Druids harness the power of the wilds and nature itself is their weapon. Druids are powerful spellcasters and warriors. Today we’re going to see why you want one in your party with our detailed guide to DnD 5E’s Druid Class.
A riot broke out today near the city outskirts. The guard was of course brought in to keep the peace. Unfortunately for everyone, it was near one of the grove areas the city keeps.
The grove is like a temple within a forest within a city. I took a walk there once when I was off duty. It’s physically not that big, but I walked for miles under the shade of trees. It’s eerie, but the Druids who keep it are law-abiding and pleasant enough…most of the time.
We broke the riot up, but a few thought to escape within the woods. 3 suspects ran into the woods, and almost immediately 2 came back out. One was being dragged by the jaws of the biggest wolf I’d ever seen, and the other had a massive snake coiled around their body.
A bird landed in front of me and shifted into an elf. The animals turned over the 2 captured rioters, but when I asked about the 3rd they said he was “an enemy of order” and the Druids would take care of him.
As I said, they’re law-abiding and pleasant…most of the time.—From the journal of Captain Vyes 3rd precinct, city watch, 2nd of Hammer, 1382
Read our detailed class guide to DnD 5E’s Druid below.
Overview of 5e Druid
If you look at the Dungeons & Dragons alignment chart, the one in the very center as neutral-neutral you’ll probably always find the Druids.
Druid alignments must always remain neutral because they’re not on anyone’s side but their own sense of cosmic balance. Funnily enough, their abilities and class roles follow that same motif.
- Are they a fighter?
- Are they a healer?
- Are they charismatic leaders?
The answer to all of those is a definite maybe. Druids are an incredibly versatile class to play. They can fill any role reasonably well. Their ability in 5e has buffed them up and they are excellent characters to play.
Notable Druids in D&D
Leader of the Shadow Druids from the Baldur’s Gate video games. Faldorn vehemently opposed the encroachment of civilization on nature. She was perfectly fine with using violence to push back when the balance of nature was threatened.
A quiet and thoughtful human, Cernd dedicated his life to keeping balance and restoring natural order to the world. He wandered the lands ensuring that balance and protecting the druid groves of his circle.
Druid 5e Class Features & Abilities
The Druid’s abilities typically revolve around nature abilities. Whether it’s spells that grow vines to ensnare enemies or shape-shifting into wild beasts.
Hit Dice d8
Ever feel like talking to trees? Well, this is probably the closest you’re going to get. Druidic is the secret language of the Druids. It’s similar to the Thieves Cant that Rogues use. With Druidic, Druids can leave hidden messages in a coded language. Only those that know Druidic will be able to decipher it without magic. Those that don’t know Druidic will need magic to decode it and will need a Wisdom DC of 15 to even notice it’s there.
(Perception) check but can’t decipher it without magic.
Druids have access to a wide variety of nature spells starting at level 1. All of the Druid spells have a nature vibe. They can cast poison spray, have shapeshifting abilities, and (my personal favorite) Giant Insect that allows them to turn ordinary bugs into giant ones that they can command.
You can refer to page 208 in the Player’s Handbook for a full list of available spells.
The Druid’s Spellcasting ability uses their Wisdom Modifier when casting spells.
Wild Shape is the reason you chose to become a druid in the first place. It’s their iconic ability.
At level 2, the Druid can Wild Shape. The ability is a bit like the 90s books Animorphs. The Druid can shapeshift into a beast that they’ve seen. There are limitations on what kind of creatures the Druid can shift into, however. It would be a little weird for a level 3 druid to shift into a giant mammoth.
All of the Druids can shape-shift into an animal with a maximum challenge rating (CR) of 1 starting at level 8. The exception is the Circle of the Moon subclass. Circle of the Moon Druids can shape-shift into creatures with a much higher CR as their subclass specializes in Wild Shape.
All Other Druids
- Levels 2-3 CR: 1/4 | No Flying or Swimming Creatures
- Levels 4-7 CR: 1/2 | No Flying Creatures
- Levels 8-20 CR: 1
Circle of the Moon Druid
- Levels 2-5 CR: 1
- Levels 6-8 CR: 2
- Levels 9-11 CR: 3
- Levels 12-14 CR: 4
- Levels 15-17 CR: 5
- Levels 18-20 CR: 6
Perhaps the most useful aspect of Wild Shape is the free hit points. The Druid gains the hitpoints of the creature they turn into, and their original hitpoints remain separate.
