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Holy Crud! Golarion is in the same cosmology as Earth!


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion

Osirion

So I was looking at some really old adventure path stuff, the first issue of the Second Darkness path, and I read something that totally blew me away. The default assumption is that the universe that Golarion exists in is the same universe our Earth exists in. All those stars they show in the Material Plane--we're in there somewhere! The consequences of that are huge, and I've been mulling them over for a couple of weeks and talking them over with our game group about it to see what we make of it. It's been really interesting.

My first thought was dismissive. That it couldn't be that way because that would mean the gods of our world would be Thor and Marduk and Zeus, not Eristil or Aroden--they'd be gods from real mythology, right? Then I thought...like Lamashtu, or Asmodeus, or after some research, Orcus (yeah, he was a roman god who punished oathbreakers). Then I thought about places like Osirion, how it feels so much like Egypt--or the Golarion versions of China, India, the old Norse, and so on. Maybe the whole reason that these cultures are so similar world to world is because our gods have some influence on Golarion--that before Nethys became such a big deal in Osirion, maybe there was a cult of Osirus? Or maybe there still could be? Could you maybe play the old chestnut cleric of Thor in Pathfinder with a straight face. It's really interesting. Maybe out in the Maelstrom there are gods we'd really recognize were we to see them, amid teeming masses of alien gods from the billions of other campaign settings out there? I guess the biggest thing is when I run Pathfinder, now that I know that the gods from our world aren't just name drops with completely different personas in the game--I want to really do them justice and respect the lore a lot more. I wonder if you couldn't have an Orcus who's less of a big red ram guy, and who's more of a big Rob Zombie looking guy who walks town to town sniffing out oathbreakers and tossing them off cliffs--or if Asmodeus in Golarion might more closely approximate the cambion offspring of King David and a possessed Bathsheeba that folklore makes him out to be. The real life lore really reframes a lot.

The other big thought I had was what does that say about the kind of Earth you get because it's attached to Pathfinder. I mean for one, Cthulhu is real. Baba Yaga probably is too. In fact most of the legends, urban and folkloric probably are true in Pathfinder Earth. I mean like the World of Darkness or Call of Cthulhu, they aren't probably obviously overtly true--in that most people continue blandly ignorant of their reality, but either Pathfinder Earth is Earth from the Cthulhu mythos--or what I prefer is that, like Hellboy, it contains Cthulhu, celtic myth, aztec myth, aliens, atlantis, loch ness, the Bermuda Triangle and just about every other scrap of lore arcane or literary that you can imagine. I mean, Morlocks are real. Seriously, and not 400,000,000 years in the future. So yeah, anything goes.

And another thing we really enjoy is the idea, that when we run Pathfinder next, that we run our games about 90 or so years in the past of the game's chronology--so that the Earth of that time period is the Earth of the great pulp writers, the 20s and 30s, because seriously that's where I'd most want some adventurer from Varisia to discover us--it just feels really right.

Cheliax

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Read some of the stuff on the Old Cults in Carrion Crown, they explicitly say Cthulhu is laying dead but dreaming in an undersea city on the far side of the Dark Tapestry, I'll give you one guess what planet they mean.

Osirion

SwnyNerdgasm wrote:
Read some of the stuff on the Old Cults in Carrion Crown, they explicitly say Cthulhu is laying dead but dreaming in an undersea city on the far side of the Dark Tapestry, I'll give you one guess what planet they mean.

That sounds really cool. Truth be told I've been out of the game for a while (the whole playtest scene really kind of burned me). I might have to hunt that one down.

Likewise I'll probably be research crunching real life mythologies and folklore behind Pathfinder setting stuff and trying to pack the game full of them. It's really kind of gotten me enthused about the setting for the first time in a while.

Osirion

I guess the biggest challenge so far is packing as much real world stuff into the mythological figures here and divorcing it as much as possible from the typical D&D rigamarole as possible without changing the setting in a bad way. The Asmodeus stuff in particular has been giving me fits.

