Rise of the Runelords
Cayden Cailean (CAY-den CAY-lee-en) is one of the Ascended, a mortal man who became a god after passing the grueling tests of the magical Starstone. Legend tells that, unlike the other Ascended, he was completely drunk at the time and attempted the test on a dare from another drunk. Three days after entering the Cathedral of the Starstone, he emerged a living god, baffled and amused about what the Test might have entailed. A good-natured sellsword as a mortal, his behavior changed little as a god, and he continued to fight for just causes, sample various drinks, and avoid things he didn’t want to do. Thus, Cayden Cailean became the patron of brave men, alcoholic spirits, and freedom to choose your own path in life.
Cayden Cailean is outgoing, friendly, boisterous, unashamed, and flirtatious, even more so when he allows himself to indulge in fermented delights. He loves good-spirited toasts, friendly bar brawls, bawdy songs, and standing up for the underdog. He loathes slavery, mean-spiritedness, bullying, teetotalers, and restrictive laws and customs. He believes that everyone would get along better if they could sit down and have a drink, preferably in the company of lovely ladies. A former mercenary, he believes in fair pay for a job well done, whether paid in coin, drink, or a tumble in the hay with a willing paramour. Having had his share of hard times as a mortal, he’s not above helping someone for free now and then or leaving an extra-generous tip for someone in need. This simple and welcoming philosophy makes him popular with adventurers, philanthropists, revelers, and those who fight for good.
Although he is a god of wine, his interest is in merriment rather than forgetting old sorrows, whether that merriment is common folk at an alehouse or wealthy merchants sipping brandy at a feast. Likewise he is not fond of those who use drinking to work up enough courage (or whittle away enough wisdom) to bring harm upon others. He has been known to inspire tipsy revelers to speak insightful poetry and confess secrets better aired out than kept in the dark. It is traditional to toast his name with the first drink of the evening. A “Cayden’s dare” is any foolish-seeming thing that turns out to have good consequences, such as going out to tip the mayor’s cow and discovering a discarded pouch of coins or going on a quest the night before your mother-in-law comes to visit. At weddings it is common to joke that the bride or groom is only present because of a drunken dare.
Cayden Cailean was a courageous man, although often his courage was bolstered by a wineskin or flask. He expects his followers to be brave in the face of danger, though there is no shame in retreat; he is the god of bravery, not reckless stupidity in the face of common sense. Although many assume his faithful will accept any dare in the name of bravery, the truth is that they are not routinely foolish just because of their religion. Even the dullest hero of Cayden Cailean has the sense to not accept an impossible or suicidal challenge—though it is not uncommon to accept a risky one after a swig or two of “liquid courage.”
Although his other divine concerns are flexible in interpretation, he is as hard as a nail when it comes to a person’s right to freedom. Before the Test of the Starstone he had been known to leave in the middle of mercenary jobs when he found out his employer was a tyrant or using him to bring harm to decent folk, which (coupled with his drinking) gave him a somewhat unreliable reputation, but he refused to go against his own beliefs for the sake of mere coin. Cayden Cailean believes that there is no justice in a law that oppresses one man to benefit another, and over the centuries he has worked to counter the plots of lawful deities who see human misery as a price to pay in the name of some goal. He has been known to kill slavers, or (in lands where slavery is legal) buy slaves, free them, and then later rob the slave owner so there would be no profit in the slaving. In places where the peasantry suffers from harsh taxes or demoralizing practices such as primae noctis, he has helped them topple their oppressor or at least aided them in escaping to more friendly lands. Of course, he is still good and doesn’t believe that you should be able to murder your neighbors even though the law forbids it, nor is he a destructive god of chaos or a madcap god of frivolity.
Most of his worshipers are common folk who seek simple contentment in their daily lives, have a drink with their friends, and have the courage to stand up to evil when it rears its ugly head, no matter what shape it is in. Brewers, vintners, barkeeps, and innkeepers pray to him for tasty beverages and the good business that comes from them. Happy drunks and revelers of all sorts toast his name. Wealthy folk do good deeds in honor of him, like simply sharing a private store of wine in lean times. Cayden Cailean is a very popular deity among good adventurers, who share his casual goals of questing and celebrating one’s victories. Those not keen on adventuring often work as guides or explorers, enjoying the freedom of living and going wherever they please. His followers are happy people, preferring to look on the bright side of things and accepting any downturn as a challenge to make right. While most of his worshipers are human, a significant number are half-elves, finding comfort and acceptance in a faith interested in good works and good times rather than formal hierarchies, ancient traditions, and old grudges. Although dwarves appreciate his interest in ale, few worship him, though some clans will lift a mug in his name and include him in stories about Torag, where he typically takes the role of a humorous sidekick.
