Class Primer- Rangers and Druids
The living spirits of nature were just as devastated by the Rebuke as magic was. The good news is that the primal forces are regrowing themselves bit by bit. The bad news is that without people like us to guide and shape that regrowth we'll be left the darker aspects of nature. Merciless hunger, rage and instinct will swallow up every last civilization left in Tairos.
The petty schemes and ambitions of magicians, warlords and rulers are but transitory moments in time compared to the history in stone, earth, the wind and waters. Nature is inevitable. It always wins. The task of Rangers and Druids in Tairos is to prune and cultivate; to make sure the balance within nature is maintained and the darker aspects are kept in check.
The golden age of druidism and nature's dominion came during the days before recorded history, before Melanthris, before the Ximezci and even before The Empire of Skyrir. During these halcyon days the Druid was the bridge between the mortal and the spiritual and the Ranger acted as guardians against the darkest urges of nature. They were often the leaders of tribes, sought after oracles and fabled warriors of legend who shepherded the first people of Tairos and maintained the peace between them and with living soul of the world. That all came to an end when Azuras, the Golden God of Skyrir returned from his trek in the heavens to enact his grand plan. Tribes were slaughtered, entire races of people were driven to extinction and immortal spirits of nature were broken by the unimaginable power of the Dragon.
Even after the destruction of Skyrir druidism never truly recovered. The Arrival of the New Gods supplanted the faith mortals once had in nature. Only the Frostmerites maintained their connection with the old tribal ways. The rest of Tairos forgot about the spirits of the forest, lakes and open plains. Rangers and Druids continued their traditions through all of the major events of history such as the Fang Crusades, the Plague of Undeath and even the Queen's War. In each instance they worked selflessly to maintain the balance and prevent the darkness of these events from giving rise to the worst aspects of nature.
The enemies of the druidic traditions are legion. They are each as poisonous and apocalyptic as the Ximezci, the Fae, the undead hoards and the tyranny of despots but these threats are the burden of the Druids and Rangers alone. They act as the shield wall along with their greatest Totemic allies- Grandfather Bear, Brother Falcon, Old Mother Elephant, Dragon Fly the Witch Doctor, Brother Wolf, Boss Crab, Brother Croatoan the Turtle and Sister Spider. Together they fight a secret war against wicked entities like such as Moth the Crone, Brother Whippoorwill, Sister Hyena, Basilisk the Stalker, King Lion, His Mycological Majesty the Dark Fungus and their insidious, corrupting matron... Grandmother Hydra. Thanks to the devastation and recklessness of the Queen's War these dread spirits are now seeping back into the land unchecked.
The importance of the old ways has long since faded from Tairos' memory. Even by the standards of the Elves druidism if both ancient and long dead. Players building a Druid are building something truly unique by the standards of the setting. Your character has a duty to protect and maintain a balance that the common folk of this world are entirely ignorant to. Yet, this thankless task is pursued all the same.
The average person would have a great deal of difficulty in telling a Druid apart from a Wizard, Warlock or Sorcerer and whatever their feelings toward the spell casters they'll share for the player's character. In most cases that will be fear, awe or animosity. Druids in modern Tairos will more often then not become reclusive hermits living as far away from the long reach of civilization as possible. They maybe be shamanistic healers, leaders of eccentric cults or restless wanderers. Those that do choose to live within civilization take roles as apothecaries, gardeners and farmers so they can still maintain a vigilant watch over nature while operating within the social structures of populated settlements.
Among the people of Frostmere the Gothi are totemic warrior priests who are likely to have levels in Cleric, Druid and Ranger. This version of the Druid might be more prone to a savage defense of his territory and spirits. The accounts from the final days of the Gnome Empire speak of the devilish Sahuagin who controlled the alien spirits of the deep ocean. Rumors of mysterious "River Lords" who journey by raft along Tairos' waterways are told at the campfire of many travelers. In the halls of Ghal Ankhar there are those that tend to the depthless caverns and fungal glades just as other Druids serve the forests and plains of the surface. If any origin for these rare individuals can be considered common it the nature cults of Rylan Woods where scores of hidden societies practice the old ways of nature... and a rare few pledge themselves to the urges of Grandmother Hydra and her children.
While duty to speak for nature and direct its growth may fall to the Druid, the bloody task of actually maintaining that order will often fall to the Ranger. The tradition of the Ranger dates back to the distant age of Druidism's height. The Druids connected mortals to nature while the Rangers lurked in the far reaches of the forests, plains and tundra hunting the abominations birthed by Grandmother Hydra as well as the lingering threats from the Scorned One, and the imperious ambitions of Dragons. When Azuras broke the back of the Druidic tribes across Tairos he also claimed the lives of countless Rangers who tried to stand against his armies. Like the Druids some of their traditions survived through the ages and their purpose remained the same despite their diminished number.
The differences between a Ranger and a Fighter or Rogue might not be noticeable to the average citizen of any of the major settlements. To most they're just a warrior with a penchant for navigating nature and a preference for wilderness hunts over sprawling battles. In truth, Rangers are those whom have dedicated their lives to pursuing one type of monster and purging it from the land. They may be motivated by the old ways, traditions passed down through the generations since the golden age of Druidism. Others may be born of tragedy, their family and homes consumed by the evils they now hunt. Whatever the origin the true difference between a Ranger and a Fighter is that the Ranger truly knows what he's fighting and what's at stake should they fail. They are soldiers in a secret war that the world at large knows little about and yet the Ranger is willing to sacrifice everything for the cause.