The Druidic Ethos
The druidic faith is found throughout the world in various forms. Some of those who follow it actively consider themselves to be druids and form a network of druidic orders that spans the worlds. Others might simply think of themselves as shamans, rangers - people who understand the power of Nature, who understand that the wilderness itself has a life and a mind of its own. And they know that when it’s angered, it can be as vengeful as any god.
The druids follow a “third way” in the games of men and gods: that of the natural world. The stones, the trees, the sun and every living thing that exists in the world is sacred to them; its will and power is made manifest each and every day. They are fully aware of the games played by man and god alike, and they know that both lead the same way: to the destruction of life.
They know that neither are likely to go away any time soon, either, so most druids attempt to maintain the balance between civilisation and nature. The conflict between nature and the gods is harder to balance, but they strive to remind people where they came from: it isn’t the gods that feed you, it’s the bounty of nature. Even so, there are many who grow frustrated with the constant uphill battle that most druids face. These individuals, sometimes called shadow druids, seek to reestablish nature’s claim by force and punish those who transgress against it.
A druid’s duty, first and foremost, is to nature and the natural world. This includes the elemental and natural spirits of various types that inhabit the world; they are considered to be one of the purest manifestations of nature’s will. They must protect nature and ensure it is not harmed - particularly by the ravages of civilisation.
Few druids pursue this duty singlemindedly, however. Without eradicating humanoid life entirely, there is no way to ensure nature’s complete safety. Many would argue that curbing the human instinct to build cities and roads would be as unnatural as anything that civilisation has wrought. Instead, many spend time attempting to enforce balance. They negotiate and mediate, applying diplomacy and threats where appropriate, and try to ensure that humans take only what they need from nature, and that nature is never harmed to a point it cannot recover from. After all, nature is tough - you have to do a lot to it to permanently harm it.
There is another aspect to a druid’s duties to balance humanity and nature, one less visible to most people. Nature rarely sits idle when angered, and it has many arrows in its quiver. Many on the frontier have heard stories of enraged animals attacking from the forest, freak whirlwinds or thunderstorms sinking ships and tearing down buildings, or even a flash flood that can wipe away all trace of a village overnight. This is the wrath of nature, which a druid’s day-to-day duties are all aimed at preventing. Nature is quite capable of balancing itself, but its methods are not pretty.
When the forces of nature have been roused to a fury, it is the druid’s duty to calm the elemental and natural spirits of the world and allay their anger. This is not just for the sake of civilisation; when nature is angry, it becomes a nexus of negativity that can draw dark spirits and invite evil forces into the world. For this reason, restoring the balance when it has swung out of true is one of the most sacred duties of a druid. It is a difficult task, and not all druids return alive from it; for this reason, it is traditionally the province of older and wiser druids.