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Why would you want to contact a Yithian?


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#21 ZeroMostel

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 06:57 AM

I've always been at least a little bit sympathetic to the Yithians.  They are one of the few mythos races that is not needless cruel, nor do they revel in vile acts, nor are they enslaved to some horrid being.  For a mythos race, they are remarkably sane and durable.  They have managed to maintain a rational science and a society.  Sure they are jaded to the point of insensitivity at times, but they are trapped in a nightmare universe and they know it, and they can't win, but they are doing the best they can despite it all.  Humanity will not do nearly as well as the Yithians.  I imagine the cones whose society and minds they stole might feel a bit differently, but compared to other mythos races they are positively benevolent toward humanity and even seem to feel some pity or sympathy toward the lesser race.

 

I dunno. Maybe they think they can either outlast the insanity or out race it, move elsewhere more sane.

 

As for Humans, the Jury is still out. Personally I think the GOOs are scared s**tless of us.




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#22 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 04:27 PM

I've always been at least a little bit sympathetic to the Yithians.  They are one of the few mythos races that is not needless cruel,

 

Except for the whole, you know, abducting and ruining lives thing.


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#23 ZeroMostel

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 12:20 PM

Except for the whole, you know, abducting and ruining lives thing.

 

Are you sure? That could be maybe just 1% of 1%. Most could have no idea they were taken.

 

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#24 The_Tatterdemalion_King

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 03:30 PM

That's even worse. 


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#25 Travern

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 05:06 PM

The Yithians, though not as cruel as Moon-beasts or as manipulative as the Mi-go, are Lovecraft's most subtly malign aliens in their absolute indifference to any mental suffering caused by their temporal interference.  An overnight case of Yithian mind-kidnapping would be worrisome enough for someone to deal with as a complete black-out.  To judge from TSOOT, Yithians prefer to take control of their victims' bodies for long stretches of time, up to years.  Their victims, when and if they're restored to their own bodies/times, must cope with the aftereffects of amnesia and lost time, possibly even dysmophia from having occupied alien anatomy for too long.

 

But to get back to the original question of why one would contact an atemporal body-swapping alien intelligence, it might be fun to imply that the PC has in fact been manipulated into this.  Let's imagine Ythian agents want to establish continuity in their operations that lasts longer than a single human lifespan.  Going from grandparent to parent to grandchild would require them to prepare a lot of groundwork beforehand.  This could be something overt, like a family legacy or tradition, or subtler machinations, such as planting ideas in future targets during childhood.  Perhaps the PC has a lifelong fascination with the Permian period, ever since they received an anonymous birthday gift of a book on palaeontology as a kid.  The PC would be ecstatic when presented with the prospect of travelling back in time to this era, never realizing the idea did not occur naturally.



#26 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 04:53 AM

I wish I'd seen this sooner - I wonder how the original poster's spell-circle/game worked out?

 

The question of "why would you want to contact a Yithian" seems like one that could be answered just as easily by asking "why in the real world have spiritualists, occultists, priests, theosophists, psychologists, artists, etc. wanted to contact ghosts, spirits, gods, demons, angels, ascended masters, astral beings, alternate personalities, spirit guides, walk-ins, aliens, genies, etc.?"

 

THAT question has had countless answers over time, any one of which would work for the purposes of contacting Yithians or any other Lovecraftian nasty.

 

Some options - you might contact Yithians for:

  • receiving prophecies
  • delivering messages to from loved ones
  • gain wisdom and secret knowledge
  • obtain power or blessings
  • indulge curiosity
  • learn about the unseen universe
  • gain magical power
  • harm enemies
  • protect or help loved ones
  • impress or terrify followers
  • control other beings
  • journey into the spirit world
  • relieve suffering or fear
  • exorcise demons
  • entertainment
  • make requests
  • issue orders
  • to make bargains and seek favors
  • open doors
  • find opportunities
  • make money
  • obtain answers to difficult questions
  • seek guidance or advice
  • have a religious, mystic, or occult experience, or experience a scientific breakthrough

 

 

If you are having trouble figuring out Yithians, trying thinking instead about a more familiar story about ghosts, spirits, gods, demons, devils, angels, ascended masters, astral beings, devils, familiars, alternate personalities, spirit guides, walk-ins, aliens, genies, etc., and after sketching a basic story out of that, just change the more generic supernatural creature into a Yithian, and dress things up a bit.

