D&D 5e: Circle of Stars Druid Guide
Role in the Party
Many Druids concern themselves with worldly matters, acting as shepherds of the beast and forest. Druids who follow the Circle of Stars instead look up, concerning themselves with matters celestial, knowing that what happens above, reflects in the below.
Powerful casters in their own right, Druids who follow this Circle learn a toolkit that’s as varied as it is effective. Freely capable of dealing damage, keeping the party healthy, or even peering into the future in a limited manner, those who face these Druids expecting a simple stargazer are in for a wicked surprise. After all, the celestial bodies they channel and revere are made of radiance and flames…
This guide breaks down the Circle of Stars subclass for the Druid, including effective build options, subclass abilities, skill choices, and more.
Circle of Stars Features
Star Map: At level 2, the Druid of the Stars has created its own Star Map. This functions as a spellcasting focus and offers a number of benefits as long as the Druid is holding it. (It can be replaced in a free hour-long ritual if it’s lost or destroyed.)
The Druid knows the Guidance cantrip. A free cantrip is always nice to have, and this is one the Druid was going to take anyway, freeing up space for less used options.
The Druid learns Guiding Bolt. This normally Cleric exclusive spell is always prepared, does decent damage, especially at a low level, and gives Advantage on one attack against a target that gets hit! For a level 1 spell, this is a great little damage option to have in the back pocket.
The Druid can cast Guiding Bolt for free, an amount of times equal to their proficiency bonus per day. This is fantastic, especially at lower levels, where this will simply replace your cantrips with a blast that’s four times as powerful. But even at higher levels, the damage is still relevant, and Advantage is never a bad thing to grant to the party.
Starry Form: Not content with one powerful feature at this level, the Circle of Stars gets 2!
From 2nd level, instead of turning into an animal, a Druid of Stars can expend a use of the Wild Shape ability as a bonus action to become star touched and ephemeral, with constellations appearing on their body.
This ability lasts for 10 minutes, is disabled if the character is incapacitated or dies, and grants one of three effects:
Archer: When the form is activated, and as a bonus action every turn, the Druid can make a ranged spell attack against a creature within 60ft, dealing 1d8+WIS damage. Until level 5, this literally does around as much damage as casting a cantrip, doubling the class’s effective DPS, and can be used alongside spellcasting.
Chalice: Any time the Druid casts a spell that heals HP, the Druid or another creature within 30ft can regain 1d8+WIS HP as well.
While this is the most situational of the forms, it’s surprisingly useful in a lot of edge cases. Is the party going to short rest and wants to heal first? Pop this for extra free HP. Are multiple members of the party down? One Healing Word or Cure Wounds can get two people on their feet and moving again. While it might not come up often, when it does, you’ll be glad you had this.
Dragon: This form offers serious consistency on concentration checks and skills. Any roll for concentration, or on skills that require Intelligence or Wisdom, treat a roll of less than 9 as 9.
The only thing holding this ability back is the lack of CON save proficiency in the Druid class, but that still means, with 14 CON, the Druid can auto-pass concentration on any hit that deals less than 22 damage. Grab Con proficiency, and that number rises to at least 30.
The out of combat benefits are also really nice. I can see Circle of Stars Druids popping this to use with Insight, Survival, and Perception checks, to guarantee a roll of at least 15, which is enough to pass average checks pretty much every time.
Cosmic Omen: From level 6, the Druid learns to consult the stars, gaining limited vision into the future. After taking a long rest, the Druid rolls a dice. Evens are Weal (positive) and Odds are Woe (negative.)
Regardless of what’s rolled, the Druid can use their reaction to affect the attack rolls, saving throws, or ability checks of creatures within 30ft, an amount of times equal to their proficiency bonus per day.
Weal affects allies, and offers a d6 bonus to the roll. Woe affects enemies (with no way to stop it) and subtracts d6 from the roll.
