Skiggaret the Deranged One

The last of the bugbear racial deities, Skiggaret the Deranged One is the god of fear, madness, and insanity. He is sent by the other gods of the pantheon to punish tribes or drive them to acts of violence through the fear he brings. He is propitiated by bugbears, but rarely worshiped directly. Those few who do tend to be exiles and wanderers, living on the edge of bugbear society, but too frightening for the members of the tribe to actually kill. Skiggaret was one of  the most enjoyable gods I’ve worked on recently. Enjoy!

Skiggaret (PDF Version)
(The Deranged One, the Instigator, Bringer of Fear, Messenger of Doom, the Deranged, Lord of Madness)
Demipower of the Abyss, CE

Portfolio:  Fear, madness, insanity
Aliases:  None
Domain Name:  241st Layer/Palpitatia
Superior:  None
Allies:  Hruggek, Grankhul
Foes:  All non-bugbear gods
Symbol:  Black claw
Wor. Align.:  CN, NE, CE

Skiggaret (SKIG-gah-ret) the Deranged One is a half-mad god of fear and insanity. Of all members of the pantheon, he is the least worshipped, but all tribes offer sacrifices of propitiation, in order to avert his touch. He is the Messenger of Doom, bringing punishment from the pantheon to the bugbear peoples, and is known as the Instigator, using fear to goad them into destructive attacks on their foes.

Skiggaret is at one time part of the bugbear pantheon and apart from it. He shares a realm in the Abyss with Grankhul the Hunter, but this is simply for mutual defense from other powers on that plane, rather than any sort of close friendship. The other deities fear his madness, but also invest him with a portion of their power and use him as a messenger to the bugbear race, punishing or directing their aggression. In truth, the Deranged One pays little attention to the other gods, caring only for inflicting fear or insanity indiscriminately upon any creatures he meets. To an extent, he sees every other creature and god as an enemy, at least insofar as he actually thinks of them as individuals.

Skiggaret is an unpredictable and chaotic god, at times helping and other times hindering the bugbear race. He acts as a messenger of the pantheon as a whole, appearing to a tribe that has displeased the gods and inciting blind fear and terror. Those who survive and overcome the fear are forgiven for past transgressions. At other times, his avatars wander the planes, causing fear and madness in creatures he encounters. He especially delights in watching as communities succumb to the insanity and fear he brings, destroying themselves and those around them.

Skiggaret’s Avatar (Fighter 28, Priest 22, Wizard 22)
Skiggaret appears as a jet-black bugbear with red lips, hands and feet. He always has a half-crazy smile playing about his mouth. His clothing varies, but he typically wears dark, tattered robes and a hooded cloak, although he leaves his feet bare. He can cast priest and wizard spells from any sphere or school, but prefers the spheres of charm, combat, necromantic (reversed) and sun (reversed), and the schools of abjuration, alteration, illusion/phantasm and necromancy (reversed).

AC 0; MV 15; HP 156; THAC0 −7; #AT 5/2
Dmg 2d4+11 (dagger +2, +7 Str, +2 spec. bonus in dagger)
MR 20%; SZ L (8 feet tall)
Str 19, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 16, Wis 9, Cha 1 (all races)
Spells P: 9/9/9/9/9/6/3, W: 5/5/5/5/5/5/4/4/3
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 3; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 4

Special Att/Def: Skiggaret carries a serrated dagger of venom +2 that deals 2d4 (base) points of damage on a successful hit. If his attack roll is a natural 18, 19, or 20, the dagger injects a dose of type E poison into the victim; it can hold 12 doses at a time. He also carries a wand of fear that affects creatures in 120-foot-long, 40-foot-wide cone.

The Lord of Madness radiates a permanent cloak of fear with a 10-foot radius. He can generate about himself the following powers to a 20-foot radius: darkness, enfeeblement (as ray of enfeeblement), and radiant chill damage (1d10 points of cold damage per round, no save). Each power is usable twice a day, one power per round, and has a one turn duration. He can cast descent into madness twice per day, and can slay living once per day.

The Deranged One is immune to fear, cold damage, paralyzation, and can see perfectly well in normal or magical darkness. He can only be harmed by magical weapons of +2 or greater enchantment.

Other Manifestations
Skiggaret rarely uses manifestations; he generally ignores his followers and prefers to send his avatar when he wishes to make his presence known. When he does manifest his power, it generally takes the form of a pool of impenetrable magical darkness that radiates a fear effect. Bugbears are especially susceptible to the fear of these dark wells, suffering a −2 to their saving throws. The Lord of Madness uses these pools to direct the actions of bugbear communities, who instinctively flee from them, by placing them in the opposite direction of where he wishes them to go. On extremely rare occasions, the Lord of Madness may manifest as a mass fear or confusion effect on an enemy force that is a dire threat to the survival of a bugbear tribe. Bugbears may try to invoke such manifestations with a large sacrifice of prisoners or slaves; however, there is a danger that Skiggaret’s wrath will be focused on them rather than their enemy.

