D&D General Druid, Ranger & Barbarian: What distinguishes the magic of the Primal classes?

Rocker26a

Explorer
Alright alright alright fine

Druids - These are the Voice of Nature. They can also be it’s terrible wrath, but on a day to day, they are connected directly to the Land, Moon, Wild Fire, etc in the context of how those things are part of Nature. Some serve gods like Silvanus, while others revere the land itself. Their magic is the magic of someone whose entire being IS the Power of Nature.

Rangers - Their magic also comes from the land, from nature itself, but they do not focus on it nearly as much. Instead they express reverence for nature by prowling and striking from the shadows like a predator, knowing the land as a friend rather than making it part of themselves as the Druid does.

Where is distinguish them more would be to give them animalistic or even supernatural senses, in addition to the climb speed, ignoring difficult terrain, ability to move soundlessly and hide from natural sight, etc, and the ability to share these abilities in some part with allies to make the team better.
Also the ability to understand beasts and creatures of the plant type.

Barbarians - Counter to a lot of folks, I’d give Barbarians a little more supernatural juice in the base class. But, since that drives a decent chunk of folks up the wall and back, I’d probably compromise and at least make it soemthing you could choose from a list that includes purely martial stuff as well.

But, the Barbarian would be purely rituals.


I’d also give the Barbarian a pet subclass, and the Druid, but their pets wouldn’t be as powerful as the Ranger’s, because again, the ranger treats with nature as a friend and ally, and being able to befriend beasts is right in that wheelhouse.

I think I agree on all fronts here! I'll give a more substantive response to each thing some other time, don't really have it in me right now due to real life events.
But yeah, this is pretty close to the kind of perspective I was hoping someone'd offer up. So, thanks!
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think I agree on all fronts here! I'll give a more substantive response to each thing some other time, don't really have it in me right now due to real life events.
But yeah, this is pretty close to the kind of perspective I was hoping someone'd give up. So, thanks!
Hell yeah happy to.

Sorry I got so heated and in the weeds upthread.
 


Rocker26a

Explorer
Alright, let me try and formulate my thoughts on all this properly.

Druids - These are the Voice of Nature. They can also be it’s terrible wrath, but on a day to day, they are connected directly to the Land, Moon, Wild Fire, etc in the context of how those things are part of Nature. Some serve gods like Silvanus, while others revere the land itself. Their magic is the magic of someone whose entire being IS the Power of Nature.

Yeah, all this. Particularly that bit about the different Circles representing different parts, processes or aspects of nature. And then also how they actually embody the power of nature, rather than being a part of it like the other two.

Rangers - Their magic also comes from the land, from nature itself, but they do not focus on it nearly as much. Instead they express reverence for nature by prowling and striking from the shadows like a predator, knowing the land as a friend rather than making it part of themselves as the Druid does.

Where is distinguish them more would be to give them animalistic or even supernatural senses, in addition to the climb speed, ignoring difficult terrain, ability to move soundlessly and hide from natural sight, etc, and the ability to share these abilities in some part with allies to make the team better.
Also the ability to understand beasts and creatures of the plant type.

This also! Though admittedly there is something frustrating about that bit "they express reverence for nature by prowling and striking from the shadows like a predator", because while I definitely agree, there is equally a part of me that read it and thought "you mean like wild shape? that ability that druid has? where they can become a predator and that's part of how they revere nature?" and I felt myself sinking back into that quagmire of thought again. Yeah that isn't the only application of wild shape of course and it's most if not only viable with one subclass, and also I get that wasn't your literal meaning with that line but you get my point

That second bit though, that's actually something I've been trying to work into my homebrew Ranger thing. I gave them an equivalent of Feral Senses with true Blindsight at level 6 (I always thought Feral Senses was really cool, but you get it so late it barely matters), and then the Favoured whatever equivalent, which I've just been calling "Hunt" (kinda unsure about that as a name, I wanted a single syllable name that is immediately associatable. Rage, Smite, etc.) does the +damage die thing and a movement stuff, but also doubles the range of any senses you have. And then, I've been messing with the idea of, passing those benefits onto your teammates! I was gonna do it as a part of a particular subclass, but. Maybe as a base class feature would be better.

