log in or register to remove this ad

 

General Nature Clerics vs. Druids?


log in or register to remove this ad

A Nature Cleric worships a God of Nature. A Druid worships Nature.
Except, neither of those are strictly true in 5e, as I pointed out here:
A lot of people in this thread have been saying that Druids don't have to worship a deity, but clerics do, but that isn't true in D&D 5e. In 5e, clerics don't have to worship a deity, they can worship a process of the multiverse (like death, life, nature). Druids in D&D 5e do draw their power from nature spirits and deities, but don't have to worship them.

So, how I would distinguish between the two is that nature clerics worship nature or a nature deity, while druids are the embodiment of nature, drawing power from certain aspects of it (the moon, the land, death, fire and rebirth, etc).
 


Here's some quotes to prove that druids don't have to worship nature or nature deities:
First, from the SCAG's druid section:
"The druids of the Realms venerate nature in all its forms, as well as the gods of the First Circle, those deities closest to the power and majesty of the natural world. That group of gods includes Chauntea, Eldath, Mielikki, Silvanus, as well as Auril, Malar, Talos, and Umberlee, for nature is many-sided and not always kind.

Unlike clerics, who typically serve a single deity, druids revere all the gods of the First Circle in their turn, and see them as embodiments of the natural world, which moves in cycles: creation and destruction, waxing and withering, life and death.

Although they are most strongly associated with sylvan forests, druids care for all aspects of the land, including frozen mountains, burning deserts, rolling hills, and rough coasts."
Next, from the PHB's Druid section:
"Druids revere nature above all, gaining their spells and other magical powers either from the force of nature itself or from a nature deity."
Lastly, also from the PHB, but this is from the Nature Cleric section:
"Druids revere nature as a whole and might serve one of these deities, practicing mysterious rites and reciting all-but-forgotten prayers in their own secret tongue. But many of these gods have clerics as well, champions who take a more active role in advancing the interests of a particular nature god. These clerics might hunt the evil monstrosities that despoil the woodlands, bless the harvest of the faithful, or wither the crops of those who anger their gods."

So, to conclude from what 5e tells us, Druids don't serve a deity of nature to get their power and they don't worship nature, they instead just draw their power from nature through revering and venerating nature. They act as embodiments of nature in all of its various forms, from the fires, floods, storms, and wildlife of the wilds. Nature clerics instead worship the concept nature or a nature deity/deities. As clerics no longer have to worship a deity and can instead worship a the concept of their domain, nature clerics are the ones who can worship nature.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
2E stuff with Faerunian deities. Main point is clerics, druids and specialty priests serve the deities.

IMG_20201018_152033.jpg


IMG_20201018_151848.jpg


Back then you had to serve a deity but to me it's not either/or. Clerics and Druids can both draw their power from deity, nature or something else.
 

So, I really dislike Nature clerics thematically. Especially since there have been a few "differences" between them that really I find annoying.

"Druids aren't integrated into society because they are more primitive"
"Druids are connected more Barbaric, older traditions"
"Druids are the Old faith"
"Druids are tribal shamans"

All of this seems to seek to Other the Druids, in a way that doesn't make sense to me. Additionally, I personally just do not like the Nature Deity as a concept, in a world where Nature and the spirits within it are capable of giving power similiar to what a God gives anyways. There is just no need for the conceptual space.

So, I tend to make space by getting rid of Nature clerics. I don't really see a place for them, or Nature Gods. They could fit in as worshipping the harvest, but I'd prefer to have a deity of civilization and focus on other domains.
 



Zardnaar

Legend
Really? Because "Martial, Arcane, Divine and Psionic" were all invented well before 4E. Fourth Editions biggest contribution was to give us Primal, to help make Druids different.

4E set them in stone though.

All clerics are divine.

2E had divine clerics, philosophy ones and Elemental.

It's why they made silly choices in 4E Darksun.

Some world's might not have druids but might have nature clerics.

Other world's druids but no nature clerics.

Other world's like Greyhawk and Faerun will have both.
 

These deities would like to speak with you. Why shouldn't nature gods exist in D&D worlds?

I didn't say they can't exist, but I just don't see a place for them. Or, if I did, then there should be no Druids and they were just clerics.

See, the problem I have is thematic overlap. If Obad-Hai is the god of Nature and has been around since "the old times" then who are the Druids worshipping? If they worship Obad-Hai, then why aren't they clerics?

