Dragon's Eye View: Celestials, Angels, Devas

A lot of Jon's suggestions sound pretty good.

1. Both sexes - yes.
2. Mouths and legs - yes. Though perhaps with the greater celestials their feet never touch the ground unless bound. Ever floating gracefully just off the ground. I wouldn't mind if they had a slightly ethereal quality to them.
3. Weapons - vary them. Some may prefer spears, maces or gleaming rapiers... Celestials are individuals too.
4. Appearance - you certainly want to give them each race their own signature appearance, however they decide to go about it.

Just a couple of thoughts on naming - I've never been that partial to "Angel", I've always prefered the term "Celestial". Angel just sounds a little too... light and fluffy.

And I don't think we need to add the term Deva after Planetar and Solar. Believe me, those names rock on their own and don't need any other qualifiers. Cool

And then if there is only one "Deva" left... just call it a Deva.
A lot of Jon's suggestions sound pretty good.

1. Both sexes - yes.
2. Mouths and legs - yes. Though perhaps with the greater celestials their feet never touch the ground unless bound. Ever floating gracefully just off the ground. I wouldn't mind if they had a slightly ethereal quality to them.
3. Weapons - vary them. Some may prefer spears, maces or gleaming rapiers... Celestials are individuals too.
4. Appearance - you certainly want to give them each race their own signature appearance, however they decide to go about it.

Just a couple of thoughts on naming - I've never been that partial to "Angel", I've always prefered the term "Celestial". Angel just sounds a little too... light and fluffy.

And I don't think we need to add the term Deva after Planetar and Solar. Believe me, those names rock on their own and don't need any other qualifiers.

And then if there is only one "Deva" left... just call it a Deva.



If I could edit my comment on the page (can I?)...  Anyway, I pretty much dig this.  But, since I love adding a boat load of eldritch weirdness, I went celestials to feel less human.  Make their faces less detailed (as mentioned before), perhaps make legs a possibility, but not needed.  Not their appearance awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time.  As for equipment?  No need for specifics.  Maybe add a little "divine" aesthetic value, but that's probably it IMO.

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If I could edit my comment on the page (can I?)...  Anyway, I pretty much dig this.  But, since I love adding a boat load of eldritch weirdness, I went celestials to feel less human.  Make their faces less detailed (as mentioned before), perhaps make legs a possibility, but not needed.  Not their appearance awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time.  As for equipment?  No need for specifics.  Maybe add a little "divine" aesthetic value, but that's probably it IMO.


Yeah I don't see any way to edit on the comments section...

I agree the Celestials should be jaw-dropping to behold - things like gold and midnight blue flaming hair and eyebrows, gleaming emerald eyes and aura that makes the rest of the surroundings look dim and lifeless by comparison.

Agree about the aesthetics of their equipment which is essentially just extensions of their power anyway so they can manifest in whatever way they prefer.
Angels are one of those things where I have to wonder why have sexes at all? These are divine being that probably don't reproduce the same way that mundane humanoids do. I get the desire to give them sexes because that makes them more familiar easier to identify with, but considering that these are supposed to be divine being and not necessarily something that we're supposed to be able to fully identify with, I think that a sexless, androgynous form would be the most appropriate. That said, angels also seem like the sort of creature that have some control over how they manifest for moral eyes, so it's possible that they may select forms that we typically consider more masculine or more feminine without actually having any sex themselves.

A good example of this is probably Shardminds from 4E. They were sexless, but because they had some control of their visual presentation, they sometimes appeared masculine, sometimes appeared feminine, and sometimes appeared androgynous, depending on their own aesthetic preferences or how they want the humanoids that they are interacting with to treat them (exploiting gender biases and expectations, etc.).

Also, I hope that they are very careful in Next about this whole trend of using lighter skin tones for creatures that are pure and good and darker skin tones for creatures that are tainted and evil. It doesn't exactly send a good message.

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One thing that boggles me is why hasn't the Seraph or the Cherub (not winged babies) been brought to D&D. They're the most iconic type of angels in Judeo-Christian mythos. The game has creatures has a lot of creatures taken from different mythos but when it comes to celestials particularly angels it rather lackluster. Planetars and Solars are just pretty much bigger and more powerful Astral/Monavic Deva. They should put more variety to them.

