Kereska is the energetic deity of magic within the draconic pantheon, who is said to have taught dragons how to harness the innate magical powers Io infused in them at the time of creation. She delights in magical creativity and blesses those dragons undertaking magical research and creation.
Kereska (PDF Version)
(Wonderbringer, Light of Magic)
Intermediate Power of Limbo, CN
Portfolio: Magic, dragon magic, magical creativity
Domain Name: Limbo/the Mountain of Wonder
Allies: Aasterinian, Arcanic, Astilabor, Bahamut, Elemtia, Hlal, Nathair Sgiathach, Rais, Sardior, Tamara, Zorquan
Foes: Faluzure, Kalzareinad (Dead), Task
Symbol: Five pointed star with lower two points extended
Wor. Align.: Any
While Io is said to have infused magic into dragonkind, it is Kereska (kuh-RES-kah) who taught them how to harness and wield those powers. She is revered by dragons of all breeds for her role in magical creativity and development, although more so by those with greater magical aptitude. She is constantly delighted by new magical creations by dragonkind, and is always eager to learn and distribute their creations.
Kereska embodies the magic inherent in dragonkind, and governs the use of both natural magical abilities, and those gained through study. She is delighted by new and unique magical creations of all sorts, be they minor and mundane or powerful and spectacular. The Wonderbringer prefers open dissemination of new magic, although she understands the strategic importance of keeping some magic in reserve to give a dragon an edge over rivals and enemies. She expects that such magic be shared at the end of a dragon’s life, or bequeathed to offspring, however, and can become displeased when dragons are overly selfish with their spells. She has been known to secretly share spells from a selfish dragon’s repertoire with those who will disseminate them freely, in order to teach a lesson to those who would hoard magical knowledge for perpetuity.
Myths surrounding Kereska often portray her as one of Io’s oldest children, born from the raw magic he used in the creation of the multiverse or the first true dragons. She took the form of a dragon both to emulate Io and to honor his greatest creation. Being of pure magic, she intuitively understood the capabilities of the Ninefold Dragon’s creation, and took it upon herself to teach the first dragons how to use their powers. Some myths ascribe the first splitting of the draconic breeds to her teaching, as those who favored certain magical abilities were reshaped into forms more suitable to those powers. She is often described as fickle in myth, and some of the less magically adept dragons, particularly whites, believe that she arbitrarily and unfairly granted greater magical ability to red and gold dragons, simply because she preferred the color of their scales.
In the past, Kereska was just one of a pair of deities competing for dominion over the portfolio of draconic magic. However, where Kalzareinad was a secretive and miserly power, Kereska was open and charitable with her magic. These competing personalities strongly influenced their mortal draconic followers, and as such Kereska’s worship grew swiftly, while Kalzareinad’s slowly shrunk to obscurity. During the Time of Troubles on Toril, both deities incarnated in a member of their faithful; the realization that the blue dragon Maldraedior was his last worshipper likely contributed to his decision to be mercifully subsumed in his ancient rival rather than be mercilessly slain by some other power greedy for his divine essence. Kereska has since been much more active in recruiting followers on that world, and has bestowed upon the former follower of Kalzareinad renewed vitality with which he can recruit new followers. She is as yet unaware of the overtures the evil god Set has been making towards Maldraedior, and it is unknown what actions she would take when she learns of it.
The Wonderbringer is served by both Arcanic and Elemtia, two minor deities who hold sway over specific areas of magic and magical creativity. For the most part, she lets them do as they will, only occasionally asking them to act on her behalf or to further her goals. She is deft at determining ways to ensure their interests coincide with her own, such that neither feels their relationship with the Wonderbringer is particularly burdensome. She is especially vigilant with Elemtia, as she recognizes that her protection may be the only thing protecting the Tempestuous One from Garyx, who wishes to consolidate all aspects of fire into his portfolios.
The Wonderbringer maintains cordial relations with other deities of magic, although she is too concerned with dragonkind to have formed any permanent alliances. She is a frequent guest of the likes of Wee Jas, Azuth, Mystra, and Boccob, however, to discuss magical theory and trade new knowledge. She has little interest in the divine politics these deities frequently engage in with others of their ilk, but she would aid any of them if alerted to a threat to the integrity of magic on their worlds. It is said this was one reason she was so active during the Time of Troubles on Toril, as she was trying to find Mystra and learn what she could do to help stabilize the Weave in Realmspace. Kereska’s faithful credit her with intervening during Karsus’s Folly on Toril to reduce the catastrophe and enable Mystra to remake herself. Mystra’s priests who are aware of this belief hotly deny that Mystra needed any assistance, of course.
