Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves" - Druid v.1

A couple design goals: Standard spellcasting is only accessible from level 3 onwards. Equipment is far less important than hunting down and subduing rare creatures, and possibly eating them. The vast majority of their abilities are built around modifying their core power, Shapeshifting.

It's had a modest level of playtesting inflicted on it. A whole bunch of it's underlying inspiration comes from here, the Druid from Dungeon World, and for the "Archdruid" ability, this.

Like I attempt with most of my offerings, this class is aimed towards emulating non-level advancement. In summary, detaching some character advancement from the level system has a bunch of positive effects. For the druid, you are encouraged to explore beyond your home forest and hone your abilities by wrestling wild animals (to learn new forms), while setting fire to the occasional windmill (to learn new spells). All good things.


Starting equipment: belt, tooth dagger, no shoes

Skill (1d3): Arson, Jailbreaking, History

A Shapeshifter, Primal Tongue, 1MD

B Modify Form, Brutal Casting, 2MD, +1 HP

C Sacrifice, 3MD

D Archdruid, 4MD


Learn a new animal form by subduing a live one with your bear hands, eating one raw that you’ve killed, or other forms. Start with a random one form (1d8): Bird, Wolf, Cat, Goat, Donkey, Monkey, Crab, Snake. Unnatural creatures require a save vs. mishap when you become them.

Cast each form as a spell. Equipment not included, size limited by [dice]. 1 MD - smaller than a person, 2 MD - smaller than a horse, 3 MD - smaller than a cart, 4 MD - smaller than a house. Gain bonus hitpoints = [sum], but lose 1 every hour. When the bonus HP are gone, you revert back to human form.

Each animal form usually comes with an attack, a buff, a passive and an ability costing 1HP. You won’t be able to speak. 

Primal Tongue

Speak with Animals at will, but they probably won’t want to talk to you. Filthy human. You don't need to do anything more than grunt to get your message across.

Modify Form

You can increase or decrease the size of the animal you turn into, maximum of one step. When you take damage, you can choose which pool of HP takes it.

Brutal Casting

If you roll a Mishap, add +3 to [sum]. Dooms add +6 to [sum].


You can learn spells in a few different ways:
  • Burning something civilised that is more important than the last time. 
  • Eating another druid. 
  • Making a deal with a spell directly .
  • Silence, oaths first, then sliced tongues. 
  • Burn a spellbook. 
These can be standard spells, single use effects, personal abilities, new animal forms or somewhere in between. Depending on what you want, you may need to combine a few of these.

While this might seem pitiful for a third template ability, acquiring spells is one of the greatest challenges for (my version of) spellcasters. Only Sorcerers have spells tied directly to level progression, and they pay a large price for it. No spell list accompanies this ability. This is intentional.


You can change between forms without becoming human first. For every 5 HP you have in your current form, add a free MD. You need at least one MD in order to cast.

  1. 1 trauma 
  2. 1d6 damage (before transforming)
  3. Mutation 1d6 rounds, save or permanent 
  4. Roll Wis to act against bestial urges, 2d6 rounds exploding on 6. 
  5. Random form 
  6. Take maximum damage from metal weapons for the rest of the day 

  1. Shapeshift into the form you most commonly take, and you forget all former ties and languages. This state lasts for a day.
  2. As above for three days 
  3. As above, permanent. If anyone from your former life has done you a truly good turn, you may appear to help them once, in a time of need, before vanishing forever.

Animal Forms

Bird - Peck (1d4), +2 Defense while flying, Twitter (-1 HP, recruit nearby birds or be roughly understood by target humanoid)

Wolf - Bite (1d6+STR), Defense as leather, +1 Attack to self and adjacent allies, Pounce (-1 HP, automatically succeed next grapple check)

Cat - Claw (1d4+DEX), +1 Defense, +4 Move, Lucidum (-1 HP, spot something hidden)

Goat - Horns (1d8+STR), +4 to shoving, horns count as a shield, Charge (-1 HP, target is knocked back/prone if it fails a Strength check)

Donkey - Kick (1d6+STR), +50% inventory, Mulish (-1 HP, can retry any save or Strength check)

Monkey - Paw (can use weapons), +2 Move, tail counts as a third hand, Sly (-1 HP, open your paw to reveal something you could have stolen in the last minute. Target can save to realise)

Crab - Pinch (1d4), half damage from piercing/slashing, Scuttle (-1 HP, remove self from scene, reappear somewhere plausible)

Snake - Fangs (1d6), can attack from grapples, Venom (-1 HP, next attack is poisoned)

As I get more time to playtest my classes I'll be sure to come back with a v.2. Until then, please take everything with a bag of salt. If anyone takes it upon themselves to try this out, I bid them good luck, and would be delighted by any (de)constructive feedback!


  1. I think that sum= Hp = duration = uses of ability is a very slick and elegant system. A quick questions: What is brutal casting?

    1. Fixed! Thanks for that. Brutal Casting is my kludge attempt to match the Safety/Power/Natural Casting of wizards, warlocks and sorcerers. I'm glad you like it, I wasn't sure if it was too complicated.

    2. Nah it's rather intuitive, it's great design in that it's memorable, minimal, and metal(thematic) all at once.


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