Just Realized How Weird The First World Is...


General Discussion


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Reading up on the First World, at least how it's portrayed in early Pathfinder articles and it doesn't seem too weird if you play your game on a single planet. But it gets super weird in space or on other planets.

Apparently the plane is infinite (unlike, I might add, any of the other planes--which are vast beyond imagining but finite) and composed of an eternity of pristine wilderness. So a spaceship in deep space between galaxies, were it to be able to cross into the First World, would appear (in the sky presumably?) over a big forest with a breathable atmosphere.

It sort of makes you wonder if cutting through the First World isn't a easier way to travel in a lot of ways than plunging through the freezing vacuum of material space inside a high-tech coffin.

But I wonder if that's right? Or is there a kind of space in the First World connecting the equivalents of material plane planets? I'd like to think that if you go to a far and distant alien world that its First World would be a primordial first draft of that world with unthinkably alien fey--not just an earth forest with pixies and centaurs. That seems just too weird.


Well, given how much of Pathfinder breaks down if you're on other planes, let alone other planets, I think maybe the designers didn't think about what outer space and other planets are like in the First World. Or possibly they did think about, but didn't have the space to write about it.
So, I seriously doubt outer space in the First World is just part of the same wilderness that the First World Golarion is. I would think that it's closer to what you imagine, meaning that there are separate planets and space.
But cutting through the First World for space travel sounds like it would be super risky. Remember that even fairly reliable cross-plane travel like Shadow Walk isn't 100% accurate and the Plane of Shadow is very similar to the Material Plane. Since the First World is infinite, what is a finite distance in the Material Plane could be infinitely far apart on the First World. In fact, that's guaranteed to be the case locally.
Here's a bit of a mind bender: It could also be that the equivalent of each finite planet on the Material Plane is an infinite space all by itself in the First World. So, just the First World Golarion could be infinite. Infinity is weird.


If the First World is the dream, the mist from which realities condensed and fell like rain, then the problem is not how it is related to your alien world, or if it is related to your alien world, but rather, how could you trace the path you want, from among such a scale of infinities?


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In addition, it has been stated in a few places that the First World is the 'prototype', later abandoned by the Gods and Creation to move to the Working Model (Material Plane).

Anyone who has ever done work with prototypes knows the dangers of dealing with such, and in a realm where the water could be acid one moment and then roaring fire the next, that's not necessarily the best 'short-cut' to use.

In addition, the rules of the world seem to change from moment to moment as well (barring a few solidified things) so one could be flying through the First World in their rocking starship... only to discover that they are now being slowly digested by a dragon.

OOOPS!


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Think of the first world as an 'early access' game. A lot of things don't make sense, some of the mechanics are just broken and it's never going to be finished.

And the Eldest are the ones that never moved to the release version because they'd have to update all their zany mods and all their favourite exploits are gone.


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Did anyone else come into this thread thinking this discussion was going to be about Aballon? *facepalm*


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Umbral Reaver wrote:

Think of the first world as an 'early access' game. A lot of things don't make sense, some of the mechanics are just broken and it's never going to be finished.

And the Eldest are the ones that never moved to the release version because they'd have to update all their zany mods and all their favourite exploits are gone.

But for some reason, the data for all the test stages are still there on the disk and nobody even tries to use that storage space for anything else.

Seriously, why is this still around? It could have been converted to the Drift rather than building a transitive plane from scratch. Or dumped into the Maelstrom instead of atheist souls.


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What if it's something that just happens, like when you take a strip of paper, put a twist in it and glue the two ends together, and BANG, mobius strip! But with hyperspatial/interplanar travel as a means of function.

Also, not to be patronizing, but plane doesn't mean infinite flat space with First World at the bottom and sky at the top in this context, it means pristine, natural, verdant ideal of whichever planet you happen to be on. Probably a lot more noticeable on Akiton than Castrovel. Just don't ask me about the Diaspora, I got no guesses on that one.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Just because the First World is infinite doesn't mean it doesn't also have planets and Space.

The 'First World' version of an infinite void might be a little more...interesting than the Material Plane one.