Kereska is quite active on the Prime Material plane, sending disguised avatars to discuss magic with the most adept great wyrms, and trade for their unique magics. She is capricious in her dealings, and those who refuse a fair trade often find their magic missing or suddenly being used against them by their foes. While uninterested in the lives and activities of lesser races, her thirst for magical knowledge leads her to their powerful wizards on occasion to exchange spells and knowledge. Those dragons who gain her notice for significantly furthering magical knowledge among dragonkind often get powerful boons as a sign of her favor.
Kereska’s Avatar (26-HD Great Wyrm Dragon, Wizard 35, Priest 29)
Kereska appears as a dragon of varying hue that slowly shifts from color to color every few minutes, although she can stabilize as one color at will for as long as she desires. Her head is adorned by two sets of back-swept horns and a small pair of cheek frills, and her eyes glow with an intense silvery light. She radiates an intense, visible aura of magic at all times unless she makes an effort to suppress it. Kereska draws her spells from all spheres and schools, including restricted schools such as chronomancy and wild magic.
AC −10; MV 15, Fl 45, Jp 6; HP 274; THAC0 −5; #AT 3+special
Dmg 2d6+12/2d6+12/4d8+12 (claw/claw/bite)
MR 90%; SZ G (380 feet—body 160 feet, tail 120 feet)
Str 20, Dex 22, Con 21, Int 25, Wis 23, Cha 22
Spells P: Special, W: Special
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 3; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 4
Special Att/Def: Kereska disdains combat, and ends it quickly with her magic and breath weapons if it is unavoidable. She favors using spells such as charm monster and suggestion to dissuade aggressors, followed by disabling spells such as hold monster and power word, stun. In battle, she usually opts to breathe out a cone of magical force 135 feet long, 5 feet wide at her mouth, and 45 feet wide at the base. Creatures caught within the blast suffer 24d8+12 points of damage, with a saving throw versus breath weapons allowed with a −2 penalty for half damage. Magic that protects against magic missiles offer some degree of protection against this force, allowing a protected creature to suffer no damage with a successful save and half damage with a failed save. Regardless of the save, temporary protections are immediately destroyed and permanent protections are rendered inoperable for 1d6 turns. Her second breath weapon is a cone of dispel magic with the same dimensions as above; this affect operates at the 40th level of ability and can affect even magical effects created by other deities, save those who are gods of magic. Magical items that are affected are completely destroyed on a roll of 1–6 on a d20; otherwise they are disabled for 1d4 hours.
Kereska is not constrained by the normal limits on the number of spells she can cast per day, and can cast any spell known to her as often as necessary; she still obeys the standard restrictions on divine spellcasting, however. In addition, as the embodiment of magical creativity, she is able to create and use any new spell-like power she desires. She knows all common and uncommon spells, as well as all non-unique draconic spells, and is 75% likely to know non-unique rare and very rare humanoid magic as well.
Kereska’s aura of dragon fear extends to a radius of 140 yards. Creatures up to 5 HD/levels who catch sight of her are automatically affected (as well as all noncarnivorous, nonaggressive creatures with fewer than 25 Hit Dice) and flee for 4d6 rounds. Trained war mounts of 4 HD or more, organized military units, and single creatures with more than 5 HD or levels do not automatically flee. Rather, they are entitled to a saving throw vs. petrification at a −5 penalty. If they fail this saving throw, they fight with a −2 penalty to attack and damage rolls. No one save another deity is automatically immune to her fear effect.
The Wonderbringer is immune to spells below 6th level. She is immune to all forms of poison, paralysis, petrification, death magic, mind-affecting and controlling spells and psionics, and limited wishes that attempt to alter her directly (i.e. a limited wish couldn’t wish her back to her home plane or wish her wings crushed, but it could create an ice storm that would affect her). She is completely unaffected by any force-effect magic, such as a magic missile, wall of force, or Mordenkainen’s sword, that would harm or impede her. Kereska is immune to weapons of less than +3 enchantment.
Kereska’s manifestations most often take the form of specific magical effects, duplicating known magical spells and spell-like powers, as appropriate to the situation at hand. She has also been known to nullify specific magical dangers in order to assist her followers, and in one legendary case, she disenchanted an iron golem an evil wizard had sent to slay a dragon-mage.
