When Underground Oracle Publishing dropped their new druid subclass – Druid Circle: Circle of Civilization – earlier this month, the description of an urban druid “[moving] throughout their chosen cities cultivating greenery” sparked quite a few campaign ideas in my head. The concept is especially potent due to the ongoing ramifications of climate change – wildfires, droughts, storms, and floods. As a person that tries very hard to avoid climate nihilism, I appreciated the timing of the publication.
The full description of the supplement paints a vivid portrait of a character archetype you can weave into any campaign, though it gave me distinct solarpunk vibes:
“Druids of the Circle of Civilization strive toward creating a balance between the cities of the continent and the natural world that surrounds them. Like their cousins, the silent guardians of the woods, these druids move throughout their chosen cities cultivating greenery, healing sickness before it can spread, protecting those who seek their stewardship, and tracking down those unnatural and unsavory things that would disrupt the harmony between the earthen realms and civilization that they seek to preserve.”
The abundant roleplay opportunities that could spawn from this subclass alone are fascinating and new to me as a player and dungeon master. Think of a druid eco-avenger set on cleaning up their home’s rivers by any means necessary. Picture a city run by Circle of Civilization druids, driven to create the world’s first closed-loop system of sustainability. A do-gooder that serves their deity and community by guerrilla gardening. Or maybe a druid just wants to protect the green space and parks of a growing town and must face the worst monster of all, local bureaucracy.
Features and Spells
The subclass features are evocative but flexible enough to adapt to your chosen settings. I was particularly enamored by the 2nd-level class feature Urban Grove, which involves a druid’s place of operations within a city. It provides a home-field advantage to druids – improved speed and movement, advantaged on Wisdom (Survival) checks, and always handy extra spell slots. The grove can be recreated if destroyed or re-made if the druid journeys to a new city, allowing this caster to put down roots wherever they go.
There’s also the 6th-level Reclaimed Guardian feature, wherein a druid can summon unused or discarded materials to create a construct. The supplement includes a statblock should you need to bring your trash golem into battle. Remember the adage: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Render a helpful eco-friendly minion to do your bidding.
The supplement also provides additional features at levels 2, 10, and 14, and new conjuration spells but I urge you to check out the supplement to find out more.