Does the Druid Dedication Archetype Feat require you to follow the basic Druid anathemas?


Rules Discussion

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The feat states,
"Choose an order as you would if you were a druid. You become a member of that order and are bound by its anathema" (Core Rulebook pg. 225).

The order anathema is seperate from the druid anathema and the only place the druid anathema is referenced is in the druid class itself.

That section says,
"The following acts are anathema to all druids:
Using metal armor or shields.
Despoiling natural places.
Teaching the Druidic language to non-druids.
Each druidic order also has additional anathema acts, detailed in the order’s entry."
(Core Rulebook pg. 128).

What do yall think? Are you considered a druid?


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

While I suppose the wording can be argued, the first part of the archetype description says that you join a druidic circle, and you also learn the druidic language, so I would say that this qualifies you as a druid for purposes of their overall anathema. An organization that disowns its members for teaching their secret language isn't going to just let a part-timer get away with that. That aside, I think that it's implied in the multiclassing.


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I would allow a character to forego following the standard anathema and only adhere to the order specific anathema. This allows for characters that can't get by without metal gear like say a liberator champion/druid character who specializes in freeing animals from captivity.

Sovereign Court

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beowulf99 wrote:
I would allow a character to forego following the standard anathema and only adhere to the order specific anathema. This allows for characters that can't get by without metal gear like say a liberator champion/druid character who specializes in freeing animals from captivity.

I agree, while the wording is ambiguous, the requirement to never use metal weapons and armor would disqualify the Dedication from being taken by too many characters. The anathemas that are more easily doable, like "don't teach the Druidic language to others" and "don't despoil the Wilderness", I would have consequences in the game if they were caught doi8ng them.


Rhatha wrote:
While I suppose the wording can be argued, the first part of the archetype description says that you join a druidic circle, and you also learn the druidic language, so I would say that this qualifies you as a druid for purposes of their overall anathema. An organization that disowns its members for teaching their secret language isn't going to just let a part-timer get away with that. That aside, I think that it's implied in the multiclassing.

I agree with this sentiment. The dedication feat clearly states you select an order as if you were a druid, AND BECOME A MEMBER of that order and are bound by its anathema. The anathema of all druids is as follows:

1) Using metal armor or shields.
2) Despoiling natural places.
3) Teaching the Druidic language to non-druids.
4) Each druidic order also has additional anathema acts, detailed in the order’s entry.

If your GM allows you to use metal weapons and armor, that's their discretion. But RAW states you are a druid if that order and bound to all druid anathema, not just the order anathema.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Rhatha wrote:
An organization that disowns its members for teaching their secret language isn't going to just let a part-timer get away with that.

Does it say that? All I'm seeing is that violating enough anathema makes you lose access to your spellcasting.

I do think this is a harsh reading of the rules, that multiclassing into druid makes you a druid and therefore bound by their anathema. The MCD only says you gain your order's anathema, not all druidic anathema. I'm just not seeing how it's supported in the text that gaining the order anathema means you gain all of them--and I'm not seeing how it's good for players at all.

Clearly the rules aren't obvious. But saying that learning druidic makes you a druid or the order's anathema encompasses all druid anathema too are both more Rules As Extrapolated and less RAW. And less RAI, as far as I can tell, as the visual example of a druid multiclass is in metal armor in the book...

Sovereign Court

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Sporkedup wrote:
Rhatha wrote:
An organization that disowns its members for teaching their secret language isn't going to just let a part-timer get away with that.

Does it say that? All I'm seeing is that violating enough anathema makes you lose access to your spellcasting.

I do think this is a harsh reading of the rules, that multiclassing into druid makes you a druid and therefore bound by their anathema. The MCD only says you gain your order's anathema, not all druidic anathema. I'm just not seeing how it's supported in the text that gaining the order anathema means you gain all of them--and I'm not seeing how it's good for players at all.

Clearly the rules aren't obvious. But saying that learning druidic makes you a druid or the order's anathema encompasses all druid anathema too are both more Rules As Extrapolated and less RAW. And less RAI, as far as I can tell, as the visual example of a druid multiclass is in metal armor in the book...

