Artemis (5e Deity)
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|Artemis' symbol is a loaded and drawn hunting bow|
Alignment. Chaotic Neutral
Domains. Nature and Death
Divine Rank. Demigod
Artemis is the goddess of nature and death. In nature, she is the patron of hunting. Her archery is well-known to be the best, rivaled only by her brother. The hunts blessed by her are bound to be fruitful and every shot shall land. She is also able to use magic to change the nature of things, often in a macabre or dark way. For example, she is known to be able to turn men into beasts, usually game, subsequently hunting them. Women who model themselves after her or become one of her huntresses become agile warriors like her. She is much like an untamed stag, running about the wild, flanked by her many attendants who are spirits of nature.
On death, she is a bringer of sleep, much like how the moon is a symbol of night. The crescent moon is also her symbol, resembling the curve of a bow. Those she struck with her shafts of light were described to be seen seemingly just falling into a peaceful death, like they were hit by gentle moonbeams. She is a symbol of chastity, having sworn never to marry and her devotees are thus mostly women who have sworn off men. As such, she is seen taking away the power of life from women, preventing them from ever bearing children.
This goddess holds one of the twelve seats on Mount Olympus. Her seat is made of wood that has turned white like bleached antlers of deer. She is usually seated by her brother, Apollo, who is also an archer, and the symbolic sun. However, when there is no need to be bored sitting atop a throne, she is off running about the mortal realm, through woods and smaller towns. The forest is her main residence where she is known to be spotted, perhaps bathing with her aides.
Idols and statues of artemis usually depict a beautiful young woman with her wavy hair tied up tight in a bun so as not to interfere with her vision. It is pinned up behind her head with a crescent moon shaped hairpiece. Her figure is very lithe. Often she is wearing a chiton and sandals, with a bow in hand and a full quiver slung over her back. Sometimes she is accompanied by a stag. Other times, people pray simply to a large etched symbol of a crescent moon strung like a bow with a notched arrow in her temples.
In regards to the others in Olympus, Artemis is very solitary, or tries to be. Everyone knows the Greek gods to have relations similar to humans, after all. Because Artemis was born of a human's womb, she is lesser than those born of titans, who are pure gods. However, she scorns those who look upon her as lesser simply due to genealogy.
Hera, matriarch of the heavens, despises her for her mother Leto, who had an affair with the King of gods, Zeus. However, after a shared experience against the Gigantes who wanted to steal the two of them away as trophy wives, the two goddess are largely civil so long as no one mentions Leto.
Artemis' half-sister by her father is goddess of wisdom. The two often play games of stratagem, enacting scenarios of hunts where Artemis mainly follows with hunter's instinct and Athena with probability and calculation. Artemis and Athena, along with their aunt Hestia, form the three virgin goddesses in the Greek pantheon of gods. While Athena is the supposed favorite of Zeus, Artemis does not hold jealousy for that.
The god of poetry, music, and light is the brother of Artemis. The two were born as twins from Leto after a great deal of pain due to Hera's persecution of the mortal woman. Both Artemis and Apollo love their mother very much and are very protective of each other. They often go on hunts together as a sport. Apollo has a tendency to annoy Artemis with his more laid-back personality and exploits with human women. Once Artemis took interest in a skilled hunter and Apollo grew jealous. He had the hunter killed by a large scorpion. Artemis could not remain mad at her twin even over that.
Artemis loves her father, god king, and Zeus reciprocates this. When she was a newborn and quickly developed, as all are with gods blood in their veins, Zeus could refuse her nothing. She had him grant her immortality, so she may be an eternally wild spirited maiden running and hunting. Additionally, she had Zeus give his word he would never force her to marry. Zeus gave his word. He also granted her other requests, which were fifty nymphs as attendants and a pack of hunting dogs. He gave her all that along with a silver bow and arrows, and a silver chariot.