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Ross Byers wrote:

Just because the First World is infinite doesn't mean it doesn't also have planets and Space.

The 'First World' version of an infinite void might be a little more...interesting than the Material Plane one.

I choose to imagine it as a pastel rainbow kaleidoscope.


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Okay I'm going to make a tentative ruling that the idea of the First World being an infinite plane of forests is less like Arborea from Planescape and more like what you guys seem to be talking about, that it models each planet in a more primordial and unfinished form but that it has its own weird version of space, stars, asteroid belts and whatnot.

It doesn't seem to be what they're saying, but then again what they're saying doesn't make any sense.

How do you have an infinite rough draft of a universe that is mapped to the full version, which is a finite and mostly empty space? It'd be one thing if it was a completely separate plane of existence with no physical connection to the material plane--but in Pathfinder the planes aren't like that, they're nested Dyson Spheres with all of reality inside them. It's sort of like trying to map Yellowstone National Forest to a banana. It just doesn't work.

So yeah, a finite First World that maps to the Material Plane and Plane of Shadow is MUCH nicer. Also you get First World space adventures! Or pretty much Spelljammer.


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Grimcleaver wrote:
How do you have an infinite rough draft of a universe that is mapped to the full version, which is a finite and mostly empty space? It'd be one thing if it was a completely separate plane of existence with no physical connection to the material plane--but in Pathfinder the planes aren't like that, they're nested Dyson Spheres with all of reality inside them.

You're taking that image way too literally. They are completely separate planes of existence. Seeing them as nested spheres is just one (metaphysical) way of looking at them. It's moreso to illustrate which planes are coterminous. And even that isn't perfect. If I recall correctly, the Ethereal Plane is adjacent to every other plane which you can't really see in that image.

Also, there are plenty of ways to map an infinite space onto a finite one, even bijectively. There's no contradiction there. This would make distances inconsistent between First World and Material Plane, but that's to be expected.
As an aside, if you're expecting things about the First World to make sense or be nice, then you're gonna be disappointed. Its unpredictability and instability are sort of the point.


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Took me a while to realise the first world was pathfinder's version of the feywild. Took a trip down to wikisville, and that seems to suggest the first world maps (or at least mapped) roughly to golrion, and given how it's specifically mentioned to be 'out of time' compared to the other planes, that might be the closest to visiting golrion we can get at present. Something to think on, maybe.

Beyond that, I'd say 'every planet gets its own first world' sounds about reasonable. The idea that the laws of physics might randomly apply differently seems fun to play around with. 'Yeah, the speed of light is much lower here, so the range increments on any laser weapon are now absolutely terrible and aiming at distant things is nigh-on impossible. Good luck with that!'


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Nixitur wrote:
As an aside, if you're expecting things about the First World to make sense or be nice, then you're gonna be disappointed. Its unpredictability and instability are sort of the point.

Ah... First World problems.


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Starfinder's First World is straight out of No Man's Sky.

The primordial gods, as a test, procedurally generated whole galaxies. They are littered with seemingly random selection of features, some of the planets are absolutely work in progress and some are weird and extreme because of bugs in the system.


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Reading this thread I now have a mental image of the First World being a lot like Cloud Cuckoo land in the lego movie. Thank you for that?

Scarab Sages

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An interesting question would be if the First World version of Golarion is still there. And if so, what does it look like now?


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It's still there, but trying to access it just gets a weird message about goblins in the system or something.


Did planes get changed from Pathfinder to Starfinder?

Because most planes were infinite in Pathfidner. In fact, of the major planes in Pathfinder only Axis/Utopia (LN) is finite in size.


Yes, but were they countably or uncountably infinite?


Claxon wrote:

Did planes get changed from Pathfinder to Starfinder?

Because most planes were infinite in Pathfidner. In fact, of the major planes in Pathfinder only Axis/Utopia (LN) is finite in size.

Axis was finite? I was under the impression that it stretched horizontally forever (capped on top by the Boneyard and the bottom by Norgorber's Undercity)


This is Pathfinder, not calculus.

