D&D 5E’s Druid class is a living conduit with the natural world, that bends the forces of nature and the primal elements to their whim, and even has the mystical ability to become the animals they protect. The Druid is an excellent answer for a group that may be missing some roles. It’s a class that can just as well be a damage-dealing powerhouse up close, or operate at a distance, either as an emergency healer, or backing up the party with assorted support spells.
While many classes can wield powerful magic, what sets Druids apart is their shape-shifting abilities, allowing them to become beasts, augment their physical appearance to suit harsh terrain, and – later on – even shift into giant monsters.
When the Druid first appeared back in the Greyhawk supplement of the original Dungeons and Dragons release, it wasn’t a playable class. It would take two years before dice-rollers would be able to roleplay as one themselves, in the Eldritch Wizardry addon released in 1976. Almost 50 years later, these days the Druid remains a staple of Dungeons & Dragons that everyone should try out at least once.
If, for now, you’d really rather just skim over the absolute basics of all the classes, try our overall D&D 5E classes guide instead.
However, if you’re already itching to get back to nature – then grab your robes and willow wand, and let’s get into it:
Druid stats 5E
|Hit Dice||1d8 per Druid level|
|HP at Lvl Up||1d8 (or 5) + Constitution modifier|
|Primary ability scores||Wisdom|
|Armour proficiency||Non-Metal Light & medium armor, shields|
|Weapon proficiency||Clubs, daggers, darts, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, slings, spears|
|Tool proficiency||Herbalism kit|
|Saving throws||Intelligence, Wisdom|
|Spell Save/Attack Bonus Stat||Wisdom|
Whatever race you choose, I recommend that you place two ability points into Wisdom, first and foremost, to improve your spells. With your single point improvement, Intelligence is your next best bet.
Strength or Dexterity should be your dump stat if you plan to do much Wild Shape, since you’ll be taking on the Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution stats of the creature you turn into. I’d suggest placing those points into Constitution, instead – as this will add survivability when outside of your Wild Shape forms.
Druid class abilities 5E
Similar to the Rogue’s Thieves Cant, Druidic is a special and secret language of the Druids. Any non-Druids need special magic to decipher the message, making it an excellent method to pass notes to your Druid friends.
Wild Shape: Level 2
Wild Shape is really what makes a Druid a Druid. Their ability to shapeshift into different beasts and creatures the character has encountered sets them apart from other spellcasting classes. Some of the Druid’s circle subclasses enhance this feature even more by allowing far more powerful creatures to be eligible to transform into.
Timeless Body: Level 18
You age super slowly. No real effect on gameplay, but it could make for some intriguing story beats. Of course, you will still look young when your party members are old or dead too, so that’s something, I suppose.
Beast Spells: Level 18
Many of your handy-dandy Druid spells can now be done while in your Wild Shape! In addition, you now have no problem meeting the verbal and hand-wavy somatic requirements of spells.
Archdruid: Level 20
Unlimited. Wild. Shapes.
Druid spells 5E
With high-damage spells like Fire Storm and Blight, healing spells like Cure Wounds and True Resurrection, and their beast summoning spells, the Druid can fit into many roles.
What is particularly helpful is how quickly the Druid can adapt to different situations, too, requiring only a long rest to completely swap in-and-out any of their level spells.
Roll it up: The best online D&D character creator tools
Here are some staple spells that will be good to keep with you most of the time – but remember that it’s also an excellent plan to develop a few spell lists to choose between, when you anticipate a big battle on the horizon!
Shillelagh: This cantrip is an absolute must-have for any Druid. Typically, the Strength stat on a Druid will be less of a priority. This cantrip will allow your wooden weapon to use your spellcasting ability for to-hit and damage rolls, in addition to making the weapon’s damage a d8 and magical.
For a bit more damage, you can use this to do a melee spell attack against a creature within five feet of you, dealing 1d10 acid damage. What’s extra pleasant is that the damage bumps up to 2d10 at level five, 3d10 at level 11, and 4d10 at level 17!
