Pathfinder Chronicles: The Great Beyond—A Guide to the Multiverse (OGL) (based on
Paizo Publishing, LLC
The home of the gods. The essence of matter. The realm of demons. The birthplace of souls, and the cities of Hell. All these things and more await in the planes beyond Golarion. Brave mortals leave the cradle of their homeworld and cross the misty ethereal sea or the silver void to discover strange dimensions—some hauntingly familiar, others inherently deadly, and many alien beyond imagining.
Bargain with djinn over land rights ceded to the mephit king while fighting off roving patrols of the queen of the fire elementals. Sign treaties with the umbral dragons of Shadow Absalom. Join the archon armies on a sortie into the Abyss, or assist a cadre of devils guarding the winding river of souls through the Astral Plane. Invade your enemy’s dream realm, study your own past, or negotiate with a cannibalistic sentient demiplane.
This 64-page book describes all of the major planes of the Inner and Outer Spheres, as well as numerous demiplanes and lesser-known dimensions. It also provides maps of the nine planes of the Outer Sphere, and unleashes five new monsters unique to Golarion’s cosmology—soul-eating astradaemons, law-forging axiomites, trickster-fey that lurk in light, quasi-noble keketar proteans, and fox-bard vulpinal agathions.
Eu gostaria muito de dizer que este livro vale a pena, mas mesmo não sendo um livro ruim e de certo modo cumprindo a sua proposta de satisfazer a curiosidade sobre a cosmologia de Golarion, ele sofre de alguns problemas graves. Talvez o maior deles foi ter sido lançado entre edições, o que causou pouquíssimo conteúdo mecânico (algo que nem sempre é ruim, mas no geral aventuras planares carecem de auxilio mecânico devido a realidades muito diferentes do mundo natural). A falta de vontade da Paizo em se aprofundar muito em conteúdo que ela não estava preparada para se comprometer ainda (provavelmente haverá muito retcons quando o assunto planos voltar a vanguarda) e a arte não estava nada inspirada para um assunto tão transcendental quanto esse. Compre apenas se você gostar muito do assunto aventuras planares e realmente esteja querendo idéias que voce mesmo irá desenvolver, no resto o livro ainda continua muito bem escrito sendo uma leitura interessante para qualquer fã.
I'm huge fan of planar gaming, so I was hoping we'd be getting something meaty. Sadly this product is too short for it's own good. You end up feeling like you're reading a prologue to a book where the rest of the book after the prologue is missing. This is an introduction and that's it.
The ideas are great, but they're just skimmed over. This supplement needed to be far more detailed and meaty than it is to be useful. Over all it's just not worth the money as it currently is.
Summary: Indispensible for a planar campaign, best focused on the Inner Planes, or on Axis. Equivalent in usefulness to the "Player's Guide" versions of 2e Planescape books.
Allusions to medieval religion and cosmology sprinkled throughout make excellent ways to tie in real-world mythologies. A favorite moment of mine was Melek Taus as a missing Archangel of the Heptad. Dante makes numerous appearances. The production values are good; the text is searchable, the pdf renders well, and the artwork is excellent.
The book lacks "current events" descriptions, so GMs will need their own plots (or try module J5!). There are planar mysteries and tensions, described plainly, but of long standing; no current upheavals. An interesting exception is a half page on the contested control of Aroden's domain near Axis. There is no Sigil; if a GM would like a Sigil-surrogate and a handy adventure series, Axis (or Shadow Absalom) could do well.
Many people and things come from "elsewhere," and seem to know but remain silent on where, a trick used a bit often for me -- but this permits uncertainty on the nature of gods. Some gods may be dependent on belief, but some seem to predate mortals and envision existence after them. (The Axiomite Godmind is neat!) Their conflicts seem purposeful rather than self-aggrandizing. This I like very much.
One thing seriously bugged me. "Atheists" from Golarion are apparently so foul that regardless of alignment Pharasma sentences them to be buried in crypts after death: they are "self-damned," "poisoned,” without hope of rebirth and occasionally fed to Groetus, daemon-like. Why? What corruption in atheism is so pernicious that it would survive reincarnation?
While I would like an answer to that, I don't want to end on that note. As a GM, I will retcon it out, as I did when the sentiment appeared in Guide to Hell. Overall, I liked the book. It has inspired gaming ideas already, which is the primary reason I buy any RPG setting material.
First of all, I'm a sucker for all things planar. From the first MotP through Planescape to Beyond Countless Doorways, been there done that.
So naturally I was quite looking forward to the Pathfinder book of planes. I jumped when the word was out that Todd "Shemeska" Stewart will be the author - I was following Todd's work on Planewalker website, and he struck me as particularly imaginative and interesting writer.
The hopes were high, but did the book deliver ? I am pleased to say YES ! The Great Beyond offers a vivid description of Pathfinder cosmology, complete with writeup on all major inner and outer planes.
Todd was faced with a real challenge - how to write something similar yet different from the good old Great Wheel D&D cosmology ? There is much Planescape nostalgia among the 3ed fans, and one of the major criticisms aimed at 4ed was the case of uprooting the entire D&D cosmology and turning it pretty much upside down. Over the years, the Great Wheel picked up tons of legacy material.
Todd manages to handle it elegantly, conjuring a streamlined version of the Great Wheel, which still can be easily expanded with pre-Pathfinder sources. The classic planes such as the Abyss, Hell, Limbo are all here (however the much beloved Mechanus and it's Modrons had to go, curse you WotC IP !). Excellent new replacements have been created to replace modrons, slaadi and yugoloths.
Yes, it's a bit on short side. And leaves you wanting more. Here's to hoping that Paizo expands the cosmology in further books, but for now, The Great Beyond is an excellent starting point. Good job !