I once saw an Azlanti wizard at a carnival in Daggermark. I lost three sailors to a rug merchant in Okeno whose Azlanti patterns beguiled the simple-minded into snares of ancient origin. Even the ship’s cook calls himself Azlanti on account of his pale skin and dark hair. The true Azlanti died out millennia ago, yet these men I have known keep their culture and tradition alive through the ages. And in this sense, the Azlanti will live forever. – Ioan Grell, Pathfinder
Physical Description and Physical Outlook
The ancient Azlanti were a regal, beautiful folk with handsome features and an aloof demeanor. Their skin ranged from olive to pale white, with uniformly dark hair approaching black. Azlantis were known for expressive brows and slightly recede hairlines resulting in a sort of widow’s peak. Today, humans still identify these traits as Azlanti, whether or not the connection is genuine. Only one physical trait – a deep purple color in the eyes – is seen today as absolute proof of strong Azlanti heritage.
Azlant, the first great empire of man, sank beneath the sea 10,000 years ago. The shattered remnants of its once-grateful architecture perch precariously atop the slivers of land that still remain of the island continent, vast mazes of crumbling rock that form a wall across the treacherous Arcadian Ocean. Here and there along the Inner Sea, and infrequently inland far from modern cities, a ruin of some forgotten Azlanti outpost lies at the heart of a trackless forest or the edge of a forlorn coastal cliff. Today, there is no more Azlant. The god Aroden was the very last pure-blooded scion of that once-proud race, but with his recent demise, the line is now extinct.
Although extinct, the Azlanti live on in culture, spirit, and song, a lost race whose influence has not yet faded. Taldans and Chelaxians proudly claim Azlanti blood as the foundation of their stock, with some (falsely) claiming to be pure descendants of the ancients empire. These folks view their Azlanti origins as the source of traits like intelligence, grace, magical aptitude, and beauty, using the co,connection as a major point of distinction that sets them above other races.
The blood of Old Azlant lives on not just in the sunlit kingdoms of regal Taldans and Chelaxians who cling to it in memory of past glories, but also in the darkened depths of the world, where the inbred survivors of lost Azlanti colonies chart new histories unrelated to the high ideals of lost centuries. These forgotten degenerates fled below Golarion’s surface in the dark days of the Earthfall, and while their extreme xenophobia and isolation have kept their stock undiluted over the millennia, relentless incest has reduced them to mutated, cannibal savages. The subterranean remnants of timelost Azlanti colonies on Avistan and Garund retain only the base physical trappings of humanity, having long ago descended into animalistic cannibalism. They remember only the barest scraps of their past glories, and many of their widespread, isolated communities have lost even the art of language, In certain cases, inbreeding resulted in terrible mutation.
Perhaps the truest claimants to the glories of Old Azlant are the reclusive aquatic humans known in civilized society as gillmen, the so-called Low Azlanti who have manipulated the politics of Absalom since the city’s foundation and who are rumored to have the ear of the ruling council of Andoran. When the ancient Azlanti rebelled against the aboleth masters that raised them from barbarism and doomed their civilization to extinction,countless thousands plunged into the turbid waters of the Arcadian Ocean. Most drowned, but some few found succor with their aboleth enemies. For reasons that remain occluded to this day (but which surely have nothing to do with compassion), the aboleths rescued a small fraction of the drowning humans, warping their flesh to help them survive in the undersea realm. Caught somewhere between merfolk and the humans from which they descended, the Low Azlanti emerge from the depths occasionally to serve the mysterious agenda of the aboleths, dwelling in a permanent fashion only in pool-laden embassy in the town of Escadar, off the Isle of Kortos.
The exact nature of Old Azlant’s culture eludes historians, but certain elements of the empire’s art continue to thrive in the modern day. Genuine Azlanti jewelry commands high prices in the markets of the Inner Sea, and each new discovery can trigger new trends among the high society. The intertwined patternworks of Old Azlanti artisans lives on among weavers, stonecarvers, and tattooists, and the Azlanti high copula architectural style inspires most of the monumental structures of Andoran’s visionary masonic orders.
Much of what is known about the culture of Ancient Azlant is conjecture based upon artifacts or fragmentary historical records rescued from ruins more that 10,000 years old. Modern humans claiming Azlanti descent often attempt to cloak themselves in the trappings of the fallen empire, thus attaining some measure oft its greatness. Because the remnants of Old Azlanti art discovered to date often depict legal robes of crimson or deep green, modern Azlanti tend to garb themselves in finery of those hues. Likewise, slavery is known to have existed in the lost empire, so modern Azlantis see the ownership of a servant class as part of their ancient birthright. Such attitudes are not popular in abolitionist Andoran, which 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 honor than in blazing new trails or embracing modern ideas.
Elves tend to distrust humans of Azlanti heritage, remembering the battles of ancient days before the fall of the Starstone, when the aboleth-backed scions of Azlant toppled the great cities of the elvenfolk and forced the race to abandon Golarion through interplanetary gates. Despite the passage of 10 millennia, the elves have not forgotten the transgressions of the past. Many, especially among the mysterious seafaring elves of the Mordant Spire, still hold a potent grudge. For their part, Azlanti humans tend to look down on non-humans even more that they do their less genetically gifted human cousins.
Humans claiming Azlanti blood often favor Aroden, last scion of Ancient Azlant. Since his death a century ago, some have turned to Iomedae or other common gods, but these are devotions of convenience rather than cultural choices. The death of the Last Azlanti renewed interest in the forgotten ancient deities of the original Azlanti culture, but only a few fragments (of an often disturbing nature) have thus far come to light.
Language and Naming
The ancient Azlanti tongue has been lost for centuries, known to modern scholars only in its fragmentary written form. Certain Azlanti terms and elements of grammar survive as the foundation of the Taldane language, known across Avistan and Garund as Common. Only the mysterious seafaring elves of the Mordant Spire speak Ancient Azlanti fluently, barking aristocratic orders to explorers investigating the ancient ruins they claim as their own.
Today, Tandans and Chelaxians with Azlanti blood favor 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. An Azlanti must make his one name important enough to last in memory and history.
Male: Alamander, Akorian, Arioch, Erodel, Ellismus, Igorian, Illsmus, Ixiolander, Olhas, Othollo, Ostarian, Ureste, Udhomar
Female: Aswaithe, Amesducias, Aliandara, Estrude, Emalliandra, Iomestria, Iaome, Ommarra, Oviento, Udarrin, Ulionestria
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting