Also known as:
Allies: The Sensates, The Ciphers
Enemies: The Doomguard, The Dustmen, The Fated
"It has been said that the elemental planes provide the basic blocks from which the multiverse is built. That's true up to a point. But those building blocks are merely that. They could provide, and do provide, the substances around us; the air, the stones and so on. But they cannot provide life. And ultimately that's the most important feature of the multiverse. Not that it exists, because its existence would be meaningless without living creatures in it to appreciate it. So life is the single most important feature of the multiverse. And life is natural; built by, provided for, and sustained by, nature. And before someone says it, yes I am aware that there are unnatural creatures in the multiverse. Creatures such as golems (if such can be said to possess life), the undead, or magical combinations (such as the manticore almost certainly was originally). But nature is still at the centre of these beings too. The manticore and the golem, if you wish to include it, may not have been natural in their creation. But their creator was natural, so they are still beings that would not exist without nature. And as for the undead, well obviously before you can become undead you must have once been alive. There is no single creature in the multiverse today that does not owe its existence, at some stage, to the power of nature. People can debate the virtues of law or chaos, the merits of good or evil, but the most powerful force in the multiverse is, always has been, and will always remain, the force of nature.
And this is why we must act to protect nature from the ravages that we would, in our foolishness, impose upon her. Think of the bread you eat each day. Where would that come from, if there was no arable land left to grow it on? And those of you who say that you would eat meat instead, where is that coming from? Because there will be no grazing land left for herd animals to eat, so there will be no herd animals left for us to eat. Nature may be the most powerful force in the multiverse, but in life she has created a force that she cannot protect herself against. How can she, against her own children? So we must do it for her. And that is where the Verdant Guild belongs."
-- Excerpt from a speech given by an unknown Wylder at the Civic Festhall
Influence and Headquarters
The headquarters of the Verdant Guild always used to be a large, impressive building located near to the gate to the Beastlands in Faunel. Although it has no official name, most sect members refer to it as 'Home' (not to be confused with 'home' - where they live). It is here than Karleona currently calls kip, and from here that she runs the Guild. Various outcroppings of traveling camps make their way through the Beastlands from here.
The Verdant Guild was formed, over 9 centuries ago, by a ranger named Angeliika Silvermane. As such it is one of the oldest surviving sect, although a couple of sects still around today are related to sects that predate the Wylders. These sects have changed their purpose and philosophy somewhat, however, whereas the Verdant Guild still stand for exactly the same thing it did when Silvermane first gathered together a group of a dozen like-minded people. In that time, the sect has grown, and become very influential on its home plane of the Beastlands. In fact, although membership of sects is often difficult to calculate exactly, the Verdant Guild is one of the largest sects currently around.
'Recently', however, the sect has been heavily challenged. The creation of the Vile Hunt has given the Wylders a direct enemy for the first time, and they have not responded well under the pressure. Of late the Vile Hunt have been involved in a plot by some worshippers of a prime God called Malar to free the power from his prison on Carceri. In addition, they were attempting to subvert the nature of the Beastlands themselves; to make them more evil. Fortunately the danger was averted, but the narrowness of the escape was clear to all the Wylders.
Allies and Enemies- The Vile Hunt
The most obvious enemies of the Verdant Guild are clearly the Vile Hunt. The two sects believe a philosophy so diametrically opposite that it seems likely that their enmity will continue until one sect has been destroyed. The conflict between them continues to escalate. However, there are other groups that the Wylders find that they cannot agree with. Although they dislike those groups, however, open conflict is unlikely. Those groups include the Dustmen, the Doomguard (both of whom glorify the death and decay that is so repulsive to a sect that loves the beauty of nature and life), and also the Fated, whom the Wylders find to be too wrapped up in their own world to appreciate the world around them.
