Verenestra the Oak Princess

Daughter of Titania and Oberon, Verenestra possesses an unearthly beauty that is dimly reflected in the nymphs, dryads, and sylphs of the Prime Material Plane that worship her. She is a flightly and vain, but ultimately cares deeply for her faerie folk.

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Verenestra (PDF Version)
(The Oak Princess, the Nymph Queen, Oaklady, Goddess of Trees)
Lesser Power of the Planes, N(CG)

Portfolio:                 Female faeries, charm, beauty
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Wanders/the Seelie Court (the Oak Bower)
Superior:                   Titania
Allies:                       Artemis, Baervan Wildwanderer, Baldur, Hanali Celanil, Lurue, Obad-Hai, Rillifane Rallathil, Shiallia, Silvanus, the centaur pantheon, the Seelie Court, the Seldarine
Foes:                           Cegilune, Erythnul, Eshebala, Malar, the Queen of Air and Darkness, the orc and goblinoid pantheons
Symbol:                     Filigree-edged silver mirror
Wor. Align.:              LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN

Fickle and vain, Verenestra (VAIR-en-ess-trah) the Oak Princess embodies the unearthly beauty that many female faeries possess. She represents the power such beings have over males of many species, and has adopted as her charges the dryads, nymphs, and sylphs that so often exercise such influence. She is flighty and follows the whims of her emotions, but she is also deeply sensitive and caring towards her charges.

Child of Titania and inheritor of her beauty, Verenestra is sometimes said to have no father but the wind that blows through the tree boughs of the Seelie Court. More often she is seen as daughter of Titania and Oberon, while some few try to reconcile these two tales into one. As with her brother Damh, the Oak Princess has adopted a number of faerie creatures as her charges, particularly those that share her eternally youthful appearance and demeanor. While her motives for taking on her charges were in part similar to Damh’s desire to reduce the burden their mother had taken upon herself, Verenestra’s myths portray her decision as one made out of recognition that female faeries often face greater and more diverse threats than other sylvan creatures. These same myths describe her adoption of the dryads, nymphs, and sylphs as having infused them with eternal beauty that could serve as a weapon in itself, supplemented by additional magical gifts.

Outside of her origin myths, faerie stories about the Oak Princess are rarely adventuresome tales; some are moral tales that have her learn valuable lessons after getting embroiled in trouble due to her vanity or haughtiness, while others revolve around pursuit of her affections by a variety of overly-amorous suitors. Tales in the first category portray her personality as one of compassion and good nature, but struggling with vanity, flighty rashness, and fits of jealousy, but her actions never intentionally inflict harm. Most of these tales involve mortals, but the most prominent feature other deities, such as Eshebala, who try to trick or lure her by exploiting her weaknesses in order to undermine the Seelie Court. Some sorrowful tales relate the origins of fallen or corrupted faerie folk, such as unseelie nymphs, through the manipulation of Verenestra and her faults by the likes of Cegilune or the Queen of Air and Darkness. Other tales are purely comedic, designed to delight and teach listeners life lessons. The second category of tales are nearly universally comedic, although some have darker undertones about the dangers outsiders pose to faerie folk. In these stories, the Oak Princess leads amorous males and deities of other pantheons on merry chases in order to dissuade them from their desires. Such tales may include many other deities and creatures on both sides of the chase, or they may include none at all. In the end, the amorous male usually has their ardor cooled enough to call off the chase, with a few ending somewhat differently. A handful of tales end with Verenstra, feeling flattered by her pursuer’s skill and tenacity, allowing herself to be caught for a night of passion. In no tale is she ever caught against her will, but that is not to say all of her suitors appreciate her antics; some deities she has evaded in these tales are said to have turned their disappointment into anger or hatred, and sworn revenge upon her.