Cayden Cailean’s direct intervention in the mortal world isn’t frequent, but he has been known to prevent a keg from emptying (often to convince good folk to congregate a little longer in a place of safety) or push someone especially meek to gain a backbone of hardened steel at a key time. Those who go against his simple tenets may find themselves ill the next time they drink, intoxicated when clarity is needed, or frightened by common animals or shadows. When he is happy, drinks are more savory, the night air feels more brisk and smells more sweet, and courage burns white-hot.
Cayden Cailean’s image is much as he looked in life: an average-looking bronze-skinned human with a tankard in one hand, and often wearing chainmail. In grander art, he is sometimes shown fending off a swarm of devils with his well-worn rapier, all the while his tankard held high. In a few places, he is sometimes shown with broken shackles hanging loosely from his wrists representing breaking free of mortal concerns, and in areas where his faith has brought freedom from oppression or slavery, they interpret the shackles more literally.
Formal raiment of a Cayden Cailean priest is a simple brown tunic or robe with a wine-red stole bearing the god’s ale-mug symbol. As he cares little for finery and ostentation, ceremonial objects in a temple are primarily functional rather than decorative, and a high priest of Cayden Cailean would think nothing of performing a blessing with water or wine from a common bar mug rather than a bejeweled font. His church’s holy water may be blessed water, wine, ale, or other spirits, though the stuff intended for use against evil monsters is usually of inferior quality. After all, why waste good wine by throwing it at something?
It is interesting to note that Cayden Cailean is the only major god who uses a surname. In his early years as a god, he insisted that his last name be included in all forms of address, an unusual habit for someone normally so relaxed about formalities. The prevalent opinions on the matter are that he wished to distance himself from another mortal named Cayden (perhaps someone of evil intent) or honor his parents who might have died when he was young. This second theory is corroborated by his interest in sponsoring orphanages, perhaps as a thank-you to the long-gone orphanage that raised him. Cayden ignores questions about it, insisting it was decided long ago and there are more important things to talk about.
There are many mortals alive today with the surname Cailean, and they may be distantly related to the god, but the issue is muddled because it is common for children raised in orphanages funded by the church to take the god’s surname as their own when they leave. Thus, the handsome farmhand might be a direct descendant of Cayden Cailean’s brother or merely the grown-up survivor of a goblin attack that wiped out entire families.
Cayden Cailean is chaotic good, and his portfolio is freedom, alcohol, and bravery. His domains are Chaos, Charm, Good, Strength, and Travel, and his favored weapon is the rapier. His holy symbol is a tankard of ale, with or without a rich head of foam on it. Most of his clergy are clerics, with a handful of druids who attend to sacred vineyards and small patches of barley and hops for brewing small quantities of famous tasty ales. Some bards of the faith consider themselves part of the clergy, numbering at most five percent of the number of priests, but using their music to entertain, inspire, and mend those they meet. Cayden Cailean has few adepts, no more than the number of bards, and they usually reside in the most uncivilized areas, often just a hermit wanting to be left alone to enjoy his little piece of the world. Cayden Cailean is called the Drunken Hero, the Lucky Drunk, and many other localized affectionate nicknames.
Services to Cayden Cailean always include a toast or a song. As the faith is not inclined to hold to formalities, a simple toast at a wedding might become a game of “dueling dares” between the groomsmen, and an official church holiday often resembles a festival more than a time of worship. Songs dedicated to Cayden Cailean typically involve shouting choruses, stomping feet, and the clanking of drinkware. Services may be indoors or outdoors, aboveground or below, day or night—whatever is appropriate to the occasion.
Cayden’s church essentially has no hierarchy, as none of his priests really like other people telling them what to do, despite any good intentions. Elderly priests and those renowned as local heroes often garner special respect, but few attempt to lead by warrant of their age or reputations. Because of this lack of a central authority, the god himself sometimes has to send visions or dreams to his priests to encourage them to meet on an issue and decide on a plan of action. Most priests believe that problems are best dealt with by the people who discovered them and they don’t bother trying to follow a chain of command unless a problem turns out to be too big to handle alone. The majority of the god’s clergy are friendly with each other, and while there can be personal rivalries, those aren’t anything that can’t be solved with a bar fight.
