Krocaa the Crimsonfeather

Krocaa was introduced in Dragon #124 as the deity of the aarakocra. With DMGR4 Monster Mythology, however, he was replaced with Syranita. Combining the pair into a small pantheon required some alterations to his original characterization and dogma to make the pair synergize well, with Krocaa being more of an active defender than Syranita, with an additional emphasis on hunting.

Edit (Feb. 13): Reworked the Bones of Steel spell to be clearer on the effects.

Krocaa (PDF Version)
(Crimsonfeather, the Hunter)
Lesser Power of Arborea and Elemental Air, NG

Portfolio:                 Hunting, defense, combat
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Olympus/Whistledge and Elemental Plane of Air/Crimson Eyrie
Superior:                   Syranita
Allies:                       Aerdrie Faenya, Akadi, Chan, Eachthighern, Fanthros, Jazirian, Koriel, Remnis, Stillsong, Stronmaus, the Seldarine, the Caliph of the Djinn, various Animal Lords
Foes:                           Kuraulyek, Malar, Pazrael, Talos, Yan-C-Bin
Symbol:                     Red feather
Wor. Align.:              LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN

Less well known than his mate Syranita, Krocaa (CROW-kah) is no less important to the lives of the aarakocra. He is a superb hunter and embodies the great aerial skill of the bird men. He further serves as a complimentary counterpoint to his mate, encouraging strong combat skills in his followers in order for them to take active roles in the defense of their tribes and territories.

Krocaa is usually subordinate to Syranita in aarakocran myths, which often portray him as having been one of the first mortal aarakocra, and being elevated to godhood due to a great sacrifice to protect his fellow bird men. The nature of the sacrifice tends to vary, often involving the most dangerous creatures that threaten any given tribe. In these stories, Krocaa was the most skilled hunter and warrior of his tribe, noble in spirit and demeanor. His tribe was under constant threat from their foe, but up until that point they settled on raids and plundering attacks rather than concerted efforts to destroy them. Then one day while hunting, he discovered a large gathering of the foes’ forces preparing an attack on the eyries of his tribe. Knowing his people would be destroyed if they faced the enemy directly, he led a small band of his most loyal warriors to distract and delay the forces bent on their destruction, while the priests of Syranita worked great protection magics to defend their homes. Despite their small number, Krocaa and his companions fought with great skill and guile, keeping their foes away from the eyries for days, as his band was slowly whittled down until he alone faced the leader of the enemy forces in a great aerial battle within sight of his home. Realizing he had almost no fight left in him, Krocaa made a suicidal attack that crippled or slew the enemy leader. Just in time, the priests of his tribe completed their great spells, protecting them from their foes for generations to come. As a reward for his great sacrifice Syranita elevated Krocaa, his feathers permanently stained with blood, to divine status and made him patron of the warriors and hunters of the aarakocra. His companions, always mythical or legendary heroes and ancestors of the tribe telling the tale, were given honors as well, often being changed into permanent landmarks such as mountain peaks or constellations.

Krocaa is more aloof than his mate. He shares many of her allies among the aerial beings, but does not look outside these deities for alliances. This is not to say he disagrees or disapproves of her actions; he just recognizes that he is no diplomat and is not skilled at relating to those who have vastly different points of view and priorities. He does not hesitate to assist the asathalfinare and other allies of Syranita should they wish martial advice from an aerial perspective, however. Just as he draws his allies from those who live in the skies, so too does he focus on rivaling villainous powers of the air and those who hunt and kill aarakocra just for the pleasure of it. Chief among his foes are Talos the Destroyer and Malar the Beastlord, both of whom delight in slaying the gentle aarakocra. Krocaa actively interferes with their activities where he can, although he must be careful in his actions against the more powerful Talos. His encounters with Kuraulyek have caused the urd deity to greatly fear Crimsonfeather’s abilities. Stories out of the High Forest on Toril from the Time of Troubles speak of a brief duel between an aarakocra and an urd above the Star Mounts, followed by a band of aarakocra blockading the entrances to a known urd nest; many sages believe these events indicate the avatars of Krocaa and Kuraulyek made their appearances there.

