Does a druid accept usage of gold violate druid code?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Since druids are supposed to revere nature, does the act of using human society currency counter against the code?

Assuming trees are cut down to make furniture, houses, tools, toy, cart, ship or used as fuel to keep fire/maintain furnace etc., human society probably does more damages to nature than evil baddies.

To keep road safe, trees beside roads were also trimmed down in order for safer passage during medieval.

In cities, much excrement was collected and poured down in river which further damage the ecology system.

Why would a druid even use currency which not only goes against contact with man made metal, but also promotes trade flow which would require the usages of cart/ship that use woods?


I honestly always figured that "not using metal items" for druids was mostly about a sign of devotion, not because "one druid not using a sword" makes any real difference in anybody else's life.

It's like wearing a special head covering or praying a certain way, you do it not because it actually has any observable effect on the world outside of yourself, but because it helps you prove to yourself that you belong and are doing well as a member of your faith.

Really, this isn't exclusive to religion either, people, for whatever reason, seem to find checklists really psychologically satisfying.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Mirage Wolf wrote:
Since druids are supposed to revere nature, does the act of using human society currency counter against the code?

Mythopoeticly, the druid's issue with metal stems from the folk belief that worked/smelted metals, in particular iron, cause problems with fae and other creatures of nature. That's where the "horseshoes are lucky" idea originates; people would hang old horseshoes over the door. Being made of iron, and later steel, they would keep faeries away (and keep them from souring your milk, keeping you bread from rising, et cetera.)

Gold is natural; you can find nuggets and dust of it lying around. Ditto silver and copper. So druids don't actually need to be anti-metal.

Similarly, druids aren't actually anti-metal. They can, for instance, use metal tools or metal weapons just fine. This makes little sense mythopoeticly, but makes the game a hell of a lot easier to play.

So there's no reason to believe that druids are anti-currency. Unless you want there to be. It might be a house-rule the GM decides to create (although I, for one, would have an issue with it in a lot of campaigns), or it might be a personal quirk of a specific character or order (the same way that Orthodox Jews won't handle money on the Sabbath, but Reform Jews are generally fine with it). One druid might revere life and insist on not eating anything that was killed (essentially being a lacto-frugivore) and another might insist that the food web is natural and he's at the top of it, so he insists on eating meat at every meal to prove his status. And a third might say, hunger is natural, so is eating -- so if you're hungry, eat something.


Due to manufactured weapons mostly require furnace, which is fired(and maintained?) by the usage of charcoal, I thought it was the primary reason for druid not using metal gears in order to preserve nature.

(no idea why scimitar is exception though)


While they revere Nature and seek balance, druids are not Luddites nor Savages dressed in animal hide swinging clubs...well most aren't.

Sure, they might favor smaller settlement, help them live from the land without overexploiting them (substained exploitation), maybe favor trade over use of currency, but I don't see them completely reject everything "civilized" or "man-made" just because man (used very broadly here) = destructive to nature.

Plus, we have to keep in mind that druid were, initially, based on celtic Druids (albeit somewhat of a flawed version) focusing on balance and the circle of life (Birth, life, death, rebirth) and the use of Gold or silver was pretty much a must to harves the best mistletoe.


Mirage Wolf wrote:
(no idea why scimitar is exception though)

Sickles are part of the iconic druid imagery and the scimitar was selected, back in AD&D, as being something close to a sickle while still being somewhat combat-effective.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mirage Wolf wrote:
(no idea why scimitar is exception though)

Well, in the old school D&D supplement that introduced the Druid Class (Supplement 3- "Eldritch Wizardry") druids were limited to "Daggers, sickles, or crescent shaped swords, spears, slings, and oil".

"Crescent Shaped Swords" were later reinterpreted as "Scimitars."

As for why Druids used swords, crescent shaped or otherwise, Gary Gygax later explained that it was "as close a sword weapon I could come up with to match the druids' mistletoe-harvesting sickle."

It's entirely a stylistic artifact, and has no basis in anything else.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
I honestly always figured that "not using metal items" for druids was mostly about a sign of devotion, not because "one druid not using a sword" makes any real difference in anybody else's life.

I think it's a bit more than that; wearing metal armor makes a big difference in the druid's life because she loses her spellcasting ability. So somewhere, some Major Magical Mojo cares about it enough to punish the offenders.... or alternatively, there really is some (natural) reason that wearing chain mail causes druidic spells not to work.

