Table of Contents
Titles: Firehair, Lady Firehair, The Lady of Love, Goddess of Love, Goddess of Beauty, and Love, Beautiful One, The Fickle and the Beautiful, The Princess of Passion
Portfolio: Beauty, love, passion
Domain: Chaos, Charm, Good, Protection
Worshipers: Lovers, artists, half-elves, adventurers, bards
Sune (pronounced: /ˈsuːni/ SOO-nee) was the greater goddess of beauty and passion in the Faerûnian pantheon. Lady Firehair, as her symbol depicted, was the goddess of beauty in all its forms; whether it be sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels, the experience of pleasure was the touch of Sune. The Lady of Love was the goddess of all love, including the more negative aspects like obsessions, murderous passions, and the tragedies that could be born from love, but also of deeper connections, of matches destined and forbidden, as well the transformation of ugliness into beauty.
“Beauty is more than skin deep; it issues from the core of one’s being and shows one’s fair (or foul) face to the world.”
— A Sunite saying.
Sune is the deity of beauty, with governance also over love—typically love based on outward beauty.
Sune is benevolent and sometimes whimsical. She always appears as a radiantly beautiful red-haired woman of incredible charm. She alternates between deep passions and casual flirtations and has been romantically tied to many of the other Faerunian deities. Sune enjoys attention and sincere flattery and avoids anyone who is horrific or boorish. Lady Firehair loves and protects her followers, who in turn manifest and protect the beauty of the world.
When Sune appeared to the mortals of Faerûn she did so as a human female of unearthly beauty dressed in only a near-transparent gown of silk. She was known for her lustrous, impossibly long red hair, the color of which persisted regardless of any other permutations in her appearance, and which often assumed the appearance of flames. Aside from this, her physical manifestation would change from time to time. Her skin might be golden, mahogany, reddish, or ivory, and her eyes might be sky-blue, forest green, almond-shaped, or of darkest amber or honey. her eyes of shining emeralds, and ruby red plump lips. She occasionally wore ruby gemstones in her hair.
Sune was a benevolent goddess that abhorred the destruction of beauty. She thrived on the tenderest of emotions and truly loved and protected her followers, reserving her deepest love for the mortals who revered her. She was also one of the vainest entities in the cosmos, enjoying attention and sincere flattery while avoiding the horrific and boorish.
The sometimes-whimsical Princess of Passion alternated between deep passion and casual flirtation with others. When she was truly interested in a person or God, she wholeheartedly believed in these deep-seated feelings, but though she was one of the most passionate beings in existence, her focus lasted only a short time (as long as the subject continued to be enticing) before she lost interest and moved on.
To look upon Sune’s avatar could very well end a battle before it began. Her looks, if unclothed, could kill if she so desired, a powerful form of death magic difficult to resist. Even when garbed however, she could enrapture anyone she wanted within 90 feet (27 meters). Such was her appearance that it was almost impossible to tear one’s eyes away after so much as a glance, and none but immortals could resist at least getting a good look. Animals would never attempt to harm her, and upon seeing her no male being of any kind would either, the latter to the point that even thinking to do so was simply impossible.
Sune could cast spells from all arcane schools and divine spheres, but her charm magic (including spells of the charm sphere and school of enchantment which affected emotions, beguiled, enthralled, commanded, persuaded, or otherwise worked similarly to charm person spells) were four times as potent and much harder to resist.
The silken sash Sune wore acted as a +5 whip, enchanted with chaotic, defending, keen, and shock properties.
Sune shared a realm with various other goddesses, originally with just Tymora and Lliira, but later expanding the group to include Sharess and Waukeen. That realm was Brightwater, located in the outer plane of Arborea in the Great Wheel cosmology and a plane of its own in the World Axis cosmology. Brightwater was a well-settled realm devoted to beauty, among other things, all of which shined from every face and building; constant entertaining activities went on in Brightwater, and it was no less glamorous than Arvandor for its civilization.
