Chronepsis the Death Dragon

As the silent watcher of time and draconic fate, Chronepsis rarely interacts with those who are not dead or dying. It is said that he is a counterpart to Io; where Io is the beginning of all things, Chronepsis is the end of all things. He guides the spirits of the draconic dead to the afterlife, and determines the location of their final rest.

Chronepsis (PDF Version)
(The Death Dragon, the Watcher, the Silent, Guardian of the Lost)
Intermediate Power of the Outlands, N

Portfolio:                 Fate, death, judgement, fatalism, time
Aliases:                     Null (Realmspace)
Domain Name:           Outlands/Mausoleum of Chronepsis
Superior:                   Io
Allies:                       Istus, Labelas Enoreth, Tamara
Foes:                           Faluzure, Kalzareinad (Dead)
Symbol:                     Brass scales below a harp
Wor. Align.:              Any

Chronepsis is the silent, dispassionate watcher of time and draconic fate. He knows the full weave of all dragon and dragon-kin lives, and guides the departed to the afterlife. He passes judgment on the lives of the departed, but does not mete out punishment; he simply determines the balance of a dragon’s life in order to dispatch the soul to their proper place. Where Io is the beginning of all things, Chronepsis is said to be the end of everything, and will watch over the final moments of the multiverse and the end of time itself.

Chronepsis rarely interacts with his fellow draconic deities, keeping silent vigil over all the fate of all dragons, mortal and divine alike. Even though he keeps to himself, he can be counted on to aid the rest of the pantheon in a crisis that threatens to destroy the weave of draconic life. Of all the other dragon deities, the only one he maintains a close alliance with is Tamara, goddess of life and mercy. Together, the pair embodies the two halves of draconic existence, and Her Beneficence works to ensure the transition between the two is smooth and painless whenever possible. In addition to their mirrored existences, the two deities oppose Faluzure’s circumvention of these two natural states through undeath. Chronepsis’s opposition to Kalzareinad before his death and absorption was due to the part the Keeper of Dark Wonders played in the creation of dracoliches. The interplay between Faluzure and Chronepsis on the matter of dracoliches has led to a legend told about their creation on some worlds. In the legend, the first dracolich was a dragon, whose name and species varies in the telling, marked at birth to become a priest of Chronepsis. He resisted his fate utterly, and out of fear of the Death Dragon punishing him on his death, he turned to the Night Dragon, and volunteered to undergo the experimental process of dracolich creation. He is said to still survive, working for his new master, but still fearful of the day he will be destroyed and have to face his rightful master in the afterlife.

Little known to those who don’t make a study of the theology of the multiverse’s dragons, Chronepsis and his foe Faluzure manifest as a single entity within Realmspace, the crystal sphere that houses the world of Abeir-Toril. This entity, known as Null, encompasses death in all of its myriad forms, and has elements of Lawful Neutrality and Lawful Evil at the same time. How this unusual arrangement arose is subject to endless debate by sages of such matters, but theories are most prevalent. Some sages postulate that Null was an ancient draconic deity specific to Realmspace and upon his death his divine essence was split between the two more well-known deities who most closely matched his portfolios. A related theory believes that Null was slain by Faluzure, and as a last-ditch effort, sent a portion of power to the Night Dragon’s foe Chronepsis in order to limit Faluzure’s gains from the acts. Another theory believes that the entity of Null is a fabrication of Faluzure, which he is using in an attempt to usurp Chronepsis’s jurisdiction over death and the dead. Neither of the entities who know the truth are speaking on the matter, however.

Outside of his fellow draconic powers, Chronepsis has cultivated few alliances. His strongest such relations are with deities who share his interest in time and fate, and the integrity of the time stream. His strongest has long been with the Baklunish goddess of fate, Istus, and together they work to ensure the timeline of Greyspace is not disrupted by meddlers, for it would affect both humans and dragons of the worlds in that sphere. Similarly, he has an understanding that could be called an alliance with the elven deity of time Labelas Enoreth. It is said that the Guardian of the Lost even recently sent a follower to aid an elven wizard prevent a meddling human wizard from disrupting the creation of Myth Drannor, for that would have altered the fates of a great number of dragons.

