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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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Outer Sphere Planes

The planes of the Outer Sphere are the manifest realms of alignment: chaos, evil, good, law, neutrality, and their admixtures, populated by celestials, fiends, monitors, and others who promote these moral concepts. These planes are the backdrop upon which the mortal afterlife reaches its apparent conclusion, and the end destination of the River of Souls. The Outer Planes are regions of stability adrift in the raw, chaotic quintessence of the primordial Maelstrom, its tides forever gnawing at their edges even as mortal souls sustain them. The Abyss manifests as cracks in the Outer Sphere’s fabric, while rising from the metropolitan Axis is the Boneyard’s spire, the location where mortal souls are judged and then sent to their final destinations, be they reward, suffering, or oblivion. The Outer Planes are places of majesty, wonder, terror, and danger outstripping anything mortal adventurers might encounter anywhere else.

AbaddonPlane

NE
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 142
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Ahriman, daemon harbingers, Fumeiyoshi, Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Lao Shu Po, Urgathoa, Zyphus
Native Inhabitants daemons, night hags, nightmares, petitioners (the hunted)
A perpetual eclipse looms above the bleak wastelands of Abaddon, shedding an eerie half-light over a landscape of toxic, disease-ridden swamps, volcanic wastes, fog-shrouded forests, and the glittering, memory-devouring ribbon of the River Styx. An unnatural silence blankets the plane, cut only by the wails of petitioners falling from the sky like screaming, falling stars, or those already condemned upon the ground, desperate to find safety that doesn't exist. Daemons, the physical embodiments of death and oblivion, roam unchecked, owing allegiance only to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Death, Famine, Pestilence, and War. In the courts of the Horsemen and the neutral grounds of trade cities such as Awaiting-Consumption, the soul trade serves daemonic hunger and industrialized oblivion. Night hags and other creatures ply the trade or make their way along the margins of daemonic society, eager to avoid consumption themselves by the plane's nihilistic masters. Urgathoa and Zyphus claim divine domains here, their petitioners granted freedom from predation. Yet something far worse glares down upon these gods and the Horseman alike. Abaddon's perpetual eclipse may be nothing less than the lidded, comatose eye of the Bound Prince, the First Horseman, betrayed and cast down by the Four, forgotten by the cosmos at large, but far too powerful for them to destroy—waiting, watching, and hungering.

AbyssPlane

CE
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 142
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Camazotz, demon lords, Droskar, Ghlaunder, goblin hero-gods, Gyronna, Lady Nanbyo, Lamashtu, nascent demon lords, qlippoth lords
Native Inhabitants demons, petitioners (larvae), qlippoth
Like a corrosive rot in the roots of the Outer Sphere, or an antithetical, rival reality run aground into the Maelstrom at the dawn of time, the Abyss is a place of horror and destruction fed by mortal sin. Each of its innumerable regions is a unique iteration of chaos and evil, each with its own terrible and twisted environment, with one driving maxim: the strong survive, while the weak suffer and are destroyed. Ruled by demons, and before them by the alien, nightmarish qlippoth, the Abyss and its native beings seek only to ravage and destroy. While demons routinely rampage out into other planes when the Abyss manifests a great planar rift, the denizens of the Abyss are fractured and self-destructive. Demon lords such as Dagon, Pazuzu, and Zura, and even gods including the ascended demon lord Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, fight for dominion over the Abyss as much or more than they threaten the other planes. Though dangerous, not every realm of the Abyss is immediately hostile to the prepared traveler. Shamira’s city of Alushinyrra in the Midnight Isles and Abraxas’s library-city of Diovengia in the realm of Pleroma are each welcoming in their own dark ways. Even those who survive a journey through the Abyss, however, inevitably must resist being deeply corrupted by the experience.

AxisPlane

LN
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 142
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Abadar, Brigh, Chaldira, halfling pantheon, Irori, Lissala, Milani, Norgorber, primeval inevitables
Native Inhabitants aeons, inevitables, petitioners (remade)
Axis is a realm of pure, absolute law, unhindered by the moral concerns of good or evil. The plane takes the form of a vast, gleaming, perfectly structured city. Built at the base of Pharasma’s Spire, the Perfect City is a bulwark against the chaos of the Maelstrom and Abyss, with vast mechanical armies of inevitables marching forth to explore, define, and pacify an imperfect, unruly universe. Axis is also home to axiomites: beings composed of living mathematics and equations who helped create the first inevitables. Axiomites continue to work on the maintenance of the inevitables, but increasingly turn their attentions to the planar city of Axis itself; as with any city, Axis requires non-stop maintenance and improvement in order to resist the march of time.

