Lesser Cults

Many of the Elder Beings not noted above have cults, though they are rarer and less powerful, but not necessarily less dangerous.

Abhoth

Abhoth is not known to have traditional mortal worshipers such as humans, and the filth it spawns are in no way devoted to their maker. However, the twin blasphemies Nug and Yeb, of which little is known, occasionally lead cults of monsters that worship Abhoth. Normally subterranean, these monstrous cults focus primarily on using and abusing the filth. They abuse rather than worship Abhoth’s spawn, including sacrifice and consumption, gruesome rituals, and horrible experiments. Often these cults attempt to draw portions of Abhoth into subterranean lairs in their own regions where its body does not already abide.

Atlach-Nacha

A proper cult of Atlach-Nacha is a rare thing, as the Great Old One knows only two drives: to eat and to spin the Forever Web. Organizations that follow Atlach-Nacha may support these desires—providing convenient prey in the form of sacrifices and largely getting out of the way of Atlach-Nacha’s spinning—but their purpose is usually the acquisition of lore and hidden knowledge.

Sages and magicians may study the web to learn arcane dimensional secrets or spells hidden in the pattern. In tracing its paths and connections, students can use the web to travel more easily between locations and to other dimensions. They may seek to speak personally with Atlach-Nacha to learn deeper secrets, in which case they are sure to bring along a live meal for him. As Atlach-Nacha does not enjoy distractions, the length of the conversation is exactly as long as it takes the Great Old One to consume the offered meal. A cultist who calls upon Atlach-Nacha without a prepared meal usually becomes one.

The cult is far from harmless, particularly if it focuses specifically on helping its master complete the Forever Web. Atlach-Nacha spins the web at locations across the universe: once it is “complete” on a particular region or planet, that location collapses into a singularity, destroying it utterly. Various cult sects attempt to divert or manipulate Atlach-Nacha’s path such that he completes the web as an act of mass destruction against an enemy or an entire world. The sect will defend key vulnerable portions of the web to prevent their own destruction—at least until they have also destroyed their enemies. They may also seek to use the remnant of a destroyed world for their own purposes, possibly contrary to Atlach-Nacha’s intentions.

Atlach-Nacha sometimes gifts his venom to his servants.

Bokrug

Since the extermination of the beings of Ib, Bokrug’s worship has been much reduced. While some deep ones and gnorri may worship him with fervor, other races worship him only to prevent his wrath. In areas where land-dwelling races have taken over swamps, river deltas, or seashore regions from aquatic races, the conquerors may unfortunately find that the defeated foe worshiped Bokrug, and the cessation of their placating worship serves to enrage the Great Old One. In these cases, they must constantly atone for their sins to avert destruction, persuading Bokrug that their worship is a suitable replacement for that of their predecessors.

Aquatic races who serve Bokrug wield his power against their enemies to ruin roads and break cities. Ultimately with Bokrug’s aid, they can completely revert enemy lands to their wild primordial state. Bokrug's servants are given Bokrug eggs to call forth ghosts of Ib when Bokrug does not deign to make a personal appearance.

Byatis

Cults of Byatis provide it with sacrifices so that it can grow, and in return, Byatis may provide worshipers with spells or wisdom. They may also have as their goal access to other Great Old Ones or Outer Gods through the gates that Byatis will create once sufficiently nourished. Because places where Byatis has been summoned suffer from his amnesia-inducing power, cults that retain knowledge of what they worship necessarily dwell some distance away, and must periodically make pilgrimages to worship and interact with their god. However, this is in part a boon: enemies who follow pilgrims on this journey soon come under the mental influence of Byatis, forgetting their mission and purpose and often being drawn down to its lair as a meal.

