This article is part of a series! Click here to see the other entries.
Finishing our look at the MM2 Archons entry we arrive at Water Archons. All of the lore we saw on the original archon post remains valid here, and as usual they have some additional bits of specific lore to them.
Water archons were literally built to rule the seas in a military campaign, a task they do very well. They can fight on land just fine, too, and are fond of using rivers and other waterways as a road network which allows them to move through enemy territory almost unoposed and stage raids and invasions from behind their defensive lines. They advance like the tides, pulling back any enemies who try to escape them. Their gear uses bronze- or brass- colored metal which is often enameled in blues and greens.
When moving in force, water archons ride around in ships which are themselves made out of water, shaped by magic. These also work as submarines, being able to submerge and surface at will and move just as fast in either mode. Not needing air makes the whole process a lot simpler.
We get three different stat blocks for water archons. All are Medium Elemental Humanoids with the Aquatic and Water keywords. They all have a swim speed, of course. When a water archon is hit by cold damage, it’s also slowed for a turn. That doesn’t quite balance out its excellent resistances though.
Wather archons have Resist Acid 10, and are immune to disease, poison and all forced movement. Yep, you read that right. They also get a +2 on saves against the immobilized, restrained, or slowed conditions. I think this might be the first time I’ve seen a whole class of “Fuck You, Controller” monsters.
Water Archon Shoal Reaver
These are Level 13 Brutes with 159 HP and all standard traits. Their ground speed is 5 and their swim speed is 7. They’re enthusiastic raiders who fight with tridents that do physical damage and inflict a -2 AC penalty on the target for a turn.
They can also shoot water harpoons (ranged 5 vs. AC; recharge 5-6) which do more damage than the trident and pull the target adjacent to the archon. You’re not running away so easily!
If surrounded they’ll use a whirlpool of tines (close burst 1 vs. AC; enemies only; recharges when first bloodied) which does physical damage and causes targets hit by it to suffer 2 damage for each square they move (save ends). A miss halves both the immediate damage and the one from the condition.
Water Archon Tide Strider
A surly warrior with big moods and a big spear, the Tide Strider is a Level 15 Skirmisher with 144 HP. Its ground speed is 6, and its swim speed 8. It projects a Body Torrent aura (1) that affects enemies that try to attack the archon in melee, pushing them 1 square whether they hit or miss.
Its greatspear is Reach 2, and if the archon has combat advantage against the target, it will knock the target prone. It can use a maneuver called Way of Water (recharge 6) to shift 6 squares and make a spear attack at any point during the move.
Having a line of these behind a line of shoal reavers might make the PCs think they’re facing a solid phalanx until the tide striders scatter like, well, water, and shift behind the PC’s front line.
Water Archon Waveshaper
This being is pretty much a water-bender, using a pair of war fans to direct the waters around it. It’s a Level 16 Controller (Leader) with 157 HP, a ground speed of 6, and a swim speed of 8.
The waveshaper prefers to stay at a safe distance from the main melee, and support its archon allies from there. It will bombard the enemy with Geysers (Area burst 2 within 10 vs. Reflex; recharge 5-6) which damage, knock targets prone, and prevent them from using immediate actions for a turn.
When things get more chaotic, or while it waits for the geyser to recharge, it will target individual enemies with Dizzying Whirlpool (ranged 10 vs. Fortitude) which does a bit more damage and prevents the target from charging or shifting (save ends).
As a minor action it can use Ocean Call (close burst 10; recharges when bloodied) which allows any allies in range with the Water or Aquatic keyword to shift 3 squares as a free action and gain 10 temporary HP. All water archons have both keywords, of course, and so do a lot of other interesting monsters.
If forced into melee, the archon will use Waveshape as a basic attack that damages, knocks prone, and pushes 1 square.
Sample Encounters and Final Impressions
When not serving the whims of the primordials directly, water archons work for people with similar appetites for destruction and a similar preference for watery environments. As long as their masters allow the archons to indulge in both, they’ll serve loyally.
The sample encounters have troops of archons serving such masters. There’s a level 12 encounter where the master is a human pirate, and a level 14 one where it’s an Aboleth Slime Mage from the MM. That last one includes a waveshaper, whose Ocean Call does also benefit the aboleth.
I like all of the MM2 archons a lot more than I liked the ones from the first book. Their basic mechanics are a lot more functional, though they still suffer from the damage bug, and their themes shine clearly through all of their stat blocks.