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.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Monsters with cooldown abilities (mind flayer mind blast) are a form of variable round tracking, expressed as a power law distribution over rounds instead of a uniform distribution.
The monster might have liked to know "Okay so two rounds before I can breathe fire again".

The DM on the other hand doesn't need to know. Not getting to know this means not having to plan for it, which means freeing up DM brainwaves for other stuff :)
 

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fuindordm

Explorer
The only one that really grabs me is Circle of Shepherd, which dovetails nicely with the totem barbarian. Dreams is meh, and the necro-druid just doesn't make sense thematically. Just give a Land druid spells the defend against undead/necrotic and you're good to go.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Bleh. As an avid druid player I am thoroughly unimpressed. Circle of Dreams is okisch, but I don't really see why I would take this over Circle of the Land like ever. The rest is so bleak it could just as well never have been written.
This right here is a nice summation of my problem with most of the UA subclasses pumped out the past few weeks, with the notable exception of the Forge cleric. Why would I take UA subclass X over this pre-existing subclass Y? They are either too niche or their flavor does not match their, often underpowered, mechanics.

In the case of the druid, they haven't addressed one of the big design flaws of the druid, namely how the druid capstone greatly favors one subclass over the other.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Not a fan of the wildshape optional rules. Want to restrict the number of forms and make it harder to learn new ones? Fine, but the trade-off I would want is the same Wizards get for their spells - the ability to pick something not explicitly given by the DM.

In early editions Wizards could only copy spells they found into their spellbooks, and would often not have spells they wanted. I remember playing AD&D with a 3rd & 4th level caster that for about 5 months real time didn't have a single 2nd level spell because we hadn't found one. (And you couldn't use the slots to cast a 1st level spell.) Now you get free spells every level that you want. I'd want the new optional rules to be like that - codifying and limited new forms, but getting one shape per level of your choice.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
In the case of the druid, they haven't addressed one of the big design flaws of the druid, namely how the druid capstone greatly favors one subclass over the other.
Im sorry to disappoint, but no issue with the capstones can be a pressing issue, like ever. Would you agree perhaps one out of a hundred D&D players will ever play a level 20 druid? If so, you'll see my point.

It's not that you don't have a point, it's just that calling a level 20 anything a "big" design flaw simply doesn't match the commercial realities of our product.
 

Dualazi

First Post
Overall this one's a dud for me, especially with giving dice pools to full caster classes, seriously Wizards, what are you smoking. Even worse is that the number of dice given is roughly comparable to classes like the Battlemaster. At 20th level you'd need two short rests for the BM to overtake the druids in dice pool number. The whole dice pool mechanic should really be applied to martial classes only as a method of differentiating them from casters (and giving them much needed options) but no, Wizards have elected to just keep giving magic users more and more.

Alternate wildshape rules really do nothing but aggravate players from where I sit, it's a slight nerf to land druids but moon druids are still overpowered because they can still select all the good forms right off the bat. If they're going to nerf it then I'd rather they just just come out and do it rather than pussy-foot around with DM adjudications.

Circle of dreams is pretty great aside from the dice pool. Remove that and I think it's a neat support/utility option.

I'm with one of the posters upthread though regarding spirits, if you're going to have a class that summons them, said spirit better not be an immobile, inactive lump that hands out auras. Go hard or go home on this one in my opinion, make it a summon with unique stats that you can sacrifice spell levels to modify or increase its power with. Basically anything other than this bland, flavorless excuse of a path feature. The others aren't great either, a mediocre summon when you go down and speaking to animals are both pretty blase. Overcoming magic resist with summons is good, but this one needs work.

Necrotic druid would work better if they just went back to it being a blighter, but a lot of this smacks of cleric lite, like death saving throw advantage and speaking with the dead. In addition to being another annoying dice pool, harvest's scythe is ridiculous for alpha potential, and even comes with some healing riders to boot. As other have noted, it's also really weird that an anti-undead option deals necrotic damage.

Overall, I'm really not impressed by Wizards' offerings of late. It seems like they're not making good use of this testing/feedback space because they're just not going outside people's comfort zones enough. Hopefully they'll get a little more ambitious as time goes on but I'm not holding my breath.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Im sorry to disappoint, but no issue with the capstones can be a pressing issue, like ever. Would you agree perhaps one out of a hundred D&D players will ever play a level 20 druid? If so, you'll see my point.

