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DnD 5e - The Druid Handbook

Last Updated: January 12th, 2021

TEMPORARY NOTE: RPGBOT is undergoing a massive update for DnD 5e content to accommodate rules changes and new content introduced by Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. Please be patient while these changes are made. I maintain this site as a hobby, and I got access to the book on the same day as everyone else and I am rushing to catch up as quickly as I can. Please check "Last Updated" date below the title of each page. If it was updated before November 17th, it has not been updated to include the new content. To see what I still need to complete to catch up with Tasha's, see my To-Do List. To watch for ongoing updates, please follow me on Twitter.

Disclaimer

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

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances.
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can't assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won't cover Unearthed Arcana content because it's not finalized, and I can't guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

Introduction

Druids are a very versatile class. Between their available archetypes, they're able to serve mixes roles as scouts, strikers, blaster, support casters, and controllers. Their spell list has a lot of unique options. There is a strong emphasis on area control spells, and most of the Druid's best spells require Concentration. By spellcaster standards, the Druid is relatively simple to play because you so rarely need to track more than one ongoing spell effect, but it certainly doesn't make them less fun or less powerful.

The Druid is primarily a spellcaster, and fills a role in the party similar to the Cleric, serving as a Healer, Support, and Utility caster. However, their capabilities don't end there. Several subclasses also allow the Druid to serve as an effective Defender or Striker in an impressively broad and unique number of ways.

Druids experience a dramatic power spike at 2nd level when they gain their subclass, and the Circle of the Moon Druid remains among the most powerful builds at level 2 several years after the publication of the core rules. However, despite their strengths the Druid is not without problems. Druid subclasses vary wildly in complexity, and some druid subclasses like Circle of Spores are exceptionally hard to build and play effectively, while some subclasses like Circle of the Land are extremely simply to play so long as the player is comfortable managing their spells. Beyond the fluctuating complexity, druids also have notoriously poor AC due to their inability to wear metal armor, and with only d8 hit points they can be frail compared to similar classes lik the Cleric.

Despite all of that, the Druid can be a lot of fun to play, and if you stick to one of the low-complexity subclasses the Druid is among the easiest spellcaster classes to play. For new players looking to try their first spellcaster, Circle of the Land can be a great introduction to the complexities of managing spellcasters.

After reading this handbook, I encourage you to read my Druid Subclasses Breakdown and my Druid Spells Breakdown.

Druid Class Features

Optional Class Features are detailed below under Optional 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 for most builds, and even in builds that rely on weapon you'll be using a club.

Druidic: This will probably never matter unless your DM specifically writes something into the campaign to use it. If you summon creatures with spells, some of the spells specify that your summons understand languages that you speak, so you may be able to use this to communicate with your summoned creatures in a language which noone else understands.

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.

For help selecting spells, see my Druid Spell List Breakdown.

Wild Shape: Unless you're a Circle of the Moon druid, Wild Shape is a utility option. Any druid can turn into an animal to scout or to avoid notice, 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.

Some druid subclasses make use of your Wild Shape uses to fuel other abilities, such as the Circle of Spores' Symbiotic Entity feature. In a lot of ways, the Druid's pool of Wild Shape uses has become the Druid's go-to expendable resource pool for anything beyond spells, so even if you never use Wild Shape many druids can still make good use of the limited resource.

Druid Circle: Druid subclasses are briefly summarized below. See my Druid Subclasses Breakdown for help selecting your subclass.

  • Circle of Dreams: A tricky mix of healing, support, and teleportation options.
  • Circle of Stars: Draw on the power of magic constellations to change your capabilities, choosing to attack your foes, support and heal your allies, or withstand your foes attacks..
  • Circle of Spores: A poison-themed master of fungi and mushrooms, you gain the ability to adopt a powerful symbiotic form and to deal huge amounts of poison damage.
  • Circle of Wildfire: Tame a powerful wilfire spirit which serves you as an ally in combat, and use magic fire to defeat your enemies.
  • Circle of the Land: Emphasize your connection to the natural world by adding extra spellcasting related to specific natural environment.
  • Circle of the Moon: Master Wild Shape, gaining access to more powerful wild shape forms suitable to combat.
  • Circle of the Shepherd: A powerful summoner with useful abilities to buff and support their allies.

Timeless Body: Almost certainly no effect on the game.

Beast Spells: Fly around as a bird and shoot spells at unsuspecting foes. A great way to use spells like Call Lightning, but keep an eye on which spells have a visible effect which originates from you. If you're flying around as an owl and someone notices, you're going to get attacked and anything past the owl's 1 hit point goes straight to your regular pool of hp.

Archdruid: For the base druid and for druid subclasses that don't make use your Wild Shape uses, this has limited benefits. Combined with Beast Spells, it's often a good idea to turn into a beast outside of combat in order to pad your hit points and gain access to flight, darkvision, and other benefits. But if you take enough damage to fall out of your best form, you lose those benefits and if the best thing you can do with your Action is turn into a CR beast, something is super wrong (out of spell slots, etc.).

The second benefit of Achdruid is easy to overlook. Ignoring Verbal, Somatic, and some inexpensive material components means that you don't need to hold a focus, you can cast spells without issue while restrained and in areas of silence, and in many cases creatures will have no way to determine that spells are coming from you so you can easily run around as an inconspicuous animal (small birds and rodents are great for avoiding notice) and enjoy most of your usual capabilities (spellcasting, etc.) without drawing attention which might result in something attacking you.

For druid subclasses like Circle of Spores and Circle of the Moon which use the Wild Shape uses more heavily, this is much more impactful. Circle of the Moon can switch back into an animal form at the beginning of every turn, thereby making themselves extremely difficult to damage. Circle of Spores can reactivate Symbiotic Entity at no cost beyond spending an Action to do, allowing them to remain in their combat form almost perpetually and allowing you to refresh your pool of temporary hit points (which is 80 points at this level) whenever you have a moment to do so, allowing you stand still and shrug off upsettingly large quantities of damage at no cost beyond your Action.

Optional Class Features

Introduced in Tasha's Cauldron of Everyting, Optional Class Features offer ways to add additional features or replace existing ones. These rules are optional, and you should not assume that your DM will allow these features without consulting them first.

Assessments and suggestions for specific Optional Class Features are presented here, but for more information on handling Optional Class Features in general, see my Practical Guide to Optional Class Features.

Additional Druid Spells (Addition): Almost everything on this spell list makes sense on the Druid's spell list. Protection From Evil and Good seems like a bit of a stretch, but since the actual effect of the spell is protection from extraplanar creatures it makes sense. Divination is perhaps the least logical addition to the spell list since it puts the caster in touch with a god or their servants, and druids don't have any other direct relationship with deities. Other notable additions include Revivify, allowing the Druid to truly replace the Cleric as the party's healer without any loss of healing capability, as well as Cone of Cold and Incendiary Cloud, filling some gaps in the Druid's directly offensive options.

I recommend allowing the expanded spell list for all druids. Nearly all of the new spells are an excellent fit for the Druid, and the additional capabilities close the gap between the Cleric's spell list and the Druid's spell list so there's less of a capability discrepency there, and parties are less likely to find themselves staring in frustration at their party's cleric and wondering why their spells are so weird and limited compared to the Cleric. There's still a ton of dependence on Concentration here, though, so don't expect a bunch of these spells to be used in combinations or something.

Wild Companion (Addition): Access to a familiar is great on any character, and I really like the way this was implemented. Rather than just granting a familiar for free, the Druid spends a use of Wild Shape (thereby making use of an existing resource pool), and only gets to keep the familiar for a few hours. This allows the Druid to call up a familiar when they need one, but means that the Druid won't have a familiar all the time like many wizards will.

