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The Curmudgeon's Lair

4E Druids

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At the last game session that I attended we welcomed a new player to the game. So I am no longer the noob. The new guy is playing a Human Druid character. I eagerly welcomed a fellow human character to the game. After all, the other members of the group are all playing elves (Grimner Oathkeeper is the DM's character / quasi NPC) of various ilk. I'm not a big fan of Elves, never have been, and I was annoyed to learn that the Forgotten Realms setting has more pointy eared bastards than a Star Trek convention. Really, how many kinds of Elves do you need? Sorry, that is a rant for another day.

Now, I only vaguely remember the Druid character class from back when I played 1st edition D&D, and I don't know what the class was like in the other editions. I had read a little bit about the Druid class on the WoTC web site, but not being subscriber to the insider magazine, I have not read it all, but it looked interesting enough from the description. So anyway, I was interested to see how this type of character would integrate into our little group of misfits and malcontents.

My opinion is....that this may be the wierdest (and lamest) character class that I have ever seen in a RPG that I have played in. The game sessions Kua-toa encounter went like this... I'm a bear, now I'm a dog, okay I'm a bear again. Now I'm climbing up the rope as a bear. Nevermind that bears have no G.I. Joe Kung-Fu grip, so I'm not completely convinced that they are a species that can shimmy their butts up a rope in the first place, but I digress. Now I'm a chicken! (Bird form with no flight capabilities makes for the obvious chicken jokes). Now this is when the Druid player and the Wizard player get into a heated five minute argument over which smells worse, a wet bear or a wet dog (Ongoing Stupidity: 10 points of mental damage per round, Save ends). I had to end this with, "nothing smells worse than a wet stinky cock" At which point the Cleric player spewed Fritos across the table, and the male members of the group all got back to the game in order to avoid thinking about it. Also, I can turn into a mouse at next level.

Okay, jokes aside. What bothers me about the Druid character class is the shapechanging thing.

  1. That it exists.
  2. That it is instantaneous.
  3. That a characters size and mass does not restrict the form he can take on.
  4. That size and mass appear to have no effect on a character stats.

If I had created this character class, things would have been more "Spirit of", "Vision of", "Strength of", "Speak with", "Control of" and not "I am a". It seems that the Druid character class has changed a bit from 1st edition. Formerly the class was part warrior, part wizard, a self-appointed protector of nature. Who used the that which nature provided and took inspiration from the wilderness, not a poly-morphing circus act.

Maybe I'm way off base? Maybe I don't correctly remember what the Druid class was like in 1st edition? Maybe I wrote this whole thing just to slip in the stinky cock joke? A whole handful of maybe, but I still don't like the Druid character class, and it may drive me to the brink of insanity.

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Updated 03-09-2009 at 04:59 PM by kirksmithicus

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  1. yukonhorror's Avatar
    My recollection of 1e druids was they were the nature based-cleric. They had healing and a lot of nature-based spells like entangling vines and summoning lightning bolts from a storm (of course every day was clear skies 0% humidity). At higher levels, they could shapeshift into animals like hawks and wolves.

    3.x really expanded the shapeshifting (and made it accessible earlier), and I think this aspect was a lot of peoples' favorite aspect of the class. As a result, it became the main focus on how to construct the 4e druid (i am guessing).
  2. kirksmithicus's Avatar
    Well I did skip 2e and 3.x so I was more than a little surprised by it . That's an understandable decision if it was everyone's favorite thing about the class. Marketing to your audiences desires is nothing new. However, in retrospect, I think they may have gone a little overboard and might want to think about parring it back a bit, add some variety back into the class too. Regardless of what I think, the PHB2 will be out on the 21st, if I remember correctly.