Zinzerena the Hunted

A recent addition to the drow pantheon, Zinzerena is an outsider even among that chaotic and fractured group of powers. Once a figure in heroic legends, she managed to ascend through trickery, and has been avoiding other members of the pantheon and causing chaos among drow cities ever since. I emphasized her more neutral aspects, which I think would be coming to the fore with her recent loss of power to Lolth.

Zinzerena (PDF Version)
(The Hunted, the Princess of the Outcasts)
Demipower of the Prime Material Plane, CE(N)

Portfolio:                 Chaos, assassins, luck, trickery, wild magic, illusions, deception, humiliation, ambush, rebellion, outcasts and exiles, the oppressed
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Nidavellir/Svartalfheim (the Hidden Vault)
Superior:                   None
Allies:                       Ralishaz, Trithereon
Foes:                           Ghaunadaur, Keptolo, Kiaransalee, Lolth, Selvetarm, Shevarash, Vhaeraun
Symbol:                     Black cloak and short sword
Wor. Align.:             CG, N, CN, NE, CE

The youngest of the drow deities, Zinzerena (zin-zuh-RAY-nuh) represents rebellion against existing power structures by the oppressed masses, especially through assassination or other chaotic methods. She is patron to outcasts and exiles and encourages her followers to live their lives on the whims of luck and to engage in trickery to accomplish their goals. She has become patron to renegade drow wild mages and is said to move through underdark societies in disguise, sowing chaos and leaving havoc in her wake.

For such a chaotic race, drow have a relatively weak heroic tradition; such tales that appear are widely suppressed by those in power so as to not face inspired downtrodden masses who challenge their authority. One tale that has managed to withstand this suppression and spread to many disparate dark elf communities across the Prime Material Plane is that of Zinzerena the Hunted. While the specific details of her mythology vary, in all cases she showed a great aptitude for magic at an early age. She was then hidden away by a parent and her death faked to not alert those in power to her abilities, after which she began learning magic slowly, alone and in secret. The power structure in the tale always reflects that of the tale-teller’s city, so it is typically the priesthood of Lolth, but at times it is the clergy of another power or even another race, and her parentage is anything from a royal scion to a noble house or a wealthy merchant family. She is never low born, as her parents are always shown to have the means to hide her and start her magical education. When she had learned all she could from the materials her parent or parents had left with her, she took to skulking about in the most cosmopolitan and degenerate dark elven city known to the taleteller, alternately hiding from or mingling with the variety of evils that lurked within the back alleys and slums. Taking to a life of thievery and assassination to acquire new spellbooks and magic to further her studies, she eventually forwent the use of lethal poisons in favor of those of a paralytic nature. She enjoyed the terror that she could strike in her victims, who always knew who it was who assaulted them, but never could she be identified because her skill at illusion and disguise was perfect. Additional tales often revolve around how she bested some foe and made off with great treasure; common elements involve cunning plans, ambushes, and traps, her tracking of a victim, or exploiting a weakness or situational benefit to her great advantage. In one popular tale, she is said to have planned to assault the lair of a powerful beholder. Upon arriving, however, she found the beholder locked in deadly combat with a slaad or other fiend also after its treasure; from the shadows she watched the battle rage between the two. Only once the battle had ended did she strike, easily dispatching the wounded beholder and taking for herself the magical cloak and sword the slaad had arrived with. The tales then describe her usage of illusion magic and misdirection to trap or dispatch the slaad who pursued her trying to reacquire the powerful items she had obtained from their brethren. All told, her mythological tales portray her as a heroic agent of chaos, constantly taking on and defeating the powerful in society, foiling their defenses and taking their great treasures for herself. While not a defender of the downtrodden, she does reflect the desire of many among the lower echelons of drow society to break free and strike back at oppression, while gaining wealth and status in the process; for these reasons her mythological cycles represent a threat to the powerful, who do their best to suppress stories and worship of Zinzerena.

Of her ascension to godhood, all tales agree despite differing details: The Princess of Outcasts gained it through subterfuge, theft, and trickery. These tales are the most recent of all her myths, reflecting the relative recentness of her apotheosis. Most versions describe a plot through which another power plans to elevate her to godhood either to gain a servant or as part of a ploy to destabilize the delicate balance between Lolth and the other major dark elven powers. Almost every drow power is held to be her erstwhile patron, except Vhaeraun and Eilistraee, both of whom are outcasts of sorts in their own way. The special hatred that Keptolo holds towards Zinzerena, however, leads many sages to speculate he is the true target of her deception. From the time of her ascension, she remained on the Prime Material Plane, skulking about various dark elven cities on multiple worlds; much chaos in recent decades among these cities has come to be attributed to her, rightly or wrongly. Small followings dedicated to the Princess of Outcasts have sprung up in many of these cities, although not all have been able to survive efforts to suppress them.

