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

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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

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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

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

Likewise. :) I know one thing that was probably going to be cut from the keketar's abilities, but based on the blog, they're still going to be critters a PC would think twice about getting into a fight with (and within the Maelstrom, good luck).

I'm also drooling to take a peek at some more of the artwork as it comes in. So far, awesomeness.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Development

I seriously cannot wait for this book to hit.

I await your kick ass work, Todd!

Liberty's Edge

Todd Stewart wrote:


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

Hi Todd!

Without violating any non-disclosure agreements, could you say what planes in the book coorespond to the "Classic D&D Cosmology"? Again, if it won't cause you to violate any non-disclosure agreements. Thanks in advance!

Contributor

Kevida wrote:


Hi Todd!
Without violating any non-disclosure agreements, could you say what planes in the book coorespond to the "Classic D&D Cosmology"? Again, if it won't cause you to violate any non-disclosure agreements. Thanks in advance!

Nothing that can't be found in the planes section of the Campaign Setting, so any NDAs would be safe.

Axis - LN
Abbadon - NE
Heaven - LG
Hell - LE
Nirvana - NG
Elysium - CG
Pharasma's Spire / The Boneyard - N
The Maelstrom - CN
The Abyss - CE

Liberty's Edge

Todd Stewart wrote:


Nothing that can't be found in the planes section of the Campaign Setting, so any NDAs would be safe.

Axis - LN
Abbadon - NE
Heaven - LG
Hell - LE
Nirvana - NG
Elysium - CG
Pharasma's Spire / The Boneyard - N
The Maelstrom - CN
The Abyss - CE

Okay thank you! Sorry for my ignorance. I, unfortunately, do not have the Campaign book. But I will now! :-)


How much is fluff how much is crunch? I'm DMing exclusively 4E at this time but have already ordered this book.

Contributor

avin wrote:
How much is fluff how much is crunch? I'm DMing exclusively 4E at this time but have already ordered this book.

It's mostly fluff, like 90% so (not that I have the draft in front of me to do page counts). The crunch comprises some spells, some planar items, and a number of monsters (including the keketar protean illustrated on the cover). However, pending edits and such, each of those stereotypically "crunchy" things has a -significant- portion of flavor text included with it.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Is it available now?.... Rats.

wait,
wait,
wait....

How about now? Rats.

Repeat.


Has it been pushed back to May?

Dark Archive

Must...have ....this...now....GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!


Koriatsar wrote:
Must...have ....this...now....GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

QFTX2

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the cover and product description to match the finished product.


I can't overstate how much I'm looking forward to this! The newfound product description just adds to the heightened anticipation...

Contributor

*reads the new product description*

Well I know a few things that didn't get cut for space. :)

Silver Crusade

The Great Beyond wrote:
fox-bard vulpinal agathions

Oh you. ;)


Wow!!! Can't wait, Can't wait. I salute you Mr. Steward and Paizo. Its going to be a long wait till may though!


...are we there yet?

Paizo Employee Director of Brand Strategy

Todd Stewart wrote:

*reads the new product description*

Well I know a few things that didn't get cut for space. :)

Everything else was cut, though. Sorry.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

yoda8myhead wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

*reads the new product description*

Well I know a few things that didn't get cut for space. :)

Everything else was cut, though. Sorry.

W md rm fr ll tht stff b rmvng ll th vwls.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Vic Wertz wrote:
yoda8myhead wrote:
Todd Stewart wrote:

*reads the new product description*

Well I know a few things that didn't get cut for space. :)

Everything else was cut, though. Sorry.
W md rm fr ll tht stff b rmvng ll th vwls.

Yh! Hry!! :)

Contributor

wsm! Wll t lst vrythng mprtnt md t n.

*chuckle* Yeah I kinda overwrote past my word count. Just a bit. I owe the editors a drink at GenCon suffice to say after they managed to trim it down for publication. We'll see what makes the cut or not.


Todd Stewart wrote:

wsm! Wll t lst vrythng mprtnt md t n.

*chuckle* Yeah I kinda overwrote past my word count. Just a bit. I owe the editors a drink at GenCon suffice to say after they managed to trim it down for publication. We'll see what makes the cut or not.

Ever think about rounding up the cut stuff and making a bonus PDF for folks that order the book? Just sayin ... :)


I wouldn't mind that!

