Last Updated: September 8, 2022
When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the starsAge of Aquarius – The 5th Dimension
The Circle of Stars Druid is a somewhat flexible subclass with ways to be offensive, defensive, and supportive depending on the situation. For example, the Starry Form ability repurposes Wild Shape uses into one of three stances that can either make it easier to maintain concentration, increase the healing output of healing magic, or shoot lasers. Or maybe allow the stars to adjust fate throughout the day with the Cosmic Omen feature, giving the ability to add or subtract from nearby d20 rolls as a reaction.
With all of this versatility comes the cost of time. We can do all of these wonderful things, but not all at the same time. The Stars Druid is a balancing act of predicting what needs to be done. We’ll give some guidance on this, but ultimately every combat is unique and it will take practice.
With our example build, we’ll show off a racial choice that gives us the leeway we need to spread our attributes into being the party Scholar without sacrificing the rest of our build. This gives us the option for some additional out of combat uses of the Dragon Starry Form with skill checks. If you want to try your hand at being a big brain Druid that also shoots lasers, give this build a look.
Table of Contents
- Circle of Stars Features
- Circle of Stars Ability Scores
- Circle of Stars Races
- Circle of Stars Feats
- Circle of Stars Weapons and Armor
- Circle of Stars Multiclassing
- Example Circle of Stars Druid Build – Elephant Brain Energy
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.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
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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.
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Circle of Stars Features
: There are a total of four
benefits buried in this feature, and they’re all fantastic.
- : While it’s not mechanically impactful, this is a great bit of flavor. I’ve hoped for more unique spellcasting focuses for years and this is the first time we’ve gotten one (the common magic item focuses in Xanathar’s barely count since they’re still generic focuses with added stuff). I also love the idea of a druid running around with a big heavy stone slab or a delicate collection of glass disks, especially since even a tiny amount of damage to either would jeopardize years of delicate work.
- : The best support cantrip, and you get it for free so you can enjoy other cantrips without feeling like Guidance is a cantrip tax because it’s too good to skip.
- : Very solid at low levels both as a support option and for damage output, and radiant damage is a rarity for the Druid.
- : Not only can you cast Guiding Bolt using your spell slots, you get to cast it for free a number of times per day equal to your Proficiency Bonus. This is done as a 1st-level spell, but 4d6 damage and Advantage on the next attack against that creature is better than any damage cantrip, even at 17th level. (Eldritch Blast+Invocations don’t count.) You won’t get enough free uses of Guiding Bolt to totally replace attack cantrips, unfortunately.
Choosing which constellation to use is one of the most important tactical decisions that you can make in an encounter. If you’re in close quarters and need to keep your spells going, go for Dragon. If your party is short on hit points going into the encounter, or if there’s some kind of hit point attrition issue (enemy has big AOE damage, or you’re fighting in a burning building), go for Chalice. Otherwise, go for Archer and pump out damage as fast as you can. This tactical decision goes away at level 10 when you get Twinkling Constellations (In a way. Keep reading.), but until then this will be among the hardest and most impactful choices that you make in a fight.
: Turning Wild Shape into a
buff rather than a utility option was first done in Circle of Spores, and
it’s just as cool on Circle of Stars. Starry Form is Arguably even cooler
because instead of locking you into a combat mode, Starry Form has an attack
mode, a healing mode, and a utility/casting mode. Much like Circle of the
Moon and Circle of Spores, expect to use Starry Form in any noteworthy
combat, but remember that you only get two uses per short rest so you’ll
still need to be functional without it sometimes.
- : 1d8+Wis radiant damage as a Bonus Action. It’s a spell attack so the attack uses your Wisdom modifier and doesn’t benefit from things like the Sharpshooter feat. This is a great offensive option, and the fact that it doesn’t stop you from casting a leveled spell on the same turn is just spectacular. This is likely your go-to option in combat because it’s going to be useful in every combat on every turn at any level. The damage improves at level 10, but honestly if it didn’t this would still be great.
- : More than doubles the total amount healed by Healing Word, and you can target a creature not targeted by your spell so you can heal two creatures at once. However, this also encourages healing in combat which you should try very hard to avoid doing. The best use case for this is to use it right before a Short Rest if you have a Wild Shape usage left over. The healing improves at level 10.
- : Druids have a lot of Concentration spells, so guaranteeing a minimum roll of 10 on those checks is really helpful. Guaranteeing a minimum roll of 10 on Intelligence and Wisdom checks allows you to use this outside of combat, which is a great utility option if you have knowledge skills like Arcana or Nature. At level 10, this adds a 20-foot fly speed, allowing you to fly while keeping your Concentration on a spell.
