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Great Old One

Source Bestiary 4 pg. 135

The Great Old Ones are otherworldly entities of almost unimaginable power—beings completely alien to humanity, both physiologically and spiritually. They exist in the forgotten corners of distant worlds or lost dimensions, yet their power is so great they can inf luence certain sensitive mortal minds in their dreams and nightmares, even if such inf luence is as accidental as a star’s gravitational pull on a tiny mote of dust adrift in space. In such ways, cults devoted to the Great Old Ones can rise on worlds throughout the Material Plane, even without prior contact between these worlds. Some of the Great Old Ones grant access to the domain of Void and its associated subdomains (see below).

While not all of the Great Old Ones are evil, all are forces of chaos. Their cults are almost always evil and cause harm and madness, but the Great Old Ones are generally content to ignore lesser life such as humans, elves, and dwarves. Yet when their attention is garnered, the results can be catastrophic on an immense scale— for just as the ant who bites someone’s toe invites swift destruction on a scale its feeble mind can’t envision, so too does humanity invite unimaginable ruin by delving into the affairs of these powerful creatures.

The Great Old Ones themselves often serve and worship even greater powers, such as Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Shub-Niggurath, and Yog-Sothoth. Those creatures are the Outer Gods, and whereas the Great Old Ones can be thought of as akin to demigods, the Outer Gods are themselves true deities.

Other Great Old Ones

Bokrug, Cthulhu, and Hastur are but three of the Great Old Ones—countless others exist on distant worlds or other dimensions, yet are still able to influence the world through their dreams and cults. The central concept of the Great Old Ones was created by H. P. Lovecraft, one of the most influential writers of weird fiction—and horror fiction in general—of the 20th century. Lovecraft actively encouraged his writer friends to add to his mythos of creatures, and today we have Great Old Ones created not only by Lovecraft’s contemporaries like Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner, and August Derleth, but also by modern writers like Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, and Stephen King. Chaosium’s excellent Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game is a perfect place to start delving into the realm of Great Old Ones evoked in RPG form. By creating new Great Old Ones for your game, you can become part of a tradition of shared mythology nearly a century old!

Creatures in "Great Old One" Category


Great Old One, Tsathoggua

Neither quite humanoid nor quite toad, this lumbering monstrosity maintains a malevolent expression on its batlike face.

Tsathoggua CR 29

Source Pathfinder #111: Dreams of the Yellow King pg. 84
XP 6,553,600
CE Large aberration (chaotic, evil, Great Old One)
Init +21; Senses darkvision 60 ft., see in darkness, true seeing; Perception +47
Aura unspeakable presence (300 ft., DC 38, 10 rounds)


AC 47, touch 30, flat-footed 36 (+11 Dex, +10 insight, +17 natural, –1 size)
hp 742 (33d8+594); fast healing 25
Fort +29, Ref +24, Will +29
Defensive Abilities freedom of movement, immortality, insanity (DC 38); DR 15/epic and lawful; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, aging, cold, death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, petrification; Resist electricity 30, sonic 30; SR 40


Speed 50 ft.; air walk
Melee bite +42 (8d10+28/18–20/×3 plus feed), 2 claws +42 (5d6+28/18–20/×3 plus grab)
Space 10 ft., Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (4d6+25), consume spellcaster, create spawn, feed, mythic power (10/day, surge +1d12), outcast’s dreams
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 29th; concentration +41)
Constant—air walk, freedom of movement, tongues, true seeing
At will—astral projection, dimension doorM, dreamM, greater dispel magic, insanity (DC 29), nightmareM (DC 27), sendingM
3/day—demand (DC 30), quickened feeblemind (DC 27), hungry pitAPG (DC 27), power word stun
1/day—maze, weird (DC 31), wishM
Spells Known (CL 29th; concentration +41)
9th (7/day)—imprisonment (DC 31), time stop
8th (8/day)—polymorph any object (DC 30), prismatic wall (DC 30)
7th (8/day)—greater teleport, word of chaos (DC 29)
6th (8/day)—heal, word of recall
5th (8/day)—dominate person (DC 27), wall of force
4th (9/day)—black tentacles, greater magic fang
3rd (9/day)—displacement, fly
2nd (9/day)—command undead (DC 24), invisibility
1st (9/day)—mage armor, reduce person (DC 23)
0 (at will)—arcane mark, bleed, dancing lights, detect magic, ghost sound (DC 22), prestidigitation


Str 48, Dex 33, Con 46, Int 31, Wis 32, Cha 35
Base Atk +24; CMB +44 (+48 sunder); CMD 75 (77 vs. sunder)
Feats Arcane Strike, Blinding Critical, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Empower Spell, Eschew Materials, Greater Sunder, Greater Vital Strike, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Critical (claw), Improved Sunder, Improved Vital Strike, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Quicken Spell, Quicken Spell-Like Ability (feeblemind), Vital Strike
Skills Bluff +45, Fly +45, Intimidate +48, Knowledge (arcana) +46, Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography, history, nature, religion) +43, Perception +47, Sense Motive +44, Spellcraft +46, Stealth +43, Use Magic Device +45
Languages Aklo; telepathy 300 ft.; tongues
SQ adaptive spellcasting, item creation, powerful blows


Environment any (Darklands)
Organization solitary (unique)
Treasure triple

Special Abilities

Adaptive Spellcasting (Su) Tsathoggua has mastered all forms of magic, be they arcane, divine, or psychic. He casts spells spontaneously, as per a sorcerer, but he can cast spells from any spell list. He can know up to two spells per spell level from 1st to 9th at any one time (and up to six 0-level spells at any one time), taken from any spell list. When he uses his consume spellcaster ability, he can swap out up to two spells currently known for any two spells known (and currently prepared in the case of prepared spellcasters) by his consumed victim. The only spells Tsathoggua can never know are those with the good or lawful descriptors. The spells listed above are those he favors, but GMs are free to alter that list as they wish for encounters with Tsathoggua.

