While most druids have an emphasis on the planet’s natural cycles, some still look to the stars. These druids, from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, formed a circle to track heavenly patterns and determine solar secrets. These are some of the most archive-focused druids, keeping maps and even libraries of stellar concepts. Realistically, they require more impressive underground or stone works to ensure their knowledge survives. But, how well does this order survive on a battlefield? Check out our Circle of Stars 5E guide to find out!
See Our Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything New Subclasses Guide
View the Constellations: Circle of Stars Druid
The Star Circle druid is a pseudo-support with some debuff effects. Their primary mechanic is replacing Wild Shape with Starry Form, which reduces your tankiness to instead give you a versatile series of actions; not as versatile as Wild Shape, admittedly, but it becomes better and better over time. In addition, this form works incredibly well as a durable caster druid, since you do not replace your AC in Stellar Form, and you get buffs for magic.
The Star Circle starts with two abilities. The first involves a star map. This map can be anything that a druid can hold that can tell you information about the solar cycles. This star map is your spellcasting focus.
While holding this map, you have these benefits:
- You know the Guidance cantrip.
- You have the Guiding Bolt spell prepared. It counts as a druid spell for you, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can have prepared.
- You can cast Guiding Bolt without expending a spell slot. You can do so a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and you regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
So, you can replace a lost map using a 1-hour ceremony, which can be performed during any rest, and destroys your previous map.
Obviously, having a free spellcasting focus is pretty alright. This thing will replace a weapon or shield, though, so keep that in mind. You really want to hold this map, because it gives you so much.
Guidance is a cantrip that most druids would like, so you essentially get one free cantrip slot. That’s rare! And Guidance is great, so make sure to use it if there’s nothing else to do.
Guiding Bolt is arguably great. It deals 4d6 damage, which is a ton, but not quite as much as it was at level 1. It’s also a free spell slot, so being a decent damaging spell (with the upside of granting Advantage to other attacks) is solid.
If that wasn’t good enough, you also get to throw it 2 or more times per day for free! Remember, if you cast it for free it’s a level 1 spell. So it does 4d6 at level 2, and 4d6 at level 20. Even so, being able to grant advantage for your allies will always be stellar, and there are reasons to use the Guiding Bolt instead of cantrips.
Other than your map, your primary gimmick provides additional options for Wild Shape. This ability can be spent as a bonus action, which turns your body into a luminous figure, like a jellyfish. Except instead of nerves, you see stars and solar bodies. You are about half as bright as a torch; 10 feet bright, 10 feet dim. You can dismiss it freely, lose it due to getting knocked out, die, or use the feature again. Otherwise, it’s 10 minutes. When you transform, choose one of the following constellations.
Archer. When you activate this form, and as a bonus action on your subsequent turns while it lasts, you can make a ranged spell attack, hurling a luminous arrow that targets one creature within 60 feet of you. On a hit, the attack deals radiant damage equal to 1d8 + your Wisdom modifier.
Chalice. Whenever you cast a spell using a spell slot that restores hit points to a creature, you or another creature within 30 feet of you can regain hit points equal to 1d8 + your Wisdom modifier.
Dragon. When you make an Intelligence or a Wisdom check or a Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration on a spell, you can treat a roll of 9 or lower on the d20 as a 10.
Archer is your most common choice. Being able to spend a bonus action each turn to wack someone for the damage of a longsword is pretty fantastic. It’s also a ranged spell attack, and thus benefits from your enchantments. The damage isn’t bad, and eventually scales up a bit.
During panic times, Chalice is going to come in handy. Say, for example, two characters got knocked out in the same turn. You turn into Chalice and use Cure Wounds on one. That means you raise one of your allies, and then your Chalice effect can heal an additional ally! Really good, but only when you desperately need to heal people. And this does allow you to use healing Word to heal 1d4+1d8+Double Wisdom. That’s a huge bonus action!
Finally, Dragon… I don’t know what situation would be best for Dragons. It can be useful for investigations outside of combat, or if you desperately need to keep concentration. But if you needed to maintain concentration, then the Dragon is a pretty expensive way to try and do it. Why wouldn’t you use Archer and just use your Archer ability to deal damage instead? Use Dragon if you’re spending a huge spell slot and are worried about your Concentration check. Otherwise, there might be better ways to use this ability… (Wait until level 10).
At level 6, the Star Map can give you some secrets. Roll any dice you wish (as long as it’s a standard one). Your new reaction is based on whether you rolled even or odd on the die.
Weal (even). Whenever a creature you can see within 30 feet of you is about to make an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, you can use your reaction to roll a d6 and add the number rolled to the total.
