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Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-06, 11:40 AM
Circle of the Seaons

Seasonal Magic: Beginning at 2nd level, you form a special connection with a particular season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter. You may choose to change your season at the end of a long rest. When connected to a particular season, you gain access to that season's unique spells-- one cantrip and one first-level spell at 2nd level, with additional spells being gained at 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th levels. While you have access to a season spell, you always have it prepared, and it doesn't count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. If you gain access to a spell that doesn't appear on the druid spell list, the spell is nonetheless a druid spell for you.

As a special case, on the first day of each season, you must connect to that season.


Spring
2nd: "Static Snap" (as Sacred Flame, but lightning; Shocking Grasp or Lightning Lure as an alternate), Thunderwave
3rd: Shatter
5th: Lightning Bolt
7th: Storm Sphere
9th: Destructive Wave
Summer
2nd: Firebolt, Burning Hands
3rd: Scorching Ray
5th: Fireball
7th: Wall of Fire
9th: Immolation
Autumn
2nd: Acid Splash, Grease
3rd: "Snillocís Acid Bath" (as Snillocís Snowball Swarm, but dealing Acid damage; Melf's Acid Arrow as an alternate)
5th: Tidal Wave
7th: Vitriolic Sphere
9th: Maelstrom
Winter
2nd: Ray of Frost, Ice Knife
3rd: "Icicle Storm" (as Scorching Ray, but each beam deals 1d6 cold and 1d6 piercing; Snilloc's Snowball Swarm as an alternative)
5th: "Melf's Frost Barrage" (as Melf's Minute Meteors, but dealing Cold damage; Sleet Storm as an alternate)
7th: Ice Storm
9th: Cone of Cold

Seasonal Reserve: As an action, you may cast one of your Seasonal Magic spells, as though from a 1st level slot, without expending a spell slot. Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again until you've finished a long rest.

At 3rd level, you may cast the spell as though from a 2nd level slot. At 5th level, this improves to a 3rd level slot, a 7th level to a 4th level slot, and at 9th level to a 5th level slot.

Nature's Wrath: Beginning at 6th level, whenever one of your Seasonal Magic spells deals damage, you may add your Wisdom modifier to the damage dealt.

Shield of Seasons: Beginning at 10th level, you gain immunity to the energy type most commonly associated with the season you're currently connected to.

Spring: Lightning
Summer: Fire
Autumn: Acid
Winter: Cold
Elemental Rage: Beginning at 14th level, after casting a spell of 1st level or higher, you may cast your Seasonal Magic cantrip as a bonus action, despite the normal limits on bonus-action spells. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

jiriku
2018-11-06, 02:13 PM
Very thematic and to-the-point. The trouble with your homebrew is that it's so polished as a first draft that I have trouble recommending anything.

* In the first paragraph, you wrote "9th" when you meant "7th"

* Am I correct in assuming that Nature's Wrath applies each time damage is dealt for spells that deal damage over multiple rounds or multiple targets?

LudicSavant
2018-11-06, 02:35 PM
Fluff/fun-wise, I'd love to see something like this with a sort of "Wildshape replacement" form akin to the Circle of Spores concept, with a more offensive bent as opposed to the tanky inclination of Moon Druids.

Mechanical analysis forthcoming.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-06, 03:12 PM
Very thematic and to-the-point. The trouble with your homebrew is that it's so polished as a first draft that I have trouble recommending anything.
Aw, shucks :smallredface:


* Am I correct in assuming that Nature's Wrath applies each time damage is dealt for spells that deal damage over multiple rounds or multiple targets?
Yeah-- I'll add edit for clarity.


Fluff/fun-wise, I'd love to see something like this with a sort of "Wildshape replacement" form akin to the Circle of Spores concept, with a more offensive bent as opposed to the tanky inclination of Moon Druids.

Ehh... I can see where you're coming from, but this was aimed more at being a caster than a gish type. Luckily, it just so happens that I've got exactly what you're thinking about (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?550878-Druid-Circle-of-the-Avenger) in another 'brew. Looking forward to hearing your mechanical thoughts!

LudicSavant
2018-11-06, 04:22 PM
Ehh... I can see where you're coming from, but this was aimed more at being a caster than a gish type.

I was actually thinking of a caster-y transformation, rather than a gishy one. I meant like the Circle of Spores more in just the sense that it was an alternative to Wildshape.


Looking forward to hearing your mechanical thoughts!

Yep, I'll get into that when I have more time to sit down with books and stuff.

Vogie
2018-11-06, 10:22 PM
I like it. It's like a more flexible version of the Land druid.

Switching every long rest seems a bit too much. It'd encourage the player to rest prior to every big encounter. Maybe allow it every 7 days? That'd allow it to switch every "gritty realism" long rest.

The 10th level ability is way too lacking. This is the feature that gives other circles autohealing of summons, aoe damage, elemental forms... just a single immunity is too small, IMHO.

