Azlant

From PathfinderWiki
The shattered continent of Azlant, with Avistan and Garund to its east, and Arcadia to the west.

Azlant (pronounced AZZ-lant)1 is a lost continent in the Arcadian Ocean that was the first center of human culture on Golarion. Brought together by the alien intelligence of the alghollthus (the name used in their own language for themselves and other related creatures, such as the veiled masters), Azlanti society and culture grew by leaps and bounds until their arrogant leaders began to think of themselves as superior to their inhuman masters. In retribution, alghollthus called down the Starstone in -5293 AR,2 sinking the entire continent and condemning Golarion to the Age of Darkness.34 Now all that remains of the once-mighty continent are a string of islands and atolls spread across a large swath of the mid-Arcadian; they are the only parts of the continent still above sea level.56

Geography

Earthfall shattered the continent of Azlant, sinking it to the bottom of the sea, where it was reduced to a maze of sea-canyons.7 The island of Mordant Spire, on the far western edge of Varisia, remains one of the few inhabited remnants of this once great continent. The elves who live there guard closely the secrets of old Azlant for fear that trespassers would bring a second doom upon the world.5

What was once the Azlanti mainland begins roughly 1,000 miles west of the Arch of Aroden, and consists of a bewildering maze of cliffs, tors, and jagged channels sticking up out of the ocean. Many are honeycombed with ancient passages or topped with remnants of statues or buildings that beckon the curious. Most are quite inaccessible from sea level without the use of ropes and pulleys, and the ocean floor around them is littered with the wreckages of ships that were dashed against the sheer cliffs and shoals.5

Because the magic-users of Azlant weaved their craft into the great civilization's buildings and other structures in order to increase durability and stability, a remarkable number of them have survived the intervening millennia.7

History

Little is known of the history of the first human civilization other than the sad story of its destruction. Many scholars believe that the Azlanti arose from the slave pits of the alghollthus, possibly indicating that their masters had engineered the Azlanti from primitive human stock and gifted them with intelligence and power, though there is no known evidence to back this theory.[citation needed] Others claim that the alghollthus simply set the early nomadic and cave-dwelling humans on the path to an advanced culture. Whatever the case may be, the Azlanti culture flourished for thousands of years upon the large continent in the middle of the Arcadian Ocean, reaching heights of art, philosophy, and science previously undreamt of by humans.7 What is certain is that not even the highest ranking or most enlightened humans knew they were being manipulated by supernatural forces until just before Earthfall.8

War with Ydersius

Myths tell of an ancient war between the Azlanti and a race known as the serpentfolk. The Azlanti are said to have driven their enemies off the face of Golarion and into the Darklands. In the war's final battle, Savith, an Azlanti hero, beheaded the serpent god Ydersius in the Darklands realm of Sekamina.9

Founding of Thassilon

The empire of Thassilon was originally founded by Azlanti exiles around -6530 AR.1011 These refugees were led by Xin, a powerful mage who was cast out due to his belief that "lesser races" of the world could rival Azlant's greatness.12

In -6410 AR, Azlanti diplomats attempt to reach a treaty with Thassilon out of concern over the growing threat of its runelords but were turned away.11

Zura

Some legends state that the demon lord Zura was once a queen of Azlant who lusted after eternal life. In these tales, Zura's depraved acts led to Azlant falling into decadence and was one of the catalysts for the Age of Darkness.13

Sun Temple Colony

In 4246 AR, the Chelish province of Andoran sent out a fleet of ships to build a colony upon one of the few remaining islands of Azlant.14 Over a dozen ships perished in the voyage over the treacherous Arcadian Ocean, and the rest wrecked upon the sharp reefs near the coast. When the 200 survivors landed, they thanked Abadar for having survived and climbed the nearest high hill. There they found an ancient temple dedicated to some forgotten Azlanti sun god. They founded their Sun Temple Colony there, and did their best to keep the settlement going over the following centuries. Contact between the colony and the homeland became more sporadic in the late 44th century AR, until all communication ceased sometime in the early 45th century. The final message was incomprehensible, stating something about a "weeping gate" and warning of "an inner eye in the minds of us all". Since then no one has heard from the colonists, although passing ships report still seeing strange lights coming from the island from time to time; the colony's ultimate fate remains a mystery.5

Culture

Ancient Azlant was the most magically and technologically advanced human culture that ever existed,5 and the few artifacts which surface in the markets around the Inner Sea region from time to time still draw great wonder and praise. Azlanti architectural styles or symbols have been copied from ruins and have inspired countless cultures throughout the centuries.15

