According to the SRD 3.x and its derivatives the generic term for anthropomorphic personifications of good and evil are celestial and fiend, respectively. For example, angels and archons are both celestials, demons and devils are both fiends, and hybrids thereof are known as half-celestials and half-fiends.

What is the equivalent generic term for anthropomorphic personifications of the other cosmic forces: chaos, law and neutrality?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please make the tags and the question match. Right now, it looks like you are asking about 3e/3.5, but your tags also suggest pathfinder and the whole OSR subgenre. Which system are you asking about? \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Jul 12 '16 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ As touched on by the question, this is a thing only 3.xe and it's derivative do/did, so I've changed the tags to match. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jul 12 '16 at 14:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related Historical Note: Second Edition introduced the concept of "exemplar races" (Archons, Guardinals, Eladrin, Modrons, Rilmani, Slaadi, Baatezu, Yugoloth, and Tanar'ri), each of which embodied one of the nine alignments. 'Fiends' was a blanket term for a number of different races, including but not limited to the Tanari'ri, Baatezu, and Yugoloth; The 'Angels' (A.K.A. Devas) were a separate race quite apart from the others listed here. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Jul 13 '16 at 1:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ In large 3.X and its derivatives are based on a Good vs Evil divide primarily. There is no equivalent law vs chaos. The closest you'll get to that are (in large) Demons are Chaotic and Devils are Lawful. There were/are some settings that focused on Law vs Chaos, but were largely unknown. \$\endgroup\$ – Cyberspark Jul 13 '16 at 11:26

The closest answer is "anarchic", "axiomatic", and no word for neutral. But the question is strictly incorrect: there is no 3.5 generic term for anthropomorphic personifications of good or evil.

Celestial are a group of outsider races (angels, guardinals, some animals, etc) which are all good. They are not the only good races, nor are all good races celestials, nor are celestials anthropomorphic.

Similarly, "fiend" does not mean anthropomorphic personification of evil. Different writers waffle between whether it means "bad outsider" generally or whether it refers mostly to devils, demons, and yugoloths, but neither meaning indicates anthropomorphism or personification.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Indeed - Night Hags are evil outsiders that live in the Lower Planes, but they are not fiends. Couatls are good outsiders, but not Celestials. \$\endgroup\$ – SPavel Jul 12 '16 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ My reading of the SRD gives me the impression that the terms are indeed intended to be synonymous. The "outsider" keyword itself seems poorly named, as its definition changed between 3.0 and 3.5 yet the the monsters to which it applies were not similarly redefined and thus seem unable to decide if the keyword should remain synonymous with the "extraplanar" keyword added in 3.5 or refer exclusively to spiritual entities. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Jul 12 '16 at 18:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Anonymous "Extarplanar" is a subtype that outsiders get or lose depending on which plane they are currently on. And note that although "outsider" has some flavor text associating the type with planar things, it also subsumes the Native subtype. Also, a strict reading says that types just come with certain mechanical effects, and aren't necessarily associated by fluff (see: aberrations). \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Jul 12 '16 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fectin: Extraplanar is odd in that it acts like a condition but is labeled a subtype. Outsider in 3.0 simply meant extraplanar to the material plane (e.g. races like bauriaur and gith didn't need to eat or sleep nor could they be raised, which contradicts AD&D 2e). Whereas beast and shapechanger types were deprecated and reassigned, outsider was not and retains an ambiguous overlap with extraplanar (IIRC, ~90% of monsters extraplanar to the material plane are outsiders). \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Jul 13 '16 at 12:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Anonymous you recall incorrectly. Most dragons, undead, constructs, elementals, etc. also hang out in the planes. Outsider was indeed messy in 3.0, because it indicated whether something was from outside the Material Plane. That forced spells to function differently depending which plane they were cast on (MoP p.42). 3.5 cleaned that up. However, neither point is relevant to your original question. \$\endgroup\$ – fectin - free Monica Jul 13 '16 at 13:52

