Planejammer Campaign Setting
The Legend of Sardior By Scott Brocius and Mark A. Jindra
Based on an article by Arthur W. Collins in Dragon Magazine #37
With inspiration and testing provided by members of the Wizards of the Coast online community
Many have heard the tales of legendary dragons such as Tiamat and Bahamut, but few have heard of Sardior. Also known as Master of the Gem Dragons, Sardior is a unique ruby dragon. He makes his home in a huge floating castle, which orbits the world and stays forever in the shadows from the sun. Even though he is the Master of the Gem Dragons, in reality he does not require much from them, and he does not try to guide their decisions. The gem dragons in return, look upon him as the ideal and strive to be more like him.
Sardior keeps a court of five thanes: one of each of the various breeds of gem dragons. Their names are Aleithilithos (male advanced amethyst dragon), Hrodel (female advanced crystal dragon), Smargad (male advanced emerald dragon), Charisma (female advanced sapphire dragon), and Tithonnas (male advanced topaz dragon). Sardior once had a sixth thane: Seradess, a female advanced obsidian dragon, but he destroyed her and banished the obsidian dragons from his court. Even his own clergy argue the reason behind this decision.
Having ascended to the status of a lesser deity, temples to Sardior have begun showing up in cities across the land. Sardior is more than happy to oblige them by granting spells and special abilities to his followers. Sardior’s clergy tend to be welcomed everywhere much as bards are, however they know not everyone is as friendly as they seem. A small group of his clergy, known as the ruby disciples, train to be a martial arm of the church, serving not only as a defense but also as a show of force.
The Ruby Dragon, Master of the Gem Dragons
Symbol: A ruby with an inner glow
Home Plane: Prime
Portfolio: Neutral dragons, night, psionics, secrets
Worshippers: Neutral dragons, psions and psychic warriors
Cleric Alignments: Any neutral.
Domains: Knowledge, Scalykind (Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting), Trickery
Favored Weapon: Claw
Sardior (sar- dee-or) is known in a few small circles. Even though he is the Master of the Gem Dragons, in reality he does not require much from his followers, and he does not try to guide their decisions. The gem dragons, in return, look upon him as the ideal and strive to be more like him.
In his natural form, Sardior is a long sinewy dragon covered with deep ruby red scales. At a distance, he might be mistaken for an ancient red wyrm, but the playful expression seen in his eyes makes him very much unlike the reds. He is also known to be a great conversationalist, and the unguarded had best be prepared for his sharp wit.
He makes his home in a huge floating castle, which orbits the world and stays forever in the shadows from the sun. On the nights it can be seen, viewers mistake it for a small red moon.
Sardior just wants to learn more. The more you know, the better off you will be, but just learning for learning’s sake is not what Sardior stresses. No, gaining knowledge should not just be reading from books. The trick for Sardior is to get someone else to read the book, then tell him all about it. He also has a fondness for gems of all kinds, especially rubies.
Clergy and Temples
Sardior has few clergy, and even fewer temples. Temples dedicated to him tend to be located in high areas with clear views of the night sky and close to a community of some sort. Most gem dragons keep a ruby on a small pedestal in their lairs as a shrine to him.
His clergy generally dress in the appropriate fashion for the area in which they reside. They then embellish the look with an abundance of jewelry in their everyday wear.
Many seek out the clergy as sources of knowledge, and most of the clergy could be considered sages on various subjects. The temple gains its wealth from the charges from these services.
The prominent members of a temple are also on the list for an invitation to social functions. They are personable, knowledgeable, and great storytellers. They also appear to have little interest in politics, which makes those around them less concerned with the information they reveal to the clergy.
The Church of Sardior
The church of Sardior is a growing force among the humanoid population. Two factors have caused this phenomenon: the increasing number of psionic beings in existence and the desire of Sardior to have more followers. While this growth could spark the ire of other gods, so far it has not due to the uncertain feelings the gods have toward psionics. The gods of magic are wary of psionics, but the two fields of study seem to counter each other, so none of the gods have decided to act yet.
Almost all of the established churches of Sardior have been dedicated directly to him, but the newer ones have begun to choose one of his thanes as a focus. These temples still worship and receive their power from Sardior, but the particular thane acts as the messenger or conduit and is revered as well. About half the new churches have been created as centers of worship to Sardior, with the other half being evenly divided into temples of Aleithilithos, Charisma, Hrodel, Smargad, and Tithonnas. The thane temples are usually smaller in size, tend to attract psions of the appropriate discipline, and are usually found in smaller locales that would normally be overlooked as a source of new knowledge. Notable exceptions to this are the Aleithian temples of Aleithilithos and the churches of Sardior in major metropolitan centers. It is not uncommon to have one or two thane shrines in addition to the Sardiorian churches in these cities.
