Azlanti Star Empire


General Discussion


The adventure paths, "Against the Aeon Throne" introduced a "sinister" empire that has resisted contact by the Pact Worlds. They sounded really interesting.

1. Do you think Paizo would be interested following up this group with a Sourcebook that would develop the idea much more? (culture, religion, military structure, political government(s), economics, law, post-Gap history, mannerisms, and so forth)

2. Do you think it would be "fun" to play as the Azlanti (seeing the Pact Worlds as the "sinister" ones who are harassers of your borders, disrespecting your customs, or worse, attempting a soft coup/invasion of your territory?

3. In the meantime, any 3rd Party supplements or Homebrew suggestions to help develop an Azlanti-based campaign?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I strongly suspect that the Azlanti Empire will, at the very least, get as big a chunk of the inevitable Vast sourcebook as the Veskarium gets in the Near Space book coming out in a few months. It could conceivably get its own dedicated sourcebook, or perhaps be part of some kind of "Existential Threats" sourcebook, instead ( ie, more pages than in the Vast book, but still sharing page space with, say, the Dominion of the Black ).

As for playing as the Azlanti? Sure, villain campaigns are sometimes fun. Just be aware that a villain game is what you are playing. There is room for moral ambiguity, but the Azlanti Empire is considerably more evil than, say, the Veskarium. Its like the difference between playing Ancient Rome vs playing Nazi Germany; or better, the difference between the Klingons vs the Dominion.


Well, I was thinking of the Azlanti Star Empire as "Ancient Rome" or "Klingon" rather than "Nazi Germany" or "the Dominion." Flipping the script, its the Pact Worlds that are "evil" either in turning a blind eye to border violations of its people or worse, sending them.

I mean, the whole adventure path "Against the Aeon Throne" starts with the premise of stealing Azlanti technology. I mean, who's the villain here?

Thus, the Azlanti Star Empire has became militant over its development out of necessity to survive against threats on their borders (requiring constant vigilance). Who those threats are, I don't know yet (I'll have to invent some).

This whole "the Azlanti Star Empire is evil" thing is just pure, Pact World propaganda. ;)


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Rohne wrote:
This whole "the Azlanti Star Empire is evil" thing is just pure, Pact World propaganda. ;)

Except it really isn't. Like, not remotely. The Azlanti have been pretty seriously coded as expansionist authoritarians with a taste for impressively discriminatory policies and vicious suppression of anything that doesn't play into the image of the Azlanti ubermensch. I forget if they've actually committed genocide yet in setting but I would frankly be surprised if they hadn't.

While propaganda certainly exists in-game, out of game, all material we have on them is unambiguous. There is a distinct difference between how information is presented for player consumption and for character consumption. We have to trust authorial intent there and so far most mysteries and ambiguities have been called out by the authors.

I'm not saying don't play an evil campaign from the perspective of the Azlanti but if you do, you gotta own up to what they are.


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I feel like the Dominion is a really apt comparison here. There are a lot of similar vibes with their role as a distant, authoritarian and incredibly powerful empire.

I definitely would like to see them fleshed out and explored a bit more though for sure. Maybe with a little more nuance because that's generally more interesting anyways.

One thing I don't want to see is what PF1 did where the Azlanti in that game were NPC only superhumans.

As for playing as one, I've got a player interested in playing one in a game I'm setting up, but more from the angle of someone fleeing the empire rather than someone complicit in its actions.

We're hung up on how feasible that may or may not actually be and a few other things like appearance (seems like they're just regular humans and as a star empire would be reasonably diverse, but they have their own subtype and the CRB suggests there are unique qualities to them and and the Azlanti I've seen from Aeon Throne all seem to share some physical traits so maybe not).


The Aeon guard ability modifiers do not suggest they are ordinary humans. Between Aboleth influence on the original stock and potentially thousands of years of eugenic breeding and genetic engineering for desired traits, plus their demonstrated superior technology and ability to keep a vastly greater population under their thumb the superhuman hypothesis has some supporting evidence.

