Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

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Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:21 am

Hey folks,

Just in case people have not gotten completely sick of them, I thought I'd do one more of the "adapting my books into settings" threads. In this case with the book which started my career and took three years of hammering on in order to get just right: CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON.

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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KUOM7SI/

Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantas ... 01LX4JCHS/

Cthulhu Armageddon is a post-apocalypse Weird Western with a fairly basic premise. What happens when the Great Old Ones rise and humanity loses as Lovecraft intended? Well, perhaps not quite as Lovecraft intended as this vision of the future states humanity manages to survive in the shadows of the Great Old Ones. They certainly aren't doing well, mind you, and may be on the road to extinction but they've managed to avoid completely degenerating into a bunch of gibbering insane lunatics eating each other.

I had the idea while playing Fallout's Point Lookout and also remembering the Justice League episode where Hawkgirl and the others managed to put down their version of Old Batwings. It struck me as somewhat unfair to the Great Old Ones they were always losing and that it'd be a good setting for an RPG to have a world where victory had been achieved. You know, if the GOO actually thought they'd been in a contest. The Wild West elements came from the fact the wasteland is a naturally western-themed sort of place and also a distillation of the elements I liked most about The Dark Tower and The Stand.

As a Mutants and Masterminds setting, I'm of the mind it has legs as I'm not really of the Lovecraftian bent that humans wouldn't be able to shoot the lesser creatures of the Mythos. Cultists, Deep Ones, ghouls, and many other smaller critters are as much on the low end of the totem pole as humanity. I also don't see that there's anything wrong with sorcerers, gunslingers, and even perhaps "touched" Mythos characters putting the screws to those monsters which inhabit this world.

So, about 6-10 PL in terms of what sort of characters you can do with the 6 being those hardened human survivors who make their way across the land and 10 being a Prototype or Hellsing's Alucard-esque Humanoid Abomination.

Just one on our side.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:23 am

History of the Cthulhu Armageddonverse

"A devil from the Outer Dark," he grunted. "Oh, they're nothing uncommon. They lurk as thick as fleas outside the belt of light which surrounds this world. I've heard the wise men of Zamora talk of them. Some find their way to Earth, but when they do they have to take on some earthly form and flesh of some sort. A man like myself, with a sword, is a match for any amount of fangs and talons, infernal or terrestrial..." — Conan the Barbarian, The Vale of Lost Women

The CthulhuArmageddonverse (hereby known as Earth-CA) has always been slightly more formidable than most versions of H.P. Lovecraft's world. The Hyborian Age existed in this reality and other time periods like it where barbarians responded to eldritch horrors by sticking large metal objects into them. It didn't usually WORK mind you but as stated before, the creatures of the Mythos are every bit as screwed by the cold uncaring nature of the universe as humanity--they're just SLIGHTLY tougher than our poor squishy race.

Really, the history of humanity is not the entire history of the Earth as the world was originally one which belonged to the Great Old Ones, Elder Things, Great Race of Yith, Flying Polyps (their real name is unpronounceable by humans), and a dozen other species which settled on the world long before humanity evolved. These various races warred with one another, destroyed one another, and covered the planet in arcane ruins which became buried underneath the seas or Earth as time passed.

Humanity, itself, was forcibly evolved into its current form with its simian ancestors (already well on their way to sentience) being experimented on by the aforementioned Elder Things in order to make a slave race alongside the shoggoths. The shoggoths eventually rebelled and annihilated the majority of the Elder Things, ironically freeing humanity to pursue its own destiny. While humanity does not remember the shoggoths, the shoggoths remember humanity and are less than pleased at being forgotten. The Elder Things, by contrast, fled to Antarctica and later the Dreamlands to nurse wounds and dream of returning to power. A million years or more was a small time to ponder this dream for an immortal race.

Humanity would "diverge" though in this time with some humans finding the ruins of R'lyeh and encountering Great Cthulhu and his race sleeping there. Such was the strength of Cthulhu's dreams that they mutated these humans to create the Deep Ones who learned how to dream themselves and created the first human magic. The Elder Things had unlocked dreaming in the minds of humanity's primitive brains and allowed a small fraction of them to be able to wield what would be eventually called magic.

Similarly, other proto-humans fled to the underground or jungles of the Earth to find their own imprisoned Great Old Ones, morphing into the ghouls and Serpent Men. It is somewhat tragic that the worship of the Great Old Ones made these human strains immortal and powerful but left them venerating "gods" who had no knowledge they even existed. The Great Old Ones were highly evolved species from civilizations millions or even billions of years old which had transformed themselves (or were that way to begin with) into beings which defied comprehension.

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. - HG Wells, The War of the Worlds.

Humanity ultimately made contact with the Great Old Ones themselves, albeit to a far lesser degree than its kin. Cults formed around the writings of Abdul AlHazred, a psychic who wrote the Necronomicon as well as those humans who made truck with the other species. Generally, these cults were malignant in nature as they misinterpreted the fact Cthulhu and his ilk would eventually rise from their hibernation to destroy the world as a judgement on the planet.

The sanity-blasting nature of magic also tended to take the severest censure from local cultures. The Jewish people, proud warriors, slaughtered the people of Dagon and the Romans put to sword the Druids who venerated the Great Mother Shub-Niggurath. The people of Leng were driven to other worlds by the Chinese who were ever watchful for similar cults to arise.

Humanity did make some friends with aliens, though, as both the Mi-Go and time-traveling anthropologists of Yith found them pleasantly charming. Many humans were given immortality by the Mi-Go by having their brains placed in jars or robotic bodies, taken off to the asteroid colonies beyond Yuggoth (Pluto) even as Earth was mined for minerals humanity did not yet understand the use of like orihalcum. The Yithians, by contrast, taught individual philosophers how to combine dreaming with science to create mad but amazing devices.

Then there was Nyarlathotep.

It was a mistake of humans to believe the world was either a wholly benevolent theistic one or a atheistic materialist one.. The universe, itself, was alive in strange ways which were both simultaneously infinitely more intelligent than man but sentient in a way inexplicable to humanity. Yog-Sothoth was space and time itself and the heart of every galaxy lurked living black holes connected to the raw reaction of the big bang in Azathoth the Blind Idiot God. Trying to understand these creatures doomed humanity and many other species for those desires gave rise t a dream of an intercessor--a god-angel-archdemon which existed to provide the answers they sought.

Or maybe it was always there. Man would never know for certain.

Nyarlathotep would appear throughout humanity's history, bringing enlightenment which destroyed civilizations and unleashed terrible monsters as well as spells. It was he who dictated the Necronomicon like a perverse Gabriel to Muhammed and from him even the Deep Ones learned to fear the Dark. While he was not Satan, many cultures came to associate legends of him with said creature. Others with their faith's messiahs. Ultimately, though, humanity did not heed the warnings of their coming doom and in the 21st century, the Great Old Ones finally awoke.

It is perhaps important to clarify that humanity's own arrogance destroyed its control over the world every bit as much as the Great Old Ones themselves. The governments of the world had known about the Mythos as early as the Innsmouth Raid with the secrets of said horrible event being distributed as part of the League of Nations (helping accelerate that destruction of the body).

To protect their power and preserve what they view as bedrocks of human culture, authorities hid the existence of the other races in the world from mankind for the better part of a century. The fact many cities existed partially in other dimensions or simply vanished as the Great Old Ones' rising approached helped them but it is with man's hubris which made them decide to not prepare better.
To be fair, part of this was the doings of cultists. The cult of Cthulhu's ranks numbered in the millions with variations associating him with everyone from Jesus to the Buddha. They assumed the rising of their god would bring about a damnation of unbelievers and their own immortality. Hence, they constantly sabotaged efforts to learn more about the Mythos as well as conducted rituals to try and accelerate their masters' return. Smaller but still numerous cults did similar activities.
Worse still was the general antipathy human heroes held against those who did not follow a pure strain of mankind. Still-human Deep One hybrids, ghouls, and magicians were often hunted down alongside more hostile creatures. Books which contained secrets to help preserve mankind by fleeing to the Dreamlands, building vast shelters against the Old Ones' psychic auras, or even sending said creatures to other worlds were burned or hidden away. Ignorance was bliss but it was not wise.

In the end, the war against the Great Old Ones lasted perhaps the better part of six hours as the creatures awakening drove much of humanity into a hysterical frenzy. Nuclear weapons and worse were thrown at them to all the effect of raindrops. Those who worshiped Cthulhu were confused, horrified, or in denial at the fact he had no more awareness of their presence than flies buzzing around him.

The universe then changed.

Earth's Dreamlands and the physical world became linked with the majority of the Great Old Ones fleeing to vast realms there or taking rest in corners of the Earth they claimed as territory. Their psychic presence wiped out much of the planet's ecology, replacing it with strange new mutated flora and fauna or simply left vast deserts. The Earth became unrecognizable with the most shocking thing of all being humanity's survival.

Oh, mankind was badly weakened, and reduced to a seventh of its previous population by the disaster. It seventhed itself again by waging war on itself as well as the other near-human races but the Great Old Ones were uninterested in exterminating them. Mankind also received help from other races who wished to preserve them as curiosities and perhaps Nyarlathotep himself who had once created a Great Old One from humanity in the form of Randolph Carter.
Carter himself is now a two-faced god and patron/enemy of humanity. When his Carter persona is in charge, he is a deity who attempts to help humankind and teach them ways of mastering this newfound universe they have found themselves in. When his Dark Side, an alien called Zkauba, is in control--it actively works against mankind.

