The colour out of space is an unusual entity. Unlike the other monsters presented in this book, the colour is a truly alien presence more akin to a dangerous environment than a creature the PCs can confront and kill. When a colour out of space arrives on a world, typically in the form of spores encased in meteorites, it seeps slowly into the terrain itself. It concentrates its presence in deep dark regions like caves, wells, or basements but doesn’t limit its influence to such areas. A single colour spreads somewhat irregularly throughout a region, but after the passage of a few weeks it can infuse an area of several square miles in size.
A colour out of space presents several dangers to those who dwell in or visit its blighted domain, as detailed below.
Plants and smaller animals in the region (such as rabbits, birds, moles, and the like) grow swiftly and achieve sizes in excess of their norm. This doesn’t appreciably modify these creatures’ combat statistics (harmless animals remain harmless). Creatures that feed upon plants or animals that have been fouled by the colour’s presence must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or become nauseated for 2d4 rounds and then sickened for 24 hours. A successful save reduces the effect to the sickened condition, which lasts for 2d6 minutes. Creatures who have become colour-cursed (see below) can feed on these foodstuffs normally and need not fear becoming sickened or nauseated. This is a poison effect.
Any living creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher is in particular danger within a region blighted by a colour out of space, for it is these creatures that the colour prefers to feed upon. Unliving creatures (like constructs or undead) and non-native outsiders are immune to the effects of the colour’s curse (as are creatures specifically immune to curse effects), but all other intelligent living creatures (including native outsiders) run the risk of falling victim to the curse as soon as they enter the blighted region.
Whenever a creature enters a colour-blighted region, it must make a successful Fortitude save to resist being colour-cursed. A creature that exits and re-enters a colour-blighted region must save again. Likewise, every full 24 hours a creature spends in the area it must make another successful Fortitude save to resist becoming colour-cursed. The initial saving throw is a DC 10 Fortitude save, but each subsequent saving throw against that same colour’s curse (be it due to re-entry or the passage of 24 hours) increases by 1. Spending 24 hours outside of an area that is blighted by a colour out of space resets the saving throw DC to its minimum (DC 10). Once a creature fails this saving throw, all gear it carries become colour-tainted (see below) and it becomes colour-cursed, suffering the following effects.
Lassitude: A creature that becomes colour-cursed is filled with a strange mental attachment to the blighted landscape and will not willingly exit this area. If such a creature is forcibly evacuated, it feels an irresistible mental pull that prompts it to seek any means of return. Treat this as a constant suggestion effect to return to the blighted area. A creature that is prevented from returning may resort to violence to have its way.
Madness: As the days wear on, the colour’s influence weakens the cursed victim’s mind, even if the cursed creature has left the blighted region. Every 24 hours, the colour-cursed victim must make a successful DC 10 Will saving throw or it suffers 1 point of Wisdom drain. Strong-minded individuals can resist this creeping madness longer, but as the Wisdom drain accumulates, the spiral into madness only quickens. This effect cannot drain a creature lower than 1 Wisdom, but once a creature’s Wisdom score drops below 5, it becomes increasingly easy to agitate and anger. This Wisdom drain cannot be cured as long as the creature remains colour-cursed.
Disintegration: Once a creature has been drained to 1 Wisdom by the madness effect of the curse, the colour finally begins to feed actively on its body. Once every 24 hours, the victim suffers 1 point of Constitution drain. The colour may or may not seek out a disintegrating victim to feed on directly (see “The Colour Out of Space” below), but in most cases it merely lets the victim slowly succumb. As this Constitution damage accrues, the victim is slowly bleached of color and turns increasingly gray: its body crumbles along the edges and is shot through with deep, dry, bloodless fissures, almost as if its skin and flesh were turning to hard-packed ash. A creature cannot be drained to less than 1 point of Constitution by this effect. Once a victim reaches this point, there is nothing left to nourish the colour, which cruelly leaves its victim alive but in wracking pain. Once every 24 hours, the victim must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save: failure indicates the victim simply crumbles into dust and dies. Likewise, a victim reduced to 0 hit points while suffering any Constitution damage from this curse crumbles into ashes. This Constitution drain cannot be cured as long as the creature remains colour-cursed.
Cure: As a curse, this effect can be removed by remove curse, break enchantment, or a similar effect, but remember that if the cure is performed in an area where the colour’s presence still infuses the region, the creature must immediately save again (starting at the baseline save of DC 10) to resist becoming cursed once more.
Any non-magical object that remains untended in a colour-blighted area for more than 24 hours automatically becomes colour-tainted. A magic item can resist becoming colour-tainted by making a successful DC 10 Fortitude save every 24 hours, but the DC of this save increases by 1 for every additional 24-hour period that passes.
