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Here is my homebrew Circle of Flames/Chaos subclass for druids:

Circle of Flame/Chaos

Lore/Calling: Fire burns the forest and out of the ash rises new growth, just like the fire that burns the weak trees, the Druids of the Cirle of Flames reap the weakness from people who have lost their way to leave the next generation to grow upon. Death is just a new begging and even evil can become a rich fertile ground for nature. These druids believe everything will burn one day to be re-born for a fresh start, as such they are a lot more flexible with morality.

One with the Flame

When you choose this circle at level 2 the spell Flame Blade doesn't require concentration and lasts until cancelled.

You can also change the shape of the blade but it doesn't affect the proprieties of the weapon.

Reforced Will

At 2nd level you no longer care what your armour is made of.

You also gain the Cantrip Control Flames as well as resistance to fire damage.

Shield Burn

Starting at level 6 you can coat your shield with flame as a bonus action, enemies that hit the shield in melee range take 1d4 fire damage. Increases damage to 1d6 at level 12 and 1d8 at level 18.

(Gain Advantage on constitution saving throws on your concentration spells when hit in melee range.)

Heat of Battle

Starting level 10 you are able to cast a spell that requires an action as a bonus action during your turn.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest

Re-Burn

Starting level 14 as a reaction you can absorb fire damage, friendly or otherwise. You may choose to fail your saving throw and heal for the amount of damage.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest

Does this build seem fair or is this too OP?
Just want to make a viable druid melee build around Flame Blade without adding extra attack actions.

Opinions? Balance changes? Is there something similar somewhere else?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 8 at 17:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is the part about advantage on Con saves between parentheses? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 8 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does "hit the shield in melee range"=miss an attack? \$\endgroup\$ – moskus4 Jan 8 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik I was thinking it would be too much, judging from most of the comments. I can significantly bump up the powers though. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephanos Jan 9 at 14:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Lastly, please take a look at the meta on homebrew; for a second iteration, best to write a second question with a link back to this one. Suggest you move the whole Circle of Flame/Chaos Edit01 to a new question. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 9 at 17:11
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One with the Flame

This ability is pointless when you get it. You can't actually cast Flame Blade until you hit level 3. Once you hit level 3, it's okay... it's one specific spell you can use without concentrating, but it's not a very good spell. It requires you to be in melee, and you can only ever make one swing per turn with the weapon.

You might want to consider adding Flame Blade to the prepped spell list by default, since this feature is useless if you don't have it prepared and it seems to be one of the main points of this subclass.

Reforced Will

Being able to wear any type of armor is a bit weird with the normal Druid fluff, but in no way overly powerful. It makes you a bit tougher, but still not as tough as a Ranger or Cleric. Besides, I'm pretty sure lots of DMs houserule away that restriction anyway.

Gaining a Cantrip is pretty minor.

Gaining Resistance to Fire Damage is pretty good, but then Forge Clerics also get it at 6th level, and a few races get a for free when they start out. So not overly powerful.

Shield Burn

This ability currently doesn't work. There is no such thing as "hitting the shield". Assuming it works on any attack made against you, that makes this into a very wimpy version of the Fire Shield spell, which is gained at about the same level. More a nuisance than a powerful trait imho.

Having Advantage on Constitution saves to maintain concentration when attacked in melee is a weaker version of one of the 3 bonuses you get for taking the War Caster Feat, so again, a fairly weak ability.

Heat of Battle

This is a single use of Quicken Spell, a Sorcerer's Metamagic option that normally costs 2 points. That is; a Sorcerer of the same level could do this about 5 times a day. Not very powerful.

Re-Burn

This is pretty cool, and would be very powerful, but at a single use per day it's not so strong. Especially at level 14, you're looking at turning maybe 20-30 points of damage into 20-30 points of health; useful, but not overwhelming. Keep in mind you still have Fire Resistance, which will cut the effectiveness of this trait in half. Even an Adult Red Dragon would only heal you for about 30 hp if it caught you in its breath. A Life Cleric could patch up the 30 damage in a single Cure Wounds.

All in all, I get an underwhelming feeling from this subclass. I think it needs a bit more oomph to really be viable, especially compared to the (very strong) Moon Circle druid. But I think even the Circle of the Land Druid is more exciting than this subclass, and those are generally considered to be pretty weak.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I think this is very good! One thing I'd add is that this feature set is (maybe obviously) rather reliant on the foes being suspectible to fire damage. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jan 9 at 6:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like I can add a significant power boost to most features. I will also try to add more "flavor" to the subclass, as I agree that its not very exciting. I tried too hard to keep its power to a minimum. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephanos Jan 9 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kviiri It's still a druid with plenty of spells that can be used against a fire immune entity. I theorized being able to choose the element of the blade, but in my opinion would make the subclass too broad. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephanos Jan 9 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik I got what you meant the first time I read it. but I agree that the wording is kind of ambiguous. Just adding "one swing per turn" would fix this. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Jan 10 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden you can't; the spell allows you to "make a melee spell attack as an Action", which means it doesn't work with Extra Attack, which triggers when you take the Attack action. This would be true for a spell like Shadow Blade, which creates a genuine weapon, but not with Flame Blade the way it's written. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 12 at 7:58
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Too many features compared to other Druid Circles

I compared your homebrew (Edit 01) to all of the "Circle of the Land" druids and found that you have more features. I offer this edit to bring it closer to the basic template, and explain why under each one. This may be a little more powerful than a standard land circle druid, but this circle does not get spell slot recovery! The intent is to retain the entire theme of fire, forest fires, and the burning away of old X to enable a new Y.