Allowing the Druid to easily call up a new familiar several times per day allows them to choose a type of familiar which fits situational needs rather than always defaulting to an owl like everyone else using a familiar. Call up a bat to help navigate caves, or a quipper to help explore bodies of water. Removing the material component also makes it less costly to treat the familiar as an expendable pet, allowing you to use it in combat with absolutely no regard for its safety.

I recommend allowing Wild Companion on all subclasses which I've rated red or orange, and consider allowing it on subclasses which I've rated green on a case-by-case basis. I specifically recommend allowing this on Circle of the Land because, while it's plenty effective the subclass lacks mechanical complexity and Wild Companion adds a useful tool that will make it more fun to play without making it too powerful.

I do not recommend allowing it on multiclass characters who dip into the Druid because characters who only take two or three levels in druid will find that it's too effective as a way to spend their Wild Shape uses. Druids who take class dips into other classes may be able to use Wild Companion without causing balance issues, but be cautious. If a druid is taking class dips into other classes they may be running a build that's powerful and complex enough that Wild Companion will add a problematic amount of complexity to the character that could cause problems at the table.

Cantrip Versatility (Addition): Retrain one cantrip every few levels. Sometimes a cantrip doesn't work out how you hope it would, or maybe as you gain levels you've found that your leveled spells can fill needs which previously required cantrips (attack options, etc.).

I recommend allowing Cantrip Versatility on all druids. You can't get anything which you couldn't already have, so it doesn't make your character more powerful. Hopefully it will make your character more satisfying to play.

Ability Scores

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 increases are crucial. With rare exception (Circle of Spores, mostly), Wisdom is all that you need from your racial ability score increases, but Dexterity and Constitution increases are also helpful because the Druid tends to have poor AC compared to similar classes like the Cleric. Beyond that, you have a lot of flexibility in what you want from racial traits. Darkvision and flight can be provided by a spell or by using Wild Shape (though that may not be useful in combat for every druid), so even those traits aren't overwhelmingly influential.

Moon Druids don't need Strength or Dexterity since theirs will be replaced by their Wild Shape forms.

Note that setting-specific races like the Changeling and the Satyr are addressed in setting-specific sections, below.

AarakocraEEPC

Customized Origin: Reverse the Dexterity and Wisdom increases if it fits your build, but otherwise my advice under the default rules still applies.

Default Rules: Perfect ability score increases and flight. The Aarakocra can only fly in light armor, but for the Druid that's not a problem. Hide Armor (the heaviest) armor that the druid can wear short of magic items) maxes out at 14 AC, which you can match with 14 Dexterity and Studded Leather armor, easily achievable thanks to the Aarakocra's Dexterity increase without cutting into your other ability scores. Absolutely perfect for any caster build, but Circle of Spores and Circle of the Moon may want other traits instead since they'll be in melee.

AasimarVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two damage resistances, Darkvision. Healing Hands is nice but won't matter much beyond low levels. Strangely, druid don't have any way to create light as a cantrip without committing a hand to hold a literal ball of fire, so Light may be a helpful addition. It's not clear how the Aasimar subraces' transformations interact with Wild Shape, but since the transformation is physical I assume that it's considered part of the Aasimar's body and therefore won't work in Wild Shape. The damage bonuses notably work on both attacks and with spells, so the most reliable way to get the damage bonus is often to use AOE damage spells.

  • Fallen: The 10-foot range on the fear effect is too short. The only druid subclass which should be fighting at that range outside of Wild Shape is Circle of Spores, and they have too many things competing for their Bonus Action (Shillelagh, Healing Word, possible Polearm Master) to make it easy to justify this.
  • Protector: Temporary flight when you need it.
  • Scourge: The damage radius is too small for anyone but Circle of Spores to use, and the damage will eat through your Symbiotic Entity temporary hit points way too quickly to use this.

Default Rules: The damage resistances and innate spellcasting are nice, but not enough to make up for most of the subraces lacking a Wisdom increase. It's unclear which, if any, of the Aasimar's racial traits work while wildshaped, so I would skip over this for Circle of the Moon.

  • Fallen: Bad ability spread.
  • Protector: Wisdom bonus, and the transformation can give you flight temporarily. Definitely viable for a caster build.
  • Scourge: Bad ability spread.

Aasimar (DMG Variant)DMG

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and two damage resistances. The Innate spellcasting doesn't help much, but combined with Absorb Elements you're protected from most non-weapon damage types which may do a lot to address the Druid's poor durability. You'll still have terrible AC, but it's a start.

Default Rules: You get the crucial Wisdom increase and the damage resistances are nice since you can't handle those damage types with Absorb Elements. The Druid doesn't have Light or Daylight, but you don't really need them. Stick to caster subclasses.

BugbearVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Surprise Attack attack works with any attack including spell attacks, and I think it works while in Wild Shape so you may be able to go into combat already Wild Shaped and ambush your enemies. Long-limbed isn't particularly useful since so few druids rely on weapon attacks, but Circle of Spores might be able to make it work since the 10-foot reach when using a shillelagh with long-limbed is still close enough to use Halo of Spores.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Custom LineageTCoE

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Custom Lineage.

Default Rules: Wisdom is the only ability score that most druids absolutely need, and there is a lot to be gained from a feat. Strongly consider Resilient (Constitution) due to the Druid's heavy reliance on Concentration spells.

DragonbornPHB

The Draconblood and Ravenite subraces are addressed under Races of Wildemount, below.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one damage resistance and breath weapon. The Druid doesn't get Burning Hands or a comparable 1st-level AOE damage option, so breath weapon may be impactful at low levels. For Circle of Spores it may offer a helpful way to handle crowds in melee, but as you gain levels it will quickly become less impactful than to your spells.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

DwarfPHB

Customized Origin: One +2 increase and a second increase from your subrace, Darkvision, and resistance to poison. Druids have essentially no reason to use any weapon except a club (even then, only with Shillelagh), so retrain the weapon proficiencies into tools.

  • DuergarSCAG: Another +1 increase. Superior Darkvision and Duergar Resilience are great, but Sunlight Sensitivity can be a problem in many campaigns. Fortunately, Wild Shape replaces your senses, thereby allowing you to overcome Sunlight Sensitivity for hours at a time. For a circle of the moon, I could see the Duergar working very well. The innate spellcasting is half useless, but druid can't cast Invisibility, so eve nthat is an asset.
  • HillPHB: Another +1 increase and some extra hit points.
  • MountainPHB: The only race option with two +2 increases. The Druid only really needs Wisdom, but two +2 increases allows you to easily start with 16 Constitution and leaves you a lot of hit points to spend elsewhere on other ability scores. This great for subclasses like Circle of Spores which are heavily MAD but it also leaves a lot of room in your build for feats.

Default Rules: Dwarfs are very durable.

  • DuergarSCAG: Bad ability spread.
  • HillPHB: Even more durability, and a Wisdom bonus.
  • MountainPHB: Bad ability spread.

ElfPHB

The Palid Elf subrace is addressed under Races of Wildemount, below.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, and one skill.

  • DrowPHB: The weapon proficiencies are useless, and the innate spellcasting is Charisma-based and not especially useful (with the possible exception of Darkness). Sunlight Sensitivitiy goes away while using Wild Shape, but you can't use the innate spellcasting in Wild Shape. This can work, but it may be frustrating.
  • EladrinMToF: The Druid has few teleportation options, so Fey Step is a great addition. However, the rider effects have Charisma-based DCs which may be a hard choice. It's also unclear if you can use Fey Step while in Wild Shape.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Functionally similar to the Eladrin, but you give up the rider effect for weapon proficiencies which you'll trade for tool proficiencies since you can't make good use of the weapons.
  • High ElfPHB: Booming Blade is absolutely spectacular for Circle of Spores, providing a powerful melee damage boost and crowd control effect. However, since the cantrip is Intelligence-based I wouldn't consider other offensive options. Booming Blade uniquely doesn't care about your spellcasting ability modifier.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Druids have abundant magical options to handle moving and breathing underwater. You need more from your racial traits, even in an aquatic campaign.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Basically the same as the Eladrin, but only one option for the rider effect on your teleportation and you get resistance to necrotic damage. The teleportation is great, but it's not clear if it works while using Wild Shape. Even so, it can be a great way for moon druids and spores druids to jump into combat.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Mask of the Wild is the only really unique trait from the Wood Elf, and it's not impactful enough to make a big difference.

