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Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition)» Forums » Rules

Subject: Beast Shapes by Druid level rss

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Druids are being actively discussed at the moment, particularly with regards to the Circle of the Moon. To aid such discussions, here is a list of creatures that druids may shapechange into, split by the character level required in order to gain access to that animal form. The number in brackets at the start of each line is the CR for those beasts.


Standard Beast Shapes

Level 2: Max CR ¼, no flying or swimming speed
(0) Baboon, Badger, Cat, Deer, Giant Fire Beetle, Goat, Hyena, Jackal, Lizard, Rat, Scorpion, Spider, Weasel
(0.125) Camel, Giant Rat, Giant Weasel, Mastiff, Mule, Pony
(0.25) Axe Beak, Boar, Draft Horse, Elk, Giant Badger, Giant Centipede, Giant Goat, Giant Lizard, Giant Wolf Spider, Panther, Riding Horse, Swarm of Rats, Wolf

Level 4: Max CR ½, no flying speed
(-) Frog, Sea Horse
(0) Crab, Octopus, Quipper
(0.125) Giant Crab, Poisonous Snake
(0.25) Constrictor Snake, Giant Frog, Giant Poisonous Snake
(0.5) Ape, Black Bear, Crocodile, Giant Sea Horse, Reef Shark, Swarm of Insects, Warhorse

Level 8: Max CR 1
(0) Bat, Eagle, Hawk, Owl, Raven, Vulture
(0.125) Blood Hawk, Flying Snake, Stirge
(0.25) Giant Bat, Giant Owl, Pteranodon, Swarm of Bats, Swarm of Ravens
(0.5) Giant Wasp, Swarm of Wasps
(1) Brown Bear, Dire Wolf, Giant Eagle, Giant Hyena, Giant Octopus, Giant Spider, Giant Toad, Giant Vulture, Lion, Swarm of Quippers, Tiger


Circle of the Moon Forms

Level 2: Max CR 1, no flying or swimming speed
(0) Baboon, Badger, Cat, Deer, Giant Fire Beetle, Goat, Hyena, Jackal, Lizard, Rat, Scorpion, Spider, Weasel
(0.125) Camel, Giant Rat, Giant Weasel, Mastiff, Mule, Pony
(0.25) Axe Beak, Boar, Draft Horse, Elk, Giant Badger, Giant Centipede, Giant Goat, Giant Lizard, Giant Wolf Spider, Panther, Riding Horse, Swarm of Rats, Wolf
(0.5) Ape, Black Bear, Swarm of Insects, Warhorse
(1) Brown Bear, Dire Wolf, Giant Hyena, Giant Spider, Lion, Tiger

Level 4: Max CR 1, no flying speed
(-) Frog, Sea Horse
(0) Crab, Octopus, Quipper
(0.125) Giant Crab, Poisonous Snake
(0.25) Constrictor Snake, Giant Frog, Giant Poisonous Snake
(0.5) Crocodile, Giant Sea Horse, Reef Shark
(1) Giant Octopus, Giant Toad, Swarm of Quippers

Level 6: Max CR 2, no flying speed
(2) Allosaurus, Giant Boar, Giant Constrictor Snake, Giant Elk, Hunter Shark, Plesiosaurus, Polar Bear, Rhinoceros, Sabre-Toothed Tiger, Swarm of Poisonous Snakes

Level 8: Max CR 2
(0) Bat, Eagle, Hawk, Owl, Raven, Vulture
(0.125) Blood Hawk, Flying Snake, Stirge
(0.25) Giant Bat, Giant Owl, Pteranodon, Swarm of Bats, Swarm of Ravens
(0.5) Giant Wasp, Swarm of Wasps
(1) Giant Eagle, Giant Vulture

Level 9: Max CR 3
(3) Ankylosaurus, Giant Scorpion, Killer Whale

Level 12: Max CR 4
(4) Elephant

Level 15: Max CR 5
(5) Giant Crocodile, Giant Shark, Triceratops

Level 18: Max CR 6
(6) Mammoth


All these have entries in the Monster Manual (D&D 5e). The only additional beast in any currently published sources is the Giant Fly on page 169 of the Dungeon Master's Guide (D&D 5e), however this has no listed CR.

Whilst swarms are not specifically prohibited by the rules as written, it is reasonable for DMs to disallow their use (on the grounds that the druid changes into an individual animal shape; the rules state, "a beast"). But other DMs may argue that this is allowable. For clarity, swarms have been marked in grey text.
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This is wonderful! Thank you so much for the organization.

I am still not sure I see a large benefit in wild shape right now; seems that the versatility of spells and their damage output is far superior to most animal forms. I've not done any real calculations yet, but one of my players is debating a druid in our new campaign and I know this will help.

Thanks again!
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I originally considered disallowing swarms as their entries arent beast, it is "swarm of (size) beasts".

