Wilden

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A female wilden warden and a male wilden shaman.

Wilden, not to be confused with Wildren (an entirely different creature), are a species of fey plant-people native to the Feywild and areas where it touches upon the Prime Material in Dungeons & Dragons. They are a reinvention of an obscure race called the Killoren, who first appeared in Races of the Wild.

Publication History[edit]

The Wilden first appeared in the Player's Handbook 3 for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, one of the last of the official races. They received a "Winning Races" article in Dragon Magazine #388 which provided some extra mechanics, a look into their psychology, and a potential creation myth, as well as some racial feats and a new racial Paragon Path, the Treeborn. A second Dragon article appeared in issue #393, which introduced the Stormchaser Wilden - a subrace born from regions of the Feywild influenced by planar seepage from the Elemental Chaos, mechanically handled as a cluster of racial feats.

Physiology[edit]

Easily mistaken for some kind of beastfolk at first glance, a wilden appears as a feral humanoid with a flared out, horn-like "hairstyle" (think Wolverine), hooded eyes, a prominent nose, sharp and feral facial features, and digitigrade legs ending in bestial, tree-toed paws with prominent talons. A closer look reveals the true plant-based nature of the creature; a wilden's bones are made of hardwood, its skin is bark, and its flesh is springy wood filled with veins carrying a thick sap laced with fey magic. Their "hair" is actually a lattice of branches covered in leaves, and their back and shoulders sprout a cloak-like array of small branches, viny tendrils and leaves.

Due to their fey nature, wilden are able to shift between several distinct forms, or "Aspects" as they call them, each of which affects their appearance. In the Aspect of the Ancients, a a wilden's leaves and eyes turn white. In the Aspect of the Hunter, their body shifts into a forest camouflage pattern of green and brown. In the Aspect of the Destroyer, their eyes turn jet black and their body develops a coat of long, bristling, dagger-sharp jagged thorns, similar to a bladeling. Stormchaser wilden can also take on the Aspect of the Elements, in which harmless elemental energies play around their form - lightning arcing across their skin or between their fingers, ghostly flames or rimefrost temporarily encrusting their leaves or skin, or other, stranger manifestations.

Wilden live up to a century, unless slain by violence. A young wilden's body and leaves are solidly green and vibrant, like a new shoot, whilst a mature wilden's body darkens to a woody brown or tan that offsets its green leaves. Elder wilden are marked by much darker bark, and leaves in the spectacular fiery reds, yellows and oranges of autumn. The eldest of wilden, those approaching the end of their lifespan, grow thin and shed their leaves, visibly entering the winter of their lives.

Wilden take distinctly masculine and feminine forms, but how they reproduce - or even if they reproduce - is a mystery. They first formed spontaneously in the Feywild, reputedly in response to dark magic or the corruptive taint of the Far Realm and its aberrations, and they may continue to spontaneously arise from the wilderness of the Feywild.

Psychology[edit]

As a creature somewhere between a fairy, an elemental and a plant, literally birthed of nature, wilden have a distinctly alien view of the world around themselves. For obvious reasons, they are extremely protective of the natural world, and fiercely oppose beings that would destroy or defile nature. Such is their closeness to nature that wilden have little, if any, sense of individualism; they view themselves as inextricable parts of the greater whole, and so all wilden use plural identifiers ("we" instead of "I").

The wilden's ability to assume different mystical aspects shapes their psychology and their culture. These aspects are believed to be embodiments of different elements of nature, and by extension the role that nature intends for the wilden, which is furthered by the way that each visibly affects their thinking; wilden in the Aspect of the Ancients become notably more thoughtful and cautious than before, and likewise become more aggressive in the Aspect of the Destroyer, and more secretive and withdrawn when in the Aspect of the Hunter. Some wilden favor one aspect above all others, and other wilden fluidly shift between aspects as the situation demands, responding to what they believe is nature's present need for them.

To wilden, the Aspect of the Ancients is the embodiment of nature's wisdom, the secrets that it holds and its implacable memory; wilden who favor this aspect act as stewards of the land, seeking to preserve its knowledge and ward against its defiler.

The Aspect of the Destroyer, meanwhile, is the embodiment of nature's fury; a manifestation of the destructive power of nature, of hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning strikes. Wilden who favor this aspect are nature's implements of vengeance, visiting retribution on those who would defy the wilden's stewardship and punishing those who have harmed nature.

Finally, the Aspect of the Hunter is the embodiment of the predator; the maxim of "nature red in tooth and claw". It is the hunger and the guile of the wild given form, and a distinctly proactive member of the trinity; wilden who favor this aspect are foreward-thinking guardians, seeking out and destroying agents of corruption and destruction.

