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    Canonfire :: View topic - Tharizdun / CofC-Mythos
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    Tharizdun / CofC-Mythos
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 16, 2006
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    Mon Dec 04, 2006 8:28 pm  

    Well it takes a special kind of person to worship Tharizdun. Because well, he just wants to destroy everything. In my game Tharizdun cultists are largely drawn from people who somehow have nothing left to live for, merchants who have become destitute, people who's entire families have been murdered, undead who have become tired of immortality, jilted lovers, deposed monarchs, and the like. Of course the story helps if the players meet the NPC when he's still on top, and gradually loses everything, becoming eventually an insane cultist who hates the universe so much he only wishes it's destruction.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:08 pm  

    There was (or used to be) an entire category in the articles search for "Cthulhuhawk". Quite a few articles address are written with that mindset, if not actually using those creatures specifically. The "Sud Graufeldt" articles, for instance.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 04, 2006 9:25 pm  

    Check out the treatment of Dagon and his worshippers in Dragon # 349. Extremely Lovecraftian and it might give you some ideas on how to do what you want with Tharizdun and his cultists.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 15, 2002
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    Tue Dec 05, 2006 9:04 am  

    You might also think about using the Elder Elemental God as imagined by Gygax -- instead of it simply being an aspect of Tharizdun. I think of the EEG as much more overtly Lovecraftian (tentacled, cyclopean horror), while I'd use Big T more for examining the madness of his worshippers. Just my take.

    Check out OJ12 for EGG's take on the EEG:
    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=getit&lid=58
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
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    Tue Dec 05, 2006 11:11 am  

    The nihlistic cultist is called for if he actually knows the nature of Tharizdun.

    But that seems to me like DM, not NPC knowledge. Do people actually know who Tharizdun is and what will happen if he is released? If not,
    they could just believe they are releasing an evil god, not one that will destroy the multiverse.

    In the Gord books, even Nerull seemed deluded into believing that with the release of Tharizdun, Nerull would actually rule over the conquered multiverse.

    Another option, as hinted above, is that the cultist does not know that it is Tharizdun that he is worshipping. There are plenty of evil people who will trade worship for power and not ask questions.

    Worshippers could even be non evil. Consider Iuz and the ruse with Vatun. Neutral or even good people could be told that their actions (saying prayers in an unknown language, recovering magic items) were helping an imprisoned god of Good, or aiding an existing good god, etc. These could exist as esoteric cults within otherwise normal churches.
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:03 pm  

    Well i think to be a Cleric of said god you sort of know what he's about, even if you're not completely knowing what he's about (yeah sure I have access to the death and destruction domains and can spawn negative energy which kills on touch, but he's really a good guy, really!) i'm not saying an evil god can't have pawns, but his actual clerics know what they serve, and willingly do so.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:02 am  

    Kirt wrote:
    The nihlistic cultist is called for if he actually knows the nature of Tharizdun.

    But that seems to me like DM, not NPC knowledge. Do people actually know who Tharizdun is and what will happen if he is released? If not,
    they could just believe they are releasing an evil god, not one that will destroy the multiverse.

    In the Gord books, even Nerull seemed deluded into believing that with the release of Tharizdun, Nerull would actually rule over the conquered multiverse.

    Another option, as hinted above, is that the cultist does not know that it is Tharizdun that he is worshipping. There are plenty of evil people who will trade worship for power and not ask questions.

    Worshippers could even be non evil. Consider Iuz and the ruse with Vatun. Neutral or even good people could be told that their actions (saying prayers in an unknown language, recovering magic items) were helping an imprisoned god of Good, or aiding an existing good god, etc. These could exist as esoteric cults within otherwise normal churches.

    Note that the release of Tharizdun might not mean the instant and total destruction of the universe. Tharizdun was free once and the universe survived that experience. We cannot take the end of the Gord books as the final word on what Gygax intended with the God of Evil. (Blowing up his Greyhawk might have seemed like a good idea after the hostile take-over by Williams!) Though the annihilation of the universe might be Tharizdun's goal that seems more in keeping with Entropy and IMO Tharizdun want the universe around but in a constant state of nightmarish horror and I imagine that Nerull wouldn't mind being the Prince of such a place!

    IMC only the most depraved and learned have any clue as to the real nature of Tharizdun. Such people soon become mad if they weren't so before. The growing cults of T are mostly small cells of anarchy/nihilism that aim for two things: the downfall of their society (revolution) and the death of magic. As such it is the poor and downtrodden, the desperate and insane people that are drawn to these cults. There the cultists are taught thievery and assassin skills and sent out to disrupt society. Initially the culstists can have any alignment but are soon drawn deeper into the wicked teachings within the inner circle of the cult and become thoroughly evil. The secret leader is secreted in a hidden lair where he peruses the Lost Lament of Tharizdun with glazed eyes while drooling profusely.
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 26, 2006
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    Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:52 am  

    Quote:
    I am currently trying to put together an idea I've been working on to do with the decreasing level of Magic within Oerth. This involves people like Tharizdun, Sehannine, Lendor, The People of the Testing, the Scarlet Brotherhood and a bit of time travel. The problem is that intend to change the perception of tharizdun. The adventurers are going to find out that tharizdun is not the dark and evil deity that everyone percives but is infact the embodiment of magic itself (TRUE Chaotic as opposed to Evil). this will eventually pit the adventurers against good and evil, and work for each as they come up against the Cult of Tharizdun and those against the return of the Evil One.


    With imagination anything is possible, that is the concept of D&D, and what makes being a DM such a great job.

