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Elemental myrmidons, otherwise known as elemental archons, were a variety of elementals created by conjuring and bounding elementals into ritually created suits of armor to act as servile weapons of war.[1][2][note 1]

Description[]

Elemental myrmidons were of roughly human shape,[2] but were typically slightly larger in size. Though they could be even larger, as their size was determined by the size of the armor they were bound to.[8] They were typically composed almost entirely of a single substance, be it an element or paraelement, though some could be a combination of elements. Only earth myrmidons were seen to have legs on their lower body, others simply having a single large mass of the element they were composed of.[2]

All myrmidons wore thick armor,[2] typically of a plate variety.[1] These not only protected them against attacks,[7] but contained their form and was integral to their being. After some time they were capable of removing this armor and replacing it with something else, but many never saw any need to do so.[9] When a myrmidon was killed, their armor was all that would remain of them.[7]

Personality[]

Elemental myrmidons retained no memories of the free elementals that were bound to create them.[1]

As creatures that were forged for the purpose of war, their mindset revolved almost entirely around conflict and conquest.[10] They had an innate desire to wage war,[6] though not necessarily a desire for winning.[11] When their innate desire to wage war went unsatisfied for a long period of time they would initially become restless, then careless and sluggish.[12] Additionally, they had an innate desire to kill non-elemental creatures, a desire that they could not be talked out of.[6]

However, elemental myrmidons could not exert a will of their own,[5] they had no personal ambitions.[6] All they could do was follow the commands of their creators, furthering their goals and ambitions.[1][5] They also had no need for comforts[6] and didn't value material wealth.[11] When an elemental myrmidon was free, not bound to a master, they would prowl the land and indulge in their innate desire to kill non-elemental creatures.[5]

Abilities[]

All elemental myrmidons were immune to the effects of diseases and poisons, as they were beings composed wholly of elemental essence. They were also impervious to harm from their respective element.[1][7]

History[]

Elemental archons were created by the primordials during the Dawn War as a response to the gods' use of angels.[2][6][13] It was believed that the idea for them came from an outsider. Those most commonly speculated were djinn, an angel, or a deity that had turned traitor to their fellow gods.[6]

In order to create the archons, the primordials studied nature in the Elemental Chaos.[6] They then found several elemental creatures[2] or wild elementals and split them apart into their components.[6] Finally they reshaped them, forging the elementals into archons through intentional creation.[2][6] The use of archons was initially successful and might have won the primordials the war, as they were produced in near limitless numbers,[2][10] but the gods discovered the secret of their creation and began focusing relentless assaults on the special foundries where they were made.[10]

At some point, efreets managed to steal the secrets of archon creation from the primordials and from them this knowledge eventually spread across the planes.[10][14] After the Dawn War ended an untold number of elemental myrmidons remained, having no master to serve. Some were quickly snatched up by powerful forces in the Elemental Chaos, while those that remained free took up the life of mercenary work.[13]

During the Elemental Evil crisis on Toril, elemental myrmidons were utilized by members of each of the four elemental cults responsible for the crisis: the Cult of the Black Earth, the Cult of the Crushing Wave, the Cult of the Eternal Flame, and the Cult of the Howling Hatred.[15]

Varieties[]

A group of storm archons.

Air elemental myrmidons
Myrmidons created from binding air elementals.[1][4]
Crystal archons
Archons created from binding mineral quasi-elementals.[2][speculation][note 2]
Earth elemental myrmidons
Myrmidons created from binding earth elementals.[1][5]
Fire elemental myrmidons
Myrmidons created from binding fire elementals.[1][7]
Ice archons
Archon created from binding ice para-elementals.[7]
Slime archons
Archons created from binding ooze para-elementals.[2][speculation][note 2]
Storm archons
Archons created from binding the elemental essences of air, lightning, and water.[5][note 2]
Water elemental myrmidons
Myrmidons created from binding water elementals.[1][5]

Society[]

Regardless of their elemental make-up, when left to their own devices myrmidons would form societies that had the same structure, one that was roughly militaristic. They were rigidly disciplined and had hierarchies based on rank, with rank determining every aspect of life in their stronghold. These ranks did not have proper titles, as myrmidons simply knew where they and others ranked. They did not challenge authority or compete against one another for rank, each being satisfied with their station and feeling they best serve in that position.[6]

When elemental myrmidons had their own settlements they were best described as bastions, fortresses, or strongholds, rather than cities.[6] They sometimes conquered the settlements of other races and converted them into strongholds,[11] but most often they constructed strongholds around the special forges needed to create them.[6] Hundreds of these strongholds could be found all across the Elemental Chaos.[11] These strongholds were lead by the elemental myrmidon who had the greatest personal power and military acumen.[6]

