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I'm not massive fan of druids in robes. I'd rather see them decked out more like rogues, but with less subtlety and more "Yes, I can turn into a wolf, I can heal wounds, I can call lightning and I can literally grow more armour. Do your worst". As a long time druid this how I role play as. This of course doesn't mean that druids shouldn't be able to wear robes if they like or that robes shouldn't be a viable choice, but I want to be able to play my druid as a hard defiant defender/avenger of whatever it is that I choose, not just a "nature wizard".

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  • 3 weeks later...

I already wrote the following text in another topic, but it also fits in here.. so..

 

Well, if it's about the Druid then I think there should be different "paths" (maybe a little bit like the Kits from BG2).. so that you are either a Shapeshifter focusing on the abilities/attacks, that your shapes give you, or you are some kind of caster (seer/sage) which focuses on healing, divination, control over plants, animals and the elements, etc. or a Beast Master focusing on having one or more animal/creature companion(s).

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"O, the life of the Druid is the life of the land.

We are one with the dark earth on which we proudly stand.

One with the Mother who has suckled us from birth,

Her streams and her rivers, we are one with the earth;

One with the Father, whose oak supports the sky,

Who gazes on us daily with his great, immortal Eye..."

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Well, if it's about the Druid then I think there should be different "paths" (maybe a little bit like the Kits from BG2).. so that you are either a Shapeshifter focusing on the abilities/attacks, that your shapes give you, or you are some kind of caster (seer/sage) which focuses on healing, divination, control over plants, animals and the elements, etc. or a Beast Master focusing on having one or more animal/creature companion(s).

 

Yes please. This^

I feel that specialization choices for every class would further add incentive to replay the game and try different sub-classes. It could be a great replacement for Multi-classes if executed well enough.

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To me, there are two principal problems with druids.

  1. Druids are clerics, yet everyone attempts to treat them as a different entity.
  2. Clerics of different faiths are too similar. Power, abilities, training, should be defined purely through domains.

If your diety is the god of Love, Peace, and Meekness, why would its clerics train with weapons, armor, etc.? The answer to fixing druids, is to first fix clerics by fixing the range of their spells/abilities via domains & portfolios. After all, a cleric is what a druid is--nothing more or less. The illusion of distinction is present only because that the nature (ha) of their diety tends to be focused with material aspects of the literal world rather than ideology or social action.

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It's closest you can get to play pagan priest, and neopaganism has it's fans.

 

There are no Pagan priests (every people and culture deemed "pagan" by early Christians had their own religions, beliefs, ceremonies and so on; not a united single religion with a single pantheon and a single set of rituals as New Age ignoramuses believe,) and Neopaganism is an ignorant New Age sham.

 

I can't believe how much I have to tell people on the internet that "pagan" is derived from the Latin "paganus," meaning "country-dweller," specifically used in early Roman Christendom to refer to the bumpkins who have yet to convert to the One True Religion. Mostly those Neopagan dimwits. Also Stonehenge (and, in fact, all the henges of Britain,) were built millennia before the druids even came into being.

 

I have always had issues with the philosophical viewpoint espoused by many D&D druids of the concept of an active agent of balance. This idea implies that the druid has access to some formula that allows him or her to determine exactly what steps will be needed to return a system to some prior "balanced" state. This idea is not in of it self terrible, but in practice it usually comes down to life for a life formulations that are seldom satisfying and ignore the idea that taking lives is seldom a perfect equivalent.

 

If a druid values animal life as equivalent to human life, how do they feel about meat eating? Is avenging cows restoring balance? The concept of balance is often poorly defined and virtually impossible to achieve. So we end up with a hippy park ranger that offers little in ideological depth. I think if we move away from the concept of "balance" there is a much rich canon that can be engaged. Either a sort of shamanistic nature spirit tradition or a more cosmic sense of balance, akin to taoism, would offer greater complexity without getting mired in the constant struggle to find a center point.

 

What you're writing about sounds more like Taoism than whatever gods were worshiped by the druids, who were a priestly class of a human culture that no doubt prayed to gods of men for the sake of men. It's popular New Age ignorance that the fantasy/D&D druid is based on, rather than the historically accurate version.

