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Author Topic: "Lovecraft Holmes" Setting Thread  (Read 2981 times)
Gibbering Mouther
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« on: April 24, 2013, 11:00:51 AM »

The Great Old Ones Come

“The performance finished with a rousing historical narrative: the entire company played the men and women of a village on the shore of the ocean, seven hundred years before our modern times. They saw shapes rising from the sea, in the distance. The hero joyously proclaimed to the villagers that these were the Old Ones whose coming was foretold, returning to us from R’lyeh, and from dim Carcosa, and from the plains of Leng, where they had slept, or waited, or passed out the time of their death.”

Note: Inspiration

In addition to Neil Gaiman's excellent short story A Study in Emerald, which started it all, I'm turning to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mister Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Carmilla, The Portrait of Dorian Grey, The Lair of the White Worm, Lokis and the various works of Arthur Machen, Ambrose Bierce, Robert W. Chamber and Algernon Blackwood for the mood and feel of a horrifyingly inimical late 19th Century that never was.

Out of Character

Alright - I've finally got a decent amount of material ready to begin writing in the next few days when work and uni die down a little. Feedback, commentary, critique and requests as to the order in which information gets written up are welcome at the discussion thread here to avoid cluttering up this thread.

At this point, the breakdown of topics looks something like this:
A World Transformed – The Great Old Ones Come!
Their Majesties Most Terrible: the Crownéd Heads of State
The Blood Royal and the Affairs of Nations
Of the Star-Spawn, Once-Spawned and Void-Called
Far-Off Realms Beyond the Ken of Man
Society and the Natural Order of Classes
Ancient Guilds and Secret Orders
The Might of Industry and March of Progress
Technology and Craftsmanship
The Occult Sciences and Stranger Arts

« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 11:10:30 AM by HippopotamusDundee » Logged


Gibbering Mouther
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2013, 08:52:03 PM »

A World Transformed – The Great Old Ones Come!

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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 08:52:22 PM »

Their Majesties Most Terrible: the Crownéd Heads of State
The Queen Victoria Gloriana

The Queen

She was called Victoria, because she had beaten us in battle, seven hundred years before; and she was called Gloriana, because she was glorious; and she was called the Queen, because the human mouth was not shaped to say her true name.

Broad and squat and hauntingly featureless, the twisting and writhing bulk of the Queen towers vast and huger than imaginable.  Achingly beautiful and yet with all the unfathomable menace of the crushing depths, Her squirming and coiling limbs forever haunt those who have come before her just as the sweet contralto of her distantly-buzzing voice lingers and hangs in every dream shaped upon Albion’s green and misty shores.

As the progenitor of a vast number of children who rule the many petty Princedoms of Europe, the Queen’s power and influence has reached out across the Channel and insinuated its way into the politics of the Continent. Served by the brotherhood of the Star-Touched, who She has commanded and compelled and broken something inside and who love and hate her in equal measure, the Queen’s tentacles caress the populace of Albion in a grip that is by turns benevolent or maddeningly and mindlessly hungry in equal parts.

The Black One of Egpyt

The Black One

"My name is Nyarlathotep, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

Obsidian-skinned, and in shape almost like a man but slender and stretched and terribly-angled, the Black One of Egypt sits enthroned in the unreverberate darkness that cloaks the ruined pillars of the Nameless City that men called Irem, too-wide mouth stretched in a cruel and fox-like grin as the tattered ends of rotting grave-robes like hooded cobras dance and billow in the cruel desert wind.

The cruel and secret rites of Its worship carried out by the cults of the Dark Men of Irem and the Karnak Priesthood of the Ghul that keep the subtle and solitary mysteries of the Midnight Sun, the Black One rules by darkly-humorous whim, encouraging and devastating the paltry efforts at order made by the mortals that crawl like ants through its domain with divine indifference to all but the diversion such petty amusements provide.


The Ancient Goat, Father to a Thousand

The Thousand-Faced Moon

The Tsar Unanswerable

The King in Yellow

"Before the Return, they whisper, the Tsars would wear a silken mask of yellow, whose queer folds appeared to hide a face not of this earth...."

Swaddled and shrouded in tawny yellows and pallid golds, the true shape and physiognomy of the Tsar Unanswerable is a mystery obscured and veiled by the silhouette of a man-shaped bundle of heavy robes and tattered rags that drift and waft weightlessly in unseen currents. The sickly-sweet smell of rot and grave-mould hangs heavy in the air around It, and those few who have been driven mad by glimpses of what hides beneath the Tsar’s finery gibber madly about sallow flesh that crawled and pulsed to the beat of an inhuman heart, ichor-slicked chitin the faded grey of corpse-flesh and glossy-black feathers and talons that seemed so sharp as to slice the wind as it passed.

