Archons are a race of celestials, or good outsiders, native to lawful good-aligned outer planes.
An archon possesses the following traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature’s entry).
- Darkvision 60 feet and low-light vision.
- Aura of Menace (Su) A righteous aura surrounds archons that fight or get angry. Any hostile creature within a 20-foot radius of an archon must succeed on a Will save to resist its effects. The save DC varies with the type of archon, is Charisma-based, and includes a +2 racial bonus. Those who fail take a –2 penalty on attacks, AC, and saves for 24 hours or until they successfully hit the archon that generated the aura. A creature that has resisted or broken the effect cannot be affected again by the same archon’s aura for 24 hours.
- Immunity to electricity and petrification.
- +4 racial bonus on saves against poison.
- Teleport (Sp) Archons can use greater teleport at will, as the spell (caster level 14th), except that the creature can transport only itself and up to 50 pounds of carried objects.
- Truespeech (Su) All archons can speak with any creature that has a language, as though using a tongues spell (caster level 14th). This ability is always active.
As creatures of law and good, archons seek order, justice, and the protection of the weak against the depredations of the strong. They believe in transformation from within, whether through wholesale, systematic change of governance or personal epiphany. All archons are immune to electricity and petrification attacks, and all have DR 10/evil. The magic circle used to summon them is made of powdered silver.
Hound (SR 15): Disciplined soldiers and vigilant sentinels, hound archons are valiant defenders of all that is good and holy. They value movement and swift yet thoughtful action, and delight in crushing evil; therefore, the best sacrifices when summoning a hound archon are magical shields imbued with holy power, ensorcelled rings or boots that grant swift or unfettered movement, or weaponry of great power.
Lantern: The least of the archons, lantern archons are friendly, and their greatest ambition is to see the cause of good advanced. To gain their favor, one should engage in a week’s worth of charity or make a sincere offering worth 100 gp to a good cause in the name of Heaven.
Shield (SR 21): Solid, stoic, and often defensive even in personality, shield archons are highly skeptical of those who attempt to bind them, but if they can work in the defense of the common good or opposed to the machinations of fiends, they commonly ask their binder to care for and protect a shrine or temple as a gift for their service.
Star (SR 30): Brilliant, wise, and constantly strategizing the protection of Heaven or the defeat of the forces of evil, star archons often chafe under the bindings of mortal spellcasters. Negotiations often devolve into the star archon blasting his binder for shortsightedness and wasting the archon’s time. Star archons demand outrageous gifts even when the cause is just. Only when the archon’s and the binder’s goals work in close concert are the gifts the archon demands nearly attainable.
Trumpet (SR 25): Mighty warriors and messengers, trumpet archons are the leaders of Heaven’s strike forces and the heralds of gods. To gain their favor, one must prove worthy of their presence; rather than making offerings of things, trumpet archons ask for sacrifices of service and time, and any binder who offers an exchange of services—and intends to keep her word—gains a +2 Charisma bonus. Those who renege on their bonds see their fortunes begin to vanish, and take a –2 Charisma penalty when dealings with good extraplanar creatures until they set matters right.
Mortals of goodly heart and strong character sometimes call upon the paragons of good for assistance or divine intervention. Though any mortal can pray—and some even receive a sign or aid in response—powerful spellcasters are capable of summoning celestials to fulfill their requests for help. Virtuous summoners have collected and shared information on the types of celestials most likely to answer such summons and how best to conjure the specific type of celestial needed. This information is kept closely guarded by those who know it, lest such secrets fall into evil hands.
Presented here are the celestial hosts best documented by scholars of the divine, as well as the secrets of summoning them. Using one of these secret methods grants the spellcaster a +2, +4, or +6 bonus on Charisma checks made to secure a celestial’s aid when casting any of the planar binding spells—the GM should determine how large of a bonus best fits her game. Good divine spellcasters are more likely to use the planar ally spell to call on celestial allies. In this case, the use of a secret method reduces the cost of the celestial’s aid by 5%, 10%, or 20% according to GM discretion.
Resolute in the fight against evil, the stoic archons hold mortals who can help bring down their foes in high esteem. They believe oaths and promises to be sacred, so mortals should be wary of violating them.
