Sardior the Ruby Dragon

Presented as an archetype of the gem dragons in Dragon Magazine #37, Sardior fit in well as a deity with Bahamut and Tiamat. He was only rarely mentioned during 1st and 2nd Edition, which helped form my description of him as a mostly forgotten deity outside of neutral dragons themselves. Enjoy!

Sardior (PDF Version)
(The Ruby Dragon, Master of the Gem Dragons, the Ruby King, the Prince of Neutral Dragons)
Lesser Power of the Planes, N

Portfolio:                 Gem dragons, night, psionics, secrets, neutral dragons
Aliases:                     None
Domain Name:           Wanders/the Ruby Palace
Superior:                   Io
Allies:                       Arcanic, Astilabor, Chronepsis, Elemtia, Jazirian, Kereska, Tamara, Zorquan, the Grand Caliph of the Djinn
Foes:                           Faluzure, Kalzareinad (Dead), Task
Symbol:                     Ruby with an inner glow
Wor. Align.:              NE, LN, N, CN, NE

Of all the major draconic powers, Sardior (SAR-dee-or) is probably the least known, even among mortal dragons. Like his siblings Bahamut and Tiamat, he is a draconic archetype, representing the ideal most gem dragons strive to emulate. As patron of the psionically-gifted gem dragons, He is a master of those powers, using them to divine information that is hidden throughout the multiverse. He also claims dominion over night, but not darkness and night-stalking predators; rather, the intrinsic beauty of a starry sky is what he loves and enjoys. Sardior is an excellent conversationalist and widely considered the best raconteur among the draconic pantheon, although Hlal disputes this.

The Ruby Dragon was once much more active and engaging, and it is believed by many sages that he had a much more orderly view on existence at that time, forming a triumvirate of lawful deities with Bahamut and Tiamat. The constant squabbling between not only his siblings, but both of their chosen groups of followers is said to have contributed to his withdrawal from active participation and leadership in mortal dragons’ lives, as well as his shift towards neutrality. Whether this is the case or not is unknown, for Sardior never answers questions about himself. Regardless, he mostly avoids entanglements with the other members of the pantheon, visiting them often, but never staying long enough to get dragged into their plots and plans.

Of his brethren, he is on the best terms with those who maintain some degree of neutrality in draconic affairs, particularly Zorquan. He is friendly but distant with many of the good and evil members of the pantheon; he visits them often in his floating Ruby Palace, but never stays long. In this way, general news and tidings is shared amongst the pantheon, and somewhat more reliably than the messages that Aasterinian bears. The Ruby Dragon never visits Faluzure, for he sees the Night Dragon as a horrid abomination; similarly he stopped visiting Kalzareinad after his assistance in the creation of dracoliches. He no longer visits Task, either, after the Wrester attempted to steal his floating palace in a gambit that resulted in the death of one of his thanes many centuries ago. Finally, he never visits Io, for only Aasterinian knows the location of his realm, and he does not visit the silent Chronepsis, for the Death Dragon has nothing to say to the living, mortal or divine.

Outside of the draconic pantheon, Sardior’s Ruby Palace is a common sight at Uroboros, Jazirian’s realm on Mount Celestia. The pair has long been friends, and rumor has it even lovers, although the truth of this is unknown. Sardior is also a too-frequent visitor to the Court of Ice and Steel, the fortress of the Grand Caliph of all djinn. While allied, the Caliph nearly dreads such visits, for Sardior expects (and receives) a lavish feast and gifts of treasures and magic on each visit. Sardior is fully aware of the Caliph’s chagrin, but he continues the charade of obliviousness out of his own amusement, and because he believes he needs to keep the Caliph humble. The Ruby Dragon is a true ally, however, and has assisted without question or complaint in many incursions by the efreet.

