An Environmentally Friendly Druid 5e Guide

Published on May 13, 2020

, Last modified on May 15th, 2020

By your powers combined, I am Captain Planet! – Captain Planet

What is this guide?

This guide is meant as a deep dive into the DnD 5e Druid. For a quick overview of the Druid Class, see our breakdown of the DnD 5e Classes. You can see the Druid Class Features here.

In this post, we will be examining the Druid’s Class Features and how you can optimize your Druid through choosing your Race, Ability Score, Spells, Feats, etc.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Druid. This color-coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

So if you’re ready, grab your granola, grab some animal friends, and let’s get into it.

Before You Start

Races

Druids are a spellcasting class that uses WIS, so maxing it out is the utmost priority. Unfortunately, no Racial bonuses give +2 to WIS so you will have to settle for +1. After WIS, DEX and CON are equally important. Your decision to load one instead of the other depends on the build you are playing, but more on that later.

Dragonborn: Not good for Druids.

Dwarf: Bonus to CON is nice.

  • Hill: +1 to WIS makes this an alright pick.
  • Mountain: Doesn’t help a druid.

Elf: DEX is good for initiative and light armor capabilities, and Perception pairs well with the Druid’s presumably high WIS score. No WIS bonus is the real downside here. Advantage on saving throws against being charmed and immunity to sleep keeps you healing and helping your party in dangerous situations.

  • Drow ElfCHA won’t do a Druid much good and sunlight sensitivity is annoying.
  • High Elf: INT is useless for Druids.
  • Wood Elf: Small WIS bonus, increased walking speed, and Mask of the Wild. A good choice.

Gnome: INT is useless for Druids.

  • Forest: Not good for Druids.
  • Rock: Not good for Druids.

Half-Elf: The CHA bonus is largely unproductive for Druids, but increasing two ability scores by 1 allows you to boost WIS and CON/STR/DEX to create a rather well-rounded character. Advantage on saving throws against being charmed and immunity to being put to sleep keeps you healing and helping your party in dangerous situations.

Half-Orc: Relentless Endurance and Savage Attack work in Wild Shape which is a good bonus. The STR will largely go unused but the bonus to CON is nice.

Halfling: DEX is good for light armor Druids and Lucky is always nice to have.

  • Lightfoot: CHA is mostly wasted on a Druid and they don’t typically have a reason to hide behind allies.
  • Stout: More CON never hurts, but nothing else is relevant here.

Human: Humans are always decent.

  • Vanilla: A middle of the road pick because they increase all their ability scores by 1.
  • Variant: Increased WIS and a feat at 1st level. Unfortunately, feats are largely wasted on Druids, except for a couple circumstances where they can be very beneficial. Check out our Feats section for more info.

TieflingTieflings don’t have any features that make them appealing for a Druid.

Ability Scores

Ability Score Increases (ASI) at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level.

Prioritize WIS over the other Ability Scores. Once WIS is maxed, the decision is between CON and DEX based on the Druid Circle you choose.

STR: This is a definite dump stat, if you need to be strong Wild Shape into a Bear.

DEX: Seeing as the only armor Druids have access to is light or medium, DEX is your primary means of defense (it’s better to be missed than hit with some extra HP). DEX also plays into AC, Initiative, the all-too-common DEX saving throw, and the very important Stealth skill.

CON: CON is secondary to most Druids as they can always Wild Shape if they need extra HP. The exception to this is if you are playing a Circle of the Moon Druid who will cast a Concentration spell and then get in close in a Wild Shape form. If that sounds like your type of build, stack CON over DEX.

INT: Don’t bother with INT.

WIS: Druids cast spells with their WIS, so pump this as high as you can.

CHA: Druids shouldn’t try to focus on social skills outside of WIS based ones. If you must, the overall effectiveness of the character will suffer.

Druid Class Progression

1st Level

Hit Points: Druids have a middle of the road d8 hitdice. Better than the Sorcerer and Wizard, but the problem is that Druids tend to be in the middle of the fray instead of in a ranged position. A decent AC paired with their powerful healing spells should mitigate some of this risk.

Saves: Proficiency with INT and WIS saves is rough. WIS saves come up a bit in later levels but INT saves are very rare and it is also one of your dump stats.

Weapon/Armour Proficiencies: Light armor, medium armor, shields, and simple weapons is fine for someone with the Druid’s skillset.

Skills: Druids aren’t known for their diverse skillset. They can only choose two of the following eight skills.

