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Hello,

First of all, my main language is Dutch, so my apologies for the many grammar mistakes that are about to happen. I'll try to make my English as understandable as possible.

I've been playing D&D 3.5 (CORE only) for half a year now, me and a group friends started playing it on my initiative and have been having a lot of fun. We're all new players and have tried our best to memorize the books, I've taken the DM role on me and is starting to understand the game better and better every week. I have a lot of problems understanding the druid though, for the past week I've done a thorough research and I'm getting close to understanding the class.

There are just a few things I need some help on and I hoped this awesome website could help me with that, there are also a few non-druid related questions I'd like to ask.

I do realize that some questions I ask might be grey areas (meaning there are no rules defined for it) if this happens I'd like to have your expert opinion on how you would think of a fair solution to the problem.

DRUID
1. Animal companion barding, how does it work?
Based on the following info:
PHB 123 Armor for unusual creatures
http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Barding

When equipping an animal with barded full plate armor, will it receive the acp on his attack or not? I've seen people talk about trained for war option, but it does not exist, except for the Riding Dog (stated in MM272 under the riding dog entry). But it says NOTHING about barding.

It is really hard for me to find any extra info on barding in the core books, right now I'm assuming because it doesn't say animal companions will receive acp that it actually does not receive acp. The only penalty noted is the cost penalty on page 123 of the PHB and the weight penalty noted on http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Barding (why can't I find this back in the core books, I thought that everything SRD on this site was supposed to be core)

When scorching through the internet, looking for advice I've seen several posts stating a different solution, I was hoping there would be some explicit rules somewhere in the core books telling me how to handle barding an animal, if they don't exist I'd like your expert opinion.

Also; what is training for war? And can any animal companion be trained for war?


2. Wildshaping and magic armor?
PHB 37 Wild Shape
PHB 263 Polymorph
PHB 197 Alter Self
DMG 213 Size and magic items
DMG 214 Magic items on the body
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031125a (animal item slots)

So, when wildshaping all your equipment melds into your body. DMG 213 notes that magic items adjust in size to fit the user, does this mean that magic items do not meld into the body?

Also after looking at the Alter Self description in the PHB on page 197 I can be pretty sure that you should be able to wear some equipment after wildshaping in let's say a bear. "Any new items you wore in the assumed form and can't wear in your normal form fall off and land at your feet".
So my questions are:

How do I know which item slots I can use (are the item slots mentioned in this weblink CORE only? Are they reliable? http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031125a

Do magic items/armor grow along with your wildshape ability?

If you have a magic armor piece made for humanoids creature and you try to equip it on a non-humanoid creature does it grow accordingly so it will fit, like in the description on PHB 213, which means if I would find a fullplate body +1 for a halfling an medium half-orc would be able to wear it (it says so on PHB 213) but does it mean that my animal companion could also wear magic armor without barding it first?

Let's say armor doesn't grow along with your wildshape, would it be possible for my animal companion to have a set of barded equipment made for my wildshape form and an extra set of magic items which my bear would be able to equip? Also, how long would it take for me to remove all my magic items, I can't seem to find any info about donning magic items, because if you would remove all your magic items before wildshaping and drop them on the ground, then equip them you would keep the stats.

I've read about WILD armor, but it's a +3 enhancement on your magic items which in my opinion is not worth it if you can just have an extra set of items, or drop your items before wildshaping, or if your magic items simply grow with you.


3. Animal companion full attack round with claw as primary weapon
This is a tip I got from some-one online:
By RAW, only one natural weapon is primary, and the rest of your natural weapons are secondary. Claws are usually an exception, in that if you have multiple claw attacks, they are sometimes treated as all primary attacks (no BAB penalty), but that has to be stated explicitly somewhere, either in the "Full Attack:" section of the stat block, or in the description of whatever ability/feat/spell/item gave you the claws.

Is this somewhere confirmed in the core books? It actually does make sense, because when looking at the Dire Tiger his rule actually applies. I just can't find it back anywhere.
http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Dire_Tiger    (the 2 claws keep the +20 against melee option)

4. Dragonhide armor
http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Dragonhide
Is dragonhide armor considered as an armor set? So could the dragonhides be crafted as masterwork and then be enchanted into magic items? Also, what kind of tools would I need to farm the dragonhide from a dead dragon? If there are any specific tools I'd like to keep them with me.

