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Thread: Please make my Druid interesting
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 03:44 PM #1
Novice (Lvl 1)
Please make my Druid interesting
For some reason I cant think of an interesting way to portray my druid character in the new campaign I have become involved in. He is a young human. The character is most comfortable himself out in the wild, but recognizes the human instinct to gather together into cities and develop them as perfectly natural. Humans are a part of nature and therefore cities are no less natural than a beehive. The character is now level three, but I still cant think of how to role play him.
The campaign is a pretty standard fantasy homebrew and I think the DM would cooperate with whatever I came up with in terms of background for the character Ė yes he has a background, but it hasnít really come up yet so im still free to change it, plus its boring as heck anyway, the old ďI really liked hanging out in the woods, then I met this guy who also likes hanging out in the woods and he taught me to cast these groovy spellsĒ Ė unfortunately I donít have any real details about the world itself, so I cant share them with you. I donít know why the DM wonít share these details but he hasnít.
I have wanted t play a Druid for a while and even though I think the class concept is interesting enough I have no idea what to do to make this character unique. Its frustrating but if I cant think of anything to do to bring him to life Iím just going to have to scrap the character and start over with something else.
So Iím just asking for help from anyone out there with a cool concept for a human druid or anyone who has had some experience playing druids, I need a background for him and something that makes him unique as a druid. I donít want to be ďjust another tree huggerĒ
Thanks in advance.I'll make it into heaven if I have to ride there on a river of blood
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Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:01 PM #2
Novice (Lvl 1)
My Druid / Monk was trained as a monk and was set to become an assassin unknowingly.... he is on the run usually.
Druids background dont have to be interesting... the rping should be interesting...
You could play a Wildchild that knows nothing of civilized life and is exploring. Makes simple things like beds funny or strange... politics will be even wierder for you. Act wierd whenever new complicated words are spoken...
A "normal" druid can be interesting by always putting in key words in your phrases. Always compare things to natural cycles or animal behaviour... my Windling Beastmaster used to compare the group to a bunch of lost wolf cubs and so forth.
Dont overdo the "I hate civilization thing" ... do the opposite... cities are like distorted fauna and environment... something to be studied and understood... very interesting in fact. Use those city rats to help you.
Keep Wildshape for long periods in your favorite animal... something like a bird or even a horse... dont justify this... its just your favorite shape ...
I am baffled why most people mention Druids as boring and so forth... they can be very interesting and wildshape makes for funny situations.
Temple of Evil - Authorized Cultists Only - Trespassers will be Sacrificed
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:06 PM #3
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Yeah. Go for a wild child. Can't speak.
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:07 PM #4
If want to make him really interesting, make him allergic to most animals. There's a ton of role-playing fun there.
"Evil prospers when good men do not smack it on the head repeatedly."
The Gamer's Bag (TM) isn't dead, it's just at -9, but stabilized. :-) We will let you know when we're back.
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:13 PM #5
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Have him be an "apprentice" Shaman from a barbarian tribe out on his first vision quest. Remember not all barbarians have to be Barbarians!
"I drank what?" -Socrates
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:17 PM #6
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
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Ý Ignore RangerWickett
You could always play him as the type of guy who was always interested in biology, but instead of going the traditional route and studying it just scientifically, he tracked down a druid to get to know nature innately. He received some basic training, but when the rest of the druid's order (or maybe just the druid himself, or a group of fey, etc.) decided to test the character's mettle, they discovered that he was too forgiving on the vileness that is civilization, so he was not allowed to finish his training. Maybe now he still loves nature, but he's a little bitter about not being acknowledged, so he takes odd animal companions in spite. Things like stray dogs or squirrels, instead of the more traditional wolves and bears.
Then again, maybe he was raised among nature, but became enamored with civilization when (choose one: a) he rescued a beautiful woman from the city lost in the wilderness, b) he happened upon a caravan of merchants who took him for a beggar and gave him a lot of cool stuff, c) he came across the ruins of an old forest city and wanted to figure out what the people were like, d) he was captured by slavers/raiders/soldiers, and a group of adventurers rescued him, taking him to a nearby city to heal him up). This encounter made him fall in love with the city, and he recognized its beauty, which drew him out of his wild homeland to explore the rest of the world more.