It is nowhere near as clear - and changed from 3.X to Pathfinder. The Pathfinder templates you're looking for are Resolute, Entropic, and Counterpoised. In 3.5 it was axiomatic and anarchic templates for law and chaos.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not looking for templates, but the terminology for anthropomorphic personifications. For example, axiomites and inevitables are personifications of law, chaos beasts and proteans are personifications of chaos, and psychopomps and aeons are personifications of neutrality. The SRD and its derivatives provide no generic terminology for referring to such entities as a group in the same way it does celestials and fiends. The adjectives "resolute", "entropic" and "counterpoised" are never used by the SRD and its derivatives for this purpose like "celestial" and "fiend" are. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Jul 12 '16 at 13:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then I don't think there is one. The law/chaos axis as originally intended was very different from the good/evil axis as originally intended. \$\endgroup\$ – Francis Jul 13 '16 at 0:00

The terms "celestial" and "fiend" do not represent specific personifications of the alignments. They are simply races/species/etc that do not live on the Prime Material Plane, and have a racial tendency towards that alignment. It's equivalent to Prime Material races/species having a tendency towards an alignment, such as how Orcs and Goblins are considered "evil" as a race.

Individual members of that race/etc might have a different alignment, and the races themselves are not specifically singularly aligned either. Devils are usually lawful, Demons are usually chaotic, and both represent a wide variety of subtypes. Thus neither is specifically the personification of evil.

A better term might be "an avatar of [singular alignment]". An avatar of Good would only be interested in helping good creatures, striking down evil creatures, and encouraging neutral creatures to choose the side of good. It would have no interest or concern over law vs chaos. It would be a very flat and alien perception of the world to mortals, and likewise the avatar of Good would probably not interact directly with mortals due to the insignificant scope of power any individual actually has, on a cosmic scale.

Similarly, the closer to being a "pure" personification of any normal alignment a given Outsider race is, the less likely it would be to deal directly with mortals due to their "impure and unpredictable" ways. Even the most strictly aligned lawful mortal is disturbingly chaotic to a being from the far outer planes.

That said, if all you were looking for is simply a way to refer to the races, then just refer to them by name. Grouping them by alignments has its own problems -- "The lawful Outsiders" could refer to Devils (LE), Modrons (LN), and Archons (LG).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was under the impression that monsters with an alignment subtype were literally made of that alignment in the same way that elementals, genies and mephits are made of their respective element. The description of the (evil) subtype states that creatures with that subtype are called fiends. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Jul 13 '16 at 12:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would say that's probably an area for individual DM's to decide how it works in their worlds. To me, for non-elementals, it simply doesn't make sense. A race composed of "congealed alignment" would simply be a flat featureless race, displaying only the epitome of its alignment. Every member of that species would be essentially identical and interchangeable. And that would be intensely boring, and kill off 90% of any adventure plots before they could even start. \$\endgroup\$ – tzxAzrael Jul 13 '16 at 16:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ That doesn't seem to be the case for genies, does it? \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Jul 13 '16 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Genies aren't composed of an alignment type, they are Elementals. Even so, Elementals easily play into stereotypes for their element. Fire is passionate and destructive, Earth is tough and slow-paced, Air is capricious and often a trickster, and so on. \$\endgroup\$ – tzxAzrael Jul 13 '16 at 18:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just because demons and devils may be literally made of evil doesn't equate to being flat and featureless, anymore than humans being literally bags of mostly water means our personality is based on the occult symbolism of water. Real world occultism like the Ars Goetia posits a multitude of colorful evil demons. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Jul 14 '16 at 12:38

Crazy & 2x Boring. (Sorry.)

Like earlier explained, not all good outsiders are celestial, and not all evil outsiders are fiends. Their subtypes [good/evil & chaotic/lawful] reflect this. Usually a culture (or D&D-creature) is known for a type of -unique- behavior, you could name (organizations of) such creatures accordingly. Like "Dancing Thunderblades" (Chaos) "Defender of the Ancient Word" (Lawful) or "Conservator of Purity" (Neutral) or whatever.


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