Druids and Undeath


Rules Questions

Liberty's Edge

Does an evil Druid who dabbles in undeath lose his/her abilities?

I'm playing a Neutral Evil Druid (Shark Shaman archetype) in the Skull & Shackles adventure path. I took Death as his domain power, which grants Animate Dead as a domain spell. It seems to me that if a domain would grant undeath spells, it should be allowed for the character to use them.

What do you think? Have you encountered this before, and if so, how did you handle it?


If you have the ability then you can use it. I don't see a problem there.

I've never encountered it before but I can see a druid viewing death (and undeath) as a dark aspect of the natural world, especially if he's a shark shaman.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For any other Druid, I'd say yes. The Shark Shaman is the special exception.

Death IS a an aspect of the natural world, but for most Druids, undead are an abomination because they bypass the natural cycle of life/death/decay/rebirth.

Liberty's Edge

If the powers granting you the power didn't want you to use it they wouldn't grant it to you.

aka.

Ask your DM.

Liberty's Edge

My DM is fine with it as my guy is an exiled Kuru from the Cannibal Isles, so his magic has Juju leanings (and Juju Zombies are regularly created by high level Juju Oracles).

I just wanted to make sure I'm not playing something that has already been banned by a previous FAQ that I could not find (and wasn't aware of).


I've speculated before that in a setting like Golarion where people who die completely mundane deaths frequently rise up as ghosts or other undead, undeath is just another natural phenomenon. It could be argued that a druid could dabble in or even embrace undeath. It's more natural than casting awaken ever was.

I'd not be surprised to find a heretic cult of fully-empowered druids followed by their reanimated former animal companions. Perhaps such druids could even be found in the ranks of the Whispering Way.


Banhammer!

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 (including her animal companion, but not including weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She cannot thereafter gain levels as a druid until she atones (see the atonement spell description).

I'm pretty sure that raising undead mockeries of life, unnatural forces wraped in meat puppets, is pretty much the definition of ceasing to revere nature.

Evil is not one big happy family. Evil druids can be even more extreme in their hatred of the undead, because they WILL burn down the entire town to stop the zombie apocalypse.


An evil Druid could also use undead as a means to an end. It's like recycling, right?


Undead are just part of the natural order.
Your druid might just see them as tools to help protect nature.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Banhammer!

I'm pretty sure that raising undead mockeries of life, unnatural forces wraped in meat puppets, is pretty much the definition of ceasing to revere nature.

Not in this world!

Shade of the Uskwood:
Benefit: Add the following spells to your druid spell list.

0—disrupt undead, ray of frost;
1st—ghost sound, touch of fatigue;
2nd—chill touch, spectral hand;
3rd—ghoul touch, invisibility;
4th—displacement, ray of exhaustion;
5th—animate dead, phantasmal killer;
6th—nightmare, waves of fatigue;
7th—circle of death, shadow walk;
8th—mass invisibility, waves of exhaustion;
9th—horrid wilting, weird.

Also this feat and the fact that Vampire druids exist at all....http://www.d20pfsrd.com/feats/monster-feats/vampiric-animal-companio n.

It confuses me too tbh and I have been meaning to ask around how people think other druids view them and how they view themselves.


There is no rule for this, but druids would likely not like undead. For now it is up to the GM.


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*cough*
Greetings, seems that you have run into one of those troubling moral dilemmas that came part and parcel with signing on to the wrong god?
So, you ask what must I do to get nature powers and still command the unliving?
Well let me tell you, all you need is an understanding with our most forgiving god he will grant you powers and all he asks is that you worship him.
He asks so very little, ensuring that mortal souls know what agony that awaits them. To be hunted on and on for eternity by those who grasped the rules of the world and learned to become beasts.
But you, oh you, never a man to start with wern't ya?
Started out with a taste fer blood and only after did you find your true shape. Stalking the waves to sink yer teeth into something unsuspecting and full of life, well let me tell you that your acts have not gone unseen.
No my lord appreciates all those that hunt past midnight who continue the mortal cycle of fang and claw. Many men can become beasts but you are much more dangerous, you are a beast who can become a man.
So, let me offer you this token of the midnight lords appreciation for your craft and then we shall see if you have the strength to hunt prey such as me.
-Nevandi Quandalli of the úndred úndred lives.

also
Shade of the Uskwood


This idea that "undead are not natural" has no backing at all in Pathfinder.

