Roses of Britain
Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom; +2 Constitution or +2 Dexterity
Speed: 6 squares
Languages: English, Elven
Skill Bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Stealth
Fey Origin: See Player’s Handbook 3 pg. 14.
Hard Form: See Player’s Handbook 3 pg. 14.
Nature’s Aspect: See Player’s Handbook 3 pg. 14.
Most of the races that dwell in England can claim histories that stretch back for several hundred or even several thousand years. Not so with the wilden, which first emerged from the Feywild to settle in Earthly lands a scant century ago. A newborn race with a deep connection to the world’s primordial pulses, the wilden maintain that they are the offspring of Faerie itself, spawned in reaction the rising power of the Far Realm on Earth. Other races approach this poetic claim with some measure of skepticism. Most sages theorize that the wilden are the final creation of a powerful and secretive archfey, an entity that has since passed on to a state of being beyond the ken of mortal creatures. Meanwhile, some eladrin scholars have advanced the provocative notion that the entire wilden race is a primal spirit that that had dispersed its essence into countless humanoid forms, the better to oppose the aberrant hordes that threaten the world. For their part, the wilden are not prone to speculate on the matter of their origin, affirming only that they are the Feywild’s children and that their existence is a fact.
Chroniclers record that at the beginning of the fifteenth century, the wilden appeared fully formed in the most savage regions of the Feywild, just as if they had always dwelled there. From the moment that they emerged, the wilden maintained that their race’s purpose was to protect the sanctity of the natural world on Earth, as well as the Plane of Faerie. Some wilden remained behind in the Feywild to strengthen their race’s position on that plane, but many more set forth to settle on Earth. The race exhibited a preference for wilderness locales that were remote and striking in their natural grandeur, such as the densest forests, the most towering mountaintops, and most searing desert wastes. In such places, the wilden swiftly established their strongholds, known as greenhavens, and asserted their authority to defend the natural world from misuse and abuse. They found guarded allies among some races, such as the elves, halflings, and shifters, but most peoples greeted this new race with distrust.
When the wilden appeared around 1400 A.D., England boasted far less pristine wilderness than other corners of Europe. The ancient forests that once covered the Kingdom had been in decline for millennia, and by the dawn of the fifteenth century only a handful of remnants remained, all of them under the resolute defense of eleven arrows. Nonetheless, the wilden settled in England in considerable numbers, drawn by the abudant primal places of power that hummed just beneath the Kingdom’s rural landscape. The early rule of King Henry IV was so plagued with endless rebellions—by loyalists to the deposed Richard II, then the Welsh, and then resentful Northern nobles—that the Crown was largely unaware of the wilden’s appearance in England. Indeed, the race was able to expand its Earthly domains without significant human opposition over the next century, taking advantage of Henry V’s campaigns in France and the bloody disorder of the War of the Roses. Following Henry Tudor’s ascension, however, the wilden at last came to the attention of the Crown, and the King has developed a dim view of the race’s pagan affinities and meddlesome character.
Place in the World
Compared to the other races of England, the wilden present an unusually unified face to the outside world. Members of the race refer to themselves as “we” or “us,” emphasizing that each individual is but one fragment of a community that spans the breadth of the world. Every English wilden shares a common devotion to nature and the Feywild. “Rogue” wilden that actively work towards the destruction of the natural world are unheard of. However, wilden exhibit significant variation in their individual approaches to these shared racial values. Many wilden lead lives that are not all that different from other heroes. They focus their attention on opposing creatures and forces that aggressively despoil the natural world for their own rapacious ends: orcs, ogres, trolls, undead, chromatic dragons, demons, and especially the creatures of the Far Realm. Meanwhile, some wilden take a much more confrontational and uncompromising approach to their race’s obligations. Trappers, miners, and woodcutters who extract natural resources too hastily often find themselves facing the wrath of such militant wilden.
The wilden are not especially beholden to the past, due to their lack of a deep racial history. The race has few common cultural traditions, and most of those have been adopted from other peoples. In a wilden greenhaven, one is likely to encounter bowmaking in the elven tradition, honorifics commonly spoken among shifters, and games borrowed from the gnomes. Wilden almost never engage in violent clashes with members of their own race, even though there are often sharp differences of opinion regarding the natural world and its defense. Instead, conflicts are resolved with ritualized races, hunts, and other competitive challenges. To other races, the wilden often seem strangely moody, prone to swing from guarded to quarrelsome to resolute from one day to the next. This occurs as the wilden’s personality falls under the sway of one of the three aspects of their soul: Keeper, Destroyer, and Hunter. To the wilden, these seemingly volatile shifts are perfectly ordinary, and reflective of the different manifestations that nature assumes.
The population of wilden in England has risen steadily in the past century, as members of the race migrate in growing numbers from their domains in the Feywild. However, given the race’s preference for settling in the most remote areas of the Kingdom, many folk are unaware of just how numerous the wilden are. It is unusual to find a member of another race who has even set eyes upon a greenhaven, as these wilden settlements are unfailingly situated in the most secluded locales and cloaked with primal magic. Wilden are most comfortable deep in the untouched wilderness: shadowy forests, trackless moors, rambling marshes, and stormy islands. Members of the race are rarely encountered in cities or town, and are not a common sight even among the fields and pastures of the rural countryside. In the view of other English races, the wilden are a mysterious people, strange even by the standards of fey creatures. Elves, gnomes, halflings, and shifters tend to have cordial relations with the wilden. However, interactions between wilden and humans can be antagonistic. Many humans do not comprehend the race’s feral ways or their affection for the natural world, with all its hostile creatures and calamities. Morever, the wilden’s dismissal of the Christian God provokes the ire of Crown and Church alike.
Wilden heroes almost always draw upon primal sources of power, and the race excels as druids, seekers, and shamans. Wilden also make powerful avengers, clerics, and invokers, but divine heroes are quite rare among members the race. Some wilden follow the path of the assassin, ranger, rogue, or infernal pact warlock. Wilden do not have much use for deities, generally preferring to offer their prayers to the primal spirits. The few wilden who worship pagan gods usually devote themselves to one of the Mabinogi, often out of deference to elven allies with simlar heathen inclinations. Christian wilden are exceptionally rare.