Posted by: Jess Riley | September 3, 2008

Do It Different: Druids

The archetypal druid is either the bearded man in the white robe, or the big, lumbering wise man, either one of them greeting the sun or exchanging jokes with the trees. In World of Warcraft, the only races that can be druids are tauren and night elves, which does nothing to mitigate this stereotype.

First, a brief tangent: I was under the impression that in Warcraft lore, night elf warriors were all female, and night elf druids were all male. I looked this up to confirm it so I wouldn’t look like an idiot in my post, and I found that there’s actually some debate about whether or not that’s actually true of the original lore. It was retconned for World of Warcraft, presumably for the sake of playability. Whether this is considered an actual change in the lore, or just in gameplay mechanics, seems to differ depending on the roleplayer in question. I don’t have a final answer either way (what can I say, I don’t play a lot of night elves), so I’ll just refrain from mentioning race when I talk about female druid ideas; if you’re bothered by the idea of female night elf druids, assume I’m talking about only tauren females.

Now, onto the ideas.

The Crunchy Granola Girl. The TV Tropes Wiki describes this archetype as being ‘disgustingly left-wing’ and with a penchant for tie-dye. In terms of World of Warcraft, of course that’s not quite applicable here. The Crunchy Granola Girl in World of Warcraft will, however, definitely be vegetarian and probably be vegan (expect to see them turn down food for containing meat, even if it has a particularly good buff or would restore their health much more quickly), and they may find it difficult to justify killing perceived innocents for quest rewards. They can sense, or claim they can sense, whether or not something is innocent or ‘touched by evil’, and may well justify killing on those grounds. They’re also typically bright and cheerful, but flighty – don’t expect them to stay on one train of thought for too long, unless it’s one of the rock-hard principles on which their manner is grounded (such as the aforementioned vegetarianism). They may forgo healing with magic in favour of ‘natural’ remedies such as items. Herbalism is a common profession.

Yells At The Animals. You’ve probably heard of the stereotypical wanders-the-fields-with-every-beast-his-brother type, right? Well, this character talks to the animals. What he usually says is, “BUGGER OFF, YOU BASTARDS!”. Surprisingly volatile for a druid, one really has to wonder how he ever became a druid in the first place. Of course, he’s quite good at what he does – and when the mood takes him, he will happily sit quietly and patiently and listen to what the trees tell him. Of course, getting in that mood will take quite the effort, because he spends far too much time stamping around and shouting at people to ever really calm down enough to be patient. Most people who know him would insist that he never does do that kind of thing, and that claiming to be a druid is nothing more than pretence so that his aggressive personality looks as though it has some kind of purpose.

More-Intuned-Than-Thou. Very in tune with the natural world, and it can’t be denied that s/he possesses a lot of druid-magic. Of course, it might be better if you weren’t constantly being reminded that s/he clearly thinks that this makes him/her a better person in some way. It’s very probably not even a conscious matter – there’s just some sort of smug undertone whenever anything involving their druidic magic or knowledge of the natural world comes up that they know this because they have the power and they are skilled, and you are not. If a night elf, he was probably born with golden eyes and considers himself therefore better than those born with silver eyes, whether they later learned to be a druid or not. Most people probably secretly want to see them taken down a peg, and should anything ever not go their way, there’s hardly a tear shed by anyone else in their party – no matter how put off the druid in question seems to be.



  1. Hey, I knew Yells At The Animals in my college days. Seemed like every time the guy turned around, there was always something following him: cat, dog, bird, rabbit, tarantula… you name it, it was probably within five feet of him, walking the same direction he was.

    He had the same reaction, too…

    Thanks for the laugh, Jess, and reminding me of old friends. ^_^

  2. I can’t really agree with you there. I know that the goal of this post is to provide alternative ways to roleplay a druid, but I really want to remind you that achieving the rigorous training to be a druid is not easy, and that every forms ( bear form, etc) is only mastered through hard work and a lot of effort. Thus, the general ‘themes’ you give us are kind of unsatisfactory. I know this is probably only my point of view, but I have often considered druids to be like a religious “sect” while training, with more freedom being given as the druid finishes his (her ?) formation.
    Thank you.

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