Most Objectionable TSR Art Ever Published!
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:32 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:The druid as presented is not a medieval point of view. It is much closer to a modern, secular whatever-ism. The game druid does not even match the historical druid. The concept of a defender of nature is entirely modern. Medieval Europeans (the people of 90% of fantasy game worlds) would not have even been able to understand the concept...would have returned only blank and puzzled stares even if you explained it to them.  8O

  The concept of "no moral component" is alien to heroic fantasy role-playing. Good and evil are starkly contrasted. The idea of remaining neutral in such a clash is incomprehensible. Even when the characters and the conflicts take on modern tones (such as the Elric novels), even the evil guys know they are evil.  :evil:

 So, the druids on the sidelines, yawning enormously, are not one of the better components of the game.  :roll:

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Well, Daoism is hardly modern OR secular.  That leads to the question of (1) whether D&D druids are meant to represent Daoist principles and (2) if so, whether they belong in the default D&D milieu any more than monks do (and EGG is on record as saying that the latter really didn't).  As for what historical druids did or what medieval Europeans would have understood, I doubt they would have comprehended killing orcs or finding the Eye of Vecna, either, so that's not really the litmus test.  Obviously the game is not intended to be a realistic historical simulation.

Your strongest point is the one about heroic fantasy.  I admit it's hard to imagine how true neutrality fits in this scheme, though I wonder whether that's more to do with the conceit or our lack of imagination.  I also admit that it's hard to picture a true neutral adventurer, and easier to picture someone more cloistered as a true neutral.  Given that D&D ultimately has allowed druids to be neutral good, neutral evil etc. rather than only TN probably reflects this-- if you're going to go out and affect the world, even just a small corner of it, you're probably going to skew NG or NE.  Even EGG seems to have made this concession (see Curley Greenleaf from the Gord novels.  Definitely NG, at the very least!).  

On the other hand, one might argue that someone out there trying to make sure that neither good nor evil dominates, because the dominance of either leads to disharmony and suffering, could be interpreted as TN.  That can work in the short term in a typical party of PCs (killing orcs to prevent them from overrunning the countryside), but could be difficult long term (because inevitably a TN will have to prevent someone good from overreaching as well).  All this speaks more to the difficulties of TN as a concept than it does the druid as a PC class, though, at least if you concede that druids can be NG/NE.

It's hard.  People struggle with paladins, too, for I think the same reason.  The alignment requirements of these classes require a very fine sense of moral subtleties and if you paint them with too broad a brush, the classes become caricatures at best and unplayable at worst.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:52 am 
 

Sooooooo, about that objectionable art..............

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:11 am 
 

Ya know, I never looked at Druids like the way you guys are. Maybe 'bout time I give 'em another look-see. The odd part is that I studied a bit of their culture in school, I just plumb forgot 'bout them. Thanks guys!

As for objectionable art, I still say the cover of AC2 is a bit weird. It reminds me of the Little Mermaid cover. Ya know, hidden in plain site type stuff.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:03 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:Sooooooo, about that objectionable art..............


Not hinting that the thread had gotten way off topic are you 8O


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:46 am 
 

What was the topic?  * Looks up at the title*  Ah, yes.  The TSR artwork that I find most objectionable:

    Just about anything that depicts female drow.  These paintings tend to show what female drow would look like if encountered at the Playboy Mansion...or if the mansion were in Menzobarranzan.  (Erelhei Cinlu?)

    The result is a superhero/dominatrix look that is entirely too lust-filled for a game publication....IMHO.   :?

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:26 am 
 

Achizar wrote:Well, Daoism is hardly modern OR secular. That leads to the question of (1) whether D&D druids are meant to represent Daoist principles and (2) if so, whether they belong in the default D&D milieu any more than monks do (and EGG is on record as saying that the latter really didn't). As for what historical druids did or what medieval Europeans would have understood, I doubt they would have comprehended killing orcs or finding the Eye of Vecna, either, so that's not really the litmus test. Obviously the game is not intended to be a realistic historical simulation.

Your strongest point is the one about heroic fantasy. I admit it's hard to imagine how true neutrality fits in this scheme, though I wonder whether that's more to do with the conceit or our lack of imagination.

It's hard. People struggle with paladins, too, for I think the same reason. The alignment requirements of these classes require a very fine sense of moral subtleties and if you paint them with too broad a brush, the classes become caricatures at best and unplayable at worst.


