Follow TV Tropes

Following

Monster / Cthulhu Mythos

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/17b3438f_4346_4463_9c8d_965bb73bb865.png
Nyarlathotep (upper left) & Keziah Mason (upper right)

"And it was then that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt. Who he was, none could tell, but he was of the old native blood and looked like a Pharaoh. The fellahin knelt when they saw him, yet could not say why. He said he had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries, and that he had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences—of electricity and psychology—and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of a nightmare."
H. P. Lovecraft, "Nyarlathotep"
Advertisement:

The Cthulhu Mythos and related works have plenty of monsters, both human and otherwise.

Entries for each section are by publication date.

Due to the difficulty in determining which works are set in the Mythos, only examples from Literature are included here. Other works based on the Mythos can be found at their respective media pages, or, in the case of Call of Cthulhu, here.

All spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!


    open/close all folders 

    Mythos itself 
  • H. P. Lovecraft's creations:
    • Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos and the dreaded voice and soul of the Outer Gods, is a malignant sadist of a god with an all too human-like personality. A devious trickster by nature who enjoys playing sadistic games with mankind for its own amusement, Nyarlathotep wanders the Earth in a thousand avatars, stringing the night with the screams of those plagued by the horrid nightmares he induces wherever he walks. On record, Nyarlathotep ruins entire societies in the form of the Black Pharaoh, possesses and murders men as the Haunter in the Dark, and personally attempts to spirit Randolph Carter away into the throne room of great Azathoth itself. Nyarlathotep seduces men into worshiping his many avatars and orchestrates madness by the masses wherever he goes, differing from his fellow Outer Gods by virtue of being a wholly evil entity hindered by none of his brethren's eldritch mindsets and possessed of nothing more than a lust for reaping the chaos that defines it.
    • "The Temple": Lieutenant-Commander Karl Heinrich, Graf von Altberg-Ehrenstein, commanding officer of the U-29 during World War I, is introduced sinking the lifeboats from a freighter he's torpedoed, making it clear he's done this many, many times before. When the supernatural begins to interfere with the crew of his ship, causing them to experience feelings of guilt and remorse over the lives they've taken, Heinrich has those affected scourged, before escalating to shooting anyone who objects or mutinies. Killing almost the whole of his crew, and aiding his executive officer in committing suicide, Heinrich dies alone on the ocean floor, a victim of his own evil as much as the supernatural.
    • The Case of Charles Dexter Ward: Joseph Curwen is a wicked necromancer and slave trader in the 1600s, routinely buying and murdering slaves for his dark rituals. Finally hunted down and destroyed, Curwen uses magic to ensure one of his descendants will resurrect him. Upon Charles Dexter Ward doing so, Curwen attempts to revive his old practices, including conjuring the spirits of humanity's wisest figures and torturing them for knowledge in dark rites. When Ward finally objects to the bloodshed Curwen propagates, Curwen murders him and takes his place, thrown in an asylum when he can't properly pass as his descendant due to his antiquated mindset. It is further revealed Curwen is allied to a horror from beyond, where his plans could lead to the utter annihilation of all life in creation.
    • "The Last Test", with Adolphe de Castro: Surama is hinted to be a serpent man out to cause chaos and death. Corrupting the well-meaning bacteriologist Dr. Alfred Clarendon, Surama helps him to grow truly depraved until he loves suffering for its own sake. Preying on their assistants, Clarendon infects and tortures them to death, moving on to many more people, including children. Intending on spreading his black fever over the world, Surama also plots to make Clarendon his last test when he is no longer useful.
