I'm currently playing my first Druid (currently level 6) in a D&D 3.5e campaign. For the wild shape ability I just can't find anywhere that says whether you choose one wild shape form (e.g. an animal) and always turn into that every time you use it, or if you can choose a different form every time. From what I've gathered so far I think it's the latter, but that seems a bit OP… Maybe there is a limited pool of forms one can choose?
You can assume any form which doesn't contravene limitations set by Wild Shape class feature.
There is no statement in the feature description to limit you with one chosen form. So you may assume different ones*. What the feature does, it limits Type, Size, and HD of the new form.
Do however note that you not necessarily are able to turn into any sufficient form in all books you have. Depending on the campaign, setting, and your DM there may be some limitations other than mechanical ones:
- Some creatures may just be missing in a setting you play. Frequent example here are dinosaurs. At least some settings' lore may completely lack any of them. They just never existed in some worlds.
You should be familiar with the animal whose form you are going to assume. The approach is different here:
Some DMs just ignore this.
Some require Knowledge checks of some sort to know if you are familiar with that kind of creatures.
Others flat-out ban all animals not from your home region/climate/whatever.
I recommend you ask your DM about those lines.
*: Each use of wild shape allows assuming one form. For example, switching from the original human form to cat form requires one use of wild shape then switching from cat form to dog form requires a second use of wild shape.
Yes, it's multiple depending on familiarity & Yes, it's a limited pool based on familiarity.
Limitations of Wild Shape:
- At 5th level, a druid gains the ability to turn herself into any Small or Medium animal and back again once per day.
- The form chosen must be that of an animal the druid is familiar with.
- In addition, she gains the ability to take the shape of a Large animal at 8th level, a Tiny animal at 11th level, and a Huge animal at 15th level.
- The new form’s Hit Dice can’t exceed the character’s druid level.
- At 12th level, a druid becomes able to use wild shape to change into a plant creature with the same size restrictions as for animal forms.
- At 16th level, a druid becomes able to use wild shape to change into a Small, Medium, or Large elemental (air, earth, fire, or water) once per day.
- At 20th level, a druid may use this wild shape ability to change into a Huge elemental.
What does this mean to you?
As long as...
- You are familiar with the animal/plant/elemental...
- The hit dice of the animal/plant/elemental don't exceed your character level...
- The size of animal/plant/elemental doesn't exceed what is allowed by your character level...
...you can Wild Shape into it.