There’s no telling when inspiration will strike. I was recently watching the Indiana Jones trilogy (don’t tell me otherwise) for the millionth time, when I was struck with an idea for a new subclass.
You know that scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark where the nazis open the Ark of the Covenant and summarily melt their own faces and explode? Yeah, that was awesome. Now there’s an entire Druid subclass built around it!
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Circle of Spirits (Druid)
The Ark. If is there at the Abbey of the Rose, then it is something that Man was not meant to disturb. Death has always surrounded it. It is not of Toril.
Circle of Spirits Class Features
|2nd||Shape of Death|
|14th||Swarm of the Covenant|
Shape of Death
You can Wild Shape into an undead. Yes, this is powerful. It’s also a class-defining feature. Consider the power that other Druid subclasses get from their 2nd level power.
(Note: I can already hear you screaming about Shadows. Yes, their CR is way too low for their punch. No, that doesn’t make this broken. A 1st-level Guiding Bolt spell will OHKO a Shadow over 76% of the time. But that’s not the route I’d take, because there’s a more interesting narrative option. Rumors spread around town about a Shadow lurking about. Mercenaries and zealots take the task. Those who are unsuccessful will become Shadows themselves!)
For flavor, we’ve also made it like you’re dead when you’re sleeping. This language is cribbed from Feign Death and trimmed for power balance.
This feature drives a lot of flavor of the class. A swirling mass of spirits engulfs you. Any creature who comes too close must make a Wisdom save or become frightened of you.
Since they’re already adjacent, the movement restriction of the frightened condition doesn’t do much. However, imposing disadvantage on attacks and ability checks is a nice defensive boost.
The frightened effect only lasts a round, but will continue to proc as long as the enemy keeps ending their turns next to you.
By the time the Circle of Spirits Druid reaches 10th level, their incorporeal form begins to take over their body. They gain some of the damage resistance benefits of undead creatures when not in their Wild Shape form.
Also, they can’t be frightened by undead.
Swarm of the Covenant
Here’s the juice! When you reach 11th level, your spirit swarm has gained full nazi face melting power.
At a base level, this feature provides consistent (but low) damage across a broad number of foes. This is meant to replicate the lightning coursing between those looking upon the Ark before they explode.
Note that this feature only works on creatures that can see you. “Just shut your eyes, Marion: don’t look at it, no matter what happens!“
When a creature takes maximum damage from Swarm of the Covenant (16.7% of the time), you can use your action to cause a spirit to invade them. They get a CON save, but if they fail, they’ll take an average of 41 necrotic damage.
This seems really powerful, but there’s actually a lot of limiters built in here:
- You must have another limited-use feature active (Spirit Swarm).
- You only affect creatures within 20 feet.
- You only affect creatures who can see you.
- It takes an action to activate (limiting it to 1 target/turn).
- You can’t choose any target; available targets are determined by chance.
- No damage on a save.
Of course, if the target takes lethal damage, they melt and die.
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