Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Touring the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly Denizens
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - Druids; Sacrifice and the Wild Hunt within Greyhawk
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Druids; Sacrifice and the Wild Hunt within Greyhawk
    Author Message
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 898
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Tue May 30, 2006 4:27 pm  
    Druids; Sacrifice and the Wild Hunt within Greyhawk

    I have long felt the “Druidic Faith” has gotten the short end of the stick in most games; Druids becoming more green peace eco-activists than the fearful repository of natures force. To that end I have been trying to think of ways to revitalize and validate the Druids’ fearsome reputation.

    Looking through various sources; some GH or other worlds, historical, mythological and OJ articles, some defunct; through some rewriting (tweaking) I have cobbled together a rough article that provides the druid a more savage context to help explain the fearful and beneficial awe they inspire.

    Though I freely admit most of it is “taken more or less” as is from the sources and simply harmonized with other worthy concepts for the druidic faith; especially the well written OJ15 articles and Bastard Greyhawk site within one article.

    It has helped me add more depth to nature and I would like to have other posters opinions on the controversial topics of druidic sacrifice and “the wild hunt” which I feel adds a unique and powerful druidic flavor to the game if handled correctly.

    I have no desire to upset or reprint a posters work without consent; so I hope this option to send the article to those interested or to gain clarification of policy or hopefully consent from the authors involved. This is not an attempt to anger anyone simply to stimulate an open exchange of ideas to improve gaming for all concerned.

    All interested please pm or email.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 1212


    Send private message
    Wed May 31, 2006 1:01 pm  

    What do you know ... Happy

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=790&mode=thread&order=2&thold=0

    ... getting wild twice in one day.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 19, 2003
    Posts: 116
    From: New York City

    Send private message
    Wed May 31, 2006 2:32 pm  

    "I have been trying to think of ways to revitalize and validate the Druids’ fearsome reputation"

    I was frustrated by the same problem in my campaign, and came up with an admittedly simplistic response. I emphasized the druid's shapechange ability, specifically making the animal forms that druids take very powerful in melee, with natural AC, # of attacks, damage, etc... increasing as a druid gained levels. This was coupled with the notion that every druid must have a 'prime' animal form; while they may take other forms, only their Prime gets the major melee boost.

    One (initially) unexpected bonus - a druid on druid battle is really cool. Assembling a party of druids to battle a group of 'dark druids'? Completely awesome.

    Anyway, I'm sure your article has a wealth of superior ideas, I'll drop you a line, please share.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3792
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:12 am  

    I'd stay away form the Wild Hunt in GH. Be imaginative and create something new rather than just toss in some real world myth verbatim.[EDIT: meaning if you add in the Wild Hunt, Greyhawkify it to a huge degree.]

    If you want to look into some of the more primeval forces of nature you can look into Celtic folklore for some really good atmosphere to add to druids. Druids were only nature priests for the reason that it was gods of nature that their people venerated. Druids were scholars and teachers, and not so much protectors of nature as keepers of the nature gods' laws. Take what you need from the gods, but don't abuse your rite to do so, or else. In Celtic folklore, druids and fey creatures often possessed power over nature and the elements, but almost always were tricksters to some degree. Illusions and other trickery figures greatly in Celtic folklore, as does necromancy (gotta love those rotting skulls that talk- a very common item in many stories, but these could simply be illusions too).

    Druids would carry out rituals of course, but also act as judges in trials where cultural or religious laws were broken. Rulers would seldom make important decisions without the advice of a druid, and invited the wrath of all local druids if they made decisions that infringed upon the power and influence of the druids. Politics and religion as usual in a non-secular state.

    A book called "Druids" by Morgan Llywelyn has a good take on druids for D&D(at least I think so). You could also look into the "Master of the Sidhe" series of books by Kenneth C. Flint which presents a different take on Celtic mythology and magic.

    Druids were as much political animals as they were spiritual and cultural leaders. In any area of GH strong in the "Old Faith", druids would be very powerful and very influential, and that means even within cities (though they would probably conduct religious rites and live outside of the city most of the time). A ruler and their people would know feast or famine based on how well they appeased the gods, through the rites of the druids of course, and druids could make life very difficult for local rulers.

