Last Updated: February 16, 2023
Circle of the Shepherd offers excellent options for the Druid to support their party and to summon more powerful creatures with Conjure Animals and Conjure Fey. If you enjoy summoning creatures and buffing your allies, this is a great option. All told, Circle of the Shepherd adds a lot of capability as a Controller, Healer, and Support caster.
Because summoning creatures is so central to the Circle of the Shepherd, I strongly recommend reading our Practical Guide to Summoning Creatures. It’s difficult to overstate how central summoning is to the Circle of the Shepherd, and understanding the capabilities of the Druid’s summon spells will make you considerably more effective.
Unicorn Spirit is a big enough complement to the Druid’s healing capabilities that the Circle of the Shepherd Druid made its way into The Healbot Olympics, where it tied with the Life Domain Cleric for 1st place in 1-round party healing and took 2nd place in total medal count.
Table of Contents
- Circle of the Shepherd Druid Features
- Circle of the Shepherd Druid Ability Scores
- Circle of the Shepherd Druid Races
- Circle of the Shepherd Druid Feats
- Circle of the Shepherd Druid Weapons
- Circle of the Shepherd Druid Armor
- Example Build – Little Bo-Peep, the GOAT
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 the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.
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Circle of the Shepherd Druid Features
- : A free language and constant Speak with Animals. Not always useful, but wonderful for a Druid to have, and helpful if you’re summoning beasts because you can talk to them to gain information about things that they may have seen, allowing you to use beasts as effective disposable scouts. As an example, you might summon a bunch of low-CR breasts with Conjure Animals (hope for things like rats, crows, or other small, common animals) and send them to scout an area and report back to you.
: Powerful and versatile, and
as a bonus action it’s usable without cutting into your spellcasting.
This is also very helpful if you summon numerous low-CR creatures. The temporary hit points apply to all allies in the area, so if you have 8 summoned hyenas or something, they’re suddenly much more durable and can soak considerably more damage which might otherwise be directed at party members. Your summons get the benefits of Advantage on Strength checks, too, but most creatures that grapple have an attack that grapples automatically. Still, you may be able to command them to grapple by normal means, which may be more effective since they have Advantage.
: If your party is on the
defensive, this is a good way to get some temporary hit points onto your
allies. If you have a grappler in the party or if you’re facing an enemy
that grapples your party, Advantage on Strength checks is fantastic.
However, the temporary hit points only apply when you first create the
spirit, so its effectiveness diminishes quickly in most cases.
- : Your go-to option in most cases, especially if you don’t plan to flood combat with summoned creatures. As a back-line spellcaster, you can use your largely ignored Reaction to grant Advantage on an attack roll. If you have a rogue in the party, this is an easy way to get Sneak Attack. For other party members it’s just a nice buff that you can grant once per round, but as Extra Attack comes online it will feel less impactful.
This is an exciting option when you have numerous summoned creatures because the additional healing doesn’t have a cap on the number of targets. If you have a small army of summoned creatures, you can heal them for free, stretching the benefits of your spell slot.
: If you’re taking a
short rest and haven’t already expended Spirit Totem, use this before
your rest to get some extra healing. The spell you cast doesn’t need to
be anything fancy: It just needs to be a leveled spell that restores hit
points. Healing Word works, for example, and it’s a great way to trigger
this repeatedly. It’s unclear if spells like Goodberry or Healing Spirit
are intended to work since they don’t immediately heal a targeted creature when you
cast the spell, but they do restore hit points, so RAW I think it works.
- : If your party is on the defensive, this is a good way to get some temporary hit points onto your allies. If you have a grappler in the party or if you’re facing an enemy that grapples your party, Advantage on Strength checks is fantastic. However, the temporary hit points only apply when you first create the spirit, so its effectiveness diminishes quickly in most cases.
However, the new summon spells introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything don’t appear to have hit dice, so they don’t appear to benefit from the additional hp. All creatures should have hit dice, and you might argue that they have a number of hit dice equal to the spell level used to summon them, but we haven’t gotten an official answer on the subject so discuss it with your DM before making any assumptions. Summon Draconic Spirit, which follows the same mechanics as other Tasha’s-era Summon X spells, specifies that the spirit has one hit die per spell level, which seems like a very reasonable way to handle that.
