Within the Dark Sun game setting, using power means being shaped by power. If turning into an Athasian Dragon is the natural end point of an epic-level Defiler-Psion, then the Avangion is the opposite end of the spectrum: a powerful Preserver fully internalizing their psionic studies, and transforming into a being of energy and light.
While statted out back in 2e alongside its Defiler counterpart, it's pointed out that unlike the Dragon of Tyr, the creation of an Avangion is just a theoretical possibility; no one has actually completed the necessary steps to turn into one as, much like the phases of turning into a Dragon, each phase is fraught with the chance to outright fail.
Not for the lack of trying however. So far, there's only a single named NPC who's working towards becoming an Avangion: Oronis, the Sorcerer-King of Kurn, the only of his fellows who felt remorse at the atrocities he committed under Rajaat, and worked to truly make up for what he did. Depending on the source, he's already halfway there, or managed to completely complete his apotheosis into one.
If you're one of the ones working under the idea that Oronis actually succeeded, then his very existence becomes a veritable game-changer for Tyr, and the setting in general, as it represents the first real chance for the environment of Athas to completely recover. Not that it makes things any easier -- not only is the Dragon of Tyr still around, but Oronis would stand alone against all other Sorcerer-Kings and their forces. But in Athas, some hope is better than no hope at all.
As you might expect from the above, becoming an Avangion is not fucking easy. To qualify for the Avangion "class", you need to be a human Preserver of 20th level with Intelligence 18, Wisdom 17, Constitution 15 and Charisma 16.
Assuming you qualify, advancing requires a two-part process; gain the amount of XP, as indicated in the table below, and then, when you have enough XP to gain a level, you gotta successfully cast the spell Preserver Metamorphosis. This gets harder and harder to cast as you gain in levels, requiring you to engage in various acts to restore life to Athas on an ever-grander scale; the "Dragon Kings" sourcebook introduces the new "Psionic Enchantments" (ritualistic 10th level spells) Prolific Forestation and Prolific Vegetation specifically to be used to qualify for the higher levels of Avangion. Assuming both parts go off without a hitch, and you survive a System Shock roll that casting Preserver Metamorphosis requires, you gain a level in Avangion.
That said, getting new levels requires a not insignificant amount of solo-questing, which is b.s. and shows the dangers of not allowing playtesting. It is a huge hassle for any group to deal with one member who cannot continue hanging with them and must gain XP completely alone. At least it doesn't involve outright becoming a DMPC for five very-high levels...
- Avangion Experience Levels
|Character level||Avangion XP Required||Hit Dice|
Points rolled on Hit Dice are rolled add directly to the avangion's hit point total; Constitution modifiers are added per die rolled.
What happens if you fail? Well, in that, avangion metamorphosis is much more forgiving than the Athasian Dragon metamorphosis. You lose all the XP you were trying to turn into a new level, and have to restock on XP before you can try it again. Annoying, yes, but considering the lethality of its counterpart, most players can live with it. You still need to make a System Shock check to survive the casting, but at least a mistake won't kill you the way it will your counterparts.
As the avangion gains levels, it physically mutates, changing into what will become its new form and gaining abilities based on what level it's reached.
21st-level avangion: This first stage of the change from human to avangion is very subtle. Its physical appearance changes only slightly; more noble features to its face and a silver or golden sheen to its eyes. Armor Class is reduced to AC 9, and the process grants a magic resistance of 10% . The avangion's THAC0 falls to 10. Additionally, the avangion becomes eternal; it no longer ages and cannot die of old age. It also gains four permanently active spell-like abilities: Tongues, Know Alignment, ESP and Detect Lies. Regardless of level, an avangion saves as a 21+-level wizard.
22nd-level avangion: At this level, the skin takes on the metallic glow of its eyes and the hair turns bright white, but the character is still quite human in appearance. AC improves to 8. Magical protections give magic resistance of 15% and immunity to weapons that aren't of +1 enchantment or better. THAC0 remains 10.
