©1991 Scott David Aniolowski
[Scott Aniolowski is known to his associates as "Stat-Man" among other things, for his talents and enthusiasm for writing up stats for scores of Mythos creatures derived from fiction. In TUO4 he checked in again with more critters. Some of his TUO monsters turned up in Call of Cthulhu 5th Edition; more recently, he has applied himself to creating two volumes of creatures for Chaosium, to be released in 1994.
This is one of the few articles we've printed that directly addresses the creations of a Mythos author (Lin Carter and Robert W. Chambers being the others). I hope to do more of this kind of stuff in the future -- the game's origins lie with the stories, after all, and it's important to preserve that link. — John Scott Tynes, 1994]
Clark Ashton Smith is considered by many to be one of the key contributors to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, and is best known for the creation of his toad-god, Tsathogghua. Other Mythos-like entities created by Smith include the White Worm Rlim Shaikorth, Knygathin Zhaum, Ubbo-Sathla, the Great Ghoul Mordiggian, Xexanoth, and Aforgomon. Unlike most of the Lovecraft circle, however, Smith’s tales were not set in shadowy New England boroughs, but were mainly in the medieval, dreamy, fantasy settings of Averoigne, Hyperborea, and Zothique: his work should be of particular inspiration to Keepers interested in creating Dreamlands scenarios, or adventures set in long-dead, mystical civilizations where magic and sorcery were common.
Not all Cthulhu Mythos fans or Lovecraft purists will agree with the classification of these creatures as part of the Cthulhu pantheon, and Keepers are urged to use or ignore these entities as fits his or her campaigns.
Aforgomon (Outer God)
Description: Aforgomon, the Time God, is never described, although bolts of strange flame and an awful brightness are associated with it.
Cult: Aforgomon is worshipped by humans in the Dreamlands, although it may also have a few interested followers in the waking world, into which its influence and powers equally extend. As Lord of Time, Aforgomon’s favor is sought by those seeking to change what has gone before, or to see what is yet to come; dealing with the Outer God, however, is very dangerous, and those who transgress against its domain suffer ageless tortures and agony.
Notes: Aforgomon is never seen by anyone, except those who have offended the god and brought its wrath upon themselves; otherwise the Outer God simply enters into a host body to deal with followers. Typically, those who have angered Aforgomon find themselves in the Dreamlands, chained naked into a huge stone chair suspended over a gaping abyss; the condemned may sit, bound by the heavy chains, for aeons awaiting the wrath of Aforgomon. When the time god finally appears to the transgressor it causes the chain to heat to incandescence, charring the body and killing the mortal who was foolish enough to anger an Outer God; the corpses of such victims of the Chain of Aforgomon are found in the waking world, their bodies scarred with concentric rings of charred flesh, any clothing worn strangely untouched by heat. Very soon these victims of Aforgomon literally cease to exist, all knowledge, memory, and record of them fading from existence.
As Lord of Time, Aforgomon has the ability to halt time, or pass into and out of it at will; it may also transport other items and beings through time, or in some other way effect the time around them. The Outer God attacks with bolts of strange fire, which instantly char and kill its target. Because it is one with time, Aforgomon is capable of moving at speeds which are beyond the understanding of the human mind: it may move forward or backward through time in less than a heartbeat. This Outer God may, in fact, be one of the other forms of Yog-Sothoth, or may be somehow connected with Chaugnar Faugn or Quachil Uttaus.
Characteristics STR N/A CON 120 SIZ Varies INT 35 POW 100 DEX 20 HP 120 Move Infinite Weapon Attk% Damage Fire Bolt 100% Death
Armor: None. However, only enchanted weapons and arcane powers may harm Aforgomon.
The Great Ghoul Mordiggian, the Charnel God (Great Old One)
Description: ”…a colossal shadow that was not wrought by anything in the room. It filled the portals from side to side, it towered above the lintel — and then, swiftly, it became more than a shadow: it was a bulk of darkness, black and opaque, that somehow blinded the eyes with a strange dazzlement. It seemed to suck the flame from the red urns and fill the chamber with a chill of utter death and voidness. Its form was that of a worm-shapen column, huge as a dragon, its further coils still issuing from the gloom of the corridor; but it changed from moment to moment, swirling and spinning as if alive with the vortical energies of dark aeons. Briefly it took the semblance of some demoniac giant with eyeless head and limbless body; and then, leaping and spreading like smoky fire, it swept into the chamber.” (“The Charnel God,” by Clark Ashton Smith)
Cult: Mordiggian is worshipped exclusively by ghouls, although other races may offer up their dead to the Charnel God as appeasement and not as actual worship. The ghoul priests of Mordiggian cover themselves in long, hooded robes of funeral-purple, and silver skull-like masks. A tome known as The Ghoul’s Manuscript (see “Mysterious Manuscripts” in this issue) deals with Mordiggian and its cult.
