Savor the three stings of passion, guile, and vengeance.
The Savored Sting
Goddess of trickery, lust, and revenge
Domains Chaos, Charm, Knowledge, Luck, Trickery
Favored Weapon Whip
Centers of Worship Absalom, Galt, Kyonin, Nex, River Kingdoms, Shackles, Taldor, Varisia
Although the elves worship a great many deities, they hold none so highly as Calistria. The Savored Sting speaks to the mercurial, detached nature that makes elves elves. Some favor her as a trickster goddess, while others appreciate her lustful, audacious spirit. Ever scheming and planning her next conquest, Calistria is always maneuvering to a more advantageous position. Iconography of the faith depicts her as the ideal of elven beauty, dressed in revealing gowns with long graceful ears, slender limbs, and a suggestive smile playing across her lips. She is commonly shown with giant wasps; unlike bees, wasps can sting again and again without dying, just as sex and revenge can be experienced time and again.
Calistria is fickle, changing loyalties as her needs and whims suit her. She doesn’t do this to be hurtful, she just never lets her interest become too strong or too emotional and thinks that anyone who does otherwise is a fool; former partners and allies who are smart know to accept this and move on. Those who compromise her interests suffer her barbs, and she feels no guilt for taking an eye for an eye, or even more. She has no interest in love and sees it only as a weakness and needless byproduct of physical pleasures. Forgiveness is the domain of fools and weaklings unwilling to protect and avenge their interests. Though she is a goddess of trickery and enjoys a good joke (or even cruel jokes), she thinks of common pranks and physical comedy as beneath her.
Spies, prostitutes, narcissists, hedonists, thrill seekers, enchanters, and illusionists are often followers of Calistria. Those who carry a grudge pray for her favor, as do the rare non-evil assassins pursuing a justified blood debt. The bastard offspring of racial mixing (such as halfelves and tieflings) are attracted to the faith, using their exotic appearances as an advantage among “normal” folk, especially as most owe their very existence to unusual lusts. Most of her worshipers are elves, not because of an excessive prurient interest in flesh but because she represents freedom from commitment and the freedom to pursue what one desire.
Calistria shows her favor among the faithful with sudden runs of luck among attempts to find companionship, heightening of physical pleasures, and finding easy marks for schemes or acts of vengeance. Those who displease her often find themselves plagued by impotence, inability to achieve sexual satisfaction, schemes failing disastrously, or angry wasps with an unerring ability to sting in sensitive places.
Calistria’s avatar is a beautiful elven woman wearing a slinky yellow and black dress. Her eyes are dark and mysterious, sometimes f lashing gold with passion or anger. Her herald is the Menotherian, a bear-sized, wasplike creature with a double stinger and powerful scent glands that can control minds; the Menotherian can take a humanoid form resembling an exotic caricature of a beautiful elf, with long ears, narrow cheekbones, and graceful limbs. Notable servants include Velvet Wing (an elven succubus-like creature), Tordurbar (a hypersexualized chaos beast), and Thyev (a frog-like, shapechanging sorcerer obsessed with vengeance).
Calistria’s interactions with other gods are complex and strewn with contradictions and fabrications. Some paint her as a good god’s lover, others as an enemy. Some even suggest the creation or destruction of certain deities (for example, one says that she rebuffed Cayden Cailean, saying no mortal could enjoy her charms and survive, so he took the Test of the Starstone for the chance to be with her as a god).
Priests, Temples, and the Church
Priests of Calistria are usually bards or clerics, though in some places more exotic spellcasters are the norm for clergy. As a group they are a reactive force more than a proactive one, content to let the world progress at its own pace until something provokes them. Most people see the priests of Calistria as providers of comfort to those in need of solace, whether physical or emotional. They open their doors to those brimming over with lust, needing advice on embarrassing a rival, or seeking aid to strike back at those who have hurt them.
Many priests work as or with prostitutes, always in a manner that assures the safety of those in that profession; the church does not make its priests into victims, as they are people with power who greatly enjoy what they do for a living. Even the most ugly or disagreeable priest knows how to turn on the charm at the right time, surprising those who witness the change (Diplomacy or Gather Information are essential skills). Others may work as spies, investigators (for individuals or the government), or smugglers of exotic materials for those with singular interests.
A typical temple has many rooms with lockable doors for privacy, and many are converted mansions or large homes. Because of their association with sex, temple priests are known for giving advice on contraceptive herbs, assisting with births, and taking in unwanted infants; some are even believed to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Each temple tends toward good, evil, or neutrality, and this inf luences the activities that take place there. These philosophical differences are the source of many intertemple feuds, some going back a hundred years with blood shed on both sides.
