The Mind's Eye
Followers in the Church of Sardior
(The Legend of Sardior, Part 4)
By Scott Brocius and Mark A. Jindra

As the religion of Sardior grows, so do the threats against it. The increased notoriety of Sardior's temples has made them an inviting target for various thieves and other manipulators from the political realm. Also other gods and their followers have recently begun to feel threatened by his increasing power. Any one of these wouldn't be much of a concern to the church; the church's detachments of ruby dragon disciples can counter individual threats, and most of the clergy tend to be very accomplished politicians. However, Sardior has chosen to concern himself with the combined effect of all of these threats.

As a way to alleviate his concerns and to show a much stronger physical presence, Sardior has developed a special group of elite defenders for his temples and clergy. He enlisted the aid of his draconic brethren and gave them the task of protecting his interests in the mortal realm. He asked each of his brethren to choose a companion and to work with that individual to improve the defense of the church. Sardior got many volunteers for the task, since several young dragons took the opportunity to serve Sardior.

Their reasons for serving are as varied as the dragons themselves. Many considered it their duty, some thought it might be a good diversion, while others though it would be cool to have a pet. Almost all, though, saw it as the opportunity to garner a reputation and start a hoard. Sardior also got a bonus from these unions, since each of the dragons involved became part of his domain.

Psionic Dragon Comrade

"I think my friend might disagree with you."

Many people dream of soaring through the skies on the back of a dragon. They want to feel the rush of the wind and hear the sound of leathery wings beating on the air. They want to experience the raw power of a dragon from its perspective. For most, it's just a dream -- something to pine for as a youth or a might-have-been for the elderly.

However, a very select few get to live the dream. The psionic dragon comrade is one of those few. Due to her service to Sardior and her strength of character, she found herself being chosen by a defender dragon to become its companion. As allies in defense, the psionic dragon comrade and her dragon companion often grow to be a formidable pair.

Psionic Dragon Comrades of Seradess:Through the connections of Blithen, the Cult of Seradess has developed its own psionic dragon comrades. The abilities gained are the same as a psionic dragon comrade, only the requirements for qualification change, as noted below where appropriate.

Hit Dice: d4.

Requirements

To qualify as a psionic dragon comrade, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +5.
Skills: Ride 6 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 6 ranks.
Feats: Leadership.
Powers: Able to manifest 4th-level powers.
Abilities: Sardior's devotion or Sardior's might (these abilities are gained through the devotee or defender of Sardior prestige classes). If aligned with Seradess, replace Sardior's devotion or Sardior's might with shroud of Seradess.
Language: Draconic.
Special: Must be selected as a companion by a dragon defender.

Class Skills

The psionic dragon comrade's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Animal Empathy (Cha), Balance (Dex), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (any) (Int), Listen (Wis), Psicraft (Int), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Spot (Wis), Stabilize Self (Con).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the psionic dragon comrade prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Psionic dragon comrades gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Power Points: At 2nd through 9th level, psionic dragon comrades gain power points per day as though they gained a level of psion. These power points are added to the character's previous total. Psionic dragon comrades 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), she now chooses a primary discipline and can gain bonus power points based on the related ability score.

Powers Discovered: At 2nd through 9th level, psionic dragon comrades discover powers as though they gained a level of psion. Powers are chosen from the psion power list. Their effective manifester level is increased by one for each level of the prestige class.

Psicrystals: Psionic dragon comrade levels count toward the level of psion 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: Psionic dragon comrade levels count toward the level of the psionic character for determining the number of free manifestations per day or your 0-level powers.

Psionic Combat: The character discovers two psionic combat modes at first level and an additional combat mode at 3rd, 7th, 9th, and 10th levels. (Characters do not forget previously discovered attack and defense modes.)

