Silvanus
Silvanus symbol.jpg
Vital statistics
Titles Oak Father, the Forest Father, Treefather
Deity Power Greater Deity
Home Plane House of Nature
Symbol Green living oak leaf
Alignment Neutral
Portfolio Wild nature, druids
Domains Animal, Plant, Protection, Renewal[1], Water
Favored Weapon “The Great Mallet of Silvanus” (maul)
Cleric Alignments CN, LN, N, NE, NG
Worshipers Druids, woodsmen, wood elves

Character and Reputation[edit | edit source]

Although wise and beneficent, the paternalistic Silvanus (sihl-vann-us) can be emotionally distant when it comes to the necessity of having a balance in nature and wrathful toward those who threaten wild places. He appears as an old, bearded, incredibly wise human male face floating in midair among trees or sprouting from the trunk of an especially old and large specimen.

Clergy and Temples[edit | edit source]

The church of Silvanus is spread everywhere across Faerun and is far stronger than many might think. Nevertheless, most outsiders view the church of Chauntea, as patrons of agriculture, as being favorably inclined towards the expansion of civilization, while the church of Silvanus is the implacable foe of those who would settle new lands. Neither impression is correct, yet the church of the Oak Father is often perceived as little different from those faiths that venerate the Deities of Fury.

Clerics and druids of Silvanus prepare spells at sundown or in moonlight. Holy days are Greengrass, Midsummer night, Highharvesttide, and the Night the Forest Walks. This last holiday takes place when the deity grows restless. He then causes trees to move, streams to change course, caves to open or close, forest creatures to stir, and forest magic to strengthen. His clerics always turn undead rather than rebuking them.

Many rituals of worship to the deity take place in a crown stand or tall, ancient trees on a hilltop. The deity must always be worshiped by sacrifice, but never by blood sacrifice. Instead, something made from material taken from a wood must be ceremonially broken and buried--not burned. For example, a cart, wagon, or chair fashioned from the wood of felled trees could become a sacrifice to Silvanus. The simplest prayer to Silvanus is the Call of Oak, Ash, and Thorn, wherein a cleric gathers leaves of the three named sorts of trees, floats them on water, and entreats Silvanus to hear a prayer. For deeper concerns (a conversation with a servant of the deity, or the receipt of godly favors or magical powers) a Vigil is often employed: The worshiper anoints his or her own body with a powder of crushed acorns and mistletoe leaves mixed with rainwater or spring water and lies down on, or in contact with, a growing tree for most of a night. Some part of the bare flesh of the faithful must touch green, growing moss, so moss-covered giant trees are most favored for use in Vigils.

The two most powerful and holy rituals of Silvanites are the Song of the Trees and the Dryad Dance. The former is a haunting repetitive chant that draws woodland creatures to gather and be healed. The latter is a wild revitalizing ritual of piping and dancing that calls dryads out of the woods to wander, even far from their trees, to mate with humans. Sadly, it seems the most often performed ceremony in the Silvanite canon is the Thorncall, a ritual magic that raises thick walls of deadly tearing thorns out of the forest soil. These barriers are permanent and as labyrinthine as the presiding cleric desires, but they can only be called up when a servant of Silvanus (a worshiper or a servitor creature, such as a stag) has been slain or shed much blood in the vicinity. The Thorncall ritual is used to keep our those who would burn or despoil the forest in such a way as to upset the Balance. Many of his clerics multiclass as druids, forest masters, hierophants, or rangers.

The church of Silvanus endlessly strives to preserve the sacred Balance, despite population pressures that lead to too-heavy hunting or farming. Members of the clergy work to redirect development and control populations through covert sponsorship of brigands, breeding and selective placing of predators, and other means. It is essential that such work be as secretive as possible, so that most folk view the servants of Silvanus as essentially benign lovers of trees. Wildlife breeding, nursing sick animals, and replanting trees and wild shrubs are all work that should be done as publicly as possible to support this perception--and as necessary work to redress the slipping Balance, of course. Silvanite clergy make a lifelong study the intricate workings of the life-cycles of all living creatures in Faerun and learn to take the long-term view so that the manifold implications of every action and combination of actions can be seen clearly well into the future. By planning for the long term, Silvanite clergy hope never to take a serious misstep and worsen any shift of the Balance. Superior patience, natural knowledge, and anticipation are the hallmarks of a worthy servant of Silvanus. They are also the qualities that make any Silvanite cleric a deadly foe. A Silvanite should never be surprised at an unexpected turn of events and always be three or four steps ahead of an opponent, prepared for victories well beyond the battles that an enemy can see.

Silvanus’s church largely eschews formal temples and favors small communities over large cities, although clusters of his clerics work in large cities to create gardenlike walled areas of wild forest within the city limits. Most of the faithful worship the Oak Father amidst stands of forest giants, particularly ancient oak trees, or within rings of standing stones set deep within the great forests of Faerun.

The ceremonial dress for both clerics and druids of Silvanus is a suit of armor made of overlapping leaves. For clerics, the leaves are made of metal plates and the suit functions as a set of scale mail. For druids, the leaves are made of green-tined leather and the suit functions as leather armor. Either set is worn with green breeches and shirt. The outfit is topped with a large helm with oak leaf-shaped wings. The church of Silvanus consists of a central hierarchy dominated by druids, but many members, particularly clerics and rangers, stand outside the formal hierarchy. The structure of the church is patterned after the circles of the ancient druids. A highranking druid, called an arch druid, leads most Circles and members are all considered an initiates of varying level. Each arch druid in turn reports to the grand druid of the region, and all the grand druids in turn report to the great druid of the faith. The last is a difficult office that is never held by any one individual for more than a few years. Former officeholders are considered elders of the faith.

History and Relations with other deities[edit | edit source]

Like Oghma, Silvanus is an old deity with many ties to other planes. He is closely allied with Chauntea, and is served directly and indirectly by Eldath, Mielikki, Gwaeron Windstrom, Lurue, and Shiallia. He is bitterly opposed to the activities of Malar and his church, as the Beastlord is consumed with bloodlust and his followers would hunt every creature in existence to extinction if given leave. Likewise, although Silvanus recognizes the role that both disease and natural acts of destruction play in the Balance, the Oak Father hates both Talos and Talona, for both care nothing for the natural order and seek only to indulge their most destructive impulses.

Dogma[edit | edit source]

Silvanus sees and balances all, meting out wild water and drought, fire, and ice, life and death. Hold your distance and take in the total situation, rather than latching on to the popular idea of what is best. All is in a cycle, deftly and beautifully balanced. It is the duty of the devout to see this cycle and the sacred Balance as clearly as possible. Make others see the Balance and work against those that would disturb it. Watch, anticipate, and quietly manipulate. Resort to violence and open confrontation only when pressured by time or hostile action. Fight against the felling of forests, banish disease wherever you find it, defend the trees, and plant new flora wherever possible. Seek out, serve, and befriend the dryads and learn their names. Kill only when needful, destroy fire and its employers, and beware orcs and others who bring axes into the forest.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Domain is not supported in Neverwinter Nights


Akadi | Angharradh | Bane | Chauntea | Corellon Larethian | Cyric | Garl Glittergold | Grumbar | Gruumsh | Horus-Re | Istishia | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Maglubiyet | Moradin | Mystra | Oghma | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talos | Tempus | Toril | Tyr | Ubtao | Yondalla
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