[Let's Read] D&D 4e Monster Manual 2?

Nokura

May the 4th be with you!
And that’s it for the earth archons. Next up, storm.
I really like archons for some reason, maybe its because the art really appeals to me but I find them far more engaging than than the 'vaguely humanoid blob of element type' from the previous editions.

Oh, one more thing: do I talk too much? Is there anything you’d like me to focus more or less on?
No this is good. The whole point of these threads is to hear commentary and discuss things the community thinks. If I just wanted raw data I'd read my own copy of MM2 :)
 

Naxuul

Emo hair power!
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I really like archons for some reason, maybe its because the art really appeals to me but I find them far more engaging than than the 'vaguely humanoid blob of element type' from the previous editions.
The 'vaguely humanoid blob of element type' elementals are still there. They're the elementals.. they're just 'vaguely humanoid blob of multiple element types' now.

-Naxuul
 

Nokura

May the 4th be with you!
The 'vaguely humanoid blob of element type' elementals are still there. They're the elementals.. they're just 'vaguely humanoid blob of multiple element types' now.

-Naxuul
And I like them too. I think that the implementation of the ELemental Chaos, as opposed to single planes of predominantly one element, works really well as a gaming conceit. I mean what's the point of saying that you can travel to the plane of fire if you die as soon as you get there.

Similarly 'big blob of fire' is boring to me but 'chaotic amalgam of earth and lightning' is more engaging. Elementals really represent the Chaos part of the Elemental Chaos, Archons represent the Elemental part of it.

What I really like is that you have both in 4e, together they cover the bases really nicely for expressing the plane that they hail from.
 

Inyssius

thermonuclear catsplosion
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The 'vaguely humanoid blob of element type' elementals are still there. They're the elementals.. they're just 'vaguely humanoid blob of multiple element types' now.

-Naxuul
I think I would enjoy elementals even more if they were a lot more distinctive and less humanoid, actually. There's a reason why the geonid is so eye-catching. But I'll postpone the full explanation for a while yet; after all, in a few weeks I'll have to give this treatment to thirteen of the little bastards.

Actually, I look forward to that a lot. The elementals in this book are really good--take the chillfire destroyer (a compressed firestorm trapped inside a humanoid, slowly-cracking shell of ice), for example. They all have this vital, chaotic, very energetic aspect to them--or maybe it's just the art, which is really good if you can actually remember to match the monsters with their stat-blocks (harder than you'd think in this case!).
 

Rechan

Retired User
On the topic of ants not having allies:

Leaf cutter ants cut leaves and store them in pantries where the leaves grow fungus. This fungus is then eaten by the ants. The fungus benefits from being protected and nurtured.

So, let's take this a step further. A giant ant colony surrounding a Myconid group. Myconids farm large, non-sentient fungi for the ants. The myconids are protected and use the ants as beasts of burden.
 

The Wyzard

An overwhelming surplus of diggity
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Hmm. You know what could sneak in and take over/run an ant hive? Fucking Neogi, that's what.

"Hey, why is that hive of GIANT SCARY ANTS over in the next valley suddenly raiding trading caravans and taking stuff?"

Stick in the Myconids mentioned above, and maybe some other enslaved servitor races, and you could actually have a pretty serious dungeon. I'm imagining something really tiny but at least somewhat sentient, like kobolds or goblins or something, hanging around and taking care of the ants in return for scraps. Like those fish that clean sharks of parasites and so forth, and in return get to eat the scraps the sharks leave behind.
 
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Loup Du Noir

Inebriati
Cool thread, Innysius, but I am shocked and appalled you neglected to mention the very cool Earth Archon fluff regarding the Diamond of Despair, the Earth Titan king, and the possibility that the Archons might not be hoarding the thing, but guarding everyone else from it. What could the Diamond be? Larger, inert chunk of the Abyssal stone? Prison of something even the Primordials feared and wanted locked up? Off switch for the universe? The key to vector sigma?
 

Inyssius

thermonuclear catsplosion
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Loup du Noir, Rechan, the Wyzard: great thoughts. I love it when a Let's Read thread attracts some actual discussion. I'm not sure how to foster it, though. The 2E thread has obviously struck some sort of balance, but then they have momentum on their side by now—and Noisms only provides a monster update every week or so, which I couldn't possibly have the patience to handle. So how should I do it?

Okay, the answer is obvious: reply to other posters whenever I can. Silly question.

I'll definitely be stealing the leafcutter/myconid idea, or some variation on it, if I ever use giant ants. As for the Diamond of Despair... aren't slaadi associated with some sort of mysterious chaos stone artifact? How's Bazim-Gorag doing these days?



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ARCHON, STORM:

As usual, three varieties of storm archons are featured in this book: squallshield, lightning walker, and tempest weaver. They’ll be coming in my next big post; but first, the archons as a whole.

“Storm archons can be found in the company of storm giants, especially during the howling black tempests that rise up from the Abyss. Storm archons and storm giants ride these evil winds as they swirl through the layers of the Elemental Chaos, spilling out into planes beyond to cause tornadoes and hurricanes.” See what I mean about the quality of archon fluff? Absolutely fantastic. And the image it evokes—along with the literal image, naturally—help to provide some small hint of how incredibly crazy it must be to actually live in the Elemental Chaos; this shit must happen all the time. Githzerai must be hard core.

Storm archons seem a lot less military than the other archons I’ve encountered thus far. Perhaps the fluff in this section isn’t so perfect as I would have you believe, as it’s uncertain what exactly they do. The Encounter Groups line says that “teams of storm archons patrol their masters’ domains within the Elemental Chaos”, but that’s ridiculous; setting storm archons to oversee your own civilization is like employing the Wild Hunt as city watchmen. But what really bewilders me is the remainder of the Lore section: they “live in floating storm cities that cruise through the Chaos. Always on the move, these cities drift overhead, indifferent to what happens beneath them”, but striking without any provocation “if they grow bored.”

What?

Imagine three unemployed archon regiments—earth, air, and storm—stranded amidst a warless kingdom on the Prime. Going by my interpretations of the fluff so far…

• Earth archons will begin with the most impassable mountain range available. They’ll spend as much time as needed erecting fortresses, building up fortifications, and expanding their defenses until no human could possibly breach them. Then they’ll expand outward, aiming for the hardest targets first: earthquakes induced by their seismic strikers will be most effective against large cities and keeps, and the largest enemy formations are most easily broken by their rumblers. And then, of course, they’ll work their way down.

• Air archons will assassinate the king, followed by his heirs, then quietly knock off the heads of any forces for stability in the region; then each competing warlord in what should swiftly degenerate into a wartorn hellhole. And any training facilities that could pose a threat, followed by every single man, woman, child, animal, and non-elemental Power in the country.

• Storm archons will drift aimlessly about the skies in their pointless little storm cities. On occasion, they’ll descend lightning-quick from the sky to hit any random target that strikes their fancy.

Er... no. What do storm archons really do? Why the cities? What are some possible effects of their long-term association with storm giants?



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I’m asking you, people! Talk to me!
 
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