Very interesting post, enjoyed reading it.
Besides Taoists, Hindu vedics and Buddhist ascetics also fit some of the Druid paradigm.  I remember Gygax saying monks didn't really fit in because they were Eastern, and not western archetypes, and then thinking well neither is magic missile, avatars, kirin, clerics curing light wounds and pretty much everything in the game.  The game is meant to be fun and the Scarlet Brotherhood post-Istus just isn't the same.  If one looked hard enough in the Western tradition there is probably something remotely similar to the game druid... perhaps the Franciscans to some extent.  St. Francis was pretty out there....
Your point about heroic fantasy is well-taken and why I pretty much don't read it except for light plane reading.  It's too cut and dry good and evil.... without moral ambiguity there is little tension in the narrative.  Give me Dostoyevsky instead.   :wink:

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:42 am 
 

OK, I'm convinced. I'll try a druid.
How about a 3E one? A half-dune stalker/half dire gerbil druid/paladin/arcanist. With a +27 dancing holy vorpal flaming sword of allslaying, of course.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 11:43 am 
 

:D

  


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:28 pm 
 

Achizar wrote:That can work in the short term in a typical party of PCs (killing orcs to prevent them from overrunning the countryside), but could be difficult long term (because inevitably a TN will have to prevent someone good from overreaching as well). All this speaks more to the difficulties of TN as a concept than it does the druid as a PC class, though, at least if you concede that druids can be NG/NE.


The Good/Evil axis of alignment always struck me as very subjective.  The paladin that slays a rampaging horde of orcs, did good when measured by human standards.  When measured by orcish standards, the paladin is evil because he slew a migratory tribe of orcs looking for new lands to settle and raise families.   The Druidic neutreal comes from realizing that the countryside is being overrun by both orcs and humans, and neither side has the best interest of the "countrside" itself at heart; they both want to exploit it.

Furthermore, consider Tree-beard from Lord of the Rings.  He's as close to a neutral character as possible.  "Which side are you on?" one of the Hobbits asks.  "I'm on nobodies side, because nobody is on my side" the ent replies.  The ents didn't care about the epic struggle between good and evil because it didn't involve them.  The ents couldn't have cared less if the orcs killed every last man, elf, and hobbit; they only sacked Isengard because the orcs were destroying the forest.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 12:58 pm 
 

NetRodent wrote:
Achizar wrote:That can work in the short term in a typical party of PCs (killing orcs to prevent them from overrunning the countryside), but could be difficult long term (because inevitably a TN will have to prevent someone good from overreaching as well). All this speaks more to the difficulties of TN as a concept than it does the druid as a PC class, though, at least if you concede that druids can be NG/NE.


The Good/Evil axis of alignment always struck me as very subjective. The paladin that slays a rampaging horde of orcs, did good when measured by human standards. When measured by orcish standards, the paladin is evil because he slew a migratory tribe of orcs looking for new lands to settle and raise families.  The Druidic neutreal comes from realizing that the countryside is being overrun by both orcs and humans, and neither side has the best interest of the "countrside" itself at heart; they both want to exploit it.

Furthermore, consider Tree-beard from Lord of the Rings. He's as close to a neutral character as possible. "Which side are you on?" one of the Hobbits asks. "I'm on nobodies side, because nobody is on my side" the ent replies. The ents didn't care about the epic struggle between good and evil because it didn't involve them. The ents couldn't have cared less if the orcs killed every last man, elf, and hobbit; they only sacked Isengard because the orcs were destroying the forest.


Do not forget the Ents also slaughtered all of the Uruk-hai and baddies when they ran from helms deep.  Orcs must make good fertilizer.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:04 pm 
 

Well, they had a long-standing feud with orcs anyways, so killing them was a personal thing.
Excellent point, the Ents are probably the closest thing to Neutral possible.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 1:17 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:Well, they had a long-standing feud with orcs anyways, so killing them was a personal thing.
Excellent point, the Ents are probably the closest thing to Neutral possible.

I'm going for a half-ent/half-green slime druid!  :lol:

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 2:01 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:
Deadlord36 wrote:Well, they had a long-standing feud with orcs anyways, so killing them was a personal thing.
Excellent point, the Ents are probably the closest thing to Neutral possible.

I'm going for a half-ent/half-green slime druid! :lol:


so what would you be if you were a half-giant/half halfling? wouldnt you just be a human ? :D

i tell you, frank cracks me up.....he will never leave that 3E alone :D


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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:11 pm 
 

Achizar wrote:That can work in the short term in a typical party of PCs (killing orcs to prevent them from overrunning the countryside), but could be difficult long term (because inevitably a TN will have to prevent someone good from overreaching as well). All this speaks more to the difficulties of TN as a concept than it does the druid as a PC class, though, at least if you concede that druids can be NG/NE.


The Good/Evil axis of alignment always struck me as very subjective. The paladin that slays a rampaging horde of orcs, did good when measured by human standards. When measured by orcish standards, the paladin is evil because he slew a migratory tribe of orcs looking for new lands to settle and raise families.  The Druidic neutreal comes from realizing that the countryside is being overrun by both orcs and humans, and neither side has the best interest of the "countrside" itself at heart; they both want to exploit it.


