Champion

Champion is the term used to refer to individuals who became loyal supporters of either a deity or deity's cause. They are usually mighty warriors, powerful mages, or a combination of both. Many champions are mortals, and their condition grants them new abilities, sometimes even changing their very nature to something more divine.

Divine champions[edit | edit source]

Due to the Divine Gate, neither the Prime Deities nor the Betrayer Gods can interact directly with Exandria. Divine champions are usually the ones who take care of their deities' interests in the Material Plane, defeating their enemies, defending their cult or representing them in great quests.

Divine champions don't necessarily have to be active followers of their god in order to obtain that position: a moment of need and common interests can forge that relationship (sometimes requiring a trial; see Champion of Pelor section for reference), and sometimes it leads to the champion becoming an actual follower of their divine benefactor. In a less ideal situation, it can also be possible for a deity to forcefully obtain a champion through blackmail, torture and/or corruption; in those cases, the champion becomes a tool for the god, obeying orders without choice (Champion of Torog section for reference).

Most gods have champions. In some cases the champions hold their title indefinitely and in another champions are retired in times of peace and only summoned when it's necessary, for a certain mission, then stripped of their powers.[1] A number of gods have more than one champion, but each of them receives only a fracture of the deity's boon.[2] The Betrayer Gods have more reason to have champions of their own to help them influence Exandria in a more directly, since their cults are not as widespread in comparison to the cults of the Prime Deities.[3]

Blessings, magical weapons or artifacts can be both the beginning of the process for an individual to become a champion or a gift that the deity bestows upon their champion to make them stronger.

Champion of Ioun[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as the servant of the Knowing Mistress, goddess of knowledge.

Ioun chose Scanlan Shorthalt, as a weaver of stories and a speaker of histories, to undergo her trial to become her champion, preferring him over Percy de Rolo due to his relation with secrecy (although she would grant the gunslinger the knowledge to design the Prime Trammels, saying he had "the ingenuity of a madman").

In addition to the goddess' blessing, Scanlan was given a book called the The Tome of Isolation.[4] Ioun's choice, as well as the cause she was supporting, the defeat of Vecna, made her new champion a prime target for the newly ascended god.

Champion of Kord[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as the servant of the Stormlord, god of competitions and storms.

After The Divergence, before returning to his realm beyond the Divine Gate, Kord created an entrance to the Dreadnest as a passage his champions could use in case it was necessary to chase Lolth and her forces into the Abyss. He trusted the secret of the passage and the way of opening it to a line of mortals who went extict at some point between 536 and 836 PD. However, the nether gnome Dryca found one of the last members of the line and learned about the entrance, acting as the Stormlord's mortal champion when it needed to be opened.[5]

At some point before 835 PD the Xhorhasian barbarian Yasha Nydoorin, magically dominated by Obann, found a shrine to Kord, and the god's influence freed her from mind control.[6] From that point, Yasha became a devoted follower of the Stormlord, following his commands whenever she could, and being particulary interested in any sight of storms.[7] He, on the other hand, was particularly interested in the aasimar's potential and the darkness that still tainted her soul; occasionally, the deity would send her dreams with messages, warnings and challenging encouragement.[8] At some point, he even sent a creature made of pure lightning to fight Yasha at sea, in order to test her strength.[9] Kord cares in his own way about Yasha, showing his pride and welcoming her when she was freed from Obann for the second time,[10] and sending her signs of her redemption,[11] which eventually became physical when Yasha's aasimar wings became feathered and functional again.[12]

When Yasha and her friends were preparing to face the Tombtakers, she obtained the Holy Avenger, a powerful sword owned by Kima of Vord. The weapon could only be used by a paladin, but through dreams the Stormlord encouraged her to focus her strength, calling her an "avatar of the Storm Lord".[13] Later, he challenged her in a dream, making her battle multiple storm spirits alone. When she succeeded, she became a champion, and she attuned to the Holy Avenger despite the weapon's requisite.[14] Kord's care for the zealot barbarian would only grow from that moment. After the Mighty Nein destroyed Cognouza, Yasha decided to visit her home with her girlfriend, facing the anger of her tribe; when the Xhorhasians warriors were about to attack the adventurers, the Stormlord sent a lightning bolt that charred a line in the ground between the two groups, which intimidated the charging cavalry into calling off the attack.[15]

Champion of Lolth[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as the servant of the Spider Queen, goddess of deceit and spiders.

