I get the Material plane denizens' embrace for technology, but... what about the other Planes?


General Discussion


How did Heaven, Hell and the Abyss end up with technology???

Of all creatures, extraplanar outsiders are probably the most traditional beings out there that wouldn't be swayed by mortal inventions.So how did they cave in and just adopt whatever weaponry and vehicles mortals made?

Did a Demon invasion get repelled so hard with so many lost souls by technology-wielding soldiers that the Demon Lords had to back down in a corner and reconsider their oppositions? Did a renowned angel champion suffer a terrible defeat to a mortal techno-warrior that he had to plead his cause to upgrade the armory?

I just feel like the Planes... were always on 2 distinct phases when it comes to innovation and inventions.


My assumption is that they've actually always had it to some extent, but the same MAD doctrine that keeps the gods from actively involving themselves in things like the Worldwound keeps outsiders maintaining a level of appropriate force for what they're tackling.

Like, Hell's had Endbringer devils practically forever, but they wouldn't use them to invade a Pathfinder-era Golarion because that would invite escalation from the celestials.

But then demons getting their hands on Numerian technology after they've invaded would present something of a loop hole; it isn't them invading with superior technology, it's them finding & appropriating some once they got there.


With as many demon lords and other planar beings that were devoted to domains of alchemy and technology, I'm not quite viewing planar groups quite the same in PF's setting, I think.

Being restricted by MAD doctrine or simply developing it over time as they watch the mortals progress isn't that hard to believe. They have a lot of time, and a lot of workers.


Well we know that the Androffans and the Dominion of the Black had technology more advanced than what the Pact Worlds & Veskarium are fielding currently, nine thousand years prior to the Pathfinder era.

We know that during the Pathfinder era(which equates to the early 1900s), the anacites, elebrians, and verthani were already all super advanced races, technologically, and that they had been for some time; the elebrians supposedly destroyed the Twins while Azlant was still thriving on Golarion, and Eox & the Twins all three had space flight then.

And I haven't read through Dead Suns thoroughly enough to be sure but the impression I've gotten from the kishalee is that their civilization was thriving tens of thousands of years ago and they were more advanced than even the Androffans.

Point being, advanced sci-fi tech has existed and even been wide spread for tens of thousands of years at least in universe. The idea that the denizens of the outer planes, many of which are them selves older than the evolution of the humanoid form, took until Golarion did to develop space ships & laser guns, strikes me as a little unlikely.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The fluff of the Endbringer Devil kinda implies they've been around for ages, they just don't show themselves to any species that doesn't have space travel.

Just how different races on Golarion might each depict a deity as a member of their own (and that same deity will probably manifest themselves in that form), there's probably a similar divine precedent for technology. There may also be some connection to the particular mortal souls an outsider is composed of. Maybe the more technologically advanced outsiders are composed of the souls of technologically savvy mortals?


As the old saying goes as above so below...


Strikes me that the denizens of the Abyss would adopt any advantage and would regard escalation and MAD as opportunities. And if the Outer Planes were holding back technology to avoid an arms race, why are they using it now but not millenia ago when other races had hi-tech?

I say a solution is the Outer Planes lack the materials, organisation and dynamism for an industrial base. For a start, most places lack decent quantities of the various metals. More importantly, the existing rulers and workers don't understand industrial economics and engineering and the souls that could teach them are too euphoric or too tortured to know or care. Rulers that try don't appreciate the re-organisations required as demands and capabilities change, so manufacturing stagnates at the early Industrial Age. In short, the Outer Planes still think like a medieval, agrarian society. The Material Plane is where all the cleverness really happens.

Even when they acquire technological items, they lack the industry to maintain them. So most rely on their native, supernatural abilities. Where technology is used, it's reserved to counter mortal race's use of technology. Where technology was used in a medieval, mortal world, historians didn't recognise the use of technology and the user didn't have the quantity or understanding to exploit it fully.


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I think that the outer planes reflect the Material, slightly removed.

In the past, the outer planes that touch on Golarion are those that get souls FROM Golarion. As a result, when those medieval souls got to their final destinations, they brought the knowledge and technology earned during their time living with them. As such, much of the afterlife remained medieval.

