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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Bladewind Posted - 28 Nov 2014 : 16:53:26
Found this list of druidic circles floating around the net.
quote:
Here are the ones that Im aware of.
D = Disbanded
A = Active

Battledale Seven (Cormanthyr, D)
Shadowdale Circle (Cormanthyr, D)
the Talkers to the Trees (Cormyr-Kirinwood, A)
the Knightswood Nine (Cormyr-Knightswood, A)
The Emerald Enclave (Turmish and Chondath, A)
The Nature Seekers (Underdark, A)
Circle of Seven Daggers (Daggerdale, A)*
Tall Trees (High Forest, A)
Unnamed Circle (northern foothills of the Rauvin Mountains, A)
The Circle of the Sheaf (Raven's Bluff area, A)
Dusk Circle (Westwood, A)

* From the Northern Journey mega-adventure



Anyone know a good map or description of any of these? Especially the Emerald Enclaves of Turmish and Chondath and the one in the underdark are of interest to me.

Perhaps we can forge one of our own while were at it aswell.

I like to get a sense of the current political state of Faerunian druids. Perhaps you guys have a few thoughts at how druids were organised at the onset of the Spellplague, during and after? We can see from the Sundering and onwards the Emerald Enclave seems to have become the clear winner of the druidic orders, having become very prominent amongst the adventuring companies all across the Realms.

I recall reading the enclave was actively sending envoys to other circles. It seems they managed that political coup with brutal efficiency.

25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Cards77 Posted - 24 Aug 2017 : 20:55:57
quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

Scary stuff. Updated the first page, giving the corrupted center glade of the Night Trees area the powers of:
hungry trees (evil vampiric treants)
sickening grounds (exposure of longer than an hour can result in nausea)
and menhir guardians (corrupted into mud elementals)

There is a moonwell at the old temple to Chauntea present as well?

I assume the larger area is haunted, and perhaps Unseelie crossroads are opened through some of the moonwells and menhir arches at starry nights?



I had not thought about a moonwell.

My assumption based on the canon is: there are no moonwells on the mainland, only the Moonshaes.

The "corrupted moonwell" thing has already been done in the Moonshaes series, so I was trying to go a different direction.

I was thinking more of a natural planar rift which is allowing Grumbar to influence the area.

The Night Trees are indeed haunted with many undead plant creatures and the undead created from their victims. As well as some of the Tree Slakers followers (evil druids and rangers).
Bladewind Posted - 24 Aug 2017 : 17:02:46
Scary stuff. Updated the first page, giving the corrupted center glade of the Night Trees area the powers of:
hungry trees (evil vampiric treants)
sickening grounds (exposure of longer than an hour can result in nausea)
and menhir guardians (corrupted into mud elementals)

There is a moonwell at the old temple to Chauntea present as well?

I assume the larger area is haunted, and perhaps Unseelie crossroads are opened through some of the moonwells and menhir arches at starry nights?
Cards77 Posted - 21 Aug 2017 : 00:53:42
Silver Marches seems to imply something much more sinister.

In my campaign the Tree Slaker is actually the Wandering Seed of the Goddess Wilaundaun Braer, Patriarch of Chauntea.

After wandering into the Night Trees, he felt compelled to battle whatever evil lives below. He used the artifact the Glaratha to found a temple to Chauntea in the far north of the wood, where the corruption was weakest.

However, whatever corrupted the Night Trees, and/or the events of the Time of Troubles also corrupted Wilaundaun.

When Moander was destroyed in Shadowdale during the Time of Troubles, a portion of his corrupt essence escaped to the Elemental Plane of Earth. In turn, Moanders essence found a natural planar rift to return to the Prime Material Plane in the Night Trees, where he easily found natural rot and turned it to his own corrupted purposes.

Wilaundaun was purposefully infected by Moanders rot, which contained residual magic from the Plane of Elemental Earth.

Wilaundaun was corrupted and transformed into an earth gensai and the Tree Slaker, worshipping Grumbar. Creating the perfect cover for Moanders essence to hide within.

The Tree Slaker then used the powers of the Glaratha to augment, corrupt and create new nightmare plant creatures, and secure this territory for "Grumbar".

Sacrificing the blood of intruders feeds the nightmare vegetation, and a portion of any victims essence trickles into Grumbar's realm, slowly but incrementally increasing his power on the Prime Material.

The Glaratha remains with the Tree Slaker, and Moander works deep within his hidden cover to slowly twist and corrupt events to his eventual benefit...or has he struck a bargain with Grumbar?

