Thursday, April 21, 2011


Despite the efforts of the Church, most of the inhabitants of the Dark Country pay homage to the Old Gods in some for or another.  Even those who claim to follow the God of Law, and indeed even the most ardent supporters of the Church, will make a small sacrifice to those primordial beings who aided humans in their earliest attempts at civilization.  Such beings do not offer aid without a price, and it is for that reason the first Clerics of the Old Gods learned their arts.

Clerics of the Old Gods oversee the rites and rituals needed to appease these capricious deities.  They know when to perform the sacrifices, and the type of sacrifice needed in order to bring the community back into accordance with the will of the thing living in the woods.  This is a useful skill for a society living on the brink of catastrophe, such as the barbarians in the Dark Country.  The humans of the West have been softened by civilization -- in the opinion of the barbarians anyway, the men of the Desert Lands and the city of Zenopolis can barely tell the difference between Westerners and their barbarian neighbors.  They have forgotten what one must do in order to survive, the bargains one must make.

It is the Clerics that oversee these bargains, but these men and women are not true Druids.  Druids are only those Clerics specifically chosen by an Old God to serve as the elect leaders of their cults.  They alone are privy to the true mysteries of the universe, or at least what their gods claim are the true mysteries of the universe. They are few in number, but their power is great, and they have proven to be a thorn in the side of the Church since the Sword Brothers arrived.

However, the Druids' powers are waining.  Not in the magical sense, for Druids' mastery over the natural world grants them powers beyond the comprehension of most mortals.  No, it is the political power of the Druids that is waining. As more and more settlers trickle in from the West, the old order is supplanted by the new.  Though most men and women who profess the new faith of the God of Law still visit the shrines of the Old Gods, their children do not.  Who knows how much longer the old faith can survive in the face of this onslaught.


In my campaign, neutral Clerics become Druids at level 9 a la the Rules Cyclopedia.  This may seem odd given the increasingly "advanced" nature of my campaign, what with a Paladin* and a Dwarf Fighter in the mix, but that is how I decided it should be handled before I purchased the AEC.  My wife, who plays Ffraid the Cleric of the Old Gods, has insisted we stick to that most likely because she likes the healing available to a Labyrinth Lord Cleric.

*On a related note, I had originally intended for Paladins to be level 9 Lawful Fighters, but I forgot to mention that to the player of Roger Le Douche when he started making his character.  Oh well.


  1. Gotta say, Roger Le Douche is a mighty fine character name.

  2. Our short-lived Hackmaster campaign had a Gnome Titan named Gnartacus Testicleez. My current NPC name list features such platinum hits as Black Frugal, the Gray Mooser, and Rodney of Seven Parts.

  3. I tend to just give mine ridiculous epithets, like Almaric the Incontinent and Bishop Notker the Unshaven.

  4. I think I have a Life of Charlemagne by Notker the Stammerer. Haven't read it and not likely to get a chance any time soon. :(

  5. It's worth a read, and that is in fact where I got the Notker part from.

  6. Once upon a time I was working on a script where a upon hearing the tale of Empedocles on Etna, a hunchback grabs his crotch in disgust and declares "Alas, poor Testi-clees, I knew him well."

  7. I need more hunchbacks in my game.