On Thursday last week I wrote a post about the nature and game mechanics of aasimar in Exploration Age. In that post I hinted briefly that deva PCs would be available to my players as well. This was not the first time I mentioned deva – they also made an appearance in a post I wrote about the multiverse in Exploration Age. So now, let’s get a little more in-depth with the deva as a PC race in Exploration Age.

The Eternal War

Reborn and ready for war.

No one is sure which came first – the demonic rakshasa or the angelic deva. Both claim to have given rise to the other. It certainly is a chicken and egg situation. A deva who lives an evil life will be reborn as a rakshasa and a rakshasa may defy its nature, live a life of selflessness and charity, and be reborn a deva. These two races, who are so connected, also hate one another. Both will stop at nothing to see their enemy’s complete obliteration. Of course each race’s immortality makes that nigh impossible, unless all deva are reborn as rakshasa or visa versa.

Deva live on the plane of Biatopia, fighting a never-ending was with the rakshasa as both races are eternally reborn. Deva have bards who sing at the top of their voices in battles. These bards focus on songs of selfless heroic deeds and the value of good. It is the hope of the deva forces these songs will change the hearts of the rakshasa before their deaths in battle and bring the demonic beings back as one of the good guys. This tactic rarely works, but it is only one method the deva use to convert their foes. Many defeated rakshasa are taken as prisoners of the deva, confined to small, anti-magic cells, where they are shackled. The deva then engage the rakshasa in a sort of conditioning to try and make them see the light. This tactic seems to have some success, but the rakshasa actually seem to be slowly winning the war.

The rakshasa tactic is very straight forward. They commit acts of atrocious evil against the deva and try to make the deva retaliate in kind. The eternal war has broken the spirit of many deva and some are pushed over the edge when rakshasa openly torture their friends.

Some deva (and rakshasa) are so weary of The Eternal War and so these renegades have left Biatopia in hopes of seeking a better life on the Material Plane.

Deva Religion

Most deva believe their immortal souls are actually a piece of a soul of one true creator god who they call Zaxa. Their religion is known as Zaxism and they believe this god was benevolent. It is said when Zaxa created the multiverse, the effort tore his soul asunder into many small pieces. These pieces fell into Biatopia and became the deva. As deva lived their lives, those who were wicked were reborn as rakshasa. Zaxists believe if they can convert all rakshasa to deva they can enact a ritual in which they will sacrifice themselves and restore Zaxa to existence.

Zaxists are told that Zaxa’s heart survived the creation of the multiverse and was forged by a deva master craftsman into a hammer. This hammer, Zaxa’s Heart, is said to be able to remove both deva and rakshasa who are slain by it from existence. Those laid low by the hammer will not be reborn. If this is true, there is no way to know. Zaxa’s Heart was lost long ago in a battle during The Eternal War. Ranmar, the first deva to wield the hammer was captured by the rakshasa in battle before he got to use it. Before his capture he teleported the weapon away to an unknown location. Ranmar has not been heard from for thousands of years.

Deva as PCs

Just checking out my orb. Like ya do.

Many deva worry that they are forsaking the cause of their people when they head to Canus seeking a life of adventure and leave the front lines of The Eternal War. Biatopia’s deva citizens are warned that this act alone is selfish enough to fate them to a rakshasa rebirth. Though many now know truth is much more complicated.

Some deva adventure so they might experience new worlds and cultures. Others leave Biatopia in the hopes of actually accomplishing something in the multiverse as opposed to fighting a desperate, never-ending war. Then there are those who strike out on their own for a greedy purpose. They don’t wish to be part of The Eternal War any longer because they don’t enjoy working with a group and want to live a life at the expense of others. These devas often feel they are owed something for their service and are usually the ones reborn as rakshasa in Biatopia when they die.

A deva’s life on Canus is one of discoveries both wondrous and disappointing. The variety of experiences and the moments of life’s pure joy astound and delight most deva, while the cruelty of non-demonic humanoids disgusts them. Deva often find themselves fighting a different sort of never-ending war, against the cruelty of civilized humanoid races. This can make some deva jaded, broken, and world-weary. Too many lifetimes with such cruelty has turned more than one deva toward alcoholism and orange spice addiction.

For other adventuring deva, this is not their first lifetime on Canus. They have been in the Material Plane and other places in the multiverse for as far back as they might remember. These deva usually have a pleasant outlook on the world and sometimes travel with the ancestors of people with whom they adventured lifetimes ago.

A deva adventurer might be a wizard traveling the multiverse in search of the origin of magic, a cleric searching the Material Plane for rakshasa to kill, a barbarian tired of The Eternal War and hoping to do some real good in Canus, or anything you dream.

Deva Traits

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 1, your Wisdom score by 2.

Age. Devas are born as humans and have an immortal life span. They do not die of old age, but can be killed by disease or by wounds.

Alignment. Most devas tend toward good alignment. They may have been first made that way, and now lifetime after lifetime has taught them that being virtuous to others has its own reward. Many deva are also lawful. They follow their own codes of conduct so they don’t slip into a wicked life and return as the thing they hate most.

Size. Deva range from 6 to 6-and-a-half feet tall and weigh as much as humans do. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Astral Resistance. You have resistance to necrotic and radiant damage.

Cantrip. You know one cantrip of your choice from the cleric spell list. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability score for it.

Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes. When you make an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check and dislike the result, you can roll 1d10 and add it to the result. You must complete a short rest before you can use this ability again.

Worldly Knowledge. You have proficiency in the History skill.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Celestial and Common.

The End… Or Is It?

