On the Ecology of the Aboleth


"We give a name to a thing, and the name limits it. There are creatures before names. We are foolish to think they are limited."
-Obadiah, Taurian speaker

Nomenclature: Aboleth, Uobilyth, spawn of Piscathces, Agnathans, Pleco

Description: Aquatic resperating, psionic, fish-people



Things that are known:

  • They do not display emotion or empathy
  • They resemble large (20' long and 3 tons or so) rubbery blue green fish possessing only caudal (tail) fins
  • Their mucus allows air-breathers to extract oxygen from water. It also prevents them from extrating it from the air
  • It has three slit-like eyes, stacked vertically, each a solid color
  • It has 2 pairs of tentacles. Two thin ones that are 10' long and resemble a mustache, and 2 broader, flatter tentacles that resemble pectoral fins. Outside of water, they literally use these to drag themselves around.
From Monster Manual II
  • It has tube-like orifices along it's body that secrete slime
  • They have powers of illusion and mind, able to trick and dominate other creatures
  • They are assumed to take slaves, though what is done with living captives is unknown
  • Their mouth appears as a giant sucker on the outside
  • From corpses it has been discovered that all Aboleth are hermaphroditic
  • They can breath both air and water
  • Their purposes and reasoning are inscrutable even to the hyper-intelligent



Rumors and other whispers in the dark:

  • Secrecy is of the utmost importance to the Aboleth. It is a biological imperative on the order of breeding in mammals
  • All written language descends from ancient elder Aboleth glyphs. If an aboleth were to become angry and erase the root glyphs to protect them from lesser minds, then language based on those glyphs would corrospondingly vanish
  • No one has ever killed an Aboleth  ever. Those who claim to have killed one have fallen victim to an illusion
  • The description we have of an Aboleth is an illusion. To see their true form would drive the viewer mad
  • All knowledge of encountered Aboleth comes from the weakest members of the tribe, expelled for being too weak to even survive mental interaction with an average Aboleth
  • They are long lived, the weak living 1,000 years and the oldest perhaps being immortal
  • What they use slaves for is unknown, some possibilities have been raised from reports
    • They are used in constructing grand cities
    • They live on the shore and fight each other endlessly for an unknown purpose
    • They keep slaves because slaves are for eating. If we weren't meant to be slaves, why would we taste so delicious
    • Bonding with slaves improves their own abilities. A strong slave makes them stronger
    • They need mental fields in addition to physical substance which is why they take slaves
    • Slaves are subject to deranged biological experimentation
  • They pursue the ancient art of super-science, eschewing magic in all its forms
  • Aboleth slime is a potent narcotic and they treat their slaves much better then their previous life. This has proven to be a surprise for more than one 'rescuer'
  • They do not track time by days and nights, for the sun does not penetrate so far beneath the earth. They instead track time by tidal cycles and patterns, a method poorly understood by land creatures
  • Their power with mental powers and illusion magics stem from not waning hordes of crazed, loving, degenerate drug addicts bothering them. It's a defense mechanism developed to protect them
  • An Aboleth is selected to be a Ruler, which is in contact with all Aboleth of the city at once. His mind knows what they know and increases in size to match
  • They are said to be magic resistant
  • They are worshiped as god-kings by many of the lesser sea creatures like tritons and sahuagin.
  • Their eyes are actual physical manifestations of a pineal gland that acts as a light-sensor. This is actually where the strength of their psionic powers comes from
  • They do not come from a single world, but instead raid many worlds across all dimensions. This means that there is only one Aboleth culture
  • The Aboleth are able to inscribe Glyphs that contain eldritch energies. 
  • The Aboleth were the first creatures that existed from all else. They know this because every Aboleth remembers it
  • They exude their toxic slime via both their tentacles and their large abdominal tubes
  • They are not actually creatures, but simply biological robots doing the bidding of a secret oceanic society
  • They aren't simply biological robots, but an out of control weapon granted to a foolish race bargaining with the Crossroad God of Unsatisfying Bargains. Once they received their psionic, mind-controlling, amphibious, armored, magical bio-weapon, they couldn't control it, leading to their own demise
  • Greed actually is the source of their creation. The desire for wealth, capitalism itself, is not just an idea. Societies that used capitalism discovered it had actual physical form. Once a society accepts capitalism, Aboleths became freed from their cage on the Platonic Plane of Ideal Forms
  • They are actually just tapeworms feeding on the gut we all inhabit. This theory is in general discredit because it comes from the seers of Kashgar, a kingdom far from the sea
Erol Otus
  • They were once human who desired to extend their lives. The enlargement of their organs was the only way to accomplish this and eventually it drove them into the sea. This was long ago and the depths have changed them, made their thoughts and minds grow stranger and stranger, hating the light and land denied them, filled with the desire to eradicate every hint from their past biology.
  • They are living fossils
  • Their flesh is prized by dragons
  • They can easily control anomalocaris and other invertebrates, but the control of vertebrates is more difficult. Chordates have some inborn resistance. They are frustrated at the rise in dominance of vertebrates, because it has reduced the pool of available subjects and size of the invertebrate thrall species. 
  • They are a race of degenerate aesthetes who enslaved people they thought had the ability to make great art
  • They are followed by skinless men who babble insane poetry. If they speak to you, it drives you mad and you attempt to unscrew your own head
  • They are immune to death and disease because they can psioncially control bacteria, viruses, and even the cells in their own body
  • They permanently dominate thralls by absorbing them into their body completely taking over their circulatory fun and birthing them 3 days later with their psyche completely destroyed
  • Aboleth possess racial memory, back to the earliest member of their race
  • Aboleth are immortal, and the world they were born to inhabit is no longer the world they exist in, leading to the decline of their dominance
  • Some Aboleth are amphibious or can fly
  • They actually evolved from frogs and their jelly has developed from a way to stun prey with goo. Suggesting this to an Aboleth would be a unique way to commit suicide!
  • Aboleths are actually a small group of leeches that fed from they body of a god. In thanks, they work tirelessly to bring her back to life
  • Their psionic powers evolved from their ability to control simple fish to protect their lair
  • Some Aboleth are said to enter a deadly death frenzy near death or have their bite adapted to be used in combat 
  • They are very wary of Illithids, because they have no memory of their existence. One day they simply were when they were not before. This gives Illithids the singular distinction of having the ability to make an Aboleth nervous.
  • Actually, Aboleth are a dying race. They have created the Illithids with the best they they are to take their place. They are a new vibrant race created from the Aboleth themselves
  • Neither of those are true, the Aboleth and Illithid meet and immediately fight for superiority
  • The Illithids are from the end of time, beings created by the Aboleth. Upon discovering that the Illithids are part themselves, they decide that they refuse to be eclipsed. They seek alliances suddenly with other races for this reason, to assist them in the war against the far future
  • Aboleths are related to the Illithid (Psionic, 4 tenticles, intelligent, slimy skin, underground, Lawful Evil)
  • The Aboleth are the pregentator of many monsters. Cloakers, mimics and other bizzare creatures under the ground
  • Aboleth are said to absorb the memories of everyone they eat. This defines their culture
  • They come from Piscathces, the blood queen. She no longer cares for her creations. The Aboleth possess this knowledge and it liberates them
  • They were created by a god to protect his tomb while he rested waiting for the surface to wipe itself out. Being good servants, Aboleth have taken steps to make this happen
  • The Aboleth have been asleep, and are really bothered by this terrible monkey infestation that happened while they were asleep
  • Aboleth ruled all the world until man created gods. They strive to reconqer the world and will stop at nothing less then the destruction of all gods
  • They have no religion and such, but exposure to the elder evils causes them to respect their force in daily life
    • Bolothamogg (Him who watches from beyond the stars): They leave gaps and space in their architecture to respect him. He is also known as Yog-Sothoth
    • Holashner (Hunger below): They construct protrusions and use the black bile of the world in their construction. He is also known as Shudde M'ell or Tsathoggua
    • Piscaethces (Blood queen): Red domed windows of red crystal show their respect. She is also known as Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath
    • Shothotugg (Eater of Worlds): Pools are added, filled with magical, multi-colored liquids heavier than water. Swirls and vortex patterns adorn the floor. He is also known as Azathoth
    • Y'chak (The Violet Flame): Pillars of violet flame that burn underwater are created. These are used to pass information between the members of the city. He is also known as Nyarlathotep or Hastur
  • Aboleth are not actually ancient or long lived. They are only recent creations, the function of hyper-evolution. They are literal living cancer
  • Icebergs do not drift. They are ice vehicles constructed for the transport of Aboleth cities
  • Again, they are not immoral. They are in the process of de-evolution and regression. Now they can only walk on the land with difficulty, and each generation is less bright then the one before. They continue to keep slaves because they always have, but no longer grow. It is the last grasp of a society trying to maintain power before they become nothing but simple, albeit delicious, fish
  • They are actually the creation of all races. Expelling us onto the surface was for the sole purpose of producing a better slave. We "rule" the surface, in the same way a pig "rules" a pen. 
  • They no longer take all their slaves, leaving some in communities to recruit new slaves. 
  • Aboleth Mucus can be kept, stored, and sold as an alchemical grenade
Butterfrog
The Aboleth
The Aboleth is a revolting fishlike amphibian, primarily subterranean, roughly the size of a killer whale. It vaguely resembles a catfish, but has four long tentacles and four orifices along its belly. The tentacles can be used to drag its bulk across dry land. These horrid abominations are extremely intelligent: an Aboleth can cast charm monster three times per day, and create a phantasmal force three times per day. In the water, an Aboleth surrounds itself with a cloud of mucus that requires anyone inhaling it to make a saving throw or become unable to breathe air for 3 hours. Finally, the slime on an Aboleth’s tentacles causes disease if a saving throw fails. Those afflicted suffer a change to their skin, which must be immersed in water every hour, or the victim suffers 1d6 points of damage.

