Druid Circle of Blight | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

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Playtest Content

The material here is presented for playtesting and to spark your imagination. These game mechanics are in draft form, usable in your campaign but not refined by
final game design and editing. They aren’t officially part of the game.

Constructive feedback is welcome and appreciated in either comments or social media. If you can give me a valid reason with examples why something is off, 9/10 I’m likely to make changes to the content and credit you for doing so. Otherwise, feedback without anything to back it up gets ignored (or at most a smile emoji like this 🙂 ) Thanks!

Design Notes

Evil druids! Ooo! Walking around, killing stuff instead of appreciating life, those big ol’ jerks!

I want a total utility machine with this build, something that makes traveling around a little easier. Tired of undergrowth slowing down the party? No problem! Kill it! Hungry while traveling? No worries, just suck the life out of that tree.

Here is what I hope to accomplish with this build:

  • As long as this druid is around, the types of spells that other druids and plant creatures would use to slow down parties aren’t as effective.
  • The druid should have some sort of negative environmental effect.
  • Potentially, the druid can wild shape into an undead or blight form.
  • An ability to siphon life out of vegetation, plants, etc.

This was a fun one to create. Basically, I took the basic idea behind the blight spell and totally blew it up into an entire subclass.

First, I let the subclass have sort of a “mini-blight” power that worked similar to vampiric touch, although not nearly as effective. Plus, I limited its use by the druid’s Wisdom modifier. Later, the power can help the druid create blights that can serve it (which will also be limited by its Wisdom modifier).

In addition to the blight/VT power, I came up with rules for the blight druid to Wild Shape into an undead form. Each one is roughly in line with the CRs of beasts that the druid can turn into at 2nd, 4th, and 8th, although I bumped up the level requirements a little to account for certain abilities. Furthermore, the Wild Shape are based on temporary hit points (similar to the Spore Druid’s powers in Ravnica) versus the actual hit points of the creature. It made for a neater build that didn’t require a mess of physical ability recalculations. The three undead builds are basically: the strong one, the fast one, and the scary AF one.

At 10th, the blight druid can land stride like a ranger, but only through plants. Plus, when it does so, it kills the plants around it, allowing others to travel in its wake.

Finally, at 14th, the blight druid becomes a master of blight, allowing it to exchange lower level spell slots for a casting of the 4th-level blight spell. The exchange rate is roughly the same as a sorcerer’s.

blight-druid

Druid Circle

At 2nd level, a druid gains the Druid Circle feature. The following Circle of Blight option is available to a druid, in addition to those normally offered.

Circle of Blight

More or an anti-druid than a true druid, Blight Druids have more in common with necromancers than others of the druidic path. Separating themselves from the natural world, they can take on unnatural undead states and steal life with a vampiric touch. Simply moving through a forest causes vegetation around blight druids to wilt and die.

Who knows what dark road druids of the Circle of Blight went down to lead them to hate nature they way they do. For the sake of the world, one would hope it happens to no other.

Siphon Life

When you choose this circle at 2nd level, you can steal the life from living things with your touch. You make a melee spell attack. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 necrotic damage and you regain hit points equal to half the amount of necrotic damage dealt. This feature has no effect on undead or constructs.

If you target a nonmagical plant that isn’t a creature, such as a tree or shrub, you don’t have to make a spell attack; it simply withers and dies and you regain 5 hit points.

You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (minimum of once), and you regain all expended uses of it when you finish a long rest.

Undead Form

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Wild Shape to transform into an undead version of yourself. Your druid level determines the type of undead you turn into as well as the benefits you gain.

Zombie Form. You become a rotting, corpse-like version of your normal self. You gain 25 temporary hit points. While this feature is active, you gain the following benefits detailed below. These benefits last for a number of hours equal to half your levels in this class, until you lose all these temporary hit points, or until you use your Wild Shape again:

  • Your normal Strength score increases by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus or becomes 12 (whichever is higher), your Dexterity score becomes 6 (unless it is already lower) and your Charisma decreases by 5 (minimum of 3).
  • You retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies.
  • You are immune to poison and the poisoned condition.
  • You gain darkvision out to 60 ft unless you already have it.
  • You can’t cast spells, and you lose your ability to speak although you can still understand any languages you are normally able to. Transforming doesn’t break your concentration on a spell you’ve already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that you’ve already cast.
  • You gain the Undead Fortitude feature. If damage reduces your temporary hit points to 0, you must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5 + the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, your temporary hit points drop to 1 temporary hit point instead and you don’t revert to your normal form.
  • You gain the Powerful Build feature. You count as one size bigger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift.
  • You gain a slam attack which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.
  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and use them if the zombie form is physically capable of doing so.
  • Your equipment remains the same.

