Friday Night D&D
Many priests of Waukeen pay a tithe of 25% of the money they make to the church. This does not include church-bestowed wages or stipends or money collected for casting spells upon worshipers while working at a temple or shrine (since this money goes to the church, not the priest), but does include profits from investments, treasure gained while adventuring, rewards, fees, etc.
The clergy members of Waukeen are known as Waukeenar, but most other faiths call them “coinspinners.” This name comes from the fact that they are not misers, but wild spenders, displaying the bounty of the goddess to all. The church is approximately 40% clerics and 60% specialty priests. It is organized in a loosely hierarchical manner, and all temples of Waukeen in Faerûn answer to one head of the church who holds the title of Holycoin. Specialty priests of the faith are known as goldeyes because their pupils turn that blazing hue due to the touch of the goddess. Goldeyes are among the most successful prospectors and tomb-treasure finders in Faerûn.
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, Abreeant, Counter, Trabbar, Investor, Halanthi, Lender, Syndo, Manycoins, Grand Trabbar, Spender, Grand Syndar, Overgold (a general term for high clergy), and Holycoin.
Temples of Waukeen are built in many architectural styles, but a preference for ornateness and ornamentation is prevalent no matter whether the building is a soaring cathedral or a classical temple featuring a large portico and many columns. 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 logically or illogically fitted into the design.
] Waukeen teaches that mercantile trade is the best road to enrichment. Increasing the general prosperity of all buys ever-greater civilization and happiness for intelligent folk Faerûnwide, bringing everyone close step by step to the Golden Age that Waukeen says lies ahead—if people conduct themselves rightly. It is the duty of all who believe in the Merchants’ Friend to destroy no trade goods, raise no restrictions to trade, and propagate no malicious rumors that may harm trade (such as saying that grapes from Chessenta are poisoned or that Cormyrean carved furniture contains boring worms that Cormytes are trying to export to the lands of competitors). Indeed, such rumors are to be challenged when heard and refuted if possible.
Faithful of Waukeen should give money freely to beggars and businesses alike, both to demonstrate the bounty of the goddess and the wealth to be gained by service to her and to increase the free coin in everyone’s hands. If everyone has more than enough coin to spend, the tendency to hide and hoard is less and the urge to buy this or that all the greater—and more things are bought, and everyone is the richer. Through riches the lives of all are made better, and the Golden Age draws nearer.
Telchar of Waukeen are charged: “Worship me, and you shall know wealth. To guard your funds is to venerate Waukeen and to share them well seeds your future success. Call on me in trade, and I will be there. The bold find gold, the careful keep it—and the timid yield it up.”Activities:[/b] Waukeenar travel the world aiding merchants or staff temples in large cities that serve as moneylending and changing houses, safe storage warehouses, and (covertly) fences for stolen goods—all in exchange for fees. Temples also provide wealthy merchants who give generous tithes to the temples sumptuous priest-guarded accommodations in town during their stays.
Waukeen’s clergy members are under orders to invest in all enterprises that have any reasonable hope of succeeding if they are run by devout worshipers of the goddess and to consider other investments if approached by entrepreneurs willing to make substantial offerings to the goddess. 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 of such things—and to order its priests to 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 priest, but this must be done through arms-length investments, not openly unlawful acts.Days/Important Ceremonies: [/b] The usual altar to Waukeen is a plain stone block or wooden table on which is set a blessed golden bowl. As gold coins and other riches are added to it, the bowl rises off the table, levitating due to an enchantment that becomes stronger in direct proportion to the nonorganic weight added to it. (Such a bowl can be rowed about without the mover having to take the weight of its contents and used to shift heavy stone blocks, rocks, or furniture, but no use of it is to be made that allows nonclergy members of Waukeen to see it in secular operation.) All rituals to the goddess center around offerings made by worshipers into this bowl, and if a member of the faithful ever wishes to make his or her nightly prayer and is not within reach of such a bowl, a single coin must be cast into water (such as a stream or pond) and left there as the supplication is made.
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 havy, fragile, highly prized gold coins, which cost 450 gp 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 are usually performed at one of them. Other 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.
Each temple can add its own festivals to the roster for whatever reason, but all important communities of Waukeen-worshipers celebrate the dozen High Festivals: Cold Counting Comfort, Great Weave, Highcoin, Spheres, Sammardach (SAM-mahr-dock), Brightbuckle, Sornyn (SOR-nihn), Huldark, Spryndalstar (SPRIHN-dahl-star), Marthoon, Tehennteahan (Teh-HEN-tee-ah-han), and Orbar.
Cold Counting Comfort occurs on the 15th of Hammer and is named for the accounting that goes on in many businesses during this down time at the height of the harsh winter. Great Weave is celebrated on the 20th of Alturiak and is named for the tapestry-weaving practiced in all wealthy households throughout the winter and the textile-making to which cloth merchants devote this month.
Highcoin is celebrated on the 30th of Ches. It is a grand feast when spoken accolades, accompanied by trumpet fanfares, hail the wealthy for amassing such worth and offerings are amassed for the next festival, Spheres. Spheres is held on the 10th of Tarsakh. During this festival glass spheres filled with gems and coins are paraded around a city and then lobbed into the air by catapults to fall into the city, shatter, and pill out their contents at random for the general populace to snatch up.
