Divine Druids or Should Primal Return in Next?

59 posts / 0 new
Last post
I always thought divine druids were a little mucky. I would like Primal to return as a concept, but how should they best implement it I don't know.

What do other people think? 
The Primal concept is one of the best things to come out of 4th Edition, in my opinion. It isn't the only one, but it is one that seemed most natural to the flow of D&D of any style.
I'm not sure the power concept will return, actually.  They've already said that a spell is a spell is a spell.  The only thing that really matters is what ends up on the Druid's spell list.

The druid is an interesting case, though.  It makes me wonder if the 4E druids will all become "druid circle" (or whatever you want to call it) options for the Druid class.  Just like the sorcerer picks a heritage, the druid would, at creation, choose a way to be a druid, whether as a shapeshifter, a nature healer, or a pet handler.

This would also follow the idea of the cleric class, which, right now, has the "pure healer" and "warpriest" as separate options.

I'm sure that thematically, though, they'll still be denizens of the natural world.  But, I'd like to see the return of nature gods.  As much as I liked primal spirits, I think there's enough room for both them and gods of nature in the mythology.  Plus, clerics of Obad-hai can cut down trees with their hammers, even if they're a bit too sure of their faith.  It makes them do stupid things, like trying to turn a dragon right as it uses its breath weapon.
Non-divine Druids, please.

Not really a fan of the "Primal Spirits" (seemed too much like gods), but I like Nature Magic as it's own thing, magic from a connection to the earth.
I would like to see the Primal concept return, in the way that nature magic is treated separately from Divine and Arcane.

I see Primal magic to be closer to Arcane than Divine though.

Druids (the spellcasters, not the pseudo-werebeasts-combat gish) should be rather similar to Wizards (or even a wizard speciality that uses primal magic instead of Arcane).
Druids should learn spells like Wizards.

As for other Primal 4e classes..   No non-magical class should use Primal. Barbarians are primitive raging warriors, not magicans, and if they would also become able to use primal magic, then that ability should be separate from their normal abilities.
I'm for whatever allows Druids and Barbarians to invoke a more naturalist view of the cosmos than the Cleric. If they have to be gods, then make them a pantheon of demigods under one deity (Melora, for example). Personally, I like that not everything that is worshipped is a deity.

"Ah, the age-old conundrum. Defenders of a game are too blind to see it's broken, and critics are too idiotic to see that it isn't." - Brian McCormick

Ie driuds were primal, it just wasn't called primal.  They drew their magic directly from nature and I agree that this is better conceptually.  However, including an option to allow certain nature deities to grant druidic magic too would not affect the game.

I thought power source as a concept was really, really cool.


To be fair it existed before but to have it as a more formal indicator of where people are getting their badassitude from is really handy, especially when writing addons.



I would love it if the PHB included casters which drew from arcane, divine, primal and psionic sources.

I adored the primal concepts that were introduced in 4E!

I'm not sure the power concept will return, actually.  They've already said that a spell is a spell is a spell.  The only thing that really matters is what ends up on the Druid's spell list.

The druid is an interesting case, though.  It makes me wonder if the 4E druids will all become "druid circle" (or whatever you want to call it) options for the Druid class.  Just like the sorcerer picks a heritage, the druid would, at creation, choose a way to be a druid, whether as a shapeshifter, a nature healer, or a pet handler.

This would also follow the idea of the cleric class, which, right now, has the "pure healer" and "warpriest" as separate options.

I'm sure that thematically, though, they'll still be denizens of the natural world.  But, I'd like to see the return of nature gods.  As much as I liked primal spirits, I think there's enough room for both them and gods of nature in the mythology.  Plus, clerics of Obad-hai can cut down trees with their hammers, even if they're a bit too sure of their faith.  It makes them do stupid things, like trying to turn a dragon right as it uses its breath weapon.

I would definitely dig druid Circles or Groves that existed as options offering access to builds that break up the healer, wildshaper, nature caster paths.

I actually expect it.

Danny

I don't mind power sources as long as they are purely fluff and don't have a mechanical impact.
I agree with a return/continuation of the Primal Power source/Spirits/whatever they would call it i like it for it's own sake and as munnition to defend from the "druid more like cleric with a nature domain throw out that superflous class" crowd.