In his floating Ruby Palace, Sardior travels the planes constantly, visiting the inner and outer planes often, but most of his time is spent on the Prime Material Plane, floating high in the night sky of many a world, observing the activities of mortals. His palace is often mistaken for a ruby-red star making unusual conjunctions by astrologers, although whether his appearance indicates good or ill varies by world. He prefers not to dispatch an avatar except in dire crises; more often one of his thanes is sent to handle issues that he feels does not require his direct intervention. All of his thanes are great wyrms of the highest caliber and skill, and many have granted abilities beyond what is normal for their breed. They act with autonomy, and are able to grant treasure or boons to those who perform a service or otherwise please them. Sardior’s current known thanes are the female crystal dragon Hrodel, the male topaz dragon Tithonnas, the male emerald dragon Smargad, the female sapphire dragon Charsimma, and the male amethyst dragon Aleithitithos. It is said he has, or had, other thanes of other neutral dragon breeds, such as jacinth, jade, pearl, mist, and cloud dragons, but this has never been confirmed, and most sages believe he can only have five thanes at a time.

Sardior’s Avatar (25-HD Great Wyrm Ruby Dragon, Psionicist 25, Cleric 25, Wizard 25)
Sardior appears as a sinewy winged dragon with translucent, wine-red scales. His long, hornless visage is wise and handsome, with a playful glint in his eyes; only those who’ve never seen a red dragon could mistake him for one. He draws his spells from all schools and spheres save the spheres of animal, chaos, law, and plant. He has access to all psionic sciences, devotions, attack modes, and defense modes.

AC −12; MV 15, Fl 48; HP 254; THAC0 −5; #AT 3+special
Dmg 2d6+12/2d6+12/5d8+12 (claw/claw/bite)
MR 80%; SZ G (380 feet—body 180 feet, tail 200 feet)
Str 20, Dex 21, Con 23, Int 23, Wis 24, Cha 22
Spells P: 13/12/12/12/12/10/4, W: 5/5/5/5/5/5/5/5/4
Psionic Summary: Mental #AT: 2; Mental THAC0 −8; Mental AC −10; Dis all/Sci all/Dev all; PSPs: 344; Att all; Def all.
Saves* PPDM 2; RSW 3; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 4
* As a psionicist, an additional +2 bonus to all saving throws vs. enchantment/charm spells should be applied as needed.

Special Att/Def: While Sardior is sociable in general, he has no mercy for those who challenge him in combat. His favored breath weapon in such situations is a deadly, high-pitched shriek that fills a conical area 145 feet long, 5 feet wide at his mouth, and 45 feet wide at the base. Those caught within the shriek must make a saving throw versus breath weapon or die instantly from the intense pressure and pain from the sound. Those who successfully make their save suffer 12d4+12 points of damage and are stunned (as power word, stun) for 1d3 rounds. Creatures unable to hear can still be affected, although magical protection against sound (including silence, 15′ radius) does offer immunity to the breath weapon. Sardior’s second breath weapon is a cone of brilliant, glittering shards of force 90 feet long, 5 feet wide at his mouth, and 40 feet wide at the base; these shards are bright as daylight and can be seen for 12 miles. Creatures caught within the blast suffer 24d8+12 points of damage, with a save allowed for half. In addition, creatures caught within the glowing shards must also make a second saving throw versus breath weapon or be blinded for 12 turns; any creatures within 60 feet of the cone must also make a saving throw versus breath weapon or be dazzled for 12 turns, suffering a −2 penalty to their attack rolls. Creatures with an aversion to light suffer a double penalty for the duration.

Sardior has ESP to 180 yards as a constant ability, although he can disable it if he wishes. He can cast clairvoyance and clairaudience at twice the normal range six times per day. Twice per day he can cast divination and augury, and once per day he can cast find the path, ruby ray of reversal, and shooting stars (as the Quest spell).

The Ruby Dragon’s aura of dragon fear is 140 yards in diameter. Creatures of up to 5 HD/levels who catch sight of him are automatically affected (as well as all noncarnivorous, nonaggressive creatures with fewer than 25 Hit Dice) and flee for 4d6 rounds. Trained war mounts of 4 HD or more, organized military units, and single creatures with more than 5 HD or levels do not automatically flee. Rather, they are entitled to a saving throw vs. petrification at a −1 penalty. If they fail this saving throw, they fight with a −2 penalty to attack and damage rolls. No one save another deity is automatically immune to his fear effect.

Sardior is immune to weapons below +2 enchantment, as well as spells below 5th level. He is immune to any attacks based on light, magical force, and sound, and takes half damage from acid and cold. In addition, he is immune to poison, paralysis, death magic, blindness, deafness, and mind-affecting and controlling spells and psionics.