The situation changed dramatically when the Time of Troubles enveloped the worlds of Realmspace and Zinzerena found the avatar she had on that world cut off from her divine essence elsewhere (widely believed to have been on Oerth at the time). Initially seeing the opportunity to increase her own status, she began planning an attack against the similarly recently ascended Malyk in order to subsume his power and portfolio. Unfortunately, in her attempt, she crossed paths with Tempus, who was also after Malyk; she had not expected the Lord of Battles in such a place and after a brief conflict, she fled from her hunt. In her haste, the Princess of Outcasts brought Lolth’s notice down onto her and her avatar was slain, banishing her presence from the sphere of Realmspace. With this setback, Zinzerena realized that more needed to be done to protect her divinity, and to do that she would need some allies and a safe place she could retreat to. Creating and moving into a hidden vault within Svartalfheim on Ysgard was no easy task, and as yet, few residents even realize she now resides among them. She has also begun to carefully cultivate alliances among like-minded powers, but she is always deeply suspicious of their motives and still keeps them at a distance.

Of those who have reached out to Zinzerena, the most prominent and persistent is Eilistraee. The Dark Maiden has long hoped to steer Zinzerena in a more beneficent direction, but so far, the Princess of Outcasts has resisted such outreach. However, she is coming around to a possible alliance, knowing that the two goddesses have a much stronger hand to oppose the Spider Queen together. Eilistraee has also brought Zinzerena to the attention of Erevan Ilesere and Darahl Firecloak; the Dark Maiden feels that each could benefit Zinzerena in their own way, and hopefully turn her away from her darker aspects. Competing against these powers are those with darker aspects who see an alliance with the Princess of the Hunted as a way to increase chaos and their influence among the drow. It is widely believed that Zinzerena is in the early stages of allying with Beshaba, Loki, and Mask, and it is known that she has reached out to Talos and received some sort of aid in return, although whether a formal alliance has been created is unknown. It is certainly true that Zinzerena is unaware that Talos is using the alias of Malyk to spread his influence among the dark elves, and it is highly likely the Stormlord desires to usurp her power. Currently, the only formal alliances the Princess of Outcasts has made are with the Oerthan powers Ralishaz the Unlooked-For and Trithereon the Summoner. Ralishaz appreciates the risky and dangerous endeavors she partakes in and the misfortune she brings upon her victims, while Trithereon applauds her actions against oppressors and the destabilizing influence she exerts upon those in power, even if it is primarily for personal gain. At this time, neither appears interested in exerting great influence over her actions and attitudes. What will come of the competing influences on Zinzerena is yet to be seen.

Zinzerena herself was quite active on the Prime Material Plane before moving to Ysgard. She was widely believed to be lurking beneath the surfaces of Toril, Oerth, and other worlds, likely indicating that her lone avatar was dispatched to a world other than the one she was lurking in at any given time. After the loss of her avatar and her banishing from Realmspace, she has been gathering her power and making more careful plans before dispatching her recently reformed avatar, but it is likely she has intentions on trying to regain access to that sphere. For now, she only sends her avatar to the Prime Material Plane in order to hunt for rare magics, relying on other manifestations of her power to assist her few followers.

Zinzerena’s Avatar (Illusionist 24, Thief 20)
Zinzerena typically appears as an elegant-yet-furtive drow female who exudes confidence. She wears skin-tight black garb that makes no sounds as she moves, and she always wears a hooded black cloak that almost seems to drink in the light. Her facial features and hair color shift as she desires, and she often wears various types of masks such that no one knows what her true appearance is. She draws her spells from all schools, including the school of wild magic, but favors illusion and other subtle magic over other sorts.

AC Varies between 2 and −2; MV 12; HP 94; THAC0 10; #AT 1
Dmg 1d6 + 1–5 (short sword +1–5)
MR 82%; SZ M (5½ feet tall)
Str 9, Dex 20, Con 15, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 18
Spells W: 6/6/6/6/6/6/6/6/5*
Saves PPDM 8; RSW 3; PP 5; BW 7; Sp 4
* Numbers assume one extra illusion/phantasm spell per spell level.

