Circle of the Corrupted – A Sinister Druid Circle for D&D 5e


Not all druids follow the same path.  While all seek to become guardians of natural order, many fall prey to darker motives.  Some seek revenge for a fallen circle, some find futility in life, some give in to raw savagery.  These druids were consumed by emotions of hatred, sorrow, and even absolute passion.  No matter the motivation, the Corrupted exist as a grotesque parody of their former selves.  If their dark power wasn’t so strong, many circles would have organized to stop them along ago.

Tainted Magick

Your dark nature has allowed for you to manipulate the forces of nature in other ways.  As you taint the land around you, it manifests in a variety of dreadful powers.  At levels 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10; you gain access to new spells to showcase your new talents.  Once you gain a spell from this ability, you always have it prepared, and it doesn’t count against the number of spells you can prepare each day. These spells count as druid spells.

Druid Level       Spell

2                       Hellish Rebuke, Ray of Sickness

4                       Enthrall, Ray of Enfeeblement

6                       Animate Dead, Bestow Curse

8                       Evard’s Black Tentacles, Fire Shield

10                     Cloudkill, Dominate Person

Unnerving Nature

Upon taking this circle archetype at level 2, you emanate an unnatural power from your being, making others around you uneasy.  Your words sound warped by a malevolent power, making others more likely to fear you than respect you.  All charisma checks made by you, that aren’t intimidate, automatically become more challenging to succeed.  The difficulty level for all of your (non-intimidate) charisma checks increases by two increments while you are the one handling the check (effectively increasing DC by 10).  However, you gain proficiency in Intimidate if you didn’t have it already.  Furthermore, when you gain use of and utilize the Wild Shape ability, your chosen form will look sickly or mutated in some way.

Contorted Image

Using your wicked boons, you can quickly warp yourself to look more disgusting in an effort to unnerve and distract an enemy.  When you are being targeted by an enemy with an attack with 60 feet of you, you can use a reaction to impose disadvantage on their attack roll.  The target must be able to see you for this effect to work.  Once you have used this ability, you must take a short rest before using it again.

Corrupt Creation

Upon reaching level 10, you can spread your power to nature’s allies.  When you use a spell to conjure plants, animals, or related  beings; you may imbue them with vile power.  As part of your spell, you can choose to give the conjuration/effect one of the following benefits by readying the spell one slot higher:

  • Undeath – The conjured being gains Immunity to Poison damage/condition and does not need to breath, eat, drink, or sleep.  These creatures deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage with their attacks.
  • Fiend Form – The conjured being gains resistance to acid, fire, cold, and lightning damage; as well as Blindsight out 10 ft.  These creatures deal an extra 1d6 cold or fire damage (and choice must be made when giving effect) with their attacks.
  • Eldritch Form – The conjured being has immunity to Psychic damage.  In addition, the creature gains telepathy out to 120 ft. if it is capable of speech.  These creatures deal an extra 1d6 psychic damage with their attacks.

Lord of Desecration

You have reached the pinnacle of your madness at level 14, but corrupting the land around you and driving all who oppose you mad while draining their life force!  You can spend an action to create a 60 ft. zone of tainted land.  Any creature not friendly to you who moves through this zone must make a Constitution saving throw.  Failure results in the target taking 3d6 necrotic damage and 3d6 psychic damage.  Success results in half damage.  This effect lasts for as many minutes as your Wisdom modifier.  You can move this zone up to 30 feet as an action.  This ability requires concentration, much like a spell.  Once you have used this ability, you must take a long rest before using it again.


IMAGE CREDIT – Blightlord – D&D 3.5 Unapproachable East

NOTES: Here’s one from my archives that I’m sort of proud of.  While I’m not too keen on the “Summoner” type class, I figure the one summon-centric ability complements this archetype regardless.  It helps keep this distortion of nature flavor I’m going for.  Besides that, it was a great way to end my Halloween Horror content marathon on my blog!

This exists as an option similar to the Oathbreaker Paladin archetype found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide (and previews found around the internet).  This circle is meant to represent a druid who has discarded their mission for balance in an effort to bring pain and suffering to others.  However, this archetype doesn’t have to involve evil.  Perhaps its a druid dedicated to balancing life with death, a brutal protector of their circle, or a zealous outsider obsessed with nature.   Also, a Corrupted Druid who has redeemed themselves of their dreadful sins against nature can elect to take up a different archetype if the DM permits them to.

Inspiration for this was totally last minute, to be honest!  I reread my copies of the New 52 Animal Man comic and it gave me the idea for a Druid inspired by the corrupted version of “The Rot” from the comics.

Created by Doctor Necrotic for Doctor Necrotic Media.  Animal Man is owned by DC Comics.  Original concept based off Blight Lord prestige class, a property of Wizards of the Coast.


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