One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
First question: Wondering what you all do regarding True Neutral druids and their Spheres in your respective games. Do you prefer to use the 'original' druid character class OR do you use Obad-hai and Beory (with their own spell Spheres) instead as patron Powers?
I exempt Phyton and Ehlonna from this list b/c their priests are not 'truly' druids in the strict sense of the word...
Just to clarify, this special type of cleric has access to the following Spheres: Major- All, Animal, Elemental, Healing, Plant, Sun, Weather; Minor- Divination
This is from Spells & Magic, and variations exist depending on what book you use (2e PHB is different, and the Complete Book of Druids offers variation, too).
In looking at Beory and Obad-hai, they are also slightly different in what they allow their priests (treated as druids).
Next question: Do you use the cleric XP table for their clergy OR the druid XP table instead? Or are druids, with all their special abilities (they've got some GREAT powers, in my opinion), treated as specialty priests who are charged an extra 10% on the cleric table?
I've deliberated on druids and patron deities a lot and although I'm still not resolved on the issue this is how I do things at present;
Druids, as a unique class, must worship; Beory (in whatever guise or form suitable), Obad-Hai or the Old Faith. Old Faith druids are pantheistic, paying homage to the Flan gods much like the Celtic druids had various gods and spirits they prayed to but ultimately they receive their powers by channeling the Oerth Mother and do not receive their powers from any of the other Old Faith gods.
Druids of Obad-Hai are more like shamanic druids than Celtic druids.
I've not needed to look into it further yet but I'd consider varying the allowed weapons and spheres druids of each of those traditions call upon to add a bit of diversity.
All other nature deities simply have speciality priests.
I got into a LONG but rather illuminating debate/discussion with my long-time gaming buddy on this issue last night.
We had to cite different sources to come to any overall consensus on these matters, primarily From the Ashes: Atlas of the Flanaess source guide on the Powers and their respective clergy and Living Greyhawk Gazeteer.
The LGG clearly states the following perspectives:
1) On page 161 there is a section talking about the Old Faith, representing 'the druids.' It discusses how Beory's faith stems from this outlook, and, depending on your interpretation, Beory's clerics either ARE druids, or have infused druidic precepts into their own philosophy.
2) On pages 166-167, under Beory's description, LGG writes about her clergy that "They often associate with druids." This implies they are not the same, but rather have overlapping attitudes.
3) On page 178, regarding Obad-hai's clergy, LGG states, "Most tend to get along very well with rangers and druids. To me, this also implies that this Power's clerics are not druids in the 'true sense.'
4) However, interestingly enough, in FtA, on page 82 under Beory's description, it states, "Beory has very few Priests; those who exist are druids (but they do not have the Charisma requirement of other druids)." which seems almost contradictory. Powers are "as druids" but I imagine this applies ONLY to specialty priests and NOT the standard cleric.
5) FtA states that Obad-hai is a patron of druids (page 89) and that druids revere him in wild places (page 90). His priests are treated as druids (but that suggests they aren't, in actuality), with the same restrictions to weapons and armor (same with Beory's clerics, too). Finally, his specialty priests have druidic powers.
So...in short, I am still a bit baffled. On one hand it seems that druids are a separate, if related, category entirely from the clergy of Beory and Obad-hai. On the other, specialty priests of those Powers are treated as druids!
I was similarly baffled Lanthorn. I found the canon material muddied and I didn't like the way speciality priests and druids seemed a bit interchangeable for some of the gods. That's is why I made the decision to ignore canon and go with my own decisions - it saved me a headache and gave a clearer distinction to druids.
If druids must collect mistletoe or oak leaves during the night of the full moon (or suffer reductions to spell-casting as a result of 'lesser' materials), what about the clergy of Beory and Obad-hai? Their holy symbols are different, it seems (actual effigies and not plant sources), yet their specialty priests are treated as druids (at least they seem to earn druidic bonus powers). Does this mean that specialty priests of Beory and Obad-hai must abide the same ritual of collecting mistletoe during this hallowed period to receive such boons?
Druids will usually be tied to a specific deity, such as Beory, Obad-hai, Phyton, Berei, Ehlonna. Llerg, etc. Some of those deities are specifically stated as only having specialty priests, only having druids, able to have either, or it is not mentioned at all and so it is left up to the DM to decide what is what (as if this wasn't the case anyways ). For those that have either, I like to treat them as sects within the same faith, with the specialty priests taking on a more usual/mainstream aspect as to what most people will think of when it comes to somebody being a priest of a deity. For instance, in a faith which has both druids and specialty priests, you would be much more likely to find a specialty priest of such a deity in a more urban area, whereas you would be much more likely to find a druid of such a deity in a more rural area. I like the variety, so I allow for both when it is not specifically mentioned.
I wouldn't use comparisons of different game edition products to put any rhyme to your reason though. Specialty priests are a 2E feature, and they featured alongside clerics. Expecting a 3E product to tell you about them is asking for too much; especially when 3E combined the cleric and specialty priest into a single entry, such that 3E products cannot be relied upon to refer to things in a 2E manner. I'll read up on it all and add more later. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
I await your further comments, as I am having one helluva time reconciling what to do with druids in my game, especially with respect to the presence of clerics/priests of Obad-hai and Beory.
It comes down to this, I guess. Are druids, as a class, treated as clerics of these patron Powers, OR are they separate and independent of them, and worship/draw their powers from a different source (and, if so, what is it?)?
That answer will then determine the following: the Spheres they can access (as it differs between Obad-hai, Beory, and the 'typical' druid class) and the XP table to use (as it differs between clerics and druids). Weapons and armor remain the same, basically.
