while wearing light armor and a small or large shield, which effectively makes Druids with a monk level amongst the highest AC characters on Higher Ground - certainly the highest AC casters by a long margin.
This build only focuses in three spell schools. Unfortunately it's hard to fit any more in without gimping your dc any lower, which in the long run is counter intuitive to the effectiveness of your build, as druids rely heavily on having good dc's. Higher tiers of subraces will allow you to focus in more schools - a BUR tiered Rilmani Druid can focus in 5 schools, 2/3 at lsf level, and still achieve maximum wisdom!
As such, this build does not receive the Nature's Frailty epic spell. This is not so problematic in areas that aren't considered to be "endgame", however, as your Nature's Balance spell serves a similar function on a failed will save (and it has a high dc). I do, however, reccomed taking this epic if you plan to conquer the hells and beyond, and the chances are by the time you're ready to do so, you will have upgraded to at least UR status anyway, making it easier to do so.
Higher Ground Class Edits
Firstly, If you want to know more about Druids, you can find all the custom changes on Higher Ground here.
For more information about your Druid spells, check here.
Custom Epic Spells
To know more about the Higher Ground Custom Epic Spells, check here.
To access all of the Druid custom spells, you will need to download a small hak pack. This is completely optional, but is highly reccomended to enhance your enjoyment for this, and any other builds you make on Higher Ground, as it will open up many new spells and abilities which you can use.
The following quests (which can be obtained by talking to the NPC's in the two Tavern's in the Ascension Docks) can be a fun and rewarding way to gain experience for your character.
Defeating certain enemies while you start your quest to immortality and beyond can earn you accomplishment tags, which provide you with some permanent character bonuses which will serve you well from pre epic levels through to legendary levels and beyond.
At level 39, you will need an alignment change.This can be achieved by visiting level 3 of the crypts just south of ascension. If you need help finding this area, use the !newbie channel to ask for assistance.
At Druid 21 and at least 25 character levels, characters can acquire the ability to summon natural allies. The Animal Empathy skill determines the power and shape of those allies.
Dauntless Feat Swap
At level one, and only at level one, you can swap "Strong Soul" for the feat "Dauntless". When you enter Ascension, type !char edit. Choose to make changes to your character, and then swap "Strong Soul" for "Dauntless".
There's so much to consider!
Don't worry if this seems like a lot of information to take in. There's nothing to stop you jumping straight in and starting your Druid on his or her path towards immortality and beyond right away; if you have any questions, need hints or tips, or aren't quite sure what to do next, you will find plenty of helpful and friendly people to provide guidance via the !newbie channel.
Finally, you triumphed in your quest for immortality! However, immortality is just the first step towards further greatness. Onwards to Legendary levels, even greater rewards, and even greater dangers.....
+ 4 Armour Class with +17 ac items (deflection, natural, armour) and an improved ac UR shield = 133ac
+ 2 Armour class with +14 stat items to Dexterity and Wisdom = 135ac
Fortitude: 60 Reflex: 56 Will: 74
+1 to all saves with +14 stat gear (Constitution, Dexterity, Wisdom) = 61F, 57R, 75W saves
Miscellaneous Character Enhancements:
When you achieve level 41+ you will be permitted to use a Spell Tome, which will grant you a free Epic Spell Focus. For this build, you should use an ESF: Evocation book, as this will grant you access to the Immuatble Force epic spell, and also boost the dc of many useful spells. Spell Tomes can be found on the Ssithrakh run, which is a Legendary area.
Higher Ground is notorious for the many powerful Dragons scattered around throughout it's many areas. These can be found as early as pre-epic, and as late as the Nine Hells and Elysium! Some of these dragons will drop their blood when you kill them. Open subraces can drink the blood to add useful feats or ameliorate certain penalties - for this Druid, a useful choice might be the blood which grants the Dodge feat. This may seem an odd choice, but it's pretty much the best option of a bad bunch, as the other feats you can gain via dragon blood (cleave and combat casting) nothing and nearly nothing to this build, respectively. However, Dragon blood also has another, more useful purpose which you can utilise to enhance your character, if you can find two of the same type. If you're curious about this mysterious process, ask in-game about Dragon blood and its uses.
There are a number of artifacts which can be applied to your character which provide a number of beneficial effects. These can be rather hard to come by, and many builds do not have one - even level 60's! The reccomended artifact for this build is the Wisdom artifact, which provides true fear immunity and +2 to Wisdom. It also grants you +500 temp hp per day. They are sometimes sold in the auction chests on the servers, which you can browse here (along with other potentially useful gear), so start saving your pennies! It would also be possible to farm Wisdom artifacts with a group of friends, ad they drop in the Pyramid, a Legendary area for level 55+ characters - and an area in which Druids are particularly useful. Stat artifacts can be used at level 55+. However, do not worry if you cannot get one - these are to be considered a luxury, not a requirement.
