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Faction Profile: The Druids of Galen

Tags: #Vargr Build  #Faction Profile  #Roleplaying  #Druid 
  • October 27, 2016

    ***WARNING*** The following is not lore friendly. Much of it is based off of, or inspired by, established Elder Scrolls lore, but much of it is also just my own ideas and imagination. You have been warned. ***WARNING***



    The druids were an ancient order of knowledgeable shamans who held positions of great esteem among the ancient “witch-men” of Highrock and Skyrim. They were secretive by nature, often living solitary lives in the wilderness, or on the outskirts of settled land. They were well respected by the surrounding tribes and villages, the leaders of which often sought out the druids for their sage wisdom and practical knowledge. The tumultuous rule of Red Eagle changed all that when he decided to forego their teachings and instead follow the hagravens who promised him power and victory. The hags and druids were always at odds with one another. They drew their power from the same ancient magicks, and performed many of the same rituals, but at opposed purposes.

    The primary tenant of the Druids of Galen was balance, balance between man and nature, between life and death, and between forward progress and honored tradition. The word “galen” itself means tranquil or calm, and it is this that the druid aspires. The hags, on the other hand, are self-centered and power hungry creatures, always seeking new ways to dominate others, and new forms of depraved power. When Red Eagle turned from the ways of the druids the rest of the Reachmen, now called Forsworn, went with him. To this day the Forsworn revere the hagravens and follow their twisted teachings, while the druids have faded away into the mist of history, their order forgotten.

    To be of galen is to be at peace with the world around you both that of the wild and natural places as well as that of society and community, the Skaal of Solstheim would call this oneness and it is a sentiment shared by much of the order. Each druid will interpret this balance in their own way and through the lens of their own experiences. Some will become savage warriors seeking to overthrow any form of society they feel is encroaching upon what they view as the “sacred wild”. Others may become simple hermits who live away from other people and keep to themselves only offering sage advice or perhaps ancient medicines to those wise enough to seek the druid’s council. Still others may become rangers and peacekeepers for society protecting them from the more dangerous entities that stalk the wild places of Nirn. What they all have in common is the service of others, they each seek to protect and advance the interests of their chosen liege; be it man, mer, or the spirit of nature itself.

    Druids are a spiritual group who revere what they refer to as the old gods. In modern parlance those gods would be Kyne, Hircine, Y’ffre, and Namira however some in the order believe that the four gods are really just aspects of one entity. They believe that time and modern taste in religion has divided this ancient entity into more manageable and understandable deities. They point to certain similarities among these nature sprits like the hunt which is shared between Kyne and Hircine. Even their names share a similarity (Hircine => Hirkine => Hirkyne => Kyne) some even claim that the name Kynareth is an amalgamation of Kyne and Y’ffre; the links among these four spirits doesn’t stop there. However this becomes more of a self-fulfilling prophesy as the greatest proponents for this will start to see links everywhere. Still the similarities are there and are uncanny at times, enough so to lend some credibility to this theory.

    For the most part the Druids of Galen revere them separately ascribing to each a specific realm and season. Kyne the sky and storm whose season is spring, Hircine the hunt and the circle of life and death whose season is summer, Y’ffre the ever changing wild and all its creatures whose season is fall, and finally Namira the ancient darkness whose season is winter. These are the old gods of the druids and the ones they hold in highest esteem. Together they represent the natural order of Nirn and the balance of oneness that the druids call galen.

    The paths of the druid are many and varied, no two will walk the same trail nor will they boast the same knowledge or power. However they will all share a reverence for nature and tradition and will ere on the side of the old ways before they will adopt the new. One thing that the Druids of Galen all adhere too is the Druids Oath which is similar to the precepts that the Forsworn of Markarth follow. Specifically the Druids Oath forbids the use of metal arms and armor. The druids themselves offer little reasoning behind this other than to state that it is an honored tradition, one that the druids have maintained for more generations than can be remembered. It probably harkens back to when they served as advisors to the local chiefs and represents their devotion to peace and balance by abstaining from the use of weapons of war. Some claim that too much metal interferes with some of the druids mystical abilities. Either way it is an oath they will not break or abandon. The oath doesn’t extend to the precious metals however and many druids will adorn themselves with trinkets of gold, silver, and precious stones. In fact these metals are often revered as sacred among many in the order representing the sun, moons, and stars respectively.

    There is a loose ranking system within the order that is less about one’s power and more about one’s wisdom, knowledge, and experience. There are four ranks among the druids they are Wildheart, Ovate, Druid, and Archdruid. However only the last three are official druid ranks the first is a term that druids use to refer to those who are not druids yet, but already walk the path of one.

