One of the younger elven deities from the pages of Dragon Magazine, Araleth Letheranil is the god of starlight. He is an adventurous deity that keeps darkness at bay, and opposes many of the traditional enemies of the surface elves, especially drow. These traits have made him particularly popular with the members of the Elven Fleets in wildspace.
Araleth Letheranil (PDF Version)
(The Prince of Stars, the Twilight Rider)
Lesser Power of Arborea, CG
Portfolio: Light, starlight, twilight
Domain Name: Arvandor/House of Glowing Stars
Superior: Corellon Larethian
Allies: Artemis, Brandobaris, Celestian, Eilistraee, Muamman Duathal, Sehanine Moonbow, Selûne, Shevarash, Xan Yae, the Seelie Court, the Seldarine
Foes: Cegilune, Cyric, Erythnul, Hecate, Lolth, Malar, Mask, Nerull, the Queen of Air and Darkness, Shar, Shargaas, Talos and the gods of fury, Tharizdun, the drow pantheon (except Eilistraee), the goblinkin pantheons
Symbol: A white shaft of light, small at the top and largest at the bottom
Wor. Align.: LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN
One of the younger generation of elven deities, Araleth Letheranil (AIR-ah-leth leh-THAIR-an-ill) is the adventurous power of starlight and twilight. He is a deity of the night, but not a deity of darkness; he represents the beauty of a starlit night, and shining a light into the dark to keep hidden evils at bay. He is earnest and somewhat impetuous, always ready to combat those who threaten elven peoples.
Araleth is one of a group of younger elven deities called the “Second Born,” so named because their emergence into the pantheon came after the great formative events from Corellon’s battle with Gruumsh and the banishment of Lolth. He is typically seen as a child of Corellon and Sehanine, and thus referred to as the Prince of Stars. As with most of the elven deities, however, there are contradictory myths on his origin, with some portraying him as having sprung fully formed from the starlight that witnessed the elven grief and anger over the Descent of the Drow. The aftermath of those events has had a great influence on Araleth’s formation, for he has become among the most militant of the elven powers. His myths are full of tales of daring exploits and desperate combat with the foes of the elven races, and these myths have inspired many an adventuring band over the centuries.
Araleth’s most famous myth varies in the telling, but always culminates in a battle with Lolth herself, which leaves him with a visible scar from her poisoned bite. In some versions, he and a number of other young elven deities decided to capture the Demon Queen of Spiders and deliver her to Corellon. This version always carries a moral about being overconfident and overcome with hubris, as Corellon and other elder members of the pantheon must intervene to save the youngsters. The tale is not without inspiration, for the bravery and skill displayed by the Second Born deities are praised, leaving no doubt that their heart was in the right place. A less moralistic version of this myth is not as common, but still holds important lessons. In this version, Araleth is a part of a mixed group of deities that often includes Muamman Duathal of the dwarves and Brandobaris of the halflings as they are exploring some ancient ruin or cave. Within they discover a massed army of drow led by Lolth herself, ready to invade the surface world at any moment. Seeing that there is no time to spare for gathering allies or warning others, the band uses their skills to disrupt and delay the army, while sneaking into the command tent to battle Lolth herself. They manage to put her to flight and scatter the army long enough to then summon allies, but not before Araleth is grievously wounded and leaving him with his scar.
Araleth is on good terms with the rest of the Seldarine, and swiftly aids them if their followers are threatened by enemies of the elven peoples. He is closest with the other younger members of the pantheon who often work together as a cohesive group, but the deity he is most strongly allied with is Shevarash the Black Archer. The two share an eagerness to fight the drow that most other members of the pantheon don’t feel, and both are the most militaristic of the elven deities. Araleth’s determination to fight the dark elves and their gods is not due to revenge; instead, he sees them as an existential threat to surface elves. The Prince of Stars does not share the Black Archer’s antipathy towards Eilistraee, either; Araleth respects her efforts to change the drow and appreciates the good she does in the dark of night and the tunnels within the earth. Outside of the elven deities, the Twilight Rider is on excellent terms with the more adventurous powers and those who offer protection against evil in the dark of night. In a similar vein, he stands firm against those deities who use the cover of darkness to commit their evil acts. He has established a firm friendship with the Oeridian power of stars and wanderers, Celestian. Both revel in the unique beauty of a star-filled night sky, and enjoy sharing that beauty with their mortal followers.
