WotC's Nathan Stewart Reveals Ravnica's Druid Circle of Spores
  • WotC's Nathan Stewart Reveals Ravnica's Druid Circle of Spores


    A quick Ravnica update! During a live streamed show this week, WoC's Nathan Stewart showed off the Circle of Spores druid from the upcoming Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica. Thanks to the folks over at sageadvice.eu for grabbing screenshots!








    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Charlaquin's Avatar
      Charlaquin -
      Haha the changes to how Halo of Spores and Fungal Infestation are activated are exactly how I house ruled them for my player who played a Circle of Spores Druid! Changing the damage from 3 to a scaling damage die is a nice change. Not sure I understand the reason for changing it from Poison to Necrotic though, especially when the extra melee damage from the Symbiotic Entity is still Poison. Still, excellent revision of the subclass overall!
    1. TwoSix -
      I'll play it. As I said when the UA article came out, I love the fact they're pushing the envelope mechanically.
    1. AmerginLiath's Avatar
      AmerginLiath -
      He also seems to reveal the Order Domain from the glance at the paragraph beforehand...
    1. GrissTheGnome's Avatar
      GrissTheGnome -
      Quote Originally Posted by Charlaquin View Post
      Not sure I understand the reason for changing it from Poison to Necrotic though, especially when the extra melee damage from the Symbiotic Entity is still Poison.
      im pretty sure it’s an Easter egg for the MtG players. The fungus Druid is very flavored around Golgari, who in Magic are green and black mana. Poison is green, and Necrotic is Black in this case.
    1. Nick Hatfield's Avatar
      Nick Hatfield -
      I mentioned this on reddit, but I'll repeat it here.

      This feels like a subclass that is going to feel very bad to play at an actual table.

      Con saves are not a good thing to target, especially when the effect does nothing on a save. This is not a feature that is going to succeed very often.

      The melee attack adding poison damage is sad, because poison is the most resisted damage type in the game. In addition to that, there is no scaling since Druids never get extra attacks. It's like the Moon Druid level 2 boost without benefits later in the game.

      Lastly, the zombie feature is going to clash with Halo of Spores because both are competing for your reaction. In fights where you are fighting beasts or humanoids, you are going to have to forgo using Halo of Spores in order to have a chance to raise a zombie. Competing action economies like this make for messy gameplay.

      It looks like it will be very strong early game, but fall off heavily with levels to the point where you probably won't even want to be a melee fighter once you get Spreading Spores. Maybe that's ok, maybe it will be cool to have a character that starts as a melee fighter and transitions into a mage. However, I always read about how people only play up until level 10 or so. If that is the case then you will probably really like your first few levels and feel pretty weak by the end of the campaign.
    1. Charlaquin's Avatar
      Charlaquin -
      Quote Originally Posted by GrissTheGnome View Post
      im pretty sure it’s an Easter egg for the MtG players. The fungus Druid is very flavored around Golgari, who in Magic are green and black mana. Poison is green, and Necrotic is Black in this case.
      I guess that kinda makes sense.
    1. Zilong's Avatar
      Zilong -
      To be fair a lot of the poison immune/resistant things are undead, fiends, and constructs. Those don't necessarily show up in every campaign. Most humanoids take full damage and considering this is supposed to be a fairly urban-centric setting I'd guess humanoid foes will be common. Though if you like using constructs in cities, as I do, then that might be more of a problem since they are also immune. However, the occasional challenge to your character's fantastic archetype also provides some potentially interesting interactions with the world.
    1. UnknownDyson's Avatar
      UnknownDyson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Hatfield View Post
      I mentioned this on reddit, but I'll repeat it here.

      This feels like a subclass that is going to feel very bad to play at an actual table.

      Con saves are not a good thing to target, especially when the effect does nothing on a save. This is not a feature that is going to succeed very often.

      The melee attack adding poison damage is sad, because poison is the most resisted damage type in the game. In addition to that, there is no scaling since Druids never get extra attacks. It's like the Moon Druid level 2 boost without benefits later in the game.

      Lastly, the zombie feature is going to clash with Halo of Spores because both are competing for your reaction. In fights where you are fighting beasts or humanoids, you are going to have to forgo using Halo of Spores in order to have a chance to raise a zombie. Competing action economies like this make for messy gameplay.

