How To: Play a Gnome Druid

Part of good journalism is selling your article with a misleading headline. The observant among you will note that the conspicuous absence of a "world of warcraft" label. Here we go:

This weekend we had the third in a series of Dungeons and Dragons sessions. I went and snapped up Player's Handbook 2 as soon as I could and to my delight it introduced the Gnome race and the Druid class. Predictably, I rolled a Gnome Druid immediately. :)

Now, I've never played any "pen and paper" role-playing games before, although I've immersed myself in the books where they made for an interesting diversion. I'm a big fan of the World of Darkness (2) setting, but I'll leave that topic for later. Suffice it to say that I'm a terrific player in theory.

Back to my Druid, I struggled to figure out how exactly I was going to play him. What exactly was his "spark of life", that concept that elevates a character beyond the hastily scrawled numbers? I decided he was going to be an unusually inept Predatory Druid, often taking the (rarely Dire) form of usually harmless creatures. The plan is to "unlock" increasingly ferocious (or decreasingly cuddly) animal forms as time goes on, with him eventually capable of taking an ever-shifting form of every predator simultaneously. A feat only capable when channeling the primal fury of the first predator.

We had a particularly fun session with lots of laughs all round. I had decided that the humble platypus would make for a suitable step on Uryn's path to greatness. I spent alot of time merely scratching at things with my claws (which in reality are actually quite formidable) which was fine.

At some point I wanted to use my daily attack power "Cull the Herd". This is a ranged psychic attack that can only be performed in beast form. If successful, the victim suffers damage and stumbles up to 3 squares closer. It occurred to me that Uryn would bear a striking resemblance to Psyduck if he balanced on his hind-legs. Uryn grabbed his head, tilted it to the side, and projected a debilitating headache into his victims mind. By the time I got to the headache part, everyone knew exactly what I was paying homage to, it was great!

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