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Empyrean (planar scion)

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Empyrean
Aasimar
An empyrean.
(Creature)
This article covers the type of planar scion. For the language also known as Celestial, see Empyrean (language). For the type of angel, see empyrean.

Empyreans, also called aasimars, are nephilim planar scion12 descendants of celestial beings from the Great Beyond.3 They are also referred to generally as angelkin, celestials, or godtouched,4 or by more specific names if their lineage is known (see Heritages).

Description

Empyreans often have minor physical indicators of their unusual ancestry. These differences can span a wide range, but most often are exemplified by an unearthly beauty, hair that shines like metal, strange eye color, or glowing golden halos. In many cases an empyrean's beauty is not due to physical traits but rather to a supernatural tendency among others to interpret their features as beautiful or attractive. This heritage can remain hidden for generations and unexpectedly appear in the offspring of two seemingly human parents.56

Empyreans also tend to have strong, confident personalities, with minds that are not easily shaken by doubt or misdirection. They are often quite insightful and perceptive, able to formulate coherent and persuasive arguments with little effort.56

Like their ancestors, many empyreans have an increased power over light and dark, displaying the ability to see in complete darkness for limited distances and spontaneously generate daylight. They also inherit a strong resistance to cold, heat or fire, and corrosive effects.756

Origins

Most empyreans alive in Golarion today are not, in fact, direct descendants of celestials, but are generated from holy blessings or the leftover energies of holy places.8 The possibility of an empyrean birth continues to many generations after any such union, even when two mortals have children, so long as one of the mortals is a direct descendant of the celestial.9

Although half-celestial creatures come in many shapes and forms, empyreans are only born from humanoids. Empyreans can be born from the union of the half-celestial with another mortal being.10

Heritages

Though for most empyreans the source of their celestial blood is unknown, there are some who can trace their blood back to a specific type of holy outsider, and their personalities might be shaped by this ancestry. These empyrean heritages are as follows:211

Adventurers

Empyreans are usually prized from birth, and their communities ensure that these blessed children are given much encouragement to follow their divine destiny. Empyreans often devote themselves to a church, becoming champions or clerics. Artistic empyreans tend toward careers as a bard.12

Habitat and society

An empyrean in action.

Empyreans are often treated as living miracles. This tends to result in them being outcasts among their peers during their formative years, and to them being given a significant amount of strange attention from superstitious folk who seek blessings from the descendant of a holy being.5 While not all are benevolent, many tend to be.13

Despite their natural traits, empyreans can face a number of difficulties in their lives. They often have high expectations placed on them from youth, and envy and resentment from their peers can cause them to face stigmas in their communities.14 Because of their reputation for being generally good creatures, they are sometimes targeted for killing or capture by evil beings, such as black dragons.15 The traits afforded to empyreans by their heritage, such as their beauty, often cause them to be targeted by the slave trade.10

Due to their rarity, empyreans rarely form true societies. It is rare for more than one empyrean to live in the same town or village, or for an empyrean child to find older members of her species to serve as guides or mentors. Empyreans often live among the societies of their parent species as a result.14

Etymology

The word aasimar in the Taldane language derives from a combination of the Celestial terms "aasu", meaning "new", and "imarr", meaning "birth". Interestingly, both words in Celestial are derived from the Draconic language.16

On Golarion

Nualia Tobyn, an empyrean cleric of Lamashtu.
For a list of known empyreans, see Category:Empyrean (planar scion)/Inhabitants.

While they have existed on Golarion for thousands of years, there has been a recent increase in empyrean births. This is thought to correlate with the increased numbers of cambions17 born in the Hell-influenced nation of Cheliax in the last century.3

Empyreans are more common in settlements whose populations include a larger proportion of natives of the Great Beyond, such as the city of Katapesh in Garund.18 In the Inner Sea region, the largest empyrean populations are in Varisia, Lastwall, Mendev, Nirmathas, and Andoran.419

Empyreans born in Cheliax and Nidal are often considered threats by these nations' governments and forced to live in secret. Empyreans in Cheliax are particularly mistaken for cambions and subjected to the discrimination that these other planar scions regularly face.1020

Empyreans, especially emberkin, are held in high regard in the Sarenrae-worshipping nation of Qadira.21 Plumekith are also common among the nomads of Qadira's Zho Mountains, who according to legend were once watched over by the empyreans' garuda ancestors. Likewise, emberkin are also common in Rahadoum and Thuvia due to the high numbers of peris who live there.22

While empyreans are relatively uncommon in most of Golarion, they are the primary inhabitants of the nation of Tianjing in Tian Xia.23 They are descended from a celestial force that arrived in the region thousands of years ago to fight a qlippoth invasion, and which passed the rule of the land to their empyrean descendants upon their return to the upper planes.2224

References

Paizo published a major reference text on aasimars in Blood of Angels.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Logan Bonner, et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary, 263. Paizo Inc., 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 Logan Bonner, et al. Ancestries & Backgrounds” in Player Core, 78–79. Paizo Inc., 2023
  3. 3.0 3.1 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 1: Characters” in Campaign Setting, 40. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 11. Paizo Inc., 2011
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 James Jacobs, et al. Burnt Offerings, 9. Paizo Inc., 2007
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 6. Paizo Inc., 2012
  7. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009 Derived from creature statistics.
  8. Calder CaDavid. Aasimar” in Ancestry Guide, 8. Paizo Inc., 2021
  9. Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 3. Paizo Inc., 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 4. Paizo Inc., 2012
  11. Amber E. Scott. “Aasimar Heritages” in Blood of Angels, 20ff. Paizo Inc., 2012
  12. Calder CaDavid. Aasimar” in Ancestry Guide, 9. Paizo Inc., 2021
  13. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009 Derived from creature statistics.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2012
  15. Mike McArtor. Black Dragons” in Dragons Revisited, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009
  16. Mike McArtor. Dragons of Golarion” in Fortress of the Stone Giants, 69. Paizo Inc., 2007
  17. Paizo referred to cambion planar scions as tieflings until the publication of Player Core. These cambions are unrelated to the type of demon with the same name.
  18. Brian Cortijo, et al. “Adventures in Katapesh” in Legacy of Fire Player's Guide, 4. Paizo Inc., 2009
  19. Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 9. Paizo Inc., 2012
  20. Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 10. Paizo Inc., 2012
  21. Jessica Price. “People of Qadira” in Qadira, Jewel of the East, 28. Paizo Inc., 2017
  22. 22.0 22.1 Amber E. Scott. “Blood of Angels” in Blood of Angels, 11. Paizo Inc., 2012
  23. James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 39. Paizo Inc., 2011
  24. James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 15–16. Paizo Inc., 2011