Monday, August 24, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 9

Today I’m continuing with the Druid spell list, covering levels 5, 6 and 7.

5th LEVEL: Wall of Fire, Control Winds, Pass Plant, Hold Plant, Animal Growth, Commune With Nature, Anti-Plant Shell, Transmute Rock to Mud, Turn Sticks to Snakes, and Animal Summoning II.

Wall of Fire, Animal Growth, Transmute Rock to Mud and Turn Sticks to Snakes are all pre-existing spells. Hold Plant is a variation on Hold Monster that works on animated plants like Ents and Shambling Mounds. Commune With Nature is much like the Cleric spell Commune, but the Druid must perform the spell outdoors, and only gets answers which pertain to nature. Anti-Plant Shell is a spell much like Anti-Magic Shell that stops all plant-based attacks. Animal Summoning II is simply a more powerful version of Animal Summoning I.

Control Winds: This spell allows the caster to either calm a strong wind, or create winds of great force. The winds created are strong enough to drive flying creatures from the air and make sailing impossible.

Pass Plant: The caster of this spell can pass from one type of tree to another of the same type within 480 feet. In a somewhat ludicrously exhaustive touch, there is a list of tree types that the spell can affect, and certain types get a bonus or penalty to the distance traveled. I think this is the spell I was getting mixed up with when I wrote about Plant Door yesterday. Quite obviously, that spell is simply used to create a tunnel through dense forest. This is the one that lets you teleport.

6th LEVEL: Conjure Fire Elemental, Weather Summoning, Transport via Plants, Anti-Animal Shell, Animal Summoning III, Finger of Death, Turn Wood.

Finger of Death and Feeblemind are both pre-existing spells. Anti-Animal Shell is a variation on Anti-Plant Shell, and Animal Summoning III is a stronger version of Animal Summoning I.

Conjure Fire Elemental: This is pretty much the same as the magic-user spell Conjure Elemental, except that it can only summon a Fire Elemental. But given that Druids have a stronger connection to fire, the elemental won’t turn on the druid. There’s also a chance that a few salamanders might be summoned, or that the elemental will be super-huge. Gotta love those random old-school D&D factors.

Weather Summoning: This lets the druid create any weather pattern he wants, so long as it’s reasonably consistent with the current environment. Only Druids of 11th level or higher can make really extreme weather, and druids may act in concert to combine effects. As mentioned yesterday, this is pretty nasty when combined with Call Lightning.

Transport via Plants: This is like Pass Plant, but the Druid can go from one plant to another of the same type he has seen or heard about with no range restrictions. The only caveat is that if there’s an error (as in the Teleport spell) the druid will go to a totally different species and may end up very far away from his intended destination.

Turn Wood: This creates a giant wall of force that repels any wooden object in its path.

7th LEVEL: Fire Storm, Control Weather, Conjure Earth Elemental, Animate Rock, Reincarnation, Creeping Doom, Confusion, Transmute Metal to Wood

Control Weather, Reincarnation, and Confusion are pre-existing spells. Conjure Earth Elemental is the same as the fire elemental spell above. Animate Rock is a variation on Animate Any Object, that only affects stone.

Fire Storm: This spell creates flame in a large area, with the same damage and effect as a Wall of Fire. So it doesn’t do a whole lot of damage, but it can set stuff on fire and can be used to extinguish a big fire as well.

Creeping Doom: This spell summons 100-1,000 small insects and centipedes and spiders and other creepy-crawlies. They move forward and attack anything they are commanded to. There’s no damage range given, so I’ll have to take a look at the rules for insects in OD&D (alas, my books are not with me just now). Needless to say I won’t be making several hundred attack rolls a round, so I’ll probably come up with some formula that averages out the number of hits for each level of Armor Class, and deal 1 point of damage for each hit. That sounds plenty deadly to me.