The silence of Chronepsis is a frequent motif in draconic myth and legend, and it is often invoked to express a constant fact, as in “that dragon is as arrogant as Chronepsis is silent,” or an impossibility, such as “Chronepsis will sooner speak than that dragon would part with a single coin.” Some myths say that when Chronepsis utters a word, the world will end, for it is said that he cannot speak so long as there are still draconic fates that have not been fulfilled. Other legends say that hearing Chronepsis speak is the first sensation of a dragon who was crossed into the afterlife; in these myths, noncorporeal undead dragons are those who refused to heed the call of the Death Dragon. To see the Guardian of the Lost is often said to be a harbinger of imminent death, for he supposedly attends to the deaths of great dragons and personally greet their spirits as they enter the afterlife.

Chronepsis is one of the least active draconic deities outside of Io himself, at least in the affairs of mortal dragons. Few things outside of a truly cataclysmic event or a deity meddling in the timestream can motivate him to act directly upon the mortal plane, although his avatars and minor manifestations are kept busy guiding the animae (spirits) of dead dragons and dragon-kin to the afterlife. He spends his time in his great empty mausoleum on the Outlands, surrounded by innumerable hourglasses that are said to measure out the lives of every living dragon in existence. Where exactly his petitioners exist is a matter of debate; many scholars feel his petitioners all immediately merge with him, while others believe the hourglasses he is surrounded by are in fact the remnants of his worshippers, still serving him as watchers over life and death. Within this realm, mortals experience time oddly, with it slowing down, speeding up, and even reversing, so that everything seems to age and de-age randomly. Creatures who spend any amount of time in the Death Dragon’s realm find that upon leaving they have no way of knowing how long they actually spent within its confines.

Chronepsis’s Avatar (26-HD Great Wyrm Dragon, Priest 34, Necromancer 28, Chronomancer 28)
Chronepsis typically takes the form of a small dragon with lusterless black scales, although his size can vary considerably. His flesh appears decayed and desiccated, with yellowed bones exposed in various places. He has glowing amber eyes set deep in their sockets, and above his head floats a six-foot-tall brass harp. He casts spells from every sphere and school.

AC −10; MV 9, Fl 15 (D); HP 278; THAC0 −5; #AT 3+special
Dmg special
MR 115%; SZ G (varies from 60–600 feet, 60% body, 40% tail)
Str 19, Dex 19, Con 21, Int 24, Wis 25, Cha 24
Spells P: 15/14/13/13/12/12/10, W: 8/8/8/8/8/8/8/8/8*
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 3; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 4
* Numbers assume one extra necromancy and one extra chronomancy spell per spell level.

Special Att/Def: Chronepsis prefers not to engage in combat, but should it be unavoidable, he will do so with his full range of abilities. His sole breath weapon is a cube of disintegration 100 feet to a side, although he can reduce the size to just 10 feet per side if he desires. This disintegration effect is pure magic and not gas, so immunity to gas offers no protection against his breath. It affects only living matter, including animated inorganic materials such as undead or golems, but it has no effect on inanimate walls, furniture, clothing, etc., even if made of a once-living material. Saving throws made against this breath weapon suffer a −1 penalty per level or Hit Die below 16.

The weak claws and bite of Chronepsis deal no damage, but any creature touched by a claw must save versus death magic or die instantly. Any creature bitten by the Death Dragon are irrevocably destroyed on a successful attack roll of 10 or higher, and die as if touched by a claw on a lower successful roll; in either case, a successful save versus death magic (modified just as the breath attack above) negates the effect.

Chronepsis can blink at will, up to 150 yards in any direction he desires; he prefers to do this rather than move physically in combat. The Guardian of the Lost can grant protection from aging at will to any creature within 100 yards. Twice per day, he can cast age plant, age object, age creature, or age dragon, or their reversed forms, with a range of 50 yards. The Death Dragon can slay living at will.

