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Explaining the Undead Druid


Advice

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I've got a dungeon's villain/lackey of an even bigger villain planned out for a campaign I'm doing, but I'm seeing a point of difficulty on the horizon that I'd prefer to address now: namely an undead druid.

The main villain of this dungeon is a giant awakened spider who has been granted certain minor deific powers (such as the ability to bestow spells to worshippers) by the evil minor-demigod BBEG.

The secondary villain is a drow who worshipped that spider in life, and in death rose as a huecuva. To get his stats the way I wanted them, I made him a huecuva with 2 levels of druid, going based off of the thought that those abilities were granted through prayer to his spider mistress.

Now, I have one recently-returned to the group player/roommate who came to Pathfinder from 4e D&D, and still holds a very rigid outlook towards certain rules, presumably based on how 4e works, especially in the case of certain classes (druids being one). I've never dealt with 4e myself, but she's prone to complaint (refusing to accept that Pathfinder might work differently) if a druid so much as deals a single hit point of damage (for any reason) to any animal or plant, or associates with undead in any way aside from trying to destroy them at all costs. In her view, such a druid must instantly lose all their druid powers, with absolutely no possibility of ever regaining them, or else it means I'm bending rules in favor of the druids (she holds the exact same ideas in regard to rangers and witches, and she's rather touchy about barbarians, bards, clerics, inquisitors, monks, oracles, and paladins too, which is unsurprising).

I think my explanation in this case is decent (that the huecuva was granted his powers not by nature, but rather through indirect association with a demigod). What do you folks think? Any tips?

Shadow Lodge

First and foremost, don't tell her he's a Druid. Just refer to him as a spellcaster, by name, or "the undead guy"/"the Huecuva"/other epithets. You might be able to avoid the whole shebang that way. If she asks, tell her her character doesn't know until he does something to tip her off - reveals an animal companion, casts a spell that's ONLY on the druid list (AND she IDs it with Spellcraft successfully as such), etc.

There was a class called the Blighter in 3.5 that was basically a "fallen" druid who picked up his casting again but with a slightly tweaked list by draining the land of its life rather than being empowered by it. They were to Druid as Blackguard was to Paladin, sort of. I'd explain it the same way, personally.

In the long term, I'd say you're going to need to sit down with this player and explain how things work differently, or at the very least get her to understand that she may not know everything you're trying to do with your story and that figuring it out is part of the game, a game she's interrupting and potentially damaging with her insistence on usurping the GM with regard to rules. This is not so much a game problem as it is a player problem, and until that's handled any successful explanations will be temporary solutions at best.

Also the "may not damage animals or plants" thing is ridiculous. What does the druid eat? How does s/he defend themselves from predators? What do they do if a Shambling Mound shows up in their back yard? Etc. etc. etc.


In the long term, yes, I hope to do so. At the moment, she's studying advanced physics stuff and has essentially no free time aside from the tiny space that the group she's in uses for gaming. My best opportunity to talk to her will probably be either a major holiday, or the next time that we have to cancel a session, which doesn't happen often. It could take a while.

(I'm not sure how she handles druids eating. I think there were minor exceptions to what counts as damaging plants when it comes to food. In regards to being attacked though, the only options in her eyes are flee or die.)

Shadow Lodge

Slight edit to my post above, thought of something more while you were posting =)


And slight edit to my (second) post as well, for the same reason. :)


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You could argue with logic.

The only druids are undead, because they all died due to not being able to harm animals or plants, and thus starved to death

Shadow Lodge

Gluttony wrote:
In regards to being attacked though, the only options in her eyes are flee or die.

Here logic does have a place, as Weables said, though it could be played more literally. Conflict is natural - when a lone wolf makes the mistake of attacking a bear, the bear fights back and the wolf dies. When the bear follows the wolf's scent to its pack, the pack attacks and the bear dies. To fight and defeat a weaker foe is far more normal, far more natural than to roll over and allow yourself to die, or to flee from a weak hunter that should be your prey.


Check out the Golgari Swarm, Ravnica's druid-necromancers.

Life and Death
Green Thumb, Black Heart


There's also the Blight Druid archetype from the APG which would also support an undead-type druid.