Borne aloft by Its winged carrion-children and blown ever onwards in its unceasing journey by the freezing gale from on high that stinks of the grave and the serfs whisper blows around the feet of the dead, the court of the Tsar Unanswerable is held forth in a great yurt of tanned and dyed human-hides. Its own diversions are of far-greater interest to the Tsar than the mortal fleas that crawl and scurry across Its domain and It leaves them wholly alone, to fight and feast and fornicate among themselves as they will, save those rare few youths marked out as exceptional by either their transcendent beauty or the remarkable aesthetic  of their grotesquery who are summoned by Its voice on the wind to be Sacrifice to it and after entering the luridly wrong-hued yurt are never seen again.


He Who Presides Over the New World

He Who Presides

He was a great god. He was bad medicine. He did not forget things. In the autumn His children were hungry and wild, and He was hungry and wild, too. All the tribes made medicine against Him when the corn harvest came. They gave Him some corn, and danced in proper regalia to the sound of whistle, rattle, and drum.

The White Lady of the Antarctic Fastness
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 08:38:58 AM by HippopotamusDundee » Logged


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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 08:53:02 PM »

The Blood Royal and the Affairs of Nations

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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 09:00:50 PM »

Of the Star-Spawn, Void-Called and Those Left Behind

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5

“There are more things in R’lyeh and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Since ancient times, when men first huddled around their guttering fires and feared more even than the darkness the empyrean vault of the watchful skies, man has known he was not alone.

For centuries and millennia tales were spun of wyrms and near-men and abominations stranger still that lurked like mankind’s shadow over his shoulder, rarely sighted and only glimpsed for a moment, ever dwelling just beyond the bounds of his reach – cloaked by night’s darkness, swimming the fathomless depths of the sea or hidden within soil and rock itself.

And somewhere in his racial memory- alongside the instincts that made him watch the heavens with equal parts awe and fear – man remembered the truths behind those tales and though he clung to his neighbours and stoked the fires high he knew that behind the folk-tales and superstition were all the multitudinous descendants and survivors of those antediluvian and inchoate nightmares the Great Old Ones had bred and then abandoned with the long-ago coming of the Quiescence.

Then the stars aligned and under the light of the bloodied moon the Great Old Ones came; returning from R’lyeh, and from dim Carcosa, and from the planes of Leng, where they had slept, or waited, or passed out the time of their death.

And crawling and writhing in a tide of unnamed nightmares behind them came all the horrors that man had ever forgotten and ones of which he had not yet dreamed besides – those servitors and creation of long-ago so favoured that they had shared in the Quiescence now returned to their old haunt, the bastard remnants of those less-favoured who’d been left behind rose to greet their long-lost cousins and strange and wholly alien things following the beckoning trail of the Great Old Ones descent from the voids between the stars.

The Void-Called
Natives of the primordial darkness of the interstellar gulf, there are Things that have adapted to survive in the chill black void between the stars. Primitive and wholly alien, their limbs and organs and very existence follow no taxonomy of either logic or transcendent madness, bred as they were in the shadowed and primordial reaches of existence where the light of what little order can exist in a universe deformed by the presence of the Great Old Ones gutters out and dies.

Adapted for the fathomless entropy of the cosmic deeps, their nature is far removed from terrestrial-adapted life – their locomotive forces, their natural weaponry and even their flesh exist in opposition to nature as understood through man’s limited apprehension of reality.

But this innate otherness has not stopped mankind from recognizing their uses – even during the long sorrow of the Great Old One’s absence, conjurers and magi pored over ancient and dusty tomes to learn the secrets of summoning the dwellers in the outer darkness, calling them down those atramentous tendrils of the stellar void that reached even as far as Earth and which, with the Return, widened into tenebrous rivers down which the Void-Called now slither and squirm at will.

They include among their number the Star Vampires, the Hounds of Yeth, Astral Mantles, Tindalosi and the Wisps from Colos.

The Star-Spawn
Whether favoured servitors, in-thrall slave-races or biological tools, the creations of the Great Old Ones are as numerous and varied as their methods of production – budded off from Their upper-dimensional flesh, given life where Their ichorous fluids have fallen, warped by Their will and presence alone.