From what I've been able to dig up, Asmodeus means "demon of wrath" and was the cambion child of King David and a possessed lady. I sort of like to imagine that was the one Bathsheeba lady he had the big oops with and then offed her husband...because that's just awful. In "real world" mythology Lucifer is supposedly in charge of Hell and Asmodeus is just a powerful demon--but Cheliax worshiping *satan* satan is a little too big a change for me. I sort of fancy a political shakeup a la mideval japan where Lucifer has become the spiritual heart of Hell, the first fallen angel and all that--but that most of his real political power has been taken (or at least been allowed to be believed to have been taken) by this upstart cambion from the bloodline of David.

Then again, this sends things even further out--I mean if Asmodeus is real Asmodeus, then that alledges that somewhere out there, perhaps beyond the big golden fortress with the open gate in Heaven...well I think you get where I'm going. Not even sure where I want to take that.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Grimcleaver wrote:
SwnyNerdgasm wrote:
Read some of the stuff on the Old Cults in Carrion Crown, they explicitly say Cthulhu is laying dead but dreaming in an undersea city on the far side of the Dark Tapestry, I'll give you one guess what planet they mean.

That sounds really cool. Truth be told I've been out of the game for a while (the whole playtest scene really kind of burned me). I might have to hunt that one down.

Likewise I'll probably be research crunching real life mythologies and folklore behind Pathfinder setting stuff and trying to pack the game full of them. It's really kind of gotten me enthused about the setting for the first time in a while.

I suppose it's worth noting that the public playtests of the rules are pretty much NOT the place to go if you're interested in learning more about the world of Golarion, since the rulebooks are world-neutral.


This is a better place to go to find information on Golarion.
http://www.pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Pathfinder_Wiki

Osirion

James Jacobs wrote:


I suppose it's worth noting that the public playtests of the rules are pretty much NOT the place to go if you're interested in learning more about the world of Golarion, since the rulebooks are world-neutral.

Yeah, no I get that. Totally. What happened was much more of a matter of me coming in with hopes of helping to shape a game I love in a way that it was made fairly stingingly clear that nobody wanted or was at all interested in. That said, all that has been years under the bridge and I've been interested in taking on the game again. Some of the folks in my game group are dying to try it out again. That said, if you've got any input on what I'm working on here, I'd absolutely love to hear it. You're one of my favorite designers. I still remember the game you ran at the first Paizocon.


The old, out-dated articles in early Dragon Magazine (#28) did in fact stat-up Satan. They explained that he had been deposed and was attempting to regain power from Asmodeus (who had himself replaced Satan's successor, Baalzebub).

Osirion

Jeff de luna wrote:
The old, out-dated articles in early Dragon Magazine (#28) did in fact stat-up Satan. They explained that he had been deposed and was attempting to regain power from Asmodeus (who had himself replaced Satan's successor, Baalzebub).

That's interesting. I'll look that up. Thanks.


Grimcleaver wrote:
Jeff de luna wrote:
The old, out-dated articles in early Dragon Magazine (#28) did in fact stat-up Satan. They explained that he had been deposed and was attempting to regain power from Asmodeus (who had himself replaced Satan's successor, Baalzebub).
That's interesting. I'll look that up. Thanks.

Tome of Horrors Complete has stats for Lucifer, Lilith, and many other named devils from Mythology.


Tome of Horrors Complete also mentions Lucifer being deposed from Hell by Asmodeus and how he's operating in another plane right now with plans of regaining Hell eventually.


I also vaguely remember something being said about Asmodeus once having a counterpart, but no longer?

But yeah, the basic idea is that every campaign setting is a planet or solar system on the Material Plane, except the big space-sprawling ones like 40k. You could possibly reconcile even those, by claiming alternate timelines, futures, and identical but very distant galaxies.

From time to time I slip in a bit of stuff from other settings around magical anomalies and such in my own games. A revolver, some ceramic coins from Athas, Elminister's old staff, a lasgun, and a hubcap (being used as a goblin's shield, of course!).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.


