Palladium Fantasy: My turn behind the dice – The Druid

The Druid:

A million or so years ago when I played AD&D, I used to be quite fond of druids, and their representation within that system. As I reacquainted myself with Palladium, and got to know its 2nd Edition, I skipped over the druid repeatedly in favour of looking up other things.

When Kyrei mentioned he wanted to do troupe style play for his campaign, I began to consider what sort of characters I would want to try. Due to the campaign outline, I knew that in order to meet the demands of the initial stories and setting, I would need to play resourceful characters, capable of wilderness survival, and interaction with several intelligent species of resident and at least two political outlooks. Suffice it to say, it seemed like a good idea to shelve my ideas of playing summoners, diabolists, scholars, et al, for another day. Making that decision was a relief, actually, and I found that to be interesting.

Randomness Strikes!:

Once I had generated Ysterwald the Palladin, I was pretty much certain that I wanted to play things as outside my normal style as possible, and began thinking of things like priests, druids, and non-human races. About midway through the creation process for Ysterwald, I had decided that I would probably like to play a druid – and that feeling was only strengthened when I read over the approach to them which Palladium had taken. That said, however, I had absolutely nothing in mind for a character. I decided to go with that, and roll out some stats to see where they took me. If they suited a druid, so be it. If not, we’d go with whatever they seemed to dictate.

The scores I generated did not lean in any particular direction. They were a good set of scores, actually, but nothing really screamed at me for attention. I set them aside and flipped through the core book for a while, reading through the sections on priests, druids, merchants, wizards, mercenaries, and psi-healers before an idea started to form. I went back to the druid section and read over the Five Laws again, and the idea took shape.

The most notable traits in the scores were for Intelligence, Mental Affinity, and an exceptional Physical Endurance.  He was smart enough to do practically anything, charismatic enough to get along with people, and more than tough enough to survive on his own. By themselves, these traits did not really speak to me, but when combined with Palladium’s Druidic laws of magic and force, they began to speak to me.

The image that came to me was one of an inquisitive child, who loved to experiment and be open to new ideas and experiences. This was enough to get me going on creation of an adult persona, and connection to his place in life. I was hesitant to return to the random charts again, because things have a way of disappointing you when used again and again, but I decided that as this character had been completely random so far, what could it hurt to keep it up?

Charting a Course:

It was a good decision. From the tables I determined that he was the last of a large family from the Yin-Sloth Jungles, and from those two simple rolls a complete family history sprang to mind, complete with a few anecdotes. I like it when that happens. I completed the rest of the tables and found that I was able to round out the character to my satisfaction, and again ended up with something that I would not normally play, but which felt like it would be a fun challenge to put into the game.

I named the druid Cohan.

Final Steps of Initial Character Creation:

So… what would I do with this character, and how would I play him? Using the randomly generated results from the character generation tables as limiters and sign-posts, I answered that question this way:

As the last of many, many children, I saw him as growing up in a busy household with access to lots of talk and information, but perhaps with a future less determined by the dictates of family tradition and custom. I determined that the family, masons, had left the Yin-Sloth Jungles to join with family members already carving out a new life in the Eastern Territories, helping to expand and bolster family farms, and re-establish themselves in masonry. Cohan was born during the trip. His curious nature, and the lack of deep local knowledge of their new home among his family members, drove him out into the community where his decent intellect and demeanour brought him to the attention of those with the answers: druids.

Cohan is largely carefree, and takes things as they come. He believes strongly in natural selection, and in learning to overcome challenges. He is not competitive, but enjoys self-improvement and helping others to improve. He is hungry for knowledge, and has set himself on the road to expand what he knows and increase the connections he has to the land, its history, and its diverse peoples. He has a strong sense of community, and is of the opinion that the appearance of a thing is not necessarily indicative of the truth of a thing. He is active, and willing to get his hands dirty.

He is a good man. He is a good man to work and talk with. He seems to be happy and enjoy the happiness of others. He understands that nothing comes without sacrifice, and that sometimes one must sacrifice oneself.

All this and an equipment list that includes a sprig of holly!  Wow~

According to the initial campaign description, the region will have rumours of sacred sites, or standing stones. Cohan will be drawn to the area to learn the truth of these rumours, and if possible, help to restore them to active and beneficial use.

Thoughts:

For troupe style play, it is highly likely that this character will see the most active use in most scenes, although things like combat will be quite dangerous given the restrictions of his professional training. Especially as the character progresses, it will be more and more appropriate, not to mention easier, for this character to interact with others, and to become interested in the day-to-day life of those around him. The palladin, while all about altruism and protecting the weak from evil, is not all that likely to hang out in the tavern shooting the breeze, and the mercenary?  Well, we will get to him tomorrow…

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