Equipped with a greater or lesser degree of sentience and free will (or at least what humans would recognize as such) at the wishes of the Great Old One who spawned them, the Star-Spawn are largely non-humanoid and indeed non-terrestrial in nature – though they may incorporate some elements of recognizable fauna (or indeed flora or fungus), their anatomy is not dependent upon carbon as most native species are (including the Remnants, former Star-Spawn abandoned during the Quiescence who have evolved to survive on Earth unaided) and is unmistakeable even in its basic components by any man of science.

Though their obedience may be compelled by various forms of occult science, the Starspawn are bound utterly and inextricably to the existence and will of the Great Old Ones. It is the presence of the Ancients that facilitates their survival in the oxygen and carbon-rich atmosphere of Earth and the existence of the Ancients that fuels their unnatural and eldritch life, and the Starspawn could no more think of betraying or harming a Great Old One than they could develop a sense of empathy for mortal beings.

They include among their number the Deep Ones, Byakhee, Dark Young, Moon Beasts and Hunting Horrors.

The Remants
Devolved or inchoate forms of now-extinct Star-Spawn from the countless span of years the Great Old Ones ruled before the coming of the Quiescence, the Remnants were abandoned as the Ancients one by one fell, passed into death-slumber or retreated to their seats of power to wait out the long years before the stars would be right again. Though some of the most favoured or valuable Star-Spawn departed along with the Great Old Ones, the remainder were left bereft, purpose and protection stripped from them to leave them drifting aimlessly and slowly dying in a hostile and inhospitable world.

The Remnants fell like flies as the toxic composition of Earth took its toll without the Great Old Ones to protect them, and those that survived were the few who retreated; to the steamy depths of trackless jungles, the icy peaks of impassable mountains, the crushing depths of the oceans and into labyrinthine tunnels beneath the earth.

As they waited through the countless years for the Ancients to return and reshaped their own little corners of the world into things less inimical, the Remnants dwindled and diminished - alien biology becoming terrestrial as they adapted to their new circumstances, though their anatomy remained as bizarre and aberrant as ever. And so it was that after the Return, when the Remnants crawled out of their lairs to greet the Great Old Ones they discovered they were no longer bound to them; not dependent on them for their continued existence and no longer bound to their will.

They include among their number the Ghul, the Tcho-Tcho, the Voormis, the Rat-Things and the Men of Leng.

The Royal-Kin
The call of blood is a powerful one - the siren song of genetic destiny throbbing through every bone and muscle to the triple-beat of an inhuman heart - and so it is with the scions of the Ancients. Those rare humans blessed or cursed with the heritage of the Great Old Ones can never escape the irresistible call of their nonhuman ancestry - for blood will always tell. The Royal-Kin are set inexorably apart from their fellow mortals by their Otherness, both physiological and psychological (though the degree of difference depends on the generations removed); regardless of how they were raised and nurtured or what they were taught, the lowliest cast-out bastard and the most pureblooded of princes will grow to be equally monstrous in both the twisted beauty of their form and their empathyless and unpitying hearts.

They include among their number Albion's Dagonites (more commonly known there as 'Queenkin'), the Satyr-sons of China's Ancient Goat and the Black Men of Egypt.

Shoggoths
Living weapons created to be wholly obedient and utterly deadly, a Shoggoth (the closest approximation the human tongue can manage to the High Tongue verb zhax'qoth, meaning the act of consumption and aggressive growth), is a peerless predator capable of evolving its protoplasmic flesh into any weapon, defense or other hunting tool it might require.

Usually storing most of its body-mass in various upper dimensions, a dormant Shoggoth is about the size of a hansom cab but when hunting it will begin to draw the rest of its substance down into the limits of three-dimensional space, swelling it until it begins to approach the size of a small house. Once a Shoggoth's aggressive instincts have been activated, it will tirelessly and relentlessly pursue its prey until it either loses the trail (unlikely, given the near-infinite range of sensory organs and adaptations it can grow if required), is called off or has carried out its orders, at which point it will shrink back down to its resting size and return to dormancy.

Shoggoth defy most attempts at taxonomy made by human hands - there are as many ways to manufacture one as there are Shoggoths, and though there are some superficial differences between different 'breeds' they are similar enough to still be characterized as zhax'qoth. Whether brewed in ichorists labs, spawned by the Great Old Ones or devolved from ancient and inchoate speciments over the long years of the Quiescence, all are Shoggoths and all are equally dangerous and deadly.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 11:24:04 AM by HippopotamusDundee » Logged


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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2013, 11:08:14 PM »

Far-Off Realms Beyond the Ken of Man

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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2013, 11:09:56 PM »

Society and the Natural Order of Classes

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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2013, 11:11:00 PM »

Ancient Guilds and Secret Orders

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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 11:12:32 PM »

The Might of Industry and March of Progress

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