Special Att/Def: Zinzerena wields Xaosblade, a magical short sword she took from a slaad that has a magical bonus varying from +1 to +5 randomly at the start of the round. In addition, this blade is magically coated with a paralyzing venom; those struck by the sword must make a saving throw versus poison with a random −1 to −5 penalty or become paralyzed for 5–25 rounds (1–5 × 5). Her magical cloak, the Varimantle, was taken from the same foe and like the blade offers variable protection from +1 to +5.

The Princess of Outcasts can cast change self at will, and once per day she can cast unluck. Once per day she can twist the nature of magic within 300 yards of her such that all spells cast in the following round trigger a wild surge. Finally, she carries a special wand of wonder with unlimited charges.

Zinzerena is immune to nonmagical weapons and poisons and cannot be affected by paralyzation or holding as if she were under the effects of a free action spell.

Other Manifestations
For now, Zinzerena uses manifestations to aid her followers; she may send her avatar in the future but that remains to be seen. Her most common manifestation at this time is to create a cloak of shadowstuff around the shoulders of a pursued follower, granting them a Hide in Shadows score of 90% for up to six hours. The beneficiary of this shadowy cloak can also expend the benefits it grants to be affected as if by a hat of disguise for one hour. She also favors creating a mislead effect to protect a follower at an especially dangerous moment. Finally, she has been known to grant a follower with no spellcasting ability the spell hold person that can be used once per day, but for no more than seven days total.

Zinzerena as yet has not developed many servitor creatures, but she is believed to work her will through change cats, doppelgangers, invisible stalkers, luck eaters, and mimics. Her followers believe that the discovery of opals, opalescent materials, and black or multicolored gemstones are signs of her favor. She is known to express her displeasure through a sudden alarm or unlucky environmental affect that gives away a follower’s presence, as well as a sudden paralysis that takes hold of a member of the faith in a safe place.

The Church
Clergy:                      Clerics, specialty priests, thieves, illusionists, wild mages
Clergy’s Align.:      CN, CE
Turn Undead:           C: No, SP: No, T: No, Ill: No, WM: No
Cmnd. Undead:         C: Yes, SP: No, T: No, Ill: No, WM: No

All clerics (including multiclassed cleric/thieves), and specialty priests of Zinzerena receive religion (drow), religion (elven), and reading/writing (drowic) as bonus nonweapon proficiencies.

The faith of Zinzerena is known mostly to members of the drow public with a rebellious or criminal streak, as well as those in power who suppress disruptive efforts. It is growing, however, for it often offers a form of independence or resistance more in line with much of the dark elven public than that of Eilistraee or Vhaeraun. Other secretive cults within dark elven society tend to view the church of the Princess of Outcasts with suspicion, and alliances are rare. Small communities of the faithful can be found outside the cities of the drow on occasion, being formed from those who have fled or been driven off due to their views or actions. Many of these communities plot revenge upon those who wronged them, while a minority simply desire to live free from the rules they chafed under.

No temples are dedicated to the Princess of Outcasts, with the faith preferring religious communes or gathering places that seem secular to the uninitiated. Guildhalls, festhalls, gang clubhouses, or libraries can all easily be havens for a cult of Zinzerena, although they have subtle signs recognizable to other members of the faith in the form of a cloak or short sword hung a specific way on a peg or coatrack. Such locations are specially sanctified but contain no altars or shrines around which worship or ceremonies are centered.

Novices of Zinzerena are called the Led. Full priests of the Princess of Outcasts are called Cloaked Blades. The church hierarchy is loose, with some cults having a single leader and all others being equal, or concentric rings of orders, to more traditional pyramid structures. Titles used by the clergy are either created individually or granted by the leadership of a cult, and thus vary widely. Specialty priests are known as illusives. The priesthood of Zinzerena is exclusively dark elven and draws somewhat more females (62%) than males (38%). Specialty priests (54%) and single-classed thieves make up the majority of the clergy, with clerics (including multiclassed clerics, 12%), illusionists (8%), and wild mages (1%) comprising the remainder.

