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Eldritch Abomination
aka: Cosmic Horror

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"Here, on the horizon, was everything Gideon did not know."

"There was a darkness outside reality, they say — a darkness full of things. Hungry, nasty things with no shape or form, not as long as they were out there."
Kurt Busiek, "Storms of the Heart", Astro City

The Alien. The Weird. The Inconceivable. The Other.

The Eldritch Abomination is a type of creature defined by its disregard for the natural laws of the universe as we understand them. They are grotesque mockeries of reality beyond comprehension whose disturbing otherness cannot be encompassed in any mortal tongue. Humans suffer Brown Note or Go Mad from the Revelation effects just from witnessing their Alien Geometries. Reality itself warps around them. Any rules that they do follow are beyond our understanding, as are what motives they might have for any of their actions.

Native to the Cosmic Horror Story genre dabbled in by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, and Robert E. Howard, the Eldritch Abomination has become a mainstay of horror and fantasy works, along with numerous others that popularly derive inspiration from Lovecraft. They are often used as a Greater-Scope Villain, Outside-Context Problem, Mad God, God of Evil or Sealed Evil in a Can - though they hail from somewhere beyond our petty parameters of good and evil in the typical sense. As they are defined by existing outside reality as we conceive it, most also come from somewhere beyond the stars or before the dawn of time or outside our universe.

Physically, the Eldritch Abomination is only defined by seeming somehow "off", hinting at their incomprehensible nature. They can range from humanoid to animalistic to physically impossible to inconceivably bizarre. However, common physical characteristics include similarities to internal organs, animals with tentacles, or celestial bodies.

The power of Eldritch Abominations can vary. Some can be defeated by mortals, usually via a special weapon specifically meant to kill them; some may be more powerful than gods. In most cosmic horror stories, these beings can only be defeated at an incredible cost, if at all. In many cases, characters may engage a proxy, incarnation, representation, etc. at a more human scale; or the abomination may be ejected from our reality, temporarily prevented from entering it, or otherwise held at bay while its power remains essentially undiminished.

A Sub-Trope of Our Monsters Are Different, Our Monsters Are Weird & Cosmic Entity. Though note that a monster being really powerful, weird or ugly is not, in and of itself, an example of this trope. The monster must break the established internal logic of the work.

For specific storylines involving Eldritch Abominations, see the Did You Just Index Cthulhu? page. More candidates for being Eldritch Abominations are: God of Evil, God of Chaos, The Old Gods, Paradox Person, and Starfish Aliens. When regular humans look like (or legitimately are) Eldritch Abominations to other species, that's Humans Are Cthulhu. Sister Trope to Brown Note Being, since eldritch or abomination doesn't describe every creature which causes a Brown Note, nor does every Eldritch Abomination cause one (though it is common for them). An Eldritch Location is not necessarily an Eldritch Abomination that takes the form of a Genius Loci, but it can be. May be the cause of a Bizarro Apocalypse.

Do not confuse this with Complete Monster, which is more about evil than (physical) monstrousness, especially since a Complete Monster isn't necessarily a literal monster, and an Eldritch Abomination isn't always evil. However, an Eldritch Abomination who has clear agency and is sufficiently heinous by the standards of the story or its own established Grey-and-Gray Morality can qualify as a Complete Monster.

Thanks to the nature of this trope, potential Real Life examples are very vague and questionable at best. So No Real Life Examples, Please!

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Alternative Title(s): Cosmic Horror, Great Old One, Old One


"I am Sovereign"

While assaulting Saren's Base, Commander Shepard & his squad confront Sovereign and realize that it is in fact a Reaper, rather than a Reaper ship. Sovereign confirms this, stating that the title was given to them by the Protheans, whom the Reapers exterminated 50,000 years ago. As Sovereign states, the Reapers "are the End of Everything."

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