One of the most famous centaurs, Kheiron is the offspring of the Titan Cronus, but does not share his disposition towards the Olympians. As such, he is included in both that human pantheon and the centaur pantheon, and has branches of his clergy among both races. Throughout his history, he has taken special interest in educating would-be heroes, and his mythology includes many long lists of the heroes he has educated.
Kheiron (PDF Version)
(The Educator, the Wise and the Just, the Teacher of Heroes)
Lesser Power of Arborea and the Beastlands, LG
Portfolio: Learning, education, teaching, medicine, moral and ethical conduct, music, prophecy
Domain Name: Olympus/Olympus (Mount Pelion) and Krigala/Mount Pelion
Allies: Aphros, Apollo, Asklepios, Brilros, Bythos, Dionysos, Fanthros, Heracles, Linroth, Naharra, Skerrit, Zeus, the Olympians
Symbol: Branch with snared hares or upright ward key with a K-shaped bit
Wor. Align.: LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN
Famed throughout centaur and Olympian mythology for being a wise educator, Kheiron (KY-ruhn) is said to have taught many of the heroes of both pantheons. Contrasting significantly with the sylvan and agrarian nature of the rest of the centaur pantheon, he is said to be a civilizing deity who considers knowledge and education, as well as an ethical and moral life to be of the utmost importance. He always strives for the betterment of those he teaches.
In the myths of the Olympian deities, Kheiron is said to be a son of the Titan Cronus, and thus brother to Zeus. Unlike Zeus, his mother is Philyra, an Oceanid rather than another Titan; this separation put him outside the struggles for dominance among the generations. This illustrious parentage also left a mark that separates him from other centaurs, both mortal and immortal, for he has not the forelegs if a horse, but those of a man. This lineage also indicates his age, putting him before the other centaurs in the Olympian myths. For their part, centaur mythology rarely makes mention of a consistent origin for Kheiron, indicating to sages that he is indeed an interloper from the Olympian pantheon. In none of these myths, however, is he described as the progenitor of the centaurs, despite his age. His Olympian myths consistently state he lives in his domain of Mount Pelion with his wife, the nymph Khariklo, with whom he had three mortal daughters and one mortal son. Some traditions also hold him to be brother of the twin ichthyocentaur deities Aphros and Bythos.
Mythology is hazy on the circumstances of Kheiron’s birth, with some stories indicating his mother was so horrified at her son’s appearance that the other gods turned her into a linden tree, but other myths describe her as residing in his domain when he tutored various heroes. Whatever the truth, it is known that he was fostered by Apollo, under whom Kheiron learned his many skills, especially medicine, music, and hunting. Following the example set by Apollo, Kheiron became patron of education and learning, passing on his wisdom and moral and ethical guidance to future generations. It is said that those who he tutors become heroes not because of a preordained destiny or inherent greatness, but because of his wise tutelage. While he can be stern and demanding of his students, he has great love in his heart, and often comes to be seen as a surrogate or foster father by his charges. His students vary in the telling, but typically include the mythological or legendary founders of the communities telling the tales, as well as various deities such as Asklepios, Heracles, Dionysos, Linroth, and Fanthros. Other deities are often included in this list, depending on the importance to those telling the tale, as well. Especially among humankind, artwork depicting Kheiron teaching or fostering a great cultural hero is quite popular.
While Kheiron stands with the other centaur powers against the undeath Chitza-Atlan’s followers spread, the Teacher of Heroes truly has no foes. He is a kindly and compassionate being who tries to find the best in everyone, and teach them right from wrong. This nature and his infinite patience have earned him a great deal of respect and admiration, not to mention allies, among both the centaur and Olympian pantheons, and beyond.
Kheiron is quite active on the Prime Material Plane, sending avatars to tutor young would-be heroes, although he typically takes them to his realm on Arborea for instruction. He rarely involves himself in other affairs, particularly planar politics. His avatars sometimes travel through civilized lands to teach the people residing there, human or centaur, about morals, ethics, and justice.