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James Jacobs wrote:

To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.

Middle-earth is the same planet as Earth (Tolkien said so explicitly, but people still argue about it). Like the Hyborian Age, M-e was written and mapped before we knew what the geography of the Ice Ages (when, approximately, they were set) looked like.

Essentially, both are alternate past timelines for the present (just like there are alternate future timelines in Star Trek).

Golarion is designed to be separated from Lovecraft's Earth by distance rather than dimensions, I think.

Of course, Greyhawk (Oerth) was part of a series of parallel worlds that included our Earth, and implicitly, Middle-earth. And Harn, for that matter, exists as one of several dimensionally connected worlds that included Middle-earth, as well

One problem I have is that I love the Dreamlands. If Golarion's Dream Plane is a separate dimension from Earth's Dreamlands, it means that I can't use it directly. But so far, its very vaguely described. I suspect if you sail on the Dreamlands Oceans it will take you to other worlds' dream planes, rather than requiring an interplanetary journey.

Cheliax

James Jacobs wrote:

To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.

Thats not that freaky, my homebrew's Prime Material has had that feature since 2nd edition


Fun discussion.

James Jacobs wrote:

To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.

That leads me to two questions, at the moment. Said that of course I know that I can make whatever I can fancy with my games, I am interested on the more or less official answers you can give to these:

1) What about alternate realities? Or, why everything in a single Material rather than countless alternate realities. One answer could be "because space, and to an extent also time, are more accessible than alternate dimensions", but you know, when you make PCs travel from Golarion to Duckburg no one will go arguing about which way it could have been more accessible... space, time, layer of reality or whatever. More likely someone will argue about Donald Duck having a racial luck penalty on all d20 rolls.

2) More important (to me). Looking at The Great Beyond (the book) I see that each plane is finite. Uimaginably big, but finite. And some are "even more finite" than others. For example, each layer of the Nine Hells is quite small, Nessus being probably the smallest. So, applying this Hell to the cosmology where Golarion is "just far" from Oerth (not to name settings with absolutely different planar structures), what would it mean? That far from the "Nessus island" presented in The Great Beyond there's another similar one, maybe with its own counterpart of Asmodeus, that is tied to Oerth as much as the first one is tied to Golarion?
A vast number of mind-twisting issues pop up in my head.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, there's that cradle-planet where life started at the first place in universe and where all races came from. But thats just a myth...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Astral Wanderer wrote:
1) What about alternate realities? Or, why everything in a single Material rather than countless alternate realities. One answer could be "because space, and to an extent also time, are more accessible than alternate dimensions", but you know, when you make PCs travel from Golarion to Duckburg no one will go arguing about which way it could have been more accessible... space, time, layer of reality or whatever. More likely someone will argue about Donald Duck having a racial luck penalty on all d20 rolls.

Alternate realities and parallel worlds exist... in a way, you can regard the First World and the Plane of Shadow as two examples of these. Others doubtless exist as well.

Astral Wanderer wrote:
2) More important (to me). Looking at The Great Beyond (the book) I see that each plane is finite. Uimaginably big, but finite. And some are "even more finite" than others. For example, each layer of the Nine Hells is quite small, Nessus being probably the smallest. So, applying this Hell to the cosmology where Golarion is "just far" from Oerth (not to name settings with absolutely different planar structures), what would it mean? That far from the "Nessus island" presented in The Great Beyond there's another similar one, maybe with its own counterpart of Asmodeus, that is tied to Oerth as much as the first one is tied to Golarion?

Think of the Outer Sphere as the inside of an unimaginably vast ball. The outer planes are on the inner surface of that ball, separated by distances that could be measured in countless universe spans. While the Outer Sphere is finite, it's not INfinite... but it might as well be for mortal bodies and minds. In any event, the outer planes are physically SO far from all the possible Material worlds that the distance is effectively identical.