But it would depend on what exactly you're attempting to measure when we say "infinite".

If it's the physical dimensions of the plane, I think that would make it uncountably infinite, but it really all depends on what's in the set.


Hazrond wrote:
Claxon wrote:

Did planes get changed from Pathfinder to Starfinder?

Because most planes were infinite in Pathfidner. In fact, of the major planes in Pathfinder only Axis/Utopia (LN) is finite in size.

Axis was finite? I was under the impression that it stretched horizontally forever (capped on top by the Boneyard and the bottom by Norgorber's Undercity)
Quote:

Utopia (Lawful Neutral)

Utopia is a bastion of order against the chaos of Limbo and the countless demonic hordes of the Abyss. A great city of eternal perfection, Utopia's streets and buildings are paragons of architecture and aesthetics; everything is ordered and nothing happens by chance. While no one race rules Utopia, axiomites and inevitables make their homes here, forever striving to expand their perfect city.

Utopia has the following traits:

Finite Shape
Divinely Morphic: Deities with domains in Utopia can alter the plane at will.
Strongly Law-Aligned
Enhanced Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the lawful descriptor are enhanced.
Impeded Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the chaotic descriptor are impeded.


Okay but, as far as I know "Utopia" and "Limbo" aren't planes in pathfinder, since the names for those two alignment planes are Axis and The Maelstrom respectively, so wouldn't this be at best outdated info?


Nope, it's the OGL material vs Golarion specific material.

For OGL purposes they call the plane of Axis as the plane of Utopia instead.

Generic LN outer plane is Utopia.

Golarion universe LN outer plane is Axis, but they're the same plane.


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What exactly does "Finite Shape" mean, in terms of its technical definition? Because I see no good reason why any one Outer Plane should be finite while all the rest are infinite. Also, 'Finite Shape' sounds rather weird, and doesn't make me immediately think "this plane is limited in size".

( Note, the existence of boundaries and borders does *not* mean a plane most be finite in scope. Planar geometry has never really worked that way. )


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From the PRD:

"Finite Shape: A plane with this trait has defined edges or borders. These borders may adjoin other planes or be hard, finite borders such as the edge of the world or a great wall. Demiplanes are often finite."


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I think the idea is that Axis is finite because somehow definite boundaries are more "orderly" than undefined boundaries.


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Agreed. I wouldn't be surprised if Axis is capable of growing, so that it is always as big as it needs to be but no bigger.


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Defined edges or borders does *not* mean "finite area". Just because there is an exactly 1000 mile circular border connecting you to other planes, doesn't forbid there from being infinite area contained within. It just means the actual boundary is of fixed size and shape.


Ugh, PFWiki, I want to know about the planes! Come on, man!

XD

Anyway, this (when compared to this and this) might give some more weirdness to the concept of the First World - notably that "Wood" is a "secondary element" that comes directly from interaction between the First World and other elemental planes.

Anyway, there's also the Great Beyond, which is what I was looking for, but doesn't discuss size of the planes. And, why not, here's the Ethereal. :)

Claxon wrote:

Did planes get changed from Pathfinder to Starfinder?

Because most planes were infinite in Pathfidner. In fact, of the major planes in Pathfinder only Axis/Utopia (LN) is finite in size.

From what I can tell the heterodoxy* of inconceivably large-but-finite comes from James Jacobs; printed material may disagree, but I'm uncertain how canonical it is supposed to be (compared to clarifications from developers' intent)**.

Claxon, where was the info on Utopia printed? (Doesn't matter, unless there's a newer thing countermanding it, but I'm just curious. Thanks!)

* I use this term not because I'm saying JJ's wrong, but because it seems his statements are in disagreement with the printed material.

** This is explicitly compared to things like the Juju Oracle (old v. new and whether or not they are both canon), the old Erastil article compared to newer material (that still hasn't explicitly repudiated the old; do note to the fact that the Erastil article appeared in an AP with a female cleric of Erastil who was the spiritual leader of her community...), or paladins of Asmodeus (which, again, from what I can tell, haven't been nixed in printed canon material; only in developer posts), and so on.


