Waukeen is the goddess of coins and wealth. Known as the Merchant's Friend, her portfolio includes everything related to commerce and the accumulation of wealth through free and fair trade, as well as the beneficial use of wealth to improve civilization. Those that venerate and appease her included merchants from lowly peddlers to the wealthy owners of trading companies, investors, accountants, entrepreneurs, caravan guides, warehouse owners, philanthropists, deal-makers, moneylenders, and so on. Waukeen was also the goddess of illicit trade and the patron of many smugglers, fences, black marketeers, and "businessmen" on the shady side of commerce. Collectively, her worshipers were known as Waukeenar.
Widely admired and envied before the Time of Troubles
, the Merchant's Friend's church suffered greatly during the Interdeium of Waukeen
, a span of several years in which she was missing and presumed dead. Although Waukeen has begun revitalizing the faith of her worshipers, the opinion of the outside world may take far longer to recover. All sorts of rumors about Waukeen's disappearance and return are still being banded about, with allegations that she is really dead or that she consorted with fiends being the most damaging and persisent tales told.
Clerics travel the world aiding merchants or staff temples in large cities that serve as money lending and changing houses, safe storage warehouses, and (covertly) fences for stolen goods—all in exchange for fees. Waukeen's clergy members are under orders to donate 25% of their monetary income to the church, to invest in all enterprises that have any reasonable hope of succeeding if they are run by devout worshipers of the deity, and to consider other investments if approached by entrepreneurs willing to make substantial offerings to the deity. Waukeenar are not above manipulating trade by means of rumors, buy-ups, hired border brigands, and the like, but strong public criticism of such unsubtle tactics in the past has led the church to officially deny undertaking such things and to order its clerics to do such work only with the greatest subtlety, so that no one who suspects their hands at work will be able to prove anything. Personal enrichment is the sign of a wise cleric, but this must be done through arms-length investments, not openly unlawful acts. Clerics often multiclass as bards or rogues to enhance their contacts and negotiating skills.
Waukeen's clergy members are among the most lavishly dressed, rivaling those of Sune, Milil, and Lathander in their rich robes. Waukeenar ritual garb is gaudy and ornate, with white silk undergarments, slashed and fluted sleeves and boots, pince-nez and lorgnettes (if the clerics have any weakness of vision); various useful items dangling from silk ribbons, and tall gilded and gem covered miters. Tunics, trousers, hose, or tabards may be worn as desired (or as the season makes practical), but these are always of the finest, most costly fabrics and furs, dyed and arranged for the most vibrant display possible. The entire ensemble is be covered by a gilded scarlet cloak heavy with the weight of thousands of wheels, plates, clasps, and flourishes of various precious metals. The costume is finished off with white gloves and a gilded rod or staff, which is either magical or ornately carved and set with gems. High clergy usually wear coronets with their miters, and outshine many monarchs with their garb.
The Waukeenar faith is a hierarchical one that has traditionally been led by a single pontiff, known by the rank of Holycoin
. In the true tradition of Waukeen's faith, competition for advancement involves forging alliances, cementing trade deals, and other forms of mercantile activity in preparation for the day when the counting of the coins is begun. Novices are known as Telchar
among Waukeenar. In ascending order, the ranks a priest may rise through after she or he is confirmed are: Coin
, Grand Trabbar
, Grand Syndar
(a general term for high clergy), and finally the Holycoin
Temples of the Merchant's Friend are almost always located in cities where commerce is in its fullest flower. Temples of Waukeen are built in many architectural styles, but a preference for ornate decoration is prevalent no matter whether the building is a soaring cathedral or a classical temple featuring a large portico and many columns. Such houses of worship are always constructed with the finest materials and with no expense spared. Decoration in Waukeen's temples covers the floors, walls, roof pillars, and ceiling if possible. The decorative elements are baroque, intricate, brightly colored, and feature as much precious metal and as many gemstones as can be fitted into the design. However, despite their lavish adornment, inside and out, typically underneath the gold leaf is an all but impregnable fortress more secure than a king's treasury. Such temples provide wealthy merchants who give generous tithes to the temples sumptuous cleric-guarded accommodations in town during their stays. Such temples can also be rented by the faithful for lavish fetes, useful for impressing potential trading partners and upstaging rivals.
Clerics of Waukeen pray for spells just before sundown and must initiate their prayers by throwing a coin into a ceremonial bowl or a body of water.
