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[4e+] The Church of Sehanine

Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#1
Oh hey, I'm still doing these. Hello.

I got stuck on this one for an unreasonably long period. Work. Games. Stuff. But here it is.

Previous stuff;
Ioun
Erathis

Player's Handbook said:
Sehanine
Unaligned
God of the moon and autumn, Sehanine
is the patron of trickery and illusions.
She has close ties to Corellon and Melora
and is a favorite deity among elves and
halflings. She is also the god of love, who
sends shadows to cloak lovers’ trysts.
Scouts and thieves ask for her blessing on
their work. Her teachings are simple:
-Follow your goals and seek your own destiny.
-Keep to the shadows, avoiding the blazing light of
zealous good and the utter darkness of evil.
-Seek new horizons and new experiences, and let
nothing tie you down.
Let's face it, even the authors had no idea where to take this from the moment it was written. I'm hardly the only one with (hopefully good) ideas, so feel free to refute mine, post yours and show them (or me) how it's really done.

And for reference, the poll I held an age ago says Avandra is next, then Pelor and Kord. After that, I think I'll do another poll. But off we go with Sehanine!
 

Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#2
Follow the Silver Coin

A common piece of folklore maintains that when you find a gold coin on the road, you give thanks to Avandra for your great fortune. When it is a copper piece, it is best to thank Erathis for the gift of currency. But one should think twice before picking up a coin of silver, because they are Sehanine‘s tools and her trickery is not to be trifled with.

It may seem strange to associate such misgivings with a deity associated with love and safety, but you are wise to look for the trick behind the blessing. Sehanine is best known for being an almost rural deity to fey races, venerated in communal shrines with Corellon the protector and Melora the fickle. Where humans might give thanks to Erathis or Pelor for their continued safety, the fey and small folk- particularly elves, gnomes and halflings- survive on their ability to remain unnoticed, or below notice. Their communities are almost never walled off from danger and may even be mobile, travelling by caravans from one town to the next. These villages prize stealth and cunning as being essential to the survival and well-being of their communities, and so give thanks to Sehanine and her servants in the same prayers they give to the other major Fey deities. She is so closely associated with these races that other races will often depict her in their own churches as elven or gnomish regardless of their own race.

Of course, there‘s more to Sehanine than this. She encourages love of all forms, in particular that of young lovers but also of love for your fellows, families and even strangers. She is a deity that doesn‘t ask much of her followers and whose clerics don‘t give strict rules of behaviour to their neighbours. There is very little true organization between her followers, with each priest freely making up new festivals or rites (though they are nearly always performed by moonlight) and emphasizing an almost casual demeanor in all things. Their clerics will also routinely poke fun at other faiths for their serious and dour outlooks or outright zealotry, which is something they particularly abhor. Most such rivalries are well-intentioned and harmless. Most.

Rumors say that a council of clergy does exist for the church. They are said to meet at secret times in hidden places to discuss their more dangerous and terrifying roles, because Sehanine‘s faithful are also the first line of defense against the encroaching horrors of the dark Feywild, the dangerous cults of Asmodeus and Zehir and the depredations of the sinister Drow. Sehanine‘s faithful will tell you that this society most certainly does not exist, but who believes what a trickster-priest says?

But the most important rule of Sehanine‘s faith is to remain true to yourself. Don‘t fall for great causes which tell you that you are small next to them, and don‘t fall prey to passions or extremes which come to control you. Be complete in yourself, and you shall want for nothing.
 

Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#3
The Lover, the Trickster, and the Hidden Heart

Long ago, the fey deities were united in all things. The closest among them were always Sehanine and she who would be Lolth, the spider goddess. Both had a deep love of trickery and deception, and they supported each other during the time of the first war; Sehanine through cunning deceptions, Lolth through terrifying manipulations.

However, their friendship was not to last. Sehanine‘s passionate nature is said to have been attracted to Lolth‘s detached demeanour, and the betrayer took advantage of this and performed the worst and most hurtful trick; she stole the trickster-goddess‘ heart. When her treachery to all the gods became known, Lolth took the Moon‘s heart with her as she fled and hid it away in her most secret webs. Sehanine became cold and distant much like Lolth herself in her hurt and took to the darkness to hide her pain.

Lolth was not done with the world of light yet in those times, and she would sometimes use the night to cover her presence in it. However, Sehanine had so become like the darkness that she was always there, knowing full well what the Spider Goddess hid in the dark. On one such endeavour, Sehanine took her chance and ventured deep into Lolth‘s webbed pits to recover her lost heart. She took the form of one of Lolth‘s own Drow, and saw how the goddess had twisted their society into a mockery of their former selves. She eventually discovered her heart once more, but when she made to leave Lolth‘s nest she knew what she must do. She broke her own heart, placing one half in her chest but leaving the other. From then on, Sehanine commanded her own love and could spread it even in the deepest pits of the hells, secretly subverting evil from within.
 

Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#4
The Faithful

What novice would ascribe roles to the faith? Each person comes to Sehanine not to be put in boxes, but to break free of them and discover who they are and what they truly want. There are no authorities who give you titles or the right to perform ceremonies, no clergy to hunt you down for heresy and certainly no limit to what Sehanine‘s faithful can accomplish.

Of course, if you believe all that at face value, there‘s no hope for you at all.
There certainly are trends among Sehanine‘s faithful, but they would never allow themselves to be hemmed into stereotypes. They will follow their heart‘s calling, no more or less, and if that happens to be a familiar role then so be it. At best there are iconic stories which best describe excellent trickeries and terrible failures. All we must do is follow the coin.

Clerics

Clerics of Sehanine are the most visible of the silver lady‘s servants. They are stereotyped as easygoing rural priests who will heal any hurt and listen to any strange rumor, as well as being characterized as troublemakers. However, there are just as many Clerics who make it their foremost mission to guard against the followers of Asmodeus.

A silver coin was picked up by a scion of a wealthy merchant house, and by chance his eye caught that of his family‘s greatest enemy embodied in the flesh of a beutiful woman. It didn‘t matter that she was the daughter of his father‘s rival, because they quickly fell in love. Their families were ruthless, however, and would stop at nothing to end such a union, so of course the couple turned to a local cleric of Sehanine. To their amazement, he refused to marry them right away, instead asking them to wait until he‘d set up a route for them to elope safely. They reluctantly agreed.

This cleric met with each house‘s family in turn and told a torrid story of their respective scions having affairs with parties unknown, turning their eyes outward to look for the transgressors. Of course each house felt it was unthinkable to even consider that the families might in any way be attracted to one another, so they ignored their rivals in their search. Having turned all eyes outward, the cleric called the couple to him and married them under the moon, receiving as his payment the traditional single silver piece. He had arranged for safe passage under the auspices of another faithful of Sehanine, and with their protector the two lovers eloped happily from their families, their parents none the wiser. Unknown to any of them, the priest had been wronged by the families many years before, and he egged them on until they tore each other apart, laughing all the while.


Paladins

Paladins of Sehanine are perhaps the most romantic figures of all. Wether they are heroic protectors against dangers in the night or valiant defenders of love, their tales echo far and wide in the songs of bards and minstrels. The most famous of these are the wandering paladins, who will wander free and take up their swords for whatever cause catches their fancy, crusading for the sake of free hearts and minds.

So it was that a Paladin came to a city after a fruitful and satisfying mission. He sought lodgings at a comfortable inn, but as he paid for his lodgings- a single piece of silver for the night- his hand rested on that of the innkeeper‘s daughter. From that moment, the Paladin‘s waking hours were spent thinking of this young woman who surely could not reciprocate his feelings. He knew better than to let the feeling fester and travelled once more. Unfortunately he was ambushed by Lolth‘s chosen, and though he survived he required rest to help heal his poisoned wounds for some time afterwards, and this time he spent at the inn. Every day the innkeeper‘s daughter would show him kindness until at last the Paladin could no longer ignore his feelings.

However, the daughter‘s lover, which the Paladin had not know about, returned from a long and arduous journey. When the Paladin saw this reunion, his heart seemed to explode with jealousy and he struck a fatal blow before succumbing to the poison lodged in his veins and heart.


Avengers

Avengers of Sehanine tend to share a few common features, notably the pain of loss. They live up to their name, avenging wrongs and cutting away at the sickness of mind which allows such pain to occur. They are particularly feared by zealots, because the Avenger‘s tricks tend towards the dark and even fatal over the often simpler jibes of their brethren and the rigid of mind are their favorite targets. They must take care not to enjoy their work overmuch, and must exercise constant vigilence lest they fall into zealotry as well. They are commonly ardent foes of Zehir, often having found their calling in the wake of that terrible faith‘s passing.

A young woman, her love so cruelly ripped from her, took up the mantle of the Avenger. She strung a silver coin on a chain and hung it about her neck to remember her lover‘s death, and swore to never let such cruelty occur again. She did not blame the one who had struck her love down, but rather the poison which had surely addled the attacker‘s mind. She became a relentless hunter of drow, and soon became known to them- and feared. She would outsmart them in their own tunnels, hunt them even as they struck at remote settlements and eventually went so far as to infiltrate their very society. There she undermined a particularly powerful house, making herself indispensable to its leaders while in disguise even as she slowly twisted it apart. Her treachery was discovered too late to save the house from its enemies or its head priestess from destruction. It is said that she still lives with this choice, a prisoner somewhere within the Underdark, though she does not regret it.