Some cults that grow around Byatis actually live in its vicinity, generally led by a powerful magician who may have first summoned it there. In these cases, the magician is inevitably overcome by Byatis’s influence and eaten. When this occurs, the general membership of the cult will eventually forget exactly what it worships or why its members feel compelled to offer it sacrifice. They may even let Byatis loose on the neighboring countryside periodically. Visitors and adventurers may thus sincerely be told that the dark being that dwells in yonder dungeon is a dragon, demonic monster, or some other creature—anything but Byatis. None know the truth, even those who worship the Great Old One itself.

Chaugnar Faugn

Cults of Chaugnar Faugn must first create a statue of their deity from expensive materials with masterwork craftsmanship and potent enchantments. The massive effort and lavish resources invested in this process often attract attention, which can lead to the destruction of the cult then and there. Assuming the cult is able to deflect suspicion, they complete the idol and summon Chaugnar Faugn itself. The Great Old One generally lingers so long as the cult plies him continuously with sacrifices and power, though eventually he becomes sated and departs. For this reason, cults may produce multiple statues from which they can summon the Great Old One, so that they need never risk being without direct access to the god.

Chaugnar Faugn is primarily worshipped by his own creations, such as the amphibious monstrous race of miri nigri, as well as by the Tcho-Tcho, whose development he guided. Like other Great Old Ones, Chaugnar Faugn knows vast numbers of secret spells and possesses great wisdom and knowledge. He is happy to impart these things to devoted cultists. He also has a predilection for using his proboscis to alter the flesh of creatures, especially worshippers. For example, he may reshape a cultist or several cultists together into his own image. Chaugnar Faugn also creates new creatures by taking apart or combining existing ones. These sculpting actions always seem intended to improve or uplift the physical form of his chosen canvas, at least in his own alien eyes.

Cthugha

Cthugha is not itself a permanent entity, but a collective of millions of fire vampires, making it an unusual object of worship. The fire vampires do, however, have a use for mortals, in that—with the proper ritual preparation and ordination—the souls of humans and other mortal races can add to the collective’s power as though they were themselves fire vampires.

The number of the immortal fire vampires is limited, and the greatest height they can reach without external support is the formation of Cthugha. However, when cultists are added to the equation, greater collectives can be realized. The goal of these cults is to form such a stage beyond that of Cthugha: a supernova that can destroy entire worlds. There are stages even beyond this, which can potentially cause a massive explosion so powerful it can birth entire universes. Some sages believe this is how our own reality came to be, at the dawn of creation.

Mortal worshippers of Cthugha are sophisticated and, in their own odd way, high-minded and forward-looking. They believe it inevitable that the natural and supernatural forces of death, darkness, and cold will someday overtake all existence. In replicating the unimaginably powerful event that they believe birthed the universe by forming a mega-Cthugha, they hope to reset this course and lengthen the life of the universe. Gathering enough souls dedicated to such a cause may require populations larger than a single world, perhaps requiring an entire star system of worshippers bonding with fire vampires in a great collective ritual. Then and only then, the cult of Cthugha can bring about the death of this universe and the birth of a new one.

Father Dagon and Mother Hydra.

All deep ones honor and follow Father Dagon, and they form cults such as the Esoteric Order of Dagon to force their human followers and hybrid spawn to worship him. This worship strengthens him and empowers his supernatural abilities. A major purpose of the cult is to carry out the military, political, and religious functions of deep one society.

Less well known to non-deep ones (even among their land-dwelling allies and hybrid children) is their servitude to Mother Hydra. As with Father Dagon, the deep ones do not truly worship her but pay her homage as the one in charge of continued development of the species. Deep ones sworn to Mother Hydra may be mutated or keep deep-sea monsters as pets.

Ghatanothoa

Cultists of Ghatanothoa primarily work to appease their dread deity so that it does not issue forth from its fiery lair and destroy those who live in the volcano’s vicinity. Ghatanothoa prefers live sentient creatures for sacrifices for this purpose. Unlike most Mythos cults, this one serves a useful purpose and its priests see worship as a civic duty. The cult estimates the number of sacrifices required each year to stay the god’s wrath, works with political and military leaders to ensure a sufficient number are obtained, and carries out the necessary rituals. For example, the local general captures as many war prisoners as possible by raiding, and then the priests hold lotteries among their own people to determine who will be sacrificed to make up the remainder.

