Sword archons were the leaders of the lantern and hound archons of Mount Celestia and messengers among all of the gods and powers of each of the Seven Heavens. They also served as the enforcers of the laws of the Celestial Hebdomad. Only the most powerful of summoners could call on sword archons for extraplanar aid.
Among all scholars of the planes, the most notable feature of sword archons were their glorious wings. There was disagreement regarding their other physical traits, perhaps because they were so rarely seen on the Prime. Most scholars described them has having only wings and no arms at all, but others described them as carrying weapons in hand. Most modern scholars explained that they did in fact have humanoid arms but that they had the power to morph their arms into rippling, fiery blades to use as weapons.
Sword archons were most often seen with silver-colored hair and bright, glowing eyes, otherwise appearing as attractive humans in facial appearance. Here, too, there was some debate, as some reported that sword archons instead had the heads of lions or other great cats.
Swords stood taller than most humans, usually between seven and eight feet (210 to 240 centimeters) tall, though some were reported to be even larger, surpassing even ten feet in height, and it was rumored that more powerful sword archons were even taller than that. Shorter sword archons weighed between 125 and 200 pounds (60 to 90 kilograms), while the taller ones could weight upwards of 550 pounds (250 kilograms). Sword archons that appeared feminine in gender were slightly shorter and lighter than those that appeared masculine.
These archons were often observed wearing metal collars about their necks, greaves about their legs, and breastplates over their chests. As with other archons, these ornaments were not actual metal; they were mystical representations of the archon's rank within the hierarchy of Celestia and could not be removed. They sometimes dressed in simple, patterned cloth garments. On the rare occasion that one might not want to be noticed, it would wear a large cloak.
Unlike other archons, swords enjoyed battle, but they did not allow this enjoyment to cause them to violate their oaths and would only fight against truly evil foes. They would never strike at a weak or defenseless enemy or one who surrendered. They maintained a high level of honor in combat—never attacking from behind and allowing the other to make the first attack—even against foes who did not act the same way in return.
Sword archons had exceptional innate spellcasting abilities, casting many spells utilized by highly trained wizards and favored clerics with ease. One of their favored spells would fill evil creatures with intense distrust and suspicion towards other evil creatures with whom they were associated. Another spell they often used temporarily turned an ally's weapon into adamantine. If in need of assistance, they were capable of gating in the help of up to a half dozen hound archons or several warden archons.
Like all archons, swords could speak and understand all spoken languages and could telepathically communicate with any being. They could teleport anywhere that they wanted without a chance of failure. They could also create a source of continual flame whenever they desired. Sword archons and anyone close to them were magically protected from evil at all times.
Swords were resistant to many magical spells, immune to petrification and electricity, and could not be affected by mundane weapons or even low-powered magical ones. They could also see in darkness. Sword archons were even more intelligent than warden archons.
When a sword archon shifted the form of its arms into weapons, they acted much like holy flaming longswords. It was impossible to disarm one of these armblades, nor could they be sundered. These were the sword archon's preferred weapons, but they could use other weapons with their hands if desired, lash with their wings, or even resort to biting.
A sword archon's most powerful attack, however, was its dive attack. To be effective at such an attack, it first rose to an altitude of 100 feet (30 meters). When it dove, it did so armblades first. If so desired, the sword archon could attempt a special discorporating dive, which, if successful, utterly destroyed the victim's body and sent his or her soul directly to a prison somewhere on Mount Celestia. They only used such a powerful attack against beings who had severely transgressed against the laws of Celestia or who were sworn enemies of the lawful good deities that they served.
Sword archons never bore shields.
Some scholars believed that at least 1,000 sword archons were in existence at any given time. Others claimed that the number was much, much larger, for the city of Yetsirah in Jovar alone had an active corps of 12,000 sword archons! In any case, most swords served as guards in the militia of a throne archon, helping to maintain law and order in the various settlements of the layers of Mount Celestia. (Obviously, this was not a difficult task most of the time, as Celestia was a realm infused with law and goodness.) Such archons with lead, tin, or brass fittings were considered "swords-in-training" by the higher ranked archons.
Upon attaining bronze accoutrements or better, a sword archon might be appointed to begin serving as a messenger. When other archons received a message from a sword, it was almost universally received with joy, as it was considered as if a god him- or herself had spoken. While rare, sometimes swords were sent to other Upper Planes or even to the Outlands to deliver messages.
Sword archons were created from the promotion of warden archons who had obtained platinum collars and bracers, if the warden archon accepted this promotion. As the sword archon progressed along a path of goodness, the metal of its accoutrements appeared to change from lead to tin to brass to bronze to silver to gold and at last to platinum. When a sword archon wearing platinum fittings was promoted, it was transformed into a trumpet archon wearing lead.
Sword archons leaving Mount Celestia without permission and/or who interfered in the affairs of mortals risked being demoted or even becoming fallen archons.
Some scholars described sword archons as being able to consume meat, but they required no food or liquid at all to survive. While they did sleep, they were light sleepers, and they never actually grew tired, even after exerting themselves.
In 1357 DR, the tome archon Terxyx led a company of sword archons in the Astral Plane to save Gareth Dragonsbane and his party from pursuing demons and to accompany them to meet his master Saint Sollars.
- ↑ 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 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 J. Paul LaFountain (1991). Monstrous Compendium: Outer Planes Appendix. Edited by Timothy B. Brown. (TSR, Inc.). ISBN 1-56076-055-9.
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 Colin McComb, Dori Hein (February 1995). “Monstrous Supplement”. In Dori Hein ed. Planes of Law (TSR, Inc), pp. 4–5, 7–8. ISBN 0786900938.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 James Wyatt, Darrin Drader, Christopher Perkins (October 2003). Book of Exalted Deeds. (TSR, Inc), pp. 160–161. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
- ↑ 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 4.13 4.14 4.15 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 123. ISBN 0880383992.
- ↑ Christopher Perkins (April 1999). Warriors of Heaven. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 0-7869-1361-4.
- ↑ Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 159. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 7.26 7.27 7.28 7.29 7.30 7.31 7.32 7.33 7.34 7.35 7.36 7.37 Christopher Perkins (April 1999). Warriors of Heaven. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–50. ISBN 0-7869-1361-4.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 88. ISBN 0880383992.
- ↑ James Wyatt, Darrin Drader, Christopher Perkins (October 2003). Book of Exalted Deeds. (TSR, Inc), p. 190. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
- ↑ James Wyatt, Darrin Drader, Christopher Perkins (October 2003). Book of Exalted Deeds. (TSR, Inc), p. 111. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
- ↑ James Wyatt, Darrin Drader, Christopher Perkins (October 2003). Book of Exalted Deeds. (TSR, Inc), p. 110. ISBN 0-7869-3136-1.
- ↑ Wolfgang Baur (February 1995). “Mount Celestia”. In Michele Carter ed. Planes of Law (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-7869-0093-8.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel (July 2006). Monster Manual IV. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 82. ISBN 0-7869-3920-6.
- ↑ Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson (1988). The Throne of Bloodstone. (TSR, Inc), p. 78. ISBN 0-8803-8560-X.