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Also called white magic or green magic, those who practice as Life Wardens spend a great deal of time studying anatomy and biology to understand the processes of life. Combining this knowledge with magic enables them to manipulate these processes to heal, enhance, and perceive the living world in ways that few others can manage. One of the more scholarly of magical paths, Life Warden magic adds a degree of flexibility to the standard fantasy caster, but as with all things, it comes with a cost.

There is no dabbling in this type of magic, and it is not something that any caster can just pick up in order to be able to throw out an occasional healing spell. Life Warden magic requires the caster to learn about the organic to master the magic. The commitment required to gain access to this school of spells may not appeal to everyone, but for those who choose this path, spell selection can get interesting. This section includes the mechanics and effects of wielding life magic as well as the available spellbook.

It should be noted that a series of Scholarly background skills are required for both acquiring new spells and the basic ability to read from the spellbook. These include, but are not limited to, Archivist, (S) Bookbinding, (S) Scribing, Language – Magic, and (S) Literacy – Magic. Of course, some of this depends on the nature of the spellbook, Profession skills such as Artistry and (S) Tattooing, or Crafting skills such as Tailoring and (S) Weaving could be substituted.

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Learned Folks

Life Wardens are an educated group who combine their skills in the realm of magic with an intense study of the mechanics of life. The primary lure of this path is taking the power that spell casting offers and using it to provide advanced healing capabilities. With this in mind, in order to gain access to these spells, the caster is required to have the following skills:

• Alchemy
• (S) Apothecary
• Biology
• (S) Humanoid Anatomy
• First Aide
• Herbalism

For those who are considering following the path of the Life Warden, it is important to note that this is far easier done during character generation than trying to pick it up later. The skill requirement can take awhile to achieve while adventuring, and will slow the advancement potential. This can best be defined as having a scholarly background, and playing a learned character can be rough as rewards are typically geared more for combat ability and prowess.

Foundation

When it comes to defining the Magic Foundation for the Life Warden, Land might seem the obvious choice. After all, there is a strong nature theme that runs through nearly every aspect of the order. However, any of the Foundations will work perfectly well and can help to define the caster in a variety of ways.

With a Mystic Foundation, for example, Life Wardens can be more fey-like, their magic taking on a more glittery quality. As for some of the other Elemental Foundations, in the natural world, fire is often a tool of rebirth, water is a key component in growth, and wind carries seeds, playing a role in plant reproduction. Players should be able to find ways to incorporate any of the Foundations into spell effects and a general casting theme.

Philosophy

Just because the focus of their magic revolves around healing, assuming that Life Wardens are passive or opposed to violence is a narrow view that is not often made more than once. While their orders are devoted to the study of life, they still possess a potent power, and the knowledge to know exactly how it affects those who oppose them. A passion for knowledge doesn’t typically include a thirst for war or peace, until someone crosses them.

That being said, most orders of Life Wardens tend to be secluded and tranquil. They do not generally collect wealth or property, valuing knowledge over such resources, and so most who crave such simply leave them be. Sharing knowledge is so natural to them that it bleeds over into other parts of society, which often leads to communal behavior wherein everything from labor to food is shared equally.

Material Components

Manipulating this type of white magic requires a connection to the natural world, as such, it has more of an agrestal material component requirement to spell casting. These components replace the focus object requirement common to other magic disciplines. Though it should be noted that those who choose to pick up other spellbooks, must still abide by those requirements.

Because all Life Warden spells require material components to focus the magical energy and provide its effect, players must manage their spell components. This can usually be done off-panel as to not take time away from the game but is something players should note with the GM to eliminate confusion. As the used portion of the component is primarily herb related, character can typically collect them while adventuring (Herbalism skill), grow them in a home area (Gardening skill), or purchase them from vendors.

Each spell domain has a specific herbal requirement as detailed below:

Change: aloe, cinnamon, fennel, lavender, lemon, or pine
• Control: anise chamomile, ginkgo, mint, nettle, or willow
• Create: angelica, caraway, or clove
• Damage: ginger, rosemary, or thyme
• Divination: dandelion, marigold, or yarrow
• Summon: myrrh, poppy, raspberry, or sage

As noted above, the herbs are used up in casting, so it is essential for the character to manage their supply.