    Druids probably should not be running about with dire wallabies and other animal companions whose favorite game is "catch the arrows". Such animals would stay within range of their own homes and might only accompany the druid when they were there, and certainly would not travel the length and breadth of the continent with them on adventures. Of course, there is nothing stopping a druid from befriending an animal local to the area that they are currently in. Druids should know how to make use of nature's gifts wherever they may be or are traveling to. For example, think of Curly Greenleaf finding the bear near the lair of the cataboligne demon. He found a local one, and didn't have one traveling with him the whole time. If a druid is intent on traveling with a menagerie, as the dm it is Ok to tell the druid PC that his "friends" don't want to leave their homes for very long, or travel too far away. These are sentiments that a friend (i.e. the druid) should respect.

    Also, druids will not always make crops grow or cure diseases or do other things to help people because it is the decent thing to do, unless those people are deserving of it. That means, such people would properly venerate the gods of nature, as well as respect the druids as those gods' representatives in the mortal world. A fearsome reputation need not mean that druids fight well. Reputation is not something soley based on massive attack/damage/A.C. bonuses. Who gives a crap what a group of adventurers think. It is in the minds of the common folk that reputations take root and grow, and druids hold much power over and influence with the common folk. Perhaps you simply need to play up the role of druids and the impact they have on the everyday life of Greyhawkers adherent to the Old Faith.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -


    Last edited by Cebrion on Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:09 am; edited 1 time in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 19, 2003
    Posts: 116
    From: New York City

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:48 pm  

    "A fearsome reputation need not mean that druids fight well. Reputation is not something soley based on massive attack/damage/A.C. bonuses. Who gives a crap what a group of adventurers think. It is in the minds of the common folk that reputations take root and grow, and druids hold much power over and influence with the common folk."

    Well, speaking solely for myself, I punched up druidic abilities for practical reasons. Namely, none of my players would even consider playing a druid as they were previously constructed. I understand this, as having power and influence over the common folk isn't of much use when the dice are rolling. Yes, I value role-playing over the hack and slash approach to gaming, but it's a means to an end, a hook to get players excited about playing a druid. Thus far it's been quite a boon, vis a vis diversifying my campaign.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3792
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:11 pm  

    That comment was not intended to be at your expense btgrover. Wink It was just a general comment on reputation based on Crag's comments on how druids are viewed.

    As to the relative power of druids as pc's, they are better now than they ever were, with most of their spells even working in underground areas, not to mention quicker access to many classic druid abilities. A well played druid is a match for any other class, though playing a druid requires a bit more ingenuity than playing soem other classes. There is a lot more to know about playing a druid well than many other classes. One of the most powerful pc' in my campaign is a druid who has a few wizard levels. Oddly enough just those few wizard levels gives the pc access to most of the other non-druid spells in D&D that are often represented in Celtic myth, even though the pc and druids in general in my campaing do not have a Celtic background per ce. The option is there at least. Optimally, those wizard levels should be replaced with bard levels if you really want to lean towards the Celtic feel.

    I don't think the druid class needs any enhancing. All the tools are there for druids to be useful and hand out some whoopin's too in most situations.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 540
    From: British Isles

    Send private message
    Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:34 am  

    I haven't posted anything for quite some time but as my first AD&D character was a druid coupled with a love of Celtic myth, druids have always been a favourite of mine in the D&D settings.

    I've spent much time pondering on how druids and the Old Faith belong in the Flanaess. Although I['m still not certain on some elements I'd like to share a few of my thoughts.

    The most important change I have made is that all druids gain their power from Beory and not from the selection of deities such as Ehlonna, Phyton, Norebo, Procan and the other nature deities. The differentiation between a druid and a cleric is that a druid draws their power directly from the Oerth and the only power that can grant this is obvioulsy the Oerth-Mother herself. Followers of any other nature deity are simply clerics and have access to domains such as Animal and Plant repsresenting their deity's influence over nature.

    There are two exceptions to this rule in my setting. Whether Berei is an aspect of Beory or a deity in her own right a small number of druids claim to be druids of Berei but they also openly revere Beory as well.

    The second exception is Obad-Hai. I'm not sure on the specifics but in my setting Obad-Hai has only been worshipped by certain groups of Flan through out history...namely the Rovers of the Barrens (Arapahi). How he is linked to Beory is not completely known but Obad-Hai's priests (called shamans not clerics or druids) have all the abilities and spells of the druid class.