Verenestra’s relations with other deities are often dependent on her personality. She is vain and not a little bit jealous of other goddesses of beauty; she snobbishly spurns the company of deities such as Aphrodite and Sune. The exception is her strong friendship with the elven goddess Hanali Celanil; this is a relatively recent development due to Lady Goldheart’s concerted effort coupled with her tender kindness and love of life. By contrast, it has been said that the Oak Princess has had more than one dalliance with Baldur, the Aesir god of beauty, as well as various other beauteous male deities. She is also strongly allied with a variety of nature powers, although only with Rillifane Rallathil is she regularly romantically linked. Baervan Wildwanderer has long made his romantic interest in the Oak Princess known, but as yet she has not returned his feelings, although the two remain friends and allies.

Verenestra rarely visits the Prime Material Plane on her own, only doing so to visit with particularly wise and old nymphs, dryads, or sylphs, or to entice particularly handsome and charismatic males into short-term dalliances, after which she may reward them with a modest magical item from the Seelie Court. Otherwise, she only accompanies another sylvan power on missions of import and communal interest, such as protecting ancient sylvan lands and the faeries who dwell therein.

Verenestra’s Avatar (Mage 29, Druid 29)
Verenestra appears in the form of a dryad, nymph, or sylph as she desires. Regardless of her form, she always possesses an unearthly beauty and perfect form, and eyes of a deep woody brown that seem to draw in any creature that makes eye contact. She wears flowing diaphanous garments of gossamer thread that expose far more than they cover, often seeming to float around her or stream behind her regardless of the weather conditions. Her head is often crowned with a wreath of oak leaves, although at times living oak leaves are woven into her hear instead. She always wears exquisitely crafted jewelry of a wide variety of types; such jewelry is always in great taste and can never be considered gaudy; a pair of silver acorn earrings are among her most common accessories. She draws her spells from all spheres save elemental fire, law, and war, and the schools of enchantment/charm, elemental (all save fire), and illusion/phantasm.

AC −3; MV 12, Fl 72 (MC A), Sw 12; HP 130; THAC0 2; #AT 1
Dmg 1d3+3 (faerie dagger +3)
MR 55%; SZ M (4½ feet tall)
Str 13, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 16, Cha 24
Spells P: 11/11/9/9/9/9/7, W: 7/7/7/7/7/6/6/6/6
Saves PPDM 2; RSW 3; PP 5; BW 7; Sp 4

Special Att/Def: Verenestra avoids physical confrontations if she can do so, favoring her magical powers to charm or distract opponents rather than eliminate them. If absolutely necessary, she will use Moongleam, a small silver dagger +3 that is studded with moonstones. Creatures struck by this blade must save versus spell or be affected as the tree spell, for 6 hours. The Oak Princess can dispel this at will.

Verenestra can change form between dryad, nymph, and sylph instantaneously, once per round, and has all the special abilities and defenses of her given form. She can only fly in sylph form, but can swim in either of her other forms. At will she can cast charm person, with males making their saves with a −10 penalty. Further, any male inflicting damage upon her suffers half that damage back himself. The Oak Princess can cast the calm version of emotion, massmorph, and pass plant at will, and three times per day she can cast each liveoak, mass charm, turn wood, and wall of thorns. Finally, in addition to any other actions, she can pacify up to 40 Hit Dice worth of creatures in a 60-degree arc with a simple wave of her hand. Those affected are unable to attack except in self-defense for 1d4+5 rounds.

Verenestra is immune to all enchantment/charm and illusion/phantasm spells, as well as caused wounds, poison, paralyzation, disease, death magic, polymorph attacks, and nonmagical weapons. Even if magically compelled, no sentient non-evil plants, non-evil faerie creatures, or normal woodland animals will attack her. However, outside of a sylvan environment, her magic resistance is halved and she suffers a +4 penalty to her Armor Class.

Other Manifestations
The Oak Princess is not particularly active in manifesting her power, but mostly does so when invoked directly. She favors granting magical effects that allow a follower to avoid or elude danger, and has been known to affect a follower with spells such as sanctuary or tree, or by opening a plant door. However, as a vain and fickle power, she has been known to inflict curses upon those brazen enough to claim they possess greater beauty than she. Such curses most often twist the beauty from those things a creature loves, such as their surroundings or lovers. The curses are intended to teach a lesson for such arrogance, and they are lifted as soon as the offender offers a heartfelt apology. However, in rare cases, the offending being takes a liking to certain aspects of their new curse, and become thoroughly corrupted by it; most sylvan folk see this as the work of the Queen of Air and Darkness, and there may be some truth behind their views. Those who embrace their curses become known as dark nymphs, dark dryads, and dark sylphs.

