In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Druid Class Build Guide I’m going to be covering my Druid Build for Early Access, and showing you what I’ve found to work best. I’ll be doing more Build Guides at the launch of Baldur’s Gate 3, but for now, let’s look at how you can use an Druid effectively in the first Act of the game.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Builds: Druid Guide
Druids are Divine Spellcasters that not only cast damaging spells, but can also heal and take the shape of different creatures via their Wild Shape Class Feature. Wild Shape is what really sets the Druid apart from other Classes, and in Early Access Druids can currently change into 7 different animals including: Dire Wolf, Raven, Badger, Polar Bear, Cat, Deep Rothe, Spider and Aberrant Intellect Devourer, but more are expected upon full release of the game.
Each of these animals not only has their own Hit Points, Abilities and Attacks, but they also have various Features that allow the Druid to do much more than it ever could in its human form. For example, the Badger can burrow underground, allowing him to go under obstacles that might be in his way. Or for example, the Raven allows the Druid to fly great distances, making it possible to reach places he wouldn’t otherwise be able to. However, because these things are extremely powerful, the Druid can only use Wild Shape 2 times before needing to Short Rest to recover this ability.
One really important thing to note about Wild Shape as well, is that changing into a creature gives you a separate health pool for that creature, completely independent to the health pool of the Druid before it shifted. And when that health pool is depleted, the Druid simply changes back into its human form with the same health he or she had before using Wild Shape. This makes Druids who use Wild Shape in combat extremely durable, since they essentially have 2 health pools.
Druid Character Creation
In this section we’ll take a look at how to setup your Druid during Character Creation for the best results. You don’t have to follow this to the letter, and it’s likely this will change at full launch of the game. However, this will hold you in good stead during Early Access.
For Background I suggest taking any that provides you Wisdom Skills, since Druids need a good amount of this Ability to hit targets with their Spells. These are: Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception and Survival. Ideally you’d have all 5 of these if possible, but you’re more likely to get 3 out of 5.
The first Race I think works well for the Druid Class is Gold Dwarf. Not only does it provide +1 Wisdom, which allows you to get to 16 Wisdom during Character Creation, in gives you +2 Constitution which increases your HP when not using Wild Shape, and allows you to pass Concentration checks more easily should you get hit while Concentrating on a spell. Wood Elf is also a decent choice, because it provides +2 Dexterity and +1 Wisdom, which helps with Armour Class when not using Wild Shape, and still allows you to get to 16 Wisdom during Character Creation. Last but not least is Human, which allows you to get to 16 in Wisdom, Dexterity and Constitution if you want, though you will have to dump all 3 other Abilities.
Note that while using Wild Shape your Strength, Dexterity and Constitution Modifiers will be replaced by those of the creature you shift into, though you will retain your Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma Modifiers. For this reason Strength is not needed for the Druid in Early Access. However, because you cannot cast spells while shifted, you will get benefit from Constitution and Dexterity when you are not.
For Skills again it’s not super important, but you’ll have high Dexterity and Wisdom, so selecting Skills that fall under these Abilities is ideal. Dexterity has: Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand and Stealth, and I’ve already listed what Wisdom Skills there are.
Your primary Ability as a Druid is Wisdom, as this makes your Spells more effective in combat, and can even increase the damage you deal in melee combat if you use the Cantrip Shillelagh. For this reason you’ll want at least 16 in this Ability during Character Creation, and likely 18 later on.
Constitution and Dexterity are really the only other Abilities that have use, but they have no effect when you are shifted, so they aren’t as useful as they could be. If you plan to cast Spells more often than use Wild Shape in combat (such as if you’re a Circle of the Land Druid), then you will get more use from these. Get these to at least 14 each. Note that Medium Armour only allows a bonus of +2 Dexterity, so you don’t need more than 14 Dexterity.
You can dump Intelligence, Charisma and Strength if you want, but you won’t be able to use the best Medium Armour in Early Access if you have less than 10 Strength. Your Ability Spread should look something like this:
Druid Level 1 Spells, Cantrips & Concentration
During Character Creation you’ll be given many Spells, but you’ll have to choose which to “Prepare”. You can only cast your Cantrips and Prepared Spells, otherwise if you wish to use your other Spells that are not Prepared, you must Prepare them first. Every time you level up as a Druid you will be able to Prepare more and more Spells. Unlike the Wizard or Warlock, you will be able to Prepare any spells you know, and Druids know ALL the Spells on their Spell list (just like Clerics). Note that you can only use the Cantrips you select during Character Creation, so choose wisely.