Kheiron’s Avatar (Cleric 29, Ranger 18)
Kheiron typically appears as a centaur with human forelegs, with his human parts clothed in a himation. He has brown curly hair and always has a curly beard of varying lengths, and he wears a cap with a long tail of cloth. More recently, he has begun appearing as a typical centaur with fully equine forequarters, and wearing a short cape. He draws his spells from the spheres of all, astral, charm, combat, creation, divination, healing, law, necromantic, protection, summoning, thought, time, and travelers.
AC 1; MV 15; HP 175; THAC0 2; #AT 2
Dmg 1d6+9 (short bow +3, +6 Str) or 1d6+7 (staff +1, +6 Str)
MR 45%; SZ L (6 feet tall)
Str 18/00, Dex 17, Con 18, Int 18, Wis 22, Cha 18
Spells P: 12/12/12/12/11/9/7
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: Kheiron prefers to avoid combat if possible, but if it is necessary, he favors the use of his magic and ranged capabilities. He uses a recurved short bow +3 with an everfull quiver of normal arrows that also holds 10 arrows +1, with one such magic arrow being replenished every turn. If melee is engaged, the Educator prefers to subdue an opponent with overbearing or wrestling, and is considered a master at wrestling if using the rules from Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics. If he must, he can fall back on using his branch with snared hares as a staff +1.
Kheiron has all of musical and oratory abilities of a 20th-level bard, and always carries a magical lyre with him (typically as a harp of charming but other instruments are possible). Once per day he can cast each of neutralize poison, cure disease, cure critical wounds, cure blindness or deafness, and heal by a simple touch. Further, he can perform an augury or a divination three times per day each. He carries with him a long branch from which dangle up to three snared hares; if any of these hares are cooked into a meal, those partaking gain the benefits of a heroes’ feast. The hares are replenished at a rate of one per eight hours.
Kheiron is immune to disease, polymorph attacks, caused wounds, death magic and nonmagical weapons. He is immune to all poisons except those that are deadly, although such poisons are incapable killing him. Should he fail his saving throw against such poisons (he has a −4 penalty), he is wracked by great pain and suffers as if afflicted by a debilitating poison, and he loses all but 1 hit point. He is incapable of curing this poison on his own, although others may do so. He suffers no damage from such poisons if he makes his saving throw.
While he pays close attention to his followers, Kheiron does little to aid them directly. Instead, he favors manifesting his power through prophecy, omens, and divinations. Prophetic dreams, trances, and visions tend to be cryptic and require interpretation, or give two possible but divergent outcomes depending on the options before a follower, but without indication as to which leads where. In those rare situations where he feels direct intervention is warranted, he may manifest as a ghostly bow that fires ephemeral arrows to defend a follower, or a waft of music leading a follower to the safety of a cave. In general, however, he expects his followers to utilize what they have learned to survive.
Kheiron is served primarily by aasimon and archons, as well as asuras, buraq, dryads, einheriar, equinal guardinals, hares, hollyphants, horses, nymphs, oreads, pegasi, and satyrs. He expresses his favor through the discovery of laurel leaves, the ghostly music of a lyre, healing herbs of all sorts, and perfect crystals of any hue. His disfavor is shown through the appearance of venomous serpents and hydras, the burning sensation of a poisoned wound, and the discovery of rotting medicinal plants.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, monks, mystics, shamans
Clergy’s Align.: LG, NG, CG, LN, N
Turn Undead: C: Yes, SP: No, Mon: No, Mys: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: No, SP: No, Mon: No, Mys: No, Sha: No
All clerics and specialty priests of Kheiron receive religion (centaur) or religion (Olympian) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency, depending on the culture of the priest.
Kheiron’s clergy are well respected as educators and healers wherever they are found. Particularly among urbanized human civilizations, the priesthood operates colleges, schools, gymnasiums, and medical facilities, while in other civilizations, they have similar roles, but in far less formal environments. There are also oracles and soothsayers among their ranks, blessed with the gift of divination and prophecy. While often teaching needed skills to young warriors of their community, they never take part in war-making and always advocate that fighting should be a last resort. They attempt to instill in their pupils that they should fight honorably and uphold high moral and ethical standards in their battles.
