Posts Tagged ‘archon’

She Can Blow My Trumpet Any Day

May 30, 2010

Today’s entry in my critique of all the monsters in the Bestiary brings us to the last of the archons, as well as the strongest and best-looking of them. So without further ado, here’s the…


You know, I almost typed the word “trumpet” in that header with an “s” in front of it, and if you’re looking at the picture of this particular creature, I think you’ll understand why. Yes, we’ve officially come to Pin-Up Girl #2 – another monster that would make most adventurers say – to quote someone else – “man, I’d like to roll d20 to hit that.”

Leaving aside the dirty jokes that can be made about this monster – and believe me, there are many – I’m a bit disappointed that Paizo didn’t focus on the musical aspect of this particular creature more. I mean, her trumpet is a weapon that can not only play destructive music, but can also turn into a sword. Now, that’s not as cool as some other musical weapons, but still pretty badass.

And yet, the rest of her character doesn’t deal with this theme at all. There’s no powers about singing or dancing; even her spells are drawn from the cleric spell list, rather than the bard’s. Seriously, there’s no ingenuity here; given that (for reasons previously discussed), good creatures in general, and archons in particular, take a background role to help support mortals, I would have thought that they’d have made the trumpet archon fill a role like so:

You have to admit, our trumpet archon here is already dressed for this role. So I ask you Paizo, where are our Elite Beat Archons?

Lighting the Way

May 22, 2010

Man, when you come down on Heaven, it really comes back to bite you in the ass fast! Less than a day after my razzing the hound archon, I found myself cast into a place of endless suffering and despair, where the howls of the damned filled my ears and sights of pure horror assaulted my eyes. I was, dear readers, thrown into the realm of…the Dungeons & Dragons movie.

Dungeons & Dragons: The Movie

Gaze into the face of Fear!

It took me six days to claw my way out of that hellish realm, but now I’m back, and remain undaunted! So long as there’s an ounce of strength left in me, I’ll continue to mock and roll! So without further ado, let’s continue through the Bestiary, moving on to…


You know, for all my earlier blustering, these guys are actually kinda cool. Not so much for their special powers, which I’ll deal with in a moment, but more for how they appear.

Despite the artwork for them making them look like celestial butterflies, lantern archons are small glowing balls with no physical form – while the Bestiary doesn’t say so, I always pictured them as being the disembodied souls of mortals who died and went to Heaven. These guys are that aunt who you always loved to visit when she was alive – the one who always baked cookies just for you when she knew you were coming – reborn into a form with no corporeal woes or physical desires any more.

Interestingly, the Paizo people added a new ability to the lantern archon from its 3.5 incarnation. Nine of these creatures can form a gestalt, more powerful lantern archon for 2d4 rounds. That’s pretty cool, but they note that such a creature is basically a large air elemental, with a few changes noted.

Now, I’m something of a nitpicker when it comes to stat blocks, and while I can certainly understand where Paizo is coming from by just saying “for the gestalt form, use this monster, with changes X, Y, and Z,” but that just strikes me as rather offhand. I know it saves space, and really it doesn’t make that much of a difference for a creature that’ll exist for roughly 5 rounds…but it still irks me.

But fear not, I’m not just going to complain without offering any solutions. No, I’ve gone ahead and created a stat block for the gestalt lantern archon! Of course, I took a few creative liberties with the creature where Paizo’s hand-waving proved nebulous (showcasing the problems with such an approach). For example, does this creature having “all the powers and abilities” of a Large air elemental mean that it doesn’t have the base lantern archon’s spell-like abilities? Does it speak just Auran like an air elemental? Does it have a slam attack?

These are the sort of questions that can make a DM freeze up during play as they try to decide, flipping back and forth between the pages in indecision. I may not have official answers, but I think that the stats I’ve put together here are reasonable – they’re certainly functional – and will work for a DM who needs a gestalt lantern archon in play.

