Presenting the Body Archons, also known as the infamous Men in Black. As with the Archons in general, I’ve combined some older lore with modern UFO mythology. An encounter with the Men In Black should be strange and mysterious, creating more questions than it answers. Observant CKs will note that the Men in Black can make a good way of fixing game imbalances caused by the unintended consequences of giving out too-powerful magic items.
BODY ARCHON (Man In Black)
A mysterious enforcer of cosmic law.
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1-6
HD: 3 (d8)
ATTACKS: 1 Weapon
SPECIAL: Archonic Signs, Future Sense, Alternate Forms, Voice Imitation, Mysterious Transport, Hypnotism, Disrupt Device, Magic Weapons to Hit, Darkvision, Spell-like Abilities, Summoning, Archonic Immunities, Resistant To Bludgeoning and Elemental Damage
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Neutral
Sometimes, those who encounter supernatural beings, or acquire powerful magic, are visited shortly thereafter by strange people in dark clothing. The odd visitors will usually use threatening language to dissuade people from telling stories about the spiritual world, or to intimidate them into handing over any enchanted items. Some tales speak of people who encountered such men in black clothes, told others about the visit, and were never seen again.
The mysterious men in black are also known as Body Archons. They are the most common type of Archon, tasked with tending to the destinies of relatively unimportant things. The Body Archons also perform the bulk of preparatory work for the plans of the higher Planetary Archons, maintain the overall secrecy of the Archons’ work, and control the spread of information about the spirit world.
A Body Archon almost always appear in a form similar to a human being dressed in archaic black clothing. A Body Archon’s eyes are usually large and almond-shaped, and may glow. The being’s skin tone will always be unusual for the region it appears in – either disturbingly pale, or oddly dark. Disturbingly, those able to perceive a Body Archon with True Seeing will perceive nothing at all when looking at a Body Archon – as if the being was not even there.
Despite having manipulated humans for as long as the race has existed, Body Archons are oddly awkward in social interactions, and likely to become distracted by everyday objects. Their speech patterns are strange, employing out of date slang, or even colloquialism that will only come into use at a future date. They will almost always claim to be government agents, such as tax collectors, or royal bodyguards. Frequently, however, the official agencies they claim to represent will not exist.
It is impossible to bribe, intimidate, or otherwise dissuade a Body Archon from its mission. Only destroying it, or giving the proper Archonic Signs, will stop one. It should be noted that even if a Body Archon is destroyed on the material plane, another Body Archon will simply be assigned to continue the mission (unless the task has become impossible to complete).
For reasons unknown, Body Archons are not able to use any of their special powers against people whose heads are encased in tin. This includes wearing a tin-lined helmet, but something as simple as headgear made from tin foil is also effective. Such a tin foil hat will even exempt the wearer from the Body Archon’s Time Stop ability.
Combat: Body Archons will engage in actual combat only to protect their mission, unless they have a clear mandate to eliminate a subject. They are actually relatively weak in melee combat, but they more than make up for such deficiency with their strange powers. In any potentially dangerous situation, they will seek to first use Hypnotism, or employ their Time Stop ability. They will then usually Erase the memories of their targets. In the case of subjects destined for elimination, the Men In Black will always try to abscond with the body. If forced into actual combat, Body Archons will first try to Summon an intimidating number of their fellows, only using actual weapons as a last resort. In all cases, Men In Black prefer intimidation, misdirection, and trickery to fighting. Once they are engaged, in combat, however, they display no regard for their own existence, always fighting until destroyed.
Archonic Signs: There are three tokens of recognition that Body Archons are bound to respect. These Archonic Signs consist of a tongue-twisting password, a strange gesture, and an odd hand-grip. If all three signs are given to a Body Archon, the Archon must thereafter treat the giver as a friend, so long as it is not attacked. Possession of the three signs therefore allows a mortal great control over their own destiny. Naturally, the three signs are closely guarded secrets, and even those mortals who know one or two seldom know them all. Note that the three signs that work on Body Archons have no effect on other types.
Future Sense: At the beginning of a combat with Body Archons, players must declare their first three actions to the CK. The declaration represents the Body Archons’ ability to see forward in the time stream, and react to events that have not yet occurred. Body Archons will always seem to be take exactly the actions needed to counter the PCs initial tactics. Players must follow the first three actions they declare, unless the events of combat make an action impossible. After three rounds, however, the Body Archons become focused on the present, and lose their sense of the future. Thereafter, combat proceeds as normal.
Alternate Forms: In addition to their humanoid form, a Body Archon can assume any of the following forms: a black dog, a crow, a black horse, a black cat, a black spider, or a black snake.
Voice Imitation: A Body Archon can perfectly imitate the voice of any mundane being, living, dead, or yet-to-be-born. They often use this ability to trick subjects into desired actions, by remaining unseen, but speaking in the voice of a friend, relative, or authority figure. Many apparent hauntings are actually caused by Body Archons seeking to manipulate humans.
Mysterious Transport: At will, a Body Archon can manifest either a pure black horse, or a black carriage (but not both at the same time). A Body Archon’s horse will be similar in most ways to an ordinary Riding Horse, except that it does not need to eat, breath, drink, or sleep. If slain, the horse can be immediately re-manifested. A Body Archon’s carriage will be completely enclosed, and archaic in design. Those inside enjoy protection equal to a Resilient Sphere and a Minor Globe of Invulnerability.
When a group of Body Archons needs transport, one will typically manifest a carriage, while the others manifest the horses to draw it. Some wild tales speak of Body Archons manifesting strange, box-like metal carriages that emit smoke, and move without horses. Even stranger stories exist of Body Archons flying through the air in mechanical contraptions of black metal.
Hypnotism: Once per day, a Body Archon is able to Hypnotize a person that meets its gaze. The effect is equal in all ways to a Hypnotism spell from a 3rd Level caster.
Disrupt Device: Body Archons are able to stop items of a mechanical or technological nature from functioning within 20 feet of their body. Such things as crossbows, clocks, and automatons are all affected. There is no saving throw against the effect.
Magic Weapons to Hit: The material forms of Body Archons can only be damaged by means of magic spells, or enchanted weapons. Unlike some other kinds of spirits, there is no mundane material that allows ordinary beings to damage Body Archons without the use of some kind of magic. Note that unlike most other orders of spirits, Body Archons outside their Mysterious Transport do not possess any kind of special resistance to magic.
Darkvision: Body Archons can see perfectly regardless of illumination.
Spell-like Abilities: Body Archons can use the following spell-like abilities at will, but only one at a time: Ghost Sound, Invisibility, Major Creation, Major Image, Teleport Without Error, and Ventriloquism. Once per day a Body Archon can use Time Stop. Body Archons can become Ethereal, and travel the Astral Plane. All spell-like abilities have an effective caster Level of 3.
Summoning: Once per day, a Body Archon can Summon 1-4 more of its fellows. Summoned Archons cannot themselves Summon others before first returning to the Planetary Spheres.
Archonic Immunities: Body Archons are immune to all diseases (magical or mundane), all poisons, and all magic that influences minds or perceptions.
Resistant To Bludgeoning and Elemental Damage: Body Archons take only half damage from bludgeoning attacks, or elemental attacks (fire, cold, electricity, wind, or acid).