Circle of Scavengers by The Underground Oracle (@UOPublishing)
Content Warning: Body Horror, Carrion, the Eating, and flesh sculpting of said carrion (in the subclass) and Excessively and Gratuitously playing with these concepts (in my review)
“From the creatures that have fallen, I shall grow my power. As they replenish the earth, so shall they replenish me.”
Sharvall Cidd, Druid of the Underlands
The moment I saw this I was overwhelmed with intrigue, but then I peeped inside and what I saw was awesome, ridiculous, and ridiculously awesome! This something entirely new and, while not necessarily fresh or savoury in some ways, it is most definitely funky!
Circle of Scavengers introduces some body horror, augmentation/ mutation abilities and waste not want not attitude, that would make David Cronenberg pause and make John Carpenter rolling up stats and composing epic theme music for this nightmare of nature!
“Druids of the Circle of Scavengers bear witness to the cycles of nature and thrive in the areas that most avoid. Using the carcasses and remains of the beasts around them, these druids create scavenger sculpts that they use to clad themselves and transform their bodies, taking power from the energies that these creatures leave behind.” These druids are the rite of roadkill, the cult of the carcass, and rotting body modification missionaries!
Druids can finally edge out Warlocks as by far the most metal class there is!
“Although they may seem like a strange group to those removed from the natural world, druids of the Circle of Scavengers are highly regarded among their earthen peers.” Nature is brutal, nature is metal, and the wildfire punks and swamp scene kids know that game recognises game!
You get to scrounge up, keep hold, gain nourishment and more from carrion! I don’t eat myself, but I wholeheartedly endorse this and if I had the ability I would do so too. I have the cast iron stomach for it from being a student and drunkenly ‘cooking’ so many fry ups late at night in my younger days that were disconcertingly cold and sloppy.
Eating dead possums (I’m so sorry Sarah and Jess) is fun and all, but this is the meat of this subclass.
Scavenger Druids “are able to use the energy of [their] Wild Shape to repurpose the carcasses that animals leave behind to empower [themself].”
So that’s literally augmenting yourself with bits of animals for mutations and effects like a flesh cyborg (fleshborg?). Fleshborg! Petition to rename this Circle of the Fleshborg!
These bonuses come in the form of added armour, terrifying claws, super vision, SPIKY BODY, speedy pack tactics (I finally felt a bit icky about the term “Scavenger’s Tendons” - Tendon is such a visceral word!)
There is also a sidebar discussing how personal the Scavenger Sculpts are to each Scavenger Druid, “reflecting their background and aesthetic as much as any other article of personal wear.” Expanding on this that, while they are all made out of dead beastie bits and bobs, the individual Druid’s steez could be anything from the “avant-garde to the whimsical to the truly bizarre.” I have so many glorious, disgusting, and mind-bending images in my head and want to get this into the hands of as many artists as I can to see what they come up with!
This is the ultimate melee Druid! So, would be really, really, really cool for the Ultimate Melee Druid to get at 6th level? An Extra Attack while Sculpted! Hell-freaking-yeah!
At higher levels there are new Sculpts to obtain, including fleshy flippers for swimming, clippity cloppity hooves for just clattering into enemies full tilt, literally getting a gob that is bigger, scarier more teeth, sinewy pinions to take to the ait in big, meaty flaps of flesh.
Ultimately Scavenger Druids “Master the Cycle” gaining extra activated Sculpts and even getting to change them on the fly, effectively giving them access to a wise super flesh Shield spell, only better and with more veins and sinew!
I’m sure you can tell I love this! This is by far the most original and inspiring thing I’ve seen with regard to player options, let alone subclasses or Druids...ever! I’m speechless and truly wish I could art to save my life. I need so many vastly different of these weird and wonderful druids. A half-hag one who is just a terrifying willowy frame, bird boned and loping like a sloth, but with hug, sagging folds of skin hanging down and dragging behind – truly terrifying and adorable! You can go the other way with this too, and I can’t help but think of the Gods of Chaos from Warhammer and the unique and wonderful creations you could make to the principles of each of the gods, with a Slaaneshi Scavenger, either being to lewd to even consider bringing to the table or, and this could work for a really pious Druid attached to a worshippers of Helm or Ilmater (Ermagherd! Just imagine those fellows!) that are all about physical perfection and their Scavengers (maybe the truth of them – the grizzlier bits - kept secret from the flock), going from meek little folx, but using their abilities to come out the other side looking like WWE Superstars...The Ultimate Warrior, but the tassels are made of real skin!!!
As you can see this has really whipped up my imagination and I’m already thinking of more Sculpts and greater specificity of what parts are harvested from what and how they affect the Sculpts. There is so much awesome here and even more room to play with. I
Just look at the beautifully creepy and alluringly unsettling art by Anderson Maia (https://www.artstation.com/anderson_maia)! Nice Abs, cool skulls, nice outfit...wait, those horns are interesting on what looks like a hu...what are you doing with those terrifying, bloody fingers? T-talons. Why does it smell of offal in here? Are you c-cooking? Oh, you’re having me for dinner? That’s so kind of you. aaaaaaaaaaaAAAARARRHRGRHRGHRh!
Written by Keith Pendley (@UO_Keith) and Jess Pendley (@JessPendley)
Designed by Jess Pendley and Keith Pendley
Art by Anderson Maia (https://www.artstation.com/anderson_maia)
Editing by Jess Pendley
My Affiliate Link:https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/327010/Druid-Circle-Circle-of-Scavengers?affiliate_id=1507682