a.k.a. Branwen's Field Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos
- This article was written by the inestimable Branwen, and published in the Crystal Hall Forums, WA Universe section: Lovecraftian Influences
That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die. -H.P. Lovecraft
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Hierarchy of the Mythos
- 2.1 The Outer Gods
- 2.2 The Unknowable
- 2.3 The Great Old Ones and The Elder Gods
- 2.3.1 The GOOs
- 2.3.2 The Elder Gods
- 2.4 The Greater and Lesser Servitors and Gods
- 2.5 Others
- 3 The Human Perspective
- 4 GOO Sorcery
- 5 Further reading
- 5.1 Notable Writings
- 5.1.1 Kitab Al Azif
- 5.1.2 The Necronomicon (c950AD)
- 5.1.3 The Necronomicon (c1228AD)
- 5.1.4 The Necronomicon (c1400AD)
- 5.1.5 The Necronomicon (c1586AD)
- 5.1.6 The Necronomicon (c1700AD)
- 5.1.7 The Book of Eibon
- 5.1.8 R'lyeh Text
- 5.1.9 Pnakotic Manuscripts
- 5.1.10 Unausprechlichen Kulten (Nameless Cults)
- 5.1.11 Zanthu Tablets
- 5.1.12 Revelations of Glaaki
- 5.1.13 The King in Yellow
- 5.1.14 We Pass from View
- 5.1.15 Incongruity
- 5.1 Notable Writings
- 6 References
If Edgar Allen Poe is the horror writer's Marlowe, then H.P. Lovecraft is the horror writer's Shakespeare and Steven King his modern interpreter. Thanks to a publicity campaign that promoted 'the secret background of the fabled Necronomicon', his work has reached the level of a grand hoax. If not for his private denials and insistence that the Necronomicon is in fact his own fictitious invention then everyone might still believe that the Necronomicon, and the terrible secrets that it contains, are real. However, it seems that there's always some new age hack out there willing to make a fast buck trying to foist off a book reputed to be the real Necronomicon.
Or is it really all just a hoax?
Not in the Whateley Universe. In the Whateley Universe, Dread Cthulhu does indeed lie in the submerged hold of R'lyeh, aliens stalk the space between stars and uncaring gods snuff out stars on a whim.
Unlike the bleak world of the Cthulhu Mythos, however, all is not lost in the Whateley Universe. It is possible for humanity to fight back, not that such a combat won't require heroism and self sacrifice as befits a Superheroic universe.
Hierarchy of the Mythos
The Outer Gods
There are three major Outer Gods, perhaps the most powerful beings in the universe below the Creator. They are: Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath and Yog Sothoth. Together they form a triumvirate that is integral to keeping reality ticking along. They aren't good or evil (and for followers of DnD alignment, they aren't even Neutral, they are beyond the concept of alignment), they are necessary. On the other hand, they can't be said to be 'mindless'. Think of them in a similar way to a computer program or a form of 'evolved instinct'. Each is the embodiment of a concept.
Azathoth, also referred to as 'the formless nuclear chaos', is the embodiment of Entropy. Azathoth destroys, he eats and eats and eats incessantly from his throne at 'the center of the universe'. Life, space and even time itself are his food.
Shub-Niggurath, on the other hand, is the embodiment of Fecundity. From sex to mitosis to parasitism, life could not exist without Shub-Niggurath. Don't get the idea that she's the 'good guy' of the Outer Gods, however. She doesn't care about life, all she does is ensures its continuation even if the result is boundless suffering. She's also known for impregnating cultists and sacrifices to her, and even the fluid that she emits in such appearances (her 'Milk') can spontaneously generate life.
Yog Sothoth, the patron god of Sorcerers, is the embodiment of the concept of Time. He gives the other two gods the reality that they work in. Unlike the other two, who have a goal that mortals can understand, Yog Sothoth is much more unfathomable. Attempting to contact him is usually fatal. Actually managing to contact him is probably fatal. Of those that remain, none of them will be sane. Other similar beings include:
Roughly analogous to Destiny, the Tao is a concept that has a will to cause certain events in the name of necessity. It may even be the Will of the Creator himself. It has been theorized that the Elder Gods gain their power from the Tao rather than the more earthy concepts of the other Outer Gods, though there isn't a shred of evidence to support the theory.
This tier is full of theories and very little substance. The beings it contains fill the gaps between the Outer Gods and the rest of the Mythos, too powerful for the lower tiers but nowhere near the scope of the Outer Gods.
- Main article: Nyarlathotep
The 'Messenger of the Outer Gods', his exact role and nature are something of a mystery. Definitely not on the same level as the Outer Gods but his access to their power is unparalleled. Some have theorized that he is, in fact, the mind of Azathoth. Whatever he is, he acts as a sort of 'supersatan', combining the worst aspects of Lucifer and the SRU Wizard. He's said to have a thousand forms, each wildly different. His most known aspects are the Black Pharaoh and the Dark Man, through whom he leads mortals down the path of destruction. These, however, are his most human forms that are relatively safe to interact with, at least physically.