A melee spell attack with a range of 30 feet, what this lacks in power compared with Primal Savagery, it makes up for with battlefield control. Thorn Whip’s signature effect is pulling a larger or smaller creature 10 feet towards you, but it still dishes out some damage too: 1d6 to start with, then 2d6 at level five, 3d6 at level 11, and 4d6 at level 17.
Healing is always good to have, and Cure Wounds is a Dungeons & Dragons mainstay. Being able to restore 1d8 plus your spell modifier to an ally (or more, depending on the subclass you pick) with the chance to up-cast later on, makes this a spell you should always have prepared.
Have a mob of enemies bearing down on you and your party? Cast Entangle to try and restrain some, and slow the rest down! With a range of 90 feet, this can be a tremendous crowd control spell to keep wild combat encounters under control.
While this probably won’t benefit your Druid as much, Faerie Fire’s ability to grant attacks with an advantage on any creature that fails the saving throw can be game-changing. All your party’s melee and ranged fighters (and your summoned critters) will love you!
One of the first summoning abilities the Druid can get, this is a must-have, especially if you are running a summoner-focused build like a Circle of the Shepherd. With several beast options, each with unique qualities, this spell is well worth the slot.
If you know you are going to go up against opponents who can plague your party with status effects, Lesser Restoration will be a godsend. This simple spell can cure those that are blinded, deafened, paralyzed, or poisoned. While I wouldn’t say you need this on hand all the time, when you are preparing to go up against a big fight, it’s a real good spell to have ready.
What’s cooler than a big ball of fire? A big ball of fire that you can run into people on your turn, that’s what! A classic fire spell that works beautifully, both as an attack, and as a light source in dark-n-dreary dungeons!
For the Druid that wants to play God. With Revivify, you can bring back from the dead anyone who has died within the last minute. That’s am whole ten turns worth of combat in which you can still fix someone’s fatal mistake!
Summon Fey / Conjure Animals
More summoning spells! You only need one or the other, so take whichever has the creatures you prefer. Conjure Animals does have more of a random element to it, though.
Speak with Plants
Call this a personal preference, but I get a certain amount of joy from making my DMs come up with plot and things on the fly, and this excels in that. There’s nothing quite like asking that suspicious-looking shrub about what it has seen recently, and actually hearing what it has to say for itself
Removing an enemy’s elemental resistance, and then hitting them with that element, can be a massive boon during tough fights. On top of its initial effects, this spell applies an additional 2d6 damage of the given element type, the first time it takes damage of that type each turn. It’s a huge force-multiplying benefit to your party members and their spells, or magic weapons. Or your fire corgi – for those of you that choose the Circle of Wildflame subclass.
There are few things more hilarious than turning a giant threat into a small rodent or other inconsequential vermin. Polymorph is a great way to remove an enemy from the field for a time, while other matters are attended to. As a surprise bonus, you can cast this on annoying party members, too.
Sometimes, you just need a really big stick to hit something hard with, and this is your metaphorical, necromancy-based stick. With a range of 30 feet, Blight is a spell that just deals a lot of damage to something. 8d8 damage hurts, regardless of how high-level a foe you are dealing with, and the ability to upcast and add additional 1d8 damage per higher level makes it even sweeter. If you use it on a plant and it fails its saving throw, they just flat out die, too. That’ll teach those shrubs to lie to you…
Have a shopkeep whose wares you want, but you don’t have the gold to pay for it? Use Geas! This handy spell will force a creature to do your bidding for 30 days, and more for an upcast. If they don’t want to do it, then they take 5d10 damage per day. You could also use it on an enemy, too, I suppose, but just think of all the free stuff you can get!
WARNING: Magically forcing a shopkeep to give you their stuff may change your character’s alignment.
It’s like Lesser Restoration, only greater! Much like its lesser counterpart, Greater Restoration is an excellent spell to have ready when expecting to go into a big fight. In addition to the previously mentioned remedies, this greater spell will also cure charm or petrification, curses, reductions in ability scores, and any effect that reduces a person’s max health – and it even removes a single point of exhaustion. It’s like a full night’s sleep, but it only takes six seconds!
Few spells are better at information gathering than the good ol’ Scry spell. Better than the binoculars the old neighbors down the street have, all you need is knowledge of someone or someplace, and you can attempt to magically spy on the target. Scry responsibly.
