Aasimar Guide 5e – Abilities and History of the Celestials

Last Updated on January 22, 2023

The Aasimar: Imbued By Mount Celestia 

Aasimar are luminous beings, gifted with divine purpose from a human heritage touched by the power of Mount Celestia.

Where is Mount Celestia you ask? Well, it’s not a hiking destination on the sword coast. 

Mount Celestia is a separate plane of existence in the forgotten realms, a perfect, heavenly place of absolute law and order (no SVU).

Inhabitants of this plane include gods like Kord and Moradin, angels, archons and even the platinum dragon Bahamut.

Such a place is brimming with divine power, and mortals that travel here may be affected by that power, creating a bloodline with celestial influence. 

Descendants in a bloodline of that sort may become Aasimar, not quite human, not fully divine. These special few are entrusted by Angels to use their power in keeping order on the material plane.

Aasimar tend to be guided by a specific type of Angel known as a Deva, who are messengers of the heavens, and agents on the material, shadowfell, and fey planes in their own right. 

A large burden rests on the shoulders of an Aasimar. As descendants of humans, they are often less rigid in determining what is right than inhabitants of the higher plane would be.

Still, most follow the direction of their angelic guide as best they can, spreading goodwill amongst the races of the inner planes. 

Aasimar Abilities and Traits:  What Characterizes the Aasimar Race

Ability Score Increase. Your Charisma  score increases by 2.

Age. Aasimar mature at the same rate as humans, but they can live up to 160 years. 

Alignment. Imbued with celestial power, most Aasimar are good. Outcast aasimar are most often neutral or even evil. 

Size. Aasimar have the same range of height and weight as humans. 

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Blessed with a radiant soul, your vision can easily cut through darkness. 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.

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

Healing Hands. As an action, you can touch a creature and cause it to regain a number of hit points equal to your level. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you’ve finished a long rest.

Light Bearer. You know the light cantrip. Charisma is  your spellcasting ability for it.

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

Subrace. Three subraces of Aasimar exist: protector aasimar, scourge aasimar, and fallen aasimar. Choose one of them for your character.

The biggest takeaway here is the healing hands feature.

Essentially this a watered-down version of the paladin’s lay on hands, instead of a pool of hit points 5 times your level, this ability will max out with your level when you hit 20.

This isn’t insane but is a great way to get some healing in your arsenal, especially if you don’t choose a class that has a lot of those options.

The great thing about a straightforward, if limited, ability like this is that you will use it in a pinch and when you do your teammates will thank you. 

Darkvision is very common, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great to have. Being able to delve into a dungeon or crawl through a sewer and still perceive your surroundings is all but essential in most campaigns.

On that note you also get the light cantrip, which is often a popular utility pick for casters. Being able to create magical light with no cost is going to be helpful for so many occasions in and out of combat.

Getting a free spell is something no class will ever complain about, casters gain extra resources and non-casters get access to a spell. It’s a win-win.

The resistances have potential to be incredibly helpful, as all resistances do. Necrotic damage is a very common damage type among monsters and creatures you might encounter, right behind fire and poison.

Radiant damage is much less common, and the biggest way this might help you is by giving you some protection from any AOE spells your party’s cleric might cast.

It’s worth mentioning that damage resistances are hard to quantify as better or worse, since ultimately your DM will decide which foes you face. 

Aasimar Subraces: Protector, Scourge and Fallen

Somewhat surprisingly, the three choices here are not split up into Good, Neutral, and Evil or Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic.

Instead, we are given two types of aasimar who fill their roles of benevolent protectors in very different ways, and one that is in fact straight-up evil in their description. 

At third level each of these subraces gain appropriately themed transformations that last for one minute.

For a comparison, barbarian rage lasts for 1 minute, or roughly 10 rounds of combat. Especially at early levels, it’s not uncommon for a full combat to happen within the span of a minute, and the barbarian class is built on taking advantage of that fact.

Just so, these abilities will likely become a cornerstone of your fighting style regardless of which class you choose. 

Protector Aasimar: Righteous Guardians

Ability Score Increase. Your Wisdom score increases by 1

Radiant Soul. Starting at 3rd level, you can use your action to unleash the divine energy within yourself, causing your eyes to glimmer and two luminous, incorporeal wings to sprout from your back. 

Your transformation lasts for 1 minute or until you end it as a bonus action.

During it, you have a flying speed of 30 feet, and once on each of your turns, you can deal extra radiant damage to one target when you deal damage to it with an attack or a spell. The extra radiant damage equals your level.

Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Protectors are presented as the goodiest of two shoes. An aasimar of this variety is the most likely to follow their divine purpose with few questions.

They embrace their ability to help the weak, and be a projection of light in the world. Superman would feel at home with a group of protectors fighting for truth, justice and the Celestian way.

And much like Superman, you might get confused for a bird from time to time when you fly in to save the day. It’s just such an amazing ability to pick up as a racial feature, especially since you can do so with more than just light armor to protect you. I’m looking at you aarakocra.

As a protector aasimar you will be able to traverse the battlefield in an amazing way from the very first battle you get into. The fact that you’re able to deal some extra damage in the meantime is really just icing on the cake.

Scourge Aasimar: Overwhelmingly Divine

Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution score increases by 1

Radiant Consumption. Starting at 3rd level, you can use your action to unleash the divine energy within yourself, causing a searing light to radiate from you, pour out of your eyes and mouth, and threaten to char you.

Your transformation lasts for 1 minute or until you end it as a bonus action. During it, you shed bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light for an additional 10 feet, and at the end of each of your turns, you and each creature within 10 feet of you take radiant damage equal to half your level (rounded up).

In addition, once on each of your turns,  you can deal extra radiant damage to one target when you deal damage to it with an attack or a spell.  The extra radiant damage equals your level.

Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Scourge aasimar are absolutely brimming with celestial power to a point where it can become all-consuming.

This is a group of beings who are so focused on striking out evil in their paths that most of them wear masks to block themselves off from the rest of the world. In battle though they are willing to let themselves not just be seen, but to allow their righteousness to be felt all around them. 

Not only does it sound hard to have to deal with that much power and conviction, it’s a bit unpractical. Being able to create light is already a cantrip offered to this race as a whole.

We’re then just left with a small amount of damage being consistently dealt to everyone around you. That includes you and your allies!

The max amount of damage you can deal with this is 10 by the way, which at level 20 is a drop of the hat.

Unless you need to quickly take out a group of minions that are swarmed around you and they all have very little health, using this subraces feature isn’t going to be the brightest move.

Fallen Aasimar: Touched by Evil 

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 1

Necrotic Shroud. Starting at 3rd level, you can use your action to unleash the divine energy within yourself, causing your eyes to turn into pools of darkness and two skeletal, ghostly, flightless wings to sprout from your back.

The instant you transform, other creatures within 10 feet of you that can see you must each succeed on a Charisma saving throw (DC 8 + your proficiency bonus, + your Charisma modifier) or become frightened of you until the end of your next turn.

Your transformation lasts for 1 minute or until you end it as a bonus action. During it, once on each of your turns, you can deal extra necrotic damage to one target when you deal damage to it with an attack or a spell. The extra necrotic damage equals your level.

Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.

Having broken your oath you find yourself walking a different path to serve some evil power or seek out some dark ambition. The light you once carried has been replaced with a cold darkness.

Oh wait, that’s an Oathbreaker paladin. Turning your back on God, or gods, is an awesome trope that this subrace delivers on with real panache. 

The coolest part of this subrace is that it tells a story. You once carried the light, and something changed that. Maybe your lineage was unknown and you grew up abused and beaten to the point that by the time your aasimar traits began to manifest, that light had been extinguished.

Maybe you resent the angels for cursing you with this burden of power. Whatever your story you get to tell it.

Volo’s Guide to Monsters even makes a point of saying that you can discuss with your DM the option of a redemption arc to change from this to one of the other types of aasimar, or for you edgelords out there, the option to become evil in the campaign and become a member of the fallen.

Mechanically speaking this offers a fun twist on the other two transformations. Instead of radiant damage you get necrotic and instead of flight your wings spread fear.

Being able to impose disadvantage so often and so reliably is a benefit is just such an incredible ability that maybe the only backstory you need for choosing evil is the health benefits.

What Classes Are Well Suited to the Aasimar

The first place we always want to look when matching up classes and races is our ability score increases.

A +2 in Charisma means that charisma casters jump to the front of the line.

Bard, Paladin, Sorcerer, and Warlock fit that bill.

The other classes won’t have much to gain, although a charismatic fighter could benefit from the fallen’s strength bonus, and a protector cleric or ranger could have a lot of fun flying while they picked up their +1 in wisdom.

Actively choosing a class that isn’t inherently benefiting from the charisma bonus is ill-advised, but far from illegal and I’ll never stop you from having some fun

For these examples we’ll use our Black Citadel Rating System:

  • Red – C Tier. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful and might make for an interesting narrative choice, but they are largely less effective than other tiers.
  • Green – B Tier. Solid but nothing that is absolutely critical for a build, or Green can be very good but only in very specific situations.  
  • Blue – A Tier. An excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective. 
  • Purple – S Tier. The top of our rankings. Objectively powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are worth strongly considering when you create your character.

Bard – Really just here for the Charisma. Thematically it feels weird although I’m sure you could make it work. The abilities don’t directly compliment bard playstyle. In fairness, they don’t contradict so that what matters

Paladin – The perfect combo of ability bonuses lies within the fallen subrace. Unsurprisingly, the Oathbreaker subclass offers a lot of synergy and doubles down on the fallen’s racial feature with themes of fear, darkness, and necrotic damage.

Realistically, any oath can benefit greatly from choosing fallen aasimar, the trouble comes in justifying how you are still evil. Conquest can probably surpass that obstacle the easiest, so falling back on a protector or scourge is still a great option for a paladin intent on embracing the light.

Sorcerer – Sorcerers make so much sense for aasimar considering both of them are somehow gifted great power from a lineage or a greater entity. Some nice pairings could include a scourge wild magic sorcerer, a fallen shadow magic sorcerer, and a protector divine soul sorcerer. It’s this incredible thematic synergy that pushes this into a top-tier choice.

Warlock – The roleplaying for this could be so interesting. A character torn between answering to their angelic guide and following the bidding of their patron is an adventure I would love to watch. Other than that fun thought experiment, it’s the +2 charisma that seals the deal here.

Aasimar Appearance and Names:  Not Quite Human

Most commonly aasimar will be born of two human parents and not manifest their abilities until they start to mature.

As such, aasimar names will not differ much from the culture they were born into. Angelic names would not be entirely uncommon though, considering that a bloodline influenced by Mount Celestia would likely hold themselves in high regard, awaiting for a child to show signs of the gift. 

The appearance of an aasimar is like that of a sculpture of the ideal human figure.

Their hint of divinity isn’t quite enough to make them distinctly non-human. Still, their appearance falls into the uncanny valley and is often void of the imperfections that define humanity.

This small but notable difference is enough that most aasimar prefer to stay hooded and veiled from being spotted.

The aasimar are a race defined by the purpose placed upon them, and the powers bestowed to fulfill that purpose. To be an aasimar is to be burdened with responsibility to a divine purpose while still having the free will to choose a life of their own.

How will you choose to wield the mighty power of Mount Celestia, the power of the gods.

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