When members of the technologically advanced races died, their souls went to different areas ruled by their own gods, and as such their tech remained isolated (and if a god had an advantage like plasma cannons, you can imagine that they probably wouldn't want to share them, or would dress them up as magical artifacts to deter suspicion).

Over time, though, the general tech level increased, and the same thing happened to the outer planes, as the inventors of advanced tech went to their final rewards/punishments.


That's an interesting plot point to use for some game material. If the Outer Planes were linked to the Prime specifically through Golarion (in terms of source of souls)...when and how that changed makes for some pretty interesting GM fuel.


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I remember reading (or hearing) that other planes don't really have stages of technology like the material plane, but they simply choose manifest themselves in such a way, typically with whatever arms and armor is common for the era. Lore wise, an angel with a plasma cannon Isn't any more or less deadly than if they manifested themselves with a bow and arrow, but rather it's the sheer power of the angel (or devil) that's being contended with.


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Dread Moores wrote:
That's an interesting plot point to use for some game material. If the Outer Planes were linked to the Prime specifically through Golarion (in terms of source of souls)...when and how that changed makes for some pretty interesting GM fuel.

Reminds me of the film, The Prophecy. The war in Heaven could never end because nobody could die, so the angels were fighting over the soul of a Colonel Kurtz-style war criminal who knew all about terror tactics. Those hairless monkey humans know all about deceit and torture, more than any angel.

If the outer planes are about ideas and belief, imagine the value of souls of those who had made great inventions and changed the common paradigm about what is possible. A powerful devil stages a daring raid to kidnap the soul of the lady who invented repeating rifles, and soon after, it can field a legion of riflefiends who can level vastly superior numbers of flaming sword-wielding angels.


To be honest I think that rules wise en roleplay wise the outsiders are still rarely using tech, because they don’t need it that much. They still have powerful magic, powerful enough to be able to create whatever tech would allow.

But I also like the suggestion of Dracomkcron about the souls being « local ».


JiCi wrote:

How did Heaven, Hell and the Abyss end up with technology???

Of all creatures, extraplanar outsiders are probably the most traditional beings out there that wouldn't be swayed by mortal inventions.So how did they cave in and just adopt whatever weaponry and vehicles mortals made?

Did a Demon invasion get repelled so hard with so many lost souls by technology-wielding soldiers that the Demon Lords had to back down in a corner and reconsider their oppositions? Did a renowned angel champion suffer a terrible defeat to a mortal techno-warrior that he had to plead his cause to upgrade the armory?

I just feel like the Planes... were always on 2 distinct phases when it comes to innovation and inventions.

Keep in mind, most outsiders draw their power from the material plane.

All the new souls with their new ideas pouring into the planes has to have an impact.


I can picture some lower planar fiend looking over a whole wall of electronic boxes in the material plane. Each box a complex AI waiting to attract a soul, which then gets sent to his home plane so the box can get another.


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FirstChAoS wrote:
I can picture some lower planar fiend looking over a whole wall of electronic boxes in the material plane. Each box a complex AI waiting to attract a soul, which then gets sent to his home plane so the box can get another.

Devils hiding behind proxies that exploit social media. I always thought Facebook was a tool of the Devil. :)

This does suggest a way to better answer the OP. There are four hypotheses.

1. The Outer Planes don't have the raw materials and mentality to make technology themselves and are just acquiring it.
2. The Outer Planes learn from the souls they get in their locality and not from ancient races that were in different localities.
3. For Outer Plane beings, technological gear is merely a portrayal of their inherent power and technology of the current era.
4. The Outer Planes could develop technology but occupants are powerful enough to rarely need it, so they just acquire the little they do bother with.

The answer to whether planar beings, hiding behind proxies, spread propaganda in data networks helps decide which hypothesis is best. If yes, 1 makes no sense whilst 2 does. If no, the opposite applies.


Same reason as them not using Sci-Fi tech in Golarion era considering there were spacefaring civilizations back then with perfectly fine sci-fi tech.... Because Fiat.

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