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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3.90/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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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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Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

James Jacobs wrote:
Ashram wrote:
Sorry to ressurect this after a year, but I'm rather curious: Will we ever get a planar handbook in the style of WotC's "Manual of the Planes", just for standard Pathfinder and not Golarion? It'd be nice to have a book detailing Utopia, Purgatory and Limbo rather than Axis, The Boneyard and The Maelstrom. :P

If we were to detail Utopia, Purgatory, and Limbo... they'd end up being exactly the same as Axis, the Boneyard, and the Maelstrom anyway, so Todd's solution of just using Axis, the Boneyard, and the Maelstrom information we've published so far and simply changing the names to whatever you want is the correct solution.

Put another way—we are not interested in producing world content for somthing other than our own campaign world.

Utopia, Purgatory, and Limbo are all real-world concepts. Anyone out there can run with those names and build them up as 3rd party products if they wanted. They're not regions we're interested in exploring further, because we have and prefer the Golarion-specific versions of those planes.

I don't really care what the names are; I'm just looking to have the material published, and I'd love to have a planar book - even more than I'd like an epic book.

And that says a lot.

Besides, as it is now, I often do the "some call it X, while others call it Y" thing for the planes due to the fact that my campaign's been running before Pathfinder existed.


Heck the multiverse is big enough for everyone's ideas. =). I am eagerly awaiting anything to assist me in my planar PbP. You need to get that space fantasy supplement out too Allen!


Another raise thread on account of the sale:

Does this product provide a lot more information than that contained in the Inner Sea World Guide and Gamemastery Guide? I'm considering picking it up, but I don't want to get something that might just be redundant.

Thanks!


Well, it's 64 pages - so I'd say Todd's managed to cram in rather a lot of stuff that's not in the other books. And unlike the bits in the GameMastery Guide it's Golarion specific.


Well, once again this book is on sale... which makes me kinda want it but then... really not.. because... it seems like it would be too darn short...

People who actually own this book, please tell me your honest opinions, should I buy the PDF of this book (or if you answer me quick enough, I might be able to get in on the Great Golem Sale and even with $5 shipping and tax it's cheaper than the PDF!) or just not bother since it's 3.5 and so short?

Even more important question I'm sure has been asked any maybe answered, but really is there any chance of getting a newer updated "Campaign Setting" line book about The Great Beyond, or is this pretty much it?

Contributor

Go for it! It's a good book :D

It's nominally 3.5, but except for a few monsters at the end of the book it's entirely devoid of game mechanics. There's a lot of detail that hasn't been seen in other books simply because it covers a lot of ground that hasn't been revisited (yet?) and the cosmology section in the Inner Sea World Guide just summarizes each plane rather than going into the detail and sample locations that TGB does.

And if you want to see a PF update to TGB please ask Paizo for it! Otherwise it's just going to be me making the request on the boards, over email, in public at GenCon, etc etc. Ask them so I seem less obsessive about it. I'd love to go for round two on the topic if they want to do another book and if they want to let me in on it. :D

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