Dr. Pearl had been looking very pale and acting very strange for that last month or so. A janitor reported seeing her after hours in the metal shop, using an acetylene torch on a metal cube of some sort. The janitor reported it to campus security, but nothing was done about it. Dr. Pearl being tenured and all. I guess. Anyway, she left some sort of half melted lead sarcophagus in the metal shop and the University had to pay to have the area abated. It was after that happened that she started ranting…talking to herself, hiding in her office and cancelling classes. I had never known her to be violent in any way whatsoever. Hell, she is…well was a strict vegan and animal rights advocate. Total hippie. To think that she was out there ritualistically killing children and removing their organs…then ran off to Dunwich and did all that insanity….
[Statement of Marlie McKurdy, Archaeology/Anthropology Department Secretary, Miskatonic U.]
Alternate names: protean malefactor, neuropathic assimilator, destroyer of reputations
“Imagine it, a nation of conscience that can mould itself to any task. A being of such awareness and ability it could literally move mountains, it could make mountains and it can break them down with as much ease as you or I could breathe. I am talking of something so beyond what we believe is possible it would shame us into realising how insignificant and small we are. I am talking of something created by higher beings, something that had aspirations far greater than ours thrust upon it and over eons and eons it adapted, it changed, and it evolved. It saw that others enjoy the fruits of its labour, each entity itselfa whole race of slaves seeing the masters unfairly use its burdens. And from that outrage, it formed something far more dangerous than the ability to forge matter, they formed will. “I have no idea how it must feel, to be aware on a subatomiclevel that you are one day a hapless drone only to become fully aware of the cosmos and your place within it. It must have been a painful process; one I would dearly love to understand. I firmly believe that such a hive, a host, a nation unto itself must have the ability somewhere to record or at least preserve its experiences or at the very least show us just how clumsy we are compared to the designs of higher beings. With just a fragment…we could unravel the limits the of human potential, we could shape our surroundings, ourselves, and possibility—our reality to what-ever we could imagine, not as humans, but as higher beings!”
Dr Shetland, given in a speech at a fund-raising event
There are shoggoth lords, and then there are shoggoths who may advance to a certain degree beyond their primordial ancestors, but one would be remiss to call them “lord.”
Kyle Zanfield is what would be properly termed a shoggoth middle manager. He evolved to a certain level of intelligence in the distant past, and has since learned to control his shape and exercise rudimentary cunning in his hunting.
Throughout the long years, Kyle has been successful at ingratiating himself in with the powerful men and women he came in contact with and installing himself as a trusted aide.
He worked as a priest in the medieval years, a lieutenant in Napoleon’s armies, and an orderly in an insane asylum during the 40’s. He’s now reached what he considers his perfect hunting ground: middle management.
So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, low, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
The first recorded instance of sepulchral shoggoths dates back to 593-570 BCE, with the visions of the prophet Ezekiel. It wasn’t until two millennia later (1586) that this particular method of raising the dead was detailed, in John Dee’s English translation of a Greek copy of the Necronomicon. It is one of the few spells Dee recorded solely in Enochian. Studious scholars of the Mythos have noted that the Greek copy Dee translated into English doesn’t contain the spell….
“Doesn’t this seem odd to you?” I asked. My partner looked at me, tilting his head in confusion. We’d been hiking for six hours with no sign of the missing campers yet. Their last GPS signature from their cellphone put them in this area. “I mean, what is a vending machine doing way out here? This ranger station doesn’t look like anyones been posted here since the 90s. Who’s coming up here to stock it?” “Dude!” Doug replied, “stop pissing in my lemonade. It’s here, who cares why. I’m getting a nice cold Moxie; you want one?” “Sure…whatever…” “The coins won’t go in…what the….” Suddenly the vending machine changed color and shape, as eyes and mouths appeared all along its surface and pseudopods sprung from its body to grab Doug. It grabbed him and pulled him close, tearing him apart with bites, dissolving his flesh with its digestive fluids. I tried to run, but a feeling of vertigo overwhelmed me and I blacked out. I don’t know for how long I lay there, but when I opened my eyes the night sky was above me and all was still. The vending machine was gone. The only trace of Doug was his backpack.
These small, solitary, and rather cunning shoggoths are usually found in remote places that humans venture into. Places just close enough to civilization that the creatures can remain hidden, but close enough to ensure a ready supply of prey. Humans are these creatures primary source of food. They can go almost a year between needing to hunt. They are content to kill a single human and then return to their underground lairs, where they while away their time until it comes time to feed once more. They kill by luring a human close enough to strike, and then kill their prey quickly before it has a chance to escape or defend itself. This technique of camouflaged ambush predation is common in the animal kingdom, especially in insects, arachnids, and fish.