    Wildheart: The first rank is populated by people that the druids call Wildhearts. These are people who will become druids (take the oath) even if they don’t yet know it. They have an unspoken kinship with the wild places of Skyrim and have never felt quite right in the cities and villages. They will spend most of their time wandering the wilds and often take up professions as hunters, trappers, and alchemists. Usually the wildheart is unaware of their aptitude for druidism until they are approached by a druid who offers them membership. There are rare individuals who will walk the path of the druid and seek out the order themselves.

    Ovate: The second rank of druid, and first true rank within the order, is called the ovate which means egg. Literally they are eggs that have not yet hatched into their true potential. Wildhearts are often given a task by an existing druid that they must complete in order to gain recognition by the order.   Once this task is completed they will have attained the rank of Ovate and will be given a final task called The Sojourn, the culmination of which will be the Oath of Druids also called the Oath of Galen after which they will be recognized as full druids.

    Druid: This is the rank of most of the order. There are higher and lower druids within this rank but again they are loosely defined if at all and are based on the wisdom and experience of the individual. Age is often a determining factor as in most cases advanced age brings with it greater wisdom. Druids rarely interact with one another at this stage, and are mostly autonomous, carrying out the will of the old gods or their chosen patron however they deem fit. They will only beseech others of their order in time of great need, or to address a particularly perplexing issue.

    Archdruid: This rank is largely symbolic and acts much like a judge, mediator, or general. Archdruids are elected on the rare occasion that a conclave or circle is formed to address a particular issue or event. They are given the rank only for the duration of the conclave and sometimes for the duration of whatever action the conclave decides upon. Once the conclave is disbanded the rank will be dropped, however being elected is an honor that will be remembered and grants an amount of esteem for the druid, especially if the endeavor was deemed successful. Archdruids are not always chosen for their age and experience, sometimes the inexperienced and young will be elected since their minds have not been tainted by experience they are thought to be able to provide a truly objective opinion.

    The secretive nature of druids, their small number and their hermetic pursuits make them rare individuals to ever encounter. Even if one did run into a druid it is likely that they would simply be mistaken for a wandering alchemist, huntress, or hermit and nothing more. In truth most druids would keep their affiliation secret anyway they have ancient knowledge and power that they would not have fall into the wrong hands. Druids will only reveal themselves to other druids and to Wildhearts (those who will be druids) and no one else. Some have even taken spouses and raised children with their families never discovering their affiliation with the order. Below is a list of druids that can be found in Skyrim.

    Aela the Huntress: An esteemed member of the Companions and one of their Inner Circle, Aela is also a member of the Druid’s of Galen. She has chosen a direct role in the protection of the people of Skyrim maintaining the balance between the society of Skyrim and its dangerous wilds. She holds Hircine in the highest reverence which as evidenced by her lycanthropy. She uses the Companions as a method of testing for potential druids who would know better the way of the beast and the hunt, invariably it will be her who will pass on the gift to another member of the order.

    Froki Whetted-Blade: Froki is a reclusive druid living in southern Skyrim. He holds a great reverence for Kyne and is prone to long rants about the difference between the old god and the Kynareth worshipped by the Empire. Froki has a keen eye for Wildhearts and will offer them Kyne’s Sacred Trial as an initiation into the order. His callous and taciturn demeanor belies a soft heart that longs for older, simpler times.

    Madanach: The King in Rags, Madanach has taken an uncharacteristically proactive approach to what he sees as an imbalance in the Reach. He wants to see the old tribal ways of the Reachmen restored and thinks leading them is the best way to accomplish this goal. He is the only druid to still see value in the Forsworn people, the rest remember the choice they made when they abandoned the wisdom of the druids for the power of the hags.

    Maurice Jondrelle: Despite his appearances Maurice is one of the most highly esteemed druids among the order. He has an unparalleled affinity for the flora of Skyrim, and seems to almost speak with the trees. He can be found wandering the province on some pilgrimage the purpose of which is only known to him.

    Melka: A rare bird indeed, Melka has eschewed the ways of the hagraven for wisdom and knowledge. Once one of the greatest adversaries to the Druids of Galen, Melka is now one of their greatest allies, unfortunately this change in philosophy has led her sister hags to imprison her. She would surely be grateful for any aid a fellow druid could lend.

    Dravynea the Stoneweaver: Dravynea can be found aiding the miners of Steamscorch Mine using her magic to make the volcanic environment hospitable enough to work in. Her true purpose is to make sure the settlers here don’t harm the trees of Kynesgrove which are considered sacred to the Druids of Galen.

