Defender of the Green

Copyright Eric McLuen © 2006

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

"When a direct force of arms is needed, the Defenders answer the call."

Brennick lay atop the ridge gazing over the ambush site. He could see the Defenders scattered across the plain using whatever cover was available be it a bush or stubble in the field. They seemed quite vulnerable in the open like that and yet remained calm. Several had their bows and arrows blessed by Master Thorn and other Brothers the day before resting before them. The Shifters wore only their loincloths, their skin covered in drying mud. Some wore skins and were unarmed. The rest wore more traditional leathers and carried swords. Still, they all waited.

Then Brennick heard the muttering of many men. Above this low din he could distinctly hear one man berating another. He glanced at the Defenders and he saw their slight movements as they grasped the various fruits and nuts from the Hearttree given them yesterday. Slowly their forms grew less distinct as they blended into the landscape.

"Fools and cowards all," the man yelled. "A squad of armed soldiers killed off by a farmer who talks to cows. We shall show them. I cannot tolerate such insolence if I am to be seen as the rightful Duke."

"Aaaah, Sir Stetman has come himself. This is much better than I could have hoped," thought Brennick.

The approaching solders soon rounded the hill. It was a column of at least fifty men dressed in chain. Many were using spears as walking sticks while the others had only swords. In their midst was a man on a splendid black warhorse. His immaculate armor shone in the sun. Soon he would be in the trapped area Brennick and the Defenders set earlier. He continued on to no one in particular. "More than likely they simply deserted."

Suddenly some of the men in the front of the column cried out and began to grab their now bleeding legs where the traps had wounded them. One fell down with his foot completely severed. At that moment, ever so quietly the Defenders with bows raised them and fired. The arrows hit with a force enhanced by magic, striking more like a spear and delivering a debilitating jolt of energy. Many more of the men fell while the rest looked around in a near panic.

Sir Stetman began shouting orders to his remaining men. Telling those with crossbows to get up front and attempt to see where those arrows had came from. The rest he tried to get organized into a fighting formation. They were almost set when the second volley of arrows struck.

Suddenly as if coming up from the ground itself, large bears appeared on the other side of the soldiers from Brennick. The Shifters had had enough time to complete their spells and charged directly at the bowmen who were still in the process of loading their weapons. One managed to get a wild shot off before a bear fell atop him. Another bear knocked two men down as it charged through the ranks. The rest turned and began to flee.

The men in formation spread out a little and began to surround the bears. Sir Stetman yelled at his men to throw their spears at them and finish off the beasts with swords. "What match are claws against steel," he bellowed.

"Actually a fairly good one," Brennick thought looking at the mauled corpses.

The men grew braver as a spear took one of the bears down but their moment of courage was short lived for during this time the rest of the Defenders had closed the distance. Although severely outnumbered their prowess and savagery was much greater than their opponent's. Though using one-handed swords, they left the wounds of a claymore. Some fought without weapons, but their hands cut through armor like battleaxes. In less than a minute the survivors broke and ran.

Sir Stetman still fought on atop his horse, calling his men cowards but as he looked for a place to escape he found himself surrounded. As the bears closed in, his horse reared in fright. Sir Stetman lost control of the reins and fell backwards, landing with a dull thump. His horse galloped away but the would-be Duke lay motionless on the ground either dead or unconscious.

Brennick stood and walked to the battle site as the Shifters reverted to their human form. The Defenders took stock of their situation and began to give medicinal herbs to those wounded. The short-lived rebellion was over. The time for healing had begun.

The Green is the life force that permeates all things, both living and inanimate. It is not a personified deity but a force that can be manipulated and called upon for aid. While the Speakers spread the Word and Brothers study the Word, the Defenders protect the Word. While many rangers also follow the Path, theirs is a more passive calling. When a direct force of arms is needed, the Defenders answer the call.

FAVORED CATAGORIES:

General: 3 Mystical Arts: 3

Physical: 2 Combat: 4

Outdoor: 4 Subterfuge: 4

Key Stats: Insight, Strength, and Agility.

Professional Abilities: Beginning at first level, and then every fifth level thereafter (5th, 10th, etc.), Defenders of the Green gain a +10 bonus to the weapon skill of their choice. No weapon skill can have more than a +30 from this ability.

Animal Forms1
Control Animal1
Divine Hammer1
Haste2
Hues2
Natural Trap2
Nature's Awareness3
Nature's Strength2
Nature's Tongues2
Traceless Passing2
Tree Door1
Treeskin1

1 -- Clerical spell from the HARP base book

2 -- Ranger spell from the HARP base book

3 -- Ranger spell from College of Magics

Restrictions: Followers of the green may not take granted mana as a source as there is no personified deity to grant it. Ambient mana should be the preferred source, with fixed second and personal third.