  • Animal Handling (WIS): Animal Handling as written is a trash skill. If your DM is lenient with the rulings it is definitely a worthwhile skill for Druids to pick up but otherwise avoid this.
  • Arcana (INT): Arcana is one of the more important INT based skills. Seeing as INT is a dump stat for Druids, avoid this if you have another Arcana specialist in your party.
  • Insight (WIS): Insight is great for social interactions since it can give you a ton of information on the person you are trying to convince or manipulate.
  • Medicine (WIS): The Medicine skill is made fairly obsolete by the Druid’s spell list.
  • Nature (INT): Nature is an important INT skill. If nobody else in your party has it, it makes sense for the Druid to know what’s up when you’re out in the woods.
  • Perception (WIS): We’ve said it before, Perception is the best skill in D&D. Getting proficiency and expertise in this can help make up for your low WIS score. 
  • Religion (INT): Depends on your campaign, but this is usually much less likely to come up than Arcana or Nature.
  • Survival (WIS): Similar to Nature. If you don’t have another savvy woodsman in your party, it is your duty as a Druid to pick this up.

Druidic: A secret language that only other Druids can know is cool and has the chance of coming up a couple of times in a campaign.

Spellcasting: Druids cast their spells with WIS and they are considered a full caster class. 5e Druids know, and can therefore prepare, any Druid spell that they are of a high enough level to cast. If that wasn’t good enough, some Druid Circles provide “Circle Spells” which are always prepared for free. The Druid’s spell list consists of a great mix of healing, support, battlefield control, and damage to make for an extremely well-rounded caster from the get-go.

2nd Level

Wild Shape: Wild Shape is a versatile ability that can make your Druid effective in just about any situation. Whether you find yourself in a combat, stealth, exploration, or survival situation, there are ways to put Wild Shape to use.  As we say in the business: “There’s a Wild Shape for that.”

Here are some of the best beasts to Wild Shape into and their uses. For more information on the Circle of the Moon Wild Shapes, see the Circle of the Moon section.

2nd Level | Max CR: 1/4 | No flying or swimming speed

  • Cat: +4 to Stealth, +3 to Perception, and Darkvision make the Cat great for scouting missions in many environments.
  • Elk: Faster movement speed and more combat options than a Draft Horse. Unfortunately it has 6 HP less than the Draft Horse, which will actually matter at this low of a level. This Wild Shape is really only meant for travel.
  • Giant Badger: Can Burrow at a speed of 10 feet and is one of the better damage dealers.
  • Giant Wolf Spider: +7 to stealth, +3 to perception, Darkvision, Blindsense, and Spider Climb make this the best scout you can get at this level. Also does some of the best combat damage at this level.
  • Velociraptor: Best damage Wild Shape at this level but seeing as Wild Shapes are limited to creatures that you have seen, good luck with this one.

4th Level | Max CR: 1/2 | No flying

  • Ape: Decent damage, climb speed, and a rare ranged attack.
  • Crocodile: Awesome single target control and a swim speed. Can hold its breath for 15 minutes.
  • Octopus: Good for stealthy underwater missions.
  • Reef Shark: Only really useful if 15 minutes underwater as a crocodile isn’t enough.
  • Warhorse: Replaces the Elk as the best travel Wild Shape. Great damage, trampling charge, and speed.

8th Level | Max CR: 1 | No restrictions

  • Brown Bear: This might be a great Wild Shape for Circle of the Moon druids at 2nd Level, but its AC makes it hard to be viable by 8th level. A great option if you are a Half-Orc Barbarian because of Savage Attack and Rage.
  • Direwolf: Reasonable AC and HP. Pack Tactics can come in handy if you have another melee fighter in your party, and a chance to knock the target prone with a Bite makes this the most viable melee combat Wild Shapes at this level.
  • Giant Octopus: HP, Speed, Advantage on Stealth, and a strong attack. This is the best water Wild Shape at this level.
  • Giant Spider: The Web ability is alright but a DC 12 STR check is pretty low at 8th Level.
  • Giant Toad: The Swallow ability makes the Giant Toad a pretty viable option against a single target sized Medium or smaller.
  • Giant Vulture: Great fly speed and damage. Its AC and HP leave something to be desired but it is the most viable flying Wild Shape.

Druid Circle

At 2nd Level Druids get to choose their Druid Circle. A Druid’s Circle completely defines how the build plays, so choose the one based on a playstyle you might enjoy the most.