Default Rules: Bonus Dexterity helps a bit with AC, and proficiency in Perception is great since the Druid is built around wisdom.

  • DrowPHB: Bad ability spread.
  • EladrinMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Bad ability spread.
  • High ElfPHB: Bad ability spread.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Bad ability spread.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Wisdom bonus, and Mask of the Wild works while in Wild Shape.

FirbolgVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, and some innate spellcasting. Thematically an excellent druid, and Speech of Beast and Leaf may save you some spells on Speak With Animals. Of course, the Druid can already do all of this stuff, so the Firbolg doesn't actually expand the Druid's capabilities.

Default Rules: A wisdom increase and a bunch of nature-themed innate spellcasting.

GenasiEEPC

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), but the vast majority of the Genasi's traits come from the subraces.

  • Air: You have an abundance of options to solve both breathing underwater and flight.
  • Earth: The Druid is one of very few classes which can cast Pass Without Trace, so the Earth Genasi's best gimick is largely wasted. Earth Walk may have some unique synergy with the Druid. The Druid's reliance on area control and easy access to spells like Erupting Earth allow the Druid to create difficult terrain made of earth and stone, and Earth Walk allows you to move through that difficult terrain unimpeded. This will matter less if flight becomes easily accessible, but in area like dungeons and caves it could be a tactical advantage.
  • Fire: Damage resistance and Darkvision, and the innate spellcasting complements the Druid's spellcasting nicely. However, the innate spellcasting is Constitution-based, which may be a hard prospect. You'll likely find that the innate spellcasting becomes gradually less useful as you gain levels and your regular spells outpace your innate spellcasting.
  • Water: Druids have abundant magical options to handle moving and breathing underwater, so acid resistance is the only notable benefit here.

Default Rules: Bonus Constitution never hurts.

  • Air: Nothing useful for the Druid.
  • Earth: Nothing useful for the Druid.
  • Fire: It's not clear if fire resistance applies during Wild Shape since it's a property of your physical body. The innate spellcasting is nice at first glance, but remember that it's Constitution-based so your class spellcasting will be considerably more effective.
  • Water: Bonus Wisdom is crucial, but Acid Resistance likely doesn't apply during Wild Shape since it's a physical trait of your body. The innate spellcasting includes Shape Water, which is excellent, but if all you want is a cantrip consider High Half-Elf.

GithMToF

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), but the bulk of your notable racial traits come from your subrace.

  • Githyanki: One skill, and trade the armor and weapon proficiencies for five tools. The innate spellcasting offers some useful options from the Wizard's spell list. Access to Misty Step makes the Githyanki functionally similar to the Eladrin or the Shadar-Kai. If you just want a once-per-day teleport, the Githyank is great, making it a great choice for caster druids. But if you need teleportation more frequently, the Eladrin and the Shadar-Kai are a better choice.
  • Githzerai: Resistance to charm and feat conditions is great since they're common, but the innate spellcasting will be more consistently impactful. Shield is especially appealing due to the Druid's notoriously poor AC. A great choice if you want to add some durability to your druid.

Default Rules: The Intelligence increase is wasted, so you're basically just looking at the Gith's subraces.

  • GithyankiMToF: Nothing useful for the Druid.
  • GithzeraiMToF: Wisdom, some spells which aren't on the Druid spell list, and Mental Discipline likely works while in Wild Shape.

GnomePHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increase and Darkvision. Gnome Cunning is great on any character, and it appears to apply while using Wild Shape. It's obviously wonderful on any character, but it's especially noteworthy for moon druids because they often lose racial defenses when they use Wild Shape.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Superior Darkvision is great, especially if you're not negating it with Wild Shape. Stone Camouflage also goes away while using Wild Shape, so the Svirfneblin is a poor choice for Circle of the Moon. For other druids, it's an excellent option, especially in subterranean campaigns, and unlike most races with Superior Darkvision you don't also face Sunlight Sensitivity.
  • ForestPHB: Minor illusion is an excellent spell, but Speak With Small Beats isn't noteworthy for a class that can cast Speak With Animals.
  • RockPHB: Tinker is neat but not especially helpful.

Default Rules: Nothing useful for the Druid.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Bad ability spread.
  • ForestPHB: Nothing useful for the Druid except Speak With Small Beasts, but you can cast Speak with Animals instead.
  • RockPHB: Bad ability spread.

GoblinVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Fury of the Small works with spells and attacks, and will even work while using Wild Shape, which creates a curious interaction where you can Wild Shape into something tiny like a flying snake, then use it on enemies down to Small size. Nimble Escape also appears to work in Wild Shape, allowing it to replace the Mobile feat for forms which support hit-and-run tactics with abilities like Charge (Elk, Rhinoceros, etc.) or Pounce (lion, tiger, etc.). Caster druids may enjoy Nimble Escape as a way to get out of melee as-needed without options like Misty Step which you can get from other races, but which only work once before you need to rest. Caster druids might even use Nimble Escape to run into melee, cast short-range spells like Thunderclap, then use Disengage to move out of reach. However, that's a risky tactic which is only occasionally worth the risks, so I don't recommend that for most builds.

Default Rules: Nimble Escape and Fury of the Small both work in Wild Shape, so this is an option for Circle of the Moon. However, without a Wisdom increase other druids will struggle.

GoliathEEPC

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, a skill, and damage resistance. Stone's Endurance can be very helpful for the Druid since they're relatively frail compared to the Cleric. Unfortunately, it's not clear if Stone's Endurance works while using Wild Shape. Regardless, this is a good option for the majority of druids. I would strongly consider this for Circle of Spores since Stone's Endurance can reduce your reliance on Constitution and it can reduce damage before it cuts into your temporary hit points from Symbiotic Entity.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Half-ElfPHB

Customized Origin: Three ability score increases is a huge benefit for the Druid. Though you get medium armor, 16 Dexterity and light armor will exceed the best AC you can get, and starting with 16 Dex/Con/Wis puts you in an excellent position, especially with Circle of Spores which is extremely MAD compared to every other druid subclass. You also get Darkvision and Fey Ancestry.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Druids have abundant magical options to handle moving and breathing underwater. You need more from your racial traits, even in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: Charisma-based innate spellcasting, and Darkness is the only significant addition to your capabilities.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Among the best racial options for Circle of Spores, Booming Blade is a massively important tactical option. Other subclasses won't find much use here since the cantrip is Intelligence-based.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Two skills goes a long way, but you'll likely need to spread your ability scores beyond the Druid's typical Wisdom-only spread in order to find more skills that work with your ability scores.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Despite the excellent theming, there's very little to be gained here. Druids aren't dependent on stealth enough to make Mask of the Wild significant, and four weapon proficiencies isn't appealing even if you trade them for tool proficiencies.

Default Rules:

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only if you're in an aquatic campaign, and even then you have numerous magical options to handle breathing and moving underwater.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: Faerie Fire is great for handling invisible creatures, but druids have enough area control options that Darkness isn't a huge draw and the fact that Faerie Fire's save DC is Charisma-based makes it a difficult option for the Druid.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Druids have plenty of great cantrip options, so a single wizard cantrip won't do much for you. Booming Blade is tempting for Circle of Spores druids, especially since the it doesn't care about your Intelligence bonus like other offensive wizard spells will. For other subclasses there is little reason to consider wizard cantrips.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Two skill proficiencies are good on any character, but you'll need to look beyond the Druid's normal skillset to find worthwhile skills beyond the four that you get from the Druid and from your background.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Mask of the Wild works very well for a Druid, especially if you have Stealth proficiency. The Wood Elf and the Wood Half-Elf are roughly equivalent in effectivness.

