Tying Concordance of Rivals into a theory of the Gap


General Discussion


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The recently published Concordance of Rivals Pathfinder Campaign Setting has a bunch of metaphysics on how the multiverse began and will end. It also provides a more robust frame for a Gap theory than the most bare bones obvious one (Rovagug escaped, Torag sacrificied himself to reimprison/guard him, as part of this Golarion had to be hidden away to save creation from Rovagug, and for some reason everyone forgot a huge amount of time related to this).

Concordance of Rivals tells us (via Tabris, who is probably pretty accurate, but certainly has some potential to be an unreliable narrator) in "The Creation of the Multiverse" that Pharamsa was the sole escapee of the previous iteration of creation, riding a Seal of surviving quintessence, which she used as a seed to form the current reality, hoping to tweak things somewhat so that it will last this time, but knowing that ultimately it won't. The Seal is incorporated into the base of her Spire.

Later, in "The Onslaught of Entropy & The End Times" Tabris claims that even the Maelstrom can't dissolve Pharasma's Spire, and as the cycle of life/death and quintessence continues the Spire keeps growing. Eventually it will puncture the sphere that protects the multiverse from the implied Lovecraftian entities outside and reality will begin to unravel. This process could take millenia to happen, and the inhabitants in the Material Plane might not notice except that their gods are dying in futile efforts to stop it and stop answering prayers.

Quote:

As the ashes of these respective faiths scatter to the cosmic winds, the third and final cohort shall remain. These are the desperate and the determined. Seeing countless gods perish by mere proximity to the destructive wave, the former shall seek out any means to extend their own existence. No price will seem too high when any notion of consequence or eternal damnation stands to disappear. For the determined, the end times are a foregone conclusion that they accept or even welcome.

Among these, three figures are noteworthy. Pharasma, who witnessed this reality’s beginning and shall witness its end as her tower collapses around her. Rovagug shall escape from the Dead Vault, though not by his own power; instead, his egress shall come with the help of one who bears the key, hoping against all hope that one divine destroyer might consume the other. Indeed, the
Rough Beast will consume what remains of reality before devouring himself and leaving nothing.

Finally, in "Reflections on Truth" Tabris details how the gods aren't omniscient and don't really know everything, and so he was tasked to compile his three volumes by gathering up the collected (but flawed and limited) wisdom of those throughout the planes. At the end he once glimpsed greater truths than those that remain in his books, but he lost them.

Quote:

In an awesome, overwhelming, joyous, terrifying moment, I witnessed it: the Truth that at once opened up infinite possibilities beyond our own reality while also crushing the very realities we navigate.

I have never grasped it since.
When I regained my senses, I was sitting over my manuscript with dozens of pages filled with revelations my mind could barely grasp. At first I could discern words yet no meaning. Then I could identify only my handwriting, yet no words. Within minutes, the contents of entire pages seemed to fade. These all found their way into their respective volumes, yet even after personally binding each tome, I have found that each has fewer pages than I had included. It is as though our reality simply is not equipped to process the concepts.

It almost sounds like a...gap...in his memory and recorded knowledge of the same event.

So here's a theory. Pharasma altered this reality so that it would hopefully (but eventually not) last forever. Aroden's death, however, broke one prophecy and distrupted one seemingly inevitable event she foresaw. And we know the gods are fallible - while reality may eventually end, it might not end exactly the way Tabris foresaw, and there might be hiccup along the way.

I think a plausible theory is that the Gap is that hiccup. Rovagug was released at the end of the multiverse, but instead of successfully eating reality, the remaining gods were able to both imprison him and use the effort to rewrite reality and reset it. Reset it to when? The anchor/disruption in the timestream around when Aroden died, and when the Gap began.

In this theory the length of the Gap is somewhat arbitrary, a result of the forces used to rewind and reset reality. Not only was all of the future lost, but memory of the recently reset and redone past was, as well.

So what's to prevent this all from happening again exactly the same way, just with Rovagug in a different starting state?

The Drift. Exactly three years after the end of the Gap Triune revealed the secrets to a method of travel that just so happens to siphon off fragments of quintessence and planar fragments to the Drift. Why would that matter? Because it slows the growth of the Spire and the eventual (re)destruction of the multiverse.

Nothing is fixed, and a big chunk of lived reality was erased, but this iteration of reality gets to try again with a longer lease on life and a change to come up with a new fix when the crisis point is reached again.