If a level 2 druid becomes a wolf they can attack using the wolf’s abilities, and when things get too hot they can revert back to their normal form and still have all of their original hitpoints. If however, they go below the Wild Shape hitpoints, the Druid will suffer the remainder.
If a Druid in Wild Shape has only 5 hit points left and gets hit for 10 damage, the Wild Shape ends and the Druid reverts to their normal form but takes 5 damage as well.
Another big bonus is that the Druid retains all of its mental attributes. They’re just as intelligent as they were before, but they gain all the physical attributes of the creature they’ve Wild Shaped into.
There are some downsides, though. Because the Druid turns into a creature, they lose the ability to speak and cast spells. However, any concentration spells that were cast before Wild Shift remain in effect and follow the usual rules.
Druids can stay in their beast form for a limited amount of time. Druid level ÷ 2 (half your druid level). So at level 2, the Druid can stay in beast form for 1 hour. At level 5 they can stay in beast form for 2.5 hours and etc.
Looking at the different stats you may think, “What’s the point of becoming a CR 1/4 or 1/2 creature? You may not be able to shift into a 1000lb gorilla to fling your opponents around right from level 2, but there are a ton of creatures that can be extremely useful in various situations.
- Locked up in prison or a dungeon? A rat, snake, or spider could easily just walk out.
- Need to climb a tree for recon? A monkey would make short work of that.
- Lost in the woods or tracking someone down? I bet a wolf’s nose would be a better tool.
The Druid is known for being extremely versatile, and the ability to shapeshift into various animals just cements their role as an excellent all-around character to have in the party.
The Druid can choose their subclass at level 2. These are called Druid Circles. They represent what particular aspect of nature they wish to follow and effects how their abilities develop. The Druid is an extremely versatile class and the Druid Circle can focus your character as a healer, fighter, or magic user.
Like most of the other classes, Druids get 2 Ability Score points at levels 4, 8, 12,16, and 19. They can add them to any ability scores they like, but they cannot boost them past 20 using this feature.
At level 18 the Druid’s attunement with nature and primal magics affects their very life force and they begin to age slower. Every 10 years the Druid is alive, they age only 1 year.
The Druid gets a boost to their magical prowess at level 18.
While the Druid is using Wild Shape, they can now cast spells using somatic and verbal components. This lets the Druid cast some of their most devastating spells while still in beast form.
At level 20, the Druid reaches the peak of their shapeshifting powers. From here on out the Druid can use Wild Shape as often as they want.
Druid 5e Subclasses
Circle of the Land: This is the classic Druid. Their spells develop based on their land specialty, arctic, forest, grassland, mountain, swamp, or underdark.
Circle of the Moon: This is the subclass to use if you want your Druid to focus heavily on their Wild Shape ability. The Moon Druid is able to turn into more dangerous creatures than any of the other subclasses and starts with the ability to shift into CR 1 creatures and as they level up it goes up to CR 6.
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
Circle of Dreams: These Druids have close ties to the fey and the fairie realms. They can walk in the in-between worlds sheltering their party and disappearing in the blink of an eye.
Circle of the Shepherd: The Shepherd Druid can call forth powerful animal totems and even summon animal spirits to their side. The Circle of the Shepherd has nature answering the call of the Druid and supporting them with various creatures and abilities.
- Hardcover Book
- Wizards RPG Team (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Circle of Spores: The Spore Druid is the stuff of nightmares. Part of the balance of life is death, and the Spore Druid uses fungus and spores to utilize death to their advantage. This gives them abilities that do necrotic damage as well as using their fungal spores to reanimate corpses. Literally nightmare fuel.
Circle of Stars: As you might imagine from the name, Star Druids gain their powers from celestial bodies. They can summon the versions of the constellations to their aid, and even take on the shape of misty heavenly bodies as their power grows.
Circles of Wildfire: Destruction is also a natural part of order. Forest fires clear out dead brush and make way for new growth. Druids of the Wildfire understand that destruction is necessary and they are the harbinger of that destruction.
- Hardcover Book
- Wizards RPG Team (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
Playing as a Druid in 5e
Druids are great to have in any party. Their magical abilities can control the flow of the battlefield and deal damage. The nature spells the Druid has access to are extremely useful. They have access to healing, control, and damage. That doesn’t even include subclass specializations.
Their Wild Shape is always useful and allows them to take on various specialized animal forms depending upon the situation. In and out of combat, Wild Shape is going to be your go-to ability, and it’s even more satisfying if you take the Circle of the Moon subclass.