Despite their protectiveness of nature, wilden are not isolationists or xenophobes; indeed, they rather like other races, being both friendly and curious by nature, and readily absorb cultural ideas and notions from those they interact with... so long as they show the wild a proper amount of respect. A wilden does not begrudge the use of wood in and of itself - that things are born, live and die is the foundation of nature - but rampant pollution, deforestation, and otherwise destroying the natural world for no real benefit? Now that pisses them off.

Communities[edit]

Wilden communities are rare and hard to locate; wilden themselves are a young race who spontaneously arose from the Feywild, emerging from its unspoiled reaches, ancient bogs, primeval forests, or places where nature has been markedly defiled by dark magic, aberrant influences, or simply devastation. Wilden are as likely to live in these unspoiled places as they are to live in places where the Feywild and the Prime Material are naturally connected, and either way, a wilden community is designed to blend into the wilderness, and is as likely to be a set of temporary campsites that the naturally nomadic plant-fey migrate between as it is to be a permanent site. Even permanent settlements are little more than sheltered places for wilden to sleep, take shelter from the elements, spend time together and occasionally store food; most of the communities wilden will often spend much of their time off in the wilderness around the community, as they tend to simply sleep wherever they happen to be.

Many wilden don't form communities, but live solitary lives, occasionally interacting with other races as a result of their own inscrutable whims or in response to semi-prophetic impulses.

Religion[edit]

The wilden are not a particularly religious race; their affinity to nature gives them a sense of certainty and purpose that other races usually fill with religion. But, that does not mean they are against the idea of faith. Typically, wilden turn to the Primal Spirits, the Archfey (especially those of the Green Fey faction), and to gods with a close tie to either nature or the fey; in the Dawn War pantheon, it is Corellon, Melora and Sehanine who count the most wilden amongst their faithful.

Perhaps the closest thing to a "true" racial religion is the story of the Seedling Myth; the creation myth of the wilden. In short, this story tells of a mighty and beautiful tree, touched by the inscrutable magic of nature and the Feywild. Known as Dancer, this tree was a site of holy contemplation for the eladrin and other fey, who would sit and meditate before it, and find wisdom seeping into them as they contemplated the sway of its branches in the midnight winds off the Sea of Serenity. But an evil hag named Starngatha learned of Dancer, and unable to see the spiritual nature of the tree, became convinced that Dancer possessed a more concrete and mystical form of knowledge. Lusting for Dancer's wisdom, Starngatha destroyed Dancer's grove, hewing down all of her neighboring trees and burning them as part of a dark rite, before turning her magic on Dancer. When she could not coerce the tree to reveal any secrets, Starngatha flew into a rage and chopped it down. At that moment, Dancer's three seedlings quickened to life, called in equal parts by Starngatha’s magic, her senseless desecration of the grove, and the outrage and fear of the fleeing fey creatures that rippled away from where Dancer’s lonely stump remained. These three seedlings transformed into the first three wilden, each bearing one of the three aspects, enkindled by the legacy of their birth; one bore a hint of Dancer's guile, the other embodied the grove's wrath over Starngatha's senseless destruction, and the third yearned to hunt down all desecrators. They slew the hag, and went forth into the wilderness, the first of their kind, but by no means the last.

Stormchasers[edit]

Stormchasers are wilden born at "storm-homes"; places in the Feywild that possess a permanent portal linking them to the Elemental Chaos or, more rarely, places in the Prime Material that are linked to Feywild and Elemental Chaos simultaneously. Stormchasers are noted as possessing a certain wildness and passion, similar to yet different from that felt by the Aspect of the Destroyer. Most possess only a minor influence from their elemental heritage, but in the strongest, they can develop an entirely new Aspect, forsaking one part of their natural heritage to more strongly embrace their elemental nature.

The most well-known storm-home in the Nentir Vale setting is the community of Satordi, the Lightning Oak. Home to some 500 wilden, this enclave sits within the nameless and otherwise uncharted woods north of Winterbole Forest, less than a month’s travel from Nentir Vale.

Like most wilden settlements, Satordi is little more than clumped collections of sheltered gathering spots shared by all members of the wildens’ communal society. To outsiders, it presents a most inhospitable appearance. Within the verdant shadows of the impenetrable rainforest, the howling wind seems to taunt all those who make their way along the woods’ ancient trails. Satordi is marked by the presence of a mighty and ancient oak whose blackened branches scrape the sky 500 feet above the ground. The windswept sky beyond the settlement is rarely occluded by more than a wisp of cloud, yet the elemental power that weaves through this area drives pounding rain and hailstorms that come and go in a heartbeat. Lightning leaps constantly from ground to sky and back again. The great tree marks the planar breach that gives this site its power. Portals open and close constantly among the lightning oak’s twisted roots. The energy of the elements is so pervasive here that any power which deals cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage within 1 mile of the site receives a +1 bonus to the attack roll. Any resistance to those damage types is reduced by 2 within the same area.