Zkaubu isn't actually malevolent per se but an alien sorcerer of a world destroyed in an event similar to the Rising who Nyarlathotep forcibly merged with Carter. It is lashing out because it, perhaps justifiably, feels its possessed by an alien monster. Both beings prevent the other from exercising their full, godlike, power. Their most common manifestations are handsome human men with black and white cowboy hats.
Perhaps it was simply that as short-lived, weak, and squishy as humanity was--it, nevertheless, was a race of Dreamers and that was its own form of currency in a world where the laws of physics were more like suggestions. Small towns and nomadic peoples dotted the landscape with death a constant companion.

But ever a desire to settle new land and survive.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:28 am

The Weird Wasteland

The most common location which Storytellers will probably want to do for their games is the classic Lovecraft Country which consists of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Remnants and its surrounding states. The Eldritch East is mostly desert, praise, "weird", and dustland despite being right next to the greenish-blue Atlantic Ocean.

As the post-apocalypse Western sub-title indicates, the general mood of the Weird Wasteland is that of a New Old West. Communities tend to be small, insular, and devoted to either raising animals or crops. Despite being 100 years since the Rising, scavenging is still a common pasttime and not entirely fruitless since things don't often decay the same way they used to. Time, like space, simply doesn't work the way it used to.

Travel between towns in the Weird Wasteland is hazardous due to the prevalence of bandits, cannibals, cultists, creatures from other dimensions, and storms of radioactive dust. In a society where survival is often in question, taking other humans (or otherwise) stuff is a valid if contemptuous path to survival. Caravans do make the routes regularly but guards are no sure protection against the dangers along the shattered highways which still dot the landscape.

Individuals wondering what the Lovecraftian beasts and horrors are doing should note that they are most definitely a danger. Whole towns can and do get devoured or destroyed by byakhee, nightgaunts, Tunnelers, and worse. Generally, though, they don't actively go out of their way to destroy mankind unless they're summoned, provoked, irritated, or humans are in their way. Some humans have even attempted to prevent these sort of problems by offering sacrifices to them--unaware that's like feeding the bears.

Others believe there are magicians and killers capable of slaying monsters. Sometimes they're right.

The population of the Weird Wasteland is constantly in flux and depends greatly on whether you mean humans, human variants, or intelligent beings overall. There are a few million pure strain humans in the area, mostly around its few city-states with a much larger number in the coastal underwater city of Deep Ones as well as underground ghoul communities.

Hybrids and mutants are generally shunned by both sides, though some humans simply no longer care if you can provide them valuable services. It is a pity xenophobia still divides humankind but, at least now, there's reason to be wary of your neighbors whether you have gills or not. They really might be planning to sacrifice you to an eldritch god or the Christian one.

In addition to city states and towns, there are also tribal communities which are generally nomadic bands of humans who are based on family-lines. They attempt to stay ahead of the Great Old Ones and have thei own traditions. The largest of these is the Dunwych, a multi-ethnic alliance of clans, which is close to forming its own nation thanks to its policy of conquering human towns and then offering them protection which actually works. Their mastery of functional magic and skill as warriors has caused many to become terrified of them.

Human religion has been warped by the apocalypse with faith generally leaning toward some mixture of venerating the Old Ones, atheism, or a variant of Judeo-Christianity which presumes this is a perdition which must be endured. Families or individuals may keep versions of the Pre-Rising faiths but it is a struggle for many to hold onto the values made for a world where humans thought they important.

Ruins litter the Wasteland of destroyed settlements, Pre-Rising cities, and also eldritch temples as well as constructions which no human hand created. The Rising raised many structures which were buried long ago and drew others which had been linked to the Great Old Ones. Some Wastelanders invade these locations in hopes of finding secrets to help restore humanity to its former prominance or to gain riches which might ease their individual lives.

Depressingly, humanity has returned to a very common means of barter in gold. Despite survival items being infinitely more precious, humans, Deep Ones, AND ghouls all use the infamous metal as their favored means of currency. Infinitely more valuable than gold, though, is orihalcum. Known as "Deep One Gold", it and its sister metals are those infused with the essence of the Great Old Ones. Much of it comes from ancient R'lyeh or the lands nearby other Great Old Ones former lairs. Its value is simple as orihalcum can kill things from other dimensions and increase one's ability to wield eldritch forces. What is the value of a bullet which can kill a god? Apparently, the equivalent of $200 to $2000 depending on where you are.

The Weird Wasteland has numerous communities which are potential bases of operation and places for adventures to take place. Here's a short list of the ones in the Massachusetts area with a brief rundown of their status.

New Arkham (500,000): When Arkham was destroyed by a combination of earthquakes and tidal waves during the Rising, a large number of its citizens fled to Arkham Air Force base in-land. The military personnel set up a refugee shanty-town on the airfields and proceeded to supervise the survivors long after the United States government ceased to exist.

The overcrowded city-state is actually a small nation of a dozen farming communities and a massive underground fungus system supplying its people. New Arkham is a military dictatorship with few freedoms, strict rationing, and a bizarrely patriotic culture which one day envisions itself taking over the Commonwealth to rebuild the United States. The Council of Leaders which rules the place is corrupt and of questionable competency while its military is one of the best trained in the Wasteland.

New Arkham is generally disliked by the rest of the region with one exception in the R&E (Recon and Extermination) Rangers who have an amazing history of actually destroying monsters threatening problems.

Kingsport (150,000):
The second largest city of the Wasteland by humans. Kingsport is a trading hub which has a large transient population. While land-locked by tidal change, Kinsgport is centrally located between hundreds of smaller towns a place where much vital commerce is undergone. Unfortunately, it is a city ruled by four bandit-clans which have found it more profitable to tax than rob. The Kings, Marshes, the Cashs, and the Wyatts loathe one another but cooperate in the inserts of keeping themselves wish.

Kingsport, while necessary for the survival of the region, is a horrible place in other ways. There is a thriving slave-trade, dealing in narcotics, and weapons. Murder is common and as long as it doesn't interfere with their activities, the Four Families rarely intervene in how the citizens resolve disputes among themselves.

Dunwych (50,000): When the Rising occurred, the town of Dunwych was almost completely flattered but for an old haunted farm which immediately turned into a vast verdant paradise. The Whately clan gathered a group of survivors around them in exchange for their submission to their rulership as kings and queens. The survivors came to worship the Great Old Ones and soon became possessed of unique gifts which allowed them to survive better than others.

By the time the last of the Whateley Kings died out, they were already a powerful nation of almost a hundred semi-nomadic tribes based around the Dunwych area. The Dunwych practice many obscene rituals and a morality divorced of anything but survival but remain steadfast allies to their fellow humans. They also have weapons and spells capable of defeating monsters.

Like New Arkham, they are expansionist and control half-a-million human lives in feudal territory.

Miskatonic (15,000): A tiny community descended from the survivors of Misktaonic University's staff. They live primarily in the steam tunnels and caverns unearthed during the Rising and have made it their mission to preserve as much human knowledge as possible. The most educated humans in the Wasteland, they trade their knowledge and attempt to help settlements regain some semblance of technology as well as survival techniques.

Unfortunately, these secular missionaries are often killed in the Wasteland. Attempts have been made to conquer Miskatonic but they have all failed mysteriously. This is due to the Miskatonic being secretly run by the Great Race of Yith who possess its leaders. The Miskatonic voluntarily allow this in exchange for the Great Race's help. The Great Race cares little for the people of the University but are carrying out experiments on humanity both social and otherwise in the interests of furthering their knowledge of the universe.

The Black Cathedral (1,000): An Elder Thing temple summoned from the Dreamlands, it is a massive eldritch location which twists and turns in space. Uninhabited by its original species, the Black Cathedral has since been seized by Alan Ward. Alan Ward, the former Master Scientist of New Arkham, is a sorcerer who has opened himself up to thousands of years of past lives as well as vast stores of Dreaming-based sorcery. He has also bonded himself with a monster from another dimension to increase the amount of magic he can do.

Alan Ward rules over a cult of Cthulhu which venerates him as a demigod and sustains itself through slavery as well as raiding. Ward cares little for his subjects and uses them to kidnap Wastelanders for his experiments. Ward believes only he can "fix" humanity so they can survive the post-Rising world.

Scrapyard (1,500): Scrapyard is a scavenger community existing in the verdant jungle-like Ghoul Pass which was seeded by priests of Shub-Niggurath and has since become an aggressively growing strange forest. Scrapyard's people are subservient to the Dunwych who take half of their crop but they actually produce enough to make a small but profitable export business despite this.

The Scrapyard also have a deal with a city of ghouls underneath the Pass as they give their dead to be eaten in exchange for protection against the horrors of the Wasteland. This is their direst secret and they will kill to protect it. They also have been known to house hybrids among them, though many hate and resent these beings.

The Factory (Unknown): An industrial hellhole and factory cityscape in one of the most isolated portions of the Wasteland. The Factory is constantly humming with alien machines and twisted combinations of flesh and metal working together. Populated by the Faceless Ones, the factory is a place where bands of metal-human hybrids are sent out to capture other humans before they are subjected to grizzly experiments designed as much for pain as research.

The Factory is hostile and noncommunicative even by the standards of the Wasteland and only the fact they treat near-humans as poorly as baseline humanity has kept them from overruning the rest of mankind.

The Boston Ashlands (150,000): Boston was destroyed in the Rising and its population killed itself in a murderous frenzy followed by drowning in the resulting flooding. It has since been resettled, though, by a dozen different tribes that has since grown to a hundred smaller ones. These tribes feud constantly and inhabit skyscrapers, empty buildings, or places from the Dreamlands or past that have displaced current choices. It could be a great nation by itself but the groups loathe each other with many taboos the others violate. There are cannibals, those who hate humans, those who hate hybrids, those who hate near-humans, and those who worship a variety of strange gods or ancestor cults.