Invokers

Invokers change the world, but any follower of Sehanine will tell you that love already does that. Sehanine‘s invokers know it best of all. They do not shape mountains, but instead inspire the faith which can move them, using their influence to shape entire societies.

A young drow priestess came to posess a small silver coin on a chain, a memento of triumph over a rival goddess‘ servant. She would often ponder this coin deeply, meditating on its strange gleam and curious message.

Some years later, she became the matron of a household and soon after that the most influential one in her city. Her foes would be embarrassed, their forces defeated through their own apparent incompetence. She was hailed as a great servant of Lolth, and thousands flocked to her. Her words alone caused the faithful to attack other cities; her merest whim was instantly fulfilled. In all this time, she wore the coin around her neck. It soon became apparent to other divinely empowered servants that her powers were not those granted by their demon-queen, and they made a concerted effort to slay her. They eventually succeeded, but the damage was done. Cults dedicated to this saviour persist to this day among the Drow, her name now passed into legend and held up as a banner of eventual return to Sehanine‘s love.

Each of these was a great servant of Sehanine; each one committed a great error. The Cleric sought to trick the families for the sake of pure cruelty, the Paladin became possessive when he should have defended, the Avenger became too caught up in her scheme and got caught and the Invoker committed the trickster‘s cardinal error- she as much as told everyone what she‘d done, who she was and where she lived! But they were surely servants of Sehanine nonetheless.
 
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Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#5
Foes

There are many sub-faiths within Sehanine‘s church which never associate with other members of the faith, dedicated not to safety but to strike at their enemies. These faiths, or cells, operate indipendently and can vary widely from anything that most people would recognize as a Sehanine faith. They are formed around goals, and tend to disband when said goal is achieved rather than form a new one. These goals vary from the small-term plans of local politics to eternal vigilances. Relatively few members of each cell wield divine magic, which makes them hard to detect and uproot; anyone could be a potential member.

The most long-lasting cells have always been those that oppose the cults of Asmodeus, Zehir and Lolth. In the case of Lolth, they are considered outcasts among most fey folk for their radical ideals; the cells that follow their teachings consider the split that has formed between the elves to be tragic and work towards a common ground between their peoples. It is a thankless task, but love conquers all and a little trickery now and then won‘t hurt.

The cells which oppose Asmodeus and Zehir suffer no such persecution. Sehanine‘s commandments are clear on this point; Asmodeus would enslave all with hatred and fear and hierarchy, which poison and stifles the purity of love, and Zehir is forever attempting to subvert stealth and trickery into something rotten and poisonous. Zehir works his poisons in many ways, and the most disturbing to Sehanine is the poison which turns love sour and trickery to treason. Curiously, most cells do not resort to violence as their primary tool, but rather to satire and mockery. Folk tales and songs tell of Sehanine‘s victories over each foe, exposting them as petty and banal beings who are not worthy of worship, and many or even most of these have been written or spread by the Moon Lady‘s faith. Of course, that doesn‘t mean that they don‘t fight them with weapons as well as words.
 

Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#6
Mechanics

It‘s not common to multiclass out of a divine class in the faith, but multiclassing into one of them is practically the official way to become a member. Many heroic Sehanine itinerants are actually members of other classes altogether, and the lines are at best blurry. Sehanine attracts the roguish and charming, notably bards and rogues, but delights in anyone who recognizes the supremacy of love, no matter their background. Besides the fey races, Sehanine notably bestows some favor upon changelings who so well know the pain of exclusion, the desire for acceptance and the methods of trickery and deception.

One notable trait is that many of the faith have either grown up Poor or even been Criminals, with backgrounds that reflect this. Some are Veterans of a Religious War (Divine Power), long-time fighters whose triumphs never reach the light of day. An unfortunately large number of Avengers are specifically Out for Revenge (Divine Power), a path which leads many to ruin.

New Backgrounds

Cell-mate of Sehanine
You are or have been a member of a Sehanite cell. You can recognize the secret signs of the faithful and have been around the block a few times at least. Associated skills; Thievery, Stealth

Moon's Protector
You were a defender of a small settlement or a travelling caravan, spotting danger and heading it off before it could threaten your community. Associated skills; Stealth, Perception


Sehanine‘s Coin

Dozens or even hundreds of these coins have existed as far back as any history can tell. They are physically indistinct from common silver coins apart from their chains, but their nature is obvious to those who most closely feel Sehanine‘s distant love shining upon them. They are also commonly made for Sehanite faithful who wish to go unnoticed or who are not fully ordained members of divine classes. It is said that a bearer of the first coin shall one day mend the Moon‘s heart.

