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Ecology of the Fire Archon
by Matthew Sernett

"Souls made of fire, and children of the sun,
With whom revenge is virtue."
--The Revenge, Edward Young

Living flames forged by blazing magic, fire archons exist to destroy. Overrun and consume, take all and leave nothing but ashes -- these are the desires that burn within fire archons' incandescent souls from their first moments. Always hungry for conquest, these elemental mercenaries work for anyone with power and the promise of many victories.

History

In an ancient time, when the world had hardly been formed, primordial beings battled the gods for control of creation. In this cataclysmic conflict, the deific host marshaled armies of angels and cadres of exarchs, and though the primordials could call forth titanic beasts and their giant children, they could not muster a true military to face their enemies. To match their foes, the consummate creators gave being to a means by which elemental creatures could be recreated -- reshaped and hammered into soldiers. The warriors formed through this process were the first archons.

Fire archons believe that the honor of being the primordials' first soldiers belongs to them, but that is a secret only the gods and primordials remember. Regardless of which type was first, the presence of the archons turned the tide of battle in the primordials' favor. Given life, the archons could reproduce themselves, building armies faster than giants could be born or angels ordained. Their uncontrolled creation pleased the primordials and worried the gods.

Thus it was that one deity devised the plan that would starve the archon armies of troops. Rather than combat the archons directly, the gods' forces attacked the creatures and energies that served as the archons' source. To create an archon, one needs another elemental being. Virtually any kind will do. That creature is then remade into an archon in a magic foundry built upon a well of elemental power. The angels, exarchs, and gods set about destroying any elementals they encountered and diverting or ruining the largest sources of elemental energy in the Elemental Chaos.

Some reshaped the elemental spirits rather than destroy them. Medusas are said by some to be earth spirits reformed by Zehir. Others blame doppelgangers upon Sehanine's reshaping of water elementals. Yet the vast majority of elementals were slain. Whole races were snuffed out or driven so far to the brink that none have seen one of them to this day. Efreeti remember this time as the Desolation in their legends, and they believe that the Elemental Chaos still hasn't recovered.

The gods might have done more damage, but their defeat of the primordials made continued conflict wasteful. Without the gods' forces to fight, and with no clear direction, the archons began to clash with one another. Some fell into ranks behind powerful archon leaders. Others aligned with powerful children of the primordials who tried to fill the power void left by their creators. The once innumerable archons ground down their number and might have disappeared altogether had not some races, such as the efreeti, preserved the means for their renewal.

Today, archons are just one type of creature among the countless beings that inhabit the Elemental Chaos. Their numbers wax and wane as different armies of archons go through cycles of creation and conflict, flaring up and burning themselves out as they prepare for war and engage in it.

Knowledge of the Fire Archon

The following table shows the results of a Knowledge (the planes) check as it relates to fire archons. A result provides the information at the given DC and the information from all lower DCs.

DC Result
12 Fire archons are a warlike race of fiery elemental beings. Roughly humanoid in shape, they wield weapons and wear armor.
15 There are other archons consisting of other elemental forces. They seem similar in many respects besides the elemental material encased in their armor.
20 Unlike aimless elementals, fire archons have a militaristic culture based on continual conquest. This seems to be true of all fire archons from the moment of their creation. Other archons are militaristic, but none are as rampantly destructive as the fire archons.
25 Fire archons can be created through a difficult ritual involving the use of a special forge built upon a concentration of elemental fire. Once created, a fire archon owes no fealty to its creator, but a person with the power to subdue the fire archon can control it through intimidation.
30 Fire archons were created by the primordials in their war against the gods. The secret of creating fire archons was stolen by the efreeti and it disseminated from them to others. Most fire archons are now either created by other fire archons or the efreeti. When archons created by the efreeti build upon and alter the lands they conquer, they try to recreate the greatest of the efreeti cities, the City of Brass.

Physiology

Fire archons exist as creatures of living flame, but their bodies aren't so mutable as a flickering fire. Every fire archon has two arms, a torso, and a head. Their lower bodies take the form of single conflagrations rather than separate legs.

