Nihilids are a sort of survivor race. They were formerly humanoid, with two arms and two legs, typically bilateral symmetry, with a large head, and skin that ranges from a tawny beige to stone gray. Each has their own distinctive appearance, as each has managed to survive the various horrors of arcanotech and dimensional travel, but not without cost or injury. All nihilids encountered have demonstrated corporeal damage that would be near instantly fatal to anything else. The only constant is the cranium of all nihilids remains intact. Most are missing appendages, even half or their torso might be gone. They survive between a combination of arcanetic modification, with strange machines hooked into their bodies, and sheer parapsychic will. The driving force of a nihilid is their psychic power. They move via telekinesis, have the ability to communicate telepathically, and their lifeforce is in all likelihood sustained by sheer biokinesis. They don't die because they aren't willing to.
It was in my head. It had a voice in my head, like wasps feet sticking to paper, or like maggots eating something that's still alive. That was my first impression of the Nihilid I cam to know as Asmodan.
It was the name I gave it, it had it's own name, but their language is different. More nuanced, like it's name is part smell, part color, part sensation, and two memories joined by a cruel joke. It was malevolent, and it was dangerous, so in my mind it called it Asmodan, from a game or something I played years ago. The connotation seemed to please it, so it was willing to condescend to my level. it was older than our entire civilization, easily as smart as the best AIs we have. It is an elder being, and it was willing to communicate with me.
What did it have to say? What did it want to know?
Asmodan didn't really ask me any serious questions. It didn't care about security protocols, or passwords. It told me how insignificant I was, how meaningless humanity is, and showed me that we have something like a 2% chance of surviving another thousand years as a species.
I don't understand the point of that...
That's why we call them nihilids. They are remnants, and they believe in nothing but the eventual annihilation of the universe. They fully intend to be there, at the end, as the universe dies, to watch it, to experience it, and to survive it.
What could come after the end of the universe?
That's what they want to know, they know there are multiple universes. Asmodan told me about them. Our concepts of dimensional phasing are nothing more than a fish underwater looking at the outline of a spacecraft making reentry and guessing at the nature of the water around it. Asmodan spoke of the Anteverse, the Ultraverse, the Endo and Exoverses and how they are inextricably tied to each other, the Megaverse, the Negaverse, the Omniverse, and there were so many more that when I try to think about them my head hurts and my nose starts to bleed.
Nihilids are incredibly powerful parapsychics, on par with arhats from the Parapsychic scale, albeit with 10,000 years of experience. Their remaining technology is godlike, channeling interdimensional energy as a power source, and allows them to do things ranging from raising a species to intelligence, creating transdimensional portals, and almost anything else that a near transcendent technological species technology could do.
They are nearly extinct, Asmodan said that it is one of the last, a remnant of a remnant.
What happened to them?
They reached the pinnacle of their society, they found the Great Filter, the answer to the Fermi Paradox, and they overcame it.
What is the answer to the Fermi paradox?
I literally cannot tell you, it will only hasten our demise as a species. To know of it draws its attention, to know it's name is to add speed to it's movement. There are dark and terrible gods in the universe, and they are boogeymen. They are already coming. They are drifting because right now, only I know it's name. Just one, just me. That's why when we are done with this session I'm going to kill myself. Then no human will know it's name. Well, at least none will know if Asmodan doesn't tell anyone else.
A dark god? That seems far fetched.
We are talking about the revelations that half of a desiccated cybernetic mummy told me, through a mind link. Far fetched is a bunt right now. But yes. At the heart of the universe there are entities that we cannot fathom, that compared to them we are a bacterial infection of a bacteria, and they are quiescent unless something draws their attention and then they show up and devour everything. Humanity wont survive. Fuck. The Milky Way might not survive. Do you get that. By knowing it's name, there is a really good chance that I've doomed all of the sentient life in this entire galaxy...
But you said they overcame this.
They did. They jumped to another universe. They escaped their dark and terrible god and found more here, found them in every universe they visited. They colonized, they explored, and they conquered. They conquered galaxies, entire swaths of different realities.
What made them a remnant?
Asmodan said that they created perfect harmony, melding all of the species they conquered into a genetic purity, to make an ultra weapon to slay those dark and terrible gods. After they made it, they sent it home, to their birth universe, so that it's trillions of teeth could devour that monster. And yes before you ask it worked. Their abomination worked. It slew their god. Then it came after them, it destroyed everything in their home universe and one by one it hunted all of them down, because everything in their universe was spawned from it.
Flaws and Weaknesses
The Nihilids are very few in number, and scattered across the entirety of the multiverse. As such, they have no allies or friends. Should two encounter each other, it will mean the destruction of one, or both will flee to avoid this outcome. Their society is gone, and despite their godlike technology and power, what tools they have are irreplaceable, and not always fully functional. There are no Nihilid warships, no Nihilid armadas, no Nihilid armies, and no Nihilid Doomsday weapons.