Half-OrcPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, Darkvision, and Relentless endurance. Save Attacks will be useless for any druid except spores druids, but Relentless Endurance is always great on a class that's frequently the party's primary healer.

Default Rules: Savage Attacks and Relentless Endurance both work in wild shape, which makes you slightly more lethal and more durable. The Orcish Fury racial feat is tempting because Relentless Endurance will trigger reliably while you're in Wild Shape, but remember that natural weapons used by animals are neither Simple nor Martial weapons, so the feat's second bullet doesn't apply while your using Wild Shape. Unfortunately, those are the only useful things that the Half-Orc brings to the Druid, so they only work for Circle of the Moon, and you'll always lag behind on spellcasting.

HalflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Brave, and Lucky. Brave and Lucky are great on any character, but much like the Cleric the druid may not be rolling attacks as much as other characters, so Lucky may not be quite as effective.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Silent Speech solves the problem of communication while using Wild Shape, but with the ability to rearrange your ability score increases there are several other races with similar telepathy in addition to other useful traits.
  • LightfootPHB: Naturally stealthy is barely usable unless you take a class dip into rogue so that you can Hide as a bonus action.
  • StoutPHB: Poison resilience is great since poison is so common, but it won't apply while using Wild Shape so moon druids should look elsewhere.

Default Rules: The Dexterity increase provides a helpful AC boost, and Brave and Lucky are good on any character.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: A small wisdom bump is great on any druid, but Silent Speech is especially interesting. It doesn't rely on your physical shape, and wild shape doesn't change the languages you know, so you can still use Silent Speech to communicate with your allies while in wild shape, though it appears to be one-way since the ability specifically says "speak telepathically to" rather than "with".
  • LightfootPHB: Bad ability spread.
  • StoutPHB: Bad ability spread.

HobgoblinVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and some armor and weapon proficiencies which you'll turn into tool proficiencies. The Hobgoblin's distinguishing trait is Saving Face, which provides a great backup option if you fail a saving throw. It's easy for the Druid to have numerous allies nearby thank to access to Summon Animals, which makes it easy to get the maximum +5 bonus from Saving Face.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Human

Customized Origin:

  • Standard: With perfect ability scores on the table for every race, there is no reason to play the Standard Human.
  • Variant: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Variant Human.

Default Rules: Versatile and fantastic at everything.

  • Vanilla: Most of the ability increases are completely wasted on the Druid.
  • Variant: Put the bonuses into Constitution and Wisdom. Feats aren't crucial for most druids, but many caster druids might like Elemental Adept, moon druids can make good use of Mobility in some forms, and sporesdruids can get a lot out of feats like Polearm Master or Magic Initiate.

KenkuVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Expert Forgery and Mimicry do nothing to help the Druid, and you can get the increases and skills from numerous other races.

Default Rules: You get the critical Wisdom increase, and a Dexterity increase helps with the Druid's notoriously terrible AC. The extra skill proficiencies don't play especially well to the Druid's capabilities, but like the Cleric you can easily fill in for a rogue with the right skills and background.

KoboldVGtM

Customized Origin: +2 increase and Darkvision. Pack Tactics is the primary reason why people want to play a kobold (Well, the primary mechanical reason. The flavor is fun, too.), but for most druids it's not useful since the Druid relies so little on attack rolls. However, moon druids may be an exception, and it appears that Pack Tactics works while using Wild Shape, which conveniently also removes Sunlight Sensitivity, making the Kobold an interesting choice for Circle of the Moon. Grovel, Cower, and Beg may also be useful, especially if you summon numerous other creatures and have them focus their attacks on affected enemies.

Default Rules: Nothing useful for the Druid except Pack Tactics, which may be enough to make the kobold an interesting moon druid, but you'll always lag behind on spellcasting.

LizardfolkVGtM

Customized Origin: The Lizarfolk is already a good druid option, and the Customizing Your Origin rules do little to change it. Reverse the ability score increases and ignore the limited skill options, but otherwise my advice for the default rules applies.

Default Rules: Durable and wise. The lizardfolk's traits make it durable enough to survive falling out of wildshape a few times as a moon druid, and the Lizardfolk's natural armor outpaces any of the Druid's normal AC options. Bite is Strength-based so it won't help you much, but Hungry Jaws might work while using Wild Shape.

LocathahLR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and leviathan will. The natural armor is nice but no better than studded leather so it's not impactful. Leviathan Will looks like it works while using Wild Shape, which is really nice for moond druids. In general a good option if you're worried about status conditions, and one of the better aquatic options for the Druid.

Default Rules: The only useful parts are the Dexterity increase and the free skills.

OrcVGtM

Note that errata has corrected the multiple versions of the Orc to all provide the same traits. The Intelligence decrease has been removed, and the Primal Intuition now allows selecting two skills from a list. The Orc of Exandria entry from Explorer's Guide to Wildemount omits the Powerful Build trait, but it's not clear if that was an intentional change.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Darkvision. Aggressive is the Orc's unique trait, and it's not useful for the Druid. Even if you're going for Circle of the Moon, you can just turn into something fast or that has Charge or something.

Default Rules: Aggressive works in wild shape, but that's not enough.

TabaxiVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and two skills. Feline Agility and Cat's Claws are the Tabaxi's signature traits, but the claws are useless. Feline Agility is a great speed boost, and it's pretty common in combat to need to rush into position then stand still for several turns, especially if you need to deliver short-range healing spells. Feline Agility might work with Wild Shape, but I'm not certain.

Default Rules: Feline Agility works in wild shape, but that's not enough.

TieflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and fire resistance. Most subraces/variants offer innate spellcasting of some kind. The innate spellcasting is Charisma-based, so anything which requires an attack or a save is largely worthless.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: The innate spellcasting is fine, but Hellish Rebuke is the only part that you'll be able to use consistently.
  • BaalzebulMToF: The leveled spells are both offensive and require saving throws.
  • DispaterMToF: Very situational spells.
  • FiernaMToF: All three spells require saves.
  • GlasyaMToF: All three spells are unavailable to the Druid, and none of them allow saving throwss, so they're all great options.
  • LevistusMToF: Armor of Agathys is tempting, but it'll only last for one hit because the spell ends when the temporary hit points go away.
  • MammonMToF: Mostly situational utility options.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Tries to split the difference between Asmodeus's fire stuff and Mammons utility stuff, but the offensive stuff ends up just being worse.
  • ZarielMToF: The leveled spells are both offensive and require saving throws.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: The Customizing Your Origin optional rules make the Feral variant obsolete. All it does is rearrange your ability score increases.
  • Variant: Devil's TongueSCAG: All three spells require saves.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Hellish Rebuke is better for you since it doesn't cut into your turns, though not by much.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Permanent non-magical flight. The Aarakocra is faster, but the Tiefling gets Darkvision and fire resistance. The Tiefling can also fly in medium armor, but that doesn't really matter for the Druid.

Default Rules:

  • AsmodeusPHB / MToF: Bad ability spread.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • DispaterMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • FiernaMToF: A bit of Wisdom, but the spells are better-suited to a Face, and druids don't make great faces.
  • GlasyaMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • LevistusMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • MammonMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Bad ability spread.
  • ZarielMToF:
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Unfortunately, the Feral Tiefling's ability score increases aren't any better for the Druid than the base Tiefling's ability score increases.

    According to the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide, the Feral Variant is compatible with other variants.

  • Variant: Devil's TongueSCAG: Bad ability spread.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Bad ability spread.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Bad ability spread.