That's where I'm at right now.

My wife's PC is on the way to find the Glarathra at this time though clues are hard to come by.
Bladewind Posted - 20 Aug 2017 : 20:42:38
Need to remind myself to update the thread. But I have no idea what this Night Trees story entails, what is the deal with them and are they perhaps linked to the people of the Black Bloods' Claw Hollow?
KanzenAU Posted - 18 Mar 2017 : 08:21:24
I avoided placing Berlingford in the Night Trees due to how the Night Trees were portrayed in Silver Marches (p15):
quote:
...these woodlands are avoided by dwarf, elf, human, and orc alike...
Markustay Posted - 18 Mar 2017 : 00:55:41
My assumption was that the 'Laednon' was one of the two 'Night Trees' - probably the one closer to the Moonwood (in which case, sticking Berlingford between that and the Moonwood would probably be best, since the map that came with the adventure shows Berlingford IN the Moonwood... which really doesn't work with the rest of it (leave one forest to travel to another forest?) Thus, the road Berlingford is on falls out between the two forests.

It doesn't really matter so much in 5e, now that all the forests are one.

The 'Night Trees' works well for forests with lycanthropes, name-wise.
KanzenAU Posted - 17 Mar 2017 : 23:17:58
I placed it on my map of the North too. Dungeon #103 places it in a small forest northeast of the Moonwood.

Trying to reconcile the 1e/2e era maps with the smushed 3e era map was difficult, but typically there are three forests running north to south in between the Moonwood and the Coldwood. The 3e Silver Marches map calls the north one the Druarwood, and says both the lower two are the Night Trees. I stuck with this definition going forwards, as there's been nothing to contradict it since.

As I didn't feel like Berlingford was in the Druarwood, the Night Trees, or the Coldwood, and I didn't want to draw a new forest, so I placed it in the northeastern section of the Moonwood. I imagine on a smaller scale map, you might be able to see the Laednon as sitting just slightly separate to the larger Moonwood, perhaps separated from a branch of the River Redrun.

Edit: Your definition works fine too though. I imagine there's lots of small forests in the area that don't make it onto the larger maps.
Markustay Posted - 17 Mar 2017 : 16:52:37
Was looking for info on 'Deeping Cave' and came across this thread...

quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

quote:
Originally posted by Fellfire

quote:
Originally posted by Cards77

Hrm is that Berlinford even Canon? I can't find it on any map or anywhere except in that issue.

Ask Markus. What I can tell you is that it is an FR adventure. Not sure of the canoninity(?) of Dungeon adventures. I would be inclined to say yes, but what do I know?



My approach was always to treat the Dungeon adventures as canon, unless they can't be reconciled with other sources. (And most of the time, there's a way.)
Eric (of course) has the right of it, and I have placed Berlingford on at least two maps. Unfortunately, neither of those have been publicly posted (one was for the 'extended version' of the High Forest map I did for Eric, and the other is on my updated 'Western Heartlands' map, which I stopped updating (and didn't repost) simply because I've changed my style and will be redoing the whole of Faerūn eventually.

I've placed it between the two small forests known as 'The Night Trees' (its the best fit), which coincidentally merged with the Moonwood as of 4e and the whole things is now called 'The Glimmerwood'. One of those small forest was locally known as Laednon. Its also the site of a locally-famous 'Spring Faire'.

Bladewind Posted - 27 Feb 2016 : 15:04:28
All the more mysterious that they seem to have been spotted in the Kryptgarden, no? Are they a refugee clan of crash landed xixchil, with the citadel being the only visible part of a antilan shardship deeply embedded in the soil of the 'Garden? Or a mountain/forest adapted offshoot of kreen, that uses its psionics mainly for camouflage? In my case I need to limit the CR so I choose to include them as an offshoot kreen race, that is in the start of an urbanisation phase thanks to their ruling elites burgeoning mastery of the Art.

The erect insect-men could be formorians (but I don't like them overly much as a FR monster race without thoroughly connecting them to Mechanus). The spellweaver option is also very tempting tough. They have been teased to appear in numerous places over the Realms. Perhaps they defend a Node of theirs in the Kryptgarden; or a precious Spellweaver artifact such as a Starry Mirror (a multi-connected portal entrance)?

TBeholder Posted - 26 Feb 2016 : 15:57:11
But kreen are mostly desert species. They like it dry.
Bladewind Posted - 25 Feb 2016 : 15:56:21
For the thri-kreen I mainly took liberties with the lore bits found in Lost Empires of Faerun and Dwarves Deep that mention a rumor of the advanced erect insects being spotted in a citadel deep within the Kryptgarden by a raving madman. He claimed the insect-men hurled spears and magic at him from 500 paces away, and possessed means of camouflage and misdirection (probably magical). They could very well be spell-weavers if you prefer that to a tribe of advanced kreen.

