Water elemental myrmidons, otherwise known as water myrmidons or water archons, were a variety of elemental myrmidon, beings created by conjuring and bonding elementals — in this case, of elemental water — into into ritually created suits of armor to act as servile weapons of war.[note 1]
Like all elemental myrmidons, they wore thick armor, typically of a plate or scale variety. These not only protected them against attacks, 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. Their armor was all that would remain of them when killed.
Though they were capable of moving on land and would do so on ocassion as a surprise tactic, they preferred to remain near water. Being kept too far from water could affect their loyalty to a master. They also valued having frequent opportunities to spread misery and woe.
They were impervious to harm from water-based spells or abilities, but those that were cold-based would hinder their movements. And they were uniquely able to temporarily infuse their weapon strikes with elemental ice.
- Shoal Reavers
- These water myrmidons could make temporary harpoons out of solid water and conjure forth small whirlpools.
- These water myrmidons could manipulate the water by gesturing with their fans. Conjuring forth small waves, whirlpools, or geysers. As well as empowering aquatic or water elemental creatures.
The standard variety of water myrmidon, shoal reavers, typically fought with tridents. While those known as tide striders and waveshapers typically fought with greatspears and dual war fans respectively. Regardless of what weapon a water myrmidon used, it was considered magical.
Shoal reavers and tide striders both fought in close quarters, using their agility in water to their advantage, while watershapers fought from afar with their abilities. Shoal reavers would often use their water harpoons to pull creatures closer to the water before conjuring forth whirlpools.
- Shoal Reavers
- The term used for the basic variety of water myrmidon.
- Tide Striders
- One of the more powerful varieties of water myrmidons. They were the most agile at moving through water and known for being quite reserved and violent.
- One of the more powerful varieties of water myrmidons. They were equivalent to war priests, aspiring for a day when Prime Material worlds would be drowned by the churning waters of the Elemental Chaos. They typically wore robes atop their armor and were known for creating great ships made of semisolid water, which could rise and submerged as they willed.
Like any elemental myrmidons, when left to their own devices these beings 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 water 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.
Free water myrmidons traveled on the great water ships crafted by waveshapers, engaging in pirate activity. They were known to construct outposts in lakes or swamps, which they traveled between by treating rivers and streams as highways.
Outside of combat, water myrmidons spent much of their time trying to hone their knowledge of strategy and tactics, engaging in tactical exercises, or sparring. Constantly training for the next conflict, which satisfied their innate desire to make war.
Some said that constructing an elemental archon required a special foundry, with a special forge built in a significant concentration of elemental energy, 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.
A working foundry could produce them as often as the ritual could be performed and for as long as the foundry's resources were maintained. The forge's power determine what kind of myrmidon was created. A forge with ebbing power could only generate the most basic of water myrmidons, while those at high flow could produce more powerful varieties, such as tide striders and waveshapers.
Many were known to serve Olhydra, the evil archomental of elemental water. Beyond this, they often found themselves in the service of masters who were like the ocean quite destructive and unpredictable in nature, such as aboleths or human pirates.
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- 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.
- 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.
- Rob Heinsoo, Stephen Schubert (May 19, 2009). Monster Manual 2 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 18–19. ISBN 0786995101.
- Ari Marmell, Bruce R. Cordell, Luke Johnson (December 2009). The Plane Below. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 50. ISBN 978-0786952496.
- Mike Mearls, Stephen Schubert, James Wyatt (June 2008). Monster Manual 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 18. ISBN 978-0-7869-4852-9.
- Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 45.
- Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 43.
- Cryptic Studios (April 2015). Neverwinter: Elemental Evil. Perfect World Entertainment.}}
- Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 68, 74. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
- Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42.
- Matthew Sernett (November 2007). “Ecology of the Fire Archon”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dragon #361 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 44.
- 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.