: One of the biggest
problems with summoned creatures is that most can’t overcome damage
resistance or immunity to non-magical attacks. This solves that issue, and
also makes your summoned creatures slightly more durable so that you get
some more mileage from your spell slots.
- : With this and Mighty Summoner, you can make Conjure X spells last for an exceptionally long time even while in combat, even if you don’t plan to use Unicorn Spirit to get free healing for your summons.
The language is fairly clear that you can’t trigger this willingly, so unfortunately you can’t tell your allies to beat you unconscious to get free summons (though they could technically decide to do so on their own so long as you weren’t willingly going along with their plan).
This also uniquely allows you to select the beasts which you summon, which is weird since Conjure Animals doesn’t normally allow that. I recommend the Giant Constrictor Snake because its attacks can grapple your foes and buy you more time for your allies to rescue you. But the Giant Boar is hard to kill thanks to Relentless, and the Polar Bear’s attacks are really good without needing to run around and leave your unconscious body defenseless.
: At this level CR 2
creatures aren’t likely to win a fight for you (even with the benefits of
Mighty Summoner), but they might keep enemies at bay long enough for your
party to come to your rescue.
Circle of the Shepherd Druid Ability Scores
Shepherd druids are very similar to most druids, but adding an emphasis on summoning means that you have a second pool of hit points to divert attention away from yourself.
: AC, initiative, important saves.
: You really don’t need much. You’re going to have an entire party plus an entire flock between you and anything scary. You’ll probably end up with 14 anyway, but if you come out of character creation with 12 you’ll still be fine.
: Mostly a dump stat, but you might care enough about Nature to put some points in.
: You spells and class features.
: Dump. Somehow it’s absolutely useless when interacting with beasts.
|Point Buy||Standard Array|
Circle of the Shepherd Druid Races
No different from standard druids.
Circle of the Shepherd Druid Feats
Mostly the same as other druids, but the heavy reliance on summoned creatures can introduce some new options.
- TCoE: Druids typically have few uses for their Reaction, and summoned creatures are typically less durable than a comparable fighter-equivalent party member. Fighting Style (Interception) or (Protection) offer a good way to extend the lifetime of your summoned creatures. However, Spirit Totem (Hawk) allows you to use your Reaction to support allies offensively, so in many fights your Reaction may already be in use depending on which spirit you prefer to use. Taking this might be useful if you find yourself favoring bear or unicorn over hawk.
- PHB: You could take Commander’s Strike to command a summoned creature to attack, but most of your summons will rely on multiple small attacks rather than one big, impactful one.
- PHB: Many creature summoning spells last an hour, which is plenty of time to summon a bunch of animals, then sit them down for an inspiring speech. Spirit Totem (Bear) can provide temporary hit points faster and without a dependence on Charisma, but this may remove the need for Spirit Totem (Bear) so that you can focus on other options.
- PHB: Two points spent on Extended Spell means extending the duration of two 1-hour summoning spells. Once you get Guardian Spirit at level 10, you can easily drag one summon spell through several fights and possibly a short rest if you time it right.
Circle of the Shepherd Druid Weapons
No different from standard druids.
Circle of the Shepherd Druid Armor
No different from standard druids.
This section briefly details some 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.
tie your party under them to sneak past the cyclopsrun between them casting spells and hiding. Of course, this will fight with your already strained action economy, so leave it to a party member.
: A lightfoot halfling with Cunning
Action can turn a field of summoned creatures into fertile ground for
hiding. Summon a flock of sheep and
- : Spirit Totem (Unicorn) triggers every time that you cast a leveled spell which restores hit points. That means that the most efficient way to trigger Unicorn is to repeatedly cast 1st-level spells like Cure Wounds. That sounds like a job for Font of Magic’s ability to melt high-level spell slots into a larger number of 1st-level spell slots.
Example Build – Little Bo-Peep, the GOAT
Circle of the Shepherd is, without question, the most summoning-focus character option in the game. Even School of Conjuration doesn’t help you meaningfully summon stuff.
We’ll plan to use the Wild Companion Optional Class Feature, but it’s not actually necessary for the build to work. It feels nice to be able to summon something at level 2 instead of waiting for level 3 when you get Summon Beast. We’ll also assume that you’re allowing the additional spells added to spell lists in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything because that list includes all of the updated summon spells.
