[RPG] What does a D&D 3.5 druid get as a result of size changes during wild shape


A wild shaping druid will often change size category — for example, a human druid (medium size category) might change shape into a dog (small size category). The alternate form special ability on which wild shape in base simply says that the druid "gains the size of its new form" without specifying what that means. I'm trying to figure out exactly what all changes as a result.

  1. Is the Size Increases table from the section on improving monsters relevant? I suspect not, but I'm not sure.

  2. Does the druid get a bonus/penalty to their Hide skill, as per the Hide skill description?

  3. Does the druid gain a size bonus/penalty to attack, AC, and grapple per the Big and Little Creatures in Combat table?

  4. Does the druid's reach change?

The rules for this just seem to be scattered hither and yon.

Best Answer

Yes, the rules are scattered. Nevertheless, let's see what we can find out.

A Druid does not gain the bonuses to Strength, Dexterity, Constitution and Natural Armor listed on the Changes to Statistics by Size table. This is because the table is presented in the specific context of improving monsters by HD advancement. It does not apply in other contexts, such as a Druid taking the shape of another creature, or even an Animal Companion gaining bonus HD. It could be said that the Druid gains the "AC/Attack" bonus or penalty listed on the table, but that is because that column is just calculated from a table that is applicable - the Creature Size and Scale table.

The latter table is not restricted in scope as the Changes to Statistics by Size table. If I may dare say it, it is only logical that it isn't - these statistics are as basic as "Space".

Deriving from that table, we get answers to your specific questions:

  1. No, that table isn't relevant.
  2. Yes, the Druid's size modifier to hide changes.
  3. Yes, the Druid's attack, AC, and grapple modifiers change.
  4. Yes, the Druid's reach changes.

Note, however, that points 2-4 should already be factored into the statistics of the creature into which the Druid is Wild Shaping.