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Since you're the GM, "Because I said so!" should be enough to explain anything (although some players may not like this approach).

Your friend will have lots of headaches if she holds such tight approaches to so many classes, even more so if she is comparing PF rules to 4e rules, since they are very, very different.

But if you feel you must have an explanation for how the Druid gets to be a druid, I must say the one you created is very reasonable and pretty cool. I like the idea of an evil druid getting his powers from an even more evil spider-goddess.

Also, like The Covenant Man's said, there is the Blight Druid archetype, which will probably fit this character like a custom-made glove.


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So basically, all that's left is wizard for her?

I basically agree with Orthos here: don't tell her. It's a villain, it has certain powers. Period. It's not her job to dissect your game and (potentially) spoil the fun and disrupt the immersion of you and the other players.

What I don't get is why the drow rose as a huecava. In the Bestiary entry it's written, that for such a thing to happen the drow must have been a cleric (check) of a deity (check) and must have blasphemed and renounced its deity before meeting death (?).

Gluttony wrote:
To get his stats the way I wanted them

Do you mean applying the bonusses as described in Monster Advancement?

Why did you not keep the stats the drow possessed in the first place and made the drow a ghoul?

Ruyan.


The Covenant Man wrote:
There's also the Blight Druid archetype from the APG which would also support an undead-type druid.

That's the very same archetype I'm using in fact. :) I needed vermin empathy on him, with all the spider-themed things around him and whatnot.

RuyanVe wrote:
So basically, all that's left is wizard for her?

No, she usually plays rogues. Doesn't like preparing spells.

RuyanVe wrote:
What I don't get is why the drow rose as a huecava. In the Bestiary entry it's written, that for such a thing to happen the drow must have been a cleric (check) of a deity (check) and must have blasphemed and renounced its deity before meeting death (?).

Huecuva + Druid was the best combination to giving me exactly the abilities I wanted this monster to have, so in terms of huecuva-creating circumstances, this is primarily an exception.

However, the fluff-reasoning behind it that I had come up with was that his heresy was towards Nocticula, who was the main power worshipped by the other local drow. He rose as a huecuva due to blaspheming against Nocticula (by worshipping the spider), and so the subject of his current worship was never the one that was renounced.

RuyanVe wrote:
Gluttony wrote:
To get his stats the way I wanted them

Do you mean applying the bonusses as described in Monster Advancement?

Why did you not keep the stats the drow possessed in the first place and made the drow a ghoul?

In this case by "stats" I meant stat block, including all his various abilities. I was being lazy by not typing the extra word. Sorry.

The main things I wanted for him were the huecuva's low-level undead nature (check, though as you said, also achievable by ghouls), a relatively-reliable method of disguise (the huecuva's false humanity ability being perfect), vermin empathy (blight druid), and the produce flame spell (druid only, aside from domains, which would require a higher-level caster than I could allow for.)


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After the encounter if she's still complaining about your enemy being "badwrongfun", refer her to the Blight Druid archetype and Rule 0. I don't let what my players "insist" things should be effect what any type of class or race may be when I GM, if she wants to create that constrained mythos then she can do it when it's her turn to GM, if she ever wants to.

From my experience that's just basic gaming etiquette. You've done your homework, nothing more needed IMO.

Shadow Lodge

The Covenant Man wrote:

I don't let what my players "insist" things should be effect what any type of class or race may be when I GM, if she wants to create that constrained mythos then she can do it when it's her turn to GM, if she ever wants to.

From my experience that's just basic gaming etiquette. You've done your homework, nothing more needed IMO.

+1

Andoran

I love those druids that aren't good. :) Really all you need is some motivation that overrides the aversion to undead. Ebberon had some factions of druids who were opposing aberrations. If your druid circle is fighting the influence of beholders, aboleth, and especially mind flayers, undead may just be another tool in the struggle.

If an evil or just cruel druid is fighting against the expansion of a society that's raping the environment, he might see undead loggers as a perfect tool to animate and send back into the fight.

A goddess of spiders, insects, and slimes may love empowering her followers with just these sorts of abilities.


