View Full Version : Mommy, Where do outsiders come from?

Fiery Justice
2009-07-02, 03:47 PM
So, in your personal campaign setting, where do outsiders come from? Does anyone have any origins of celestials/demons that are distinct from the core origins of them?

Doc Roc
2009-07-02, 03:51 PM
While not distinct, I use the full planescape cosmology which expands on their origins and natures considerably.

2009-07-02, 03:55 PM
In my setting, outsiders are beings that inhabit the outer planes. However, the outer planes were created by a progenitor race in the mists of history that had found reality to be lacking some things, and so created all the other planes.

You see, originally there was only the Material Plane. No Inner Planes, no Outer Planes, no Astral or Ethereal Planes even. The Golenih plumbed the depths of reality, and when they discovered that it wasn't as complete as they'd like, they changed it. As a race, they created the planar cosmology, most sentient races in the multiverse, even the gods themselves, and then, their great task completed, faded from history's eye.

Only the most learned of the ancient outsider races (the oldest solars, the most ancient demon princes and archdevils, a few select gods) know that they were created on purpose, and fewer still know the identity of the beings that created them.

The Golenih, for their part, still exist, though they have set aside their mighty powers in exchange for a more spiritually fulfilling life.

NOTE: I tend to use much Planescape material in this setting, but with a significantly different origin story.

2009-07-02, 03:59 PM
For mine, they are aliens. :\ Humans/Elves/Elf variants/Dwarves/Halflings and my homebrewed Spellborn are all native to the planet, Aelasael.

Angels/Demons are named Exalted/Fallen and are from different planets, specifically one of Aelasael's moons (Exalted) and Sysaer, a planet several light-years away (Fallen.) Then I have Dragonborn that I created myself with their own characteristics, which are extraplanar, from the Diamond Spire of Nieloriel.

Justin B.
2009-07-02, 04:54 PM
First, there were the Gods. They lived in the Celestial Realm for a long time. There was not peace, but it was long before War came. The War was long and devastating. Neither side could come ahead. In response, some of the Greatest banded their power together to create the Earth, a world of huge resources and soliders. Using these resources, the Greatest were able to overthrow their competitors, trapping them in other worlds, punishing them for daring to stand up to the Wise. In these other worlds of Punishment, the Lessers that had not sided with the Greatest became wicked and ugly from their torment. Their hearts, once desiring only power, became evil, and learned to hate the Mortals and the Greater and Lesser that had bested them.

Though they lost Celestia, they were not defeated. They found that the same ties that had bound Earth with Celestia also bound Earth with their prisons. In such a way they were able to muster armies and bring war once again to Celestia, this time through proxy. Though never successful, the Proxies of the Lessers soon took it's toll on the will of Celestia.

The Greatest, being wise and sometimes kind, saw that often the wills of the Mortals were being twisted taken advantage of by the Evil Lessers. They took up their powers once again and changed the functioning of existence, decreeing that no Power, Greatest or Lesser, whether they live in Celestia or be punished in the Evil Worlds, shall impede upon the free will of any mortal.

The Lessers of the Evil Worlds, however, remembered the previous shufflings of existence, and this time banded together their greatest powers to try and undermine that of the Greatest. While the Worlds were in change, they would be succeptible to manipulation. While not able to negate the changes by the power Greatest, the Lessers maintained the bonds of Creation between all the Realms. And while they were no long able to control the minds of Mortals, the Lessers were able to create a system which caused the acts of Mortals to directly control the powers of the Gods.

For in the minds of the Evil Lessers, Mortals were a flawed and repugnant thing, easily able to commit great evils that gave power to the Evil Lessers. Using this power, the Evil Lessers create from it beings of pure wickedness, soliders in their great armies, which will one day storm the docile fields of Celestia.

Alas, for the Evil Lessers, Laws of Balance far greater than even the mightiest of the Gods, ensured that the system they had designed for the creation of their evil armies, also allowed the Greatest and their Lessers to manifest servants and soliders when the Mortals perform acts of Goodness.

So it is written that the act of any man, good or evil, gives power to the Evil Lessers or the Greatest, with which they spawn that which we call Outsiders. Angels and Demons. The greater the act, the greater the power of the creature created. Always in design of their masters, but owing their existence to the Mortals who have become, albeit unwillingly, the greatest source of cosmic power that has ever been.