Her fight with Kord and banishment behind the Divine Gate has left Lolth weak enough that part of her predilect mortal race has abandoned her worship,[16] while others suffer under the influence of the Chained Oblivion.[17] Wanting to gain influence in the Material Plane again, the Spider Queen started using the Circlet of Barbed Vision, one of her artifacts, to manipulate a group of adventurers, tempting them with power and the possibility of doing evil.[18][19] She finally succeeded when Opal, a warlock, put the circlet on her head to try to help her sister. Afterwards, Opal found she was unable to remove the crown.[20]

Months later the circlet had changed Opal's appearance, making her scarier, and Lolth was able to communicate with her easily, and even affect her magic. The goddess tried to convince the warlock to seek the Children of Malice, while the adventurer proposed they improve Lolth's image so she wouldn't be associated with evil among the mortals. The Spider Queen responded by proposing to make Opal her champion, and offering her a test that would have turned her into a horrible monster if she failed; however, the human succeeded, becoming a champion and awakening her vestige in the process.[21]

Champion of Pelor[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as a servant of the Dawnfather, god of the sun and the harvest.

In history there had been at least five Champions of Pelor; one of them, Yos Varda, leader of the Beacon of Arms, fought and was defeated by Vecna during the lich's first attempt at becoming a god.[22][23]

Centuries later, Vecna managed to achieve divinity, and Vox Machina tried to obtain the support of different gods to defeat him. When Pelor asked if any of the adventurers thought themselves worthy of being his Champion, Vex'ahlia remained silent. To encourage her friend, Keyleth tried to claim the title, motivating the ranger to offer herself to be the Champion.[24] The Dawnfather tested Vex and found her worthy, granting her his blessing and making her the sixth known Champion of Pelor.[25]

Five of these known champions have been memorialized with a star on the Crest of Whitestone, as Pelor is the patron god of the city. After Vex'ahlia became a champion herself, Percy de Rolo pointed out that they would need to add a sixth star to the crest,[26] effectively doing so at some point before 832 PD.[27]

Champion of the Raven Queen[edit | edit source]

Official art of Vax'ildan as the Champion of Ravens, by Elliott Berggren from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, page 274.[art 1]

This champion acts as a servant of the Matron of Ravens, the goddess of death.

Three champions of the Raven Queen were known as Clay, Dust and Stone. The three of them gave great importance to funerary rites, and when one great hero died in battle, they debated what to do with the body. The goddess, explaining that she had already taking what was rightfully hers (the soul of the hero), advised them to seek instruction from The Wildmother; Melora solved the debate by making the champions part the body in three parts: Clay kept the head, Dust the main body and Stone the limbs, and each of them proceeded to apply the funerary rites they deemed correct, honoring in the process different gods. Their families continued taking care of the dead after them, honoring their ancestors' mission.[28]

Another champion was Purvan Suul, who served the Matron of Death faithfully with the help of Galdric the Moonlit Wolf. As part of the ritual in which he pledge himself to the Raven Queen, Purvan gave his name to the goddess, being known thereafter as simply "the Champion". When he died, he was interred with his powerfully-enchanted armor, the Deathwalker's Ward.

When Vex'ahlia died during the retrieval of the Deathwalker's Ward, her twin brother Vax'ildan made a bargain for her life with the Raven Queen,[29] eventually donning the Champion's armor[30] and becoming a new Champion of the Raven Queen.[31] Vax'ildan served the goddess during his missions, and when he died, both established a new agreement: the Raven Queen would allow her champion to return to life as many times as necessary until Vecna, enemy of the goddess, was defeated, and only then would the soul of the rogue be hers. That deal was respected, and when Vax'ildan died permanently, he ascended to a new form of existence, still a champion of the Matron, but a celestial, an angelic entity known as the Champion of Ravens.[32]

Champion of Sarenrae[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as a servant of the Everlight, the goddess of atonement and healing.

Sarenrae's good faith and belief that anyone can be redeemed led to the Lord of the Hells betraying her and decimating most of her followers in The Calamity.[33] Any champion she may have had then died in the conflict, and the goddess' influence and worship declined; for centuries, her remaining followers kept their devotion in private, and public temples of the Everlight, like the one in Vasselheim, fell to ruin.[34][35]

The Prime Deity would influence Wilhand Trickfoot in dreams, inspiring him to leave his family's mischievious ways, and he did, teaching his descendants about the goddess. One of them, Pike Trickfoot, would become a cleric of Sarenrae. The deep gnome became a part of an adventuring party and channeled her goddess' power, becoming the main healer for her friends. However, after a particularly hard fight with a glabrezu, she was killed and subsequently resurrected in a small temple of Sarenrae in Emon.[36] That event made Pike more bellicose. While on one occasion the goddess limited Pike's power for her lack of compassion,[37] the Everlight generally cared about her cleric and supported her in her adventures. Pike, in turn, showed her devotion and helped restore her temples.[35][38][39]

