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Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #4: Druid

Welcome to the fourth Level Up playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the first 10 levels of game’s druid class.

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Are you ready to level up your 5E game? Welcome to Level Up, the standalone 'advanced 5E' backwards compatible tabletop RPG coming in 2021!

A crunchier, more flexible version of the 5E ruleset which you know and love. If you love 5E but would like a little more depth to the ruleset, Level Up is the game for you!

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This is a playtest document. We’d love you to try out the rules presented here, and then answer the follow-up survey in a few days.

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Last edited:
Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Stalker0

Legend
Alright our first spellcaster! This one is interesting, for the rogue and fighter you could argue that they were operating in roughly the same design space as their standard counterparts. With this druid, its really a shift away from spellcasting towards more wild shape use.

It can be a bit hard to read the class and understand the wildshape differences at first, so here is a little comparison to help people understand.

Wildshape Comparison
Attribute5eLevelup
Uses2 / short restProficiency Modifier / long rest
Duration½ Druid LevelDruid Level
Wildshape Forms KnownUnlimitedLimited
CR of Forms¼ at 2, ½ at 4, 1 at 8½ at 2, 1 at 4, 2 at 8*
Fly/Swim FormsSwim at 4th, Fly at 8thSwim and Fly at 5th
HPWildshape HP
(at 0, lose form and return to normal HP)
Normal + 1d4 x CR
(at 0, lose form and fall unconscious)
SpellcastingNone in Wild ShapeSelf, Touch spells that don’t deal damage or negative conditions.##
Legendary/Lair Actions***Can’t use in Wild ShapeCan use
AC ImprovementNoneAC =12 + ¼ druid level, unless form has better AC
EquipmentMerge, drop on ground, or remain wornMerge only
LanguageBeast’s LanguageYour languages**
*The document text and table are inconsistent here. The text says ¼ at 2nd, while the chart shows 1/2.

**It is unclear whether the inclusion of language in the wild shape description is more for flavor, for clarity (aka you understand people around you), or if it is an intentional benefit of the levelup Druid (you can speak in your normal languages while in wild shape).

*** I don't actually know if this ever comes up, but since the vanilla Druid makes a specific note about it and levelup does not, I noted it for completeness.

##While the document does not specifically say how spell casting components work in wildshape, a designer has clarified that there are notes in future documents to explain this. Therefore for now the assumption is that a druid would be able to cast spells with components while in wild shape.
 
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Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Do I need the PHB to play this? Because I don't see any druid circle info....maybe I missed it?
The class is backwards compatible with all existing 5e druid circles. The team has not yet written their archetypes. This is a test for the base class.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
@Stalker0: Minor note: Wildshape in the 5e PHB is 2 times per short rest, not long rest.

It's an interesting approach. It's a little better, in general, than a normal Druid's wildshape. Better forms and slightly better AC. Flight at 5 instead of 8. The hit points are obviously a big nerf, as is the overall frequency of wildshape at lower tiers. Without providing the big buffer of hit points, you end up using less wildshape uses overall, which feels like a positive change from a gameplay standpoint, if not from a power standpoint.

The interesting change to me was the decreased spell progression; I'll be curious to see if that continues with other classes. Assuming they keep to 5e's unified spell progression module, that slower spell progression is a LevelUp thing.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
The interesting change to me was the decreased spell progression; I'll be curious to see if that continues with other classes. Assuming they keep to 5e's unified spell progression module, that slower spell progression is a LevelUp thing.

That's a typo and a fixed PDF will be up soon. Same spell progression as the old 5E druid.
 





JonM

Explorer
This one seems kind of glitchy.

For example, the paragraph on Wild Shape clearly states you know two of your choice, but the chart equally clearly states three (and, on a personal note, I kind of hate the idea of "knowing" a limited number of forms, but that's more of a survey issue).

And no 4th level spells, until 9th character level, with character levels 6th through 8th being completely identical, spell-wise? Please, please, tell me that's a typo.

It also seems strange that you get swim speed and fly speed at the same time, since the latter is clearly more useful. Honestly, I thought the wait for swim speed was too long, before, in stock 5e. Now, it's even worse.

And there's some definite utility/balance problems in the knacks and druid lore, but, again, I'll save that for the survey, since that's less of an error than a personal opinion.

This one definitely seems to need an edit, if only to fix the goofs in the chart.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
Casting touch/self spells in wild shape likely needs to clarify whether you can do it without somatic/verbal/material components. Probably some other small tweaks to clarify little things in the Wild Shape text. One thing I was unsure or missed, can you wild shape into literally any creature, as long as it's one you've selected at the appropriate CR level? Regardless of type?

Druidic Secrets feels more like short-rest than long-rest power level.

Waste Not feels like the kind of thing everyone should be able to do to some extent.

I like the changes overall.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
This one seems kind of glitchy.

For example, the paragraph on Wild Shape clearly states you know two of your choice, but the chart equally clearly states three (and, on a personal note, I kind of hate the idea of "knowing" a limited number of forms, but that's more of a survey issue).

And no 4th level spells, until 9th character level, with character levels 6th through 8th being completely identical, spell-wise? Please, please, tell me that's a typo.

