As the World Burns
X-Spellbooks found in the Chaos Rift
A set of three leather bound books
These medium sized books have well-worn spines and brown leather covers. Complicated brass locks (DC 25) hold these books closed. Inside the front cover of volume one is a drawing of the goddess Pharasma, crudely scratched out. Underneath her image, written in a shaky hand, is the word “And even death may die”
Burnt to ash by Bishop Fiosa
1st level: Cause fear, comprehend languages, detect secret doors, detect undead, disguise self, identify, protection from evil, true strike
2nd level: Disguise other, flaming sphere, locate object, resist energy, see invisibility
3rd level: arcane sight, clairvoyance, secret page, tongues
4th level: detect scrying, locate creature, remove curse, scrying
the last sixteen pages are blank
“The Lady of Graves”, Pharasma, (pronounced fah-RAZ-mah)1 is the goddess who shepherds Golarion’s recently-departed souls to their final reward. Upon death, souls migrate to Pharasma’s Boneyard in the Outer Sphere, which sits atop an impossibly tall spire that pierces the Astral Plane. Pharasma makes no decision on whether a death is just or not; she views all with a cold and uncaring attitude, and decides on which of the Outer Planes a soul will spend eternity. Pharasma is also the goddess of birth and prophecy: from the moment a creature is born, she sees what its ultimate fate will be, but reserves final judgement until that soul finally stands before her. As the goddess of death and rebirth, she abhors the undead and considers them a perversion.2
Pharasma is counted among one of the original gods that opposed Rovagug. Sometime after, Urgathoa’s escape from the Boneyard and return to the Material Plane, brought undead and disease to the world.3
The death of Aroden, the first of the ascended gods, at the end of the Age of Enthronement 100 years ago was extremely unexpected. His death was not prophesied, and once he died, most of the other prophecies in the world started to go bad as well. Many of Pharasma’s priests have lost their faith or have gone mad as a result, but those who remain, are finding that Pharasma’s hold over prophecy is becoming less important, while her domain over death, birth, and fate, are growing stronger. It’s a time of change for Pharasma and her faith. Some legends say that Pharasma knew the death of Aroden was approaching, but chose not to tell her followers for reasons unknown. Pharasma is most often depicted as an ashen-skinned female humanoid with white eyes. She wears a dark, hooded, robe-like dress and holds an hourglass filled with red sand.
Pharasma employs a number of unusual immortal beings as servants. Pharasma’s herald is known as the Steward of Skein, a linked pair of ghaele-like beings. One of the pair gleams white and blue, while the other gleams a bright orange and ebony.
This servant of Pharasma is a ravid, a planar outsider creature. It has cleric powers.
Echo of Lost Divinity
This minion is a spectral warrior bedecked in expensive dress. It bears an uncanny similarity to known renderings of Aroden.
This servant appears to be an animated, wheel-like being composed of rock.
Pharasma is alternatively known as the mad prophet, the reaper of the dead, or the midwife, depending on her current role. Her followers dress in black for her ceremonies, their clothes adorned with silver, and tiny vials of holy water. Pharasma’s pleasure is often signified through scarabs, beetles and whippoorwills. Black roses are thought by her followers to bring good luck, most especially if the rose bears no thorns. Her displeasure is signified by bleeding from beneath the fingernails, an unexplained taste of rich soil, the discovery of a dead whippoorwill, the feeling that something important has been forgotten, or cold chills down the spine.6
Worshipers and Clergy Edit
Many of Pharasma’s worshipers are those closely aligned with either burgeoning life or terminating death. These include midwives, grave diggers, and morticians. Her priests are typically clerics, diviners, and necromancers that choose not to create undead. Her followers view the undead with hatred and consider them a great abomination. They view putting the undead to rest as a holy duty. The creation of undead is outlawed, and commanding undestroyed undead is not much liked either.2
Temples and Shrines Edit
The temples of Pharasma have the appearance of dark and ancient cathedrals. They are usually found close to a graveyard. Underneath the buildings are catacombs filled with crypts of the dead, typically priests or affluent townsfolk. Being entombed in these catacombs is thought to bring favor from the Lady of Graves.2 For example, in Sothis in Osirion, the Necropolis of the Faithful extends out from the original grounds of the High Temple of Pharasma.7 The services held by worshipers include chanting and singing. They are typically considered a joyous occasion, and a celebration of the circle of life and death. Members of the clergy also keep records of a community’s deaths and births.2
Pharasma’s holy book is called The Bones Land in a Spiral.2
Pharasma’s followers celebrate the Day of Bones on the 5th of Pharast.
Many of these pages have ragged writing in the margins, and occasionally over the original text. Some of it is hard to read, but you can make out the words “Who could do this?” “Who will steer our fate?” and “Dead, all dead now”
This appears to be a hodge-podge of magical theories, observations on things of interest, and spell research. Much of it is doubtful, but you do manage to find a listing of the Nine Hells. Although Hell is a boundless realm of torment and suffering, it is often thought of as a series of stacked or nesting layers bounded by the Maelstrom. A traveler must pass through each of these in order to arrive at the next lower one. Each is overseen by one of Asmodeus’ lieutenants, the dreaded archdevils.2
Layers of HellEdit
MalebolgiaA vision of Malebolgia
Yoda8myheadAdded by Yoda8myhead
The first layer, Avernus, is ruled by Barbatos and is a volcanic wasteland where souls assemble, are judged, and are sent to their appropriate layers for eternal punishment.
The second, Dis, is ruled by Dispater and consists of a large city which provides soldiers to the other layers.
Erebus is the third layer of Hell and is ruled by Mammon. It consists of the sewers of Dis and includes the counting house in which Hell’s fortunes are listed, its supplies cataloged, and its soldiers equipped.
The fourth layer of Hell is ruled by Belial and contains the hideous forges of Hell, where unsuitable souls are recast into something more fitting to the infernal eye.
The realm of Geryon and the temples and libraries of sin and heresy, it is here that the temptation of Hell is practised as an art form to be mastered.
The realm of Moloch is a smouldering forest of false reward and spirited hunts of the damned.
In this infernal realm the damned watch the feasting of devils from cages of ice afloat glaciers and frozen oceans; here the archdevil Baalzebul holds dominion.
Caina is a realm of iron and torture where steel cages suspended above impenetrable darkness spreads in all directions. Here Mephistopheles is lord of the damned.
The unknown layer of Nessus is the heart of Hell and the palace of Asmodeus.
There is also a detailed description of a poisonbearer ghoul, like the ones you saw roaming the city of Westcrown, including a very careful illustrated autopsy.
Finally, there are some unique spells that seem complete:
From the 3.5 Spell Compendium…
Wall of Smoke, Whirling Blade, Greater Mage Hand, Anticipate Teleportation, Bands of Steel, Greater Floating Disk.