 

For examples:

  • A group of bored teens might use a "Contact Yithian" spell ("Contact Spirit Guide" or "Conjure New Age Demon") found in a cheap paperback occult tome at the mall as part of a party game, lighting candles and using a Ouija board, etc.  Most of the teens are sure nothing weird would happen, they're just doing this to scare each other and have a few laughs, until one of the teens begins acting strangely and the "game" gets a little too serious....
  • A strange object is recovered from an archaeological dig:  a stone "bottle" covered in cuneiform runes, which appears to contain a "Djinn" capable of granting three wishes if freed from the relic by performing a ritual described in the runes.  Of course, the "Djinn" is actually a Yithian, and freeing it from it's bottle allows it to take possession of a human body.  Yithians, effectively time travelers, are in a unique and powerful, if imperfect position to grant wishes, not all of which can be guaranteed to work out in the "master's" favor....
  • The prophet Abdhul Alhazred related a story in his Nectronomicon about a gambler who, having foolishly squandered all his money, contrived to make a deal with a devil of the desolate places, that the gambler would trade his soul to the devil for wealth and comfort, upon which the devil took the gambler's soul away to serve the devil in an indescribable hell for many years; when the gambler was returned to Earth after serving the allotted time in hell, he found that the devil, wearing the gambler's face, had amassed tremendous wealth as promised, but had also done many great and terrible wickednesses while wearing the gambler's face; the gambler lived his remaining years in wealth and comfort, but was for all the rest of his days shunned by honest people, and who can say what terrible place his soul went to after death?
  • An infamous cult leader, the self-proclaimed "Most Wicked Man in the World", is supposed to have sacrificed a virginal follower to "The Ascended Masters"; the poor girl lay comatose for many weeks, before awakening, possessed by a spirit of prophecy.  She would spend the rest of her life imprisoned in the cultist's house, working great and terrible miracles upon his command, and narrating the text of the cultist's most infamous magickal text to the cultist's secretary.  She then disappeared, and is rumored to have been murdered upon the tome's completion, her body buried somewhere on the cultist's, where the girl's ghost can sometimes still seen to this day....

 

 

I just cooked these stories up in a couple minutes, I'm sure someone else could improve on them and give them a Weirder spin, but hopefully you get what I mean.....


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#27 fluffy

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Posted 20 November 2017 - 05:07 PM

Thanks yronimoswhateley.

 

So much content full of ideas from your coupla mins thunk.

 

Which I will duly adopt when situation arises.

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#28 johnmcfloss

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 09:19 AM

I always like to think that the Yithians have a certain vested interest in making sure that time resolves in a certain way - that humanity dies in the right time and circumstance to ensure that the Beetle Race they're due to inhabit in the future, are the dominant race to step to the forefront (and with a world that offers them everything they can to be prosperous and successful, and build a wonderful utopian society for the Yithians to steal).

 

If someone summons Azathoth and it wipes the planet clean, the great race just as scuppered as we are (or, at least, they will be). So their agents in the present are involved in trying to make sure humanity doesn't do anything too stupid, which generally makes them allies of convenience to investigator parties.

 

(Right up, of course, until the moment they aren't. The Yithians don't really care about us, they just want to make sure our eventual decline and extinction happens in the method best suited for themselves).

 

If I was really going to run with it, I'd suggest at least two different factions, working in different ways to the same goals, and using the players and cultists as catspaws. There's definitely Story there.

 

 

OH. And in addition. I'd suggest throwing "Faerie Myths" into Yronimous' list of inspirations (especially for Dark Ages games) - "This child has suddenly changed it's attitude and mannerisms, and both knows things it shouldn't, and doesn't know things it should" is pretty much Rote for Changelings and Yithians.

 

Especially when a group of similarly weird strangers turn up, claiming the child is now theirs, and the child knows them and wants to go.



#29 Celebrim

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Posted 21 November 2017 - 02:40 PM

I always like to think that the Yithians have a certain vested interest in making sure that time resolves in a certain way - that humanity dies in the right time and circumstance to ensure that the Beetle Race they're due to inhabit in the future, are the dominant race to step to the forefront .

 

It's a comforting thought but I think that it is not the true depths of Lovecraftian horror.  The point of the story is that against the vast stretches of time that science was now proving existed, humanity with its few thousand years of history and its few hundred thousand years of existence was nothing.  You have to put Lovecraftian horror in context both of who Lovecraft was - a scientific minded Anglophile who considered himself an heir of the Enlightenment - and the scientific and philosophical discoveries of the early 20th century that began to undermine his tidy world view.

