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It seems like in 4e, druids have been more or less forced into a wisdom-based controller build. Even beast form abilities that are theoretically physical attacks take their bonuses from WIS.

For flavor reasons, I want to build a druid that works as a strong melee fighter with emphasis on physical attributes. Am I doomed to have a horribly ineffective character, or are there ways to make it work?

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What aspect of druid are you trying to duplicate? Being able to shift into an animal is almost purely a flavor in 4th. Maybe you could play a monk multiclassed in druid and see if your DM would allow you to use your monk powers while in beast form. Since it doesn't give any bonus, it shouldn't be a balance issue and monk powers can easily be reflavored to appear more druidlike. –  SladeWeston Sep 14 '10 at 23:42
    
@Slade: Thanks for the suggestion. I'd like to keep the primal magic, use of weapons, and some of the nicer druid powers. I'll try to figure out if theres a way I can make the multiclass thing work. –  Larry Wang Sep 14 '10 at 23:55
    
Looking at the character op guide to creating druids on the WoTC forums, community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/22199105/…, the sample builds tend to have a starting 16 in wisdom, with the remainder of the build points in the physical stats. –  Simon Withers Sep 15 '10 at 2:45

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would recommend starting with a race that provides a Wis bonus and a bonus to Con or Dex, so Elf, Dwarf, Razorclaw Shifters, Githzerai and Wilden of the various PHB races.

Using an array of 15, 15, 15, 11, 10, 8 for stats you can get Wis and either Con or Dex to 17, and then Str and the other get 15 and 11, giving you a pretty beefy 17, 15, 11 in your physical ability scores, and still retaining a 17 Wis.

Unfortunately Driuds lack at-will powers with secondary stat kickers, so your secondary stats being high isn't as much of a win as it is for many other classes.

The starting -2 to hit that you suffer against the pre-racial adjusted 18 wisdom druid can be mitigated first by taking implement/versatile expertise, superior implement training-accurate staff, and also your odd number in wisdom means that a level 4 attribute boost to wisdom gives you a +1 to hit.

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+1, that's a nice stat array. Plus it's always good to recognize that starting with a 17 in your primary isn't crippling. –  Bryant Sep 15 '10 at 12:47
    
Thanks, I will try to make something based on this outline. –  Larry Wang Sep 16 '10 at 5:06

Character creation in 4E can be a tricky business when you're trying replicate a particular flavour that isn't directly supported by one of the classes. You have to remember that re-flavouring is your friend.

The best way to approach character creation is to realize that classes in 4E are less about their flavour, and are more just fighting styles. Decide what fighting style you want to use, and choose the class that most closely models that style. Then flavour to taste with skill choices, feats, multiclassing, and just plain old description.

You want a melée character? Start with a fighter, ranger, monk, barbarian, etc. (Pick the one that best fits the exact style you want.) Then add druid flavour by taking druid multiclass feats, nature skills, etc. Finally, just describe your character as a druid-ish type of person.

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You can't avoid the Wisdom. You could take a highish Wisdom and put a lot of points into Dexterity, which will benefit you anyway. The remainder will go into Strength reasonably well. Focus on beast form powers, and think of your Wisdom as purely perception rather than general divine nature. Keep an eye on the various druidic feats that boost aspects of beast form -- e.g., Ape's Reach, for a +2 feat bonus to your Athletics. I play a druid like this, who rarely leaves beast form, and I certainly feel like a very physical character.

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Okay, I thought about this for a while and I came up with a mostly physical, wisdom not required, part druid build. I haven't had time to crunch the numbers but it should get you there.

Human Barbarian/bard mc/ Druid

Stats - STR, Cha, wis

Feats - IotOF (druid multiclass), Combat Virtuoso, MC power replacement chain, versatile expertise Paragon Multiclassing

Powers by paragon - At least one at will, encounter, utility & daily from Barbarian, Druid & Bard.

So here's the run down: The goal of this build is to exploit the bard feat combat virtuoso to allow us to switch all of the druids Wis based powers to trigger off Cha. Well obviously a bard isn't the best fit for someone who's looking for a combat class either so I hybrid bard with barbarian. This reinforces the OP desire to stay within the primal power source and provides many powers that have an animalistic feel. With the Wis powers of the druid converted to Cha powers, we are free to focus on Str & Cha with ability stats. Keeping in mind we still need at least a 13 wis to qualify for multiclassing. Lastly, I threw in Versatile expertise. While not strictly required, I think the +1 to hit will help a lot in offsetting the wackiness of this build.

Power selection is going to be the tricky part here. You basically always have to have at least one power of each type for bard and barbarian or the character builder gives you fits. This means that you can't get away from the bard side of the build. This is okay, because oddly enough, the bard has powers at most levels that fit perfectly fine with a primal themed character.

Once you reach Paragon Multiclassing, the end result off all these shenanigan, will be a Warrior Scald style character who wildshapes, has mostly primal themed powers and enough druid powers to feel, at least a little, like a druid. Druid powers, I might add, that have a fairly solid tohit despite having only a 13 starting wis.

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doesn't the weapon multiclass feats count as a multiclass as much as the class multiclass feats? Aren't you allowed only one multiclass feat? –  Logos7 Sep 16 '10 at 2:25
    
Looks to me this is a hybrid Barbarian|Bard, multi-classed into Driud –  Simon Withers Sep 16 '10 at 15:18
    
The OP wants something that is impossible, that is an effective druid with a low wis. I was attempting to capture as much druid flavor as possible while yielding to the OP wishes of "keep the primal magic, use of weapons, and some of the nicer druid powers". Well in order for those "nicer druid powers" to be effective, he had to have a stat substitution. The only stat sub in 4th ed that I know if is Combat Virtuoso. In order to fit with his original wish of being melee, I MC'd with barbarian which has similar flavor. I think is a reasonable option for a near impossible request. –  SladeWeston Sep 20 '10 at 21:49
    
Logos7 - Sorry about the confusion. By multiclass chain, I was referring to the chain of three power substitution feats, not the spiked chain feat. –  SladeWeston Sep 20 '10 at 21:51
    
The character I made according to Simon's recommendation just died today, so I will probably try something like this (maybe with warden in place of barbarian) for the next time before giving up the idea as hopeless. –  Larry Wang Sep 26 '10 at 7:35

no

Wisdom is a primary stat for druids, you can not build an effective anything in 4e without a high primary stat.

You can certainly build something that is druid like (consider the warden for example, who's primary stat is strength.))

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