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I'm looking for advice on how to play the first levels of a character I'm building. The character is a Wild Shape Mystic Ranger/Master of Many Forms, so in particular I need tips on what to do the first 5 levels (until I get Wild Shape). I would also appreciate suggestions for feats. I came up with 3 options so far:

Option 1: STR 9 DEX 15 CON 15 INT 13 WIS 17 CHA 10

Mystic Ranger allows martial range weapons, so I would use a longbow and spells like flare, guidance and resistance (at level 1). In this case I will probably take Alertness, since it is a prerequisite for MoMF, and other feats like Power Attack and Combat Reflexes are pretty much useless until I get Wild Shape.

Option 2: STR 15 DEX 9 CON 15 INT 13 WIS 17 CHA 10

The problem with this option is I can only use melee simple weapons and no shields, but feats like Power Attack and Combat Reflexes are an option. If the DM allows it, maybe another option is the exalted feat Intuitive Attack, which lets me use the WIS modifier in melee attacks (at late levels is pretty much a waste though).

Option 3: STR 9 DEX 10 CON 15 INT 15 WIS 17 CHA 13

This option optimizes the power of the final build, since when you get Wild Shapeyou don't care about STR and DEX. However, I'm worried about the first levels since I would probably give up combat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the source of the Wildshape Mystic Ranger? \$\endgroup\$ – Nibelung Sep 8 '15 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nibelung Two separate things: Wild Shape ranger from Unearthed Arcana, and mystic ranger from Dragon vol. 336. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 8 '15 at 22:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any of these options are going to be weak. Are you going for role-playing potential, combat potential, or both? Because combat will not be that good. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Sep 9 '15 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know that, for instance, a straight Druid will probably be better, as well as a Druid 5/MoMF 10. What I'm trying to optimize is actually both, that is, I know that until MoMF the combat is going to be very weak, but I once you get wildshape and start shifting into cave trolls and war trolls it is not that bad (probably tier 3?). Therefore I'm looking to survive the first 5 levels without wasting too much feats/stats. \$\endgroup\$ – skd Sep 9 '15 at 15:09
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Option 2 I don’t like much at all. If you are going to attack with simple weapons, Intuitive Attack is the way to go (and then the Strength is largely wasted, even before getting Wild Shape), and if not, well, then you can’t go with Option 2. So that’s out.

Option 1 and Option 3 are more competitive. Being able to attack physically prior to Wild Shape is likely useful, and that Dexterity is probably the way to do it. However, as a mystic ranger, you are a solid spellcaster: I think you are better off going with Option 3, and just acting like the spellcaster you are. That should get you to level 5 without too much trouble.

Plus, if you want to attack physically in Option 3, you can take Intuitive Attack and use those simple melee weapons, or take Zen Archery and use that longbow: your damage will be poor, at least until you get those damage feats (Knowledge Devotion, Power Attack) that you’ll also use when Wild Shaped. Remember: all natural weapons are simple, and Intuitive Attack applies to them. If your Wild Shape form has a higher Strength than your Wisdom, it’s worthless, but if not, it’s still got some value even after you get Wild Shape. As for Zen Archery, ranged natural attacks are rare so you may want to continue using ranged weapons sometimes. Definitely speak to your DM about what ranged weapons you might be able to use while Wild Shaped into primate forms or similar.

Once you have Wild Shape, definitely also take Natural Spell. You’ll be able to put those spellcasting skills that you exercised before you had Wild Shape, while Wild Shaped. That’s very good.

Another thing to consider is Sword of the Arcane Order from Champions of Valor. This feat allows you to keep a spellbook and fill it with sor/wiz spells, which you can prepare with your ranger spell slots. These spells use your Intelligence rather than Wisdom to set the save DC, but they’re still ranger spells, which means, among other things, that you don’t have to worry about armor interfering with the spells. If you take this feat, the 15 Intelligence that you have under Option 3 becomes very valuable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I've just came across the feat Zen Archery, which lets you use WIS instead of DEX for ranged attacks, so iot fits with the char very well. I think I will take option 3 with that feat. \$\endgroup\$ – skd Sep 9 '15 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @skd It’s a good feat, and gives you a ranged option, but do take care that most Wild Shape forms aren’t going to let you use it. I recommend talking with your DM and determining what sorts of ranged weapons a gorilla or similar can use. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 9 '15 at 15:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it will probably be useless once I get some uses of Wildshape, but I think it will make it very easy to level up to that point. Starting from level 2, the Mystic Ranger gets quite good bow spells (Hunter's Mercy, Exacting Shot, Arrow Mind, Guided Shot...). Even at level 5 when you get Wildshape you only have 1 use/day, so the bow is still an option. All in all, it is probably a wasted feat for 5 easy levels. \$\endgroup\$ – skd Sep 9 '15 at 15:28

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