Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 18ish: Deciphering the Necronomicon

I might have well as called the the month of Lovecraft -- I've obviously been in a bit of a kick lately. This post is in addition to my post explaining how to get into the Cthulhu Mythos. Now I'm going to give a glossary of terms you'll see repeated and may not understand if you haven't read a given story. This isn't in alphabetical order, it's in whatever order I deem necessary. It's also incomplete and should only be considered a sample of what you'll find in Lovecraft's work -- there are many more items in each category, I'm just touching upon some of the most popular.


Cthulhu sleeping no more...
These are aliens of extreme influence and power. At worst, they are embodiment of evil and will only ever be harmful to mankind. At best, they care nothing for the species due to being so far below their level of notice.

Cthulhu: A giant alien god trapped under the oceans of earth, this being is not a happy fellow. He emits dreams that fosters craziness in humanity and is worshiped by deranged cults and creatures alike. It is said that he will eventually rise from his prison and destroy everything humanity holds dear.

Azathoth: A powerful god that seems to be the center of chaos, floating in the center of the universe. Many other deities use their powers to keep him asleep, for his waking would bring the end of the universe.

Dagon: This is actually a fertility god from East Semitic Mesopotamian. In the mythos, it is a sea monster that is worshipped as a god, especially over in Innsmouth.

Yog-Sothoth: An Outer God that is present in all of time and space and has a mysterious connection with both magic and the Elder Things.

Nyarlathotep: Another malign deity who takes many forms. One of them is, interestingly, an Egyptian Pharoah. He spreads fear and unrest and is active in his journeys around the Earth, something most of the monstrous gods can say. He is the son of Azathoth and prefers to cause madness and mayham than actual death.


Books and mystical items are often used in rituals involving the gods.

Lovecraft was always vague when it came to the Necronomicon.
Necronomicon: Written by the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, this volume is the most famous occult works in the series and has branched out into other stories/media as well (Army of Darkness, anyone?). Alhazred apparently worshiped evil deities Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu. As such, it is a work of nameless evil and contains spells and information that is deeply occult and in general forbidden. A copy can be found at Miskatonic University, though there are others and other translations.

There are many other forbidden books in the Mythos that I won't list here. They represent forbidden knowledge, which was a potent theme in Lovecraft's work. Some titles of these forbidden tomes include: The Book of Eibon, De Vermis Mysteriis, the Pnakotic Manuscripts, and many more. Some of these, like the Necronomicon, were created by Lovecraft. Others have been added by the authors who have come since.

The Silver Key: It can allow access to the Dreamlands and outside power, though doesn't always work as anticipated.

Elder Sign: A symbol that offers protection from certain beings and monsters, including the Deep Ones.


The gods aren't the only evil things that torment mankind. They have created or spawned more mortal counterparts and are set alongside things that are already from the earth itself.

Deep One: Intelligent creatures that live in the ocean. They are human-shaped but have a fish/frog-like appearance. They serve Dagon and Cthulhu, and are known to often mate with humans and create cross-breeds.

Elder Things or Old Ones: Ancient, barrel-shaped creatures that came to Earth long ago and made it their home. The Ice Age did them in, mostly. Supposedly the first beings to have come to Earth, and may be responsible for the creation of mankind. Fought against the Star Spawn of Cthulhu, the Mi-go, the Great Race, and their own creations, the Shoggoth.

One interpretation of the disgusting Mi-go.
Mi-go: Sentient fungus/crustaceans that isn't very friendly. Very smart, but mostly very deadly to mankind. Live on Yuggoth, but travel to and from Earth with ease.

The Great Race of Yith: Super intelligent beings that are the only creatures to have mastered time travel. They do this by swapping minds with creatures from different eras. This wasn't exactly a willing change for the host, but it wasn't without some perks...

Shoggoth: Massive, amoeba-like creatures created by the Elder Things as work beasts. They eventually rebelled and may very well be the reason for the downfall of the Elder Things. Also could be the cause of humanity existing, but the mythos is a bit murky on that one.

Ithaqua: This is an Old One that was based on the myths of the Wendigo. Even supernatural creatures from Earth's folklore and tales crop up in the mythos. Vampires also make the cut.


There are many hidden locations on the Earth and even more spread throughout the stars. Add alternate dimensions to the mix, and you'll find plenty of hot-spots for horror.

Arkham, MA: Arkham, along with Innsmouth and Kingsport, are fictional towns in Massachusetts. Arkham is home to Miskatonic University, which holds a copy of the Necronomicon.

Mountains of Madness: The tallest mountains in the world, they are in Antarctica. They are also home to the ruins of the last land-based city of the Old Ones.
Party on the mountain... Those penguins are over 6ft tall, by the way.

The Dreamlands: A vast alternate dimension that can be entered via dreams. Contains locations such as the Enchanted Wood and the Plateau of Leng.

R'lyeh: A sunken city in the South Pacific that serves as Cthulhu's prison. "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" means "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

Yuggoth: Better known to us as Pluto, the Mi-Go have colonized the planet. Other monstrous beings come and go as well.


Some gods are more powerful than others. Many of them are related. They don't always see eye-to-eye stalk. And then there are those humans who are ready to forsake humanity for their preferred malign space-god...

The Great Old Ones: Powerful deities that are worshiped by human cults. Normally their sphere of influence is restricted to the planet they are from, but every now and then the stars align (with or without the help of cultists) and their power and touch Earth. Cthulhu is numbered among these beings.

Azathoth, the Outer God we'd rather kept right on sleeping.
Great Ones: Gods of the Dreamlands. Not as powerful as the Great Old Ones.

Outer Gods: Cosmic beings with no restrictions on their awesome power. Azathoth is an Outer God.

Elder Gods: Powerful forces opposed to the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods.

Esoteric Order of Dagon: Humans and half-humans make up this cult that worships Dagon, Cthulhu, and the Deep Ones. Based out of Innsmouth, MA.

Brothers of the Yellow Sign: Humans who worship Hastur. Led, interestingly enough, by immortal humans.

Brotherhood of the Beast: Founded in Egypt, these guys are one of the several groups that worship Nyarlathotep.

That's all for now. Feel free to use Wikipedia to find which stories relate to each being or place, or, better yet, do some reading and find them on your own?

I love the games such as Eldritch Horror because it takes many of these elements and allows you to create a story with them. Not to mention they also do their homework in regards to artwork for the game -- Lovecraft was always a bit cagey with descriptions, so seeing artistic renditions of the monsters and gods is always interesting.

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