Outside of combat, elemental myrmidons spent much of their time trying to hone their knowledge of strategy and tactics,[10] engaging in tactical exercises, or sparring. Constantly training for the next conflict, which satisfied their innate desire to make war.[6]

On rare occasions, elemental myrmidons took slaves to perform manual labor or act as practice opponents. Slaves usually died from the latter or from neglect, as the myrmidons did not understand how fragile creatures of flesh could be.[6]

Creation[]

Some said that constructing an elemental myrmidon required a special foundry, with a special forge built in a significant concentration of elemental energy,[10][14] and a summoning crucible that served as the transformation space. These forges rarely appeared like a common forge, being unrecognizable contraptions of arcane and elemental magic.[16]

Creating elemental myrmidons was a difficult ritual,[14] a crucial element of which was encasing the elemental energies in armor ritually created at the foundry's forge. If this was not done a myrmidon might quickly expire, lack intelligence, or worst of all grow into something more powerful and uncontrollable that sought to avenge its creation.[16]

A working foundry could produce elemental myrmidons as often as the ritual could be performed and for as long as its resources were maintained. The forge's power determined what kind of myrmidon was created.[16] A forge with ebbing power could only generate the most basic version, while those at high flow could produce more powerful varieties.[9]

Some notable forges included Firespring in the Char district of the City of Brass, from which the resident efreet created fire myrmidons, and a forge located in the Crater of Blue Ice from which ice archons created more of their own kind.[10]

Relationships[]

There was no innate hostility between myrmidons of differing elements.[10] They would freely associate with one another, though infighting amongst them could occur if they lacked strong leadership.[2] They also had no particular loyalty to the primordials.[10]

Myrmidons that were free would sometimes hire themselves out as assassins, guards, or soldiers in order to satisfy their innate desire for conflict. They were willing to work for any employer that could guarantee them a fight, even a non-elemental. Some used the payment from these services to purchase tools and weapons that sat gathering dust in their strongholds, providing outsiders motivation to come and siege them.[11]

Many archons were known to serve the evil archomental of their respective element, including Cryonax and Yan-C-Bin.[17] They were also known to serve efreet, storm titans, earth titans, fire titans,[10] some giants, and even high-ranking demons of the Abyss.[5][13] Titans generally amassed archons of an element similar to their own, such as fire titans having fire myrmidons. Efreet on the other hand included a wide variety in their armies, as they recognized there was strength in having a diverse array of them.[10]

When it came to negative relations, all the angels of the Astral Sea held a burning hatred for the myrmidons and would go to considerable risk to strike at their foundries or strongholds.[10]

Rumors & Legends[]

It was said that those who knew the proper rituals could enforce the obedience of all archons that emerged from a particular forge.[6]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. Canon material currently does not outright state that 5th edition's elemental myrmidons and 4th edition's elemental archons are the same creatures, but they have incredibly strong similarities. They are both groups of elementals (of any of the primary elements) bound in suits of armor to act as servile warriors. Such a process forced them into more humanoid shapes. And unlike other elementals, they wield manufactured weaponry. Additionally, in 2021 Matthew Sernett, a designer for Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and one of the major cosmology designers of 4th edition, stated on Twitter that they were "in essence" the same thing.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 It is not stated what these archons were created from, though based on the lore of elemental myrmidons it stands to reason that they would have been created from binding an elemental of the equivalent elemental essence.

Appearances[]

Video Games
Neverwinter (Elemental Evil, The Heart of Fire)
Board Games
Tyrants of the Underdark
Card Games
Dragonfire (Moonshae Storms)

Further Reading[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 202–203. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. Richard Baker, Robert J. Schwalb (February, 2012). Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 99–100. ISBN 78-0-7869-5981-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 15–19. ISBN 0786995101.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 Ari Marmell, Bruce R. Cordell, Luke Johnson (December 2009). The Plane Below. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 50. ISBN 978-0786952496.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 18–21. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  8. Jim Zub, Stacy King, Andrew Wheeler (November 2019). Dungeons & Tombs. (Ten Speed Press), p. 136. ISBN 978-1984856449.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45.
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 68. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Ari Marmell, Bruce R. Cordell, Luke Johnson (December 2009). The Plane Below. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 51. ISBN 978-0786952496.
  12. Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 43.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Rodney Thompson, Logan Bonner, Matthew Sernett (November 2010). Monster Vault. Edited by Greg Bilsland et al. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7869-5631-9.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42.
  15. Cryptic Studios (April 2015). Neverwinter: Elemental Evil. Perfect World Entertainment.}}
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44.
  17. Richard Baker, Robert J. Schwalb (February, 2012). Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 25, 28. ISBN 78-0-7869-5981-5.
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