Monday, May 14, 2018

Starfinder: Earth and the Cthulhu Mythos

As we prepare to start our first Starfinder campaign in a few weeks, I have been thinking more about the Starfinder setting. There are a lot of pretty cool things in there and I will talk about a few of my favourites in later posts. Right now though, I am going to discuss the planet Earth and its place in the Starfinder universe. We know that Earth exists in the Pathfinder universe. There are at least two APs I am aware of in which characters either travel to Earth directly or encounter evidence that ties to Earth. The version of Earth described in these examples is not necessarily our own, but it is certainly a reasonable facsimile with historical figures, places and events in common with our world.

This relationship becomes more interesting when you consider that the Cthulhu Mythos is very real thing in the Pathfinder/Starfinder universe. This implies that the authors of the Mythos; H.P. Lovecraft mainly, but also August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Ramsay Campbell and others, exist in the universe and that, rather than being fiction writers, they are actually seers and oracles. Their writings are not merely pulp stories, but are, in actuality, prophecies. So consider for a moment, the number of Great Old Ones who slumber in the dark recesses of our world. Cthulhu sleeps in the city of R’lyeh, somewhere in the depths of the South Pacific. Tsathoggua languishes deep under the American plains in the lightless cavern of N’kai. Ithaqua stalks the Arctic wastes and Gla’aki watches from a murky lake in the Severn valley of Gloucestershire. Still others, Atlach-Nacha, Zoth-Ommog, Y’golonac, Einhort, Cthylla and Ghatanothoa may be found hidden away in forgotten tombs underground or deep below the waves. Most of the Great Old Ones on Earth came from elsewhere and many are imprisoned by the Elder Gods, awaiting a time when “the stars are right” to escape their incarceration.

Now, consider that the period of “present-day” Golarion corresponds to the time when WWI is being fought on Pathfinder Earth. I won’t spoil where this information comes from, but suffice to say, a little research into Pathfinder APs will reveal it easily enough. This would also be the time that Lovecraft began his writing career. At this point, we come to “the Gap”, the millennia-long period of lost memory that even the gods won’t discuss. All we know is that some time during that period, Golarion disappeared, to be replaced by Absalom station. We do not know when this period began in the time reckoning of old Golarion, but it is intriguing to consider that a connection between the Gap and some cataclysmic event leading to the escape of so many Great Old Ones, as foreseen by the great oracle of Providence. It should be noted that Nyarlathotep is now a core deity in the Starfinder universe. What role did the Crawling Chaos play in the events obscured by the Gap to earn such a prominent place in the new order?


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