D&D General Druids and Path Dependency: Why the Scimitar Helps Illuminate D&D

J-H

Hero
Yeah, I'd like to see the shapeshifting split off into its own class (Subclasses: Lycanthrope, beast, and something like the 3.5 Evolutionist class). I have a druid 20 character sheet sitting around right now and the wildshape is pretty much bolted on... like, what if I don't want to Wildshape and just want to be a really cool nature wizard?
The casting side of druid could almost be its own sorcerer subclass.
Or better yet, have Druid come in different flavors like a Warlock. Some druids do plant stuff, some do animal stuff, some do weather stuff, etc.
 

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MGibster

Legend
If D&D were being designed for the first time today, it probably would have some generic name and would represent all manner of different archetypes: shamans, witches, druids, animalists, summoners, etc. It's rough because while the idea of a nature-communing magician is universal, the druid often gets kicked for being too "western". File the name off, make some minor edits and the class fits fine outside of Faux-European settings.
What's the difference between a witch, a druid, and a summoner?
 






Voadam

Legend

In Pathfinder 1e

Witch is an arcane full caster with not a lot of evocations, but has a patron, a familiar that is their spellbook, and a lot of witchy themed power options like curses and brewing potions.

Druid is a divine full caster with nature animal/plant/elemental themes, animal summoning, wildshape, and a big animal companion. Plus scimitars.

Summoners have limited arcane spellcasting but can do their at the moment choice of big quick summon monster spells or a big customizable summoned long-lasting thing/eidolon which acts as a combat brute.

Using the class chassis to execute different flavor and mechanics among spellcasting concepts.
 

A big part of the issue is that the archetype filled by the D&D druid does have an appropriate name, but it's already in use elsewhere. From a folklore point of view, what do you call a person with magic shapeshifting ability, and healing, and a connection with nature? You call them a wizard.

But D&D already has another archetype filled by something called a wizard. This archetype, of course, is not something that derives from folklore. It's a trope of modern fantasy instead. Wizards throw fireballs in D&D because D&D started out based on a wargame, and wizards were designed to be the fantasy equivalent of artillery. Though they were magic-users at the time of course. They're nothing like the wizards of folklore, which are far more like D&D druids.
 


Andvari

Explorer
Wouldn't the kukri be more like the sickle than the scimitar? I guess 1e didn't have it and people wouldn't like a d4 when they can have a d6.

View attachment 262395
I like how most of these weapons look like they could realistically be wielded... and then there's the warhammer. (Not that I would like to try out a dire flail, but at least I could move it around)
 


gorice

Adventurer
I like how most of these weapons look like they could realistically be wielded... and then there's the warhammer. (Not that I would like to try out a dire flail, but at least I could move it around)
I dunno, the dire flail and the double sword are giving me conniptions. I am impressed by the variety of picks and hammers with pick-ends, though.
 

payn

Legend
In Pathfinder 1e

Witch is an arcane full caster with not a lot of evocations, but has a patron, a familiar that is their spellbook, and a lot of witchy themed power options like curses and brewing potions.

Druid is a divine full caster with nature animal/plant/elemental themes, animal summoning, wildshape, and a big animal companion. Plus scimitars.

Summoners have limited arcane spellcasting but can do their at the moment choice of big quick summon monster spells or a big customizable summoned long-lasting thing/eidolon which acts as a combat brute.

Using the class chassis to execute different flavor and mechanics among spellcasting concepts.
Just to add to this, the Witch has spells from both the Arcane and Divine spell lists. The class is a bit like the adept from 3E. The hex mechanic allows, more or less, encounter powers. Its pretty unique and definitely feels different from Druid. One of my favorite PF1 classes.
 

Remathilis

Legend
In Pathfinder 1e

Witch is an arcane full caster with not a lot of evocations, but has a patron, a familiar that is their spellbook, and a lot of witchy themed power options like curses and brewing potions.

Druid is a divine full caster with nature animal/plant/elemental themes, animal summoning, wildshape, and a big animal companion. Plus scimitars.

Summoners have limited arcane spellcasting but can do their at the moment choice of big quick summon monster spells or a big customizable summoned long-lasting thing/eidolon which acts as a combat brute.

Using the class chassis to execute different flavor and mechanics among spellcasting concepts.
Assuming 1D&D didn't want to proliferate the number of base classes like 3e/PF had, I could see all three classes existing under one shell, along with shamans. It's just that shell isn't really the druid class. Druid would be a great example of a subclass to a larger green mage class, but I don't think the latter works in reverse.
 

Yeah, the difference between a priest and a druid historically speaking is probably just which side of the Roman Empire's borders you were on.

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole path dependency, I think the name Druid is a far bigger example than Scimitar.

While the original druid was a mishmash of bad Celtic lore, there is barely anything Celtic about the class as it currently sits. It's equal parts nature priest, shaman, green witch and elementalist. Sometimes you can add Summoner/zookeeper to that mix. It almost feels too limiting to have a class that could represent a variety of naturalist faiths, traditions and magic under the name of one specific cultural example. It would be akin to having the rogue class be named "ninja"; it does describe what the rogue class does but it is too specific to represent the wide array of other types of sneaky characters the rogue class currently does. (And the class was renamed from Thief for that exact reason).

But I wager inertia will keep them named druid, unless there is some major Twitter outrage about it. The class is too well known by that name (and has spread to too many other derivative fantasy works) to adjust to a more culturally neutral term.

At this point the conception of the ninja owes the most to 80s action flicks more than anything, American Ninja, Revenge of the Ninja, Enter the Ninja, and so on. Probably at least half of which were put out by Cannon Group.

What everyone seems to think a "ninja" is and does is about as wrong from a historical perspective as the D&D Druid is from an actual druid, too.

Thank you for America's corn subsidies making corn the choice base for cheap sugary cereals. The funny thing I've found is that some junk food is gluten-free simply because there's so little that's natural or nutritional in them. I wouldn't live on a diet of them, but candy corn is my favorite treat this time of year. I can chow down on that without getting sick.

View attachment 262387

Pictured- Druid (Circle of the Charms)

I always equated monks with the Bloodguard from Thomas Covenant, so I never really got the hate they often get for not being "appropriate".
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Thank you for America's corn subsidies making corn the choice base for cheap sugary cereals. The funny thing I've found is that some junk food is gluten-free simply because there's so little that's natural or nutritional in them. I wouldn't live on a diet of them, but candy corn is my favorite treat this time of year. I can chow down on that without getting sick.

Oh no. Ralif ... do you know what you've summoned? You've crossed the streams ....

candy-corn-pizza-3.jpg
 



J-H

Hero
Candy corn + salted peanuts + chocolate chips is a great combo introduced by someone back when I still worked in the office instead of from home.

I eat healthier at home, though.

umm... thread tax:
The Plant Growth line of spells is HUGE in an agricultural society. Farming communities should prefer having a druid over having a priest. I could see a druid riding a circuit (like an old-style preacher or judge in 1700s America) where he visits each town once every few weeks to heal, help crops grow, etc.
 

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