Sunday, October 30, 2016

Druidic Obligations

In the last post I made about the Druidic Rites of Ascension, I talked about how important it was that druids are roleplayed true to character and especially in regard to meeting druidic obligations.

Someone emailed me to ask, "What exactly are 'druidic obligations' ".  Great question!

For the purposes of AD&D/OSRIC, we base our expectations mostly on the spells available and a little bit on the mythical and historical background of Druids.

Historically, Druids were seen as important and respected leaders.  They were known as philosophers and counselors.  People looked to them for advice and even kings took their words as representative of divine law.

Mythically, Druids were priests of the will of a Creator or God.  That will was represented by nature and it's observed laws and indications.  Druids were suspected of being able to prophesize and make predictions as well.  Many people believe that the prophesies made by Druids were actually founded on observations of animals, insects and plants and their behaviors in response to natural occurrences.

They were also seen as the protectors and defenders of the natural world, seeing it as harming Nature was harming God.

These historical and mythical references bring us to the observations we can draw from looking over the druid spells tables in the AD&D and OSRIC resources.

The spells are heavily focused on natural forces and influences.  They refer to collaborating with animals and trees for mostly defensive but some offensive actions.  They infer much about having the privilege of resisting the awesome forces of nature such as protection from lightening.

Talking with plants and animals, summoning and befriending animals and insects, conjuration of Elementals,   They also have spells directly related to helping people such as curing wounds. charm, cure disease, and purify water.

What can we take away from all of this contextual information to give us a "checklist" of druidic responsibilities or obligations?

  1. First and foremost, defend the Natural world and the ways of nature against un-natural means and attacks to the natural world and the natural order of things. Bear in mind, this doesn't necessarily mean anti-technology or new and different ways of doing things necessarily. It refers more to directly protecting the lives of naturally occurring creatures as opposed to magically or non-naturally created living creatures, (ie.... magically or artificially created).  Defending vast areas of natural ecologies from "urban creep"  such as forests, swamps, lakes, etc... Fighting de-forestation, pollution.  They look favorably on pursuing activities and sustainment based on natural processes such as natural selection, ecological and biologically organic adaptation.
  2. Help People in need of aid and providing direction (spiritual, philosophical, even geographical)
  3. Naturally are looked upon and assume the role of judges because of their general neutrality and adherence to the laws of Nature and the Will of Deity.  (This could generally be taken to mean that while druids don't go out looking to exert influence and control over people, people often come to them for aid and see them as arbiters and representatives of God's Will (or whatever Deity you use for Druids in your game)
That pretty much sums up the Druids obligations.  If Druids are not doing these things and are not responsive to requests by people for aid and whatnot then they are not fulfilling their avowed purpose.  The more they pay attention to the details of those things during gameplay, the more the DM can say they are fulfilling or meeting their druidic obligations.  The less they describe their intent to do these things and the less they respond to in game situations requiring or in need of such response then they can be seen by the DM as not fulfilling their druidic obligations.

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