D&D 5E Tell me about some non-core/3rd party Druid Circles

jgsugden

Legend
...who is an apostate of two PCs' religion, who believes fostering violence and political unrest will always lead to a better world in the long run. "Burn civilization and collapse institutions and you have made crucible for shaping a better world to build." He mostly focuses on "helping" the oppressed and underclass, but is really exploiting them for his larger vision - convinced that anyone harmed in the process is a necessary sacrifice....
I have no plans of stating him up like a PC - but want to give him some powers that emulate an existing druid subclasses powers. The problem is none of the druid subclasses I have access to feel quite right. ....
If it helps, his allies are a lizardfolk who bears a grudge against the party for previous actions in the campaign and a group of troglodytes the tiefling has promised renewed power after having been driven from their homes a generation ago. Despite the lizardy-ness of the allies, he is not a particularly reptile focused guy.
If your players are not going to be familiar with the subclass either, I'm not sure there is a benefit to emulating a subclass they do not know. To that end, I'd consider going in a different direction: Make the druid a druid / warlock mix.

If they turned on the religions, maybe they've made a pact with another being - something darker. Either an Unseelie, an Archfiend, an Undead or a Great Old One. If you're going to riot and burn down society, you might as well loot and pillage a few lost souls for profit, right? The warlock features make for a great 'distant' enemy (Gaze of Two Minds, Chain-Lock Familiars as spies and voices, etc...) It also allows you to introduce a larger menacing Patron that can go on to be the Big Bad of the next phase of the game.

Personally, I'd go with something like a pact with Dagon (Great Old One) made in the depths. I'd add Armor of Agathys as a spell (which gets nasty when at high level on a druid), Pact of the Chain for a Gazer (with a swim speed) familiar, and a mix of summoning capabilities. There are a number of Warlock spells that make good 'always on' boons (like Shadows of Moil) to give your NPCs a threatening feel. You may also allow them to do things like Wildshape into Aberrations, etc...
 

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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
That's really hard to say... I normally don't recommend player-facing content since my lens is usually as a GM and imho every piece of player-facing rules needs to be closely evaluated on its own merits & in comparison to what's existing in the game.

Since all non-core player-facing stuff in games I run has to meet my approval as DM, I am not worried - esp. since I am an "ideas are good enough b/c I tweak everything anyway" kinda guy. So if the basic ideas are interesting and the abilities are workable, if not perfect (what is?) then it might be worth it - but yeah that price does make me hesitant for a book of less than 100 pages.

Thanks for taking the time for giving me your overview.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
If your players are not going to be familiar with the subclass either, I'm not sure there is a benefit to emulating a subclass they do not know.
Sure, I was just looking for a source for something that thematically works with the idea of a druid for my own benefit in making something up.

If they turned on the religions,

That's the rub - he hasn't turned on religion. He is a true and faithful follower of the god. (in my games all gods are unaligned and it is the followers who decide how their edicts are played out in the mortal realm. clerics of any god can be of any alignment). This enemy is chaotic neutral (leaning evil) while the fellow members of his faith who are PCs are LG and NG.
 

jgsugden

Legend
....That's the rub - he hasn't turned on religion. He is a true and faithful follower of the god. (in my games all gods are unaligned and it is the followers who decide how their edicts are played out in the mortal realm. clerics of any god can be of any alignment). This enemy is chaotic neutral (leaning evil) while the fellow members of his faith who are PCs are LG and NG.
I'd look at this as the root of the solution, then. What is the fundamental difference between this NPC's worship and the PC's worship?

I'd look to manifest that conflict. The easiest path to do that is to bring in divine agents that agree with the NPC and give the PCs access to divine support that agrees with them. Then, have the NPC strike at what he considers to be weaknesses in their interpretation of the faith, much as the conservative and liberals snipe at each other with hypothetical situations. However, this NPC can make them real and force the PCs to deal with their own realistic Trolley Problem.

To support that, I'd consider mixing cleric or paladin into the NPC ... something that shows him trying to overcompensate for his faithful stance when he internally realizes there are flaws with his views just as there are flaws in all ideological stances.
 

Longspeak

Adventurer
I can't find it... but there was a product I read that had the Circle of the Furies (or something close to that). It posited a druid who represented nature's fury. This druid traded her Wildshape ability for a Stormshape ability with increasing utility at higher levels. She also traded away the capstone, no longer getting unlimited, but making the storms more powerful. This druid gained the ability to fly and call down lightning as part of her storm as she leveled.

Mechanically... it seemed a little imbalanced. Thematically, I really liked it.
 

Voadam

Legend
So I in the midst of stating up a recurring nemesis of the party for my Revenants of Saltmarsh group. All the party really knows about him is that he is a tiefling druid/ranger who is an apostate of two PCs' religion, who believes fostering violence and political unrest will always lead to a better world in the long run. "Burn civilization and collapse institutions and you have made crucible for shaping a better world to build." He mostly focuses on "helping" the oppressed and underclass, but is really exploiting them for his larger vision - convinced that anyone harmed in the process is a necessary sacrifice.

I have no plans of stating him up like a PC - but want to give him some powers that emulate an existing druid subclasses powers. The problem is none of the druid subclasses I have access to feel quite right. The closest two I could find are the Wildfire Druid and the Spore Druid from a thematic point of view. (All I have are the PHB + Xanathar's & Tasha's)

I like the "burn it all down" aspect of the former and his being a tiefling complements that, but the ability to summon a wildfire being doesn't fit the picture in my head or anything the party has heard about his methods/powers.

The spore druid is not a great fit either but I do like the idea of an unthought of network of connections that he favors. However, I am already using a spore druid as a potential enemy in another game.

Where should I be looking for other druid types that might fit thematically and have powers that don't involve summoning some other creature I also have to run in combat in addition to him and his allies and might play up the burning/re-making the world philosophy?

It is most helpful if the suggestions are available to read online, but just describing options is also helpful because I can always just make up my own version.

If it helps, his allies are a lizardfolk who bears a grudge against the party for previous actions in the campaign and a group of troglodytes the tiefling has promised renewed power after having been driven from their homes a generation ago. Despite the lizardy-ness of the allies, he is not a particularly reptile focused guy.
I would look for stuff related to two of the druid sects from Eberron, the Ashbound and the Children of Winter for some compatible druidic philosophy.

The Ashbound believe in the natural world over all and are anti arcane magic, anti civilization, and even consider agriculture too much restriction on nature. Some of them lean in on the eco-terrorist model. Having them foment societal violence and overthrowing civilization structures works.

The Children of Winter are all about survival of the fittest and culling the herd so fomenting violence and societal strife works for them too.

I know the Korranberg Chronicles Adventurer's Almanac has some druid subclasses for those sects. Faithful of Eberron has a ranger winterborn and a barbarian ashbound specific subclass, their druid subclasses are for other eberron druid sects though.
 
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