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I have a player who created a Druid and is mostly playing like a barbarian in combat and like a rogue the rest of the time.

This means he kills animals, does not care for plants, does not use his magic even when someone could use Cure Wounds... (although that last one is certainly okay for a neutral character.)

And when in the presence of an NPC that looks rich, multiple attempts to steal as much as possible from it (like a level 1 character should steal from a cloud giant...)

What would you do in this situation? I'm playing 5e and am allowing all extensions so the characters can multi-class. On my end, I was thinking to force him to choose another class once at level 2. Would that be wise? I think that would be much more likely to teach him a lesson rather than letting him continue as this barbarian/rogue under the disguise of a druid...


To answer the first comment fully:

PHB p64. under Power of Nature

Druids revere nature above all.

So being the first to kill everything, including animals, seems quite contradictory to the class already... (were he evil, I could understand that he like monstrosities, and not "regular" animals, but that is not the case here.)

PHB p64. under Preserve The Balance

Already the title sounds like a Druid seeking just gold and gems and other riches is not going to help much in preserving the balance...

[...] Druids oppose cults of Elemental Evil and others who promote to the exclusion of others.

Gold and gems could be viewed as promoting the Earth Elemental.

Druids are also concerned with the delicate ecological balance that sustains plant and animal life, and the need for civilized folk to live in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it.

This re-enforces my first excerpt.

PHB p65. under Creating A Druid

When making a druid, consider why your character has such a close bond with nature.

I will say, Barbarian are considered to be close to nature as well... so a barbaric fighting aspect may not be too far off from a Druid's devotion. Plus Druids may fight like Barbarian when their territory is at risk.


Now... looking at the Circle of the Moon, I guess I could force him to join that circle rather than the other one made of mystics and sages.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does the book actually say that Druids must act the way you want them to act, or is this more a case of you not liking the way your player is playing his character? \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 15 '15 at 7:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you talked to your player about why they're playing like this? There is a subset of RPG culture that sees fiction attached to classes as unimportant "paint" and sees a class as just a bag of mechanics that they can repaint to be whatever they imagine; does this describe your player's approach to character creation? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 15 '15 at 7:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ If his way of roleplaying interupts or harms your story or the session, then you should consult him about that. But you should not force someone to play how YOU want him to. Druid can kill animals, he can hunt it is the natural order of things. he can defend himself from predators. he can steal from people. but these actions can force an alingnment change. If a druid kills a bunny, he is not evil, if he kills a lot bunnies, just because he hates bunnies, he is evil, if he kills bunnies because he doesn't want australian history to repeat, he is not evil. \$\endgroup\$ – Nuloen The Seeker Mar 10 '18 at 22:34

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Unfortunately there's nothing within the rules that dictates how a Druid must act. Though, the introduction to the class clearly states

Druids are also concerned with the delicate ecological balance that sustains plant and animal life, and the need for civilized folk to live in harmony with nature, not in opposition to it. (PHB, pg.65)

Druids are also part of larger organisations, called Circles, the description of which includes this line:

Druids recognise each other as brothers and sisters. Like creatures of the wilderness, however, druids sometimes compete with or even prey on one another. (PHB, pg. 68. Emphasis mine)

There's no information on how to punish a druid for living in disharmony with his or her environment, but it seems clear that they believe in the natural order; the laws of nature. Even when it means the strong hunt and prey on the weak. A druid is certainly not forbidden to kill animals, especially if it's for their own survival. Hunting and preying is the natural way.

And they are certainly under no obligation to constantly care for all plants around them. But perhaps going out of their way to destroy them would cross the line, though.

A Character's behaviour is not governed by their class

One thing to keep in mind that a character's class is a mechanical term and used within the game to determine their capabilities. Within the world, their vocation may be quite different. Perhaps the Bard is simply a charismatic politician, swaying the populace with powerful speeches instead of moving song. Perhaps the Wizard is actually a hedge mage, carefully tending his garden in solitude and communing with natural spirits instead of actively researching in a library, locked in a tower.

Acting stealthy, picking locks, and thievery aren't specific to a Rogue. Rogues simply specialize in such tasks. Plenty of warriors enter a battle rage, Barbarians have simply learned how to channel that rage to make themselves stronger during battle.

