One of the four minor centaur deities mentioned in Dragon Magazine #103, Linroth is a deity of speed, traveling, and merchants. I drew some inspiration from nomadic steppe peoples for the write-up, as well as some elements from Greek mythology.
Linroth (PDF Version)
(Fleet-Hoof, the Swift Filly)
Demipower of the Beastlands, CN(G)
Portfolio: Speed, travel, merchants, messengers, adventurers, freedom, plains and steppes, youth
Domain Name: Krigala/the Steppe Road
Allies: Aasterinian, Brilros, Celestian, Diancastra, Eachthighern, Erevan Ilesere, Fanthros, Fionnghuala, Hermes, Kheiron, Muamman Duathal, Naharra, Vergadain, the Seelie Court, the Seldarine
Foes: Abbathor, Chitza-Atlan, the Queen of Air and Darkness, Task
Symbol: Saddlebags overlaid with a horseshoe
Wor. Align.: LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN
Constantly moving and rarely found in one place for any length of time, Linroth (LIN-roth) Fleet-Hoof is said to be one of the swiftest deities in the multiverse. The youthful and vibrant child of Fanthros and Naharra, she represents the unbridled joy that comes from galloping across plains and steppes. Despite being impetuous and carefree, she is a reliable and shrewd, which have made her the patron of centaur adventurers, messengers, scouts, and merchants.
Linroth is the youngest member of the centaur pantheon, although her mythic tradition is no less rich for it. She is portrayed as a good-natured trouble-maker, adventurous and curious, but one who is more than capable of extricating herself from trouble of her own making as well as that caused by others. Her early adventures comprise a mythic cycle, starting with her running away from home when Skerrit and her parents refuse to acknowledge her as an adult; she leaves with the intent of circling the world to prove she is old enough to take care of herself. Initially the adults chase after her to bring her back, but find themselves unable to keep up with her, and they are resigned to waiting for her return or news of her death at the hands of the dangers in the world. This cycle includes a number of unconnected episodes, which are often used to teach lessons to young centaurs; as such, there are often many unique versions and stories told by different centaur communities.
In addition to containing moralistic fables, Linroth’s mythic cycle often describes her divine relations, covering both her alliances and her foes. One story recounts an epic race between the Swift Filly and Aasterinian; neither could best the other in pure speed, and well short of the finish line, both collapsed, exhausted at their attempts to push themselves harder than the other for victory. After laughing over their predicament and promising a future rematch, the pair parted as friends. Another story recounts a visit Linroth made to Kheiron, only to discover him absent on another hunting expedition with an unnamed hero. Lounging about inside Kheiron’s cave was Hermes, drinking the wine and eating the food Kheiron kept for special occasions. Incensed at what she perceived as theft, she challenged him to explain himself. Rather than explain himself, Hermes ran from her, only to discover Linroth far faster than he thought, and he had to employ all of his tricks and cunning just to stay ahead of her. After a merry chase, he gave up and informed her he had Kheiron’s permission. This experience, rather than leading to a bitter rivalry, cemented the pair as fast friends, and Hermes taught Linroth many tricks for purchasing the supplies she needed on her journey for far less than she expected. Often following on that tale is another that describes Linroth’s discovery of the joys of haggling and bargaining for needed supplies, as well as the joys of getting discounts on interesting trinkets and unusual items that appear to be innocuous or useless, but turn out to be useful in a pinch. The stories often reinforce that she is not greedy, just a shrewd bargainer, although she would never knowingly ruin an honest and trustworthy seller. One such tale describes Linroth finding or purchasing a beautiful piece of jewelry that another greedy deity, often Abbathor or Task, covets greatly; the greedy deity attempts to swindle her in the story, but instead of purchasing the item for far less than it is worth, Linroth manages to convince them to buy it for at least double the true value. There are a number of other stories as well, including adventures with Diancastra and Muamman Duathal, as well as stories of the Swift Filly slyly and good-naturedly getting favorable deals from Vergadain, but most others are local fables altered to include Linroth, and don’t necessarily reflect actual activities or relations of Linroth.