Consume Spellcaster (Su) When Tsathoggua kills a spellcaster while using his feed ability, the spellcaster’s body shrivels into what appears to be a long-dead mummified corpse. Tsathoggua can learn any two spells known by the spellcaster (see adaptive spellcasting above) when he kills a spellcaster in this way, and he regains a number of hit points equal to the total number of spell levels still uncast by the consumed victim.

Create Spawn (Su) Once every hour as a standard action, Tsathoggua can emit 1d4 formless spawn from his body. These newly created formless spawn have free will and are fully grown, but they follow Tsathoggua’s commands for 1d4 days after creation. Tsathoggua sometimes gifts newly created spawn to visitors he favors. Sometimes he just eats them. Those spawn that escape servitude or digestion slither off into the world on their own.

Feed (Su) Whenever Tsathoggua deals bite damage to a creature, he drinks away vital essence, sanity, and bodily fluids alike. This causes 1d4 points of ability drain to all six ability scores. A successful DC 44 Fortitude saving throw reduces the 1d4 points of ability drain to only one ability score, chosen by Tsathoggua. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Great Old One Traits Rules for Tsathoggua’s Great Old One traits such as immortality, insanity, his mythic abilities, otherworldly insight, and unspeakable presence can be found on page 306 of Pathfinder RPG Bestiary 4.

Immortality (Su) If Tsathoggua is slain, his body tears open and creates a burst of vile ooze that deals 20d8 points of acid damage to all creatures within a 60-foot spread. A total of 2d6 formless spawn immediately form in random spots throughout this area of effect, while the remainder of the gore seeps into the ground, reforming into Tsathoggua in a deep cavern on another world after 1d100 months have passed. All portals in Tsathoggua’s domain that connect to the world on which he was slain deactivate and must be manually repaired by the Great Old One, a process that can take years or even decades but does not bar his return to that world via other means.

Item Creation (Su) Tsathoggua is treated as having all item creation feats for the purposes of crafting magic items.

Outcast’s Dreams (Su) Tsathoggua can affect any creature with outcast’s dreams that has succumbed to the Great Old One’s unspeakable presence or that has ever offered him prayer or physically touched an altar dedicated to him within the walls of a still-standing temple of Tsathoggua. When Tsathoggua uses nightmare on such a target, the victim must also succeed at a DC 38 Will saving throw or feel cast out of society and spurned by friends and loved ones. The victim cannot benefit from the aid another action or provide aid to others, it must always attempt saving throws against beneficial spell effects if saving throws are allowed, and it takes a –4 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks when any other creature of its type is within 30 feet of it. This is a mindaffecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Powerful Blows (Ex) Tsathoggua’s bite and claw attacks always apply 1-1/2 times his Strength modifier to damage.

Unspeakable Presence (Su) Failing a DC 38 Will saving throw against Tsathoggua’s unspeakable presence causes the victim to perceive Tsathoggua as its only ally; it treats all other creatures as enemies and does what it can to defend Tsathoggua and obey the Great Old One’s commands, as if under the effects of dominate monster. This effect persists for as long as the victim remains within 300 feet of Tsathoggua. This is a mind-affecting effect. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Known variously to his worshipers as the Father of Night, Saint Toad, the Sleeper in the Deep, and other appellations, Tsathoggua is among the more enigmatic of the Great Old Ones. Not only does he often interact with mortal life, but he has at times done so in a friendly or even charitable manner. Yet these moods are mercurial, and the Great Old One tires of company and attempts to eat those he had been aiding only a moment before. Those who worship him generally do not display this level of magnanimity; they are typically fanatic and violent in their methods of preserving the secrets of their sect.

Tsathoggua appears as a bloated toadlike creature, covered with fur and wearing a strange, sleepy expression on his bat-like face.

Tsathoggua’s Cult

Tsathoggua’s worshipers often venerate him as a god of magic. They rarely gather in large groups, with most of his cultists being loners or outcasts who dwell at the fringes of society or in the wilderness. The presence of well-preserved Tsathogguan temples on many worlds suggests that at one point in the distant past, his followers were both more plentiful and more willing to work in larger groups, but today these temples lie abandoned save by monsters, the Great Old One’s spawn, and a handful of clerics (or just a lone devoted and powerful priest). Tsathoggua grants access to the domains of Chaos, Evil, Knowledge, and Magic and to the subdomains of Arcane, Divine, Thought, and Whimsy (Pathfinder Campaign Settings: Inner Sea Gods 227). Tsathoggua’s favored weapon is the short sword.