Nirvana

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Nirvana is the Neutral Good plane of the Pathfinder Great Beyond cosmology.

It is the plane of ultimate goodness, unconcerned by matters of law or chaos. It is believed to hold the secrets to enlightenment and greater states of being. Therefore it is a tranquil place of peace and purity where its inhabitants ponder the mysteries of the universe.

It has parallels with both Elysium and Beastlands of the D&D Great Wheel cosmology, and is often referred to as the Great Wilderness.

Locations[edit]

The landscape is typically that of idyllic and untouched wilderness; full of fields, forests, oceans, mountains, and valleys all appropriate to the beast-like celestials and petitioners who inhabit the realm.

In the Guide to the Multiverse the realm of Sarenrae is located on the far side of the Sea of No Shadows and is a mysterious realm that has sealed borders of golden watchtowers that remain tantalisingly out of reach no matter how long travellers attempt to close the distance. Alternatively, in Planar Adventures her realm is literally the "Sun" of the entire plane and is called Everlight, which touches all other locations with its light. Within her palace no lies can be spoken and no violent thought can exist, it is literally impossible for them to do so within her established reality, and any attempt to circumvent this automatically bars them from entry.

A valley belonging to Shelyn called Blossomheart exists as an open air garden and studio; a place to create and celebrate beauty. Some gardens can only be entered through the realization of the theme being presented in other gardens, and only Shelyn herself along with two others have managed to reach the innermost garden.

This is not to say that civilisation does not exist here. The city of High Ninshabur is considered to be the heart of the plane, and is so large that it can be seen from most vantage points in the immeasurable landscape. In different publications it is varying described as being located on the banks of the Sea of No Shadows, or on the slopes of the Dragonmane Mountains. Some of the city is actually the mortal city of "Ninshabur" on the material plane, that was teleported to safety in the midst of its destruction by the Tarrasque, though its inhabitants were spared the memories of the devastation and the buildings were miraculously repaired and remain so in Nirvana. The city itself is guarded by a police force of Peris, repentant fire angels, who always seek peaceful resolutions to despites, no matter the cost.

Another city called Llourith is referred to as the City of the Angelic Host and is exclusively celestials-only. It is used as a stopping point for Agathions, Azatas and Archons to air disputes, strategise and gather and prepare for new undertakings.

Inhabitants[edit]

Nirvana is the realm of the Agathions (Pathfinder's version of Guardinals). Different Pathfinder splatbooks disagree on the influence of the native celestials of Nirvana though: The older Guide to the Multiverse states that Nirvana's inhabitants pursue a more active and interventionist role across the planes than their celestial neighbors from Heaven or Elysium. Contrasted to the more recent Planar Adventures book which describes them as being far more passive in nature; arguing that because these celestial beings are Neutral in their outlook towards Chaos and Law, they are seldom called to war with evil creatures or ever feel the urge to explore and experience other realms and are therefore less likely to leave their home plane unless summoned directly. That is not to say they never leave, as they will happily do so if they can assist mortals, but the Planar Adventures book points out that those opportunities don't come up that often.

The Petitioners of Nirvana are called The Cleansed and are typically reincarnated into animal bodies, though they retain their intelligence and independence. Again, different splatbooks interpret the Cleansed in slightly different ways, with the Guide to the Multiverse explaining that the Cleansed lose their memories steadily to unshackle themselves from mortal concerns and live sheltered, idealized lives, eventually becoming more attuned to the plane until the point where they eventually vanish at the moment on enlightenment. However, Planar Adventures points out that all petitioners on every plane lose their memories anyway, and that most will vanish when their quintessence merges with their home plane, making their fate on Nirvana somewhat redundant; so instead the Cleansed consider their transformation to be a fresh-start where they can live pure lives and often become wiser with age, hoping to seek out the mysteries of enlightenment, rather than automatically achieving it.

Despite all this some petitioners retain their humanoid forms, typically when they are servants of the gods and need to retain shapes appropriate to their function.

Great Beyond of Pathfinder
Heaven Nirvana Elysium
Astral Plane Ethereal Plane
Axis-Boneyard Prime Material Maelstrom
First World Inner Planes Shadow Plane
Hell Abaddon Abyss