Cernunnos (3.5e Deity)
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|Portfolio:||Forests At Night, Animals, Freedom, The Wyld Hunt|
|Clergy Alignments:||Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, True Neutral|
|Domains:||Animals, Forests, Hunting, Chaos, Night|
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|“||And then the rumble of thunder came rolling over him. Not the thunder of any natural storm, but the thunder of unnatural hoofs. The baying of ghostly hounds joined in the throng as the sounds of a great hunt drew near. The storm clouds spilled over the crest of the hills, and on them came a spectral army, some striding with great steps across the plains, some riding beasts with fire in their eyes. And at there front was a figure both riding the oncoming clouds and sweeping them behind him. Fire burned in his eyes, a spear held ready in his hands, a great torc about his neck, antlers jutting from his forehead. This was the great Lord of the Hunt. And as Couhlynn looked upon this furious charge, he heard the call from the hunters. He was swept up into the storm, rolled up into the charge, and so he ran with them across the sky to fight the greatest enemies of the Lord of the Wyld Hunt.||”|
|—"The Travels of Couhlynn" the description of his meeting with the Wyld hunt|
Cernunnos (pronounced with a hard "C") is the god of animals and forests, especially at night. He is chaotic neutral, but leans towards chaotic good. His chaotic nature represents the wildness of nature, and the dangers of the forest. The forests are ambivalent towards the suffering of the unwary travelers who find themselves trapped inside, but always leaves a path to survival for those who know the way. Cernunnos rarely directly aides mortals, but will often give those who are worthy the means of succeeding through their own effort. He appears as a tall humanoid with antlers on his head like those of a stag early in their annual growth. He generally appears wearing the hides of animals, usually dear, and a hunting spear. He also wears a torc about his neck, and will sometimes have some hanging from his antlers as well.
He is also known as the Lord of the Hunt. The "Wyld Hunt" is the time when he will most often interact with mortals, and can be seen riding across the sky, calling upon the worthy to join his hunt as he seeks out his enemies. Many who join this hunt never return. Many die. But some are propelled to glory, might, and fame, as was the legendary hero Couhlynn. In this hunt, Cernunnos seeks out those who would do great harm to nature or those who would seek to control it for their own selfish ends. He especially hates those who would force others into servitude and slavery. The forest is wild and free.
Many people have a mistrust of Cernunnos and his clergy, because they seem not to care about the suffering in the world, and they associate with creatures often thought of as evil (the wolf, for one). But whenever the greatest evils threatens the land, Cernunnos can be counted on to pick up his spear, lead forth the hunt, and call upon those heroes who are proven and those who have yet to prove themselves to join him in the battle. He also loves a good verse.
Cernunnos takes a "do it yourself" attitude with many of his dealings; thus, most of his followers adhere to a similar dogma. They may help encourage you to get you to your feet, but by no means are a shoulder to lean on. This sometimes even goes to the extent of "survival of the fittest," because in the law of tooth and claw, the strongest are the ones who triumph. This does not, however, extend to the subjugation of others. Enslaving others or forcing others into servitude is a sure way to earn the wrath of Cernunnos. Even though his followers are often chaotic, not abiding by the rules of civilized society, Cernunnos also greatly dislikes wanton destruction of people, animals, plants, or buildings. Sometimes the forest fire is needed to keep the forest healthy, but do not throw the match just to watch it burn. There is one thing that every follower of Cernunnos must be willing to do. They must be willing to answer the call of the Wyld Hunt if they are ever honored enough to be called to take part.
 Clergy and Temples
As his portfolio heavily involves forests and the animals therein, more of his clergy will be druids rather than paladins or clerics. Clergy of Cernunnos are often looked upon with suspicion by outsiders, as much of their rituals take place in the dark of wild forests in the night. There are few of these rituals, as Cernunnos does not like ritualistic behavior. They mostly honor specific times of the year, solstices and equinox, the first bud, the first snowflake. These rituals usually take the form of more of a celebration than anything else. A celebration of life and freedom and the wild world.
His temples are nothing more than places of power in the depths of the woods, perhaps as simple and unremarkable as a clearing or a spring, at most marked by a ring of great standing stones. These places of power are stronger at night, especially a full moon, and are strongest on the equinox or solstices. They will often be guarded by creatures of the forest who watch intruders from a distance. Most people can pass right through these places without even noticing anything unusual at all.