This is a compendium of all those things squamous, rugose, and otherwise weird from the writings of HP 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 Necronomicon, and a Moslem 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.
- Defictionalization: The Necronomicon listed in the Ohio University Library card catalog. L. Sprague de Camp, fantasy author and linguist, acted as Abdul Alhazred's "translator".
- Death Faked for You: 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 Oracle
- 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–Reanimator: Part One: From the Dark
Medical 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
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.
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 rather jerkish or apathic. The only exception is Azathoth, and that's only because it's mindless.
- Bigger Bads: As if the giant squid-headed horror and headless fat pervert weren't bad enough, these guys are far more powerful and dangerous.
- Evil Is Bigger: In physical form, most of these cosmic entities are very large.
- The Old Gods
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Zig-Zagged. Like the Great Old Ones, it depends on the writer to wither or not these Outer Gods are really supernatural or not.
Azathoth, AKA The Daemon Sultan
One of the two most powerful entities in the main canon (the other being Yog-Sothoth), Azathoth is a mindless, formless being of nigh-unlimited power that may have created the universe, which it dwells at the centre of 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
- "Before" and "After" Pictures: Done in Campbell's "The Insects from Shaggai", where the protagonist sees an image of Azathoth before he 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 not only related to radioactivity, but can be summoned using fissionable materials.
- Expy: Editor Robert Price thinks he's 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 him.
- God of Evil: The "nuclear chaos" and "daemon sultan" at the center of the universe, the Outer God Azathoth is often interpreted as this. Judging by what would happen if Azathoth's literary inspiration, Mana-Yood-Sushai awakens, it would likely seem that Azathoth has the power to end everything in the universe, including all the other eldritch horrors - but for now just chooses not to. Throughout Lovecraft 'canon' Azathoth is frequently referred to as the "blind idiot god", both because it is mindless, and because you would have to be a blind idiot to worship it.
- Having a Gay Old Time: A more serious example, in which 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. Latter writers took advantage of this, and made Azathoth the patron of radiation.
- King of All Cosmos: One of the weirdest supreme beings out there.
- Mad God
- 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.
- 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.
- Obliviously Evil: Comes of being utterly mindless.
- Ominous Floating Castle: Replace "Castle" with "Throne", and instead of floating in air, it floats in the center of the universe.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Occurs in the Arkham Horror board game when Azathoth is summoned.
- Top Outer God: Shares this role with Yog-Soggoth in the Cthulhu Mythos.
- Truly Single Parent: 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.
- The Scottish Trope: "Azathoth" is a pseudonym. Its real name is (thankfully) unknown.
- Ultimate Evil: Played with. Azathoth is an insanity-inducing, blasphemous horror, but it's more due to being an insane chaos than being evil.
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.
Ghroth, AKA The Harbinger
Debut: "The Tugging", Ramsey Campbell
A 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
- 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.
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: Has a single, gigantic eye. No planet should have a literal eye.
- 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
The heart and soul of the Outer Gods, messenger of Azathoth. The most human of the Great Old Ones, as well as (perhaps not coincidentally) the most overtly malevolent. Has many "masks" - avatars that range in different shapes and forms
. The most common visage is that of a tall, dark man with a regal appearance.
- Ancient Egypt: Where it originally was worshiped (at least by humanity), gaining the suffix -hotep. However, The Mighty Messenger was so evil that Egyptians forbade its cult. 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.
- 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.
- 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're the kind of person who doesn't mind what dealing with a malicious monster can lead to.
- 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. He is the personification of the soul of the Outer Gods, so whether he actually has a real body at all is not quite clear. Some of these Masks include:
- The Blank: The Faceless God and The Dark One.
- 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 human form, which was Oda Nobunaga in the past, but usually a businessman in the present.
- Eye Beams: The Skinless One has a literal death glare – it can cause people’s skin to fall off.
- Formulaic Magic: The Kruschtya Equation - a complex mathematical formula. Whoever solves it is possessed by Gnarly.
- Have a Gay Old Time: In the Dream-Quest, 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.
- Hostile Weather: Yes, the "Crawling Chaos" evens manifests as weather, such as the Crawling Mist, Black Wind, and Messenger of the Old Ones.
- Light Is Not Good: The White Man avatar, an angelic looking blond man with with white robes.