Because this build uses spells that conjure multiple creatures, please go read the DMG’s rules on handling mobs. Rolling 0 attacks is significantly faster than rolling some multiple of 8 attacks.
We’ll take the scores suggested above and apply our +2 to Wisdom and +1 to Dexterity.
Satyr because it’s the closest thing we can get to a herd animal.
Faction agent. We’ll be a member of the Tri-Lamb fraternal order of shepherds. That gets us proficiency in Insight, one Charisma-based skill, and two languages.
Skills and Tools
For our two class skills, we’ll take Nature and Perception. We get Performance and Persuasion from our race. We get Insight and a Charisma-based skill from our background, so we’ll take Deception so that we can fleece people. We’ll look disapprovingly at Animal Handling, the black sheep of skills.
With this many Face skills, you think we’d want some charisma.
We only need to max out Wisdom, so there’s a ton of room for feats. We’ll almost certainly start with 17 in Wisdom, so a hybrid feat is an easy option.
At level 4, we’ll take Fey Touched for +1 Wisdom and some new spells from other spell lists.
At level 12, we’ll take Metamagic Adept so that we can extend our expensive summon spells to maximize their benefits.
At level 16, we’ll take Inspiring Leader because at that level the pool of temporary hit points is large enough that we don’t care about our -1 Charisma modifier.
We’ll have an open slot at level 19, but you can do basically whatever you want with it.
|Level||Feat(s) and Features||Notes and Tactics|
– Thorn Whip
|For your starting equipment, take a wooden shield, a shepherd’s crook (okay fine, a quarterstaff), leather armor, an explorer’s pack, and a druidic focus.|
Like other druids, we’ll likely never get better than hide armor, so our starting AC of 15 and our maximum AC of 16 are as good as we can get. We’re going for Thorn Whip at this level because we’ll eventually use it to control the battlefield by pulling enemies closer to our summoned creatures and into the area of Spirit Totem.
Until we hit level 2, you’re very much a standard druid. Stick to staple spells like Healing Word and Faerie Fire.
If you have extra gold and your GM lets you get away with it, invest in a small herd of goats. They’re 1 gp each and only CR 0, but sheep cost 2 gp and don’t have an attack. Cows cost 10 gp, so they’re a bit out of our price range. You might justifiably ask “why would you do this?”, and that’s a very responsible question to ask.
A goat has just 3 hp, but with its ram attack and Charge trait, it’s a bit of potential damage if we can point it an enemy. Compare that to the 50gp cost for a flask of alchemist’s fire. If it gets killed, that’s one attack directed at a goat instead of an ally that we care about, plus you’ve fed the party for the next few days.
The difficulty is convincing a bunch of goats to attack your enemies. Conveniently, that’s only a problem until level 2.
Optional: Wild Companion
Circle of the Shepherd
Speech of the Woods
|At level 2 we immediately get very cool. Speech of the Woods is basically a permanent Speak with Animals, which will be great when we can summon our own animals.|
If you can take Wild Companion, it’s a great complement to Circle of the Shepherd’s capabilities. It’s not totally clear if it’s considered a “summoned” creature, but Find Familiar uses thematically similar language to spells like Summon Fey Spirit, so I think it qualifies. If it does, Mighty Summoner (which we get at level 6) gives our familiar 2 more hit points, raising its total to a whopping 3. That’s exactly enough that CR 0 creatures might not one-shot your disposable owl. It’s fine, though: we can summon two of them per short rest, so if they get converted into pillow filling we don’t need to feel bad about it.
Sadly, you can’t use Find Familiar to get a dog, or we’d get ourselves a nice herding dog. Maybe if you convince your DM that it’s no more annoying than disposable owls, and that you’ll summon and feed it every day, they’ll finally let you get a puppy.
At this level we should have around 100gp according to the wealth by level table. Still not enough to justify buying a bunch of cows, but that’s a whole lot of goats that we could haul around. Combined with Speech of the Woods, we can now talk to our herd of goats and ideally convince them to fight on our behalf. A sensible rule system would make this require an Animal Handling check, but amazingly 5e doesn’t because Animal Handling outright doesn’t do that.