As a member of the Seelie Court, Verenestra is served primarily by aasimon, asuras, and eladrins (especially coures), but she also calls upon normal woodland animals of all sorts, aasimar, ashira, asrai, nereids, oreads, pahari, quickwood, singing trees, treants, sakina, and stone maidens. The Oak Princess displays her favor through the discovery of still, pristine sylvan pools of great beauty, ancient and majestic oaks of perfect form, breathtakingly beautiful hidden glades, and green and pale blue gems of all sorts. She displays her displeasure through the discovery of objects of beauty that have been marred by time, rust, or misuse to the point that the beauty is gone and gems of green and pale blue with significant flaws. While not seen as a manifestation of her favor, faerie folk consider dew on the first morning of summer to be sacred to Verenestra, and it is believed that a female, faerie or otherwise, that washes her face in this dew will become far more attractive for a time.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, enchanters
Clergy’s Align.:      NG, CG, N, CN
Turn Undead:           C: Yes, SP: No, Enc: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: No, SP: No, Enc: No

All clerics and specialty priests of Verenestra receive religion (Seelie Court) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

Verenestra’s clergy are among the most reclusive and aloof of all sylvan faiths. Concerned with the pursuit of perfect beauty, both in themselves and their surroundings, many isolate themselves in a small area and shape it slowly over time to bring out as much natural charm as possible, and they discourage trespassers, although active harm to those who intrude on their domains is rare. They much prefer to use magic to guide the interlopers away or distract them into leaving, without giving away their presence. A not insignificant group of the Oak Princess’s following is more social, however. Often older members of the faith for whom the pursuit of beauty has lost its charm, these members of the faith concern themselves with the interests of female faeries, attending childbirths, offering guidance and counsel on matters of romance and marriage, as well as ensuring female faeries are not mistreated or hunted by goblinoids or other outside threats. Even these members of the clergy avoid interacting directly with outsiders, and are rarely encountered or known even to a sylvan lands druids and rangers.

Verenestra’s clergy build neither temples nor shrines, preferring to worship the Oak Princess in places of natural beauty. They aren’t above altering their favorite worship locations to enhance the beauty, and a discerning eye can spot their hand when beautiful local flowers just happen to be growing in the perfect place to catch the stray ray of morning sun shining through the leaves overhead. These touches are always of a minimalist nature, and only plants and objects that would be reasonably found in such locations will be used. For those without years of familiarity with the local environment, all these enhancements would easily go unnoticed.

While not formal titles, novices in the service of the Oak Princess are often called Budding Acorns as a term of endearment. Similarly, novices will refer to full priestesses as Mistress Oak; this term is not used between full priestesses, who only refer to each other by name. Those outside of the clergy who insist on an honorific or title will often use the term Lady of the Oak or Lady Oak, but the clergy neither encourages nor discourages this. Specialty priests are called oaksisters. The clergy of Verenestra consists almost exclusively of specialty priests (88%), with much smaller contingents of clerics (9%) and enchanters (3%); the priesthood is entirely female (100%). The clergy of the Oak Princess is quite diverse, with large numbers of nymphs (including grain nymphs; 27%) and dryads (including hamadryads; 26%), with the remainder composed of sylphs (14%), pixies (9%), sprites (6%), oreads (4%), nereids (2%), elves and half-elves (1%), other faerie and sylvan folk (including atomies, centaurs, grigs, voadkyn, etc.; 10%), and females of other races (including humans, selkies, sirines, etc.; 1%).

Dogma: Natural magic exists within beautiful forms, be they sylvan glades, meadows of wild flowers, or the feminine form of faeriefolk. Such natural magic is the source of the power and charms of the sylvan races, and should be deployed to aid and protect the creatures of the woodlands. This magic can alter the motivations and intentions of outsiders, and those who do not serve the interests of the land can be shaped to that end.