One might think it madness that people dare to reside so near to Ghatanothoa’s volcano, but the constant mixture of lava and ash makes the soil of the surrounding countryside fertile and lush. The cult can also beseech Ghatanothoa to project gnarled roots or otherwise shift the nearby land, such as to neutralize an invading army. Also, those aware of the curse of Ghatanothoa’s presence in lands where it is worshiped rarely have an interest in raiding or otherwise directly interfering with the people there.

The cult has spread at times to other lands, geographically far from Ghatanothoa’s volcano itself. These cults are heinous groups, often led by a lich or demi-lich mummified by Ghatanothoa, which use the god to further their own ends. In their rituals, they open a magical portal to the distant volcano’s interior that they might reveal Ghatanothoa and deliver sacrifices, in return for which their god extends rootlets of itself through numerous portals to attack and torment the cult’s foes. Additionally, constantly viewing the Great Old One and invoking its presence allows its mummified spellcasting worshipers to form accurate illusions of it as needed to aid in terrifying and destroying enemies.

Nyogtha

Cults to Nyogtha worship it as the inverse of existence. Studying and learning from it reveals to devotees the nature of pure negation or anti-creation. They may seek oblivion for themselves, their entire world, or all of creation. Worshippers frequently become undead in their journey of faith, though even the negative energy of undeath does not approach the horrible infinite nothingness of the Thing that Should Not Be.

Since Nyogtha tends to dwell in darkness and the vast emptiness of subterranean caverns are reminiscent of its nature, cults worship it at entrances to the underworld. In some cases, the living worship under the sun beside a shrine and the undead cultists worship in the dark beneath the same shrine.

Tulzscha

Cults of the Green Flame seek all manner of eldritch knowledge and the secrets of the Outer Gods, with whom Tulzscha dwells at the center of existence. They accomplish this primarily by summoning an avatar and gazing into its light. Tulzscha may reveal specific secrets, driving its worshipers to take a particular course of action, such as seeking out enigmatic tomes so their secrets can be revealed in Tulzscha’s light; illuminating pathways of travel through time and space; or manipulating them into unwittingly summoning Azathoth the Daemon Sultan itself.

Cults may also weaponize their god by summoning Tulzscha in areas occupied by their enemies, where all of a foe’s secrets will be exposed and the people be driven mad by the sight of the Outer God. Indeed, cults love to summon the god as frequently as possible, as it protects them, exposes enemy agents, and provides an inexhaustible amount of knowledge and magic.

Yig

The father of serpents is worshipped primarily in those lands abundant in venomous snakes. Even there, the worship he receives is usually mere propitiation to avert his wrath during seasons in which snakes are most active and breeding. Yig jealously seeks vengeance against any who slay a snake in areas he rules. Usually, the wrongdoer is slain quickly by a messenger of Yig, but sometimes the god takes his revenge by cursing the offender or its future offspring to transform into reptilian mutants, which are sometimes pitiful, and other times robustly monstrous.

Some peoples, after years devoted to preventing Yig’s wrath, convert completely to worshipping him as their primary god. In time, Yig rewards them such that they can be counted among his own children. First, they become immune to the venom of the snakes their nation once feared and loathed, which are now their siblings. Next, they may obtain magic and spells from Yig, usually related to poisons, snakes, shapeshifting, and curses. Ultimately, after these blessings, the people mystically mutates and degenerates into a sort of snake-like hybrid race, and may eventually become unintelligent venomous snakes, slithering amidst the fallen wreckage of their civilization. This degeneration can happen surprisingly quickly—in only one or two generations after the folk have fully devoted themselves to Yig.

Cultists of Yig often use serpentfolk alchemy to produce metamorphic venom.


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