Skeletal Form (5th Level Required). Your flesh and internal organs melt away and you become an animated skeleton. You gain 25 temporary hit points. While this feature is active, you gain the following benefits detailed below. These benefits last for a number of hours equal to half your levels in this class, until you lose all these temporary hit points, or until you use your Wild Shape again, at which point you revert to your normal form:

  • Your speed increases by 10 feet.
  • Your normal Dexterity score increases by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus or becomes 12 (whichever is higher, maximum of 20) and your Charisma score decreases by 5 (minimum of 3).
  • You retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies.
  • You gain resistance to slashing and piercing damage and you are immune to poison damage. You are also immune to the exhaustion and the poisoned conditions.
  • You gain darkvision out to 60 ft unless you already have it.
  • You can’t cast spells, and you lose your ability to speak although you can still understand any languages you are normally able to. Transforming doesn’t break your concentration on a spell you’ve already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that you’ve already cast.
  • You gain a claw attack which you can use to make unarmed strikes and you can use your Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes. On each of your turns, when you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action. If you hit with your claws, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength or Dexterity bonus (your choice).
  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and use them if the skeletal form is physically capable of doing so.
  • Your equipment remains the same.

Spectral Form (11th Level Required). You become a spectral version of your normal self. You gain 25 temporary hit points. While this feature is active, you gain the following benefits. These benefits last for a number of hours equal to half your levels in this class, until you lose all these temporary hit points, or until you use your Wild Shape again:

  • You gain no benefit from wearing armor or using shields. While in your spectral form, your armor class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom bonus.
  • You gain a flying speed of 50 feet which you can use to hover.
  • Your Strength score becomes 1 and your normal Dexterity score increases by an amount equal to your proficiency bonus or becomes 12 (whichever is higher).
  • You retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies.
  • You gain resistance to acid, cold, fire, lightning, and thunder damage as well as bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks. You are immune to necrotic and poison damage. In addition, you are immune to the charmed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, and unconscious conditions.
  • You gain darkvision out to 60 ft unless you already have it.
  • You can’t cast spells, and you lose your ability to speak although you can still understand any languages you are normally able to. Transforming doesn’t break your concentration on a spell you’ve already cast, however, or prevent you from taking actions that are part of a spell, such as call lightning, that you’ve already cast.
  • You take on an incorporeal form. You can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. You take 1d10 force damage if you end your turn inside an object.
  • You lose your ability to make physical attacks. However, you can use your action to drain the life from a creature within 5 feet of you. To use your life drain attack, you make a melee spell attack. On a hit, you deal 3d6 necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw versus your spell save DC or it is stunned until the end of your next turn.
  • You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source and use them if the spectral form is physically capable of doing so.
  • Your equipment merges into your new form and has no effect until you leave this form.

Create Blight

At 6th level, you can create an undead plant servant. If a nonmagical tree that is Medium or Small dies from your Siphon Life feature, you can use your reaction to animate it, causing it to take on a cruel semblance of life. The tree has the statistics of a needle blight (MM p32). It remains animate for 1 hour, after which time it collapses and reverts to a normal dead tree.

In combat, the blight’s turn comes immediately after yours and it obeys your mental commands.

Plant Stride

Starting at 10th level, you can use your action to activate or deactivate a small aura that kills all nonmagical plant life in the same space as you. While this aura is active, you can pass through nonmagical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard. As you pass through the plants, the plants wither and die, leaving behind a path for other creatures to follow.

In addition, while this aura is active, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such as those created by the entangle spell.

Blight Lord

At 14th level, you have mastered the blight spell. You can spend three 1st level druid spell slots, two 2nd level druid spell slots, or two 3rd level druid spell slots at any time to cast blight as a 4th level spell. You may do this even if you don’t have the blight spell prepared.

If you want to cast blight at a higher level, you must expend a spell slot as normal.

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3 thoughts on “Druid Circle of Blight | New Player Option for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition

  1. Howdy! :waves:

    Love the idea behind this new circle. And I think I have a use for it in a campaign I’m running. I do have a group of evil druids, I call them The Darach. And, of course, one of my player’s character is a druid involved in a prophecy foretelling the downfall of The Darach… but I digress… 🙂

    Question: the description includes “Simply moving through a forest causes vegetation around blight druids to wilt and die”. Is that a description of Siphon Life? I’m guess I’m really asking is can this druid turn on/turn off that “indicator of evil”?

    I imagine at lower levels the life expectancy of one of these druids isn’t took long. Therefore they would conceal their ability until such time they’ve gain power and/or confidence in the abilities.

    Narratively, I can see where I initially describe this person walking towards the party and then a second later the black mark of dead vegetation in their wake as they wild shape into their zombie form, or which ever…

    Question: Have you received any play testing feedback? To be perfectly honest I have no idea when my party would experience my evil druids. But I’m keen to try them.

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