The term Outer God
is used to describe a number of deities
in the Cthulhu Mythos
of H. P. Lovecraft
, although Lovecraft himself did not introduce this exact term (he used the term Other God
). The Outer Gods are vastly more powerful than the Great Old Ones
and function on a cosmic scale. Although the distinction between the two groups has been recognized by some mythos authors, it was the role-playing game Call of Cthulhu
that first introduced the term "Outer Gods". Nonetheless, the delineation between the Outer Gods
and the Great Old Ones
is not always clear, and some scholars do not recognize the distinction at all. The idea is most likely based on the titular entities in Lovecraft's story The Other Gods
, where they are called "gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth", and who appear again in The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
where they are referred to at one point as "the mindless Other Gods from Outside, whose soul and messenger is the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep
", and are contrasted with the weaker "gods of earth" or Great Ones
who are described as "ruling feebly our own dreamland
and having no power or habitation elsewhere". These stories are usually categorized in Lovecraft's Dream Cycle
, which some view as distinct from his Cthulhu Mythos, although a few beings such as Yog-Sothoth
appear in stories from both.
Outer Gods in the mythos
The Outer Gods are ruled by Azathoth
, the Blind Idiot God, who holds court at the center of the universe. A group of Outer Gods dance rhythmically around Azathoth, in cadence to the piping of a demonic
flute. Among the Outer Gods present at Azathoth's court are Tulzscha, The Green Flame
, and possibly Shub-Niggurath
, the Black Goat of the Woods
, the All-in-One
, co-rules with Azathoth and exists at all places and in all times in the cosmos, yet is somehow locked outside the mundane universe. Nyarlathotep
, the Crawling Chaos
, is the avatar
and soul of the Outer Gods, and serves as an intermediary between the deities of the pantheon and their cults. He is the only Outer God to have a true personality, though he possesses a malign intellect and reveals a mocking contempt for his masters.
List of Outer Gods
Entries in this list are organized as follows:
- Name. The name of the Outer God appears first.
- Epithets/other names. Epithets or alternate names for the Outer God appear in parenthesis.
- Description. A brief description appears under the Outer God's name.
- References. The stories in which the Outer God makes a significant appearance or otherwise receives important mention appear below the description. A simple two-letter code is used—the key to the codes is found here. If a code appears in bold, this means that the story introduces the Outer God.
See Clark Ashton Smith deities
Azathoth (The Blind Idiot God, Him in the Gulf, Seething Nuclear Chaos, The Daemon Sultan ) is the ruler of the Outer Gods. He appears as a vast, swirling, shapeless mass.
See Ramsey Campbell deities.
See Ramsey Campbell deities.
See Henry Kuttner deities.
Lesser Outer Gods
The Lesser Outer Gods (Guardians of the Outer Hells, The Other Gods) are mysterious protectors of the Dreamlands' gods, the weak Great Ones. To disturb them or the Great Ones is foolish and is often disastrous. They are at the sway of Azathoth in his hyperdimensional court, which they rarely leave, forever piping and dancing to incomprehensible tunes.
The Nameless Mist
The Nameless Mist (Nyog' Sothep?) is a misty, shapeless thing.
Nyarlathotep (The Crawling Chaos, Messenger to Azathoth, The Three-Lobed Burning Eye, The Black Man, and other epithets) usually appears as a handsome, dark-skinned, male human.
Shub-Niggurath (The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, Wife of the Not-to-Be-Named One ) appears as a horrifying, black, cloudy mass.
See Clark Ashton Smith deities.
Yidhra (The Dream Witch) usually appears as a youthful, attractive, earthly female, though her shape may vary.
Yidhra has been on Earth since the first microorganisms appeared, but unlike most living things, she is immortal. To survive in a changing environment, she gained the ability to take on the characteristics of any creature that she devoured. Over time, Yidhra split herself into different aspects, though each part shares her consciousness.
Yidhra is served by devoted cults found in such widely separated places as Burma, Chad, Laos, Sumer, New Mexico, and Texas. Members of Yidhra's cult can gain immortality by merging with her, though they become somewhat like Yidhra as a consequence. Those who serve her are also promised plentiful harvests and healthy livestock. She usually conceals her true form behind a powerful illusion, appearing as a comely young woman; only favored members of her cult can see her as she actually is.
Yog-Sothoth (The All-in-One, The Beyond One, Opener of the Way, The Key other epithets) appears as a conglomeration of glowing bubbles. 'He' is the 'father' of Dunwich's Wilbur Whateley and his brother.
- Cornford, Laurence J A Hyperborean Glossary. The Eldritch Dark. .
- Harms, Daniel. The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.), Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1998. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
- Kuttner, Henry. "Hydra" in The Azathoth Cycle, Robert M. Price (ed.), Chaosium, Inc., 1995. ISBN 1568820402
- Ross, Kevin A. "The Music Of The Spheres" (1995). Made In Goatswood, Scott David Aniolowski (ed). Chaosium, 1995. ISBN 1-56882-046-1.
- Smith, Clark Ashton.
- "The Seven Geases" (1934) in The Tsathoggua Cycle (1st ed.), Robert M. Price (ed.), Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 2005. ISBN 1-56882-129-8.
- "Ubbo-Sathla" (1933) in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1st ed.), Random House, 1998. ISBN 0-345-42204-X.