The first ritual of high holiness is the Cleaving
, wherein nonbelievers first entering the faith, people entering their novitiate (novices becoming priests), or priests rising in rank dedicate themselves to the goddess. This involves entering the church covered in dirt, and in this state going to the altar on one's knees, carrying or dragging (use of a sledge and body harness is allowed) one's own weight in gold. The gold is placed on the altar, the bowl is then kissed by the supplicant, and as a hymn to the goddess is sung by all, stone covers in the floor roll back to reveal a warm bath of spiced wine. As the supplicant enters it, the offering bowl levitates and pours out its contents of liquid gold (actually holy water laced with flecks of gold) into the waters. The supplicant bathes until clean but sparkling with gold as hymns to the goddess continue. Priests then come forward to allow the person to modestly be dried and clothed in new grand, gaudy garb. After this, a feast begins.
The best-known ceremony of holiness is the bestowal of the Mark of the Lady
, a gold chevron in the form of a giant coin of Waukeen. This is done to reward priests or faithful worshipers of the goddess who have achieved great success or distinction in their endeavors (in other words, who have enriched the church and/or their communities, not merely themselves). The Favored One ends up with the coin on a sash, and all who attend such a ceremony receive a single tiny gold coin (some people have three or more of the heavy, fragile, highly prized gold coins, which cost 450gp or more due to the gold that goes into them). Thieves are warned that Waukeenar seem to have a spell that allows them to trace such coins. On two occasions when the gift coins were stolen, clergy members unerringly followed the thieves and recovered the wealth (in one case from a very elaborate hiding place) before slaying the thieves for their temerity and sacrilegious behavior.
The church of Waukeen holds many festivals, and such holy rituals such as the Cleaving
and the bestowal of the Mark of the Lady
are usually performed at one of them. Features of such gatherings always include assembly at a spot where hymns are sung to the goddess (often a pond or well where faithful worshipers can throw in their coins and pray), a parade in full finery from that place to the temple (accompanied by music, and sometimes by unwanted pranksters who throw stones, eggs, and refuse at the gaudily-dressed clergy), and a solemn sermon, any holy rite scheduled, and then a fast that goes on into the wee hours. If no holy rite is scheduled to be celebrated, then one is not held and its place in the service is taken by a public Prayer to the Lady Waukeen, given by the senior priest present. The feast involves much merriment because of the freely flowing drink and is always accompanied by hired entertainment—jugglers, dancers, musicians, storytellers, contortionists, trained animals with their keepers, and hedge wizards who do sleight-of-hand tricks and minor cantrips.
Over the course of the year, the church celebrates the following festivals, honoring specific areas:
- Accounting (Cold Counting Comfort on Hammer 15)
- Textiles (Great Weave on Alturiak 20)
- Wealth (High Coin on 30 Ches)
- Generosity (Spheres on Tarsakh 10)
- Benefactors (Sammardach on Mirtul 12)
- Finery (Brightbuckle on Kythorn 21)
- Deal-making (Sornyn Flamerule 3-5)
- Bounty (Huldark on Elesias 17)
- Magic (Spryndalstar on Eleint 7)
- Guards (Marthoon on Marpenoth 1)
- Craft (Tehennteahan on Uktar 10)
- The Dark Side of Wealth - a solemn rememberance of the evils of excess (Orbar on Nightal 25)
OrdersThe Harlot's Coin Heresy is an evil splinter-sect of Waukeen's worship that has originated due to cross-pollination with Graz'zt-worshipping demon cultists, and Waukeen's dissappearance. In a nutshell, the members of this heretical sect believe that Waukeen was imprisoned by Graz'zt due to failing to pay back debts she owed him, and ultimately only was freed from his layer of the Abyss by selling off her divine portfolios (and her sexual favors), making Graz'zt the true god of commerce and trade.
Mercantile trade is the best road to enrichment. Increasing the general prosperity buys ever greater civilization and happiness for intelligent folk worldwide, bringing people closer to the golden age that lies ahead. Destroy no trade goods, raise no restrictions to trade, and propagate no malicious rumors that could harm someone's commerce. Challenge and refute unproven rumors that could negatively impact trade when heard. Give money freely to beggars and businesses, for the more coin everyone has, the greater the urge to spend and trade rather than hoard. To worship Waukeen is to know wealth. To guard your funds is to venerate her, and to share them well seeds your future success. Call on her in trade, and she will guide you in wise commerce. The bold find gold, the careful keep it, and the timid yield it up.
