Ghatanothoa

Ghatanothoa

CR 19; XP 204,800
NE Great Old One of disasters, lost islands, and sacrifice
Primary Source H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, “Out of the Aeons”

Cult

Domains Destruction, Evil, Madness, Water
Subdomains Catastrophe, Insanity, Nightmare, Oceans
Favored Weapon morningstar
Symbol waves parting around a rising jagged stone
Temple caverns, desolate shorelines, remote islands, ruined cathedrals
Worshipers doomsayers, insane sailors, undead
Servitors mummified undead

Influence Stage 1 (DC 26)

Area 50-ft. radius; Nucleus 5 square feet
AC 34; Saves +21; hp 330
Effects imperfect image, spawn rootling (maximum 1)
Escalation Ghatanothoa’s influence escalates to stage 2 if an imperfect image is made into a perfect image.

Influence Stage 2 (DC 28)

CR 22; XP 409,600
Area 300-ft. radius; Nucleus 50 square feet
AC 39; Saves +23; hp 440
Effects perfect image, mummification, spawn rootling (maximum 2)
Escalation Ghatanothoa’s influence escalates to stage 3 once at least 50 mummified creatures are within its area of influence.

Influence Stage 3 (DC 30)

CR 25; XP 1,638,400
Area 1,500-ft. radius; Nucleus 150 square feet
AC 43; Saves +26; hp 560
Effects perfect image, mummification, spawn rootling (maximum 4)
Escalation Ghatanothoa’s influence escalates to stage 4 once at least 500 mummified creatures are within its area of influence.

Influence Stage 4 (DC 33)

CR 28; XP 4,915,200
Area 1-mile radius; Nucleus 300 square feet
AC 46; Saves +29; hp 680
Effects perfect image, mummification, spawn rootling (maximum 8)

Defeat

Combat Destroying the nucleus at the center of Ghatanothoa’s area of influence as well as all active rootlings causes the influence to end.

Influence Effects

Imperfect Image Only a perfect image of Ghatanothoa has the power to mummify those who are in visual sight of it. Images that are nearly perfect are nonetheless imperfect: at this stage, each such image has the potential to become a perfect image if a talented craftsperson completes the work. An imperfect image of Ghatanothoa functions as a special “stage 0” influence.

No experience points are earned for destroying an imperfect image, but in many cases, those who seek to finish the image themselves constitute a threat (typically of CR 19 or higher). Regardless of the medium in which the image is created, making it into a perfect image requires an expenditure of 100,000 gp in resources, a successful DC 50 Craft check, and a wish made by someone who has viewed Ghatanothoa.

Perfect Image A perfect image of Ghatanothoa can be in any medium—painting, carving, sculpture, illusion, or the like—and need not be in color. The only requirement is that the terrible shape of the Great Old One must be exactly rendered. Once a perfect image is created, it becomes infused with Ghatanothoa’s power and gains an Armor Class, saves, and hit points as appropriate for its influence. Attacks directed at the image must be made against the image itself, not against the influence’s area.

It is possible to create a golem in the perfect image of Ghatanothoa. In such a case, the golem itself becomes the influence’s proxy, and the influence becomes mobile. The influence is always centered on the golem, allowing the golem to wander as it wills without being physically limited by the constraints of the influence, although the golem cannot magical travel via teleportation effects beyond the reach of the influence. A golem created in this manner typically costs ten times its normal cost to create, requires a wish, and uses normal statistics for a golem of its type.

Mummification Ghatanothoa’s influence causes those who have line of sight to the influence’s nucleus or a perfect image of him (regardless of whether or not the creature actually looks at the nucleus or the image) to swiftly mummify. At the start of each round, such creatures must make a successful Fortitude save or take 1d10 points of Dexterity drain as their bodies begin to stiffen and desiccate. As soon as a creature’s Dexterity score is drained to 0 in this way, it transforms into a perfectly preserved and completely immobile mummy, yet the victim does not die. A creature mummified in this way no longer needs to eat, drink, or breathe, and no longer ages. It is essentially immortal and can observe the world around it (and may even take purely mental actions, including the use of psychic magic), but can take no other actions. Healing and restorative magic cannot end this condition (even if the victim’s Dexterity drain is healed), though it can be removed by an effect that removes a curse.