- Dark Is Evil: See Scary Black Man.
- Kaiju: The Bloody Tongue.
- Living Statue: The Faceless God and The Beast masks are these of The Sphinx.
- Nepharious Pharaoh: The Black Pharaoh, a haughty Egyptian pharaoh wearing a brightly colored robe. He also used to be worshipped in Ancient Egypt.
- Mechanical Monster: The Tick Tock Man, which the he appears as a mechanical being. Could range from Clockwork Creature to Artificial Intelligence.
- Our Banshees Are Louder: The Dweller in Darkness can create wind-like sounds (even when there is no wind) and strange cries at night.
- Our Demons Are Different: The Black Demon and Dark Demon are traditional versions: black, furry, and snouted beasts. The Haunter of the Dark is a bat-like thing with a three-lobed eye.
- 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.
- Weakened by the Light: The Haunter of the Dark could be instantly banished by light. But only this avatar.
- Gambit Roulette: Justified in this case, it's perfectly reasonable to assume he can actually predict and engineer all possible outcomes.
- Gender Bender: Has several female masks, including the Bloated Woman and the Queen in Red.
- Great Old One in Human Form
- Herald: For the Outer Gods.
- Humanoid Abomination: Usually, if you're lucky.
- I Have Many Names: In addition to all its aspects, 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.
- Jerkass Gods: Yeah.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nikola Tesla: The main influence for Nyarlathotep.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Has 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.
- One-Winged Angel: Destroy one avatar, and the Chaos transforms into something even more mind-shattering.
- Only Sane Man: He is the living embodiment of the (rather malevolent) consciousness of the Outer Gods, and their messenger, and has taken special interest in mankind... this is not good for mankind.
- 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 became avatars.
- 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, Nyarly's the closest thing to the Devil, and possibly even more dangerous. The Arkham witch coven believed that The Black Man was this. Whether or not this was intentional on Nyarlathotep's part or its what the witches just assumed is unknown.
- 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.
- Summoning Artifact: The Shining Trapezohedron, which calls the Haunter in the Dark aspect of Nyarlathotep.
- Trickster Archetype: 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 remain.
- Villains Blend in Better
- 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 hoofs and tendrils.
- 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 any "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, appears on Earth as 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 Lumley
An obscure Mythos entity - a female, gigantic 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
The other supreme deity of the original Lovecraftian canon, Yog-Sothoth is the living, sentient embodiment of the time-space continuum, although for reasons unknown he/it is trapped outside of our reality, only manifesting through various rituals. Is capable of impregnating human females. Its most well-known appearance is as a conglomeration of ever changing, glowing spheres, though this is just one of several forms.
- Affably Above Good and Evil: At least in the form of Tawil at-'Umr.
- 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's Boss?: Yes you did, Randolph Carter. 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 (if not more) terrifying.
- Hilariously literal in one story, when Yog reveals itself on top of a mountain, to the leader of a nomadic middle-eastern tribe. Yeah. If accepted, this means that Christianity is by far the largest Mythos cult on earth.
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: 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.
- 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.
- Omniscient Morality License: Perhaps. Or perhaps not.
- Sphere of Destruction: Literally in this case. Physical contact with Yog-Sothoth leads to serious injuries.
- The Man Behind the Man: To Cthulhu, who is his high priest.
- Threshold Guardians: Tawil at-'Umr serves as this, before anyone passes The Ultimate Gate.
- Time Master: Helps that Yog is space-time.
- Top Outer God: Shares this role with Azathoth.
- Ultimate Evil
- 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.
Great Old Ones
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.
- 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
- The Omnipresent: Is locked out of our universe and had its freedom of movement and appearance severely limited, so it wasn't an example of this trope (but could have been if the Old Ones had ever gotten loose).
- Starfish Aliens
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Zig-Zagged, While Lovecraft heavily implies that to be the nature of the Great Old Ones (especially on 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.
- 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 off 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.
Arwassa, AKA The Silent Shouter on the Hill
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. He (or she) 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 Campbell
A 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.
Debut: The Horror from the Hills, Frank Belknap Long
A 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Debut: The Call of Cthulhu
The 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 has makes 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.
- Combat Tentacles
- 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
- 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.
- Underwater City / Underwater Ruins: The city of R'lyeh, the tomb and prison of Cthulhu, is a sort of twisted version of Atlantis.