The Drunken Hero has few buildings that function only as temples. Most of his sacred (to use that term lightly) buildings are just alehouses run by clergy members or small inns bearing a shrine to him above the bar. A rare few have additional decorations signifying their roles as temples, typically banners and high shelves stacked with empty wine bottles. Several large family breweries contain a small room set aside for the church, often staffed by a family member who enters the priesthood to secure prosperity for the brewery. In cities, the occasional feast hall might bear the symbol of Cayden Cailean on its sign or over its doors. These larger “temples” donate much of their earnings to promote the public good, ease the burden of the poor, or to fund pious adventurers.
Cayden’s holy places are not thought of as houses of healing, and the casual nature of the faith means that a typical temple or shrine might only have a very low-level cleric on hand. If someone comes knocking covered in blood, the cleric will help just as any good cleric would, but most temples are also taverns and there is a business mentality in those working there. Anyone who receives help gets a cold eye if they leave without paying or at least buying a round for the house.
Cayden Cailean’s easygoing nature and lack of a central church agency mean that his clerics are able to use their discretion when it comes to how to advance his cause in the world. Some are solo crusaders for good, some found adventuring companies or support border towns in need of faith and comfort. Some brew ale or beer, some make wine, some plant crops for these beverages, and some involve themselves in the transport or sale of spirits. Some work with new communities or where there is poor sanitation to educate people on the health benefits of drinking ale and wine rather than common water, especially when herbal or magical disease treatments are scarce—extolling towns where ale or wine is commonly drunk as having fewer deaths from certain diseases than those that shun “Cayden’s drink.” City-based clerics might be heavily involved with the local brewers’ or vintners’ guild, oversee the quality of spirits for the city government, and so on. In smaller communities, a cleric might work as a mediator, teach farmers how to brew their own drinks in small quantities, and encourage townsfolk to share with their neighbors to create bonds of friendship. Explorer clerics and travelers in distant lands often look for new stories, rumors, and recipes to share, seek to assuage or combat the burden of slavery, and even scatter barley and grape seeds in the hopes of finding new places suitable for these crops.
Because of the god’s close association with alcoholic beverages, clerics tend to have a high alcohol tolerance. Most individuals who are easily sickened from drinking or dislike the taste of alcohol usually do not enter the clergy, but the faith would never turn away a worthy potential who has no taste for booze.
The church is aware that some folk drink to the extent that it becomes a crutch or a poison to the will. Cayden Cailean and his priests believe this is a corruption and abuse of his favorite things, and sometimes a cleric takes it upon himself to counsel these poor souls, often using minor magic to bolster a patient’s resolve and steering the person toward activities or work that improves the patient’s life and negates the need to drown his sorrows.
Cleric explorers carry a small keg of strong ale or wine (which they might dilute with water, depending on the custom of their home city), and it is customary to ask a cleric to toast a blessing at any gathering of strangers (such as at a roadside inn). By custom, most brigands allow a cleric of Cayden Cailean to pass safely in exchange for a drink and a blessing, though this courtesy rarely extends to a cleric’s companions.
The clergy has a tradition of drinking contests and “dueling dares” or boasting contests, all in good fun and never with the intent to harm or humiliate another. In a duel of dares, it is acceptable to refuse an outrageous or unreasonable dare, and in cases where contests become heated offering an outrageous dare presents a way for both participants to save face—in essence, the maker of the dare deliberately suggests something dangerous or impossible, giving the other player the option to refuse. The easiest way to do this is to suggest the other person take the Test of the Starstone, at which point the opponent usually says, “I am great, but not so great as Cayden Cailean,” refusing the dare and buying the darer a drink in the hopes of becoming comrades.
A typical cleric of Cayden Cailean has at least one rank in a useful Craft or Profession skill. Most study Diplomacy, Gather Information, or Knowledge (geography or nature) to better influence people or enhance their craft. There is no official tithe but by friendly custom they tip well, especially at places owned by the church. They tend to have a more relaxed attitude about marriage than others in the community but develop close friendships with both sexes. Given Cayden Cailean’s tendencies to “plough a furrow” in every town he visited, the temple-taverns often have younglings born of various traveling priests. They are raised by the church community, though parents are still held responsible for their children’s welfare.
