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

Currently, I’m working towards the February book which is titled Creaturepedia: Monsters of the Ninth Kingdom Vol 1. It will include a number of monsters that I’ve created for the Patron-sourced campaign setting, Wandrossa. In addition to the monsters, the book will include a few subclasses, too.

Following a poll on my Patreon, these are the classes that the worldbuilders said they wanted to see made:

In addition, I’m tossing in a secret subclass that will come out only with the book.

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

Here are my notes for this build.

Before the Build

The rough idea behind the Druid Circle of Monsters is that instead of using wild shape to completely transform into another creature, the Circle of Monsters allows the druid to take on monstrous aspects.

Here is what I hope to accomplish with this build:

  • The druid can cobble together different monster parts using its wild shape.
  • It’s a flexible build, allowing for the druid to piece together the different elements it needs for its unique monster form.
  • I’d rather not use any sort of points or dice pool system for this build.

After the Build

This was pretty simple to concoct as I simply went through the beast section of the Monster Manual and broke down the benefits for each animal type based on the druid’s level requirements.

For those that were more powerful when paired, I gated them with level and feature synergy requirements. Additionally, I made it so some of the more powerful attacks made it impossible for the druid to use its hands.

I made sure to throw in Primal Strike (taken verbatim from Moon Druids) to balance things out.

This subclass loses out on some of the backend benefits that the other subclasses have, but it does so in exchange for more flexibility in Wild Shape builds. Since the number of combinations that can be created here are seemingly endless, this, of course, will need some peer review and playtesting to ensure that there are no loopholes that I missed.

Errata:

  • 2/12/2019 – Gave the monster form temporary hit points to account for the fact that it doesn’t have the beast’s hit points when in that form and made the appropriate adjustments. Also changed enhanced durability to reflect this change.
  • 2/13/2019 – Buffed up some of the extra damage at later levels.

Feedback/Adjustments:

  • Compare to Moon Druid. Same balance of power?
  • Are some of the features redundant?

Druid Circle

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

Circle of Monsters

Nature isn’t limited to the usual and safe. Monsters, too, are just as much a part of nature as any bear, hawk, or lizard. They are simply misunderstood. Druids of the Circle of Monsters develop a kinship with monsters. This desire to understand supernatural creatures opens up new abilities to these druids, allowing them to adopt the features and peculiarities that separate monsters from normal beasts. Druids of the Circle of Monsters adventure in order to educate others about monsters, proving that not all things that are strange are bad.

Monstrous Wild Shape

When you choose this circle at 2nd level, you can use your Wild Shape feature to transform into a monstrous creation of your own design. Your monster form takes on a non-humanoid aesthetic, which covers you head-to-toe in scales, fur, feathers, or some other unusual outward appearance. You gain 4 temporary hit points for each level you have in this class.

In addition, your monster form starts with three features of your choice, which are detailed under “Monstrous Features” below. You gain two additional features of your choice at 6th, 10th, and 15th level. Whenever you gain access to a new feature, you can also replace one feature that you already have with a different feature.

While in your monster form, you can’t cast spells and you can’t speak as normal. In addition, some of the monster features make it difficult for you to take any action that requires hands as noted in the feature’s description.

Your monster form lasts as long as your normal Wild Shape does or until you use your Wild Shape again. However, if you lose all of the temporary hit points granted by this feature, you revert to your normal form.

Primal Strike

Starting at 6th level, your attacks in beast and monster form count as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

Monstrous Features

The monstrous features are presented in alphabetical order. If a feature requires a level, you must be that level in this class to gain access to that feature.

Beak. You have a large, sharp beak that is a natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal slashing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier. In addition, you can mimic simple sounds you have heard, such as a person whispering, a baby crying, or an animal chittering. A creature that hears the sound can tell they are imitations with a successful Wisdom (Insight) check contested by your Charisma (Deception) check. When you reach 15th level in this class, your beak deals slashing damage equal to 1d8 + your Strength modifier.

Big Mouth (6th Level and Bite Feature Required). Your mouth is extremely large. When you hit a creature with your bite attack, the target is grappled. Until the grapple ends, the target is restrained and you can’t bite another target.

Bite. You develop sharp, powerful fangs capable of biting through flesh and bone, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier. When you reach 15th level in this class, your bite deals piercing damage equal to 2d6 + your Strength modifier.

Burrow. You gain a burrow speed of 10 feet.

Claws. You have large, sharp claws that are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal slashing damage equal to 2d4 + your Dexterity modifier. Your claws prevent you from taking actions that require the use of your hands. When you reach 15th level in this class, your claws deal slashing damage equal to 2d8 + your Dexterity modifier.

Climb. You gain a climb speed of 30 feet. In addition, you can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Constrict (10th Level and Mighty Build Required). Your torso is unusually long and pliable and you can use it to make constrict attacks. When you hit a creature with your constrict attack, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d8 + your Strength modifier and the target is grappled. Until the grapple ends, the creature is restrained and you can’t constrict another target.

Darkvision. You gain darkvision out to 60 feet.

Dive Attack (15th Level and Wings Feature Required). If you are flying and dive at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hit it with a melee weapon attack, the attack deals an extra 1d6 damage to the target.

Echolocation (10th Level Required). You gain blindsight out to 60 ft. You can’t use this feature while deafened.

Enhanced Durability. While you are in your monster form, you gain advantage on Constitution checks. In addition, the temporary hit points you gain when you transform into your monster form equal 5 times your levels in this class instead of 4.