Circle of Dreams
  • Balm of the Summer Court: Ranged healing as a bonus action is always awesome.
  • Hearth of Moonlight and Shadow: Solid way to make sure you are not ambushed during a short or long rest.
  • Hidden Paths: Being able to teleport as a bonus action up to 5 times per short rest is amazing. It can also be used to get your allies out of sticky situations.
  • Walker in Dreams: Getting a free 5th level spell is nice, but the spells aren’t particularly effective. This is especially true with the limitations that are put on Teleportation Circle.
Circle of Spores
  • Circle of Spores Spells:
    • Cantrip
      • Chill Touch: Chill Touch is actually quite a good cantrip. Necrotic damage is a lot less resisted than Fire damage.
    • 3rd Level
      • Blindness/Deafness: Great debuff and doesn’t require concentration.
      •  Gentle Repose: This is not going to see a lot of use. It could be beneficial if your BBEG is a necromancer or something.
    • 5th Level
      • Animate Dead: This spell is very busted in a vacuum. You can control up to 16 skeletons or zombies by Level 6 but your fellow players and DM might not be happy about it. Is Animate Dead powerful? Yes. Are there ramifications and balancing effects for walking around with hordes of undead behind you? Also yes.
      • Gaseous Form: Underrated utility and infiltration spell. You will get a couple of solid uses out of this spell in most campaigns.
    • 7th Level
      • Blight: 4th level single-target spell that uses a common save. It barely outdamages 4th-level Fireball and flat-out doesn’t work on some common creature types.
      • Confusion: Not the best crowd control spell because the outcome is random. Even if the creature fails the save they may still get to act normally or attack your allies at random.
    • 9th Level:
      • Cloudkill: Great spell with lasting damage and combo potential. The heavy obscurity make it difficult to target any creatures caught inside.
      • Contagion: The poisoned condition is a pretty strong one, but a lot of creatures have resistance to Poison which makes this a bit of a gamble.
  • Halo of Spores: Decent damage if you remember to use it every turn. The CON save to avoid the damage hurts this ability a lot.
  • Symbiotic Entity: This, combined with Shillelagh, helps the Druid become more viable in combat while still being able to cast spells. The fact that it ends when you lose your temporary hitpoints is super rough at low levels but fine at high levels when it starts to outpace your Wild Shapes.
  • Fungal Infestation: Being able to kill things and turn them into zombies is cool. You will likely only get one shot off with them because they only have 1hp, but luckily they come in right after your turn.
  • Spreading Spores: Decent bonus action battlefield control.
  • Fungal Body: Immunity to some common conditions and no more critical hits against you is very nice.
Circle of the Land
  • Bonus Cantrip: Bonus cantrips are great, but the Druid cantrip list has a severe damage-dealing deficiency. Being limited to a Druid cantrip with this feature limits its usefulness.
  • Natural Recovery: Essentially the Wizard’s Arcane Recovery ability which is very good.
  • Circle Spells: Depending on your “Land” you will have access to different spells:
    • Arctic
      • 3rd Level
        • Hold Person: One of the best spells in the game against Humanoids.
        • Spike Growth: Moderately good crowd control or can be used to stage an ambush because it is camouflaged.
      • 5th Level
        • Sleet Storm: Messes with enemy concentration, can extinguish flames, and has the potential to knock enemies prone.
        • Slow: Great crowd control debuff where you can choose which creatures to debuff and it lasts through damage (unlike Hypnotic Pattern).
      • 7th Level
        • Freedom of Movement: Extremely good when your DM throws crowd control effects your way, or if you decide to take a trip underwater.
        • Ice Storm: The damage for an AoE spell isn’t too shabby.
      • 9th Level
        • Commune with Nature: Great for roleplay and story progression, not so great for combat.
        • Cone of Cold: It’s Fireball damage for a 5th Level spell slot, although it is easier to control and to reduce friendly fire than Fireball.
    • Coast
      • 3rd Level
        • Mirror Image: Great self-buff.
        • Misty Step: Who doesn’t want to teleport? And you can do so as a bonus action while avoiding opportunity attacks. This spell will save your butt on more than one occasion.
      • 5th Level
        • Water Breathing: Pretty useless because at this point you have a swimming Wild Shape. The only useful scenario would be if you wanted the rest of your party to follow you down underwater.
        • Water Walk: This is likely not to see use in an entire campaign.
      • 7th Level
        • Freedom of Movement: Extremely good when your DM throws crowd control effects your way, or if you decide to take a trip underwater.
        • Control Water: A truly versatile and flavorful spell.
      • 9th Level
        • Conjure Elemental: Great spell for a powerful ally. Careful about losing concentration or you could end causing more trouble than you’re solving.
        • Scrying: Useful but niche.
    • Desert
      • 3rd Level
        • Blur: Blur is best if you have a solid AC (think Eldritch Knights) but you really want Mirror Image otherwise.
        • Silence: Silence is a niche spell with a high ceiling if you can somehow reduce the speed of the caster you are targetting to 0.
      • 5th Level
        • Create Food and Water: This only shines in survival situations and even in then it is overshadowed by Goodberry.