Spawn Rootling The influence has a 50% chance at the start of any round to spawn a rootling (see below). The total maximum number of rootlings an influence can have at once is listed in the stats above. Rootlings that are forced out of the area of influence are destroyed.


Rootling (CR 19)

XP 204,800
NE Huge aberration
Init +13; Senses darkvision 120 ft., tremorsense 120 ft.; Perception +33
Aura frightful presence (90 ft., DC 26, 5d6 rounds)

Defense

AC 34, touch 18, flat-footed 24 (+9 Dex, +1 dodge, +16 natural, –2 size)
hp 333 (23d8+230)
Fort +17, Ref +16, Will +20
Defensive Abilities alien mind, all-around vision, amorphous, mummified hide; DR 15/adamantine (150 hp) and slashing; Immune disease, fire, mind-affecting effects, poison; Resist cold 30; SR 30
Weaknesses immobile, vulnerable to electricity

Offense

Speed immobile
Melee 4 slams +29 (3d6+14/19–20 plus grab)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 40 ft.
Special Attacks burst forth, mummification gaze, constrict (3d6+14)

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 19th; concentration +24)
At will—create undead (mummy only), mass inflict serious wounds (DC 22)
3/day—feeblemind (DC 20)
1/day—quickened energy drain

Statistics

Str 39, Dex 28, Con 31, Int 7, Wis 24, Cha 20
Base Atk +17; CMB +33 (+37 grapple, +37 sunder); CMD 53 (55 vs. sunder, can’t be tripped)
Feats Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Dodge, Greater Sunder, Improved Critical (slams), Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Improved Vital Strike, Power Attack, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (feeblemind), Staggering Critical, Vital Strike
Skills Perception +33, Sense Motive +30
Languages Aklo (cannot speak)
SQ reposition

Special Abilities

Alien Mind (Ex) Rootlings possess an alien intellect that is harmful for other minds to contact. Anyone who contacts a rootling via telepathy, detect thoughts, or similar effects must make a DC 26 Fortitude save or suffer 1d4 points of Wisdom drain. A creature that loses Wisdom from this effect takes twice as many points of Dexterity drain as normal from the rootling’s mummification gaze or Ghatanothoa’s mummification ability. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Burst Forth (Ex) When a rootling emerges from the ground, any creatures within its space are automatically pushed to the closest adjacent square to the rootling from their starting position. A creature pushed in this way must make a successful DC 31 Reflex save to avoid being knocked prone. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Immobile (Ex) A rootling cannot move once it has burst forth from the ground or a portal; it must use its reposition ability to relocate.

Mummification Gaze (Su) Unlike Ghatanothoa itself, a rootling’s ability to mummify victims functions as a normal gaze attack. This gaze attack has a range of 60 feet, and inflicts 1d4 points of Dexterity drain on a failed DC 26 Fortitude save. A creature drained to 0 Dexterity by this effect becomes mummified (see Mummification above in Ghatanothoa’s influence effects). This is a curse effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Mummified Hide (Ex) A rootling has tough, mummified flesh that grants it DR 15/adamantine and slashing as long as it hasn’t taken more than 150 points of damage. Once it has taken more than 150 points of damage, its damage reduction is reduced to DR 15/slashing.

Reposition (Su) As a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity, a rootling can withdraw into the ground or magical portal it is currently protruding from. When withdrawn, it is no longer in the immediate vicinity and cannot be targeted. At the start of its next turn, it must emerge at a new point somewhere within Ghatanothoa’s area of influence. This is a move action.

The rootling must emerge from the ground or a magical portal (such as an active gate). If it emerges from the ground, it must do so in an area occupied only by loose objects and creatures of Large or smaller size, and it affects those creatures with its burst forth ability. If it emerges from a portal, the portal must be at least 15 feet across and as long as it remains within that portal, no other creature can traverse the portal.


Ghatanothoa is the god of ancient Mu, now bereft of its primary cult. All who know of it fear it, because anyone in the god’s presence, or even a true likeness of the god, becomes mummified in a most horrible fashion. Typically only a rootling or an image of Ghatanothoa is seen.