Andoran

James Jacobs wrote:
Astral Wanderer wrote:
1) What about alternate realities? Or, why everything in a single Material rather than countless alternate realities. One answer could be "because space, and to an extent also time, are more accessible than alternate dimensions", but you know, when you make PCs travel from Golarion to Duckburg no one will go arguing about which way it could have been more accessible... space, time, layer of reality or whatever. More likely someone will argue about Donald Duck having a racial luck penalty on all d20 rolls.

Alternate realities and parallel worlds exist... in a way, you can regard the First World and the Plane of Shadow as two examples of these. Others doubtless exist as well.

Astral Wanderer wrote:
2) More important (to me). Looking at The Great Beyond (the book) I see that each plane is finite. Uimaginably big, but finite. And some are "even more finite" than others. For example, each layer of the Nine Hells is quite small, Nessus being probably the smallest. So, applying this Hell to the cosmology where Golarion is "just far" from Oerth (not to name settings with absolutely different planar structures), what would it mean? That far from the "Nessus island" presented in The Great Beyond there's another similar one, maybe with its own counterpart of Asmodeus, that is tied to Oerth as much as the first one is tied to Golarion?
Think of the Outer Sphere as the inside of an unimaginably vast ball. The outer planes are on the inner surface of that ball, separated by distances that could be measured in countless universe spans. While the Outer Sphere is finite, it's not INfinite... but it might as well be for mortal bodies and minds. In any event, the outer planes are physically SO far from all the possible Material worlds that the distance is effectively identical.

Many of my thoughts run that way as well, except I tend to see the Outer Planes as infinite or effectively so. Possibly even stranger realities might exist beyond the inner surface of the ball -- realms of being that are beyond mortal ken. (Journeys there might explain why Nethys and Zon-Kuthon were so greatly altered from their former selves. There may be wonders and horrors that would amaze angels and demons alike. Maybe some of those realities break the Fourth Wall of comics, so to speak. (Nethys might have been stunned to discover not only was Reality larger than he thought, but finding out that he was a fictional character in an RPG might have been a bit much for him. ;) )


I like the way you think!

Qadira

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James Jacobs wrote:

To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.

This is a rather fascinating possibility... though it does raise a number of questions. For starters, *all* of the different stories we read and watch in TV cannot coexist. obviously, for example, the universe described in the Hyperion Omnibus could not be the same one as the universe described in the Mass Effect computer games - each of them describes a distinctly different sort of fate for Earth and the human race. Just as well as the fact that the story told in "His Majesties' Dragon" could not coexist with the one told in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell.

In even broader terms, it would seem to me that having alternate realities *within* the material plane would make more sense - something more akin to Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" model for the universe, or even the Multiverse used as a setting for Magic: The Gathering. an infinite number of universes coexisting, bordering on each other, being "close" or "far" from each other in a way which has nothing to do with physical distance.
Wouldn't that be more sensible? each universe could house a different story and setting, and traveling between them would mean winking out from one existence to another.

Shadow Lodge

The fact that the planes are finite is one thing about the official campaign setting that I detest. If you can actually walk from here to there, then it is NOT a different plane of existence, it's part of the same plane that just follows different rules. It also basically eliminates the concept of alternate Prime Material planes.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Lord Snow wrote:

This is a rather fascinating possibility... though it does raise a number of questions. For starters, *all* of the different stories we read and watch in TV cannot coexist. obviously, for example, the universe described in the Hyperion Omnibus could not be the same one as the universe described in the Mass Effect computer games - each of them describes a distinctly different sort of fate for Earth and the human race. Just as well as the fact that the story told in "His Majesties' Dragon" could not coexist with the one told in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell.

In even broader terms, it would seem to me that having alternate realities *within* the material plane would make more sense - something more akin to Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" model for the universe, or even the Multiverse used as a setting for Magic: The Gathering. an infinite number of universes coexisting, bordering on each other, being "close" or "far" from each other in a way which has nothing to do with physical distance.
Wouldn't that be more sensible? each universe could house a different story and setting, and traveling between them would mean winking out from one existence to another.

