Skerrit the Hoofed Lord

As I mentioned in my previous post on Bahgtru, I’d burned out a bit working on another evil orc god. So for this update to Monster Mythology, I decided to work on something completely different, and Skerrit jumped out at me as something that could be a lot of fun, and it was.  I really enjoyed working on his writeup, and I think most of you will agree that he is makes a great addition to the existing set of nature deities, such as Silvanus and Rillifane Rallafil. Hopefully my additions to Spelljammer and the Forgotten Realms will be useful, interesting, and welcome.

Which actually reminds me.  I’d like to add some Greyhawk flavor to some of these write-ups, but I don’t know the setting all that well, and I don’t want to step on any toes, so to speak. So if anyone knows of any specific locations that are holy to one of the (non-demihuman) gods in Monster Mythology, please let me know! Alternately, if you know of a good location to put something, that would be welcome too!

Skerrit (PDF Version)
(The Forester, the Hoofed Lord)
Lesser Power of the Beastlands and the Planes, N(CG)

Portfolio:  Community, natural balances, woodlands, protection, centaurs and centaur-kin
Aliases:  None
Domain Name:  Krigala/Skerrit’s Glade and Wanders/the Seelie Court
Superior:  None
Allies:  Artemis, Baervan Wildwanderer, Balador, Beory, Cyrrollalee, Ehlonna, Eilistraee, Eldath, Epona, Erik, Hiatea, Lurue, Mielikki, Obad-Hai, Pan, Rillifane Rallathil, Sheela Peryroyl, Shiallia, Silvanus, Tapann, the centaur pantheon, the Seelie Court, the Seldarine
Foes:  Auril, Chitza-Atlan, Daragor, Iuz, Malar, Moander (dead), Talos, the Queen of Air and Darkness, goblinoid pantheons
Symbol:  Oak growing from an acorn
Wor. Align.:  LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN

Skerrit (SCARE-it) is the patron and protector of centaurs and embodies the guiding force that maintains the natural balance of the land and forests in particular. He protects the balance of the land so each creature can fulfill its allotted niche; as such, he provides prey for the hunters and predators and food for the hunted. He also represents the benefits of community and cooperation of beasts and intelligent creatures that live in harmony with nature.

As a member of the Outer Circle of the Seelie Court, he spends about half his time wandering the upper planes with them, and the rest of his time in his own domain on the Beastlands. The Hoofed Lord is one of the stronger warriors amongst the Seelie Court, and wastes no time rushing to their defense when they are threatened. In return, the other members assist the Forester’s folk with their magic when centaur lands are in danger from marauding beasts and goblinoid hordes. On some worlds, Skerrit is the head of a small pantheon of centaur gods and demigods, including Naharra, goddess of fertility and love, Fanthros, god of the sky and weather, Kheiron, god of learning and medicine, and Brilros and his sister Linroth, twin demigods of strength and speed. Skerrit’s closest allies outside of the Seelie Court and the centaur pantheon are the Seldarine, in particular Rillifane Rallathil, as many wood elves are often drawn to the Forester’s service. In addition, the Hoofed Lord maintains close ties with other gods who protect the natural environment, such as Silvanus and Obad-Hai, as well as hunting deities who oversee skill and excellence and teach their followers to take no more than is needed. Amongst these he is very close to Ehlonna and Mielikki, occasionally serving as a mount for them when they confront evil powers intent on destruction of nature. The Forester is also known to cavort and carouse with Pan and Dionysus, and he shares their love of intoxicating beverages.

Skerrit strongly opposes evil gods of hunting and destruction, especially Daragor and Malar. Their disregard for the balance of nature and preference to kill for the sake of killing is abhorrent to the Hoofed Lord. In addition, he opposes the gods of natural destruction, such as Auril and Talos, because they disregard the natural balance of creation and destruction. As with all the other members of the Seelie Court, Skerrit opposes the Queen of Air and Darkness and her Unseelie Court from wresting control of the faerie races from Titania. He also has a special enmity for Chitza-Atlan, an interloper god in the small centaur pantheon, for corrupting some centaur tribes into death cults.

