One Doesn’t Say Its Name

Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)

As Europeans infringed upon native peoples and their lands in Africa, eldritch beings and pacts came to light and began to evolve with the times. Once such creature is the Asanbosam. Now thought of as a cross between an ogre and an iron-fanged, living vampire, their origin is much more horrifying. As humans violated the unspoken pact between the Akan peoples and their deities, a convocation of witches summoned the ancient Sasabonsam, who protected Asaseyaa’s forests on Thursdays (her day of rest). Europeans from the recently captured Fort tantamkweri were brought as sacrifices, and rather than drinking all of their blood, Sasabonsam mated with many.

They were returned as part of the negotiations between the Ashanti Empire and the British, and nine months later, they all gave birth to healthy, pink, red-haired, Caucasian babies. Well, some were healthier than others. These newborns would all grow into adulthood and, in their late twenties or early thirties, felt drawn to the forests around them. Those that could, seek out the jungles of Africa and rejoin their Asanbosam kin while they undergo their transformation into Asanbosams, changing into what is needed to protect the sacred lands of the indigenous peoples.  

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Gatherers: Vampire Variant

We only learned about these things recently. Intel was right on, the bastard lived in a mansion and he was huge—well over six feet tall, built like a locomotive, and sexy as hell. Charming too, so persuasive he, it, could almost talk you out of your mission directive. Still, Daddy didn’t raise no fool, and I was wearing my big girl panties. God knows how many people this thing had killed over the years. We discovered them when this one took three, one of whom was our supervisor and friend.

Johnson had the shot and cracked off two rounds, Mr. Handsome bled, that was a plus. I rolled my frag, just like a bowling ball; perfect strike, it came to rest right beneath his masculine wiles. We all dove for cover and the grenade roared like a beast, almost tore him in half. Bio came out and cleaned up. Everyone came home safe.

—Beverly “B.B.” Bates, Project Star Special Operations Team Leader, Delta Team, Debriefing Statement, File ZZ-1209.
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The Scribe Vampires of the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174)

John had been trapped in the lab with that thing. Security unlocked the lab and was attacked by what looked like a mound of translucent-opaque gelatinous agony festering in what was John’s lab coat and pants. The creature with John was nowhere to be found. After the other thing in the room was put down, the scientists speculated that it was the remains of our friend John, who had transformed into some sort of proto-creature. His cells had been reduced to a smaller genetic code. He had recorded a brief voice mail to an associate saying, ‘it needs to finish the story….’

Scribe Vampires come from the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174) and usually only encounter cultists, crazed sorcerers, or the rare occult-oriented scientist that foolishly summon them. The attraction is that these creatures are believed to have recorded forbidden lore and are willing to negotiate with anyone—for a price. That price is for the ink upon which they write. The ink is the genetic material, DNA and RNA components, that all creatures on Earth have. A Scribe Vampire has no reservation about just taking what it needs and leaving the victim in a de-evolved primordial state. It forcibly drains the material directly, with its gossamer pseudopods, as it transforms the victim into the state that fits the genetic code left behind.

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Stay Out of the Forest on Thursdays

Mythology: West African (from Akan Folklore)

Thursdays are Asasseyaa’s sacred days, and as the earth mother, all must take a break from tilling the land and hunting. To this end, the iron-toothed Sasabonsam came into being, guarding the forests on Thursdays.

For as long as the earth and fertility goddess Asasseyaa has existed, so too has the guardian of the jungle, Sasabonsam. The creature appears to be immortal and is considered an asuman, or a lesser deity that interacts directly with people. The guardian of the forests gave its word that it would always keep mankind out of the goddess’s forests on Thursdays, and so it will until the end of days.

The Sasabonsam is considered unique among asumans, as most are considered “plural,” while there is thought to be only one Sasabonsam.

Times have changed, however. Before the 19th century, tradition served it well and the tribe native to the area stayed away. Those who broke tradition were sometimes led astray in the woods and managed to find their way out, days later, and considered lucky to be alive. But Europeans didn’t heed the lore of those who had lived on the land for millennia before their arrival. They were arrogant…cocky. And their actions have had grave consequences. Gone are the days when Sasabonsam would lead the occasional hunter astray, for these newcomers had no respect for the peoples, cultures, or lands of the Akan people of West Africa.

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Mercy, Father, Mercy

1892. Exeter Rhode Island. Folks are dying all around. George Brown’s family has been hit especially hard. First his wife Mary, and then his daughter Mary Olive passed on. His son Edwin had been sent away to Colorado in the hopes that the air would help him, but he returned because the sickness progressed. Then his daughter Mercy took sick and died.

How much can one man take? As Edwin’s illness grows worse, folks begin to talk. Three people dead in one family? Surely it wasn’t the “bacteria” these fancy doctors talk about. No, something was stalking the family. A curse….

George is a desperate man, ready to try anything to stop the hell he’s going through. Edwin is growing pale now and coughing up blood. The older folk in town are saying the dead of the Brown family are preying on the living to stay alive.

