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Planes

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 136
Beyond the world of Golarion and the void of space beyond it lie the vast planes of existence referred to as the Great Beyond. Often alien and dangerous, most of these planes embody some foundational aspect of reality—one of the chief elements that make up the rest of the multiverse, a kind of fundamental energy, or an alignment. Each plane is a reality unto itself, with its own laws of existence and its own native inhabitants who might visit, grant benefits to residents of, or cause havoc on the face of Golarion.

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Inner Sphere Planes

The planes of the Inner Sphere form the heart of the cosmos. They are the home of mortal life, the focus of divine attention, the source of mortal souls, and the origin point of the great cycle of quintessence that fuels the motions and stability of reality itself. Arranged in a nested series of shells, like layers of an onion, the planes of the Inner Sphere include, from outer to inner: the Elemental Planes of Fire, Earth, Water, and Air; the universe of the Material Plane; and at the very core of this cosmological ensemble, the raw forces of creation and destruction of the Positive and Negative Energy Planes.

Material PlanePlane

N
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 138
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities Elder Mythos pantheon, Gozreh
Native Inhabitants dwarves, elves, halflings, humans, gnomes, goblins, and countless other ancestries
The Material Plane is the prosaic universe and the home of mortal life. Innumerable galaxies play host to countless stars and their planets, each housing unique settings for any campaign, with Golarion as the classic example. Other worlds of note like Castrovel, Akiton, and Eox exist within Golarion’s own solar system, and then beyond this, orbiting other distant stars or in other galaxies still, worlds such as Androffa, Carcosa, and even Earth swirl within the Material Plane’s vast and silent void.

Yet for all the profound wonder and diversity of life that the Material Plane houses, in the dark places between the stars, known as the Dark Tapestry, lurk the inimical gods known as the Outer Gods and Great Old Ones, the sinister collective known as the Dominion of the Black.

The Material Plane serves as the destination for pre-incarnate souls, each mortal life born, living, and dying before sending its spirit toward the planes of the Outer Sphere for judgment. The Material Plane is likewise the focus of the gods, each of whom is invested in fostering their own particular portfolio among mortal worshippers and the material world at large.

Negative Energy PlanePlane

NNegativeSubjective GravityUnbounded
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 139
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities none
Native Inhabitants sceaduinars, wraiths, and other undead
The vast void of the Negative Energy Plane is a merciless, lightless expanse of manifest destruction and nothingness. Sapping and consuming the life force of any living creature exposed to its energies, it corrodes and disintegrates material objects to rubble, then dust, and then nothing at all. Yet the Void contains its own form of anti-life. At their densest concentration, the plane’s energies aggregate into bizarre, black crystalline snowflake structures, and these irregularities spontaneously generate the plane’s resident sceaduinars. Dwelling in beautiful, deadly cities drifting in the vacuous darkness, these so-called void raptors are incapable of true creation and blame this flaw on some ancient betrayal by their rivals on the Positive Energy Plane. Sceaduinars react violently not only toward creatures sustained by positive energy, but also toward undead, whom they view as unnatural parasites unworthy of their plane’s energies.

The black depths also swarm with undead, creatures doomed to a mockery of life by the interaction of their souls with the plane’s entropic energy. Yet for all the horrors posed by the plane’s environment, inhabitants, and its undead victims, its depths nevertheless hide rare refuges for planar travelers. Malikar’s Keep offers shelter, for a price, to those willing to bargain with its titular lich master, while elsewhere the depths hide entire lost worlds such as Fallen Duromak, and deadly mysteries like the planet-sized, undead-entrapping glass sphere, Eternity’s Doorstep.

Plane of AirPlane

NAirSubjective Gravity
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 139
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities elemental lords of air
Native Inhabitants air elementals, cloud dragons, djinn, petitioners (air pneuma)
The Plane of Air, innermost of the Elemental Planes, is a vast realm of wind, storms, and skies. Illuminated by great artificial globes of flame and distant starlight from the material universe, the plane is populated by air elementals, dragons, mephits, and a great empire of djinn. Though mostly clouds and empty skies, the plane is not entirely bereft of solid ground, including rock and ice created by the residents or dragged into their realm from the distant Plane of Earth or neighboring Plane of Water, and bizarre, drifting spheres of brass and iron. While the former are aggressively fought over, most housing the cities of the vast djinn empire, the latter are almost entirely abandoned and shunned by the plane’s inhabitants, who believe them cursed, entrapping forgotten, ancient enemies who once ravaged the plane.

The djinn rule from their shining capital city of Armun Kelisk, built atop a series of seven floating islands. Their vast trade network crisscrosses the skies and ventures to other planes, kept aloft by natural and magical flight, including great airships that allow visitors to quickly and safely traverse the skies. The djinn are welcoming and gracious hosts to extraplanar travelers and adventurers, a perspective not shared by Hshurha the Duchess of All Winds, the evil elemental lord of air.

