I am still thinking aboutChenneling magic. As far as I am concerned it is just the channeling realm that causes the problems in Rolemaster. It simply has too many D&D hangups. The idea that healing is the domain of clerics, platemailed paladins and dependence of gods or deities are just things we all grew up with if you started playing in the D&D world. So as a start I thought about the Druid. This is a typical channeling profession. Where would a non channeling Druid fit?
Essence of Mentalism?
Looking at the spell lists in Companion 1 about 80% of all the Druids base spells fall into two schools of magic, Force and Mental. The remained are Healing, Information and a few Phantasms & Illusion. So at first glance Mentalism seems the way to go.
Let us have a look at what the Druid is doing with Force magic and see if that could swing the balance into the Essence realm. The only Force spell on the Animal Mastery list is Animal Summons and that requires concentration. I think that still implies mentalism.
The second Druid Base List is Druids Peace and every single spell on it is a Mental spell until you get to 30th level when you get EARTH CALM (F) Within the radius, caster may “calm” a natural phenomena (quakes, storms, winds, etc) or he may cancel a magically created natural phenomena. Now that does sound a bit elemental but then by the time you get to 30th level you should expect all spell casters to be throwing around some powerful magic.
The third list is Druid Staff. This is one of those enchant your own weapon type lists and the weapon is bound to the caster. Every spell on this list is a Force spell except for three (one utility spell and 2 defensive). In these cases the magic is self only and and requires concentration. I think this still leans towards mentalism.
Natures Forms is the fourth Druid list and just like nearly all mentalism spells the area of effect is self only. All the spells on the list are Force spells bar two that are Phantasms as the druid can mask his own thoughts. This again feels like a mentalsm list.
The fifth list is Stone Mastery and this at first glance looks the most Essence like. There are three Elemental spells in the form of Stone Wall, Curved Stone Wall and Stone Spike. The rest are Force Spells. So what is going on in this list. Well the Druid can speak to animate stones (not particularly useful!). Can throw stones in a similar way to the mentalism Hurling and telekinesis. The rest of the spells involve shaping and animating stone. This list could sit in either realm equally naturally I think.
The final base list for Druids is Plant Mastery and is another Force spell list. The ranges are most touch or self and enable the cast to communicate with plants, heal plants and control their growth. He or she can also create paths though vagetation and animate or activate plants and sentient trees. This is in my opinion another list that sort of sits on the fence between menalism and essence.
The overal balance though is that Druids should be in the mentalism realm rather than essence and there is nothing in here that implies there is any need for a deities involvement. There is no communing, no divination and no cross planes summoning going on here.
Anyone could easily play a non channeling Druid using the no profession and mentalism spell lists and casting restrictions as they now stand.