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Pinjata
2016-08-25, 02:23 AM
So ... In order to keep their powers AND act in accordance with "commandments" of their classes, paladins need to be good, uphold the law, fight evil ... Clerics less so, but still, if of proper alignment.

What about druids? I remember reading on some druid cults that would just obliterate all cities while others travel with adventuring groups no problem.

How should druid behave? In what way is it different from a common TN fighter?

thanks

Mando Knight
2016-08-25, 03:11 AM
Much as the generic Paladin is a warrior who fights for honor and justice, and as a Cleric abides by the commands of the chosen deity, a Druid is one who communes with nature. In peace, Druids seek to improve the state of their protected lands and the wildlife within it. In war, they bring the power of the wild upon those who would defile it.

A more civilization-minded Druid will help farmers and local governments use nature's bounty wisely... a civilization that teems with such Druids may be known for their tree-top towns, or city walls made of massive brambles and natural rock formations rather than quarried stone, and they produce an abundance of food for all the creatures within their borders.

Reclusive Druids will spend nearly all their time with the local wildlife, and may come off almost as if they were wild animals themselves. Unlikely to make large groups themselves, though they might be part of a larger circle of Druids within the area.

Itinerant Druids may be on a quest to learn how to heal their homeland, or simply to gain power and knowledge abroad so they can rise through the ranks of their own hierarchy.

Roving bands of Druids that seek to destroy cities are generally Evil rather than Neutral.

NNescio
2016-08-25, 03:20 AM
So ... In order to keep their powers AND act in accordance with "commandments" of their classes, paladins need to be good, uphold the law, fight evil ... Clerics less so, but still, if of proper alignment.

What about druids? I remember reading on some druid cults that would just obliterate all cities while others travel with adventuring groups no problem.

How should druid behave? In what way is it different from a common TN fighter?

thanks

Druids venerate and preserve nature. How they do so vary significantly. You can have some who focus on sustainable development between civilization and nature, or even outright integration of nature with urban development (like what is mentioned by Mando Knight).

Or you can have recluses who live off the land and doesn't interfere with civilization so long as they don't encroach too much into the wilds he guards. They probably will also kill animals for food, it's part of the cycle of life anyway.

Or you can have the tree-hugging weed-smoking vegetarian sort who champions animal rights.

Or even eco-terrorists who seek to destroy civilization, as they view it as inherently opposed to nature, maybe.

Lots of characterizations possible, really.

hymer
2016-08-25, 03:30 AM
How should druid behave? In what way is it different from a common TN fighter?

My thoughts:

Druidism is a religion, which venerates nature. The fighter (assuming s/he doesn't follow the same religion) is generally unwilling to get involved. S/he can be motivated by extremes, and by various non-alignment-based stuff (love, a bad day, payment, etc.). The druids' first and last thought is to nature, and perhaps to some concept of balance. Both their impulses and their long term planning take these into account as a primary concern.
The druids are also likely to think in a different time scale than the fighter. Their ways and traditions are already very old, and they concern themselves with cycles and rhythms that go far beyond the span of mortals' lives. The fighter is mostly concerned with where the next handful of gold coins is coming from, how the family is doing, stuff very nearby.

Thrudd
2016-08-25, 09:41 AM
It depends on the setting and on the edition of the game, there's no such thing as "generic druid". Ask or decide what druids are supposed to be in your setting. Druids are practitioners of some religion, different than that followed by clerics or paladins. Decide what the rules and beliefs of that religion are.

Max_Killjoy
2016-08-25, 09:46 AM
So ... In order to keep their powers AND act in accordance with "commandments" of their classes, paladins need to be good, uphold the law, fight evil ... Clerics less so, but still, if of proper alignment.

What about druids? I remember reading on some druid cults that would just obliterate all cities while others travel with adventuring groups no problem.

How should druid behave? In what way is it different from a common TN fighter?

thanks


Are you thinking of a D&D druid, or a more "Celtic re-creationist" druid?

hymer
2016-08-25, 09:52 AM
Are you thinking of a D&D druid, or a more "Celtic re-creationist" druid?

From the talk of paladins, fighters, druids, and alignments, I assumed we're talking something quite D&D. :smallsmile:

tomandtish
2016-08-25, 02:23 PM
So ... In order to keep their powers AND act in accordance with "commandments" of their classes, paladins need to be good, uphold the law, fight evil ... Clerics less so, but still, if of proper alignment.

