It’s monster time again! Today I’ll be covering the planetar. This is a sub-type of a larger classification of monsters: angels. I already talked about angels a bit in my last WKoMAY (boy, that’s not a very handy acronym, is it?), so if you are looking for ideas about angels in general, check out that article first!
Okay, now let’s get to planetars!
Planetars are divine warriors. While devas serve as messengers for their gods, planetars serve as soldiers. They are deadly combatants, clocking in at CR16–quite a bit higher than their deva brethren! It’s warranted, too; they’ve got a high Armor Class, inhumanly good core attributes, and resistance to non-magical attacks. Like other angels, they can’t be charmed, frightened, or exhausted.
They’ve got the usual suite of angelic abilities: magic weapons, advantage on saving throws against magical attacks, and a healing touch. They’ve also got some supernatural senses, though, like truesight and the power to detect lies. In other words, it’s difficult–if not impossible–to trick a planetar!
On top of that, they also have access to a pretty decent spell list. Much like devas, they can speak with (and raise) the dead; however, their list doesn’t stop there–they also get powerful combat options like blade barrier and flame strike. Those are cool, of course, but you know what’s cooler? Control weather and insect plague! These are real game-changers that could impact not just a combat scenario, but the atmosphere (literally and figuratively) of a whole scene. They’ve got just as much roleplay heft as they do combat utility!
Speaking of roleplay–what are some good ways to use planetars in a campaign’s narrative? Well, as we’ve already discussed, they are soldiers for their gods, so they make great NPCs in games that focus on epic good-vs.-evil conflicts. If the Big Bad of your game is a demon or devil, perhaps a planetar could serve as a useful friend or benefactor of the party!
Imagine this: a planetar has been dispatched to strike down a powerful force of evil–one that the party is also trying to stop. However, the planetar fails its mission and is captured; the party could then find the planetar bound in the villain’s dungeon. If they set the angel free, they could gain a strong and unexpected ally. This would be a great encounter to put in the middle of a big dungeon; the planetar could heal the party up and help them out with a few encounters. If you don’t want the angel sticking around for a large part of the dungeon, it could fly ahead of the party, heading straight toward the ‘boss.’ Then, once the party reaches the final room, they find their divine buddy locked in combat with the villain and they’ve got some backup in the final fight!
On the other hand, don’t forget that it’s totally possible for an angel to fall. A planetar could make a great villain; perhaps an overzealous angel has decided that mortals are little better than fiends, and now seeks to cleanse the world of them. Maybe a planetar has been somehow corrupted by an archdevil and is now serving as an instrument of Hell. There are lots of ways for a planetar to serve as a villain, either as a primary threat or a minion!
Planetars are interesting because they can take a more direct role in combat than devas can, without sacrificing the great narrative potential of other angels. They’re a powerful force for good that make a wonderful addition to high-level games–especially ones that feature fiends as the main foes!