Lord of all the divs, Ahriman is the embodiment of pure destruction and seeks the utter obliteration of existence through his div servants. Ahriman is a demigod, and his unholy symbol is a black circle edged with a thin sliver of silver, depicting light eclipsed by darkness.1
Ahriman is terrifying to behold: an amalgam of vicious predators far more terrible than the sum of its parts. Ahriman's feet are vulture-like, with wicked flesh-rending talons, while his hands sport the claws of a huge tiger that are capable of tearing a giant clean in two.2
His scarred, humanoid body writhes with living snakes and whipping chains that lash out and poison those near him.3 His face looks like a tiger's with an expression of pure hatred and is crowned with four gnarled horns etched with ancient curses.4 From Ahriman's maw come inhuman screams that are not his own, and a darkness that is more than just shadow.2 Those swallowed by Ahriman plunge for all eternity down a bottomless pit filled with the deafening praises and heresies dedicated to Ahriman.3
Ahriman's origin is shrouded in mystery and legend. The jinn believe Ahriman and the first jinn came into being simultaneously, the latter as the shadow of Creation's inevitable destruction. Ahriman is both a creature and force of nature; he is the destruction that must inevitably come to all things in order to keep existence in balance, and, as such, he is the enemy of all creation.3
In ancient times, Osirion's Pharaoh of Forgotten Plagues constructed a mighty edifice known as the House of Oblivion in the desert of Thuvia in an effort to entice Ahriman to Golarion. The attempt succeeded, and Ahriman arrived with a large number of div followers. Ahriman agreed to support the pharaoh in return for the House. This support was not enough to prevent the pharaoh from being overthrown by the Song Pharaoh in -3047 AR, however, and Ahriman returned to Abaddon.5
Ahriman rules from his throne in the realm of Ahermanabad, atop Mount Kaf—itself carved from fallen monuments—at the edge of Abaddon under a dark apocalyptic void which dominates its sky. It is from here that Ahriman sets his dark designs on the rest of the multiverse.4
The div, of whom Ahriman is lord, are a race of fiends created from the essence of jinn he corrupted that revel in destruction and misery; specifically, they seek to destroy the works that mortals create, much like the daemons with whom they share Abaddon.6 Beyond this, Ahriman also created the undead ghuls from twisted janns, to vex and destroy mortal life7 and the despotic fiendish dragons known as azi.8 While it might seem a paradox that an embodiment of destruction could also create new forms of life, he does so only to hasten the destruction of the rest of the multiverse.
Ahriman's hatred of life is so great that any creature he kills is instantly reanimated as a powerful undead (usually a wight) that serves him loyally in his destructive quests. Ahriman's favourite form of ruin is the corruption of mortal desires, often through the use of manipulated wish spells.3
Ahriman is almost always attended by powerful akvan princes who serve as his bodyguards. These unholy servitors have names such as Crumbling Earth, Dying Ember, Gasping Wind, Thirsty Sea, and Unbalanced Soul.4
Despite his abhorrence for all life, cells of cultists on Golarion worship Ahriman, collectively called the Usij. These deranged nihilists channel Ahriman's power and inspiration to realize their destructive plots. Originally from Kelesh, the Usij are no longer as numerous as they once were, after purges by followers of Sarenrae. That said, the Usij are insidious and have rebounded, particularly in desert regions, seeking to corrupt and destroy everything around them.3
Some followers of Ahriman gain special unholy favor from Ahriman, either through self-flagellation or destroying things of value to others, ideally in front of those who value them.4
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Monsters A to Z” in Bestiary 3, 82. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Bestiary” in The Final Wish, 76. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Bestiary” in The Final Wish, 77. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Chapter 1: Fiendish Divinities” in Book of the Damned, 12–13. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 186–7. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- Howl of the Carrion King, 81. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Bestiary” in Dark Markets, A Guide to Katapesh, 63. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
- “Bestiary” in The Final Wish, 75. Paizo Inc., 2009 .
Additional works published by Paizo Inc. in which Ahriman appears:
- Ahriman (real-world Zoroastrian Satan-analog) on Wikipedia