Cerie

Title Lady luck, the dreamer,traveler's companion
Portfolio Dreams Stars Travelers Luck
Alignment Chaotic Good
Worshipers Travelers, astronomers, gamblers, Varisians, musicians
Worshiper Alignment NG,CG,CN
Domains Chaos, Good, Liberation, Luck, Travel
Subdomains Azata, Curse, Exploration, Fate, Freedom
Favored Weapon Star Knife
Symbol Butterfly
Allows creation or rising of undead: No
Favored Animal(s) Butterfly
Sacred Colors Blue,White

Cerie is the goddess of dreams, luck, stars, and travelers

Obedience

Dance in a random pattern beneath the light of the stars, trusting in the guidance of destiny. If no stars are currently visible, softly sing or chant all of the names of stars that you know as you perform your dance. Let your mind expand and turn your thoughts away from where your feet might land, allowing your steps to fall where chance wills. When the dance feels complete, cease dancing. Ponder the steps you took and the position in which you stopped, and consider what portents these subtle clues might hold for the future. Gain a +1 luck bonus on initiative checks and a +4 sacred bonus on Perception checks made to determine whether you are aware of opponents just before a surprise round.

Dogma

Cerie is an impulsive and aloof goddess who delights in freedom, discovery, and mystery. Her aloofness stems not from arrogance, but from confidence in her own abilities and her desire to be unburdened by troubles. She is a collection of contrastsan ancient goddess who dislikes predicting the future, a traveler who cares nothing for her destination, a carefree creature of instinct haunted by a past stretching back eons, and a peaceful deity forced to battle with old enemies, eternally young despite the weight of ages and stars upon her.

Some believe Cerie is flighty, frivolous, and easily distracted, but she has a cold side born of loss, tragedy, and battle. As a luck goddess, she always believes there is a chance for success, but knows that dreams can turn to nightmares and bright destinies can become dark fates; these opposites in her own nature define her and give her things to strive against. She challenges those who would corrupt her domain or who have wronged her friends or followers, striking at them with burning starlight, bad luck, and energies alien to Xilrin

Although her dominion over dreams and stars means that many seers, diviners, and mystics revere her as an informal goddess of prophecy, she delights in the freedom of people to choose their own destiny. She prefers to use prophecy as a tool for exploration and creating choices, not for limiting action and snuffing hope, and finds "doom and gloom" prophecies and those that seem to guarantee good people will commit horrible acts. She hands out such warnings only in the direst circumstances, generally in dreams, and if she must send dreams that portend despair, she may grace a follower in need with the benefit of a helpful spell upon awakening (such as aid, manic vestment, prayer, protection from evil, or remove fear) that persists throughout the day. Thus does she pair dark portents with hope that the outcome may still be bright.

When Cerie has a message for one of her faithful, she prefers to intervene in dreams, sending simple impressions, visions, or even prophecies that the sleeper clearly remembers upon awakening. When dreams are unsuitable or time is short, she indicates her favor with flights of swallowtail butterflies, sparrows, dragonflies, geese flying in a four-pointed star shape, or the timely arrival of messenger birds. She typically shows her disfavor with dreamless sleep that fails to refresh the sleeper (as if the person had not slept at all), sore feet, messenger animals losing their messages, and minor travel accidents. Cerie watches over those who travel for any reason. Trailblazers, scouts, adventurers, and sailors all praise her name. (Although most sailors honor Deidre in some fashion, he is a temperamental deity, and a little luck from Cerie often comes in handy during a storm.) Her influence over luck also makes her a favorite among gamblers, thieves, and others who rely on fortune for shady dealings.

Cerie teaches her followers to indulge their desires, experience all they can, and trust instinct as a guide. Her faithful are often wide-eyed, exuberant people, embracing the world in all its strangeness, and willing to jump in with both feet. Cerie aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, their feet wet, or their knuckles (or faces) bloodied while living life to its fullest. Critics call them hedonists, but that's an exaggeration, as worldly experience, rather than pure sensation, is their true goal. Ascetics, hermits, and meticulous planners are unknown in her church. Her faithful teach that it's better to ask forgiveness than permission, as sometimes a unique opportunity requires a split-second decision, whether it's a chance to touch a dragon's egg, savor a rare fruit, or passionately kiss the mayor's son.

