Friday, January 13, 2017

The Urbane Druid

Lydia Nightshade is one of those people who seems to know everyone. She's at all the most exclusive galas, she's never denied entry into the city's most secret night spots, and it seems like she can bend the ear of anyone in the ruling elite with her charms. All it takes is a flash of her big doe eyes, and a hint of her playful smile, and people turn to putty.

What is her game, though? Why does she cultivate this garden of influence and friendship? Well, because someone has to speak for the trees, and she knows that if she can put her words into the mouths of the powerful that this place of brick and mortar could become a sanctuary for the green in every form it takes.

Of course it's this season. Spider silk and moonbeams. Where did I get it? Darling, you'd never believe.

The Urbane Druid

As I've said time and time again in posts like Make People Interact With Your Character (Not Your Class), we tend to get hung up on archetypes, and ideas when it comes to RPGs. Wizards have long, gray beards, rangers all have chin stubble, and clerics will tirelessly try to recruit you onto their worship team. We tend to forget that most of the things we associate with certain classes just aren't written into the rules. In this case druids and barbarians find themselves in the same boat. Both of them have traditionally been associated with the wild places of the world, but nowhere in the rules does it say you have to live in the forest and forsake the glory of corner coffee shops, and late nights at the pub.

Though you may need special dispensation for your +1.
Just like you can choose to use the urban barbarian archetype to immerse yourself in the feel of a city-dwelling savage, you have the option of playing an urban druid. But while that's one way of doing it, that's not what the urbane druid concept is about. Rather, the urbane druid is someone who embraces the manners, social charm, and culture of the city, with a twist. They subvert the rules, bringing nature into places no one expects it to be. They are the ones who set up animal rescues, and who tend to public parks. They're the ones who teach new generations how to respect nature, and how to reap its benefits without harming it.

And, when necessary, they're the ones who step-up to protect the green inside the city walls. Sometimes that means unleashing raw magic, and the fury of the beasts... but just as often it can be a subtler, more insidious sort of defense. Swaying hearts and minds, until even those who were once your enemies can't remember why they ever disagreed with you. And doing all of it with a smile on your face, and a clever witticism ready on your lips.

That's why I'd recommend the Feyspeaker archetype for this concept. Not only that, but you can take background traits like Friends in High Places, or Clever Wordplay to help boost your powers in the social arena, and navigate the eddies of the city's power structures.

Sure you lose out on summon nature's ally as a class feature, and you take a hit to your BAB, but there are bonuses, too. You gain enchantment and illusion spells, for a start, along with a slew of social skills. Most useful, though, is the fact that you cast using your Charisma modifier rather than your Wisdom modifier.

And with the power of the fey sliding through your voice, those fools on the city planning commission don't have a chance. The park will grow, it will thrive, and like ivy, the green will awaken the city's stony heart.

If you're looking for more inspiration, check out 5 Tips For Playing Better Druids!

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