Ad Astra Per Arcana
Celestian The Star Wanderer
What does life hold for us over the horizon? There is no limit to the multiverse…The sights to see, The undiscovered to be discovered. There is always something new through the next portal or over the next hill.
Celestian is the god for those that strive to explore. He has grown from the single crystal sphere power he was into the planewalker\’s power of choice. His view of creation as something to be explored suits the infinite vistas of the planes. The petitioners of Celestian manifest as new lights on his cloak of stars that they might roam the multiverse forever with their God until they merge with his essence.
His followers are scattered across the multiverse and he holds few temples except for small wayside shrines anywhere from a sky island on the plane of air to the depths of Baator or the pinnacles of Celestia each erected by his far ranging worshipers. There is no center of Celestian’s worship where his followers are to congregate only a common fellowship that should they meet as they traverse existence they aid one another before continuing in their chosen paths
The Priests- a more varied lot of bloods; cutters and bashers could not be found. There is no set robes or regalia for a priest of The Traveler and they may be found in anything from a toga of Olympia, a gear amulet of regulus or any mix and combination of the two. However they are just as likely to be dressed in comfortable traveler’s robes.
So next time you see a figure in the great bazaar in a suit of clanking cog armor, an abyssal spider cape with boots of salamander skin trimmed with the fur of a chaos beast and chewing on arboreal spice seeds its as likely as not you\’ve come across a priest of The Roaming God.
Celestian (The Star Wanderer, the Far Wanderer, Sky God)
Intermediate Power of the Astral Plane, NG
Portfolio: The cosmos, stars, space, firmament, sky, wandering, exploring, traveling, dreams
Domains: Travel, Wildspace, Knowledge, Trickery, Psionics
Allies: Dalt (GH), Delleb (GH), Fharlanghn (GH), Heward (GH), Keoghtom (GH), Lendor (GH), Murlynd (GH), Pelor (GH), Procan (GH), Rao (GH), Velnius (GH), Xerbo (GH), Zagyg (GH), Rais (SJ/GH), Muamman Duathal/Marthammor Duin, Sehanine Moonbow, Hermes, Puchan, Selne (FR)
Foes: Erythnul (GH), Hextor (GH), Iuz (GH), Tharizdun/Dark God (GH), Vecna (GH/RL), Wastri (GH), Elder Elemental God, Great Mother, Ilsensine
Symbol: An array of seven “stars” (a diamond, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, topaz, jacinth, and ruby) blazing with the fire of distant suns on a black circle
Worshiper’s Align: LG, NG, CG, LN, N, CN
Even more enigmatic than most powers, Celestian (seh-LES-tee-an), the Star Wanderer, is often thought of as the spelljammer or planewalker’s deity, whose worship originated in Greyspace. He is a patron of wanderers, explorers, and travelers, particularly those that stray far from their homes. The Sky God also has influence over some aspects of light and weather. Originally a power of ethnic Oeridians, Celestian has achieved common acceptance with all the Flanaess across the World of Greyhawk. Moreover, of all the powers of Oerth, Celestian has the best chance of spreading his faith among the planes and is soon likely to become a greater power.
Celestian’s habits and disposition usually keep him from close association and involvement with other gods. Nevertheless, the Far Wanderer gets on well with Hermes and other gods who make travel less burdensome. It is a small fraternity, but one that is tightly knit. One such ally is Fharlanghn, Dweller on the Far Horizon, an intermediate power much more popular on Oerth than Celestian himself, and Celestian’s brother. The two siblings followed similar but different paths – while Fharlanghn chose to wander the roads and lands of Oerth, Celestian took to the trackless wilds of space and the silver void. The brothers and their priesthoods cooperate famously and aid each other constantly. It is said that Celestian is looking to help his brother expand onto the planes. Of course, since the infinite Outer Planes have precious few horizons, it seems as though the god of travel is going to come across his brother on the Astral one of these days. Still, there is hope for Fharlanghn as long as Celestian is willing to help.
Celestian’s relationship with Pholtus, the Oeridian power of law, order, the sun, and the moons, Luna and Celene (also known, respectively, as Raenei and Kule among spelljammers), is strained by Pholtus’ unbending belief in a single path, with no allowances for wandering and exploration. Nevertheless, as their spheres of control cross somewhat, the two must at times work together and do so amicably. Celestian finds Anubis, his fellow power of the Astral, disturbing, and generally avoids him. Nevertheless, the two powers do not distrust one another or consider each other foes. The Far Wanderer has a similar relationship with Anubis’ fellow Egyptian power, Ptah. While the two powers’ followers bicker endlessly, the two powers themselves remain somewhat aloof to each other, though they are by no means hostile toward one another.
