Xanathar’s Guide to Everything: Druids
Since Xanathar’s Guide to Everything was released late last year, I’ve been gradually reading over all the new class options and thinking about how I’d use them. This week I’ve got some thoughts on the two new druid circles: circle of dreams and circle of the shepherd.
Planar adventures prediction?
The first thing I notice about these options is that both are connected to the fey. The circle of dreams is another subclass related to the Feywild. Among the bard college options was the college of glamour, representing bards who were trained in the Feywild, and here we have the circle of dreams, representing druids connected to the Feywild. The circle of the shepherd also allows a druid to speak Sylvan, which would mean they can speak with most fey creatures. So I wonder whether this means we should expect more interaction with the Feywild in future adventures? There are also class options in this book connected to the Shadowfell (gloomstalker ranger and shadow sorcerer) and to planar portals (horizon walker ranger), so maybe we can expect more planar adventures generally. (That’s what I’m hoping, although I have enjoyed running old Planescape adventures using 5th edition rules.)
Circle of dreams
I’ve struggled to get my head around this subclass a bit because it doesn’t really seem to me as though the features go together. They don’t seem to have any kind of unifying theme, other than being things that a druid might learn from the fey.
A druid from the circle of dreams seems to be suited to a protective and nurturing role. One of their abilities allows them to create a magical enclosure that can help conceal the party while resting, kind of like a magical blanket fort. I imagine the interior of it could be a bit like the charmed tent from Harry Potter. (I reckon if you were wanting your magical enclosure to be like that you’d need to check with your dungeon master. I’d only let someone do that in one of my games if it was clear that no extra benefits were given, just cosiness.
Circle of the shepherd
I really like the look of this subclass and I ended up trying it out a couple of weeks ago when I jumped in on episode 2 of The Telling Book. The features turned out to be not that relevant to that adventure. (And we all died!) I still really like this idea, and I’ll probably try it out again.
A druid of the circle of the shepherd is someone who is at one with nature, to the point where they can communicate with beasts and with any creature that speaks Sylvan – namely, fey creatures. I picture a character who can talk with the animals, like Doctor Doolittle or St Francis of Assisi. They may even be accepted by animals as one of their own, as the scientist Jane Goodall was by chimpanzees. At higher levels, a druid from the circle of the shepherd who is reduced to 0 hit points will be protected by animals who appear nearby.