MISC
1. An online database for core-only?
http://www.dandwiki.com/

Next to reading the core books, I've been using http://www.dandwiki.com/ to quickly find some terms online. I've always thought that everything noted as SRD: within this website is core only, but recently I've started to doubt this. When doing research for barding for unusual creatures I found out that the http://www.dandwiki.com/ website had a table that I could not find in the PHB or DMG or MM. Maybe I just haven't looked well enough, but I was wondering if you have any knowledge about this site. And if there are any other online databases which state the D&D 3.5 core rules I'd like to know them if possible.

2. Excel Sheets?
I have been using Heroforge and Animal Companion Forge found within this link http://www.nzcomputers.net/heroforge/default35.asp
Heroforge has been working flawlessly for me and it's been a great experience, I was about to say the same for animal companion forge, but I don't trust it anymore. When I looked at the attacks an ape received in the monster manual it didn't correspond with the attacks the excel sheet would give it. Because of this I can't trust the sheet anymore.
These sheets are amazing for us beginners, because it calculates everything for us, numerous times there have been occasions that we learned new things through these sheets because it calculated features we would otherwise forget.

My question is:
Do you know of any programmed Excel Sheet that is more accurate when it comes to Animal Companions than Animal Companion Forge? (we're looking for CORE only here)





That was a lot of text, I think I know everything else there is to know about druids next to this. Questions 1 and 2 are of most importance of me, but I hope you can answer all my questions like I've seen you answer them to others before. I think I have the best chance of finding answers on this website and I am deeply impressed by the knowledge you've shown by answering other people's questions.
I need to know how a druid works because I am DMing a party with a druid in it and I am planning on playing a druid in a different campaign (both CORE only), therefore I feel responsible for bringing that knowledge to the table.
Thanks for reading this whole chunk of text, I'll be eagerly waiting for your expert opinion!

Answer
Hi, Robbert-Jan, and thanks for the questions.

Because of the length, I am going to have to answer them in stages. First of all, congratulations on starting to play D&D and being brave enough to be the Dungeon Master (DM) for your friends. If done well, it is a harder job than most people realise, and it should not look hard while you are doing it (!) You need to be able to mix extensive preparation with the ability to improvise on the spur of the moment. It is immensely creative and rewarding. The one irony is that if you are doing it right, your friends/players will have immense fun without ever realising how much work you have put in (!).

The answers I will give are mostly the ‘official’ ones, from the D&D v3.5 rules. In some cases I will give my opinion, either where the rules don’t cover it, or where I disagree and find something else works better in practice. However, I will clearly say which is which.

I would sound a note of caution about your choice of website for reference; dandwiki.com is a useful resource, but it is not the ‘official’ SRD and it contains a degree of ‘homebrew’ material. The official D&D v3.5 SRD is maintained by Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) here; http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srd35

You may also like to refer to my previous answers on Druids and Animal Companions.
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Role-Playing-Games-1436/2009/12/D-D-3-5-1.htm
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Role-Playing-Games-1436/2009/12/D-D-3-5-2.htm

Q1. Animal companion barding, how does it work? When equipping an animal with barded full plate armor, will it receive the acp on his attack or not? Also; what is training for war? And can any animal companion be trained for war?

Barding (PHB 131) is armour for mounts. It assumes that the mount is a creature such as a horse, riding dog, or griffon that can easily be ridden by a humanoid. There seems to be an unwritten assumption that any mount would have Proficiency with all types of armor, and hence would not suffer the “Nonproficient with Armor Worn” penalties on p122. Therefore, there is no penalty such as ACP applied to the mounts attacks (if it has any). Apart from applying the ACP to skill checks such as Move Silently, the main negative impacts are to speed, or by the armor being too heavy to allow flight. You may feel this is illogical, given the more extensive rules on armor for characters, but these are the core official rules. You are always free to make your own house rule.