A large statue of Cthulhu stands on Breed's Hill which has a peculiar effect on the locals, driving some to madness while keeping the bay almost pristine. A Deep One City is nearby which has invaded the Ashlands a few times before as well as often raid it.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:30 am

Sanity

“But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here."

-Alice in Wonderland

There is no Sanity Mechanic in Cthulhu Armageddon because the barriers between this reality and the next have been stripped away. In the world of Call of Cthulhu, every man and woman would be SAN 0 cultists of one sort or another. They know exactly what sort of horrible ancient creatures lied beneath the ground, past the shore, or beyond the stars.

That doesn't mean insanity isn't an ever-present theme in the setting, though. It's just the roles of the sane and insane are arguably reversed. The insane are those who cling to the past of humanity and attempt to spit in the face of oblivion by attempting to continue to live as people rather than accept surrender to one's inner monster. For most Wastelanders, they do their best to be insane in a way which allows them to approximate a rationale "normal" life as best they can. They attempt to go about their daily business, selling goods at stores and working their trades, all the while ignoring the inherent absurdities of life. In short, choosing to remain human.

The sane, though perhaps that's not the right word, are those who choose to abandon their humanity and attempt to become monsters themselves. They are people who attempt to immense themselves in the cruel and chaotic world they have found themselves in order to find answers which will liberate them. I liken it very much to the contrast of the deluded ignorant Warhammer 40K peasant to the servants of Chaos. Protagonists in this world very often ride the middle as they struggle to maintain some connection to the dead world humanity has left behind and embracing JUST ENOUGH supernatural horror in order to protect the scattered survivors of mankind.

Still, for those who want to maintain the "classic" fear of insanity, it is recommended Gamemasters reserve the moments to make Will saves at suitably dramatic moments in the game. Failure means the PC suffers some form of semi-permanent weakness or roleplaying quirk. There's not much in the way of psychology in the Wasteland but this is an opportunity for roleplaying which is appropriate for the setting--or a chance to be driven to evil or death in the blaze of glory.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:32 am

Heroic Character Concepts

I have trouble relating to people who faint at the hint of a bad smell. A meep or glibber doesn't cut it with me. (I love meeps and glibbers, don't get me wrong, but I go looking for what made them!) That's the main difference between my stories...and HPL's. My guys fight back. Also, they like to have a laugh along the way.
-Brian Lumley on his Titus Crow novels.

Some concepts for those players who want to play those who punch back at the unimaginable horrors present but may or may not actually succeed. Some may be inappropriate depending on the mood of the campaign so variety has been shared.

====

Mad Wanderer

You've suffered a terrible loss which has stripped you of your fear of death but you're too much of a survivor to surrender peacefully. Instead, you've become more at home among the Wasteland than the cities and towns remaining. Despite not possessing any unusual abilities, you often possess weapons or blessed items to help pierce the flesh of the dangerous. You may never kill Great Cthulhu you've cut a bloody swath through his cultists.

Neo-Barbarian Hero

You are a product of the tribes which have emerged from mankind in the past century. Your people did not revere the Pre-RIsing world or if they did they revered some aspect of it long dead like the Vikings, Mongols, or Hell's Angels. Unnatural energies and raw will for survival have hardened your body into as tough as a human can possibly be if not tougher. With an ax, blade, or club, you smash through whoever stands between you and your desires.

Human Shoggoth


You are not a human being and never were. You are, instead, one of the shapeshifting masses of protoplasm which predate their race by millions of years. Shoggoths, however, do not love or feel or dream. They are a gestalt entity which do not know individual or the other wonderful insanities of mankind. You have taken a human form to live among man and perhaps even protect them. Other members of your race think you're mad and you perhaps are. Most humans would react in horror to what you really are but others might consider your powers useful--useful enough to call you friend.

Post-Apocalypse Pulp Hero


You studied at the University and learned many fascinating things in its libraries but it was the collection of WEIRD and AMAZING magazines in the basement which captured your imagination most. When a Yithian replaced you for years, you studied in the Cretaceous Period where you learned the science of the mind and how to harness the strange eldritch energies other races of the Mythos take for granted. Rather than stay at the University, you have created a ray gun and vehicles to try to bring JUSTICE to the Wasteland.

Weird Gunslinger

Your guns are forced of R'lyehian gold and shoot out bullets made of living flame from Cthuga the Tyrant Sun. Your duster is woven with sigils which channel the power of the Elder Gods (or Other Gods or Great Old Ones) and protect you from instant death. Where you came from or what you did before you became what you are is less important than you've left that life behind and wander from town to town, dealing justice of an eldritch kind. You may pay for your power with your humanity, or already have, but it makes you tougher than any human has a right to be.

Shaman of the Wastelands

Most priests of the Great Old Ones are insane, twisted, or monstrous. You, however, recognize the Great Old Ones and other creatures are simply amoral forces whose power can be used for good or evil. You aren't aware why the pacts you make with the Old Ones work given they don't care about what humans but they're necessary for you to channel their strength. You can summon, banish, control, and channel the strength of such creatures, though. Your sanity is a kept to on a razor's edge and many believe you are a monster for revering such entities but your power is undeniable.

Ghulthrope

The ghouls are a related race to humankind and the ancient canine-human hybrid race are the inspirations for werewolves. You were one of the half-human hybrid changeling children they left in the cribs of humans who grew up to transform. You are not so eager to leave behind your human heritage, though, and with the magic of your ghoul ancestors have managed to restore yourself to a human seeming. You can still draw on the power and strength of your ghoulside, though. It doesn't entirely keep your hunger for flesh in check, though.

Living Dream

Captain America, Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man, or any number of figures are brought to life in the Dreamlands. Others are ancient myths and legends of other races which have had spirits assume their forms to feed on the emotions behind them. At some point, a Wastelander gathered the knowledge necessary to bind such a dream to themselves and channel their power into real life. It's also possible they had that dream forcibly bonded to them. While your pre-ceremony life is increasingly a distant memory, the more you act like your paragon, the more power you gain. You may be a small god of Earth but you're a god nevertheless.

Mechanical Knight

You have access to machinery which is leftover from the previous world and have learned to combine it with the eldritch sciences of other races. This has allowed you to create a suit of armor, tank, and planes which allow you to fight the enemies of humanity. You can generate a sword of light to banish the darkness and believe you may someday inspire humans to resist the darkness. Sometimes, though, the mathematics and designs in your mind feel like they come from somewhere else.

Ex-Arkham Ranger

You were once one of the most well-trained soldiers in the world. You know how to trap, track, shoot, navigate, and a dozen of other skills. Unfortunately, that was always used to expand the power of New Arkham's leaders. Somehow, you have lost your allegiance to that nation and ended up in the Wasteland as your own man (or woman).

Psychic Mutant

Humans are excellent Dreamers but the majority of their dreams do nothing but last a brief time in the Dreamlands. The Great Old Ones Dreams, though, warp the fabric of space and time. Those who are sensitive to such things may be warped by such things and gain the ability to bring their own dreams to life. They may be as small as telekinesis or as horrifying as warping reality to the whims of a mad god.

Rancher's Damned Daughter

Your father was a rancher of the kind of animals which survive in the Wasteland and took a wife of something unmentionable to guarantee himself prosperity for the past twenty years. You have been lucky to have a mostly human appearance even if there's some (increasing) signs you are the product of something otherworldly. Knowing now you are becoming something "else" you have decided to find some meaning in your life before you become something incapable of appreciating your human one.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:32 am

Racism, Prejudice, People, and Monsters

Themes of alienation, xenophobia, prejudice, and the changing nature of humanity is all central to Lovecraft's works for better or worse. This is also the case of Cthulhu Armageddon but being as it's 2016 and not the early 19th century, there's more than a few differences in how these things are presented as well as what their conclusions are.

Due to the nature of the apocalypse, humanity's survivors are a far more diverse group than they might be before. Whether one is Caucasian, Asian, African American, Indian, or Native American doesn't matter so much as whether or not one is human. The mixing of humanity's survivors has also resulted in the modern species being more inclined to have elements of many groups somewhere in their family tree. This is perhaps the only benefit of the Rising.

However, the fears of the Other remain strong in the world of Cthulhu Armageddon, just more on the fantastical side of things. Those who have been mutated by the Great Old Ones dreams, intermarriage with one of the near-human species, or who display unusual abilities are often treated as things to be driven away or destroyed. The near-human races, unlike the Deep Ones of Innsmouth, often view human blood with the same level as disgust and disdain as the opposite. Indeed, the Dagonite priesthood now considers the destruction of such hybrids to be a holy rite.

Interbreeding with humans and near-humans still occurs despite the frequent vast anatomical differences due to the fact Deep Ones, Serpent Men, and ghouls all have periods of appearing more or less human from their birth to their mid-to-late thirties. That is when the transformation into their final forms as more inhuman beings occur. Others can and do assume human (or vice versa) forms which come with urges toward them. It is even possible for vastly different beings to fall in love as Alec Holland and Abby Arcane show.

It should be noted that part of the reason the near-humans and humans have both reacted poorly is some new branches of the human species have occurred. Those blessed and cursed with unusual abilities or strange appearances. Evolution is taking strange new turns both beautiful and terrible in the Post-Rising World. Some sorcerers and elder technology scientists have also sought ways to artificially "improve" humanity as well as they are a short-lived weak race with none of the advantages their sister species do.

There are also the children of gods and the Great Old Ones (albeit calling those created in rituals to them is pushing the definition of children). There are countless spells and magical objects which can also transform humans into something inhuman but immortal and powerful.