Harbinger Archon – These tiny but devoted archons sometimes serve as familiars for worthy spellcasters.
Preferred Offering: An original parable or proverb recited during the summoning.
Hound Archon – Hound archons are canine-headed celestials who act as both guardians and soldiers.
Preferred Offering: A stray dog, rescued from the street and cleaned and fed, along with a promise to find a permanent, safe home for the stray after the summoning.
Preferred Offering: A promise to spend 1 hour in conversation with the lantern archon after the summoning is complete.
Preferred Offering: A sworn oath to donate at least 10 hours of time to a good temple or a mission in the next week. If the oath is broken, the summoner agrees to serve the legion archon unreservedly for 1 month.
Shield Archon – Shield archons are stolid, unshakable figures on the battlefield between good and evil.
Preferred Offering: A tower shield engraved with an image of a shield archon, along with a pledge to use the shield in every battle for no less than 3 months, after which the shield is to be donated to a knightly order. If the oath is broken, the summoner agrees to serve the shield archon unreservedly for 3 years.
Preferred Offering: A piece of military intelligence gleaned from an evil army or nation.
Star Archon – Star archons are the tacticians of heavenly armies.
Preferred Offering: Detailed strategies of at least three influential battles against evil, dictated by the generals themselves and obtained without coercion or bribery.
Trumpet Archon – These archons are messengers who also lead the armies of heaven by sounding their magical horns.
Preferred Offering: A silk battle standard worth at least 75 gp.
Archons are a race of outsiders from Heaven, creatures of fundamental law and good tasked with the protection of that plane as well as all who are innocent or free of evil. They are the natural enemies of devils, daemons, and demons, and most are veterans of many attacks against their home by fiends of the Lower Planes.
The natives of Heaven arise from amid the earth and clouds of that divine realm, inspired into creation by the sacred mountain’s metaphysical processes, the faith of goodly mortals, and the transformation of virtuous spirits. Each archon begins life as a lantern archon or lesser servitor spirit, gaining in power and prestige through aiding the cause of good. Watched over by benevolent mentors and captains of the divine orders, each spirit is encouraged and aided in indulging its fundamental desire to see peace, honesty, and fairness spread across all lands, especially throughout the Material Plane. To this end, archons of all walks often take on the roles of questing knights, journeying throughout disparate worlds and realms aiding in good works and promoting courageous acts. These virtuous outsiders prefer to motivate mortals to act with honor and integrity rather than righting mortal wrongs themselves, believing the cause of righteousness is best served by enlightening creatures to make just choices and cast off their own shackles of evil. This makes future temptations easier to resist and plants the seeds of spiritual deliverance. Thus, most archons take a subtle hand in their interactions with mortals, taking special pleasure in bringing solace and reprieve to those who are wholly unaware of their presence.
The efforts of Heaven prove far less subtle when it comes to combating the hordes of the Lower Planes. Armies of archons stand in staunch opposition to the affronts of Hell, Abaddon, and the Abyss, confronting them upon both extraplanar battlefields and the Material Plane itself. These encounters might take the form of vast armies clashing over strange planar holdings, or solitary archons revealing themselves upon mortal worlds to push back the machinations of fiendish invaders. In such cases, archons generally prefer to meet foes head-on if it is prudent to do so, but if outmatched, they do what they can to even the odds (usually by employing hit-and-run tactics or standing off and engaging a foe with magic before moving into melee). Because they can teleport at will, it is easy for them to vanish only to reappear later, often with reinforcements, when their enemies are unprepared. These warriors of law act honorably, even to their foes, but are not foolish or without passion, and little in the multiverse dares stand against the rage of Heaven.