- Main article: Destroyer
The Destroyer is an anomaly on this list. It was a weapon created billions of years ago to destroy the Great Old Ones (GOOs) by a race of hyper intelligent aliens. Somehow, they used a long forgotten technology to fuse aspects of GOO physiology with the ordered physiology of regular life (more on that under the GOO's section), creating a being that could literally eat the Great Old Ones. The whereabouts of the Destroyer are a mystery, however, and the secrets of its creation lost.
It is unsure whether Daoloth is actually its own, discrete, entity or if it is in fact an aspect of Yog Sothoth. Either way, Daoloth is the embodiment of Space, though it doesn't seem as powerful as the Outer Gods.
The Great Old Ones and The Elder Gods
The Great Old Ones and the Elder Gods are opponents and have been since time began. Both were possibly mortal once, though some might never have been, but their knowledge of the universe rose to such mastery that they cast off their mortal concerns and become as gods. Neither side in the conflict can really be said to be 'good', though the Elder Gods might be a little more inclined towards humanity. This attention, however, is never a good thing as the whims of the Elder Gods can alter reality at will.
It's unknown whether the GOOs are a single alien race or a group of alien races that share certain physiological characteristics that allow them to bend reality in illogical ways. Their very presence threatens the fabric of reality and the sanity of those nearby. They are impossibilities in an ordered universe, or perhaps they work on different physical laws than life as we generally know it. They are intimately connected to the Outer Gods, though they act as gods in their own right. Their goals are cosmic in scale.
The real question is: Why are the GOOs so interested in Earth? Most of the major GOOs make their seat of power on Earth or close by. This is an unprecedented amount of attention from beings who care for nothing but their own pleasure and power and hate each other with passion. The answer has yet to be discovered.
- GOOs are originally from another dimension where reality is entirely mutable. Their 'true selves' exist as thought-forms outside of time and space.
- When you live as a god in your own mind forever, strange things start to happen. What many of the GOOs began to crave was context. But for context you need a concept of 'other', aka, space and time.
- Once they put their enormous minds to it, they discovered the possibility of other dimensions and time streams pretty quickly and began to put tendrils out into these other dimensions.
- They found that to manifest in a dimension, they needed an anchor, usually a sentient being that was receptive to them. Artists and creative thinkers, generally, being the most receptive to them.
The single most powerful of the GOOs, Great Cthulhu is the High Priest of Azathoth. His goal is nothing less than the utter destruction of reality, though it is unknown if he desires complete destruction or if he wishes to create a new reality from the ashes in his master's image. He exists in stasis at the bottom of the sea in the ruined city of R'lyeh, neither dead nor sleeping but in some unfathomable state between the two. It is said, however, that his astral form moves across the world, manipulating events at his pleasure. He often enters the dreams of creative people in order to pass on his word to humanity. Such unfortunates often don't survive his manipulation and it's uncertain if Cthulhu is truly conscious of his actions in his current state. Cthulhu has a chance of being released from his prison once every once in a while 'when the stars are right'. His last attempted escape was foiled when policemen disrupted one of his cult's world-wide ceremonies, each of which are necessary for his return. Cthulhu's current state is the direct result of the doomsday device that Aunghadhail and the Faerie Courts triggered in their war with the GOOs. Cthulhu looks like a bloated humanoid with three limbs, each of which sports three fingers or toes. His head resembles a many-armed octopus with large white eyes and bat-like 'ears' growing from the back of his head that can become wings. As a shapeshifter, however, Cthulhu can enlarge or shrink any of his body parts.
If any GOO rivals Cthulhu, it's Hastur. Hastur is one of the few notable GOOs who doesn't lair on Earth but this is due to his unique nature. Hastur is in fact an intelligence that evolved from or perhaps possessed a place. This place is the mind-bending city of Carcosa and the nearby Lake Hali somewhere in the Andromeda cluster. Hastur's will reaches across the stars themselves in order to lure victims into his clutches by warping space and time itself. Hastur's remoteness makes him much less of a threat to Earth than Cthulhu, however. Mortals are most likely to interact with him in his form as The King in Yellow, the title character of a play that drives anyone who reads it insane. Otherwise, it is uncertain what Hastur really looks like, he might even be formed of nothing but thought.
This GOO has a completely undeserved reputation for being relatively benign. This is probably because of his usual appearance: he generally takes the form of a furry toad-like creature with stubby legs and very long arms reminiscent of something out of the Muppets. Of course, his cute exterior hides the blackest of motivations. He would be more of a threat to humanity as one of the oldest of the GOOs with power comparable to Cthulhu and Hastur, except that he let his cult slide in the previous eons and now he lives in a lethargic state in the Black Gulf of N'Kai.
A lesser GOO who retreated into a form of stasis, existing as a stone idol tended by a chosen High Priest. His cult is a fairly dangerous coven of mortal sorcerers but he himself remains aloof from worldly matters.
Father of the Star Vampire race, Cthugha is even more remote to the human race than Hastur. Cthugha has little interest in mortals, or even his own children, and floats in the black gulf between the stars searching for prey. Like his children, he looks like an enormous (in some descriptions, planet-sized) cloud of fire.
Another minor GOO that lives in a labyrinth in England. It only ever emerges in order to accept sacrifices from its cult to infect with its brood (you've seen the movie Alien, right? Guess what...). It remains unknown whether Eihort has any goals beyond procreation and survival, though it does take some sort of satisfaction from offering its victims a choice between death or being a host for its brood. Eihort appears as a slug-like being with countless humanoid legs.