Visitors are welcome in Satordi. The wilden that dwell here exhibit the friendly curiosity toward other folk that is typical of their race. Those who dwell beneath the lightning oak have a particular interest in adventurers who shape and master elemental power and in characters whose stated purpose and quest pits them against the aberrant corruption of the Far Realm.

PC Stats[edit]

Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, +2 Constitution or +2 Dexterity
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares (30 feet)
Vision: Low-Light
Skill Bonuses: +2 Nature, +2 Stealth
Fey Origin
Hardy Form: Gain a +1 racial bonus to either Fortitude, Reflex or Will.
Nature's Aspect: Whenever you complete a long rest, choose which of the aspects of nature you wish to manifest. This determines your racial encounter power.
  • Voyage of the Ancients: When you hit an enemy with an area or close attack, as a free action, you can teleport 3 squares and then choose a single enemy hit by the triggering attack; you and one ally you can see gain combat advantage against that enemy until the end of your next turn.
  • Wrath of the Destroyer: When a bloodied enemy attacks you or an ally adjacent to you, you can either make a melee basic attack or charge it as an immediate reaction; if this hits, the enemy is also dazed until the end of your next turn.
  • Pursuit of the Hunter: When an enemy within 2 squares of you moves on its turn, as an immediate reaction you can shift 3 squares. Until the end of your next turn, you deal +1d6 bonus damage against the triggering enemy when you hit it and ignore the -2 penalty to attack rolls for attacking it when it has cover or concealment.

For a Stormchaser Wilden, take the standard Wilden and choose any or all of the following feats:

Aspect of the Elements

Prerequisite: Wilden, 11th level, Nature's Aspect racial trait
Benefit: Replace one of your Nature's Aspect options with the Aspect of the Elements. When in this aspect, you have access to the following racial encounter power:
  • Fury of the Elements: When you are hit by an enemy attack that deals cold, fire, lightning or thunder damage, you can halve the damage as an immediate interrupt. Until the end of your next turn, your next attack deals 1d6 extra damage of the type or types dealt by the triggering attack.

Elemental Shield

Prerequisite: Wilden, Nature’s Aspect racial trait
Benefit: Whenever you choose an aspect of nature to manifest, choose a damage type: cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. You gain resist 5 to that damage type for the next attack that hits you and deals that damage type. The resistance increases to 10 at 11th level and 15 at 21st level.

Path of Ice

Prerequisite: Wilden, Nature’s Aspect racial trait
Benefit: When you use a wilden racial power, the first time you are subjected to forced movement before the start of your next turn, you can ignore the forced movement and shift 1 square as a free action instead. One creature adjacent to you before or after the shift takes cold damage equal to your Wisdom modifier. The cold damage equals 3 + your Wisdom modifier at 11th level, and 6 + your Wisdom modifier at 21st level.
If you are in the aspect of the elements, you shift 2 squares.

Pulse of Lightning

Prerequisite: Wilden, Nature’s Aspect racial trait
Benefit: When you use a wilden racial power, until the start of your next turn, the first enemy that targets you with a close or area attack takes lightning damage equal to your Wisdom modifier. The lightning damage equals 3 + your Wisdom modifier at 11th level, and it equals 6 + your Wisdom modifier at 21st level.
If you are in the aspect of the elements, one other enemy you can see also takes lightning damage equal to half that taken by the first enemy.

Surge of Thunder

Prerequisite: Wilden, Nature’s Aspect racial trait
Benefit: When you use a wilden racial power, until the start of your next turn, your opportunity attacks deal 2 extra thunder damage and push the target 1 square. At 11th level, the extra thunder damage increases to 4 and you push the target 2 squares; at 21st level, the extra thunder damage increases to 6 and you push the target 3 squares.
If you are in the aspect of the elements, a target of your opportunity attack must also save or fall prone.

Touch of Flame

Prerequisite: Wilden, Nature’s Aspect racial trait
Benefit: When you use a wilden racial power, until the start of your next turn, the first enemy that hits you with a melee attack takes fire damage equal to your Wisdom modifier. The fire damage equals 3 + your Wisdom modifier at 11th level, and it equals 6 + your Wisdom modifier at 21st level.
If you are in the aspect of the elements, the enemy is also weakened until the start of its next turn.

Gallery[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races
Player's Handbook 1: Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
Player's Handbook 2: Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter
Player's Handbook 3: Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden
Monster Manual 1: Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
Monster Manual 2: Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku
Dragon Magazine: Gnoll - Shadar-kai
Heroes of Shadow: Revenant - Shade - Vryloka
Heroes of the Feywild Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr
Eberron's Player's Guide: Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged
The Manual of the Planes: Bladeling
Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Mul - Thri-kreen
Forgotten Realms Player's Guide: Drow - Genasi