Shaundakul, the Rider of the Winds, is the Faerûnian lesser deity of traveling and travelers, exploration, caravans, the wind as well as mining and miners. Recently, Lord Ao gifted him with the portfolio of portals and portal-walking.
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. Shaundakul's clerics commonly multiclass as rangers.
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. 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.
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.
VestmentsShaundakul'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.
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.
HierarchyShaundakul'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.
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.
Temples and ShrinesShaundakul 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.
RitualsClerics 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.
OrdersSince 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.
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.
He manifests as a bearded man 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 called the "Sword of Shadows." Tall and handsome, Shaundakul walks in silence but is surrounded by the ever-present keening whistle of the wind.
He has 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.
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 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, due to Waukeen's absence during which some of her followers turned to Shaundakul. He has 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.
In the year of the Blue Fire, 1385 DR, Shaundakul disappeared without a trace during the Spellplague.