Summon a fey on steroids! You can call upon a fey creature with a CR of six or lower with this spell, with the upcast of one additional CR per spell level slot used to cast it.
Transport via Plants
Need to get from one side of the continent to the other? Transport via Plants may be the way to go! Since you only need to have seen or touched the plant in question you want to teleport to, pair this with the Scrying spell, and you’ve got a great way to get to where you want to go. It also gives you a reason to touch every single tree, shrub, or flower you pass by on your adventure. You know, if that’s something that floats your boat.
You restore 70 health to a creature and cure it of blindness, deafness, and any disease. Simple and straight to the point, just like the spell’s name.
Fire. Fire everywhere. This massive spell is made up of giant swathes of fire that can extend out 100 feet, dealing 7d10 worth of fire damage to everything they touch. You can also choose to have the fire not affect plants, so all your tree friends will stay perfectly fine.
Sometimes, you just need to go on vacation to the Nine Hells, and Plane Shift can take you and eight of your friends there! Or, if some enemy is bothering you, why not send them to another plane of existence too? They probably won’t come back for revenge…
It is just as fun as it sounds. Create a giant 100-foot-wide and 100-foot-high space that causes anything inside to just float upwards and stay there. After a minute, or when you stop concentrating, everything falls right back down. Ouch.
Give your whole party a look at what they’re missing by not playing as a Druid, by changing any number of willing participants into animals. The rules are similar to that of your Wild Shape, in that the characters’ Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution stats are replaced by that of the animal they are turned into.
Inherently magical: Read our D&D Sorcerer 5E class guide
Each character’s changed form ends when the creature’s hit points are reduced to zero, and the carry-over damage applies to their base form. It may also be an excellent carnival attraction, turning folks into animals for a price – just a thought.
Have a pesky magic caster that’s just ruining your party’s day? It sounds like a perfect time to bust out Feeblemind! Should the enemy fail its save against the spell, their Intelligence and Charisma drop to 1, making them unable to cast spells, use items, or even understand languages.
This doesn’t last for a measly hour, or even a day. It lasts for a whole month, before they can try to make the save again. Otherwise, it just continues! They say the mind is a terrible thing to waste.
A great wall of water that even the lord of the seas, Leviathan, would be proud of. This massive wall of hydration initially hits enemies for 6d10 damage and pushes enemies away, which causes them to take an additional 5d10 damage. Then, on each of the following four turns, enemies still trapped in the wave take 4d10 damage, then 3d10 the next turn, and so on, until the wave disperses.
The only ninth-level spell you need. Shapechange allows you to turn into any creature you have seen, minus undead or constructs, as long as their CR is lower than your level. You get the creature’s hit dice, and you get their skills and proficiencies in addition to your own!
Light fingers: Check out our D&D Rogue 5E class guide
Unfortunately, you don’t get the creature’s legendary actions, but it’s a small price to pay to be able to go from a dragon, to a beholder, to a giant, and back, as often you want for a whole hour.
Druid subclasses 5E
Circle of the Land
Found in: Player’s Handbook pg. 68
Land type: Arctic
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|3rd||Hold Person, Spike Growth|
|5th||Sleet Storm, Slow|
|7th||Freedom of Movement, Ice Storm|
|9th||Commune with Nature, Cone of Cold|
Land type: Coast
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|3rd||Mirror Image, Misty Step|
|5th||Water Breathing, Water Walk|
|7th||Control Water, Freedom of Movement|
|9th||Conjure Elemental, Scrying|
Land type: Desert
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|5th||Create Food and Water, Protection from Energy|
|7th||Blight, Hallucinatory Terrain|
|9th||Insect Plague, Wall of Stone|
Land type: Forest
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|3rd||Barkskin, Spider Climb|
|5th||Call Lightning, Plant Growth|
|7th||Divination, Freedom of Movement|
|9th||Commune with Nature, Tree Stride|
Land type: Grassland
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|3rd||Invisibility, Pass without Trace|
|7th||Divination, Freedom of Movement|
|9th||Dream, Insect Plague|
Land type: Mountain
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|3rd||Spider Climb, Spike Growth|
|5th||Lightning Bolt, Meld into Stone|
|7th||Stone Shape, Stoneskin|
|9th||Passwall, Wall of Stone|
Land type: Swamp
|Druid Level||Circle Spells|
|3rd||Acid Arrow, Darkness|
|5th||Water Walk, Stinking Cloud|
|7th||Freedom of Movement, Locate Creature|
|9th||Insect Plague, Scrying|
The Circle of the Land option is ideal for Druids who want to fill more of a magical support role in the party. The Circle of the Land emphasizes the magical side of the Druid’s talents, and can provide a strong lore element to a character. The aspect that makes the Land Druids unique is the choices of additional spells they can learn, depending on their specific land type.