The Deranged One is served primarily by, and works through the actions of, deepspawn, feyrs, great feyrs, hook horrors, invisible stalkers, rabid animals of all types, shadow hounds, vargouilles, and yeth hounds. His omens take the form of sudden chills, most often along the spine, a rising of the hackles, or a prickling of the fur. Such omens are viewed with trepidation by bugbears, as they are perceived as a warning of disapproval of the gods as a whole, or less commonly, impending danger. The Instigator never shows favor or disfavor towards his few followers with any sorts of discoveries or signs.

The Church
Clergy:                      Specialty priests, shamans, mystics
Clergy’s Align.:      CN, NE, CE
Turn Undead:           SP: No, Sha: No, Mys: No
Cmnd. Undead:         SP: Yes, Sha: No, Mys: No

All specialty priests and shamans of Skiggaret receive religion (bugbear) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Upon gaining a new level, all specialty priests, shamans, and mystics must check to see if they have developed a form of insanity. To calculate this chance, subtract the character’s Wisdom from 25. A roll below that on percentile dice indicates the priest has developed a random mental condition, such as those described in the 7th-level wizard spell descent into madness from the Player’s Option: Spells & Magic tome. The mental condition is permanent unless cured by a heal spell (at which point every time they gain a level, they must perform a new check), but will never progress to another condition. The affliction will never prevent combat performance or the performance of their religious duties, although it may impact how well they carry such tasks out.

Those rare bugbears who actually worship the Bringer of Fear live apart from society, rather than as part of it. They are viewed with fear and disgust by most bugbears, who believe in appeasing and distracting the Deranged One with torture and sacrifices, rather than calling upon him directly. Any tribe where the priesthoods of either Hruggek or Grankhul are dominant will exile followers of Skiggaret if discovered. Only followers of the Stalker, equally rare and exiled from their tribes, are ever known to willingly associate with priests of the Bringer of Fear for long periods of time. Occasionally rogue tribes who have been through considerable hardship will take up worship of the Messenger of Doom, but this rarely lasts long, as the fear of his attention is too deeply seated to overcome. However, despite their feelings towards the priests, bugbears will almost never willingly slay a follower of the Deranged One, out of a greater fear of bringing Skiggaret’s wrath down upon them. Their fear is so strong that smaller tribes may even leave their lands to escape the influence of the exiles.

Priests of the Messenger of Doom build no temples or shrines. They mark out no holy sites, instead performing their duties wherever and whenever they feel the calling. Except for the remains of sacrifices, there is little evidence left of Skiggaretan worship in an area, even to those familiar with his worship.

As exiles and individuals, the priesthood of the Instigator is not organized into any sort of hierarchy. Those who feel drawn to his service do not learn from other priests; instead, they find their own path to his worship, based on old stories and legends, as well as subtle hints instilled directly into their minds by the Bringer of Fear. They have no single name for themselves, but are called Hands of the Instigator by other bugbears. Specialty priests are known as derangers. The clergy of Skiggaret is comprised entirely of male bugbears, as Lord of Madness does not speak to any other creatures, nor does he pay any attention to females. Skiggaret’s clergy is comprised mostly of specialty priests (72%), but includes a small number of mystics (4%), with shamans filling out the rest (24%).

Dogma: Fear is life. Fear is death. Fear leads to life. Fear leads to death. Bring fear. Avoid fear. Fear fear. Fear a lack of fear. Survive the fear, and be strong. Be strong to survive the fear. Instill fear in others. Bring the fear of death to the enemies of the people.

Day-to-Day Activities: Priests of the Deranged One spend most of their time wandering. They relish instilling fear and madness in others, especially if it instigates violence. They preach the disjointed messages of their god when they encounter other bugbears, and try to instigate them to raid other races, in order to create greater fear of the bugbear race. They have no regular service or duties, and tend to torture and sacrifice any lone intelligent creature they encounter, although their teachings do not lead them to battle creatures obviously stronger than themselves. Unlike their sometimes-allies, the followers of the Stalker, they do not hate life, per se, and will aid and defend bugbears against outside forces. As such, they can be valuable to local bugbear tribes, even if they are disquieting.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Skiggaret’s priests observe no special holy days or events, nor do they have any specific ceremonies they perform as a whole. Individuals occasionally develop ceremonies, but these never spread beyond themselves. The priests are too individualistic to adopt the specific ceremonies of their fellows.

Most bugbear tribes will perform a mass sacrifice any time they have suffered extreme hardship from monsters, enemies, or environmental forces. They do this to appease the pantheon as a whole, and set aside a specific portion for the Messenger of Doom, hoping he will carry the pleas for aid to the rest of the pantheon. On other occasions, in order to ward off potential wrath and anger from the Deranged One, they chant prayers to him while ritualistically torturing prisoners. Oddly enough, none of these ceremonies are practiced or overseen by priests of Skiggaret.

