Over the past 4,700 years, the tomes and volumes detailing the history of Absalom have grown to fill even the largest of libraries. Many important events in Absalom's history, however, remain unrecorded. Most notable among these lost tales is that of the city's founding; as a result, a complex, powerful myth has developed surrounding the city's genesis.
Founding and early history
Aroden, at the time still an Azlanti mortal, raised the Starstone from the depths of the Inner Sea to its current location in 1 AR, making it the focus of what would become the City at the Center of the World. Whether or not the Last Azlanti also raised, or created, the Isle of Kortos has been the subject of debate for millennia. That he did so remains the pervading belief of the natives and of many religions, although no supporting records date back farther than 1450 AR.
The confusion regarding Absalom's origins is not unfounded. Aroden performed his task alone, and spoke little of it afterwards. Records of the first few centuries of life in Absalom are spotty at best: the Founding Law of Absalom was written in stone within Azlanti Keep, but no other original documents survive. Four millennia of mold, accident, and possibly intentional sabotage have destroyed every book, scroll, or tablet kept before 400 AR. Copies of copies, each claiming to represent the original text, can be found throughout the city, but even within Forae Logos, editions rarely agree with one another. As a result, much of the first millennium of Absalom's history is less history and more mythology.
Regardless of the city's actual origins, its whole-cloth creation allowed for quick settlement, and Aroden gave the best and the bravest of the Inner Sea region the task of protecting the Starstone from any who might move it. Most of the people who heeded his calling came from Taldor (including its provinces of Cheliax and Andoran), Osirion, Qadira, and Thuvia. In the following millennia, Absalom drew heavily on the cultures of these nations for its identity, and many of the city's noble houses still trace their lineages back to them.
Centuries of siege
Due to Absalom's superb location and undeniable influence, along with the hope of immortality promised by the Starstone, a number of ambitious nations and greedy warlords have set their sights on the walls of Absalom since the earliest days of its existence. For centuries, the city was almost constantly besieged by one army or another, each attempting to bring Absalom to its knees. Despite this relentless onslaught, the city has never fallen, although relics of ancient wars still litter the plains of the Isle of Kortos, and sunken warships clutter the floor of the harbor.
- The warlord Voradni Voon was the first to unsuccessfully besiege the city in 23 AR, an event now known as the First Siege of Absalom.
- In 166 AR, the mage Nex assailed Absalom with his armies. Aroden himself indirectly guides the defenders.
- During the Pirate Siege of 430 AR, the city was attacked by a confederation of pirates from across the Inner Sea, who sought to take advantage of Aroden's recent departure.
- In 1298 AR, the Postern Gate was nearly breached in the Siege of Prophets. Starwatch Keep was built specifically in response to the crisis this assault created.
- The unsuccessful Reborn Rebellion, led by Garev Halfhand, marred the year 1464 AR.
- In 1619 AR, the unsuccessful Radiant Siege occurred, led by Kharnas the Angel-Binder.
- In 2850 AR, the city came under attack by the Arclords of Nex, who unleashed the Conjured Siege upon them. Once again, Absalom eventually prevailed.
- In 3637 AR, the Numerian "Machine Mage" Karamoss assaulted Absalom, constructing a huge metal citadel with alien technology. The city was besieged by metal automatons until finally defeated by the city's druidic order.
- Ras-Jajan, a self-styled Necromancer-King, assailed Absalom with an undead army in 3692 AR.
- For her seventh miraculous act, the then-mortal Iomedae called upon the Starstone to light the city through a terrible storm. This allowed the defenders of Absalom to halt a vicious attack from a pack of sea-ghouls that had invaded. This event occurred in the early 3800s.
- In the early 40th Century AR, Taldor attempted a military operation called the Silent Tide, in which Taldan agents would infiltrate the city, cripple several vital targets, then signal for the Taldan navy to begin the siege proper. As the plot was foiled before the signal was given, this technically was not an actual siege.
- The Chelish Siege in 4137 AR also failed to take Absalom, although Cheliax almost certainly harmed the city's trade by taking possession of the Arch of Aroden, thereby restricting trade to the city.
- During the Fiendflesh Siege of 4717 AR, the city was successfully defended by the Pathfinder Society from an attack by demonic and undead forces under the command of Thurl.
- In 4719 AR, Tar-Baphon besieged the city attempting to claim the Starstone. He was thwarted when a brave group of heroes tricked him into turning his weapon, the Radiant Fire, onto himself. The blast consumed him but left behind a wasteland dubbed as the Tyrant's Grasp.
Lure of the Starstone
The promise of immortality has brought countless hopefuls to Absalom over the millennia who hoped to pass the Test of the Starstone. Only three humans are known to have successfully completed it (Norgorber in 1893, Cayden Cailean in 2765, and Iomedae in 3832 AR), but that has not stopped thousands from attempting it. The followers of the Ascended, along with the cults of those who failed, have added a thriving religious community to Absalom which continues to this day.
Slavery was a complicated subject in the City at the Center of the World. It was looked down upon in the upper-class neighborhoods despite the law allowing slavery, the Flesh Taxes, being reinstated in 4635 AR. The buying and selling of chattels was always allowed on Misery Row, a street in the Coins neighborhood, and most of the city's slave trade took place there. Slaves were rarely taken in Absalom itself, but were brought in from outside the Isle of Kortos; they were generally criminals or those with excessive debt. During the Fiendflesh Siege of 4717 AR, all slaves willing to fight for the city were granted freedom by Acting Siege Lord Wynsal; slavery was then outlawed by popular decree of the Grand Council in the same year.
Much has changed in Absalom in the past century. Rioting and violence became widespread in the streets after the death of the former Primarch, who was strongly influenced by Cheliax. Lord Gyr of House Gixx stepped into the power void; using his own troops and personal influence, he calmed the city and established an equilibrium between its factions. In 4660 AR, he was elected Primarch of Absalom's Grand Council.
In 4698 AR, a terrible earthquake rocked the city, sinking the Puddles below sea level and plummeting much of the Precipice Quarter, then known as Beldrin's Bluff, into the sea. Both the cause and full repercussions of this disaster remain unknown.
- F. Wesley Schneider. (October 27, 2008). Breaking Ground in Absalom, Paizo Blog.
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 54. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1
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- Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, et al. (2019). World Guide, p. 14–15. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
- Owen K.C. Stephens. (2008). Guide to Absalom, p. 27. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-141-1
- Owen K.C. Stephens. (2008). Guide to Absalom, p. 13. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-141-1
- Owen K.C. Stephens. (2008). Guide to Absalom, p. 26. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-141-1
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- Mikko Kallio. (2017). Assault on Absalom, p. 3–4. Paizo Inc.
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- Louis Agresta. (2008). Slave Pits of Absalom, p. 4. Paizo Publishing, LLC.
- Tanya DePass, James Jacobs, Lyz Liddell, et al. (2019). World Guide, p. 15. Paizo Inc. ISBN 978-1-64078-172-6
- Owen K.C. Stephens. (2008). Guide to Absalom, p. 57. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-141-1
- Erik Mona et al. (2008). Campaign Setting, p. 55. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-112-1