        • Protection From Energy: This is typically outshined by Absorb Elements except in the specific circumstances when you are constantly being subjected to a type of damage.
      • 7th Level
        • Blight: 4th level single-target spell that targets a common save. It barely out damages 4th-level Fireball and flat-out doesn’t work on some common creature types.
        • Hallucinatory Terrain: One of the spells, like Minor Illusion, where its ceiling is determined by your creativeness.
      • 9th Level
        • Insect Plague: A better version of Cloudkill in most circumstances due to the difficult terrain and light obscurity.
        • Wall of Stone: Great tool to manipulate the battlefield to your party’s advantage.
    • Forest
      • 3rd Level
        • Barkskin: Most Druids will take this so they can cast it before using Wild Shape.
        • Spider Climb: This is made obsolete by your Wild Shapes.
      • 5th Level
        • Call Lightning: If you manage to keep concentration on this for the entire encounter it can be absolutely nasty but it certainly has its limitations.
        • Plant Growth: Slows down pesky enemies moving around a lot or trying to escape, but not particularly good at either. Also cool for story beats to restore nature that has been devastated by war.
      • 7th Level
        • Freedom of Movement: Extremely good when your DM throws crowd control effects your way, or if you decide to take a trip underwater.
        • Divination: In the same vein as Augury; it is a good way to keep an indecisive party moving. Plus, it’s loads of fun to put your DM on the spot!
      • 9th Level
        • Commune with Nature: Great for roleplay and story progression, not so great for combat.
        • Tree Stride: A fun spell with a multitude of uses if you can get a bit creative. Without trees nearby you won’t be striding anywhere though.
    • Grassland
      • 3rd Level
        • Invisibility: Good infiltration spell or to help out your Rogue.
        • Pass Without Trace: Huge value for such a low spell slot, this spell can single-handedly solve your heavy armored Paladin’s stealth problem.
      • 5th Level
        • Daylight: The Light cantrip on steroids. Dispelling darkness could be situationally useful.
        • Haste: Great buff for a 3rd Level spell slot. Keep an eye on the concentration because dropping this spell early has ramifications.
      • 7th Level
        • Freedom of Movement: Extremely good when your DM throws crowd control effects your way, or if you decide to take a trip underwater.
        • Divination: In the same vein as Augury; it is a good way to keep an indecisive party moving. Plus, it’s loads of fun to put your DM on the spot!
      • 9th Level
        • Dream: Low key one of the best spells in the game. This can really mess with the BBEG of the campaign.
        • Insect Plague: A better version of Cloudkill in most circumstances due to the difficult terrain and light obscurity.
    • Mountain
      • 3rd Level
        • Spider Climb: This is made obsolete by your Wild Shapes.
        • Spike Growth: Moderately good crowd control or can be used to stage an ambush because it is camouflaged.
      • 5th Level
        • Lightning Bolt: The neglected younger brother of Fireball. It can certainly be more useful if your enemies are all lined up for you!
        • Meld Into Stone: Good for long rests? Maybe?
      • 7th Level
        • Stone Shape: Limited in its usefulness but if you get creative it can be effective.
        • Stone Skin: Effectively double the HP of a melee fighter (or your Wild Shape) against creatures without magical weapons or spells for an hour.
      • 9th Level
        • Passwall: This can just about nullify any door, barrier, or blocked off space the DM can throw at you. Not great in combat scenarios.
        • Wall of Stone: Great tool to manipulate the battlefield to your party’s advantage.
    • Swamp
      • 3rd Level
        • Darkness: Darkness has its uses but they usually heavily involve shenanigans.
        • Acid Arrow: Just a straight-up subpar damage spell. Its only use is to make casters make two different concentration checks.
      • 5th Level
        • Water Walk: This is likely not to see use in an entire campaign.
        • Stinking Cloud: Used in the right circumstances this can be effective, but it is a tough spell to nail.
      • 7th Level
        • Freedom of Movement: Extremely good when your DM throws crowd control effects your way, or if you decide to take a trip underwater.
        • Locate Creature: This will be a lifesaver at least once in a campaign.
      • 9th Level
        • Insect Plague: A better version of Cloudkill in most circumstances due to the difficult terrain and light obscurity.
        • Scrying: Useful but niche.
    • Underdark
      • 3rd Level
        • Spider Climb: This is made obsolete by your Wild Shapes.
        • Web: Web is an awesome area control spell and can combo into a lot of fire damage.
      • 5th Level
        • Gaseous Form: Underrated utility and infiltration spell. You will get a couple of solid uses out of this spell in most campaigns.
        • Stinking Cloud: Used in the right circumstances this can be effective, but it is a tough spell to nail.
      • 7th Level
        • Greater Invisibility: Great spell to avoid damage in combat while also getting advantage on your attacks. Also, you can give it to a melee teammate for a very potent, hard to hit damage dealer.
        • Stone Shape: Limited in its usefulness but if you get creative it can be effective.
      • 9th Level
        • Cloudkill: Great spell with lasting damage and combo potential. The heavy obscurity make it difficult to target any creatures caught inside.
        • Insect Plague: A better version of Cloudkill in most circumstances due to the difficult terrain and light obscurity.