As for their gender and appearance it would only matter when they manefest in the Prime Material Plane. In their home or outer planes celestials should be genderless unless the circumstances require them to.
If Solars are really on the level of Demon princes, I think that there shouldn't be a single form they take. While they probably won't be as morphologically divergent as demon princes, if solars are specific unique individuals then I think it's okay if they don't all, for example, share a skin color, at the very minimum. Demon Princes aren't two dozen photocopies of the same pit fiend. At least let Solars vary in pigmentation, size, movement modes, spellcasting ability, stuff like that. Maybe some solars have feet, some have "tails", whatever. No wings, lots of wings. Maybe some are mounted. Maybe some have faces and others don't.

There's certainly tradition behind the idea the angels are more... consistant than demons or devils. They're typically just successively larger and more powerful versions of the same basic thing. (Either an angelic wingaling dude or 4e's celestial spirit designs.) I still think there's space for more diversity once you get to a tier of creatures that are supposed to be powerful, unique individuals.

I love the idea that angels are a good place to go a little more wild with weapons (and, while not mentioned directly, armor.) I like the idea that an angel's weapons and armor are sort of part of it, more manifestations of the wrath or protection that the angel brings with it and less "Here, Gabriel, you can use this +1 Defending Greatsword." An angel doesn't have to worry about whether its weapon is practical and well-balanced any more than it has to worry about whether its wings are large enough to hold a creature of its size and build aloft, because it's not swinging a piece of metal, it's delivering justice or wrath.
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Both genres?

 





YES!!! (Aasimars and some favoured souls & god-blooded need celestial ancestors, and some fangirls like paranormal romances, other gamers would wish Heaven army like from Spawn comics or Darksiders videogame).

With mouth (they aren´t prottos!!), legs (they aren´t holograms) and weapons, skin color optional.....

Only faceless when they wear a armour (second) skin, like psycoactive skins from "Expande Psionic handbook". 




* Can a aasimon and a petiotioner marry and have children? (never mind, if I am the DM I allow it). 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

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If Solars are really on the level of Demon princes, I think that there shouldn't be a single form they take.



I threw something similar into the comments suggesting that angels should look entirely what the viewer interprets them as.  Doesnt' do the art department a lot of good, but there is no reason they should look primarily human, or even humanoid for that matter.  Perhaps the better method would be to have their appearance reflect the power they worship.

Bahamut likes his 7 gold dragons, Moradin would have dwarfy angels, etc etc.  
I threw something similar into the comments suggesting that angels should look entirely what the viewer interprets them as.  Doesnt' do the art department a lot of good, but there is no reason they should look primarily human, or even humanoid for that matter.  Perhaps the better method would be to have their appearance reflect the power they worship.

Bahamut likes his 7 gold dragons, Moradin would have dwarfy angels, etc etc.  

The way I view them is as a being that looks vaguely like the species that is seeing it (including with or without mouth/face, and with or without arms/legs), with aspects of the deity it represents (colouring, maybe armour or robes, etc.).

They're androgynous, and carry a weapon appropriate either to the deity or to the task at hand.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

Seems to me, to make the Dryad only female, but then make the Angel either sex, is itself sexism.

Biblical angels are both beautiful and exclusively male. Men can be beautiful in a masculine way, like women can be beautiful in a feminine way.

If there is a beautiful race that is exclusively female (Dryad), then there can also be a beautiful race that is exclusively male (Angel).

So Dryads are female beauties, and Angels are male beauties. Or both are either. Seems fair.
Seems to me, to make the Dryad only female, but then make the Angel either sex, is itself sexism.



Are there male succubi?

I am OK with only female dryads, and succubi

I am OK with both genders for angels, as well as androgynous.

I am actually perfectly OK with angels appearing similar to the "life form" they are addressing; in fact, the the point where I be OK with an angel in a crowd looking different to each "life form" seeing it.   In order to do this, in my mind, I'd assume that angels are almost androgynous, form-less (think doppelganger) forms when beheld in true form.

