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My Thoughts On Alien: The Outsider And Cosmic Horror In The Chronicles Of Darkness

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  • My Thoughts On Alien: The Outsider And Cosmic Horror In The Chronicles Of Darkness

    In my opinion, Alien: The Outsider does not work as a fansplat, revised or not. The reason for this is straightforward: the ChroD is an implicitly anthropocentric setting, while the Cthulhu Mythos is explicitly anti-anthropocentric. Therefore, I shall not redesign Alien: The Outsider like I did with Genius and Princess. That being said, consider the analysis of this post.

    It is spot on and succinctly explains why the quintessential Cthulhu Mythos experience can be accurately captured in a game of Awakening. However, you start out as a Sleeper who investigates the cultists of the Great Old Ones, who are straight up the Awakened in this scenario. As you descend further into Quiescence, you eventually hit rock bottom and become a Sleepwalker. The rest of baseline society is still made mostly of Sleepers, so no one will believe you even if you show them what you've seen. You'll likely be thrown into a mental hospital or contemporary equivalent if you insist on revealing the truth to everyone. And even if you become a Cultist/Awaken, you still can't reveal any of the Cosmic Truth to the Sleepers in any lasting fashion. Not without risking their life and sanity.

    The Exarchs themselves are essentially inverted versions of the Outer Gods. In other words, their dreams shape the Lie everyone lives in. But unlike Azathoth, they do not risk unmaking all of reality when they wake up. They are already very Awake, and care about humanity as a whole immensely, just never any individual human. If you insist on fitting them into the ChroD setting regardless, I suggest the following. Do remember that to Sleepers, such distinctions do not really matter.
    • Azathoth is a Supernal Angel of Forces and Matter with Rank 6+. It is the Symbol of Final Destruction Through Nuclear Holocaust. It is only mindless from the Sleeper point of view, but even to Mages it doesn't really communicate and just obeys its nature if Summoned.
    • Yog-Sothoth is a Greater Qashmal of the Lilithim Choir. Since it is a manifestation of the Principle, its interactions with Supernal phenomena are not easily predicted, if they happen at all. Therefore, it follows that Wilbur Whateley is some sort of Extempore and the Dunwich Horror is a Pandoran.
    • Nyarlathotep is an Idigam. He Coalesced around Infrastructure of the God-Machine in Ancient Egypt, maybe even in the Nameless Empire as defined in Mummy. He has tried to Coalesce around other phenomena in far off worlds before that, but that's irrelevant. He might not be Rank 6+, but he doesn't have to be. Even in the original Cthulhu Mythos, he had a vested interest in humanity, even if it was just to torment them with ancient and elaborate machinations. His powers are outwardly similar to those of the Unchained, but he is a master shapeshifter without limits such as Cover. Unlike his original version, he has no links to Azathoth.
    • The namesake poster boy for the Cthulhu Mythos is a Bound from the Supernal Realm of Pandemonium due to his association with madness, dreams and spatial distortion. He is imprisoned inside the Atlantean Ruin known as R'lyeh. However, his cult is not a global phenomenon. Even the Mages of the Pentacle usually stay away from Cthulhu, despite their lofty visions of Utopia that would end the world as Sleepers understand it. Emphasis on usually.
    Other monsters and deities of the Cthulhu Mythos can likewise be adapted into the cosmologies of one or more gamelines. If nothing seems to fit, you may use the Bluebook Horror Creation System.

    If you take issue with the bigotry that Lovecraft himself incorporated into many of the stories in the Cthulhu Mythos, I suggest you simply distance yourself emotionally and remember that liking the works of a bad person does not inherently mean you support their bad ideas. That being said, you should be aware of how they shape the aforementioned works, and understand the overall context behind their creation.

    Besides that, I feel like emphasizing that through the lens of baseline Cosmic Horror, bad or good ideas are equally pointless because Good and Bad are entirely human constructs, and humanity does not matter in the slightest. Even trying to find your own meaning is likewise futile, because there is no meaning that can be constructed from such a universe.

    But since ChroD is anthropocentric in its variant of Cosmic Horror, you are free to find purpose in fighting bad ideas. Or you may choose to sustain and spread them, a la the Seers Of The Throne. Unlike the baseline Cosmic Horror, both approaches are equally meaningful from a Supernal perspective, even if the associated Symbols might have different Ranks and their followers wage secret wars on a global scale over their clashing ideologies. The vast majority of people are none the wiser, until they catch a horrifying glimpse of the occult forces behind what is really going on.

    In the end, Cosmic Horror is what you make of it. All that changes is the framing on why the average person is experiencing it, which is only a real distinction to those who have seen and understood the Cosmic Truth. And while the Truth shall set you free, it can most certainly drive you mad.
    Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 06-08-2019, 01:26 AM.

    Let Him Speak.

  • #2
    Yo, I worked briefly on this a lifetime ago!

    Remi. she/her. game designer.


    • #3

      I am aware. The central idea of Alien: The Outsider was not inherently bad, it just missed the point. That being said, if I change my mind on revising said fansplat, I would try to fit it into the paradigm of Promethean. I distinctly remember that one of the Y splats for Alien was all about attaining some sort of anthropocentric apotheosis, which falls squarely into Promethean's main themes. I also remember that their Integrity Equivalent was a measure of how your eldritch nature was overwriting how real you were. Prometheans are always real, but their Azoth (and the Principle it comes from) is eldritch in the sense that it is unknowable cosmic force that cannot be controlled. The realness of Aliens-As-Prometheans is therefore a measure of how their Azoth is endangering their attempts to reach apotheosis, with the ensuing manifestation of Disquiet and Wastelands that approximate the madness and desolation that surround many a Lovecraftian monstrosity.

      Each X Splat of Alien would be a new Lineage that is effectively a recurring sub-variant of Extempore with a consistent Bestowment, Humor, Disfigurements, Disquiet, Pandorans, Torment and Wasteland. If I decide to write these Alien Lineages, their associated Lovecraftian deities would be classified as just Mysteries instead of explicitly using my headcanons that I mentioned in the first post of this thread. Of note is that, while such Prometheans are not Aliens in the strictest sense, they are Alienated by origin if not definition. And they are Outsiders until the moment of the New Dawn. I'd also say that such Alien Lineages have a scary tendency to go Centimanus, as with the Zekai. As for the Refinements, they stay the same, but I would elaborate on how each Alien Lineage approaches these alchemical philosophies.
      Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 06-08-2019, 08:11 AM.

      Let Him Speak.