Gwynd Ecthelion, Druid of the Sheltered Grove and Eye of the Conclave
"There are laws that even the Knights are not exempt from following."
Protectors of the ancient forests, worshippers of nature, and keepers of primeval law, the priests known as the Druids are feared and respected in equal measure, and almost always misunderstood for their beliefs. In a world where priests of the pantheon spread their dogma, wizards quest for lost lore and power, and crusading paladins smite the wicked in the name of their creeds, this is a strange occurence indeed, but due to their reclusive and insular nature the druids are somewhat less exposed to the more civilized of the population, who rarely if ever venture into the forests where they make their homes. And so the veneer of mystery brought upon by misinformation remains, enhanced more by the fact that the druids themselves don't seem to do anything to dispel the perception laid upon them.
And so not surprisingly, a druid appearing at the gate of a community is a rare sight indeed. It either means that, for some unknown reason the local druidic circle wishes to trade, or that the community has somehow overstepped their bounds in some way, and transgressed some unknown natural law. In the Heartlands, where the mighty forests of old still stand, the former is more likely to be the case, but in the burgeoning and resource-hungry city-states of the North the latter is often the norm. And woe is the leader who does not heed the warnings of the druids, for their wrath, like that of Nature, is great indeed.
However not all druid appearances herald doom, as they are also wardens and protectors, and sometimes they are observers as well.
Gwynd Ecthelion, a druid whose roots lie in forest community of Greenbough, is one of the latter, though he is frankly puzzled why he was chosen to be one of the eyes and ears of the Sheltered Conclave in the civilized world. While not exactly a prodigious initiate, Gwynd was a fervent protector of the forests around his home, and for nearly 20 winters has helped defend it successfully from the depredations of man and monster alike. His circle has personally thwarted more than a dozen logging expeditions, hunters after game other than animals in mind, destroyed three packs of Valthis-worshipping lycanthropes, slain a mature adult green dragon and its giant lackeys, and indirectly aided in the defeat of a rampaging horde of orcs and goblins, as well as the clearing of a long-forgotten crypt inhabited by an ancient lich.
Which such a militant reputation, Gwynd fully expected to be given responsibilities in line with his previous experiences (that is, as circle guardian). It was no wonder then that he and his circle's surprise was complete when, during the annual gathering of druids from across the continent called the Forestmoot, he was named as the Conclave's "representative" to the Knights of Falcon's Point, a post that entailed a stay of ten winters, at the very least. It was going to be his duty in that period to report the doings of the Knights to the council, and to subtly influence if possible the actions of the organization so as to coincide with the wishes of the Conclave.
And so, despite his misgivings about the whole thing, Gwynd left the more familiar (to him anyway) environs of the forests for the altogether scary confines of the city of Pont Du Falx.
The druid has remained in his post for close to eight winters now, and while it has not been an altogether happy experience for the druid, it has been an eye-opening one. In the time since his arrival in the city, he has seen that civilization isn't all that bad, but there are times where he longs for his old forest home; the rules of Nature were vastly more simpler than the laws that govern the political landscape of the city, after all. He patiently waits for the time the Conclave sends for his replacement, so he can return to Greensbough and resume his old duties there. Until that time comes, he dutifully plays the role of neutral observer in the Knights, all the while secretly funneling information back to the leaders of the Conclave.
Gwynd is of average height, possessing a tightly-muscled frame, skin the color of mahogany, and sharp eyes. While at this post among the Knights of Falcon's point he wears traveler's leathers dyed in earth tones, though in the rare occassion that he has to accompany a group of knights on a mission he wears his suit of dragonhide, one of the most treasured possessions of his druidic circle. While he has a brown bear for an animal companion, Gwynd doesn't keep it with him, and is content to let it roam the forest several leagues north of Pont Du Falx, calling for it only when the situation demands it.
Gwynd Ecthelion, male Druid 12: CR 12; Medium-sized humanoid (Human); HD 12d8+24; hp 102; wp 14; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.; AC 24 (touch 13, flat-footed 22); Base Attack +9; Grapple +11; Attack +14 melee (1d6+5/18-20/x2, +3 sure striking scimitar), or +12 melee (1d6+3/x2, +1 oaken cudgel), or +12 ranged (1d4+1/x2, +1 distance sling), or ranged touch (by spell); Full Attack +14/+9 melee (1d6+5/18-20/x2, +3 sure striking scimitar), or +12/+7 melee (1d6+3/x2, +1 oaken cudgel), or +12 ranged (1d4+1/x2, +1 distance sling), or ranged touch (by spell); SA Divine spell use; SQ Animal companion, nature sense, resist nature's lure, trackless step, venom immunity, wild empathy, wild shape 4/day (large, medium, plant, small, tiny), woodland stride; Alignment Neutral; Saves Fort +11, Ref +7, Will +13; Str 14, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 18, Cha 13. Height 5 ft. 5 in.