Dogma: Raise yourself up by bringing low the powerful. Do not strike until you have the advantage; the only fair fight is the one you win. Remember those who have wronged you and yours and bring them their deserts. Hide your strength, your plans, and your feelings until your target is helpless. Make time to gloat in your victory and let your target know who and what brought them low but cloak it in deception and illusion so you can never be found. Crush the legs of the spider who keeps the masses trapped in her web.

Day-to-Day Activities: Members of Zinzerena’s clergy can be found in a variety of positions throughout drow society, from laborers to academics, vagabonds to the servants on noble estates, wherever the spirit of rebellion against the power structure can be found. Her faith is never found among the comfortable elite; only those who have found themselves in exile or brought low by those in power find their way to the faith of the Princess of Outcasts. Most lead fairly normal lives and go about their daily duties, inserting small acts of rebellion where they can get away with it. A few lead double lives as thieves or assassins, keeping their normal lives as a cover; such members of the faith tend to be those who exist on the fringe of elite society, using their knowledge and access to help their clandestine activities. A small minority live entirely in the shadows as rogues or freedom fighters.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The priesthood of the Princess of Outcasts celebrates any overthrow of an existing power structure in drow society, especially if it allows more members of the community access to the reins of power or weakens the control the elite hold over the people at large. They also celebrate events from Zinzerena’s mythic cycle, such as the day she was smuggled away to learn magic and the day of her first assassination, although the exact dates of these celebrations vary from world to world and even community to community. These ceremonies involve a liturgical recitation of her related myths with the goal of reinforcing the lessons they contain as well as spreading the tale to new ears and generations.

Major Centers of Worship: No major locations of Zinzerena’s faith exist due to the far-flung nature of her faith. Should her clergy ever manage to overthrow the rule of a dark elven city and gain religious dominance, that city would likely become a center of pilgrimage for her faith on that world.

Affiliated Orders: The Cloak and Blade is a small order of assassins found in a small number of the largest, most decadent drow cities. They only take jobs for those who have been wronged in some way and desire vengeance, although what can count as a wrong in their eyes can often be quite trivial. Hiring them is expensive, but they always scale the cost to their petitioner’s means; a farmer might be expected to give over their five best deep rothé to the order, while a powerful noble would need to pay a literal king’s ransom.

Priestly Vestments: Followers of Zinzerena wear hooded cloaks of black cloth over black leather garments during ceremonies, with a black domino mask. Some cults also incorporate a splash of color to denote a rank in the form of a scarf, ribbon, or other tie, and the colors are more often than not chosen at random. The holy symbol used by the church is an amulet or pin in the form of a cloaked wrapped around a short sword. It is said that some cults have managed to infuse these items with magic that hide them from casual observation by others who are not of the faith.

Adventuring Garb: Members of the church of Zinzerena utilize weapons and armor appropriate to their class and position in society, with a focus on those items that are easily concealable, disguised, or fit multiple personas. They prefer armor and clothing that is light and easy to move in while also being quiet or easy to shed. Any magical items of an illusionary nature or abet disguises and escape are highly valued by the faithful.

Specialty Priests (Illusives)
Requirements:          Dexterity 12, Intelligence 12, Wisdom 12
Prime Req.:                Intelligence, Wisdom
Alignment:                CN, CE
Weapons:                   Club, dagger, dart, hand crossbow, knife, lasso, short bow, sling, broad sword, long sword, short sword, staff
Armor:                       Leather, padded, studded leather, elven or drow chain, no shields
Major Spheres:         All, chaos, charm, divination, necromancy, protection, sun (reversed)
Minor Spheres:         Combat, elemental (earth), healing
Magical Items:         Same as clerics and thieves
Req. Profs:                Short sword
Bonus Profs:             Disguise

  • Illusives must be drow or half-elves of drow extraction.
  • Illusives are allowed to multiclass as illusive/thieves. In addition, such multiclass combinations may take the assassin kit from the Complete Thief’s Handbook.
  • Illusives can move silently, hide in shadows, and backstab as a thief of the same level. Note that multiclassed illusive/thieves use their class scores instead.
  • Illusives can use a wand of illusion as a wizard can.
  • Illusives may cast spells wizard spells from the school of illusion/phantasm as defined in the Limited Wizard Spellcasting section of “Appendix 1: Demihuman Priests” of Demihuman Deities.
  • Illusives can cast change self (as the 1st-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 2nd level, illusives can cast battlefate or cause fear (as the 1st-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 4th level, illusives can cast dissension’s feast or hold person (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At 6th level, illusives can cast random causality (as the 3rd-level priest spell) or shadow cloak (as the 3rd-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 9th level, illusives can cast unluck (as the 4th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At 12th level, illusives can cloak themselves in an illusion that matches the parameters of a hat of disguise for up to 1 turn per level. They can make use of this power as often as necessary each day, dismissing it at will, until the total usage matches their maximum duration.
  • At 15th level, illusives can expend one memorized spell of any level to create a burst of random magic that matches the effects of a wand of wonder. They may perform this action once per day. Alternately, the DM may opt to use the wild surge tables in the Tome of Magic or create their own custom chart that matches the wand of wonder’s balance of effects.

