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I have a homebrew campaign where tinkering with class mechanics is encouraged to suit your character, I just want to make sure it isn't horribly unbalanced.

I have an idea for a divination/stars/universe/fate obsessed character, lumbering, slow, strong, wise, warm. Heavy armour melee/mid-field support. However, I don't really like the Twilight Domain's Channel Divinity, so instead I looked at the Circle of Stars Druid.

Would it be unbalanced to allow this druid character to use the Cleric spell list instead of the Druid's alongside the features provided by the Circle of Stars? If relevant I do not foresee them ever employing the traditional use of wildshape.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to our stack! Unfortunately, unless we know what other Homebrew and whether Homebrew builds have happened at your table, we can't tell you if you're out of balance with them. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 15 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! Some players at our table twist a mechanic to fit their character and some do not so I guess I'm trying to ensure I don't overstep the efficacy of the published Twilight and Stars subclasses \$\endgroup\$ – Sigh Martini Mar 15 at 16:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited your question to narrow the scope to align with your question's title. Please review and revise if I have altered your intent. \$\endgroup\$ – Pyrotechnical Mar 15 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ just to clarify, are you looking for balance considerations against the standard book and not whatever rules or build you have at the table? Do you currently have any clerics at the table? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Mar 15 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I'm trying to ensure I don't overstep the efficacy of the published Twilight and Stars subclasses \$\endgroup\$ – Sigh Martini Mar 15 at 21:04
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You are probably fine for balance, but might not get what you want

Why this might not be the right homebrew for you

You say you want "...strong... Heavy armour melee/mid-field support" But you want to achieve this by swapping the classes spell lists. Druids can't wear metal armor, don't have access to spells like shield or mage armor, this makes them rely on dex to have some semblance of defense. Low defense, low strength goes against your stated goal. To achieve your desired goal, you basically need to get rid of the metal armor restriction. But that is a major boost to the druid (+2 or +3 AC depending on dex). Perhaps you can talk to your DM about giving up the traditional wildshape for lifting this restriction. But at this point, we have basically taken the druid, and turned it into a cleric, just with a very strong subclass. From what you describe, the cleric sounds like the right class for this character. So before going all in on the star druid. Consider if any of these could be a simpler fix for you:

  • Is there a way you can change the twilight cleric into something you do like?
  • Can you re-flavor another domain, that you do like the mechanics of, and just rename it.
  • Cleric domains are relatively easy to homebrew, they all follow a set structure, can you make your own domain, possibly inspired by the star druid?

Would it be unbalanced

Now I am still going to attempt to answer your stated question, note that I am only considering swapping the spell lists, not any lifting the metal armor restriction or anything else.

As full casters, both druid and cleric tactics are largely dictated by their spell list. Swapping the two lists, I would expect the druid to play more like a cleric.

To discuss balance, we must have a balance point, we must ask our selves, is this weaker or stronger than x. I am going to use the cleric as the balance point, because I would expect this character to play more like a cleric.

Level 1-4: Our druid gets a lot of utility out of wildshape, and the extra castings of guiding bolt, plus the archer form makes us a range focused character. We have low defense, so a traditional cleric would typically do less damage, but be more tanky. Wildshape however lets the druid be one of the best scouts in the game and probably puts this in the favor of the druid.

Level 5-9: Spirit Guardians is an amazing spell, that incentivizes both our homebrew druid and a regular cleric to get close to the melee, but the cleric having the better defenses, they will probably come out on top. At this point we will probably start using Dragon form, to make sure we keep concentration on spirit guardians, and use the spiritual weapon spell to attack with our bonus action. While the traditional cleric probably have to spend a feat on resilient constitution or warcaster to make sure they don't lose concertation. There isn't really any feat we can take to increase our defense, because of the no metal armor restriction, so best we can do is a dex boost for AC or wisdom boost for spell save DC.

Level 10+: We can now fly in our dragon form, making it a lot easier to stay safe while using spirit guardians, at least when there is a high ceiling or we are outside. At this point it is important to note that any full caster is very strong at level 10+, I think with the addition of a fly speed, we can mitigate the druids major weakness of low AC enough that we can give a slight edge to the druid, but not much.

Overall, I don't think it will be a major balance concern, but starting out with a range focus, and ending out hovering above the battlefield just out of melee range. Doesn't sound like the character you wanted to make.

Final advice

As a final piece of advice, this a major change you are considering, talk with your group and your DM before the game starts. If one spell I haven't considered turns out to do something broken with druid features, just ban that one spell. Nothing wrong with banning a spell mid campaign as long as all parties agree the game will be better without it. Agree from the beginning how to go about it, will you talk about it after the session, or will you ban mid session if something comes up.

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Just swapping the spell lists should be fine

Neither the Druid nor the Cleric spell lists are particularly stronger than the other. Clerics have 27 exclusive spells on their list, while Druids have only 17, although that's likely due to the fact that druids share more spells with rangers than clerics do with paladins. Out of just over 100 spells each, both lists have 41 spells in common.

The main thing, though, is that none of the spells are more powerful than the other options, they just serve different functions. Changing which spell list you pick from is unlikely to affect the power level of your character in either direction.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the real concern here is something like, "do any of the uniquely cleric spells synergize partiuclarly well with the druid's class features". But I don't want to do that work. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Markov Mar 15 at 17:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is missing druid specific analysis, how does this interact with those abilities, if at all \$\endgroup\$ – AncientSwordRage Mar 15 at 18:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ It interacts with the Druids abilities the same way that the druids spell list does. There are no spells that are significant enough to make mention of, and no spells with special interactions that clerics have and druids lack. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Mar 15 at 19:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ The DMG guidance in chapter 9 seems to agree with you if you want to add it that to the answer \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 15 at 20:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Our input was not asked for in regards to other changes, only for the spells. Any other changes made are outside the scope of the question as of the last edit by OP. We weren't asked if heavy armor proficiency would be a problem, we weren't informed that they would be getting heavy armor proficiency, only a side note that it was part of the flavor they were going for. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Mar 15 at 20:50

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