Druids are independent priests who ally themselves with various spirits of the land. A druid shares power with the spirit he worships, nurturing and protecting the geographical feature to which the spirit is tied. Virtually every feature of the land has a druid to protect it, but druids seldom interact with others of their kind. They serve independently, living patient, solitary lives devoted to guarding the land.
Every druid must choose one geographic feature to be his guarded lands. The geographic features that a druid might make his guarded lands can vary widely. For instance, one may watch over a particular stretch of open desert, another may protect a belt of scrub grass within it, while still another might watch over a small oasis that borders on both.
Lower-level druids may travel widely in the world. During his time of wandering, a young druid learns about the world, its ecology, the balance of nature, and the ways of its creatures. Although he has already chosen lands to guard and cherish, he may spend as much or as little time on his guarded lands as he sees fit. Learning the ways of the world will ultimately help him better protect his guarded lands, for upon reaching 12th level his time of wandering comes to an end. From that time forward, the druid must spend half of his time on his guarded lands, watching over them and protecting them. The rest of the time, the druid must again travel to keep tabs on events that might threaten nature in general and his guarded lands in particular.
Some possible guardian lands for the Sphere of Earth include a particular mountain or hill, a rock outcropping, an expanse of desert or steppes. For the Sphere of Air, a druid might opt to protect the sky over a particular area, the winds of a canyon, or any prevailing wind pattern. For the Sphere of Fire, dry grasslands, a volcanic vent, hot springs, or boiling tar pits are appropriate guardian lands. Lastly, the Sphere of Water might include a spring or pool, an oasis, or a natural cistern.
When in his guarded lands, a druid has several powerful granted powers, including the following:
A druid can remain concealed from others while in his guarded lands. This is proof against all normal forms of detection (sight, hearing, etc.) but won't protect the druid from magical detection (including a detect invisible spell). The druid can't move or cast spells while concealed. A druid may speak with animals in his guarded lands when he reaches 3rd level. He can speak with all animals when he reaches 7th level.
A druid may speak with plants in his guarded lands when he reaches 5th level. He can speak with all plants when he reaches 9th level.
A druid can live without water or nourishment in his guarded lands when he reaches 7th level. From that point on, the druid draws his life energy directly from his guarded lands. However, when he leaves his lands to learn more of the world, he must take sustenance in the usual fashion.
A druid can shape change into creatures common to his guarded lands when he reaches 10th level. The druid can perform this shape change up to three times per day. The size of the animal isn't restricted, provided the animal is native to the druid's guarded lands. When assuming the shape of an animal, the druid takes on all of its characteristics: movement rate and abilities, Armor Class, number of attacks, and damage per attack. The druid's clothing and one item held in each hand also become part of the new body; these reappear when the druid resumes his normal shape, and they can't be used while the druid is in animal form. Since many animals wander over wide ranges on Athas, druids often have a large number of creatures to choose from. However, they can't shape change into creatures totally alien to their guarded lands. Consult Chapter 7: Encounters for a list of possible creatures; use the terrain indicated for each creature when considering whether it's native to the druid's guarded lands. The druid retains his own hit points, THAC0, and saving throws while in animal form.
Druids tend not to bother or even encounter those who use their guarded lands without damaging them. Travelers who stop at an oasis to water their animals and then move on will probably never know there is a druid watching their every move. It's a druid's firm belief that the lands are for all to use, human and animal alike. He watches to see that his guarded lands aren't abused in any way, but otherwise he leaves most visitors alonewith the possible exception of wizards. Understandably, druids tend to be very apprehensive about wizards who venture into their realms, as any wizard might turn out to be a defiler. Nothing can destroy the land faster than a defiler drawing power for his spells. Unlike in other AD&D campaigns, there's no worldwide organization of druids on Athas. As such, there are no rules limiting the number of druids that may exist at a given level, and there are no special druidic titles such as Archdruids and the Grand Druid. These don't exist in a DARK SUN campaign. A druid has no restrictions as to what weapons he may use. He may never wear armor, but may don items that give magical protection (bracers, cloaks, etc.), and he can use any magical item normally available to druids. A druid has access to spells from up to two spheres associated with his guarded lands one at major, the other at minor. For instance, a druid whose guarded land is a stream might be restricted to spells from the Sphere of Water. A more exotic druid might choose as his guardian lands the "howling winds of the north" and use spells from the Sphere of Air. Still another druid, whose guarded land is a desert spring, may draw spells from both the Sphere of Water and the Sphere of Earth, though one must be of major access and the other of minor, as decided by the DM. At most, a druid may claim two spheres to be related to his guarded lands, and they must meet the approval of the DM. In addition, a druid has major access to spells from the Sphere of the Cosmos. In all cases where the rules here don't contradict them, the rules about druids in the Player's Handbook should be used.
