Channel Your 5E D&D Druid’s Inner Circe with a Wild Shape Optional Class Feature
Over at Nerdarchy the YouTube channel Nerdarchists Dave and Ted double, double toil and trouble themselves discussing witches in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Fire burns and caldrons bubble while they go over what it means to be a witch, different approaches to bringing out a character’s witchy nature and the possibilities for new 5E D&D classes and subclasses. Inspiration for the topic comes from the video’s sponsor Hexbound: A Witchy Supplement for 5E from Hit Point Press. One of the ideas they brought up during the video captured my imagination — using the druid Wild Shape feature in a distinctly witchy way. So let’s get into it.
Wild Shape your friends and foes
During the video Dave and Ted touch on some prevalent aspects of what many people think of when it comes to a witch. Brewing magical concoctions, keeping a familiar and transforming foolish meddlers into beasts. The last one really took hold of my imagination. One of the main sources for the traditional power of a witch to transform people into animals comes from The Frog Prince published in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While reading more about this German folk tale I thought of a much older example of a magical woman known to transform people into animals. Circe is an enchantress from Greek mythology who shows up in the Odyssey when she transforms Odysseus’ crew into pigs when they visit her island while returning from the Trojan War.
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything presents the concept of Optional Class Features, which bring a huge quality of life boost for 5E D&D players. Druid players can take advantage of Additional Druid Spells, Wild Companion and Cantrip Versatility options and I’d like to create a new one here for players looking to conjure a bit of witchy flavor for their characters. Like the Optional Class Features in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything this won’t change anything about the existing druid class in 5E D&D. If you’re interested in trying out something a little unusual I suggest following the advice about these options straight from the book:
“You gain class features in the Player’s Handbook when you reach certain levels in your class. This section offers additional features that you can gain as a druid. Unlike the features in the Player’s Handbook, you don’t gain the features here automatically. Consulting with your DM, you decide whether to gain a feature in this section if you meet the level requirement noted in the feature’s description. These features can be selected separately from one another; you can use some, all, or none of them.”— Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything Chapter 1: Character Options — Druid
Curse of Wild Shape
2nd level druid feature
You gain the ability to transform others into an animal form: as an action, you can expend a use of your Wild Shape feature to magically transform a humanoid you can see within 10 feet into the shape of a beast that you have seen before. The beast shape must abide by the limitations of the Beast Shapes table. An unwilling creature must make a Wisdom saving throw against your spell save DC to avoid the effect and cannot revert to their normal form earlier by using a bonus action on their turn. This has no effect on a shapechanger or a creature with 0 hit points.
This feels incredibly powerful to me but often this is where new game content begins. Our behind the scenes discussions already bubble with ideas to explore these witchy concepts further but this one seemed really cool to me and frankly I wanted to share it here much sooner than it’ll be before we develop more witch related concepts to drop into 5E D&D games. A safe bet would be our Patreon supporters getting early access to any sort of fully produced product incorporating these concepts and everyone there at the Meet Us at the Tavern level and above gets these sorts of things every month. (New supporters get instant access to several years worth of digital content too!)
*Featured image — Spellbook in hand, the wizard Tasha casts a spell on a brew bubbling in her magic cauldron in this painting on the cover of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. [Illustration by Magali Villeneuve]