From its place suspended in the air above his head, Chronepsis’s harp can create a variety of magical effects when it is willed to play music by the Death Dragon. In addition to normal music or single notes, it can create a wall of force, act as a symbol of persuasion, symbol of hopelessness, symbol of death, or create the emotion effects of friendship, hopelessness, or sadness. All powers have a radius of 50 feet, and only one power can be active at a time save the wall of force, which has the standard duration.

Chronepsis’s aura of dragon fear extends to a radius of 300 yards. Creatures up to 8 HD/levels who catch sight of him are automatically affected (as well as all noncarnivorous, nonaggressive creatures with fewer than 25 Hit Dice) and flee for 4d6 rounds. Trained war mounts of 7 HD or more, organized military units, and single creatures with more than 8 HD or levels do not automatically flee. Rather, they are entitled to a saving throw vs. petrification at a −8 penalty. If they fail this saving throw, they fight with a −2 penalty to attack and damage rolls. No one save another deity is automatically immune to his fear effect.

Chronepsis is immune to all spells below 7th level. He is immune to all forms of poison, paralysis, petrification, death magic, mind-affecting and controlling spells and psionics, and wishes that attempt to alter him directly (i.e. a wish couldn’t wish him back to his home plane or wish his wings crushed, but it could create a lightning storm that would affect him). Chronepsis is immune to all hostile spells from the Necromantic and time spheres, as well as spells from the schools of necromancy and chronomancy. He takes half damage from fire-, cold-, and electricity-based attacks, and is immune to weapons of less than +4 enchantment.

Other Manifestations
As a dispassionate watcher of the fates of all dragon kind, Chronepsis rarely interacts with the mortal world. He typically only utilizes his power when some action or incident threatens the predetermined fates of dragons, such as the activities of those who’ve severed their ties with fate through undeath or those who meddle in the timestream. He takes no action should a human wizard travel back in time to murder an ancient king, unless doing so would prematurely doom mortal dragons, for example. Should he feel the need to take action, he usually sends direct knowledge to his priests, informing them specifically of the actions that are to interfere with fate. In a case where his direct action is required, he sends an avatar cloaked in improved invisibility and utilizes his breath weapon or other innate powers to neutralize the threat.

Chronepsis is served by baku great ones, ghost dragons, spectral dragons, temporal dogs, temporal gliders, tether beasts, and time dimensionals. He expresses his pleasure through the discovery of smooth lusterless black gems and black flowers, as well as sad, ethereal notes from an unseen harp or other musical instrument and the sound of sand pouring through a small opening. He expresses his displeasure through the discovery of lusterless black gems that crack and crumble to sand, and the discordant sound of harp strings snapping.

The Church
Clergy:                      Specialty priests
Clergy’s Align.:      N
Turn Undead:           SP: Yes
Cmnd. Undead:         SP: Yes

All specialty priests of Chronepsis receive religion (draconic) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

Virtually all dragon species pay homage to Chronepsis, but few dragons worship him. His rare priests are respected almost universally and few would dare to raise a claw against them, for all dragons eventually fall under the sway of the Guardian of the Lost. His priests are not concerned with the mortal affairs of dragons, and do not interfere in disputes or conflicts between individuals or species. Only dracoliches and other intelligent undead dragons need fear the Death Dragon’s priests, for they are cheating their rightful passage to the afterlife by tying their souls to the mortal plane. However, even compared to the other members of the pantheon, priests of the Guardian of the Lost are rare; in most cases there will never be more than one priest of Young Adult age per continent on any given world.

Temples honoring Chronepsis are rarely built; most are in fact natural places that have long drawn dying dragons to them. Such locations are typically subterranean caverns with entrances that are difficult to find and access for creatures unable to fly. Magic keeps them dimly lit, but free of deep shadows. Brass fittings may hold such magical lights, and most will have some sort of consecrated object in a central location. Most often the item is an hourglass or a harp, enchanted to operate continuously. As dragons often feel drawn to such temples shortly before their death, the floor of such temples are littered with the remains of these dragons, as well as the treasures they had on them at the time of their death. Spirits of dead wyrms and other guardians roam the temples to keep out interlopers and looters.

