Ancient Arodens: Was Aroden an Anunnaki?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion


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We know him as the God of Humanity, a shining beacon of civilization and law that pierced the Age of Darkness and brought order back to the Inner Sea. We know he founded Absalom, dragging the Starstone out of the ocean and planted it in the center of his capital. We know he made great efforts in uplifting Humanity, helping them realize their true potential while taking an active role against threats simply too large for a mortal to handle. We know he disappeared at the dawn of the Age of Glory, bringing an end to Prophecy and separating his followers from his divinity.

But was the Last of the First Humans truly a Human to begin with? Was the Last Azlanti an Azlanti at all?

After getting a chance to read through Bestiary 5, I chanced upon a curious humanoid called the "Anunnaki." The text describes them as powerful shapeshifters that visit worlds in crisis, using their powerful mythic abilities and pseudo-divinity to pose as gods and guide their wayward subjects to civilization, and at the apex of their follower's glory... They leave, if just because they can no longer keep up the charade.

Sound familiar?

Aroden was never human to begin with. Aroden was a being from beyond the stars that came to Golarion during a period of strife and hardship, and using his formidable abilities shaped Humanity into something great under the guise of being the "last" of Humanity's "greatest." Isn't it awfully convenient a pure Azlanti somehow survived Earthfall after all those years of darkness, or the Starstone Test he put in the center of his capital only turned Humans into gods?

And at the end of it all, at the dawn of a new Age, he left. Can you really say he died? How? How does a god die and ensure their divinity can no longer grant spells? It didn't stop Acavna, it didn't stop Lissala, but why did it stop Aroden? The answer is simple; Aroden never died, he simply knew his time was up, his work was done, and left. Not as an Azlanti, but as an Anunnaki.


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Yeah but no.

Scarab Sages

No one can prove he wasn't an Anunnaki. We just don't know.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Yeah but no.

There isn't enough evidence to confirm he was not an Anunnaki, the manner of his appearance and Aroden's behavior as a god simply has too many similarities to an Anunnaki to ignore.

Community & Digital Content Director

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I'm stopping by just to say that this thread title is amazing.


The answer that is the same for all Aroden questions: Maybe?

Silver Crusade

My favorite Aroden theory yet. When I first saw the anunnaki art I thought of the wings on Aroden's holy symbol--which also has a weird space theme. Is the design of Aroden's holy symbol ever explained anywhere?

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

The Mystery of Aroden's Disappearance deepens!


I imagine many questions will be answered in just a few weeks, and many more will left to our imaginations.


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If he was "merely" an anunnaki, Tar-Baphon or Deskari or any other of his very high caliber opponents would've destroyed him.

My honest answer is that the theory is cute, but the annunaki isn't strong enough to be Aroden.

Though you could perhaps roll with him being an annunaki of unusual power - extra hit dice, wizard template from Monster Codex, an extra three mythic ranks that it used to pick up full Divine Source prior to ascending to true godhood, etc.

(Though I expect we'll be getting a lot of info about Aroden the man in Pathfinder #100.)


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As much as I like that theory, murder conspiracy is still my favorite.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well, he's not mentioned before the Starstone fell.

Maybe he was riding the darn thing.


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Zhangar wrote:

If he was "merely" an anunnaki, Tar-Baphon or Deskari or any other of his very high caliber opponents would've destroyed him.

My honest answer is that the theory is cute, but the annunaki isn't strong enough to be Aroden.

Though you could perhaps roll with him being an annunaki of unusual power - extra hit dice, wizard template from Monster Codex, an extra three mythic ranks that it used to pick up full Divine Source prior to ascending to true godhood, etc.

(Though I expect we'll be getting a lot of info about Aroden the man in Pathfinder #100.)

If Aroden was an Anunnaki then he would have certainly been an Anunnaki of unusual power, which seems like a thing that *can* happen with the Anunnaki as they aren't bound to the level (either base or mythic) given to them in the bestiary.

Aroden was operating in Avistan for 890 years before fighting Tar-Baphon, and 4,433 years before fighting Deskari, it makes perfect sense for a being of his magnitude to pick up a few tricks and tiers along the way.

This could even factor into the Aroden = Anunnaki theory; the Anunnaki, regardless of their power, are still bound by the rules and regulations of their civilization, and "rogue" Anunnaki are often removed from power when discovered. Maybe Aroden grew too powerful (he was certainly a proper god by the end) and too personally invested (the extent of Aroden's worship and adoration by the Age of Glory was pretty up there) in the affairs of Humanity to be within the acceptable scope of his original mission, and either voluntarily left or was forcibly removed by his brethren.


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@ Yakman - Actually, the preview pages that they put for the newest Pathfinder comic is a flashback in which Runelords Xanderghul and Alaznist are discussing Aroden (among other things) the day Starfall came.

This particular comic is written by James Sutter, so I'd assume that conversation is canon =P


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Mr. Bubbles wrote:
And at the end of it all, at the dawn of a new Age, he left. Can you really say he died? How? How does a god die and ensure their divinity can no longer grant spells? It didn't stop Acavna, it didn't stop Lissala, but why did it stop Aroden?

Lissala isn't dead. Like, seriously, canonically, she's not dead at all. She just wandered off, like Towelie.

Scarab Sages

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Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Mr. Bubbles wrote:
And at the end of it all, at the dawn of a new Age, he left. Can you really say he died? How? How does a god die and ensure their divinity can no longer grant spells? It didn't stop Acavna, it didn't stop Lissala, but why did it stop Aroden?
Lissala isn't dead. Like, seriously, canonically, she's not dead at all. She just wandered off, like Towelie.

HA! Now, whenever I think of Lissala, I am going to think of Towelie. I have no idea what's going on.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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And that particular section of that comic was co-written by me (Aroden's creator) and James, so I'd say it's about as official a statement on Aroden as you're likely to get.

Until Pathfinder #100...

Scarab Sages

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ARG! I can't see or hear the word Anunnaki without seeing the image of Nova the cocker spaniel.

Love this theory anyway!

Executive Editor

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I adore this thread.

And yeah, Erik gets most of the credit for the conversation between the runelords in pages 1-3 of HOLLOW MOUNTAIN #1. The three of us have been working really closely together on this series, which means sometimes inserting bits into each other's scripts or swiping each other's ideas. :)


Kinda sad we might find out what happened to Aroden now. Where will the fun be, the conspiracy theories?


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Hmm... What if he was an Anunnaki who "went native" and type-shifted to actual Human, after getting enough divinity/power of his own that the Anunnaki heritage was superfluous...

BTW, I love this thread...

Shadow Lodge

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{whistles innocently}

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Azten wrote:
Kinda sad we might find out what happened to Aroden now. Where will the fun be, the conspiracy theories?

Ha.

I just wrote thousands of words on Aroden for Pathfinder #100.

"What happened to Aroden" is exactly none of them. ;)


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How about "What Golarion thinks happened to Aroden" then?


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Erik Mona wrote:
Azten wrote:
Kinda sad we might find out what happened to Aroden now. Where will the fun be, the conspiracy theories?

Ha.

I just wrote thousands of words on Aroden for Pathfinder #100.

"What happened to Aroden" is exactly none of them. ;)

I feared for a minute the 100th(!!!!) Pathfinder would explain what happened to him because, you know, 100 is an awesome milestone! Congrats to all of Paizo.


Dammit, why do I always come into these threads when all the good stuff's been said already?

It almost makes too much sense for Aroden to have been an annunaki. It's possible he might even have indirectly caused Earthfall. The Veiled Masters might've discovered what he really was, realized "****, we aren't going to be able to control this guy", then hit the reset button a couple dozen times for safe measure.

That, of course, backfired spectacularly since humans managed to crawl back up as one of (if not the) dominant species, with Aroden as their god. Almost makes you wonder if Aroden WANTED Earthfall to happen, engineering all of it in some Biblical flood plot to set humanity straight. After all, as great as Azlant and Thassilon were, they were neck-deep in sin, debauchery, and evil outsider influence.

Guess it kinda paid off in the end.

As for what happened to him? That question's easy to answer.

It was aliens.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Aldrius wrote:

Dammit, why do I always come into these threads when all the good stuff's been said already?

It almost makes too much sense for Aroden to have been an annunaki. It's possible he might even have indirectly caused Earthfall. The Veiled Masters might've discovered what he really was, realized "****, we aren't going to be able to control this guy", then hit the reset button a couple dozen times for safe measure.

That, of course, backfired spectacularly since humans managed to crawl back up as one of (if not the) dominant species, with Aroden as their god. Almost makes you wonder if Aroden WANTED Earthfall to happen, engineering all of it in some Biblical flood plot to set humanity straight. After all, as great as Azlant and Thassilon were, they were neck-deep in sin, debauchery, and evil outsider influence.

Guess it kinda paid off in the end.

As for what happened to him? That question's easy to answer.

It was aliens.

I'm not saying it was Aliens, but it was Aliens.


Aldrius wrote:
Guess it kinda paid off in the end.

Then he went and died and the world went to $#!+ again. Guy maybe got too full of himself and didn't remember what happens to the place when he's not around to prop things up.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Maybe the Starstone didn't make him a god permanently and he reached his expiration date.

POOF, he's now a 1st level commoner!


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That means bad news to the other mortal Ascendants... sans Nethys and Irori, of course. I don't think perfection and magic have expiration dates.

Urgathoa's already expired, and that's exactly how she likes it.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Random expiration date included.

Edit: Godhood spell duration, 1+1d10,000 years.

Executive Editor

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I love the idea of the Starstone having an expiration date. "YOUR GODHOOD HAS EXPIRED. PLEASE DEPOSIT ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO CONTINUE."

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As I think I read somewhere on the boards, there's a "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO ENTER" sign outside the Starstone Cathedral, and Norgorber was four clever halflings in a trench coat.