It feels appropriate that Druids and Nature are beyond the Gods. It is not a domain where they rule. Then it makes sense to refer to Druidism as an "older" faith, because they worship something that is not in the realms of the Gods. They commune with the World itself. Why do they have such different powers? Because they come from a completely different place.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


4E set them in stone though.

All clerics are divine.

2E had divine clerics, philosophy ones and Elemental.

It's why they made silly choices in 4E Darksun.

Some world's might not have druids but might have nature clerics.

Other world's druids but no nature clerics.

Other world's like Greyhawk and Faerun will have both.

Okay, what makes an Elemental cleric different from a Divine one, if there is a God of Fire that they both worship?

And if there are no gods, but you can worship a divine philosophy, then you can still have clerics, so a lack of gods would never effect a cleric.

I'm very tired, so maybe I'm not making much sense, but it seems odd to blame 4e for something that existed long before 4e. Maybe they codified it a little more obviously, but "Wizards use Arcane Magic" is something that has been true since 1e, Fighters are Martial has always been true. 4e just said up-front what every other edition whispered in a dozen places.
 

I didn't say they can't exist, but I just don't see a place for them. Or, if I did, then there should be no Druids and they were just clerics.
I disagree with that, just like I think Wizards and Sorcerers both deserve to exist. Sure, they both use arcane magic, both use the same spell slot progression, have fairly similar spell lists, have the same hit dice, have the same weapon and armor proficiencies, and many other features and flavoring that make them overlap, but are different classes. The same thing applies to Divine Soul Sorcerers, Celestial Warlocks and Clerics, as well as Scout Rogues and Rangers.
See, the problem I have is thematic overlap. If Obad-Hai is the god of Nature and has been around since "the old times" then who are the Druids worshipping? If they worship Obad-Hai, then why aren't they clerics?
Druids don't have to worship any deities, and neither do Clerics in 5e. I talked about this in this post. Long story short, druids don't draw power from deities, clerics don't have to, but druids embody nature while clerics worship it.
 

MGibster

Legend
The problem with D&D, is that they've written the classes to be as generic as possible. Well, D&D's version of generic anyway. All of these different interpretations of the druid would work just fine in a campaign. I don't think they'd all work well in the same campaign, but individually they're fine. Though I could certainly see a schism between a group of druids centered on a primordial nature spirit versus druids centered on a nature deity causing some conflict.

So everyone here, your interpretations of the druid are pretty good. Especially mine! Really, what it boils down to is what's appropriate to the campaign.
 

I've had to deal with this in a game that had both a Nature Cleric and a Druid. The distinctions came out in play at the table. You might find them useful:

There is a Will in Nature
Nature Clerics...
Think of nature and civilization as poles in opposition that require monitoring and balancing for to both survive.
Factor in (demi)human civilization and mortality into their ethos. They are custodians of nature. They have a role.
Think the God of Nature has something to say to mortals, likely teachable parables.
Think of the God of Nature as having a will that can express kindness or cruelty. It can have favorites, blessed.
Use the written word to preserve the teachings of their faith.

Nature Cares Not. Nature Knows Not.
Druids...
Think of nature as all-encompassing. Mortal civilization is akin to a large hive or a dam, not a polar opposite to nature.
Do not think nature "needs" them. Nor would it notice if mortals ceased to exists.
Think they can learn from nature but do not think it is actually teaching or mindfully challenging them.
Think of the God of Nature as an elder spirit, possibly a former druid, that has has a soft spot for mortals. It cares where nature does not.
Use the written word rarely. Tradition is preserved orally or through inherited memory (leaning Reincarnation implications here)
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Love some of the responses!

The way I've been thinking about it, which a few people have said, is that the nature cleric serves as an intermediary between civilization and nature. These are the priests who come and bless your fields, lead harvest festivals, and such.

Druids, I feel, are more a part of nature. They're probably part of a community too, and serve and help it like a cleric, but not like a big town or city that displaces nature. Druids live with nature.

I don't know, I don't have good words for it that are universally D&D and aren't skewed by my own setting. I have druids as animists who partner with the spirits of nature and use their magic in a give and take relationship, while clerics are priests of a particular deity and serve it and act as an intermediary between it and people.
 

Aaron L

Hero
If you want actual differences then go back to look at the actual real-world source material rather than trying to shift through reams of previous D&D information. Because I really don't care about whatever crap has built up over the editions to cloud the issue.
Nature Clerics would be the Knights Templar of a God of Nature in a feudalistic society, while Druids are the mystical priestly class of deities who govern various aspects of Nature in a more rural pagan society.
Too many people seem forget that the Cleric class doesn't represent a generic priest (who most likely couldn't even cast spells); Clerics are the militant fighting arm of a priesthood, the Military Orders of the Church. Druids would have a more mystical social function, remembering things like laws, genealogies, and history, and would act as advisers to kings.
 

