Monday, June 13, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Angels

One of the things holding up my completion of Basic Bestiary I is honestly what am I going to do about Angels?  By that, I mean Good Aligned Outsiders that populate the upper planes and are the servants of the various forces of good.

Morgan, Evelyn de - Aurora Triumphans - c. 1886

I have posted a couple that are largely near-complete drafts, the Dirae and the Lunars. Here are my problems as they stand.

  1. I have a large number of various angel-like begins that need to be classified and codified.
  2. I want parallels between my forces of good (angels) and my forces of evil (demons) where they are appropriate.
  3. I want to include angel-like begins not just from the history of D&D (and OGC) but also from other cultures.

Much like the demons had to be spawned off into a whole other book, the angels have grown.  Though I am not likely to make a whole book for them since for the most part these are not really monsters to be fought, but you could interact with them.  Oh, I suppose evil characters could fight them.

In my research (or more accurately, literature review) I also came up with a fourth problem. Though this is one that began to creep into my High Witchcraft book.

  1. There is a lot of literature on Angels and their role in Witchcraft.

Just go to pagan publisher Llewellyn and do a search on Angels, you get over 350 publications.  The idea of Angels in Witchcraft is not just a new-agey one.  There are many pagan belief systems that have had angel-like beings.  I even mentioned last week that British Occultist Aleister Crowley had a pact with an angel he called Aiwass.  So for my High Witchcraft book including angels makes a lot of sense.

But which ones? And how?

And that is where I had stalled. But I think I have it worked out now. Rereading Gygax's descriptions of Devas, Planetars, and Solars in Dragon Magazine help jell my ideas.  

The Classification and Hierarchy of the Good Outsiders

It is said that demons are legion. It is true that their numbers far exceed that of the forces of good, but it is also true that "demon" is often used to describe any fiend of the lower planes, whether they are classified as a "Demon" or "Devil" or as a "Calabim," "Yaoguai," or a "Baalseraph."  Likewise, there are "angels" and there are "Angels."

angels (lowercase a) refer to any good-aligned outsider creature that serves the forces of good.  They are often synonymous with "Good Outsider" or "Celestial."  They often have both a humanoid (profane) and a divine appearance.  Their profane appearance is what they use when visiting the prime material and dealing with mortals. The more powerful the angel the more "inhuman" their divine appearance can be and often the more harm it will cause a mortal. For example, the divine appearance of an archangel can burn a mortal to ash. 

Angels (uppercase A) are a particular group of Lawful Good Celestials that serve primarily in The Seven Heavens of  Mount Celestia.  Their groupings include Powers, Principalities, Seraphim, Thrones, Virtues, and the mighty Archangels.  This is the group that the Baalseraph once belonged to before they fell.

Archons are Neutral Good Celestials that act as guardians and warriors for the causes of good. Their roles are clearly defined in their names; Hound, Trumpet, Harbinger and Gate Archons are among the many types.

Agathós (from Agathodaemon) are mostly Chaotic Good Celestials. There are some that serve forces of Law and Neutrality within Good and their alignments will be that of whom or what they serve.  For example, the Lunars are mostly Lawful Good.  These celestials include the ranks of Devas, Planetars, Lunars, and Solars. Given the image above I should also include Auroras.


Anyone that has followed my blog over the years will not see a huge surprise here.  These are roughly the same classifications I was using when I was running my Buffy RPG I just didn't have a solid name yet for the "Independent Servitors of Good" aka the Chaotic Good ones. 

I still have some details to work out. What are the various powers common to all these types? Should I move the Dirae from Angels to Agathós? What other sorts of creatures need to be added to these groups? Are these the only groups?

Plus I need to make sure that whatever I come with they need to be able to stand toe to toe with the most powerful demons.  

I will say this, it has been a really fun experience sorting all this out.

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