Barbarians - Counter to a lot of folks, I’d give Barbarians a little more supernatural juice in the base class. But, since that drives a decent chunk of folks up the wall and back, I’d probably compromise and at least make it soemthing you could choose from a list that includes purely martial stuff as well.

But, the Barbarian would be purely rituals.


I’d also give the Barbarian a pet subclass, and the Druid, but their pets wouldn’t be as powerful as the Ranger’s, because again, the ranger treats with nature as a friend and ally, and being able to befriend beasts is right in that wheelhouse.

I feel like WOTC didn't realize how good of a thing they were onto with Optional Class Features, because it's such a great framework for exactly this sort of issue. I had this thought the other day for Barbarian in particular even, I've always thought Reckless Attack reads a little weird? And I was trying to plot out how I might do it different. An idea I thought might work is, you attack with advantage and the creature you're attacking can react with an attack of opportunity of their own, also with advantage. To me that reads closer to the intent, you're dropping your guard entirely for a killing blow. So effectively kind of like this moment from Berserk 1997 (or this one, though slightly different), which is what I think Reckless Attack ought to be like. As opposed to getting dogpiled by the little shits on the map, throwing pebbles at you but landing crits. And yeah I thought it'd be neat to have something like that as an optional replacement/alternate use of Reckless attack rather than just deleting the original outright.

But yes. Supernatural backing for Barbarian would be great in my mind, though I'd also be okay with it just being optional in the name of players who wouldn't go for it.

As for animal buddies; Yeah, I've always thought it was weird that Druid in particular didn't get an option for a companion by default, animal or otherwise. Except like, they get that OCF for Find Familiar? There's Wildfire spirit I guess. But somewhat specific flavour there. That's about it. Yeah I'd like all 3 to have an option for them. In my heart of hearts, I'm unsure about Beastmaster as a subclass. Even though it's very much flavour I enjoy. Hell, my main Ranger character has a big ol' hound and a falcon as companions, but they're just using those sidekick rules. So while I agree on all 3 of them getting it but having Rangers be the ones who do it best would be cool, I don't know how I'd navigate ruling it personally.

And those are my thoughts on that stuff you said! As well as some other tangentially related stuff. Subject to change or refutation.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Alright, let me try and formulate my thoughts on all this properly.



Yeah, all this. Particularly that bit about the different Circles representing different parts, processes or aspects of nature. And then also how they actually embody the power of nature, rather than being a part of it like the other two.



This also! Though admittedly there is something frustrating about that bit "they express reverence for nature by prowling and striking from the shadows like a predator", because while I definitely agree, there is equally a part of me that read it and thought "you mean like wild shape? that ability that druid has? where they can become a predator and that's part of how they revere nature?" and I felt myself sinking back into that quagmire of thought again. Yeah that isn't the only application of wild shape of course and it's most if not only viable with one subclass, and also I get that wasn't your literal meaning with that line but you get my point

That second bit though, that's actually something I've been trying to work into my homebrew Ranger thing. I gave them an equivalent of Feral Senses with true Blindsight at level 6 (I always thought Feral Senses was really cool, but you get it so late it barely matters), and then the Favoured whatever equivalent, which I've just been calling "Hunt" (kinda unsure about that as a name, I wanted a single syllable name that is immediately associatable. Rage, Smite, etc.) does the +damage die thing and a movement stuff, but also doubles the range of any senses you have. And then, I've been messing with the idea of, passing those benefits onto your teammates! I was gonna do it as a part of a particular subclass, but. Maybe as a base class feature would be better.



