This month features the second of the four centaur deities that were listed but not detailed in an old Dragon Magazine articles on centaurs. Fanthros is the patriarch of the small clan of four deities, who all serve under Skerrit the Forrester. Among the small centaur pantheon, Fanthros is the deity of weather, the sky, and agriculture.
Fanthros (PDF Version)
(Storm-Hooves, of the Thundering Hooves, the Winged Stallion)
Lesser Power of the Beastlands, CG
Portfolio: Sky, weather, agriculture, grain, livestock, astrology, divination, pegataurs
Domain Name: Krigala/the Stormfield
Allies: Brilros, Eachthighern, Kheiron, Linroth, Naharra, Ramman, Stronmaus, Zeus
Foes: Chitza-Atlan, Talos
Symbol: Pair of horseshoe-shaped lightning bolts
Wor. Align.: LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN
With hooves that sound like thunder, Fanthros (FAN-throhs) gallops across the sky, bringing nourishing rains as well as damaging storms. He is temperamental, but never intentionally cruel, much as some of the storms he brings might seem. He gifted the centaurs with the knowledge of farming and animal husbandry, but makes sure farmers are ever vigilant of changing conditions that could affect crops. While most closely associated with thunderstorms of spring and summer, he is in fact the bringer of all weather, from winter blizzards to the calm clear days of spring. He is also said to have dominion over the stars and the secrets they hold, which can be revealed through divination.
While ordinarily cheerful and even boisterous, Fanthros is said to have mood swings and episodes of significant anger. In particular, centaur mythology attributes the prevalence of stormy weather during the summer months to Storm-Hooves’ dislike of the seasonal heat, which makes him cranky and irritable. In general, however, his mythology portrays his anger as being channeled against foes and threats, and many local myths describe events when monsters or hostile forces were destroyed or reduced due to storms, rain flooding, or blizzards sent by Fanthros. These sorts of events always cause harm to the centaurs, but also prevent much greater disaster at the hands of the defeated or reduced threat.
According to centaur mythology, Fanthros is strongly associated with divining future events, especially in regards to weather. One of his most important myths describes how in the distant past he made it clear when his storms would com, when the rains would water the fields, and when the winters would be bitterly cold or unseasonably temperate. His foes, rather than using this knowledge to improve their agriculture, instead used this knowledge to attack and harass centaurs at the worst possible times. Seeing the dire circumstances he had inadvertently wrought, he created the stars in the night sky to hide this and other information from all those unworthy, and shared the method to decipher the secrets with his followers. Unfortunately, the myth describes that he hid the information too well, explaining why even the best astrologers and diviners get things wrong on occasion.
Despite his association with agriculture, most pegataur tribes look to Fanthros as their primary patron. Despite this, he is not universally acknowledged as the creator of that race; this is sometimes credited to Eachthighern. This has not led to any animosity between the two winged deities, however, and they are known to get along quite well. Sages often look at this relationship and speculate that the two powers jointly created the pegataurs, although neither deity deigns to answer queries on the matter.
Fanthros is not a particularly sociable power, although he does maintain friendships with a number of other storm deities. He is known to visit Stronmaus on many occasions, and it is said Zeus is rather fond of some of the wines Fanthros produces in his realm, although this has put Storm-Hooves on the bad side of Dionysos. It is said that Talos has been considering a move against Fanthros, seeing him as a relatively weak power, and gaining a foothold among pegataurs would be an excellent way to advance his power. These are still just rumors for now, however.
The Winged Stallion rarely sends an avatar to the prime material plane, preferring to operate through his priests and weather events. When he does, his appearances are accompanied by quick by powerful storms, although rarely do these cause damage to centaur communities. More often than not, his appearances are at the request of Skerrit rather than his own desire.
Fanthros’s Avatar (Fighter 27, Cleric 17, Mage 17)
Fanthros appears as a white bearded mature male centaur with a coat of stormy gray and a pair of large white-feathered wings. He has grey eyes and a long mane of pure white hair, and his sun-tanned torso is well muscled. He favors an open jacket of pale blue with white fringes, and wears jewelry made of silver, turquoise, and smoky quartz. He draws his spells from all schools save necromancy and all spheres save elemental fire and thought, although he favors spells of elemental air and water and weather.