Woe (odd). Whenever a creature you can see within 30 feet of you is about to make an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, you can use your reaction to roll a d6 and subtract the number rolled from the total.
This reaction can be used a number of times per day equal to your proficiency modifier.
Weal and Woe are random, so it doesn’t matter which one is better. But when should you use each one?
Weal is most useful on allies, of course. However, you can’t use Weal after the roll is made. Therefore, you have no idea if the d6 is needed, or could be helpful or not. So, you’re throwing an average of +4 on a roll that might not need it. So, use Weal if an ally is spending a resource (say, a Wizard casts Disintegrate) to ensure that the attack lands. Or, if there’s a really important saving throw to make, then your +4 average will be handy to make sure one of your allies survive.
Woe is just the opposite. Is the enemy Wizard about to throw a deadly attack roll spell? Nuke the attack roll with a d6. Is that same Wizard rolling a saving throw against your best spell? Nuke their saves!
These reactions are at their best when you use them to ensure that your resource expenditures are safe.
Finally, at level 10, your Starry Form scales!
The constellations of your Starry Form improve. The 1d8 of the Archer and the Chalice becomes 2d8, and while the Dragon is active, you have a flying speed of 20 feet and can hover.
Moreover, at the start of each of your turns while in your Starry Form, you can change which constellation glimmers on your body.
I don’t think I need to say that 2d8 is better than 1d8. This is a larger buff to Archer than Chalice, since all you needed Chalice for was to bring one other character out of unconsciousness. Still, you’re getting even more healing value whenever you cast any healing spell. That’s something!
Dragon also has a reason to exist now. You can outrange any non-flying enemy by simply flying up. That means you can concentrate on your spells, and only can get hit by ranged attacks. That’s a big boon, and also gives Dragon additional utility by being a way to fly without spending spells… For what that’s worth.
Being able to swap constellations each turn is the actual buff this gives. Now, based on your situation, you can get the constellations you need. Casted a big spell that you need to concentrate on? Dragon is your choice, and then you can fly away. Finished that spell and the fight’s still going? Archer can pick off stragglers. This means you can confidently start a fight in Archer or Dragon and swap based on the scenario, which is exactly what this ability needed.
Full of Stars
The final ability you get at level 14 is a final buff to your Starry Form.
While in your Starry Form, you become partially incorporeal, giving you resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
So, you get Barbarian Rage resistances while you’re floating around, which ignore any sort of magical weapon bonuses. That’s exciting! It makes up for the fact that you’re losing temporary hit points. If you got to this point, you are officially almost as tanky as the Wild Shape variant, with a ton of unique utility. Unfortunately, you can’t spam Wild Shape to heal for a whole lot every turn. But at least you resist a lot!
Best Race for Star Circle Druids
Star Circle druids are heavily reliant on Wisdom. Afterwards, Constitution can keep you alive and Dexterity boosts your AC. Intelligence might make sense as a fourth stat, since Strength isn’t really necessarily required.
This might be a weird choice, but these elephant people from Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica are pretty awesome. They have +2 Constitution, +1 Wisdom; perfect if you’re looking for a tank. They can carry a ton, have trouble getting frightened, and their Trunk is insanely useful. You can theoretically hold your map in your trunk and still wield a weapon! They’re also great at smelling, funny enough. Their final benefit is their natural armor, which allows you to ignore Dexterity and instead use some Constitution. Besides… these guys would totally read star maps.
The Githzerai are psionic warriors from Mordekainnen’s Tome of Foes. +2 Wisdom, +1 Int is not quite perfect, but it’s close enough to be reasonable. The Githzerai have the benefits of Mental Discipline, making them nearly impossible to charm or frighten. Their other benefit is Githzerai Psionics. This starts them with Mage Hand, a great cantrip, and slowly improves to grant Shield and Detect thoughts. These are spells that are nowhere on the Druid spell list, so it’s an additional utility for a utility-based class. The Gith aren’t perfect, but they just make too much sense!
Conclusion – Our Take on the Circle of Stars
The Circle of Stars is one of the best options for a strict caster druid in the game. They have a ton of versatility, great late-game power spikes, and fantastic support abilities. Is it better than Circle of the Land? Arguably, there might be reasons to take one or the other. If you want more subclasses with this fantastic flavor, then grab Tasha’s Cauldron, because there’s loads of things like that!
starry form doesn’t replace wild shape.. it just makes use of that feature for this, as an option.
I tweaked the wording, thanks.
Can you activate chalice and cast healing word in the same turn or do you have to wait since they’re both bonus actions?
You couldn’t do it all in the first turn. You only get one bonus action, and you can’t use a regular action to take a bonus action. Once you active chalice you’ve got 10 minutes of it, though, and there are other healing spells that do not use up your bonus action.