  • Land’s Stride: No more nonmagical difficult terrain is nice but isn’t going to net you a whole lot of benefits. Advantage on saving throws against plants that want to impede your movement is very situational.
  • Nature’s Ward: Immunity to Charmed and Frightened against two common creature types is alright. Immunity to poison and disease is a good benefit but feels a bit bad to get it as a level 10 subclass feature when Paladins get it for free at 3rd Level.
  • Nature’s Sanctuary: Beasts are fairly common so this is a decent feature, it just isn’t impressive as a subclass capstone.
Circle of the Moon
  • Combat Wild Shape: Being able to get into your Wild Shape quicker and heal for expended spell slots makes Wild Shapes in combat a lot more effective.
  • Circle Forms: This is a huge buff to your Wild Shapes. Here are some of our favorite Wild Shapes at each level:
    • 2nd Level | Max CR: 1 | No flying or swimming speed
      • Brown Bear: More damage than the Direwolf but lower AC and HP. Also lacks synergy with other melee fighters in your party.
      • Direwolf: Great AC and HP. Pack Tactics can come in handy if you have another melee fighter in your party and grants a chance to knock the target prone with a Bite.
    • 4th Level | Max CR: 1 | No flying
      • Giant Octopus: HP, Speed, Advantage on Stealth, and a strong attack make this the best water Wild Shape at this level.
    • 6th Level | Max CR: 2 | No flying
      • Giant Constrictor SnakeDamage potential and a high escape DC make the Giant Constrictor Snake a great Wild Shape to use against single targets, especially those that lack strength.
      • Polar Bear: Slight upgrade from the Brown Bear with marginally better HP, AC, and damage.
      • Saber-Toothed Tiger: Lacks the synergies of a Dire Wolf and the multi-attack of the Brown Bear. This is a disappointing choice for CR2 damage dealers.
      • Hunter Shark: Higher damage and advantage on attack rolls make this option an arguably better choice than the Giant Octopus when in water.
    • 8th Level | Max CR: 2 | No restrictions
      • Quetzalcoatlus: Decent HP and AC, as well as Flyby, so it is the best aerial choice at this level. Good luck convincing your DM you’ve seen one.
    • 9th Level | Max CR: 3 | No restrictions
      • Ankylosaurus: Great AC and HP, solid damage, and a knockdown effect. Again, it’s a dinosaur so it will be tough to convince your DM you’ve ran into one unless the campaign setting calls for it.
      • Giant Scorpion: This thing can hit way above its paygrade with its three attacks. Decent AC and HP to boot makes this the best Wild Shape melee damage dealer so far.
    • 12th Level | Max CR: 4 | No restrictions
      • Elephant: Only really viable with lots of space. If you can hit with Trampling Charge and the Stomp in one turn you can deal mega damage. Solid HP and bad AC, so the Elephant is overall a bit of a gamble over the Giant Scorpion.
      • Stegosaurus: Another dino. The Stegosaurus is also a gamble over the Giant Scorpion but if you are hitting things with this it’s going to hurt.
    • 15th Level | Max CR: 5 | No restrictions
      • Brontosaurus: Good damage, AC, and loads of HP. Potential to knock creatures prone. Also, the 20ft reach means no one is safe. Dino.
      • Giant Crocodile: Better damage than the Brontosaurus. Restrained and Prone effects make this Beast an extremely versatile combat form.
      • Giant Shark: Huge pile of HP and great damage means the Giant Shark receives the crown for the top aquatic option.
    • 18th Level | Max CR: 6 | No restrictions
      • Mammoth: High DC on the Trampling Charge and huge damage make the Mammoth an undeniably great option. Depending on your circumstances, you will either go with the Mammoth or Giant Crocodile for straight-up melee fights.
  • Primal Strike: Necessary upgrade to keep your Wild Shape damage output similar to other martial classes.
  • Circle Forms: Lets you change into some outrageously powerful creatures and provides a huge amount of utility.
  • Elemental Wild Shape: Uses both of your Wild Shapes but provides even more utility because of the Elementals’ unique abilities. The Fire Elemental is really the only Elemental that can keep up with the Giant Scorpion in terms of raw combat potential.
  • Thousand Forms: Your problems will likely be solved more readily by a Wild Shape. Thousand Forms is really only useful for political infiltrations.
Circle of the Shepherd
  • Speech of the Woods: Learn Sylvan and constant Speak with Animals. Can be useful but not overly so.
  • Spirit Totem: Summon a lasting, moveable AoE buff.
    • Bear Spirit: The temp hit points are nice. Remember temp HP doesn’t stack but is permanent until they are used up or replaced so this can be an effective one to pop off before a rest.
    • Hawk Spirit: Giving 1 ally per turn Advantage via a reaction is nice but the Perception check likely won’t help in combat.
    • Unicorn: Advantage on detecting creatures in the aura is okay but this spell can turn your 1st Level Healing Word into a 3rd Level Mass Healing Word mulitple times. Talk about value for your spell slots.
  • Mighty Summoner: This makes Conjure Animals, an already borderline busted spell, even more powerful.
  • Guardian Spirit: Awesome way to combo your Spirit Totem with Conjure Animals. If you can keep your concentration, your enemies are going to have a tough time putting down your animal and fey friends.
  • Faithful Summons: This is a hilariously good way to make sure you never get hit while unconscious. A great way to thank the enemy that knocked you out is to summon 4 Polar Bears in their face. At higher levels, these Polar Bears are still able to hit higher AC enemies and can average 21 damage a turn if their attacks land.

