Playing with DnD5 Characters – 6th level Druid

This one will be interesting and a bit tricky. The Druid is not a go-to class for me, so I have very limited experience. It’s also one that really pushes the boundaries of the sheet – but that’s OK. My Player’s Handbook is near to hand.

Let’s start with the basics, and we’ll work the special powers from there.

The Druid specializes in CON and WIS, so doubling down I wound up with a Hill Dwarf. Darkvision, resilience, and combat training ups the ante on what a Druid can bring with him in the smackdown zone. This gets me Common, Dwarvish, and Druidic for languages.

Putting the stats down, I elected to go all-in on my primary stats for the 4th level bonus as well: +1 to WIS and CON. This gives me

STR 11 (+0); DEX 13 (+!); CON 18 (+4); INT 14 (+2); WIS 18 (+4); CHA 13 (+1)

He’s one more stat increase away from extra bonuses in three stats, and both his primary stats are with a +4. The CON bonus to HP puts him in serious contender category, with 12 HP at first level, and gaining 9 more for levels 2-6. 57 HP 

The sheet says 63, which again looks like an error – maybe adding my hit dice? Dunno. Still, the emphasis on CON lifts him up a bit.

Saving Throws are a mixed bag here, with CON at +4, INT at +5, and WIS at +7, while STR, DEX, and CHA are 0, +1, and +1 respectively. So as long as he’s not dodging traps and magical projectiles, he’s in good shape.

The skills require some careful selection of backgrounds to capitalize on good stats, but Choosing Folk Hero and from the skills from the Druid Class, I can hit up Animal Handling (+7), Nature (+5), Perception (+7), and Survival (+7). He’s not sneaky and he’s only strong in those abilities (minor +4 in Insight and Medicine), but he’s very strong in them.

Only one attack, and he’s going for non-metal armor and though he can use a shield, I’ll instead have him use a battleaxe in two hands. That gives one attack as a human, at 1d20+3 to hit, 1d10 damage. AC is 13. Not impressive – if he’s going to fight, he’d better not do it as a human if he’s going melee. Of course, with the Shillelagh cantrip, a wooden weapon becomes 1d20+4 to hit, and 1d8+4 damage for one minute. That’s credible if not spectacular. Worth carrying a club or quarterstaff.

Wild Shape


Anything up to a challenge rating of 1/2 by 4th level, and there are some interesting monsters on there. Black Bears and Crocodiles and Warhorses. All of which are pretty much equal or better than the Druid in human form if wading into melee is the order of the day. 

The mid-level increases are in the Circle Choices, though.


Circle of the Land

All Druids get spells, and at 6th level his slots are 4 cantrips, and the usual 4, 3, 3 for 1st through 3rd level slots for spell-intensive classes. The land pathway gets extra spells that are always prepared.

You can also recover three levels of spell slots (one 3rd, one 2nd and one 1st, or three 1st level spells lots) with a short rest. That’s handy, but you can only do it once per long rest.
Choosing where one became a druid tells you which four spells (at 6th level) you get all the time. The choices are kinda sweet. I’m focusing on combative abilities in these writups, but Grassland enables invisibility and pass without trace at first level. Nice. 
Moving to smackdown, we discussed Call Lightning dealing with Clerics which is a potentially tremendous store of damage. That one comes along with the Forest pathway, while Lightning Bolt slams down 8d6 if you’re on Bald Mountain. 
Dwarf. Mountain. Let’s do that. 
Spells

