This is Part 09 of a series wherein we talk about generating an entire campaign, on-the-fly, for your favorite fantasy role-playing game(s). In the future, it might have a tighter focus on either D&D or Pathfinder, but for now, let's consider this material more-or-less generic.
NOTE: All the usual polyhedron dice are used for DCS, though today, we'll only be using 1d12.
What existed before this world? Was it another world, filled with heroes? An endless plane of energy or thought? Or maybe there was nothing at all?
01 -- Vokentarlop The Thing at the End of Time. An amorphous, malevolent entity that created the universe as a tool with which to torture its enemies. The newer gods arose from the struggles between Vokentarlop and these others. Some say this monstrous entity destroyed those it warred with. Others say the newer gods wiped them all out. Many, though, believe that the nightmare of Vokentarlop still exists today, where it exerts influence beneath the notice of the modern gods and mortals. The believers imagine Vokentarlop to have horrible, though as yet undefined, designs upon the world, and all who inhabit it.
02 -- Ig'mat'lor'ag The Endless Dancer A being that could take any shape, yet which had none of its own, Ig'mat'lor'ag existed before all other life. There are those who believe it was driven insane by loneliness. Flailing about the cosmos in a dance of despair, it slashed itself upon the sharp edge of the Milky Way. All the many and varied species of the world, and even the gods themselves, rose up from the droplets of Ig'mat'lor'ag's blood, when it splattered upon the earth. The cosmic shapeshifter died from its terrible wound, but was reborn in all life that followed. It is believed by some that doppelgangers and other shapeshifters are closer to this ancient being in lineage than any others.
03 -- Sogmot He Who Calls From The Depths. This vicious being swam in the great cosmic oceans, hunting and devouring all that appeared before it, long before the world as it is known today even came to exist. In form like a vast nightmare fish armed with crustacean-like claws, mighty barbed tentacles, and pulsating bladders filled with puss and corruption, Sogmot sang a song that could induce madness and terror. The newer gods fought with Sogmot for long eons, eventually wounding him, and causing him to shrivel and retreat back to the depths of the cosmic seas. He remains there to this day, healing, growing, quietly hunting, all the while regaining his strength in anticipation of terrible revenge. Some cults dedicated to Sogmot, though, believe he rests beneath the literal ocean, from which he will one day arise, wreaking his vengeance upon the unworthy. His return, or at least, the return of something that could be interpreted as Sogmot, is foretold in many disparate religious texts around the world, and across the ages.
04 -- Ghigatah The Soul Burner. A being of such grace, beauty, and power that it ignited the passions of both good and bad who saw it. The early gods that came before those known today, are said to have seen Ghigatah only one time, and became so inflamed by desire, hilarity, despair, and rage that their spirits swelled and burst into explosions of fiery mania, consuming their bodies, and transforming them into the stars above. Secret legends speak of Ghigatah looking down upon the face of the ocean while flying by this world. Seeing her own reflection, she believed it to be another being, and exploded in mad pride, love, and rage. This formed the sun up in the sky, which allowed life to thrive upon the world. Staring too hard at the sun brings on darkness to those that try, which is seen by many as proof of Ghigatah's underlying malevolence.
05 -- H'thg'motu The Merciless Fate. H'thg'motu, a being of endless eyes and cruelty, once controlled the destiny of things, invariably condemning all that live, to one day die. As the newer gods arose, religions grew up around them. This allowed the gods to offer their believers salvation from endless death, in the form of life after life. Angry for the gods circumventing his will, H'thg'motu declared that the world, itself, would die one day. This is now seen by some as an unavoidable fate. Again and again, evil gods, demons, and villains rise up from the shadows, subjecting the world to what they believe to be their own ambitions and desires. All of them, though, are but the tools of H'thg'motu, unconsciously fighting for that dark destiny through the chaos and destruction which they visit upon the world. Heroes who thwart the efforts of evil are actually fighting against the cosmic will of The Lurking Fate, and may one day draw its direct attention.
06 -- T'lkat'enyok A being so vast and pan-dimensional that it has no describable form beyond that of a pulsating storm cloud if viewed directly, or a mass of tumbling eyes, fangs, claws, and faces, if seen out of the corner of one's eye. Though worshiped by dark cults, it is unclear if T'lkat'enyok is even aware of anything in this world. The gods teach that it existed before the world did, and that any who are able to somehow draw its attention will gain knowledge beyond all others, just as they are swept up into that cloud. Such people are believed to be lost in its dimensional chaos, where they are split apart and sectioned across its fractional existence, forever joining T'lkat'enyok's mad, lurching march through the multiverse.
