Would it be unbalanced to increase a druid’s number of uses of Wild Shape based on level?

Wild Shape is the prominent feature of the Druid class, but it allows only two uses until level 20, when Archdruid makes it limitless. This scaling feels quite odd to me and it appears to impact Moon Druids the most, since they rely on it for their combat prowess, while Land Druids have their superior spellcasting abilities. I’m aware that it can be maintained for an amount of hours equal to half the druid’s level and that the two uses are regained after a short or long rest, but the scaling of 2 uses between levels 1-19, then infinite at 20 feels weird and underwhelming, especially between levels 8 (when the feature gets the last power-up) and 20.

Is my concern sound? As a DM, I thought about increasing the uses by 1 at level 12 and 16 (total of 4). Would this make the Druid overpowered, outshining his party members (a Bard, a Barbarian and a Paladin) too much, either in fight or in utility contexts?

Note: the environment is pure core books.

Is equipment that merges into the Druid’s Wild Shape form weightless?

Given that you have three option to merge any equipment on you into your Wild Shape form:

You choose whether your equipment falls to the ground in your space, merges into your new form, or is worn by it. [pg. 67 – PHB]

as well as potentially the following line:

Equipment that merges with the form has no effect until you leave the form. [pg. 67 – PHB]

How is the weight of the merged equipment handled?

If you were potentially heavily encumbered using the Variant: Encumbrance rules [pg. 176 – PHB], would you negate this penalty temporarily by wild shaping, or is all that loot the Druid pilfered from the cave still being stored somewhere on the Druid’s furry, bear body?

What’s in a druid’s grove?

I’ve started a D&D 5e campaign in Oerik (Greyhawk) with a druid in the party. I want to allow her to use the druid groves on the Anna B Meyer maps, but I can’t find any info on their benefits, if any. I’m envisioning maybe some healing properties, and possibly some type of communication with other groves.

Has anyone used druid groves?

Why do bards and druids get Heat metal? [on hold]

As per Player’s handbook, only bards and druids get access to Heat metal. Later books added forge clerics to that super-exclusive list, and UA artificers are in it too.

But why? Artificers and forge clerics makes all the sense in the world, of course. But, unless I’m missing something, bards and druids are weird choices for that list, and wizards and sorcerers are obvious choices which aren’t there.

Is there an official tweet somewhere explaining the rationale behind that decision or can someone explain to me what I’m failing to see, or is it just a case of weird drunken spell-list design?

Someone on Reddit suggested the following:

A lot of people have touched on resonance, and from what I saw the response was “yes, but why the Bard in particular?”

Quite frankly, because no one else could. The wizard has the magical expertise, sure, but they don’t understand the mechanics of sound like a bard does. A bard knows their instrument (and therefore their sound) better than most people know their genitalia. Anyone could know “hey, if I hit this frequency, I could energize the metal to the point that it’s malleable,” but not just anyone can do it. Their sounds would be too sharp, too flat, too loud, too soft, lacking the right overtones, etc., and would therefore be ineffective. Only someone with the proper blend of skills could pull this off.

TL:DR this flavor of the spell requires musical expertise, not just magical, so only the Bard can pull it off.

Okay, that sort of explains it. Except the same would apply to Shatter, which a bunch of classes have access to. And it still doesn’t explain why the druid can cast Heat metal too.

Which spells count for a Shepherd Druid’s features affecting creatures “summoned or created” by spells?

I was looking at making a Circle of the Shepherd Druid for a game and noticed a part of the Mighty Summoner and Guardian Spirit features regarding creatures “summoned or created” by spells. For instance, the Mighty Summoner feature says (XGtE, p. 24):

Any beast or fey summoned or created by a spell that you cast gains the following benefits:

(The corresponding part of the Guardian Spirit feature is worded differently, but is essentially identical.)

My first instinct was “oh, so conjure animals“, but then I would like to have more than one spell to be the beneficiary of two of my subclass features. So, which spells count for these two Shepherd Druid features?

Does Power Word Kill kill druids in wild-shape?

Power Word Kill is a 9th level spell that “compel[s] a creature to die” as long as it has less than 100 hit points.

