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Not much is known about real-world druids, except that they probaby were the priests, law-givers and lore-keepers of the Celts. I think it's fair to say they were nature priests, whose job it was to negotiate with the dangerous gods on behalf of people who were at the mercy of the (super)natural forces surrounding them.

 

What bothers me about druids in fantasy RPGs is that apparently most people discussing them regard druids as hippies, 'tree-huggers', vegetarians, eco-activists, or any combination thereof, whose primary goal were the eviction of loggers and the defeat of civilisation. I strongly disagree with this notion. To me, it makes no sense from both a historical and a reasonal viewpoint.

 

When real-world druids (as in the case of Britain at the time of Boudicca) opposed civilisation, they did not do so in order to keep nature untouched by human hands, but because 'civilisation' simply meant 'Roman conquerors' intent on eradicating their culture and resistance. Druids divined nature so that their people could prosper (similar to the way Egyptian or Greek priests dealt with the dangerous and often unpredictable forces of nature surrounding them), not because 'nature' was seen as a divine being that needed to be defended against mortals and cities.

 

So, what is your view on druids? And how would you like to see them portrayed in Project Eternity?

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To me, Druids are just a variant on the Animist tradition. So basically priests of an elementalist viewpoint wherein nature is composed of spirits of various stripes: fire, air, earth, water, and spirit.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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These guys rocked up in my garden last summer...

 

druids_stonehenge.jpg

 

They were OK, they tidied up after themselves and everything.

 

I was a bit more concerned about this, though...

 

the-wicker-man.jpg

 

So, Druids look quite friendly. Then they go and put someone in a big man-size cage and set it on fire.

 

Talk about the duality of man and all that.

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sonsofgygax.JPG

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What bothers me about druids in fantasy RPGs is that apparently most people discussing them regard druids as hippies, 'tree-huggers', vegetarians, eco-activists, or any combination thereof, whose primary goal were the eviction of loggers and the defeat of civilisation. I strongly disagree with this notion. To me, it makes no sense from both a historical and a reasonal viewpoint.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. Interacting with druids in D&D influenced settings gets remarkably boring, because druids have the same predictable knee-jerk responses whenever anything remotely nature-related comes up. And predictability can really kill a good story or character.

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I think a druid should be a sort of elemental sorcerer who draws power from ritualistic magic. Or something. They should be scary, occasionally feral and in no way tree-hugging.

 

They should not, however, under any circumstances, wear revealing clothes.

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I like the D & D version of Druids. I wouldn't label them as hippies or against civilization. I think Druids are more along the lines of extreme activists, like peta(times ten), but would rather kill you if you stepped in their sacred pond. They can be very difficult to work with if your character is lawful.

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The game where I've had most fun playing a druid was actually WoW around WotLK, especially in the kitty form. I've never enjoyed the shape shifting aspect in other games, they seemed kinda underdeveloped, but in WoW I found them way more fun and different compared to other games, a healer who really likes the nature and has a crappy shape shift ability. Instead I could sneak around like a rogue, do a bunch of damage from close range, shift into a bear to handle larger packs of mobs or just root them, run away and heal myself before attacking again, and that's just a part of the variety. Plus I really liked the lore aspect of them in WoW. Dunno how they are now as I haven't played WoW in a while.

 

I actually hate playing druids in DnD games as I find that they could've been so much more in terms of utility to a party, despite the fact that from a philosophical standpoint I like them a lot more than the clerics I usually end up with instead as healers. Make them draw their power from and be in tune with nature, but don't make them feel as a bunch of tree huggers too much. And just as paladins often feel like the warrior version of clerics, I'd really appreciate if rangers didn't feel like the fighter version of druids.

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Most depictions of druids are kind of silly, it's true. That said, I don't really know how I want them depicted. My first instinct is to draw on Hayao Miyazaki stuff for inspiration, but that would probably result in druids that are a lot like the city-hating extremists I'm complaining about.

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I actually sent a Private message to Josh Sawyer on the same concern that the OP.

 

Never had a reply.

 

But i do hope they'll have more background than being "tree-lovers". Actually i would like them to be badly seen on a ethic sense in PE.

Shaping yourself as an animal would be seen as a corrupted act ; a distorsion of the soul. They could also be a sort of necromancer studying the cycle of life and death.

They could aslo be hunted down for it like were witches in ancient time.

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I like druids, personally I've always viewed them as sort of a cross between a barbarian and a priest in terms of what their mentality should be. Like you said I don't see them as tree huggers, or at least not all of them. I like the idea of them simply being in touch with nature and seeing themselves as a part of it all which can mean being a bit savage.