Gestalt Lantern Archon                                                              CR 5

XP 1,600

N Large outsider (archon, extraplanar, good, lawful)

Init +11; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +11

Aura aura of menace (DC 16)


AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 13 (+7 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural, -1 size; +2 deflect vs. evil)

hp 68 (8d10+24)

Fort +9, Ref +13, Will +2; +4 vs. poison, +2 resistance vs. evil

Defensive Abilities air mastery; DR 5/evil and magic; Immune electricity, petrification; Resist electricity 10, fire 10


Speed fly 100 ft. (perfect)

Melee 2 slams +14 (1d8+4)

Ranged 2 light rays +14 ranged touch (2d6)

Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Special Atks whirlwind (DC 18)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd) At will – aid, continual flame, detect evil, greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only)


Str 18, Dex 25, Con 16, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 11

Base Atk +8; CMB +13; CMD 31

Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Flyby Attack, Improved InitiativeB, Mobility, Weapon FinesseB

Skills Acrobatics +15, Escape Artist +15, Fly +21, Knowledge (planes) +5, Perception +11, Stealth +11

Languages Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; truespeech


Environment any (Heaven)

Organization solitary

Treasure none


Air Mastery (Ex) Airborne creatures take a –1 penalty on attack and damage rolls against a gestalt lantern archon.

Cry Havoc and Let Slip…

May 16, 2010

Okay, finally returning to the review of monsters from the Pathfinder Bestiary. Here, we again return to the goodly creatures that populate the planes of existence. This time, we come to those exemplars of order and goodness, the archons.

While the angels represent Goodness in various ethical guises (law, chaos, or neutrality), archons are purely Lawful Good. This, of course, is where the Bestiary really starts to drag us into the “law vs. chaos” part of Pathfinder’s (inheritance of D&D’s) alignment system (warning: rant ahead).

Good vs. evil is fairly easy to understand; even if you can’t articulate it, you generally know it when you see it. Law and chaos, in terms of an individual’s slant towards one or the other – to say nothing of when couched in terms of goodness and evil – are more difficult to define. I think this is largely because it doesn’t have that same “intuitive understanding” that good and evil do, but really, there’s an even more fundamental reason for why law and chaos, as alignment choices, are so hard to define:

Good and evil are defined in terms of how characters relate to other characters. Law and chaos are defined in terms of how characters conduct themselves.

This is why law and chaos seem so messy; because anytime a character acts in a way that doesn’t seem lawful or chaotic at face-value, they’re open to getting slammed by the DM or other players. A lawful character who breaks local laws – even though he rigorously follows his own internal code of conduct – isn’t acting lawful, ’nuff said. It can be very frustrating, and given how the game also has alignment-based spells and effects, oftentimes can seem like one big hindrance rather than an aspect of your character.

So having said all of that, how do Pathfinder’s iconic Lawful Good creatures conduct themselves?


Archons are the ultimate in the “help mortals help themselves” philosophy. They prefer to provide subtle aid an encouragement for mortals to do the right thing, rather than just going in and solving problems. However, the Bestiary also notes that they prefer orderly fixes to things, such as trying to transform a dictatorship into a better government rather than overthrow it. So basically, these are the guys who are backing the rare honest politician with the reform program, rather than the radical revolutionary.


This stance essentially reduces archons to being teachers, rather than crusaders. And given that PCs are adventurers, I suspect that even the most lawful PCs are more inclined towards crusaders. So yeah, these guys have all the major problems of good-aligned monsters, and then some. I don’t foresee a lot of memorable archons in Pathfinder’s future, so let’s just get on with it.


Now, this guys here is the hound archon. While not the weakest of Heaven’s denizens, these guys are the foot soldiers of its celestial armies, and…um…

Is it just me, or does this guy look familiar?

Seriously, I could swear I’ve seen him before. Oh well, nevermind. Anyway, these dog-faced creatures are…

Wait a sec…could that be…?

It is! Holy crap! I almost didn’t recognize him, but that guy in the picture is Jock, from Lady and the Tramp!

No, really, take a look:

See? He’s shaved off his mustache and trimmed the bushy eyebrows, but it’s clearly the same dog. But what made Jock into a heavenly warrior? Well, let’s go over some things.

First, all dogs go to heaven. Presumably this is the reason why there are hound archons, but not other animal spirits like horse archons.

Second, Jock is already an established fighter. While the original movie only hints at it, he’s in fact constantly killing evil doers and burying their remains in a hidden location. Remember how Lady comes along and Jock hides the bones from her? Clearly, in life he was a secret warrior for justice, killing many evildoers (notice the size of those bones – it seems evil humans were his favored prey).

I guess this means I was wrong about there not being any memorable archons. The next time I need a good Outsider in my game, it’ll be Jock to the rescue.