This is a compendium of all those things squamous, rugose, and otherwise weird from the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and pals. Since most of these are eldritch monstrosities, a paragraph descriptor will be necessary for each. The stars are right.
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Abdul Alhazred, AKA The Mad Arab
Author of the dreaded Kitab al-Azif (better known by its Greek name, Necronomicon), and a Muslim apostate who worshiped the Great Old Ones. Described as an insane poet, Alhazred visited many strange and dark places filled with weird horrors. He was eaten by an invisible monster in broad daylight in 738 A.D. according to one record.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: In Arabic, Abdul Alhazred makes no sense. Others have attempted to correct this, by saying that this is a corruption of the original name. Which is Truth in Television, since many ancient Arabic writers or works are better known by their bastardized names. Specifically, it is often said to be a corruption of Abd al-Azrad, a name—or, more likely, a title or pseudonym—best translated as "servant of the Great Devourer."
- All There in the Manual: "The History of the Necronomicon" provides a short essay on the life of Alhazred, and the publication history of his infamous work.
- Author Avatar: Abdul Alhazred was Lovecraft's play name when he was younger.
- Death Faked for You: In at least one version of his fate, it turns out that Alhazred wasn't eaten, that being an illusion. Instead, he was kidnapped, tortured, had his tongue and eyes pulled out, and then killed.
- Junkie Prophet: Considering the Mythos, Abdul does drugs to forget the horrors he has seen.
- Mad Artist: Was a poet before (and likely after, given how several fragments of the Necronomicon read) encountering the Mythos.
- Mad Oracle: Being the author of the Necronomicon also means being this.
- Shout-Out: After Cthulhu and the Necronomicon, "The Mad Arab" is one of the most referenced elements in non-Mythos works.
- Sincerest Form of Flattery: Many of Lovecraft's friends created their own unspeakable tomes in homage to Lovecraft's Necronomicon. Like Abdul, the fictional writers of these books meet dark ends.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Wrote the modern archetype of all other eldritch grimoires.
Debut: Herbert West–ReanimatorMedical student, then a doctor. Postulating that human life was purely material, Herbert believed with the right chemicals could restart life. He and an assistant go about trying to prove this, conducting questionable experiments with... interesting results. Other than the setting of Arkham and Miskatonic University, West has little connection to the wider Cthulhu Mythos. He starred in a cult film trilogy in which he was played by Jeffrey Combs.
- And I Must Scream: After all of the reanimated corpses that West revived team up and tear West apart, West is given some of his own concoction and is last seen as a conscious, disembodied head being carried away to spend the rest of his existence at the hands of his creations.
- Ascended Extra: Originally the star of a serial that Lovecraft didn't like and largely obscure and unconnected from the rest of the mythos, Herbert West has become one Lovecraft's most well-known characters due to his cult film series.
- Chemistry Can Do Anything: Including raising the dead in this case.
- Damaged Soul: The many failed results of bringing back the dead.
- Dragged Off to Hell: West's ultimate fate, as the reanimated bodies come back and tear him limb to limb.
- First-Person Peripheral Narrator: West's unnamed assistant, originally a medical student who became fascinated with West.
- Mad Doctor: A graduate of the Miskatonic University Medical School no less.
- Mad Scientist: Noble in intent, West's methods become increasingly unethical and deadly. It eventually drives him over the edge.
- Off with His Head!: His head is ripped off at the end of the story. The dying part on the other hand....
Debut: "The Statement of Randolph Carter"Early 20th century Boston author and occultist. One of the few recurring human characters within the Mythos, Carter is capable of entering the Dreamlands. Another Author Avatar: an unnoticed writer, prone to nervousness and depression. However, he is capable of courageous feats.
- Author Avatar: Like Lovecraft, he is a horror writer with not much attention given to his work, and firmly believes that nothing in human life actually matters (see Straw Nihilist below).
- Anti-Hero: Despite being Lovecraft's most recurring protagonist, he does almost nothing to help anyone that doesn't benefit him directly in any of his stories. In fact, he seems to outright reject the idea that anything in human reality matters...perfectly mirroring Lovecraft's own views at least during his Decadent period. However, in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, he repays the cats who saved him from the moon-beasts by alerting them to and helping them foil a Zoog raid. When he discovers three of the ghouls who helped him, captured and being tortured by said moon-beasts at the nameless rock near Sarkomand, he derails his own quest to summon the night-gaunts and the ghoul army to save them.
- Badass Bookworm: He goes up against moon beasts, for Yig's sake. You don't even want to think about those.
- A Chat with Satan: In the Dreamlands, with Nyarlathotep.
- Friend to All Living Things: Friendly to cats, as well as ghouls of all things.
- I Was Having Such a Nice Dream: Carter's journey in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. Also, Carter's philosophy:Calm, lasting beauty comes only in a dream, and this solace the world had thrown away when in its worship of the real it threw away the secrets of childhood and innocence."
- The Quest: Several, including the well known Dream-Quest but also his travels beyond time and space.
- Seers: Since from a young age, Carter had the gift of prophecy, as well as a powerful dreamer.
- Straw Nihilist: Comes off as this in The Silver Key.He saw that most of them, in common with their cast-off priestcraft, could not escape from the delusion that life has a meaning apart from that which men dream into it; and could not lay aside the crude notion of ethics and obligations beyond those of beauty, even when all Nature shrieked of its unconsciousness and impersonal unmorality in the light of their scientific discoveries. Warped and bigoted with preconceived illusions of justice, freedom, and consistency, they cast off the old lore and the old way with the old beliefs; nor ever stopped to think that that lore and those ways were the sole makers of their present thoughts and judgments, and the sole guides and standards in a meaningless universe without fixed aims or stable points of reference. Having lost these artificial settings, their lives grew void of direction and dramatic interest; till at length they strove to drown their ennui in bustle and pretended usefulness, noise and excitement, barbaric display and animal sensation. When these things palled, disappointed, or grew nauseous through revulsion, they cultivated irony and bitterness, and found fault with the social order. Never could they realize that their brute foundations were as shifting and contradictory as the gods of their elders, and that the satisfaction of one moment is the bane of the next.
- White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: Standard for a Lovecraft hero. However, though he was raised as a Protestant Christian, Carter was materialistic later in life.
Old Man Whateley
Debut: "The Dunwich Horror"A sinister, crotchety old farmer from the remote, dying hamlet of Dunwich deep in the foothills of Massachusetts. Possessed strong knowledge of the Mythos from his family's collection of occult tomes, despite most of them being half-rotten and/or incomplete copies (and him being only half-literate). Rumors about him being a wizard of great and terrible power proved true when he called down the Outer God Yog-Sothoth to impregnate his daughter, Lavinia, resulting in the birth of twins, Wilbur Whateley and the unnamed Dunwich Horror.
- Abusive Parent: His using a ritual to get his own daughter impregnated by an Outer God won't win him any parent of the year awards...
- Beard of Evil: Most portrayals give him thick, bushy facial hair.
- Corrupt Hick: Lives a good way farther North than usual for the trope, but otherwise fits it to a T.
- Evil Old Folks: Obviously, given his nickname.
- Evil Sorcerer: You don't get much worse than using your daughter as a vessel for the spawn of an Eldritch Abomination with the ultimate goal of having them open the gates allowing it and its kind to enter our world...
- Only Known By His Nickname: We never find out his actual first name in the story; he is always mentioned as "Old Man Whateley" or "Wizard Whateley".
- Posthumous Character: He died a few years prior to the events of the short story he appears in.
Great Old Ones
Great Old Ones in General
Ancient, powerful horrors of the mythos, who are either sleeping or imprisoned. Often the center of cults and encounters with them lead to death or worse. Originally, the term "Great Old Ones" included the "Outer Gods". Today, the term is used to describe mythos deities that are not dynamic or powerful enough to operate on a cosmic level.
- Aliens Are Bastards: Most are of extraterrestrial origin, nearly all of them are unfriendly or don't care about humanity to some degree.
- Blue and Orange Morality: As typical for Eldritch Abominations, it's debatable whether they even have morality at all.
- Eldritch Abomination: In general.
- Evil Is Bigger: While not as large as the Outer Gods, the Great Old Ones tend to much bigger than humans.
- The Old Gods: It's in their name.
- Physical God: Most of them are currently sealed and had its powers and movement very limited, so it wasn't an example of this trope (but could have been if the Old Ones had ever gotten loose).
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Not exactly evil but most of them still fit the trope regardless, what with causing insanity and madness when they wake up and all.
- Starfish Aliens: The majority of them don't resemble any living creature.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Zig-Zagged; while Lovecraft heavily implies that to be the nature of the Great Old Ones (especially in later writings), how much this trope is true or how much the Great Old Ones are genuinely supernatural varies widely from writer to writer even in the original circle.
- Time Abyss: Most of them are probably more than billions of years old, although most probably spend the majority of it sleeping.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The Old Ones want to break out of their prisons and revolt against the Elder Gods... except they're just as busy fighting each other. Some are even conflicting with some of the Outer Gods.
Debut: The Seven Geases, Clark Ashton Smith.One of the gods that live under Mount Voormithadreth in ancient Hyperborea. It's a pool of gray, protean mass, which constantly spawns monsters from itself. No two of Abhoth's children are alike; some look like singular body parts, while others look like complex Mix-and-Match Critters. Abhoth grabs and devours most of its children, returning them to the mass, although some of them manage to escape. Abhoth shares a large number of characteristics with Ubbo-Sathla, another Clark Ashton Smith deity, to the point that they may be different names for the same creature at different points in its history.
- Affably Evil / Wicked Cultured: For a pool of gray goo, it's surprisingly intelligent:"I, who am Abhoth, the coeval of the oldest gods, consider that the Archetypes have shown a questionable taste in recommending you to me."
- Auto Cannibalism / Offing the Offspring: It fits both tropes.
- Blob Monster: Abhoth looks like a grayish, swelling, quivering protean mass.
- Combat Tentacles: Grabs creatures with these.
- Muck Monster: Even considered the "ultimate source of all miscreation and abomination". Maybe this is why some mistake or equate it for Azathoth.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: Technically, but it reproduces by fission.
- Small, Secluded World: Abhoth likely considers his cavern as his entire world:"There is a bleak and dreary and dreadful limbo, known as the Outer World, of which I have heard dimly..."
Arwassa, AKA The Silent Shouter on the Hill
Debut:The Asylum and Other Tales, Sandy Petersen and Lynn Willis (eds.)A giant inhuman being with tentacles in place of limbs and headless neck opens into a toothless maw which continually yawns as though screaming.
Debut: The Seven Geases, Clark Ashton Smith.A giant spider with a human face. Other forms include a young woman with multiple arms. It lives in a cavern under Mount Voormithadreth in ancient Hyperborea and works on an endless task of bridging a chasm. Because of its appearance, Atlach is considered the regent of all spiders. The Spiders of Leng (huge purple spiders) are believed to be her children and servitors.