Good temples try to serve the community and usually function as a brothel with sacred prostitutes, as they believe that the relief of sexual needs eases other tensions that might lead to violence. Regular visits by customers usually mean the temple is a hotbed of gossip and clandestine talks about doubledealing and revenge. Evil temples are much like thieves’ guilds, a place to hear news, seek evidence of unfaithful lovers, and make shady plans, only sometimes while enjoying a lover. Priests at evil temples tend to be very competitive with each other, trying to outdo their rivals in feats of intimacy, trickery, and vengeance, and, as a result, many evil priests are forced to wander for their own safety. Neutral temples (particularly elven temples) try to mix both, casually entertaining the lonely and lusty while avoiding the more violent plans for vengeance.
The church hierarchy is very casual, with priests valued for their ability to persuade others (or feared for their history of revenge) rather than magical power, though a powerful priest may be able to persuade or frighten more than a weak one. Because of the faction rivalries, most temples focus on local issues and ignore the problems of other factions. Every full priest in the church has a vote in his or her temple’s affairs.
Formal clothing is very scant, usually yellow silk that covers little and conceals even less, often augmented with henna dyes on the palms of the hands and in narrow bands on the arms. Some like to add black accents to clothing resembling a wasp’s colors but eventually outgrow this habit, as the insect represents the goddess but is not inherently divine or worthy of emulation.
Ceremonies honoring Calistria often involve ritual sex but generally not the orgiastic excesses described in salacious stories by those outside the church. Typically a ritual consists of quiet chanting, blessed wine, and perhaps a few passionate kisses among interested parties. In other rituals, priests relate how they deceived their enemies or enacted elaborate revenge plots. Her holy text is The Book of Joy, a guide to many exotic passions.
Priests of the Savored Sting may prepare rage as a 3rd-level spell and suggestion as a 4th-level spell (though those with the Charm domain have access to it earlier).
School enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting];
Level Brd 3, Clr 3, Sor/Wiz 3 (Calistria)
Casting Time 1 minute
Target creature touched
Duration up to 1 day/level (D) or until discharged
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless);
Spell Resistance Yes (harmless)
You inspire yourself or a lover to a vengeful rage against a chosen enemy who must be a lover who has wronged you in some way. If cast on you, the next time you are in combat with that enemy, you gain the benefits of a rage spell. If cast on a lover, he or she gains the benefits of a rage spell the next time the lover is in combat against your enemy. This variant of the spell must be cast within 1 hour of an intimate encounter with the target. The rage effect lasts 1 round per level. This spell counts as a contingency spell on the target for the purpose of multiple contingent effects.
Calistria in Riddleport
The fickle goddess of trickery, lust, and revenge maintains a particularly healthy following in Riddleport. Her temple, the House of the Silken Veil, encourages her flock’s vendettas and oversees the city’s “hospitality” industry. Several thugs and assassins are known for quoting Calistria’s collection of holy poems, Blood for Wine, before setting about their grim work.
House of the Silken Veil
This octagonal pyramid is topped by a blood-red steeple. The walls were once of white marble but are now grimed and stained by years of exposure to the salt air and the pollutants of the Gas Forges, giving it a dreary, unhealthy look. But the silken curtains that cover its three wide, inviting entrances are always freshly laundered and do little to mask the scent of exotic incenses that waft from within. This structure is the headquarters for Riddleport’s “hospitality industry,” an industry that includes prostitutes, alehouses, escorts, dancers, and even (it is rumored) exotic assassins. The
House of the Silken Veil serves another purpose as well: it is a temple of Calistria in addition to being a high-class brothel. Temple prostitutes work the streets and squares of Leeward and send criers and samples down to Wharf District to bring in the “pigeons.” The high priestess of this temple is Shorafa Pamodae (CN female tiefling cleric 10), a leather-clad mistress seldom seen without her snakeskin whip coiled about a shoulder.
She is also one of the city’s minor crimelords and rules the hospitality industry, from pimps to liquor sales. Currently working within the confines of the temple and never venturing forth is a call girl called Lavender Lil (NE female tiefling rogue 4). A faithful follower of Calistria, Lavender has been granted asylum by Shorafa to escape the wrath of Clegg Zincher after her involvement in the death of his brother more than a year ago. She chafes at her confinement and would be only too willing to manipulate a heroic “pigeon” into helping her escape Zincher’s retribution.