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Druid, Tricks of the Trade

The Quintessential Druid

Author Robin O. Duke

Series The Quintessential Series

Publisher Mongoose Publishing

Publish date 2002

This chapter presents a variety of tricks that a druid character might regularly use to forward his personal goals and those of the druid order.

Druid Lifestyles

The SRD offers a system for monitoring the lifestyles of characters, describing the various standards of living a character might choose to maintain depending on how much the character is willing to spend each month. Out in the wilderness, where druids prefer to spend their time, money has no relevance at all. A druid can instead use his own wits to feed himself when not in the city. A character with the Wilderness Lore skill should be able to survive without having to pay anything.

Any character who can spend at least one week out of every four out in the wilderness hunting, and is willing to live in a home he constructed using his own hands, can greatly reduce the cost of living. Such characters can only maintain a self-sufficient, meagre, poor or common lifestyle. The character reduces the monthly cost of these lifestyles by 1 gp for every two ranks he has in the Wilderness Lore skill. A character with four ranks in Wilderness Lore can sustain a self-sufficient living at no cost at all. This only reduces the cost of living; it takes more than this to actually make a living from the wilderness.

A character can also use the Wilderness Lore skill to make a living. Doing so requires one week of dedicated work. The character makes Wilderness Lore check and divides the result by 2 to determine how many silver pieces he makes that week. This involves hunting for game and selling it at a local market to traders. A character who reduces his living expenses based on his Wilderness Lore skill suffers a -5 penalty to any profit making checks using Wilderness Lore.

Tracking druids

Any druid who has reached 3rd level and acquired the Woodland Stride class ability is almost impossible to track in natural surroundings. Even an experienced ranger would find no visible trail to follow but other druids are far more difficult to hide from. By peering into the boundary between the real world and The Otherworld, a druid can make out the slight mystical trail even an experienced druid leaves behind him.

To use this ability, the character must partially immerse himself in The Otherworld (following all the normal rules outlined in The Otherworld). The character must also have the Track feat and must use his Wilderness Lore skill to trail the druid normally. Because the information the druid is using is of a mystical nature, experienced druids leave less of a trail than others, so a character should apply an increase to the Wilderness Lore difficulty equal to the caster level of the druid the character is trailing.

The Bounty of Nature

Most magic items require two different types of ingredients. The principal ingredients are very specific and cannot be provided by foraging. In addition to the principal ingredients, magic items and herbal recipes include secondary ingredients. Secondary ingredients must have certain base mystical qualities but they play a supporting roll in the creation. Often, they need only have properties that are neutral to, or do not directly oppose, the magical nature of the item being created. These secondary ingredients constitute (30+2d20) % of any particular magical item formula. A druid using foraging can easily provide secondary ingredients.

Before a character can begin foraging, he should calculate the creation cost for the magic item or herbal formula. For each magic item, the Games Master will roll 2d20 to calculate what percentage of this cost can be supplied by foraging. The character than calculate the cost of the foraged materials in silver pieces.

Once the character has this value in silver pieces, he can begin to forage for appropriate ingredients. The druid may make a Wilderness Lore check. Each check represents a single week of foraging and has a DC of 15. If the character fails the check, he fails to find anything of any worth that week. If the character succeeds, he multiplies the check result by 15 to determine the silver piece worth of what he found that week. The character makes these checks once a week until he has found sufficient ingredients for his creation or until he decides to buy the rest normally. Either way, ingredients found while foraging for one creation cannot be used in the creation of any other item.

Craft and Foraging

druids make extensive use of tools, clothes and equipment they manufacture themselves. Between their knowledge of the wilderness and their skills with the Crafts, many druids produce their clothes, weapons and the like at a mere fraction of the usual cost. By foraging in the forest and using only natural materials in their constructions, druids can use their Craft skills at no cost to themselves at all.

It is only possible to use these rules when the required raw materials could be found in the druid’s local environment. Wood weapons, wicker baskets, paper, bows, leather, paints (usually limited to black, dark blue, green, dark red-browns, brown, slate, tan, and yellow), simple pottery, simple mud bricks, some poisons, wool and other natural clothes can all be produced using this system.