Despite lacking a skeletal structure, their upper bodies conform in motion to human norms. Their arms are equivalent to a human's, with clearly positioned shoulders, elbows, and hands. Fire archon fingers seem to blend together into a mittenlike form or separate into true digits depending on their need. Whether this is due to the obscuring effect of the flames or a true joining of fiery flesh is unclear, but no fire archon has ever been seen to be missing a finger or limb. If such a member is severed, the fire archon instantly grows another while the severed part burns away in a swirl of fire and smoke. The only exceptions seem to be the head and the torso. Severing these parts from the body is damage sufficient to kill a fire archon instantly.

A fire archon's head has a defined front and back, but it typically lacks facial features. Brighter eyelike points can appear on their faces when they become agitated or angry, and they see as well as most humanoids. Their bodies typically provide light equivalent to a bonfire, and thus they illuminate any darkened area they enter, obviating the need for darkvision. Fire archons seem incapable of diminishing the light their bodies emit, and thus they would find hiding from foes difficult in most situations. However, fire archons aren't inclined toward stealth even when it would benefit them, preferring instead to alert their foes to their presence by sending up columns of smoke from things and creatures they burn. The lower body of a fire archon is one large flame rather than legs. As with other archons, fire archons glide about on a column of their constituent element. The exact method of this locomotion is poorly understood, but it is assumed to resemble a slug's movement, with the fire archon somehow gliding over a thin layer of super-heated air.

Although made of transparent and flickering flames, and apparently empty of organs, a fire archon has a solid form. Those brave enough to have touched a fire archon's body describe it as being like holding a boiling bag of writhing snakes. A fire archon held in this way is certainly very hot, but it does not truly burn. The archon can set things ablaze with its body, but this seems to require some concentration -- something that a fire archon is incapable of while wrestling or in combat. This solidity gives the archon a weight roughly equivalent to an elf of similar stature, but since they tend to stand close to 7 feet tall, they often weigh close to 200 pounds.

Fire archons must "breathe" in the sense that a fire needs air. Without it, they dwindle and die, suffocated by the lack of fuel. Similarly, fire archons must "eat." Periodically, they must concentrate on burning an object completely to ash. A fire archon might accomplish this by holding the item, standing over it, or even placing it within the fire archon's face and "swallowing" it. Yet like other elementals, fire archons shall never know the joy of dreams or the terror of nightmares for they do not sleep.

Psychology

The primordials created fire archons to be their soldiers, and they come into being with a soldier's mindset. From their first conscious thought, fire archons expect battle and are ready to serve in war. Fire archons seem to recognize the authority of other fiery creatures automatically and fall into ranks for them. Yet others who summon or create them must first cow them by some show of superior force. Once they know their place, fire archons serve willingly so long as their needs are met, particularly the need for conquest.

Fire archons think of everything in terms of conflict. They remain ever aware of what side they are on, their subordinates and commanders, what creatures are current foes, and which enemies are ones they must face in some later fight. This extreme perspective might make them appear brutish, but they possess astonishing cunning and a general's grasp of tactics. Underestimating a fire archon is a sure way to see it gain the upper hand.

Just as a fire archon must breathe and eat, so must they conquer and destroy. Such activity nourishes and energizes them. Without it, they grow restless at first and then careless and sluggish. This need for new ventures keeps fire archons on the move and on the offensive. Defeats, the need to build and train forces, and planning can cause them to stop for long periods, but unless a foe can destroy them utterly, it's often best to attempt to redirect their fury toward easier targets.

Society

Left to their own devices, fire archons adopt a society based on a rough military structure. Physical and strategic contests, usually not lethal, are used to determine rank. Fire archons are quick to acknowledge superior power and intellect in another fire creature, so competitions tend to be few and brief unless there are several contestants of very similar power. Despite their warlike natures, fire archons aren't inclined toward fractiousness and infighting. Fire archons on the opposite sides of a conflict will happily slaughter one another, but within a force, fire archons prefer to focus their aggression outward.

The number of "ranks" in a fire archon society depends upon how many fire archons there are. A leader has five followers, who each in turn have five followers. This structure flows downward to the lowest rank. Each member in a group of five takes its orders from any of the members of a group of five individuals of the next highest rank. Uneven numbers of groups are placed in the lowest rank. Any odd number in a rank filters in as extra members of one of the other groups rather than forming a group of less than five. Similarly, attrition results in eventual redistribution into groups of five. Thus a hundred fire archons would typically have one leader, five subcommanders, twenty-five captains, and sixty-nine members in its lowest rank.

