“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”
“The Eternal Rose, The Lady of Chrysanthemums (Tian Xia), Syriss, The Incorruptible, The Eternal Maiden, Song of the Prism…”
In the World of Pathfinder, there are many expressions of art and emotion. They run the gamut of the shocking and the sublime. Resting above all of it with a watchful eye is the Goddess named Shelyn.
Shelyn is the Deity of Art, Beauty, Music, and Love. She is the patron of Bards, artists, and dreamers. She is Neutral Good, with a glaive as her favored weapon. Her symbol is a songbird with a multicolored tail. Songbirds are her sacred animal, and her sacred colors are all the colors of the rainbow.
Shelyn blesses and watches over all love, not just romantic. She blesses lovers, whether their relationship is just beginning or it has existed for centuries.
She watches over parents who care for their children without reservation. She calls to battle brothers who would do anything and everything to make sure their partner makes it home alive.
She is the half-sister of the god of pain and loss, Zon-Kuthon.
Shelyn Deific Lore
Shelyn is one of the older deities known to the world of Pathfinder. She and her half-brother inherited their divinity from their parents, but other than her relation to her brother, her personal history is somewhat limited.
Shelyn’s Personal History
The current goddess of Art and Love inherited her portfolio from her mother, a deity whose name has been lost to time.
Together with her half-brother Dou-Bral and the other deities, they battled the Monstrous Deity Rovagug and helped to imprison him deep in the world’s core.
Afterward, the First Gods agreed to take a more hands-off approach with mortals. They would communicate through mediums, miracles, and divine visions rather than take a personal hand in the world’s events.
For centuries, Dou-Bral and Shelyn shared the portfolios of Beauty, Art, and Love. Dou-Bral became disillusioned and jealous of his sister and left the material plane behind. He journeyed into the deepest parts of the multiverse, returning a time later as the deity of Pain, Loss, and Mutilation Zon-Kuthon.
Shelyn sought out her brother, attempting to coax him away from his dark impulses. Zou-Kuthon was too far gone though and lashed out at his sister in anger and pain. In doing so, he pierced her skin with his black talons and wounded her.
The father of the siblings, the primordial wolf-spirit Thron, intervened and was captured by Zou-Kuthon. He was tortured and corrupted by the evil deity until the Golarion Gods rallied together and banished Zou-Kuthon to the Plane of Shadow.
Shelyn herself stole Zou-Kuthon’s Golden Glaive, a weapon from when he was her true brother before his corruption. She seeks to use it to find a way to redeem her sibling. She keeps it close to her, despite its sometimes negative influence on her.
Being a Goddess of Art and Beauty, Shelyn appears as a stunningly beautiful woman.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, meaning her shape changes to match the aesthetics of whoever looks at her. She appears as their native race and ethnicity.
She is almost always a young woman just out of her youth with bright eyes of blue or silver. Her long hair is dark reddish-brown, with colorful highlights in all the colors of the rainbow.
She is always tastefully dressed in just the right clothing to display and accentuate her beauty.
Shelyn makes her home on the plane of Nirvana in a place known as Blossomheart. Very little is known about her sanctuary, but it is known that Shelyn is often not present there. Instead, she is often among her followers and allies.
Allies and Enemies
Shelyn is allied and admired by almost every good deity in Golarion. She is known to have several lovers including Desna and Sarenrae.
Cayden Cailean frequently flirts and pursues Shelyn, but she often playfully rebuffs his advances, though Cayden’s playful attempts have inspired many a bard song and ditty, endearing him to the Goddess.
Neutral gods often respect Shelyn for her contributions to society, especially Aroden who sees her art as a part of civilization.
Evil deities are often just neutral toward Shelyn. There are very few who actively oppose or hate her.
Urgathoa and Shelyn (and their respective clergy) often argue or sometimes skirmish with each other. She and Pharasma will often get into philosophical debates, but there is little if any animosity.
She only has two real enemies: her half-brother Zou-Kuthon and Rovagug.
Zou-Kuthon is sworn by an ancient oath to never directly harm his sister or allow her to come to harm without severe repercussions. The one time he did, he was banished to the Plane of Shadow and lost his Golden Glaive, the Whisperer of Souls.
This follows onto his own clergy as well, who will often come to the defense of the clergy of Shelyn no matter their alignment.
Rovagug, on the other hand, has no constraints. As a god of wrath and destruction, he is diametrically opposed to all Shelyn stands for and holds a great deal of animosity toward her.
