August 20, 2015

Circle of Desolation

Druid Circle
Comments from the Thumb: This circle draws from the core mechanics of the 3.5 Blighter PrC, a cleric who draws his power from nature by means of desecrating fertile land. We re-imagined this as an anti-druid who focuses on battlefield control and AoE abilities.

Circle of Desolation

You have embraced the blight. You are a Priest of Flies, a Lord of Maggots, a King of Rot. For whatever reason, the members of your circle have turned their power to the desolation of nature and the end of life. Now, flowers wilt at your fingertips, and trees shudder and die with your glance.

When you choose this circle at 2nd level, you gain the ability to start wildfires with a glance. As an action, you can unleash a scorching blast of fire that affects a 5 foot square of ground within 20 feet of you which remains ignited until the beginning of your next turn. Each creature which enters an affected space or begins their turn in one must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw, a target takes 1d8 fire damage. The fire ignites all flammable objects that aren't being worn or carried.
     The number of adjacent squares you may affect and fire damage increases as you gain levels in the druid class as follows: 5th level (2 squares / 2d8 damage), 11th level (2 squares / 3d8 damage), and 17th level (3 squares 4d8 damage).

At 2nd level, you learn to draw sustenance from living things around you. As a result, you no longer need food or water to survive. Additionally, as an action on your turn, you can draw energy from the life around you, killing all vegetation within 20 feet of yourself, and restoring 1d8 + your druid level of your hit points. A plant creature within this range takes necrotic damage equal to this amount. After using this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.

Desolating Stride
Starting at 6th level, you can pass through nonmagical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard. All plants in your way that aren’t creatures wither and crumble to dust, leaving a clear path behind you. In addition, you have advantage on saving throws against plants that are magically created or manipulated to impede movement, such those created by the entangle spell.

Contagious Touch
Starting at 10th level, you can cast contagion or blight without expending a spell slot. After using this ability, you must complete a long rest before using it again. 

Beginning at 14th level, as an action on your turn, you can let out an invisible cloud of pestilence. For 1 minute, each creature adjacent to you that you choose must make a Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom modifier. A poisoned creature takes 4d6 poison damage at the end of its turn, and can then reattempt this saving throw, ending the effect on a success. On a successful save, a creature is immune to this effect for 24 hours.
     After using this ability, you cannot use it again until you complete a long rest.

Changelog (8/31/2015): Changed and renamed the 14th level feature.
9/7/15: Blightfire now saves for no damage, and does not grant an additional square of damage at 11th level (it now has a maximum of 3 squares at 17th level.)
Deforestation: Damage healed/dealt now is 1d8+druid level
9/18/16: Plague Toucg: Renamed plague. Reworded


  1. It seems like a really nice circle, though I think that the capstone ability is personally very weak. Any creature that is going to end up adjacent to you (i.e. melee fighters) have high Con saving throws, and ones that don't usually won't get up that close and personal, like wizards and monstrous enemies.

    That being said, I've been wanting something like this for a long time, and the rest of the class is very good. Nice job!

  2. You might be right about the last feature. Admittedly, I've rewritten it about 4 times and gotten a different concept each time with the same name. If anyone has any suggestions to make it better or for Plague to do something else entirely, I'm all ears!

    1. That's a good point. I think you write something up already for this, but you're more than welcome to do something again for it.

  3. I like this circle, but Blightfire and Deforestation are very overtuned. This is, of course, only my opinion, and I hope you are open to my feedback.

    There are no cantrips with the AoE, range, and damage scaling of Blightfire.

    Acid Splash can hit up to two targets at a time (similar to two squares of Blightfire, but it deals less damage, and a successful save negates all damage instead of half.

    Thunderclap can hit more than two creatures, but they must be within 5 feet of you to do so, and a successful save negates all damage

    I have a player planning to use this circle (so thank you for creating it!), and we worked out some changes. Blightfire will only be able to use its AoE once per short rest - otherwise it is single target. The other option was to have it only reach a second square at 10th level (or around there), and that'd be its max AoE. I'm not sure where we'll land on successful saves with it yet.

    As for Deforestation, the initial heal/damage is too high. We decreased the heal/damage significantly and increased its scaling a little: 1d6 + Druid level to start, and an additional d6 at the usual levels (5th, 11th, 17th).

    I hope you find this helpful. Please let me know what you think!

    1. You raise a number of really good points (because this class was handed to me by the Thumb, I didn't take a super close look at the math until now.) I'll walk you through my thoughts as I make some changes:

      I'll start by changing Deforestation to 1d8+level, to make it more on par with a simple cure wounds, which is available at this level. I would try to limit double-scaling, if possible. IE: a number of dice that increases by level and a static number that also increases by level.

      I remember the Thumb and I having problems nailing down Blightfire when we wrote it. I think the key idea here was not making a strictly damaging cantrip, but to have one that hung around until your next turn, so you can practice a little battlefield control. In that respect, I think the AoE should stay, but we should curb down the damage.

      On the other hand, I think if this feature will act like a cantrip (as was the intention) it should have cantrip damage scaling. This level of damage is also important so that the fire isn't merely a nuisance; it should cause enough damage that creatures won't want to walk through it. It'll also be nice for gameplay if there's no attached short or long rest functionality to the feature, unless absolutely necessary, since that divorces it from the idea of being a cantrip.

      The compromise here should be to make it save for nothing, and maybe reduce the number of squares effected. It's okay if it's a little more powerful than other cantrips; since it's a class feature we want to incentivize its use.

      *Phew* Hopefully some of those changes help! Happy gaming!

    2. Great thoughts on it, all around. I was questioning double scaling too, though I ended up pushing it to the back of my mind. I'll definitely make the Deforestation change.

      As for Blightfire, it would have been helpful for me to mention that the player asked to change the damage to necrotic (he preferred it on a thematic basis) in exchange for lesser damage due to it being less frequently resisted. We'd been talking about going from 1d8 to 1d6. What do you think about that aspect?

      I'll probably make it save for nothing and reduce the squares affected, but I'll bump it up to be stronger than what we had changed it to originally. I might try to figure out another twist. We'll see.

      Thanks a lot for the help! I'll let you know what the experience is like after we've had some time with it.

    3. I don't think I can edit my previous post. I'm thinking 1d8 with Blightfire would still be best to keep for necrotic, especially in our campaign.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.