18 Gifts from Elder Gods, Outer Gods, and Cosmic Horrors
18 gifts laden with madness, tainted with corruption, and otherwise as horrible as they are powerful.
Intended to be a 30, but blessed by Cult of Done
1. Hunger of the Destroyer
A potent gift, the Hunger of the Destroyer is a dark gift that bestows the worthy cultist with the ability to consume the souls of the living, and drain the animating essence of the undead. This consumption of anima can be used to fuel magical powers, restore lost health, steal memories and temporarily attain skills of the consumed, and other general benefits associated with such unholy practices.
The Hunger of the Destroyer is a curse, as it is a constant hunger, and once a soul has been consumed, things as plain and vulgar as dead plants, seared flesh, and other things deemed 'food' are unappealing and unappetizing. The cultist will very quickly become nauseated by such crude fare, and be increasingly reduced to feeding on nothing but the spiritual energy of those around him. Madness quickly follows, and such soul eaters are typically if not exterminated by outside forces, sacrificed to the dark gods for consuming fellow cultists.
2. Shadow Walking
A lesser form of teleportation, Shadow Walking has more to do with moving unseen than any association with actual functions of light and dark. The Shadow Walker is able to step briefly into the supernal realm of the elder gods, glimpsing a fragment of their unimaginable and colossal shattered and utterly insane glory before stepping back into the waking realm. The end effect is that the walker vanishes in a blink of an eye, reappears somewhere else instantly, ready to strike. Magical wards, palings, and anything less than Dimensional Barriers cannot stop this power.
Shadow Walking carries the typical dangers of dimensional blinking, accidentally phasing into a solid object, or on longer jumps missing the target completely. But that pales to the fact that by taking a detour into the nether where the elder gods dwell, there is a chance that the walker never reappears as they have been set upon by a denizen of that realm, likewise, a shadow walker can bring something with them on a jaunt. Skilled walkers can lure packs of eldritch 'hounds' into chasing them, and then gating the whole group down onto a group of spirited heroes. Encountering a greater abomination is possible as well, which typically either involves the death of the cultist, or the individual who shadow-steps out the other side is an abomination wearing a cultist skin suit. Fun for the whole family.
3. A Vial of Luminous Blue Liquid
The vial of luminous blue liquid is gathered from the ectoplasmic drippings from a communion with certain elder gods. This fluid can be used for ceremonial and ritual purposes, making symbols on a human sacrifice, on one the leader of the ritual to grant them greater power in the casting of spells and rituals. In times of duress this liquid can be consumed, where it replenishes the caster's magic energy ability, grants short term magical perception, and generally makes the working of chaos and elder magics much easier or more powerful.
The blue liquid is the 'blood' and other 'bodily fluids' of lesser elder gods, and much like radioactive material, it has a mutagenic corrupting effect that emanates from it. The fluid is very effective for the creation of Youma and other such monsters, as well as turning educated and powerful cultists into Desolate Ones dedicated to the elder god that provided the goo. The Elder God associated with the vial maintains a conduit to anything created with the substance, from magical spells to monsters, and especially desolate ones.
4. Dark Resurrection
One of the more common gifts of the Elder and Outer Gods is that of resurrection. Interesting cultists and promising followers can be snatched from death (As all of the Outer Gods predate Death's emergence) and returned to the lands of the living. Such Avatars of the eldritch gods return with strange scars, markings and alien looking tattoos, and strange new abilities that they lacked in their previous life.
The minutia of mortal life is beneath the notice of the elder gods, so when bringing a lowly mortal back to life, there are 'issues'. Madness is almost certain, and the avatar is marked as being the property of the divinity that raised them from death. Likewise, many of the 'powers' and 'boons' granted to the resurrected are accidents that occurred in the process. Any gifts or special abilities drawn forth this way are Monkey Pawed, pyromancers can control flames, but in doing so must endure the pain even if they are not injured, innate magical abilities are tied to health, or other things that often make little or no sense, such as a telepath who can only read the minds of people wearing red hats.
