Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 8: The Age of Lost Omens

Source Core Rulebook pg. 417 4.0
Ten thousand years ago, the world of Golarion came close to ending. Earthfall, as this extinction-level event came to be known, saw the world pummeled by a shower of falling stars that sank continents, hollowed out new seas, and destroyed civilizations. It took centuries for the world to recover, and centuries more for society to rebuild, but recover it did.

Dwarves ascended to the surface from the underground reaches of the Darklands in their legendary Quest for Sky, elves returned from the neighboring planet of Castrovel via a network of portals to reclaim their lands and traditions, and gnomes from the mysterious First World sought shelter from a now-forgotten terror. Survivors from other ancestries who had sheltered through the terror and destruction of Earthfall emerged during the Age of Darkness to reclaim their ancestral lands, from scrappy goblin tribes with a knack for surviving despite all odds against them to industrious halflings who emerged from the ruins to found societies of their own.

But humanity made the most astounding recovery. Less than 2,000 years after the near-extinction from Earthfall, the Age of Destiny saw the rise of many new human empires throughout the world. Humanity built wondrous structures, and its schools relearned magic that had been thought lost. Among these human nations walked a man named Aroden—an immortal survivor of the devastation of Earthfall. Aroden had long since cultivated a following of loyal subjects who regarded him with awe, for immortality was but one of the wonders he’d achieved. Greatest among these was his discovery of a shard of potent magic known today as the Starstone, a fragment from the stars that fell during Earthfall, which had lodged at the bottom of the Inner Sea. Contact with this alien artifact assailed Aroden with phantasmagoric visions, subjected him to a series of deadly martial trials, and posed exhausting moral quandaries that challenged his limits more than any of the arduous experiences he had yet endured. He emerged from this test a living god, and his first divine act was to raise the Starstone and the mass of land on which it had lain from the bottom of the sea to form the Isle of Kortos—also known as Starstone Isle—where he then established the city of Absalom.

In the centuries to follow, Absalom grew into one of the largest cities in the world, and Aroden’s legacy grew alongside it. As the millennia passed, his attentions increasingly turned away from the concerns of the Inner Sea’s inhabitants to otherworldly matters beyond mortal ken, but prophecy spoke of a time when he would return to Golarion and lead humanity triumphantly into an Age of Glory. As the time of Aroden’s return drew near, entire nations undertook monumental preparations to welcome him back to Golarion.

But instead, Aroden died, and with him the reliability of prophecy as well. Golarion was wracked by storms, war, and supernatural devastation as the god’s death marked the beginning of a new age—a time of uncertainty, but also a time of opportunity. This is the Age of Lost Omens, an age in need of heroes like never before.

Beyond the Inner Sea

Source Core Rulebook pg. 418 4.0
The Inner Sea region consists of the continent of Avistan and the northern portion of the continent of Garund, but it is only one part of a much larger world. Garund itself extends further south, and its southern reaches are home to several unique ancestries and cultures. As one travels east from the Inner Sea, the vast expanse of the continent of Casmaron stretches beyond the horizon. With the immense inland Castrovin Sea at its heart, Casmaron is the largest of Golarion’s continents and home to some of its oldest and most successful empires. Farther east of Casmaron lies the continent of Tian Xia, a region often called the Dragon Empires. The northern section of Tian Xia connects to Golarion’s northernmost continent, a frozen reach known as the Crown of the World. This continent forms a bridge between Tian Xia and Avistan over the north pole. South of Tian Xia lies the mysterious continent of Sarusan, of which little is known due to the powerful storms and vexing currents that shroud its shores. Heading west from the Inner Sea region, sailors encounter the shattered remnants of lost Azlant, a ruined continent that hosted one of humanity’s first empires until it was destroyed during Earthfall. Sailing farther west from these ruins eventually leads to the shores of Arcadia, a land with unusual magical traditions and powerful nations of its own. And beneath all of these lands, carved into the planet’s very crust, lie the twisting tunnels of the tripartite underground realm known collectively as the Darklands, which houses great horrors and dangers but equally great opportunities for triumph and treasure.