Decide what it takes to be a Druid within your setting, and discuss this with the player

Unfortunately, it seems you've allowed the player to assume the character class without fully discussing your setting and/or their backstory, and hence their role within your world. How did they gain their powers? Are they part of a Druidic order (By the book, they are in a Circle)? Are there repercussions from this order when a Druid acts out of interest?

Maybe the character isn't a druid at all?

One thing I should make explicit is the option that perhaps the character isn't a druid in your setting at all. After you discuss Druidism within your setting with the player, discuss other flavour-based options that allow him to keep the class but still take his character in another direction. From an example in the comments maybe the PC is from a barbarian tribe that uses nature-based magic (but to survive in nature rather than protect it). There are many explanations, as many as you can imagine, as to why your Player's character would have these powers without actually being a druid within the setting; mechanically a Druid, but not referred to as such by the other characters who inhabit your world.

There are some options available if you decide he's a druid in both name and function

After you discuss with the player how druids work in your setting, explain to them why, if his behaviour continues as it is, he will face certain consequences. Importantly, though, don't punish the player for his current "misdeeds," especially if you haven't already spoken. If, after you've had a discussion, the player continues behaviour disruptive to the natural world, make a story out of it.

  • Perhaps their Cirlce becomes determined to hunt him. Either to bring him to justice and remove his powers, or to hunt and kill him like one would a mad animal.

  • Maybe the god(s) or spirits of the natural world disapprove of their actions and deem them unworthy of their druidity and remove their powers until they repents. I certainly know certain Fey may have a problem with their behaviour.

  • Maybe their magics start to go wrong, and the animals and plants he calls to his aid turn on him instead of acting as allies?

  • Perhaps an investigation by the local guardsmen has led them to believe the PC is responsible for a recent robbery?

By the book, you can take inspiration from other rules on how to act

My one suggestion would be to treat it as a Paladin who has broken his oath. A short blurb on this may be found on pg.86 of the PHB, and there is an Oathbreaker Paladin in the DMG. Suggest the character play a fallen druid (if they can exist in your setting) and find/create an such a class with them if they find this method interesting.

In the end, it is your Player's Character

Perhaps suggest the player take class levels in either Barbarian or Rogue, as they may better fit their current playstyle, but do not force them to do so. There's nothing in the rules dictating their behaviour, and it seems to me they were not aware of your expectations.

But do take the opportunity to inspire yourself and your campaign and present challenges for the player and their party. All actions have consequences.

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    \$\begingroup\$ He really only played one game so far (the first session was to create the character). But I am thinking that just like for Paladins, something too contradictory should have consequences. I guess that until he gets caught in some way, it would not overly matter (it is not like a paladin who has a god overlooking). A similar problem would be a person who says he's Loyal Good and who always plays as an evil person. His alignment should switch as a consequence. I also like the concept of an "Oathbreaker" Druid. Maybe a Dracodruid... \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 15 '15 at 8:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, the PHB for 5e mentions that many, if not most, druids do revere gods of Nature. Though it is mostly out of tradition and respect than order and expectation like a Cleric or Paladin. And Druids are certainly subject to a god's displeasure. Maybe the god deems to send omen to the PCs druidic order that something is amiss with one of their brethren. Alignment is a mechanical term as well, and the DM has the discretion to treat alignment as lower than what is on the character sheet. The player chooses an alignment as a guideline for themselves, but it's up to them to follow that guide. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jan 15 '15 at 8:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ The perspective that class isn't vocation made me think. Maybe this druid is only druid by class. Maybe he isn't an in-game druid. There might be some tribe of Conan-ish barbarians that use nature magic and transform into animals, but use those abilities to survive nature, rather than protect it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubberduck Jan 15 '15 at 10:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm reminded of giantitp.com/comics/oots0209.html which seems relevant here. \$\endgroup\$ – Admiral Jota Jun 17 at 2:41
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The problem isn’t the player, it’s your overly-narrow concept of “druid”

There are no rules for what happens to the player because the player has done nothing wrong. His class is not his character, and he is allowed to play his character however he likes. There can be exceptions if a player is being disruptive, but I don’t see anything in your question that suggests he is.