I like the quickening of cantrips in the 14 level ability, but also think it needs more resonance to the circle, to the seasonal theme as a whole. Maybe move this feature to the 10th level.

New 14th level ideas:

Self-reincarnation
Allowing allies to also regrow spell slots
At-Will Enlarge/Reduce
Mechanics relating to growth & harvest
Four Variable abilities based on the chosen season
A Sunbeam-style effect that changes damage types based on the chosen season

LudicSavant
2018-11-07, 03:58 AM
As promised, detailed mechanical thoughts.

So this is at first blush basically a function of the Land Druid, except it can change out what kind of Land it's a Druid of each time it rests, replaces Natural Recovery with a different resource-efficiency mechanic, and some other stuff to facilitate a blaster playstyle. Land Druid is generally favored a bit less than, say, Moon Druid, so there's probably some room to overshoot its power level a bit. That said, let's look at what we've got.

Be warned that I am a firm believer in constructive criticism and that means I'm going to try to pick all the little details apart to try and find anything that can be improved. Know that I do this with love. Love for game design! :redcloak:

At Level 2, we have:

Seasonal Magic: Beginning at 2nd level, you form a special connection with a particular season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter. You may choose to change your season at the end of a long rest. When connected to a particular season, you gain access to that season's unique spells-- one cantrip and one first-level spell at 2nd level, with additional spells being gained at 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th levels. While you have access to a season spell, you always have it prepared, and it doesn't count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. If you gain access to a spell that doesn't appear on the druid spell list, the spell is nonetheless a druid spell for you.


Spring
2nd: Shocking Grasp, Thunderwave
3rd: Shatter
5th: Lightning Bolt
7th: Storm Sphere
9th: Destructive Wave
Summer
2nd: Firebolt, Burning Hands
3rd: Scorching Ray
5th: Fireball
7th: Wall of Fire
9th: Immolation
Autumn
2nd: Chill Touch, Ray of Sickness
3rd: Melf's Acid Arrow
5th: Stinking Cloud
7th: Vitriolic Sphere
9th: Cloudkill
Winter
2nd: Ray of Frost, Ice Knife
3rd: Snillocís Snowball Swarm
5th: Sleet Storm
7th: Ice Storm
9th: Cone of Cold

Seasonal Reserve: Once per short rest, you may cast one of your Seasonal Magic spells without expending a spell slot.

Compared to a level 2 land druid, who gets 1 good set with 2 spells/level and 1 extra spell per day (assuming at least 1 short rest), you're getting 4 sets with 1 spell/level and 1 extra spell slot, plus 1 more per short rest. This means that on a DMG guidelines "standard adventuring day" you're getting 6 spells per day at level 2 instead of 3 (or 4 with Natural Recovery). Or that even if you only get 1 short rest, you're getting double the extra spell slots that Natural Recovery would give. This is clearly an advantage over Land Druid, unless one is going to argue that these particular spells are so much worse than the ones a Land Druid could have gotten with Natural Recovery that they're worth less than twice as much per slot.

This trend continues at later levels. For example, at level 10 Druid with Natural Recovery will let you recover 5 spell levels worth of slots, while Seasonal Reserve is giving you 10 spell levels if you get 1 short rest, 15 if you get 2, 20 if you get 3, etc. That's a huge increase! At any given point before high levels (since you stop getting seasonal spells beyond 5th level spells), you're doubling (or more) your highest level spell slots. This is even more noticeable at level 7 and 9 (where your number of highest level spell slots on a typical adventuring day gets quadrupled)

Unlike a Land Druid, though, the extra spells have to be the season spell.

So, when you get this at level 2, fully half of the spells you cast in a "standard adventuring day" are going to be the season spell. And this is where my game designer senses are tingling and saying to pay attention. Unlike Land Druid, the specific spell you get from your season is defining. It's going to be taking up a considerable portion of casting resources during the day so it's going to be something that a player wants to "default" to. This continues into later levels; for example when you first get level 2 spell slots you get 2 you get to choose, and 3 more (assuming standard adventuring day) that have to be the same season spell. You're getting 250% of the level 2 spell slots at that point, and 60% of those spell slots are the same spell (or an upcast spell from the seasons list).

At later levels, we get into another odd little conundrum. You're encouraged for the short rest free spell to be your highest level spell slot. If you cast a 1st level spell slot for free instead of a 5th level one, you're basically just wasting resources. This means that even if you're interested in, say, Shatter, a level 5 Druid is probably always going to want to be in Winter Mode or Summer Mode over Spring Mode because you want to be spamming Sleet Storm or Fireball instead of Lightning Bolt, and using Ray of Frost over Shocking Grasp besides.

Perhaps it would be better if the extra slots mechanic didn't lend such a sense of primacy to the highest level season slot you just got?

Also, "once per short rest" is a weird wording that is not seen anywhere else in 5e rules. It should probably read more like "You regain the use of this ability upon taking a short or long rest."