Appearing to be a cross between a sea slug and a sea urchin, Glaaki lives in a lake on an island off the coast of New Guinea. He reaches out into the dreams of nearby humans in order to draw them into his cult, ultimately stabbing them with his spines in order to create zombie-like Servitors. These Servitors somehow increase Glaaki's 'magic'. With Glaaki himself confined to his lake, these Servitors represent the greatest threat to humanity that he presents as he can work his will through these beings to some extent.
Though a GOO, Ithaqua (also knows as Wendigo) is more of a mindless beast or a force of nature. He wanders the cold regions of the world, particularly the Arctic. These days, Global Warming is limiting his range as the ice recedes in the north. When he encounters travellers, he carries them off and tears them apart, perhaps even eating some of the body. He also can control the weather, causing blizzards and other storms.
Deep beneath the Earth's crust, so deep that normal humans or even gadgets cannot penetrate without melting or being crushed, live a race called the Cthonians. Shuude M'ell is their progenitor and the largest of this race of intelligent, worm-like, beings. Occasionally, Cthonians will rise into the Earth's crust in order to breed, often causing earthquakes. Shudde M'ell seems to have little interest in humans, however, if not for our propensity for stealing Cthonian eggs which resemble geodes. The Cthonians will level entire cities in order to get their young back.
Also known as the Father of Serpents. Yig is still worshipped by the native American peoples and is also much closer to humanity than most of the other GOOs. He is not kind but he is also not antagonistic unless we break his rules, at which point he exacts a terrible vengeance upon the perpetrators. Harming serpents is likely to attract his ire, one recorded example of his retribution involved the poisoning of the perpetrator's loved one via an invasion of thousands of snakes while he personally raped the woman himself, driving her mad and turning her into a reptilian humanoid who gave birth to one of his Sacred Serpents. To his credit, he does warn those who are about to displease him and only the willfully ignorant fail to take heed.
Manifesting as a headless corpse with hooves for feet, fanged maws on the palms of his hands and another in place of the crotch, Y'golnac is a possessing entity that slowly transforms the host body into his form. This is usually the result of a fell bargain with the GOO that Y'golnac delights in turning into tragedy.
- Main article: Gothmog
Every modern human is somewhat familiar to the story of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Gothmog, the Great Old One, is intimately familiar with the tale since Joseph, a Sorcerer, convinced his grandfather, Pharaoh, to sacrifice his own daughter to Shub-Niggurath in return for the years of bounty that proceeded the prophesied drought. His mother, Sara, was raped and impregnated by Shub-Niggurath, who died birthing him minutes later. Gothmog granted Joseph and Pharaoh their request before deserting Egypt forever. Though he was part human, he retained the powers of a full GOO as all the children of the Outer Gods do (Yog Sothoth's sons are similar) and, uncharacteristically concerned for humanity, he retreated to the spirit realms to become a Demon Prince of Perversion. It was also prophesied that he would only have one child by the only love of his life. It has to be said that Gothmog is completely uncharacteristic among the GOOs as he sides against them for the fate of humanity and life itself despite the threat Cthulhu presents to his continued existence. In the early part of the century, J.R.R. Tolkien (a noted pilferer of names from ancient legends) named a minor character after him.
- Main article: Carmilla
Even more paradoxical than her father, Gothmog, is Kellith who lives as a human at the Whateley School for Mutants under the name Sara Waite. Born as Michael Waite, Kellith subsumed his body and mind into her form when she manifested at the end of his tempestuous life.
Also known as the Daughter of the Void, or the Mistress of Flesh, Kellith is still in the larval stages of her development. In her current form, she requires the constant input of knowledge in whatever form it can take, from the internet to books to DNA. The more information she acquires, the faster she will grow. She has already grown with the assimilation of Fey's DNA, linking her to the Faerie Queen that once defeated her race. Though, as the grandchild of Shub-Niggurath, she is consumed with the need to procreate her level of sympathy for humanity and her love for all life is unprecedented among the GOOs. Her cult teaches the way of evolution, striving to improve, perfect and protect life itself. Her ultimate goals are unclear but she continually strives to prove that she does not wish humanity's destruction. Far from it.
It is also unclear why the Whateley Board of Trustees is putting up with her being a student at Whateley, considering that the school charter is expressly for Mutants and that they have turned other prospective Alien students away. Although, this may have something to do with Whateley being situated in the highly dangerous Miskatonic River Valley and its proximity to Arkham Asylum.
The Elder Gods
Less numerous than the GOOs, the Elder Gods dwelt upon Earth before the GOOs arrived and probably sided with the Faerie Courts in the war, though they remain apart from the courts. They aren't 'good guys', they care less for humanity and more for themselves, though they aren't antagonistic to humanity which is a small blessing.
Elder Gods don't tend to attract cults in the same way as the GOOs and may not even need said cults for their power. Or, perhaps, they aren't interested in increasing their power in the same way as the GOOs. It's also worth noting that the Elder Gods don't identify themselves as such, it is really a label added to them eons later by humanity.