TortleTP

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and fixed 17 AC from natural armor. The fixed AC goes a long way to address the Druid's AC issues. A typical druid will sit at 14 or 15 AC (depending on your Dexterity, and before considering shields) for a big chunk of their career because you can't afford to increase Dexterity until you hit 20 Wisdom. Starting at 17 AC addresses that issue and mostly removes the need to invest in Dexterity. That's great for any druid, but the Circle of Spores is the most MAD druid by far, and dropping the need for Dexterity makes the subclass much easier to play.

Default Rules: Wisdom is already great, but the Tortle's Strength is largely wasted. The Tortle's Natural matches the best AC that the Druid can achieve without magic, and since you don't need to invest in Dexterity to boost your AC that's a huge benefit. Circle of the Moon should look elsewhere, but for every other druid if you're worried about your survival and about splitting ability score increases between Dexterity, Constitution, and Wisdom, this is a great choice.

TritonVGtM

Customized Origin: Three +1 increases, Amphibious, Darkvision, cold resistance, and some innate spellcasting. The innate spellcasting is neat, but not especially impactful, and the Druid has abundant options for moving and breathing underwater.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

VerdanAcInc

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and one skill. Black Blood healing might help you stretch your healing resources, but it's not going to do a lot. Limited Telepathy appears to work while using Wild Shape, which is neat. This could be a good option for Circle of the Moon since you'll be on the front lines taking damage part of the time (remember that if you fall to 0 while in wild shape the extra damage goes to your regular hit points).

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Yuan-Ti PurebloodVGtM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, darkvision, immunity to poison, magic resistance, and some innate spellcasting. The innate spellcasting is borderline useless, but magic resistance and immunity to poison are extremely helpful for front-line builds which will attract a lot of attacks. And excellent choice if you need durability and expect to encounter spellcasters, but you'll still need to deal with the Druid's dismal AC.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread, but thematically a snake druid would be really interesting. I just wish that the stats lined up better. It's likely that Magic Resistance and Poison Immunity would not apply during Wild Shape.

Setting-specific races are address below. Not every setting allows every race, and while most races presented in the core rules and in content for the Forgotten Realms can be used in other settings, races specific to settings like Ravnica aren't typically allowed in other settings. Talk to your DM about what races are allowed in your game.

Races of Eberron

BugbearERLW: See above under the general Races section.

ChangelingERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills. Shapechanger is neat, but if you want to turn into something you'll do better with Wild Shape.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread, and druids can already turn into stuff.

GoblinERLW: See above under the general Races section.

HobgoblinERLW: See above under the general Races section.

OrcERLW: See above under the general Races section.

KalashtarERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases. Dual Mind and Mental Discipline make the Kalashtar very resilient to mental attacks. Mind Link is neat, allowing you to perform two-way communication while using Wild Shape. If you want to play Circle of the Moon without giving up the ability to communicate, I think this is your best bet.

Default Rules: A good Wisdom increase, and you may be able to speak telepathically while you use Wild Shape.

ShifterERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, and one skill. Shifting is the Shifter's signature feature, and the benefits from your subrace affect Shifting's usefulness significantly. Since shifting is a physical thing, I assume that it doesn't work while using Wild Shape. You'll also have trouble overlapping it with Circle of Spore's Symbiotic Entity since Symbiotic Entity goes away when the temporary hit points do, so if you shift you'll need to give up the temporary hp from Shifting.

  • Beasthide: More temporary hp and an AC boost. Probably the Druid's best option among the Shifter's subraces since it helps with the Druid's poor durability.
  • Longtooth: An extra attack as a Bonus Action, but it's Strength-based and there is very little reason to invest in Strength.
  • Swiftstride: Nice to get out of melee if you don't want to be there, but the Goblin can handle tha tproblem more easily.
  • Wildhunt: Too situational.

Default Rules: It's unclear if you can use Shifting while using Wild Shape, which negates most of the reason why you would want to play a shifter. If you're not going to use Wild Shape, you're probably fine. If you're considering Circle of the Moon, talk to your DM first.

  • Beasthide: Bad ability spread.
  • Longtooth: Bad ability spread.
  • Swiftstride: Bad ability spread.
  • Wildhunt: The ability scores line up well, and the Wildhunt Shifting Feature gives you Advantage on ability checks which include the ability check made with Dispel Magic.

WarforgedERLW

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Warforged. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: The flexible ability increase goes into Wisdom, and with a pile of resistances and immunities and a bonus to AC, you may have a solution to the Druid's notoriously poor durability. None of it works in Wild Shape, though, so avoid Circle of the Moon.

Dragonmarks

While the design intent for Dragonmarks was that they would offer some innate spellcasting for everyone, every dragonmark includes an expanded spell list which is arguably a more significant benefit than most of the provided racial traits. Because the expanded spell options are such an important part of the dragonmarks, if you're not playing a spellcaster you're giving up a huge part of your racial traits, which makes it exceptionally difficult to justify playing a dragonmark character who can't cast spells.

Dragonmarked DwarfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Warding: The skill and tool bonuses may not be particularly useful, but the spellcasting does a lot to address the Druid's notoriously poor durability. Mage Armor exceeds all of the Druid's armor options, and with 8-hour duration it lasts all day. Armor of Agathys provides an easy source of temporary hit points (not to mention the damage when you're hit), and it works while you're in Wild Shape so you can cast it ahead of time to pad your Wild Shape hit points and get some bonus damage out of your poor AC while also making it easier to stay in Wild Shape for long periods of time. I would consider this for Circle of the Moon, but I don't know if it's good enough for other circles when options like the Tortle exist.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Warding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Shadow: This adds a lot to the Druid's capabilities, adding numerous illusions to a spell list which has almost none, including staple options like Invisibility. The skill bonus to Stealth will help compensate for mediocre Dexterity compared to a rogue, so you can easily serve your party as a Scout in addition to your other capabilities.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Shadow: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked GnomeERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Scribing: The spells are too situational and too focused on communication. The Druid is not a Face.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Scribing: Bad ability spread.

Dragonmarked Half-ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace some of your normal racial traits, as described in the entry for each Dragonmark.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Detection: The skill bonuses are nice, and the dragonmark spells add several great divination options to the Druid's spell list.
  • Mark of Storm: The innate spellcasting is bad, and the dragonmark spells are almost all on the Druid's spell list already.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Detection: The ability increases are fantastic, and nearly every one of the dragonmark spells is a new addition to the Druid's spell list.
  • Mark of Storm: Bad abiity spread.

Dragonmarked Half-OrcERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: The innate spellcasting isn't helpful, and the dragonmark spells are almost all on the Druid's spell list already.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: The ability scores are great, but most of the spells are already on the Druid's spell list.
Dragonmarked HalflingERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Healing: The spellcasting does very little to help you. The Druid can already cast nearly every interesting spell on the dragonmark spell list, especially if you're using the Additional Druid Spells Optional Class Feature.
  • Mark of Hospitality: The skill/tool bonuses are mostly useless for the Druid, but the spells are almost entirely new to the Druid's spell list, and add some helpful utility options from the cleric and wizard spell lists.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Healing: While the ability score increases are good, the spellcasting does very little to help you. The Druid can already cast nearly every interesting spell on the dragonmark spell list.
  • Mark of Hospitality: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked HumanERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your normal racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: Thematically this makes a lot of sense, and the skill bonuses add to some core druid skills. The Bigger They Are gives you a nonviolent way to handle low-Intelligence Monstrosities, but that won't be helpful consistently. The Tarrasque only has 3 Intelligence, so the effect works across the full CR scale, but most of the spellcasting is centered around Beasts and already on the Druid's spell list, so while Mark of Handling complements the Druid's existing capabilities nicely, it doesn't expand them much or fix any problems that the Druid faces.
  • Mark of Making: The skill bonuses and proficiencies may not be especially useful, but the spellcasting is excellent for a druid looking to take a supporting role in the party. Nearly every one of the spells is new to the Druid's spell list. However, the better options require Concentration, which is already a big problem for the Druid so you may not be able to enjoy your dragonmark spells and your best druid spells at the same time.
  • Mark of Passage: Druids have few few teleportation options, and Mark of Passage introduces several than can be very useful for druids looking to get in and out of melee in a hurry. Many of the dragonmark spells are new to the Druid's spell list.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Skill bonuses to two Wisdom-based skills, and Shield as an innate spell. Most of the dragonmark spells are new to the Druid's spell list, and they add some excellent defensive options like Shield of Faith and Death Ward. Considering the Druid's notoriously poor durability, those are significant additions to your capabilities.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: The ability scores are great, but most of the spells are already on the Druid's spell list.
  • Mark of Making: The Intelligence increase is largely wasted, but the flexible increase can go into Wisdom, and the dragonmarks spellcasting adds a lot of new options. Only one of the dragonmark spells is already on the Druid's spell list.
  • Mark of Passage: Good ability score increases, and all but two of the dragonmarks spells are new to the Druid's spell list. Druids lack options to teleport any distance, and while that capability can often be replaced by Wild Shape, turning into an owl won't always get you of a bad situation.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Good ability score increases, and access to both shield and Shield of Faith provide ways to address the Druid's notoriously poor AC. A circle of spores druid could do very well with Mark of Sentinel's additional defensive options.