 

Taoism is about balance in all things, especially with respect to the individual relationship to the natural world. That's why the Taiji (the yin-yang symbol for the less informed,) is geometrically symmetrical but the colors are contrasting. It represents a balanced whole which consists of the interplay between inter-dependent yet separate components.

 

But it's not about petty vegan nonsense like avenging the death of a cow by murdering a man. Modern ecological science can tell you about how the Earth's ecosystems were self-regulating before the advent of humanity. Predatory carnivores regulated the population of herbivores that ate plants. Without that population control, the herbivores would (and have) over-consumed the available plant life, leading to more deaths of more animals than the taking of a lesser number by predators (this is a phenomenon scientists observed in places like Yellowstone National Park with the reintroduction of wolves, for instance.)

 

It's about deeper philosophical, spiritual and universal/cosmological co-dependencies. Too much sun leads to drought, too much rain leads to floods. Too much food makes you fat, too little makes you starve. Etc.

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A more general focus on animism and shamanism, rather than a specifically celtic orientation, would be good. Druidism would then be one specific aspect of that more widespread practice. Basically a view of nature that consists of spirits, whether animals, plants, rivers, mountains, weather, or what have you.

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I love nature based classes!

 

This would not do if they didn't have the ability to utilize plants. Plant based powers were always my favorite (like Poison Ivy), and I hope to have a build on it.

 

Outside of that, I feel Druids should be the definitive Jack-of-All-Trades, similar to how they are in World of Warcraft. In WoW, they fufilled many roles, though you needed to specialize in one (which, to me, made the point of them being jacks moot). In this, I should have flexibility to take on multiple roles based on my form. The way I play them in Baldur's Gate 2 is just that way (with a help of a mod or two); he has a few healing spells, some offensive spells, and I shapeshift for melee. I would love for this class to play similar to that.

 

EDIT: I should really read the thread before posting, then I would know that I disagree a tad with how others think the druid should be handled. If we are allowed to focus on a seperate skill tree, then we should at least have the ability to dip into all three, or two, or however many trees there are. Basically, I don't wanna be forced to turn my Jack into a specialized character; if I wanted to have him become a healer, I would have picked a healer class and have been done with it.

Edited by sims796
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Thinking on it, I wonder if you could advance the basic concept of souls within people so that the druids sees far more durable spirits, those of the land, the oceans, and the vaults of heaven etcetera. Whereas the Cipher would manipulate the souls and minds of others, the Druid would see them as merely a background noise of abundant life. Focusing more on the old hill that has withstood the weathering of time since being born in magma and quake, the river that has succored and shaped the surroundings lands since the great ice retreated, the endless oceans where life was born and at the heart of the world the great beating fiery heart that stills beats.

 

The world would seem to be a very different place to such an individual, a place of colossal titans and opposing forces. Where the mighty cities and civilisations of man are but a plague of locusts, briefly spreading over the skin of mother earth but soon to be scratched loose. Indeed he would not even resent the great stone cities, for they are made from the bones of the earth and their inhabitants feed the mother in death despite all their struggles against the cycle of life.

 

Perhaps there are even elder gods still in the earth, great spirits of powerful places who were born at the dawn of time, and need not the pitiful prayers of fearful mortals. Their power would wax and wane as their elements did, so that during an ice age the white king would rule uncontested, only to retreat to his polar fastness when the long summer comes. Wouldn't it be interesting if all of the Druids powers came from beseeching such beings, waking these old elementals so that they might aid him.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I would like to see druids done as an integral part of the game world. They should have a particular standing in the culture from which they spring. They usually feel a bit out of place to me. Perhaps P:E with its Celtic inspiration will be different.

 

Also,

 

panoramixobelix.jpg?w=640

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I think Druids, should be complitly changed, from classic DnD example. Problem is that they are pretty much pointless, Mages are typically a massive damage dealers, clerics, are usally class of healers, with high defense, Ciphers I don't think we exactly know what will they do ( I would like if they would be status dealers, mages, can cast spells that will wreck your day , but CIphers can cast so many status effects that any attack will wreck your day. ) but they are argubly psykers of the setting and not many adventures included psykers in it. but druids appear often and rarlly do they have anything special that makes them usefull . Personally I would rather go with druids being much more combat oriented, and give them all summoning spells, with summoning being their special thing rather then something that is shared with mages.