Although archons are champions of good, they have little patience for those who do not follow strict traditions and patterns of goodness. While a cruel dictatorship might be a legitimate enemy of the archon, rebellion and riot is not the proper way to address such an inequality. Justice and law must not be abandoned in the constant struggle for peace and good, for in such anarchic actions one often promotes further harm and mayhem, even if unintentionally. The laws of Heaven exist to minimize collateral damage and unwanted pain, and while adhering to these laws often results in longer campaigns, archons point out that their victories are lasting triumphs as a result. Because of this strong adherence to tradition and law, archons often find themselves the unwilling enemies of chaotic good creatures, particularly the azatas. To an archon, an azata’s nature seems whimsical and impatient—in striking swiftly against an enemy without bothering to think through the implications of their sudden act, it’s possible to do more harm than good. Still, while opposing the chaos of an azata is a necessary step, the archon takes no pleasure in such opposition, and does its best to minimize the length of such a conflict. Unfortunately, the capricious and emotional azatas are legendary among the archons for their ability to hold grudges, so for many archons the best policy when interacting with the azatas is to be brief, succinct, and firm.
Archons speak Celestial, Draconic, and Infernal, but can speak with almost any creature because of their truespeech ability. A full list of archon traits is presented in the archon subtype description. Many archons have additional abilities beyond these traits, as befits their particular role in the army of Heaven.
Additional Information on Archons
Archons value order, justice, and goodness, and they protect the innocent and fight directly against the evil hordes of the evil Outer Planes. Although they’re creatures of stringent orderliness, archons arise from the essence of Heaven in a relatively organic fashion—typically manifesting by the will of heavenly divinities, metamorphosing from the souls of Heaven’s petitioners, or simply emerging from the pure energies of that celestial realm.
Archons prefer to preemptively protect and guide mortals rather than intervene after corruption takes root. In leading souls toward virtue, these righteous harbingers use a subtle hand. When confronting fiends, however, archons bring the fight directly, and prove to be cunning, honorable, and zealous fighters on the fields of interplanar war.
Archons easily organize among themselves, and are often described as ideal soldiers. The evolutionary nature of archons creates a natural hierarchy of power, and each type recognizes and gratefully plays to its strengths and designated role. Archons have some difficulty working with those of a chaotic bent, such as azatas, and instead prefer to work with their own kind. When at a loss for which course of action to take, they follow their cues from the greatest archons and the lawful empyreal lords, authorities they respect with utmost fealty.
As archons evolve, they take varied shapes to reflect their roles and abilities. Though many take the shapes of winged humanoids, others appear animalistic, such as hound archons, or bear the likenesses of celestial objects, as lantern archons do. The uninitiated might have trouble recognizing archons as a related group at first glance, unlike angels or agathions, who have a more unified appearance.
Archons hail from the orderly slopes of the mountain of Heaven, where they build fortresses that display lovely symmetry and solid construction befitting archons’ disciplined natures. Such heavenly castles shine as though constructed the day before but have the solidity of structures that have stood for untold millennia. Surrounding their grand structures stretch cultivated farmlands, tidy little towns, and orderly cities. Theologians claim that Heaven is divided into seven regions—or tiers—with each tier collectively overseen by some combination of powerful archons, lawful angels, and empyreal lords. The exact details of the hierarchies of Heaven remain hidden from mortal scholars, though, save for the first tier.
Because archons often bring the fight to the fiendish outsiders they seek to vanquish, archon fortresses can also be found on other planes. One such fortress is located on the outskirts of the tumultuous Maelstrom. The castle’s heavy stone blocks are engraved with glowing silver warding runes, and its central spire emits a constant white glow that blesses and renews the spirits of the army garrisoned within. Good creatures traveling the Maelstrom’s borderlands are often drawn to the pure light of the fortress, but unless their need is dire they are staunchly refused entry. Only those who prove their battle prowess and commitment to fighting for good are permitted to join the archon soldiers within.
Archons are most likely to intervene when the forces of evil and chaos threaten orderly good. Disorganized coups, mob violence, fiendish interference in mortal realms, and random horrific acts are all likely to spark the notice of an archon. These celestials are careful in their dealings with mortals, however. Though it may be easy for an archon to swoop in and do battle with evil, more can be gained by mentoring mortals who then take lawful action against such evil themselves. Archons also know that evil agents, particularly demons, sometimes use mortals as bait and hasty action might result in more harm than good.
Even in places where large numbers of evil outsiders mass, archons take only patient and calculated action.
Archon leaders never send their armies into battle without a specific strategic goal in mind—ground must be gained, a tactical advantage must be secured, or a powerful general must be destroyed in order to draw forth the armies of Heaven. Once they march, however, these divine platoons are truly a force to be reckoned with.