by Guilio N. Caroletti
Lesser Power of the Sphere of Time, NG
Chardastes is the patron of healing and doctors. He has a small following in Karameikos, but otherwise his followers are scattered around the world, acting as doctors to follow his example. Chardastes was, in life, a Traldar magic user who focused his spells on the use of herbs to cure diseases, trying to find ways for non priestly magic to cure people. After long years spent in trying he succeded, and founded a Healing Order in the old Traladara, not long before the rise of King Halav. But Chardastes soon discovered that most of his followers were not really interested in the healing possibilities of magic, but rather in the use of magic to further their dreams of power; many, when they understood Chardastes couldn't help them, left the order.
As the years passed, Chardastes remained with very few followers, and retired deeper into the forests of Traladara to continue his magical studies, helping the small communities that lived around him. He earned the admiration of Ordana, who liked the great respect Chardastes showed towards the plant races that he studied and used as components for his spells. Chardastes decided to search for Immortality, to continue from his new position to fight diseases that could harm the mortal races. With his most loyal friends, Chardastes traveled across Traladara and confronted a black dragon who possessed an artifact which allowed to travel through time; in his great respect of life, Chardastes managed to defeat the creature without killing it. Then, after his return, he gathered his few disciples and told them he had to leave for a long time, but he would have returned in case of need.
Chardastes came back three times, to keep the small community alive and he managed also to save many of the small village of the surrounding from destruction, first during a werewolf invasion, second when a lich attempted to submit the order to his evil plans, and finally when clerics of Thanatos had entered in the order to destroy it from the inside.
The Healing Order of Chardastes had, by that time, slowly passed from the hands of magic user to those of druids, joined by clerics when Chardastes finally achieved Immortality.
Chardastes is a extremely good Immortal. He has an immense love for life, and views his Immortal condition only as the situation of a man of a higher rank that can help in a better way his fellows. He often visits Mystara, and is somehow embarassed by the formal rituals clerics devote to deities. He often does not understand why Immortals plot and plan behind the shoulders of mortals, forgetting what they were. He is a peaceful creature like his friend Koryis, although he believes that sometimes it is impossible to avoid the use of violence. He hates the most destructive Entropic Immortals and the most selfish and plotting Immortals of all spheres, but has no hate for Entropy as a Sphere. He merely states that many Immortals don't understand that the role of Entropy is important as a part of the Universe's balance; among these unknowing Immortals are most of the Entropic themselves.
Allies: Koryis, Benekander
Foes: Loki, Masauwu
Aliases: In Thyatis, Chardastes is known as Aesculapius. Aesculapius was a follower of Chardastes, believed by many Thyathians to be a reincarnation of the Immortal. In fact, Aesculapius failed on his quest for Immortality, and Chardastes assumed this second name as a sort of gift to the deceased, faithful and unlucky follower.
Worshipper's Alignment: LG, NG, CG, LN, N
Chardastes' Avatar (Druid 20, Mage 25):
Chardastes appears to be a normal man of Traladaran ethnicity, about 40 years old. He has brown hair and beard, dark intense eyes, and a healthy appearance. He is dressed as a scholar, preferring green and light brown colours.
Chardastes favors spells of the divination and alteration schools, and never use necromantic spells. He can use all the spells of healing, no matter of which sphere or school.
AC –2, MV 15, HP 170, THACO 2, Dmg 1d6+6 (battle staff +4 and str +2), MR 50%, SZ M;
STR 18, DEX 15, CON 25, INT 18, WIS 25, CHA 18
Special Att./Def: Chardastes can, at will, heal himself or any non evil creature in sight, three times a day per person. He is never attacked by forest creatures and animals with intellignece of 4 or less. He is immune to all reversed forms of healing spells and to all negative necromantic spells. If forced to combat, the avatar uses a Battle Staff +4 with the power to Stun every being hit (save versus paralysis with a –4 penalty to avoid this effect). While holding the Staff, Chardastes regenerates 4 hit points per round.