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:21 PM #7
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
As mentioned ealier, playing the city based druid can be interesting if you've not done it before. Your character finds his way to civilised lands because he refuses to believe the typical druid logic of civilisation = bad. He tries to seek out the natural beauty of the city, getting along well with the rats, enjoying the beauty of parks and natural gardens (if there are such a thing, he'll probably want to create a few if there arent), and looking for ways to make nature and civilisation exist in harmony. One druid IMC had a real thing about stone, claiming that the spirit of stone wanted to be used, that it ached to be turned into something greater than itself. Hence humanity was stones tool, turning it into art and buildings of great beauty.
The other option is to play the country druid: not so much the worshipper of nature but of a farming or rural god or goddess. Protector of the small community he belongs too, responsible for ensuring the crops grow, that sort of thing. Rather than seeking out truly wild creatures as animal companions, will usually swing towards domesticated creatures such as dogs, cats, horses and the like.
Peter M. Ball
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:28 PM #8
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Read Rels Faded Glory Storyhour about Speaks With Stones. Nice druid.
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 04:36 PM #9
Gallant (Lvl 3)
I've thought about playing a feral human PC as well -- I think it'd be a blast to play someone raised by wolves. BUt I think they'd make a better psychic warrior than a druid: take the animal-related powers to demonstrate the feral human's desire to look like their siblings.
For my druid character, I worship Grandmother, and refer to her a lot. When casting spells, I speak a short supplication to her, appropriate to the situation (when summoning an arrowhawk to fight gargoyles, I shout, "Let the sky rend the earth!" and describe a thunderclap that heralds the arrowhawk's appearance, for example).
Being overly Luddite can be annoying to other players, unless you keep a sense of humor about it: selfrighteousness, I think, is best played tongue-in-cheek, slightly self-deprecatingly.
Consider having a super-Luddite mentor, whose zeal scared you away; this might explain why you're adventuring with a bunch of cityslickers rather than with other druids.
Ask the DM for permission to detail minor things about the natural world: what flora and fauna and fungi are common, and the usees of them. If you use the heal skill, say,
"'Hold on,' I say, and walk over to tree stump at the edge of the clearing. I take out miy knife and scrape some of the mold off of the stump, spit on it, and rub it into a paste in my palms. 'Here,' I say, walking toward you. 'Hold your wounded arm out.'"
Name your animal companions. Develop some personality for them. Spend time with them when appropriate. Use that "speak with animals" spell.
Decide on your attitude toward nature: are you a crunchygranola animal rights activist, or are you pretty okay with the violence inherent in the ecosystem? Whichever you choose, run with it: if you're okay with the violence, you may act in ways that others see as brutal, but you see as part of nature.
Hope this helps!
Everything's better with monkeys! -Hypersmurf
Thursday, 28th March, 2002, 05:16 PM #10
Defender (Lvl 8)
One possible druid idea requires you to go back to the character's childhood. I'll relate the backstory of one of the top druids in my campaign world. I admit, it's a bit derivative, but it worked for me.
Corim Kelthum was an unexceptional infant being raised by loving parents. The unexceptional Kelthum home was far from any large cities, and Papa Kelthum made an unexceptional living as a farmer and animal husbander.
One morning before dawn the Kelthum household erupted in terror and chaos when Mama Kelthum found the month-old infant Corim missing from his crib. Because she'd seen a few earthy animal footprints in the baby's room, she assumed the worst, and her screams woke Papa and Corim's three older siblings. After a frantic search of the house, Papa comforted Mama as the older children fanned out in the early morning light to search the farm, and the nearby light woods, for the culprit.
When oldest brother Jaris found Corim alive in a faerie ring in the woods, gentle sunbeams illuminating the sleeping infant, he was both relieved and perplexed. But Jaris dutifully brought Corim home and the Kelthums' day slowly returned to normal. The incident still horrified the family, but for the next month things remained entirely unexceptional.
Corim ended up disappearing from the house on the night of the new moon every month. The Kelthums, at their wits' end after only a few months, tried everything they could think of, but no vigil, no lock, and no other means of protecting Corim would prevent his disappearing from the house on the night of the new moon and reappearing the following morning in the same faerie ring in the woods. When the Kelthums in fearful desperation destroyed the faerie ring, it merely reappeared when they weren't looking.
The Kelthums eked out a decent living but financially they simply weren't able to sell the farm and leave as they wanted. Instead, as Corim's second year began, the Kelthums waited for the next new moon... and did nothing. Jaris retrieved Corim the next morning, and because Corim had so far not been harmed in any way, the Kelthums decided as a family to accept this fey thing into their lives. Perhaps, reasoned older sister Karya, Corim was destined for something great.