Axis’s natives are far from the only inhabitants of their cosmopolitan realm. Devils and archons often visit along with petitioners, mortal travelers, and smaller numbers of most every other kind of extraplanar being. Abadar and other lawful deities make their homes here. The empty, former domain of Aroden languishes here, while below the streets lies Norgorber’s domain, a labyrinthine undercity.

BoneyardPlane

NTimeless
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 142
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Achaekek, Groetus, psychopomp ushers, Pharasma
Native Inhabitants petitioners (the dead), psychopomps,
The Boneyard spans an impossibly tall and ever-growing spire of gleaming quintessence that rises up into the silver void of the Astral Plane. As the destination of the River of Souls, the Boneyard is where the souls of the mortal dead arrive for judgment and for Pharasma and her psychopomp servitors to direct them to their respective afterlives. Pharasma’s domain is separated into eight courts, each corresponding to one of the other planes of the Outer Sphere and collecting the souls due to that plane. Not every soul goes unchallenged, and proxies of gods and planes argue and debate over souls, with final arbitration conducted by Pharasma herself.

While Pharasma rules absolutely within the Boneyard, she is not the only divinity there. The demigod psychopomp ushers dwell within the plane in service to her, and the deity Achaekek dwells below at the spire’s root. Looming high above as a skull-faced moon waits Groetus, the god of the end times, his orbit slowly decaying in minuscule iterations supposedly counting down to the last days of the cosmos.

Pharasma’s courts and the surrounding Graveyard of Souls are not the only features atop the spire. Beyond the graveyard, the Spirelands manifest environments much like those of the varied Material Plane worlds, filled with the souls of neutral petitioners who have nowhere else to go as they are unclaimed by any gods and unaligned with any particular ethos.

ElysiumPlane

CG
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 143
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Calistria, Cayden Cailean, Desna, elven pantheon, empyreal lords, Gorum, giant pantheon, Kofusachi, Milani, Nocticula
Native Inhabitants azatas, petitioners (the chosen)
Verdant, wild, and unrestrained by law, where passion and creation are fostered and rewarded, the plane of Elysium is a place of wild, idealized natural beauty. The so-called Promised Land and its inhabitants represent a wide variety of freely given benevolence, often willing to directly aid visitors but more often serving as inspirations and muses to foster positive change and self-realized success. Elysium’s petitioners, known as the chosen, appear as idealized versions of their mortal selves, each pursuing their own self-determined actions and finding their own unique paths to join the ranks of the plane’s celestials.

Azatas—the plane’s primary denizens—organize into fleeting, competitive courts, each rewarding heroism and creativity above all else. Elysium hosts a number of resident deities, including Calistria and the elven pantheon, Cayden Cailean, Desna, Gorum, and various empyreal lords. Visitors from across the planes are drawn to Elysium’s Wandering City of Emerald Song, a mobile, impermanent, and ever-changing city of lillend azatas organized by their princess, Anduarine the Muse, filled with art, craft, revelry, song, and trade.

HeavenPlane

LG
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 143
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities dwarven pantheon, Easivra, empyreal lords, Erastil, Iomedae, Shizuru, Torag, Tsukiyo
Native Inhabitants archons, petitioners (the elect)
The great mountain of Heaven is the realm of structured benevolence made manifest. Organized into seven tiers, the mountain’s solid appearance is actually malleable, making way for a vast assemblage of varied environments to accommodate both its own celestials and the souls who migrate there. Devoted to defending the innocent and crusading against the wicked, Heaven’s archons marshal into vast armies, commanded by their own empyreal lords. Angels collaborate with the archon legions but typically act in more direct service to Heaven’s resident deities, with Iomedae, Erastil, and Torag the most prominent among them.

Petitioners known as the elect manifest at the mountain’s base, and their subsequent climb up the seemingly endless, unreachable heights is both a literal and figurative journey. Progress is about personal growth and spiritual purification as the petitioners grow more and more attuned to the plane. Likewise, progress from one layer to the next is often impossible without permission from the archons or spiritual alignment with Heaven itself. Most visitors arrive at the city of Heaven’s Shore, a place open to both traders and to pilgrims of good intent. Access beyond its heavily guarded walls is difficult, to say nothing of scaling the mountain. At its pinnacle is the Garden, Heaven’s ultimate layer. Unattended and empty, the Garden is a beautiful, transcendent mystery even to its resident deities, and the source of the plane’s call of self-perfection to its petitioners.

HellPlane

LE
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 144
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities archdevils, Asmodeus, Dahak, Erecura, General Susumu, infernal dukes, Minderhal, Yaezhing, Zursvaater, queens of the night
Native Inhabitants devils, hellhounds, petitioners (the damned)
Hell is the realm of devils, the multiversal seat of tyranny and malignant law, and the divine domain of Asmodeus, the Prince of Darkness. Here every act is authorized, calculated, recorded, and set like perfectly ordered clockwork within a vast machine driven on methodical suffering and greased with pain and purification. The nine inverted layers of Hell violently oppose the surrounding fabric of the Maelstrom, each layer shaped to reflect the nature of its ruling archdevil. Avernus's volcanic wastes, ruled by Barbatos, are the marshaling place of Hell's armies, and where newly damned souls are shackled and shuffled off to their assigned torment. Dispater's layer of Dis is a great iron city: brutal, beautiful, and terrible. The layer of Erebus comprises both the sewers of Dis and the vaults and treasuries of Hell, ruled by Mammon, a great genius loci embodied by the very wealth locked within Hell's coffers. Ruled by Belial, the layer of Phlegethon hosts Hell's forges, while Geryon's watery realm of Stygia houses Hell's libraries. Moloch's smoldering, ash-draped forest realm of Malebolge is the training site of the infernal armies, and Baalzebul's frozen layer of Cocytus torments the imprisoned, starving damned. Mephistopheles rules the layer of Caina, a realm of cages and torture suspended above a pit of hungry darkness, while at the very bottom of Hell's infinite pit, Asmodeus rules unquestioned from his throne in Nessus.

MaelstromPlane

CNMetamorphic
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 144
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Besmara, Hanspur, Hei Feng, Naderi, Nalinivati, Nethys, orc pantheon, protean lords, Sivanah, Speakers of the Depths, Sun Wukong, Yamatsumi, Ydersius
Native Inhabitants proteans, petitioners (the shapeless)
The Maelstrom, infinite and ancient, spawned the other Outer Planes in cosmological prehistory and surrounds them like a vast metaphorical—and at times literal—ocean of raw, chaotic quintessence. Where the Maelstrom borders these other planes, its structure takes on their characteristics, albeit in an unpredictable, chaotic fashion. Beyond these so-called Borderlands, however, the Maelstrom reverts to its true nature, the Cerulean Void: a trackless, liquid infinity devoid of stability and permanence where serpentine proteans create and destroy with profound frivolity. The proteans are paradoxically organized into discrete choruses, each with its own philosophy and goals in service to the Maelstrom. Swirling with oddities and wild magic, bereft of laws and structure, the Maelstrom also serves as a conduit between the other Outer Planes utilized by armies of extraplanar beings, hordes of demons spilling forth from the Abyss, and the innumerable protean choruses seeking to return the rest of the planes to the true freedom of the chaos from which they emerged. Sufficiently powerful magic can stabilize the chaos for a time, allowing for the creation of demiplanes and stable islands. The massive planar trade city of Galisemni is most prominent among these, drifting through the chaos.

NirvanaPlane

NG
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 144
Category Outer Sphere Planes
Divinities Daikitsu, empyreal lords, Gruhastha, Kazutal, Kurgess, Qi Zhong, Sarenrae, Shelyn
Native Inhabitants angels, petitioners (the cleansed)
The pastoral paradise of Nirvana is the realm of purest good, a plane that promises sanctuary to the weary and enlightenment and transcendence to those who seek it out. Filled with beautiful wilderness of all types in perfect harmony with its occupants, Nirvana’s wilds are home to angels and others. The plane’s petitioners, known as the cleansed, most often take the forms of glorified, sapient wild animals, though many eventually leave their carefree existence to aid others, ascending to assist the benevolent works of angels. Devoted to guiding and assisting mortals, angels are often charged with delivering important messages that reflect the will of benevolent deities.

Various divinities make their home amid Nirvana’s wilds, including a host of empyreal lords and, most prominently, Sarenrae and Shelyn. While the great cities of High Ninshabur and Llourith welcome visitors, most mortals visiting Nirvana witness the plane’s beauty and supernatural feeling of peace but rarely encounter many of its residents, as the plane itself protectively hides much of its contents from any but the most selfless and pure of heart. The plane’s hinterlands hint at hidden mysteries, including legends that the plane shelters the vanished heroes of innumerable mortal worlds, peacefully sleeping until their peoples’ times of greatest need.