18th Level

Timeless Body: Not sure if aging more slowly will come into play during your campaign.

Beast Spells: This is meh if you’re not a Circle of the Moon Druid, but is amazing if you are a Circle of the Moon Druid.

20th Level

Archdruid: Unlimited Wild Shapes is pretty good if you’re not a Circle of the Moon Druid. This is the best thing since sliced bread if you are a Circle of the Moon Druid.

Feats

Many feats aren’t suited to the Druid Class, but we will go over the ones that you may consider. Since Druids are a full caster class, maximizing their WIS to get the most out of spells should be a priority. This means that taking too many feats is usually a bad idea.

  • Alert: Being up higher in the initiative order can be very valuable for any class. Druids will be able to land a big spell, buff their allies, or Wild Shape right at the start of the fight, but this feat probably isn’t worth it just for that option.
  • Lucky: Lucky is a feat that is useful to any character.
  • Magic Initiate: This feat is a good choice if you pick Wizard as the class that you can draw spells from. The tried and tested Find Familiar as your 1st level spell lets you deliver touch spells and give Help actions to players. Firebolt or Shocking Grasp for the cantrips nicely fill out your damage. If you are going to be a ranged caster Druid, this is certainly a worthwhile pickup once you max your WIS to make sure you can still do reasonable damage even if you start to run out of spell slots.
  • Resilient (CON): If you’re a Circle of the Moon Druid, take War Caster instead. If you’re not, skip this.
  • War Caster: Advantage on CON saves and casting spells as opportunity attacks are both beneficial components of this feat. If you are a Circle of the Moon Druid you borderline need this feat. If you’re not a Circle of the Moon Druid, you can live without it.

Druid Spells

Druids have access to a lot of spells. Therefore, we think it would be the most beneficial to only talk about our favorite spells at each level, and which ones to avoid. Just remember that this doesn’t mean the ones we don’t mention are necessarily bad or don’t have a purpose.

For a full list of Druid spells click here.

Cantrips

  • Druidcraft: A subpar Prestidigitation.
  • Guidance: Outside of combat, you can use this literally every time a party member makes an ability check.
  • Mending: Situational.
  • Poison Spray: Short-range and a CON save, which creatures are frequently proficient in.
  • Produce Flame: Most Druid’s go-to damage cantrip.
  • Resistance: Similar effect as Guidance only it is way harder to predict when you will need to make Saving Throws.
  • Shillelagh: Being stuck in combat not Wild Shaped is not a Druid’s plan most of the time. The exception here is a Circle of Spores Druid.
  • Thorn Whip: Damage is fine but the pull effect has tons of uses.

1st Level Spells

  • Cure Wounds: Healing is important so pick it up if you think you’ll need it. 
  • Detect Magic: Every party should roll with at least one character who has access to Detect Magic.
  • Entangle: This is one of the rare spells that will be useful even without the ability to upcast it until the high levels of a campaign.
  • Faerie Fire: Great option to deal with invisibility and can give your allies Advantage on attacks. Careful because its effects work both ways.
  • Healing Word: The healing potential doesn’t quite stack up with other healing spells, but Healing Word is a bonus action and can be cast from 60ft away. You can heal a critically wounded ally and still have your turn free to do as you please.
  • Goodberry: Not particularly useful in combat but if you make Goodberries at the end of each day you will have a solid pool of healing to pull from.
  • Speak with Animals: Its effectiveness is limited but do you really want to be a Druid that can’t talk with animals?
  • Thunderwave: One of your few options to knock opponents back if you find yourself in a sticky situation. Damage isn’t bad either but it’s a CON save.

