Whereas druids learn the mysteries of nature, greenwardens are devoted to its protection. They walk in two worlds, tending to the needs of the wild while maintaining peace with the lands of men. Their careful ministration of natural concerns makes them welcome in most communities, just as their kinship with nature allows them to walk the wilderness without fear.
Types of Greenwarden
Greenwardens may bond with a variety of natural creatures. The creature they choose affects the role they play in maintaining the balance of nature.
- A hornwarden forms a bond with an animal. The hornwarden’s role is to maintain the balance between man and beast, assisting farmers with their livestock, ensuring hunters do not deplete game, protecting animal habitats, and warding predators away from settlements.
- A valewarden forms a bond with an elemental, typically one dwelling within a natural feature such as a mountain or river. The valewarden is charged with maintaining the balance between man and the elements, forecasting the weather, preventing pollution or exploitation of natural resources, and sheltering people from storms and other natural hazards.
- A woodwarden forms a bond with a plant, typically a tree. The woodwarden maintains the delicate balance of the woodlands, assisting farmers with their crops, preventing deforestation by woodcutters, and protecting sacred groves.
Becoming a Greenwarden
Greenwardens generally congregate in sacred groves, many of which are protected by powerful magic to prevent intrusion. They meet in these groves to discuss matters of natural import along with their companions, who often make the grove their home. They also use it as the site for inducting new greenwardens.
As in all things, greenwardens aspire to maintain balance in their numbers. They will usually attempt to keep one warden of each type, though no more than the local area requires. When a need arises, they will seek out those who already possess a strong inclination toward nature and observe their behavior for a time. When the potential has proven their commitment, the greenwardens will summon a natural creature to appear before them and offer to bond with them.
A greenwarden’s bond allows the greenwarden to communicate with his companion, who provides information vital to fulfilling his role. However, the bond also endangers the greenwarden. If harm should befall a greenwarden’s companion, the same fate will befall the greenwarden himself. If a forest fire should consume a bonded tree or a bonded elemental’s lake become polluted, for example, the greenwarden would be stricken ill or dead. It is believed that this drawback is intentional, a natural consequence to ensure that greenwardens do not deviate from their purpose.
Greenwardens cannot despoil nature or bring harm to natural creatures (beasts, elementals, insects, or plants) and must prevent others from doing so to the best of their ability.
Greenwardens cannot wear metal armor or wield metal weapons, though they may use other metal objects (e.g., jewelry and coinage) without penalty.
Every greenwarden is bonded to a natural creature that acts as a liaison with the natural world. The type of creature determines the greenwarden's title and duties. If the creature is ever harmed or slain, the greenwarden may suffer the same fate. While this bond and its negative effects can be resisted, doing so may damage or destroy the bond forever.