I used a cult elf druids that killed loggers and used them to feed the trees, powering a magical growth.


As a GM it sounds like that kind of rigidity might seem harsh for YOU, much less a player.

This discussion need go no further than -- "My world, my rules. You want druids to flee or die? Tell her she's free to run her own campaign when she's a post-doc and has more free time.

Nature has food chains in it. For a druid to be out of the ecosystem in the manner she describes would be an incredible, and horrid aberration to nature. I could justify hunting AND the repulsion of opportunistic predators as central rituals to a druid faith.

Same thing with slashing plants to feed the soil. Your pal is an inflexable fruitcake. (pardon my extreme language) ... even if you weren't driving the bus, you hold all the cards here, argument wise.

Shadow Lodge

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The only requirement for druids is that they "revere nature," don't take an extreme alignment, and keep the language secret:

CRB wrote:
A druid who ceases to revere nature, changes to a prohibited alignment, or teaches the Druidic language to a nondruid loses all spells and druid abilities

"Revere nature" is very open-ended and could certainly include destructive aspects of nature such as predation and plague. Undead creatures and aberrations are typically considered to be against the natural order, but in certain situations exceptions could be made. Druids aren't forbidden to compromise if they feel it is in the best interests of the natural world, and could be permitted to ally with undead against a clear threat. I played a druid in a previous campaign who reached a truce with an undead naturalist.

In your case, you can bend the rules even further because the villain isn't a classic druid, but is receiving druid-like powers from a vermin infused with a shred of divinity. The source of the character's power doesn't have anything against undead and won't revoke its powers. If the player complains, you can simply explain that the undead "isn't a real druid."

EDIT: Also, as an undead creature he could also be the host to a thriving ecosystem of vermin, and be animated by their life force. That's flavourful and could also justify the druidic aspect.

Osirion

Note that, in the fantasy world, 'nature' includes creatures animated and empowered by energies from other dimensions, whether that be living creatures (positive energy) or undead creatures (negative energy).

Neither is 'unnatural,' in a setting that has positive energy and negative energy, any more than air, earth, fire or water are 'unnatural' for *also* being tied to completely seperate dimensions (the Elemental Planes thereof).

Evil gods (who require their clerics to channel icky wrongbad negative energy exclusively) can have and empower druid worshippers, with no 'conflict of interest' on the part of the druid (since druids in the post 3rd edition era can be Evil (or Good, or Chaotic, or Lawful) and don't have to be 'true Neutral'). Any conflict between the state of undeath and the class of druid is purely subjectively derived (although, if one was a druid of a *good* god, one might have to switch to a less savory sort of divine empowering agent...). But since druids don't even have to have gods at all, that might be a moot point.

If druids really had a problem with undead, they probably would have had some sort of special abilities against them, like a clerics Turn Undead / Positive Energy Channeling. (Indeed, in 3.5's Lords of Madness, it was suggested that druids *did* have a problem with a creature type, but it wasn't undead, it was aberrations!)

Some druids likely would have a problem with undead. Some would be equally as likely to have a problem with outsiders (who, by their very nature, are 'not of this world' and 'a different flesh'). Others would not. Purely up to the druid.


I made some adaptations in an FR game for druid-like worship of Moander, who is essentially the deity of things rotting. The idea I had was that it as all thermodynamics; for everything which grows or is sustained in a state of low entropy, something else must die, be eaten, or slowly rot alive, infested by fungi as it lies, bones broken by mallets, on the stone altar of Moander. I guess my point is that there should be druid variants encompassing the very nastiest aspects of nature as well. Depending on how undead works... maybe there is a similar debt reasoning? To be allowed to remain in an undead state, the druid must ensure that sufficient numbers of creatures are never born, and so they regularly sacrifice pregnant creatures to the spider-beast?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The purpose of rules is for the main part to moderate the actions of PC's.

You should feel to break what rules you desire for NPC's particularly mainline villains. Frequently that will be what sets them apart from the norm. If you have to answer why, just mutter the words "Forbidden Pact" (or if you're Timmy Turner, "Internet"). This of course should be used with discretion.


