Externally hosted image
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 8
Ancient creatures who claim to predate the very gods themselves, aboleth are a powerful aquatic race that plot byzantine schemes from their underwater cities.
The appearance of the aboleth is alien and bizarre; the closest analog would be some sort of nightmarish, prehistoric fish that has grown to huge proportions. The creature's outline is fish-like, with a powerful tail at one end and a pointed head at the other. The head bears no resemblance to any sort of known fish, having three huge, alien, red eyes located at its very front. The creature seems to have no other facial features, lacking even a mouth. Behind this hideous head is a slime-covered body. Further back it has a fish-like dorsal fin that helps with movement, but instead of the fins one would normally find on the side of a fish, it has two long, grasping tentacles on each side. From head to tail an aboleth is around 25 feet long and their bulky bodies weigh well over 6,000 pounds.
An aboleth is a master of mind magic, able to weave illusions to confuse, or simply crush the will of those who oppose it. Aboleths have several unique abilities: their tentacles are covered in slime that weakens the flesh of those it touches. They also have the ability to release a cloud of mucus that removes a creature's ability to breathe air and instead make it breathe water. Aboleths normally use this to capture and make use of air-breathing slaves; it also ensures the controlled person's loyalty, as the effect only lasts a few hours and must regularly be renewed. Aboleths generally speak their own language along with the most-common languages of the Darklands: Aklo, Undercommon, and Aquan.
The known history of the aboleth stretches all the way back into the Age Before Ages, into the time of ancient Azlant, and even before that, into the mythical Age of Creation. The aboleth claim to have had a thriving civilization on the oceans' floor before even the gods took notice of the world. These claims cannot be substantiated, as no record of this time has survived the intervening millennia.
What is known is that during the Age of Legend, the aboleth raised the native Azlanti humans from barbarism, teaching them their control of magic. The primary interactions between the humans and the aboleth were handled by a group of creatures called the veiled masters. These aboleths were masters of illusion, and used their magical disguises to walk amongst humanity in the role of powerful wizards. Eventually the veiled masters decided that the humans had become too proud and needed to be taught a lesson. When their punishments failed to restore the proper level of slavish devotion, but in fact strengthened humanity's resolve to eclipse their teachers, the veiled masters decided to end their experiment and destroy Azlant. They used their magic to reach out into the darkness of space and draw down a large meteor from the heavens known as the Starstone, and obliterate the upstart humans.
Humanity, however, was not without its protectors. When the Azlanti goddess Acavna learned of the aboleths' plan, she pulled one of Golarion's moons from its orbit to intercept the massive meteorite. The Starstone impacted with the moon, but was not slowed or deflected from its course. Instead it shattered the moon into millions of pieces that pierced the goddess' manifestation, inflicting lethal wounds. The Starstone continued on its trajectory and impacted with Golarion, completely obliterating the continent of Azlant and plunged the world into the Age of Darkness.
To the aboleth's great alarm, however, they had miscalculated the destructive power of the Starstone's impact. Not only did it destroy or severely cripple every major land-based civilization of the age, but also lead to a severe downturn of the aboleth's own advanced society on the ocean's floor. The aboleth are known to have rescued a number of humans from the destruction of Azlant for their own reasons. Through their fleshwarping abilities, they were able to adapt them to the undersea environment, eventually creating the race known as the gillmen.
Habitat & Society
Aboleths dwell in the deepest, darkest depths of the Arcadian Ocean, untouched by sunlight. There they dwell in vast, alien cities whose buildings are supported by the water, and which dwarf almost every human structure. These cities are hideous to look upon, as they are created with strange, alien designs that bear no resemblance to the tastes that govern human architecture. In ancient times, they ruled the watery expanses of the Darklands, claiming rule over the Sightless Sea miles beneath the Arcadian Ocean. Although these underground cities were abandoned long ago, they are still known to dwell in small numbers in the Darklands realm known as the Land of Black Blood.
Aboleth society is strictly atheistic, as it is thought to have existed long before the gods took an interest in the Material Plane. To them the deities worshiped so fervently by the land-dwellers are nothing but young upstarts, unworthy of the aboleths' attention.
One of the most interesting parts of aboleth society is their ability to mold and create new races of slave creatures to suit their needs. Many races of Golarion were originally created by the inscrutable aboleths, including the skum (who made up the majority of their armies in ancient times), cloakers, faceless stalkers, ceratioidi, and, some even believe, the shoggoth.
- Paizo Staff. (2009). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, p. 8. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1
- Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Shadow in the Sky. Shadow in the Sky, p. 7. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-115-2
- Jim Groves, James Jacobs, Rob McCreary, et al. (2012). Inner Sea Bestiary, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-468-9
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 33. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Amanda Hamon, et al. (2013). Mythic Realms, p. 16. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-567-9
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 19. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
- James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 53. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
- Wolfgang Baur. (2009). The Land of Black Blood. Descent into Midnight, p. 49. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-131-2
- Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Shadow in the Sky. Shadow in the Sky, p. 8. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-115-2
- James Jacobs et al. (2011). The Inner Sea World Guide, p. 304. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-269-2
- James Jacobs and Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Into the Darklands, p. 34. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-140-4
- James Jacobs et al. (2009). Dungeon Denizens Revisited, p. 11. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-172-5
- Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, Richard Pett, & F. Wesley Schneider. (2007). Bestiary. The Skinsaw Murders, p. 88. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-037-7
- Adam Daigle, Ed Greenwood, Rob McCreary, Sean K Reynolds, and James L. Sutter. (2010). Bestiary. Rivers Run Red, p. 81. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-233-3
- Paizo Staff. (2009). Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, p. 249. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-183-1