|doc the grey|
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It never ceases to amaze me how strongly people feel about "Good" in D&D. I mean, you can put pretty much anything in a book about demons/devils - from baby-eating skin-wearing chainsaw-wielding splatter to "vaguely CNish bordering on redemption" and everybody is cool, except that one person who was tricked by their (ha!) friends into watching Martyrs and how as a panic trigger button that goes off every time the topic of flaying somebody's skin alive is brought up.
But put out a book about heavens and you suddenly get folks get up their arms about things such as their ideal vision of what celestials should look like, what their mental stats should be, what 'goodness' exactly is, how Arshea shouldn't be Good because she's really CN or how Ragathiel is really LE (yep, I'm a bit guilty of the last one) and what pronouns should be used in the context of ultimate benevolence.
I mean, folks, take a walk, go to a church, talk to Father Spirit, experience some divine transcendence on the top of the impossible mountain and realise that this is just a game of pretend-elves.
But I that sidesteps the whole point of contention. The problem is that though we the consumers can't decide on a consistent good it seems Paizo can't decide on a consistent theme for their good outsiders either and seems to want to just continue the course. Unfortunately that just leaves us with a lot of options for good creatures that just come off as boring or mishandled and this issue is rooted in the Azatas, Angels, Archons, and Agathions on a conceptual level. Each of them is so indistinct mechanically and thematically that you could mix them up and without the art not really tell the difference.
Angels have bird wings and are "not evil", Azatas are elves standing into the breeze, Archons are angels with some armor, and agathions all look like a new fursona for someone out their and that is really all that defines them. There descriptions even as races come off dull with most of these descriptions describing each race as "good" rather than defining what good means to them collectively. By what philosophy are Azata's designed mechanically and thematically to perform their good, what about Angels, why and how does the whole animal theme thing work with agathion design philosophy both mechanically and narratively? Hell, why are so many angels designed around war?
All of the outsiders come off like they were made by dozens of people working in isolation to answer these questions and no one ever sat down to collate and center these thoughts around some sort of idea. That whole feeling runs in direct opposition to the many awesome outsiders we have on the evil side like the Devils, Demons, and Daemons. Say what you will about them but we know when you read about any of them as a whole they have a thematic current running through every member of that subtype that informs their design from how Daemons each represent this nihilism and death to how Devils are all designed to enforce the rigid, militant lawfulness of hell from top to bottom.
I think until we get some sort of better definition of how each of these groups does good or a theme to the good they do we'll keep seeing this issue and I think boiling this whole argument down to people will fight about it so lets not is needlessly reductive to solving a problem that I think is well within Paizo's power to handle. Hell they made the Empyrean Angel, The Choral, and the Redeemer angel I think they can put something together that gives us some theme for each of the good outsider races.