If you read the rules on the skill “Ride” (PHB 80) you can see the rules about riding a creature in combat. Unless the mount is trained to it (normally a warhorse, war pony or riding dog), a Control Mount in battle check (DC 20) must be made every round. A mount not so trained can be trained to Combat Riding using the “Handle Animal” skill, see p74 to 75. See also “Mounted Combat” on p 157. Also, any animal can be trained to engage in combat ‘tricks’ at your command. See p75 and “Train an animal for a purpose: Fighting”.

I think what you are trying to ask is if you can put armor on the druid’s animal companion (not a mount) and have it engage in battle. This is not really what ‘barding’ was intended for, and I imagine most animals would find armor extremely unnatural. Likewise, blacksmiths and craftsmen are experienced at producing barding for horses (and dogs in Halfling communities). But they may not be familiar with producing armor for a bear or a badger, for example.

As a DM, if a player of a druid in my regular D&D campaign asked me for armor/barding for an animal which is not a mount, I’d probably make a ruling like this: an animal must be trained for combat or fighting in at least some way, to provide a logic for why it would accept armor to start with, and, for my own sanity, to avoid the nonproficiency rules. Then I’d rule that they would have to specially commission a craftsman to make it for them. I’d base the cost on how much barding for a similar sized mount would cost and adding say 15-25%, unless of course everyone in your campaign does this, in which case cost would be normal. I suspect there are a lack of such rules connected to barding, as this is not the purpose that was intended for it. If you disagree with my ideas in this paragraph, feel free to make up your own.

So, following this logic, you should be able to armor a bear animal companion and not worry about nonproficiency penalties (!).
-------------------------------------

Part 2.

Q2. When wildshaping all your equipment melds into your body. DMG 213 notes that magic items adjust in size to fit the user, does this mean that magic items do not meld into the body?  

A: Not all items will meld into your body, only those that cannot be worn in the new shape. Not all items will adjust in size to fit – most items of magical clothing will, but read DMG p213 again. For example, it is generally not the case that weapons and armour will change size (although some examples do, these are the exception). The guiding principle is, if a worn magic item could be worn on the body the druid has changed into, then it is still worn, otherwise it is absorbed and is non-functional.

Also after looking at the Alter Self description in the PHB on page 197 I can be pretty sure that you should be able to wear some equipment after wildshaping in let's say a bear. "Any new items you wore in the assumed form and can't wear in your normal form fall off and land at your feet". So my questions are: How do I know which item slots I can use #are the item slots mentioned in this weblink CORE only? Are they reliable? http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/re/20031125a

A: That’s an official WOTC site, so yes, that’s the official list of slots for different shaped creatures. As to which ones are usable for your character, it depends what form they are turning into. As you mention a bear, I’d say that’s pretty much covered in that list. Note that the “falling off and landing at your feet” rule is only for new items that you picked up while in wild shape and cannot be worn in your natural shape. This does not apply the other way round. An example might be that your druid was wearing hide armor, and then turned into a horse. The armor for a humanoid will not fit a horse, so it is absorbed. While in the shape of a horse, your druid is outfitted with barding. Upon turning back into a humanoid form, the barding would fall off and land at the druid’s feet. His original hide armor would now reappear and would automatically be worn.

Do magic items/armor grow along with your wildshape ability? If you have a magic armor piece made for humanoids creature and you try to equip it on a non-humanoid creature does it grow accordingly so it will fit, like in the description on PHB 213, which means if I would find a fullplate body +1 for a halfling an medium half-orc would be able to wear it #it says so on PHB 213# but does it mean that my animal companion could also wear magic armor without barding it first?

A: Honestly, it depends. But for most magic armor, in my opinion, the answer is no, it does not grow and change shape for a different form. If you want magic armor (or barding) on an animal companion, I think you are going to have to pay for it to be made especially, or find some on a well equipped, similarly sized and shaped monster.

Let's say armor doesn't grow along with your wildshape, would it be possible for my animal companion to have a set of barded equipment made for my wildshape form and an extra set of magic items which my bear would be able to equip? Also, how long would it take for me to remove all my magic items, I can't seem to find any info about donning magic items, because if you would remove all your magic items before wildshaping and drop them on the ground, then equip them you would keep the stats.  

