|NG, CG, CN|
|Chaos, Good, Liberation, Luck, Travel|
Desna is one of Pathfinder deities.
Description[edit | edit source]
Desna, also known as "The Great Dreamer", "Lady Luck" and "Mother Moon", goddess of dreams, luck, stars, and travelers, is among the most ancient of deities. While her peers burdened themselves with the task of creating Golarion, she spent her time building the heavens. She knew that there would be plenty of time for her and her followers to explore the many wonders of the world later. She's changed little since those earlier days, and she and her followers delight in exploring the world.
Background[edit | edit source]
Desna 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 contrasts — an 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 Desna 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 Golarion.
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 and only uses her power to help others make good choices, avoid troublesome outcomes, and achieve happiness. She believes that "doom and gloom" prophecies or those that seem to guarantee or self-fulfill horrible acts are distasteful, and she only hands out such messages in the direst circumstances. She prefers to use prophecy as a tool for exploration and creating choices, not for limiting action and snuffing hope.
When Desna 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.
Desna watches over those who travel for any reason. Trailblazers, scouts, adventurers, and sailors all praise her name. (Although most sailors honor Gozreh in some fashion, he is a temperamental deity, and a little luck from Desna 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.
Desna 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. Desnans 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 Desnan 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 Desna's church, and like bards, followers of Desna encourage young folk to sing and dance in the hope of discovering hidden talents.
Desna 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 Desna 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.
Desna'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.