And besides, “revering nature” is not the same as caring for plants and animals. Have you looked into how nature itself treats plants and animals? Nature is brutal. Nature is disgusting and horrifying and awful (as well as beautiful and inspiring and wonderful). Barbarians could have a lot to learn from nature.

So you should do absolutely nothing to the player or the player’s character; that player is making choices about his character, as is his right. He has not broken any rules. And if you start messing with his character, undoing or taking away those choices, you are breaking rules – you get the entire world to play with, save the player characters. Hands off.

On the other hand, while the character is his to do with as he likes, the world is yours. This character acts like a barbarian? Then he gets treated like a barbarian. Where a druid garner respect, even awe, a barbarian might receive derision and mistreatment. And if he claims to be a druid, despite his behavior, that might anger other druids (besmirching the name, whatever). Others might have expectations of him, and be angry when he fails to meet them. So when I say there are no consequences for the player, I mean that the player should not be “punished” or “corrected” – but in-character, of course, everything has consequences. Just not the dire, “you are no longer a real druid!” consequences you seem to be imagining.

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It's often useful to remember that your Class is not who or what you are, it's just what you can do. Which is related, but not the same.

As the old adage says, "your Class is not your profession". Being a cleric (the noun) doesn't mean you're a miraclemaker magician, and being a Cleric (the class) doesn't mean you're a priest. Being a barbarian doesn't mean you're a berserking warrior, and being a Barbarian doesn't mean you belong to a primitive tribe. Being a thief doesn't mean you're a highly-trained specialist in stealth, infiltration and murder, and being a Thief doesn't mean you steal things. Being a monk doesn't mean you're a Shaolin Kungfu fighter, and being a Monk doesn't mean you're a religious hermit living in a monastery. Similarly a member of a druid order could be any kind of Nature magician (a Ranger, a life domain Cleric, an Ancients oath Paladin, arguably even a totemic Barbarian or fey-pact Warlock), and a Druid may be the shaman of a savage tribe or something like that.

Ultimately, it's up to both of you to negotiate what he's trying to represent with the Druid class and how to make it fit with your setting. You'll have to find together a way to make it work.

Of course this answer might be actually irrelevant in your case: perhaps he is indeed a wayward member (or former member) of a druid circle, perhaps he has even gone rogue. In that case my advice wouldn't really apply to him and his character.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I would say that the word "class" may have been taken too literally, in a way. I think that the God you are worshiping as a Druid will or will not allow you to do certain things. Being completely selfish is probably okay for a Druid. However, just and only looking for tons of gold... seems wrong to me. As some others mentioned, the result could be an army of creatures controlled by the God going after the character for not following his duties as a worshiper of that deity. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 20 '15 at 8:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that if a deity were to spend time going after worshippers who don't live up to his ideal, he's not going to have any kind of time left for doing anything else. And you'd see this kind of thing happening ALL THE TIME in your world, up to the point where I think it would be the defining feature of the campaign, that gods actually go after worshippers who misbehave. Maybe even to the point where people would simply refuse to worship any out of fear. Such activity, if followed to it's logical conclusion, would have serious effect on your world. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 20 '15 at 9:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ There is nothing in the Druid text that requires that they follow a god. In fact, it makes it clear that they can get the power from "the force of nature itself", and that "Many druids pursue a mystic spirituality of transcendent union with nature rather than devotion to a divine entity, while others serve gods of wild nature, animals, or elemental forces." (PHB 64) \$\endgroup\$ – Trevel Mar 17 '16 at 15:03
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I think there's two important things to consider here, to determine the best cause of action.

The character's background

Has this player written any kind of background for this character that would explain his behaviour and also explains why he is a Druid? This might give you a lot of insight into why he is acting like this. If he does not have a background, then this might be a good time to come up with one.

If the player is new to roleplaying, he might simply be taking a cue from videogames, where you click the "druid" box without thinking about what that means and just start cutting things up. This seems perfectly in line with how a Druid acts in World of Warcraft, for example.

The background would hopefully help you understand why a Druid steals and kills. Maybe he actually has a good reason for it. And maybe writing a background will help the player understand why stealing and killing are often not considered very druidic, and change his ways.