Brightwater was structured like a Material Plane city into wards or sectors, each a divine realm, with Waukeen’s in the middle and the others arranged around it, and Sune’s realm was known as the Heartfire Quarter. Smaller, quieter, and much more private than most of Brightwater’s other locales, the Heartfire Quarter consisted of small rooms and hidden courtyards, the night air filled with the aromas of incense and candlelight. The outer reaches were lined with Festhalls, matchmaker shops and inns for young couples, and every street was marked with a monument to love’s triumphs.
Though devoted to the ideals of love, it was not without its dangers. Most paths were unexplored, and crimes of passion were common, as were rumors (never proven) of succubi and incubi infiltrators. The only ones willing to dare the inner precincts were the stout of heart and petitioners seeking to merge with the goddess, the winding streets near the center said to destroy some forever and merge others into the realm.
The Heartfire Quarter stood juxtaposed to Lliira’s Quarter of Orange Lanterns, both geographically (being separated by Sharess’s realm of Rapture) and philosophically. It was deeper than Lliira’s domain of constant celebrations, a realm of beauty inhabited by those wanting more than just a party. It was a place of quiet mysteries whose contemplative denizens, drawn in by Sune’s secretive smile, sought something beyond material gratification and even love. It was unclear what awaited those drawn to the center of the realm, often the adventuring sort who came after the delights of the other realms dimmed, but it was known what they sought: serenity, bliss, perfection, and true passion.
During the Spellplague, Sune moved Brightwater to Selûne’s realm, the Gates of the Moon. Most of the other goddesses joined her in her romantic city, though Tymora had her own area within the Gates known as the Great Wheel and Waukeen’s Marketplace Eternal moved to Amaunator’s realm.
Sune had been romantically linked with many members of the Faerunian pantheon in the many myths of the realms; for example, she was said to have been smitten with Torm for his actions during the Time of Troubles, and many deities, including Torm himself as well as Amaunator, had become smitten with her in turn. Regarding such matters, the Lady of Love was simultaneously distant and flirtatious.
Sune was served by both Lliira and Sharess and allies with Milil, Lathander, and Selune, the latter of which was also a servant of Lady Firehair in the past before going her own way, though they were still extremely friendly and cooperative. She also gave her aid to Mystra in her struggle against Shar and the Shadow Weave, for she had earned the service of Sharess when she saved the demipower from being subsumed by Shar, and as such was considered an enemy by the Nightbringer.
By her nature, it was difficult for any being to be angry at Sune for long, and so the goddess had no true enemies. Those foes she did have included the Gods of Fury, whose functions destroyed many beautiful things both living and non-living. She helped to limit the destruction caused by the rages of their leader Talos and was envied by the Bitch Queen Umberlee for her beauty. She also had no love for Talona goddess of disease, or Tempus, the god of battle, on similar grounds, although the latter considered her too flighty and irrelevant to be worth the conflict or even disliking.
Outside of the Realms, Sune was considered a “backwater power with delusions of grandeur” by her deific peers, such as Freya, Aphrodite and Hanali Celanil, but otherwise they got on well together – Sune of course, believing that she was the most beautiful of all of them.
Worshipers, Clergy & Temples
Aside from those who despise love and beauty as a manifestation of weakness, the church of Sune is widely loved throughout Faerûn and has many adherents to its teachings. However, as most Sunites are seen as flighty, vain, and superficial but basically harmless, the church of Sune has less influence than its prominence might otherwise suggest. Sunites have an intense rivalry with the followers of Hanali Celanil, the elven deity of beauty.
Sunites are aesthetes and hedonists, who actively seek out pleasure and beauty in all things. The pursuit of aesthetic enjoyment is their life. They created great works of art, became patrons for promising actors, and imported exotic luxuries like satin and fine wines. Whenever Sunite clergy must perform dirty tasks, the use of disguise is encouraged to protect the body as well as to conceal identity. The devout clerics always hires or supports adventurers and others to destroy things who vandalize beautiful creations. Her followers also enjoyed looking beautiful, and hearing tales of romance. The stories ranged from star-crossed love, true love overcoming all else, to following one’s heart.