The transformation into alien lifeforms is something which horrifies most wastelanders but fascinates others. For some, the transformation is merely a consequence of experiencing the supernatural. Enough that they choose suicide over transformation into a creature of Yith, R'lyeh, or one of the Outer Gods. Others, like Randolf Carter, see the path of metamorphisis as a chance to transcend their human limitations and become as the Great Old Ones.

Only you can judge whether such is madness or enlightenment.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:33 am

Great Old Ones

It wouldn't be the Cthulhu Mythos without the Great Old Ones.

The Great Old Ones, in this iteration of the mythology at least, are singular members of a species, who have achieved a sort of post-Singularity deity status with the universe. They are, in effect, giant members of their race either in size or power or both. Individuals of their race are often immortal, powerful, and alien in the very same way the GOO are but are far weaker in strength. This is due to the difficulty of becoming a Great Old One as it requires an individual to do a Dream Quest which requires journeying to Unknown Kadath and having one's mind and abilities opened to godlike potential by Nyarlathotep.

If this sounds unusually spiritual for the world of Lovecraft, it should be noted that Nyarlathotep is petty and easily bored. The Nirvana-like status he bestows upon the races who come to beseech him are more about making sure you're interesting than any actual spiritual merit. Humanity actually came within spitting distance of gaining their own Great Old One in Randolph Carter but Nyarlathotep merged him with another petitioner at the last minute for ****s and giggles.

The Great Old Ones, depending on how you wish to play them, vary from PL 20 to PL X. They are mostly physical beings but that's a bit like saying a planet is a physical thing. Cthugha, for example, is a sentient sun which exists across the universe from Earth but is still able to exert his presence on humans who reach out to him. Cthulhu is the first of the Great Old Ones according to the Necronomicon but his people were defeated by the Elder Things.
Lovecraft lionized the Elder Things as an advance scientific and cultured race but a less charitable reading notes they were a decadent race of slavers as well as mad scientists--ones who consider human beings a failed experiment and runaway genetic atavism equivalent to the rats from NIHM
The stars are right in the world of Cthulhu Armageddon so the majority of the Great Old Ones have risen from their slumber and either ventured into deep space, the Dreamlands, or have staked out part of the Earth to simply do whatever Great Old Ones do, which may not be much. Others, however, remain either sleeping, imprisoned, or weakened by their long slumber that they have not yet reached full strength.

In general, the Great Old Ones are neither malevolent nor beneficent but dangerous. They are as far removed from humanity as a volcano so they do not have the ability to communicate with humans on any appreciable level or even recognize humanity as sentient. This is not completely true, though, as some are less than their own race or able to bifurcate their consciousness to something approximating humans. Other humans are so powerful, they're capable of speaking on behalf of the human race.
Unlike in some version of Lovecraft's universe, the Great Old Ones DO recognize humans exist but they can only parse humanity in terms of something which ignores individuality. A human, for example, could speak on behalf of humanity as a "young" Great Old One of a million or so years of age but the Old One would not be able to understand an individual human in the way we would not understand bacteria. We are, in our own way, as alien to them as they are to us.

This, of course, does not apply to those humans who have opened themselves up to aeons of past-lives and walked some of the road to Kadath for those who wish to play Doctor Strange and negotiate with Cthulhu.
The Great Old Ones have no society unto themselves and are often enemies with one another. Fights between them may take the form of Kaiju-esque battles, psychic battles across other dimensions, or earthquakes and dimensional tears witnessed by lesser beings. Ancient grudges spanning strange aeons and feuds are often known between these individuals with cargo cults of humans doing battle in the name of their forebearers over ancients wrongs which have nothing to do with mankind.

The Great Old Ones are, for all intents and purposes, immortal due to their pact with Nyarlathotep. They may be imprisoned but will heal any damage done to them no matter the source, including the atomic destruction of their bodies. The power of Azathoth is capable of unmaking them, though, as is Nyarlathotep himself or Yog-Sothoth.

They may also be sent across the universe or other dimensions--albeit banishing them from this plane permanently requires specialized spells or the patronage of a Great Old One itself. Most Great Old Ones have no particular attachment to the Earth, however. The only exceptions are those who have their race on the planet like Cthulhu, Dagon, Mother Hydra, and the Earthmother.
The Earthmover is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from Brian Lumley's Shudde M'ell, just like the Chthonians are completely different from the Earthmovers.
Opposing the Great Old Ones are the Elder Things, Mi-Go, Yithians, Elder Gods, and humanity. The Elder Gods are particularly noticeable as many humans believe they are beneficent counterparts to the Great Old Ones or opposites to the Other Gods. In the Cthulhu Armageddon-verse, this belief is wrong as the Elder Gods are simply another group of deities and Great Old Ones which humanity have put positive qualities on.

Magic which calls upon them, though, still works.

It is unknown how many Great Old Ones exist on Earth proper with as few as a dozen or as many as a hundred. There are, however, millions of them across the universe.

Perhaps billions.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:36 am

Raiders and Bandits in the Esoteric East

At the opposite end of the cosmic spectrum of Cthulhu and his ilk are the more mundane predators of the Wasteland. These are the scum and sleaze who thrive on the misery of othrs in the former state of Massachusetts. They are (mostly) human and capable of being dealt with using methods like guns and swords.

Others may become nations in their own right.

===

1. The Citadel: A former military school which has since been adapted into a bandit base. Its leader, Colonel Jones, is a seventy-year-old former New Arkham Ranger who was cast out of their society in a power-struggle. He has since built a "mercenary" army which is "employed" by towns for protection as in, "it would be a shame if anything happened."

His army is made of child soldiers seized from the towns and their fathers who are forced to fight less their families come to harm. The children are then indoctrinated into Colonel Jones' cult of personality which claims they will someday seize the world back from undesirables. Colonel Jones is notably more racist, sexist, and fascist than is the norm in New Arkham. His forces lucked out also by recovering a nearly-intact National Guard Armory, showing that gods do favor the wicked in the wasteland. Notably, the Citadel is a purely mundane threat as they disdain magic.

2. The Esoteric Order of Dagon: The grandiose title for the group doesn't make it more than it is, which is a bunch of hospitality murderers. The Esoteric Order of Dagon is composed of Deep One hybrids, human exiles, and a few Deep Ones unwelcome in the ocean who use their limited magic to create oasises in the wasteland. They proceed to invite travellers to these places and rob them blind, kill them, or sacrifice them to their gods.

Interestingly, they've gotten so good at their job at establishing pit stops on the Wasteland that they actually make a decent-sized fortune letting legitimate traffic through. The fact many travelers don't question the white-pork of their meals or the unclean looks of their hostsis just how things go nowadays. Slavery is very common with the Order's outposts and they are always on the lookout for beautiful humans of both sexes to add to their numbers.

Notably, the Esoteric Order of Dagon has made some powerful enemies in both New America and the city of Y'ha-nthlei. The former because some of their Rangers have gone missing and the latter because of the Deep Ones there having come to loathe all hybridization.

3. Hellhounds: The Hellhounds are, I kid you not, a tribal group descended from a motorcycle club which managed to stay ahead of the apocalypse by nromh nomadic. The group has since switched to mutated horse-like creatures but still keeps much of the same attitude. As bandit clans go, the Hellhounds are somewhat more reasonable than most. They deal in alcohol, chemicals, handcrafted weapons, and other items which would mean they don't actually have to murder or steal to make a living.

It's just easier.

The Hellhounds prey on those who look like they'd be easy targets and prefer to move when they meet heavy resistance. They're also motivated by greed and self-interest over sadism. You know, when they're not drugged out of their minds. The Hellhounds venerate a wide pagan pantheon which is centered around "The Easy Rider", ancestors, the Devil, Hades, and a man named the Cash who wears all black and punishes the evildoer. Despite the Hellhounds being descendants of bikers, they're actually egalitarian in terms of races and sexes with their current leader being a woman named Big Mama.

4. K'Tulu's Wrath: A ever-growing army of bandits and murderers led by Lord Skullface who is the son of the original Skullface. The K'Tulu cult is an alliance of smaller non-Dunwych Tribals or descendants of those driven out from their clan. It is an army which rapes, pillages, and burns those towns it encounters before offering their horrid rituals to the Awakened God. The organization would have self-destructed by now if not for the fact it has actually managed to imprison a shoggoth in the center of their makeshift Scavengertown. The Shoggoth is capable of providing them whatever they desire by altering the chemicals of its body.

Lord Skullface dreams of becoming a Wasteland king but is, thankfully, too stupid to realize if he wanted to, he could use his amulet-controlled shoggoth to conquer anything he wanted. His sister, Lady Skullface is much-much smarter than him and a self-taught witch who could very well make the "army" much more dangerous.

5. The Observatory: The Observatory is literally, that, the former Ipswich Observatory on Bald Mountain. It is, however, built over a massive former coal-mine which has since become the basis for a thriving community of human-MI-Go collaborators. The Observatory's scientists help the Mi-Go catalog spots for mining orihalcum and adamant from the planet as well as kidnapping human beings so they can have their brains removed to create Servitors which assist the Mi-Go in their activities on Earth as well in the Yuggoth Asteroid Belt.

The Observatory primarily deploys living machines to kidnap humans for their masters and its human members tend to be cyborgs. Because their cyberdization is done by their fellow humans with Mi-Go technology, though, they tend to have a far more human nature than their unfortunate victims. The Observatory for all of its advanced technology sustains itself from tribute and threats to surrounding communities and would collapse on its own.

Its leader Henry Akley is a 200 year old human in an artificial body with an organic human face who believes humanity must subordinate itself to the Mi-Go so we can survive as roboticized servants to his masters. Humanity would then live in the stars, far away from the cursed Earth. The most horrifying fact about his plan? Not that it might work but the Mi-Go would very probably have welcomed humans as citizens of their nation without slavery, having very little capacity to Dream the way we do.

