Pre-OoH druids: what abilities/powers?

Hello there!

After reading Hedge Magic, and since I am planning a solo narrative game, I am thinking about 2 options. Both are placed around the British Isles, and both are low-power AND pre-Order of Hermes. One is about the pict-scots conflict, centered around a Gruagach. The second one is a vitki in the British isles between 850 and 1100

For both escenarios I lack a very important thing: pre-OoH druids.

I would like the opinion of the board members on how to approach those.

In an article in, Erik Hall suggests giving the druids the same powers that Natural Magicians have in 4th edition (see Hedge Magic 4th edition), with the addition of weak sponts (Int+Philosophia+Alchemy+aura divided by 2). Also, they would be able to use the equivalent of WWizard's communion (adding int+phiolosophiae to the lead guy) for the big rituals.

That would seem a suitable power level compared to the gruagachan and vitkir dudes, but I am searching for other alternatives and power levels. These natural magicians have a too wide repertoire, perhaps, and maybe they shouldn't be that flexible in their magic?

My knowledge on the druids is scarce to be generous woith myself :laughing: so I guess other list members will have a better alternative on what the druid powers were supposed to be like. The previous approach will work, but I am sure there are better options if you are into it :slight_smile:



As I remember it, the only "real" records anyone has of Druids are what some Roman historians wrote centuries after the last druids were wiped out, based on military records centuries old written by generals and such who were, quite probably, painting them in a light meant for propaganda purposes.

The Druids had no written records, and lost that war - and history is written by the victors.

Which is to say - who the hell knows? So don't worry about "knowledge".

There are some elements that seem supported - trees, sacrifice, knowledge of astronomy, significance of the seasons, strong influence over the people, etc - but as for specific legendary "powers", it's purely up to the creativity of the author at the time (and quite possibly always has been since the first centurion put stylus to parchment.)

So far what I have compiled about the tree huggers. I will oversimplificate a lot, but in broad terms:

  • Fairly monotheistic beliefs. They believed in reincarnation "hinduism style"

  • They commanded tremendous ammounts of respect from their societies

  • 2 orders: male and female. 3 ranks per order

  • A mix between priests/churchmen and judges and counselors. The counselor part because they were priests (Wise one social status equivalent)

  • Strong in predicting patterns observing nature or other effects (Premonitions/Visions)

  • healers and knowledge of natural properties of herbs and stones (herbalism/philosophiae/alchemy?)

  • Use of ritual items to perform their sacred rites (sickle, oak staff,....). They were important there (restriction? deleterious circumstances

  • Use of circles, both circles of practitioners or inscribed in the ground to perform their rites. Use lots of sympathetic stuff there as well.

  • Highly ceremonial magic. Lots of practitioners for the big ceremonies: equivalent to wizard communions.

  • In the Ars canon, they were able to spont, but were weaker in forulaics.
    This later poiunt would make me believe that they should onbly be able to cast formulaic spells ceremonially (5-15 minutes per magnitude of the spell). GFoes well along with the ritualistic approach to their magic.

  • Should be fairly strong in intellego, mentem, corpus and herbam

  • They did not leave written records so our knowledge of them is extremely scarce, based on secondary sources and we can do whatever we please with them :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah- I cannot believe I forgot my favorite story about a druid, and one that comes down to us actually intact!

Druids were also known foretell the future.

This is from the traditional story of Conchobar, contemporary with Druids by oral tradition only, so possibly sufferering some "revisions" as it became written later... and forgive the loose translation...

[i]Of the Birth of Cuchulain...A beautiful Princess was traveling with her entourage, when they came upon the encampment of a druid. She stopped, for she would speak with such a wise man.

"Oh Druid", she said" "What are the signs for today?"

The Druid checked the signs, and replied "It is foretold that a Princess who lies this day with a Druid will bear a great king, the hero of all Ireland!"

"Really?" asked the Princess.

"Trust me", answered the Druid..."[/i]
I love that story, on so many levels... :laughing:

I heard of the visions and foretelling abilities of the druids, but that man is DA DRUID :laughing:

Quite unbelievably it seems that he got away with it. maybe it is the unbeliever in me, but I doubt that he did cast a spell or observe anything in the patterns of nature there :wink:


Oh, I think the patterns he was observing were certainly in nature, just not in the trees or dirt. 8)

Oh, I think the patterns he was observing were certainly in nature, just not in the trees or dirt. 8)

(More likely, this could have been a jab at druids from an early wit who transcribed or first penned this. Literacy in Ireland came some centuries after the last druids, and so even if this oral tradition had been handed down from those times, it might not have survived as originally intended.

Nor may have a perfect respect for Druids survived in all peoples that followed.)