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Introduction: As a somewhat OCD themeaholic, when playing Arkham Horror I wanted to make sure I the Ancient One, Herald, etc. reflected the stories of the Mythos. Unfortunately, the components of the Arkham Horror games don't tell you the background of the mythos creatures. So when I had an opportunity to review the Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia, by Daniel Harms of Arc Dream Publishing, I particularly read it for this reason. Sure, I could read all the books in the mythos, but that would be hundreds of stories (not all of them were written just by HP Lovecraft!) and many of them weren't particularly good. My objective is to suggest thematic setups for your Arkham Horror games. This first post is organized by expansion, and suggests which Ancient One, Herald, etc. should thematically be used with which expansion. The next post is organized by Ancient One, and will suggest which Herald, Guardian, etc. should be used with which Ancient One. Feel free to skip any setup that you either do not have the expansions for.

Daniel Harms has given me permission to the encyclopedia for reference. My post does not include information about the unique items, monsters, allies, etc. in the Arkham Horror game. It is also not comprehensive in its treatment of the Ancient Ones, Heralds, and so on. I highly suggest you read the Encyclopedia to further enjoy your Arkham Horror games. This publication is available on DriveThruRPG.

Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia:
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/104829/Cthulhu-Mythos-...

*****

Expansion Sets:

Small expansions:
1. Curse of the Dark Pharoah
2. King in Yellow
3. Goat of the Woods
4. Lurker at the Threshold

Large expansions:
1. Dunwich Horror
2. Kingsport Horror
3. Innsmouth Horror

*****

Curse of the Dark Pharoah

Ancient One: Nyarlathotep
Herald: Dark Pharoah
Guardian: Bast

Special rules: At the start of the game, separate out the Mask monsters into their own deck. At the first gate, and whenever a monster surge occurs, draw the first monster from this deck. This rule guarantees a Mask monster will appear during the game.

NYARLATHOTEP (also the Crawling Chaos or Mighty Messenger) : The Crawling Chaos acts as an intermediary between the Great Old Ones and their worshipers, as well as taking messages between the Great Old Ones themselves. In fact, Nyarlathotep may be a personification of the telepathic powers of the Great Old Ones. Nyarlathotep has been worshiped under several guises in all parts of the world. One of its most infamous cults was among the Stygians, who called it “Nyarlat” and brought its worship to Egypt. The Crawling Chaos was one of the greatest gods in the land of the Nile, where it was the ruler of the underworld, the master of the night, and the patron of sorcerers.

BLACK PHARAOH: Individual, sometimes named “Khotep”, who lived at the end of the Sixth Dynasty. This title has also been given to both Nephren-Ka and Nyarlathotep, often referring to individuals in vastly different periods. The Black Pharaoh is often symbolized by an inverted ankh, or cross of life.

BAST: Egyptian goddess who took the form of a woman with the head of a cat. Bast was originally worshiped in Atlantis, and her worship was probably carried from that land to Egypt along with much of the sunken continent’s lore. The center of Bast’s cult in the land of the Nile was the city of Bubastis. The people of Bubastis revered felines, and many cats were mummified upon their deaths to please the goddess. Bast was also the goddess of pleasure, and was thus one of Egypt’s most popular deities. During the reign of Nephren-Ka, the cult of Bast was subverted and her priests joined the Black Pharaoh in his dark worship. Prinn writes in De Vermis Mysteriis that the city of Bubastis was destroyed by the other religious factions of the Nile valley, due to the repulsive nature of Bast’s rites.

*****

King in Yellow

Ancient One: Hastur
Herald: The King in Yellow

Special Rules: The first gate to open is to Lost Carcosa.

HASTUR (also known as THE UNSPEAKABLE ONE, HE WHO IS NOT TO BE NAMED): Great Old One who lives or is imprisoned on a dark star near Aldebaran in the constellation of Taurus. He is related to Carcosa, the Yellow Sign, the Lake of Hali, and the King in Yellow, and is often associated with decadence, nihilism, and stagnancy. Paradoxically, the Unspeakable One also is sometimes referred to as the patron of shepherds. The Tcho-Tchos and the people of K’n-yan are both known to worship Hastur. In the past, he was also revered in Samaria, Attluma, and Hyboria. His cult is considered particularly abhorrent, even when compared with those of the other Great Old Ones. The members of the cult are dedicated to bringing Hastur to Earth, as well as torturing mi-go to gain knowledge. In addition to his cults, Hastur is served by the interstellar race known as the byakhee. Some say the mi-go and Ithaqua are Hastur’s minions, but there is little evidence to support this and much to contradict it. According to some sources, Hastur is not an actual entity at all, but rather an embodiment of the cosmic principle of entropy.