There are a few good Cantrips the Druid can use, and Thorn Whip is one of them:
Thorn Whip deals damage and pulls enemies towards you. This is great for fights that include elevation, as it allows the Druid to pull enemies down from below, removing the Advantage of the target, and sometimes flinging them a long distance downward, which can damage or kill enemies.
Shillelagh allows the Druid to buff specific weapons you might be using, changing the damage roll of the Weapon to a d8, and using Wisdom for your Attack and Damage Rolls with that Weapon. Since you should have dumped Strength anyway, this is a great way to boost your melee damage. Druids do melee sometimes, so it’s nice to have. It doesn’t require Concentration, so you should have this active constantly.
Produce Flame not only deals damage, but also creates light around the target struck. This allows you and party members to strike those in the light more easily, because if there is not enough light then attackers have Disadvantage if they don’t have Darkvision.
Some Druid Spells require Concentration in order to remain active. You can tell which these are because it will say on the Spell itself. Concentration can be broken if you cast another Spell that requires Concentration. So for example if you cast Fairie Fire on an enemy, but then you cast Flame Blade, you would stop “Concentrating” on Fairie Fire and begin Concentrating on Flame Blade.
But, that is not the only way Concentration can be broken. If you take damage while Concentrating on a Spell then you must make a Constitution Saving Throw, and if you fail then the effect of that Spell ends. Should you succeed in your Saving Throw, however, then you maintain your Concentration and the Spell continues. This is why it is important for Druids to have Constitution, because they have Spells that require Concentration and they are wasted if it is constantly broken.
Druid Level 1 Spells
Druids have a wide variety of Spells and these differ from other Spellcasting Classes. A couple Level 1 Spells I highly recommend are Entangle, Thunderwave, and Fairie Fire. Goodberry and Healing Word are also not bad choices.
Entangle allows you to crowd control a group of enemies in an area if they should fail a Strength check. This can be a great in fights where you are outnumbered, or you need to cover your flank.
Thunderwave is an excellent AoE that can knock enemies backward, often to their deaths, but has a short range. Use this when enemies get near you.
Fairie Fire is an AoE that gives you and your party Advantage on all Attack Rolls vs. affected targets, but requires Concentration to maintain. This can seriously change the direction of battle, as long as you can maintain it.
Goodberry can provide a near infinite amount of consumable healing items, which is very useful. This can be used on other friendlies as well, allowing you to provide healing for the group.
Healing Word can revive fallen teammates and heal them from a distance. What’s particularly good about Healing Word as well, is that it is a Bonus Action, so you can still attack or cast another Spell.
Druid Level 2 Subclasses & Class Features
Circle of the Land allows the Druid an additional Cantrip, as well as the ability to replenish some Spells once per Long Rest. Although the focus of this Subclass in 5th Edition DnD is Nature Magic, it doesn’t really have much of an impact in Early Access as it is currently because you can’t get past Level 4.
Circle of the Moon Druids have a heavier focus on the Wild Shape Ability, allowing them to use it as a Bonus Action in combat. This allows them to transform, move and attack all in the same turn, something Circle of the Land Druids cannot do. Additionally, Circle of the Moon Druids can change into a Polar Bear, which has a HUGE health pool at 30, allowing them to tank many hits in combat without dying. Polar Bears can Goad enemies into attacking them, making a Druid who uses this combination a great “tank” for the group. If you’re going to use Wild Shape in combat, Polar Bear is the way to go.
On top of that, Circle of the Moon Druids can consume a Spell Slot in order to heal themselves while transformed, allowing them to stay in shifted longer. The amount of healing gained is equal to a d8 per Spell Slot level.
Because Resting is not so much of an issue in Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access, and players can Rest pretty much at will, I highly suggest choosing the Circle of the Moon Druid Subclass for the time being. If Resting ever changes, or is different at live release, then this may change, but for now it’s your best option.
Circle of the Moon Druid Level 3
At Level 3 you’ll gain another Level 1 Spell Slot, two Level 2 Spell Slots, and you’ll gain access to Level 2 Druid Spells. There are a lot of great Spells here, and I highly recommend Enhance Ability, Spike Growth, Moonbeam, and Heat Metal.