Waukeen is portrayed as a slender, young woman with long, lustrous golden hair; always splendidly dressed. Some depictions included a pair of golden lions resting at her feet. Her avatar is usually 10ft tall and typically has eyes that appear as solid gold. She wears a gown woven from strips of precious metals polished to a gleaming finish and sprinkled with all manner of gemstones. Her sash is of spun gold and her cloak is a lattice of gold coins. On her feet are boots of laced pearls with gold soles.
On occasions, where subtlety is more appropriate, the Golden Lady manifests as a sprouting of daffodils to give a sign of favor, hope, or inspiration. Often she provides money in unexpected places, like a coin, face-up, to indicate the correct path at an intersection, or nuggets of gold, citrines, pyrite (also known as fool's gold—perhaps as a sign of disfavor). Slightly less subtle is a pair of golden eyes observing from a curtain of impenetrable darkness; or a large stack of gold coins that writh like a snake, flying or wrapping itself around something or someone to which she wants to draw attention before it shatters and scatters, often causing a scramble to collect them. All such tokens from the goddess are highly valued by Waukeenar as "divine essence of the goddess". When more interaction or aid is needed she can send creatures such as golden-colored cats, lock lurkers, golden lions, palomino horses, eagles (preferably golden ones), or extraplanar creatures such as ferrumachs and plumachs from the Outlands.
At the time of the Time of Troubles, Waukeen was still a relatively young deity with few enemies other than Mask, whose portfolio was naturally opposed to hers. As such, it was quite unexpected that Waukeen was never seen during the Time of Troubles and never reclaimed her mantle following its conclusion. The truth behind her disappearance is that she conspired with Lliira to leave her divine mantle behind and escape to the Astral Plane with the aid of a deity from another world. Once on the Astral Plane, she intended to make her way back to her realm via the Abyss through the purchased aid of the demon lord Graz'zt. However, Graz'zt betrayed her, making her his prisoner, and it was not until she was rescued by daring adventurers in 1371 DR that she regained her divinity. Waukeen has since revitalized and reassured her worshipers of her existence and her restored divine power. She is very closely allied with Lliira (who held her portfolio in trust while she was imprisoned), Gond (whose inventions she appreciates), and Shaundakul (whose portfolio complements hers). Aside from Mask, her only true enemy is Graz'zt, against whom she has sworn her eventual revenge.
HistoryWaukeen was among the many gods who made their influence on Toril made after the Fall of Netheril, her faith spreading with the expansion of trade and the thriving merchant class.
During the Time of Troubles, Waukeen, like most other deities, wished to return to her realm and take advantage of the situation as soon as possible. She eventually met with Lliira, and two started to make their way to the celestial stairway, with Waukeen planning on bribing Helm to get back to her realm. The plan failed, with Waukeen eventually realizing there was nothing she could entice the Lawful Stupid god with.
After that, the two goddesses retreated to form a new plan. Waukeen eventually concocted a scheme to smuggle herself back her realm through the Astral Plane and the Lower Planes, by dealing with their denizens, calling in favors, and bribery. Through a long and twisted chain of contacts, the Oeridian god Celestian promised to help the goddess in exchange for paying off the debt he owed, but was unwilling to help Lliira, in fear of the added risk. Ao had anticipated of the gods attempting to something like this, however, and bound them to Toril itself. Waukeen, believing it was her divinity that was binding her to Toril, eventually asked for Lliira to take her divinity until she had returned to her realm.
After succesfully being transported to the Astral plane, she begun her long trek through the Lower planes. Once she reached the Abyss, the minions of Graz'zt abducted her, with the Demon Prince seeking to transfer her portfolio to his daughter Thraxxia.
As the Time of Troubles ended, Waukeenar's priests were distraught that they were unable to gain proper access to their powers, or speak to their goddess, with Lliira eventually sending a prophet of hers to the many temples of Waukeen, telling them of what happened to the goddess. Eventually Waukeen was located by a priest of hers, and a group of adventurers climbed the celestial staircase to the Abyss, and saved her from Graz'zt. With Waukeen's return to her realm in the Outlands, Lliira gave her portfolio back to her as promised, and Waukeen begun the work on recovering her church.