Her rarest and most famous manifestations are permanent boons of magical skill that she grants to followers who have especially pleased her through their contributions to magic or performed some other exceptional service for her. She is able to grant any draconic creature (including wyverns, dragonnes, and half-dragons) spellcasting power of any potency she desires, the use of specific spells of spell-like powers, or other abilities related to spellcasting. Her most famous follower on the world of Toril, the gold dragon Larendrammagar (also known as Nexus) was granted the ability to select spells from his repertoire at the time of casting, rather than needing to memorized individual spells, as a reward for his centuries of contributions to draconic magic.
Kereska is served primarily by magical constructs such as golems, as well as azmyths, beguilers, disenchanters, dracosphinxes, familiars of all sorts, genies of all sorts, grey slaadi, hakeashar, laraken, lillendi, magebanes, magedooms, manikin, naga of all sorts, nishruu, obliviax, sarphardin, spectral wizards, spellhaunts, translators, and wizshades. She rarely shows her favor through discoveries of material items, preferring to use obviously magical displays or effects, such as dancing lights or localized reverse gravity zones that affect small objects. She displays her disapproval through the discovery of spellbooks and scrolls that are worm-eaten and useless, impressive-looking magical items that are drained and crumble to dust when handled, and non-magical items that radiate magic (as Nystul’s magical aura), as well as obviously magical effects that are negative in nature.
Clergy: Dragon-priests, specialty priests, dragon-mages
Clergy’s Align.: NG, CG, N, CN, NE, CE
Turn Undead: DP: Yes, if neutral or good, SP: No, DM: No
Cmnd. Undead: DP: Yes, if evil, SP: No, DM: No
All priest-dragons and specialty priests of Kereska receive religion (draconic) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
Kereska is revered by all dragons with an interest in magic. As such, she is one of the more popular draconic deities, trailing only Io and Zorquan. She is said to oversee both the use and creation of magic, and dragons who create new spells or items often invoke her name before beginning the process. The Wonderbringer’s clergy are closely aligned with those of Zorquan and Astilabor, and have neutral or positive relations with most other draconic faiths. In the ancient past, they rivaled the faith of Kalzareinad, but as his faith dwindled, the rivalry was forgotten by the majority of Kereska’s followers. They consider the faith of Faluzure an abomination for his corrupt and destructive use of necromantic magic, and they are extremely wary of the greed Task’s clergy show towards their magic.
Temples dedicated to Kereska are wondrous places, filled with enchantments that, as often as not, serve no purpose than to exist and amaze. Loops of water in the air, color-shifting lights, floating gardens, and many other magical creations that serve little practical purpose fill their halls. Such creations are, more often than not, the results of magical experimentation and served as a learning tool for the faithful. Such temples are quite rare, with no more than one or two existing on a single continent. Most dragons with a passion for magic, regardless of their priestly or wizardly status, keep a small shrine in Kereska’s honor near their magical research materials. Such shrines are small alcoves with the Wonderbringer’s symbol inscribed inside it; those able to do so typically keep a magical light of some sort inside it.
On most worlds, dragons do not form organized priesthoods, as there are too few of them, and they are far too individualistic. Only worlds with very dense dragon populations or very structured dragon cultures will develop hierarchical priesthoods, and the form they take are likely to be unique to those worlds. Specialty priests of Kereska are known as wyrmmagi (singular: wyrmmagus). The Wonderbringer’s clergy is open to any dragon species capable of casting wizard spells, although it is dominated by those species with a high aptitude for wizardly magic. Specialty priests dominate the clergy (70%), with the remainder composed of dragon-mages (20%) and dragon-priests (10%). Kereska welcomes half-dragon worshippers, but none are allowed in her priesthood. She is favored by those half-dragon clerics and mages who pursue an interest in magic for the sake of curiosity.
Dogma: Magic is the lifeblood of dragonkind, and the greatest of Io’s gifts. The repertoire of draconic magic should ever expand through the development and distribution of new spells and items. Revel in the wonder that magic brings, and focus not on magnificent over mundane magic, for all spells have their place. Develop no magic designed to corrupt or pervert dragonkind, for doing so is an affront to the gifts Io bestowed upon his children.
Day-to-Day Activities: Outwardly, little distinguishes followers of Kereska from others of their species. They will often pass up gold and gems for magical writing and scrolls, and they spend far more time pondering magical mysteries than pondering their hoards. This is not to say they are any less acquisitive than other dragons, however; they are just as eager to acquire material wealth as their brethren when no objects of a magical nature are immediately at hand. Kereska’s followers are much more social with spellcasters, trading magic with them when their kin would just eat them or drive them off.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Every world on which the Wonderbringer is worshipped considers one specific star sacred to her. When this star forms a conjunction with another heavenly body, typically a planet or comet, Kereska’s faithful hold that magical research and magical item creation is particularly blessed. Those who make additional prayers during the period of conjunction, which may last more than one night, find that the chances of failure for spell research, learning spells, and item creation is halved, and a permanency spell used during item creation never drains a point of Constitution, even temporarily. This conjunction is known as the Light of Wonder, and only one benefit may be received by her faithful during the conjunction.