Transmute Metal to Wood: This spell changes metal into wood permanently. Saving throws apply of course, but eventually that vorpal sword is going to be transmuted if enough attacks hit it…

So that’s the Druid spell list. Alas, there’s not much here in the way of campaign tidbits, but I do need to explain why they are no longer drawing from the complete list of Cleric and Magic-User spells. The obvious answer is to tie it into the dungeons, and why the Druids are exploring the depths. I’ve already decided that the aberrant nature of the dungeon and its denizens is a threat to the natural world that the Druids would like to see dealt with. I’ll place something down there, either an object or a monster or something, whose awakening has caused a sudden limitation in the spell-casting powers of the Druids. It’s something I’ll have to make insanely difficult to correct – though not impossible. Although I plan to follow the development of D&D as closely as possible, I’m not opposed to derailment by the PCs. It’s their game after all.

Next: Monsters! And very cool ones at that…

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 8

Today I'm going to take a look at the new spell list for the Druid class. Previously, as a monster in Supplement I, Druids were a sort of multi-classed Cleric/Magic-User, and could cast spells from both classes. Now they get their own spell list. Although it draws from the list for Clerics and Magic-Users, and also includes a few brand new spells, the power level is a stiff drop. I'm going to take a stab at explaining that tomorrow, but first I'll look at the spells themselves.

1st LEVEL: Predict Weather, Locate Animals, Detect Snares & Pits, Detect Magic, Purify Water, and Faerie Fire.

Most of these are self-explanatory, and in general are just nature-themed variations on existing spells. Faerie Fire outlines the target in a faint glow, and is mostly useful for making an enemy easier to hit in the dark. Nevertheless it's a well-known D&D spell, and makes its debut here.

2nd LEVEL: Produce Flame, Locate Plants, Speak With Animals, Cure Light Wounds, Obscurement, Create Water, Heat Metal, Warp Wood.

Speak With Animals, Cure Light Wounds and Create Water are existing Cleric spells, while Locate Plants is a variation on Locate Animals (itself a variation on Locate Objects).

Produce Flame: The druid can make a small flame spring from his palm. It's mostly useful for igniting combustibles like wood and paper, and it's definitely not intended as an attack spell, as no damage range is given. No doubt someone will try it at some point, though, so I'll probably go with a range of 1d4.

Obscurement: This spell summons a mist that the Druid can hide in.

Heat Metal: Given that Druids are forbidden from using metal armour and weapons, it's appropriate that they get a spell specifically designed to hose anyone who attacks them with those very things. It makes any metal get progressively hotter, causing damage, and maybe blistering a hand or baking someone's head until he gets dizzy and fall unconscious.

Warp Wood: This spell makes straight pieces of wood bend out of shape. The examples given are spears, arrows, and boats, but I would think that the most useful application is on dungeon doors.

3rd LEVEL: Pyrotechnics, Protection From Fire, Call Lightning, Cure Disease, Hold Animal, Plant Growth, Water Breathing, Neutralize Poison.

Pyrotechnics, Cure Disease, Plant Growth, Water Breathing and Neutralize Poison are all existing spells. Hold Animal is a variant on Hold Monster that only affects birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.

Protection From Fire: Really? Is this the first time this spell has appeared? I'm shocked. Anyway, when cast on a non-druid it confers the same abilities as a Ring of Fire Resistance. On a Druid, it confers complete resistance to fire, and that includes fire balls, meteor swarms, balrogs, and dragons. Very, very nice, even though the spell ends when one of those attacks hits it.

Call Lightning: This spell summons a lightning bolt that deals 8d6 damage, with an extra damage die per level of the Druid. That sounds awesome, but the spell can only be used outside during a storm, and you can only summon one bolt every 10 minutes. But, combine it with the 6th level Weather Summoning, and you've got yourself a nasty spell.

4th LEVEL: Produce Fire, Protection From Lightning, Speak With Plants, Plant Door, Insect Plague, Control Temperature 10' radius, Cure Serious Wounds, Animal Summoning I, Hallucinatory Forest, Dispel Magic

Speak With Plants, Insect Plague, Cure Serious Wounds, Animal Summoning I and Dispel Magic are all existing spells. Animal Summoning I was a Cleric spell called Conjure Animals. Also, Protection From Lightning is much the same as Protection From Fire.