Though the Elder Gods in their true forms could simulate the sanity-crushing powers of the GOOs, they do so for different reasons and often toned down their appearance in deference to the 'lesser species' fragility.
His usual form is the prototype for the Christian view of God as the loving, elderly, father. Long white beard and hair, strong features, athletic body, aged and wise. In ancient times he was worshipped as a sea or storm god under monikers such as Poseidon, though he doesn't need worship to fuel his power. Hence, many of these cults spawned 'real' gods based on Noden's image.
- Main article: Bast
The Queen of Cats, worshipped in Egypt as the wife of Ptah, the star-bodied creator god. It is unknown if she is, in fact, the wife of THE Creator, if such a being can have a wife, but she is certainly disproportionately powerful compared to her portfolio of celestial responsibility.
- Main article: Aunghadhail
The Queen of the Fey was, indeed, so powerful that she belongs in this category. It was she who was responsible for the Cataclysm that ended the war by forcing most of the GOOs into a deathless sleep and shattered her own soul into fragments and scattering her allies to the four winds. Though perhaps the most sympathetic of the Elder Gods and the most concerned for the mortal races, her mind is still alien to ours. Currently reincarnated in the body of Nikki Reilly, otherwise known as Fey, it appears that Aunghadhail has returned somewhat changed from her previous form. It remains to be seen how this new form develops.
The Greater and Lesser Servitors and Gods
Countless alien races worship and serve the GOOs and Elder Gods, some more than others. Of these, there are a few notables, however.
The Deep Ones
Led by Mother Hydra and Father Dagon, the Deep Ones live in isolated cities at the bottom of the ocean and are the primary worshippers of Great Cthulhu. Hydra and Dagon are a mated pair of gargantuan Deep Ones, all of which resemble humanoid fish. The Deep Ones, however, live in symbiosis with humanity and they require humans to breed, particularly human females. Their own females kill their young on sight, making the growth to adulthood impossible for children in their own society. Such Human/Deep One hybrids generally change into full-blooded Deep Ones gradually some time after reaching adulthood.
The Star Spawn are of the same race as Cthulhu and are his closest confidants and advisers. The entire race transplanted itself to Earth, following their leader, and generally remain in hibernation until his return. The Star Spawn look like Cthulhu but only have a fraction of their master's power... which alone is enough to destroy Earth many times over.
The servants of Nodens, they are among the front line warriors against GOO servitors, though monstrous in their own right. They're known for their ability to immobilize their victims by tickling, though as benign as this sounds while you're paralyzed with laughter they can tear you to shreds.
The Mi-Go appear to be another name for the Fungi from Yuggoth. See next entry.
The Fungi from Yuggoth
Alien slavers from a very cold planet, they are in fact sentient colonies of fungus that developed the ability to fly between stars and planets without the aid of a spaceship. They abhor warm environments and keep to high, cold, places on Earth whenever possible. They often worship Ithaqua and their eventual goal is the enslavement of the human race.
Once a slave race, Shoggoths are large, black, amorphous masses with prodigious strength but little brain power. Even so, their old masters underestimated them and they rebelled, crushing the ancient civilization to which they belonged. Recent times have seen the evolution of the Shoggoths into Shoggoth Lords, who have highly developed minds but have lost much of their ancestor's strength. These Shoggoths have mastered their bodies and have become perfect shapeshifters.
Mortal servants of the GOOs during the war, the Serpent People were masters of GOO sorcery and a match for the Fey. In recent times, the Serpent People have gravitated towards the worship of Yig and thus remain less of a threat, though they still hold a special hatred for the humans that supplanted them as the dominant species on Earth. It is thought that they devolved after the war into the Dinosaurs, though the Fey whisper that they also had a hand in the creation of the thunder lizards.
The Great Race of Yith
Before the GOOs came to Earth and long before the Fey evolved, Earth was invaded by the Great Race. At the time, Earth was inhabited by invaders from another dimension, known to us as the Flying Polyps, and the Great Race cast them down and sealed them in their own cities. Disaster struck, however, when the Shoggoths rebelled and loosed the Flying Polyps, who exterminated the Great Race before returning to their home dimension. The Great Race can still be encountered, however, due to their mastery of psionics and time travel, they can literally project their consciousness into the future, possessing an unwary human. Unfortunately, there are also rumors of the Great Race sending their consciousness back to the present day from the future, so perhaps some of the Great Race escaped the destruction of their race through time travel.
Giant worm/leech-like beings that worship Shub-Niggurath, they exist only to procreate and consume. Like locusts, once they destroy a planet, they move on to the next via spells that create portals between planets.
Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath
Pieces of Shub-Niggurath's physical manifestation that drop off when her avatar is summoned to earth, the Dark Young resemble trees made of flesh and tentacles rather than wood and branches. That being said, they often masquerade as trees.
Though the word 'Dryad' is synonymous with a form of tree-spirit, the GOO version that took their name from these spirits are actually living beings reincarnated by Shub-Niggurath's avatar as plant-like beings. Sometimes called 'Hamadryads' to distinguish them by those in the know.
