Unearthed Arcana Unearthed Arcana: Druid Circles And Wild Shape

Dreams is right up my alley, and may lead to me creating my first druid character in 5e. Starting to feel like we are getting a lot of Fey and Shadowfell themed options in these. Perhaps that's a clue to where the 2017 Fall supplement is going to focus? Elminster's Journey's across the Planes, a guide.
 

Fritzo

First Post
This week's Unearthed Arcana, from Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford, presents us with three new Druid Circles along with some optional new beast shape rules. The Circle of Dreams has strong Feywild links and themes of merriment and light; the Circle of the Shepherd protects and communes with beasts; and the Circle of Twilight hunts the undead and preserves the natural cycle of life and death. Finally, the Wild Shape Forms rule trades some of the flexibility of the Wild Shape rules from the PHB for ease of use.


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vpuigdoller

Adventurer
To be honest I have mixed feelings about all this UA articles regarding subclasses. In one hand I like the idea of giving more options to the players to feel some niches that are not cover by current rules. On the other hand I don't love the directions taken to fill this niches. To me it feels like they were an afterthought.

The circle of dreams seems nice, the circle of the shepherd although mechanically works it went in a direction that does not feels good for me. Circle of Twilight its very dm dependant.
[MENTION=6796241]OB1[/MENTION] it does seem to be referencing a lot the fey and shadowfell topics. You might be right.
 

Dreams is one I feel is the best out of those 3.

Sheppard I don't like the name used, but at least it's spirit aura ability allows for some interesting tactical choices.

Twilight could be an interesting idea, but I don't they really add much in terms of fighting the undead, beyond the resistance to necrotic damage.

The optional wildshape rules I'm fine with, but there's more to regions than just Temperate and Tropical, what happened to Arctic and Arid?
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Dreams is one I feel is the best out of those 3.

Sheppard I don't like the name used, but at least it's spirit aura ability allows for some interesting tactical choices.

Twilight could be an interesting idea, but I don't they really add much in terms of fighting the undead, beyond the resistance to necrotic damage.

The optional wildshape rules I'm fine with, but there's more to regions than just Temperate and Tropical, what happened to Arctic and Arid?


It's a proof of concept playtest; if people like the variant option, the final version will be modified/expanded as needed, I'm sure. Seems to solve a potential issue, arguments at the table as to what a Druid would have seen, and how you can expand the list.

There do seem to be definite themes going on: Spirit Barbarians/Druids, Elemental Barbarians, Fey Bards/Druids, Shadow Bards/Clerics/Druids...interesting to see this play out.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
To be honest I have mixed feelings about all this UA articles regarding subclasses. In one hand I like the idea of giving more options to the players to feel some niches that are not cover by current rules. On the other hand I don't love the directions taken to fill this niches. To me it feels like they were an afterthought.

The circle of dreams seems nice, the circle of the shepherd although mechanically works it went in a direction that does not feels good for me. Circle of Twilight its very dm dependant.
[MENTION=6796241]OB1[/MENTION] it does seem to be referencing a lot the fey and shadowfell topics. You might be right.


Instead of "afterthought," think "experiment."
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
A pool of dice for this, a pool of dice for that.

Someone at WotC likes pools of dice as a resource. I think its ok as a niche thing, we got inspiration dice and superiority dice in the final PHB and those are OK. But I think it should stay a niche thing.
 

gweinel

Explorer
Another UA that leaves me unimpressed at least. I think they want to see what mechanic and theme like to us or not than to provide to us a viable subclass to play. Ok, i know this the purpose of Unearthed Arcana but i think previous articles (before this class series UA) were provided better options.

Again as with the UA of Cleric i think they want to test new mechanics (like the pool of dice and auras) and doing it so they dress these mechanics with some flavour.

