Skoraeus Stonebones, the Living Rock

Skoraeus is of the same generation as Thrym and Surtr, and like them, has become the patron of one of the breeds of giants. Unlike his brothers, he is not evil; but their evil has cause him to turn away from the wider world to focus solely on his followers. As a god of crafts and artistic creation, he is still venerated by the other giant breeds, however.

I’m trying something a bit different with this post. I’ve noticed that the PDFs come up on Google much more often than the blog posts, so I’m making the deity entries in-line so they come up instead. Feedback is appreciated. This will not be the end of the PDFs, but I need to think about how to make them easily available but not have Google searches end up on them rather than the blog itself. Enjoy!

Skoraeus Stonebones (PDF Version)
(Lord of the Stone Giants, King of the Rock, the Living Rock, Rockking)

Intermediate Power of the Planes, N

Portfolio:  Arts, craftsmanship, solitude, stone, underground, stone giants
Aliases:  None
Domain Name:  Wanders
Superior:  Annam
Allies:  Callarduran Smoothhands, Dumathoin, Geb, Grumbar, Urogalan
Foes:  Urdlen
Symbol:  Stalactite
Wor. Align.:  Any

Skoraeus Stonebones (SCORE-ay-us STONE-bones) is the giantish god of artistic creation and the lands beneath the earth’s surface. An introvert and a loner, the King of the Rock has chosen to withdraw himself from the concerns of the other members of the Jotunbrud to focus exclusively on his favored breed, the stone giants. He is dour and expressionless, little taken to the good humor and lusty nature of Annam or Stronmaus, preferring to take a serious view on things and work tirelessly until a task is complete. The Living Rock endlessly wanders the underground realms of the multiverse to visit the wondrous beauty they contain and discover the ancient secrets long buried from other races. It is said that simply by touching the bedrock of a world and feeling the vibrations that travel through it, he knows everything that goes on within the earth.

Skoraeus is generally considered the youngest of the second generation of Annam’s sons, born of the same mother as Thrym and Surtr. It is said their evil natures are what drove the Rockking to hide himself beneath the earth to live in solitude and focus on the stone giant breed. While he is not overtly hostile towards any of his siblings, neither does he care to get involved with what he sees as petty squabbles. Typically only out of necessity does he associate himself with other powers, and Skoraeus prefers dealing with those whose concerns are rooted solidly in the earth and have a reserved outlook on other deities, such as Callarduran Smoothhands, Dumathoin, Grumbar, Geb, and Urogalan. However, he has been known to spend time within the realms of the dwarven and gnomish powers, although he has little patience for the practical jokes and humor of some members of those panthons. In particular, he still holds a grudge from the time Nebelun replaced some specially carved throwing stones with metal orbs that made rude noises when handled, much to the amusement of Garl Glittergold and Vergadain.

Just as the isolationist nature he and his followers exhibit has led to few close friends, it has also kept him from earning enemies amongst the evil powers of the earth; he takes little interest in their activities, and they take little interest in his. The only exception is the illithid god Ilsensine, who greatly desires his vast knowledge of secrets and magics buried in the various worlds of the Prime Material Plane, but is not willing to risk making outright enemies of the entire Ordning, most of whom would assist the King of the Rock were he directly threatened. The one god known to raise ire in the heart of the Living Rock is the gnomish god Urdlen, for his indiscriminant and wanton destruction of the beauty found within the earth.

Skoraeus dispatches avatars to intervene in the affairs of his followers only rarely. Tribes facing dire threats from natural disasters or the depredations of powerful warmongering foes may warrant the appearance of an avatar, but even in such cases the Rockking prefers to lead his stone giants to safety rather than confronting the danger directly. He may also send an avatar to lead a tribe to a new home or long lost magical treasure troves, but this is rarer still. He never intervenes in the affairs of other members of the Jotunbrud, and only assists other powers of earth and stone if his followers are likely to be threatened were he to remain idle.

Skoraeus’ Avatar (Priest 32, Earth Elementalist 28)
Skoraeus Stonebones appears as a well-muscled, nude stone giant of exceptional size. His skin has the same texture and appearance as granite and is completely hairless. He nearly always wears a stern, dour expression on his face, and even on occasions where he smiles, it doesn’t touch his obsidian-black eyes. He can cast spells from any sphere or school except Elemental Air, Water, or Fire; however, he prefers spells of Elemental Earth and Divination.

AC 0; MV 15, Br 15; HP 172; THAC0 0; #AT 2
Dmg 3d10+9 (fists, +9 Str)
MR 40%; SZ H (24 feet)
Str 21, Dex 15, Con 21, Int 17, Wis 19, Cha 18
Spells P: 13/12/12/10/9/9/8, W: 7/7/7/7/7/7/7/7/7*
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 3; PP 5; BW 7; Sp 4
* Numbers assume one extra elemental earth spell per spell level.