As for a mouth and legs, in true form I'd say yes to legs, no to mouth.  In beheld form, depends on the "life form".

Then again, I'm also one to go on the belief that angel and demon forms are only distinct by whom they serve, its the same creature.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

Seems to me, to make the Dryad only female, but then make the Angel either sex, is itself sexism.



Are there male succubi?

I am OK with only female dryads, and succubi

I am OK with both genders for angels, as well as androgynous.

I am actually perfectly OK with angels appearing similar to the "life form" they are addressing; in fact, the the point where I be OK with an angel in a crowd looking different to each "life form" seeing it.   In order to do this, in my mind, I'd assume that angels are almost androgynous, form-less (think doppelganger) forms when beheld in true form.

As for a mouth and legs, in true form I'd say yes to legs, no to mouth.  In beheld form, depends on the "life form".

Then again, I'm also one to go on the belief that angel and demon forms are only distinct by whom they serve, its the same creature.


The Biblical angel can impregnate human females. Quite literally male.


Traditionally, the male succubus is called an incubus. For example, according to one medieval tradition, Merlin is the offspring of a human and an incubus. Probably, this story refers to an Elf, but is demonized according to the worldview of Imperial Christianity. Both incubus and succubus personify nightmares. Both can but dont always connote sexual nightmares. It seems, incubus and succubus are moreorless the same creature, just differing in gender.
The Biblical angel can impregnate human females. Quite literally male.



Probably a million questions I'd want to make on this but not the best place to discuss religion.

Suffice to say, in the D&D world, I am really OK with angels having the power to procreate from either side.  I am also OK with the idea that their celestial status allows them to shift gender as needed and still continue to procreate (assuming they are not already with child them self). 

However, in our world of D&D, apart from the occasional attempt at gender influence via a skill check, we leave sexuality out of the game.  So I guess it really doesn't matter. 

Traditionally, the male succubus is called an incubus.


Odd, I thought that was a band.  ;)  OK, I guess I knew this and wasn't thinking but it still kind of goes to my point, that I feel it is OK for a creature to ONLY have a single gender, such as the dryad.  And that the male version is a similar but different creature.

That said, I'd also be OK to say what you did, its the same creature but you call it a sucubus when female and an incubus when male.

If that were true, would you still refer to a female angel as an angel or...?

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

My main point is.

D&D adopts a female race, the Greek Nymph, to be known for beauty. (Often depicted visually nude.)

There are similarly male races, that are specifically known for beauty. Such as Angels.

If D&D only makes female races “beautiful”, then that is sexism.

If there is a race of females who are beautiful, then it is fair for D&D to also have a race of males who are beautiful.
Yikes, when did this become a question of sexism?  I appologize if I missed that as that was never even in my mind for discussion.

If were now baseing our reason for creatures on grounds of "if we don't make just as many male/female" and just as many "hot/ugly" then were sexists, then this is way out of scope.

I'm politely bowing out of the conversation, as I know my opinion will fire up a lot of folks, self included, and tha's not a discussion for D&D!

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

Yikes, when did this become a question of sexism?  I appologize if I missed that as that was never even in my mind for discussion.

If were now baseing our reason for creatures on grounds of "if we don't make just as many male/female" and just as many "hot/ugly" then were sexists, then this is way out of scope.

I'm politely bowing out of the conversation, as I know my opinion will fire up a lot of folks, self included, and tha's not a discussion for D&D!




The question about how D&D artwork should visually portray females (beautiful and also heroic) and males (heroic and also beautiful), and the need to avoid sexism, is on topic, when discussing how to portray female races and male races.
Yikes, when did this become a question of sexism?


Schidehette raised the issue in his own article.  I am finding the discussion fascinating and thought-provoking.  I'm not sure where I stand.

I really like the depictions of angels as they were in 4th Edition. Also the term angel means messenger. There is no link to alignment, so I don't think we should shy from the term to indicate messengers of any god of any alignment. I think they should have mouths, and speak Celestial (which is understood in the native tongue of all listeners). I like the no legs, wispy trailing energy look. I don't mind them having sexes as long as it is understood that it is mere appearance, or mental preference of the individual angel. Weapons should be weapons. Perhaps the angel can infuse the weapon with power to do more damage (but this shouldn't necessarily transfer to another non-angel owner), but physically that does nothing to the weapon's appearance unless it is to cause it to glow, or give off some form of residual energy.