    The Idea above ties together a many but not all of Greyhawks mysteries, takes charcters from 1st level all the way up, covers many areas of Greyhawk including plannar and time travel and does not have an immediately obvious plot. The cultists from my Campaign are people that Tharizdun has been able to twist with the use of a carrot of ultimate power to aide in his plan to escape his confinmment (People from all walks of life and alignments).
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    Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:32 am  

    I've always looked at Tharizdun being a lot like Nyralothotep. Although he is a very powerful power in and of himself, the real danger lies in what he is the herald for. Even greater powers of decay and entropy. I've had an off and on Campagn where the party is slowly piecing together the info on T and also trying to stop a group from opening a portal for the Great Old Ones. That's why even the evil gods joined to imprison him.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 12, 2006 4:36 am  

    Kirt wrote:
    Do people actually know who Tharizdun is and what will happen if he is released?


    The excerpts from the Codex of Mordenkainen in the Dragon Greyhawk's Circle of Eight article may shed some light on this:

    Quote:
    Evil long thought bound out of mind awaits impatiently, at the borders of the multiverse, reaching out to us still. I write of the Dark One, of course. The Diophage. He whom the ancient texts call: Tharizdun.


    [Apologies for any errors in transcription, here. Mordy's handwriting hurts my eyes.]

    The above seems to imply that

    a) even Mordenkainen was only alerted to the full extent of Tharizdun's menace when he read the Tome of the Black Heart in Maure Castle (just before the passage I quoted, M. notes that it was reading that book which prompted his present musings), although he seems to have come across references in other ancient volumes before that. The Tome is not the most accessible of books, so one doubts that its contents were (or are) common knowledge.

    b) Even Tharizdun's name seems almost forgotten on contemporary Oerth in this extract ("he whom the ancient texts call: Tharizdun"). Of course, things may have changed a bit since Mordy first read the book.

    So we seem to have a very Mythos-like set-up. Knowledge concerning the true nature and extent of Tharizdun's threat is confined to the pages of sanity-shaking tomes and the minds of those bold (or mad) enough to read then.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 13, 2006 3:11 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Check out the treatment of Dagon and his worshippers in Dragon # 349. Extremely Lovecraftian and it might give you some ideas on how to do what you want with Tharizdun and his cultists.


    Yes, indeed. The article also does a great job - quite beyond the material it covers - of making the Obyriths sound Lovecraftian ("immense Bechard, festering Ubothar, many-eyed Cabiri..."). Style is very important when pastiching HPL.

    Points for the sly direct quotation from the Necronomicon near the end too ("waits, patient and potent").
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 13, 2006 1:36 pm  

    Prochytes wrote:
    smillan_31 wrote:
    Check out the treatment of Dagon and his worshippers in Dragon # 349. Extremely Lovecraftian and it might give you some ideas on how to do what you want with Tharizdun and his cultists.


    Yes, indeed. The article also does a great job - quite beyond the material it covers - of making the Obyriths sound Lovecraftian ("immense Bechard, festering Ubothar, many-eyed Cabiri..."). Style is very important when pastiching HPL.

    Points for the sly direct quotation from the Necronomicon near the end too ("waits, patient and potent").


    Yes. Makes one wonder if Mona and company are cooking up some connections between Tharizdun/the Elder Elemental Gods and the obyriths.
    CF Admin

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    Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:40 pm  

    Using Greg Vaughn's campaign arc, I've interpreted Mona et al's works to make the Malgoth an avatar of the EEG, fused with the primeval obyrith that spawned / created / enslaved Zuggtmoy and Juiblex.

    Also, while not yet finalized, I've imagined that the (now-undead) Malgoth is somehow related to Thanatos, an ancient demon (not sure which kind), which Orcus killed / subsumed early in his demonic life.

    When Orcus was killed, the undead demon Thanatos became dominant, but was ultimately subverted by Orcus.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 16, 2006 2:18 pm  

    Do the cultists have to be insane? Just because the Big T covers that whole madness thing doesn't mean he's not intelligent. Wink Perhaps many very intelligent and very self-serving folks are worshipping Big T for the power they manage to slowly unlock. Before they have any idea what they are doing they are delving into pits of their own depravity because the power they have is corrupting them. This seems far more sinister than having straight up insane cultists worshipping him. I can see the adventurer's "Oh a bloodthirsty knight? He has to worship Hextor. Oh, a thief, obviously a worshipper of Olidammara. Merchant? Has to follow Zilchus. Frothing, wild-eyed maniac with all his limbs and both eyes? He has to worship Tharizdun." I would find it far more interesting having a ppolitically savvy and wealthy merchant and his aspiring family worshipping an ancient deity known as Thar, Dun, Ri-Z'Dun or Thar-eee. Just enough, but not everything to tap into that wicked slumbe. Smile Just my two coppers worth.

    Worship an Industrious God for Once,
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    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 16, 2006 10:40 pm  

    The cultists do not need to be obviously insane. There are plenty of functional crazies out there. Anyone aware of whom they are worshipping needs to be insane (woot, T wipes reality!), very delusional (I'll be the right hand of the destroyer, sweet!), or collossally hubristic (I'll just soak up his power without letting him out). Cults could have outer layers that aren't aware of the true nature of the faith.

    If you read CoC adventures, the cultists are usually normal seeming until you delve into their affairs and find out what they are really doing late at night during the dark of the moon. No reason that wouldn't be the case here, as well.
    CF Admin

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    Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:05 am  

    For those seeking some Lovecraftian inspiration, read through the various entries in Rob Kuntz's Annotated Bibliography @ http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=125
    which detail some adventures from the original GH campaign that were derived from HPL's tales (and those of associated authors).
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