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Slightly off-topic: From where does the idea that PE will have Celtic inspiration stem?

 

For the design of druids I'd start from their source of power. This soul thing PE has going seems to be an opportunity:

Druids believe that all life is connected, part of a greater whole, including themselves. Those deemed of strong soul are trained since childhood to see and feel all living things in such light. Druids' powers work by reaching into these living vessels (plants/animals/anything alive and soulless) with their souls and manipulate their very being. As they advance in experience they learn more ways of affecting life, eventually being able to connect to the non-living nature (for example weather, the ground, etc.), as it is still an inexorable part of the whole. Druids mostly work through proxies (as opposed to rangers?), be it seeing through an eagle's eyes or entangling an enemy in barbed vines.

Mechanically I think it would be interesting if druids would "plant" themselves and then have an area around them they could affect (maybe growing larger with levels), only being able to reach out of this with a "possessed" animal (companion?) or something. He would use heavy personal defensive spells and act as a (terrain) controller. The spells would require no verbal or somatic components, making movement/speech impairing stuff non-effective. This may be over-complicating, but it would be interesting if the spell effects would be slightly different during day and night, reinforcing a bit the natural connection flavor.

Animal summoning sounds like a staple thing for druids, but I'm not sure how to connect it to all this. Conjuring stuff out of thin air doesn't really sound well suited for nature magic. Perhaps it takes some time for the animal(s) to arrive from off-screen?

 

As their coming of age ceremony they select an animal companion and permanently imbue them with a fragment of their soul. This gives the animal increased vitality and intelligence and binding its life to the druids. While they are together they are both strengthened by the synergy of their bond. For this process both participants have to be willing.

The companion druids have should probably be some stronger version of a normal animal, and conveniently have a sizable life span. The bond would confer some bonuses to both while they are close to each other (within the druids active area?). Using them as a range extension would be neat (and offer some decision making - choosing between synergy bonuses and increased range), but wizards already have that with their familiars, so I'm not sure if it'd be appropriate.

 

Shape-change - I never liked it. I'm not sure how deeply entrenched this is in the image of a druid, so I guess it has to be there in some form. The thing that bothers me the most mechanically is the absorption of gear into the animal form. I guess it's there for practical reasons; dropping all your gear every time you change forms would indeed be tedious. Another thing is that usually a shape-changed form just turns the druid into a sort of gimped fighter. Some form of animal/plant/natural force possession would fit more into how I envision a druid.

 

The societal role of druids would probably be as ecologists or local shamans. The farmers would go to to the local druid before doing some sort of landscape changing for example and he would divine the longer term effects of it. He could also teach a tribe how to survive in an area, or provide help through natural disasters etc. Panoramix would fit, too :) .

 

I wouldn't want to inherently impart some sort of goal to druids. Some personal struggle could be from the fact that manipulating nature is in itself unnatural and so druids would be inclined to do as little as possible? For example some ancient arch druid would be protecting a forest as though he didn't exist. The forest "just happens" to thrive even with all the incursions of civilization.

This whole "balance" thing could just be left open-ended, with each druid having their own views stemming from their connection with nature. You could have some "invisible" druids, avengers of nature, mediators, urban druids or just some that enjoy running with wolves.

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^^^^

Good ideas. :)

 

I like the concept of a druidic companion that is first encountered during a spirit journey, then takes a physical form indigenous to the region. If the form is slain then the spirit is set adrift until the druid can find it a new host. (The host must be agreeable to being possessed by the spirit, so the druid needs to spend some time befriending it.) The companion then regains the knowledge it had before, but in a new, slightly altered form.

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Slightly off-topic: From where does the idea that PE will have Celtic inspiration stem?

 

At least I got it from the names on the map (and elsewhere too). Ruins of Eír Glanfath sounds pretty Celtic to me...

What he said. Just to throw this out there though a lot of what gets tossed on the forums is basically assumptions by forum users based on some pretty lean stuff. It really is too early to call what "exactly" druids in game will be about but seeing them be inspired by the Celtic version would be nice. That would make it a considerably different class than what Druids are in most games.