It seems to me to be a roleplaying issue rather than a edition issue. I agree with other posts that you should ask what her view is to eating, since she cant hurt animals or plants. Violence is a natural part of the world. I can see her hatred for undead since it breaks the natural order of things. I would think she would get along alright with rangers, barbarians and any divine class that worships a natural diety. As for the spider and druid worst case I would change them to fit her concepts (try reasoning with her first) Most of it seems like it should be a easy switch.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I do have major thematic problems with an Undead Druid, but that's my aesthetic talking. At most I feel an undead Druid should be some kind of blighter since undead and Druids are about as antheistic to each other as you can get.


Whoops, didn't notice that this topic had gotten more posts. Time to respond.

The Covenant Man wrote:
I don't let what my players "insist" things should be effect what any type of class or race may be when I GM.

I don't allow her complaining of this sort to actually have any effect, generally, but it's still annoying to deal with.

ekibus wrote:
I agree with other posts that you should ask what her view is to eating, since she cant hurt animals or plants.

I've checked on that. Her belief is that there's an exception for food that's essentially already-dead. So if someone else catches food the druid can eat it, because it's already dead, and not by the druid's own hand (though they can't eat food that somebody killed specifically for druids, or that druid in particular to eat). They apparently risk starvation if they don't have anyone else available to provide them with food, without intending to provide them with food.

...At any rate, I'm working in a bit more foreshadowing to the parts of the adventure just before the dungeon, to make it clearer that there's more going on in there than the group understands at the moment. Such foreshadowing should help correlate with a dismissal of arguments as "yes, that is mysterious, isn't it?", and I can always say "if, after this is all over, you still don't understand why this worked, I'll explain why it does."


Gluttony wrote:

I've checked on that. Her belief is that there's an exception for food that's essentially already-dead. So if someone else catches food the druid can eat it, because it's already dead, and not by the druid's own hand (though they can't eat food that somebody killed specifically for druids, or that druid in particular to eat). They apparently risk starvation if they don't have anyone else available to provide them with food, without intending to provide them with food.

...At any rate, I'm working in a bit more foreshadowing to the parts of the adventure just before the dungeon, to make it clearer that there's more going on in there than the group understands at the moment. Such foreshadowing should help correlate with a dismissal of arguments as "yes, that is mysterious, isn't it?", and I can always say "if, after this is all over, you still don't understand why this worked, I'll explain why it does."

Reading that actually made me lol... So a Druid can only eat rotten apples and old sick goats who died of natural causes? That's extremelly silly, to say the least.

Why does your friend insist on such strict views of druids (and other classes)? I'm really curious. Did she get them from a movie, game or book she really likes? Or is it just personal interpretation?


Here's another not-so-nice druid order:

The Circle Orboros

Heard of 'nature, red in tooth and claw'? It's not all hugs and kisses. Nature wants to kill and eat you, not necessarily in that order. Nature will lay its eggs in your corpse and new life will spawn from your rotting flesh.

Nature is not nice. Nice is a construct the naivety of civilisation tries to force on it.

Cheliax

Personally, I feel like an undead druid makes perfect sense. Death is as big a part of nature as animals, plants and all else that the druids revere. Some might take this reverence a little bit further. After all, there are druids that specialize in animals, forests, water... Why not a druid that worships the death aspect of nature?


Well, there's a pretty huge difference between death and undeath.

Death and decay are all part of the natural cycle of things. Undeath is a perversion of natural death.

So, technically, a Druid of Death makes sense, but a Druid of Undeath doesn't make any sense at all. (But then, Set's comments above also make sense in a way.)


Lemmy wrote:

Reading that actually made me lol... So a Druid can only eat rotten apples and old sick goats who died of natural causes? That's extremelly silly, to say the least.

Why does your friend insist on such strict views of druids (and other classes)? I'm really curious. Did she get them from a movie, game or book she really likes? Or is it just personal interpretation?

Or storebought food. Or gifts from a random person (who didn't expect to be feeding them)'s stores.

She got her views from either 4e, or her old 4e group. I don't know much about 4e, so I'm not sure exactly which it is. I believe her only GM before me was her father, who came from the age of even earlier D&D editions, so it's possibly derived from among those editions through him, or potentially he was very strict on alignment/class requirements.