Dragon Ally: Upon acceptance by a dragon defender, the comrade now has a dragon ally (which is run by the DM). The comrade must complete a couple of tasks to gain the trust of the defender. First, the comrade must help the defender find a suitable lair. (See the descriptions in the Monster Manual II for details on appropriate lairs.) Also, the comrade must provide the defender with treasure for its lair. The minimum acceptable amount is 1,000 gp per Hit Die of the defender, and the comrade should attempt to provide treasure to the defender's liking. This treasure is a gift to the defender -- it no longer belongs to the comrade. If either of these obligations is not met, the defender terminates the relationship and seeks a new comrade.

If the dragon dies, the character must attempt a DC 20 Fortitude saving throw. Failure means she loses 500 experience points per class level; success reduces the loss to one-half that amount. However, the character's experience point total can never go below 0 as the result of a dragon's demise or dismissal. A slain dragon can be replaced after a year and a day, but only if another dragon chooses the character. To gain a new dragon, the character must contribute to the dragon's hoard, just as she did when first gaining this class. The character cannot add any new levels in this class until she gains a new dragon.

Empathy (Su): Once a lair is secured and stocked, the defender initiates a process to bind its companion and itself to each other. As a free action the character or the dragon ally can detect the surface emotions of the other. The character and the ally need not be able to see each other, but they must be on the same plane. Using this power reveals the subject's basic needs, drives, and emotions.

Riding Expertise (Ex): Starting at 3rd level, the comrade has become fully comfortable with riding her defender. While riding her defender, she gains a bonus equal to her comrade level on Ride checks and a bonus on Concentration checks when manifesting a power equal to her comrade level -2.

Telepathic Communication (Sp): Starting at 5th level, the comrade and defender share a telepathic link while they are within 200 feet of each other. As a result, they can converse without speaking.

Focused Manifesting (Sp): Starting at 7th level, the comrade gains a +2 bonus on the saving throw DCs for the powers she manifests. This ability can be used as a free action once per day per two class levels.

Shared Immunity (Su): At 10th level, the comrade gains the power resistance and elemental immunity of her defender dragon as long as she is within 30 feet of it. For example, a comrade with a young adult emerald dragon as her defender gains PR 20 and sonic immunity.

Psionic Dragon Comrade
Level BAB Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
PP Powers
Discovered
Special
1 +0 +2 +2 +2 *see text -- Dragon ally, empathy
2 +1 +3 +3 +3 +1 psion --
3 +1 +3 +3 +3 +1 psion Riding expertise
4 +2 +4 +4 +4 +1 psion --
5 +2 +4 +4 +4 +1 psion Telepathic communication
6 +3 +5 +5 +5 +1 psion --
7 +3 +5 +5 +5 +1 psion Focused manifesting
8 +4 +6 +6 +6 +1 psion --
9 +4 +6 +6 +6 +1 psion --
10 +5 +7 +7 +7 -- Shared immunity

Dragon Defenders

The DM should select an appropriate defender from the following list, keeping in mind alignments and the power level of her game. These dragons are at an age where they have the appropriate mindset and size to be suitable defenders. Also she should note the juveniles in the list do not gain power resistance.

Dragon Type Age Alignment Size Hit Dice CR
Amethyst Juvenile N L 15 HD 8
Amethyst Young adult N L 18 HD 11
Amethyst Adult N H 21 HD 14
Amethyst Mature adult N H 24 HD 16
Crystal* Young adult CN L 17 HD 10
Crystal* Adult CN H 20 HD 12
Crystal* Mature adult CN H 23 HD 15
Emerald* Juvenile LN L 15 HD 8
Emerald* Young adult LN L 18 HD 11
Emerald* Adult LN H 21 HD 14
Emerald* Mature adult LN H 24 HD 16
Obsidian** Juvenile NE L 16 HD 9
Obsidian** Young adult NE L 19 HD 12
Obsidian** Adult NE H 22 HD 14
Obsidian** Mature adult NE H 25 HD 17
Sapphire Young adult LN L 17 HD 10
Sapphire Adult LN L 20 HD 13
Sapphire Mature adult LN H 23 HD 15
Topaz Juvenile CN L 16 HD 9
Topaz Young adult CN L 19 HD 12
Topaz Adult CN H 22 HD 14
Topaz Mature adult CN H 25 HD 17

*Crystal and emerald dragons can be matched with either Sardorians or cultists.
**Obsidians are matched only with cultists.