So you have a herd of goats. The problem with goats is their 3 hit points. You know what else you have? Spirit Totem. Spirit Totem (Bear) piles another 7 temporary hit points onto each one of your
Are you all out of goats? Did your DM veto your sheep-herding shepherd ambitions? Fine. Throw up Spirit Totem (Hawk) and give an ally Advantage on an attack every round.
|3||–||Nothing here but 2nd-level spells, but it does get us Summon Beast, which is our first summoning spell. Since we’re low level and short on resources, strongly consider the Air option because Flyby will keep it alive and useful, but if you’re in a small party or if you need to take pressure off of your |
|4||Feat: Fey Touched (Wis 17 -> 18)|
Wild Shape Improvement (CR 1/2)
New Cantrip Known:
|Fey Touched gets us Misty Step and one 1st-level spell from a short list. We’ll pick Sleep so that we can put enemies to sleep, then wake up the sheeple. Or Silvery Barbs. Either is fine, really. It also gets us to 18 Wisdom, keeping us right on the Fundamental Math.|
At this level, you should have roughly 400 gp according to the Wealth By Level progression, and the PHB is full of wonderful livestock that we could turn into a small army. Goats are 1 gp, which is still our most efficient gold-to-combatants ratio, but it may no longer be our best option. Instead, consider the elephant. At 200gp, it’s a CR 4 beast with a mountain of hit points and attacks good enough to make your party’s fighter reconsider their life choices. Why are these things 200gp and common enough to be in the PHB? I sincerely have no idea. If they weren’t Huge, they’d be such a problem that character builds almost wouldn’t matter unless they got you more gold and/or elephants.
|5||–||Nothing here but 3rd-level spells, which includes Conjure Animals and Summon Fey. This is the first time we get to directly compare PHB-era Conjure X spells to Tasha’s-era Summon X spells, and the comparison is crucial to optimizing Circle of the Shepherd.|
Conjure Animals has the magical ability to let the DM pick the animals that you summon, allowing them to absolutely ruin your spell if they feel salty or if they feel like summoning a bunch of cows in the middle of a frozen tundra doesn’t fit the intent of the spell, which is totally sensible until you’re on the plane of fire and need some cows and your DM needs to figure out what mundane beasts are native to the plane of fire only to find that the answer is “none” and now you’re in a staring contest with your DM waiting for them to get everyone out of the mess that they created.
If your DM just lets you pick animals, you’re golden. Summon a bunch of cows. Maybe pick those wooly highland cows so that they fit in with your goats and sheep. They’re terrifying by CR 0 standards, and you can get 8 of them for an hour. With 15 hp, they can take a hit or two, and if you throw up Spirit Totem (Unicorn) and cast Goodberry (yes, it counts), you can heal all of them (and your party, I guess) at once for almost nothing and be left with a pocket full of snacks for later.
Now let’s compare that to both Summon Beast and Summon Fey. Your beast or fey will be much more effective offensively than an individual cow, will have double the hit points, and will be much more portable than 8 cows. The fey’s DPR will be something like 8.15, the beast’s something like 9.65 for Land, and the herd of cows’ DPR will be a measly 37.4. A pittance, really.
So it comes down to circumstances. Big, open field and your DM lets you pick the animals? Conjure Animals. Tight dungeon interior? Summon Beast or Summon Fey.
|By now enemies with resistance to non-magical B/P/S are common, so the ability to overcome that resistance is extremely useful.|
Mighty Summoner’s hp boost is one of those features that looks totally reasonable, but gets really weird when you dig into it. In this case, it’s because of how hit points, hit dice, size, and CR work. To be brief: CR cares about hit points, but not the number of hit dice. Hit dice size is determined entirely by a creature’s size. Therefore, a smaller creature of the same CR will have a larger number of hit dice, provided that everything else is equivalent (hp, damage, etc.).
Unfortunately, that doesn’t actually work out in practice because creatures’ offensive CR and defensive CR balance each other out. There CR 1/4 creatures ranging from 1 hit die to 4 hit dice. Those 4 hit die beasts look really tempting. Giant Frogs have 19 hp base and shoot up to 27 hp with Mighty Summoner! Even better: at CR 1/4, we can still get 8 of them from Conjure Animal. They’re not as shepherdy as cows, but their grapple effect is hard to say “no” to, and cows only have 2 hit dice.
