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Zhan Shi
The Cthulhu Mythos Tradition

Concept: Magic is the unifying logic of the Ultimate Reality, the will of the Outer Gods made palpable, and the arbiter of space, time, and matter.

Combat: Fire
Detection: Air
Health: Beast
Illusion: Water
Manipulation: Earth
Drain: Willpower + Charisma

The Cthulhu Mythos Tradition is a Toxic (Havoc variant) path of magic, combining aspects of both Hermeticism and Shamanism. The goal of this tradition is to prepare the Earth for the return of it's true masters, the Outer Gods (Toxic mentor spirits) and their children, the Great Old Ones (the Horrors). Followers often learn spells and metamagic techniques through the use of obscure tomes of blasphemous lore (theses created by previous followers). Followers of this tradition may be lone madmen, or members of various Mythos cults (a core of Awakened surronded by a larger group of lay believers).

Toxic Mentor Spirit(s): The Outer Gods
From their home at the center of the Universe, these vile beings visit the dreams of their followers, urging them to overthrow all laws of man and nature. The Outer Gods promise their servants a favored place in the world to come.

Advantages: +2 dice for Summoning and Binding tests
Disadvantages: The minds and bodies of followers suffer from exposure to Things That Should Not Be. At every initiation (successful or not), they must make a Willpower (3) test or gain one Negative Quality. They do, however, gain Build Points for this flaw.

New Toxic Metamagic

Steal Life
Prerequisite: Sacrifice or Cannibalize
For every attribute point of the victim, the Mythos devotee becomes one week younger. The victim's remains wither to a dry husk.

Power Drain
Prerequisite: Steal Life
As Energy Drain spirit power (Magic, Touch, Physical damage)

Many Mythos spells may be duplicated using standard SR4 magic rules. Some, such as Dust of Suleiman or Powder of Ibn Ghazi, would require Enchanting. Just be sure to give it that special Lovecraft flavour. For inspiration on what spirits summoned by this tradition would look like, see "The Art of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthuhu Mythos".

"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
"and with strange eons, even death may die"
And for all of this time, I just thought Fred was an octopus shaman.
No More Years! No More Years!

They do, however, gain Build Points for this flaw.

how's that work in game where you use karma instead of build points?
The Jopp
QUOTE (Stahlseele)
They do, however, gain Build Points for this flaw.

how's that work in game where you use karma instead of build points?

They gain an equivalent of karma equal to the usual cost to get rid of a negative quality then.

I would suggest they gain MENTAL quality like Phobia, Madness, dementia or similar illnesses.
Things like Gene Freak and other such things could be pretty awesome, too, though.

I'd prefer if the BPs/Karma could only be spent on Magic-type stuff, though...or if they didn't get a reward for their twistedness...
Finally, I can recreate that small town on the coast of Spain that worships Dagon wink.gif
The Jopp
QUOTE (Dashifen)
Finally, I can recreate that small town on the coast of Spain that worships Dagon wink.gif

Hmm, Corrupted Sea or Shark mentor spirit would work nicely.

Initiation would have a chance to give physical deformities (squid tentacle perhaps)
Awesome tradition and toxic mentor spirits Zhan Shi! I want a toxic blood spirit thats as big as a house but can be easily killed by running over it with a boat! biggrin.gif

One tweak, I would put either Guidance spirits or Fire spirits in Detection (they always seem to be using bonfires for divination) and put Guardians in Combat (not the stern warrior looking Guardians, but the "Oh my god what the hell is that!" looking Guardians).

Also, you could change the mentor spirit disadvantage to just be a 5 BP flaw and each failed initiation test (whether or not initiation was successful) adds another 5 BP to that flaw (or gives another flaw), but without gaining any BP. In other words, they get the negative effect, but not the BP.
Zhan Shi
Many thanks. I briefly considered making separate advantages/disadvantages for each Outer God and Great Old One, but then said "To hell with that". Same thing with spells and tomes. Given the spell descriptions in the Call of Cthulhu game, the equivalents in SR4 would most likely be high drain...but just visualize the effects! I also toyed around with the notion of making the spells/lore of the tradition accesible to followers of ANY tradition, to simulate the infectious nature of Mythos knowledge, but the paradigm rules in SR4 are quite clear. I also thought about making the Horrors the Outer Gods...the paralells are obvious...but ultimately thought they worked better as Great Old Ones, who are (relatively) close at hand. The Outer Gods are distant and remote; in other words, more like Mentor Spirits.
Zhan Shi
I decided to give karma/bp for the flaws because in CoC, players can trade SAN for POW. That game follows the belief that madness can lead to power, and vice versa.
Zhan Shi
Cthulhu For President '08!