KING IN YELLOW (THE PLAY): The royal family hears of a mysterious stranger who wears a Pallid Mask and the horrid Yellow Sign who comes to Yhtill at about the same time as a strange ghostly city appears across the Lake of Hali. The royal family questions this figure, but they learn nothing. At a masked ball, the figure reveals that he wears no mask and has come to announce the end of the dynasty. Camilla goes mad, and the queen tortures the Stranger to death. At the same time, she orders the death of the prisoners, inadvertently killing her son Uoht who is imprisoned with them. Madness sweeps the land, and the sounds of invasion are heard. The dreaded King in Yellow appears in Yhtill as the mysterious city on the lake’s far side disappears. The King states that Yhtill has passed away and now only the city of Carcosa lies on the shore of the lake. He slays both Aldones and Thale, proclaiming the death of both rationality and irrationality and his own eternal rule.

KING IN YELLOW (AVATAR): An avatar of Hastur, or possibly Nyarlathotep, who is the title character of this play. The King in Yellow usually appears as a gigantic human dressed in tattered yellow robes, occasionally with wings or a halo. It usually appears in places of depression and madness wearing the Pallid Mask, which conceals the hideousness of its appearance.


*****

Goat of the Woods

Ancient One: Shub-Niggurath
Herald: Goat in the Woods

SHUB-NIGGURATH (also THE BLACK GOAT OF THE WOODS WITH A THOUSAND YOUNG): Outer God of fertility. In the few times it has been summoned, Shub-Niggurath appeared as a great noxious cloud from which hoofed feet and tendrils constantly protruded and were re-absorbed. Shub-Niggurath’s cults may be the most widespread of any Mythos entity. It is known to have been worshiped by the Tcho-tchos, Hyperboreans, Muvians, Greeks, Cretans, Egyptians, Druids, and the people of Sarnath, as well as by the fungi from Yuggoth, the dholes, and the Nug-Soth of Yaddith. The milk of Shub-Niggurath, a substance with astounding mutagenic properties, has sometimes been found in the possession of cultists.

*****

Lurker at the Threshold

Ancient One: Yog-Sothoth
Herald: Lurker at the Threshold
Guardian: Nodens

YOG-SOTHOTH: Outer God also known by the title Lurker at the Threshold. Yog-Sothoth’s usual form is a congeries of iridescent spheres, but the Outer God can take forms of solid, liquid, or gas. One of its avatars, the Lurker at the Threshold, appears as a black amorphous horror. Yog-Sothoth is known as “the key to the gate, whereby the spheres meet”, and is said to exist everywhere in time and space. Paradoxically, the Lurker at the Threshold appears to be shut out from our own dimension, only coming to this world when summoned. It has been suggested that Yog-Sothoth has been imprisoned by the Elder Gods at a point where all space and time converge, creating such a gravitational effect that it may not leave. It may also be possible that Yog-Sothoth dwells in a parallel dimension and can either manifest itself in space or time, but not both. It could also be that the Other God is omnipresent but can fully manifest itself only with the aid of certain ceremonies. Once Yog-Sothoth has arrived, however, it may ignore any terrestrial boundaries, making it a dangerous being indeed. The mi-go revere Yog-Sothoth as the “Beyond One”, and certain minds made of vapor know it as a mysterious sign. Various cultures on our planet, such as the Aztecs and the people of Averoigne, have worshiped him, but this devotion does not seem to have been widespread even among these. On our own world, certain sorcerers worship Yog-Sothoth in exchange for limited command of both time and space. Using these abilities, the worshiper can do anything from warping space to hold a chosen victim to stepping outside of time itself to return to Earth after hundreds or thousands of years have passed. Yog-Sothoth eventually takes all of these misguided souls to itself, a fate from which not even physical destruction can save them.

NODENS (also LORD OF THE GREAT ABYSS): Being who is often placed among the Elder Gods, and indeed may be the most famous of them. He is usually represented as an old man standing with an oaken staff in one hand on a seashell chariot drawn by fantastic beasts. At times he is depicted as having a beard of tentacles as well. Nodens bears special love for dreamers and visionaries. He has been known to take such individuals on trips with him across space and time. He is also the lord of the nightgaunts, though at times his power over them seems limited. According to some, Nodens last came to Earth billions of years in the past and was worshiped by certain beings of which we know nothing. He left when the Great Old Ones arrived, and he and his worshipers made their way to the far future, when Nodens would once again walk the lands of Earth. This myth holds that Nodens and Yog-Sothoth are opposed to one another.