    It should also be noted that in my game the demi-humans all have an ancient respect for Beory but as the elves, dwarves and gnomes are more a part of nature they take their respect of the Oerth as given and therefore their worship focuses on other aspects such as magic, mining etc...I am currently considering the relationship between Ulaa and Beory at the moment. Ulaa is said to be able to directly commune with Beory so its possible that maybe her priests can be druids but as she focuses on such a specific part of nature I think that her priests should remain clerics.

    Halflings ultimately favour Berei or in some Oeridian heavy regions, Merikka. It's not that they dont respect Beory but they have drifted towards more benign and homely worship of nature.

    The Old Faith has caused me a lot of pondering also. This ancient Flan tradition had it's roots in the Ur-Flan traces of which can still be seen in the druidic language (for me the Ur-Flan of old are not like the prestigle class of the 3rd edition - at least not in their original incarnation..instead they are like as has been mentioned before much mor elike the druids of Celtic myth...sers of necromancy, death magic and trickery and illusion as well as power over the natural world. An appropriate prestige class would be the arcane hierophant in the Races of the Wild book.

    the Old Faith of today however has seen how such necromantic practises led to corruption and shook off these practices long long ago (a DM may allow that ritual sacrifice of humans is still allowed but reserved for the most serious of transgressors but this would depend on the regional laws of the relevant Flan peoples). The druids of the Old Faith today are defenders of the balance between civilisation and nature and that is their primary role. They are there as mentors, and advisors to the people of their lands. They are not human hating rustics who hide away from mankind to be at one with the animals they call brother. The Old Faith has its power not amongst the nobility but with the peasants (take Homlett in the original Temple of ELemental Evil game...Jaroo the druid was as powerful and influential as the church of St Cuthbert in that rural hamlet). Some countries afford the Old Faith more respect and most particularly (in my game) in Geoff. The druids of the Old Faith are also not monotheistic. They offer prayer and ceremony to all the Flan pantheon. Pelor the sun god, Nerull the god of darkness (I have removed Nerull's murder portfolio - for me in his Flan origins is simply the god of death...as opposed to the dead...and is worshipped by murderers solely for this reason. To the druids death is a natural process), Allitur the law keeper and so on. It is also important to note that whilst druids can be found all across the Fllanaess..the Old Faith is only present in lands that have or had Flan origins. There is no Old Faith in the Spindrift Isles but there are druids for example. The Rovers of the Barrens are not part of the Old Faith either despite being Flan...I will discuss this in a moment.

    That doesnt mean the only druids in the Flanaess are of the Old Faith. Some druids (particularly those rare non-human druids) gain their power from Beory but are seperate from the hierarchy of the Old Faith. Such druids do not gain titles such as archdruid or great druid - the progress through the levels of the druid simply as that...a druid.

    Okay so as druids and the Flan seem heavilly linked it warrants have a little peek at this area. I have always found the Flan kinda messy...from the images they ar einvariably portrayed as either Celtic, Native American or Australian Aboriginal. The names are often very Native American (the Arapahi for example) but in regions like the SHeldomar the feeling is very Celtic. This mishmash bugs me. I like neatness heh. To be fair why should the Flan be bound by earth historical conventions...but Greyhawk whether u like it or not is full of them and on top of that it helps players get a clear and colourful feel for the world when they have something to refer to and compare with. In my game there are two main sub groups of the ancient Flan. for ease we will call the the Arapahi Flan and the Sheldomar Flan. The Arapahi some argue are the most ethnically pure of the Flan...geogrphically located more to the north of the land they have retained their nomadic ways. The Sheldomar Flan are most predominant and reverted to semi-sedentary lifestyles around the time of the Ur Flan perhaps? Or perhaps this sedentary tredn allowed a group such as the Ur-Flan to arrise..whatever..you decide...whatever the origins these Flan through more interraction with the olves and dwur evolved into something much more celtic. All my Flan have a native american look to them but the sheldomar ethnic group favour plaid for example over the simpler leathers and hides of the arapahi. The music of these peoples is very native american but with some celtic influences for the sheldomar flan. The druids whilst feeling very celtic and having stone circles - these stone circles ar eoften more of a cross between european standing stones and the native american burial mounds. In summary - the sheldomar flan are a cross betwen celt and native american and the arapahi are still very native american. This split also explains why the arapahi favour obad-hai. Obad-Hai in my campaign is much less popular than he perhaps is in many DM's settings.

    okay i know this is long and not terribly coherent but i hope my thoughts have been of interest.