Spherules

These are a physical manifestation of the life magic that issues from the caster. Primarily aesthetic, they have no true substance and move according to the nature of the spell. Although the spherules move to the target, it is no more possible to dodge, wave-away, or otherwise escape them than the energies of other casters.

In terms of spell casting, the spherules represent the life energy that the caster uses to deliver the magic and most often takes a form with which they identify. This may be a flower petal, firefly, a pappus or samara seed, a glowing mote similar to fairy dust, or other such subject, so long as it’s based in nature. The choice of spherule has a purely aesthetic value that allows the character to create a signature style with all castings. Like the herbs, these are used up in casting, requiring the character to manage their supply.

The Charms

When assembled, these material components are called Weaver Charms. They are tiny leather pouches filled with a specific combination of herbs (based on spell effect), the caster’s choice of spherule, and a strand of silver that is wrapped around the open end of the sack to seal it. A single charm takes up .2 of a utility position, allowing the caster to carry up to five of them in a single UP slot. Only the herbs and spherule are consumed in the casting, the silver strand and leather pouch may be reused.

Part of the game play and balance for this type of magic is managing the inventory. It should be a compulsory part of the character’s personality that comes out often in roleplay scenarios, and is recommended for players who enjoy this type of detailed tracking.

Ritualistic

When Life Wardens are not brooding over anatomy tomes, studying life functions, or practicing their craft, they spend their time perfecting their Weaver Charms. While not precisely a ritual, the meticulous manner to which they tend their herb gardens, prepare and cut the herbs, and then pack the leather pouches carries a ceremonial air at the very least. As these charms represent the focus of their magic, it’s not surprising that Life Wardens take a meticulous approach in their assembly.  

Gardening (part of the Herbalism skill) is one of the first things an apprenticed Life Warden learns. Understanding the relationship between soil, sun, and rain is a start, but knowing that if not contained mints will overtake a garden, and covering a bed of fine seeds with wet burlap will keep the soil moist during germination, is the beginnings of knowledge. Although it’s not really feasible for an adventuring Life Warden to maintain a herb garden, there’s always one wherever they call home, it is a place to relax and focus on the simple wonders of life.

Cutting herbs is done with a very sharp knife, called an Iyero. The blade is made of obsidian, with a wood or bone (antler) handle, that is sharpened to a very fine edge. It is one of a few personal items treasured by the Life Wardens, and it’s not ever used for cutting anything other than herbs.

Guiding the Magic

Most Life Warden spells include a base description of the spherule movements and effects, but these are more suggestion than rule. Since there’s plenty of freedom in defining the base characteristics of the spherules, it makes sense that the same flexibility be afforded to the spell effects. Should a character choose for his spherule to be serpentine in nature, for example, it may simulate a bite to draw out fatigue, wrap around the neck to revive a fallen friend, etc.

This extends outside of Life Warden spells. When these casters pick up other spellbooks, the Weaver Charms remain as their focus, merely adding the focus object instead of spherule to the pouch. Of course, these are not consumed in the spell casting and work like a focus object, making this more an aspect of consistency within the order and a guide for the general aesthetic value of the spells. Because Life Wardens are rarely flashy, the spell effects tend to mimic their spherules, focusing how the magic affects a target or area, i.e., when the Curse spell is cast, spherules could land on the hands and cause the bones to deform; Combat Cloud could be made up of hundreds or thousands of spherules; etc.

The actions of the spherules should be reflective of the spell’s nature, while the player looks for ways to incorporate the natural world into the spell effects. As the effects of magic are always temporary, it is certainly feasible to use surroundings in the spell effects, i.e., Mage Walk by jumping into a pond in one location, and emerging from one in another; using a tree branch as a Mage Hand; etc. So long as the effect is visual and plays along with the overall theme of the spell, there’s no reason not to have fun with it.

The Magic of Life

Magic is identified with life, from the birth of a child to the perfectly lined redwoods on the breathtaking mountainside. Life Wardens don’t tap into this as much as they shape the magic that exists with their understanding of life. In this way, they connect the natural world and the mysterious realm of magic, truly tying the five elements (Air, Fire, Land, Water, and Magic) together.

