Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Starfinder


Pathfinder Society


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game


Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Conspiracy theory: theft of immortality


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion


The Material Plane wasn't created by gods. In fact it is older than any god, and any plane of the Outer Sphere (except possibly Abyss). The souls of living creatures never past to any afterlife, but were constantly reborn, filing it with life.

Some beings that lived in that worls saw all this energy and wanted it for themselves. Eventualy some of the Eldest found a way to capture all that soul energy and use it for their own purposes. They were able to transform the living souls into a mindless matter, preventing them from ever being reborn and making them suitable for building their own new planes. They crafted the Outer Sphere and become the primeval gods: Pharasma, Asmodeus, Torag, Curchanus and others.

With the oposition of other Eldest they weren't able to take hold on all the souls in the world. In the conflict the Material Plane was split in two: one in which the souls were siphoned to Pharasma's Boneyard and distributed amonst the gods, and the other that retained its previous order and became known as the First World.

Even after the differences between gods made their cooperation short-lived, Pharasma continues to drain the world from life and sends the souls to the other planes where they eventualy forget their own lives and become reshaped into outsiders under the gods' rule.

We were once immortal, but because of what the gods are doing, we are never reborn and whether you are good or evil, your mind is going to be grinded down by their power, until you are no longer able to oppose them. Only then you will be used as a building block for new life, completely subservient to the ones who destroyed you.

Appendix:
Asuras. Asuras are the results of the first experiments of gods with soul matter. They wer created before the gods figured out how to create outsiders that would obey them. While they don't remember who they were anymore, they feel instinctive hatred for the gods and their creation.
Rovagug Rovagug was one of the Eldest that oposed the First Gods. While others eventualy gave up and settled down in the First World, he continued fighting the gods in the Material Plane until he was imprisoned.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Is this for a homebrew Golarion game or an actual attempt at theorycrafting on the beginning of the universe and the gods?


I'm not trying to make a different Golarion, I think this theory could exist on Golarion and try to describe it (even if unaccurately). As in title, it's a conspiracy theory that in can be believed in by some inhabitants of Golarion. For example, I can see it gaining popularity in Rahadoum, where gods are universaly hated. Similiarily it can be shared by the followers of Urgathoa: it shows her, the first mortal that was able to escape Pharasma's grasp in a new light.

I guess that there are some facts to be found in the books that contradict this theory. But they may not be known to ordinary inhabitants of Golarion, and even if known, they can be dismissed as lies that are being told by the gods who want to hide the truth. Still, if you find any major flaws in it, I'd like to hear it, I think it can be fun to develop this theory. :)

I came up with this theory when I was thinking on a different topic that recently appeared on this forum, on asuras. If they are mistakes of the gods, then the question arises, what were the gods trying to create when they ended up creating asuras? Adding to what I said already, I think that asuras might be formed from a mixed assortment of souls with various alignment, before gods figured out that they need to sort the souls before they can be used for anything. That's why they created multiple planes, and why Pharasma is judging the souls before sending them of to their destination.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Oh okay, an actual in-world conspiracy theory.

Going off how things actually work in Golarion regarding souls your first statement is correct, both parts.

Souls are created, the person lives, then dies, and then turns into an outsider and then when that outsider dies they turn into Quintessence that fuels the universe and the cycle starts anew. You don't need to worship any Deities at all, it's not like in FR with the Wall of the Faithless, if you're a Good person, you go to the good planes, etc

In Golarion Gods aren't powered by followers or souls like in other settings. That and what's suggested doesn't really gel well with the mindset of Good aligned gods.

Asuras are, to my understanding, the mistakes of punishments by "the gods", they were never prototype outsiders or servants.

Rovagug on the other hand is an ascended Qlippoth, which are primordial outsiders.

Contributor

It actually -is- older than the gods (at the minimum the Maelstrom and the Abyss predate the gods).


The Great Beyond, Guide to Multiverse, p. 5 wrote:
Shepherded off to the various planes of the Outer Sphere or a specific god’s realm, each soul arrives to face its chosen fate. Known as petitioners at this stage of their existence, many continue much as they did in life, enjoying a paradise of health and happiness, while others toil under the yoke of infernal masters. Regardless, each fate is that which most accordingly matches the character of the soul. (...) Regardless of whether a soul takes a more passive or active role in the afterlife, as time progresses it grows increasingly attuned to its plane or patron deity. For many, the end result is transformation into one of the plane’s outsiders, or into a divine servitor of their deity. For others, however, the end of their journey is cloaked in mystery, as they simply vanish into the hinterlands of their plane.