    • "The Dunwich Horror": Old Whateley, the patriarch of the sinister, inbred Whateley family, is an ancient cultist with a storied history of Black Magic. As vile in his twilight years as he ever was in his youth, Old Whateley is hinted to be behind the violent death of his wife, and later turns over his sickly daughter Lavinia over to be impregnated by Yog-Sothoth itself in a hideous ritual. Old Whateley conditions one of the resulting twins, Wilbur, from youth in order to carry out Old Whateley's demands past his death; the entire Earth handed over to Yog-Sothoth. Old Whateley attempts to orchestrate the destruction of all life on the planet for a nameless purpose he takes with him to the grave.
    • "The Dreams in the Witch House": Keziah Mason, whose secret name is Nahab, is a woman who unlocked the secrets of interdimensional travel. Using this, she pledged herself to Nyarlathotep and performed ritualistic infant sacrifice over the course of hundreds of years during May-Eve and Hallowmass. As Walter Gilman lodged in her old room, Keziah slowly attempts to corrupt him, trying to have him become Nyarlathotep's thrawl as well, culminating in Keziah wanting to make Walter an accomplice in her latest murder of a child. When Walter realises this and tries to stop her, the livid witch strangles Walter, almost killing him. Seeking immortality and knowledge, Old Keziah was a cruel crone that ranked among Lovecraft's worst.
    • "The Thing on the Doorstep": Ephraim Waite, the father of Asenath Waite, was a man affiliated with various dark covens and powers in life who sought immortality regardless of the suffering he inflicted upon others. Consulting dark tomes for a way to live forever, Ephraim finally found a way to expand his own life by body-swapping with his own daughter and damning her to insanity and slow death within his own old body as he took hers. Seeking a male body with strong intellect and weak will to him to weaken and possess, Ephraim slowly seduced Edward Pickman Derby while slowly driving him further and further into madness. When Derby killed Asenath in a desperate bid to stop Ephraim, Ephraim ultimately swapped bodies with him and condemned him to horrific undeath within the rotting corpse of Asenath. Unstopped, Ephraim's dark practices would destroy the peace and comfort of the world as he unleashed untold horror on humanity, jumping from body to body and damning countless more innocents to death for all time.
  • Others:
    • "The Testament of Athammaus", by Clark Ashton Smith: Knygathin Zhaum is a Voormi of unique heritage and unusual cunning and sadism for his kind. Barely able to qualify as a Humanoid Abomination even by the standards of his species, Zhaum is dissatisfied with merely devouring innocent people and leads hordes of Voormis to scourge the countryside. Zhaum inflicts litanies of horrors upon villages, torturing, raping, killing and worse with aplomb, and drags off scores of villagers for unspeakable fates in the caverns of the Voormis. When the people of Commoriom try and kill him, Zhaum plays a cruel game with them; Zhaum submits himself to execution, only to return the following day and start devouring more people. Zhaum repeats the process, growing more and more monstrous with each execution, until he finally tires of it and obliterates the rest of Commoriom, devouring whomever he doesn't drive out.
    • "The Stairs in the Crypt", by Clark Ashton Smith & Lin Carter: An evil necromancer in life, Avalzaunt awakens in his own crypt after death and enslaves a group of ghouls to his will. Sending them out to murder people to quench his thirst for blood, Avalzaunt grows bloated upon it, having all his old apprentices hunted down and murdered. Growing greedier, Avalzaunt leads an attack on a nearby monastery, plotting to kill and drain every monk before he moves on to more living beings out of cruelty and gluttony.
    • Y'golonac, the Defiler, is the god of depravity and a Great Old One reviled even by the priests of Cthulhu for its unspeakable perversions. Gathering cults of those with carnal hearts, Y'golonac has his followers engage in whatever grotesque fantasies they can imagine in tribute to it, hoping to eventually break out of its walled prison and walk free among men before wiping out all humanity with the other Great Old Ones. A sadist fully able to understand and manipulate humans, Y'golonac possesses people at its own merriment and gruesomely devours all those who do not pledge themselves to serving it. Debuting in Ramsey Campbell's 1969 Cold Print, Y'golonac possesses a bookseller in lower Brinchester and drives a man to insanity to draw in more victims for it to subvert or eat—children among them—and ultimately closes the story by devouring the protagonist himself.
Advertisement:

    Anthologies 
  • "The Mystery of the Hanged Man's Puzzle", by Paul Finch, from Shadows Over Baker Street: New Tales of Terror: Julian Rohampton is an enigmatic American man from a sleepy little New English village named Innsmouth. Rohampton holds his share of secrets-—namely, he's a Deep One who came over to England for the purpose of his dark and ambitious experiments. Rohampton orchestrates a series of grisly murders using a violent Serial Killer named Jobson in order to cover up the kidnapping of Professor Langley and his daughter, burning alive two bodies to pass them off as the Langleys and abandoning Jobson to execution when his job is done. Rohampton even experiments on his own kind, bleeding them out and forcing Langley to distill the Deep Ones' blood into a virus through which Rohampton intends to forcibly transmute all mankind into Deep Ones, with London as its breakout point.
  • Steampunk Cthulhu: Mythos Terror in the Age of Steam:
    • "The Reverend Mr. Goodworks & The Yeggs of Yig", by Edward M. Erdelac: Susannah Coyle, leader of a cult named the New Valusians, is a willing and gleeful servant of the serpent people, whom she believes to be the Beast spoken of in the Book of Revelation. Coyle has her followers sweep out to kidnap as many fertile women as she can, leading to entire villages depopulated-—the males butchered and every female even barely old enough to be fertile taken-—to have the women all raped continuously by the serpent men, leading to them giving birth to more serpent children and eventually their agonizing expiration. Countless women have met this fate by the time Reverend Goodworks arrives to annihilate the operation, and Coyle fully intends on providing the serpent men with enough children for them to eventually wage war with to destroy most of humanity and make slaves of the remainders.
    • "Fall of an Empire", by Glynn Owen Barrass and Brian M. Sammons: The Entity and his chief servant, Lord Havendish, desire control over the world. After brainwashing Queen Victoria into being their puppet, Havendish and the Entity transform the British Empire into a horrific dystopia where thousands of innocents are herded into death camps where they're mind raped, killed and converted into monstrous soldiers in order to help with their attempted conquest of the world. Intending to marry a mentally broken Victoria to solidify his claim to the throne, the Entity attempts to destroy the minds of all those at their wedding attendance when an attempt is made against him, and later, after his defeat, Havendish schemes to free his master again to wreak havoc on the world once more.
  • "The Abomination of Fensmere", by Lucy A. Snyder, from Shadows Over Main Street: An Anthology of Small-Town Lovecraftian Terror: Morinda Haughton, the aunt of the main character Penny, is actually the acting leader of the Ku Klux Klan who wants to sacrifice Penny to the Outer Gods in order to use their eldritch might to wipe out everyone the KKK deems impure off the face of the Earth. Morinda is the vilest seen of the Klansmen, casually breaking a young servant girl's arm for speaking out of turn while promising to raze the black community of Buckton to the ground if they give her any difficulty. Morinda even has her own brother, the Reverend of the Klan, enslaved by an eldritch horror to carry out her designs against the world.
  • "Lestrade & the Damned Cultists", from Sherlock Holmes: Cthulhu Mythos Adventures, by Ralph E. Vaughan: Lord Alathon is the leader of the Order of the Eldritch Gate, brushed off as a raving madman until he and his cult start engaging in brutal sacrifice, leaving four murdered with their throats cut and the Elder Sign upon them all across Whitechapel. When Laverne and his men interrupt his affairs and interrupt an attempted fifth sacrifice, Alathon reveals his plans to let the Great Old Ones rise to enslave and feast on all humanity, as he rises above the ashes a god.
  • "Petohtalrayn", by Bentley Little, from The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft: "The Dark Man", Nyarlathotep Itself, is an ancient, wicked entity that has stalked and haunted humankind as a whole for centuries, orchestrating the destruction of entire civilizations through infertility, plagues, and even implications that It was behind the Biblical Flood. Tasked with destroying all of humanity by Its Outer God masters, a mission It embraced with sadistic joy, Nyarlathotep was sealed away when It consistently failed to complete Its mission, and dragged survivors of Its atrocities down into Its prison with It. Nyarlathotep destroyed the minds of Its prisoners and forced them to propagate with one another over the course of thousands of years, resulting in inbred monstrosities kept under Its thrall for millennia while It reached out and lured innocent people to It to make them new servants. Nyarlathotep hopes to one day lead Its abominable army in a new genocide of humanity, idling the time away until then by casually raping and killing any and everyone It can.