Outside of her mythic cycle, Linroth is known to maintain a loose alliance with the Seelie Court, the Seldarine, and other sylvan deities through her association with Skerrit; she is not particularly close with any of them besides Eachthighern and Fionnghuala, however. As a fairly minor deity, she has failed to attract much attention, even from those who she has had antagonistic contact with in the past. She is not a power who enjoys fights or violent confrontations, and so has given them little reason to take further notice of her.
The Swift Filly’s realm in the Beastlands moves about Krigala as she desires, and normally appears as an empty beaten path leading into the distance, most commonly on the plains and steppes of that wild land, although it can appear as a busy stone-paved road if she wishes. Her petitioners make up the surface of the road itself, as well as occasional way posts and travelers’ inns; traveling along this road is always safe from wild beasts and bandits, for she does not let them enter her realm. The Steppe Road, as it is called, can speed a journey through the plane, halving the normal travel time, and it is also said if one knows where to look, it will lead to Skerrit’s Glade, the Seelie Court, or one of the other realms of the centaur pantheon, with Chitza-Atlan’s realm the exception. Finding the Steppe Road can be difficult, especially if Linroth does not wish it to be found. Bariaur travelers are among the most common sights along the road, and they seem to always know where the road is when they visit Krigala.
Despite being an active deity, Linroth does not have the power to send her avatar to the Prime Material Plane on her own, and must rely on Skerrit, Naharra, or Fanthros to do so. As such, once there, she avoids returning to the Outer Planes as long as possible, spending the time exploring and experiencing everything she can. She is quick to give aid to centaurs and followers of the Seelie Court should she learn they are in danger or in need of other assistance, and is able to travel hundreds of miles in a day to relay messages if need be. When not on the Prime Material, she can often be found journeying throughout the upper planes and the Outlands.
Linroth’s Avatar (Fighter 22, Bard 14, Cleric 12)
Linroth appears as a young female centaur with a rich brown coat of fur and long, wavy chestnut hair. She has intense black eyes, pale skin, and a slight, lopsided grin that rarely leaves her face and puts most humanoids at ease. She appears clothed or unclothed depending on how the local centaurs dress; when clothed she favors a yellowish-brown leather jerkin with brass buttons over a white long-sleeved shirt. She always wears a pair of bracers of defense AC 4 that function as bracers of archery as well. Linroth draws her spells from all schools save illusion/phantasm, invocation/evocation, and necromancy, and the spheres of all, animal, chaos, charm, divination, elemental air, healing, time, travelers, sun, and weather.
AC 2; MV 36; HP 165; THAC0 −1; #AT 5/2 or 2
Dmg 1d6 + 7 (medium lance +2, +2 Str, +2 spec. in lance) or 1d6 + 4 (short bow +1, arrows +1, +2 Str)
MR 15%; SZ L (8 feet tall, 10 feet long)
Str 18, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 15, Wis 15, Cha 19
Spells P: 8/6/5/3/2/2, W: 3/3/3/3/1
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: In battle, Linroth wields Windcleft, a medium lance +2 that causes any creature struck to be slowed if they fail a saving throw vs. magic with a −4 penalty. She rarely fights to kill, using the slowing effect of her lance to allow herself and any allies to escape. She also carries a short bow +1 named Pursepiercer, and a quiver of 10 arrows +1. Any arrow shot by this bow that succeed in its attack roll by more than 5 causes any container full of coinage carried by the target to burst, spilling the contents all over the ground. As with her lance, she usually uses the bow’s power to cause a distraction, so as to escape a battle without slaying her foes.
Twice per day she can cast slow, hold person, and hold monster, and she can caste haste on herself once per day. She can use any spell from the sphere of Travelers once per day regardless of level, and this usage has double effect and duration. This is in addition to her normal complement of spells.
Linroth is immune to nonmagical weapons, and any spells and effects that would slow, paralyze, or otherwise negatively affect her movement directly. She is immune to wind and elemental air attacks, and takes half damage from electrical attacks.