I read it that although the souls become petitioners for some time they are ultimately transformed into something else (outsiders or the matter of a specific plane) and usually they lose their previous memory.

From where gods have their power isn't clear, but just having a realm of their own where they rule and receive souls they control is a power in itself. As for the mindset of the gods, attributing individuals with hidden agendas is a core of every conspiracy theory. In this case it is a belief that "good" gods keep up that appearance only to attract the believers.

Bestiary 3, p. 21 wrote:
Asuras are immortal beings whose origins are rooted in rejection and destruction. They are manifestations of divine accident, living blasphemies risen from mistakes made by the gods themselves. Given horrible life through these unspeakable divine errors, the asuras seek to sow doubt among mortals and ultimately revenge themselves upon the gods for their accursed existences.

I don't think that the exact nature of these mistakes is anywhere explained.

As for Rovagug being a qlippoth, it is an interesting theory, it matches his appearance, but as far as I'm aware that's also only a hypothesis. Either way, revising that point does not hurt the conspiracy theory at all.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

The procession of souls was updated with the River of Souls article in Pathfinder 84.

I know that it's a conspiracy theory, but it's hard to wrap my head around full-on definition of GOOD creatures are actually Evil, but that's my view as a player/GM, I could kinda see the uncertainty from a person actually in world but that's still a stretch when you get Good aligned magic abilities thrown in.

I believe the origin is spelled out in each Asura entry. The Vayuphak and Adhukait were the results of punishments that backfired, the Aghasura though are actually close to your theory, as it says they were pets of a Goddess given free will.

James Jacobs did in fact confirm that Rovagug is an ascended Qlippoth.


I've read the article on the River of S0uls you directed me to, and what I've found is:

Pathfinder Adventure Path #84, p. 70 wrote:
For a common petitioner, no matter how long it survives on an Outer Plane, it cannot last forever. Some petitioners are destroyed, whether by planar forces or violent natives. Others have ages of new experiences. Gradually, though, petitioners lose their grip on individuality. Memories of their mortal lives fade, typically becoming inconsequential over the span of millennia. Across vast gulfs of time, even the wonders of the planes become commonplace, and boredom inevitably sets in. Many petitioners meet their ends pursing new sensations, while others turn increasingly inward. Eventually, some petitioners just find a place and never move again. Slowly, the quintessence of these individuals merges with their home, suffusing the plane with their experiences and vital force. (...) Some might become higher forms of outsiders (...) Ultimately, though, the fate of the vast majority of outsiders is the same as that of petitioners. Though sacrifice or violence, all such beings are eventually destroyed. At that point, their signature quintessence is released to contribute to the power of their home planes.

So even if a mortal was a good person, eventualy he is going to be absorbed by the plane his soul is sent to, empowering the plane, and thus the deity. This article also explains why gods need followers. It seems that Maelstrom constantly erodes the outer planes, and because of that they need an influx of souls to keep existing. This may mean that the planes aren't something that appeared naturaly, but were artificialy created.

In total, it's a great description of how the multiverse functions now, but it doesn't say much about how this mechanism was created. I can't find anything that would be fundamentally contradictory to my theory.

As for even the good gods being evil, they are not Evil in the objective way that the magic could show. The objective alignment is just some property of the souls, that the souls differ by (and because of that they need to be sorted). The gods, or at least the primeval gods are outside of this system.

I'd also like to point out, that only the oldest gods would have to be aware of the conspiracy. The gods that were once humans and outsiders (Sarenrae, Iomedae, Aroden, Irori, Nethys, Gorum, Norgorber and probably some others as well) and only later achieved divinity, may be as clueless about the origin of the structure of the multiverse as mortals.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Adjoint wrote:
So even if a mortal was a good person, eventualy he is going to be absorbed by the plane his soul is sent to, empowering the plane, and thus the deity. This fits my theory.
Dieties aren't powered that way through. By having more followers they're stronger and more widespread in the same way a country with a large army is strong, but it has no personal effect on the deity's strength or existence.
Adjoint wrote:
This article also explains why gods need followers. It seems that Maelstrom constantly erodes the outer planes, and because of that they need an influx of souls to keep existing. This may mean that the planes aren't something that appeared naturaly, but were artificialy created like in my theory.

