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Dimensions | Inner Sphere Planes | Outer Sphere Planes | Transitive Planes


Source GM Core pg. 172
Past the world of Golarion and the void of space 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 or a kind of fundamental energy. 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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Transitive Planes

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 Universe, the First World and the Netherworld 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 Universe or rapidly cross vast distances through much swifter travel.

Astral PlanePlane

Subjective Gravity Timeless 
Source GM Core pg. 177
Category Transitive Planes
Divinities Alseta, Apsu
Native Inhabitants shades (untethered), shining children
The Silver Sea surrounds the planes of the Inner Sphere, separating them from those of the Outer Sphere. The Astral Plane provides the backdrop against which the River of Souls flows from the Universe, ushering departed spirits toward the Boneyard for final judgment. Far from an empty void, the Astral’s silver substance churns with currents and storms from the metaphysical heat of the Plane of Fire, and where it touches the chaos of the Maelstrom, the resulting eddies interact with the memories of the dead to produce fleeting simulacra and even demiplanes.

The River of Souls draws the attention of soul-hunting daemons and opportunistic night hags like sharks drawn to the scent of blood. Led by psychopomps, a cross section of nearly every type of celestial and monitor in existence, along with some fiends, defends the proper flow of souls against such predators. Running opposite the River of Souls is the flow of raw quintessence spun off from the so-called Antipode, channeled by aeons back toward the Creation’s Forge.

Travelers within the Astral find the plane untouched by the passage of time, a property exploited by many mortals fearing old age. Time, however, isn’t easily escaped, and upon exiting the Astral Plane, a creature finds this debt catching up to them, potentially aging to dust in moments.

Ethereal PlanePlane

Subjective Gravity 
Source GM Core pg. 177
Category Transitive Planes
Divinities Alazhra
Native Inhabitants ether spiders, hags, shades (terrorized)
The Ethereal Plane is a vast, misty realm overlapping each of the Inner Planes. Formed by the interacting tidal forces of creation and destruction from Creation’s Forge and the Void, this plane swirls with currents and eddies of fog, lit only by erratic pulses of soft green luminescence and dim light of those planes it overlays, visible but ever intangible. While mortals most often use the Ethereal Plane as a means of transit, moving by force of will in the absence of gravity to bypass barriers on their own plane, the Ethereal hosts dangers and wonders, things lost or abandoned in the mists, and things spun from local eddies in the ethereal protomatter. Predatory monsters, ether spiders, hags and their goddess Alazhra, and all manner of incorporeal undead roam the Space Between Spaces.

While travelers can easily become lost in the mists with little to guide them, the plane does host some permanent structures, drawing adventurers or dissuading them. One such location, the House of the Itinerant Soul, houses wayward or lost souls, offering visitors shelter and a way to avoid turning into undead while avoiding the pull of the River of Souls. The grand cathedral also serves as a focus for mortal planar travelers, given its safety and the presence of friendly spirits willing to serve as guides in the surrounding mists.

First WorldPlane

Erratic Metamorphic 
Source GM Core pg. 177
Category Transitive Planes
Divinities the Eldest
Native Inhabitants fey, linnorms
The First World was a first draft of the Universe, crafted by divinities to test their metaphorical materials and palettes of colors before setting it aside to create a second, final version of their work. A realm of extremes—bestial, primal, and beautiful— with colors and sensations brighter and more intense than the mundane world created after it, the First World is populated by fey and the divine entities known as the Eldest. Mirroring mercurial fey whimsy, the First World’s laws of nature constantly and unpredictably change. Distance and time are wildly inconsistent, such that mortal travelers might spend an hour or a day within the First World, only to find a century or only a few seconds passed once they return to their own plane.

The First World stands outside the cycle of souls, something the fey call the Great Abandonment, save for rare worshippers of the Eldest whose souls incarnate here as fey. However, the plane’s proximity to Creation’s Forge provides an environment bursting with all manner of strange life and a general absence of true death for its native fey unless they leave—as did gnomes. Natural gates in wild places of the mortal realm connect to the First World, which fey often use to visit the Universe or ensnare mortals for their capricious desires.

The NetherworldPlane

Source GM Core pg. 178
Category Transitive Planes
Divinities velstrac demagogues, Zon-Kuthon
Native Inhabitants calignis, d'ziriaks, kayals (fetchlings), shades (the mutilated), umbral dragons, velstracs
A murky, distorted, and imperfect mirror of the Universe, the Netherworld overlaps the Universe and serves as a buffer or conduit between it and the Void. The Netherworld exists in a state of perpetually dim half-light, the landscape containing similar features to the overlapping Universe, but in warped or twisted fashions. Cities in the Universe might exist in the Netherworld, sometimes in ruins and sometimes as terrible, frightening replicas. The darkness also holds points of beauty and relative safety, such as the great city of Shadow Absalom. The bleak doppelganger of Golarion’s own Absalom hosts cross-planar trade facilitated by a permanent, one-way portal out of the gloom.

The Netherworld is populated by dark, altered versions of creatures from the Universe, many of them immigrants that have adapted to the shadow after being trapped in the realm for generations. The shadow natives known as kayals—also called fetchlings—were originally humans before thousands of years of exposure to the Netherworld and intermarriage with strange beings forever altered them. Velstracs, who long ago fled from Hell, have since adopted the Netherworld as their home, spreading their horrific message of perfection through mutilation in service to their victim and patron, the god Zon-Kuthon. In contrast, d’ziriaks originated within the Netherworld itself, as did the fearsome umbral dragons ruling self-crafted fiefdoms within the shadows. Greatest of them is Argrinyxia, who rules over Shadow Absalom.