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Celestials

Celestials are creatures native to the Upper Planes. Many of them are the servants of deities, employed as messengers or agents in the mortal realm and throughout the planes. Celestials are good by nature, so the exceptional celestial who strays from a good alignment is a horrifying rarity. Celestials include angels, couatls, and pegasi.

All Celestials

As beings of power from higher planes of existence, Celestials possess knowledge of many wondrous and mysterious things far beyond the knowledge of the characters. As guardians of the greater Good, Celestials must often act in ways that run counter to those of the PCs, or even require greater sacrifice from them.

This gives you the option to create great role-playing opportunities where the alignment between their goals and those of the party are not perfect. These types of opportunities are the stuff of heady adventure and create lasting memories for your players.

  • What may seem like a minor act by the party could have ramifications years, decades, or millennia down the road. Play this up during interactions to create a sense of grandeur and timeless wisdom.
  • Hint that cooperation with these majestic beings might offer unusual rewards in terms of insight into past or future events. Why make rewards or penalties boring and by the book?
  • Offer an opportunity to visit a famous or infamous moment in the past, temporarily.
  • Make it possible for the characters to affect the outcome of a local event in some small way.
  • Use a celestial’s sense of cosmic superiority to put pressure on the party to act. Be careful to allow these pronouncements to include a healthy dose of player agency.

The basic rule might be that the Celestial can act with broad power, they cannot act against mortals without their permission or acquiescence. Similar to the devil’s bargain no agreements can be entered into without the characters’ assent.

Dramatic entrances also make a lasting impression. Extraplanar beings may appear suddenly, surprising the characters during the course of events. Make these appearances memorable with a full sensory description, including sounds and smells and a more subtle magical ambiance. Make a show of it; it’s not every day you meet an angel.

Most celestials can fly, have resistances, and have ability scores that are supernatural as compared to the standard races. They wield magic weapons and divine magic as well. Rather than using celestials as an opponent, they would make magnificent challenges in social combats when their motives cross with those of the player characters. Not every challenge should be faced with a blade.

Offer Assistance

For characters whose outlook matches the celestials, closely consider bestowing additional powers or tools if they show proper deference. The details can be left to the moment, but the act itself impresses the characters with the actual power at work and offers some real assistance to counter whatever is being asked of them. It has a lot to do with reading the room understanding what motivates your players.

Play into the character’s need at the moment. If the party is fighting off a band of challenging nasties, have the Celestial arrive from the heavens with a thunderous wallop crushing the last of the enemies. Helping the party proactively can soften any resistance when asked to perform a holy quest.

Despite understanding that a little help up front is a good incentive for future cooperation, celestials are highly intelligent, powerful beings worthy of the greatest respect. Arrogance often accompanies such power. They expect their words to be heeded and may forgo aid or information if not treated properly.

Tread lightly with this approach unless the characters have called for help. If the celestial arrives with its own agenda and demonstrates controlling or withholding behavior, it’s likely to backfire with a reticent group of adventurers. There is little worse than a powerful being’s threats to be met with indifference.

Don’t Bully The Party

Celestials should be loath to directly work against the PCs, even if they are evil. Their power might be enormous, but mortals are a big part of the equation, and their participation is often necessary to reach a goal. Celestials should be open to bargaining and horse-trading or they become little more than a threat dangling over the characters’ heads. Making deals, taking vows, and swearing oaths is good fun and provides a solid framework for understanding motivations on both sides.

Along the same lines, use punishment sparingly. If the characters ignore the Celestial’s advice, guidance, or direct orders, have the Celestial simply remove themselves from the scene.

Perhaps they leave with a passing remark about missed opportunities or the decreased likelihood of future assistance. As with any hierarchy, celestials often send lieutenants and vassals to communicate with mere mortals. Exiting the field might simply mean that an Asgardian returns to Odin to report the characters’ behavior. This can lead to a more interesting encounter in the future.