Petitioners are the souls of the dead, after having reached their final reward. Stripped of most of their memories, they take on new forms and abilities based on the Outer Plane to which they now belong.
If I’m recalling right, the 3.0 Manual of the Planes referred to petitioners as the spear-carriers of the Outer Planes—part of the set dressing. And for the most part they are—you visit Heaven, you expect to see angels; visit Hell, you expect the damned. Like the ghosts in a Harry Potter novel, they’re part of the background…right up until the moment you reveal they’re more important, of course.
Adventurers step through a portal to the Abyss and arrive in one of the larva spawning streams. They must escape before they are noticed by the demon guards, devoured by the maggot-like petitioners, or ground into paste in a soul mill.
Only the soul of a renegade minotaur knows the secret to safe passage through Labyrinth of Tranquility. Now one of the shapeless, it resides in the chaos of Limbo. Attempts to wrest the secret from the spectral minotaur will draw the ire of any nearby proteans.
Already a strange city—what with its vodyanoi gypsies, poplar dryads, stone giant chess players, and copper-roofed towers—the city of Idris is best known for its Revenants District. There petitioners manifest spontaneously beneath the many archways and shadowy galleries. They congregate in loose groups for up to a week or so, then succumb to the pull of the ancient fountain in the center of the district. Once they submerge themselves, they vanish forever, presumably to their final reward. No one knows why the petitioners appear here in defiance of supernatural laws, but desperate family members, oracles, and fortune hunters linger here, trying to catch one last glimpse or tease out one final secret from the disoriented souls. Daemons and hags sometimes raid Revenants as well, so the Watch is always hiring experienced adventurers to stand a night’s shift.
—Pathfinder Bestiary 2 208–209
Obviously, Idris takes a tiny drop of inspiration from Ghostwalk’s city of Manifest, which I feel very strongly about.
Planescape fans, tell us more about your petitioners. Drop us a note or a comment!