Knowing where a player's character is coming from, helps shape everyone's expectations. Maybe the Druid just feels betrayed by other creatures. Maybe he suffered some kind of trauma that caused him to become more prone to violence. Or maybe he just feels like "might makes right", which is certainly a druidic type of motivation. Until you ask him and work out this character with him, you'll never know. He might very well think he's playing a reasonable Druid as is; he might've simply never thought that an RPG is more than killing and stealing; or he might already have good reasons for his behaviour.

The character is his, but the world is yours

Once you get the first one sorted out, it might be time for consequences. All actions have them. However, when applying these things always try to keep the basic rule above in mind. Your player only has one character, and it would be very demotivating to have even that taken away from him by you making some of the most important decisions about that character (such as which class he must take).

However, the world is yours, and actions certainly have consequences. Your Druid is not alone in the world. Other Druids might learn of his behaviour, and become angry with him and try to kill him or at least make him change his ways. Animals might insinctively pick up that this is no friend of nature and become more fearful or even hostile towards him.

Fey creatures might play tricks on him to punish him, or might even trick others into not liking the Druid. All sorts of things happen to both bad people and people who go against the group they should be a part of, and if your Druid does both, then people will start reacting to that.

However, if you start dropping punishment, make sure it's reasonable and traceable. Explain why the bear mauled him when he approached, and make sure that any other Druids harassing him explain their reasons. This gives the player the choice of mending his ways or remain on his current path and accept the troubles it brings.

This gives the player control and still generates consequences for going against what the world expects of him. And either option leads to an interesting kind of story (which should be the ultimate goal)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well... I have 5 players, all new to D&D, but he's the only one who (to my point of view) is completely off track. Certainly in part because in most video games classes really are just a bag a mechanics (as SevenSidedDie said in a comment). My first idea was to not let him reach level 2 (Assuming he continues in this track after we have a talk) and tell him that he will need another 300 XP and a good behavior to reach level 2. In this way he does not actually lose his character, it just will be late compared to others who will benefit from their level 2 capabilities. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 15 '15 at 8:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's not really setting a good example of what D&D is supposed to be about imho. That's basically you forcing your opinion of what should be allowed on him, which makes your game pretty much like those videogames with their set paths of what is permissable. If you want to make him feel like D&D gives him freedom, let him use that freedom as he sees fit and show him actual story consequences for it. Hammering him down with DM fiat and mechanical penalty will just reinforce to him that "it's just like a videogame", I think. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 15 '15 at 8:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, if he is too disruptive during the play where all others cannot actually do anything, I would not mind to go as far as kicking him out of the game. So, fiat, maybe, but enjoying a game is not also important. So I am looking into ways to refrain the craziness, assuming it will continue. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 15 '15 at 9:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, if his actions AS A PLAYER are disruptive to the rest of the PLAYERS, this is indeed an issue that requires a DM fiat solution; but this is a completely different type of question to what you're actually asking here. If you feel this players is disrupting your game, please make a new question where you explain how this player is ruining the game for you and/or the other players so that we can give appropriate answers for that situation. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Jan 15 '15 at 10:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think Erik is on the right track here. D&D is imaginative and free and you can color outside the lines, but that works both ways. It's not JUST the players who get to do whatever they want, and learning that the NPCs have just as much freedom of action as the PCs do is part of learning D&D (balancing personal freedom with the rest of the group). One of the differences between tabletop and video games is that NPCs don't have to follow a limited script. They don't just turn around when you loot their dresser drawers. No mechanical penalty is required once NPCs start reacting appropriately. \$\endgroup\$ – MEP Jan 15 '15 at 14:50
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The D&D rules, the rules of any tabletop RPGs, are tools to be used when adjudicating the actions of players acting as their character in a imagined setting. Many RPGs, including D&D, assume a default setting in order to make it easier to run "out of the box".

A common fantasy trope is of the nature priest with special power relating to the natural world of plants and animals. They are typically portrayed as guardians of a nature. Some settings portray then as a defender role and hostile to the expansion of civilization. Other have druids acting to increase harmony between the wild and civilization. D&D has used both approaches and other variations for various settings.

You can read some of the background of the trope here.

What is important to note is that one common element is that the Druid is a nature priest whether it is a specific deity, pantheon, culture, or the ideal of Nature.

