I’ve noticed during many years of game play that for some GMs (and players), Byakhee are possibly seen as nothing but great winged steeds with minimal intelligence. Certainly bound Byakhee are going to be constrained by the sorcerer that has dominated them, but there is a great opportunity to utilise their innate cunning and maleficent nature.
These are hungry, devious creatures, capable of withstanding the shocking, infectious, ever-shifting and mutating horror of Hastur – and so possibly half-mad, Byakhee should be considered unpredictable, hardy and extremely dangerous when encountered without a “good enough” binding operation in place.
Back in the mid 1990’s I came across a Call of Cthulhu scenario called “A Happy Family” published by Chaosium. I loved it and used it to great effect with my CoC game group at the time, and again, more recently, with my Yellow Dawn players. It charts the consequences of a solitary man, living out on the edge of a small settlement in a remote part of the world (perfect Yellow Dawn setting), who has come across a stash of arcane knowledge. Ultimately the man conjures a Byakhee to flap down, steaming in the dark of the night from the chill of Interstellar space – utterly unbound. And this is the part I love. Rather than devour the fool like some mindless monster, the Byakhee puts the man into its service. Much like a more physical version of the horrible bond between a demon and human servant, the Byakhee takes up residence in the area and begins a campaign of terror: motive, blood sacrifice for its worship of Hastur.
Inspiration for a novel
I spent some time travelling around the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta at the start of this summer. 7,000 years of European, Middle-Eastern and North African history pressed down on this miniscule spec of land that sits at the crossroad of empires. Whilst there I came up with a rough scamp for a new novel, one to be set in the post-apocalyptic Earth setting of Yellow Dawn (RPG). The novel charts a small scientific expedition that sets out to the remote islands of Scotland. What appears to be a case of merely supernatural haunting rapidly develops into the full-blown horror of the Cthulhu Mythos –specifically through characters being exposed to Hastur and a plot that revolves around foolish worship and deal-making with the Byakhee.
Coming back from Malta in May this year, I actually managed to write the novel in 7 weeks. Fastest piece of work yet. It’s now available in paperback through LULU or on Amazon kindle. Details below.
If you’re a fan of the Mythos then I think you’ll enjoy this story. It’s certainly getting some rave reviews. Let me know what you think.
THE BLACK LAKE: The Earth has been ravaged by an event known as Yellow Dawn. Ten years later, survivors are putting lives back together and probing the frontiers of a new Wilderness; whilst overhead the orbital colonies slide across the sky, removed and unaffected. Five men leave the fortress island of Malta on an expedition to the sub-Arctic waters above Scotland. They intend to undertake scientific observations of an alien meteorological phenomenon that has followed the apocalyptic event. What they find is a cosmic horror that seethes amongst the shadows of a shattered Earth. It is a story of escape and wonder, of madness and terror. David J Rodger’s trademark unforgiving rendering of harsh reality, and relentless narrative pace, are here in palm-sweating abundance, delivered in a novel that tears open a rent in the boundary of reality, providing a nerve-jarring glimpse of the Outer Chaos and the horrors that lurk just beyond the threshold of our fragile, human existence.
See more posts like this – click