Thanks for your explanation, Gluttony.
I hope you can sort it all out.

Ruyan.


Undead Druid = No.

It's your game world, and you can wrap your metaphysics any way you want, but Druids, even BLIGHT Druids, are part and parcel of the forces of nature. Undead are an obscenity that exist in spite of natural forces.

Furthermore, Druids are neutral, even Blight Druids. Undead are not neutral. They have an agenda.

BUT...your BBEG sounds like a lot of fun, and your game too. :)

Andoran

Use the mechanics you like and refluff them as you feel like. It is after all one of the greatest perks of being a GM.

However avoid the "NPCs do not follow the same rules as PCs" argument. It just generates bad blood and feels like the GM just following his whims with a very real risk of being unfair.

Thus one of your PCs could become such a Huecuva-like undead with druidic powers if he dedicated his life and soul to the worship of your BBEG ;-)


Owly wrote:

Undead Druid = No.

It's your game world, and you can wrap your metaphysics any way you want, but Druids, even BLIGHT Druids, are part and parcel of the forces of nature. Undead are an obscenity that exist in spite of natural forces.

Furthermore, Druids are neutral, even Blight Druids. Undead are not neutral. They have an agenda.

BUT...your BBEG sounds like a lot of fun, and your game too. :)

actually, druids can be any neutral, including neutral evil, something that undead are. it works perfectly well, in terms of alignment


Owly wrote:

Undead Druid = No.

It's your game world, and you can wrap your metaphysics any way you want, but Druids, even BLIGHT Druids, are part and parcel of the forces of nature. Undead are an obscenity that exist in spite of natural forces.

Furthermore, Druids are neutral, even Blight Druids. Undead are not neutral. They have an agenda.

BUT...your BBEG sounds like a lot of fun, and your game too. :)

Have you been living under a rock? Druids have been able to be evil for decades.

Also, the blight druid specifically has an ability that lets it be friends with undead animals.


Gluttony wrote:

I've got a dungeon's villain/lackey of an even bigger villain planned out for a campaign I'm doing, but I'm seeing a point of difficulty on the horizon that I'd prefer to address now: namely an undead druid.

The main villain of this dungeon is a giant awakened spider who has been granted certain minor deific powers (such as the ability to bestow spells to worshippers) by the evil minor-demigod BBEG.

The secondary villain is a drow who worshipped that spider in life, and in death rose as a huecuva. To get his stats the way I wanted them, I made him a huecuva with 2 levels of druid, going based off of the thought that those abilities were granted through prayer to his spider mistress.

Now, I have one recently-returned to the group player/roommate who came to Pathfinder from 4e D&D, and still holds a very rigid outlook towards certain rules, presumably based on how 4e works, especially in the case of certain classes (druids being one). I've never dealt with 4e myself, but she's prone to complaint (refusing to accept that Pathfinder might work differently) if a druid so much as deals a single hit point of damage (for any reason) to any animal or plant, or associates with undead in any way aside from trying to destroy them at all costs. In her view, such a druid must instantly lose all their druid powers, with absolutely no possibility of ever regaining them, or else it means I'm bending rules in favor of the druids (she holds the exact same ideas in regard to rangers and witches, and she's rather touchy about barbarians, bards, clerics, inquisitors, monks, oracles, and paladins too, which is unsurprising).

I think my explanation in this case is decent (that the huecuva was granted his powers not by nature, but rather through indirect association with a demigod). What do you folks think? Any tips?

You all ready have some good posts in this thread.. however I wanted to add my 2 cents...

I have never played 4th Edition.. but certain classes have roles and a Druid in 4th Edition is a controller (pretty much the same in Pathfinder)..They rarely do damage (compared to Pathinder version) if at all.

4th Edition is not the same as Pathfinder... You are going to have to say this a lot to this player. While I applaud her VIEW and BELIEFS and how certain classes should operate... No 2 Druids are alike...