Araleth is fairly active, often sending avatars to aid elven communities against the depredations of drow and other night-borne threats. His avatars make comparatively common visits to elven settlements in wildspace, and it is said his avatar made a personal appearance in more than one major battle of the First Unhuman War. When he is not sending avatars to protect elven lands or combat threats they face, he is known to travel to worlds with exceptionally beautiful night skies.
Araleth’s Avatar (Fighter 26, Crusader 22, Mage 16)
Araleth appears as a dusky-skinned elf with eyes that sparkle like stars. He wears his dark hair short, and is usually dressed in warrior’s clothes and leathers of shimmering white. He often appears riding a twilight-hued steed with eyes that sparkle like his own, named Twilight. Araleth draws his spells from all schools save necromancy and all spheres; he never uses spells that create darkness, however.
AC −3; MV 15; HP 186; THAC0 −5; #AT 5/2 or 2
Dmg 1d6+13 (spear +3, +8 Str, +2 spec. bonus in spears) or 1d8+10 (long bow +1, arrows +1, +8 Str)
MR 60%; SZ M (5 feet tall)
Str 20, Dex 21, Con 19, Int 20, Wis 19, Cha 18
Spells P: 12/11/11/10/9/6/3, W: 5/5/5/5/5/3/2/1
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6
Special Att/Def: Araleth wields Starlight, a spear +3 that can elongate into an awl pike or transform into any sort of lance instantly. Regardless of form, this weapon can dispel shadowy undead (shadows, slow shadows, wraiths, etc.) if they fail a saving throw versus death with a −6 penalty. Even should such creatures succeed in saving, they suffer double damage, as do creatures from the demiplane of Shadow. If he desires, the Prince of Stars can conjure up a sparkling longbow +1 and a quiver of twenty arrows +1.
Six times per day, Araleth can cast lance of starlight, light, lower resistance, and starshine. Once per day he can cast Sol’s searing orb and sunray. When he is fighting during dusk, dawn, or a night with stars in the sky, all saving throws are made against his magic with a −2 penalty, and his opponents’ magic resistance checks are halved.
The Prince of Stars is immune to blinding and all light-based attacks, as well as spider venom. He can always see through magical darkness perfectly, and he cannot be affected by faerie fire. He is immune to the special weapons of drow manufacture unless they have an effective bonus of +2 or higher; otherwise he can be struck by weapons of +1 or better enchantment.
The Twilight Rider’s manifestations typically take the form of a glittering, starry aura around a creature or object. This aura renders an object completely immune to drow magic of any sort, and inflicts 6d4 points of damage to a non-good drow who attempts to touch the object. When this aura appears around a creature, it grants a complete immunity to poisons of all sorts, and the creature gains 15% magic resistance against drow magic. Further, any contact between this aura and magical darkness instantly nullifies the effect. Less commonly, he makes a particular star glow brightly, even during the day, in order to lead a follower to safety or a specific objective.
The Seldarine call on agathinons, asuras, and ancient treants as their preferred servants, but Araleth is also served by aasimar, constellates, eladrins (particularly ghaeles and shieres), firestars, radiance quasielementals, radiant dragons, starfly plants, stellar dragons, and sunflies. He displays his favor through the discovery of onyx, star rose quartz, star sapphires, and other gems displaying asterism, as well as night-blooming cestrum and other night-blooming flowers. His displeasure is shown through the appearance or discovery of pitch-black night birds, black cats, black tourmalines, jet, and other pure black stones, as well as a seemingly starless night.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, crusaders
Clergy’s Align.: NG, CG, N, CN
Turn Undead: C: Yes, SP: Yes, Cru: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: No, SP: No, Cru: No
All clerics (including multiclassed half-elven clerics), specialty priests, and crusaders of Araleth receive religion (elf) and reading/writing (elvish) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies.
