Excitement for the new Planescape supplements – inspired by both the beloved videogame of the same name and the extensive lore surrounding the multiverse of ‘planes’ that surround the mortal realm in Dungeons and Dragons – has been tangible. We’ve previously posted about the general worldbuilding (you can read about it here: Planescape: A Brief Primer on the Great Wheel, the Outer Planes, and Sigil ) but each of those planes also has residents. The creatures who live there, fittingly, tend to be powerful in comparison to petty mortals. Demons, Devils, and Devas are all commonly found there. And on the good-aligned planes, so are Planetars.
What is a Planetar?
A planetars are sometimes called aasimon, or, more colloquially, angels. And that is what they are. These powerful celestials appear mostly human, but with white wings, pearlescent skin, and a truly intimidating amount of muscles. They are the right hands of the gods, attending both lesser and greater deities alike, the guardians of divine domains, and the enemies of archdevils and demon lords alike. They are also a source of aasimar in the Forgotten Realms, as they have been known to occasionally take mortal lovers.
All planetar are good-aligned, as they are embodiments of pure elemental good, though they can vary from lawful to chaotic depending upon their particular deity. If they waver from this alignment (through exposure to extreme forces, or through their own faults or choices), they are considered fallen planetars, just as powerful but much more dangerous. Corrupted or fallen planetars rarely return to their former alignment, since they are too dangerous to let live long.
Planetars have a vast array of divine spells to choose from, drawing power like clerics from the god that they serve. But their muscles, as we’ve previously mentioned, aren’t just for show. They wield massive swords with incredible ease, sweeping through battlefields and villainous foes clad in nothing but scant robes and divine grace. It’s no surprise that the mere presence of a planetar is enough to inspire a good-hearted warrior to victory.
A Brief History of the Planetar in D&D
Planetar’s were first introduced to Dungeons and Dragons alongside Solars (another type of angelic, celestial warrior) in Dragon Magazine #64. Little was described about them, except that they numbered at least 100, and that they served various good deities. The overall description took only half a page, with a great deal of that space given over to their spell list.
Later, they were labeled more generally as Aasimon and Angels in 2e and 3e. 5e dropped the ‘angel’ category, though, and returned them to their simple status as celestials.
Changes to the Planetar
Since they are fairly recognizable as fantasy versions of Christian angels, the general look and role of planetars hasn’t changed much since their conception. But they gained and lost a few particulars along the way.
3rd edition slightly increased their height, bringing them from 8 ½ feet on average to just over 9, and granting them a slew of combat abilities like blindfight, regeneration, and damage immunities. Their description also specifies that they serve as generals to celestial armies, rather than right-hand servants to their deities.
In 5e they kept their height, and lost their blindifghting and a great deal of their spells. But they did increase their hit points from around 140 to 200, bringing them back squarely into the territory of melee bruisers rather than spellcasters.
Using Planetars in Your Campaign
There are lots of things that you can do with planetars.
Since they’re already fully adapted into 5e you don’t have to worry about adjusting them yourself. And their sheer presence is often enough to compel your players to take action of some kind or another.
You can take inspiration straight from the original source, and go with an angelic vision, complete with flaming sword and demands from a god to fulfill a particular quest. Or you can view them as more fantastical or eldritch beings, whose influence on those around them borders on disturbing. Or, if you’re looking to run a Planescape campaign, they can make up a great deal of powerful, authority-filled NPCs who give quests, keep an eye out for the party, and possibly get a little more friendly than they rightly ought to.
Quest Prompts From or Concerning Planetars
- The party returns from a quest to meet a human who has lost their memories. They have a strong sense of justice, and feel led to help everyone that they meet, to the extent of causing trouble for everyone involved. What’s worse, they seem to have a strange, inspiring effect on people – unintentionally making them act in ways far outside of their personality. Little do they know that their new friend is a planetar in disguise. Do they know what they really are? Why do they appear human? What do they want?
- A fallen planetar approaches the party and offers them a great deal of gold to find and make a potion of pure divine grace. They want to restore themselves from their fall, or so they claim, and cannot touch the elemental goodness on their own anymore. Do they really want the grace for their stated purposes? How does one gather grace? Can a creature whose very nature was corrupted by evil be trusted?
- The party meet an aasimar looking to find and meet her celestial parent. The only problem is that they know very little about said parent, except a vague description and the knowledge that they live somewhere in the Outer Planes. If the party will find her parent, she promises, she can aid them in a quest of their own. Which god does her parent serve? Can they be found in their divine domain, or have they been sent on a mission of some sort? Why haven’t they revealed themselves to their daughter?
Have you ever used Planetar in a campaign? How did you use them? How did the campaign go? Let us know in the comments below!