Shelyn has many servants at her command. Those who serve her often do it by choice as Shelyn is not a being of force who demands respect and domination.
Dapsara is her Divine servitor race native to Nirvana. They are beautiful creatures who excel at dance, art, and poetry. They are often entertainers in the courts of other powerful good deities.
Shelyn is also known to employ Lillend Azata as messengers and muses to mortal followers.
The Spirit of Adoration is Shelyn’s divine herald. They are a Ghaele Azata who has served since Shelyn first became a deity.
Whisperer of Souls
The Whisperer of Souls is a special sort of ally, enemy, and servant of Shelyn. The Whisperer is the Golden Glaive that once belonged to her brother.
It was originally Zou-Kuthon’s prize weapon, given to him by ancient smith gods when he and Shelyn arose to divinity.
The weapon is powerful and has the ability to absorb the souls of those it slays. It is said that once it absorbs enough souls into itself, the glaive will come to power as a god in its own right and bring about a time of murder and death unknown in all history.
When Shelyn liberated the glaive from Zou-Kuthon, it was almost full. Since then, Shelyn has sought to purify the weapon slowly, drawing out and dispelling its evil influence.
Shelyn will commission great quests from her followers, who will go on journeys to free souls from the Whisperer and purify it. So far, this tactic is working.
What was once a nightmarish blade of death and slaughter is slowly turning into a beautiful ornament of peace, though there is a stain on the blade that may never be removed.
Zou-Kuthon and his followers crave the return of the blade and will stop at little to get the weapon back into their twisted God’s hands.
The Church of the Goddess of Beauty, Art, and Love is rather widespread in Golarion. It is a common sight in most civilized places, and even small hamlets might have a small shrine to Shelyn.
In addition to the songbird being an animal revered by her church, they always consider swans, wolves, cats, dolphins, and rabbits to be sacred animals.
Shelyn (and by extension, her church) believes in looking for beauty in all things. She extorts her followers to search for both external and internal beauty, acknowledging that what is on the inside matters just as much as the outside.
One should seek to make themselves a beautiful person inside and allow that beauty to shine.
Beauty should never be wielded as a weapon or as a lever to get what someone wants. Jealousy is anathema to Shelyn. Growth is encouraged, and looking for beauty that makes one unique is truth to both Shelyn and her Church.
The Church of Shelyn seeks to inspire art and music everywhere. It doesn’t have to necessarily be “good” in any way as long as real effort and passion are put into its creation.
Someone who is naturally gifted in the arts and creates amazing works is beautiful, but more respected is the artist who struggles to make something amazing from the heart.
Shelyn believes in fostering love among all beings and peoples. Her clergy are very strong about making sure to draw the boundary that “Love is not sexuality” when it comes to their worship.
Romantic love is good and should be encouraged but so should love between friends, love between family members, and love between groups of people.
Relationship structures are not required in any way. As long as there is strong mutual attraction, that is all Shelyn requires.
“Edicts: Be peaceful, perfect an art form, lead by example, see beauty in all things.”
“Anathema: Destroy art, or allow its destruction, except to save a life or pursue greater art; refuse to accept surrender.”
Shelyn is worshiped by many people all over the world. She has followers in many nations and among many people.
Most of her followers are humans, but she has quite a few followers among the other races. Half-Elves, Halflings, Elves, and Gnomes are all among her followers.
The Storm Giants also worship Shelyn as the Goddess of Music named Syriss.
Most recently, she has grown in popularity with the Stheno, who grew as an offshoot of the Medusas who called out to Shelyn for help to break away from the dark goddess Lamashtu.
The few Knights who follow Shelyn are fans of Courtly Love and High Romance. They often take on the mantle to protect the innocent and the recently heartbroken.
Those mortals who serve Shelyn’s church often start life as artists or musicians. Over their careers, they are called to serve their deity and their church in a more official capacity beyond just private projects.
Obviously, Shelyn’s clergy is mostly populated by Clerics, but there are many Bards among their number as well.
Sometimes Rangers and Druids will turn to the worship and service of Shelyn, especially those who take it upon themselves to protect the natural beauty of a specific place.
Paladins are very rare among her ranks, but Shelyn’s Paladins do exist and serve as knights of courtly beauty and romance.
Temples and Shrines
Temples of Shelyn are often very large and open places. They have amazing acoustics and often allow for places to grow wildflowers and display beautiful art.