The Druid as presented in the D&D 5e PHB adopts a middle road between the common approaches to the druid. It preserves the idea that a Druid is above all a priest serving Nature in some form.

Druids revere nature above all, gaining their spells and other magical powers either from the force of nature itself or from a nature deity. Many druids pursue a mystic spirituality of transcendent union with nature rather than devotion to a divine entity, while others serve gods of wild nature, animals, or elemental forces. The ancient druidic traditions are sometimes called the Old Faith, in contrast to the worship of gods in temples and shrines.

And a common trope for priests is that if they lose their faith they lose their power. One type of portrayal of the loss of faith is acted out as angst and doubt. Another (the one relevant in your case) is that the character considers his personal goals to be more important than the goals of his religion or ethos. This is what you are faced with your player roleplaying. He considers his powers granted by nature/deity/etc as a means to achieve his own goals, not those that granted him his powers.

In the event of a lost of faith, the supernatural power will cut off the character's source of power.

There are alternatives.

The power that a druid learns could be considered a force with no will or reason of its own. It just so happened that in the setting it is taught by a group who believes in the preservation and defense of nature.

In this case a character suffering a loss of faith still has the knowledge and use of the abilities he has already learned. The main effect of a loss of faith in this situation is his reputation being damaged among other druids. Either they will cease to help him or even become actively hostile and become enemies.

The ultimate answer depends on the setting, in particular the setting you designed. Many referee don't define every aspect of their setting. Instead, they choose to rely on the default found in the rules of the game they are using. In your case if you haven't specifically defined what Druids are then Druids are what they are as described in the opening paragraphs of the class.

It is OK to retcon within reason. Just don't spring it on the player. Talk to him about it.

If you have been using the default of the 5e PHB then my recommended ruling is that the druid loses his ability to prepare spells, wild shape, and other supernatural abilities that rely on his connection to nature. All he has are his proficiencies, feats, hit points, and abilities bonuses.

Until he is able to restore his connection to nature by changing his ways, he will remain cut off. His only recourse would be to multi-class from that point on. If you are feeling particularly generous you could allow him to eventually convert his druid levels into another class's level, like rogue.

It is likely that the player will react negatively to any criticism of his roleplaying of the character, and will push for the idea that he has an impersonal force on his character's side to be used as see fit. The way to counter this is not to get upset or defensive but to clearly outline the salient points from the PHB and your own setting. Be firm that this is your ruling as it relates to your campaign.

Another thing to consider is that many referee don't bother defining every Nth aspect of their campaign. From time to time they retcon various details to make it better for the future. Sometime these changes impact the players unfairly if it forces them to change how they play their characters.

If this your case, what I found to be fair is to make the change but allow the players to totally rewrite his character. Allow the player to exchange his current suite of magic-items (within reason) for one more suited for his current character. Again don't get defensive if the player objects, but be firm in explaining your ruling and how things will go from here on out.

Be sure you need to make the ret-con during the campaign. Even when justified, you can only make so many of these during a campaign before the entire group becomes dissatisfied.

My opinion: this case is one that warrants a ruling and a ret-con.

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    \$\begingroup\$ "my ruling is that the druid loses his ability to prepare spells, wild shape, and other supernatural abilities" - effectively turning a player into an NPC is a terrible thing to recommend. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Jan 15 '15 at 21:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ We are at the very beginning so this would not really be a big change to make. Allowing him to switch to another class would probably be what I would do, unless he decides to change his behavior. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 15 '15 at 22:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman it is a consequence of his in-game behavior. The key is wherever were the limits defined beforehand? If not and the referee wants to ret-con it during the campaign than the fair thing to do is allow the player a re-write. As it would have been a factor during initial character creation. A paladin violating his oath, a cleric going against the strictures of his religion. A ranger violating his ethos all have similar negative in-game consequences for the player's choice as his character. \$\endgroup\$ – RS Conley Jan 16 '15 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The DM's world is the DM's world, and all deities and powers are the DM's to rule on. That much is consistent in this recommendation. What might need more emphasis is how to avoid the situation in the first place where the dialogue between the DM and the player on what a Druid is in the campaign gets expectations to match up. Do you want to add in/ address "session zero" points or do you feel you have covered it in sufficient depth? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 16 '15 at 17:55
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Good News

This isn't really a game balance problem. I don't think druids are supposed to be significantly impeded by caring about nature, so if you can agree a fix, it would be fine.