General Gearing Guidelines:
It's somewhat pointless giving a shopping list of items to wear, because how you gear your Druid will depend greatly upon what you can find/buy/beg/borrow/steal. In general though you should try to maximise your main stats (Wisdom, Dexterity and Constitution are your three primary stats as a Druid, to maximise DC, AC, health points and saves) as well as your secondary ones (Strength and Charisma, to maximise your carrying capacity and Use Magic Device skills). Maximising stats becomes easier as you gain in levels and find better gear. Remember to use a medium or small shield and light armour to get maximum benefit from your monk wisdom ac, once you reach level 32.
You will also want to wear items with ac as high as possible in the following categories: Deflect (Helm, Cloak, Belt, Bracer), Armour (Armour, Bracer), Natural (Amulet), Dodge (Boots) and Shield (Shield). This will ensure your armour class is as high as possible with your available gear.
Items with spellslot gear can be useful in giving you more casting stamina between rests. You can find items with spellslots on many runs, but most notably:
The Maze of the Ancients (Level 41+)
Myconids (Level 40+)
Pit of Moliation (Level 55+)
Avernus (Level 55+)
Finally, damage reduction/immunity/soak can all help increase your character survivability. These three types of damage decreasing properties all stack with eachother, so if you wear all three, your character will benefit in terms of survivability. Many items have these properties on them, especially once you get to Legendary levels. It should be notied that damage immunity % DOES stack on multiple items, so the more you can fit, the better. Damage resistance and damage soak/reduction do NOT stack with other instances of the same type; for example an item with 10/- to all physical damage, and a second item with 15/- to all physical damage would not stack with one another - only the highest (15/-) woud apply. Likewise, +15/10 soak would not stack with +15/20 soak - only the +15/20 would apply, even if you wore both.
Highest DC possible on Transmutation spells:
This build achieves the highest possible dc for Transmutation spells for an open race character. Transmutation is arguably the most important spell school for a Druid, with Nature's Balance, Drown, Cast in Stone, Crumble and Greater Stoneskin all benefitting from having Legendary spell focus. The dc on Conjuration and Evocation spells is also more than respectable for this build, with both covered to Epic Spell Focus level. If you decide you might like a more balanced druid, you can experiment with exchanging 2 great Wisdom feats for Legendary spell focus: Conjuration and Evocation. This would drop the dc's on your Transmutation and non Conjuration/Evocation spells by a net 1, but raise the dcs of your Evocation and Conjuration spells by a net +1. Personally I don't think this is a good value exchange, but some would disagree.
Whilst the saves are not stellar, they are plenty to ensure you won't be destroyed due to terrible saves. Only reflex is a potential issue, and this is often a weak stat even for BUR race Druids.
This build boasts three epic spells, two of which are among the best epic spells on Higher Ground (Immutable Force and Elemental Shunt). You can find more information on these spells, and others later in this guide.
Use Magic Device:
You also have access to Use Magic Device skill, which allows you to use a number of valuable scroll cast spells, which can vary from things like Greater Sanctuary (good when you need to make a quick escape!) to Mordenkainen's Disjunction (great for removing magical protection buffs). Find a friendly spellcaster with scribe scroll (usually, but not always a Wizard) to make you some; often for a fee, sometimes, if you're lucky, out of pure good will.
Playing a Druid will require you to become acquainted with the Druid spellbook. Below is a list of some of the Druid's most useful spells. This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are many other useful spells, some of which can be fairly niche and used only in certain situations, or on certain monsters. Improvise and experiment!
Grease: - Used to reduce movement speed of enemies. Can also cause a knockdown effect.
Foundation Stone: - Grants immunity to Knockdown. This spell also completely immobilises you, causing your AC to plummet - use with extreme caution - it's often better to risk being knocked down than losing a huge amount of AC when surrounded by nasties! Keep /tp "youraccountnamehere" !cancel 2076 quickslotted to cancel this spell.
Barkskin: - Great for buffing summons/animal companions natural AC.
Desert Sirocco:- Used to disperse persistent area of effect spells or abilities. Also has the ability to knock down opponents which fail a reflex save.
Lesser Restore: - Removes many detrimental penalty type effects. Free action - useable even while casting other spells!
Blood Frenzy: - Grants temporary hp buffer, which is nice to help you stay alive!
One with the Land: - At caster level 21, transports you to a safe rest area if you are in a natural environment area.
