Freewardens (Halfling Protector)

Steel Realms

The Freewardens of the Halfing Free States were formed out of a need to produce unmatched scouts and watchers to defend the free lands of the halflings. It is a ‘recognized evil’ that such is required for the happy, casual, and fun perspective of their communities to flourish. Much responsibility is heaped upon them – they are constantly on the move, searching out incursions from outside forces, and unnatural things which will divide them internally. They love the freedoms of the outdoors, though will balk at nothing in service to their mission. Each endures a naked trial of endurance where weather, predators, terrain, and other conditions that hardens them, and teaches them never to stay in one place and get overwhelmed. They report to no one in particular (though work close with local druids) and have no strict [order] hierarchy. New wardens are apprenticed to the older ones, and generally each warden serves 20 years and retires in any halfling community they want, protected by the community they settle in (‘once a warden, always a warden’ in times of threat). All of them seek out a druid to tattoo the backs of their hands, one says “free”, the other “warden”. There is no correct or incorrect way of placing it on either hand – it is the whim of the warden.

Word of Laughing: Every Freewarden chooses a nonsense “word” (or just a string of sounds and/or syllables) that make them chuckle every time they hear it and identify themselves. It is their signature in all that they do. It is inscribed on their gear as best as they know how (even if illiterate, they learn the signs for it). It is often the name they go by when going from one halfling steading to another. It is said that two wardens greeting each other can make each other fall to the ground laughing. “If only our enemies knew how funny it is, we could use words alone to defeat them!”

Repressed Nature/Customs: In the outdoors, they wear camouflage colors, but you can see a bright yellow, red or blue splash seeping through in a few places. They suppress their natural tendencies of the more easygoing nature of Flight of Fancy in in service to their greater responsibility. In cities, they are truly humorously horrible. Their repressed Flight of Fancy goes off the rails. Garish colors, sparkling cheap jewelry, buckles and buttons, etc.

Soilbound: The Halflings still have a latent bond to the land, albeit weaker than their Skraeling kin. Those dedicated to protecting and maintaining constant vigilance against evil may pledge themselves to the powers of the earth. This is why many halflings, and especially the wardens go without footwear. Their feet are calloused, strong, and bear temperature extremes without damage. As long as their feet can touch the soil each healing rest, they gain a bonus. And through their Essence sacrifice, they are gifted with additional powers depending on where their bond was formed. All Soilbound wardens have a mixed scent of grain, verdant leaf and soil.

Other Races: Other races besides halflings can become Freewardens, though it is rare. Many are raised or adopted by the halfling communities where all are welcome. However, every warden must apprentice at least one true halfling during their tenure. Only halflings can use Soilbound powers.

Moonlit Bonds: Freewardens can use Moonlit Weapons without repercussions though cannot make them. They are often gifted them, though they never ask. When they initially bond to the weapon, they may sacrifice an amount of Essence equal to their Proficiency Bonus to give the item an equal amount of additional Resilience. This resilience ‘heals’ if the item rests with the character over time.

D20 Freewardens

PRE-REQ > The Freewarden is both a custom Background and Class selection for a starting character.
Requirements: Fighter [as Primary class w/ Kinetic Aptitude 1]
Fighter [Class] Mods: The character must be a Fighter by class, and has a few modification imposed on the normal fighter capabilities.

  1. Shield and Light Armor proficiency no Medium or Heavy.
  2. Style Bonus: Automatically have both styles of Archery and Defense.

Proficiencies: Stealth [skill], Perception [skill], Fletching [toolkit]

In Tune with the Land: Knows the Druidcraft cantrip (Wisdom used for spell casting). The wardens are expert in small insights into weather, and drawing out natural processes to aid in growing, concealment, and to mask their tracks.

Scoot and Shoot: Using either a sling, bow, or thrown (javelin or atlatl usually) they can make an DC 10 Acrobatics or Athletics check after they make a ranged attack and use their Reaction to gain half their normal movement which MUST be used to maneuver to shoot an enemy as a follow up. This cannot be used if the warden was knocked prone in the same round. None of this movement will provoke an attack of opportunity. If the Freewarden is using a Moonlit Weapon when they do this, they can get another ranged attack at the end of the movement.

Soil Bond of Loamwold

  • Cost = 2 Essence (permanent sacrifice upon becoming a full Freewarden)
  • Natural Smell: All Soil Bound characters have any Advantage on tracking them by smell countered.
  • Skilled Rangemanship: If the Athletics or Acrobatics skill is selected at their first Fighter level, they gain proficiency in both. They have familiarity with all manner of firing on the run – when climbing, hanging, jumping, tumbling, using their feet, teeth, etc to propel their projectile if they must/can.
  • Berry Bud: Juniper is the sacred tree to the free folk of Loamwold. It is the habit of the wardens to make all their arrow tips look like a Juniper cone as much as possible. Its bark and wood are used in several craftings. The bark is stripped in thin lines (call lashes), and wrapped around their chosen projectile (called Berry Buds) while a [whistled and hummed] ritual blessing is repeated in the light of the sunrise each day for a week. All berry buds are coated and waxed with the distilled oil of leaves and berries of the Bayberry/Wax Myrtle. The dried leaves are usually used by the wardens as an herb for cooking, or wrapped in a wad and chewed. Harvesting the ingredients is easy, though if the Fletcher must buy them, it will cost up to 20 silver crowns for fresh ones depending on how far from such plants they are. A number of projectiles can be crafted this way equal to the characters Proficiency bonus, plus their Charisma bonus, lasting 2 weeks before the oils and wax degrade and their magical empowerment fades. When the character lets loose their projectile, they choose how it behaves and whisper their Word of Laughing. These projectiles are considered magical. If the character chews the leaf wad from the same plant as the wax was made from while they speak their Word of Laughing, any of the arrows shot outdoors gain an additional +1 Attack/Damage bonus.

    Forms: Options: Juniper Cones for sling (d3), “toothpick thrower” – a compact atlatl the Freewardens make from the Juniper tree (min Dex 12; 40′; d6 – tiny fulcrum, heavy dart)

    Berry Bud Behaviors: (The projectile twists and unwinds its bark lash as it speeds to its target.)

    • Trippy; A single target has the bark lash inhibit movement for the remainder of the round it struck its target and the next. Any movement requires a DC 10 Strength check by the target or they fall prone.
    • Windy; The bark lash reaches out and attempts to attach as an anchor point, reducing full cover to partial, and partial to none.
    • Ziply; All combatants within 10’ of the target unused to the distracting, odd zipping sound and flailing bark string must make an DC 10 Intelligence check or lose their next Reaction.

The resilience created through Moonlit Bonds heals at the rate of 1/Long Rest.

Soil Bond of Elik-Sa

Incarna Core Freewardens

Other Materials

Realm's Aptitude Powers: Divine, Occult, and Psychic