I agree. If they had wanted the Dedication to include all Druid anathema, it would have been easier to say "You gain access to the Cast a Spell activity using the Primal spell list and are bound by the Druid's anathemas." By instead moving it down to the "Choose an Order and you are bound by its anathemas" section, I think they are specifically saying you are only bound by that Order's anathemas.


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Taekkan wrote:
But RAW states you are a druid if that order and bound to all druid anathema, not just the order anathema.

If the RAW clearly said that this thread wouldn't exist. The text points to the order's anathema though, not the Druid's at large.


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Laran wrote:

The rules state that

"Each druidic order also has additional anathema acts, detailed in the order’s entry" p130

The order specific anathemas are specifically called out as ADDITIONAL anathema acts, thus every order has the base AND the others

"You become a member of that order and are bound by its anathema..." p225

You are bound by its anathema not just the additional ones

I think the disconnect here is that being a part of that Order is not the same as being an actual member of a Druid order, or actually being a druid.

The only time you gain the basic druid anathema's according to the book is when you are a Druid and you gain the Anathema class "feature".

Think of it as being a member of the more specific order without being a full druid club member. If you choose Animal order, you can't murder animals. If you pick storm, you can't pollute.

Nothing about that says that you can't use metal. The teaching the druidic language I would say is easy to handle in story rather than rule.

At least that is what makes sense to me. It also opens up interesting character concepts, which is always a plus.

The Exchange

The conceptualization of the base Druid anathema as strictly a class feature and that a multiclass dedication does NOT get all the class features of the base class is interesting.

However, it is anathema for a druid to teach a non-druid the druidic language. Since you learn the druidic language via the MCD, I believe you are considered a Druid


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Laran wrote:

The conceptualization of the base Druid anathema as strictly a class feature and that a multiclass dedication does NOT get all the class features of the base class is interesting.

However, it is anathema for a druid to teach a non-druid the druidic language. Since you learn the druidic language via the MCD, I believe you are considered a Druid

Anathema does not mean impossible though. If the book says non-druids cannot learn druidic, then I think that would work. But druids are just not supposed to do it, and can lose their spellcasting after enough violations. Huge problem for players, not a big deal for old druids or those who value their stewardship over nature above their own personal power.

Anyways. It's true that non-druids are very unlikely to be taught druidic, but player characters are generally assumed to be pretty unusual.

Scarab Sages

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Well, if you somehow were taught druidic as a non-druid both you and the druid that taught you would be kicked out of the order and would not have access to druid spellcasting or any benefits of their order. So even if you were somehow a non-druid druid the guy that just taught you the language loses their ability to teach you anything else.

You gain the benefits of the archetype by learning Druidic and becoming a member of an order, which is something only a Druid can do (for the reason above), which is why the archetype specifically says "You become a member of that order"

What says you can't use metal is that "If you perform enough acts that are anathema to nature, you lose your magical abilities that come from the druid class, including your primal spellcasting and the benefits of your order." - this says anathema to nature, not to the Druid class specifically, though it does say:

The following acts are anathema to all druids:

Using metal armor or shields.
Despoiling natural places.
Teaching the Druidic language to non-druids.

Note it says all druids, which MC druids are because that's what multiclassing is. Also because that's what "You have entered a druidic circle" means.


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Kios wrote:

Well, if you somehow were taught druidic as a non-druid both you and the druid that taught you would be kicked out of the order and would not have access to druid spellcasting or any benefits of their order. So even if you were somehow a non-druid druid the guy that just taught you the language loses their ability to teach you anything else.

You gain the benefits of the archetype by learning Druidic and becoming a member of an order, which is something only a Druid can do (for the reason above), which is why the archetype specifically says "You become a member of that order"

What says you can't use metal is that "If you perform enough acts that are anathema to nature, you lose your magical abilities that come from the druid class, including your primal spellcasting and the benefits of your order." - this says anathema to nature, not to the Druid class specifically, though it does say:

The following acts are anathema to all druids:

Using metal armor or shields.
Despoiling natural places.
Teaching the Druidic language to non-druids.

