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    The Emerald Conclave
    Posted on Wed, January 07, 2004 by Trickster
    skye_feydark writes "Think the Old Faith is all there is to Druids in the Sheldomar Valley? Think again! Come learn the secrets of a lesser known society, the Emerald Enclave of Ulek.

    The Emerald Conclave
    By: skye_feydark
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    The Emerald Conclave is a druid circle that lies primarily in the domains of the Principality of Ulek. It traces its roots to the Old Faith (druidism) hegemony, but has since grown into its own titular organization. They favor the fertility, nurturing, and life-giving aspects of nature, rather than its raw elemental traits, which can sometimes be terrifying and violent. The Conclave supports and assists the common populous that till the land, raise animals, and lead a rural working life.

    Organization
    The druids work closely with the many villages that dot the western plains of the Principality of Ulek. They attend to crops, restore barren land, plant seeds, bless weddings, and sometimes act as midwifes. Some druids live permanently among the communities, becoming herbalists, healers, and respected advisers. Others wander from village to village, carrying news and protecting travelers. They are well liked by the mostly human, gnomish, and halfling inhabitants of this region.

    The Emerald Conclave has very little hierarchy, and the members are loosely recognized by their own capabilities. They still use many of the same titles from the Old Faith hegemony. Druids who are still new to the mysteries and power of nature call themselves Ovates. After they have proven themselves, members become Initiates; and they are expected to actively protect the surroundings lands. In time, members turn introspective and again seek further knowledge. Only these individuals feel comfortable calling themselves Druids.

    Members of the Conclave usually meet on an ad-hoc basis, swapping stories, recent happenings, or sharing their knowledge. They are generally good-hearted and very welcoming, though they are intolerant of druids who follow the Old Faith or who worship Obad-Hai, due to strong philosophical differences.

    They formally congregate four times a year. The lesser moon Celene comes into full brilliance only once each season, and it is at these events that the seasonal festivities are celebrated: Needfest (winter), Growfest (spring), Richfest (summer), and Brewfest (autumn) [1]. All members of the Conclave are expected to attend these gatherings, which are typically held around tall standing stones or in eldritch groves. Issues that affect the entire region are debated at these meetings, sometimes at great length. Decisions are reached by consensus, with the less experienced members usually deferring to the wisdom of the more senior members. The Conclave is typically slow to act, but they never forget past transgressions.

    Members are typically human or gnomish, though there are some halfling and half-elven druids as well, with the occasional dwarf or half-orc. The worship of Ehlonna is common, though many druids also worship Phyton, Baervan Wildwanderer (gnome deity), Segojan Earthcaller (gnome), Sheela Peryroyl (halfling), or venerate nature as an abstract force. [2]

    History
    Druidism predates the Oeridian and Suloise migrations into the Sheldomar valley, and was originally practiced by the native Flan tribes. Monolithic circles and groves that were sacred to the Flan can still be found, dotting the landscape. The migrating Oeridians adopted the Old Faith into their own customs, and have since spread its practice wherever they have traveled.

    The Old Faith has divided the Flanaess into nine regions, each one holding a Druidic Circle. The entire Sheldomar Valley is one of these regions, and is overseen by a Great Druid and a small number of Archdruids. The ruler of the County of Ulek has always been a prominent member of the region?s Druidic Circle, and has traditionally venerated Beory, the Oerth Mother. Additionally the Colleges of Old Lore, a group of noble-born bards and skalds, are strong allies of the Old Faith in the Sheldomar region. [3]

    Disenchanted by the political nature of the region?s Druidic Circle, and having deep philosophical differences with its leadership, a group of druids left the County of Ulek and settled south, in the region that is now the Principality of Ulek. Here they found halflings and gnomes who shared their own views. They spread out over the fertile plains west of the Lortmil Hills, and initially did not interact much with the dwarves, who for the most part left them alone. Druids from Keoland also immigrated to the Principality, escaping the superstitious and fearful people of that land.

    In time these druids gradually lost all ties to the Old Faith, and a new conclave of druids slowly emerged. They are careful to avoid what they see as the failings of the Old Faith, and avoid strict hierarchies or official titles. Owing to their own history of being outcasts, they welcome new druids that travel to the Principality of Ulek.

    They have mixed feelings towards the Principality?s rulers. While the Emerald Conclave approves of agriculture and animal husbandry, they have less tolerance towards the logging of the Suss forest, which is used to build the nation?s fleet of ships [4]. The general dwarven attitude of disregard for nature also grates against their own sensibilities. However, with the aftermath of the Hateful wars and the recent occupation by the Pomarj, the Conclave realizes that the dwarves are far better than the alternative. They tentatively work with the Prince and his court, all the while trying to make them more sensitive to their concerns.