Scholars can't be certain of the significance of the number five, and fire archons themselves simply see it as "natural" and "efficient." In numbers less than five, fire archons see themselves as individuals rather than brethren, and they become less efficient and less willing to work as a team. Those who seek to subjugate fire archons should keep this in mind. Similarly, the rank structure of fire archons doesn't allow an outsider to elevate a favored archon above its personal merits. Doing so can result in the archons flouting commands while they follow the old structure, or the favored member might be ostracized from the ranks, resulting in a reorganization and poor cooperation with the favored member. Material goods, particularly weapons and armor that can make a favored archon more powerful, presents a much better way to reward service.

All fire archon societies inevitably strike outward, and the leader determines the direction and target. When they do, the archons seek to lay waste to nearly everything they encounter. Archons tend to avoid building or creating anything, but they will make fortifications when fighting a long-term conflict or to protect a valuable resource, such as a fire font and foundry. Fire archons prefer not to do such work themselves, and when possible, they enslave conquered people and use them for forced labor. Such slaves face a bleak existence held by captors that have no empathy and no use for them once the job is done. Slaves with an interest in their future therefore find ways to remain useful, playing upon the fire archon's sense of superiority and concern about foes.

Many fire archons owe their existence to the efreeti, and these archons seek to emulate their creators, even long after being freed from their control. They are far more inclined to take and keep slaves, build structures, and secure territory. They often attempt to create an environment similar to that which surrounds the City of Brass -- a task aided by the effect the presence of fire archons can have on the environment.

When fire archons gather in numbers, they set fire to things and their bodies produce heat, but these factors cannot explain the drought that presages the army's march or the eruption of long-dormant volcanoes. It seems that simply having fire archons in an area creates a sympathetic link to the qualities of heat and flame. Created by elemental flame and composed of it, fire archons seem to form a peculiar gateway for the power of fire in the Elemental Chaos. It's said that within a mile of even a single fire archon, a candle flame burns an inch higher and a single spark can kindle a coal.

Creating a Fire Archon

Fire archons cannot reproduce by any typical means. Instead, they are created from another elemental's body and spirit. To accomplish this, a ritual must be performed in a magic foundry infused with elemental fire. The nature of the elemental summoned by the ritual is not important. It might be a dumb earth beast or a highly intelligent elemental with ties to water. The ritual taps into the creative and recreative power of the primordials, wholly transforming that creature's form and soul. Needless to say, most consider the creation of a fire archon a wholly evil act.

A foundry must be constructed upon a powerful font of elemental fire. That kind of upwelling of fiery energy can be found in the Elemental Chaos as rivers of fire hurtling through space, lakes of molten air flickering in glowing caverns, or great crystals brilliant with internal infernos. Fire fonts can be found on other planes as well. They are most common in places such as volcanoes or tunnels where magma flows, but fire fonts aren't beholden to other sources of heat. A fire font might act as a gateway to the Elemental Chaos or from it to another plane. Or a fire font can be a concentration of elemental energy native to the plane on which it is found. One might be a holdover from the days of creation, a seam in the plane that was never sown shut. Another might be a weakness in danger of widening or perhaps a vent to let power escape so that it is does not build. In all cases, fire fonts are miraculous places of fantastic appearance.

Fire archon foundries vary in appearance, but all have two elements in common: a summoning crucible and a forge. The summoning crucible serves as the transformation space for the summoned elemental creature. It must be large enough to hold the elemental and have the power of the fire font coursing through it. The summoning crucible must have elements designed to focus the fire energy and use it as a binding force. Held in place and infused with this energy, the summoned creature can then be destroyed and reincarnated by the ritual. It must then be encased in armor from the forge.

Although a fire archon can remove its armor and wear different armor during its life, the encasement of its energies in armor from the foundry's forge is a crucial element of the ritual. Without that final step, the fire archon might expire or lack the intelligence and soldier's mindset at best, and at worst, it might grow into something powerful and uncontrollable that seeks revenge for its torturous transformation.

The forge itself rarely appears like a common forge. Using the fire font as a source of heat and flame and elemental energies as hammers and forms, the forge can be an unrecognizable contraption of magic and arcane elements.

A working foundry can produce fire archons as often as the ritual can be performed and for as long as the foundry's resources are maintained. The power of the fire font the foundry is built upon determines the type of fire archon created. As the fire energy fluctuates in strength, so too do the results of the ritual. A fire font at ebb generates basic fire archons, while at high flow it produces the more powerful fire archons, such as blazesteels or ash disciples. Creatures without fiery souls should beware creating fire archons beyond their ability to quell.

