log in or register to remove this ad

 

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.
 

BoldItalic

First Post
I think a problem with the Circle of Dreams is that it is too combat oriented. The class features need to be broadened so that they can be used outside of combat. Otherwise, apart from protecting camp sites in the wilderness, a Dream Druid looks like a dead weight on the party.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

The main problem of the druid unearthed arcana is with the theme of the subclasses.
The fey wild druid, being the only one whose abilities fit with the subclass description. However, I would prefer that this druid would focus either on the “wild growth that overtakes civilization” or “crazy enchantments and illusions” fey wild themes, than the healer and protector of nature theme. While reading the circle of twilight druid I expected some sort of undead hunter, but instead the abilities fit a subclass that sort of embraces negative energy. If they are going for a faywild and shadowfell theme, they could have a “blight” themed druid to represent the shadowfell side. As, for the shepherd druid (I really dislike that name), I was expecting subclass focusing on animal companion and got a mix of a beast summoner and a spirit shaman.
 

dropbear8mybaby

First Post
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.
The problem with this is that "people" are essentially 90% players and 10% DM's. Players love options and power creep. DM's are the ones who have to deal with the fallout and imbalances.

I love it, but is it too good?

I'm honestly finding a lot of these to be too good. The power creep being introduced is already giving me conniption fits.
 

I don't like the 1d4 round recharge at all. I was glad to get away from such mechanics in the last couple of editions.

If they must have a random recharge, I'd prefer they go with the "roll X or higher on 1d6" mechanic that monsters use. It amounts to the same thing, but it 1) doesn't require keeping track of rounds passed, and 2) doesn't add a new mechanic to the game when an existing one will do just fine.
 

Parmandur

Legend
The problem with this is that "people" are essentially 90% players and 10% DM's. Players love options and power creep. DM's are the ones who have to deal with the fallout and imbalances.


I'm honestly finding a lot of these to be too good. The power creep being introduced is already giving me conniption fits.


The variant rule in question is precisely a FM discretion briddle on power creep: "no, you are from Shadowdale, you have never seen a velicaraptor..."

That being said, powercreep is not 5Es problem, and recall this is pre-playtest material: the final results should be mathematically aligned.
 

I think a problem with the Circle of Dreams is that it is too combat oriented. The class features need to be broadened so that they can be used outside of combat. Otherwise, apart from protecting camp sites in the wilderness, a Dream Druid looks like a dead weight on the party.

I don't see that to be honest.

The healing can be used out of combat, and the bonus to speed could be a good chase sequence buff.

The teleport refreshes every 24 seconds at max duration, so it can be used for traversal purposes, and it offers some interesting issues if the party is caught while separated. Could also be interesting if people keep tromping thru some fey's favorite path.

Dispel magic when healing could be useful to save slots when recovering from a trap they set off. It is certainly the least non-combat ability, but there is something there

And then of course, you have everything that comes with Druid.
 

gyor

Legend
Top marks on the Summoner one, the other two need major work, and the optional rule doesn't interest me in the slightest.
 

RSIxidor

Adventurer
"1d4 rounds" - I don't care for this sort of thing, personally. I'd rather it be once a turn or once or so many times a short rest but not this.

Super stoked about the Shepherd Circle. Druids finally get a conjuring specific subclass. The 14th-level feature needs to be reworded to actually work while you're unconscious. Though I suppose that's their intent with "it last 1 hour." Does that mean it doesn't require concentration?

Circle of the Moon is still stronger than these circle options, though, it seems.

I like the known forms idea though I may not agree with it's implementation completely. I'd probably go a little different on what the starting beasts are but as is it's not a bad idea.
 

BoldItalic

First Post
...
The healing can be used out of combat, and the bonus to speed could be a good chase sequence buff.

The teleport refreshes every 24 seconds at max duration, so it can be used for traversal purposes, and it offers some interesting issues if the party is caught while separated. Could also be interesting if people keep tromping thru some fey's favorite path.
...
That's okay if you allow bonus actions to be taken outside of combat?
 

MarkB

Legend
The Twilight subclass definitely seems to have some dissonance between its description and its implementation, especially the initial class ability. A druid who is supposed to be all about restoring the natural life-cycle is going around syphoning life-force from living creatures? And he's doing so through necrotic energy, yet gaining benefits from killing undead with it? It not only goes against the class's stated theme but also doesn't feel like it makes much internal sense.

I can't help feeling like this class started out as something much darker, but then got cleaned up somewhat ineptly for publication.
 

dropbear8mybaby

First Post
"1d4 rounds" - I don't care for this sort of thing, personally. I'd rather it be once a turn or once or so many times a short rest but not this.
Agree. It's far too fine-grained for the intended simplicity of 5e. Adding in a round-tracking mechanic is against the original design philosophy.