What about druids? I remember reading on some druid cults that would just obliterate all cities while others travel with adventuring groups no problem.

How should druid behave? In what way is it different from a common TN fighter?

thanks

Given that Druids don't have to be straight true neutral, they can differ a lot. Remember that in 3.0 and 3.5 they only have to have one neutral component. So you can have LN, CN, NG, and NE Druids, as well as TN.


Druids venerate and preserve nature. How they do so vary significantly. You can have some who focus on sustainable development between civilization and nature, or even outright integration of nature with urban development (like what is mentioned by Mando Knight).

Or you can have recluses who live off the land and doesn't interfere with civilization so long as they don't encroach too much into the wilds he guards. They probably will also kill animals for food, it's part of the cycle of life anyway.

Or you can have the tree-hugging weed-smoking vegetarian sort who champions animal rights.

Or even eco-terrorists who seek to destroy civilization, as they view it as inherently opposed to nature, maybe.

Lots of characterizations possible, really.

Very much this. The closest you should ever need to come to a "generic" druid is possibly defining that in THIS setting, there may only be one major druidic circle, and here's what their core beliefs are. But barring that there can be as many varied motivations for druids as there are for most other character classes.

Segev
2016-08-25, 02:51 PM
I figure that the ideal generic druid acts just like the name brand druid, but cheaper. But it's probable that it won't be quite the same in practice.

nedz
2016-08-25, 03:05 PM
There is no such thing as a generic druid - at least in so far as it comes to choosing actions.

For instance: I have an NE Druid in my game who's currently using slave labour in a gold mine; his reasoning is: ... complicated.

GloatingSwine
2016-08-25, 04:03 PM
If you just want to communicate the idea of "Druid" as quickly as possible, it's a character that lives in the wilderness, tries to avoid major settlements, and objects to people making large scale changes to nature beyond that required to survive.

Ninja_Prawn
2016-08-26, 06:15 AM
Lots of characterizations possible, really.

In a game of D&D, I'd say it makes sense for several different 'types' of druid to exist simultaneously in the setting. That creates a potential source of conflict that can be utilised to create adventure plots.

Since a lot of druid circles are insular and reclusive, it would be unlikely for every druid in the world to agree on one 'orthodox' set of beliefs. More likely, each circle thinks it has the best way of protecting nature and should be the prototype for what drudism should be.

Logosloki
2016-08-26, 07:41 AM
The generic druid will stay within the bounds of their grove's duty, maintaining the balance of the area so that nature's cycle continues. How the generic druid goes about this is entirely up to the narrative.

There are two really generic ideas for a druid. The Grove as a natural shrine and outsiders wandering near said shrine are liable to either be tested or bested. The Grove is a focal point of a community who works to maintain the balance within an entire forest, for some inscrutable reason (or simply because). The Latter being a common elf trope, the former being all manner of mythos
such as fae spirits, green knights and ancient guardians of time forgotten.

A generic druid to me is a cleric of nature. They seek to help those around them to bring balance into their lives by taking only what they need from nature and returning to nature where they can. As Clerics they have their own deities and deity like beings who have their own ideas on how best to serve nature.

Pinjata
2016-08-26, 09:09 AM
There is no such thing as a generic druid - at least in so far as it comes to choosing actions.

For instance: I have an NE Druid in my game who's currently using slave labour in a gold mine; his reasoning is: ... complicated.
What the heck? I eman Evil is one thig, but slavery? Slavery sounds HIGHLY unnatural. Care to explain more?

Also, thanks for the answers. I'd also ask how would druids(DnD druids, not Celts :)) handle cities, roads being made, forests being cut down, animals being hunted for pelts and stuff. I wonder about this possible points of conflict.

Thrudd
2016-08-26, 09:59 AM
What the heck? I eman Evil is one thig, but slavery? Slavery sounds HIGHLY unnatural. Care to explain more?

Also, thanks for the answers. I'd also ask how would druids(DnD druids, not Celts :)) handle cities, roads being made, forests being cut down, animals being hunted for pelts and stuff. I wonder about this possible points of conflict.

What does the druidic religion say about those things? There is no generic druid, it depends on the setting, even in D&D.
I think it is unreasonable to think druids are some sort of eco-terrorist, anti-civilization group. They would have no problem with cities and roads and people hunting animals. They most likely hunt animals themselves. Where do you think they get all the hides and leather for their armor?

