This article is part of a series! Click here to see the other entries.
Continuing our look at the MM2 Archons entry we arrive at Storm Archons. All of the lore we saw on the original Archon entry and the extra bits from the Earth Archon post remain valid here, and there’s a bit more that’s specific to them.
These beings are more or less the opposite of the earth archons, temperament and tactics-wise. They’re the Raiders on the Storm, so to speak. They live in floating cities made out of storms in the Elemental Chaos, which are always on the move carried by that plane’s winds. Storm archons don’t much care about whatever is under their storms, except when they grow bored and stage massive raids for the fun of it. Their gear is made of silvery or grey metal with a jagged, spiky look. Lightning shaped blades and such.
Storm archons tend to associate with storm giants, since both like to hang out at the same places. The most notable meeting point for the two are the howling black tempests spat forth by the Abyss, which swirl through the Elemental Chaos and beyond. Archons and giants love to ride these storms, whose evil energies make them even more violent and more prone to raiding than usual. Sometimes they also attract demons who follow and fight alongside them.
In less apocalyptic situations, you might also find the archons working as retainers for storm giants, patrolling their domains.
Storm archons are Medium Elemental Humanoids with the Air and Water keywords. They’re immune to disease and poison and have 15 resistance to both thunder and lightning. This makes them immune to a storm giant’s damaging aura, so they do synergize well. They move by flying with a speed of 8 (hover).
Storm Archon Squallshield
Wearing plate and wielding a longsword and shield, these are Level 17 Soldiers with 168 HP. They can surround themselves with a Rain Wall (aura 1) which forces enemies caught inside to make DC 22 Athletics or Acrobatics checks or fall prone. This can knock fliers out of the air. The test itself isn’t terribly difficult for a PC of equivalent level, but the party’s couch potato wizard might have a bit of trouble with it.
The squallshield’s longsword does physical damage and marks for a turn. It attacks at range with Snarling Lightning (ranged 10 vs. Reflex; recharge 5-6), which obviously does lightning damage and also marks (save ends). If the attack hits, enemies adjacent to the target take half damage and are also markec (save ends).
After marking one or more PCs, the squallshield can use Pursuing Storm (move action; recharge 5-6) to teleport to a space adjacent to a marked enemy, which grants combat advantage to them for a turn. Mark of the Tempest means that any marked creature hit by the squallshield is also slowed (save ends).
Despite not being Skirmishers, Squallshields can use a combo of Snarling Lightning and Pursuing Storm to bypass the party’s front line entirely and stick to a squishy, which will have a hard time running away because they’ll be slowed.
Storm Archon Lightning Walker
If the soldier was that mobile, imagine what this Level 18 Skirmisher can do. It has 171 HP and all standard traits.
Walkers fight with spears, which do physical damage and teleport the target 2 squares on a hit. Hit or miss, the archon itself can teleport 2 squares.
When an enemy enters an adjacent square, it can use Booming Retort as a reaction (recharge 4-6). This hits automatically, causes the enemy to take ongoing lightning and thunder damage (save ends), and allows the archon to shift 2 squares.
Once per encounter it can also use a Lightning Pulse (close burst 2 vs. Reflex), which does lightning damage and allows the archon to teleport 10 squares.
Lightning Walkers never stand still, and keep rearranging the party’s formation. Trying to surround them leads to mixed results as they can end up teleporting away anyway, and doing appreciable damage with their Pulse.
Storm Archon Tempest Weaver
The spellcasters of this lot, Tempest Weavers are Level 21 Artillery with 155 HP and lots of storm control powers. Like all artillery they prefer to fight at range. It helps that their Defensive Squall trait gives them a +2 to AC and Reflex against ranged attacks.
A tempest weaver is likely to open up with its Heart of the Tempest spell (area burst 3 within 20 vs. Reflex; targets enemies; encounter), which slides everyone it hits 3 squares, restrains them, and inflicts both 10 ongoing lightning damage and 10 ongoing thunder damage (save ends all). The range on this is so long it can be used as literal artillery, before the archon team makes contact with the PCs. Its selective targeting also makes it a good option for after the archon front-liners have engaged.
Its most common ranged attack is a Resounding Bolt (ranged 10 vs. Fortitude) which does thunder damage and ongoing lightning damage (save ends). If the PCs begin closing in, the tempest weaver can try to clear some space with Lightning Blast (close burst 2 vs. Reflex), which does lightning damage and blinds targets for a round.
If pressed into melee the archon will be reduced to using its Storm Touch (melee 1 vs. Fortitude) to do lightning damage… which is actually kind of a decent basic melee attack! Still, its ranged powers are much better in terms of riders.
Sample Encounters and Final Impressions
We have three sample encounters: one which is all storm archons (level 18), one which has a mix of fire, ice and storm (level 18) and one with 2 tempest weavers, a storm giant, and a thunderhawk (level 22).
I like the contrast between storm and earth archons. Though their damage is still a bit buggy, storm archons also follow a clear theme in their mechanical design. Clearly the WotC staff was following a finalized set of design rules for this book, which wasn’t necessarily true for all the monsters in the first MM.