2009-07-02, 05:11 PM
My setting heavily focuses on the material plane and it's two almost copies of the Spirit World and the Plane of Shadow. There are also four elemental planes, but no outer planes. Outside the core and inner planes is the Astral plane, which combines the astral plane and the far realm. (The function of the astral plane, which is also home to the wieredness of the far realm.)

Outsiders are spirits which are native to the astral plane. In many of the countless astral demi-planes, these spirts take the form of coroporeal outsiders. To mortals and fey, these outsiders are all known as "demons", but they can be of any alignment and don't have alignment-subtypes.
Though they look like physical beings, they are even much more alien than fey and aberrations. But in the infinite sea of the astral plane with it's countless demi-planes, of which many could be called outer planes in their own right, they usually don't care at all for the physical worlds, so they are extremely rare for anyone to meet.

The gods of the world are rather like infinitely powerful fey instead of outsiders.

2009-07-02, 06:03 PM
From outside, dear.

The Rose Dragon
2009-07-02, 06:43 PM
From four places, not counting the Native Outsiders.

Eternal Celestia. This is the day side of the world, where the flail of Lucifer burns to act as the sun. Obviously this is where angels and other celestials come from.

Black Moors. This is the realm of the demons and the night side of the world. At times, one of the three moons reflect the light of the sun, along with the black moon, and there are many stars - captured essences of angels and faeries - that dot the endless abyss.

Nowhere. Not nowhere, but Nowhere. This is the realm of the devils, which is not a part of Octa Terra, so it is referred to as Nowhere. No mortal has seen within it and devils never deign to speak to non-devils about it.

The Cortex. It is a shell between the world and the Gate, which has thousands of manifestations. Any other outsider can be found within the Cortex, if one is willing to travel the chaotic realm to find them.

Tempest Fennac
2009-07-03, 12:53 AM
I just have them as being the souls of people who died before with their form being dependant on the plane they end up on.

2009-07-03, 01:11 AM
The way I've always portrayed my outsiders (when it mattered) was that outsiders are the ascended (or descended) souls of mortals. Either they were so virtuous or so evil that they were chosen to become angels, archons, demons, devils, or what have you. That's also why those races are always good or evil. You had to be extremely one or the other to get chosen to become an outsider.

2009-07-03, 01:40 AM
From outside, dear.
Dude, you just Ninj'd me with like, 6 hours of anticipation... you rock!

Or maybe I'm just slow.

2009-07-03, 02:07 AM
In the beginning, before time and space existed there was simply the formless chaos that would one day have a big chunk of it rip free and form into one of the many lovecraftian horrors that existed, and only set itself apart by being a lovecraftian chaos-monster with the power of ultimate law. This mindless creature slowly shifted the flow of chaos into law and create balance in this big chunk that is now the great wheel. Gods formed from the balance, and they created land and sky above the oceans that connected the balance of the material plane to the chaos of the elder gods. Many outsiders were spawned in this ultimate chaos and this ultimate balance. Creatures such as demons being the most prevalent in this formless chaos convulsion of life and creating something for law and balance both to fight against. Lives of mortals lost throughout the ages eventually lead to there being lots and lots of slivers of souls floating around all manner of planes and outsiders begin to prosper and growing from this soul energy. Now at this point in time, the formless chaos creates little to no creatures that exist outside the Far Realm, and most outsiders(and some elementals) are simply the amalgamations of thousands of the dearly departed.

2009-07-03, 02:46 AM
While not distinct, I use the full planescape cosmology which expands on their origins and natures considerably.

*high five*

2009-07-03, 02:55 AM
Me? I say outsiders come from the same place as normal people, the normal people/outsiders who came before them.

2009-07-03, 03:18 AM
In general there are three ways for outsiders to come into existence.

1. Breeding, enough said. :smalltongue:

2. Coalescing out of the energy of the plane. I believe both Hell and the Abyss have some kind of "larva" that periodically come into existence and will either grow in time to become a type of fiend or can be used by existing fiends to create specific types. I imagine something similar but more aesthetically pleasing happening with celestials. And I think Slaad and Mechanus's ilk either breed or create new members of their species out of the stuff of the plane they live on, Slaad and such taking raw chaos and forcing it into "Giant Frog" form and modrons or inevitables simply building more of themselves.

3. Former mortals that choose or are forced to become specific types of outsider. May or may not have their former personalities/memories scrubbed, replaced, or left completely intact.

Occasionally, depending upon how I feel or view it, the process of the afterlife in question eventually reunites the soul in question with the fundamental stuff of the universe and then no one can say for sure where the pieces that were once them will end up.

