Monster Manual A-Z is a series of quick looks at each and every monster presented in the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5e. New monsters go up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in alphabetical order, touching on lore, mechanics, and ways to use them in your campaign. To search for all Monster Manual A-Z articles, search MMAZ in the search bar as we’ve excluded them from our Roleplaying Games tag to keep things tidy.
From my perspective, Angels sit a bit off to the side in D&D. While they stand opposite to the likes of the fairly popular and numerous demons and devils, angels have only 3 variants and appear much less often for one reason or another. But while the fiends live in societies of tyranny or chaos in the Nine Hells and the Abyss, angels act as instruments of the gods they serve in perfect accord with their god’s commands. Angels are not infallible though, as fallen angels exist, retaining their power but severing their ties to their god. In these cases, some angels turn to evil and siding with devils and demons to wreak havoc upon their former deity. Others may choose to live on the Material Plane disguised, awaiting redemption and a chance to prove their worth once more. The three types of angels are Devas, Planetars, and Solars. Devas are the smallest and weakest of the three, though they are very powerful in their own right as messengers of their gods to other planes. Planetars are the tools the gods use to carry out their will; everything from relieving famine to striking down evil is the job of the Planetar. And lastly, is the Solar, strongest of them and godlike themselves in power. Some suggest only 24 Solars exist, some assigned to gods and other slumbering until needed; but one thing is for certain- even powerful fiends fear these legendary celestials.
Each angel, even the deva, is a powerful being, with the planetar and solar being more powerful even still. It’s hard to point out weaknesses of such creatures where they are designed to have none, so I’m instead going to go through the strengths and powers of each angel individually.
If you have an evil aligned party, angels make great mini bosses or bosses of different story arcs, and using them should be as easy as implementing any other monster. But it’s good-aligned parties where things get interesting. A party will hopefully hesitate (especially if they contain a cleric) to try and lie to or otherwise be less than respectful to any of the angels, and you can use that to your advantage. Have a party that keeps acting up? Maybe a god notices and sends a deva to deliver the message, and that in and of it self can be a test. The deva could be disguised as a person in need, and if the party doesn’t help the deva can transform and deliver a final warning of sorts, while helping them would result in them earning some favor with the deity. Another route is the fallen angel aspect- just because an angel knows when it hears a lie doesn’t mean it can’t lie itself. A planetar lying to the party and mentioning its on a mission to the Nine Hells could be the set up for a battle with the angel and its devil lackeys. If you treat angels like good NPCs but allow a healthy dose of fear for your players, there are a ton of ways you can think of to use them in your campaign.
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