How much is commonly known about the Aboleth?


Ruins of Azlant


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm planning to run this AP soon, and have been reading through the first couple of books. One question I have is how much would someone from the Inner Sea know about Aboleths? Would they be aware of their existence? Would they know about their links to Earthfall, Gillmen, Skum, etc?

One player wants to play as a Gillman PC. Considering Gillmen start off speaking Common and Aboleth, is it safe to say that a Gillman would know about Aboleth? Or would they think they're speaking "Gillman"?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Were I to run Ruins, I would inform the players that no PC or anyone in the colony knows anything about the aboleth.

Now, if someone wants to be a Gillman (how do they live in the ship during the voyage from Andoran) then I would probably make them follow the same rule. 99 % of Gillmen likely have had zero contact with the Aboleth, and those that do are probably keeping it on the DL. Yes, the race speaks that language, but that's a legacy thing.

Maybe there's terrible stories that Gillmen mothers tell their kids - don't go down the trench, or the masters will get you, or something like that, but the aboleth are probably, if they are remembered at all, thought of as boogeymen from the distant, hazily remembered past.


Anyone with Knowledge: Dungeoneering might know about Aboleths. You could give a Gillman a bonus to that roll.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Anyone with Knowledge: Dungeoneering might know about Aboleths. You could give a Gillman a bonus to that roll.

yeah... maybe. I'd probably make it a DC 25 or something like that... and even then, what you might be able to find out is probably "in the last days of Azlant, there were rumors of evil aquatic monsters." or "gillmen occasionally whisper of dread creatures in the deepest dark"


Or it would just reveal that they're weird big fish things that can mind control people or turn their skin to goo - the sort of field reports that would come back from adventurers/Pathfinders that'd fought one and lived.

The knowledge that aboleths are way, way more important than just random sea monsters is what would be largely unknown.

Lantern Lodge

For me,

K (Dungeoneering ) would reveal basically what Zhangar stated at the normal DC. At higher DCs and/or with access to large city libraries, then more statistical facts and possible a flavor encounter story would be available.

I would allow a very high DC K (History) to learn anything about their significance to earthfall, and an even higher DC to recall anything about their significance to the rise of the humans. These would mostly come in the form of stories or legends.


As a side note, Aboleth aren't unknown, most of their connections to Azlant, Earthfall and their organization would probably be unknown or almost unknown. They are also less known to land dwellers compared to sea dwellers, and can vary with where on land.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
justaworm wrote:

For me,

K (Dungeoneering ) would reveal basically what Zhangar stated at the normal DC. At higher DCs and/or with access to large city libraries, then more statistical facts and possible a flavor encounter story would be available.

I would allow a very high DC K (History) to learn anything about their significance to earthfall, and an even higher DC to recall anything about their significance to the rise of the humans. These would mostly come in the form of stories or legends.

here's a fun idea - the PCs are in that cave in book 2, and the cave painting is... shall we say... a bit more elaborate.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Speaking Aboleth or being a Gillman does not give any mechanical benefit unless you want it to.

Aboleth's are a known creature in the Bestiary1, so per Core rules it's a DC 17 Knowledge_Dungeoneering check to know what they are (a large evil, aquatic aberration) and one useful fact (most important and obvious fact is that they dominate people).

Gillman that make that check (or a History check) might know some lore about them. The Dungeoneering (monster knowledge) check is about mechanics.

Where you have discretion as a GM is in how you parcel out information on the Lore of Aboleth history and their culture and organization. That could be any knowledge check (Arcana for their magic abilities, History, Local or Geography for the impact on the area, and Dungeoneering for more detailed information).

It's best to start vague: Aboleth are the bogeymen of the Sea. They've been around for as long as anyone can remember, but have never been a "serious threat" (I doubt anyone knows they caused EarthFall).

Yakman's comment above is the best - Gillmen tell their children "behave or the Aboleth will get you"

Give the PCs opportunities to do research or learn. If they really want additional knowledge on their character, make them work for it (take a trait, spend skill points, flesh out their backstory).

Hope that helps.

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