Flyby (15th Level and Wings Feature Required). You don’t provoke opportunity attacks when you fly out of an enemy’s reach.

Hold Breath (6th Level Required). You can hold your breath for 30 minutes.

Hooves (Running Legs Feature Required). You have advantage on Strength and Dexterity saving throws made against effects that would knock you prone. In addition, if you move at least 10 feet straight toward a target and then hit it with an unarmed strike attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage of the same type. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. The saving throw DC is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier.

Illumination. You shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet.

Keen Senses. Starting at 3rd level when you select this feature, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing and smell while in your wild shape form. At 10th level, you also have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Mighty Build (10th Level Required). Your size doubles in all dimensions. Your increase in size to Large and your melee weapon attacks deal an additional 1d6 damage on a hit. Also, you gain advantage on Strength checks and your carrying capacity doubles.

Natural Armor. You have a thick hide that’s difficult to penetrate. While in your monster form, your AC equals 11 + your Dexterity modifier. The AC provided by this feature increases as you gain levels in this class. At 6th level, your AC equals 12 + your Dexterity modifier, at 10th level, your AC equals 13 + your Dexterity modifier, and at 15th level, your AC equals 14 + your Dexterity modifier. If you have use of your hands while in your monster form, you can still gain the benefit of shields while using this feature.

Natural Camouflage (6th Level Required). Choose a terrain type: arctic, coast, desert, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or underground. You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks made while in this terrain.

Pack Tactics. While you are wild shaped, you have advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of your allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated.

Pincer Claws. You have large, crab-like claws that act as natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier, and the target is grappled. You have two claws, each of which can grapple only one target. Your claws prevent you from taking actions that require the use of your hands. When you reach 15th level in this class, your claws deal slashing damage equal to 2d6 + your Strength modifier.

Poisonous (Bite Feature Required). Your bite is poisonous. When you hit a creature with your bite attack, the target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Constitution modifier. On a failed saving throw, the target takes 3d6 poison damage. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.

Pounce (Running Legs and Claws Features Required). If you move at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hit it with an unarmed strike attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a Strength saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, you can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.

Powerful Arms. Your arms are longer and stronger than normal. When you hit a target with your unarmed strike, you deal bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier instead of the damage you normally deal with an unarmed strike. When you reach 15th level in this class, your arms deal bludgeoning damage equal to 2d6 + your Dexterity modifier.

Quick Reflexes. You gain advantage on Dexterity checks. And you don’t take damage from falling 20 feet or less if you aren’t incapacitated.

Running Legs. You gain a movement speed of 50 feet.

Standing Leap. Your long jump is equal to twice your Strength score and your high jump is up to your 3 + twice your Strength modifier, with or without a running start.

Swim (6th Level Required). You gain a swim speed equal to your movement speed. In addition, you can breathe both air and water.

Take Down (Bite Feature Required). If you hit a creature with your bite attack, the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw with a DC of 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Strength modifier or be knocked prone.

Wings (15th Level Required). Wings sprout from your back. You gain a flying speed of 30 feet.

 

evil-by-dm-dave

EVIL is now on sale.

The first compendium of 2019 is already up and for sale on the site. It includes 17 new subclasses, 3 new playable races, 16 new monsters, 4 new spells, advanced weapons rules, and a whole lot more. It’s 56 pages of original Fifth Edition content.

It’s only $10 to purchase. Or, if you become a Patron, it’s FREE.

Check out a FREE sample of the content here on the site.

EVIL book cover art by DMDave. Thumbnail art by Johann Bodin.

 

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

    1. Yeah, I’m looking at the CR 1 beasts and most of them have 1d8 or 2d6 damage. Some even go up to 1d10. I think you should upgrade the dice sizes for the monster weapon features to be 1d8 or 2d6 then upgrade at level 15 to 2d8 or 3d6. Also I think you put a typo in the Powerful arms and Pincer Claws sections. The modifiers change from strength to dexterity at level 15. Not sure if that was on purpose

      1. Another typo haha. I do a lot of cut/pasting while I’m going through. Thanks for pointing the stuff out. I’ll probably do a run through again before I go to publish on it.

  1. I am wondering why in the feature pack tactics you used 3 ft instead of the standard 5 ft? I am not sure that it necessarily needs to be 5 ft but it seems out of place with the standard 5e mechanics.

      1. I figured that it might be but I didn’t want to assume. I really love the feel and flavor of this. To me, it screams Symic hybrid or a PC working with the Symic. Did you consider a circle feature where one of the lower level features manifest out of wild shape and become permanent, maybe at 15th level?

      2. Possibly. I got a bunch of great feedback from Reddit, so I’ll probably make some huge adjustments once I go to publish. Thanks for the feedback, too!

  2. For the natural camouflage, it says chose a terrain type ( insert terrains) does that mean everytime you change? Or pick it one and you have that one for good

  3. For the natural camouflage, it says choose a terrain type, do you choose that terrain everytime you transform, or do you choose it once and that is it?

  4. Natural camouflage says Choose a terrain type, do you do this everytime you transform or do you choose it once and that’s it.

  5. Also, Climb is availableat 2nd level, and you can be upside down on ceilings, but swim is only at 6th level? Is that due to the swim restriction put on by Wild Shape itself?

  6. Sorry, last question lol but the other druid subclasses get their last feature at 14, this subclass has it at 15, is that a typo or intentional.

  7. With Running Legs, does that just replace your race movement or do you get +50 added on. If I take the mobile feat do I get 50+10 or does it not stack with other feats/class abilities?

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