Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Dungeon Druids

AD&D druids. They're not that great in dungeons are they. Not many plants around. Even less fluffy animal friends. But what about if there was an alternative druid class which specialised in subterranean locales?

This is the notion I am running with here.

The rest of this post is designated Open Gaming Content according to the Open Gaming License.

Glowing Fungi of Labyrinthine Guidance
Level: Druid 1
Duration: 2 turns per level
Range: Self

Upon uttering this incantation, the druid's left hand (or a small pouch on his person) fills with a delightful collection of small glowing mushrooms. The glow of the fungi is a pale green, and is less than the light of a candle, but is enough to be able to spot them from a distance of 30'. Typically the mushrooms are dropped one by one and used to mark a path which the druid desires to later retrace. Indeed, while the spell lasts the supply of mushrooms in the druid's hand (or pouch) will continually replenish, ensuring there are always enough available for use.

The glowing mushrooms created by this spell have one further special property: they appear completely innocuous to dungeon denizens, blending into the natural environment and not causing a single monstrous eyebrow to be raised if encountered.

Eye of the Underworld
Level: Druid 1
Duration: 1 hour per level
Range: Touch

The recipient of this spell gains the ability to see in complete darkness for the duration. This is not some newfangled thermo-vision, it's the real deal -- 100% 20/20 vision in the deep darks of the underworld as if it was broad daylight.

As the druid increases in level he can bestow this optical blessing on more friends -- one target per three levels of experience.


  1. Love 'em. More useful than the official tits on a bull druid.

    1. Haha, I'd love to see your druid cattle ranch Dave, sounds fascinating!

  2. Great Spells!

    Anyway, I've always allowed gnomes/dwarves to be stone-themed druids to downsize this problem.

    1. Hey Hamel, did you have any alternative spells or a modified spell list for your stone druids?

    2. Sorry for the delay, but I was pretty busy at work in these weeks. ^^'

      Anyway, I use the standard druid spells with a little twist more than creating new ones from zero (actually I have no written lists).

      For example, Call Lightning easily becomes Call Rockslide (same parameters but can be used only in natural tunnels) or Barkskin can be replaced by Pebbleskin.

      Otherwise, I take some spells from other class' lists simply increasing the spell level.

      For example, 1st level spell Burning Hands can become a 2nd spell Gravel Burst with almost no effort.

  3. A bit cheeky, but any news on Theorems?

    1. Hi Colin, thanks for asking! The project's been stalled for many months as I've been waiting for contributions from editor and illustrators.

      However, I've committed myself to having it available (PDF / lulu) by the end of October, so you should be seeing something soon!

    2. Shame to hear it get held back, but looking forward to it nonetheless. :)

  4. I like to make Druids useful in a dungeon by adding plants and animals. For example,

    Fungi that may have short-term effects or nutritional value
    Roots hanging down or vines that can be used for Entangle
    Moss, slime, lichen
    Spikey dungeon burrs that get in your armor if you brush up against them
    Rats, snakes, bats, etc. are present in all dungeon levels even if they're just 1 HP or even 1 HD

    Rangers are mainly useful for tracking, but I like to give them water- and plant-identification like Druids. Again, finding uses for dungeon plants and finding clean water are important. Just because the dungeon is dank and there's water puddled on the floor doesn't mean it's good water.

    You may wonder why I bother mentioning the food and water thing. If a 1st level Cleric can Create Water, and a 5th level can Create Food and Water, why bother? Well if you can secure food and water without the spell, you can carry an extra Cure Light or Cure Disease or whatever. And still, the food or water from the dungeon may have special short-term effects that the players can use creatively.

    The whole point is not just to make Druids and Rangers useful in a dungeon, but to improve the dungeon. I try to put water, plants, and small animals everywhere to help explain why there are so many large predators around, how they move around the dungeon. Also description-wise it's nice to have some foliage around in general. It makes the "dry tomb / vault" sections more noteworthy.

    1. Some excellent ideas there, thanks! Small atmospheric details like that are often forgotten, and have a lot of scope for a resourceful druid to latch onto.


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