Monday, December 22, 2014


Looking for an explanation for that impossible dungeon or demiplane?  Does your subterranean world need a maker?  Do you long to recreate Marvel stories of beings like the Celestials, the Collector, or the Beyonder in a fantasy context?  The elohim is your monster.

An elohim’s drive to experiment and tinker with environments almost inevitably means that it’ll come into conflict with adventurers, at least at first.  And with an outlook so alien that the neutral alignment is only a rough approximation, getting the outsider to understand the consequences of its actions may be difficult for heroes stuck in the mortal good-evil/law-chaos frameworks.

One thing’s for sure though: any creature with the ability to terraform, create demiplane and create life(!!!) is by definition truly mythic…perhaps nigh unto a god.  How will your PCs react to that kind of power…or brazenness?

Stellar explorers widely assume that the asteroid known as the Honeycomb is a formian outpost, given its hivelike appearance (and the fact that no ship to enter it has ever returned).  In truth, the asteroid belongs to a quite different insectile being: an elohim.  The mythic outsider has painstakingly constructed the asteroid as a base for its experiments, with each chamber of the Honeycomb featuring its own biome.  Some of the lost ships’ crews may be found here as part of the exhibits.

A god is kept alive only by the prayers of his worshippers, who are in turn sustained in an artificial vault deep in the earth.  A mythic xiomorn (see The Emerald Spire Superdungeon) has kept them there, preserved from the enemies that overran the rest of their culture millennia ago.  But when a curious elohim begins to tamper with the xiomorn’s domains, the outraged earth creature threatens to destroy his works rather than seem them ruined.  The weakened god begs a powerful band of adventurers to save his people—and by extension himself—before the mythic meddlers snuff them out altogether in their power struggle.

Island ecosystems are fragile.  Flying island ecosystems, even more so.  When creatures like azure gliders, tumblespikes, and dustshroud rabbits (see Pathfinder Adventure Path  #85: Fires of Creation) begin appearing on Aerius, adventurers are inspired to seek the cause.  Their travels take them to lands they never imagined—other flying islands, the dead-haunted surface, the Belowworld, the Great Sea, and even other planes.  Each adventure they find stranger wonders and evidence of tampering, from owlbears and kamadans to worms that walk and worse.  It is from some of these worms that walk—monks who perch decaying pillars of filth to test themselves against the baking sun—that they are pointed to the elohim whose grand designs are responsible…and who just might save or rebreak the world.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 86

Okay, this is probably my personal obsession with 1990s Dragon Magazine talking, but elohim remind me an awful lot of the FriNn.

Any other candidates for what inspired the elohim?  I feel like there’s some obvious Lovecraftian or Kirby/Ditko inspiration I’m blanking on.  (I blame the season.  Eggnog makes me happy but fat and stupid.)

Speaking of which, I’d love to hear from readers who dig the elohim.  I know that in comics, stories of weird interstellar manipulators and secret lands often leave me cold.  (I dropped Hickman’s run on Avengers for just that reason.)  I’d love to hear from those of you who really get into such stories (any Quasar fans in the house?), and how you might use the elohim.

Finally, the word “elohim” means god or gods…and that grammatically ambiguity gets you deep into the fascinating origins of Judaism and Christianity.  See also monolatrism.

It’s not Christmas until you’ve listened to my Christmas radio show!  Now with musical Easter eggs for Jews!

…The irony of calling anything for Jews “Easter eggs” is not lost on me.

(Also the main Easter egg is the moment around minute 7:10 where I discover one of the RCA cables is out. D’oh!)


  1. What I like about the Elohim is that I can finally stat up Yuki Nagato.

  2. These guys totally should have been the Vault Builders in Golarion.

    (I also invented another theory about the Vault Builders that I've been considering using in either Golarion or a homebrew setting, but it's different; it involves time being circular.)

  3. I've always liked the idea of these guys as the progenitors of the Material Plane, perhaps the Lovecraftian counterpoint to the Great Old Ones.

    Think of it this way: we have gods, so angels and devas and all of them have something to serve in DnD that is pretty explicitly GOOD. But the God of the Old Testament is, to modern eyes, rather morally ambiguous. What is certainly clear about him is not his ethics or motivations, but rather his WILL.

    So that opens up an interesting middle category between Good and Evil. Even though Pathfinder has given stats and alignments to the Great Old Ones, and created beings like the Primals to give a voice to Chaos, we could ignore that and instead create a divide between Elohim--who want to create and impose their will in a rational way (i.e. something that resembles the world we live in), albeit for mysterious reasons--and their opponents, the Old Ones, who want to destroy what the Elohim create (or twist it into something unrecognizable, or create a new universe of their own). Neither are "good" or "evil" in the normal sense, more like two different schools of art arguing about how and what to paint.