2nd Level Spells

  • Animal Messenger: This has a lot of caveats. If you have someone in your party with Sending you will never need this.
  • Barkskin: The go-to spell before Wild Shaping.
  • Beast Sense: This does not have a ton of uses, especially if you have someone with a familiar.
  • Enhance Ability: Extremely versatile and can be a good buff going into combat or a tough situation.
  • Find Traps: Reveals the presence of traps but not their exact location. Druids can find much better uses for their spell slots.
  • Hold Person: One of the best spells in the game against Humanoids.
  • Heat Metal: Really good, no save and bonus action damage if they are wearing armor (or have a knife embedded in them).
  • Lesser Restoration: Diseases and conditions do come up from time to time, so you’ll be happy to have this when they do.
  • Moonbeam: If you can get into a good position (like a bottleneck or something), this can be a devastating spell at low levels. Otherwise, it is hard to make work as it needs continuous actions, concentration, and can hit allies.
  • Pass without Trace: If you are infiltrating an area you are not supposed to be with your party, the +10 bonus to Stealth is massive.
  • Spike Growth: Moderately good crowd control or can be used to stage an ambush because it is camouflaged.

3rd Level Spells

  • Call Lightning: If you manage to keep concentration on this for the entire encounter it can be absolutely nasty but it certainly has its limitations.
  • Conjure Animals: Great boost to your party’s HP and action economy. Keep in mind that the DM gets the final say on what animals get summoned, you just get to choose the CR.
  • Daylight: The Light cantrip on steroids. Dispelling darkness could be situationally useful.
  • Dispel Magic: Just like Detect Magic, every party should have a character with this spell at their disposal.
  • Meld Into Stone: Good for long rests? Maybe?
  • Plant Growth: Slows down pesky enemies moving around a lot or trying to escape, but not particularly good at either. Also cool for story beats to restore nature that has been devastated by war.
  • Protection From Energy: This is typically outshined by Absorb Elements except in the specific circumstances when you are constantly being subjected to a type of damage.
  • Sleet Storm: Messes with enemy concentration, can extinguish flames, and has the potential to knock enemies prone.
  • Speak with Plants: The flavor is spot on with this spell, it just doesn’t have that many uses.
  • Water Breathing: Pretty useless because at this point you have a swimming Wild Shape. The only useful scenario would be if you wanted the rest of your party to follow you down underwater.
  • Water Walk: This is likely not to see use in an entire campaign.
  • Wind Wall: Useful against lots of archers, swarms of flying enemies, or against deadly fog. Other than that the damage is pretty bad.

4th Level Spells

  • Blight: 4th level single-target spell that targets a common save. It barely outdamages 4th-level Fireball and flat-out doesn’t work on some common creature types.
  • Confusion: Not the best crowd control spell because the outcome is random. Even if the creature fails the save they may still get to act normally or attack your allies at random. This is one of the Druid’s few crowd control spells, however.
  • Conjure Minor Elementals: You can summon the same CR creatures as Conjure Animals, but elementals usually have interesting effects that can be helpful in specific situations. If you make a reasonable request and have a reasonable DM this is perfectly worthwhile.
  • Conjure Woodland Beings: Pretty much the same as Conjure Minor Elementals, but fey have some distinguishing effects from elementals.
  • Control Water: A truly versatile and flavorful spell.
  • Dominate Beast: A very worthwhile spell, depending on the beast.
  • Freedom of Movement: Extremely good when your DM throws crowd control effects your way, or if you decide to take a trip underwater.
  • Giant Insect: Hard to pull off in some areas if you’re not the kind of Druid to carry around jars of bugs. If you can make a scorpion friend and reliably cast this spell during combat, it can end up doing tons of damage.
  • Grasping Vine: This spell’s effect is not worth its spell slot. Not by a long shot.
  • Hallucinatory Terrain: One of the spells, like Minor Illusion, where its ceiling is determined by your creativeness.
  • Ice Storm: The damage for an AoE spell isn’t too shabby.
  • Locate Creature: This will be a lifesaver at least once in a campaign.
  • Polymorph: Not quite as good as Banishment, but is very useful for taking a single combatant out of the fight temporarily.
  • Stone Shape: Limited in its usefulness but if you get creative it can be effective.
  • Stone Skin: Effectively double the HP of a melee fighter (or your Wild Shape) against creatures without magical weapons or spells for an hour.
  • Wall of Fire: Insanely good area control spell.