Or perhaps each universe has a different timeline. That's my favorite explanation for parallel worlds—whenever some significant event causes something to happen, the various outcomes branch timelines and spawn parallel realities.

Qadira

Keep in mind, the Cthulhu-verse is, or rather should be the Conan-Verse, which could take place hundreds of thousands of years after Middle Earth but before modern man.


The Middle Earth universe is not the Conan universe or the Cthulhu universe. The cosmological background is far too different.
Conan being set in the same world as the Mythos makes sense. Middle Earth is not a part of that. The basic setting assumptions don't work together. Middle Earth does not have pagan deities and cosmic abominations. It has a creator, his servants and those rebelling against him. You would have to gut the themes of at least one to reconcile them.

The same applies to many other fictional worlds.

Andoran

thejeff wrote:

The Middle Earth universe is not the Conan universe or the Cthulhu universe. The cosmological background is far too different.

Conan being set in the same world as the Mythos makes sense. Middle Earth is not a part of that. The basic setting assumptions don't work together. Middle Earth does not have pagan deities and cosmic abominations. It has a creator, his servants and those rebelling against him. You would have to gut the themes of at least one to reconcile them.

The same applies to many other fictional worlds.

There may be something overarching the multiverse and the parallel Earths. There may be similiarities. The Overpower of the Nyambe setting for 3.0 and Iluvatar of Middle Earth as well as the Creator in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant may have similar roles but very different personalities and actions.

For that matter, each campaign set in Golarion could be seen as a parallel world, particularly if some things do not exist (no guns, as the dwarves in Alkenstar never needed to develop them. Hence, gunslingers might not exist in some versions of Golarion.

I do recall that in L.Sprague DeCamp's Conan of the Isles, that in a dream sequence, Conan steps on a statue of what seems to be Cthulhu while consulting the spirit of an ancient sage.)


dotting


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

on a scale from one to ten, this thread is OVER NINE THOUSAAAAAND!!!!!


This thread hurts my brain in the same way that learning the shape of the universe hurts. I go crosseyed just thinking about the possibility.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

At least one of my players will be thrilled with her half-Vulcan paladin from Numeria...

Thanks a lot, James.


the David wrote:

At least one of my players will be thrilled with her half-Vulcan paladin from Numeria...

Thanks a lot, James.

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations sounds like an excellent paladin code.

Live long and prosper, dude.

Osirion

James Jacobs wrote:
Or perhaps each universe has a different timeline. That's my favorite explanation for parallel worlds—whenever some significant event causes something to happen, the various outcomes branch timelines and spawn parallel realities.

I've been mulling this over for a bit. So okay, every setting co-exists in the Material, right? But how do they co-exist? Let's take three different modern era settings:

Independence Day (Grey aliens carpet-bomb the earth)
World of Darkness (Werewolves, vampires, mages, fae, mummies, etc.)
X-Men (Public crisis of superheroes in modern society)

Does Pathfinder just mix them all--like Alien vs. Predator? Assume they all exist, that everything is true? That there's one world that has superheroes and vampires and is laid waste periodically (more in the 50's) by giant monsters and aliens.

Or Marvel Comics style is there an Independence Day Universe and a separate parallel universe for X-Men and World of Darkness each in a separate dimension from each other barring magical transportation or planar rifts?

If it's this second one then it winnows out a lot of settings--at least for the primary Pathfinder setting. You'd have to choose between Conan, Exalted, or Lord of the Rings for the prehistory. If you wanted to have Vulcans and Star Trek in the future, that'd mean Earth's in the thick of a war with Khan and his eugenic supersoldiers right now, which seems like it would rule out other futures like The Matrix or Star*Drive.

So I guess do all the settings co-exist like a big epic crossover quilt? If not, what things do you see existing in the Prime Pathfinder universe and what things exist elsewhere?

Presumably Cthuhlu exists, which also gives the nod to Conan and all the other Theosophy based sword and sorcery fiction that shared authors with it--like the Clark Ashton Smith stuff. But what about the sword and planet stuff? Are Golarion Mars and Jupiter covered in jungle and aliens?