The goddess encourages her worshipers to believe in themselves and express their inner strengths, often in the form of music, dance, or theater. Many songs penned by her faithful become popular tunes for dancing and gatherings, and numerous old favorites are attributed to long-dead Cerie bards whose musical legacies have persisted for centuries. Some people believe the custom of a traveling bard paying for his lodging with a song stems from Cerie's church, and like bards, followers of Cerie encourage young folk to sing and dance in the hope of discovering hidden talents. Cerie usually appears to her followers as a beautiful but remote elven acolyte of her faith. In this guise, she aids people in need or suggests relevant excerpts from her holy writings, The(eight Scrolls, as a way to lead the faithful on the correct path.

She is not above singing to lighten dour moods or dancing with those whose confidence is in need of reinvigoration. When Cerie wishes to reveal her true nature, she transforms her common clothing into a billowing silken gown and grows brightly colored butterfly wings on her back, although in somber situations her wing colors are pale and moth-like. Cerie's holy symbol is a butterfly with images of stars, suns, and moons upon its wings. Most of her clergy are clerics, although about one-third of her priests are bards or rogues, with a number of neutral good druids and rangers also choosing her as their patron. She is called the Song of the Spheres, the Great Dreamer, Starsong, and the Tender of Dreams.

The Church

While Cerie's faith is ancient-known church is extremely disorganized, with few actual temples or settled priests, and no formal chain of command. Physical and magical might are respected, as are knowledge and experience, with personal expertise in a field trumping mere combat prowess or spellcasting ability. For example, when dealing with a basilisk's attacks on a frontier town, a low-level cleric who has survived an encounter with the creature is accorded greater authority than a high-level character who has never faced one. This structure means that Cerians have certain ideas about what they consider to be "informed" authority; they feel free to ignore nobles, politicians, and other "meritless" leaders if more knowledgeable folk are on hand to provide better advice.

Although they can be competitive with others inside and outside the church, these are friendly rivalries; they they prefer to move on if a disagreement is going to turn ugly after all, there's an entire world of wonder to explore, so there's no sense wasting time on an argument. Services dedicated to Cerie include singing, dancing, storytelling (especially of unusual dreams), footraces, and music. Some use exotic substances, herbal drinks, alcohol, or animal venom to spark unusual or (for the very lucky) lucid dreams. Many rituals involve sand because of its relation to sleep and the comparison of grains of sand to the number of stars in the sky. Dust made from crushed rose quartz (which can have a starry pattern when illuminated from behind) is used in the faith's rare ceremonies and blessings instead of water or sacred oil; Cerian priests carry holy quartz dust in glass flasks instead of holy water. Some luck-seeking faithful carry dice or other luck talismans carved of rose quartz.

Temples

Cerie keeps few temples, preferring unattended shrines at crossroads and places of secluded beauty, like hilltops or peninsula points. Although unmanned, these shrines often hold simple provisions and a place to scrawl notes or feelings if visitors are so inspired. Her association with the stars and night sky means that her temples sometimes double as celestial observatories, or at least have one room partially open to the sky.

In many cases, these observatories have markers on the walls or windows to indicate the positions of important stars on holy days (oneroom churches might have a single hole in the ceiling to show a particular star's position, and keep the hole covered on other days to keep out rain or snow). Temples in large cities often take the form of tall towers with observatories at their tops, and with small libraries of astronomical and astrological charts. Rural temples usually incorporate an inn or stable as a service to travelers. As Cerie maintains friendly-or, at least, non-conflicting-relationships with most good-aligned and civilized deities, it's not uncommon for her faith to be among those practiced in communal temples.

A Priest's Role

Priests of Cerie-including clerics, bards, rogues, rangers, and occasionally druids-go where they please, earning money by telling fortunes, providing entertainment, and interpreting dreams. They help people when they can, but prefer to make their acts seem like luck, coincidence, or the blessings of their goddess. Common skills for priests are Diplomacy, Knowledge (geography), Knowledge (history), Profession (harrower), Ride, and Survival. Many of Cerie's faithful are talented artists, writers, and entertainers, and the church expects all priests to at least be familiar with contemporary music, theater, and literature, even if an individual priest shows no talent for playing instruments, acting, or writing.