All clergy of Sune also strive to create beauty in a personal way, preferably as a creator of static fine art (blown-glass ornaments, paintings, or tapestries are all fashionable), but as a dancer if one fails at all else. When one of them gains expertise in crafting things of beauty, she or he is obliged to pass on such learning by training others and turning away no one who shows genuine promise. Any money made through such trainings should be given to the church to further the growth of beauty and love everywhere.
Sune’s clerics are expected to keep their appearance as flattering as possible and shower others with sweet words at least five times a month. Sunite clerics tend to multiclass as bards or rogues.
Little is thought of a cleric dropping everything and going bounding off into the wild, particularly if the goal is some beautiful object or some beautiful individual, and such behavior creates little scandal in the church.
Sune’s clerics sought to bring beauty to the world in many forms, all of which were pleasing to the senses. They created great works of art, became patrons for promising actors, and imported exotic luxuries like satin and fine wines. Her followers also enjoyed looking beautiful, and hearing tales of romance. The stories ranged from star-crossed love, true love overcoming all else, to following one’s heart. The negative aspects of love, as would be expected, were downplayed, and kept from public view in the interest of making the faith welcoming for all.
Her temples usually held social salons and displayed mirrors for use by lay parishioners. Some of them even had public baths for the local populace. Her shrines often stood on the corner of busy city streets. They would have a small ornate overhanging roof with a mirror underneath. They were used to check one’s appearance while honoring Sune with prayer. Some shrines even held perfume and cosmetic items for those who could not afford such luxuries themselves.
Sunite temples are either stunningly beautiful edifices of fantastic design or classically elegant structures strategically enhanced by sculptured landscaping constructed with numerous picturesque paths and promenades and surprising and enchanting nooks in which to share moments of love, beauty, and passion. Many Sunite temples sport formal gardens with gorgeous flower beds, trellises and bowers of well-trained vines, and carefully pruned trees and topiaries. Fine sculptures and sumptuous fountains that play with soft, magical lighting provide focal points in most Sunite temple gardens. Some of the temples double as social salons, and some of them even had public baths for the local populace.
Her shrines often stood on the corner of busy city streets. They would have a small ornate overhanging roof with a mirror underneath. They were used to check one’s appearance while honoring Sune with prayer. Some shrines even held perfume and cosmetic items for those who could not afford such luxuries themselves.
Sune’s clerics pray in the morning after a refreshing scented bath (or after at least washing their hands). Greengrass and Midsummer Night are both Sunite holy days, celebrated with a great deal of outdoor frolicking and with night-long flirtatious chases through forests and parks. Individual temples celebrate numerous local holy days as well.
At least once a month, the church of Sune holds a Grand Revel, a large party with dancing, poetry recitation, and heartrendingly beautiful or soulfully rousing music to which outsiders are invited with the intent to attract converts.
A Feast of Love is a more intimate, quiet affair, open only to the faithful, who lie on couches and indulge in liqueurs, appetizers, and sweet pastries while lone dancers perform. These dances are interspersed with readings of romantic verse, prose, and songs of love sung by skilled minstrels. Such rituals always break up into private gatherings, though bards are always on hand to relate tales of courtly love or mysteries of Faerûn for those who do not feel like socializing more privately.
Sunites also offer personal prayers to Sune by standing in a pool or bath and looking into a mirror lit only by natural light or candles. Sune sends guidance to them by visions visible in the mirror, often by altering the reflection of the worshiper in some way. The influx of adventurers into Sune’s clergy in recent years has reduced the huge former gender disparity in the church so that now females only outnumber males four to one.
