"If you do not take the time to hear the birdsong, smell the pines, or feel the ground, what on earth is the point of living?"
The old world watches on at the inexorable march of time, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the structures built and the reclamation of the wilds. While not above interference, often it proves more hassle than it's worth since even a forest burnt to cinders will, of course, regrow vibrant and beautiful.
Yet something has stirred in the deepest recesses of nature, the unknowable force that guides all life has noticed something on the next horizon, the red star rises. For the first time in eons the powers that be reached out into the ether and found a soul that will retain the balance of life, the threat far greater than even the gods realise.
The soul was taken, softly, gently. The being it was had been washed away, the pure, innocent soul taken into the force of nature and given new purpose. The child was born of heartwood, the new bark as soft as fresh yew.
It stepped onto the fertile soil of the deepest forest, feeling the life beneath its feet, the birdsong reaching its ears, the scents of the trees on the breeze. It stumbled along the forest floor, watching the world in wonder, the sunbeams glistening through the canopy, the deer watching it curiously, snorting slightly as the child brushed over the fur completely unafraid.
The child doesn't know how long it wandered the forest, only that after the aimless walk and many cycles of light and dark it had grown taller, its bark now hard. It had met with dryads and satyr, learning some basic language and more ways of the forest.
It learned the ways of nature, to hunt, to live, to feel the will of the world in its purest form. It would live as each animal it saw until it learned everything it could, the wolves welcoming the strange biped as a member of their pack, the deer herd wary of the stranger until the child could walk among them without hesitation.
Once the child's understanding was great enough they could take on the form of each creature, something the child revelled in. Often it would exert itself to exhaustion trying to maintain the form of whatever animal it found itself captivated by at that time.
After so many cycles the child found itself on the outskirts of the forest, the familiar canopy vanishing above to show clear skies and gentle rolling hills. As it stared off into the wide open land a form stepped up beside it.
"There is so much to see out there little one, and I hope you see it all." Came a soft voice.
An ancient satyr stood stooped beside the child, a spear gripped firmly in their hand, they offered the spear to the child.
"A gift from myself, sung from the most ancient elder tree I know of." The satyr said, a slight quaver in their voice.
The child took the spear, it was light, the wooden edge of the blade keen, but the warmth of the haft comforted the child. Without looking back the child walked into the world, unaware of the satyr vanishing behind them, a single prismatic tear rolling down their cheek.
With this character I felt that they should be innocent and wonderful, naïve about the world yet hardened by lessons few get to experience. I love druids but they become hard to channel their class when you need to investigate why a royal was assassinated when there's little link to nature etc.
With this character they are in tune with nature in a fundamental way but comes with an innate curiosity that can make them want to experience everything. They'll become a bounty hunter for the thrill of the hunt, slay a cult to be hailed a hero, solve a murder mystery because the mystery is so exciting.
Plus you can play them however you want, circle of stars as they observe the heavens, circle of the land (change the origin landscape to suit your chosen circle), circle of spores as the fungi sit within your wooden heart. I love circle of the moon myself but that's just my preference, I like the idea that the transformation also changes the form and nothing else, as in you have a living wood wolf or bird, feathers of leaves and claws of thorns.
In terms of wildshape I've always made sure my character and players spend time with the animal their trying to emulate, studying them, living with them. I dislike the idea, they saw a turtle once now they can be a turtle, get them to follow the creatures, learn their habits, their place in nature. It means you don't just sit on a stump in a forest and meditate, you hunt among the wolves, forage with the bears, stay wary next to your rabbit brethren.
I just like a curious little creature looking to experience the world.
As for deeper backstory bits the calamity that comes is of course up to the DM, talk to them about what would upset the balance of nature so much that nature itself would interfere. Also I do like the idea that your soul used to be something else, an ancient druid passing on who dedicated their past life to nature? Or maybe a soul destined for hell, given another chance to better the world?
The questions about your previous life can begin to conflict with your current self, having to explore this conflict with your DM and fellow players as you grapple with who you are. Perhaps some flashbacks are in order, dinner with a family you don't recognise, a flag you can draw but no one knows about. (You don't have to be from the current time, nature don't care, you could be from millennia ago).
As for the spear speak to your DM, I like to have an item from the past that you can link your character to, great for PC to PC conversations and maybe getting a weapon that can grow with you and have hidden abilities may let your DM go hog wild with development. Plus if your weapon breaks or gets stolen you aren't just happy to grab a new one.
As always all this is changeable, play this character how you want, a super efficient killing machine or a pacifistic innocent looking to better the world, or anything in between. I love when someone takes an idea as a springboard and takes it that bit further, and if you do please let me know, I love hearing about it :)
Art by: Jason NguyenPRO
Absolutely stunning piece, the detail on the face and armour, how the leaves form the cloak. And oh god the spear is beautiful, elegant and dangerous. This is so fantastic, thank you
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Time for a trip to the magic pet store: Here is a preview of what will be
Clockwork Dragon’s Guide to Arcane Familiars
Familiars have always been an exciting prospect for me, but 5e’s handling of them is... well, lackluster at best. To that end, I took it upon myself to retool the familiar system and provide a suitable myriad of options for people seeking to keep and train a tiny magical companion.This supplement is still in progress, and likely needs quite a bit of play testing. The final release will have a total of 100 familiars, but quite honestly, I am burnt out on familiars, and want to work on another project for while, so for now please enjoy 13 new Feats, and the first 50 familiars in this extended preview.
As a major notice on this bit of brew: the guide to familiars is still a work in progress, and I’m still in the process not only of adding new familiars, but also sourcing all of the artwork. I don’t do any of my own art, and I always try to credit that artwork back to the original creator. The final published release of this document will contain citations and sourcing for all artwork, but as ths is only meant to be a WIP preview so you all know what I have been working on, much of that is still missing, and will be updated as I work through it.
Preview images above are low resolution, and does not contain all 50 familiars. For the latest high-resolution PDF, as well as a whole host of other work I have done, check out this handy dropbox link. And be sure to tell me what you think!
If you like what I do and want to support me or just generally help out, Check out my Patreon page, or throw some coin at me through Paypal.me. If you wanna just come say hi on my Discord, that’s great too!
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