Call Lightning: - A nice source of Electricity damage, in an area of effect. Breaks loot, so cast wisely!
Quillfire: - A single target magic damage spell. Bypasses spell resistance.
Caustic/Shock Weapon: - Used to buff your allies weapons and increase their acid/electric damage respectively.
Freedom of Movement: - Buff your partymates run speed, and also prevent some grapple checks. Get used to hearing "fom please" - that is your responsibility!
Mass Camouflage: - Provide conceal to your entire party. A great buff.
Restoration: - A more powerful version of Lesser Restoration.
Awaken: - A useful buff for increasing the power of your summons/companions.
Wall of fire: - At druid level 20, creates a physical barrier which you can use tactically to block monsters in place.
Drown: - An instant kill spell. Becomes a medium sized rea of effect spell with Legendary Spell Focus: Transmutation.
Crumble: - Instankill Construct enemies. Also Instant kills any enemies which you have petrified.
Stonehold: - Excellent snaring spell, which paralyses enemies in place, preventing them from moving and flatfooting them, rendering their ac much lower.
Greater stoneskin: - A nice defensive buff which provides a useful amount of damage soak with Legendary Spell Focus: Transmutation.
Healing Circle: - Provides an aura of regenration which you can position over allies to boost their health if they get injured. Based on heal skill.
Creeping Doom: - A slow acting persistent aoe damage cloud, which deals large amounts of physical damage over time. Also inflicts vulnerabilities with Illusion spell foci (some of which can be gained from items).
Aura of Vitality: - A nice all purpose buff; boosts dodge ac, along with Dexterity, Constitution and Strength. Great for casting on summons.
Firestorm: - A large area of effect dealing fire and divine damage.
Fissure: - A spell dealing solid piercing physical damage in a line aimed towards your target. Also ignores spell resistance, making it a good choice for mobs with very high spell resist.
Nature's Balance: - The spell which sets Druids apart from other casters. A Great debuff for any enemy with high SR.
Bombardment: - Deals heavy Divine damage (after caster lvlel 25) in a huge area of effect.
Sunburst: - Used to instakill most undead, or blind enemies.
Elemental Swarm: - Deals elemental damage which your foes are weakest to. This is a very good thing most of the time, but watch out for some enemies who happen to be weakest to an element which heals them! This spell goes from excellent to less than useless versus such enemies. A truly excellent (if somewhat mindless) spell in most areas, which gets progressively more useless (and eventually detrimental) the further you progress into the endgame.
Cast in Stone: - The best area of effect petrification spell around. Stones enemies you aim it at. Make sure you are not blind, as this will prevent the spell from working.
Storm of Vengeance: - A nice electrical damage dealing persistent area of effect, which also stuns enemies.
Earthquake: - A huge area of effect dealing positive damage to all enemies. Ignores sr, so it's great for most enemies with high spell resistance.
Custom Epic Spells:
Grants your entire party invulnerability to everything for 30 seconds. A great wipe saver, this is your emergency button when things turn ugly. Use wisely to save your party or make sure everyone gets the tag when a boss is about to die. Elemental Shunt:
Provides a substantial bonus to all elemental immunities for your entire party. Shround of Nature:
Provides caster level (58 in this case) % conceal to all party members for caster level rounds. Conceal is very handy, since it can cause enemies to miss attacks even if they beat your ac score. The higher your ac, the greater the benefits of conceal.[/ul][/ul]
Build Evolution: An Open Race Druid's Guide to Self Improvement
Offensive Damage version: Drop Dauntless at level one; take subsequent pre-epic feats one feat earlier instead (e.g. sf: Conj at level 1, gsf: Conj at level 3, etc.). At level 18 take Metamagic: Maximise spell. You can then drop Legendary Valor for Legendary Spell Focus: Evocation.
Benefits: +2 to Evocation dc's; Extra spellbook flexibility from maximise spell.
Disadvantages: -6 to reflex and fortitude saves. This drops your saves from adequate to poor - but you may decide the extra offense is worth it.
As you progress on Higher Ground, the chances are you will come across potential ways in which you can improve your character build - namely subrace improvements. Thankfully, due to the reincarnation system, you won't be forced into starting your character from scratch (although you might decide that would be fun to do!). These can come from a potential number of sources:
Secret Subraces - As the name implies, the means of obtaining these is a secret! However, ask in game for guidance.
Ultrarare Subraces - these drop in legendary areas as subrace books.
Beyond Ultrarare Subraces - as with Ultrarare subraces, but these only drop in level 55+ endgame areas, notably the Nine Hells, the five visitable layers of the Abyss, Elysium, Aboleths and Rona.
