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How would you RP an evil druid?

I

Immortal Sun

Guest
2. You can’t. Druids are true neutral.
Wait, what? In 5E? Even in 3E they only required one alignment component to be neutral.

*checks 5E book* there's a lot of talk about them loving nature and being concerned with "balance" but I don't see any alignment requirements.
 

Wiseblood

Adventurer
Like Saruman. The birds of the air are my eyes. My mind is metal and gears. My voice is honey. My words are wise.

As villains go he’s one of my favorite. (Christopher Lee played him and that was awesome.) He started out good fighting against Sauron but he was corrupted. He joined and even saught to usurp Sauron and rule all of middle earth.
 
Keeper of the Old Faith that believes the earth must be appeased. With blood. He often was at odds with the archdruid whose fiery belief had been tempered with old age & was leading the followers of the Old Faith towards a more peaceful existence. The druid came to power when he killed the previous archdruid in ritual combat, tore the elder's heart from his chest, and ate it. As was their tradition. However, vapor-infused visions have revealed the past archdruid has reincarnated in the form of a child with a constellation birth mark. Now, the druid sends outriders to hunt down reports of any child bearing such a mark, the poor child destined for grisly sacrifice at the druidic stone altars. And the eyes of the Old Faith are multitudinous, from the one-eyed porter at the laketown docks to the seamstress spinning late nights across from the inn.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Three pages in and no one's mentioned Leeky Windstaff? ENWorld fail. :)

More seriously, though... I've never liked the idea that druids are all about protecting nature from humans. In a typical D&D world, nature is powerful and terrifying; it does not need protection from humans, humans need protection from it. To the extent that druids engage with human society at all, I see them as intermediaries, warning people about the forces at work in the natural world and how to avoid getting squashed by them.

An evil druid could turn that role into extortion: Give me what I want, or I will invoke those forces to wipe you off the map.
 
One possibility is that the druid doesn't have a specifically 'druidic' motive for being evil. Maybe they just like power, or think "If I was in charge, things would be better" and fight to destabilize an existing kingdom or take over some area. Sure, when they do take it over they'll treat the natural lands better than other overlords would, but that's not what drives them. Maybe that orc druid is using his abilities to help his horde succeed. Yes, when they raze all of the human settlements in the border lands it will also allow nature to flourish, but again that's not what's driving him. Or Sir LightyPantsTheBold wronged him years ago, and he's working to bring down Sir LightyPants and his allies for that. The slight might have involved hurting an area the druid was protecting, but again that's not the important part.
 
I would go with something like a druid who was trying to change the world into the "true nature" of the Far Realm or the Abyss, and is "wildshaping" into aberrations. There are a bunch of demon lords that look animal-ish or plant-ish.
 

aco175

Explorer
You could also have the druid relocated from another country and is trying to make his new home into something that resembles the former home. A druid out of 'Africa' and not found himself in 'Siberia' may want to change the ecosystem and climate to resemble his old home with lions and rhinos and making it hot. The locals are not used to this and would see him as evil. This can be a long term plan over several levels changing the climate. There can be strange animal sightings and such in the beginning with portals bringing a whole herd of something in the mid levels.
 

Hriston

Explorer
On a more serious note than my previous answers, an evil druid is a character that takes the most expedient course in pursuit of his/her goals as a druid without regard for the rights of other creatures to life, freedom, happiness, truth, and beauty. So if the druid's goal is to protect nature or preserve the balance between nature and civilization, then s/he will wantonly kill or imprison the innocent, lie, and destroy beauty, so long as it helps to achieve that goal.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Roleplaying evil is remarkably easy. I'n fact I'd say most DMs can attest it comes vary easy to players. Especially those that put CN on their character sheets. :)

But really if you roleplay a guy trying to be really good who even succeeds at it most of the time, but can't stop occasionally brutally murdering someone, you're roleplaying an evil character.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
There's plenty of brutality, blood, and savagery in nature. All a druid needs to do is willingly embrace that as a method or goal and embrace the cruelty as a creature capable of making other, more merciful or kind, choices.
 

Eltab

Villager
The druid is deliberately manipulating the environment on the fringes of civilization so that Big Fierce Animals Are No Longer Rare. For instance, an Everglades-like swamp that is now churning out a steady supply of 15-foot crocodiles and pythons big enough to swallow - and digest - a child. The over-populated deer / moose are getting into the farmers' fields, looking for enough to eat. Wolves / coyotes / bears wander into town, following the odor of the garbage heap and incidentally investigating any passed-out drunks sleeping it off.
The druid's motivating philosophy is that Nature must be able to defend itself, and when Nature isn't getting the job done on its own … he can give the process a push.

If you want the druid to be a screen for a greater evil, he is trying to produce enough food to keep a population of Hill Giants fed. He needs more space and must change the ecosystems to encourage big grazing animals that live in herds - like horses, buffalo, &c.
 

Eltab

Villager
You could also have the druid relocated from another country and is trying to make his new home into something that resembles the former home. A druid out of 'Africa' and now found himself in 'Siberia' may want to change the ecosystem and climate …
Or vice versa. The 3e supplement Frostburn introduced a god of winter who would be perfectly happy to start on a mountaintop and spread downhill / out from there. Start at say Mt. Kilimanjaro, or icecap the Alps. A druid might find such a divinity and multiclass. He now has a 'force multiplier' who can create conditions that are antithetical to Civilization but to which Nature can adapt.
 

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