If she thinks all Druids cannot harm Nature/Animals then she does not know how Mother Nature works in the Real World.. let alone a Fantasy World. The Rule cleary states that Druids must REVERE Nature... that means an admiration, honor, hold in high esteem and respect... and possibly worship NATURE.

You can HONOR Mother Nature by eating her Tasty Animals... but you would never hunt for SPORT and just kill a bunch of Animals for Fun.

Some Druids can be Vegetarians.. some can choose not to... thats the cool thing about Pathfinder... its not so Rigid as 4th Edition. I hope as a player she can understand this, but if she EVER DMs a Game and says "all Druids are Vegatarians".. I will not play in her game.

Here is a website that can clearly tell you more how Druids Venerate Nature

Druid Beliefs


I have exerted my imagination, and have managed to conceive of a Druid that could be thought of as "evil". It's difficult, and not-very-likely. Such a being would no doubt be a bitter soul, bent on destroying civilization, or corrupted by some great natural spirit to destroy beauty and order, so perhaps they could be thought of as "evil". Even so, the gods would no doubt seek to restore The Balance. Cue the adventurers.

Be that as it may, there are no "undead druids". A Blight Druid can perhaps ally themselves with undead creatures for a short time as they may serve congruent purposes, but no doubt a BD would soon recognize the extra-planar evil inherent in an undead and feel the cold touch of the Abyss brush up against his soul.

@Umbral Reaver: "Hmph."


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Just because you can't imagine it, does not mean others can't either. Your way is not everyone's way.

Andoran

Agreed, right now I'm imagining a whole druid circle of undead druids, with their own grand druid.

Its not too difficult.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
Just because you can't imagine it, does not mean others can't either. Your way is not everyone's way.

Umbral Reaver:
Hmph.

Owly wrote:


Be that as it may, there are no "undead druids". A Blight Druid can perhaps ally themselves with undead creatures for a short time as they may serve congruent purposes, but no doubt a BD would soon recognize the extra-planar evil inherent in an undead and feel the cold touch of the Abyss brush up against his soul.

Blight druids can use Wild Empathy on undead animals... they are empowered by their divine belief to essentially control undead. They have familiars as per wizards instead of animal companions, hell with imp. familiar they could have a *cacodaemon*!

If your game world lacks any undead druids, good for you, that's absolutely fine. But to say *no-one* should is ridiculous, especially with well thought out backgrounds and reasoning behind it.

An evil druid is even more easy, sick with the depredations of mankind upon nature they kill loggers & hunters, drive local wildlife crazy and set them against all humans, they poison water supplies, spoil food, sneak into towns and set them afire, all joyously in the name of balance. Murder, poisoning, destruction of entire villages, very much full on evil. This sort of druid is just as viable and allowable via the RAW as one who delivers village children, helps the villagers grow crops and tells hunters where best to hunt animals to feed the local people all the whilst ensuring no-one over hunts an area and that farmers rotate their crops to keep the ground healthy, etc.

If you personally don't want a certain type of druid then simply don't allow it, that's the beauty of Rule 0, the game is *yours* run it how you enjoy, and let others run it how *they* enjoy without trying to tell people something can't exist in their game.

Cheliax

Something occurred to me, wouldn't it make more sense to have the huecuva be a cleric instead of a druid? He does draw his power from a 'god' after all and IIRC, druids do not, no? Simply give him the plant/animal domains to keep the druidic feel.


I see that there are those on the board who fail to recognize tongue-in-cheek humour. Very well. I will carry-on without it.

My discord with this idea arises from the conflict of undead vs. nature. I don't care that you can find congruent ideas and spells that sort of FIT your idea that you imagine, what I want is an explanation of how those two things fit together.

Work with me here, this is a friendly discussion:

CRB wrote:
...these primal magics are guarded over by servants of philosophical balance... Rewarded for their devotion with incredible powers...Druids worship personifications of elemental forces, natural powers, or nature itself. Typically this means devotion to a nature deity, though druids are just as likely to revere vague spirits, animalistic demigods, or even specific awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Mind you, the definition of a Druid has never been terribly clear, and their philosophy less-so. They seem to get their powers and spells from the gods, or similar forces. So...

