Here’s where it all begins, your journey into the world of druids. It is a world filled with ridiculously overpowered things that had no business existing, and with more bookkeeping than you can conceivably shake a stick at
The druid enjoys extraordinary versatility. Though she lacks the sheer healing power of the cleric, she makes up for it with additional offensive power, thanks to her spell selection and wild shape ability. A druid back up by another secondary healer (such as a paladin) can prove extremely valuable to a group of adventurers. Her animal companion also provides valuable melee combat support.
Well, to put it simply, a druid is everything. They can be a massive beat-stick, the party scout, and use diplomacy on a leader of a small town, and can do all of those things at the same time. In other words, they’re a standard tier one, capable of doing just about anything you could possibly think of, and a few things besides. Oftentimes, someone will come forth with a supposed weakness of the druid, thinking that they fall far short in versatility when compared to other tier ones, only managing their rank through sheer enemy bashing capability, only to find that their sought after ability is easily accessible.
Ability scores don’t exactly work the same on a druid as they do on a non-druid. For most classes, you assign your stats, and that’s just what your stats are. If you take low strength, then you’re just not going to be that great at whacking folks with a big stick, and low dexterity means that you’re just going to have to go second more of the time. For druids though, that’s not the case, due to wild shape and the animal companion. Wild shape is the more obvious cause of this phenomenon, out of the two, directly substituting your physical stats for those of another creature, and more importantly, doing so over durations that make those changed stats your effective primaries. The animal companion is pretty important too, however, as no matter how low you drop your stats, it always holds on to that static stat block.
This has some interesting ramifications on the rest of the game. The main result is that druids are a ridiculously single ability dependent, or SAD, class, verging on no ability dependent. This is one of the few classes in the game that can function off of nothing but 10’s and 11’s, capable of keeping up with casting at all levels but three with a focus on stat boosting, and a druid can even run on all 8’s, assuming you use a race (like anthropomorphic bat) to boost your wisdom. However, as a corollary to that, a druid doesn’t get much out of increasing base strength or dexterity, meaning that they need to use non-inherent bonuses to increase those stats.
Strength:(☆) Strength is terrible after you get wild shape, because it gets replaced. It’s merely quite bad before you get wild shape, because hitting enemies in the face isn’t the best use of your time.
Dexterity:(☆) This stat also gets replaced in a wild shape, so it’s not worth taking, but it’s alright before you get wild shape. Initiative and armor class are rather important, after all, as are ranged (touch) attack spells. Notably, dexterity gets somewhat better if you boost it in a non-inherent fashion, with an item or something, so that it sticks around.
Constitution:(☆☆) Wild shape doesn’t change your HP, so this stat is about as great for you as it is for everyone else. It’s technically a bit worse, because wild shape means that constitution won’t affect your fortitude saves and concentration check, but you’re so SAD that you’re still raising constitution higher than most classes. Constitution is never going to be as important as wisdom, but it’s still a very useful thing to have.
Intelligence:(☆☆☆) This is a great tertiary druid stat. Druids get a pretty solid skill list, which can be altered in several easily accessible ways, so you’re never going to want for things to put points into.
Wisdom:(☆☆☆☆) This is your stat. It makes you better at casting spells, and casting spells is the thing you do that is most governed by stats, so put your points here. Wisdom is pretty good outside of that main aspect too, increasing your will saves to crazy levels, granting solid scouting ability if you want it, and as you’re increasing the stat anyway, possibly boosting your AC by a lot with a monk’s belt.
Charisma:(☆☆☆) Druids have diplomacy on their list, along with wild empathy, so if you want to be the party face, you can pull that off reasonably well. You can also pick up intimidate through half-orc substitution levels, so if you’re going that route, this might be slightly better. Charisma is somewhat worse than intelligence, but it can make a solid tertiary stat if you so desire.