Other Manifestations
The Ruby Dragon manifests most commonly as a ruby-hued star near the horizon on clear nights. Any member of his faithful who gazes upon this temporary star feels invigorated, gaining the effects of a bless spell for 1d6 days. During this time, they regain PSPs at twice the normal rate and cast spells as if they were one level higher. Nothing short of a wish spell can end this boon early, although dispel magic, limited wish, and similar spells can suppress the effects for 1d4 rounds per spell level. More rarely, he may grant a non-psionic dragon the ability to use one psionic power (and contact if necessary), along with 10 PSPs per age category, or the minimum necessary to use it once per day, whichever is higher. This lasts for as long as Sardior deems the dragon will need it, although this almost never lasts longer than two weeks.

Sardior is served by al-mi’raj with psionic ability, aratha, azmyth, baku great ones, brain moles, cerebral parasites, constellates, couatl, firestars, gray oozes with psionic ability, noctrals, observers, owls of all sorts, psionic leeches, psionic viruses, quaggoths, ruby golems, ruves, stargazers, thought eaters, tsnng, and vagabonds. He displays his favor through the discovery of flawless precious stones of a type matching the neutral dragon who finds them, as well as large, flawless rubies. His displeasure is indicated through intense headaches and rubies that initially appear flawless, but upon closer inspection reveal flaws making them nearly worthless.

The Church
Clergy:                      Dragon-priests, specialty priests, dragon-psionicists
Clergy’s Align.:      LN, N, CN
Turn Undead:           DP: Yes, SP: No, DPsi: No
Cmnd. Undead:         DP: No, SP: No, DPsi: No

All priest-dragons and specialty priests of Sardior receive religion (draconic) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.

Sardior’s faith is virtually forgotten amongst the metallic and chromatic dragons today. Outside of the neutral and gem dragons, those who are aware of the Ruby Dragon and his faith tend to prefer calling on other deities with similar interests and concerns who better match their ethos. This is further reinforced by Sardior’s interest and mastery of psionics, a trait found only among the gem dragons. These elements serve to make Sardior seen as a very exclusive deity, with only Nathair Sgiathach more exclusive. His faithful tend to be very private about their worship of Sardior, keeping to themselves and preferring not to interfere with the activities of other draconic faiths. They get along well with followers of Arcanic, and would likely have much in common with Rais’s church should they ever encounter that young faith, although with neither do they easily share secrets they have learned about other dragons. They actively opposed the clergy of Kalzareinad in times past, but with his faith dwindling so much over the last millennia, few of Sardior’s faithful were even aware of the Keeper of Dark Wonders’ existence at the time of his divine passing.

Temples are never constructed to honor Sardior; he long ago made it clear he was uninterested in such displays of devotion. His followers usually build shrines honoring him within their lairs, however; such shrines feature a large ruby embedded in a small altar, dais, or shadowy alcove. This ruby is sometimes magically or psionically infused with an inner glow, although this is usually only done if the owner is a priest or powerful in the psionic arts.

On most worlds, dragons do not form organized priesthoods, as there are too few of them and they are far too individualistic. Only worlds with very dense dragon populations or very structured dragon cultures will develop hierarchical priesthoods, and the form they take are likely to be unique to those worlds. Specialty priests of Sardior are known as rubystars. Gem dragons make up the majority of his clergy, with other neutral dragons (jacinth, pearl, jade, cloud, mist, amber, etc.) other than steel dragons fill out the ranks. Metallic and chromatic dragons are theoretically allowed into the clergy, but such cases are nearly mythical. Specialty priests form the core of Sardior’s priesthood (60%), with the remainder divided evenly between dragon-priests (20%) and dragon-psionicists (20%). As few neutral dragons can produce half-dragons and no half-dragons are believed to have psionic ability, Sardior’s faith is virtually unknown amongst their ranks beyond a small number of diviners. These few half-dragons have no formal position within the church, and most followers of Sardior treat them as they would any other half-dragon.

Dogma: Sardior’s faith stresses that knowledge puts one in advantageous positions in life. Not all knowledge is equal however; practical knowledge and personal secrets learned from others is substantially more powerful than esoterica gained from books and tomes. Convincing others to divulge information through conversation is the ultimate expression of one’s true power, even if magic and psionics are often faster or more effective. Night is a time of contemplation, surrounded by the beauty of the moon and stars.