Circle of the Moon is still stronger than these circle options, though, it seems.
I do wonder whether this means Circle of the Moon is too powerful or if other circle options need to be brought up to the same level.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Shepherd is poor man's Shaman.

I realize getting, say, advantage remains as competetive at high level as at low, but really we need more crunch here. First getting low-level spirits and then getting better spirits at high level.

At least the spirit has a battlefield presence (a location). But it really is more of a world of warcraft totem than an actual spirit animal. Far prefer 4e's approach.

---

Twilight is pure WTF. It hunts undead... by killing living people with necrotic. WTF? This druid would get burned at the stake as a necromancer!

---

As for the beast shapes, I feel it's too much rule for something that is best left up to the player and DM. In fact, scrap the cumbersome rules overhead and just keep the "starting beast shapes.

That way a DM could feel actually generous about granting other shapes while still restricting munchkins to the lists.



In closing, compared to that other thread listing druid UA wish lists, we certainly didn't get much...
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
What, no Plant Druids?
Let's see what this is all about.

Circle of Dreams
All about the Fey. More Disney than D&D lore, dreams are normally the realm of Illusionists, or more often Psionics and Aberrations, which makes me question why not an Aberration/Far realm hunter druid? Fey aren't inherently nice, tricksters enough for illusions to be sure, but them being "healers" is like fitting a square peg into a round hole. I suppose Circle of Life is copyrighted, though.

Balm of the Summer Court.
Summer Court being the alternate name of this subclass, possibly.
The wording of this ability is weird. "spend a number equal to half your level or less" seems to imply that you can spend a number of dice that is anywhere from one up to half of your druid's level. Or it could have been cut off before it was finished and it was meant that you only get two uses of this ability per day, each one spends half of your druid dice. It stopped just short of true clarity on this one, and took me a few re-reads to figure out what it might have been trying to say.
The die used to heal is small, and the long rest mechanic means that it is most likely going to be used like a bonus action Spare the Dying.
The Bonus HP per die makes this ability more complex than most healing abilities. The point of this part of the ability is to make the small die used less anemic on classes with gobs of hp, and to provide some padding to the more fragile classes so they can escape the dire peril that caused them to take a big mouthful of dirt in the first place.
The speed boost also reinforces the idea that this is supposed to get people back into the fight. But it may be too variable. I can see higher level parties using this as a "Tank overdrive" prebuff to get the meat shields into position.
In short I think this ability is clashes with the theme of Fey, has too many moving parts, and is a bit clunky (but that just may be me reading it after waking up)

Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow
This is more along the lines of what the Dreams should be about: It sets up an illusion to make you harder to see, lets you sleep so you can have dreams, and makes it so you are harder to be ambushed. Good non-combat ability, wish it did something about sounds and smell though.

Hidden Paths
a 30' teleport every 1d4 rounds, that costs Movement instead of an Action.
I don't like the d4 variable. It's fiddly, maybe just make it per round, like the Shadow Monk ability. Other than that it's a solid draw of the subclass.

Purifying Light
A free dispel Magic Rider on your healing spells. Very niche, but it can save you from getting blended by the Barbarian when they are charmed. However, what happens when a level 1 spell slot is used? Does that give you extra bang for your buck? It also doesn't work on the Summer Court power. It seems a bit too niche. It could be reworked so that it only rides on the Court Die and cures various conditions up to things like petrification depending on the number of dice used.

Thoughts:
It's two half-Concepts mashed into one. The healing bits clash with the idea of Fey in general. I don't really care for the flavor, but the mechanics can be easily salvaged at least.

Circle of the Sheppard
In theory, this is basically the Spirit Shaman, and the Totem Barbarian's wise old sage.

Spirit Bond
More of a Zone than a Spirit, you give your allies a buff. Also some of the things are better for dipping than others.
Bear: How do the Temp HPs work? Do you gain them while in the zone but lose them outside of it? Can you dance in and out of the zone for multiple applications? Or does it just apply to everyone who was in the zone when the zone was first plopped down?
Hawk: Technically a debuff for your enemies in the zone. It gives your team advantage on ranged attacks to creatures in the target zone. The only Spirit that does a single thing.
Wolf: Advantage on Perception and possibly Investigation if people can be bothered to remember that skill exists (why wasn't this with the hawk?) And for some reason it's also an AoE heal?
This power seems a bit slapdash. The spirit doesn't do anything by itself, it just sits there, passively providing a buff and not moving. It reminds me more of a World of Warcraft Totem in that sense.