*****

Dunwich Horror

Ancient One: Yog-Sothoth
Herald: The Dunwich Horror
Institution: Miskatonic University
Ally: Professor Armitage

Note: Nodens is not a guardian here, since he does not appear in the story, "The Dunwich Horror".

DUNWICH: During the late summer of 1928, a strange calamity occurred which has since been dubbed “the Dunwich Horror”. On August 3, a Dunwich resident named Wilbur Whateley, noted by his neighbors for his magical delvings and unnatural size, was killed while trying to obtain the Necronomicon from the Miskatonic University library. A month later, the horror began in Dunwich. A mysterious blast destroyed Wilbur Whateley’s unoccupied house, and tales of the disappearances of cattle and people began to filter out of the township. When Henry Armitage, Miskatonic University’s librarian and a long-time correspondent of Whateley, heard of what was occurring in Dunwich, he set out for Dunwich along with Professors Rice and Morgan. On September 15, they performed an exorcism on Sentinel Hill, bringing the horror to an end. Following these events, all of the signs to Dunwich were torn down, and the town was nearly forgotten.

HENRY ARMITAGE: One-time head librarian at Miskatonic University, and the author of Notes toward a Bibliography of World Occultism, Mysticism, and Magic (Miskatonic University Press, 1927), and Devils and Demons in the Miskatonic Valley. Armitage attended Miskatonic University (Class of 1881), later obtaining his doctorate at Princeton and his Doctor of Letters degree at Cambridge. The young man first became interested in uncanny subjects in 1882 when he heard of a mysterious meteor which had landed near Arkham. This occurrence led him to obtain a copy of the Necronomicon for the library and consult it for the first time. Later, Armitage returned to this volume to solve the mysterious death of Wilbur Whateley, a correspondent of his who lived in Dunwich and had been killed in the library. With the aid of Professors Rice and Morgan, he put an end to the horror that had ravaged Dunwich.

*****

Kingsport Horror

Ancient One: Azathoth
Herald: Tulzcha

KINGSPORT: In 1639, settlers from southern England and the Channel Islands founded Kingsport, and the town quickly became a center for shipbuilding and overseas trade. At least four witches were hung in 1692, witchcraft fever struck the town, and four reputed witches were hung. Thirty years later, a raid was made on the Congregational Church in response to rumors of pagan rituals being performed beneath it, and over thirty people were taken into custody. During the Revolutionary War, many of Kingsport’s merchants fought as privateers on the Colonial side, leading to a short British blockade of the town. During the 19th century, the sea trade in Kingsport declined and fishing became the port’s major industry. At this time, Kingsport’s economy steadily faded until the first years of the 20th century.

TULZSCHA: Being who appears to be a pillar of green flame and serves as one of the dancers at Azathoth’s court. It is worshiped in the West Indies, France, Italy, and possibly the Middle East. A cult based in Kingsport, Massachusetts disbanded approximately two hundred and fifty years ago.

AZATHOTH: Azathoth sits in his court at the center of Ultimate Chaos (others say the center of the universe, or even caverns beneath the earth), mindlessly bubbling and blaspheming as he presides over the dance of the Other Gods. A veil of colors seals off the rest of the universe from the court of Azathoth where conventional laws of space and time break down. Azathoth may only leave his throne if summoned through incantation or through one of the special portals located in the temples of the insects from Shaggai.

*****

Innsmouth Horror

Ancient One: Cthulhu
Herald: Father Dagon and Mother Hydra
Government Institution: The Bureau of Investigations

Special Rules: Create the Innsmouth Monster Cup by setting aside all monsters with the aquatic orange border. When a monster appears in Innsmouth, draw the monster from this cup. The first gate to open is Ryleh in Innsmouth.