As a Druid, you have several options available to you in each tier of subrace - most notably:
Kenku: Secret Subrace, any race (reccomended as Human); changes appearance; STR -1, INT -1, WIS +4, free feat: Lightning Reflexes. free feat: Spell Focus - Abjuration
Doppelganger: UltraRare Subrace, any race(reccomended as Human); changes Appearance; FC: Druid; STR -2, CON +2, WIS +5, CHA -2, free feat: Alertness, free feat: Creature Weapon Specialization, free feat: Martial Weapon Proficiency
Rilmani - Beyond UltraRare Subrace, any race. Reccomended as Human. FC: Druid; WIS +6, CON +4, free feat: Spell Focus Conjuration, free feat: Greater Spell Focus Conjuration, free feat: Epic Skill Focus Animal Empathy, free feat: Spell Penetration, speaks Undercommon
Each of these subraces would provide significant upgrades to your character. Indeed, Doppelganger and Rilmani will be able to (and certainly should consider) taking a further Epic Spell Focus in Abjuration, which provides an epic spell of great importance for deep hells, abyss and elysium runs. In each case, the build would have to be altered to be optimum. However, feel free to post a request in this thread for a modified build for any of the listed races, or any other race which you feel might be a good match for a Druid. I will be happy to post an upgraded build for a different subrace, provided it is a sensible choice of race.
You can find plenty of vital supplies for sale in the town of Ascension. If you can't find one or more of these, ask for help! These include:
Healing potions of varying strengths, from Cure Light Wounds to full power Heals. Essential.
Negative Protection Potions - 100% immunity to negeative energy damage! Very useful around undead and various spellcasters.
Clarity Packs - Useful for quickly making yourself immune to mind spells if you can't fit it on gear.
Rez Packs - Handy for when your partymates meet their doom! Essential.
Saint's Blood Pearls - 10 charges of Restoration, great for curing yourself of various deblitating ailments such as strength decrease or blindness.
Stoneeater's Ring - Useful to restore petrified partymates.
Teleport gems - These can be used to return to Ascension from most other areas of the module. Also required in your inventory in order to acces a certain pre Legendary area of the module. Pack lots!
Playertool 2/Assist player - This comes for free on every character you will ever make! It can be selected from the radial menu. Quickslot this to help pick up knocked-down party members - a real life saver!
Druids are the unsung heroes of Higher Ground. Most people will acknowledge that any run with a druid along will be safer, smoother and faster - not due to the Druid destroying every enemy in sight, although that can be the case in some areas, certainly pre hells. Druids are party facilitators - they make things go more smoothly with subtle party enhancing abilities. They buff their entire party's defenses with shunt and shroud, drop sr of enemies so more spells land (in effect greatly increasing party offense via more instakills/damage spells landing) and provide the insurance of a panic button granting 30 seconds of complete invulnerability, which can be the difference between a wipe, and a glorious victory.
Druids are also quite easily the tankiest casters on higher ground, so as long as you aren't up against certain nasty monsters which will disable you with strength or dexterity checks, you can tank like a pro should the need arise.
If you should feel the need to deal damage also, this build has maximised lore, so your elemental damage spells will be at their most effective should you need to cast them. In the endgame areas, this will mainly be for supplemental damage on tough bosses. However, Druids are amongst the best soloers/low manners in Legendary areas, and are great for farming lucrative runs like Beholders, Pyramid and Toyshop, where you will have a chance of getting some valuable set drops. In addition, Druid is a class which can often make it into the Nine Hells fairly quickly, since it is a core role which is in demand on each and every layer.
This is the class to play if you are happy being the unsung hero, safe in the knowledge that by fulfilling your role, you are vastly enhancing your party's capabilities, even if some of them don't fully appreciate it!
This is one of a series of builds co designed by Xiayu and Excruciator, designed around a strong party backbone, including all "core" roles. Cores are classes which form the spine of a party, and, while it's not essential to have them all, you will normally have two or three of the four core classes in any party going to the Hells or beyond. Before that party requirements are a lot more loose, but it's good practice to realise the importance of core classes as early as possible.
The following links detail some other builds we liked to fit common and often requested party roles. They are all open race builds - take a look and see what you like!
I only have one thing to point out: In the introduction of your guide you state that you need 31 levels of druid to benefit from Monk's wisdom AC using light armor and a shield, but later on the guid, at the gearing section you suggest to use light armor and shield, which in that case your monk AC bonus will be lost until you reach 31 of druid class levels.