Of equal or sometimes greater standing than the Servitors are the Others. Fey, powerful mortals, aliens, etc. who don't really fit into classification with the GOOs or Elder Gods but still exhibit levels of power equal to the servants of the GOOs. In general, the difference between a GOO-related creature and one of the Others is that their very presence isn't likely to sap the sanity of any normal beings in the vicinity. The Others are very often related to the Elder Gods or serve them in some way. A great many of them are immune or partially immune to the sanity-blasting effects of the GOOs.
The Five Fold Courts
- Main article: Atlantis and the Five Fold Court
The five courts, related to the points of the compass, who banded together to fight the GOOs in prehistory. They include a great many beings, including the Fey and the Dragons, some of them nearly as powerful as the GOOs and Elder Gods themselves.
- Main article: Eldritch
The Five Fold Courts created many weapons to fight against the GOOs. The Artificer was, perhaps, a far more elegant creation as a being specifically created to forge new and stronger weapons with which to fight the GOOs. Rumors are, among occult circles, that the Artificer was destroyed in the cataclysm though rumors and wild stories about similar beings still circulate today. Legends state that the Artificer was created in a horrible ritual that was the cause of an epic catastrophe all of its own that was comparably minor compared to the total devastation that the war caused. It also was known to be linked to both the GOOs and Elder Gods, paradoxically, and the GOOs have been known to specifically guard against it.
An Ancient Dragon buried somewhere in China. This Dragon fought alongside Aunghadhail in the war against the GOOs and was one of the most powerful dragons in all history, though if he were as powerful as one of the Elder Gods or not is unclear. He was certainly a mighty warrior capable of defeating entire armies single handedly.
Angels, Demons, Devils, Satan and other spirits
Not really anything to do with GOOs or Elder Gods or the Fae, these beings fall in this category, power-wise, though none of them are as powerful as the GOOs or Elder Gods.
Yes, there are Aliens in the Whateley Universe. No, not all of them are like the GOOs. Most of them were created in the rules of reality familiar to Humanity. The “Martians” in particular though are antagonistic to the Human race in general.
The Human Perspective
Humans who encounter a GOO are likely to collapse into a gibbering hunk of meat. Their servitors have a similar effect, though it can take longer to manifest. Humans driven insane by the GOO aura don't just lose their marbles, they are literally infected by the GOOs multidimensional reality, becoming like them and thinking like them. Those who's minds are powerful enough can then use the Great Old One's brand of sorcery and may eventually develop into unique Servitors.
Before the 1900s, the Inquisition and related occultists were the only defence against the menace the sleeping Great Old Ones presented, though for much of the time the best they could do was to leave them alone. A great many Inquisitors (who, for the most part, distanced themselves from the various Inquisitions during the medieval period) died, committed suicide or went insane and were killed mercifully by their brethren.
Unfortunately, this danger was ignored by most governments, allowing GOO activity to run rampant despite the best efforts of the various churches. It wasn't until the 1900s, the development of technology and the appearance of Mutants that governments began to notice correlations between events that shouldn't have any relation to one another. Things only got more strange in America with the creation of the FBI, who investigated several cases in New Hampshire and were at the forefront of the infamous Innsmouth Incident, providing conclusive proof that the GOOs existed. When the Arkham Sanitorum had to be decommissioned, the government commissioned the Arkham Research Consortium (ARC) to act as an independent research and investigative body specifically to formulate an effective defense against these supernatural menaces.
Mythos related artifacts that are discovered by law enforcement or archaeologists are quarantined by ARC in America, though in Europe such things are still taken care of by the Inquisitors. The CIA and MCO, however, are reluctant to co-operate with these other organizations, sometimes quarantining their discoveries themselves, often with disastrous results.
Known GOO lairs are watched from a safe distance. In England, the army has exterminated Eihort's cult several times, though Eihort himself remains in his labyrinth inside a 'military testing zone' surrounded by troops. New Hampshire hosts the Black Gulf of N'Kai underneath its rolling green hills, though little is done to monitor it. The UN has a small naval fleet stationed near a certain island near New Guinea to warn off boats. R'Lyeh and the Mountains of Madness in the Antarctic remain some of the few sites that are not under guard, though the waters near R'Lyeh remain off limits to all vessels and the Mountains of Madness are so remote that nobody ever visits them. Michael Waite was a member of a team that discovered a GOO ruin on the Moon, though what his team found there is classified and most of the inhabitants of the Moon Base are blissfully unaware of the site's existence.
Very few individuals become professional monster hunters and remain so. None of them wish fame, fame will get you killed in that business. If anyone is known as a staunch defender of humanity against the GOOs, it is the Reverend Darren Englund, the man with the most GOO kills under his belt. That is to say there's HIM and that's it, nobody else has ever succeeded in killing a GOO and nobody else really knows how he does it. He claims that he utilizes the power of God but the Inquisition has a hard time swallowing that.
The GOOs use an entirely different brand of 'magic' than humans, Elder Gods or even the Fae. GOO Sorcery, as it is known, straddles the known techniques that encompass traditional magic(k), psionics and technology. It is a by-product of their own incomprehensible physiology, built into the nature of their existence. This is why only the insane can use GOO Sorcery, an ordered mind cannot comprehend the mental processes needed to utilize the power.
It is said that the Elder Gods and those close to them in power can understand GOO Sorcery but still cannot use it, or perhaps refuse to use it in favor of their own advanced forms of more traditional magic that can accomplish similar effects.