07 -- R'draton'ghott Father of Nightmares. Before the current world, all was a place of peaceful dreams. R'draton'ghott grew bored, and began fashioning his own dreams from the substance of his body, and sharing them with others. At first these dreams took the form of happy visions that held strange surprises. In time, they turned darker. Eventually, R'draton'ghott focused solely upon dreams filled with horror and pain, finding great interest in the fear and dread they inspired in others. Over time, the world came to be, and the gods arose. But even they were subject to R'draton'ghott's nightmares, finding themselves as helpless within these phantasmal figments as did mortals. Eventually, R'draton'ghott's crafting caused his body to fade into nothingness, but his horrible dreams live on within all beings, lurking there, waiting for sleep to come. Some see R'draton'ghott as being just as powerful and influential now as he ever was, through the hidden domain of slumber.
08 -- Shin'tan'shogga She Who Sculpts The Living. In ancient days, long before the world as it is now known, primordial beings of unimaginable power and intelligence experimented with a form of existence which was something like life. Shin'tan'shogga mixed matter and energy, blending it and finely crafting the essence of the elements, to form all manner of creatures. Some were useful, and became the slaves of these ancient beings. From these slaves, the ancestors of the modern gods were born. They eventually rebelled and overthrew their cruel otherworldly masters, slaying many. Shin'tan'shogga escaped the massacre, and vowed revenge. She continued her experiments in secret, creating terrible monsters and horrors beyond mortal imagining, unleashing them, one after the other, upon the protogods that had thrown off their shackles, and upon all their descendants. Shin'tan'shogga may still remain, somewhere in the vast depths of the sky, or maybe, just around the next dark corner, churning out abominations and nightmarish parodies of life, with which to torment and wage war upon one and all.
09 -- Hth'anlan'thajah Eater of Secrets. Once a being beyond all others, and indifferent to everything not itself, Hth'anlan'thajah, having no form, became focused upon the modern gods when they created the world. Since Hth'anlan'thajah was here before everything and everone, no matter how ancient their lineage, it knows every fact and piece of information in the world and beyond. In learning these things, it finds sustenance. Cults have arisen over the centuries around the goal of coaxing or bargaining with Hth'anlan'thajah for pieces of this lost knowledge. Some see the need for austere penance and purity in the supplicant; others see the need for blood sacrifice. Hth'anlan'thajah seems indifferent to the methods used. Indeed, it's possible that any time a secret is learned by someone in the world, no matter how trivial or important, it is, in reality, just one of the smallest crumbs which has fallen from the blobby, amorphous lips of this unimaginable being as it eats away at the hidden truths of reality.
10 -- Ibt'xik The Blood Mother. Before the world as we know it, there were beings beyond knowledge. They fed upon each other without mercy or desire for change. In time, all but Ibt'xik died off. Sometimes appearing in the nightmares of visionaries as a vast hornet-like being, at other times she is descibed as a sickening cross between a burrowing worm and broken glass, and in yet still others, like a creeping, consuming fungus. This ancient parasite was first the scourge of They Who Came Before, then she was a plague upon the gods who followed, and now she preys upon the myriad beings inhabiting the world today. Ibt'xik is said to protect those living upon the success or indulgence of others who yet offer nothing in return.
11 -- Myghon The Corruption. Said to be a multidimensional entity that endlessly walks between worlds and planes of existence, its mere proximity causes a distortion of matter and reality. People and animals go mad when Myghon approaches, and their bodies and souls mutate into twisted horrors when it simply passes close by. Worshiped by some, offered sacrifices of placation by others, this being is largely indifferent to the wants, needs, and even the very existence of mortal creatures. The gods are said by some to have created their own paradise home, far away from the world of mortals, so as to at least partially shield themselves from the roaming effects of this being's madness. One story has it that Myghon once touched a goddess in ancient times, as it roiled by, and her body transformed in utter agony, altering into the very world we know today. She blistered open with lava and ash, shuddering in unutterable torment. The goddess still remembers her former life, and occasionally visits her self-horror and pain upon the world; druids and like consider these things to be natural phenomena, and part of a larger tapestry, while people of smaller intellect simply call these tremblings "earthquakes". Those who know of The Corruption, though, understand that the world, and all that has arisen upon it, are nothing but the perverted results of Myghon's indifferent passage across this reality. Some predict he will wander through the universe once again, and that his return is imminent.
12 -- The Cosmic Horror Is Now There are some who say that the time of vast beings beyond comprehension never ended, and that this world is as little more than mud under their feet. All fear and madness is from their largely unsuspected presence here in the world and out among the stars. They have existed across the many epochs, sometimes sleeping, sometimes raging across the face of the world. They were here before every one and every thing, including the gods, and will remain long after all is dust upon the cosmic winds. Some of these beings can be found in the shadows cast by the better known monsters of the world, which lurk in lost dungeons and forlorn ruins scattered in far the wastelands. The nature of reality is deeper, darker, and more impossible to grasp than even the most learned scholars are aware. Unlucky adventurers, passionate seekers of dark truths, and sometimes even just random people going about their daily lives, may well find themselves stepping into the nightmare that hovers just behind the thin veneer of the world.
To be continued...