Cthugha

Cthugha

CR 20; XP 307,200
CE Great Old One of arson, deliberate destruction and fire
Primary Source August Derleth, “The Dweller in Darkness” and “The House on Curwen Street”

Cult

Domains Chaos, Destruction, Evil, and Fire
Subdomains Ash, Catastrophe, Rage, and Smoke
Favored Weapon torch
Symbol vortex of fire
Temple burnt-out ruins, high buildings, mountaintops, regions devastated by fire
Worshipers arsonists, fire-using creatures
Servitors fire vampires, fire elementals

Influence Stage 1 (DC 27)

Speed fly 50 ft.
Area 100-ft. radius; Nucleus 30-ft. square
AC 36; Saves +22; hp 370
Effects heat wave, spawn fire vampires
Escalation At the start of any round, if there are at least 10 fire vampires alive and active in the area of influence, there’s a 10% chance that Cthugha escalates to stage 2.

Influence Stage 2 (DC 29)

CR 23; XP 819,200
Speed fly 100 ft.
Area 900-ft. radius; Nucleus 100-ft. square
AC 40; Saves +24; hp 480
Effects fiery darts, heat wave, spawn fire vampires
Escalation At the start of any round, if there are at least 20 fire vampires alive and active in the area of influence, there’s a 10% chance that Cthugha escalates to stage 3.

Influence Stage 3 (DC 31)

CR 26; XP 2,457,600
Speed fly 300 ft.
Area 1-mile radius; Nucleus 500-ft. square
AC 44; Saves +27; hp 600
Effects capture mind, fiery darts, heat wave, spawn fire vampires
Escalation At the start of any round, if there are at least 30 fire vampires alive and active in the area of influence, there’s a 10% chance that Cthugha escalates to stage 4.

Influence Stage 4 (DC 34)

CR 29; XP 6,553,600
Area 10-mile radius column
Proxy fire vampires
Effects capture mind, fiery darts, heat wave, immobile, spawn fire vampires

Defeat

Combat In Cthuhga’s first three stages, it can be defeated by reducing its influence to 0 hit points. In its final stage, it must be defeated by destroying all fire vampires within the Great Old One’s influence.

Influence Effects

Capture Mind Creatures with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher are in danger of having their minds captured by Cthugha if they spend too much time in its presence. If such a creature begins its turn within Cthugha’s area of influence, it must make a successful Will save or it gains 1 capture point. A creature with 1 capture point has its mind linked to Cthugha’s but suffers no further peril. When a creature has 2 capture points, it becomes overwhelmed by Cthugha and must look directly at the Great Old One—all other targets gain concealment from the victim. Once a creature has 3 capture points, its mind becomes controlled by Cthugha, and it now follows the commands of Cthugha or any fire vampire without hesitation. Protection from evil, protection from chaos, or a similar effect does not affect this control (although such spells grant their normal bonus to saving throws).

Each time a creature begins its turn outside of Cthugha’s area of influence, it loses 1 capture point. Additionally, each time a creature's saving throw to resist mind capture exceeds the DC by at least 10, or whenever a creature rolls a natural 20 on its saving throw to resist capture mind, it loses 1 capture point. If the creature rolls a 1 on its saving throw to avoid gaining its third capture point, the mind control is permanent until Cthugha's influence ends, regardless of whether the creature stays in the area of its influence of not. This is a mind-affecting compulsion effect.

Fiery Darts At the start of the round, Cthugha launches a number of fiery darts equal to twice its current influence stage. Targets are selected by Cthugha (generally, Cthugha targets the most dangerous foes in the area first). A targeted creature takes fire damage equal to 8d6 per stage (16d6 fire damage at stage 2, 24d6 at stage 3, and 32d6 at stage 4) and catches on fire. A successful Reflex save halves this damage and prevents the target from catching on fire.

Heat Wave At the start of each round, the temperature in Cthugha’s area of influence increases by 1º F. The maximum temperature increase possible from this effect is ten times Cthugha’s current stage. It is unlikely for Cthugha to form in an area of cold temperatures, so it is likely that the starting temperature is already fairly warm.

Immobile At stage 4 influence, Cthugha no longer moves. Instead, it looms in the sky above the region below, several miles up in the atmosphere where it cannot be easily reached. Its area of influence extends down through the atmosphere in a ten-mile radius column directly below its position in the sky above.

Spawn Fire Vampires At the start of each round, there’s a 25% chance that Cthugha causes 1d4 fire vampires to appear at random locations within its area of influence. This effect doesn’t occur if there are already a number of fire vampires equal to Cthugha’s influence stage times 10 active in the area, regardless of whether those fire vampires were caused to appear by Cthugha or appeared as a result of other events.


Cthugha is a Great Old One of colossal power associated with great heat. When awakened, Cthugha appears in the sky, inaccessible to earthly beings. It takes the form of a gigantic amoeba-like cloud of living fire, twisting and stretching in impossible directions. Its convolutions not only rain fire down upon the world below, but also capture viewers’ minds and souls with enough time.

In truth, there is no single entity named Cthugha. This being is a gestalt, formed of thousands or millions of fire vampires joined into a single, shared mind and body. When so joined, they create a force of unstoppable power and might, equal in status and ferocity to any Great Old One. This gestalt can be maintained for years or it can be dropped at a moment’s notice—time has little meaning to the immortal fire vampires.

There are tales and legends of an elder thing called Fthaggua, said to be a sort of leader or master of the fire vampires. In fact, Fthaggua is yet another gestalt entity formed of many fire vampires, though it is not as powerful as the Cthugha-form. Fthaggua only takes a few hundred fire vampires to form, but is oddly less commonly encountered than Cthugha. Perhaps this is due to Cthugha’s substantially greater power and efficacy, making its summoning worth the extra effort.

A World in Flames

When Cthugha forms or is awakened, it constantly spits forth and reabsorbs individual fire vampires. The temperature of the area increases drastically and steadily until mortal life is no longer possible. This may take several minutes or hours, depending on the ambient weather and temperature. Typically, Cthugha remains in place until a targeted site is completely destroyed.

Cthugha in Combat

Cthugha lashes out with fiery darts. A touch from one not only causes damage but also sets the victim ablaze.

Mental Capture

The constantly shifting forms that Cthugha takes are necessary for maintaining its gestalt. It is possible for a trained viewer to interpret Cthugha’s current thinking and state of mind by observing the undulating shapes it spirals into second by second. An unfortunate side effect is that the changing forms of Cthugha not only maintain control over the individual fire vampire minds that make up it whole, but they tug on mortal minds as well. All observers risk mental effects from its presence, which happen in three stages.

First, whether or not the viewer is directly looking at Cthugha, its shapes are visible within the minds and eyes of all those who are present. Cthugha is impossible to ignore entirely.

Second, a victim becomes enthralled and cannot take its eyes off Cthugha, even to attack. The victim's speech is interspersed with alien comments and ideas straight from the gestalt’s collective mind. These can sometimes be useful in guessing what Cthugha is planning or doing, but also indicate the victim is slipping into Cthugha's mental snare.

Third, if the victim falls further under Cthugha's influence, the victim’s mind is absorbed into Cthugha’s gestalt permanently. The victim now acts only as part of Cthugha, carrying out the wishes of the fire vampires. When Cthugha departs, the victim’s body falls limp and mindless to the ground. The mind will not be freed until Cthugha’s current form is dissolved by the vampires or destroyed, which could take hours, days, years, or even centuries to accomplish.


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