Pathfinder Chronicles: The Great Beyond—A Guide to the Multiverse (OGL) Print Edition

3.90/5 (based on 7 ratings)
Pathfinder Chronicles: The Great Beyond—A Guide to the Multiverse (OGL)

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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.

Looking for more planar adventure? Check out Pathfinder Module J5: Beyond the Vault of Souls, where the heroes must retrieve stolen soul-gems to prevent the sudden destruction of the multiverse!

By Todd Stewart

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-167-1

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Fantasy Grounds Virtual Tabletop
Archives of Nethys

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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Solid Intro to Pathfinder's Planar Cosmology

4/5

I have to admit that planar cosmology is not one of my strong suits. Apart from a PFS scenario here or there, I just haven’t run any campaigns that took place in different planes. Still, I thought it’d be worthwhile to get the classic breakdown of the planar structure of the official Pathfinder campaign setting by reading The Great Beyond: A Guide to the Multiverse. This is a 64-page entry in what began the campaign setting line, and features glossy pages and full-colour artwork. The cover art is reproduced in the inside back cover and looks pretty awesome there—probably poster-worthy. The inside front cover is a visual diagram of how the different planes relate to one another in a “geographical” sense—frankly, I’m not sure how much value there is in something like this because how often do the “borders” between planes come into play? Anyway, the book is divided into five chapters.

CHAPTER ONE: THE GREAT BEYOND (6 pages)

This short chapter serves as an introduction and summary of the book. There are good capsule descriptions of the different planes and their planar traits along with a few interesting additional bits such as the relationship between souls and the undead, and the life-cycle of a soul. It’s clear that author Todd Stewart--and by extension Paizo--intentionally left a lot of mystery to some facets of planar cosmology, and I think that’s a good thing. PCs need opportunities for discovery, GMs need opportunities to create, and an exhaustive encyclopedia wouldn’t be practical anyway.

CHAPTER TWO: THE INNER SPHERE (14 pages)

The “inner sphere” contains the planes that PCs will probably interact with the most: the material plane, the ethereal and shadow planes, and the four elemental planes (it also contains the positive and negative planes). For the transitive and energy planes, the chapter gives a couple of paragraphs on “notable creatures” and “notable places”, though the elemental planes are covered in greater depth. It’s just enough to get a rough feel for each plane and perhaps enough to improvise with in a pinch, though I wouldn’t personally feel comfortable running long-form adventures in the planes without more setting info (I know, I know, I’m contradicting myself on the value of mystery). I really like the description of “Shadow Absalom”. I should note that the interior artwork isn’t the greatest—this was before Paizo regularly landed some of the best fantasy artists in the business.

CHAPTER THREE: THE OUTER SPHERE (26 pages)

This is by far the longest chapter in the book, and covers the astral plane and the aligned planes (Heaven, Hell, the Abyss, etc.) Each of the aligned planes receives a stylized map that includes keys to between ten and twenty locations discussed in the text—pretty good coverage for a book this size! There are some really interesting locations—Aroden’s Domain in Axis, Nirvana’s Hall of Slumbering Kings, Groetus orbiting the Boneyard, and much more. I think it’d be fair to say that the “evil” planes receive more coverage than the “good” ones (with Heaven getting barely a page and half, for example). On the whole though, the chapter gives a nice introduction and overview.

CHAPTER FOUR: OTHER DIMENSIONS (6 pages)

This is a sort of grab-bag of all sorts of minor planes—prominent demiplanes, the dimension of time, the pit of Gormuz, and more. There are some awesome concepts here, with some clever little planes that are perfect sites for adventuring parties to explore. Sometimes starting small and mysterious is good, and this is probably my favourite chapter in the book.

CHAPTER FIVE: BESTIARY (10 pages)

The book’s bestiary includes five two-page entries of new monsters. The CR13 astradaemon is a sort of “soul predator”, with cool artwork and an effective description. The CR 8 axiomite is a LN resident of Axis—they’re not exactly exciting, but it’s probably good to have their nature solidified in case the PCs ever visit there. The CR 5 lurker in light is one of my favourites--scary fey who thrive in light instead of darkness, and with a special ritual that gives the GM a built in story-hook for introducing them. The CR 17 keketar protean has some very cool abilities. The CR 9 vulpinal looks exactly like a kitsune to me; it’s a type of wandering agathion. I’ve used astrademons, axiomites, and lurkers in light before in games, and I’m happy with the results. My guess is all of these creatures have been included in various Pathfinder bestiaries over the years, but perhaps in only single-page condensed versions.

