The Fey Druids

"I don't understand," lamented Brother Grindam to the adolescent boys and girls that sat at his feet. He sat with his head in his hands, in a secluded woodland glen where the druids of his order had gathered to teach the young students for generation after generation. He had been taught here himself, and could still remember his master's stern lessons about the importance of understanding the cycles of nature. Druidism, he had been taught, was no lark, no trifle to be played with and discarded. Only deep understanding in the ways of things could lead to the miraculous powers that druids displayed. These were wise teachings that were being disproved as he watched.

The girl Lianna had been paying absolutely no attention throughout Grindam's lessons today, wandering off in search of cute animals and talking to the other children in the group. He had chided her several times, and when he scolded her a few minutes ago, pointing out that being a druid required a lifetime dedication and wisdom, her childish retort was simply, "Does not." He had given her a glare that was intended to silence her, but instead the pretty young girl had skipped into the woods and began speaking in a foreign tongue. Grindam recognized it as the speech of fey, and was mildly surprised at her proficiency. His thoughts were interrupted when a large black bear appeared out of the woods beside her. He had grabbed his staff and prepared to use his magic to charm the animal, but stopped when he realized the bear was eating out of Lianna's hand. She had summoned it! With no understanding of the magic involved, she had simply called out for a bear to show up, and it had.

Still dumbfounded by the girl's natural connection to the animal world, Grindam almost missed her climb up on the bear's back. "The dryads were right, you old druids are boring. I'm going to go talk to them, they're fun." In a moment, the bear had left view and the druid was left alone with his remaining students, a look of exasperation on his face. He barely registered the tugging on his green robe until it got more insistant. He looked down to see one of his young acolytes, who pointed after the girl and the bear.

"I wanna learn to do that!"

The druid relates to the natural world through meditation, contemplation, and a hard-earned understanding of the cycles of life. But it's not always appropriate for characters with a nature-oriented bent to necessarily be wise. Throughout literature, there are examples of characters whose connection to animals and plants is a result of an inborn nature. Often, these characters are anything but wise; they get by on their charm and fun-loving personality. In order to represent this oft-ignored archetype, the following feats allow a character to play a fey druid: a natural caster who controls the creatures of the woods through their personality.

Fey Druidic Feats

Changeling (Epic)
You have embraced your fey heritage, and it has changed you forever.
Prerequisites: Fey Blood, ability to cast 9th level druid spells.
Benefits: Your type permanently changes to fey. You are immune to spells that only affect humanoids, such as charm person. You gain low-light vision (if you did not already possess it) and damage reduction 5/cold iron. Your physical appearance takes on fey qualities, such as elongated ears, dark eyes, and elfin features, and you gain a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy when dealing with members of the opposite gender.

Fey Blood (General)
You have one or more fey as ancestors, and as a result your druid powers come naturally to you rather than from any great insight into the nature of the world.
Prerequisites: Cha 11+, ability to speak the Sylvan language, humanoid or giant type.
Benefit: Your druid spellcasting powers are based on Charisma rather than Wisdom. To prepare or cast a druid spell, you must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell's level, and you gain bonus spells based on your Charisma score. The DC for saving throws against your druid spells is 10 + the spell's level + your Charisma modifier. This feat does not alter the means by which you prepare or cast druid spells; you must still prepare spells in advance, as normal. Because you are using your natural fey connection to nature as the conduit for your magical powers rather than any great insight, your spells are considered to be partially fey magic. Any druid of 4th level or higher with the Resist Nature's Lure class ability gains a +2 bonus to saving throws against your druid spells.
Special: You may only select this feat at 1st level, though you need not possess the druid class at that time. Your DM may limit this feat to certain appropriate races that would be likely to have crossbred with fey over the history of the campaign world.

Fey Defiance (General)
Your connection to the spirit of nature allows you to drive off fey creatures without harming them-or protect them from the others who would do so.
Prerequisites: Cha 11+, ability to speak the Sylvan language, resist nature's lure ability.
Benefit: You may turn (but not destroy) creatures with the fey type as a good cleric turns undead. The fey's total Hit Dice include those gained from any class levels, and each fey is considered to have Turn Resistance equal to their Charisma bonus. You use your druid level as your turning level, and may activate this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier. You may also dispel the turning of fey by another druid with this feat as an evil cleric can dispel a good cleric's turning effect. You may instead choose to bolster fey against turning in advance, as an evil cleric may bolster undead. Each of these effects also uses one of your daily turning attempts.

Fey Shape (General)
Due to your close blood ties, you may turn yourself into the shape of a fey.
Prerequisites: Fey Blood, wild shape ability (6/day).
Benefit: You may use your wild shape ability to take the shape of a fey creature with which you are familiar. You gain all of the extraordinary and supernatural abilities of the fey, but not the spells or spell-like abilities. You do not gain supernatural abilities that require a specific fey-crafted object or terrain feature (such as a grig's fiddle, a satyr's pipes, or a dryad's tree dependence), and you may only turn into fey whose Hit Dice are no greater than your druid level. You may not change gender as a result of wild shape, so certain single-gender fey (dryads, nymphs, satyrs) will be unavailable as well. Being in fey shape grants a +10 circumstance bonus for Disguise skill checks when pretending to be a fey.

Leader of the Pack (General)
Your unique understanding of the effect music has upon animals allows you to inspire your animal friends to greater efficiency.
Prerequisites: Animal companion ability, bardic music ability
Benefit: When you use your bardic music ability to inspire courage, inspire greatness, or inspire heroics in your animal companion, it gains double the normal benefits. For example, a 1st level druid/9th level bard could use inspire courage to grant his animal companion a +4 morale bonus to attack, damage, and saving throws against charm of fear effects, or he could use inspire greatness to grant it +4d10 Hit Dice, a +4 competence bonus to attack and damage, and a +2 competence bonus on attack rolls.

Looking Back…
These feats hold up pretty well, balance-wise, but the fact is that they were largely rendered redundant by the Fey Heritage feats introduced in Complete Mage, at least thematically. In order to bring them up to full usefulness in a current 3.5-edition game, classify the Fey Blood and Fey Shape feats above as Heritage feats, then give Fey Shape an altered prerequisite of “Fey Blood or Fey Heritage.” (You may want to change the Fey Legacy, Fey Power, Fey Presence, and Fey Skin feats listed in Complete Mage to have the same option.) The Changeling epic feat is also a Heritage feat, and can have its prerequisites expanded to, “Fey Blood or Fey Heritage, ability cast 9th level druid spells or use Dark invocations.” Its damage reduction should be clarified to increase any existing damage reduction that can be overcome by cold iron weapons. The other two feats are fine as written.