Urban centers of worship dedicated to Kheiron tend to be large brightly painted and decorated marble structures with a low-sloped roof and columns lining either the front façade or all four sides. Witching typically resides a bronze, marble, or ivory-and-gold statue of Kheiron with an altar before it. Such buildings are rare however, with small temples or shrines located within colleges and hospitals run by his priesthood; such facilities include mosaics or paintings of the Educator teaching a prominent young cultural hero, and have a recumbent statue of the deity in the back before which offerings and prayers can be made. Outside of such civilizations, natural caves that could be home to no more than a single family are considered sacred, and often contain a small shrine at the back; villages with his clergy present also often have small shrines in a darkened structure to emulate a cave. Altars in such locations tend to be simple but colorful, usually containing a representation of Kheiron teaching a legendary ancestor or hero.
Novices in the service of Kheiron are called the Untutored, while full priests of the Educator are called the Learned. The hierarchy of the priesthood is based on skill in healing or education, with ranks starting at the First Degree for novices and ascending higher; there is no theoretic limit to the rankings, but it is rare for any priests to surpass the Tenth Degree. Specialty priests of Kheiron are called pharmakoi (singular: pharmakos). The priesthood of the Educator has a roughly even split of specialty priests (35%) and clerics (30%), with smaller numbers of shamans (20%) primarily among centaurs, monks (10%) serving in education institutes, and wandering mystics (5%). The clergy tends to draw slightly more males (55%) than females (45%). Finally, while centaurs and centaur-kin (60%) comprise the majority of his faith, he is still popular among humankind (37%), and even some satyrs and other sylvan races (3%) find their way into his priesthood.
Dogma: Kheiron’s clergy teaches ethics and morality to prospective members of the faith through a poetic recitation known as The Precepts of Kheiron. Taking the form of a narrative in Kheiron’s voice, it purports to chronicle the education of one of the local sect’s great cultural heroes, and contains proverbs, anecdotes, and teachings that the faithful are expected to remember and emulate. While many details vary, certain elements are common to all versions of the Precepts. These elements focus on the importance of freely giving aid to the poor and needy, of being fair and impartial in dealings with others, of sharing knowledge with others, and of listening to all sides and deliberating carefully before making great decisions. The narrative of the Precepts also relate knowledge of medical practice, herbology, and pharmacology used by the clergy, rendered as story elements of the young hero’s life with Kheiron, as well as elements of hunting, music, and prophecy.
Day-to-Day Activities: Followers of Kheiron in rural or agrarian societies tend to live on the outskirts of villages and small settlements, taking in orphans and acting as healers and impartial arbiters in disputes. They are respected by their fellows but see living apart from them as a necessity to maintaining the tenets of their faith. When not teaching youths or performing other duties to aid their fellows, they can be found gathering herbs, concocting remedies, and hunting just what they need to sustain themselves. They also enjoy playing music, be it alone or for others. Many also perform research on the herbs they collect, always trying to improve the efficacy of their medicines and healing techniques. More urban followers enjoy much the same sorts of tasks, but tend to be more official and structured in these roles. They may operate schools, apothecaries, or courts at the behest of local authorities, but they still enjoy trips to wild lands to collect herbs and hunt game. In all cases, any follower who returns home after a trip of several days or greater is expected to burn a small offering of healing herbs in Kheiron’s name, thanking him for their health and honoring the gifts he bestows upon them.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: On most worlds where Kheiron is worshiped, his faithful look to a specific constellation as representing the Educator. This constellation typically rises in mid-spring, and the conjunction of the constellation with the first full moon indicates that the following day is the Rite Into Wisdom, the holiest day in Kheiron’s church. This day typically marks the start of a new year of education for youngsters, as well as the graduation into adulthood for those who are being educated by members of the faith. In addition, it is said any wounds tended will heal faster than on other days, and herbal poultices and remedies will be more effective if created on this day. The priesthood maintains no special ceremonies beyond those that come with accepting a new ward or sending off a graduating adult, although most organized churches hold a morning ceremony to inaugurate the day at dawn.