That said, of course there's no issue with using a sword (or a gold coin). As long as your gold coins aren't large enough that you can strap them to your arm and parry blows with them, the rules suggest you're fine.

Liberty's Edge

I like the interpretation from the Iron Druid Chronicles. Cold iron hurts the fae, but only inhibits druidic magic. Because of that, they can't wear a suit of armor made of iron/steel, but the main character is a skilled sword user, since that isn't enough to block his connection to magic. Things get a little more complicated later when the author decided to limit the "affects magic" bit to meteoric iron, but the idea stands.


The only restrictions druids have on using metal are armor and shields. Their weapon proficiencies are quite limited but they don’t suffer any consciences for using other weapons. A dwarf druid can use a battle axe or warhammer, and an elf druid can use a rapier or longsword. They also have no problem with reasonable use of natural resources. Nowhere does it say that a druid is against all technology. If the use of technology causes them problems why do they get all craft skills as class skills? If building a house is considered betraying nature then it makes no sense for them to be able to take craft carpentry as a class skill.

Even if they wear metal armor all that happens is they cannot use their spells or supernatural class abilities for 24 hours. They don’t become Ex-Druids or even require an Atonement. All they have to do is wait a day and they have access to all their abilities. It is strictly a minor religious restriction like Catholics not eating meat on Fridays during lent. Like many religious restrictions it does not have to make a lot of sense it simply just is.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I do not see it as a religious prohibition at all.

I take the prohibition more as elaborate materials (metal for simplicity) interfering with the Druid's link to Nature that provides its spellcasting ability. Holding a rather small piece of metal is not enough to break this link but being encased in it or wielding a large piece is enough to insulate the Druid from the source of its power, thereby severing the link.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Druids are a divine caster not an arcane. They can use also stone plate which probably has an even more elaborate construction than metal. It does not make since that it is due to interference with their link to nature. If that were the case then if they were in a metal lined room they would also lose all supernatural ability. Being wrapped in chains would also shut them down. Also a light steel shield only weighs 9 pounds there are a lot of metal weapons that weigh more than that. What about when they pick up a large metal object? Considering the amount of metal gear the typical adventurer carries it would make druids an unplayable class if carrying metal shut them down.


The Raven Black wrote:
elaborate materials (metal for simplicity)

*looks at structure of (stainless) steel*

*looks at structure of wood*
I disagree with your assesment.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Sideromancer wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
elaborate materials (metal for simplicity)

*looks at structure of (stainless) steel*

*looks at structure of wood*
I disagree with your assesment.

"Elaborate" does not refer to the structure, but to the processing. Smelted metal, remember?


Orfamay Quest wrote:
The Sideromancer wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
elaborate materials (metal for simplicity)

*looks at structure of (stainless) steel*

*looks at structure of wood*
I disagree with your assesment.

"Elaborate" does not refer to the structure, but to the processing. Smelted metal, remember?

Counterexample: leather.


Then why are druids able to use darkleaf cloth?

Darkleaf cloth is a special form of flexible material made by weaving together leaves and thin strips of bark from darkwood trees, then treating the resulting fabric with special alchemical processes. The resulting material is tough as cured hide but much lighter, making it an excellent material from which to create armor.

Or Stoneplate?

This armor is crafted by dwarven stonesmiths from alchemically strengthened plates of basalt. Stoneplate is heavy and unwieldy, but offers incredible protection to its wearer. It is primarily used by dwarven druids who cannot wear metal armor.

But cannot use studded leather?

An improved form of leather armor, studded leather armor is covered with dozens of metal protuberances. While these rounded studs offer little defense individually, in the numbers they are arrayed in upon such armor, they help catch lethal edges and channel them away from vital spots. The rigidity caused by the additional metal does, however, result in less mobility than is afforded by a suit of normal leather armor.

It seems to me that alchemically treated material is a lot more complex to create than simply attaching some metal studs to leather. Stoneplate in particular looks to be very complicated to create. First you have to mine the appropriate stone. Then you use chemicals to strengthen and shape it into armor. VS adding some metal studs to leather armor. Considering you can use copper or bronze for the studs they are not really that complex to make.


Studded leather is treated as Metal Armor???


