Game Mobalytics

Flagship Build: Circle of the Shepherd Druid

By pandaniel / Lilith

Our Flagship Druid shares many traits with our Basic Build Druid. They have the same subclass, share many spell picks, and feats. The Flagship Druid will also prefer to play at a distance in combat with its control and support capabilities. Early in the game, we will fill the role of a control caster with other very effective forms of support. In Tier 2, we will use the combination of conjure animals and Bear Spirit to become an all-around powerhouse, capable of offense, control, and support all at the same time. Our prepared spellcasting will allow for a great amount of flexibility, which we can leverage both out of combat and at the end of each adventuring day.

Unlike the Basic Build on the Circle of Shepherd, however, we will have significantly greater durability, as well as a choice between two different variant options for your table. A dip in both Divine Soul Sorcerer and the Life Domain Cleric will not only bolster our saves but also make us into a powerhouse with the ability to heal great amounts of hit points to our party throughout an adventuring day through a combination of goodberry and Disciple of Life.

Most of the Druid class’s truly incredible spells are targets of common house rules that can sometimes go as far as making the class not worth picking over other full casters, but we expect a game that runs surprise using Rules as Written, doesn’t impose weird restrictions on the consumption of more than one goodberry per day or changes the interaction between Disciple of Life and goodberry, and at the very least gives you reasonable summons. If this is the case, you’ll quickly find that this Flagship is truly amazingly powerful. For more on these table-by-table variations you will want to know about beforehand, check out What to Ask Before Playing a Druid.

So before we move on, which version of the build would you like to see?

Class: Sorcerer

Skills – Arcana, Insight. Arcana proficiency will allow us to scribe scrolls during downtime. This is especially useful if there’s a Wizard in the party who can learn spells from those scrolls, but even if not, it’s nice to have extra spells on hand. If you play with the spell identification variant rule from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, proficiency in Arcana becomes even more important. We also go for Insight, as we will probably be the best at this in the entire party.

Sorcerous Origin – Divine Soul. The main draw of Divine Soul Sorcerer is the excellent Favored by the Gods ability, which will help us avoid failed saves throughout our entire adventuring career. This, along with the benefits of Constitution saving throw proficiency, shield, and silvery barbs from Sorcerer, adds up to be an all-inclusive defense package for just one level investment.

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Divine Magic (Divine Soul feature) – Lawful. Bless is the best option here, and it is not reliant on your Charisma score (or your alignment!).

Favored by the Gods (Divine Soul feature) – A good ability that stays relevant at all levels. Use this like you would use the shield spell, except for saving throws you think you just barely missed. Adding 2d4 means you have over an 80% chance of converting a failed save into a successful one if you missed by 4, over a 60% chance if you missed by 5, but less than a 40% chance if you missed by 6, and less than a 20% chance if you missed by 7. Keep these numbers in your head when assessing whether it might be worth using this. If the stakes are high enough, it might be worth using even with somewhat poor odds of success, but the worse the odds the higher the stakes should be to justify spending this resource, which you can use once per short or long rest.

Spellcasting – We’ve got some invaluable options to pick up here.

Bless – One of the best 1st-level spells in the game. Adding 1d4 to attacks and saves may not sound like much, but if three people’s attack rolls go from having a 65% chance of hitting to having a 77.5% chance of hitting, that’s like adding over half a turn of attacks to your side every round; more against high AC enemies. For a concentrating caster with 14 Constitution who isn’t proficient in Constitution saves, this spell cuts the chance of failing a DC 10 save by about a third (from about 35% to about 23%). For a caster (like you) who is proficient in Constitution saves, the chance you fail a DC 10 roll is cut in half. If you like Kobolds, as you should, a particularly bright one spoke about bless here.

Shield – This is a must-have spell for any optimized build and another big reason for us to dip in Sorcerer. +5 AC for a whole round is highly valuable and is often the difference between taking the full brunt of a monster’s attacks and going unscathed, taking no damage at all. Do not be afraid to use this, but when you do, think about what you could’ve done differently to avoid spending the valuable slot, especially at these lower levels.

Silvery barbs – This is a brand new spell that is both potent and flexible. With this spell, you primarily inflict a debuff on a target without an attached saving throw, and then if that wasn’t good enough for a first-level spell, you simultaneously buff an ally as well. We will mostly be using this to make spells that are reliant on enemies failing their saving throw land more. The advantage you grant to an ally is less important, but it’s nice regardless. This is a must pick for anyone that can get it.

