Tales from the Silver Marches
Oak Father, the Forest Father, Treefather
Symbol: Green living oak leaf
Portfolio: Wild nature, druids
Silvanus (sihl-vann-us) is a beneficent, paternal deity to his worshipers. He is emotionally distant when it comes to the necessity of having a balance in nature and wrathful toward those who threaten wild places. He is worshiped by those who live in or depend on the wild or remote places of the world. His great mallet fells dead trees to prevent the spread of fire and more easily let them become one with the soil.
His church favors small communities over large cities, although clusters of his clerks work in large cities to create gardenlike walled areas of wild forest within the city limits and preach the peace and purity of nature compared to the Juste and corruption of the city. Most of his clergy are druids who work independently with other druids in circles, or with rangers in the wild. His clergy work to serve the balance of forces in nature and spend most of their time stalling or reversing the encroachment of civilization. This clergy’s methods sometimes involve sponsoring brigands or breeding and placing predators—activities that have to be done in secret so that outsiders continue to view the clergy as benign tree-lovers. Tending plants, nursing sick animals and replanting trees are done publicly to promote this image.
Clerics and druids of Silvanus prepare spells at sundown or in moonlight. Holy days are Greengrass, Midsummer night, Highharvestide, and the Night the Forest Walks. This last holiday takes place when the god 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. Offerings made to Silvanus are never blood sacrifices. They are usually something made of wood that is buried in a circle of ancient trees on a hilltop. His clerics turn undead rather than commanding them.
History/Relationships: Like Oghma, Silvanus is an old deity with many ties to other planes. Chauntea is his ally, and the other nonevil nature and animal deities serve him willingly. He opposes Malar, Talos, and Talona, three beings who enjoy destruction and often upset the Balance.
Dogma: 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 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. Kill only when needful, and destroy fire and its employers.