Quick Look: Skwirl’s Wild Shape Cards for 5E.
Designer: Aaron Miller
Artists: Aaron Miller
Publisher: Self Published
Year Published: Slated for delivery September 2023
173 backers pledged $11,235 to help bring this project to life between –
While playing my druid, Skwirl, I needed something handy for my wild shaping ability. I couldn’t find anything so, I put my talents to use and began designing and illustrating my own. In 2022 I released the Core set of Wild Shape cards via Kickstarter. And as promised I worked on the additional Ready Reference Cards and Tokens I’m presenting to you here.
I’ve also added a few more guest illustrators to the list. Along with Tom Babbey and Owen Weber, I’ve added the fantastic talents of Allie Irwin and Crystal Sully.
I seldom get a chance to be a PC in the world of 5E being that most of my time is spent DM’ing. Whenever I get the opportunity, I will usually roll a Barbarian or Paladin as a first choice. Most of the times it is safe to say I will never roll a caster type such as a Wizard or Sorcery due to the overwhelming number of spells and meta-magic feats one needs to maintain a very thorough awareness of—both in terms of rules and applicability. And normally, I would place Druids in this category (though for an entirely different reason!).
To be perfectly honest, the last time I played a Druid in DnD was in fact during the days of 4E. I know this particular edition had a lot of its own detractors, but I will say that I found Druids in this context to be the easiest to ever play due to a much smaller pool of available Spells and abilities to use during Gameplay (relative to 5E).
Fast forward to the Age of 5E DnD and you will find that I still have not managed to roll or play a 5E Druid. While one possible excuse may revolve around the fact that they have access to many more spells than they did in 4E (which can be cumbersome to maintain knowledge of for sure), the fact that I own all of the Druid Spell cards from Gale Force 9 should have been the final nail in the coffin for my reluctance to play as Druids in 5E…
But yet even with this helpful extra commodity, I still haven’t had the courage to pull the trigger and roll the proper character.
Because while I may have the issues of Spells accounted for with my deck of Gale Force 9 Cards , there is also the dilemma of the Druid Wild Shape, which in 5E, is an entirely other deterrent unto itself.
To put it simply, in 5E it is a very big chore to page through the Monster Manual and find the proper animals and creatures you can Shape Shift into—in the Monster Manual, these are not listed in any particular way that is meaningful for a Druid, as in theory these creatures need to be sorted according to their Challenge Rating so that they may be selected based on the Druid’s actual level using a relatively simple formula. The chore is keeping things organized and easy-to-access. And short of making my own cheat sheets, there is no simple way to deal with this, as this would involve porting over stats and abilities for over 50 types of mobs.
Thankfully, I did come across something for those who are facing a similar dilemma to that of my own : Skwirl’s Wild Shape Cards.
These should be the answer for anyone who has been struggling to keep up with all of the options available to Druids.
I was sent a deck of 50 Wild Shape cards to review, and at a glance, I can say just about everything is positive. I will say that the art style depicted on the front struck me as a bit simplistically odd at first, but I grew into it and found it rather personally charming as time wore on, especially as I began to see similarities to Asian art styles such as that of Yoshitaka Amano of Final Fantasy fame.
The most helpful observation I had is that (unlike the GF9 cards), the print with relevant statistical information for each Wild Shape is not too small , and is much more legible than other products I have used. Moreover, the cards are all color coded on the front so it is easy to tell at a glance whether the animal or creatures is land, water or air based in terms of their mobility or primary mode of movement.
It is also supremely facile to sort the cards by their CR rating, with everything ranging from a clearly visible 1/8 level all the way up to a 6.
Also included are the animal’s special abilities and attacks, along (of course) with the aforementioned Stats for Strength, Dexterity, etc…
Now normally, this by itself would have me sold, but there is one other thing that I found lent me an extra incentive to praise the product. And I know that some of the “rules lawyers” out there may be adverse to this, but I was instantly enamored with some of the extra thematic touches and flourishes creator Aaron Miller added to some of the animal cards in terms of their abilities. While not every animal has these, some cards have an asterisk denoting a special thematic ability that was given to the creature should the DM and Players agree that this would be a sensible and viable addition for the creature to have. For example, a player who has shifted into a shark may gain advantage on rolls to find bleeding prey in the water, or a crocodile may gain advantage on stealth checks in water or swampy terrain if not moving (Just a Log).
Personally, I find these additions very welcoming, certainly lending me extra incentive for trying out a Druid.
All in all, Skwirl’s Wild Shape Cards has reinvigorated my desire to roll a 5E Druid. I know that I have tried to roll one before, but the intimidating number of options available to Druids has always made this an impossibility for me given my current time constraints.
Armed with this resource (and combined with the others that I have), I find myself in the best position ever to give the 5E Druid a shot, because this has been on my bucket list for a long time!
Find out more HERE.
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Jazz Paladin- Reviewer
Jazz Paladin is an eccentric at heart — When he is not learning to make exotic new foods at home, such as Queso Fresco cheese and Oaxacan molé, he is busy collecting vintage saxophones, harps, and other music-related paraphernalia. An avid music enthusiast, when he is not pining over the latest board games that are yet-to-be-released, his is probably hard at work making jazzy renditions of classic/retro video game music tunes as Jazz Paladin on Spotify and other digital music services.