|Images of azarketis
Source: Bestiary 3, pg(s). 26
Azarketis, also called gillmen or Low Azlanti by others,12 are an ancestry of amphibious humanoids who live in and around the Arcadian Ocean, Steaming Sea, and Inner Sea.3 They are believed to be one of the last direct descendants of the vanished Azlanti people.4
Azarketis of the Inner Sea region most closely resemble the inhabitants of ancient Azlant. They have their forebears' pronounced and haughty facial features, and rare purple eyes. Their hair is generally dark and they have pale skin from years of living far from the sun's rays. Three piscine gills above their shoulders on both sides of their neck allow them to breathe underwater, even though they can also breathe air. Azarketis cannot survive long away from sea or freshwater, and quickly develop organ failure if they are not submerged in either fresh or salt water for more 24 hours.5
With their affinity to water, nautical navigation skills, and athletic capabilities, azarketis make great rangers. Azarketis' versatility both on land and in water make them particularly formidable fighters, while their direct connection to the sea leads others to become druids. As many azarketis have a connection to alghollthus' occult magic, a good few azarketis become sorcerers, though more academically inclined individuals sometimes become bards or wizards instead.6
Most of the human inhabitants of ancient Azlant died during Earthfall, either burnt to death in the infernos caused by the meteoric impacts or drowned in the earthquakes and tidal waves that swallowed their mighty empire. A few were saved by Azlant's original masters, the mysterious alghollthus, who took in a small number and fleshwarped them to survive in their aquatic domain far below the waves. After completing this transformation, the alghollthus seemed to lose interest in the azarketis and left them to freely form their own society in the following millennia.5 Despite this ancient abandonment, some azarketis still serve as spies for their alghollthu masters.3
Thousands of years later, a contingent of azarketis visited the newly established democratic nation of Andoran. They presented the government with the keystone of the Arch of Aroden, which they had dragged there from the bottom of the Hespereth Strait, to symbolize their support for Andoran's commitment to freedom and equality.7
Connection to the alghollthu
Because of the ancestry's origin, azarketis still have a strange connection to alghollthus. Although particularly resistant to enchantment magic, they display a distinct vulnerability to alghollthu enchantment, a legacy of the early control their aberrant masters had over them. Alghollthus seem to have implanted some form of biological post-hypnotic suggestion in all azarketis, giving them the theoretical ability to exert control through key words or images.5 Many still serve their creators, sometimes unwillingly, which sometimes makes others distrust azarketis. Even free azarketis feel shame at their history and rarely deal with others.8
When alghollthu programming in an azarketi's mind triggers, most descend into insanity and turn to worshipping the Great Old Ones, but the most self-aware azarketis realise its true nature and embrace their roles as alghollthu servants known as awakened agents. These agents gather data on the surface and influence fellow azarketis to carry out their masters' agenda. Many lead mystery cults of so-called "hidden Azlanti gods" or "newly risen ocean spirits" whose members never know the truth about their patron. Some awakened agents are nearly insane, while others view their acts as necessary to secure their people's position as favoured pets even if it means sacrificing the world. Awakened agents are often entrusted with powerful magic by the alghollthus.910
Azarketis have spread across Golarion's oceans but are most concentrated around the Arcadian Ocean, Steaming Sea, Inner Sea, and ruins of ancient Azlant. Despite this comparative concentration, azarketis can be divided into a range of distinct subcultures spread across both the breadth and depths of these seas. These groups include:11
- Alvadnas, adapted to survive the deepest depths of the ocean11
- Eravars, dwelling instead in rivers, lakes, swamps, and other inland bodies of water11
- Inzentis, the most common azarketi ethnicity, living throughout the Arcadian Ocean and Inner Sea11
- Ozalons, dwelling the tropical seas of the south Arcadian Ocean and Fever Sea, renowned for their understanding of tropical weather patterns1112
- Usenas, dwelling in the frigid waters of the Steaming Sea where they rely on sealskin clothing and layers of insulating fat to survive the freezing waters12
The town of Escadar, located on the Isle of Kortos and within the domain of Absalom, is the only terrestrial city with an embassy of the Low Azlanti. It is located in the House of the Cresting Wave, locally known as Wet-House. Azarketis offer information on the sea, meet with officials from Absalom's Low Council, and train the hippocampi instructor for the city's Sea Cavalry. Azarketis often worship at the Azlanti ruins at the town's center or partake in Escadar's many warrens of vice.4
Besides Escadar, azarketis also live in or visit the nearby surface city of Diobel,13 the Absalom neighborhood of Gilltown,14 and much further afield in the aquatic River Kingdom of Outsea15 and the undersea canyons of sunken Azlant.16 A group of azarketis, aware of their origins, maintain a settlement in the Steaming Sea, from which they raid ships and fight off the Spiresworn elves, in the hope of attracting the alghollthus' attention and rejoining them.17
For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.
- “Glossary and Index” in World Guide, 133. Paizo Inc., 2019 .
- Paizo referred to azarketis as gillmen until the publication of the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook, and changed the primary term for them to azarketi in Ancestry Guide.
- “Oceans of Golarion” in Raiders of the Fever Sea, 60. Paizo Inc., 2012 .
- “Places” in Guide to Absalom, 11–12. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- The Inner Sea World Guide, 310. Paizo Inc., 2011 .
- “Adventure Toolbox” in Absalom, City of Lost Omens, 392. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Andoran: Birthplace of Freedom” in Andoran, Spirit of Liberty, 7. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Golarion's Seas” in Aquatic Adventures, 28. Paizo Inc., 2017 .
- “Gillman” in Inner Sea Monster Codex, 33. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Gillman” in Inner Sea Monster Codex, 29. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Azarketi” in Ancestry Guide, 12. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Azarketi” in Ancestry Guide, 13. Paizo Inc., 2021 .
- “Diobel” in Towns of the Inner Sea, 5. Paizo Inc., 2013 .
- “Places” in Guide to Absalom, 24. Paizo Inc., 2008 .
- “Outsea” in Guide to the River Kingdoms, 35. Paizo Inc., 2010 .
- “Introduction” in Inner Sea Races, 6. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- “Golarion's Seas” in Aquatic Adventures, 39. Paizo Inc., 2017 .