On most worlds, dragons do not form organized priesthoods, as there are too few of them and they are far too individualistic. Only worlds with very dense dragon populations or very structured dragon cultures will develop hierarchical priesthoods, and the form they take are likely to be unique to those worlds. Specialty priests of Chronepsis are known as silent watchers, and there are never any other sorts of priests in his clergy. True dragons of virtually any breed except shadow dragons may be called to the Death Dragon’s service, although the less intelligent species are rarest. All those so called are marked for his service at birth in some way, and resisting the call takes considerable will, and will often see some sort of punishment upon their death. Chronepsis is favored by some half-dragons, especially fatalistic bards and those who specialize in chronomancy, although all who venerate the draconic pantheon pay homage to him.

Dogma: Chronepsis teaches that all living things shall eventually come to rest, and, when they do, their spirits pass on into the afterlife. All life eventually leads into death, which is simply a demarcation point marking the change to another existence. True death is final and absolute, and once dragons pass on, the concerns of the physical world must never again disturb them so that they are able to pursue existence in their new form to the fullest.

Day-to-Day Activities: Outside of the normal activities of dragons, Chronepsis’s clergy contemplate the meaning of life, death, and time. Most keep at least on hourglass within their lair, which they periodically reset, especially before they sleep; upon waking, they take a moment to ponder the fleeting moments and the meaning of time and death while looking at the now-drained timepiece. They may be called upon by other dragons to perform some sort of ceremony at the passing of a close friend, mate, or relative. They will attend to the death of a dragon regardless of any social stigma such a dragon may have held for their actions or beliefs; such worldly matters are none of their concern. As they age, they become obsessed with their own death, although this isn’t a fearful or destructive obsession. Finally, in very rare circumstances, they may be directed by Chronepsis himself to correct problems with the timestream by searching out chronomancers or other creatures using devices to travel through time.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: After the passing of a relative, mate, or friend, dragons of all species consign the spirit of the deceased to Chronepsis in an elaborate ceremony known as the Drawing Down, which is held no more frequently than once every lunar month. For the next fortnight, elaborate ceremonies of corporeal internment are held, which culminates with the appearance of a new moon.

Major Centers of Worship: The hills southwest of the Council Aerie in Io’s Blood Isles contains a great underground temple of Chronepsis known as the Draconis Necropolis. Interred within this great vault are many of the greatest clan leaders and heroes of the Isles, along with much of their treasure. The entrance is cloaked in illusion and magically protected, so only the small clergy of the Death Dragon can pass at will. Exceptions are made for the ritual interment of a recently departed dragon, however, so select members of that dragon’s clan can attend and make their final farewells. The temple is overseen by the amethyst wyrm Goedarruth, formerly of Clan Majyst. Like all priests of Chronepsis in Io’s Blood Isles, he renounced his allegiance and clan loyalty before swearing himself to the Death Dragon’s service.

Each continent on the world of Golot in Golotspace has a temple of Chronepsis, although the most important one is centrally located near the equator. Known as the Mistwall Vault, this graveyard has long been a destination of dragon’s who wish to die on hallowed land. The entrance to the temple is a deep shaft in the Mistwall Mountains, into which three streams plunge, although it is so deep the water never reaches the bottom. It has long been overseen by a clan of mist dragon’s, with the current matriarch being a venerable dragon by the name of Vaparoturrux. The bottom of the shaft holds dozens upon dozens of cracked and crushed skeletons of dragon’s who plunged into the shaft at the very moment Chronepsis drew away their spirit.

On the world of Oerth, a temple to the Guardian of the Lost lies hidden at the southern end of the Rakers mountain range. The temple, once known as the Catacombs of Chronepsis, has long been abandoned and forgotten. The entrance was located beneath a steep overhang that collapsed with the passing of the last priest who served the temple. While no living dragon tends to the ancient remains within the innumerable chambers that make up the temple, they are still cared for by permanent unseen servants and protected by the ghost of the last priest.

Affiliated Orders: None.

Priestly Vestments: Chronepsis’s holy symbol is an enchanted hourglass made of brass and rock crystal. The sand inside the hourglass is typically gold dust, although other materials are often used as well.

Adventuring Garb: None.

