War on Three Fronts
Outsiders are beings of the Outer Planes. All are intrinsically linked to their home planes, and their natures inevitably reflect their origins. Therefore, they are listed here by alignment:
Good outsiders fall into three categories: Archons, Angels, and Eladrin. Where Archons are fierce, inflexible beings of lawful Justice, Eladrin are their opposite, representing the wild, unfettered good of individual freedom. In the middle sit Angels, beings of pure heavenly good but sworn to divine neutrality.
Archons – Lawful Good
Archons represent the peace that comes from Order, and work to uphold this ideal on both celestial and mortal levels. Some see them as stuffy, dogmatic, and overbearing, or consider their leonine or canine features to reflect their roles as divine ‘guard dogs’ constraining the mortal world; however of all Outsiders Archons are the most accepting of human civilisation. They recognise that there is strength in unity, and that unity is strengthened when all benefit from it.
Archons operate a strict rank-based system, with promotion the result of centuries of hard work. Lesser Archons – generally newly raised to the choir or inexperienced – often solve their problems physically, using their supernatural strength and speed to overcome foes, and attacking either with their natural weapons or with holy greatswords. Ironically, it is when an Archon does not close for combat that you should worry, as this indicates an older, cautious individual who will instead bring the full force of divine magic into play, favouring spells from the Good and Law domains. An Archon who has time to prepare before an encounter will generally cast at least Detect Evil, True Seeing, and Discern Lies, as befits their disdain for subterfuge.
Archons, as Lawful creatures, are mildly vulnerable to silver weapons; they are also susceptible to wounds from evil or profaned weapons.
Angels – Neutral Good
Angels occupy a confusing position in the cosmology of the world. On the one hand, they are representatives of the forces of purest Good, and are generally considered to be the messengers of the good Gods. On the other hand, they are bound by strict rules of neutrality, and whereas the Gods can and do intervene, both through their clerics and through direct miracles, overt action by an Angel is considered so rare as to be an era-defining event. It is rumoured that two Angels, Iczhihal and Raagiosel, assisted the cabal of elven mages who performed the Sundering in a bid to stem the tides of darkness.
The appearance of Angels can vary – although a halo or nimbus of piercingly bright heavenly light, and one or more pairs of white feathered wings are fixtures, bodies otherwise vary around the humanoid template, with heights ranging from seven feet tall to fifteen, and adornments such as extra arms not uncommon. Personality-wise, Angels can seem cold and remote, and detached from human affairs, but when a true evil must be stopped, golden trumpets are sounded, and flaming swords are unsheathed.
The weapon that can truly harm an Angel has not yet been forged by mortal hand. Only the most powerful of demonic blades and epic-level spells can pierce their resistance.
Eladrin – Chaotic Neutral
As the true Fae are to Elves, so are the Eladrin to the Fae – infinitely older, more powerful, more capricious, and more unknowable. Eladrin tend to bond more readily with the flowing powers of Elementals, particularly those of Fire and Air than with mortals, generally only deigning to stop and notice the world for fine feasts, music, or the occasional dalliance with a particularly pleasing partner.
They do have a deep and abiding hatred of slavery and oppression, so have been known to mobilise en masse to smite slave-owning empires, or to offer subtler but no less effective aid to those trapped by a devil’s contract. However, their grasp of time seems to be weak. The fall of the Aleran Empire to the Patran League did not occur until two centuries after the Emperor had outlawed slavery; nonetheless heavenly fire struck the city every bit as devastatingly as the League’s human and dwarven soldiers. Their concept of what constitutes slavery can also be vague, with some Eladrin snatching children from their family homes in order to offer them the freedom of an Eladrin court.
Eladrin share the Fae’s weakness to Iron weapons, and have adapted their fighting style to minimise the chances of having to come into contact with it. They are consummate archers, and powerful if reckless users of elementalist magic.
True Neutral: Neutrality is not a strong enough emotion to be associated with strong Outsiders.
Inevitables – Lawful Neutral
Other Lawful Outsiders
Other Lawful beings include Modrons, a race of mechanical beings, and Formians, a hive species of ant-like beings. In both cases, it is theorised that they originated elsewhere, but migrated to the Lawful Neutral plane of Mechanus due to their strong affinity.
Slaadi – Chaotic Neutral
Demons and Devils
Common folk, and those who have not had cause to encounter them, may use the terms interchangeably, but scholars and theologians draw a distinction between Demons and Devils. Where Demons are creatures of Chaos and Evil, and are associated with the infinite swirling darkness of The Abyss, Devils are their Lawful counterparts, hailing from the Nine Hells of Baator.
Demons – Chaotic Evil
Demons have hugely varying forms, as befits creatures of chaos, often varying even within a single creature. A being with a toad’s body, bull’s head, bat wings, four arms each tipped with crab claws, and a scorpion tail would not be impossible, although such a powerful combination is admittedly unlikely and would mark the possessor as an enemy to be feared. Attempting to give a rigorous typology of demons would be a waste; there no fixed castes, with the only given being that larger demons or those manifesting more powerful components are guaranteed to be older and stronger.
Demons are vicious and bloodthirsty, and although some have access to powerful magic, most favour brute force and close combat. In combat, many demons have the ability to use a drop of their own blood to summon reinforcements. Combatants are therefore advised to finish off one foe before facing another. In common with other Chaotic creatures, demons are mildly vulnerable to iron, and as evil creatures are also vulnerable to blessed weapons.
Unlike devils, demons cannot be expected to keep their word, and seem only to converse with mortals to torment them.
Devils – Lawful evil
Where demons are random and brutal, devils are methodical and scheming. They take great pleasure in the gradual corruption of the righteous. However, they are scrupulously lawful and will always abide by the word of a promise once given, even while trying to twist the wording to the extreme to cause pain and grief.
Devils tend toward humanoid forms, adorned with wings. Most have red tinges to their skin, growing to a deep crimson as their power grows. The oldest and most powerful also have bestial features, with horns, scales, cloven hooves, and goat-like legs common. They have a deeply hierarchical caste structure, albeit with the possibility for rapid promotions for those recognised as particularly capable corrupters. Lower-caste devils include Imps, Lemures, and Hellcats. Higher castes include Incubi and Succubi, with all subordinate to Pit Fiends.
Devils try to avoid combat where possible. Where it is unavoidable, they favour opening salvoes of illusions, followed by focussed magical attack on isolated or weak individuals. Devils, as Lawful creatures, are vulnerable to silver; they are also vulnerable to blessed weapons similarly to their demonic counterparts.
Neutral Evil Outsiders?
It is a cause for some concern among the – admittedly rarefied – circles of theoretical demonologists that no outsiders of Neutral Evil alignment have ever been observed.
Some claim that they are already well established in the world, pointing at species such as the Illithids; others claim that these outsiders have been persistently mis-categorised as either demons or devils; others still that they simply do not exist.