That said, the Wylders have a number of powerful allies. The Signers are at their most prominent on the Beastlands, and the Verdant Guild are close friends with this faction. Their other main ally in Sigil is the Society of Sensation. The Sensates, as far the Wylders are concerned, at least have enough sense to enjoy life. Conversely, the Sensates take the attitude that nature has an almost uncountable array of differing forms and therefore experiences. Many Sensates will visit the Beastlands at least once, because becoming closer to your 'wild' side is regarded by most of the faction as an experience that should be felt.
Although not as close an ally as the Sign of One or the Sensates, the Verdant Guild maintains good relations with the Ciphers. Many Ciphers just want to 'be', something that the nature-loving Wylders can relate to. Besides, nature rarely philosophises too deeply on its actions; it just acts. The Ciphers admire this trait in nature, and most animals.
Generally speaking, members of the Verdant Guild are more interested in nature in general than in humanoids in particular. However, how they approach that belief can differ remarkably from member to member, and consequently their attitude will differ as much. Some sect members are strongly of the belief that the animals live better lives than humanoids do, as they are not dominated by issues about 'good' and 'evil'. Others see themselves as the protectors of animals (and to a lesser extent nature as a whole - the Guild are more concerned with animals than with plant life, which is a generalization that could also be said about the Beastlands), and will defend the life on any animal with their own. Others try simply to keep a balance between the actions of mortal beings, and nature's wishes. How an individual member of the Guild should be played therefore depends on how they would view the importance of nature, and their role within it. As an example, some members would stop all hunting of animals. Others believe that it is natural, so long as the hunting is within certain limitations (often along the lines of; it is acceptable to kill one stag for food when you are hungry, as that is a natural act that other predators would do. It is not acceptable to kill a dozen stags for sport, as there is nothing natural about that). Despite differences of opinion, sect members have, in the past, got on with one another.
The biggest advantage that the Guild offers surrounds the mask that its members wear. Through means not yet explained by those who have attempted to reveal the secret (most of whom have been Guvner researchers), completion of the mask grants its owner unique powers. As the masks are almost certainly made in a variety of ways, this ability must be conferred on the mask when the owner is inducted fully into the Guild. This power can only be used by the person who made the mask, and can only be used when the mask is being worn.
In addition to this, the time spent on the Beastlands, and in other wild areas, means that sect members either have to develop the ability to know where they are, or spend a great deal of their time hopelessly lost. In effect, all members of the Verdant Guild gain the direction sense non-weapon proficiency as a bonus.
However, the intimacy with which Wylders live with nature, and the amount a time they tend to spend in wild areas, has its drawbacks. Although they are comfortable in isolated dwellings, anything larger than a small village will unnerve a Wylder. They suffer a -4 penalty on all reaction rolls, due to the unease that they cannot conceal from those who observe them. Optionally, in very large places (and Sigil certainly counts as this), Wylders may find that the lack of space causes them great mental distress. Such Wylders would panic easily, and could behave quite irrationally, and may decide at any time that they have to return to the calming influence of wide open spaces at once.
This means that Wylders spend as little time in towns and cities as they can, which in turn means that they never have the opportunity to learn those skills that can be taught in such places. Any "civilised" non-weapon proficiency (e.g. blacksmithing, etiquette, engineering) is forbidden to members of the Verdant Guild. Those proficiencies that are applicable to, and could be learnt in, more natural surroundings (e.g. weather sense, swimming, survival) can still be learnt as normal.
Applying for membership of the Verdant Guild is actually pretty easy. All you have to do is to tell a current member that you are interested in joining the sect. Being accepted is slightly tougher. Firstly you must be nominated for membership by an existing member. As there are no punishments for members who nominate failed candidates, all this entails is convincing a member that you feel strongly enough about the sect's philosophy to be worth trying. The next stage is that you must spend three days and nights on the Beastlands, alone. Where in the Beastlands you do this is entirely optional. An experienced Wylder will normally be close by to observe the actions of the potential member, but they will rarely act in any way. On successful completion of this, you are a initiate in the sect. The last task is the assembly of your mask. The exact process by which this occurs is still a sect secret (and probably differs from member to member), but generally takes at least one month, often longer. Once the mask is completed, the candidate is a full member of the Guild.