This is essentially Bardic Inspiration, except it doesn’t consume any of the Druid’s other resources, and scales up in daily uses just by leveling. That’s obviously fantastic, especially since it’s gained at a low enough level that the character will get some real use out of this.
Twinkling Constellation: At level 10, the Druid’s connection to the stars deepens, increasing the power of Starry Form.
The damage of the Archer increases from 1d8 to 2d8
The healing of the Chalice increases from 1d8 to 2d8
When manifesting Dragon constellation, the character has a 20ft fly speed and can hover
Twinkling Constellation comes with a secondary bonus. At the start of each turn, the Druid can choose to freely change constellations.
Combat’s ended and now the party needs healing? Shift into Chalice for the bonus. Using Dragon for the reliability on exploration skills and an enemy leaps out of the shadows? Transform and blast them in the face.
Both of these buffs would be purple by themselves. Together, they’re absolutely fantastic, and a real mid-game power boost to the class, as well as increasing the utility of the less powerful constellations.
Full of Stars: From level 14, whenever the Druid is in their Starry form, they gain resistance to Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing damage.
This comes a little late to be truly relevant, but it’s a nice defensive buff nonetheless. The main advantage here is how often this is going to be active. For many combat encounters, this is simply another layer of defense the character gets, essentially for free.
The Circle of Stars is clearly designed to be a caster, and it fulfills that role admirably. It’s genuinely hard to look at the abilities that the subclass grants and find a bad one. Everything on offer is powerful, but more importantly, everything is also useful.
A lot of subclasses in 5e suffer from abilities that sound great but are so situational they simply never come up or have to be engineered to come into effect.
But the Circle of Stars just works. At low levels, it’s actually capable of out DPSing the dedicated damage dealing classes using class resources, leaving its spell slots free for big and impactful spells.
But the abilities on offer here can also allow a Star Druid to flex into supportive roles. The Druid spell list is full of buffs and debuffs that can seriously impact the battlefield. Add boosted healing, plus the ability to directly manipulate the rolls of friends and enemies from level 6 for a little bit of playing with probability, and all of a sudden the party is much more likely to succeed.
Into mid and high levels, the class continues to scale, making sure that things gained at early levels continue to be relevant, backed up of course, with higher level spellcasting.
Outside of combat, the Circle of Stars offers some useful utility buffs, something many Druids lack. The Dragon constellation of the Starry Form in particular offers skill consistency, something normally only seen on skill-focused characters like the Bard and Rogue.
The one big weakness of a Stars Druid is toughness. While it’s tougher than a Wizard at base strength, with medium armor, shields and a slightly larger d8 hit die, the Druidic spell list offers less reactive buffs, and the Stars subclass also doesn’t offer anything defensive until higher levels.
Put both of these facts together, and it quickly becomes clear that a Druid of the Stars really doesn’t want to get hit. Stay away from big, smashy enemies, and try to present less of a target than the party’s tanks, at least until melee is joined.
With that said, the class is also terrible up close. There’s nothing here that benefits swinging weapons around in any way. The Circle of Stars was always meant to be a spellcaster, through and through.
Finally, even though it gets out-of-combat benefits, a Stars Druid is still a Druid, which means a low amount of total skills known, and a lack of stats to deal with many of the knowledge and social skills to be truly effective on non-adventuring days.
Best Race Options
Protector Aasimar: Darkvision, two resistances, an extra cantrip, once per day healing, and the ability to, once per day, sprout wings and fire laser beams out of your eyes for extra damage. Yes. That’ll do nicely.
Fairy: Some once per day casting is great, but we’re here for flight. The flight that’s only limited by wearing medium or heavy armor (you can still carry a shield.) For a support caster, that’s just nasty.
Ghostwise Halfling: Small size doesn’t impact a spellcaster at all. Great stats, rerolling 1s, Advantage against fear, and the ability to telepathically speak to allies are all incredibly handy things to have.