AC −1; MV 18, Fl 36 (A); HP 189; THAC0 −6; #AT 5/2
Dmg 1d8+12 (heavy lance +2, +7 Str, +2 spec. bonus in lances)
MR 20%; SZ L (9 feet tall, 11 feet long)
Str 19, Dex 16, Con 19, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 18
Spells P: 9/9/8/7/5/3/2, W: 5/5/5/5/5/3/3/2
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: Fanthros wields Lightning Lance, a heavy lance +2 that causes an additional 2d8 points of electrical damage on every hit, accompanied by a loud crack of thunder. Any electrical attack made against Fanthros, or that manifest anywhere within a 20-foot radius is immediately absorbed by this weapon. At any point after absorbing such an attack, regardless of how powerful it was, Storm-Hooves can unleash a 10-die chain lightning attack from the lance that never affects him.
Fanthros can cast cloudburst, precipitation, and plant growth 3 times per day. Once per day he can cast control weather and call lightning, and he can cast fog cloud and weather summoning once per hour. Once per week he can summon an elemental tempest that will serve him completely for a whole week.
Fanthros is immune to all electrical attacks and takes half damage (none if a save is made) from magical cold. He can be struck by weapons of a +1 enchantment or better, and no elemental air or water creatures, or quasielemental lightning creatures will harm him, even if compelled. Heat and fire magic make him rash and irritable, causing him to suffer a −4 penalty to hit, but a +2 on damage.
Fanthros manifests his power on the Prime Material Plane in a number of ways. His preferred method is to create a pulsing white star visible even during the day or through cloud cover that leads a follower away from danger or to a place of safety. If followers are beset by forces in excess of what they can handle, he may generate a massive fog cloud that impedes the sight of enemies, but not his followers. He has also been known to send rain, sleet, snow, hail, and other precipitation to slow down pursuit of his followers. If he feels more direct intervention is needed, he may create an enormous wind wall, call lightning, or send lightning bolts down on his followers’ foes.
Fanthros is served by served primarily by equine beings, including asperii, buraq, coltpixies, hippogriffs, kirin, pegasi, shedu, unicorns, wild horses, and zebra, as well as aasimon, air elementals, air sentinels, ashira, asuras, cloud dragons, cloud giants, djinn, elemental tempests, equinal guardinals, lightning quasielementals, mist dragons, opinicus, shockers, and storm giants. He expresses his favor through the discovery of amber, smoky quartz, turquoise, stones with asterism, and a low rumble of thunder that only the favored can hear. He expresses his disfavor through painful electric shocks, amber that crumbles to dust upon handling, and a sharp, loud thundercrack that only the disfavored can hear.
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 and specialty priests of Fanthros receive religion (centaur) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
The priesthood of Fanthros is well-respected in centaur communities, second only to that of Skerrit. While focused on the agricultural activities of their communities, they also tend to take leadership or political advisory roles, but typically only of small communities. They tend to dislike change and new ideas, except when it comes to agriculture and herding, and more than any other priesthood they disapprove of the general outlook of the clergies of Linroth and Brilros, although they don’t directly oppose them. The Winged Stallion’s clergy likes wide open spaces and uninterrupted expanses of sky; while found in every community, they are more common in those that live away from forests and mountains, and are especially common among nomadic groups. The exception to this general rule is the mountain-dwelling pegataurs, many of whom see Fanthros as their patron. Finally, his control over natural phenomenon attracts those wizards who wish to emulate that control.
Temples built in honor of the Winged Stallion are relatively common. They feature open and airy designs for the main worship area, although many also contain granaries used primarily as emergency food supplies. Larger complexes outside of settlements also include fields and pastures that the clergy and lay followers tend. Columns and open or partially open ceilings are the norm, although the grandest may have glass ceilings instead, so the worshippers can enjoy sun and rain in the same comfort.
