May 21, 2015

Circle of the Beast

Druid Circle
Comments from the Thumb: As with all class archetypes, the druid circles focus on specializing in specific functions of that class. Druids have three distinct things they can do: fighting, spellcasting, and wild shape. Of the circles presented in the PHB, the Circle of the Land covers casting and the Circle of the Moon covers wild shape. This circle fills the absence of a fighting-specific druid. 

Circle of the Beast

Growling, snarling, and howling at the moon, druids of the Circle of the Beast most often convene for their terrifying blood hunts. Druids of this circle embrace their animalistic side, forsaking civilization of man and often any foods that are not red meat. The most powerful of their Circle are more beast than man, and fight like savage monsters, howling through the carnage in a flurry of teeth, claws, and fur.


Beast Form
When you choose this circle at 2nd level, you gain some of the physical aspects of a beast. Your features become more bestial and you grow your choice of claws, fangs, spines, or horns. Your unarmed strikes deal 1d8 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage, as appropriate to the natural weapon you choose, and are considered Light Finesse weapons and may be used for Two Weapon Fighting. You are proficient with your unarmed strikes. As an action, you may conceal your bestial traits and revert to your original appearance. This change lasts as long as you maintain concentration on it, or until you choose to end it. 

Bestial Senses
At 2nd level, your senses sharpen to an inhuman degree. You gain the ability to see in dim light within 30 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray. If you already have darkvision, your range increases by 30 feet. You also gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Able Hunter
When you reach 6th level, you have become adept at navigating wilderness using your beast form. You have advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) and Strength (Athletics) checks made to climb, jump, swim, or otherwise navigate natural terrain.

Beast’s Fury
Beginning at 10th level, you can attack twice when you take the Attack action on your turn. At least one of these attacks must be made with an unarmed strike.

Primal Healing
At 14th level, you gain the ability to close wounds on your body as they appear. When another creature damages you with an attack, you may use your reaction to reduce the damage by 1d8 + your druid level. If this reduces the attack’s damage to 0, you regain the difference in hit points, up to your hit point maximum. You may use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.




The Finger: Changelog: 5/24/15: Total overhaul! This class needed a little more teeth, so we gave it some. Added Able Hunter at level 6, incorperated Multiattack into Morphic Reach, and added smell to Darkvision.

The Thumb: Changelog: 5/25/2015: Fixed balance issues. Unarmed strikes no longer level, morphic reach replaced with an extra attack feature, and morphic healing renamed to primal healing.
     The Finger: This is the last time we're touching this class! We're sick of it!

12 comments:

  1. I think this might be a bit on the weak side, espescially the level 10 feat. Maybe add an extra attack at level 6 or 10, like a valor bard, or a favored soul sorcerer? And altough this really is nitpicking now, which natural weapon of claw, fang, spine or horn deals bludgeoning damage? (I do feel that one of them does, and I just haven´t realized it)

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  2. The Thumb and I debated on whether making 10th level Multiattack or Reach, and went with Reach after comparing it side by side with existing druid subclasses. Ultimately, we still might change this once we get a proper playtest.

    If you roll up some characters and can confirm that this character is significantly weaker compared to other druids, we'll edit the page and PDF an thank you at the bottom.

    Also, ram's horns would probably deal bludgeoning damage, I would think.

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    1. True, never thought about horns that don´t pierce.

      I think it´s underpowered because it doesn´t actually do much. Hell, half of your level 6 ability merely exists to negate the potential disadvantage of your level 2 ability. Your unarmed strike feature isn´t finesse so a druid would have to invest in strength to make proper use of it, which his armor class doesn´t benefit from, all so he can deal 1d8+mod+1d8, at close range, while a simple cantrip deals 2d8 from range, without needing to invest in strength. Yes there are benefits to having it always equipped, but there´s a reason natural weapons and darkvision are often "free" feats that a race gets (the minotaur´s natural weapon is flat out better, in addition). That leaves the class with reach on attacks, which feels somewhat insignificant, and a pretty good healing ability, but that doesn´t seem enough for the benefits the other druids get.

      Of course this is all theory, but the weakness seems so incredibly obvious to me, that I actually wonder how you would think that is comparable in power to the other druids.

      This might seem somewhat harsh, which isn´t my intention, once again, love your stuff

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    2. Good point about the level 6 thing. we'll probably change it. I'm thinking we'll move the reach ability to 6th level and give an extra attack or something at 10th level. We may also bump up the damage for the natural weapons, depending on how playtests go.

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    3. Nice, will you make a blogpost to report about how playtests went, if you do them? (for this subclass and every other)

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  3. The Thumb and I debated on whether making 10th level Multiattack or Reach, and went with Reach after comparing it side by side with existing druid subclasses. Ultimately, we still might change this once we get a proper playtest.

    If you roll up some characters and can confirm that this character is significantly weaker compared to other druids, we'll edit the page and PDF an thank you at the bottom.

    Also, ram's horns would probably deal bludgeoning damage, I would think.

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  4. I'm allowing this in my game, but I will definitely make the attacks finesse, otherwise I really can't see the point if the druid has to invest in strength in addition to wisdom and dex to do any damage.

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    1. You and DiEGiPsHaNd make a good point about the finesse property, which was an oversight on our part. I'll update the post and PDF to include this suggestion

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  5. Re-did the whole thing. Now, at least, you can't accuse it of being underpowered.

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  6. This would be a pretty good 2 level dip for Monk

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    1. I'm away from my books at the moment, but I think there's definitely a trade-off here, in the long term, at least. Monks will eventually gain unarmed attacks which deal even more damage, but multiclassing into the Circle of the Beast delays that, and other important monk features, by a whole two levels.

      That being said, this class was a topic of controversy in the first Class Pack and it's always been on the list of things I'd like to remake, given the chance. The ease of dipping is something I'll be sure to address if it gets a remake.

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    2. I'm away from my books at the moment, but I think there's definitely a trade-off here, in the long term, at least. Monks will eventually gain unarmed attacks which deal even more damage, but multiclassing into the Circle of the Beast delays that, and other important monk features, by a whole two levels.

      That being said, this class was a topic of controversy in the first Class Pack and it's always been on the list of things I'd like to remake, given the chance. The ease of dipping is something I'll be sure to address if it gets a remake.

      Delete