Friday, April 1, 2016

#04 - Rat-Things & Azathoth


Brown Jenkin, from Dreams in the Witch House, is a rat-thing, presumably named such because he is mostly a rat, but also has a deformed, human-like head, as well as human-like hands instead of feet. Rat-Things are primarily witches' familiars and were possibly once human. 

In the RPG...

Rat-Things are not overly threatening. None of their stats are particularly high, they have no armour, and they only have 4 hit-points. The only issue an investigator might have with one is that they will take a penalty die if trying to hit one that's on the move. It should be noted that the Malleus Monstrorum contains an error where a Rat-Thing can transmit a sickness with its bite. I assume it's an error anyway, because the paragraph is copied wholesale from the Rat Person entry before it, and is missing entirely from the 7e rulebook entry.

In a video game...

Besides being difficult to hit, I can't see a Rat-Thing being any scarier in a video game. There is a 30% chance that it will know 1 to 3 spells, but even then, it would probably be dead before it had the chance to cast any of them. I think a swarm of actual rats would be more useful as an "enemy".

In a film...

Brown Kenkin has been portrayed on the small-screen at least once that I know of, in a Masters of Horror episode adapting Dreams in the Witch House. Whether intentional or not, he was quite comical (see below), though I think with a sufficiently scary design (such as the one above), a Rat-Thing could actually be quite terrifying. People are naturally afraid of rats anyway, so adding a creepy face, and malicious intent, would most likely work.


Azathoth has existed as long as the universe has, and possibly even created it, dwelling now at its centre. Like many Mythos monsters, it is described as "amorphous". It is also said to be blind, idiotic, and chaotic. 

In the RPG...

Unlike Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth can be dispelled by normal weapons. With 300 hit-points, however, it would still take 7 rockets, or 4 tank shells, to do so, which aren't in the typical investigator's arsenal. Not that it really matters, as Azathoth has a 100% chance of doing an average of 50 hit-points of damage, so they'd never get that far into the battle. As a side-note, because Azathoth was described by Lovecraft as a "nuclear chaos," many subsequent writers associated it with nuclear power, whereas I'm pretty sure he meant it as being the nucleus, or centre, of everything, so it's up to the Keeper if they want to use those aspects or not. This especially relates to the Shan, who are said to use Azathoth (or a part of it, or an avatar) as the power-source of their ships.

In a video game...

Like Yog-Sothoth, I think Azathoth would make better scenery than an enemy. Unless, of course, the military was involved in some way, then all bets are off. The military have plenty of armaments that can be used from a distance, so Azathoth—even with its growth during battle—would not have much hope. On the flipside, it can return in 1 to 6 hours... if it so desires... which I doubt it would. One aspect I've yet to mention, which could complicate things more, is the fact that when Azathoth is summoned, it appears with a Servitor, and up to 9 Lesser Other Gods—whose descriptions are so nebulous that they could be practically anything—averaging 85 hit-points each. They, too, are said to be blind and mindless, but with average damage bonuses of 28, it would only take a single hit—intentional or not—to turn the player to pulp.

In a film...

Because the summoning of Azathoth offers no boon to the summoner, there are two possible paths a film could take. Either it is summoned accidentally, or it is summoned on purpose as a kind of weapon of mass destruction. I think the latter would make for a great storyline myself, whether it be for a film or a game. Terrorism already has ties to religion, so why not add a bit of magic into the mix? Imagine how much terror there would be if Azathoth suddenly appeared above a major city.

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