I guess it’s a bit of a cheat to title this article “heavenly heaven-beings” but jokes are fun! Welcome to another glimpse into Rolefinder. Now thanks to Mothers day being around the corner I deliberately chose Angels to focus on (and you better believe Fathers day will be Devils). Yet in four years of active GMing, I haven’t run a single Angel yet… why not?
Angels are different things to different people. There’s the romantic type, who shoot people with arrows and make them fall in love. Or guardian Angels, meant to help you find lost items or help you avoid walking into Giant spider webs. I can see the heroic/adventurous Angel mostly as a champion of Good and Justice, however, that’s the role I imagine for my players. Not that they’re law abiding citizens by any means (at one point 3 PCs were Chaotic and the last one was true Neutral!) but when it comes time for a hero, my PCs are it. Maybe I’m giving my players too much credit, but to me, they’re the Angels.
What about Angels of smaller things? You’ve got a wide area to work with, you could minimize the classic idea and make Angels of anything. Toadstools. Rocks. The sky, etc. Though in these cases I find that there are already so many creatures that fill those roles. Fey look after nature. Rocs the sky, Sphinxes make natural librarians, etc. So what role do I see for Angels in fantasy settings? Almost none. Maybe they’re fallen, in which case they’re more of a Demon type, but otherwise my PCs replace the roles I imagine for Angels to take up.
So the answer is obvious, right? Run an evil campaign with a big nasty Angel Paladin as the big boss? Nah, I just resolved to look elsewhere.
Enter Starfinder! That place is TOO big to fill. Every planet has it’s own setup, ecosystem, social classes, races, religions, etc. Impossible to fill up. The future is where I see Angels, and I just get a real buzz of excitement when I think of one decked out with a visor that sees infra-red and a blade that crackles with electric energy. Don’t ask me why, it just works for me.
True enough I could give an Angel night-vision and a Shocking sword in Pathfinder, but again that just seems to be better given to my players. In space though? I picture Angels more as celestial helpers, lone individuals traveling space to save those stranded on alien, unsettled planets. Or to smite down those damn Goblins about to steal your starship! Angels, in space, have a job of “universal rescue” and there is a lot of universe to save.
How could I tie these Angels into my Starfinder campaign, then? A basic part of being a GM is to prepare for all contingencies, and death is a very real one. Total party kills happen all the time. Seeing I want Angels to be helpers in my campaign, they can activate in case of a total party kill. The PCs wake up some time later in their ice pods. Their starship is equipped with ice pods so PCs who die can be frozen and “cured of death” later on, should the player not want to roll up a new character. But when the whole party dies who is there to put PCs into these amazing ice pods in the first place?
The Angels no doubt! They have defeated the enemy that killed the team, placed everyone in their starship ice pods, and fly it to the relative safety of their hidden extra moon off Victomas. The Angel has indeed saved everyone’s life, but to repay the debt you must now rid the planet of the star-mites that have infested it. And you won’t get the keys back until you do!
OH WAIT, did I forget to mention something? The Angels are well aware of their powers in space; not needing to breathe, or eat, and always having a form of propulsion. So much so that they’ve turned a bit mercenary. They will save you, no worries about that, but then paying back that saving can take a session or two. Yeah, these Angels aren’t stupid. Back in Pathfinder they may have had their Gods watching over them all the time, and their powers were purely for good and lawful behavior. In Starfinder there is “just so much of space, and we’re so far from home – where the Gods are – that we’ve lost our Lawfulness just a bit, but we’re all still Good here”.
“No, seriously,” I can picture a statuesque Barachius in pristine white armor saying, “I’ve saved your lives no questions asked–That is good. And helping me do a better job, by killing those space-mites, is also a good act.” It smiles before it says “Off you pop,” and flies off into the air, probably for a cup of tea with its feet up, now that you’re doing its gardening. Damned Angels.
I love this idea, especially because people aren’t expecting it. I’ve said before a situation that makes your players ask questions is good because it engages them. And this setup does that. A total party kill should mean reroll your character, right? Not when the GM says “Keep your character sheets for next session.” That raises an instant question – “But why? We’re all dead.” Next, an Angel has apparently saved you all and flown you to an unknown location. “Is it the same planet? Are we back in our major city? What about the encounter that killed us, is it dealt with? There was some insane android talking about evolving?” And of course my favorite question; “The Angel wants us to what for saving our lives? PAY!?”
So, Angels are like Mothers, though rereading this article makes it look like mine is some spare-faring haggling mercenary. She’s not, but I’m always so taken with roleplaying because you can take a well-trodden idea and really revamp it, and subvert everyone’s expectations, and get a truly awesome encounter out of it. There’s just one problem with my idea though: it only happens in case of a total party kill. What if a sadistic GM just got so bored one day, they purposely put in a fight that was well above the PCs level…because, you know… Angels happen?
Join me next time when I look at how to set up your real-world session. Rules and story are great, but what if everyone has to sit in awful wooden chairs for hours, with the only toilet being an outhouse infested with redback spiders?
And as promised, here is the Summer version of our “Android of the Year.” Enjoy!
“Summer” CR 5 Android Bounty Hunter Soldier 5
HP 39 SP 45 RP 6
EAC 22; KAC 20
Fort +6; Ref +3; Will +5
Speed 30 ft.
Melee flaming carbon steel curveblade +8 (1d10+8 S & F)
Ranged static arc, pistol +7 (1d6+5 E, [ARC 2]) corona laser rifle +7 (2d6+5 F, [burn 1d6])
Offensive Abilities rune of the eldritch knight, secret of the magi
Str +3; Dex +2; Con +2; Int +1; Wis +1; Cha +1
Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +6, Engineering +6, Intimidate +6, Medicine +6, Piloting +7, Profession ( Cha, Iconoclast) +6, Survival +7.
Feats Deadly Aim, Jet Dash, Mobility, Unfriendly Fire
Languages Common, Vesk, Ysoki
Other Abilities Gear boost: Brutal flash
Gear Lashunta ringear II with jump jets upgrade, static arc pistol, corona laser rifle, flaming carbon steel curveblade, 3x flash grenade I, MK 1 synaptic accelerator [ Charisma]
Nanites of Rebirth
Due to Summer’s special creation, destroying her body only means it takes time (often months) for her component nanites to find one another and reform completely. Each recreation is an entirely new character but with all the memories of previous incarnations of the same android.