To be one with nature is the way of the druid; whether it’s to be one with their more animalistic side, or unleashing a plant-based frenzy. Druids are a huge archetype in gaming, but today we’re not going to look at whether a character is called a druid. Instead, we’re going to check out and celebrate the idea of a druid. In this week’s Top 10, there’ll be some strange entries, as you may not have thought of them as druids, or they may be a perfect fit to the term.
10) Druid Smurfs – The Smurfs
Not going to lie, we’re starting with a weird, obscure entry.
The Smurfs have a rather strange job system, where it appears most of them just live their lives doing nothing. Sometimes though, we’re introduced to a Smurf with a job. This is one of those times in an episode of The Smurfs, where we see a bunch of druid Smurfs and a leader of them. Their leader is there to save the Smurfs from a great darkness or something vague like that.
Anyway, turns out they were the evil ones (who knew?) The leader of the druids wanted to hurt Papa Smurf, but Papa Smurf knew he had to stop the druids from getting their hands on the amulet.
Yep. Weird entry, I told you. Nothing more to see or say here. Move along.
9) Mare Bello Fiore – Overlord
Arguably one of the most powerful minions in the Overlord anime, Mare is an adorable and meek little elf boy. He’s timid, but he’s loyal, which is a great asset to our protagonist, Ainz Ooal Gown. However, as is true of all of the minions in the series, Mare isn’t just a meek little boy – He’s actually incredibly powerful with a plethora of abilities that’ll make you question why he makes himself out to be as small as he does. He’s at his most timid around his sister, Aura.
Mare is a powerful druid, insofar as he has exceptional command over animals and plantation. He is able to manipulate plants to create snares, trapping his enemies. He’s also able to command animals, including larger ones such as dragons. Mare is also able to cast support-type abilities, allowing him to protect his team using the power of nature. Also, he’s incredibly strong, able to cave-in a skull using his staff. Ouch!
8) Pomona Sprout vs The Animagus – Harry Potter
A strange battle between an amazing wizard and a whole typecast of witch or wizard.
Professor Sprout is a Hufflepuff who excelled at herbology, which led to her becoming the teacher of herbology. She was hugely opposed to Lord Voldemort, as used her knowledge of herbology to combat the dark arts. Her Mandrakes were used to restore those who had been attacked by the Serpent of Slytherin. She also took on Death Eater’s using her Devil’s Snare plants. With the exception of maybe Neville, who later went on to become Ms Sprout’s replacement, there are very few more gifted in the ways of Herbology.
The Animagus are wizards who have the ability to turn into an animal and back again, completely at will. A huge part of what makes an Animagus so powerful is their ability to blend in. When Professor McGonagall is first introduced to us, she’s a cat who then transforms into the powerful witch. She’s an example of a registered Animagus; someone who is acknowledged as one. Meanwhile, the likes of Padfoot and Wormtail are unregistered. With so many wizards and witches out there, it’s hard to trust that an animal won’t turn into a foe.
Now which of these two Potter druid-types are greater?
7) Atticus O’Sullivan – Iron Druid Chronicles
Once I found out about this one, I had to get it included. I also have decided to find these books and read them for myself. The Iron Druid Chronicles is a series of 9 books (10 if you count the short stories), set in the modern day, but the world is filled with supernatural creatures such as witches, werewolves, vampires and more. The story is told in a first person perspective by the protagonist of the series, Atticus O’Sullivan
The protagonist is also a druid who runs an occult bookshop. Using his ability to draw from the powers of the Earth, which is granted to him via his tattoos, Atticus could have limitless power – But not always. When he’s unable to physically be touching the Earth, he’s effectively powerless. Nevertheless, Atticus is a resourceful druid who knows all of the rules of being a druid, whilst being the last of his kind.
6) Getafix – Asterix & Obelix
The legendary druid who crafts the potion that gives Asterix his prodigious strength, and that made Obelix his enormous size. Getafix (or Panoramix in the original french) is frequently kidnapped in an effort to steal his recipe for nefarious uses, but he is surprisingly resistant to all forms of coercion, even by his friends, from whom he has had to withhold the potion when their behaviour warrants a lesson to be taught.
Doctor, teacher, elder, Getafix is the among the oldest Gauls, and has been that way for generations, remaining straight-backed and long-of-beard since before Asterix was born, despite having a hunch in some of the earlier books, but hey, that much power has to give you some continuity defying qualities, right?
5) Nidalee – League of Legends
A master tracker, able to shapeshift into a cougar at will, Nidalee is a wild woman who has exceptional instincts and also razor sharp claws. She is able to call upon the power of nature to help herself heal up. She’s proficient at laying traps, akin to her hunter side. She also wields a spear that she throws from great distances for more damage. Nidalee is also able to hunt down her enemies, as she marks them.
Dressed in rags, Nidalee was raised deep in the jungle. She was raised by a pride of cougars, who taught her everything she knew. A group of hunters came to the jungle one day and attacked Nidalee’s new adoptive mother and this set Nidalee off, unlocking her ability to use her cougar form to its full potential. Nidalee is ready to pounce on anyone who steps in the Summoner’s Rift, you better make sure you’ve not been marked.
4) Captain Olimar – Pikmin
Coming at you straight out of left field, how about the crash-landed astronaut and space-treasure hunter who becomes a master at controlling the life-forms on the planet PNF-404? By whistling, throwing, and generally resembling the natives, Olimar becomes a master of the Pikmin, who revere and love him like some weird parental figure. While he may not be magical in his own right, the Pikmin are unmistakably masters of their environment. The tiny little plant-people reproduce quickly, eat at incredible speeds, build structures, and cause explosive plant growth.
