[RPG] ny lore to suggest that celestials or fey can only be killed on their home planes similar to fiends


This answer to a different question (about D&D 5e) says:

To open, lets look at a sample of the rules that say you cannot permanently kill such a creature outside of their home plane…

The only way to truly destroy a demon is to seek it in the Abyss and kill it there.

MM 51

Devils that die in the Nine Hells are destroyed forever

MM 67

Only on its native plane can a yugoloth be destroyed permanently

MM 311

Of note: Angels in the 5E MM do NOT have this protection. Weird as it may seem, it is actually easier to kill a Celestial than it is to kill a Fiend.

So, going by the lore available in 5e, it is implied (only by the lack of any details to the contrary) that celestials can be killed permanently on any plane. Obviously this quote doesn't mention fey, but I think of celestial, fiends and fey as being grouped together due to certain spells in 5e, such as find familiar or find steed, saying that the spirit can be one of those three.

Anyway, my question is, even though the lore stating that fiends (specifically devils, demons and yugoloths) cannot be killed outside their native planes is well established, is there any lore from any edition of D&D that suggests that the same rules exist for celestials or fey (such as angels or satyr, for example)?

Best Answer

I will try to provide a somewhat subjective answer from 2e. The outsiders (as they got to be collectively called later in 3e) are beings that are the embodiments of their respective planes and everything in the Outer Planes is about belief. As such, the way we played 2e, we used to assume that the destruction of an outsider's material form should not be final, in some way its essence must find its way back to the plane itself. Yet depending on the worldview it represented, the essence can assume different forms. Fiends are self-centered so it is possible that they could just reform on the plane, while certain other essences might simply prefer to merge back to the pool, content to be formless again or be part of the collective again (you can interpret this as the effective death of the individual).

Our motivation to play this way was the belief-based foundations of the Planescape campaign setting as well as examples from various Planescape monstrous supplements. Here are a couple that I could identify:

  • Aasimon Solar: Unless it is on its home plane, only the material form of a solar can be destroyed. Its spirit requires seven decades to reform.

  • Modrons: The bodies of modrons slain anywhere immediately disintegrate. It is suspected that whatever energies were trapped within the creature’s mortal form find their way back to Mechanus and merge with the energy field of the plane. This field is what sustains the modron race.

It is worth noting that these qualities are not present in 3e. For example, the entry for solar in the 3.5e SRD mentions nothing about what happens to them when they are killed. Being just outsiders, they cannot even be raised:

Unlike most other living creatures, an outsider does not have a dual nature—its soul and body form one unit. When an outsider is slain, no soul is set loose. Spells that restore souls to their bodies, such as raise dead, reincarnate, and resurrection, don’t work on an outsider.