I would like to see the Primal concept return, in the way that nature magic is treated separately from Divine and Arcane.

I see Primal magic to be closer to Arcane than Divine though.

Druids (the spellcasters, not the pseudo-werebeasts-combat gish) should be rather similar to Wizards (or even a wizard speciality that uses primal magic instead of Arcane).
Druids should learn spells like Wizards.

As for other Primal 4e classes..   No non-magical class should use Primal. Barbarians are primitive raging warriors, not magicans, and if they would also become able to use primal magic, then that ability should be separate from their normal abilities.



I'm interested in this in why you want the druid to be closer to a wizard.


I'm interested in this in why you want the druid to be closer to a wizard.



Mostly because of the general feel of the class, but also to separate them from clerics.

Druids are usually pictured as being thought their craft by other druids. They are thematically big on secret lore, druid circles and societies and so on.

In my mind they are a lore based class, thus, they should learn spells, not just recieve them.
It fits well with druids learning spells from other druids. To have druids learn spells from tomes on druidic lore is not a long step from that. I could also picture them learning spells by studying nature and animals (the free spells learned when leveling up?). Maybe they could learn spells from studying defeated foes or special places (DM says 'Here you can roll against Nature Lore and learn a spell', that kind of thing.)

On the second point, if Druids are divine casters with a different spell list, then the difference between a Druid and a Cleric with a Nature or Animal domain becomes just academical. This is probably what has forced Druids more and more towards the shapeshifter-warrior niche, just to separate them from other divine casters.

One could object that bringing them closer to wizards create the exact same problem, just with Wizards instead. Perhaps.. but I still feel that to be more fitting. It fits thematically, it explains why Druids do not walk around in platemail (if Primal spells are affected by armor similar to Arcane).

Also, historical Druids were more magicans than priests (although they were both).

For me, the mechanical impact would be expressed in exactly what spells are on what list. So instead of a class with a list of spells for that class like they had in 3e, they'd have a primal list of spells that all primal classes would draw from.


They kind of did this all ready in class design by selecting spells from another, more extensive class list (wizard -> duskblade). Making it an obvious means of differentiation between classes in general and spell casters in particular would be very helpful.


In a game full of optional systems, having some flavour headings like power source could really guide us through it. If the psionic power source is listed as typically using spell points, for example, it sets psionics apart without requiring that they use spell points.



Edit: forgot to mention that it's a good way of splitting up the spells as well. Divine magic is totally different from arcane magic largely because of what spells they get, psionics has always sort of struggled to find its own identity in spells but there are definite themes that could be expressed through a different spell list than arcane or divine. Primal is the same in that the flavour of the spell selection is unique to that group of classes.


I like the idea of primal power source, because it helps to made feel those classes are different, and it is only background, it doesn´t change the gameplay.
 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 



Druids are usually pictured as being thought their craft by other druids. They are thematically big on secret lore, druid circles and societies and so on.

In my mind they are a lore based class, thus, they should learn spells, not just recieve them.
It fits well with druids learning spells from other druids. To have druids learn spells from tomes on druidic lore is not a long step from that. I could also picture them learning spells by studying nature and animals (the free spells learned when leveling up?). Maybe they could learn spells from studying defeated foes or special places (DM says 'Here you can roll against Nature Lore and learn a spell', that kind of thing.)




You and I think very differently about Druids Smile.

I see the young Druid-to-be as being drawn to Nature and abiding there alone to gain a deeper inight into it (rather than seeking out, say, a mentor or tome). Perhaps they might learn a great deal from discovering their instinctual bond with Nature. OTOH, they are just as likely to learn from an animal, spirit, or fey guide as they are from another Druid. In fact, in my view, one Druid may never meet another, and still be powerful and knowledgeable.


I'm ambivalent about power sources. Ideally I’d like the fluff to clearly indicate that differing circles may have differing approaches to how they think about their powers.


Personally, I liked both the “nature as a distinct force” approach of 4E and the “nature as aspects of the gods” we saw in 3E FR. I was less enthused about the generic 3E “Nature as an unspecified divine power” approach, but can’t really give a good reason why.


