Gaia's Warden

Among those who travel the wilderness, some are more militant than others about protecting the wilderness and nature. These people, both druids and rangers, often become Gaia's Wardens – the holy warriors of Gaia, the Earth Mother. They combat all those who would despoil nature and her creations – those who hack down forests for firewood, kill animals for sport, or otherwise despoil the wilderness. They, like druids, are tolerant of those who would coexist with nature, taking only what they need to survive, but they are violently opposed to those who take what they want without thought to preserving nature. Their methods for preventing and punishing wrongdoers varies from individual to individual, but they often sabotage equipment, lead trespassers astray into bogs or deep into the trackless wilderness, or attack from ambush using the weapons of nature against their enemies.

The Wardens are divided into five main groups of thought, according to their alignments, though there is a bit of overlap:

  • Those who think nature should be orderly in its profusion; these people are often elves or humans. They allow some spreading into the wilderness, but require a balance between nature and civilization – parks in the cities, replanting of trees cut down for logging, etc. They are Lawful Neutral.
  • Those who think nature is a force unto itself, vast and burgeoning, but neither lawful nor chaotic, good nor evil. These Wardens seek to preserve the balance – civilized races have their areas, and nature has its areas. They see no problem with civilized races taking what they need from the forests, as long as they do it in moderation, or replace what they take if they do so on a large scale. Some of the more militant members of this faction sometimes protest the spread of civilization into the wilderness, but unlike the neutral evil faction, they seek a more peaceful solution before resorting to sabotage, destruction of property, and other (typically nonlethal) methods of driving people out. The members of this group view natural disasters, like forest fires, necessary for the rebirth and regrowth of new forests, and sometimes set controlled fires. This is also the largest group of the five. They are True Neutral.
  • Those who think nature should flourish unrestricted, wherever it wishes, and that all others should bow to its power and majesty. They are often wild and unkempt, stay far from civilized areas, and, for the most part, avoid contact with outsiders. Wild elves make up most of the members of this group; they are Chaotic Neutral.
  • Those who think civilized races and nature can coexist peacefully. They are the most tolerant of the orders, though they are still opposed to those who would despoil nature. They are also the most opposed to aberrations of nature, like undead, and seek to destroy them whenever possible, along with those who create them. They are Neutral Good.
  • Those who worship the destructive power of Nature – naural disasters, storms, etc. They, like the Chaotic Neutral sect, believe that mortals should bow before the power of nature, but they are more prone to "helping" nature along instead of taking a passive stance toward civilization. They are the most violent of the groups; they think nothing of calling up wind to blow a naturally-occuring forest fire toward a settlement, or using an earthquake to topple a castle. To a member of this group, poison, attacking from ambush, disease, fires, even the occasional use of undead are all considered acceptable. This is also the smallest group of the five. While many from other orders see their place in keeping the balance (Nature has its destructive side, after all), others oppose their methods and sometimes wonder why the Earth Mother chooses them. Members of this group often work alone and associate rarely, if at all, with other Wardens. They are Neutral Evil.

Gaia's Wardens are chosen by the Earth Mother herself. They often receive visions in water or dreams or see signs and omens as they approach the time when they can become Wardens. When the time comes, they are contacted by a Warden of the order, who also has been sent visions of the person. He brings the prospective Warden to the next convocation (the convocations are held on each solstice), where the initiate must undergo special rituals investing her with the power of the Earth Mother. She is then accounted a full Gaia's Warden and is charged with going out into the world and protecting the wilderness.

Only those who have been both druids and rangers can become Gaia's Wardens. Gaia requires that all of those who serve her must be indoctrinated into the mystical nature of the earth as well as be able to defend it with force of arms when necessary.

Hit Die: d8.

Requirements

To qualify to become a Gaia's Warden (GaW), the character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Alignment: Any neutral

Base Attack Bonus: +5

Skills: Knowledge (nature) 6 ranks, Survival 9 ranks

Favored Enemy (any)

Spellcasting: Ability to cast 2nd level divine spells.

Special: Must have performed some great service for nature – saved a forest from burning, protected an endangered species or unique creature from extinction, etc.

Restrictions: If a Gaia's Warden ever willingly commits an act of destruction against nature, she cannot progress any further as a Warden and loses all benefits gained from this class until such time as she atones for her actions.

Once a character becomes a Gaia's Warden, she cannot gain levels in another class except for druid or ranger until she reaches 10th level as a Warden. The path of the Warden requires the utmost dedication and loyalty, and anyone who gains levels in another class besides druid or ranger before reaching 10th level can never again gain levels in Gaia's Warden.

Class Skills

The Gaia's Warden's class skills are Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Jump (Str), Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography, nature) (Int), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str).

Skill Points Per Level: 6 + Int modifier



Table 1: The Gaia's Warden
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Spells Per Day
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Detect unnatural
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 One with nature +1 level of existing class
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Friend of Gaia
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 Favored foe +1 level of existing class
5th +3 +4 +2 +4 Tree stride
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Nature's tongue +1 level of existing class
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 Strength of the earth
8th +6 +6 +3 +6 Transport via plants +1 level of existing class
9th +6 +6 +3 +6 Charm nature
10th +7 +7 +4 +7 Wilderness guardian +1 level of existing class


Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Gaia's Warden.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Gaia's Wardens gain no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

Detect Unnatural (Su): At will, as a spell-like ability, a Gaia's Warden can detect the presence of unnatural beings – aberrations, constructs, or undead. The ability is otherwise identical to the detect undead spell.

