Background: Archons begin their training at a young age, for they have much to learn. While other children are allowed to play and enjoy the bright days of spring, archons-in-training are drilled at weapons practice, taught foreign languages, and forced to repeat mystic incantations over and over. Many trainees are unable to handle this intense regimen, and abandon the path of the archon to focus on just one of the traditional roles—fighter or wizard. Only the most dedicated and skilled youths ever become first level archons.
In addition to their training in spellcasting and combat, students are repeatedly drilled on the importance of duty and critical thinking. An archon is expected to uphold the interests of his family under all circumstances, and to find ways to succeed were others fail. Young archons are constantly tested, probed, and pushed to the limits of their abilities. Only by risking failure and death can an archon discover what he is truly capable of, and any sign of cowardice is likely to result is dismissal from training or even banishment. While not all archons continue to serve their family once mature, that is the focus of their training in youth.
Archons are most commonly found in the older nations of the world, especially those dominated by humans and elves. This is because the archon’s path is adapted from the ways of the fearsome dusk knights—representatives of the twin gesh races who once crossed the planes of existence to wage their millenniums-long wars in the human and elven lands. The many dusk knights who remained as lords of the lands they conquered taught their arcane and martial techniques to trusted non-gesh retainers. While the gesh empires have long ago retreated back into the twisting astral space between realities, their teachings still live among the archons who now thrive in the lands the gesh once ruled.
Role: Archons are good secondary combatants, and often find themselves on, or just behind, the front line. They are less effective spellcasters, because of their severely limited number of spell castings per day. They are very adaptable, often able to find a way to contribute to situations where more focused characters are less efficient. In many groups archons become the defender of other spellcasters, keeping healers safe and looking after less physically resilient arcane spellcasters.
Alignment: Though most archons are lawful, they may be of any alignment.
Hit Die: d10.
Starting Wealth: At 1st level an archon begins play with 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp)
The archon’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nobility), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the archon.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An archon is proficient with all simple weapons, plus two martial weapons selected at 1st level. (While most archons take proficiency with one martial melee weapon and one martial ranged weapon, any two martial weapons may be selected.)
Archons are also proficient with light armor and shields (except tower shields). An archon can cast archon spells while wearing light armor and using a shield (except tower shields) without incurring the normal arcane spell failure chance. Like any other arcane spellcaster, an archon wearing medium or heavy armor incurs a chance of arcane spell failure if the spell in question has a somatic component (see the arcane armor training ability for exceptions to this general rule). A multiclass archon still incurs the normal arcane spell failure chance for arcane spells received from other classes.
An archon casts arcane spells drawn from the archon spell list. An archon must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time, as a wizard does.
An archon can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: The Archon. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score.
Like a wizard, an archon keeps a spellbook into which he records his known spells. An archon uses the same method for learning, researching and recording spells as a wizard, including preparing spells from borrowed spellbooks. The notations wizards and archons use are identical, so an archon may learn a spell from a wizard’s spellbook if the spell is also on the archon spell list (presented at the end of this document) and vice-versa. While archons do some minor ongoing spell research, and therefore learn 1 new archon spell of his choice at each new archon level, most of an archon’s spells must however, be learned from wizards’ or other archons’ spellbooks.
Unlike a wizard, an archon may only learn a set number of spells (as detailed in Table: Archon Spell Maximums). An archon simply spends too much of his time maintaining combat skills to also master an unlimited number of arcane formulas. Much as most classes are only proficient with a limited number of weapons (and must take Weapon Proficiency feats to learn more), the archon can only learn a limited number of spells (and must take the Increased Spell Maximum feat to learn more, see New Feat box on this page for details).
An archon must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying his spellbook.
To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the archon must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an archon’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the archon’s Intelligence modifier.
While studying, the archon decides which spells to prepare.
Archons can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: The Archon under “Spells per Day.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.
The rivenspell is one of the basic techniques of the archon, the first step in learning to fully combine martial and arcane thought processes into a single action. It is literally the ability to rive (tear apart) a spell into raw, primal magic energy. The archon sacrifices one of his prepared 1st-level or higher spells, then uses the crude magic from the “riven spell” to produce a simple magic effect. Though using a rivenspell is quick and easy (a swift action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity), it’s also fairly limited. The archon begins play knowing a single way to focus a rivenspell, creating one simple effect that lacks the focus and precision of a true spell.