Corrupting influence: Read our D&D Warlock 5E class guide
The spell lists have a heavier focus on defense and support options, with things like Spider Climb, Stone Skin, Water Walk, and more. Offensive additions, like Call Lighting or Lightning Bolt, are great spells to dish out some damage, too.
Circle of Life
Life is the biggest ‘edge case’ option in the Druid class’ roster – mainly due to the fact that, if your campaign setting is more focused on urban cityscapes, much of the subclass’s utility is lost. Half of a Circle of Life Druid’s abilities are contingent on the types of enemies encountered, such as Nature’s War specifically getting benefits against elemental or fey creatures, or Nature’s Sanctuary only applying to beast or plant creatures.
Circle of Life is great for roleplay - but it’s best for focused one-shots
These restrictions really do allow for some great roleplaying moments, and lore for your character – but, if you aren’t in a setting that will encounter many of those creature types, you are permanently hamstrung, and lose out on two abilities of your class. The bonus Cantrip and ability to get some spells back after a short rest is good to have, though. The Circle of Life can be a fun subclass, but its heavy reliance on a small handful of creature types makes this option best saved for focused one-shot adventures that meet the class’s needs.
Circle of the Moon
Found in: Player’s Handbook pg. 69
For the Druids that find playing a typical bipedal race to be boring, the Circle of the Moon improves and strengthens the natural shape-shifting abilities of the Druid. Changing yourself into various creatures is perhaps the class’s most defining trait, and this choice gives you more, and stronger, options to pick from.
One of the most significant benefits granted by this Circle comes right away, at level two, when you pick the subclass. Not only does this let you use Wild Shape as a bonus action (and heal as you do so), but also gives you access to CR 1 creature forms starting at level two instead of level eight. Later on, this expands to take the shape of more formidable forms, like elementals and creatures up to CR 6. That means you can finally live out your lifelong dream of playing a triceratops!
Justice personified: Read our D&D Paladin 5E class guide
If you’re concerned that your Druid may be put in a tough spot, should you encounter enemies that resist non-magical damage, well, the Circle of the Moon has you covered there too! When your character hits level six, you gain the Primal Strike ability, which makes all of your melee attacks count as magic damage when it comes to an enemy’s resistances or immunities. So now your triceratops form will have no problem tackling those lycanthropes!
The Circle of the Moon is a great class option if you like to have many different toys to play with in your bag of tricks, and love keeping track of different stat sheets.
Circle of Dreams
Found in: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything pg. 22
Out of all the subclasses for the Druid, the Circle of Dreams is most lacking in any new offensive benefits, relying primarily on out-of-combat support options. Furthermore, the offerings presented are relatively meagre, as you won’t be granted any new spells, and half of your new offerings are only viable outside of combat.
Circle of Dreams has great utility, perfect if you want to be a generalist Druid
When you first choose the Circle of Dreams, you will gain the Balm of the Summer Court. This gives the Druid a pool of D6 dice which can be spent to heal an ally within a far-reaching 120-foot space. Having a bonus action heal that doesn’t require a spell slot can certainly be helpful in intense combat situations, and will most likely be the most beneficial aspect of this class. The Hidden Paths utility ability gained at level ten allows the Druid to teleport 60 feet on their turn, as a bonus action, or send another willing creature 30 feet. There is undoubtedly potential with this to help set up advantageous battlefield positions; you could have your Druid move upwards of 90 feet in a single turn, for instance – or place your raging barbarian in an opportune spot to get advantage on their attacks.