The Forester is very active on worlds where he has a large number of followers. He is likely to send an avatar to help sylvan communities threatened by unnatural disasters or servants of an evil deity. He also has been known to send an avatar to the woodland edges to spy out danger. In such a capacity, he typically does not confront the dangers directly, but instead warns centaurs and faeries of the looming threats. He occasionally will send an avatar to woo a pretty young centaur maid, and it is rumored he has a fostered not a small number of powerful lineages.

Skerrit’s Avatar (Ranger 29, Druid 27)
Skerrit typically appears as a powerful male centaur with thick chestnut hair, and his head is adorned with a wreath of oak leaves and acorns. He wears a chain mail vest which can change to any color he wishes instantaneously. He uses spells from the spheres of all, animal, divination, elemental, healing, plant, protection, sun, time, travelers, wards, and weather.

AC –2; MV 21; HP 177; THAC0 –8; #AT 2
Dmg 2d8 + 10 (spear +3, +7 Str) or 1d8 + 11 (bow +3, arrows +1, +7 Str)
MR 30%; SZ L (12′ long)
Str 19, Dex 16, Con 17, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 17
Spells P: 11/11/9/9/9/9/5
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def: Skerrit wields a golden-tipped spear +3 known as Oakthorn that causes double damage against any evil intelligent beasts (werewolves, manticores, chimeras, etc.). He also carries a longbow +3 and a quiver of 24 arrows +1. If he runs out of arrows, he can summon a new quiver-full in one turn.

At will, the Forester can polymorph self into any natural forest creature or plant. While in centaur form, he can gallop at triple normal movement rate of one turn, but he must rest for 2 turns thereafter.

The Hoofed Lord is immune to harmful effects from any priest spells of the plant and animal spheres. He is immune to poison, disease, caused wounds, death magic, and polymorph attacks. No faerie creature, natural woodland animal, or non-evil sentient plant will attack Skerrit, even if magically controlled. He can only be struck by +1 or better magical weapons. He always wears a chain mail vest +2, but never wears barding or uses a shield.

Other Manifestations
The Forester is known to manifest frequently to his followers. His most common appearance is through odd behavior of animals during a mock hunt. The specific behavior the creature exhibits indicates different types of dangers present nearby; priests are all trained to recognize these omens on sight. Other times, when a sylvan creature is alone and in danger, Skerrit will appear as a magical path through the forest that will lead the creature to safety. Any foes who attempt to follow the path will quickly become lost and confused and wind up in areas of great danger to themselves. He will sometimes warn of impending danger by causing a single tree to rustle and sway as if in a strong wind that is not there and does not affect any other trees. He can also manifest directly through the actions of any individual normal animal, and can animate any plant to act in a specific manner. These appearances will always serve to warn of specific threats and will not join combat or act directly against a foe.

Skerrit is served by aasimon, alaghi, amber dragons, asuras, atomies, bariaur, black and brown bears, buraqs, chevalls, coure eladrins, dryads, einheriar, faerie dragons, feystags, firbolg, hippogriffs, hsing-sing, hybsils, kercpa, korreds, leprechauns, moon-horses, normal forest animals of all types, nymphs, pegasi, pegataurs, pixies, pseudodragons, satyrs, shargugh, shatjan, sprites, treants, unicorns, voadkyn, werebears, and wild horses. He demonstrates his favor through the discovery of amber, emeralds, peridots, petrified wood, the blooming of a single flower on a tree, the budding and rapid growth of a new tree limb, or the appearance of a normal sylvan animal that approaches to be petted. The Hoofed Lord indicates his displeasure by the sudden withering of an entire tree limb, the appearance of a large number of squirrels who pelt an offending individual with acorns and other nuts, and the breakage of all hunting weapons owned by an offending individual.

The Church
Clergy:  Clerics, specialty priests, crusaders, druids, mystics, shamans, rangers
Clergy’s Align.:  NG, CG, N, CN
Turn Undead:  C: Yes, SP: No, Cru: No, D: No, Mys: No, Sha: No, R: No
Cmnd. Undead:  C: No, SP: No, Cru: No, D: No, Mys: No, Sha: No, R: No

All clerics (including multiclassed fighter/clerics), specialty priests (including multiclassed ranger/specialty priests), crusaders, druids, mystics, shamans, and rangers of Skerrit receive religion (Seelie Court) and religion (centaur) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies. All of the Hoofed Lord’s priests may use spears, lances, and bows, regardless of class, and shamans are required to become proficient in the use of the spear.