Araleth’s church is not particularly prominent on most worlds, although small communities of followers can be found in large elven nations, especially those with standing armies. Over the centuries he has gained in popularity somewhat with elven youths, especially those for whom the draw of exploring and adventuring is strong. This has earned the Twilight Rider’s church a slightly unfavorable view among older and more conservative members of elven society, who hold that the clergy encourages youthful rebelliousness. Exceptions to these views do exist, however. The faith of the Prince of Stars is particularly strong among the wildspace fleets of the Elven Imperial Navy and the Sindiath Line, where he is seen as guiding and protecting the common sailors and soldiers throughout the spheres.
Temples dedicated to the Prince of Stars are built to have high domed ceilings in the central worship area, with quarters and offices radiating out from the center. The upper reaches of the dome are painted black or dark blue, and set with clear gems enchanted to glitter like stars. These gems are usually set to match the constellations in the night sky at the spring equinox. Windows are rare in the worship hall and any that do exist are opened only at night, so as to keep the hall illuminated as a starlit night. Stellar observatories can often be found attached to long-standing temples, used for studying the night sky by astrologers and astronomers, who are held in equal regard within the priesthood. Shrines dedicated to Araleth are usually simple box-like structures with a quarter dome decorated with a portion of the night sky. Clear gems may be found in more luxurious shrines, but simple white paint suffices for most common worshipers.
Novices in the service of the Twilight Rider are called the Starry-Eyed. Full priests of the Prince of Stars are called Celestial Watchers. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by the Aralethian clergy are preceded by the phrase Light of the Morning Star, Light of the Evening Star, Light of the Wandering Star, Light of the Nova Star, Light of the Asterism, Light of the Constellation, and Light of the Zodiac. High-ranking priests have unique individual titles. Specialty priests are called twylar. The clergy of Araleth includes high elves (56%), grey elves (31%), sylvan elves (4%), half elves of those ancestries (8%), and a small number (1%) of avariel, dark elves, lythari, sea elves, and half-elves of those ancestries. Araleth’s priesthood includes clerics (50%), including multiclassed half-elven clerics, specialty priests (35%), and crusaders (15%). The clergy is well represented with males (51%) and females (49%).
Dogma: Darkness hides much evil that would do harm to elven communities; be the light that illuminates and repels that evil. The beauty of the stars brightens the night even when the moon is dark, and guide wanderers and travelers to their destinations. Revel in the beauty of the night, but always be vigilant for the dangers it hides.
Day-to-Day Activities: Araleth’s clergy are often found among the militaries or martial organizations of elven society, as they believe it is their duty to shield their homelands from harm, as well as being the spears that destroy the enemies of their people. They are also common aboard sea-going vessels, whether they are martial or commercial in nature, where they are often navigators. Many choose a life of adventure as well, although most “retire” from this lifestyle as they get older and join the military or sign on to a sailing vessel. Such changes are especially common for wildspace elves. Members of Araleth’s clergy make their prayers when the first stars start appearing at dusk.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The most important holy day in the Aralethian church falls on the spring equinox. Starting at dusk, the clergy holds a ceremony called the Balance of Night’s Beauty. This ceremony starts with the entire priesthood singing in a choir about the beauty of the nighttime stars; this usually lasts until twilight becomes full night. At this time, a circle of starlight is created with starshine spells and each member sacrifices an item of beauty within the circle. Any item may be sacrificed, but items of silver and personal creations are favored, although there is no stigma for those without artistic talent to sacrifice objects others have made. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a final prayer is held, asking Araleth to grant them the wherewithal to continue fighting for their lands and peoples.