Nature's Wrath: Beginning at 6th level, whenever one of your Seasonal Magic spells deals damage, you may add your Wisdom modifier to the damage dealt. Seems reasonable to me. I notice that the wording means that reoccurring sources of damage get multiple boosts here, which benefits things like Melf's Acid Arrow and Immolation. Which isn't a bad thing, because those spells kinda suck normally and need all the help they can get.

Just to keep an eye on where our sister subclass is at this point, the Land Druids are just now getting Land's Stride, which is pretty good mostly because it lets you cast Plant Growth and then walk through it (fun fact: The plants affected by Plant Growth are not magical, and therefore cannot slow your movement with Land's Stride), or take greater advantage of difficult terrain to kite. Then again, the Seasonal Druid is busy spamming Sleet Storm way more than they can cast plant growth if they're in a control mood that day. Or tossing bunches of fireballs which would set the Plant Growths of rival druids on fire.


Shield of Seasons: Beginning at 10th level, you gain immunity to the energy type most commonly associated with the season you're currently connected to.

Spring: Lightning
Summer: Fire
Autumn: Acid
Winter: Cold

While Land Druids are getting a powerful full immunity to poison here, Poison tends to be easier to get resistance or immunity to than pretty much every other element, and one has to understand that all druids have 1-hour long, concentration-free resistance to poison with a low level slot at this point (and will be able to make the entire party immune to poison all day at level 11). By contrast, getting a few minutes of fire immunity requires a Concentration 6th-level spell.

Usually abilities like this (such as from the forge cleric or herald Barbarian) give you 1 element, and only give you resistance. Here we've got a choosable one for 4 good options, and full immunity. By contrast, there's a good deal of precedent for immunity to Poison and Disease. For example, Monks get that at the same level. And Paladins get immunity to Disease at third level. And of course I already mentioned that divine casters are good at dealing with it.

On the gameplay side of things, though, I really like the strategic element of a Druid being able to prepare for an adventure by choosing a damage resistance or immunity they think they'll need (and having that additionally connected to other benefits, lending additional depth and complexity to the strategic element). So I would definitely keep something like this in there.


Elemental Rage: Beginning at 14th level, you may cast your Seasonal Magic cantrip as a bonus action.
It's basically infinite Quicken Spell, except with the interesting caveat that it doesn't let you cast Cantrip + full spell (because the cantrip in this case was the bonus action, not the Action). Which makes it less troublesome than it might otherwise be; it's mostly boosting your resourceless damage. That said, it's making your resourceless damage pretty darned good. 8d10+10 (average 54) is about as much damage output as a Warlock throwing out 4d10+4d6+20 (average 56) Agonizing Blast/Hex EBs. And unlike a Warlock, you aren't using your Concentration, and have the versatility to drop half that damage in exchange for any non-spell Action.

This is way better than the lackluster ability that the Land Druid gets at this level. Beast and Plant attacks are mostly non-threats to a level 14 Druid anyways.



So... yeah, this strikes me as a fair bit stronger than the Land Druid, even though I'd say the Land Druids tend to have better domain lists. But hey, the devil's advocate says, everyone's playing Moon Druids anyways. And perhaps you need some oomph to make Druids into a role they're not usually used to? Well then, let's compare this to other blasters. Say... Dragon Sorcerer?

Dragon Sorcerer Comparison:

So, right from the start we have to choose just one element, which is putting us behind in versatility. But we get Draconic Resilience! Which... doesn't make us as durable as the Druid already is. The hit point bonus is only catching you up to where the Druid already is without Wildshape or any curative abilities (due to their higher hit die), and the 13+dex AC is less than what the armor-wearing, shield-equipped Druid gets. As for save proficiencies, you both get Cha, but the Druid gets Wisdom while the Sorcerer gets Constitution. Personally I tend to think that Wis saves are about as important as Constitution saves (after all, they can cause you to lose your Concentration too... and then some).

So, snapshot at level 2:

- The Season Druid has 3 cantrips + 3 more that they can switch in on a long rest. The Sorcerer has 4 cantrips, and they're arguably worse ones (e.g. no Shillelagh/Guidance. Then again, at least you get Minor Illusion?).

- The Season Druid has 6 spell slots on a standard adventuring day, while the Sorcerer has 4 (if they convert all their Sorcery Points to spell slots).

- The Season Druid gets ritual casting, adding yet more spell slots (effectively). The Sorcerer gets no ritual casting.

- The Sorcerer has 3 spells known. The Season Druid has more than that just from their Season choices, and then 21 more spells known on top of that (just for being a Druid).

- Sorcerer has 3 spells prepared. The Druid has at least 6.

Unless we're going to pretend that the Sorcerer's spell list is just that much better here (it isn't), then the Druid's blowing it out of the water.