Special Att/Def: Skoraeus never fights with weapons, preferring to strike twice each round with his powerful fists. Three times per day his touch can turn flesh to stone if he desires. His touch can also turn stone to flesh, but only for creatures that were petrified; he cannot turn normal stone to flesh.

Once per day, Skoraeus can summon 1d4 earth elementals of 16 hit dice each. No creature short of another avatar can wrest control of these elementals from him, and they serve for 12 turns before returning to their home plane. He can cast stone tell and stone shape at will, and twice per day he can cast crystalbrittle, wall of stone, and transmute rock to mud (or its reverse). Once per day, he is able to cause an earthquake. He carries a wand of earth and stone which recharges fully each day.

When in direct contact with stone, Skoraeus regenerates 3 hit points per round, or 5 per round while underground. He is completely immune to poison, acid, petrification, and elemental earth spells, as well as the attacks of enchanted stone creatures, such as golems.

Other Manifestations
Skoraeus Stonebones prefers subtle manifestations and indirect intervention in the lives of his followers. He most commonly manifests in the shape and colors of subterranean rock formations; stone giants who gaze upon such formations can read messages in these formations with perfect clarity. Such messages may lead them to or away from caches of ancient magic, rich veins of precious materials, or dangerous locales. For followers on a long journey, he occasionally manifests as a feeling of health and vigor; for the duration of their journey, as long as they maintain contact between their flesh and unworked stone or earth, the travelers regenerate 1 hit point per round and need only consume half the normal amount of food and water that they would otherwise consume on such a journey. Endangered giants in the depths of the earth may also receive help from the Rockking through direct aid such as temporary passwall effects, allowing them to escape from hostile creatures.

Skoreaus is served by bi-nou rocklords, cave bears, dharum suhn, earth animentals, earth elementals, earth mephits, galeb duhr, giant goats, khargra, piercers, sandlings, stone maidens, subterranean lizards, and xorn. He displays his favor through the discovery of hidden caverns of great natural beauty, rare and beautiful speleothems, granite and marble of exceptional color and quality, and ancient Jotunbrud items of a magical or historical nature. He expresses his displeasure through earth tremors, sturdy-looking speleothems that crumble at a breath, and sculpture that cracks or shatters at a precipitous moment of its carving.

The Church
Clergy:  Clerics, specialty priests, shamans, earth elementalists
Clergy’s Align.:  NG, LN, N
Turn Undead:  C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No, EEle: No
Cmnd. Undead:  C: No, SP: No, Sha: No, EEle: No

All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Skoraeus receive religion (giantish) and reading/writing (Jotunstein) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

As with most of members of the Ordning, Skoraeus is venerated to a degree by most of the Jotunbrud, although few besides stone giants actively worship him. While he is seen as overseeing craftsmen and artistic endeavors, he is not expected to directly assist in those endeavors through guidance or direct inspiration. He is viewed as aloof even for a giantish god, paying little attention to the goings on of any giants save the stone giants.

Skoraeus’s temples are always underground; typically at the deepest point in a tribe’s living areas, but it varies based on the local underground topology. Temples take one of two forms: they are either large, natural caverns of exquisite beauty, filled with stunningly beautiful rock formations or a large hall with expertly crafted friezes covering nearly every inch of the walls, as well as statuary and other artistic creations of stone filling the open chamber itself. In the latter case, the friezes are usually more than just decorative art; they function much as a library, recording tremendous amounts of information that few besides stone giants can truly understand. Temple sizes vary tremendously; natural cavern temples are essentially as large as the natural caverns themselves, so long as they hold formations of beauty, while the created temples are continually enlarged throughout the history of the tribe, making the oldest of such temples truly vast indeed. Shrines dedicated to the Rockking are difficult for non-stone giants to notice, as they always appear to be natural rock formations. However, they are immediately recognizable to stone giants, and messages can often be cleaned from them, such as the locations of safeholds, fresh water, food, and the like. Stone giants living near the surface often build large cairns that function as shrines and signposts; the giants can read a wealth of information in them, such as which tribe controls the land, where potential dangers are found, and where entrances to stone giant caves are located. Disturbing these cairns is the easiest way to rouse the ire of a tribe of stone giants.