Fire Fonts as Adventure Locations

A fire font presents a great opportunity for a cool adventure location. Let your imagination run wild. Put it anywhere you like, and use it as an excuse to make a truly magical location. Flame throwers in the walls and floor, flying bonfires, jets of fire that leap from place to place, buildings of flickering crystal, inferno tornadoes that carry creatures about, stairs of smoke, blazes that act as teleport pads -- whatever you want.

The location might be a landmark in your campaign known half the world around for its miraculous powers. Or maybe it's a hidden resource jealously guarded beneath the ziggurat of some mortal ruler. It could be an ancient and lost mystery like the Fountain of Youth or it might have thrust itself up from the earth with cataclysmic suddenness.

Of course, it doesn't have to be all about fire damage. Some of the fires might not harm anything and instead act more like continual flame spells. Other fires might deal another type of damage, such as cold or acid. Use color to indicate what the fires do, but allow the players to experiment and learn. A blue flame might be cold and a black one negative energy. An upside-down fire might indicate a teleporter, while a fire that doesn't flicker might be solid as a rock.

A fire font gives you a dramatic backdrop and an excuse to plan some very dynamic encounters. Use the environment like monster in the fight. Allow it to become a character in the story of the adventure. You won't regret it.

Fire Archon Weapons and Armor

The fury of a fire archon's form is contained by its armor, and its first suit of armor is integral to its being inasmuch as a human or elf must have skin and bones. After time however, a fire archon can change its original armor for new should it choose to do so. Many never see the need, but fire archons that evolve or gain levels often perceive the value of a different armor strategy.

Fire archons choose a new armor for the armor's capabilities or they may pick a piece to replace a sundered piece. Armor generally takes the form of a breastplate and pauldrons, but other elements such as bracers, girdles, vambraces, and helms are not uncommon. Breastplate, full plate, chain mail, and chain shirts are most common. Nonmagic organic materials such as leather are destroyed over time because a fire archon unconsciously burns the material when it eats.

Fire archons craft weapons and armor of amazing quality and stunning appearance. Using instinctual knowledge of metallurgy, fire archons craft only items of masterwork quality. Their work is on par with that of dwarves, but of course, the two are easy to tell apart. A flame motif decorates nearly everything a fire archon crafts, and its work looks seamless because it is.

Fire archons can use many different weapons, but they prefer those that remind them of the flickering tongues of fire. Thus they avoid heavy or bludgeoning weapons, and enjoy scimitars, falchions, and even lighter weapons such as rapiers. Metal weapons are a must, since most fire archons can transfer the heat of their bodies through weapons to burn foes -- an impractical attack if the medium for that transference turns to ash.

Behind the Scenes: Monster Evolution
The fire archon derives its origin from two places: the desire for more interesting elemental monsters and Dreamblade. When we sat down to discuss which creatures would carry forward to the new edition, what would be in the first Monster Manual, and what would inhabit the various planes in the new cosmology, the need for more interesting elemental foes came up again and again. This problem first reared its head in the bland nature and conflicting natures of elementals of 3rd Edition.

Out with the Old

The elementals of 3rd Edition have no needs, no clear desires or motivations, and no culture, yet they attain human Intelligence, speak, and can manipulate objects. They exist in limitless numbers on the elemental planes, but they build nothing and make no lasting impression upon the game. Mechanically, they exist as neat creatures to summon or put in a dungeon and nothing more. What do they do on the elemental planes besides attack interlopers? What do they care about? In 3rd Edition, we have only vague ideas that they fight each other. If they were dumb beasts, they would make more sense. If they had a culture and did interesting things like invade the Material Plane, they would be better. But the elementals of 3rd Edition don't do either. Most creatures of the elemental type follow suit, and you have to look at outsiders such as salamanders and genies for interesting creatures with elemental themes.

Add to this the fact that the elementals' mechanics are either boring or complex. Most of them simply walk up to a PC and hit the character with a fist. Fire elementals at least do fire damage, but it hardly screams cool to face an elemental and have it act like an ogre without Power Attack. It doesn't even whisper it. The flip side of this includes mechanics such as the air elemental's whirlwind. Any mechanic that makes a person look up weather conditions in the Dungeon Master's Guide is just begging to be "forgotten" by the DM.