Sarenrae supported not only Pike, but also Vox Machina, in their quests against the Chroma Conclave and Vecna. During the latter, they visited the Island of Renewal, in Elysium, and Pike and Scanlan Shorthalt entered the palace where they met the goddess in person. The Everlight praised Pike's actions,[40] and gave her her blessing, sending her as her champion against the Whispered One.[41]

After saving the world from the newly ascended god, Pike remained as Sarenrae's champion and the main support of the restoration of her cult as it is slowly being rediscovered.[42] During another of Vox Machina's adventures in Pandemonium, the Everlight answered her champion's calling and appeared on the battlefield, grappling a dust titan to help the adventurers.[43]

Champion of Tiamat[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as a servant of the Scaled Tyrant, the goddess of greed and wealth, and the queen of evil dragons.

During The Founding, Tiamat created her chromatic dragons to protect her interests on the Material Plane,[44] and when she sided with chaos and destruction, these dragons, along with the creations of the other Betrayer Gods, were changed to match that intent.[45] According to some legends, she and Bahamut created the dragonborn during the Calamity as their loyal soldiers who eventually earned their freedom.[46] However, by the end of the conflict, the Scaled Tyrant was imprisoned within Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells.[47] For centuries, the worship to the Dragon Queen has been limited to evil dragons, partially due to the efforts of the followers of the Platinum Dragon, the enemy and rival of the goddess. However, she has successfully gained followers among the mortals, with secret cults being created, some formed by greedy people obsessed with wealth,[48] and others that fight for a greater goal: to free Tiamat from Avernus.[49][50]

Arkhan, a dragonborn paladin was once contacted by the Scaled Tyrant in a moment of need, and from that moment on he was a devout follower of the dragon goddess, and a champion to the cause of freeing her from the Nine Hells. To succeed in his goal, Arkhan conducted several missions in the Material Plane, at one point visiting Exandria and undertaking a mission with several adventurers (including Keyleth and Percival de Rolo) to obtain the Wreath of the Prism, a vestige connected to his goddess.[51][52] He also spent time in Avernus, commanding Tiamat's forces, obtaining his own followers,[53] and even raising chromatic dragons like Obatala.[54] By then Arkhan had gained power beyond his mortal capabilities, becoming a Highlord under her service with his own tower in his queen's layer and prison.[55]

A few years after his last visit to Exandria, Arkhan returned with a small group of adventurers, but they were attacked by the forces of Vecna, led by Delilah Briarwood.[56] When the champion chased the attackers to Thar Amphala, his mount was slain and he was left for dead. Wanting revenge and seeing that as an opportunity to obtain more power for his cause, Arkhan joined Vox Machina in their quest, helping them defeat the Whispered One. After that, he stole the Hand of Vecna and Teleported to a rendezvous point to meet Krull, one of his military advisors, who Plane Shifted them both to Avernus. Since then Arkhan has been trying to use the power of the artifact to unlock the secrets of how to free Tiamat, but the Hand is slowly corrupting Arkhan's flesh and decomposing his body on one side.[55]

Champion of Torog[edit | edit source]

This champion acts as a servant of the Crawling King, the god of torture and tunnels.

Unlike other deities, Torog chose one of his most passionate enemies as his champion: a warrior called Ganix, who led an army against the god but was defeated. Torog captured and tortured Ganix, twisting him into a monster called The Laughing Hand and cursing him to an endless cycle of servitude by trapping his heart in an extraplanar space. Mad and loyal to its master, the Laughing Hand became such a dangerous menace that it was sealed in a hidden location near Bazzoxan, originally created by Sehanine and Moradin to seal the Crawling king himself; several celestials of the Moonweaver martyred themselves to seal away the temple, knowing they weren't able to permanently kill the monster once known as Ganix.[57]

The Laughing Hand was freed of its prison by Obann, a fiend who was following the commands of the Angel of Irons. With the help of a mind-controlled Yasha and Torog's champion, Obann freed another powerful entity, The Caedogeist, and continued the mission they unknownly were doing: destroy the shackle fanes that kept Tharizdun sealed.[58] However, the Mighty Nein stopped them, and as part of the process they destroyed the Laughing Hand's heart, which allowed them to kill the monster for good.[59]

Fiendish champions[edit | edit source]

Depiction of Orcus from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, p. 153.[art 2]

Either using their own fiendish forces or by deals with mortals in the Material Plane, both devils and demons can use champions to do their bidding.