What makes GOO Sorcery dangerous is that it puts great power into the hands of shattered minds IMMEDIATELY. Where traditional magic must be studied and practiced, the speed at which a Sorcerer can learn at the expense of his sanity is comparatively phenomenal.
Deeper reading into the mysteries of the Great Old Ones is not just discouraged, it is rigorously suppressed. The Vatican, MCO, UN, ARC, NEXT and various other government or government-associated agencies have spent the last hundred years researching and tracking down most of the books associated with the GOOs (at the very least, the extremely dangerous ones) and eliminating them in any way possible. Discovery of a Mythos related book during any crime, no matter how petty, bumps the investigation into the jurisdiction of groups such as the Mystic Six who have the mystical resources to protect themselves from the corrupting influence of the GOOs.
However, destroying these works is a difficult proposition. The major hurdle is that many of the books gain a semblance of sentience, much like the GOOs themselves who do not follow any of the known rules of ordered biology. Mythos books may move or even change shape in a limited fashion. Some have been known to bite or scuttle along by their covers. In addition, many of the books will resist destruction or are seemingly invulnerable or even regenerate given time. Some have also been known to transfer themselves onto the skin of their destroyers in a warped form of possession. The standard operating procedure for dealing with GOO artifacts applies - they are locked in the deepest, darkest, most secure hole that can be found and destroy the key. To this end, the Vatican Library has their 'Z-Section', ARC has 'Black Sector' and there are many others so as not to make any one storage area too tempting a target for would-be sorcerers.
Of particular danger are any writings made, directly or indirectly, by a GOO personally. The only mortal writing on the Mythos that garners an automatic quarantine of the surrounding area (following protocols similar to a weaponized biological attack) is the Al Azif (see listing below for more information). Fortunately, actual GOO writings are exceedingly uncommon since the GOOs and their servitors transcended the need for written communication eons ago. The rest are imperfect translations, insane ramblings and inaccurate descriptions of Mythos lore that are just as dangerous to the scholar as they are of any use, beyond the usual degradation of sanity.
Kitab Al Azif
by Abd Al-Azrad (H.P. Lovecraft) in Arabic c730AD
In life, H.P. Lovecraft was noted as an unusual, generally poor, man with an unhealthy, morbid, streak a mile wide. What experiences opened his eyes to the existence of the Mythos are unknown but it is thanks to his sacrifice that humanity has become aware of the threat that the GOOs represent to all life. Today he is known as an adventurer who met a tragic and mysterious end after extensive travels through time and space. On one of the last of his journeys, he took on the name 'Abd Al-Azrad' in the middle east and, in a mad fever, wrote the Al Azif which would become the genesis for the fabled Necronomicon. The Al Azif has been discovered and lost several times, turning up in the most unlikely of places. It is theorized that Nyarlathotep 'sponsored' its authorship as it is an inordinately powerful tome yet also one of the most accessible to humanity. Al Azif refers to the chirping of cicadas which the ancient tribesmen of the middle east took for the cries of demons. Several copies of the manuscript have also been made, though most of these are incomplete and none match the accuracy of the original.
The Necronomicon (c950AD)
by Theodorus Philetas in Greek c950AD
Though certainly not as powerful or as dangerous as the original manuscript, Theodorus' translation of the Al Azif into Greek is the most famous due to his re-naming. Also, numerous copies of this version were made, causing enough havoc that it was condemned by Patriarch Michael of Constantinople in 1050AD. Most of the copies were hunted down and destroyed by the Inquisition of the time and many more have been destroyed in the years since, so the text is exceedingly rare, thankfully.
The Necronomicon (c1228AD)
by Olaus Wormius in Latin c1228
A Latin translation of the Greek Necronomicon written by the Danish Physician and Antiquarian 'Ole Worm' who often went by a Latinized version of his name. Officially, Ole Worm was born and died several centuries later, but it is well known that Mythos Sorcery can transcend the boundaries of time and space and Wormius was likely a Sorcerer as well as a Scientist. Copying the work many times, Olaus circulated the text amongst his fellow Philosophers, which led to the book's banning in 1232 and the placement of all versions of the Necronomicon on the Index Expurgatorius by Pope Gregory IX. The fate of Olaus Wormius in unknown, though he was likely hunted down by the Inquisition.
The Necronomicon (c1400AD)
by Olaus Wormius in Latin c1500
The story of Olaus' translation of the Necronomicon should have ended with its expunging by the Catholic Church and, if not for the invention of the first practical printing press with movable type in 1454 and a surviving copy, it would have been. Printed as a black letter copy in Germany and generally attributed to Aldus Manutius (founder of the Aldine Press), this edition bears no identifying printing marks probably to obfuscate his involvement. This edition is the most common surviving copy in modern times and, due to problems with the press, is far less accurate to the original work than its predecessors. A copy is kept in the Miskatonic University's restricted section for reference. The transfer of the book into slides is a matter of legend in scholastic circles, as one photographer was employed to photograph every 2 pages of the work to avoid mishaps and the slides themselves are stored in separate containers. The book itself is under heavy guard at all times and intruders are dealt with using lethal force.