We tried to rectify this in the late stages of 3rd Edition. You can see various attempts in Monster Manuals III, IV, and V, the most successful probably being the avatars of elemental evil of Monster Manual IV. Yet such inventions were a band-aid on a scar over thirty years old. The new edition offered a chance to shuffle thing up a bit, give elementals a new hand, and deal in some new players.

In With the New

Of course, elementals -- those beings of the four elements that exist so people can summon them and put them in dungeons -- still exist in 4th Edition. We've given them a new story and some clean but cool mechanics, but this article isn't about them. It's about how else we filled the void for interesting elementally based creatures. The upcoming edition uses an altered list of creature types and uses type quite differently when it comes to mechanics. Thus creatures that seemed like they should be elementals (efreeti, salamanders, and so on) bear that type now. Yet even after reshuffling things, the game still cried out for more elemental baddies.

That's where Dreamblade comes in. The Flame Harrower caught the eye of several folks in R&D when it came out, and Bill Slavicsek mentioned that he wanted something like that in 4th Edition. On a purely aesthetic level, the combination of a largely transparent miniature with some metallic parts is pleasing to the eye. It's like looking at jewelry or candy. However, we all agreed that the "metal underpants" were not a positive feature. To fix that, we decided that the future monster would have a lower body of solid elemental material.

So we had a hole to fill and a visual cool concept to fill it. All that remained were the name, flavor, and mechanics. The mechanics evolved over time. In fact, as I write this, we are playtesting, and I can't be sure that the current 4th Edition mechanics will remain. The flavor evolved somewhat, but we knew that we wanted them to see a lot of use, so we always planned on them being a somewhat mercenary force. The name was an easy choice, if a bit controversial to some.

Early on in the process of designing 4th Edition, we had many discussions of the elements of 3rd Edition that we could carry forward. We took a long look at which cows really were sacred and which would make fine rump roast. The animal-headed archons weren't high on anyone's list. They exist to fill out an alignment wheel of outsiders -- a dubious purpose -- and they're an inherently strange concept. In D&D's universe, why do some angelic beings have horse heads? What population besides werebears and normal bears do bear angels serve? Add to their innate weirdness the fact that alignment and the planes work differently in 4th Edition, and there simply wasn't reason enough to preserve them.

Yet the word "archon" is powerful, and we knew we wanted 4th Edition to use it in a cooler way that would be more likely to see play than the angelic furries. Giving it to the new elemental beings we wanted in the game seemed a perfect fit. There could be no confusing them with the old archons, and using a cool word that would be familiar to many players would raise their profile.

Sample Fire Archons

The following statistics present three fire archons using 3rd Edition rules. The first fire archon has statistics similar to the Fire Archon miniature from the Desert of Desolation set. The second and third fire archons use 3rd Edition mechanics to mimic the fire archon's 4th Edition rules.

Fire Archon CR 6
hp 68 (8 HD); death throes

Often CE Medium elemental (extraplanar, fire)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +8, Spot +9
Languages Common, Ignan

AC 18, touch 13, flat-footed 15
(+3 Dex, +5 armor)
Immune critical hits, fire, flanking, paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning
Fort +6, Ref +13, Will +7
Weakness vulnerability to cold

Speed 30 ft. in breastplate (6 squares), base speed 40 ft. {{see skill points below; original text just said 30 ft. (6 squares)}}
Melee mwk scimitar +14/+9 (1d6+6 plus 1d6 fire/18-20) or
mwk scimitar +10/+5 (1d6+6 plus 1d6 fire/18-20) and
mwk scimitar +10 (1d6+3 plus 1d6 fire/18-20)
Base Atk +6; Grp +12
Special Actions death throes, fire burst

Abilities Str 23, Dex 24, Con 19, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 16
SQ darkvision 60 ft., immunities, vulnerability to cold
Feats Iron Will, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Skills Intimidate +14, Jump +14, Listen +8, Spot +9 {{numbers I come up with if speed is base 30 ft (20 ft. with armor): 14/8/8/9; if speed is base 40 ft (30 ft. with armor), then these numbers work; I'm making the assumption that the base speed is 40 feet above based on the stats here.}}
Possessions 2 masterwork scimitars, masterwork breastplate

Fire Burst (Su) Three times per day as a standard action, a fire archon can unleash a 10-foot radius burst of fire centered on itself. The fire causes 3d8 points of fire damage to creatures in the area (Reflex DC 18 for half).

