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

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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Buy if you like Planar Gaming

4/5

Summary: Indispensible for a planar campaign, best focused on the Inner Planes, or on Axis. Equivalent in usefulness to the "Player's Guide" versions of 2e Planescape books.

Details:

Allusions to medieval religion and cosmology sprinkled throughout make excellent ways to tie in real-world mythologies. A favorite moment of mine was Melek Taus as a missing Archangel of the Heptad. Dante makes numerous appearances. The production values are good; the text is searchable, the pdf renders well, and the artwork is excellent.

The book lacks "current events" descriptions, so GMs will need their own plots (or try module J5!). There are planar mysteries and tensions, described plainly, but of long standing; no current upheavals. An interesting exception is a half page on the contested control of Aroden's domain near Axis. There is no Sigil; if a GM would like a Sigil-surrogate and a handy adventure series, Axis (or Shadow Absalom) could do well.

Many people and things come from "elsewhere," and seem to know but remain silent on where, a trick used a bit often for me -- but this permits uncertainty on the nature of gods. Some gods may be dependent on belief, but some seem to predate mortals and envision existence after them. (The Axiomite Godmind is neat!) Their conflicts seem purposeful rather than self-aggrandizing. This I like very much.

One thing seriously bugged me. "Atheists" from Golarion are apparently so foul that regardless of alignment Pharasma sentences them to be buried in crypts after death: they are "self-damned," "poisoned,” without hope of rebirth and occasionally fed to Groetus, daemon-like. Why? What corruption in atheism is so pernicious that it would survive reincarnation?

While I would like an answer to that, I don't want to end on that note. As a GM, I will retcon it out, as I did when the sentiment appeared in Guide to Hell. Overall, I liked the book. It has inspired gaming ideas already, which is the primary reason I buy any RPG setting material.


An excellent planar sourcebook.

5/5

First of all, I'm a sucker for all things planar. From the first MotP through Planescape to Beyond Countless Doorways, been there done that.

So naturally I was quite looking forward to the Pathfinder book of planes. I jumped when the word was out that Todd "Shemeska" Stewart will be the author - I was following Todd's work on Planewalker website, and he struck me as particularly imaginative and interesting writer.

The hopes were high, but did the book deliver ? I am pleased to say YES ! The Great Beyond offers a vivid description of Pathfinder cosmology, complete with writeup on all major inner and outer planes.

Todd was faced with a real challenge - how to write something similar yet different from the good old Great Wheel D&D cosmology ? There is much Planescape nostalgia among the 3ed fans, and one of the major criticisms aimed at 4ed was the case of uprooting the entire D&D cosmology and turning it pretty much upside down. Over the years, the Great Wheel picked up tons of legacy material.

Todd manages to handle it elegantly, conjuring a streamlined version of the Great Wheel, which still can be easily expanded with pre-Pathfinder sources. The classic planes such as the Abyss, Hell, Limbo are all here (however the much beloved Mechanus and it's Modrons had to go, curse you WotC IP !). Excellent new replacements have been created to replace modrons, slaadi and yugoloths.

Yes, it's a bit on short side. And leaves you wanting more. Here's to hoping that Paizo expands the cosmology in further books, but for now, The Great Beyond is an excellent starting point. Good job !


4/5

A very nice overview of the Golarion planes. It does give a short and evocative description of each plane and unique areas. The only reason I'm not giving this product a full 5 is that I wish they had devoted a few more pages to specific planes. Hopefully we'll see follow ups. Most planes are very familiar, although Maelstrom, Abaddon, and Axis have their own uniquely Paizo feel. Here's my vote for more Golarion planar fun, perhaps a few more books, each one spotlighting 2 to 3 planes.


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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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