Note: one of the problems Druids have is that so many of their spells require concentration. This circle is no different in that respect.

Second Note: the question underwent a severe edit as I put this together. This answer may belong under a different question.


Circle of Flame

Fire burns the forest, and out of the ash rises new growth. Just like the fire that burns the weak and dead trees, Druids of the Circle of Flame reap the weakness from those who have lost their way, leaving the next generation a fertile soil to grow upon. Wind spreads forest fires, cleansing a greater area. Lightning starts forest fires when it strikes a dead tree; fiery death brings a new beginning. Even evil, consumed by flame, can provide fertile ground for Nature reborn. Circle of Flame druids believe that everything will burn one day, to be re-born for a new beginning.

Circle of Flame spells (Always Prepared)

at level 3 Flaming Sphere, Gust of Wind
at level 5 Wind Wall, Lightning Bolt
at level 7 Conjure Minor Elementals, Wall of Fire
at level 9 Conjure Elemental, Flame Strike

  • You may want to tweak this list by substituting in XGTE spells for listed spells above. Keep it thematic: Wind, Lightning, and Fire. I specifically did not choose heat metal since that has to do with man made metal ... not natural fire.
  • I added domain/circle spells to make it like other druid circles. Choices were based on fire and wind (which spreads forest fires) and lightning, which starts them. See below for call lightning and flame blade ...

Only You

When you choose the Circle of Flame at level 2, you gain the create bonfire cantrip. It doesn't require concentration and lasts until cancelled.

  • This is a bit of a power boost by not requiring concentration, but it maintains the "forest fire" theme. (It is a very interesting spell. XGTE).
  • As noted further down, it might be better to stick with a free produce flame cantrip to avoid the concentration problem.

Blazing Will

At 2nd level you can choose to add your Wisdom modifier instead of your Dexterity modifier to your armor class. You gain resistance to fire damage.

  • Removed the rest because you were overdoing features compared to other circles.

Heat of Battle

Starting at level 6, the flame blade spell is always prepared, as is the call lightning spell. When using flame blade, you can cast any fire, wind, or lightning spell as a bonus action.

  • This tries to retain your theme, and we may be boosting the power too far except for one thing: flame blade requires concentration. Because of that, call lightning (also requiring concentration) becomes an either or with this feature.
  • Normal concentration rules apply!

Flaming Soul

Starting at level 10 your flame blade base damage becomes 3d8. At higher levels: the damage increases by 1d8 for every slot level above second. When you cast flame blade you may also cast Investiture of Flame on yourself - it doesn’t require concentration.

  • This is a big boost to flame blade. As it's a level 2 spell, the "at higher levels" starts at 3. The power spike is pretty serious since this becomes a rare "you can have two spells being concentrated on at once" and that's a big exception. Added to the concentration-free bonfire, nobody else in the game gets this kind of benefit. We are testing the limits of power creep here. Therefore ...
  • ... you are better off simply giving the free 'produce flame' cantrip for free at level 2, rather than bonfire, because that gets around the concentration issue and be more balanced.

Phoenix Rising

Starting level 14, as a reaction, you can absorb fire or lightning damage dealt to a single friendly creature or yourself. The friendly creature, or you, instead heals for the amount of damage taken. This feature refreshes on a short or long rest.

  • Handy way to turn damage into healing, once each short rest. Helps you, or the party member, get 'new life' from fire. The whole "can fail a save" is too fiddly, and "choosing to fail a save" is a thorny issue in this edition. Best left alone. I can see a good argument for refreshing only on a long rest.

Having pared down the features of this circle, this is comparable to other circle druids but lacks the "arcane recovery" feature. That loss of spell slots gets to be more noticeable as you go up in level, but it is accounted for by the rare "dual concentration" and two extra "circle/domain spells." Of course, fire resistant / fire immune creatures will snicker if you get all up in their grill.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "Second Note: the question underwent a severe edit as I put this together. This answer may belong under a different question. " - Were you responding to the original version of the question, or the substantial revision that was edited in (and rightfully reverted)? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 10 at 3:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I responded to the first edit/revision that became part of the question, and which I recommended by a second question. Not sure what happened, and I guess a second question was not asked. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 10 at 4:14
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The second level feature doesn't scale well with a pure druid build and will later become irrelevant. Note that druid lvl 2 features almost always improve with higher levels.

If you're going for a more melee-oriented subclass, rework lvl 10 and 14 abilities.

The level 10 ability can work well in combination with a flame blade attack action, but I believe it should be able to be used more often. (short rest/number of times=wis mod). Adding another feature here could also work.

I think the level 14 ability is unclearly written. It needs a range and parameters for use. For example: "you can absorb fire damage dealt to a single friendly creature or yourself". As the feature stands, it can be interpreted as "I throw a bunch of rocks into the lava and heal myself to full HP". This ability is also very situational for a lvl-14 ability, unless the player is expected to use it in a metagaming-way. "I cast fireball on my team and heal"

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  • \$\begingroup\$ How is a Rogue going to be helped with the Flame Blade? You can't sneak attack with it, and you have to attack with Wisdom, which isn't exactly a Rogue's best stat. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 8 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ "The blade is similar in shape and size to a scimitar". Doesn't this make it a finesse weapon? \$\endgroup\$ – moskus4 Jan 8 at 20:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @moskus4: No. It's a spell effect. It's not mechanically a scimitar; it just looks like one (well, the shape of one). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jan 8 at 20:21

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