Circle of Dreams is another Feywild subclass after the one we saw in the Bard UA. Thematically is indifferent. Maybe some ppl would want to play a feywild druid but it is not for me. If i wanted to play a druid with connections with the feywild i would see one from the other side of the spectrum. A dark Unseelie Court Druid would be more intersting imho. Mechanically we see a healer druid. Circle of Dreams provides two healing abilities to the party, the capstone ability and the base 2nd level ability. The 6th level ability is an camp-rest ability. I would consider it more as ribbon than a proper ability. On the other hand the 10th lvl ability seems quite powerful ...something that wants to be abused. Overall i think this subclass needs to find more tuning if it is be published.


Circle of Shepard. This the 2nd class after barbarian that we see the utilization of spirits. When I was asking about a summoner druid i didn't have this in my mind. If someone changes the word from druid to shaman probably all the abilities would feel more suitable. This shaman version of druid gets spirit companions to help you and your allies. Thematically a shaman class is something that i would love to see, and the druid class seems to be the ideal. Unfortunately i don't like the implementation. They try to create a hybrid between a spirit caster and a summoner in the same way that they worked conjurer. I despised their approach. I would prefer to see a set of abilities that full promote either the shaman/spirit concept or the summoner concept, not both of them. Mechanically the auras seems unpolished and clunky. There is a micromanagement that reminds the bad aspects of 4th edition. I don't want to have in mind who ally is in or out of the aura in order to get 2-3 hit points. btw why they didn't rename the spirits to totems since they are immobile? Overall, i wanted to like the shaman druid but this has so many flaws that wouldn't consider as playable choice.

Twilight Druid. An undead hunter druid? That at least is what advertises. Well, it has only a very situational ability which interacts with the undead. A poor selection of fluff imho. It has one ability which casts speak with dead, another one which casts etherealness and a third which grants radiant/necrotic resistance. SOOO uninspiring, so boring abilities. The basic 2nd level ability has many functions. Again the micromanagement could be very frustrating: you have a pool of die equal to your level which deals necrotic damage. If your spell deals the killing blow then in an area the allies gains 2hp/die or 5hp/die if your victims are undead. Overcomplicated and too situational ability. Overall, i think this is the worse of the three subclasses.

This probably the worst Unearthed Arcana of the class series.

ps. sorry for my bad english and the ranting style of writing.
 
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Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I like all three. My single complaint is the last line of description for the Circle of Twilight: "The Circle of Twilight goes to such places to banish undeath and restore life."

Every ability of the circle conveys a druid that is connected to negative energy, perhaps through the Plane of Shadow. I like that. But it doesn't seem like banishing undeath and restoring life would be a central aspect of such a druid. I might be, but perhaps this druid of undeath cultivates and cares for areas closely connected to shadow and undeath as if they are natural.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
120ft range bonus action huge healing AND movement increase? That seems like a bit overpowered for a 2nd level ability. Look at healing word for comparison. I like a lot of the fluff for all 3.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I wish they'd stick with iconic archetypes and stop exploring loony la-la land. Most of the archetypes released so far are just plain weird.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I'm a little worried about how powerful Dream is, that Balm of the Summer Court ability is crazy good. Maxes out as a bonus action 10d6 healing, with 10 temp hp, and 50ft of increased speed. In smaller chunks it is cool, but that is a lot of healing potential. Plus teleporting ability, and the ability for free dispel magics 3 times a day.

I love it, but is it too good?


Shepherd reminds me of the 4e Shaman, I'd like to see someway to get more auras or get them more often as the Druid levels, because otherwise... it isn't terribly impressive. Though the last three abilities seem rather powerful and cool. 2 of them require you to fall in battle first, but it definetly gives this druid staying power, with a free Death Ward once per day and a summoning of some respectfully powerful beasts to protect you when you fall.


I want to like Twilight more than I do, it has some big damage potential, but I'm with most people in the confusion of why the person killing undead is using necrotic damage. Too many of the undead are resistant or immune to that type. I get the flavor that they are calling upon the realm of death, but it makes them worse at killing undead, not better.