2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's an old irish legend that iron blocked magic, hence the effect of cold iron on fey and why druids can't wear metal armor.


Mirage Wolf wrote:
Assuming trees are cut down to make furniture, houses, tools, toy, cart, ship or used as fuel to keep fire/maintain furnace etc., human society probably does more damages to nature than evil baddies.

While druids would certainly be against industrial logging (for obvious reasons), some degree of cutting can actually help to improve the state of the forest and prevent disasters.

It is because trees present many problems... to other trees. Trees can grow too close together, making a mess of things. Trees can block the sun, preventing new trees from growing (which means the trees that do grow usually come from a new vacant spot, and a bunch grow at the same time; which means a bunch of trees with a similar age, and they might all get old and die at a around the same time- which leads to landslides). Old, sick trees can spread disease to other trees. They can interfere with water, making lots of sources dirty. I am not an expert on this, of course, so my details might be a bit shaky.

Carefully picking and removing problem trees can make the health of all the surrounding trees better, give other types of vegetation a chance to grow, and make life better for the forest animals.

So the difference between neutral stupid druids and smart druids is how dogmatic they are about cutting trees.


lemeres wrote:
Mirage Wolf wrote:
Assuming trees are cut down to make furniture, houses, tools, toy, cart, ship or used as fuel to keep fire/maintain furnace etc., human society probably does more damages to nature than evil baddies.

While druids would certainly be against industrial logging (for obvious reasons), some degree of cutting can actually help to improve the state of the forest and prevent disasters.

It is because trees present many problems... to other trees. Trees can grow too close together, making a mess of things. Trees can block the sun, preventing new trees from growing (which means the trees that do grow usually come from a new vacant spot, and a bunch grow at the same time; which means a bunch of trees with a similar age, and they might all get old and die at a around the same time- which leads to landslides). Old, sick trees can spread disease to other trees. They can interfere with water, making lots of sources dirty. I am not an expert on this, of course, so my details might be a bit shaky.

Carefully picking and removing problem trees can make the health of all the surrounding trees better, give other types of vegetation a chance to grow, and make life better for the forest animals.

So the difference between neutral stupid druids and smart druids is how dogmatic they are about cutting trees.

This is exactly what a druid should be doing. They should be encouraging people to work with nature for the betterment of all instead of working against nature. Instead of being against logging they would be teaching people to plant a new tree for every tree they cut down. Instead of being against killing animals they are about responsible hunting. Their views would include thing like not killing a female animal with young, not leaving a wounded animal to suffer, and not over hunting a particular species.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
lemeres wrote:
Mirage Wolf wrote:
Assuming trees are cut down to make furniture, houses, tools, toy, cart, ship or used as fuel to keep fire/maintain furnace etc., human society probably does more damages to nature than evil baddies.

While druids would certainly be against industrial logging (for obvious reasons), some degree of cutting can actually help to improve the state of the forest and prevent disasters.

It is because trees present many problems... to other trees. Trees can grow too close together, making a mess of things. Trees can block the sun, preventing new trees from growing (which means the trees that do grow usually come from a new vacant spot, and a bunch grow at the same time; which means a bunch of trees with a similar age, and they might all get old and die at a around the same time- which leads to landslides). Old, sick trees can spread disease to other trees. They can interfere with water, making lots of sources dirty. I am not an expert on this, of course, so my details might be a bit shaky.

Carefully picking and removing problem trees can make the health of all the surrounding trees better, give other types of vegetation a chance to grow, and make life better for the forest animals.

So the difference between neutral stupid druids and smart druids is how dogmatic they are about cutting trees.

This is exactly what a druid should be doing. They should be encouraging people to work with nature for the betterment of all instead of working against nature. Instead of being against logging they would be teaching people to plant a new tree for every tree they cut down. Instead of being against killing animals they are about responsible hunting. Their views would include thing like not killing a female animal with young, not leaving a wounded animal to suffer, and not over hunting a particular species.

That's what Good Druids should be doing, at any rate.

I could easily see "burn civilization to the ground"-type Druids as being antagonists.


Mirage Wolf wrote:

Since druids are supposed to revere nature, does the act of using human society currency counter against the code?

Assuming trees are cut down to make furniture, houses, tools, toy, cart, ship or used as fuel to keep fire/maintain furnace etc., human society probably does more damages to nature than evil baddies.

