The Introduction sets out the premise not just of this book but of the intended series of Races of Twilight: a detailed look at an original player-character race that can be incorporated into your campaign world. The underlying idea is that these are races past their prime, in decline; rather than a new and emerging society. In this case The Green, a race of tree people, are in decline due to a falling birth rate (and perhaps erosion of their natural habitat as other races extend the boundaries of 'the known world' into their territories).
Chapter 1 gives an overview of the green: their appearance, general philosophy and attitude - and how to roll up a green character. To start with, the green are sentient plants. They are more mobile than most plants, however, being quadrepedal and about 12 feet tall, although they bear leaves, look woody, and need to root themselves in the ground at frequent intervals to draw sustinance from the earth. They grow from seeds, remaining completely rooted and fixed in position for the first 20-25 years of life. They are nourished by photosynthesis (a sunlight-driven chemical process that occurs in the leaves for non-botanists) and draw most water in from the soil with other nutrients although they can obtain water from rainfall as well. As you can imagine they are best suited to wilderness adventuring. Green are genderless, and find it difficult to understand those races that have male and female, although much of their philosophy is based around duality - that there is light and dark, right and not-right, life and death and, yes, male and female. 'Good' and 'Evil' are difficult abstracts for them, each action is judged on whether or not it is right - a being who kills in self-defence acts rightly, one who kills to steal is not right... and get puzzled by those who'd classify a whole race as 'evil.'
Chapter 2 goes into more detail about green life and society. Basically, they live in 'groves' which - unless a green happens to be wandering around when you visit - look pretty much like any group of trees in a forest. Young saplings are raised in the grove until they are ready to step free of the ground and become adults, at which point those who desire to adventure will set off on their travels for anything from a few years to centuries. At some point, they decide that they have had enough and return to their original grove and become elders. Eventually, an elder takes permanent root. While green can be killed by violence or disease, it is not known if old age will bring about death, and it is rumoured than some very ancient green can remember the days when gods walked the earth (or a suitably long-ago time in your campaign setting).
Chapter 3 looks at green religion and deities. As you can imagine, nature gods are central and the main deity is an 'Earth Mother' one called Sheloss. Sheloss, the green believe, created the first green... and rather upset the other gods, who were her children, as a consequence. The chapter goes on to detail the entire green pantheon. Naturally, the DM can choose to incorporate as much or as little of this as he likes in a setting where the green exist. It does give good flavour to the green... and of course, if the DM prefers, they could be totally wrong and some other deity in his world is the real one! Or maybe they are the ones who are right and all the other races' religions are in error.
Next, Chapter 4 looks at how green characters fit in with the standard core classes. Druids and rangers are their favourites, but they are capable of other roles even if they are unusual and rare, except that green never show any psionic abilities whatsoever. Magic-using green are more commonly sorcerers than wizards, and barbarians are unheard of except for a solitary sapling that did not have the benefit of a grove education.
Chapter 5 introduces some new feats, some of which can be used by non-green characters if they meet the requirements. However such as fruit bearer - which enables you to produce edible fruits - are restricted to green. I suppose if you have another sentient plant race in your world, some or all of the green-only feats could be made available to them. The next chapter looks at prestige classes available to green characters. The cornucopian is a rare being, able to create nourishment for others and even excrete healing sap and produce plant-based material components. The nature warden is a steward of all living things, and dedicates his life to protecting them. Less pleasant is the living blight, a green driven mad by disease.
Finally, Chapter 7 examines the equipment and magic items produced by green artisans, much of which is produced for trade as the green themselves don't use much stuff. Weapons are produced in 'normal' and 'green' sizes, given the size difference between green and most other races.
While the green are an innovative race, it is likely that they will be of more use as an NPC race rather than as player characters, unless the campaign is wilderness-based. Green tend to be uncomfortable in urban settings and really don't do well at all in dungeons/underground. They are a fascinating and well-thought out society which would give an added dimension to any campaign world.
Return to Races of Twilight: The Green page.
Reviewed: 28 December 2005