The Necronomicon (c1586AD)
by Dr. John Dee in English c1586, abridged
During his travels through eastern Europe, Dr. John Dee (famed astrologer, mathematician, physician and Mage Royal to Queen Elizabeth of England) discovered one of the missing copies of the Greek translation. His own translation into English is, however, the most incomplete, abridged and censored by the author to the point where all that can be gained from it is tantalizing hints at real knowledge (and insanity).
The Necronomicon (c1700AD)
by Olaus Wormius in Latin c1700
A second printing of the Latin edition made in Spain using the old German plates. Very little is known about this printing, including who exactly was responsible or how many copies were made and distributed, because the Inquisition raided and burned the secret printing house, razing it to the ground and executing anyone in their path without trial or mercy. This edition is otherwise faithful to the original printing in Germany down to the imperfections in the lettering.
The Book of Eibon
by Eibon, c. unknown
Reputed to be the ancient writings of the Hyperborean wizard Eibon (Hyperborea is a 'mythical' continent that is now submerged under the Arctic), the original writings have never been discovered by modern archaeologists. The only evidence that the Book of Eibon exists is a Latin translation by 'Caius Phillipus Faber' (the Latinized name of an unknown scholar) called the Liber Ivonis c900AD. A translation of the Latin text was made into French by Gaspard du Nord c1300AD and a flawed translation of the French translation made into English c1500AD by an unknown author. Mythos lore is intermixed with traditional magical practices in this tome, making it one of the earliest examples of human magical traditions and much of it forms the basic principles used in modern magic.
attributed to Great Cthulhu c. unknown
Though the original R'lyeh Texts are supposedly composed of stone tablets delivered into human hands by Deep Ones, but they are thankfully lost to modern historians. The Chinese translations of these texts, written on scrolls c. 300BC by an unknown author are dangerous enough and even these are kept by Cthulhu's secretive cult, though English and German translations are reputed to exist (unfortunately, the authenticity of Mythos knowledge is easy to ascertain: if they spread chaos and insanity in their wake they probably are). It is said that Huang Di, the legendary Yellow Emperor of China (who may be connected to The King in Yellow, avatar of Hastur), exterminated the Cult and confiscated the tablets. They are reputed to reside in the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, 'First Emperor' of China, who might have instituted his famous suppression of scholars in part to quell the spread of Mythos cults throughout China. This may be true, as the modern Chinese government refuses to disturb his tomb, secretly for fear that he might not be truly dead.
in Old English, author unknown, c. unknown
Along with the R'lyeh Text, the Pnakotic Manuscripts are only known by historians as translations of lost tablets claimed to reveal the secrets of a prehistoric civilization from before the time of the dinosaurs. There are only five known copies of this manuscript, all held in strictest secrecy and never opened or referenced. The manuscripts themselves have been dated at c1500AD.
Unausprechlichen Kulten (Nameless Cults)
by Fredrich Wilhelm von Juntz, in German, 1839
Sometimes referred to as The Black Book for its featureless black leather binding, Unausprechlichen Kulten is the most complete reference for those interested in the ancient and modern practices of the cult of Shub-Niggurath. Translated into English and printed twice, once in 1854 and again in 1909, the book is the cause of some controversy amongst modern mages due to the connection it draws between the Cult of Shub-Niggurath and ancient Celtic Druidic practices, a claim that modern Druids deny vehemently. In the 1900s the book became a focal point for certain ultra feminist factions across the world. In particular, this cult is interested in evolving humanity so that women may breed without the need for males and attempt to 'push' civilization in that direction at every opportunity. Some cultists have allowed themselves to be impregnated by Shub-Niggurath, but the results have been less than successful and rather horrifying.
author unknown, c. unknown
Reputedly discovered and lost by Prof. Harold Hadley Copeland in 1916, his 'Conjectural Translations' of the original tablets are all anyone has to go on to surmise the contents of the original writings. The Tablets themselves were supposedly drawn up from the Pacific Ocean by fisherman's nets. Copeland himself believed that the tablets originated from the lost continent of Mu that reputedly sunk at the same time as Atlantis. The tablets disappeared under mysterious circumstances, a trail of salt water leading from Hadley's office down to the sea the only trace of the thief.
Revelations of Glaaki
various authors, originally attributed to Glaaki, c. 19AD onwards
Ever since humanity discovered Glaaki's lake in New Guinea and the Great Old One created his first Undead minions by stabbing them with his spines, Glaaki has sought to spread his gospel to the world at large, thus drawing more foolish would-be worshipers to him to become his slaves. To this end, some of his servitors are overcome by a trance similar to those seen when a normal human is overcome by a religious ecstasy. In this state, the servitor continually writes, types or prints out copies of the Revelations in order for other servitors to distribute them to as wide a market as possible. Such 'cells' are as inventive as they are insidious, one modern cult was discovered to be using magical coercion to turn ordinary, if isolated and disaffected, people into door-to-door salespeople. Their particular copies of the Revelations were laced with hypnotic suggestions that induced pleasurable (if violent) dreams when they did as they were asked and horrible nightmares if they resisted. And, of course, each salesman would give as many copies away as possible on a 'free trial period' basis. This particular cell was destroyed by the Mystic Six in the early 90s and the originator of the cult turned out to be a former Amway executive. Copies of the Revelations of Glaaki can turn up anywhere but are far from numerous, thanks to concerted eradication and the naval barricade of Glaaki's island.
