Three Aspects of the Dead God for Your Old School Games
He Who Is Not To Be Named
Also Known As: The Unspeakable One, Magnum Innominandum
Portfolio: Mountains, Duty, Obedience, Punishment
Worshipers: Monks, Shepherds, Mountain-Dwelling Cultures
This aspect of Hastur is the sole occupant of a remote and ancient monastery on the Plateau of Leng. The plateau is a cold and arid place that only exists in the Dreamlands, while the monestary itself is a confusing tangle of lightless corridors covered with detailed and disturbing frescoes. Deep in its bowels, inside a frightening domed room, The Unspeakable One sits on a throne of gold atop a stone dias in pitch-black darkness.
The Magnum Innominandum usually appears as a figure robed in yellow silk and wearing a yellow silken mask, or sometimes (to his followers) as a beautiful maiden seemingly bathed in a bright light that chases away all shadows.
He is the patron of shepherds and the spirit of the mountains where they tend their flocks. He demands strict adherence to duty, and rewards obedience with happyness. And while he may answer the prayers of the faithful, he will not hessitate to punish those that stray.
The Tattered King
Also Known As: The King in Yellow, The Yellow Sign
Portfolio: Inspiration, Entropy, Madness
Worshipers: Bards, Artists, Entertainers
In this form, Hastur is both a thin, floating man clad in tattered, yellow rags, and the symbol of a yellow triskelion resembling a tentacled creature (the Yellow Sign). Both are believed to originate from the shores of Lake Hali – an allegory for the mysterious Hyades cluster of stars.
The King in Yellow wears a smooth, featureless “palid mask” when he visits sensitive individuals, and either inspires them to greatness or drives them into madness. So impressive are the works wrought by his disciples that they can incite rebellions, overthrow empires, or even destroy entire nations.
The Yellow Sign can appear on any work of art, and just gazing upon it can leave the viewer susceptable to Hastur’s influence. This belief is so wide-spread that the term “Seeing the Yellow Sign” is attributed to anyone suffering from mental illness, regardless of the cause.
The Feaster From Afar
Also Known As: The Dweller on Aldebaran, The Demon of Carcosa
Portfolio: Death, Despair, Futility
Worshipers: Assassins, Aberrations, Evil Humanoids (especially Ghouls)
Hastur’s final aspect is a black, shriveled, manta-shaped flying monstrosity with razor-sharp talons. It liquefies and consumes its victim’s brains, draining them through its feelers and merging their consciousness with itself.
As a Demon Lord, Hastur rules an icy layer of the Abyss known as Aldebaran. The lunar landscape’s only feature is a frightful, red-litten city named Carcosa by its corpse-eating inhabitants.
In this form he is the embodiment of paranoia, despair, futility, unreason, and Chaos. Legend has it that speaking Hastur’s name three times will summon the Feaster From Afar, with grusome consequences.
The Awful Truth
In truth, Hastur is a scaled, alien being, with an elongated, tentacle-covered body, a lizard’s head and maw, and taloned lizard claws. He has been imprisoned on the Astral Plane, and can only partially manifest on the Prime Material Plane – which limits his ability to influence the world. Should Hastur gain enough worshipers to provide him with the power to free himself, the result would be catastrophic to say the least.
Bonus Pathfinder/Realms of Crawling Chaos Mash-Up!
Moon Radish Poultice
Creation Time: 1 day
Area of Effect: 1 wound
Range: See below
Saving Throw: None
Moon radish poultice is a sticky, pale white paste that may be applied to wounds. It will return a dying creature to 1 hit point, or heal a wounded creature 1d4 hit points of damage.
If a creature receives more than one dose per day, or one dose on consecutive days, it may develop an addiction to the substance at the Labyrinth Lord’s discresion. The poultice may also unintentionally regrow body parts, producing deformed and unusable pseudopod-like apendages.
The creation time for the poultice is for one dose, and each dose may only be stored for three days before it loses its effectiveness. The formula requires moon radishes grown in soil saturated with blood, vinegar, and minced night lizards or limbless skinks.
This post was inspired by Ash, one of my players at last Sunday’s public Labyrinth Lord game, and compiled from: Labyrinth Lord Revised Edition, Advanced Edition Companion, Realms of Crawling Chaos, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Deities & Demigods, Trail of Cthulhu, CthulhuTech, and Wikipedia