Bad news

He seems to be playing this like a crpg with no regard for the character or worldbuilding, whereas you (and the rest of the group) are at least a little involved in that.

You can't force him to do that. He's currently not that interested.

Option 1. Come up with a hack that's satisfying for you, and let him play how he likes. Eg. he's a druid focused on a mean-tempered short-sighted destructive species of animal. That's really great flavour! Eg. switch to another class, or switch the flavour to another class while retaining the mechanics of druid.

Option 2. Decide you just want different things in the game, and should play in different campaigns.

Option 3. Find a workaround you're happy with for now, but dangle role-play type stuff in front of him and see if he gets invested in it. Don't get fancy, don't try and get him involved in a complicated quest, start with an NPC who asks for help, and see if the players start caring about them, or an amusing animal companion. Give the players a simple quest and see if they can get invested in finding it. Build on what works. You can't force him to care, but see if you can nurture it.

You might also talk it over with him. If there were more plot and character stuff, would everyone be interested or would they not care? Ask them for suggestions, what plot would they enjoy, and have that set-up happen.

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I think the obvious is being overlooked here. Druids get their magic and beast shape ability from one of two places: Nature itself or a god/fey/etc. If you want to punish this player, take away their magic and wild shapes. Druids are not learned spellcasters like a Wizard. They are not born with it like Sorcerers. They are given it as a gift, like clerics and warlocks. This player is going against the very essence of what gives them their abilities. So don't let them have it. When they don't have those abilities to fall back on, maybe they will change their tune.

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IMHO It sounds like he is taking a more feral approach to his druidic path. He's an opportunistic omnivorous Alpha specie Organism. Taking what he needs to survive when he can and eliminating threats when he comes across them. Marking his passage/territory. And hunting/stalking prey that either dates his hunger or he feels helps keeps his skills and instincts sharp. There is nothing unnatural about that at all. Just not civilized nature. He may have parts of his behaviour that are civilized, which only further enforce his druidic middle path as it were. If nothing else I would argue that you instead give him the consequence of more bestial and feral magic/inclinations. Wisdom/intelligence saving throws or even charisma against the natural magics "metamorphosing" him into a half way incarnation of his dichotomy when he levels up. Something like a lycanthrope or other were-beast of sorts, but more metaphysically. Or inwardly physiological. Remove some of his more gentle spell capabilities like cure wounds. Or maybe just weaken them. Instead of limiting him negatively overall. Limit him positively in the direction he is electing to move. Show him the consequences of growth in certain behaviours and lifestyles. He might enjoy it more. And you might find that you can comprehend his character more easily. And later on he may find the neccesity of support for his team and naturally change his behaviour to gain those abilities once again. Behaving more civilized. Trust your player. And trust yourself to play with Them .

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. Can you support your recommendations by citing evidence or experience? Have you dealt with similar situations in the way you recommend? How has it worked, in your experience? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Jun 16 at 5:47
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Many other answers said a druid doesn't have to behave in a specific way. That's wrong. A druid isn't just a wizard that decided to go hippie and limit his choice of spells. They draw their power from nature.

(from wikipedia: Druids in Dungeons & Dragons are spellcasters of neutral alignment who gain divine magic from being at one with nature. As of 4th edition druids power source was changed to primal. Unlike clerics and paladins, druids do not have special powers against undead. Because of their spiritual oaths, druids cannot wear metal armor.)

however, as someone said, what he does could be fine if he isn't actually a druid, he just picked the class for convenience, while he in fact plays an independent mage who thinks nature is a powerful force and thus likes the druidic magic. but with a druid character, that can't just be dismissed with a hand wave either, as it will have serious consequences. animals won't like him, and some of the druid magic will be blocked to him. he may not be able to get an animal companion at all. other druids won't see him as a druid. ETC ETC.

the exact meaning of keeping the druidic oath is somewhat unmarked turf, so it's up to you to decide. As long as the intentions are good, maybe they can slack off in nature keeping a bit, but they aren't rogues or warriors who just get stats from their class. They can't just do whatever they want and expect to keep getting "funding" from nature or deities.

