What Are Celestial Patrons In DND?

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  • The Benefit Of A Celestial Patron

In Dungeons & Dragons, clerics draw power from deities and strong belief systems, letting their faith guide them into manifesting profound divine magic. They might spend hours devoted to studying and memorizing the texts and tenets of their belief systems, or they may fumble through their religion, hoping the decisions they make are the right ones. Warlocks, thankfully, don’t have this issue.


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By making a bargain with a Celestial, they can have power that would regularly take years of devotion, and consequentially may find themselves drawn to the facsimile of divine power they’ve been granted, utilizing it to revive and defend.


What Is A Celestial?

A dwarven spellcaster in bejeweled clothes surrounded in flames
Guardian of Faith by Matthew Stawicki

A Celestial can be many different things, but they primarily are creatures who represent themselves as the paragons of virtue and greater good. They are either in service to good-aligned gods, work in opposition to evil, or are themselves deities. They can be any one of these creatures:

Devas

An angelic being with a humanoid form.

Ki-rin

An equine with a single horn known to be a paragon of luck.

Solar

An angelic being who refuses to take worshipers, standing as the right hand to a divine being.

Empryean

A divine giant.

Hollyphant

A tiny, flying elephant covered in golden fur.

Unicorn

Another single-horned equine with the ability to sense evil.

A celestial patron has the benefit of being quite upfront about their motives, as celestials don’t allow for much interpretation. Either something is good, or it is evil. Neutrality may exist, but it will bend good or evil eventually, and if there is one thing a celestial patron does not suffer, it is evil intentions.

Some aasimon, or angels, have been cast out of the Celestial Plane for committing even a single evil act.

While a celestial’s origins may vary, they are almost always working towards some divine plan and seek out the dark corners of the world to bring their cleansing light to it. This does not mean that all celestials have the knowledge of what’s right, however.

The idea of what’s good comes easily to them, but lawful good is not lawful nice, and many celestials have purged and killed to preserve what they hold sacred. Yet, many celestials would be surprised to hear that such behavior may be considered evil in some circles.

Though the little nuances of life may evade some of them, a few celestials who have fallen retain their celestial nature, further expanding the types of patron the Celestial Warlock may have. Some celestials may be fallen angels who don’t regret what they did but refuse to turn even more to darkness in an attempt to halt any fiendish tendencies.

Some may still believe themselves to be quite good but have lost themselves to outside corruption, performing heinous acts that they can justify to themselves. This broadens the morality and type of celestial your warlock may bargain with.

According to canon, a celestial WILL become a fiend if it becomes too evil. That being said, many have left behind the idea of an inherent alignment system, so you may want to find a good way to distinguish why your patron hasn’t become a demon if you want a more morally dubious patron out of the celestial.

Celestial Pacts

Guardian of Faith by Brian Valeza
Guardian of Faith by Brian Valeza

So, with all this morality going around, one has to wonder why a celestial may make a pact. Fortunately, this is answerable. Most celestials have around three main goals that you can pick from at any time:

  1. Destroy the undead
  2. Defeat evil
  3. Defend the innocent

These make creating an agreement between warlock and patron fairly simple, but you can still be creative. For instance, a celestial may take on a warlock to go where they cannot. After all, a deva is powerful, but he is not omnipotent. He may use the warlock to go roving the countryside looking for fiendish activity or to collect information on a mysterious plague spreading through the lower quarters of a city.

While he does this, a solar may take on a warlock to protect the realm, teaching her magic in return for her service. A unicorn may ask the warlock to move through the forests and heal the animal victims of a forest fire, and a god may want the warlock to check up on their unruly aasimar children.

The celestial will not demand a soul or (usually) slaughter. They don’t even desire influence. They will, however, request that the warlock enact diplomacy, oversight, or perform some sort of practical act they couldn’t otherwise handle themselves.

Why Not A Cleric?

Clerics are a bit more rigid. For starters, many celestials can’t lend their divinity to clerics, as they’re sworn to gods, like in the case of the solar.

Secondly, the relationship between the warlock and the patron is contractual. A cleric is there on the payroll for life, but the warlock works freelance and has a bit more wiggle room for the celestial to take advantage of.

Something evil and cult-like is happening in Waterdeep, but the easiest clean-up doesn’t line up with a demigod’s portfolio? Well, the cleric has to represent the demigod’s ideals, but Steve the Warlock could probably give the cult leader a couple of clean stabs and sort the whole messy situation out without anything truly divine getting involved.

Paladins don’t risk oathbreaking, clerics don’t utilize the demigod’s divine power and leave a trail to follow, and the warlock gets to do some dirty work for a good cause. Everyone’s happy.

The Benefit Of A Celestial Patron

Mount Celestia via Wizards of the Coast
Gates of Heaven by Piotr Dura

A Celestial Warlock is a great source of hitpoints in a pinch and you get access to Radiant Soul, a feature that grants you resistance to fire and radiant damage. You can add your Charisma modifer to this roll, which will add on the damage if a spell you cast does either of these. With the expanded spell list being so good, you can guarantee you’ll be making use of it. Mechanically, the celestial warlock can potentially run laps around the Divine Soul Sorcerer as a healer and utility caster, so choosing this patron may pay off well.

The Celestial Warlock is unique in that it textually describes the connection to the divine changing your behavior— something that is not shared by Fiend Warlocks. Some Celestial Warlocks start feeling driven to achieve all three of a general celestial’s goals with vigor, as well as feeling a deep longing to see the heavenly Celestial Plane.

This gives you an immediate in as a warlock if you’re looking to play a redemption arc connected to your backstory, as well as some guidelines to play off of if you should so wish. With built-in help, this patron choice is accessible to new players or new spellcasters.

Further, a celestial patron introduces planar plotlines for the enterprising Dungeon Master and lets them try their hand at experimenting with celestials outside of a cleric potentially indifferent god. The party may find themselves assisting in a divine war, escaping the clutches of a fiend, or cleaning up their friend’s holy patron’s messes.

NEXT: Dungeons & Dragons: How To Build A Celestial Warlock

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