They worship the forces of nature, in one form or another. Maybe they worship a god or gods of nature, maybe their religion is more animist and believes in a spiritual consciousness within everything.

They are usually said to be concerned with "keeping the balance" with nature. In our modern world, of course, we have been conditioned think of nature as being in the "losing" side of that balance and so the forces of progress and technology and civilization are the ones that are "out of balance" and need to be checked. So we think druids would be aggressive conservationists trying to shut down loggers and hunters and roads. But in an ancient fantasy world, especially a D&D world where there are supposed to be great stretches of unexplored dangerous wildeness, nature is not on the "losing" side of the equation. Civilization is struggling for its own survival against harsh conditions. There is no end to the dangers people face from the natural environment: weather, failing crops, predators, natural disasters, diseases. So druids trying to "keep the balance" are more likely here to be humanity and civilization's protectors and intercessors from and with nature. They are the ones who the farmers go to for blessing the fields for a good harvest, they do their magic to keep the wolves from eating all the sheep. They heal people who get sick and they help contain the fires that are necessary for clearing the land, and they can talk to the spirits of the forest to find out where a good place will be to start a new homestead. This is pre-industrial, pre-mechanized civilization. Sure, there might be some conflicts if the druids perceive a particularly sacred region is in danger, or someone is being especially destructive, but normal activity of civilization should not be a concern to them.

hymer
2016-08-26, 10:14 AM
What the heck? I eman Evil is one thig, but slavery? Slavery sounds HIGHLY unnatural. Care to explain more?

Also, thanks for the answers. I'd also ask how would druids(DnD druids, not Celts :)) handle cities, roads being made, forests being cut down, animals being hunted for pelts and stuff. I wonder about this possible points of conflict.

Ants take slaves, sorta. I think the mining is more problematic, particularly mining for gold of all things. *shrug*

Cities: Depends on how many there are, and how big they are. It's rare for cities to last more than some hundred years, so druids can afford to take a medium-length view of this. There's also the consideration that some city-builders make excellent counterweights to destructive hordes, so they may be acceptable.
Druids wanting to make a city smaller or get rid of it alltogether could do it very surreptitiously, and gradually ramp it up. Harbour sanding up, crops getting worse every year, more cattle lost to predators, weather getting more inclement, unpleasant diseases, etc. The socio-economic structure that is a city is easy to fathom and influence for those dealing with ecosystems on a daily basis.

Roads: Depends on where they lead. Through glorious, untouched wilderness? That's likely to cause resentment. Also depends on what they'll be used for. Moving troops more quickly through the wilderness? Could mean less stress overall and be good. Or it could mean more troops will be passing through, which may be worse. Hauling coal? There's good and bad in that, too. Foodstuffs to an area that otherwise can't be colonized? More inherently problematic. Getting close to the unicorns' sacred grove, or the ancient Circle of Stones? That one is likely to get a big, honking 'NO', and possibly with no explanation given.

Forests being cut down: This one is usually the big 'no'. Every ecosystem is unique, and forests take milennia to form. Cutting down whole forests is a definite reason for the druid to move from counsel to warnings - and then sterner measures.

Animals hunted for pelts: If done in moderation, not reducing the population in the long term, it would likely be acceptable. A little hunting can be good for the population a few generations down the line, and may have a positive effect on the ecosystem as a whole if the animals are numerous enough. Though I could see a druid having a problem with animals being hunted for purely aesthetic reasons. Kill some furry mammals to keep warm, okay. Doing it to allow a rich lady to harrumph all the more haughtily? Not a good enough reason.

NNescio
2016-08-27, 03:14 AM
Ants take slaves, sorta. I think the mining is more problematic, particularly mining for gold of all things. *shrug*

Eh, ants also dig tunnels.

2D8HP
2016-08-27, 04:06 AM
*ahem*




Druids serve only themselves and nature, they occasionally make human sacrifice, but on the other hand they aid the folk in agriculture and animal husbandry. Druids are, therefore, neutral — although slightly predisposed towards evil actions.

That help?

Herobizkit
2016-08-27, 05:42 AM
If he's a "good guy" (working for the weal of the land and its people), Gandalf.
If he's an "unknown" quantity, Allanon from the Shannara (book; maybe TV?) series.

