Can a druid’s Spirit Totem feature be used in Wild Shape?

Can you use the Spirit Totem feature of Circle of the Shepherd (XGtE, p.23) while you are in your Wild Shape form (PHB, pp.66-67)?


Starting at 2nd level, you gain the ability to call forth nature spirits and use them to influence the world around you. As a bonus action, you can magically summon an incorporeal spirit to a point you can see within 60 feet of you.


You can’t cast spells. […] You retain the benefit of any features from your class, race, or other source, and can use them if the new form is physically capable of doing so.

From what I can deduct, Spirit Totem would be available for a Druid to use in Wild Shape form because it is a class feature which is not a spell; albeit it is magical.

I would appreciate any answers to support or contest this. If you or your table have play-tested this feature, even better!

Does Healing Spirit proc Shepard druid’s Unicorn Spirit totem? If so when?

Unicorn totem reads:

In addition, if you cast a spell using a spell slot that restores hit points to any creature inside or outside the aura, each creature of your choice in the aura also regains hit points equal to your druid level.

Healing spirit reads

Until the spell ends, whenever you or a creature you can see moves into the spirits space for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, you can cause the spirit to restore ld6 hit points to that creature (no action required).

Does this mean that the unicorn totem heals everyone in the party each time a party member enters the healing spirit area or is it only when the first party member enters the healing spirit area?

Does the level 6 Barbarian Elk Totem affect travel via land vehicle?

I am looking at the level Elk Totems ability for my next level of Barbarian. Currently most of our travel time has been on foot, but our Noble Half-Elf Ranger wants to get herself a horse drawn carriage. Would the travel pace of the carriage be doubled? Since both mounted and foot travel is covered by this ability it would make sense that land vehicles should be as well. Water and magic vehicles would not be affected.

Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, pg. 122:

Elk. Whether mounted or on foot, your travel pace is doubled, as is the travel pace of up to 10 companions while they’re within 60 feet of you and you’re not incapacitated (see chapter 8 in the Player’s Handbook for more information about travel pace). The elk spirit helps you roam far and fast.

How long does the temporary HP from the Circle of the Shepherd druid’s Bear Spirit Totem last?

The Circle of the Shepherd druid’s Spirit Totem feature lets the druid summon a spirit that creates an aura with a certain effect. One option for the type of spirit is the Bear Spirit (XGtE, p. 23):

Bear Spirit. The bear spirit grants you and your allies its might and endurance. Each creature of your choice in the aura when the spirit appears gains temporary hit points equal to 5 + your druid level. In addition, you and your allies gain advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws while in the aura.

The PHB ruling says that unless otherwise stated, temporary HP can last until the character that receives it takes a long rest. Now, I am planning to use the Bear Spirit before short or long rests to provide my team some temporary HP. My fear is that it might be too OP.

How long does the temporary HP from the Shepherd druid’s Bear Spirit Totem last?

Outside of combat, does a Totem Warrior Barbarian with Eagle Totemic Attunement still fall from flight?

Say a 14th-level Totem Barbarian chose the Eagle totem for the level 14 Totemic Attunement feature, and had the Persistent Rage barbarian feature.

Would they fall after flying 80 feet, assuming they have a base speed of 40 feet from the Fast Movement feature, and take the Dash action? Or would they be able to fly continuously for 1 minute?

Is this Homebrew Totem Spirit for Grapplers v3.0 balanced?

Here we are with version 3 of the Serpent Spirit variant for the Path of the Totem Warrior for the grappling players. I think this is getting close to being balanced, at least getting there, while fitting into the Totem Warrior theme. Thank you all for taking the time to look at this and provide your input. Please let me know if we finally have a balanced version here. 🙂

Version one can be found here – Is this homebrew Path of the Totem Warrior for grapplers balanced?

Revision two can be found here – Is this Homebrew Totem Spirit for Grapplers v2.0 balanced?

Path of the Totem Warrior v3.0 (homebrew option for grapplers)

Totem Spirit level 3

Serpent: While raging, you count as one size category larger for the purpose of grapples and you ignore other creature’s immunity to the grappled condition. The spirit of the serpent empowers you to entangle any foe.

This alteration basically pulls what I had in the previous versions level 6 spot up to level 3 and removes the original level 3 idea. Being that the level 6 bracket in the Totem spirits is exclusive to out of combat utility, this grapple ability didn’t fit there. Also, this grapple ability I feel is much more necessary than doing damage because it allows those grappling players to be useful in a manner that scales better with the rest of their party.