  • "Moving Targets", by Adrian Tchaikovsky, from The Private Life of Elder Things: Hugh Hawkins was put in charge of creating a housing project nicknamed Slumside to house Britain's disenfranchised and poor, but the poor conditions of Slumside led to him getting into trouble with the government. For revenge, Hawkins has machines that induce the ability to see the other world distributed across Slumside, passing it off as drugs which eventually cause the users to come into contact with monsters from said world which eat them, killing hundreds. Eventually distributing it across the entire of Slumside, Hawkins intends to kill thousands of innocents all out of petty revenge for being justly punished.
  • Shakespeare vs. Cthulhu:
    • "Star-Crossed", by Jonathan Oliver: Nyarlathotep, aka the "Obsidian Man", is an eldritch entity from beyond the veil which desires to be free from its prison to wreak havoc. Seducing a teenage girl named Jasmine Cooper, Nyarlahotep has her become fully devoted to him and has her enact a spell to free him while hiding it under the guise of her school play, Romeo and Juliet. Nyarlahotep eventually has her murder her boyfriend—who was also one of Nyarlahotep's loyal servants—to complete the spell and kills Jasmine's mother in front of her before destroying the minds of the entire audience of play and moving onto wipe out the entire universe.
    • "A Madness Most Discreet", by Michael Carroll: Count Paris, mysterious suitor to Juliet, is actually a dark sorcerer seeking to offer up the world to his eldritch masters. Demonstrating his powers in ways such as forcing a young boy to cut off his own thumb for not paying Paris the proper respect, or spiriting off two women to unspeakable fates, Paris intends to offer Juliet as a Virgin Sacrifice to his gods. When Romeo threatens to spoil these plans, Paris manipulates his murderous rival Tybalt into trying to kill Romeo, resulting in the death of Mercutio and Tybalt, and Paris attempts to goad his uncle Prince Escalus to execute Romeo for this. Seemingly satisfied by Romeo's banishment, Paris learns Juliet deigns to fake suicide and drives Friar John to madness for providing her the means to do this. Slain by Romeo, Paris entrusts his loyal page—-whom he was willing to sacrifice as a back-up even in spite of the page's years of service—-to ensure his final wishes, resulting in the death of Romeo and Juliet and all of Europe subsequently swallowed by darkness in Paris's final plot to doom the Earth.
    • "Once More Unto the Breach", by C L Werner: Vashtar is a druidic priest who performs child sacrifice to his master Yog-Sothoth. Manipulating Henry V into providing him with more victims to sacrifice by promising him help against the French army, Vashtar instead backstabs him and reveals his true goal: the release of his master Yog-Sothoth to destroy the entire world. Releasing him onto the battlefield, he begins to gruesomely kill both the French and English armies and forces them into an Enemy Mine to stop his evil from continuing.
    • "A Tiger's Heart, A Player's Hide", by Josh Reynolds: Sebastian Melmoth is an actor and wicked mage who spreads a dark affliction called the Chattering Plague, harvesting the lives of those Afflicted by it to be subsumed into his dark spells. Twisting the words of William Shakespeare on stage for an incantation he requires, Melmoth intends to unleash the Old Ones upon England for power, trying to kill Shakespeare, John Dee and the rest of the acting troupe when he is uncovered.
    • "The Terrors of the Earth", by Pat Kelleher: Edmund of Gloucester is the child of the Earl and a "Deeping One". Embracing his heritage, Edmund sadistically drives his half-brother Edgar mad before doing the same to their father, glorying in the Earl tearing out his own eyes. Edmund proceeds to murder Leyh'r's daughters Goneril and Regan before trying to summon the monstrous Old One Goemagot, who can only be sealed anew with the sacrifice of King Leyh'r, intending on ravaging the world to satisfy his ambition and sadism.
    • "Something Wicked This Way Comes", by Graham McNeill: The Whenschal Sisters, owners of a mysterious production company in London, are secret servitors of Shub-Niggurath. Coming into possession of the original manuscript of Macbeth—-actually a Tome of Eldritch Lore-—the Sisters organize a production to use the manuscript to doom the world to Shub-Niggurath. The manuscript drives all those in their way to insanity, and the Sisters gleefully drive the wife of the main protagonist to madness and suicide before his eyes, attempting soon after to sacrifice him to assure Shub-Niggurath snuffs out the lights of mankind.