Lvl 3 +1 680 gp
Lvl 8 +2 3,400 gp
Lvl 13 +3 17,000 gp
Lvl 18 +4 85,000 gp
Lvl 23 +5 425,000 gp
Lvl 28 +6 2,125,000 gp
Implement (Holy Symbol)
Enhancement: Attack rolls and damage rolls
Critical: +1d6 damage per plus
Power (Daily): Immediate Reaction. You can use this power
when an ally within 5 squares of you is hit by an effect that a
save can end. The effect instead affects you. You gain a +5
power bonus on saving throws to end the effect.
 

Peter LaCara

Outsmarts bullets
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#8
Very cool. I really want to play a Paladin of Sehanine now, and I normally try to stay as far away from Divine classes as I can.
 

larqven

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#9
What novice would ascribe roles to the faith? Each person comes to Sehanine not to be put in boxes, but to break free of them and discover who they are and what they truly want. There are no authorities who give you titles or the right to perform ceremonies, no clergy to hunt you down for heresy and certainly no limit to what Sehanine‘s faithful can accomplish.

Of course, if you believe all that at face value, there‘s no hope for you at all.


Religion aside; this could easily and succinctly describe the dualism of the feyfolk as well. In many ways seeming to be higher, superior examples of humanity, not just in beauty and skill, but in tune with nature as well. And yet, on the otherhand, capable of rapacious, bewildering acts of cruelty and even evil.

The fey themselves might simply say--"well, therin is the balance we maintain in our lives," or deny that there is any special dichotomy that doesn't exist in all races. It is just that the fey act without the same silly restrictions that bind many other races within their societies. They will maintain that they are far more open and honest in their feelings and actions resulting from those emotions than humans or dwarves--except of course, when they're actions are hidden and manipulatory!:confused:;)

I liked the silver coin as a common moon symbol representation of the goddess--and the dichotomy of the strange luck that will result from being the receipient of Sehanine's fickle 'favor'. Speaking of the moon, I wonder if Sehanine's portfolio might be padded out by filching even more from classical Diana/Artemis? I loved the legend of Lolth stealing Sehanine's heart, and Sehanine stealing half of it back--deliberately leaving the other half so as to provide hope for redeeming the lost drow. This makes her into a deity of loving sacrifice rather than just a goddess of the bedroom. What with the phases of the moon and all, she represent duties more in keeping with Pelor--such as being a god of fertility extending into agriculture and calving, foaling, in the feywild. With Pelor having 'grown old' evolving and being scaled up from a village fertility/agricultural bounty god to becoming an urbanized 'god of food and communal goodwill providing the base for society; Sehanine might be replacing Pelor as a rural deity in villages and towns and will have long been the deity of choice for lonely shepherds and country livestock handlers!

I've got to say--I'm really happy that your deity series is continuing! You've made Ioun into an interesting, even cool deity to serve from being the geek-girl of the god set; and given plenty of fluff for the nuts and bolts for Erathis. Sehanine has always seemed awfully shallow and limited for a greater goddess, I'm pleased that you've provided a lot for us to chew on. Your stuff should be appearing in official publication!
 
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Wields-Rulebook-Heavily

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#10
I've got to say--I'm really happy that your deity series is continuing! You've made Ioun into an interesting, even cool deity to serve from being the geek-girl of the god set; and given plenty of fluff for the nuts and bolts for Erathis. Sehanine has always seemed awfully shallow and limited for a greater goddess, I'm pleased that you've provided a lot for us to chew on. Your stuff should be appearing in official publication!
WotC's never returned my emails, but I'm definetly open to the idea. :D

Once again, thanks to those who have commented. I don't like acting like it, but encouragement is always welcomed.

On the coin (since you mentioned it larqven), I put it in there to serve as a thematic thread. Basically, I was having difficulty piecing together my ideas into some kind of coherent narrative with what was presented, so I borrowed the first thing I thought of when I looked at the moon outside the window which at the time happened to be the US silver dollar. Currency was on my mind, what can I say. :eek:

The other thing I wanted to avoid was to oversexualize her. Sure, she'll definetly be depicted that way in some of her temples (and those rural priests have some creative ideas on hymns), but she's the goddess of love, which is a word that encompasses so much more. And the really good and juicy love stories always involve sacrifice.
 
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