Fiends and Celestials -- what actually count?

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Vaevictis Asmadi
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Fiends and Celestials -- what actually count?

So what actually counts as a Fiend or a Celestial? I mean in the wider sense, not the narrow Exemplars-only sense.

1. Any outsider native to the Outer Planes of a G or E alignment?
2. Any outsider native to one of the Upper or Lower planes, regardless of alignment?
3. Has to be G outsider from Upper Planes or E outsider from Lower Planes?
4. Some more narrow definition?

I mean there are lots of planar creatures, many of which don't seem to have been designed for Planescape, that are Evil or Good but I don't know how many are considered Fiends or Celestials, or if there are even solid definitions of those terms.

Rakshasas, for instance. Are they fiends?
I've seen 3E conversions of Bariaurs that make them Outsiders. Are they supposed to be Celestials then? That seems weird.

Quickleaf
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Well, the 5e DM Basic Rules,

Well, the 5e DM Basic Rules, available for free from the D&D home page, answer this question at least in part.

Fiends are creatures of wickedness native to the Lower Planes. A few serve deities but mostly they are servants of the archdevils, demon princes, and equivalent creatures of vast power. Demons, devils, hell hounds, yugoloths, and yes rakshasas are all fiends. They are innately evil, so good fiends are almost unheard of.

Celestials are creatures of good native to the Upper Planes. They often serve gods, and evil celestials are a horrifying rarity because of their innate goodness. Angels, couatl, empyreans, Pegasus, and unicorn are all celestials.

If you have questions about specific creatures I would direct you to Ari Marmell's handy 5e Monster Sorter until the MM is released: http://mouseferatu.com/index.php/news/august-20-2014-another-dd-gift/

Glim
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First off, both terms are

First off, both terms are just catch-alls, not true taxonomy, and what they mean to whom is all subjective. I don't think they're ever defined in great detail.

But if I had to pick I'd go with number 2.
I think it's based primarily on geography/place-of-birth, and only secondary on alignment.

Those fiends and celestials that swap alignment are still always refered to as fiends and celestials after all (although with little caveat prefixes like ex-/risen/fallen/redeemed/etc.). It's not something they seem to lose, no matter how much they change (even Baalzebuul, I'd argue).

It also explains why most tieflings aren't considered fiends exactly and I imagine that cambions aren't usually considered fiends either, but that alu-fiends are (although I have nothing to back this up with).

Bariaur as Outsiders doesn't strike me as weird at all. Is it because they're a playable race? So are gityanki/githzerai (and others). Is it because you're used to the term being reserved for exemplars? You asked for a broad definition after all :)

Rakshasas are definitely fiends in my book. I have more issues imagining imps/quasits/vargouilles as proper fiends, because the term is somehow associated with power. It also depends on 'where you come from' regarding rakshasas I guess, because every edition and every setting seems to have a totally different take on them.

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I don't want to deviate the

I don't want to deviate the topic, but the whole bariaur as outsiders thing got me thinking, it's always kind of bothered me a little bit that characters make their home through the planes, yet we still talk about "outsiders" to refer to planar creatures themselves. A celestial in Celestia is still called an outsider? I guess I get the keyword's relevance in game mechanics, but isn't there any better word for it? I almost preferred 4E's approach at calling them immortals.

Wicke
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The Planescape stuff always

The Planescape stuff always made it a point to mention that a being on it's home plane isn't an outsider, but a native. PCs can be banished from the Abyss because they're considered outsiders there, but you cannot do the same to a demon (since it's already on its home plane). Primes refer to those beings as outsiders mostly 'cause they're Clueless. ;)

As for the broader topic, I'd go with the notion of fiends and celestials as beings 1) whose souls operate in a different manner than mortal beings (if they even have one) and 2) Whose nature ties them to an outer plane in some manner.

Thus I'd put a rakshasha on a different level than a bariaur. Likewise with imps and quasits, but not mephits or elementals (whose nature is tied to the inner planes). On the lawful side of things, I'd put inevitables in the sort of fiend/celestial category, but not fomorians (whose nature seem more mortal than outsider).