As pointed out by user Ruse in revision two, this alteration takes into account that the Totem Warrior features are explicitly supernatural and magical. The embodiment of the spirit serpent coils around you with supernatural might. So that Barbarian can grapple that ghost while their rage is fueled with this magic.

Aspect of the Beast level 6

Serpent: You gain the metabolism of a serpent. You only need to eat once a week. Additionally, you can hold your breath for up to one hour.

This alteration went from basically being what is currently in level 3, but that didn’t fit with the none combat theme that the rest of the Totem Spirits give for this level 6 bracket. I went back and forth between having this be a climb and swim buff, but user Viishnahn pointed out the metabolism of a snake, and it made more sense as a serpent doesn’t really climb faster but they can hold their breath for a long time and go a week without eating.

Spirit Walker level 10

Same as RAW.

In previous versions of this I did try to add a Serpent option here, but it was pointed out that if I am to be keeping with the entire theme of the Totem Warrior, then there are no spirit choices here.

Totemic Attunement level 14

Serpent: While you’re raging, any creature within 5 feet of you that hits another creature other than you with an attack, you can use your reaction to attempt to grapple it.

This alteration removed the bonus attack and left the reaction. It was also changed to be a reaction only to things other than you getting hit, as to not discourage the barbarian from being the target.

Again, a thank you to everyone that has provided input and helped guide me to making this something fun, usable, but balanced.

Does the increased travel pace from the Elk option for the Totem Warrior barbarian’s Aspect of the Beast feature apply to combat?

So I have been looking into the various ‘Aspect’s of the Beast’ you get from the Totem Warrior Barbarians in 5e, as my own character is about to hit that level I am looking for clarification in regards to the rules associated with the wording for the ‘Elk’ aspect.

In the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, pg. 122 it states:

Elk. Whether mounted or on foot, your travel pace is doubled, as is the travel pace of up to 10 companions while they’re within 60 feet of you and you’re not incapacitated (see chapter 8 in the Player’s Handbook for more information about travel pace). The elk spirit helps you roam far and fast.

And then referring to Chapter 8: Adventuring, Pages 181-182 it states:

While traveling, a group of adventurers can move at a normal, fast, or slow pace, as shown on the Travel Pace table. The table states how far the party can move in a period of time and whether the pace has any effect. A fast pace makes characters less perceptive, while a slow pace makes it possible to sneak around and to search an area more carefully (see the “Activity While Traveling” section later in this chapter for more information).

Now does this increase movement also apply to in combat? I believe it does not but the term Travel could be interpreted into all movement. Again I do not believe this to be the case as it would then make my character’s movement in Combat 90ft without dashing or spells.

Is this Homebrew Totem Spirit for Grapplers v2.0 balanced?

After some great feedback from goodguy5 and linksassins on my first version of this homebrew (Original post Is this homebrew Path of the Totem Warrior for grapplers balanced?), I did a lot of revising. Please, check this out and let me know if I’m there or at least getting closer to balancing this Totem Spirit option (or perhaps just a homebrew Primal Path) aimed at the players looking for more grappling options.

Totem Spirit Serpent v2.0

Serpent’s Grasp

3rd level – As the Serpent constricts around its prey, every effort to escape only tightens its grip. While raging each attempt an opponent fails on a Grapple check to resist you or to escape your grapple on them, inflicts damage equal to your str+rage.

I went back and forth on this one for a while, between it being an attack one could make after having a successful grapple with 2d6+str+rage, or even 2d8+str+rage being the giant constrictor snake does 2d8, and a grapple can’t crit. Thought maybe having damage like that would also balance out if it was restricted to requiring both hands free. But in the end, the feedback I received on my original post pointed out that if damage was going to be involved, it needed to be cantrip level damage. Bottom line here that I am looking for, is for the players that want to grapple as damaging attacks and not really crowd control, can do so and not feel completely left in the dust by the damage from the rest of party. So adding some damage while still being able to crowd control, happy medium maybe? To sum up my question here, does what I settled on above seem balanced?

Serpent’s Entangle

6th level – The Serpent didn’t seem all that threatening, until it began to wrap around its victim’s neck. While not wearing armor and having both hands free, you count as one size category larger when you grapple or are being grappled.