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Metaphysician wrote:
Defined edges or borders does *not* mean "finite area". Just because there is an exactly 1000 mile circular border connecting you to other planes, doesn't forbid there from being infinite area contained within. It just means the actual boundary is of fixed size and shape.

Only if it's bounded on some edges and not on others. It could be a cylinder of infinite length, but it seems unlikely to me (given the context of the information from the Planar Adventures section I mention below.

They list three options for for the size and shape of planes:
Infinite
Finite Shape
Self-contained

The existence of infinite option separate from finite shape strongly implies that those given the finite shape description aren't infinite.

The picture on this page shows the city in a circular boundary.

Tacticslion wrote:

Claxon, where was the info on Utopia printed? (Doesn't matter, unless there's a newer thing countermanding it, but I'm just curious. Thanks!)

The source of my information is from the PRD, from the Game Mastery Guide, under planar adventures.


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Your assuming anything resembling Euclidean geometry applies to the Outer Planes. I don't think that's really a safe assumption, even for a highly lawful plane like Axis.


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Non-euclidean vs euclidean geometry doesn't (on it's own) make a difference about whether something is finite or infinite.


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No, but it does make it *possible* to have interesting geometry. Like a flat circular plane, whose circumference is a finite 1000 kilometers, and whose area is "infinite".


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I don't think the First World is the rough draft of only Golarion, But I don't think it's a bunch of planets in space, either. The First World doesn't really do static geography. It's really more of an ever-shifting mess of features that echo features of the Material. I find it entirely conceivable that you could walk from "Akiton" First World to "Androffa" First World, as long as you picked the right path. The odds of finding that path are tiny, but still possible. Since the Material has space, the First World probably does too, just not arranged anything like what we're used to.

I'm not sure I managed to describe how I view the home of the fey, but I'll post it anyway.


Metaphysician wrote:
No, but it does make it *possible* to have interesting geometry. Like a flat circular plane, whose circumference is a finite 1000 kilometers, and whose area is "infinite".

It's been several years since I've taken my higher level math classes so I've forgotten quite a bit of it, but what you've just described isn't infinite. You've literally described a circle with a 1000 Km circumfrence, which would make the area about 80,000 km square. Although, what you described isn't non-euclidean.


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It's definitely possible to stuff an infinite perimeter in an enclosed area However, within eucliean space, the area is bounded by the perimeter, unless you take the technicality of "my shape is bounded by this circle. It's everything not in the circle." You're welcome to tell me what it does in non-eucliean space, but I have no idea what wikipedia is saying at this point.


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Claxon wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
No, but it does make it *possible* to have interesting geometry. Like a flat circular plane, whose circumference is a finite 1000 kilometers, and whose area is "infinite".
It's been several years since I've taken my higher level math classes so I've forgotten quite a bit of it, but what you've just described isn't infinite. You've literally described a circle with a 1000 Km circumfrence, which would make the area about 80,000 km square. Although, what you described isn't non-euclidean.

No, that's precisely what he's saying. You're describing what it would be in Euclidean geometry and you're correct, it wouldn't be infinite in area. Since he specified the area as infinite, it's obviously non-Euclidean. And not a simple non-Euclidean geometry at that.


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The simplest explanation for that would be a manifold (3 dimensions is enough) that resembles an infinitely long sock. The circumference is a finite 1000 km, but the surface area (and volume) are infinite.


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Umbral Reaver wrote:
The simplest explanation for that would be a manifold (3 dimensions is enough) that resembles an infinitely long sock. The circumference is a finite 1000 km, but the surface area (and volume) are infinite.

Though "flat circular plane" makes that awkward.


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Not *that* awkward, I'm pretty sure you only need one more spatial dimension to make it work. Besides, if the space itself is what is bent, then it will certainly look flat to you while walking on it. ;)


Being flat and appearing flat to something on the surface are two different things.

As Umbral Reaver pointed out (and your next post agreed with) you need a 3rd dimension, and that it would need to extend infinitely. It is essentially the cylinder of infinite length I mentioned.

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