They definitely wouldn’t be diverse, they presumably had a relatively tiny founding population and certainly they wouldn’t be trying to diversify given their culture and Lissalan influences. And they only have three hundred years of spreading beyond their own system.


@Squiggit "is what PF1 did where the Azlanti in that game"

So the Azlanti show up in Pathfinder? I don't have any Pathfinder resources nor ever played that game.

So you all are firm in the belief that the Azlanti Star Empire are "bad guys" -- so, would it be better to do the campaign like the Star Wars series (players are part of the rebellion against the Empire)? That's an interesting thought....


Rohne wrote:

@Squiggit "is what PF1 did where the Azlanti in that game"

So the Azlanti show up in Pathfinder? I don't have any Pathfinder resources nor ever played that game.

They had some ridiculous racial stats if I recall... something like +2 to all ability scores.

Rohne wrote:
So you all are firm in the belief that the Azlanti Star Empire are "bad guys" -- so, would it be better to do the campaign like the Star Wars series (players are part of the rebellion against the Empire)? That's an interesting thought....

Like I said, there's no reason you can't play from the Azlanti point of view but for the sake of the material, you gotta be truthful on some level about what they are. Also playing people already in power and maintaining that power is rarely a lot of fun.

A rebellion might have serious legs though. The Azlanti have a LOT of species pressed into service and treated as second class citizens.


Xenocrat wrote:
The Aeon guard ability modifiers do not suggest they are ordinary humans.

That's fair, but those are also monster stat blocks which tend to be tweaked anyways.

I also remember a post from a Paizo contributor that said something to the effect of Azlanti not having any unique alternate stats/racial traits because they're just humans. Though I could be misremembering the context of it.

Quote:
They definitely wouldn’t be diverse

Not extremely diverse, no, but the Golarion Azlanti was a continent spanning empire and the Star Empire is a millenia old multi planet (and now multi system) one.

Which makes me wonder if things like all of the major Azlanti in Aeon Throne having black hair is supposed to be a common trait among them or not.

Rohne wrote:
So the Azlanti show up in Pathfinder?

One of the Pathfinder books has stats for them as humans but with +2 to every attribute, which I found kind of excessive.

It didn't really matter for PF because the Azlanti were a dead culture but in SF they're an active faction so how playable they are will be pretty relevant.

Dark Archive

Well Ruins of Azlant Azlanti were incredibly pale humans with black hair and purple eyes. That didn't align completely with Thassilonians but hard to tell if that was just artistic difference. And Starfinder Azlanti are bronze skinned people with black hair.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:

The Aeon guard ability modifiers do not suggest they are ordinary humans. Between Aboleth influence on the original stock and potentially thousands of years of eugenic breeding and genetic engineering for desired traits, plus their demonstrated superior technology and ability to keep a vastly greater population under their thumb the superhuman hypothesis has some supporting evidence.

They definitely wouldn’t be diverse, they presumably had a relatively tiny founding population and certainly they wouldn’t be trying to diversify given their culture and Lissalan influences. And they only have three hundred years of spreading beyond their own system.

IIRC, they actually *had* spread beyond their "home" system before the Drift Drive. They just did it the hard and slow way, via slow boats and a limited supply of FTL vessels. They were singularly rare for having done so, since everyone else apparently decided "It is far too much trouble to actually maintain an interstellar civilization".


I think the method of pre-Earthfall space exploration was implied to be magical portals to other planets, not ships.


Xenocrat wrote:
I think the method of pre-Earthfall space exploration was implied to be magical portals to other planets, not ships.

Yes, but post earthfall, pre-gap exploration used technology too.


Rohne wrote:

@Squiggit "is what PF1 did where the Azlanti in that game"

So the Azlanti show up in Pathfinder? I don't have any Pathfinder resources nor ever played that game.

So you all are firm in the belief that the Azlanti Star Empire are "bad guys" -- so, would it be better to do the campaign like the Star Wars series (players are part of the rebellion against the Empire)? That's an interesting thought....

In Pathfinder, Azlant was, as would be suggested by the name, the Atlantis analogue. It was the first great civilization of humans - though propped up by aboleths. It reached great heights of magical power and, as has been mentioned already in this thread, using magical portals and teleportation, colonized other worlds.

