Blighter (Dungeons & Dragons)

Druid (Dungeons & Dragons)

In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, druid is one of the base character classes. The Druid is a versatile class, capable in combat and of casting divine spells. They gain divine magic from being at one with nature, or from one of several patron gods of the wild. Unlike the cleric, druids do not have special powers against undead and cannot use metal armor. Druids have a unique ability that allows them to change into various animal forms, and various other qualities that assist them in natural settings. Druids work very well with animals, and can try to improve a wild creature's attitude the same way they would improve an NPC with diplomacy. Druids gain a greater control of their body and at higher levels they can change appearance at will, and do not age.

Creative origins

The druid is based on the pre-Christian Celtic priests called druids. However, they have little in common with these druids.

Druidic Oath

Druids appeared, but not as player characters, in the original Greyhawk supplement from 1974. They were presented as a player character class in the Eldritch Wizardry supplement in 1976.

Originally, druids were very limited in their choice of weapons and armor (almost as much as magic-users), and were of True Neutral alignment, but were able to cast spells more times per day than the magic-user and at a faster speed than clerics; they also had access to both healing and attack spells (albeit at different levels). Essentially, they were in many ways in between the cleric and the magic-user in function and use, with different special abilities. There were also a set of societal rules governing druidic life as well as higher-level abilities. In order to reach some of the higher levels, players had to defeat a higher-level druid in combat; after accomplishing this, they earned different titles (such as Archdruid) and gained lower-level druids as followers. The later-published Unearthed Arcana featured several higher-level abilities for druids, including the ability to summon various elementals and para-elementals, the ability to enter and survive in various planes (such as the elemental planes and the Plane of Shadow), and so on.

The second edition Player's Handbook changed druids somewhat, making them more similar to the cleric in terms of spellcasting (druids now learned spells at the same rate and level as clerics, as long as the spells were available to them; casting times were also the same). Certain higher level abilities as introduced in Unearthed Arcana were also removed (or ignored), such as the ability to enter the Plane of Shadow.

In the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons, Druids are free to use different forms of weaponry, but they lose the ability to cast spells or change into animal form for a day if they wear metal armor. The alignment restriction now requires that druids remain neutral on at least one (but not necessarily both) alignment axis (Good vs. Evil and Law vs. Chaos). i.e., they are restricted to Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Neutral, Neutral Good, Neutral Evil, or True Neutral, to reflect belief in the balance and amoral, impartial character of the natural world. Druids have also gained the ability to have a special animal companion; other abilities have been added or modified as well.

Party Role

Druids and rangers both play a role of wilderness adventurer in Dungeons & Dragons, but a ranger is more martially inclined, while a druid has more magical skill. Druids are typically less suited to front-rank combat than divine casters such as Clerics or Paladins, (as they cannot make use of metal armor,) nor are their overall healing powers as strong. They excel, however, in marshalling large groups of summoned allies and are perhaps the most self-sufficient of all classes.

Druids work well as supportive characters, being both versatile primary spellcasters and capable fighters. Druids can cast transportation, augmenting, defensive, destructive and recuperative magic, while spontaneous casting allows them to summon animal allies to their side. At higher levels, Druids become increasingly powerful; the wild shape ability allows them to assume the form of animals specialised for differing purposes- they can become a hawk to scout, a cat for stealth, a horse for transport, a snake to climb, or a bear for combat.

Their animal companions can also fill some of these functions to a lesser extent, and like most primary casters, they benefit greatly from advance notice of their enemies' plans and time to prepare, which makes recon abilities especially useful.

Wisdom is crucial to Druids, as it determines their access to divine magic and aids many of their wilderness skills. (Their role as shapeshifters also makes high Constitution useful, as animal forms gain no benefit from armour, are limited to melee attacks and retain existing hit points. In addition, Constitution complements defensive casting via Concentration checks and the Natural Spell feat, while animal forms substitute for Strength and Dexterity. The general de-emphasis on physical attributes means druids can often afford to invest heavily in mental attributes.)

Variant Druids

Urban Druid

In the Dungeons and Dragons official magazine series Dragon, issue #317, a new Core Class is introduced in the form of the Urban Druid- a kind of "Anti-Druid" who is tied to civilization in the same way normal Druids are tied to nature. Urban Druids are similar but different, receiving certain spells (including several unique ones), possessing different animal forms and also different animal companions; such as Monstrous Scorpions/Spiders, Animated Objects and Carrion Crawlers.

Blighter

The Complete Divine Sourcebook for D&D, develops a blighter Prestige class for fallen druids. The blighter can be considered the Druidic version of the Blackguard. Just as a Blackguard is a champion of evil (whereas a Paladin is a champion of good), the blighter gains spells by destroying nature, rather than preserving it.

Footnotes

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