Valkur, the Captain of the Waves, is an exarch of Tempus, patron of sailors, ships, favorable winds, and naval combat.
Valkur can pilot any sailing craft in any conditions, and he never shies away from a challenge. His moods are as mercurial as the weather, but he is always incredibly loyal to his crew. He is usually jolly, always lucky, emphasizes his points by shaking his fist in the air, and has a great belly laugh. Valkur never holds a grudge, but when angered, his voice cracks like rolling thunder. Valkur epitomizes the daring sea captain who can sail his ship through anything the Deities of Fury can unleash.
Worshipers, Clergy & Temples
The church of Valkur is only loosely organized, with clergy members coming together to worship only when serving on the same ship or in port at the same time. Some clerics of Valkur captain sailing ships that sail the length of the Sword Coast or across the Sea of Fallen Stars. Most serve as officers on some ship or other. Few clerics of Valkur serve on pirate ships, but many enjoy serving their homelands as privateers. While in port, Valkur's clerics provide care and small amounts of monetary support to sailors down on their luck and to families whose chief breadwinner has been lost at sea. Other clerics run shipyards or administer fleets of merchant ships. Valkur's clerics are also fond of contributing to (if not totally sponsoring) seaborne exploration and long-distance trading expeditions because of the challenges and opportunities they present. Many clerics multiclass as fighters, or rogues.
In some areas where Umberlee's church is strong, sailors dare not mention Valkur's name for fear of angering the Queen of the Deeps, but such attitudes are becoming less common as Valkur continues to defy the Sea Queen without significant retribution. In general, most coastal populations view Valkur as a rising power who fights for them against the Gods of Fury, albeit one who is somewhat unreliable and hence cannot be counted on without fairly consistent entreaties to focus his attentions.
Since the clergy is a reflection of the god, they strive to appear tranquil, slow to anger, and not prone to sudden changes of plans, opinions, or mindsets. Their reliability is impeccable, since they want others to see that the faith is solid and trustworthy. Their patience is hard earned, because Valkur isn't as trustworthy as a devotee might wish, and the priests need to live with their god's chaotic behavior.
When in port, priests of Valkur garb themselves in flowing robes of white and blue with silver trim that flap in the wind. At sea, Valkur's priests dress in typical sailor attire, allowing them to move about freely on a ship. This includes loose fitting shirts, preferably an ocean blue color, and breeches. They bear a small vial of sea water on their person at all times as a holy symbol, and typically wear a wooden medallion in the shape of a shield. Due to the impediments of armor to a swimmer, priest of Valkur tend not to wear any.
When adventuring, priorities of Valkur favor light armor and weapons common to sailors. If they can afford it, Valkur's clergy members have suits of chain mail personally crafted at triple the normal cost that can be released by special catches in a single round so that they do not encumber the wearer in water. Priest of Valkur use clubs, staves, daggers, tridents, and cutlasses in battle.
The recent rise in prominence of Valkur's faith is attributable in part to the efforts of specialty priests, known as wavetamers. Within each temple hierarchy, priests are strictly ranked, but priests of different temples rarely recognize each other's position. Titles vary from region to region, but most temples use the following hierarchy: Novices are known as swabs. In ascending order of rank, priests are known as Gob, Seaman, Sailor, Boatswain, Third Mate, Second Mate, First Mate, Captain, Commodore, and Admiral. The highest-ranking priest of any temple is known as High Captain, regardless of level.
Valkur's temples are always found in city port districts, typically right on the wharf. Above ground, they tend to be partially open-air structures that let the wind and rain pass through freely, especially in their sanctuaries. Temples of Valkur are marked by tall ironwood columns reminiscent of a ship's masts and festooned with vibrantly hued sails that flutter and flap night and day in an endless rustle or booming cacophony. Oceanside temples are always encrusted with salt and grime. Many sailors who are down on their luck spend their nights in port amidst the columns of the local temple of Valkur; hence, such temples can be rather rowdy environments. Below ground, temples of Valkur resemble a ship's hold, with many rooms storing vast amounts of sea rations and other supplies that the priests donate to destitute sailors of the city and their families as needed.