"Why settle for the lesser evil?"

BTW, actual "Cthulhu For President" bumper stickers available at
and some theme music for the character
Zhan Shi
LOL! Nice link, thanks.

Have yourself a very Cthulhu Christmas! biggrin.gif
The Cthluhu Christmas music is a lot of fun. But for the rest of the year, check out Flint Glass's latest album.
QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
LOL! Nice link, thanks.

Have yourself a very Cthulhu Christmas! biggrin.gif

Yeah, is a great site. The Call of Cthulhu movie is fantastic. Low budget art house style and silent but well worth the 20 bucks. I came within a hairs breadth of buying a winter parka from them that read "Property of the Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition" across the back. If I hadn't already had a perfectly good winter coat that was only a year old I would have.
Problem: Noone makes Willpower (3) tests. There's a reason that most mentors hand out Willpower + Charisma (3) tests.

Even a character with Willpower 6 only makes a straight attribute (3) test 32% of the time.

I think that is the point here, Frank. It is highly unlikely to be initiated higher into the Cthulu mythos without going more insane, so you while you MIGHT not get another negative quality, you probably will.

By the by, I'm totally going to bug my GM to let me play a character based off this.

Zhan Shi
That was the general idea, yes.

BTW, I'm flattered. biggrin.gif Have fun!
Caine Hazen
HAHA.. I hope Eido doesn't notice this... it would make a great foil for my Discordian Illuminated magi though.

Nice job with it.
Kyoto Kid
...oooohhhh boy are my players in trouble next campaign.

Please come to Boston for the springtime
I'm stayin' here with some fiends who'll bring us all to doom
You can go insane down in the cellar
By an altar where I hope to be worshipin' soon
Please come to Boston...
She said huh? you've gotta be kidding you freak

--apologies to Dave Loggins grinbig.gif
Heh, the last SR3 mini campaign (2 runs) I ran before we switched to SR4 was an adaptation of "Shadow Over Innsmouth."

I don't do horror RPG GMing very well, my last attempt before this one was a riff of of Aliens using the Invae on a derelict ore freighter in a Great Lakes storm. According to my group it was fun, but not very spooky. I described the detect enemies spell as working like the pulsing "bug-sensor" from the movie, maybe I should have used the first movies a basis, as it was much scarier, but less action for the group.

Anyway, I stayed away from horror for 2 years, but I was re-reading Lovecraft, and I had some new players and everyone had a new character, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I was very surprised. It was spooky, the group didn't know what was going on, and they were genuinely creeped out. In analysis, I believe it was successful with my group because of the five of them, only one had any knowledge of Lovecraft and he only had seen the "Re-Animator" and "Dagon" movies. The group didn't know the plot line, everywhere they turned there were enemies, and they were afraid of loosing their new character, which were pretty low powered at that point.

In the "Aliens" run, the group had mature characters and everyone knows that the Queen Alien is the big bad at the end.

In the first run in my adaptation of "Shadow," I had the team hired to search for the protagonist (his Corp hired them) of the original story. When they found him, he was semi-captive in the town, not held by force, but the locals kept sabotaging any way he had to get away. When they found him, he was initially with the team, then his heritage took over and he turned on them and they were captured by the locals.

In part two, I diverged quite a bit rom the story, drawing a little from "Dagon." The team escaped captivity and had a running battle, low on supplies and ammo, through the town. They took refuge in a large old house. There they discovered information that revealed that the town-folk were preparing to summon Dagon. They had no hope of getting far enough away on foot to live through the ensuing carnage (I sold it as another spirit invasion akin to Chicago, only worse) and so had to stop the ceremony. This was only partially successful (they missed a crucial piece of info in the house) and the team had to fight a weakened Dagon that was forced to take their original mark as a host. The fight was bloody, one character died, and no pay was gained, although plenty of Karma for effectively saving the East Cost. They also gained the interest of the Draco Foundation for stopping a major threat.
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