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A Druid and His Code


Advice


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For the first time since we introduced Pathfinder to my group, I am getting to play a character instead of GM. Needless to say, I'm pretty darn stoked. I have decided to play a druid. I have also decided to be lawful neutral and live by a code of nature. Here are my rules.

1. Surival is won by the strong, only the strongest survive.

2. Protect the young, for they cannot protect themselves.

3. Loyalty to the pack(companions) is paramount.

4. Spread your seed so that your blood makes the world stronger (more of something to have fun with :)).

5. Hunt for food. Only accept handouts of others if there is no other choice.

6. Magic is of nature and part of nature and should be embraced. It should never be abused, however.

7. All undead are abominations, no matter their disposition(alignment). They must be destroyed and returned to the cycle.

8. Wars are a concern of civilization, do not involve yourself unless it threatens nature itself.

9. Poachers deserve death, no exceptions.

10. Protect nature with your life and do not be afraid to rejoin the cycle if nature demands it.

I wanted to make it so that I am not "that" player who becomes a headache for the GM because my character makes things difficult, so I made a lot of the code as vague as possible, so there's room to wiggle if need be.

What do you guys think? Is this a decent code for a druid to live by? Or am I going to be "that" guy who the GM kills accidently on purpose lol?


I'd say just let the rest of the party know your intentions beforehand. Showing up with an unannounced paladin or some other lawful character that can cramp other player's styles isn't really that cool, but if you give them fair warning and an opportunity to adjust their characters (or let them suggest adjustments to yours,) it should mitigate any OOC annoyances.

Inter-party conflict is fine, I think, and is one of the things that makes the game interesting, but it should really be on the fringes and not the overwhelming dynamic. As long as your philosophy doesn't contrast so starkly with another PC's that you're constantly butting heads, playing a character with a strong code can be fun and interesting. In my very first PF session I played an assassin monk, whose philosophy was drawn from Buddhist ideas about "life is suffering" and that we should work to end suffering - but instead of doing it by enlightenment, he just would murder anyone who he judged to have a life full of suffering that wasn't worth living. So, when we found the adorable fox trapped in the bear trap, my first words were "I want to coup de grace it." You should have seen the looks the other players gave me. To them, it just needed a little TLC, to my character, it was in agony and might be permanently disabled, so the kindest thing was to end its life. So yeah, when they failed their strength checks to open the trap they asked me to try, and of course I said no, it's wrong to extend this creature's suffering any longer. The 8 str sorcerer hilariously ended up making the check and bandaging it, so I didn't get to coup it but I had a great roleplaying experience anyway that really helped sell me on the game.

Out of curiousity though, what is the difference between hunting and poaching? Does your druid have a strong respect for property rights?


Isn't poaching, as a concept, really defined by the laws of humans? Why would a druid be concerned with whether or not they are enforcing the arbitrary laws of a king or lord? What if a lord claims an entire forest as their hunting ground and the good villagers have to poach or starve?

Sorry not trying to start an argument but that one struck me as out of the blue and not really based on the respect for nature, cycle of life, etc that your other tenants were based on.

Maybe "Killing for pleasure/profit will not be tolerated" or a "use the whole animal/eat what you kill" type creed?


Lochmonster wrote:
Maybe "Killing for pleasure/profit will not be tolerated" or a "use the whole animal/eat what you kill" type creed?

That's what I originally took from it. If you hunt to survive and thus give reverence to whatever your hunting for it's sacrifice, you're fine. If you're hunting just to kill something or to capture it and put it on display, you're not so fine.


Harrison wrote:
Lochmonster wrote:
Maybe "Killing for pleasure/profit will not be tolerated" or a "use the whole animal/eat what you kill" type creed?
That's what I originally took from it. If you hunt to survive and thus give reverence to whatever your hunting for it's sacrifice, you're fine. If you're hunting just to kill something or to capture it and put it on display, you're not so fine.

That's basically what I meant by poaching, it's just the term I came up with to mean exactly what you guys are talking about. Trophy hunting, that sort of thing.