Aboleth: HD 9; AC 3 [16]; Atk 4 tentacles (1d6 + slime); Save 6; Move 9 (swim 12); CL 12; XP 2000; Special: Charm monster (3/day), Phantasmal force (3/day), Mucus cloud in water (save or cannot breathe air for 3 hours), special disease upon successful hit (save or must be immersed in water every hour).


SRD Aboleth Entry, Psionic Version
Pathfinder Aboleth Entry
Classic Aboleth Entry

7 comments:

  1. I'm inspired. I want to use aboleths now. Or at least include them in my campaign, even though it's meant to be Basic D&D. Maybe as the creators of the Kopru?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good fluff here, lots of potential plot hooks. I've loved inflicting these aberrations on players ever since Dwellers of the Forbidden City was released.

    Question: how do you consider the plurality of the word "aboleth"? Your post seems to suggest that it is a mass noun, but then you also have some entries with "aboleth's". (The apostrophes are misapplied, but the ambiguous numbering issue remains.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aboleth. I've fixed the erroneous entries.

      These take a long long time to write. Not counting the G+ crowdsource thread, it's about six hours from when I open the window till I'm done. They are also long. Thanks for pointing it out.

      Delete
  3. This post alone was enough for me to add you to my newsreader. So full of amazing ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know this is an old article, but it's obvious you put a lot of work into these. And they're fun to read. I like this because I love Aboleth, but I have trouble finding anything to work with. Despite their interesting nature, I can't find much information about them, which is weird considering the race is supposed to be ancient. I did like Pathfinder's approach to them -- where the Aboleth are basically the holy grail of ancient magical power, but anyone that seeks it never return. And the ones that do return end up nearly ruling the world.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Whoa. Very badass. Good source to mine from, I think.

    ReplyDelete

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