Vaevictis Asmadi
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Thank you, but honestly I don

Thank you, but honestly I don't actually care what 5E or 4E or even 3E say. I only care what's canon in Planescape itself (or for fan creations, compatible with it). In my book, anything that contradicts the original Planescape lore is just incorrect. As soon as WotC changed the cosmology, it was clear they had dumped the setting forever.

Sorry I didn't say that to start with.

Maybe I should prevent future confusion by putting that in my signature?

Glim
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Here you go:

Here you go:

Faces of Evil: The Fiends. p.6:

"[...] a fiend is an evil creature from one of the Lower Planes. If it comes from anywhere else it ain't a fiend."
"[...] not everything that comes from the Lower Planes is a fiend."
"Fact is, only five different races of creatures can rightly be called "fiends": the baatezu, the tanar'ri, the yugoloths, the gehreleths, and the hordlings."

Celestials are described in a similar vein in another book, but unfortunately that one's not part of the Planescape canon.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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So basically there are real

So basically there are real true Fiends which are Exemplars and Gehreleths and Hordlings, and then there are "Fiends" colloquially which are any Evil Lower Planar Outsider.

Thank you.

Mimir.net has a big lexicon with additional terms (Planeborne, Cordials, Paramortals) but those are terms that fans invented, right?

Edit: Also, ahaha looks like I can't have a signature. Oh well.

Glim
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> Mimir.net has a big lexicon

Quote:
Mimir.net has a big lexicon with additional terms (Planeborne, Cordials, Paramortals) but those are terms that fans invented, right?

I think so. Either that, or really very obscure initially and then happily adopted by the fans.

Then again, exemplar isn't really a canonical term either, as far as I'm aware.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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About Bariaurs and Formians:

About Bariaurs and Formians: does it even make sense to convert them to 3E as Outsiders?

An Outsider, the creature type, has a body and soul that are the same object. When they die they don't become petitioners, AFAIK. Is there any indication of what happens to Formians and Bariaurs when they die?

Glim
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Formians and bariaurs were

Formians and bariaurs were always natives to their respective planes, even before the whole outsider type was introduced. I know you don't care about speculation, but the assumption is that natives merge with their plane after death, unless otherwise stipulated.

About bariaur: WotC makes them Outsiders. Here's a fanon source that turns bariaur into Monstrous Humanoids, whichs sounds like its more your cup of tea: http://mimir.planewalker.com/pscs-chapter-2

I don't see a reason not to make Formians Outsiders, but I guess you could take the Ankheg-route and make them Magical Beasts?

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Planars as Outsiders

I think the reason for calling a bariaur an outsider is because nearly all bariaurs are planars, born on Ysgard or nearby planes. I certainly wouldn't have them dissipate on death; they age normally!

It will be noted, for instance, that when Wicke says " PCs can be banished from the Abyss because they're considered outsiders," that only holds for planar PCs. It's not the case for Primes, which can't be banished from anywhere.

I would say that the main thing that distinguishes fiends from other beings is that they don't age (at least not due to the passage of years) and they don't normally reproduce materially. Fiends and celestials are either made from petitioners (I would certainly say that anything made from a petitioner should automatically gain the title), or made out of the fabric of an Upper or Lower plane (by either the plane's generative processes, or by a god, such as yochlols).

Modrons don't seem to age or reproduce, but they're not made from petitioners or the spirit-material of Mechanus. Slaadi seem to reproduce biologically; I don't know if they age.

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I've always taken it to mean

I've always taken it to mean that any creature with the [Good] subtype is a celestial, and any creature with the [Evil] subtype is a fiend. Then again, I play 3.0/5/Path/Tome and only got the 2e books for setting.

As to outsiders, creatures can be native to an outer plane and still not be outsiders. Really, bauriers should have the [Native] subtype or something. Even if they don't outsiders don't have to be tied to a specific alignment, even if they live on the outer planes. Bauriers are just spirit creatures.

EDIT: Also I houserule that Aasimar and Tieflings also have the [Good] and [Evil] subtypes respectivly.

Banzai
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...I still don't understand.