In any event, I’d like all of the above to be available to players who care about the source of their powers. I think that would give the class a little bit more mystery and/or depth.


I’d also like them to have pet, shapeshifter and nature magic specialties for the player to choose between. While the 3E druid was a monster that could do everything, it annoyed me that the 4E one was so focused on wildshape at the expense of other flavours.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/12.jpg)

I dont care how a druid gets their powers, I just dont want 4th level druids turing into invisible air elementals flying around,  and casting spells. 

Because of shape shifting and pets, the druid class has become one of the most power-gamed classes that there ever has been. I'd like some optional rules that make you get up to 8th level before you can start shape shifting, and when you do its EXTREMELY limited (must not be over medium sized, animals only, limited amount of time, etc) and just go back to when druids wernt breaking the system.

This is the biggest issue I had with both 3.5 and 4.0... I want characters to be heroic not superheros, and theres a very big difference. I need to have rules that let me do that.  
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I do not know what a "return of primal" would mean for the druid beyond 1 sentence: "Druids might worship spirirts of nature." Done.

You're welcome.
I do not know what a "return of primal" would mean for the druid beyond 1 sentence: "Druids might worship spirirts of nature." Done. You're welcome.



Just to clarify, animists dont “worship” nature spirits. The sentence would be more like, “Druids respect nature spirits”. Its more about good neighborly relations.
I do not know what a "return of primal" would mean for the druid beyond 1 sentence: "Druids might worship spirirts of nature." Done. You're welcome.



I think they are wanting to have Druids/Primal to have its own spell lists seperate from Arcane and Divine?  Maybe?  I'm not really too sure there either.


In my case...even as someone who liked to play Druids...I find the idea of a 'primal powersource' to be well...just there to fill a hole.  Divine covers the idea of gaining your powers from an outside force that you 'worship'.  Druids just worship nature over worshiping gods...the same way the Paladin in some editions was a powerful but divine force of LG...not of the gods, they just usually followed a god as well. 
I think it will be easy to maintain the primal link as flavor, but from a mechanical standpoint I would place them under the Cleric core class. Just like you have sorcerer and warlocks as alternate wizards, the druid and the paladin can be placed under the cleric. And where the cleric is the middle of the road divine class with the most options, the druid would tend towards specialized domains and a closer tie to nature and the paladin would be the martial side of the cleric, but still have access to a diety.
Just to clarify, animists dont “worship” nature spirits. The sentence would be more like, “Druids respect nature spirits”. Its more about good neighborly relations.


Fair enough.
I want them to have their own spell list with completely different spells. Beyond that don't really care
I think one of the flaws of 4th was the decision to delineate classes by power source.  It didn't leave appropriate design space for classes that straddled the line between two areas.   I think part of what makes a paladin so hard to distinguish from a cleric in some peoples mind is that power source mentality.

To me a cleric was a divine agent of a god or pantheon or religion.  The paladin was a martial champion (albeit reinforced and empowered by his faith) of cause X (which could be a god or pantheon or religion, but might also be a cause or code). 

I think power source thinking  tends to force false choices that don't really add a lot of value.
You and I think very differently about Druids .

I see the young Druid-to-be as being drawn to Nature and abiding there alone to gain a deeper inight into it (rather than seeking out, say, a mentor or tome). Perhaps they might learn a great deal from discovering their instinctual bond with Nature. OTOH, they are just as likely to learn from an animal, spirit, or fey guide as they are from another Druid. In fact, in my view, one Druid may never meet another, and still be powerful and knowledgeable.

I immediately thought 'witch' when reading this.

Druids definitely have a system of tutelage in my mind. There is structure, hierarchy, ways and customs to their practice, and the 'wizard of the natural world' thing definitely resonates with me.

Danny

I don't particularly care ... the druid isn't a class I've ever been drawn to.  That said, I'd rather they not proliferate the power sources, and making druids divine makes as much sense as anything else.

Hopefully they won't be returning to the 'power yank if you and the DM disagree on your character concept' crap in any case.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
You and I think very differently about Druids .