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Sabotin, I love your concept of a druid! So far, I've never played a game that actually manage to make the druid an interesting class, but I hope the devs have a good plan for the PE druids. About shapeshifting, I don't feel shapeshifting is needed for a druid class (where does the concept of druids being able to shapeshift even come from to begin with? Is it d&d that came up with this or is there any actual mythological background to the idea?), but if they implement druid shapeshifting, I hope they focus more on the roleplaying aspects of shapeshifting and less on the different forms being viable in combat. Or at least try to have it add new choices to combat instead of just being able to shapeshift into different forms of fighters.

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Perhaps every couple of levels the druid character can choose a totemic spirit guide? The druid can then activate a guide and gain special benefits (with accompanying drawbacks) while the ability is active. Thus the Fox spirit guide provides a bonus to stealth and enhanced senses, but at a cost in reduced physical strength.

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Druids are one of those classes that have always been sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place, as far as balance is concerned. That is to say, when a developer gives them offensive spells that are too powerful, they are accused of stepping on the toes of wizards, and if they are given too powerful healing/buff spells they are accused of turkin' da jerbs of clerics. But I suppose that in a primarily single-player game like P:E, that wouldn't be so much of a problem.

 

I remember in the original Everquest, they were positioned sort of like a reverse necromancer, as far as gameplay was concerned (not lore-wise). In the sense that both classes had a lot of snare and DoT spells, but necros had a lot of debuffs and lifetaps where the druids had buffs and heals.

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About shapeshifting, I don't feel shapeshifting is needed for a druid class (where does the concept of druids being able to shapeshift even come from to begin with? Is it d&d that came up with this or is there any actual mythological background to the idea?), but if they implement druid shapeshifting, I hope they focus more on the roleplaying aspects of shapeshifting and less on the different forms being viable in combat. Or at least try to have it add new choices to combat instead of just being able to shapeshift into different forms of fighters.

 

I personally love shapeshifting, though I also don't think it's needed for a druid class. Still, I don't blame people for disliking it because, honestly, I don't think it's been handled too well in most games. In theory, it should be very useful since there are so many different creatures for different needs; turn into a rat to fit in small spaces, a cat to stealth, a hawk to fly, a boar to tank, a spider to inflict poison or web, a large predator to do damage, and that's not even getting into supernaturals. In practice, there are rarely role-play reasons beyond "druids are close to nature" and the game-play is just, as you said, "different forms of fighter." Which is a shame, because I've seen it done well.

 

For role-play, I love how the Shifter Prestigious class was handled in NWN: SotU and HotU. The idea was that the druid was so immersed in the world around them that they no longer defined themselves by their outward appearances, but their soul within, and actually came closer to their true self through all of their transformations. I thought this was very interesting and had amazing roleplay fodder. Unfortunately, the game-play was so buggy and complicated that the player had to do hours of research to know which of the dozens of forms were useful for which situations. Suffice to say, most shifters got frustrated and quit, and the shifter class didn't return for NWN2. =(

 

For game-play, I love how shapeshifting was handled in WOW. The player only got a small handful of shapes, but each had unique abilities for different situations. The bear could tank and fight like a warrior, the big cat could stealth and "backstab" like a rogue, the seal could breath underwater (even though real seals can't do that) so you could complete underwater quests without needing to come up for air, the horse could travel quickly, the big bird could fly, etc. I spent most of WOW playing solo because each form functioned like a different party member (not as well as actual party members, but enough to get by).

 

If shapeshifting is implemented in Project Eternity, I think different shapes should have one or two unique abilities so they aren't all just "different forms of fighter." For example, a large cat can stealth and/or "backstab" like a rogue, a boar can charge and/or knockdown, a bear can deal huge damage and/or berserk like a barbarian, a spider can spit poison and/or webs, a hawk can not only fly but scout ahead (maybe use its keen eyes to detect traps), a wolf can howl to stun enemies like a sonic blast, etc. Maybe give every form two or three clickable abilities like the Mabari War Hound in DA:O ("Howl," "Charge," "Maul," "Overwhelm," etc.) or the shifted forms in WOW to make shifted combat more engaging (so you won't have to passively watch an animal bite and claw at the enemy while your humanoid form could cast spells, use items, swing weapons, etc).