Major Centers of Worship: The centaur world of Torus has many small temples and shrines dedicated to Kheiron, but the most holy sites on that world are located on a pair of forested mountain slopes home to abundant medicinal herbs. The first is Mount Anympros, said to be where Kheiron raised the legendary Ipposte, heroine and supposed founder of a dozen royal centaur families. Great poems are told by the centaurs of Torus that thousands of years ago she led her people in a great war against monstrous insects who rode the winds on giant leaves. Religious custom on the world today bars any centaurs from living on the slopes other than priests of Kheiron and their wards.
The second sacred mountain on Torus, Mount Pholida, is located on the coast of the Cylindrical Sea, and legend holds that Kheiron appeared there some three hundred years in the past to heal the mortally wounded chieftains of a pair of warring tribes, thus ending the feud between them and guaranteeing peace in the region. With the recent arrival of humans to a bay mere miles from the slope, the priests of Kheiron have led a committed movement of peace and friendship towards the newcomers, although many of the centaur communities in the area as yet distrusting and hostile towards the newcomers.
On Lagor’s World in Greatspace one kingdom of humans, the realm of Pelene, claims ancestry to Kheiron through the legendary marriage of one of his daughters and the founder of their kingdom. They claim this marriage took place on the slopes of Mount Melanippos, near their present-day capital, and the powerful church of Kheiron in the realm claims the mountain as a sacred site to their deity. As such, the shrines located on the mountain have become favored pilgrimage destinations for followers of the Educator throughout the sphere. Many members of the faith raised within the kingdom also travel outside the realm to share their knowledge and skills with the rest of the sphere’s inhabitants.
Affiliated Orders: The church of Kheiron maintains a number of independent monastic orders focused on developing their pharmacological knowledge, as well as using that knowledge to treat the sick and injured. These orders are collectively known as the Peliones, and unlike many monastic orders, they favor accessible locations near population centers, unless there is a distinct dearth of healing herbs in the area.
Priestly Vestments: Human worshipers of Kheiron wear a himation trimmed in green edging, a half-cape of rabbit fur when performing their duties, while high ranking priests wear a laurel wreath on their crown to signify their status. Centaurs typically only wear the rabbit fur half-cape, with high ranking priests also wearing laurel wreaths. An iron key with a K-shaped bit is the holy symbol of the priesthood.
Adventuring Garb: Members of Kheiron’s clergy wear the typical garments of their communities when not performing ceremonies. They favor clothing on the simple, sturdy end, seeing little need for more expensive and fashionable attire, and they usually carry herbs, tools, or other practical items in a pouch or satchel. If expecting danger, they wear light armor and favor bows, spears, and clubs as weaponry.
Specialty Priests (Pharmakoi)
Requirements: Dexterity 10, Constitution 10, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 14
Prime Req.: Intelligence, Wisdom
Armor: Any up to leather, plus shields
Major Spheres: All, astral, divination, healing, law, necromantic, protection, summoning, travelers
Minor Spheres: Animal, combat, creation, plant, time
Magical Items: Same as clerics, see below
Req. Profs: Bow (any except crossbows), healing or herbalism (pick one)
Bonus Profs: Astrology, set snares
- Pharmakoi may be centaurs, centaur-kin, or humans.
- Pharmakoi are not allowed to multiclass.
- Pharmakoi may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group with no crossover penalty.
- In addition to the normal magic items usable by priests, pharmakoi may use any items related to hunting, endurance, and athleticism regardless of class restrictions, as well as all warrior-only potions.
- Pharmakoi gain a +2 to their saving throws versus all poisons or disease.
- Pharmakoi can cast call upon faith or cure light wounds (as the 1st-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 3rd level, pharmakoi can cast chant or music of the spheres (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 5th level, pharmakoi can cast faith arrow or poultice (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 7th level, pharmakoi can cast accelerate healing or cure disease (as the 3rd-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 10th level, pharmakoi can cast cure serious wounds or neutralize poison (as the 4th-level priest spells) once per day.