I admit I just never got on the druid bandwagon, if there ever was one. I tried, I really did. Years ago I drew up a druid character and was fully intending on playing him, but I never did. Then as a DM I have tried to incorporate druids into adventures a couple of different ways, but in the end I always cut them out. I don't know what it is about druids, but they just aren't on my radar. I feel almost the same about Bards, but maybe that's just because I can't sing and have no musical talent whatsoever. Or maybe it was all the singing in the Lord of the Rings cartoon movie that put me off them...
I would eliminate use of clerics of Beory/Obad-hai and just make them defacto patrons of the druids. Beory is literally the Oerth-mother so you can't divorce her role from druidism. Games rules-wise I have nothing to add unfortunately, it's been too long since I cracked open a 2E book.
My view has always been that druids gain their power from their patron deities, the same as clerics do. I know some have interpreted their power as coming from nature or the life-death-rebirth cycle as an abstract force, but while I think that's a valid way to do things, I definitely think at least some druids, if not most, have divine patrons and gain their powers from such.
2e Forgotten Realms deities books like Faiths & Avatars gave lists of different classes included among their clergy. For example Chauntea, the goddess of agriculture, grants spells to clerics, druids, mystics, monks, and shamans (including classes from Skills & Powers). Mielikki, goddess of forests and rangers, grants spells to clerics, druids, rangers, and druid/rangers (and yes, there's normally an alignment conflict preventing druid/rangers from existing in 2e, but apparently Mielikki has decreed an exception in her own church and as a goddess she can do that; druid/rangers were required to be neutral good). Chauntea can be seen as essentially Beory and Mielikki as essentially Ehlonna for Greyhawk purposes.
Faiths & Avatars included descriptions of how the different orders within the church were organized, too. For example, Mielikki:
In 1369 DR, Mielikki ordered the reorganization of her church and reintroduced druids among her clergy to counter the waning of her faith. What little church hierarchy the Mielikkian faith has is still almost exclusively clerics; however, druids now have joined their ranks or begun circles in the North in her name.
Or, regarding Chauntea:
Chauntea’s church has two wings: standard clerics who minister to the faithful in towns, cities, and civilized areas, and druids who work in more outlying regions. With the success of the town priests, the druids have been moving farther and farther afield. The relationship between the druids, who call themselves “True Clerics of Chauntea,” and the more civilized clerics is cordial, but at times strained. The druids have always venerated Chauntea and consider the more recent city disciples to be upstarts. The more civilized priests, in turn, feel that the druids’ day is done, and while druids are still useful in wild lands, the rising nations need an organized, professional faith controlled by a more reasonable and rational clergy. The percentage breakdown of clerics and druids in the clergy is about 40% clerics and 50% druids. Mystics and shamans, who work alone outside of either wing of the church and report only to She Who Shapes All herself, comprise only 5% of the priesthood together, and monks, who are always allied to a particular temple or druidic circle’s leader, round out the remaining 5%.
Or, regarding Silvanus (who is essentially Obad-hai):
Silvanus’s clergy are spread throughout Faerûn, favoring small communities over large cities, though there are several large communities of Silvanites in major cities such as Waterdeep. Druids are the leaders and backbone of the greenleaf priesthood and are most favored by Silvanus if they dwell in the forest and live in harmony with the land, where they are best able to be the stewards of Faerûn’s wild places. Urban clergy of Silvanus more often become gardeners, trying to create a walled corner of wild forest in the city (or guard and revitalize an existing miniature wood).
The one thing I used to really object to was using generic clerics alongside specialty priests in the same church, since I didn't feel like the two classes were well balanced with each other and that if you were using specialty priests in your game, generic clerics shouldn't exist.
If the same deity sponsors both specialty priests and druids, the specialty priests are probably the more urbanized or civilized branch of the faith, ineligible to compete as members of the druidic hierarchy.
It is important to understand that the whole concept of specialty priests centers around them being representative of a particular mythos (i.e. faith), as per the PHB, and that such Specialty Priests are meant to take the place of the Cleric/Druid entries altogether for their particular faith. So, when an entry states that its "priests are treated as druids", you use the Druid class as the base and not the Cleric class, and you modify that base Druid class as per the instructions given. Otherwise, you modify the Cleric class. The whole being "friendly with druids" thing means that the Specialty Priest is friendly with other faiths that actually are represented by true Druids (unless there would be some reason for them not to be, such as rivalry/enmity between them). Specialty priests are all about making each of the faiths fully distinct from one another, not simply about there being in an extra option distinct from the Cleric/Druid, though, as previously stated, people can choose to do whatever they wish with the material. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Last edited by Cebrion on Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
It is important to understand that the whole concept of specialty priests centers around them being representative of a particular mythos (i.e. faith), as per the PHB, and that such Specialty Priests are meant to take the place of the Cleric/Druid entries altogether for their particular faith.
I think it's important to note that "faith" (or mythos) isn't synonymous with "god." A single god can be associated with multiple faiths, and a single faith can encompass multiple gods. A character can be the priest of an entire pantheon, and a single god can sponsor more than one kind of priest.
That said, if a specialty priest is just a slightly variant druid, there's not much point in using both.
Definitely true, as a "faith" can be polytheistic, but representing an entire pantheon is not the purpose of any of the Greyhawk specialty priests so I didn't want to imply a pantheistic meaning. I have introduced the idea of pantheistic priests in my own campaign, but only for NPCs due to the complexity of the set-up I went with. It is a concept I would have liked to have seen written up in the various rule sets, just to see what others could come up with. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
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