One day, George and some friends head to the cemetery. He’s had enough and he simply has to know. First they exhume Mary. She’s decomposed. Next they exhume Mary Olive. She’s decomposed. They turn their shovels to Mercy’s grave last. The men share a nervous glance when their shovels hit wood. Whispering a prayer to Almighty God, George opens the casket. Mercy lies in repose, looking as if she were merely sleeping. And then her eyes open….

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Monster Contest: Vampires

Hello Readers! Last year, we had a lot of fun seeing all the variations on a classic Mythos horror that you came up with for September is for Shoggoths! as well as your original monstrosities during Octobernomicon. We liked it so much, in fact, that we want to do it again, only better. So we reached out to Golden Goblin Press, Sentinel Hill Press, and Stygian Fox Publishing for help.

For the month of February, 2021, we’re looking for your original/variant takes on vampires! Now I know we all know what the Oxford English Dictionary* says about them, but vampires have been around for far longer than the term itself (even if you count a precursor to the term popping up in the Liber Prophetarum (1074). Potsherds from ancient Persia, the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 1800 BCE), and even the Great Isaiah Scroll (356-100 BCE) and the Tanakh (800-701 BCE) have instances of blood-drinking or flesh-eating demons!

The point I’m trying to make with the above is, don’t feel limited by common beliefs of vampires or Bram Stoker’s modern version…we’re talking the Cthulhu Mythos here, which has fire vampires and star vampires, for example, as well as Lurkers if one want’s a Mythos-variant from folklore.

The Rules

  1. Entries must be 2000 words or less, not including the title or the stat block.
    • Word Count starts after the title and ends before the stat block.
    • Submissions may be for any game system in which the author has permission to write/publish for (Chaosium’s Fan Use Policy, D&D’s SRD, Apocthulhu’s SRD, etc). Voters are encouraged to take the work into consideration, not the system.
  2. You may submit as many monsters as you want.
  3. Your work will be anonymous until after the contest has ended.
  4. To submit an entry:
    • Email submissions to submissions@shoggoth.net.
    • Submissions may be sent as an attachment (doc, txt, etc.) or in the body of the email.
    • Submissions must include:
      • Title of your Work
      • How you’d like to be credited
      • Elevator Pitch (this will be shared on Social Media links back to your work and will also help readers remember what monster is what when it comes time to vote)
  5. The RPG Editor for Shoggoth.net will respond within 1 business day to each sender, acknowledging receipt of their submission and providing the date in February on which the submission will be live on the site.
  6. Submissions will be accepted until February 24, 2021, at noon.
    • Submit early. Submit often. 🙂
  7. Voting:
    • March 1 until March 15, 2021, at 11:59 pm EST.
    • We’ll use a Google Poll.
    • Authors may vote for their own submission(s).

Prizes

Each Publisher is offering $20 in “store credit,” either at their DTRPG Publisher Page or at their business’ web store (not including base printing and shipping costs, if a physical copy is desired). The first place prize recipient selects which publisher’s store credit they like, followed by the second place prize winner selecting from the remaining two publishers, and the third place prize winner receiving $20 credit from the remaining publisher.

Good luck everyone! We can’t wait to see you take on “vampires” this month!

*vampire, n.
1. A preternatural being of a malignant nature (in the original and usual form of the belief, a reanimated corpse), supposed to seek nourishment, or do harm, by sucking the blood of sleeping persons; a man or woman abnormally endowed with similar habits.
Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989)

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Kickstarter: Cthulhu & Miskatonic U. Cufflinks, Tie Bars, Pendants, Pins

Friend of the site and all around swell bunch of blasphemous CobblerElves the Arkham Bazaar have launched yet another AMAZING Kickstarter!! Get in while the gettin’s good!
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Azathoth

Azathoth 11x14 scratchboard etching by Aeion Solar

11×14 scratchboard etching

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Wereboar

None of us believed the massive man, when he warned us not to try hunting for the boar. Sure, we heard about the massive feral pig, which locals were calling Porkus Magnus. But we were well armed and had done this many times before. We had a half dozen good dogs too. We’d driven six hours to get here, and weren’t leaving without giving it a go. The man, who lived in a remote homestead a few miles north, told us that if we’d be sorry if we tired, and someone might get hurt. The dogs hated him, barking wildly at him, but he just sighed calmly as he delivered his warning. We all had a good laugh after he left, but no one is laughing now.  

Wereboar, by Brad Hicks
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Autotroph Shoggoths

Alternate names: Producers, Elder Thing Food, Chemotroph Shoggoths, Pando II/Pando Jr (one specific entity)

Some shoggoths, whether by design or evolution, developed as autotrophs—organisms that produce their own food source using a combination light, water, and/or other chemicals. While the most common autotrophs people are familiar with are plants, which create their food source via photosynthesis, most autotrophic shoggoths rely on chemosynthesis. Living along hydrothermal vents in the darkest depths of the Earth’s oceans, they have no natural predators…luckily, their metabolic process for converting hydrogen sulfides into food is inefficient, which keeps them from growing and/reproducing unchecked.

In their natural habitat, autotroph shoggoths tend to be on the small side for shoggoths, and relatively docile. They get everything they need right where they’re at, be it methane or hydrogen sulfide or some other inorganic food source. It is when outside sources start to meddle in the (un)natural order of shoggoth-life that instability enters their life, and like most living things, they don’t always do well with change.

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