Races of Ravnica

CentaurGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and one skill. Strength-based melee attacks are a poor choice for the Druid, and without the attacks there is little reason to play a centaur.

Default Rules: Centaurs are built really well for melee combat, but most of those traits go away with Wild Shape. Even if you avoid Wild Shape, using Shillelagh to enhance your melee weapon is usually a better option for druids than relying on Strength.

GoblinGGTR: See above under the general Races section.

LoxodonGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases. Loxodon Serenity and Natural Armor do a lot to help the Druid's poor durability. The Loxodon's Natural Armor is Constitution-based, so you can dump Dexterity and focus on Constitution and Wisdom without sacrificing AC. This makes the Loxodon an exciting option for Circle of Spores similar to the Tortle, but you trade the easy 17 AC of the Tortle for Loxodon Serenity. Without a need for Dexterity, you can invest in other ability scores and explore skill-based roles which are normally difficult for the Druid.

Default Rules: Excellent ability cores for the Druid, and a handful of useful passive benefits. The Loxodon's Natural Armor is Constitution-based, so you can safely dump Dexterity and be incredibly durable.

MinotaurGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and one skill. Strength-based melee attacks are a poor choice for the Druid, and without the attacks there is little reason to play a minotaur.

Default Rules: Nothing useful for the Druid.

Simic HybridGGTR

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Simic Hybrid. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: Fantastic and versatile, but probably not a great choice for a Moon Druid because Animal Enhancement goes away in Wild Shape.

VedalkenGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and one tool. Vedalken Dispassion is an excellent defensive option, and it applies while using Wild Shape. It's not clear how Tireless Precision works if you go outside the normal skill limitations, but it's still a good way to expand your capabilities outside of combat.

Default Rules: A Wisdom increase and Tireless Dispassion are the only interesting parts of the Vedalken.

Races of Theros

CentaurMOoT: See above under the Races of Ravnica section.

HumanMOoT: See above under the general Races section.

LeoninMOoT

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Daunting Roar is a nice crowd control option, but it works best when you're in melee and surrounded by enemies, and the only druid that thrives in that scenario is Circle of Spores.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

MinotaurMOoT: See above under the general Races section.

SatyrMOoT

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Magic Resistance. Mirthful Leaps is fun but rarely impactful, so Magic Resistance and skills are the big appeal here. The best comparison is to the Yuan-Ti Pureblood, which trades the skills for poison resistance and some bad innate spellcasting. They're roughly equivalent, but I would lean toward the Satyr in a small party where you may need to cover more skills than youl would otherwise.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

TritonMOoT: See above under the general Races section.

Races of Wildemount

AarakocraEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

AasimarEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

BugbearEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

DragonbornPHB

Wildemount presents two new Dragonborn variants, each replacing the standard Dragonborn's ability score increases and damage resistance.

Customized Origin:

  • DraconbloodEGtW: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Forceful Presence is the Draconblood's signature trait, and it's entirely wasted on the Druid due to their absolute lack of Face skills.
  • RaveniteEGtW: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Vengeful Assault is nice, but the Druid generally doesn't rely on attacks. Circle of Spores uses weapons, but needs their Reaction to spore things. Circle of the Moon may find it useful, especially since beasts typicallys have poor AC and you'll get hit a lot.

Default Rules:

  • DraconbloodEGtW: Bad ability spread.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Bad ability spread.

Elf

Wildemount elves share the core traits of PHB elves, but Wildemount adds two new subraces. See above for more information on other elf subraces.

Customized Origin:

  • Pallid ElfEGtW: The skill bonuses are decent, but the innate spellcasting doesn't do enough. Light isn't particularly helpful for the Druid, and Sleep will be obsolete as soon as you can cast it, so it's really just Invisibility once per day.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: See above under the general Races section.

Default Rules:

  • Pallid ElfEGtW: Similar to the Wood Elf. A Wisdom bonus, some bonuses with skills, and some spellcasting not normally available to the Druid.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: See above under the general Races section.

FirbolgsEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

GenasiEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

GoblinEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

HalflingPHB

Wildemount halflings share the core traits of PHB halflings, but Wildemount adds a new subrace. See above for information on other halfling subraces.

Customized Origin:

  • LotusdenEGtW: An easy and simple choice for the Druid, the innate spellcasting is all druid spells and it's Wisdom-based so it's basically just additional class spellcasting. Timberwalk makes sense thematically, but remember that it ony applies to nonmagical plants so you still can't walk through Entangle.

Default Rules:

  • LotusdenEGtW: A Wisdom increase and some extra spells to help get you through low levels. Remember that Timberwalk only works on nonmagical plants, however, so it won't work on the area of your Entangle spell.

HobgoblinEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

GoliathEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

KenkuEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

OrcEGtW: See above, under "Races of Eberron". Wildemount uses the updated Orc racial traits rather than the original traits published in Volo's Guide to Monsters.

TabaxiEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

TortleEGtW: See above under the general Races section.

Skills

  • Animal Handling (wis): Basically useless.
  • Arcana (Int): One of the most important knowledge skills.
  • Insight (Wis): Great for a Face, but many Faces don't have good enough Wisdom to back this up.
  • Medicine (Wis): Use magic.
  • Nature (Int): Good knowledge skill, but not as crucial as Arcana or Religion.
  • Perception (Wis): The most rolled skill in the game, and you have the Wisdom to back it up.
  • Religion (Int): One of the most important knowledge skills.
  • Survival (Wis): Situational.

Background

This section does not address every published background, as doing so would result in an ever-growing list of options which don't cater to the class. Instead, this section will cover the options which I think work especially well for the class, or which might be tempting but poor choices. Racial feats are discussed in the Races section, above.

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 you'll need to scrabe together enough skill proficiencies from your race and your background to get by.

If you're having trouble deciding, here are some suggestions:

  • AcolytePHB: Insight, a Knowledge skill and two languages, but with no conversation skills the languages don't help the Druid much.
  • Clan CrafterSCAG: History and Insight are both fine skills for the Druid, but the other benefits don't do much for you.
  • Cloistered ScholarSCAG: Two Knowledge skills and two languages, but with no conversation skills the languages don't help the Druid much.
  • Faction AgentSCAG: Insight and your choice of a wide range of helpful skills, plus two languages.
  • Far TravelerSCAG: Two skills from the Druid skill list, one language, and a useless game set or instrument.
  • Folk HeroPHB: Animal Handling and Survival make sense for a Druid, but they're not very good skills and the other proficiencies are even worse.
  • Guild ArtisanPHB: Insight is the only useful bit.
  • HermitPHB: Medicine isn't a terribly useful skill, but Medicine and Insight both capitalize on your Wisdom. The Herablism Kit is redundant (Druids get proficiency by default), so you can retrain into any other tool.
  • InheritorSCAG: This would be fine if Survival weren't such a situational skill.
  • Knight of the OrderSCAG: A Face skill and a worthless game set or instrument proficiency.
  • NoblePHB: History is the only useful bit.
  • OutlanderPHB: Survival is the only useful bit, and it's not very good.
  • SagePHB: Two knowledge skills, but the languages aren't helpful.
  • SailorPHB: Perception is the only useful bit.
  • Urban Bounty HunterSCAG: Very customizable, and includes several options which you can make work for the Druid.
  • Uthgardt Tribe MemberSCAG: The flavor makes sense for a Druid, but the proficiencies are mechanically useless.