1. Is the force that animates undead part of Nature?
2. Can an Undead Druid be explained away as affiliation with a specific deity (who accepts undead)?

The gist of my argument is that (sorry if I'm old school) "undead" means an evil, animating force from beyond the world, that opposes all life. It is unnatural by its very definition.

There it is. I leave my argument open to your opinions. Be gentle.

@Umbral Reaver:

Umbral Reaver:
Hmph.

Andoran

I see the undead (especially mindless) as a tool, if a druid can use them to further a purpose, they might decide to use that tool. Like a firefighter starting a small controlled fire to prevent the spread of a larger fire.


Owly wrote:

I see that there are those on the board who fail to recognize tongue-in-cheek humour. Very well. I will carry-on without it.

My discord with this idea arises from the conflict of undead vs. nature. I don't care that you can find congruent ideas and spells that sort of FIT your idea that you imagine, what I want is an explanation of how those two things fit together.

Work with me here, this is a friendly discussion:

CRB wrote:
...these primal magics are guarded over by servants of philosophical balance... Rewarded for their devotion with incredible powers...Druids worship personifications of elemental forces, natural powers, or nature itself. Typically this means devotion to a nature deity, though druids are just as likely to revere vague spirits, animalistic demigods, or even specific awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Mind you, the definition of a Druid has never been terribly clear, and their philosophy less-so. They seem to get their powers and spells from the gods, or similar forces. So...

1. Is the force that animates undead part of Nature?
2. Can an Undead Druid be explained away as affiliation with a specific deity (who accepts undead)?

The gist of my argument is that (sorry if I'm old school) "undead" means an evil, animating force from beyond the world, that opposes all life. It is unnatural by its very definition.

There it is. I leave my argument open to your opinions. Be gentle.

Personal views are fine, certainly, and everyone is welcome to theirs. I don't think anyone can really argue that anyways.

In my case I don't see evil as a problem for druids so long as it's neutral evil (various NE druids have existed in Pathfinder adventure paths, for example). So I think that the idea of an evil druid getting powers from a deity who doesn't mind undead would be a druid unrestrained by interaction with/use of/being undead.


Owly wrote:

I see that there are those on the board who fail to recognize tongue-in-cheek humour. Very well. I will carry-on without it.

My discord with this idea arises from the conflict of undead vs. nature. I don't care that you can find congruent ideas and spells that sort of FIT your idea that you imagine, what I want is an explanation of how those two things fit together.

Work with me here, this is a friendly discussion:

CRB wrote:
...these primal magics are guarded over by servants of philosophical balance... Rewarded for their devotion with incredible powers...Druids worship personifications of elemental forces, natural powers, or nature itself. Typically this means devotion to a nature deity, though druids are just as likely to revere vague spirits, animalistic demigods, or even specific awe-inspiring natural wonders.

Mind you, the definition of a Druid has never been terribly clear, and their philosophy less-so. They seem to get their powers and spells from the gods, or similar forces. So...

1. Is the force that animates undead part of Nature?
2. Can an Undead Druid be explained away as affiliation with a specific deity (who accepts undead)?

The gist of my argument is that (sorry if I'm old school) "undead" means an evil, animating force from beyond the world, that opposes all life. It is unnatural by its very definition.

There it is. I leave my argument open to your opinions. Be gentle.

@Umbral Reaver:** spoiler omitted **

Here's the thing though. In my (not so) humble opinion, the only person who can't see things as a 'means to an end' is a paladin. (and please don't start a paladin thread out of this.) the comparison to a firefighter starting a controlled fire to prevent a forest fire is an apt one.

Druids are not crusaders against undead, by nature. They aren't necessary crusaders at all. Undead can be just another tool, like poison. Poison is fairly antithetical to life as well, seeing as it kills life, and pretty much cannot do anything but that. A neutral evil druid is more than welcome to use poison though. I wouldn't have a problem with them using undead, or working with undead, provided the ends justifies the means.

There's nothing stopping the druid from going "well, I detest the abominations. If there was another way, I wouldn't. But this is what will do the job, and the job is important. No one will destroy this forest, on pain of death! So be it!" Neutral evil to the core, baby.


