Bethanine, The Elder Goddess of Love
Bethanine was the first of the Elder Gods of Saas and is concerned with matters of the heart. Bethanine herself is beautiful to look upon, though not so comely as her sister Lorin, the Goddess of Beauty. She is a goddess of peace and reconciliation who only intercedes in war to prevent it; indeed, in the latter days before the fall Lorin was the last to leave the side of the Miradros, believing until the very end that she could bring him back into the fold. When she failed she was distraught and has never recovered from the shattering of her brother. Since the end of the elder age some ten thousand years ago the Goddess Bethanine has not spoken a single word either to her followers or to her brother Baeandar, who is also her lover. Because she is so open, and overflows so profusely with love, she never understood the events which led to the sundering of the Dark Elves from their true elf lineage and she remains the only one of the elder gods who still believes a reconciliation is possible.
The Powers of Bethanine
As one of the Elder Gods Bethanine’s powers are not those of the physical world, but of the spirit. She is the Goddess of emotions, in particular, Love. The love of a mother for her children, the love between men and women and the love between friends and equals; all fall under her sphere of influence. Her name is the one invoked in the brewing of love potions, her altar is the one prayed to by girls seeking true love and by the lonely seeking companionship. Bethanine has a great love for all things and only the most evil or empty hearted can fail to return her feelings. It is said that Bethanine can make anyone fall in love with anyone else, although whether that is true or not is a matter of some debate among her clerics, many of whom believe that the Goddess has very little to do with the creation of love.
Since the rise of mankind, a race born of blood mixed from many gods and thus full of conflict and struggle, Bethanine has become Goddess of several things which she might have preferred to avoid altogether. Her name is used more than any other Goddess in calls-to-arms and battle cries, for she is the Goddess of reconciliation and peace. The aspect of physical love which she represents has also been accepted very readily by mankind and she is often worshipped as a patroness of whores – though not to the extent that her sister Lorin is.
Relative to the other Elder Gods, Bethanine is second in power only to Baeandar, she is less powerful than any of the elemental gods, but more powerful than any of the mortal gods. Bethanine, like Baeandar, could only be harmed by a divine level of power – though why anyone would wish to injure the Goddess of Love is unknowable since she has no enemies among the gods; even the Black God does not count her as a foe, though as God of Hate he is her antithesis and doubtless regards her as weak and naïve.
The Avatar of Bethanine
Bethanine is not known to employ any Avatars, but when she has need of them she is able to request service of any creature on Saas, from the greatest dragons to the least of burrowing insects, and because all creatures feel love for her they will willingly die performing her errand. How she communicates her will with these creatures is unknown; they simply become aware that she requires something of them. Most frequently used are the unicorns, whose purity of spirit makes them ideal conduits for Bethanine.
Clerics of Bethanine
Worship of Bethanine is rare among dwarves, quite embarrassing to admit in human realms – though common – and very popular among elves, for whom there are few distinctions between the types of love she represents. Clerics of Bethanine seek to do good wherever they go and all followers of Bethanine are good in alignment, with the majority also being neutral with respect to law and chaos.
Allowed weapons: Clerics of Bethanine are complete pacifists. They may use only non-lethal weapons such as the cosh, net, bolas or similar.
Recommended NWP: None – clerics of Bethanine perform a multitude of roles in society and any NWP would be appropriate.
Clerics of Bethanine have major spell access to the following spheres: All, Animal, Charm, Healing, Necromancy.
They have minor spell access to the following spheres: Creation, Guardian, Protection, War, Wards.
Additional Granted Powers: The following powers are in addition to the standard spells and abilities of a cleric.
Clerics of Bethanine have remarkable affinity with animals, any failed proficiency check using Animal Training or Animal Handling may be re-rolled once. If it fails a second time then no further rolls may be made.
All charm-type spells cast by a cleric of Bethanine are at –1 to save in addition to any other modifiers.
When constructing items which have a charm component, clerics are 15% more likely to gain the favour of Bethanine and have the item enchanted. Conversely items which are designed to kill or injure will be view 15% less favourably and if a score of 1 to 5 is rolled on the percentile dice ten the item may never be constructed and the cleric may cast no spells for 1 full week.
At 12th level a cleric of Bethanine can summon a unicorn once per week with preparations of only 1 turn. This unicorn is magically summoned and will remain until completion of its allotted task. With respect to hit dice this unicorn is standard. The unicorn will not fight for the cleric unless something pure is likely to be destroyed by its failure to do so – a cleric who summons a unicorn to fight his battles for him does not count as pure.
Holy Symbol: The holy symbol of Bethanine is the heart.
Turning Ability: Clerics of Bethanine cannot turn undead until 3rd level, where they acquire the turning power of a level 1 cleric then advance normally.
Role-playing Notes: Clerics of Bethanine are saintly in temperament. In cities if there is an orphanage it will almost certainly be run by these clerics and the same applies to any organisation which treats the sick or feeds the hungry. Clerics of Bethanine, despite rumours to the contrary, do not engage in regular orgiastic activities – they regard all forms of love as sacred. For human priests that normally means abstention from sexual intercourse until married and for dwarves this is always the case. Even when adventuring a cleric of Bethanine is bound to pick up some helpless stray animal or orphaned child that they will feel compelled to look after. Several months on the road usually net a cleric of Bethanine quite a retinue of tagalongs that they will regard as a joy, but which others adventurers consider a massive hindrance. Non-adventuring clerics and monks who worship Bethanine are 50% likely to take a vow of silence. Devout followers of Bethanine, particularly the older followers of the faith, are 2% likely to take a vow of silence.