Eventually Azlant was destroyed in an event known as Earthfall when the Aboleths brought down the Starstone upon the Empire's home continent on Golarion. With their seat of power destroyed the off world colonies collapsed, except for the one that would eventually spawn the Azlanti Star Empire.


Garretmander wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think the method of pre-Earthfall space exploration was implied to be magical portals to other planets, not ships.
Yes, but post earthfall, pre-gap exploration used technology too.

Not in Golarion, and no signs of interstellar capable ships at Eox/Verces pre Gap.


Xenocrat wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think the method of pre-Earthfall space exploration was implied to be magical portals to other planets, not ships.
Yes, but post earthfall, pre-gap exploration used technology too.
Not in Golarion, and no signs of interstellar capable ships at Eox/Verces pre Gap.

No, I mean the azlanti that left golarian lost contact with home after earth fall, and then at some point during the gap made several attempts to spread beyond their colony, some used ships (see: whole plot of AtAT).

I was misremembering that all of them failed.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Xenocrat wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think the method of pre-Earthfall space exploration was implied to be magical portals to other planets, not ships.
Yes, but post earthfall, pre-gap exploration used technology too.
Not in Golarion, and no signs of interstellar capable ships at Eox/Verces pre Gap.

The only information we have pre-Gap is during the Pathfinder era, which is upward of several thousand years before the present. That's a *lot* of room for interstellar ships to be a thing prior to the Drift Drive. . . especially since the core book outright *says* they were a thing. They just relied on hopping into other ( non-Drift ) dimensions, and were both more dangerous and ridiculously expensive.


Metaphysician wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Garretmander wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
I think the method of pre-Earthfall space exploration was implied to be magical portals to other planets, not ships.
Yes, but post earthfall, pre-gap exploration used technology too.
Not in Golarion, and no signs of interstellar capable ships at Eox/Verces pre Gap.
The only information we have pre-Gap is during the Pathfinder era, which is upward of several thousand years before the present. That's a *lot* of room for interstellar ships to be a thing prior to the Drift Drive. . . especially since the core book outright *says* they were a thing. They just relied on hopping into other ( non-Drift ) dimensions, and were both more dangerous and ridiculously expensive.

The Gap starts shortly after/coincidental with the Pathfinder timeline as a convenience to cover up AP results and not mess with PF campaigns. During that time there are no known interstellar ship in the Golarion system; certainly none are mentioned in Distant Worlds.

The Gap itself lasted, apparently, several thousand years, and had a three year period between its end and the Drift signal being transmitted. It's certainly true that at the end of the Gap and during that three year period we know that shadow and hell driven FTL drives existed.

The Azlanti Star Empire in particular was founded by a magical portal and we have no evidence they had any interstellar ship-based travel prior to the Gap.

Interstellar travel via portals or Interplanetary Teleport isn't that conceptually difficult, incidentally. Go to the City of Brass, meet a Janni who originates from a different material plane world, have him Plane Shift you to that world. You now have an anchor point for your portal to your homeworld or the necessary knowledge to Interplanetary Teleport back and forth. This would have been trivial for the ancient Alzanti to accomplish.


xenocrat wrote:
The Azlanti Star Empire in particular was founded by a magical portal and we have no evidence they had any interstellar ship-based travel prior to the Gap.

However, they did try a lot. It's just that they kept failing.

AtAT deals with one of their failures that kinda sorta worked.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

For the Original Poster:

Here is some background on the Pathfinder race, Azlanti. Note that they are supposed to be basically extinct in that game (Starfinder basically tells us that isn't true).

Dataphiles

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To echo others and hopefully offer more clarity...

The Azlanti Star Empire structure is a very purist aristocracy. As far as I can tell, from the information provided thus far only Azlanti hold any nobility titles.

Interestingly it does also echo the early Roman Empire in its military composition. As I understand it only Azlanti blooded humans can be Aeon Guard. There have been examples of other species being researchers or assistants in some way, but only Azlanti are the soldiers.