- Winged Humanoid: Scaly, membranous wings on a mockery of human shape.
- 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.
Debut:"The House on Curwen Street", August Derleth
Entity which appears as a giant fireball. The Fire Vampires
, little flame-like monsters that ignite anything flammable, are Cthugha's servitors.
First Mention: The Transition Of Titus Crow, Brian Lumley
Debut: "In His Daughter's Darkling Womb", Tina L. Jens
The 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 human girl than 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
- 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.
First born 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
Debut: "The Inhabitant of the Lake", Ramsey Campbell
Once trapped inside a meteor, Glaaki now resides in the lake created by 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 controls using psychic power.
- Our Zombies Are Different: After a few decades, Glaaki's zombies becomes 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: Its 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
"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 includes that of a octopoid
, but Hastur's true form is unknown.
- Ascended Extra: When Lovecraft added Hastur to 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.
- 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.
- 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 Smith
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.
Ithaqua, AKA The Wind-Walker
Debut: "Ithaqua", August Derleth
Great 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.
- Alien Abduction: Tends to kidnap people, typically sacrifices, and even entire towns if need be.
- An Ice Person: Rather, an ice deity.
- 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".
- Grim Up North: This Old One tends to haunt Alaska and Siberia.
- 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.
- Not Quite Flight: They don't call him the The Wind-walker for nothing.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Especially if that guy is one of the Great Old Ones.
- Wendigo: Ithaqua is known as this as well.
Debut: "The Horror in the Museum", H. P. Lovecraft for Hazel Heald
Originally 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.
- Human Sacrifice: Played with, the blood of any living thing is sufficent to awake Rhan.
- 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.
- Refuge in Audacity: What do you do with a monster that's been sleeping for eons? Stick him in a wax work 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.
Debut: The Burrowers Beneath, Brian Lumley
Leader of the Chthonians
: worm-like monsters with a squid-like head. Shudde appears like a larger form of a Chthonian, and possibly the progenitor of the species.
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: While the Wilmarth Foundation managed to wipe out many Chthonians, they lost a lot of people and resources. Also occurred when they tried nuking Shudde M'ell himself, and failed.
- Eyeless Face
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Shuddee M'ell can take on a nuclear explosion and live, as well as able to bore through Earth's crust and survive in the planet's mantle.
- Made of Iron: Cthonians are able to resist great pressures and temperatures.
- Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: Generally, it’s a bad idea to mess around with Chthonian eggs.
- Mental Fusion: Groups of Cthonians can combine their psychic powers to overcome any protection.
- Psychic Link: All Chthonians are linked to each other, allowing to know exactly what other one knows.
- Sandworm: Chthonian physical appearance suggests this, but they're more like the Horta from Star Trek. They can easily burrow through rocks, and can resist high pressure and heat. Although, the Cthonians and Sandworms do share the same...
- Weaksauce Weakness: Chthonians don't take well to exposure to, of all things, water. Which helps explain why they usually tend to stay safely miles underground rather than visit Earth's mostly water-covered surface, of course.
- Telepathy: The worms can influence a person's thoughts and emotions, causing them to make mistakes or force them to stay in one location.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The G'harne Fragments, which tell of the history of the titular Cthonian city.
- Tunnel King: Chthonians excel at this.
Tsathoggua, AKA The Sleeper of N'kai
Debut: "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", Clark Ashton Smith
Old 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.
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 those kind to his "children".
The 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.
- That's No Moon!: When Zanthu attempts to free Ythogtha, he mistakes the creature's fingertips as mountains.
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Zanthu Tablets, inscribed by the titular wizard on black jade. It tells of his struggle with Ghatanothoa's cult, as well as the failed attempt to release Ythogtha.
Y'golonac oh gods, you've doomed us all!
Debut: "Cold Print", Ramsey Campbell
Trapped 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.
Zhar and Lloigor, AKA The Twin Obscenities
Debut: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn", August Derleth and Mark Schorer
Originally 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 mane.
- The Brute: Among children of Cthulhu. He doesn't has special power like Gatanothoa or Ygthogtha, and will attack whoever get close to him.
- Combat Tentacles
Debut: "The Bells of Horror", Henry Kuttner
A winged humanoid of the Great Old Ones, who hates light. For the Mutsune tribe of California, it is a god of Death.