    Storn Crag-Strider: The Skaal are probably the one people who believe as the Druids of Galen do. The concept of Oneness with the land and Galen are very similar if not outright the same. Storn would long ago have become one of the order if not for his devotion to his people; still he is considered by many among the order to be an honorary Druid of Galen.

    Angi: Angi long ago gave up on society and community choosing rather to live in isolation in the Jerall Mountains. Those who make the dangerous climb to her mountain camp will find an archer without equal. Fellow druids have been known to visit Angi on occasion in the hopes of learning the secrets of the hunt. Many among the order believe that her proximity to one of the order’s most sacred places, the Ancestor Glade, to be purposeful. Perhaps she is guarding this place from an assailant unknown to the other druids, or maybe she is just observing the Sojourning ovates who visit the glade?

    Drelas: Drelas the Mad was once a great druid, and even held the title of Archdruid on three occasions. Unfortunately he became obsessed with some secret bit of knowledge becoming distant and reclusive, even for a druid. Today he has lost all semblance of his former self and spends every waking moment obsessing over his studies in arcane ritual.   He reacts violently, and murderously, to any being foolish enough to disturb him.

    Many druids will seek out apprentices during their journeys to pass on what they have learned. These apprentices are invariably Wildhearts, those who walk the path but as yet know not the destination. The druid will groom these apprentices and often aid them during their Sojourn ensuring they are successful. Below is a list of followers that best fit this role and make great Wildheart apprentices for the druid player.

    Frea: Frea is already well down the path of the Wildheart, as are much of the Skaal to be honest. However her aptitude for magic and a life time of learning from Storn make her a perfect follower for the druid player character. Her eventually taking Storn’s place as shaman could be seen as her becoming a full member of the Druids of Galen.

    Illia: Illia, like Frea, is also well down the path of the Wildheart, a path that mirrors Melka’s own. Her change of heart leads her toward becoming a full member of the order. There can be no greater test that the one she is facing when you meet her, the completion of which would grant her the rank of Ovate. Perhaps you didn’t stumble upon her at this critical moment purely by chance; perhaps the druids have always been watching this particular Wildheart.

    Derkeethus: Derkeethus has always been drawn to the land and rivers of Skyrim, and is prone to disappearing for days as he wanders the wilderness around Darkwater Crossing. If you can find him he would make a superb apprentice, and would readily join the Druids of Galen.

    Ugor: Ugor is a stubborn and taciturn orc who can be found guarding the gates of Largashbur. She chafes at the life she lives beholden to her chieftain but also longing for the freedom of the horizon. She has a wildheart and conflicted nature that causes her to lash out at others in an attempt to alleviate some of her internal tension. Helping her tribe, even against her wishes, will free her from this conflicted life and gain you a loyal and devoted apprentice.

    The druids don’t have a central hall or meeting place that they congregate too. They are wanderers by nature and on the rare occasion they do gather the location is often a hidden glade or grotto that is both out of the way and accommodating to the needs of the druids until whatever business they are discussing is concluded. With this in mind most druid characters will forgo purchasing a house within one of the major cities. If a druid does choose to call a place home it will often be remote and simple, providing the bare minimum of shelter and warmth and little else. Most druid’s make use of hidden cashes where they keep valuable and essential items. Each druid will keep multiple caches spread all over the province. The typical cache contains potions and poisons of multiple varieties as well as valuable that can be easily traded for necessary supplies, and even food. The use of the cache system allows the player to store excess ingredients, potions, poisons, soul gems, and valuable gear for trade without becoming over encumbered. Below is a list of some notable places that are ideal for keeping a cache of materials, spread out across the province they all boast some form of safe storage.

    Alchemist’s Shack (end table is safe for storage), Anise’s Cabin (cellar is safe for storage), Blind Cliff Cave, Broken Oar Grotto, Crabber’s Shanty (sacks are safe for storage), Cracked Tusk Keep, Darklight Tower, Geirmund’s Hall, Nilheim, Reachwater Rock, Southfringe Sanctum, Stillborn Cave, Yngol Barrow, Drelas Cottage

    Keeping a cache of materials in all of these places will mean that the druid is never far from being restocked with useful potions, poisons, food, or valuables whenever he has need. Many of these places also boast some form of crafting table enabling the druid to craft up a ton of items and then store them safely for use when he finds himself traveling the area in the future.

    The Druids of Galen are a spiritual order who honor the old gods and the natural world. This has led them to revere certain locations and to hold them as sacred and inviolable. These places often possess some form of rare or unique feature that sets them apart and will be stubbornly defended by the druids should they be threatened. Below is a list of the sacred places that can be found in Skyrim. Many of them are destinations that devout druids will make pilgrimages to in a show of reverence or to partake in a ritual.