An example of this is Orcus, the Demon Prince of Undead, who gave two of his own horns to his "shadow champion", who was sent with them to the mortal realm to open a doorway between the two dimensions. Acting as Orcus' avatar, the champion fought long-forgotten heroes, and many fell to the creature's wrath before it was defeated, and the seemingly indestructible horns were sealed away.[60]

Exceptional cases[edit | edit source]

The Apotheon[edit | edit source]

Depiction of Alyxian, the Apotheon from Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep.[art 3]

Alyxian was a human from Wildemount who was born near the beginning of The Calamity under the full moon of Ruidus,[61] thus considered cursed by many. Alyxian tried to escape from his own destiny by becoming a warrior and doing good deeds in the world. Despite the horrors he witnessed during the battles of the Calamity, Alyxian did become a great hero, and on three different occasions, he asked the gods for assistance: Sehanine, Avandra and Corellon answered his prayers, helping him and giving him power to face his many challenges. While the latter was the most distant of them, the other two were more active in their support, and it is said that the Changebringer even grieved for the hero's dark destiny.[62]

The support of three of the Prime Deities, as well as their blessings in the Jewel of Three Prayers made Alyxian stronger than any other human at the time. He became a champion for his three divine benefactors, a demigod-like individual called the Apotheon by the people. Although he fought bravely, eventually he fell protecting a city in Marquet from Gruumsh. He survived a direct blow from the god but was trapped in a supernatural prison of his own making.[63][64]

By himself, the Apotheon is technically mortal, but far closer to divinity than others of his lineage. If he were to be absolved and freed of his imprisonment, the state he would be in would be equivalent to that of an empowered champion.[65][66]

The Inevitable End[edit | edit source]

Jourrael, also known as the Caedogeist, is an assassin that serves the Spider Queen. While she has the appearance of a drow woman,[67] she is actually a fiend, unable to die permanently thanks to an agreement between Lolth and Asmodeus during a time of common interests, thus making the Inevitable End virtually unkillable while the contract between the two Betrayer Gods exists.[68]

While they aren't officially considered Lolth's champion (not as mortal champions are anyway, enacting their deity's will openly), Jourrael serves their goddess faithfully, chasing down and finishing off anyone Lolth marks as her enemy. At the end of the Calamity, an attempt at destroying the Caedogeist was made, and since the ones involved knew she would come back, the body of Jourrael was sundered and sealed apart in secret.[68] The heart was buried within the Lotusden Greenwood in a Wraithroot tree, and the skull entrusted to the elves in Veluthil.[69] The skull was recovered from the ruins of Molaesmyr and sold to the Stassman family of Kamordah.[70] Centuries later Obann freed them and put them under his control in order to help him in his mission,[58] but the Mighty Nein defeated the cambion, freeing Jourrael who, in turn, helped the adventurers kill Obann before leaving.