I disagree with that, just like I think Wizards and Sorcerers both deserve to exist. Sure, they both use arcane magic, both use the same spell slot progression, have fairly similar spell lists, have the same hit dice, have the same weapon and armor proficiencies, and many other features and flavoring that make them overlap, but are different classes. The same thing applies to Divine Soul Sorcerers, Celestial Warlocks and Clerics, as well as Scout Rogues and Rangers.

You are so quick to throw up all these things, that I don't think you are considering my point at all.

Because, obviously both the Sorcerer and the Wizard should exist, none of their mechanicaly stuff even needs to be mentioned. Sorcerers are born with great power. Wizards study and learn to wield great power. That is a big thematic difference.

Druids worship nature and nature gods.... Nature clerics worship nature and nature gods.... They appear, thematically, identical.

Druids being reffered to as an "old faith" implies that it is a religious sect, they are worshiping, but stop and think about it as describing two people standing in front of you.

Who is that? Oh, that is a Druid, a member of the Old Religion, he worships Obad-Hai, the Lord of the Forest.

Okay, who is that? Oh, that is a cleric, he worships Obad-Hai, the Lord of the Forest.

Are there "Old Faiths" for all the gods? What do you call an "old faith" worshipper of Pelor, or Kord? Are they also Druids? Why does Obad-Hai want a difference between his "old faith" and his new faith? Did he just not update the OS?

None of it makes sense. It doesn't make sense that Obad-Hai would want to have two different types of worship, but no other deity would, it makes no sense that if his worship changed he wouldn't pressure the old sect to adjust to the new beliefs, none of it really works thematically.

Maybe other people can make it work, but for me, it makes far more sense that worshipping Nature is fundamentally different than worshipping a God. It makes far more sense to not have a God of Nature at all, or if you do, they only have Druids, not clerics. They are working in a fundamentally different manner than the cleric does.


Druids don't have to worship any deities, and neither do Clerics in 5e. I talked about this in this post. Long story short, druids don't draw power from deities, clerics don't have to, but druids embody nature while clerics worship it.

Sure, nobody has to worship any gods. But that doesn't change anything. A cleric worships the philosophical idea of nature.... doesn't a Druid as well?

You say that Druids "embody" nature. So, is there a class that "embodies" other religious concepts, like Love, War, or Strength?

If Clerics worship nature, and Druids "embody" nature, would a cleric worship a Druid? That would make a Druid something Clerics would strive to emulate, because they are closer to Nature than the Cleric is. The Cleric is an outsider, while the Druid is an insider.

And we are back to the same problem. What purpose do we have in showing both concepts?


And, again, I'm not saying anyone is wrong or bad by using them both. I personally don't like it. I personally see this disconnect, and see no reason to have Nature Clerics. I personally find it more intriguing to separate Nature from the Gods, I also did the same with Arcane magic. There are no gods of the Arcane or Nature in my games. They are different paths.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Ithink another thing that differs between the two is organization.

Clerics belong to a structure where only some of their priests are cleric in class. In D&D, a church could be anywhere from 1% to 50% clerics. There are a lot of not casters in the church. A temple of 10 priests might only have 1 or 2 nature clerics before one goes of to adventure. The temple or church as all the adminstration and mantainance staff plus noncleric priests, paladins, avengers, and whatever.

Druids. Druid circle of 5 druids has 5 druids. No alter boys and holy janitors and non-casting monks. Attack a druid circle and expect all of them in the "building" to turn into a wolf of the appropriate climate or toss lighning. That is if there are multiple druids at all. As druid replaces the idea of a tribal or rural shaman, you might only have 1 druid or a master/apprentice scenario.
 

Vael

Hero
I really like 4e's introduction of the Primal power source as a way to differentiate the two. "Worship", tbh, isn't a word that Druids would grasp. Druids seek unity, they are a part of nature, an avatar of the innate magic of the Material Plane. Nature Clerics, otoh, are worshippers of the gods. The Gods may oversee natural domains, but they are separate from it. Nature Clerics draw their power from the Astral Plane, or wherever the Gods reside.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
I agree, Primal as a power source was one of the best things to come out of 4e

Power sources need to die in a fire.

A wizard fire example could have multiple power sources even if they're an arcane caster.

You don't need an arcane power source as such.

Same applies to clerics and Druids. Depends on the world.
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top