Krocaa is an active deity, and keeps a close eye on events that affect his followers. He will dispatch an avatar to their aid if they face an existential threat that they are incapable of handling, especially if it involves the machinations of another aerial deity. He has also been known to send avatars to share new methods of hunting, combat, or defense with aarakocran tribes in order to assure that they are maximally prepared for the dangers they face.

Krocaa’s Avatar (Fighter 29, Cleric 22)
Krocaa appears as a large aarakocra with golden feathers. He has eyes the color of sapphire, and his head plumage is a brilliant crimson. He draws his spells from the spheres of All, Animal, Combat, Divination, Elemental, Healing, Protection, Summoning, Travelers, and War.

AC 0; MV 9, Fl 36 (A); HP 195; THAC0 −8; #AT 5/2
Dmg 1d6+11 (javelin +2, +7 Str, +2 spec bonus in javelin)
MR 20%; SZ M (6 feet tall, 20 foot wingspan)
Str 19, Dex 21, Con 20, Int 19, Wis 18, Cha 18
Spells P: 11/11/10/10/9/6/3
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 5; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 6

Special Att/Def: When engaging in combat, Krocaa favors distance over melee, using his javelins +2 which return to his quiver at the end of any round in which they are thrown. His quiver typically holds four of such javelins, as well as a flight lance +3 should he need it. Should he need to, he fights with claws and beak, each of which deals 1d8+1 points of damage.

Once every three rounds, Krocaa can use his wings to create a powerful gust of wind at the 20th level of ability. He is able to cast cloudkill and death fog once per day each. He can summon two 16-HD air elementals once per day that serve him for 8 turns; control of these elementals cannot be usurped by anything short of another deity. Due to his exceptional vision, he can never be surprised and has perfect vision to a range of 3 miles.

Krocaa is immune to weapons of less than +2 enchantment, as well as all elemental air attacks and all fear effects, even those of a divine nature. He wears a ring of fire resistance on one talon that imparts its effects to all friendly creatures within a 20-foot radius. Magic that would prevent his ability to fly has no effect on him, although magic that can impede his overall movement (slow, paralyzation, etc.) operate normally. He takes half damage from all breath weapons (draconic, chimeric, etc.) of less than a divine nature, with a successful saving throw indicating he takes no damage at all.

Other Manifestations
Krocaa most commonly manifests his power to guide a follower to a location they need to find, such as a good hunting ground, safety, or the lair of a foe. These manifestations take the form of a brilliant red bird that has an ethereal quality, and are called Crimsonfeather’s Emissaries. Only Krocaa’s faithful can see these manifestations. More rarely, he may manifest his power to directly assist his followers when they battle an especially dangerous for, granting them the effects of both a prayer spell and Crimsonfeather’s courage.

Krocaa is served by birds of prey of all sorts but especially eagles, hawks, and falcons, as well as aasimon, air elementals, asperii, avariel, djinn, griffons, hippogriffs, incarnates of courage, rocs, spirits of the air, and sylphs. He displays his favor through the discovery of red gems and feathers of all sorts, while his displeasure is revealed through the discovery of cracked red gems and broken red feathers.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, shamans
Clergy’s Align.:      LG, NG, CG, N
Turn Undead:           C: Yes, SP: No, Sha: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: No, SP: No, Sha: No

All clerics, specialty priests, and shamans of Krocaa receive religion (aarakocra) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency. Any member of the clergy who takes the tracking proficiency suffers only half the non-ranger penalty to their checks.

Krocaa’s followers are little known outside of aarakocran society, with only the avariel and giant eagles to be likely to know much of them, and even then they usually only know them in a somewhat vague sense. They occasionally associate with the clergies of good deities interested in hunting and protecting wild places, but these associations are initiated by Krocaa’s followers, rather than the other way around. In general, Crimsonfeather’s followers don’t advertise their religious affiliation in interactions with outsiders; this is not due to any xenophobia, but instead a preference for representing their tribe first. Within aarakocran tribes, Krocaa’s clergy lead hunting expeditions and serve as combat leaders and trainers. They are deferential to Syranita’s clergy, often serving as the defensive tool of their protective nature.

