Eldritch Skies is a horror science-fiction role-playing game based on H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos set during the mid-21st century. The game is published by Battlefield Press, uses the Savage Worlds gaming system, and was published in 2010.
The game is set in an alternate Earth, where human history diverged in the mid 20th century. The two superpowers (United States and the Soviet Union) discovered the reality of the Mythos during the early stages of the Cold War, and a Mythos-based arms race began between the two. Eventually leading to the revelation of the Mythos to the public and human exploration and colonization of the Solar System and worlds in other star systems. Mythos races in this reality (e.g. Mi-go and Deep Ones) do not pose existential threats but interaction with them has changed the human race. Use of hyperspatial technology and traveling via hyperspace is risky to lifeforms as hyperspatial energies will mutate you (depending on the amount), with the possibility of ending up with monstrous mutations and/or an insane mind. In the background is the ever present threat of a extradimensional vampiric race of world destroyers, led by Cthulhu.
History of the EarthEdit
- 620 million years BP - Elder Ones arrive on Earth, and build their first city in the Antarctic Ocean.
- 600 million years BP - Elder cities throughout the oceans and create the Shoggoth.
- 295 million years BP - Land masses raised by a cataclysm which destroys various Elder One cities. Cthulhu and his kind arrive on Earth from hyperspace and settle the land masses. They war with the Elder Ones, and take control of Pangea the supercontinent.
- 258 million years BP - Flying polyps arrive, build their towers, and create a servant race of cone-shaped creatures.
- 255 million years BP - Great Race of Yith flees a catastrophe, and send their minds into the aforementioned servant race. Aided by the Elder Ones, they free themselves from bondage and imprison the Flying Polyps.
- 250 million years BP - Yithians and Elder Ones use the Elder Weapon which sinks R'lyeh and imprisons Cthulhu and his kin in a warded part of hyperspace which can be accessed only via the sunken city of R'lyeh.
- 80 million years BP - From the dinosaurs the Serpent People evolve, becoming Earth's first native intelligent species.
- 65 million years BP - The impact of a comet ends the Cretaceous period and destroys bodies of the Yithians who send their minds 230 million years into the future. It likewise devastates the Serpent People's civilization.
- 24 million years BP - The uprising of the Shoggoth destroys the last stronghold of the Elder Ones.
- 41,000 years BP - Serpent People establish a large empire, ruling over the primitive humans. Some flee into the deep caverns of Earth, where over several centuries hyperspatial energies mutated them into ghouls.
- 27,000 years BP - Humans overthrow the Serpent People, establishing the Thurian Age, the Serpent People retreat underground.
- 5,000 years BP - Humans settle an island in the Pacific Ocean near R'lyeh. Mental contact with Cthulhu and hyperspatial emanations mutate them into Deep Ones.
- 1928 - FBI discover Deep Ones in Innsmouth, Masssachusetts.
- 1931 - Elder One city discovered in Antarctica by the Mistaktonic expedition.
- 1947 - Mi-go crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
- 1948 - Discovery of Yithian city in Australian desert.
- 1950 - Secret treaty between Deep Ones and UN Security Council.
- 1956 - UN Security Council makes contact with the Great Race of Yith.
- 1958 - Hyperspatial gateway discovered by US Mars expedition.
- 1967 - Psychic powers publicly confirmed.
- 1969 - Soviet & US astronauts on Moon use a sorcerously created hyperspatial gateway.
- 1981 - Soviet cosmonauts use a mechanically hyperspatial gateway to visit Mars.
- 1982 - US astronauts use hyperspatial spacecraft.
- 1987 - Great Revelation upon fall of the USSR, to public of aliens, psychic powers, sorcery, hyperspatial technology, etc.
- 2002 - First extrasolar colony.
Races of EarthEdit
The Human RaceEdit
Humanity has established colonies on 6 habitable worlds outside the Solar System and permanent research base on various other worlds. They have also colonized Mars and the Moon, and have bases across the Solar System. Have several hundred interstellar transports, which have transported 6 million colonists. By 2040 the total human population not on these colonies totaled 12 million, of which the two oldest extra-solar colonies each have a couple million.