It's not that you don't have a point, it's just that calling a level 20 anything a "big" design flaw simply doesn't match the commercial realities of our product.
You are absolutely correct that most players will not play the druid to level 20, let alone to level 10. The problem is that these high level abilities often provide psychological incentives for picking or planning a character, regardless of whether they will reach those levels. I may not reach the capstone, but the capstone may incentivize me to pick and plan accordingly. This often comes across in a number of "Which should I play: Moon vs. Land?" threads. The overall package of the Moon druid, including the capstone, becomes a reason for a number of people to recommend the Moon druid over the Land druid. (That and the Moon druid's power at the most common level of play: low level.)
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Monsters with cooldown abilities (mind flayer mind blast) are a form of variable round tracking, expressed as a power law distribution over rounds instead of a uniform distribution.

Yes, and of course the druid mechanic, being a single roll, limits the maximum number of rounds prior to recharge at 4, whereas the monster mechanic can (far) exceed that. So besides giving the player the certainty of what round they will recharge in, it also provides certainty as to the maximum number of rounds it will take to recharge.
[MENTION=12731]CapnZapp[/MENTION] and the other critics - I think the idea that players don't track rounds is a bit disingenuous. At the very least, you need to be able to track from one round to the next to keep track of your reaction, as well as any one round condition that you might be subject to. If you just don't like the concept, fine. As capnzapp suggested, this could be replaced with a boring x per short rest mechanic, but I appreciate that WotC is trying new things and getting our feedback on potential new mechanics. Some I haven't liked, but I think this one is great and fills a much needed concept of a power that you can rely on once per combat without falling into the trap of having combat itself define when the power resets. The fact that you will occasionally get to use it multiple times in a combat is a bonus.
 

Luchador

First Post
I don't like the Shepard name but I like the totem like spirit stuff. Will be good for my Uthgardt druid if I ever get a break from DMing. Instead of bear, though, go Thunderbeast!
 

You are absolutely correct that most players will not play the druid to level 20, let alone to level 10. The problem is that these high level abilities often provide psychological incentives for picking or planning a character, regardless of whether they will reach those levels. I may not reach the capstone, but the capstone may incentivize me to pick and plan accordingly. This often comes across in a number of "Which should I play: Moon vs. Land?" threads. The overall package of the Moon druid, including the capstone, becomes a reason for a number of people to recommend the Moon druid over the Land druid. (That and the Moon druid's power at the most common level of play: low level.)

This. Even if I never reach 20th level as a Moon Druid, the existence of that capstone will prevent me from ever multiclassing to Rogue 2 or Warlock 2, whereas with a Shepherd druid (if I could stand to play one despite the flavor of the spirit abilities) I would totally multiclass. Yes, I would still have fun with my shape changing ability, but not so much fun that losing out on "unlimited shapechange and componentless casting" would hurt more than the fun I'd get out of Cunning Action or Agonizing Repelling Blast.

Capstones are important to game design. If the Monk of Four Elements had a capstone like "the ki cost on all of your invocations drops to zero" you'd see fewer complaints about that subclass even though for most monks in play nothing has changed. For many but not all people, long-term gain is worth some short-term pain.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I dunno what y'all are talking about, Archdruid is freaking amazing: ignore pretty much all spell components, including Druid focus (exception being cost based materials), and unlimited Wild Shape? No Druid doesn't want that: note that Moon Druids still are 9th level spellcasters, and Land Druids still Wild Shape (and at level 20 can cast while a tiger no problem or limit)...
 

phantomK9

Explorer
In regard to the Circle of Dreaming, its obvious that the mechanical abilities simply don't match the idea that is put forth through the fluff description.

In my mind a Druid Path that deals with the Feywild should accomplish the following things:

1. Give the druid access to additional Enchantment and/or Illusion spells that they normally wouldn't have. This would be done very similarly to how additional spells are handled currently through the Circle of the Land. Even better, when this Circle is taken, give the player a choice of either Summer Court or Winter Court, much like Circle of Land lets you choose a land, but only two options. The list of spells could be different based on which court you choose.

2. Enhance summoning of Fey creatures. There are several spells in the Druid list that allow you to summon Fey creatures, Conjure Woodland Beings for example. These spells should be boosted in some way, whether it is giving more creatures or more HD/hp per creature or allowing higher CR creatures.

