ORACLE

6/26/2009

Lovecraftian Influences Found in Pathfinder

Something that has come to my attention recently is the strong influence of H.P. Lovecraft and his Mythos on the upcoming roleplaying game Pathfinder. James Jacobs, who is the editor in chief for Pathfinder, has made it no secret he is a huge Lovecraft fan, and the world of Golarian is going to wear its Lovecraftian influences on its sleeve.

For those living under a rock somewhere, Pathfinder is an Open Game License roleplaying game being produced by Paizo, and is in essence the continuation and evolution of the 3.5 edition of the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset. It promises to balance the 3.5 rules and fix some of the glaring problems that seemed to plague the game. With this puppy weighing in at 576 pages I hope they achieve their goal.

As a teaser, here is a quick excerpt I found on the Paizo website, written by non other than James Jacobs:

The Aboleths and Cthulhu

Readers will notice a thematic resemblance between the aboleths, the Elder Evils, and various creatures or beings found in the stories of H. P. Lovecraft. This is, of course, completely intentional. Of all the major aberration races in the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game, the aboleths best personify the sense of cosmic horror and the ultimate insignificance of humankind expressed in Lovecraft’s writings. In fact, it’s quite easy to treat the aboleths themselves as a Lovecraftian race akin to the elder things featured in “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Dreams in the Witch House.”

By extension, the various monsters of the Cthulhu Mythos fit nicely into encounters with aboleths or adventures set in an aboleth city. Aboleth allies or servitors might include mi-go, deep ones, dholes, gugs, shoggoths, or serpent people. Enemies might include the elder things, flying polyps, or the Great Race of Yith.

Likewise, the five Elder Evils commonly honored by the aboleths could be previously unknown Great Old Ones or Outer Gods, or perhaps they are just alternate names for more

familiar entities:

  • Bolothamogg: Yog-Sothoth.
  • Holashner: Shudde M’ell or Tsathoggua.
  • Piscaethces: Cthulhu or Shub-Niggurath.
  • Shothotugg: Azathoth.
  • Y’chak: Nyarlathotep or Hastur.

Personally, I am not as excited about Pathfinder as I thought I might be. The size of the book seems daunting. Having said that, I am excited that they are going to include such blatant Lovecraftian content, and with the PDF selling for only $9.99 I expect I will be picking the game up if nothing else but to mine it for material.

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