<i>Rider of the Winds, the Helping Hand</i><br>

<b>Symbol:</b> A wind-walking bearded man in traveler’s cape and boots<br>
<b>Home Plane</b>: Gates of the Moon<br>
<b>Alignment</b>: CN<br>
<b>Portfolio</b>: Travel, exploration, portals, miners, caravans<br>
<b>Domains</b>: Air, Chaos, Protection, Travel, Portal, Trade <br>
<b>Worshipers</b>: Explorers, caravaneers, rangers, portal-walkers, half-elves<br>
<b>Aliases</b>: N/A <br>
<b>Cleric Alignments:</b> CG, CN, CE<br>
<b>Favored Weapon:</b> Greatsword – "Sword of Shadows" <br>

<b>History/Relationships:</b>Shaundakul (SHAWN-da-kul) the Rider of the Winds, was the god of travel and exploration in old Myth Drannor. His existence may date back to the time of the Rus, forbears of the Rashemaar, or beyond. In the time of Myth Drannor, he was worshiped by humans and half-elves, particularly those who were caravan merchants, traders, explorers, miners and adventurers in the uncharted wilderness of the Moonsea North. He was a keen-eyed guide who pointed out the hidden lodes and ways of the North, and brought luck and battlevalor to worshipers in need.

In the days following the Dawn Cataclysm, Shaundakul is said to have had a brief dalliance with Tymora and spurned the advances of Lady Luck's sister, Beshaba. The Maid of Misfortune vowed revenge, and the Rider of the Wind's luck finally faltered during the assult on Myth Drannor. Shaundakul's worship fell with his followers when Myth Drannor was destroyed. Most of his faithful perished in the final battle against the Army of Darkness. Mielikki absorbed the surviving rangers, and Waukeen the traders.

At his high point, Shaundakul was an intermediate power, but after the fall of Myth Drannor he declined to the status of a lesser power and bordered on demipower status. By the Fall of the Gods, Shaundakul's clergy had fallen to a mere double handful of priests scattered throughout the North, and Shaundakul was a demipower reduced to brooding over fallen Myth Drannor. Only a few prospectors and caravan merchants still worshiped him in quiet, underground cults or fellowships.

During the Godswar, Shaundakul roamed the ruins of Myth Drannor with increased frequency and is believed to have battled and destroyed at least one demipower of the orc, gnoll, or giant pantheons. Since the Time of Troubles, a reinvigorated Shaundakul has increased his efforts to reestablish his worship throughout the North. Combined with the influx of traders and caravan merchants who have begun to venerate him with the disappearance of Waukeen (Lliira seems unconcerned by their collective choice), Shaundakul's faith has undergone a rapid revitalization. The Helping Hand is being called upon once again throughout the North and has just gained enough worship to reattain lesser power status. Whether Shaundakul will keep the worship of traders and caravan masters if Waukeen returns to the Realms is unknown at this time.

Shaundakul's spheres of influence overlap slightly with several other gods including Helm, Lliira (serving in Waukeen's stead), Mielikki, Selûne, and, in particular, Tymora. None is these powers is likely to tolerate any further encroachment on their portfolios, potentially severely curtailing the long-term growth of Shaundakul's faith.

Shaundakul is a god of few words. He lets his deeds speak for him. He is kind and yet stern, but often displays a rugged sense of humor. He is sometimes lonely and enjoys a good chat—especially if he can trade jokes. He is eager to gain new worshipers, and if given the opportunity, he tries to persuade any ranger, fighter, wizard, or thief of appropriate alignment to join his faithful. His avatar often wanders the ruins of Myth Drannor striding to the aid of otherwise doomed adventurers, and he knows much about Myth Drannor's history, mythal, and current inhabitants. In exchange for his aid in such situations, he demands one service that often involves destroying or driving out from Myth Drannor a fiend from the lower planes or another powerful monster. Shaundakul himself is said to stalk the layers of Gladsheim, and occasionally the Happy Hunting Grounds, hunting fierce beasts and evil giants with his attendant windghosts.

The "Kiss of Beshaba" still bedevils the Rider of the Winds in the lands of Anauroch. Shaundakul is cursed as the "Treacherous Lurker in the Sands" by the Bedine nomads who call the desert home. He is portrayed as a mischievous, malicious trickster appearing as a jackal-headed man. In truth, here he is impersonated and his reputation has been subverted by Beshaba, with the aid of the phaerimm living beneath Anauroch and, later, ruined Myth Drannor. In Anauroch, Shaundakul is now blamed for blinding folk, drying out oases, causing travelers to become lost, and all the other misfortunes that beset the Bedine.

The only "windghosts" serving this false aspect of Shaundakul are mad watchghosts. Shaundakul is planning to reclaim his good name in the lands of Anauroch, but the phaerimm and Beshaba are likely to oppose this plan at every opportunity.<br>

Priests of Shaundakul are usually quite reserved concerning their fellowship of worship, seeking to spread the teachings of Shaundakul through example. Priests of the Helping Hand are to actively work to reestablish their god's sphere of influence among traders, particularly trailblazers who explore new lands and open new trade routes. They are to act as scouts, guards, and leaders for parties of explorers, caravans, and mining expeditions. They are to unearth ancient shrines of Shaundakul and resanctify them.