If primes can't be banished from the outer planes, then I'm still in the blank as what an outsider -is.- If an outsider is a being from another plane of existence, then, in the inner/outer planes, beings from the Prime Material plane should be outsiders - just like beings from the inner/outer planes are in the Prime material, or should be in planes other than their plane of origin. (As in a baatezu in Celestia, or the Outlands, really.)

If what makes an outsider is that it's made of plane-stuff or alignment-stuff, why is it called an outsider?

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Most D&D games aren't Planescape.

I'd wager it's because most D&D games aren't Planescape, and are assumed to take place on the Prime. Hence beings made out of embodied goodness or law or the essence of beauty are from distant realms of spirit. Beings aren't made of Prime-stuff because there's no such stuff(*); the Prime is made out of ordinary elements. Even an elemental is made out of some kind of elemental essence, an incarnate force rather than "just" a lump of earth or drop of water. A "Native" outsider has acquired some of this otherplanar essence, but still has their original soul.

(*) That said, I'm struck by the interesting possibility that servants and petitioners of Fharlanghn really are outsiders made of Prime-stuff. As Fharlanghn is the god of horizons and travel, it would stand to reason that their outsider essence consists of concepts such as direction and distance, the abstract essence of physical space. Other planes' distances and directions seem to be differently defined.

By the way, looks like you're a recent joiner. Welcome to Planewalker!

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Thanks!

Yes, you could say I'm pretty recent. Thanks for the welcome! And the explanation, I think I get it now.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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Bariaurs

I just got a hold of a used 3E Manual of the Planes, and Bariaurs are just Outsiders there. But I mean, they're also a PC race. I've always had the impression (possibly mistaken) that they reproduce just like ordinary people. So I have a hard time thinking that they deserve to be called Celestials, at least in 2E.

Formians also reproduce like regular animals. And don't bladelings, too?

Glim
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I'm not sure about bladelings

I'm not sure about bladelings, but I think Yugoloths can reproduce biologically.

So bariaur could as well. I don't think that would contradict any of their official lore. In my opinion, having two modes of coming into existence kind of fits their chaotic slant, imho.

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Quote:Celestials are

Quote:
Celestials are described in a similar vein in another book, but unfortunately that one's not part of the Planescape canon.

By the way, what book is this?

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I believe it's "Warriors of

I believe it's "Warriors of Heaven", a 2nd Edition book that contains Planescape-related material but oddly not the imprint (It was a TSR/WOTC book, not a third-party book.) It allowed PCS to play as Celestial such as Aasimon, Archons, Eladrin, Guardinals, Asuras, and (with the Web supplement) Questar. Aasimar PCs also got a random chart of abilities and characteristics they could roll on, just like Tieflings in the Planewalker's Handbook.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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Warriors of Heaven

Supposedly Warriors of Heaven was the re-written spawn of the outline of a book that would have been a Planescape book, I'd guess the companion to Faces of Evil, if the line hadn't been cancelled.

I read that on a review on DTRPG so I take no blame for wild fabricatons and/or incidental damages resulting from this statement.

It also retconed/converted a bunch of Mystaran Immortals into deities.

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Isn't that basically what

Isn't that basically what Immortals WERE, despite not being called such...?

Vaevictis Asmadi
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Immortals

I don't know, but the Mystara Mailing List people whose writings are archived in the Vaults of Pandius seem to consider them separate.

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Yes, one of the posters in a

Yes, one of the posters in a thread on Enworld was quite upset that "Warriors of Heaven" placed the Immortals as dwelling on various planes of the Great Wheel, rather than using Mystaran cosmology. Heh. I guess hard-core Eberron fans would be ticked if they knew that I equate each of those planes as being a Great Wheel plane with a different name, and instead of the planes moving closer or farther away, I consider Eberron to be doing the moving while the planes stay put!

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I don't really see what

I don't really see what difference it makes either way. Either the planes move of the prime moves, or perhaps both move, it has the same effect on the story and game.

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Elderbrain that would be

Elderbrain that would be easier for me if more of Eberron's planes lined up neatly, but most of them otherwise resemble a plane of a different alignment.

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As the others have already

wiseman wrote:
By the way, what book is this?

As the others have already said, I was talking about Warriors of Heaven.