The human race possesses a variety of technologies, including: robots, electronic telepathy, microelectronics, and hyperspatial technology. Advances in medicine have extended their lifespan to an average of 125 years. Numerous diseases have been cured and 12% of humans have received biological augmentations giving them new abilities (including superhuman ones).
The UN Security Council is the only one with the authority to negotiate treaties with alien governments and species. Permanent members are China, the US, and EU. Charged with investigating the paranormal and protecting humanity from dangerous technologies (e.g. hyperspatial) and phenomena of the Mythos is the Office of Paranormal Security (OPS) which was established by the United Nations.
In China the quality of life is equivalent to that in the EU and the US, but it's an authoritarian state, ruled by the party (which is communist in name only). It's a major human power in space colonization with a major colony in Mars. The EU is the most prosperous of the world powers, has the highest standard of living, and is a world leader in human rights. It is far behind China and the US when it comes to colonizing space. Both China and the EU have surpassed the United States when it comes to new technologies since the early 21st century.
Operating within the human race are cults that worship Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep (e.g. Starry Wisdom) and other Great Old Ones. There are also rogue humans, Deep Ones, psychics, sorcerers, etc who do business with hostile aliens (e.g. Flying Polyps), form pacts with Great Old Ones, or misuse hyperspatial technologies for their own sinister or selfish agendas.
The Serpent PeopleEdit
It's a race which evolved on Earth approximately 80 million years ago, and were very skilled in sorcery and psionics. They used ritual sorcery in hyperspatial sorcery and had scientific sorcery. The asteroid that ended the dinosaurs nearly annihilated the Serpent People. In the aftermath, a half million used a drugs to go into a state of suspended animation, sleeping for millions of years. In the meantime what remained of those who stayed awake, retreated to caverns where they built a subterranean civilization which never reached the glories of the previous civilization. Five million years later it too had fallen, and the Serpent People became a savage and primitive race, most of whom died out.
200,000 BC, one of the caverns of sleeping Serpent People awoke under North Africa and built a new subterranean civilization. Then in 45,000 BC a faction of them went to the surface and eventually located one of the other caverns where they awakened its Serpent People. Though they numbered less than 250,000, they tamed and educated primitive humans, and built an empire of nearly 10 million human servants. A number of Serpent kingdoms were established across Africa, the northern parts of North America, and most of Europe which used these humans and Neanderthals in their armies.
Humans later overthrew them, and the surviving Serpent people went underground. Today they are mostly savages of limited intellect, totaling 50,000. Under Europe and Africa (and Colorado) are a few enclaves of civilized serpent people who number 20,000. There is also a lost cavern of Serpent People who are still sleeping, with 250,000. Out in the stars are three colonies of Serpent People who had fled the fall of their empire in the Thurian Age. The smallest is a small colony and the greatest has tens of millions of human slaves ruled by a million serpent people.
Mutated Human Sub-SpeciesEdit
- Deep Ones = Humans who thousands of years ago were mutated by hyperspatial energies coming from R'lyeh. Left the area around that island and dispersed across the world, fleeing Cthulhu's influence. During the early 20th century, the American government learned of their existence. In the 1950s, they signed a secret peace treaty with the UN Security Council. Most of the Deep Ones have no interest in having any contact with mankind, and they lack conventional technology though they have mastered simple hyperspatial technologies. Aren't seen as a threat to humanity as they only live in the ocean depths. The treaty with the UN gave humanity limited access to undersea exploration, drilling, and mining. They had to avoid the cities of the deep ones, could not interfere in their activities, and were prohibited from establishing permanent undersea settlements. In exchange the Deep Ones would in turn leave humanity alone and would not interfere with human shipping. They would also only transform into Deep Ones those humans who were willing.