Does the Force exist in Golarion--since it binds the universe together? Are there superheroes? Certainly the idea in most comic books is that superheroes exist on any planet with sentient life?

Sorry just getting a feel for all this--it's pretty mind blowing stuff. Reminds me a lot of those chatrooms back in the day that proposed a big multidimensional nexus world stocked with characters ranging from drow rangers to cyborg bounty hunters to vampiric bunny-people. Just trying to figure out what to make of it.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Grimcleaver wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Or perhaps each universe has a different timeline. That's my favorite explanation for parallel worlds—whenever some significant event causes something to happen, the various outcomes branch timelines and spawn parallel realities.
I've been mulling this over for a bit. So okay, every setting co-exists in the Material, right? But how do they co-exist?

No... you misunderstood.

Every setting CAN exist. Not every setting DOES exist.

The material plane is big enough to contain a LOT of different, diverse settings—even more if you open up the parallel world/alternate timeline box. But any one GM only has to worry about justifying the worlds he or she wants to exist in his or her version of the Material Plane.

In print... we pretty much only worry about Golarion, so we don't have to justify or work out how all the interconnections between various different settings work. There ARE some links to Earth as well—stuff like Cthulu, Baba Yaga, and Asmodeus pretty much ensure that. But those are pretty minor links in the grand scheme of things.

If you want ALL settings to exist, you're setting yourself up for a lot of work, and that's not something we can really help with.

Shadow Lodge

James Jacobs wrote:
Lord Snow wrote:

This is a rather fascinating possibility... though it does raise a number of questions. For starters, *all* of the different stories we read and watch in TV cannot coexist. obviously, for example, the universe described in the Hyperion Omnibus could not be the same one as the universe described in the Mass Effect computer games - each of them describes a distinctly different sort of fate for Earth and the human race. Just as well as the fact that the story told in "His Majesties' Dragon" could not coexist with the one told in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell.

In even broader terms, it would seem to me that having alternate realities *within* the material plane would make more sense - something more akin to Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" model for the universe, or even the Multiverse used as a setting for Magic: The Gathering. an infinite number of universes coexisting, bordering on each other, being "close" or "far" from each other in a way which has nothing to do with physical distance.
Wouldn't that be more sensible? each universe could house a different story and setting, and traveling between them would mean winking out from one existence to another.
Or perhaps each universe has a different timeline. That's my favorite explanation for parallel worlds—whenever some significant event causes something to happen, the various outcomes branch timelines and spawn parallel realities.

Many-worlds Interpretation

Silver Crusade

James Jacobs wrote:

To further freak folks out... we also assume the Material Plane is big enough not only for Golarion and Earth... but for pretty much ALL campaign settings. For all RPGs. And for all books and movies as well. The planet Vulcan's out there somewhere, as is Narnia and Middle Earth. In some cases, time AND space separates these lands from Golarion, but in some cases only space separates them.

And all of those worlds are contained in the Material Plane, which is a speck at the center of the elemental planes, which are combined to a speck in the center of the astral plane, which is a speck at the center of the Outer Planes.

Does this mean that, in a fan's squeeing mind...

A certain blue phone box could have made its way to Galarion....


Somewhere Golarion there is a Stargate and a DHD. Probably even an Atlantis-class city ship. :)


Sorry, I know that this thread is a few days stale but I wanted to chime in here. Anyways, here goes.

To be honest, the idea that the Pathfinder universe contains, or even could contain, all other fantasy universes is one that I'm not 100% on. Personally, I'm quite the purist when it comes to keeping individual settings and mythos separate. With all due respect to James Jacobs, while any fantasy setting could exist inside the pathfinder universe, here are my reasons why they shouldn't.

First, as several posters have already pointed out, some fantasy universes just can't coexist together. Trying to explain how the futures envisioned by Star Trek and Warhammer 40K fit together is difficult at best.