I hate, hate, hate the deva, planetar, solar names and hierarchy for the record.

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I'm against nymphs being female-only as well. But in my opinion, if there *had* to be female-only and male-only races who stand as epitome of beauty, they should not be races that are tied to good or evil.
Angels are classically too much goody-good and non-sexually-touched to be even comparable to nymphs. Making them too close to the judeo-christian angels could also raise religious issues...
on a side note i realy liked the vorlon race in babilon 5.
that when taking of their armor looked the way you believed a angel to look. 

so humans saw the more clasic angel.
but if a race belived al angels are women  with tentacles as arms to they they would apreat that way.

their true form beond comprehension for a mortal creature  so instead their mind projects their ideal of an angel insttead.
Yikes, when did this become a question of sexism?


Schidehette raised the issue in his own article.  I am finding the discussion fascinating and thought-provoking.  I'm not sure where I stand.


I'm not sure where I stand on whether its sexism on how things are depicted.
Historically the Nymph or dryad have been female. Where their male counterpart is the satyr. 
With Angels I see no reason not to have the depicted as either sex, as appropriate the the deific power they serve or maybe in the higher planes they have no form and only appear the way they do because mortal minds interprete them this way.
 
Yikes, when did this become a question of sexism?


Schidehette raised the issue in his own article.  I am finding the discussion fascinating and thought-provoking.  I'm not sure where I stand.



I give, where does he bring this up?  I know he talks about "do we have room for male/female" and I'm 100% ok with yes, or no, or no gender at all.  But I'm not seeing this as "sexism".

Here is my simple feeling.  You are welcome to make every male/female in the game drop dead georgeous if you like.  You can make them all ugly as sin, and you can give me a mix of both.    You are welcome to make dryads so pretty I stare at them for hours, and if you make a male creature the same way for the ladies, or whatever you're preference is, I'm 100% fine.

But, I do not feel you are required to make historically female (or male) creatures suddenly have an opposite gender counter part simply because we've all become so "make everone feel good about themselves" that we have no better reason to do so.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

Dryads are a type of nymph, which are female. The "usual" counterpart to them is the faun or satyr, which is male. I see angelic beings as androgynous rather than specifically male or female. Since they're "beings of power", they can assume a gender when it's required. No sexism needed.

In memory of wrecan and his Unearthed Wrecana.

I have to 100% agree with Phobos on this.  Asking "male/female/both?" is not sexism.  Sexism would be saying "Angels are good, and therefor will be portrayed as males", implying that females are somehow evil.  But that's not what he's saying/asking/suggesting, the whole line of conversation isn't even applicable.

Make both male and female angels.  There, discussion solved.  You're welcome.

Or, better yet, just make them genderless, more like the 4e angels.
This sounds like a solid criterion:

If there *had* to be female-only and male-only races who stand as epitome of beauty, they should not be races that are tied to good or evil.



Epitomizing male beauty and female beauty as a race, should avoid references to Good and Evil.



In that light, a Good “Angel” should probably be understood according to the English literary tradition (not the biblical tradition), in the widest sense possible, and potentially including male or female.

But likewise, an Evil “Succubus”, should probably likewise be potentially male or female. Maybe mention Succubus and Incubus are alternate names for the same creature.

Maybe D&D should make all creatures able to be either gender. Saying the Dryad is “only female” is a Greek thing. Likewise, saying the Elf is “only male” is apparently a Norse thing. (The female Dis seems the counterpart to the male Alfr.) In other words, gender exclusion has more to do with the campaign setting than with the bestiary description.



By the way, regarding biblical angels, in those places where they are called “the children of the elohim”, this probably relates to the Canaanite mythology of the “children of El”, namely the Canaanite gods. So, at least in these cases, the biblical writers probably assume females among them, even when their worldview understands them as officials of the heavenly court of one God, rather than gods in themselves.
Again? Please, no. If you want a male dryad only do forget the canon and you invent one, for example get the name "Robur" or "Quercus" (or Kverkos, the Esperanto name) and you say the are amel oak spirits.



