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
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.
 

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