A colour-tainted item functions normally, but a creature that picks up a colour-tainted item must make a successful Fortitude save (default DC 10 if the item is not magical, or the DC equals the DC at which the item failed its own Fortitude save to resist becoming colour-tainted) to resist becoming colour-cursed. It must save again each time it picks the item up, or after every 24-hour period if the item is being carried, with the save DC increasing by 1 for each successive saving throw.
Colour Out of Space
The colour itself, while not technically a creature, can move about at will. Treat the malevolent intelligent hue as if it had a fly speed of 40 feet (perfect) that automatically succeeds on all Fly checks. The colour itself fills a 10-foot-radius sphere, and illuminates an area with its alien radiance as a 30-foot-radius spread.
Upon being exposed to this illumination or upon starting a turn within the area of this illumination, a creature must make a successful DC 15 Fortitude save to resist becoming colour-cursed. If a creature is exposed to the central 10-foot-radius nimbus that is the colour itself, this increases to a DC 20 Fortitude save.
The saving throw to resist the effect increases by 1 each time a new saving throw must be made. Spending 24 hours outside of an area that is blighted by a colour-out-of-space resets the saving throw DC to its minimum.
If a colour-cursed creature ends its movement for the round within the central 10-foot-radius sphere, it automatically suffers 1d4 points of Wisdom drain if its current Wisdom is higher than 1, or 1d4 points of Constitution drain otherwise. The cursed creature can only suffer this effect once in any single 24 hour period. As with the colour-curse, this effect cannot drain a creature to less than 1 Constitution.
A colour out of space cannot be directly harmed or attacked itself. Within an area of natural sunlight or each round the colour within sunbeam or sunburst effects, the save DC to resist the colour’s curse is reduced by 5. Wish and miracle can destroy a colour out of space, and any effect that removes curse effects, if cast directly on the colour itself, has a 1% chance per caster level (maximum of 20%) of destroying the colour (if the attempt fails, the caster is automatically colourcursed).
At the GM’s discretion, rare rituals to banish the color may exist, but these rituals should require unusual and dangerous ingredients and reagents.
In most cases, the safest way to “stop” a colour out of space is to retreat and wait it out, hoping for its departure.
Often misunderstood, the colour is not a gas, nor a plasma organism, nor a spirit. It is in reality a hue, a tint, though one that does not appear on the normal spectrum, and as such is almost unimaginable. As a result, size and mass have no meaning for a colour. The only way it can interact with creatures of terrestrial matter is to feed on them. The colour Out of Space has a complex life-cycle, only part of which takes place on a planet surface. The rest is unknown to earthly life and inexplicably alien in nature.
The colour arrives at its destination in the form of glass-like spheres buried inside odd plastic-like meteors. These meteors may be created by the colour itself, or perhaps the colour simply buries these spores inside a convenient substance. If a sphere is shattered prematurely, this destroys the colour inside, which is one of the few ways it can be defeated. However, if a sphere reaches maturity, it dissolves and the colour spreads, tainting nearby life-forms with its shade.
The main mass of the colour typically spreads underground, affecting plants first. Small plants like flowers or grass take on the Color’s tint, while trees and larger plants manifest the hue in their blossoms or fruit. The colour’s effects may cause plants of all sorts to writhe unnaturally at times. The colour also spreads unnatural fecundity in the area: plants and animals become immensely productive.
Domestic animals all become pregnant with twins or more offspring, fruit trees bear vast quantities of huge fruit (always somewhat malformed). Crops subject to this growth have a foul, bitter flavor, as does the meat of tainted animals. Only those people who live in the affected area (and thus are also tainted) can eat them without noticing the taste. After a few months, when the native life has reached a sort of peak, the colour begins to feed actively. Typically it does this at night, perhaps because the rays of the sun harm it. It primarily feeds on animal life, causing livestock and wild beasts to collapse or deflate. Enough feeding transforms even the most vigorous animal into a gray decay. Plants are less-affected, but they too succumb to rot and ruin.
The higher the mental and spiritual status of a being, the more slowly they are affected, but also the more sustenance the colour takes from them. Intelligent life, particularly humanoids, are the perfect food for its development.
When the colour has had enough sustenance, it gathers its strength and beams itself back into space, like a sort of searchlight. Even this retreat may not be the end of its predations in the area, however: sometimes weaker strains of the colour take longer to develop, and may not be able to leave with the bulk of the color. They may remain for more seasons—even years—slowly accruing their strength and plaguing the countryside.
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.