    oh and one last hting regarding making druids' animal forms more powerful. It says that a druid cannot become an animal with more hit dice than the druid has levels. I always make a druid pic a favoured animal. With this form I allow them to assume a more powerful version as they gain levels. For example - the druid Branwen of Hornwood favours the eagle form. The eagle is off hand a 2HD creature. Under the animal progression rules it says an eagle can gain hit dice up to a certain maximum. In time branwen's eagle form becomes that of an strong and prime example of its species. I cant remember what the max hit dice for an eagle is but say it is 5...then when branwen has reached 5th level shes attained the toughest eagle form she'll ever be able to.

    whew...okay - i'm sure i've missed something but that's all for now!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2005
    Posts: 113
    From: Orland Hills, Illinois

    Send private message
    Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:59 am  

    An examination on changing druids needs to examine the the pieces of the the Flan, Old Faith, and Flan Deities. Deities specifically of Flan origin are:
    Greater
    Beory - Oerth Mother, nature, rain
    Nerull - Death, darkness, underworld
    Pelor - Sun, strength, light, healing
    Rao - Peace, reason, serenity

    Lesser
    Allitur - Ethics, propriety
    Berei - Home, family, agrigulture
    Obad-Hai - Nature, wildlands, freedom, hunting
    Zodal - Mercy, hope benevolence
    Myhriss - Love, Romance, and Beauty (LGG)
    Vecna - Destructive and Evil Secrets (a recent upstart) (LGG)

    Demigods
    Iuz - Oppression, deceit, pain (well he's a recent upstart to)

    If Greater/lesser means their power and portfolio has more/less impact on the universe, then the Flan are told that the most powerful forces in their world are Oerth Mother, nature, rain, death, darkness, underworld, sun, strength, light, healing, peace, reason, serenity. Hmm...

    Beory has been described as the will of the Oerth itself, but is distant from worshippers. I see her as the playing field on which life exists. From there I would see Pelor and Nerull are opposites with Rao as a mediator. Or perhaps they are the original disfunctional family with Beory and Rao as mom and dad with Pelor and Nerull playing the role of competing sons.

    The lesser gods, from their portfolios seem to be civilizer (if such a term can be made) dieties with closer ties to humanity. The upstarts, well, we need drama in the world, don't we? Laughing
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3152
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:15 am  

    NathanBrazil wrote:
    Beory has been described as the will of the Oerth itself, but is distant from worshippers. I see her as the playing field on which life exists. From there I would see Pelor and Nerull are opposites with Rao as a mediator. Or perhaps they are the original disfunctional family with Beory and Rao as mom and dad with Pelor and Nerull playing the role of competing sons.


    The way I see it, the Flan culture was never monolithic. The Flannish people who worshipped Rao were not the same as the people who worshipped Nerull and Pelor.

    The Raoites were, originally, nomadic herders who saw a god who was as much a gentle shepherd as they aspired to be, yet who was capable of protecting them to ensure the peace - as a good shepherd protects his flock.

    The worshipers of Beory/Obad-hai/Pelor/Nerull/Berei were agriculturalists, tuned to the cycle of the seasons. Pelor was summer and Nerull was winter; Obad-hai is the one who represents balance between the extremes of his two quarrelsome brothers, as well as being the god of the wild, unsettled regions and of beasts and the hunt. Berei is the goddess of agriculture, while Beory is the goddess of weather, life-giving rain, and the fertile oerth itself. This group, collectively, is the Old Faith, the pantheon of druids.

    Any Flan group, regardless of how primitive, could have reason to worship Allitur, who represents the customs and laws of the people and is the impartial judge of the souls of the dead.

    Zodal seems to be from a different Flan people altogether. I wrote a myth about a group of Five Guardians who were killed by a great evil. Beory swallowed them and gave birth to Zodal, the great hope of the world.

    Myrhiss was originally said to be a common goddess - making her Flan was a new decision in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. However, I can see her being popular in ancient Ahlissa during the reign of the Nightingale Queen. In fact, perhaps the Ahlissans worshipped mainly the gods you identify as the more civilized ones - Zodal, Allitur, Myhriss, possibly an aspect of Berei as well. Such a pantheon seems like it would aptly define an ancient, benevolent Flan civilization.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 540
    From: British Isles

    Send private message
    Mon Jun 05, 2006 5:03 am  

    rasgon wrote:



    The Raoites were, originally, nomadic herders who saw a god who was as much a gentle shepherd as they aspired to be, yet who was capable of protecting them to ensure the peace - as a good shepherd protects his flock. ...