I see the young Druid-to-be as being drawn to Nature and abiding there alone to gain a deeper inight into it (rather than seeking out, say, a mentor or tome). Perhaps they might learn a great deal from discovering their instinctual bond with Nature. OTOH, they are just as likely to learn from an animal, spirit, or fey guide as they are from another Druid. In fact, in my view, one Druid may never meet another, and still be powerful and knowledgeable.


Well, I can't comment on how people think druids ought to work in a fantasy universe.  That's completely subjective.

However, I can say that the historical Celtic social class known as the Druids were pretty definitely well-organized and underwent long educations learning the oral lore from other Druids.  We know frustratingly few details, but that much is clear.  From the way the Romans talked about them, they seem to have been kind of like Greek philosophers, Jewish rabbis, or even Buddhist monks of the non-hermetic persuasion, though they stubbornly refused to write things down AARGH.

Anyway, I think the issue, when it comes to talking about "druids" in D&D, is that there is also the widespread character archetype of the shaman - the spirit-talking "primitive" animist guy - and this gets conflated with the druid.
Power source seemed to have zero mechanical impact in 4e.

If it continues this way, I see no reason why it even needs addressed.  Does it really matter if a druid gets it powers from: primal energy, gods of nature, animal spirits, or mother earth herself?

This seems like campaign specific flavor detail that ought to be addressed there.



Power source had mechanical impact in that Barbarians had invocations and Paladins had prayers (both of which would have been spells in earlier editions) as their main attacks.  It wasn't just power source, but also marrying it to class mechanics.  
You and I think very differently about Druids .

I see the young Druid-to-be as being drawn to Nature and abiding there alone to gain a deeper inight into it (rather than seeking out, say, a mentor or tome). Perhaps they might learn a great deal from discovering their instinctual bond with Nature. OTOH, they are just as likely to learn from an animal, spirit, or fey guide as they are from another Druid. In fact, in my view, one Druid may never meet another, and still be powerful and knowledgeable.


Well, I can't comment on how people think druids ought to work in a fantasy universe.  That's completely subjective.

However, I can say that the historical Celtic social class known as the Druids were pretty definitely well-organized and underwent long educations learning the oral lore from other Druids.  We know frustratingly few details, but that much is clear.  From the way the Romans talked about them, they seem to have been kind of like Greek philosophers, Jewish rabbis, or even Buddhist monks of the non-hermetic persuasion, though they stubbornly refused to write things down AARGH.

Anyway, I think the issue, when it comes to talking about "druids" in D&D, is that there is also the widespread character archetype of the shaman - the spirit-talking "primitive" animist guy - and this gets conflated with the druid.



That said I could easily see Druids being nature magic analogues to Wizards while Shamans are more along the lines of Sorcerers or even Warlocks.
That said I could easily see Druids being nature magic analogues to Wizards while Shamans are more along the lines of Sorcerers or even Warlocks.


That's actually a really interesting idea.
Power source seemed to have zero mechanical impact in 4e.

If it continues this way, I see no reason why it even needs addressed.  Does it really matter if a druid gets it powers from: primal energy, gods of nature, animal spirits, or mother earth herself?

This seems like campaign specific flavor detail that ought to be addressed there.



Power source had mechanical impact in that Barbarians had invocations and Paladins had prayers (both of which would have been spells in earlier editions) as their main attacks.  It wasn't just power source, but also marrying it to class mechanics.  



What was the mechanical implication of a paladin's ability being called a "prayer" and a barbarian's being called an "invocation"?




Classes who's weapon usage had been entirely or almost entirely martial in prior editions of the game became overtly magical with elemental damage riders and overtly magical effects.   I'm not saying those thing were necessarily bad, but they were a departure of the roots of the classes in D&D. 

I know the paladin was a minor caster in prior editions, but his spell list was not of the sort of things you pull out in combat typically.  No prior base barbarian had the elemental and animal transformitive schticks of 4th barbarians.

Well, Druids were divine up until 4th Ed, so there is a legacy there, but I do like the primal deal, but both could easily be combined, you worship primal spirits, or Mother Nature herself, as opposed to gods.

The Druid is basically the original Specialty Priest. 
I vote for no power sources at all.
Just all type of spellcasting and powers as different aspect of supernatural.

