Inhabitants (Fortress Celestia Supplement)
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See the main Fortress Celestia setting page for more information on this setting
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This setting is inspired by cannon settings from various versions of D&D, particularly the Planescape setting, as well as the boardgame Fortress America. I do not own any intellectual property related to D&D or Fortress America other than the original ideas represented by my contributions to this website. These contributions are presented purely as fanfiction and parody, and are not for profit.
The Fortress Celestia setting is a multiverse where Bad Things happen all the time. Even in many realms defending the causes of good, slavery, euthanasia, and other such things are accepted, if not necessarily admired, practices. While they can be omitted from adventures here, gaming groups that are uncomfortable with these ideas should use other settings.
Inhabitants and Culture
The whole setting was originally conceived as a delibarate Fantasy Kitchen Sink so that almost any creature, deity, site, etc from any cannon or homebrew setting from any version of D&D could potentially be present in this setting. I have since modified the setting around a limited subset of D&D Wiki 3.5e SRD and homebrew races as the primary inhabitants. If you want, you can substitute other races.
The Planar Lords
The Planar Lords are a group of deities and other epic and beyond - epic level beings who manage the arrangement and composition of the cosmology of the megaverse. As mentioned above, the Fortress Celestia setting permits DMs to use any subset of the countless cannon and homebrew D&D pantheons, archfiends, etc. My origional intent was to combine a subset of the Plansescape "deities" with the Forgotten Realms pantheons, and a few Greyhawk and homebrew deities, redistributed into new pantheons. Just like real - world mortals, the planar lords are divided into factions and other organizations that span multiple pantheons including trade guilds and political action groups. Each plane has a "national" government, and there is a multiversal government headquartered in the Court of the Gods. Relations between these beings vary greatly with the plane; however the pecking order within the multiversal government typically goes like this:
- The first ones, if they exist (e.g., The First Prime Mover, The Gygax, etc)
- The overdeities (e.g., The Arbiter of Planes, Ao, etc.)
- The council of the gods (multiversal legislature)
- The multiversal ministers (e.g., Kelemvor, Mystra, etc.)
- The top outsider(s) in each plane (e.g., Asmodeus, etc)
- Heads of Pantheons (e.g., Moradin, Tyr, etc.)
- The top vassals (e.g., Mephistopheles, Graz'zt, etc.)
- Ordinary deities
- other top outsiders
Every plane in the multiverse has its own wildlife. In addition, some animals, vermin, and other creatures seem to be everywhere in the setting. Most of these are the same creatures that can be found in many RealWorld or common fantasy setting: rats, small birds, spiders, snakes, etc.
Outsiders are the most dominant, but not necessarily the most common, lifeform type in the setting. These include inevitables and formians in large areas of the Broken Machine and Celestial Courts. Devils are the dominant race in The Nine can be found throughout the Barrens of Evil, the Broken Machine, and the Plane of Ideological Conflict, and some parts of the Celestial Courts and Isles of Battle in Fortress Celestia. Usually, the types encountered will be lemures, imps, barbezu, erinyes, osyluths, hamatulas, cornugons, and pit fiends. Demons can be found throughout the Barrens of Evil, the Plane of Ideological Conflict, the Plane of Chaos, and some parts of the Broken Machine, the Celestial Courts and Fortress Celestia. The surviving types include dretches, succubi, vrocks, hezrous, mariliths, and balors. Angels, archons, and aiar are commonly found in Fortress Celestia, and parts of the Celestial Courts and the Plane of Ideological Conflict.
Humanoids survive alongside the outsiders in cavern cities and fortified villages within ranges that span multiple planes; they often serve as mercenaries and proxy forces. Known races include humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, halflings, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, bugbears, gnolls, orcs, and drow.
Giants, dragons, monstrous animals, and monstrous humanoids are used by both sides as shock troops. The need for food and unusual equipment limit the numbers and size of monstrous creatures; most are not much larger than the largest humanoid and outsider races. Of these creatures, trolls, ogres, centaurs, true dragons, and giant spiders are among the most commonly encountered. Unicorns and dinosoars are still found in remote areas. Smaller dragons are used for reconnaisance and as messengers. Both sides are known to at least a few hold colossal - sized monstrous creatures in reserve as strategic weapons. Undead are sometimes used by humanoid forces with access to powerful magic. Most of these are skeletons and zombies, but liches are also known to exist in significant numbers.
Strange things survive in remote places. Some are horrors, enemy to fiends and celestials alike. Some are exotic hybrids. Most are just different. Some are the target of persecution as their very existence defies those whose homes they hide in the corners. Many are more legend than reality, their true nature lost to common knowledge.
The Fiendish Armies
The fiendish armies are a vast, complex, and varied group. They often take huge casualties, but have a nearly infinite supply of lives to spend on their conquests. Individual unit commanders do not always get along, so fiendish generals use a combination of conservative battle strategies and strict discipline to maintain control. The fiendish forces are divided into units by race and role into several categories.
These troops are rarely expected to survive prolonged combat; their job is to draw enemy fire and either tie up or overwhelm enemies with sheer numbers. They can be employed in vast numbers against a major celestial army or fixed fortification or in small numbers to tie up secondary tagets such as a party of adventurers. Lemures are the most common of these, usually deployed in groups of 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000. Dretches, skeletons, zombies, kobolds, goblins, orcs, and sometimes humans also fill this role; most are slaves who have had little training and are told little except that they will have the honor of being given the opportunity to kill enemies.