Produce Fire: A version of Produce Flame with a much larger area. It can also be used to extinguish a fire, so that's useful.

Plant Door: The use of this spell is a little hazy. It allows the Druid to create a door in dense plant growth or a tree trunk, and only other Druids or a dryad can pass through. But where does the door lead? Is it anywhere within a 100' radius? That seems the likely option, but it needs a little clarification.

Control Temperatures, 10' radius: This spell can raise or lower temperatures by 50 degrees (Fahrenheit, I assume). It needs a bit of mistletoe, which is the standard Druid holy symbol.

Hallucinatory Forest: This spell makes the target believe it is in a forest, though it doesn't work on other druids, magical forest creatures, or ents. I'm having some trouble thinking of uses for this, but those are some of the best spells I think. I enjoy it when the players take something like this and turn it against me.

Tomorrow: I'll finish up the Druid spells.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 7

Looking at the psionic abilities for Clerics, there is a lot of overlap from the previous two entries, so this should be a quick post. As before, I’ll start with the Basic Abilities.

The following abilities are replicated from the Fighter or Magic-User: Detection of Evil/Good, Levitation, Hypnosis, Domination, ESP, Mind Over Body, and Body Equilibrium. The rest are as follows.

Empathy: Lets the user sense the basic emotional state of the subject.

Cell Adjustment: The user has the power to heal wounds and cure diseases. I think it’s a damn shame that this ability is only available to Clerics. Spreading the healing workload out to some other classes ought to be one of the first things that using psionics should achieve.

Animal Telepathy: The user can communicate with animals mentally. This begins with the ability to communicate with mammals, then adds more animal types until finally it includes monstrous animals (like owlbears I guess) and plants.

And now we move on to the Superior Abilities. Molecular Rearrangement, Precognition, Dimension Walking, and Astral Projection are duplicated from the other classes. That leaves us with a pretty good selection of unique abilities to go through.

Aura Alteration: This ability allows the user to disguise the aura of a cursed object, which is described here as ‘easily distinguished’. This is the first mention of this at all, and kind of defeats the purpose of cursed items to begin with (i.e. to hose any players who pick one up). So I will interpret that to mean that curses are easily detected by magic. Which is fine by me – anyone cautious enough to use a spell to check his magic items deserves to be rewarded. You know, unless it’s been disguised with this power.

Telempathic Projection: This ability allows the user to project basic emotions into the minds of a bunch of targets. So you can make everyone thirsty, or hungry, or angry or whatever.

Mass Domination: This ability allows the user to Dominate multiple targets, and on top of that the duration can last for weeks at a time. The only restrictions are that the targets can’t be made to act entirely against their will, and that extremely intelligent creatures can never be dominated. A caveat is also there for creatures with strong personalities, but no game effects are given.

Probability Travel: The user of this ability can travel to different planes and parallel worlds. Some uses are given for the power: to commune with friendly powers, or explore probabilities of a course of action. It sounds useful, until you read the bit where the ability corresponds to Astral Projecting into space – your character will have a high chance of being blown away by the Psychic Wind. But it’s easily the most interesting ability here, and it’s a shame that it gets tossed off in a one paragraph write-up. At least it establishes the existence of parallel worlds and alternate realities.

Next: I’ll try to quickly run through the Druid spell list.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 6

I’ll begin first with a correction: the list of powers given yesterday also applies to Thieves and Assassins. This is a nice rationalization for me, as it ties in all the classes with no magical ability.

Now we move in to the abilities available to Magic-Users and Illusionists. Beginning with their Basic Abilities, there are a few that are exactly like the Fighting Man’s – Levitation, Clauraudience, Clairvoyance, Reduction and Expansion. In addition, there are some that are basically the same as some spells – Detection of Good/Evil, Detection of Magic, ESP, and Hypnosis (which is like the Suggestion spell).