Although a wandering power, Celestian spends most of his time journeying through the Astral, occasionally crossing into the Ethereal and Inner Planes. He does not keep a realm in the silver void, however, preferring instead to keep moving. Moreover, Celestian does not enjoy manifesting in an earthly body and practically never sends an avatar to the mortal realms.
Celestian appears as a smooth ebony-skinned and mature man with dark, knowledge-laden, ebony eyes. He clothes his tall and lean frame in garments as black as night with his symbol of seven gem-colored stars adorning or worked into the cloth. Celestian’s movements are quick and silent. He speaks, but seldom, and then in a cold, unearthly whisper, which carries well despite its softness.
Celestian draws his spells from all schools of magic (including chronomancy). Celestian also has access to all Psionic powers.
Celestian is a surprisingly uninvolved power given his portfolio, seemingly more concerned with his own wanderings, than those of his faithful, whom he believes must learn to care for themselves. Nevertheless, he does occasionally send omens to his followers in the form of dreams or astrological and meteorological happenings. It is commonly known among the faithful that when both moons of Oerth (the larger ghost-white Luna and the smaller aquamarine Celene) are either full or new, and the wandering stars have themselves achieved positions of power within the Zodiac, events of great portent are likely to occur. The fate of civilization may be in the balance, and the involvement of great magic is almost certain. The appearance of a falling star has further significance, and a great pale comet or bright exploding star hovering in the darkness is a harbinger of cataclysm.
Celestian will often send astral streakers to deliver actual messages and neutral-aligned spectral hounds to assist or protect his faithful. The Star Wanderer also works through the actions of astral devas, shedu, foo creatures, kodragons, and occasionally, astral dragons. Those who anger Celestian will often find themselves facing one or more astral searchers. The god is also said to express his favor in the discovery of large caches of gems, especially diamonds, amethysts, sapphires, emeralds, topazes, jacinths, and rubies.
Clergy’s Align: LG, NG, CG, N
Channel Energy: Positive
All clergy of Celestian receive astronomy and religion (Flanaess or Wildspace) as bonus skills. All clergy are required to learn how to find their ways about the Multiverse and must learn either the navigation (whether traditional high seas navigation or Wildspace navigation) or planar direction sense skills.
Spelljamming priests of Celestian can recover their spells in the wildspace of any crystal sphere. Moreover, priests of Celestian who pray for spells before passing into the Phlogiston (also known as the Flow), frequently receive one additional spell of the highest level they are capable of casting (at the DM’s discretion). This spell is lost if the priest changes his or her mind and does not leave the crystal sphere after all. In the Flow, priests of Celestian can cast the spells they already possess, but, like the clergy of all faiths, cannot regain new spells of 4th or higher level. Moreover, priests of Celestian cannot recover their spells on the surface of a world in a sphere where Celestian is not worshipped. Even some large asteroids are too large to allow the priest to recover his or her spells (again, at the DM’s discretion). However, once the priests of Celestian have established a focus within the crystal sphere, they have the same access to spells as the priests of any other deity.
In addition, once priests of Celestian have left the atmosphere of Oerth for Wildspace, they find that certain spells – those associated with movement and travel (including all of the “walk” spells of the elemental sphere and all the spells of the astral and travelers spheres, among others) – work as though the priest were one level higher than their actual level. This only applies within the GreySpace Sphere.
Any human, demihuman, or nonhuman may join Celestian’s clergy, although the membership is predominately human and half-elven. Most dwarves, halflings, and gnomes tend to appreciate their communities too much to view wandering as desirable, although there is a small, but growing, contingent of kender among the clergy’s ranks. The plane-touched races – aasimar, genasi, and tieflings – also represent a growing segment of the faithful. Of the nonhumans, the hadozee and the xixchil are the most likely to join the church, but there are very few nonhuman priests or lay worshipers, of any race, dedicated to Celestian. Nevertheless, considering the god’s spheres of influence, even demihumans and some humanoids with their own racial deities worship Celestian alongside their normal pantheon. Clerics in the service of Celestian are allowed to multi-class as cleric/psionicists.
