Learn all about the angelic beings known as Celestials
What are Celestials?
Celestials are angelic beings that come from the lawful good plane of Mount Celestia. They are the polar opposite of the fiendish devils and demons. Rather than sowing the seeds of evil and malcontent, celestial beings are creatures of generally good alignment inhabiting the upper planes.
Celestials wage war against those forces that would bring chaos and destruction to the planes. Primarily, this involves fighting demons. Devils, on the other hand, have earnt their own special kind of dislike from the celestials as the original devils were once celestials that fell from their previous righteousness.
Despite their generally good nature, many celestial beings often fail to fully comprehend the lives and challenges of mortals. This can make them judgmental or harsh towards mortal beings. In many respects, celestials reflect more the judgement and destruction elements of their biblical counterparts more than the merciful aspects.
While some celestials are angels, many are different beings altogether with angels being a specific type of celestial.
Celestial beings are typically created to serve a specific purpose or function. Often, this is to serve a higher power or deity but this is not always the case. There may be a specific prophecy that they must bring about or a goal they need to accomplish.
While most celestials are good aligned, some are evil and the deities that celestials serve are not always good. Some celestials also fall from grace becoming fallen angels after committing some great crime. Some are even cast down to Hell and live among the devils such as Zariel who is an archduchess of the Nine Hells after becoming a fallen angel.
All celestials have some kind of radiant aura about them. Often, this manifests itself as radiant damage and a resistance to non-magical weapons, charm and fear. Many celestial beings are also able to fly, many having wings to enable this.
Types of Celestials
I’ve detailed all the main Celestial types from the core monster manuals below:
Couatls are large, winged serpents that live in the upper planes.
Devas are types of angels that serve as messengers to the gods.
Empyreans are the offspring of deities in the upper planes, with a beautiful appearance and such strong powers that their very mood affects the landscape around them.
Rare creatures in the mortal realm, a ki-rin is regarded as a symbol of good fortune as they are both protectors of land, and servants of good deities.
A horse with large, feathered wings and an incredibly shy personality. A pegasus will only ever allow a creature of good alignment to ride it, and even then, such experiences are incredibly rare.
One of the more powerful types of angelic beings in the upper planes, planetars typically serve as generals of the celestial armies.
Incredibly powerful angelic beings that are even feared by demon lords, solars give direct service to the gods.
Equine creatures with a magical horn that can cure others from poison and heal them. They also exude natural magical protections against evil.
The Seven Heavens of Mount Celestia
Mount Celestia (also known as the Seven Heavens) is where most celestial beings live. It is one of the outer planes, with Mount Celestia being known as an upper plane as it is a plane of goodness. Mount Celestia has 7 layers that can be accessed by travelling up the 7 mountains that form the layers of Mount Celestia (this is also why it is known as the Seven Heavens). Visitors can travel up these layers from lowest (Lunia) to highest (Chronias).
The layers of Mount Celestia are places of lawful goodness and are considered perfect and beautiful. Each layer gives off a faint glow of different coloured light and contains creatures of lawful goodness. Souls of lawful good individuals find themselves in Mount Celestia with each layer being ruled over by a Celestial Paragon.
The seven layers of Mount Celestia are:
Celestial paragons are unique celestial beings that operate as counterparts to the archfiends of the lower planes. They do not serve deities but rather make their own path towards goodness. The Celestial Paragons can be split into 3 different groups; The Hebdomad, Talisid and the 5 companions and the Court of Stars:
The Celestial Hebdomad
The Celestial Hebdomad is made up of Celestial Paragons that rule each of the 7 layers of Mount Celestia. They include:
- Barachiel – Operating as the herald of the Hebdomad, Barachiel is the ruler of the 1st layer of Celestia known as Lunia
- Domiel – Known as the Mercy-bringer, he is the ruler of the 2nd layer of Mount Celestia, known as Mercuria, or the Golden Heaven
- Erathaol – Also known as the seer, Erathaol is the ruler os Venya, the 3rd layer of Mount Celestia
- Pistis Sophia – She is the ruler of Solania. 4th layer of Celestia, the Electrum Heaven and is the patron of monks and mystics
- Raziel – A patron of paladins, Raziel is the ruler of Mertion, the 5th layer of Celestia
- Sealtiel – Known as the defender, Sealtiel is the ruler of Jovar, the 6th layer of Celestia
- Zaphkiel – The first archon created ruling Chronias, the heaven of Mount Celestia and 7th layer of Celestia
- Bahamut – The dragon god of justice and servant of Torm is a former Celestial Paragon but does not currently operate in this capacity
Talisid and the Five Companions
Not so much rulers as a party of very powerful adventurers known as guardinal paragons, they patrol the upper planes protecting them from any evil that would threaten it. Talisid has always led this group, but the rest have changed over time as they have deemed themselves unfit to protect. The current members of the group are:
The Court of Stars
The Court of Stars is a demiplane that is ruled over by Queen Morwel, and her 2 consorts, Gwynarwyf and Faerinaal. All 3 of them operate as Celestial paragons:
Using celestials in your campaign
Celestials rarely deign to involve themselves in the affairs of mortals. This is mainly for 2 reasons:
- They’re very much big picture beings, involving themselves in planar level threats like demonic invasions or invasions from the Far Realm. Most of the problems of mere mortals simply don’t register for a Celestial.
- Ceslestials find the daily needs of mortals difficult to comprehend. While they understand that banditry is bad, they don’t understand the extent of the challenges theft might cause for a mortal.
This means that if you want to involve Celestials in your campaign, you’ll want to come up with a pretty good reason to involve them.
This doesn’t mean that Celestials won’t interfere with mortals, but more often, they might enlist the help of mortals to accomplish their goals for lower level threats. They might request help routing out a cult of demon-worshippers or ask mortals to maintain a prison for a powerful, evil being.
To accomplish this, they might lend their power to a warlock as a patron, father an Aasimar or hire a party of adventurers.
Despite being lawful good, Celestials can become antagonists under certain circumstances. Imagine a scenario where preventing a great evil is more important than any potential collateral damage. An entire city might be destroyed to prevent a cult summoning a demon lord that would destroy entire regions of the mortal realm. Perhaps that cult couldn’t be found through conventional means. It might be down to the party to find the cult before the Celestials decide they must perform such drastic measures.
Its also worth being aware that some Celestials do fall as they are tempted away from the path of goodness or become disillusioned by the decisions of their rules. Fallen Celestials include beings like Zariel and Asmodeus who now rule the Nine Hells as archdevils.