Ruins of Adventure
Historically, druids lived among the Germanic tribes of Western Europe and Britain during the days of the Roman Empire. They acted as advisers to chieftains and held great influence over the tribesmen. Central to their thinking was the belief that the earth was the mother and source of all life. They revered many natural things-the sun, moon, and certain trees-as deities. Druids in the AD&D game, however, are only loosely patterned after these historical figures.
The druidic order tolerates a wide range of philosophies and deities under the umbrella of its loosely organized structure. As protectors of nature, druids are aloof from the complications of the temporal world, but do not tolerate any destruction or exploitation of nature for profit.
Druids are charged with protecting wilderness-in particular areas of fresh water, wild plants, and wild animals. Druids see nature as a hostile, cleansing force that ensures the survival of the fittest. According to their philosophy, civilization—especially the building of towns and cities—has weakened humankind and many demihuman races. Druids see barbarians and more primitive races as inherently more vital than civilized peoples. Thus, druids often ally themselves with barbarian tribes or hostile humanoids such as orcs, giants, and goblins, especially those who choose to live in forests or mountains in the wilds. They deliberately encourage people to abandon civilization’s “decadence” and return to the more natural existence of hunting and gathering.
Druids tend to view all things as cyclic and thus, the battles of good and evil are only the rising and falling tides of time. But, while their intentions are neutral, a Druid’s methods often tend to promote chaos and evil. For instance, the Druid may provide magical assistance to barbarian hordes trying to sack a city or lead humanoid tribes in raids against human or dwarven towns. They behave as they do not due to an evil nature—their enemies include powerful evil empires as well as good kingdoms. Rather, they feel their cruel activities work toward the best interests of evolution and of Nature itself.
For instance, druids would consider an evil city-state based around slavery a fair target, and they would feel as eager as any lawful good Paladin to support a slave revolt in the hopes of toppling the city. The difference? The druids would encourage the slaves in revolt to burn the city to the ground and then settle down as farmers, hunters, or outlaws in the countryside.
Base Class Statistics:
- Ability Requirements: Intuition 12, Leadership 15
- Alignments: True Neutral
- Experience Chart: Specialty Priest
- Hit Dice: d8
- Maximum Hit Dice: 9d8
- Additional Hit Points: +2 per level beyond 9th
- Attack: Priest
- Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Priest
- Rods/Staves/Wands: as Priest
- Petrification/Polymorph: as Priest
- Breath Weapon: as Priest
- Spell: as Priest
- Allowed Weapons: by Branch (see below)
- Allowed Armor: Non-metal armor, Wooden shields
Each Druids must choose to specialize in a specific terrain (sometimes referred to as a Branch) and gain additional powers, proficiencies, and spells depending on their choice of Branch. Many Branches also place additional requirements on their Druids, depending on Race, Alignment, or Ability Scores. Regardless of these divisions by branch, all druids belong to the same hierarchy (described below) and follow the normal rules for advancement and becoming a hierophant.
Druids do not have the same range of spells as clerics. A Druid’s spheres are determined by his choice of Branch (see above). Though they do not directly worship the gods, all Druids have access to the religion-specific spells of Silvanus, the patron of their order, so long as they fall within the spheres granted by their chosen Branch.
All Druids can use all magical items normally allowed priests, except for those that are written (books and scrolls) and armor and weapons not normally allowed for druids.
All Druids can speak a secret language in addition to any other tongues they know. The vocabulary of this druidic language is limited to dealing with nature and natural events. Druids jealously guard this language; it is the one infallible method they have of recognizing each other.
The druid receives his spells as insight directly from his deity, as a sign of and reward for his faith, so he must take care not to abuse his power lest it be taken away as punishment. In addition to those spells gained by leveling (see the Table below), the druid gains a number of bonus spells based on his Intuition score. Bonus spells of a given level are not gained until the druid could cast at least 1 spell of that spell level normally.
Druidic Organization and Advancement:
At 12th level, the druid character acquires the official title of “druid” (all druid characters below 12th level are officially known as “initiates”). There can be only nine 12th-level druids in any geographic region (as defined by oceans, seas, and mountain ranges; a continent may consist of three or four such regions). A character cannot reach 12th level unless he takes his place as one of the nine druids. This is possible only if there are currently fewer than nine druids in the region, or if the character defeats one of the nine druids in magical or hand-to-hand combat, thereby assuming the defeated druid’s position. If such combat is not mortal, the loser drops experience points so that he has exactly 200,001 remaining-just enough to be 11th level.
