it wouldn’t be so bad if they would put alot of emphasis on their priestly role also. Their were alot of cool Druidic rites and alot more to their mythologies. They didn’t isolate themselves from society they were the leaders and cultural teachers and keepers of their people.These have potential for coolness. The acolyte-bard is the guy in the dark, ceremonial robe who plays a recorder between the passages of the head priest. Maybe the recorder helps the congress see fantastic visions. Or maybe the acolyte also has a nasty stiletto under his robe, just in case.
I'm a fan of the outlander-bard. Yeah, she sings and plays some odd, foreign instrument, but she's weathered and tough - because traveling for a living isn't safe or easy.
A knowledge-carring bard could possibly be more practical - especially for adventuring parties that can't afford to hire a sage (and keep him alive). But I think there should still be room for the rock-star bard: the hero who contributes to adventures by being famously awesome. Sort of like having John Lennon in your party. Undead. Anyway, the knowledge bard makes sense if the other members of the party have poor/no educations (which ought to be the norm, but isn't). After all, wasn't it Confucius who said "knowing is half the battle?"
Shape-shifting Druids is weird. But, you know, the marketers said that they were getting a good, high-dollar response, so it snowballed. According to Etymology Online, "druid" means "they who know the oak." So, you know, I guess that means they turn into grizzly bears every once in a while.