List of Great Old Ones

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The following compendium includes the lesser known Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.


Aphoom-Zhah (The Cold Flame) was introduced in Lin Carter's short story "The Acolyte of the Flame" (1985)Price-357—although the being was first mentioned in an earlier tale by Carter, "The Horror in the Gallery" (1976). Aphoom-Zhah is also mentioned in Carter's "The Light from the Pole" (1980), a story Carter wrote from an early draft by Clark Ashton Smith. Smith later later developed this draft into "The Coming of the White Worm" (1941)Price-115.

Aphoom-Zhah is the progeny of Cthugha and is often worshipped as the Lord of the Pole because he is trapped, like Ithaqua, above the Arctic Circle. Aphoom-Zhah frequently visited Hyperborea during the last ice age. His legend is chronicled in the Pnakotic Manuscripts.

Aphoom-Zhah appears as a vast, cold, grey flame that freezes whatever it touches. The being came to Earth from the star Fomalhaut, briefly visiting the planet Yaksh (Neptune) before taking up residence in Mount Yarak, a legendary mountain that sits atop the North Pole. When the Elder Gods tried to imprison him beneath the pole, Aphoom-Zhah erupted with such fury that he froze the lands around him. Aphoom-Zhah is believed to be responsible for the glaciation that eventually overwhelmed Hyperborea, Zobna, and Lomar.

Aphoom-Zhah likely spawned Gnoph-Keh, Rhan-Tegoth, and Voorm. Though no human cult worships this being, Aphoom-Zhah is revered by the gnophkeh and the Voormi.Harms-9


Atlach-Nacha is the creation of Clark Ashton Smith and first appeared in his short story "The Seven Geases". In the story, Atlach-Nacha is the reluctant recipient of a human sacrifice given to it by the toad god Tsathoggua.

Atlach-Nacha is a Great Old One and resembles a huge spider with an almost-human face. It dwells in a huge cavern deep beneath Mount Voormithadreth, a mountain in the now vanished kingdom of Hyperborea in the Arctic. There it spins a gigantic spider web, bridging a massive chasm between the Dreamlands and the waking world. It is believed that when the web is complete, the End times will come, as the web will create a permanent junction between the two realms and thus allow monsters to move freely from the Dreamlands into the waking world.

Atlach-Nacha probably came to Earth from the planet Cykranosh (or Saturn as we know it today) with Tsathoggua. Because of its appearance, Atlach-Nacha is often referred to as the Spider-God(dess) and is believed to be the regent of all spiders. Furthermore, the giant, bloated purple spiders of Leng are thought to be its children and servitors.

There is some disagreement about its gender. In Smith's original story, Atlach-Nacha is referred to a male, but in later stories written by other authors, it is implied to be a female.


Basatan is first mentioned in the short story "Master of the Crabs" by Clark Ashton Smith. It is a sea-god, also known as the Master of the Crabs.

Basatan is (most likely) a Great Old One. Very little is known about the deity, except that "he" possesses a ring with supernatural powers. Because of his nature, Basatan could somehow be associated with the constellation Cancer.


Bokrug (The Great Water Lizard) first appeared in Lovecraft's short story "The Doom That Came to Sarnath". The being is also part of Lovecraft's Dream cycle.

Bokrug is a Great Old One and is the god of the semi-amphibian Thuum'ha of Ib in the land of Mnar. The deity slept beneath the calm waters of a lake that bordered Ib and the city of Sarnath. When the humans of Sarnath cruelly slaughtered the entire populace of Ib and stole the god's idol, the deity was awakened. Each year thereafter, strange ripples appeared on the otherwise placid lake. On the one-thousandth anniversary of Ib's destruction, Bokrug rose up and destroyed Sarnath (so utterly that not even ruins remained). Afterwards, the Thuum'ha recolonised Ib and thenceforth lived undisturbed.


Cynothoglys (The Mortician God) first appeared in Thomas Ligotti's short story "The Prodigy of Dreams". The being appears as a shapeless, multiform entity with a single arm used for catching those who summoned it and bringing them painless, ecstatic death. In ancient times, it held a small cult in Italy, although more in the sense of respecting it than worshipping it since actual worship would be the same as summoning the god. They considered it to be no mere Cloacina, but the mortician of all creatures, even the gods themselves. The extent of its power is unknown and may well be like that of the mighty Outer Gods; that is, unlimited.