Dragon Defender

Dragons who heed the call of Sardior to aid in the defense of his mortal interests can become dragon defenders. By bonding themselves to a humanoid comrade, they gain limited acceptance into the world of humanoids, prestige among other gem dragons, and a starting hoard. As they progress through the prestige class, they become more and more comfortable with their companion to the point it just feels natural to have them in the saddle on their back.

Obsidian dragons can follow this prestige class as well, but they have made a pact with Blithen to aid the cult of Seradess in its goals. In addition, due to Blithen's influence, crystal and emerald dragons can be found among the ranks of the cultists. The crystal, emerald, and obsidian dragons who take this prestige class refer to themselves as dragon nihilists.

Hit Dice: d12.

Requirements

To qualify as a dragon defender, a dragon must fulfill all the following criteria.

Race: Any gem dragon.
Base Attack Bonus: +18.
Skills: Gather Information 18 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 18 ranks or Gather Information 18 ranks
Feats: Investigator, any two psionic feats.

Class Skills

The dragon defender's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Knowledge (any) (Int), Listen (Wis), Psicraft (Int), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spot (Wis), Stabilize Self (Con).

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the dragon defender prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Dragon defenders gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Empathy (Su): Once a lair is secured and stocked, the defender initiates a process to bind its companion and itself to each other. As a free action the character or the dragon ally can detect the surface emotions of the other. The character and the ally need not be able to see each other, but they must be on the same plane. Using this power reveals the subject's basic needs, drives, and emotions.

Improved Frightful Presence (Ex): When flying together, the dragon and her comrade make an imposing pair, and the dragon seems to loom larger and seem even more fearsome than otherwise. With the comrade in the saddle, the save DC against the dragon's frightful presence power increases by +1. For every three psionic dragon comrade levels the rider has, the bonuses increases by an additional +1 (+1 at 1st level +2 at 4th level, and so on).

Defensive Tactics (Ex): At 6th level, neither the defender nor her comrade can be flanked while the comrade is in the saddle. They have learned to look in each other's blind spots to prevent enemies from sneaking up on them.

Defensive Teamwork (Ex): At 8th level, the defender and her comrade work so well together that they continually act to prevent each other from harm. Both the defender and companion receive a +2 circumstance bonus to Armor Class and a +1 circumstance bonus on Reflex saving throws.

Improved Maneuverability (Ex): The rider's presence in the saddle allows the dragon to anticipate and react to conditions in the air more quickly than normal, and the dragon also learns to take advantage of the rider's weight, shifting it at just the right moment to help it maneuver. Whenever the comrade is in the saddle, the dragon gets a one-step bonus to its maneuverability rating. For example, a dragon with Poor maneuverability gains Average maneuverability when the comrade is aboard.

Dragon Defender
Level BAB Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special
1 +1 +2 +0 +2 Empathy, humanoid ally (see psionic dragon comrade)
2 +2 +3 +0 +3 Strength +1, natural Armor Class +2
3 +3 +3 +1 +3 Improved frightful presence
4 +4 +4 +1 +4 Strength +2, natural Armor Class +4
5 +5 +4 +1 +4 --
6 +6 +5 +2 +5 Defensive tactics
7 +7 +5 +2 +5 Strength +3, natural Armor Class +6
8 +8 +6 +2 +6 Defensive teamwork
9 +9 +6 +3 +6 Strength +4, natural Armor Class +8
10 +10 +7 +3 +7 Improved maneuverability

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, Draconum Psionicus, and The Church of Sardior.

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.


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