Debut: "The Room in the Castle", Ramsey CampbellA deity of divination and forgetfulness, Byatis is a massive toad-shaped being with a large single eye, wings, crab claws, and a proboscis. Called "serpent-bearded", its face is covered in tentacles. Originally called by the Deep Ones to Earth, it was trapped before Roman troops accidentally freed the being. By the 18th century, "The Berkeley Toad" came under the control of Sir Gilbert Morley and used the creature to further his knowledge of the Mythos. It was kept in a cellar under a castle in Severnford.
- Animalistic Abomination
- Ascended Extra: Originally mentioned (very briefly) in Robert Bloch’s "The Shambler From the Stars". Ramsey Campbell then developed the character in his "The Room in the Castle".
- Beard of Evil / Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The epithet “serpent-bearded”.
- Fat Bastard: Byatis feeds on so many people, it grew too big to leave its room!
- Familiar: According to records, “The Berkeley Toad” was this to Sir Morley. Ironically enough, it's hinted that Morley ended up being eaten by his captive Old One.
- Giant Flyer
- Hypnotic Eyes: Anyone looking into its single eye will fall under its control.
- The Hypnotoad: Yes, it is a (semi)toad thing that uses Hypnotism. But despite being a Great Old One, Byatis ends up being defeated relatively easily as well.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: At least twice. Once by the Elder Gods, and again when Sir Morley disappeared.
Debut: The Horror from the Hills, Frank Belknap LongA proboscidian Great Old One first mentioned in Lovecraft's "The Horror in the Museum" and later fleshed out by Frank Belknap Long. A grotesque being that pretends to be a statue of some nightmarish amalgamation of human, elephant, and octopus, with a lamprey-like trunk, Chaugnar Faugn arrived on Earth eons ago from another dimension, at a time when only simple amphibians ruled the world. From these, he shaped a servitor race called the Miri Nigri, which later interbred with early humanoids to form the Tcho-Tcho.
- Continuity Snarl: As is common for the Mythos; supposedly, Chaugnar Faugn is the "grandfather" of the Tcho-Tcho, but there is never any mention of them worshipping him — instead, they are supposedly worshippers of Lloigor and Zhar.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Holds the distinction as one of the few eldritch abominations killed by a technobabble raygun. Debatable if it will return anytime soon.
- Expy: In at least the D20 adaptation of Call of Cthulhu, Chaugnar Faugn is depicted as looking like a monstrous rendition of Ganesha.
- Gag Nose: He has a distorted elephant's trunk for a nose. Except it ends in a lamprey-like mouth and he uses it to feed on blood.
- Lightning Bruiser: He looks like a fat human/elephant hybrid. When he wants to, though, he can move incredibly fast.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: This creature looks like an amalgamation of a human, elephant, and octopus.
- Our Vampires Are Different: He's a blood-drinking statue of an elephant/man/octopus hybrid.
- Silicon-Based Life: Chaugnar Faugn appears to be a statue made from some unidentifiable mineral. However, he's still alive and active... when he wants to be.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Got stuck in mud of all things.
Debut: The Call of CthulhuThe monstrous high priest of the Great Old Ones, sleeping in the sunken city of R'lyeh until 'the stars are right' and he can awaken his kin to resume their rule of Earth. A gigantic humanoid form with a squid-like head and dragon wings.
- All There in the Manual:
- Cthulhu's genealogy was detailed by Lovecraft in one of his many letters. Cthulhu is the son(?) of Nub, one of the Twin Blasphemies. In turn, Nub and Yeb (the other twin) were spawned by Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth.
- Clark Ashton Smith made Cthulhu and Hzioulquoignmzhah cousins, having shared the same ancestor named Cxaxukluth.
- Badass Family: His kids with Idh-yaa are incredibly dangerous and powerful.
- Breakout Character: There's a reason H.P. Lovecraft's works are known as the Cthulhu Mythos, despite Cthulhu himself being much less prominent in Lovecraft's original stories compared to Yog-Sothoth or Nyarlathotep.
- Combat Tentacles: Having a whole face of them, they're handy to stanch unsuspecting investigators with.
- Cthulhumanoid: The Trope Namer for such a look.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Happens in "The House of Cthulhu", in which a band of barbarians go to R'lyeh. The leader believes Cthulhu is nothing more than a myth to scare away the weak, and his "tomb" holds vast riches. Let's just say he's wrong.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Happens to the main man himself. See Ramming Always Works.
- Good Thing You Can Heal: It sure helps when some pesky human puts a steam yacht through your head.
- High Priest: Of the Great Old Ones.
- King in the Mountain: Of the lost civilization of the Great Old Ones. Needless to say, a particularly dark example.
- Kraken and Leviathan
- Mini Mook: His servitors The Star-spawn of Cthulhu, who are basically smaller versions of Big C. Even then, they're still very large relative to a human.
- Ramming Always Works: Gets rammed into by the motor boat of the one person who survives him, breaking him up. It buys enough time for the survivor before Cthulhu returns into R'lyeh, which promptly sinks.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Sealed in a tomb under the Pacific, though the Big C is less evil and more just too alien for humanity to comprehend.
- Signs of the End Times: Every time R'lyeh begins to rise to the surface, strange events occur around the planet: people have dark nightmares, hysteria rises, and cult activities increase.
- Telepathy: If not blocked by water Cthulhu can send out dreams to communicate with Cultists, and cause nightmares for anyone sensitive enough.
- Villain Protagonist: Very often in parodies, Cthulhu will be the protagonist. Taken further with Cthulhu Saves the World, where the Big C is the hero of a video game.
- Winged Humanoid: Scaly, membranous wings on a mockery of human shape.
Debut:"The House on Curwen Street", August DerlethAn entity which appears as a giant fireball. The Fire Vampires, little flame-like monsters that ignite anything flammable, are Cthugha's servitors.
- An Ice Person: Its offspring Aphoom-Zhah. Appearing to be a gray flame, Aphoom freezes upon contact.
- Elemental Embodiment: Derleth created an Elemental Theory, in which certain Great Old Ones were classified by the four classical elements. However, Derleth ran into a problem: no Great Old One could be considered a Fire Elemental. So Cthugha was created to fill in the gap.
- Gender Flip: At least two Affectionate Parodies have Cthugha as a "female".
- Kill It with Fire: Literally.
- A Load of Bull: Its form known as Living Flame of Deepest Black is a bull-like flaming beast.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The Fire Vampires look like little bits of flame, and when they appear will burn anything flammable in their reach.
- Playing with Fire: Both Cthugha and his Fire Vampires. It's child, Aphoom-Zhah, is An Ice Person instead.
- Start X to Stop X: How do you stop Nyarlathotep? By summoning Cthugha. Screw that up, however... and you summon "the Feaster from Beyond the Stars."
- The Swarm: Fire Vampires tend to appear in large numbers, especially when accompanying the Burning One when it is summoned.
First Mention: The Transition Of Titus Crow, Brian Lumley
Debut: "In His Daughter's Darkling Womb", Tina L. JensThe secret daughter of Cthulhu, and described as a huge, red octopus with six eyes and wings.
- Crazy-Prepared: Cthylla serves as a backup plan. Should Cthulhu be ever truly destroyed, the Great Old One is reborn in his daughter's womb.
- Dark Secret: Cthulhu does not want anyone to know Cthylla exists. And the few humans that discover the Cthylla's purpose go mad.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Wither or not by choice, being Cthulhu's daughter alone makes her an enemy of mankind.
- Knight Templar Parent: Played with, Cthulhu goes great lengths to protect his seed, but not because he cares for Cthylla. Any human emotion is beyond the Great Old Ones.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: Notable since it's easier searching for art depicting Cthylla as a human girl than an octopus.
Debut: "The Franklyn Paragraphs", Ramsey Campbell.A giant gelatinous oval with many legs, Eihort wanders the labyrinth-like underground tunnels of the Severn Valley. When encountering a mortal, Eihort will chase and corner them, then offer to lead them out of the tunnels in return for letting it implant its egg inside their body. Should they refuse, Eihort will just smash them into a bloody pulp... which isn't really worse than those who accept its offer, as the egg will eventually hatch, and the victim's body will shatter into countless brood of Eihort.
- Body Surf: The upside to Eihort's bargain: It'll let you experience other lives in other places. Of course, the reverse is true: Eihort's servants could jump into the Bargainer's body, and have that person face some rather horrible experiences.
- Bilingual Bonus: Eihort's name roughly translates to "Egg Hoard" in German.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: You're pretty much screwed once Eihort catches you.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Eihort implants eggs inside human bodies.
- Freak Out!: When the time comes for Eihort's brood to emerge, the bargainer begins to feel some weird sensations.
- The Maze: Where Eihort dwells.
Debut: "Out of the Aeons", H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald.Firstborn of Cthulhu, this Great Old One visage is so horrific that merely glimpsing it leads to... something unspeakable. Once ruling prehistoric Mu where its cult dominated, served by the Lloigor.
- Brown Note: Simply looking at him.
- Decomposite Character: Considering the similarities, Ghatanothoa might have been just another name of Cthulhu back when Lovecraft introduced him.
- Fate Worse Than Death: You look at him, and you are near instantly mummified, save for your brain and internal organs. And you are completely awake and aware of everything that goes on around you for every moment of this existence.
- Kaiju: Notable for having a same-name expy in Ultraman Tiga.
Debut: "The Inhabitant of the Lake", Ramsey CampbellOnce trapped inside a meteor, Glaaki now resides in the lake created by the impact of said meteor in the Severn Valley. Looks like a giant slug with a mouth, eye-tip tentacles and lots of metallic spines. When Glaaki stabs people with its spines, it injects fluids that turn the victims into zombies which it can control using psychic power.
- Our Zombies Are Different: After a few decades, Glaaki's zombies become sensitive to sunlight. If exposed, they suffer from "The Green Decay".
- Recurring Dreams: People who live by Glaaki's lake have some terrible nightmares. Except it turns out it's a Flashback Nightmare, and Glaaki is sending them out to dreamers.
- Slave Mooks: It's undead servants were once humans, until their transformation.
- Spikes of Doom: All over its body, and weaponised as the source of its zombification poison.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Revelations of Glaaki. It not only deals with the spiky one but also the various weirdness in the Severn Valley.
First Mentioned: "Haïta the Shepherd", Ambrose Bierce
Debut: The King in Yellow, Robert W. Chambers"Half-brother" of Cthulhu. Doesn't mean they get along with each other. Known to be the patron of decadence, nihilism, and shepherds. Also the mate of Shub-Niggurath, and possibly fathered some of her Thousand Young. His most well-known avatar is the King in Yellow (a tall masked man-thing wearing yellow rags). Other depictions include that of a octopoid, but Hastur's true form is unknown.
- Ascended Extra: When Lovecraft added Hastur to the mythos, all he did was just mention it among a list of eldritch names without any elaboration. Derleth made Hastur into a Great Old One since Ambrose Bierce originally had it as a deity.
- Bright Is Not Good: If he takes a humanoid guise, it will often be brightly clothed. He's not any less dangerous.
- Body Horror: Whoever makes the Unspeakable Oath ends up dying and becoming possessed by Hastur. Their body becomes scalier, grotesquely obese, and their limbs seem boneless.
- Cain and Abel: With the Big C himself.