      It looks like it will be very strong early game, but fall off heavily with levels to the point where you probably won't even want to be a melee fighter once you get Spreading Spores. Maybe that's ok, maybe it will be cool to have a character that starts as a melee fighter and transitions into a mage. However, I always read about how people only play up until level 10 or so. If that is the case then you will probably really like your first few levels and feel pretty weak by the end of the campaign.
      I like it, it's thematic and is a very unique iteration of the druid. I don't think WOTC goes into making subclasses thinking how can we make this the most overpowered choice?
    1. Nick Hatfield's Avatar
      Nick Hatfield -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnknownDyson View Post
      I like it, it's thematic and is a very unique iteration of the druid. I don't think WOTC goes into making subclasses thinking how can we make this the most overpowered choice?
      Of course they don't, but they should think about whether the player is going to have fun or not. I simply see a lot of unfun turns that go like this:

      DM: The enemy moves up next to you

      Player: I use Halo of Spores

      DM: It saves (because it's a CON save)

      Player: Oh... OK. Well it's my turn now, I attack and hit so it takes this much plus 1d6 poison

      DM: You strike it upside the head, but you notice the poison has little/no effect on it

      This has nothing to do with power levels. It's about making the player feel like they are doing something. If the main features of the class are unlikely to work (CON saves, poison damage) or you can only do one them (zombie or spores, you only get one reaction) then it will often result in one character constantly failing the thing they are built to do. I love the theme of it, but there are better ways to balance things while letting the player feel accomplished. Half damage on a save, necrotic instead of poison damage, etc. You can tune the damage numbers to be lower while allowing more successes and less failures.
    1. Gull's Avatar
      Gull -
      I do wish Halo would have done something on a failed save. I'm worried it might be exciting at first, but after a while it might not successfully trigger enough to feel like it's actually contributing to the battle.
    1. Leatherhead's Avatar
      Leatherhead -
      Not going to lie. I didn't like the spore druid to begin with. I dislike it less now.

      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Hatfield View Post
      It looks like it will be very strong early game, but fall off heavily with levels to the point where you probably won't even want to be a melee fighter once you get Spreading Spores. Maybe that's ok, maybe it will be cool to have a character that starts as a melee fighter and transitions into a mage. However, I always read about how people only play up until level 10 or so. If that is the case then you will probably really like your first few levels and feel pretty weak by the end of the campaign.
      It's not going to be strong in the early game.

      Symbiotic Entity takes an entire Action to set up. Likewise it drops after you loose your temp HP, which means its over in like two rounds. And your damage is going to drop off at level 5, when the actual melee characters get their second attack. The real thing going for it, until level 10, is a reliable way to trigger your reaction. Worst you could do with it is figure out a way to cast Booming Blade. Once again, Shillelagh is only really useful if you are abusing feats or using it with a non-druid class.

      Looking at the whole package: I don't care for the bonus acid damage to melee weapon attacks. It feels missleading. Like "Here is a melee druid that doesn't have to turn into a bear! J/k you were actually a caster druid all the time!" If they changed it to bonus damage on all Cantrips while the entity was up, it would work better. And you could still be a melee druid by picking up Primal Savagery.

      Though it is worth noting that you can use both your Halo of Spores and your Spreading Spores at the same time, just not against the same creature, which is potentially useful for area denial.

      Oh wait, I just noticed your Spreading Spores will kill your Zombies too. Seems like an oversight.
    1. Nick Hatfield's Avatar
      Nick Hatfield -
      Quote Originally Posted by Leatherhead View Post
      Though it is worth noting that you can use both your Halo of Spores and your Spreading Spores at the same time, just not against the same creature, which is potentially useful for area denial.

      Oh wait, I just noticed your Spreading Spores will kill your Zombies too. Seems like an oversight.
      I don't think you can, Spreading Spores specifically says you can't use your Halo of Spores reaction while it is active. I didn't even notice that Spreading Spores is all creatures, not just enemies. Yeah, that is pretty rough since it can often instantly kill your zombie you just raised.
    1. Leatherhead's Avatar
      Leatherhead -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Hatfield View Post
      I don't think you can, Spreading Spores specifically says you can't use your Halo of Spores reaction while it is active.
      Oh, yeah.
    1. neogod22's Avatar
      neogod22 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Hatfield View Post
      I don't think you can, Spreading Spores specifically says you can't use your Halo of Spores reaction while it is active. I didn't even notice that Spreading Spores is all creatures, not just enemies. Yeah, that is pretty rough since it can often instantly kill your zombie you just raised.
      Zombies get a saving throw on attacks that would kill them. Since Spreading the Spores does little damage, they should have no problem on the save unless you roll bad.
    1. neogod22's Avatar
      neogod22 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Charlaquin View Post
      Haha the changes to how Halo of Spores and Fungal Infestation are activated are exactly how I house ruled them for my player who played a Circle of Spores Druid! Changing the damage from 3 to a scaling damage die is a nice change. Not sure I understand the reason for changing it from Poison to Necrotic though, especially when the extra melee damage from the Symbiotic Entity is still Poison. Still, excellent revision of the subclass overall!
      This change is terrible. They actually weakened the damage. It used to be 3, 6, 9, and 12, and of course doubled, which made it very useful.
    1. neogod22's Avatar
      neogod22 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Hatfield View Post
      I mentioned this on reddit, but I'll repeat it here.