A typical day for a cleric involves waking, a prayer-toast, breakfast, and a period of work. Lunch and dinner are begun with a toast; in some places there is also a customary late afternoon drink of a hearty, thick ale. Evening is for friends, family, telling stories, and personal interests. Spell preparation takes place after breakfast. The church uses no formal titles, though those who have a title from a guild or profession normally use that within the church as well.
While many bards claim Cayden Cailean as their patron, only a small number are so devout that they consider themselves part of the clergy. At best, there’s one such bard for every twenty clerics of the faith. Despite their use of arcane magic rather than divine, bards make remarkably good priests of the Drunken Hero: They have healing magic, are good with people, can inspire courage in the most timid heart, and are a welcome guest at any inn or tavern. Bards are proud to point out that it was their forebears who first spread the news of Cayden Cailean’s ascension, the only person in nearly a thousand years to succeed at the Test of the Starstone, and bards believe that they (as a profession) have a dear place in the god’s heart because of this. Their skills and magic make them excellent rabble-rousers in unhappy lands, and they like to keep an ear to the ground for such opportunities. Unlike clerics, they do not tend to carry small kegs, but otherwise they function in the church and larger society very similar to clerics.
As well-told stories bring people together and speed travels like little else, Cayden Cailean’s worshipers are very fond of legends, rumors, romances, and tales of epic adventure. Of particular popularity are such tales that have to do with the innumerable exploits of their deity—as both a god and as a man.
The Ballad of Salicotal’s Fall: A few hundred years after Cayden Cailean’s ascension, a powerful duke of Hell named Salicotal grew concerned with the young god’s popularity, especially as it threatened his own interests in the temptations of wine. A wise, cultured devil with interests in lore and alchemy, Salicotal challenged Cayden to a duel to the death to take place on neutral ground and be judged by Pharasma. The god replied with a challenge of his own, a game of “dueling dares,” and if Cayden lost he would submit to Salicotal’s spear. The fiend agreed and the two met. One by one they escalated their dares, Salicotal’s clever and risky, Cayden’s courageous and subtly insulting, with the young god taking a swig of his finest brew after each. Eventually the devil grew so angry at the insults that he attacked. Thinking they were equally matched at fisticuffs, the fiend charged, but Cayden tore off Salicotal’s wings and beat him to death with them, sending the devil’s spirit back to Hell greatly diminished. Flushed from victory and drink, Cayden continued his rise in popularity, and he used the devil’s wing bones to create devil-slaying crossbow bolts for his greatest followers. Finding of the
Cayhound: Cayden’s most trusted companion as a mortal was his mastiff, Thunder. Two years before his ascension, Cayden found a litter of pups huddled near their scrawny mother who had just died. Despite their hunger and fear of a stranger, the pups growled at him and stood guard over their dead mother. Amazed at the courage in such tiny creatures, he offered them food, befriended them, buried their mother, and took them home to raise them. He gave five of the pups to friends and family and kept the largest for himself, whom he named Thunder for his deep growls. Thunder guarded Cayden’s home while he was away, and the dog disappeared shortly after the ascension, joining the god in Elysium. Not long after, several red-coated mastiffs were spotted in and around Absalom. These celestial riding dogs came to be known as cayhounds, the favored pets of Cayden Cailean.
The Thousand Songs of the Starstone: These varied tales offer theories about what dangers Cayden faced during the Test of the Starstone and explanations on how he bypassed or overcame them. Though a “thousand” is an exaggeration, there are at least one hundred popular versions of the tale, usually colored by local businesses, favorite drinks, and rivalries. Only fools believe the stories are true—after all, if the truth were known more would have passed the Test by now—but their purpose is to entertain, not educate. A worldly listener can often tell where a person was born and raised based on their version of the story, and traveling bards often use versions from far lands to entertain local crowds with the “strange beliefs” of foreigners.
