In the sequence of games to come for which the campaign has shifted focus from Florence up around the bend to the north and the west of Genoa, The High Wilds, one player is assuming the role of a Druid. I have found the Druid more stimulating to develop than most classes because I have grounded the class in devotion to the understanding of myth and so while the Druid is far from the most powerful magic using class he may well be among the most wise and the most sane. In keeping with the most important or central post I have made yet the Druid conforms to the π π e category of magic use.
Here is a portrait of the fellow. Initially we had agreed the player would try the Illusionist as his first magic using class - he has played the huntsman/assassin previously. It didn't take long before we realised that the Illusionist is laughably difficult to play as I have conceived it - being a kind of infant demigod bearing a localised reality of his own devising - and so I chose the yet undeveloped Druid as the magic using class for which his experience as a player would have been a natural apprenticeship. Given how few stories have survived about historical druids, almost to the extent one wonders if they existed at all, I think Gygax did a wonderful job consolidating the available information.
I will however be going my own way. The fifty or so Druids of The High Wilds have strong relationships with the two High Men who have Dakhens in The High Wilds. I haven't enjoyed developing a class as much since The High Man which was a race-as-class for my fourteen year old pal. I may present the details of class in a future post but for now will list the key concepts:
Man is Natural, God is pleased with Nature his creation as a whole, Sophisticated Religion counterposes Man and Nature - counterposes an ethical God and Nature, Animal empathy leads to animal emulation, Metamorphosis, Crow - Lapwing - Dog - Wolf - Roebuck - Irish Elk - Cobra - Naga, Fauna and Flora are Being, Fauna is Living, Flora is Dhyana, The Silver Beech Grove is sacred, The Lone Oak is sacred, The Dryad as Wife, The Bard as Exile.
Those who follow this blog will have read many times of Beings Ultramontane who live beyond the World of Men. Elves and gods (with a small 'g') are two further transcendental beings which I haven't mentioned yet and the Druid uniquely has a relationship with both. Below is The Night Occurrence of the god Raevael who, summoned by the most enlightened Druid in The High Wilds, exalts the marriage of a Druid and a Dryad. This is not a depiction of the god. This is how he manifests in his Night Occurence.
Here is the brief background sketch the player provided with the portrait above. The background is one of a young shaman from a viking culture who leaves his homeland in order to become a Druid:
Jonas Hallgrimsson (lit. son of Hallgrim), I am the son of The Appraisor Hallgrim. In good tradition, I was told at 18 that I could no longer campaign as it was assumed that I too had the gift, and that my destiny was to live close by the Long Hall and perform my duties as Appraisor, negotiator, magistrate.
It was only at age 23 that I discovered my deer form. My father had always been associated with the otter - a large and aggressive variety that inhabited the ice river that came down from the mountains. Long had I known that I would never be a swimmer, and so it was far from the riverbank, deep in the lower mountain forests that I saw the great deer and I knew.
I did not accept my destiny to remain in one place, and wanted to travel, migrate fast and free. On my 25th birthday I took the decision to leave, with less than 100 campaigns appraised and valued. I gathered my favourite earnings, my most prized being the strange floating woman, perhaps a key, and so my journey began.
There are no magic items in my game only powerful artifacts which relinquish their secrets slowly if at all. The player of the Druid wished to begin with an unusual item whose powers if any were a mystery to him. We designed and illustrated the item together. His intuition leads him to suspect that this object which was discovered on a viking raid is a key. It appears as a woman made from lustrous pale green-blue stone which is richly veined - Egyptian faience and turquoise. Her hair is of burning copper some of which fans out as if she was lying on the surface of a lake.