First World

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First World
A First World landscape
Sphere Inner Sphere
Alignment Mildly Neutral-aligned
Denizens Fey
Description Wild realm of the Fey

Source: Sound of a Thousand Screams, pg(s). 64-71

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 Material Plane and the Shadow Plane. It is coterminous with the Material Plane and the Shadow Plane, but exists outside the standard cosmology, being somehow "behind" the other two planes.[1]


The Material Plane 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 Material Plane, created as a first attempt at a Material Plane and then directly overwritten by the plane as it exists today.[2]


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

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.[2]

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.[3] 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 Material Plane 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. Times and distances are unreliable in the First World.[4]

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.[4]

More commonly, stable areas exist where there is a connection to the Material Plane. 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.[4]

Of course, this is a two-way process. The fertility of the First World also flows through the connection into the Material Plane, with unpredictable results.[4]

Transit of new souls

The First World also serves as a conduit of new souls from the Positive Energy Plane toward the Ethereal and Material planes, 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.[5]

However, the inhabitants of the First World are themselves blocked from the River of Souls, making its inhabitants effectively immortal. When a native of the First World "dies", their energy simply returns to the First World. None of the plane's souls can exit the First World, nor do new souls enter it.[2]


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.[3] One such connection exists in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, which explains that region's large fey population.[6] The so-called Forestheart rift is in the depths of the Grungir Forest.[7]

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.[8]

Places of interest

Many of these are associated with one of the Eldest.


The First World is home to all manner of strange creatures, apparently prototype versions of the plants and animals of the Material Plane, although its chief inhabitants are the fey.[9] The most powerful are the eight (formerly nine) creatures known as the Eldest[10] and their fearsome living weapons, the Tane.[11]

Some of the other races found on the Material Plane also have counterparts in the First World. It is widely accepted that gnomes migrated to Golarion from the First World during the Age of Anguish, but some gnomes did not make the trip and are still here.[12]

Linnorms roam the First World, and claim that the Material Plane’s dragons are the descendants of linnorms who crossed over in the distant past.

However, what all the natives of the First World have in common is that (barring extreme circumstances, such as the intervention of powerful magic) they do not die when on that plane. Those who are “killed” reform in time from the substance of the plane.

This discourages them from visiting other planes—since they do not reform outside the First World, but are also not eligible for any form of afterlife—[5]and can also make them somewhat reckless when it comes to lives in the First World (including the lives of visitors, which can have tragic consequences).[9]

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 Sylvan and Aklo (to such an extent that visitors fluent in either language can generally understand it) and may have been the root language of both tongues.[10]


The inhabitants of the First World have souls, but 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.[9]


A number of artifacts are believed to have originated in the First World, among them Vesper's Rapier and the Visionary Lens.[13]


  1. James L. Sutter. (2010). The First World. Sound of a Thousand Screams, p. 64. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-253-1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 James L. Sutter. (2016). The First World, Realm of the Fey, p. 3. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-909-7
  3. 3.0 3.1 James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 239. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 James L. Sutter. (2010). The First World. Sound of a Thousand Screams, p. 65. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-253-1
  5. 5.0 5.1 F. Wesley Schneider. (2014). The River of Souls. Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh, p. 71-72. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-60125-593-8
  6. Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 92. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
  7. Matthew Goodall, Jonathan Keith, Colin McComb, and Rob McCreary. (2011). Lands of the Linnorm Kings, p. 11. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-365-1
  8. James L. Sutter. (2011). Death's Heretic, p. 329-330. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-369-9
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 James L. Sutter. (2010). The First World. Sound of a Thousand Screams, p. 66. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-253-1
  10. 10.0 10.1 James L. Sutter. (2010). The First World. Sound of a Thousand Screams, p. 67. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-253-1
  11. James L. Sutter. (2010). The First World. Sound of a Thousand Screams, p. 70. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-253-1
  12. James L. Sutter. (2010). The First World. Sound of a Thousand Screams, p. 68. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-253-1
  13. F. Wesley Schneider. (2012). Artifacts & Legends, p. 55, 63. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-458-0