This creature resembles an echinoderm with arm-like tentacles that spring from its mid-section, a star-shaped head, tube-veined wings, a ridged barrel-like body, and thick webbed tentacles emerging from its base. A piping or whistling, like an eerie giggling, erupts as its five eyes curve on their stalks to gaze at you. The elder things, also known as old ones, came to the world over a billion years ago . They stand a little over 2 meters tall. They have pentameric symmetry, where almost every aspect of their being manifests in fives. Their barrel-shaped bodies have five prominent ridges. They have five folding wings which they can pull into large crevices in their bodies. They have five powerfully-muscled tentacle-shaped legs ending in flippers and five crinoid-like arms that divide into five tentacles, each of which in turn subdivides again into five more delicate tendrils. This produces a total of 125 manipulatable tendrils. An elder thing’s puffy, star-shaped head has eyes emerging from the tips of each “petal” as well as proboscises with toothed mouths that protrude from the inside angles. The heads are also covered with prismatic cilia, sensory organs that enable them to sense objects, temperature, movement, etc., all without light or air.
Elder Thing CR 14
6th (3)—chain lightning (DC 21)
5th (6)—major creation, telekinesis
4th (7)—black tentacles, confusion (DC 19), phantasmal killer (DC 19)
3rd (7)—dispel magic, ray of exhaustion (DC 18), suggestion (DC 18), tongues
2nd (7)—blindness/deafness (DC 17), detect thoughts (DC 17), make whole, mirror image, web (DC 17)
1st (8)—charm person (DC 16), identify, mage armor, obscuring mist, unseen servant
0 (at will)—acid splash, arcane mark, bleed (DC 15), detect magic, ghost sound (DC 15), mage hand, message, open/close, prestidigitation
Str 21, Dex 18, Con 27, Int 28, Wis 20, Cha 21
Base Atk +12; CMB +17; CMD 31
Feats Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Eschew Materials, Extend Spell, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Disable Device +20, Fly +23, Heal +21, Knowledge (arcana) +28, Knowledge (engineering) +28, Knowledge (geography) +28, Knowledge (history) +28, Knowledge (nature) +28, Knowledge (any other) +28 or Profession (Yog-Sothothery philosopher) +24, Perception +24, Spellcraft +28, Swim +32, Use Magic Device +21
Languages Elder Thing, Mi-Go, Yithian
SQ amphibious, hibernation, limited starflight, no breath, tentacles, scientific mind
An elder thing’s arms are secondary attacks that deal bludgeoning damage.
An elder thing can enter a state of hibernation at will. Doing so takes 1 minute. While in this state, it can take no actions and is effectively helpless, as if it were in a deep sleep. An elder thing can remain in hibernation for as long as it wishes: while in this state, it does not need to eat or drink, nor does it age. Time effectively stands still for a hibernating elder thing. If it is jostled or damaged while hibernating, an elder thing can attempt a DC 20 Will save. If it succeeds, it awakens in 2d4 rounds. Otherwise, it takes 1d4 days to awaken from hibernation. An elder thing can set the length of its hibernation when it first enters this state, so that it can awaken after a set amount of time has passed. When awakening at a set time in this manner, an elder thing needs only 1d3 rounds to rouse itself, with no Will saving throw necessary.
Limited Starflight (Ex)
An elder thing can survive in the void of outer space, and its wings allow it to use its fly speed in that environment despite the lack of air. Unlike creatures with full starflight, an elder thing’s ability to fly in outer space does not allow it to reach unusually high speeds. If it wishes to travel from one planet to another, it typically calculates the distance and then hibernates for the majority of the journey, relying on its momentum and inertia to carry it to its destination while it slumbers along the way.
Scientific Mind (Ex)
All knowledge skills are class skills for an elder thing.
Elder things cast spells as 12th-level sorcerers.
An elder thing’s tentacles are primary attacks that deal bludgeoning damage.
Organization solitary, pair, pod (3–8), or expedition (9–16)
A highly adaptable alien species, elder things can live under water, dwell on land, or fly through the air. They can even travel in outer space. From head to foot they typically are 7-8 feet in height, and usually weigh a few hundred pounds.
To human eyes, they resemble echinoderms with radial symmetry. They also have a massive fivelobed brain deep in their torso, each lobe of which is concerned with a different aspect of reality. Despite their weird appearance and incredible hardiness, they are composed of normal, terrestrial matter.
Their bodies are tough, able to withstand the pressure of the deepest ocean, or the vacuum of space. They can live for tens of thousands of years, and can hibernate for even longer eras. Few die, except by violence.
They reproduce with spores, but are only interested in increasing their numbers when colonizing new regions. They can feed on both organic and some inorganic substances, but are preferentially carnivorous.
The elder things are masters of both magic and technology. One of their brain lobes is devoted to magic, a second to technology, and a third to the biological arts and sciences. Each of these lobes is larger than a human brain and gives the elder thing massive potential in its assigned area. Elder things do not normally rely on high technology in their everyday lives, as their natural flexibility and ability to fly, swim, travel through space, and crawl rapidly mean they don’t need mechanical transportation or medical appliances.
Thanks to the massive lobe of their brain devoted to the biological arts and sciences, elder things are highly skilled at biological engineering and have synthesized many life-forms. The dread shoggoths themselves originated with elder thing science.
Because the elder things reproduce through spores, and then only occasionally and circumstantially, they have no biological basis for families or romance. They live together with other like-minded elder things as “groups” in large dwellings. All items are kept in the center of their huge rooms, with all the wall spaces free for decorations. Though they can freely move and perceive in complete darkness, they prefer electro-chemical lighting. They have some basic furniture, particularly favoring book racks and display cases, though they rest and sleep upright with folded tentacles.
Their writing system is a series of raised or depressed dots, though they can also reproduce it with simple black and white patterns.
Elder thing communities engage in commerce with other such communities or other organisms of similar advancement (the fungi from Yuggoth, Yithians, or starspawn for instance). Mere humanoids typically have little to offer them. They use small flat stone counters, five-pointed and inscribed, for money. Elder things must eat, so they maintain farms, as well as land and undersea ranches, and conduct other agricultural activities. They are known to keep dinosaurs, whales, and other prehistoric creatures. Typically, elder things live in their cities, while agricultural experts among them fly out to their lands to tend crops and domestic animals. The incredible speed of this flight means they don’t have to stay on their farms all the time. Long ago, they used shoggoths to protect their farms and work as beasts of burden, and in more recent times they have taken to taming other monsters for this purpose.
Use of the shoggoths is a dangerous proposition for the elder things. Periodically, the enslaved shoggoths rise up, and usually when this happens, they wipe out much of local elder thing society. While the elder things are able to re-tame and control shoggoths with their magical, technological, and scientific prowess, they are always aware of the danger these creatures represent.
Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Mythos, © 2017, Petersen Games; Authors: Sandy Petersen, Arthur Petersen, Ian Starcher.