Aside from that, I really liked this guide, it makes me want to try a druid
The first thing you'd need to change would be the starting stats; I would probably go for:
A net gain of 2 Wisdom for -1 Strength. Not a bad start, but you also get Lightning Reflexes and Spell Focus: Abjuration too, plus an extra feat at level 1 for being human; so all in all, a good upgrade. You can likely keep the skills breakdown more or less exactly as it is.
You then have a couple of choices; First option, keep the Bard level and the umd, keep the same dc as the Dryadkin version and pick up Epic Spell Focus: Abjuration and Legendary Spell Focus in Conjuration or Evocation. Your feats list would look something like this:
Level 21: Metamagic: Extend Spell Level 24: Epic Spell Penetration Level 25: Epic Spell Focus: Abjuration Level 27: Epic Spell Focus: Conjuration Level 29: Greater Spell Focus: Abjuration Level 30: Epic Spell Focus: Abjuration Level 33: Great Wisdom I & II Level 36: Great Wisdom III Level 37: Great Wisdom IV Level 39: Great Wisdom V
Level 42: Legendady Penetration Level 45: Legendary Spell Focus: Transmutation Level 48: Legendary Valor Level 51: Legendary Spell Focus: Evocation OR Conjuration Level 54: Great Wisdom VI Level 57: Great Wisdom VII Level 60: Great Wisdom VIII
Book: Esf: Evocation
In comparison to the Dryadkin build you get:
+2 dc to either Evo or Conjuration spells; your choice, Conjuration is better for disabling (Storm of Vengeace, Stonehold, Grease), whilst Evocation is more about direct damage spells, although Desert Sirocco can instakill some nasty hell and abyss mobs - albeit not hugely effectively.
An extra Epic Spell Focus, which makes your Energy Immunity spell much more effective, and grants you Nature's Frailty, which is something you're going to want if you are planning on going any deeper than Maladomini; it drops sr by 20, with no save.
+2 Reflex (Lightning reflex)
Your second option would be the max dc route. This would involve dropping your bard level entirely and taking a paladin level instead. Thus, you would need to change the level order somewhat. It should be 1-19 Druid, 20 Paladin (maximise Discipline). 21-39 Druid, 40 Monk (maximise discipline, 40 tumble).
Level 21: Epic Spell Penetration Level 24: Epic Spell Focus: Abjuration Level 25: Epic Spell Focus: Conjuration Level 27: Greater Spell Focus: Abjuration Level 29: Epic Spell Focus: Abjuration Level 30: Great Wisdom I Level 33: Great Wisdom II & III Level 36: Great Wisdom IV Level 37: Great Wisdom V Level 39: Great Wisdom VI
Level 42: Legendady Penetration Level 45: Legendary Spell Focus: Transmutation Level 48: Great Wisdom VI Level 51: Great Wisdom VII Level 54: Great Wisdom VIII Level 57: Great Wisdom IX Level 60: Great Wisdom X
Book: Esf: Evocation
In comparison to the Dryadkin build you get:
+1 To all spell dc's
Esf Abjuration and Nature's Frailty Epic
-1 Reflex, -2 Will, -2 Fortitude
No Use Magic Device skill
20 extra skill points to spend on whatever you like
So which do I reccomend more? The first option is easily the most balanced. It's more forgiving (better saves, Use Magic Device) and it's offenses are plenty respectable.
The second version gives up quite a lot for what it gains. However; if you are planning to demi this build, it is likely superior. your first demi iteration would raise all saves by +2, due to your charisma stat bonus, and the second iteration would raise them by another +2. The end result is, at 2x demi, you have 1 reflex less, but +1 dc on most schools. You will also have much less need for use magic device once you get to shop in the hellstore, for sanctuary pots, amongst other things.
Having said that, I played my Druid from level one to demi with no umd and never regretted it. I was happy using precious rings for sanctuary in the times I needed to do so. I'm not sure I can post in public where those drop, but send a pm if you need to know. One thing about building and playing perferences - everyone is different, so you need to experiment and find out what is best for you.
If all this sounds like I'm talking nonsense, do let me know; I appreciate the endgame can be somewhat shrouded in mystery at times. Also, if you need me to do a build layout as with the Dryadkin version, I can do that, but it takes a long time. I thought you'd appreciate a more prompt response, but if you need it posting in the same way, just let me know.
Have this at level 35 and enjoying it ever-so-much. Just curious, why do you say to carry heals of all strengths? I just have a bunch of heal packs and they work, is there something I am missing, or what?
Also, I am building this with Dryadkin, would use kenku but dont like changing appearance, same with doppelganger. So when I hit 50 and find a few fallen angel books I am going to use that. How would you change this build for the fallen angel subrace?