And that's if they're not reincarnated, in which case they can actually end up being born as anything, though, generally speaking, a paladin ain't gonna be coming back as a balor baby.

2009-07-03, 03:56 AM
My campaing is based on the Wheel, but with changes.

In the beginning, everithing was one. This one splitted in 9 Divine rank > 21 gods, one for alignment. Those started to make universe, or to try to unmake it (CM), basing on their alignment. All their spawns, the outsiders, are IDEAS. Ideas made flesh.

Unless something very special happens, as they are, they will be. If one is destroyed, reform soon (even if there are rules about how soon can go out his plane, and if is destroyed in his plane, there will be a long long time before he reforms.

This is the setting:

From the remains of the starting Everything, th Primal Chaos was born, the Obyriths, the Nullifiers.

Good deities made the Angels and Ashuras, the Archons, Eladrins and Guardinals. They, basing on their attitude, managed to create, defend, and preserve What Is Beautiful.

Eladrins was born from the love of the Passion (CG) whit the Cosmos. The second time the Passion and the Cosmos made love the Fey was born, the third the Elves.

The LN god made one single son, a colossal sentient machine, the plane of mechanus. Eventually, it programmed the Inevitables, that are part of himself, to protect laws.

The CN god had dreams, but these dreams started to spread mandess. So the gods sealed them. Eventually, he managed to make Slaadi, but some of them heard the Doomsongs that Dagon sung, fascinated by so much chaos, and became Evil. One example is Bazim-Gorag.

The NE god made the Yugoloth, and the first evil deeds started. The celestials answered whit fury.

In all this mess, the CE god tried to make his own sons, but they were so hideous that he threw them in the hole the Obiryths came. There, Pale Night gathered them and grew them as his sons and slave, eventually unlashing them agains the celestials.

In my setting, the Yugoloth named the Tanar'ri, (the "pure ones", because the Yugoloth recognized that they loved at least themselves, instead Tanar'ri hate everyhing an so are the "pure" fiends)

Soon, the Demons tried to spread across the multiverse, to destroy everything. The Celestials spread to defend the multiverse - the Angels spread in the outer plane to defend them, the Guardinal went in the prime to defend it and the first Fey and Giants.

The Archons faced the big part of the Demonic Army, holding it where the Eladrin manage to strike decisively Pale Night in a one-shot mission in the deepAbyss.

The Eladrin attack, combined whit the rage of a rebel demon called Demogorgon almost destroyed the Obyrith.

Eventually, the consuming battle (and other events) against the Tanar'ri made the Archons fall (the end of a long-started process). They became Baatezu (even if the remaining Obyrith call them Archons, not to mock them but because they are not able to distinguish them).

The LM god managed to corrupt even some of the Guardinal in the Prime (in a dramatic event that lead to the fall of the LeShay and the slip in the Darkness of the Shadar-Kai), as well as the sealed dreams of the CN god, that became the Quori.

The evil gods ages after created Dendar and his Shadows Beasts to scare the necomers, the mortals.

2009-07-03, 04:21 AM
Depends much on the Plane.

For instance, when a Lawful Good soul arrives at the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia, they begin their climb up the layers, gaining new wisdom, enlightenment, and fulfillment from each one. As their true spiritual enlightenment increases, their memories of their mortal lives gradually fades away. When they reach a layer where they are no longer capable of progressing spiritually, they have already lost all memories of being mortal, and the member of the Celestial Hebdomad that rules that layer then elevates them to Archon status, with their power and form being proportionate to how far they were able to make it on their journey.

Conversely, when a Chaotic Evil soul arrives in the Infinite Abyss, it is promptly devoured by the plane, which then uses the energy to produce raw Chaotic Evil goop that eventually forms into a Demon.

Lawful Evil souls that arrive in the Nine Hells of Baator go through a torment known as the 'Scourging', where their soul energy is torn away from them, along with all knowledge of their former self and any personality traits they had, and fed to whichever Archduke has claim on them. The resulting creature is a 'Lemure', which must then go through the long and arduous process of distinguishing itself to its superiors to gain promotions to become more powerful forms of Devil (and not screwing up, lest they get demoted).

Chaotic Good souls that go to Arborea take up forms similar to their mortal selves. Gradually, over a long period of time, the essence of the plane itself seeps into them, and they become Eladrin. Their sense of time and memory is distorted somewhat, and so while they can remember being mortal, and in some cases, specific memories of being mortal, its hazy and difficult, so most don't even bother after a few eons go by.

