Eldritch Abomination
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Basic Information

Eldritch Abominations are a a form of inhuman character, threat, or plot device, depending on just how inhuman they are. As a trope, they most commonly occur in the Cosmic Horror subgenre. Exactly what constitutes an Eldritch Abomination varies from critter to critter and setting to setting, but that undefinable indescribable unpronounceable nature is a good place to start. Eldritch Abominations aren't native to here, at least not if here is any place that normal folks (or humanity itself) belong. Most importantly, they are rare or unique. If an Eldritch Abomination becomes common place, then the concept has lost something - it's not just the Monster of the Week or a random Dungeon Denizen, it's mind-wrenching horror from beyond. Pure living Nightmare Fuel.

List of traits many Eldritch Abominations share:

Compare / contrast with Glamour Failure and Chimera.

May be merely the manifestation within our dimensions of spacetime, of some much larger and more horrible Fourth-Dimensional Lifeform. See also We Live In A Fishbowl.


2. The fiction of H.P. Lovecraft features a few brushes with Eldritch Abominations. Numerous other authors have expanded on his work over the years. So, naturally, there's quite a few Eldritch Abominations in the Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green RPGs.


  • The works of H.P. Lovecraft feature many Eldritch Abominations.
  • The RPG Call of Cthulhu has many such creatures in it.
  • The spin-off Trail of Cthulhu RPG (which combines Call of Cthulhu with Pelgrane's GUMSHOE system) has excellent sections on the Gods and Monsters of the Cthulhu Mythos, along with advice on flavorful ways to use them (and hint at them) in an RPG, possible symbolic interpretations, clues to what's been at the crime scene, etc.
  • Bear in mind that the unknowable, faceless God of the Israelites was something akin to an eldritch abomination from a Roman point of view … numinous deities they could handle (and had many of their own), but one that had no form that could be depicted and appeared only as things like pillars of fire… utterly inhuman doesn't necessarily mean "looks like something from under a flat rock".
    • Consider also the descriptions of angels from the OT and apocrypha - things composed of interlocking wheels, four winged things covered with eyes, six winged things that never reveal their feet or faces… there's a reason they generally open any conversation with mortals with "do not be afraid"…
  • Stephen King's It certainly qualifies … it's avatar was bad enough, being similar to a huge deformed spider but exposure to its true, extradimensional form could drive humans to death or madness.

Game and Story Use

  • Should be used rarely, so as to preserve maximum impact. When the monster defies all attempts at description, that should be a cue to the players that this is a threat to be taken very seriously.
    • Entire campaigns could be based around trying to prevent ever having to encounter one of these things. If the Players are on their game, the cultists will be stopped before this thing is unleashed. If the players dither too much, they'll face one in the climactic showdown. If the players really blow it, the thing will have had time to awake, adapt, feed, and grow, and all the world will be in jeopardy.
  • May be the last thing you see before waking up days later, uncertain how you escaped or where you've been.
    • May be the last thing you see before going stark raving incurably mad.
    • May be the last thing you see.
  • Nothing to do with the late period work of the Sisters of Mercy, or their 1984 covers of "gimme, gimme, gimme a man after midnight".
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