Monster Primer #3: Eldritch Horrors
There are many powerful beings in the multiverse. Angels, demons, elementals. Gods, the Seelie Court, Titans. Beyond all that, however, are things beyond understanding and utterly alien. Aberrations are only the tip of the iceberg. Just as monstrosities are easily understandable compared to the aberrant things like the aboleth, eldritch horrors make aberrations look simple. Aboleths has goals and plans, weird and insane as they may be. But those things which come from the Void itself are unfathomable and madness-inducing.
Born Beyond Space
One of the key aspects that differentiate horrors from your “normal” aberrations are the fact that they come from the Void itself. Directly. Their physicality and their psychology do not work in the same way as things in mortal or even immortal realms. Whether or not they understand time, space, and mortality are unknown. At best they are understood with a distance of a farmer studying ants. It might be manipulated for their benefit but otherwise they do not let such things concern them and have no context for it. Alien is used to describe extraplanar beings and those from far off worlds and universes, but the inherent meaning is not truly known until you encounter an eldritch horror.
Most powerful of all horrors are creatures known as Outer Gods, a name which only begins to describe them. These things often represent entire concepts and encompass powers that even the gods barely touch. They are so alien and outside of material existence that not only can we not understand them but their machinations barely influence us. In fact, only minor cults pop up in their name and often they burn themselves out in madness. Nevertheless, their influence has been palpable and traceable enough to prove….something exists.
Touched Gods & Great Old Ones
Inaccurate but the closest analogy, the Outer Gods and their Void have their own angels, mortals, and gods. These take interesting forms that many mortal species have worshiped over the years. Some are even so worshipped that they have become fully bound by cosmic law. Other creatures have so become entwined with the Void that they are near horrors themselves. The Touched Gods are mortals and immortals whose affairs are directly connected to the Void, such as Ulthuar the Prison Keeper. The Great Old Ones are beings, like unto gods and the epitome of their kind, most of whom were imprisoned long ago by dead and Touched Gods. Servitors races, as they are often known, are aberrant beings who are too touched by the Void, Great Old Ones, or Outer Gods to make sense. Some spawned from the Void itself and qualify as eldritch horrors but knowing the distinctions is difficult and maddening.
This is a note for GMs. Eldritch horrors are a unique category of what are essentially super aberrations. In the core rules we have names for deities of various types. Once upon a time we had even more categories such as outsider which were subdivided into some of what we have today like elemental, fiend, or celestial. To maintain that minimal categorization, but to make such creatures distinct from the likes of aboleth who have lived countless generations in mortal realms, the eldritch horror is a new type of creature. By definition this should be an indistinct thing, the line of which is wholly up to you. This is here simply to help make the leap in alienness and provide a place to draw the line between terrifying and mechanically madness inducing.