Day-to-Day Activities: The everyday activities of Sardior’s faithful differ little from other members of their species, as the Ruby Dragon neither requires nor expects regular demonstrations of devotion. They tend to be slightly more curious and social, but they’re perfectly happy to slake their curiosity with magical or psionic investigations from the privacy of their lair, and are just as protective of their lairs and hoards as other dragons. They are interested in secrets and mysteries of all sorts, both social and natural. They are just as likely to want to discover why a nearby geyser has a regular eruption cycle as they are to want to discover who murdered a king in a nearby human kingdom. Discovering the unknown is itself, the goal, more than what exactly the unknown knowledge is or what it affects.

Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: The Recitation is a private holy ceremony Sardior’s faithful hold at infrequent intervals, usually every two to five years. During this ceremony, Sardior’s followers share any secrets they’ve learned with the Ruby Dragon in precise detail, furthering his own knowledge of the goings-on throughout the multiverse. There is no fixed date upon which this is held; each dragon performs the ceremony when he or she feels the time is right and they have sufficient information to share. The faithful hold no other common ceremonies or holy days sacred.

Major Centers of Worship: The amethyst dragon clan of Regalen in is the center of Sardior’s faith in Io’s Blood Isles. Despite Sardior’s discouragement, they have built a small temple in his honor, as a place of safety for his devoted followers. Due to their devotion, members of the clan know a great deal about the secret goings-on of other clans, but they rarely share or act upon this knowledge.

Affiliated Orders: None.

Priestly Vestments: The holy symbol used by the clergy is a cut ruby magically or psionically enhanced with an inner glow. While standard cuts are most common, some dragons prefer stones with asterism, and cut to show off the six or eight pointed star design.

Adventuring Garb: None.

Specialty Priests (Rubystars)
Requirements:          Constitution 14, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 14
Prime Req.:                Constitution, Wisdom
Alignment:                N
Weapons:                   Any, but normally a dragon’s natural weaponry
Armor:                       Any, but normally a dragon’s natural armor
Major Spheres:         All, astral, divination, elemental air, numbers, protection, summoning, sun, thought
Minor Spheres:         Charm, healing, necromantic, travelers
Magical Items:         Same as dragons, clerics, psionicists
Req. Profs:                Astrology or astronomy
Bonus Profs:             Direction sense or harness subconscious

  • Rubystars may be any dragon capable of become priests, although the vast majority are gem and other neutral dragons.
  • Rubystars are not allowed to multiclass.
  • Rubystars are protected at all times as if by a ring of mind shielding and are completely immune to ESP, detect lie, and know alignment, as well as comparable psionic powers.
  • Rubystars can cast detect psionics (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day per age category.
  • At the 2nd age category, rubystars can cast ESP (as the 2nd-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At the 3rd age category, rubystars can cast augment psionics or maintain power (as the 2nd-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At the 4th age category, rubystars can cast starshine (as the 3rd-level priest spell) three times per day.
  • At the 5th age category, rubystars can cast psionic reflection (as the 3rd-level priest spell) once per day.
  • At the 6th age category, rubystars can see normally in starlight and other low light conditions.
  • At the 7th age category, rubystars can cast ruby shield or divination (as the 4th-level priest spells) once per day.
  • At the 9th age category, rubystars can cast psychic reversal (as the 6th-level wizard spell) or ruby ray of reversal (as the 7th-level wizard spell) once per day.
  • At the 10th age category, rubystars can cast contact archetype (as the 7th-level priest spell) once per month. There is only a 5% chance of insanity when contacting Sardior using this power if the rubystar shares some secret knowledge they have discovered. Secrets can be any obscure knowledge, from knowledge that a local human king secretly murdered his father to gain the throne, laying blame on his step-mother, or the discovery that a local mineral explodes when subjected to magical fire. Such knowledge cannot be generally known, even if only to locals, although they may suspect the truth, as long as the rubystar knows for certain.
  • At the 11th age category, rubystars can see normally in complete darkness, including magical darkness.
  • At the 12th age category, rubystars can cast shooting stars (as the 8th-level wizard spell) once per day.