I feel like WOTC didn't realize how good of a thing they were onto with Optional Class Features, because it's such a perfect framework for exactly this sort of issue. I had this thought the other day for Barbarian in particular even, I've always thought Reckless Attack reads a little weird? And I was trying to plot out how I might do it different. An idea I thought might work is, you attack with advantage and the creature you're attacking can react with an attack of opportunity of their own, also with advantage. To me that reads closer to the intent, you're dropping your guard entirely for a killing blow. So effectively kind of like this moment from Berserk 1997, which is what I think Reckless Attack ought to be like. As opposed to getting dogpiled by the little shits on the map, throwing pebbles at you but landing crits. And yeah I thought it'd be neat to have something like that as an optional replacement/alternate use of Reckless attack rather than just deleting the original outright.

But yes. Supernatural backing for Barbarian would be great in my mind, though I'd also be okay with it just being optional in the name of players who wouldn't go for it.

As for animal buddies; Yeah, I've always thought it was weird that Druid in particular didn't get an option for a companion by default, animal or otherwise. Except like, they get that OCF for Find Familiar? There's Wildfire spirit I guess. But somewhat specific flavour there. That's about it. Yeah I'd like all 3 to have an option for them. In my heart of hearts, I'm unsure about Beastmaster as a subclass. Even though it's very much flavour I enjoy. Hell, my main Ranger character has a big ol' hound and a falcon as companions, but they're just using those sidekick rules. So while I agree on all 3 of them getting it but having Rangers be the ones who do it best would be cool, I don't know how I'd navigate ruling it personally.

And those are my thoughts on that stuff you said! As well as some other tangentially related stuff. Subject to change or refutation.
I’ll dig into this after work today, if I can, but I mostly agree.
 

RoughCoronet0

Dragon Lover
This also! Though admittedly there is something frustrating about that bit "they express reverence for nature by prowling and striking from the shadows like a predator", because while I definitely agree, there is equally a part of me that read it and thought "you mean like wild shape? that ability that druid has? where they can become a predator and that's part of how they revere nature?" and I felt myself sinking back into that quagmire of thought again. Yeah that isn't the only application of wild shape of course and it's most if not only viable with one subclass, and also I get that wasn't your literal meaning with that line but you get my point
I think for me personally, how I would differentiate between the Druid and Ranger in this regard is that Druids see themself as an extension of nature itself. They aren’t enhancing themselves, but becoming something beyond themselves or otherwise connecting with something beyond themselves. They are the servants to what they serve, be it a nature god or nature itself.

Rangers on the other hand use their connection with nature as an extension of themselves. They don’t become something beyond themselves, but that connection to nature can be used to enhance what skills and senses they already have. They aren’t subjecting themselves to the will of nature, but instead using that connection to enact their own will, even if typically that will is aligned with the natural world.

At least this is what I feel when first considering the question. I’d have to consider it more.
 

Rocker26a

Explorer
I think for me personally, how I would differentiate between the Druid and Ranger in this regard is that Druids see themself as an extension of nature itself. They aren’t enhancing themselves, but becoming something beyond themselves or otherwise connecting with something beyond themselves. They are the servants to what they serve, be it a nature god or nature itself.

Rangers on the other hand use their connection with nature as an extension of themselves. They don’t become something beyond themselves, but that connection to nature can be used to enhance what skills and senses they already have. They aren’t subjecting themselves to the will of nature, but instead using that connection to enact their own will, even if typically that will is aligned with the natural world.

At least this is what I feel when first considering the question. I’d have to consider it more.

Sure yeah, I think that's a reasonable way of explaining it. Even just on the face of it without a deeper dive.
 

Bardic.Pisces

First Post
I always saw it as

Druids are one with nature. All that jazz.
Rangers are attuned with parts of nature and the primal. They are still civilized and deal with nature as men. It can be any relationship they want. Beneficial, cooperative, dominant, or adversarial,
Barbarians, the modern interpretation of them, are "Primal Sorcerers". Primal energies become part of their body and blood and this fuels their rage. It's not a necessarily intentional act.
"Deal with nature as men" ? Women don't deal with nature? ;)
 

Ranger : Wilds :: Rogue : Cities
Wizard : Creation as Tool :: Druid : Creation as Ally
Fighter : Tactics :: Barbarian : Cunning

Druid : Part of
Ranger : Ally with
Barbarian : Coexisting in
 


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