The King in Yellow
author unknown, attributed to Hastur, c1895
Originally written and printed in French, all copies of of that version of this play were destroyed by the French government soon after release. An English edition, made by an unknown translator, seems to have survived, however, and was printed in England shortly thereafter. The English edition is a thin black octavo volume whose front cover is embossed with a large Yellow Sign (the symbol of Hastur). The play has only been performed once and everyone who was present at the performance disappeared by the end. Modern mages theorize that the play is in fact a grand spell that opens a portal directly to the city of Carcossa (see Hastur's entry above) which draws and traps everyone inside. Even reading The King in Yellow is dangerous, the content alone may drive anyone insane, draw them into Carcossa or even summon The King in Yellow himself - the effect of the original French version may have been even more terrifying! Some Sorcerers have read The King in Yellow, as they are already insane the play itself can do little to them, but even then they must deal with Hastur in order to avoid being trapped in Carcossa. In one known example of such a deal, the Sorcerer had to trade the lives and souls of ten other men, eight fingers and two thumbs (cutting off one digit every time he sacrificed someone to Hastur) to avoid his fate. Those who have read the play hint that the play itself presents a 'Thirty-seventh dramatic situation of classical literature' (according to literary theory, there are only thirty six dramatic situations that every story falls into, though everyone generally admits that these are rather artificial and extremely broad classifications).
We Pass from View
by Roland Franklyn, 1964
H. P. Lovecraft and J. K. Rowling aren't the only authors who have attempted to tell real life stories through the medium of heavily dramatized fiction. In 1964, a low-grade initiate in a cult of Yog Sothoth tried to make a quick buck by writing a story based on his cult's belief in simultaneous soul incarnations (that is, they believe that there are only a limited number of souls in the universe and, thus, each soul must be incarnated an infinite number of times at any one point in time). We Pass from View, however, was a bomb due to Franklyn's complete lack of talent. He only ever wrote one other original work, based heavily on We Pass from View, only for serious scholars of the occult (and New Age hippies) called 'How I Discovered My Infinite Self' in 1966. The uproar inside the cult over this deed was such that Franklyn was forced to 'expose himself as a fraud' by attempting to publish a book that was a word-for-word copy of an existing book still under copyright. When forced into court, Franklyn (in order to cast even more public derision on his previous work) claimed that he hadn't violated copyright because the other author was actually a simultaneous incarnation of himself! In return, the courts locked him up in Broadmore institution for the criminally insane after a police raid on his home discovered Mythos artifacts.
by Michael Waite, 2003
Very little is known about Michael Waite before 2003. As the author of a world-wide bestseller, he was always close-lipped about his life before the book was published and investigations into his past have turned up nothing before 2002, as if he popped into existence shortly before starting on his novel.
Incongruity, however, is the story of a troubled young girl called Sara who escapes from her mundane reality by projecting her mind through time and space where it creates and occupies a physical form for itself acceptable to the people around it. At first, she believes these journeys to be imaginary until on one journey she involves herself in a significant event in history, causing a devastating war (the Trojan War, to be precise). As she examines the history books, she experiments and discovers that she is actually altering her present reality by altering the past, noticing increasingly large incongruences in the present (hence the title of the book). The strain on reality comes to a climax when, during an attempt to rectify the situation, she unknowingly meets her father as a young man, falls in love and eventually gives birth to herself. The resulting paradox causes her mind and reality to shatter, becoming a goddess and thrusting her consciousness into an alternate reality version of herself in another dimension. While the overarching plot may seem like the stuff of bad science fiction, the book itself is written with such powerful language that readers couldn't help but become entranced. The effect was such that tabloids reported that a few individuals who read the book actually bled from their tear ducts. The real meat of the book, though, involves Sara's encounters in her travels through time. At one notable point in the storyline, Sara discovers the underground city of Xinaian, where the dwellers worship her as the incarnation of their Goddess, Keh'Halna Aith, the Mistress of Flesh who taught their tribe the art of shapeshifting and fleshcrafting. During this time, the Xinaian people refer to her as 'The Unborn One', foreshadowing her future ascendancy and rebirth. This also creates a paradox as Sara is taught the principles of the faith of Keh'Halna Alith before she is said to create them when she becomes a goddess (though Sara is never really aware of or believes in her divinity until the end of the book).
Strangely, though Incongruity is a heavy 'mind screw' novel, it has yet to destroy anyone's sanity... unless you count the rabid fans clamoring for a movie to be made from the book. This is unlikely to happen, however, as all scripts based on the book have been rejected due to being too intelligent for the average audience to handle. The movie rights are currently being passed from studio to studio in a legal version of hot potato - nobody wants to get stuck with it and so, it languishes in development hell.
Unknown to the public (thankfully), Incongruity was the result of Michael Waite's supposedly mind-wiped memories as a Class X entity researcher at ARC and as the unwitting host of the Kellith. Thus, Incongruity is actually the First Scripture of Kellith.
- Word of God from Branwen, a.k.a Branwen, on Discord via Malady