There are a few ways to manifest an extraplanar background in Pathfinder, and they’re all kind of weird. For example, say you want to play a celestial. You can be a sorcerer or bloodrager with a celestial bloodline, but that’s just two classes. Ain’t no celestial druids. You can be a divine caster reskinned as a divine being, but reskinning at that level doesn’t always agree with everyone. And of course you can be an aasimar, but races like that are narratively problematic. It suggests all celestials are Wisdom- and Charisma-based, as though half of angels don’t have a Constitution higher than their Charisma. It suggests celestials are powered by light, though few have light-based abilities. And it means you’re a different race from your siblings, parents, and grandparents because of the way the race works. An aasimar raised as a dwarf by dwarves is an aasimar, with all of the racial features and ability scores of an aasimar. It’s nature over nurture to the highest degree. Thanks, Monte.
A theme seems like a natural way to express heritage for a few reasons. Most directly, it can apply equally to characters of any race without rewriting the race itself. A celestial dwarf can still have stonecunning, a celestial elf can still be a jerk, and so on. Second, it means a character can be of any class. A celestial can be a wizard or fighter without sacrificing their core ability scores. Third, a theme means the character can explore their heritage, tapping into their natural power over time, without being a member of a class that explicitly works with it and without knee-deep reskinning.
Here “celestial” applies to all good-aligned outsiders, because having different themes for angels, archons, agathions, etc. seems too specific. I have “infernal” and “abyssal” penciled in as different themes, but they can probably be “fiendish” and will look a lot like this theme but alignment-swapped. Law and chaos…could work but I haven’t delved into it yet. I also have orc on my heritage list, by request, and dragon, because of course. I’m willing to hear any other ideas.
Like an aasimar, you have a good outsider somewhere within your genealogy. For you, though, your blood isn’t a gift, but a calling. You seek to learn about celestials, to follow them, and to work towards the same goals they do. In time, and with effort, you may even walk among them.
Theme Skills: Fly, Heal, Knowledge (planes), Knowledge (religion), Perception, Sense Motive
Theme Feats: Alertness, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Weapon Focus
Novice Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 3rd tier.
- A sorcerer has been posing as an earthbound celestial, using his minor magic to convince people of his story and gain favors. He has tricked one too many people and some of them want him dead. If he is killed, it could cause a crisis of faith for the people who know him.
- A tiefling approaches the celestial, asking for help in seeking redemption for past wrongs. She is vague about what sins she has committed and lapses easily into her old ways, but her intentions are good and she genuinely wants to change. If the celestial can convert her she could be a powerful ally.
Expert Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 6th tier.
- A noble family is pushing for a new law, banning any celestials from civilized areas because they challenge the local government’s jurisdiction. Few know that fiendish blood runs thick within the family, and this is the first step in their plot to control the country.
- A rift to a good-aligned Outer Plane opens at the same time and almost in the same location as a rift to an evil Outer Plane. If left alone, fiends will have an excellent foothold form which to launch an attack, to say nothing of the devastation the battles will wreak upon the area near the rifts.
Advanced Quests: These quests are appropriate for advancing through 9th tier.
- A mighty angel appears in the middle of a major city, announcing that judgement is upon it. The angel will find all evil citizens and put them to the sword or transport them to an unknown location. Is this a real reckoning, a dangerous hoax, or the enthusiastic attempts of a misguided judge?
- Spells with the (good) descriptor are failing, wreaking havoc for adventurers who rely on them. They cannot be cast in a small but rapidly growing area, which seems to be centered on the former meeting place of a long-defunct cult.
Legendary Quest: Fiendish influence is spreading. Entire towns are changing into devils, demons, and stranger creatures. Despite the sudden, often violent transition, people seem to maintain their original memories and personalities. Is this a sign of impending invasion, where fiends are masquerading as the people they replaced, or does this magic have a mundane source that fiends are manipulating to their own ends? In either case, how can it be stopped?
Blessed Blade (Su): The energies in your blood affect your weapons. As a swift action once per day per theme tier, you can cause your next weapon attack that turn to deal damage as though it was a holy weapon.
Celestial Resistances (Ex): Your body can resist the energies employed by fiends. You gain resistance 5 to an energy type of your choice and a +2 theme bonus to saving throws against petrification. You can gain this ability multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you select this ability, you gain resistance 5 to a different energy type.
Fiendsense (Su): You are attuned to the subtle energies of fiends. Select one type of evil outsider, such as devils or demons. You can detect that type of outsider as with detect evil.
Greater Fiendsense (Su): Finding fiends is as easy for you as breathing. You no longer need to concentrate to use fiendsense; it is always active. You can switch between detecting in a radius or a cone as a swift action. You must be at least 7th tier and possess the improved fiendsense theme ability before selecting this ability.
Improved Celestial Resistances (Ex): Your body is impressively resistant to unnatural attacks. Your resistance to one energy type from celestial resistances increases to 10, and your bonus to saving throws against petrification increases to +4. You also gain a +2 theme bonus to saving throws against poison. You must be at least 7th tier and possess the celestial resistances theme ability before selecting this ability.
Improved Fiendsense (Su): You can sense fiends even when you cannot see them. Your fiendsense can detect evil outsiders in a 5-foot radius per tier instead of a 60-foot cone. You must be at least 4th tier and possess the fiendsense theme ability before selecting this ability.
Lesser Truespeech (Su): You speak with the voice of a celestial. One minute per day per tier you can speak with any creature that has a language, as though using a tongues spell. You can divide the duration however you like, but it must be in one-minute increments. The caster level for this effect is equal to your level.
Planar Traveler (Su): You can mitigate the most pervasive effects of the Outer Planes.. You take no penalty due to being on a planes whose alignment does not match yours.
Suppress Nature (Su): You know people aren’t always comfortable around celestials. As a swift action you can suppress your aura of good for one round. While your aura is suppressed, spells and effects detect you as though you had no alignment. You must be at least 4th tier before selecting this ability.
Heavenly Aura (Su): Your very presence shakes evil creatures and bolsters your allies. At 4th tier, you have a powerful aura of good, as a cleric of your character level. As a standard action you can manifest either an angel’s protective aura or an archon’s aura of menace, except that the radius is only 5 feet. This protective aura does not grant the benefits of magic circle from evil or lesser globe of invulnerability, and you do not gain the +2 racial bonus to the DC of the aura of menace. You can sustain this aura for up to one round per day per tier. The caster level for this effect is equal to your level.
Angelic Flight (Su): You can soar through the heavens. At 7th tier, for one minute per day per tier you can grow wings and fly with a speed of 60 feet (good). You can cause the wings to appear or disappear as a move action. Your clothing and armor reshape themselves to allows the wings to grow. to You can divide the duration however you like, but it must be in one-minute increments. The caster level for this effect is equal to your level. You select the type of wings when you gain this ability and you may not change them afterward.
True Ascension (Ex): You become the celestial being you always knew you were. At 10th tier you are treated as an outsider with the (good) subtype for the purpose of spells and magical effects. You gain darkvision out to 60 feet and you no longer need to eat or sleep. Additionally, you gain damage reduction 5/evil.