Those without abilities in these areas are still taught to recognize such gifts in others and are expected to encourage the gifted to explore their talents. Worshipers with performance skills share them regularly at festivals, local venues, and celebrations such as weddings. The church also throws public parties to showcase such performances, and such events endear the church to the public, even if the offered fare is no more than cheese, warm bread, and watered wine. Some Cerians are skilled fortune-tellers, using their gift for reading people to entertain and inspire hope. Like their goddess, they oppose the use of divination to create fear or despair; most brush off requests stemming from unhappiness or malice, such as when the listener or one of his enemies might die.

The goddess expects her diviners to challenge any speaker who prophesies ill, misfortune, or doom, and when they hear of magical auguries predicting bad times, they actively intervene to make sure those events do not come to pass. In addition to soothsaying, some Cerians learn to interpret dreams in order to ease troubled minds and mend other wounds of the psyche. Recurring or shared dreams are of particular interest, as they often stem from inner traumas or external magical sources. Those plagued by insomnia or nightmares call on Cerians priests for aid, for their healing spells or even just a soothing touch are often enough to bring a tranquil night's sleep.

A typical day for a Cerian priest involves an early prayer (often spoken in bed moments after waking), recording remembered dreams in a journal, breakfast, study (the arts if so inclined, geography or the culture of a foreign land if not), and any duties assigned by a more experienced priest if one is present. After a light lunch, the priest goes for a walk or ride, either to someplace new or by taking a new path to a known place. Once at his destination, he attends to his duties there, helps passersby who require his skills, possibly entertains at a local gathering spot, seeks a place to stay for the night, dines, prays, and sleeps. Caravan masters like to hire priests of Cerie to accompany their wagons for luck, especially in regard to warding off attacks from beasts, and this gives priests an excuse to travel when they have no other pressing matters. If a holy site needs maintenance or repair, the priest takes care of what is needed or hires a skilled person to do it.

Elder priests whose bodies can no longer handle physical travel tend to use magic to visit the minds of others in distant locations (using the dream spell) or even travel to distant planes (using the astral projection spell). Some use herbal or alchemical substances to enter a dreamlike state to explore higher levels of consciousness or commune with dream entities. A few such "Wakeless Ones" are so strong-willed that they have remained asleep and dreaming for years-they don't even wake to eat or drink, and are instead sustained by faith, will, and dream-food. It is considered a noble end for a Cerian to die in her sleep, as it sets the sleeper on the first step of the final spiritual journey to the goddess. Followers of the Song of the Spheres consider sleep aform of prayer, and traveling Cerians volunteer only for the first or last watch of the night so as to be able to sleep uninterrupted. If a priest believes he won't get as much sleep as he likes that night (for example, if his comrades plan a midnight battle), he tries to fit a nap or two into his schedule for the day rather than risking being short on sleep. Divine priests prepare their spells during morning prayers, while Cerie's bard-priests generally prepare spells after those prayers. Cerie shares a mutual loathing with night hags and other creatures that prey on sleepers, so her priests oppose them, as well as spellcasters who use nightmare ,mare-priests go so far as to destroy spellbooks and magic items that use the spell.

Cerie's priests have a tradition of exploring distant places and leaving marks indicating someone of the faith has been there. This "found-mark" might be as simple as the goddess's symbol scratched on a flat rock or tree trunk, as elaborate as a small shrine, or anything in between. Often, explorers leaves personal glyphs or notes indicating who they are; in this way, they gain fame in the church, and someone who has marked many sites in this way is called a Founder-a title that confers no formal powers but garners high esteem among the faithful. Although Cerian constantly seek to make new discoveries, some particularly remote or hardto-reach locales-such as mountaintops, islands, or the tops of mined buildings-have become pilgrimage sites in their own right, eventually bearing the mark of the original Founder surrounded by dozens of personal runes or butterfly symbols left by those who have followed in his or her path.

Holy Texts

The faithful of Cerie care little for heavy tomes of holy doctrine or arguments over the most righteous path. They prefer their religion concise, entertaining to read, and easy to carry.