- Composite Character: Hastur is essentially a mash-up of several interpretations from several different sources, each either borrowing or name-dropping the previous source. John Tynes finally combined the various aspects, especially the themes of from the original The King in Yellow, for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
- Deal with the Devil: The Unspeakable Oath, which makes a contract between Hastur and a human.
- Iconic Logo: In-universe, The Yellow Sign. In real life, the Yellow Sign (as designed by Kevin Ross) is also well known.
- In the Hood: Artwork of Hastur (as the King) often displays him hooded.
- Humanoid Abomination: The King in Yellow.
- Light Is Not Good: In addition to his yellow robes, Hastur sometimes appears with a halo. He is also usually depicted with angelic wings for no discernible reason. note
- Malevolent Masked Men: Subversion. It's not a mask.
- Mad Artist / Mad Dreamer: Has influence over these
- The Scottish Trope: As a result of Canon Immigrant from the Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia, its name literally became "unspeakable" in the Mythos.
- They Would Cut You Up: The Brothers of the Yellow Sign hunt down and torment the Mi-go on behalf of Hastur.
- Summoning Ritual: The play ''The King in Yellow'' can call down the eponymous avatar of Hastur.
Debut: "The Door to Saturn", Clark Ashton SmithTsathoggua's "cousin" living in the upper atmosphere of Saturn, where he fled to avoid irritating worshipers and cannibalistic family members. Similar in appearance to Tsathoggua, but with a long neck and many small, elephantine feet.
- Affably Evil: Possibly the most harmless of Lovecraftian deities, simply by wanting to be left alone.
- Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: Unlike most, however, all you really need to do is ask.
- The Philosopher: In "The Family Tree of the Gods", Smith describes Hzi as "a rather reflective and philosophic deity". This is likely why he wants to be left alone.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: His appearance, while not as disturbing as the vast majority of the Old Ones, is definitely bizarre.
- The Unpronounceable: Even for the Mythos.
Ithaqua, AKA The Wind-Walker
Debut: "Ithaqua", August DerlethGreat Old One that is humanoid in appearance, with glowing red eyes. Limited to frozen wastes, Ithaqua can literally walk on wind as if it was solid ground. He is the central villain of two of Brian Lumley's Titus Crow novels: Spawn of the Winds and The Moons of Borea.
- A God Am I: Forces the people of Borea to worship him as a god.
- Alien Abduction: Tends to kidnap people, typically sacrifices, and even entire towns if need be.
- An Ice Person: Rather, an ice deity.
- Archenemy: Is this to Armandra and Hank Siberhutte.
- Big Bad: The villain of both Spawn of the Winds and The Moons of Borea.
- Elemental Embodiment: Like Cthugha, Ithaqua was introduced into the mythos to balance out the Elemental Theory. In this case, The Wind-Walker is an Air Elemental.
- Expy: Of the eponymous being in Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo".
- Evil Overlord: Ithaqua rules over Borea as its God-King with only the Plateau being free.
- Gilded Cage: His prison by the Elder Gods amounts to his own planet to rule, full of human worshipers.
- Grim Up North: This Old One tends to haunt Alaska and Siberia.
- I Love You, Vampire Son: Wants Armandra to join him as his ally since he suffers terminal loneliness.
- Leave No Witnesses: Anyone who sees Ithaqua is bound to be hunted down by him.
- Mars Needs Women: Ithaqua attempts to reproduce with humans, apparently so his children would have his powers, but not be imprisoned by the Elder Gods.
- Physical God: Is as close to this as exists in the Lumleyverse.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Especially if that guy is one of the Great Old Ones.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Anything other than subarctic temperature bars him from movement.
- Wendigo: Ithaqua is known as this as well.
- Where Da White Women At?: A relic of Lovecraft's writing is Ithaqua prefers Caucasian human females to mate with.
Debut: "The Horror in the Museum", H. P. Lovecraft for Hazel HealdOriginally from Yuggoth, Rhan-Tegoth came to Earth millions of years ago, settling in what would become the arctic. However, Rhan went into hibernation and can't move without some outside aid. One of the more unfortunate Old Ones, as he got stuck being used as some statue in a museum. Physically, he's very tall, covered in small tentacles, has six serpentine appendages with black crab pincers, a three-eyed and gilled head, a globular torso, as well as a proboscis.
- Cosmic Keystone: One character believes if Rhan-Tegoth dies, the Great Old Ones will never return. Then again, said character wasn't exactly sane...
- Gods Need Prayer Badly: Apparently went into hibernation after his original followers abandoned him. Although, it's more due to that Rhan-Tegoth needs blood to sustain himself than prayer.
- Human Sacrifice: Played with, the blood of any living thing is sufficient to awake Rhan.
- Refuge in Audacity: What do you do with a monster that's been sleeping for eons? Stick him in a waxwork display!
- Wax Museum Morgue: The guy who found Rhan-Tegoth runs one of these. Subverted in that some of the statues were various horrors of the Mythos, instead of people.
See Titus Crow
Tsathoggua, AKA The Sleeper of N'kai
Debut: "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", Clark Ashton SmithOld One whose visage is that of a furry, huge toad. The Sleeper was born outside the solar system, where he immigrated with his family to Yuggoth and eventually making his way to Earth. He briefly resided under Mount Voormithadreth and is often mentioned in the Hyperborean Cycle. Tsathoggua currently resides in N'kai, deep under the Earth under red-lit Yoth. He is served by the Formless Spawn, black ooze capable of changing shape.
- Affably Evil: Surprisingly laid-back for an Eldritch Abomination.
- Animalistic Abomination
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dysfunctional Family: Humorously for a cosmic monster, Tsathoggua has a number of family members. Some of which want to eat each other.
- Evil Sorcerer: The patron of these back in Hyperborea (The Smith one), including the infamous Eibon.
- Mundane Made Awesome: He's a giant, furry toad from space with magical powers.
- Muck Monster: The Formless Spawn.
- Oh, Crap!: Was once a popular deity among the K’n-yani. When they discovered N'kai and some horrid things down there, they quickly removed any imagery or worship of the toad.
- Portal Door: The titular The Door to Saturn was given by the Toad as a gift.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore:
- The Parchments of Pnom, which chronicles the genealogy of Tsathoggua and several Great Old Ones. Unlike some other examples, it's not notably dangerous.
- The Book of Eibon (aka the Liber Ivonis), which told of the adventures of the titular Hyperborean wizard. Ebion also recorded Tsathoggua's secrets and rituals in the book.
Debut: "The Curse of Yig"The half-human "Father of Serpents", this Old One is the patron of snakes. May have been the inspiration for the Aztec Quetzalcoatl, Yig was worshiped in North America by Plains tribes and the K'n-yani. Very impulsive and tyrannical, but beneficial to that kind to his "children".
- Animalistic Abomination: Represented as a semi-anthropomorphic serpent.
- "Instant Death" Radius: Done in the Call of Cthulhu RPG, where his poison will instakill if it touches bare skin.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Do anything bad to his children, Yig torments the transgressor and mutates them into a snake-like creature.
- Papa Wolf: Yig loves his snakes. Just don't do anything to them.
- Swallowed Whole: Also from the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
First Mention: "Out of the Ages", Lin Carter
Debut: "The Thing in the Pit", Lin CarterThe second son of Cthulhu, resembling a really large humanoid frog with a single eye. Imprisoned in the Abyss of Yhe by the Elder gods. In ancient Mu, he had a cult led Zanthu. Served by the Yuggs, giant things resembling white flatworms.
Debut: "Cold Print", Ramsey CampbellTrapped behind some wall somewhere, the Defiler is the Old One of Squick. His earthly manifestation is that of a fat, headless body with mouths on its hands. Typically seeks out closet perverts, offering them to become his servants in exchange to experience their sick desires.
- Brown Note: Merely reading his name in the right context is enough to summon him.
- Depraved Bisexual: Implied to go as far as Extreme Omnisexual, although this may be a way of satisfying the needs of his respective hosts.
- Did You Just Romance Cthulhu?: Although "romance" might not be the best way to put it.
- Fat Bastard: In his "human" form.
- God of Evil: Because those with hidden deviations and obsessions are easier to control, he has essentially adopted the role of their god.
- I'm a Humanitarian: He eats people with his Power Palms.
- Manipulative Bastard: He knows how to manipulate people.
- Power Palms: Its mouths are on its palms, which consume people.
- Serial Killer: Gravitates toward these.
- Speak of the Devil: In some cases, simply reading his name is enough to summon him.
- Squick: In-universe example. It's telling that not even the servants of Cthulhu will talk about "the Violator".
- The Unfettered: He will, quite literally, do anything to escape his prison.
Zhar and Lloigor, AKA The Twin Obscenities
Debut: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn", August Derleth and Mark SchorerOriginally from Arcturus, these two horrors now inhabit the Plateau of Sung, in the underground city of Alaozar. Both appear to be extremely large masses of tentacles, of which Lloigor has wings. Both are served by the Brotherhood of the Star Threader, a cult of Tcho-tcho.
Another child of Cthulhu. Said to has a cone-shaped body with Tyrannosaurus rex-like head, with hair-like tentacles and four thick pseudopods as a mane.
Debut: "The Bells of Horror", Henry KuttnerA winged humanoid of the Great Old Ones, who hates light. For the Mutsune tribe of California, it is a god of Death.
- Dark Is Evil: It really hates light, and is always accompanied by darkness.
- Enemy to All Living Things: It's cursed bells drives anyone, human and animal alike, in close proximity to insanity.
- For Doom the Bell Tolls: Literally with the titular "Bells of Horror". When those bells ring, it summons Zushakon.
- Gods Of Evil
- Ultimate Evil: It is never seen, either because it's too dark... or people have already clawed out their eyes.
Outer Gods in General
Entities of the Mythos who operate on a cosmic scale, and tend to be far more powerful than most Great Old Ones. The Outer Gods are related to natural forces, such as Radiation, Time, or Childbearing. This classification originated in the Call of Cthulhu RPG and recently has been used within Mythos literature.
- Aliens Are Bastards: While some of them are not as horrible as others, as a whole the Outer Gods are either jerkish or apathetic. The only exception is Azathoth and its coterie, and that's only because they are mindless.
- Always a Bigger Fish: As if the giant squid-headed horror and headless fat pervert weren't bad enough, these guys are far more powerful and dangerous.
- Blue and Orange Morality: If they even have morality, it is utterly beyond human comprehension. The only exception, of course, being Nyarlathotep.
- Complete Immortality: Due to their transcendent nature, the Outer Gods are pretty much impossible to kill permanently.
- Eldritch Abomination: The biggest examples in the Mythos.
- Evil Is Bigger: In physical form, most of these cosmic entities tend to be larger than even the Great Old Ones.
- The Old Gods: The oldest of them all.
- Physical God: Outer Gods that manifest with physical avatars qualify.
- Reality Warper: All of them are all-powerful, all-knowing cosmic entities. Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep in particular use these powers very often.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Zig-Zagged. Like the Great Old Ones, it depends on the writer whether or not these Outer Gods are really supernatural.
- Time Abyss: All of them are impossibly ancient, older than space and time itself.
