The Congregation of Crusade
The Congregation of Crusade

The Congregation of Crusade

[ Archon Congregations | Crusade | Confession | Compassion ]

The Archonic Congregations

Archonic society is highly structured and hierarchical, with members of the race filling particular positions based on their level of progress along the paths of purity. The race is further organised into three Congregations: Crusade, Confession and Compassion, which encompass the three different roles in Mount Celestia: Defending the plane and its ideals, helping to promote the qualities that Celestia stands for, and caring for the beings that call Celestia their home. All of the castes are said to be equally important, although the sly observer will notice that it’s only the Compassionate who get to actually rule the plane. Luckily, archons are a cooperative lot and recognise that without the defenders of the plane and its faith there wouldn’t be anything worth ruling in the first place. Archons of a given order (sub-type) are typically – but not always – members of the congregations listed below. Exceptions are uncommon, but can exist where an individual has special qualities or interests that merit their inclusion in a different caste.

The Congregation of Crusade

These cutters represent the warrior caste of the archons (although don’t let them hear you using that phrase), and are also known as the Celestial Host. They have taken the task of defending the Eternal Mountain from external threats; invasions from fiends, incursions from slaadi, or raids from githzerai of the Astral. They form the bulk of the patrols that guard the Prime Vallation and Heaven’s Gate, the skies of the lower layers, and the expanse and islands of the Silver Sea, ever-watchful for threats. The more militant members of the congregation are keen to take the fight to the fiends, and sponsor infrequent but plane-quaking crusades with this or that noble end. They might be liberating a burg that’s slipped into the Abyss, or rescuing a holy warrior and their retinue who’s been palad-napped by baatezu.

Ranks of the Congregation

  • Hound
  • Legion/Justice/Lance
  • Warden
  • Shield
  • Sword
  • Wheel
  • Hammer

Hound Archons

The rank and file members of the Congregation of Crusade are the hound archons, powerful and muscular angelic humanoid canine warriors who are steadfastly loyal and faithful to the cause. These bashers are most commonly found in Lunia and Mercuria, alone and following their chosen Spiritual Path to progress up the Evermountain, or in groups of hounds called mutes. They have a particular affinity for the lantern archons, protecting them for threats at all costs as the lanterns learn to find their way on the Mount — it wasn’t so long ago that they were themselves lanterns. It’s said that each hound is responsible for watching 100 lanterns, and instantly knows if any of them are threatened. Some hounds are tasked with rounding up new lanterns after ship of souls docks at Lunian ports, others with guiding them through Threshold and towards the Fields of Serenity.

Sources and Statistics:

Justice, Lance and Legion Archons

Justice archons are heavily armoured knights with metallic wings and a flaming blade. Beneath their armour, they’re humanoids but it’s a religious commandment that they should always be ready for battle and should never remove armour of helmet. They’re the attack troops of the Celestial Host, drafted in large numbers when diplomacy has ended and war is on the cards. On the flipside, they are also the promoters of peace and justice throughout the multiverse. A group of justice archons is called a legion, hence the other name for these beings. There’s also a mounted division of justice archons, who ride flying mounts like ki-rin, pegasus or unicorns and wield flaming pole-arms rather than swords — these cutters are called lance archons but they’re really no different otherwise.

Sources and Statistics:

Warden Archons

The warden archons are large humanoid bear-like creatures with dextrous paw-hands. They’ve got white, silver or golden fur, and are usually clad in plate mail armour. The wardens have a diversity of roles in Celestial society, from defence of the gates and portals that lead into and out of the Evermountain, to leading mutes of hound archons. There are also whispers that there are secret cadres of wardens responsible for scrying; intelligence gathering on the activities of Celestians, their allies and their enemies. At least, that’s what the graybeards have surmised from the fact that the most frequent type of fallen archon is the warden — they’re subjected to far more temptations and sight of forbidden pleasures than most of their bretheren. Finally, there seem to be plenty of ‘retired’ warden archons who’ve hung up their plate mail and become scholars, philosophers and preachers. These are usually the more ancient bashers, but not always. Perhaps this is related to temptation too…

Sources and Statistics:

  • Challenge Rating 8
  • [2e] Planes of Law Monstrous Supplement p4-6.
  • [3e] Book of Exalted Deeds
  • [PF1e] via Creature Chronicle (although visually very different)

Shield Archons

Shield archons appear as armoured giants, with one arm replaced by a sword or spear and the other a shield. Beneath their armour, their skin is made from steel too. Better believe these cutters are created for one purpose, combat. They’re tireless guardians, requiring neither sleep nor food, seemingly possessing endless motivation and enthusiasm for their task of defending Celestia. Shields are stationed at the bulwarks of the Prime Vallation, on its ramparts, and in the many fortresses and islands of the Silver Sea. Rarely, they’re found in armies of the Celestial Host on crusades, and then always as bodyguards of high-ups.

Sources and Statistics:

Sword Archons

The swords appear as large, athletic humans — if humans were eight feet tall, had rugged good looks and magnificent feathered wings like those of an eagle or a falcon. Apart from their stature they seem pretty benign, when if there’s trouble, but at a moment’s notice they’re able to transform their arms into razor-sharp metal blades sheathed in flames. Swords are most commonly seen patrolling the streets of Celestia’s burgs, on the lookout for trouble, or the gates of the Prime Vallation. They’ve also been known to carry important messages and edicts from tome archons and powers to lower ranking archons.

Sources and Statistics:

  • Challenge Rating 11
  • [2e] Planes of Law Monstrous Supplement p4-6.
  • [3e] Book of Exalted Deeds
  • [5e] Manual of the Planes p267; More info
  • [PF1e] via Creature Chronicle

Wheel Archons

Terrifying and incomprehensible, the wheel archons are fortunately rarely seen. They appear as a flying wheel of fire and metal, with armour plating, gouts of flame and soul-piercing eyes. As well as looking fearsome, their personalities are stubborn, inflexible and unforgiving. They’re not tolerant of dissent and do not understand — or choose to ignore — subtlety and tact. They’re more commonly observed as shock-and-awe harbingers of doom and glory for the Celestial Host, to light the way in battle and strike fear in the dark hearts of their foes. They can also appear as messengers from the powers, especially if the messages require a touch of divine thunder and lightning.

Sources and Statistics:

Hammer Archons

The most mighty of all the Congregation of Crusade. They say that there may only be seven hammer archons in existence at a time, and that they are only called forth at times of great need. Where these cutters hide out when they’re not needed is anyone’s guess. Perhaps Chronias? Who can say. They appear as enormous, stern-looking armoured humanoids, with spiked polearms. No cutter has ever seen beneath the armour to say what’s there. These bloods are the unstoppable champions of the Heavenly Host, champions of Celestia. They’re only called to fight against paragons of evil and chaos when all hope seems to have been lost.

Sources and Statistics:

  • Challenge Rating 18
  • [PF1e] Scourge of the Godclaw  (#107); statistics here

Source: Jon Winter-Holt, Author’s note: The congregations are my own creation, non-canonical and partly inspired by the minbari from Babylon 5. Now there’s a deep cut eh? I’ve mixed together the D&D archons, with the additional/alternative archons from Pathfinder (and merged the justice and legion archons which are frankly the same thing and I wanted to stick to the rule of 7, that I just made up).

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