The D&DNext Adventurers League adventure 'Corruption in the Kryptgarden' details the corruption. Its mainly caused by the legendary green dragons mere presence (as described in the 5e MM) while the Darkfey/unseelie influence is caused by Old Gnawbones tenuous alliance with a newly arrived Unseelie Verdant Prince (MMIV), King Witchthorn. This results in thorny thickets (1d6 damage per square of difficult terrain traversed) growing within a mile near the Deeping Cave (Claugiyliamatar's moss-draped lair), causing the small animals and birds to act as scrying foci for the green dragon crone, and the (sometimes caustic) fogs drifting from her valley to induce fear. Certain fey tend to behave more unseelie like when nearly completly covered in the stringy strands of sickly green moss-creep that grows from the gulleys fed from the ancient green dragons lair or the damp fogs that it generates.
Cards77 Posted - 24 Feb 2016 : 18:09:41
quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

Kryptgarden Forest is interesting in that it is largely dominated and corrupted by Claugiyliamatar or Old Gnawbones (pg 19, Dragons of Faerūn), an ancient crone of a green dragon-druid. Her cavernous valley part of the forest is stalked by hobgoblins of the Zartruss Clan, dark fey and worgs in her employ. Its also rumored that a tribe of advanced thri-kreen protect the deepest parts of this labyrinthine maze of duskwood and oaken trees.



How exactly is it corrupted? WHere is the source for the thri-kreen?
Bladewind Posted - 23 Feb 2016 : 17:54:12
Nice find TB!

Regarding the Emerald Enclaves changes, I agree that they have reached beyond being a druidic circle only. But I think the 'inner circle' on the 'isle-once-more' of Ilighon still remains run by its three Grand Druid rulers.

I can understand their urgancy and the need for 'pragmatic' measures when given that their isle had been smack dab in the middle of large geographic changes due to the lowering of the water tables of the Inner Seas. Ilighon reconnected to the mainlands of Turmish and Chondath during a large part of the 15th century, extremely upsetting ecologies and weather patterns.

After the spellplague there was a large period were the grand druids of several faiths turned to quite extreme measures as well (such as declaring crusades on the plaguechanged lands and pilgrimages), with some of them spectacularly failing their goals and dooming smaller circles to abandonment as a consquence. Gonna have to come back when I found the source...
moonbeast Posted - 23 Feb 2016 : 14:32:06
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

There's an old article with extra lore about druids. For example:
quote:
Each of the various nature faiths, including the churches of Chauntea, Eldath, Silvanus, and Mielikki, have their own druidic hierarchies, including Circles, Initiates, Druids, Archdruids, Great Druids, Grand Druids, and Hierophant Druids. Thus, for example, there are four Great Druids of the North at any given time, each of which venerates one of the aforementioned powers.
- Mintiper's Chapbook - Part 7: Gildenfire by Eric L. Boyd

Which is also one more reason why the Emerald Enclave is not a proper circle by any standards.



I'm reading my 5th Edition PHB as well as the Adventurers League rules regarding the Five Factions… and indeed the Emerald Enclave was never described (in 5e at least) as being a druidic circle. It clearly states that the Emerald Enclave is also a network that includes Rangers, Barbarians, nature-lovers, and other non-Druids.
TBeholder Posted - 23 Feb 2016 : 12:44:28
There's an old article with extra lore about druids. For example:
quote:
Each of the various nature faiths, including the churches of Chauntea, Eldath, Silvanus, and Mielikki, have their own druidic hierarchies, including Circles, Initiates, Druids, Archdruids, Great Druids, Grand Druids, and Hierophant Druids. Thus, for example, there are four Great Druids of the North at any given time, each of which venerates one of the aforementioned powers.
- Mintiper's Chapbook - Part 7: Gildenfire by Eric L. Boyd

Which is also one more reason why the Emerald Enclave is not a proper circle by any standards.
Bladewind Posted - 22 Feb 2016 : 22:24:55
Found these awesome Perilous Gateways articles by Jeff Quick. Gonna update the Druidic Groves list after their perusal.

