Mythos Superhumanity: An Ideas Thread

lategamer

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A good inspiration for this idea I think would be Alan Moore's Captain Britain run which is one of the darkest and most disturbing yet mind-bending things he ever wrote in the superhero genre.

We mention some specific episodes of it above. It was, in my opinion, some of the most transformative writing at the time (with great art).

I mean, I like Moore and Ellis - but young Moore was ahead of his time even then. What's so frustrating is that there was obviously more to it. More Beetles. More refugee. More warp. And we see only a fragment.
 

lategamer

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I broke out some oddities into it's own thread because I started looking back through some (really quite old and musty) copies of White Dwarf.

The first I bought was White Dwarf 55 and it contained a scenario called Spiderbite. The scenario was for 1-2nd Level AD&D characters and involved delving into the jungle to find a lost tribe and temple. The very same year Golden Heroes was released.

White Dwarf 56 brought a Sci-Fi Call of Cthulhu adventure THE LAST LOG (by Jon Sutherland, Steve Williams and Tim Hall ). That was August 1984 and realising that the game setting didn't have to be as strict as it seemed was kinda revolutionary for me - I'd only owned one RPG at this point (MERP).

So, Golden Heroes it was. With the two published adventures to come out for it (Legacy of Eagles - where the players have to stop the release of an existential horror) and Queen Victoria and the Holy Grail (well, it has Queen Victoria and the Holy Grail), it seemed that supernatural stuff was kinda suited.

Add to this I was reading Captain Britain and while I wasn't 100% keen on his quasi-mystical origins, it can't be denied that it wasn't there at the start.
 

urbwar

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I didn't see it mentioned, but Zenith by Grant Morrison might be good inspiration. IIRC, super powered bodies were able to be used as hosts for powerful entities in our world
 

lategamer

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I
I didn't see it mentioned, but Zenith by Grant Morrison might be good inspiration. IIRC, super powered bodies were able to be used as hosts for powerful entities in our world
I think it's mentioned in the first post...

I'n re-reading the whole series. I like that there is a connection between super humanity and the Lloigor (who are a Derleth invention so beware) but that it's not that the Mythos beings created Superhumans. It's that the bodies are strong enough and (maybe this is my interpretation), their minds go to the right places. some of them do seem immune....
 

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Personally, I would take a look at the excellent Adventures Into Darkness, published for Truth and Justice, M&M and Hero. Full of greta mythos-adjacent superheroes stuff.

I ran through Masks of Nyarlathotep using the PDQ versions and it was terrific.

You can find the campaign writeup here
 

lategamer

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Reading through Elder Godlike which is a weird marriage of CoC BRP and Godlike (with additional rules for Savage Worlds). The powers system would easily translate into Mythras. Just saying.

They have a few cool things

I like the psychic mental state vs reality thing that have going on. When a Talent reaches 0 SAN, their madness manifests much more strongly in reality - really reminds me of the Jaspers Warp from early Captain Britain.

Thats going in the bag.
 

lategamer

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In my head, the supers are kinda like the natural defence mechanism of the Earth against the intrusions of Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu among others.

in my head canon, old Nyarly and Cutie were originally “supers” on their own worlds but went mad/bad/dangerous. They end up like Thanos from MCU - maybe insane, maybe obsessed, maybe completely alien and driven to some alien purpose and quite possibly immortal and the very last of their races.

I don’t like the idea of getting powers from Cthulhu or being an avatar of something like Nodens. These beings are alien practitioners of magic/superpowers and they’re all tapping into primordial sources of power.

Going to talk in terms of meta currencies here.

I like Pushing powers to attract “Mythos” points. And once you have your first Mythos point you can use it as a boost to superpowers. Kinda like Momentum/Threat in 2d20 and kinda like Hope/Hate in TOR. KINDA also like Dark Side points in Star Wars WEG.