      This feels like a subclass that is going to feel very bad to play at an actual table.

      Con saves are not a good thing to target, especially when the effect does nothing on a save. This is not a feature that is going to succeed very often.

      The melee attack adding poison damage is sad, because poison is the most resisted damage type in the game. In addition to that, there is no scaling since Druids never get extra attacks. It's like the Moon Druid level 2 boost without benefits later in the game.

      Lastly, the zombie feature is going to clash with Halo of Spores because both are competing for your reaction. In fights where you are fighting beasts or humanoids, you are going to have to forgo using Halo of Spores in order to have a chance to raise a zombie. Competing action economies like this make for messy gameplay.

      It looks like it will be very strong early game, but fall off heavily with levels to the point where you probably won't even want to be a melee fighter once you get Spreading Spores. Maybe that's ok, maybe it will be cool to have a character that starts as a melee fighter and transitions into a mage. However, I always read about how people only play up until level 10 or so. If that is the case then you will probably really like your first few levels and feel pretty weak by the end of the campaign.
      You shouldn't have to be relying on halo of spores every round. With the little damage Halo does now, it's not a big loss. If you have the chance to raise multiple zombies, heck, 1 zombie will do more damage.
    1. Dualazi's Avatar
      Dualazi -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnknownDyson View Post
      I like it, it's thematic and is a very unique iteration of the druid. I don't think WOTC goes into making subclasses thinking how can we make this the most overpowered choice?
      But they should probably try and make them somewhat effective, which I doubt this version is going to be remembered for.

      The damage on its features are atrocious. With their spore shape up their reaction damage caps out at 11 average (2d10), and is one of the most resistable damage types. At high level play this might as well not exist. This is compounded by the fact that it won't see continual use.

      The poison damage on weapon strike is likewise useless. Even combined with shillelagh, it's an option that will be used for maybe levels 1-4, and abandoned afterwards since the druid is not a melee class and their melee damage essentially doesn't scale.

      The zombies fall into the same trap. Unlike the necromancer, they don't receive scaling proficiency bonuses, and as the game gets later in levels even the utility of having a potential grappler or something goes markedly downhill, since almost anything the zombie(s) does will be ineffective. Actually, reading it again, it specifically states that you can only make one melee attack period. If that's to imply the zombie can't even be used to spam grapple attempts, then this really is a worthless feature.

      I'd have to go check, but I seem to remember the spore-throwing ability not sucking as hard as it does. Yet again it's a con save for no damage against a damage type that's resisted probably more than any other. You can only have one spore cloud active, which might have grudgingly been ok if using it at all wasn't predicated on having your wildshape active, which makes it needlessly limited rather than just powering up the class feature as it does with the reaction damage.

      Fungal body is the only feature that's genuinely impressive, but it does so at the cost of creativity since it doesn't take a genius to just slap a bunch of immunities on something and call it a day.
    1. Dausuul's Avatar
      Dausuul -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dualazi View Post
      Actually, reading it again, it specifically states that you can only make one melee attack period. If that's to imply the zombie can't even be used to spam grapple attempts, then this really is a worthless feature.
      I think the zombie can grapple. From the grapple rules: "When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple." That implies grappling counts as a melee attack (albeit one with peculiar rules), which means the zombie can do it.

      Also useful would be shoving, which uses similar wording. Since the zombie's Athletics check is only +1, such tactics will be most effective against enemies with poor physical stats, i.e., casters.

      I assume they imposed the "Attack action only" limit to avoid people ordering their zombies to take the Help action every round, giving free advantage on everything.
    1. Dualazi's Avatar
      Dualazi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
      I think the zombie can grapple. From the grapple rules: "When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a special melee attack, a grapple." That implies grappling counts as a melee attack (albeit one with peculiar rules), which means the zombie can do it.

      Also useful would be shoving, which uses similar wording. Since the zombie's Athletics check is only +1, such tactics will be most effective against enemies with poor physical stats, i.e., casters.

      I assume they imposed the "Attack action only" limit to avoid people ordering their zombies to take the Help action every round, giving free advantage on everything.
      The wording on the ability is "It obeys mental commands, and the only action it can take is the Attack action, making one melee attack", which is the source of my confusion. If they had simply said the zombie can only use the Attack Action, then yeah I'd naturally assume it could grapple and shove, but the current description seems to imply to me that they cannot do this.
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