I would be fine with a trapper, who makes his living off of collecting furs, provided he used the whole animal, to eat and what not, I think.

Shadow Lodge

Mostly looks good to me, especially with "poaching" replaced with "trophy hunting." You should probably run that clause by your group (DM and players), though, as it's more likely to cause problems. The absolute stance against undead could also cause friction if there's a necromancer in the party. The rest of the code seems to deal with personal conduct and shouldn't be a problem. The loyalty to pack and companions rule should also help you work well with the party.


Weirdo wrote:
Mostly looks good to me, especially with "poaching" replaced with "trophy hunting." You should probably run that clause by your group (DM and players), though, as it's more likely to cause problems. The absolute stance against undead could also cause friction if there's a necromancer in the party. The rest of the code seems to deal with personal conduct and shouldn't be a problem. The loyalty to pack and companions rule should also help you work well with the party.

The party is just me, a LG Inquisitor and a Sword and Board Fighter (most likely an elf) who will most likely be NG or CG. So no necromancers I don't think.

I was thinking on the trophy hunting thing, that, say the charcters were tracking down a fiendish bear or something. My character would assume since its fiendish and been tainted, it needs to be put down. I would also require that we use the animals fur and meat (provided it can be eaten safely). If the parties fighter wants to keep a claw as a "trophy" after we put it down, I don't think the druid would have a problem with it as trophy hunting wasn't the intent of the hunt in the first place.


I like it. It's not too soft ("compassionate") but also not cruel. It's not too constrained by humanoid law, but doesn't pretend humanoids don't exist either. So while sometimes you might appear callous to the inquisitor, you're clearly not rampaging evil or anything.

Interesting point: will the other characters start out knowing your code? Or is it something you've shown the GM, and the others should be finding out IC?

---

I've played a radical hunter-nature priest before. An arch-arch-arch conservative elf, convinced that humans lacked the wisdom to make good laws for themselves. Any law not explicitly given by the gods was an abominable human invention. He tried to convince people that they should abandon cities and agriculture and return to nomadic hunter-gathering. (He didn't have a lot of success.)

His other main precept was that You Protect And Strengthen Your Pack, and that as you become a stronger priest, you should expand the scope of what you protect, from an adventuring party to a tribe to all tribes living in that land.

While he was an annoying controlling pain in the rear, he also took the Strengthen Your Group part very seriously; he invested a lot of his own wealth into buying high-grade armor and training for the lower-level party members.

---

So my experience is that having a "harsh but fair" moral code can work out quite well. Enjoy!


As above the poacher thing could cause problems. What about a society that takes trophy's as part of their rituals and culture but don't eat the animal. Is taking the organs of an animal for spell components worthy of death. what about the poor guy who hunts for trophys to sell because he needs the money. I would soften your stance or that could put you in some tough spots that might force either a break in alignment or an evil act.

The undead stance also is borderline evil in my opinion. Most undead are evil but no all some like mummies often are good. Killing them with out question can once again lead to evil acts.

Those would be my two concerns but other then that I love your concept.


Quote:
what about the poor guy who hunts for trophys to sell because he needs the money.

Oh come on, any druid would consider this reprehensible. Destroying nature so you can feed and spawn more chilluns who will just further destroy nature?


RumpinRufus wrote:
Quote:
what about the poor guy who hunts for trophys to sell because he needs the money.
Oh come on, any druid would consider this reprehensible. Destroying nature so you can feed and spawn more chilluns who will just further destroy nature?

Your missing the point just a tad. This is about alignment slash morality. All druids would find this objectionable. Most would not stab someone over it. Murdering someone because the collect trophies to feed their family is evil. Any killing with out acquitted justification is evil. Them violating your code not a justification.


