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Old Screeds

Zeoll [15 February 2008] My druid/bard/seer wemic character.

I'm currently playing two wemics in online play-by-post games. The elder, Zeoll, started as a second edition priest, but in 3E I morphed him into a bard/druid. Now, bard/druid has got to be one of the weakest multiclass options. Let me tell you how I made my wemic bard/druid into a decently interesting and playable character.

ZeollFirst off, note that this character uses a +0 level adjustment liontaur with no racial levels or hit dice. That makes the character much more viable as a multiclassed caster, since every level adds a caster level to at least one class.

Zeoll is not a power-gamer's dream. He does not leverage the wemic's large size, nor his two natural paw attacks, nor his favored ranger class. The obvious synergies for a bard/druid are pretty poor:

  • The druid/bard can cast all spells in light armor -- though for a druid, that means padded or leather armor.
  • Bards need high charisma for casting; druids like it for Charisma-based skills and Wild Empathy. Diplomacy is a good skill for both.
  • For a caster, you get decent attacks from both classes. And you get very good saves with a wide selection of skills.

But the bottom line is that a bard5/druid5 is significantly underpowered in the spell-casting arena -- especially versus, say, a cleric10 or wizard10. On the other hand, a bard4/druid3/mystic theurge 3, while a better caster, has crappier saves, skills, attacks, AND loses bardic music advancement and has no wildshape.

My solution was to create a Seer prestige class. Basically, take the Mystic Theurge, limit spellcasting to ONLY divinations and enchantments (druids and clerics can spontaneously cast summons and cures; clerics can cast domain spells), add a few divination special abilities, advance bardic music, and offer 4 skill ranks per level.

Allowing only divinations and enchantments really kneecaps the druid. Bards are mostly fine -- their best spells are divinations and enchantments. But I think I've made the combination work, by putting together a portfolio of combat and non-combat strategies. Here's how.

Strategy One: Enchantments. Zeoll really has gotten the most out of his bard enchantments, especially Charm Person and (in the future) Charm Monster. Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus in Enchantments boosts his DCs by two. A high charisma, boosted at level 8, and a +6 cloak, gives him a Chr 24, for a +7 on save DCs. Excellent diplomacy and bluff skills let him better coax, fool, and trick charmed creatures into doing what he wants.

Druid enchantments (Charm, Hold, Dominate Animal) work the same way against animals.

Other non-charm enchantment spells are quite useful in combat too. Hideous Laughter is a potent first level bard spell. Calm Emotions can take a number of foes out of the battle while your party fights the ones who are not calmed. Confusion works well in the same niche here too. Zeoll uses his Bardsong fascination and suggestion with this strategy as well, before hostilities reach the shedding blood stage.

Strategy Two: Summonings and Buffing. Some enemies are immune to mental attack -- undead, constructs, plants, and others. Zeoll uses Summon Nature's Ally spells to call creatures to fight these foes. Zeoll uses Inspire Courage to buff allies and summoned allies. And Heroism and Good Hope are great buffing spells too.

This strategy is a good one to use on the defensive. Zeoll has a Ring of Invisibility, and can pursue a summon/buff strat while remaining unseen.

Another aspect to this, as yet unexplored by Zeoll, is allies. With his Charisma, the leadership feat will grant Zeoll some choice followers. Making a few Bags of Tricks (the better ones) will give him longer-term animal allies. Soon he'll have the Charm Monster spell, with its duration in days ... which makes Zeoll think about converting monsters long term ... maybe with Helms of Opposite Alignment.

Strategy Three: Weapons in Combat. As a last resort, Zeoll has proficiency in two-handed sword, and he has a +1 2H sword to use in extremis. This is a legacy of his 2E days. A missile weapon rounds out his options.

Strategy Four: Investigation. Zeoll has maxed his Diplomacy and Perform, and has very nice mods in Gather Info, Sense Motive, Bluff, and Spot. So he is not a bad investigator on his own. And he uses agents to good effect. He knows three of the four elemental languages, and often sends small earth, water, and air elementals out as scouts. He often asks plants and animals for information. And charmed creatures are also good sources of info. Add in a selection of divination spells -- all the druidic ones, plus a few bard spells. And Seers have a few ways to find out things.

Strategy Five: Party Mouthpiece. With maxed ranks in Diplomacy, synergy bonuses from Bluff and Sense Motive, and a +7 Chr bonus, 8th level Zeoll has a +22 modifier. His Perform is also maxed out too. So talking with NPCs keeps Zeoll front and center, especially out of combat.

Strategy Six: Sneaking. With his invisibility ring, Zeoll not only travels unseen, but with his decent Dexterity (modified 15) and racial +2 on move silent checks, he can get along with some subtlety. Add an Elixer of Sneakiness, and Zeoll is a decent scouter as well -- especially with his druidic abilities to pass without trace and without hinderance through natural barriers. Zeoll is thinking about adding Silent Moves to his armor.

Strategy Seven: Crafting Magic Items. The Wold has a house rule that bundles most of the PHB item creation feats into one feat. (The reason for this is that there is a universal magic shop that makes it easy to buy any core rules magic item and to sell loot. If you can buy any item you want, why make it?) Zeoll has put this to great use, spending xp and gold freely so that he has better items than most PCs at his level (because he only pays half price). That has given him his +6 Cloak of Charisma, his Ring of Invisibility, and several other items, including a magic wreath worn on his head, like the Greek Olympic heroes did. Check out Zeoll's Berrywreath.

The big bottleneck in crafting is time. If your DM keeps the game moving fast, you may never have 30-plus days you need to make a Cloak fo Charisma. If so, you might want to get a Ring of Sustenance -- sleep only two hours a night, and use the night hours for crafting. Zeoll has not done this, but a pal of his has, and Zeoll has admired the utility. But a seer's divinations come in part from dreams, so Zeoll does not want to short-change himself on the sleep front.

Bottom Line. Zeoll has a range of abilities and options, none super-potent, but all effective given the right circumstances. By careful juggling of his strategies to suit the needs of the moment, Zeoll almost always has some way to contribute.

Wemicness. Now, nothing I have really said so far would not apply to a human or elf druid/bard multiclass. So why is Zeoll a wemic? What is it about him that I do as a wemic that I could not do with a character of another race. The short answer is role play. In Zeoll's campaign, the Taur races -- centaurs, minotaurs, liontaurs -- are at odds with each other, and often at war. Zeoll's party, a mixed Taur party, has the sacred mission of bring peace to the Taur races and showing that all Taurs are children of the same god.

So in the goals of the game, everything is Taur-focused. In addition, Zeoll's character and personality are informed by his wemic nature. He is illiterate, and wilder than the other Taurs (well, he was in 2000 when the game started, but Zeoll over time has mellowed). He still has an accent. And his attitudes towards both Taurs and non-Taurs is very much influenced by his race. No, Zeoll would not be Zeoll as a human or an elf.

Visit Zeoll's home page and his current character sheet.

Home | This page last modified: 15 February 2008