Chaotic Good/Chaotic Neutral folk who make it into the Heroic Domain of Asgard wage endless (though honorable and good-natured) combat either in personal duels or massive open warfare in a form pretty much exactly like their mortal one (though if they die, they just respawn back at their HQ). After fighting for so long, however, most people eventually lose themself in the combat, their mortal self has been consumed by the adrenaline and rush, and fighting becomes who they are - what they are. It is then that they become Valkyrie (similar to the Tome of Battle Outsider).

The list goes on and on. I would detail my specific method for all 17 Outer Planes, but that would take up so much space...

Karma Guard
2009-07-03, 08:38 AM
Angels and Devils (all the E/G Outsiders) were, at one point, long ago, normal people. Then they succumbed to a Virtue or Vice (see: Seven Deadly Sins & Seven Heavenly Virtues) and were changed, because they just weren't 'human' (or dorf/elf/etc) anymore.

Because they did not act according to the rules associated with their kind, they were changed to a kind that matched better.

They can't breed with eachother, so new ones are created through temptation. They can breed with mortals, which produces the Aasimar and Tieflings( who have gone on to do their own thang <( ._.)~ ).

They prefer to live in places that match them better than the Material- Superbia and the Unterlund.

As time goes on, they act less like the people they were, and more like the Vice/Virtue they embody, to the point of mindlessness. Until then, they often come off as being 'like {the person they used to be}, but angrier/kinder/greedier/more kind'.

2009-07-03, 09:37 AM
Interesting ideas. I've been working on a campaign setting (originally for 3.x, though it seems 4th edition fits it like a glove, so I might use it with 4E) where dreams play a rather important role. In this setting, parts of the concept of "Outer Plane" were relegated to the Dreamworld (based on the Region of Dreams from the Manual of the Planes), which is where people's consciousness go to when they dream, but which can also be visited physically, and which does have effects on the physical world. Most (though not all) deities are actually powerful dream entities with a reality of their own, and the same applies to most outsiders, with correspondingly lower power levels of course.

So, outsiders are essentially what people dream of. "Benevolent" outsiders (mostly the Good ones) tend to be ideals that people aspire to; "malevolent" (mostly Evil) ones are the manifestation of people's anxieties, appearing in nightmares; and outsiders that don't fit quite well in either category comprise the majority of weird dreams that may have some deeper significance, though not necessarily a positive or negative one.

One particular thing about this setting is that the place where outsiders and deities reside is not the same place people go to when they die. Instead, they all go to the Realm of the Dead (somewhat similar to the Plane of Shadow, but not quite), regardless of alignment or beliefs. That's an idea I've been nursing for a while - after all, many (probably most) real-world mythologies have a single big Realm of the Dead where everyone goes to regardless of whether they were a "good boy" or not - i.e. Hades, Hel (Norse), and others.

Mattarias, King.
2009-07-03, 12:41 PM
My in-planning campaign is going to use Norse Cosmology, but with some tweaks, of course.

All the evil outsiders are bound within Nifleheim, where they battle against the frost giants for dominance of the icy plane, and the celestials hang out around Asgard, with the lessers mostly staying in Alfheim.

2009-07-03, 01:38 PM
"Mommy mommy, where do outsiders come from?"

Well, when 2 gods love each other very much....

They each put a portion of their power into creating a being taking on the qualities of the 2 "parents".


2009-07-03, 02:14 PM
From one setting:

The Uncreated:In the Beginning was the Void, and the Void was One and the One was All and All was Nothing. When the Creator arrived (from wherever creators come from), he smashed the Void, which shattered into thousands of jagged pieces, and the One became Many. Then, He swept the pieces aside, and set about creating the Worlds and the Gods, and Light, Life, Matter, Space, Time, and all of the other toys that Created things got to play with.

The Uncreated (or the First Ones or the Souls of Broken Glass) sensed that they were being left out, and that they had been robbed, and they were somewhat upset. However, in their anger, their envy, their hatred, and their complete inability to do anything about it, something sparked, and the Inferno was born. The First Ones found a way to exist outside of the light of Creation, but it involved metaphysically setting each other on fire to keep themselves warm.

Aeons passed, and one of the gods decided he was sick of cooperating with the other gods. One always does. He set about looking for a weapon to use to kill gods, and found the Uncreated, who naturally aren't bound by Creation's rules. He absorbed the Inferno into himself, taking the biggest shards and forming them into his teeth, and forming its fires into his breath: and discovered that said fires were actually kind of feeble. So he took a bunch of the smaller souls and formed them into his servitors, to assist him om-nomming on mortal souls to stoke the flames into a raging, god-killing weapon.