The problem isn’t with the first taste. It’s the second. A simple mechanic would be rolling under your Mythos every time you use it. With 1 point you’re safe. With 2…. You’re in danger of a violation. This could be a permanent change to your character. A power, maybe a new power. But it’s not straightforward.
 

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I like the way it was done in the Laundry Files, as the end times draw closer, a few people develop super-powers but as with sorcery, using these powers slowly eats your brain. You basically end-up dying of mad cow disease as the otherwordly parasites that grant you your powers eat your brain away...

But at the same time the Laundry was quite happy to use these heroes against Mythos intrusions. It was quite bleak...
 

lategamer

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Things I’m not keen on….

In Elder Godlike, there quite are a few powers which cause SAN loss to the user. Some of them (like the group teleport power) cause SAN loss to every person teleported.

I understand that the nature of Cthulhu stories is a slippery slope but that’s a little too COC for me. I want the players to ascend certainly. I want them to become mad or twisted because of deliberate choices they make.
 

lategamer

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What of “magic” and forbidden books?

Going out on a limb here and wondering if the books themselves are the work of cultists over the years who came to worship the Great Old Ones. They’re methods to contact these greedy, selfish, malign beings.

Spells are interesting. I’d keep it limited to the sort of spells we find in CoC/whatever. But supers are able to supercharge them.

they’re definitely a source of “new powers”. I like that. And yeah, calling these entities is a bad idea even if they don’t have San loss.
 

lategamer

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SAN. That’s an interesting one.

Golden Heroes had Hits to Kill (HTK) and Hits to Coma (HTC). Modern games tend to have Conditions. I definitely like the idea of physical and mental conditions for our heroes. Especially as the latter plays well into the Mythos.

What’s that mean for people losing physical health or mental health? The latter is certainly harder to heal ( reflecting real life). I think that where being reduced to minimum physical health should result in a permanent injury, the same should be said about mental health.
Taking a page from TFTL, it might be ok for a hero to take the damage from an incoming attack on their mental track. That seems to emulate the comics too. They become demoralised / defeated but not dead.
 

lategamer

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A thing I do like is the ESP talents have when another talent uses an ability. This would be something that would also attract the attention of Mythos beings, the malevolent kind as well as the hungry.

I like the idea that the PCs would be alerted to the news that there’s another super being working. Would work for superpowered crime back home too.
 

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I haven't read the whole thread so maybe someone's already mentioned this, but there's a Charles Stross Laundry Files novel that's about Superheroes in the Mythos Universe.

Just checking now it's The Annihilation Score.
 

lategamer

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One thing I suppose that stands out is ...

We have GODLIKE. We have NEMESIS. We have WILD TALENTS. What's stopping someone from just using that?

Well, a couple of things. As much as this forum loves MYTHRAS and loathes 2d20, I find the ORE system just a little too fiddly for supers.
 

chuckdee

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One thing I suppose that stands out is ...

We have GODLIKE. We have NEMESIS. We have WILD TALENTS. What's stopping someone from just using that?

Well, a couple of things. As much as this forum loves MYTHRAS and loathes 2d20, I find the ORE system just a little too fiddly for supers.
Why is that? I've always found it pretty straightforward with the one roll.
 

lategamer

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Another series of comics you should read…

we mentioned the Jaspers Warp story in Captain Britain
And the Zenith series.

Get the graphic novel of The New Statesmen.
 

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Eldritch Skies is a sci-fi game that looks at the Mythos from a sci-fi lens. It posits that hyperstatial exposure causes mutations, which can give people special abilities. People mutated this way are called "Abhumans" (short for Abnormal Humans). Deep Ones were once human in the setting, but exposure from being around beings like Cthulhu mutated them into their own race. Abhumans are low level superhumans, so the setting could also be cribbed for ideas. The Savage Worlds version was reviewed on the forums, and is full of errors. The Unisystem version is long out of print, sad to say. Wish they'd do a new version in another system sometime.
 

lategamer

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One of the things about the Mythos is that from its earliest days it was about collaboration.

