Hello, everyone! This week’s article features a Druid circle with a more archaeological bent that tries to recreate the practices of a lost druidic order, defending themselves with earthen armor and transferring their afflictions into Dogu golems for rejuvenation.
Circle of Permafrost
During expeditions to cave systems in the tundra of the far north, archaeologists were surprised to discover caches of strange earthen vessels, tended to by a lone golem animated by spiritual energy. Although the magic and ceramics were of druidic origin, these vestiges clearly did not belong to the known and practiced Circles, predating the cultures and practices of even the most ancient known archdruids. Its
discoverers christened the unknown Circle the Circle of Permafrost, honoring the inhospitable cold its practitioners must have once called home.
With the belief that the Circle of Permafrost housed wisdom lost to the ages, some more academically-inclined druids have attempted to recreate the ancient practice, emphasizing a sense of animism and embracing its unique ceramic craftsmanship, which often resembles coils or knots of extruded clay reinforcing traditionally-spun pieces. These druids augment and arm themselves with earthen shells and call upon animating spirits to create Dogu companions capable of absorbing their allies’ ailments.
Some details of the practice are still lost, and the Circle of Permafrost probably only partially resembles the ancient druidic circle, but the siren song of a millennia-lost civilization drives many of these druids to explore the most remote corners of the world in search of clues to the ancient circle’s practices and its ultimate fate.
The magic you draw from the frozen earth grants you access to additional spells. At 2nd level, you learn the ray of frost cantrip.
Additionally, you gain circle spells at the druid levels noted in the Circle of Permafrost Spells table. These spells are always prepared, and do not count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. These circle spells are considered druid spells for you if they are not already present on the druid spell list.
While you are wearing no armor and not wielding a shield, you can create a defensive shell from magically-produced ceramic materials. Your AC equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Wisdom modifier.
While in your Wild Shape, you may choose whether to use your new form’s AC or the AC provided by this feature.
Starting at 6th level, you can imbue a ceramic idol with primal energy, creating a Dogu golem.
As an action, a Dogu golem forms in an unoccupied space of your choice within 30 feet of you.
The Dogu is friendly to you and your companions and obeys your commands. In combat, it acts in initiative immediately after your turn. Unless you use a bonus action to issue a command to take another action instead, the Dogu takes the Dodge action.
The Dogu manifests until it is reduced to 0 hit points or you use this feature to summon another Dogu.
Beginning at 10th level, the druidic magic you manifest allows you to transform the land around you. As an action, you can freeze the ground within a 20-foot radius of you for up to 1 minute. When a creature ends its turn within this radius, its speed is reduced by 10 feet until the end of its next turn, and it takes cold damage equal to your druid level.
Starting at 14th level, you gain the ability to further imbue a Dogu with your druidic magic. You may expend uses of your Wild Shape to instead transform a Dogu you have created with your Dogu Effigy feature into a beast shape you could transform into using your Wild Shape feature. The Dogu’s game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast shape you have chosen, including its hit points and Hit Dice. When the transformed Dogu is reduced to 0 hit points or use your Dogu Effigy feature to create another Dogu, it is destroyed.
While transformed, a Dogu may still use its Transference action and its Font of Life trait, but when the Dogu succeeds on a saving throw to end an effect, it is not reduced to 0 hit points.