New Great Old One for the Cthulhu Mythos: Arcanathoa
If you’re a fan of H.P.Lovecraft you may enjoy seeing a new addition to his incredible pantheon of gods and monsters. If you’re unaware of H.P.Lovecraft, then peel the rime off your eyeballs and get into this world of ultimate, sanity-blasting cosmic horror…
Arcanathoa is worshipped by a small, subterranean cult called The Carn. Many sorcerers have made the mistake of believing Arcanathoa – also known as “The Burning Shadow”, “Sithasquando – Cousin of the Volcano” – as being an entity of no intelligence. It is a mistake that sorcerers delving into the Mythos do not get to make twice – and is one of the main reasons so little is written or known about this Great Old One. If you fail to comprehend the absolute cunning hunger of this thing, you will die.
The Carn are walking burn victims. Human beings, following an ancestral line that reaches back to the first people to encounter Siberia (45,000 years ago), with a minority indoctrinated into the worship of Arcanathoa and migrating east and west into America and Europe. The language of The Carn is related to Yeniseian (Siberia) and Na-Dene (Native American), and it contains the principle sounds used in singing incantations that appease Arcanathoa when encountered directly.
The Carn exist in small numbers within remote settlements, mainly in Siberia but a very few do still exist on the North American continent (even some reservations) – typically supported by non-worshippers who are subservient through fear, heritage or some other reason. The Carn have learned to survive shocking, physical disfigurement, brought about by limbs, faces, and fleshy tissue being “cooked” down to charred sinewy fibres. There is an inherent metaphysical aspect to this, bestowed through their bloodline from the earliest worshippers of Arcanathoa. These grotesquely deformed humans are resistant to infection, poison, and pain. What little muscle tissue remains, enables them to exist but little else – however, they are very hard to kill unless you actually hack or blow them to pieces (disrupt vital internal organs and blood / oxygen flow to brain, etc).
Ceremonial gatherings occur once a month, below ground at the zenith of the sun overhead. A member of The Carn will make contact through a “burning stone” – a piece of rock that has been made to have a connection to Arcanathoa, and which literally “cooks and boils away” any bodily tissue it touches. The Carn hold it with a piece of animal hide and ritualistically touch parts of their body, ultimately leading to them burning away most of what they are (physically). Such a rock used against a victim (insert interfering character) would cause 1d6 burn damage per round – check for risks of infection and consequences of 3rd, 2nd and 1st degree burns (Yellow Dawn primary rulebook). Every 6 HP burn damage (cumulative) removes 1 POW from the victim. The use of these rocks, spread across parts of the northern hemisphere, sustains Arcanathoa with the energy “burned away” by them.
During bigger ceremonies – Solar Equinox- Arcanathoa is brought to make an appearance within a subterranean cavern. At this point, the cult either provides a human for sacrifice – being consumed by a “seed” or if no sacrifice is available, one of The Carn submits themself to this honour.
The Carn are secretive and very hard to identify or detect because their needs are usually looked after by normal human proxies. GMs could expose a cult through a police investigation in the area (missing persons; accidental death of one of the humans caretaking the cult’s affairs; etc, etc). Or a lone and vulnerable character could be targeted for the next sacrifice. There would be lots of tension ratcheting up as the unaffected humans build up to revealing the character to one of The Carn… a stinking, sweaty, terrible looking rag of a human being in some tribalistic smoke house, and again, with the eventual introduction to Arcanathoa.
Arcanathoa only cares about perpetuating and expanding the number of followers. The more cults it has, the more energy it gets from them through regular ceremonies.
Arcanathoa and the Great Old One – Jy’kalud, worshipped by sub-human, flesh-eating, ghoul-type creatures such as Cray (read the novel Living in Flames), are fierce opponents to each other. It’s not hatred (too much of a human state of mind); it is a rivalry stretching back eons into cosmic history. As such followers of Jy’kalud would not hesitate to murder The Carn, and visa versa.
In some places, where Sinai Worms are in existence, The Carn use Arcanathoa to stun and disable these giant beasts as they slide through “hunting grounds” allowing them to harvest quantities of The Spice. This has some unknown association with Grom Groth Murg, and the victims / hosts of the awful crab-like Groth race.
GREAT OLD ONE – Bulbous mass with multifarious appendages and grotesque members; radiates a microwave energy that cooks anything living.
STR: ∞ INT: 25 DEX: 6 Mass: 15 HP: 300
D/b: ∞ THSP: 0 ANX: 1d6/1d20
Move: 6 ooze up and through any physical structure, drift through the air, push through any solid matter.
Physical skills: 24%
Intelligence skills: 100%
Immunity: Only magical attacks do normal damage. Any other form of attack only has a 20% chance of delivering damage because of Arcanathoa’s ethereal fabric. Arcanathoa regenerates 10 hit-points per round.
Vision: 360°, using a sensory apparatus that detects POW, with a range of 200 metres and 80% effectiveness. It will be attracted to beings with the highest POW first.
Ranged: attack skill 100%
Microwave, range visual sight (200 metres), any single being within Arcanathoa’s vision will be subject to an awful and all pervasive attack. Even if the victim is hidden behind a solid wall they will feel the attack’s effect. The attack feels like an uncomfortable sun-burn all over their flesh, and beneath it. It’s a prickly, itchy kind of heat that seeps through them. Every combat round, victims suffer 1d6 burn damage (internally); if a ‘6’ is ever rolled, then the victim’s fatty tissue self-combusts, causing the victim to erupt in flames (3d6 burn damage per round – all over).
Threat Zone: attack skill 18%
7 tendrils, range 30 metres, delivering a seed of
Arcanathoa that starts to eat through the victim’s POW at 1d6 POW per round; there is nothing that can stop this. As the victim looses POW, their form morphs, becomes transparent and sparkles with crackling energy. Eventually their clothes fall to the floor, and the luminous glowing monstrosity that devoured the person, drifts towards Arcanathoa to merge with it (feeding Arcanathoa the consumed POW).
Close Proximity: attack skill 24%, 1d8 hits
 body touch, the victim vanishes in flare of sparkling energy, as they are entirely consumed by Arcanathoa.
Use of Magick: POW 50, does not tend to use Magick although it knows all Conjure/Command spells.
Do you enjoy Cthulhu Mythos woven into thrillers and Science Fiction?
I have written five novels that feature the Cthulhu Mythos either directly, or as a subtle background influence on the plot. Take a peek at these links – you may see something you like.
- BEFORE YELLOW DAWN APOCALYPSE
- AFTER YELLOW DAWN APOCALYPSE
CREDIT: Featured Hero Image – by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images. MINDIMA VILLAGE, CHIMBU PROVINCE, HIGHLANDS, PAPUA NEW GUINEA-DECEMBER 2008: A Papua New Guina highland tribal ceremony depicting images of “Spirit Men,” also known as “Skeleton Men” attacking an evil forest Spirit known locally as the Omo Masalai, in a village in Chimbu Province, Highlands, Papua New Guinea, 18 December 2008. Legend has it that the skeleton men are the formerly human victims of the forest spirit who attacked and ate them. The skeleton men are seen in the act of vengeance against the Forest Spirit monster.
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