Day-to-Day Activities: The priesthood of Verenestra has few duties, and most members of the clergy spend their days reveling in the beauty within themselves and that which surrounds them. Besides spending time on their own appearance, they take care to enhance the natural spaces around them, planting naturalistic gardens of local wildflowers and encouraging the faeries around them to care about such things as well. Some members of the clergy, especially as they get older and worldlier, take time to teach young female faeries about their coming adulthood. While regarded by outsiders as supremely vain and self-centered, they are in fact highly sought after by female faeries who wish advice or just a caring ear for their problems.

Non-sylvan followers of the Oak Princess tend to be about as vain and self-centered as other outsiders expect, as they do not have the social communities of the faerie folk to rely on and more likely turned to Verenestra’s service in the hopes of gaining the otherworldly beauty common to her most famous followers. While not the type to go to any length to preserve or enhance their beauty, it is typically their greatest interest.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The first day of each season is sacred to Verenestra’s clergy, and they hold ceremonies to inaugurate the changes the seasons bring to the forests they inhabit. Such ceremonies are generally deeply personal and observed alone or in small groups. These ceremonies have no specific names, but revolve around saying goodbye to the beauty of the previous season and welcoming in the beauty of the next, both personal and environmental.

Major Centers of Worship: The Oak Princess’s clergy do not typically perform pilgrimages or create centers of worship, so there are no widely-known sites sacred to the faithful.

Affiliated Orders: The clergy of Verenestra sponsor no martial or monastic orders, although occasionally all-female bands of rangers dedicate themselves to her service.

Priestly Vestments: As services tend to be personal and semi-private affairs, Verenestra’s priesthood has no formal raiments. Most members favor light, flowing garments of gauzy, translucent fabric that offers minimal covering, and accessories such as jewelry are always included. Hair is normally worn long, in a variety of styles to each individual’s taste, tending towards the more exotic.

Adventuring Garb: The Oak Princess’s priesthood is not prone to adventure or travel; most faerie folk clergy wear clothing and use weapons common to their race. Other members of the clergy favor light clothing that isn’t restrictive and simple weapons that are most useful for self-defense, such as staves and short bows. Only rarely is any armor worn.

Specialty Priests (Oaksisters)
Requirements:          Wisdom 10, Charisma 17
Prime Req.:                Wisdom, Charisma
Alignment:                NG, CG, N
Weapons:                   dagger, dart, knife, lasso, mancatcher, net, quarterstaff, short bow, sling
Armor:                       None
Major Spheres:         All, animal, charm, elemental (air, earth, water), healing, plant, protection, time, weather
Minor Spheres:         Divination, guardian
Magical Items:         Same as druids
Req. Profs:                Dancing or singing (pick one), weather sense
Bonus Profs:             Herbalism

  • While most oaksisters are dryads, nymphs, or sylphs, members of nearly every sylvan race are called to Verenestra’s service, as are a handful of humans, elves, half-elves, sirens, and nereids. Note that this risks angering any native goddesses of beauty within such a creature’s native pantheon.
  • Oaksisters must be female.
  • Oaksisters are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Oaksisters can cast charm person or mammal (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day. If the target is a male humanoid, they receive a −1 penalty on his saving throw for every point of Charisma the oaksister has above 16 (−1 at 17, −2 at 18, etc.).
  • At 3rd level, oaksisters can cast barkskin (as the 2nd-level priest spell) or fast growth (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 5th level, oaksisters can cast fly (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) or tree (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 7th level, oaksisters receive a +1 bonus to their Charisma scores. They receive another +1 bonus at 15th level, and a third +1 bonus at 20th level.
  • At 9th level, oaksisters can cast plant growth (as the 3rd-level priest spell) three times per day.
  • At 12th level, oaksisters can cast massmorph (as the 4th-level wizard spell) or plant door (as the 4th-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At 15th level, oaksisters can cast liveoak (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day, and render the animation permanent if desired. While they can only animate one such tree at a time with this power, it does not count towards a normal casting of this spell, nor does having a tree animated with a normal casting of the spell block this power. In addition, a tree animated using this power has considerable more leeway in where it can be animated; all ranges in the spell description are tripled for the use of this power. A permanently animated tree can be dispelled at any time by the caster with a simple act of will.