The Circle of Dreams has some beneficial utility elements that could allow for fun situations, and may be a good pick for someone who wants to remain more of a ‘generalist’ Druid.
Circle of the Shepherd
Found in: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything pg. 23
If summoning beasts and creatures to do your bidding is your thing, then the Circle of the Shepherd may be the subclass for you. While other Circles focus on improving spellcasting, or bolstering Wild Shape, the Shepherd makes your summoned fey and beast creatures hardier, and grants some buffs to the party.
When you first embark down the path of this Circle, you’ll gain the ability to use a bonus action to summon various spirit totems that last for one minute. Each of the four totem options bestows benefits upon characters within its range, such as temporary hit points and healing, or advantage on ability checks. The biggest downside to this, though, is that you can only use it once before having to take a long or short rest to get it back. The better level two ability you get, in my opinion, is Speech of the Woods, which lets you speak to animals and fey creatures. In my experience, much hilarity can ensue when you start talking to the animals.
It’s a knockout: Read our D&D Fighter 5E class guide
You will have to wait until level six to see improvement in your summoned creatures, but it’s worth the investment. At levels six and ten, your creatures will gain an additional two extra health for each hit die they have; its natural attacks count as magical; and, if your summoned critters end their turn near a totem, they’ll regain health.
As a final ability, at level 14, when you are knocked unconscious or incapacitated, a level nine Conjure Animals spell will manifest, summoning four beasts of CR2 or lower, to loyally protect your downed body. If this happens while in a totem’s aura, you can see that you will suddenly have a pretty good furry wall of defenders.
The Circle of the Shepherd takes a while to get going, and can be a little lacking in the meantime – but for those that want to specialize in summoning, you may just find the benefits to be worth the wait.
Circle of Wildfire
Found in: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything pg. 37
|2nd||Burning Hands, Cure Wounds|
|3rd||Flaming Sphere, Scorching Ray|
|5th||Plant Growth, Revivify|
|7th||Aura of Life, Fire Shield|
|9th||Flame Strike, Mass Cure Wounds|
Rising from the ashes like a phoenix, Druids who take the Circle of Wildfire subclass have a heavy emphasis on – you guessed it – fire. The benefits of this subclass range from fire spells to healing flame, but, most importantly, they include having an adorable fire corgi spirit pet!
Your fiery pet can attack , teleport you around, and even improve healing
Right away at level two, you gain the spells Burning Hands and Cure Wounds. Ahem… ‘handy’ spells, for sure – but the real star is your brand new Wildfire Spirit, a small elemental creature you can summon by expending one use of Wild Shape. Your fiery pet can attack, teleport you and friends around, and, at higher levels, it improves the potency of fire and healing spells, adding a d8 to the total. It can also improve your range of spell coverage by allowing your spells to originate from the spirit’s location instead of your own!
In the ultimate act of sacrifice, once you hit level 14, should you fall unconscious while your wildfire pet is with you, you can have the poor thing die in your place, immediately restoring you to half your life total. Wildfire Spirits are truly the best.
The Circle of Wildfire is a wonderful choice for those players that love the idea of going on adventures with a faithful companion (and also pyromaniacs.
Circle of Stars
Found in: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything pg. 38
The power of the stars, shining up above, becomes yours with the Circle of Stars subclass. With this might at your fingertips, you gain abilities that let you peer into the future, and affect those around you, or channel different constellations to grant you even more power.
To add a bit more pizazz to your Druid, you can use a charge of Wild Shape to become all sparkly instead, resembling one of three constellations. One option, the Archer, lets you use a bonus action to make a ranged radiant spell attack; another adds additional healing; and the last boosts your Constitution saving throws to a minimum roll of ten! These features expand at level 10 to hurt more, heal more, and grant you a flying speed of 20!
Makin’ music: Check out our D&D Bard 5E class guide
What really makes a Circle of Stars Druid nifty is the Cosmic Omen feature they gain at level six. With this, the Druid can affect the very laws of nature, either by adding a d6 to a creature’s attack, saving throw, or ability check or by subtracting a d6. You laugh in the face of fate.