At 4th level and every three levels after (7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, and 19th level) the archon can learn one additional rivenspell technique.
Some rivenspell effects require a minimum spell level be sacrificed to create their effect (such as dispel), but otherwise any 1st-6th level archon spell may be used. The spell slot is expended as part of the action, so the archon must select exactly which prepared spell is sacrificed each time a rivenspell is used. In most cases, the power of the rivenspell effect is based on the level of the spell sacrificed to create it.
The potential rivenspell effects are as follows:
Bolt (Su): As part of the swift action sacrificing a spell to power this effect, the archon may make a ranged attack at a single target. For each level of the spell used to power this effect, the ranged attack deals 1d4 points of force damage and adds 10 feet to the maximum range. Thus an archon sacrificing a 3rd level spell gains a single ranged attack dealing 3d4 at a maximum of 30 feet. This rivenspell acts as a force effect.
Counter (Su): As an immediate action, the archon may sacrifice a spell of 4th level or higher to reroll a single missed saving throw. If a 5th level spell is used the reroll gains a +1 bonus, if a 6th level spell is used the reroll gains a +2 bonus. The archon must use the second saving throw roll, even if it is worse than the original save result. The archon may only use one counter rivenspell per round. An archon must be 7th level before selecting this rivenspell.
Dash (Su): Until the end of the archon’s next turn, he gains an enhancement bonus to one form of movement (selected by the archon each time the ability is used) equal to 5 ft. per level of spell sacrificed.
Dispel (Su): This rivenspell empower’s the archon so the next creature he hits with a melee attack (before the end of the archon’s next turn) is the subject of a targeted dispel, as from a dispel magic spell. A spell of 4th or higher spell level must be sacrificed to empower this rivenspell. If a 5th level spell is used the dispel check gains a +1 bonus, and if a 6th level spell is used the dispel check gains a +2 bonus. An archon must be 10th level before selecting this rivenspell.
Focus (Su): The archon gains a bonus to skill checks made with one skill selected when this rivenspell is used. The bonus is equal to the level of spell used to empower the rivenspell. If the skill selected is Acrobatics, Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (any), Linguistics, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, or Use Magic Device the bonus lasts until the beginning of the archon’s next turn. If the skill selected is Climb, Fly, Handle Animal, Perception, Perform, Ride, Stealth, or Swim the bonus lasts for one minute per level of spell sacrificed. If the skill is Craft, Profession, or Survival the bonus applies to any one use of the skill that does not take more than 24 hours.
Shield (Su): The archon gains a deflection bonus to AC equal to the level of spell used to empower this rivenspell. The bonus is considered a force effect, and lasts for a number of rounds equal to the level of spell sacrificed.
Smite (Su): The archon gains an insight bonus to attack and damage on his next attack roll (made before the end of his next turn). The bonus is equal to the level of spell sacrificed to empower this rivenspell.
Vigor (Su): The archon gains 2 temporary hit points per level of the spell used to empower this rivenspell. Multiple uses of the vigor rivenspell do not stack, each use resets the number of temporary hit points based on its level.
Much as some combatants favor a specific weapon or fighting style, archons focus their training on just a few spells above all others.
At 2nd level an archon chooses a single spell he knows to be his favored spell. An archon gains a +2 bonus to caster level, concentration, and Spellcraft checks made regarding this spell (including caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance, and efforts to use the spell to counterspell the efforts of other spellcasters).
At 11th level the archon selects a second favored spell. Additionally, the bonus gained to appropriate checks regarding the original favored spell increases to +4.
Beginning at 5th level, an archon may, once a day, cast a single spell as a swift action. The spell must have a casting time of 1 standard action or less, and the archon may not cast any other spell during the same round. The spell must be one gained from the archon spell list (bottom of this page), and not a spell gained through some other character class. The archon can use this ability twice per day at 9th level, three times a day at 13th level, and four times a day at 17th level.
Though an archon’s basic training allows him to cast spells with somatic components in light armor with no risk of spell failure, an archon constantly strives to master the art of spellcasting in heavier armors.
