Thursday, December 19, 2013

Trumpet Archon

We’ve talked before about how archons tend to be associated strongly with their office—either the role itself or the symbol thereof.  Trumpet archons illustrate this to a T: They are the messengers and heralds of the powers of law and good, their magical trumpets equally adept at blasting enemies into paralysis as they are at playing fanfares.

Trumpet archons are CR 14, which is a nice power level—the gateway to high-level play, essentially.  Getting a message from a trumpet archon (or having to combat one) is a perfect indicator to PCs (and players) that they are about to ascend to a new level of reputation, expectation, and danger.  Heaven has taken notice, and the stakes will be a lot bigger from now on.

As usual with good outsiders, PCs will likely encounter trumpet archons as aides and boon-givers (they actually pack more than two dozen buffing or healing spells per day).  However, since trumpet archons are usually intermediaries, messengers, and soldiers, there are a reasonable number of excuses to put them in the PCs’ path as adversaries.  The message must get through.  A summit must be called.  The army must march.  If the PCs stand in the way of any of these goals—“The safety of one azata prince, even the Prince of Flowers, is not my concern”—and are not amenable to persuasion, then so be it.  Gabriel will blow his horn—at them.

A trumpet archon is a master at mixing music, magic, and blade work.  He offers instruction to good-aligned bards, magi, and rangers alike, but they must first prove their mettle (by wounding him to half hit points in single combat).

Some adventurers rely on a protean guide—which means taking time for numerous side treks and detours.  One of his pranks involves miring an axiomite caravan in entropic matter.  This in turn draws the attention of a trumpet archon, who sounds an alarm on his horn and then attacks the protean—and the mortals he perceives as its lackeys.

A hound archon, supposedly a seditious traitor, has been executed.  His celestial body is left impaled on the crystal gates of Caer Iffos.  A trumpet archon, incensed, promises to blast down the gates—and his vow is no idle one, as he holds a greater horn of blasting.  A party of adventurers has taken a vow to protect the dwarfhold, but with mounting evidence that Caer Iffos’s rulers are corrupt, do they honor their vows to the city or the Heavenly Spheres?

Pathfinder Bestiary 21

Did any of you 3.5 fans ever play a trumpet archon PC?  I know Savage Species had rules for them…

Of course, trumpet archons owe their inspiration to popular depictions of Gabriel (or Islam’s Israfil, who is very worth checking out if you’re looking for a wilder take on angelic imagery—“ a huge, hairy body that is covered with mouths and tongues” and four wings long enough to stretch across several of the Heavens, according to Wikipedia).

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