5. The Elder Steel
The Elder Steel is a weapon, passed down from an avatar of an Elder God, or an emissary of a Cosmic Horror. These weapons are unique creations, each suited to the particulars and whims of the divinity in question, and can range from the more common swords and knives to the less common trident for aquatic ancients, or alien chakrams from elder beings associated with air and the sky.
Elder Steel weapons carry the weight of the ancient one that bestowed it, such as the Sword of the Ocean, a gift from Ma-O. These relics corrupt the will of those foolish enough to carry them, and cause lust and envy in those who behold them. Much like Sauron's One Ring, simply possessing one of these items makes the wielder a marked man.
6. Servitor of the Elder Gods
The most promising and unctuous of Cultists may coax from their ancient alien masters a servant, and typically this servant, called by most races a Demon, Devil, or Cosmic Abomination must have a suitable vessel to sustain it. The servitor favors innocent vessels, virgin sacrifices and such. The eldritch being will reanimate the corpse, returning it to the appearance of life, carrying on with it's memories and mannerisms, and ultimately serving it's elder master and the cultist whom it was bequeathed. The Servitor type varies from elder god to elder god, most appearing as smaller versions of the divinity that created them.
The Servitor of the Elder Gods is a sentient conduit back to an alien divinity, and as such has impressive powers at it's command, and the ability to make regular demands of the cultists that summoned it. The Servitors have a flair for the dramatic, so it isn't uncommon for a cult leader to be accompanied by a inappropriately young girl, naked save for a patina of dried blood. Servitors can cast spells, generally doling out curses, bestowing deformities, and leading ritual prayers to itself and it's elder master. They are dangerous and demanding.
7. Sight Without Sight, Speech without Speaking
A less common gift, the cultist is given the method of pure sight and pure communication by an Elder God, allowing them the ability to see through illusions, see lies and deception, perceive auras, and otherwise become immune to all forms of visual trickery. Likewise, they gain the gift of telepathy, able to communicate mind to mind with people, which overcomes language and other problems of speaking, and tied with the previous gift, they are all but impossible to lie to, deceive or otherwise deal deceptively with.
First things first, the physical eyes are typically destroyed by this gift, with the lucky ones at least retaining ruined milky orbs. Most suffer the painful bursting of the eyeball followed be a period of bleeding from the ruined sockets. Likewise, the throat is torn or mutilated in such a fashion that speech is either reduced to a whisper or is completely impossible. Such things are painful, and once granted, the gifts are pretty much constant. Without eyes and eyelids, the cultist cannot close his eyes or look away, and the gift of telepathy is one that is constantly on and must be controlled. Madness is very common, as many things occur through the mundane world that so many never see, never think of.
8. Flayed Ones
One of the problems about being in a cult is that good help is hard to find, and so often acolyte and initiate cultists tend to come from less than capable segments of the population (a situation lamented by Violator, 'Why do we always get the retards?'). The answer to this problem is taking these less than competent or capable minions and giving them over to the Elder Gods to be remade into ideal cultists, ideal worshippers of that particular divinity.
Flayed Ones have most of their personality destroyed and are physically mutilated to suit the whims of the divinity in question, ranging from the addition of eyes and tentacles for Cosmic Horrors to flayed flesh and corporal mortification for more hellish gods. These individuals typically have increased physical stats, innate abilities associated with their patron, and are fanatically devoted to the divinity in question. Flayed Ones disturb other cult members, are will kill those who they see unfit, or will work on their own to create more Flayed Ones to serve their god. Cults overtaken thusly are fairly quickly fought and destroyed as these individuals don't have a very strong sense of self preservation, and aren't very good at staying out of public attention.
9. Kiss of the Chimera
The Kiss of the Chimera creates a fusion of a cultist with something else, typically of their choosing. The two most common forms are fusions with animals, or fusions with specific items. The end result grants the cultist many of the attributes of the other item/creature without altering (much) their personality or who they are.
