|First appearance||Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995)|
In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy tabletop role-playing game, aasimar are a fictional race of humanoid creatures who are descended from celestials, angels and other creatures of good alignment. In the 4th Edition of the game, the equivalent race are referred to as devas.
The aasimar race was introduced in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition in the Planescape Campaign Setting series of books, published April 1994. The aasimar first appeared in Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (1995), and as a player character race in Planewalker's Handbook (1996), and later Warriors of Heaven (1999).
In 2000, Wizards of the Coast released the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The aasimar race appears in that edition's third core book, the Monster Manual, first published October 2000. The Monster Manual describes the aasimar race as a pleasant and attractive people. It also states that most aasimars are "decidedly good-aligned", and their favored class is paladin.
The aasimar race was expanded in the Forgotten Realms series, three books in that series reference the aasimar race: Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, Races of Faerûn, and the Player's Guide to Faerûn. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, published June 2001, contains a synopsis of the information provided in the Monster Manual and includes some additional information to allow players to select aasimar as a race. Races of Faerûn, published March 2003, explores the aasimar race in greater detail than in any of the previous books, describing the fictional history, society, education, and religion of the race. Player's Guide to Faerun, published in March 2004, also added several new racial and regional feats, and included some alternative rules for creating aasimar with a character level of 1 by either "buying off" level adjustments or using the "Lesser Planetouched" racial variant. However, neither book reprinted the information from Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book about creating playable aasimar characters in the first place.
The version 3.5 update of the Monster Manual combined the previous (3.0) Monster Manual's information on non-playable aasmiars with the information from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting about creating playable aasimar characters. The information about playable aasimars was included again in the Planar Handbook, and in Races of Destiny, both published in 2004, with unchanged game mechanics and small amounts of new or rewritten fictional background information. However, none of these books included the additional feats and alternative rules from Races of Faerun or the Player's Guide to Faerun.
In June 2008, Wizards of the Coast released Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition. The aasimar race was not mentioned in any of the core books for the edition, nor in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, published August 2008. However, it was stated that "In the aasimar's place, you'll meet a race of celestials who have plunged through the same transforming fires as the tieflings.". In the "Forgotten Realms Player's Guide", published September 2008, a section on Faerun races mentions a race called devas, and states that they were previously known as aasimar. However, despite identifying them as such, devas are described not as being descended from a celestial lineage, but rather as the mortal incarnations of celestial beings. When the people of Mulhorand (who came to Faerun through portals to another world) were finally able to establish contact with the pantheon of their homeland, the gods desired to send their angelic host to watch over their displaced worshippers, but could not transport them across the cosmic span physically. Instead, they delivered their celestial essences to Faerun where they transmigrated into forms of flesh and blood.
The 4th edition Player's Handbook 2 (released in March 2009) includes devas as a playable race. As in the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide, it is explained that devas are celestial beings transmigrated into a mortal frame, and thus not a race of creatures in the normal sense. Contrary to previous portrayals of aasimar, devas cannot procreate. Upon death, they reincarnate elsewhere in the world.
The 5th edition mentions them in the Dungeon Master Guide. In November 2016, Volo's Guide to Monsters presents the aasimar as a character option accompanied by three subraces named the protector aasimar, the scourge aasimar and the fallen aasimar (one who has turned evil).
Description and Appearance
Although their celestial ancestor may be many generations removed, their presence still lingers. Aasimar are predisposed to Good alignments, but they are by no means always good.
Aasimar are humans with some sign of their godly ancestors, such as golden eyes, silver hair, feathers, and are typically free of human flaw and the like, as per the Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook Races of Faerûn.
As with their racial origins, the physical appearance of devas deviates significantly from that of the aasimar of previous editions. A deva has mottled skin of varying coloration, typically blue, violet, or gray, with contrasting patches of light and dark tones.
Aasimar are predisposed to good alignments, but other alignments, including evil, exist. The infernal counterparts of aasimars are called tieflings. Evil Aasimar are considered betrayers to their own ancestors and are hunted by their own race.
In various campaign settings
In the Forgotten Realms campaign setting aasimar are most commonly found in the eastern lands of Unther and Mulhorand, where they are the descendants of the good deities who once walked among the mortals. Since the Spellplague however and the devastation of both lands Aasimar have become wandering nomads bound to no land or god and spread widely over the face of Faerûn, as well as other parts of Toril. Those from outside of Faerûn are often drawn to it, perhaps by the ancestral lure of Unther and Mulhorand, and so many aasimar can be found in borderlands such as Durpar, Murghôm, Thesk, or Waterdeep, though none of these places are considered traditional homelands.
Aasimar are a common race in Urban Arcana, which is based on the premise that races from Dungeons and Dragons have been pulled through The Plane of Shadow to Earth. Due to conceptual reality and their relatively humanoid appearance, Aasimar appear as beautiful humans to the uninitiated "Mundanes", or regular humans.
The aasimar appeared in Paizo Publishing's book Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (2009), on page 7. They also appear in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Race Guide as a playable race, listed as a "Featured Race".
- Wyatt, James (March 16, 2009). "The Deva : Design & Development". Dragon.
- Baker, Rich, Tim Beach, Wolfgang Baur, Michele Carter, and Colin McComb. Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II (TSR, 1995)
- Cook, Monte. The Planewalker's Handbook (TSR, 1996)
- Perkins, Christopher. Warriors of Heaven (TSR, 1999)
- Williams, Skip; Tweet, Jonathan; Cook, Monte (October 2000). Monster Manual (3rd ed.). Wizards of the Coast. p. 151. ISBN 0-7869-1552-8.
- Greenwood, Ed; Reynolds, Sean K; Williams, Skip; Heinsoo, Rob (June 2001). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3rd ed.). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1836-5.
- Reynolds, Sean K; Forbeck, Matt; Jacobs, James; Boyd, Eric L. (March 2003). Races of Faerûn (3rd ed.). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2875-1.
- Williams, Skip; Tweet, Jonathan; Cook, Monte (July 2003). Monster Manual (3rd ed.). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- Noonan, David; Cagle, Eric; Rosenberg, Aaron (December 2004). Races of Destiny (3rd ed.). Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3653-3.
- Carter, Michelle (December 2007). "Other Races: Celestials (by Rob Heinsoo)". Wizards Presents: Races and Classes. Wizards Presents. Wizards of the Coast. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-7869-4801-7.
- Jeremy Crawford, Mike Mearls, James Wyatt (March 2009). Player's Handbook 2. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-5016-4.
- Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
- Bulmahn, Jason (lead designer). Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary (Paizo Publishing, 2009)