My blog's evilness ==

This site is certified 38% EVIL by the Gematriculator

Thursday, April 22, 2010

AD&D Druids 2

Telecanter asked "So, any ideas on mechanics or guidelines to emphasize this view of druids in play?" to last post, and as usual, some half and quarter -formed ideas at best. Druids and bards both have proven to be character classes I have much difficulty 'fitting in' - finding an interpretation I'm comfortable with - probably because they are the ones that imply a closer relation to earth history and culture than the others, so there's more baggage attached to them that way than I should bother thinking about...

The only tinkering I've done with the druid class was for Tunnels and Trolls, a system I have an easier time inventing with. Essentially, though, all I did was port over the 1e druid and throw a few more spells into the mix (spells to compel truth, to enforce pacts and agreements (kinda geas-light), and a couple of others that downplayed the nature side of the character type, played up their ability to act as judges)

So, ideas on playing up the traditional social roles of druids (in a totally fantastic 1e society/world anyway!)...

By the book, every druid will have a charisma of 15 or more. Perhaps the druid should start off with henchmen - traditionalists who rely on the character for guidance. At 15 charisma, maximum henchmen is 7, so maybe d4 or d6 henchies? Some players like having henchmen, some don't - and there's obviously some other issues with this, namely - that's potentially a pretty powerful gang for a 1st level character to command!

But this could be used to show from the start that druids are social, and could serve as a sort of foreshadowing to the intricacies of advancing through the ranks of the druidic 'church'.

The church? The whole hierarchy of druids thing. Without going into the difficulties involved in trying to play the 'organization' by-the-book, consider that each 12th level druid will have 'an entourage of three underlings'. The 12th level druid with the least experience points has an entourage of 3 1st level druids. I assume that as these low level druids rise in experience, they are passed to those 12th level druids with more experience than their previous supervisor. Perhaps then, the freshly rolled druid begins the game with a 12th level "patron"?

Well - for what purpose(s) does this organization exist? Are there more druids in the world than can be accounted for in the organization? Open questions. Let's assume that the answer is no for the time being, that all druids exist in underling/supervisor relations. Doing the mathematics to find out how many druids exist should be possible, but it not the kind of thing I want to go into right now (ever?) - I guess it seems more important to me to try to define the goals and purposes of those who follow The Great Druid. What druids in general strive for is spelled out somewhat (paraphrasing: " strengthen, protect, and revitalize... living, growing things."), but how specifically.

The biggest chicken-bone to me, at this point, becomes druids vs clerics. While I don't like the idea that druids are just "clerics but different", the problem that comes up is they know that the gods exist. So how do they get along with clerics? Would not (at least some of) the gods hold a druid's refusal to worship them as an affront? What has prevented wrathful, emotional gods in a pique from wiping druidism of the face of the green earth? Does the druid see a cleric's miracle cynically, or do the gods and their worshipers fit into the 'natural order of things' (as a druid sees it)?

Obviously, as much as a cleric is powered by something (gods & demons, etc) so to is the druid (nature & elements (?)), and if clerics and druids are to co-exist, the nature of their relationship, and the messy cosmological questions that arise need to be addressed.

In a way, Moorcock's multiverse seems a good place to find a 1e druid, dedicated to Balance with a capital B, pacting with Beast & Elemental Lords...

Sorry - no real suggestions worth much here, just a bunch of questions mostly. I'll have to keep working on this more...

1 comment:

Telecanter said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Here are some things bouncing through my head, what if: Druids understand the powers underlying the gods. Druids have knowledge of things before the gods. The druid organization is secretive with druids themselves not knowing who is included in the hierarchy. Druids have values that seem alien to the mainstream, i.e. duels to the death to determine advancement. Druid organization goals are long term and the steps may seem contradictory and inscrutable. Druid players will get directives from above of ways to act and goals to achieve.

Of course all this is shaped by the negative portrayal of druids that later cultures made. But it is interesting to me.

Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion books have a druid character appear that is helpful, kind and yet feared by everyone.