What creature type is an Avangion?

As many of you know, I am working on Epic Athas, which is new rules for epic play, especially advanced beings.

The writers here at Athas dot org decided that avangions have the aberration type. The type of avangions has been hotly debated for years. I am starting to think that avangions are simply dragons on a different path than Borys and the Sorcerer Monarchs. Lets say that Borys is on the “ravager path” (taken from Wake of the Ravager SSI game) and Oronis is on the “avangion path”. Both are dragons, but like the chromatic and metallic dragons, they do different things.

I think this resolves the debate about type, and allows any other types that a player might want for his/her advanced being. Additionally, I have reworked ‘advanced being’ as a trait that grants access to salient feats. So you can have dragon typed creatures, not all of whom are advanced beings because they do not have the advanced being trait.



I think we need to think outside the box altogether. Why not have ‘Advanced Being’ as a new, catch all Type for arcane metamorphoses? Give the new type the functional immortality, the immunity to ageing, Tongues and maybe one or two other things that might be common to all arcane metamorphs.

I mean for goodness’ sake, they invented ‘Native Outsider’ for the 3E Forgotten Realms campaign setting. What’s one more? Given Dragons don’t actually exist on Athas, in a conventional D&D context, there’s no reason why an artificially created life form should have the Dragon subtype, anymore than it should be an Aberration.


That’s why I made advanced being into a trait. Now an advanced being is a creature with the advanced being trait, independent of any types or subtypes. In 2E, a creature just “was” and type was not really thing. No one had to think about what a dragon and avangion was in terms of type.

Dragon and Aberration are types, not subtypes. Previously I had tried to fit in advanced being as a subtype, but it didn’t really work. I’ve been thinking about this for about 2 years from every angle.

We can have dragon and avangion as separate types if people wish it. I can simply create the avangion type, but it won’t be a preexisting type in the game. “But redking, that seems easy enough, why don’t you do it?”. The why is because having [dragon] as a typed creature means that a whole collection of spells and items that target such creatures already exist. A new avangion types ends up with an absolute advantage because nothing targets that type. In 3E, Borys is a dragon [dragon]. Oronis is an avangion [aberration] according to Athas dot org. I am not sold on aberration being the type for a preserver metamorphosis, but it is better than creating an avangion type for the reasons I already gave. More importantly, the point is that they aren’t really different at all except in the way they metamorphose.

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Point taken. In which case yes, I’d say make Avangions, Dragons and Shadow Shifters (am I missing anyone?) dragon type. It may mean the slightly odd event of a non-Athasian PC hitting an Avangion with a Dragon Bane sword and getting the bonus, but it has the virtue of consistency.

Next time I’ll engage my brain before openkng my mouth (hah!).


A combo of types would seem fitting. dragon aberration and fey aberration for avangion.

Maybe no precedent for it but what in 3.5 DS is?


Fey and Aberrations are different types. Some people have argued for avangions being fey. Some for outsider.

Have a look at the creature types here. What we are looking for are what you might call “ascended types”. So fey, outsider, aberration, dragon, elemental seem to be what we need.

I’d probably make the shadow shifter an [outsider] with the [native] subtype, assuming there is a connection to the Black - I am not that familiar with it. As for the avangion, I am easy going. I am OK with dragon, aberration, fey or outsider. I think there is a case for all of them.

Hah! It gives me an opportunity to pontificate.

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I like Kal’s suggestion of an “advanced being” type.

Maybe not as full type, but as a subtype of dragon, fey, and outsider that grant common suite of abilities to all ABs.

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I agonized over that for a good two years. Initially I had advanced being as a subtype. It was an ill fit. Have a look at the other subtypes and how they function.

That’s why I simply cut the Gordian Knot by making advanced being a trait rather than a subtype. This avoids all the associated problems with making it a subtype, while keeping the function entirely. There’s nothing to stop you from saying that the trait is really a subtype in your game though. It won’t change the gameplay.

The important question is about type from the OP because the type will change gameplay. And has implications on lore.

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I’m not seeing the balance issue with having ABs being different types. I get there’s more items and spells that target the dragon type, but it kind of makes sense lore wise.