If this is cast on a druid in wild-shape form with less than 100 HP, does the druid die or does he only revert to his normal state? Is the “creature” the druid himself? Is wild-shape a creature on top of the druid, or is he always the same creature?

I realize that a druid is only knocked out of wild-shape if he hits 0 hit points or is knocked unconscious, so my personal take is that he would simply just die due to the wording of the spell, but I was curious if I was perhaps missing something.

How do the Cleric and Druid’s Spontaneous Casting interact with other classes’ spells?

This is a very RAW vs. RAI question.

When the descriptions of both clerics and druids discuss how prepared spells are instead converted into specific kinds of spells, they always talk about “a” or “any” prepared slot.

For the Cleric:

The cleric can “lose” any prepared spell that is not an orison or domain spell in order to cast any cure spell of the same spell level or lower

For the Druid:

She can “lose” a prepared spell in order to cast any summon nature’s ally spell of the same level or lower.

If I were playing an 8th-level wizard / 1st-level druid / 1st-level cleric, according to the wording of their class abilities I should be able to convert the higher-level wizard spells into either cure or summon nature’s ally spells.

  1. Has Paizo ever confirmed that this does or does not work this way?
  2. Is this right by RAW?
  3. Should this be allowed? This is obvious with a no.

Are Moon Druids overpowered at levels 2-6? If so, by how much?

I’ve been looking at the Moon Druid, and I’m seeing a lot of repeat issues concerning their resources, their health, and their sustainability. Are they too strong in comparison to other classes? If not, what am I missing?

To make things simple, I will focus on the level 2-6 range, as level 2 is where the Moon Druid is considered strongest, and level 6 is where they’re often considered to be “plateauing”.


Health

From my understanding, Moon Druids, as early as level 2, can shift into CR 1 beasts, which include the 34 health Brown Bear, which can make two attacks per turn (+5 to hit, 9 damage per hit). This is in addition to all of the abilities and health of a full caster Druid.

For comparisons sake, a player with 14 Constitution and an average hit die roll (halfway between a 1d8 and a 1d10, or rolling 5 on average) will have:

Average Character Health Per Level

  • Level 1: 11 HP
  • Level 2: 18 HP
  • Level 3: 25 HP
  • Level 4: 32 HP
  • Level 5: 39 HP
  • Level 6: 46 HP
  • Level 7: 53 HP
  • Level 8: 60 HP

Not only does the Moon Druid Brown Bear form have as much health as a level 3 character, but the Druid form will also have roughly the amount of health of an average level 2 character. Combined (52 HP), they effectively have as much health as a level 7 character.

Additionally, the Druid will be able to Wild Shape multiple times per day. At twice per short rest and estimating about 1.5 short rests in a day, this roughly translates to about 5 or so uses, granting an effective bonus of 170 HP if combat is spread throughout the day, or 68 bonus HP before needing a short rest.

And this is at level 2.


Later Levels:

Even when Moon Druids are known to “taper off” around level 6, they gain access to a 60 health creature while having around 40 HP themselves. At this point, the full casting potential of the Druid kicks in, allowing access to spells like Call Lightning, Sleet Storm, and other spells that few other classes/builds gain access to.


Vs. Classes

Martial

Many of the beast’s features include abilities or attacks that completely overshadow other melee classes, such as the Brown Bear’s Multiattack, allowing them to attack twice (+6 to hit, 9 damage avg.) when a Fighter at the same level can only attack once (roughly +5 to hit, 8.5 damage avg.).

A comparable feature for the Fighter, Second Wind, can heal an average of 9.5 HP per short rest at level 4 with a Bonus Action. The Moon Druid can use Wild Shape, twice per short rest, for a total of 68 HP before needing the same short rest, which also uses a Bonus Action. Even after including a Fighter’s superior AC, I doubt that many Fighters can mitigate over 70 damage before a Short Rest.

A Barbarian, who has Rage for doubling the efficiency of their HP, would effectively have twice as much HP as other characters, assuming all damage they took was mitigated by Rage. With a 1d12 and a +3 Con modifier, a level 2 Barbarian would have about 25 real HP, and with Rage we’re talking about an effective 50 HP. This is the same as the Druid’s combined health with the Brown Bear form, but Barbarian’s HP has to be rationed for the entire day.