Now, he may be more a scientist and explorer, but there’s no small element of mysticism involved in the deeds of Pikmin, and especially under the guidance of Olimar, their immunity to certain energies, the concoctions that can change their behaviours and grow their potential. It’s a game of natural dominance, conquering nature by using it to its fullest, all in the name of fruit and machine parts.
3) Malfurion – Warcraft
Probably the undisputed standard bearer of druids in World of Warcraft, Malfurion is a powerful druid – and the first mortal druid of Azeroth. Married to Tyrande Whisperwind, Malfurion is one of the leaders of the Night Elves. He’s constantly opposed to the invading Burning Legion demons, so he is always looking to protect his homeland and his people from the forces of corruption and evil.
The most dedicated pupil of Cenarius, Malfurion learned the way of druidism. This brought about the need for Malfurion to be comatose for a lot of the early days of the World of Warcraft MMO, as he and his druids had to sleep to protect Azeroth – Sleeping within the Emerald Dream. This allowed himself and his druids to wake up when the time called for them, as Azeroth needed the power of Malfurion and his druids.
… I wish my job was to sleep and wake up whenever I’m really needed.
2) Nissa Revane – Magic :the Gathering
We’ve been trying to diversify our sources a bit, broaden our scope in the name of a more all-encompassing GeekOut, and lay off our go-to nerdy content. But… y’know…
Hailing from Zendikar where the land will gladly tear itself up to destroy what threatens it, Nissa is an elf powerful enough to put reins on one of those wandering mountain ranges and make it dance. In a game so dependant on land, she has incredible abilities for tapping that land for energy and making it rise up and fight alongside your creatures.
Nissa is terrified of her own power. When she lets loose she can topple the worst Eldrazi with ease, hold back the assaults of Nicol Bolas, and (in one of my favourite moments) once hit Gideon so hard she broke the pavement underneath him, leaving Gideon unharmed (of course) and a small chunk of Ravnica deeply indented and Gideon-shaped.
1) Poison Ivy vs. Swamp Thing – DC
We usually try and restrain ourselves to one character from a property, but DC offers up two hard-hitting players and masters of plantlife…
Pamela Isley is an ecoterrorist who began life as a villain set against Batman, these days her message is seen as a little too necessary to dismiss her as a “bad guy”. Not only can she affect explosive growth and monstrous mutations in nearby flora, her control is so acute she can draw upon pheromones to manipulate, communicate, intoxicate, and kill. She is also highly susceptible to dehydration and isolation from daylight, making her relatively easy to imprison.
Throughout various incarnations, the power of The Green chooses an avatar to act as emissary and defender of the natural world. Though he is primarily centred in swampy territories, Swamp Things elected by the Parliament of Trees can travel anywhere where there is plantlife. He’s more plant-based than Ivy, can exert a great deal more control over vast areas, but practically loses all but the last shreds of humanity for the privilege. And he can’t seem to get a break in live action adaptations.
Now we call upon the spirits of the Earth to mend us, to heal us and most importantly, to show us some more druid examples! We love druid-type characters, but here are some not-so-strong examples. One of them is a character gone too far, the other is a level 1 druid that you’ve just made. N’aww, noobs.
We wouldn’t have made this list without some precedent! Though they’re not the most prevalent class, there are still an abundance of shamen, wardens, and druids from across gaming history, starting in D&D, starting in supplements before becoming a staple of the game. The druid was an addition in Diablo 2’s expansion pack, an option in both Titan Quest and Grim Dawn, classes in World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online, and those are only the examples I can think of without much effort.
Powers range from animal transformation, plant manipulation, and calling upon the assorted powers of nature like storms, volcanoes, and disease. They tend to be more hardy than the average spellcaster, less supportive than a cleric, less destructive than wizards and sorcerers, but who doesn’t want a squirrel who can set fire to a city in the party? Nothing wrong with the occasional earthquake here and there either.
Captain Planet – Funny or Die
The best version of Captain Planet as played by Don Cheadle, a somewhat darker version of the classic silver hero who combines the powers of earth, air, water, and fire, and takes “heart” along for the ride. In this short comedy skit, Planet is summoned by the Planeteers and beholds the 21st century into which he is bidden, and he does not like it… no sir. Lumberjacks? Turned into freshly sprouting trees. People in traffic? A line of trees growing clean out of the concrete. Planeteer who says that it’s a bad thing to turn people into trees? Trees don’t argue.
Our new green-haired overlord grows mad with power, everyone is trees. Dissent becomes deciduous, his reign is evergreen! And now so are you. And he can have his own TV show if he wants! And if you don’t like it, you’re a tree! Hah! Hahaha! Laugh! That’s hilarious, isn’t that hilarious? And isn’t everything better now everyone, everyone is a tree?
With the blessing of Mother Earth, we can put these Druids to bed. Good night, eco warriors and animal friends. Sleep tight. Don’t let the Earth swallow you up as you rest! Whilst we hope that the immensely powerful beings that draw from Earth are done, perhaps you can help us protect GeekOut UK by helping us come up with next week’s Top 10? As ever, choose your favourite from the poll below and we’ll write about the most popular one.
Now that we’ve experienced the power of the trees, it’s time for us to let our primal side rest. Hopefully you saw some of your favourite druids on this list, but perhaps we forgot an important one? Did we forget an important druid-type character, or did we get them, but get the order completely wrong? As ever, share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Facebook and Twitter.