There’s been multiple dragons on Athas and only a few avangions, which are relatively new to the world. Stands to reason there would be more knowledge on dragons than avangion. Also, in making them fey, they would still be susceptible to anti-fey items and magic which would bring closer balance. Even if there’s a slight unevenness power wise, so what? A small benefit for following a good path in an otherwise evil dominated world.

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I think we are talking past each other. Scroll up a bit and see where I address types and even say I am ok with avangions being of any type. According to Athas dot org they are of the [aberration] type.

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I know about them being the aberration type. Was never a fan of that even when discussed way back in the day.

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Interesting. I had a discussion on this topic with @redking a while back, I’ll see if I can find my thoughts on the matter and post them below.

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Okay, cleaned up and with updates… Warning: Long post.

I see arguments for Aberration, Fey, and Outsider, and Unique:

Outsider: I’m not a huge fan of this one. Athas has no gods or outer planes currently, and arcane magic turning someone into an actual divine being in the absence of deities feels off. I could get behind the idea that the magic tries very hard to do so however.

Under this interpretation Avangions would have to be some sort of arcane angels or phoenixes, but the fundamentally different source of their power, taken from the land and their own complex nature, which would make them feel very different.

That said, I do see that the whole disappearing thing at stage 10 and aspects of their aura just scream outsider. Clearly, the intention was angelic. But it is also clear that there was not nearly as much thought put into Avangions back in 2e as there was for dragons, which has resulted in them being very hard to parse (they lack some common outsider abilities and resistances, even if they do have a few common angelic traits in their aura and detecting evil and lies).

Aberration: This one is a bit of a personal opinion but I think it might make some sense. An Avangion could be seen a kind of a magical and psionic super organism that is a living wellspring of life energy, and is perhaps related to Rajaats research into life-shaping, as could dragons.

As an otherworldly feeling entity, created by the unnatural but connected to nature setup of arcane magic on Athas, aberration can actually make sense. Unnatural is the key word. Avangions are no closer to being natural creatures truly native to the land, or any land, than Borys or Rajaat.

Fey: Pyreen are fey in 3e Legends of Athas, so there is precedent for land connected creatures being fey in Dark Sun, and 4e went even further with making sand brides fey, for instance. While Avangions aren’t technically druids or otherwise bound directly to the land, their powers are connected to the health of the land and its restoration. Fey could work for them, in terms of becoming otherworldly yet land connected forces better than outsider does. It can give them a divine flavor without truly needing divinity.

Furthermore, I will note that the 4e fluff possibly supports them being fey, though weirdly neither epic destiny (dragon or avangion) actually changed the characters type (or origin, as I think it was called in 4e).

Unique: I see why some people want this, given how difficult it is to come to a consensus. My objection is that no other advanced beings have a type of their own, and I think that if that route is taken then Athasian Dragons, being different as they are from dragons of other worlds, should also have a unique type. The issue is that in 2e Athasian Dragons were considered dragons for the purposes of a few magic items and effects, so the dragon type has a historical weight for them (also in 4e Borys had the dragon subtype).

Dragon?: As for dragon type, I think it’s a little absurd to make Avangions into dragons. There is literally no support of any kind for such an interpretation, except maybe some hearsay attributed to Troy Denning 25+ years ago that discussed his original thoughts on Nok and dragons in Dark Sun.

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In 3E, Borys is a type [dragon] subtype [augmented], generally written as ‘augmented dragon’. Augmented is when a creature’s type has changed for some reason.

Avangions as a unique type (and yes, I had agonized over this matter too, too much for an ostensibly normal person lol) creates the problem that you are dedicating an entire type for a virtually unique creature that has no other examples of its type anywhere in the multiverse. It just can’t be justified.

Absurd or brilliant? You could have [dragon] as the type, and [avangion] as a subtype that modifies creatures with the advanced being [trait]. This is where we can circle back to my OP.

What I am thinking is that we can have advanced beings. Advanced beings have type [choose your type] and then subtype [ravager] (for defiler centric creatures) or [avangion] for (for preserver centric creatures). For example (subtypes in lower case, type in upper case):

Borys: augmented ravager DRAGON.
Oronis: augmented avangion DRAGON (alternatively augmented avangion ABERRATION).

