Planescape: Dark Mirrors
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The petitioners of Mount Celestia, archons have charged themselves with the protection of the plane and all those who are innocent or free of evil within its breathtaking vistas. When a lawful-good mortal dies, his spirit goes to this plane (frequently called the Seven Heavens by prime-material adventurers). There his essence is transformed into the body of a lantern archon, the lowest of the celestial hierarchy. However, not all lawful-good spirits are changed into archons. Some, like dwarves and halflings, become petitioners in the realms of their powers, physically unaltered.
Seven types of archons populate the seven layers of Mount Celestia. Each has a radically different appearance, though all radiate an aura of goodness, peace, and law. Only when threatened or in baffle do archons lose this calm aura.
As both petitioners and guardians of Mount Celestia, archons are doubly vested in protecting their home from invasion, whether it is by the forces of Mechanus or Baator (two planes whose residents long to control the orderly Mount). Archons abhor combat, but when they must fight they do so with a vengeance. With ire glinting in their eyes, archons willingly enter battle against those who would despoil their plane. Simply entering a fray they are intimidating sights, hut they become even more so when they send forth their aura of extreme menace.
Although a person can guess an archon’s station merely by its appearance, there’s an equally simple way to judge it: by which metal accoutrements adorn the archon. This ornamentation serves a twofold purpose. First, the items worn indicate whether it is a hound, warden, or whatever. The text on each type of archon indicates if it wears a collar, bracers or greaves, breastplate, helmet, or some combination thereof.
Second, the quality of the metal shows an archon’s virtue within its station. From lowest to highest, the order is lead, tin, brass, bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. For example, platinum rather than brass accoutrements on a warden archon signify its greater obedience to the higher order – its virtue, if you will – and its greater willingness to serve Law and Good. Once it reaches a still higher stage of goodness, it will be transformed into a sword archon wearing lead appointments; it will start the process of advancement all over again in its new station. A visitor to Mount Celestia is likely to see any number of archons of a given station, each wearing different metals.
When an archon reaches the next state of goodness, it is not fitted with new metal accoutrements; rather, the metal simply transmogrifies into the next state. Because the metal is actually part of an archon’s body and cannot be removed, it’s unaffected by anything that might change normal metal – including metal-altering spells. The purpose of the metal appointments isn’t to confine or hinder or even protect, but to remind the archon of its station so that it might strive to its next level.
All archons of a given station are equal, regardless of whether they have lead or gold accoutrements. The especially virtuous (those with precious metals) command just as many lower archons as do the new or less virtnous (those with base metals). There’s no difference within a station except that a more virtuous member rises to the next rank (or metal) faster. There’s also no jealousy among archons, and there’s almost never been a recorded instance of one turning stag on its brethren in order to advance. The one archon who did turn stag decided he was better off in Baator, where baatezu reward a being for manipulation and scheming; rumor has it he’s clawed his way up to gelugon status now. No, on Mount Celestia archons are rewarded for good and virtuous behavior, and that means they’re content to stay in their forms until they advance. Nevertheless, it’s a joyous day when either body or metal changes.
Given the archons’ absorption in the philosophy of goodness and law, it’s not surprising that they don’t covet treasure. They are beyond accumulating worldly goods, seeking only to gain treasures of another sort: celestial understanding, compassion, and so forth. They don’t accept money, nor do they bargain with it. Even extremely rare magical items hold no lure for archons.
Of course, not every archon is perfect. Sometimes they stumble and fall from the path they’ve chosen; sometimes they choose to reject the ways of archons; and sometimes they are ejected from the celestial ranks by their brethren. It all depends on the magnitude of the transgression. Since archons are naturally forgiving creatures, it takes some incredible foolishness for an archon to fall completely from the grace of Mount Celestia, never to return.
Those who do fall retain their forms and capabilities, but they do not keep the mystical powers afforded them by the plane. Thus, a hound archon would keep its fists and its appearance, but would lose the ability to summon lantern archons to its aid. In addition, it would be forced to remain in its humanoid form, never again to change shape.
Naturally, the higher levels of archons fall less frequently, but it’s known to happen. Those who show no sign of ridding themselves of chaos are given over to the chaotic powers to become asuras, while the spirits of those who’ve got evil tainting are banished to the Prime, Sigil, or elsewhere.