Azathoth, AKA The Daemon Sultan
Debut: "Azathoth"The most powerful entity in the main canon (the other candidate, Yog-Sothoth, is implied), Azathoth is a mindless, formless being of unlimited power that may have created the universe, which it dwells at the center, with a coterie of (relatively) minor deities that serve as its "entertainment." Described as ultimate chaos. Lovecraft meant this deity to embody the mindless yet unbendable forces of physics- particularly the uncertainty of quantum physics.
- Almighty Idiot: He's the most powerful being in all of reality. He also has no mind to think with.
- The Anti-God: Possibly the closest thing to one as described by theologian C. S. Lewis, he has no intelligence, personality, autonomy, and in fact, the only thing that doesn't fit in Lewis's description is that he actually exists.
- "Before" and "After" Pictures: Done in Campbell's "The Insects from Shaggai", where the protagonist sees an image of Azathoth before it became insane. The Daemon Sultan once looked like a multi-legged clam, with cylinders for appendages, a mouthless face, and black hair. The narrator also sees the "After" picture...
- Deadly Decadent Court: Of a decidedly bizarre sort.
- Deus Ex Nukina: Literally, since Azathoth is said to be related to radioactivity, and can be supposedly summoned using fissionable materials. It's even theorized that its physical presence was the Big Bang.
- Expy: Editor Robert Price thinks it is one for MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI from The Gods of Pegana, and indeed Lovecraft has mentioned in letters that he got ideas for his "Other Gods" (his term for what later became the Outer Gods) from that book. The Malleus Monstrorum sourcebook even makes MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI another of Azathoth's names.
- The Ghost: At least in Lovecraft's stories, Azathoth was only referred to (though it is possible that he was intended to appear in the unfinished story of the same name). Some other writers have shown a bit more, but very few have actually had the nerve to have their protagonist come face-to-face with it.
- God Is Evil: The "nuclear chaos" and "daemon sultan" at the center of the universe, the Outer God Azathoth is often interpreted as this. Judging from Azathoth's literary inspiration, Mana-Yood-Sushai, it seems that Azathoth has the power to end everything in the universe, including all the other eldritch horrors, Latter but for now just chooses not to. And considering Nyarlathotep is its messenger, it would seem likely that Azathoth is also malevolent.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Lovecraft described Azathoth as The Nuclear Chaos. At the time, "nuclear" referred to something in the center, as in nucleus. As time went on, "Nuclear" became associated with atomic energy and weapons. Later writers took advantage of this, and made Azathoth the patron of radiation.
- King of All Cosmos: One of the weirdest supreme beings out there. Even in the Mythos, it's referred to as "blind idiot god" since it is mindless, and one must be a blind idiot to worship it.
- Mad God: The Blind Idiot.
- Magical Flutist: The Servitors of the Outer Gods, who play flutes and drums to Azathoth. Needless to say, the music likely isn't pleasant to human ears.
- Obliviously Evil: Comes of being utterly mindless.
- Ominous Floating Castle: Replace "Castle" with "Throne", and instead of floating in the air, it floats in the center of the universe.
- Primordial Chaos: Lovecraft called it "Ultimate Chaos". Later authors made Azathoth an inversion: It wasn't always ultimate chaos. It became that way after losing its mind.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Occurs in the Arkham Horror board game when Azathoth is summoned.
- The Scottish Trope: "Azathoth" is a pseudonym. Its real name is (thankfully) unknown.
- Top God: Unlike Yog-Sothoth, his role as this in the Cthulhu Mythos is absolute.
- Truly Single Parent: If you can call it reproduction, Azathoth reproduced by fission, producing offspring who were hermaphroditic. These "androgynes" also count as this, as they oddly did not need any aid for reproduction.
- The Tunguska Event: One of its children, a Spawn of Azathoth, is responsible for this.
- Ultimate Evil: Played with. Azathoth is an insanity-inducing, blasphemous horror, but it's more due to being an insane chaos than being evil.
Debut: Secrets of Japan, Michael DzielinskiYes, that Buddha. It dwells in Nirvana, which is actually the court of Azathoth at the center of all reality (Azathoth, being the Blind Idiot god, is unaware of the Buddha), and is in some ways Azathoth's (much less powerful) opposite.
- Blue and Orange Morality: The Buddha is noted as being partial to "helping" humanity through the offer of Enlightenment. However, attaining Enlightenment in the Buddhist sense constitutes slowly losing your humanity (in game terms, your Mythos score increases and your Sanity decreases permanently, although you can pass as somewhat sane in polite company). Enlightened people who join with the Buddha are no longer even remotely human in a psychological sense.
- Canon Immigrant: Another fellow from the Call of Cthulhu RPG.
- Enlightened Antagonist: It is the original Buddha, after all.
- Humanoid Abomination: The Buddha doesn't have tentacles, wings, or other such weirdness. You still don't want to meet it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Tends to be the Buddha's sole method of attack/self-defense.
Debut: Genealogical chart of the Elder Gods, Clark Ashton SmithAn Outer God that is a direct spawn of Azathoth formed by fission. Cxaxukluth shares similar traits with Azathoth in terms of its physical experience.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: the Great old ones tied to Cxaxukluth, including Tsathoggua fled from their settlement on Yuggoth due to Cxaxukluth's cannibalistic tendencies, Tsathoggua also inherited the Outer God's appetites.
- Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Like Azathoth, it produces offspring through fission.
- The Dreaded: Feared by Great Old Ones and Outer Gods alike for its appetites for Eldritch Flesh.
- Had To Be Sharp: In a universe like the Cthulhu Mythos, a Shart-stain fragment of the Daemon Sultan needed to get powerful in order to survive, It is most likely that it grew in power by consuming lesser beings and kept building in power until it was strong enough to casually munch on the unspeakable horrors that make the setting the bleak cosmos it's known for.
- I Am A Humanitarian: Is this towards its Eldritch brethren.
- No Biological Sex: shares both male and female characteristics, and yet does not Procreate using human sexual reproduction.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Smaller than most Outer Gods, enough to inhabit a cave on Yuggoth (which is Pluto by another name) and strong enough to overpower other eldritch horrors and consume them.
- Took a Level in Badass: Had to do this in order to survive in the Cthulhu Mythos.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: "The Supplication Of Cxaxukluth" a prayer from the Book of Eibon.
Daoloth, AKA The Render of Veils
Debut: "The Render of the Veils", Ramsey Campbell.Extradimensional Outer God who appears to humans as a strange geometrical jumble. Seeing it in person would drive a man to madness. Despite its alien nature and the dangers inherent in summoning it, however, Daoloth is actually one of the Mythos deities least inimical to humanity.
- Another Dimension: Daoloth can send others into these.
- Ascended Extra: Campbell is currently at work on a trilogy of novels featuring him, called appropriately enough The Three Births of Daoloth.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Can be summoned to grant a wish, which in one instance is used to show the true nature of reality. It doesn't go so well.
- Sinister Geometry: Not intentionally, but Daoloth is dangerous to contact.
- Summoning Artifact: The image of Daoloth is needed to contact him, as well as some sort of black plastic pentacle to hold him. You do NOT want to botch the pentacle part.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Daoloth's images are difficult enough for human eyes to perceive. Also, be careful when The Render reveals how reality itself really appears.
Ghroth, AKA The Harbinger
Debut: "The Tugging", Ramsey CampbellA red-brown planet sized Outer God that travels space. When he approaches a world, it awakens the local Great Old Ones which leads to a planet's demise.
- Bad Moon Rising: So bad it ends worlds.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Has a single, gigantic eye. No planet should have a literal eye.
- Herald: It's coming is a sign of bad things to come. In "The Tugging" the appearance of Ghroth is what drives the story's protagonist to investigate his past.
- Hidden in Plain Sight: How does anyone not freak out when a world-sized Old One approaches a world? Ghroth simply keeps its eye closed.
- That's No Moon!: Might as well be the "Death Star".
Nyarlathotep, AKA The Crawling Chaos
Debut: NyarlathotepThe heart and soul of the Outer Gods, messenger of Azathoth. The most human of the Outer Gods, and indeed, among all the horrors. Perhaps not-coincidentally the most malevolent. Has many "Masks"—avatars that range in different shapes and forms. The most common visage is that of a tall, dark (so much so that his skin is usually described as literally black) man with a regal appearance.
- Ancient Egypt: Where it originally was worshiped (at least by humanity), gaining the suffix -hotep. However, The Mighty Messenger Mask was so evil that Egyptians forbade its cult. On the other hand, the Black Pharaoh Mask looks like the idealized king of this period, and maybe the one form that isn't outright frightening.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Gnarly is the soul of the Outer Gods. Another hypothesis is that Nyarlathotep is the physical embodiment of the Great Old Ones' telepathic powers.
- Big Bad: Probably the best contender. As he does not operate on Blue and Orange Morality and fully understands human morality; said understanding he uses to torment mankind.
- Black Sheep: Unlike the rest of the Outer Gods, (and most Eldritch Abominations in general) Nyarlathotep is NOT Above Good and Evil. By human standards, that is.
- Character Filibuster: His speech to Randolph Carter and the end of "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" goes on for several paragraphs on end. In the audio version, it goes on for seventeen minutes. This is all the more notable for being the only moment in the story in which anyone at all speaks—at all other times it is narrated that communication takes place.
- The Chessmaster: More or less the greatest example of this in the Mythos.
- Dark Is Evil: His Masks tend to invoke darkness and the color black, such as Haunter from the Dark, Black Wind and many others. Even his human Masks tend to be colored black, see Scary Black Man below.
- Deal with the Devil: He will try to sucker you into one if he simply doesn't try to gruesomely murder you. The latter is usually preferable unless you don't mind what dealing with a malicious, all-powerful god can lead to.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A relatively new addition to the Mythos, Yhoundeh, his wife. And considering Nyarlathotep is the only cosmic horror who doesn't have Blue and Orange Morality, this is probably a straight example.
- Everything's Better with Samurai: Aku-Shin-Kage, a Mask that plagues Japan. Looks like an armored samurai, but its face is covered in mouths. Can also take normal human look, which was Oda Nobunaga in the past, but usually a businessman in the present.
- Evil Is Petty: Compared with Cthulhu's continent-destroying and Ghroth's world-shattering, Nyarlathotep is pretty petty in his schemes. This is likely intentional.
- Fighting a Shadow: All of Nyarlathotep's physical forms are merely avatars. Being the personification of the soul of the Outer Gods, he may not have a true form at all.
- Flaming Devil: Nyarlathotep's avatar as the overlord of the Dreamlands is an extremely attractive youth in a sparkly robe and jewelry—a "real flamboyant dude," to quote the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: He's one of the few gods in the pantheon to even bother taking one, because he enjoys manipulating humans as much as simply driving them to madness.
- Gambit Roulette: Justified in this case, it's perfectly reasonable to assume he actually knows and engineer all possible outcomes.
- Giant Flyer: His ''Haunter from the Dark'x avatar, summoned via the Shining Trapezohedron is described as a winged creature—often portrayed as a monstrous bat—with a single "three-lobed burning eye".