The Star Wanderer has only a small following among the Flanaess of Oerth, made up of navigators, astronomers, astrologers, savants, sages, philosophers, dreamers, and like souls involved with the cosmos or sky. These faithful tend to be detached, more concerned with the stars than Oerthly affairs. They most often worship him privately or through travel to unknown lands and the acquisition of knowledge.
Most of Celestian’s followers instead seek to emulate their deity through spelljamming and planewalking. As the patron god of wanderers, explorers, and travelers, even if he is only an intermediate power from a single crystal sphere, Celestian is perfectly suited to those who earn their living as they go. Moreover, even those who shy away from the powers altogether often make a special exception for Celestian. The general opinion among these travelers is that his blessings cannot hurt when you need to get someplace in a hurry.
Relations: Many spelljamming groups consider the faithful of Celestian useful, if a bit strange. Since they seek to wander the many spheres, Celestian’s clergy are always willing to pilot long journeys through the Flow. Thus, the good-aligned trading companies and mercenary companies see Celestian’s faithful as a convenient resource, and the sight of their starry black robes is a welcome one. However, Celestian’s priests will not pilot warships or slaveships. They do not seek conquest and will not aid an unjust conqueror to invade Wildspace. They will pilot mercenary ships, but only to transport defenders and never into a direct conflict. The clergy of Celestian and the Seekers of Wildspace are on good terms. Many of the Star Wanderer’s followers are also Seekers, as the two organizations hold similar goals. Many of the Star Wanderer’s clergy who are not Seekers will still report their discoveries to that organization. In return, the Seekers act as a communications network for the widely scattered priesthood. A sender can leave a message for a priest of Celestian at any Seeker office, and it will be transferred through the information network and presented to the recipient the next time he checks in at any other Seeker office.
The Tenth Pit and the Chainmen, also of Wildspace, are hostile to the clergy of Celestian because they refuse to transport Tenth Pit troops or pilot Chainmen slaveships. As expected, the Xenos are as hostile to the worshipers of Celestian as they are to any group that accepts nonhumans, but since the faithful are few, they receive little attention from the Xenos.
The followers of Ptah dislike the disciples of the Far Wanderer, and they try to discredit and challenge them on theological grounds whenever possible. For their part, Celestian’s clergy generally ignore the followers of Ptah.
Worshipers: Celestian has made great strides recently by picking up many planewalking worshipers. This is simply because those priests who revere Celestian, who dwells upon the Astral, do not suffer a loss of spellcasting ability as they travel around the Great Ring, the Outer Planes. Moreover, magical weapons forged on the Astral are equally powerful throughout the Outer Planes. A prime might consider it tacky to praise a god just to get his spells, but planewalkers are more canny and realistic – they do what they can to stay alive. Consequently, among planewalkers, the Far Wanderer is remarkably well venerated and rapidly becoming a religion of choice. And as a result, Celestian’s power grows by leaps and bounds due to the devotion brought by an increasing number of practical-minded planewalkers. Celestian’s faithful have yet to develop any particular relationships with any of the factions or sects of the Outer Planes, with the exception of the Athar, whom the Far Wanderer’s priests view as foolish and potentially dangerous. Several of Celestian’s planewalking faithful are, however, affiliated with the Planewalker’s Guild .
Shrines: Shrines to Celestian upon Prime worlds are located in the country, away from city lights, and are built on mountain peaks or hilltops with a clear view of the night sky. However, most shrines to the Far Wanderer are found in Wildspace and the Astral Plane. While there is no standard construction for these shrines, most are, for practical purposes, akin to inns, complete with kitchens, boarding rooms, and the like – though their size may vary from that of a large one-room shack to an inn of the largest and finest caliber.
Clergy: Most celestians are spacefaring or planewalking priests (67%) or itinerant, though primarily planet-bound, clerics (15%), with a handful of wizard (7%), bards (7%), and psionicists (2%). In addition, most are humans (70%), half-elves (15%), or one of growing number of the plane-touched and spacefaring races (5%) – the aasimar, genasi, tieflings, hadozee, grommam, rastipedes etc.- with a smattering of other races, primarily elves, halflings, and the other demihuman races (8%). Slightly more than half of all celestians are male (52%).
