Chauntea

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Chauntea
Game background
Title(s) The Great Mother, the Grain Goddess, Earthmother
Home plane 2E: Great Mother's Garden (Elysium)
3E:
Power level Greater
Alignment Neutral Good
Portfolio Agriculture, plants cultivated by humans, farmers, gardeners, summer
Domains Animal, Earth, Good, Plant, Protection, Renewal
Design details

Chauntea (/ɔːnˈtə/ chawn-TEE),[1] The Grain Goddess, The Great Mother or Earthmother, is a fictional deity of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, for the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing game. Chauntea is a parallel deity to Silvanus, who is considered the god of wild nature, whilst Chauntea herself is seen as being the embodiment of all things agrarian or agricultural. She is goddess of agriculture, plants cultivated by humans, farmers, gardeners, and summer.

Some of her worshippers claim that her divine glimmer gave life to the natural world, and some contend that she is the creator and source of all mortal races. In some sense Chauntea is the manifestation of the earth itself—the avatar of Abeir-Toril. Her most despised enemy is Talona, the lady of pestilence, since she has a disposition to wreak suffering, disease and decay upon the natural world.

Publication history[edit]

Ed Greenwood created Chauntea for his home Dungeons & Dragons game, loosely inspired by the Greek deity Demeter.[2]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

Chauntea first appeared within Dungeons & Dragons as one of the deities featured in Ed Greenwood's article "Down-to-earth Divinity" in Dragon #54 (October 1981). Chauntea is introduced as the Great Mother, goddess of agriculture, a neutral good greater goddess from the plane of Elysium. Chauntea's alliances among the gods are detailed: "Chauntea and Lathander work together, and often do so in alliance with Silvanus and his gods ... against The Gods of Fury." Chauntea is commonly worshipped by neutral good thieves and clerics, and characters working as farmers.[2]

Chauntea later officially appeared as one of the major deities for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set's "Cyclopedia of the Realms" booklet (1987).[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

Chauntea was described in the hardback Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990),[3] the revised Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) in the "Running the Realms" booklet,[4] and Faiths & Avatars (1996).[5] Her clergy was further detailed in Warriors and Priests of the Realms (1996),[6] and Prayers from the Faithful (1997).[7]

Her role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[8]

Chantea is introduced as once having been known as Jannath in the ancient history of the Realms, in Netheril: Empire of Magic (1996).

Her relationships with the nonhuman deities in the Forgotten Realms was covered in Demihuman Deities (1998).[9]

Chauntea is described as one of the good deities that celestials can serve in the supplement Warriors of Heaven (1999).[10]

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

Chauntea appears as one of the major deities of the Forgotten Realms setting again, in Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (2001),[11] and is further detailed in Faiths and Pantheons (2002).[12]

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

Chauntea is described in both the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide for this edition. Her portfolio and commandments are similar to those given in previous editions.

Overview[edit]

Chauntea is a Neutral Good greater deity. She is loving deity, advising the denizens of the world of Toril on how to maintain nature, to ensure its conservation. It is contended that her hand guided those of mortality to give up the sceptical nature of the gatherer for the maintenance of the fields. She rarely manifests avatars.

Her symbol is a blooming rose on a sunburst wreath of golden grain. Her home plane is the House of Nature and her Third Edition D&D domains are Animal, Earth, Good, Plant, Protection, and Renewal.

Alignment[edit]

Alignment refers to the moral continuum of all characters and societies in the game of role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Chauntea herself is a "Benefactor", or Neutral Good. The clerics of Chauntea must subscribe to the alignments typified by their deities, and in this case, there is no exception, since all clerics must be either Chaotic Good, Lawful Good, True Neutral, or Neutral Good. Her alignment is mirrored by her dogma, which, summarized, states that growth and fertility are conducive to the natural cycle of life. She resents destruction or obliteration of any sort, and in this light, she is seen therefore as a benevolent and loving deity.

Symbol and weaponry[edit]

Chauntea's symbol, as mentioned above, is a blooming rose on a radiated wreath of golden grain. Commonplace depictions of her are usually of a maternal, middle-aged woman with white, flowing hair, with a radiant face. She wields a scythe made of grain, which acts as both a walking stick and weapon. Her clergy's favored weapon is thus a scythe. She is not predisposed to violence, but on the occasions that she has found herself in danger, she has managed to defend herself from evildoers.

Statistical skills and attacks[edit]

As Chauntea is immortal, she automatically is the recipient of the best result on any attack roll she makes. She is said to be able to see at a distance of approximately twenty miles. She can reflexively, annul the senses of deities below her rank (e.g. Intermediate deities for 19 hours). She can create any magical item that summons creatures, or elementals. She has a dizzying array of spells, and is 30th level caster.

History[edit]

Chauntea is estimated to be one of the eldest gods in Faerûn—she was born when Toril was created by the primeval battles between Shar and Selûne. Selûne favored her and nurtured her with her light, with the help of Mystryl. Chauntea has battled deities, who seek to desecrate and expunge nature, and she opposes "evil" deities such as Malar and Bane, and views the latter's resurgence as portentous.