Major Centers of Worship: Followers of the Instigator have no holy sites. Torture and sacrifice is held wherever it is convenient, as Skiggaret cares little for the location, only the contents and sincerity of bugbears invoking him.

Affiliated Orders: Priests of the Bringer of Fear are virtually all exiles and individuals, and thus have no military or monastic orders of any kind. They occasionally attach themselves to bandit gangs or wandering tribes but they are usually run off after a short time.

Priestly Vestments: As there is no organized priesthood or theology in service of Skiggaret, so too is there no formal religious garb. However, they almost universally imitate their god by painting their hands, feet, and lips red; most often with fresh blood. The holy symbol of the priesthood is a claw or hand charred in a hot flame so the digits curve in on themselves.

Adventuring Garb: Priests of the Deranged One pay little attention to their appearance. They are often disheveled, with matted, dirty, and snarled fur and tattered clothing and armor. They also maintain the practice of painting their hands, feet, and lips whenever possible.

Specialty Priests (Derangers)
Requirements:          Dexterity 11, Wisdom 9, Charisma below 12
Prime Req.:                Dexterity, Wisdom
Alignment:                CE
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       Any up to chain, no shield
Major Spheres:         All, charm, combat, necromantic (reversed), sun (reversed), thought, weather
Minor Spheres:         Animal, divination, elemental, healing (reversed), travelers
Magical Items:         As clerics
Req. Profs:                None
Bonus Profs:             Wild-fighting

  • Derangers must be bugbears.
  • Derangers are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Derangers can cast cause fear (as the reverse of the 1st-level priest spell remove fear) once per day. They can cast it an additional time for every two levels they gain beyond first (twice at 3rd level, three times at 5th level, etc.).
  • At 3rd level, derangers can cast emotion control (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day. They may not cast this spell on themselves, and may only evoke fear in their victims.
  • At 5th level, derangers can cast confusion (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, derangers can cast fear (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day. This rises to twice per day at 10th level.
  • At 10th level, derangers can cast phantasmal killer (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 12th level, derangers can cast descent into madness (as the 7th-level wizard spell described in the Player’s Option: Spells & Magic tome) once per week.
  • At 15th level, derangers can cast symbol of fear or symbol of insanity (as the 7th-level priest spells described in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Vol.III) once per week.

Skiggaretan Spells

4th Level
Cloak of Skiggaret (Pr 4; Conjuration/Summoning, Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        Special

The cloak of Skiggaret empowers the caster to radiate a personal aura of fear and cold, at will, out to a 3-foot radius. All other characters and creatures within this aura take 1d4 points of cold damage (no save) and must roll successful saving throws vs. spell or run away in panic for 2d8 rounds. Affected individuals may or may not drop items, at the DM’s option.

The spell has no effect upon undead of any sort. The effect can be used but once, and the spell expires after eight hours if not brought down earlier. Members of the caster’s party are not immune to the effects of the spell.

The material component is a vulture or chicken feather dipped in blood.

5th Level
Fearful Aggression (Pr 5; Illusion/Phantasm, Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Charm, Combat
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Instantaneous
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         60-ft. cone, 30-ft. diameter at end, 5-ft. at base
Saving Throw:        Neg.

When a fearful aggression spell is cast, the priest sends forth an invisible cone of terror that causes creatures within its area of effect to turn away from the caster and flee in panic. Unlike the fear spell, there is no chance of dropping weapons. Creatures affected by fearful aggression flee at their fastest rate for a number of melee rounds equal to the level of experience of the priest. They fight any creature that blocks their path, even allies, with a berserk fury. They gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls and a +3 bonus to damage while affected. They fight until the creature lets them pass or is slain. Undead and creatures that successfully roll their saving throws vs. spell are not affected.

The material component of this spell is the heart from any animal from the weasel family (weasels, badgers, wolverines, stoats, aurumvorax, etc.).

6th Level
Greater Cloak of Skiggaret (Pr 6; Conjuration/Summoning, Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Necromantic
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          8
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        Special

Like the lesser spell, the greater cloak of Skiggaret shrouds the caster in a personal aura of fear and cold. However, in addition, the greater cloak radiates enfeeblement as well. The caster may radiate the greater cloak at will, to a radius of five feet. All other creatures within this aura take 1d6 points of cold damage (no save) and must roll two successful saving throws vs. spell. If the first is failed, the creature is enfeebled, dropping their Strength to 5; creatures without Strength scores suffer an attack penalty of −2 and a damage penalty of −1. If the second save is failed, affected creatures run away in panic and may or may not drop items, at the DM’s option. Both of these effects last for 3d8 rounds.

The spell has no effect upon undead of any sort. The effect can be used but once, and the spell expires after eight hours if not brought down earlier. Members of the caster’s party are not immune to the effects of the spell.

The material component is a roc or harpy feather dipped in blood.

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