But. Some literature and media have depicted druid types turning into swarms sooo... Depends on the DMs call.

And aside from the swarm of insects, they arent too horribly overpowered for their CR. Or like the Quippers, limited in scope of use.
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Kevin Seachrist
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Omega2064 wrote:
I originally considered disallowing swarms as their entries arent beast, it is "swarm of (size) beasts".

But. Some literature and media have depicted druid types turning into swarms sooo... Depends on the DMs call.

And aside from the swarm of insects, they arent too horribly overpowered for their CR. Or like the Quippers, limited in scope of use.


Can the swarm scatter? Kinda makes "scouting the enemy base" a trivial task.
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Id say no they cant scatter as that would make them not a swarm anymore. So theyd have to at least stay in say a 10x10 area.

But even so theyd be pretty ubiquitus. No one is likely to initially notice some bugs crawling around, or a murder of Ravens staring at them from perches.
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Derek Stucki
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Based on the description of swarms in the MM, I wouldn't allow it. They're manifestations of great evil in the area, and I can't imagine a guardian of nature changing into a threat to the natural order. But that's just fluff reasons, not mechanical.
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Rykaar wrote:
Can the swarm scatter? Kinda makes "scouting the enemy base" a trivial task.

The Monster Manual (D&D 5e) says:
Quote:
The swarms presented here aren't ordinary or benign assemblies of little creatures. They form as a result of some sinister or unwholesome influence. A vampire can summon swarms of bats and rats from the darkest corners of the night, while the very presence of a mummy lord can cause scarab beetles to boil up from the sand-filled depths of its tomb. A hag might have the power to turn swarms of ravens against her enemies, while a yuan-ti abomination might have swarms of poisonous snakes slithering in its wake. Even druids can't charm these swarms, and their aggressiveness is borderline unnatural.

And the Swarm ability reads:
Quote:
Swarm. The swarm can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny creature. The swarm can't regain hit points or gain temporary hit points.

They're essentially treated as a single creature, all acting in concert. So no scattering.
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Correct. The MM fluff text makes it likely that swarms are not part of a druids possible forms to assume. By the MM entry they are unnatural.

But it is just fluff text and the actual entries dont mention anything supernatural. Though their suite of immunities could be seen as such.

Apparently that was a late addition as natural swarms of rats are encountered in the Hoard of the Dragon Queen module. No outside influence causing them.

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Omega2064 wrote:
Correct. The MM fluff text makes it likely that swarms are not part of a druids possible forms to assume. By the MM entry they are unnatural.


Because a shape-shifted Druid is totally natural...
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zayzayem wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
Correct. The MM fluff text makes it likely that swarms are not part of a druids possible forms to assume. By the MM entry they are unnatural.


Because a shape-shifted Druid is totally natural...


Un-natural in a not natural sort of un-matural.

The fluff text makes all swarms to be the product of supernatural influence rather than a natural occurrence.

As said. The first module out ignored that.
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Using the DMG as a guide. The Ebony Fly would likely be a CR 0 monster because it has no attacks and so low AC and HP. That puts it in the 0 category of the chart. Its HP puts it at CR 1/8. But its low AC and lack of attack modifies that down yo CR 0.
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Stelio wrote:

All these have entries in the Monster Manual (D&D 5e). The only additional beast in any currently published sources is the Giant Fly on page 169 of the Dungeon Master's Guide (D&D 5e), however this has no listed CR.

Whilst swarms are not specifically prohibited by the rules as written, it is reasonable for DMs to disallow their use (on the grounds that the druid changes into an individual animal shape; the rules state, "a beast"). But other DMs may argue that this is allowable. For clarity, swarms have been marked in grey text.


I think that it's pertinent to note that many of these creatures are not only listed in the Monster Manual (D&D 5e) but also as an appendix in the back of the Player's Handbook (D&D 5e) for the purposes of providing examples for Druid Wild Shape change as well as polymorph. Actually, a couple may not have made it into the Monster Manual, giant spider I think?
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Everything in the PHB is also in the MM. See: Bestiary.
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Here is a bemusing conundrum.

The new Elemental player companion adds the Aarakocra as a player race.

So you can end up with a Aarakocra Druid unable to assume forms that can fly until they reach the right level. And they learn to swim before they learn to fly.

Perhaps reverse that for them. Learning the swim forms after the flight forms.

Of course leaving it as is provides hours of entertainment teasing the bird that swims better than she can fly.
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Trentin Bergeron
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This is outstanding! Thanks for making this.
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frederik van deurs
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I'm running a cirle of land druid right now, so I made your list into a spreadsheet with stats, special abilities and so on - for now I couldn't be bothered making Circle of Moon sheet.