I’m not sure if this deviates to much from the rest of the out-of-combat utility theme for the rest of the level 6 paths or spirits. I don’t want this totem spirit or path option to outclass the others, just wanting it to be a different flavor of play. The goal with this is so a player isn’t boned wanting to be a pure grappler when up against much larger category creatures. An archer can still shoot any size creature, a melee can still whack any size creature, a caster can still sling spells at any size creature… but a grappler simply cannot. With this ability the only thing out of their grasp is something Gargantuan, which could also be overcome from a race pick or enlarge spell, keeping your grappling barbarian always in the fight doing what they made their character to do. I figured it would be best to add that both hands need to be free and no armor can be worn for this, so a player can’t grapple two adult dragons, one in each hand, nor can they wield a weapon, shield, etc. I thought that gave good balance to offset the power this ability gives.

Serpent’s Prey

10th level – You commune with your Serpent spirit that grants you a serpent’s vomeronasal system, being able to smell and track prey by picking up chemical information with your tongue. You can cast Blindsight on yourself for one hour, but only as a ritual.

Yes, I had to google vomeronasal systems, lol. But Blindsight for an hour isn’t unbalanced, is it?

Serpent’s Strike

14th level – A coiled Serpent is always ready to strike. While not wearing armor and having both hands free, you may now use your bonus action to initiate a grapple instead of your attack action. In addition, when a creature within 5 feet of you hits you with an attack, you can use your reaction to initiate a grapple.

For this level 14 ability, my thought here is to pull in reactions and bonus actions into the grapple arsenal. My thoughts on why it would be balanced here are that both reactions and bonus actions are only usable to initiate a grapple, not do damage, nor maintain a grapple, or shove, or pin, those still require attack actions. For those players trying to play just a grappler, not wanting to use weapons, they can now use reactions and bonus actions to grapple. So a player wouldn’t be able to use a bonus action or reaction to initiate a grapple if they already a grapple going with one of their hands. Is this balanced?

All in all, I think by default it looks stronger than the other options for a barbarian, but with the added restrictions it makes it a focus to only those players that are wanting to play a character that just uses their bare hands and grapples everything. Or is it still too powerful?

5e Path of Totem Barbarian, are Physical Totems considered magical items/accessories?

So, I’ve had my fair share of arguments while playing sessions with my friends about rules & limitations in game. One for certain that caught my eye is the Physical Totem you acquire as a Totem Barbarian.

in the PHB it states you must make/acquire your totem object, whether it be an actual totem or a piece of accessory like an earring/necklace/etc.. based on your animal. With the addition of changing your physical appearance to look similar to your totem animal.

The player in the campaign I’m with chose the Lion as their Totem Animal, in regards to the PHB this would be in place of the Tiger Totem for it’s abilities.

The argument that I got into with him is when he finally got to 3rd level to attain those abilities, he acquired more than he got, even more so later on at level 6.

The totem is said to gain magical abilities of your animal, but it refers to the animal benefits in the PHB, like abilities gained for classes, this was not the case.

He gained an +4 Initiative Bonus, a +2 Dex Bonus, a +10 Move Speed from just his Physical Totem, which is an Earring. Nothing in which is said in the PHB, and in his words, “It’s said in the PHB, the Totem has the option to grant magical benefits.” He basically kept avoiding the argument and kept on saying he’s following the rules.

but it isn’t referring to magical stat boosting effects like a magic accessory, it refers to the animal abilities you’re supposed to gain at that level, like,

  • Tiger (3) : While raging, you can add 10 feet to your long jump distance and 3 feet to your high jump distance. The spirit of the tiger empowers your leaps.

    Tiger (6) : You gain proficiency in two skills from the following list: Athletics, Acrobatics, Stealth, and Survival. The cat spirit hones your survival instincts.

Funny thing too, is that he’s also dipping into the other animal benefits without care, like the use of the Level 3 abilities without raging or using both the Tiger & Bear Level 6 benefits when he’s only supposed to have 1 animal benefit of that level. I’ve also talked to the player about this, yet he never listens.

What I’m getting at is, he’s basically powerplaying the class, and misreading what gaining magical benefits is for the Physical Totem.

Is the Physical Totem just to give the animal abilities listed as per Level 3, 6, 14 or does it in conjunction give additional magical stat effects like magic items?

Do animals summoned by the Conjure Animals spell get extra HP from Circle of the Shepherd’s Spirit Totem ability?

This came up last game and seems very powerful. A 5th level druid gives each animal an extra 10hp. This let our druid summon 8 boars with nearly double hp (21 instead of 11).

Do summoned creatures count as allies? Should there be a limit to the nunber of allies affected?