To manufacture something at no cost, the character must use both an appropriate Craft skill and his Wilderness Lore skill. The character calculates the difficulty for the Craft check as normal. This is the difficulty for both the Craft check and the Wilderness Lore check. The character makes one Craft check and one Wilderness Lore check each week. If both these checks are successful, multiply the lowest roll by the base Difficulty Class and divide the result by 2 to determine the artisan’s progress.

If the result of the above check equals or exceeds the price of the item in silver pieces, the character has completed the item. There is no reduction in time for a very good roll when using this system. If the result does not exceed the price of the item, then it represents progress to date. The character should record the result and make two more checks for the following week. The character keeps adding the results of each week’s checks until the total exceeds the cost of the item in silver pieces. If either the checks fails, the character makes no progress that week.

It is impossible to produce masterwork items using this method without access to dark wood or other magical natural ingredients.

Spoils of the Hunt

With their extensive knowledge of living creatures and their intuitive feel for magic, many druids know what to take from a fallen foe and how to remove it with the magic intact so that they might incorporate the ingredient in their magical creations. Animals, beasts, giants, humanoids, oozes, plants and vermin cannot be used as the principal ingredients for magic items because they lack any strong magical components. Constructs have magical qualities but they are magically animated and that magic fails when the construct is destroyed so it is impossible to harvest a construct for magical components. Aberrations, dragons, elementals, fey, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, outsiders, shapechangers and undead can be harvested for powerful magical components.

Creature Harvesting Guide
Type /
Special Ability
Feasible Magic Items
Score higher than 20
Items that enhance the appropriate ability score
Any Spell-like
Any items that contains the equivalent spell (scrolls, staffs, wands, potions etc.
BlindsightItems that grants Blindsight
ElementalsRing of Elemental Command
Items that grants the wearer natural armour bonuses
Items that grant flight or that provide the freedom
of movement
PoisonItems that incorporate any poison or similar spell
RegenerationRing of Vampiric Regeneration
ShapechangerItems that allowing Shapeshifting; items that include polymorph self, polymorph other, polymorph any object, shapechange etc.
undeadItems with necromancy affiliations, that contain necrmancy spells or necromantic feats

Harvesting of magical components can only occur once a creature has been destroyed. Some creatures are essentially disintegrated at death or fade to nothing. These can never have components harvested from them. The process of harvesting a dead monster takes one hour and can be a little unsavoury. A druid must have a particular magic item in mind for the harvested components. Though one creature might have materials suitable for any number of magical creations, extracting the components for one item means the creature is useless for the creation of any other.

The druid must first analyse the creature to gain some feel for what magical items might be produced from its body. This requires the character cast a Detect Magic spell and make a Knowledge (nature) check (DC 20). The Games Master decides what magic items can be created though the player can obviously suggest what he feels might be possible. Once the Games Master has decided what is possible, the druid must declare one specific item for which he is hoping to acquire materials. The druid than makes a Heal check (DC 10 + the challenge rating of the creature). If the check fails, the character was unable to get material of sufficient quality from the corpse and has gained nothing. If he check succeeds, the druid multiplies his result by the DC to determine the gold piece quality of the materials he has extracted.

The materials must be extracted within five hours of the creature’s death. In addition, the Heal check suffers a -2 penalty for every full hour since the monster’s demise. A character with at least 5 ranks in Knowledge (anatomy) receives a +2 synergy bonus to the Heal check but a character with 5 ranks in Profession (herbalist) does not receives his normal +2 synergy bonus to this check.

Unless preserved, the harvested materials lose their potency in 1d6 months. If the process of magic item construction does not begin in that time, the process automatically fails. Each selection of harvested materials should be recorded separately along with the item for which it can be used to create. When the character wishes to use the harvested materials, he must use all the materials from that single harvesting. If he harvested from several creatures with the same item in mind, he may use more than one harvesting for a single item but any beyond the first have their value reduced by 75%. There is going to be a lot of overlap in the materials’ magical properties. These materials can be used in place of principal and secondary components and can reduce the total value of required materials to nothing.