Novices in the service of Skoraeus are called the Unworked, while full priests are known as Brothers (or Sisters if female) of Stone. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Skoraean priests are Stonecarver, Stonewalker, Stoneseer, Stonereader, and Stonespeaker. This last title is always used by the chief priest in a tribe, even if he is the only one. Specialty priests are known as shapers. The clergy of Skoraeus is almost exclusively comprised of stone giants (98%), although there are a small number of spacesea giants (1%) who have returned to his worship; the remainder (1%) consists of other giantish races and the occasional dwarf or gnome. The bulk of Skoraeus’s priesthood consists of specialty priests (60%), with smaller numbers of shamans (22%), clerics (15%), and earth elementalists (5%) making up the remainder. The clergy of Skoreaus is predominantly male (72%); while females are neither disallowed nor discouraged, few feel drawn to his service.

Dogma: Beauty is truth and knowledge is power. Secrets are the ultimate power and the Underdark is full of secrets. The affairs of outsiders serve only to distract the faithful from matters of true import. The creation of art is the route to true understanding. Rocks are alive with knowledge for those with the intuition to read them.

Day-to-Day Activities: Skoraeus’s priests work to keep their communities isolated from most outside influences, as they believe it is only with isolation and limited contact with outsiders that their people can achieve new heights of artistic and intellectual pursuits. This isolation is not total, however, as limited trade with other giants, as well as some gnomes, dwarves, and humans, is allowed and it is deemed important to keep aware of the major goings-on of the outside world, if only to not be surprised by such changes. Outside of these, tradition is deemed very important to the priesthood, and they see it as their job to ensure that all members follow the Rockking’s teachings to the letter. Any giant, even visitors of other races, who are perceived as violating Skoraeus’s teachings are required to meditate in isolation for a period of time commensurate to the offence (although it rarely exceeds five hours). Failing to do so is met with frequent and loud rebukes until the meditation is undertaken, so even most visitors humor the clergy by performing the atonement.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The church of the Living Rock holds no public ceremonies. However, once every three or four months, individual priests feel a calling to venture into the deep Underdark alone, with no food. They return four days later, none the worse for it, and do not speak of the events except to say that the Rockking provides. In fact, these trips are vision quests, where Skoraeus conveys information to his priests directly via dreams, omens, and rock formations they find. Few other Underdark creatures ever detect the passing of the priests, for they are under the protection of their deity himself. The information conveyed is personal to each priest, although warnings of dangers to the tribe, locations of buried secrets, or general artistic guidance are common. While on these trips, food and fresh water are always easy to find, and communities with multiple priests never find them called away at the same time.

Major Centers of Worship: Large temples dedicated to Skoraeus can be found on nearly every world with significant populations of stone giants. Unusually, one of the larger communities of stone giants on the world of Oerth contains a mixed population. Located in the hidden valley of Esmerin in the Lortmil mountains, the giants share the land with tallfellow halflings, living as a unified community. It is said that Skoraeus assisted Urogalan and Sheela Peryroyl of the halfling pantheon in the creation of the magic that protects the valley. A large temple-library called the Graven Tablet is located beneath one end of the valley is home to nearly a score of priests, who spend much of their time creating new works of art for the inhabitants of the valley to enjoy and recording the history of the community.

On the world of Toril, there are at least three significant temples dedicated to the Skoraeus. One of the most fabulous is Levendehule, the Living Cave, filling over 200 miles of caves beneath the Ice Spires. These caverns are a vast network of worked friezes, murals, and statuary, inspired by both Skoraeus and Annam, intended to encompass every truth known on Faerûn. Unlike most other temples, this one is a secret, known only to the Stonespeaker, the tribal chief, and the master artisans of the community.

Far to the south of the Ice Spires and beneath the Giant’s Run Mountains is an old stone giant realm, the remnants of a greater giant kingdom called Nedeheim. Ruled for the past 1500 years by a type of undead stone giant called a cairn, the taint of death has altered the makeup of the realm, now called Cairnheim, considerably. Despite the best efforts of the clergy of the Hallowed Stone’s Secrets, the stone giants of this kingdom now have a decidedly cruel bent, and far less interest in art than the majority of their brethren. Whether they will ever formally give up their veneration of the Living Rock is unknown, but the fact that he has not taken action against the undead rulers has led many to believe they are protected by another power.

In contrast to Cairnheim, the realm of Fuirgar is a very devout stone giant community on the edge of the Raurin Desert, beneath the norther Giant’s Belt Mountains. The local clergy here tend the Artistic Cavern, an enormous natural cavern filled with colorful stalactites, stalagmites, and crystals. Their works of art are in high demand in neighboring lands.

Affiliated Orders: The clergy of Skoraeus maintains no military of monastic orders, although they do support a great many artistic guilds in large stone giant communities. These guilds are nominally independent from the priesthood, however.

