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 How old is ye olde Cthulhu?
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6727 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2019 :  05:19:01  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I admit I'm confused about the distinction between "Great Old Ones" and the "Elder Gods". All a bunch of incomprehensibly alien tentacle horrors to me. (Although I am partial to Tindalos Hounds.)

My understanding is that at the Cthulhu "pantheon" are incredibly ancient beings. In fact, they were already impossibly ancient when they arrived in the universe from some other universe. (Ignoring the fact that they're a fiction created in 1928.)

But my question is exactly how ancient? Have they been hanging around at the edge of nightmares for millennia? Millions of years? Billions of years? Since the origin of life in the universe? Since the origin of the universe itself? Since before the universe even existed? I'm apprehensive about answers involving "aeons" because the word is so commonly (mis)used by so many to represent vastly different scales of time.

I haven't read Lovecraft in a long time. And I haven't really read any of the subsequent Cthulhu literature beyond snippets from RPG books. I've dug around the wikis a little but haven't found this question asked or answered anywhere else. It seems nobody thinks of such questions or dares to answer them.

I realize this isn't specifically Realms-related but I ask here because where else could I find answers?

[/Ayrik]

Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
664 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2019 :  06:54:42  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The timelines in the various Call of Cthulhu supplements indicate that the Great Old Ones and the Elder Gods have been around for billions of years. The Great Race (featured in « At the Mountains of Madness ») is said to have arrived on earth two billion years ago, and Cthulhu et al. are supposedly older than that.

I never thought of them being leftovers from another universe, but I like the idea.

Club Secretary of the Dragons on the Hill RPG Club of London, UK: http://dragonsonthehill.co.uk/.

Edited by - Thauramarth on 18 Jan 2019 06:56:32
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

851 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2019 :  11:05:22  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Creation is literally Azathoth's dream, soooo...
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Bladewind
Master of Realmslore

Netherlands
1257 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2019 :  19:08:10  Show Profile Send Bladewind a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My version places the first aboleth spores and its elder mother-goddess the Blood Queen far in Torils Prehistory, probably at the onset of the Blue Age, were they hid in shallow seas under the starlit ocean blue planet of Toril (Piscaethces might have arrived and left Torils crystal sphere before the creation of the first sun even).

The Blue Age and Shadow Epoch are bound by mythical time scales which makes dating them awkward, but I consider them to have lasted subsequently millions of years and thousands of years in actuality. This makes the Elder Gods at least 3 million years old.

With lots of years of expansion before they reached the current multiverses batch of crystal spheres you can make them even more unfathomably old.

My campaign sketches

Druidic Groves

Creature Feature: Giant Spiders
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31827 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2019 :  20:47:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's a little-known fact that Cthulhu is actually sensitive about his age, much like some humans. Dread Cthulhu gets VERY upset with anyone implying that he's a day over 29.

Supplicants have been known to gain Cthulhu's favor by asking to see his driver's license, to confirm he's old enough to receive sacrifices.


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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 18 Jan 2019 20:48:21
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Thauramarth
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
664 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2019 :  22:51:05  Show Profile Send Thauramarth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

IDread Cthulhu gets VERY upset with anyone implying that he's a day over 29.


As opposed to regular upset, which he is all the time, except if you try to nuke him, because then he comes back upset AND radioactive.

Club Secretary of the Dragons on the Hill RPG Club of London, UK: http://dragonsonthehill.co.uk/.
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Mi-Go
Acolyte

Finland
9 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2019 :  08:23:42  Show Profile Send Mi-Go a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lovecraft was intentionally misleading and vague about the differences between the Elder Gods and the Great Old Ones. They are described to be hostile to each others though even this can be disputed to an extent as certain monstrosities like Shub-Niggurath move from one category to the other based on the source. In general though the Great Old Ones are more sanity destroying than the Elder Gods but are locked away from our reality.

Trying to think or categorise the horrors is of course a sure-fire way to insanity and through the decades they've inspired quite many different viewpoints. As an example, the excellent Trails of Cthulhu RPG by Kenneth Hite offers multiple views on the Great Old Ones where they are either purely metaphysical concepts given sentience, such as Cthulhu being the manifestation of the scientific concept of gravity or a psychic entity without physical form that lives simultaneously in all human minds. Each theory is as valid as the other since our limited human brains cannot fathom the vastness of these multi-dimensional beings. That however, is a well-developed fact - the GOO's do not exist in our universe alone and destroying ones physical form is at best an inconvenience or perhaps not even something the Old One might notice. Yog-Sothoth for an example is all of creation, past, present and future and all possible permutations of those things and is therefore completely mind destroying to witness.

As such I'd label all of the Lovecraftian gods to be older than time, created from Azathoth before the Blind Idiot God began to excrete as a byproduct the forces of mass and gravity needed for the effect of time to be born in the physical sense.

tl;dr - I don't know and I'm happier for it
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6727 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2019 :  11:16:06  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all answers and clarifications. I don't want to seem cheap but the protocols of the keep allow me to offer you all only this:

[/Ayrik]
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7761 Posts

Posted - 23 Jan 2019 :  12:24:29  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm confused, are we talking about how old Cthulhu IS or how long ago it changed its name from the previously known alias of Cthulhu, which is a secret not to be spoken of lest you sud..d..e..n..l..y f..i..n..d i..t v..e..r……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Hi, my name is Sleyvas, what were we talking about?

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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