Gond Wonderbringer is the god of blacksmiths, woodworkers, inventors, and engineers. Gond transforms ideas into concrete form and inspires mortals to make new things. He is venerated by humans and gnomes (who know him as Nebelun) alike. In the lands of Durpar, Estagund, and Var the Golden the deity is known as Zionil, patron of inventors, craft folk, and creators.
Gond cares only for the act of creation, playing little heed to the consequences of letting loose his inventions into the world. Some in the church of Mystra oppose the Wonderbringer for holding technology over the Art, but in truth Gond views magic as simply another tool by which he can create new devices. Gond is always making new things. He has a constant need for bizarre components as well as raw materials for his work, and so may overlook shady sponsors for specific jobs provided that they pay well in materials, knowledge he can use, or future favors. He can be distracted, businesslike, sarcastic, or patronizing as well as incredibly helpful and brilliant. He is dedicated to his faithful, and though he sometimes does not immediately respond to them because he is busy, he always ensures that their needs are met.
The church of Gond is largely tolerated across Faerûn. Its members are found in human-ruled bastions of both good and evil, as well as in an increasing number of rock gnome communities. Most merchants cultivate strong relationships with the local clergy of the Wonderbringer, in hopes of acquiring and selling their latest inventions at great profit. However, at times the followers of Gond inadvertently create something that upsets existing markets, earning them sudden and unexpected hostility from other faiths.
Since the Time of Troubles, interest in and worship of Gond is on the rise, but this has brought increased attacks from both rival clergy and those who simply fear new inventions. Gondarism is the official state religion of the island nation of Lantan, which is also a hotbed of invention and new devices. Men tend to outnumber women in both Gondar clergy and laity, but there is no impediment to or prejudice against females rising in the ranks of the Gondar. Members of the Gondar faith are mainly human, but more and more gnomes are being accepted into the church, especially in the wake of the form that Gond's avatar took during the Gondswar.
In recent years, the church of Gond has earned the ire of rulers across Faerûn for introducing smoke powder and firearms to the realms. Most view such weapons as a threat to their authority, as they approximate the power of a wizard's spells yet are useble by commoners. Gond's priests keep the formulas for smoke powder and various sealants, cleansers, and lubricants secret. They sell small jars of all of these as they travel Faerûn, making a lot of money thereby as well as by selling buckles, small brass bells, mortars and pestles, and various monocles and lenses. The special glass jars they use to store smoke powder and other formulas were formerly made only in Lantan. They have proven so popular that rival makers have sprung up in Calimshan and the Tashalar. To protect church trade secrets, Gondar priests are charged to work against these rivals by sabotage, diplomacy, and financial influence, whenever they can covertly do so.
The church encourages making a handsome living in service to the Wonderbringer, however, for how better to demonstrate the rewards of following the Way of Gond? As they travel, Gondar clergy establish caches, investments, and alliances, and grab samples of any new inventions they come across. It is their duty to assist inventors and innovators and to file regular reports with the nearest Master (one who leads a religious community or tends a holy site) by means of messengers of the faith
Priests of Gond are much in demand as builders, especially of vaulted and buttressed temples dedicated to other gods. Because of these temple engineering and construction contracts, the faith of Gond is growing in wealth and influence. Some clerics multiclass as rogues, but only out of an interest in lock picks and other small tools. Many become techsmiths.
VestmentsGondar clergy wear saffron (redish-orange) ceremonial vestments with a crimson collar and stole. Over the right or left shoulder, they wear a leather sash ending in a large pouch. The sash is dotted with small metal tools, gears, wire, cord, locks, hooks, hasps, buckles, and bits of steel, tin, and wool—in short, anything that might prove interesting or useful in a pinch (including lock picks for those skilled at such things). Their vestments also include enormous sunhats and belts of large, linked metal medallions. They wear Gond's holy symbol as a pendant fashioned of bone, brass, bronze, or ivory.
In dangerous situations, Gondar wear standard armor (along with their leather sash), but generally they prefer the protection of 10 or 12 big fighters. Most often they wear practical clothing hung about with baldrics and pouches crammed with useful supplies. Most priests of Gond wear bulky rings that function as knuckledusters (1d3 dmg) and can also produce the equivalent of a cosh from their gear (1d4 dmg) and three or four knives of various sorts. (Removable boot-heel knives are a great favorite among the Gondar.) Few Gondar priests would steal, but most have and can use files and bolt cutters, and Gondar are proficient with lockpicks. Increasingly, Gondar priests have also taken to carrying small metal flasks of smoke powder sealed against sparks and damp and appropriate wicks to use with them to make explosive missile weapons when trouble arises (30/60 feet, 5' radius 2d4 explosive/fire dmg).
