Excerpts Archive | 4/23/2013
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2nd Edition Excerpts: PHB
The Druid

One of the toughest challenges facing a DM (and I can only assume that everyone reading this either is, or wants to be, a DM) is keeping his game sessions fresh and exciting.

Those of us who produce new material for the AD&D game as a whole have a more or less similar task, although on a larger scale. We are constantly searching for ways to make adventures and game accessories unique, or at least original and distinctive. Like Sir Isaac Newton, we’ve learned from experience that when faced with multiple choices, the simplest alternative is often the best.

Hence the book you hold in your hands...

So begins the foreword written by Steve Winter—discussing the latest release of the 2nd Edition, soon appearing once more in premium format on May 21.

Bringing this project together rekindled a lot of memories. In particular, one day from 1987 stands out in my mind. I remember it vividly because it was the day when Dave Cook and I drew up the very first outline and schedule for the 2nd Edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game. What needed to be done, and how it should be done, looked clear and simple on our neat, four-page report. In fact, that massive undertaking occupied almost two years of our lives, and I’ve spent most of my time since then caring for the AD&D game.

That’s a job that we enjoy, or we wouldn’t be doing it. Most of us feel that we have a stake, to one extent or another, in every AD&D campaign out there. When you and your players get together, the months (often years) of designing, discussing, playtesting, redesigning, arguing, editing, sketching, and head scratching disappear into the background. But no matter whether you play by the books or with a binder full of home rules, we’re all in this together, united by the common thread of the AD&D game.


In today's excerpt for the 2nd Edition Premium Player's Handbook, we wanted to look at the druid. After all, the druid, ranger and paladin have all been added to the latest D&D Next playtest packet. Let's also consider the 2e version of the druid—including their ethos, shapechanging, and duels to gain admission to the upper levels!

An Introduction to 2nd Edition Classes

The 2nd Edition Druid

Historically, druids lived among the Germanic tribes of Western Europe and Britain during the days of the Roman Empire. They acted as advisors to chieftains and held great influence over the tribesmen. Central to their thinking was the belief that the earth was the mother and source of all life. They revered many natural things—the sun, moon, and certain trees—as deities. Druids in the AD&D game, however, are only loosely patterned after these historical figures. They are not required to behave like or follow the beliefs of historical druids.

The druid is an example of a priest designed for a specific mythos. His powers and beliefs are different from those of the cleric. The druid is a priest of nature and guardian of the wilderness, be it forest, plains, or jungle.

Bart Carroll
Bart Carroll has been a part of Wizards of the Coast since 2004, and a D&D player since 1980 (and has fond memories of coloring the illustrations in his 1st Edition Monster Manual). He currently works as producer for the D&D website. You can find him on Twitter (@bart_carroll) and at bartjcarroll.com.
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