How to Play a Druid in Dungeons and Dragons V3.5

Druids are one of the more difficult classes to play in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 3.5. This article will help you get started with your first druid. This article assumes that you have at least a basic knowledge of the rules of D&D. This article only deals with the nuts and bolts of creating a character; all good characters have personality, hopes, dreams, goals, likes, dislikes, history, and so on. Creating a complete character will greatly improve your gaming experience.


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    Read About Druids. Before you create the character and play it in a session of D&D you should read the entire entry in the Player's Handbook (PHB). This is where you find the basic information about the Druid and its special abilities.
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    Pick a Race. All races can play a druid equally well. This means that the choice of a race is almost entirely subjective. One consideration is that if you use the wild shape special ability you will lose any physical characteristics of your race. So races such as Half-Orc and Dwarf that have mostly physical advantages may not be the best choice. Humans make excellent druids.
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    Generate and Assign Your Vital Statistics. Consult your Dungeon Master (DM) to see what system(s) can be used and generate your vital statistics (stats). Wisdom is the key ability for most druid abilities, including spellcasting. However, if you plan to use wild shape and fight in melee combat then you will need a high constitution as well. If you use the wild shape ability your physical stats will change, so if you plan to use wild shape frequently then you should consider favoring your mental stats.
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    Pick Your Starting Skills and Feats. The skills Concentration, Handle Animal, Knowledge Nature, and Survival are common choices for druids. The skills you choose will determine the type of character you are, so pick according to the personality that you want to have. You will need Handle Animal to command your animal companion. Feats are a more complicated choice for druids. There are essentially two routes a druid can take. The first is spellcasting and the second is wild shape combat. If you plan to go the spellcasting route then you should choose feats that will enhance your spellcasting. If you want to use wild shape and then fight in melee combat then you need to select feats that will help this. You should pick one track and try to specialize, this will get you the best results. Whichever route you take, you will want the feat Natural Spell, which allows you to cast spells while in animal form.
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    Choose an Animal Companion. A druid gets an animal companion that follows them on quests and helps in a variety of ways. There is a list of acceptable animal companions in the PHB. Some DMs will allow substitutions but you must ask before making one. You should prepare a mini character sheet for your animal companion so that you can use it in any situation. Do not forget that at some levels, your animal companion may be made more powerful or swapped for a different animal.
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    Pick Your Druid's Alignment. Note that Druids must be partly neutral to keep most of their powers
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    Buy Starting Equipment. When you buy weapons and armor for a druid you need to pay careful attention to the types of weapon and armor that a druid can use. You may want to get both a melee and a ranged weapon. You will also want basic survival gear; bedroll, rations etc.
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    Know Your Role in the Party. As a druid you are a flexible character. You can be a backup divine caster, as well as deal some damage like an arcane caster. If you choose to maximize your wild shape ability then you can serve as a secondary fighter. Remember that you can choose the best role according to the situation.
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    Know Your Spells. There are many spells that you can cast, you should try to be familiar with them all, or at least the ones that you plan to use frequently. If you do not know your spells well you will slow down the game. Reading the spell entry carefully will also help you determine if a spell is worth preparing or not and make your character more effective.
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    Prepare Your Wild Shape Ability in Advance. Understanding wild shape is the hardest part of playing a druid. You will need to read the rules for the spells Polymorph and Alter Self first, as wild shape is based on those spells. Then you need to read the description of wild shape in the druid entry of the PHB to see how wild shape differs from the two spells it emulates. You may need to read this material two or three times before you understand it fully. Taking notes is a good idea. Once you understand how wild shape works you should look through the Monster Manual (MM) for animals that you would like to turn into. When you find one you like, write down any changes that would occur so that you are ready. If you decide to turn into a wolf in a fight you do not want to make everyone wait while you add up all of the important information. Remember that your modifiers will be similar to, but not the same as, the default entries in the MM.


  • If you want to fight in melee consider the feat Improved Toughness from the book Complete Warrior.
  • Natural Spell is a very good feat for all Druids.
  • Another good feat, if your dexterity is 13 or higher, is Fast Wild Shape.
  • Read Complete Divine for more information on druids, including new spells and prestige classes.
  • Try casting a beneficial spell on yourself in the first turn of combat, wild shaping in the second, and attacking in the third. If you have the feat Fast Wild Shape you can transform and cast a spell in the same turn.
  • If you wild shape into an animal with a poison attack recalculate the saving throw difficulty class (DC) for that poison. All poison DCs are 10 + 1/2 your level + Constitution modifier.


  • You cannot speak when you are in animal form.
  • If you wear armor with metal or carry a prohibited weapon, even if you are not using it, you lose your druid powers.
  • If your animal companion dies you can summon a new one but it takes 24 hours for the new animal to arrive.
  • Without the feat Natural Spell you cannot cast a spell in animal form.

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Categories: Role Playing Games