So how does Mighty Summoner work with Summon Beast/Summon Fey? It doesn’t. Your summoned creature doesn’t have hit dice, and therefore Mighty Summoner simply doesn’t function. That’s super disappointing, so as a compromise, ask your DM if they can have 2 hp per spell level. That seems fair compared to the 64 hp worth of extra frog I proposed above.
|7||–||4th-level spells means that Summon Beast/Summon Fey get a second attack, roughly doubling their DPR. We also get Conjure Minor Elementals, Conjure Woodland Beings, and Summon Elemental, so our summon options fully triple. That’s a lot of analysis paralysis.|
– Conjure Animals: Lots of low-CR creatures. Swarming single enemies with things like giant frogs can quickly eliminate them, and both Bear and Unicorn totems can make them very durable unless enemies can deal area damage.
– Conjure Woodland Beings: Summon 8 sprites and have them shoot things to sleep. Damage basically doesn’t matter. Too annoying? Fine, summon 4 satyrs so you can be the GOAT among goats. They’re basically pet level 1 fighters, and if you support them Spirit Totem (Unicorn) they’re perfectly capable of tanking for your whole party.
– Conjure Minor Elementals: A bunch of mephit breath weapons sounds vaguely useful, but the damage is pitiful and they’re made of paper. Basically the only useful thing here is summon a gargoyle, which is a very decent damage sink for a few levels, and can fly. It’s basically a compromise between Summon Elemental’s Air and Earth options.
– Summon Beast: Unless you’re using a lower-level spell slot (which you’ll need to do sometimes), Summon Elemental will almost always be more effective.
– Summon Fey: With multiple attacks, Fuming is less useful than the other options, but unless you’re able to reliably benefit from the rider effects on Fey Step, Summon Elemental will be more useful.
– Summon Elemental: Earth is your go-to tank (assuming you can’t summon 8 giant frogs), while Air is your go-to flying option.
Conjure Animals, Conjure Woodland Beings, and Summon Fey are your go-to options, with Summon Beast around for use with 2nd-level spell slots when you’re short on better spell slots.
|8||Ability Score Increase (Wis 18 -> 20)||Finally a level that isn’t interesting and a wall of math and conjecture about herd animals.|
|9||–||5th-level spells. Conjure Animals upcast to 5th level summons double the number of creatures summoned with a 3rd-level slot, allowing you to summon 16 giant frogs. Encircle two medium creatures with powered-up frogs, throw up Spirit Totem (Unicorn) to area heal them all every turn, and find the mob attack rules in the DMG so you’re not rolling 16 attack rolls.|
By now, our frogs are becoming less and less reliable. Scaling ACs, scaling damage numbers, and the growing prevalence of area damage are making it hard to keep low-CR creatures alive, even with Mighty Summoner’s hp boost. A young blue dragon (CR 9) does an average of 55 damage with its breath weapon, which is more than double our frogs’ max hit points. Even Spirit Totem (Bear) isn’t enough to keep them alive through one decent AOE.
For the most part, it’s time to put Conjure Animals out to pasture. Against some enemies (anything without area damage or which can’t counter grapples), it can still be very effective, but it can’t be our go-to option anymore. Fortunately, level 9 is right when we roll into the high-level “Conjure X” spells.
Conjure Elemental is decent, but heavily limited by the lack of elementals that fall into the spell’s CR range. At level 5, the elementals aren’t significantly better than an elemental summoned with a level Conjure Elemental, but they do have hit dice, and adding 24 hp to an earth elemental makes it a very sturdy Defender.
The only new “Summon X” spell at this level is Summon Draconic Spirit, which notably doesn’t summon a beast or a fey, so it doesn’t benefit from Mighty Summoner or Guardian Spirit. Skip it. You can’t herd dragons.
|10||Guardian Spirit||Remember how we’ve been using Spirit Totem (Unicorn) to repeatedly heal our flock of frogs or elementals or whatever? Well, you no longer need to do that. Now your summoned critters will passively heal just by being in the area of your totem, allowing you to switch to Hawk to boost your ally’s attacks or to Bear so that your party can shove enemies prone to give your summoned army Advantage. Unfortunately, by this level you can summon creatures with well over 100 hit points, so this may not be enough to heal them all the way to full hp.|
|11||–||6th-level spells mean that we can upcast Summon X and get three attacks, Conjure Elemental gets us CR 6 elementals like the absolutely unfair Invisible Stalker, and we can cast Conjure Fey.|
Conjure Fey is weird. It can summon fey, sure, but almost none of the available options are fey. It’s mostly “summon giant animal” and you can’t herd any of these things excekpt maybe the triceratops. At this spell level, your options aren’t intuitively great. Personally, I would go for the Giant Crocodile because it can grapple and restrain targets of its bite, which helps your entire party. The Annis Hag will do considerably more damage, but it doesn’t restrain things.