Unlike Athasian clerics, druids are solitary creatures. They live off the land, within the land, and they have sacrificed their entire lives for the land. But, unlike clerics, druids concentrate their considerable abilities in a single areatheir guarded lands. A barren stretch of desert, a sparse section of scrub land, or perhaps a sparkling oasis, that is the home of the druid, and his source of power. One small preserve, protected from the dark magic of the defilers.
As the sorcerer-kings began their reign of terror in earnest, their wars with clerics and constant use of defiling magic eventually attracted the attention of the Druids. The mysterious Druids of the wastes were at first no match for the kings, and their blood ran freely over their guarded lands in what has come to be called the Eradication.
But through this painful experience, the Druids began to tint ways to dampen the lark sorcerer's defiling magic, and were even able to win a few battles, battles now long forgotten by history. The king's banded together after these setbacks, and chased the hated Druids back into their wastes. There they were hunted to virtual extinction, and many thought that their order hat vanished from Athas forever.
Now, the few Druids who will talk about the present say that they are biding their time in the mountains, in the deserts, and in the valleys of Athas. They train for battle, learning to fight the defilers' magic, and carefully rebuilding their ranks. One day, maybe soon, they say, druids will rise from the earth with their ancient, fallen brothers and erase the mark of the sorcerer-kings from Athas, only then will they purge their bitter memories.
Legends say that the Druids who remained after the Eradication gathered on a high mesa somewhere in the northern Tablelands. It was there they decided that they should scatter to the most remote reaches and farthest regions of Athas, there to bile their time, waiting for the lay when they were powerful enough to challenge the sorcerer-kings again. This was a long time ago, and the Druids have yet to return to the cities of the defilers.
Some say that they will never return, that their seclusion and isolation have destroyed whatever power they once wielded as a circle. Others say that the Druids long wait is indicative of their cunning, and that their plan is to insure that the next confrontation with the kings won't end in defeat
Druids have formed the same basic relationships with the elemental powers as the clerics. Druids must protect not only their guarded lands, but they must also defend the raw elements to which each has pledged himself. They are not bound by any of the elementals' other desires, such as the air spirit's lust for freedom and revulsion for slavery.
Because their devotion to the elementals and paraelementals is not total, they lack the granted powers given to clerics, though combining the energies of multiple patronage does give them access to more spells. A Druid may choose up to two elements that exist in large quantities within his guarded lands, this gives him major access to one and minor access to the other. He also has major access to spells from the Sphere of the Cosmos.
Finally, through millennia of communing with nature, the druids have developed certain powers uniquely their own. Their granted powers are not given to them by the elemental lords, and cannot be revoked for unfaithful acts or the breaking of a Pact.
Druids do not undergo rites of initiation like clerics because their motivations have given their planer mentors proof of it and the years of experience necessary to cement a pact with the elementals.
A druid of at least the 9th level will occasionally take on an apprentice, but the selection process is not easy. The druid watches a tribe or settlement, usually from his guarded lands. He takes notice of anyone who seems particularly concerned about the land and nature. Over the course of months, or even years, the Druid will pick one of these select few and approach him in private. Only then does he explain the nature of the druidic life, the tasks they must fulfill, and the lonely and dangerous existence of Athas's last guardians. If the young man or woman agrees, the druid hurries them into his guarded lands, rarely allowing them time to say good-bye or grab a few material possessions.
Afterwards, the druid takes his student far from home. Travel limits the student's temptations. With no one nearby and no distracting friends or family, the druid has a chance to teach the student about the novice's future area of guardianship.