23rd-level avangion: Any concealment of the character's true form is lost with this level and the sprouting of enormous gossamer wings from the back and shoulders. The wings themselves, filmy and nearly transparent, span 20 feet. The eyes become bright silver at this stage, and the skin glitters in the sunlight. Its newfound wings let the avangion fly with MV 24. AC improves to 7 and magic resistance to 20 %. THAC0 improves to 9.
24th-level avangion: Now well on its way to true avangion form, the character's original human appearance is increasingly vague. All hair vanishes from the body, and webs of filmy winglike material form between its arms and torso and its fingers and toes. Its existing wings form multiple folds but can be extended to a 25-foot span. The avangion's natural Armor Class improves to AC 6, and its magic resistance becomes 25%. Also, it can only be hit by weapons of +2 or better enchantment. The avangion's THAC0 remains 9.
25th-level avangion: With this level , the avangion's human form decreases drastically, becoming lost in the wispy folds of its wings, which can now extend to a 30-foot span. The character's jaw retracts and its eyes grow on its oval head. Its arms and legs grow far thinner and can no longer support its weight; the character can no longer walk, but instead floats and flies at all times. The character can no longer wield hand-held weapons or make any physical attacks of its own. However, the avangion's magical nature continues to improve. Armor Class becomes 4, and magical resistance rises to 30%. THAC0 becomes 8.
26th-level avangion: The avangion becomes a far more mobile yet graceful creature. Its incredible shining wings now span up to 40 feet, with its central body nearly lost in their folds - the avangion can now fly with a MV of 36. AC improves to 2, magic resistance becomes 40%, and only magical weapons of + 3 or better enchantment cause it damage. THAC0 remains 8.
27th-level avangion: The character's original human form is nearly lost. The creature has only a torso and head, nearly lost in the endless folds of its gossamer wings that now span 50 feet when fully extended. The avangion's increasingly magical nature gives it AC 0, 50% magic resistance, and immunity to weapons of less than +4 magical enchantment. THAC0 becomes 7. Also, enlightenment associated with its incredible power gives a + 1 bonus to its Wisdom score.
28th-level avangion: The avangion first takes on its aura at this level, a radiance of brilliant light that extends 90 feet from it in all directions. The aura acts as a permanent protection from evil spell and dispels all magical darkness within it. The avangion's wingspan increases to 65 feet, and its movement rate improves to MV 48. Only weapons of the finest enchantment, +5, can strike the avangion's physical form. AC improves to -2 and magic resistance climbs to 60%. THAC0 remains 7. At this level, the avangion receives another +1 bonus to Wisdom.
29th-level avangion: The aura grows to a 150' radius. In addition to previous effects, the aura acts as a ray of enfeeblement on all evil creatures within it. Armor Class improves to -4 and magic resistance to 70%. Physically, the avangion grows still more; its wings, now with an 80-foot span, nearly envelop its torso and head. From a distance it appears as a cloud of interwoven wings. The Wisdom score increases by 1 at this level.
30th-level avangion: Now in its final form, the avangion's cloud of overlapping wings can extend to 90 feet. The incredible aura extends to a 200' radius and, in addition to existing effects, acts as a permanent globe of invulnerability. Mobility increases to MV 60, Armor Class to -6, and magic resistance to 80%. At its final stage of transformation, the avangion gains an additional 2 points of Wisdom.
Preserver Metamorphosis Requirements
Low (21st, 22nd, and 23rd level): A preserver feels a calling within when he has earned 75% of the experience needed for the next level. The preserver leaves the company of his fellows and seeks isolation. The preparation time for the spell constitutes the entire period necessary for the preserver to earn the final 25% of those experience points, adventuring completely alone. If the preserver earns any experience points with the aid of another character, all experience points are lost down to the minimum required for the current level. Failure to gain experience in a solitary fashion, in the DM's judgment, means the spell may fail when cast. For low-level metamorphosis, the preserver must spend the isolation period gathering physical remains of the enemies of life, usually those of high level defilers - their bodily remains, destructive belongings or artifacts, ash from their spellcasting, etc. These items are evidence of devotion to life and the land. The spell must then be cast at night, beneath the light of both Athasian moons. The casting time is six hours. Any interruption results in spell failure. The preserver may have other characters present during casting.