But okay, maybe the Sorcerer just sucks for its level. Let's look later. Fast forward to level 6:

Snapshot at level 6:

- Seasons has 4/3/5 spells/day, Sorc has 4/3/2 (or 4/3/3 if they spend all of their Sorcery points on extra spell slots). Even if they're completely giving up their metamagic, they're casting about half as many Fireballs as you. And of course they're losing out even more in resource efficiency due to the lack of Ritual casting or the utility from Wildshape.

- Sorc can sacrifice spell slots to get metamagics (they have 2) like Quicken Spell, which means that they can do a little more burst damage than the Druid by adding a fire bolt afterwards or something for a little extra damage. On the two times per day they get to cast Fireball. Vs the 5 that the Seasons Druid is. Would you rather get 250% of the Fireballs, or an extra Fire Bolt on the round you cast Fireball?

- Seasons has an enormous amount of spells known, while the Sorc has 7 spread out amongst 3 spell levels (still less than the amount a Sorc gets just from their Seasons options alone).

- Both get the ability to add Cha to damage, but the Sorc can only do it for 1 element, while the Druid gets it for all of the spell damage they do.

- The Dragon Sorc gets the ability to gain resistance to fire damage for 1 hour by spending a Sorcery point. The Seasons druid gets Absorb Elements known for free and extra resource efficiency over the Dragon Sorc to use it when they need it, and it works on lots of things that aren't fire.

- The Dragon Sorc has 7 spells prepared (and they're the same spells every day). The Seasons Druid has at least 13, and can change them every day.

Snapshot at level 10
- The Sorc can spend Sorcery points to get Fire Resistance for 1 hour. The Seasons Druid has Fire Immunity all day... on the day they're fighting the Red Dragon. And Cold Immunity on the day they go adventuring in the Frozen Forge of the Frostfell. And so on. And of course you still have all that extra resource efficiency for Absorb Elements for when you get hit by different elements.

- Seasons Druid has 20 spells prepared, and can change them all every day. The Dragon Sorc has 11, and can never change them.

- Giant boatloads of spells known vs 11 (which is still less than the number you get from your domain choices alone)

- 4/3/3/3/2 spells (Sorc) or 4/4/3/3/3 (no metamagic Sorc) vs 4/3/3/3/5 + Rituals/Wildshapes for the Seasons Druid. If the Sorcerer sacrifices all of their Sorcery Points (no metamagic) they can get an extra 5th and 2nd level spell slot (still less resources than Druid). At least the Sorcerer can sort of move their lower level slots to higher level ones and vice versa as needed, but this method is extremely lossy in terms of resource efficiency.

- Sorcerer wonders if his spell list is just way better to make up for all of this he's been dealing with. Then he laughs with glee because their almighty arcane spell list gets them Polymorph! Mwahahahahhahhaah! Then they realize that the Druid got that spell too, and didn't have to spend a spell known slot for it. They hastily try to convince themselves that Twin is just that much better than being able to cast more spells with more spell slots. They might even succeed if their Fighter is unoptimized enough that a tyrannosaurus is actually an upgrade, instead of a way to make them into a less offensively scary bag of higher hit points with more vulnerability to control and such. And then watch the hit points that were saved by the Twinned Polymorph become meaningless when Healing Spirit and/or yesterday's Goodberries just undo all of the damage after the fight for less spell resources than the metamagic cost.

- Sorcerer tells themselves "At least I'll always have Subtle Spell."

And then of course at level 14 you just grabbed Eldritch Blast-like resourceless damage without Concentration and the Sorcerer just breaks down and cries into their consolation wings (the Seasons druid has had casual-wear wings since at least as early as level 8, though you mostly only use it for utility. You don't really need any extra help kiting people anyways because you're a Druid. Nor do you need to fly to get to people because you're a ranged blaster. And if magic items are available at all, a Broom of Flying is only Uncommon and really really easy for you to get with XGtE or DMG guidelines at level 14. And in a few levels you'll be able to cast your fiery Eldritch-Blast-a-likes while being, to use the scientific term, a birdasaurus).

But hey, eventually they'll get Wish. Then they'll show you, for the last few sessions of the campaign. They'll show them alllllll. :xykon:



Thoughts on each Season:
I really like the idea of changing seasons from day to day, but in order for that to really matter there needs to not be a clear "best" season at any given character level. So here I'll go over the various Seasons and try to evaluate about how good they are at different levels.

Spring
So, Shocking Grasp is pretty situational. It's only good if you're against a few specific enemies that have really good reactions. But it has its uses, and honestly which cantrip you have isn't that important until level 14. After level 14 though you're unlikely to want to use Spring again.

At 2nd level, Thunderwave is one of the better first level spells available, though. So that's cool.

At 3rd level, both Shatter and Upcast Thunderwave are alright for your free 1/sr season spell.

At 5th level, Lightning Bolt is lame and nobody wants to be Spring barring niche scenarios.