The D&D druid (pre-, say, 4e) pretty much assumes a Celtic priest who worships the natural cycle - chops mistletoe with a golden scythe at the full moon for a holy symbol, teaches farmers how to live off the land, and wields magic and shape-shifts into animals to defend his sacred grove.

A 'generic druid' is much like a 'generic cleric' who stands at an altar in town. They can offer healing and restoration, wise counsel and information, and can be a great source of adventures. It could be safe to assume that most decent Druid are allies with Elves and other Sylvan (Fey) types - pixies, sprites, centaurs, satyrs, and the all-too famous treants.

Just my 2 coppers, anyway.

Winter_Wolf
2016-08-27, 07:44 AM
When I think of generic druids, I think more or less of people who live in shacks at the outskirts of town by the forest and help out with the farming and shepherding. Kind of like a fantasy equivalent of the Fish and Wildlife Department combined with the Forestry Service. They promote responsible use of natural resources, and they have the power and authority to back up their mission goals. I don't think of militant Eco-terrorists.

Max_Killjoy
2016-08-27, 08:22 AM
If he's a "good guy" (working for the weal of the land and its people), Gandalf.
If he's an "unknown" quantity, Allanon from the Shannara (book; maybe TV?) series.

The D&D druid (pre-, say, 4e) pretty much assumes a Celtic priest who worships the natural cycle - chops mistletoe with a golden scythe at the full moon for a holy symbol, teaches farmers how to live off the land, and wields magic and shape-shifts into animals to defend his sacred grove.

A 'generic druid' is much like a 'generic cleric' who stands at an altar in town. They can offer healing and restoration, wise counsel and information, and can be a great source of adventures. It could be safe to assume that most decent Druid are allies with Elves and other Sylvan (Fey) types - pixies, sprites, centaurs, satyrs, and the all-too famous treants.

Just my 2 coppers, anyway.

I'd throw out the "Celtic priest" thing, and probably ditch the name "druid" if I could -- so much of the popular conception of the "druid" comes from Victorian dilettantes just making up whatever they felt like.

Lacuna Caster
2016-08-27, 08:59 AM
I'd throw out the "Celtic priest" thing, and probably ditch the name "druid" if I could -- so much of the popular conception of the "druid" comes from Victorian dilettantes just making up whatever they felt like.
To be fair, it's very hard to get reliable data on this point, since most sources on the topic are either roman or christian writers with their own axe to grind. Would sacred groves, the Brehon Law, and the occasional human sacrifice be too far off the mark?

Max_Killjoy
2016-08-27, 01:32 PM
To be fair, it's very hard to get reliable data on this point, since most sources on the topic are either roman or christian writers with their own axe to grind. Would sacred groves, the Brehon Law, and the occasional human sacrifice be too far off the mark?

No, not too far.

It's just a pet peeve of mine, despite the subject being of purely intellectual interest to me.

Thing is, "druid" was probably the term for a fairly broad class of educated people, not just "nature priests", and the D&D "defender of nature" thing is off the mark.

SethoMarkus
2016-08-27, 02:11 PM
Thing is, "druid" was probably the term for a fairly broad class of educated people, not just "nature priests", and the D&D "defender of nature" thing is off the mark.

Pretty much this is you are looking for historical guidance for the class. The Druids were, as far as my research has indicated, community, spiritual, and educational leaders of their time. They were the "Learned" class, although anyone could join there ranks if they began their education/apprenticeship at an early enough age. This was offset, of course, by only wealthy or well off families being able to spare a child to pursue such an education, so it was still limited. And while I have not come across any accounts of female Druids, frewuently it is mentioned that the Celts in general afforded women great respect (for the time period), so it is possible there were Druid women as well.

The Celts themselves varied greatly, but in general their religious views can be thought of as a vaguely animist shamanic tradition, with the Druids being the equivalent of a Witch Doctor or Shaman, but with a different culture surrounding them. Their culture and society was fairly complex and expansive, and the technologies they may or not have had were much more advanced than Roman accounts would have given them credit for.

(And touching on the "human sacrifice" line from Gygax, there is no definitive proof that this wqs a common practice, but there is fairly clear evidence that ritual sacrifice of a human did occur at least once in a time of desperation.)