The church believes that every day is a reason to celebrate—life, good friends, good wine, and so on. They only acknowledge two holidays meriting extra festivities. First Brewing: After the first harvest, a small amount is set aside to create ale, wine, or stronger drink. When this is ready for tasting, the community comes together to sample the first brewing of the year and toast Cayden’s name. Because of local variables in the date of the harvest and different brewing times, this holiday has no set date but is normally about one month after harvest-time. Ascension Day: The actual date of Cayden’s transformation from mortal to god is irrelevant even to him, but the church celebrates this event on the 11th of Kuthona with a toast of thanks to him for his gifts. Typically this is a hot alcoholic beverage with a sweet bread pastry of some kind.
As many worshipers of Cayden Cailean are quick to swear, they often do so by their god’s name.
In Cayden’s Name: Flowery speeches are for bards, yet common warriors still need a poignant turn phrase, either to exclaim in the heat of battle or offer in honor of the dead. Before combat it is said as a toast, followed by a healthy swallow of Cayden’s brew.
Sweet Barleybrew!: Usually uttered in surprise or amazement, whether at the sight of an approaching army, a taste of the brewmaster’s best, or a peek at a barmaid’s treasures. It can also call out unpleasant things, such as the taste of beer gone bad, the face of a half-orc, or the imminent arrival of the barmaid’s father.
By the Light of the Starstone: Used both as an oath (on the rare times his followers swear serious oaths) and a declaration of something so profound that saying “sweet barleybrew!” proves insufficient. It is interesting to note that this phrase is used even though most people have no idea what the Starstone looks like or if it actually gives off light.
Cayden doesn’t go out of his way to provoke fights with other godly beings but isn’t afraid to take a few swings if challenged. He avoids evil deities unless they are directly causing trouble, at which point he is all battle cries and heroic charges and inspiring speeches followed by lightning-quick cuts of his blade. He is on very good terms with Desna, Sarenrae, and most especially Shelyn (whom he delights in serenading). He has been known to travel with Erastil, though the senior god can be a little too somber and dutiful for Cayden’s tastes, and he and Torag like to meet and show off the latest human and dwarven brews. He is coolly friendly with Gozreh, for while his beloved drinks rely on nature’s bounty, Gozreh is sometimes angry about wildlands being converted to cropland. He considers Irori too stuffy and Abadar tolerable but too forgiving of oppression in the name of progress. He occasionally trysts with Calistria but remains wary of her, there having been more than one bitter occasion in which the beauteous goddess of lust has gotten the best of him. Those who infer that Cayden only took the Test of the Starstone in an attempt to impress Calistria quickly find themselves on his bad side.
Along with Thais, the Accidential Herald of Cayden Cailean, and those creatures noted in the “Allies of Cayden Cailean” sidebar, the following beings also serve the god of freedom and only answer planar ally and similar calling spells from his faithful.
Little Thunder: This Large celestial cayhound is one of Cayden Cailean’s pet mastiff Thunder’s favored sons. He speaks in a great booming voice, is quick to laugh, has a bawdy sense of humor, and is fond of strong beer. Once per day, he can growl at maximum volume, equivalent to a shout spell. Like his father he welcomes battle, but if innocents are in danger he strives to move them to safety first. He prefers kegs of ale or wine or even potions as payment for his services, as he has difficulty using other items.
Luthier, the Knight of the Vinyard: This man looks more like a fat minstrel than a knight, dressed in colorful leathers and carrying a mandolin and rapier. He also appears to be quite drunk, swaying with every step, mumbling half of his words, and frequently dropping his sword or instrument. Despite his appearance, he is a fearsome enemy of evil and cruelty, snapping to attention when the scent of blood is in the air and dancing across the battlefield with acrobatic grace. His leather armor is as hard as steel, his mandolin produces notes as clear as church bells, and his hands are as fast and dexterous as any pickpocket or wizard. Luthier is a half-celestial human bard 8/fighter 4. He loves fine wine and fine food, and those wishing to bargain for his services should have both on-hand for the discussion.
Valon, the Spirit of Spirits: This ghostlike creature is the friendly soul of a priest whose body was utterly destroyed long ago in a battle with evil. Knowledgeable in esoteric histories and obscure lore, he often held that beer was the greatest of any race’s inventions. While he can manifest as an incorporeal creature, he prefers to possess the body of a willing humanoid (typically the cleric who calls him) as he misses the sensations of life, and he has been known to drink and carouse if the opportunity presents itself. If the cause is right, he is willing to serve in exchange for “a night on the town” in a borrowed body.