By 836 PD Jourrael walks Exandria for the first time in centuries, still loyal to the Spider Queen.[71] Apparently she has taken an interest in finding the Circlet of Barbed Vision,[72] which is currently in the hands of Opal, the champion of Lolth.[21]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The first wielder of Mythcarver, who helped forge it with her magical songs, was a champion herself, but both her name and her cause have been lost to history.[73]
  • The way of divine empowerment that allows some champions to become patrons for other mortals is similar to the empowerment Artagan enjoyed as The Traveler, although in his case his position as Archfey (an already god-like being) made the transition easier.
  • There is a subclass of fighter called Champion, although the concept itself focuses more on training and physical excellence.
  • Although paladins are archetypically the class most associated with champions, there are no limitations or requirements to becoming one. However, in the case of divine champions the forces they serve may have preferences: nature gods, for example, will be well disposed towards druids and rangers, while more intellectual deities may prefer wizards and inventors.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "4-Sided Dive: Why, Matthew?! Why?" (4SDx15) at 10:50.
  2. "4-Sided Dive: Why, Matthew?! Why?" (4SDx15) at 12:25.
  3. "4-Sided Dive: Why, Matthew?! Why?" (4SDx15) at 11:30.
  4. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:04:30.
  5. The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #2.
  6. "Punishment and Politics" (2x87) at 2:29:25.
  7. "Steam and Conversation" (2x09) at 2:42:13.
  8. "Labenda Awaits" (2x20) at 47:45. Yasha's dream sequence
  9. "A Storm of Memories" (2x46) at 1:33:27.
  10. "Unwanted Reunions" (2x88) at 1:23:50.
  11. "Dark Waters" (2x98) from 2:50:00 through 2:57:25.
  12. "Rumble at Rumblecusp" (2x105) at 1:31:00.
  13. "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 3:36:22.
  14. "Into the Eye" (2x131) at 1:07:29.
  15. "Fond Farewells" (2x141) from 6:20:20 through 6:25:19.
  16. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 19. See also p. 28.
  17. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 21.
  18. "A Test of Worth" (E1x05) at 35:47.
  19. "Beyond the Heart City" (E1x07) at 2:40:11.
  20. "What Comes Next" (E1x08) at 3:20:16.
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Exandria Unlimited: Kymal, Part 2" (E2x02) at 1:11:40.
  22. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 38. Here the army is called the Army of the Just.
  23. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) from 1:17:39 through 1:22:16.
  24. "Elysium" (1x104) at 2:25:33.
  25. "Elysium" (1x104) at 2:47:12.
  26. "Elysium" (1x104) at 2:50:03.
  27. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 265.
  28. "Causatum" (2x70) from 3:30:56 through 3:34:42.
  29. "The Sunken Tomb" (1x44) at 4:30:20.
  30. "Those Who Walk Away..." (1x45) at 1:47:05.
  31. "Umbrasyl" (1x55) at 55:35.
  32. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", pp. 274–275.
  33. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 15.
  34. "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) at 2:47:22.
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) from 2:51:20 through 2:55:07.
  36. "D&Diesel" (OSx02) at 16:47.
  37. "Glass and Bone" (1x08) from 1:26:27 through 1:26:51.
  38. "Hubris" (1x17) at 15:07. Matt describes the Braving Grounds around the newly uncovered temple, then Pike's first plans for excavating the temple.
  39. "The Fate-Touched" (1x103) at 2:23:18.
  40. "Elysium" (1x104) at 57:35.
  41. "Elysium" (1x104) from 1:01:50 through 1:02:50.
  42. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, pp. 15–16.
  43. "The Search For Bob" (OSx31) at 3:15:20.
  44. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 218.
  45. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 1: "Welcome to Tal'Dorei", p. 13.
  46. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 151.
  47. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 28.
  48. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 2: "Allegiances of Tal'Dorei", p. 37.
  49. "Stalker in the Swamp" (2x21) at 2:26:57.
  50. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 2: "Factions and Societies", p. 57.
  51. "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" (OSx09) from 0:00 through 1:58.
  52. The spelling is the same when the identically named region in Marquet is mentioned later. "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 1:10:46.
  53. Joe Manganiello on stealing the Hand of Vecna by D&D Beyond at 6:01.
  54. "The Final Ascent" (1x113) at 2:07:25.
  55. 55.0 55.1 Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, p. 111.
  56. "The Final Ascent" (1x113) at 1:09:28.
  57. "Beneath Bazzoxan" (2x66) from 4:09:25 through 4:10:37.
  58. 58.0 58.1 "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 4:24:43.
  59. "The Cathedral" (2x86) at 2:36:00.
  60. "Glass and Bone" (1x08) at 55:42.
  61. "Omens Above" (3x19) at 33:22.
  62. Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 3: "Bazzoxan", p. 56.
  63. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 1: "Welcome to Tal'Dorei", p. 10. See also p. 15.
  64. Call of the Netherdeep, "Introduction: Answering the Call", p. 4. Introduction: Answering the Call. "Story Overview."
  65. Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 7: "The Heart of Despair", p. 182.
  66. Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 7: "The Heart of Despair", p. 184.
  67. "The Threads Converge" (2x85) at 10:45.
  68. 68.0 68.1 "Between the Lines" (2x78) from 3:01:47 through 3:02:38.
  69. "A Tangled Web" (2x77) at 3:45:54. Jester scries on Obann.
  70. "The Threads Converge" (2x85) from 2:01:09 through 2:01:33.
  71. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 244.
  72. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 5: "Game Master's Toolkit", p. 204.
  73. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 5: "Game Master's Toolkit", p. 207.

Art:

  1. Official art of Vax'ildan as the Champion of Ravens, by Elliott Berggren from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, page 274. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Depiction of Orcus from Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, p. 153. This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
  3. Depiction of Alyxian, the Apotheon from Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep. This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.