Molecular Agitation is the only Basic Ability of note. It allows the user to rapidly move an object’s molecules, thereby setting it on fire with his mind. And yes, it works on flesh, dealing 1 point of cumulative damage per round. And although the target must be in view, it also works with Clairvoyance! That’s a nasty combo.

There is a bit of overlap in the Superior Abilities as well. Precognition, Telekinesis, and Astral Projection are like the Fighting Man abilities of the same name. Dimension Door is exactly like the spell. Teleport is as well, but psionic strength points can be expended to lessen the chance of materializing too high or too low. Etherealness mimics the potion, and it also factors in the psychic winds in the Astral Plane. Shape Alteration is similar to the Polymorph Self spell, but the user doesn’t have a chance to take on the persona of the creature imitated. The only other ability is Telepathic Projection, which lets the user mentally communicate with someone else who has ESP, and give mental commands to others.

So there’s not much to say about the abilities given to Magic-Users. There are certainly some things that could break a game if obtained early, but that’s half the fun. And a high-level Wizard isn’t going to get much of an advantage beyond his already god-like abilities.

NEXT: The Cleric abilities.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 5

Now we come to the list of psionic powers that each class has access to. The first thing to note is that we get confirmation that Paladins, Rangers, Assassins, and Illusionists can all be psionic. Only Druids and Monks are specifically ruled out. It’s interesting to see here that the rule books are referencing stuff that had only been printed in The Strategic Review. It’s a far cry from the highly optional content of later TSR magazines.

Fighting Men, Rangers and Paladins: Earlier, these classes were said to have access to psionic powers based on the discipline of yoga. I can see that. Most of the powers are to do with controlling the wielder’s own body or using standard telepath/telekinetic type stuff. Each class has a selection of basic powers and superior powers.

The fighter’s basic powers are as follows:

Reduction: The user can shrink up to 1 foot per level. Not too useful at first, but once you hit level six and can become the size of an ant the possibilities open up. That's the example given, but I assume your average Hobbit could become ant-sized at level three.

Expansion: The fighter can get bigger, and his strength increases proportionately. I guess a look at the heights of the various types of giants would give a good indication of damage bonuses and such.

Levitation: It’s about the same as the spell.

Domination: Gives you complete control over the subject, but it costs more points the more hit dice the target has.

Mind Over Body: Lets you ignore the need for 'certain bodily needs' for days at a time. They mean food, water and sleep, of course.

Invisibility: Like the standard spell, where attacking makes you visible again.

Precognition: Ugh. Gives the user a chance to correctly predict the immediate future. They try to balance it out by giving chances for failure, and greater cost the more factors are involved in the prediction. But these types of powers are usually pretty rough on the DM.

Suspend Animation: Lets the user play dead effectively.

Body Equilibrium: Lets the user walk on water or quicksand or any other soft surface.

Clairaudience and Clairvoyance: Like the spells, but at the 7th level, Clairvoyance becomes unlimited by distance! That’s pretty powerful, basically giving the user the ability to spy on anyone, anywhere on the whole planet. Yikes!

Body Weaponry: The user has to give up weapons and armor in order to forge his own body into a living weapon. It sounds good, and at higher levels it is, but surviving those lower levels at Armour Class 8, with a punch that does 1d4 damage? Good luck with that! It will all seem worth it once your punch hits like a +5 sword, I suppose.

Another nice touch is the way this power ties in with the Weapon vs. AC tables. Basically, at each level your fist is equivalent to a certain weapon: dagger at 1st, hand axe at 2nd, mace at 3rd, etc. You use the most favourable of these against the armour type you are facing. So a 1st level guy has no choice but to attack like a dagger, but the 3rd level guy can choose dagger, hand axe or mace, whichever helps him to hit more easily. I’m picturing one of those dudes from kung fu movies who is always changing his stance and using bizarre little hand gestures and finger strikes, and alternating between open hand strikes and punching with his fist.