 

What's more horrible: that powers vastly more potent than humanity might influence man's destiny, or that humanity has an inevitable and unavoidable empty destiny?  Humanity after all had always believed the former, and had only lately arrived at a contrary viewpoint.

 

For Lovecraft, both were terrible thoughts, but it was the later that was by far the most terrible.  Lovecraft had grown up with a belief in the inevitability of human progress.  His life was informed by a certain sort of happy Historicism, of a simian race that had become ennobled in mind and spirit and gradually dragged itself out of barbarity to reach a present pinnacle in the English race, culture, civilization, and British empire.  But that present peak was only a stepping stone to ever higher and higher attainment, as man progressed toward complete understanding and eventually mastery of all he surveyed.  Eventually it was believed science would relinquish its last secret, the universe would yield to man's might, and the whole logical structure of the universe would be revealed, and that thereafter the inheritors of the British Empire in their mighty power would cast their ships out over the vastness of the eternal unchanging universe.  That was the world view that gave Lovecraft and the millions like him at the time solace, and which was shattered not only by events like World War I, alone but by the even more terrible (to his mind) discoveries of science itself: a universe that had a beginning and thus was not unchanging and possibly had an end, mathematics that were inherently incomplete and unprovable, science that was irrational, scales of time and space that were incomprehensible, fixed limits to all power, and facts about the universe that were inherently unknowable.  Science had peered over the horizon and discovered something altogether terrible.

 

The point of man's extinction in the story is that from the perspective of the transcendent Yithians something that has already happened.  They've seen it.  The past and the future are the same to them - inevitable and unchangeable.  All human striving could not and will not change it one whit because all Yithian striving also can not and will not change it one whit.   If you were perhaps the sort to imagine that though one man's mortal life was meaningless, the deeds he did echoed down through the ages contributing to the human race as a whole, well so much for that.  The span of all humanities existence was no more meaningful than a human life, and so all human life is meaningless.  If the Yithians are merely bad guys who are arranging human extinction then they can be struggled against and a chance, however remote, exists that man might obtain a victory and save himself and thwart the plans of humanities enemies.  The truth is infinitely worse than that.  There is nothing that we can do and there is nothing the Yithians can do either.  They are just as trapped as we are.  They may struggle on through the ages, but that only guarantees that they will be there at the end to witness the destruction of everything, quite helpless to do anything about it. 

 

Imagine yourself in a conversation with a Yithian:

 

Human: Our destruction is inevitable?  I don't believe it.  When I return I will devote all my efforts toward saving humanity.

Yithian: Yes.  It is these very efforts that lead to man's destruction.

Human: What?  You mean I'm responsible?  ...Then I'll kill myself.

Yithian: Yes, you will, but this also only furthers the events that transpire in man's final days.

Human: Then erase all my memory of these events. 

Yithian: Out of pity, we will, but sadly it will change nothing.  You do not understand even now.  Time and space are bounded and finite.  These things have already happened.  We are even now in communication with ourselves from after the time of humanities extinction.  Neither you nor we have any hope at all.

Human: *goes insane and begins babbling incoherently*

Yithian: As expected, subject 10382 also was unable to bear the truth.  Prepare the memory eradication device.

Yithian #2: Sadly, it will not perform perfectly in this case.

Yithian: More the pity.

Yithian #2: Why do you torment yourself with these pathetic self-doomed creatures.

Yithian: It is a defensive mechanism.  If I did not, I would go as insane as subject 10382

Yithian #2: It will not succeed forever.

Yitihian: No, nothing does.

 

I honestly think the Yithians are horrified by what they do and that if they could they'd change everything.  They might even pretend that they can change humanities future to gain assistance or perhaps comfort humanity in some small way, but the truth is that they can do nothing.  If they've lobotomized themselves to the suffering of others it's only because if they didn't, they'd go insane.  I think somewhere deep in their cold hearts they pity the little doomed race, but what good is pity?  It cannot change anything.



#30 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 12:24 AM

...OH. And in addition. I'd suggest throwing "Faerie Myths" into Yronimous' list of inspirations (especially for Dark Ages games) - "This child has suddenly changed it's attitude and mannerisms, and both knows things it shouldn't, and doesn't know things it should" is pretty much Rote for Changelings and Yithians.

 

Especially when a group of similarly weird strangers turn up, claiming the child is now theirs, and the child knows them and wants to go.

 

Oh, I really like that one!