 

At some point I read all the subclasses for druids and rangers that were included in 3.5 for D&D and I was very impressed at some of the more 'evil' versions of these classes. I believe they had a sects of druids devoted to disease and death, both of which are parts of nature, rather than the typical idea of what a druid is. I loved these takes on druids and if they included them in the game somehow I'd be thrilled. I'd be even happier if they did it without making them antagonists. I think they should just exist and be accepted if not entirely by society sort of like black mages from dragonlance.

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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I don't think there is anything at all inherently wrong with "tree hugger" druids. I think the problem has been lazy writing in the crpg genre that has failed to take advantage of all the possibilities.

 

Do we really want to reject every trope of fantasy literature, just because some people took the easy road? Arboreal druids are no more inherently boring than rock loving dwarves, magic loving elves, violent orcs, or ancient treasure hoarding dragons. Boring writing is boring writing. You could give a talented writer any one of these and end up with an awesome story.

 

So long as the writing is interesting, there's no reason whatsoever to simply say... druids + trees = OFF LIMITS. No reason at all.

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Druids accept their station in life as an element of the natural world and seek coexistance, not dominance, with their natural surroundings. Clerics of conventional deities are the ones seeking dominance over wildlife and flora. The druid desires understanding of natural cycles and processes. Along the path from initiate to druid they learn techniques to, in fact, assert dominance over untamed flora and fauna, but they're not interested in doing so for the sake of power or self-aggrandizement. Rather, druids gather knowledge of the primeval world to better enable themselves and others to work with it rather than trying to beat it into submission.

 

Conventional clerics want to walk on the water or marshall a flood to drown the army of an opposed deity, but druids would rather understand the cycle of cloud, rain, river, groundwater, and evaporation to help tribal groups coax crops from the earth and pasture their livestock. If they need to drown an army along the way, well, what must be done must be done, but it's not their primary purpose in life. They're part of the natural world, not a hammer beating it into a useful tool.

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Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forests and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoors experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.----Fred Bear

 

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The biggest issue I have with 'tree hugging druids' is that 'all animals love each other' approach you get with hippies flies in the very face of nature its self. It just doesn't... make any sense. Most of the other tropes do though to some extent. I mean you look at most DnD druids, outside of some bad writing and cRPG's and they're not tree huggers in the are days hippie sense.

 

So for the most part I agree with what the OP's saying I dislike the hippie druid because it's just not very druidy. It literally is disrespecting nature, its got nothing to 'do' with nature, its just loving peace which is great and all but nature doesn't give 2 ****s about peace. Seriously, all this animals love each other is such a load of bullcrap majority of the time (always exceptions, duck and cat best buddies thing).

 

Also the whole animals only kill to eat? Buuulllcraaap. Bears will kill **** that's in there territory, play with its corpse, tare up and leave its carcas. Most 'prey' will kill stuff, violently, and leave it there. Nature is a crazy, violent, but wonderful and beautiful place. Tree Huggers ignore the crap outa most of nature for the sake of love man, peace and love man. That bears doesn't give a crap about there love, hes gonna maul there face off and go eat there garbage.

 

Anyway I love druids, so... curious where they go with em.

 

-edit-

Also while I use the term tree hugger I find it amusing, cause the term its self is an unbalanced view on nature almost entirely but... every druid would technically love trees as its a part of nature. Guess that was my only point really. Embrace nature for everything it is, not just its beauty and some made up ideal about bunnys spooning a tiger.

Edited by Adhin

Def Con: kills owls dead

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The term tree hugger isn't an unbalanced view on nature, it's a phrase that was given to over 300 Bishnoi Hindus that were slaughtered protecting the trees within their village in the late 1700s. They clung around trees, holding hands, as their bodies were sawed through. Most of the village's adults were massacred in order to built a new palace for a local prince. This real world example is what I view as the epitome - the cornerstone - of the fantasy druid. Someone who is willing to die in an effort to preserve the natural balance, or some aspect of it. Hippie dippie aspects don't really come into it. Unless, of course, the druids (wisely) enjoy granola.

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See now that's an awesome history lesson I didn't know about but I've never heard anyone use that term to mean that is my point. I think it comes with a hippy vibe which never made sense to me and I guess i know why It never made sense, cause it doesn't. And the willing to die to protect nature is a trait I view with druids too though less 'peace' and more dealing with how nature would deal with it... angry wrath.

 

That is, in the same situation with in a fantasy setting version of druids would of probably ended up killing a good number of, and ran off the rest of the princes forces. But yeah, putting there life on the line to preserve natures and its balance.

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Def Con: kills owls dead

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