In my group, we have an undead skeleton necromancer and a Druid. The Druid is very, very against necromancy and the undead because he is under the assumption of "that's how Druids are role played because Druids worship life".

I was under the impression that Druids didn't worship life, but specifically nature. That and Druids are traditionally neutral. I would understand if the Necromancer was creating undead plant life, but is it mentioned somewhere that a Druid should be at least ambivalent to undead creatures if they are used for the common good?

This is in the Forgotten Realms setting.

  • \$\begingroup\$ All please remember "alignment debates" are off topic here - a good answer will probably use Forgotten Realms documented lore. Or point out his XY problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Feb 24, 2016 at 2:33

3 Answers 3


You don't need to appeal to a Druid's alignment for an answer to this. You will find the general answer on page 65 of the PHB in the Druid class description.

Druids accept that which is cruel in nature, and they hate that which is unnatural, including abberations(such as beholders and mind flayers) and undead (such as zombies and vampires)

Does that need to create a conflict between the Druid and another player, or another player character? It depends. The Druid could be a bit of a rogue Druid, or operating under a curse, or something else and thus mitigate the usual opposition to undead. Or, the players can develop that "common good" theme so that the goals of the Druid align with the Necromancer. Something to sort out with the DM at your table, and with the other players. As the campaign goes on, this can create dramatic tension. It depends on how each player plays the characters' roles.

We had a wide ranging discussion on a GITP thread regarding Orcus, undead, and if a Druid would help out someone leading undead.

My take was no, due to the statement in the book.
Others disagreed.
The folks at the table had fun.

In 5e, working things like this out at the table will prevent friction during play. There's a lot of room to work.

  • 13
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually the GM, this is more about two of my players. Your post makes complete sense. I think I'm basically make an ultimatum. Either role play a reason to get along, or re-roll new characters that don't have any fundamental reasons to be at odds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Juice
    Feb 24, 2016 at 0:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well played, that is a GM being a GM. I tip my cap. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2016 at 0:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or role play the angst between the characters with the players knowing full well it's just a game. Mature players and their mature DM can have a great deal of fun with this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Escoce
    Feb 24, 2016 at 17:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately I'm a mature DM with immature players. I never know grown men could bicker like children. \$\endgroup\$
    – Juice
    Feb 25, 2016 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Doug Sunless Citadel features the gulthias tree - the druid is evil, for sure, as presented in the module. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2020 at 17:27

Although the typical druid is probably not wont to traffic with necromancers and undead, there is at least one specific example in official WoTC published material that demonstrates that this attitude is not universal. The 3.5 module Red Hand of Doom includes a major NPC called the Ghostlord who is explicitly stated to be an undead lich druid and who commands undead animals as minions. The module itself does not inherently belong to any particular setting but includes instructions on placing it in several major ones including Forgotten Realms.

Clearly this example is a special case, but I would argue that it indicates that necromancy is not a complete anathema to druids. Presumably the Ghostlord was a druid in life, and completed whatever rituals to ascend to lichdom while not losing any of his druid powers. By comparison, your player's PC merely working with a necromancer for some greater goal would be a much lesser transgression against nature.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ A module that exists effectively in a void, and can be adapted to work in Forgotten Realms and other systems, is not really a well-founded commentary on how things work natively in Forgotten Realms. You should probably focus your efforts on how things work inside the Forgotten Realms themselves, based on FR material. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2016 at 0:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Since Faerun is the setting for both 3.5 and 5e, this isn't a bad answer since part of the question focused on the issue of it being Fearun. What is core? Is that where we are going with this? This provides a bit of an out IF the DM wants to flex a bit. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2016 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ would be a much lesser transgression against nature But still a transgression. The DM trick to resolve here is What Are The Consequences? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2016 at 0:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Korvin: "The module itself does not inherently belong to any particular setting but includes instructions on placing it in several major ones including Forgotten Realms." It's not a Faerun module. It's a No Setting module with adaption options for Faerun. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2016 at 1:11

With the release of Tasha's Cauldron of Everything and the addition of the necromancy-oriented Circle of Spores, it's been made even more clear that Druids and the undead do not necessarily need to be incompatible concepts. TCoE states the following about the Circle of Spores Druids:

Druids of this circle have a complex relationship with the undead. They see nothing inherently wrong with undeath, which they consider to be a companion to life and death. But these druids believe that the natural cycle is healthiest when each segment of it is vibrant and changing. Undead that seek to replace all life with undeath, or that try to avoid passing to a final rest, violate the cycle and must be thwarted.

Their acceptance of undead and necromancy is further displayed in having Animate Dead added to their spell list at level 5 and their level 6 class feature, Fungal Infestation allowing them to turn killed enemies into zombies on the spot, though the fluff of it is definitely more fungal rather than traditional necromancy.

This suggests that they're perfectly okay with temporary forms of undeath and are inclined to make use of the undead but might object to more traditionally evil necromantic pursuits such as lichdom or amassing armies of undead.

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    \$\begingroup\$ AFAIK, TCoE isn't specific to the Forgotten Realms or any other setting. The book's intro says: " Written for players and Dungeon Masters alike, this book offers options to enhance characters and campaigns in any D&D world, whether you’re adventuring in Greyhawk, another official D&D setting, or a world of your own creation." (I know Tasha herself is a character who canonically exists in multiple settings, including Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms.) The Circle of Spores subclass also previously appeared in the Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica (which is obviously for the Ravnica setting). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 24, 2020 at 2:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Being now and again willing to use undead makes Spores druids is (1) a fundamental contradiction of the druid class (PHB p. 65) or (2) an exception to the basic class (explicitly evil, per the Sunless Citadel's druid) or even (3) a poor idea in the first place. (I tend to lean on (3) but tastes will vary on that. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2020 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ But it is certainly an option ... \$\endgroup\$ Nov 24, 2020 at 17:37

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