At level 6, this value does increase dramatically, with about 63 HP, or 126 effective HP with Rage that they can absorb within a day. At this level, that’s two uses of a Druid’s Wild Shape, or effectively, the resource equivalent of a Short Rest.

At level 6, a Druid can take as much punishment in a Short Rest as a Barbarian can take in a whole day.

Casting

It’s difficult to compare Moon Druids against other casters, since it can’t cast during its signature form. However, with its full casting capabilities, it’s a clear choice in casting power over half-casters, like the Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight, Ranger or Paladin. The easiest casting build to compare it to is probably the Druid Circle of Dreams, which, like the Moon Druid, has no passive abilities that work directly with casting spells and having the same spell list/slots.

In terms of casting, Moon Druid’s only weakness is the fact that its melee form cannot cast, and is just as good of a caster in every other instance.

Power wise, their Druid Form alone is somewhere between the effectiveness of an Eldritch Knight for the lower limit, and a “Gish” type caster (like a College of Swords Bard or a Bladesinger Wizard) for the upper limit.

Combined/Summary

Moon Druids are as effective as the strongest martial classes in melee combat, and at least as effective as a caster as half-casters, if not more.


My goal is to make Moon Druids utilize all of their resources, and to not overshadow other players. When the Wizard has run out of resources and is resorting to Cantrips at the end of the day, I also want my Moon Druid having to do the same.

But before that, I want to understand how much of a change is needed to bring the Moon Druid to that level, or whether it’s warranted at all.

  • Is my analysis of Moon Druids correct?
  • Are they more powerful than other characters?
  • And if it can be quantified, by how much?

A Druid Circle Based on Forest Fires and Regrowth: is this balanced with Land Circle Druids?

Inspired by a question by Stephanos and tempered by the PEACH process at GiTP, I am asking for a comparison to Circle of the Land druid sub classes for this Druid proposed sub class, homebrew, since my answer to Stephanos just didn’t satisfy me. As with Stephanos’ idea, this sub class combines a raw fire elemental focus with an increase on melee engagement by the Druid, but it does not benefit from the spell recovery feature of other Land Circle druids. Is it balanced, or underpowered, as compared to the Land Circle druid sub classes? It also does not try to do as much as the other model in terms of using XGTE spells.

Circle of Flame

Fire burns the forest. Out of the ashes comes new growth. Druids who choose the Circle of Flame balance between destruction and regrowth. Wind spreads forest fires, cleansing a greater area. Lightning starts forest fires when it strikes a dead tree. From fiery death grow new beginnings. Druids in the Circle of Flame believe that everything will burn one day, to be re-born again.

Circle of Flame spells (always prepared)

at level 3 Scorching Ray, Gust of Wind
at level 5 Revivify, Lightning Bolt
at level 7 Grasping Vine, Fire Shield
at level 9 Control Winds, Flame Strike

Only You

When you choose the Circle of Flame at level 2, you gain the fire bolt cantrip.

Heart of the Flame

At 2nd level, as an action, you can expend a use of your Wild Shape feature to awaken the primordial spirits of Fire rather than transforming into a beast form. While this feature is active, you gain the following benefits:

  • Add your Wisdom Modifier to your AC

  • Add Fire damage equal to your Wisdom modifier to your melee attacks

  • You can use your reaction to heal yourself, or an allied creature within 10 feet of you, for 1d4 hit points. This healing increases to 1d6 at 5th level, 1d8 at 11th level, and 1d10 at 13th level.

    These effects last for 1 minute, or until you are reduced to 0 hit points.

Heat of Battle

Starting at level 6, the druid gets an Extra Attack when taking the Attack action.

Flaming Soul

At level 10 you gain resistance to fire damage. While concentrating on a spell that does fire damage, you gain +2 to your armor class.

From the Ashes

Starting level 14, as a reaction, you can absorb fire or lightning damage dealt to yourself, or to a single friendly creature within 30′ of you. You, or the friendly creature (whomever was subjected to the damage) instead heals for the amount of damage taken. This feature refreshes on a short or long rest.

If I have missed the balance point here, where did I miss and by how far?
One of the issues I’ve had with playing druids is that a lot of their spells require concentration. A weakness for this sub class is that by engaging in melee more often than a pure spell caster, the chance of concentration being lost would appear to increase.