 

And i could easily imagine the child's family "contacting the faeries" in some tragic effort to make a bargain and get their child back, or even in a desperate attempt to force the faeries to return the child, who has in the mean time been trapped on a monstrous alien world (not necessarily the same one described in "The Shadow Out of Time" - after all, who can say how many different bodies the Yithians have possessed over how many thousands or millions of years while tampering with human affairs at just that moment?)  What would it take to get the Yithians to return the child?  In what condition would the body and mind of the child be in after being returned?


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#31 johnmcfloss

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 03:47 PM

It's a comforting thought but I think that it is not the true depths of Lovecraftian horror.  

 

I'm not sure I'd considering it comforting - but I suspect this comes down more to our personal bias than anything specific.

I see it as the equivalent of someone stopping you from drinking poison. But only because they were planning on pushing you down the stairs tomorrow, and your insurance is more likely to pay out if it looks accidental. Pure sociopathia.

 

(I'm also coming at this primarily through the RPG, where predestination, unless handled well, just tends to feel like it's robbing players of their own agency. Mine picked up a spell once that let them glimpse into the future, and making sure things played out that way was a nightmare in bookkeeping)


Edited by johnmcfloss, 22 November 2017 - 03:48 PM.


#32 Celebrim

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 04:30 PM

johnmcfloss, on 22 Nov 2017 - 10:47 AM, said:

(I'm also coming at this primarily through the RPG, where predestination, unless handled well, just tends to feel like it's robbing players of their own agency. Mine picked up a spell once that let them glimpse into the future, and making sure things played out that way was a nightmare in bookkeeping)

 

No, that's the whole point.  Predestination, if handled well, will feel like it robs the players of all their agency.  That's the point.  That the terrible shattering thought that Lovecraft is pointing at.  It's not a 'fun' thought.  The whole point that Lovecraft is getting at is that if you are intelligent enough to really grasp both the reality and the consequences of having no agency, you'd probably go insane.  Granted, it's almost impossible to create that in an RPG because our ordinary experience of the world is that we do have agency, but Lovecraft is suggesting that our sense that we have any agency is in fact an illusion we shelter in.


Edited by Celebrim, 22 November 2017 - 10:35 PM.


#33 Lisa

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 06:34 PM

Ruthanna Emrys's take on them in "Litany of Earth" and "Winter Tide" is that they are terrible, but they are the ones who will remember the rest of us, and for this reason, are to be honored. That said, no one in her stories that I've read thus far has voluntarily contacted one, and... let's just say one understands why.

 

I don't think most folks who know about the Yithians voluntarily contact them. I think the ones who do are mostly Yithian agents, and most of the rest are ignorant about exactly what they're doing. The remainder are probably desperate.



#34 yronimoswhateley

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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:11 AM

Oh, I think plenty of people would try to contact Yithians. 

 

Scientists burning with curiosity about all the wisdom and knowledge that could be gained from that contact.

 

Pessimists and cynics who feel that no matter how bad a Yithian might be they cannot possibly be as bad as humans.

 

Aleister Crowley gleefully tried to contact the Theosophical equivalents/inspirations of Yithians just because he felt sure he could.

 

The hopeless, the lost, the desperate, the broken would all contact the Yithians for guidance, advice, help, direction, hope, faith.... people have historically been happy to try to contact all sorts of imaginary gods, goddesses, demons, angels, spirits, ghosts and such over and over for those very reasons, even without hope of getting answers or responses from them; priests, medium, fortune tellers, and the like have made livings, if not fortunes, from that.  I have a feeling that knowing they would get answers from those they contact would change things very much - it would scare a few away, but convince others, and, I think, things might work out about even in the end....

 

Someone who finds out that Yithians have been meddling in his life over and over might want to contact them to ask why, and try to get them to stop - if the meddling is bad enough, that person might feel like things couldn't get much worse if he deliberately contacted them. 

 

Certainly, in spite of the nightmarish descriptions of alien abductions, there are still sizeable UFO contactee cults:  believing they have contacted UFOs and aliens seems to give some people a sense of purpose and control over their lives.

 

The Yithians, whatever their motives, are certainly older and wiser than humans are... they have been everywhere, everywhen, seeing far more of time and space than humans.  Whether humans admire, respect, or fear it, there are plenty of precedents for humans willing to make great sacrifices for chances to benefit from that sort of age and wisdom.  In fact, the tone Lovecraft uses in writing "The Shadow Out of Time" almost suggests that Lovecraft himself rather admired and idealized his creations, and might not have hesitated to contact them in exchange for being allowed to join their weird utopia, becoming one of their number! (Lovecraft was a strange guy with really strange political, religious, aesthetic, philosophical, and personal ideals which this story perhaps reveals some weird insight into.....)