Second. If we assume that Earth exists as we know it and other fantasy universes also exists then we find ourselves in a bit of a bind. For example, we have not only the Star Wars universe with Jedi and the X-Wings but also we have George Lucas and documentaries on the creation of the Star Wars movies. I can ignore this once to allow for both the existence of Paizo here on Earth and the Pathfinder universe. However, every time I ignore this continuity paradox suspension of disbelief is stretched a little more thin. You can only do this so many times in one setting before it becomes ridiculous. Earth becomes some kind of cosmic epicenter where fantasy and science fiction writers are not in fact creating works of fiction but channeling the truths of reality.

Third. Perhaps the most important point, does any of this make Pathfinder any better? I don't think so. In my humble experience, Pathfinder has been at its best when it was charting its own course. This is especially true in instances where Pathfinder took creatures that we all thought we were familiar with, such as goblins, and turned them into something new and exiting. Pathfinder is a perfectly good setting that I care about with it's own unique colors and flavors. It certainly doesn't need to go about co-opting another universe's ideas. Every time the star ship Enterprise (or whoever) show up it spoils things a little bit. After all, if you mix too many paint colors together pretty soon you get a dull, unsatisfying gray.

Now, the idea that real world mythologies is fine. Nobody owns these I.P.s so they're up for grabs. Also, no DnD setting has made said assumption before so that helps set Pathfinder apart from the crowd just a little bit more which is good. I've also heard Grimcleaver's explanation for how this all fits together and it's pretty smooth. Here's another idea. Perhaps there is a group of space fearing aliens looking for their fabled homeland ala Battle Star Galactica, but it isn't actually the group seen on TV, just something similar. Plus, this is a great opportunity to put a new Pathfinder spin on these ideas.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Sel Carim wrote:
To be honest, the idea that the Pathfinder universe contains, or even could contain, all other fantasy universes is one that I'm not 100% on. Personally, I'm quite the purist when it comes to keeping individual settings and mythos separate. With all due respect to James Jacobs, while any fantasy setting could exist inside the pathfinder universe, here are my reasons why they shouldn't.

And Golarion allows for that as well. Again... the universe CAN contain any other worlds you want, not DOES. A Golarion universe that doesn't contain other settings works fine—that's pretty much the baseline assumption we run with in print products for the most part, in fact. But we wanted there to be a way for GMs to incorporate their own favorite settings into the game, and hence, the Universe is Big.

Paizo Employee Developer

Put another way, there's nothing in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting precluding you from crossing another mythology with Golarion. Thus, if you want the Avengers to travel to a distant planet hunting down a rumored base of Kree mercenaries, and have that planet be Golarion and the Kree have been just a red herring to get them there, then go for it. Let Captain America rub shoulders with the Eagle Knights and see what happens. But if you'd rather take a version of Earth such as you'd find in Blade Runner, you can do that as well.


I think I'd be much happier with the standard multiverse idea to allow those kind of crossovers than to have them all just really far apart in physical space.


Sel Carim wrote:
Now, the idea that real world mythologies is fine. Nobody owns these I.P.s so they're up for grabs. Also, no DnD setting has made said assumption before so that helps set Pathfinder apart from the crowd just a little bit more which is good. I've also heard Grimcleaver's explanation for how this all fits together and it's pretty smooth. Here's another idea. Perhaps there is a group of space fearing aliens looking for their fabled homeland ala Battle Star Galactica, but it isn't actually the group seen on TV, just something similar. Plus, this is a great opportunity to put a new Pathfinder spin on these ideas.

It was not overt in 1st edition, but AD&D ran on the assumption that all things co-exist in the multiverse.

In my campaign I have the great wheel as the TRUE way the planes are oriented. Some Material planes have no access to every part of the great wheel. Worlds of the viking mythos have Yggdrasil whose branches spread to part of the great wheel, for example. Niflheim is actually layers of Hell and Hades combined. They are part of the great wheel but at the same time they are displaced to this viking hell niflheim.