The part about killing animals and plants is also wrong. They can kill animals for their own survival- what exactly that means is up to the druid and deities, whether only straight up survival like using the furs for clothing or eating, or is selling the corpse for a much needed piece of equipment counts as well, but they can't kill them for fun, training or quick profit. Animals also kill other animals only for survival, never for fun.

As for not caring for plants, it's more dependent. Does he actually set forests on fire, or does he just doesn't really do any good to plants and generally treat them disrespectfully or as insignificant? Still, while more reasonable, the claim they shouldn't care about plants because nature doesn't is also wrong-

Druids never see themselves as animals or think they should behave as such. While they may see themselves as servants of nature, they also never think of themselves as the incarnations of nature in its purest form. They are the bridge between nature and humans, or alternatively (depending on their views) guardians of nature.

When Marilyn Monroe commited suicide, it because Marilyn Monroe wanted to. But it doesn't mean her fans or those who revere her were happy about it or ever tried to kill her too. Same about druids. Nature can act all self destructive to its plants and animals. It doesn't mean druids don't care about them either.

As for punishment, the entire point of the game is to allow realistic freedom, the kind you have in the real world. If a rogue decided he doesn't want to sneak at all, what would happen? No cosmic punishment or limitation, but he would suck. Also, thieves\assassins guilds probably wouldn't accept him, and people wouldn't want him as their "rogue". If a druid doesn't do what he should, he won't die, but he'll probably lose his powers. From what I understand, it's not specified exactly what would happen, so which powers come from nature and which he gets to keep is up to you. Of course, warn him first, and make sure he can get them back.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for joining, and welcome. When you get a chance please take the tour. I'm going to make a few small edits for readability; you can always "roll back" anyone's edits by clicking on the "edited $TIME ago" link. As to the content of this post, do you have any canonical references backing up your statements, or is this based in play experience? The original querent specifies D&D5e as their system, so it would be good if you could indicate how your answer is based either in 5e rules or experience. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 1 '16 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think most answers here aren’t saying that a druid is free to act however he likes—I think most are saying that barbaric behavior is entirely appropriate behavior for a druid. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 1 '16 at 16:00
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Don't give them experience points. After all, they're not gaining experience in being a druid.

In the longer term, ask the player what class they actually want to play and switch to that.

Alternatively, play a game that isn't based on classes; there are many of them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Having a form of penalty on his XP was a solution I contemplated. Not as harsh as not giving him any XP because he may not understand at this point. However, that's something I've done with much more experienced players. Otherwise, your alternative sounds a bit off. We're just playing D&D. Plus there are other games, such as Judge Dreed, where characters also have to follow many restrictions... \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 15 '15 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke Sure, it's up to the DM to decide how harsh to be, but in principle a reduction in xp is a logical solution IMO. Xp reflects, in effect, how famous the character is for being a great Cleric/fighter/window-cleaner and if they're not doing that then they shouldn't get the xp for it. The original method was to penalise the time and cost of training up to the next level but I don't know if Merls has kept training costs in his rules. In any case, if the player isn't engaging with the class or the class system then that's something that you'll have to address eventually. \$\endgroup\$ – Nagora Jan 16 '15 at 10:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ In 5e they changed the rules to not take classes in account as much as older versions of D&D. For example, Wizards can cast spells and fight just like any fighter (without proficiency, they can swing a two handed sword, they can even wear armor, although without the possibility to cast spells while doing so until they gain such a proficiency by either multi-classing or taking a feat.) In AD&D Druids were super limited in all sorts of ways. I can see that many think that all those limitations were left off, but I still think that since they are linked to a God... there are still some limits. \$\endgroup\$ – Alexis Wilke Jan 17 '15 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke In fact, magic users could wear armour and fight in AD&D too, but they were penalised for poor roleplaying, which is back where we started :) IMC, druids are actually opposed to all gods at a very deep level and this is where their "true" neutrality originates. \$\endgroup\$ – Nagora Jan 17 '15 at 12:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Nagora That is explicitly untrue in 5e, where the player's handbook states that many druids revere and respect (at least some) gods. \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o May 27 '15 at 10:46

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