- God of Evil: Very much so. Since he is the heart and soul of the Outer Gods, there is more or less nothing in the Mythos that can stop him from doing anything he wants. On top of that he is tormenting people not out of any necessity or reason besides enjoyment.
- Have a Gay Old Time: In Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, he is described as being "resplendent in gay, prismatic robes". The fact that he's described as being tall, slim, and boyish-faced doesn't help.
- Herald: For the Outer Gods.
- Humanoid Abomination: Usually, Gnarly appears with human-ish avatars—although even among those, few won't drive to madness or outright kill a person.
- Formulaic Magic: The Kruschtya Equation—a complex mathematical formula. Whoever solves it is possessed by Gnarly.
- Gender Bender: He has used several female Masks, including the Bloated Woman and the Queen in Red. These female appearances tend to be used in Mythos-derived works, such as Ow, my sanity, Demonbane and Haiyore! Nyarko-san.
- Light Is Not Good: The White Man, an angelic-looking blond man with white robes.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: The Black Pharaoh, an Egyptian pharaoh wearing a brightly colored robe. Also, The Mighty Messenger.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Howler in the Dark is capable of shapeshifting and can impersonate other people.
- Humans Are Bastards: To a degree. The Outer God best in touch with the human sense of morality and yet, also by far one the most reprehensible.
- I Have Many Names: In addition to all its Masks, Gnarly has a number of titles: Crawling Chaos, Black Messenger of Karneter, Lord of the Desert, etc.
- Intrigued by Humanity: Of the Outer Gods, he interacts the most directly with humanity, although his interest is mostly portrayed as being sadistic in nature. Going by the usual metaphor of humanity being like ants to the Outer Gods, then Nyarlathotep can be likened to a cruel kid who loves to torment the ants by burning them with a magnifying glass.
- Ironic Name: Hotep means 'be content' or 'be reconciled' or 'at peace'. Needless to say it isn't a very accurate description of him.
- It Amused Me: Seems to be his reason for everything he does. He is all-powerful and can make people worship him if he wants to, but he uses propaganda and manipulates people into worshiping him instead. He can destroy the human race whenever he wants but he would rather trap one in a Deal with the Devil and eventually Fate Worse Than Death.
- Jerkass Gods: And this itself is a MAJOR understatement.
- Keeper of Forbidden Knowledge: Knows a lot about science and horrible secrets, and will provide answers... for a price.
- Mad Scientist: Lovecraft presents Nyarlathotep as this in the eponymous poem.
- Mouth of Sauron: His official role as Herald of the Outer Gods.
- Name's the Same: In-universe example with the "Black Pharaoh", which could refer to the avatar or to the pharaoh Nephren-Ka. It could just be that Nephren-Ka was called that because of his evil acts, or taken up the title to enhance his power. Or, as some speculate, Nephren-Ka was really Nyarlathotep all along.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Has a friendly conversation with Randolph Carter in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, though it's just to trick him.
- Official Couple: According to Clark Ashton Smith, the elk-goddess Yhoundeh is Nyarlathotep's wife.
- Only Sane Man: He is the only one among the group of all-powerful, all-knowing eldritch entities that actually have any mind to think with. Justified since he is that group's living embodiment of consciousness.
- Our Monsters Are Different: When not outright Eldritch Abominations, his non-human Masks tend to look like various things.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: The Dweller in Darkness can create wind-like sounds (even when there is no wind) and strange cries at night.
- The Blank: The Dark One.
- Our Demons Are Different: The Black Demon and Dark Demon are traditional versions: black, furry, and snouted beasts. The Haunter from the Dark is a bat-like thing with a three-lobed eye.
- Hostile Weather: Yes, the "Crawling Chaos" even manifests as weather, such as the Crawling Mist, Black Wind, and Messenger of the Old Ones.
- Kaiju: The Bloody Tongue.
- Living Statue: The Faceless God and The Beast masks are these of The Sphinx.
- Mechanical Monster: The Tick Tock Man, in which he appears as a mechanical being. Could range from Clockwork Creature to Artificial Intelligence.
- Revision: L'rog'g (a twin-headed bat worshiped on Uranus) and Shugoran (The Black Man with a Horn) had no connection to Gnarly in the works they appeared in. Latter RPG material changed it so they were his avatars.
- Sadist: You wouldn't exactly want to be friends with a guy whose pastime consists of terrorizing humans for his amusement.
- Satanic Archetype:
- A messenger (which is what the word "angel" means) for Azathoth who's shown to have resentment for the Outer Gods, one of few truly evil figures in the mythos, and a supreme manipulator. Yeah, Gnarly's the closest thing to the Devil, if not worse.
- The Arkham Witch coven believed that The Black Man was the fallen angel. Whether or not this was intentional on Nyarlathotep's part or its what the witches just assumed is unknown.
- Scary Black Man: How his human avatars tend to appear. Although it should be noted that it's usually just the color of his skin (as in pitch-black) instead of overall physiognomy.
- Summoning Artifact: The Shining Trapezohedron, which calls the Haunter from the Dark Mask.
- The Trickster: A very evil incarnation of it, especially in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
- Troll: He's somewhere between this and The Gadfly. A lot of his actions can be summed up as "he loves to meddle into human affairs without directly harming them."
- Unperson: The Egyptians took great lengths to remove any and all reference to Gnarly, though a few cults remained.
- Villains Blend in Better: It helps that his Masks include several human(ish) forms, however. He's been known to impersonate other people as well before revealing his true nature. He could be anyone.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: "... pray to all space that you may never meet me in my thousand other forms."
Shub-Niggurath, AKA The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
First Mentioned: "The Last Test"Outer God of fertility. One of the most worshiped of the Mythos entities, she is revered by the Mi-go, K'nyani, and human cults past and present, among others. While never described directly in Lovecraft's tales, Shubby is often portrayed as a cloud with constantly changing hooves and tendrils. Notably, she is Cthulhu's grandmother.
- Affably Evil: Seemingly one of the least apathetic of the Outer Gods, a goddess of fertility who looks after her cultists. It's not as if anyone but her cultists would want her attention, however.
- The Ageless: Can confer Biological Immortality to followers/sacrifices by ingesting them, and being reborn through her. The catch is, the person's body is horribly transformed into something unspeakable, which inspired (but not like) Fauns and Satyrs.
- The Cameo: Most notably in Quake.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Shub-Niggurath looks like anything but a goat.
- Explosive Breeder
- The Ghost: Lovecraft himself only referred to her and vaguely hinted at her character in his stories (most memorably "The Whisperer in Darkness", where the Mi-Go were shown to worship her). It was through later writers that her true nature was revealed.
- Hermaphrodite: Also has been called The Black Ram of The Forest With a Thousand Ewes, so Shub-Niggurath may have a male aspect as well. Then again, considering the Outer Gods are beyond human comprehension, giving "gender" to one would be problematic.
- Love Goddess: Probably the closest thing the Mythos has to one, and even then it just may be interested in fertility.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: Trope Namer. (The horrible cloud with tendrils and mouths in that trope's image? That's her.)
- Mutagenic Goo: Some RPG materials have Shub-Niggurath producing a substance known as "Mother's Milk" that can cause radical biological changes in whoever ingests it.
- Official Couple: With Hastur. And Yog-Sothoth.
- The Smurfette Principle: Out of all Lovecraft's Old Ones, Shubby is the only one explicitly mentioned to be "female".
- When Trees Attack: The Dark Young, which look like leafless trees with hooves. Its branches are actually tentacles.
Debut: "The Festival"An obscure god who appears on Earth as a pillar of green flame that casts no shadow, produces venomous verdigris wherever it burns and radiates the clamminess of death and corruption rather than warmth.
- Cold Flames: Literally, the green flames that Tulzscha casts lower heat, rather than emitting heat.
- Elemental Embodiment: Like Cthauga and Aphoom-Zhah, is an elemental outer god that manifests as a living ball or pillar of flames. However, the precise element is unknown; while there are implications that he is some manner of ice elemental like Aphoom-Zhah (the "clammy flames"), it's just as likely that Tulzscha is instead better classed as a poison or radiation elemental.
- Retcon: In The Festival, neither Tulzscha nor his servant monsters are named. Call of Cthulhu RPG named him, and the monsters are stated to be Byakhee.
- Technicolor Fire: Described as a "sickly, eerie green" shade.
Debut: "The Caller of The Black", Brian LumleyAn obscure Mythos entity; a gigantic, female, humanoid with detached eyes and clad in a great green cloak. Watching the universe revolve around her, she sees everything at the same time. Has great wisdom, only surpassed by Yog-Sothoth.
- Alien Blood: The Black, Yibb-Tstll's ebon-hued ichor. Adding to the strangeness is that the blood is not fluid, but appears like snowflakes.
- Bloody Murder: The Black can be used as by sorcerers to attack and destroy their enemies. It does involve a complicated ritual to do. Not to mention the spell could be reversed.
- Covered in Gunge: Any victim of The Black is covered head to toe in the stuff.
- Multiboobage: It has innumerable breasts, from which Nightgaunts feed.
- The Omniscient: Knows a lot since she sees the universe revolve around her.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Cthäat Aquadingen, which hold details how to dream of Yibb, call The Black, or even summon the Ancient One! However, there's always some danger.
Yog-Sothoth, AKA The Key and the Gate
- Affably Evil: At least in the form of Tawil at-'Umr, in an Above Good and Evil way.
- Demoted to Extra: Lovecraft originally referred to his loose Mythos as the "Yog-Sothoth Cycle." Most people tend to forget this.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Yes, you did, Randolph Carter, with Cthulhu's grandpa. Yes, you did.
- Extra Eyes: Another portrayal of Yog-Sothoth is having many eyes on stalks.
- Evil Sorcerer: Yog serves as the patron of these.
- Fartillery/Gasshole: Yog-Sothoth. "By a Stench, ye shall know Him..." At the end of The Dunwich Horror, it lets out a shockwave of foul air so powerful it knocks trees over.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Tawil at-'Umr.
- Gate of Truth
- God Is Evil: About as far up in the pantheon as Azathoth and just as bad.
- Interspecies Romance: Oh, those Whateleys!
- Light Is Not Good: Yog's avatar Aforgomon, who appears with a blinding flash, and only shows up when angered.
- God of Good: Aforgomon is considered to be sacred to the folk of Hestan.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Cthulhu, who is his high priest and grandson.
- The Omnipresent: This... thing exists simultaneously in all of space and time, yet also transcends it.
- Omniscient Morality License: Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
- Ret Gone: Aforgomon does this to particular offenders such as those who screw up space and time by using Xexanoth's power. Instead of wiping them outright, the avatar speeds up the normal process of oblivion. Instead of years, people slowly forget the victim and any record eventually fades away in weeks.
- Space Master: Helps that Yog is space-time.
- Sphere of Destruction: Literally in this case. Physical contact with Yog-Sothoth leads to serious injuries.
- Threshold Guardians: Tawil at-'Umr serves as this before anyone passes The Ultimate Gate.
- Time Master: Goes without saying.
- Top God: Possibly shares this role with Azathoth, certainly has the powers to back it up.
- Ultimate Evil: Maybe.
- Void Between the Worlds: Despite being space and time, at the same time Yog is kept "outside" it as well.
- You Can Not Grasp The True Form: Transcending space and time, Yog can only be seen as a series of spheres to humans.
Elder Gods in General
Entities of the Mythos who oppose the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones. While helpful to humanity, they're still just as prone to Blue and Orange Morality, at least in theory.
Mythos Debut: The Call of Cthulhu RPGBased off the mythological goddess of the same name, Bast is the Elder God of Cats. Was classified as Elder God in the Call of Cthulhu, since Lovecraft was rather fond of felines. Bast was also used in several Mythos tales by Robert Bloch. The story of The Cats of Ulthar is also tied to her in the Call of Cthulhu. For further details, check out the Egyptian Mythology Character sheet.
Debut (?): "Hypnos"Another deity appropriated from Mythology, this time from Greece. Listed as an Elder God of sleep in Call of Cthulhu, and as such Lord of Dreams. Other than that, little is known of this being.
- Calling Card: Apparently leaves behind statues of himself.
- Depending on the Writer: Hypnos being an Elder God comes from the Call of Cthulhu game. The original short story is told from a questionable perspective, so it's not clear if Hypnos even existed.
- The Ghost: In Lovecraft's short tale "Hypnos", the character's friend fears something that the narrator or reader never sees. In fact, Hypnos is almost never depicted in any artwork, except only as a marble bust.
- Pillar of Light: If for some unknowable reason a dreamer attracts his attention, Hypnos will seek that person out, and pull them up in a golden light.
See Titus Crow
Nodens, AKA The Lord of the Abyss
Debut: "The Strange High House in the Mist"Named after an obscure Celtic deity, Nodens is unusual in that his main apparition is an old man. Apparently, a great hunter, seeking out the servants of the Great Old Ones. Typically seen riding in a seashell chariot drawn by fantastic beasts. Opposes Nyarlathotep.
- Anti-Villain: Described as almost friendly to the humans he speaks with. He also apparently has a strong dislike for Nyarlathotep.
- Cool Old Guy: What he appears to be (In any case, he is old).
- Egomaniac Hunter: He hunts the servants of Nyarlathotep and other horrors. But not because Nodens cares for humanity, but because the Great Old Ones provide the best sport.
- Humanoid Abomination: He may look like an old man, but he is just as eldritch as the others.
- Shout-Out: To The Great God Pan, where the name Nodens is briefly mentioned.
- You Can Not Grasp The True Form: Possibly; considering how alien the cosmos is, it's unlikely Nodens actually looks human. It may be he's taking such an anthropomorphic shape as a courtesy.
Vorvadoss, AKA The Troubler of Sands
Debut: "The Invaders", Henry KuttnerLesser known Elder God who appears in the writings of Henry Kuttner. Sometimes appears as a cloaked, hooded being, enveloped in green flames, with fiery eyes. He may otherwise appear as a misty, silvery being with an inhuman face.
Xexanoth, AKA the Lurking Chaos
Debut: "The Chain of Aforgomon", Clark Ashton SmithThe "chief cosmic power" hostile towards time, known on the world of four suns named Hestan. Not considered an Elder God properly, its nature makes it opposed to at least one Outer God.
- Arch-Enemy: To Aforgomon, Lord "of the minutes and the cycles" and avatar of Yog-Sothoth.
- Gods Of Evil: To the priests of Aforgomon since its effects on time causes the logical cycles of nature to go slightly out of whack.
- Time Master: As the bane of sequential time, the Lurking Chaos can cause people and entire planets to relive a moment in their past.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Using its power is considered too blasphemous, even for evil sorcerers. As one in The Chain of Aforgomon points out:"Gladly would I help you... animate her still unwithered body and draw it forth from the tomb. But that which you purpose is another matter. You alone must perform the ordained rites, must speak the necessary words: for the consequences of this thing will be direr than you deem."
Other Creatures in General
Various monsters and aliens. Some act as servants of the Great Old Ones, while others are relatively independent.
Debut: "The House on Curwen Street", August DerlethBeings that live in interstellar space, noted for their "great wings". Capable of traveling interstellar distances, they can be summoned to be used as transports. Just remember to take some Space Mead or a space suit, since you still need some sort of protection against the cold vacuum. Servitors of Hastur.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: The Byakhee can. Not necessarily the people they carry.
- Magical Library / Great Big Library of Everything: At the Fungi From Yuggoth Call of Cthulhu supplement, the Library of Celaeno is infested with Byakhee, who make sure no one smuggles out any books.
- Giant Flyer
- Harping on About Harpies: Though never described in detail by Derleth, the mythological harpies were probably an influence on the author. Celaneo was the name of the Harpy Queen in The Aeneid.
- Speak of the Devil: Mentioned in the 1980 Dungeons & Dragons Deities and Demigods Cyclopedia, that Hastur sends Byakhee to kill whoever speaks his name.
Colour Out of Space
Debut: The Colour Out of SpaceCreature from outer space, whose visible manifestation is an unknown hue. Contact with earthly life leads to ... terrible fates.
- Came from the Sky: Mistaken for a meteor, or was catching a ride with one. Either way, it falls to Earth in its debut.
- Energy Beings: An early example.
- Fictional Color: When heated in a spectroscope, a meteorite that carried the Colour "displayed shining bands unlike any known colours of the normal spectrum". A globule inside the meteorite and vegetation grown in the area where the meteor fell also display the non-spectrum colors. The Colour monster itself is made up of these colors.
- Fisher Kingdom: The Blasted Heath, which was once a farm before everything began to mutate and turn into gray dust.
- Not of This Earth
- Science Cannot Comprehend Phlebotinum: Scientists studying the meteorite that the Colour comes down from are baffled by its properties.
- Starfish Aliens: Considered the most alien of all of Lovecraft's creatures. While some physical information and effects on Earthly life are known, nothing about the intentions or purpose of the Colour is. It's not even clear if the creature is intelligent or not.
- Underwater Ruins: The Blasted Heath, once the Arkham reservoir is built. Unfortunately, the plant life around the new water source has become rather twisted.
Debut: The Burrowers Beneath, Brian LumleySee Great Old Ones: Shudde M'ell
Debut: "Dagon" / The Shadow Over InnsmouthA giant, ocean-dwelling being. One of the less actively malicious beasties—apparently wants some peace and quiet more than bringing the world to an end. Not that that's going to help you if you accidentally enter his domain, though. The progenitor of the Deep Ones, a similarly isolationist underwater civilization of fish-people with a certain... interest in humanity. Physically, Deep Ones are humanoid, a cross of fish and frog, with grey-green skin, white bellies, webbed paws, and gilled necks.
- The Ageless: Can live forever, barring violence or accidents.
- Body Horror: The below-mentioned hybrids start out seemingly human. And then, after a few years, they start to mutate...
- Cult: The Esoteric Order of Dagon in Innsmouth, which the human collaborators of the Deep Ones use in worship and controlling the town.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: While not required for their reproductive methods, the Deep Ones can breed with humanity with they so want.
- Fish People: The Deep Ones.
- Giant Swimmer: Dagon and Mother Hydra.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Deep Ones can mate with humans to produce these. They can also procreate with dolphins to create hybrids.
- Kraken and Leviathan: Dagon and his mate, Mother Hydra.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: In-universe, the Deep Ones inspired the mermaid myth. The problem is, the reality is far more horrible.
- Slow Transformation: Deep One Hybrids, changing throughout their life.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Innsmouth.
- Underwater City: Several, such as the city of Y'ha-nthlei.
Elder Things, AKA Elder Ones
Debut: The Dreams in the Witch HouseAliens that once colonized Earth billions of years ago. They developed a highly advanced civilization, and they accidentally lead to life arising on Earth in the process of creating the shoggoths. They're described as a barrel-shaped body with a starfish-like head and feet. Featuring radial symmetry, they have five eyes, tentacles, wings, feeding tubes, and brain lobes.
- Ancient Astronauts: They're aliens who came to Earth eons before any natural life evolved. In fact, it's implied they begat all life on Earth. By accident.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Their city in the "Mountains of Madness".
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Subverted, the Elder Things could travel through deep space, but only by absorbing "certain chemicals". They eventually lose this knowledge, and end up trapped on Earth.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: At one point Dyer states that the aspects of their biology that make them so long-lived and resilient are probably beyond human understanding.
- Creating Life Is Unforeseen: Hinted that terrestrial life could be the unexpected consequence of the Elder Ones trying to grow food and Shoggoths.
- Disintegrator Ray: Used "curious weapons of molecular and atomic disturbances".
- Heroic Neutral: Long gone, for the most part, by modern times, but their enemies coincided with many of those that now trouble humanity. The narrators of the story in which they appear even compare them to human beings. They're also the only inhuman race Lovecraft portrayed with any kind of sympathy, explaining the frenzied murder of the researchers in At the Mountains of Madness as a hysterical reaction to unknown circumstances. Imagine waking up after sleeping for thousands of years and finding one of your kin dissected on a table.
- Made of Iron: Capable of living under deep sea pressures.
- Mysterious Antarctica
- No Biological Sex
- Plant Aliens: More like half-plant, half-animal aliens.
- Precursors: To all terrestrial life.
- Pride: In Pathfinder, this is noted as their biggest racial weaknesses. Elder Things keep making the same mistakes over and over, most notably recreating Shoggoths because each colony assumes it's superior to the ones who suffered such disasters in the past and surely it can keep things under control.
- Solar Sail: As a result of advances in science, later writers explained that the Elder Things used their wings as living solar sails.
- Starfish Aliens: Literally in this case, with the Elder Thing's radial physiology and starfish-shaped heads, though they are some of the more comprehensible aliens in the mythos.
- Unreliable Expositor: While studying their historical art, Dyer considers the possibility that the Old One’s history may be colored by their pride. The professor wonders if the alien masters of the Star-Spawn and Mi-go are mere mythological constructs to explain the Elder Thing’s defeats. It is also notable that their annals don’t mention the Yithians either.
- Vestigial Empire: After Shoggoth rebellions, wars against Cthulhu's spawn, the Great Race, and the Mi-go, and the cooling of Earth, the Elder Things are reduced to this.
Debut: "The Fire Vampires", Donald WandreiDescribed as a sphere of blue-flame, Fthaggua is similar to Cthugha. However, whereas Cthugha is imprisoned, Fthaggua is free and riding across the universe on the comet Ktynga. He is served by his Fire Vampires, which appear as red lighting. It's unknown if Fthaggua is a Great Old One or not, also if it has any relation to Cthugha.
- Comet of Doom: Ktynga, which houses a bunch of Fire Vampires.
- Hive Mind: Fthaggua and his Fire Vampires are described as such.
- Our Vampires Are Different: A radical example, although the basic synopsis is the same. Upon destroying a victim (akin to spontaneous combustion), the Fire Vampires absorbs both the lifeform's energy and memories.
- Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Averted with the Fire Vampires—they're red.
