Solonor Thelandira is the elven god of hunting, archery, and survival in wild and harsh places. He teaches his followers the arts of hunting; including archery, moving unseen and hiding in the wild places. He watches over the borders of wilderness and farmed land and seeks to maintain the balance between them.
Solonor always keeps his word and so does not offer it lightly. He often comes across as grim due to the complexities of his duty making compromises between those who want to exploit nature's gifts and those who wish to preserve nature in an unaltered state.
Solonor is primarily revered by elven and half-elven rangers, hunters, woodsmen, and fighters. In particular, elven hunters appeal to him for better catches of game and elven warriors trapped in hostile territory call on him for aid. In recent centuries a few humans, primarily hunters, have joined his faith as well.
Solonor is worshipped chiefly in elven ruled lands, such as Celene, Highfolk, Sunndi, and the Duchy of Ulek, though he is also worshipped in realms with large elven populations, such as Ahlissa, Geoff, Keoland, and Veluna.
The church of Solonor is a disparate one, with little communication among groups of clerics except to exchange information. Solonor’s clerics serve as scouts and archers in elven armies, as bowyers, fletchers, archery instructors in elven settlements, and as hunters and providers for far-flung rural communities. Among those Fair Folk who largely eschew the trappings of civilization, members of Solonor’s clergy preside over initiation ceremonies into adulthood. Hawkeyes serve the Great Archer by working to maintain the balance of nature. Solonor’s clerics are deadly enemies of those who worship Malar or Talos, and they often join forces with those who serve Rillifane Railathil in order to exterminate followers of those evil gods whenever they make their presence known. Many clerics and druids multiclass as rangers.
VestmentsThe ceremonial garb of Solonor's clergy consists of suits of silvered chain mail—elven chain mail, if available—with silver cloaks and leaf green hoods. The holy symbol of the faith is either an oversized arrowhead at least three inches in length embossed on both faces with Solonor's symbol, a silver medallion embossed with the head of a stag, or three feathers attached to a leather disk hung from a leather cord.
Outside of ceremonial occasions, and when adventuring, clerics tend to wear leaf green hooded cloaks and leather boots (or elven cloaks and boots, if available). Solonor's followers favor bows of any sort (except crossbows), daggers, knives, and long swords, spears. Elven bows are particularly prized ,as are magical bows, arrows, and other archery equipment. Most members of Solonor's priesthood wear leather armor, studded leather armor, or silenced elven chain mail.
HierarchyNovices of Solonor are known as Fledglings. Full priests of Keen-Eye are known as Hawkeyes. In ascending order of rank, the titles used by Solonoran priests are Fletcher, Bowyer, Archer, Gray Wolf, Snow Tiger, Grizzly Bear, Blood Hawk, Fire Falcon, and Gold Eagle. High-ranking priests have unique individual titles. Specialty priests are simply known as Rangers.
TemplesTemples of Solonor can be found at the heart of deep forests, only accessible via carefully hidden and guarded woodland paths. The Great Archer's houses of worship are a mixture of natural and carefully sculpted features emphasizing the competing principles that Solonor tries to balance. Most temples are cultivated in a grove of trees carefully tended from seedlings to form two or more concentric rings of forest giants. Each tree is grown so as to form one or more natural hollows within its trunk at various elevations, and vine rope bridges are threaded through each tightly packed grove to connect the chambers in the heart of each tree. At ground level, roots, rocks, earth, plants are woven into near impregnable defensive fortifications to ensure the sanctity of the temple perimeter. Earthen chambers are hewn from the dirt beneath the grove, nestled among the tightly woven root structures. In the surrounding woods, trees are carefully planted so as to create narrow, spokelike paths radiating outward from the central grove. Although not immediately obvious to casual observation, the plant growth along such paths is cultivated so as to impede movement but permit the flight of arrows, thus forming natural shooting galleries in which invaders are easily targeted. Solonor's temples contain both ceremonial chambers adorned with hunting trophies and hollows with more practical applications such as crafting and repairing bows and arrows, the curing of venison and other meats, the tanning of hides, and the carving of bones to form tools and figurines.
RitualsClerics and druids of Solonor pray for their spells whenever the moon is highest in the sky during the day. Solonor's faithful generally eschew frivolous celebrations, considering them unnecessary distractions to the tasks at hand. Once per lunar month, under the soft light of the full moon, the Great Archer’s faithful assemble to give thanks for the skills Solonor has taught and the bounty thus provided. Hunters sacrifice hunting trophies that cannot otherwise be employed, and unbroken arrows engraved with the symbol of Solonor are fired into the sky to poke holes I the firmament and allow the light of Solonor's teachings to shine forth on his people (these arrows are never fired in a direction that would cause them to fall where they might hurt someone, including straight up). Each Shieldmeet, known to the Fair Folk as the Day of Corellon's Peace, the followers of Solonor assemble to compete in great archery meets. The winner of such contests are said to receive Keen-Eye's blessing.
OrdersSolonor's church is affiliated with a large number of military orders, few of which number more than several score warriors. The Stag Hunters, the Fellowship of the Fleeting Hart, the Wolves of Dawn, the Shadowsheafs, the Knights of the Green Bow, the Keen-eyed Hunters, and the Archer Knights are particularly famous examples of bands of elven rangers, fighters, and/or priests dedicated to serving the Great Archer. Many less renowned bands stalk the shadowed forest paths of Faerûn as well, guarding the woodlands, the Fair Folk, and their allies who dwell within.
Walk in harmony with nature and oppose the efforts of those who would disturb her delicate balance. Preserve the wild places from excessive encroachment, and work with those who would settle the land to preserve the beauty that first attracted them. Hunt only for sustenance, culling the old and the weak from the herd so that all species may prosper. Like an arrow in flight, it is difficult to arrest the consequences of an action. Choose your targets carefully, for an ill-considered action can have a long-reaching impact.
Solonor manifests as a lean and muscular male elf clad in a cloak of leaves. Wolf, a Beast Totem Spirit worshipped by wild elves, was often depicted at the side of Solonor in religious iconography. He carries the magical elven longbow "Longshot," that can fire as far as the horizon, accompanied by the Quiver of Endless Arrows. He also wore boots of varied tracks and a necklace of adaptation.
Solonor is on good terms with the Seldarine, especially with Fenmarel Mestarine. In fact some say Fenmarel and Solonor are brothers. He works with Shevarash to defend the elven homelands from the drow but does not have that god’s hatred and bitterness of heart. Solonor and Rillifane Rallathil work closely to preserve and protect the natural world, despite their differing attitudes to hunting for sport and the spread of civilisation.
Among the non-elven powers, Solonor is closely allied with other powers concerned with the natural world, including Skerrit the Forester, and the various Animal Lords, particularly those concerned with hunting. In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Solonor is also closely allied with Silvanus the Oakfather, and Mielikki, Lady of Forests, another goddess with which he has been romantically linked.
Solonor despises powers that favor despoliation over nature, and actively opposes the efforts of such gods and their followers. His greatest foes are Malar and Talos, followed closely by Lolth and members of the Unseelie Court.