These days we have to be careful on the representation of the Mythos and inventions within it. The images created by Chaosium are copyright. Some of the descriptions are. Every company invents it's own Great Old Ones or Outer Gods so not to fall into the trap of infringing on someone else's property - Chaosium, Modiphius, Pelgrane....they're all doing it.

It means that some pretty cool idea are now untouchable for the next hundred years. It means we can't reasonably use The Hounds of Tindalos even though they're pretty cool (and I had a whole work up on what exactly Tindalos comprises - which can never be published).

I think that companies operating within the Cthulhu Mythos are doing so in bad faith. But this is the real world and we have to work with whatever cards we have been dealt.
 

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One of the things about the Mythos is that from its earliest days it was about collaboration.

These days we have to be careful on the representation of the Mythos and inventions within it. The images created by Chaosium are copyright. Some of the descriptions are. Every company invents it's own Great Old Ones or Outer Gods so not to fall into the trap of infringing on someone else's property - Chaosium, Modiphius, Pelgrane....they're all doing it.

It means that some pretty cool idea are now untouchable for the next hundred years. It means we can't reasonably use The Hounds of Tindalos even though they're pretty cool (and I had a whole work up on what exactly Tindalos comprises - which can never be published).

I think that companies operating within the Cthulhu Mythos are doing so in bad faith. But this is the real world and we have to work with whatever cards we have been dealt.
But we can riff on those ideas, for instance Dogs of Time instead of Hounds of Tindalos, would allow anyone to use their own ideas.
Then as you have alluded to, you have to decide what the Great Old Ones actually are, and Gumshoe Trail of Cthulhu does a fantastic job of this. One version of Azathoth feels like a Xeelee. Then we have Kult, and their version of Chokmah / Hokmah seems like Nyarlathotep.

Doctor Who has its own Great Old Ones, which are very similar to the Outsiders from Raiders of Ryleh, which are also very similar to Dread Beings from Midnight World (rpg). I mean there is really so much you can can do with them really. I have always wanted to run a cross-universe campaign, where you encounter different version of the mythos, where some might be gods and others powerful aliens etc.

Something I dislike, soooo much is when people start using known Earth gods as Great Old Ones or Elder gods. Both should be massively different in my view, but capable of interacting like in the Smite game where Zeus does battle with Cthulhu.

EDIT: I mean look at Tetsuo in Akira when he suddenly inflates when he is full of absolute eneergy.


Very reminiscent of a Great Old One in my mind.
 
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lategamer

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Something I dislike, soooo much is when people start using known Earth gods as Great Old Ones or Elder gods. Both should be massively different in my view, but capable of interacting like in the Smite game where Zeus does battle with Cthulhu.

Agreed. It’s my second issue with SCION
 

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Agreed. It’s my second issue with SCION
Exactly that.
Zeus fighting Cthulhu is going to go very, very badly for him. Same goes if every pantheon joined in, though in my view some of the Hindu gods are virtual eldritch horrors anyway and I tend to discount them - same with some of the Buddhas.

You could literally change Mahabarata to Star Wars and no one would notice.
Si it would be a great pre-Atlantis setting, for use in a Mythos setting, ancient civilisation that possessed advanced technology long since vanished, bar a few scars on the world.
 

lategamer

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Eldritch Skies is a sci-fi game that looks at the Mythos from a sci-fi lens. It posits that hyperstatial exposure causes mutations,
I picked up the SW version and I have to say I really like their Hyperspace Exposure stuff. I’d split it up a little more …

for instance allowing supers to take Mythos either mentally or physically. the former changing their minds into something nonhuman (Doctor Manhattan?) and the latter allowing for physical changes (Big Ben).
 

lategamer

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See, SAN loss doesn’t really work for this. And isn’t as interesting in the perspective change that heightened awareness could bring.