By doing it this way we can harmonize the various types of advanced beings (whether defiler metamorphosis, shadow shifter metamorphosis and whatever other possibilities) as either ravagers or avangions (basically path of defilement or path dexter, from Defilers and Preservers: The Wizards of Athas). By having the ravager and avangion subtypes, it removes the moral judgment from the assignment of the type. Therefore, you could have a good guy dragon, and a bad guy aberration, for example, based on the subtype. It also takes a lot of the controversy out of the type issue.

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To throw my two cents in: Terrors of Athas lists Drakes as Dragon type. This justifies magic items and spells that affect Dragons, Rangers taking Dragons as a favoured enemy, etc. Given that Drakes are essentially ‘Native Outsiders’, you could use it as an argument for and against Dragon Advanced Beings.

On one hand, it creates some logic loops. For example, a Ranger trained in hunting giant para-elemental reptiles suddenly gets a bonus to Bluff and Sense Motive on Boris (!). Any items and spells created to combat Drakes become effective against Advanced Beings as well, even though they weren’t designed to. It just doesn’t make much sense.

Then again, you could argue that the progression of an Advanced Being brings them closer to Drakes: Para-elemental / para-magical beings with powerful psionic abilities. In this case, we might need to re-think the Dragon subtype. A Dark Sun dragon might mean something completely different from dragons elsewhere in the multiverse - the common denominator being not their biology, but how they function in the supernatural sense.

If we’re talking about Avangion being an Aberration: I’d argue it’d make all Advanced Beings Aberrations. They all defy (super)natural biology; none of them has natural origins; most of all, none of them fits into any natural category. To go back to the Ranger example: If anyone can get a Bluff and Sense Motive bonus against Borys, it’s someone trained in hunting abominations that defy human reasoning. In this case, the ‘dragon’ would simply be a nickname given to Borys by mortals… And a very misleading one.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Oronis didn’t make the full transformation yet? In which case, he’s something of a pupa state between a SM and a real-deal Avangion. You could argue that makes him an Aberration. Once he undergoes a full metamorphosis, he might as well turn into a Dragon.

I admit, I have no idea how it applies to other SMs who progressed up the Ravager path. What types did they get?

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Good point about the drakes. In Terrors of Athas, Dray are also [dragon] type. In my own work, I have them as [humanoid] type with [dragonblood] subtype (from Races of the Dragon).

Yep. Borys has to take the good with the bad. The dragon type favoured enemy ranger finds himself instinctually better at fighting Borys than another character.

Want absurd? How about Oronis encountering a Keeper of the Cerulean Sign? Good luck to Oronis trying to explain that he is really one of the good guys and not an aberration trying to subvert normal people.

I’d say they are all dragons. That said, it’s possible they could be other types. Lalali Puy could be a fey, for example.

That’s a surprise. I’ve been using version 0.9 for over a decade, it has Dray as Monstrous Humanoids. It makes a lot more sense, if you ask me.

Oh, yes. You could argue Keepers are thoughtless fanatics, but… Indeed. Absurdity at its finest.

Feel free to lynch me, but I think Advanced Beings are clearly inspired by easily compared to kaiju from Gozilla :wink: They come in all types and shapes, with various abilities, temperaments, etc. What they have in common is that they’re, well, kaiju - giant monsters fuelled by a supernatural reactor, on the level of natural disasters.

If we go with that line of reasoning, it makes sense that both Drakes and ABs would be dragons. They ‘work’ in a similar way and fall into the same ecological niche, so to speak. Speaking of, Avangion has clear Mothra vibes, so… Why not?

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By the rules of 3.x D&D Avangions are Aberration type without question or exception, because unlike HP, type actually IS related to biology. Technically speaking they should be Humanoid [Augmented][Aberration] more likely than not… at least until the metamorphosis progresses far enough to make humanoid no longer a relevant thing.

However, does that make sense by the rules of Dark Sun?

Furthermore, Athasian Dragons don’t really match any of the other True Dragon types, and as such, I doubt they should count as True Dragons.

The transformation ritual for Advanced Being requires dual mastery of both magic and psionics, something that I despise. I would much rather neatly split the two apart and have Dragons be strictly tied to magic and defilement, and Avangions be strictly tied to pure psionics… becoming instead two different paths towards a goal of greater power.

I think there should be a Greater Bestow Power (and it’s spell equivalent) which can provide a clear non-divine mechanic for how Dragons are able to bestow spells on their minions, and also for how Spirits of the Land or elemental lords or greater undead can provide powers or spells to their followers. This would also imply that Avangions could potentially bestow upon their minions too? Any lore support that concept?

