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For the Dark Eldar unit, see Archon (Warhammer 40,000). If you're looking for the poorly-written villain from the Mass Effect franchise, why?

Archon (from the Greek archai, "origins" or "to rule"), a word which in real-life is a term for an autocratic ruler and a type of hostile angel-like beings from the religious movement Gnosticism. In relation to /tg/ interests, it is a name used to describe several characters in a series of games within the various hobbies of /tg/. It is also an old digital board game.

Up to and including 3e, Archons in Dungeons and Dragons were exclusively Lawful celestials, but with the coming of 4e another group was added.

In Magic: The Gathering, "Archon" is a subspecies of Angel specifically called out as embodying the worst attributes of White Mana, being embodiments of things like tyranny, moral rigidity, and draconian law - in comparison, Angels tend to be embodiments of White's more positive aspects, such as compassion and mercy. They appear as humanoids with faces obscured behind masks, veils or helms, and always mounted on some manner of winged beast. It has been theorized that, at least initially, they were White Mana's counterpart to Black Mana's Specters. They are known to be found on the planes of Alara, Eldraine, Shadowmoor, Ravnica, Theros and Zendikar.

Celestial Archons[edit]

Three Celestial Archons, clockwise from top left: a Lantern Archon, a Hound Archon and a Trumpet Archon.

The most commonly known type of Archon, the Celestial Archons live mostly in the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia. They form a hierarchy of virtue: the less enlightened stand under the guidance of the more enlightened. This goes all the way from the simple Lantern archons (glowing balls of light about a foot across who try to inspire others to live in virtue and do good) all the way to the Celestial Hebdomad, the council of seven archangels who lord over the people of Celestia. While the hierarchy mirrors the ranks of the Baatezu in hell, the Archons have no rivalry between themselves: an archon strives to promote Law, Good, and justice rather than their own advancement; if an act would further these goals but result in someone else being promoted rather than oneself, so be it (although this will be noted when a superior analyzes that archon's evaluation).

While the Guardinals are infamously known as the "furry celestials", it bears noting that a good number of archons are (or were) also humanoid animals .

In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the list of Celestial Archons consisted of the following:

  • Lantern: Floating balls of light who represent the lowest of the Archon ranks, driven by the need to do good and ultimately earn promotion to the next stage.
  • Hound: Humanoid canines who are the primary guardians and warriors of the lowest layers of Celestia.
  • Warden: Humanoid bears who guard the portals that lead between the different layers of Celestia, preventing their abuse by others.
  • Sword: Originally winged humanoid cats, later redesigned in Planescape as humans with wings instead of arms, then redesigned again in 3e as angels with swords for hands. These archons are the messengers of Celestia, carrying missives between the different realms of that plane.
  • Trumpet: Resembling avariels or planetars carrying enchanted trumpets, these archons not only serve alongside Sword Archons, but are also responsible for escorting the souls of the dead who have been subjected to Raise Dead or Resurrection back to their bodies.
  • Throne: Resembling armor-clad humans, these are the rulers of most of the cities scattered across Celestia.
  • Tome: These are the archangels of Celestia; there are only seven Tome Archons, with each responsible for one of Celestia's seven layers. Originally having the heads of vultures, since 3e each of the seven has since been fleshed out further and now has a unique appearance.

In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, the Monster Manual initially brought back only the Lantern, Hound and Trumpet archons. The Lantern was perhaps the most noteworthy, as it could be summoned or used as a familiar or companion more readily than the others and had quite overpowered spell-likes when it was. The Book of Exalted Deeds would bring back the Sword, Warden and Throne Archon, as well as replacing the original Tome Archons with the Celestial Hebdomand, made up of Barachiel, the Messenger, Domiel, the Mercy-Bringer, Erathaol, the Seer, Pistis Sophia, the Ascetic, Raziel, the Crusader, Sealtiel, the Defender, and Zaphkiel, the Watcher. It also added the first of several new archons in the form of the Owl Archon. Later additions to the family would consist of the Hammer Archon (Races of Stone), Word Archon (Tome of Magic), Sibyllic Guardian (Complete Psionic) and Justice Archon (Monster Manual IV).

Elemental Archons[edit]

Introduced in 4e, the Elemental Archons were the soldiers in the armies of the Primordials. They are more than just Elementals: what others lack in regards to self-awareness and initiative the Archons do have. While being highly militaristic and strictly adhere to their superiors they are almost always Chaotic Evil because they want to return the world to its shapeless and fluctuating form prior to the arrival of the gods. They of course do not like this, which was the entire reason the Primordial War even started.

After the gods defeated the Primordials the Archons fell to the service of various elemental lords, both petty and great. They still retain their desire to return their masters to their rightful place in the world and would potentially betray everyone they work for to see this done.

Archons exist out of one element (fire, ice, earth, water, lightning etc.) like normal Elementals do, but instead, they wear armor over parts of their body. They almost always armor their torsos, shoulders and heads, though the exact nature of the armor varies per type. They are human-sized, with everything above the waist being the same shape as humans but instead are made out of one element. Some of them wield weapons made in the style that fits the Archons, but some use weapons made out of fire, ice and so on. If an Archon would be slain it dissipates, possibly alongside its weapon(s), but leaves behind its armor: while a PC can wear it, its light construction makes sure it does not offer a lot of protection.

Before 4e ended, the following Elemental Archon types had been provided with stats:

  • Fire
  • Water
  • Earth
  • Air
  • Ice
  • Storm
  • Iron
  • Mud
  • Magma

5e refluffed the Elemental Archons into the more generic Elemental Myrmidons, making them a neutral allied creature that can be made by conjuring an elemental into a suit of armor. This will mindwipe the sentient mass of its past free life.

The inhabitants of the Planes of Planescape
Upper Planes: Aasimon - Angel - Animal Lord - Archon
Asura - Eladrin - Guardinals - Lillend
Middle Planes: Formians - Githzerai - Inevitable - Marut
Modron - Rilmani - Slaadi - Kamerel
Lower Planes: Alu-Fiend - Baatezu - Bladeling - Cambion
Demodand - Erinyes - Hag - Hordling
Imp - Kyton - Loumara - Marilith - Obyrith
Succubus - Tanar'ri - Yugoloth
Transitive Planes: Astral Dreadnought - Githyanki
Inner Planes: Azer - Elemental - Genie - Grue - Mephit
Salamander - Sylph
Sigil: Dabus - Cranium Rat
High-ups: Archangel - Archdevil - Archfey
Archomental - Demon Prince