 

Much like how the creators of Project Eternity often ask each other of the story, "What is the central conflict and why should I care?" (and it's a great question to ask), I personally think they should extend a similar question to class abilities and shifted forms (if they include it): "What is does this form do and why should I want it?" If shapeshifting is like NWN2 where we start off with four forms (badger, wolf, boar and bear), but they only melee like fighters and have different levels of STR, DEX and CON, it quickly becomes apparent that the one(s) with the highest strength and defense are the only ones to turn into. "Why would I turn into a badger when the bear is stronger?" I think it would be important to give each form a unique ability that people can find desirable.

 

It's just my personal opinion on it though. Anyone and everyone is more than welcome to disagree, and ignore my opinion if they wish. I just wanted it out there.

Edited by Faerunner
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I personally love shapeshifting, though I also don't think it's needed for a druid class. Still, I don't blame people for disliking it because, honestly, I don't think it's been handled too well in most games. In theory, it should be very useful since there are so many different creatures for different needs; turn into a rat to fit in small spaces, a cat to stealth, a hawk to fly, a boar to tank, a spider to inflict poison or web, a large predator to do damage, and that's not even getting into supernaturals. In practice, there are rarely role-play reasons beyond "druids are close to nature" and the game-play is just, as you said, "different forms of fighter." Which is a shame, because I've seen it done well.

 

That whole business with the bonus properties of some equipped items stacking with the shapeshifted form, and other bonuses being ignored was only one of the frustrating aspects of how it was handled in previous IE games and NWN 1&2. That and there seemed to be an irregular progression of benefits as new shapes became available.

 

If they could just keep all ability scores and item bonus stats the same as the base class, THEN add appropriate perks on top during shapechange, that would eliminate a lot of the confusion and doubt. Maybe a large cat = base stats + improved dex + stealth + sneak attack. Bear = base stats + improved str + con + (optional?) devastating claw attack. And so on.

 

Maybe if they wove possible side quests into the campaign that allowed the shapeshifter class to shine? For example, hunters have over-culled the local bear population to dangerously low levels, and it takes a Druid/Shapeshifter to do her thing and lure the hunters into a confrontation. It doesn't need to have a happy/politically correct outcome, but it would certainly create a moral dilemma for each player. This example is possibly a cliche though, but you all get the idea.

Edited by TRX850
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That whole business with the bonus properties of some equipped items stacking with the shapeshifted form, and other bonuses being ignored was only one of the frustrating aspects of how it was handled in previous IE games and NWN 1&2. That and there seemed to be an irregular progression of benefits as new shapes became available.

 

I agree with this so much. It was one of the many problems with the shifter class too.

 

If they could just keep all ability scores and item bonus stats the same as the base class, THEN add appropriate perks on top during shapechange, that would eliminate a lot of the confusion and doubt. Maybe a large cat = base stats + improved dex + stealth + sneak attack. Bear = base stats + improved str + con + (optional?) devastating claw attack. And so on.

 

YES! I agree with this so much! Something like this would be so easy and useful for everyone!

 

Maybe if they wove possible side quests into the campaign that allowed the shapeshifter class to shine? For example, hunters have over-culled the local bear population to dangerously low levels, and it takes a Druid/Shapeshifter to do her thing and lure the hunters into a confrontation. It doesn't need to have a happy/politically correct outcome, but it would certainly create a moral dilemma for each player. This example is possibly a cliche though, but you all get the idea.

 

I think it would definitely help. Just like how adding nature areas and content in games helps improve ranger and druid roleplay value (interacting with animal companions [which was in NWN1 but not NWN2], talking with random animals you come across, getting opportunities to use nature abilities like tracking or recruiting beasts, getting nature-oriented quests, some quests altering if you're a ranger/druid, etc), I think having some quests that let shapeshifters do their stuff would improve roleplay value too. =)

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Why not think of the druid class as a cleric whose power comes from the earth, rather than the heavens? And so their spell selection and class abilities are all about manipulating nature, the elements, and the environment. A sort of "Enviro-mancer". (Although now people are probably picturing a modern tree-hugging hippie activist type. Nothing wrong with that). :)

 

The druid could be a specialist cleric similar to the mechanics of a specialist wizard, i.e. their spell selection is a reduced subset of the whole, but which allows them to focus in their chosen school/domain.

