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The druid is a type of priest in Dungeons and Dragons. Less adept at melee, they wield more powerful magic, related to plants, animals, and the elements. On the continuum of melee power to magical power, they tend to be between the cleric (who is balanced between the two) and the wizard (who is almost entirely magical).

Original D&D

Druids are a sub-class of Cleric that serve as priests of nature. They use mistletoe as a holy symbol, and tend to be more involved with plants and animals than with humans.

Prime Requisite

Druids must have a Wisdom of 12 and a Charisma of 14.

Class Basics

Level

Title

Hit Dice To Hit AC 2 Spells per Day
1 Aspirant 1 17 1
2 Initiate of the 1st Circle 2 17 2/1
3 Initiate of the 2nd Circle 3 17 3/1
4 Initiate of the 3rd Circle 3+1 17 3/1/1
5 Initiate of the 4th Circle 4 15 3/2/1
6 Initiate of the 5th Circle 5 15 3/2/2
7 Initiate of the 6th Circle 6 15 4/2/2/1
8 Initiate of the 7th Circle 7 15 4/3/2/1
9 Initiate of the 8th Circle 7+1 12 4/3/3/2
10 Initiate of the 9th Circle 8 12 5/3/3/2/1
11 Druid 9 12 5/3/3/3/2/1
12 Archdruid 10 12 5/4/4/4/3/2/1
13 The Great Druid 11 10 6/5/5/4/4/3/2

Equipment

Druids can use daggers, sickles, crescent-shaped swords, spears, slings, and oil. They can wear leather armor, and use wooden shields, but cannot use metallic armor. They can use magical items that are usable by "all classes," and items normally usable by clerics, except for written items (such as scrolls or books).

Fighting Ability

Druid fighting ability and saving throws are as clerics, except that they gain a +2 bonus to saving throws vs. fire.

Druid's Code

Druids must protect animals and plants (especially trees) -- typically by punishing those who destroy their charges rather than defending them to their own deaths. Druids will not slay an animal if it can be avoided, and they never willingly or deliberately destroy an area of trees, no matter how enchanted or evil it may be, though they may attempt to modify it with their own magic.

To advance beyond 10th level, the druid must contest those above them in rank. There can only ever be maximum of four Druids, two Archdruids, and one Great Druid. If these ranks are full, a druid must defeat their superiors in order to advance to this level -- the loser drops to the experience level immediately below.

Druid Languages

Druids speak their own special language, the common tongue, and can learn one new language for each level gained after 4th chosen from the following list: Pixie, Nixie, Dryad, Elvish, Treant, Hill Giant, Centaur, Manticora, or Green Dragon.

Initiate Powers

A druid of 2nd level or higher gains the following abilities.

  • Identify pure water
  • Identify plants
  • Identify animals
  • Pass through overgrowth

Shape Change

A druid of 6th level or higher can change shape once per day into each of the following shapes: any reptile, any bird, and any animal (a total of 3 times per day). Their size can vary from as small as a raven to as large as a small bear. They loose 1d6 x 10% of the damage they have accumulated when they change shape.

Resist Woodland Charm

A druid of 6th level or higher is not affected by the charm spells of woodland and water creatures such as nixies and dryads.

Spell List

All druid spells were introduced in Supplement 3: Eldritch Wizardry.

1st-Level 2nd-Level 3rd-Level 4th-Level 5th-Level 6th-level 7th-level
Predict Weather Produce Flame Pyrotechnics Produce Fire Wall of Fire Conjure Fire Elemental Fire Storm
Locate Animals

Locate Plants

Protection from Fire Protection from Lightning Control Winds

Weather Summoning

Control Weather
Detect Snares & Pits Speak with Animals Call Lightning Speak with Plants Passplant Transport via Plants Conjure Earth Elemental
Detect Magic Cure Light Wounds Cure Disease Plant Door Hold Plant

Anti-Animal Shell

Animate Rock
Purify Water

Obscurement

Hold Animal

Insect Plague Animal Growth Animal Summoning III Reincarnate
Faerie Fire

Create Water

Plant Growth Control Temperature, 10' Radius Commune with Nature Finger of Death Creeping Doom
Heat Metal Water Breathing Cure Serious Wounds Anti-plant Shell Feeblemind Confusion
Warp Wood Neutralize Poison Animal Summoning I Transmute Rock to Mud Turn Wood Transmute Metal to Wood
Hallucinatory Forest Turn Sticks to Snakes
Dispel Magic Animal Summoning II

AD&D

Spellcasting Components

A druid typically requires a material component to cast their spells, and this component is presumed to be greater mistletoe, which is mistletoe harvested on Midsummer's Eve, cut with a gold or silver sickle, and caught in a bowl before it touched ground.