6. The O'Malley Clan: A fairly stereotypical clan of inbred cannibal rednecks who run a isolated ranch where they raise various kinds of animal to feed their mutated carnivorous diet. The O'Malley family thinks it's a family of ghouls but, in fact, it is entirely human or as human as anything before chemical and radiation pollution made them significantly tougher. The family possesses a genuine book of dark magic which they actually can't read and have extrapolated a variety of terrible meanings from the illustrations thereof.

The O'Malley's youngest daughter, Greta, is unusually beautiful and after running away with a young man for a year, she has since learned how to read and unlocked some of the genuine magic. She plans to summon something terrible to offer her family to as soon as she gets some suckers to help her with. In the meantime, she's used as bait to get travelers to come to the family house with a variety of stories like a monster assaulting them.

Notably, the local clan of ghouls which fishes nearby has been blamed for the disappearances and Kinsgport is offering a bounty for their destruction. They're aware of the O'Malleys and hate them.

7. The Carnevil: Quite possibly the world's last living circus. The Carnevil is a group of travelling performers from the isolated community of Erry under Fortress Rock mountain. Its performances are quite amazing even if they often tend toward the exploitative and freakish. For the most part, the Carnevil is content to fleece the locals in an entirely mundane way, though it's not above a little burglarly and picket-pocketing if they can manage it.

Unfortunately, the Carnevil is cursed because of its ancestors crimes. All of its performers must offer up one of their children every generation to The Thing in the Mirror which otherwise kills the entire branch of their lineage. The Carnevil has bargained with the thing for two children for every one of their own and these tend to go missing (along with their parents) at performances. The performers hate that they do this but, honestly, that's not an excuse even in the Wasteland. The Ringmistress is their beautiful but ruthless leader.

8. The Tomb: The Tomb is a series of green houses and animal husbandry centers which operate around a water treatment plant. The Tomb bargains with the Wasteland settlers from within Hazmat suits and no one goes in as well as no one goes out. Generally, despite numerous wild theories, everyone considers the Tomb to be a beneficent location.
Too bad everyone inside is dead.

Henrietta West, named for the Doctor rather than a descendant thereof, is one of the only living persons in the Tomb. Her family were exiles of New Arkham for their experiments in attempting to create docile obedient slaves which would ere tirelessly to support the system. After horrible deaths and the destruction of an entire town, Henrietta has largely succeeds but only due to her impressive psychic powers keeping her undead army docile.

Henrietta and her group is considered a bandit gang because she often needs new test subjects and has no patience for waiting on supplies. Any Renaimated who escapes her control is immediately psychotically hostile to the living but terrifyingly does not lose their intelligence. Henrietta's partner and lover, Doctor Sage, has recently started having dreams of using their undead forces to build an empire.

8. Scarback's Legion: A Raider gang which is completely high on paint, chemicals, and moonshine which is produced with SOMETHING unwholesome, the Scarbacks are a murderous storm of psychopaths and murderers who dress in old sports-equipment and use composite vehicles. The group worships the Great Old Ones, particularly Hastur, but their knowledge is completely second-hand and devoted around the fact they are feared destroyers of life.

The bandits are practically feral and tend to speak in word salad due to the combination of drugs, brain damage, and simple brutality. The fact Scarback's Legion lives in a former autoplant (which the chemical runoff from the batteries has tainted the local water supply) doesn't help either. Their leader, Eye-Eater Four-Arms the Seventeenth Scarback is just the latest in their warlords and is notable for having a vestigal head in his chest as well as an eight foot-tall body with half-as wide a frame plus four functioning limbs. His skin, furthermore, is tattooed with runes which provide him "The Strength and Durability of the Gods."

This isn't true but he is damned hard to kill. Eye-Eater notably drives, The Great Beast, which is a combination car and war machine which only he can control all the weapons of.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:44 am

Cthulhu

A.K.A. Old Bat Wings, Kaithooloo, K'Tulu, Tulu, The Awakened God, The Lord of R'lyeh

PL: 20

Cthulhu is a character who is invariably mysterious and unknowable in The Call of Cthulhu. He is a presence like a volcano which is better known for simply destroying everything in his wake versus actual action. Note the following is for those who would prefer to use Cthulhu as a character. The following is taken entirely from the notes of Alan Ward based on several books which may entirely be balderdash and is merely anthropomorphizing the inexplicable.
Cthulhu and his race hails from a distant star which has long since collapsed into a black hole. Cthulhu's people dwelt on an aquatic world with some vague similarities to the primordial Earth where they raised great cities and citadels. They worshiped the Chaos of Azathoth and the Other Gods, learning how to harness dreaming and technologies undreamed of.

Cthulhu as high priest king of their species was a dreamer unmatched and learned the secrets of the path to Kadath. His ascension to the status of Great Old One did not benefit the Cthulhuoid race, however, for soon it and countless other worlds were consumed in a conflict spanning across the stars. Hastur is believed to be the Great Old One who led an army of the living dead and horrors capable of consuming worlds.

The conflict ended in devastation which forced Cthulhu and his kind to flee from their dead world to a new home which they came with many other Great Old Ones. Settling on the still cooling Earth, they proceeded to find themselves in conflict with the Elder Things which had colonized that world from their own galaxy. Weakened from their conflict with Hastur and their long journey, the Great Old Ones devastated the Elder Things before entering into a long hibernation.
The Elder Things believe they won this conflict and created barriers around the sleeping Old Ones but it should be noted their species was so devastated that they were unable to recover their numbers after 100 million years.
Cthulhu and his fellow Great Old Ones partially awakened 100,000 years in the past when R'lyeh rose partially, the Plateau of Leng, the Lake of Hali, the mountains of Carcosa, and other lands. The early human life escaped from the ranks of the Elder Things temples came to worship these creatures. Exposure to the Old Ones warped some of them and created new mutated strains of mankind even as they started to worship them.

Ancient Atlantis, Valusia, Acheron, and Stygia benefited from their association with the Great Old Ones even though such exposure drove many mad. Their tens of thousands of year old civilizations gradually became decadent and insane. As the Great Old Ones retreated back to their slumber, their cults were slaughtered by the followers of cleaner faiths, barbarian warriors, and those who knew their magic but chose to wield it against them.
It is during this time that the myth of the Elder Gods came to pass. Human dreamers created Bast, Nodens, Hypnos, and Ibis. They even created K'thnad, a benevolent version of Cthulhu which embodied the opposite and equal of his beliefs. The greatest of these Dreamlands beings' gifts was the Elder Sign which could bind or repulse nonhumans, based on the science of the ancient Elder Things but improved by humanity's latent psychic potential.
Cthulhu eventually woke in the 21st century and found itself in a reality which was as hostile to him as it was humanity. The stars were right for their return but the laws and nature of reality were disintegrating in a manner which would eventually destroy the Cthulhoid species as well. Cthulhu has begun bio-forming the planet to better help his people but their ranks are almost as depleted as the Elder Things.

Cthulhu has little care for the countless cults of humans and Deep Ones which revere him in the modern world. Only a rare few of them have any power which is useful to him and even their sacrifices do little to increase his power. He has been intrigued by a rare few beings among the lesser species and has toyed with projecting knowledge for them to build themselves weapons useful against the forces of Hastur or other Old Ones which seek to wipe out his species. However, the majority of Cthulhu's efforts are devoted to deducing the nature of why the universe is seemingly ending and what, if anything can be done to stop or escape it.

Powers: Cthulhu is an immensely powerful entity with vast knowledge of science and magic which it freely combines in ways which would shake the foundations of creation. Its psychic powers are near omnipotent and capable of controlling the weather, earth, and minds. It is also an immensely powerful Dreamer and could create entire worlds in that reality but considers such a state inferior to physicality.

Cthulhu will regenerate any wound inflicted upon it unless it is done with the most powerful of magic but is vulnerable to binding or powers which suppress its strength. Strangely, water weakens its psychic powers that submerged it cannot use the majority of them. While it will regenerate, it should also be known its physical form is vulnerable to being scattered for a time by conventional means as well.

Roleplaying Hints: Cthulhu is utterly amoral with no care to its followers and humans akin to cultivated bacteria or livestock. It is not that much more friendly to its fellow Great Old Ones or Cthulhuoid beings. Cthulhu considers most humans beneath speaking with and will only deal with them as pests, food, fleshy clay, or simply dust to wipe away. Its inscrutability is a function of its utter commitment to its goals and belief in its own infallibility. Only the Elder Gods and Other Gods may humble it.

The psychic presence of Cthulhu will warp most humans to insanity (Will roll) if merely contacted. However, if one is to speak to him it will probably be done with a human interpreter. Then it is encouraged for Cthulhu to speak in the most Kirby-esque Galactus, Darkseid, Thanos manner with signs his presence is liquidating the channeler's brain.
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:46 am

Re'Kithnid

A.K.A Kithnid, Kthanid, Re'Kith, The Eldest of the Elder Gods, Chief of the Small Gods, The Golden Eyed One, Cthulhu's Brother

PL: 15


Re'Kithnid is a product of The Dream Cycle, Brian Lumley's work, and August Derleth's work. Storytellers who think Re'Kithnid detracts too much from the Mythos feel may remove him but others may feel he underscores the horror of the setting. He is very possibly just a myth or misinterpretation of the setting.

The Dreamlands are in many ways a fundamental contrast to the physical world and their merging is something which has created many terrifying wonders. Justice, mercy, compassion are all lies but in the Dreamlands they can become truth if you believe in them enough. In the case of the Elder Gods, specifically Re'Kithnid, that is most certainly the case.