Major Centers of Worship: Small temples dedicated to the Twilight Rider can be found in prominent cities in most major elven nations. Evermeet on Toril, for example, is home to the Dusk Halls of Twilight, in Leuthilspar. This temple is favored by the sailors and navigators who call that port city home, although this occasionally creates tensions with the clergy of Deep Sashelas.
On Oerth, in Greyspace, the Lendore Isles have many shrines and small temples dedicated to the Prince of Stars, but they have fallen into disuse due to the increasingly favored church of Sehanine Moonbow. Still, there are many elven sailors who pray to Araleth before they sail, and his cultic center in the Asterhall Tower has been somewhat insulated to this pressure compared to the other temples and shrines. Only time will tell how the clergy responds to this change in the religious landscape of their society.
Wildspace is another story altogether. Many elven colonies include shrines to Araleth, and it is not uncommon to find at least one lay member on any given Imperial or Sindiath Line ship. His most prominent temple is located in the crystal sphere Darnannon, in the major port Sorellithar. This port is not only a mercantile center, but also one of the major elven shipyards, where flitters, men-o-wars, and other vessels are grown. The temple complex here, which is only modestly sized compared to the temples of Corellon, Sehanine, and others, is known as the Vault of the Starry Sky. It is said that the clergy here are the ones who conceived of the new Radiant Ship design.
Affiliated Orders: The church of Araleth sponsors only one military order, known as the Riders at Twilight. Contrary to the name, the order is not specifically a cavalry force, although some branches are trained that way. Consisting primarily of fighters, crusaders, and clerics, this martial order focuses on fighting in darkness or dim light in order to better take the fight to the foes of elves. Rarely consisting of more than 20 individuals in most elven nations, there are fairly substantial branches throughout the elven worlds associated with the Elven Imperial Navy, often reaching 100 strong.
Besides this order, a great many elven and half-elven adventuring companies are sponsored by the church of Araleth or look to his tenets as guiding principles. In addition, various guilds or collectives of astrologers and astronomers pay homage to the Prince of Stars throughout the elven nations.
Priestly Vestments: The ceremonial raiments of Araleth’s clergy consist of white robes with silver fringes and small polished rock crystal stones on the torso, with the number signifying rank. A white skull cap is sometimes worn by both genders, although this varies from temple to temple. The holy symbol of the faith is a rock crystal gem carved and polished to resemble a multi-pointed star with one long point projecting diagonally down to the left. Alternately, any polished gemstone showing asterism (star rose quartz, star diopside, star sapphire, etc.) can be used as well.
Adventuring Garb: The clergy of the Twilight Rider favors armor that allows freedom of movement, such as mail. When using shields, they use plain shields that are simply painted white and are otherwise unadorned. Spears, bows, and swords are the weapons most commonly used, although clerics typically use maces and slings. Members of the priesthood wear colors suited to their fancy, although black and very dark shades are frowned upon and seen as minor transgressions unless a situation requires such garb, such as wearing the colors of a noble house out of respect or needing to blend into the darkness for stealth purposes.
Specialty Priests (Twylar)
Requirements: Constitution 12, Wisdom 13
Prime Req.: Constitution, Wisdom
Armor: Leather, scale, chain mail, elven chain mail, elven plate armor, and shield
Major Spheres: All, astral, chaos, charm, combat, guardian, numbers, protection, sun
Minor Spheres: Divination, healing, necromantic
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Astrology or astronomy
Bonus Profs: Blind-fighting or navigation
- Twylars must be elves or half-elves. While most twylars are high elves or grey elves, elves and half-elves of every subrace are called to be specialty priests in Araleth’s clergy.
- Twylars are not allowed to multiclass.
- Twylars save against any magic or attacks that affect their vision with a +2 bonus. This saving throw bonus does not apply towards damage that such attacks cause unless only one save is allowed for both damage and vision impairment. For example, twylars do not gain this bonus against the damage from a crystal dragon’s breath weapon, but they do gain the save bonus against the secondary blinding effect, since it has a separate saving throw. Conversely, they do gain the bonus against the sunscorch spell, as the one save applies to damage and blindness.