Plane of EarthPlane

NEarth
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 139
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities elemental lords of earth, Nivi Rhombodazzle
Native Inhabitants crystal dragons, earth elementals, petitioners (earth pneuma), shaitans
A great and rocky shell situated between the Plane of Fire and Plane of Water, the Eternal Delve hosts a unique and varied ecology of creatures at home in its rocky depths. Far from an endless, solid expanse, the Plane of Earth is riddled with great caverns and cave systems, excavated artificial vaults, vast crystalline geodes, and underground oceans and springs of magma where it borders its neighboring planes. Housing untold riches in gemstones and veins of precious metals, the Plane of Earth is an attractive setting for planar travelers seeking wealth and willing to risk danger and the wrath of elementals, shaitans, and other inhabitants who resent the plunder of their home.

While elementals have little organized society, the shaitan genies’ Peerless Empire rules much of the plane from its capital, the Opaline Vault—a rainbow-lit city within a 30-mile-wide geode cavern. The shaitans have long been at war with the efreet in the neighboring Plane of Fire, and while the earth genies are less prone to slavery than their rivals, the shaitans brook little dissent, and their rule can be harsh. They are downright welcoming, however, compared to Ayrzul the Fossilized King, the evil elemental lord of earth who rules a great expanse of rock from his radiation-poisoned domain, the Blistering Labyrinth.

Plane of FirePlane

NFire
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 140
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities elemental lords of fire, Feronia
Native Inhabitants azers, efreet, fire elementals, magma dragons, petitioners (fire pneuma)
Like a great, gleaming ball of flame situated at the heart of the Astral Plane, the Plane of Fire is the outermost plane of the Inner Sphere. A perpetual ocean of fire with skies of smoke, storms of raining cinders, and lakes and rivers of magma flowing along its border with the Elemental Plane of Earth, the plane is incredibly hostile to those unprepared for its natural hazards. Yet it houses one of the most well-known and traversed cities in all the planes: the City of Brass, capital of the Dominion of Flame. Floating above a sea of fire upon a great hemisphere of magical brass, the City of Brass is a monument both to efreet cosmopolitan grandeur and tyranny, the latter embodied by the grand sultana of the efreet. Outside of the mercantile districts and the palaces and temples of the fire genies, the city houses a vast enslaved underclass of salamanders and others, including creatures from other planes.

The efreeti domain is not absolute, and elsewhere in the plane are nations of fire mephits and the remains of an ancient azer empire. While they don’t form any cohesive, organized nations, the plane’s fire elementals are ruled over by the plane’s most powerful entity, Ymeri the Queen of the Inferno, the evil elemental lord of fire whose reign has gone unquestioned since the imprisonment of her good-aligned rival Atreia eons ago.

Plane of WaterPlane

NSubjective GravityWater
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 140
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities elemental lords of water
Native Inhabitants brine dragons, marids, petitioners (water pneuma), water elementals
Beyond the skies of the Plane of Air, the clouds grow darker and condense into the vast, spherical, liquid shell of the Plane of Water. Its nearly limitless stretches of saline, fresh, and brackish seas teem with all manner of oceanic life, lit by light from the border with the Plane of Air and descending into black, benthic depths where it borders the Plane of Earth. While the plane is perfectly amenable to water-breathing creatures, air-breathing travelers must provide their own supply of air or magical means to breathe. Bubbles of breathable atmosphere are relatively rare and securely guarded, anchored over places of trade and commerce with outsiders, such as the great city of Vialesk, founded by immigrant undines. The plane’s oceans, dotted by vast forests of kelp, magical currents, and strange phenomena, play host to empires of merfolk, predatory and expansionist sea devils, and the holdings of the plane’s great brine dragons.

While marids once claimed nearly absolute dominion over the plane of their origin, their empire long ago fell into deterioration and disunity. Their ravaged cities sank into the depths, and their present-day holdings remain a shadow of their former grandeur. Kelizandri the Brackish Emperor, the evil elemental lord of water and cause of their ruin, rules the dark, saline depths, feasting on all rivals and hoarding the vast, stolen wealth of the fallen marid cities. Unlike other subjective gravity planes, on the Plane of Water, a creature moves based on its swim Speed and must use actions to Swim if it doesn’t have one.

Positive Energy PlanePlane

NPositiveSubjective GravityUnbounded
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 139
Category Inner Sphere Planes
Divinities none
Native Inhabitants jyoti, petitioners (enlightened)
Known as Creation’s Forge, the Positive Energy Plane is at once the source of life-sustaining positive energy, the origin of all pre-incarnate mortal souls, and paradoxically the most innately hostile of all of the planes. While positive energy is deadly to undead and beneficial to living beings, such is the intensity of the plane that unmitigated exposure ultimately incinerates any extraplanar beings without sufficient magical protection. The most apt comparison for the plane’s interior is that of the heart of a burning star, and indeed the stars of the Material Plane each house natural portals to the Positive Energy Plane within their glowing, potent cores to foster the movement of pre-incarnate souls in their first steps in the great cycle of life and death.

Brilliant and blinding, the plane’s interior is sparsely populated, and the resident phoenix-kin jyoti are intensely xenophobic. Dwelling in glimmering, radiant crystalline cities such as Arudrellisiir, they view themselves as gardeners and guardians of souls spawned from their realm’s burning quintessence. Intensely distrustful of gods and their servitors, jyoti can nonetheless be bargained with, and they have frequently taken into their custodianship any number of artifacts and imprisoned beings considered too dangerous to house on any other plane.