Of course, this is all based off of a very eclectic collection of information on the time period and culture, gathered and parsed through in an amateur interest, so I may be entirely off base.

Grytorm
2016-08-27, 02:30 PM
They also might wear funny metal hats.

Herobizkit
2016-08-27, 02:37 PM
Yeah, to really appreciate the Druid as "intended", you might go back and check out the 1e Druid information. Among the other stuff I've mentioned above, another important detail is that there were only a limited amount of high-level Druids in a campaign world.

"There are only nine druids of level twelve; each has three assistants. These assistants are the same level for each druid, but each druid has higher level assistants according to the relationship between their current experience. Thus, the twelfth-level Druid with the least experience (in points) is served by three level-one druids, and the one with the most experience is served by three ninth-level druids. The single thirteenth-level Archdruid is served by three initiates of the eighth circle, and the fourteenth-level Great Druid is served by nine initiates of the ninth circle. These servitors and protectors are not henchmen; the druids may have henchmen in addition to this.

A character may only achieve twelfth-level Druid if there is a vacancy or he bests one of the nine current Druids in spell or hand-to-hand combat. If the combat is not mortal, the loser drops to the beginning of level eleven, initiate of the ninth circle. This process is repeated for becoming the thirteenth-level Archdruid (with the loser reverting to Druid) and the fourteenth-level Great Druid (with the loser reverting to Archdruid).

Also, seek out the 2e Druid's Handbook. It is chock full of RP ideas and information for Druids.

Mastikator
2016-08-29, 03:42 AM
A druid is basically a priest that worships a deity that does not have any connection to civilized society but DOES have a connection to "nature" (i.e flora, fauna, the ground, the sky, the ocean).

A druid can very easily be "druid of the lion" and literally eat people, or he can spent his times planting trees. Or reshaping the earth. And everything between that.

Mark Hall
2016-08-29, 03:13 PM
To an extent, this varies with edition, as the druid became more and more "ecowarrior" with each edition. 1e and 2e Druids, with their high charisma requirements, tended to believe in a balance of forces... humans had their place, and should be able to thrive in that place, but needed to respect the places of others, as well. There was an element of negotiation, backed by magical force, and the shapeshifting was not necessarily a combat manuever as an intelligence-gathering one.

Consider Jaroo, in the Village of Hommlet. He's a local leader, engaged in a rivalry with the interloping church of St. Cuthbert. He's got an animal friend (a black bear), but it's not the most optimal possible combat companion given his level (he could have up to 2 HD of creatures per level under Animal Friendship... I think he's got like maybe 5 HD statted out, and that's as a significantly-leveled druid).

As subsequent editions stripped charisma as a requirement, druids became a lot more "weird old ecoterrorist hermit", rather than a member of the community who guided it through wisdom and charm.

GungHo
2016-08-30, 09:54 AM
I've seen them represented as everything between the Picts from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to Jerry Garcia to someone with a terrible misunderstanding of the term "Animal Husbandry". I liked the Jerry Garcia one more. The Picts were near insufferable. We moved the game on the last guy and didn't leave a forwarding address.

Lacuna Caster
2016-09-02, 05:56 PM
So, going back to the OP... I think it depends on what you mean by 'should'. It can be argued that the purpose of the various classes in D&D isn't necessarily to evoke the historical real-world profession so much as to, in theory, reproduce the common abilities and typical attitudes presented in fantasy stories about, e.g, barbarians, troubadours and shining knights. (Which, in the case of D&D and it's attendant novelizations, has created a sort of incestuous positive feedback cycle completely disconnected from the starting materials, which in turn are somewhat distanced from actual Huns, Aos Dána (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aois-dàna) and medieval knighthood, but that's another topic.)

I'm not aware of especially famous fantasy authors who specialised in writing druids as main characters (aside from maybe Merlin and those victorian dilettantes who gave the Vikings horned helmets, though I'm sure there must be a couple out there.) So, as such I'm not sure what the 'trope namer' is meant to be. But if you and your players are, somehow, familiar with this corpus and enthused by the subject matter, then... maybe the 'generic druid' is... that.

Then again, you can also approach it from a tactical perspective- i.e, how should a druid be optimised to complement a particular team or typical combat scenarios- which given a dim and hazy recollection of 3.5E spell listings I am not remotely qualified to give advice about. Bears, maybe?

*drums fingers*