The Mind's Eye
The Church of Sardior
(The Legend of Sardior, Part 3)
By Scott Brocius and Mark A. Jindra

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.

Sardiorian Crystal

The creation of a Sardiorian crystal takes a week to complete and only the head of a church of Sardior can perform the process. Each temple can only have one such crystal at a time, so the loss of the crystal isolates the church from the network while a new one is created. To use the crystal, a member of the church must touch the crystal and either expend a 3rd level (or higher level) divine spell, or 5 power points into the crystal to empower it. This allows for 10 minutes of conversation. To converse, the character activating the crystal must name one church of Sardior to receive the user's message. The crystal at the designated church (if there is one) sends out a mental pulse to all church members currently inside the building. Conversation can begin when a church member touches the crystal at the designated church. Doing so connects the two crystals so that communication can commence. Images of the two speakers appear in the smooth face of each crystal. Only the character that activated the original crystal and the character touching the second crystal can send or receive communications through the linked crystals. There is no limit to the number of times a given crystal can be activated to send or receive communications.

Sardior and his thanes can contact several crystals at once. Sardiorian crystals will be wholly ruby if created by a cleric or for a Sardior dedicated temple, or they will have a ruby core surrounded by the appropriate gem type for chapter-dedicated temples.

Moderate divination; CL 9th or ML 10th; Craft Wondrous Item, farseeing or scrying, special* (see text); Price: N/A; Cost to Create: 100,000 gp + 500 XP.

*Special: Can be created only by the head of a church of Sardior. The ability to create one is granted by Sardior or one of his thanes.

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.

Seradessian Covert

While many psions and psychic warriors revere Sardior and his thanes, some are still angry over the destruction of Seradess. They believe the act was a mistake by Sardior and that it needs to be corrected. These individuals are eventually sought out and found by the sect and are invited to join after a series of trials to determine their true beliefs. Once accepted as a member, the psion's life becomes one of secrecy and intrigue as he tries to further the knowledge of the sect while avoiding the detection of the church of Sardior.

Hit Dice: d6.

Requirements

To qualify to become a covert Seradessian, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Alignment: Lawful neutral, neutral, neutral evil, and lawful evil.
Skills: Knowledge (religion) 4 ranks.
Powers: Able to manifest 3rd-level powers.
Special: Must be sought and selected by the sect of Seradess to join.

Class Skills

The covert Seradessian's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Autohypnosis (Wis), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Knowledge (any) (Int), Profession (Wis), Psicraft (Int), Stabilize Self (Con).

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort Save Reflex
Save
Will
Save
Special Manifester Level
1 +0 +0 +0 +2 Secrets of Seradess +1 psion level
2 +1 +0 +0 +3 +1 psion level
3 +2 +1 +1 +3 Nondetection +1 psion level
4 +3 +1 +1 +4 +1 psion level
5 +3 +1 +1 +4 Shroud of Seradess +1 psion level

Class Abilities

All the following are class features of the covert Seradessian prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Covert Seradessians gain no proficiency in any armor or weapons, though they retain any knowledge gained from former classes.

Power Points: When they gain a level, covert Seradessians gain power points per day as though they gained a level of psion. These power points are added to the character's previous total. Covert Seradessians gain bonus power points based on the key ability score for their primary ability. If the character previously could not gain bonus power points for high ability scores (as is the case for psychic warriors), he now chooses a primary discipline and can gain bonus power points based on the related ability score.

Powers Discovered: Covert Seradessians discover powers at all levels as though they gained a level of psion. Powers are chosen from the psion power list. A Seradassian covert's effective manifester level is increased by one for each level of the prestige class.

Coverts gain access to some of the Sardiorian powers not normally available. Only those Sardiorian powers available to basic psions can be discovered. Covers must still meet any level and ability requirements for manifesting these powers. Although the effects of the powers are the same, covert Seradessians have altered the names of the powers and displays to better suit their needs. For example Sardior's guardian would instead be named guardian of Seradess, and its ruby red inner glow could be replaced by an almost black, deep purple glow.

Available Sardiorian Powers

Power
Level
Sardiorian
Name
Altered
Name
Special
6 Sardior's calling Blithen's calling The type of dragon called is randomly chosen with an equal chance to call a crystal, emerald or obsidian dragon.

d6:
1-2 crystal
3-4 emerald
5-6 obsidian
8 Sardior's greater calling Blithen's greater calling
7 Sardior's improved calling Blithen's improved calling
5 Sardior's lesser calling Blithen's lesser calling
4 Sardior's minor calling Blithen's minor calling
9 Sardior's superior calling Blithen's superior calling
6 Sardior's flight Blithen's flight
4 Sardior's mount Mount of Seradess
9 Sardior's guardian Guardian of Seradess
7 Sardior's improved scout Improved scout of Seradess
3 Sardior's scout Scout of Seradess
4 Sardior's presence Presence of Seradess

Psicrystals: Covert Seradessian levels count toward the level of the psionic character for purposes of determining psicrystal Intelligence and special abilities. Psicrystals are a class ability of psions. You must take at least one level of psion if you wish to encode a psicrystal.

0-Level Powers: Covert Seradessian levels count toward your level of psion for determining the number of free manifestations per day or your 0-level powers.

Psionic Combat: Covert Seradessians do not discover psionic attack or defense modes. (Characters do not forget previously discovered attack and defense modes.)

Secrets of Seradess (Sp): Coverts learn the secrets of crafting and ectoplasmic shaping known to the sect. They gain a +2 insight bonus on Craft checks and their effective manifesting level is considered 1 level higher for any manifested power involving ectoplasm. In addition, the use of detect psionics also reveals the presence of true followers of Sardior.

Nondetection (Sp): Coverts add nondetection to their selection of powers known and can manifest it even if they do not have the required ability score.

Shroud of Seradess (Sp): The covert Seradessian can manifest any power as though he had the Hide Power feat applied to it a single time for no additional cost. This ability can be applied multiple times for an additional +2 power points. Each time it is applied it hides an additional display.

Be sure to check out past articles in the Legend of Sardior series including Obsidian Dragons, Chosen of Sardior, The Demiplane of Ectoplasm, Aleithian Dwarves, Sardior's Knowledge, and Draconum Psionicus

About the Authors

Scott Brocius has been "kicking around" with the D&D game since being introduced to it 1980. He has been an RPGA member for several years and has helped organize and run RPGA events for several conventions, including Origins. The new edition of D&D has renewed his love for and interest in the game. Scott also coauthors the monthly Mind's Eye feature on the Wizards of the Coast website.

Mark A. Jindra has been a fan of Dungeons & Dragons for the past 25 years and has organized RPGA Network events for many conventions and game days, including Origins and Winter Fantasy. In 1998 he landed his dream job as a web developer for Wizards of the Coast and is currently the developer of the D&D website. Mark has authored or coauthored various tournaments for the RPGA Network, and he also coauthors the monthly Mind's Eye feature on the Wizards of the Coast website.


1995-2008 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.