|Type|| Monstrous humanoid|
Source: Bestiary 2, pg(s). 55
Charda are small, heavily armored creatures that live exclusively in the Orvian vault known as the Land of Black Blood. They congregate in small communal groups, capturing victims to offer up to their voracious god, Orgesh.
Small but very heavily built, charda stand only four feet tall but are very wide and dense for their size. They weigh as much as the average human, with elder charda weighing up to 250 pounds†. Charda are humanoid in shape, but far from human in appearance. They have and extra set of arms, and each of their four hands end in viciously sharp claws best suited to war. Their bodies are covered in tough scales, though these scales look more like organic plate armour than scales found in the animal kingdom; the scales even clack like armour when the charda moves. Their faces, however, look reptilian with slitted green eyes and reptilian maws. The colour of the charda's hide is black or green.
Habitat and ecology
Chardas can usually only be found in the benighted depths of the Darklands, in the very bowels of its lowest level of Orv. Here they dwell only within one specific vault: the Land of Black Blood. This vault lies miles and miles below the distant elven kingdom of Kyonin. The charda have a unique relationship with the strange black blood for which their realm is named. This liquid is filled with necromantic energy that kills most creatures that touch it, but the charda are able to comfortably swim through this substance. They even utilise it as a form of defence, keeping stores of it in their body, then either squirting it from their mouths or using it as a form of poison delivered through their bite. Most charda never willingly go more than a few miles from the nearest source of Black Blood, staying close to the Caltherium and the marshy lands surrounding it.
Charda begin their life cycle as eggs that are born in clutches of three to five,† with it taking about eight months for them to hatch. Unlike other Darklands' creatures like the drow and duergar, the charda are not long-lived, with fifty being considered old age. Those rare chardas who live longer sometimes develop strange, mystical new powers.
There is much debate over the origins of the charda with some believing they were created by the Vault Keepers, while others believe they may have been created by the aboleth, who are renowned for their prolific creation of servitor races and still sometimes use charda trackers.
Charda society is both primitive and mysterious, mostly because chardas see most other creatures as little more than potential sources of food. Charda create small, simple villages on marshy hillocks in the swamps surrounding the Caltherium, particularly the Black Mire. These villages consist of several domed communal houses huddled together and are led by one charda, who seems to be picked based on both age and achievement.
Much of the chardas' life is dominated by their strange religion, with many of their gods completely unknown outside of the vault. Their main deity is Orgesh, a voracious being that demands constant sacrifices. Some have noted that this worship seems more like placation than sincere reverence. The charda also view the black blood itself as sacred, which helps explain why they are so hostile towards outsiders, most of whom only visit the vault to gather this strange substance.
Ravenous hunger seems to play a large part in charda society as well as worship. Despite being intelligent creatures, charda are very selfish in their feeding habits. When out hunting, a charda will only share any of its food once it is full, and even mothers will leave their children to starve if they are not fully fed first. In particularly lean times, charda resort to cannibalism to keep themselves fed.