The Eight Scrolls: These eight short scrolls contain all the official doctrine of the church, summarizing Cerie's early days as a goddess, her interactions with other deities, her discovery of her powers, and the fixing of the stars in the night sky. The fifth scroll contains the church's words regarding the behavior of mortals, which sparks many friendly debates among the faithful. Cerie is a goddess of inherent contradictions; fortunately, her loosely organized church accepts all plausible interpretations of the scrolls that do not radically deviate from standard church teachings. The scrolls are short enough that they all fit within two scroll cases (one if the writer's handwriting is particularly fine).

Shrine Writings: Wayside shrines to Cerie are typically covered in graffiti, most inscribed by traveling followers of the goddess. It is said that the goddess herself grants inspiration at such places, and that those who add drawings, scribbled verses, or life observations upon the shrine are granted safe travels and good luck.

Holidays

Given their lack of unified structure and penchant for spontaneous celebrations, the church of Cerie has few formal holidays. Two major festivals stand out from the dozens of minor occasions and celestial events.

Ritual of Stardust: This celebration takes place on the summer and winter solstices, bracketing the shortest and longest nights of the year (and thus the best day to travel and the longest night to view Cerie's stars). A great feast starts at dusk with several large bonfires throwing sparks into the darkening sky. When dusk turns fully to night, the faithful sing until the fires burn down to glowing embers, then throw handfuls of sand laced with star gems (star rubies, star sapphires, or rose quartz) on the coals or into the air downwind of the festival. Pledges of friendship and journeys follow the stardust ritual, with the winking speckles of sand mirroring the stars in the sky and representing Cerie bearing witness to the words. Some cultures include prayers for good harvests or mild winters, depending on the season.

Swallowtail Release: Legends tell of a portion of Cerie's spirit plummeting from the heavens after a great battle. A blind orphan nursed Cerie's avatar back to health, and to thank the child, the goddess transformed her into an immortal butterfly. In this form, the child could forever fly around the world, seeing its wonders. In honor of this event, the church raises swallowtail butterflies, releasing them from a netted wagon on the first day of autumn in front of a crowd of the faithful. These "children of Cerie" fill the air for the rest of the day's singing, feasting, and storytelling. Cerie's followers believe it is good luck for a butterfly to rest on them during the festivities. Larger temples sometimes have enclosed gardens where they raise the caterpillars for eventual release on the holiday; smaller temples or those in climates that won't support butterflies might release dry leaves or corn husk fragments painted to look like butterflies.

Relation With Other gods

While friendly toward most other deities, Cerie is ultimately a lone wanderer who remains aloof, and her sometimes-tragic history has left her cautious about leaving herself vulnerable to others. She is aware that some find her remoteness enticing, however, and she coyly encourages even godly paramours to explore and discover new things while trying to court her. Recently, Cayden Cailean has made attempts to woo Cerie, a flirtation she finds endearing. Her detachment has not prevented her from acquiring enemies, most from long-standing feuds or old grudges.

Cerie battles Nemyth, for she wants the night to be a time of wonder rather than of fear and oppression. The goddess also watches for signs of numerous forgotten and departed deities from ages long past, guarding against their unlikely but ever-possible return. Cerie's only true sources of comfort among the deities are Eyvra, who tends the wounds she receives in battling the evils of the night, and Callie, who reinvigorates her spirits and creates new wonders to be explored.

Cerie's followers don't spend much time worrying about anyone else's faith, although they're happy to talk about their own if asked. They're not averse to paying their respects at shrines or temples to most other good-aligned gods, or welcoming members of other faiths with which Cerie is friendly into the safety of their temples or homes when those guests are threatened or in need. As long as others respect their ways, they'll return such respect; the road to truth passes through different landscapes for everyone, and a Cerian would never interrupt someone else's journey unless that person were in mortal peril. Cerie's footloose dreamers are polite but cautious-some might say aloof-toward followers of deities who encourage their faithful to settle down, such as Avasir's congregations and worshipers of Alaister; they are protective of their right to wander, and don't take kindly to attempts to tie them to one place. Though members of other faiths might see Cerians as flighty or disapprove of their amusement at religious practices they consider stodgy, Cerie's faithful can be just as implacable as the adherents of any other good-aligned faith when it comes to opposing evil. They are especially dedicated to guarding against the return of ancient, evil gods.

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