Background Information about Golarion

Age of Lost Omens
Until a century ago, the destiny of humanity was guided by an ascended mortal known as Aroden, the last survivor of Old Azlant, first of the great human kingdoms of antiquity.

In the early days of recorded history, Aroden walked Golarion among his people. When Azlant sunk beneath the sea, a victim of its own pride and arrogance, Aroden ventured to Avistan (the continent where your characters are now). There he raised the Starstone from the depths of the Inner Sea, helped to found both Taldor and Absalom, and protected his people from the depredations of horrific villains such as the wizard-king Tar-Baphon and the nigh-unstoppable Spawn of Rovagug. Then, thousands of years ago, Aroden departed Golarion, vowing to return on the eve of mankind’s greatest triumph.

The Last Azlanti’s powerful church in the empire of Cheliax traced this prophecy to a specific day just over a century ago. With great ceremony and circumstance, thousands of clerics of Aroden and the Chelaxian nobility who supported them gathered in a vast ceremony at the Chelish capital of Westcrown, eager to see their deific master manifest in the flesh to usher in a new age of triumph.

Instead, terrible storms darkened Golarion’s skies, and the assembled clerics lost all connection to their god. For 3 weeks, winds and waves ravaged the world, drowning coastal nations and casting governments into ruin. In the north, Golarion shifted slightly in the direction of the infernal Abyss, granting terrible demonic forces control over a widening region of the world. The Eye of Abendego remains as the greatest physical aftershock of Aroden’s apparent death, but the psychological scars upon humanity will take centuries to fully heal.

Perhaps worse, Aroden’s disappearance shattered one of the most reliable prophecies humans had ever known, shaking their faith in the solidity of the future. Since this tragic event, no significant prophecy has come true in any way, leading scholars to name the current era the Age of Lost Omens.

The Pathfinder Society
The Pathfinder Society is a globe-spanning organization based out of Absalom, the world's largest city. The membership consists primarily of Pathfinders, adventurers who travel throughout Golarion, usually inconspicuously, and explore, delve, and otherwise experience the lesser-seen parts of the world. They send journals back to their venture-captain, who also assigns them new missions and suggests new places to explore. The most exciting and illuminating of these journals are compiled in the Pathfinder Chronicles, an ongoing series of books which collect the history and mystery of Golarion for their membership.

The Starstone
The Starstone is a meteorite that tumbled to Golarion in -5293 AR. This event, known as Earthfall, caused the destruction of the ancient empires of Azlant and Thassilon, created the Inner Sea, and ushered in the Age of Darkness.

The hero Aroden lifted it from the sea in 1 AR, becoming a god in the process. He founded the city of Absalom and placed the Starstone in the heart of the city. The stone now rests in the largest cathedral of the Ascendant Court where anyone can take the Test of the Starstone in order to attempt ascension to godhood. So far, only three mortals are known to have succeeded in the task, Cayden Cailean, Iomedae, and Norgorber.

The Test of the Starstone is a test that anyone can take by attempting to reach the Starstone at the center of Absalom. The Starstone is surrounded by a large, deadly maze containing traps, guardians and wards. The exact nature of the obstacles changes over time, but constant hazards include magic not always working right and prevention of extra-dimensional movement. Those few who pass become demigods, while those who fail usually die, although a select few manage to escape, occasionally with great wealth, but no divinity. The first known person to pass the test was Aroden, who did so when he took the stone from the bottom of the sea to the Isle of Kortos in 1 AR when he founded the city of Absalom. Since then, only three of the vast number who took the test have passed: Norgorber, whose life prior to the test is unknown, Cayden Cailean, who took it on a drunken bet, and Iomedae, a worshiper of Aroden who became his herald.

The Test of the Starstone is mysterious; the only publicly known part of the test is that hopefuls must cross the bottomless pit surrounding the Starstone Cathedral without using a bridge. Crossing the pit is a necessary first step, but not sufficient to enter the cathedral and continue the test, and what has worked for one hopeful may fail for another. Hopefuls have leaped across, flown with magic, or used tightropes, and the spectacle of an attempt nearly always draws an enormous, attentive crowd.

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