I also solve the science vs. magic problem in my head by ruling that every prime has a magic rating and a science rating (nothing formal). our world we live in has high tech rating, very low magic. The Marvel universe is high tech, High magic. Golarion for me is High magic and middle low tech, with the mana wastes altering that in their area.

Guns cannot be made everywhere because the tech rating of Golarion is too low. So most of the guns will come from the mana wastes.

I describe Numeria as an anomaly of a space craft from another universe, a high tech and low magic universe. When it crashed upon golarion *Something* changed the tech of that area known as Numeria. I have not explored numeria enough but I am imagining all the tech there is what came with the ship. I don't envision technic league making devices. However if canon puts out information they can, I would say the crash of the spacecraft was so traumatic to Golarion it altered the Magic Tech ratio in the region.

I do not allow gun foundrys in GOlarion because the tech rating is too low. Like I said the Mana Wastes alters that and so they can make firearms. Even if the 'secret' was discovered, if someone went up to Varisia they could not get the gun to work because it was not made in the higher tech area. Firearms will work anywhere but only if they are made in the mana wastes (or other places of Golarion I see fit). Though I might allow Dwarves to have it as an ability tied to favored class. I am still exploring this for Golarrion.

Technic league could use their LASERS all over the place. They could never be created anywhere but numeria, again even if the secret is released.

Osirion

Okay. I get it. It's all up to me how I use it. I don't think that's ever really been an issue. I'm more interested in how it's supposed to hook together. Then again I get the impression the answer to that is "however you want it to". But really I'm just wanting to figure things out.

So I guess here's my crack at trying to throw up a model to at least get some criticism of it, see whether or not it's going to cause some of my PC's heads to explode, and see whether it's anything like what Mr. Jacobs has in mind.

So okay, not everything exists together; but it can.

You've got a vast Material Plane that exists in a huge matrix of branching parallel worlds--infinite? Maybe, maybe not, but at least it consists of every decision that has been, could be or will be made. Some of these worlds contain superheroes, video game characters, intergalactic nazi empires from when they won the war, Lovecraft, pulp sword and planet, Star Wars, Star Trek...whatever. In some of these alternate dimensions the elements to make these organizations and events still exist, but uncombined and in different relationships to each other.

Golarion from my adventures shares a universe with an Earth--but not our Earth. Rather it's the 2012 Earth as projected by science fiction authors of the 1920's-30's, a world of tomorrow rich with cities of the future, oppressive authoritarian dystopia and Mega-nations carpet-bombing each other with war-zepplins. Mars and Venus are life sustaining worlds, in fact the very same worlds explored in the great sword and planet stories--and in a lot of ways the only worlds out there for those with a mind for freedom and adventurer spirit.

Elements of a larger universe exist as well. The planet Vulcan is out there, but like Golarion and Earth, it's system is full of life sustaining planets, and so the arcane, psionic and technological warfare between the Vulcan logicians and Romulan ardents spans an entire system and is in full swing, pulling in other races and cultures into the meatgrinder with them. Out there somewhere is a nacient Eldar, but because their reality isn't quite so close to the Warp/Maelstrom as it is in the 40K universe, the formation of the Eye of Terror, still dozens of millenia in the future is unlikely ever to take the same form here. Elsewhere, far far away, elves and dwarves and other alien races join humans in a continual battle between the ascetic "light side of the force" and the dictatorial "dark side" using walking tanks, dragons lightsabers and arcane firepower.

Meanwhile all that remains unchanged between universes is the Outer Sphere. All the gods of all the universes and all their various races go there to be judged and find their eternal reward. All their souls imprint and mold the maelstrom into demons or angels.

Meanwhile on Golarion proper things are mostly the way they are in the books (though I do like the idea that the "alternate realities" bent gives a reason as to why different signature characters in different lifetimes might have been the ones involved in various adventure paths). Things from other settings can show up, but no more blatantly than say a Morlock at the absolute extreme (cause that was...kinda' weird).

How's that look?

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