Legacy

Perhaps the most persistent legacy of Azlanti magic are the renowned aeon stones that they are believed to have first developed (or at least discovered). Since the fall of the Azlanti, no one has managed to match their knowledge or understanding of the arcane device. The leadership of the Pathfinder Society are especially enraptured by the aeon stones, but have limited real understanding about them.16

Inhabitants

No pure-blooded Azlanti survive to the present, although their genetic influence is noticeable in today's Taldans and Chelaxians. The Azlanti were a proud race with skin tones ranging from olive to pale white and predominantly dark hair. High brows and receding hairlines, in addition to eyes of a deep purple color, are still seen as Azlanti characteristics, and held in high regard in Taldor and Cheliax.15 Taldans in particular claim that their empire was founded by descendants of Azlant, who displaced the local humans.17 The god Aroden is said to have been the last full-blooded Azlanti, and with his ascension, that bloodline seems to have come to a close.15

As most of what remains of the continent is now located on the bottom of the Arcadian Ocean, the majority of its current inhabitants are water-breathing creatures such as aquatic elves, gillmen, and merfolk.18

In 4717 AR, Andoran founded a colony on one of the islands of Ancorato in Azlant, naming it Talmandor's Bounty.19

Places of interest

Despite the many dangers surrounding the lost continent, Azlant is still a hotspot for adventurers and explorers who seek to learn its many secrets. The Pathfinder Society in particular has sponsored many expeditions there, and a significant number of the tales recorded in their Pathfinder Chronicles deal with Azlant. The writings of the Pathfinder Durvin Gest in particular have provided much of the Inner Sea region's initial knowledge of Azlant. Having been the cradle of all human civilization, Azlant haunts humanity's imagination in ways that few other places can.519

Numerous ruins of Azlanti colonies are known to exist along the Inner Sea and further inland, although most remain hidden or unexplored.15 Much like the few remaining structures on the continent of Azlant itself, these ruins are over 10,000 years old, and the powerful preservative magic of the Azlanti keeps them relatively intact, although this magic is believed to finally be fading. A few theorize that the failing of the magic is linked to the death of the god Aroden who was known as the "Last Azlanti". Whatever the cause of this decline may be, however, the ruins are quickly deteriorating, which has led explorers and archaeologists to greatly increase their tempo in exploring them all.7 Other places of interest include:

References

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Erik Mona, et al. “Appendices” in Campaign Setting, 246. Paizo Inc., 2008
  2. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 201. Paizo Inc., 2008
  3. Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 5: The World” in Campaign Setting, 222. Paizo Inc., 2008
  4. Wolfgang Baur, et al. “Introduction” in Lost Kingdoms, 2. Paizo Inc., 2012
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 203. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. Saif Ansari, et al. “Introduction” in Heroes of Golarion, 3. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 James Jacobs, et al. The Inner Sea World Guide, 210–211. Paizo Inc., 2011
  8. Jim Groves. “The Lost Outpost” in The Lost Outpost, 5. Paizo Inc., 2017
  9. James Jacobs & Greg A. Vaughan. Sekamina” in Into the Darklands, 30. Paizo Inc., 2008
  10. Greg A. Vaughan. “Shadow in the Sky” in Shadow in the Sky, 7. Paizo Inc., 2008
  11. 11.0 11.1 James Jacobs. “The Runelord Legacy” in Secrets of Roderic's Cove, 78. Paizo Inc., 2018
  12. James Jacobs. “The Shattered Star” in Shards of Sin, 67. Paizo Inc., 2012
  13. James Jacobs. Demon Lords of Golarion” in Descent into Midnight, 63. Paizo Inc., 2009
  14. Tim Hitchcock & Jason Nelson. “Gazetteer” in Andoran, Birthplace of Freedom, 5. Paizo Inc.,
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Erik Mona, et al. “Chapter 1: Characters” in Campaign Setting, 18. Paizo Inc., 2008
  16. Tim Hitchcock, et al. “Tools of the Trade” in Seekers of Secrets, 43. Paizo Inc., 2009
  17. Joshua J. Frost. Taldor, Empire in Decline” in Taldor, Echoes of Glory, 7. Paizo Inc., 2009
  18. Benjamin Bruck, et al. “Introduction” in Inner Sea Races, 6. Paizo Inc., 2015
  19. 19.0 19.1 Tanya DePass, et al. High Seas” in World Guide, 62. Paizo Inc., 2019