Ghosts of Fallen Stars (Iron Gods)
Aroden, the Last Azlanti, was a mortal who lifted the Starstone from the ocean and became a god. For millenia he became the champion of humanity, guiding mighty human nations and vanquishing its powerful foes. His doctrine prophesied that he would appear on a particular day in Cheliax to usher a golden age. Instead, he vanished on that day, causing his church to despair as it lost its magic, creating tremendous natural disasters that continue to today, and shattering the prophecy portfolio. Nobody knows for sure why he disappeared, not even deities (Pharasma might be the exception). Some hope that he will return again to bring the new age, while others would like to stop his return at all cost.
The last survivor of the ancient and mighty civilization of Azlant, Aroden was once an immortal mage who walked the surface of Golarion performing a hundred miraculous tasks in his efforts to lift humanity out of barbarism.
It was Aroden who raised the Starstone from the bottom of the Inner Sea to its current resting place at the heart of the city of Absalom on the Isle of Kortos. Aroden was the first mortal to pass the test of the Starstone and ascend to godhood.
From his divine perch, he sought to protect and guide humanity, supporting first the Empire of Taldor and then—after Taldor grew decadent—shifting his divine mandate to the rulers of Cheliax. Aroden often took an active role in combating the enemies of humanity, such as the Whispering Tyrant and the demon lord Deskari.
Over the millennia, Aroden’s direct manifestations on Golarion grew rarer and rarer, as he increasingly left such tasks to his divine Heralds, the ill-fated Arazni and the righteous Iomedae. But the Last Azlanti issued a prophecy (known as the Starfall Doctrine) that he would return to Golarion in AR 4606, manifesting in the Chelaxian capitol of Westcrown to lead humanity into a new Age of Glory.
Instead, when the appointed hour arrived, terrible storms and earthquakes ravaged Golarion for months. When the calamities ceased, the priests of Aroden found that their connection to the god was lost. Even his Herald, Iomedae, could not reach him. Since then, most have assumed the Last Azlanti is dead—though a dwindling flock of believers hold out hope that he will return someday.
Aroden’s mysterious disappearance and the breaking of his divine prophecy inaugurated the Age of Lost Omens. In the century since he vanished, the shadows have lengthened over Golarion while the future seems more uncertain by the day.
No one knows for sure what happened to Aroden, or if he is truly alive or dead. He is presumed to be dead because his priests no longer receive his spells, and because of the appearance of the Eye of Abendego and Worldwound. Countless theories exist about how he might have died, including a battle with Rovagug or Asmodeus, a journey beyond the Outer Sphere, or reincarnation into a mortal man to save humanity. The gods might know his true fate, particularly Pharasma, but if they do, they are not revealing it to mortals.
Church and Followers
Most of Aroden’s followers have become clerics of Iomedae, his greatest servant, who is one of the few mortals of Golarion to complete the Test of the Starstone and gain divinity herself. Those few who do stay true to the Last Azlanti have been left without divine power, sometimes resorting to mimicking true clerical ability with magic items. They preside over crumbling temples, many of which have been taken over by other religions.