They don't though, as long as the souls aren't destroyed {side eyes Daemons} they will turn into quintessence that fuels the planes, whether they were a follower of a deity is irrelevant. Also note that there are Gods that have domains in the Maelstrom as well.

There is some provenance for your artificial theory though, as that is exactly the logic of the Proteans, all the other planes are anomalies that need to be "fixed", as originally there was just the Maelstrom and the Abyss, and their constant fighting with the Qlippoth is what allowed the other planes and beings to come into existence.

Adjoint wrote:
As for even the good gods being evil, they are not Evil in the objective way that the magic could show. The objective alignment is just some property of the souls, that the souls differ by (and because of that they need to be sorted). The gods, or at least primeval gods are outside of this system.
Eh, I don't agree wit that, mostly since they still exist within the system we use. They can't exist and not-exist at the same time. Everything follows the rules, even if they're a deity, even if they're something that made the deities. There are fundamental rules at work.
Adjoint wrote:
I'd also like to point out, that only the oldest gods would have to be aware of the conspiracy. The gods that were once humans and outsiders (Sarenrae, Iomedae, Aroden, Irori, Nethys, Gorum, Norgorber and probably some others as well) and only later achieved divinity, may be as clueless about the origin of the structure of the multiverse as mortals.

*nods*

I will point out though that Sarenrae is a primordial being, not as old as Pharasma or Asmodeus but still very old.


Rysky wrote:
Dieties aren't powered that way through. By having more followers they're stronger and more widespread in the same way a country with a large army is strong, but it has no personal effect on the deity's strength or existence.

But it makes their plane stronger. Their own power may not be affected, but by having more subjects their indirect influence is greater.

Rysky wrote:
They don't though, as long as the souls aren't destroyed {side eyes Daemons} they will turn into quintessence that fuels the planes, whether they were a follower of a deity is irrelevant. Also note that there are Gods that have domains in the Maelstrom as well.

Yeah, but I believe that gods would refer to strengthen their own plane, not the planes of their rivals. And even the gods that live in the Malestrom need to create some stable "isle", be it a ship or a wizard's castle.

Rysky wrote:
Eh, I don't agree wit that, mostly since they still exist within the system we use. They can't exist and not-exist at the same time.

Ok, I have another idea. The gods were once different than now, and back then they wanted to create realms for themselves, and so they created the outer planes. But the planes couldn't be created with mixed assortment of souls (that is the Maelstrom, and it's unstable). So some god (probably Torag) took lawful good souls and created Heaven, Asmodeus took lawful evil and created Hell and so on. After handling their chosen kind of souls for a long time they were affected by that alignment and become what they are today.

Rysky wrote:
I will point out though that Sarenrae is a primordial being, not as old as Pharasma or Asmodeus but still very old.

Old enough to battle with Rovagug, but she was an epyreal lord before, so she must have appeared after the outer planes and she couldn't have been among the creators.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

(added more to my previous post but I'll just repsond to your current response)

A) It makes the plane their domain is on stronger, possibly, but there's no guarantee their follower's quintessence will directly affect their own domain in the plane it is on. As for the latter part they already have that by having followers, whether mortals or Outsiders. And that applies to everything, Gods, Demi-Gods, and the non-Divine.

B) True, but do remember that Angels, Devil, and Demons regularly work together to protect souls in the River of Souls to make sure they get to their intended destination, regardless of whether it is a Good or Evil plane.

C) I find that a highly more believable (and more interesting) story :3

D) She was with Asmodues and Ihys in the very beginning of existence, she wasn't even an Empyreal Lord then, just basically essence that had gained sentience while in contact with Ihys.


Rysky wrote:
A) It makes the plane their domain is on stronger, possibly, but there's no guarantee their follower's quintessence will directly affect their own domain in the plane it is on. As for the latter part they already have that by having followers, whether mortals or Outsiders. And that applies to everything, Gods, Demi-Gods, and the non-Divine.

I still think it is a safe assumption that the gods want the planes they reside on to continue to exist, and for that they need the influx of souls. They probably wouldn't lose their power without them, but not everyone can be happy just sailing a ship through Malstrom like Besmara, and Material Plane on several ocassions proved to be dangerous even for the divines.

Rysky wrote:
B) True, but do remember that Angels, Devil, and Demons regularly work together to protect souls in the River of Souls to make sure they get to their intended destination, regardless of whether it is a Good or Evil plane.