They are architectural marvels built to glorify Shelyn’s beauty. Many times these locations double as art galleries, museums, or concert halls.
The Melodies of Inner Beauty are Shelyn’s holy Texts. They tell the story of Shelyn’s ascension and her struggles against her brother. They also contain the church’s dogma and beliefs for easy reference.
The Church has one major Holiday known as Crystalhue.
Crystalhue is celebrated at the winter solstice and is often seen as the proper time to initiate courtships, celebrate weddings, and renew vows.
It involves the crafting of crystal and glass ornaments, feasts, artistic endeavors, concerts, and great bonfires.
As a player, there is a myriad of different options to engage with the worship of Shelyn. These range from character builds, feats, prestige classes, and magic items.
Below these options are separated into the two Pathfinder Editions.
Pathfinder 1st Edition
Below are some character archetypes for characters who would worship Shelyn:
Below are some feats Shelyn-based characters might have:
These magic items are directly associated with the worship of Shelyn or her Church:
- Altar of Shelyn
- Rosy Hauberk
- Ring of Seven Lovely Colors
- Blade of Three Fancies
- Beautiful War Paint
- Boots of the Eternal Rose
- Bracelet of Friends
- Harp of Charming
- Marvelous Pigments
- Perfect Tuning Fork
- Zonzon Doll of Forgiveness
Shelyn worshipers and clergy often take the Prestige Class Devoted Muse to preserve lost or dying art forms or to protect new and revolutionary art movements.
Shelyn has a number of spells associated with her worship:
- Aspect of the Nightingale
- Joyful Rapture
- Tap Inner Beauty
- Trail of the Rose
- Unbreakable Heart
- Waves of Ecstasy
Finally, the below traits are also associated with Shelyn worship. Remember you can only take one or maybe two traits depending on how your GM wishes to run their game:
Pathfinder 2nd Edition
Below are some benefits that Clerics of Shelyn get when they choose to follow her.
- Divine Ability: Wisdom or Charisma
- Divine Font: Heal
- Divine Skill: Crafting or Performance
- Favored Weapo: Glaive
- Domains: Creation, family, passion, protection
- Alternate Domains: Repose
- Cleric Spells: 1st: color spray, 3rd: enthrall, 4th: creation
Divine Intercession happens when a cleric or follower of a deity specifically entreats a god and performs a specific act for that deity. This can lead to a boon based on scale or quality of the act in the deity’s name.
Likewise, Deities can also curse those who displease them in some way.
“When creatures perform pleasing acts, such as spreading beauty, or displeasing actions, such as betraying loved ones, Shelyn may respond accordingly.
Minor Boon: Once, when you roll a failure on a Diplomacy check, you get a critical success instead. Shelyn typically grants this boon only when the Diplomacy check would serve to increase love or offer a chance of redemption.
Moderate Boon: You are inspired to create great works and become a virtuoso at all arts. You gain the Specialty Crafting feat and the Virtuoso Performer feat in all categories of Crafting and Performance.
Major Boon: Your inner beauty and love surround you in an aura. As long as you bear them no ill will, all creatures other than fiends, undead, and mindless creatures start with an attitude of friendly toward you, unless they would have been helpful instead. This doesn’t mean they are willing to change their life or plans for you, and this boon does not prevent their attitudes from worsening if you try to thwart them. This effect doesn’t work against deities and similarly powerful creatures. Additionally, the love you share with your friends inspires them. You and your allies gain a +3 status bonus to saving throws and skill checks as long as you can see each other.
Minor Curse: Your heart churns with remorse. Each day, you are sickened 1 as a specific misdeed plays out in your mind over and over in guilt. You can’t remove this condition, though it abates enough for you to quickly eat and drink when necessary. If you make amends or otherwise earnestly pursue redemption for the misdeed, the sickened condition fades completely that day.
Moderate Curse: Others subconsciously recognize your past betrayals. Whenever you attempt a Diplomacy check and roll a failure, you get a critical failure instead, and if you roll a critical success, you get a success instead.
Major Curse: Those who spread misery via false love face Shelyn’s greatest curse. You lose the ability to distinguish any living being from another through appearance, voice, scent, or similar sensory means. You can make out physical size (so you wouldn’t mistake an ant for a horse), but nothing further. If you were merely shallow, every creature you see has generic, bland features, but if your deeds were vile, you see only the faces of those you have wronged.”
Source: Gods & Magic pg. 45 2.0