May 30, 2015

Urban Druid

Druid Circle
Comments from the Finger: What do you do with a player who wants to dabble in druid, but can't stand all the tree-hugging neutral goodness? While that might seem absurd, it really isn't too much to ask for your classes to have some thematic diversity. For example, you can have a Paladin of Nature just as easily as you can have a Paladin of Slaughter or a Paladin of Justice. Why are druids so rigidly nailed into place?
     Here's our fix for that: a conversion of the 3.5 class Urban Druid. With a bit of refluffing as an urban avenger (and a relentlessly homeless one at that), the Circle of Concrete is primed to fulfill your every not-nature druid need. Consequentially, this makes the Urban feel a little like a rogue. We like it that way.
     So, not entirely Magitech, but certainly more fitting to a  Magitech setting than most other druids. After all, these druids probably feel more kinship with a construct than most beasts. What do you think, should the Urban Druid be included in the Magitech Update?

Circle of Concrete

Druids who join the Circle of Concrete don't make their home in pristine forests or majestic mountains, but in the Cities. Scrounging for scraps and sleeping in alleys have made them experts in surviving in the heart of a metropolis without a silver to their names. These druids are defenders of the downtrodden and avengers of the weak, living among the poor and stepping up when they need a champion most.

Bonus Proficiencies
Beginning when you select this archetype at 2nd level, you are now capable of using and are proficient in wearing armor and using shields made of metal.

At 2nd level, you learn to speak like a long time urbanite. You gain advantage on Intelligence (Investigation) checks to learn about a person or location in a city. In addition, you have advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks made to haggle the price of goods and Charisma (Deception) checks made to lie to authorities. Finally, you know Thieves’ Cant.

At 2nd level, moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs you no extra movement. You can also pass through crowds without being slowed by them, and have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks in crowds. Finally, you can scale buildings as few can; climbing no longer costs you extra movement and you gain advantage on Strength (Athletics) checks made to scale walls.

Urban Shape
At 6th level, you can emulate the forms of some constructs. You can take the form of a Flying Sword when you use Wild Shape. At 8th level, you can choose the form of an Animated Armor, at 10th level the form of a Helmed Horror, and at 14th level a Shield Guardian. Additionally, you have become adept at blending into crowds and can cast disguise self at will without expending a spell slot.

By 10th level, you are immune to the blights and dangers of the city. You are immune to disease and to being poisoned and have resistance on poison damage. Additionally, you have become wary to the dangers of the streets and can't be surprised in a city while you are conscious.

By 14th level, you now no longer need to scale the walls of the city to traverse it. You may cast passwall or dimension door without using a spell slot. After you cast either of these spells, you must complete a short or long rest before casting one again.

 Changelog: 7/13/15: Streettalk now grants Thieves' Cant.
12/10/15: Streetwise: Immunity to surprise only applies while you're in a city.


  1. Why not make urban shape scale like the moon shape forms?

  2. Pass wall makes the other moves kinda useless. Seems weird.

  3. I didn't really like the Circle of the Moon Progression for this application. Circle of the Moon uses an expanded progression early on, then also adds the ability to transform into a CR 5 elemental at 10th level. There are fewer available constructs, so I tried to match that at 10th level as close as I could with the Helmed Horror, and did one better with the Shield Guardian at 14th level to assist my weakish capstone.

    You might be right about Passwall. I struggled to find a suitable capstone ability, and I thought this was flavorful. Did you have any capstone suggestions?

  4. First off, new guy here and loving your posts.

    For this one though, I wonder about the construct form as it doesn't feel particularly "druidy" to me. I feel like you went with it because it's man-made but the golems are too heavy CR-wise to work. So I was wondering if perhaps you could say that they draw upon the spirit of the city to grant them size and power... in essence allowing them to shift into the forms of giant types. Say Ogre at level 6, Hill Giant at 10, and Stone Giant at 14? The biggest issue I'd see would be fitting into most dungeon environments in these shapes.

    1. Welcome!

      It's been a while since I've taken a look at the Urban Druid, but I remember that the intent with Construct Form being that it allows you to take the forms of things one might encounter in a metropolis (though, it's somewhat limited by the lack of interesting objects and the like.) While I think it's an interesting connection to make between cities and giants, thematically I considered that these should be things that an Urban Druid would be intimately familiar with, in contrast to the things that a normal druid might be familiar with. The Urban Druid should feel like a very different take on druids, and it's really intended for those people who like druids but aren't in love with the flavor.

  5. Just a question on semantics. The streetwise ability, as it stands, says you can't be surprised as long as your conscious because you're accustomed to the city etc.. but what happens if, on an adventure per se, you aren't in the city. Can you still not be surprised? It seems to me to make the most sense that you wouldn't because you aren't in an environment you are used to, ergo you wouldn't know what to listen for, where to look, or what exactly is going on quite as well as if you were in the middle of a big city. Just wondering! Love the posts! My friends and I have been homebrewing recently and, finding this, has made things so much easier/better not only for inspiration/balancing tips but also for new things to play as! Thanks!

    1. I'm glad you like it here!

      That's totally something I should considered when I wrote this class. I'll totally edit this to reflect that it only works while you're in a city

  6. Did the PDF go missing? It isn't showing up..

  7. I was curious, as to when you are becoming a helmed horror, would you be able to pick your spell immunities upon transformation? Would you even have them? Also, one thing you could say for the 10th level, is you are immune to disease and the poisoned condition, along with resistance to poison damage.

  8. I was a bit reminded off:

    Otherwise this one is just as welcome, as the Shadowrun Street-Shaman. Thank you for sharing.

  9. When transforming into a Shield Guardian does the necklace manifest on a designated creature nearby? Is it in your hands? Or is that something that is forgone with this type of change?

    1. That's something that is forgone in this type of transformation.

    2. :(
      Sadness... you think if I make a necklace out of Druid hair I could 'prep' for a transformation like this and have it ready in a battle? (like... use this line of reasoning to convince my DM to allow the necklace bit lol)

  10. I also thought the Construct form ability feels very out of place. It feels very weird and not city-ish or druid-ish. How about this:

    Citymind: The urban druid knows that a city has a living mind, and can tap into it. When you make an Intelligence check to recall something that an intelligent resident or animal of the city knows, you may tap into the collective unconscious and instead make a Wisdom(Insight) check.

    This also potentially opens up more space for the Circle capstone, to replace the super-movement one. 1/day wild shape into any of the suggested constructs, or a golem statue, maybe?

    Other flavorful capstone suggestions:
    Animate objects 1/day

    Pigeon's Eyes: Concentrate to see anything a city's animal resident (within X ft?) can see/sense.

    Unknown Armies Urbanomancers, especially the hobomancers in the new edition, have a similar feel to the Urban Druid and might be good inspiration for alternate paths and/or updates.