Linroth typically manifests to her followers by washing away fatigue and tiredness, allowing them to continue a journey even in the face of adverse conditions or a lack of sleep. When a creature is affected by this manifestation, they briefly feel as if doused in chilled water. When this passes, they are free of fatigue and tiredness, both magical and mundane. This also restores any temporary losses to life levels, Strength, Constitution, or Dexterity, and can travel further as if they just woke for the day. This does not, however, allow such a creature to rememorize spells. She may also manifest her powers by granting a temporary boon of spells such as clear path, easy march, haste, or hovering road on a follower or their party.
Linroth is served primarily by equine beings, including asperii, buraq, coltpixies, hippogriffs, kirin, pegasi, shedu, unicorns, wild horses, zebra, as well as aasimon, antelope, asuras, brass dragons, cheetahs, djinn, eagles, equinal guardinals, falcons, migratory birds of all sorts, and opinicus. She manifests her favor through the discovery of a discarded coinage of low value, fresh fruit or berries where none would be expected, and a gentle zephyr of wind that blows gently into the face and then swirls around to push a creature gently on. She manifests her displeasure through leg cramps, stones stuck in a shoe, and the discovery of an obviously counterfeit coin.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.: CG, CN
Turn Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: No, SP: No, Sha: No
All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Linroth receive religion (centaur) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
Linroth’s followers are often regarded by others as unsettled youths, or adults who never grew up. Most older members of centaur communities view them with slight disapproval, and scold them for not settling down. Those followers who are not as restless and have little wanderlust often become traveling merchants and messengers for their communities, and travel a great deal, but in the service of a cause rather than at random or for the sake of wandering. For their part, they tend to get along with any group that is not actively hostile, although grumpy or dour peoples can become targets of jests and harmless pranks. The Swift Filly’s clergy gets along especially well with the priesthoods of Vergadain, Erevan Ilesere, Muamman Duathal, Hermes, Diancastra, and on spelljamming-aware worlds, Celestian.
Temples dedicated to Linroth are very rare, typically only found in large permanent centaur settlements, which are themselves a rarity. In such locations, they are built near the market, and are open, rectangular structures with a roof held up by many columns, and few if any walls. Much more common are small shrines erected at temporary markets or permanent shrines built along roads. These shrines feature a single open arch of wood or strong fibrous plant matter for temporary shrines, and marble for permanent shrines. They always feature a horseshoe mounted at the top of the shrine, and usually have at least one set of wind chimes hanging within the open arch. Followers who wish good luck on a journey or in mercantile affairs will typically make a prayer at a shrine and end it by blowing on the wind chimes.
Novices of Linroth are known as Foals. Full priests of the Swift Filly are known as Windracers. In ascending order of rank, priests of Linroth are known as Walker, Trotter, Pacer, Canterer, and Galloper; high-ranking priests create their own unique titles. Specialty priests are known as coursers. The priesthood contains somewhat more females (60%) than males (40%). Specialty priests overwhelmingly dominate the clergy (75%), with shamans (15%) and clerics (10%) making up the remainder. Most of the clergy consists of centaurs (70%) and centaur-kin (especially zebranaurs; 18%), pegataurs (8%), bariaurs (2%), chevalls (1%), and other tauroid and equine creatures (dracons, equinals, manotaurs, pegasi, unicorns, wemics, etc.; 1%).
Dogma: Move fast, move free, and feel the wind blow through your hair and coat. Travel and explore, see the unknown and delight in the unique events and objects you discover. Race the wind, and aim to be faster than all others. Use your skills to aid your people; share their goods with others and trade for necessities. Carry news and messages of import like the wind to ensure the swiftest response to any crisis faced by your people.