At 7th level you want to be Spring again because Storm Sphere is cool and synergizes with your level 6 power. It gives you a 4d6+5 bonus action attack that also has some control goodies and creates a 2d6+5 terrain hazard, too. Also upcasts well enough that it remains relevant at 9th.

At 9th level Destructive Wave is a good choice, not so much because of its raw damage but because it has an immense area that excludes allies and also knocks people prone, and you still get a selection of stuff that's at least decent when upcast. And you've got a Line version of Fireball and Storm Sphere and the ability to Shatter objects or knockback people if you need to. Fairly versatile set.

At 14th level you go back to not wanting to be Spring again, because you want your ranged resourceless damage and Shocking Grasp doesn't do it for you. And because fire and cold immunity are probably going to be useful more often anyways. And because Storm Sphere is less attractive when you can just use bonus action cantrips with a Wis bonus to damage.

Summer
Firebolt is kinda meh early on, because it barely does more damage than Ray of Frost but lacks the lovely rider, and does less damage than Shillelagh. But it scales into loveliness, especially when you hit level 14.

At 2nd level, Burning Hands is alright. I mean normally I'd never cast the thing, but the fact that I get extra slots makes it less unattractive to me. It could really help clear out some groups of little guys at low levels, when said groups can be pretty nasty. 3d6 might not seem like much more damage than Thunderwave's 2d8, and it isn't, but when everyone only has a few hit points the higher average and more reliable distribution matters.

At 3rd level, Scorching Ray is an okayish blast. Also unlike Spring at this point, you have a choice between an upcast AoE and a higher damage option for single targets.

At 5th level, you get Fireball, which makes this a very attractive option. Spamming fireball with your Season slots is good stuff.

At 7th level, Wall of Fire can be a really good choice for certain kinds of party compositions, and can get your level 6 bonus damage multiple times.

At 9th level you get... Immolation. Ewww. :smallyuk: You are better off upcasting the other stuff.

At 14th level, Firebolt is great and makes you do resourceless damage comparable to a Warlock using Eldritch Blast / Agonizing Blast / Hex, and doesn't take your Concentration to do it. And Fire immunity is good against lots of stuff.

Autumn
Chill Touch: It's only better than fire bolt if you're expecting fire-resistant foes or healing ones. But neither of those things are all that rare, so this is worth keeping in mind. Or it would be, if this season was better.

At 2nd level, Ray of Sickness is a decent case for single targets (or cases where one target is the more threatening one on the field), especially if you have some form of access to Advantage for your ranged spell attack (which many party comps will). It's a Con save though for the Poisoned effect, and Poison is very commonly resisted, but I'd say this is the one moment where Autumn has a decent spell.

At 3rd level, Melf's Acid Arrow is icky and bad and you aren't using Autumn.

At 5th level, you get another Constitution save effect, which happens to also be another effect that doesn't work on poison-immune foes. Autumn isn't giving you a lot of versatility here... but at least this is a decent spell. I'd probably look at Sleet Storm (from Winter) or Plant Growth (with non-Season slots, while just taking Summer for Fireball) if I want to control people, though. So I'd say people still aren't using Autumn.

At 7th level, you get Vitriolic Sphere, which is... eh. It does slightly more damage than Fireball if it's hitting both rounds. I'd rather have the versatility of Fireball+Wall of Fire+Scorching Ray, not to mention more damage on many foes (and objects) with Fire Bolt instead of Chill Touch. So I'm still probably not taking Autumn.

At 9th level you get Cloudkill, which is like a tiny tiny version of Sleet Storm with some mediocre Poison damage added on. That's right, we got another Poison Damage / Con Save ability in Autumn that does nothing to all those Poison-immune enemies. Cloudkill is rated red on Treantmonk's Guide to Wizards for a reason, and so it's not going to make us start using Autumn now.

Autumn is a bit of a dud, really.

Winter
Ray of Frost is great. Nearly as much damage as Fire Bolt, and comes with a useful rider.

At 2nd, Ice Knife gives you a ranged AoE, which is rare at this level. And to make it better, it generally does more damage to its primary target than Thunderwave or Burning Hands would. Not bad.

At 3rd, you get Snilloc's Snowball Swarm. It is my humble opinion that Snilloc was not a very talented wizard. This does 3d6 damage to enemies in a 5 foot radius if they fail their Dexterity saving throw. Upcast Ice Knife does 1d10 damage to the main target (if the attack roll hits) and 3d6 damage in a 5 foot radius if they fail their Dexterity saving throw. The main thing this does better than upcast ice knife is that the 3d6 deals half damage on a successful save. And upcast ice knife isn't good!

At 5th, you get Sleet Storm, and Winter goes back to being awesome. Sleet Storm's area of effect is enormous and its control effects are potent. This is great.

At 7th, you get Ice Storm, which is like a lower damage Fireball (average 23 damage vs average 31.5 with a 4th level slot) that slows people's movement speed, guaranteed. It's not the worst, but if you're taking Winter it's still mostly for Sleet Storm and this is just versatility.