Negative Energy is a natural part of the world/cosmos/whatever, just as much as Positive Energy is.
Negative Energy also has a natural tendency to raise undead.

Anyone that tells you, "Druids are always absolutely against undead!" are just giving you their own personal bias, or are forcing older edition rules onto you.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
blahpers wrote:

I've speculated before that in a setting like Golarion where people who die completely mundane deaths frequently rise up as ghosts or other undead, undeath is just another natural phenomenon. It could be argued that a druid could dabble in or even embrace undeath. It's more natural than casting awaken ever was.

I'd not be surprised to find a heretic cult of fully-empowered druids followed by their reanimated former animal companions. Perhaps such druids could even be found in the ranks of the Whispering Way.

In the Golarion setting, people don't routinely rise up as undead. They either are created by a tomb robbing necromancer, or their deaths were especially horiffic, in the case of ghosts. It's extreme deaths that create undead, not the normal kind.

Lantern Lodge

My impression is that most Druids (even evil ones) abhor undead as against the natural order, BUT you need to remember that Druids don't all follow the same exact set of beliefs.

There are some Druids who see undead as a regrettable part of the natural order, some who consider undead to be against the natural order but are still fine with using them, and still others who see undead as part of the natural order and routinely use them.

In other words, you can probably find all sorts of variations among Druid belief systems.

A good example are Blight Druids. Some actually work to reform and reclaim ravaged lands, others use decay and rot (and undead) to seek the end of all things. You don't know if any particular "Blight" Druid you meet is one or the other, or some other variation. Some Blight Druids even create and use undead and revel in the experience. Then there are other Blight Druids who would put the ones who create undead down like the dirty dogs they are.

Back to the OP, using the Death Domain and creating undead is fine in your particular case. You do need to remember the spell bears the Evil descriptor, but since you are evil and your GM is apparently running a campaign that allows for Evil PCs, that shouldn't be a problem for you. If, for example, you were a good aligned Shark Shaman who for some reason took the Death Domain, then you risk your alignment by using the spells with the Evil descriptor. This could be a problem in certain campaigns, like PFS, where evil characters are not allowed. If your PFS PC were ever deemed to have slipped into being evil, then you lose your character.


Considering in canon there are vampire Druids who still have their powers and even a specific undead template for Druids (siabrae), if BEING an undead isn't an issue raising undead shouldn't be a problem.


Rynjin wrote:
Considering in canon there are vampire Druids who still have their powers and even a specific undead template for Druids (siabrae), if BEING an undead isn't an issue raising undead shouldn't be a problem.

This.

It's up to your GM, but the Saibrae template, which a lot of players moaned and groaned about, pretty much tells you where the developers fall on the question. They see no problem with it.

I could totally see a vampire druid in a game, since the concept of the "Food Chain" is pretty big in some druid teachings. ;)


I have used NPC "anti-druids" of Demogorgon in my games (their goals were to create new demon-tainted or aberrant animal and/or plant life, and they wildshape accordingly). I do wonder if I should not have called them anti-druids, though. If creating undead doesn't cause one to "cease to revere nature", and you could justify clear cutting a forest to build a city (same argument as creating undead, but swap urban druid for saibrae), then what would actually count as "ceasing to revere nature?"


Mechagamera wrote:
I have used NPC "anti-druids" of Demogorgon in my games (their goals were to create new demon-tainted or aberrant animal and/or plant life, and they wildshape accordingly). I do wonder if I should not have called them anti-druids, though. If creating undead doesn't cause one to "cease to revere nature", and you could justify clear cutting a forest to build a city (same argument as creating undead, but swap urban druid for saibrae), then what would actually count as "ceasing to revere nature?"

Exploiting nature for your own gain is a good start.

EX a Druid who runs a factory that makes a ton of money but can't find something to do with all that pesky waste that doesn't destroy the ecosystem.


Neo2151 wrote:

This idea that "undead are not natural" has no backing at all in Pathfinder.

Negative Energy is a natural part of the world/cosmos/whatever, just as much as Positive Energy is.
Negative Energy also has a natural tendency to raise undead.

Anyone that tells you, "Druids are always absolutely against undead!" are just giving you their own personal bias, or are forcing older edition rules onto you.