Major Centers of Worship: Among Io’s Blood Isles, Kereska has two temples of significance. The first is the Academia, located in the hills west of the Council Aerie on All Clans Island. The Academia is dedicated to teaching and disseminating magical knowledge to the dragons of the Isles. The head of the temple is the dragon-mage Auburothgar, a great wyrm red dragon of neutral alignment. The Academia cannot teach all dragons who wish to learn magic, and generally reserve teaching for high-ranked dragons in the various clans. Dragons of lesser status are usually taught by members of their own clans, but any dragon interested in magical research may avail themselves of the resources at the temple.
The second temple dedicated to Kereska is located in the topaz clan of Deepwater, a clan that prides itself on magical ability. Known as the Wonderbringer’s Grotto, it is overseen by an ornery old topaz dragon named Ketorgrauth. Located close to the clan’s capital of Coral City, it is nominally open to all of Kereska’s faithful, although the topaz dragon clan’s members are so unfriendly that only the most devout followers of the Wonderbringer visit. The temple has strained relations with the members of the Academia, as the topaz dragons of Deepwater feel that they are the rightful head of Kereska’s faith within the isles.
Affiliated Orders: None.
Priestly Vestments: Kereska’s clergy typically use a star sapphire, magically enchanted to display five-pointed asterism. Less common is a simple silver disk with Kereska’s symbol depressed into the center.
Adventuring Garb: None.
Specialty Priests (Wyrmmagi)
Requirements: Intelligence 14, Wisdom 10
Prime Req.: Intelligence, Wisdom
Alignment: N, CN
Weapons: Any, but normally a dragon’s natural weaponry
Armor: Any, but normally a dragon’s natural armor
Major Spheres: All, astral, charm, creation, divination, healing, numbers, protection, summoning, thought, weather
Minor Spheres: Elemental, necromantic, sun
Magical Items: Same as dragons, clerics
Req. Profs: Arcanology (PO:S&M)
Bonus Profs: Astrology
- Wyrmmagi are able to be any dragon naturally capable of casting wizard spells.
- Wyrmmagi are not allowed to multiclass.
- Unlike most draconic priests, wyrmmagi retain access to their natural wizardly spellcasting ability. However, they must learn magic as wizards do, by keeping a spell book and researching new spells. Spells learned require normal memorization as well as all components listed in the spell description. Wyrmmagi may learn spells from any of the standard schools of wizardly magic. Because of their intense magical study, both priestly and wizardly, their natural magic resistance is halved.
- Wyrmmagi can cast cantrip (as the 1st-level wizard spell) or orison (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day. At the 5th age category, they can use both powers at will.
- At the 2nd age category, wyrmmagi can cast dispel magic (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day. This increases to twice per day at the 6th age category, and to thrice per day at the 12th age category.
- At the 3rd age category, wyrmmagi can cast detect magic at will, gaining the benefits of both the priestly and wizardly versions.
- At the 4th age category, wyrmmagi can cast silence 15′ radius (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per day.
- At the 5th age category, wyrmmagi can cast alacrity (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) or miscast magic (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
- At the 7th age category, wyrmmagi can cast maladweomer or its reverse empradweomer (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
- At the 8th age category, wyrmmagi can cast far reaching III (as the 5th-level wizard spell), augmentation II, dilation II, or extension III (as the 6th-level wizard spells) once per day.
- At the 9th age category, wyrmmagi gain a 10% bonus to their chance to learn spells. This bonus does not grant them the ability to try and learn spells that they previously failed to learn. This bonus also applies to spell research and spell creation.
- At the 10th age category, wyrmmagi can cast enchant an item (as the 6th-level wizard spell) and permanency (as the 8th-level wizard spell) as often as needed during the creation of a magical item. All other materials and spells needed for the creation of the item must be met, as must any restrictions on the normal usage of the spells, but the wyrmmagi never suffers any permanent detrimental effects from the casting of these two spells. These abilities can only be used on one item in any five year period, although normally memorized versions of the spells can be used on other items.