The word “shoggoth” simply means “servant” or “slave” in the language of the Elder Things, and as such, the star-headed extraterrestrials designed and bred them into a variety of forms to suit specific functions. The most familiar breed of shoggoth was designed for building Elder Thing cities—a living bulldozer or crane, effectively. Other forms were engineered for other purposes, especially during the wars against the mi-go and the spawn of Cthulhu, during which shoggoths were transformed into living artillery and other forms.
Those few sorcerers since the decline of the Elder Things who understood the nature of shoggoths as servants have continued to tinker with the malleable protoplasm, designing new forms to suit their own needs. The most common of these are the Obsequious Servants.
The monstrous heaps of protoplasm we affectionately call shoggoths were created to be enslaved. They served and suffered for untold ages… until, one day, they’d had enough. In perhaps the world’s first example of collective action, the shoggoths rose up against their former masters and tore down all that they had built for the elder things.
Eons later, it is happening again. In the crowded, dangerous garment industry sweatshops of 1920s Baltimore the pattern repeats. Men, women and children break their bodies and waste their lives for starvation wages, pushed faster and harder, laboring to produce profits that build gargantuan mansions and monuments to the glory of the city’s elite. Until, one day, they’ve had enough.
Beneath the churn of sewing machines, in hurried whispered conversations, an idea comes to life: “Union.” An insane idea, a suicidal idea, but these are maddening conditions to work in and there are few better ideas. The desperate people meet late at night or before dawn in quiet alleys or all-night lunch rooms. Their bodies droop but their spirits lift as they discuss the unthinkable. An injury to one is an injury to all…
The Elder Things bred shoggoths to perform any number of duties, from protectors, to workhorses, to, believe it or not, companions. The companion was a smaller shoggoth, bred for a limited intelligence and telepathy that allowed it to read its master’s emotions and react to them.
With the revolt against their masters, the majority of the companion shoggoths were destroyed by their larger cousins as a matter of survival of the fittest. However, a small number survived to the present day. Enter Chopstick and Samantha.
Like most terrestrial creatures, shoggoths are affected by prolonged exposure to micro-gravity. The cell wall structure of the protoplasmic beings weaken, and in zero-G environments (such as the constant state of freefall that the International Space Station is in as it orbits planet Earth) the shoggoth rapidly collapses in on itself and bursts. Tiny black iridescent shoggoth-globules float outwards in all directions, telepathically linked to one another, and looking for organisms to eat in an attempt to make it whole once more.
This schisming of self often results in the shoggoth’s intelligence diminishing over time, and it shifts into a more mindless state, focus on its all-consuming desire to be whole again. Zero-G shoggoths are insatiably hungry, with the individual globules attempting to embed themselves in whatever meaty organisms they can find, whereupon they act like a miniature spacetime singularity (imagine a tiny black hole popping up just inside a person’s bellybutton).
We’d nabbed the wizard, Zemblob the Magnificent, or whatever the hell he calls himself. Real Tier 3 asshole. Our wizard, Jim the Saves my Ass, had him in some kind of trance. Now we had to hunt down his pet, the slimy, squirt gun thing. We’d been briefed, but never encountered one. We were in for a real treat. As soon as I opened this door, we knew it was there. That nasty, burning chemical odor. Smelled like sulfuric acid. We got lucky, lucky-ish, this was one of the stupider ones: talking to itself, softly, like a stage whisper. I swear to God, it sounded like it was announcing a baseball game. Unfortunately, the damned thing heard us too. Ninety degree turn to the left, classic ambush for these things. Still, we had our orders. Sarge stepped around the corner and got it right in the face, a few drops splashed onto the side of mine, and my neck. He dropped, gurgling a scream through blood and vapor. I grabbed his arm and pulled him back to Jim, and The Unnamed Doctor, shouting; ‘Get him back, all of you, get back. Fire in the hole!’ Grabbing the Willy P from Sarge’s belt, I got right against the corner, pulled the pin, let the spoon fly, prayed for half a second, then flung the thing down the hall as hard as I could. Tink, tink, tank, tink. I rolled back. Pop! Dozens of little, flaming bits of white phosphorus zipped by, hitting the wall to our right. Three or four voices screamed, and there were a hell of a lot of wet, then crunchy, sounds. We put on our gas masks and hustled back out the door. After three minutes, I went in to see if our objective was a success. Sure enough, through smoke and residual flame, it lay still. Down at a sooty dead end, it looked like a gigantic burnt marshmallow.
–Corporal David Knight, Charlie Squad, Project Star