Talking Animals

I was reading through some AD&D spell descriptions yesterday, and noted that the druid and magic-user versions of Reincarnation differ quite dramatically in the range of critters a dead character can come back as. The druid spell will probably bring you back as an animal of some kind, while the magic-user version will always result in some humanoid type or other.

Dark Sword anthropomorphic mouse fighter,
nice miniatures, if you like that sort of thing
In my Swords & Wizardry campaigns, I've conflated the magic-user and cleric spell lists, so there's just the one version of reincarnation, and there's no set list of resulting creature types. It occurs to me that the spell would be an ideal explanation for the existence of talking anthropomorphic animals with opposable thumbs and a bad attitude....

It's an outcome that would have to be employed with some care. Not every player is a secret (or not-so-secret) furry, not every player is going to enjoy waking up as a talking badger. But for those who swing that way, it could be fun, until the novelty wears off.

I've never really seen the point of the druidic reincarnation spell; it always seemed to me that it was mostly a pointless waste of time and an annoying "gotcha!" — your character dies, boo-hoo, but not to worry, you can be reincarnated! And you come back to life, but as a muskrat or something, and scurry off to burrow through the leaf-litter eating bugs (or whatever muskrats do). Not a lot of scope for adventuring there.

Musings on Class

Druids? Or just grubby old men in blankets? I have a fondness for AD&D, but one of the things that drove me away from it back in the...