D&D 5E Hack Your Druid: Alternatives to Wildshape

My first thought was to replace with some sort of nature call / summoning of allies. But summoning is already a spell. Maybe it could be enhanced.

My second thought is to call upon plants like an entangle spell. But yea, that's a spell :)

Third is a companion if that is what they want.

I d like the elemental ideas. Or maybe tree stride (teleport), or nature bonuses.

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Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
My latest pitch to the player is that Wild Shape doesn't actually turn you into an animal, but instead surrounds you with an animal-shaped aura. The effect would look a lot like the artwork on some of the Umbra cards in Magic: the Gathering:




Maybe just simple reskinning of the flavor text is enough? I'll find out in a few.
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This has got me thinking about ideas, and one of them I'm going to tentatively add to my homebrew is to replace the Wildshape with becoming a Giant. I mean, the druid already gets shillelagh to embiggen a weapon, there's the enlarge spell, why not an innate ability to enlarge themselves and get some maybe some giant-related abilities?

Another idea might be to replace it with one or more fixed spell abilities - like the Warlock's invocations, but more nature themed.


Swap Wildshape for Find Familiar, but:
a) The familiar is any animal a druid of your level can transform into.
b) You can control its movement verbally.
c) As an action, you can order it to attack a target. It continues to move towards and attack that target until you give it another order.
d) You have (proficiency bonus) forms you have to pre-pick.

You can infuse it with fresh energy, giving it back maximum HP and HD. Once you do this, you cannot do it again until you complete a long rest.

If the familiar is killed, you can summon a new one after you complete a long rest.

This is both better and worse than wildshape, and fits a nature wizard well. It is disposable, but


One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
What about AoE aura effects? Based on various elements or weather, fire/sun sets everything ablaze within radius, wind/storm the druid can blow everyone affected 10ft, snow freezes everyone in place and they have to make a str saving throw to not be stuck in place, sandstorm/fog limits vision to 15ft, those sorts of things


Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
What about AoE aura effects? Based on various elements or weather, fire/sun sets everything ablaze within radius, wind/storm the druid can blow everyone affected 10ft, snow freezes everyone in place and they have to make a str saving throw to not be stuck in place, sandstorm/fog limits vision to 15ft, those sorts of things
Hmmm....this is very interesting indeed. I wonder if this has been done before...seems like something that would already be out on GM Binder or DMs Guild. Thanks for the tip!


Jedi Master
I'd keep in mind that Wildshape is primarily an exploration pillar feature for non Moon Druids, so it might be worth thinking of elemental like abilities that would be useful in exploration, with perhaps a dab of combat pillar usefulness.

Circle of the Elements

Instead of wildshaping, Druids of this circle call on the elements to enhance their abilities. Only one of these forms can be taken at a time, taking an action to use them with your Wildshape ability.

At 2nd level
Fire - When you use your wildshape feature and as a bonus action on each turn after taking this form, you can change your size between Tiny and Large. While Tiny, you can squeeze through spaces as small as 1 inch.

Earth - Gain a climb speed equal to your walking speed. Also, when your feet are in contact with the ground and you do not move on your turn, you can't be moved until the end of your next turn against your will, and any concentration check you make is at advantage.

At 4th level
Water - You gain a swimming speed equal to your walking speed, and can breath water. Opportunity attacks against you are always at disadvantage in this form as you flow past enemies like water.

At 8th level
Air - You gain a fly speed equal to your walking speed, can hover, and do not need to breathe.

Circle of the Land is my favorite class. I like the wildshaping but it's definitely not key to this archetype.

A couple suggestions:

Similar to the suggestion made by @CleverNickName , instead of wildshape, it gives you an ability of an animal with the same number of uses as wildshape: stealthiness of a cat, ability to see in the dark like an owl, a swim speed like a fish etc... I wouldn't codify it. Let them tell you what they want to do: "I want to sneak past the guards so take on an aspect of a cat" "ok, you have advantage to stealth for the scene"

Another suggestion: Look at the totem barbarian: give them sight of the eagle, or the giant leap of the tiger, or the traveling of the elk etc... Maybe, let them choose one of those abilities at the appropriate levels. I forget when their wildshape improves but if it's the same as when totem barbarians get their upgrade, it should work fine. I might be wary of allowing Bear(taking half damage) and wolf (pack tactics) but, maybe not. The powers alternate between combat specific powers and utility so you might just allow the utility ones?


You gain the might of a bear. Your carrying capacity (including maximum load and maximum lift) is doubled, and you have advantage on Strength checks made to push, pull, lift, or break objects.


You gain the eyesight of an eagle. You can see up to 1 mile away with no difficulty, able to discern even fine details as though looking at something no more than 100 feet away from you. Additionally, dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks.


Whether mounted or on foot, your travel pace is doubled, as is the travel pace of up to ten companions while they’re within 60 feet of you and you’re not incapacitated (see “Adventuring,” for rules on travel pace). The elk spirit helps you roam far and fast.


You gain proficiency in two skills from the following list: Athletics, Acrobatics, Stealth, and Survival. The cat spirit hones your survival instincts.


You gain the hunting sensibilities of a wolf. You can track other creatures while traveling at a fast pace, and you can move stealthily while traveling at a normal pace (see “Adventuring,” for rules on travel pace).
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In my campaign, the druid is what I consider to be the last survivors of the first users of magic. They are the animists, Will and Word casters, the spirit-talkers, mediators between the material world and all others. So, they have the remains of all the other "quarter-caster" and "half-caster" traditions that have since faded from the world.

Druids have 3 of the following traditions over 12 levels. In my homebrew characters just get better at what they do much more than gain new abilities over 12th level.

  • Shapeshifting; as one would expect.
  • Blood Magic; the caster's blood, or an ally's, can be shed to cast a spell without slots or boost an otherwise normally cast spell. A weak sorcerer option, if you will. More sinister uses of blood can be done in a ritual fashion.
  • Spirit Talking; they can communicate with local spirits, propitiate them, and get them to do or not do things. This includes casting out disease spirits and potentially getting a PC's spirit back into their formerly mangled body (i.e. a form of raise dead).
  • Spirit Walking; they can astrally project, allowing some pretty impressive scouting abilities. There are things in the spirit world that would have to be avoided, however, and a person can get lost if they travel too far.
  • Geomancy; Having an understanding of the flows of vril through the land, how it enhances health of the ecosystem, and the benefits and problems in having it pool in an area. Also, at later levels, how to non-destructive move and channel these flows. (unless that's the goal.)


Sounds like a sorcerer to me. Ask them which element and match the draconic bloodline, or go storm.

If they are interested in melee, path of the storm Herald barbarian could fit too.

Failing that, light cleric. They get to play with a lot of fire.

Any of these can be flavoured to be Shannara druids.
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