At 9th, you get Cone of Cold, which is like Fireball if it was a cone, dealt cold damage, and had a Con instead of a Dex save. It's okay I guess.

At 14th, Ray of Frost is a viable alternative to Fire Bolt (exchanging a little damage for pretending that you have the Warlock invocation that debuffs an enemy's speed with Eldritch Blast). And you've got some decent season spell versatility between fireball-a-likes and Sleet Storm. And while cold immunity doesn't come up quite as much as fire, it's still a fairly common damage type.



tl;dr: My initial impression is that it is a more efficient blaster than a Dragon Sorcerer (though it doesn't have quite the same peak nova damage, it's blowing it out of the water in basically every other category), is generally better than a Land Druid, and Autumn is a dud.

Possible avenue for further analysis: Comparing to something like a Sorlock?

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-07, 10:12 AM
<wall o'text>
Holy crap.

That was well worth waiting for.


Compared to a level 2 land druid, who gets 1 good set with 2 spells/level and 1 extra spell per day (assuming at least 1 short rest), you're getting 4 sets with 1 spell/level and 1 extra spell slot, plus 1 more per short rest. This means that on a DMG guidelines "standard adventuring day" you're getting 6 spells per day at level 2 instead of 3 (or 4 with Natural Recovery). Or that even if you only get 1 short rest, you're getting double the extra spell slots that Natural Recovery would give. This is clearly an advantage over Land Druid, unless one is going to argue that these particular spells are so much worse than the ones a Land Druid could have gotten with Natural Recovery that they're worth less than twice as much per slot.
...you're right, I did not quite process that. It was meant to be roughly analogous to Natural/Arcane Recovery, but my mind got the "once/day" and "during a short rest" bits muddled up. It should definitely be 1/long rest.


Seems reasonable to me. I notice that the wording means that reoccurring sources of damage get multiple boosts here, which benefits things like Melf's Acid Arrow and Immolation. Which isn't a bad thing, because those spells kinda suck normally and need all the help they can get.
Aye.



While Land Druids are getting a powerful full immunity to poison here, Poison tends to be easier to get resistance or immunity to than pretty much every other element, and one has to understand that all druids have 1-hour long, concentration-free resistance to poison with a low level slot at this point (and will be able to make the entire party immune to poison all day at level 11). By contrast, getting a few minutes of fire immunity requires a Concentration 6th-level spell.

Usually abilities like this (such as from the forge cleric or herald Barbarian) give you 1 element, and only give you resistance. Here we've got a choosable one for 4 good options, and full immunity. By contrast, there's a good deal of precedent for immunity to Poison and Disease. For example, Monks get that at the same level. And Paladins get immunity to Disease at third level. And of course I already mentioned that divine casters are good at dealing with it.

On the gameplay side of things, though, I really like the strategic element of a Druid being able to prepare for an adventure by choosing a damage resistance or immunity they think they'll need (and having that additionally connected to other benefits, lending additional depth and complexity to the strategic element). So I would definitely keep something like this in there.
There's a hidden balancing element in abilities like this one that link elemental offense to elemental defense: if you're preparing for, say, and arctic adventure, you'd want cold immunity but fire damage, which is pretty much the opposite of what you're getting here. Lightning and Acid are less likely to run into trouble offensively, but are also less useful types to resist. I can tune it down to Resistance, though, if you think it's still too much.


It's basically infinite Quicken Spell, except with the interesting caveat that it doesn't let you cast Cantrip + full spell (because the cantrip in this case was the bonus action, not the Action). Which makes it less troublesome than it might otherwise be; it's mostly boosting your resourceless damage. That said, it's making your resourceless damage pretty darned good. 8d10+10 (average 54) is about as much damage output as a Warlock throwing out 4d10+4d6+20 (average 56) Agonizing Blast/Hex EBs. And unlike a Warlock, you aren't using your Concentration, and have the versatility to drop half that damage in exchange for any non-spell Action.

This is way better than the lackluster ability that the Land Druid gets at this level. Beast and Plant attacks are mostly non-threats to a level 14 Druid anyways.
...you're right about the action thing. Dang. I wanted a little more offensive oomph, but not that much more. Adding a daily limit now.


So... yeah, this strikes me as a fair bit stronger than the Land Druid, even though I'd say the Land Druids tend to have better domain lists. But hey, the devil's advocate says, everyone's playing Moon Druids anyways. And perhaps you need some oomph to make Druids into a role they're not usually used to? Well then, let's compare this to other blasters. Say... Dragon Sorcerer?
You're right; it's definitely overtuned :/

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Spring
To be honest, I'm not supper happy with Shocking Grasp either, but there's a definite lack of ranged thunder/lightning cantrips-- Shocking Grasp, Lightning Lure, Booming Blade, and Thunderclap are all point-blank range spells. I'm open to suggestions, but... <shrug>


Summer
Fair enough assessment. I went with Burning Hands because it's the most iconic level 1 fire spell; things like Hellish Rebuke and Searing Smite don't really seem right. I'd argue that it kicks into high power at 5th/6th, when you're getting Fireball and Scorching Ray with bonus damage on each ray. Immolation is... not great, but the only other thing I can think of is Flame Strike, and why would you ever cast Flame Strike when you could cast Fireball?