A species who colonized Earth and three other planets in the Solar System more than 600 million years ago. They built basalt cities of huge windowless towers. They warred with the Great Race of Yith until they were driven from the surface. The Great Race then sealed the entryways to the polyps' subterranean abode with trapdoors, which afterwards were diligently guarded. The polyps' cities were left abandoned, perhaps as a reminder of the horrors that dwelt below. Eventually, the polyps rose up and almost exterminated the Great Race, afterwards returning to their subterranean haunts. Having no conception of light, the polyps seem content to remain there, annihilating the few intruders that chance upon them. The entrances to their dwellings are mostly deep within ancient ruins where there are great wells sealed over with stone. Inside these wells still dwell the polyps.
- Aliens Are Bastards: To put it mildly with these creatures.
- Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Despite being called "flying" polyps, they have no wings or other apparent methods to keep them aloft. In fact, even though they levitate, they somehow leave behind five-toed radial footprints wherever they go.
- Bizarre Alien Psychology: Their minds are so strange that the Great Race of Yith can't use their Psychic Powers on them.
- Bizarre Alien Senses: They don't "see" like humans do, but they're able to sense what lies beyond material obstructions.
- Blow You Away: They can control and direct wind to use as a weapon.
- Great Offscreen War: They fought a war against the Great Race of Yith and were driven from colonizing the oceans by the Elder Things.
- Invisibility: They can turn themselves invisible, although it's somewhat negated by the whistling noises they make when they move.
- Nigh Invulnerablity: Since they're not made of ordinary matter, they're heavily resistant or even immune to most damage. They do have a weakness to electricity
- No Name Given: Lovecraft never gave their species a true name.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Great Race of Yith drove the Polyps underground and sealed their tunnels with trapdoors. This didn't stick and the Polyps managed to escape, slaughtering the Great Race. However, they also decided they liked it better underground.
- Starfish Aliens: They're not even made of the same matter as most other life.
- Take Our Word for It: The Great Race of Yith's records never really describe them in detail, only referring to them as horrible, evil creatures.
Weak gods of the Earth who reign over Earth's Dream Land. Not even remotely as powerful as the other Ancient Ones, although they are still worshiped in the Dreamlands. They appear to be similar to humanity and distinguished by certain facial features. For whatever reason, the Great Ones are protected by the Other Gods, which include Nyarlathotep. Not to be confused with the Great Old Ones.
- Big Fancy Castle: Their home on Kadath.
- Deface of the Moon: Carved on the hidden side of Mt. Ngranek is a portrait of the Great Ones. It proves to be an important plot point in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: While one can trick or go against the wishes of the Great Ones, the Other Gods will wreak their vengeance in retribution.
- Have You Seen My God?: It turns out to be the case for Randolph Carter. When he arrives at Kadath, he discovers the place is empty.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Maybe. In The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Nyarlathotep tells Randolph Carter how the Great Ones desire to abandon their godhood and live as normal humans in the waking world.
- Interspecies Romance: The younger Great Ones tend to go down to Earth in disguise and take human women as wives.
- Physical God: Rather limited ones at that, capable of being tricked by a mortal who is wise enough.
Great Race of Yith
Debut: The Shadow Out of TimeA highly intelligent race that lived on Earth long before humans. Their bodies consist of fleshy cones with four tendrils (two ended in pincers, one a mouth and one a pair of eyes) sticking out of the top. They ruled a portion of the Earth that includes what is now Australia when Cthulhu was active. They use psychic powers to leap from body to body across time. Their society is described as socialist and placing a high value on individual intelligence. The Great Race of Yith is wiped out in a war with the Flying Polyps but will be re-created in the future thanks to their time-traveling powers. Yithians come across as the closest thing to a "good" race out of the original Lovecraft critters.
- Badass Bookworm: one of the more (conventionally) intelligent races in the setting, and the Mi-Go and the Star Spawn of Cthulhu respected them.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: not unexpected considering the setting. They also reproduce by spores....
- Brain Uploading: Their specialty via their Psychic Powers. They actually escaped the destruction of their own world by uploading their minds en masse to the species of conical lifeforms they're now associated with, and then they did the same trick to escape into a far-flung future species to avoid being wiped out by the Flying Polyps.
- Commie Nazis: Their political system is referred to as "fascistic socialism." This is not used to mark them as evil, however.
- Grand Theft Me: Usually combined with the mental time travel mentioned below. Can be temporary for research purposes or permanent.
- Invading Refugees: The conical creatures and the Great Race are actually different entities. The real Great Race originated on the planet Yith, but mentally overwrote the minds of Earth's cone-creatures to avoid extinction. They then pulled off a time-travel variant to escape the war with the Flying Polyps.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Before reversing a temporary body swap, the 'guest' mind is stripped of its memories of its stay with the Yithians. As Professor Peaslee (of "The Shadow Out Of Time" fame) will attest, the process isn't always quite 100% effective.
- Lightning Gun
- No Biological Sex
- Psychic Powers
- Shock and Awe: The main weapon of the Yithian armies is a lighting-shooting device that looks like an old camera.
- Time Travel: Of the mental variety, and the source of the appellation "Great Race," as they were the only species to master it.
Debut: "Pickman's Model"Cannibal humanoids with rubbery skin, bony claws, and dog-like faces. They tend to live underground, lurking near graveyards.
- Changeling Tale: Ghouls are also known for kidnapping babies and replacing them with ghoul babies. Don't worry though, they just teach the abducted children how to become ghouls.
- Good All Along: Although presented as horrific, they are sometimes presented in a positive light, being loyal and helpful to some. Considering the Mythos being filled with unspeakable, apathetic horrors, Ghouls are one of the nicer species one can encounter. If one knows their language...
- Grave Robbing: The Ghouls probably call this "Grocery Shopping".
- I'm a Humanitarian: Played with, the Ghouls are known for eating corpses. Although sometimes, they do attack people.
- Monstrous Cannibalism: Traditionally, Ghouls would eat their wounded after a battle. However, Pickman has been trying to discourage this.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Dog-faced and clawed only adds to the macabre.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Cultes des Goules, which presumably dealt with Ghouls and their cults.
- Tunnel Network: Using these to move in both the Real and Dreaming worlds.
- Was Once a Man: Hanging out with Ghouls long enough can transform a human into one.
Debut: The Dream-Quest of Unknown KadathThe subterranean giants of Dreamlands. Gugs have vertical mouth, ran from the top to the bottom of the head, and each arm split at elbow into two forearms. Said to be banished to the Underworld by the Great Ones.
- Food Chain of Evil: Well, ghouls would argue that they're not really evil, especially compared to gugs, but ghouls and ghasts (the latter of which are degenerate, cannibalistic, Morlocks) make up the bulk of the gug food supply.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: They have four forearms attached to two upper arms.
- Our Giants Are Bigger
- To Serve Man: And since humans are rarely encountered in Dreamlands' Underworld, we're kind of legendary delicious.
Hounds of Tindalos
Debut: "The Hounds of Tindalos", Frank Belknap LongCreatures from the primordial past that are capable of traveling through time. They are only able to enter our dimension through angles.
- And Man Grew Proud: Due to some unspeakable act in near the primordial past, the Hounds became “foul” while normal life remained “pure”. The event itself was forgotten, but the myths such as The Fall from Genesis are allusions to this event.
- Alien Geometries: The Hounds are descended literally from angles. All natural life (including humans) are descended from curves. As a result, the monsters can enter anywhere and anytime there are angles. The only way to hide from the beasts is to be in a totally curved room.
- Clock Roaches
- The Ghost: The Hounds are never seen in the original story they debuted. They're only described as "hungry" and "foul" by one of the characters. As a result, the RPG books get very inventive with their descriptions. Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu describes them as resembling, basically, large shaggy hounds caked in thick blue toxic slime with elongated tongues they use for sucking blood. Pathfinder keeps the tongue but makes them huge-eyed, leathery-skinned, vaguely insectile quadrupeds, somewhat similar to the chupacabra.
- Hellhound: Described as this, but more for their ravenous, relentlessness hunger than for their physical appearance.
- Immortality: Theoretically they have Biological Immortality since no enzymes exist within the bodies of the Hounds.
- The Juggernaut: Once they catch the scent of someone, they will keep on hunting until they get their target.
Debut" "Hydra", Henry KuttnerA massive monster looking like an ocean of gray goop, upon which sit many heads—some human, but mostly alien. Thankfully it dwells in Another Dimension, but it has worshipers on Earth.Not to be confused with Mother Hydra.
- Alien Sea: Could be mistaken for one of these.
- And I Must Scream: Yeah, those heads? From the creature's victims. And they're still very well alive.
- Muck Monster
- Multiple Head Case: Technically, since all those heads are still conscious. Not played for laughs though.
- One Steve Limit: Averted; it shares its name with Mother Hydra, Queen of the Deep Ones.
- Power Parasite: Using it's victim's brains helps empower the being.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Not so much a book, but a pamphlet on "astral projection". It's really a Death Trap, allowing the Hydra to enter our universe.
Insects from Shaggai, AKA Shan
Debut: "The Insects from Shaggai", Ramsey CampbellExtraterrestrials that worshiped Azathoth. Although highly advanced, this species was also extremely decadent. The Shan are about the size of a pigeon, with leathery wings, large lidless eyes, ten legs with tentacles, six brain lobes, and three mouths.
- Asshole Victim: Their homeworld was destroyed when a celestial body (likely Ghroth) passed. Considering their extreme decadence, the Shan deserved it.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: As a form of ritual or entertainment.
- Futuristic Pyramid: The Insects' conical-shaped temples to Azathoth, which are not only capable of teleportation, but also have gateways that allow direct contact with "The Demon Sultan".
- Invading Refugees: Once their homeworld destroyed, some of the Insects keep on jumping from planet to planet until finally getting stuck on Earth.
- Intangible Man: Because of their affiliation with Azathoth, the Insects are able to phase through organic matter.
- Mass Teleportation : The Shan are well versed in teleportation technology, capable of transporting their temples across interstellar spaces.
- Oh, Crap!: Twice, often after discovering something disturbing on a planet they visited. And most likely the third time when they realize that Earth's atmosphere interferes with their temple's teleportation system.
- Puppeteer Parasite: With their phasing abilities, and in combination with their psychic powers, the Shan are able to infest and dominate humans.
- Slave Race: The Xiclotl, tall, meat-eating creatures, which the Shan conquered.
- When Trees Attack: To humans, they look like trees. Then they move...
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: the Massa di Requiem par Shuggay, an opera that tells of the Shan's travels. It's also impossible to perform, since Azathoth would be summoned midway through the second act. The result would be nightmarish.
- Weakened by the Light: Sol's electromagnetic radiation has an adverse effect on the Shan's metabolism.
Debut: The Mound, H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia BishopHuman-like inhabitants of the subterranean land of K’n-yan, a blue-lit cavern under Oklahoma. According to their legends, they came to Earth with Tulu (aka Cthulhu) and settled underground as the surface was uninhabitable. When R'lyeh sunk, the K’n-yani became isolationist and spent millions of years underground alone. They developed a virtuous high tech civilization, but then abandoned much of it to become a cruel hedonistic aristocracy. They worship a large number of Great Old Ones, Cthulhu and Yig being the most prominent.
- The Ageless: Having discovered the secret of Immortality, they have ceased to age.
