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Great Old One

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 135
The Great Old Ones are otherworldly entities of almost unimaginable power—beings completely alien to humanity, both physiologically and spiritually. They exist in the forgotten corners of distant worlds or lost dimensions, yet their power is so great they can inf luence certain sensitive mortal minds in their dreams and nightmares, even if such inf luence is as accidental as a star’s gravitational pull on a tiny mote of dust adrift in space. In such ways, cults devoted to the Great Old Ones can rise on worlds throughout the Material Plane, even without prior contact between these worlds. Some of the Great Old Ones grant access to the domain of Void and its associated subdomains (see below).

While not all of the Great Old Ones are evil, all are forces of chaos. Their cults are almost always evil and cause harm and madness, but the Great Old Ones are generally content to ignore lesser life such as humans, elves, and dwarves. Yet when their attention is garnered, the results can be catastrophic on an immense scale— for just as the ant who bites someone’s toe invites swift destruction on a scale its feeble mind can’t envision, so too does humanity invite unimaginable ruin by delving into the affairs of these powerful creatures.

The Great Old Ones themselves often serve and worship even greater powers, such as Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Shub-Niggurath, and Yog-Sothoth. Those creatures are the Outer Gods, and whereas the Great Old Ones can be thought of as akin to demigods, the Outer Gods are themselves true deities.

Other Great Old Ones

Bokrug, Cthulhu, and Hastur are but three of the Great Old Ones—countless others exist on distant worlds or other dimensions, yet are still able to influence the world through their dreams and cults. The central concept of the Great Old Ones was created by H. P. Lovecraft, one of the most influential writers of weird fiction—and horror fiction in general—of the 20th century. Lovecraft actively encouraged his writer friends to add to his mythos of creatures, and today we have Great Old Ones created not only by Lovecraft’s contemporaries like Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, and August Derleth, but also by modern writers like Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, and Stephen King. Chaosium’s excellent Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game is a perfect place to start delving into the realm of Great Old Ones evoked in RPG form. By creating new Great Old Ones for your game, you can become part of a tradition of shared mythology nearly a century old!

Creatures in "Great Old One" Category

NameCR
Atlach-Nacha28
Bokrug27
Cthulhu30
Ghatanothoa29
Hastur29
Ithaqua28
Mhar26
Mordiggian30
Rhan-Tegoth28
Tawil At'umr30
Tsathoggua29
Xhamen-Dor26
Yig27

Great Old One, Hastur

This entity appears to be a skeletal human form hidden under tattered yellow robes, but it moves with unsettling, inhuman grace.

Hastur CR 29

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 140
XP 6,553,600
CE Medium aberration (chaotic, evil, Great Old One)
Init +26; Senses darkvision 60 ft., true seeing; Perception +47
Aura unspeakable presence (300 ft., DC 40)

Defense

AC 48, touch 37, flat-footed 31 (+16 Dex, +1 dodge, +10 insight, +11 natural)
hp 731 (34d8+578); fast healing 25
Fort +28, Ref +27, Will +29
Defensive Abilities freedom of movement, immortality, insanity (DC 40); DR 15/epic and lawful; Immune ability damage, ability drain, aging, cold, death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, petrification, sonic; Resist acid 30, electricity 30, fire 30; SR 40

Offense

Speed 80 ft.; air walk
Melee 4 tattered lash +41 (2d8+7 plus bleed)
Space 5 ft., Reach 40 ft.
Special Attacks bleed (1d6), fulvous dreams, mythic power (10/ day, surge +1d12), reveal visage, sneak attack +10d6, Yellow Sign
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 29th; concentration +42)
Constant—air walk, freedom of movement, tongues, true seeing
At will—astral projection, dimension doorM, dreamM, enervationM, greater dispel magic, insanity (DC 30), mirage arcana (DC 28), nightmareM (DC 28), sendingM, veil, wishM (see below)
3/day—demand (DC 31), quickened feeblemind, interplanetary teleportUM, mass suggestion (DC 29), project image (DC 30)
1/day—symbol of death (DC 31), symbol of fear (DC 29), symbol of insanity (DC 31), symbol of pain (DC 28), symbol of persuasion (DC 29), symbol of strifeUM (DC 32), symbol of stunning (DC 30), symbol of weakness (DC 30)

Statistics

Str 24, Dex 43, Con 44, Int 35, Wis 31, Cha 36
Base Atk +25; CMB +41; CMD 69 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Agile Maneuvers, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Dodge, Greater Feint, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Critical (tattered lash), Improved Feint, Improved Vital Strike, Mobility, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (feeblemind), Spring Attack, Staggering Critical, Vital Strike, Weapon Finesse, Whirlwind Attack
Skills Acrobatics +53 (+73 when jumping), Bluff +47, Disguise +47, Intimidate +50, Knowledge (arcana, geography, history, local) +46, Knowledge (nobility) +49, Perception +47, Perform (act) +47, Sense Motive +44, Sleight of Hand +50, Spellcraft +49, Stealth +53, Use Magic Device +47; Racial Modifiers +20 Acrobatics when jumping
Languages Aklo; telepathy 100 ft., tongues
SQ otherworldly insight