All of these various chapters of the Sardiorian religion tend to coexist peacefully, though disagreements and squabbles do exist. It tends to be difficult to maintain a constructive line of discourse when a group of Smargadians and Tithonnians begin to have different opinions on the subject. Fistfights do break out, and certain groups do try to make other groups look bad in the eyes of their peers. The upper clergy knows these things happen, and as long as it keeps to just a little embarrassment or a bloody nose, generally no disciplinary action is taken. In the end, these groups all come together quickly when a serious problem or threat arises.
This quick communication is one of the chief assets of the church. The church has created a network of open communication between all temples located on the same plane due to the creation of the Sardiorian crystals. Sardior developed the process to allow the founding cleric or psion of the church to create a special psionic communication stone. The crystals themselves are hemispherical chunks of gemstone about 3 feet across and weighing roughly 100 pounds. While these appear to be very valuable monetarily, none have ever been truly stolen due to the fact they crumble to nothing when removed from the church proper. Sardior can use any or all of these crystals to contact his followers, while the Thanes can use any of the crystals dedicated to them.
The Sect of Seradess
One chapter of Sardior does not follow his benign teachings: the Sect of Seradess. This group was founded the same time as the other separate chapters of Sardior, but with the destruction of Seradess and expulsion of the obsidian dragons, this group has gone rogue. At first, the group consisted of clerics and psions, but it has been reduced to psions and psychic warriors due to the loss of empowerment to the clerics. Its original intent was to learn new processes of item creation and the manipulation of ectoplasm, but since the “Leaving,” their goal has changed. They seek the information and the power to steal the essence of Seradess away from Sardior and establish her as a new god.
The church of Sardior knows of their existence and refers to them as the Cult of Seradess. They also haven’t put much effort into eradicating this group, since they don’t consider the group a threat. They wonder what a handful of rebellious psions can do against the might of a god.
Up until recently, this opinion held true. While the sect maintained its beliefs and gathered information, they lacked the needed power to have any real effect. However, this changed recently when a member of the order was visiting a bazaar on the Astral Plane and a powerful psionic being contacted her: the three-headed dragon known as Blithenpaxantadravos, or Blithen. He holds the knowledge and power the group needs to achieve their goal, but he has other unknown plans. He does wish to bring back Seradess, but only after he uses the cult to steal the power of Sardior for himself.
Blithen of Many Names
“I approached the great slumbering wyrm in an attempt to determine what type of dragon it might be. As I drew closer I could see the familiar translucent scales of a crystal dragon. Just then my torchlight reflected off of scales of a different sort, emerald green and a black like that of polished obsidian. As I followed the scales, I soon realized that this was no ordinary dragon. I quickly made my way back to the city so as to tell everyone of what I had seen.”
— Theo Boranis, Defender of Sardior
Blithenpaxantadravos, a three-headed gem dragon, has had many monikers during his time. His name and titles have been spoken with both respect and contempt. Then, as time passed, they were simply forgotten. Now, he is just Blithen.
Blithen’s abnormality is what first drew Sardior’s attention. Sardior found him to be fascinating and eventually brought Blithen to his court. Sardior turned often to Blithen for help with a current problem, and soon Blithen earned his first title: Advisor. Blithen had the ear of a god, and he enjoyed it. For a time, it seemed Blithen was always at Sardior’s side.
Then, it all changed. Sardior decided that Blithen’s single voice was not enough, and he set upon developing the process to create his thanes. Sardior shared his vision with Blithen; he was to create a thane to represent each of the gem dragon species, and they would be his advisors and companions. It’s uncertain how Blithen corrupted Seradess; the history is lost. Blithen had hoped her failure as a thane would cause Sardior to turn back to him, but this plan failed. Sardior destroyed Seradess, and the obsidian dragons withdrew from Sardior’s court (although history records that Sardior banished the obsidian dragons from his court). Sardior discovered the deception and banished Blithen. He had earned his next title: Outcast.
Blithen wandered the planes for generations and used the color pools on the Astral Plane to visit new worlds and places. He eventually grew weary and decided to rest, so he created his lair on the Astral Plane and slipped into a deep slumber. He had earned his next title: Forgotten.
The energy used by Sardior to create the ectoplasmic dragons was enough to bring him out of his torpor. After assessing himself and his situation, he mentally sought a strong psion to find out the current state of the world. He didn’t have to look long, for he was soon in contact with someone on the Astral Plane. To his surprise, the psion had quite an interesting tale to tell him. Blithen formed a pact and found his latest title: Nihilist.
His Lair: Blithen currently resides in the center of a giant rock floating on the Astral Plane. Blithen ripped a chunk from the Elemental Plane of Earth and brought it here. The cavern complex found within has become home to many creatures. A small city and trade center has grown up on the outer shell, and the inhabitants of the plane consider it a safe zone. Blithen has learned of the inhabitants since his reawakening but has not decided how to deal with them yet. Rumors state the treasure horde he guards rivals that of a nation’s treasury.