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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

Tawil At'umr30

Great Old One, Yig

This green-scaled humanoid has a long, serpentine neck and head, and its brow is marked by a distinctive crescent shape.

Yig CR 27

Source Bestiary 6 pg. 150
XP 3,276,800
CN Large monstrous humanoid (chaotic, Great Old One, shapechanger)
Init +25; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +45
Aura unspeakable presence (300 ft., DC 35)


AC 45, touch 30, flat-footed 34 (+11 Dex, +10 insight, +15 natural, –1 size)
hp 635 (31d10+465); fast healing 20
Fort +27, Ref +28, Will +28
Defensive Abilities freedom of movement, immortality, insanity (DC 35); DR 15/epic and lawful; Immune ability damage, ability drain, aging, cold, death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, petrification, poison; Resist acid 30, fire 30; SR 38


Speed 60 ft., climb 60 ft., swim 60 ft.; air walk
Melee bite +44 (6d10+21/19–20 plus poison), 2 claws +44 (4d8+21/19–20), tail slap +44 (4d10+21/19–20 plus grab)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft. (20 ft. with tail slap)
Special Attacks constrict (4d10+21), curse of Yig, mythic power (10/day, surge +1d12), rend (2 claws, 4d8+21), serpentine dreams
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 27th; concentration +37)
Constant—air walk, freedom of movement, speak with animals (reptiles only)
At will—awaken (snakes only), baleful polymorphM (DC 25, into harmless snakes only), commune with nature, dimension doorM, dreamM, greater dispel magic, nightmareM (DC 25), transport via plants
3/day—demand, quickened feeblemind (DC 25), healM, quickened poison (DC 24)
1/day—control weatherM, symbol of persuasion (DC 26), true resurrection
M mythic spell


Str 38, Dex 33, Con 41, Int 30, Wis 33, Cha 30
Base Atk +31; CMB +46 (+50 sunder); CMD 77 (79 vs. sunder)
Feats Bleeding Critical, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Great Fortitude, Greater Sunder, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Critical (bite, claw, tail slap), Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Improved Vital Strike, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (feeblemind, poison), Vital Strike
Skills Acrobatics +42, Climb +56, Handle Animal +41, Heal +42, Intimidate +44, Knowledge (nature, religion) +41, Perception +45, Sense Motive +42, Spellcraft +41, Stealth +41, Survival +45, Swim +56, Use Magic Device +41
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Undercommon; speak with animals (reptiles only); telepathy 100 ft.
SQ change shape (any serpentine form; shapechange), devastating, otherworldly insight


Environment any
Organization solitary (unique)
Treasure triple

Special Abilities

Curse of Yig (Su) Once per round as a free action when he touches or damages a creature with any natural attack, Yig can target that creature with a potent curse. The target must succeed at a DC 35 Will save or it takes a –6 penalty on all saving throws against poison effects and loses the ability to recover from poison effects naturally (though magical effects that remove poison effects still work). The cursed creature cannot gain the benefit of immunity to poison, be it from a class or racial ability, a magic item, or any other source. As long as it suffers under the curse of Yig, the victim becomes staggered for 1d6 rounds whenever it fails a saving throw against a mind-affecting or poison effect, and any offspring sired or birthed are deformed in some hideous (but mostly cosmetic) fashion. This is a curse effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Devastating (Ex) All of Yig’s natural attacks are primary attacks that add 1-1/2 × his Strength modifier to their damage. Yig ignores hardness less than 20 for any object he strikes.
Immortality (Ex) If Yig is slain, his body decays as normal, but he does not stay dead for long. He is reborn 3 months after his death, hatching from the egg of a venomous serpent (although not necessarily on the same planet on which his previous incarnation was slain). He spends a year in the form of a venomous (but otherwise normal) snake, after which he sheds his skin and emerges once again as Yig. Typically, Yig does not hold grudges against those who slew him, but this is not always the case.
Poison (Ex) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 40; frequency 1/ round for 6 rounds; effect 1d6 Constitution drain plus nauseated for 1 round; cure 3 consecutive saves. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Serpentine Dreams (Su) Any creature that has ever willfully harmed a snake, has suffered the effects of the curse of Yig (see above), or has slain one of Yig’s clerics can be targeted by the Great Old One’s serpentine dreams, regardless of the distance between the creature and Yig—even across planar boundaries. In order to use serpentine dreams against a target, Yig must first successfully affect the target with his nightmare spell-like ability. If the victim fails its save against nightmare, it must succeed at a DC 35 Will save or take 2d6 points of Intelligence drain in addition to the normal effects of nightmare. When this Intelligence drain would reduce the victim’s Intelligence score below 2, the victim is instead transformed (as if via baleful polymorph) into a Tiny venomous snake. This is a mind-affecting polymorph effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Unspeakable Presence (Ex) Failing a DC 35 Will save against Yig’s unspeakable presence causes the victim to become more susceptible to curse effects. The victim takes a –6 penalty on all saving throws against curse effects, and the effective DC to remove a curse from such a victim increases by 6. A creature normally immune to curses that is affected by Yig’s unspeakable presence can now be affected by curses (but takes no further penalty against curses as a result of the Great Old One’s unspeakable presence). This effect lasts for 1 year or until removed by a miracle or wish. If a creature suffering from this effect dies and is brought back to life, there is a 50% chance the effect persists upon the creature’s restoration to life.


Of all the Great Old Ones, Yig is without a doubt the most benign. Yet those so foolish as to expect kindness from the so-called Father of Serpents would do well to think again, for Yig does not suffer fools and is as likely to devour those who beseech him for help as he is to provide aid. Even his most devout worshipers realize he may simply wish to feed at times, and on these occasions no amount of devotion can protect a supplicant from death.

Yig appears as a scaled, humanoid creature with a serpent’s head and lashing tail, but he can appear as any serpentine creature if he so wills. In his true form, Yig stands 14 feet tall and weighs 1,100 pounds.

Yig's Cult

Yig is primarily worshiped by nomadic societies and those who live with a close connection to the land; veneration of him is all but unknown in urban areas. Although Yig often makes his presence known through the actions of serpents, serpentfolk rarely worship him, preferring their own, more sinister deity. Yig’s cult is associated with cycles (the cycle of seasons, the cycle of birth and death, and other manifestations of repetition in the natural world), procreation, and serpents, and his sacred symbol is a coiled rattlesnake with a crescent-shaped mark upon its head. His temples rarely take the form of constructed buildings and are often nothing more than a forest clearing, a ring of standing stones, or the mouth of a large cave. Unlike most of the Great Old Ones, Yig tends to take notice of those who worship him. This is, however, as much a bane as it is a boon for those who offer the Father of Serpents worship, for just as he may protect his flock when they are endangered, his retribution for slights is swift, and communities that fail to properly worship him often find their crops failing, their livestock sickened, and their children born with crippling deformities. You can model such unfortunate creatures by applying the mutant creature template. In addition to the normal changes wrought by this template, such mutants invariably bear a unique birthmark somewhere on their body—the crescent moon shape that all of those touched by Yig bear.

Yig’s clerics have access to the domains of Chaos, Community, Protection, and Scalykind, and to the subdomains of Defense, Dragon, Revelry, and Venom. His favored weapon is the punching dagger.