It's a little challenging to give a verdict on a book that is long out-of-print and that has been supplanted by more authoritative sources like the Planar Adventures hardcover. Nonetheless, this is where it all starts in a way, and Todd Stewart has made a real contribution to the setting with The Great Beyond.


Portuguese (Br) review

3/5

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.


Great ideas skimmed over too quickly

2/5

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.




a great planar book

5/5

An excellent take on the planes, typical pathfinder twist, familiar yet still wonderfully detailed.

Overall, it packs a ton of flavor and detail into a short supplement.

Some of the artwork is breathtaking.


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Contributor

Samuel Peer wrote:

Todd,

Not sure if you or anyone else can answer this, but will this book (or the Pathfinder cosmology) include the Demented? If not, why?

As much as I adore the baernaloths of The Demented, they're so very much WotC IP (even if WotC has never done a darn thing with them since 2e).

It's not out of the realm of possibility that you might see something inspired by them however, though Golarion's cosmic history as it involves the daemons rather precludes them being the children of the oldest fiends like the yugoloths were to the baeraloths. And it's up for debate if baernaloth style elder uber fiends have the same niche in Golarion's cosmology to fill. James has a copy of the daemon material so far, so he knows where I'm going, or not, or maybe. :)

But in general, don't expect Lazarius Ibn Shartalan to show up for instance, even if he's not WotC IP.

A full exploration of that sort of thing might wait for a book focused on Golarion's fiends, which would be entirely up to the Paizo guys for if/when on that sort of thing. Let's get the whole cosmology described first. :)

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Is there any chance that Paizo will release some basic information about the new cosmology as OGC so that it can be used by 3PPs? I'm not talking about the Golarion-specific stuff, but about some of the more generic material. I reckon that it would be great to see Paizo define a shared cosmology that everyone could utilize.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
GentleGiant wrote:
It's not the final cover. The picture used in the mock-up is from Gallery of Evil.

I know this isn't the final cover, but quite honestly, I think you will have a hard time coming up with a more fitting depiction of what the planes have to offer. This is one of the most disturbing images!


April. April? APRIL!? But I need it nowwwww. <sniffle>


Nyarlathotep wrote:

Todd Stewart is Shemeska correct?

I'm looking forward to this :)

Wow, very good news there.

I'll definitely have to get this one when it comes out. I love Shemmy's work!


Todd Stewart wrote:


I'll be honest, right up there with getting to write a 3.x Fiendish Codex III

Very OT, but didn't the yugoloths/daemons get covered in something called the Book of Fiends from (I think) Green Ronin Press?

I wish that book was back in print.


exile wrote:

Is it just me or does that kinda look like Diterlizzi (sp?) artwork?

Chad

It's very DiTerlizzi-esque, at the least.

DiTerlizzi(-esque) artwork + Shemeska-written = instant sale.

Dark Archive

Apparently Todd was interviewed about the Pathfinder universe:

PathFinder Planes: Interview with Todd Stewart

PathFinder Planes: Interview with Todd Stewart (Part 2)


Is this going to be a overview of the Golarion cosmology or more open, in a Planescape sense, hence useful for any setting ?

Edit : I just read the interview linked by Joela (thanks for that), and it seems the answer is #2, which is great.
I am waiting for this. This is going to be good...

The Exchange

any alternate Golarions? somewhere the runelords still rule or mayhaps the great and noble paladins have taken over Cheliax?


Go Shemeska, go!


Hm, now theres a cool description in the blog what the cover looks like in this one, only if the picture would be something else than the old placeholder =).

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I was wondering that myself.

