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.

Can a bunch of druids wild-shape into a creature that can swarm, then form a swarm with other wild-shaped druids?

Related to these questions:

Can a druid wild shape into a cranium rat and use telepathy?

Can a Druid Wild Shape into a Swarm or “Giant”?

The Cranium Rat question establishes that the full stat block is used, and the Swarm or Giant question clarifies that you can only turn into one creature, per the spell.

Could 18 druids (I’d say 18, because one cranium rat has 2 HP and the Swarm has 36 HP per the stat block in DnD Beyond) wild-shape into 18 Cranium Rats and form a swarm, per the description of the Cranium Rat, and gain all the additional benefits that a Cranium Rat Swarm has?

The description says:

Evil Collectives: Cranium rats are no smarter than ordinary rats and behave as such. However, if enough cranium rats come together to form a swarm, they merge their minds into a single intelligence with the accumulated memories of all the swarms constituents. The rats become smarter as a result, and they retain their heightened intelligence for as long as the swarm persists. The swarm also awakens latent psionic abilities implanted within each cranium rat by its mind flayer creators, bestowing upon the swarm psionic powers similar to spells.

Also, the Cranium Rat Swarm’s Innate Spellcasting (Psionics) says:

The swarm’s innate spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13). As long as it has more than half of its hit points remaining, the swarm can innately cast the following spells, requiring no components: At will: command, comprehend languages, detect thoughts 1/day each: confusion, dominate monster

Now, the Druid Wild Shape feature says you can’t cast spells, but the description of the Cranium Rat says:

The swarm also awakens latent psionic abilities implanted within each cranium rat by its mind flayer creators, bestowing upon the swarm psionic powers similar to spells.

So this means that the ‘spells’ are NOT in fact actually spells, but are instead psionic powers, even though the stat block does call them ‘spells’.

Does this mean that such a collective of Druids get access to these powers as well if they Wild Shape into Cranium Rats and form a swarm?

Side Note: It would be an interesting story element to have a group of Circle of Decay druids using this ability to combine their knowledge and experience periodically, and expand their power by teaching each other new skills, magic, and other things. Especially if the GM rules that the stats for the Wild Shaped druids make a much more powerful ‘swarm’ by scaling the swarm Cha, Int, and Wis stats based on the druid’s stats (Since Wild Shape lets you keep those stats when in Wild Shape) the same way they are scaled up from the Cranium Rat to the Cranium Rat swarm.

Is this homebrew Circle of Flames/Chaos subclass for druids balanced?

Here is my homebrew Circle of Flames/Chaos subclass for druids:

Circle of Flame/Chaos

Lore/Calling: Fire burns the forest and out of the ash rises new growth, just like the fire that burns the weak trees, the Druids of the Cirle of Flames reap the weakness from people who have lost their way to leave the next generation to grow upon. Death is just a new begging and even evil can become a rich fertile ground for nature. These druids believe everything will burn one day to be re-born for a fresh start, as such they are a lot more flexible with morality.

One with the Flame

When you choose this circle at level 2 the spell Flame Blade doesn’t require concentration and lasts until cancelled.

You can also change the shape of the blade but it doesn’t affect the proprieties of the weapon.

Reforced Will

At 2nd level you no longer care what your armour is made of.

You also gain the Cantrip Control Flames as well as resistance to fire damage.

Shield Burn

Starting at level 6 you can coat your shield with flame as a bonus action, enemies that hit the shield in melee range take 1d4 fire damage. Increases damage to 1d6 at level 12 and 1d8 at level 18.

(Gain Advantage on constitution saving throws on your concentration spells when hit in melee range.)

Heat of Battle

Starting level 10 you are able to cast a spell that requires an action as a bonus action during your turn.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest

Re-Burn

Starting level 14 as a reaction you can absorb fire damage, friendly or otherwise. You may choose to fail your saving throw and heal for the amount of damage.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest

Does this build seem fair or is this too OP?
Just want to make a viable druid melee build around Flame Blade without adding extra attack actions.

Opinions? Balance changes? Is there something similar somewhere else?

How many spells do druids know?

My friends are in a campaign right now, and I made a druid. When we were leveling him up to level 5 like the other PCs, we just gave him however many spells he had spell slots of, which just doesn’t seem correct. Other classes, like the bard, ranger, and sorcerer, specifically say how many spells they know at what levels. The druid only says how many cantrips are known, how many spell slots they have, and how many spells they can prepare. How do I determine how many spells my druid knows?