Enhance Ability allows you to grant Advantage on checks related to one Ability, as well as some other effects in certain cases. This is a fantastic way to improve checks like Perception, or perhaps in dialogue with Intimidation or Persuasion to get the outcome you want. Note this does not apply to Saving Throws or Attack Rolls with that Ability.
Spike Growth allows you to control a large space of the battlefield with thorns that slow creatures and damage them if they try to move through it. This is an excellent way to keep enemy melee units from getting to your friendlies, and can be invaluable when you are outnumbered.
Moonbeam hits for 2d10 Radiant Damage in a small AoE that persists on the ground after it’s cast, dealing damage every round. And what’s really great about this Ability, is that you can spend an Action to move this AoE up to 18m. This means that you only need to cast it once per combat, and can conserve valuable Spell Slots.
Heat Metal allows you to deal 2d8 Fire Damage to a target that is wielding a metal Weapon. In addition, it gives them Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and Ability Checks until your next turn. That’s all on top of being able to cast it again on the target as a Bonus Action, dealing damage and reapplying Disadvantage. In short, this is a great spell to lock down tough enemies.
Once you reach Level 3, you’ll also be able to cast some Level 1 Spells as Level 2 versions, using Level 2 Spell Slots instead of Level 1 Spell Slots. This works out tremendously for this Build because it allows you to cast some of the better Level 1 Spells as more powerful versions. For instance, you can cast Thunderwave at Level 2 for an extra 1-8 damage.
Circle of the Moon Druid Level 4
At Level 4 you’ll gain another Level 2 Spell Slot, as well as another Cantrip. Additionally, you can pick a Feat, and I highly recommend taking Ability Improvement to get to 18 in Wisdom. As a Druid you simply cannot have enough Wisdom, so this is the obvious choice.
Equipment is less useful to Druids that remain shifted for long periods of time, however, it can be very helpful in combat situations where they are casting Spells. Since they have decent Dexterity they’ll want to have a Ranged Weapon of some type, as well as a Club or Quartstaff that they can buff with Shillelagh. I recommend a Club though, since this will allow you to use a Shield in your offhand, which will increase your Armour Class by +2. Druids can use Shields, so you might as well take advantage of it.
Druids can wear Medium Armour, and while this won’t matter when they are in their Wild Shape, it will matter when they are not. The best Medium Armour in Early Access is either Lae’zel’s Githyanki Half Plate, or the Scale Male +1. You need at least 10 Strength to use these, so make sure you have at least 10!
When it comes to Accessories the Absolute’s Talisman works well for this Build, because Circle of the Moon Druids will likely be in combat often while using Wild Shape. This allows them to maintain their Wild Shape form, and keep on fighting, without having to stop to heal. This necklace can be found in the Shattered Sanctum.
The Whispering Promise Ring also has a nice synergy, since you can heal yourself and it will increase your Attack Rolls by doing so. It’s located in the Shattered Sanctum as well.
It’s important to remember that even though you may be playing a Circle of the Moon Druid, you do not need be in Polar Bear form all the time in combat. You cannot cast Spells while using Wild Shape, so make sure you cast any Spells you want to before you transform, because you can use Wild Shape as a Bonus Action. Your Spells will be just as strong as Circle of the Land Druids in Early Access, so don’t be afraid to fling them away.
A lot of what the Druid Class has to offer, besides the flexibility in Spell selection, is the utility that the different Creatures it can shift into provide. For instance, being able to tunnel under a wall, or fly over a river, etc. The Druid Class really encourages you think outside the box, so don’t be afraid to do so.
Remember that your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution become that of the creature you change into, but your Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma do not. For this reason if you plan to be in Wild Shape form a lot, it might be a good idea to pump Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma for better Saving Throws while in combat, as wells as Skill Checks outside of it. There is a lot of flexibility to the Druid, so play around with what you like.
Lastly, remember to plan your party around the type of Druid you wish to play. If you want to be more of a caster, then you might want to sub out Wyll, Gale or Shadowheart. On the other hand if you plan to be a Polar Bear tank, then maybe you want to swap out Shadowheart, or Lae’zel. Plan accordingly, so that you have a good party setup.
Stay tuned for more Baldur’s Gate 3 content as we take a look at Classes and Builds, and be sure to drop by our Twitch channel if you have questions about the game. If you need something specific, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 Wiki which is being worked on night and day!