I immediately found Turlangs story interesting. Turlang, the Elder Treant, is behaving quite erratically concerning Hellgate Keep, having enveloped the Fiendish Node by extending the High Forests borders far around it. This tale shows the influence the non-human perspective can have on druidic politics.
Bladewind Posted - 22 Oct 2015 : 14:00:18
Kryptgarden Forest is interesting in that it is largely dominated and corrupted by Claugiyliamatar or Old Gnawbones (pg 19, Dragons of Faerūn), an ancient crone of a green dragon-druid. Her cavernous valley part of the forest is stalked by hobgoblins of the Zartruss Clan, dark fey and worgs in her employ. Its also rumored that a tribe of advanced thri-kreen protect the deepest parts of this labyrinthine maze of duskwood and oaken trees.


Bladewind Posted - 30 Sep 2015 : 00:54:35
It might be preliminary but I'm beginning to think I see some the struggles unfolding in the regions activities of the major druidic areas.

The Elven Forests are being staunchly defended within Cormyrs borders with the druids abandoning some major groves in Cormanthor. The North has consolidated its druid activity in the High Forest, with powerful groves active to the south of the Star Mounts while Silverymoons circles are battered by Malarite lycantropes. The Moonshaes has a large amount of (waning) groves and are its druidic circles are struggling with evil forces bent on fouling their waters, only Gwynneth remains largely untainted. The Broken Cirlce of Leth has lost a major grove, meant to contain demonic threats, to blightlords of Talona while some of the more powerful Silvanite druids hold somber moots at the Lyons Oak, contemplating how to reverse the fates of so many circles in their dwindling war-torn region. Tethyr has been largely under a Ban, with only the Old Oak Dell holding some of the longest standing groves of Faerun, defended trough an intricate web of talking menhir stones. Most of the Sword Coast & Amn might be under a Ban as well, as druidic activity is minimal. Their groves are smaller, more scattered and often encroached by in hostile territories on all sides.
Duneth Despana Posted - 29 Sep 2015 : 12:49:30
You can add the Circle of the Stag and the Gray druids of the Undermoor to your list.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 29 Sep 2015 : 05:09:52
Well, another difference betwixt humans and animals that must be noted: humans are much better suited to simply going someplace new to live. I would expect that finding a new place in need of a druid would be preferable to removing a druid from a place for something as artificial as ranking in a hierarchy.

To each his own, of course. I'd personally ignore or make very rare the duels to the death for rank.
Cards77 Posted - 29 Sep 2015 : 01:51:41
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Gurgle Gobblespit

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I've always thought that battling to the death was an odd way to become top druid. Plenty of animals battle for dominance, without fighting to the death. You'd think that intelligent nature lovers would have a better method than throwing down Highlander-style.

It could be a very odd way of emulating Darwinian selection, which if course is "natural". In order to preserve the authority and sense of order at the top, there must only be 1 living top Druid at any given time. Allowing the defeated rival to survive could allow him to become a troublesome rebel or subversive later on, which would really mess up the order of things.

In the animal kingdom, sometimes animals will kill or even eat weaker rivals, supposedly helps to keep the species strong and coherent.




But even in the animal world, battles for dominance -- even leadership of the pack/herd -- don't necessarily end in death. Sometimes one backs down and stays part of the pack in a lesser position, sometimes the loser is driven off but left alive...

And those conflicts are often over mating rights, anyway.

It just seems weird for defenders of nature to pull the "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" routine -- it doesn't matter if the challenger wins or loses, that's one less defender of nature. And because they were battling for the top spot, that's one less flippin' powerful defender of nature.

And with that much power, there's pretty good odds of collateral damage.

So two folks that are formidable guardians of nature come together in a purely (demi-)human conflict, possibly cause collateral damage to the very lands they're sworn to protect, and the outcome is that there is one less powerful guardian of nature, thus making it more likely that nature will come to harm.

And this is why this has bugged me since I first saw it in the then-new 2E PHB.



I'll first point out that it's stated personal combat is a last resort after all other methods fail. It also doesn't specify 'to the death' in all the sources.

I totally agree with your reasoning. Let me just play advocate here.

I personally LOVE the duels to the death for Arch Druid/Grand Druid.

It adds an incredible twist to a class that is often seen as sort of fluffy, and even pacifist.

While you're mostly right about intra-pack hierarchy, what you say only holds true for certain species...and it only holds true for animals (more or less).

Your reasoning is sound, under the assumption that animals and humans are equivalent.

I do not ascribe to that, for these reasons:

- Druids by and large are solitary. They do not often live in close proximity or in groups of more than 1-3, except maybe in really big groves. Therefore, the survival of a given individual druid is much less dependent on the strength of the rest of the Circle. Only in times of great crisis would they be that reliant on each other (Moonshae trilogy comes to mind).