Evil druids? sure. Undead druids? I don't see why not. Don't let the game get in the way of the playing the game.

And as for killing/eating animals being a no no for druids. If the druid embraces/reveres the savage nature of the hunt then animals of the world better watch out as these savage druids may kill them and eat their hearts to gain there power.

Basically, not all druids have to be nature loving hippies, some of them are more than willing to dip into the primal aspects of nature.

This was my 2 cents.

Osirion

The druid spell list can be seen as indicative of some of the 'unnatural' stuff a druid is capable of accepting.

Transformation magics, such as shapechange or animal shapes, in which a creature rejects its natural form and tears its flesh and body into a magical copy of an actual living creature other than itself. A flat out rejection of nature, *and* the (temporary) creation of a hollow mockery of another natural creature. Not for nothing is shapechanging one of the most common signs that something in ancient tales that something or someone is not a natural creature, and was generally something done by gods (Zeus, Loki, etc. who rarely used that ability to do anything particularly nice) or unnatural monsters (werewolves, oni, etc.).

Earthquake, fire storm, control weather, storm of vengeance. All great ways to screw up the local ecology. (The storm of vengeance even comes with acid rain, to kill all the wildlife downstream of the area effected, as well!)

Finger of death. Oh hey, there's a necromancy (death) effect! Probably even uses icky negative energy!

Unhallow. Not a nice spell, but one that druids can cast. One of the very few druid spells that has an alignment descriptor, although a druid can be casting [evil] spells as early as 1st level, if he summons a bunch of mites with summon nature's ally 1. And there's those fey, all creatures that, in Golarion, are *also* explicitly from another dimension, and therefore, 'unnatural.'

Blight? Poison? Contagion? Summoning fire elementals from another dimension and loosing them upon our world via summon nature's ally or elemental swarm?

But, really, apart from the lingering effects of these spells (folk killed by finger of death staying dead, aquifers cracked by earthquake, leaving former temperate areas slowing doomed to become deserts, etc.) the most significant 'unnatural' thing on the list would have to be the awaken spell, transforming a natural animal (or plant) to restructure it's entire brain and make it think and talk like a person. That effects permanant, and would utterly change the nature of the animal / plant affected, and possibly have all sorts of trickle-down effects on the local environment. (For instance, awaken a wolf, and it's increased HD and capabilities make it likely to become leader of it's pack, affecting every other wolf in that pack, and to direct its pack in tactics that it's new intelligence allows it, affecting the lives of all the prey creatures in it's territory, as well as possibly the lives of creatures that normal wolves wouldn't tackle, like people, that the pack with the human-smart leader might recognize as easy prey, with the proper tactics...)

And that's just some core stuff. The more you expand the druid list with non-core sources or Domains or whatnot, the more 'unnatural' stuff you can find, by the standards of a 20th century environmentally-aware Gaia-respecting vegan, which a druid manifestly is not.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

"NO undead druids"? Who called the wrongbadfun police? Next you'll be saying gelatinous cubes can't be player characters. Ok, that would be weird. But I'd roll with it, with some smoking backstory!!!

Here's a very undead-happy Druid. I'm obviously in the "undead druids are waycool" camp. Shoot me. Then I can rise up and summon hordes of skeletal quolls to eat you all...

An undead druid archetype


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

There are the Druidic sect of fanatical worshippers of Zon-Kuthon, known as the Shades of the Uskwood.

There is even the Shade of the Uskwood feat, that adds Animated Dead to your druid spell list.


Raising the dead by trapping the original soul of the creature re-animated and magically preserving the body so that it doesn't decay is most decidedly un-natural. However, if the re-animation leaves the soul free to transmigrate or the body is allowed to decay, it's merely utilizing nature's resources; a scavenger harvesting the dead. Your undead druid may be re-attached to his body, but that body isn't necessarily permanent. He tries to extend his unlife span (the same as any living creature does) but if he ever stops, the body will decay and his soul will be released to continue on. In essence, it takes the normal cycle of Birth-Life-Death-Rebirth and adds two new phases; Birth-Life-Death-Unlife-Undeath-Rebirth.

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