Agathion

Agathions are a race of beast-aspect outsiders native to the plane of Nirvana, a realm of pure good unconcerned with the dogma of law (represented by Heaven) or chaos (represented by Elysium). Though Nirvana is a place of rest where blessed souls seek enlightenment, agathions are aggressive and interventionist in the mortal world when it comes to dealing with evil. Created from the souls of good mortals who have managed to achieve the enlightenment they sought in life (or in some cases, after death), agathions embody the principles of a peaceable kingdom while marshaling their strength to defend that kingdom from any who would despoil it. Because they strike an ethical balance between the chaotic, fey-like azatas and the lawful, rigid process of the archons, agathions are often liaisons between the celestial races, soothing hot tempers and working toward mutual goals of vanquishing evil and protecting good.

All agathions have an animal-like aspect. Some are more humanoid in appearance, while others spend their entire existence in a form nearly identical to that of a true animal. Each type of agathion serves a particular role in Nirvana, and their duties on other planes echo these responsibilities: leonals watch over Nirvana's portals and have a guardian-like aspect in other worlds, draconals carry the wisdom of the ages and observe and guide exceptional mortals, vulpinals are bards and messengers and bear important news to celestial generals and mortal heroes, and so on. Agathions are proud of their feral aspects and don't take kindly to the suggestion that they are cursed folk like lycanthropes or nothing more than magical talking beasts. Every agathion was once a mortal who aspired to goodness and was rewarded in the afterlife with a form suiting her talents and personality; suggesting that an agathion's form is a kind of punishment is a terrible insult.

The following pages describe only a few of the best-known kinds of agathions, but other types exist, corresponding to other conventional animals (bears, dinosaurs, fish, wolves, and so on), with a few having shapes that resemble insects (particularly beetles, butterflies, and mantises); a handful resemble stranger creatures (such as basilisks and owlbears) or unique “animals” native to extreme environments on distant worlds. Certain animals, particularly those associated with scavenging activities (such as hyenas, buzzards, or jackals) or parasitism (like lampreys or ticks) specifically do not have agathions associated with them—these animals are not intrinsically evil, but their habits and ecological niches are far from the noble and proud traditions that most of the souls who seek enlightenment upon Nirvana would associate with themselves.

Individual agathions may be male or female, but they do not reproduce among their own kind—every agathion is a unique individual made from the soul of a good mortal. This does not prevent them from falling in love or having affairs with mortals, and a few aasimar and celestial sorcerer bloodlines derive from past contact with agathions, particularly among communities not averse to anthropomorphic humanoids. Indeed, many mythologies tie numerous races of this kind to the inevitable result of human tribes forming strong emotional attachments to visiting agathions.

Agathions speak Celestial, Draconic, and Infernal, though they can communicate with any intelligent creature because of their truespeech ability. They can also communicate with animals using a similar, silent ability. Even the weakest agathion is able to heal itself or others using a power similar to a paladin's ability to lay on hands. All agathions have a number of similar traits, as detailed in Appendix 3 of this book.

Agathions serving a particular deity or empyreal lord may have additional abilities depending on the role their deity assigns them. For example, a cetaceal serving a goddess of volcanic islands may be able to change shape into a more human-like form to walk on land, and may be immune to fire to tolerate and tend to the life-rich thermal vents at the ocean floor.

Guardinals were animalistic celestials native to the House of Nature.[3] When at home, they were among the most peaceful beings in all the planes, but outside their home plane, they hunted down evil to stop it.[1][5]

Avoral guardinals were in service to Aerdrie Faenya.[6] Guardinals of all varieties served Mystra, the goddess of magic in her home plane of Dweomerheart.[7]

DescriptionEdit

Like other celestials, the appearances of guardinals varied—both among varieties and individuals[2][5]—but most looked like attractive and fit humanoids with distinct animal traits.[2][8][5] Some guardinals appeared more animal-like, while others appeared more human-like.[2][5]
AbilitiesEdit

All guardinals could see in the dark and were immune to harm from electricity.[1][2][5]They were resistant to the acid,[2][5] cold,[1][2][5] poisons,[1][2][5] and intense sounds[1] and could not be turned to stone by magical means.[1][5] No animal could ever be compelled to attack a guardinal.[2]

Guardinals had a wide range of spell-like abilities,[1][2] which varied among their kinds,[1] but all guardinals could heal themselves or others by touch, much like a paladin's divine ability.[1][2]

Guardinals were naturally fluent in the Celestial language and the language of devils. Most also spoke Draconic.[1] However, they could communicate with almost any sentient creature using their innate magic, so in some sense, they could speak all languages.[1] Moreover, they could telepathically communicate with any animals.

PersonalityEdit

Guardinals were quick to laugh and slow to get angry.[1] They were the epitome of moral integrity and honor.[2] They did not lie or cheat.[2] Guardinals had zero tolerance for evil or injustice of any kind, and would travel out of their way to confront it.[2][8] If evil came to their home plane, they became as ferocious as any archon.[5]
CombatEdit

The style of combat favored by a guardinal depended on its type and its power. Among all varieties, they preferred to incapacitate, unless the enemy were irredeemably evil, in which case, they did not hesitate to use deadly force.[5]
SocietyEdit

Native to the House of Nature, in earlier cosmologies, guardinals were considered residents of Elysium.[2] In either case, they lived simple lives, either alone[2] or in small groups,[2][8] often traveling through their beautiful, natural environment like nomads. They only ever took what was absolutely required from the land.[2][8]

While not under a strict hierarchy like the archons,[2] the guardinals were led by a band of guardinal paragons known as Talisid and the Five Companions.[2][4][9] There were many more guardinal paragons than these six; in fact, there was a paragon serving as a near deity for each of the many groupings of animals.[3]

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