That being said, they remain as manipulators and masterminds, avoiding personal confrontation and the potential for being harmed. They remain mortal entities, and the passage of the untold centuries has done a great deal of damage to their psyches, as well as their bodies. They are paranoid, bitter, suffer from extensive mental deterioration, and madness, victims of their own fear and immortality. They could find peace if they merely relaxed their powers and let their spirits vacate their shriveled mortal husks. It is worth noting that the surviving Nihilids are not scientists, engineers, military leaders, or even administrative members of their former race. All of those were devoured by their own godslaying swarm. Instead, the surviving Nihilids, with their technomummy martyr chic, are the conspiracy theorists, flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, doomsday preppers, and hermits of their race. They plan and act accordingly.
Known Nihilid Powers
Mind Control - exceptional, a Nihilid can mind control a person to flawless perfection, so much that the person involved will never suspect that they are being mind controlled. Likewise, they can expand this umbrella and sacrifice precision for power, and influence a much larger number of people, such as the crew of a ship, station, or arcology with ease.
Summon Monster - with their command of dimensional technology, a Nihilid can summon teratomorphs, erelim, and magnaspawn with relative ease. While not Doomsday weapons, these can radically change the course of history on a planet, or cripple a civilization that irks a nihilid. Should a culture engender the support of one, they can use these creatures as 'protectors' of said culture.
Racial Manipulation - a nihilid can invest a few centuries into dominating a single planet species, reducing them to a weaponized synthetic form where they replace conventional sexual reproduction with factory cloning and cybernetic augmentation from birth. This can create a warworld species that the Nihilid will use as their own army. These will be functional, but somewhere inside their code and organization will be a fundamental flaw stemming from the broken psyche of the nihilid that created it. This can typically be exploited to defeat said synth race and send it's nihilid master retreating.
Dimensional Gating - lacking fleets of ships, Nihilids are dependent on dimensional gating, as are their synthetic minions and monsters should they employ them. This is standard boiling vortex of evil in the sky, disgorging small craft or swarms of monsters. This creates a bottleneck where an invading army can be fought by a smaller defending force.
Its a trap, you understand.
What is a trap?
There was this old television show, all space stationy and whatnot. They were all doing their important space business when an alien space probe shows up and asks them a bunch of questions and says its going to blast them all to kingdom come if they get the questions wrong. Do you know what I'm talking about?
I'm sorry, no, but please go on.
So, they work at it, some of the questions are really hard. But the sensible captain says that this isn't genre savvy and that they shouldn't answer the questions because it's a trap. They don't do it. Instead of blowing them away, the probe turns around and zips off into space. Curious, Captain Sensible, who had the answers in just the nick of time decides to load them on a probe of his own, and sends it to go tell the other probe the answers. Do you know what the alien probe does when it gets the answers?
I'm not really sure...
It blows the other probe to smithereens and changes course to a distant part of where the fuck ever.
Okay, I don't get it.
It wasn't a test to weed out dumb civilizations, the probe was a test to find races who were a threat to the people that built it. If you could answer the questions it meant you knew enough to be a threat. Then, the probe would blast the shit out of your planet and zip off to find the next victim. Keep rivals down. I think that is what Asmodan is.
You think he is a probe?
No, I think he is the destructo-civilization. He has found us because we have the potential to reach their level of consciousness and technology.
And he is going to destroy Earth?
No, I don't think so. I think it either wants to format us into a servitor race to him, or wants to guide us to become more than a servitor race so that we will destroy its enemies and restore it.
You've mentioned killing yourself...
Yes, I'm still committed to that. I think that if I am gone, Asmodan won't attempt to reach any other humans, won't try to do this with someone else.
What makes you different from us, why would this celestial being pick you above anyone else?
That is a good question. I don't know why it would pick me. I've suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life, and a few months ago I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. That's was the first time it contacted me.
After the diagnosis of brain cancer?
Yes. I haven't taken any treatment, I should have been dead months ago, but since I've been in contact with Asmodan it has gone into stasis. Not remission, it's still there. It's just not growing anymore. Asmodan is keeping me alive... because... I think it... either cares for me... or...
Or it hates me and enjoys my suffering.
The Prince of Pain - A Nihilid has infested an enclosed environment to use as it's own entertainment center or research party. The PCs have to face hostile synthetic aliens, infested humans, and corrupted technology to face the elder thing and blast it back through a dimensional rift so that it leaves Earth alone.
Pacific Rim - a small unheard of group of Nihilids have decided to work together and are making weaponized teratomorphs and commando erelim to decimate the earth and it's defenders. The heroes have to saddle up Power Rangers/Jaeger style to fight the giant monsters before going commando themselves through the dimensional breach to put a big ole gun to their bulbous dry heads and put them away.
The Mi-Go invasion - seemingly out of nowhere, a hostile force arrives in the solar system. It is a synth army controlled by a Nihilid, bent on razing the Earth as a threat to itself. The Earth defense force must muster and meet the threat and blast them out of the stars.
Mr Mxyzptlk - A trickster Nihilid has decided to befriend/harass a group of parapsychic heroes. Regardless of where they go they cannot escape it's boredom, and while it can save them on occasion, this is typically expensive favor wise, and they can expect ungodly treatment and unexpected scenarios such as being blinked to another planet or dimension for it's entertainment.
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? Responses (2)
A great villain race you could adapt for other settings. Greys on steriods. I like 'em.
I feel a bit sorry for them as their race as a whole was destroyed.