Hence, devils, temptation. The devils are arguably the oldest things in the universe, they hate everything that lives, and one-tenth of their soul is stuck in Infernia and on fire.

From a completely different setting:

Echidna's Brood:In the beginning, there was Chaos. In the roiling, writhing blackness, men and gods and worlds and stars constantly burst into being and were just as constantly, just as suddenly ripped to shreds.

Chaos begat Gaia, the Mother of Mothers. Like uncountably many of the dead gods before her, she had a great power: Gaia had the power to create creatures with the power to create. In the candle-flicker of time she had to live before the darkness destroyed her, she bore a child.

Gaia begat Echidna, the Mother of Monsters. Her powers came from her Mother, and from the violent darkness around her: Echidna had the power to create creatures with the power of destruction. When the Darkness came to strike the goddesses down, Echidna's children rose up and struck back. Echidna's children begat their own children, and her brood grew countless in number, every one of them an avatar of destruction, dedicated to protecting Gaia while she worked.

Gaia begat Athena, the Mother of Masters. Her powers came from her Mother, and from the bubble of peace and tranquility that her Sister's legions carved out with tooth and claw. Athena had the power to create creatures with the power of reason. Her children created Law, and Philosophy, and Science, and Civilization- and discovered that they had to compete for space with various mindless and destructive monsters.

So the 'Far Realms' are filled with creatures of violence, madness, destruction, and tentacles, teeth and claws- Echidna's firstborn and purebreeds, who constantly and savagely fight to keep the Darkness at bay. They will, however, rip apart any mortals stupid enough to wander out there. Inside the front lines is a protective layer of psychotic and rampaging demons and elementals, and inside that are the devils- destructive beings who nevertheless learned to understand and agreed to be bound by the rule of law. Then comes a metaphysical demilitarized zone, then the Material plane, and at the very center of the universe are Gaia, Echidna and Athena. The Sisters surround themselves with their favored children- Archons and avatars for Athena, tentacle monsters for Echidna- and Gaia has been keeping to herself, working on her next project.

In another completely different setting, saints, demons, elementals and gods are essentially just ghosts of people who had a powerful and mind-warping obsession with something: a place, or an object, or a person, or a material, or an emotion, or a word. It comes out of either a lifetime of military discipline, or a lifetime of religious devotion, or a lifetime of magical ritual, or a lifetime of psychotic compulsion. Whatever it is, it's powerful enough to keep them tethered to the material world after their death- So all of the 'outsiders' are people who were disfunctionally nutty in life, and a handful who decided to live forever and were willing to sacrifice their sanity to do so. Good times.

Mark Hall
2009-07-03, 02:38 PM
My Version:

In the beginning, there were the Inner Planes... Planes of raw Stuff. Raw elements, raw powers of creation. At first, there were only the six planes (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Positive and Negative). Their intersections made the Para and Quasi elemental planes. They also brought forth their own variety of life... elementals, Genies, mephits, etc. The intersection of all of them made the Prime Material, which brought forth life of its own, and eventually, brought forth intelligent life.

These intelligent life-forms, at first, worshiped the elemental forces which could make themselves manifest... Grumbar and Ogremach for the Earth, for example. However, some few weren't instructed by elemental beings, and came up with their own reasons things happened, which started the creation of the first deities. Those deities existed beyond the realm of thought (the Astral Plane) and into the realm of belief (the Outer Planes). As eons went by, these things refined themselves. Mortals ascended to Godhood, bringing their ideas with them. Mortal priests and wizards traveled the planes, and brought their ideas with them... but also returned with their reports of the m ultiverse as it existed due to the influence of others, informing and shaping the beliefs of their peoples. The agglutination of the beliefs of various prime materials, crystal spheres, and planets eventually created the Great Ring as we know it.

The various outsiders come from various sources. Some are the nightmares of living creatures made flesh. Ice devils may well be of thri-kreen (or tohr-kreen) origin... they look like thri-kreen, and what is hell to a heat-loving thri-kreen than a plane of eternal cold and ice? Some may simply be "evil elementals"... not elementals that are evil, but elementals OF evil. Some may be ascended spirits. However, due to cross pollination (the beliefs of primes creating the outer planes, which are then explored by primes who bring back word of what the outer planes are really like, reinforcing and shaping the beliefs of primes, which in turn shape the planes, leading to a relatively stable outer planes.