The priesthood of Krocaa does not build temples, instead constructing small shrines attached to temples of Syranita or close to where the hunters and warriors of the tribe congregate. Shrines are decorated with a profusion of dyed red feathers, and may contain hunting implements or hunting trophies as further embellishments. A small altar is located in the center of the shrine, with a depression for offerings of incense or trophies to be placed. Above the altar hangs a single large red feather, weighted to keep it from blowing too much in the regular winds that visit aarakocran eyries.

Novices of Krocaa are called Fledglings, while full priests are known as Guardian Raptors. Titles used by Crimsonfeather’s clergy vary from tribe to tribe, with titles such as Red Hawk, Black Buzzard, White Eagle, Golden Falcon, and Crimson Kite being common. Specialty priests are known as crimson wings. Krocaa’s clergy is overwhelmingly dominated by aarakocra (97%), with a small number of giant eagles, winged elves, and kenku (3%) comprising the remainder. His priesthood is dominated by males (76%), although some females are drawn to his service as well (24%). Most of his priesthood is composed of shamans (82%), with a small number of specialty priests (18%) in the most organized tribes.

Dogma: Hunting is necessary for sustenance, but ensure only what is needed is taken. Respect your prey, and hone your skills to minimize their pain. Many creatures will see your people as weak and defenseless; train your martial skills in order to defend them. Keep a watch out for those who would do your tribe harm and face them in battle if needed, but do not seek out conflict.

Day-to-Day Activities: Krocaa’s clergy lead and teach their tribe’s hunters, providing their community with the food they need to sustain themselves. They also teach the males of the tribe combat skills they’ll need should conflict break out with other intelligent creatures, and in such times, the lead the members of the tribe’s militia against foes. They do not advocate pre-emptive attacks except against vicious creatures with little in the way of civilization (manticores, wyverns, etc.), but they do ensure they keep an eye on potential threats.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: On the last day if each month, as well as certain holy days unique to each tribe, the Krocaan clergy hold a ceremony called the Offering of Crimson. This ceremony invokes Crimsonfeather’s aid for future hunting successes, and thanks him for teaching the aarakocra hunting and martial skills. After a morning ceremony that involves ritual music from drums and chimes, and re-enactments or retellings of great hunting stories, members of the clergy travel to the highest peak within their territory in order to leave an offering. Preferred offerings are the eggs of evil aerial beings or red gems, but any gems will do if they lack the favored offerings. Offerings are typically retrieved by eagles living on these peaks, which are considered sacred servants of Krocaa.

Major Centers of Worship: The tallest mountain peak within the territory of an aarakocran tribe is considered a site sacred to Krocaa. The clergy do not construct any temples or shrines on these mountains, believing it necessary to leave them in their natural state. So long as nothing is built on the peak itself, the Krocaan clergy does not consider it a religious affront should good or neutral creatures build on or near the mountain; should evil beings do so, they will attempt to drive them off. The tallest mountain known to an extended network of aarakocra tribes is considered the most holy of all; the clergy of the tribe that holds this peak within their territory can often wield considerable influence over the other branches of Krocaan’s faith.

Affiliated Orders: The Krocaan clergy sponsors small orders of fighter/shamans and fighter/thieves that operate across territorial borders in order to identify and resolve threats to aarakocra. They favor driving off threats rather than destroying them if possible, but they do not hesitate to do so if they conclude the threat cannot be eliminated in any other way.

Priestly Vestments: Krocaan’s priesthood favor small headdresses made of red feathers and animal bones; if possible, they will add a red gem or two as well. These headdresses are usually only half-crowns, leaving the back of the head bare. Red body and feather paint is also common, coating the tips of the wing feathers. Other races favor hooded robes in a cut native to their people, with red feathers along the trim of the bottom and the hood, and forming a fringe hanging from the arms. The holy symbol used by the priesthood is a single red feather or a single red gem, usually on a necklace.

