Going Wild

For some reason, lots of folks seem to be talking about the druid’s Wild Shape ability right now. So I thought I’d talk a bit about how druid magic and wild shape connect in #CORE20RPG.

(TL/DR: Wild shape forms start with smaller creatures useful for recon and scouting, and you choose whether and how to power up to larger animals, wondrous beasts (*cough* owlbears *cough*), plant creatures, and even dragons.)

Chapter 10 Excerpt — Wild Shape


Like everything else in the CORE20 system, channeling druidas magic (the moniker the game uses for the magic of nature) is a choice you make for your character. The baseline feat that allows a character to channel magic is called Eldritch Spirit. It serves as the prerequisite for the game’s spellcasting feats, but also allows characters to channel magic in other ways.

Druidas spellcasting is a common path that a character channeling nature magic with Eldritch Spirit can take, learning to shape the power of spells that interact with and manipulate nature’s innate power, from converse with animals to entangle, barkskin to control weather, and more. Taking a druidas creed is another option, granting a character unique magical abilities themed around a specific aspect of nature — air or earth, fire or water, frostlands or mire, and many more. But perhaps the most personal path of druidas magic is that of wild shape, allowing a character to undergo a physical transformation into a creature of the wild world. 

As with everything in the CORE20 system, the Wild Shape feat that grants the wild shape ability is a distinct option that feeds into other options, but which isn’t automatically tied to other parts of the game. Among other things, this means that a character channeling druidas magic doesn’t need to learn spellcasting in order to gain the ability to wild shape, or vice versa. 

One character who takes Eldritch Spirit for druidas magic might be a dedicated caster with maximum spell potential. Another might be a warrior of nature fighting against those who despoil the wilderness, and leading that fight in animal form. A third character might combine the two options if that fits a player’s concept for the character. But there’s no distinct advantage to choosing one of those paths over the others. It’s only ever about who you want your character to be.

When you first take Wild Shape, the range of forms you can take are focused on smaller animals useful for observation and reconnaissance, getting into tight spaces, and so forth. But right from the start, you can choose to invest additional feat slots to gain the ability to wild shape into larger combat-focused creatures. And as your character’s experience with using wild shape grows, other options for chosen forms open up to them — including the ability to adopt useful bestial features while the character is in their true form, to take on the forms of larger and more powerful animals, to adopt the shape of plant creatures, and even to take on the forms of wondrous beasts (*cough* owlbears *cough*) or dragons at the apex of wild shape mastery.

(Illustration by Kaek)