D&D 5e: Half-Orc Druid Guide
Half-Orcs, as the name suggests, are the unfortunate and shunned product of humans and orc. Because of their orcish tusks, sloped foreheads, and harsh pigmentation, they struggle to fit in with human societies. Because of their diminished stature compared to full-blooded orcs, they similarly struggled to fit in properly with orcish societies.
This combination of brutish strength and endurance along with the determination and agility that comes from their human ancestry results in a formidable force. If half-orcs are typically brutish barbarians, and druids are priests of nature, worshipping the Earth, fire, moon, sun, trees, water sky, the amalgam of this certainly makes for an interesting character.
A half-orc, who gets +2 points to STR and +1 point to CON, is a seemingly unlikely pairing for a druid whose primary attribute is WIS and whose saving throws are WIS and INT. Because druids rely so heavily on WIS for spell casting, we need to ensure we load up on WIS. Abilities other than WIS aren’t essential for druids, because we rely on our Wild Shape forms which our abilities do not affect. However, we still do rely on some secondary stats; we want to take advantage of our ancestry and pump CON for a few extra hit points for survivability, some DEX for extra AC while not in Wild Shape, and a little sprinkle of STR and INT for carrying some extra loot and knowledge. Except for roleplay, we don’t need any CHAR.
Druids have two core subclasses; Circle of the Moon (Wild Shape focus) and Circle of the Land (spellcasting focus). As a half-orc druid whose power comes from the forces of nature, either path can be useful depending on your playstyle. Circle of the Land druids can crush their enemies with crowd control magics like entangle and call lightning while Circle of the Moon druids have much greater shifting ability. Because druids have access to some healing spells, Circle of the Land druids can also play a versatile support/crowd control/healer role.
Feats, Skills, and Proficiencies
A druid begins with a d8 hit die, light and medium armor proficiency (druids can’t, however, wear metal armor or shields due to their connection with the land), as well as simple weapon proficiency. Our proficiencies and equipment don’t matter though when we’re scouting above as an eagle or tearing throats as a wolf in Wild Shape forms.
Half-orcs range between 5 and just below 7 feet tall and have a base walking speed of 30 ft. Thanks to our orc-blood, we have free access to Darkvision. We also have proficiency in Intimidation from our Menacing appearance.
We start with two free features – Relentless Endurance (if we are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed, we drop to 1 instead (once per long rest)) and Savage Attacks (a critical hit on a melee attack results in an additional damage die rolled and added to the damage of the crit (this works in Wild Shape)). Half-orcs can speak, read and write common and Orc (Orc uses the Dwarven script), and because of our class, we can also speak, read and write Druidic.
Our skill choices are arcana, animal handling, insight, medicine, nature, perception, religion, and survival. Perception is crucial, and we may want arcana, nature, or religion as well.
Starting at the 2nd level, we can assume the shape of a beast we have seen before. To begin with, the max CR is 1/4 and we cannot assume a form that can fly or swim. At the 4th level, we can assume a form at ½ CR and can swim and at the 8th level, we can assume a form at 1 C/R and have no movement limitations.
From the 18th level, we can begin casting many of our druid spells while assuming a different form.
We can stay in beast shape for half our druid level in hours – or earlier using a bonus action on our turn. If we die or fall unconscious, we revert to our original form.
At the 20th level we can use Wild Shape an unlimited number of times with our Arch Druid feat.
At the first level, a druid has access to two cantrips from the druid spell list. We gain spell slots as we level up (see table below). Your spell save DC is 8 + proficiency bonus + WIS modifier, and your spell attack modifier is your proficiency bonus + WIS modifier.
While most half-orcs tend towards chaos and evil, druids tend towards neutral.
Druids are typically wardens of nature, gaining their power from the forces of nature or a nature deity. Maybe our half-orc hero was shunned from the homeland of both his mother’s kin and his father’s kin, and he found peace and tranquillity in the wilderness.
He began to learn how to wield Her powers to better protect her. Perhaps a significant danger in your campaign is arising that threatens the balance of his home, and our half-orc hero must pick up his gnarled staff and adventure off to combat the threat.
The hermit or sage backgrounds are probably the most appropriate backstories for our character, but it depends on what you want to play.