The charge given to postulants is as follows: "Ride the wind and let it take you wherever it blows. Aid those in need and trust in the Helping Hand. The world is large with many lands as yet undiscovered. Seek out the riches of the earth and the sea and 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. This is the wonder of the world." <br>

Shaundakul typically manifests as a great, disembodied hand glowing with unearthly radiance and surrounded by swirling winds. This hand speaks and points the way, and can issue forth spells from its forefinger. This appearance also accounts for Shaundakul's common appellation, the Helping Hand. <br>

<b>Agents/Petitioners:</b> Shaundakul has also been known to send one or more windghosts to aid besieged worshippers making a desperate stand in the wild. He may aid faithful worshippers by creating moving wind walls to guard them in battle situations or even turn a trapped worshipper into wraithform to allow escape. He has also been known to send squirrels, wolves, long-ranging birds (gulls, hawks), and rabbits to guide or aid his faithful. He manifests his displeasure with one of his faithful by creating a wind wall in his or her path. <br>

<b>The Church of Shandakul:</b>
Shaundakul has few temples in the Realms, as the members of his clergy are generally struck with wanderlust and rarely remain in one place. However, they have constructed numerous shrines to the Rider of the Winds throughout the Moonsea North. 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 that the wind whistles through. Many such shrines exist throughout the Moonsea North and the Stonelands, some of them over a thousand years old. Shaundakul's clergy has expanded dramatically since the Time of Troubles, and his clergy members now number several hundred and his church continues to grow.

There is no clear hierarchy in Shaundakul's faith, although those priests who served the Rider of the Winds prior to the Godswar hold positions of great respect in the church. Shaundakul's name is not well known in the cities of the Realms, but more and more travelers are visiting his shrines and invoking his name when traveling in the North.

Priests of Shaundakul use a variety of self-chosen appellations, but a loose hierarchy of standard titles does exist. In ascending order of rank, these include: Seeker of the Wind, Scout, Trailblazer, Explorer, Guide of the Hidden Ways, Rider of the West Wind, Rider of the South Wind, Rider of the East Wind, Rider of the North Wind, and Lord High Windhand. <br>

<b>Day-to-Day Activities:</b>
Priests of Shaundakul are expected to provide for themselves by living off the land, hiring themselves out as scouts and caravan guards. Many serve as guides for adventuring companies or as explorers. A very few are Harpers. All seek to visit the scattered shrines of Shaundakul as frequently as possible and to construct new ones when they acquire sufficient resources.

On occasion a priest of Shaundakul is accompanied by a windghost, a servant creature sent by Shaundakul. Such priests are typically engaged in a specific mission for the god and are usually powerful adventurers. <br>

<b>Holy Days/Important Ceremonies:</b>
Shaundakul's clergy celebrates only one holy day per year. The 15th of Tarsakh is known as the Windride. No matter where they are, priests must seek out a strong breeze and cast a wraithform or wind walk spell at dawn. (Priests who do not have access to either spell are granted access to the former on this one day, regardless of level. In addition, the duration of either spell is extended to last from dawn to dusk.) Shaundakul's priests then spend the day soaring with the wind, swooping and swirling wherever chance may take them. They always land safely, usually in a region they have never been to 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 of sufficient level, they are to create a shrine to Shaundakul using stone shape magics. <br>

<b>Major Centers of Worship:</b>
The major temple of the Rider of the Winds in the Realms at his faith's heyday was Shaundakul's Throne in Myth Drannor, though he had many shrines in the North, particularly in the Moonsea region. One shrine frequently visited today is Lanthalas's Requiem, located west of the Stonebolt Trail in the Stonelands.
Shaundakul's Throne still stands, guarded by the avatar of the god.

It consists of two towers linked by walls that form an enclosed courtyard to a large central building containing an undercroft where the clergy lived in year's past and a huge dais (the Throne itself) open to the sky, where Shaundakul was worshiped. High-level members of Shaundakul's faith sometimes make a pilgrimage to the ancient temple, often receiving a great boon from the Rider of the Winds if they survive the dangerous trip. <br>

<b>Affiliated Orders:</b>
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 windwalkers 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 crusaders, windwalkers, and rangers. Founded by the half-elf Jax Nightsong and based in Shaundakul's Throne, they are dedicated to cleansing Myth Drannor of the evil that haunts its streets and ruins. Initially, they are fortifying the ancient 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 windwalkers and a few rangers who hire themselves out as a mercenary company to guard caravans heading through uncharted wilderness to distant lands. Having just returned from Sossal, they are rumored to be planning an expedition to the fabled lands of Anchorôme in the near future. <br>

<b>Priestly Vestments:</b>
Shaundakul's priesthood has straightforward ceremonial raiment. All priests sport a dark swirling cloak over garb appropriate for the trail. They wear a leather or chain gauntlet stained deep purple or tinted black (respectively) on their primary hand (and sometimes on their off hand as well). The symbol of Shaundakul—a silver upright left hand with its wrist trailing away into rippling winds—is depicted on the palm and back of the gauntlet. <br>

<b>Adventuring Garb:</b>
The adventuring garb of Shaundakul's priests is not noticeably different than their ceremonial vestments. His priesthood typically favors leather armor, but sometimes wears studded leather armor or chain mail. Its members favor great swords, such as the two-handed sword or claymore, and often wield long or short bows. They always wear dark, swirling cloaks and the gauntlet of their faith. <br>

Last updated byDispater