Autumn
Yeah, this one was a definite struggle to find spells for. I was going for a death/decay type theme, but there aren't that many great damaging spells in that vein. I'd considered a more earth-y theme, but again, sparse selection, and most of the options are already on the Druid list. Do you have any suggestions? I suppose I could swap Chill Touch for Acid Splash, Ray of Sickness for...Inflict Wounds? Hunger of Hadar? Acid Arrow for... Ray of Enfeeblement? :smallconfused:, Stinking Cloud for Vamperic Touch, and Cloudkill for Negative Energy Flood?


Winter
Snowball Swarm is crap, yeah. I don't know if you noticed a theme, but 2nd level blasting is a very limited commodity.


I like it. It's like a more flexible version of the Land druid.

Switching every long rest seems a bit too much. It'd encourage the player to rest prior to every big encounter. Maybe allow it every 7 days? That'd allow it to switch every "gritty realism" long rest.
I don't think it encourages the 15 minute workday any more than long rest abilities already do.


The 10th level ability is way too lacking. This is the feature that gives other circles autohealing of summons, aoe damage, elemental forms... just a single immunity is too small, IMHO.
The 6th level ability is really good, on the other hand. I think it's probably okay? I guess I could add an Absorb Elements style bonus-damage-after-getting-hit-by-your-immune-damage-type thing, but I think the rest of the class is strong enough?

LudicSavant
2018-11-07, 12:50 PM
Holy crap.

That was well worth waiting for.
*Thumbsup*


...you're right, I did not quite process that. It was meant to be roughly analogous to Natural/Arcane Recovery, but my mind got the "once/day" and "during a short rest" bits muddled up. It should definitely be 1/long rest.
Changing it to 1/day would make a big difference, yeah.


There's a hidden balancing element in abilities like this one that link elemental offense to elemental defense
Yeah, I noticed this (I sort of alluded to it when I said that I liked the way it was connected to additional strategic considerations, though I guess I didn't make it clear that this was among the considerations I was thinking of). In my original assessment I was thinking something akin to "I could just build this like a Dragon Sorcerer with Elemental Adept and being one season most of the time, and then still swap to something versatile like Winter, or fall back on the fact that I'm a druid and have lots of other stuff" (e.g. Winter is good for reasons other than just damage).


Immolation is... not great, but the only other thing I can think of is Flame Strike, and why would you ever cast Flame Strike when you could cast Fireball?
Does it literally have to do fire damage, or can it just be summer themed? Winter has non-cold-damage options, for example (Sleet Storm!). Same thought for the other things where you said you just couldn't think of another option.

anonymsly
2018-11-07, 01:25 PM
Yeah, this one was a definite struggle to find spells for. I was going for a death/decay type theme, but there aren't that many great damaging spells in that vein. I'd considered a more earth-y theme, but again, sparse selection, and most of the options are already on the Druid list. Do you have any suggestions? I suppose I could swap Chill Touch for Acid Splash, Ray of Sickness for...Inflict Wounds? Hunger of Hadar? Acid Arrow for... Ray of Enfeeblement? , Stinking Cloud for Vamperic Touch, and Cloudkill for Negative Energy Flood?

Just out of curiosity, with the way the seasonal slots work, is there a reason other than 'less versatility' to choosing seasonal spells only from non-druid spell lists? Blight is right there as a possible 4th level seasonal spell option, and imo that's kind of the showcase death/decay spell.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-07, 01:26 PM
I dropped Seasonal Reserve to 1/day at max level, put a limit on Elemental Rage, and tweaked the Autumn list a bit.


Does it literally have to do fire damage, or can it just be summer themed? Winter has non-cold-damage options, for example (Sleet Storm!). Same thought for the other things where you said you just couldn't think of another option.
It doesn't have to be literal fire damage, but the main purpose of Seasonal Magic is to give the Druid access to the sort of all-in offensive power that they usually lack. I'm not really a fan of Sleet Storm being in there either, but... the 5e lists have some big holes in terms of elemental damage options. <helpless shrug>

AureusFulgens
2018-11-08, 03:53 PM
I dropped Seasonal Reserve to 1/day at max level, put a limit on Elemental Rage, and tweaked the Autumn list a bit.


It doesn't have to be literal fire damage, but the main purpose of Seasonal Magic is to give the Druid access to the sort of all-in offensive power that they usually lack. I'm not really a fan of Sleet Storm being in there either, but... the 5e lists have some big holes in terms of elemental damage options. <helpless shrug>

I heard you like homebrew, so I'll put some homebrew in your homebrew so you can homebrew while you homebrew.