Note it says all druids, which MC druids are because that's what multiclassing is. Also because that's what "You have entered a druidic circle" means.

I tend to agree with you from a lore perspective, but from a rules and gameplay perspective, I dont believe it is that cut and dry.

Why couldn't there be a Knight Errant of the forest out there, using metal to defend the trees and primal magic to save its denizens?

That is not a valid character if you apply the rule in the way that you describe.

Side note, I'm sure I am not the only one who thinks that the not spreading the druidic language thing is weird right? The word primal magic tells me that it is a magic user that doesnt observe the rules of society. So why apply a rule to spellcasting for primal casters that is obviously based on a societies rules? It's not like druids are flavored like clerics where they have a specific and capricious deity to appease.

That anathema has always bothered me.

The Exchange

The problem is that the rules state there are restrictions on Druids. The rules question is really whether a character who multi-classes into druid is considered a Druid.

"You have entered a druidic circle"
You are taught Druidic
You can take Druid only feats

Thus, you are not the lone padwan of a renegade druid, you are being taught by a group of druids. All of whom have decided that it is so important that you be taught druidic magic that they not only allow you ignore the restrictions that they all face but they are willing to potentially sacrifice their abilities as druids so you can ignore these restrictions.

This would be rare (DM caveat bypass of rules) and definitely not the standard rules.

*edit* It would be very very odd if a group said "you have to abide by the advanced restrictions but not the basic ones" especially for a group which says all druids have to abide by them

However, this is my opinion

re side note: Yes, it is weird


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Kios wrote:

Well, if you somehow were taught druidic as a non-druid both you and the druid that taught you would be kicked out of the order and would not have access to druid spellcasting or any benefits of their order. So even if you were somehow a non-druid druid the guy that just taught you the language loses their ability to teach you anything else.

You gain the benefits of the archetype by learning Druidic and becoming a member of an order, which is something only a Druid can do (for the reason above), which is why the archetype specifically says "You become a member of that order"

What says you can't use metal is that "If you perform enough acts that are anathema to nature, you lose your magical abilities that come from the druid class, including your primal spellcasting and the benefits of your order." - this says anathema to nature, not to the Druid class specifically, though it does say:

The following acts are anathema to all druids:

Using metal armor or shields.
Despoiling natural places.
Teaching the Druidic language to non-druids.

Note it says all druids, which MC druids are because that's what multiclassing is. Also because that's what "You have entered a druidic circle" means.

Just to keep digging at this for fun...

The MCD says, as the very first quote in this thread, you choose an order "as you would if you were a druid." That directly says you are not actually a druid. I dunno, seems your interpretation of the significance of multiclassing is a lot heavier than the text actually supports.


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As for a dedicated champion, a dedicated druid will, imo, have to respect all the tennets and anathemas.

Can you pick feats from the druid class? You are a druid.

The Exchange

HumbleGamer wrote:

As for a dedicated champion, a dedicated druid will, imo, have to respect all the tennets and anathemas.

Can you pick feats from the druid class? You are a druid.

It is enough. People have had the arguments made for both sides of the case. When the arguments devolve into thought exercises it has hit the point of no value


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Since not using metal armor and weapons would severely restrict who could realistically take the druid archetype, I'd read it as requiring only adherence to the order's anathema.


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If you look at it as they have the base druid anathema, then do they gain Shield Block or Wild Empathy? After all ALL druids get those too. Isn't it more reasonably to assume that the multiclass just gets what it specifically says it does and doesn't get what it doesn't say? Anathema is as much a class ability as either of those two so why give one away for free? I think everyone would by up in arms if I suggested taking the multiclass should get you Wild Empathy for free.


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I would also like to add that using the Champion dedication is not a great argument. Champion specifically states that you use the Deity of your choice's anathemas as well as your Order's tenants. There it is specifically saying that you get those anathema.

Druid does not say in specific terms that you gain standard Druid anathema, only order based anathema.