Adventuring Garb: The clergy of Krocaa garb themselves as is typical for hunters of their tribe, often carrying a quiver of javelins or a flight lance. Other than their holy symbol, there is little to distinguish them from other members of the tribe’s hunters.

Specialty Priests (Crimson Wings)
Requirements:          Strength 12, Dexterity 12, Wisdom 10
Prime Req.:                Strength, Wisdom
Alignment:                NG
Weapons:                   Any
Armor:                       None
Major Spheres:         All, animal, combat, divination, elemental air, protection, travelers
Minor Spheres:         Healing, summoning, war
Magical Items:         Same as clerics and rangers
Req. Profs:                Tracking
Bonus Profs:             Survival (mountains or native habitat)

  • Crimson wings may be aarakocra, avariel, giant eagles, or kenku.
  • Crimson wings are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Crimson wings may select nonweapon proficiencies from the warrior group without penalty.
  • Crimson wings can track with only half the normal non-ranger penalty.
  • Crimson wings may choose, at 2nd level, a particular foe as rangers do against whom they gain a +4 bonus to their attack rolls, and suffer a −4 penalty to all reaction adjustments when dealing with such creatures.
  • Crimson wings can cast bones of steel (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 3rd level, crimson wings can cast Crimsonfeather’s courage or aid (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 5th level, crimson wings can cast gust of wind (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, crimson wings can make three melee attacks every two rounds.
  • At 7th level, crimson wings can cast hold animal (as the 3rd-level priest spell) three times per day.
  • At 9th level, crimson wings can cast control winds (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 13th level, crimson wings can make two melee attacks per round.

Krocaan Spells
1st Level
Bones of Steel (Pr 1; Alteration, Necromancy)
Sphere:                    Protection
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 1 turn/level
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        None

This spell magically strengthens the bones of the recipient so they are no longer susceptible to normal breaks, fractures, and similar injuries. While under this spell, a creature’s bones will never break from critical hits, called shots, falls of up to 200 feet, or other normal situations. Spells that weaken or break bones are saved against with a +4 bonus, even if they normally do not allow a saving throw. The recipient of this spell still suffers all normal hit point damage from the attack or situation, however.

This spell only affects living creatures with an internal skeleton, and has no effect on insects, spiders, or cartilaginous fish, nor does it impart any benefit on undead, golems, or other constructs composed of bone. It cannot harden or reinforce bone weapons. Hardened bones weigh no more than normal, and do not interfere with the flying ability of avian creatures.

2nd Level
Crimsonfeather’s Courage (Pr 2; Enchantment/Charm)
Sphere:                    Charm
Range:                     10 yds.
Components:           V
Duration:                 1 turn/level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         The caster + 1 creature/2 levels
Saving Throw:        None

By casting this spell, a priest can fortify himself and his companions against fear, boost morale, and eliminate the claustrophobia aarakocra typically feel in close quarters. One additional creature can be affected by this spell besides the caster for every two levels attained by the priest, provided they are all within a 10-yard radius. Creatures under this spell gain a +4 bonus to morale checks and saving throws against fear. In addition, any aarakocra who benefit from this spell are completely immune to claustrophobia for the duration.

Featherdarts (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     0
Components:           V
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        None

With this spell, a priest can magically harden some of his wing feathers, and launch them at foes with a single flap. One feather on each wing per 4 levels (2 per wing at 4th, 4 at 8th, etc.) is hardened in this manner. On the round in which this spell is cast, the priest can launch one featherdart from each with at a single target; they cannot choose to launch only one feather. These feathers have a range of 30 yards and gain a +3 bonus to the attack roll, dealing 1d6+3 points of damage. They are able to strike creatures that can only be hit by +2 magical weapons.

Further pairs of feathers can be launched in subsequent rounds, but they don’t have to be. If they are not launched within 3 rounds plus one round per two levels the caster has achieved, the featherdarts fall out and lose their magic.

4 Responses to Krocaa the Crimsonfeather

  1. Tony says:

    Aulddragon, you do such a great job with these! Im selfish and wish youd do one a week, but I enjoy what youre able to do

  2. Fred says:

    I appreciate these write ups so much. You are the literal best!

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