Sammardach occurs on the 12th of Mirtul. This observance is named for the richest benefactor of the early church, a merchant so rich that he once bought a city—now-vanished Tsabran, which stood just southeast of Airspur along the Chessentan coast, and gave it with all its properties and businesses to the Waukeenar. Brightbuckle is held on the 21st of Kythorn. The advent of good weather is marked by a parade in finery of all who wish to attend a Waukeenar church feast, of whatever faith—and Waukeen’s priests give inspirational talks about the growing wealth of the lands around and show recent works of the Lady through (hired) illusion spells in hopes of encouraging new worshipers to join the faith or the priesthood.
The 3rd through the 5th of Flamerule is Sornyn, a festival marking the time for planning, the making of treaties and agreements, and the receiving of envoys from unknown lands and traditional foes. Much wine is drunk at this three-day occasion, when “my enemy is like a brother to me.” Huldark is celebrated on the 17th of Elesias. It is a feast wherein the bounty of the land, which feeds and sustains us all, is celebrated, an faithful of Waukeen plant new fruit trees or vegetable plants.
Spryndalstar occurs on the 7th of Eleint. Spryndalstar recongnizes how magic and the ideas of those who work with it have enriched us all: Waukeenar sponsor mages in their endeavors and hire wizards to cast spells to awe and entertain folk in public spectacles. The 1st of Marpenoth marks Marthoon, the church’s recognition of the vigilance and work of soldiers and guards in defending the wealth and the security of those who generate it. During Marthoon, such folk are feasted and given gifts of gold-and each major temple sponsors one lucky warrior into retirement by giving him or her 10 times his or her weight in common coin and a steading to enjoy it on.
Tehennteahan is held on the 10th of Uktar. It is known as the Night of Hammers and Nails and is a day-long feast in which Waukeenar salute the inventions of simple folk—smiths, crafters, and those who work with they hands and not magic—and how their works benefit us all. New innovations are demonstrated, shops are shut so that their keepers can join in the feasting, and the church buys all rights to certain inventions for a room full of gold per invention purchased. (The room has to be one in the inventor’s house, and the church fills it to the rafters with gold coin.) Orbar, held on the 25th of Nightal, rounds out the yearly festivals. It is a solemn remembrance of the dark side of wealth. Prayers are said for those driven mad by gold or their miserliness, those slain by thieves and brigands, those who died trying to steal, or who met their ends adventuring or mining after gold, and like people. The public is invited to a Candle Feast wherein well-loved deceased merchants are remembered with praise, and the church reminds all in the community that it has the power to trace and hunt down thieves who steal the wealth of those who worship Waukeen—and will use it.Centers of Worship:[/b] The former center of Waukeen’s worship, the Goldspires, a large fortified castle-abbey whose towers are adorned with gilded conical roofs that rises high above Athkatla on its own seafront crag, is the only remaining large enclave of Waukeenar. This House of All Plenty (a term given to all major temples of Waukeen) is really a small fortified city in its own right and is said to be supported by no fewer than seven rising merchant houses of Amn, who see it as their only way to true power in the land in the face of the might of the older merchant families who rule. The Goldspires is ruled by the Holycoin Voice of the Lady Tharundar Olehm, an aged patriarch of huge size and impressive white-browed mien. He is assisted by no fewer than five ambitious, beautiful women of various ages and backgrounds, the “Five Furies”: Barasta Cleeith, Daerea Ethgil, Faerthae Garblueth, Halanna Jashire, and Satiila Tebrentan. These women are all Overgold sisters who pursue a vicious game of quiet in-fighting to become Tharundar’s successor as the supreme head of the church of Waukeen in Faerûn. Orders:[/b] The church of Waukeen has no church-affiliated knightly orders. It readily sponsors adventuring companies who can present a reasonable prospect of showing a profit and promise a 20% tithe to the church, and it often hires mercenary and adventuring companies to guard trade caravans and shipments of church trade goods overseas. Persistent rumor holds that many individual Waukeenar (if not the church itself) have long-standing connections with the Iron Throne. Vestments:[/b] 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 priests have any weakness of vision), various useful items dangling from silk ribbons, and tall gilded and begemmed 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 covered by a gilded scarlet cloak heavy with the weight of thousands of wheels, plates, clasps, and flourishes of various precious metals. The constume is finished off with white gloves and a gilded rod or staff, which is either magical or ornately carved and set with gems. (Many Waukeenar carry staffs of curing so as to heal wounds in return for substantial donations to the church. These staffs or curing represent the sole major magical energy left in the church at present.) High clergy usually wear coronets with their miters, and outshine many monarchs with their garb. Garb:[/b] Waukeenar wear the clothing of rich merchants when in the streets, and armor that is gilded, white-enameled, and painted with elaborate scenes when they ride into danger. They use chariots enchanted to make them float or ornate curtained palanquins. (Horses still pull the chariots, but the weight is much less and the ride both fast and smooth.)