Clearly then, supporting the existing structure of the multiverse is more important than petty alignment differences. That fact that in this case they are able to work together can actually be used to support a conspiracy theory.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Adjoint wrote:
Rysky wrote:
A) It makes the plane their domain is on stronger, possibly, but there's no guarantee their follower's quintessence will directly affect their own domain in the plane it is on. As for the latter part they already have that by having followers, whether mortals or Outsiders. And that applies to everything, Gods, Demi-Gods, and the non-Divine.

I still think it is a safe assumption that the gods want the planes they reside on to continue to exist, and for that they need the influx of souls. They probably wouldn't lose their power without them, but not everyone can be happy just sailing a ship through Malstrom like Besmara, and Material Plane on several ocassions proved to be dangerous even for the divines.

Rysky wrote:
B) True, but do remember that Angels, Devil, and Demons regularly work together to protect souls in the River of Souls to make sure they get to their intended destination, regardless of whether it is a Good or Evil plane.
Clearly then, supporting the existing structure of the multiverse is more important than petty alignment differences. That fact that in this case they are able to work together can actually be used to support a conspiracy theory.

A) True, but the fact that Abaddon, a plane that exists solely to destroy souls and quintessence, still exists just after all this time kinda pushes aside the thought that worshipers are badly needed.

B) I wouldn't really call those differences "petty" but I do see your point.


Indeed, when discribing the time before daemons the Book of the Damned, Vol. 3 describes Abaddon as empty, yet stable wasteland within the chaos of Maelstrom. How it sustained itself is indeed a mystery. Perhaps even the Maelstrom, which is also made of souls after all, fears to touch the land that extinguishes all life.

Said Book of the Damned also says that even Pharasma grudgingly understands the necessity of sending some souls to Abaddon, so it must have some important role in the structure of the multiverse, and because of that its existance is protected by the gods, even if they don't wish to live there themselves. With the exception of Urgathoa and Zyphus of course, both of which are Pharasma's enemies.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

*nods*

That's always been my view on it as well, the Maestrom wants nothing to do with it.

To expand on the second part, there's even a Devil and Demon stationed at the door to Abaddon who try to persuade those souls who are going to Abaddon to instead choose one of them and their planes. No othe plane has that last minute chance.


Additional passage to consider:

The Book of the Damned, vol 3. wrote:
It was at this time [after the appearance of the first daemons] that one of the daemons — the original, the First — whispered out to the cosmos, mocking it, taunting the gods with the knowledge that each soul that came to Abaddon was forever snuffed out, each light extinguished.

Why would the gods be taunted by that? My answer is: because they are responsible for any of the souls ever reaching the Outer Sphere in the first place.

Before, the souls of the Material Plane were being reborn immediately, like in the current First World. But the gods made the creatures of the Material World mortal; they've built the River of Souls that siphoned the souls to the Pharasma's Boneyard and started dividing the souls between themselves to create other planes. But they've found themselves unable to fully control the River; when, at one point, it overflowed because of some natural disatster that killed a masive number of creatures at once, some of the souls ended in previously empty Abaddon. That's when one of them, most bitter, distrought and enraged by what happened to it, become the first daemon. He ended devouring most of the other souls that ended up in Abaddon with him, but some of them survived and transformed into daemons too.

As the daemons started attacking the River of the Souls, Pharasma was forced to make a deal with them and agreed to send a portion of the souls to Abaddon:

The Book of the Damned, vol 3. wrote:
With a nod, the Lady of Graves acquiesced, forming the Devouring Court and its gate to Abaddon within the Boneyard. Through it, she began to send those damned souls destined for the new realm of oblivion and unending hunger, delivering them to the Horsemen’s eager embraces. And with each soul consumed in that darkened place, each spark stamped out, the daemons further their goal, and the End draws a little closer.

Gods, and Pharasma in particular, are not only responsible for creating mortals (or rather, mortality) but the structure they've built can ultimately destroy all the souls in the multiverse.

As I said before, I can totally imagine a sect worshipping Urgathoa that believes in this and sees the creation of undead as a way to escape the trap made by the gods and to avoid the scenario of complete annihilation.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

It was Daemons attacking the River of Souls that made her kick out all the Ambassadors from the Abaddon part of the Boneyard, there's always been souls going there. Don't know if the Demon/Devil persuaders were there beforehand though or placed after.


