Friday, November 30, 2007

I've mentioned before my fondness for H. P. Lovecraft and his mythos of insane and malignant Great Old Ones, and starting in Pathfinder #4, the world of Golarion gets its first real taste of the Cthulhu Mythos—pictured here is a hound of Tindalos, one of the new monsters in this volume's bestiary.

These strange time-traveling, soul-eating monstrosities were invented by Frank Belknap Long back in 1929 in his short story, "The Hounds of Tindalos," but they should be no strangers to those familiar with the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game published by Chaosium (itself one of the longest-lived continually-in-print RPGs ever—check them out at chaosium.com). Any self-respecting gamer looking for more inspiration on the hounds of Tindalos (or cosmic horror of any flavor) should certainly check out the huge line of books and adventures that have been produced for Call of Cthulhu for more. The actual game stats for the hounds as they appear here are pretty different than those from the Call of Cthulhu version, of course, but flavor transcends rules.

We'll be returning to Lovecraft country later on in Rise of the Runelords, getting a glimpse of the realm of Leng and unknown Kadath in Pathfinder #6, and now and then you'll be seeing other name drops occur. Yet don't expect don't expect Golarion to fall too completely into the clutches of the Great Old Ones. When the mythos rears its ugly head (or tentacles, or tongue, or color—whatever passes for a "head" in each monster's case) in Golarion, they have to be justified by the adventure's story and needs. In addition, that particular element needs to be something that doesn't feel out of place in the sword and sorcery genre. It also needs to not be tied to Earth. For example, Cthulhu himself is pretty much stuck in R'lyeh, which itself is located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean (at South Latitude 47° 9', West Longitude 126° 43' for those of you with boats and death wishes)—it doesn't make sense to have him show up on Golarion, so don't expect his wiggly mug to pop in any time soon. Things that travel through the dimensions (like hounds of Tindalos) or come from remote corners of the universe (which are equally as far from Golarion as they are from Earth, really) or are from other realms entirely (or, in the case of Leng or Kadath, are other realms) are all fair game.

Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!

James Jacobs
Editor-in-Chief, Pathfinder

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Tags: H. P. Lovecraft Monsters Rise of the Runelords
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