What Kind of Monster Are You?!: Solar

Today marks the close of our discussion on Monster Manual angels! I’ve already covered a lot of angel info in the last few posts, so if you haven’t seen them yet, check out the breakdowns of devas and planetars.

If devas are messengers and planetars are soldiers, then solars are generals. They are the angelic answer to demonic princes, and therefore could serve as powerful forces of good in a campaign. One interesting note about solars: there are only twenty-four solars in existence, total, and not all of them are currently active–some are in a state of contemplation, waiting for a crisis to arise that only they can deal with.

Personally, that sounds like an incredible hook to turn a solar into a party’s patron. Say you’re running a truly epic campaign–I’m talking apocalyptic stuff, here. The whole material plane is at stake. Some sinister force is on the cusp of gaining ultimate power; perhaps demons have finally succeeded in breaking through to the material plane, or a dark presence from beyond the stars has arrived to reshape the world. This threat is so dire that a powerful solar awakes from its meditative state and sets out to gather heroes to stop the coming doom. Naturally, your players fit the bill and become the solar’s greatest weapon against evil!

Of course, as I have mentioned in my other articles about angels, they occasionally fall. I’ve already tossed out a few ways an angel might fall in previous articles, but for solars, I think it may be even better to present them as an antagonist without having them fall first. Remember, they ‘activate’ in order to stop immense cosmic threats. What if their proposed solution is nearly as bad as the threat itself? What if the cost of their plan is terrible, but they believe the ends justify the means? It puts the players in an interesting role-play scenario, and they may end up clashing with the solar even though at root, both sides have the same enemy.

In combat, solars can be summed up as “planetars, but better.” They have even higher AC, even more resistances, and even stronger attacks. They’ve also got the usual healing touch. Their spell list is actually not quite as good as a planetar’s–they lose out on stuff like flame strike and insect plague, but they gain resurrection, which is always handy (especially if the solar is on your side). They more than compensate for their lack of combat spells with extra attack options, though! For instance, their sword? It can fly off and attack enemies on its own. They also have a divine longbow, which–on top of dealing decent damage on its own–can outright kill targets that fail a saving throw.

The most powerful abilities the solar has, though, are its legendary actions. As I mentioned in my article on aboleths, I love legendary actions–they’re a great way to add difficulty and excitement to combat with powerful enemies! The solar has three: a basic teleport, and two more combat-focused ones. The first is called Searing Burst, and it hits all enemies in range with a powerful blast of fire and radiant damage (a dexterity save halves). The second is Blinding Gaze; as the name implies, it blinds a target that the solar looks at (assuming they fail a save, of course). This blindness can only be cured by lesser restoration or similar magic.

Solars are the biggest, baddest angels around; they’ve got awesome powers in combat (that CR21 is certainly justified!) and very cool lore. They’re definitely my favorite of the three types covered in the Monster Manual, and just writing this has me excited to bring one into a game of my own!

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