Specialty Priests (Silent Watchers)
Requirements:          Intelligence 14, Wisdom 14
Prime Req.:                Intelligence, Wisdom
Alignment:                N
Weapons:                   Any, but normally a dragon’s natural weaponry
Armor:                       Any, but normally a dragon’s natural armor
Major Spheres:         All, astral, divination, guardian, law, necromantic, numbers, protection, thought, time, wards
Minor Spheres:         Charm, creation, healing, travelers
Magical Items:         Same as dragons, clerics
Req. Profs:                Reading/writing (draconic)
Bonus Profs:             Burial customs, draconic (Warriors and Priests of the Realms)

  • Silent watchers may be any true dragon species capable of becoming a priest.
  • Silent watchers are not allowed to multiclass.
  • The actions a silent watcher takes are fixed points in time, and thus they are immune to any effects of the school of chronomancy or the sphere of time that would alter them. For example, a priest casting the spell temporal anomaly would be affected by any actions the silent watcher took in the alternate time stream. Similarly, a chronomancer could not reroll a saving throw for a silent watcher’s breath weapon using the spell minor paradox. This is only a localized effect, however, and their historical actions can still be changed by altering the broad-based history of the land the priest lives in.
  • Silent watchers cast all spells from the time and necromantic spheres as if they were two levels higher.
  • Silent watchers can cast know time or analyze balance (as the 1st-level priest spells) once per day per age category, in any combination (i.e. a silent watcher who has reached the 3rd age category can cast know time once and analyze balance twice, or vice versa, or any other combination).
  • At the 2nd age category, silent watchers can cast protection from aging or music of the spheres (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At the 3rd age category, silent watchers can cast negative plane protection (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day. At the 5th age category, this rises to twice per day, and at the 8th age category, this rises to three times per day.
  • At the 4th age category, silent watchers can cast speak with dead or emotion control (as the 3rd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At the 6th age category, silent watchers gain immunity to all harmful or debilitating effects from the school of chronomancy or the sphere of time, as well as aging attacks. This does not include compensatory effects from magic, such as the aging from a haste
  • At the 7th age category, silent watchers can cast age object (as the 5th-level priest spell) or wall of force (as the 5th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At the 9th age category, silent watchers can cast consequence or slay living or time pool (as the 5th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At the 11th age category, silent watchers can cast reverse time or age creature (as the 6th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At the 12th age category, silent watchers can cast symbol of persuasion (as the 7th-level priest spell) or time stop (as the 9th-level wizard spell) once per day.

Chronepsite Spells
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Guardian of the Lost can cast the 1st-level priest spell eternal sleep and the 3rd-level priest spell dire chant, both detailed in Cult of the Dragon in the entry for Null, as well as the 2nd-level priest spell protection from aging and the 5th-level priest spell speak with ancient dead, both detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Labelas Enoreth.

1st Level
Locate Draconic Remains (Pr 1; Divination, Necromancy)

Sphere:                    Divination, Necromantic
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 turn + 5 rds./level
Casting Time:          1 rd.
Area of Effect:         5 yds. × 10 yds. + 5 yds./level path
Saving Throw:        None

This spell attunes the caster to the physical remains of dead dragons and dragon-kin in the area of effect. Locate draconic remains will thus easily detect the presence of unburied corpses or corporeal undead (such as zombie dragons or dracoliches), but will not reveal noncorporeal undead (such as ghost or spectral dragons). The area of effect extends in a 5-yard wide path, facing in the caster’s current direction. Scanning in a direction requires one round, during which time the caster remains motionless in concentration.

Locate draconic remains is mostly unaffected by walls or obstacles, though the area of effect is halved (i.e. 5 yards plus 2.5 yards per level) by more than three feet of solid stone, ten feet of wood or packed earth, or one inch of metal.

In the most general application, this spell precisely locates any and all physical remains of individual dragons and dragon-kin in the area of effect, regardless of gender, species, and undead status. This spell does not impart any knowledge regarding the identity (or undead nature) of the remains; only the current locations of corpses within the area of effect are learned.

If an item from a bonded hoard (see Council of Wyrms) or small fragment of the deceased individual is available at the time of casting, the spell can be used to locate the remains of that specific individual. In that case, the spell does not register the presence of any remains except those of the desired individual.

