So I've been hunting around for reasonable and plausible homebrew suggestions for the MtG "Plane Shift" campaign concepts, esp where it is mechanical, and focusing on Zendikar atm. Before I go crazy with colors and mana and stuff, I figured I'd get acquainted with 5th edition's character creation (as I've only played Pathfinder recently, and haven't played 4th Edition in a few years) so began making approximations of canon characters using 5th Edition's system.
Problem is, while Plane Shift: Innistrad provides SOME class-based advice on what 5E class could fill in for what MtG class or role, Plane Shift: Zendikar provided no such approximations for class.
So began with making a character for Nissa Revane, nothing too hard overall, until I come to her class. Druid is the obvious choice for all but one reason: Wildshape. It's the Druid's most fundamental class feature, and yet, not just does Nissa possess this ability, no races on Zendikar exhibit any such ability. Even a twist on Wildshape (Totem Armor) which could just summon an "umbra" as an animalistic aura emenating from the druid that functions like a larger-than-average animal or beast of some kind. Swell, however, again, Nissa does not exhibit this ability.
Any suggestions on a replacement class feature for Wildshape that toggles (or is up to the player upon investing a level into Druid) between something like Totem Armor and something else?
My first instinct is an animal/creature summoning spell-like ability X times per day that can be affected by unique Druid Circles to summon an umbra instead for Circle of the Umbra/Totem Armor or an elemental for Circle of the Land.
Wildshaping is the fundamental class feature of Moon Circle druids. Land Circle focus more on spells, and get some utility out of wildshape forms rather than combat power.
I'm currently playing a Druid in a Zendikar game, and I flavor it as her version of Totem Armor.
Nissa could probably do it anyway if she wanted to, she just focuses on other things, like elf superiority and animating lands.
She does magical stuff in stories that aren't reflected in her cards (ex. setting Chandra up to channel fire through leylines, putting a sealing rune on the moon with Tamiyo).
Actually, I've recently figured out to replace Wild Shape with Channel Divinity (or Channel Nature if you will) in such a way in tandem with custom Druid Circles to create a Druid option that gives A. animal companions B. A more personalized version of Conjure Elemental, maybe "Circle of the Animist" C. Conjure "umbras" of animals a la Totem Armor.
Neat! That's a great idea!
Hmm, what about a SUMMON class feature that summons a beast which a replacement for Beast Spells/Archdruid can allow the druid to turn into an empowered Companion. With new druid Circles, one could turn the beast optinto summoning elementals a la Nissa, a different circle could summon/conjure an umbra a la Totem Armor. I guess another could work like "Pick your element" and among other element-based perks, give the beast an elemental attribute later on, and even higher level the option to replace the summoning/companion with something more appropriate, like a phoenix for fire, for example.
Spells seem to have been the method for implementing familiars and class-based mounts. I'd assume a spell based companion would work too. Just make the casting time longer than one action and it won't be abused in combat.
How much longer might be recommended?
Or just use the Concentration mechanic. Then only one companion can be summoned at a time, and there is a possibility of it being dismissed via a failed Constitution save.
Oh ok, and perhaps either Beast Spells/Archdruid can be replaced by a feature to do a ritual to make the summon a permanent companion.
Pretty sure Wild Shape lasts 1 hour per half your Druid level(rounded down) so that's a start.
I'm working on a "Circle of the Vine" druid that wildshapes into plants, but there aren't a lot of plants. I'm also trying to come up with appropriate 6th, 10th, and 14th level abilities.
You would have to either craft your own plant creatures, or decide what plant qualities would apply here, and then just increase/decrease parameters.
I also have the Tome of Beasts from Kobold Press, but I think I might just give them specific plants they can turn into at levels 2, 6, 10, and 14, plus some other abilities, like ignoring difficult terrain, the ability to root in place (proficiency and/or advantage on Strength saving throws), photosynthesis, maybe a climb speed, and maybe a bonus cantrip.
Well I've decided I will go ahead and make Planeswalker (or other canon characters) as NPCs with whatever features I want and label them whatever classes I choose, but bare minimum I don't want druid PCs with Wild Shape, so I am supposing I'll just swap it with an equivalent feature that acts as Totem Armor. Only difference will be use of a Concentration check to confirm activation of the ability, and perhaps grant temp HP equal to the creature's HP and dropping down below that new total of HP + Temp HP will dispel the other effects.
Nissa will just be a Druid in name, but behave more like a Nature Domain Cleric + Circle of the Land Druid + Ranger with plant & elemental summoning and a unique elemental companion/familiar (Ashaya) while Kiora MIGHT be a Druid, but more so a aquatic beast summoner.
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