Ah, the Druid. For my money it’s easily the best Core Class in the 4e Player’s Handbook, chock full of lots of lovely flavour that speaks volumes about it’s close relationship with nature. Rather than being the dumbed-down Manimal from 3rd Edition, the Druid is a true force of Nature which brings the class closer to it’s Wiccan roots.
By now, you’re probably scratching your heads, convinced Greywulf has finally lost it. You might even have checked the Contents page of the PHB, or hit the Index in the hopes you’ve missed some obscure sidebar someplace detailing the Druid class (which, as we know, is going to be in PHB II). For laughs, try looking up “Wizard”, “Fighter” and “Rogue” in the Index too while you’re there, and permit yourself a small sob at how an index can be so crap and still call itself by that name.
But anyhow, back to the Druid. You won’t find it because that’s not what it’s called in the PHB. They call it “Fey Pact Warlock”, but for my money it’s the most druidy Druid D&D has ever seen.
Let’s look at what makes the Fey Pact Warlock so close to being my ideal Druid.
For a start, their power source originates from “a pact you forge from a powerful supernatural force”. Replace supernatural with, well….. natural, and you’re there. They use staves and wands (preferably of mistletoe, I suggest) as implements, and are proficient in only the non-metallic armours. While they’re proficient in all simple weapons, I recommend sticking only to the druidic favourites to enhance the flavour. For Trained Skills, take Bluff, History, Insight and Religion for your Druidic mixture of mysticism, trickery and reputation as wise seers.
Describe your Eldritch Blast, Eyebite and Misty Step in suitably natural styles – perhaps your Eldritch Blast is a bolt of green or golden energy, Eyebite impressed your foe’s minds with the sheer force of nature and Misty Step floods the ground with whirling leaves as you become one with the air, reforming from the twisting foliage. Warlock’s Curse could play on the fear of Druids to mark a man, giving their political power a frightening reality as nature itself turns against you. As for Shadow Walk, this is pure mysterious Druid territory with your green-clad priest of nature stepping into a shadow’s embrace and vanishing from view. Each and every Fey Pact power can be couched in mystical-druidic terms.
Want more Druidic flavour? Take the Ritual Caster Feat and snarf Animal Messenger and Silence. At later levels, Endure Elements, Water Walk, Commune with Nature and others will re-enforce your close connection with the Primal One. If you want your Druid to also be concerned with more mortal affairs, take the Initiate of the Faith Feat to gain multi-class Cleric status and have Healing Word once per day. As this Feat give you the Religion skill as well, take Arcana or Intimidate as a Trained Skill at 1st level instead, depending on whether you want your Druid to be knowledgeable or scary
Race-wise, the Eldarin are a natural (no pun intended) fit for this Druidic Fey Pact Warlock, though it’s worth considering other Races too. A Human Fey Pact Warlock can take all of the options above (thanks to their extra Skill and Feat), and also gain an extra at-will Power too. The Half-Elf gets an extra Encounter Power from the At-wills of any other Class (hint: get the Warlord’s Wolf Pack Tactics!), and the Elf’s Wild Step, Longbow proficiency and Elven Accuracy are always useful – especially for a Druid There’s a lot to be said for playing against type and running a Dragonborn, Dwarf or Teifling Fey Pact Warlock too.
What you don’t get is the 3e Druid. There’s no shape-changing here (or many animals in 4e at all, for that matter), but instead you’ll find a bad ass scary nature-fuelled independent priest of the green.
And THAT’S an awesome Druid, in my book