    Notable Members
    Ulred Stonesplitter ? Male dwarven Initiate. Somewhat of an oddity among the members of the Emerald Conclave, Ulred is an experienced underground-dweller and tracker. He is well known to many of the miners near Eastpass, and is never far from his animal companion Boryl, a dire badger of sometimes ferious temperament. Ulred watches over the native fauna and flora that live underground, such as the fungus spreads and rothe herds.

    Keegon ? Male halfling Initiate. A reckless youth and a daredevil, Keegon flies over the Lortmil Hills on top of Obryn, a Giant Owl whom he befriended. The two met during one of Keegon?s escapades that had turned sour, and they both helped each other to flee the enraged hill giants. Since then they have learned to work as a team, and have become a deadly pair of adversaries to any foe of nature.

    Cyrlinn Arnwold ? Female human Druid. A contemplative and unassuming woman, Cyrlinn keeps to herself most of the time and has removed herself from worldly matters. She can often be seen communing with nature or scrying into clear ponds. It is unknown what secrets she holds, but the recent lines on her face and the haunted look in her eyes worries her friends. An eagle of legendary reputation among the Conclave looks over her, though Cyrlinn appears unaware.

    References
    [1] LGG, page 2
    [2] PHB, page 33
    [3] LGG, pages 161-162
    [4] LGG, pages 119-122

    "
     
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    Interesting (Score: 1)
    by Coldpenguin625 on Wed, January 07, 2004
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    Very good, I'll be using this in my campaign soon enough!



    Re: The Emerald Conclave (Score: 1)
    by Robbastard on Thu, January 08, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal) http://www.bastardgreyhawk.isonfire.com
    Nice article--your take on the Old faith seems to be similar to mine (http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=159&mode=nested&order=0&thold=0).

    The Emerald Conclave can serve as a good example of how a religion can branch off into various denominations. What exactly do the EC view as the "failings" of the OF, other than the savagry of nature?

    I also like how you referenced the "canonical" sources. I think this should become a standard practice for all articles submitted to Canonfire!, or a least a bibliography. This would not only let the reader know which sources the article was based on (& thus serve as a "measuring stick" of how useful it could be to his campaign), but would also give props to those who came before.



    Re: The Emerald Conclave (Score: 1)
    by skye_feydark (fake_email@nowhere.com) on Fri, January 09, 2004
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    Thanks for the kind words.

    The Emerald Conclave came about because I realized that for various reasons (Alignment, Politics, etc) the Old Faith and the Principality of Ulek (PoU) didn't mesh very well.

    I was looking at the major religions worshipped in the PoU (as listed in the LGG), and noted that Ehlonna and Phyton were present. This seemed odd, since Ehlonna is typically venerated as the goddess of woodlands, and the PoU has precious few trees. Looking at her portfolio, I noticed that she is also the goddess of Fertility, so I guessed that this was the aspect that was worshipped. This seemed to be confirmed by the worship of Phyton, who is a Chaotic Good deity of nature and farming. I also noticed that "foodstuffs" was one of the exports of the PoU, which presumably meant agriculture and meat.

    With this in mind, I did some research, especially on the "Old Faith" and "Colleges of Old Lore" sections of the LGG. I also found lots of good stuff in the "County of Ulek" description from the LGG. This led me to realize that the Sheldomar valley Druidic Circle is fairly political, and that the Old Faith are very Neutral. Given that the PoU worships Ehlonna and Phyton and is primarily Good in alignment, this seemed like a minor conflict.

    Therefore it seemed unlikely that the Old Faith would be active in the PoU, and yet with a strong focus on Nature related deities, I postulated some type of druidic organization likely existed in the PoU region. Everything else just sort of fell into place.


    ]


    Re: The Emerald Conclave (Score: 1)
    by JurinRunestream on Fri, January 09, 2004
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    I probably would have rated this higher if I wasn't reminded of a group of Druids in the Forgotten Realms called the "Emerald Enclave"



    Re: The Emerald Conclave (Score: 1)
    by skye_feydark (fake_email@nowhere.com) on Fri, January 09, 2004
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    Ack... I didn't know about that.

    Note that the blurb should read "Emerald Conclave". I'm not sure why it mentions "Emerald Enclave". Perhaps I can ask that this be fixed? At least the title is correct :-)


    ]



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