Due to their itinerant nature, the church maintains a very loose hierarchy. In fact, unlike many other faiths, the celestians do not use specific titles to identify their status, per se. Instead, the celestians are organized by and identify themselves by one of seven orders: 1st Order (1st-2nd level), 2nd Order (3rd-4th level), 3rd Order (5th-6th level), 4th Order (7th-8th level), 5th Order (9th-10th level), 6th Order (11th-15th level), and 7th Order (16th and higher levels).
Dogma: Celestians believe in travel. Until the day they die, priests of Celestian must keep traveling to new places. To return to a previously visited site is considered at least slightly taboo by what religious hierarchy Celestian has. (They rarely settle in one place, preferring to visit as many spheres and planes as possible. Nevertheless, the celestians are wise enough to understand that through all of this traveling, lay folk, and even the occasional clergy member, sometimes find their place in the Multiverse and settle down permanently – though this is still frowned upon.)
Lay members of Celestian’s church have few obligations, except the general admonition to travel and help others. They must provide aid to any person in need (Celestian’s tenets do not forbid charging for such aid, however). Clergy of Celestian must pledge the same oaths as lay members. However, their oaths are taken more seriously. Spelljamming clergy must travel from one sphere to another at least once each year, and must visit a sphere new to the priest at least once every five years. Planewalking clergy have similar requirements and are required to travel from plane to plane at least once a year, and must visit a planar layer new to them at least once very five years. However, as Sigil is the City of Doors, planewalkers are allowed to visit that city as often as they like, though they are not to stay for long. (Nevertheless, many celestians maintain apartments or keep safety deposits in the city). Planet-bound worshipers of Celestian are not under these obligations, although they are encouraged to make similar journeys, especially through astral travel.
Many celestians believe that Celestian ranks his followers in the afterlife by the number of spheres and planes they visited when they were alive. As petitioners, his followers become the stars in his robes, and when their wanderlust becomes so great that they wish to travel on their own, that is when they merge with their deity.
Day-to-Day Activities: Celestian’s small priesthood is very studious and meditative, and also somewhat secretive and detached from everyday life. The study of astronomy and navigation and the acquisition of arcane lore and magical items that aid travel are considered important goals by the faithful. They keep secret records of their voyages into the cosmos. They also try to keep track of gates, especially those that are activated by astronomical conditions.
Priests of Celestian spend most of their time wandering about emulating their deity, whenever possible, by traveling the depths of space or the planes, seeking to visit as much of the Known Spheres or planes as they can in their lifetime.
Celestians also act to aid good-aligned travelers who are or are not members of the church, but who have, nevertheless, fallen on hard times. They assist newcomers to a sphere with advice about the local customs and laws, and will even help them find work should the need arise. It is customary to leave a donation (or if destitute, to provide one when one is more wealthy) for these services, but there is no set fee schedule. Celestian hospices in poorly traveled areas may appreciate tales of travel more than a token donation of gold.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: The clergy of Celestian have few holy days. Services to Celestian are held, when at all possible, outdoors under a starry sky, in the wildspace of the various crystal spheres, or in the silver void.
There are two Holy Days observed on Oerth, Celestian’s planet of origin: Dark Night, also called Black Night, Star Night, and the Night of Hopeful Dawn, is observed on Goodmonth 11. It is a holy night for the church of Celestian because the stars are so easy to observe without the light of one of the moons getting in the way.
Great Moon’s Glory on Readying 11th, when Luna is full but Celene is new, is holy to Celestian. Midwinter Night, also known as Dark Time, Dim Time, and Handmaiden’s Glory. It is this night when Luna is completely dark and only Celene is visible in the sky. It is the longest night of the year, during which clerics of Celestian conduct all-night services of moonwatching and stargazing.
Joining: Joining the celestians is easy, especially for nonpriests. A supplicant must convert to worship of Celestian, pledge to wander the stars or planes as Celestian himself does, and vow to aid any person in need. These oaths are not always taken too seriously, however. A “wandering” lay worshiper of Celestian can stop for 20 or 30 years in one place without receiving more than a gentle chiding from the priesthood.
Major Centers of Worship: The wandering clergy of Celestian have little in the way of organization or permanent places of worship. Nevertheless, a home temple can be found hidden among the Griff Mountains on the world of Oerth in Greyspace.
Another prominent sight of the faith on Oerth is the Grey College Observatory just south of the Duke’s Gate of the City of Greyhawk. This domed building is owned by the Grey College of Greyhawk and is used by sages, astrologers, students, nobles, and others with an interest in the heavens. A small fee is charged for using the observatory, which features several small telescopes with finely ground lenses mounted on rotating stands.