Notes: Although Mordiggian is known mostly within the Dreamlands, it is assumed that the Great Old One may also enter the world of waking men through the same grave-tunnels and tombs that its ghoul followers use. When the Great Old One appears all fire and heat is sucked into its swirling void-like body, instantly lowering the temperature by many degrees, and filling the area with a deathly cold and still air. All within the presence of the Great Ghoul are blinded by the weird changing, dazzling form of the necromantic god, and so all attacks must rely totally upon the Listen skill to determine the location of the target: all such attack skills are performed at 1/4 the dreamers’ Listen skill, and all other sight-related skills are useless. This blindness lasts only as long as the dreamer/investigator is within the presence of Mordiggian, and sight returns instantly upon the god’s departure. Those who attempt to avoid to avoid looking at the blinding form of the Great Ghoul may do so by successfully rolling their INTx2 or less on 1D100.
Mordiggian attacks by engulfing victims, sucking away their life force, and dissolving the body: nothing remains of the Charnel God’s prey, and they are never seen again in the waking world or in the Dreamlands. This Great Old One does not appear to be especially malevolent, and has been known to spare those who have not personally offended the god or his followers (ghouls) in some way.
Characteristics STR 30 CON 55 SIZ Variable INT 20 POW 25 DEX 20 HP 55 Move 16
Armor: None, but Mordiggian can be harmed only by enchanted weapons and other magic.
Spells: Most, except those dealing with the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods and their minions and servants.
Rlim Shaikorth, the White Worm (Great Old One)
Description: ”Something he had of the semblance of a fat white worm; but his bulk was beyond that of the sea-elephant. His half-coiled tail was thick as the middle folds of his body; and his front reared upward from the dias in the form of a white round disk, and upon it were imprinted vague lineaments. Amid the visage a mouth curved uncleanly from side to side of the disk, opening and shutting incessantly on a pale and tongueless and toothless maw. Two eye-sockets lay close together above the shallow nostrils, but the sockets were eyeless, and in them appeared from moment to moment globules of a blood-colored matter having the form of eyeballs; and ever the globules broke and dripped down before the dias. And from the ice-floor there ascended two masses like stalagmites, purple and dark as frozen gore, which had been made by this ceaseless dripping of the globules.” (“The Coming of the White Worm,” by Clark Ashton Smith)
Cult: Rlim Shaikorth is worshipped by certain mystical sects in the Dreamlands, although, unknown to them, the White Worm often devours its worshippers.
Notes: Rlim Shaikorth dwells in the Dreamlands, within a frozen citadel on an unmeltable iceberg called Yikilth, which came down to earth from the stars, bringing with it the Great Old One. Frozen Yikilth floats on the Dreamlands’ seas, occasionally entering the waters of coastal towns where Rlim Shaikorth seeks worshippers. The presence of Yikilth causes temperatures to fall, and frost to form on the towns which the ice-mountain visits; an extended stay of Rlim Shaikorth and its arctic citadel causes plants and animals in the area to freeze solid: this may effect humans, as well. Those frozen by the presence of the White Worm do not thaw, even in the heat of fire, and remain forever solid and cold, like statues of ice.
The White Worm attacks by swallowing its prey, usually while they sleep; those swallowed by the Great Old One can not be saved, as they become one with the deity. Rlim Shaikorth also has the ability to freeze victims by matching its POW against the victim’s; if Rlim Shaikorth overcomes its victim’s POW then the victim begins to lose 1 CON every round thereafter as he becomes colder and colder. When the victim’s CON has fallen to 0 he freezes solid, and is forever gone. Those killed by the White Worm in the Dreamlands die also in the waking world, their bodies unusually cold and stiff. Those who resist Rlim Shaikorth’s POW simply lose 1D3 CON.
The blood of the Great Old One causes 1D6 points of damage per round to anyone that is exposed to it, so inflicting damage upon the god is also dangerous.
Characteristics STR 25 CON 55 SIZ 25 INT 18 POW 20 DEX 12 HP 40 Move 10 Weapon Attk% Damage Swallow 75% Death
Armor: Rlim Shaikorth has 10 points of armor in blubbery flesh. Any piercing or slashing wounds to the Great Old One cause a flood of its deadly blood to pour onto those responsible for the wounds, and they each suffer 1D6 points of burning damage each round. Water may rinse the blood away.
Spells: All Dreamlands spells, except those dealing with the Outer Gods and their minions.
Ubbo-Sathla, the Unbegotten Source (Outer God)
Description: ”…the formless mass that was Ubbo-Sathla reposed amid the slime and the vapors. Headless, without organs or members, it sloughed from its oozy sides, in a slow, ceaseless wave, the amoebic forms that were the archetypes of earthly life.” (“Ubbo-Sathla,” by Clark Ashton Smith)
Cult: Ubbo-Sathla has no human cult, although certain alien races, such as the Mi-Go, may worship it on distant worlds. The Unbegotten One is mentioned only in The Book of Eibon, and in the Necronomicon.
