Archon

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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).

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: Resembling the "classic" angelic depiction of a winged human, these archons are the messengers of Celestia, carrying missives between the different realms of that plane.
  • Trumpet: Resembling avariel 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: Resembling hawk-headed humans, these are the archangels of Celestia; there are only seven Tome Archons, with each responsible for one of Celestia's seven layers.

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]

See Elemental#Archon/Myrmidon

Gallery[edit]

Celestial Archons[edit]

Elemental Archons[edit]

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