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 RPG
Based 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 ties 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.
- 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.
- Calling Card: Apparently leaves behind statues of himself.
- 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.
Debut: The Transition of Titus Crow, Brian Lumley
Brother of Cthulhu. Visual appearance is like that of Cthulhu, but only with golden, peaceful eyes. A controversial subject in the Mythos, as he's clearly depicted as being good in a universe filled with alien, amoral beings.
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. Apprently 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.
Vorvadoss, AKA The Troubler of Sands
Debut: "The Invaders", Henry Kuttner
Lesser 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 Smith
The "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.
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 Derleth
Beings 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.
Colour Out of Space
Debut: The Colour Out of Space
Creature from outer space, whose visible manifestation is a unknown hue. Contact with earthly life leads to ... terrible fates
Debut: The Burrowers Beneath, Brian Lumley
See Great Old Ones: Shudde M'ell
Debut: "Dagon" / The Shadow Over Innsmouth
A 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. 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.
- 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 humans collaborators of the Deep Ones use in worship and controlling the town.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong
- Fish People: The Deep Ones.
- Giant Swimmer: Dagon and Mother Hydra.
- Half-Human Hybrids: His "children" the Deep Ones, can mate with humans to produce these. They can also procreate with dolphins to create hybrids.
- Immortality: Can live forever, barring violence or accidents.
- 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 House
Aliens 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 terrestial life could be the unexpected consquence 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 Wandrei
Described as a sphere of blue-flame, Fthaggua is similar to Cthugha. However, where as 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.
Weak gods of the Earth who reign over Earth's Dream Land
. Not even remotely 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.
Great Race Of Yith
Debut: The Shadow Out of Time
A 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.
- 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.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Played with, the Ghouls are known for eating corpses. Although sometimes, they do attack people.
- 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, apathic 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".
- Monstrous Cannibalism: Traditionally, Ghouls would eat their wounded after a battle. However, Pickman has been trying to discourage this.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: The Cultes des Goules, which presumably dealt with Ghouls and their cults.
- Tunnel Network
- Was Once a Man: Hanging out with Ghouls long enough can transform a human into one.
Debut: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The 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 cannibalistice 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 Long
Creatures 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 Kuttner
A massive monster looking like a ocean of grey 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.
Insects from Shaggai, AKA Shan
Debut: "The Insects from Shaggai", Ramsey Campbell
Extraterrestrials 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 interfere 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.
- 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 averse affect on the Shan's metabolism.
Debut: The Mound, H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop
Human-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 vaugely 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 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 Wilson
Vortexes 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. Good news is that it just leaves a person temporary 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 the 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 sorcebook Malleus Monstrorum mention how Mi-go harvest flesh of the Outer God Ubbo-Sathla and use it to construct bio-mechanical super weapon capable to travel through time and space, the living moon Charon AKA Pluto's moon.
Debut: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Thin, 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.
Debut: At the Mountains of Madness
Vile 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 withe 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 realise 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 mesh-mash 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 Kadath
Elephantine 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.
Star Vampires, AKA Shamblers from the Stars
Debut: "The Shambler from the Stars", Robert Bloch
Monsters 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.
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).
- Bald of Evil
- Culture 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".
- Half-Human Hybrids: Descendants of humans who mated with the Miri Nigri, a species of dwarfs made from amphibian flesh by Chaugnar Faugn.
- Insanity Immunity: Call of Cthulhu has their SAN halved at birth, and it only gets worse from there.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Human flesh is a dietary staple. "Bak bon dzhow" (mashed ganglia from human brains) is a particular favorite. They even have restaurants that specialise in serving ethnic cuisine to unwitting outsiders...
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnome-like and depraved cannibals that can really be considered an amalgamation of Cannibal Clan, Hillbilly Horrors and Yellow Peril. Making them one of the most racist things to come out of the Mythos. Ironically, the degenerate cannibalism part was not inserted by Lovecraft - that characterization was introduced by the modern role-playing game.
- The Triads and the Tongs: Having migrated to America, the Tcho-tchos had created crime syndicates to continue their "traditions".
- The Vietnam War: Apparently the Tcho-tcho was involved in the conflict.
Debut: "The Church in High Street", Ramsey Campbell
Immaterial 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.
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.