The Circle of Stars has features and abilities that set it apart from the other options available to the Druid. The special starry forms, manipulating dice rolls, and more all make this a highly enjoyable support class that can also dish out some damage.
Circle of Spores
Found in: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything pg. 36
The Circle of Spores asks the age-old question: ‘what would a necromancer Druid be like?’ The spore Druid stands apart from other circles, mainly by dint of their fascination with decay, and by the way their skills all stem from a borderline-unsettling fascination and love of fungi and their spores. Many of the spells granted by this subclass revolve around plaguing foes with disease, and even allowing them to reanimate the dead around them.
Use your fungal magics to apply crippling status effects to key enemies
Often, you’ll use your fungal magics to apply crippling status effects to key enemies, making them easier targets for your party’s heavy hitters. On the other hand, these same skills make your Spore Druid a less desirable target to engage in close combat.With abilities like Halo of Spores and Symbiotic Entity surrounding your character with a damaging fungal aura, enemies will have to think twice about whether you’re worth running up on.
As you gain in levels, you will be able to use your spores to reanimate the dead, with each body lasting an hour. These fungal zombies can serve various purposes, from being meat shields for the Druid, through to aggressively flanking enemies, allowing your other party members to gain an advantage on attacks.
The Circle of Spores is a decidedly unique route to take your Druid – and can certainly be a solid support choice for any party!
Best races for Druid
Ever since Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything released, giving players more advanced ways of customising their character, the concept of ‘best races’ for a class depends less on ability increases, and more on proficiencies or skills that come with the race.
That said, here are a few races that have some handy features, or have access to a unique Feat that could be beneficial for your next Druid!
The Shifter race can alter themselves to take on a more bestial appearance, while gaining an ability increase and special feature. One of the shifted appearances, the Wildhunt, increases your Wisdom score by two, and gives you advantage on Wisdom checks. You can only shift once per long or short rest, but, since shifting can be done as a bonus action and lasts for a minute, it can be a clutch spell boost during combat.
The two significant benefits that being a Kalashtar brings to a Druid are the advantage on Wisdom saving throws, and the ability to speak telepathically to a creature within ten feet times your Druid level. That last feature can be incredibly helpful, since you technically can’t speak common or other languages while in Wild Shape. This could make your Wild Shape a fantastic forward scout for the party.
The main benefit that being a Veldalken gets you as a Druid is having advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws. You also will be able to choose one additional skill to become proficient in: Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Performance, or Sleight of Hand – and get proficiency with a tool kit of your choice. This won’t provide offensive benefits, but advantage on your saves is always lovely to have.
This race recommendation is only suggested if you plan to run a Wildfire Druid, specifically because Tieflings have access to the Flames of Phlegethos Feat. This fire-focused Feat will allow you to reroll any ones you roll when dishing out fire damage, and will cause you to be wreathed in flames whenever you cast a fire spell. This flaming shawl doesn’t just provide light, either – any creature that hits you with a melee attack will take 1d4 damage back.
D&D 5E Druid builds
The ‘Turret Dog’
The main plan with this build is to go with the Circle of Wildfire subclass, and beef up your damage-dealing potential with fire spells.
Fantasy folks: Read our guide to all the D&D 5E races
From there, you will have your fire spirit – in this case, a fire pupper – teleport around, and use it as the point you shoot your fire spells from. This will let you remain safe in cover, while hurling your offensive spells freely.
- For race, I would go with either the Shifter or, if you have high stat rolls for your Wisdom stat, Tiefling, just so you can get the Flames of Phlegethos Feat at some point.
- Level two: Select the Circle of Wildfire subclass
- Level four: Take the “Elemental Adept – Fire” Feat. This will make your fire spells ignore any fire resistance an enemy has, while also upping any ones you roll to twos. Prepare the Heat Metal and Flame Blade spells for damage dealing, with Flame Sphere granted to you by the subclass.
- Level eight: If you went Tiefling and your stats are looking good, take the Flames of Phlegethos Feat, for the added effect of being able to reroll ones on your fire spells. Be sure to have Wall of Fire prepared, as well, for a powerful fourth-level fire spell.