Male and Female angels are very popular in fantasy, and here fanboys forget the real world religion. Do rebember for example the Maiars from Tolkien´s work were male and female, and they were married (Melian, elf king Thingol´s wife was mother of Luthién, the elf heroine who married Beren the human, the first elf-human marriage).

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

This sounds like a solid criterion:

If there *had* to be female-only and male-only races who stand as epitome of beauty, they should not be races that are tied to good or evil.



Epitomizing male beauty and female beauty as a race, should avoid references to Good and Evil.


I haven't read the article yet, but that comment is just so darn reasonable that I have to agree with it.  Both beauty and gender are individual qualities should never really be ascribed to any one moral axis.  It really takes the details of the creature to do that  For example, the succubus is both female and beautiful.  However, being rational and setting any puritanical biases aside, that isn't what makes her evil.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

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Save the breasts.

Yikes, when did this become a question of sexism?


Schidehette raised the issue in his own article.  I am finding the discussion fascinating and thought-provoking.  I'm not sure where I stand.



I give, where does he bring this up?  I know he talks about "do we have room for male/female" and I'm 100% ok with yes, or no, or no gender at all.  But I'm not seeing this as "sexism".


i think it's implied.  YMMV.
Just to throw this out there, there are plenty of real-world examples of female-only species, as well as species which don't require males to reproduce.  Check out the topic of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis" title="en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parthenogenesis">Parthenogenesis, it's pretty interesting.  On a related note, there are also plenty of real-world examples of matriarchal and patriarchal societies in both humans and animals, where one gender has dominance over the other. 

I bring this up to illustrate that "gender equality" as defined by modern feminism does not need to be an inherent goal when describing the ecology of a fantasy multiverse.  The Bible has been mentioned in a couple posts now, and without turning this into a religious debate (I DO NOT WANT to do that), I have to point out that the Bible is very clear that male and female are equal but different.  Heck, anyone who's been married for more than 2 hours can tell you that...    It's ok for males and females to inhabit different places on the tapestry that defines your reality.

There's nothing wrong with D&D depicting matriarchal societies, patriarchal societies, fantasy races which are exclusively female, supernatural species which are exclusively male, etc.  Nothing that the DDN team is doing is sexist or demeaning to men or women in any way.  Chalk it up to the "natural order".  Chalk it up to "not everyone is as 'enlightened' as modern day Western society thinks it is".  Chalk it up to whatever you want.  At the end of the day, the real-world is not a happy-clappy everything-is-fair utopia, and I don't expect a fantasy multiverse to be either.

Now, one of these days I'll get around to actually posting a response to John's actual questions...  lol
Neither Dryads nor Angels in D&D strive to be perfect representations of their mythological/religious sources. They're representations of fantasy versions of those things. For good or for bad, fantasy has not perfectly preserved in every facet every detail of the source material. (Neither has the source material itself.)

Biblical angels may all be male (or at least all the ones who are identified might be male), but it's patently absurd to suggest that all-male is anything like the norm in fantasy. Going all-male would put D&D in a stark minority position amongst a sea of fantasy depictions of angels as either mixed-gender or all-female. Most things that drill down into angelic ecology and have several unique angels do mixed-gender (i.e., Diablo). Most things that just have, like, one generic "angel" creature type depict it as a female, although Magic has many angels of different types, and except for very old cards and an alternate-universe what-if card, they're all female. All-male is something D&D could do, but it would be a deliberate decision to set itself outside of fantasy norms.

Dryads are different. Overwhelmingly dryads are depicted as females in fantasy, to the extent that a male dryad just reads as an intentional subversion, something that's not remotely true of a female angel.

I'm not saying that I think Dryads should be only female while angels are mixed-gender; I think having both mixed-gender is fine. But they're not remotely comparable in terms of typical fantasy depictions of their genders.
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Ancient Greek culture isnt sexist. Definitely not sexist. Surely not.



