Cities rise and fall alongside the civilizations that build them; some falling into ruin, some serving as the foundation for new settlements, and some weathering the test of time. Among the nations of humanity, some cities stretch back over 5,000 years of unbroken history, such as Taldor's opulent capital Oppara. To others who live upon Golarion, even this ancient metropolis might seem young, as the elves have civilizations that date back before Earthfall and dragons once ruled in the lands of Tian Xia while humanity was still in its infancy. And eons before even these legendary cities had the first stone placed for their foundations, there were cities among the planes that had already existed for tens of thousands of years. To venture into a planar city is to become part of a living, breathing community that has outlived the greatest of empires on Golarion—and perhaps were even founded before any living creature graced the surface of that world.
Illustration by Mary Jane Pajaron
This month sees the release of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Planar Adventures, but there's far more to the planes than could ever be covered in a single book. Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms offers a closer look at six planar cities that characters can visit, either as a jumping point into the planes or as adventure locations in their own right. Several previous previews have revealed the identities of many of those six cities; some brave adventurers may have already set foot in them before.
Illustration by Federico Musetti
But before we get into describing the cities and outlining all of their most interesting adventure spots, I wanted to offer a more organic impression of these fantastic locales. So imagine you have just stepped out of a portal or off of a luxurious howdah on the back of an astral whale, and look out onto the superbly illustrated vistas that make up your first view of these cities. Or, if you're the less adventurous type, imagining opening your mailbox to find a postcard with one of these landscapes printed on the front, along with the phrase "Wish You Were Here!" Of course, which particular landscape is printed on your postcard might give a different tone to those words!
Illustration by Biagio d’Alessandro