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Guidance – This is another great Cleric spell we can get through our Divine Magic feature. One of the most useful and versatile cantrips in the game. Concentrate on it whenever you’re not concentrating on anything else, as the bonus also applies to initiative.

Mage hand – Utility cantrips are always nice, and the ability to fiddle with things that may be trapped without having to be close enough to be affected by the trap is convenient.

Minor illusion – Create a minor visual or auditory illusion. Very versatile utility cantrip, especially the auditory effect.

Mold earth – A utility cantrip that can be used to quickly create a wall and/or a trench or simply a small area of cover if you are in terrain with loose dirt. If you are laying an ambush, you can use it to create a small area of difficult terrain (only two squares, but that can make a difference in the right situation). While we can fly, this can still be very useful, even if it is just for your friends.

Background (Custom)

Skills – Perception, Stealth. Perception is typically the most commonly used and thus important skill in the game for any character, and we will be great at it. Stealth will help us sneak up on enemies to surprise them and will give us a nice floor on our rolls when we have pass without trace active. Tools – Mason’s tools, poisoner’s kit. Proficiency in mason’s tools will allow us to have a +5 on passive Perception involving stone structures (the most common material for dungeons!) and proficiency in the poisoner’s kit will allow us to use poisons for among other things a nice increase in DPR for weapon users in our party. We detail both of these in our Complete Guide to Tools in DnD 5E. If neither of these options feels appropriate or accessible in your game, feel free to pick another listed option that seems good. Feature – Shelter of the Faithful. Having allies scattered across the world and waiving the healing service fee at relevant temples (you still have to provide the material component cost for costly spells) are nice concrete benefits. This is one of the few background features that isn’t totally useless; however, if you want to pick something else, be our guest. Creator’s Note – Making a custom background is RAW. The PHB on page 125 states: “The sample backgrounds in this chapter provide both concrete benefits (features, proficiencies, and languages) and role-playing suggestions. To customize a background, you can replace one feature with any other one, choose any two skills, and choose a total of two tool proficiencies or languages from the sample backgrounds.” Using this, we are making a custom background and using the Archaeologist feature. Like always, we do not include any information about character traits because we believe that flavor is free and that you should roleplay the character the way you feel about it.

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Sorcerer Starting Equipment

  • Light crossbow with 20 bolts. Ranged attacks are good, so let’s take a crossbow while we don’t have better cantrips.
  • Component pouch
  • Dungeoneer’s pack.
  • Two daggers.

Acolyte Starting Equipment

  • A holy symbol (a gift to you when you entered the priesthood)
  • A prayer book or prayer wheel
  • 5 sticks of incense
  • Vestments
  • A set of Common clothes
  • A pouch containing 15 gp

Purchasing Goals

  • A healer’s kit and potions of healing
  • Mason’s tools and a poisoner’s kit
  • Diamonds worth 300 gp for when you get revivify
  • Bullseye lantern
  • Medium armor (Half plate)
  • A shield

Level 2: Druid (Sorcerer 1/Druid 1)

Additional Proficiencies – Light armor, medium armor, shields (Druids will not wear armor or use shields made of metal).

Druidic – This is a hidden message that comes in handy in certain situations, such as leaving secret messages for your party or communicating with other Druids.

Spellcasting – Our most important feature, which defines the strength of our class.

Entangle – A spell which inflicts the restrained condition on all creatures within a 20-foot square if they fail a Strength saving throw. This is about the best control you can expect out of a 1st level spell and will serve us very well as our biggest impact option at this level.

Fog cloud – This is a very convenient spell for equalizing bad situations. It hinders special enemies and casters as many useful spells and dangerous abilities require line of sight.

Goodberry – A spell that conjures 10 berries that restore 1 hit point each and last 24 hours. Goodberries are premium quality out-of-combat healing.

Healing word – Use only in case of emergency, to pick someone back up from 0 hit points.

Magic stone – A better at-will damage option than our light crossbow. The best part about this spell is that you can hand it out to other creatures, which you can utilize later on.

Thorn whip – Not quite Repelling Blast or Grasp of Hadar, but is the next best thing. The forced movement this cantrip provides is especially useful to hurl enemies into hazards.

Background (Custom)
Skills – Perception, Stealth.
Tools – Mason’s tools, poisoner’s kit.
Feature – Shelter of the Faithful.
Creator’s Note – Making a custom background is RAW.

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