HBO Subscribers: Welcome to Lovecraft. FYI, those things in the woods weren’t shoggoths. They were something else. Even before watching the first episode of LoveTrollboy, August 17, 2021
Before seeing the first episode of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” based upon the book of the same name by Matt Ruff, I was seeing posts about it on Facebook. I was surprised at how quickly supernatural monsters turned up in the show (granted, it was the end of the first episode, but it was still the first episode!) I read the posts and comments, wondering what could actually be so confusing, and then HBO Max released episode one on Youtube.
Late in the episode, Atticus (the main protagonist) jokingly refers to a noise in the woods as a shoggoth, and describes it as a “massive bubble blob with hundreds of eyes.” This description matches with H.P. Lovecraft’s first description of them in “At the Mountains of Madness,” in which they were described as massive, iridescent black slimy creatures with eyes that would form on the surface of their skin, able to sprout appendages and mouths at will.
What appears a few minutes later is very much not that…well, aside from lots of eyes. At this point, Atticus’ uncle George, quotes Bram Stoker, comparing them to vampires. So between the differences in appearance, the initial off-the-cuff remark about them, followed by their sensitivity to light and a reproduction method, lots of comments ensued. One commenter even suggested (jokingly) mutated alpacas…I mean, alpacas have fighting teeth and these “shoggoths” bite hard.
It wasn’t long before someone suggested to shoggoth.net’s trollboy that, perhaps, it was a variant shoggoth? From there, trollboy asked the venerable Bruce Priddy his thoughts on it, who replied with, “Well September is for Shoggoths.” So, for the month of September, we’re showcasing authors’ various takes on this iconic Lovecraftian monster, and, in honor of the show that started it all, I give you, the Lovecraft Country Shoggoth!
Right after this attempt at a disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction using a creature from Matt Ruff and HBO Max’s Lovecraft Country, which is trademarked by them. This version of a shoggoth is created and owned by Matt Ruff/HBO Max, and I do not claim ownership of it or the Lovecraft Country world. The stats for this unique shoggoth is my own invention, and it is not to be considered part of the Lovecraft Country story or canon. It is for entertainment only, and no one is profiting financially from the creation of this entity. Lastly, I’m grateful to Matt Ruff, Misha Green, and HBO Max for Lovecraft Country, for without them, this creature would not exist.
Lovecraft Country Shoggoths
Flesh-toned and solid, these muscular facultative bipeds tower all but the tallest humans. Their oblique, over-sized heads are dominated by a massive mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. A profusion of eyes are scattered across their bald heads. They are equally adept at moving through a forested canopy as they are running on two or four legs or even burrowing rapidly underground.
Unlike Lovecraftian shoggoths, Lovecraft Country shoggoths are sensitive to light, and even able to be damaged by it, so they litten areas and are never out during the day. They are also able to reproduce, unlike “typical” shoggoths. Sexual reproduction is one method, although the non-shoggoth partner in such a blasphemous coupling must be able be able to survive the fecundation. This process results in a live birth and these shoggoths share some physical features of both parents. A second method is viral, spread by something in their saliva from a shoggoth to another living creature, such as from a successful bite attack.
LOVECRAFT COUNTRY SHOGGOTH, not a “massive bubble blob with hundreds of eyes”
6D6 × 5
6D6 × 5
(3D6+12) × 5
6D6 × 5
2D6 × 5
2D6 × 5
Average Hit Points: 21
Average Damage Bonus: +2D6
Average Build: 3
Move: 10 running / 10 burrowing
Attacks per round: 2 (bite or claw x 2)
Infect: the target of a successful bite attack from a Lovecraft Country shoggoth must make a Hard CON roll. With a success, the victim takes no additional ill effects; failure results in the victim beginning to transform into a Lovecraft Country shoggoth in 1D10 minutes. Total time, from beginning the painful transformation until it is complete, is only 1D6+2 rounds.
Bite 75% (37/15), 2D6 + DB + Infect
Claw 60% (30/12), damage 1D6 + DB, 2 Attacks
Dodge 50% 25/10
Burrow 99%, Climb 80%, Jump 70%, Stealth 60%.
Armor: none; exposure to bright lights damage this shoggoth variant, ranging from 1D3 (flares, flashlights, etc), 1D6 (e.g., car headlights) to 1D10 (full daylight); halve damage caused by fire and electrical attacks; mundane weapons (incl. bullets) deal only 1 point of damage per hit; regenerates 2 hit points per round (death at zero hit points). Damage caused by light is regenerated and must be healed at a rate of 1 hit point per day.
Sanity Loss: 1D6/1D10 Sanity points to encounter a Lovecraft Country shoggoth. 1/1D6 Sanity points to witness a transformation.