I mean, if dropping below 20 SAN in COC allowed you to summon a Gate any time you wanted, it would be a very different game.

I’m going to run this game.
 

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See, SAN loss doesn’t really work for this. And isn’t as interesting in the perspective change that heightened awareness could bring.

I mean, if dropping below 20 SAN in COC allowed you to summon a Gate any time you wanted, it would be a very different game.

I’m going to run this game.
Low sanity is covered in the Mythos magic book, enabling you to enhance the power of your spells I believe.
 

lategamer

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Low sanity is covered in the Mythos magic book, enabling you to enhance the power of your spells I believe.
Yes, in the Deeper Magic section. It’s a good book.

Though I’m looking at removing SAN considerations. The idea being that a crystal-clear perfect understanding of the universe is madness from the human point of view. So really the superhuman mind is clearer than human minds. And has the potential to be more and understand more.

And once the transcendence/transgression has taken place, there is no going back.
 

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Volume 2 of Steve Jackson Games' Pyramid Magazine, the Pyramid Online Webzine version, once had an article literally titled "Lovecraftian Supers", based on the concept of blending the Mythos with Superheroic concepts, blending into something new. One topic was the discussion of Sanity Loss, with the idea of going with different possible levels of sanity degradation:

  • Mild: While not raving loons, supers tend to be loopier than the average joe. After all, one has to be a little cracked to dress up like a creature of the night or a circus performer. A powered individual is more neurotic than the most folks: haunted by nightmares, susceptible to amnesia, or wracked by odd compulsions. In cases of mind control or severe head trauma, a super's mentality could regress to that of his empowering Mythos creature or master.
  • Medium: The heroic will of the super keeps his dark side in check. However, he must be eternally vigilant, so as not to slip and fall from the moral high ground. His mantra is, "With great power comes great responsibility," for it would be so easy to let go and run amok among fragile humanity.
  • Mighty: It's a losing battle. Constant use of superpowers pushes the hero to the brink of insanity, yet he must brave personal destruction for those who cannot protect themselves. Each day is a scrabbling slide into madness as the hero pursues his or her muscular altruism. The little victories keep him sane, but one significant failure could send him over the edge.

A Mild level of Sanity degradation would allow most supers to operate at a Marvel characters level, where Supers tend to be dealing with trauma about past experiences while remaining heroic. Heck, such insanity could manifest like Deadpool's 4th Wall Awareness.

Sadly, the article itself was mostly lost to the ether when Pyramid Online was shut down. But I did save a copy of the article with the final archive download when it was available.
 

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I always though a Great Race of Yith member would be a reasonable super character. Some random normie gets total amnesia, manifests weird knowledge plus odd knowledge gaps plus personality change, then goes full in on classic weird science superhero. Zero fear of death, often has just the right odd gizmo at a critical time, weird obsessions, no fashion sense, and "someone has to do this" reasoning.

You could slot them into anything from standard street level, classic silver age, of weird mythos supers. Just be varying the level of weird science and prescient knowledge.
 

lategamer

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I asked ChatGPT

Tell me how the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods could have created superheroes?



In a fantasy or sci-fi context, the creation of superheroes by the Great Old Ones or Outer Gods could be portrayed as follows:
  1. Genetic Engineering: The Great Old Ones or Outer Gods could have used their advanced technology to genetically engineer beings with superpowers, who are then referred to as superheroes.
  2. Infusion of Cosmic Energy: The Great Old Ones or Outer Gods could have infused cosmic energy into the bodies of individuals to grant them superhuman abilities.
  3. Bestowing of Powers: The Great Old Ones or Outer Gods could have granted superpowers to individuals as a reward for serving their agendas, or as part of a larger plan to manipulate humanity.
  4. Creation of Artificial Intelligence: The Great Old Ones or Outer Gods could have created artificial intelligence with superpowers, which then operate as superheroes.
  5. Possession of Humans: The Great Old Ones or Outer Gods could have taken possession of human bodies, granting them superpowers and a new identity as a superhero.
In this fantasy or sci-fi context, the motivations of the Great Old Ones and the Outer Gods for creating superheroes could vary greatly, ranging from manipulation and control, to amusement, to the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy.
 