The observatory grounds are used by the faithful on various holy days throughout the year to conduct rituals. The Observatory Tutor is Karol Zagan, a talkative middle-aged woman who got the job when her predecessor retired and moved away.(As might be expected, the nearby cities of Greyhawk and, to a lesser extent, Dyvers serve as the primary regions for the landing and/or docking of spelljamming vessels, with most spelljamming ships touching down in the Nyr Dyv or Wooly Bay and then sailing along the Selintan to Greyhawk.
Despite the fact that natives of Greyspace like to think of their planetbound fellows as knowledgeable of spelljamming, the truth is that the natives are much more provincial and insular. While most people have the idea that Celestian’s congregation is supposed to travel the stars, few know that some followers of Celestian actually do voyage into Wildspace and fewer still take such tales seriously. Moreover, the fact that most spelljamming ships that have ever landed in the area strongly resemble normal sailing ships, makes convincing commoners otherwise difficult)
The faithful also maintain hospices in many Wildspace settlements and way homes scattered among the silver void – places a traveler can go for shelter and safety – that frequently double as shrines. While the hospices are often run by lay folk who have decided to settle for a time (and appreciate donations though they are not required), no one ever stays in the way homes long. These safe havens have saved many a wanderer with a bit of food and protection from the elements. Most of the clergy’s shrines, however, are found in Wildspace, outside of planetary influence.
Affiliated Orders: Celestian sponsors no knightly orders. However, his clergy, especially those in Wildspace, are looked upon as a tightly knit and organized group of wanderers and called the Celestians, a slight and accepted corruption of what celestians call themselves. In addition, a number of planar rangers look to Celestian for guidance, though they are not organized in any fashion.
Priestly Vestments: Priests of Celestian wear different gem-covered robes for their holy rites, depending upon their order: priests of the 1st Order wear light blue robes with rubies; 2nd Order, light gray robes with jacinths; 3rd Order, violet robes with topazes; 4th Order, blue-gray robes with emeralds; 5th Order, dark blue robes with sapphires; 6th Order, deep purple robes with amethysts; and 7th Order, black robes with diamonds. The robes all give an onlooker the impression of a field of stars.
Priests often carry their holy symbol, an array of seven “stars” (a diamond, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, topaz, jacinth, and ruby) as a silver brooch. The silver “array” is shaped much like a full circle bisected by the (right-sided) curve of a waning moon with another smaller waning moon attached to the bisecting curve within the larger waning moon. The “stars” follow the bisecting curve to the exterior (left-sided) curve of the smaller waning moon back to the bisecting curve, in “C” shape with an extended serif, in the following top-to-bottom order: jacinth, ruby, amethyst, diamond, sapphire, topaz, emerald. The “stars” of the brooch are often real gems for high-level clergy, while lay worshipers and low-level clergy often use colored-glass or cheaper gem stones, such as quartz.
Adventuring Garb: The adventuring garb of the priests of Celestian is usually black robes and/or cloaks, though some wear black leather armor under their robes and cloaks. When expecting danger, celestians prefer to arm themselves with the weaponry of their god.
Myths and legends: Celestian’s Gift – According to legend, Celestian sent an enormous meteor hurtling toward the Oerth thousands of years ago. This celestial body buried itself miles beneath the surface somewhere in Western Oerik. The pulsing core of the meteorite has never cooled in the countless centuries since. This core is said to hold a priceless gift from the Far Wanderer, though the precise nature of this gift has not been agreed on. Some say it is the purest adamantium in the multiverse, while others say the gift is a deep philosophical truth.
The only way to reach Celestian’s Gift is a narrow natural bridge deep within the Underdark. Monsters from across space and time are said to guard it.
Much of the information for this entry comes from collating (and blatantly copying) and adapting the material in the following sources: The Adventure Begins; The Complete Spacefarer’s Guide; Encyclopedia Magica, Vols. I-IV; Greyhawk Adventures; A Guide to the Astral Plane; On Hallowed Ground; The Planewalker’s Handbook; Player’s Guide to Greyhawk; “The Powers of Greyhawk,” From the Ashes; SJR6 Greyspace; Rock of Bral; and World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting.
Based on original work by Thomas M. Costa. Document last updated to 3.5 rules by Loki March 16, 2007