Middle (24th, 25th, and 26th level): At intermediate levels, the preserver again hears a call for isolation when 75% of each level's experience points have been earned. During this preparation time, the preserver must attain absolute isolation; any contact with intelligent beings who aren't foes to be defeated negates the spell preparation, and the wizard reverts to the 75% base line of the isolation period. The material components at the middle levels are gifts gathered from no fewer than three powerful good creatures during isolation. The powerful creatures realize the consequences of contact for the preserver, so they leave the gifts to be found after the preserver achieves extremely dangerous or important goals. The material component for the spell (not consumed in casting) is a single tree or bush personally saved by the preserver from defiler magic destruction. The casting time is 12 hours. At the time of casting, there must be living vegetation for at least one mile in all directions, untainted by defiler ash or evil creatures.
High (27th, 28th, and 29th level): Unlike previous level advancements, the preserver feels no calling toward isolation at high levels. On the contrary, at 75% experience point level, the wizard instead collects a core group of companions no fewer than eight in number and of at least 10 levels or Hit Dice each. All the companions must be of good alignment. The preserver must spend the preparation time with these characters, earning the remaining 25% of experience in the company of at least one of these companions; failure to do so forces the preserver to revert to the current level's 75% base line of experience. The material components are a single gift from each of the companions in the core group. During the casting of the spell, the preserver must have the aid of a single companion for the entire length of the ceremony. If the companion is not absolutely good, the spell fails and the companion is slain in the release of failed magical energy. Companions cannot repeat the process with a single preserver - new companions must be found for the 27th, 28th, and 29th levels.
Final (30th level): To cast this spell, the preserver must make an area of lush vegetation (crops, scrubgrass, forests, or any combination) at least five miles in diameter. The preparation time for the spell equals the time it takes the preserver to create these lush lands. At the time of casting, the lush lands must be free of evil creatures. The material components for the spell are a diamond of no less than 10,000 gp value with which to capture the life-giving qualities of sunlight, a stone tomb large enough to hold the preserver's body, and a perfectly sealed glass case built around the tomb. The casting time is one round. Upon casting, the preserver/avangion, diamond, and stone tomb disappear, bound for planes unknown. The DM then secretly rolls 2d12 - this is the number of months before the return of the preserver, in final avangion form, to the glass case. If the glass case is damaged in the meantime, the avangion is lost to oblivion. Only the DM knows how long the final stage takes. The player uses another character from the character tree in the interim.
Naturally, something this awesome couldn't be left out of Dark Sun's 4e revival, and so the Avangion appeared as an Epic Destiny alongside its Athasian Dragon counterpart (here called the "Dragon King" epic destiny). Membership was simple; reach 21st level in any Arcane Class. This means, unlike the original version, the Destiny was in no way race-locked, part of an overall movement away from race-locked class advancement in other editions of the game.
At level 21, it gives you the features Avatar of Preservation (you can't use Arcane Defiling anymore, but you become unaging (so you'll never die of old age) and you gain a bonus on death saving throws equal to half your highest ability score modifier) and Perfection of Mind (increase your choice of two stats - Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma - by +2 each). At level 24, you gain the Avangion Transformation feature: this gives you a Fly speed equal to your movement speed, low-light vision, the ability to speak Supernal, and the ability to understand all spoken & written languages. Also, as a free action, you can shed bright light for 5 squares; whilst this aura is up, you can add the Radiant damage type to your attacks. If that's not enough holy light for you, at level 26, you gain the Daily Utility power "Wings of Gold", which creates a 5 square aura of holy light around you. In this aura, enemies with Vulnerability: Radiant count as having Vulnerability: All, your allies that start or end their turn in your aura can make a saving throw to end any effect on them, even if a save normally wouldn't remove it. Bloodied & dying allies that start in the aura of your Wings of Gold gain 10 hit points. Its ultimate feature, level 30's Avangion Rising, means that whenever you or an ally that you can see drops to 0 or fewer HP, you can spend a healing surge as a free action to heal that creature. If you do this, the target immediately gains hit points equal to your healing surge value plus your highest ability modifier.