Speech beyond the Grave needs to be a little more clear, I think it uses a spell slot to cast it, but I'm not certain, It is useful in that you can talk to someone whose body you don't have. So, if you have the name of an ancient king you could ask him questions about where the macguffin is. Very cool, but needs to be clearer in the intent.


Over all they look pretty good, but Twilight needs force or radiant damage instead of necrotic and Shepherd needs more auras in the late game.
 


I concur that there are a lot of borderlands (feywild, shadowfell, and parts of the elemental planes) in these UAs. If they are going to be in the big book of crunch, the AP related to all this might come out next fall/winter (I think the next AP will be related to the sci fi monsters from Volo).

I am not sure I am happy with these font/pools of energy ideas--seems like that is stepping on the sorcerer's gimmick a bit too much.

These add some interesting options to the druid, although Circle of Twilight is the second "I hunt the undead, but I am not much better at it then other subclasses for my class" subclass in a row. On the plus side, at least this subclass gets some benefit from fighting undead, so that is progress--enough for me to look forward to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fighter subclass.

I was wondering if they were going to inflict a fixed set of beasts on the druid like the last UA ranger. Glad to see that isn't what we got.
 

TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Not a big fan of the Wildshape rules. Putting together a list of the MM creatures valid for wild shape is a spreadsheet, not a rules expansion. :) And "trade some of that flexibility for ease of use" is a long-winded way of saying "nerf".

Do the temp hit points from Bear Spirit Bond last past the minute? If so, that's Inspiring Leader as a level 2 class feature, which is pretty strong.

I like the "pool of dice" concept for abilities, but the abilities themselves seem overly finicky. Add Xd10 to spell damage, heal 2 per X die IF target is killed, or heal 5 per die if target undead is killed. That being said, that's a good chunk of damage to add onto AoE spells. A 2d8 + 2d10 thunderwave at level 4 is nothing to sneeze at.

I like most of Circle of Dreams. The 6th level ability is fantastic for a ribbon, but something else needs to go there overall.
 

Ketser

First Post
The Circle of Dreams is probably the best from all three, it gives the druid a healing/support oriented subclass and touches the interest of people who were interested in the fey theme.

Circle of the Shepard... they are wanting to put together summoner druid and shaman. In a way i understand the decision, especially because conjure animals spell basically summons spirits that take animal forms. . I would have preferred something more on the spirit side than summoner.

Circle if twilight I think it's the weakest and worst, although i like something in its concept.

I'm not suprised that we didn't get an "companion druid," considering the issues with beast master and lets be honest druid has access to full spellcasting and a strong core ability (shape already) so it's no surprise that they decided to avoid it.
 

pukunui

Legend
I thought my player who's making a hippy druid who smokes a pipe would like the Circle of Dreams, but he said it was "naff" and "stink" compared to the Circle of the Land. Oh well ... I still like it.

Don't really like the Circle of the Shepherd.

The Circle of Twilight has a cool concept.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
It's interesting how they are introducing new play concepts in these releases, and I'd wager a bet that the info gained in response to those concepts will be some of the most valuable to WotC.

With that said I love the cool-down mechanic introduced with the Circle of Dreams feature Hidden Paths. The 1d4 rounds before you can use it again makes it a skill you can only count on once per encounter, but which could let you use every round. Very appropriate both for the Fey nature of the ability and the general 5e mindset that random is good because it produces more interesting results than if everything is known and planned for.

Thinking it would be a good idea to start a thread to list of all the new play mechanic/concepts being introduced in these UA articles.
 


guachi

Hero
I love the flavor of the Dream Druid.

I don't think I'd ever play one but I'd like there to be one as an official class.

Though my favorite part is the Wild Shape Form at the end. I like having an optional rule that works as a neutral 3rd party on shapes known and how to learn more shapes. More tools to run my game, please.
 

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