The fusion of humans an animals creates many of the mythical monsters, such as minotaur, satyrs, and so forth, except rather than frolicking or being noble defenders, these hybrids are caught between animal impulses and human insanity. These hybrids also have to have some symbolic relevance to the divinity in question. Sea gods don't create half-man half mountain lion chimeras. The fusion with inanimate objects creates beings like The Thing (Rock) Edward Scissorhands (knives and stabby things) and so forth. The fusion process is traumatic, and one usually done to a servant of the lead cultist, rather than to the lead cultist himself.
10. The Gift of Flight
Many elder gods and divinities scoff at notions like gravity, mass and inertia. As such, they can grant this same ability to levitate to their beloved followers. These loyal cultists gain the ability to float, a few inches at first, and then later a slow deliberate flight, as their strength and devotion manifests. Walls and other primitive barriers provide little protection from such airborne cultists.
The powers of levitation are not without danger, and the longer one floats, the more one despises giving in to the thrall of gravity again. Over time, the body of the cultist mutates, the arms and legs atrophying at first, and then the bones give way to ropey tendrils, leaving the once humanoid cultist little more than a floating bag of organs with a number of dangling tentacle like appendages. As this mutation progresses, the cultist becomes more and more in tune with the alien energies of the divinity, shedding their humanity as a butterfly sheds its cocoon. The things that emerge on the other side often vanish into the realms of the alien divinities, rarely to be seen again.
11. Might of the Divine
The Elder and Outer Gods are familiar with the human quest for power, and the most common requests made of the ancient and alien gods are for greater power in the human realms. The might of the divine answers this request in the most simple fashion possible, sheer physical might. A loyal cultist has their body warped and changed, similar to a Flayed One, but moreso. The resulting half-divine behemoth is a nigh unstoppable engine of combat.
Alien gods are not subtle, and the Might of the Divine manifests as stone crushing tentacles, flesh ripping suckers, multiple limbs, and excretions of bone, chitinous armor plating, and twitching masses of hostile muscle. The Might of the Divine destroys one cultist to turn him or her into a hulking death engine, a creature of simple mind, single devotion, and power. Each MotD manifests differently, but share physical similarities to the divinity that fueled their mutation and madness.
12. Consumption of the Meek
The tiniest creatures have power in sufficient numbers, and there are many miniscule and minor creatures associated with the various elder and outer gods. This gift grants the cultist power and control over the animals/creatures associated with an elder divinity, and this can range from mundane insects and scavengers for a carrion god to dangerous predators associated with a primitive animal god to swarms of manifestations and horrors made of tentacles and eyes.
The Meek will one day inherit, and that thing they will inherit is the corpus of the cultist given dominion over them. It starts as friendship, then eventually the once human cultist is nothing more than a malevolent will guiding a humanoid shaped mass of things to the will of an alien god. There are tales of hollow men full of rats, children who open their mouths and speak in clouds of flies, and assassins that are made of nothing more than suits of clothing full of poisonous insects.
13. Word of Annihilation
The Word of Annihilation is invoking and inviting down the wrath of an alien god. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Word of Annihilation is an incredibly powerful, dangerous, and over the top manifestation of an alien god. This gift brings a short term manifestation of said alien god into the physical realm, blasting everything around it with the chaos and reality shattering energies that boil out of the alien realms where these monstrous beings dwell. This can range from somewhat subtle, every living thing within X miles being snuffed out like candles in a wind, to an entire city being dragged into another hellish realm (Silent Hill) and travelers on the road arriving at their destination and finding nothing but smoldering ruins and human corpses turned to ash and salt (Sodom and Gamorrah)
14. The Gift of the Dark Mother
The Gift of the Dark Mother allows the Cultist who has gained this boon (typically male) to produce offspring with anything he so desires. The results of his copulations are monsters that are equal parts human, divine, and the victim of his lusts. The most common creations of this power are monstrous animal hybrids, typically from livestock and other docile animals that can be caught and fornicated with.
The Gift of the Dark Mother makes the Cultist in question very fertile, and every copulation ends with something being born from it, even if it is a dark and perverse spontaneous generation from the discarded fluids. The creatures are born quickly, sometimes gestating in a matter of hours (small animals) to days (large animals) and the process is almost always fatal to the host. The host need not be female, or even alive, as this power can create half dead monsters, the only requirement is that the host be, or have been at one time organic and alive. Madness ensues as the cultist's touch can often lead to a horrible death, a parasitic consumption.