Scarab Sages

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I know I've already weighed in on this, but I'd also like to point out that in the Druid anathema section, it states "Each druidic order also has additional anathema acts, detailed in the order’s entry."

My reading of this is that each order has all the listed anathema for Druids and additional ones, because otherwise it should say that each order has it's own anathema acts rather than say they have additional ones. "Additional" anathema would require the order to already have anathema to add to.

I understand that some people may interpret this a different way, but by the rules I've laid out so far it would take quite a bit of stretching of the rules to enable you to learn these abilities without becoming a Druid. A GM could allow it to happen, but I would not consider it RAW.

I also feel strongly that if you multiclass, you are becoming a member of both classes. You just don't have the abilities of someone that trained in that class for a longer amount of time as their main focus.

One thing I don't understand is why this is so limiting to people. There are other materials to make weapons and armor out of and if you are going to modify rules, it seems much easier to reskin existing armor than to erase core class concepts.


Following the raw I do agree with you, but it makes me feel uncomfortable.

But maybe it is simply not to limit players in terms of dedications ( if not because of the anathema ).

@Kios: good point!


There is certainly merit to both points of view. Probably best dealt as a case by case sort of deal.


Kios wrote:

I know I've already weighed in on this, but I'd also like to point out that in the Druid anathema section, it states "Each druidic order also has additional anathema acts, detailed in the order’s entry."

My reading of this is that each order has all the listed anathema for Druids and additional ones, because otherwise it should say that each order has it's own anathema acts rather than say they have additional ones. "Additional" anathema would require the order to already have anathema to add to.

I understand that some people may interpret this a different way, but by the rules I've laid out so far it would take quite a bit of stretching of the rules to enable you to learn these abilities without becoming a Druid. A GM could allow it to happen, but I would not consider it RAW.

I also feel strongly that if you multiclass, you are becoming a member of both classes. You just don't have the abilities of someone that trained in that class for a longer amount of time as their main focus.

One thing I don't understand is why this is so limiting to people. There are other materials to make weapons and armor out of and if you are going to modify rules, it seems much easier to reskin existing armor than to erase core class concepts.

I will say that as a general rule I dont read "additional" as going both ways.

If you order a steak at a restaurant and it comes with an additional side of potatoes, do you assume that a potato comes with a steak?

Edit* To clarify, the archetype doesnt refer to the order anathema as additional, only saying that you must abide by that orders anathema. This is a case where I believe they are saying order the potatoes. If the archetype referred to the order anathema as additional, I would agree with you.


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What are the consequences of violating a druidic anathema? If it is the loss of something that the druid multiclassing feats don't give you anyway, then that could be the answer.


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David knott 242 wrote:


What are the consequences of violating a druidic anathema? If it is the loss of something that the druid multiclassing feats don't give you anyway, then that could be the answer.

Spellcasting and any focus spells seem pretty important. You also lose any benefits of your order. So essentially you lose all non-skill benefits of the archetype.

You can use atone to get access to everything back of course, but if you are constantly breaking the anathema because of your use of metal equipment, then that will get spendy quite quickly.


Samurai wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
I would allow a character to forego following the standard anathema and only adhere to the order specific anathema. This allows for characters that can't get by without metal gear like say a liberator champion/druid character who specializes in freeing animals from captivity.
I agree, while the wording is ambiguous, the requirement to never use metal weapons and armor would disqualify the Dedication from being taken by too many characters. The anathemas that are more easily doable, like "don't teach the Druidic language to others" and "don't despoil the Wilderness", I would have consequences in the game if they were caught doi8ng them.

From a practical standpoint I think that we can agree that the only anathema we are discussing is that against using metal armor or shields.

I think if you are a druid and you go around purposely trying to burn down all the forests or you start a class for everyone to learn Druidic in three easy lessons and see what those green capped weirdos are really saying to each other that your god or your philosophy will stop granting you spells.