    In my campaign, all the "good/evil" variety of spells were changed. "Protection From Evil/Good" became "Protection From Enemies"  IMO this more required less machinations, as anyone attacking you would be subject to the spell (aka an enemy).  
  Any discussion of good vs evil must have a starting point. Through years of gaming, myself and my players actually came up with a well thought out encompasing explanation, which of course I don't have handy :?  Basically, depriving innocents of life, liberty and the pursuit of their own well being was seen as evil.  A Paladin may be "evil" in the orcs eyes, but neither does he spend his spare time torturing animals, burning human settlements for food, raping women, killing babies, etc.  Im my campaign world the orcs wouldn't consider a paladin "evil".  They would consider themselves evil without explanation or excuse, reveling in their depravity.  They would wear "evil" like a badge of pride.

Furthermore, consider Tree-beard from Lord of the Rings. He's as close to a neutral character as possible. "Which side are you on?" one of the Hobbits asks. "I'm on nobodies side, because nobody is on my side" the ent replies. The ents didn't care about the epic struggle between good and evil because it didn't involve them. The ents couldn't have cared less if the orcs killed every last man, elf, and hobbit; they only sacked Isengard because the orcs were destroying the forest.


Of course, this is one reason playing a true neutral druid is such a tough deed.  Such a PC would not be welcome in any party, no one wants to tote along a dude whose loyalties are firmly with himself and of course the little animals of the forest and all the trees.  Hell, you can't even entice the guy with gold and silver like a good mercenary, I wouldn't want any part of a guy like that. Funny thing is, even though the Ents were neutral, killing the orcs was a "good" act relatively....!

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 4:11 pm 
 

Half giant/half halfling.....................
Human.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:07 pm 
 

When I played D&D, we were too young to appreciate any sort of philosophical discourse. A druid had 1d8 for hit points and a lousy selection of weapons and armor. You got a 2nd level spell at 2nd level! I made a druid so that I could cast Animal Friendship on some giant spiders. I wanted them to beat the $&@? out of my stupid brothers stupid trained war dogs. They didn't.

After that it was all about casting Shillelagh on my staff and hoping I could beat the $*%! out of whatever was in front of me before the time limit expired on one of the lamest spells ever. That was our D&D philosophy:

Paladin- beat the &%@? out of everything with a holy sword.
Druid- beat the @#$% out of things with your lame staff. Pets!
Ranger- beat the @#$% out of things with two weapons. 2d8 hp!
etc.

  

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:35 pm 
 

NetRodent wrote:
Achizar wrote:That can work in the short term in a typical party of PCs (killing orcs to prevent them from overrunning the countryside), but could be difficult long term (because inevitably a TN will have to prevent someone good from overreaching as well). All this speaks more to the difficulties of TN as a concept than it does the druid as a PC class, though, at least if you concede that druids can be NG/NE.


The Good/Evil axis of alignment always struck me as very subjective. The paladin that slays a rampaging horde of orcs, did good when measured by human standards. When measured by orcish standards, the paladin is evil because he slew a migratory tribe of orcs looking for new lands to settle and raise families.  The Druidic neutreal comes from realizing that the countryside is being overrun by both orcs and humans, and neither side has the best interest of the "countrside" itself at heart; they both want to exploit it.

Furthermore, consider Tree-beard from Lord of the Rings. He's as close to a neutral character as possible. "Which side are you on?" one of the Hobbits asks. "I'm on nobodies side, because nobody is on my side" the ent replies. The ents didn't care about the epic struggle between good and evil because it didn't involve them. The ents couldn't have cared less if the orcs killed every last man, elf, and hobbit; they only sacked Isengard because the orcs were destroying the forest.


Isengard should have told the Ents they knew the location of the Ent-Wives. Saruman would have had them marching all across Middle Earth to do battle. Could have had them sack both Rohan and Gondor and then "march on Mordor" turning on them at the last second, planned with Sauron, and then hope they had wrecked enough havoc on Mordor to beat them as well.

I am not so sure they were "neutral" in terms of balance. They were more Switzerland neutral, not wanting to get involved. Much more akin to the elves. If you are immortal or live for 10s of thousands of years the affairs of mortals would seem to not matter unless they were either infringing on your liveleyhood/safety or you just took pity on them.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:48 am 
 

Hello everyone!

I've just had a peek at the cover of AC2 in another part of this website, especially the shambling mound...

[attempting to do George Takei's voice]  Oh MY.....   :oops:

BTW, on a similar note, has anyone looked at the troll's proboscis on the back of the mono release of D1???

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