Skills and Feats (with Synergy bonus included): Concentration +12, Craft (Alchemy) +7, Diplomacy +7, Handle Animal +9, Heal +14, Knowledge (Nature) +15, Listen +10, Profession (Herbalist) +10, Spellcraft +11, Spot +10, Survival +16 (+18 in aboveground natural environments), Swim +8; Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Endurance, Natural Spell, Self-Sufficient, Spell Penetration.
Languages Spoken: Common, Druidic, Sylvan.
Commonly prepared Druid Spells per Day (6/6/5/5/4/3/2; Save DC = 14 + spell level): 0 - create water, detect magic, detect poison, purify food and drink, mending, read magic; 1st - charm animal, cure light wounds, endure elements, entangle, faerie fire, obscuring mist; 2nd - flame blade, heat metal, lesser restoration, resist energy, tree shape; 3rd - call lightning, cure moderate wounds, daylight, spike growth, water breathing; 4th - cure serious wounds, dispel magic, freedom of movement, rusting grasp; 5th - commune with nature, cure critical wounds, tree stride; 6th - fire seeds, mass cat's grace. Caster level 12th.
Standard Equipment: +3 sure striking scimitar, +1 oaken cudgel, +1 distance sling, +2 wild green dragonhide breastplate, +2 wild heavy wooden shield, boots of striding and springing, periapt of wound closure, ring of defense +1, ring of mind shielding, backpack, bedroll, blanket (winter), flint and steel, holly and mistletoe, potions (barkskin +3, 2 cure serious wounds, remove disease, tongues, water breathing), trail rations (6 days), 3 torches.
Class Abilities and Special Qualities:
Animal Companion (Ex): Gwynd has a male brown bear named Torbrand for an animal companion. Torbrand is treated as a magical beast and is tougher than the typical brown bear, with +4 bonus hit dice, its natural armor increased by 4, and its Strength and Dexterity adjusted by 2. It knows three additional tricks in addition to what it can normally learn based on its Intelligence score, and has the devotion, evasion, link, and share spells special abilities. While it is well within his power to awaken Torbrand, Gwynd is holding back until the time the council chooses another to take his place in the Knights of Falcon's Point.
Divine Spell Use: Gwynd can cast divine spells, though he draws power from nature itself instead of any deity.
Nature Sense (Ex): Gwynd gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (Nature) and Survival checks.
Resist Nature's Lure (Ex): Gwynd has a +4 bonus on saving throws against the spell-like abilities of fey.
Spontaenous Casting: Gwynd can choose to channel stored spell energy into summoning spells ahead of time, losing a prepared spell in order to cast any summon nature's ally spell of the same level or lower.
Trackless Step (Ex): Gwynd leaves no trail in natural surroundings, and cannot be tracked, though he may choose to leave behind a trail if desired.
Venom Immunity (Ex): Gwynd is immune to all poisons.
Wild Empathy (Ex): Gwynd can use body language, vocalizations, and demeanor to improve the attitude of an animal, functioning like a Diplomacy check. He adds +13 to determine the wild empathy check result. To use wild empathy, Gwynd and the animal must be able to see each other, meaning they must be within at least 30 feet of one another under normal visibility conditions. He can also use this ability to influence a magical beast, but incurs a -4 penalty on his checks when doing so.
Wild Shape (Su): Gwynd can turn himself into a tiny, small, medium, or large creature of the animal type, as per the polymorph spell four times per day, with each change lasting up to twelve hours or until dismissed. Gwynd can only choose animal forms he is familiar with, and even then he loses any ability to speak while in animal form, though he can communicate with animals of the same general grouping as his new form. He can also change into a plant creature, such as a shambling mound, though the forms he can choose are still restricted by familiarity and the size of the animal forms he can duplicate.
Woodland Stride (Ex): Gwynd moves through any undergrowth at normal speed without taking damage or suffering any other impairment, though magically-manipulated undergrowth affect him normally.