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The entire sky began to glow with a weird purple light, and in the ray that descended from above I saw a file of beings even stranger than the Star-Warriors. They were great, writhing pillars of light, moving like tremendous flames, colored purple and white, dazzling in their intensity. These gigantic beings from outer space descended swiftly, circling the Plateau of Sung, and from them great rays of stabbing light shot out toward the hidden fastnesses below. And at the same time, the earth began to tremble.
~ Eric Marsh (AWD: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn")

This subject contains information from the "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles, and while guided by HPL are not based on his work alone. This subject contains information from the Derleth Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. This subject contains information from the Expanded Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. The Elder Gods, also referred to as the Elder Deities, are fictional extraterrestrial entities featured in the Cthulhu Mythos. They are originally described as looking like huge pillars of light or fire, which dwell in the vicinity of the star Betelgeuse, and are known to protect humans while being inimical to the "evil" gods such as Cthulhu, Hastur, Zhar and Lloigor (AWD: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn", "The Horror from the Depths"). In the Expanded Mythos, they originate from another dimension, have mostly human-like appearance and are benevolent in nature. In different parts of the world - such as Egypt, Mesoamerica, and the Mediterranean - they were worshipped by ancient humans. Nowadays, they are remembered as the gods in just about every ancient race, including Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Aztec, and many others.

The Great Old Ones refer to the Elder Gods as the "Pain Lords" (source?).


They came down out of the star-spaces unto this Earth, so that They might deal a grim and heavy judgement upon their former servants; and They went to and fro upon the Earth, terrible in Their wrath, like unto mighty Towers of Flame that walked like Men. Yea and verily was it writ of old, Terrible be the Elder Gods in Their wrath in the Hour of Their coming-hence.
~ Necronomicon quote , EXP: "The Horror in the Gallery"

The Elder Gods are said to be the former lords of the Great Old Ones. While some have specific appearances, like Nodens, most of them are described as "terrific Towers of Flame". In the Zanthu Tablets, titular Zanthu enrages the Elder Gods when he manages to break one of Ythogtha's chains, thus being able to see them when they descend to Earth. (EXP: "The Thing in the Pit")

They are said to rule in the star Glyu-Vho (Betelgeuse), from which they watch the Earth eternally. (AWDThe Lurker at the Threshold)

The Elder Gods waged a cosmic war of enormous proportions against their enemies, the Great Old Ones. According to Dr. Fo-Lan, the two warred for possession of the Earth, although the victorious Elder Gods later left the planet after imprisoning or banishing all of the Great Old Ones (AWD: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn"). To imprison the Great Old Ones, they used five-pointed star-stones that could also be used to repel the Great Old Ones' servants (AWD: "The Horror from the Depths", The Trail of Cthulhu).

Species known to be loyal to the Elder Gods include the Star-Warriors of Orion (AWD: "The Lair of the Star-Spawn") and the Lithards (EXP: The Transition of Titus Crow)

The K'n-yanians (who are worshipers of Cthulhu and Yig) claim that their gods were defeated and imprisoned by a species of hostile "space-devils", these being the same species that returned ages later to cause the cataclysm that sank most of the Earth's old continents. They also believe that the only humans who survived the cataclysm are those who were already in league with the "space-devils" (HPL: The Mound). It's not known whether the "space-devils" are related to the Elder Gods, since both have been held responsible for imprisoning Cthulhu in sunken R'lyeh.

The Elder Gods are written about in the Re'Kithnid by the "Mad Nun" Brianna Lethder, who writes of them as the good counterparts to the Great Old Ones led by a Sun god named Re'Kithnid that is the opposite of Cthulhu. It was created as an homage to Brian Lumley and August Derleth (EXP: The Tower of Zhaal).

The Elder Gods are also the creators of the mysterious golden mead that humans can use to travel to other star systems by astral projection. The books of the Great Library of Celaeno are said to have been stolen from the Elder Gods as well. (AWD: The Trail of Cthulhu)


In the Unaussprechlichen Kulten, it is said that both the Earth and the Elder Gods originate from a nameless dimension in which they ruled supreme. They created Azathoth and Ubbo-Sathla as slaves, so they would create a race of servants. Ubbo-Sathla, in an act of rebellion, stole the Elder Records, a library of tablets that contained various knowledge of the Elder Gods. Ubbo-Sathla invoked the powers he learned from the tablets, and thus the Earth fell from its original plane into the actual universe (EXP: "The Horror in the Gallery").

Not long after, the Elder Gods entered the universe and installed their power in Betelgeuse. They broke into a war with the Great Old Ones, standing victorious and imprisoning them in the Earth or other planets and dimensions. (AWDThe Lurker at the ThresholdEXP: "The Horror in the Gallery")

After their victory, the Elder Gods remained on Earth for a while and even interbred with humans. Some individuals with psychic abilities are believed to be their descendants. At some point, satisfied that humanity would be able to stand fight against the Great Old Ones' servants and prevent them from freeing their masters, the Elder Gods left Earth and settled in another dimension known as Elysia. (EXP: The Transition of Titus Crow)

It is prophesied in the Necronomicon that the Great Old Ones shall break free when "the Cycle returneth", and the Elder Gods shall war with them once more. (AWDThe Lurker at the Threshold)