To keep road safe, trees beside roads were also trimmed down in order for safer passage during medieval.

In cities, much excrement was collected and poured down in river which further damage the ecology system.

Why would a druid even use currency which not only goes against contact with man made metal, but also promotes trade flow which would require the usages of cart/ship that use woods?

Again... read the rules. the ONLY prohibition is against metal ARMOR, so as long as they's not using gold for armor, the druid is not in violation of their oath.

Cities are an issue of contention among druids. Some take the extreme view that all of them must be torn down. Some see a middle ground of accomodation. While others believe that cities can be just as much a part of nature's dynamic as the deep forest.

It's important to note that druids are not a monolithic block of thought. They can and do disagree... sometimes to the point of violence.


lemeres wrote:
Mirage Wolf wrote:
Assuming trees are cut down to make furniture, houses, tools, toy, cart, ship or used as fuel to keep fire/maintain furnace etc., human society probably does more damages to nature than evil baddies.

While druids would certainly be against industrial logging (for obvious reasons), some degree of cutting can actually help to improve the state of the forest and prevent disasters.

It is because trees present many problems... to other trees. Trees can grow too close together, making a mess of things. Trees can block the sun, preventing new trees from growing (which means the trees that do grow usually come from a new vacant spot, and a bunch grow at the same time; which means a bunch of trees with a similar age, and they might all get old and die at a around the same time- which leads to landslides). Old, sick trees can spread disease to other trees. They can interfere with water, making lots of sources dirty. I am not an expert on this, of course, so my details might be a bit shaky.

Carefully picking and removing problem trees can make the health of all the surrounding trees better, give other types of vegetation a chance to grow, and make life better for the forest animals.

So the difference between neutral stupid druids and smart druids is how dogmatic they are about cutting trees.

I actually made a nature-themed character in a campaign where this was used, but against it. Because the forests were managed to be relatively sunny, with fewer dead/dying trees., it was much better for certain organisms, but much worse for others. And my drow verminous hunter wasn't about to let their beloved aspect of nature go down quietly.


lemeres wrote:


Carefully picking and removing problem trees can make the health of all the surrounding trees better, give other types of vegetation a chance to grow, and make life better for the forest animals.

I'm not sure that's possible. Picking and removing problem trees will cause serious problems for the part of nature that relies on problem trees (like animals that nest in them, or like fungus that lives on rotten wood).

Even the sustainable-harvest type of druid is still picking and choosing which part of nature she likes and which part can die horribly of starvation.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
lemeres wrote:


Carefully picking and removing problem trees can make the health of all the surrounding trees better, give other types of vegetation a chance to grow, and make life better for the forest animals.

I'm not sure that's possible. Picking and removing problem trees will cause serious problems for the part of nature that relies on problem trees (like animals that nest in them, or like fungus that lives on rotten wood).

Even the sustainable-harvest type of druid is still picking and choosing which part of nature she likes and which part can die horribly of starvation.

Picking and choosing seems rather natural to me.

All forms of life try to further thier goals.

If humans didn't, if a Druid didn't, they'd be much more unnatural.


Well, in 14th century I believe European forests had been shrinking down considerably due to human society's usages of wood till black death spread out.

While pathfinder and D&D aren't a direct conversion of medieval real life, the amount of population would probably pose a threat to nature like what happened in real life.

It's odd that plant creatures and nature preservers don't fight back against human society. But then, the treants in LOTR never did anything when humans were doing it. Guess it's only evil when baddie does it.

Yeah I know it's a game but it feels like odd to me. If I put the feeling into words, it would be a pacifist living in ghetto beating people up to promote peace.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Studded leather is treated as Metal Armor???

Yes, even a little metal on their armor stops the spell casting.


I mean, the forest is supposed to burn down every once in a while, since that creates incredibly fertile soil and leads to new growth. It's entirely valid for a Druid to take the perspective of helping that along from time to time.

Like for example the prairie in central North America (now largely farmland) was an ecosystem that could not exist without either natural or anthropogenic burning. The indigenous folks living there way back when (which we tend to think were "in tune with the land" or something) would intentionally burn it every once in a while (having created fuel breaks to limit the spread of the fire) because the new growth this generates would attract animals. They almost certainly noticed that there would be a lot of game around after the prairie burned down periodically due to lightning strikes, and figured they could harness the same phenomenon to shepherd the land.