Contributor

I've seen the cover. *drool*

I've also seen some of the interior artwork. *drool once again*

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is THE book I am waiting for. And having read all his articles on Planewalker I know that Todd will deliver.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Yeah; that's a bad link. The link to the correct artwork should be live sometime tomorrow.

Dark Archive

No sleep for the Dr. Jacobs ?

Liberty's Edge

baron arem heshvaun wrote:


No sleep for the Dr. Jacobs ?

He's actually a hyperintelligent hive-mind of velociraptors. Some of him are asleep, some of him are awake, all of him think we humans are both amusing and delicious.


oooh

The cover looks like something Tony Diterlizzi would cook up.

This is very promissing... Excellent

Contributor

Chef's Slaad wrote:

oooh

The cover looks like something Tony Diterlizzi would cook up.

This is very promissing... Excellent

That's still the placeholder cover. :)

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Chef's Slaad wrote:

oooh

The cover looks like something Tony Diterlizzi would cook up.

This is very promissing... Excellent

The art currently on display is still the placeholder art. That image is from, if I'm not mistaken, U1: Gallery of Evil.


Todd Stewart wrote:
Chef's Slaad wrote:

oooh

The cover looks like something Tony Diterlizzi would cook up.

This is very promissing... Excellent

That's still the placeholder cover. :)

ooooh

I can imagine what the real thing will look like


Chef's Slaad wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:
Chef's Slaad wrote:

oooh

The cover looks like something Tony Diterlizzi would cook up.

This is very promissing... Excellent

That's still the placeholder cover. :)

ooooh

I can imagine what the real thing will look like

Or, just click here...

Dark Archive

Yeah new cover in the blog and looks very cool.


Couldn't help myself! Don't bother with the video. Just the music.


This book and my crocii emerging are the two things I look forward to most this April!

Contributor

I'm almost done developing the book, and there is a lot of really, really cool stuff in it. Todd did a great job of making some of the weirder planes weird (as in "not just another Earth-like world with different colors") without being whimsical (such as the "Demiplane of Cheese," which almost made it into an official Wizards product...).

Contributor

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
I'm almost done developing the book, and there is a lot of really, really cool stuff in it. Todd did a great job of making some of the weirder planes weird (as in "not just another Earth-like world with different colors") without being whimsical (such as the "Demiplane of Cheese," which almost made it into an official Wizards product...).

As tempting as it was to jokingly include the Demiplane of Flowers and Other Green Things in homage to the 1e joke module Castle Greyhawk... I think James's rage would have leaped through the internet to strangle me. Or something like that. ;)

The planes are meant to be wierd at times, but in the sense of being alien to mortal conceptions, not silly. You can have light moments certainly, but they shouldn't be downright goofy. At least that's my design sense for planar material, and once the book is out, I really do hope that folks like it, and have fun using (and putting their own twist upon) the material.

And Sean, please oh please gimme details in the Demiplane of Cheese story if you would. :)

Dark Archive

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
(such as the "Demiplane of Cheese," which almost made it into an official Wizards product...)

Please dear sir, in what reality may I find this plane of existance and will my spell Summon Wine Reserves function ?

[begins research on Epic Spell Break Lactose Intolerance]

Contributor

It's exactly what it sounded like. Cheese land. Cheese lakes. Cheese creatures.

Tré cheesy. :/


Sean K Reynolds wrote:

It's exactly what it sounded like. Cheese land. Cheese lakes. Cheese creatures.

Tré cheesy. :/

Cheese clouds?

Thinking back, I believe some of my players cheesy characters might have come from this plane.

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Blazej wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

It's exactly what it sounded like. Cheese land. Cheese lakes. Cheese creatures.

Tré cheesy. :/

Cheese clouds?

Thinking back, I believe some of my players cheesy characters might have come from this plane.

Yes, if you take more than two PrCs or more than three base classes, you automatically become an outsider with the native and fromage subtypes.


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
such as the "Demiplane of Cheese," which almost made it into an official Wizards product...

!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I appreciate it that somebody put his or her foot down and prevented that from happening. We really don't need any more goofy things like that making it officially into the game!


Looks really cool, and somewhat Planescape-y. Could we get a list of the planes which are covered?