Then shal They return & on this great Return'g shal ye Great Cthulhu be fre'd from R'lyeh beneath ye Sea & Him Who Is Not To Be Nam'd shal come from His City which is Carcosa near ye Lake of Hali, & Shub-Niggurath shal come forth & mulitiply in his Hideousness, & Nyarlathotep shal carry ye word to all the Gr. Old Ones & their Minions, & Cthugha shal lay His Hand upon all that oppose Him & Destroy, & ye blind idiot, ye noxious Azathoth shal arise from ye middle of ye World where all is Chaos & Destruction where He hath bubbl'd & blasphem'd at Ye centre which is of All Things, which is to say Infinity, & Yog-Sothoth, who is ye All-in-One & One-in-All, shal bring his globes, & Ithaqua shal walk again, & from ye black-litt'n caverns within ye Earth shal come Tsathoggua, & togeth'r shal take possession of Earth and all things that live upon it, & shal prepare to do battle with ye Elder Gods when ye Lord of ye Great Abyss is apprised of their return'g & shal come with His Brothers to disperse ye Evill.
~ AWD: The Lurker at the Threshold

List of Elder Gods

In Other Media

IDW Publishing

In the IDW comic Infestation 2, the Elder Gods are a pantheon of malevolent extra-dimensional entities trapped within their dimensional prison, who were able to influence the minds of sensitive beings in the material universe. Among them was H. P. Lovecraft, who channeled the call of the Elder Gods through his horror prose, until the clandestine organization Oblivion killed him before his art could summon the Elder Gods into the universe. Lovecraft's stories continued spreading throughout popular culture, and with the help of the Artillica (powerful artifacts combining magic and technology), the collective imagination of humanity let the Elder Gods loose from their prison and they invaded the multiverse.

In one reality, the Autobots in 19th century Earth battled an Elder God, the fish people who served it, and Decepticons who had been corrupted by their new god into eldritch transformers. In another reality, a Cobra scientist orchestrated the transformation of Cobra base personnel into humanoid abominations. A cult in the high fantasy world of Eberron summoned one of the Elder Gods to their city. In another world, the heralds and fishmen of the Elder Gods were combated by the agents of the Covert Vampiric Operations. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were forced to fight a manifestation of Shub-Niggurath.

The Elder Gods were previously alluded to in the Transformers franchise. In the Transformers multiverse, the Elder Gods are a race of ancient evil entities who exist in unspace, a timeless void that is beyond all reality. Ramjet would encounter them in the Transformers: Cybertron comics by Fun Publications.

Marvel Comics

In the Marvel Multiverse, the "Elders Gods" can refer to several different groups, with the Elder Gods of Earth being the most prominent one. The Elder Gods of Earth spawned from the Demiurge and were the first lifeforms on the planet. In addition to being based on the Cthulhu Mythos, deities from Greek and Egyptian mythology are also incorporated with them. The most notable members include Set, Chthon, Gaea and Oshtur.

The Many-Angled Ones are also sometimes referred to as the "Elder Gods".

Behind the Mythos

In stories written before and after Lovecraft's death, the Elder Gods oppose the Outer Gods and the Great Old Ones. They were first featured in "The Lair of the Star-Spawn", by August Derleth and Mark Schorer, in 1932. This was the same story that introduced the Tcho-Tcho people, that Lovecraft would reference in some of his own stories as well. At some points in "The Lair of the Star-Spawn", characters refer to the Elder Gods by other names, such as the "Ancient Ones", and even the "Great Old Ones" at one point: both names that Derleth would later reserve for the Elder Gods' enemies. The Expanded Mythos retroactively identifies other "benevolent" deities (i.e. those known to protect humans) as being Elder Gods, such as Henry Kuttner's Vorvadoss and H. P. Lovecraft's Nodens (who acts as deus ex machina for the protagonists in both The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and "The Strange High House in the Mist"), although Derleth himself had already classified Nodens as one of the Elder Gods in his essay "A Note on the Cthulhu Mythos". The history of the Elder Gods' war against the Great Old Ones and imprisonment of Cthulhu also makes them analogous to the "space-devils" mentioned in Lovecraft's The Mound.

Robert M. Price postulated that a "Reformist" group of Elder God worshippers had tampered with many Mythos books to make them more pro-Elder God in tone. Reformist Theology of the "benign" Elder Gods as creator beings and the "evil" Old Ones as rebellious slaves who were imprisoned after a “war in heaven” to protect Mankind.

After Derleth's death many writers have moved away from this Dualist notion, either ignoring the Elder Gods or suggesting that they have an agenda as inimical or unfathomable to mankind as the Great Old Ones themselves, while others have incorporated and expanded upon his work, adding new Elder Gods and elaborating on their connections to other entities. His concept of the Elder Gods remains a somewhat divisive topic in the larger Lovecraft community, with some supporting his ideas and others rejecting them. For instance, Laurence J. Cornford's story "The Doom of Enos Harker" portrays the Elder Gods as ultimately no less dangerous to mankind than their enemies, the Great Old Ones.

As for Great Old Ones, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. in his "Nightmare Disciples" (2006) a series of original Elder Gods, though lacking of any description about their true form. The story introduces entities such as Adaedu, Alithlai Tyy, Dveahtehs, Eyroix, Ovytonv, Urthuvn, Xislanyx and Xuthyos-Sihb'Bz. Others have a cult title as Othkkartho (Sire of the Four Titans of Balance and Order), which is said to be Nodens's son, and Zehirete, who is The Pure and Holy Womb of LightSk’tai and Eppirfon are brothers and the former (female) has been Cthulhu's second bride who bore him a son, T'ith, now dead, murdered by Cthulhu himself.

Another Elder God with no description is Walter C. DeBill Jr.'s Paighon, an extra-galactic entity which now dwells in the Earth's core, said to be inimical to the Outer God Ngyr-Korath and its servitor Ymnar.


Main article: Elder God/Gallery