Novices in the service of Fanthros are called Yearlings, while full priests are called Thunder Hooves. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by the priesthood of the Winged Stallion are Breeze, Gust, Squall, Gale, Storm, Sunshower, Rainstorm, and Thunderstorm. Higher ranking priests have unique titles granted to them based on their duties and achievements. Specialty Priests are known as drays. The Fanthrite clergy attracts more males (65%) than females (35%). Specialty priests (40%) and clerics (35%) are found in similar numbers, with substantially fewer shamans (18%) and a small minority of druids (4%) and wizards (3%) rounding out the priesthood. Most of the clergy consists of centaurs (68%) with a considerable minority of pegataurs (16%), followed by centaur-kin (8%), bariaurs (4%), pegasi (2%), chevalls (1%), and other tauroid and equine creatures (dracons, manotaurs, unicorns, wemics, etc.; 1%).
Dogma: Storms can be frightening and dangerous, but they bring live giving rain for crops and herds. Revel in the beauty of the open sky and the soothing rains. Care for the plants and animals that feed your people, as well as those who do the important work of tending them. Look to the skies and stars for answers, for truths are written there if one just looks.
Day-to-Day Activities: The Fanthrite clergy oversee the agricultural tasks of their communities, choose what and when to plant, which creatures are best to herd, and so forth. They typically keep the calendars for their communities, and seek to predict the weather and perform astrology to better aid decision-making. As such, they are often valued advisors of the local leadership, and especially in smaller farming communities, they adopt the mantle of leadership themselves. They can be fickle and hot-tempered, but also like to establish and stick to plans. Few things annoy them as much as those who do not plan ahead, or throw out apparently workable plans without what they would consider a good reason.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The most important days to the Fanthrite priesthood are the equinoxes, and ceremonies are held on both days. The spring equinox traditionally signals the start of the planting season, although the actual work of sowing the fields may start earlier or later, depending on the region and the crop. On this day the clergy holds a celebration known as the Drumming, in which priests ritually summon the spring rains to help the crops grow. This ceremony is attended by most members of the community, and features a great feast and a dance set to large drums, in which the priests drum their hooves in a regular rhythm on a wooden stage, meant to evoke thunder.
The autumnal equinox similarly traditionally signals the start of the harvest, and members of the community are expected to fast the day prior to the ceremony. The ceremony, known as the Browning, starts in the late afternoon with a solemn prayer of thanks to Fanthros and the other gods for the bounty soon to be harvested, and a sacrifice of food is burned to end the prayer. Members of the community then have a meal of simple foods, most typically breads, meats, and cheeses with no special preparation or spicing, as well as water or heavily diluted beer. During this time, members of the community are expected to let old grudges go, so they can all start with clean slates as autumn transitions to winter.
Substantially less prominent than these two events is the ceremony called the Warding. This falls on the summer solstice, and does not involve the community as a whole, although pious individuals are always welcome to attend. As Fanthros is known to get irate and grouchy in the summer heat, the clergy hopes to ward off the thunderstorms and hailstorms that could damage crops by offering up turquoise and silver jewelry, which are said to please him greatly.
Major Centers of Worship: The largest centaur city on the world of Torus, Korikos, features the most significant temple of Fanthros on that world. Named for the legendary event that led to the settling of the city, the Hall of the Thunderstruck Stone is a large circular structure on a hill outside the city. It features nearly 200 columns on the outer edge, and is designed so that on certain days of the year, the rising and the setting sun line up perfectly through the columns, causing the large, split Boulder in the center to cast a sacred shadow. It is said any farmer or herdsman who prays while in this shadow on the solstices will have good luck with their crops and herds for the next year. As this is such a rare opportunity, the temple maintains an extensive waiting list, although generous donations are known to advance individuals to the top of the list.
Affiliated Orders: The druids who serve Fanthros are often wandering priests who travel from farm to farm, offering their blessings in exchange for modest donations. They are known as the Spring Rains, for their blessings mostly involve ensuring good water access to those they help. They operate outside of the normal hierarchy of the church of the Winged Stallion.
Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial garb used by priests of Fanthros includes pale blue robes or jackets with white fur trim. Males always sport full beards, and both genders grow their hair long, although there is no restriction on hair styles. They favor silver jewelry, and high-ranking members of the church wear long stoles of light blue with silver thread embroidery. The holy symbol used by the priesthood is either an electrum horseshoe with a jagged, lightning-like appearance, or a metal bar that was struck by lightning.
Adventuring Garb: Priests of the Winged Stallion have no restrictions on the type of clothing they wear when traveling, but in battle, they never use metal armor. Their preferred weapons tend to be polearms, spears, tridents, javelins, bows, and slings. They are never known to use swords or crossbows.