A character can sell the materials for 20%of their calculated value. These materials are mixed freely by apothecaries to creature mystical ingredients any spell caster can use in the creation of magic items.

Other Spellcasters

The rules presented in this chapter are obviously available to all classes, including other spellcasters but they are intended primarily for druid characters. A wizard character with Knowledge (nature) can go about gathering the materials for his item directly but he is likely to have neither the patience nor the stomach for ripping his way into his foes to remove the heart or liver he needs. Druid characters can make money by collecting the raw materials for item creation and selling them in the cities or small towns to passing wizards and clerics and a surprising quantity of the materials wizards and sorcerers purchase for item creation were originally collected by druids as they combine the knowledge of nature and spellcasting required to identify what parts of a creature need to be taken.

Wild Clothing

To create and wear wild clothing, a druid must make everything he is wearing from the same beast. Almost every piece of clothing, and all forms of armour, require

some ingredients that cannot be taken from a single animal. For an experienced druid, it is possible to include a small quantity of materials that are inoffensive to his animal of choice. To begin the process of creating wild clothing, the character must find and kill his animal of choice. This is no simple hunt, though. The character must prove himself worthy of the creature’s spirit during a ritual. The requirements of the ritual are closely related to the type of animal.

Against predators, the ritual will require a long and extended hunt, as the druid proves his physical worth against the beast’s prowess. Against cunning creatures, a challenge of wits that last days may ensue as the druid chases down his prey without aid of divinations or artificial tools, relying solely on his wits and senses just as the animal does.

With prey creatures, a hunt will do nothing to prove the druid’s worth. Instead, the druid will need to search out the prey, one ready to die, and take up the burden of its spirit. For social creatures, this will require the druid to be accepted by its family and close companions. Taking on the burden of a matron elephant near death entails far more than simply collecting her skin and moving on. In essence, the druid would take on all the responsibilities of the matron as leader of her herd.

The Games Master can design the rituals involved in whatever way he feels is appropriate for the animal. The rituals may even differ between animals of the same species, depending on their age, personality and home terrain. The only thing that is certain is that the ritual will take many days, that the druid is forbidden to use magic or artificial tools to aid him, and that the animal cannot be one befriended by the druid. To even understand the rules of the ritual requires a Knowledge (nature) check (DC 20). The druid may make this check once every day until he succeeds.

Once the ritual is completed, the druid kills and consumes whatever portions of the beast he cannot use in the construction of his clothes. This must include both the heart and brain of the animal. For some natural creatures, this may entail Fortitude checks to avoid the effects of poisons. The druid must attempt to consume the spirit of the animal into himself. This requires a Charisma check (DC 5 + the challenge rating of the beast). If the roll succeeds, the druid immediately feels the spirit of the creature enter him. Among other animals of the same type, they also feel the transfer and will know that their companion is now part of the druid.

Constructing normal clothes from the beast follows the rules outlined in Crafts and foraging above. The difficult for both the Wilderness Lore check and Craft (Leatherworking) check is 10. The normal cost for travelling garb for a druid is 10 sp, so a single week’s success will create the clothes. A failure result in no progress that week while a roll of 1 results in the destruction of the required components from the animal body. If this happens, the spirit consumed by the druid fades in 1d4 weeks. If the character wants to make armour from the animal, he is limited to leather. The druid is assumed to hunt and kill other members of the same species to provide the material for both his normal clothing and any armour. This does not require the animal’s spirit but it does mean only reasonably common animals can be used to construct wild clothing of any sort.

Once the clothing is finished and donned by the druid the spirit the druid consumed bonds with the clothes. If the druid dons any clothes made from any other type of animal or disrupts the spiritual balance he has created in any way, he loses the benefits of the clothing. While wearing the clothing, the druid receives a +4 circumstantial bonus to his Animal Empathy and Handle Animal checks made in relation to animals of the chosen type. In addition, if the druid has acquired a suitable wild shape ability, he may assume the form of the animal once each day without it counting against his normal daily allotment. No other creature can benefit from this clothing.

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