I'm a mad planes fan! But frankly whats in the book will be amazing, I'm sure of it.

Sovereign Court

Patrick Curtin wrote:


Ever think about rounding up the cut stuff and making a bonus PDF for folks that order the book? Just sayin ... :)

Paizo Form Letter Response #13:

Preparing something for PDF publishing requires just as much work as preparing something for print publishing, with less reward. If something has been cut, and then the editorial staff *still* has to edit and the layout and design staff *still* have to lay it out, there really wasn't much point in cutting the material, was there? It's all the work with none of the pay, and takes time away from working on actual products.

This question oughtta go in the FAQ.


I know. Sometimes the staff would have to look at us as a mob of lovable, overly-enthusiastic, ADHD children to whom they have to keep repeating themselves, or else they'd lose it. God bless 'em for their patience.


I guess we'll just have to wait for "The Greater Beyond" and its sequel "The Greatest Beyond."

Contributor

I think you mean
Plusgreat Beyond
and
Doubleplusgreat Beyond

Sovereign Court

Will we be treated to the Lesser and Least Beyonds, as well?

Contributor

The Plane of Elemental Awesome

Silver Crusade

No Plane of Planes forthcomiOH GOD I CAN SEE FOREVER

Contributor

Mikaze wrote:
No Plane of Planes forthcomiOH GOD I CAN SEE FOREVER

I believe Mikaze is referring to the Demiplane of Cheese. Probably Swiss.

Contributor

Mikaze wrote:
No Plane of Planes forthcomiOH GOD I CAN SEE FOREVER

At least one of them. :)

Silver Crusade

Well now I'm intrigued and completely confused!


And cheesed!

...and now hungry!


cappadocius wrote:
Patrick Curtin wrote:


Ever think about rounding up the cut stuff and making a bonus PDF for folks that order the book? Just sayin ... :)

Paizo Form Letter Response #13:

Preparing something for PDF publishing requires just as much work as preparing something for print publishing, with less reward. If something has been cut, and then the editorial staff *still* has to edit and the layout and design staff *still* have to lay it out, there really wasn't much point in cutting the material, was there? It's all the work with none of the pay, and takes time away from working on actual products.

This question oughtta go in the FAQ.

Ouch. So sorry. I guess I will have to wait for The Great Beyond II: Sailing the Seas of Cheese

Contributor

First of all... Neener Neener I has a pdf copy to read over. :D

Obviously I can't tell you what's in the book before it's actually formally released, but I suspect I can mention in passing my opinions (very very happy) and a few things that didn't survive the editing process. Of course if I can't, Vic can edit the hell out of this post. :)

So yes, I'm -quite- happy with how it looks. Exceedingly happy. Sean needed a chainsaw to get it in under the word limit after I turned it in just a "tad" over budget, so to speak. However the Paizo guys did a really nice job in the editing process and virtually all of the meat of what I wrote stayed relatively intact.

A few things did get cut, and two specific topics I kinda got editorially taken out behind the woodshed and overruled on pretty handily. ;) Some minor stuff on the nature of undead and some Abyssal prehistory came out with some changes, and on the latter point I suspect James already had some firm ideas in mind and adapted some points to mesh things together. But admittedly, reading over it all, the edits are awesome and it worked out well.

Of stuff that was cut for space, a paragraph or two going in depth on the Night Hag goddess was trimmed, though she gets mentioned more than once elsewhere. Maybe she'll be detailed later on in another source? That would be fun. (Hint Hint James! :D) The section on one of the Abyssal layers that shows up on the map of the Abyss was cut for space. One of my easter eggs largely bit the dust, but it was fairly obscure and was part of a spell that didn't make the cut. Also, Abaddon was seriously word heavy, so the demodands didn't make it. Again, they're something that I strongly suspect we'll see again, regardless of it I'm the one writing them up or not (Again, Hint Hint James!).

In any event, it's my fault for overwriting that material was cut. But again, given how much I overwrote, the Paizo crew did a spectacular job on the editing so that as much material as made it in did in fact make it in. I'm damn happy. :)


Todd Stewart wrote:
First of all... Neener Neener I has a pdf copy to read over. :D

Darn yooooou~!

:)

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

Well, in all honesty the keketar did have about 5 too many neat-but-complex abilities that ended up snikty-snikty, but I think the final form came out pretty darn cool.

And that cover painting? Awesome.