Sardioran Spells
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Ruby Dragon can cast the 2nd-level priest spell augment psionics, detailed in Demihuman Deities in the entry for Deep Duerra.

2nd Level
Maintain Power (Pr 2; Alteration)
Sphere:                    Thought
Range:                     0
Components:           V, M
Duration:                 2 rds./level
Casting Time:          5
Area of Effect:         The caster
Saving Throw:        None

With this spell, the priest is able to maintain a psionic power with fewer psionic power points than normal. For the duration of the spell, the maintenance cost of the psionic power is cut in half. For powers that have a maintenance cost of 1 PSP per round, the maintenance cost is applied every other round. For powers that cost more than 1 PSP per round, the cost is halved and then rounded up. For example, the Telepathic Science Probe is reduced to 5 PSPs per round, from the normal cost of 9.

This spell is uncastable by priests who do not have psionic abilities.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and an uncut quartz crystal; the quartz crystal is consumed in the casting.

3rd Level
Psionic Reflection (Pr 3; Abjuration)
Sphere:                    Protection, Thought
Range:                     Touch
Components:           V, S, M
Duration:                 1 rd./level
Casting Time:          6
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Special

This spell creates a psionic mirror around the caster’s mind that causes telepathic psionic powers to be reflected back on the originator. Powers and attacks that rebound are rolled normally, with the effects applying to the originator instead; any listed saving throws still apply. In addition, such powers have a potential for causing a “mental short circuit;” the psionicist initiating the power must roll a saving throw vs. spell or be stunned for 1 round. Regardless of the outcome of the save, the psionicist knows that his own attack was reflected back at him. Powers that passively read information about the protected creature, such as aura sight, work normally, as do powers that affect the creature physically.

The material components for this spell are the priest’s holy symbol and a small silver mirror that is consumed in the casting.

4th Level
Ruby Shield (Pr 4; Evocation)
Sphere:                    Thought
Range:                     60 yds.
Components:           V, M
Duration:                 1 rd.
Casting Time:          1
Area of Effect:         1 creature
Saving Throw:        Neg.

This spell cloaks one chosen being in a flickering ruby-hued aura, unless the target successfully saves vs. the spell, in which case the magic collapses and fails. A saving throw must be made regardless of the target’s wishes.

A ruby shield protects the being it encloaks against all psionic attacks and psionically-caused effects, breaking existing psionic contacts and influences for the duration of its existence. It can’t be made to protect more than one being (even if its protected target is in direct physical contact with other beings) and can be effectively cast on the same being only once in any three-day period. If it is cast more often on the same being, it automatically fails, producing only a momentary wash of green radiance around the target creature.

The material component for this spell is the priest’s holy symbol.

7th Level
Contact Archetype (Pr 7; Wiz 7; Divination)
Sphere:                    Astral, Divination
Range:                     0
Components:           V
Duration:                 1 question/3 levels
Casting Time:          4 rds.
Area of Effect:         Special
Saving Throw:        None

This spell is similar to the 5th-level wizard spell contact other plane, except that with it a dragon can contact one of the three archetypes of dragonkind—Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon, Sardior, the Ruby Dragon, or Tiamat, the Chromatic Dragon. All three powers resent such contact, so only brief answers are given to the questions the caster asks. For every three effective levels (or fraction thereof) it possesses, the dragon can ask one question. Contact with the minds of such powerful creatures poses the risk of insanity; for powerful dragons, this risk is generally lower than for humans contacting extraplanar beings, however. If insanity occurs, it strikes as soon as the first question is asked, and lasts for 2d10 weeks.

                          Chance         Chance         Chance
of                   to                   of
Power              Insanity*         Know          Veracity
Bahamut              30%               70%               90%
Sardior                 35%               75%               85%
Tiamat                  45%               85%               75%
* For each effective level of the caster, decrease the chance of insanity by 1%.

If the archetype doesn’t know an answer, and the veracity roll fails, the archetype emphatically gives an incorrect answer. If answer is not known and the veracity roll is successful, the archetype’s answer is “unknown.”

Tiamat’s chance of veracity is decreased by 15% for each step of alignment the questioner is away from Tiamat’s lawful evil. (Thus, if the questioner is a chaotic good brass dragon, the chance of veracity is only 15%.).

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