One of my all-time favorite RPG characters is my currently 7th level female druid named “Yleris.” Yleris is a custom race that I worked with the original D&D 3.5 GM on. She is the magical child of a male elf and a female dryad, brought into this world as a special prayer by the dryad to mother nature herself. As a half-dryad Yleris is not tied to an oak tree, although she suffers certain penalties for having been removed from her grove. As part of the original campaign plot her grove (including her mother dryad and mother oak tree) had been destroyed by raiding goblins and humans.
Well, time goes on and we mostly play Pathfinder now instead of D&D 3.5, so I am in the process of converting her into a Pathfinder druid.
The problem is that Pathfinder druids are not nearly as flexible as 3.5 druids were. Yleris, due to her dryad heritage, is a rather unusual druid anyway. Instead of focusing on summoning creatures to fight for her, or wildshaping into insanely powerful animal forms and charging into melee, she has always followed her dryad upbringing and has been essentially a bow-based ranged combat fighter, when not casting spells. This works out pretty well in 3.5 because there are a lot of ranged ray attack spells that druids can use, so her ranged bow attributes, items and feats can be used with her ray attacks, making her a very effective ray-based artillery combat character. Probably too effective actually.
In core Pathfinder druids get virtually NO ranged ray attack spells, so her combat effectiveness will drop dramatically after the conversion.
However, I am attempting to work with the two GMs in whose campaigns she operates to see if I can come up with a specialized dryad-based druid archetype that will restore some of her ranged combat effectiveness.
My initial idea is to have her be able to cast certain wizard/sorcerer ray attack spells, but give up certain druid spells in return. Or perhaps give up her wild shape ability in exchange for the ray spells. In the end she would retain her uniqueness and would continue to be true to her concept, but eventually these sorts of changes might make her so different that she may not be recognizable as a druid at all…
I’ll let you know what the final resolution of this conundrum is…