A potential concept for a druid is someone who realizes that trees are supposed to fall down, dry out, and catch fire, making room for new growth. But the presence of civilization acts to interrupt this cycle (they clear away deadfalls and put out fires), which the druid needs to act to correct. Probably the "burn it down and let nature take over" approach is CN.


lemeres wrote:


While druids would certainly be against industrial logging (for obvious reasons), some degree of cutting can actually help to improve the state of the forest and prevent disasters.

It can, but such a forest is also going to be "different from natural" which a druid may have a problem with. Yes a managed forest produces more big trees and board feet per year and is more resistant to disease, but it also has less ground cover for hiding critters, mid level canopy, snags for critter habitat etc.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
lemeres wrote:


While druids would certainly be against industrial logging (for obvious reasons), some degree of cutting can actually help to improve the state of the forest and prevent disasters.

It can, but such a forest is also going to be "different from natural" which a druid may have a problem with. Yes a managed forest produces more big trees and board feet per year and is more resistant to disease, but it also has less ground cover for hiding critters, mid level canopy, snags for critter habitat etc.

Yeah, but that knd of thinking can lead to slippery slopes.

If a druid sees a wounded animal wandering the woods, he would say '#$% it. I must leave it to nature to weed it out'. If they find that a growing population of wolves is wiping out all the deer, rabbits, etc.- prey species, and instead of trying to prevent this problem, he would say '#$%^ it, let it sort itself out'.

So you have a druid that is callous towards animals and does nothing to manage imbalances in nature. That is on the slope towards 'neutral stupid' or neutral 'do we even do anything?'. You have to ask 'what does my druid do other than picketing outside of a logging company?'

So it isn't hard to see a druid that prioritizes some natural processes over others. So picking the method that prevents landslides, allows the growth of smaller plants, and provides a nicer environment for the wildlife. It is a nice, moderate approach that encourages a lot of the stuff humans tend to like, and gives some degree of wood for personal use (which humans also tend to like).

Of course, a druid could pick an entirely different focus. As The Sideromancer mentioned- you could go for a druid that focuses on the 'cleaners' such as fungi and decomposition. Fire obsessed druids that want to start wildfires in areas adapted to that (such as ones that have seeds that sprout after a fire, since the competition is now fertilizer/ash). I view it as equally valid. It might lead to infighting with the 'pretty forest' druids above, but that is the nature of politics and philosophy. It could certainly make a decent adventure seed. Druid on druid warfare.


lemeres wrote:


So you have a druid that is callous towards animals and does nothing to manage imbalances in nature. That is on the slope towards 'neutral stupid' or neutral 'do we even do anything?'. You have to ask 'what does my druid do other than picketing outside of a logging company?'

at the other end you have someone constantly tilting at problems while creating new ones. Rabbits are a problem lets bring in more fox...and now they're eating the slower native wildlife too. "This will sort itself out, I only deal with outside interference" is a perfectly valid response.

Quote:
It is a nice, moderate approach that encourages a lot of the stuff humans tend to like, and gives some degree of wood for personal use (which humans also tend to like).

Which is A valid approach to being a druid (a neutral good one from the soound of it) but a neutral non interfering one is also a valid choice, and so is one that enjoys mother nature's inherent cruelty.

A druid might work with a logging company, or might hinder them. Even a Good druid might raise that hindrance to violence. Someone cutting down my friends home with an axe legitimately warrants a violent response to stop them, even if my friend has feathers.


if your worried about metal money then just use gemstones.


lemeres wrote:
good points

Infighting actually figures heavily in my headcanon origin of the Drow. The elves show a focus for plants, while the drow show a focus for arthropods. Given the fairly common predator-prey relationship between them, relations were strained at best. However it went, the elves won the resultant Druidic holy war, forcing the drow underground. Being the frailest race in the darklands, the drow had to adapt hard. Fleshwarping was an early attempt to make better fighters, without requiring too much more food (farming underground is real hard for those who don't know how, and they were reliant on animal help). Eventually the demons offered their support in exchange for obedience, and from then on the drow were ruled by whoever had Create Food and Water prepared.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Does a druid accept usage of gold violate druid code? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.