  • "A True Telling of the Terror that Came to Red Hook", by William Meikle note : In this Perspective Flip of Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook", the "Dutchman", one Robert Suydam, is an enigmatic and reclusive nobleman who in actuality is a child-sacrificing occultist who uses an old Dutch church as the burial ground for the bones of countless dead children. Secretly a monstrous, crab-clawed Humanoid Abomination behind closed doors, Suydam only marries once for a wife, not for the lady herself but for what is inside of her-—killing the woman and meticulously storing all of her organs in jars.
  • "Curiosity", by Winifred Burniston, from Twice Upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales: Charles Blaubart is the boyfriend of Sonia Korban. In truth a guise of Nyarlathotep, Charles has a habit of luring in women, tricking them into entering a specific room, and making a sacrifice of them. After tricking Sonia to terrify her and lure her to the room, Charles does the same with her to commence the end of the world.
  • A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods:
    • "Away Game", by Seanan McGuire: Coach Harrison is a vile servant of Shub-Niggurath. Harrison worms her way into being the coach for the cheerleader and football teams, tricking them into going to her cult which is disguised as a school where they're consumed by her master. Trying to warp the minds of the heroines, Harrison intends to use them to fuel her master's endless appetite.
    • "Visions of the Dream Witch", by Lucy A. Snyder: The titular Dream Witch Yidhra stalks the main character Penny as she tries to save his cousin from an agonizing expiration from the venom of Yidhra's enslaved shoggoths. With a fancy for Mind Rape, Yidhra puts Penny through monstrous mental torment, forcing her to see her loved ones murdered while promising to make them reality. Yidhra attempts to possess Penny in the end to use her body to slaughter all her loved ones, intending to condemn Penny to languish for the rest of her life in a mental asylum.
  • Kthulhu Reich, by Asamatsu Ken:
    • Adolf Hitler himself, whose rise to power was foretold by Nyarlathotep himself, is the ruler of the Third Reich and all the apocalyptic evil within. Not only facilitating the destruction of millions of human lives through The Holocaust, Hitler gleefully and willingly employs supernatural means to help achieve the genocide of the Jews, involving eldritch horrors in the Third Reich, outlining programs to harvest the tortured life energy of those in the camps, and listening to the advice of mystics like Reinhard Heydrich and Teppa Tsanpo. Seemingly killing himself after the war ends, Hitler reincarnates himself as a Japanese man many years later and reawakens his identity, fully preparing to start his genocidal designs all over again in a new country.
    • "April 20, 1889": Nyarlathotep and his chief servant Jack the Ripper—real name W.W. Wescott—are the true founders of the Third Reich. Murdering several prostitutes in Victorian London, the two set about a magical ritual in order to birth an Antichrist-like figure—Hitler himself. Having succeeded, the two plot his later rise, planning for the Final Solution of the Jews in order to create their racist, ethnically pure dream.
    • "A Feast for the Children of the Night": Countess Katarina Dracula is a charming, vicious woman who worships the Old One Tsathoggua. Bound up in the Carpathian mountains, the Countess sways a group of Nazi soldiers into her service and directs them to slaughter the locals to free herself. Having them rape, slaughter and kill everything in sight, she rewards them by having them devoured by her monstrous children, even letting the leader experience it alive and conscious before she unleashes the forces of Tsathoggua to ravage the countryside.
    • "Gigantomachia 1945": Herr Saga, real name Reinhard Heydrich, found the secret of returning from death, stealing the eye of Dagon and worshiping the fire Old One Cthugha. After numerous war crimes, Heydrich is seen fleeing to South America onboard a U-Boat, staving off Dagon's wrath by using innocent Argentinians as diversionary sacrifices. Leeching the life from those on board, Heydrich intends to make them his slaves and forcibly convert the one woman on board, Inge, into his new Eva Braun as he pretends to be Hitler, causing the deaths of all the crew. Intending on restarting a Fourth Reich and using Cthugha's flames to burn down all who oppose him, Heydrich plots to become the new true Führer in a resurgent Nazi regime.
    • "Dies Irae": Guru Teppa Tsanpo is a supposed Tibetan mystic who in actuality is a ravenous extradimensional horror who seeks to control the Führer himself. Through Tsanpo's suggestions and corruptions—-including the life energy programs—Tsanpo makes World War II worse than it already is, ramping up slaughter and genocide while even having people butchered and served to unsuspecting soldiers. Tsanpo's end goal is implied to be nothing more than to totally shatter and destroy all humanity after he's finished using Hitler as he may.