It also seems strange that you get swim speed and fly speed at the same time, since the latter is clearly more useful. Honestly, I thought the wait for swim speed was too long, before, in stock 5e. Now, it's even worse.

And there's some definite utility/balance problems in the knacks and druid lore, but, again, I'll save that for the survey, since that's less of an error than a personal opinion.

This one definitely seems to need an edit, if only to fix the goofs in the chart.

Fixes to the chart are ready to go and will be uploaded soon. Inside the copy it will read 3 wild shapes of your choice at CR 1/2 or less (as mentioned above the spell progression for A5E druids has not changed, just a snafu when the document was put into PDF).

Also the A5E druid can get a swim speed in Wild Shape earlier because you retain your class features while using wild shape—which includes Exploration Knacks like Aquatic Delver, which grants a swim speed.
I am maybe a little too overjoyed about a low level druid being able to properly transform into a carp. 🐟
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Druidic:
It should be a nature check rather than a perception check.; the Druidic would be in plain sight, but you'd have to understand nature to see that it is an unnatural arrangement. (The city dwelling perceptive rogue doesn't spot it, the woodsman does).

Whenever you use your Wild Shape feature to transform into a creature, you gain a number of temporary hit points equal to 1d4 × the creature’s CR (minimum 1d4).
Rollling this seems off. Plus, for non-moon druids, it is literally 1d4 until level 7, then 2d4. That is a lot of rules text for a tiny effect.

A Way With Animals is going to dominate Leyline Awareness. Except which way is north, almost everything in leyline can basically be done by asking an animal.

You gain an expertise die on any Athletics checks made while climbing and you are also acclimated to high altitudes, including elevations above 20,000 feet.
Ok, here is the plan. I transform into a bear, climb that wall, then grapple the target. Ready... go!
 

NotAYakk

Legend
@Stalker0 druid WS is per short rest in base 5e.
Actually that is a concern.

Baseline, the Druid got spells back on a long rest and wildshapes back on a short rest.

All things being roughly equal, classes should gain benefits from both long and short rests. If there are verisimilitude reasons for it not to happen that prevents it from being equal.

Spells are by default long-rest resources in 5e (except warlocks). So most of the rest of the druid resources should be short-rest dependent. Just so inter-party there is a reason for a druid to not lobby against short rests.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Really good. It reminds me a lot of the playtest's druid.
Not having to track 100 different forms with different HP pool's and all that is a big boon. Way more elegant than 5e.

The exploration's knacks are spot on, great job.

Embrace X is superbly flavorful AND useful, it make any druid a possible ''land'' or ''mood'' druid, meaning new archetypes can focus on other things.

Druid is my favorite class as far as theme goes, but I can never get myself to play one in 5e because they seem like a design afterthought.

I was not completelly sold on A5E's fighter and rogue, but this is pure gold.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
You lost me on this one. Wildshape is one of the best things that happened in 5e, so much simpler and consistent than all previous editions, few corner cases to worry about, and the combat uses are powerful but well limited to a single subclass (hence easy to ban for those who just don't want it in the game).

This version goes backwards on many accounts, can you explain for what purposes? I was expecting level up to increase tactical options but with wildshape I see only more fiddly bits. Some people might say this version fixes their problems, but I don't see problems to fix.
 

JonM

Explorer
Fixes to the chart are ready to go and will be uploaded soon. Inside the copy it will read 3 wild shapes of your choice at CR 1/2 or less (as mentioned above the spell progression for A5E druids has not changed, just a snafu when the document was put into PDF).

Also the A5E druid can get a swim speed in Wild Shape earlier because you retain your class features while using wild shape—which includes Exploration Knacks like Aquatic Delver, which grants a swim speed.
I am maybe a little too overjoyed about a low level druid being able to properly transform into a carp. 🐟
Yeah, I figured some of that had to be typos. Still unsure about requiring an exploration knack to get swimming at a reasonable level, though, since that means anyone else still has to wait too long, by default, and still gets swim and fly at the same time. Wouldn't it be better to just give swim speed at, say, 3rd level and fly at 5th?
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Supporter
I think my favorite change here is turning Wild Shape into a transformation, rather than a bag of hit points. To my mind, it's an overall net positive in terms of gameplay.

I think I agree with @NotAYakk's point about short rests for Wild Shape. We can certainly nitpick that not every PHB class lives up to the ideal, but giving each class at least some short-rest resource dependence is a good design choice. (Besides Hit Dice.)

The Knacks and Exploration features are great. Having Druidic be a universal beast language is wonderfully flavorful. Leyline Awareness is great, although I might want something more general and less specific than "find the nearest forest". (What if I'm a desert druid?) I like having different terrains embedded in the level 1 knacks for immediate differentiation,

I'd probably want some clarity on how spellcasting works while wildshaped. The issue with V,S,M components is something that is ideally formalized in the rules.
 

Mike Myler

Advanced Fifth Edition: https://www.levelup5e.com/
I'd probably want some clarity on how spellcasting works while wildshaped. The issue with V,S,M components is something that is ideally formalized in the rules.

Desperately want to be more specific but also not to break the NDA, so this as much as I feel alright relating: concerns vis-a-vis Wild Shape and components are addressed elsewhere in a part of the A5E rules not quite ready to make it out into the light of day just yet.

🕵
 

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