Corim grew up with a fascination for nature: plants, animals, and even fey creatures. Mama indulged Corim one birthday with a book of blank pages; in this, Corim sketched enthusiastically and took notes. Corim claimed in later years to have spoken at length to a beautiful woman who was the spirit of a tree, but when he showed his sketch, Papa scoffed and Mama forbade any such talk. Corim's brothers and sister, though, reveled in Corim's strange tales and drawings. As the years went by, the Kelthum parents stubbornly tried to go about their lives and ignore the strange things Corim claimed to have seen and done:
- Corim once claimed that a raccoon had spotted a group of tattooed, fur-wearing elves, who stayed in the woods watching the farm for three days.
- When Papa complained that a certain dead tree was a threat to the root shed, Corim claimed that a bear had come to help during the night. In any event, Papa found the tree had fallen over away from the shed. He chopped it up for firewood.
- Corim came home from another walk in the forest claiming that a young deer had given him an antler. The antler in question was not large, but it became one of Corim's many "little treasures" he'd gathered from the forest.
Corim developed an intuitive understanding of the farm and the forest nearby. Among other things, Corim made spices from roots he'd found, applied poultices of ground leaves to the family's bruises, scrapes, and rashes, harvested wood the family used to build better furniture, and freshened the house with living flowers and aromatic plants, which he insisted should be nurtured and grown instead of cut and dried. The family ignored Corim's occasional claims that he'd actually sent animals to gather some of the things he himself had obviously found. They tolerated his insistence on never eating the flesh of dead animals: he was healthy enough, they reasoned, and Corim's own little crops of nuts and beans were doing quite well. They'd put up with his quirks; it was a small price to pay, they thought.
Papa didn't wonder why the crops grew so well; he'd been convinced when he built the house that the soil was rich here, and he thought he was finally being proven right. Mama didn't wonder why everything tasted better; some of Corim's experiments with spices, she thought, were obviously paying off. Corim's adolescence coincided with the best years in Papa's and Mama's lives: as their income increased, Jaris, Karya, and Mikkim married quite well indeed, and Jaris moved his new wife into the expanded Kelthum house.
Though he envied Jaris's happiness, Corim had no interest in marriage. Increasingly, he was feeling as though something was missing from his life, and one day the feelings roiling inside him culminated in a hard decision: he had to leave. Yep, he had to leave the farm and get out into the big, wide world -- he'd already learned everything he could about his claustrophobic little paradise. He bid a tearful goodbye to Mama, Papa, Jaris, Ayara (Jaris's wife), and Lorbis (Jaris's little nephew), packed light, and walked into the woods.
Only a few days later, Corim, well fed, comfortable, and walking easily wherever he wished, wandered into a forest clearing where he suddenly dropped his small pack. Enraptured, almost mesmerized, he walked to the center of the clearing, spread his arms wide, and fell to his knees. His respect for nature (small "n") had blossomed into realization of the holy glory of Nature (capital "N"). Still in a near-trance, he uttered the mystical syllables of his first druid spell, and suddenly he knew he had the lasting, true friendship of the jaguar that had been following him.
Since that watershed moment, Corim has traveled tremendous distances trying to figure out what's wrong with the world. For the feeling that caused him to leave home in the first place was actually born elsewhere. He tries to teach humanoids to live by making peace with nature, not by fighting or subjugating it, but a deeper sense of foreboding keeps him moving and seeking the world's troubles. There are plenty: the Kelthums never realized what a dangerous, sinister place the outside world is. Most of the organized nations in Corim's world are corrupt, decadent, uncaring, or downright threatening. War is a constant in many thousands of lives, and nature suffers under the "needs" of the "civilized" to conquer one another.
Corim longs for the peace and tranquility he grew up with, and though he knows for certain he's chosen the right path, he's grown worried that he'll never find that peace again. Corim's not afraid to thump some heads defending himself, but overall he's not aggressive, preferring an "organic" solution to most problems. He reserves a really good thump for undead, rapacious unnatural predators, and members of Evil humanoid races. Adventuring has made him somber and morose most of the time; Corim only lightens up when he's able to spend time in idle pursuits surrounded by the fruits of unspoiled nature.
Well, that took rather longer than I'd thought, but I hope there's a helpful bit or two. Cheers!