An Angel is a celestial agent sent forth into the planes to further its god’s agenda for weal or woe. Its sublime beauty and presence can drive awestruck onlookers to their knees. Yet angels are destroyers too, and their appearance portends doom as often as it signals hope. -Monster Manual, pg 15
Angels are an odd one! There are three separate types of angels, and each of them have their own unique lore to delve into. Which is all before we discuss the shared lore between all of them!
Which is what we’ll be discussing today! Because if I discussed all three of them in one post, this would be roughly four thousand words long. And I do need to get to bed tonight, so… Don’t expect to see any additions to the list today.
There are numerous awesome monsters in the manual. That’s why I started this series in the first place! But if I can be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the Angels. They’ve got some neat lore, but actually incorporating them into a campaign isn’t easy. Rewarding? Undoubtedly. But incredibly difficult.
Unless you want to really fuck with your Paladins/Clerics. In which case, it’s pretty easy.
Lore: The Immortal Messengers of the Gods
As servants of the divine, the Angels have some serious things going for them. They don’t need food, drink or sleep (which is incredibly annoying, considering how fucking JACKED these guys are) and they’re bad-ass to boot! These guys are beasts, and the story behind them is interesting.
To start, lets talk about how Angels are born! Do you think they’re born from a mother and father? Nope! How about being molded by the gods of which they serve? Also no! These guys are born from the universe itself, gathered from the astral essence of the gods themselves! Betcha didn’t see that one coming!
They are loyal and good creatures, even if the god they serve isn’t as much. Even if the god is chaotic, an angel will always be lawful. However, despite their loyalty, they will not follow any order that doesn’t fall into what they believe to be good and just.
Thanks to them being beings of true, pure good, they are capable of detecting an evil creature with no effort. Then, after doing so, they slaughter the monster without remorse. This leads to them being arrogant, which comes to the front of their persona when their objectives clash with another being. Thus, when they are sent to aid mortals by the gods, they do not serve. They command.
Thus, they’re only brought in to the most dire circumstances. So don’t go throwing these boys around when the players are dealing with common bandits.
However, angels are not infallible. They are incredibly hard to deceive, as they are exceptionally wide. But when their pride takes the best of them, and they blindly commit evil, they are branded for life. They’re bodies are stained, and they are forever marked as outcasts.
It is after this fall that Angels start to become drunk on power. They maintain their abilities, but they are left alone, which they take as a personal insult. In rage, they rebel against their creators. In their attempt to gain more power, they’ll try to gain rulership over realms such as the Abyss, or they’ll try to earn a place among their fallen brethren in the Nine Hells. One such creature is Zariel, ruler of the first layer of the Nine Hells.
But not all Angels become monsters. Some simply resign themselves to their fate and live in the Mortal Realm. Often times as hermits. Some of them aim to redeem themselves, and they become powerful allies to good.
There’s a lot of creative possibilities for story telling here! Perhaps the players could have an Angel sent to them late into the game, who gives them a dangerous task. Or maybe they’re approached by a Fallen Angel! This angel could either trick them into fighting the Gods and help them claim their revenge. Or maybe the party stumbles upon a hermit that turns out to be an Angel, whom they convince to assist them in a dangerous task, thus redeeming him.
Or maybe you can get really crazy with it! Maybe the party arrives at the Heavens late in the game, and they can witness the birth of an Angel. Perhaps they could witness this Angel’s rise and try to prevent his fall. Or they could be tricked by the villain into assisting in the Angel’s fall from grace! Perhaps then the players are put into a morally gray situation. Do they kill the Angel, whom they made into a monster? Or do they try to redeem him, and thus themselves?
There are tons of cool and interesting story telling possibilities with these guys! The lore is super cool and interesting, and it could serve as a great plot for high-level parties. Unfortunately, that’s where the issues can be found. The unique stats of the Angels can make them a little difficult to work with, especially if you’re trying to build an encounter around them.
But we’ll get to that next week, when we discuss the first of the three Angels: Deva. I hope to see you then!