Aboleth
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Ancient aberrant creatures who claim to predate the very gods themselves, the Aboleth are a powerful aquatic race that plot byzantine schemes from their underwater cities. Originally from Charos, the Aboleth came to the world of Oris eons ago.

Description


The appearance of the aboleth is alien and bizarre; the closest analog would be some sort of nightmarish, prehistoric fish that has grown to huge proportions. The creature's outline is fish-like, with a powerful tail at one end and a pointed head at the other. The head bears no resemblance to any sort of known fish, having three huge, alien, red eyes located at its very front. The creature seems to have no other facial features, lacking even a mouth. Behind this hideous head is a slime-covered body. Further back it has a fish-like dorsal fin that helps with movement, but instead of the fins one would normally find on the side of a fish, it has two long, grasping tentacles on each side. From head to tail, an Aboleth is around 25 feet long and their bulky bodies weigh well over 6,000 pounds.

The Aboleth are fish-like amphibians of immense size, often reaching twenty feet in length, and weighing up to 6,000 pounds, though they continue to grow as they age and some fantastically ancient specimens might reach forty feet in length. Aboleth underbellies are often grayish-white, while their topsides are typically sea-green. A little bit back from the head are four long tentacles, two sprout from across each other on the top, and two more of the same on the underbelly. Their heads are roughly triangle shaped, with a spherical, somewhat beak-like nose. Above the nose are their three eyes, each one set atop the other. Tendrils and a few shorter tentacles dangle from the bottom of the head. Four blue-black slime-secreting orifices line the bottom of their bodies. Aboleth blood is green and thick, oozing like sap.

History


The known history of the Aboleth stretches all the way back into the Age Before Ages, into the time of ancient Iskandar, and even before that, into the mythical Age of Creation. Aboleths claim to have had a thriving civilization on the oceans' floor before even the gods took notice of the world. These claims cannot be substantiated, as no record of this time has survived the intervening millennia. They themselves claim that they were among the first creations in the multiverse to gain intelligence and develop their own civilization. They ruled the oceans, while the land was the domain of the mysterious Vault Builders.

What is known is that during the Age of Legends, the aboleth raised the native Iskari humans from barbarism, teaching them their control of magic. The primary interactions took place between early Iskari humans and a group of Aboleth known as the Veiled Masters. These aboleth were masters of illusion, and used their magical disguises to walk among humanity in the role of powerful wizards. Eventually the veiled masters decided that the humans had become too proud and needed to be taught a lesson. When their punishments failed to restore the proper level of slavish devotion, but in fact strengthened humanity's resolve to eclipse their teachers, the veiled masters decided to end their experiment and destroy the Iskari Empire. In the year 1137/3, they used their magic to reach out into the darkness of space and draw down a large meteor from the heavens known as the 'Star-stone,' and obliterate the upstart humans of Iskandar. This catastrophic event became known as Skyfall. The meteor shower impacted Iskandar, completely obliterating the continent and plunging it into the Age of Darkness.

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After Skyfall


To the aboleths' great alarm, however, they had miscalculated the destructive power of the Starstone's impact. Not only did it destroy or severely cripple every major land-based civilization on Iskandar, but also lead to a severe downturn of the aboleths' own advanced society on the ocean's floor. Aboleths are known to have rescued a number of humans from the destruction of Skyfall for their own reasons. Through their flesh-warping abilities, they were able to adapt them to the undersea environment, eventually creating the race known as the gillmen.

Habitat and Society


Aboleth dwell in the deepest, darkest depths of the Wyn Myr and Vhan Myr, untouched by sunlight. There they dwell in vast, alien cities whose buildings are supported by the water, and which dwarf almost every human structure. These cities are hideous to look upon, as they are created with strange, alien designs that bear no resemblance to the tastes that govern human architecture.

Aboleth ruled the watery expanses of the Underdark in ancient times, claiming rule over the Sunless Sea, the Obsidian Sea, and the Sea of Night; all miles beneath the Wyn Myr and Vhan Myr Oceans. Although these underground cities largely were abandoned long ago, they are still known to dwell there in small numbers. Many Aboleth also reside in isolated small caverns wherever there is an underground water source.

Ancient ruins of their cities, such as Sarnath in the Wyn Myr, are occasionally explored by the brave and foolhardy.

Language


Aboleth generally speak their own language and Aquan, along with the most-common languages of the Darklands: Aklo and Undercommon. The word "aboleth" in their own language, when translated into common tongue is roughly equivalent to "owner", "master", or "god". They refer to themselves as "alghollthu", a term which also includes the more dominant veiled masters.

Religion


Aboleth society is strictly atheistic, as it is thought to have existed long before the gods took an interest in the Material Plane. To them the deities worshiped so fervently by the land-dwellers are nothing but young upstarts, unworthy of aboleth attention.

Slavery


One of the most interesting parts of aboleth society is their ability to mold and create new races of slave creatures to suit their needs. Many aquatic races of Corwyn were originally created by the inscrutable aboleth, including the skum (who made up the majority of their armies in ancient times), aquatic trolls, Chuuls and, some even believe, the shoggoth.

