Symbol: Blooming rose on a sunburst wreath of golden grain
Home Plane: House of Nature
Alignment: Neutral good
Portfolio: Agriculture, plants cultivated by humans, farmers, gardeners, summer
Worshipers: Peasants and indentured servants, druids, farmers, gardeners
Cleric Alignments: CG, LG, N, NG
Domains: Animal, Earth, Good, Plant, Protection, Renewal
Favored Weapon: A shock of grain (scythe)
Chauntea is as old as Toril itself. Hers is the divine spark that gave life to the natural world, the vibrant, caring spirit infused with the planet at the moment of its creation. Originally a deity of wild places and animal life, Chauntea has grown with her world, changing and adapting to its many developments. The millennia have taught her patience-to the point of being at times ponderous. Chauntea loves the inhabitants of her world, and she likes nothing more than instructing Toril's denizens on how the land itself might enrich their lives. Hers was the hand that guided the first mortal wanderers to give up the uncertainty of the gatherer for the stability of the field. Today, Chauntea is worshiped as the Great Mother of agriculture, the kind benefactor who ensures a strong harvest, healthy meals, and robust country living.
Chauntea rarely manifests herself in physical form, preferring to diffuse her essence throughout the living land of Toril. Religious icons depict her as a matronly, middle-aged woman with pale white hair and a welcoming smile. She wields a sturdy shock of grain as both walking staff and weapon, on the unusual occasions in which she finds herself in battle.
Worshiped by farmers, gardeners, agricultural slaves, and any who make their living off the land, Chauntea is seen by most Faerūnians as an integral part of the natural cycle of life. Wealthy landowners and simple farmers alike come to the local cleric of the Earthmother for advice on bringing in the harvest or in setting next season's crop. When foul weather or disease leads to blighted fields, growers turn their gaze and prayers to Chauntea in hopes that her attentions will salvage the seasonal yield. Those who subvert the harvest for ill ends have much to fear from Chauntea's servants, who take their role as pastoral protectors very seriously.
Chauntea's clerics and druids pray for spells at sundown. The clergy holds few organized holidays, instead instructing the faithful to give thanks to Chauntea at every sunrise, and in every moment the natural beauty of the world fills them with joy. A long-standing tradition within the church holds that a newly wedded couple should spend their first night together in a freshly tilled field, which is said to ensure a fertile union. Fertility plays an important role in the Chauntean faith, and a hedonistic celebration during Greengrass encourages excessive drinking, eating, dancing, and uninhibited behavior. The clergy observe High Prayers of the Harvest during a ritualized annual ceremony coinciding with the start of the harvest. Chauntea's clerics most of ten multiclass as rangers or druids.
History/Relationships: Chauntea is one of the oldest Faerūnian deities. Shar and Selłne predate her, having given her life when they created the world of Toril. In the ensuing millennia, Chauntea has forged passionate relationships with several deities, many of whom no longer exist in any meaningful form. So too has she battled (and even destroyed) deities who schemed to befoul Chauntea's world. Some of her worshipers claim that Chauntea is the progenitor of all the mortal races, that the creatures who populate the world first emerged from her womb in the days when the air was quiet and the earth was still. In those early centuries, Chauntea was known as Jannath the Earthmother, a wild deity who ran with animal packs and rejoiced in the unhindered growth of the wilderness. Though the people of the Moonshae Isles continue to worship this aspect of the Great Mother, the deity herself has moved on, changing as the world changes.
In the last several hundred years, Chauntea has become enamored with the inhabitants of her world (particularly humans) to the point at which she now focuses her attentions completely on helping them live off the land. She preaches a reverence for nature and urges the folk of civilized lands to repair what they have damaged, but she long ago ceded the wildlands to other deities. This development has led to a cooling of relations with Silvanus-some of his more militant druidic worshipers believe that the Great Mother has betrayed herself and sold out the world to the all-too-rapid encroachment of civilization. Her ties to other nature deities, particularly Shiallia, Mielikki, Lurue, and Eldath, remain strong. She shares a fondness for Lathander that has at times become intimate, and the two deities currently spend a great deal of time together. Chauntea opposes Auril, Malar, Talos, and Umberlee, and she views the return of Bane as a dark omen. Talon, Lady of Poison, is the Great Mother's most hated foe, as her propensity to bring blight, poison, and disease to the natural world fills Chauntea with great fury.
Dogma: Growing and reaping are part of the eternal cycle and the most natural part of life. Destruction for its own sake and leveling without rebuilding are anathema. Let no day pass in which you have not helped a living thing flourish. Nurture, tend, and plant wherever possible. Protect tress and plants, and save their seeds so that what is destroyed can be replaced. See to the fertility of the earth but let the human womb see to its own. Eschew fire. Plant a seed or a small plant at least once a tenday.
Clergy and Temples: Members of the Great Mother's clergy divide themselves into two factions of roughly equal size. Those clerics who minister to farmers and agricultural workers in cities, towns, and villages refer to themselves as Pastorals, while those of the wilder, older sect that caters to the wilderness call themselves, with a touch of arrogance, the True Shapers. Members of both sects recognize no central authority-theirs is a highly individualistic faith. Chauntea sets out a doctrine outlining a general set of values and taboos, but how each cleric adapts this code for herself and her flock is largely a matter of person interpretation. The church welcomes members of all races, though women vastly outnumber men, perhaps because the religion's liturgy is infused with references to fertility, motherhood and femininity.
Clerics and druids of Chauntea often double as farmers or gardeners, and Pastorals frequently hold positions of great respect in rural communities. They were usually born in small villages or country farms, and while few eschew cities altogether, most came to the church through an appreciation of natural beauty, a feeling of peace when standing at the center of a tilled field under the light of the midsummer sun. They earn the admiration of their peers by strengthening yields and driving away natural blights or predators with magic spells. They also don't hesitate to pin up their skirts and join locals at harvest time, keeping farming families healthy and providing an additional pair of hands for even the most arduous and menial tasks. Like their deity, most who serve Chauntea are patient and quiet, slow to anger, and prefer passive diplomacy.
Surprisingly, quite a few cities sport temples to the Great Mother, usually large, many-windowed structures that double as granaries or impressive open gardens. In the outlands, most ceremonies take place under the light of the sun or moon, with clerics holding special services in their homes, small shrines, or even barns or haylofts. In such places, clerics and druids of Chauntea instruct congregants on proper methods of planting, identification of plant and animal diseases, and herblore. Many perform marriages and act as midwives for human and animal births. They preach a respect for the natural world and emphasize programs of replanting, careful irrigation, and crop rotation to ensure that the earth is not despoiled.
Militant druids of Silvanus scoff at these lessons, however, claiming that the very act of agriculture is an affront to nature. It allows more people to live in a given area that can be sustained in the long term, and hence fosters overpopulation and environmental destruction, despite the best intentions of the Pastorals. They assert that over time, Chauntean agriculture, with its diverted waterflow, drained wetlands, and emphasis in supporting cities, will do irreparable damage to the natural balance. The Pastorals discount them, but such reactionary screeds have caused a great deal of turmoil among the True Shapers (most of whom are themselves druids). Numbers of the more primal Chaunteans have become Silvanites in the last century, leading to a cooling of relations between even the more moderate members of both clergies.