Day-to-Day Activities: Linroth’s priesthood enjoys traveling, and rarely stays in one place for a significant amount of time. As many are wanderers, they often take on tasks that necessitate travel, with some serving as military scouts or royal messengers, while others use their wanderings to make some extra income as peddlers or merchants. Many also serve as guides or teachers of geography and customs, for their wanderings make them well acquainted with such things. While some members of the clergy prefer to be self-sufficient, others feel that luxurious accommodations on their journeys make trips all the more enjoyable. Still, all are capable of roughing it, and they ensure their bodies are in peak physical form in order to endure the hardships of the road, especially when speed is required. Every member of the Swift Filly’s church enjoys running and racing as a recreational activity.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Each year on the spring equinox, the clergy of Linroth hold an event known as the Windrace. This event is a celebration of the joy of travel and running, and is open to all who wish to participate or just watch. The ceremony starts in the early morning with the construction of a small shrine dedicated to the Swift Filly in a wide open space, and usually made of silver and copper and adorned with colorful streamers. Every follower of Linroth makes two slow circuits of the shrine while chanting various personal prayers to her. Following this, the real festivities begin as an open air market is laid out and a variety of competitive games are held, focusing on races, jumps, and other events of speed and stamina; as this ceremony is essentially a communal festival, competitions of strength or skill in other realms often get held as well, however. Finally, as the sun begins to set, the followers of Linroth make two more circuits around the shrine, making personal prayers of thanks to the Swift Filly. Once completed, and the sun has completely set, the shrine is burned as an offering to the goddess to seal the prayers and thanks until the following year.
Many centaur communities also have three or four other ceremonies throughout the year, often tied to local heroes or events. All of these ceremonies are very local to the clergy, however, and rarely do two communities share the same minor holy day.
Major Centers of Worship: The world of Torus is home to a large and diverse population of centaurs. Most tribes feature portable or permanent shrines to the Swift Filly, but the only permanent temple was built just recently, when a peaceful human coastal settlement integrated with a nearby centaur tribe for mutual protection. The resulting town is home to Gallery of Swift Exchange, an open colonnaded structure that serves as both temple and marketplace. An altar stands at one end of the plaza, raised a few feet off the ground, and featuring a slot in which supplicants can deposit coins in order to gain Linroth’s favor. The high priestess of the temple is Swift Galloper Darica Gleamhoof, an extremely well-traveled centaur just approaching middle age. In addition to her normal duties overseeing the temple and the plaza’s commerce, she enjoys telling tales of her youthful adventures, and these stories can easily be used to gain accurate knowledge of unvisited locales on the world of Torus.
Affiliated Orders: Linroth’s clergy sponsors no monastic or martial orders, but in some centaur monarchies, the royal messenger services and scout forces favor making regular prayers to her.
Priestly Vestments: When performing religious ceremonies, the clergy of Linroth favor loose and flowing garments of light blue to represent the open sky of the plains and steppes. The exact nature of the garment varies by the centaur culture, with some wearing little more than a scarf or stole, and others favoring long robes down to the knees. Hair is worn long and unbound so it can blow in the breeze, with males favoring hair slightly beyond shoulder length and females favoring hair lengths about twice as long. Male centaurs are prohibited from wearing beards of any sort. The holy symbol used by the church is a miniature horseshoe, with junior priests typically using ones made of iron, and higher ranked priests using a symbol of silver of gold.
Adventuring Garb: When traveling, Linroth’s clergy favors garb suited to the road, depending on their culture and the customs of lands they’re visiting. For tribes that favor dress similar to humans and elves, that typically means leather jackets or jerkins over lighter shirts and blouses. Colors vary, but tend to be muted tans, browns, and yellows. Light blue shades are often favored by those with more money to spend. When engaging in battle, the Swift Filly’s priesthood avoids heavy armor and boarding that would reduce their mobility and slow them down, usually using leather or padded armor, with the occasional use of mail coats by more melee-oriented followers. They prefer weapons that can take advantage of their speed, such as lances, spears, and missile weapons.
Specialty Priests (Coursers)
Requirements: Strength 12, Dexterity 12, Constitution 14, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.: Dexterity, Wisdom
Alignment: CG, CN
Weapons: Any missile weapon, plus dagger, lance, spear, and short sword
Armor: Any up to chain, no shield
Major Spheres: All, animal, charm, elemental air, time, travelers, sun, weather
Minor Spheres: Chaos, divination, healing
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Bow, lance
Bonus Profs: Running
- Coursers must be centaurs, centaur-kin, bariaurs, pegataurs, or chevalls.
