[RPG] LMOP: what beasts live in Neverwinter Wood


I'm DM'ing for the first time, for a group of first-time players. I chose the LMOP-campaign because it would be the easiest both for them as for me.

This week, we had our first session. 3 of the player-characters got humiliated (mainly because of bad rolls, but still… it was funny), but one player, who was a druid, was the star-player, killing 3 of the 4 monsters in the first encounter (I'm trying to be vague enough to avoid spoilers).

This druid will play a Moon Circle druid at level 2, which is (so I read elsewhere on SE) the most overpowered subclass in 5e.

We talked a while about how Wild Shape worked, and how strong it was, but after a while I noticed something that we both somehow missed all the time:

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your action to magically assume the shape of a beast that you have seen before.

So the druid must have seen the beast before. I guessed that this would mean that the character must encounter the beast while playing, before it can shapeshift into it (when playing RAW). However, the player argued that in her lore it says that she lived in Neverwinter woods all her life, and that she would have seen lots of creatures already. I have to admit, this makes a lot of sense.

So… how should I handle this? Is she allowed to shapeshift into any creature of the list? Or is it required for her to see them during the adventure?

Or… what I was thinking: maybe I should make a list of creatures that we can assume roam around in Neverwinter woods, and that she can use. (For example: we can expect wolves, but probably not camels…) I looked for resources on this, but can only find this information for plants. Not animals.

Best Answer

I recommend finding yourself a copy of Xanathar's Guide to Everything and referring to the Learning Beast Shapes tables that start on page 24.

They detail what animals a Druid will have most likely seen in their life, depending on the environment they grew up in.

For instance, a Druid that grew up in the Neverwinter Woods could refer to the Forest table on page 25 for a list of animals and their CR ratings.

Please note, I won't be including that list here due to copyright reasons.