- Twylars can cast light (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 3rd level, twylars can cast lance of starlight (as the 1st-level priest spell) or starshine (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 5th level, twylars can cast neutralize poison (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 5th level, twylars are immune to magical blindness, including that caused by breath weapons and other special powers, so long as the blindness is not physical. They do not gain an immunity to magical darkness, however.
- At 7th level, twylars can cast continual light (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 7th level twylars automatically save against all spider and spider-like (drider, ettercap, etc.) venoms.
- At 9th level, twylars can cast sunray (as the 7th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 12th level, twylars make all saving throws against drow magic with a +2 bonus. Further, drow magic resistance is reduced by 10% for determining if they are affected by a twylar’s spells. Driders and drider magic are equally affected.
Lance of Starlight (Pr 1; Invocation/Evocation)
Range: 40 yds.
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 4
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
When cast, this spell conjures a shaft of solid starlight to pierce a single foe. The target is allowed a saving throw to avoid the shaft of light, with a success indicating the lance of starlight missed altogether. A creature struck by this light suffers 1d6 points of damage, plus 1 point per caster level. Creatures of shadow or darkness (shadows, slow shadows, shades, shadow dragons, etc.), plus creatures summoned from the demiplane of Shadow, suffer 1d6 points of damage, plus 2 points per caster level. Any illusory creature created with the shadow monsters, demishadow monsters, or shades spells that are struck by the lance of starlight are instantly dispelled, whether or not the caster is aware of their nature. Because of the piercing nature of this spell, creatures that suffer reduced damage or are immune to piercing attacks gain that benefit against this spell. Finally, this spell has a chance to instantly slay a vampire if it fails a saving throw versus spell with a +4 bonus.
At least one star must be visible in the sky in order to cast this spell, although normal overcast skies are not sufficient to prevent the casting. It cannot be cast underground, inside buildings with no windows, or during full daylight hours, but stars visible through a window and morning or evening stars at dawn and twilight are sufficient to allow the use of the lance of starlight. This spell can always be cast in the void of wildspace.
Starry Strike (Pr 2; Enchantment/Charm)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd./level
Casting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 1 bladed weapon
Saving Throw: None
With this spell, the caster enchants a bladed weapon to emit motes of starlight. This grants no combat bonuses, but if used against creatures of darkness and shadow, the weapon deals 1 point of extra damage per caster level, to a maximum of +10. Further, undead shadows and slow shadows struck by a weapon enchanted with this spell are treated as if a turning attempt has been made by a cleric of equal level to the caster. Lastly, the caster can sweep the enchanted weapon through a field of magical darkness in order to destroy it, with the same probability of success as a dispel magic attempt at twice the caster’s level. A weapon affected by starry strike is treated as a +1 magical weapon for determining what it can hit.
The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a small clear gem worth 10 gp.
And The Stars Shall Guide (Pr 4; Divination)
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 hr./level
Casting Time: 1 rd.
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
By means of this spell, the caster calls upon the stars to act as a guide to a specific location. A single star in the night sky will glow brightly for the caster, and up to one additional companion per two casting levels; this star will indicate a straight-line path to the location desired. The location need not be familiar to the caster, but it must be a place, rather than an object or creature within a place. For example, this spell could lead the caster to “the nearest inn” or “the stone bridge along the King’s Highway where it crosses the Blue River,” but not “the remains of the hero Callis” or “the nearest green dragon lair.” The star will guide the caster and his companions regardless of terrain; it does not take into account hazards such as swamps, mountains, or deserts and will not lead the caster around them. At least one star must be in the sky for this spell to function; it will brighten a hidden star at dusk or dawn sufficiently for the caster to follow it, but it cannot make any stars visible during daylight. This spell always functions in the void of wildspace, but does not function underground. This spell functions on any planes other than the Prime Material Plane, so long as there is a night sky and stars; it cannot lead across planar boundaries or lead the caster to a planar portal.
The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol.