Rules Index


Chapter 2: Tools

The 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.

Exploring the planes offers several opportunities for high adventure, as well chances to discover the secrets of creation.

Planar Traits

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 136
Each plane, dimension, and demiplane has its own properties and attributes. Planar traits can be broken down into six categories: alignment, scope, gravity, time, morphic, and planar essence. Combined, those traits describe the laws and makeup of the plane. These appear in the plane’s traits entry, though any trait that matches the Material Plane (described in the Normal entry in each section below) is omitted.

Enhanced and Impeded Magic

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 136
Some planes enhance certain magic and impede opposing effects. A plane that enhances a particular type of magic grants anyone Casting a Spell with that trait a +1 circumstance bonus to their spell DC or spell attack roll with that spell. Impeded magic means a character who Casts a Spell or Activates an Item with the specified trait must succeed at a DC 6 flat check or lose the spell or activation.

Alignment Trait

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 136
Certain planes, particularly in the Outer Sphere, are attuned to an alignment. Most inhabitants share that alignment— even powerful creatures such as deities. Planes with the neutral alignment trait are more often a mix of alignments than strongly neutral, and planes with no alignment affinity simply don’t have an alignment trait, rather than being neutral. Alignments are given as an abbreviation (Pathfinder Bestiary 345), which appears first in the plane’s list of traits.

Spells that share any of the plane’s alignment traits are enhanced, and those with opposing traits are impeded. For instance, in the chaotic evil Abyss, chaotic and evil spells are enhanced, and lawful and good spells are impeded.

Scope Trait

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 136
Most planes are immeasurable, so immense they are impossible to quantify. Which immeasurable planes, if any, are infinite is a subject of debate among philosophers and scholars alike. Since so many planes are immeasurable, those planes omit a scope trait. Otherwise, the plane likely has either the finite or unbounded trait.

Finite: Finite planes consist of a limited amount of space.

Immeasurable: Immeasurable planes are immeasurably large, perhaps infinite.

Unbounded: Unbounded planes loop back on themselves when a creature reaches the plane’s “edge.”

Gravity Traits

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 136
Many planes have unusual gravity.

Normal: Bodies of great mass are the centers of gravity, and objects fall toward those centers with a measured amount of force relative to the size of the body.

High Gravity: As in normal gravity, bodies of great mass act as centers of gravity, but the force relative to the size of the body is greater than on the Material Plane. The Bulk of all creatures and objects is doubled, meaning creatures acclimated to normal gravity can carry only half as much. Creatures used to normal gravity move at half Speed and can jump only half as high and far. Physical ranged attacks are impossible beyond the third range increment (instead of the sixth). Creatures that fall in high gravity take bludgeoning damage equal to the distance they fell.

Low Gravity: As in normal gravity, bodies of great mass act as centers of gravity, but the force relative to the size of the body is less than on the Material Plane. The Bulk of all creatures and objects is halved, meaning creatures acclimated to normal gravity can carry twice as much and jump twice as high and far. Physical ranged attacks are possible up to the twelfth range increment (instead of the sixth). Creatures that fall in low gravity take no damage for the first 10 feet of a fall, and then take bludgeoning damage equal to a quarter of the remaining distance it fell.

Microgravity: There is little to no gravity on this plane. Creatures float in space unless they can push off a surface or use some force to propel themselves throughout the plane.

Strange Gravity: All bodies of mass are centers of gravity with roughly the same force. A creature can stand on any solid objects that is as large as or larger than themself.

Subjective Gravity: All bodies of mass can be centers of gravity with the same force, but only if a non-mindless creature wills it. Unattended items, objects, and mindless creatures treat the plane as having microgravity. Creatures on a plane with subjective gravity can move normally along a solid surface by imagining “down” near their feet. Designating this downward direction is a free action that has the concentration trait. If suspended in midair, a creature can replicate flight by choosing a “down” direction and falling in that direction, moving up to their Speed or fly Speed. This pseudo-flight uses the Fly action.

Time Traits

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 137
Time flows differently on many planes.

Normal: Time passes the same way it does on the Material Plane. One hour on a plane with normal time equals 1 hour on the Material Plane.

Erratic: Time slows down and speeds up, so an individual may lose or gain time as they move between planes. When a creature moves from a plane with erratic time to one with normal time, roll a DC 11 flat check. Creatures that leave an erratic time plane together share the same result.
Success Time passed normally on the erratic time plane.
Failure For each hour spent on the erratic time plane, 1 day passed on the normal time plane.
Critical Failure For each round spent on the erratic time plane, 1 day passed on the normal time plane. Flowing: The flow of time is consistently faster or slower. A creature may travel to one of these planes, spend a year there, and find that only an hour passed on the Material Plane; alternatively, they might spend a minute on this plane and find out an hour passed on the Material Plane.

Timeless: Time still passes, but the effects of time are diminished. Creatures on these planes don’t feel hunger, thirst, or the effects of aging or natural healing. The effects of poison, diseases, and other kinds of healing may also be diminished on certain timeless planes. Spell energy and other effects still dissipate, so the durations of spells and other effects function as normal. The danger of this trait is that when a creature leaves a timeless plane and enters a plane with another time trait, the effects of hunger, thirst, aging, and other effects slowed or arrested by the timeless trait occur retroactively in the instant of transition, possibly causing the creature to immediately starve or die of old age.

Morphic Traits

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 137
This trait describes how easily the physical nature of the plane can be changed. The Material Plane is the norm, but other planes can warp through the plane’s own sentient designs or be manipulated by extremely powerful creatures.

Normal: Objects remain where they are (and what they are) unless affected by physical force or magic. Creatures can change the immediate environment as a result of tangible effort, such as by digging a hole.

Metamorphic: Things change by means other than physical force or magic. Sometimes spells have morphic effects. Other times, the plane’s nature is under the control of a deity or power, or the plane simply changes at random.

Sentient: The plane changes based on its own whims.

Static: Visitors can’t affect living residents of the plane or objects the denizens carry in any way. Any spells that would affect those on the plane have no effect unless the static trait is somehow removed or suppressed.

Planar Essence Traits

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 137
Planar essence traits describe a plane’s fundamental nature. For example, many of the Inner Sphere’s planes are infused with an element or energy, each of which affects magic on those planes, and the Shadow Plane is awash with shadow. Outer Planes are fundamentally made up of quintessence, a philosophically aligned material with infinite potential for shape and state that conforms to powerful and prevailing beliefs.

Air: Planes with this trait consist mostly of open spaces and air of various levels of turbulence, though they also contain rare islands of floating stone and other elements and energies. Air planes usually have breathable atmospheres, though they may include clouds of acidic or toxic gas. Air magic is enhanced, and earth magic is impeded. Earth creatures often find themselves at a disadvantage within air planes, which tend to at least make them uncomfortable, as there is little solid ground for them to gain their bearings.

Earth: These planes are mostly solid. Travelers arriving upon an earth plane risk suffocation if they don’t reach a cavern or some other air pocket within the plane’s solid matter. Creatures who can’t burrow are entombed in the plane’s substance and must attempt to dig their way toward an air pocket. Earth magic is enhanced, and air magic is impeded. Air creatures are ill at ease, as they rarely have the space to move freely through even the most lofty warrens.

Fire: Planes with this trait are composed of flames that continually burn with no fuel source. Fire planes are extremely hostile to non-fire creatures.

Unprotected wood, paper, cloth, and other flammable materials catch fire almost immediately, and creatures wearing unprotected flammable clothing catch fire, typically taking 1d6 persistent fire damage. Extraplanar creatures take moderate environmental fire damage at the end of each round (sometimes minor environmental damage in safer areas, or major or massive damage in even more fiery areas). Fire magic is enhanced, and cold and water magic are impeded. Water creatures are extremely uncomfortable on a fire plane, and any natural resistance they have against fire doesn’t function against this environmental fire damage.

Water: These planes are mostly liquid. Visitors who can’t breathe water or reach an air pocket likely drown. Water magic is enhanced, and fire magic is impeded. Creatures with a weakness to water take damage equal to double their weakness at the end of each round.

Negative: Planes with this trait are vast, empty reaches that suck the life from the living. They tend to be lonely, haunted planes, drained of color and filled with winds carrying the moans of those who died within them. At the end of each round, a living creature takes at least minor negative environmental damage. In the strongest areas of a negative plane, they could take moderate or even major negative damage at the end of each round. This damage has the death trait, and if a living creature is reduced to 0 Hit Points by this negative damage and killed, it crumbles into ash and can become a wraith (Bestiary 335). Negative magic is enhanced, and positive magic is impeded.

Positive: These planes are awash with life energy. Colors are brighter, fires are hotter, noises are louder, and sensations are more intense. At the end of each round, an undead creature takes at least minor positive environmental damage. In the strongest areas of a positive plane, they could take moderate or even major positive damage at the end of each round. While this might seem safe for living creatures, positive planes present a different danger. Living creatures regain an amount of HP each round equal to the environmental damage undead take in the same area. If this would bring the living creature above their maximum HP, any excess becomes temporary HP. Unlike normal, these temporary HP combine with each other, and they last until the creature leaves the plane. If a creature’s temporary HP from a positive plane ever exceeds its maximum HP, it explodes in a burst of overloaded positive energy, spreading across the area to birth new souls. Positive magic is enhanced, and negative magic is impeded.

Shadow: Planes with this trait are umbral with murky light. On a shadow plane, the radius of all light from light sources and the areas of light spells are halved. Darkness and shadow magic are enhanced, and light magic is impeded.

Planar Stat Blocks

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 138
Each of the planes listed in the following pages includes a short stat block of key information. The plane’s type— whether it is a plane, dimension, or demiplane—appears in the stat block’s heading, followed by the traits that define that plane. The following entries also provide important information about each plane.

Category: This indicates whether the plane is an Inner Plane, Outer Plane, Transitive Plane, or dimension.

Divinities: A list of all of the deities, demigods, and other powers that call this realm their home.

Native Inhabitants: A sample of typical inhabitants of the plane. Also listed are the plane’s petitioners, the souls of dead mortals who have been judged and sent on to whichever plane reflects the life they led. More information on petitioners can be found in Pathfinder Bestiary 2.

Inner Sphere Planes

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 138
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.

Transitive Planes

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 140
At a minimum, each Transitive Plane coexists with one or more other planes, a relationship oversimplified by stating that Transitive Planes are just used to get from one plane to another. The mists of the Ethereal Plane overlap the planes of the Inner Sphere, while the Astral Plane borders every other plane in existence like the backstage of the cosmos. Bright and dark mirrors of the Material Plane, the First World and Shadow Plane overlap the mortal world, albeit often in bizarre ways such that a short distance in one might be a vast gulf in the other. The daring, wise, or desperate can utilize these planes to bypass barriers in the Material Plane or rapidly cross vast distances through much swifter travel.

Outer Sphere Planes

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 141
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.

Dimensions

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 144
Existing in the metaphorical space between the Transitive Planes and smaller, finite demiplanes, dimensions are a category unto themselves, defying the neat categorization of planar scholars and adventurers. Seemingly infinite in scale, not necessarily spatial in the same way as a plane, and overlaying every other plane at once—including one another—dimensions and planes are most significantly differentiated in how each of them breaks the commonly held rules of the other. Although some scholars include other extraplanar realms within the ranks of dimensions, only two such realms are uniformly agreed upon and classified as such. The Dreamlands, also known as the Dimension of Dreams, is readily accessed by mortal dreamers, while the Dimension of Time is notorious for the near impossibility of accessing it as well as the bizarre, often deadly restrictions upon travel to and within its bounds.

Demiplanes

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 145
Demiplanes are much smaller and more limited than planes or dimensions, and they come into being more easily. They may arise naturally where the raw chaos of the Maelstrom churns at the border of the Astral, crystallize around shed memories of dead mortals on their way to judgment, or coalesce within the mists of the Ethereal set into motion by the forces of the Positive and Negative Energy Planes. They can also be crafted by will and powerful magic to suit their designers’ whims. Almost innumerable, each is distinctly finite, with their own nature and rules set at their creation.

Desna’s demiplanar realm of Cynosure exists as Golarion’s literal north star, silently visible in the night skies, hosting her servitors and petitioners in her divine realm at its heart. Other demiplanes are crafted by mortals, such as the Refuge of Nex, created by the titular archmage seeking respite and solitude, and the Hao-Jin Tapestry, a demiplane stocked with its creator’s collection and accessed through a literal tapestry artifact she fashioned as its entrance.

Created not by gods or mortals, the Akashic Record is a demiplane thought to exist deep within the Astral as a repository of the collective knowledge and memories of the cosmos, secure and unchanging, but so difficult to access that most doubt its very existence. Other demiplanes serve darker purposes and are perhaps best left forgotten, though their mysteries often tempt the ignorant, the foolish, and the desperate. The Prison of the Laughing Fiend serves to bottle its enigmatic and godlike occupant, Tegresin the Laughing Fiend, bound by nameless divinities whose nature and reason changes with each telling of the story, while the Dead Vault was crafted at Golarion’s core by the gods themselves to forever bottle Rovagug the Rough Beast, lest he escape and devour all existence.