D&D General What is Druidism in your game?

Voadam

Legend
Druids have been a part of D&D for a long time but been left fairly vague as to their faith, traditions, and nature.

How do you conceive of them in your game?

Are they priests? Nature champions? Nature Guardians? Witches? Nature magic spellcasters without religious aspects? Theistic or non-theistic? One tradition or multiple ones? Are they a mechanical chasis for different concepts?
 

log in or register to remove this ad



Voadam

Legend
In the 1e PH it says "Druids can be visualized as medieval cousins of what the ancient Celtic sect of Druids would have become had it survived the Roman conquest. They hold trees (particularly oak and ash), the sun, and the moon as deities. Mistletoe is the holy symbol of druids, and it gives power to their spells. They have an obligation to protect trees and wild plants, crops, and to a lesser extent, their human followers and animals."

In Greyhawk they were associated with "The Old Faith."

In Forgotten Realms they have to have a patron nature god.

In the 2e PH it says "Historically, druids lived among the Germanic tribes of Western Europe and Britain during the days of the Roman Empire. They acted as advisors to chieftains and held great influence over the tribesmen. Central to their thinking was the belief that the earth was the mother and source of all life. They revered many natural things—the sun, moon, and certain trees—as deities. Druids in the AD&D game, however, are only loosely patterned after these historical figures. They are not required to behave like or follow the beliefs of historical druids.
The druid is an example of a priest designed for a specific mythos. His powers and beliefs are different from those of the cleric. The druid is a priest of nature and guardian of the wilderness, be it forest, plains, or jungle."

2e also had the Complete Druids Handbook which provided a bunch of druid kit specializations for different terrains.

There was also HR3 The Celts Campaign Sourcebook, which altered druids to be more historical-mythic Celtic appropriate.

Dark Sun had druids connected more to natural areas and terrains as there were no gods and clerics were connected to elementals.

In 3.5 the PH said "A druid reveres nature above all. She gains her magical powers either from the force of nature itself or from a nature deity. The typical druid pursues a mystic spirituality of transcendent union with nature rather than devoting herself to a divine entity. Still, some druids revere or at least respect either Obad-Hai (god of nature) or Ehlonna (goddess of the woodlands)."

3.5 also introduced Eberron with different traditions of druids starting with a black dragon founder and orc gatekeepers who fought an ancient aberration incursion and follow an animistic religion. Faiths of Eberron discussed multiple druidic sects including the fanatical anti-arcane magic and civilization Ashbound, the apocalyptic Children of Winter, the aberration hunting Gatekeepers, and the fey relationship Greensingers.

4e had druids from Player's Handbook 2 as connected to the Primal Spirits, a later addition to the World Axis Cosmology. "Religion: Most druids do not worship the gods of the Astral Sea, instead orienting their lives and beliefs around the primal spirits of nature. It might be misleading to call their relationship with these spirits worship, but druids invoke the spirits in times of passage, implore them for aid, and appease them with offerings of burned food or spilled blood."

The 5e PH says: "Whether calling on the elemental forces of nature or emulating the creatures of the animal world, druids are an embodiment of nature's resilience, cunning, and fury. They claim no mastery over nature. Instead, they see themselves as extensions of nature's indomitable will.
POWER OF NATURE
Druids revere nature above all, gaining their spells and other magical powers either from the force of nature itself or from a nature deity. Many druids pursue a mystic spirituality of transcendent union with nature rather than devotion to a divine entity, while others serve gods of wild nature, animals, or elemental forces. The ancient druidic traditions are sometimes called the Old Faith, in contrast to the worship of gods in temples and shrines."
 
Last edited:

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
How do you conceive of them in your game?

I concieve of them as many things. "Druid" is a metagame concept, a class in the rules. It is not necessarily an in-game-world concept or classification.

Are they priests? Nature champions? Nature Guardians? Witches? Nature magic spellcasters without religious aspects? Theistic or non-theistic? One tradition or multiple ones? Are they a mechanical chasis for different concepts?

A mechanical chassis for a multitude of concepts. A player comign to my table can likely come with any of those concepts, and probably have it work out with me.
 

Egon Spengler

"We eat gods for breakfast!"
Druids are priests, the same as clerics. They 100% serve deities, particularly deities of human cultures. But where clerics serve big, ineffable, cosmic gods of Order or Chaos, druids serve the deities of the Balance between the two forces, deities which tend to be close to the land, in harmony with nature, and (even if they themselves are not older than the gods of Order and Chaos) have a very long relationship with mortals that stretches back into prehistory.
 

Voadam

Legend
Druids have always had some mechanical weirdnesses.

In AD&D they had to be "True Neutral" with some bizarre explicit and implied consequences for roleplaying and druidic beliefs. In 3e this changed to at least one axis neutral in nine point alignment, so chaotic or evil was fine, but not chaotic evil or lawful good.

In 1e druids along with assassins and monks had to fight their superiors to advance to higher levels and there was an implied worldwide organization (that got expanded to more levels in Unearthed Arcana)

They were given scimitars in their weapon list because small curved swords are a bit like sickles, but not really and so you can end up with an Arabic feel to your Celtic druids, or turn them into a magical swordsman class.

The no metal armor thing has been defined and not defined in various editions. 5e is particularly vague in its description.

They have the reincarnate spell and no other raise dead spells differentiating them from clerics.

And there is the secret druid tongue.
 
Last edited:

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Druids have been a part of D&D for a long time but been left fairly vague as to their faith, traditions, and nature.

How do you conceive of them in your game?

Are they priests? Nature champions? Nature Guardians? Witches? Nature magic spellcasters without religious aspects? Theistic or non-theistic? One tradition or multiple ones? Are they a mechanical chasis for different concepts?
People who embody and guard nature. Priest implies worship and I don't see druids worshipping nature. Instead they just embody nature to such a degree that they gain spells and abilities.
 





I mostly play in the Forgotten Realms and refer to the 2E deity books, (Faiths & Avatars, Powers and Pantheons & Demihuman Deities). Each entry has a list of clergy classes, so I go by that, and/or other race and class supplements. In 1E they are stated to be a sub-class of cleric and in 2E they are described as a priest of nature. In 3.5 are said to get their spells/powers from nature and not a deity, while 5E says they can get spells and powers from both nature or their god. So, I guess it depends on the edition you are playing and ultimately up to the players and DM. Personally, I prefer them to be affiliated with a deity.
 


Laurefindel

Legend
Although it may not be how they perceive themselves, I like to see druids as proto-wizards, practitioners of an old magic predating the division of arcane and divine magic.

Their magic exist independently from the god-channeling powers of clerics but is much more "raw" than the isolated and refined magical essentia (insert magico-babble) that arcane wizards use. The essence of druidic magic is still strongly tainted by the physical world through which it transits, thus limiting druids to spells with strong natural overtones. Modern druids are the moral successors of those who saw this lack of "magical refining" as a boon - or like we like to say - a feature, not a flaw. Objectively, this "natural taint" allows for spells that arcane wizards cannot cast.

As such, I see druids as spellcasters that need nature more than they worship it (although this need led many druidic cultures to worship or revere nature as well). Destroying nature = cutting off their power source so of course they will protect it, but not all do it for the love of trees and squirrels. As a matter of fact, I had druid villains that considered wilderness as a necessary nuisance.
 
Last edited:






Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top