I don't know about the devil/demon persuaders, but what I am taking happened earlier. Let me cite a bigger fragment:

Book of the Damned, vol 3. wrote:

There was no longer just the First — indeed, daemons of all makes and sizes now inhabited the horrid lands, preying upon the River of Souls that led deceased mortals to Pharasma’s Spire. The Styx channeled in evil souls from other planes as well, and the daemons welcomed the castaways with open arms and jaws. Finally, Pharasma looked down from her throne and realized that she could no longer ignore the voices that whispered at her — four voices where once there had been only one, all wet with unrestrained hunger.

“Give us what is ours,” whispered Pestilence.
“Or we shall take them, even more than we do now,” threatened War.
“We must be fed,” demanded Famine.
Last to speak was Death, who chuckled softly. “You have seen the Beginning and the End,” the Boatman noted. “You know what must be.”
And it was true. With a nod, the Lady of Graves acquiesced, forming the Devouring Court and its gate to Abaddon within the Boneyard. Through it, she began to send those damned souls destined for the new realm of oblivion and unending hunger, delivering them to the Horsemen’s eager embraces. And with each soul consumed in that darkened place, each spark stamped out, the daemons further their goal, and the End draws a little closer.

Daemons didn't stop trying to get souls from the River of Souls, but I'd believe that they do it on a much lesser scale than before a portal from Boneyard to Abaddon was created.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Hmm, interesting.

Though it does mention that the Styx was already drawing in Souls as well.


I'm not sure what exactly this refers to myself; I thought that it is about some petitioners being swept away by the current and brought to Abaddon from other planes, but Styx begins in Abaddon, not ends, so I don't know what it means in the end.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Hmm, it could be, or souls adrift from the river of souls.

And it could be both? Or multiple pathways. It is a multiple plane spanning supernatural river that does all sorts of s!#!.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:


To expand on the second part, there's even a Devil and Demon stationed at the door to Abaddon who try to persuade those souls who are going to Abaddon to instead choose one of them and their planes. No othe plane has that last minute chance.

Telling isn't it? So why don't the gods and other fiend races collectively obliterate the plane and its native inhabitants? That's the important question I think, and it does neatly dovetail into that suggestion that the Maelstrom simply wants absolutely nothing to do with the plane.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adjoint wrote:

Indeed, when discribing the time before daemons the Book of the Damned, Vol. 3 describes Abaddon as empty, yet stable wasteland within the chaos of Maelstrom. How it sustained itself is indeed a mystery. Perhaps even the Maelstrom, which is also made of souls after all, fears to touch the land that extinguishes all life.

My answers are non-canonical unless published of course:

The intent there was that the gradual accumulation of NE larval souls slowly stabilized part of the Maelstrom into what would ultimately become Abaddon. It wasn't until a certain critical threshold of metaphysical "weight" so to speak was reached that you had what amounted to the energy barrier to a reaction being overcome and it was downhill after that point, with the emergence of the first daemon promptly glutting itself on every other NE soul there that it could sink its teeth into.

Was it a cumulative effect of that mass of aimless, homeless NE souls? Was there something unique about the soul of the future Oinodaemon? What sort of things would you have to have done in life to actually end up emerging as such a thing to generate a new fiend species and catalyze the creation of a new plane of existence around yourself in the process? Nothing good. But those are questions I suspect for individual campaigns to answer.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

*munches popcorn*


Maybe Abaddon originally formed from the Maelstrom's natural gyres, like the Great Pacific garbage patch, until it coalesced into (semi-)stable islands? Could it, like the GPGP, be initially formed of planar "pollution"?


In my conspiracy theory, I think that Abaddon could be the first creation of the would-become-gods, and deep within itself it holds the device that messed up the order of the multiverse and made the inhabitants of the Material World mortal. If it were to be destroyed, the original order would be restored and the souls would no more travel from the Material Plane to the Boneyard, but would instantly reincarnate, like in the First World. This would ultimately lead to the destruction of other planes in the Outer Sphere, as without the influx of souls they would eventually be eroded down by Maelstrom. Even the good gods don't want this outcome.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder Campaign Setting / General Discussion / Conspiracy theory: theft of immortality All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002-2017 Paizo Inc.® | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours, Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time.

Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder, the Starfinder logo, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Legends, Pathfinder Online, Starfinder Adventure Path, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.