Other Manifestations: Chardastes rarely appears in a form different from that of his avatars, which are often present in Mystara, because he dislikes the use of symbols and cryptic messages that could not be easily understood. He sees such cyrptic manifestations to be silly jokes on the part of Immortals, who should either be clear in their statements or remain silent. The rare times he uses these manifestations are only in times of great calamities, like to prevent an incoming plague. In this case, the viewers might see healthy plants die suddenly in the front of them, and then immediately come back to life (Chardastes would never stand that a plant has to die to allow him to send a message).
Clergy: Specialty Priests, Clerics
Alignment: LG, NG, CG, LN, N
Turn Undead: Yes
All clerics and specialty priests of Chardastes receive the Herbalism and Healing proficiencies as bonuses. They can be of any race. Chardastes has few clerics, although many lay folk pray to him when seriously ill. Chardastes' followers are mostly part of the Healing Order of Karameikos.
The church hierarchy is thus not particularly highly organized, and priests are allowed and encouraged to return to their families and help their communities after their initial training with the Order. They must never ask payment for their deeds, and so must have another way of earning their living. This is a major problem that keeps the number of clerics of Chardastes low; because his priests are always helping the needy, they do not have much time to devote themselves to other activities. Many are sustained by the community, though, and this is permitted by the Immortal. Clerics or priests of Chardastes are not allowed to resurrect people who have died of natural causes.
Dogma: Life must be loved in all forms, from cradle to grave. Men and Immortals alike cannot break the circle of life, and one day everyone and everything must die. Animals and men are equal, and Healers and Clerics must help both in an equal way. To kill someone or something is to meddle with the natural forces of Life, deeciding who should live or die, and is to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. The same is true of resurrecting those who have died naturally, or of prolonging lives in undeath. Speak always the truth, but lie if a lie can help save a life without doing any harm, and if possible reveal and repent for it.
Holy Days/Important Ceremonies: Priests of Chardastes especially revere the 3rd full moon day of Klarmont. This day is believed in legends to be the day Chardastes found proof of the presence of evil spies in his first school, when Chardastes was forced "to show the strong fist," a thing that he seldom does. This day, all priests and clerics of Chardastes cannot heal, and can only cast reversed spells, so in the previous week they are double as active as normal in order to prevent any problems on this day. Followers and priests of Chardastes alike on this day show their dislike toward hated people and enemies, using yew tree leaves to form crowns that they put on the head of the people they dislike during all the day.
Major centers of worship: The School of Healers in the Dymrak forest, not far from from the Vyalia elves' settlements, is the first school founded by Chardastes around 600 BC. It is the only "official" center of worship in the Old World, and is a small school where novices learn to heal in the name of Chardastes. Not only priests and clerics are found there, but also humans, elves and centaurs willing to learn to be doctors. It's both a religious center and a technical school for doctors. A well equipped library is found here, with several volumes on anatomy, biology, botany, and virology. The school survived mainly because of the interest of elves of the region, and thanks to Chardastes' interventions during his quest for Immortality. The priests of Chardastes that act as teachers, and non-cleric scholars of the School of Healers are called the Healing Order of Karameikos.
Specialty Priests (Healers):
Prime Requisites: Wisdom 12, Constitution 12
Alignment: Any good
Weapons: Any bludgeoning
Armor: Chain Mail, Banded Armor, Scale Mail, Leather Armors
Major Spheres: Animal, Creation, Elemental (earth & water), Healing, Plant, Protection
Minor Spheres: Combat, Divination, Elemental (fire & air), Time, Wards
Magical Items: Same as clerics, plus those allowed of druids
Required Nonweapon Proficiencies: Survival (forest)
Bonus Nonweapon Proficiencies: Healing, Herbalism
Copyright 1999, Giulio N. Caroletti, based on material copyright TSR, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.