This book sheds new light on the powerful and majestic celestials, guardians of the Upper Planes and empyreal enemies of evil. Players can design their own celestial characters and take the fight to those denizens of darkness, the fiends!
This accessory includes the following:
- Celestial Races. All of the information you need to design and play celestial characters: aasimon, aasimar, archons, asuras, eladrins, and guardinals.
- Celestial Beings and Places. Detailed information on various key players and sites throughout the Upper Planes.
- Celestial Magic. New spells and magical items for celestial characters.
- Celestial Campaign Tips. Techniques for running campaigns with celestial characters on the Upper Planes and the Prime Material Plane.
Warriors of Heaven, by Christopher Perkins, is a sourcebook on all things angelic for AD&D 2e. It was published in September 1999.
Origins. Warriors of Heaven was originally intended to be a companion product to Planescape’s Faces of Evil: The Fiends (1997). It would have been called “Servants of Light: The Celestials.”
After Planescape. Planescape began with the Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set (1994) and continued through final supplements Faction War (1998) and The Inner Planes (1998), after which Wizards of the Coast brought the line to the end. However, that didn’t mark the end of AD&D’s focus on the Outer Planes. Instead, Wizards began producing “Core D&D” planar sourcebooks, which could be used with any setting, not just Planescape; this was the same strategy they adopted for Ravenloft in 1999.
There would be just two sourcebooks in this post-Planescape era: Warriors of Heaven and A Guide to Hell (1999). Some readers complain that these sourcebooks didn’t maintain Planescape canon, but really what they did was expand the Outer Planes mythology, without focusing on the complex setting details that might otherwise have turned new players away from the setting; Planescape’s cant was also phased out. Still, the Planescape setting is acknowledged in Warriors of Heaven; for example, there are some short details on how the Celestials relate to the Blood War.
One Core D&D planar adventure book followed: The Vortex of Madness and Other Planar Perils (2000).
Web Enhanced! Perkins tends to write more words than he’s assigned, and thus he ended up with extra material for Warriors of Heaven, which had originally been scheduled as a 64-page book. At first, the plan was to post this bonus material to www.tsr.com, but then the Brand Management team decided that the material was important enough to include in the book, which was thus expanded to 96 pages.
However, people still liked the idea of a web-enhanced product, so Perkins was asked to write yet more material. As a result, an article on the Quesar as a PC race and an adventure called “Devil’s Deal” were produced and made available online, making Warriors of Heaven TSR’s first web-enhanced RPG book. That material can still be found at wizards.com.
About Angelic Beings. As the name of this sourcebook suggests, Warriors of Heaven focuses on a host of angelic beings. While D&D had been comfortable including demons and devils in its mythology from the start, it took a bit longer for angels to appear.
Most early references were unofficial articles in Dragon magazine. Thus, “death angels” made their appearance in The Dragon #6 (April 1977). However, it was not until The Dragon #35 (March 1980) that a more properly “angelic” angel appeared: William Fawcett’s “Angels” article went to Dante’s Inferno (1310s?) and Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667) for its inspiration. Angels appeared in what would become their “official” D&D form in Dragon #63-64 (July-August 1983), where Gary Gygax introduced devas, planetars, and solars—all of which were later reprinted in Monster Manual II (1983).
Yet angels (and a variety of related beings) still hadn’t received their own sourcebook prior to Warriors of Heaven. Until then, players who wanted angelic material were instead forced to pick up Sentinels (1993), a boxed set by Mayfair Games that was part of their “Demons” line of AD&D supplements.
Expanding the Outer Planes. All told, Warriors of Heaven includes extensive details on six different races of angelic beings. There are about eight pages of detail per race—which is a pretty big expansion relative to what had been available before. The races described include two immortal races, the aasimon and archons; and four mortal races, the aasimar, asura, eladrin, and guardinals.
The aasimon are the traditional angels—the devas, planetars, and solars. They appeared in AD&D 2e in MC8: “Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix” (1991). This was where they were first named the aasimon. Like the renaming of daemons, demons, and devils as yugoloth, tanar’ri, and baatezu, this change was certainly meant to assuage the moral minority groups and “angry mothers” from whom TSR was running scared at the time.
The archons are another sort of divine creature that appeared as denizens of the Seven Heavens (later: Mount Celestia) in Manual of the Planes (1987) and later reappeared for 2e in MC8: “Monstrous Compendium Outer Planes Appendix.”
The aasimar, or angel-blooded humans, first appeared in Planescape and received more detail in Planescape Monstrous Compendium II (1995) and The Planewalker’s Handbook (1996).
The asuras are messengers and heralds, “voices of knowledge.” They first appeared in MC13: “Monstrous Compendium Al-Qadim Appendix” (1992), but moved to Planescape in Planes of Conflict (1995) and are widely referenced in the setting.
Both the eladrin and the guardinals first appeared in the Blood Wars Card Game (1995), but immediately moved over to the Planescape RPG setting with the publication of Planescape Monstrous Compendium II (1995).
Though no supplement since has given these races as much detail as Warriors of Heaven did, both the aasimar and eladrin have received particular attention in more recent editions of D&D. The aasimar usually play second-fiddle to their opposite number, the very popular tieflings, but the eladrin appeared as a core race in D&D 4e (2008).
The actual Outer Planes don’t receive as much expansion in Warriors of Heaven; there are about ten pages of details of Celestial organizations and planes, but generally Planes of Law (1995) is a better reference for the Celestial planes proper; it covers Acheron, Arcadia, Baator, Mechanus, and Mount Celestia.
Expanding Many Game Worlds. Appendix II describes how many gods—including those of the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Krynn, and Mystara—fit in with the planes described in this book. The appendix is not necessarily canon for those settings, but it is useful if you want to mix things up.
Future History. Book of Exalted Deeds (2003) for 3e touched upon a few Celestial issues, as related to good characters. However, the best Celestial reference in more recent years has probably been Chronicles of the Righteous (2013) for Pathfinder.
About the Creators. Though Perkins had been writing Dungeon adventures for years, having come on board as an Associate Editor for Dragon in 1998, Warriors of Heaven was his first major book for D&D.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.