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A phoenix was a powerful elemental bird that embodied the wild and unpredictable nature of fire.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

Phoenixes were enormous birds with brightly colored feathers ranging from orange to red and violet, and blue-violet beaks and claws.[4][5] Their talons had the consistency of diamonds.[5] Their eyes were a glowing ruby color.[4] A phoenix's body was naturally bright and shed its own light.[1]

Phoenix bodies were almost immaterial, composed of flame taken solid shape. For that reason, they were capable of passing through extremely narrow passages and of engulfing opponents within their fiery bodies.[1]

Personality[edit | edit source]

Phoenixes were described by many sages as champions of good,[4] and by others as random agents of destruction.[1] Most accounts agreed that phoenixes were reclusive creatures that did not seek out contact or conflict with other creatures, but, if disturbed, provoked, or properly motivated, showed relentless fury and destructive power.[1][3][4]

Phoenixes had a fierce hatred toward undead and attacked them on sight.[2]

Abilities[edit | edit source]

The eyes of these creatures were capable of seeing in total darkness[1] and low-light conditions,[3] as well as the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums. With the latter two senses, they had a visual range of 120 feet (37 meters) and 200 yards (180 meters) respectively.[5][7][note 1] They were practically impossible to sneak up on or surprise.[5]

Their bodies were capable of withstanding incredibly severe cold and heat.[5]

Innate Abilities[edit | edit source]

Phoenixes possessed an incredibly wide array of magical abilities. They were capable of near instantaneously detecting the presence of charms evil, and magic. Their bodies radiated an effect similar to protection from evil in a radius of out to 10 feet (3 meters). They could make themselves ethereal, allowing them to travel either ethereally or astrally.[5]

The touched of their wings gave off an effect similar to cure light wounds and a touch of their comb gave off one similar to cure disease. Whenever their blood was spilled, a phoenix could make its droplets act as fire seeds. By spreading their wings and uttering a call they could dispel illusion or dispel magic. By performing a dance they unleashed an incredibly powerful exorcism.[5]

In severe situations a phoenix could create a fire storm and incendiary cloud, which would destroy them in the process and leave a gem-like egg that would hatch into a new phoenix within twenty days.[5]

Phoenixes possessed no offensive psionic abilities and could not be harmed by them, though they typically had a handful of disciplinary powers. They could use cell adjustment once per day, energy control and molecular agitation three times per day, as well as probability travel once per week.[5]

Spellcasting[edit | edit source]

In addition to all of the previously mentioned abilities, phoenixes were capable of casting a wide array of spells that included affect normal fires, audible glamer, blink, blindness blur, continual light, Control temperature, 10' radius, dancing lights, find traps, fire charm, fire shield, invisibility, misdirection, produce fire, pyrotechnics, remove curse, remove fear within a 10‑foot (3‑meter) radius, and snake charm at will. They were also capable of casting color spray, heat metal, and polymorph self up to three times per day, as well as call woodland beings, duo-dimension, find the path, fire quench, fire seeds, fire storm, incendiary cloud, neutralize poison, reincarnate, veil, and wall of fire once a day.[4][5]

Combat[edit | edit source]

In combat, phoenixes were fierce adversaries with no fear of a fight to the death, especially since their rebirth was assured.[3] Though their physical attacks were quite fast and powerful,[1] they often preferred to use their large array of innate magical effects.[4][5]

Phoenixes were extremely effective at destroying buildings and structures.[1]

If a phoenix was slain in combat, its body exploded in a violent detonation that destroyed the phoenix and most of its surroundings.[1]

Society[edit | edit source]

Homelands[edit | edit source]

Phoenixes could be found in the deepest reaches of the Elemental Plane of Fire[6] and in remote locations in Elysium.[4][5]

As reclusive creatures, they tended to avoid contact with others.[4]

Languages[edit | edit source]

In addition to being capable of speaking with all species of bird, phoenixes communicated with other creatures through empathy and telepathy.[5]

Ecology[edit | edit source]

To rise like a phoenix from the ashes―so many use that quaint colloquialism. Little do they know about the true horror of such a rebirth.

All phoenixes were male. They had extremely long lifespans, estimated to be between 1,000 and 12,000 years, and their reproduction process consisted entirely of self-immolation and rebirth.[4] The ashes left behind by a slain phoenix included an extremely hot cinder egg that weighed 5 pounds (2.3 kilograms). The egg was completely immune to all forms of damage. After a few days, it hatched into a new phoenix.[1]

Uses[edit | edit source]

Phoenixes were among the most sought-after creatures by sages and alchemists. Virtually all parts of their bodies could be used as ingredients for potions or in magical research. A phoenix's feathers could be employed in the creation of a staff of healing and in powerful potions of healing. Other body parts, such as eyes, beaks, and talons, could also fetch high prices, but many cultures considered slaying a phoenix to be a bad omen.[4]

The fire wings spell required an amulet in the shape of a phoenix as its material component.[8][9]

A phoenix's feather, when used as an additional component of a raise dead spell, granted additional powers to its magic. In addition to extending the time window since the creature's death during which the spell was effective, it was capable of extending the life of a creature that had died of old age by one year.[2]

Notable Phoenixes[edit | edit source]

The spire of Howler's Crag located in Cocytus, the second layer of Pandemonium, was built atop the grave of a phoenix deity who held the secret to reincarnation. Its opponents killed the phoenix out of envy and cast its body in Pandemonium. The latent divine magic of the phoenix granted the place its magical properties.[10]

A phoenix was also said to inhabit the vast desert of Mithardir, the third layer of Arborea. Its nest was said to become a pillar of fire at night.[11]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Their Monster Manual II entry simply stated that their ultravision was double the normal range. The ranges shown were approximated from multiplying the base ranges outlined in Players Handbook 1st edition.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 199. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 220. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Ed Bonny, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter (September 2002). Monster Manual II 3rd edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 168–169. ISBN 07-8692-873-5.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), pp. 288–289. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 Gary Gygax (August 1983). Monster Manual II 1st edition. (TSR, Inc), pp. 100–101. ISBN 0-88038-031-4.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford (May 29, 2018). Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 198. ISBN 978-0786966240.
  7. Gary Gygax (1978). Players Handbook 1st edition. (TSR, Inc.), p. 102. ISBN 0-9356-9601-6.
  8. Gary Gygax, David Cook, and François Marcela-Froideval (1985). Oriental Adventures. (TSR, Inc), p. 83. ISBN 0-8803-8099-3.
  9. Mark Middleton et al (January 1998). Wizard's Spell Compendium Volume Two. (TSR, Inc), pp. 366–367. ISBN 978-0786906642.
  10. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), pp. 95–96. ISBN 1560768746.
  11. Wolfgang Baur and Lester Smith (1994-07-01). “The Book of Chaos”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Chaos (TSR, Inc), p. 56. ISBN 1560768746.
  12. Rick Swan (1989). Test of the Samurai. (TSR, Inc), p. 90. ISBN 0-88038-775-0.
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