HierarchyClergy refer to themselves as the Consecrated of Gond, and may speak of other Gondar priests as "fellow Consecrates," but their titles of rank are simple: Wonderer (novice), Seeker Postulant (priest in training), Seeker after Small Things (confirmed priest), Greater Seeker, Seeker of the Twelfth Order, Seeker of the Eleventh Order, and so on up to Seeker of the First Order, High Seeker (a title held by all senior clergy), Master (leader of a religious community or one who tends a holy site), Artificer (one who has been personally rewarded and named by Gond for special service), and High Artificer (the supreme priest of the faith). Though Gondar may act independently in their duty of encouraging inventions, their religious hierarchy is ordered and obedience to a superior is unquestioning.
TemplesTemples of Gond tend to be imposing stone structures, boxy in shape and encircled with stout-pillared porticos. Little decoration adorns the interior aside from sprawling displays of items created by members of the clergy. Some such exhibits are of historical interest, while others represent the latest creative endeavors of master crafters. The central altar of the temple always involves a massive anvil surrounded by endlessly spinning cogs in a great machine. Backrooms serve as workshops, crammed with projects both ongoing and abandoned.
RitualsClerics of Gond pray for their spells in the morning before the morning meal. Daily rituals to Gond are simple: muttered prayers upon rising and retiring, which are often incorporated into dressing or disrobing, and a longer prayer of thanks at the main meal. Clerics offer a special prayer of thanks and dedication of their work before commencing any new creation (as opposed to repair or maintenance).
Their one holy festival is the Ippensheir, named for Ippen, the first great cleric of Gond, and celebrated during the twelve days immediately following Greengrass. All clergy of Gond and his devout worshipers gather at a temple, abbey, or holy site where a famed inventor or craftsmen once worked. It is a time of feasting, drinking, and revelry, during which they show inventions to and share innovations with their fellow Gondar. Some visit as many gatherings of the faithful as they can during this time, using a network of portals maintained by the church to link major defensible holy houses.
One strange practice of the faith requires that Gondar make two copies of any new machine or tool they discover, if possible. One copy is hidden away against the prying eyes of thieves or vandals for later display to fellow Gondar, and the other is smashed - or preferably, burned - as part of the Sacred Unmaking, a prayer of offering to Gond. This ceremony reinforces Gond's dominion over both constructive and destructive engineering.
OrdersThe church of Gond has no affiliated knightly orders. It does have a great many honorary orders and societies within its ranks. These are usually founded to recognize the works of Gondar working in a particular specialty and to promote the easy exchange of ideas between those qualified in a field while preventing trade or church secrets from leaking out to competitors. Just a few of these societies include the Order of Puissant Stonemasons and Stonecarvers, the Holy Order of Most Skilled Architects and Bridgemakers, the Armorers of the Wonderbringer, the Most Arcane Order of Gearmakers, Clockmakers, and Automationists, the Society of Creative Castle Design and Construction, and the Industrious Brothers and Sisters of Carpentry, Cabinetry, Puppetry, and Toymaking.
Actions count. Intentions and thought are one thing, but it is the result that is most important. Talk is for others, while those who serve Gond do. Make new things that work. Become skilled at forging or some craft, and practice making things and various means of joining and fastening until you can create devices to suit any situation or space. Question and challenge the unknown with new devices. New inventions should be elegant and useful. Practice experimentation and innovation in the making of tools and the implementation of processes, and encourage these virtues in others through direct aid, sponsorship, and diplomatic support. Keep records of your strivings, ideas, and sample devices so that others may follow your work and improve on what you leave behind and encourage others, such as farmers and hunters, to think of new tools, improved ways of crafting and using their existing gear, and new ways of doing things. Observe, acquire, and store safely the makings of others and spread such knowledge among the Consecrated of Gond. Discuss ideas and spread them so that all may see the divine light that is the Wonderbringer.
Gond sometimes appears as a short, slight man with straw-blond hair, other times as a burly, red-faced smith, and other times as a gnome. In all his avatars he has sharp, dark eyes, a forge-scarred face, and alert, inquisitive features. He wears a scorched smith's smock over leather clothes. He wields a mighty hammer called Craftmaster, which he uses for smith work and as a weapon. Gond's avatars are rarely seen outside his temple; he prefers to manifest before mortals in a lesser manner.
Gond is an enigmatic deity. He serves Oghma in the thirst for knowledge, but is so independent of his superior that many forget their relationship. He is friendly with Lathander, Waukeen, and Tempus, for his inventions relate to creativity, profit, and war, respectively. His only true foe is Talos, whose unhindered destruction threatens not only Gond's inventions but also his dominion over devices of destruction. Along with Milil, Deneir, and Oghma, Gond was one of the Deities of Knowledge and Invention.