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

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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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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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