    Myrhiss was originally said to be a common goddess - making her Flan was a new decision in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. However, I can see her being popular in ancient Ahlissa during the reign of the Nightingale Queen. In fact, perhaps the Ahlissans worshipped mainly the gods you identify as the more civilized ones - Zodal, Allitur, Myhriss, possibly an aspect of Berei as well. Such a pantheon seems like it would aptly define an ancient, benevolent Flan civilization.


    I have it in my head that Rao was once worhsipped as a moon god...I may have this idea because of his ties to Veluna (Veluna...Vale of Luna...Vale of the Moon). Or I could have totally imagined it - either way he has moon conotations in my campaign and fills a missing Flan moon deity niche.

    With regards to Myrhiss...I noticed when looking through the original Temple of Elemental Evil campaaign material that there were a few deities listed as Common or Unknown who had later been assigned to one of the human groups. I came to the conclusion that these deities, in particular Lirr, Ehlonna and Myrhiss where in fact elven deities. The Flan through their prolonged contact with the elves adopted the worship of Myrhiss into their pantheon. Obviously I have no evidence for this but Ehlonna, Lirr and Myrhiss are all goddesses who portray classically elven traits...beauty, nature and song/art.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:20 am  

    I like the inclusion of human sacrifice and the Wild Hunt. IMO, "druid" is not synonomous with "nature priest." I'd keep the cultural, particularly Celtic, associations.
    _________________
    GVD
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 540
    From: British Isles

    Send private message
    Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:17 am  

    quite randomly my first DM made me pick my druidic patron from the Celtic pantheon in an old 2ed sourcebook listing various cultural pantheons. Tacked on to the end of this list was Silvanus who I suppose was included as a Romano-Celtic deity. I picked SIlvanus (who is in fact similar to Obad-Hai). In the source material for all the deities it mentions human sacrifice as saved for particularly significant enemies or particularly bad criminals. One such punishment invollved lime pool and turning a severed head into some kind of weapon. I always used to commune with nature to locate any lime pools just in case hehe.

    Anyways - whilst I would have preferred he used specific Greyhawk deities his stance gave the Old Faith an indivdual feel which I supposed worked quite well within his game.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 898
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Tue Jun 06, 2006 1:13 pm  

    Exactly to make the old faith something more "grey" per say.

    For those who have read my article, you can see that I don't want to turn druids into homocidal sacrificing machines but just the knowledge that it is practised would go along way to justify the fear and unease that druids are met with.

    On the beneficial side the "sacrificial rewards" would tend to allow a ration reason for the lay members (non-druids) to accept the practice as neccessary, if not good which adds to the underlying tension outside of the faith.

    The Wild Hunt simply is a splashy manifestation of power to allow the players to see that the old faith can be a powerful unpredictable force and must be respected and dealt with. Within the game even the rare appearance of the wild hunt would further validate the old faith and provide justification for the rulers hesitation to confront it within the gameworld.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
    Posts: 1212


    Send private message
    Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:34 am  

    Craig, that was good article and I think it will accomplish your intent. My preferences for utilization of the Wild Hunt veer more to the anecdotal as described for Feory Yewstaff in the Order of the Ruddy Gloaming that you gathered from OJ 15. I reference that so anyone can read it. While that is consistent with the more mechanical description you give at the end of your article, IMO is much more flavorful. It is very reminiscent of the Wild Hunt story of Artemis and Actaeon.

    On “Ruddy Gloaming”, I did not know what “gloaming” was I looked it up on the net (it basically means dusk) and found this passage and think it is worth sharing in this context:

    “The play-hour in the evening I thought the pleasantest fraction of the day at Lowood: the bit of bread, the draught of coffee swallowed at five o'clock had revived vitality, if it had not satisfied hunger: the long restraint of the day was slackened; the schoolroom felt warmer than in the morning--its fires being allowed to burn a little more brightly, to supply, in some measure, the place of candles, not yet introduced: the ruddy gloaming, the licensed uproar, the confusion of many voices gave one a welcome sense of liberty.”- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte.

    I applaud your work to create balance. It is too easy to have druids that are LG with a natural bent. Let that forest fire burn!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 898
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:44 am  

    For those that got my article: Most of it is OJ and Bastard GH; I simply wanted it all in one place but even I didn't know it was 22 pages. ooops.
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.34 Seconds