Devas appeared as human-like men and women[note 1] of extraordinary beauty or handsomeness with two magnificent feathered wings emerging from their backs. Astral devas were especially tall, standing 7.0–7.5 feet (2.1–2.3 meters) tall and weighing 250 pounds (113 kilograms), but particularly mighty examples could grow to much larger size. Be that as it may, they had lithe and supple bodies, long wings, and moved with grace and unearthly speed. They had golden-hued skin, fair or golden hair, amber-colored eyes, and white wings tinted with gold, and glowed with an inner power, so bright it was hard to look directly upon them.[note 2]
Devas were averse to clothing; when they must adhere to mortal custom, they donned simple loincloths or other coverings.
The astral devas were the strongest of the devas. Nevertheless, the orders of the devas were politically equal, and there was no rivalry between them. Although the orders might sometimes bicker over differences in personality, they always cooperated.
Astral devas chiefly existed to battle fiends in the outer Lower Planes, being able to travel there with ease. They also traveled to the Astral Plane to rescue lost or stranded mortals of good alignment. Otherwise, they performed services for their sovereigns. They generally watched over and, where they could, aided good beings and served as patrons for planewalkers and mighty creatures who pursued good causes.
Each astral deva wielded a large mace-like weapon equivalent to a +3 mace of disruption or a +3 heavy mace of disruption, known as a celestial mace. They had no need of any treasure or wealth, but might still carry useful items.
Reacting swiftly, astral devas entered melee without hesitation or fear, and were ferocious and joyous in fighting evil creatures. They attacked with power and cleaved through the ranks of their enemies. They wielded their maces with finesse.
Astral devas possessed all the powers, protections, and traits common to devas and to other angels, and many more of their own. They were immune to injury from mundane and minor magical weapons. Furthermore, astral devas were entirely immune to death spells, loss of experience or life-force, and the effects of vacuum. Their souls could never be trapped or imprisoned. As their names suggested, they were the only kind of deva capable of travelling astrally without a deity's command.
In addition to the common spells of devas, astral devas could also cast blade barrier In addition, it was originally reported they could cast dispel illusion, dispel invisibility of any kind, polymorph self, and remove curse, and later just detect invisibility. Later, it was reported they could cast cure light wounds, dispel evil, dispel magic, heal, holy aura, holy word, invisibility (but only upon themselves), and see invisibility. If capable of psionics, they learned the psionic blast, mind thrust, ego whip, and psychic crush attack modes, and the mind blank, thought shield, and mental barrier defense modes.
When a deva died on the Prime Material plane or the Elemental planes, all parts of their body, what clothes they wore, their maces, and their other possessions vanished completely. Only their material body was destroyed, while their immortal spirit returned to their home plane. It took ten years to regain the power to manifest a corporeal form. If they died on any other plane, then they were destroyed utterly.
A good and mighty spellcaster could summon and command an astral deva with a gate or planar ally spell and an especially holy one could summon one in the awesome armageddon spell. To a lesser degree, the celestial aspect spell could grant the wings of an astral deva to a holy spellcaster.
In 1369 DR, a group of six astral and monadic devas, led by Ariziel, was dispatched to capture the Winged, a dark planetar cast out from Celestia for failing Torm. The devas could not overcome the Winged, and found themselves captured in turn. They were turned into fallen devas and forced to fight in the gladiatorial arena of the Winged's master, the Thayan wizard Dennaton, where they eventually perished.
Notable Astral Devas
- Lumalia, a servant of Mystra held prisoner within the Doomvault for centuries.
- Micus and Tauran, high-ranking servants of Tyr.
- Eirwyn, a servant of Helm and skilled diviner.
- The Monstrous Compendium Planescape Appendix for 2nd-edition D&D states that devas appeared as male humans, suggesting that they were only male. This was corrected in Warriors of Heaven, which on page 40 states that, contrary to the popular view, devas could be either gender. It explains, "Previous claims that all devas were male probably grew from the tales of explorers new to the planes who happened to see a few males and jumped to the wrong conclusion." The Monster Manual and Fiend Folio for 3rd edition only state that they appear as humans, but the Fiend Folio artwork presents the movanic deva as female, confirming that devas can be of either sex in 3e as well.
- The appearances of devas have been switched in each edition, though astral devas have remained consistent. However, in Monster Manual v.3.5, the artwork gives the astral deva a darker complexion similar to the monadic deva.
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