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Good Riddance! Part 5: Where angels don’t fear to tread

Good Riddance! Part 5: Where angels don’t fear to tread

The classic alignment grid consisting of three rows (Good, Neutral, and Evil) and three columns (Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic) is a contentious topic in TTRPGs. A lot of games (including the Tales of the Valiant RPG) don’t use it, but it endures. Criticisms include that the system is too rigid and is not descriptive enough. And it essentially predestines certain creatures to be either good or evil.

Shortfalls aside, the alignment system leaves an open question: “Why are there good-aligned creatures in monster books?” Kobold Press’s own Tome of Beasts 1 includes several good-aligned creatures. These creatures make fantastic NPCs or allies for the party, but does that mean a party can never fight a buraq or a firebird?

Angels are well known due to their representation in many cultures and religions in the real world. Angels can be interpreted as messengers or servants from a higher power, the spirits of loved ones who have passed on, or people who did such remarkable good in the world that they were rewarded with an eternal “promotion.”

Fighting angels can be rare, but there are many exciting ways to make it happen. A GM can ignore alignment and have the party fight an “evil” angel. But another choice is to find interesting narrative ways to make typically “good” creatures antagonists while maintaining their lore.

Catch up on all the goodness you missed—blink dogs, couatls, and more!


Devas are a particular type of angel that relay messages from divine powers to the mortals of the world. They have the ability to transform into Beasts or Humanoids to disguise their presence among people. During their time with mortals, they often become involved in the affairs of people and grow fond of them. As such, the existence of a deva can become entangled in the complexities of the mortal condition.

Fallen Angel

In Biblical terms, a “fallen angel” is expelled from Heaven for egregious sin. While many believe devas to be incapable of sin, at the end of the day, a given divine power decides what is sinful in its domain.

A deva banished from its celestial dwelling may become vengeful toward its ex-deity and followers. The deva then may well turn to evil groups, such as assassins and cults, or even dive into the pits of Hell to carry out their agenda. With this evil faction, the deva can grow their own following, or if truly scorned, an army. In this scenario, you can use the deva in the following ways:

  • The deva poses as the mortal head of an evil faction intent on taking over a region of the world that contains a magical ladder or staircase to the celestial realm. However, the group’s efforts are largely peaceful, using religion to steer people away from so the so-called false god they were worshipping and follow the “Dark Prophet.” 

  • The party must deal with the political destabilization of the region and perhaps gain the interest of the deity that the deva used to follow, asking the party for help. The deva may become aware of this connection and try to influence the party as well, stating its own version of the story. The party must decide who to follow and either fight the fallen deva, or the agents of the deity as they march into heaven alongside the Dark Prophet.

The Cure Is Worse

Devas can be overly prideful in their quest to do good. Perhaps a deva was sent to a region to help heal an affliction running rampant across the countryside. Upon attempting to heal these people, the deva found that their typical magic had no use against the disease. In order to “save” the people, the deva began taking more extreme measures to contain the outbreak. The deva starts by dismembering infected limbs and then cleansing the infected entirely. In this scenario, you can use the deva in the following ways:

  • The party learns of the disease and eventually discovers someone who is immune to the disease, whose blood may be able to be used as a vaccine. As the deva arrives to purge a village that the party is trying to cure, it comes to blows with the party. The deva believes a cure is no longer possible and would rather believe the PCs are deluded or lying than that it might have come to the wrong conclusion. It aims to kill all the infected before the disease spreads to the uninfected. If the party is at a lower level than a deva’s CR 10 at this point, the deva likely defeats them but only knocks them out as they are not yet infected. 

  • The party must grow stronger before they can stop the rampaging deva or perhaps beseech a temple of the deva’s deity to ask for aid. The deity cannot control the deva but provides the party with some means to fight the deva, such as a means to destroy its mace.

The Tales of the Valiant Player’s Guide and Monster Vault are on sale now!

about Daniel Kahn

Dan Khan stylized author illo

Daniel Kahn is a D&D 5e freelance writer and lead author of several platinum best-selling titles on the DMsGuild. For more monster weaknesses, check out Monster Weaknesses and Monster Weaknessess of the Multiverse on the DMsGuild, which includes weaknesses for every creature in the Monster Manual and Monsters of the Multiverse. Follow Daniel on Twitter: @FrictionlessDan and visit his website.

1 thought on “Good Riddance! Part 5: Where angels don’t fear to tread”

  1. Cassiopeia Nebula

    what i love about angels is how easily misinterpreted their “single-mindedness” can be. i imagine that angels regularly fight the worst the multiverse has to offer – demons, devils, aberrations, the most depraved humanoids in all the worlds. so when the angel arrives to wrangle this seemingly-incurable epidemic, it comes with a heart and mind that had been forged from an eon of “i’ve seen some s***”. a much different perspective on saving as many lives as possible, than the party might have! that would be a good moral quandry to roleplay! c:

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