Notes: The Unbegotten Source is very similar to Abhoth, although the two entities are not the same: Ubbo-Sathla is much larger, forms simple pseudopods instead of any sort of actual limbs, and is totally mindless, blind, and idiotic. Some sources claim that Ubbo-Sathla is, in fact, the twin of mighty Azathoth.
Ubbo-Sathla never leaves its primal cavern unless called or disturbed in some way; while this creature is mindless, it does react to outside stimulation such as vibrations, sudden extreme changes in its environment, etc. The Outer God constantly puts forth its spawn, some of which are instantly scooped up and absorbed back into the great festering mass, and others which flop, fly, or crawl off into deeper corners of the Outer God’s cavern, or escape up into the world of men. Ubbo-Sathla’s grotto may be entered through deep fissures in the ice cap of the South Pole in the waking world, or through hidden tunnels in the Cold Waste in the Dreamlands; other entrances (or even gates) to the Outer God’s lair may also exist.
When called, Ubbo-Sathla brings with it 1D10x10 of its spawn, and it continues to produce offspring at a rate of 1D10 per round. The Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla fulfill every whim and urge of their primal, mindless sire.
This unclean pool of fertile slime has hundreds of pseudopods forming, flailing about, grasping prey, and absorbing back into the body mass at all times; if encountered, Ubbo-Sathla may grasp and absorb one, a few, all, or none of the luckless investigators/dreamers, at the Keeper’s option. Remaining in the god’s presence, however, for more than a few rounds will insure that one or more of the investigators are scooped up and absorbed. The Outer God’s pseudopods have a reach of 1D100x3 yards, and any areas visited or touched by Ubbo-Sathla is left devastated and totally devoid of all life forms, including the minutest of microorganisms.
The Unbegotten Source may have inadvertently spawned the prototypes of all earthly life, and it was from its tissues that the Elder Things created their dread Shoggoths aeons ago. It is also said that within the primal cave of the Unbegotten One are several tablets of star-wrought stone which contain great knowledge and secrets of the Elder Gods, themselves. These tablets, the Elder Keys, remain as much an enigma as Ubbo-Sathla, and the few powerful sorcerers who were said to have sought these tablets vanished from the face of the earth.
Characteristics STR N/A CON 200 SIZ 200 INT 0 POW 75 DEX N/A HP 200 Move 0 Weapon Attk% Damage Pseudopod 100% Grasp and Absorb
Armor: Ubbo-Sathla has no armor. However, it is immune to damage from all physical weapons; fire, spells, and enchanted weapons may do normal damage to the Outer God, although its slimy tissues quickly heal, allowing the god to regenerate 25 hit points per round. Ubbo-Sathla, like Azathoth, takes 3D6 points of damage from the Elder Sign, although the Sign will be destroyed, and anyone hiding behind it absorbed into the fertile pool. If reduced to 0 hit points, the Outer God seeps back into its cavern, or deeper into a fissure, and regenerates fully.
Spells: Ubbo-Sathla knows no spells, although its spawn are subject to its whims.
Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla (Greater Servitor Race)
Description: The Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla are semi-transparent, protozoan-like creatures of variable size and shape.
Notes: The Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla are encountered generally only with their sire in its primal grotto, or near an entrance to the Unbegotten One’s lair. No two Spawn are exactly alike: some attack with sticky filaments, some with pseudopods, some by engulfing, some with gelatinous tentacles, some with sharp cilia, etc. Whatever the attack, the Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla will attempt to draw its prey into its sticky body where it is digested and absorbed; an investigator sucked into a Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla suffers 1D6 points of damage each round, until totally digested. A swallowed victim may take no action, although others may try to slay the creature and free him. A Spawn that has gorged itself on a victim may still move, although its movement is half normal. Because they move so quietly, the Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla often surprise their prey.
Characteristics Average STR 1-6D10+6 11-39 CON 3D6+6 16-17 SIZ 1-6D10+10 15-43 INT 0 0 POW 3D6 10-11 DEX 4D6 14 HP 16-30 Move 1D10+3 8-9 Weapon Attk% Damage Various 75% 1D6+Damage Bonus, or hold Swallow auto 1D6 per round when held
Armor: None, but the Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla are immune to all physical weapons. Fire, magic, etc. harm them normally.
Spells: The Spawn of Ubbo-Sathla know no spells.
Skills: Move Silently 90%
The literary works of Clark Ashton Smith are rich and colorful, and whether his creations are to be absorbed into the Cthulhu Mythos or not, his tales are well worth investigating, and they range from brooding horror to mystic fantasy. Smith was a strong story-teller and a key figure in the Lovecraft circle.
Some of the works of Clark Ashton Smith are still available through Arkham House (P.O. Box 546, Sauk City, Wisconsin, 53583) in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, $23.95 (Smith, Lovecraft, Bloch, Long, and many others), and A Rendezvous in Averoigne, $22.95 (a collection of 30 of Smith’s tales).
(Editor’s note: Also available: Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith.)