Name(s): Shaundakul, Rider of the Winds, the Helping Hand
Power: Lesser deity
Symbol: A wind-walking bearded man in traveler's cape and boots
Home Plane: Gates of the Moon
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Portfolio: Travel, exploration, portals, miners, caravans
Cleric Alignments: CE, CG, CN
Domains: Air, Chaos, Portal, Protection, Trade, Travel
Favored Weapon: "Sword of Shadows" (Greatsword)
Festivals: Windride (15 Tarsakh)
Shaundakul (shawn-da-kul) is a lonely deity of few words who lets his deeds speak for him. He is kind but stern, with a rugged sense of humor that sometimes comes to the fore. His faith is on the upswing in part because of his willingness to personally recruit worshipers while in manifesting in the world in physical form. Clad in his dark, swirling cloak, leather armor, and boots that never quite touch the ground, the Rider of the Winds cuts a regal figure with his massive greatsword ever at the ready. Tall and handsome, Shaundakul walks in silence but is surrounded by the ever-present keening whistle of the wind.
After falling into obscurity in the wake of the fall of Myth Drannor, the church of Shaundakul has been greatly revitalized since the Time of Troubles. The decade-long absence of Waukeen and near collapse of her church in the wake of the Avatar Crisis caused many merchants, particularly caravaneers, to turn to Shaundakul for a time. Although many merchants have since returned to the church of the Waukeen, others, particularly those infected with wanderlust, have stayed faithful, and the church has continued to grow. Today, the church of Shaundakul attracts many brave adventurers and daring explorers to its ranks, and word of their latest exploits is eagerly awaited in the cities in which they are based.
Clerics of Shaundakul pray for their spells in the morning right after the wind shifts from the changing temperature. Their holy day is the Windride, which is celebrated on the 15th day of Tarsakh. On this day, Shaundakul causes all his clerics to assume gaseous form at dawn, if they cannot wind walk on their own, so that they are carried with the wind. They return to normal (and are lowered safely to the ground) at dusk, usually in some place they have never been before. Shaundakul's clergy members have a few simple ceremonies they practice when appropriate. They are to utter a simple prayer every time the wind changes significantly. Whenever they discover previously uncharted territory (such as an undiscovered valley, lake, or island), they are to create a small throne of rocks marked with Shaundakul's symbol near the location where they first made the discovery. If capable, they are to create a shrine to Shaundakul using stone shape. Shaundakul's clerics commonly multiclass as rangers or windwalkers.
Shaundakul is an old deity, once an intermediate deity popular in the Moonsea, whose divine status predates the creation of Beshaba and Tymora from Tyche. Shaundakul's church collapsed and his followers dwindled in the aftermath of the fall of Myth Drannor, and he dwindled in status to the rank of demipower. Beshaba later used his name to promote discord among the nomads of Anauroch, who now curse him as the Treacherous Lurker in the Sands. Since the Time of Troubles, Shaundakul has risen back to the level of lesser power and allied himself with deities such as Akadi, Mielikki and her allies, Selûne, Tymora, and the more daring members of the Seldarine. He opposes Shar because he dislikes secrets and enjoys spreading the word of hidden places. He battles with Beshaba for the suffering she has inflicted in his name.
Spread the teachings of the Helping Hand by example. Work to promote him among traders, especially trailblazers who seek out new lands and new opportunities. Unearth and resanctify ancient shrines of Shaundakul. Ride the wind, and let it take you wherever it blows. Aid those in need, and trust in the Helping Hand. Seek out the riches of the earth and sea. Journey to distant horizons. Be the first to see the rising sun, the mountain peaks, the lush valleys. Let your footsteps fall where none have tread.
Clergy and Temples
Members of the clergy are expected to live off the land and work as guides and protectors of travelers, caravans, and mining expeditions. Many serve as guides for adventuring companies or as explorers. A very few are Harpers. All seek to visit the scattered shrines of Shaundakul (particularly the great one in Myth Drannor) as frequently as possible and to construct new ones when they acquire sufficient resources. Ever since Shaundakul added portals to his portfolio, his clerics have been tasked with locating and identifying portals that would be useful for trade and exploration.
Shaundakul prefers to be venerated at shrines, most of which are uninhabited and in remote places. Typically, a shrine to Shaundakul is a stone dais built atop a high place, crowned with a stone seat or throne, and accompanied by one or more stone pillars pierced with holes through which the wind whistles. Many such shrines exist throughout the Moonsea and the Stonelands, some of them over a thousand years old. Shaundakul is not commonly worshiped within cities and he has few formal temples as a result. Because the clergy members love to wander, his few temples constantly have new clerics arrive as others leave.
Shaundakul's clerics wear a dark swirling cloak over garb appropriate for the trail, and favor dark colors and silver in general. Many wear their holy symbol on the back of their gauntlet (usually leather or chain mail).
Shaundakul's church is loosely organized, and its branches are largely independent. There is little in the way of formal hierarchy, although those who served the Rider of the Winds prior to the Godswar hold positions of great respect in the church. Since the Time of Troubles, several military orders have been founded in the name of Shaundakul. The Fellowship of the Next Mountain is an order of rangers and clerics who typically work alone, blazing trails in the uncharted wilderness areas of the Sword Coast North and Moonsea North. The Knights of the Shadow Sword are an elite order of fighters and rangers based in Shaundakul's Throne and dedicated to cleansing Myth Drannor of the evil that haunts its streets and ruins. Initially, they are fortifying the ancient Myth Drannan temple as a base of operations and sending out scouts to reconnoiter the ruined city. The Riders of the West Wind are an order of clerics and a few rangers who hire themselves out as a mercenary company to guard caravans heading through uncharted wilderness to distant lands.
Shaundakul in Hala
Though his name is known to many adventurers, Shaundakul currently holds little sway with the populace of the bergs. Mostly due to lack of worshipers, but also due to the nature of the God himself: His followers tend to be preoccupied with the journey ahead (any journey), than converting those around them. This tends to keep the faithful of the Rider very much a minority and with little influence as any sort of group. As a presence in Hala, the faith could very much use a charismatic priest to attract new worshipers.
There is a shrine to Shaundakul, deep in the mountains of the Rockgate Mountains on the mainland of Ysgard. It is visted rarely and not easily found.