And now to the Superior Powers:

Energy Control: Lets the user channel energy attacks directed at him around his body, thus taking no damage. That means fire balls, lightning bolts, dragon breath, etc. Nice power if you can get it!

Telekinesis: Much like the spell.

Dimension Walking: The user can walk through dimensions in order to travel to other places faster. So it doesn’t seem like you can use this power to get to Tarterus or anything, but it’ll get you to the supermarket in 5 seconds.

Astral Projection: Much like the spell, with a few minor differences. The speed at which you can project starts at walking speed, and gets faster as you gain levels. Get this: at 10th level, you can astrally project your mind out into space at the speed of light! So, so rad.

The idea is introduced that the astral form is connected to the physical body by a silver cord, and if this cord is broken then both are dead. Just to make it even more of a bastard, the Astral Plane is full of psychic winds that can blow you away and break the cord. It’s more likely in outer space, as well.

Molecular Rearrangement: The user can change one metal into another type – the old lead into gold trick.

Molecular Manipulation: The ability to psychically weaken certain materials and objects.

Body Control: Lets the user survive in hostile environments and extreme conditions.

Mind Bar: Let’s the user ensure that his mate’s seat won’t be taken at the bar in the pub. Haha, I kid. It really just makes the user immune to possession, such as from the magic jar spell, or by demons and devils.

So those are the Fighter’s powers, and it’s a damn handy set to have. It does indicate one interesting thing about the campaign world: they are operating on a level of scientific theory far in advance of medieval or even Renaissance society. All that talk of molecular this and that leads me to believe that the use of magic has given folks some knowledge that would otherwise be centuries in the future.

Tomorrow: I run down the power list for Magic-Users. And maybe Thieves and Clerics.

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 4

And now we come to Psionic Combat, having already trudged through the details of how character become eligible for psionic power. I fully confess to not understanding these rules the first time I read them, but hopefully I’ll be a bit more on the ball this time around.

OK, I’m kinda sorta getting the gist of it. Basically there are two forms of Psionic Combat: that between two psionic characters, or when a psionic characters tries to use his powers on someone without psionic potential. And because this is old-school D&D, each one has a different system of resolution.

First up I need to talk about the various attack and defense modes. The attack modes are: Psionic Blast, Mind Thrust, Ego Whip, Id Insinuation, and Psychic Crush. The defense modes are Mind Blank, Thought Shield, Mental Barrier, Intellect Fortress, and Tower of Iron Will. Most D&D players will recognize those named, partly because they are rad, and partly because they’re about the only thing in psionics that has lasted through every version of the rules. Every psionic character starts with a Psionic Blast, and can gain more attack and defense modes as he gains more psionic abilities.

I’ll start with what happens when a psionic attacks a non-psionic. First up, to do this the attacker needs a Psionic Attack Strength of 120 or more. There’s a complicated formula to figure this out that involves the character’s psionic potential and number of powers. Suffice it to say that you have to be pretty strong to have a Psionic Attack Strength that high (although pretty much every single psionic monster qualifies). The defender needs to make a saving throw to resist, and there’s a chart that gives the number based on the defender’s Intelligence and the distance from the attacker. It actually resembles the Mind Flayer’s mindblast chart quite a bit, which is nice. Smarter characters have the better saves, but as we’ve seen before it’s the average scores that suffer the least from psionic attacks. Stupid characters can be killed instantly, while smart characters can be driven insane. Average guys are usually just knocked out or confused.

Psionic vs. Psionic combat is a bit more complicated. The first thing that gets dealt with is attacks on surprised individuals, and this has a chart all its own. You compare the attackers Psionic Attack Strength to the defenders Psionic Potential, and get a result ranging from a bit of damage, stunning, permanently losing all`psionic powers, or instant death. The damage is subtracted from the defenders Psionic Attack Strength, and once this is worn down it’s much more likely you’ll be killed or otherwise psychically maimed.

