10 April 2024

Review: Zariel's Guide to the Seven Heavens

tl:dr; a useful toolkit on making lawful good celestials interesting to play, as NPCs and as adversaries for adventurers.

From Sven Truckenbrodt, someone I've been following a while (see Wolpertinger, Wererat - Well!) we get a supplement talking about celestials and how to make them adversaries and/or use them to drive adventures. I am always keen to read into the topic because it is indeed a tricky one to address. The Lawful Good Seven Heavens are hard to pry adventure out of - the place is a fortress crammed with angels, what is an adventurers angle? The broader question of how to generate adventure on the good side of the upper planes can be a tricky one and this is a good delve into the residents to try and answer that.

Cover by WarmTail

First impression - good art, nice design, an interesting reds and golds general palette which is different to the usual celestial white and blue one might expect. It works well here.

So what is all this stuff you get in here?
First 24 pages on Playing Celestials
Next 8 pages on Celestial Gifts
Next 16 pages on Aasimar Lineages
Last 42 pages of a bestiary

So what is in here chunk by chunk?

We open with a double page 'Zariels Story' - told as Zariel sees it herself - to set the tone for this supplement.

The Playing Celestials section is driven by 12 virtues each of which gets a discussion of its ideal manifestation, its absences and what it looks like in excess. The core engine of making Celestials interesting here is that they are striving to uphold these virtues which often conflict in different situations. Each celestial will hold one or other virtues as a more personal focus which may lead to excess in some, deficiencies in others to further drive interesting actions and reactions.

There are six x d4 tables which look at many common tropes of angelic behaviours - direct conflict with fiends, guardianship of mortals, falling angels, beauty and incorruptibility - and then teases these apart to give some possible adventure hooks to drive celestials. We get a further six x d4 tables of Celestial Dramas around things like virtue, order, dogma, relics that give hooks for how celestials can be the adversaries for adventurers.

In Celestial Gifts we get a number of boons that range from minor things can be bestowed by almost any celestial to those only granted by CR12 and higher beings - granting comprehension of languages and cyphers for instance. Six celestial artefacts round out the section. The blessings are neat and a driver for adventurers to make journeys to find and plead aid from celestials.

In Aasimar Lineages we get a toolkit to build-your-own Aasimar lineage by combining some obligatory traits with a selection of major and minor trains - with the traits split by physical and cultural. Lots of interesting potential for players in here to cook up something interesting, lots of inspiration for GMs to come up with unique NPCs. As a bonus, each Aasimar comes with an Angelic guide who is supposed to be guiding them to their true potential - lots of fun RP potential here when used judiciously. We get some guidance on avoiding scene-stealing and four d8 tables of Dogma, Presentation, Eccentricity and Virtue if you want some seeds to shape such an angelic guide.

The bestiary, Celestial Beings, has 21 entries broadly progressing up the CR curve from 0 to 22 with each entry with a few clusters around CR 3, 6 and 13 to give a wide range of celestials. There is a good variety of celestials and each comes with notes on how it might act socially and in combat, along with possible rewards and aid it might grant.

This is a neat celestial toolkit where they are thin on the ground with this level of 'DM utility'. I rolled up an Angelic Guide to see if something useable for my home campaign popped out and it was an instantly useful NPC. The only thing one might be disappointed by is that there are this is not the Gazetteer of Mount Celestia one could possibly suspect from the title, but we have a fair few of those already. Some of the same terrain was covered by the old AD&D Warriors of Heaven but I like the 'DM tools' focus taken by Guide to the Seven Heavens. The focus on the Lawful Good side of things means you can flex the content in here for Arcadia and Bytopia (going by the Great Wheel) not just Mount Celestia but does leave quite a lot of upper planar white space still to be explored for the neutral and chaotic good side of things. This does help bring Lawful Good celestials into a bit more granular focus and serves up a whole bunch of prompts and hooks to make then interesting, giving them a bit more texture and angles to play with without dropping the fundamental Lawful Good core of their being. Not something we get a lot of detail about elsewhere, so this is a neat addition to the shelf.


  1. Can we get a link to the product?

  2. Can we please get a product link?