So the question is can a multiclass druid such as a champion were metal armor or use metal shields or is this individual limited to hide armor. I'd say that depends on the specific order and different orders might have different rules even if they are the same. There might be a leaf order that is really militant about it because mining metal from the earth despoils it (in their view). There may be another leaf order that frowns on it but will make exceptions for a few "weirdos" who dedicatee themselves say first to freeing slaves. There might by another that says hey you only have to worry about not wearing the metal armor while you are casting spells. Perhaps this restriction is in fact not a true tenet of druidism but a practical one. Maybe the amount of metal from armor disrupts the primal magic of druids such that it can't work. BTW: if this is the case then Sorcerer's who use primal magic and take armor proficiency feats would be banned from wearing metal armor even if not a druid.

I see the problem with this question is people reading the book and demanding to know the "rule" that everyone must follow and implement it. Rules are more guidelines to be determined by the players. How do you want to play your game. What Druid Orders are there, what do the teach, are their regional druid orders for instance do Goblin Druids who fight mercilessly in an endless war with elves all join the same druidic order as elves. I would say not, each race has its own orders because they exclude each other due to racial war. By that token do all druids have the same druidic cant. Would not goblins in this scenario have their own druidic language that they keep from other druids. Perhaps the animal orders are racially excluded but the leaf orders don't care. Maybe the storm orders share the same cant and are combined but the goblins and elves vie for control of that order through politics and even assassination when the politics get heated. Perhaps the wild orders feel the racial divide is against nature itself and the elves and goblins in that order who are druids work together to end the war.

Each group above would approach the same question in very different ways and the dictates of that group would be enforced by the god or even the philosophical tenant. IS the god making the tenant or are the followers influencing the god. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Does art imitate life or does Life imitate art? Who knows?

I would suggest GMs being forced to answer this question by the players choose a roleplaying answer as opposed to a rulesplaying answer.

Just my advice!


This might be gated by 'Good luck getting a druid to have anything to do with you while you're clanking about in steel. Hey, one makes an offer. All you have to do is accept an indefinite-length Geas ritual accepting their anathema, including basic ones. And ceremonially destroying your own stuff. OK, fine, you can get the runes off it first.'

Personally, between 'you cast spells as a druid' (which sounds like you do it without armour because druid boss say so) and the other flavours of the dedication, I can't see why you wouldn't want the anathemas, or at least accept them.

Besides, the game's young. Some more nonmetal armour is probably out there. Stoneplate was a thing, remember? (Uncommon I'd bet but ... )


Qaianna wrote:
'you cast spells as a druid'

That's the info under it's primal spellcasting ability which makes NO mention of armor. It tells you things like, "you can usually hold a primal focus (such as holly and mistletoe) for spells requiring material components instead of needing to use a spell component pouch", you use "Prepared spells" and "Since your key ability is Wisdom, your spell attack rolls and spell DCs use your Wisdom modifier."

Anathema is a totally different ability.


graystone wrote:
If you look at it as they have the base druid anathema, then do they gain Shield Block or Wild Empathy? After all ALL druids get those too. Isn't it more reasonably to assume that the multiclass just gets what it specifically says it does and doesn't get what it doesn't say? Anathema is as much a class ability as either of those two so why give one away for free? I think everyone would by up in arms if I suggested taking the multiclass should get you Wild Empathy for free.

By this note it doesn't matter what anathema they gain from the order. Because they don't have the core anathema feature and that is what gives the penalty :)

So druids just ignore the dedication restrictions RAW :P

(Aside from this silly interpretation that is 100% not RAI, the reason it is a debate is because the dedication talks about anathema. It doesn't talk about shield block or wild empathy)


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The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
graystone wrote:
If you look at it as they have the base druid anathema, then do they gain Shield Block or Wild Empathy? After all ALL druids get those too. Isn't it more reasonably to assume that the multiclass just gets what it specifically says it does and doesn't get what it doesn't say? Anathema is as much a class ability as either of those two so why give one away for free? I think everyone would by up in arms if I suggested taking the multiclass should get you Wild Empathy for free.