@thecursor

Thanks for the link!

@"Dr." Cupi
That was similar to Roman Imperial rules. Only Roman citizens could serve as soldiers. However, there was the auxiliary which could be made up of non-citizens to fight for the Empire. The Auxilia "were mainly recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auxilia). So if the Azlanti Star Empire was similar, it would make sense to have a "foreign legion" fighting for them (in addition to their massive Aeon Guard) that were not necessarily full-blooded Azlanti humans. Perhaps even as a way for members to obtaining their freedom or simply just obtaining "card carrying citizenship" (like a "green card" and work permit with limited, foreign rights).

Dataphiles

"The smallest arm of the imperial military is the Alien Cohort, an auxiliary force made up of non-humans, many of whom are conscripts or slaves of the empire. Any non-human has the right to enlist in the Alien Cohort, which also accepts recruits from species not officially recognized as sentient alien species or citizens of the empire. Soldiers of the Alien Cohort serve as shock troops and expendable assets in the empire’s wars of expansion. Nevertheless, the Alien Cohort has no shortage of recruits, since military service is one of the few ways a non-human can gain status, renown, and respect in imperial society, such as officer status in the Imperial Fleet."--pg 43 of Escape from the Prison Moon

Sounds like it.

That AP book has a fair amount of information on the Azlanti Star Empire and can be bought on PDF. If you are looking into running or having run an Azlanti focused game, I'd very much suggest picking it up.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Another good resource (assuming you want to keep diving into Pathfinder) is the Inner Sea Races pathfinder book (which I THINK is where the Azlanti PC stats are) also the Ruins of Old Azlant AP and the Return of the Rune Lords AP (The country of New Thassilon is populated by people descended from ethnic Azlanti and that AP deals directly with the worship of Aroden, Nocticula and Lissala).


the thassilonians are exiled azlanti that followed Xin due to his different approach in magic, thassilon died 10k years before the pathfinder setting so it´s super old and quite possible that (as elves did) they managed to open portals to another worlds (the 8 runelords of thassilon knew of the earthfall and made epic magic plans to survive/escape it)


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When you mention playing 'from the Azlanti point of view,' I'm reminded of something that came up in my campaign, which may be useful to other GMs who want to use the Star Empire in their games.

We (as players) know that nobody knows why Golarion was "edited out" of the SF universe. But the Azlanti, from their human supremacist point of view, probably regard the removal of Golarion as an attempt by aliens (of some kind) to destroy humanity - basically a second, bigger, more successful Earthfall. From that point of view, it's only a matter of time before these secret enemies try to hit the Azlanti Star Empire too.

If you as a GM go with that, the Azlanti won't just be some threat off in the Vast: they'll have secret agents all over the Pact Worlds, trying to identify the destroyers of Golarion. They'll have spy drones, human agents, carefully 'conditioned' androids, hired guns, etc.

If you decide the Azlanti aren't the main threat in your campaign, they might be red herrings, or allies of convenience. Or they might claim neutrality and wait for the perfect moment to double-cross both sides.


LBHills wrote:

When you mention playing 'from the Azlanti point of view,' I'm reminded of something that came up in my campaign, which may be useful to other GMs who want to use the Star Empire in their games.

We (as players) know that nobody knows why Golarion was "edited out" of the SF universe. But the Azlanti, from their human supremacist point of view, probably regard the removal of Golarion as an attempt by aliens (of some kind) to destroy humanity - basically a second, bigger, more successful Earthfall. From that point of view, it's only a matter of time before these secret enemies try to hit the Azlanti Star Empire too.

If you as a GM go with that, the Azlanti won't just be some threat off in the Vast: they'll have secret agents all over the Pact Worlds, trying to identify the destroyers of Golarion. They'll have spy drones, human agents, carefully 'conditioned' androids, hired guns, etc.

If you decide the Azlanti aren't the main threat in your campaign, they might be red herrings, or allies of convenience. Or they might claim neutrality and wait for the perfect moment to double-cross both sides.

Great ideas! Thanks! I think that would really work well.

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