3. Allow the druid to use wild shape to turn into Fey creatures. Blink dog comes to mind right away, but possibly some others? The list isn't very long, but pixie, satyr, dryad....maybe

4. Give unique abilities for overland movement. The Hidden Paths ability is a good ability but it also needs a component for travel times outside of combat.
 

Zansy

Explorer
I'm looking over these subclasses, I like them conceptually, and they each have a feature or two that I like, but the rest leaves much to be desired.
Personally, I don't feel much "Feyness" from the Dream Circle, though I do like the teleportation and camp ability.
Circle of the shepherd sounds delightful to me, But I'm not at ease with the 2nd level abilites (Just imagining all the easy sneak attacks your party rogue will get from the hawk spirit...) the rest will need to be playtested to see how those abilities mesh together, I'd imagine.
Circle of the Twilight sounds bad ace, I'm concerned though because as mentioned previously, all that extra damage will do very little (if at all!) against the stronger undead that are a higher priority. this Druid seems so much better at slaying life than death. needs revising, if nothing else, to make it more competent against Undead.
 

Dausuul

Legend
"Once you use either option—teleporting yourself or an ally—you can’t use that option again until 1d4 rounds have passed."

Ick ick ick. No. Bad Wizards, no spellbook.

"X rounds" duration tracking was a serious bookkeeping headache in 3E. It was killed in 4E, and remains essentially dead in 5E. (Lots of stuff has a 1-minute duration, but combat seldom lasts long enough for that to matter; you can handwave it as "till the end of combat" and it's fine.) I do not want to reopen this can of worms.

A recharge roll is a much better solution.
 

Ovarwa

Explorer
Or even simpler and faster, it takes a bonus action to recharge. Effectively, the first use per encounter is free. Subsequent uses consume a bonus action per use.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
"Once you use either option—teleporting yourself or an ally—you can’t use that option again until 1d4 rounds have passed."

Ick ick ick. No. Bad Wizards, no spellbook.

"X rounds" duration tracking was a serious bookkeeping headache in 3E. It was killed in 4E, and remains essentially dead in 5E. (Lots of stuff has a 1-minute duration, but combat seldom lasts long enough for that to matter; you can handwave it as "till the end of combat" and it's fine.) I do not want to reopen this can of worms.

A recharge roll is a much better solution.

Wasn't one of the bigger problems with 3.5 per round tracking the fact that you would have multiple per round things all on different tracks at the same time?

I get that this could be a slippery slope, but a single ability that takes 3 rounds to come back (if you even care if it comes back by that point) is vastly different than tracking 4 different effects that last 3, 5, 2 and 9 rounds while casting a 4 round spell that turn.

With the highly limited stacking potential in 5e, and the fact that only multi-classing would allow a Dream Druid and say a Hexblade rogue who had a similar ability to stack and overlap like that.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
A recharge roll is a much better solution.

I was going to suggest the same thing. At the start of your round you roll a d20. On a 16 or higher the ability recharges and you can use it again. (Certain powers in 13th Age function this way and it works great, though more of them are a 25% chance to recharge after the battle is over rather than per round).

There's a lot less bookkeeping - the player just has to remember that they have a recharge roll to make every round rather than trying to track how many rounds its been since they used that power. And statistically it works out about the same (though not exactly) as having the power come back in 1d4 rounds. The only thing you lose is knowing exactly which round you'll be able to use that ability again, which at my table is a good trade (because my players are more likely to forget to track the rounds than they are to remember to make the recharge check every round).
 

RCanine

First Post
Or even simpler and faster, it takes a bonus action to recharge. Effectively, the first use per encounter is free. Subsequent uses consume a bonus action per use.

Druids (unlike monks and rogues) have practically nothing to use their bonus action on; this would be equivalent to having it always available.
 

insight994

Villager
Mighty Summoner allows you to summon "powerful creatures?" Like, how powerful are we talkin' here? Can I summon a plesiosaur? A dragon turtle? Or just a killer whale? A little clarity, please.


Sent from my iPad using EN World
 

Harzel

Adventurer
Mighty Summoner allows you to summon "powerful creatures?" Like, how powerful are we talkin' here? Can I summon a plesiosaur? A dragon turtle? Or just a killer whale? A little clarity, please.

Mighty Summoner just upgrades the beasts that can be summoned with spells. So the spell descriptions say what can be summoned. For instance, using the 3rd level Conjure Animals, you could summon two Giant Eagles. With Mighty Summoner, each would have an additional 8 HP (since they have 4 HD), and their attacks would be considered magical.
 

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