If the defender is not surprised, then the attacker picks an attack mode and the defender picks a defense mode. You compare them on yet another chart, and get the amount of damage scored. The only exception to this is the Psychic Crush, which has a small chance of instantly killing the defender. The person using the Psychic Crush can only defend with a Thought Shield or nothing at all, so it’s a calculated risk.

Some of the attack modes have differing effects. The Ego Whip can’t kill, but reduces its target to idiocy. Id Insinuation puts the defender under the attacker’s complete control if it is successful.

The thing I like most about psionics is that use of the powers has a downside, in that it has a chance of attracting other psionic creatures to investigate. It might seem like a good idea to mindblast those gnolls into submission, until the Mind Flayers show up to see what the hell’s going on.

Overall though, these rules seem a little too complicated for use at the table. They probably won't come up enough to become second nature, so when they do come up the plethora of tables and charts will be a major headache.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 4

Today I’m going to take a look at the new system of initiative that was introduced in Eldritch Wizardry. Although in previous posts I have disparaged it for its needless complexity, having read through it again it doesn’t seem too bad.

The melee round is now divided into eight segments: pre-movement, six segments of movement, and post-movement. Characters still move using the same rates established before, but there’s now a big chart that shows how far you move in each segment. All the figures in the combat are moved simultaneously, which could get a bit tedious as the DM sits there going “and you move half an inch, now you move half an inch, now the goblins all move half an inch, and now we go to the next segment and you move half an inch…” And so on. But it does get rid of that weird problem where Joe the Fighter charges out all by himself, while Jim the Fighter patiently waits his turn until his buddy is finished. Melee attacks happen whenever the combatants come within range, and I guess then I’ll revert to the melee ‘who strikes first’ system from Chainmail.

For any actions other than moving and fighting, you’ll need to compute your Adjusted Dexterity. This is simply your regular Dexterity score, plus any adjustments due to magic items and a whole host of other modifiers. Things like armour type, surprise, encumbrance, and whether you have a weapon at the ready are factored in. Even being wounded results in negative modifiers, which is unusual in D&D. Oh, and Elves get a +1 bonus here, an early precursor to their Dexterity modifier in later editions. It should also be noted that spells get slower to cast as they get higher in level. Except for the Power Words, of course.

Once Adjusted Dexterity is computed, the number is compared to a chart that shows what segment you act in during the first round. And for missile fire and spellcasting, characters then act every six segments. So if an archer fires his first arrow in Movement Segment 5, on the next round he will fire on Movement Segment 3. The round after that he will fire on the Pre-Movement Segment as well as Movement Segment 5.

This gets a bit more complex with spellcasters. The rules imply that they can fire off multiple spells per round, so long as their range of Adjusted Dexterity remains unchanged (i.e. they keep their spells cast within a few levels of each other). I’m willing to keep this in – the good old Vancian magic system will balance that right quick.

The only other thing to note is that the Haste spell doubles effectiveness while the Slow spell reduces it by half. I’m taking this to mean the following: first, double or halve all numbers on the movement chart. Second, missile users and spell-casters act every three segments if Hasted, or every twelve segments if Slowed.

It's interesting to note that this is really the first initiative system presented in an official D&D product. The one I'll be using previous to this is cribbed from Chainmail. It seems to work fine, though it has a few steps of extra complexity that I could do without.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 3

Just a quick one today, as I'm typing this with no copy of the book in my grasp. The next section of Eldritch Wizardry is the ever-present alignment chart, which gives an alignment to each of the new monsters in the book.

This all maps out pretty well, but there's one entry that really highlights how differently Gygax is looking at alignment here as compared to the very early days - the Mind Flayer. In OD&D it would almost certainly have been Chaotic. Here, it's listed as Lawful, but with tendencies for Evil. This ties in nicely with the ideas Gary wrote about in the Strategic Review, which introduced the Good-Evil axis.

Now, if early D&D was built on a foundation of the eternal struggle between Law vs. Chaos, this indicates a really fundamental shift in the structure of the campaign setting. Instead of two monolithic universal forces battling it out, there are smaller groups with more varied agendas, and a much more complex ideological playing field. So, at about this time I'll start introducing a bit more moral ambiguity, and steering away from purely evil monsters, as well as introducing more factions and religious sects.