4th edition with all its qualities to streamline things made an error by creating power sources.
Arcane from feywild, psionic from far realms, or primal from spirits (don't ask me where these spirits came from, or where they were placed in the cosmology, it wasn't even in the books), it would only has been worse if they have linked them to alignments Tongue Out

In the case of druids and their shapshifting concepts, I'd like to see them using fey magic and not really care about nature outside the fact their magic expresses itself through it.
Arcane from feywild, psionic from far realms, or primal from spirits (don't ask me where these spirits came from, or where they were placed in the cosmology, it wasn't even in the books), it would only has been worse if they have linked them to alignments 

I'm not saying that what 4E did was a good idea or a bad one, but I'm afraid you're mistaken about it.  Arcane magic came from a number of different sources - the Feywild was just the source for fey-pact warlocks and maybe some bards.  Psionics were deliberately mysterious; the Far Realm was suggested as one theory about where it might have come from.  And the primal spirits were actually pretty well defined in the cosmology.  They were a third, neutral faction distinct from the gods and the primordials, representing the Material Plane as the gods represented the Astral Sea and the primordials represented the Elemental Chaos.
The Druid is basically the original Specialty Priest. 


More than that, he's literally the original specialty priest.
Someone brought up the idea of Druidic Circles, which I really like.

I think Druid's could be like Sorcerers in the case where the Circle you pick can determain your HD, abilities and Role. 

One circle for the Wild Shape druid, could be a Brawler of sorts
One circle for the Animal Companion and Naturalistic Healing for a Leader
and One for the Spellslinging Druid as a Wizard. 

The druid is a primal caster that pulls magic fromt he natural world. In 3e it was divine, in 4e it was a seperate power sorce. I think this is more of a fluff matter but yeah, I like Primal as a power sorce. 
Power sources have no mechanical impact on any aspect of the game we have seen so far, so there could be 20 or 1, it wouldn't matter.

Heck, give every class it's own power source. Rogues draw on the power of Skill-iness. Paladins upon the power of Righteosity. Fighters on the secret energy of Old Spice-iness.

I'm not seeing where it makes a difference, unless the point of naming somethings power source is purely so that you can say it's not some other power source.

Am I missing something?

The opposite of both needs to happen: Merge divine and arcane.
Actually, since 3E at least, there's been no arcane/divine divide.  Mechanically, anyway.  Basically, the only difference was flavor.  Divine was good at healing, Arcane was not.  And the only way to tell which was which was to see which class' spell list a spell appeared on.

in 4E, the arcane/divine/primal/martial/psionic/shadow/whatever distinctions were merely a matter of flavor.  It allowed people to determine a theme for a character quickly.  "All martial," "all divine," or "no divine" were fairly easy declarations to make.  But, in effect, the spells were the same.  All that changed was what they were called: prayers, spells, invocations, etc.

That seems to continue in Next.  The master spell list makes no mention of arcane or divine.  All that matters is what is on a class' spell list.  Mearls (I think) even said that they might even have spells that cross over between cleric and wizard spell lists.  To paraphrase, he said that they're not going to make two spells with the same effect just to have different versions.  If the cleric needs a spell that does 5d6 fire damage in a 20-foot radius of impact, they're not going to make "Divine Fireburst."  They're just going to give that cleric Fireball.

They're already doing this in the playtest, as a number of the spells appear on both lists, but those are mainly utility spells, like Comprehend Languages, Gentle Repose and so on.

edit: To continue on a tangent, why don't we get healing put back into the necromancy school?  Then, give necromancer tradition wizards the ability to cast those?  Then we'd really see the divide collapse.  However, I think a number of older players would balk at that decision.
edit: To continue on a tangent, why don't we get healing put back into the necromancy school?  Then, give necromancer tradition wizards the ability to cast those?

You already know why.
However, I think a number of older players would balk at that decision.

...and there it is.

There is absolutely no distinction between divine and arcane magic in 5E at present, and 'being good at healing' is specific to class as opposed to power source.

I believe that this will perpetuate as design moves forward, and I believe that power source will be no more, instead leaving the source of one's power up to story and player desire. 

Danny