- : Tactically similar to the Bard’s Bardic Inspiration and Cuttings Words features. You won’t be able to use this as often as a bard can use Bardic Inspiration, but 3 to 6 times per day is still extremely impactful, especially since you can use this as a Reaction. The Weal/Woe options are roughly equivalent, so when you roll to see which one you get you’re essentially deciding if you get to use this offensively (weal) or defensively (woe) that day.
Do you have an ally down at 0 hit points? Switch to chalice and heal them. Need to maintain a Concentration spell? Turn on dragon, fly out of reach and do your thing. The rest of the time? Archer.
: More damage from
Archer, more healing from Chalice, and flight from Dragon (even at just 20
ft. speed) are all big improvements. The ability to change your
constellation each turn without spending an action means that the
difficult tactical decision which you normally make when you activate Starry
Form goes away, making your life much easier. Now you get to make that
decision every turn instead. Do you suffer from Analysis Paralysis? This
will either make it way better or way worse.
- : A bit late, and strange on a subclass that’s so clearly intended to fill a back-line role, but consider that the Druid has notoriously poor AC and just d8 hit points this is a fantastic improvement to your durability.
Circle of Stars Ability Scores
Druid subclasses tend to follow the core Druid very closely in terms of stat spread, but since Wild Shape uses fuel our Starry Form usage we can’t rely on being an animal form for physical stats.
: We don’t want to be in melee. We have lasers and range and spells.
: Druid Armor choices are kinda bad, so aside from a handful of racial traits, we need this for AC.
: More HP. Better Concentration saves, though with Dragon form we can get away with poor Concentration some of the time.
: Usually a low priority, but if we can get one of those traits that removes Dexterity from the AC calculation, we can use this and Dragon form to be the party Scholar.
: We need this for spells, Archer form Lasers, and Chalice form Heals.
: Let someone else be the Face.
|Point Buy||Standard Array|
Circle of Stars Races
For anything not listed here, refer to the Druid Race Breakdown.
- SJAiS: The Astral Elf is very much on theme with regards to the stars and access to the Sacred Flame cantrip gives another source of Radiant damage if we really want to go overboard with it.
- GGR: The Loxodon’s natural armor trait means we can dump Dexterity in favor of Intelligence which combines nicely with the Dragon form to become a great Scholar.
- Tortle: Similar to the Loxodon, the natural armor feature allows a similar dump of Dexterity in favor of getting Intelligence to fuel knowledge skills.
Circle of Stars Feats
Not too much different from the Druid Handbook.
- : Because Starry Form: Dragon is a roll floor of 10 on the die, the higher our Con Save modifier, the higher the damage before we have to actually worry about losing Concentration. As an example, if we have 20 Con and +6 PB, damage below 42 can’t break our Concentration in Dragon form.
- : Because we’ll be using Wild Shape on Starry Form, we can get use out of this more than say a Moon Druid who never sticks to normal shape.
Circle of Stars Weapons and Armor
Circle of Stars Multiclassing
The Druid Handbook says enough about good options for multiclassing, but we’re probably better served by not. If we can get 20 levels of Druid, we always have Starry Form.
Example Circle of Stars Druid Build – Elephant Brain Energy
This build focuses on having good spell options that allow us to leverage all three aspects of the Starry Form ability. In particular, by removing Dexterity from the AC calculation, we can spare the points to increase Intelligence for better knowledge checks while under the effect of Starry Form: Dragon.
The Stars druid has some interesting tricks. We’ll be using Loxodon in order to make our AC Constitution-based so that we can move some points into Intelligence for Knowledge skills as those synergize well with Starry Form: Dragon. While we could do this with Tortle as well, Loxodon have the Powerful Build trait which means we won’t feel the weight limitations of 8 Strength.
Because we’re not going to increase Intelligence at all, we can leave it at 14 and bring Dexterity to 10 to remove the -1 from initiative checks. Because we want to take Resilient (Constitution), letting Con have the +2 instead of putting it on Wisdom works for us; we’ll be increasing Wisdom with +2s through ASIs so it should stay round.
We’ve chosen Loxodon in order to set our AC to 12+Constitution Modifier so we can dump our Dexterity in favor of some Intelligence.
The Sage Background gives us proficiency in Arcana and History, allowing us to be the party’s Scholar.
Skills and Tools
We gain no skills or tools from Loxodon. Druid gives us Nature and Religion, as well as Herbalism Kit. Sage background gives us Arcana and History.
No multiclassing this time so we’ll get all of our ASIs on schedule.
At fourth level, we take an ASI for +2 Wisdom.
At eighth level, we take the Resilient (Constitution) feat, giving us proficiency in Constitution saves as well as pushing our Constitution to 18.
At twelfth level, we get another ASI for +2 Wisdom, capping us at 20.
At sixteenth level, we grab another ASI, this time for +2 Constitution, pushing to 20.
