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.
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.
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.)