I get 10 spells plus my four Circle spells that I always have ready.
Cantrips
  • Poison Spray: 2d12 damage; no damage on successful CON save. Still – 2d12 to 10 feet.
  • Produce Flame – a fairly dim light (10′ light, 10′ dim), or 2d8 burn with a ranged spell attack.
  • Shillelagh – Adds damage and a hit bonus to a hunk of wood, as noted above. 5-12 HP damage is better than 1d10, so it’s a superior choice to the axe.
  • Mending – Not a combat spell, but handy for fixing stuff. 
1st Level
  • Spider Climb (Circle Spell)
  • Spike Growth  (Circle Spell)
  • Faerie Fire – outlines creatures in flame . . . including invisible ones
  • Goodberry – a full day’s food and 1 HP per berry; good for wilderness
  • Thunderwave
2nd Level
  • Meld Into Stone (Circle Spell)
  • Flame Blade: a flaming sword doing 3d6 fire damage and 1d20+7 for a hit roll. Hey, I’m a fighter! (OK, not really. But it’s a very nice melee capability, lasts 10 minutes)
  • Moonbeam – 2d10 damage (3d10 with higher spell slot), and reverts shapechanger
  • Heat Metal – 2d8 or 3d8 damage by heating metal red hot, for a minute. Double-whammy, because damage is automatic if they’re holding or wearing it, and they have to throw or discard the item if they can on a failed CON save. But against foes wearing metal armor? Ouch.20d8 potential damage here.
  • Pass without Trace: For when you want sneaky.
3rd Level
  • Lightning Bolt  (Circle Spell)
  • Call Lightning
  • Conjure Animals: because who doesn’t want to summon an Allosaurus or two Brown Bears?
  • Protection from Energy: half damage from fire, cold, thunder. lightning, etc. Good for taclking things like hellhounds or critters with particularly nasty elemental attacks.
I tried to go for a blend of “this helps fight creatures with special abilities,” thus Moonbeam and Faerie Fire, some utility spells, and some potent fighting spells.
Land’s Stride

As a Cirlce of Mountain Land guy, I can move through difficult nonmagical terrain at no extra movement cost. 
Forged Anvil Summary for Circle of Mountain Land
RACE: Hill Dwarf
• +2 Constitution, +1 Wisdom
• Size: Medium
• Speed: 25ft, speed not reduced when wearing heavy armor
• Darkvision 60ft
• Dwarven Resilience: advantage on saving throws against poison and resistance against poison damage
• Dwarven Combat Training: proficient with battleaxe, handaxe, light hammer and warhammer
• Tool Proficiency: gain proficiency with either smith’s tools, brewer’s supplies or mason’s tools
• Stonecunning: add double proficiency bonus to Intelligence (History) check on any stonework.
• Dwarven Toughness – hit point maximum increased by one every level
• Languages: Common, Dwarvish
BACKGROUND: Folk Hero
• Feature: Rustic Hospitality Since you come from the ranks of the common folk, you fit in among them with ease.
• Defining Event: Guide 
• Skills: Animal Handling, Survival
• Tools: One type of artisan’s tools, vehicles (land)
• Languages: none
CLASS: Druid
• Armor: Light & medium armor, shields (druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal)
• Weapons: Club, dagger, dart, javelin, mace, quartstaff, scimitar, sickle, sling, spear
• Tools: Herbalism kit
• Saves: Intelligence, Wisdom
• Skills: Choose 2 from Arcana, Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Religion and Survival
• Druidic You know Druidic, the secret language of druids. You can speak the language and use it to leave hidden messages. You and others who know Druidic automatically spot such a message. Others can spot the message with a successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check but can’t decipher it without magic
• Spellcasting Can cast a druid spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and the spell is prepared. Spellcasting focus: druidic focus
• Druid Circle (Land – Mountain)
• Wild Shape Magically assume the shape of a beast you have seen before: 1 action, max CR ½, no flying speed, duration 3 hours Wild Shape twice, expended uses are regained after a short or long rest (see PHB for Wild Shape rules)
• Bonus Cantrip: learn one additional druid cantrip of your choice
• Druid Circle Feature (Natural Recovery) During a short rest recover up to 3 levels of expended spell slots (5th level or lower). Use this feature again after finishing a long rest 
• Circle Spells 3rd (spider climb, spike growth) 5th (lightning bolt, meld into stone)
• Ability Score Improvement / Feat: Level 4
• Druid Circle Feature (Land Stride) Moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs no extra movement and 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
ABILITY SCORE IMPROVEMENT & FEATS
• Ability Score Improvement – Level 4 – Increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or increase two ability scores of your choice by 1
Circle of the Moon

This variant gets fewer cantrips (3 instead of 4), so we lose Mending. There are no “special” free spells, so the list truncates a bit . . . but some of them are really cool, so:

1st Level
  • Spike Growth
  • Faerie Fire – outlines creatures in flame . . . including invisible ones
  • Goodberry – a full day’s food and 1 HP per berry; good for wilderness
2nd Level
  • Flame Blade: a flaming sword doing 3d6 fire damage and 1d20+7 for a hit roll. Hey, I’m a fighter! (OK, not really. But it’s a very nice melee capability, lasts 10 minutes)
  • Moonbeam – 2d10 damage (3d10 with higher spell slot), and reverts shapechanger
  • Heat Metal – 2d8 or 3d8 damage by heating metal red hot, for a minute. Double-whammy, because damage is automatic if they’re holding or wearing it, and they have to throw or discard the item if they can on a failed CON save. But against foes wearing metal armor? Ouch.20d8 potential damage here.
3rd Level
  • Lightning Bolt 
  • Call Lightning
  • Conjure Animals: because who doesn’t want to summon an Allosaurus or two Brown Bears?
  • Protection from Energy: half damage from fire, cold, thunder. lightning, etc. Good for taclking things like hellhounds or critters with particularly nasty elemental attacks.

Circle Forms


Basically the ability to transform into a beast – 1/3 your Druid level, so at 6th level I can hit Challenge Level 2. Freakin’ Allosaur or a Polar Bear. 
Allosaurus (Free download from DMG Basic v0.1)
Large beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 51 (6d10 + 18)
Speed 60 ft.
STR        DEX     CON   INT       WIS      CHA
19 (+4) 13 (+1) 17 (+3) 14 (+2) 18 (+4)  13 (+1)
Skills Perception +5
Senses passive Perception 15
Pounce. If the allosaurus moves at least 30 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a claw attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the allosaurus can make one bite attack against it as a bonus action.
Actions
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target; Hit: 2d10 + 4 piercing damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target; Hit: 1d8 + 4 slashing damage.
The allosaurus is a predatory dinosaur of great size, strength, and speed. It can run down almost any prey over open ground, pouncing to pull creatures down with its wicked claws.

Polar Bear (Free download from DMG Basic v0.1)
Large beast, unaligned
Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 42 (5d10 + 15)
Speed 40 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR       DEX      CON      INT       WIS      CHA
20 (+5) 10 (+0) 16 (+3) 14 (+2) 18 (+4)  13 (+1)
Skills Perception +3
Senses passive Perception 13
Keen Smell. The bear has advantage on Wisdom (Perception)
checks that rely on smell.
Actions
Multiattack. The bear makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target; Hit 1d8 + 5 piercing damage.
Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target; Hit: 2d6 + 5 slashing damage.

Parting Shot

The Druid is an interesting mix. There’s some combat power there, but a lot of room for other things as well. Changing into a hungry dinosaur for a while will actually drop the Druid’s HP (!), but has very good melee bonuses and a 60′ move. Other creatures with interesting abilities (gargoyles can fly and have lots of cool damage resistance; sabre-toothed tigers are kinda cool too) can be selected for special cases.
You can’t cast spells while shapechanged at this level, so the kind of foes you face will dictate the choice.
While the spells and abilities above were chosen as combat intensive, those with a sneaky or buffing bent can easily (maybe even more easily) fill that niche. The Druid can be an effective combatant, no question, but that may well not be where its true strength lies. 
Where things are neat is that the Druid’s spell list has a lot of ability to take down creatures with special attacks and powers, so they become fairly interesting “pull in case of fire (elemental)” or “if foes are invisible, break glass” options.

2 thoughts on “Playing with DnD5 Characters – 6th level Druid

  1. Dont worry about the lower hit points in animal form. Those are basically free hit points. Check PHB p.67: Damage is non-recipricol between forms. Excess damage past 0 Hps in animal form does go to your human hps, but you can basically fight your way through _all_ of your animal form hit points, and then carry on the fight in human form! It is crazy good.

    Also, you can still concentrate on spells already cast, and direct continuing spells… like call lightning. So, buff up, drop call lightning, transform, go to town.

    As you can choose to wear equipment that your animal form could fit into, magic rings, belts, even cloaks are really useful to Druids.

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