Beauty is more than skin deep. It issues from the core of one’s being and reveals one’s true face to the world, fair or foul. Believe in romance, as true love will win overall. Follow your heart to your true destination. Love none more than yourself except Sune and lose yourself in love of the Lady Firehair. Perform a loving act each day and seek to awaken love in others. Respond to love at least once in a day. Encourage beauty wherever you find it. Acquire beautiful items of all sorts, and encourage, sponsor, and protect those who create them. Keep your own body as comely as possible and as attractively displayed as situations warrant. Let hairstyle and clothing best suit your personal appearance, striving to stir and delight others who look upon you. Moreover, hide not away, but always seek to present yourself to those around you in a pleasing variety of garbs and activities to move them with love and desire. Love those who respond to your appearance and let warm friendship and admiration flower where love cannot or dares not.
Sisters and Brothers of the Ruby Rose: A knightly order affiliated with the Church of Sune, made up of bards, fighters, and paladins. Their primary mission was to guard Sunite temples and holy sites, and occasionally accompany clerics doing good works or questing for something important to the Lady of Love. Initiation into the order was done by standing vigil in a temple of Sune for an entire night. If the goddess showed her favor by granting a vision or some other boon, the candidate was accepted into the order.
- Adon of Sune
- Histra of the Edificant Library
- Taegan Nightwind
- Joelle Emmeline
Sune’s history was mostly told in myth regarding her various romances and flirtations with other gods. Tales existed of her relationships with practically every god except Talos, Umberlee, Malar, Auril, Tempus, and Talona, whom Sune abhorred for their acts of destruction.
During the Time of Troubles, Sune rescued Sharess from death at the hands of Shar and restored the corrupted deity to her original state before Shar’s influence affected her.
During the Spellplague, Sune’s plane of Brightwater was destroyed, but Selûne invited Sune and her exarchs to join her in the Gates of the Moon. During this period of transition, it was revealed that many lesser powers of love in the Realms, most notably Hanali Celanil, were all aspects of Sune. Sune, along with Tyr and Lathander was one of the triumvirate of deities who declared that Cyric should be imprisoned for the apparent death of Mystra.
Church of Sune
The Church of Sune (pronounced: /ˈsuːni/ SOO-nee), also known as the Church of Beauty, was the primary religious organization dedicated to the worship and service of Sune, goddess of love and beauty.
In Waterdeep, the church of Sune hosted an annual exclusive ball at the Temple of Beauty. Invitations were passed out by the clergy of Sune.
The Sunite church’s hierarchy was quite loose. The clergy was decentralized, and rank was mainly based on artistic feats and seniority. In late 15th century DR, the ranks were: Novices, Acolytes, Esthetes (confirmed priests), Craefters of the Third Altar, Craefters of the Fourth Altar (and so on, up to Ninth Altar), Philocalist, Archphilocalist, Enrapturand, and High Enrapturand.
Sunites are not bashful about their bodies. The standard ceremonial garb of Sunite clerics is monastic robes for men and habits for women, both cut to show off the figure of the wearer and dyed a deep crimson. Hair is normally worn long and allowed to fall free during rituals. At other times, clerics bind their tresses back with crimson scarves and wear clothing appropriate to the situation but always flattering to the form. While red hair is considered touched by the deity, all shades of hair and skin are welcome, provided they are unmarred and lovely.
The temples of this faith always came in one of architectural philosophies, either being fantastical edifices of beauty or classically elegant structures whose beauty was enhanced by sculptured landscapes. Many featured formal gardens with landscape that had been precisely manicured, with trees and topiary that had been carefully pruned, picturesque beds of flowers, as well as bowers and trellises that were snaked by well-trained vines. Fountains and sculptures were often a focal point of these gardens, as they were enchanted to give off soft lighting.
A common feature of Sunite temples was life-sized and smaller statues statuettes of beautiful women, usually partially unclad. Such statues were often posed depicting a dance and expressions of rapturous joy, though not always. Sometimes these statues were depictions of the goddess Sune herself, but more often they were of priestesses who had passed.
- Dawndancer House, a shrine in Silverymoon
- Flame Grove, a shrine west of Drawn Swords
- Theater of Joy in Crimmor
- Temple of Beauty in Waterdeep