Arawn

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Death of Earl Siward by James Smetham Date 1861

Death of Earl Siward by James Smetham Date 1861

Arawn is the Lord of the Underworld, which was called Annwn.

Arawn in Welsh mythology

Some of the more prominent myths about Arawn include the incident in which Amaethon stole a dog, lapwing and a white roebuck from Arawn, leading to the Cad Goddeu (Battle of the Trees), which Arawn lost to Amaethon and his brother, Gwydion.

Pwyll mistakenly set his hounds upon a stag, only to discover that Arawn had been hunting the same animal. To pay for the misdeed, Arawn asked Pwyll to trade places with him for a year and a day, and defeat Hafgan, Arawn's rival, at the end of this time, something Arawn had attempted to do, but had been unable to. Arawn, meanwhile, took Pwyll's place as lord of Dyfed. Arawn and Pwyll became good friends because, though Pwyll wore Arawn's shape, he slept chastely with Arawn's wife.

In Welsh folklore, Arawn rides with his white, red-eared hounds (the Hounds of Annwn) through the skies in autumn, winter, and early spring. The baying of the hounds is identified with the crying of wild geese as they migrate and the quarry of the hounds are the wandering Otherworld spirits (possibly fairies), being chased back to Annwn. Later the relevant mythology was altered to describe the "capturing of human souls and the chasing of damned souls to Annwn"; Annwn was revised in some variants of Welsh mythology and described as being "Hell."

Intermediate god

God of revenge, terror, and the dead. He appears as a huntsman, pursuing a white stag with a pack of red-eared hounds. He is frequently challenged by other would-be claimants for his title. As god of death and the underworld he is the Lord of the Underworld which was called Annwn. Arawn rarely has reason to venture into the world of the living. His home is an island so far out at sea that no one, not even Manannan mac Lir, can find it while living, for only the dead can travel there. In fact, Arawn generally only comes to the world of the living after someone has been resurrected that Arawn would rather keep. Many other gods will endorse resurrections, but none can guarantee that Arawn will leave the matter at that. Arawn has absolute power over life and death among the Tribes.

Arawn rides with his white, red-eared hounds the Cwn Annwn or Hounds of Annwn through the skies in autumn, winter, and early spring, and the quarry of the hounds are the souls of the damned, being chased back to Annwn

Arawn and the hounds are sometimes accompanied by a fearsome hag called Matilda of the Night.

Role-playing Notes

Originally written by

Dom of D20 / D&D 3e Netbooks and Downloads.

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Arawn is the fey lord of the dead, and dwells in the bleak underworld of Annwn. He is the representation of the natural law that all things must end, even life. He revels in his role, and rules his shadowy domain with an iron hand, pitting his faithful servants against one another to win his praise. Sometimes he even extends his reach into the lands of the living, either through his mortal servants or his hunting hounds, although he cannot physically travel in the lands of the sun.

Being responsible for keeping the laws of the dead and ruling over them in the underworld has made Arawn a hard, bitter god. He tolerates no insubordination, though he is rumored to have been quite a rogue in his youth. He acts as king and war leader in his realm, and dispenses justice to his subjects with an iron hand. He holds his word sacred, and honors any promise he makes or deal he strikes, regardless of the other party.

Arawn is the ruler of the underworld resting place of the dead. The Celts, who often use magic to bring the slain back to life, tend to view Arawn as an evil deity, for his habit of reclaiming the resurrected back to his realm. However, Arawn, rather than being evil, is the dutiful guardian of the dead. He will recall back any dead who would return to the world of the living to resume its former life. As such, any resurrected or raised-from-the-dead character will be hunted by the hounds of Arawn until they catch him and bring him back to the underworld. The sole exception concerns those brought back to life during the night of Samhain, who are free from the god’s wrath. In fact during the night of Samhain the dead may try to escape to the world of the living, and if they succeed (either as resurrected or undead), they won’t be pursued by Arawn. (Note that Arawn only forbids the souls to return as undead or resurrected, not as reincarnated which is the normal course of life and death.) Arawn traditionally appears as a gray rider mounted on a big,dark, ghostly horse. He leads a pack of otherworldly red-eared white hounds, that help him hunt the dead who would escape to the mortal world.

Typical worshippers: Very few people worship Arawn. The rare necromancer is not a worshipper of Arawn, but he well knows his laws and will typically create undead the night of Samhain to escape the wrath of Arawn. (Note for that matter, that skeletons and Zombies are merely animated corpses, and that certain undead are evil spirits bound to a cadaver, not souls brought back to the mortal world as undead.)

Duties of priesthood:

Priests of Arawn officiate at one and only one religious function - burial. Burials involve simple graves for most, complex graves including chariot and trophies for warriors and chieftains. Priests of Arawn do not officiate at sacrifices to other gods, but are generally on hand for ceremonies of their own immediately following such events.