- Animate Dead: The y’m-bhi—one of the many slave classes used. Reanimated by using nuclear power, many were other slaves who were used by the Old Ones for "entertainment". As a result, many are horribly mutilated.
- Astral Projection: Can dream themselves to visit distant places.
- Beneath the Earth: K’n-yan, with red-litten Yoth below, and dark N'Kai below that.
- City of Gold: In-universe, K’n-yan is the source of all the legends about El Dorado. It turns out that gold and other precious metals on the surface are merely the most common building metals underground.
- Disintegrator Ray
- Human Aliens: Very odd for a setting with very alien aliens. However, the Old Ones have the power to make themselves intangible at will thanks to their psychic powers.
- Humanoid Abomination: Gyaa-yoth—white beasts with black fur on their backs, little intelligence, a singe horn on the forehead, and vaguely humanoid shape. Despite their carnivorous nature, they're somewhat harmless. They're the result of crossbreeding slaves with reptilian beasts.
- The Fair Folk: The Old Ones have great powers, and amuse themselves by tormenting slaves and anyone who comes close to their surface entrances. Any outsider who enters K’n-yan can no longer leave. Visitors may be treated nicely (if lucky), but if they attempt to escape...
- Lost Technology: Once had an advanced industrialized culture. Then they merely abandoned machinery finding it unsatisfying.
- The Social Darwinist: The ruling class—apparently they rose to power when K’n-yan developed a democratic society. Thus rose the most intelligent, while workers became exhausted and were enslaved.
- Slave Race: The y’m-bhi and the gyaa-yothn. Along with them are a K’n-yani slave caste, some of which are classified as livestock.
- Telepathic Spacemen: Telepathy is their primary means of communication, verbal speech being abandoned save for rituals.
Debut: "The Return of the Lloigor", Colin WilsonVortexes of energy that once ruled the prehistoric continent of Mu. Originally from the Andromeda galaxy, they began to lose their power while on Earth, and eventually went into hibernation. Occasionally the Lloigor can take the form of flying reptiles. Servants of Ghatanothoa.Not to be confused with the Twin Obscenities, Zhar and Lloigor.
- The Cynic: Due to their alien psychology, the Lligor are extremely pessimistic. Humans may understand pessimism, these creatures live it.
- Energy Beings: Living whirlpools of psychic energy.
- Human Resources: Because of their weakened state, the Lloigor need to gather energy from sleeping, humans. The good news is that it just leaves a person temporarily drained.
- Mind over Matter: Capable of creating massive explosions and altering time with this power.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Their temporary psychical forms are likely the basis for Dragons, and why there are no remains of said creatures.
- Walking Wasteland: Near centers of Lloigor activity, the crime rate increases dramatically with increasingly more depraved activity.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: They will casually destroy any of their human servants if they even prove the slightest inconvenience.
Mi-go, AKA Fungi from Yuggoth
Debut: "The Whisperer in Darkness"Crab-like fungi aliens that come to earth for mining.
- Alien Abduction: In the Call of Cthulhu game, the Mi-Go are the ones who carry these out.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Some subspecies.
- Brain in a Jar: How other subspecies that can't breathe in space travel. Also fond of doing this to humans.
- Cool Gate: The Devil's Steps in the Severn Valley houses a portal to Yuggoth. Fortunately, a human can use the gate as it reconfigures the traveler to survive its destination. Unfortunately, Pluto houses things far worse than Mi-go...
- Grand Theft Me: They sometimes implant the brain of one of their kind in someone's skull.
- Hive Caste System: At least one sourcebook for the RPGs divides the Mi-Go into three castes: warriors, workers, and scientists.
- Lightning Gun: In the role-playing supplements The Stars Are Right! and Terror from the Stars describe the Mi-go as having Electric Rifles.
- Multiversal Conqueror: Potentially.
- Organic Technology: The Call of Cthulhu RPG has them using this.
- Plant Aliens: They seem to be made of some kind of fungus.
- That's No Moon!: Call of Cthulhu sourcebook Malleus Monstrorum mention how Mi-go harvest flesh of the Outer God Ubbo-Sathla and use it to construct a bio-mechanical super weapon capable of traveling through time and space, the living moon Charon AKA Pluto's moon.
Debut: The Dream-Quest of Unknown KadathThin, black humanoids with large wings, rubbery skin, and barbed tails. They are the servants of Nodens, and Brian Lumley had associated them with Yibb-Tstll.
- The Blank: Part of what makes them so unnerving is that they're so human-like... except for the total lack of a face.
- Giant Flyer: Nightgaunts tend to carry people away, and drop them in unwanted places. The Ghouls can also use them as mounts.
- Horrifying the Horror: Nightgaunts has this effect on Nyarlathotep's servants.
- Our Gargoyles Rock: They look much like the stereotypical gargoyle.
- Tickle Torture: Using their barbed tails, they tend to do this to the people they capture.
Debut: At the Mountains of MadnessVile gelatinous creatures bio-engineered by the Elder Things. They are massive, amorphous, with eyes floating on its tar-like body, and emits green light. They are able to create organs at will.
- Blob Monster: Shoggoths have no real shape. They can adjust their form into whatever is practical for a specific task, but usually, resemble large gelatinous blobs sometimes depicted with tentacles and/or multiple eyes and mouths.
- Dumb Muscle: Meant to be living construction equipment/servants.
- Extra Eyes: Usually are covered in eyes, absorbing and reforming them as needed to see whatever they can.
- Servant Race: Shoggoths were bred by the Elder-Things since in theory, they were the perfect servants, and who can blame them? Their capability to easily change shape as needed meant that they were capable of a nearly limitless variety of tasks. Unfortunately, that also made them formidable adversaries when they developed intelligence. The Deep Ones might also use Shoggoths (they were referred to in The Shadow Over Innsmouth), possibly with more success.
- Slave Race: After gaining intelligence, and after their first failed revolt, to the Elder Things. Others (such as the Deep Ones) also use them for their bidding.
- Turned Against Their Masters: Quite famously so. When they evolved intelligence enough to realize they were nothing but slaves to the Elder Things, they turned on them.
- Partial Transformation: Shoggoths are versatile shapeshifters, able to create any organ they need. However, the ability seems limited, as most Shoggoths appear to be a horrendous mishmash of organs and black goo.
- Squick: An in-universe example for Alhazred, who would not even mention Shoggoths unless he was high on drugs.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Capable of forming whatever organ it needs. Shoggoth Lords are better at this, able to imitate human beings.
Debut: The Dream-Quest of Unknown KadathElephantine bird-like creatures with scaly slimy skin, bat wings, two talons, and horse heads. They can be used as steeds, and serve Nyarlathotep and Ithaqua.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Also called Shantak-birds. Except for flying, these creatures have little in common with birds.
- Giant Flyer
- Horrifying the Horror: As servants of the Crawling Chaos, they're weak against Nightgaunts.
- Our Dragons Are Different: They can be described as slimy-skinned, horse-faced wyverns.
Star Vampires, AKA Shamblers from the Stars
Debut: "The Shambler from the Stars", Robert BlochMonsters from outer space that hunger for blood. If they're seen (never a good sight), they're a gelatinous mass with a huge mouth and talons, covered in trunk-like tentacles—each one ending in a sucker.
- Giggling Villain: Its presence is marked by mocking giggling sounds.
- Invisible Monsters: Totally invisible... until they feed.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Different form, but the basic principle is the same.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The De Vermis Mysteriis, or "The Mysteries of the Worm". Written by Ludwig Prinn (a 15th-century sorcerer), the book contains the secrets of summoning these creatures.
Debut: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn", August Derleth and Mark Schorer"Abominable humanoids", short and hairless, who serve the Great Old Ones. Their abode is in Burma, on the Plateau of Tsang (which is also an extension of Leng).
- Brain Food: "Bak bon dzhow" (mashed ganglia from human brains) is a Tcho-Tcho delicacy.
- Bald of Evil
- Depraved Dwarf: Basically their hat.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Descendants of humans who mated with the Miri Nigri, a species of dwarfs made from amphibian flesh by Chaugnar Faugn.
- Hillbilly Horrors: They live and carry out their perverse rituals in the depths of the Southeast Asian jungle, where few outsiders ever travel.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Human flesh is a dietary staple.
- Insanity Immunity: Call of Cthulhu has their SAN halved at birth, and it only gets worse from there.
- The Secret of Long Pork Pies: They even have restaurants that specialize in serving "ethnic cuisine" to unwitting outsiders.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Having migrated to America, the Tcho-Tcho had created crime syndicates to continue their "traditions".
- Town with a Dark Secret: In T.E.D. Klein's "Black Man With A Horn," a missionary goes to investigate the group:"... the nastiest people who ever lived ...They'd been living way up in those hills I don't know how many centuries, and whatever it is they were doing, they weren't going to let a stranger in on it."
- Yellow Peril: They're one of the most racist things to come out of the Mythos. Ironically, the degenerate cannibalism part was not inserted by the infamously racist Lovecraft; that characterization was introduced by the modern role-playing game.
Debut: "The Church in High Street", Ramsey CampbellImmaterial, white, jellylike flopping things. They are capable of creating portals to burial vaults, where they feed off a fungus growing off bodies. Affiliated with Yog-Sothoth, as sites of its worship attract their attention. Because of their lack of substance, they have to possess statues (or someone) for their ghastly deeds.
- Intangibility: At least in our reality.
- Festering Fungus: Leaves an alien fungus behind, though it doesn't seem to have any harmful effects (save for growing on people).
- Living Statue
- Puppeteer Parasite
- Reality Warper: A limited variant – the Herd can warp space to turn back on itself. So if a person wants to get away from a location, they always end up at that location no matter which direction they go! However, this power has a limited range.
- Temple of Doom: In Temphill of the Severn Valley there is a temple of Yog-Sothoth that exists in the same area as a local church. The Herd visits the Ancient Tomb located bellow, and the local cult goes there for worship.
Debut: "The Tower of the Elephant", Robert E. Howard.A green-skinned humanoid with the head of an elephant. Arriving from the planet Yag (located on the "outer fringe of this universe"), he and his fellows set up a colony on Earth long before humanity appeared. In fact, 'Kosha is so long-lived he's witnessed humanity's rise, the sinking of Atlantis and Lemuria, and lived onto the Hyperborean Age, where it was worship in Khitai. Sadly, the alien became the last of his kind on Earth, and eventually became a prisoner of an evil wizard.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Was the victim of this, leaving him crippled and blinded.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Yag-Kosha was nice enough to let the some worship him, as well as train a wizard in the arts of good. And have a nice chat with Conan.
- Expy: Of Ganesha. His debut story seems to hint that Yag-Kosha was the inspiration of for Ganesha.
- The Exile: Was cast out of Yag for being part of a revolt.
- Humanoid Abomination / Petting Zoo People
- Last of His Kind: Well, on Earth. The rest of his peers died of extreme old age.
- Long-Lived: While not immortal, the aliens of Yag's lifespan is millions of years.
- Winged Humanoid: Once, allowing the exiled Yag to traveled faster than light through space. But upon reaching Earth, they lost their wings.