Re'Kithnid is, in simple terms, the one god of humanity who might actually be looking out for us. He is the product of humanity desperately wishing for an answer to humanity's ills. That there should be purpose, order, and a greater good to the universe. Because Cthulhu shaped so much of early humanity's development, he took upon the form of that god and a benevolence which said deity did not possess.
It's been kind of an uphill battle ever since.
Re'Kithnid is the basis for many religions as the motifs of certain faiths have incorporated the concept of death and resurrection across human history without Cthulhu's brutality. Likewise, he is a deity who manifests in the form of aquatic themes, elephants, and multiple arms as do his many children.

Unfortunately, Re'Kithnid is neither omnipotence nor omniscience as being an entity of higher morality restricts him from the amoral pursuit of power which grants so many other beings endless power. During the Hyborean Age, in fact, Re'Kithnid was actually summoned his Dreamlands home and kept imprisoned in the Tower of the Elephant until a Cimmerian burglar managed to liberate him. Re'Kithnid never forgot that act from a rude barbarian and has maintained an affection for humanity throughout its worst actions.

As a Dreamlands being, Re'Kithnid cannot manifest beyond his home without the aid of sorcery and has only done so on a few occasions. Despite this, he has propagated defensive spells and banishment tools to humanity. These are weaker than those which call upon the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods but very effective in many respects. The worst price of them is they tend to result in their wielders becoming disenchanted with human evil, religiously ecstatic, and determined to do good to a self-destructive level.

Re'Kithnid has sired numerous children across his short million years of life (far longer in the Dreamlands) and these individuals often serve as his prophets or agents against the Great Old Ones. Not all of them have turned out the way Re'Kithnid would have wished because the temptations of power are considerable. Also, humanity has killed many since Re'Kitnid's doctrines and inhumanity are counter to the beliefs of men in the same way the Great Old Ones are--just in a more pacifist forgiving way.
Re'Kithnid's benevolence and peacefulness is as far removed from humanity's concept of good as Cthulhu is from evil. It is, however, genuinely benevolent. Just incomprehensibly so as an immortal dream creature's views on such are not exactly easily explained to those who come from more flexible moralities on Earth.

In short, Re'Kitnid's good never changes while humanity's does frequently.
Re'Kithnid has forged alliances with other products of human dreaming despite them not possessing any of his particular interests. The incarnation of the Hunt, the Goddess of Cats, the sum total of human (as well as several other race) knowledge and others have provided the curious pantheon of the Elder Gods as humans know them with only he actually having a vested interest in humanity save in the most indirect manner. Re'Kithnid is also a wizard of considerable power, drawing on Yog-Sothoth, who is as neutral a force as the tiny deity is as comfortable channeling.

Re'Kithnid is a pacifist and refuses to do harm to others even to protect himself. He only protects others with defensive abilities as well despite how, well, UNPRAGMATIC such actions are. As a result, he is looking for ways to either help humanity help themselves or seek some sanctuary for the survivors away from their homeworld. Re'Kitnid is notably worshiped by the Yith as well as some certain heretical cults of Deep Ones as well as considered a patron of hybrids but these do not provide much in the way of power.

Powers: As a product of human dreams, Re'Kithnid is far weaker than the Least Great Old One but has grown in power significantly recently due to the expanding nature of the Dreamlands as well as Cthulhu's own rising. Unfortunately, this has attracted predators among mankind's wizards and other Old Ones who might desire to devour his dream to create their own power. Re'Kithnid, however, guards the psychic presences of those who wish to dwell in his dreamlands and draws from their strength to provide a (small) sanctuary from the Old Ones. He is PL X in his own realm but 15 everywhere else and vulnerable to binding or dismissal magic. He can also be killed with supernaturally enchanted weapons.
Amusingly, Nyarlathotep finds Re'Kithnid quite entertaining and has punished several who have sought to destroy him.
Roleplaying Hints: Re'Kithnid radiates a kind of unnatural peace, calm, and Buddha-like satisfaction despite the fact the universe is a terrible place. He embodies the principles of enlightenment even if those principles are purely made up as guards against the true horror of an uncaring universe. He does his best not to be condescending to human beings but doesn't entirely succeed as he's often been lectured by them on his unwillingness to help even as he believes playing the long game is the only way to succeed.

Re'Kithnid is resigned to the fact he's probably going to eventually be destroyed and his small kingdom of human spirits will pass into memory at best but stands by his beliefs nevertheless. That is better to enforce a nobility and morality on the universe than succumb to it. In this, ironically, he's a Nietzschean god.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:48 am

Nyarlathotep

A.K.A. The Black Man, The Crawling Chaos, The 1001 Forms, Master of Magic, The Messenger of the Outer Gods, Randall

PL: X


At the center of the Dreamlands swirls the primordial soup of consciousness which formed into the consciousness of such questions as "why are we here?", "what forces govern the universe?", and "why do bad things happen to good people?" Nyarlathotep is helpful to answer that question as he believes it is simply, "To amuse me", "Me", and "Because I do it." Nyarlathotep is the cosmic gameplayer and the only Other God which can understand precisely what a human being, Deep One, insect, or termite knows about the universe.

It's 1001 forms are an uncounted infinitey as it experiences the dreams of all beings to deepen its understanding of the universe and this multiversal perspective has either driven it mad, sane, or it was never one of these things in the beginning. When Nyarlathotep shows up in one of his guises, he is as likely to give a persona as murder him on the spot or make either a good or bad thing from their perspective. He is also prone to simply standing witness to the important moments of a species from the Manhattan Project to when a boy is about to have his fifth birthday.

Countless cults, religions, and sects across the cosmos have attempted to determine the motivation of Nyarlathotep. Is it a cosmic judge, a tester, an adversary to all that is good, or some sort of malevolent tormentor of mankind. The truth is he is all of these and none for all that motivates Nyarlathotep is to alleviate his all consuming boredom. It is staggeringly difficult to find new and interesting ways of entertaining an omniscient omnipresent being but apparently his games do. He alters time, bestows supernatural powers on the worthy (or unworthy), and sets in motion events which can save or destroy a world.

Nyarlathotep is a poor ally for priests, wizards, or even the Great Old Ones to rely on. Nevertheless, he is the Master of Magic and the figure who is capable of raising mortals to the status of Great Old Ones. Mortals and immortals alike constantly risk his disfavor out of the possibility he will simply give them whatever they desire. Unfortunately, Nyarlathotep and his countless servitors are the original Jackass Genies and Faustian exploiters of legal loopholes.
In fact, Nyarlathotep doesn't even have to abide by the letter of his agreements. He chooses to, generally, because it's more fun that way.
If one is not yet convinced of Nyarlathotep's insanity and danger, it should also be known he is fully capable of working against himself. Nyarlathotep regularly makes avatars which are vulnerable to mortal death or destruction and sets them on plans which he may inform other beings about to thwart or simply set against. It is indeed impossible to say whether any given Dreamlands monster is a servitor of Nyarlathotep or an avatar of the monster himself.
The Slenderman is one particular possible incarnation of him as the idea of taking on the identity of an internet meme is amusing to him.
Well, it would be the case were there still an internet.
Nyarlathotep is less than pleased by the Earth's devastation and is ready to wrap up the human race. He is, however, interested in several possible projects of surviving humans and eagerly throwing last-ditch efforts by mad scientists and sorcerers to save mankind. He's even willing to support efforts to transform survivors into THINGS which will continue onward (albeit, ones which are probably less interesting).

Nyarlathotep is a potential ally against the Great Old Ones as well since he's got no objection to providing microscopic bacteria-like organisms with the power to slay gods. To be given such a gift, though, would require one to be very interesting indeed, though.

VERY interesting.

Powers: Nyarlathotep is a true god like Azathoth and Yog-Sothoth. He is unarguably one of the most powerful beings in the Multiverse. However, he very rarely manifests his true self and avatars can appear as regular human beings vulnerable to murder to his avatars that tend to be 10-15 in PL. If it is possible to weaken or destroy Nyarlathotep permanently, it is unknown by mortal magicians. He can, however, be tricked as he suppresses his omniscience when dealing with mortals to increase his amusement.

Nyarlathotep is very likely to give his avatars weaknesses as well or geas which they must abide. It is highly unlikely one could insist that Nyarlathotep would never ever harm humanity again and leave them alone for the rest of time but it is possible as a potential wager (and it would have to be worded very very carefully).

Roleplaying Hints: Nyarlathotep has seen it all, literally, and very rarely has any desire to deal with mortals anymore. The difference being those rare few who can still surprise him. To attract his attention is a blessing and a curse. He can patronize a human for their entire life or suddenly betray them at any given juncture if he feels its poetic. Nyarlathotep does have one benefit, though, in that it is very difficult to truly anger him. Those who destroy his servants, avatars, or thwart his schemes very rarely get his true wroth. That has only happened a few times and no one quite knows what the unfortunates did.

Bizarrely for a bleak and destructive universe, Nyarlathotep is somewhat fascinated by human morality and less-human desire for knowledge or wisdom. Individuals who do not succumb to their inner demons and temptations fascinate him to some degree. Sadly, this means that he's more often than not tempted to press them further. It does mean "heroes" are more likely to have him deal fairly with them, though--at least to a point.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:49 am

Mi-Go

The Fungi from Yuggoth are a spore-based life-form which was spawned from Shub-Niggurath, when she passed through the Greek asteroid belt of the Sol system. Evolved for Outer Space, it adapted to its airless void environment and soon developed into an insect-looking psychic species which was possessed of psychic powers. The Mi-Go hollowed out the asteroids of their homeland and gradually built technology which would allow them to travel through time and space as well as expand the reach of their civilization.