Verenestran Spells
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Oak Princess can cast the 6th-level priest spell merge with nature, detailed in Faiths and Avatars in the entry for Sune, and the 7th-level priest spell nymph’s beauty, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Hanali Celanil.

1st Level
Fast Growth (Pr 1; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Plant
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Permanent
Casting Time:          1 rd.
Area of Effect:         1 plant
Saving Throw:        Special

With nothing but a touch and a whisper of magic, a dryad can cause a plant to grow faster than normal. Fast growth can enhance growth in existing thorns to increase damage, grow a vine to greater lengths (up to ten feet), cause a tree to grow ten feet in an hour, or whatever the caster wishes (with the DM’s approval). For example, if the priest wishes to increase the damage potential in a plant, she can use it on a large bramble bush. If someone tries to move through the bush, he suffers 1d4 points of damage for every five feet of bramble. (If used with the shape plant spell, the brambles cause 1d4+2 points of damage.) Each time a priest uses this spell, the plant resists (via saving throw vs. spell at the caster’s level) for one simple reason: Fast growth causes the plant to use a lot of resources all at once. If the caster rolls a 20 on the saving throw, the plant dies. If the spell didn’t succeed, then the priest knows that the plant did not have enough resources to grow as she wanted.

The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol. Dryads and other faerie creatures with natural priestly abilities who also worship Verenestra may cast this spell with no material components.

Shape Plant (Pr 1; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Plant
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Permanent
Casting Time:          3
Area of Effect:         1 plant
Saving Throw:        None

By touching a chosen plant, a priest can shape its growth pattern into several forms. The priest can straighten a plant so that it grows tall and true, have it grow low to the ground so as to trip a foe, or make any thorns it possesses sharper and more painful (increasing its normal damage by +2 points). When used before casting the spell fast growth, the priest can make any wooded area defensible. This spell lasts until the plant is destroyed or until someone casts a successful dispel magic on it.

The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol. Dryads and other faerie creatures with natural priestly abilities who also worship Verenestra may cast this spell with no material components.

3rd Level
Sylvan Images (Pr 3; Illusion/Phantasm)
Sphere:                    Charm
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         30 yd. radius/level
Saving Throw:        None

With this spell, the caster brings into being a series of duplicate images, similar to the mirror image spell, of themselves that flit between trees in any dense woodland area. In addition, the caster becomes briefly invisible as they move about, making it impossible for viewers to determine which image is real, or how many individuals there are in the area. The images can range away from the caster in a radius of 30 yards per level of the caster, to a maximum of 240 yards. The images will always keep partially hidden behind trees, bushes, and other plant life within the area. If cast in an area without sufficient plant life, the spell will fail.

Unlike the mirror image spell, these images appear from behind cover when the spell is cast, seemingly new individuals rather than duplicates of the caster. When an image is struck by a melee or missile attack, magical or otherwise, it appears to fall dead in undergrowth or behind a tree, disappearing only when foes are not directly looking at them; any other existing images remain intact until struck. To determine the number of images that appear, roll 1d4 and add 1 for every four levels of experience the priest has achieved, to a maximum of eight images. At the end of the spell duration, all surviving images wink out.

6 Responses to Verenestra the Oak Princess

  1. Barastir says:

    Great entry! Happy New Year, and thank you for keeping the good job!

  2. William says:

    Nice writeup. I have a description from somewhere that says Verenestra is always barefoot, and that her bower in the Seelie Court is “resplendent with silver birches, larches and sycamores, and a fringe of willows, and the trees are decorated with living silver filigree and jewels”.

  3. Kim says:

    Excellent inspiration!
    Keep up the good work! I would love to see one for Oberon!

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