Simply repeating Greek mythology at face value is inherently sexist. The disempowerment of the female pervades it. (This has to do with the rise of the value of male soldiers, as imperialistic cultures must become increasingly violent to survive.)

When referring to Greek mythology, modern writers carefully contextualize it - or else radically reinvent it.
Ancient Greek culture isnt sexist. Definitely not sexist. Surely not.



Don't forget to toss in the Bible with that statement.

∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

Ancient Greek culture isnt sexist. Definitely not sexist. Surely not.



Don't forget to toss in the Bible with that statement.



Well to be fair you can toss in 90% of all ancient cultures.
John, to respond to your questions in your article, posted here cause the comments section has a character limit: 

1) Sex/Gender: I agree, I think angels/devas should be depicted as both genders.  Now this could be because either they actually HAVE genders, or because each individual chooses the physical form of a gender which expresses their personality (ie Tolkien's Valar/Maiar, 4e Shardminds, etc.).  Frankly I think I'd prefer the latter, but I can adjust fluff to fit my world regardless of what's in the book.  To be clear, I don't see this as a sexism issue, nor do I think it needs to be.

2) Face: Personally, I could go either way.  Having a face is nice for the personal communication aspect, but the impartial faceless look is cool for the "I'm here to execute the divine wrath of my god" aspect.  Personally, I will probably use both versions as the situation requires.  One thing James talked about that wasn't touched on here was the different types of angels - Valor, Judgement, etc.  Maybe the face/faceless thing could be worked in there, depending on the task the individual has been given.

3) Anatomy/Legs: No strong feeling here, I actually thought the 4e "tails" were an interesting take that differentiated them from the stereotype.  I could see them able to shift form between legs and tails at their preference, maybe for "I'm standing here delivering a message" vs. "swooping around the heavenly firmament".

4) Weapons: Go nuts!  And why limit it to greatswords?  Big over-sized bad-ass scimitars, kopeshes, glaives, mauls, flails - bring it all on. 

5) Appearance: Good call on milky vs. opalescent, I had noticed that too.  Gold for a Planetar is ok, although IMO the bright metallic color scheme is a bit obvious.  Milky/alabaster white, gold, copper, silver - it's just so cliche for angels.  Which may be what you're going for, since it feels familiar at least.  But interesting that the 3e picture has red and green-skinned angels.  I'd be great with other rich "celestial" colors - heavenly blue, coronal red, nebulae purple...  Thinking of those deep-space Hubble Telescope pictures as inspiration for color schemes.

Thanks as always, love the glimpses you are giving us of development in process!
Well to be fair you can toss in 90% of all ancient cultures.



100% agree.  But that alone does not make me feel we need to rewrite ancient literature, fairy tales and folklore just to make people today happy. 

If you want to make angels male and female, please do.  If you imply we need to, because of fairness and sexism, I'm generally offended.

Are dragons male and female?  What's the male version of a Valkyrie?

I guess the argument can go on and on and everyone has an opinion.  Mine is as stated, but in the end, when the book comes out, I'm not really sure I'm going to care and I wonder how many will. 

My angels will probably be androgynous.


∴ "Virtus junxit, mors non separabit." 

on a side note i realy liked the vorlon race in babilon 5.
that when taking of their armor looked the way you believed a angel to look.

While that sort of mechanic is cool, it is also hard to do in game. I've done it on occasion, but it requires a lot of prework to setup the descriptions for different characters and it is hard to keep the flow going during the game. It might make for a cool bit for a rare outer planar race, it shouldn't be done for something as common as angels. Not to mention that it means they can't do any miniatures, so it is probably excluded on principle.

Getting back to the original questions: Sex, both genders, though having one or two types that only come in one gender is fine. Face, I would much prefer having a face. Even for the wrath of the heavens types, faceless is generally somewhere between disturbing and boring. Legs, I lean towards legs but I don't have a strong preference. Weapons, mostly I would like them to vary but even more then sex, it would be fine to have specific groups that use one weapon exclusively.

Appearance is a touchy topic. While I like the angels color scheme, care needs to be given that there isn't a huge light=good/dark=bad thing going on. There needs to be something more then just bright/metallic means good and dark/colored means bad.