- Ghouls = The existence of ghouls is kept secret from the public by the UN Security Council. Though rumors of their existence has leaked. The ghouls kill anyone who threatens to reveal their existence and the OPS hunts down problematic bands of murderous ghouls, though they leave the other ghouls alone. Ghouls are known to kidnap young human children who are then indoctrinated into becoming their servants and to act as their spies among humans. A few chosen ones are turned into ghouls via ritual sorcery. Ghouls are able to breed with humans, but distrust their half-breed offspring and will abandon them. Their largest subterranean colonies have tens of thousands. The UN has concluded that mankind would easily win a war over the ghouls but at the cost of millions of lives, therefore they have not conducted a campaign to eradicate the ghouls.
The Shoggoth are a race which was engineered by Elder Ones on Earth, which they lost control of eons ago. It is estimated that there at most a 1000 still active on Earth, with another several thousand believed buried within the ice of Antarctica or imprisoned in prisons, waiting for someone greedy or foolish to release them. Shoggoth will avoid or kill any humans they come across.
- Mi-go = Fungoid crabs which have a hive-mind that is partially telepathic. Are only able to survive on surface of the Earth for only a few days, therefore humans don't fear a Mi-Go invasion. Willing to trade their biotechnology to mankind, providing humans with useful technologies. Mi-go have a colony on Pluto and still have technology far in advance to that of humanity. They are the dominant spacefaring race in the Milky Way galaxy with hundreds of worlds within 400 parsecs of Earth (approx 1,200 light years). The Great Old Ones are despised by the Mi-go, who consider them a destructive force in the cosmos. They constantly monitor them to make sure that they remain in their dimensional prison. It's the Cthulhoids whom they fear and hate the most. It's the primary reason that they maintain an alliance of sorts with the human race, providing them with technologies.
- Yithians = They have extensive deep knowledge regarding hyperspatial technologies but don't overuse it. Using it only for time travel, creating force fields, and anti-gravity. Preferring to rely on conventional technology for everything else, such as portable fusion reactors. Yithians have limited psionic abilities but are able to build psionic devices that can mimic nearly all psionic powers. The Yithians use technosorcerous devices to control hyperspatial technologies and never practice ritual sorcery. Yithians have an agreement with the human race, in which Earth assists visiting Yithians in exchange for them providing Earth with limited amounts of technical and scientific knowledge. To prevent mankind's over reliance on them, the Security Council decided only knowledge that is compatible with principles known to humanity would be accepted. As for time travel technology or any kind of technology that is far too advanced in comparison to current human technology, the Yithians decline to provide.
- Elder Ones = At one time they had been the dominant force in the Milky Way galaxy, with hundreds of worlds under their control. Now the Elder Ones are a pale shadow of what they were previously, controlling only a few worlds. They have mastered nanotechnology, which has granted them the ability of flying through hyperspace by generating a field around their bodies. It is a race in decline and heading toward extinction.
- Flying Polyps = An ancient race of predators, whom are mostly solitary. A race with a partial hyperspatial nature due to them shifting nearly all of their mass into hyperspace. Which protects the Flying Polyps from most threats and giving them the ability to become invisible by shifting said mass into multiple hyperspatial dimensions. They are able to control the winds to a limited degree. Flying polyps can live for hundreds of millions of years. Whenever a Yithian ward fails on one of the caverns on Earth where they are imprisoned, the freed flying polyps usually head out to the galaxy though a few sometimes remain on Earth, feeding on its lifeforms. Flying polyps consider all non-hyperspatial lifeforms as prey. There a still a number imprisoned on Earth, several dozen at most per cavern.