In addition, Golarion is but one of 11 worlds that orbit its sun. To the vast majority of the planet’s denizens, the other 11 worlds are little more than points of light in the sky, but these worlds are not so distant as one might expect. The planets of Akiton and Castrovel are Golarion’s closest neighbors. Travelers from both have visited and in some cases settled on Golarion, most notably elves, who originally hail from Castrovel. Even the farthest planet, remote Aucturn, has influenced Golarion, with its alien inhabitants exerting a sinister touch on the world that recently put the entire planet in peril. The wise thus do not discount the dangers and wonders that dwell on other planets of Golarion’s solar system.

The Great Beyond

Source Core Rulebook pg. 418 4.0
Countless planets lie beyond Golarion's solar system, but even these myriad worlds of the universe, known as the Material Plane, are but a fragment compared to what lies in the multiverse beyond. Other planes of existence and strange dimensions wrap this reality in a series of layered, nested spheres, known collectively as the Great Beyond. This model of reality is as much a metaphor for concepts that mortal minds have difficulty grasping as a physical description, for within the Great Beyond, anything is possible.

Inner Sphere

Source Core Rulebook pg. 419 4.0
The core of the multiverse is the Inner Sphere. Here, the vast expanse of the Material Plane and its countless worlds can be found. The Elemental Planes surround the Material Plane like layered shells, with the Plane of Air on the inside, transitioning to the Plane of Water, then to the Plane of Earth, and finally to the Plane of Fire, in something of a reversal of order in which these elements most often appear on habitable planets. The planes of Positive and Negative Energy are also within the Inner Sphere, their opposing nodes of life and death, creation and destruction, light and dark forming the start and the end of all existence.

Outer Sphere

Source Core Rulebook pg. 419 4.0
The scope of reality within the Outer Sphere is difficult to grasp. Here the gods dwell and the souls of the dead gather to be judged by the goddess of the dead, Pharasma, atop the spire in the realm that is her Boneyard. Anything is possible in the Outer Sphere, and its realms are as much manifestations of philosophies and belief as anything else. From the towering mountain of Heaven to the endless gulfs of the demon-held Abyss, be it the agonizing pit of Hell or the boundless wonders of Elysium, all of reality is represented within the Outer Sphere. Over time this reality erodes away and is recycled back into the raw material of life within the Positive Energy Plane.

Other Planes and Dimensions

Source Core Rulebook pg. 419 4.0
Some planes exist in the same physical or metaphysical space as others, overlapping these other planes like overlays of reality. They include the ghost world of the Ethereal Plane, which overlays the Inner Sphere; the dizzying vastness of the Astral Plane, which overlays almost all reality and fills the seemingly endless gulf between the Inner Sphere and the Outer Sphere; and the fey-haunted First World and the sinister Shadow Plane, which each overlay the Material Plane. Stranger reaches of the Great Beyond exist as well; some, such as the Dreamlands, are visited often (if accidentally), while others, such as the enigmatic Dimension of Time, are visited rarely, if ever. In all cases these dimensions cannot be accessed by normal means, and each has their own method of entry and exit.

The Inner Sea Region

Source Core Rulebook pg. 419 4.0
Although infinite opportunities for adventure await on other continents, worlds, and planes, the Inner Sea region is the focus of the Pathfinder campaign setting. With dozens of nations, empires, frontiers, and wildlands, this region presents a huge range of opportunities for heroism and villainy, exploration and adventure!

The following pages break down the Inner Sea region into 10 separate regions, each with its own themes. Only a brief overview of each region is presented here—enough to establish the setting and whet the imagination. If you’re interested in exploring Golarion and the Inner Sea region more, see the Pathfinder World Guide, Pathfinder Adventures, and Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes. Adventure paths present not only in-depth material about the region, but also full-length campaigns whose adventures bring a brand-new group of heroes all the way to the height of power!

The year in the Inner Sea region is 4719 Absalom Reckoning (AR). As the calendar advances in the real world, time also progresses for Golarion. The Pathfinder Core Rulebook was first published in the year 2019, with the Inner Sea region’s corresponding year ending in the same two final digits. Golarion’s history is expansive, but two of the most significant events to shape the world occurred in –5293 AR, when Earthfall nearly brought an end to the world, and in 4606 AR, when Aroden, the god of humanity, died, and prophecies the world over began to fail, beginning the Age of Lost Omens.

The map on page 416 depicts the Inner Sea region, further subdivided into the 10 subregions explored on the following pages. The borders of these regions are thematic rather than political. For an in-depth exploration of the Inner Sea region and its dozens of nations and wildlands, see the Pathfinder Lost Omens World Guide.