The material component for this spell is either a small piece of bone from a draconic cadaver (for the general version) or else a scale, tooth, or an item from a bonded hoard (for the specific version). This spell is never found as a dragon spell, only as a dragon-priest spell.

2nd Level
Aura of Chronepsis (Pr 2; Necromancy)

Sphere:                    Time
Range:                     0
Components:           V, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         Special
Saving Throw:        Special

When this spell is cast, the priest is surrounded by an aura of oppressive, weighty energy accompanied by stale, musty air that extends away from the priest to a distance equal to its fear aura.

Creatures that enter the area of effect must save vs. spells with a –4 penalty or be slowed, as the 3rd-level wizard spell. In addition, they begin to feel the physical effects of extreme aging. One round after being in the aura, they advance one age category (typically, advancing into middle age, with appropriate physical penalties). Creatures without age categories, and those that get more powerful with age such as dragons, suffer a –1/die penalty to both damage rolls and Hit Dice. After two rounds within the aura, creatures advance another age category (typically middle age to old age); creatures without age categories as above suffer an additional –1 penalty to damage rolls and a –1 penalty to Armor Class. On the fourth round, creatures advance to the final age category venerable if not already there, and those without age categories suffer a further penalty of –1 hit point per Hit Die and a –1 penalty to Armor Class. These penalties will not reduce hit points or damage to less than 1 per die.

All effects persist for 2d4 rounds after leaving the aura of Chronepsis; none of the effects are cumulative upon creatures who leave and re-enter the aura, although leaving before the full effects of the aging has run its course does not prevent it from progressing to its final form. A creature who re-enters the aura after successfully saving and leaving is required to make a new save to avoid the effects again.

Aura of Chronepsis persists for the full duration unless removed by a limited wish or greater effect; dispel magic does not suffice.

The material component for this spell is the dragon’s holy symbol.

3rd Level
Glyph of Warding: Chronepsis’s Grip
(Pr 3; Abjuration, Alteration, Enchantment/Charm)

Sphere:                    Guardian
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Until discharged
Casting Time:          Special
Area of Effect:         Special
Saving Throw:        Special

A glyph of warding is a powerful inscription magically drawn to prevent unauthorized or hostile creatures from passing, entering, or opening. The glyph of warding: Chronepsis’s grip is favored by priests of the Guardian of the Lost. No other priesthoods are known to use it. The conditions, limitations, and material components for casting a glyph of warding: Chronepsis’s grip are the same as for a normal glyph of warding, although the spell always requires powdered diamond to cast, regardless of the area to be affected. This spell is never found as a dragon spell, and only true dragons are capable of casting this spell.

When triggered, Chronepsis’s grip causes the creature who triggered the glyph and all those within 10 feet to be frozen in time, just as if affected by the 7th-level wizard spell timed stasis. Those affected are unaffected by the passing of time, and outside forces cannot harm them due to time stopping so completely for the creatures; even the time it takes for a blade to penetrate skin or flesh to burn does not pass. The inscriber of the glyph can end the effect at any time, as can a creature knowing the command word to allow passage; a dispel magic can also end the effect early, but only on a natural 20. The effect lasts 1d4 months. This spell can only be cast by priests of 18th level or higher.

4 Responses to Chronepsis the Death Dragon

  1. Shandrath says:

    Hey, Auld Dragon! Fantastic work, as always. One question: that mention of Chronepsis sending a follower to aid an elven wizard in preventing a meddling human wizard from disrupting the creation of Myth Drannor. Is that from an adventure? Just wondering where that reference is from. I’d be interested in tracking down the source to learn more. Thanks!

    • AuldDragon says:

      I made it up, which is why it is so vague. It was just intended to be an example and/or plot hook that could expanded for someone’s campaign, as well as show how and why he would interact with those he cooperates with.

  2. Barastir says:

    One question here: is Chronepsis flight speed right? Is he way slower than the other draconic deities?

    • AuldDragon says:

      Yes, he is. His physical form is decaying and decrepit, which is why he favors blinking. DMGR4 lists his movement as “Special.”

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