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I'm looking to create a custom druid circle - one of fire, as I'm making a solo campaign and they wanted to be able to be a fire druid essentially.

These are the spells I've chosen;

Druid Circle - Fire

  • 3rd - Flame Blade, Scorching Ray
  • 5th - Call Lightning, Fireball
  • 7th - Conjure Minor Elementals, Elemental Weapon
  • 9th - Conjure Elemental, Wall of Fire

Do these seem unbalanced or unfair? She's the only player character, so I was thinking about giving a Cure Wounds in there, but she could just as easily learn that from levelling up anyway and I'd say it's a fairly essential spell.

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As long as the spells are of the correct level it should be balanced

Let's talk about what we mean by balance.


Option 1: "Will these bonus spells cause the character to be significantly more or less powerful then a character is expected to be at a given level?"

As long as the bonus spells are all of a level the character would be able to cast normally (that is no 3rd level spells before level 5, no 4th level spells before level 7, and so on) then any set of spells will be balanced. We know this because a different standard character would be able to cast these spells at the same level and we assume that character is balanced.


Option 2: "Will these bonus spells cause a druid to be significantly more or less powerful than is expected for a druid to be at this level."

To address that concern we would need to look at the spells that other druid circles get, how those spells work in play, and workup some sort of ranking system to determine equivalency. Circles that provide more spells from outside of the druid's spell list would be expected to lead to stronger druids as they provide more options.

An easier way of approaching this would be to play test the new circle and see if, in the fullness of time, the new circle felt unjustly more powerful than standard circles.


Which type of balance should you care about? With a solo campaign there is no risk of this player overshadowing other players; they are the only player! So your only concern needs to be if your new circle is going to break the expected power level as the player progresses and some different bonus spells won't do that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "As long as the bonus spells are all of a level the character would be able to cast normally (...) then any set of spells will be balanced." Since each spell level contains some extremely good spells and some relatively weak spells, this may be oversimplifying - unless the power difference between the two ends of the "goodness" scale is negligible. If it isn't negligible, a circle that happens to give them predominantly all the weakest spells, or all the strongest spells, might not be balanced. You may wish to make some mention of this. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 5 '16 at 1:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener For balance at a given level it's irrelevant. You could construct another character of a different class but same level that would have access to whatever spells you granted via bonus spells, so simple access to those spells is necessarily balanced at a given level. For balance between druid options I covered that separately. \$\endgroup\$ – Ceribia Feb 5 '16 at 2:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener It is possible there could be an interaction effect, say there is some 3rd level druid-only spell that is incredibly powerful when paired with some 3rd level wizard-only spell and by granting the wizard-only spell as a bonus you end up with a 5th level druid with some normally inaccessible OP combo. I don't know of any such combinations, but if they exist I would be very, very interested. \$\endgroup\$ – Ceribia Feb 5 '16 at 2:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ well looking through the Druid spells, they don't have very many fire-based spells at all so most of these are non-Druid spells, but like you said, if anything will unbalance the game, it won't be a few bonus spells from a Druidic circle I suppose! Thank you, just helps to have another point of view! \$\endgroup\$ – Jamie Brace Feb 5 '16 at 14:46
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Firstly, as a solo campaign, 'balance' isn't so much of an issue. If she wants to play a fire Druid, making a fire Druid even roughly in line with the standard classes is fine.

Secondly, the actual details of your circle. The only big thing I can see is Fireball - but the Light Cleric gets that anyway. You're swapping domain features like damage for the Druid's nature abilities and the weak wild shape. It's about even.

Having cure wounds for a solo isn't that much: you're only getting one action per turn. Is it the best thing you can do in that turn? Certainly for a solo PC it's not too much.

Slightly aside I would advise for a solo campaign that a beastmaster archetype or at least having a familiar. I've run solo for my brother before, without a group, many encounters (of the straight-up standard fight) are basically luck or attrition, far more so than in a group.

Only those where the PC approaches something with many non-fighting options (sneaking, distracting, bluffing etc.) are not foregone conclusions. Your druid having options such as summoning is a pretty good choice for solo.

Beastmaster, familiar, summoner, anything with more 'boots on the ground' gives plenty of options, which is far more important in solo than in group, so summoning for this custom circle is especially nice for solo

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Is there some basis on which the post can improve? Where's the contradiction sit? What are the issues with using beastmaster that affect a solo campaign - is there a way to work around them, or is it just flat out problematic? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 5 '16 at 2:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Didnt't word it well, did I? I didn't mean an encounter would be both luck and foregone/attrition, I meant every solo straight-up fight will be either luck OR forgone/attrition. Put two first level Wizards against each other and the initiative will decide it all. A high level figher against a group of hobgoblins will be decided by HP, damage, and be down to attrition. There are fewer variables in solo. Didn't communicate that well, apologies! ..... In terms of the beastmaster, the pet's able to explore, surprise, be a mount, shield, etc, excellent. Its combat lack's less important for solo. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Stening Feb 5 '16 at 18:36

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