Before I get back to Monster Hunter, I would like to talk a bit about Pathfinder, the tabletop role-playing game. As you may or may not know, I have two Pathfinder campaigns detailed on this site. In one of them, I am the GM and have created a continent known as Marikdom, whilst in the other, I have a PC named Katerina who has started her adventure with the NPC class, Commoner. Even though my Katerina resides within Golarion, we are making quite a few alterations of our own to the Pathfinder system and we have knocked the level of magic prevalent in the world down quite a bit. However, a lot still remains the same, so today I am going to be having a look at the Inner Sea region. Much of what I will include today is from the PZO9226 Inner Sea World Guide (Community Use & OGL), so pick up a copy from Paizo Publishing (US) or Tabletop Empires (Australia), if you’re interested in finding out more.
|Female Names:||Aliandara, Amesducias, Aswaithe, Emalliandra, Estrude, Iaome, Iomestria, Ommarra, Oviento, Udarrin, Ulionestria|
|Male Names:||Akorian, Alamander, Arioch, Ellismus, Erodel, Illsmus, Iogorian, Ixiolander, Olhas, Ostarian, Othollo, Udhomar, Ureste|
|Appearance:||Azlanti are a regal, beautiful folk with handsome features and an aloof demeanour. Their skin tone ranges from olive to pale white, and their dark hair ranges from deep brown or dark red to black. The Azlanti often have expressive brows, and men often have slightly receded hairlines resulting in a sort of widow’s peak. One physical characteristic – a deep purple eye colour – is seen today as absolute proof of strong Azlanti heritage.|
The glory of Azlant
The Azlanti are an ancient race that inhabited Golarion for many thousands of years and are now widely believed to be extinct. In the past, however, the empire of Azlant represented the bulk of humanity in Golarion. The rise of the Azlant empire, at an unknown date, marked the beginning of the Age of Legend. It was the first, and arguably the greatest, of humanity’s civilizations, spanning an entire continent situated to the east of Arcadia and the west of both Avistan and Garund. The empire of Thassilon rose in the western portion of Avistan to join it near the end of the Age of Legend, founded by exiles from Azlant and ruled by wizards known as Runelords.
The Azlant empire’s size was not its most well-thought of feature – its secrets in technology and powerful magic are still valued today, drawing many an adventurer into its ruins. Perhaps the most persistent legacy of Azlanti magic are the renowned ioun stones, items that are believed to have been first developed, or at least discovered, by the Azlanti. However, since the fall of their empire, no one has managed to match the Azlanti in knowledge or understanding of arcane devices, and although numerous ruins of Azlanti colonies are known to exist along the Inner Sea and further inland, most remain hidden or unexplored.
The Age of Darkness
However, little is known of the history of the Azlant empire other than the sad story of its destruction. Its collapse at the onset of the Age of Darkness in -5293 A.R. brought an end to an era of prosperity for humankind. It is believed that when the people of Azlant grew too proud of their deeds, their old Aboleth enemies decided to end things on their own terms by destroying Azlant. They achieved this through the use powerful magic to cause Earthfall, the event in which the Starstone, a unique gem that was part of a massive meteorite, tumbled down to Golarion, creating the Inner Sea and beginning a thousand year period of darkness. Azlant and Thassilon were both destroyed in the impact and the elves departed Golarion via the Sovyrian Stone, or retreated into the far north, the southern jungles, or the Darklands.
The Last Azlanti
During the thousands of years that followed, the Azlanti people dwindled in number. Most living today who claim to be Azlanti are, in fact, Chelaxians or Taldans who, while they may be able to trace lineage back many generations to full-blooded Azlanti ancestors, are no longer pure-blood members of this ancient race.
The general consensus was that the title of the Last Azlanti belonged to Aroden, the immortal Azlanti human who raised the Starstone from the bottom of the Inner Sea at the beginning of the Age of Enthronement in 1 A.R., founded the city of Absalom, and became a living god. Aroden then took the place of god of human culture, innovation, and history. However, he was mentioned as a major part of an important prophecy known as the Starfall Doctrine. This prophecy suggested that he was to manifest in Cheliax in 4606 A.R., marking the beginning of a long-awaited Age of Glory. However, at the appointed hour, storms began to rack the Inner Sea region for several weeks, the Eye of Abendego formed off of Garund’s north-western coast, drowning the nations of Lirgen and Yamasa, and the Worldwound opened in the north, consuming the barbarian kingdom of Sarkoris. When the weather broke following the storms, the clerics of Aroden found themselves disconnected from their god and all presumed that Aroden was dead. As a result, the period which began in 4606 A.R. with the onset of these events was then named the Age of Lost Omens.
Azlant in Modern Golarion
The following section is directly from the PZO9226 Inner Sea World Guide regarding the Azlanti.
The exact nature of Azlant’s culture eludes historians, but certain elements of the empire’s art continue to thrive in the modern day. Genuine Azlanti jewellery commands high prices in the markets of the Inner Sea, and each new discovery can trigger new trends among the high society. The interlaced pattern-work of Azlanti artisans lives on among weavers, stone-carvers, and tattooists, and the Azlanti high cupola architectural style inspires most of the monumental structures of Andoran’s visionary architectural orders.
Modern humans claiming Azlanti descent often cloak themselves in the trappings of the fallen empire, hoping to attain some measure of its lost greatness. Because those remnants of Old Azlanti art discovered to date often depict regal robes of crimson or deep green, modern would-be Azlanti tend to garb themselves in finery of those hues. Likewise, slavery is known to have existed in the lost empire, so would-be Azlanti see the ownership of slaves as part of their ancient birthright. Such attitudes are not popular in abolitionist Andoran, though it fashions itself after Old Azlant in architecture and many elements of philosophy. Here, as elsewhere, those with the strongest claims of Azlanti blood are often members of the old guard, more interested in tradition and honour than in blazing new trails or embracing modern ideas.
Today, Taldans and Chelaxians who claim Azlanti blood tend to favour the naming conventions of their current culture, but those wishing to strengthen their connection to past glories often adopt names discovered in ancient Azlanti manuscripts, wall inscriptions, or the few scant bits of history and art that survive to the modern day. Azlanti names usually begin with vowels, and neither males nor females adopt surnames. A true Azlanti must make his one name important enough to last in memory and history.
As you can see, the Azlanti are a mysterious yet obviously once very powerful race. The fact that much of what is known about the culture of Azlant is conjecture based upon artefacts or fragmentary historical records rescued from ruins more than 10,000 years old means that there is a lot more for willing adventurers to discover. My character, Katerina, is a girl who has spent much of her life tucked away with only books and animal hides to keep her company. I think she would have stumbled across and become very interested in the promise of advanced technology and powerful magic left behind by the Azlanti. We’ll have to see where this goes.