The Forester’s church is well regarded and his priests highly respected throughout those sylvan communities that try to live in harmony with nature. Elven settlements in particular are very welcoming to centaur guests, and many often have permanent centaur residents. Many sylvan races pay homage to Skerrit, and his church rarely turns away any who wish to join his service. Shamans of the Hoofed Lord tend to be leaders of their tribes, while other types of priests tend to be advisors to the secular leaders and moral guides for the people. The Forester’s followers work with rangers, druids, elves, and faeries to protect the wild places from marauding beasts and humanoids, especially those that follow deities of wanton destruction such as Malar or Daragor. Skerrit’s priests tend to distrust most humans; this is primarily because they are far more likely to encounter human-run logging operations than any other human endeavor. These encounters often lead to skirmishes, although outright warfare is rare. They usually grudgingly accept those operations that include replanting efforts to mitigate the loss of woodlands.

Skerrit’s followers do not typically build temples; instead he is most often worshipped in well-maintained oak groves that allow large groups to gather and feast together. These groves are always tended throughout the year by at least one priest, even if the tribe it servers is nomadic. The groves are at a minimum 40 feet wide, and can get much larger if located near a substantial settled community. A large unworked stone with a flat surface is placed at one end of the grove to act as an altar; it is left undecorated or decorated very simply with hand-crafted artistic goods given as gifts by worshippers and visitors. The holiest of these sites are naturally occurring; however there is no prohibition against creating one artificially, so long as it is created with care. If the shrine is in an area threatened by evil humanoids or other enemies of the Forester, the grove will be protected on three sides by tall, thorny bushes, forcing most attackers through a well-guarded entrance. In the rare circumstances that the Hoofed Lord’s clergy build temples, it is usually due to the influence of more urbanized creatures friendly to Skerrit’s followers located nearby. Such temples are usually open to the sky and feature tall spiral-fluted stone columns carved to look like they are covered in vines. These columns support lintels designed to look like the spreading branches of oak trees. Any green-hued stone, such as green marble or green granite, is the preferred construction material, but the columns will usually be painted if stone of another color is all that is available. As with the sacred groves, a simple unworked stone with a flat top serves as the altar. These temples are particularly popular amongst satyrs and elves.

Novices in the service of Skerrit are known as Yearlings. Full priests are known as Balancekeepers. Specialty priests are called forest guardians. The church is not organized in a strict hierarchy, although younger priests always defer to elder priests in all things. Most priests serve their tribe or shrine exclusively, or wander through all the sylvan lands inhabited by their allies. When there are multiple full priests in a community, the eldest is known by the title Balancelord. The Forester’s clergy is composed primarily of centaurs (75%), with much smaller numbers of wood elves (7%), hybsils (5%), pegataurs (3%), satyrs (3%), alaghi (2%), voadkyn (2%), chevalls (1%), korreds (1%), and other sylvan races (1%). Males make up the overwhelming majority (80%) of the priesthood. Skerrit’s clergy is comprised of about even numbers of clerics (20%), forest guardians (20%), druids (20%), and shamans (20%), as well as smaller numbers of rangers (10%), crusaders (3%), mystics (3%), fighter/clerics (2%), ranger/forest guardians (1%), and ranger/shamans (1%).

Dogma: Maintain the balance of the land, which is the balance between life and death and the balance between predator and prey. Educate those who disrupt this balance through ignorance. Hunt down those who intentionally disrupt this delicate balance. The bounty of the land is there for all; take no more than you need. Maintain community balance through understanding and cooperation. Sooth hurts and disagreements in the community with wisdom and just decisions. A community in balance is a strong community. A strong community is the best protection against the unbalancing forces arrayed against the sylvan races.