Clerics of Valkur pray for their spells at around dawn, whenever the first hint of a breeze begins to stir. The church of Valkur celebrates only one holy day per year. The Shattering is always held in early spring, but the exact date varies from year to year. The festival is held to mark the end of winter and the beginning of the sailing season in the North and is celebrated even in the South where the winter ice does not block or trouble ocean travel. Valkur is said to communicate to his High Captains the exact date of the festival each year, and it often varies from city to city. The Shattering is marked by the unfurling of many new sails throughout the port districts or coastal cities and the christening of at least one new ship that then departs for its maiden voyage crewed by Valkur's clergy. Valkur's clergy regularly perform over a dozen separate ceremonies in the course of their duties. Most of these rituals are related to ships and voyages, including ceremonies at a ship's christening, before departing on a voyage, when arriving at a new port, and when returning to the home port, among others.
Valkur's temples sponsor a fleet of war ships garrisoned by the Marines of the Seven Seas. This relatively modest navy has ships stationed in many ports along the Sea of Swords and the Sea of Fallen Stars. Dedicated to combating monsters of the deeps, the Marines have destroyed numerous dragon turtles, giant octopi, krakens, morkoths, quelzarns, vurgens, and other sea monsters that preyed on shipping.
One sect in Valkur's service, known as the Sailors of the Heavenly Seas, have left Faerûn to sail to the edge of the world. These ships rarely return to Faerûn and view Valkur as a god of traveling and exploration more than a god of the watery seas.
There is nothing more invigorating than challenging the elements. The feel of wind and spray on one's face and the deck pitching beneath one's feet is the greatest feeling in the world. If humankind is to expand its reach, daring men and women must defy the odds and dare the impossible. The thrill of exploration is sweeter than wine or rum. There is always risk, but without risk life is empty. Life is to be lived and damn the consequences. One's loyalties are first to one's mates, then to one's ship, and then to Valkur, who protects all sailors. Rely not on Valkur's hand to always extract you from difficulties, for such is coddling and leads to a lack of challenge and the room to grow. Rather, Valkur helps those actively solving their own problems by helping their plans work.
Valkur sometimes uses dolphins as his sign that his presence is near.
On extremely rare occassions, Valkur appears in the open seas, as a transparent figure made of water.
Relationships & History
Valkur's philosophy often put him in conflict with the capricious ocean-goddess Umberlee. In fact, it is believed that Valkur may have once been a mortal sailor who challenged Umberlee and emerged victorious—earning the Bitch Queens wrath.
He was a sworn enemy of the Deities of Fury—a group of evil deities led by Talos, the Destroyer, and included Auril, the Frostmaiden; Malar, the Beastlord; and Umberlee, the Bitch Queen.
He was friendly with Selûne, who guided sailors across the sea. The Red Knight, and through her Tempus, is trying to persuade Valkur to take more of an interest in the disposition of naval conflicts, but he feels his primary responsibilities lie in the protection of sailors.
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Valkur appears as a transparent figure made of water, resembling a human male.
In the port district, at the end of a large wharf is a two-story, wooden structure, resembling a boathouse. There are many large open windows, allowing the windy bay air to flow easily through the structure, but there are shutters that can be closed if a storm rolls in. The building is encrusted with salt stains from the sea. The front doors are also open, showing a large interior chamber about 30'x40'. The walls are lined with tall ironwood columns reminiscent of a ship's masts and festooned with vibrantly hued sails that flutter and flap. Wooden benches fill the room with a wooden altar near the back. Doors to the left lead to a storage area. And to the right is a large room that looks to be a barracks of some kind.
Valkur's cleric is a fit, middle-aged human male, with wavy brown hair and dark eyes. He is wearing a flowing blue robe with a silver trim that gently flaps in the wind. Around his neck, on a thin chain, is a wooden medallion in the shape of a shield. At his waist is a rope belt with a cutlass hanging down.