But please do enjoy.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1LBm-0d8Hck33Y8a75f7c...
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Update:

Southlands Heroes by Kobold Press who did the Tyrrany of Dragons modules adds the new Circle of the Swarm druid path. This path is meant for the insectoid Tosculi. But there you go.

Quote:
Your choice of forms is limited. You may use Wild Shape to change into any insectoid, arachnid, or similar beast (such as a crab), though you must still have seen the creature to do so.
In addition, you gain access to the following list of non-standard forms (you must follow the same CR and ability restrictions as outlined in Circle Forms):
ankheg, carrion crawler, death wasp (use wyvern stats), giant rhinoceros beetle (use triceratops stats), and swarm of insects (all variants).
Other insectoid forms may be available at your DM’s discretion.
Monstrous Wild Shape
At 10th level, you can expend two uses of Wild Shape at the same time to transform into a:
bullette, chuul, phase spider, or umber hulk.
This ability replaces Elemental Wild Shape.


Not sure about the level 10 shapes, a Bullette is not even vaugly an insect.
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Omega2064 wrote:

Not sure about the level 10 shapes, a Bullette is not even vaugly an insect.


I dunno.

I see it as a chitinous invertebrate.
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zayzayem wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:

Not sure about the level 10 shapes, a Bullette is not even vaugly an insect.


I dunno.

I see it as a chitinous invertebrate.


You fail zoology. angryFOREVER!angry
Cross between a shark and a turtle. That has allways been its backstory. It is even referred to as a land shark in modules.
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Omega2064 wrote:
Here is a bemusing conundrum.

The new Elemental player companion adds the Aarakocra as a player race.

So you can end up with a Aarakocra Druid unable to assume forms that can fly until they reach the right level. And they learn to swim before they learn to fly.

Perhaps reverse that for them. Learning the swim forms after the flight forms.

Of course leaving it as is provides hours of entertainment teasing the bird that swims better than she can fly.


I'm running a Princes of the Apocalypse campaign right now, and one of the PCs is a water genasi druid, so slightly different issue: he already has a swimming speed. My plan is to allow him to shapeshift into animals that meet the CR criteria and disregard the swim speed restrictions, since it makes sense, contextually. If he were an Aarakocra, I would allow him to change into an animal with a flying speed, but I would cap the flying speed at 50' (for instance a hawk has a flying speed of 60') and only allow him to change into an actual bird, no swarms, bats or Pteranodons until he hits the required level.
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Yes, I think the reason for the druid restrictions is to prevent low-level characters from gaining abilities they wouldn't normally have access to. Since Aarakocra already break this, it shouldn't cause a problem for the druid to shift to these kinds of forms.

On the other hand, I see no issue with the druid forms having their own physical limitations that the character's normal form doesn't have.
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Omega2064 wrote:
zayzayem wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:

Not sure about the level 10 shapes, a Bullette is not even vaugly an insect.


I dunno.

I see it as a chitinous invertebrate.


You fail zoology. angryFOREVER!angry
Cross between a shark and a turtle. That has allways been its backstory. It is even referred to as a land shark in modules.


You fail zoology for thinking those two species are sexually compatible

A sea cucumber is not a vegetable.
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Magic.
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An odd discovery. In a Q&A one of the designers, Chris Perkins stated. No. A druid can not assume a swarm shape as it is not a single creature.
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Thankyou, I really appreciate this list, to get my Druid going. She is a circle of the moon Druid, at level 5 and trying to figure out what she can do at level 6 when she can get CR2 creatures. There are few CR2 beasts, and the relatively low AC of higher CR beasts severely limits the career of a moon Druid.

Why is she limited to to 'beasts' specified in the Monster Manual? The PHB has a confused idea of what a 'beast' is for the purpose of Wildshape. There are very few CR2+ 'beasts', and the AC of the higher beasts does not scale very well. She peaks at level 5, with a couple of bumps along the way to level 20.

I want argue, she is not limited to a 'beast' identified in the Monster Manual, but any beast-like 'creature'. The PHB has a confused view of Wildshape, and this is why....

The rules for Wildshape include a limitation based on CR, rather than size. You must choose circle of the moon to Wildshape above CR1. She must have seen the creature, to be able to shift (this gives the DM discretion).


'Beast' or beast-like 'creature'
The PHB has a confused idea of what the 5e Moon Druid may shift in to. Much of the rules of Wildshape refer to 'beast', which seem to suggest the only shapes available are anything identified in the Monster Manual as a 'beast'. However, one of the limitations of wild shaping is that Legendary or Lair abilities of a 'creature' may not be used. There is no 'beast' which has a Legendary Ability or a 'Lair Ability'. These concepts only belong to monsters, other than 'beasts', so why is it there? ... Because the Druid can shape in to any beast-like 'creature', not just 'beasts'.

Thoughts? Comments?
(May be worth being a separate thread)
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