The Druid's Wild Shape ability states that the Druid can only Wild Shape into a beast type that it has seen before. In D&D Adventurers League play:

  • At character creation, can the Druid count as having already seen certain beast types, or can it not use its Wild Shape ability at all until it sees a beast on an adventure?
  • Do you have to record which beasts you have seen, for instance on your adventure logsheet?
  • Are there beasts that appear in adventures whose statistics are not in the Player's Handbook? If so, how are PC players supposed to get access to those statistics so that they can use Wild Shape later on?

3 Answers 3


There are no official answers from the adventurer's league at this time. However, I think we can apply some rational thought and come up with a good answer in the meantime.

  • All Adventurer's league PCs start out at L1s, Wild Shape is a L2 ability, so I would track what you've seen while adventuring. You might be able to make a case from your background of what you've seen prior to your adventuring career, but it might be a hard sell to an organized play DM.

  • I would definitely do this. At the very least for the ones that don't show up in the PHB that you'll encounter. I doubt you'd be called on it, but it wouldn't hurt to have a menu.

  • For beasts that are not in the PHB (I'm not sure there are any right now, but just in case), you've got some options. Between the BD&D DM book, and the HotDQ online supplement, you can easily find any beasts that might show up in the current season of organized play that are not in the PHB (and going forward, they plan to release similar supplements for future adventures to keep BD&D the only required materials). Everything in those two online supplements will also be in the Monster Manual that is coming out at the end of September.

Ultimately, I don't think this is something to get too hung up on. I find it improbable that you wouldn't be able to make the case to even an Org Play GM that you hadn't encountered a certain beast before. I'll note that even org play GMs are given this kind of latitude in the instructions to them. However, I also wouldn't make a big stink about it if the DM said "no, you can't be a Stirge, you haven't seen one of those yet" if you don't have it written down that you'd encountered one.

I reached out the D&D adventurer's league on twitter to get something slightly more definitive and here's the response:

wax eagle: quick question. For Org play, does a druid get a starting list of beasts encountered? How do they track them as they go?

D&D adv league: No, the Druid class states what CR the animal can be.

Sorry, I was unclear. Wild Shape specifies "that you've seen before" is that in your adventuring career or can it be before?

That's left up to the players as to what their char has seen.

So the official response is "whatever you think makes sense for your character", that's pretty much in keeping with the spirit of 5e's rulings so far and makes sense. Again they've given 5e org play GMs (and players tbh) wide latitude on stuff like this, so decide something that makes sense with your characters background and story.


It is specifically stated in the Adventure League Guide that DM's are given latitude to adjudicate rulings that aren't expressly defined, and that a DM is encouraged to go so far as to modify an adventure in order to ensure it stays appropriately challenging, and appropriately fun. Examples they use of this aspect is adding NPC's and altering or adding encounters. This means that the game is far more loose and fluid than some forms of organized play, and the AL isn't going to get hung up that you saw tigers in HotDQ if that's what the DM put in there. It does say not to alter the treasure, however, so that should be considered.

I would probably take note of where the character's background has him at. If the character is from a jungle, it's likely that they have seen a tiger, but a wolf isn't as likely.

Be fluid as a DM though. Just because you have the stats for one type of great cat doesn't mean that that is the only great cat you can use it for.

More exotic creatures (like stirges) may specifically require you to have met them in game.


Lots of GMs in Adventure League

Means lots of opinions ...

... and a range of rulings.

However, on running a public game, the wizards.com / AL website states:

Run a fun game! As the Dungeon Master, you help guide the players through the adventure, and facilitate the story coming alive. Make sure you follow the golden rule: Make decisions and adjudications during the game that enhance the fun when possible.

That's pretty straightforward and sets the stage for plenty of options for Druid Wild Shaping.

As long as the beast has a complete stat block in a resource from the AL content catalogue, the GM is free to rule as they see fit. These resources include the Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, Dungeon Master's Guide, Volo's Guide to Monsters, Xanathar's Guide to Everything, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, Elemental Evil Player's Companion, and Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Other books may be added in the future.

From AL FAQ v8.2 (2018):

Can I Use the Monster Manual?

Creatures with complete stat blocks found in the Monster Manual and other resources listed in the ALCC are available for use with class features such as Wild Shape, Beast Companion, and various conjure spells. As always, your DM is the final arbiter for the rules, such as determining whether or not your character has satisfied requirements such as those imposed by your class (such as the druid’s requirement to have seen the beast in question).

Keeping a record of beasts

From my experience, GMs generally allow you to provide a list of beasts you have seen when starting at level 1. Moving forward you will want to keep a list of creatures you've encountered, but most likely only more exotic beasts like dinosaurs will be questioned. If you are out in the wilderness make sure to ask your GM if you've run across any beasts. Or if there's one you'd particularly like to see ask them if you've seen this one. They may not list every beast you run across unless you ask. You will, of course, not be able to wild shape until level 2.

What if you don't have the stats for a beast?

Ask your GM. They will be glad to help you with that. You can take a picture of the beast's stats with your phone or make a photocopy for private use if the GM will let you.


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