The precise details of each combat are worked out between the two combatants in advance. The combat can be magical, non-magical, or a mixture of both. It can be fought to the death, until only one character is unconscious, until a predetermined number of hit points is lost, or even until the first blow is landed, although in this case both players would have to be supremely confident of their abilities. Whatever can be agreed upon between the characters is legitimate, so long as there is some element of skill and risk.
When a character becomes a 12th-level druid, he gains three underlings. Their level depends on the character’s position among the nine druids. The druid with the most experience points is served by three initiates of 9th level; the second-most experienced druid is served by three initiates of 8th level; and so on, until the least experienced druid is served by three 1st-level initiates.
Only three archdruids (13th level) can operate in a geographical region. To become an archdruid, a 12th-level druid must defeat one of the reigning archdruids or advance into a vacant position. Each of the three archdruids is served by three initiates of 10th level. From among the archdruids of the entire world, three are chosen to serve the Grand Druid. These three retain their attendees but are themselves servants of the Grand Druid.
The Great Druid (14th level) is unique in his region. He, too, won his position from the previous great druid. He is served by three initiates of 11th level.
The ascendance of a new Great Druid usually sets off shock waves of turmoil and chaos through the druidic hierarchy. The advancement of an archdruid creates an opening that is fiercely contested by the druids, and the advancement of a druid creates an opening in their ranks.
The highest ranking druid in the world is the Grand Druid (15th level). Unlike great druids (several of whom can operate simultaneously in different lands), only one person in a world can ever hold this title at one time. Consequently, only one druid can be 15th level at any time.
The Grand Druid knows six spells of each level (instead of the normal spell progression) and also can cast up to six additional spell levels, either as a single spell or as several spells whose levels total to six (for example, one 6th-level spell, six 1st-level spells, three 2nd-level spells, etc.).
The Grand Druid is attended by nine other druids who are subject only to him and have nothing to do with the hierarchy of any specific land or area. Any druid character of any level can seek the Grand Druid and ask to serve him. Three of these nine are archdruids who roam the world, acting as his messengers and agents. Each of them receives four additional spell levels. The remainder are normally druids of 7th to 11th level, although the Grand Druid can request a druid of any level to serve him and often considers applications from humble aspirants.
The position of Grand Druid is not won through combat. Instead, the Grand Druid selects his successor from the acting great druids. The position is demanding, thankless, and generally unexciting for anyone except a politician. After a few hundred thousand experience points of such stuff, any adventurer worthy of the name probably is ready to move on to something else. After reaching 16th level, the Grand Druid can step down from his position at any time, provided he can find a suitable successor (another druid with 3,000,000 experience points).
Upon stepping down, the former Grand Druid must relinquish the six bonus spell levels. He is now a 16th-level hierophant druid. The character may rise as high as 20th level as a hierophant druid (almost always through self training). Beyond 15th level, a druid never gains any new spells. Casting level continues to rise with experience. Rather than spells, spell-like powers are acquired.
At 16th level, the hierophant druid gains several powers:
- Immunity to all natural poisons. Natural poisons are ingested or insinuated animal or vegetable poisons, including monster poisons, but not mineral poisons or poison gas.
- Vigorous health for a person of his age. The hierophant is no longer subject to the ability score adjustments for aging.
- The ability to alter his appearance at will. Appearance alteration is accomplished in one round. A height and weight increase or decrease of 50% is possible, with an apparent age from childhood to extreme old age. Body and facial features can resemble any human or humanoid creature. This alteration is not magical, so it cannot be detected by any means short of true seeing.
At 17th level, the character gains the biological ability to hibernate. His body functions slow to the point where the character may appear dead to a casual observer; aging ceases. The character is completely unconscious during hibernation. He awakens either at a preordained time (“I will hibernate for 20 days”) or when there is a significant change in his environment (the weather turns cold, someone hits him with a stick, etc.).
A 17th-level hierophant druid can also enter the Elemental Plane of Earth at will. The transference takes one round to complete. This ability also provides the means to survive on that plane, move around, and return to the Prime Material Plane at will. It does not confer similar abilities or immunities on the Prime Material Plane.
At 18th level, the character gains the ability to enter and survive in the Elemental Plane of Fire.
At 19th level, the character gains the ability to enter and survive in the Elemental Plane of Water.
At 20th level, the character gains the ability to enter and survive in the Elemental Plane of Air.