|Images of aboleths|
Source: Bestiary, pg(s). 8
An aboleth's appearance 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.
The known history of aboleths 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. Aboleths 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. They themselves claim that they were among the first creations on the planet to gain intelligence and develop their own civilization. They ruled the oceans, while the land was the domain of the mysterious Vault Builders.
What is known is that during the Age of Legend, aboleths raised the native Azlanti humans from barbarism, teaching them their control of magic. The primary interactions between humans and aboleths 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 into millions of pieces, many of which 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 aboleths' 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 aboleths' own advanced society on the ocean's floor. Aboleths 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 and 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.
Aboleths ruled the watery expanses of the Darklands in ancient times, claiming the Sightless Sea miles beneath the Arcadian Ocean. Although these underground cities largely were abandoned long ago, they are still known to dwell there in small numbers, as well as in the Darklands realm known as the Land of Black Blood.
Aboleths generally speak their own language and Aquan, along with the most-common languages of the Darklands: Aklo and Undercommon. The word "aboleth" in their own language, when translated into Taldane, is roughly equivalent to "owner", "master", or "god". They refer to themselves as "alghollthu", a term which also includes the more dominant veiled masters.
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 published a major article about aboleth, "Ecology of the Alghollthu", in The Lost Outpost.
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