I am really not digging these names. I know they're from 3E, I didn't like them back then either. They're not really indicitave of, well, anything. In 4E, if I told my players, "You see an Angel of Battle," they knew pretty much what they were dealing with before I even started to describe it. "Solar Deva" doesn't mean anything unless they're already familiar with Ye Olde Schoole D&D's idiosyncratic mythology. Instead of "You seen an Angel of Such and Such," now I'm floundering: "You see a Planetar Deva. It's a type of angel."--Well why didn't you just say angel?--"Because, for reasons that are beyond me, that's not what angels are called."


I'm aware that this article is about art, but "Fairest of them All" had a lot less certainty to it. The issue of which version of Devas the game would use--for example--was still an open question, or at least James Wyatt did a better job of pretending that it was. Here it's just, "Here's what Whimbyshibble Deva Angels will look like, here's what Smoothjazz Deva Angels will look like--what, Fourth Edition Devas? Never heard of those, moving on..." So you will forgive me if this article has made me a trifle upset.

I like Next so far as a rule set (mostly), but the more I read of the Next mythology, the harder it is for me to be zen about it, and it's really not helping that the angels in Next are going to be called [Meaningless Adjective] Devas for no good goshdarned reason and (returning to the topic of art) they're going to look like normal dudes with wings and body paint.

Frankly, I don't think Next should *have* a consistent art style at all. You can have your body-paint angels, in The Big Book of Angels that are Called Devas For Some Reason (working title), and I promise not to complain so long as I can buy The Angels of Nouns and have my weird, 4E-style, legless mouthless angels with names that make sense. The big thing about Next is that it's supposedly going to be modular--so let the modularity extend to the art.
Hi all,

Just a friendly reminder to stay on topic and watch the accusations of sexism and discussions of real world religions. There's plenty here to talk about without delving into those things.

Thanks,

Monica
I am really not digging these names. I know they're from 3E, I didn't like them back then either. They're not really indicitave of, well, anything. In 4E, if I told my players, "You see an Angel of Battle," they knew pretty much what they were dealing with before I even started to describe it. "Solar Deva" doesn't mean anything unless they're already familiar with Ye Olde Schoole D&D's idiosyncratic mythology. Instead of "You seen an Angel of Such and Such," now I'm floundering: "You see a Planetar Deva. It's a type of angel."--Well why didn't you just say angel?--"Because, for reasons that are beyond me, that's not what angels are called."



To be fair, anyone who played any edition of D&D prior to 4e had the exact opposite reaction.  "You see an Angel of Battle".  "what's that?"  "It's like a Planetar with no face."  "why didn't you say Planetar then?"



Those terms have been around a looong time.

edit:  Yes ma'am, sorry... 

Biblical angels are both beautiful and exclusively male.


A) You will find many scholars that disagree with that.
B) Even if they were, why in the world should the Christian Bible be the only place that we look to to decide how to depict angels? Plenty of other religions and religious texts depicted angels to, and they depicted them in very different ways.

If there is a beautiful race that is exclusively female (Dryad)...

If it makes you feel any better, I am exactly as not okay with the idea of male-only Angels as I am with the idea of female-only Dryads.

The Biblical angel can impregnate human females. Quite literally male.

No, that is an archaic understanding. Angels are divine being and are thus not limited to mortal conceptions of sexual intercourse when they want to procreate or impregnate. It is not hard to imagine an angel that can choose to impregnate even though it is not what we mortals would think of as biologically male.

But that alone does not make me feel we need to rewrite ancient literature, fairy tales and folklore just to make people today happy.

Why not? D&D isn't out there to write its own stories or to reproduce old stories. D&D is out there to let us write our own stories, and because of that, it needs to be relevant to the kinds of stories that those of us today want to write. It's not sexist to discuss what was or wasn't traditional, but it is still problematic to suggest that we cannot question or critique traditions or to suggest that we should continue traiditons that are no longer relevant to us.

In other words, forcing any element D&D to adhere to any concept of tradition is undesirable whenever doing so has the effect of making that element less relevant to stories that D&D players today want to create and tell.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
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