Translation: that's something I've been working on addressing recently - especially for Acid and Thunder; there's a distressing shortage of spells in that department. So whenever I'm actually done creating my expansion pack of elemental damage spells (hopefully soon, though my actual job has some other demands on my time), I can share it here and point you to it.

I admit I'm a little perplexed by the Autumn theme. I get that you're trying to fit the other types of elemental damage into your subclass, but matching Autumn up with acid and poison and necrotic damage just feels strange thematically. Autumn isn't normally the season of sickness and death. (Do I have other ideas? No. No, I do not. So maybe I should shut up.)

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-08, 04:22 PM
I heard you like homebrew, so I'll put some homebrew in your homebrew so you can homebrew while you homebrew.

Translation: that's something I've been working on addressing recently - especially for Acid and Thunder; there's a distressing shortage of spells in that department. So whenever I'm actually done creating my expansion pack of elemental damage spells (hopefully soon, though my actual job has some other demands on my time), I can share it here and point you to it.

I admit I'm a little perplexed by the Autumn theme. I get that you're trying to fit the other types of elemental damage into your subclass, but matching Autumn up with acid and poison and necrotic damage just feels strange thematically. Autumn isn't normally the season of sickness and death. (Do I have other ideas? No. No, I do not. So maybe I should shut up.)
That would be neat to see!

Yeah, I... really am kinda stumped for autumn. I could maybe see an harvest/earth track, like Infestation/Earth Tremor/Earthen Grasp/Erupting Earth/Giant Insect/Wrath of Nature, but those are all already Druid options... maybe water, for autumn rains, with a bit of acid because that sort of goes along? Acid Splash/Grease/Acid Arrow/Tidal Wave/Vitriolic Sphere/Maelstrom isn't bad, though Acid Arrow still stinks...

ATHATH
2018-11-08, 05:02 PM
Elemental Rage should have a clause that makes the bonus action cantrip ignore the "you can't cast any leveled spells on the same turn that you cast a spell as a bonus action" clause.

Overall, this is an interesting Druid subclass. The Druid spell list is heavy on concentration spells, with few solid non-concentration spells on it to use while you're concentrating on a concentration spell. The Moon Druid subclass tries to get around this by letting you turn into an animal and spend your actions making martial attacks, but I also like this subclass's approach to that weakness of Druids.

jiriku
2018-11-09, 12:22 AM
If you're hard-up for elemental damage at specific levels, you might consider granting the ability to change the damage type of your spell damage to the seasonal element. So burning hands, for example, might deal acid, cold, or lightning damage depending on the season. In fact, with the ability to convert damage types you might not need to grant free prepared spells.

I'll go one further and propose something that I'm not at all sure is balanced. "Sorcerer spells that deal [your current seasonal damage type] are druid spells for you until you complete a long rest."

Thundersteel
2018-11-09, 11:56 AM
Regarding the changing of the Season every long rest - why not have it change when the Seasons -actually- change? You have the Autumn spell list when it's Autumn in-game, and so on.
It limits player flexibility, but it adds a lot of narrative juiciness.

Grod_The_Giant
2018-11-09, 12:23 PM
Elemental Rage should have a clause that makes the bonus action cantrip ignore the "you can't cast any leveled spells on the same turn that you cast a spell as a bonus action" clause.

Overall, this is an interesting Druid subclass. The Druid spell list is heavy on concentration spells, with few solid non-concentration spells on it to use while you're concentrating on a concentration spell. The Moon Druid subclass tries to get around this by letting you turn into an animal and spend your actions making martial attacks, but I also like this subclass's approach to that weakness of Druids.
I figure specific beats general takes care of that, but you're right in that it probably bears mentioning, thanks.


If you're hard-up for elemental damage at specific levels, you might consider granting the ability to change the damage type of your spell damage to the seasonal element. So burning hands, for example, might deal acid, cold, or lightning damage depending on the season. In fact, with the ability to convert damage types you might not need to grant free prepared spells.

I'll go one further and propose something that I'm not at all sure is balanced. "Sorcerer spells that deal [your current seasonal damage type] are druid spells for you until you complete a long rest."
I think you're right and I might need to throw in some "as Burning Hands, but acid."

I'd feel more comfortable with the second bit if 5e had spell tags like 3.5 did, so I could say "[Fire] spells" and have things be simple and objective.


Regarding the changing of the Season every long rest - why not have it change when the Seasons -actually- change? You have the Autumn spell list when it's Autumn in-game, and so on.
It limits player flexibility, but it adds a lot of narrative juiciness.
I considered it, but that would be really campaign dependent-- some campaigns have enough downtime for multiple season changes, and others take place over a matter of weeks. Might add a fluffy "on the first day of a season, you must attune" sort of thing, though.

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EDIT: Updated the Autumn list in particular, and added a few knockoff spells here and there to replace crappy options.