INNSMOUTH: Massachusetts town at the mouth of the Manuxet River. At one time the town was a thriving seaport, but today it is almost deserted. Innsmouth was founded in 1643, quickly becoming a major center of commerce upon the Atlantic due to its large harbor. Ships from this town sailed all over the world, bringing back goods from many ports of call. During the war of 1812, the captains of Innsmouth turned privateer and attacked the British fleet. Half of Innsmouth’s sailors perished during skirmishes with the enemy, marking the end of the town’s prosperity. After the war, Innsmouth’s revenue came mainly from the mills built on the banks of the Manuxet and Captain Obed Marsh’s successful trading ventures in the Indies. Around 1840, Marsh lost a source of the gold upon which he had depended, and the town’s economy spiraled downward. It was around this time that Marsh began the Esoteric Order of Dagon, a cult based on a combination of Scripture and the beliefs of the Polynesian islanders Obed Marsh had visited. Some whispered that Marsh’s Order worshiped darker gods, and the Order’s nocturnal trips to Devil’s Reef are legendary. 1846 was the year of the Innsmouth plague. The exact disease responsible has never been identified, though it might have been a malady brought to the town on one of the remaining traders. What precisely happened during the plague remains a mystery, though evidently rioting and looting were widespread. When visitors from neighboring villages arrived, they found half of the town’s people dead and Obed Marsh and his Order in firm control of the town. Despite Innsmouth’s curious newfound wealth in fishing and gold refining, the town’s fortunes continued to decline. Also, degenerative traits began to turn up in the resident’s children, most likely the aftereffects of the plague. During the Civil War, the town was unable to meet its quota of draftees due to these widespread deformities. Innsmouth remained under the Marsh family’s rule for many years, and over time became shunned by the people of the surrounding countryside. This state of affairs continued until 1927, when the government launched an investigation into supposed bootlegging taking place in the town. This inquiry culminated in a raid in mid-February, 1928 (though one source places it in early summer), in which Federal Agents dynamited many of the town’s abandoned buildings, disbanded the Esoteric Order of Dagon, and removed the bulk of Innsmouth’s population to military prisons. Rumors persist that a submarine fired torpedoes off of Devil’s Reef at an unknown target. The Innsmouth residents remained at the camps until the Forties, but rumor has it that many are still kept at secret government facilities.

CTHULHU: Great Old One resembling a bat-winged, clawed, octopus-headed humanoid. Cthulhu sleeps in a deathlike trance beneath the Pacific Ocean, but he will one day awaken to rule the world. Upon their arrival, Cthulhu and his retinue took up residence on a continent in the Pacific Ocean, on which they built the great stone city of R’lyeh. At first, Cthulhu’s spawn encountered resistance from the Elder Things, who had dwelt on the earth for millions of years before Cthulhu’s coming. Following a war in which Cthulhu’s spawn destroyed all of the Elder Things’ land cities, the two species declared peace and agreed not to interfere with each other. Following this arrangement, Cthulhu enjoyed many years of freedom on this world, but soon they fell into a period of deep hibernation. During these millions of years, humanity slowly evolved. According to later doctrine, Cthulhu spoke to these new beings in their dreams, telling them where to find the statues in his image he had brought down from the stars and instructing them in the proper worship of the lord of R’lyeh. In this way, the cult of Cthulhu began. One day, disaster struck black R’lyeh. It may have been the vengeance of unknown deities, changes in the stars, or the moon being ripped from the earth (though evidence suggests that Cthulhu’s followers might have had a hand in this). The time of this catastrophe is also uncertain; according to cult doctrine, this happened after the founding of his first cults, but others suggest that it occurred long before humanity’s rise. No matter the cause or time, the city of R’lyeh sank beneath the Pacific Ocean, trapping Cthulhu and all of his spawn. The water blocked most of their telepathic signals, cutting off all contact with their worshipers except through occasional dreams. Cthulhu was helpless to do anything but wait until the stars came right, when he would be freed from his prison. Since then, Cthulhu’s tomb has emerged from the water from time to time, freeing Cthulhu for a brief while. These have only been short respites for the Great Old One, for each R’lyeh has sunk back beneath the sea after a few days or weeks. A day will come, however, when the black city will not return to the sea floor. Cthulhu will then raven and slay across the world, ushering in a new age.

DAGON: Minor being that leads the deep ones and in turn serves Cthulhu. Dagon appears as a deep one of tremendous proportions, or more rarely as a cloud of mist. One description provides him with a single lidless eye in a bullet-shaped head and translucent skin. The deep ones and some coastal humans worship him alongside his mate, Mother Hydra. It has been claimed that Dagon is only an avatar of Cthulhu, a portion of that being which was not trapped beneath R’lyeh. Past encounters with the god, however, suggest that Dagon is merely an exceedingly large deep one, and that the names “Dagon” and “Hydra” may be titles given to the largest of their species.

HYDRA (also MOTHER HYDRA): Tremendous deep one who is the mate of Dagon, as well as one of the deep ones’ gods. She has much the same form as Dagon, and is reverenced by many of the same cults that worship her husband, as well as one sect of ghouls.
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(To be continued...)
 
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(To be continued...)
 
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(To be continued...)
 
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Ayumi Hakase
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AMAZING work!!

Thank you SO MUCH!!!kiss
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May I suggest using the University Institution with Dunwich, since it was Professors Armitage, Morgan and Rice who prevailed over the emonymous horror?
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Chick Lewis
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Tremendous amount of work, all very nicely summarized.

Sam and Max, you have done a very fine job.
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Will Thibault
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Any news on the by-ancient-one entries?

By the by, I've been using these suggestions (though I usually leave off guardians or institutions). I think I'm going to do a Kingsport-based game here soon.
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