Months pass before the druid finally begins to prepare the ritual that will allow the student to speak with the elementals. When that time finally comes, the master prepares a monument to the planes that are to be petitioned, and casts a pact spell. The student goes into a deep trance while his spirit roams the inner planes and he speaks with the elementals that dwell there. When the ordeal is over, the initiate becomes a 1st-level Druid. There are very few rejections, since the druid carefully weeded and groomed the candidate long before the student was allowed to speak with his guides.
Once the mentor has secured a guardian for his lands, he leaves and begins a period of wandering. This allows the new druid time to himself, to gain a feel for his new lands and to learn firsthand of the responsibilities he has inherited.
A druid strives to protect everything within his guarded lands. This includes all beasts, plant life, and peaceful settlements. Druids may or may not protect particular monsters with lairs on their lands, depending on whether or not the creature's life or destruction has a significant impact on the druid's territory. Sloths and other "dumb" beasts are usually protected. It only the more intelligent species that risk incurring a guardian's wrath.
Large or particularly valuable areas are usually guarded by a druid of sufficient power to defend them, but there are two instances where vast expanses of terrain may be inhabited by a very young or inexperienced druid. This can happen if the original protector of a spot has been slain or dies of age, or if a newly initiated druid is watching over the land.
Occasionally, if a druid knows he is about to pass from this life and feels that his apprentice cannot handle an impending situation, he may call for the aid of a druid from a neighboring land. This sort of alliance is always temporally.
|Druid Sphere||Guarded Land Table (Elemental)|
|Earth||Valleys, grottos, a particular mountain or hill, landmarks, an expanse of desert steppes, an isolated mountain range.|
|Air||The skies over a particular area, the winds of a canyon or prevailing wind pattern, the wind that blows through a dale, or a rock peak near the sky.|
|Fire||Dry grasslands, a volcano, hot springs, boiling tar pits, ashen wastes.|
|Water||A spring or pool, an oasis, cistern, section of a lake or river.|
|Silt||A particular stretch or island in the Sea of Silt or Estuary of the Forked Tongue, a large pool of quicksand anywhere beneath the open sly.|
|Magma||Volcano, a lava spring.|
|Rain||A grove in the Forest Ridge or in other woodlands, the Dragon's Palate, anywhere that receives rain at least once a month, not a desert area.|
Older druids, those past the 12th level, must spend half of their time on their guarded lands, and half wandering in the deserts of Athas. While wandering, the Druid learns about general ecological trends, protects and preserves other parts of Athas, and may even take part in adventures in order to learn the ways of men . . . and of defilers.
Young druids may spend as much time on their guarded lands as they see fit. Until the 12th level, a druid is said to be in the time of wandering.
When someone becomes a druid, she usually spends her first month or two on her guarded lands, getting a feel for her new responsibilities and learning the intimate let ails of the landscape. Once she feels comfortable with her environment, she begins her time of wandering.
During this time, a druid may travel anywhere and do most anything. It is almost common to see druids adventuring with clerical counterparts and warrior companions in short crusades against local terrors or certain dangers to the environment.
One might also encounter a druid as he visits a settlement or a nomadic camp. There he will perform much the same role as a clerichealing wounds, teaching preservation and conservation, or fulfilling a special role required by one of his patron elements. Druids are temperamental characters whose true power is displayed only when they are angered. Villagers tent to treat Druids with slightly more awe and respect than they give to clerics.
Druids must have a Wisdom of at least 12 and a Charisma score of 15.
Druids, like nature itself, are neutral. They see the balance of all things. They know that every living creature is part of the food chain, and birth and death are the natural order of life. This is one of the reasons druids harbor such intense hatred for the defilers. Their magic of decay lies outside the normal cycle of life. Matter should not be destroyed, but converted to a form that will eventually return to the earth. Defiling magic destroys that which should never be destroyed, and its practice is an abomination to druids.
A Druid has major access to the sphere whose element covers the greatest portion of his guarded land, and major access to the Cosmos as well. Druids may also choose spells from another sphere related to their guarded lands, but they have only minor access to them. The Druid of a valley that borders a river and a silt delta, could have major access to water, minor access to silt, and major access to the cosmos.