Priestly Vestments: While performing their official duties or acting in a capacity of moral authority, priests of the Rockking wear stone-grey sleeve-less chitons that reach to the knee, belted at the waist with a simple cord. Around their shoulders they wear a stole of cave bear fur; such fur is only taken from the pelts of animals that died naturally. Their heads are kept bare at all times, and they wear copper armbands with geometric patterns that indicate their rank. The holy symbol of the priesthood is a small, hand-carved stone object worn on a chain about the neck or wrist. The priest is required to carve a new object each year, and must always work on the item alone.

Adventuring Garb: Priests of Skoraeus prefer to wear their ceremonial garb over other clothing, even when travelling or engaging in combat. However, when the situation calls for labor, such as the creation of pieces of art, they wear much the same as other members of their tribe. They never wear armor, trusting in their own rock-hard skin to protect them.

Specialty Priests (Shapers)
Requirements:          Constitution 15, Wisdom 9
Prime Req.:                Constitution, Wisdom
Alignment:                N
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       None
Major Spheres:         All, creation, elemental earth, guardian, healing, protection, summoning, wards
Minor Spheres:         Animal, necromantic
Magical Items:         Same as clerics
Req. Profs:                Artistic ability (sculpture or stone carving)
Bonus Profs:             Survival (underdark)

  • Most shapers are stone giants, but some spacesea giants have returned to worshipping the Rockking over Ptah.
  • Shapers are not allowed to multiclass.
  • When using the artistic ability proficiency to create any stone-based art, shapers receive a +1 bonus to their proficiency check. When using that proficiency in conjunction with their stone shape, transmute rock to mud, or transmute mud to rock abilities, or similar spells, they gain a further +3 bonus, to a total of +4. These numbers are subtracted from the number rolled, and any modified result of a 1 or less is considered an item of truly lasting value, as described in the proficiency description in the Player’s Handbook.
  • Shapers can cast wizard spells from the school of elemental earth as defined in the Limited Wizard Spellcasting section of Demihuman Deities “Appendix 1: Demihuman Priests.”
  • At 2nd level, shapers can cast stone shape (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 4th level, shapers can cast stoneskin (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 5th level, shapers can cast wall of stone (as the 5th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, shapers can cast passwall (as the 5th-level wizard spell), transmute rock to mud, or transmute mud to rock (as the 5th level priest spell and its reverse) once per day.
  • At 10th level, shapers can cast flesh to stone (as the reverse of the 6th-level wizard spell, stone to flesh) or stone tell (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 14th level, shapers can cast statue (as the 7th-level wizard spell) once per day, with no chance of failure.

 

Skoraean Spells
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Living Rock can cast the 1st-level priest spell augment artistry, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Corellon Larethian, and the 5th-level priest spells stone seeing, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Dumathoin, and strengthen stone, detailed in the Priest’s Spell Compendium Volume III.

1st Level
Seal Seam (Pr 1; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Elemental Earth
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Instantaneous
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         1 in./level
Saving Throw:        None

By means of this spell, the caster can seal up seams and cracks in stone, in a similar manner to the stone shape spell. While uttering the invocation of this spell, the caster traces the crack they wish to seal up with their one continuous stroke of his finger. This spell is typically used to fix broken sculpture pieces and seal up stone bricks into a solid wall. This spell can also be used on pottery and other ceramic objects.

The material component for this spell is a bit of clay smeared on the priest’s finger.

2nd Level
Summon Cave Bear (Pr 2; Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere:                    Animal, Summoning
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd. + 1rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         Summons 1 cave bear/5 levels
Saving Throw:        None

This spell summons one cave bear (as detailed in the Monstrous Manual tome) for every five levels of the priest. The bears appear within 150 feet of the caster at the end of the round in which the spell was cast, and follow the caster’s commands to the best of their ability. They will fight with complete loyalty, even to the death. Bears summoned with this spell always have at least 4 hit points per hit die. At the expiration of the spell, the bears disappear back to where they were summoned from.

The material component for this spell is a chunk of limestone.

4th Level
Stonebones’s Blessing (Pr 4; Alteration, Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Elemental Earth
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          7
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        None

When this spell is cast on a target, their lifeforce is attuned with that of the natural rock beneath their feet. So long as their bare flesh remains in contact with unworked stone, the target regenerate 3 hit points per round. While this offers no protection against decapitation, bleeding, or dismemberment, and lost limbs do not regrow or re-attach, the target is conveyed complete immunity to acid, poison, and petrification. The spell is not cancelled if contact with unworked stone is lost, but the protections and regeneration effect do not operate. Movement is not inhibited by this spell, so long as contact with unworked stone is not lost for any time longer than it takes the creature to take a stride.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a chunk of unworked granite the size of the caster’s fist.

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