It absolutely is a justification for his character. He's lawful neutral, not good. He's not malicious, he's not compassionate. He is dedicated to nature above all else. Is he nice? No. Is he evil? Certainly not. And even if some of his acts are evil, they'll certainly be balanced by acts that are good.


your char doesn't live in a vacuum just because he thinks their justified doesn't mean they are. All murderers think their justified that doesn't make it so. Sure one evil act doesn't make you evil(necessarily) but when your code has an explicitly evil provision in it your leaning farther away from neutrality then I would like.


It may already have been said, but 5 and 9 are contradictory. Poaching in a medieval society is hunting for food and hunting for food, unless you're either nobility or completely outside of civilization, is usually poaching.


Because I want to be contrary, one must ask the question: If it is about survival of the fittest, why not let humans and demons do what they want? This might seem weird, but let us think about it like this: if you have one animal, then a new species comes into the environment, competing for the same food, and the first animal cannot compete, then its species was not strong enough to survive. How are humans different? Our tool use is simply an adaptation. Or not. Magic makes evolutionary biology have an aneurysm. Especially with the focus on humans as the bottom of the food chain it seems. Anyway, so would you support the "natural" balance, or accept the role of humans?

And even if you are against 'trophies,' some species use the corpses of their kills as decoration of shelter during mating rituals. "Hey baby. Oh, you noticed the bear head on my mantle-place? Yeah, I killed it with my 'bare' hands. Want to check my pecs?"

But yeah, besides these obviously forced arguments based on my desire for arguments, this is an excellent example of a druid moral code. Fairly standard overall, and basically what the other players should expect from a druid. As long as you can stretch the "human laws and wars" bit enough to justify even being a part of the campaign, then any conflicts would likely be on the part of other players. They know you are play a druid, so they should not go about killing bunnies for good luck charms/snazzy keychains.


Renvale987 wrote:
Harrison wrote:
Lochmonster wrote:
Maybe "Killing for pleasure/profit will not be tolerated" or a "use the whole animal/eat what you kill" type creed?
That's what I originally took from it. If you hunt to survive and thus give reverence to whatever your hunting for it's sacrifice, you're fine. If you're hunting just to kill something or to capture it and put it on display, you're not so fine.

That's basically what I meant by poaching, it's just the term I came up with to mean exactly what you guys are talking about. Trophy hunting, that sort of thing.

I would be fine with a trapper, who makes his living off of collecting furs, provided he used the whole animal, to eat and what not, I think.

Except a lot of the most valuable furs come from animals that aren't normally eaten, like mink, ermine, leopard, arctic fox etc.


Eh i disagree with the war thing. Chimp troops engage in warfare (even dragging off of females and taking of territory) and they aren't the only species to do so.


Ok, but that's an incredibly rare behavior, observed once every decade or two. And it just doesn't really relate. He's pretty clearly talking aout human warfare, not groups of chimps fighting when food is scarce due to human interference.


Eh, human warfare for each group is pretty rare by that definition. And caused by scarce resources. Which doesn't have to just be caused by "human interference".

Animals will get in violent conflicts when resources are scarce.

Social animals or collectives (like ants) will engage in the same behaviors that make up what humans know as war.

Humans are animals too, warfare is part of the human condition. Warfare is natural. (or does intelligence make something "unnatural" similar to the eating of the fruit of knowledge). Careful where you tread on subject like this.

Now a Human getting involved in the conflict of chimps is silly, just as an elf concerning themselves in the wars of men is just as silly (unless the war affects elves, then all bets are off). As for how a druid concerns himself with war, it really subjective. If its the human druids own social group (which some druids still would have connection to) its natural to become involved. If its between two groups that druid has no relation to, then its unatural to get involved (other than opportunist type stuff, druids use resources too, and no reason why they can't compete for them as opportunity show themselves).


The warfare thing could pose a huge problem. It might never come up, especially if your DM works around it, but if it does it's the kind of thing that could split the party (the Paladin feels he has to protect the oppressed people from the evil empire and help their resistance, your druid refuses to get involved in a human war, they each go their own way and never see each other again.) Again, the DM could work around that by something as simple as "oh and the evil empire is destroying forest for no reason while laughing", but still, I'm not sure that one is a good idea.

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