Characters usually become druids for altruistic reasons. They are concerned with the fate of Athas in general, and with the land they associate with in particular.
Druids do not wear armorit interferes with their ability to blend in with the land. Then too, armor tents to mark one as a warrior and this is not an image that Druids wish to project. They believe armor only invites trouble, and it is uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time beneath the hot sun.
There are no weapons restrictions placed on Druids. Large weapons, halberds or axes, invite trouble, but because of time spent wandering the dangerous wastes of Athas, Druids have learned the value of heavy weapons. Missile weapons are prized among Druids, since they allow them to attack from concealment.
Though there is no organized hierarchy on Athas, Druids communicate with each other through a strange language of bestial grunts and insect chirpings. Since this comes of years spent studying the sounds of nature's babel, no other character class is capable of learning this language. The vocabulary, while limited, deals with nature and natural events. Often, this tongue is used as a method of recognition.
Beginning at the 1st level, a Druid can remain concealed whenever he is on his guarded lands. He must remain stationary and he cannot cast spells. He can be detected by spells like detect invisible.
Upon reaching the 3rd level, a Druid may speak with the animals on his guarded lands. He may speak with all animals after achieving the 7th level.
At the 5th level, Druids gain the ability to speak with plants on their guarded lands. They may speak with all plants after gaining the 9th level.
Druids can live without water or nourishment upon reaching the 7th level. Their life energy and sustenance is now drawn from the guarded land itself. A Druid may do this only on his own guarded lands.
At the 10th level, Druids gain the ability to shape change into any common creature in their guarded lands. The size of the creature does not matter as long as it is native to the area. When a Druid assumes an animal shape, all items he is wearing and one item carried in each hand, transform into the creature. He gains all of the abilities of the form, including movement rate, armor class, number of attacks, and damage per attack. He retains his own hit points, THAC0, and saving throws while in this form. Any magical powers of the creature are not acquired, but those that result from the creature's form (such as flight or poison) are gained. He may exercise this ability three times per day. The DM will consult local encounter charts to determine if a creature is native to a druid's guarded land.
Beginning at the 17th level, a druid can enter and survive the elemental planes. The reason for this exception to the rules is that Athasian druids have no hierarchy, and it is impossible for a character to become a hierophant druid.
At the 17th level, a druid can enter and survive in the element or paraelement that composes most of his guarded lands, usually earth. If two elements are relatively equal in abundance, a Druid may select either one. At the 18th level, Druids may enter and survive in another element common to their guarded lands. At 19th and 20th levels, Druids should choose two other elemental or paraelemental planes to which they may travel at will.
Druids can exercise this ability as often as they like, and may remain on a plane for as long as they wish. Time does not exist on the elemental planes, and the act of transference takes but one round.
Armor restriction and inherent powers are non-negotiable. The Druid cannot take more than one of a given selection, eg minor access to two paraelemental spheres.
|10||Animal THAC0. The druid fights as an Animal/Monster of the same level instead of using the Priest THAC0.|
|30*||Major spell access to cosmos. The druid can cast spells from the cosmos sphere without restriction.|
|15*||Major spell access to element. The druid can cast spells from one elemental sphere without restriction.|
|10||Major spell access to paraelement. The druid can cast spells from one elemental sphere without restriction.|
|20||Minor spell access to cosmos. The druid can cast cosmos spells as if they were one level higher.|
|10*||Minor spell access to element. The druid can cast spells from the elemental sphere as if they were one level higher.|
|5||Minor spell access to paraelement. The druid can cast spells from the elemental sphere as if they were one level higher.|
|5*||Spell channeling protection on guarded lands. The druid is immune from all chanelling fatigue from channelling spells on his own guarded lands.|
|15||Weapon specialization: The druid begins play specialized in a single weapon. The PC can learn up no further mastery, since master-seeking and intense training does not become a druid.|
|15||Unarmed specialization: The druid begins play specialized in a single unarmed style or martial art. The PC can learn up no further mastery, since master-seeking and intense training does not become a druid.|