|12||Feat: Metamagic Adept (Extended Spell, Any Other)||Are you doing a good job keeping your high-level summoned creature alive? Great! Then it’s time to stretch your two best spell slots for twice as long.|
|13||–||No new spells at this level, and our Summon X spells don’t benefit much (tiny damage and hp boost, but that’s all), so this spell level goes to Conjure Elemental and Conjure Fey, at least in theory|
Conjure Elemental gets nothing because there are no CR 7 elementals.
Conjure Fey’s options aren’t great for combat. The Bheur Hag will run out spells quickly and then resort to Ray of Frost unless you’re facing humanoids almost exclusively. The Korred’s attacks are fine, but any of the Summon X spells will massively outperform it on damage. Of course, the Korred can cast Stone Shape at will for the spell’s 1-hour duration, and that alone is enough to accomplish quite a bit (like building your
So, altogether, not a fantastic level for summoning purposes.
|14||Faithful Summon||Honestly the fact that I can’t choose to summon 32 cows to announce my impending demise is a travesty. Fine, we’ll settle for 4 polar bears or something.|
|15||–||8th-level spells! Our Summon X spells get their fourth and final attack, Conjure Elemental yet again gets nothing, and Conjure Fey gets us a tyrannosaurus tex.|
The T-Rex is fantastic for grapple/restraining a single enemy and has a big pool of hit points so it’ll stick around for a good long time, especially if you’re healing it with Guardian Spirit.
But is it better than an 8th-level Summon X spell? Let’s look at Summon Elemental’s Earth option for comparison. The T-Rex has 162 hit points with the Mighty Summoner boost compared to the elemental’s 90 (106 if your DM allows the 2-per-spell-level approach which I suggested above). The T-Rex’s DPR is 36.75, while the elemental’s is 46.6. So you’re giving up almost a quarter of the elemental’s damage output for a bigger pool of hp and the T-Rex’s ability to grapple/restrain one target, and the hp is hard to measure because of the elemental’s damage resistances. The elemental also isn’t Huge, so you can fit it through doors and such.
It’s hard to say which is outright better, but I lean toward the T-Rex if you can fit it wherever you’re going because it won’t strain your action economy like the Summon X spells do. Unfortunately, it can’t fly, so against flying enemies you’ll want Summon Beast (Air) or Summon Elemental (Air).
|16||Feat: Inspiring Leader||Time to pile some temporary hit points onto your T-Rex and whoever else has stuck around long enough to make it to this level despite being repeatedly surrounded by cows and giant frogs.|
|17||–||9th-level spells! You’re probably going to cast Foresight on someone (possibly your T-Rex), but consider that Conjure Fey can get you a Frost Salamander. It hits an even 200 hit points with Mighty Summoner. It has 5 attacks, but its DPR comes in at just 33.05, so your T-Rex is a better option there. Where it shines is its 60-foot cone breath weapon, with is easily enough to hit 3 targets in most multi-enemy encounters, and even on successful saves that’s 66 damage. It’s the equivalent of an 8th-level Cone of Cold cast every turn.|
You might rightly say “but that recharges on a d6 roll of 6, so I’ll only be able to use that once per encounter” and you’re mostly correct. But the Frost Salamander’s Burning Fury trait allows it to recharge its breath weapon instantly if it takes fire damage. So: you set it on fire with Alchemist’s Fire, dealing 1d4 fire damage (doubled due to vulnerability) per turn, which is immediately healed by Guardian Spirit, which heals 8 hp per turn at this level, matching the max your salamander could take from being on fire.
At this point, we have everything from the Druid that we actually care about, so if you’re planning to multiclass, now is a good time.
|Beast spells is cool because we can turn into a bird and still summon stuff. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to activate your totems while wild shaped, so walk into combat with a t-rex or a frost salamander en flambé, Bonus Action to activate your totem, Action to become a bird, and hang out at a safe distance tossing spells.|
|19||Feat: Any||Literally anything. Lucky would be fine.|
|20||Archdruid||Remember when we decided to take the Wild Companion Optional Class Feature? Infinite disposable familiars!|