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First World

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The First World
The First World.
(Plane)
Erratic
Metamorphic

Titles
Realm of the Fey
Sphere
Gravity
Normal
Time
Erratic
Realm
Immeasurable
Structure
Morphic
Essence
Positive
Alignment
Denizens
Varied life both mundane and bizarre, particularly fey and linnorms
Divinities
The Eldest
Description
Endless voids very occasionally filled with celestial objects
Source: Planar Adventures, pg(s). 100–105 (1E)
GM Core, pg(s). 177–178 (2E)

The First World is so called because it is believed to be the gods' first draft of a subsequent plane that would later split into the Universe and the Netherworld.12 It is a transitive plane coterminous with the Universe.3

History

The Universe was created by primordial gods as a complex receptacle and testing ground for souls, as part of a larger process to distribute positive energy between gods and planes of the Outer Sphere. The First World is a predecessor of the Universe, created through elohim proxies as a first attempt at a Universe and then directly overwritten by the plane as it exists today.45

Metaphysics

The unfinished First World lacks universal, fixed laws of physics. Regions of the First World remain as test grounds for different, unfinished, and sometimes mutable and evolving physical properties; gravity is inconsistent between parts of the First World, and the speed of light is arbitrary and variable. Where these regions overlap, the reactions between these inconsistent laws can cause unpredictable reactions.4

Appearance and characteristics

The First World is an infinite plane of constantly varying wilderness, with trees as tall as mountains, living bodies of water, and traveling faerie courts.6 It epitomises the chaos of birth and fertility. Conditions vary dramatically from place to place. What would be considered to be laws of nature on the Universe are no more than local by-laws in the First World, and even these by-laws can be overturned (even unconsciously) by those with sufficient willpower.7 Times and distances are unreliable in the First World.713

Areas of stability do occur. In some cases this is apparently a random event; a current of stability flows through the First World, leaving behind an area of certainty which might range from a narrow trail a pace or two wide up to a vast swathe hundreds of miles across. These stable zones eventually decay back into the natural uncertainty of the First World, a process which might take hours or centuries. It may be that these are gradually increasing in duration.7

More commonly, stable areas exist where there is a connection to the Universe. Stability seeps into the First World at these points, much to the disgust of the locals, who seek to repair the damage and punish those they consider to be responsible.7

Of course, this is a two-way process. The fertility of the First World also flows through the connection into the Universe, with unpredictable results.7

Transit of new souls

The River of Souls, the process by which positive energy is cycled through mortal souls on the Universe and back to the Outer Sphere.

The First World also serves as a conduit of new souls from Creation's Forge toward the Ethereal Plane and Universe, a process that also creates new fey from the soul energy left in their wake. While the souls are unaligned at creation, they gain some of their earliest traits from their journey through the First World.8

However, natives of the First World are themselves blocked from the River of Souls, making its inhabitants effectively immortal as long as they remain on the plane.41 Fey refer to this exclusion as the Great Abandonment.13 When a native of the First World "dies" on the plane, their energy simply returns to the First World4 and reforms within 10 days;9 in some cases, such as sprites, they return as a new form of fey.10 Should a fey native to the First World die on another plane, they cease to exist in true death.13

This discourages First World fey from visiting other planes8 and also makes them relatively reckless with life in the First World, including the lives of mortal visitors, which can have tragic consequences.11

While souls of First World natives cannot enter the River of Souls, new souls can be assigned to the plane. Rather than becoming shades, souls of mortal worshipers of the Eldest1 assigned to the First World in Pharasma's judgment immediately reincarnate as a type of fey whose behavior aligns with the soul's mortal personality. Such souls retain more of their mortal memories than shades of other planes but not enough to recall their mortal lives.12

Geography

The First World's geography, like its physical properties, is often chaotic.

Connections to Golarion

Travel to and from the First World is generally accomplished via magic that only works in places where the boundaries between the planes are thin. On Golarion, these are generally wild places far from civilization, often marked by mounds, stones, or rings of earth or mushrooms.6 Such planar bleed-throughs and breaches are also known as blooms.13

The Verduran Forest, where many of the first gnomes arrived to Golarion,14 is still home to such portals.15

There are several portals to the First World in the River Kingdom of Sevenarches, particularly between the treeless forest of shadows known as the Thinlands that exists in both Sevenarches and the First World's Nighthold.161718 The Gray Falls Lodge in Tymon also serves as a refuge to several fey creatures who have migrated to Golarion and a center of research into the planes' connections.19

One such connection exists in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, which explains that region's large fey population.20 The so-called Forestheart rift is in the depths of the Grungir Forest.21

Another breach into the First World exists just outside the Thuvian city of Lamasara, in the deep forest near the Junira River. The Anvanory family had legally owned the land around the breach, and cut many trees when building their manor house and fields.22 Other Thuvian portals in the Barrier Wall are guarded by the druidic sect known as the Stonewardens.23

The Maze of the Open Road gained a connection to the First World when it received a surge of primal magic in 4720 AR.24

Places of interest

Many of these are associated with one of the Eldest.[citation needed]

Inhabitants

The First World is home to all manner of strange creatures, apparently prototype versions of the plants and animals of the Universe, although its chief inhabitants are the fey.11 The most powerful are the eight (formerly nine) creatures known as the Eldest26 and their fearsome living weapons, the Tane.27

Relationships to creatures in the Universe

Some creatures and ancestries native to the Universe have origins or counterparts in the First World.