 

Among the most tempting benefits that might be gained by (or at least offered as schmuck-bait for) someone like Lovecraft from Yithians include eternal life beyond the "galling limits of time and space", escape from an unhappy life as a mere human being, acceptance into a kind of atheist and socialist scientist-philosopher aristocratic utopia that might appeal to those who are dissatisfied with human politics and religion, and almost limitless access to all of the knowledge and wisdom and mysteries plundered from unnumbered civilizations across time and space.....

 

I think that there are optimists who would contact the Yithians in the hope of making the world a better place, and cynics and pessimists who would contact the Yithians in the belief that things couldn't get any worse than they are already after contacting them....

 

So, I can't help thinking that most folks who would know about the Yithians - cultists, free-thinkers, artists, dreamers, mystics, scientists, truth-seekers, the misguided, philosophers, priests, antiquarians, futurists, escapists, and such - would find it hard to resist contacting the Yithians if they could.

 

And, I can't help thinking that all of them, no matter what they expected, would walk away from such contact feeling disquieted, repelled, and terrified:  I believe contact with beings like the Yithians must surely be both awesome and awful, terrific and terrible.....


"I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time." - Blaise Pascal


#35 eternalchampion

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Posted 28 November 2017 - 08:43 PM

I don’t know about the rest of you but I feel that the original question has been answered. Just a note, in Delta Green Mythos there is an organization called “the Motion” whose members act as Yithians’ agents inside humanity’s civilization. Many of them can be the type of dreamer or researcher, as it was described above. People like them would certainly need the aforementioned spell anyway.

I would certainly suggest the novel “Denied to the enemy” of Dennis Detwiller. The author fleshes out the Yithians in a very interesting way.

#36 ZeroMostel

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 01:30 AM

Oh, I think plenty of people would try to contact Yithians. 

 

I think that there are optimists who would contact the Yithians in the hope of making the world a better place, and cynics and pessimists who would contact the Yithians in the belief that things couldn't get any worse than they are already after contacting them....

 

So, I can't help thinking that most folks who would know about the Yithians - cultists, free-thinkers, artists, dreamers, mystics, scientists, truth-seekers, the misguided, philosophers, priests, antiquarians, futurists, escapists, and such - would find it hard to resist contacting the Yithians if they could.

 

And, I can't help thinking that all of them, no matter what they expected, would walk away from such contact feeling disquieted, repelled, and terrified:  I believe contact with beings like the Yithians must surely be both awesome and awful, terrific and terrible.....

 

Now You have me thinking of a "cult" of such people. Maybe even ones who want to escape man's "fate" and be part of the Beetles who inhabit the earth after man.

 

OOOO I gotta run with this 


Edited by ZeroMostel, 29 November 2017 - 06:18 AM.


#37 WinstonP

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 01:37 AM

Now You have me thinking of a "cult" of such people. Maybe even ones who want to escape man's "fate" and be part of the Beatles who inhabit the earth after man.

OOOO I gotta run with this

 

Wait, The Yithians come back as The Beatles?!

Does this make Yoko a Mythos entity? ;)


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#38 ZeroMostel

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 06:25 AM

In Ma

 

Wait, The Yithians come back as The Beatles?!

Does this make Yoko a Mythos entity? ;)

 

According to Macho women with guns, she is.

 

Sorry for the misspelling. it has been corrected



#39 johnmcfloss

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 09:36 AM

According to Macho women with guns, she is.

 

Sorry for the misspelling. it has been corrected

 

...to be honest, "Four Yithian bodysnatchers get lost/forgotten in 1960's Britain, and decide the best way to create a large enough ripple through time that they're noticed and retrieved (without accidentally messing up history or outing themselves), is to become world-famous musicians, and seed clues to their nature in album art and backmasking in the hopes that another Yithian at some point in the future works it out and comes back for them" sounds like a pretty solid basis to build up from. Possibly fiction or a one-shot over a campaign, but



#40 windandfire

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 01:52 PM

...to be honest, "Four Yithian bodysnatchers get lost/forgotten in 1960's Britain, and decide the best way to create a large enough ripple through time that they're noticed and retrieved (without accidentally messing up history or outing themselves), is to become world-famous musicians, and seed clues to their nature in album art and backmasking in the hopes that another Yithian at some point in the future works it out and comes back for them" sounds like a pretty solid basis to build up from. Possibly fiction or a one-shot over a campaign, but


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