And what exactly ISN"T natural ?


As long as you remain neutral evil, or neutral, i would be fine with it.
I see absolutely no problem with wielding undead for a greater good either.

As i always tell myself "balance is a matter of point of view".


Regardless of what the developers do or don't intend, in my game world undead are unnatural. Most druids would lose their power for animating undead. If you willingly became undead you would lose your powers.

The only exceptions I might allow you be archetypes that allow you to pick up the death (or other) domains which would allow you to create undead.

However, there is nothing strictly within the cannon of Golarion to indicate that this is the case, and I am merely referring to how my game world functions. It resembles Golarion very much, but isn't exactly the same.


LazarX wrote:
blahpers wrote:

I've speculated before that in a setting like Golarion where people who die completely mundane deaths frequently rise up as ghosts or other undead, undeath is just another natural phenomenon. It could be argued that a druid could dabble in or even embrace undeath. It's more natural than casting awaken ever was.

I'd not be surprised to find a heretic cult of fully-empowered druids followed by their reanimated former animal companions. Perhaps such druids could even be found in the ranks of the Whispering Way.

In the Golarion setting, people don't routinely rise up as undead. They either are created by a tomb robbing necromancer, or their deaths were especially horiffic, in the case of ghosts. It's extreme deaths that create undead, not the normal kind.

And especially horrific deaths are also part of the natural order.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

This idea that "undead are not natural" has no backing at all in Pathfinder.

Negative Energy is a natural part of the world/cosmos/whatever, just as much as Positive Energy is.
Negative Energy also has a natural tendency to raise undead.

Anyone that tells you, "Druids are always absolutely against undead!" are just giving you their own personal bias, or are forcing older edition rules onto you.

And what exactly ISN"T natural ?

That's the thing. It's irrelevant.

A druid is not "anti-unnatural". A druid reveres nature. This does not require any action or antipathy toward the unnatural except that which is required to preserve nature.

If a vampire is running around turning all of the forest's critters into vampiric animals, a druid (barring some serious moral gymnastics) would be obligated to intervene, as this upsets the natural predator-prey dynamic. If a druid hears about a vampire hanging out nearby feeding off of passers-by or (in hard times) the local wildlife, there is no reason for a druid to get involved unless and until the vampire interferes with the druid's reverence for nature. Most druids would intervene anyway, especially if the vampire was in their own area of influence, but it is not required.

Basically, if you're asking whether a druid "falls", look at this checklist:

  • Does the druid revere nature?
  • Did the druid teach druidic to a non-druid?
  • Did the druid change to a non-neutral alignment?

If the answer to all of these questions is "no", the druid is just fine.


It's not a problem. What you could do with a Neutral Evil druid is basically use methods and strategies to "protect nature" that a Neutral Good druid would never consider.

Does creating a flood that destroys the local village that was poaching animals in the forest acceptable? Sure for a Neutral evil druid. Creating an undead squad to attack people to keep them out of the forest okay? Sure.

Basically, you're the druid that has "had enough" of trying to be nice and convince people to respect nature, etc. You see yourself as Nature's Avenger, and if it means killing, raising dead to fight on your behalf, or stealing from those in civilized land to "hurt" civilization (anything non-nature), you can probably remain a druid.

Sovereign Court

Some of you might remember the Golgari from Magic: the Gathering. Those strike me as a way that druids might embrace necromancy. Basically, even undead are part of an ecosystem; they hunt, they feed, they reproduce, and get preyed upon.


Rynjin wrote:
Mechagamera wrote:
I have used NPC "anti-druids" of Demogorgon in my games (their goals were to create new demon-tainted or aberrant animal and/or plant life, and they wildshape accordingly). I do wonder if I should not have called them anti-druids, though. If creating undead doesn't cause one to "cease to revere nature", and you could justify clear cutting a forest to build a city (same argument as creating undead, but swap urban druid for saibrae), then what would actually count as "ceasing to revere nature?"

Exploiting nature for your own gain is a good start.

EX a Druid who runs a factory that makes a ton of money but can't find something to do with all that pesky waste that doesn't destroy the ecosystem.

I would buy that, but, in terms of combat, unless Pathfinder adopts Dark Sun style defiling, I don't see anything that couldn't be rationalized.

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