At nineteenth level, we take Tough to shore up our hit points.
|Levels||Feats and Features||Notes and Tactics|
|Grab a Shield, use Primal Savagery or Produce Flame to attack, and try not to die before we get to second level and take Circle of Stars.|
If you’re looking at the list of Cantrips and asking why we’re not taking the highly rated Guidance cantrip, Circle of Stars grants that cantrip at second level.
-Circle of Stars
|Second level Druids get all the classic Druid powers like turning into animals.|
But we also get the power to turn into Stars. Or be covered in Stars. Something something stars. As a bonus action, we can spend Wild Shape uses to activate one of three Starry Forms for Offence (Archer), Healing (Chalice), or Defense (Dragon). Nothing stops us from using two Wild Shape uses to be an Animal and have a Starry Form at the same time. Live your dream of being a mouse that shoots lasers.
Alongside these powers, we always have Guiding Bolt prepared and can cast it for free a number of times per day equal to our PB. We also gain the Guidance cantrip.
As for combat at these levels, we’ll typically want to get into Archer form and shoot both lasers and Produce Flame from range while occasionally also tossing in a free Guiding Bolt instead of a flame.
–Pass Without Trace
|Second level spellcasting. Good options here, including Darkvision. Loxodon don’t have darkvision so we might self-cast this when needed.|
Another great gem of a spell is Pass Without Trace, giving the party some great Stealth options.
|4||ASI: Wisdom +2 (16=>18)|
Wild Shape Improvement
|Wisdom goes up, Spell Save DCs go up.|
Wild Shape gets slightly better.
|Much of the Druid’s 3rd-level spell options are optional utility spells and Revivify. We’ll just have to pay the Revivify tax unfortunately.|
|Cosmic Omen is pretty neat. Similar to a Diviner Wizard’s Portent, we roll a d20 every morning. Unlike Portent, we’re just seeing if the roll is even or odd and that determines if we have Weal or Woe that day, which allows us to add or subtract from d20s rolled nearby a few times that day.|
–Wall of Fire
|Unlike 3rd-level, 4th-level spells include great options like Polymorph and Wall of Fire.|
Polymorph is a great way to heal someone who is getting low by replacing their health with a giant ape’s 157 HP.
Wall of Fire on the other hand splits the battlefield with well a Wall of Fire.
|8||Feat: Resilient (Constitution) (17=>18)|
Wild Shape Improvement
|Improving our Constitution saves boosts our Concentration saves and increases the floor when we’re in Dragon form.|
We’re taking this now rather than the last two points of Wisdom because we’re going to be concentrating on important spells like Polymorph or Wall of Fire that we don’t want to drop.
Wildshape gets slightly better, allowing us to fly now.
–Wall of Stone
|More good spells.|
Greater Restoration removes a lot of bad things. It’s a bit expensive to cast at this level, but you can afford it.
Maelstrom is a terrible spell. By terrible I mean terrible to be stuck inside and an awesome spell to cast on foes.
Wall of Stone is just a great way to really divide a battlefield.
|Twinkling Constellations is a fantastic upgrade to our Starry Form. We get an extra die for both Archer and Chalice, while Dragon gives us some flight.|
On top of that we can switch forms without spending an action at the beginning of each turn. This means we now can shift tactics on the fly. If we’re in a tough situation and we need to hold Concentration, we’ll stay in Dragon this turn, but next round we might need to pass out additional healing with Chalice. Or maybe someone made some space, reducing the pressure and allowing us to safely use Archer for additional damage.
We take Druidcraft because it’s fun and we already have everything else we need.
–Investiture of Ice
–Transport via Plants
|Heal is the one exception to healing in combat so it’s nice to have.|
Heroes’ Feast increases everyone’s maximum HP for the day and provides other great defensive benefits.
|12||ASI: Wisdom +2 (18=>20)||Wisdom goes up again, Spell Save DCs go up again.|
|Some good utility spells, like Plane Shift, come online here.|
|14||Full of Stars||Bludgeoning/Piercing/Slashing Resistance in Star Forms. Handy. We’re in our star form almost constantly in combat, so this is consistently useful.|
|Tsunami is a great way to push an entire battlefield in a single direction at 50ft a round while also drowning our foes.|
|16||ASI: Constitution +2 (18=>20)||Maxed out Constitution for maxed out saves and Hit Points, as well as capped AC because of our Loxodon Natural Armor.|
|Unfortunately for Druids, the 9th-level list is short and unimpressive, except for Foresight. So we’ll just always put Foresight on our best attacker every morning from now on.|
|18||Beast Spells||We can cast spells while Wildshaped, which is pretty handy if we need to transform.|
|19||Feat: Tough||More health, less dying.|
|20||Archdruid||Infinite Wildshape means Infinite Starry Forms.|
Combined with Beast Spells, we can just always be in some animal form or another while covered in damage reduction Starry Forms and also shooting lasers with Archer.