Rangers of the Gnarley Forest
The rangers of the Gnarley are some 200 strong, most of them born woodsmen, with a few half-elves among them. This group has become more cohesive during the Greyhawk Wars, and no few of them fought in Furyondy as volunteers. Tales of that war leave them in little doubt of the threat evil presents.
The rangers strive to bring good folk together. They have very warm relations with gnomes, most woodsmen, and with the swanmays and werebears of the Gnarley. They are very cautious in dealings with elves; they are respectful to them, but do not trust them. Cool politeness is the order of the day.
The Gnarley Rangers are concerned with the forest’s welfare, not with politics, and they do not care about the squabbles of Dyvers and Greyhawk over territory. They would like to see Celene’s influence diminish, but they don’t regard the Free City as exactly a bastion of righteousness and morality. However, they are glad to see the militia helping to protect woodsmen, and individual friendships between rangers and militia leaders and officers have begun to blossom.
The Gnarley Rangers are pledged to protect the wood and its Inhabitants. They hunt down those who seek to do it and its inhabitants’ harm. They protect the forest from outsiders, especially humanoids from the Pomarj, but also bandits and evil cults skulking in the Gnarley.
The group is democratic and has no leaders who issue orders or directives, but there are seven Ranger Knights who meet at Corustaith every two or three months to share information at The Gilded Acorn there. Each knight has a particular area of the wood, which may overlap with others, where he has friends and expends most of his protective efforts. Often this begins as a vow to the town to protect them. Each Knight has his own following of younger rangers who swear a personal allegiance to him. In return, each Knight undertakes to train the younger rangers as needed, and holds an annual feast for all his juniors each Brewfest. The oath is not very restrictive, involving promises to protect the integrity of the forest, to help good folk in need, and to revere a Power of Good (usually Ehlonna).
Ranger Knights do not have formal delineations of territory or spheres of control, although each has a particular area (which may overlap with others) where he has good friends and expends most of his protective efforts.
The Gnarley Rangers have many enemies, first and foremost are the Blackthorn. Others include humanoids of the Pomarj, evil cultists and bandits. The call upon the following as allies: gnome clans, followers of Ehlonna, members of the House Guard for Baron Corbin Deleveu of Verbobonc, and some others within the region of Dyvers. While relations with the Elven Clans of the Gnarley Forest are fairly cool, the Gnarley rangers do have friendlier dealings with Clan Meldarin.
The Gnarley Rangers have their own two-part system of communication. The first is effectively a language, comprised of parts vocal and non-verbal signals. This language concerns events and phenomena important in the woodlands and to the ethos of good. Thus, if one ranger looks at someone and then casts his gaze down and to his right, a second ranger viewing this will know that the first ranger considers that person evil or dangerous. An almost imperceptible (to non-Gnarley Rangers) clenching of a fist accompanying this shift in gaze indicates that the ranger feels the person is certainly evil or very dangerous. The Gnarley Ranger language is complex and quite subtle.
The second part of this communication system is a complex set of signals in the form of terrain markers: scratches left on trees, a wedge cut out of a capped fungus, interweaving of small branches or ferns, and the like. These signals generally indicate simple things, often warnings relating to dangerous terrain or monsters.