The question remains - what caused this splintering? I'll probably tie it to the rise (or rebirth maybe) of the Gods as individual powers. Something has happened that caused the gods themselves to fracture alliances. My mind keeps going back to the original Greyhawk campaign, and the time that Robilar released the Nine demigods from their prison.

Next: I'll try to tackle Supplement III's byzantine new initiative system.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 2

In this installment I'm going to tackle the new PC class – the Druid. But before I dive in, it should be noted that Druids have appeared in D&D before this, as a monster. So what do we already know about them from Supplement I – Greyhawk?

They're priests of a neutral religion, and combine the powers of Clerics and Magic-Users. They can also change their form into the shape of any reptile, bird or animal. They also have barbaric followers. That's pretty much it, and it's a nice broad canvas to paint on. If memory serves, I posited that the Druids had recently heard tales of new activity in the Greyhawk dungeons, and were making forays to investigate themselves.

The Druid PC class adheres to the monster description pretty closely. They are a sub-class of Cleric, and neutral in nature. Instead of serving a specific deity, they are attuned to Nature, and use mistletoe as a holy symbol. They are more dedicated to protecting plants and animals than helping humans. And given that their powers lie in different areas, they aren't able to turn undead (huzzah, says the DM!). A Cleric has to roll a Wisdom of 12 and a Charisma of 14 to become a Druid. So they won't be particularly common when using the regular 3d6 in order method.

Once a Druid becomes an Initiate (which means 2nd level) he can do the following at will: identify pure water, indentify plants, identify animals, and pass through undergrowth such as briars. I'm probably going to play these as skills and learned knowledge rather than magic, with the possible exception of the last one.

At 6th level, Druids get the shape-changing powers assigned to them from Supplement I, and are immune to charm spells from woodland and water creatures like Nixies and Dryads. In addition, the shape-change ability gets a minor tweak – whenever the Druid changes, some of his wounds will heal.

There's an off-hand mention that Druids have their own special language, which I'm going to treat as a secret tongue that no outsiders may learn. I'll probably model it on Celtic if it ever comes up. From 4th level, they also get a host of monster languages to pick from every time they gain a level.

The Druid has it's peculiar weapon restrictions even at the earliest stage – they can only use daggers, sickles or crescent-shaped swords, spears, slings and oil. How I explain this I have no idea. Perhaps it's a cultural thing, with the Druids only using the traditional weapons of the ancient people who originated their religion. They are also forbidden from wearing metal armour, and can only wear leather and use wooden shields. In general terms they get the same magical items as Clerics, but they can't use scrolls or other written materials.

Druids fight and save as Clerics, but they get a save bonus versus fire for some unknown reason.

Though Druids are tasked with the protection of woodland animals and plants, their MO runs more towards vengeance than prevention. They try not to slay animals, and can never willingly destroy a copse, woods, or forest. Presumably a loss of powers will be involved should they take this action, but the books don't say.

Much like Assassins and Monks, Druids have a strict hierarchy that limits their advancement. So far as the World of Greyhawk goes, there may only be four 10th-level Druids, two 11th-level Archdruids, and one 12th-level Great Druid. In order to advance, the Druid will have to defeat one of the existing guys in spell battle.

So, with Druids already making forays into the Greyhawk dungeons, I need an explanation for why they ally with the Guilds and become a PC class. This is pretty simple, given the Druidic mission of safeguarding nature – what is more unnatural than an underground catacomb that is home to all manner of warped creatures, where the laws of reality do not apply? Such a place has to be kept in check, and so the Druids, after initial exploration, decide to make dungeon-delving a regular thing. Of course, given their reclusive and generally unhelpful nature, it is the Guilds who will have to approach them, and I'm sure I can eke a quest or two for the PCs out of that set-up.

Next time: Monster alignment! A new system of initiative!