Specialty Priests (Drays)
Requirements: Strength 9, Intelligence 11, Wisdom 12
Prime Req.: Intelligence, Wisdom
Weapons: Any polearm, dagger, dart, javelin, long bow, short bow, sling, spear, staff, trident
Armor: Any nonmetallic, plus shield
Major Spheres: All, astral, creation, divination, elemental (air, water), plant, protection, sun, time, weather
Minor Spheres: Animal, elemental (earth), healing, wards
Magical Items: As clerics
Req. Profs: Agriculture or astrology (choose one)
Bonus Profs: Weather sense
- Drays may be centaurs, centaur-kin, bariaurs, pegataurs, or chevalls.
- Drays are not allowed to multiclass.
- Drays gain a +2 saving throw bonus versus electrical attacks.
- Drays can cast entangle or precipitation (as the 1st-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 3rd level, drays can cast augury (as the 2nd-level priest spell) once per week.
- At 3rd level, drays can cast alter self (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day for every two levels they achieve beyond 3rd (so twice at 5th, three times at 7th, etc.). They can only adopt equine forms with or without wings using this power.
- At 6th level, drays can cast cloudburst or plant growth (as the 3rd-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 9th level, drays can cast call lightning (as the 3rd-level priest spell) or divination (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 12th level, drays can cast air walk or control winds (as the 5th-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 15th level, drays can cast ice storm (as the 4th-level wizard spell) or weather summoning (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Winged Stallion can cast the 2nd-level priest spell favor of the goddess (known to the clergy as favor of Fanthros), detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Chauntea.
Thunderhooves (Pr 1; Invocation/Evocation)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 turn/level
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: None
When this spell is cast, the priest’s hooves generate a loud rumbling like thunder whenever they move at more than a slow walk. This sound is difficult to pinpoint, although it does prevent any sort of stealthy movement. This sound frightens normal and giant non-predatory animals of Large size or smaller, and causes them to move away from the sound at their maximum movement rate. Predatory animals of the same sort are allowed a morale check to resist the impulse. Animals specifically trained for combat situations are immune to this effect.
While intelligent creatures are not normally specifically affected by this spell, those with a fear of storms will react accordingly. In addition, they may be fooled into taking shelter, thinking there is a storm approaching, or may even be mistaken into thinking a large force of riders are passing. Such situations must be adjudicated by the Dungeon Master on a case-by-case basis.
The caster can end this spell at any time before it expires.
The material component for this spell is a flexible, 1-inch square of metal.
Lightninghoof (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere: Combat, Weather
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 rd./2 levels
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: ½
By means of this spell, the caster empowers their hooves to give a shocking jolt when used in battle. In addition to normal damage, any hoof attack the priest makes deals an extra 1d8 points of electrical damage, plus 1 point per two levels. Thus, an 8th level centaur priest could kick with both hooves for 1d6+1d8+4 points of damage each. Note that a simple touch is not enough to trigger this spell; it has no effect on a trampled creature, for example. A successful saving throw vs. spell reduces the electrical damage to half.
Arrow of Lightning (Pr 3; Conjuration/Summoning)
Range: 10 ft.
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./2 levels
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 1 missile/2 levels
Saving Throw: ½
When this spell is cast, the priest turns ordinary arrows or bolts into electrically charged missiles. The caster is able to enchant one missile per two levels of experience in this way, either by touching them or simply pointing, so long as they are within 10 feet at the time of casting. The arrows need not be loosed right away, but if not launched within one round per two levels of experience, they lose their power and the arrows disintegrate.
Missiles enchanted with this spell gain a +2 bonus to their attack roll if used against opponents in armor consisting primarily of metal, and if it hits, it deals an extra 2d6 points of damage on top of the normal missile damage; if a save is successful, the electrical damage is halved. There is also a loud thunder clap released upon the missile striking, but this is not loud enough to cause harm. Any missile so enchanted disintegrates after it hits or misses. If the missiles hit flammable or destructible objects, they must make an item saving throw versus electricity; if the save is failed, the item ignites or is destroyed.
The material component of this spell is a one-inch piece of copper wire and the priest’s holy symbol.