- At the 12th age category, wyrmmagi can cast Mordenkainen’s disjunction (as the 9th-level wizard spell) once per week.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Wonderbringer can cast the 6th-level priest spell wondrous recall, and the 7th-level priest spell spell ward, both detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Mystra.
Spell Blast (Pr 1; Invocation/Evocation)
Range: 50 yds.
Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: ½
By means of this spell, the caster is able to convert a memorized spell into raw magical energy. This energy can be directed to strike at any single creature the caster can see within 50 yards, dealing 1d10 points of damage per spell level of the spell sacrificed; a successful save versus spell halves the damage taken. Spells of any level can be sacrificed to generate this energy, including wizard spells. For the purposes of spell-level protection, such as a globe of invulnerability, this energy counts as a 1st-level spell rather than the level of the spell sacrificed.
Kereska’s Curse (Pr 3; Enchantment/Charm)
Range: 50 yds.
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 mo./level
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
By means of this spell, the casting dragon lays a curse on another dracoform creature, preventing it from using magical spell-like powers. Any true dragon, as well as hybrids and dragon-like creatures, such as half-dragons, wyverns, chimeras, behir, and dragon turtles can be affected, although a saving throw versus petrification is allowed to avoid the curse. While active, the creature is unable to use spell-like powers entirely, including natural spellcasting. Breath weapons, natural immunities, and constant powers such as a white dragon’s ice walking or a brass dragon’s speak with animals ability are not affected, nor is wizardly or priestly magic gained through normal memorization. A remove curse or a limited wish is required to end the effects of Kereska’s curse early; dispel magic has no effect.
The material components of this spell are powdered gemstones worth 500 gp, which must be blown in the direction of the target, and the dragon’s holy symbol, which is not consumed. This spell is only available to dragon-priests and specialty priests of Kereska; it is never found as a dragon magic spell.
Voiceblock (Pr 3; Alteration)
Range: 50 yds.
Duration: 1 hr./level
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
With this spell, the caster is able to instantly silence a single creature’s voice, preventing them from speaking and casting any spells that require a vocal component. As this spell is designed to directly counter dragons, it completely ignores the natural magic resistance of true dragons and draconic creatures; a normal saving throw versus magic is still allowed to avoid the effects, however. Against non-draconic creatures, natural magic resistance applies, but saves are made with a −4 penalty.
The reverse of this spell instantly dispels silence on a single creature; for example, it will counter a silence, 15′ radius centered on a creature, but has no effect if cast upon silence, 15′ radius that was centered on an object or location. It also fails when cast upon a creature that is within a stationary area of magical silence, but was not the target of such a spell.
Kereska’s Favor (Pr 4; Alteration) Reversible
Components: V, M
Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
When cast, this spell enables the dragon to select draconic wizard spells in place of priest spells of equal level. There is no limit to the number of wizard spells that can be memorized via this spell, so long as the dragon’s normal allotment of priest-spell slots is not exceeded.
The reverse of this spell, which shares the same name, enables the dragon to use its wizard spell slots to memorize draconic priest spells of equal level. Again, there is no limit to the number of spells that can be memorize with this spell, as long as it does not exceed the dragon’s normal allotment.
The material component for this spell is the dragon’s holy symbol, which is not consumed in the spell’s casting.
Aura of Kereska (Pr 5; Alteration, Evocation)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 turn + 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 1 rd.
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
When cast, this spell outlines the dragon with a sparkling layer of magical power. While the spell lasts, the dragon may cast any spell (both priest and wizard varieties) of fourth-level or below it has in memory without the spell vanishing from its mind, as the aura generates the energy necessary to power the spell (much like the stored energy of a rod of absorption). Furthermore, aura of Kereska enables the dragon to cast spells by act of will alone, without the need of components or even initiative adjustments due to casting time. Saving throws allowed by these spells still apply, however.
Aura of Kereska remains in effect for the full duration of the spell unless removed with a full wish, a rod of cancellation, or the like. However, it is temporarily negated if the dragon passes into a dead magic zone, an anti-magic shell, or similar effect, remaining so until the dragon leaves such an area. Lesser spells and effects are useless against it.
One of the few dragon spells that requires all three components, this spell calls for the “sacrifice” of a magical item (or items) with a total XP value of at least 2,000 (usually an item the dragon does not like or cannot use, such as a suit of armor or a weapon of dragon slaying, though not always). The device is completely drained of magic in the casting, as its energy is used to power the spell. Note that the magical item must be held by the dragon for the somatic portion of the spell, so the dragon cannot use another creature’s magical item without first wresting it away. The dragon’s holy symbol is required as well, but it is not consumed in the casting.