You know what? You guys are awesome. Thank you for reading, sharing, and commenting on my blog. Last week was my most successful week ever and that is thanks to you all.

Since you have been so awesome, I actually want to share a few more of the game mechanic I created for some more D&D races which won’t be in the player’s handbook. Say hello to the mul, shardmind, and thri-kreen. You can read more about these races in Exploration Age in my previous post Stealing Races.

Mul Traits

This guy is pumped to be here.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, your Constitution score by 1.

Age. Muls mature a few years before humans, and have a slightly shorter lifespan.

Alignment. Muls usually to keep to themselves and not get too involved in the matters of others, so they tend to be more neutral rather than good or evil. They run the gamut with respect to law and chaos. Some lawful muls have personal codes which guide their adventuring, while chaotic muls live life without caring what others may think of them.

Size. Mul range from 5 to a little over 5-and-a-half feet tall. Your size is Medium.

Darkvision. Thanks to your dwarven heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 30 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Dwarven Toughness. Your hit point maximum increases by 1, and it increases by 1 every time you gain a level.

Incredible Resolve. You can end any incapacitated, paralyzed, or stunned condition effecting you on the start of your turn. You must complete a short rest before you can use this ability again.

Mul Vitality. You gain an extra hit die.

Tireless. You have advantage on saving throws and ability checks against increasing your exhaustion level.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Dwarven.

Shardmind Traits

Fancy!

Ability Score Increase. Your Intelligence score increases by 2, your Wisdom score by 1.

Age. Shardmind are forged as fully-formed adults and have an immortal lifespan.

Alignment. Shardminds tend toward neutrality on both the good and evil scale and the law and chaos scale.

Size. Shardminds are the same height as and slightly heavier then humans. Your size is Medium.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Construct Rest. Instead of sleeping, you enter a sleep‐like state. You need to remain in it for only 4 hours each day. You do not dream; instead, you are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal. After resting this way, you gain the same benefits a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

Crystalline Mind. You have resistance against psychic damage.

Living Construct. Even though you were constructed, you are a humanoid. You are immune to disease. You do not need to eat or breathe, but you can ingest food and drink if you wish.

Shard Swarm. As an action, your body breaks apart and moves 15 feet and reforms. This movement does not provoke opportunity attacks. Every creature adjacent to you before you move must make a Dexterity saving throw (DC 8 + your Intelligence modifier + proficiency). Creatures who fail the saving throw take 1d10 piercing damage. You must rest before you can use this ability again.

Telepathy. You can communicate telepathically with any creature within 60 feet of you that understands a language.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and one other language of your choice.

Thri-kreen Traits

Look, Ma! Four hands!

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, your Wisdom score by 1.

Age. Thri-kreen have short life spans. They mature around five years of age, and only live about 30 years.

Alignment. Many thri-kreen are lawful neutral. They are loyal to their friends and tribe, but suspicious of those they do not know well.

Size. Thri-kreen are usually around 7 feet tall and weigh between 400 and 500 pounds. Your size is Medium.

Darkvision. You have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 35 feet.

Multiple Arms. Thri-kreen have two large arms and two smaller arms. Your large arms function as a human’s normally do, and the smaller arms can be used to wield light weapons in combat. As a bonus action, you may use your thri-kreen claw attack or attack with a light weapon wielded by of the smaller arms. You do not add your ability modifier to the damage of this bonus action attack.

Natural Jumper. Whenever you make a Strength (athletics) check to jump, you have advantage. In addition, you are always considered to have moved at least 10 feet on foot whenever you jump, even if you have not (in other words, you always jump as if you had a running start). You can long jump a number of feet equal to 5 + your Strength score and high jump a number of feet equal to 5 + your Strength modifier.

Thri-kreen Claws. Thri-kreen have claws. These natural attacks count as light, finesse melee weapons which deals 1d6 piercing damage. All thri-kreen are proficient with their claws.

Torpor. Instead of sleeping, you enter a state of torpor. You need to remain in it for only 4 hours each day. You are fully aware of your surroundings and notice approaching enemies and other events as normal when you are in this state. After resting this way, you gain the same benefits a human does from 8 hours of sleep.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Thri-kreen.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

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Comments
  1. joelastowski says:

    Tell me the deva bards’ war songs sound like the 5th element song that their “deva” sang. Even if they don’t, that’s how I intend to imagine them.

    Regarding Deva religion, through no fault of your own you’ve called up memories of an old sci-fi themed board game I had as a kid: Zaxxon (which was also a video game… the first to use axonometric projection to create a 3D effect). Not sure how that will color my perception of the deva god/hammer, but I’m sure it will. For your reference, here’s an online version: http://www.tripletsandus.com/80s/80s_games/zaxxon.htm

    Out of curiosity, did/does Arkhosia exist in your world? I’ve always taken devas’ lawfulness as their chief flaw, often leading them to fundamentalist atrocities in the name of following the gods’ laws exactly. A totalitarian city like that could be a really unique addition, esp it if’s the only place other PCs can teleport to as they head to Biatopia (not unlike that city of doors in Planescape).

    Good stuff. Glad to see that some of the “less popular” races will still be seeing daylight in your 5E setting. I’ve played PCs from all 4 of these races in 4E, and enjoyed them each for their unique flavor (and their interesting stats/abilities… Lair Assaults were often quite demanding).

    Liked by 1 person

    • These are some of my favorite races so there was NO WAY I was leaving them out. Glad you like them too! Arkhosia doesn’t exist, but I do think a Deva totalitarian city is pretty badass!!!!! I’ll see if I can work that in…

      I forgot about that Fifth Element song. That’s definitely it.

      Like

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