The empyreal lords are the primal forces of good given physical form. Though not as powerful as gods, they are ancient celestials with legendary abilities.
Unlike many other beings of demigod-level power, empyreal lords do not divide themselves as strictly along racial lines—the term “empyreal lord” names the greatest members of the agathion, angel, archon, and azata races. While demon lords, archdevils, horsemen, and similar unique beings orchestrate the plots of their race alone—proving either unwilling or too fractious to collaborate with those not of their kind—empyreal lords seek out the commonalities of interest and purpose shared by their peers among the other celestial races. Although some good-aligned planar races have their own titles for the greatest of their kind, the title “empyreal lord” serves as a unifying bond between forces for good. Though their foes (and even some allies) see these mightiest azatas, angels, agathions, and archons as rulers of their kind, the empyreal lords do not consider themselves royalty. Together the empyreal lords Marshal the efforts of all goodly outsiders toward common ends.
Some empyreal lords are almost as old as creation itself, having arisen from the ranks of the first celestials. Others were imbued with divine grace, either by being champions of a deity, inheriting the power of a slain god, or tapping into remarkable powers gathered at far-flung corners of the planes. Some reached this high station by performing impossible quests, gaining the favor of fate, or becoming perfectly attuned with one of the good outer planes.
Representing the two poles of goodness and the fulcrum upon which they balance, the empyreal lords do not always agree, but generally do not interfere with each others’ decisions. Most view philosophical squabbles as petty when faced with a common foe, and never has infighting threatened the foundation of their bonds. Thus, while their outlooks may differ regarding freedom, individuality, and loyalty, the empyreal lords do not allow such differences to stand in the way of vanquishing evil—they’re celestials aligned against evil first and foremost.
Despite their power, the empyreal lords typically eschew direct involvement in the affairs of mortals and even most other celestials. They believe the greater objectives of good are ultimately served by larger and farther-reaching orchestrations of diplomacy and subtle strategy. Even though their powers might not always obviously be directly at work, empyreal lords court mortal worshipers who share their goals and ideals, who are typically referred to as mystery cultists. Rather than more general goals like good or order, mystery cultists focus their worship on the ideals, activities, and creatures their patron most fervently extols or openly favors.
An empyreal lord’s planar realm may be as small as a metropolis or as large as a continent. The realms’ environments, themes, and traits are as unusual as the empyreal lords themselves, presenting surreal challenges and dangers to creatures seeking to invade them.
An empyreal lord gains the following additional powers while in its realm
Although the three presented here are among most powerful of the empyreal lords, they are far from the only celestials to bear this title. Among the ranks of the good races of the heavens stand those that are great leaders of their kind and shining examples to other celestials. For these few, their natures or their actions kindle a transformation that reshapes them into empyreal lords—a superlative version of their basic form. When they ascend, these empyreal lords are given an honorific typically celebrating their deeds or honoring another empyreal lord of similar distinction. Below are many ascendant celestials that have become empyreal lords and their honored titles.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 4 © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Savannah Broadway, Ross Byers, Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock, Tracy Hurley, James Jacobs, Matt James, Rob McCreary, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, Tork Shaw, and Russ Taylor.