Day-to-Day Activities: Priests of the Forester that are part of a large community most often function as teachers, advisors, and judges. They instruct youngsters on how to properly care for their lands and all the resources contained therein, as well as the nature of the balance between predator, prey, and plant. Chiefs and other leaders look to the priests for advice and divinations; the priests typically determine whether there are good or bad omens for any particular major undertaking. In their role as judges, they aim to resolve disputes fairly and in such a way that soothes anger and tension and keeps the community structurally sound. Shamans, unlike their more organized brethren, are more often found as members of much smaller communities, and they are almost always the political as well as spiritual leader. Shamanistic position is most often passed father to first-born son (and, rarely, passed to daughters); this practice is far less common amongst regular priests. The clergy are also charged with monitoring the area around them, regardless of where they are, and keeping track of any dangers or potential dangers that could disrupt the natural balances and cycles of the land. The Hoofed Lord’s priests willingly help and protect any hunters or adventurers who seek to rid the area of dangerous evil beasts, as well.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Once a month, during the nights of the full moon, priests lead all members of their community, as well as any friendly sylvan creatures that may be visiting or living nearby, in a great festival to celebrate Skerrit’s protection and guidance. The festivals are joyous occasions marked by music and intricate dancing, feasting, drinking and carousing, athletic competitions including archery and racing, and mock hunts. The mock hunts are the primary focus of these events, and are often viewed as predictors of short-term prosperity. In addition to these monthly festivals, each year on the equinoxes, the Forester’s followers hold a weeklong celebration that is very similar in outward appearance, but emphasize the music, dance, and athletic aspects. The celebration during the spring equinox, called the Festival of Return, represents the bringing of new life and the return of migratory creatures. The most detailed and complex dances are saved for this festival, and many visitors are mesmerized by the subtle moves of the dancers, which are always in male-female pairs. The autumnal equinox festival is called the Gift of Life, and marks the beginning of winter preparations for all plants and animals and celebrates the creatures and plants that give their lives to allow everything else to survive. Mock hunts are especially important during this festival.

Major Centers of Worship: Followers of the Hoofed Lord do not make pilgrimages very often, and as such, most of his temples and shrines are regional affairs and do not gain the level of renown of many temples of the human and elven gods. However, some few become well known beyond their nearest neighbors. Of those, the largest is the sacred grove on the world of Torus known as the Grove of the Unstrung Bow. This holy site functions as neutral ground where the centaur tribes and nations can meet and work out their differences diplomatically. Drawing weapons and fighting for non-ceremonial purposes is strictly forbidden, and violating this edict causes all priests of Skerrit to shun the offender’s entire tribe for a year and a day. On a more regional level, there are two well-known sacred sites located on the world of Toril that have become known beyond their local followers; one has since been abandoned within the last century, however. The grove located near the headwaters of the Unicorn Run in the High Forest, known as the Shading Oak, serves the local centaur tribe, as well as many of the satyrs and korreds in the forest. It is a common destination for the wandering priestesses of the demigoddess Shiallia, and is known as a place of sanctuary for anyone fleeing the agents of Malar. Within the Vale of Lost Voices in Cormanthor, a once-great grove, known as the Mistful Grove, is now overgrown and abandoned due to a plague that caused birth defects in most of the local centaur population about a century ago. This plague made the centaurs easy prey for green dragons, and they were nearly wiped out. With no new acolytes to train, the last priest of the Mistful Grove was unable to pass along the caretaking duties to anyone, and the grove is now filled with thick overgrown brush. There are rumors that a new priest, either a satyr or korred, has taken up residence and is working to return the grove to what it was in the past.

Affiliated Orders: The Lances of the Hoofed Lord are a far flung group of centaurs known on many worlds that aggressively defend forests and holy sites from depredations by evil beasts and unscrupulous exploitation by humans and other races. The Lances are made up mostly of rangers, crusaders, fighter/clerics, and ranger/forest guardians, and they generally operate in independent groups of four to twelve individuals. Their primary duties are to patrol all the sylvan lands inhabited by followers of the Forester and track down any who violate the natural balance of predator and prey, as well as those who exploit the forestlands for selfish gain. Lances of the Hoofed Lord also guard many holy sites, especially those in danger of humanoid warbands. Spears and lances are preferred over bows and other weapons, and the crusaders and fighter/clerics will wear heavier armor than chain if they can get their hands on it. The Lances are also the only clergy members allowed to wear barding, helms, and shields, although many choose not to.