Zinzerenan Spells
1st Level
Zinzerena’s Cloak (Pr 1; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Chaos
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         The caster’s cloak
Saving Throw:        None

With this spell, the caster can enchant their cloak to function as a cloak of protection with variable effects. At the start of each round, roll 1d20 to determine the level of protection granted by the cloak:

d20 Roll              Bonus
1–2                          +0
3–9                          +1
10–14                      +2
15–17                      +3
18–19                      +4
20                            +5

At 3rd level, and for every two levels after that (5th, 7th, etc.), the caster gains a cumulative +1 bonus to this roll. The cloak operates in all ways as a cloak of protection of the appropriate type. A cloak so enchanted must be nonmagical and already worn by the caster; should they remove it, the spell immediately ends.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s cloak, which is not consumed in the casting, and a patch of scales from any reptile.

Zinzerena’s Sword (Pr 1; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Chaos
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          4
Area of Effect:         The caster’s sword
Saving Throw:        None

With this spell, the caster can enchant their short sword to gain a variable bonus to attack and damage rolls. At the start of each round, roll 1d20 to determine the level of bonus gained by the sword:

d20 Roll              Bonus
1–2                          +0
3–9                          +1
10–14                      +2
15–17                      +3
18–19                      +4
20                            +5

At 3rd level, and for every two levels after that (5th, 7th, etc.), the caster gains a cumulative +1 bonus to this roll. The short sword gains the listed bonus to attack and damage rolls, and for all purposes is a weapon of that sort. A short sword so enchanted must be nonmagical and already drawn and held by the caster; should they drop or lose it, the spell immediately ends.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s short sword, which is not consumed in the casting, and the claw from any sort of predatory animal.

2nd Level
Envenomation (Pr 2; Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere:                    Combat
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 Special
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         Special
Saving Throw:        Neg.

By means of this spell, the caster conjures a coating of paralyzing venom upon a bladed weapon. This venom causes a creature struck by this blade to become paralyzed for 2d6 rounds if a saving throw versus poison is failed. During this paralysis, the creature is alert and aware but completely incapable of movement beyond breathing and blinking. The venom coating persists on the blade in question for one hour per level of the caster or until it has struck creatures three times, whichever comes first.

For every five levels the caster has achieved (5th, 10th, etc.) the saving throw is modified by a −1 penalty, the paralyzation lasts an additional round, and the caster can envenomate an additional weapon. For the purposes of this spell, blades are any Type S, Type P, or Type P/S weapons. Arrows and bolts can also be envenomated, but each count as one blade.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and the venom sac of a watch spider.

5th Level
Chaotic Fluctuations (Pr 5; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Chaos
Range:                     0
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          8
Area of Effect:         5-ft. radius/level
Saving Throw:        None

When this spell is cast, the priest brings about a temporary field of limited wild magic. For the duration, all magical items with “pluses” find their effects varying from round to round. Weapons, shields, armor, items of protection, and the like are all affected, but not bracers of defense or other items that grant a fixed armor class. Each round, any item in the area of effect (or brought into it during the round) must roll to see what value it has for the duration of the round, from its current value to the opposite negative value. For example, a long sword +1 may become −1 or have no bonus at all for the round, while a shield +2 could be anything from +2 through −2. This alteration persists for the entire round even if the item is removed from the field, only returning to normal on the round following.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a piece of a weapon or armor that was once enchanted. If the caster includes a diamond worth 100 gp in the casting their possessions are protected from this variation; additional diamonds allow the caster to designate additional creatures as enjoying this protection, but no more than five additional individuals can be protected.


2 Responses to Zinzerena the Hunted

  1. Itikar says:

    I waited for this for so many years. I am so excited to finally see it. Auld Dragon you are amazing. <3

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