Choosing the Right Skills
Every character, unless they have a good reason, should always take Perception. It’s the most rolled skill in the game, and Druids, with their naturally high WIS, are going to be good at it.
Limited skill slots mean that every skill choice should be one the character is good at. Insight is excellent, as is Survival. All the knowledge skills are also uniquely good on a Stars Druid, purely because of the Dragon constellation’s ability to ignore bad rolls.
Fey Touched: The Druid doesn’t get Misty Step, and a bonus action teleport is good to have on a class that doesn’t like being up close and personal.
The extra spell known adds some utility, but we’d recommend Hex, from the Warlock. The spell boosts damage by d6 every time you land an attack. The bonus action from the Archer constellation is a spell attack. That’s called synergy, right there.
Resilient (CON): Shift into the Dragon constellation. Pass every concentration check you have to take. Increasing your Constitution score is also never bad. No one turns down free HP.
Skill Expert: It might seem unusual to recommend taking a skill feat on a Druid, but the consistency offered by Dragon constellation on WIS and INT based skills is an unusual bonus.
Pick one skill you use a lot, and gain Expertise in it. Perception is a great choice here, but obviously, you should choose based on your campaign and party needs.
The feat also offers another skill proficiency and a variable stat boost. Overall, a very solid feat.
Archaeologist: Two skills that mesh with class abilities, a choice of adventuring toolkits, and a language are all great. Digging through ancient sites for their celestial knowledge is also a perfectly reasonable reason to be out adventuring.
Sailor: Perception, king of skills. Plus Athletics, not quite so useful for a caster. Navigator’s Tools make perfect sense with the subclass theme, and boat proficiency means you were probably a pilot before you struck out to adventure.
Acolyte: Insight and Religion make a whole lot of sense, and two languages add some social backup to the party.
Order Cleric: A one level dip gets us heavy armor proficiency, a skill, access to the Cleric spell list for some standouts like Bless and Shield of Faith, plus the Voice of Authority ability.
Voice of Authority is why we’re here. Whenever you cast a spell on an ally, they can spend a reaction to attack with a weapon. Between Druid and Cleric, you have a lot of spells that trigger this. Your striker party members will love you, especially if you have a character capable of major damage spikes, like Rogue or Paladin.
Life Cleric: If instead, you want to keep the party alive and kicking, Life Cleric offers the same general benefits, minus a skill, and comes with Disciple of Life, instead.
Disciple of Life adds 2 + spell level to any HP healed, every time a spell heals someone. Example combinations are Prayer of Healing from the Cleric (Level 2, up to 6 creatures gain 2d8 + WIS + 4 HP) or Aura of Vitality (Level 3, 2d6 + 4 HP up to 10 times) for almost double the healing efficiency per spell slot.
Divine Soul Sorcerer: Have some spare Charisma? Take a dip in the Sorcerer pool, and draw some energy directly from the heavens.
1 level offers a big bonus to a save or attack roll, as well as access to the Sorcerer (ooh, blasty) and Cleric (ooh, supportive) spell lists. That’s an absolute ton of low level spell flexibility. Up to 3 levels of Sorcerer to snag some Metamagic could be good, but any more starts to dilute the build a little too much.
Would I recommend playing a Circle of Stars Druid?
The Circle of Stars is in the running for the most powerful Druid subclass. While it might not have one single overwhelmingly powerful ability like the Moon’s ability to shift into a giant animal and maul people to death, everything it does is fantastically useful.
Even better, all of the abilities here build naturally on top of the base Druidic kit, offering abilities that your standard Divine caster doesn’t have access to, with a ton of flexibility in how and when they’re useful.
All of this means the Druid of the Stars comfortably fills the main spellcaster role in any party. Capable of dealing damage, healing, supporting, and debuffing, it can meaningfully contribute to every situation the party faces. It’s fun, it’s strong, and you should definitely play it.