Shannara Exclusive Prestige Class : Elder Druid of Shannara

by Brian Murphy, Dragon #286

Despite sharing a name, Elder Druids and typical D&D druids have almost nothing in common. Elder Druids are most often wizards or sorcerers, although fighters and bards occasionally take up the path. Paladins make excellent Elder Druids, but they are rare. Clerics seldom follow the path of the Elder Druid, as no Elder Druid can follow the doctrine of a particular god.

NPC Elder Druids are often wanderers, and most Elder Druids travel for long periods of time without the company of their brethren, seeking to learn more about the world at large. Almost all groups of Elder Druids obey a hierarchy, and their leaders spend most of their time focusing on avoiding major catastrophes. Elder Druids seek to maintain balance across the globe and prevent war, but they are not above fighting on the battlefield should the need arise.


To qualify to become an Elder Druid, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The elder druid's class skills are Appraise, Bluff, Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Knowledge (any), Profession, Search, Sense Motive, and Spellcraft.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Being an Elder Druid grants proficiency with all simple weapons, but not armor or shields.

Spells per Day: An Elder Druid continues training in magic. Thus, when a new Elder Druid level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on). This essentially means that he adds the level of Elder Druid to the level of some other spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly.

If the character had more than one spellcasting class before he became an Elder Druid, he must decide to which class he adds an Elder Druid level for purposes of determining spells per day when he adds each new level.

Communication: At 1st level, the Elder Druid can invoke tongues and comprehend languages on himself as the spells of the same name, at will. This is a spell-like ability.

Druid Fire: Once per day per two Elder Druid class levels, as a standard action, the Elder Druid can summon forth a plane of white hot flames similar to a burning hands spell. This attack takes the form of a 40-foot-long semicircular burst of fire that deals damage equal to 1d6 per Elder Druid class level plus the Elder Druid's Wisdom modifier. Creatures in the area of effect can make a Reflex save (DC 20 + the Elder Druid's Wisdom modifier) to take half damage. The fire can affect incorporeal and ethereal creatures, and spell resistance does not apply. This is a supernatural ability.

Sense Magic: At 3rd level, the Elder Druid can detect magic and read magic as the spells of the same name, at will. This is a spell-like ability.

Elder Druid Resistance: At 4th level, the Elder Druid's body becomes resistant to poison and disease. This results in a +4 resistance bonus to saving throws against poison and disease. This is an extraordinary ability.

Uncanny Dodge: At 1st level the Elder Druid gains the extraordinary ability to react to danger before his senses would normally allow him to do so. At 1st level and above, the Elder Druid retains his Dexterity bonus to AC regardless of being caught flat-footed or being struck by an invisible attacker.

At 5th level, the Elder Druid can no longer be flanked. He can react to opponents on opposite sides of him as easily as he can react to a single opponent. The exception to this defense is that a rogue who is 4 levels higher than the character can flank him (and thus sneak attack him).

Druid Sleep: At 7th level, the Elder Druid is taught how to enter Druid sleep, a form of magical hibernation that allows him to exceed his natural lifespan. A total of twenty-eight days out of the year must be spent in hibernation (assuming your year is around 365 days; adjust this duration to about 1/12 the length of the year in your campaign). Provided this ratio is maintained, the Elder Druid adds one year to his maximum lifespan for each day spent in hibernation. If the Elder Druid does not maintain the ratio, the days spent in Elder Druid sleep provide no benefit. Druid sleep can be used to prolong one's life beyond that point, but such excessive use brings on additional side effects (see the sidebar). Provided the Elder Druid continues hibernating on a regular basis, he will no longer suffer the penalties of aging, nor will he show physical signs of aging. Bonuses still accrue.

Elder Druid Blade: At 8th level, the Elder Druid learns how to temporarily infuse a weapon with magical energy. This can be done as a free action, provided the weapon is already held in hand. The Elder Druid must sacrifice a memorized spell or the use of a spell slot for the remainder of the day. In exchange, the weapon is considered to have an enhancement bonus equal to the level of the spell sacrificed for the purpose of surpassing damage reduction only. A weapon infused with a 0-level spell performs as a silver weapon for the duration of the enhancement. This temporary enhancement lasts for 1 round per class level. This is a supernatural ability.

Incredible Memory: At 9th level, the Elder Druid gains the ability to recall any memory with surprising accuracy. This gives the Elder Druid a +5 competence bonus on all Knowledge checks. This ability is also useful in combat, as it gives the Elder Druid a +2 competence bonus to attack rolls against any opponent he has fought during a prior encounter. This is an extraordinary ability.

Immolate Body: At 10th level, the Elder Druid can increase his abilities at the cost of his health. The Elder Druid can exceed his daily uses of the druid fire, suffering 1 point of temporary Constitution damage with each use. This can also be done for spells. Casting an extra spell causes 1 point of Constitution damage plus 1 per level of the spell. Casting an extra spell from level 5-8 also ages the Elder Druid by 1d4 years. Casting an extra 9th level spell ages the Elder Druid by 2d4+2 years and deals Constitution damage. This damage is suffered immediately after a spell is cast. This is a supernatural ability.

Elder Druid of ShannaraHit Die: d4
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialSpells per Day
1st+0+0+0+2Communications, Uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC)+1 level of existing class
2nd+1+0+0+3Druid fire 1/day+1 level of existing class
3rd+1+1+1+3Sense magic+1 level of existing class
4th+2+1+1+4Elder Druid resistance, Druid fire 2/day+1 level of existing class
5th+2+1+1+4Uncanny dodge (can't be flanked)+1 level of existing class
6th+3+2+2+5Druid fire 3/day+1 level of existing class
7th+3+2+2+5Druid sleep+1 level of existing class
8th+4+2+2+6Elder druid blade, Druid fire 4/day+1 level of existing class
9th+4+3+3+6Incredible memory+1 level of existing class
10th+5+3+3+7Immolate body, Druid fire 5/day+1 level of existing class

Druid Sleep

The druid sleep is a powerful tool the last Elder Druids use to extend their ability to protect the Four Lands; however, using the sleep makes the Elder Druid dependent on it. Such individuals can walk the world for only short times before their energies are exhausted and they must sleep again for a minimum of twenty-eight days. If used too often, the druid sleep robs its user of his humanity, gradually turning him into a creature of the spirit world. Such is what happened to the rebel Elder Druid Brona.

Every twenty-eight days past the first four weeks that someone spends in druid sleep, he must make a successful Will save (DC 15) or be turned into a ghost like the Warlock Lord (see the "Heroes of Shannara" on page 44, Dragon #286). For every twenty-eight days the sleep continues, another Will save must be made, increasing in difficulty by one (DC 16 after 84 days, 17 after 112, and so on) until the saving throw fails.

Source: Dragon #286

Older Prestige class adapted to 3.5

Other Exclusive Prestige Classes