The Mi-Go, despite being sired by Shub-Niggurath, are a relatively young Mythos race and have only been sapient for several million years. They made contact with both the Yithians and Elder Things with the former being a race they were able to make peace with as well as exchange technology while the latter proved extremely hostile. Part of this was due to the fact the Mi-Go venerated Nyarlathotep, Shub-Niggurath, He-Who-Not-To-Be-Named, and Azathoth.
For a race of extremely logical aliens, the Mi-Go are deeply religious. This is due to the fact they know for a fact there are alien sapiences above them who may be propagated but never be defeated.
Eventually, the Mi-Go became aware of humanity and its various sibling races. Finding the climate of Earth to be somewhat hostile and disgusting versus the airless vacuum of space, they limited their contact even as they made peace with individual groups of humans they modified in exchange for assistance.

They created the Yeti and various Sasquatch races for better environmental protection for their allies as well as helping them mine the Earth for materials touched by the Great Old Ones like orihalcum or other dimensional dream matter. The Mi-Go would begin taking human beings back with them to their capital world of Yuggoth (existing under the ice of Pluto and its moons) and created the Grays during this time. They also created numerous robotic servitors, oftentimes using modified human brains as the basis for their CPUS.

The United States and Russian governments became aware of the Mi-Go around the 1950s and made numerous compacts with them to disguise the existence of extraterrestial life-forms. A limited exchange of technology began occurring during this time even as humans refused the offer to be uplifted in order to escape what the Mi-Go believed to be the inevitable destruction of humanity. They did, however, increase their sampling and genetic modification of numerous humans during this time. They also began employing bioroid operatives in the form of Men in Black to appear as figures of authority as well as cultivating UFO cults.

The awakening of the Great Old Ones as, true to Mi-Go predictions, destroyed the majority of humanity and made the Earth almost unlivable. It has drastically increased the value of the usable resources on the world as well as created numerous scientific curiosities. Unfortunately, the rest of the Sol system (if not the galaxy as a whole) is being affected by the Rising so that the Mi-Go are extremely worried they may be no safer than humans themselves. They have thus begun working with many of their still-extant human cults to see if they can master the human art of Dreaming in order to flee to a safer dimension.

The Mi-Go have numerous stations, mining platforms, and starships scattered around the Sol System and several other asteroid belts. While they tend to appear in their natural forms that are capable of surviving and traveling through vacuum, they have also been known to wear a form of armor and exo-skeleton which makes them look like Daleks or Geth alternatively.
Mi-Go, it should be noted, actually enjoy human pop culture in a way which is wholly confusing to humans.
Mi-Go are not necessarily hostile to humanity but they are extraordinarily pragmatic and their attempts to help can often come as terrifying. Quite a few also believe humanity and Mi-Go are impossible to reconcile so humans should either be altered or destroyed. Others wish their kind to become more like humans and have formed cults to that affect.

Powers: Mi-Go are all telepathic and capable of using telekinesis which can vary on the individual's skill level (despite their shared consciousness). All Mi-Go can draw on the skills of other Mi-Go to know anything they all know to the limit of their telepathy skill. This is limited to Knowledge and Engineering skills. Some Mi-Go are trained in the mystic arts but, for whatever reason, this skill is unable to be shared and must be trained individually. They are also abyssal Dreamers and often employ humans for it with the only magic they can do by rote repetition or channeling.

Mi-Go can possess "laser crystals" and "energy shields" as well as weird sorts of power-armor and exo-skeletons. This is in addition to their races of genetically modified servitors. They do not suffer from cold, radiation, or vacuum but are vulnerable to other attacks. The average Mi-Go drone lives about 2000 years before crumbling into spores which grow into new Mi-Go.

Roleplaying Hints: Mi-Go are a gestalt race like the shoggoths and Tunnelers. As such, they have a significantly less developed sense of individuality than humanity. They also do not feel pain or pleasure the way normal human beings do as well. Mi-Go are devoted solely to knowledge, asexual propagation of their species, and the joys of new experience. As such, Mi-Go are distinctly alien in terms of relationship and interactions with humans have suffered due to the fact they don't understand the needs of humans beyond intellectual stimulai as well as basic needs. They also are prone to anger when humans put their individual needs above the group or betray compacts.

Despite this, some Mi-Go are fascinated by the horrifying sanity-blasting concepts of human emotions and desires. A few Mi-Go have even had their consciousnesses placd in human brains or androids to be able to experience humanity. These go insane (by Mi-Go standards) very quickly. Others want to "improve" humans by genetically altering or mechanizing us out of a "Mi-Go's burden." Others simply want to study or use us as best they can. The gestalt is curiously divided on it.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:51 am

Food Barons

While gold is the currency of the land, the true value of the wasteland is what can be eaten and drunk. While the cities-states have their own prison-tended farms and ranches to handle basic subsistence, the real source of power in the Eastern Lands are the Food Barons. So great is the influence they gain from their product that they are their own power bloc in the region which have to be dealt with cautiously.

It should be noted Food Barons aren't merely farmers or ranchers. No, the Baron title is very accurate as they controls dozens if not hundreds of smaller locals which raise food for their distribution. Capitalism is far from dead in the Post-Rising world as they control entire communities with the force of their gold, militias, and the ability to restrict trade.

Food Barons are not limited to cattle or grain in the terms of produce they can produce. To become one of the new nobility requires a certain kind of "flexible" thinking as well as morality. In the past century, they have learned to grow vast collections of fungus and giant insectesoid creatures as well as mutated horrors which they do well to grind up in order to make appetizing.

Many Food Barons have secret deals with near-humans that have allowed them to learn the basics of magic to make arrable the kinds of lands which would not sustain normal humans. They may pray to the God of the Cross one day but offer hooded human sacrifices to Shub-Niggurath another. They may also make sure the corpses of the dead are traded to the ghouls who view them as delicacies or even destroy the occasional village for machines which no human settlement can build. The Deep Ones no longer breed with humans the way they once did but many in-land hybrids know how to summon vast amounts of fish and squid.

Smart wastelanders don't question it.

Conflict among the Food Barons is never-ending, though, as the squeeze they put on farms and villages is something they constantly rebel against. Murdering the local Food Baron is a time-honored way to seize their property or become one yourself. They also battle out like families for territory, tithes, and simple feuds.

A Food Baron must be ruthless to protect what is "theirs" or they will swiftly lose everything as the conflict over food is as lethal as anything among humans. Intermarriage, alliances, affairs, blackmail, and murder are just days at the park for them. They are the closest thing to what passes for the wealthy in this strange time, though, and keep the system of the feuding city-states and communities going.

At least that's what they tell themselves.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:54 am

Deep Ones

When humanity was created by the Elder Things from our simian ancestors, our race was altered many times for the benefit of their usage. The ghouls were created for their underground cities and Deep Ones were made for the waters below. The Elder Things control over humanity was swiftly lost, though, due their immense pride.

The shoggoths were too powerful and intelligent a race to keep under control forever while the work of both ghouls as well as Deep Ones took them close to the sleeping Great Old Ones. Both races were altered by the dreams of Tsathoggua and Cthulhu until they became capable of magic as well as resistant to the Elder Thing's mind-control. The Elder Things responded by removing humanity's immortality as a way to keep them under control but even this did not keep them under control.

The Deep Ones then seized control over the former Elder Things cities and built their own beneath the waves, venerating Cthulhu and eventually the two eldest of their race which said GOO raised to his own status in Dagon and Mother Hydra. Because they were both "young" Great Old Ones, neither ever hibernated and ruled directly over the Deep One race for millennium.

History is full of tales of mermaids, selkies, and sea nymphs which are actually tales of the Deep Ones. While their final form was hideous to humankind, it was often less so for the in-between times. Furthermore, Deep Ones were capable of covering themselves in illusions or shapechanging to mate with regular humans. Others were attractive to humans naturally with the nature of their appearance depending greatly on the genes passed down and their closeness to human strains.

Why Deep Ones find humans attractive is a circumstance of some debate but they do and not all humans are known to react with disgust to their appearance either. Lust and the veneration of Cthulhu can and did lead to many strange couplings. In some places, these matings were driven by the fact the Deep One purebloods were less fertile than regular humans and only reproduced every thousand years or so as well as a racist "genetic destiny" which believed they were doing the humans a favor.
An ironic inversion of Lovecraft's own reaction to the Deep Ones.
The mostly-friendly relationship between humans and Deep Ones ended in the 1920s. The first event was the infamous Raid on Innsmouth where the Deep Ones had thousands of their hybrid relatives carried off to camps where the majority died after terrible experiments. The next was the ascension of Randolph Carter where every mystic felt a human being become a Great Old One or something so close as to make no difference. The third and final thing was when the human-led Cult of Cthulhu raised the city of R'lyeh for a short while. Cthulhu, himself, also awoke for several minutes.
The Pre-Rising Cult of Cthulhu was massive as it formed the basis for secret branches of churches, masonic crafts, cults, occult societies, and more. Its influence also affected the development of the major Western and Eastern religions in ways both big and small. In the 1920s, it boasted several million members across the globe with Aleister Crowley, Thomas Edison, and to a lesser extent Albert Einstein immersed in its mysteries. Einstein, notably, was one of the few individuals to be able to comprehend Yog-Sothoth's true nature and spent much of his life trying to forget that knowledge.