- Humans and animals are very different. While many animals are content to accept a new (and lesser) social status (and usually have no choice), humans more than likely would not. While a wolf pack may drive off, kill or even accept a member that loses a fight for dominance, humans have the propensity to plot revenge, undermine authority, and in general do things that may endanger the overall security and strength of the Circle for years to come (even possibly turning evil). Humiliation in front of ones peers for example.

- Many mammals do all kinds of heinous acts to improve their social status, remove potential rivals, etc. One example I can think of is where male bears will kill and eat the offspring of a female bear (even if they are his own), in order to bring her back into estrous so he can in turn mate with her.

I can see the reasoning why a duel to the death may be necessary to preserve the integrity of the circle. Otherwise, you would eventually have a circle with several members who have been found wanting, have been demonstrated as not strong enough to lead, may even be questioning their faith, harboring massive resentment, plotting revenge etc until they die since Circle membership is for life no?

This would also serve to eliminate repeated challenges of the Grand Druids authority. You better be DAMN SURE you can win. If there is a lack of consequences for challenging the top druid, infighting could be constant and drain the circles strength, weakening it and allowing threats both internal and external opportunities to strike.

Just another perspective. I use the duel to the death in my games.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 Sep 2015 : 20:41:08
quote:
Originally posted by Gurgle Gobblespit

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I've always thought that battling to the death was an odd way to become top druid. Plenty of animals battle for dominance, without fighting to the death. You'd think that intelligent nature lovers would have a better method than throwing down Highlander-style.

It could be a very odd way of emulating Darwinian selection, which if course is "natural". In order to preserve the authority and sense of order at the top, there must only be 1 living top Druid at any given time. Allowing the defeated rival to survive could allow him to become a troublesome rebel or subversive later on, which would really mess up the order of things.

In the animal kingdom, sometimes animals will kill or even eat weaker rivals, supposedly helps to keep the species strong and coherent.




But even in the animal world, battles for dominance -- even leadership of the pack/herd -- don't necessarily end in death. Sometimes one backs down and stays part of the pack in a lesser position, sometimes the loser is driven off but left alive...

And those conflicts are often over mating rights, anyway.

It just seems weird for defenders of nature to pull the "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" routine -- it doesn't matter if the challenger wins or loses, that's one less defender of nature. And because they were battling for the top spot, that's one less flippin' powerful defender of nature.

And with that much power, there's pretty good odds of collateral damage.

So two folks that are formidable guardians of nature come together in a purely (demi-)human conflict, possibly cause collateral damage to the very lands they're sworn to protect, and the outcome is that there is one less powerful guardian of nature, thus making it more likely that nature will come to harm.

And this is why this has bugged me since I first saw it in the then-new 2E PHB.
Gurgle Gobblespit Posted - 28 Sep 2015 : 17:50:41
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I've always thought that battling to the death was an odd way to become top druid. Plenty of animals battle for dominance, without fighting to the death. You'd think that intelligent nature lovers would have a better method than throwing down Highlander-style.

It could be a very odd way of emulating Darwinian selection, which if course is "natural". In order to preserve the authority and sense of order at the top, there must only be 1 living top Druid at any given time. Allowing the defeated rival to survive could allow him to become a troublesome rebel or subversive later on, which would really mess up the order of things.

In the animal kingdom, sometimes animals will kill or even eat weaker rivals, supposedly helps to keep the species strong and coherent. Although I never really understood the logic as to why the female black widows had to eat the males after sex.

Hmmm, neat idea. I think I will introduce some small odd shamanist society in a corner of my D&D campaign world where the Top Shaman has to consume the body of the defeated rival.


Bladewind Posted - 28 Sep 2015 : 12:40:47
No problem, I still haven't gotten the big picture of druidic politics down to my liking, but with help I'll get there.

I'm gonna include the five major regions (Gulthmere Forest/Chondalwood; the Elven Woods/Cormanthor; the High Forest; Moonshaes; the Rawlinswood & Forest of Lethyr) Faraer listed in 2004 into the list, and perhaps see if we can guestimate the strength of the druidic presence within those regions by looking at the amount and activity of its groves.
Jeremy Grenemyer Posted - 27 Sep 2015 : 23:54:13
quote:
Originally posted by Bladewind

As of 1374 DR I'd give the (Active or Disbanded) groves the following status/powers. Its defenders (if any) will on average be of medium to high level.
Your list is useful.

Thanks for putting it together.

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