Where is Golarion? Some sort of temporal bubble or semi-disconnected demiplane where Torag and Rovagug's rebuilt prison are cut off from the rest of reality...until they aren't.

The gods, if they are aware of this unraveling and resetting of reality, don't speak of it for obvious reasons.

Dark Archive

Hmm, on otherhand, gods dying isn't that big deal in scale of multiple multiverses, but on otherhand this would make Aroden's death more relevant than just "He was big deal in Inner Sea". Like, if his death somehow managed to make prophecy not work in entire multiverse and broke from Pharasma's expectations, it paradoxically creates both hope and despair at the uncertainty of how the end times will happen.


(1) Hooray, prophecy is broken and Pharasma's vision is unexpectedly cloudy, maybe all of existence won't collapse and kill everyone, except one survivor who rebuilds a new, slightly different existence that will fail in turn.

(2) Oh, crap, prophecy is broken and Phrasma's vision in unexpectedly cloudy, maybe there won't even be a survivor this time to rebuild a new existence.


Well, this is certainly interesting information.

I....will need time to process it.

Sovereign Court

You definitely got me curious about that book. Very interesting.


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This theory would also account for differences in the Pathfinder and Starfinder settings. Pathfinder is the original, unreset reality. Starfinder is the reset reality, and some distortions and changes may have crept in.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Huh...this makes sense. It also might allow us a chance to one day see "parts" of that Gap (Like what does Pathfinder Modern look like?).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Wow, that IS interesting - thanks for sharing!

So, in this model: things go pear-shaped, Rovagug is released (presumably but not definitely intentionally) in an attempt to have it defeat Lovecraftian Horrors from Beyond, Rovagug succeeds in defeating said LHfB, and then the remaining Gods manage to re-imprison Rovagug (again, presumably in some fashion that requires Torag & Golarion to become indisposed) and run the clock back to some sort of key point in the timey-wimey continuum, which could be when Aroden broke prophecy and died? Fascinating. Like Claxon said, lots to think about there. Is the clock re-run intentional, or just some kind of side-effect of the re-imprisonment, I wonder?

Tangent: does Concordance of Rivals talk about everyone's favourite skull moon, Groetus? As God of The End, surely Big G would have some feelings over Pharasma playing fast and loose with that whole "end of everything" situation. For me, Groetus is easily the most interesting part of Paizo lore, and I'll leap all over the book if it's got some more info.


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Kishmo wrote:


Tangent: does Concordance of Rivals talk about everyone's favourite skull moon, Groetus? As God of The End, surely Big G would have some feelings over Pharasma playing fast and loose with that whole "end of everything" situation. For me, Groetus is easily the most interesting part of Paizo lore, and I'll leap all over the book if it's got some more info.

Groetus just gets a couple of sentences after the part I quoted about "three figures are noteworthy" - Pharasma, Rovagug, and Groetus. Groetus will watch over this final apocalypse and observe the final death of the universe (and Pharasma's presumed death) before fading away. And one survivor will presumably grab on to the Seal after Groetus is gone to start the next cycle of existence - Concordance of Rivals discusses the psychopomp daughter of Pharasma who she is grooming for this role.

It's a very cool book, highly recommended.


I wonder if actually more than one entity survived from the previous multiverse, but doesn't want its true origin to be known.

Perhaps related to this, presumably the Lovecraftian things have survived many multiverses (although not being a part of them), and some may have even taken an interest in more than one.

Also, what if more than one entity survived from the previous multiverse, but wound up in some other multiverse instead of the current one (or even survived in part of the Dark Tapestry outside of anything recognizable as a Pathfinder-style multiverse)?


Are the lovecraftian things implied to be outer gods and other dark tapestry type stuff, qlippoth, whatever hit zon kuthon upside the head, or something else?


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Garretmander wrote:
Are the lovecraftian things implied to be outer gods and other dark tapestry type stuff, qlippoth, whatever hit zon kuthon upside the head, or something else?

I took it as yes to the Outer Gods and maybe Great Old Ones if you want them to be, no to qlippoth, probably for ZK, and maybe. They’re only referred to as Those Who Remain and originate from outside our realities. I expect the Outer Gods and GOOs are some versions who infiltrated at the beginning of creation, but even weirder stuff is still outside waiting and is what ZK experienced.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

hmm...