Beast Speech
You become Dr. Doolittle. This is fun, also potentially useful.

Mighty Summoner
I really don't like abilities that tap into the HD of creatures. Creature HD are a pain to calculate for custom monsters, and rarely used. Leading me to just ignore them altogether, and groan whenever something tries to force creature HD back into being a thing. Aside from that, I really don't like Summon Creature spells, I think they are actually broken in regards to the number of actions they create in battle.
Outside of those problems, this ability does shore up the one issue summoned creatures had: Not counting as Magic Damage.

Guardian Spirit
Free Death Ward every day, all day. Thematic, and it can save you from a cheep death.

Faithful Summons
When you get knocked out or otherwise tied up, you can summon a horde of squirrels, or Stirges. This ability breaks all the rules I like, such as the action economy, and I believe it is meant to ignore concentration although it doesn't explicitly say it does. It also stacks with Mighty Summoner meaning you have to pull all that math out again. It's an ability that seems nice in concept, but would be horrible to play around. Also it clashes with Guardian Spirit.

Thoughts:
Man, I do not like this Circle. The Spirit sits like a holographic lump. The summoner abilities take combat to places I hate. The two abilities I do like are overshadowed immensely by everything else.

Circle of Twilight
Not a fan fiction webpage for that controversial book series, but the name for the Druids who hunt undead. A concept that was begging to be made.

Harvest Scythe
Dear WotC Dev team: I humbly request an explanation of your decision to give undead hunters necrotic damage. The connection seems counterintuitive to me, and as you have now done it twice, there must be something I am missing here.
Outside of that, this strikes me as the ability that the Grave Clerics should have had in place of doing more melee stuff. The wording "you can spend" clears up a lot of the confusion from the Fey Court Druid ability. Aside from the Damage type I rather like it.

Speech Beyond the Grave
Way more interesting than speaking with beasts for sure, though technically you could speak with a beast this way if it was dead.

Watcher at the Threshold
So you get two resistances, and your allies get advantage on death saving throws. This is the good kind of niche, you are going to remember when you need to do this because it happens enough, and when it happens it matters.

Paths of the Dead
This is a free 7th level spell every short rest, a spell that isn't even on your normal spell list. A travel spell no less. This is powerful, and perhaps the only check on it's power is the fact you can't increase it's spell level.

Thoughts:
I like this one, more or less. The necrotic bonus damage is questionable, and the capstone ability is perhaps overpowered.

Wild shape forms
What's this? Rules that aren't Subclasses? Nice change of pace.
Thoughts:
It's basically a nerf, but I can see why people would want to use it. Heck, I may end up using it just to speed up play at the table with some of my players.
 

Uchawi

First Post
I am not sure where the border is for domains, circles, etc. where you may have every class have a dream subclass, etc. I am debating if they are getting too specialized or specific.
 

renevq

Explorer
I get the distinct feeling that the Circles of Dreams and Twilight are eventually going to be called Greensingers and Children of Winter respectively...
(Really like the overall initial feel to the mechanics, but definitely have to get tweaked).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

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.

Even better, you can summon 24 15-HP Giant Poisonous Snakes via Conjure Animals VII and then in your very next action use your Bear Spirit to give them all 15-25 temp HP on top, without having to spend the better part of an hour orating to them.

But I hate the flavor of immobile "spirits" that grant random bonuses for being near them. So very gamist.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Belltent

First Post
I keep reading here the dispel magic rider on Purifying Light is free, but it specifically says "...using a spell slot..." That can't be an ambiguous way of saying it's free. (Why not "cast at a level equal to the healing spell but does not consume a spell slot"?) It's either poorly designed or exceptionally poorly worded.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
The subclasses were sort of interesting, but a little too niche. At least for me the big thing was the Wild shape ruling...nerfing. Does anyone think this was necessary? I've always felt like wild shape was terrific from levels 2 to 4 (assuming you wanted to be a bear) and then it rapidly fell behind in terms of usefulness compared to spells and summons. But perhaps I missed something?

Is a high level druid stuck using his low level forms until a DM gives him the opportunity to study rarer animals for an hour?
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Adding in a round-tracking mechanic is against the original design philosophy.

There are literally dozens of spells that require round tracking (though none are variable). I really like the 1d4 cool-down mechanic as it gives a nice way to create essentially a once per combat encounter ability (since most combat encounters are 2-5 rounds) without it actually being called that. Sure you will get the odd time where you can use it twice in a combat, but you can't count on it.

I think it's an inspired idea that I hope see's more play in other classes.
 


Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top