I’ve always thought that there should be larger size categories that keep on going up. That would allow us to make the Titanic template into a size, and also provide a size category for Kaiju, as well as larger objects and constructions.

Is a outer plane connection a possible power source or factor for dragon and/or avangion metamorphosis? I vaguely recall in the lore that someone managed to find a way to the outer planes, so it’s obviously possible… If so, that would provide a few more options and interesting angles.

Has anyone ever considered that the metamorphosis process is simply something or multiple somethings stolen from Lifeshaping and encoded into a series of spells and/or powers? It could even be a cobbled together version from several research collections of different Lifeshaping Masters compiled and edited by mages and/or psionicists who didn’t really understand the intricacies of Lifeshaping and thus the need for repeated applications “to get it right, eventually”.

Hearkening back to the conversation about type… and considering Athas’ special circumstances… there really should be a Lifeshaped type that exists in Athas. And Advanced Being could be grouped within the Lifeshaped type category as a high level Augmented version with all the special rules needed to make it fit the lore in a more satisfactory fashion. After all, the whole concept of metamorphosis and lifeshaping are basically the same: an artificial means of reforming an entity into something more useful/powerful.

After all, since we have the mandate to recreate Athas in 3.x rules, why not fix both the Dark Sun rules and the 3.x rules at the same time?

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It depends on whether you see avangions as aberrant on not. Their final trip through the planes in a crystal casket as the final state of metamorphosis suggests that they are outsiders. Many people have argued for that.

Well, they aren’t true dragons. They are subtype [augmented] type [dragon]. There are many creatures with the type [dragon] that are not true dragons. A wyvern has the [dragon] type, but is not a “true dragon” in the sense that it isn’t the greatest of the [dragon] type. Draconians in the Dragonlance setting are [dragon] type also. You could say that you are I are [mammal] type, but not one is mistaking us for a cat which is also [mammal]. The important thing is to not confuse the type with other characteristics.


Why? What is the problem that you are trying to fix?

Dragonlance 3.5 has you covered. Dragonlance has extra size categories for its “dragon overlords”. Check it out.

The 10th stage of preserver metamorphosis is literally that.

That’s the way I see Rajaat’s creation of his champions. Lifeshaping is ‘analog’, and Rajaat skipped digital and went straight to quantum mechanics by using magic and psionics to turbo charge the lifeshaping.

I could get on board with a subtype. A type not so much.

The mandate only goes so far. That’s why you don’t touch the XP table or produce a different XP table or reproduce core rules like Pathfinder. I don’t think WotC cares one way or another, unless we deliberately slap them in the face. As long as we operate as athas dot org has done until now, there will be no problems.

BTW, publish your edited DS3 work. Sébastien Gamache at Siltskimmer already published his fixed bookmarks version ages ago.

Then Aberration to Outsider in proper order as per the metamorphosis pattern.

But do they really match the Dragon type despite the body form? I’ve never had much interest in the SK so I’ve never really tried to dig into the details of their rules.

Thank you, I’ll mention it over there too.

In order to bestow spells even as a Power, one must have 10 levels of cleric class minimum. Do SKs have cleric class as part of their mix? If not they can’t bestow spells per the general rules of D&D. all 10th level clerics have access to the spell which transfers spell knowledge and ability to a non-caster, let alone another caster… which may be how Powers are pulling off the transfer. It just struck me offhand as a thought so it’s no big deal to me either way. I’ve never used the SKs in any of my games anyhow. I just don’t recall that anyone ever mentioned the specific rule structure behind how SKs are supposedly transferring power despite a complete lack of Divine and no replacement rule structure other than that specific spell/power I mentioned.

Oh, I missed that… now I have to go pull out those books and see how far up the chain they go.

As mentioned previous, I guess that’s where they would change from Aberration to Outsider.


Not fully convinced of that, but point taken.

Don’t look at me, go chase after the Templar/Council people who have it currently. It’s been properly submitted for final review as per the Charter which stipulates that it can only be released here on this site, and no other locations.

If I ever reach a point of trust where Flip grants me access to post PDFs and links on the site, I will gladly start to post all of my edits to all the material to the site as optional rules.

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