 

I think the real question though is how are druids differentiated from clerics in the game world and what is the incentive to play one.

 

If you tot up all the perks a cleric has (divine spells, domains, healing, turn undead, heavy armour etc), obviously it's a case of assigning similarly weighted perks that fit the druidic type. They had some really nice feats and spell options in NWN2, but as has been discussed here already, the shapechange (Wild Shape) ability was made overly complex and introduced the possibility that you might be statistically worse off while in that state. I appreciate how much thought must've gone into it to keep it realistic, and it's an improvement on the IE & NWN1 druid, but if there's a "perceived disincentive" to play a druid, then we should attack the idea from a different perspective, namely player enjoyment.

 

There have been some good suggestions on this forum so far. And as I mentioned in my previous post, if they can get the shapechange ability right, and make it a true perk, rather than a series of complicated trade-offs, then straight away they've reintroduced an incentive to play one.

 

I can see why, in an effort to keep things realistic, you don't receive certain bonuses from weapons or armour or other items while you're running around as a bear. But my point would be that everything the druid has equipped in humanoid form represents the sum total of their adventuring competency up to that point. And I would be absolutely thrilled to finally play a druid where I can shapechange (for a limited duration) into a "super-druid" rather than a "Swiss cheese druid".

 

Clerics gain temporary perks that allow them to become super-clerics. And wizards can cast "Tenser's Transformation". Druids should have their limelight too. Please let's do this right.

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A couple more druid class ideas.

 

Forage

 

A modal action similar to trap searching, effective in wilderness areas only, allowing the druid to find edible fungus, roots and berries. Up to one unit of food per two druid levels may be foraged in a single area. Each unit can be carried like a ration pack that restores 10 hp.

 

Could use "Wilderness Lore" or a "Wilderness Survival" skill check? And to prevent exploiting this ability, maybe 20-30 minutes of real time must elapse in each area before potential food respawns.

 

 

Favoured Enemy

 

As the ranger ability, but may only choose creatures considered to be "against nature", such as undead, constructs, and aberrant types like beholders or mind flayers. And possibly trolls and goblinoids. Or whatever the P:E creature equivalents will end up becoming.

 

 

These are quick suggestions only, but I'm trying to think of how druid abilities could be made feasible in a game scenario.

Edited by TRX850

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Why not think of the druid class as a cleric whose power comes from the earth, rather than the heavens? And so their spell selection and class abilities are all about manipulating nature, the elements, and the environment. A sort of "Enviro-mancer". (Although now people are probably picturing a modern tree-hugging hippie activist type. Nothing wrong with that). :)

 

Actually, right now I'm picturing something like what little we know of ciphers, only instead of drawing from and manipulating psychic energy, they draw from and manipulate nature energy. I'm also kind of picturing the warlock class from WOW, only instead of summoning demons, drawing power from demonic magic and manipulating life energy, they summon animals, draw power from the world around them, and manipulate elemental and natural energy. Just as powerful and formidable, just with their own branch of cool.

 

I just hope Obsidian doesn't single out druids for ridicule the way they did for Elanee and her Circle of the Mere in NWN2. =( For that matter, I hope they don't feel like they need to make a druid who's "cool" or "likable" because they're nothing like other druids. I think a better approach would be to make druids cool or likable from the start, or at least as much as any other class, not go in thinking, "They're close to nature, so they must be tree-hugging hippy activist types." We'll see how it turns out, though.

 

The druid could be a specialist cleric similar to the mechanics of a specialist wizard, i.e. their spell selection is a reduced subset of the whole, but which allows them to focus in their chosen school/domain.

 

I think that would be neat. I don't know for sure, so please don't quote me on this, but it seems so far, spellcasters are: wizards that rely on tomes, priests that rely on faith, ciphers that rely on psychic energy, and druids that rely on nature. I'm sure they'll all have specializations and abilities that differentiate them from each other, but a common theme seems to be magic drawn from different sources. However, we don't know for sure how any of them function. I could be wrong, but I hear tell the priest is going to be a little different from how we've seen clerics in the past, so what that means for druids is anyone's guess.

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