- Moonbeasts = Hostile to humans and have attacked human colonists on the moon. Officially humanity is in a state of war with them, but there is little contact. Moonbeasts possess technology that is slightly ahead of that of the humans and they've banned the use of all hyperspatial technologies among their kind. Space travel is done via fusion rockets limiting their kind to the Solar System. Moonbeast seriously distrust anyone that uses hyperspatial tech. It's estimated that their total population is 120,000, all of whom live in ships of which the largest have 9,000 each. What is not known to others is that the moonbeasts they have encountered are scavengers and exiles, the descendants of rebels who were exiled from their homeworld due to the illegal experiments they conducted using hyperspatial technologies. Since then they've used Elder One nanotech in their bodies, have stolen and modified starships, and have been raiding for slaves (who assist the Moonbeasts in adapting the technology which they acquire or steal). There are approximately x3 as many slaves among them as there are Moonbeasts, of which nearly all of them are Yaddithi or human.
- Yaddithi = Insectoid humanoids who possess a 8,000 year old star-faring civilization. Due to the Dholes they were forced to leave their homeworld 7,000 years ago. They have a dozen interstellar colonies, live 500 years, and are technologically stagnate. Yaddithi blame the use of hyperspatial technologies on their homeworld, as they believe it attracted the dholes. They are skilled in sorcery both technosorcery and scientific sorcery. Exchanging knowledge is more important to them than trade. It's forbidden to summon the servitors of the Other Gods and they'll avoid interacting with hyperspatial beings.
- Europans = Whom are mysterious sentient lifeforms that live in the ocean of the Jovian moon Europea, beneath a layer of ice that is over a km thick. There is very little contact between humans and Europeans as the latter want nothing to do the former and wish to be left alone. The Europeans are bizarre colonial organisms that consist of thousands of jellyfish-like creatures which are linked neurally to each other. Europeans have destroyed ships and robots which visited their territories without permission, though they will exchange knowledge with those whom they deem worthy. It's a psychic race that has colonies in many oceanic worlds across the galaxy. They are amphibious, have the ability to perform sorcery, and have a special relationship with hyperspatial energies.
The Other Gods are the active personifications of the universe's primordial forces. In the universe energy and mind are inseparable and therefore intelligence will eventually rise from any pattern of energy that is complex enough. These aspects don't live within hyperspace, they are part of hyperspace. Entities like Azathoth, Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth. If a species makes contact with an Other God, it sometimes results in the transcendence of that species. Other Gods have no need for the physical universe and therefore only notice it when they are provoked. Catching the attention of an Other God can be catastrophic.
Great Old OnesEdit
The Great Old Ones are incredibly powerful semi-transcendent entities which mostly exist within hyperspace. All of whom used to be mortal alien beings. In some cases, entire alien races transformed into Great Old Ones. In other cases it was individuals, singular or in groups who transformed. Ascending is a difficult process of directed psychic, biological, and technological development. Not all Great Old Ones are able to manifest themselves in the physical universe (the Cthulhoids being one of the few), most of them interact with the physical universe indirectly. Some believe that some Great Old Ones are not even be aware of the physical universe. All of them are forced to feed on the psychic energies of sentient life. The ones that are most well known to humans are the Cthulhoids, Hastur, and Nyarlathotep.
- Cthulhoids = Transcendantal beings led by Cthulhu that live within hyperspace. It's a race that can move across the planes within that dimension and are capable of manifesting themselves in the material universe. When appearing in the universe, their appearance is a function of how our minds imagine them to be which in the case of humans takes the form of a tentacled and winged corpulent humanoid. They are a vampiric race with psionic abilities that feeds on the psychic energies of sentient worlds. Hundreds of millions of years ago, they were imprisoned in a hyperspace prison by the Elder Ones and Yithians on Earth. It's supposed to be a billion year long imprisonment and only 1/4 of the timeframe has passsed. Several dozen were elsewhere at the time and escaped imprisonment but they avoid the Solar System. On Earth there are cults which are attempting to weaken the prison so that the Cthulhoids can break out. Until that happens, they are only able to manifest themselves one every 1000 years within a few hundred miles of R'lyeh for a couple minutes. It's a race of nearly half a million, who have existed as monstrous transcendent entities for more than a billion years. Their origins and what was their original physical form is unknown. It was the Cthulhoids that were mostly responsible for the "Great Dying" at the end of the Permian period, 250 million years ago.