Priests of Arawn are clerics rather than filidh. They preside over burial and funerals, and must hunt and destroy all undead they encounter or hear about. They can only turn undead and are forbidden to rebuke them. They are likewise prohibited to cast any spell or use any item that can raise or animate the dead. These forbidden spells include animate dead, create undead, create greater undead, raise dead, Reincarnate, and resurrection. Otherwise, priests of Arawn are the traditional guardians of "mortuary mounds", that is: cold, damp, and foggy places where are buried heroes, rulers, and other important characters. Such places often contain gates that lead to the underworld.

Special Benefit: Priests of Arawn have access to a special feat of their own: Resist Undead, that gives them a +2 bonus against all special attacks of undead such as Fear, Energy drain, Permanent ability drain, Temporary ability damage, Gaze, Paralysis, etc.

On resurrecting any individual, there is a 2% chance per level of that individual that Arawn will intervene. He will either send his avatar to reclaim the body or (25% chance) he will attempt to bargain. He will offer some other similar character from the legions of the dead provided he can keep the original character. Refusal of his offer will be met with force.

Arawn

Originally Posted by

Tebryn14 of the Wizards Community forums.

On this Thread

Arawn
The Dark One
Intermediate Celtic Deity
Symbol:
A sword piercing a warrior’s skull.
Home Plane:
Alignment:
Lawful Neutral
Portfolio:
Life, death.
Worshippers:
Celts, gravediggers, Abhartach, Ankou, Banshee/Baen Sídhe, Bog Slain, Dullahan
, Hound of Arawn, Sluagh Undead, Washer by the Ford, evil fey, undead creatures, necromancers, and inhabitants of Annwn
Cleric Alignments:
NE, CE, LE
Domains:
Samhain, Burial, Law, Renewal, Protection
Favored Weapon:
club

Arawn controls all the power of life and death of the worshippers of that pantheon. He is one of the few evil powers of the bunch, but truly isn’t all that evil. He feels that evil is necessary to allow good to shine brighter, and he simply does his job. He punishes the wicked, and rewards the brave. He appears as a man draped in completely black robes.

Cleric 25/Wizard 15

Medium-Size outsider (Evil, Extraplanar)

Divine Rank

15

Hit Dice

20d8+180 (outsider) plus 25d8+225 (cleric) plus 15d4+135 (wizard) (960 hp)

Initiative

+11

Speed

60 ft.

AC

69 (+7 Dexterity, +15 divine, +28 natural, +9 deflection)

Base Attack/Grapple

+40/+63

Attack

+5 impact icy burst unholy club +69/+64/+59/+54 melee; or by spell +63 melee touch, or +62 ranged touch.

Damage

+5 impact icy burst unholy club 1d6+17+1d6 cold/19-20 +1d10 cold; or by spell.

Face/Reach

5 ft. by 5 ft./ 5 ft.

Special Attacks

Rebuke undead 16/day, Domain powers, salient divine abilities, spell-like abilities.

Special Qualities

Divine immunities, DR 25/epic, fire resistance 20, spontaneous casting of divine spells, understand, speak, and read all languages and speak directly to all beings within 15 miles, remote communication 15 miles, godly realm (10 miles), greater teleport at will, plane shift at will, SR 67, divine aura (1,500 ft., DC 34), familiar (vulture), fast healing 3, uncanny dodge.

Saves

Fort +56, Ref +54, Will +64.

Abilities

Strength 27, Dexterity 24, Constitution 28, Intelligence 34, Wisdom 44, Charisma 29.

Skills*

Climb +33, Concentration +86, Craft (alchemy) +64, Diplomacy +72, Gather Information +39, Heal +72, Hide +59, Intimidate +61, Jump +33, Knowledge (Arcana) +90, Knowledge (history) +74, Knowledge (planes) +87, Knowledge (religion) +90, Listen +73, Move Silently +58, Profession (Judge) +93, Search +47, Sense Motive +74, Spellcraft +87, Spot +73, Swim +38. *Always receives a 20 on checks.

Feats

Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Expertise, Dodge, Empower Spell, Enlarge Spell, Extend Spell, Extra Turning, Fast Healing, Greater Spell Penetration, Heighten Spell, Improved Initiative, Maximize Spell, Mobility, Persistent spell, Power Attack, Quicken Spell, Sacred Spell, Silent Spell, Spell Mastery, Spell Penetration, Spring Attack, Still Spell, Weapon Focus (club).
Divine ImmunitiesAbility damage, ability drain, acid, cold, death effect, disintegration, electricity, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, Paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning, transmutation, banishment, imprisonment.