Aboleth breathe through a thick gray mucus-like substance, which covers their body and which they extrude from four pulsating organs along their body as they move. If robbed of the ability to extrude this slime, an aboleth will suffocate in water or on land alike. As such, an aboleth must take care of its mucus. Out of the water, an aboleth's membrane-like skin dries out quickly, but this does not prove fatal in and of itself. Instead, the aboleth will eventually enter a state of suspended animation, called long dreaming, a fate considered far worse than simply dying among aboleth. During this process the so-hampered aboleth forms a tough, waterproof membrane. However, if this membrane is pierced, liquid floods out and death is usually not far off for the aboleth.

Special Powers & Abilities


The aboleth are masters of mind magic; able to weave illusions to confuse, or simply crush the will of those who oppose it. Aboleth have several unique abilities: their tentacles are covered in slime that weakens the flesh of those it touches. They also have the ability to release a cloud of mucus that removes a creature's ability to breathe air and instead make it breathe water. Aboleth normally use this to capture and make use of air-breathing slaves; it also ensures the controlled person's loyalty, as the effect only lasts a few hours and must regularly be renewed.

Aboleth also have powerful psionic powers and are natural psions like mind flayers and many other denizens of the Far Realm. However, aboleth have a much more fearsome ability, the capacity to secrete a viscous gray fluid, much like mucus, which brings about a terrible transformation in air-breathing creatures so unfortunate as to be caught in the stuff. The skin of the victim is transformed into a membrane which allows it to breathe in water, and changes the creatures consciousness to that of a mindless servant's. This allows aboleth to keep slaves, known as aboleth servitors, which they dominate and keep captive through their mind. Only the most powerful aboleth can do this, however, completing the process through a powerful ritual.

Another strange feature of the aboleth is their memory. An aboleth is born with a racial memory, each individual inheriting the memories of its ancestors. Furthermore, it assimilates the memories of those it consumes. Each aboleth's memories are stored within an ever-growing part of its brain which extends down its back as it ages. Aboleth enjoy spending time lost in particularly fine memories of their ancestors, and if they have nothing better to do, they may relive entire portions of their forebears' lives.

Aboleth are all hermaphroditic, possessing both male and female reproductive organs. When aboleth breed, they do so in private, laying roughly three to nine eggs once every five years. When laid, the eggs gestate for the same five years before hatching into fully-functional aboleth. Although these young aboleth are, for all intents and purposes, adults in all but size, they typically remain with their parent for roughly a decade, obeying the elder aboleth without question before setting out on their own.

Aboleth are both extremely cruel and highly intelligent. As a result, they are among the most dangerous foes that exist in the multiverse. Holders of many terrible secrets due to their unique racial memory, aboleth are born fully aware and with all the memories of their ancestors, making even the youngest aboleth a frighteningly deadly predator. They are well aware of their weaknesses, however, and will not attack land-bound foes if they consider it to their disadvantage.

Aboleth are utterly self-centered as a race; they know they were among the first beings in existence, and see all else as theirs, having a particular loathing for land-dwelling creatures. Their enmity towards other races stems in part from their perception that these "upstart" races have stolen what is rightfully the aboleth's. All that stops them from conquering the surface is their weakness on land (though an aboleth is always a fierce opponent) and the fact that they would rather enjoy themselves than waste time subduing feeble creatures such as humans. By contrast they are greatly unsettled by the similarly powerful mind flayers, in part because they lack knowledge of the race's precise origins.

Wholly alien but dangerously intelligent, aboleth are among the most powerful creatures in all of the known multiverse and, although often removed from human affairs, do not hesitate at any point to kill or use any unfortunate mortals who cross their path.

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Aboleth inscribing a rune

Culture


Aboleth society is utterly alien in many ways to that of more familiar races, in part due to the racial memory all aboleth exhibit as well as their generally bizarre psyche. Some aboleth form clusters known as broods, ruled over by powerful "overseers." These broods are often accompanied by aboleth servitors or other minions, such as the Ko-toa who are known to sometimes serve the race.

Aboleth have no gods that they worship. While they acknowledge the presence and power of gods, they have memories of a time long before any modern gods were worshiped and recall such gods' birth and often demise within their own lifetimes. They are not concerned with an afterlife since their perspective on death is to consider it a failure and they intend to live forever. Aboleths do, however, have a certain respect that sometimes approaches reverence for the powerful beings known as elder evils.

Aboleths use the term boorm (meaning "flow") to indicate a period of time.

Homelands


Like most aberrant creatures, the aboleth are originally from Charos; the Far Realm, though long ago many of them emigrated from the distant plane to Corwyn, where they settled in the Underdark. There, the vast majority of aboleth dwell, though they can be found elsewhere, most commonly haunting ruins, deep lakes, or old temples. In some of these places the Ko-toa foolishly serve them.

Aboleth cities are vast affairs of bizarre and alien architecture, located deep underwater. The Shape of Water, located in the Underdark's Glimmersea, is the largest known aboleth city and is the main place the leaders of the race reside and hold council.[citation needed]

Aboleth originally came to Corwyn when the world was young. The ancient obelisk-shaped city of Sarnath plummeted to the world and settled deep in the earth's crust, below what is now the Wyn Myr. The oldest known aboleth and possibly the progenitor of the entire species, the Eldest, is an enormous creature that rests atop the city like a throne. The ancient aboleth of Sarnath form an organization called the Abolethic Sovereignty; they were recently roused from a period of hibernation that spanned millennia, and the city of Sarnath has since risen to become a powerful place of dread.