So i've always been a sucker for cosmic horror, but it's tough to implement in DnD well. Cosmic horror is dependent on powerlessness, and thats hard to achieve when DnD heroes can raise the dead, travel to hell, and punch Satan in the balls if they want. But i think i've found a fantastic piece of inspiration. Simmer, Lucy, Thea, Seven and "Terrence", turn away now.
I found a fantastic idea for a setting on the SCP Wiki. For anyone who doesn't know, SCP is a collaborative fiction writing database, where authors publish stories about a shadowy Foundation that functions like the men-in-black, keeping secrets of supernatural and alien phenomena away from the general public. There is a plethora of inspirational material for monsters, events, religions, and places.
The story that i've used to base my campaign world around is SCP 1548 (The Star, The Hateful). In the original story, our sun turns out to be a colossal magical or deific entity that originates from a previous universe to ours, the "First Hytoth". This entity, and others, escaped the first universe as it was devoured by essentially Great Old Ones or some other Far Realm creatures. They created a second universe or "Hytoth" as a refuge, and vowed to protect it from these creatures. These solar god entities supposedly are given strength by the sacrifice of blood according to an ancient alien religion, although different sects disagree with whether this blood must be willing or not. The "Church of the Second Hytoth" is the earth based version of this alien religion, and is very secretive. Or at least it was, until the Far Realm nasties start to invade our universe again. Far away stars seem to blink out one at a time, and our sun creates a solar radiation field to camouflage and protect our solar system from the threat, which causes the earth to suddenly not be able to view any stars in the sky. Ever again. The Foundation sends out a space probe to peek out of the field, and finds us surrounded by horrible entities ranging from small to moon sized. Our solar guardian is the last of his kind, and is in a bad way. And that's that. This video can give you the spooky rundown in more words
Pretty grim, and very large in scope. But i fell in love with this idea and got to work. First off, my world of Midras has ZERO aberrations in it. Aberrations come from space usually, or space equivalent. Mind Flayers are actual aliens after all. So treating them as such feels very cosmic horror. They wont be encountered until stuff is already in motion, and they will be rare. Maybe something falls from the sky, and it turns out to be a Nautiloid shell, and basically becomes the Dreadnaught from Alien? Maybe a portal opens up somewhere and a Beholder pops out to start the consumption of this world and its matter? A cult of Star Spawn turn up to try and weaken the Material Plane's defences. There's a lot i think i can do by using these guys sparingly.
Second, the Sun is a greater celestial power than the gods. Maybe they don't even know it's a giant celestial because its so old? Maybe it gave birth to the gods to try and guide the mortal races? But if it starts doing stuff, the gods are gonna be well spooked. And if gods are spooked, their clerics will feel that. A neat way of driving home the Lovecraftian element of feeling small and unprepared to the party, if even their gods are spooked of things.
Third, according to the ancient alien religions, the Sun needs to be sacrificed blood in order to keep protecting the Material Plane. Now, this can just be poorly translated, or not the whole story, or completely misguided. But this gives me the roots for a cult to do heinous stuff in the misguided attempt to protect their world. Are they right? Who's to say? Stumbling into this is where the PC's enter into the story, with this cult (lets go full ham and give them a name like the Solar Protectorate) attempting to ignite a war between nations in order to spill blood for the Sun. These guys can run deep, and be the major antagonist for the party until shit has really hit the fan and they are actually capable of fighting more aberrant threats.
I'm unsure if i want to have a final climactic battle, since that's not very Lovecraft. If it goes to Epic tier stuff, i was thinking of a big battle to protect the material plane alongside the gods, while probably the Sun attempts to transport the whole planet to a new universe, beginning the cycle again. Not a true victory, in cosmic horror there is seldom true victory, but they get to live out their days.
As the campaign moves on, stuff is gonna get more spacey. Stars will start disappearing from the sky. Extraplanar beings (maybe Gith?) will start to planeshift to Midras and seek asylum since their world is now gone. Aberrations will start to pop up. Might homebrew some starjammer stuff for 5e.
I've waffled on enough, what do people think of the setting, any thoughts or ideas to add?
tl;dr SCP 1548 but as a DnD campaign, what you think?
- [Question / Long post] Dimensions, planes, cosmology and Eberron.
- Questions about cosmology and the multiverse
- Help me create the 8 Sovereigns, ancient beings that led their respective races of mortals
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