A. That won’t really help. If the item is wearable and usable in your new form, it will automatically (magically!) adjust and be worn in the equivalent place. If it cannot, then it will be absorbed. You could drop it, but since you cannot wear it in your new form, I don’t think that helps. Removing items: as a guideline, generally I’d assume a move action to remove or don a single item, and that this can be done as part of another move action (e.g. you pull off your magic ring while walking 30’, or the gnome rogue walks up to the mysterious statue to examine it, whilst taking her Goggles of Minute Seeing out of their case and slipping them over her eyes). Note there are already rules for getting armor on and off.

I've read about WILD armor, but it's a +3 enhancement on your magic items which in my opinion is not worth it if you can just have an extra set of items, or drop your items before wildshaping, or if your magic items simply grow with you.  

A: The Wild quality for armor costs 9,000 GP or whatever a +3 enhancement costs in your game. It allows you to keep all the benefits of your normal suit of armor (including magical ones) when you change into a different shape, with the added bonus of the armor (not the character)becoming invisible. That’s probably cheaper than doubling up on items and definitely a lot faster than trying to drop a lot of items, change shape, pick items up and re-equip them, definitely not a good idea in combat! In any event, I don’t think your idea would work, as any items that would still work will adjust and those that don’t couldn’t be worn by the new form anyway. Normally armor will not change with you, but would be absorbed. The Wild quality effectively gives you the best of both worlds.

PART 3

Animals, including Animal Companions, primary attack, etc: If you read MM p6, 'Attack' and 'Full Attack' this will tell you how to read a creature's stat block to understand what is considered their primary natural weapon (e.g. claws). In a full attack by a creature with multiple natural attack forms (e.g. claws, bite), the secondary weapon is at a -5 penalty, unless the creature has the Multiattack feat, when the penalty is -2.

Dragonhide Armor: Biggest challenge? Kill your dragon! Apart from that, I believe the tools needed to harvest the hide would come under Artisan's Tools (Leatherworker, Hunter, or something similar) without having to be too specific. See PHB pp129-130.

For rules on how to deal with the hide and what you can make of it, see DMG pp283-284. This tells you the type and size of armour you can make, depending on how big your dragon was.

HOUSE RULE: Because killing a dragon is a very rare event in my D&D 3.5 'Forgotten Realms' game, "Heroes of Faerûn", I tend to spice this up a bit by adding in a small amount of resistance to whatever the dragon was immune to (usually their own breath weapon). So, the heroes managed to kill a red dragon in the hills above the Dalelands. The dwarf armorer made dragonhide armour from the scales. I added in resistance to fire 5 (wearing the armor means the character ignores the first 5 points of damage from fire each round). But this is just my personal rule. It is not official.

Excel Sheets: Apologies, I don't think I can help with recommending a particular product or sheet above others. I don't tend to use them myself, as I have found in the past that each has limitations and doesn't include all the options from the various supplements that my players want to use.

I think that's everything covered now. Apologies for the slight delay in getting round to all this!

Happy Gaming!

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I can provide advice and answer rules queries on many tabletop roleplaying games. General advice on character & plot design for all games. Specific advice for rules queries on Classic D&D (BECMI up to Master level), D&D v3.5, Pathfinder RPG, AD&D2e, d20, Doctor Who (FASA) (possibly also Adventures in Time & Space - Cubicle 7), Gangbusters, Top Secret/S.I. (incl. Commando, Agent 13 and FREELancers), Classic Traveller, Spycraft, Stargate: SG-1, T&T (v5 & v7), Monsters! Monsters!, MSPE, GURPS (3e only), Chill (both versions), C&S (2e only), TimeMaster, Star Ace and Star Trek (1980`s FASA version only). Will also try best to partially answer any questions on original Top Secret, Castle Falkenstein (original and GURPS versions), James Bond 007, Colonial Gothic, The Babylon Project, Palladium's Beyond The Supernatural, 7th Sea, TimeLords, & Lejentia - although I am much less experienced with these particular systems. SORRY - I can't answer queries on computer, video or console games.

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