Temples and Zealots
Followers of Artemis are typically females who devote themselves by swearing an oath of chastity. Those who do this are called Huntresses and gain newfound strength to run as deer do, and aim like Artemis herself. They are often very critical of the other sex and live simple lives so they can always be on the move. Things like jewelry and makeup do not amuse them, as they are pointless in their ventures. Thus, they live like ascetics, save for the need to kill animals. The clerics of Artemis are similar in disposition towards men and are also usually women. There are a few huntsmen who are reverent of Artemis but she mainly blesses their shots in small instances rather than a huge boon like that to her Huntresses.
Artemis has temples scattered about, typically made of pale marble to resemble the pale moon. These are not large or extravagant places of worship and are usually very plain. There is an altar where hunters may place their weapons to be blessed before a priestess or at the feet of an idol of the goddess. when hunting and hoping for a good shot, one may say a small prayer to Artemis and receive a bulls-eye. After this act, one must apportion some of the fruits of the hunt as sacrifice to the goddess by burning it. If not, their next hunt may be struck by malady.
A Cold Goddess
Artemis is known to be a cold goddess without pity.
There is story of a poor hunter named Actaeon. Woe on him who sees the goddess' flesh exposed! Yet he was curious upon hearing light, flippant voices of women laughing and splashing water. He neared with his hounds and saw the glimmering goddess with her attendants bathing in a lake. She was so beautiful in moonlight that he was spellbound. He should have run but he did not. In his daze, a nymph eventually noticed him and screamed. Artemis quickly covered her breasts and splashed water onto the voyeur before he could react. As the drops left her fingers and splashed like silver on Actaeon, he felt fur grow on his skin and his fingers conjoin to be that of hooves as antlers sprung from his brow. She turned him into a stag!
Artemis pointed at the animal. Actaeon's own well-trained hounds were driven by the desire to hunt suddenly and they set upon their master. The poor man could not even cry in his new form and was torn to shreds by his own beasts. As the dogs worked, Artemis' aide drew a robe about her mistress. Artemis casted one spiteful look at the dead stag before vanishing in a silvery mist.
- Mother's Love
A vain human queen once touted her seven daughters and sons as the pride of her motherhood. People often spoke well of Leto, the mother of Artemis and Apollo. The queen was jealous and so said, "Why worship Leto with only her two children? I have seven of each, worship me instead!"
These words came to Artemis and Apollo's ears and they were furious. Apollo drew his bow and struck the queen's seven sons dead with his hardened tipped arrows of light. Artemis drew and fired her silver rays of death at the daughters, gently putting them to eternal sleep.
The queen fell into pieces upon hearing of the death of her pride and joy. She tore out her hair and cried day and night without end or rest. The gods took pity on her grieving and turned her into a rock, so she may be unfeeling of her grief. To this day, the rock leaks water like tears.
- The Lost Huntress (WIP)
On a quest which is open to players, a group of Huntresses are staying in a local town. One of their own was slain by a monstrous beast and they are adamant on staying until they have avenged her death. However, they don't have the funds to stay in town or supplies to subsist in the wild. It seems they have been marked by this particular beast.
Those who aid her Huntresses are welcomed to her temples, where they may have their weapons imbued with her blessing. The problem is her Huntresses are usually adverse to accepting help.
Of the Bow and Magic
Artemis has only a few artifacts associated with her that are obtainable. Some have just never been to begin with. As for spells, they are similar to the guidance cantrip, used as support, and are learned with her blessing.
- Blessed Silver Bow
This incarnation of the goddess' weapon of choice automatically strikes its designated target, requiring no attack roll so long as they are not behind complete cover. However it does not obey the hands of a male and can have its power negated by anti-magic. This item is classified as a shortbow for all other intents and purposes, sharing its other stats. It is commonly wielded by her huntresses.
- Crescent Hairpiece
This hairpiece grants one a glittering veil of light about their person if worn atop the head. It is weightless and makes the wearer's body glow with silver aura, emanating light out for 15 feet.
- Spell of Hunter's Trail
This spell counts as a fifth level divination spell. It takes 1 action to cast, has an initial range of 60 feet and requires a vocal component, which is a prayer to Artemis. This spell lasts with concentration, for up to 10 minutes. You designate a target within range. All your attacks against that target now roll with advantage and it cannot benefit from any cover less than full from you. These effects last for the duration.