At 3rd level an archon in medium armor reduce’s his chance of arcane spell failure by 5% (minimum 0). This reduction increases by 5% at 6th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level, ending with a 25% reduction in spell failure while in medium armor.
At 9th level, the archon’s arcane armor training also applies to heavy armor. It also applies to the arcane spell failure chance from a tower shield, if the archon is proficient with tower shields.
At 8th level the archon learns the first power taught to the Spellblades, the loyal humanoid servants to the gesh dusk knights. This allows an archon to deliver a touch-range archon spell with a successful melee attack. To do this the archon must cast the spell (with its normal casting time) but not immediately use it to touch a target. (This is called “holding the charge.”) On the next round (or any time within the next six rounds) the archon may deliver the touch spell with any melee attack (unarmed or with a weapon) he makes against a target’s full AC (not their touch AC). On a successful attack, the spell is delivered along with the melee attack’s normal damage.
The archon must declare what melee attack is being used to deliver a held charge prior to making the attack rolls. A missed attack roll expends the spell uselessly to no effect, while a blow that hits but fails to do damage (for example, one that fails to penetrate a target’s DR) discharges the spell successfully against the target.
While the archon is holding the charge of a touch spell in preparation to use this power he may touch other creatures freely, and even make other melee attacks, without losing the held spell. However, the archon cannot cast any other spells while holding the charge of a touch spell. The archon may release the spell harmlessly as a free action. After six rounds from being cast, the charge on a touch spell dissipates even if it has not been used.
At 14th level the archon learns one of the monster-slaying techniques used by the ancient gesh race’s Hexsword Slayers. All weapon attacks made by the archon are treated as though the weapon he wields is magic and has one of the following properties (selected by the archon when this ability is gained):
This is in addition to whatever properties the weapon actually has, and does not replace existing properties.
Additionally, the archon can cause the damage dealt by his weapon to be of one of the following types (selected by the archon when this ability is gained):
All damage must be affected or none – the archon cannot affect only some damage dealt by his weapon. (For example: an archon able to cause his weapon to deal fire damage, using a shocking longsword, either deals 1d8 slashing damage +1d6 electricity, or 1d8+1d6 fire damage. He cannot do 1d8 fire damage and 1d6 electricity damage with the weapon.) The archon may switch between elemental and normal weapon damage as a free action.
Even if an archon has his weapon deal elemental damage, DR is still effective against the base damage die of the weapon. If a target has both DR and the appropriate elemental resistance, both are effective against the archon’s elemental hexsword damage.
At 20th level the archon gains mastery over the art of dual martial and arcane combat, achieving the powers once reserved for the ancient dusk knights. As a full-round action, the archon may make a single attack (melee or ranged) and cast a single spell with a casting time of 1 standard action. The archon may decide to cast then attack, or attack then cast. When the archon uses the dusk knight ability, he may also use his arcane surge ability to cast a second spell in the same round (though he still cannot use arcane surge to cast multiple spells in a round when not using his dusk knight ability).
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a Favored Class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their Favored Classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have archons as their Favored Class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed Favored Class reward.
When a character selects a class, he must choose to use the standard class features found or those listed in one of the archetypes presented here. Each alternate class feature replaces a specific class feature from its parent class. For example, the elemental fist class feature of the monk of the four winds replaces the stunning fist class feature of the monk. When an archetype includes multiple class features, a character must take all of them—often blocking the character from ever gaining certain familiar class features, but replacing them with equally powerful options. All of the other class features found in the core class and not mentioned among the alternate class features remain unchanged and are acquired normally when the character reaches the appropriate level (unless noted otherwise). A character who takes an alternate class feature does not count as having the class feature that was replaced when meeting any requirements or prerequisites.
A character can take more than one archetype and garner additional alternate class features, but none of the alternate class features can replace or alter the same class feature from the core class as another alternate class feature. For example, a paladin could not be both a hospitaler and an undead scourge since they both modify the smite evil class feature and both replace the aura of justice class feature. A paladin could, however, be both an undead scourge and a warrior of the holy light, since none of their new class features replace the same core class feature.
Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype if they meet the requirements.