Oooo...Night Hag Goddess...

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Is it bad to admit that you buy these just for the covers?

j/k

Can't wait. I love extraplanar stuff!

The cover is amazing though!

Are quasi-noble keketar proteans nasty-looking like Predator X?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

I think you mean

Plusgreat Beyond
and
Doubleplusgreat Beyond

You got it wrong Sean.

That would be:

The Demigreat Beyond

The Paragreat Beyond

and finally

The Quasigreat Beyond

Contributor

Someone hasn't read 1984.

Punish, punish.


Don't you mean, Re-educate, re-educate?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hrmpf, I knew that someday I will be puni...re-educated for reading 1984 in my native language instead of Commo...English.

Anyway, Quasi-elemental Plane of Vacuum > all.


Todd Stewart wrote:

First of all... Neener Neener I has a pdf copy to read over. :D

...
I'm damn happy....

GAH!!!! Tease!!!

Contributor

vagrant-poet wrote:


GAH!!!! Tease!!!

Nah, here's a tease:

http://talesofyore.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/great-beyond-maps-sneak-peek/

Laz posted up a sneak peak at the maps he did for the book. Not the final versions (which have tons of locations noted), but enjoy. :)

Silver Crusade

Todd Stewart wrote:

http://talesofyore.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/great-beyond-maps-sneak-peek/

Laz posted up a sneak peak at the maps he did for the book. Not the final versions (which have tons of locations noted), but enjoy. :)

Nice.

Should I feel bad that I recognized the song that plays on his map site about five seconds in? (Excellent taste in videogames btw, Mr. Lazzaretti!)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2009 Top 4

Will there be racial stats for player characters from other planes? Like the clay skinned Medwist from the plane of earth or some such?

Also, after looking in the setting book, seeing the way that the planes are laid out, I was wondering if there can be more than one planet on a plane.
If I'm in Nirvana and I start walking, can I get to Heaven? Is there something in between or does Nirvana wrap around on itself like Earth? Because they touch on the inner wall of the “universe ball”. Now, I'm asking if that map/drawing is made up to be a ball with sides we cannot see because it is 2-D, or a tube without ends and we are looking through one of those ends, maybe like an ever going “tunnel”.
If I have a super-sight telescope in Hell, can I look up and see the material plane floating above me in the middle of it all?
I guess I just like the idea of Nirvana having a moon or a Mars and there are people on them. I mean, what do titans wonder when they look up in the sky and what do angel aliens look like? Most importantly I guess is, if a ogre kills one can he eat it?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

There isn't much crunch in the book apart from five new monsters; the book's goal is to be a gazetteer of the planes first and foremost, after all. So no racial stats for otherplanar PC races.

As for multiple planets...yes! The Material Plane, after all, contains the universe and all its galaxies and planets, and the Material Plane is physically contained within all of the other planes. Of course, once you get into the outer planes, things work completely differently than they do in the universe, and while it's big enough out there for planets, that's really small scale compared to how enormous those realms really are. The "sky" above each outer plane is big enough for pretty much anything you want to put there, as a result.

Contributor

TheTwitching King wrote:

Also, after looking in the setting book, seeing the way that the planes are laid out, I was wondering if there can be more than one planet on a plane.

If I'm in Nirvana and I start walking, can I get to Heaven? Is there something in between or does Nirvana wrap around on itself like Earth? Because they touch on the inner wall of the “universe ball”. Now, I'm asking if that map/drawing is made up to be a ball with sides we cannot see because it is 2-D, or a tube without ends and we are looking through one of those ends, maybe like an ever going “tunnel”.
If I have a super-sight telescope in Hell, can I look up and see the material plane floating above me in the middle of it all?
I guess I just like the idea of Nirvana having a moon or a Mars and there are people on them. I mean, what do titans wonder when they look up in the sky and what do angel aliens look like? Most importantly I guess is, if a ogre kills one can he eat it?

It's best to think of the maps as conceptual diagrams, with all distances on a given plane's map being essentially relative. Each of the planes of the Outer Sphere drift within the Maelstrom, floating about like the bubbles or froth atop an ocean. At times the planes might be closer or not to one another, and those closer in alignment are probably easier to move between than those that are quite different. But normal concepts of space and distance don't always work within that sort of manifest, metaphysical environment.

But above all, if an idea seems to cool to you, please, by all means use it in your campaign. :)

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