I’ve recently become re-smitten with the idea of playing D&D. “Dungeons and Dragons” for all you losers out there who aren’t up to the play with 42 year old geek acronyms. I can place the blame squarely on the shoulders of my friend. We went for coffee and she was talking about how her boyfriend was setting up a campaign. She was a bit nervous and quite excited about playing. She mentioned an excellent podcast The Adventure Zone (run by the My Brother My Brother And Me group) that sparked my interest even more. That wasn’t entirely it though. The real catalyst for this explosion of enthusiasm? She mentioned that she was playing a druid. Instantly I had flashbacks to The Ballad of Shenaughnaugh of the Shillelagh (it’s worth a read) and had to read more. I’d had great experiences with 5th edition and wanted to give it another crack. Then the second bomb dropped. As a level six druid I’d be able to shapeshift into a dinosaur.
Maybe let that sink in. A motherfucking dinosaur.
I had to make this happen, whether heaven or earth would heed my cries, I had to call out regardless. Fortunately my cries were heeded rather quickly, because whiny man-babies are pretty fucking intolerable. A friend offered to DM (Dungeon Master for all you pieces of shit who don’t have a flawless knowledge of the Gygaxian lexicon) and the wheels started turning. I guess a question most uninitiated folks (read: unevolved pond scum) would ask is “why D&D?” It’s funny you ask that. Funny a) because not even The Earth’s molten core could reach temperatures as uncool as you, b) because I have my own reasons. Dungeons and Dragons is a game where most anything is possible. Can you justify it somehow? Find a way to maneuver through obstacles and interactions in creative ways? Have you got an imagination? Then throwing yourself at the mercy of dice rolls and accommodating DMs means the world is your oyster. Why am I particularly so taken with the notion of playing a druid again? Knowing full well that I mentioned dinosaurs already?
Here’s the deal. Druids are a fun class. The two distinct routes are a focus on shapeshifting or elemental earth magic. They’re hedge knights or jacks of all trade. They can do a ton of useful stuff, albeit not in such a focused way as other classes. Even turning into a large animal, you’re probably not gonna be doing as much damage as a trained killer. You can cast all manner of fancy elemental spells, but there are wizards who live and breathe the arcane. They have a one up or two on you. Still, you’ve got a ton of resources at your disposal to support the rest of the party or find creative ways to solve issues. Here are two paths I’d consider taking:
If my stats would work out right, imagine how neat it’d be to infiltrate enemy animal lines? I’d use my shining charisma and persuasive aura in order to try convince my beast brethren that all’s right with the world, nothing is wrong with this party of adventurers combing our turf. They seem swell. Oh and don’t they look hungry? Say Larry, how about you bite off your leg for them to roast over an open fire? That seems reasonable, right? I mean, the food chain is a thing for a reason. Why not me? Well, you know, my meat is so tough and unsatisfying. They’d have to keep searching for more legs and then we’re right out of legs. Surely the path of least resistance is the smartest course of action. You’re a smart woolly mammoth, right Larry? Thought so.
Concentrate on stealth, multi-class with a rogue. Shapeshift into any manner of small animals and attack the enemy from behind/underneath. Transform into a flying snake and fly up a tree, then swoop down for a nasty poison head chomp from above. Or what about becoming some small spider thing and launching myself out from the darkness? Are trap door spiders a thing? I’m pretty sure I can become a mole. A mysterious animal vigilante surprising evildoers with my bestial brand of justice. What is not righteous about that?
Failing anything, I’m just gonna turn into a dinosaur and stomp around. Do I need reason more than that? How else am I to truly avenge Shenaughnaugh?