- Coursers are not allowed to multiclass.
- Coursers may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group with no crossover penalty.
- Coursers gain a +2 bonus to saving throws versus spells and effects that would directly hinder their normal movement. This includes slow, hold, and paralyzation spells, as well as poisons that cause such effects, but not damaging spells that harm the legs, or spells and effects such as grease.
- At 2nd level, coursers can cast know direction or purify food and drink (as the 1st-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 4th level, coursers can cast pass without notice or restore strength (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 6th level, coursers can cast haste (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) upon themselves or know customs (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day. This usage of haste does not age the caster.
- At 8th level, coursers can cast tongues (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 11th level, coursers can cast clear path or easy march (as the 5th-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 15th level, coursers become immune to spells that directly hinder their normal movement, including slow, hold, and paralyzation. They do not become immune to poisons or magic items that cause similar effects.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Swift Filly can cast the 2nd-level priest spell favor of Shaundakul (known as favor of Linroth to the clergy), detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Shaundakul.
Messenger Speed (Pr 2; Alteration)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 day/level
Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Saving Throw: None
This spell magically enhances the ability of a single creature to perform long-distance overland running. For the duration of this spell, a creature making use of the Running non-weapon proficiency is able to run 20% further in a day, and only needs to sleep for six hours at the end of the day. Finally, the proficiency check made at the end of the day to determine if the creature is able to continue their running pace the following day gains a +2 bonus. This spell leaves the affected creature physically exhausted for a full day at its expiration, although the creature can end it early so long as they have not begun running for the day. If ended early, the creature still becomes physically exhausted, however; this is typically done when the spell’s duration exceeds the planned trip length. During this day, the creature is unable to perform any strenuous activity or perform overland movement. In addition, they require twice the normal fluid intake and must sleep for ten uninterrupted hours that night to recover. Failure to do so causes the creature to suffer a −2 penalty to attack rolls, damage, and any checks involving Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a waterskin full of water. The waterskin and water are consumed in the casting.
Stamina of Linroth (Pr 2; Alteration)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: Creature touched
Saving Throw: None
With this spell, the caster improves the stamina of a single creature. While under the effects of this spell, the target creature gains a 20% boost to their land movement rate; this increased movement rate does not apply to flying, swimming, burrowing, or other special movement types. In addition, for the purposes of jogging and running checks (see Chapter 14: Movement, section Jogging and Running in the Player’s Handbook), the creature gains a +2 bonus to their Strength and Constitution scores, including the duration of running and jogging. These bonuses apply only to short term running and jogging, not long term running using the Running non-weapon proficiency.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a pinch of sugar.
Market Sense (Pr 3; Divination)
Components: V, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: Special
This spell, a variant of the detect lie spell, allows the priest to determine if another party in a mercantile transaction is trying to cheat them. It does not reveal the nature of the cheating, only that there is something amiss with the transaction. The spell only operates based on the perception of the other party in the transaction, however; if they are unaware of information that would sway the caster one way or another, this spell would not reveal that there is anything amiss with the transaction. This spell also does not aid in haggling or alert the caster to the true value of goods or services; a seller trying to maximize their profit without cheating is not within the scope of the market sense spell.
For example, a priest who casts this spell before purchasing a horse would be made aware that there was something wrong with the transaction if the seller insisted the animal was healthy while knowing it was in fact lame. The spell would not alert the priest if they wished to purchase a saddle that was in actuality a cursed magical item if the seller was completely unaware of this fact, however. Finally, if the caster wished to sell an old sword they discovered during a recent adventure, and a potential buyer recognized it as the famous blade of a long-dead king, the priest would learn something was amiss if the buyer stated it was a relatively worthless weapon. They would not be alerted if the potential buyer was unaware of the weapon’s pedigree, however.
Individuals the caster interacts with are allowed a saving throw against the spell’s effects, modified for the caster’s Wisdom adjustment as the detect lie spell. If the saving throw is successful, the caster is not made aware of this fact. The magic resistance, if any, of creatures the priest interacts with does not apply to this spell.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a single platinum piece.