5th Level Spells

  • Antilife Shell: Great option if you find yourself in trouble in melee combat. It will also hedge out your allies.
  • Awaken: Love the flavor of this spell. It’s great for your traveling animal buddies, or, if you have enough time and money, you can create an army of trees that would make Treebeard proud. It is not useful in combat but this is one of those spells, like Hallow, that can create really powerful effects if you have some downtime.
  • Commune with Nature: Great for roleplay and story progression, not so great for combat.
  • Conjure Elemental: Great spell for a powerful ally. Careful about losing concentration or you could end causing more trouble than you’re solving.
  • Contagion: The poisoned condition is a pretty strong one, but a lot of creatures have resistance to Poison which makes this a bit of a gamble.
  • Geas: Not for use in combat but can be used to bend an entire kingdom to your will.
  • Greater Restoration: Great spell to have that can get you or party members out of very tricky situations.
  • Insect Plague: A better version of Cloudkill in most circumstances due to the difficult terrain and light obscurity.
  • Mass Cure Wounds: You may find a use for Mass Cure Wounds on particularly encounter-heavy days where everybody is looking a little beat up.
  • Planar Binding: The 1 hour casting time makes this a fairly hard spell to pull off.
  • Reincarnate: If one of your party members managed to get their head cut off, this is just about the only way to deal with it.
  • Scrying: Useful but niche.
  • Tree Stride: A fun spell with a multitude of uses if you can get a bit creative. Without trees nearby you won’t be striding anywhere though.
  • Wall of Stone: Great tool to manipulate the battlefield to your party’s advantage.

6th Level Spells

  • Heal: Strong, dependable healing with no roll needed. Also can be used at range and has some of the Lesser Restoration benefits built in.
  • Heroes’ Feast: The expensive casting cost doesn’t take away from the undeniably powerful buff your whole party will receive.
  • Move Earth: The limitation to dirt, sand, or clay really hurts the spell’s ability to do meaningful work.
  • Sunbeam: Essentially a Lightning Bolt + a blinding effect every turn. If you can keep concentration this is a great spell.
  • Transport via Plants: Certainly not as good as Teleport, but it could do in a pinch if you need to get to a specific location. In combat, you run the real risk of leaving a party member behind.
  • Wall of Thorns: This does great damage and is extremely difficult to get out of without the ability to fly. Awesome crowd control option.
  • Wind Walk: If you are going somewhere that you haven’t been before (which eliminates using Transport via Plants) this is the best way to do so.

7th Level Spells 

  • Fire Storm: Depending on the size and position of the crowd you are fighting, this can either be insanely big damage or an easy to aim Fireball. Most of the time it will be the latter.
  • Mirage Arcane: The sheer scope of this spell is insane and is truly only limited by the imagination of the caster.
  • Plane Shift: Trying to reach other planes of existence is often a hassle. Avoid that with this one simple trick! Can also be used to get rid of a creature permanently.
  • Regenerate: Pretty good healing as well as healing over time. The second bit works much better outside of combat of course.
  • Reverse Gravity: A shenanigan spell if there ever was one. It is hard to position to create max damage but the effects are powerful (and fun) nonetheless.

8th Level Spells

  • Animal Shapes: The caveat that you can only affect willing creatures, along with the limitations in beast sizes and CR, makes this a very underwhelming spell.
  • Antipathy/Sympathy: Attract or repel creatures that you choose. Force melee creatures away from you or ranged creatures towards your melee allies. It also lasts for ten days, which is very long.
  • Control Weather: This is one of those spells that could have massive repercussions outside of combat. Its effect is extremely powerful though its uses may not be.
  • Earthquake: There is way too much left up to the DM’s discretion for this spell to be effective in combat. The only use I can see for this spell would be destroying a city.
  • Feeblemind: This can be a one hit, save-or-be-turned-into-a-drooling-moron spell that Legendary Creatures have Legendary Resistances for.
  • Sunburst: Big damage and nice effect. Great AoE that is somewhat limited by forcing a CON save.
  • Tsunami: This is a huge AoE with a crazy effect. Push creatures 50ft per turn away from you (up to 6 turns) and hit creatures each turn.

9th Level Spells

  • Foresight: The buff that does everything you could ask for. Lasts for 8 hours (no concentration!), the target can’t be surprised, has advantage on rolls, and other creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target.
  • Shapechange: Change into any creature while maintaining your class features and benefits from equipment. The only downside is that the creature must be something you have encountered once before.
  • Storm of Vengeance: The spell’s damage is too spread out over multiple rounds to be as effective as a 9th level spell should be.
  • True Resurrection: Crazy expensive and regular Resurrection will often be good enough, since a century isn’t all that different from two centuries in the grand scheme of things. Providing a new body to the resurrected creature is the other main benefit, since you might want to resurrect some legendary hero whose body has been lost.

Hope you liked the guide! If you have any questions or feel like we missed something for the 5e Druid, go ahead and post a comment below. If you like our content subscribe to Arcane Eye!

One thought on “An Environmentally Friendly Druid 5e Guide

  1. Hi Arcane Eye team! Thank you for these posts! I love the combination of information and humor. And when I first started playing D&D I used one of your guides to build my first character, Zuria Xiloscient, a wood elf ranger. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge! Best, Jacqueline

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