The First Thursday of every month, I like to try my hand at creating a cool character or another, This month, we have a Spell-based Druid that really turns up the heat! I wanted to make, essentially a nature-wizard, something a bit more offensive and less
This build idea came to me less as a set of mechanics, but much more as a concept of a character, more top down than bottom up. I wanted a character that, though a druid, could sling spells with the sorcerers and wizards, feeling at home with the damage they could deal and the spellpower they could wield. It wasn’t originally inspired by the Circle Orboros druids of the Iron Kingdoms settings, but I quickly realized the direction I was going was very similar to theirs. That is fine, honestly. Taking a good idea and making it your own is a very solid way to start character creation.
I also wanted this class to be a druid-first take on the character, so I was going to try and make sure that this character felt like a druid all along, and was only supplemented by the other character class, whatever that happened to be.
One of the things that struck me about the druid is how fairly boring their class options are. I’m not saying that they are ineffective, but they just aren’t particularly attractive as the basis to start a character. The Circles of the Land are effective, but seeing just a list of spells in a very dry and unappealing way just makes the character feel lackluster, even if they are not.
I also didn’t want to focus on shapeshifting (that is a very different character I have already). Dreams and Shepard hold no appeal to me. I was a bit stuck. So, I Started just peeking through other spellcasting classes. I wanted to make sure that I was able to keep the full spellcaster suite once I got going. I originally looked at the Nature Domain for Clerics, but that domain… kinda sucks, in my personal opinion. It just makes a healish druid-ly hybrid thing and I am really not a fan. After that its Sorcerer, Wizard,
I was actually looking at a different character in Xanathars when I stumbled across an ability that felt very druid: The Storm Herald barbarians ability to summon a storm aura. That felt really good. The problem was that it wasn’t a spellcaster class, and the likely hood that an 11th or higher druid would want to get into combat in their personage form doesn’t feel that likely. Though, Thinking on that, a non-shapeshifted combat druid does sound pretty cool. So, I kept at it, looking for storm based classes and abilities, and lo and behold, we struck gold. Storm Sorcerer was just what I had been looking for. They are a full caster class, and they have some really cool, flashy abilities that evoke the wrath of the storm and natures violence. Wind Speaker allows them to communicate with elemental creatures, which makes perfect sense. Tempestous Magic allows the caster to fly for 10′, without provoking Attacks of Opportunity any time they cast a level 1 or greater spell, which is a great get out of dodge mechanism. Heart of the Storm grants the caster resistance to Lightning and Thunder damages and can deal damage to creatures around you when you case a lighting or thunder damage spell of 1st level or high, which is a pretty cool ability. Damage is hard to come by for some classes. The final ability that we would reach for because the next ability would commit us to over half sorcerer, is Storm Guide, which is phenomenally a druid power If I ever heard one. You can cease rainfall and direct existing winds to surround you. Its a really cool and flavorful power.
A class split of 13/7 seems to bring the most benefit to both spellcasting classes. 13 druid gets you 7th level spells, which are extremely potent and include Fire Storm, and 7th Sorcerer gets 4th Level Sorcerer spells including the immensely cool Storm Sphere
For the druid portion of the class, I think I want to reach out and grab Arctic Druid to grab Cone of Cold. This fits perfectly with my homebrew campaign setting Tysis, set in a climate like Minnesota, Canada, and the Scandinavian Countries. Druid of the Land is extremely boring, so none of the abilities that they get while leveling really stand out to me as being decidedly cool, its the spells that they have access to that make them feel like a nature druid. Combined with the spell list of Sorcerer and the Arctic feature, the caster ends up with a pretty vast array of spells that they can use. Now, they don’t have any access to 8th or 9th levels spells, but as a person, that doesn’t bother me, they aren’t my favorite spells anyway. they do have the slots to cast them – one of each – but that’ll likely be used to improve a higher level spell to drop some solid damage later on.
Ray of Frost
Gust of Wind
Cone of Cold
Guardian of Nature
Bones of the Earth
This just oozes “Nature Wizard” to me, and I named it the “Circle of Wrath” in my head because it feels right.
The druid of the Oath of Wrath is the storm of vengeance upon doers wrong. they are the people willing to go out of their way to remind the people of the world who exploit natures abundance that nature can, and will, fight back. They speak for those creatures and beings that cannot speak for themselves while ensuring the destruction of those that will not heed the warnings that nature provides. They are merciless, heartless and cold, but they know their purpose well.
A druid that flies likely needs little in the way of armor, but having hide around likely isn’t going to hurt. A melee weapon that can quickly turn magical when needed via Shillelagh will also be useful, and I am extremely fond of the quarterstaff in this regard, though it will often go unused.
In terms of feat selection, I only see one that will get a lot of value, and that is Elemental Adept (Lightning) as there are just a silly amount of lighting damage spells in these class lists. While its not what I would go for at the first slot, it will likely be a solid pickup for around 8th level.
I don’t know that any specific race would work more or less in this role, though clearly Elf fits extremely well, with either High or Wood elf being the go to. I really like the idea of a Dragonborn version, as well as a Hill Dwarf Version, as they both bring interesting abilities to the class.
For this build, I’d get druid 2, then sorcerer 1, then alternate all the way up to 7 each. It won’t feel so bad going up, and then once you’re 15th, shoot straight up druid.
Neeromoth, Druid of Wrath
Race: Dragonborn I really enjoy the concept of a draconic nature avenger, and picking either Red, Gold or Brass can give you resistance to the most common spell damage type in the Game
Highest Stat: Wisdom: you’re going to need to put at least 1 AGI in here because you’re not getting anything from your racial, but that is fine.
Second Highest Stat: Charisma: Getting the bonus from Dragonborn is nice here. Nothing big, though.
Background: Hermit. Clearly. The Wrath Druid isn’t someone who stays inside with other characters of more worldly means.
Armor: Hide. It’s as good as you can get, and you often won’t need it. I doubt you’ll be in melee combat often.
Weapons: Quarterstaff. what druid doesn’t need a walking stick.
Skills: Survival. You’ve got enough spells that you should be able to work this on your own. I don’t expect skills to be a big part of their contribution to the party.
Druid Circle: Land – Arctic
Sorcerer Origin: Storm Sorcerer
Fourth Level AGI: With the need for Wis and Cha, you’ll likely take the standard ASI at 4th, and then grab the first feat at 8th.
Eighth Level AGI: Elemental Adept: Lightning; Being that much better at lightning damage is going to assist with all those bolts you’re tossing around.
Let me know what you think, and if you ever
Until next time!