    Others 
  • Titus Crow series: Ithaqua, the White Silence, the Wind-Walker, is a powerful Great Old One, and one of the most malicious of his kind. Ithaqua lurks in the snows and the wind, devouring those he comes across. Others are taken to his world of Boreas to serve him eternally, where Ithaqua demands loyalty and blood sacrifices. Many women fare worse, as Ithaqua is a Serial Rapist in his quest to create a half-human child to help him unlock the prisons of the Old Ones to destroy all that lives. On Borea, Ithaqua is a brutal tyrant, regularly massacring his enemies and torturing captives with sadistic relish, including his own followers. When he believed he had bred a perfect eventual mate to bear a child, Ithaqua callously murdered her entire village and clan with no further need of them. Despite his alien nature, Ithaqua's lust and need for dominance are all too understandable for those who oppose the evil of the Great Old Ones.
  • Her Misbegotten Son, by Alan Rodgers: The Dark Man, Nyarlathotep, is the bogeyman of Arkham and the dark master of the child-sacrificing witch Keziah Mason. Nyarlathotep has presided over the death of at least half a dozen children, having Keziah mother them purely to slay them in his name, and intends this fate for Keziah's latest child Jason. With no hesitation on killing anyone between him and Jason, Nyarlathotep horribly eviscerates a man and curses him to stay alive with his guts hanging out in hours of excruciating pain before he's finally put down, and nearly kills a babysitter by having her tied to a table and her wrists slit. Nyarlathotep happily attempts to murder Jason's father and then his three-month-year old brother Enoch afterward, and is only undone when Jason throws holy water on Nyarlathotep and kills him.
  • The Cthulhu Casebooks trilogy, by James Lovegrove: Professor James Moriarty, later known as the Outer God R'luhlloig, is the grandiloquent Arch-Enemy of Sherlock Holmes whose criminal mind is so keen it transcends humanity itself. Moriarty first bargains with the Crawling Chaos Nyarlathotep in a bid to gain some of its godly power, sating the god with human sacrifices until Nyarlathotep devours him instead. Moriarty's will proves too great for the Crawling Chaos and he kills and possesses Nyarlathotep from the inside-out, becoming a new Outer God. Moriarty is cunning enough to manipulate the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones into a cataclysmic war, once stirring the Outer Gods into annihilating the heavenly land of Cathuria. Embracing the name "R'luhlloig", Moriarty begins to target Sherlock's loved ones to hurt him, murdering Mycroft Holmes and a slew of other innocents besides him while executing and bodyjacking his own minions at his whim. Moriarty ultimately seeks to bring the Outer Gods to Earth all so he can rule over creation, regardless if the universe is left in ruins behind him.
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle: In this Perspective Flip of Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook", Robert Suydam poses as a humanitarian for the sake of his own ego but is actually a ruthless cultist and monster. Attempting to sway the titular "Black Tom"—Charles Thomas "Tommy" Tester— to his side, Suydam participates in Human Sacrifice and other cruelties in his worship of the mysterious Sleeping King. Attempting a powerful ritual, Suydam means to destroy most of humanity with the Sleeping King and conduct his own reign after.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report