Feats

This section does not address every published feat, as doing so would result in an ever-growing list of options which don't cater to the class. Instead, this section will cover feats which I think work especially well for the class or which might be tempting but poor choices.

  • AlertPHB: Going first isn't terribly important for anyone but Rogues.
  • AthletePHB: Awful.
  • ChargerPHB: If you want to charge, Wild Shape into a goat.
  • Crossbow ExpertPHB: You'll do more damage with spells.
  • Defensive DuelistPHB: Druids don't typically use weapons, and their only Finesse weapon is the dagger. Elf druids might get proficiency in rapiers, but that's not much better and if you're brave enough to go into melee you're probably using Shillelagh.
  • Dual WielderPHB: If you want an extra attack as a bonus action, Polearm Master is a better fit for the druid.
  • Dungeon DelverPHB: Druids aren't well-equipped to handle traps.
  • DurablePHB: You can heal magically.
  • Elemental AdeptPHB: Druids get a lot of spells which deal elemental damage (especially fire), so Land Druids might get a lot of mileage out of this.
  • GrapplerPHB: Helpful if you really like the constrictor snake and octopus forms, but Wild Shape forms become obsolete after a few levels, and there currently aren't enough forms which grapple to justify this.
  • Great Weapon MasterPHB: The best two-handed weapon druids get is a greatclub.
  • HealerPHB: Use magic. Healing Spirit is the best source of hit point restoration in the game, and it's a 2nd-level spell.
  • Heavily ArmoredPHB: All heavy armor is metal, which means that you can't use it.
  • Inspiring LeaderPHB: You don't have the Charisma to back this up.
  • Keen MindPHB: Awful.
  • LinguistPHB: Use magic.
  • LuckyPHB: Good on anyone.
  • Mage SlayerPHB: Too situational.
  • Magic InitiatePHB: Druids know their entire spell list, and you get plenty of prepared spells. You might want some spells from other classes, but there's nothing that the Druid absolutely needs. Circle of Spores Druids are the best candidate for Magic Initiate: Adding Booming Blade (or Green-Flame Blade), Swordbust, and Mage Armor or Shield from either the Warlock or the Wizard spell lists will provide a significant boost to your capabilities in melee combat. Other clerics might enjoy options from the Cleric's spell list like Sacred Flame (druids don't have radiant damage on a cantrip) and 1st-level buffs like Bless or Shield of Faith.
  • Martial AdeptPHB: Not useful enough with only one superiority die.
  • Medium Armor MasterPHB: Studded Leather is the best armor available to Druids, and it's light. The additional point of Dexterity to your AC only matters if you can wear half-plate, and you can't because half-plate is metal.
  • MobilePHB: All of the effects apply while you're in Wild Shape. Forms like Goat and Elephant which have a useful Charge or Pounce effect become immensely more useful when you can safely move away and set up for another round of charging. If you just need an escape mechanism, look for Wild Shape forms with Flyby like the Owl and you won't need to bother with Mobile.
  • Mounted CombatPHB: It's hard to play a mounted character without a special mount ability of some kind.
  • ObservantPHB: Perception is a great skill for Druids, and the +1 Wisdom is nice if you have an odd Wisdom score.
  • Polearm MasterPHB: Druids generally don't use weapons, but polearm master works with quarterstaffs, and you can use Shillelagh with a quarterstaff, so Polearm Master isn't a totally terrible idea for a Circle of Spores druid. However, since Shillelagh also consumes your Bonus Action you'll want to cast it ahead of time to make sure that your Bonus Action is available to hit things.
  • ResilientPHB: Proficiency in Constitution saves is really helpful for a class with a lot of really great spells which require Concentration and notoriously terrible AC. If you care primarily about Concentration it's easy to compare this to War Caster. Advantage works out to a little more than +3, so once your Proficiency Bonus hits +4 Resilient becomes the more effective option of the two.
  • Savage AttackerPHB: This is a bad feat. The largest damage die (d12), yields an average of 2 extra damage per turn.
  • SentinelPHB: Great if you want to be a Defender, but many Wild Shape forms offer the ability to trip foes or grapple them on a hit, which greatly reduces the utility of this feat for Circle of the Moon. Circle of Spores could absolutely benefit, but I think there are other feats which are more beneficial, and you need too many Ability Score Increases to have room for a lot of feats.
  • SharpshooterPHB: Druids don't typically use weapons, and don't have enough spells which use attack rolls to justify this.
  • Shield MasterPHB: Druids don't have enough Strength to make the Shove option useful.
  • Skill ExpertTCoE: With your high Wisdom, Expertise in Perception is a massive asset for your party. Spend the skill proficiency on Perception if you don't already have it, get Expertise in Perception, and increase your Wisdom by 1. If you have an odd-numbered Wisdom score, this is an easy, reliable feat choice.
  • SkilledPHB: More skills never hurt, but Druids don't really need them.
  • SkulkerPHB: Sniping is for Rogues.
  • Spell SniperPHB: Druids generally don't use weapons, and they don't have enough spells which use attack rolls to justify this.
  • Tavern BrawlerPHB: Druids don't fight using Unarmed Strikes.
  • ToughPHB: Unfortunately this doesn't apply to Wild Shape forms, so you won't really see any meaningful benefit.
  • War CasterPHB: Advantage on saves to maintain Concentration is really useful, especially since the Druid is heavily dependent on Concentration spells. Unfortunately, the ability to use cantrips in place of Opportunity Attacks is hard to use for most druids. Moon druids are typically using Wild Shape during combat, so until you get Beast Spells at 18th level you can't cast spells while using Wild Shape. Circle of Spores is the best use case since spores druids are typically a front-line melee build. Other druid options are typically back-line casters, and making opportunity attacks should be rare. Unless you plan to be in melee to capitalize on the Reaction mechanic, I recommend Resilient instead.
  • Weapon MasterPHB: You get all of the weapon proficiencies that you need to function. If you really want to use a weapon, cast Shillelagh.

Weapons

Druids really don't need weapons. Instead, turn into something with claws. If you do need a real weapon, carry a club or a quarterstaff and cast Shilleagh. The damage will meet or beat anything else you're proficient with, and it makes your attacks use your Wisdom instead of your Strength or Dexterity.

Armor

Armor is a difficult prospect for the druid. Despite proficiency in medium armor, the best armor you can actually wear is Studded Leather, at 12+Dex. With a shield and high Dexterity that may be enough, but Druids benefit very little from Dexterity so it may be hard to justify investing your Ability Score Increases. Most druids can realistically expect to have an AC of at most 16 with 14 Dex, Studded Leather Armor, and a shield, while druids that get a racial Dexterity increase might hit 17.

If you have someone in the party who can cast Mage Armor, beg them to do cast it on you. A 1st-level spell for a +1 to AC over your best armor is a big difference, and the spell's effects persist while using Wild Shape so many low-AC forms will be considerably more durable.