Their philosophies and the manner in which they tie magic to the natural world leaves them rather more defensive in their capabilities. As combat will likely be a primary theme in many roleplaying adventures, the choice of skill specialties and spells will play a significant role in how these casters are played.

For the most part, the Magic Specialties are the least conducive to an overall balance with these starting characters, but for those who intend to start as Life Wardens and pick up another spellbook as gameplay proceeds, there is a great deal of long term potential. Going Magus could make for a fun Paladin-like character, while Hedge Wizardry opens up other interesting possibilities, such as stepping outside the box with the Incantory Specialties. Ultimately, though, it is within the Druidic Specialties where Life Wardens are at their most immediately useful. The combination of skills and magic can make for a formidable starting character.

Another consideration for starting Life Wardens is in the spells to select. While there are only twelve (12) in the spellbook, due to their complexity, beginning characters will only be able to pick up a few of them. Because of this, it’s very possible that players will choose to pick spells and magic skills as they advance, instead of adventuring skills. For this reason, it’s a good idea to flesh out the character’s background and settle on a general philosophy before selecting spells, as this can have a dramatic effect on which starting spells to choose.

Public Concerns

The primary reason Life Wardens tend to be solitary has less to do with study than the overwhelming response of the populace to the power of healing. There is no motivation quite as powerful as one’s health and well-being, especially when it comes to injury or sickness. Add to this, an affected loved one, and Life Wardens even in a small village, would be overwhelmed with the barrage of continuous requests.

For this reason, Life Wardens typically avoid using their abilities in public and tend to stay away from places where the sick or wounded are gathered, unless they can find a way to manage it anonymously. This can potentially have morally difficult consequences for a goodly motivated person, but then that’s part of what makes roleplaying enjoyable.

Roleplaying

As has been noted, becoming a Life Warden is a consuming prospect. The starting skill requirements typically lead to a complete lack of adventuring skills and a limit to the number of starting magic skills. It’s a tough way to begin but, as has been mentioned before, being a Life Warden provides a great deal of role flexibility in a group and many roleplaying opportunities. There are numerous ways to roleplay these characters, from a learned explorer seeking knowledge to the crazy old professor looking for something new to study. They may be passive, unwilling to cause physical harm and relying instead on non-damaging spells, or the glass cannons who wreak havoc on enemies, while keeping allies alive and effective.

The character’s background, motivation, and ethos will help define much of this, but there are some traits that all Life Wardens should possess. They’ll typically have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and as there is no greater source of it than people, they tend to be talkative, inquisitive, generous, and friendly, almost to a fault. For them, anyone who monologues is a fountain of information. Old soldiers and bard’s and tend to be their preferred company, buying the ale that gets them talking.

It should be noted that Life Warden spells are not variations on spells available in the other spellbooks. The effects tend to be more defensive or utilitarian in nature, requiring care in the choice of skill specialties as well as the management of spell components. During character generation, players get a number of starting spells equal to the Knowledge score /2, rounded down. New spells may be acquired during gameplay, by spending skill slots to purchase spells at a 2:1 ratio (2 skill slots for 1 spell)

Players may choose only one spellbook during character generation, limited to their Magic Foundation, or one of the two variants. It is from this spellbook that all starting spells will come. Although defined as a book, the collection of spells could be a series of intricate knots, tattoos, cards, etc., and can be based on culture, school, or master, limited by the player’s imagination. The most important thing is that the formulaic processes of the spell exist in some physical form.

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Cantrips

Chill
Dry
Enliven
Firefinger
Freshen
Gather
Hidden
Sense Magic
Slacken
Snarl
Warm

Active

Invigorate
Life Aura
Life Projection
Regenerate
Martyr
Rejuvenate
Soothe

Passive

Anthropomorphism
Detect Life
Guiding Light
Life Shield
Life Trap
Shroud Life
Thorns

Instant

Advocate
Amplify Life
Appraise Life
Release
Revitalize
Satiet
Triage