Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 10:34:23 EDT
From: "Wayne S. Rossi"
Reply-To: The GREYtalk Discussion List
Druids of the Flanaess
In the Flanaess, there is confusion (with good cause) over the exact identity and roles of druids. In all likelihood, this is because there is more than one type of priest that goes by the name of "druid". It will be the goal of this article to clarify the exact sorts of druids and their functions.
The Old Faith
It was ages ago that the word of Beory, Ehlonna, and Obad-hai came about in the Flanaess. All had been worshipped by Flan and Olve alike for generations, and there was a loosely organized nature-priesthood that served to venerate the three deities. When the Oeridian migrations began, however, a change came about the tri-deity priesthood. As more Oerid, who had heard the word of Ehlonna even in the borderlands between the Baklunish and Suloise Empires, were proselytized during their migrations, the structure of Order began to come into play. By OR 320, even as the Oeridians struggled for dominance of the subcontinent, the "Way of Nature" became vastly popular with Oerid and Flan alike. Within the next century, a clearly-defined hierarchy was created-and the priesthood named "druids".
In the wilds, druids guarded against the ravages of human settlers-and, at the same time, were the guardians of all the settlements that held a healthy respect for nature. They taught the people to replant forests if lumber was needed, and to hunt only as necessary. Still, the druids could not help that a great portion of the land being converted to farmland-and were driven toward the central and eastern Flanaess as Aerdy grew in size and power, until in OR 427 it was a Kingdom. Then, only small tracts of forest in the east could be saved. Their luck was greatest in the Gnarley Forest and the Welkwood, where the Olves still reigned with their cities above the ground-hence, an active interest in not destroying nature.
Over the years, though, a rift grew within the ranks of the Way. The druids recognized that they were slipping in power and influence, and allowed this to happen gradually, and to a limited extent-they did, after all, recognize the importance of balance. As the priesthoods of the individual gods of the Flanaess became more popular, many druids began to panic. They began to press for individual priesthoods of Beory, Ehlonna, and Obad-hai, and by OR 524, former druids became priests of Beory, Ehlonna, and Obad-hai. The Way of Nature became known as the Old Faith.
The priests who split most radically from the druids were those of Ehlonna, who are now so removed from the druids of the Old Faith that they have little place in a discussion of druids. Those who followed Beory and Obad-hai, though, fell closer to the tree. These were similar in faith and practice to druids-though the reverence of Ehlonna was lost. Notably, many more druids went to the following of Obad-hai than that of Beory. The conflicts between the druidic priests and the true druids was brief, but has caused tension to form. Occasionally, a true druid of at least Druid level (12th) will "convert" an area where priests of Obad-hai or Beory have grown lax. Since the schism in the Way, the reverse has almost never happened. Most true druids look somewhat with disdain on the non-hierarchical priesthoods, and there is a quiet contempt for the conservatism and inability to "adapt" of the druids by the priests.
The Old Faith has seemingly faded into the background, but is not without its surprises. As the druidic priests have seemingly become the major followings of Beory and Obad-hai, the hierarchical druids move behind the scenes to protect a fragile balance.
(The Old Faith druids act as per the PHB, the druidical priests as per FtA.)