In general, the CoC was curious for its time because it did not hold racist or sexist beliefs but embraced all as brothers of the Kraken. It also, ironically, considered Deep Ones degenerate and inferior for racial reasons and only those cults related to Deep Ones ever sought their knowledge.
This latter event killed millions of Deep Ones who were caught in the resultant earthquakes and underground volcanos but it was the sheer blasphemy of the act, as well as the fact the Deep Ones had never achieved anything close to it through centuries of rites. It did, however, expose the shocking fact (to the Deep Ones at least) that the human worshipers of their god did not see them as superior beings but actually viewed themselves as Cthulhu's chosen.

Conflict continued between the two for the next century as the Deep Ones destroyed submarines, humans dropped massive amounts of pollution, the Deep Ones sent typhoons as well as earthquakes against humanity, and humans conducted underwater nuclear tests. The Cult of Cthulhu kept the majority of this from reaching the public's eye even as Dagon prevented the Deep Ones from invading and even withdrew their cities into the Dreamlands due to a belief Cthulhu's imminent rising would set all to right.

Dagon miscalculated.

The Deep Ones suffered almost every bit as much as the human race in the Rising with Cthulhu laying waste to the oceans both in the Dreamlands as well as on Earth. Dagon, himself, has since vanished and is believed to have been killed by a human sorcerer. Mother Hydra's priestesses rule most of the surviving cities but new independent rulers of many city-states hold, some of whom believe the mixing of humans with Deep Ones or humans in general are the cause of Cthulhu's anger. Others have turned to the heretical worship of the Elder Gods instead.

Exile to the human wastelands is a common punishment for any Deep One who does not believe as their rulers desire.

Powers: Deep Ones are immortal, can breathe underwater, and can see things in complete darkness through sonar. They are generally more durable than regular humans due to the resistance of the waves with a +4 to their Constitution but slow and unwieldy on land with a -2 to their Dexterity anywhere but water. Deep Ones, like ghouls, are hideous to look upon to normal humans and take a -4 penalty to Charisma checks unless the individuals are enlightened enough to look past looks. Even so, they have a -2 to Charisma due to the fact they can't speak English or other human languages very well and, bluntly, stink to human olfactory senses.

Deep One hybrids gain a +2 to their Constitution and have a -2 to their Charisma. Strangely, there are a few Deep Ones who have ethereal beauty either through magic to ensnare humans or simply as a quirk of genetics. They gain a +2 to charisma with both species. Deep One hybrids notably lack any of these qualities until their mid-30s when the Change begins and the transformation isn't complete until they're roughly 50. After which, they appear to be Deep Ones for all intents and purposes.

Deep Ones are actually extra-vulnerable to magic due to their proximity to Cthulhu's psychic presence and suffer a -2 penalty to all Will saves against it and psychic abilities.

Roleplaying Hints: Deep Ones are a methodical, spiritual, patient, and sensualist race. Their immortality inclines them to the long view of matters and they rarely display overt emotion outside of their rituals. Deep Ones are ruthless and pragmatic as a general rule with life under the ocean as well as the Great Old Ones influence having convinced them living forever is the best revenge while the "moral" option is usually for fools. Like humans, Deep Ones are materialist and surround themselves with beautiful but pointless objects, particularly gold, gems, and waterproof art. Deep Ones have the same obsession with sex for pleasure as humans do and a far more varied palette than man. They routinely mate with humans, ghouls, Serpent Men, and creatures from beyond as well as each other.

Deep Ones have recently split markedly over the concept of hybridization, though. A large faction wishes for there to only be a pure-blooded Deep One race and to kill all those descended from humans while those who, well, are descended from humans tend to disagree. This has led to war among their own kind as well as dramatically increased numbers of Deep One's sacrificing their fellow Deep Ones. Mother Hydra has remained curiously silent in this matter, having retreated to R'lyeh with her direct spawn, abandoning her children.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
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Re: Cthulhu Armageddon - The Weird West in a Post-Apocalypse World

Post by CTPhipps » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:58 am

Serpent Men

A distinction without a difference is Serpent Men are not-near humans, they are humans who have been mutated by magic and they pass on this quality to their children. One important fact from this which does matter is the fact Serpent Men think more like humans than Deep Ones or Ghouls. They are obsessed with wealth, pleasure, power, and status in a way which the other near-humans pay less attention to. Serpent Men wish to rule over regular humans and consider them akin to cattle.

The origin of the Serpent Men comes from their legends of being human-like beings who came with Cthulhu and his ilk as K'nyanians. Whether this story is complete garbage given the unlikelihood of human aliens, they were less human long ago, or they are humans from another reality or time is up for grabs. Armed with superior technology and magic, the K'nyanians swiftly enslaved large numbers of human beings and proceeded to use them to build vast cities for the purposes of revering the Great Old Ones. The atrocities of these ancient beings are many but they bred human beings like cattle in pens as food, sexual partners, or servants with special focuses like dogs with breeds. Acheron, Stygia, Mu, and other time-lost civilizations were raised.

It was during this time the K'nyanians switched from the worship of Cthulhu to Yig-Seth and Apep-Hastur as well as Hathor-Niggurath.
The original Sorcerer Kings of their race first used living death to keep themselves immortal with Thulsa Doom and other ancients becoming living mummified monsters. The nobility, having already "diluted" themselves, by breeding with humanity sought their own immortality.
The undead sorcerer kings of their race, notably, considered their own species little more than another rank of slaves. They are also mostly still alive as their corpses are just talismans for their immortal spirits.
Summoning creatures from the Dreamlands and avatars of Yig-Seth and Nyarlathotep, they bred with these creatures and created women with the bodies of snakes and men with hideous scaly skin. Some developed a hunger for the blood of the living while others developed an obsession with gaining the power of the Old Ones they glimpsed in their visions.

The plans for creating a "Master Race" of Serpent Men among the K'nyanians failed miserably as a generation later, vast numbers of regular humans had the blood of the Great Old Ones running through their veins. It also infuriated those slaves who had loathed them as sorcerers but were not willing to interbreed with monsters and sought out the free human tribals who had their own gods and warriors.

The Stygian slave races overthrew the Serpent Men as the completely human barbarian warriors of ancient Valusia and later Atlantis destroyed the heathen race almost completely. Atlantis would eventually be corrupted by the worship of Cthulhu but the Serpent Men were scattered to rule from behind the scenes for millennium after. A few built underground cities where they preserved their ancient ways but the Age of the Serpent fell with only their culture and demonic practices passed on.

The practices of the Serpent Men were preserved in many of the oldest cultures but diluted and changed with the worst elements abandoned. The hybrid Serpent Men, ironically, proved to be better magicians than their forebearers with individuals like Thoth-Amon and Eibon possessing only traces of their ancient race's blood but able to easily smash their kindred's accomplishments. Indeed, Thoth-Amon was notable for being Set's most faithful priest but having an utter contempt for "pure-bloods" he used as minions and slaves.
Bram Stoker's Lair of the White Worm depicted one of these cults.
The Serpent Men proved their second worst enemy as their attempts to rule humanity from behind the scenes inevitably exposed them to humans who destroyed them. Even so, human history is full of human-sacrifice and sorcerous civilizations which they mastered and ruled behind the scenes before their destruction. The Caananites, Carthagians, The Pre-Irish Formorians, primeval Picts, certain sects of the Mayans, and the "demon" ruled countries of Japan.

Ironically, the greatest enemy of the Serpent Men proved to be basic human decency (as little as such a creature existed). As the Serpent Men interbred with human families as equals, so did they lose their mutant traits and gradually fell from the worship of the Great Old Ones for local deities. Many cast aside their evil ways and simply became ordinary citizens of whatever land they inhabited. Albeit, a few poor fools ventured to their family homes to find vast rat-filled caverns above terrifying cities as well as a heritage of pure evil.
It has been suggested that Alexander the Great was murdered for taking a Serpent Man wife in Roxanne but this like so many other genocides and pillaging, may simply be historians justifying the horrors of the past.
By the 20th century, only those cities underground of the original Serpent Men people remained and a scattered few cults which revered the ancient members of their race who had transformed themselves into gigantic dragons. However, the rest had simply bled into existing occult societies with those rare few "true" births killed or treated as carnival freaks.

The Rising has actually benefited the Serpent Men as it has forced its survivors to leave their isolated underground city and the remaining diluted lineages to start interbreeding again as well as practicing the older versions of their religion versus the corrupted misunderstandings. Gone are the worship of petty human gods for the true Great Old Ones. Dreams have been sent to many of their priests and kings that now is the time to gather all of humanity's survivors underneath a revival of the Old Ways. Many families have willingly embraced their alien heritage because it gives them something to hold on in the face of the world's end.

Nyarlathotep has also started warning people about the very plans he's promoting. Sometimes, after all, repeats are every bit as enjoyable as the original.

Powers: Serpent Men come in a a variety of different shapes and sizes. Lizardmen, Lamia, Gorgons, serpent-themed vampires, wereserpents, and even humans with simply a venomous bite. "Natural" Serpent Men are a deeply charismatic people and possess a +2 to their score innately as well as their dexterity. They are, however, very poor in terms of their self-control and suffer a -2 to Wisdom with inbreeding also removing part of their health.

They do not transform as they age like regular members of their race but simply maintain their qualities throughout with more obvious members of their race using illusions or "human-skin suits" (donated by unwilling humans) to pass themselves off as people. Diluted bloodlines of Serpent Men often do not display the qualities of their race for generations and a good thing too since most of their humanity has some of their blood in their veins now.

Almost all Serpent Men have the capacity for magic even if few possess the discipline to master it.

Roleplaying Hints: Serpent Men are an impossibly arrogant and corrupt species which is perhaps the biggest sign they're humans. There's nothing which actually prevents them from being normal decent people but the majority raised in their societies or in "traditional" families are ruthless, decadent, and corrupt.
Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Rules of Supervillainy
Blog: http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/

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