Death Throes (Su) When a fire archon is reduced to 0 hit points, it explodes. Treat this effect as a fire burst attack that causes 5d8 points of damage.

Vulnerability to Cold (Ex) A fire archon takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from cold attacks.

Fire Archon Blazesteel CR 7
hp 105 (10 HD); wounded burst

Often CE Medium elemental (extraplanar, fire)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +12, Spot +12
Languages Common, Ignan, Terran

AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 16
(+4 Dex, +4 armor, +2 shield)
Immune critical hits, fire, flanking, paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning
Fort +9, Ref +11, Will +8
Weakness vulnerability to cold

Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)
Melee mwk scimitar +16/+11 (1d6+7 plus 1d6 fire/18-20)
Base Atk +7; Grp +14
Combat Options flanking fire
Special Actions wounded burst

Abilities Str 25, Dex 19, Con 22, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 15
SQ darkvision 60 ft., immunities, vulnerability to cold
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (scimitar)
Skills Balance +5, Intimidate +15, Jump +21, Listen +12, Spot +12, Tumble +15
Possessions masterwork scimitar, masterwork chain shirt, masterwork heavy steel shield
Wounded Burst (Su) If a fire archon blazesteel is reduced to half its hit points or reduced to 0 hit points, it unleashes a 10-foot radius burst of fire centered on itself. The fire causes 5d8 points of fire damage to creatures in the area (Reflex DC 21 for half).

Flanking Fire (Ex) When a fire archon blazesteel flanks a foe, it may make an extra basic attack against that foe whenever it attacks. In addition, the fire archon blazesteel's attacks against the flanked foe cause +1d6 points of fire damage for every other fire archon adjacent to the flanked target.

Vulnerability to Cold (Ex) A fire archon takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from cold attacks.

Fire Archon Ash Disciple CR 8
hp 119 (14 HD); death throes

Often CE Medium elemental (extraplanar, fire)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Listen +12, Spot +12
Languages Common, Ignan, Terran

AC 21, touch 16, flat-footed 15
(+6 Dex, +5 armor)
Immune critical hits, fire, flanking, paralysis, poison, sleep, stunning
Fort +8, Ref +15, Will +9
Weakness vulnerability to cold

Speed 40 ft. (8 squares); flame step
Melee slam +16 (1d6+5 plus 1d6 fire and target catches fire)
Ranged fire bolt +16 (50-ft. range; 8d6+5 fire and foe catches fire; creatures adjacent to target take 1d6 fire)
Base Atk +10; Grp +15
Atk Options Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Special Actions cinder burst, death throes, flame step, flame wave

Abilities Str 21, Dex 23, Con 19, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 17
SQ darkvision 60 ft., flame step, immunities, vulnerability to cold
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Balance +8, Intimidate +18, Jump +26, Knowledge (the planes) +7, Listen +12, Spot +12, Survival +3 (+5 on other planes), Tumble +23
Possessions +1 mithral shirt

Cinder Burst (Su) Once per encounter as a standard action, a fire archon ash disciple can unleash a 10-foot radius burst of fire centered on itself. The fire causes 8d8 points of fire damage to creatures in the area and blinds them for 1 round (Reflex DC 21 for half and to avoid blindness).

Death Throes (Su) When a fire archon ash disciple is reduced to 0 hit points, it explodes. Treat this effect as a cinder burst attack that causes 10d8 points of damage.

Flame Step (Su) As a move action, a fire archon ash disciple can teleport to within 15 feet of any fire creature within 100 feet.

Flame Wave (Su) Once per encounter, a fire archon can unleash a wave of flames in a 30-ft. cone. Creatures in the area take 8d8 points of fire damage (Reflex DC 21 for half) and are pushed back two squares (no save).

Vulnerability to Cold (Ex) A fire archon takes half again as much (+50%) damage as normal from cold attacks.

About the Author

Matthew Sernett has been a designer of 4th Edition, the Editor-in-chief of Dragon Magazine, a pizza cook, an onion packer, and an assembly line worker in a spring factory. In 1999, while working for Men's Health Magazine, he narrowly avoided being a wardrobe tracker in the male fashion industry. He feels very fortunate to now be employed as a creative designer for Gleemax.