  • Leather Armor: Free starting gear.
  • Hide: As much AC as studded leather, and it costs much less. You may want to upgrade to Studded Leather if your Dexterity exceeds a +2 bonus, but otherwise Hide is perfectly fine.
  • Shield: You need one hand for a spell focus, but since you probably don't need weapons there's no reason to not carry a shield.
  • Studded Leather Armor: The best armor you can get, but only an improvement over Hide if you have at least 16 Dexterity.

Multiclassing

This section briefly details so obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn't fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see my Practical Guide to Multiclassing.

Keep in mind that Druids are prohibited form wearing metal armor. Before multiclassing, consider how that might affect your armor options.

  • Barbarian: Barbarian is a common choice for Moon Druids due to Unarmored Defense and Rage. However, for a single-level class dip, you only get two rages per day and +2 damage, which isn't a ton. Two levels won't get you much because many Wild Shape forms have access to abilities which grant you Advantage. Three levels is tempting for Primal Path and a third Rage per day, but you're giving up an entire CR step, which will provide considerably more damage than Rage. Primal Path offers some good options in Berserker's Frenzy and Totem's Totem Spirit: Bear. Frenzy allows you an extra attack as a Bonus Action, dramatically improving your damage output, while Totem Spirit: Bear grants you resistance to common weapon damage types.
  • Cleric: Clerics are also Wisdom-based, and many of the Cleric domains offer some fantastic abilities at level 1, including some helpful spells.
  • Monk: The better option for Unarmored Defense if you're only going for a single level. However, Barkskin will exceed the AC of almost every Wild Shape form, even with 20 Wisdom. The Monk is an unusually good option for Circle of Spores: unarmored defense will exceed the maximum AC you could expect otherwise, and Martial Arts adds an extra attack to apply the poison damage from Symbiotic Entity.
  • Paladin: Two levels for Divine Smite and Fighting Style (Defensive) can be a good option for moon druids. Many of the Paladins abilities (including Aura of Protection at 6th level) work while wild shaped, but spending that many levels outside of your class likely won't pay off since you're giving up so much offensive potential by increasing your wild shape options.
  • Warlock: A single level and the Great Old One patron grants telepathy, which is useful for druids who spend a lot of time in wild shape. However, high-level parties which include a wizard may prefer Telepathic Bond.

Example Build - Hill Dwarf Druid (Circle of the Land)

Elmheer Mossbeard the Hill Dwarf Circle of the Land Druid

The wild-looking dwarf stands stout and strong, their bark-brown hair streaked with silver and braided with vibrant green plantlife. They lean on a gnarled staff of oak engraved with strange symbols, wrapped in leather, and topped with a sprig of holly. Garbed in well-worn leather armor, a vine rope belt laden with pouches of herbs, a knife, and a small sickle for harvesting shrubs, moss, and the like hangs loosely around the hips. They move slowly, purposefully, and their emerald eyes shine with a subdued wisdom.

-- Boxed text provided by dScryb (affiliate link)

This is a "Staple Build". This build is simple, and relies on options from the SRD and the Basic Rules wherever possible. If you need a functional build with nothing fancy or complicated, this is a great place to start.

Circle of the Land is often decried as boring because it adds more spellcasting, but no new features. Hill Dwarf is often overlooked because it's a fantastic option for clerics and little else. Combining the two gives us a mechanically robust (if somewhat dull) druid.

Abilities

We will assume the point buy abilities suggested above.

Base Increased
Str 8 8
Dex 14 14
Con 14 16
Int 12 12
Wis 15 16
Cha 8 8

Race

Hill Dwarf. A bit of Wisdom and a whole pile of durability are a great combo. Wood Elf is a great candidate, too.

Skills and Tools

Nature is among the most iconic of druid skills, and in many campaigns it will be very useful. Animal Handling also fits thematically, but you can go an entire campaign without needing it even as a Druid, so take Perception instead.

Background

Feats

Druids really only need high Wisdom. Other ability scores are helpful defensively, but even then you can often get more out of a feat. If you're feeling brace enough to explore beyond the SRD, consider exploring feats once you hit 20 Wisdom.

Levels

Level Feat(s) and Features Notes and Tactics
1
  • Druidic
  • Spellcasting
  • Cantrips Known:
    • Guidance
    • Produce Flame

For your starting equipment, take a wooden shield, a quarterstaff, leather armor, an explorer's pack, and a druidic focus.

In leather armor with a shield, your AC is 15, which is respectable but no invulnerable. Upgrade to Hide as soon as possible for the extra AC, but even then your AC is only 16 so you need to be cautious.

In combat, your go-to option is Produce Flame. Keep your shield in hand for the AC, but otherwise hang back and throw fire. Out of combat, cast Guidance at every possible opportunity.

2
  • Wild Shape (CR 1/4)
  • Circle of the Land
  • Bonus Cantrip
  • Druidcraft

Wild Shape gives you some melee options. If you need to jump into melee, a CR 1/4 creature is still a threat at this level if enemies aren't focusing their attention solely on you. Turn into a wolf and bite some people.

Druidcraft gives you some general magic utility options that are a bit less numerical than Guidance.

3
  • Circle Spells

Nothing happens at this level except 2nd-level spells.

4
  • Wild Shape Improvement (CR 1/2)
  • Ability Score Improvement (Wisdom 16 -> 18)
  • New Cantrips Known:
    • Any

4th level boosts a bunch of your existing capabilities. Wild Shape improves, making Ape our new go-to combat option. More Wisdom improves our spellcasting, and we get another cantrip.

5
  • Circle Spells

5th level is normally a lot of fun, but all that the Drud gets is 3rd-level spells. Druids don't get fireball, but you do get Call Lightning. Call Lightning is your go-to combat option whenever you're somewhere that you can cast it (outside, usually).

6
  • Land's Stride

Occasionally useful, especially if you like to drop Entangle on yourself.

7
  • Circle Spells

Nothing at this level except 4th-level spells.

8
  • Wild Shape (CR 1)
  • Ability Score Improvement (Wisdom 18 -> 20)

Wild Shape maxes out at this level, but your spellcasting is still your go-to option in combat. Once in a while you might need to turn into a beast so that you can wade into melee, but most of the time you should rely on spellcasting.

9
  • Circle Spells

Nothing at this level except 5th-level spells.

10
  • Nature's Ward
  • New Cantrips Known:
    • Any

Some nice passive defenses and another cantrip. By this level you probably have all the cantrips you care about, bur more cantrips is always nice.

11

Nothing at this level except 6th-level spells, and cantrips get a damage increase.

12
  • Ability Score Improvement (Constitution 16 -> 18)

We already have maximum Wisdom, so it's time to consider other ability scores. Constitution is a great candidate for the bonus hit points, but if you're willing to use feats you might consider Tough instead.

13

Nothing at this level except 7th-level spells.

14
  • Nature's Sanctuary

At this level you've largely left beasts behind, but there are a handful of high-CR beasts and plants which may pop up occasionally.

15

Nothing at this level except 8th-level spells.

16
  • Ability Score Improvement (Constitution 18 -> 20)

With 20 Constitution and the Hill Dwarf's bonus hit points, you have as many hit points as a fighter.

17

Nothing at this level except 9th-level spells, and cantrips get their last damage increase.

18
  • Timeless Body
  • Beast Spells

Beast Spells gives you a taste of Archdruid. You can now turn into something like a bat or a small bird and fly around in combat with dramatically improved mobility while still casting most of your spells. Keep in mind that even if a material component doesn't have a cost listed you will still need to return to human form to provide it. Your DM may allow you to carry a focus while in beast form, but I think the intent of the feature is that you cannot do so.

19
  • Ability Score Improvement (Dexterity 14 -> 16)

Your last ability score increase, but by now you don't really need it.

20
  • Archdruid

Now that Wild Shape is free, you should think of it like a permanent buff. Being an animal provides all sorts of mobility options, not to mention the big pad of extra hit points. If you're not in Beast Form and you have an unused Bonus Action, you should be turning yourself into a beast.