- At 12th level, pharmakoi become immune to all poisons.
- At 16th level, pharmakoi can cast heal (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Teacher of Heroes can cast the 2nd-level priest spell faith arrow and the 5th-level priest spell favor, detailed in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Volume I, although excessive use of the latter spell will warrant punishment.
Locate Healing Herbs (Pr 1; Divination)
Range: 100 yds. + 20 yds./level
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 1 rd.
Area of Effect: The caster
Saving Throw: None
With this spell, the caster can locate the nearest source of healing herbs or medicinal plants. The caster need not specify the type of plant they are seeking, but they must know how to utilize the plants in question, however. The spell only indicates direction, not distance, but the caster can triangulate the location or follow the direction until it expires. The caster need not turn to face the plants in order to know which direction they lay. If there are no healing herbs within the spell’s range, it will inform the caster before expiring.
The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol.
Magical Snare (Pr 1; Invocation/Evocation)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: Up to 4 hrs./level
Casting Time: 1 rd.
Area of Effect: 6-inch sq./level
Saving Throw: Special
This spell creates a small snare for catching wild live such as squirrels, quails, rabbits, and the like. The caster need not have the proficiency set snares in order to utilize this spell, but having that skill increases the chances of catching a creature, as noted below. In order to cast this spell, the caster must clear a small area of natural ground (including the floor of natural caves), and outline the area of the snare with a finger. The snare can encompass a square of six inches on a side per caster level; in other words, a 4th-level priest can encompass an area one foot by one foot, six inches by two feet, etc.
If the caster has a feather, bit of fur, shed skin, or similar remains of a creature, the snare will exert a subtle attraction for that type of creature, and can catch only that sort of beast. Regardless, there is a base 30% chance plus 5% per caster level it will snare a creature for every 4 hours it is active; once it catches something, it cannot catch another creature and it cannot be reset. If the casting priest is proficient in setting snares, his chance to catch something increases to 10% per level. This spell can only catch creatures that live in the area; thus it will not capture a quail when set in a cavern a mile underground, but it might catch a lizard. Further, if cast in a desolate area with little appropriate animal life, such as in a desert, the total chance to catch anything is halved; the spell fails utterly if there is no animal life around, such as on a mountain-top glacier, or if the caster attempts to capture a specific animal type that does not live in the area. The spell can be used to catch fish if cast underwater.
At the time of casting, the priest has some options that can be set with the magical snare. They can choose to have the snare capture the creature unharmed, in which it is just subdued and restrained. However, this makes it an easy target for predators in the area. On the other hand, the caster can opt to have the animal painlessly killed if they want it for a meal; the magical snare offers no protection from carrion eaters, however. Finally, if the caster is within 100 yards, the spell can mentally alert them if it has caught something; this will awaken a sleeping priest. The spell can only catch mundane mammals, avians, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and arthropods of size T or smaller with no greater than Animal Intelligence. At 8th level, it can catch up to size S animals, and at 16th it can catch size M animals.
Finally, at 10th level, the spell can be cast in such a way that it can ensnare the foot of a humanoid of up to size M, but only if they step in the snare’s area and fail a saving throw versus spell. This form of snare cannot catch any other creature, and cannot subdue or slay a humanoid creature. The snare cannot be untied, but regardless of what it has caught, it can be severed and destroyed by inflicting 6 points of damage in one single attack with a slashing weapon; it is AC 2 to hit. Any attack that deals less than 6 points of damage will fail to harm the snare, as will attacks with bludgeoning or piercing weapons.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and either a piece of the specific creature to be captured or a silver wire formed into a loop.
Poultice (Pr 2; Necromancy)
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 rd.
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: None
By means of this spell, the caster creates a magical mixture that heals wounds and has a chance to eliminate poison and disease. To use the mixture, the caster must spread it on a piece of clean cloth and placed against aches, pains, or wounds. The magical poultice then heals 2d4+1 points of damage, and grants a new saving throw with a +2 bonus if the character has been affected by a poison or normal disease, but only if it was contracted through a wound the poultice is placed upon.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a handful of crushed herbs of any sort.