These are the forces manning forward defenses; they are known for their use of fierceness, speed, and brutality to push back and weaken enemy units. Barbezu are the devils' standard front - line troops; not being terribly clever, they tend to charge straight in and hope for the best. Various humanoids and lesser giants such as trolls are also used in this way.
These forces serve in security patrols and personal guards as well as lead more daring missions, and usually have the honor of being the first to capture new land and prisoners. Hamatulas and cornugons make up a large portion of these; vrock, hezrou, and bugbear mercenaries are often used in operations where commanders wish to maximize collateral damage. Drow with character classes, dragons, liches, and other powerful non - outsider beings sometimes are found in secondary elite forces, acting as assasins and flanking / fire support units.
Pit fiends occupy most of the top positions in the infernal ministry and fiendish military. Beneath them, balors and mariliths command vrock and hezrou units. Many are former slaves who were selected for their reliability, but most are paid mercenaries. Sergeants driving the cannon fodder troops and wagon trains forward and leading the front - line troops are chosen from the elite units.
Support personnel are critical for the fiendish war effort. Osyluths serve as the primary military and secret police of the fiends, often spying on other fiends. Imps' small size makes them ideal for use as scouts, spies, and messengers. Humanoids and larger docile animals of every description haul supplies. Fiendish armies also often hire adventurers to carry out secondary espionage, assasination, or retrieval missions. Leaders are usually supported by a staff of lawyers, accountants, file clerks, etc. Erinyes tend to serve the top - ranking officers; lesser commanders use clerics or scholars, or if scraping the bottom of the barrel, even 'hiring' travelling prostitutes who can read and write, preferably succubi, humans, hobgoblins, or drow.
The Celestial Armies
Celestial forces mirror their fiendish foes, but are outnumbered and tend to be organized into smaller, more scattered groups. The celestials have cannon fodder troops, but use them much more sparingly than the fiends, and then usually only as a diversion or as an act of absolute desperation. These are typically humanoid resistance fighters and militia or minor celestials such as lantern archons or whisps. Hound Archons are the traditional celestial front line troops, wading in for close quarters combat, supported by ranged fire from Trumpet Archons. Aiar and humanoids' bravery and ability to take on character classes make them effective troops as well. Planetars and Astral Devas are the primary elite troops of Fortress Celestia's regular military, often "taking the point" in heroic counterattacks by mixed celestial armies. Celestial armies also often make use of adventurers and mercenaries in areas where they are spread most thinly. Solars are the celestial equivalent of pit fiends, commanding the armies, often assisted by archon, aiar, or humanod clerks.
Some traditionally evil creatures have turned from their kindred and now fight on the celestial side. Some are traitors or rebels, some are members of nontraditional communities, and others are prisoners, slaves, or refugees who have taken their captors' and hosts' causes as their own. A surprising number of supposedly "always evil" creatures serve as spies, willing servants, or fight alongside the celestals. Often these creatures serve in ragtag support units rather than fight with regular celestial troops.
Mercenaries and Adventurers
Virtually any playable race in the setting can be found in mercenary units or adventuring parties. Many are nonconformists or oddballs who simply didn't fit in anywhere else. These forces range from professional fighters with a strict code of honor to ragtag bands who have no other source of income and are basically working for food and supplies. Some work for only one side or the other, lest they find themselves hunted by both sides, while others take jobs from the highest bidder sometimes without knowing who that bidder is. Neither side is completely comfortable with the idea, but so vast is the area of contention between both sides, that each risks loosing control of the situation unless they use every option available. In most areas it is not difficult for a party of adventurers at any level to find work, but that work is not always to their liking.
Slavery is simply a fact of life in much of the setting. Unfortunately, the civil rights situation is so appalling in some places, slavery is actually something some unfortunate creatures actually aspire to! High ranking fiends think nothing of torturing or slaughtering their lower - ranking counterparts in the wild, but might think twice about murdering an ally's slave. Virtually all races but the most fearsome can be found on the interplanar markets, but the majority are the races commonly used for cannon fodder, or demons. Once the demons were considered the most powerful race in the multiverse, now they have fallen on such hard times that to maintain their control over their home layers they sell their own kind to pay the bills. Fiendish high society values slaves not only for usefulness but also for entertainment value. Fearsome gladiators may be exciting and skilled, experienced personal servants may be highly useful, but they aren't nearly as funny as two lemures tripping over each other while looking for a way to pound each other senseless, dretches' pitiful attempts to act like a proper servant, or a marilith brainwashed to grovel at a pit fiend's feet and eat from a dog dish. Succubi and humanoid slaves often face an even worse fate. However, as the fiendish armies face a leadership shortage, many more competent slaves of high ranking military commanders find themselves transferred to the officer corps.
Surprisingly, slavery is also common in some areas of Fortress Celestia. Most of the buyers are races who often take slaves on prime worlds, such as orcs, drow, and humans, or aiar. For the aiar, slavery is sometimes an economic and psychological weapon against their enemies. As long as devils take demon slaves, the aiar reason, they keep the demon race alive to threaten rebellion. In addition, if an enemy slave finds it can find at least momentary happiness and enjoy a few guilty pleasures without serving evil or even its freedom, it may choose to serve the aiar cause willingly. Angels and archons find the aiar attitude somewhat disturbing.