I am about to start on a pre-made adventure, for which I intend to use a grappling druid. We are allowed only to use core books & the complete series, I have the following concept in mind and would like to know if there are any further ways to optimize the build.

Base stats

Human (Stats were point buy; allowed only 1 value below 10)
Str 10
Dex 10
Con 18
Int 10
Wis 16
Cha 8

Level progression:

1 Monk (1) (for improved grapple & wis to AC)
2 Druid (1)
3 Druid (2)
4 Druid (3)
5 Druid (4)
6 Druid (5)
7 MoMF (1)
8 MoMF (2)
9 MoMF (3)
10 MoMF (4)
11 MoMF (5)
12 MoMF (6)
13 MoMF (7) (for extraordinary wildshape)
14 Warshaper (1) (for crit immunity)
15 Warshaper (2) (for the stat gain)
16 Nature's Warrior (1) (for Serpent's coil)
17 Nature's Warrior (2)
18 Nature's Warrior (3) (for Armor of the Crocodile)
19 Nature's Warrior (4)
20 Nature's Warrior (5) (for Wild Growth or Earth's Resilience)

Feat Progression:

1 Endurance (Reg) & Combat Reflexes
3 Alertness (Req)
6 Hold the Line (to grapple a charger and thus prevent damage)
9 (Multi-attack)
12 (Improved Multi-attack)
15 .. 
18 ..

The feats are my biggest issue, I do not know of that many feats from the core/complete books that are very useful for a grappler build. I put multi-attack and improved multi-attack between parenthesis because they were two of the feats that I considered but are all not that great for a grappler build.

TL:DR How can I maximize the chance to succeed in grapple and my grapple damage using the above listed character concept (swapping class levels and feats are allowed) within the listed constraints (core & complete books only).

  • \$\begingroup\$ You're trying to get extraordinary wildshape, you clearly have something in mind (which would probably work even with shapechange, but you really want as many nature warrior levels as possible, I guess). What do you plan to wildshape into? \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Aug 29, 2015 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ The reason why I went with MoMF is to have as many options as possible as I do not know what sort of creatures we will encounter during the adventure (specifically (ab)using their EX abilities such as regenerate). The NW levels are there for the BAB and serpent's embrace (constrict). \$\endgroup\$
    – Bas Jansen
    Aug 29, 2015 at 10:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ An earlier concept of mine had taken WS to 5 to capitalize on being able to change shape every round (if need be) to get the most useful EX ability for that round (by not being limited by the number of WS/day). For instance, did my char just take a massive hit and is near death? Shape to a troll to get regeneration. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bas Jansen
    Aug 29, 2015 at 10:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hulkamania is Runnin' Wild: A Grappling Handbook \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruut
    Oct 28, 2015 at 15:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ The issue with that guide is that he bases the strength of feats on the fact that he is able to use all published (including dragon magazines) feats. I am stuck with core and complete books which severely changes the balance of almost everything. Therefore, while that link is useful (and quite well known) it doesn't answer the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bas Jansen
    Oct 28, 2015 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


I'll be challenging your build a little.

First of all, your BAB:
0 from monk 1
3 from druid 5
5 from MoMF 7 1 from Warshaper 2 5 from Nature's Warrior 5

14 is 1 less of what a pure druid could have had. Now, you could get the same amount of flexibility of those 7 MoMF levels and the 5 warshaper levels you didn't get by going druid 17 and getting the long-lasting 9th level spell shapechange. Keeping it active all day requires a metamagic rod of extend and very costy pearls of power 9 but (even by memorizing it several times and spending all your 9th level slots) it lets you cast 8th level spells, compared to 3rd level spells of your build.

I will not go into a searching frenzy here, but the chance that those spells can be create for improving your grappler ability (or to give you some other way to win for when enemy casters start having freedom of movement effects) is high.

Were you using wildshape, you could have used a Wild armor to get some AC, it's true, but it looks to me you were looking for more touch AC anyway. Getting a monk's belt only works while you're taking forms that can wear it but it's better than that monk level. You don't seem to really need that many feats (here I could be proven wrong).

Druid 15 / Nature's Warrior 4 / Fighter 1 could recover half the feats and gives you 16 BAB, shapechange, Serpent's Coils and given AC is easy to bypass at high levels I'd suggest Claws of the Grizzly instead (but that's not this much and you can take Druid 16 / Nature's Warrior 2 / Fighter 2 instead losing 1 BAB and gaining 1 feat if you're really feat-staved).
Change that to 16 / 2 / Warshaper 2 to get the Str increase if you have enough feats already. Since you're using natural attacks, it's as good as BAB.


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