Fantasy Druid
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Basic Information

As most people are aware, the actual druids were the intellectual and religious caste of the ancient Celtic peoples - a wide spectrum of people including lawyers, physicians, poets and priests. Not so in the majority of fantasy settings. In these settings the fantasy druid tends to be a forest dwelling1 priest, either of "nature" as an inchoate force of divinity in its own right or of some deity with a particular portfolio concerning the natural world. Where applicable the Green Man is a likely patron of druids and they may or may not be friendly with the fae, elves and other traditionally wilderness dwelling critters. Nature magic, secular or divine, should be expected to be a thing. Shape shifting and extensive use of pets and summoned animals are also common.

The character of the fantasy druid tends to vary with the tone of the campaign from hippies, through weird, smelly hermits and Edward Abbey expys to outright ecoterrorists and hunters of man. Sometimes all varieties will coexist, possibly within the same network of druids. The disciplines of faith required of a fantasy druid can also vary immensely - some may only be permitted to use the fruits of nature as armour or weapons (which makes a certain amount of thematic sense), whilst others may have far less coherent restrictions in place. Despite the almost total disconnect, elements of Celtic druidry can often sneak in - including an obsession with mistletoe, the use of golden sickles and - from time to time - human sacrifice up to and including the use of a wickerman.

It is not strictly necessary for a fantasy druid to have any kind of congregation - often setting background material will make it far from clear whether or not there are any laypeople in the druidic faith (although in others the druids will be seen - or at least noted - to perform appropriate sacraments for country dwellers … this may or may not be in conflict with other faiths).


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The fantasy druid is likely to be a great deal of use in wilderness adventures, much less so down an traditional dungeon or in a city (unless you go for a variant urban druid, who is then likely to be uncomfortable in the great outdoors and may or may not be happy down a hole as well).
  • They also make for good non-evil villains - recycle any kind of ecoterrorist or general anti-development plot such as frontier villages clearing wilderness for farmland coming under attack from a druid who prefers wilderness or a mine being attacked because its run-off is polluting nearby waterways.
  • Likewise evil villains - for those druids who specialise in "nature red and tooth and claw" or who actively regard humans as an invasive species to be culled and are likely to be found hunting them for sport or planning genocide.
  • As NPCs they make good waystations in the wilderness (if PCs need help a long way from civilisation) or as plot hooks (reporting in on something nasty going on a long way from the sight of normal authorities.
  • More generally, druids can also serve as a "more primitive" religion, perhaps one predating the rise of the current gods (especially if your campaign setting has a version of the titanomachy) and/or of "sub human and uncivilised" societies - including cavemen and orcs.
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