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary (unique)
Treasure triple

Special Abilities

Fulvous Dreams (Su) When Hastur uses his nightmare spell-like ability on a creature that has seen the Yellow Sign, he also afflicts that creature with horrifying dreams tinted with a nauseating yellow color and thick with overwhelming sensations of decadence, shame, and entropic disorder. In addition to the effect of nightmare, the target must also succeed at a DC 40 Will save or be compelled to seek out a Yellow Sign, throwing all of his resources and actions into the obsession. While obsessed, the target takes a –4 penalty on Will saving throws, saving throws against symbol spells, concentration checks, and Wisdom-based skill checks. This obsession effect ends immediately if the victim looks upon the Yellow Sign. This is a mind-affecting curse effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Immortality (Ex) If Hastur is slain, the robes that drape his frame suddenly drop to the ground as if whatever shape supported them had suddenly ceased to exist. The robes themselves remain inanimate on the ground, but any humanoid creature that touches them must succeed at a DC 40 Will save to resist a sudden urge to put the robes on. Doing so is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. Once it has donned Hastur’s robes, the creature immediately perishes and its body is destroyed. In its place, Hastur lives again, as if brought back via true resurrection. If the discarded robes are not donned within 24 hours, they fade away, leaving behind a faint yellow stain. In this case, Hastur can’t manifest a physical body again until the conditions are right, or until an unwitting cultist or fool calls him forth once again. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Reveal Visage (Su) As a swift action, Hastur may reveal to one adjacent creature the true shape beneath his robes. The creature must succeed at DC 40 Will save or be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds and take 1d4 points of Wisdom drain at the end of its turn each round the paralysis lasts, though the revelation is too awful for memory to retain. This is a mind-affecting fear effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Tattered Lash (Ex) Hastur attacks with long strips of his tattered yellow robes. These strips have a reach of 40 feet and are primary natural slashing attacks. Bleed damage from the strips stacks with itself (up to 10d6 points of bleed damage). Hastur treats insane targets as if they were flatfooted when he attacks with these weapons.

Unspeakable Presence (Su) Failing a DC 40 Will save against Hastur’s unspeakable presence afflicts a creature with a random insanity. A creature that is already insane instead becomes confused for as long as it remains in the area. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Wish (Sp) Although Hastur may use wish as a spell-like ability at will, he can do so only to grant the wishes of other creatures, and only once per creature. Invariably, the results of these wishes serve somehow to advance Hastur’s agenda.

Yellow Sign (Su) Once per day as a free action, Hastur can touch any solid surface and inscribe the Yellow Sign upon it. Once inscribed, the Yellow Sign remains for a year, but is active only on certain nights when the light from Hastur’s distant world shines in the night sky as a star. Any creature that looks upon an active Yellow Sign must succeed at a DC 40 Will save to avoid becoming dominated by Hastur (as dominate monster); whether or not the save is successful, the creature doesn’t have to save against that Yellow Sign again for 24 hours. While the creature is under this domination effect, if the creature’s Charisma drain plus Charisma damage ever equal its Charisma score, it immediately dies and allows Hastur to manifest physically at the location of its corpse, as if the victim had donned Hastur’s tattered robes (see immortality). A Yellow Sign can be removed with dispel chaos, dispel evil, or erase, any of which requires the caster to succeed at a DC 35 caster level check. Mage’s disjunction automatically removes a Yellow Sign. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Description

Hastur is the most mysterious of the Great Old Ones. In fact, the entity known as Hastur might actually be an Outer God. The physical manifestation of this entity is known as the King in Yellow, and though most consider this creature—a vaguely human-shaped figure draped in a yellow cloak—to be synonymous with Hastur himself, many scholars believe that the King in Yellow is nothing more than an avatar used by the true Hastur to move among the denizens of the physical world. Hastur himself is said to dwell upon a distant world called Carcosa on the shores of the monstrous Lake of Hali, and his power on a planet is strongest when the baleful light of Carcosa’s star is visible in that planet’s night sky.

Hastur’s Cult

Hastur’s cult is primarily composed of decadent nobles, playwrights, and aristocrats who have grown bored with life and have sought out increasingly deviant, bizarre, and self-destructive methods of achieving gratification in life. His temples are opulent and excessive—opera houses, manors, and the like that contain hidden chambers for pastimes best indulged in secret. His cultists are particularly eager to bring innocents into their fold, exposing them to the Yellow Sign so that their bodies and minds can serve as portals through which the King in Yellow may walk the world.

Hastur’s cult is associated with decadence, disorder, and nihilism, and its symbol is the Yellow Sign. The least varieties of these symbols are nonmagical—and somewhat inaccurate—representations of the sigil, though the more powerful cults possess methods by which they can craft fully functional Yellow Signs. Unlike those created by Hastur, a cult-created Yellow Sign can be resisted with a successful DC 23 Will save (as if it were a 9th-level spell). Hastur’s clerics have access to the domains of Chaos, Evil, Rune, and Void, and to the subdomains of Dark Tapestry, Language, Stars, and Wards. Hastur’s favored weapon is the rapier.