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DnD 5e - The Druid Handbook

Disclaimer

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

Introduction

Druids are a very versatile class. Moon Druids emphasize Wild Shape, making them excellent Defenders, Scouts, or Strikers depending on what form they take. The Druid spell list allows them to serve as Controllers, Strikers, Support casters, and Utility casters. Land Druids lack the Moon Druid's ability to dive into melee, but gain improved spellcasting capacity, and retain the ability to use Wild Shape for scouting.

Druid Class Features

Hit Points: d8 hit points is good for a full caster.

Saves: Two mental saves. Intelligence is a dump stat for Druids, so even with proficiency it won't be a great save.

Proficiencies: Medium armor and shields should give you a decent AC, but since you can't use metal armor the best you can use is Studded Leather and a shield for a total of 14+dex. Your weapon proficiencies really don't matter.

Druidic: This will probably never matter unless your DM specifically writes something into the campaign to use it.

Spellcasting: The Druid's spell list includes a lot of really fantastic options which are only available to the Druid (and a handful which are only available to Druids and Rangers). The Druid has many of the best area control effects, like Entangle and Spike Growth, and a lot of unique damage spells like Call Lightning. However, Druids don't have the healing options of the Cleric, and lack many utility options available to Clerics and Wizards.

Wild Shape: Unless you're a Circle of the Moon druid, Wild Shape is a utility option. Turn into a small animal to scout, but turning into an animal to go into melee is not likely to end well since your available forms are so weak. See my Practical Guide to Wild Shape for specifics on how to make the best use of Wild Shape.

Druid Circle: See "Subclasses - Druid Circles", below.

Timeless Body: Almost certainly no effect on the game.

Beast Spells: Fly around as a bird and shoot spells at unsuspecting foes.

Archdruid: Like Wild Shape, this is much better for the Circle of the Moon Druids, who can switch back into an animal form at the beginning of every turn, thereby making themselves extremely difficult to damage. For other Druids, this just means extra utility.

Subclasses - Druid Circles

Abilities

Wisdom is everything for the Druid. Moon Druids use their Wild Shape form's ability scores and hit points, so physical ability scores are essentially wasted on the Druid.

Str: If you're in melee, you should be an animal. And if you're an animal, you're not using your own Strength score. If you can't be an animal but you're still in melee, cast Shillelagh.

Dex: A bit for AC while you're not in Wild Shape is nice, but not super important.

Con: A bit for hit points is nice, but even the Moon Druid will spend most of their time burning through Wild Shape hit points, which don't rely on your Constitution at all.

Int: Only needed for Knowledge skills. Dump unless you want Knowledge skills.

Wis: The Druid's spells are powered by Wisdom.

Cha: Dump.

Point Buy Standard Array
  • Str: 8
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 8
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 13
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 8

Races

Wisdom bonuses are crucial, but since nothing grants a +2 bonus to Wisdom you will need to settle for +1. Moon Druids don't need Strength or Dexterity since theirs will be replaced by their Wild Shape forms, but Land Druids may want some Dexterity for AC.

AarakocraEEPC: A bit of Wisdom and flight are great.

Dwarf: Dwarfs are very durable.

DragonbornPHB: Nothing useful for the Druid.

ElfPHB: Bonus Dexterity helps a bit with AC.

GenasiEEPC: Bonus Constitution never hurts.

Gnome: Nothing useful for the Druid.

GoliathEEPC: Nothing useful for the Druid.

Half-ElfPHB:

Half-Elf: The abilities work great, and bonus skills are always nice, but Variant Human is strictly better.

Half-OrcPHB: Nothing useful for the Druid.

HalflingPHB: Nothing useful for the Druid.

HumanPHB: Versatile and fantastic at everything.

Tiefling: Nothing helpful for Druids.

Skills

Background

Druids don't get a lot of great options with skills, but since they need so few ability scores they can afford a bit of Intelligence to back up Knowledge skills, and they have the Wisdom to back up important skills like Insight and Perception. Unfortunately, Druids dodn't get any Face skills so even if you put some resources into Charisma the Druid will never be an effective Face.

Feats

Weapons

Druids really don't need weapons. Instead, turn into something with claws.

Armor

Spells

This is not a comprehensive guide to every available spell, as that would be an exercise in madness. The following is a brief compilation of the most notable spells available to the class. Spells available via Magic Initiatie are also excluded; for suggestions for Magic Initiate, see the "Feats" seciond, above.

Cantrips

1st-Level Spells

2nd-Level Spells

Multiclassing