Priestly Vestments: Skerrit’s clergy keeps their ceremonial garb simple, as fancy clothing is generally seen as a waste of resources. Their heads are kept bare, except for a simple wreath made of oak leaves, and they wear a simple vest made of blessed oak leaves that prevents them from turning brown and decaying. Oftentimes, geometric patterns will be made with leaves that have already turned to autumnal colors. Making one of these ceremonial vests is one of the final tasks an acolyte must complete before becoming a full priest. Centaur and centaur-kin priests often braid their tails around an oak branch, while bipedal priests wear a simple leather or cloth kilt. All priests use a heavily carved and brightly decorated staff or spear in their ceremonies. Unlike the other priests, shamans typically wear leathers or furs, and are either tattooed or painted with symbols to indicate their rank within the tribe.

Adventuring Garb: When adventuring, the Forester’s priests prefer practical garments. They prefer to wear a chain vest, or leather armor if that is not available. They prefer spears and bows as weapons.

Specialty Priests (Druids)
Requirements:  Wisdom 12, Charisma 15
Prime Req.:  Wisdom, Charisma
Alignment:  N
Weapons:  Club, sickle, dagger, dart, spear, scimitar, sling, lance, bow
Armor:  Padded vest, leather vest, or hide armor
Major Spheres:  All, animal, elemental, healing, plant, sun, weather
Minor Spheres:  Divination
Magical Items:  As druid
Req. Profs:  Herbalism
Bonus Profs:  Modern language (pick two from: brownie, dryad, elvish, korred, nymph, pegasus, pixie, satyr, sprite, sylph, treant, unicorn)

Some of the specialty priests of Skerrit are druids. Their abilities and restrictions, aside from changes noted above, are detailed in full in the Player’s Handbook.

  • Skerrit’s druids are almost exclusively centaurs and centaur-kin, although there are some alaghi and wood elves amongst their ranks.
  • Druids in the service of Skerrit are not allowed to multiclass.

Specialty Priests (Forest Guardians)
Requirements:  Wisdom 12
Prime Req.:  Wisdom
Alignment:  CG, N
Weapons:  Any
Armor:  Any up to chain vest
Major Spheres:  All, animal, elemental, healing, plant, protection, sun, time, wards, weather
Minor Spheres:  Divination, travelers
Magical Items:  Same as druids
Req. Profs:  Spear, bow
Bonus Profs:  Healing

  • Most forest guardians are centaurs and centaur-kin, although satyrs, korreds, alaghi, voadkyn, and wood elves are found within their ranks.
  • Forest guardians are allowed to multiclass as ranger/forest guardians if their race allows it.
  • Forest guardians can cast whisperleaf or natural attunement (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, forest guardians can identify plants, natural animals, and pure water as druids.
  • At 5th level, forest guardians can cast commune with nature (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per week. However, they can only learn the approximate location of a single powerful unnatural creature (werewolves, Leucrotta, etc.) per casting; they do not have to know the specific creature before casting the spell. At 13th level, this spell operates normally.
  • At 7th-level, forest guardians can cast wall of thorns (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 9th-level, forest guardians can cast call woodland beings (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day, and all percentage chances of success are doubled.
  • At 15th level, forest guardians can cast changestaff (as the 7th-level priest spell) once per week. The forest guardian may use a specially prepared spear instead of the staff in the spell description, but the basic preparation method is the same.

Skerrittite Spells
Priests of the Forester may cast the 2nd-level priest spells stalk and wood sword (which is known as wood spear amongst the clergy of Skerrit, and creates a spear rather than a sword), detailed in Faiths & Avatars in the entry for Mielikki, the 2nd-level priest spell natural attunement, detailed in Powers & Pantheons in the entry for Gwaeron Windstrom, the 2nd-level priest spell whisperleaf, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Baervan Wildwanderer, and the 4th-level priest spells briartangle, thorn spray and oakheart, detailed in Faiths & Avatars in the entry for Silvanus.

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