Tcho Tcho
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"They are naturally hideous, having large, misshapen heads, small, fierce eyes, and distorted features. Their feet and hands, however, are remarkably small. So intractable and fierce are they that all the efforts of the British official have failed to win them over in any degree. They have always been a terror to shipwrecked crews, braining the survivors with their stone-headed clubs, or shooting them with their poisoned arrows. These massacres are invariably concluded by a cannibal feast." - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four

"'I truly believe they must be the nastiest people who ever lived,' he said with great deliberation. 'I sometimes wonder how God could have created them. {…} They called themselves the Chauchas, near as I could make out. Some French colonial influence, maybe, but they looked Asiatic to me, with just a touch of black. Little people. Harmless looking.' He gave a small shudder. 'But they were nothing like what they seemed. You couldn't get to the bottom of them. They'd been living way up in those hills I don't know how many centuries, and whatever it is they were doing, they weren't going to let a stranger in on it. They called themselves Moslems, just like the lowlanders, but I'm sure there must have been a few bush-gods mixed in. I thought they were primitive, at first, I mean, some of their rituals - you wouldn't believe it. But now ! think they weren't primitive at all. They just kept those rituals because they enjoyed them!' He tried to smile; it just accentuated the lines of his face. 'Oh, they seemed friendly enough in the beginning,' he said. 'You could approach them, do a bit of trading, watch them breed their animals. You could even talk to them about Salvation. And they'd just keep smiling, smiling all the time. As if they really liked you.'" - T. E. D. Klein, Black Man with a Horn

Basic Information

The tcho-tcho are a tribe of human - or at least human like - degenerates native to South East Asia in the Cthulhu Mythos. They are generally said to be as thoroughly unpleasant as it is possible for humans to be - slovenly, prone to all forms of depravity, cruel and cannibalistic1. They are also described as pygmies. Sources differ as to whether they are hairless or extremely hairy and to what other deformities are common to them. In principal, the entire race (or species) might be said to be akin to Hobbes' opinion of mankind in a state of nature: "nasty, brutish and short".

Mythos sources suggest that they may be related to the black, dwarfish Miri-Nigri (despite those being wholly derived from amphibian stock and traditionally located at the other end of Eurasia) and possibly connected to the Men of Leng, having migrated to South East Asia from the region of Tibet (which in turn is said to overlap with the location of Leng in the Dreamlands). They are also associated with other evil, diminutive humans from legends around the world - but these are otherwise associated by other sources2. The connection to Tibet brings to mind the mysteries of the Emerald Lama and leads us to wonder if not all of their ancestors left their homeland.

Later mythos writers cast the tcho-tchos as native allies of the US in the Vietnam War, and potentially later as immigrants to the Americas after the war. They are also associated with the trade in opiates and other, more esoteric drugs. These would include the drug liao and a variety of other substances, including potent entheogens, derived from the mystical black lotus. Other probable Tcho-tcho specialities include poisons and all sorts of unclean magical practices - with those involving depravity, cannibalism and human sacrifice high on the list.


Police can't cope as Vietnamese flood drugs trade … might be from Vietnam, but not, necessarily Vietnamese. Not in the right setting, anyway…

1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Special ops games set during the Vietnam war can be easily transited into something very nasty if inoffensive Montagnard auxiliaries are replaced with Tcho-tcho instead.
  • …and of course, CIA involvement during the war could easily be tied into all sorts of vileness thereafter, from involvement in the Air America project to general mythos contamination of the agency and its sesquelae. Certainly, those that are fans of a villainous CIA can find plenty of mileage in it.
    • Even a generation after the war, Tcho-tchos may still have plenty of influence, perhaps having established all sorts of corrupt cells within the agency. CIA black sites are alarming enough without finding a small, ugly Asian man grinning at you.
  • …and on a more prosaic note, a few Asian restaurants in the US that you don't want to visit.
    • Possibly adding aspects of soylent soy to the game world if they make it into the mass catering business.
  • Asian gangs are frequently over-represented in the US heroin trade … adding occult aspects and cannibalism to that makes like even more fun. And as per the link above, needn't be in the US either - plenty of opportunities for Tcho-tcho to spread to other places, possibly posing as refugees and/or with the encouragement of the Vietnamese Communist government. Oh, and the French used to own that part of the world … what might have followed them home?
  • The various descriptions may be handwaved by suggesting that the smallest, most deformed and hairy communities are the most isolated and inbred whilst those that are attempting to infiltrate humanity proper outbreed with wild-type humans and so are larger and less deformed - and possibly less hairy, although this may simply be a matter of grooming.
  • Not beyond the bounds of possibility to put Tcho-tchos or their relatives elsewhere in the region - especially given the "out of Tibet" narrative. Burma would be an obvious place, especially if you prefer an English speaking campaign, but the exodus could have travelled in other directions as well - northwards into central Asia, for example or eastward to join the many other unpleasant things in Afghanistan. "Black Man with a Horn" for example, has Tcho-tchos in Malaya.
  • As mentioned above, they could be related to similar short humanoid cannibal monsters. Eloko, for example.
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