By this note it doesn't matter what anathema they gain from the order. Because they don't have the core anathema feature and that is what gives the penalty :)

So druids just ignore the dedication restrictions RAW :P

(Aside from this silly interpretation that is 100% not RAI, the reason it is a debate is because the dedication talks about anathema. It doesn't talk about shield block or wild empathy)

Not at all. It talks about a specific anathema, the one from the order and NOT the general class feature. Anathema have the same generic penalty: you lose the magical abilities from that class. If there in any question what's a "magical abilities", they "are determined by the GM".


graystone wrote:
Not at all. It talks about a specific anathema, the one from the order and NOT the general class feature. Anathema have the same generic penalty: you lose the magical abilities from that class. If there in any question what's a "magical abilities", they "are determined by the GM".

But the anathema class feature isn't mentioned by name. Ergo it is only referring to the part in the order, as a druid multiclass isn't a druid and not subject to the "all druids" part of the anathema.

Anathema means slightly different things to each class that gets it as well.

So it is reasonable to assume if we are only bound by the multiclass anathema because that is all that is mentioned, that it is a moral guideline rather than a mechanical enforcement.


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The book is so confusing on this, that I joined just to post this. I assumed that joining an order, and learning Druidic makes you a Druid, and thus unable to wear metal armor. However, on page 225, the art for the sample MC druid is clearly wearing metal armor, so it made me go WTF, and searching lead me here, where there seems to be no official answer. :(


Aratorin wrote:
The book is so confusing on this, that I joined just to post this. I assumed that joining an order, and learning Druidic makes you a Druid, and thus unable to wear metal armor. However, on page 225, the art for the sample MC druid is clearly wearing metal armor, so it made me go WTF, and searching lead me here, where there seems to be no official answer. :(

That is... Hilariously true. Huh. Well, I suppose that is some very circumstantial evidence to support the no basic anathema stance.


The Gleeful Grognard wrote:
Anathema means slightly different things to each class that gets it as well.

What triggers the penalty varies, not the results: there is no substantial difference with the penalty between cleric and druid as both lose their magic abilities.


beowulf99 wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
The book is so confusing on this, that I joined just to post this. I assumed that joining an order, and learning Druidic makes you a Druid, and thus unable to wear metal armor. However, on page 225, the art for the sample MC druid is clearly wearing metal armor, so it made me go WTF, and searching lead me here, where there seems to be no official answer. :(
That is... Hilariously true. Huh. Well, I suppose that is some very circumstantial evidence to support the no basic anathema stance.

Not sure how deep into the rules the artist is/was though, so his art doesn't necessarily provide authoritative guidance, it's just there to look cool.

Silver Crusade

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*nods*

If the art order even contained any restrictions.

"Elf holding plant with magic in one hand and weapon in the other." might have been it.


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Rysky wrote:

*nods*

If the art order even contained any restrictions.

"Elf holding plant with magic in one hand and weapon in the other." might have been it.

True. Could have also been "Elf Champion using earth magic."

We don't know how Paizo orders art after all. But it is Funny that after poring over the dedication as much as I did, I didn't even notice the artwork. Makes me want to go back through and appreciate some of the artwork I may have glanced over.

Silver Crusade

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beowulf99 wrote:
Rysky wrote:

*nods*

If the art order even contained any restrictions.

"Elf holding plant with magic in one hand and weapon in the other." might have been it.

True. Could have also been "Elf Champion using earth magic."

We don't know how Paizo orders art after all. But it is Funny that after poring over the dedication as much as I did, I didn't even notice the artwork. Makes me want to go back through and appreciate some of the artwork I may have glanced over.

Do eet. Do eeeeet.


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My take: I have a fairly easy time believing that wearing metal armor might not be anathema to a Multiclass druid. I have a very hard time believing that teaching the Druidic language to non-druids is not anathema to MC druids; that seems like a rather large loophole in the world lore. And the two are kinda linked. Seems like a discussion to have with your GM in a home game, and something to hope to get developer clarification on for PFS purposes. One of my GM credit blobs is probably going to be a Ranger / MC Druid to get back the spellcasting of yore, though Archer Ranger means that Leather Armor will max out my AC, so there's no real hardship there.

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