15. The Man in Black, the Dweller at the Crossroads, the Devil
Elder and Outer Gods have agents, avatars and manifestations, that make deals for them. These are classic Monkeys Paws in that the wishes are granted, the deals are made, but the costs aren't realized until it is too late, and the word of the deal is what is twisted, rather than the intent.
Dealing with Elder and Outer Gods is a dangerous business, and dealing with functionally a Used Car Salesman of a Cosmic Horror is just a really really bad idea. The cultist of unsuspecting occultist will get exactly what they bargained and asked for, not what they think they got and wanted.
16. A New Body, New Troops to Command, and a Ship
Some elder gods are closer to human comprehension, and are thus able to relate more readily. This gift is a powerful one, the Cultist is torn apart and then reassembled by the sheer will of the Elder God, and typically return as magnificent badass versions of themselves, albeit stronger more aggressive and more sure of their own power than before. Their minions, henchmen and acolytes are subjected to much the same treatment, but are shells of their former selves and instead are loyal minions for to the Elder God and then to the leader that they follow. Finally there are typically boons granted, weapons, vehicles or mounts, something that the cult leader needs.
This is a very expensive gift because once and Elder God rips you apart on a spiritual level and reforges you body and soul you absolutely belong to them, and free will is usually a deception granted by the elder god. Such minions of an elder god have free will to do whatever the elder god in question wants them to do. What the elders give they can take away, and wayward minions can be punished with pain, nightmares, or even be trussed up by their own minions and delivered to a temple of the Elder God for some one on one time with their alien patron.
17. Kiss of the Maralith
Two arms are very limiting, especially in a world where magical rituals require elaborate gestures, and there are so many potential weapons to be swung about or fired at things. This gift grants the lucky/unlucky cultist with a plethora of new limbs, typically 2 to 4 more more arms, and the innate ability to use them. There is also an increase in strength so that even the smallest framed female cultist can start swinging a sword in each of her 4-6 hands, or quad-hex wield pistols.
The Kiss of the Maralith changes the mental structure of the cultist to better coordinate multiple limbs, and this commonly leads to some interesting mental and physical tics as well as a degree of 'alien hand' syndrome, with some limbs expressing non-vocalized thought. Another downside of this gift of the Elder Gods is that it is almost impossible to hide, and it's nature is pretty easily guessed as there is a major shortage of 6 armed knitters, and most such 'Maraliths' tend to show up in a stabby shooty killy mood.
18. The Skills of 100 Lifetimes
It is quite common for those seeking the gifts of the outer gods to request knowledge, magical wisdom, or other such mental boons. These things are easily granted by the outer gods, but this is done in the manner of a man asking for a drink of water, and the smallest container available is a 2,600 gallon bucket under a helicopter.
The Skills of 100 Lifetimes imparts the aspirant with what they request, and then some. They are also granted the other memories, emotional baggage, and mental accumulation of many dozens of lifetimes, causing madness, hallucinations, cackling insanity, catania, megalomania, and all sorts of other mental problems as the cultist gains a staggering amount of knowledge and skill, alternate memories and personas, and so forth.
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? Responses (6)
Very interesting. Can I add more ideas to this sub to try and make it into a new 30?
Sure, I'll even add you as a contributor.
The Ancient Ones are not bound by your mortal numbers. Indeed, their 18 is superior to your human 30. You could not begin to comprehend the Cosmic 30.
A fine selection presented here. I like the the 'gifts' are not so often physical things but abominable curses.
Very good! Love it!
No need to reward me though!
I'm loving this. It's the perfect grab-bag for 'how do I want to screw over my players tonight?'
It also provides some good ideas for cursed items. Not everything you pick up is harmless, of course. And in a setting where dark gods of madness and chaos want to influence the world, you can bet they'd be spreading these suckers around like candy on Halloween.
I almost done w/ giving you 5s(your making the rest of us look bad) 5/5