    The Seven Thousand Steps: Climbing the Seven Thousand Steps is a spiritual pilgrimage for many Nords as it connects them with their mother goddess Kyne. This pilgrimage is not just sacred to the Nords however; it is also sacred to the Druids of Galen, and really any worshiper of Kyne. Many druids will make this journey on an annual basis meditating at each inscription as they climb.

    The Ancestor Glade: One of the most sacred places to the Druids of Galen it is the only place where the rare Aurybyd flower grows and it plays a central role in the initiation of Ovate’s into full Druids. Some believe that Angi’s Camp is situated where it is so she can keep watch over the glade and protect it from violation.

    The Sleeping Tree: Out on the tundra of Whiterun Hold there is a strange leafless tree. Called the Sleeping Tree for the sap that it produces is a powerful narcotic that both invigorates the body and numbs the senses. The tree is guarded by a camp of giants who will defend this place to the death. The druids revere the tree as a gift of the old gods and are more than happy to let the giants protect it from harm.

    The All-Maker Stone Pilgrimage: On the island of Solstheim there are six mystical stones that the Skaal call the All-Maker Stones. The Skaal believe that these stones maintain the Skaal concept of “oneness” on the island, a concept many druids would call “galen”. Many druids will make the pilgrimage to visit each stone at least once in their lives. The pilgrimage begins at the Sun Stone and heads west following the setting sun until it meets the earth and the Earth Stone. From here follow the coast north to the Water Stone then head east until you find the Wind Stone, then travel south a short ways to find the Beast Stone. Finally, just over the ridge to your west is the Tree Stone and the end of the pilgrimage. Together the pilgrim will have traveled a large spiral across the face of Solstheim and will have been richly rewarded by the old gods; or the All-Maker if you prefer.

    Eldergleam Sanctuary: One of the greatest wonders in Skyrim and perhaps all of Tamriel is the Eldergleam. This ancient tree is theorized to be the oldest living thing in Tamriel and many worship it as a deity on its own. The druids revere this tree as the great being it is and will defend it with their lives, not that the Eldergleam needs defenders as it is more than capable of defending itself.

    Crystaldrift Cave: Originally just a hunter’s nook Crystaldrift has slowly grown into a shrine honoring Kyne. The area is known for its abundant game and many a druid will find themselves drawn to this sacred cave. Be wary however, as the shrine is known to draw all manner of beasts and the beasts of Skyrim are not to be taken lightly.

    Blackreach: There is a cavern deep beneath the tundra and mountains of Skyrim known only to those with memories as old as the Dwemer. Blackreach is a place of such natural and wild beauty that even the industrious Dwemer could not bring them to fully tame it. Those who make the dangerous journey through steam and gear past clever Dwemer traps and vicious Falmer raiders will find a breathtaking natural wonder.

    There are many beautiful places in Skyrim that the druid’s value, these are but a few that are more universally recognized. Many druids will form a particular bond with a specific grove or grotto the spirits there resonating with their own. They will often live out their lives protecting some small parcel of land from man, mer, or beast eventually becoming one with the land when their long years finally catch up with them. Some within the order believe that Spriggins are the manifest will of ancient druids protecting the places they once held most precious.

    Thank you all for reading. The Druid class from D&D has always been one of my favorites, in fact my very first D&D character was a druid, and I’ve wanted to create the archetype in Skyrim for some time now. I hope to have succeeded. If you like what you saw here then please check out the Character Build, and of course leave a like and let me know what you think.


  • October 27, 2016

    Beautifully done, Vargr. I really just like how you've incorporated Skyrim npcs. And you mentioned Melka, who I think is awesome. Cool, if they made her a follower, eh? 

  • October 27, 2016

    Thanks Liss, a hag follower would be very cool especially for a dainty sload.

  • Member
    October 27, 2016

    Very cool profile, well done! I love the pictures, they add a certain calmness and reflect the character of druids very well.

  • Member
    October 28, 2016

    Good to see this up, Vargr. Like I said in the Workshop, I'm a sucker for hierarchy and ranks in stuff so this is amazing for me.

  • October 31, 2016

    Very insipring work. I have a question. Would the druids whose favor Kyne study thu'um, as it is a gift to mer and men from goddess herself?

  • October 31, 2016

    Thank you everyone, I'm glad you enjoyed it. 

    @ Ryokoichi:  Indeed the druids do study the thu'um.  In my Character Build of the same name I mention that I like to think of the shouting ability to be something that is awakened within druids after they take the oath.  To this extent with my characters I waited until after taking the oath before I slay Mirmulnir.

  • October 31, 2016

    On the top of my head, Animal Allegiance sounds like a perfect fit.