Before her days as the "Great Mother", she is said to have been named Jannath, and in her early days, she frequented places of overgrown nature, wilderness and packs of animals. This role is now much more Silvanus', though in the Moonshae Isles Chauntea is still worshipped as Jannath.

Relationships[edit]

She has strong ties to other deities concerned with nature, such as Shiallia and Mielikki, shares a close relationship with Silvanus. As mentioned before, she opposes Talona with the utmost vehemence, due to her malefic intent in spreading poison and disease to the natural world. She is always in conflict with Talos.

Worship[edit]

Chauntea is seen by Faerûnians as a critical aspect of the assumed cycle of life. Private land owners and destitute (perhaps as a consequence of an unproductive harvest) farmers visit the clerics of Chauntea for any divine suggestions for abetting the harvest. If at any time plague or malnutrition strikes the crops, farmers look to Chauntea, since they hope she will save the harvest, due to her love of nature.

The church is an approachable one, in that it welcomes all irrespective of gender or race. The liturgical doctrine of the church is that it attracts more females than males, due to its preoccupation with femininity, and while female attendees outnumber men, there is still a range of males that worship Chauntea.

Chaunteans maintain simplicity when it comes to apparel. Druids prefer brown robes, and priests prefer wear a brown cloak with more standard livery such as tunic underneath.

Typical worshippers[edit]

Though she has a diverse collection of followers, Chauntea is fanatically worshipped by peasants, servants, druids, gardeners, and any others who earn pay from working on farmland.

Clerical practice[edit]

Clerics pray for their spells at sundown, as do druids. They usually lead dual lives as either gardeners or farmers, and are industrious people. They are expected to appreciate natural beauty and a feeling of meditation. The clergy instruct Chauntea's followers that they should entreaty her every sunrise. Compared to other faiths, ecclesiastics appoint few holidays. One holiday which is observed a festival during Greengrass, which is a festival of almost depravity and indulgence, where excessive consumption and uninhibited behaviour is encouraged. Abundance is an important part of life worshipping the Great Mother. A rite of passage for many of the faith is concerned with Holy Communion. Newly married couples are instructed to spend their first night in fresh fields, supposedly to guarantee a fertile marriage.

The clergy observe and recognize the dogma set forth by Chauntea herself, and read the 'High Prayers of the Harvest', at a perennial ceremony, which is usually at the start of harvest.

Denominations with the holy order[edit]

The divided clergy of Chauntea is sectarian by nature. Associates of the Chauntean canonry are divided into two camps. Those who ministerial positions, who advise farmers and workers all over, are named, appropriately, 'Pastorals'. The wilder, untamed conclave, who are charged with preserving the wilderness, refer to themselves, albeit insouciantly, as 'True Shapers'.

The deaconry has by no means any centralized authoritarian bureau governing, and is not collective. It promotes individuality, and is far less unitary than other faiths.

Doctrine[edit]

The church outlines a general set of precepts and forbiddances, though some of these are given to subjective interpretation, since the faith is individualistic. Chauntean's see wanton destruction as antithetical to the cycle of life. They are urged to nourish at least one living thing every day of their lives. They are advised to eschew fire also.

In terms of correct agricultural practice, the church advises that campaigns of replanting, prudent irrigation and crop rotation to ensure that the land is kept fertile. However, followers of Silvanus regard these teachings with derisions. They postulate that these practices as an abomination to the natural world and that agriculture is not conservation, but manipulation. They argue that their sect encourages exploitation, overpopulation and this to in contradiction with nature. As a result, some have proselytised to the Silvanite faith, though many "Pastorals" disregard these criticisms.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Jeff Grubb and Karen S. Martin (1987). Forgotten Realms Campaign Set. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-88038-472-7. 
  2. ^ a b Ed Greenwood, Dragon magazine #54 - "Down-to-earth divinity" (October 1981), p. 52: "Chauntea is a rewritten Demeter."
  3. ^ Grubb, Jeff and Ed Greenwood. Forgotten Realms Adventures (TSR, 1990)
  4. ^ Ed Greenwood (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. ASIN B000K06S2E. 
  5. ^ Martin, Julia, and Eric L. Boyd. Faiths & Avatars (TSR, 1996)
  6. ^ Terra, John. Warriors and Priests of the Realms (TSR, 1996)
  7. ^ Greenwood, Ed and Stewart, Doug. Prayers from the Faithful (TSR, 1997)
  8. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  9. ^ Boyd, Eric L. Demihuman Deities (TSR, 1998)
  10. ^ Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven (TSR, 1999)
  11. ^ Ed Greenwood, Sean K Reynolds, Skip Williams, and Rob Heinsoo (2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Wizard of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5. 
  12. ^ Boyd, Eric L., and Erik Mona. Faiths and Pantheons (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)

External links[edit]