Refnara is the old Gnoll goddess of fear, mentioned solely in the adventure “To Bite the Moon” in Dungeon #48. There was quite a bit in that adventure to extrapolate from, and I drew upon a bunch of ideas I had floating around to make quite an interesting deity, I think. Enjoy!
Refnara (PDF Version)
(Moon-Biter, She Who Bites the Moon)
Demipower of Gehenna, NE (LE)
Portfolio: Fear, dread, darkness, snakes, caves, the earth
Domain Name: Krangath\Dark of the Moon
Foes: Cegilune, Eilistraee, Pholtus, Sehanine Moonbow, Selûne, Yeenoghu
Symbol: Serpent with the moon in its jaws
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE
Refnara Moon-Biter (REF-nahr-ah) is the gnollish god of fear and darkness, and one of the last remaining deities of the ancient gnoll pantheon. She is a terrifying serpentine being who originally instilled the fear of light and the moon in gnolls; she alleviates the fear of moonlight by biting away chunks of the moon regularly and returning night to darkness. Like Gorellik, her origins are murky and unrelated to the gnolls themselves; she has managed to hold onto what remains of her faithful simply through fear and superstition.
Like the King of Hyenas himself, Refnara is a loner, spending much of her time in a cave in Gehenna, surrounded by darkness, serpents, and her servitors. She communicates little with other deities, and calls even fewer friends; while she and Gorellik might mutually support each other if the need arose, they have not spoken in centuries. Much like the Loner, the Moon-Biter maintains a burning hatred of Yeenoghu for his usurpation of the gnolls and flinds who used to follow her. She also harbors a strong antipathy for all deities of moons and moonlight, particularly Cegilune and Sehanine Moonbow, with whom she has had confrontations in the past. Fragments of ancient gnoll mythologies have led to speculation amongst sages of the divine that she gained her position within the ancient pantheon by slaying and eating a weak and insane gnollish moon god. Her ultimate origin is even more of a mystery. She is persistently linked to the naga goddess Shekinester as a daughter or a splintered fragment of that tripartite goddess. Neither goddess is forthcoming on information, which many simply see as confirmation of such speculations as accurate.
Refnara has always preferred to use manifestations and omens over dispatching an avatar, but now that she has lost the ability to send her sole avatar to the Prime Material Plane, she has been searching for items that will allow her to do so. When she was still able to do so, she tended to dispatch her avatars to defend courageous tribes from powerful foes and to directly demand certain types of sacrifices from her followers. She rarely used her avatar to directly confront those of other deities, with the exception of lunar gods who intruded upon the territory of her followers.
Refnara’s Avatar (Mystic 22, Illusionist 16)
Refnara typically appears as an enormous serpentine being with glittering gem-like scales of a brilliant, deep purple hue and a vaguely human head. However, she sometimes take on the form of a tall, terrifying flind, as well, wearing dark robes and jewelry made of bones and amethysts. She favors spells from the wizard schools of illusion/phantasm, enchantment/charm, and elemental earth, and priest spells from the spheres of charm and elemental earth; otherwise she is restricted to the schools and spheres for illusionists and mystics.
AC 1; MV 15; HP 116; THAC0 6; #AT 2 or 1
Dmg 1d8 (bite) + poison/4d4 + constriction or 2d4+4 (dagger +2, +2 Str)
MR 20%; SZ H (20 feet long) or L (8 feet tall)
Str 18, Dex 21, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 22
Spells P: 11/9/9/9/9/6/3, W: 5/5/5/5/5/3/2/1
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 5; BW 8; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: In her serpentine form, Refnara attacks with a powerful slap from her tail and her fanged mouth. If the tail slap is successful, it deals 4d4 points of damage and she wraps her body around the target and begins constricting. A Dexterity check is allowed to determine if the creature’s weapon arm is free; if so, the creature can continue to attack her with a −4 penalty due to the difficult angle. Further, she automatically deals 4d4 points of damage each round until the creature is dead or it succeeds in an opposing Strength check against her. If she chooses to bite a creature she is constricting, the attack automatically hits, although she may attack other targets instead, with a normal attack roll required to hit. If successful, her bite deals 1d8 points of damage and injects Type E poison. In her flind form, Refnara wields Moonfang, a dagger +2 that causes fear in those struck who fail a saving throw vs. paralyzation at a −2 penalty.
In either form, the Moon-Biter can wrap herself in either a cloak of bravery or a cloak of fear twice per day each. Once per turn, her gaze can charm, intimidate, or cause fear, as she desires; the intimidation power is similar to a charm person spell, but those affected obey her out of fear rather than trust. A successful saving throw versus paralyzation is necessary to avoid the effects of her gaze. She can cast darkness, 15′ radius once per day.
Refnara can only be struck by magical weapons. She is completely immune to magical darkness, elemental earth spells, fear, and poison.
