DMs Guild Review – Way of the Druid

Over 50 pages of druid content, including new subclasses, backgrounds, spells, factions, and equipment.

dms guild review

A review copy of “Way of the Druid” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: DM Conclave

Fun fact: druids and other nature-themed classes are among my favorites in RPGs. Animal pets, shapeshifting – what’s not to love? Way of the Druid is a hefty supplement that focuses entirely on the druid class in D&D 5e, including five new subclasses.

Way of the Druid features over 60 pages organized into eight chapters. The layout is attractive, with large pieces of artwork, though I would have organized things a bit differently (separating the new Circles’ history and lore from their mechanical features is a bit odd, for example).

The new Druid Circle subclasses are probably the main attraction of the supplement. Unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan of any of them. The Circle of Iron seems grossly imbalanced, granting druids the combined powers of Magneto and the T-1000 while also allowing a once per Long Rest shapeshift into an Iron Golem at level 14, one of the more powerful creatures in the Monster Manual! Given these abilities, it’s a wonder more druids don’t embrace the metal taboo.

The Circle of the Brood and Circle of the Arachnid overlap each other with the concept of an insect-based Druid circle who can command swarms. There are some neat ideas in there that would’ve been a bit more interesting had I reviewed this before Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, which added the Path of the Beast for Barbarians and the Swarmkeeper for Rangers.

The new backgrounds are similarly disappointing. They re-flavor existing backgrounds into nature themes, like Sage into Lorekeeper and Acolyte into Nature’s Bulwark, without any new traits, bonds, or flaws.

dms guild review

Thankfully the back half of the supplement is a big improvement, providing some lore info on factions (both old and new), new druid-themed equipment, and a gathering and crafting system for herbs and alchemy recipes.

The herbs and recipes chapter is my favorite. We’re given over 20 herbs from different regional areas, each with their own gathering time and effect. Some give off light, increase movement speed, or stabilize an ally, while another could spread noxious fumes. None of them are as powerful as a spell, but I love that, as a DM, I could add herbs to a loot table or wilderness encounter and let knowledgeable player characters take advantage of them.

Recipes take the concept to its natural conclusion; by using the herbal ingredients with an herbalism kit, a skill check, and a monetary cost, a PC can craft a variety of potions and poisons. Since these involve much more work than just picking plants, they have much more powerful applications, like granting darkvision, underwater breathing, party-wide healing vapors, or paralyzing smoke. A fun system if you have a player who wants to engage with it.

The supplement also provides new spells that go all-in with the druid theme, like manipulating wood (and Barkskin) or even causing a volcanic eruption. I also dig the druid-themed equipment regardless of whether the player is using the Scavenger background. If using a coral sword and sea-shell shield fits your character concept – go for it! They also make for interesting base items for DMs to create magic items from.

I wish the subclasses were given a few more passes, and that the supplement included a chapter on different styles of druids, how to roleplaying them, and what they should be doing in combat. Way of the Druid features some welcome content, though ultimately falls short of being a comprehensive supplement for the class.

Pros:

  • Over 20 gatherable herbs with a variety of beneficial and poisonous effects.
  • 20 herbalism recipes, with crafting rules and costs.
  • Druid-themed weapons, armor, and adventuring gear.
  • Nice layout with large art pieces.

Cons:

  • New druid subclasses are imbalanced (Iron), overlapping (Brood and Arachnid) and boring (Elements).
  • New backgrounds are little more than nature re-skins of existing backgrounds from the Player’s Handbook.

The Verdict: All theĀ  extra content from Way of the DRuid, such as herbs, recipes, spells, and weapons, help make up for the lackluster new subclasses and backgrounds.

A review copy of “Way of the Druid” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s