Are Druids limited to natural creature forms? One of my characters is a druid (he just joined in the second session of my game) and he wasn’t sure about this, and asked to turn into a Coatl. He’s a druid of the swamp, and I had originally thought that they were limited to natural creatures, though I don’t think I found any reference later to this limitation.

So, any idea on this, or is it just up to us?

23 thoughts on “#DruidWeek”

  1. In my game I have limited Druids to become Animals from their Land. But I do allow them to add “monsters” to their list by studying their essence as normal. I happened to want to separate animals and “monsters” in the spirit world. Lots of people allow monsters though. Whatever you guys have established for your game will work for you =)

  2. Actually, I think the ‘rule’ that made me think that monster forms might not be allowed is the Druid Advanced Move ‘Chimera’. A coatl would seem to be a chimeric type creature – a mixture of snake and bird. Still not sure that’s ‘correct’ though 🙂

  3. In my mind I separate out monsters that are magical in nature (unicorn, displacer beast) and would disallow them. But monsters that are just physiologically different (giant purple worm) I would allow. I would even allow mixed animals that are ‘naturally occuring’ like owlbears.

    My take on the “Chimera’ move was that the druid could mix and match on their own, inventing new forms. Which is awesome.

  4. I totally agree that there are more than just earth animals, but if you allow a coatl then what is the point of chimera?

    Are you to assume that the only creatures are ones that you’ve seen in fantasy before? What if the player wants the body of an elephant and the head of a lion, but with wings? He calls it a ‘Lionodon’ or something, and creates the fiction that they are common in the swamps to the south.

    That’s all cool – and it’s not like it’s going to be overpowered, but then Chimera seems uesless.

  5. It doesn’t seem like that’s much different than a coatl in the first place. Heck, here’s what I think is a clearer question:

    What’s to stop you from shapeshifting into a classical Chimera without ‘Chimera’ the advanced move if Chimera exist in your world?

  6. It depends on how you combine it. You could have the long snake body to slither through cracks, the buff eyes to see 360• and the bite of the swampshark (or his nose to smell blood)

  7. Right, I guess my point is: in a fantasy world, almost any combination of animal parts could be an actual creature in that world. So if the characters can change into anything that already exists in the world, and they come up with the fiction to make a creature exist in their world that has whatever parts they need at the time, then what is the point of Chimera?

    That said, I think that’s an extreme case where the GM and the player aren’t seeing eye to eye. Still, if you’re playing in a world that doesn’t follow the D&D monster types, then allowing the player some level of creative fredom on defining what they can change into is fine.

    Interesting stuff.

  8. Michael Barrett “What’s to stop you from shapeshifting into a classical Chimera without ‘Chimera’ the advanced move if Chimera exist in your world?”

    Nothing, I say. If they live naturally in that habitat, or you’ve Studied their Essence. If your player is ‘abusing’ the fiction (if that’s possible) by asserting the natural occurrence of any beast that they want (Lionodons, coatlsquitoswampsharks, etc.) then just turn that fiction back on them.

    If Lionodons are so common, let the party face a pack of them.

    “You see a squad of lizard men moving swiftly through the marsh trees overhead. What are they riding? Python bats!”

  9. Aaron Mehlhaff, yeah, honestly I have no reason to think my player would abuse it. He’s a good guy, and a RL friend of many years, so I guess I’m throwing out issues that could happen for other GMs.

    I think I’ve been sufficiently convinced that my player should be able to change into fantastic creatures provided they can provide the fiction of why said creatures exist.

  10. Michael Barrett Would it work to have them Spout Lore for a fantastic creature to exist (e.g. Lionodons in swamps)?

    On a 10+ The Lionodon exists in your attuned land

    On a 7-9 – Yes, Lionodon’s live in swamps. They are also…(add a downside: prized by many hunters for pelts, slowly succumbing to Dutch Lionodon disease, in feverish rut, etc.)

    On a 6 – You’re right, Lionodons are a fascianting natural creature…that live in frozen arctic wastes.

  11. I think allowing only “normal” animals to start, but letting them learn monster forms could make for a lot of fun role-playing… For that reason alone I started them with no monster forms.

  12. I also like it as it helps to separate the different lands you choose. Why choose the Ocean if you can “invent” a Great White DuneShark from the Desert. I do like the turn the fiction back on them suggestion though.

    Python BATS!

  13. Our druid had managed a (small) frost dragon and a world owl (from the Sky Chain dungeon starter) without feeling overpowered compared to the other PCs. It’s hard sometimes to get to grips with but levelling up really doesn’t add a lot of power to the characters, at least not those without spell lists.

  14. In my game, I’m limited to playing normal animals. This still offers a huge amount of room to play with and makes me get creative. Despite the PhU(|

    So, far my human ocean shaman has pulled out octopi, a honey bee, killer whale, dolphin, elephant (hey, they are domesticated), pig and sea snake. And I’m just getting started …

  15. GM and I agreed early on about a few ground rules:

    – no shifting into insects/bugs (but you could speak with them if they were big enough)

    – no shifting into basic organisms (amoeba, bacteria)

    – no shifting into things you wouldn’t find on earth (unicorns, gryphons)

    …which still leaves a LOT of leeway. I did some quick Googling first session and made some lists of iconic animals from my Land. It’s been fine so far.

  16. It was funny – even though we weren’t sure about mythical creatures and decided to hold off on them the first time the druid played, he had no problem finding forms to do everything he wanted. Being a Mire druid he had so many options – fish, snakes, alligators, bears, jaguars, birds.. I don’t know if he’ll need mythical creatures 🙂

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