lategamer

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I always though a Great Race of Yith member would be a reasonable super character. Some random normie gets total amnesia, manifests weird knowledge plus odd knowledge gaps plus personality change, then goes full in on classic weird science superhero. Zero fear of death, often has just the right odd gizmo at a critical time, weird obsessions, no fashion sense, and "someone has to do this" reasoning.

You could slot them into anything from standard street level, classic silver age, of weird mythos supers. Just be varying the level of weird science and prescient knowledge.

As in the embodied mind? And then them trying to find a preserved version of their original body type so they can slip into something "more comfortable".

I for one welcome our Yithian saviours.
 

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Yes, in the Deeper Magic section. It’s a good book.

Though I’m looking at removing SAN considerations. The idea being that a crystal-clear perfect understanding of the universe is madness from the human point of view. So really the superhuman mind is clearer than human minds. And has the potential to be more and understand more.

And once the transcendence/transgression has taken place, there is no going back.
d948e2168568b2051ae6bcf41e2714c7.jpg
 

lategamer

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How to start?

The original premise for my superhero games was its superheroes! But the only adventures published in WD at the time seemed to be CoC. So that's a basic premise. There's evil people and superpowers and sometimes a powerful monster. I was re-reading some really old Doctor Strange and yeah, it's a little more four colour (in that the Doc has a chance of success...) but it's all fighting against cultists and servitors to prevent the rise of old ones.

Adding in the growing alienness of super humanity is the idea.

We can't judge superhumans by human standards because they're not humans. How quickly would their morality erode? Even without the disconnections caused by a more complete understanding of the universe.

I quite like the separation of HTK and HTK in Golden Heroes. They do much the same in TOR - you have endurance that gets worn down unless someone scores a Wound and two wounds kill.

Three levels of injury to the body and mind each.

Bruised. ............... Shocked
Wounded ............. Staggered
Incapacitated ...... Scarred

(I super-dislike the way the mental ones start with S)

Now I wonder if this is too many things to keep track of.
 

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I thinksome sort of Stun Point total and two tracks for Physical/Mental wounds is about as complex as I'd want to get, especially in a supers-alike game where things might get fast and furious.

Edit: In my experience if a supers game has a serious wound or injury system, expect players to want to stack defence all day long. Perhaps skipping "nigh invulnerability" for "horrid chitinous/rubbery/slimy body" would give the min-maxers a little opportunity cost to think about.
 

lategamer

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I thinksome sort of Stun Point total and two tracks for Physical/Mental wounds is about as complex as I'd want to get, especially in a supers-alike game where things might get fast and furious.

I was thinking that these injuries are stacked. Usually Bruised->Wounded->Incapped and the same for the mental stack

I quite like the idea that if The Defenestrator is struck by a lightning bolt from a Mi-Go, they can choose to be Bruised or Shocked. The next attack, they can choose which one they didn't take. But the third one means choosing either Wounded or Staggered. So there's a NARRATIVE as well as a functional mechanic.

Edit: In my experience if a supers game has a serious wound or injury system, expect players to want to stack defence all day long. Perhaps skipping "nigh invulnerability" for "horrid chitinous/rubbery/slimy body" would give the min-maxers a little opportunity cost to think about.

That hasn't really been my experience but then I don't really play much with min-masears (and they quickly learn why). I have a triple tier power system in my head (which I've wholly ripped off from my other supers game).

The idea being that the 1st grade is innocuous. The second grade becomes noticeable. The third grade inhuman. That works well for "Tough Skin" but also might extend to energy attacks, strength, flight. To get the high levels they have to choose an inhuman Tell.
 
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