Spells Per Day: At the indicated levels, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in a spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of controlling or rebuking undead, metamagic feats, etc.), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming a Gaia's Warden, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

One With Nature (Ex): In a wilderness setting, a Gaia's Warden gains a +5 bonus to Stealth and Survival checks. This bonus increases to +10 if she is in her bonded area (see below), and she can never be surprised.

Friend of Gaia (Su): A Gaia's Warden has an aura about her that identifies her to creatures of the wild. She will never be attacked by animals, magical beasts, or plants with Intelligence scores of 3 or less unless she attacks first, they are being controlled by an outside source, or they are rabid.

Favored Foe (Ex): A Gaia's Warden can declare an individual or a specific group as favored foes. Doing so grants her bonuses against them - she effectively treats them as favored enemies and she adds half her class level as a bonus to the DC for saves against her spells and abilities. In order to become a favored foe, a person or creature must have caused widespread destruction of flora and/or fauna (destroying a large part of a forest, killing many animals for no reason, rerouting a river to wash away the landscape, etc.), or must be unnatural. The Gaia's Warden undergoes a short (1 minute) ritual to commune with the Earth Mother and declare that person or group enemies of nature; if the Earth Mother approves (DM's discretion), the Warden gains her bonuses and can hunt them down. Unnatural beings can be declared foes at any time and do not need the Earth Mother's approval (though the Warden must still undergo the ritual to focus herself.

A Warden can have only one favored foe at any given time; the bonuses remain until the foe(s) is/are destroyed, they have made suitable atonement for their actions, or the Warden decides to let them go.

Tree Stride (Sp): A Gaia's Warden can cast the tree stride spell three times per day as a standard action. Her caster level is equal to her class level plus her druid and ranger levels.

Nature's Tongue (Su): A Gaia's Warden can speak with any naturally-occurring plant or animal, as well as elementals, at will.

Strength of the Earth (Su): Once per day, a Gaia's Warden can call upon the Earth Mother to grant her strength. This is a full-round action, during which the Warden is deep in a trance (considered helpless) as she attempts to channel the power of the earth through her body. The next round, she gains an enhancement bonus to Strength equal to her class level. This effects last for 1 round per two levels or until she dismisses it, after which she is fatigued for ten minutes per round she had the Strength boost.

Transport Via Plants (Sp): Three times per day, as a full-round action, a Gaia's Warden can step into one plant and be instantly teleported to another plant of the same type, as the spell transport via plants. All restrictions on that spell apply.

Charm Nature (Sp): Three times per day, a Gaia's Warden can charm a creature of the wild (those of the animal, magic beast, or plant types), as the charm monster or charm plant spells.

Wilderness Guardian (Su): Anytime after reaching 10th level, a Gaia's Warden can undergo the ritual to become a wilderness guardian. A wilderness guardian is someone who has bonded herself to an area of land up to 100 square miles. She gains great power while she is in that area, and is bound by her oaths to protect that land and all that reside there. The ritual itself takes a full day to accomplish, and must be done by a circle of druids (who may or may not be Gaia's Wardens themselves).

Once it is complete, nothing short of the Warden's death or divine intervention can reverse it, though Gaia has released a few Wardens from their oaths over the years due to extenuating circumstances (land destroyed by natural disasters or magic, e.g.).

A Warden gains the following abilities while in the area of land to which she has bonded:

Ageless (Ex): The Gaia's Warden ceases to age. She is still affected by magical aging, but otherwise she remains at the same age she was when she underwent the bonding ritual. A Warden who is stripped of her powers reverts to her actual age (which can result in instant death); one who is released from her vows begins aging normally.

Bound to the Land (Ex): A Warden can freely leave her land, but she feels like a part of her is missing - she suffers a -1 penalty to all rolls while she is away. This penalty immediately goes away when she returns to her land.

Commune with Nature (Sp): 1/day as a full-round action.

Lay of the Land (Ex): The Warden's senses are so finely tuned that, while in a wilderness setting, she can take a standard action at will to detect the presence of any predatory creatures or humanoids within 50 feet plus 10 feet per character level, as well as their direction. She can make a Survival check (DC 25) after two rounds to deduce the creatures' numbers and predict their heading.

Wilderness Sense (Ex): Can never become lost, and can instantly point to true north (no check necessary). Wardens of underground or aquatic areas also know how far belowground or below the surface they are.

If the character ever willingly forsakes her oaths (allows the land or its inhabitants to be despoiled, violates the druidic code, etc.), she is stripped of her bond and immediately and forever loses all of her class abilities. If the actions occurred unwillingly, the Warden can regain her class abilities and her bond once she performs suitable atonement. A Warden can freely choose not to become a wilderness guardian - the Earth Mother believes that every creature serves nature in its own way; indeed, many never choose to tie themselves down, preferring to wander the land and help where they can.

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