Salient Divine Abilities

Alter Size, Arcane Mastery, Automatic Metamagic (Stilled Cleric spells), Automatic Metamagic (Silent Cleric spells), Avatar (10), Divine Shield (12/day, stops 150 points of damage), Divine Spellcasting, Divine Storm (Negative Energy, DC 34), Extra Domain (Fate), Extra Domain (Renewal), Hand of Death (DC 44), Increased SR, Instant Counterspell, Know Death, Life and Death, Life Drain (DC 34), Soul Mastery*, Spontaneous Wizard Spells.

*Soul Mastery
Arawn can prevent the soul of any worshipper of the Celtic Pantheon from returning to its body when an attempt is made to return it to life, unless that attempt is made by a Greater Power.

Domain Powers

Death touch 15/day; cast evil spells at +1 caster level; regain 1d8+9 HP 15/day when HP total falls below 0; uncanny dodge.

Spell-like Abilities

Arawn uses the following abilities at 25th caster level, except for evil spell, which he uses at 26th caster level. The DCs are 34+spell level. Cause Fear, Death Knell, Animate Dead, Death Ward, Slay Living, Create Undead, Destruction, Create Greater Undead, Wail of the Banshee, Protection from Good, Desecrate, Magic Circle against Good, Unholy Blight, Dispel Good, Blasphemy, Unholy Aura, Summon Monster IX, True Strike, Augury, Bestow Curse, Status, Mark of Justice, Geas/quest, Vision, Mind Blank, Foresight, Charm Person, Lesser restoration, Remove Disease, Reincarnate, Heroes’ Feast, greater restoration, polymorph any object, Freedom.
*Cast as an evil spell only.
Cleric Spell/Day (Levels 0-17)6/10/9/9/9/9/7/7/7/7/3/3/3/3/2/2/2/2; base DC=29+spell level.
Wizard Spell/Day 4/7/7/7/7/6/5/4/3; base DC=24+spell level.

Possessions: Arawn carries a +5 impact icy burst unholy club.

Other Divine Powers

As an intermediate deity, Arawn automatically receives a die result of 20 on any check. He treats a 1 on a saving throw or attack roll normally and not as an automatic failure. He is immortal.

Senses: Arawn can see, hear, touch, and smell at a distance of 15 miles. As a standard action, he can perceive anything within 15 miles of his worshippers, holy sites, objects, or any location where one of his titles or name as spoken in the last hour. He can extend his sense to up to ten locations at once. He can block the sensing power of deities of his rank or lower at up to two remote locations at once for15 hours.

Portfolio Sense: Arawn senses the death of any worshipper of a Celtic deity the instant it happens and retains the sensation for 15 tendays (or weeks, depending on what system that person’s home world uses). He likewise senses the birth of a child to a worshipper of the Celtic Pantheon.

Automatic Actions: Arawn can use Knowledge (Arcana), Concentration , Knowledge (religion), Diplomacy, Sense Motive, or Profession (Judge), as a free action, as long as the DC is 25 or lower.

Create Magic Items: Arawn can create any magic item that creates a death effect, that brings someone back to life, or that prolongs someone’s life if the market price is 200,000 gp or lower.

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Hunter of Souls (Su): Arawn has power over the souls of the living, and may hunt them as he chooses. He may institute this power over any living being who is not protected against Death Magic, whether that person is in his line of sight or not. Arawn simply needs to know the individual’s name. To use this ability, Arawn sounds his horn, calling for a particular soul to bow to his will. The sound of the horn is only
audible at the location where the individual is standing. The targeted character must make an immediate Fortitude Save at DC 35 or die. All those within 20 feet of the individual being thus harvested take 3d10 points of damage from the awesome power of Arawn’s horn and must make a Fortitude Save at DC 30 to avoid being Deafened. The effects of Deafness wear off of the Ascended in 1d10 rounds. For mortals, the effect is permanent.

The Wild Call (Su): When Arawn is hunting on the mortal plane, any sentient mortals within 30 feet of his pack finds themselves drawn into the hunt. Those who hear the sound of the horn or who see the hunt in progression must make a Will Save at DC 18 or lose control of themselves and instinctively join the hunt. They will recover when the sun rises far from where the joined the hunt with no memories of the event other than instinctive, animal emotions.

Create Undead (Su): Arawn can summon undead creatures at will. Arawn is the master of the dead, and these creatures are not simply random dead people: they will almost always be the ancestors, familiar friends, or other deceased souls relevant to those Arawn is fighting. It is more disturbing to see your dead father rise up to face you, and as such, all saves made versus these creatures’ Fear-based effects are at -2.

Cold Immunity (Ex): Arawn suffers no damage from Cold.

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