Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Eldritch Druids of Wessex

When I needed a paladin class for my Wessex campaign I went back to the original published version of the class as my starting point and trimmed it down a bit.  Today I'm going to do a similar thing to the Druid, starting with the Druid class rules in Eldritch Wizardry and building a prestige class style template that can be overlayed onto one of my four basic classes.


class requirement: magic-user or changeling
alignment requirement: Neutral
ability score requirement: Wis 12+, Cha 14+
equipment restrictions: only use leather armor, wooden shields, sickles, scythes, scimitars, spears, slings, staves, clubs and flaming oil
basic advantages: +2 saves vs. fire, learn secret Druidic language & script
advanced advantages (level 2+): identify plant/animal/pure water, pass without trace
advanced advantages (level 6+): immune to charms from dryads, nixies, etc., assume animal shape 3 times per day (each shapechange cures 2d6 damage)
expulsion: harm an animal not in self-defense, harm the woods

I cut the ability to learn a crapload of new languages, as I don't even use language rules all that often.  Also gone is the idea of advancement by combat and the strict hierarchy.  I think I still have a Great Druid running the show, but in Christian Wessex the druids are going to be an underground organization without the luxury of being that finicky.

At some point I may import some or all of the druid spells into the game.  Joining the druids would be a good way to get access to those spells, but they wouldn't be mechanically exclusive to the class.  Like the cleric list, they would simply be added to the one bigass spell list available to anyone who can cast spells.


  1. I like this. Streamlined and well-integrated to your setting.

  2. Elegant as usual.
    advancement by combat
    Is this a nod to Frazer's Golden Bough? I don't have Eldritch Wizardry.
    If so, I'd probably keep it. But yes, it's not very English (and "historical druids" can bite me: I'm with Stephen Fry, what we think we know about druids is really late 18th century phantasy).

  3. "Is this a nod to Frazer's Golden Bough?"

    That would be pretty sweet, but I don't think so. If I had to guess, I'd say the inspiration was the rules for advancement by combat for the monks, which I think first appeared in Supp 2: Blackmoor. I don't recall the advancement rules appearing in EW, but they may be hidden in another section. The organization of the OD&D supplements is pretty bad. But fans of the 1st edition PHB druid would've asked if I didn't specify. So I did.

  4. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Hunh; mostly what I remember about old-schooly druids is their weird holy symbols; it was all "okay so go find some mistletoe and cut it with a silver sickle in your left hand and catch it in an oak bowl. Also at midnight on a full moon with your eyes closed."

    On the other hand, I do like the "Look out, Ned! It's coming right at us!" expulsion condition.

  5. Yeah, I feel like if I sic an angry bear on the party the International Order of Druidfellows shouldn't hold it against the PC when he fights back.

  6. unless he has Charm Animal, which I don't see here under abilities.

    I sense some sneaky catch 22 legalese on the part of the Inner Circle of Druids, keeping the ordinary druids in constant fear for their licenses.

  7. I don't really get why shape-shifting heals the druid.

    Isn't there a folk story where the werewolf is discovered because someone has the same wound that was inflicted on the wolf?

  8. I don't get it either.