Dark Archive

Blazej wrote:
Thinking back, I believe some of my players cheesy characters might have come from this plane.

Thinking back, I believe some of my PLAYERS might have come from this plane.

I now know one Roleplayer who was half human/half cheese elemental.
I could tell from the smell!


Goudayanki?
Brie Slaad?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Cheese-ines aside (pun intended), some of the Demi-/Para-/Quasi- planes from the good old Inner Planes book were over the top anyway. Demiplane of Vacuum in particular.

Oh, did I mention that DO WANT the book ?

Contributor

Krypter wrote:
Looks really cool, and somewhat Planescape-y. Could we get a list of the planes which are covered?

Positive Energy

Negative Energy
Material Plane
Ethereal
Shadow
Elemental Air
Elemental Water
Elemental Earth
Elemental Fire
Astral
Axis
Abbadon
Heaven
Hell
Nirvana
Elysium
Pharasma's Spire / The Boneyard
The Maelstrom
The Abyss

Demiplanes (both astral and ethereal)
Other dimensions and planes that don't quite fit the general model of true planes or demiplanes


And for all of ye who're interested in all things Planar and want a place to rattle yer bone boxes or servos or speakers just drop your face into ye old World Serpent Inn!

I'll sling ye some grog to quench yer thirst as me and the Patrons of the Serpent get to know this here Golarion and all it has to offer!

Yeah I can't wait to get Todd's little baby into my grubby greybearded hands!!!

--I wanna vrock... Vrock!

Dark Archive

Todd Stewart wrote:
sexy stuff

Spoiler:

Todd Stewart wrote:


Other dimensions and planes that don't quite fit the general model of true planes or demiplanes

Sexy Naughty Dirty Stuff !

Dark Archive

I don't see Positive Energy plane...

Dark Archive

nightflier wrote:
I don't see Positive Energy plane...

The Light hath blinded thee:

Todd Stewart wrote:
Positive Energy


Can't wait, love the art-work, love what I've seen so far.

Is there art scenes and depictions of the planes? The cover gives a great view into the maelstrom!

Oh, and by the by when will the official cover for this go up and replace the placeholder stuff?

Contributor

Much of the interior art is maps of the Outer Sphere, but we do have some cool art showing some of the planes. And by "cool" I mean "not drawn by me." :)


Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Much of the interior art is maps of the Outer Sphere, but we do have some cool art showing some of the planes. And by "cool" I mean "not drawn by me." :)

Haha, thanks. I'm big into maps, especially planar maps! Can't wait!

Scarab Sages

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
(such as the "Demiplane of Cheese," which almost made it into an official Wizards product...)

Is it sad that I've run a Planescape game where this would have been a perfect fit?

My players were fascinated by the idea of imported planar cheeses, and held all of their meetings in a cheese shop in Sigil, rather than an inn. Their greatest caper even involved stealing a still-life portrait of some cheese from a demon lord!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Happy nerd-joy!

I was looking at the blog and the fabulously deranged cover illo... and it's of the keketar protean, a monster I had the honor of designing (the two lower-grade proteans are in an upcoming PF Bestiary) and my only contribution to this book, but it got a cover illo! SWEET!

I think this calls for a HOODY-HOO!!!

Contributor

Jason Nelson wrote:

Happy nerd-joy!

Jason did an awesome job on the keketar stats (and the other two protean subtypes that will appear later on). The collaboration there was a joy, because to be perfectly honest, Jason had a firmer grasp on the crunchy side of monster design, and he put some seriously wicked stats to those three critters of mine.

Liberty's Edge

So much good stuff coming out, so little money to go around!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Todd Stewart wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:

Happy nerd-joy!

Jason did an awesome job on the keketar stats (and the other two protean subtypes that will appear later on). The collaboration there was a joy, because to be perfectly honest, Jason had a firmer grasp on the crunchy side of monster design, and he put some seriously wicked stats to those three critters of mine.

Well, big ups to my collaborator who actually created the monster concepts, society, and all the rest of the so-called fluff, but I was only too happy to apply my deviousness to the crunchification of these emissaries of absolute chaos.

Of course, I'm also curious to see the final product and what ended up on the cutting room floor... :)

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