Welcome to another installment of the Play with Class series where we will give you solid steps to run each class for the world’s greatest roleplaying game! This week, we’re going natural and talking about the druid.
I almost always have at least one druid in my party. I’m not sure what it is about this class that speaks to so many, but their appeal just can’t be denied. Druids have an impressive spell list with healing, utility, and damage capabilities in even measure. They have solid armor and weapon proficiencies to keep themselves alive. And of course, on top of it all, they can turn into animals. Druids in 5th Edition have had a rocky design road, but they can be an excellent match for both new and experienced players with a little bit of research.
Role of the Druid
Druids have a great deal of freedom in what role they fill in an adventuring party. If a party doesn’t have a standard healing class, druids can fit into that category nicely. If healing is already covered, they can become DPS (damage per second) machines with their killer selection of blasting spells. If they go all-in on their wild shape features, druids can even hold down combat as the party tank. The key to being an awesome druid is to work together with your party to figure out the role you need to play.
Druids also cover a strong adventuring base: the ability to interact with nature. It is shocking how often the ability to talk to animals or teleport through trees saves the day. At its heart, this is a game about stepping into the unknown, and you are way more prepared to do so with the scout-like talents of a druid at your back.
Reasons to Play A Druid
- Plants and animals love you. If you are a nature buff in real life, you can use all of that to create a satisfying in-game druid experience.
- Your spells shatter the earth, summon storms, and create tidal waves. You will never feel weak as a druid.
- You can fill a bunch of different roles in a party. You are the Swiss Army knife of classes.
Combat Crash Course
Druids are another one of those classes that requires a pretty solid understanding of everything you can do. You have many options in your bag, so figuring out your go-to combinations is critical for laying down that prime natural wrath.
Master Wild Shape
Wild shape is the big druid feature that sets them apart from being exactly like other casters. Unfortunately, it is also the most confusing part of the class with its gigantic block of text description. Here is a quick summary of the little details that will help you tremendously with wild shape:
- Pick out a couple of wild shape stat blocks that you know you can and want to use BEFORE combat ever comes up. This way, you’ll be ready to do your best.
- You can maintain concentration on a spell while wild shaped but not cast spells in a wild shape. This means before you transform, you should always cast an ongoing druid spell like call lightning or moonbeam to maximize your damage dealing.
- Transforming can keep you from dying. It is a way to give yourself temporary hit points as a beast and run the heck away. This is an excellent final option to have if you find yourself in trouble without healing spells to spend.
- For most druid subclasses, using wild shape to deal damage becomes irrelevant in higher levels. However, wild shape keeps being useful outside of combat at all levels with just a bit of creativity. Wild shape makes you a great scout, provides excellent disguises, and you can even carry around other party members as a mount.
Druids have many powerful spells at their disposal, and a ton of them are concentration spells. You will almost always want to start combat casting one of these concentration spells that give you round-to-round benefits. Once that spell is launched, you can turn to your other epic options. So always plan to kick things off with something like call lightning or moonbeam or any one of your summon spells. Timing is everything for you to maximize your potential.
When playing a druid, you have to identify what your party needs you to do most (or what you love to do most) and pick your options accordingly. Here are some level-up tricks to keep in mind.
Pay Attention to Wild Shape
With almost every druid subclass, using wild shape to turn into different animals in combat is the worst option. When you choose your subclass, pay attention to what you will be doing with your wild shape at higher levels. If the answer is “nothing,” it may not be the best subclass to pick.
Druid is one of the few classes that can hold its own without any help from multiclassing. If you stick with a pure druid build, you become a powerhouse so quickly. So resist the temptation and stick with druid! I promise your spell list will provide all the incentive you need to stay put.
If you want to check out some flavorful choices while fighting for mother nature, here are a few things to check out:
- If you want to stomp face as a literal tree, check out the Circle of Oaks option (see Deep Magic).
- If you love the idea of influencing others with your fantastic smell, check out the Circle of Roses option (see Deep Magic).