Ghatanothoa itself is huge, dozens of meters across. However, it can thrust up “rootlings” of itself, which resemble a sort of pseudopod. These rootlings generate partial representations of Ghatanothoa’s presence, and can thrust up out of the ground near his volcano home or through a magical portal.

Ghatanothoa lives in an active volcano looming above the now-ruined capital of Mu, and the lost inhabitants are terrified that Ghatanothoa will emerge above the crater’s lip and mummify tens of thousands at once. As a result, the focus of its cult is to propitiate the god so this will never happen. This is a religion not of devotion, but of dread. They sacrifice victims to Ghatanothoa only so it won’t harm more people. While the cult of Ghatanothoa in Mu seeks to avoid their dread god’s horrible wrath, those who have spread the cult to other lands are generally motivated by vicious greed rather than desperate survival, using the god’s power to enhance their own prestige and wealth. Their images of the god are used to support their cult status, and to perform sacrifices.

Ghatanothoa’s Mummification

Dotting Ghatanothoa’s form are spheres, sometimes thought of as eyes, but more properly they are portals or seerstones into other, terrible, planes of existence. These produce the god’s infamous mummification effect. The god’s front is completely covered with these globes, so the effect is most deadly for those that stand before it. However, at least a few globes are visible from every angle, so it is impossible to be completely safe in Ghatanothoa’s presence.

Ghatanothoa's mummification relies on line of sight, not on actual perception. A victim's back can be turned, or eyes can be shut, yet the effect still occurs. The god’s true image simply has to be revealed to the victim, without anything blocking it. The effect is not visual and can happen even in a dark room. Ghatanothoa and its images generate a unique energy that moves along the same paths as light (though it is invisible).

This energy can be blocked by anything opaque, even a thin cloth. In ancient times, when Ghatanothoa would appear, most of the people of Mu hid inside their houses (none of which had windows facing the crater). That way, only the hapless folks caught outside would be subject to mummification. Ghatanothoa’s icons and statues in their temples are always shielded by a wall or curtain to protect the priests.

Ghatanothoa’s magic works on the mind as well as the body. Completely mindless creatures are actually immune to Ghatanothoa’s mummification, though creatures normally immune to ability damage and drain (such as intelligent undead) notably are not. Somewhat ironically, even an undead mummy can be further “mummified” by Ghatanothoa.

The paralysis caused by Ghatanothoa is not instantaneous. When the sequence begins, victims stiffen. If the image is then quickly hidden or the victim can somehow get “out of sight,” the effect stops, but otherwise the victim’s fate is a terrible form of suspended animation. Soon, the unfortunate transforms into a withered, leathery mummy, totally incapable of movement. However, its brain stays alive and functioning, and is in fact magically preserved.

Mummified victims cannot die except by destruction of their brains. Their minds remain active, aware of their circumstances, and always conscious. Most go mad after a few days, months, or years, and even if the curse is somehow ended, the madness remains. In the awful aftermath of the occasional Ghatanothoa emergence, the local priests often cut open the skulls of its victims to kill the still-living brains, as it’s the only way to spare them an eternity of paralyzed horror.


Sandy's Notes: Using Ghatanothoa

Images of this horrendous deity retain its terrible power when properly enchanted. They are typically made of greenish or brownish soapstone, and when infused with Ghatanothoa’s awful essence, the “eyes” become silvery and glistening. Even a hologram or illusion of Ghatanothoa has the same paralyzing effect as the real thing as long as it is a perfect likeness as defined in the influence. Player characters have to destroy or obscure the statue, or stop the device or individual projecting the illusion, to save themselves from the mummification. Disbelieving an illusion of Ghatanothoa doesn’t help, because it is simply the image’s appearance creating the effect—it doesn’t have to be “real.”

Of course, a spellcaster able to project a perfect illusion of Ghatanothoa needs to have seen Ghatanothoa, which means the caster might also be a stiff, immobile mummy. But that can be a devious defensive ploy for an awakened demilich: it mummifies itself (costing it little relative to what it has already lost), then creates the Ghatanothoa illusion to guard its skull. Even while paralyzed, it can use spells and spell-like abilities to move around and take actions. The Lich Arkantos carved a stone golem into the likeness of Ghatanothoa. He then had a mobile creature which could move, and attack, and mummify its opponents.


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