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Garretmander wrote:
Are the lovecraftian things implied to be outer gods and other dark tapestry type stuff, qlippoth, whatever hit zon kuthon upside the head, or something else?

I'm pretty sure I saw one of the developer's mention that the cosmic horror that broke Dou-Bral was unrelated to the qlippoth or the Outer Gods, but something they just hadn't gotten around to explaining. Would fit in with the whole idea of there being an 'outside' to the multiverse full of nasties.


^I wonder if it is the same cosmic horror that caused Vildeis to claw her own eyes out.


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Well, if I recall correctly, the manasaputras also harken from a previous universe.


^Oh yeah, I forgot about those.

And:

I wrote:
Also, what if more than one entity survived from the previous multiverse, but wound up in some other multiverse instead of the current one (or even survived in part of the Dark Tapestry outside of anything recognizable as a Pathfinder-style multiverse)?

Counterpart to that: What if some things surviving from before the current multiverse didn't come from the same previous multiverse?


Kishmo wrote:

Wow, that IS interesting - thanks for sharing!

So, in this model: things go pear-shaped, Rovagug is released (presumably but not definitely intentionally) in an attempt to have it defeat Lovecraftian Horrors from Beyond, Rovagug succeeds in defeating said LHfB, and then the remaining Gods manage to re-imprison Rovagug (again, presumably in some fashion that requires Torag & Golarion to become indisposed) and run the clock back to some sort of key point in the timey-wimey continuum, which could be when Aroden broke prophecy and died? Fascinating. Like Claxon said, lots to think about there. Is the clock re-run intentional, or just some kind of side-effect of the re-imprisonment, I wonder?

Tangent: does Concordance of Rivals talk about everyone's favourite skull moon, Groetus? As God of The End, surely Big G would have some feelings over Pharasma playing fast and loose with that whole "end of everything" situation. For me, Groetus is easily the most interesting part of Paizo lore, and I'll leap all over the book if it's got some more info.

So I didn't interpret this as Rovagug battling the LHfB but the spire itself, as in that if none of the current gods can stop its growth from piercing the bubble then they'll let Rovagug have a shot at it.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
I wonder if actually more than one entity survived from the previous multiverse, but doesn't want its true origin to be known.

What if those are the LHfB? They're not otherworldly terrors of unknown origin, they're the survivors of the last universe and Pharasma just locked them out (possibly along with things from the cycle before that if this keeps happening).


Ataraxias wrote:

{. . .}

So I didn't interpret this as Rovagug battling the LHfB but the spire itself, as in that if none of the current gods can stop its growth from piercing the bubble then they'll let Rovagug have a shot at it.

That seems counterproductive, since the Qlippoths (including Rovagug) are Lovecraftian Horrors from Beyond in all but name -- same intentions, but they just happen to have their home inside the multiverse.

Aside note: If stuff, Lovecraftian or otherwise, is beyond the Horizon boundary of the multiverse, what do you properly call the space containing that stuff and the multiverse? The Hyperverse? And do we get more levels of Hyperverse above that? Reminds me of a few instances in which I woke up, and then found that I was actually in another dream that I had to wake up from.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Ataraxias wrote:

{. . .}

So I didn't interpret this as Rovagug battling the LHfB but the spire itself, as in that if none of the current gods can stop its growth from piercing the bubble then they'll let Rovagug have a shot at it.

That seems counterproductive, since the Qlippoths (including Rovagug) are Lovecraftian Horrors from Beyond in all but name -- same intentions, but they just happen to have their home inside the multiverse.

Aside note: If stuff, Lovecraftian or otherwise, is beyond the Horizon boundary of the multiverse, what do you properly call the space containing that stuff and the multiverse? The Hyperverse? And do we get more levels of Hyperverse above that? Reminds me of a few instances in which I woke up, and then found that I was actually in another dream that I had to wake up from.

Even without the LHfB threat the spire piercing the bubble creates irreparable damage to the foundation and stability of the multiverse and beyond. The spire keeps growing to infinity, the breach becomes some sort of nexus super maelstrom as numerous planes bleed into each other, a large number of gods and outsiders would war as their borders broke, etc.


So I reread the end times section and no outside entities are ever mentioned.
It does name the spire as a spear which will wound the bubble, and from the wound will be unending fissures that spread into the planes to collapse everything.

It then goes on to say that the gods that will attempt to heal the wound will get obliterated by entropy.

So now I see the other "divine destroyer" as the wound, or pure entropy.

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