Dweller in the Gulf

The Dweller in the Gulf appears in a short story of the same name by Clark Ashton Smith, first published in 1932. The Dweller in the Gulf lives deep beneath the surface of the planet Mars, but may have originated elsewhere. It is worshipped exclusively by a blind, troglodyte sect known as the Aihai and can be ritually summoned by the stroking of its idol. It appears as a massive, eyeless, soft-shelled, tortoise-like creature with a triangular head and two whiplike tails. At the ends of its tails are two bell-shaped suckers used for the ceremonial—usually forced— removal of its discoverers' eyes, turning them into the deity's blind, mute servitors.


Eihort (God of the Labyrinth) appears in Ramsey Campbell's short story "Before the Storm" (1980). However, the being was first mentioned in Campbell's "The Franklyn Paragraphs" (1973).

Eihort is a Great Old One and lives in a network of tunnels deep beneath the Severn Valley in England. It appears as a "bloated blanched oval supported on myriad fleshless legs" with eyes continuously forming in its gelatinous body. When it captures a mortal, it offers the captive a Bargain. If the captive refuses, Eihort smashes the victim to death. If the captive accepts the bargain, the horror implants its immature Brood inside the victim's body. The Brood will eventually mature and kill the host. According to the Revelations of Glaaki, after the fall of humanity, Eihort's Brood will be born into light.Harms-96

Nug and Yeb

Nug (more properly Naggoob) and Yeb, the Twin Blasphemies, are the spawn of Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth. Nug is the parent of Cthulhu and the parent of Kthanid via the influence of Yog-Sothoth. Nug is a god among ghouls, while Yeb is the leader of Abhoth's alien cult.Harms-216


Oorn is mentioned in the book Mad Moon of Dreams (1987) by Brian Lumley. She is the wife of the reptilian Mnomquah. She has the form of a huge tentacled mollusc with snaking appendages that can spew digestive fluid on things she wishes to eat. Like her husband, her only true worshippers are the Men of Leng and the Moon-beasts. A temple devoted to Oorn and Mnomquah is near Sarkomand in the Dreamlands.

Quachil Uttaus

Quachil Uttaus is dubiously classified as a Great Old One and has the appearance of a squat, mummified corpse. The being first appeared in Clark Ashton Smith's short story "The Treader of the Dust" (1935). In a passage from the story, Smith describes him this way:

It was a figure no larger than a young child, but sere and shriveled as some millennial mummy. Its hairless head, its unfeatured face, borne on a neck of skeleton thinness, were lined with a thousand reticulated wrinkles. The body was like that of some monstrous, withered abortion that had never drawn breath. The pipy arms, ending in bony claws, were outthrust as if ankylosed in a posture of an eternal dreadful groping.

Quachil Uttaus can reduce all living tissue that he comes into contact with to dust (and is therefore similar to another of Smith's characters, Ubbo-Sathla). Quachil Uttaus is usually associated with age, death, and decay.

Rlim Shaikorth

Rlim Shaikorth was created by Clark Ashton Smith and is featured in his short story "The Coming of the White Worm" (1941). Rlim Shaikorth appears as a huge, whitish worm with a gaping maw and eyes made of dripping globules of blood. One of Rlim Shaikorth's avatars is known as the White Worm and is part of Smith's Hyperborean cycle.

The White Worm travels on a gigantic iceberg called Yikilth, which it can guide across the ocean. In its colossal ice-citadel, the White Worm prowls the seas, blasting ships and inhabited land masses with extreme cold. Victims of the White Worm are frozen solid, their bodies appearing eerily white, and remain preternaturally cold—they will not melt nor warm even when exposed to fire.


Tharapithia is an obscure deity dwelling beneath an unwholesome oak grove somewhere in the Baltic. Its strength is derived from the roots of the old oaks. It is worshipped by local pagan tribes and is possibly related to the cult of Demeter. Tharapithia wreaked havoc on the conquering Teutons.


Vulthoom is featured in the Clark Ashton Smith story of the same name, first published in the September 1935 issue of Weird Tales. The being is also known as Gsarthotegga and The Sleeper of Ravermos.

"Vulthoom" (short story)


In the story, Vulthoom is the Martian Aihai's equivalent of Satan. Though most rational people believed him to be a myth, he is nonetheless greatly feared by the lower class. In truth he is a mysterious being from another universe, exiled by his fellows there and lying in wait on Mars in the underground city of Ravermos. He plans to take over Mars, then conquer Earth as his next trophy. Due to his vast intellect and advanced technology, he seems godlike. However, Vulthoom is not a true deity, but is instead simply a very powerful entity who must rest for millenia at a time. While under the influence of the hallucinogenic perfume of an alien blossom, one man envisioned Vulthoom as a gigantic, otherworldly plant, but the being's true form is unknown.