Gnomes

Gnomes fleeing an unknown calamity in the First World first arrived to Golarion in -4202 AR during the Age of Anguish,28 particularly to wooded areas such as the Verduran Forest,14 but some gnomes stayed behind.29

Among other theories, an aspect of the Eldest Shyka is said to have shared a rationale for the gnomish exile, in a tale told to the gnome Jubilost Narthropple about an unnamed Eldest who ruled the First World's gnomes. In this tale Shyka claims that this Eldest sought to create their own cycle of souls removed from Pharasma's River of Souls and granted their souls mortality. In retaliation, Pharasma removed the Eldest from the First World and moved gnomes to the Universe.3031

Linnorms

Linnorms roam the First World, and claim that the Universe's dragons are the descendants of linnorms who crossed over in the distant past.[citation needed] They deeply respect powerful users of primal magic through its association with the First World.32

Culture

Language

Almost all creatures in the First World that can speak can do so in the First World's nameless common tongue. It is similar to both Fey and Aklo languages (to such an extent that visitors fluent in either language can generally understand it) and may have been the root language of both tongues.26

Religion

While the inhabitants of the First World have souls, they are of little interest to the gods. They also have little interest in the gods either. A few of the First World's inhabitants might live in the First World to avoid the wrath of an offended deity. Visitors from other planes sometimes report they feel disconnected from their gods. Divine magic still works, however—although whether this is solely due to the faith or will of the spellcaster, or because the gods have not completely abandoned the First World, is a matter of conjecture.11

Artifacts

A number of artifacts are believed to have originated in the First World, among them Vesper's Rapier and the Visionary Lens.3334

References

Paizo has published a number of works about the First World, including The First World, Realm of the Fey and Legacy of the First World.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Logan Bonner, et al. “2: Tools” in Gamemastery Guide, 141. Paizo Inc., 2020
  2. Tanya DePass, et al. “Overview” in World Guide, 10. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Logan Bonner, et al. “3 Age of Lost Omens” in GM Core, 177. Paizo Inc., 2023
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 James L. Sutter. First World Adventures” in The First World, Realm of the Fey, 3. Paizo Inc., 2016
  5. Robert Brookes, et al. “Chapter 3: The Great Beyond” in Planar Adventures, 101. Paizo Inc., 2018
  6. 6.0 6.1 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 239. Paizo Inc., 2011
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 James L. Sutter. “The First World” in Sound of a Thousand Screams, 65. Paizo Inc., 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 F. Wesley Schneider. “The River of Souls” in Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh, 71–72. Paizo Inc., 2014
  9. Scott Sharplin. Down the Verdant Path, 14. Paizo Inc., 2018
  10. Mark Seifter. Sprite” in Ancestry Guide, 126. Paizo Inc., 2021
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 James L. Sutter. “The First World” in Sound of a Thousand Screams, 66. Paizo Inc., 2010
  12. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 2, 199. Paizo Inc., 2020
  13. James L. Sutter. “The Seventh Arch” in The Seventh Arch, 32. Paizo Inc., 2023
  14. 14.0 14.1 Tanya DePass, et al. Shining Kingdoms” in World Guide, 122. Paizo Inc., 2019
  15. Linda Zayas-Palmer. “Adventure” in A Few Flowers More, 6. Paizo Inc., 2023
  16. Jeff Quick. Sevenarches” in Guide to the River Kingdoms, 49. Paizo Inc., 2010
  17. Tim Akers, et al. Sevenarches” in People of the River, 14. Paizo Inc., 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 James L. Sutter. “The Seventh Arch” in The Seventh Arch, 30. Paizo Inc., 2023
  19. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 110. Paizo Inc., 2020
  20. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 2: The Inner Sea” in Campaign Setting, 92. Paizo Inc., 2008
  21. Colin McComb, et al. “The Linnorm Kingdoms” in Lands of the Linnorm Kings, 11. Paizo Inc., 2011
  22. James L. Sutter. Death's Heretic, 329–330. Paizo Inc., 2011
  23. Tanya DePass, et al. Golden Road” in World Guide, 50. Paizo Inc., 2019
  24. Paizo Inc., et al. “Chapter 3: Pathfinder Society Lodges” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 106. Paizo Inc., 2020
  25. James L. Sutter. “Gazetteer” in The First World, Realm of the Fey, 40. Paizo Inc., 2016
  26. 26.0 26.1 James L. Sutter. “The First World” in Sound of a Thousand Screams, 67. Paizo Inc., 2010
  27. James L. Sutter. “The First World” in Sound of a Thousand Screams, 70. Paizo Inc., 2010
  28. Tanya DePass, et al. “Overview” in World Guide, 6. Paizo Inc., 2019
  29. James L. Sutter. “The First World” in Sound of a Thousand Screams, 68. Paizo Inc., 2010
  30. Alexander Augunas, et al. “Chapter 1: Companions” in Kingmaker Companion Guide, 43. Paizo Inc., 2022
  31. James L. Sutter. “On the Origin of Gnomes” in The First World, Realm of the Fey, 14–15. Paizo Inc., 2016
  32. Paizo Inc., et al. “Monsters A-Z” in Bestiary 2, 166. Paizo Inc., 2020
  33. F. Wesley Schneider. “Legendary Artifacts” in Artifacts & Legends, 55. Paizo Inc., 2012
  34. F. Wesley Schneider. “Lesser Artifacts” in Artifacts & Legends, 63. Paizo Inc., 2012