Does a Druid use the beast's proficiency bonus to find the save DC for a beast's poisons or the Druid's?

For example, does a level 17 Land Druid as a giant centipede have a DC 11 poison or a DC 15?


1 Answer 1


This is a good question, as the answer may not seem as simple as it actually is. Much about the Druid sheds confusion, but if you look on page 67 of the PHB it explicitly states what scores you keep, and what abilities you use when it comes to shifting into Wild Shape forms.

the first bullet point is the most important here, which states your game statistics are replaced entirely by that of the chosen form, except your mental scores (Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma) which remain the same. You retain your skill and saving throw proficiencies and in the case of having the same proficiency as your chosen form; you take the higher of the two. So if your Panther form has a Stealth skill of +5 and your druid has a stealth skill of +7, you can use yours in place of the Panther.

This says nothing about your Proficiency Bonus carrying over when making attacks or using abilities of the chosen form and since the beast HAS no proficiency bonus, each attack will tell you what the bonuses and DC's are. In this case you are using the ability exactly from the stat block of the chosen form, in this example the Bite attack of the Giant Centipede.

Bite: + 4 To hit (So you roll 1d20 +4 to hit with this attack, you add nothing else). The damage is 1d4 +2 (again you add no other bonuses to damage), and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or take 3d6 Poison damage.

Every beast form works exactly like this. You read the ability precisely from the creature's monster entry and do exactly what it tells you. You gain no other proficiency to it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While Airatome is correct for the most part, they are wrong to a certain degree about attacks. If you have an attack bonus of +6, you would normally use that instead of the +4. However the giant centipede has a strength "bonus" of -3, so you would subtract that from your +6 leaving you with +3. This is lower than the attack of the stat block (+4) so now you are back to using the +4 instead of your own proficiency. This was answered in a sage advice question: sageadvice.eu/2015/01/23/wildshape-with-proficiency \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 5:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ As it turns out, the beast does have a proficiency bonus. Every npc has a proficiency bonus depending on it's challenge rating, ranging from +2 for a CR 0 creature, all the way to +9 for a CR 30 creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 15:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @JohnathanMartin Your referenced tweet says exactly the opposite of what you're implying. You do not reverse engineer anything. If the druid has a better bonus, you use the druid's bonus, otherwise you use the beast's statblock as published. However, a druid doesn't inherently have any of the attacks most beasts have, so it will always use the beast's bonuses from the published statblock. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. That is not correct. Any character is proficient in unarmed strikes. As to whether a "bite" or "claw" counts as an unarmed strike consider the Lizardfolk or Tabaxi races. The Lizardfolk do not have an extra proficiency in bite attacks, they simply calculate the attack as though making an unarmed attack. The tweet does not say anything counter to Jonathan's point, Jeremy simply did not call calebrus out as wrong when answering. \$\endgroup\$
    – A.J.
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 16:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @A.j. Those races establish an unarmed strike equivalency in the text. Beasts do not. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 17:59

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