The Worm that Gnaws in the Night

The Worm that Gnaws in the Night (the Doom of Shaggai) appears in Lin Carter's short story "Shaggai" (1971). The being is portrayed as an enormous, worm-like entity. The Worm was first observed by the wizard Eibon, who chanced upon it on a sojourn to the planet Shaggai. To his horror, Eibon discovered that the massive worm was slowly eating away at the vitals of Shaggai and subsequently made a hasty return to Earth.


Yibb-Tstll is an obscure god, said to watch at the center of all time as the universe revolves. Its blood, the Black, is a weapon which takes the form of black snowflakes that stick to and smother a victim. Its touch causes an instant change in the person affected—this change is usually fatal but occasionally brings some benefit.

Yibb-Tstll is sometimes described as an immobile, dark, tentacled entity with large bat wings under which countless Nightgaunts suck black milk from its innumerable breasts. In Brian Lumley's short story "Rising with Surtsey" (1971), the narrator proclaims: "... I wanted to bound, to float in my madness through eldritch depths of unhallowed black blood. I wanted to cling to the writhing breasts of Yibb-Tstll. Insane..."


Yig (the father of serpents) is a minor deity and appears as a humanoid lizard. Although Yig is easy to anger, he is easily to placate as well. Yig often sends his serpent minions, the children of Yig, to destroy or transform his enemies.

To Native Americans, Yig is regarded as "bad medicine". He is also alluded to in western American folklore.

Yig is the subject of a song by the band Gwar entitled "The Horror of Yg". The band The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, famous for their Lovecraft references, also refers to Yig in a song titled "Yig Snake Daddy."


Zathog appears in Richard Tierney's novel The Winds of Zarr (1971), as well as in his short story "From Beyond the Stars". After warring with the Elder Gods, Zathog, eager for revenge, entered into a compact with the brutal Zarr. The Zarr controlled most of the galaxy where they dwelt and desired to conquer the rest of the universe. In return for helping him free his brethren, Zathog promised to give the Zarr the ability to travel through time and space.


Zushakon (or Zuchequon or Zul-Che-Quon) is the creation of Henry Kuttner and debuted in his short story "Bells of Horror" (1939). The being is the son of Ubbo-Sathla, procreated by binary fission. Other sources, however, consider him the progeny of Shub-Niggurath and Hastur.

Zushakon is the god of death to the Mutsune tribe of California. Zushakon has an intense hatred of light and will slay anyone who exposes one of his sacred artifacts to it. He can be summoned by the ringing of three specially consecrated bells.

His arrival is heralded by the rapid darkening and chilling of the surrounding environment and the sound of flapping, as if produced by very large wings, steadily increasing in volume. Furthermore, all creatures nearby suffer an irritation of the eyes that is so severe, they are compelled to quite literally gouge them out. Upon his arrival, the surrounding shadows darken, thicken, swirl, and finally clot into his dreadful shape. It is not known whether the clot of darkness that forms is merely a gateway or the actual entity himself.

According to the famed occult detective Doctor Anton Zarnak, who witnessed Zushakon's arrival during an unsuccessful attempt to exorcise him from a client, Zushakon is an earth elemental and can be repelled by bright lights or by summoning the fire god Cthugha. The unfortunate victim, who died during the struggle, had dug up a mound that contained the remains of a Mutsune shaman. Inside, he found an obsidian tablet and a carving of a hooded, possibly winged, humanoid figure surrounded by toad-like beings prostrate in worship before it. Inscribed on the tablet was an ancient, now-extinct script promising death to anyone who exposed the contents of the barrow. It is very likely that the winged figure in the carving is Zushakon himself.

After he departs, Zushakon may return yet again during the first earthquake or solar eclipse following an earlier, successful summoning of him.

See also


  • Harms, Daniel. The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.), pp. 9. Chaosium, Inc., 1998. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
  • Price, Robert M. (ed.) The Book of Eibon (1st ed.), Chaosium, Inc., 2002. ISBN 1-56882-129-8.


  1. ^ Price, "About The Acolyte of the Flame", The Book of Eibon, pp. 357.
  2. ^ Price, "About The Light from the Pole", The Book of Eibon, pp. 115.
  3. ^ Harms, "Aphoom-Zhah", Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, pp. 9.
  4. ^ Harms, "Eihort", Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, pp. 96.
  5. ^ Harms, "Nug and Yeb", Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, pp. 216–7.

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