Refnara is more active in the lives of her followers than Gorellik is, through the bringing of fear to temper and strengthen the gnolls and flinds that worship her. She occasionally will send shafts of moonlight to drive her followers in a specific direction or towards a specific goal. The Moon-Biter may sometimes grant followers the ability to cast, once per turn, a faerie fire spell that creates a pale white radiance like moonlight upon a single target. This has all the normal effects of the spell faerie fire, but followers of Refnara receive a +1 bonus to hit and damage against those affected. She Who Bites the Moon occasionally inflicts this faerie fire radiance upon followers who have displeased her. For her followers, this is an especially feared punishment; any gnoll or flind affected must immediately make a saving throw vs. death to avoid lapsing into hysterical fear that turns into catatonia within 1d6+4 rounds. In any case, a follower punished in this manner is immediately exiled from the tribe with nothing but the clothes on their back, and are never accepted back into the tribe.
Refnara is served primarily by dark nagas, spirit nagas, and snakes of all sorts, although she may occasionally work through behir, cloakers, hamatula baatezu, debbis, hook horrors, lesser and greater feyrs, medusas, nightmares, vaporighu, vargouilles, and yeth hounds. She shows her pleasure through the discovery of amethysts, black jet, and snake burrows and nests, and she shows her displeasure through the discovery of milky quartz and moonstone. Her omens most often appear in nightmares that her priests must interpret to divine her will, but she sometimes sends omens in the patterns in shed snakeskin or in the movement of snakes. She frequently exposes her followers to frightening situations to test their mettle.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, mystics, shamans
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, Mys: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Mys: No, Sha: No
All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Refnara receive religion (gnoll) and intimidation (either the Strength or Charisma version, as appropriate) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
Like Gorellik, Refnara long ago fell into obscurity in gnollish life, supplanted first by the giantish deities and later by Yeenoghu. She is still revered and propitiated in most gnoll tribes that worship Gorellik, although less than a third have members of her clergy. There are some tribes, primarily those who are composed mostly or wholly of flinds, that worship her solely, and her clergy can occasionally be found alongside Yeenoghu’s priests, but these are all fairly rare. Her priests have a strained but not antagonistic relationship with those or the Loner, while they tend to keep their head down around the priests of the Demon Prince of Gnolls.
Much like Gorellik’s clergy, the Moon-Biter’s priests do not construct temples, favoring natural areas to do their worship in. They seek out caves with deep sinkholes in them, for they believe that the Moon-Biter makes her living deep under the earth; it is into these sinkholes that they cast offerings to their goddess. Sinkholes in open land may also become the focal point of the priesthood if there are no caves within a tribe’s territory.
Novices of Refnara are known as Fearfuls. Full priests are formally known as Sisters and Brothers of the Dark, and informally as Darksisters/brothers. The clergy has a rigid hierarchy based on personal intimidation of their fellow clergymembers, based on their personal power, Strength, and Charisma. Clergy call higher ranked members Darkmaster and lower ranked members Darkchild. Specialty priests are called darkmoons. The clergy of Refnara contains gnolls (54%), flinds (45%), and other races (1%). Refnara’s clergy is slightly dominated by females (53%). The clergy of Refnara is consists primarily of shamans (74%); however, some tribes are dominated by clerics (17%) and specialty priests (6%), and there are a smattering of wandering mystics (3%) amongst nomadic tribes.
Dogma: Fear is ever-present, but inimical to strength and living. Overcome fear to be strong and become stronger. Fear is a test of faith, a trial sent by She Who Bites the Moon to weed out the weak and cowardly. Fear is also a tool she provides; inflicting it on others brings her pleasure. The moon is her foe, as are those who love or live by its pale light; their deaths please her.
Day-to-Day Activities: Daily propitiation of the Moon-Biter is required of the clergy to ensure that their goddess continues to return regularly to bite away the moon, returning nights to darkness. No one other than clergy members are allowed near sinkholes and other holy sites without being led by a member of the priesthood. The clergy keeps the area secure from outsiders at all times that ceremonies aren’t held, although individual tribe members may petition the priests to allow them to make a sacrifice for a particular boon or augury. Followers of Refnara are required to crawl on their hands and knees within holy areas to show their fear and subservience to She Who Bites the Moon. The most superstitious of tribes are extremely fearful of the moon, and consider it taboo to leave their lairs without dire need when the moon is full.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: During the nights of the full moon, the clergy lead the whole tribe in a ceremony requesting Refnara return and bite away the moon, to return nights to darkness and remove the fear the full moon brings. During this ceremony, the priests ritually throw meat, drink, and treasures into the sinkholes located in their temples or shrines.
Major Centers of Worship: Temples and holy sites dedicated to Refnara are kept a close secret, as the clergy deeply fears the desecration that outsiders may bring.
Affiliated Orders: The Refnaran clergy maintains no martial or monastic orders, nor does the Moon-Biter seem at all inclined to create any in the foreseeable future.
Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial garb of Refnara’s clergy is surprisingly militaristic. They favor splint or banded armor, painted black or midnight blue, and wear a cloak of similar material. All equipment is maintained well and kept in good condition and clean. The holy symbol of the clergy is typically the jawbone of a small snake, although holy symbols taken from clergies of lunar-oriented priesthoods are often used after being painted black and resanctified by a Refnaran priest.
Adventuring Garb: The priesthood of She Who Bites the Moon favors heavy armor, particularly banded or splint mail. They typically can only be distinguished from other members of their tribe when engaging in combat by their use of blunt weaponry and their holy symbol.
Specialty Priests (Darkmoons)
Requirements: Wisdom 9
Prime Req.: Wisdom
Alignment: LE, NE, CE
Weapons: All bludgeoning (wholly type-B) weapons
Major Spheres: All, combat, charm, divination, elemental earth, guardian, healing, protection, thought, sun (darkness causing spells only)
Minor Spheres: Law, necromantic, war
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Club or flindbar (flind only)
Bonus Profs: Astrology, Intimidation (Strength or Charisma)
- Darkmoons must be gnolls or flinds.
- Darkmoons are not allowed to multiclass.
- Darkmoons gain a +1 to all saving throws at night. This rises to +2 on the night before, during, and after a new moon. It falls to a −1 on the night before, during, and after a full moon. All bonuses and penalties are doubled for fear spells and similar affects.
- On nights before, during, and after a new moon, opponents’ saving throws against spells and granted powers employed by darkmoons suffer a −1 penalty. On the night before, during, and after the full moon, this becomes a +2 bonus for opponents of the darkmoon. All bonuses and penalties are doubled for fear spells and similar affects.
- Once per day, darkmoons can cast remove fear and cause fear (as the 1st-level priest spell and its reverse). They can cast each spell an addition time per day for every five levels they gain (twice each at 5th level, three times each at 10th level, etc.).
- At 3rd level, darkmoons can cast darkness (as the reverse of the 1st-level priest spell light) or spook (as the 1st-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At 6th level, darkmoons can cast emotion (courage) or emotion (fear) (as the 4th-level wizard spell emotion) once per day.
- At 9th level, darkmoons can cast sticks to snakes or snakes to sticks (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 12th level, darkmoons can cast fear (as the 4th-level wizard spell) or cloak of bravery (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 15th level, darkmoons can cast protection from moonlight (as the 3rd-level priest spell) at will.
In addition to the spell listed below, priests of the Moon-Biter can cast the 3rd-level priest spell blacklight, detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Ibrandul.
Glyph of Warding: Moonfear (Pr 3; Abjuration, Evocation)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Until discharged
Casting Time: Special
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Special
A glyph of warding is a powerful inscription magically drawn to prevent unauthorized or hostile creatures from passing, entering, or opening. The glyph of warding: moonfear is favored by priests of the gnoll goddess Refnara. No other priesthoods are known to use it. The conditions, limitations, and material components for casting a glyph of warding: moonfear are the same as for a normal glyph of warding.
When triggered, moonfear causes burst of pale light that instills a deep fear in any creatures within the area of effect who fail a save vs. spell at a −2 penalty. Creatures believe that the protected room or object holds something of intense fear to them (spiders, snakes, orcs, etc.), which can vary from victim to victim. They immediately move away from the glyph location, and any attempt to force them to open a protected portal or through a protected doorway forces victims to make a saving throw vs. paralyzation; those who fail immediately start attacking those who are trying to force them.
Protection from Moonlight (Pr 3; Abjuration)
Sphere: Protection, Sun
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 3 rds./level
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Saving Throw: None
A creature protected by this spell is completely unaffected by moonlight in any way. They cannot see a visible moon, be it full or not, and they receive no vision benefits from moonlight. Spells such as moonbeam and moonbow fail if used against a protected creature, and contact with a protected creature dispels spells such as moonweb and moonbridge. The protection from moonlight spell also prevents lycanthropic shape changes and other curses tied to the phases of the moon, so long as they are not tied to the new moon phase.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a fist-sized piece of coal.
Lunacy (Pr 4; Enchantment/Charm, Illusion/Phantasm)
Sphere: Sun, Thought
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
This spell, also known as moon madness or curse of lunacy, curses a victim with recurring madness tied to the phase of the moon. A victim of this spell is allowed an initial saving throw vs. spell to avoid the curse. If the saving throw is failed, the curse takes effect, and manifests on every night of the full moon. Every night the moon is full and for the full duration of the night, after the sun sets, the victim suffers from an effect as determined on the chart below:
91–00 Fear and Feeblemind
At dawn of the next day, the victim is entitled to another saving throw. If successful, they have broken the curse; however, they suffer a cumulative −1 penalty for every full moon night that they have suffered from the curse. If the save is failed with an unmodified roll of a 1, the effect that they suffered that evening becomes permanent. A remove curse spell can end the curse, but will not cure a victim if they are currently suffering one of the effects of the spell. Similarly, spells that are effective against the individual effects of the curse can end it for the night, but does not break the curse.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a piece of cheese.