Druids have been known to make due with lesser components, which can affect the potency of their spells.

Lesser Mistletoe is not harvested according to the rituals outlined above, but has been harvested personally by the spellcaster. Spell duration is at -25% or spells without a duration give targets get a +1 to saves when using lesser mistletoe.

Borrowed Mistletoe is lesser mistletoe that has not been harvested by the spellcaster. When using borrowed mistletoe, spell range is at -25% (spells without a range give targets +1 to saves) and spell duration is at -50% (spells without a duration give targets +2 to saves) when using borrowed mistletoe.

Holly is a sprig of holly that has been harvested by the spellcaster. When using holly, spell range and spell area is at -25% (spells without one or both of those traits give targets +1 to saves) and spell duration is at -50% (spells without a duration give targets +2 to saves).

Oak Leaves is a clump of oak leaves that have been harvested by the spellcaster. When using oak leaves, range, duration, and area are all at -50% (spells without one or all of those traits give targets +2 to saves)

Spell List

Spells that can be reversed are noted with a *.

1st-Level 2nd-Level 3rd-Level 4th-Level 5th-Level 6th-Level 7th-Level
Animal Friendship Barkskin Call Lightning Animal Summoning I Animal Growth* Animal Summoning III Animate Rock
Detect Magic Charm Person or Mammal Cure Disease Call Woodland Beings Animal Summoning II Anti-Animal Shell Chariot of Sustarre
Detect Snares & Pits Create Water Hold Animal Control Temperature, 10' Radius Anti-Plant Shell Conjure Fire Elemental* Confusion
Entangle Cure Light Wounds* Neutralize Poison Cure Serious Wounds* Commune with Nature Cure Critical Wounds* Conjure Earth Elemental*
Faerie Fire Feign Death Plant Growth Dispel Magic Control Winds Feeblemind Control Weather
Invisibility to Animals Fire Trap Protection from Fire Hallucinatory Forest* Insect Plague Fire Seeds Creeping Doom
Locate Animals Heat Metal* Pyrotechnics Hold Plant Pass Plant Transport via Plants Finger of Death
Pass Without Trace Locate Plants Snare Plant Door Sticks to Snakes* Turn Wood Fire Storm*
Predict Weather Obscurement Stone Shape Produce Fire* Transmute Rock to Mud* Wall of Thorns Reincarnate
Purify Water* Produce Flame Summon Insects Protection from Lightning Wall of Fire Weather Summoning Transmute Metal to Wood
Shillelagh Trip Tree Repel Insects
Speak with Animals Warp Wood Water Breathing Speak with Plants

Creative origins

The druid was the invention of the Dennis Sustare, credited in Eldritch Wizardry (1976) as the "Great Druid". In a 2009 interview for Grognardia, Sustare said:[1]

"When the thief class was released in the Greyhawk supplement, as an addition to the original fighter, cleric and magic-user, we became interested in other possible classes beyond these four. I wrote up and mimeographed a set of rules for a new druid class, for our internal play. After some playtesting in our game, I revised it with a new mimeograph rule set, still just for our own use. But when we went to early GenCons, a copy got into Gary's hands, and thanks to some advocacy by Tim Kask, they revised the rules once more and published them in the Eldritch Wizardry supplement. Tim added the Chariot spell at the time (it was not one of my original spells, and the misspelling of my name was deliberate). I consider this my first published game design, although Bunnies & Burrows was released the same year (1976)."

Sustare drew inspiration from literature about druids, including during Roman Britain, as well as by the inclusion of the druid as a monster in Greyhawk{{UnknownBook}}. He initially intended them to have only plant and animal related powers, but added fire-based spells to give them a little more "firepower".[1]

In 2021, Tim Kask credited the creation of D&D's druid to Dennis Sustare, although he noted that Gary Gygax had also researched many of the same sources.[2]

Publication history

Original D&D

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Basic D&D

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AD&D 1st edition

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AD&D 2nd edition

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D&D 3rd edition

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D&D 4th edition

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D&D 5th edition

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Interview: Dennis Sustare (June 22, 2009). Grognardia.
  2. Curmudgeon in the Cellar 190 (Sept 19, 2021), 0m37s. Tim Kask, YouTube.
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