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I personally like the idea that Norgorber was actually a full party of four (Fighter, Rogue, Alchemist, and Oracle probably) that teamed up to do the Test, and that they're personally the reason why people now have to do the test on their own instead of as a team.


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Did anyone ever disprove that a god could activate the Starstone?


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^Actually, did Aroden become divine because of the Starstone, or was he already divine when he raised it, and maybe even completed the forging of its divinity-granting powers?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
John Woodford wrote:
As I think I read somewhere on the boards, there's a "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO ENTER" sign outside the Starstone Cathedral, and Norgorber was four clever halflings in a trench coat.

THIS FREAKIN' JOKE!


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Actually, did Aroden become divine because of the Starstone, or was he already divine when he raised it, and maybe even completed the forging of its divinity-granting powers?

I think the official word is "because of the Starstone; anything in print to the contrary should be ignored." But we'll find out more soon.


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James Sutter wrote:
I love the idea of the Starstone having an expiration date. "YOUR GODHOOD HAS EXPIRED. PLEASE DEPOSIT ADDITIONAL FUNDS TO CONTINUE."

might make for a pretty good campaign - one of these newer gods has to do [redacted] to keep their divinity intact. of course, [redacted] is pretty awful, so the party finds themselves squarely in the path of a whipped-up clergy, and finally must face down and vanquish the fading deity themselves.


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^Bonus points if at least one of the deities in question is one of the Good ones.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Bonus points if at least one of the deities in question is one of the Good ones.

Cayden might be fun in that instance.

He's gone on a century long bender and it's finally eroding away his divinity, so from being a tough brawler and GOD OF BROS, he's a wasted sot, addicted to his immortality, and willing to do anything to get another fix of it.

sorta like Mad Men.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would go the other route.

Iomedae is noting that a good chunk of the followers she was supposed to 'inherit' from Aroden aren't chipping in to her (even though the deities aren't dependent on their followers in Golarion) but are trying to remake Aroden.

If she doesn't stop it, game over, as a reborn Aroden will take it all away from her... No matter *how* good a person is, no one wants to die having all their energy sucked out of them...


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I would go the other route.

Iomedae is noting that a good chunk of the followers she was supposed to 'inherit' from Aroden aren't chipping in to her (even though the deities aren't dependent on their followers in Golarion) but are trying to remake Aroden.

If she doesn't stop it, game over, as a reborn Aroden will take it all away from her... No matter *how* good a person is, no one wants to die having all their energy sucked out of them...

Or her Dawn is Breaking, literally. She's just fading out, and the sun might be having a harder and harder time coming up over the horizon every day, dragged down by the metaphorical weight or drag of her slipping divinity. She'll do anything to keep her own candle burning, even at the cost of the world's destruction.

What's interesting about Iomedae is that there's those "Acts of Iomedae" which can by symbolically re-enacted by the PCs throughout the course of the campaign, leading up to a cataclysmic moment when they must cross the Pit of the Starstone and defeat the failing goddess amidst the shadows of the Starstone Cathedral during what might be Golarion's last twilight should they fail...


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or that's Serenae. Well... still.

Executive Editor

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John Woodford wrote:
As I think I read somewhere on the boards, there's a "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO ENTER" sign outside the Starstone Cathedral, and Norgorber was four clever halflings in a trench coat.

I don't care what anyone else says, this is now canon.

Spoiler:

"IT JUST MAKES SO MUCH SENSE!" I scream, as the rest of the staff drags me across the parking lot to an unmarked van.

Grand Lodge

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Given that Aroden had several identities that he used to walk around the world unmolested, could it be that Aroden has merely created the legend of the Starstone and manufactured all of these godlings as a way to just keep everyone in the dark....

...steeples fingers...

Dark Archive

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Evelyn Jones wrote:
I personally like the idea that Norgorber was actually a full party of four (Fighter, Rogue, Alchemist, and Oracle probably) that teamed up to do the Test, and that they're personally the reason why people now have to do the test on their own instead of as a team.

Unchained Rogue (Gray Master), Alchemist (Blackfingers), Barbarian (Father Skinsaw) and Bard (Reaper of Reputation) might be more thematically appropriate.

Although Investigator (Reaper) and Slayer (Skinsaw) might also be good choices.

Joke aside, Norgorber is very much like real world deities, who often absorbed and syncretized bits and pieces of other popular regional gods, over the centuries, so that the longer they were around, the more oddly-fitting bits got strapped on, leading to Athena being god of battle and wisdom and crafts and this city over here, or whatever. Given that he's so much younger than various 'one-theme' gods (like Gozreh or Abadar), that's kind of funky.

There's also the notion of who certain types of people worshipped before Iomedae, Norgorber and Cayden came along. Up until Norgorber, the only 'god' of alchemy was the demon lord Haagenti, for example, and it's kind of freaky that Norgorber's rise might have made alchemy a more respectable profession, since it lessened the connection to demon worship...

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