[RPG] Does Wild Shape actually allow [Monster] feats

dnd-3.5edruidfeatsgm-techniqueswild-shape

Background

I have never had a problem with Druids in my games take things such as, Multiattack, Improved Multiattack, and Improved Natural Attack. However, I reached a 'scratch my head' moment whenever a player, who loves wolves, decided on specializing in wolf forms.

She embraced the whole Trip attack thing, and I fully supported her build. However, she wanted the archtypical 'intimidating wolf howl' and saw Mighty Roar, and Greater Mighty Roar in Savage Species.

Wolf Howl


Problem

Mighty Roar [Monstrous]

Prerequisite: Animal or magical beast; Large size.

Greater Mighty Roar [Monstrous]

Prerequisite: Animal or magical beast; Large size, Mighty Roar.

The prerequisites… Animal or magical beast. I told her, "But you aren't an animal, and you don't 'turn' into an animal, you retain the humanoid type."

Her reply was, "Well, you let me have Improved Natural Attack, and as a humanoid I have no natural attack."

She had me speechless.


Question: Does Wild Shape actually allow Monster feats mentioned above? Why or why not?

Best Answer

[Monster] feats vs. [Monstrous] feats

Yes, these are different things. Which is absurd, and a terrible choice on Wizards part.

Monster Feats

These feats apply to abilities most commonly found amongst monsters or are related to monsters.

Monstrous Feats

Only creatures with a monstrous form or one or more monstrous abilities may select these feats. Monstrous forms are those that are unavailable to normal humanoid and animal creatures, including but not limited to extra appendages, nonstandard appendages (such as tentacles or a tail), supernatural abilities, and spell-like abilities. With your DM’s permission, you may be able to choose monstrous feats for your character if your character acquired unusual abilities through transformation or by advancing in a prestige class.

Monster feats are from the Monster Manual and are so-called just because Wizards assumed that monsters were the most likely ones to want them; they have no special requirements and PCs are allowed to take them. This includes Improved Natural Attack.

Monstrous feats were introduced by Savage Species, and as you can see, have extremely vague and ill-defined requirements. In particular, monstrous features are “unavailable to normal humanoid creatures” but include both spell-like abilities and supernatural abilities, which are not at all unusual in humanoid creatures. Then there’s mention of being allowed to take them if you transformed or took a prestige class, but no mention of what happens if you had those features without doing so. Savage Species is not a well-written book.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that Wild Shape probably qualifies the druid for [Monstrous] feats anyway, so long as you approve it as DM. The final issue is Mighty Roar, which has another requirement on top of being Monstrous: it requires Animal or Magical Beast type. Why the authors felt they needed another requirement on top of those from Monstrous, I couldn’t say, but they did. As you note, Wild Shape does not change type. And you are correct to make a distinction between this and Improved Natural Attack; INA does not require any particular type.

But again, Savage Species is a poorly-written book. If the druid is willing to accept that they’ll only get to use Mighty Roar while using Wild Shape, I strongly feel it should absolutely be allowed.