"...and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face."
Redoing the Monster Manual some more…
|click to enlarge|
Our plane of existence is sentient. It knows it exists and can see itself.
It's also, naturally, 4-dimensionally aware--it can see all of time at once, and thus all of cause and effect.
So there's none of this "noticing something's wrong and sending an angel down from heaven to address it" that's strictly 3-dimensional thinking. The Prime Material Plane is and has always been aware of any potential problems.
What possible problems could there be? The Plane is existence itself, right? (Echo of an old philosophical problem: why would God need to do anything like a miracle or sending an angel down if the universe works exactly how he wanted it to work?) Surely everything that happens in it is part of the Plane.
Well, almost: The Prime Material Plane can see all of itself as a kind of 4-dimensional sculpture from the inside, with breaks in it where threats from other planes intrude on or threaten it. It can't see those other planes directly, they are not of its substance). The plane can just see where they are interfering with it--the same way that from the inside of a tin can you can't see who's kicking it, but you might see the dent.
So, from the beginning of time, angels have been seeded by the Plane itself to be in exactly the appropriate moment in space-time to address these "dents". Angels are not sent, they simply arise at the right moment.
This conveniently means the angel isn't necessarily a totally useless good guy in the game so much as something dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the Plane. So if players are involved in anything that frays the barriers between planes, then they have to deal with an angel. For example, an angel might mature and manifest at the exact moment the players are about to cross a barrier to the Astral Plane or summon an particularly powerful elemental creature.
Notes in red on the picture:
1. Over by the red 1 I put the three most common manifestations--(i.e. where angels come from): a human can discover they are an angel (typically a paladin that reaches 21st level at exactly the right moment), a statue can come to life (not unlike a gargoyle's relation to a demon), or an animal can evolve into an angel.
2. Angels in the game typically have a whole laundry-list of resistances and immunities which I simplified to a more mythic rule: Angels can't be hurt by anything from our plane. I'd assume most magic is mostly manipulating things from our plane (fireballs, shadows) but summoned demons (and the weapons they carry and that grow from their bodies) aren't, and a lot of magic items aren't. Clerical magic that manipulates stuff from our plane (lightning, ice) can't hurt them, but anything that channels divine power directly can.
3. Rather than use the Deva, Planetar, Solar hierarchy--which is just one of those "Remember when you fought these guys 4 levels ago? Well here's a tougher one!" hierarchies and replaced it with the Hebrew one--10 ranks of angels from Ishim to Chayot with corresponding HD levels. Added bonus is that tradition assigns many of these angels freaky characteristics like the Chayot has six wings and is covered in eyes. Bonus to using Hebrew mystic names: you can name them ominous things like "Angel of Six Roads" "Angel of Hypothermia" "Angel of Subtraction".
4. Angels carry shields (I know because St Michael does in all the paintings). The shield makes the angel immune to all divine magic. It only works for angels and demons, so stealing it doesn't steal the power, it just deprives them of it.
5. I also figure there are weird things that just happen around angels. Call them Aura Actions? Like animals start singing, etc.
Most of the given combat profile is fine as far as it goes (it's a tough guy with wings), though I decided the flaming arrows and sword that fights by itself were dead cheesy.
I think each individual angel should probably be custom-made with extra powers for its purpose and where it appears. Add slightly modified demon traits if the specific situation doesn't suggest abilities on its own.