Nyarlathotep (the Crawling Chaos) is a fictional character in the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. He is one of the cosmic Outer Gods and appears in the works of Lovecraft and August Derleth, among others.
Nyarlathotep in the mythos
Template:SectOR Nyarlathotep differs from the other beings in a number of ways. Most of them are exiled to stars, like Yog-Sothoth and Hastur, or sleeping and dreaming like Cthulhu; Nyarlathotep, however, is active and frequently walks the Earth in the guise of a human being, usually a tall, slim, joyous man. Most of them have their own cults serving them, while Nyarlathotep seems to serve them and take care of their affairs in their absence. Most of them use strange alien languages, while Nyarlathotep uses human languages and can be mistaken for a human being. Finally, most of them are all powerful yet purposeless, yet Nyarlathotep seems to be deliberately deceptive and manipulative, and even uses propaganda to achieve his goals. In this regard, he is probably the most human-like among them.
Nyarlathotep enacts the will of the Outer Gods, and is their messenger, heart and soul; he is also a servant of Azathoth, whose wishes he immediately fulfills. Unlike the other Outer Gods, causing madness is more important and enjoyable than death and destruction to Nyarlathotep. In this sense, he strongly resembles the traditional role of the devil.Template:Fact
According to the Necronomicon, Nyarlathotep will play some part in the End Time. It is stated that he will allow Nygotha to wipe the Earth clean in preparation for the return of the Great Old Ones - although it doesn't specify how Nyarlathotep will accomplish this. It also fails to mention any timeframe for this to occur, although it would presumably be after the fall of Xothique some 5,000 years in the future.Template:Fact
Table of Nyarlathotep's forms
Nyarlathotep has many forms (some literature refers to these forms as Masks and claims that he has a thousand of them) and is thus known by different avatars.
This table is organized as follows:
- Name. This is the name of Nyarlathotep's form.
- Region. This is the geographical location where Nyarlathotep's form is active.
- Description. This entry describes Nyarlathotep's form.
- Notes. This field contains additional information.
- References. This field lists the sources that contain references to Nyarlathotep's form. If the source is a story, it is denoted by a two-letter code—the key to the codes is found here. Otherwise, the source is denoted as follows:
- rpg means a role-playing game and includes a footnote to the source.
- MofN means the Masks of Nyarlathotep web site.
- If an entry appears in bold, this means that the reference introduces Nyarlathotep's form.
|Ahtu||Congo||Appears as a gelatinous mass extruding golden tentacles.||Ahtu 's cult is made of crippled and disfigured natives (though Europeans with similar deformities can join). He can be called by a magical, golden bracelet, which is kept separated into two halves to prevent accidental summonings.||rpg, UD|
|The Beast||Worldwide||Manifests through the Sphinx.||In this form, Nyarlathotep is worshipped by the Brotherhood of the Beast. This manifestation can only appear in a specific location in Egypt.||rpg|
|The Black Demon||Appears as a black, furry, snouted creature which fears light but is not harmed by it.||Although special talismans can be used to control the Black Demon, there is still the risk that the summoner will be attacked.||rpg|
|The Black Lion,
Destroyer of Egypt
|Black Man||England||Appears as a hooved, hairless, swarthy man.||Nyarlathotep is worshipped by witch covens in this form.||DW, FG|
|Black Messenger of Karneter||?||?||MofN|
|Black Pharaoh||Egypt||Appears as a haughty Egyptian pharaoh wearing a brightly colored robe.||The Brotherhood of the Black Pharaoh worships Nyarlathotep in this form.||DQ, rpg|
|Black Wind||Kenya||Manifests as a devastating storm.||IK, rpg|
|Blind Ape of Truth||?||?||MofN|
|Bloated Woman||China||Appears as a five-mouthed, morbidly obese woman with numerous tentacles.||The Bloated Woman hides behind the Black Fan to conceal its great bulk from unwary victims.||rpg|
|Bringer of Pests||Egypt||Appears as a swarm of preternatural locusts.||This avatar had a following in Egypt's Twelfth Dynasty. Today it is worshipped by the Knights of the Silver Twilight.||rpg|
|Crawling Mist||Dreamlands||Appears as a putrid, living fog.||EL|
|Dark Demon||Appears as a larger version of the Black Demon yet more treacherous.||Those who study the black arts are sometimes contacted by this avatar. In return for entering their bodies, the Dark Demon promises them great rewards. Unfortunately, Nyarlathotep never makes good on this promise.||KD|
|Appears as a pitch-black, eight-foot-tall, faceless man who can walk through any physical barrier.||MK|
|Dweller in Darkness||Wood of N'gai (somewhere in northern America)||Appears as a hideous, howling giant with a tentacle in place of a face.||DD|
|Effigy of Hate||Africa||A winged creature that manifests through a war totem.||rpg|
|The Faceless God||Ancient Egypt||Appears as a winged, faceless sphinx.||This avatar has the ability to send its worshippers back through time.||FG|
|Father of the Million Favored One||?||?||MofN, WD(?)|
|The Floating Horror||Haiti||Appears as a bluish, red-veined jellyfish-like creature.||AP|
|God of the Bloody Tongue,
Howler in Darkness
|Kenya||Appears as gigantic monster with a red tentacle in place of a face.||In this form, Nyarlathotep is worshipped by the Cult of the Bloody Tongue.||rpg|
|God of the Desert||?||?||MofN|
|Green Man||Celts||Appears as an animated, man-like effigy made of plant material.||rpg|
|The Haunter of the Dark||Australia;
Providence, Rhode Island;
|A bloated, batlike creature with a single, burning, three-lobed eye which appears able to kill by fear alone. This avatar is destroyed by light.||Its most important cult is the Church of Starry Wisdom, based in Providence, which can summon the avatar using the Shining Trapezohedron. It is also worshipped by some modern Aborigines. Its other epithets include Face Eater, Father of All Bats, Dark Wing, Sand Bat, and Fly-The-Light.||CD, HD, rpg, S5|
|The Horned Man||Celts||Appears as a man with stag-like horns.||This avatar can only be viewed while under the influence of certain hallucinogenic drugs.||rpg|
|The Howler at the Moon,
Howler in the Night (?)
|?||Appearance is the same as the God of the Bloody Tongue.||DD(?)|
|Lord of the Desert||?||?||MofN|
Bat God of L'gy'hx
|The planet L'gy'hx (Uranus)||Appears as a two-headed bat (debatable).||Avatar worshipped by the cuboid inhabitants of L'gy'hx and by a group of renegade Shan.||IS, rpg|
|Master of Evil||?||?||MofN|
|Messenger of the Old Ones||Appears as an enormous black mass that seems to creep across the sky.||This form is manifast only during occasions of cosmic importance, such as the awakening of Cthulhu.||rpg, WA|
|Mr. Skin||Los Angeles||Indistinguishable imitation of an African American pimp.||This avatar is closely associated with certain worshippers of Shub-Niggurath.||MK|
|Narla||Worldwide||A Woman in the Red Dress-like virtual reality entity.||MofN|
|Nyarlatophis, the Sorcerer||?||?||Template:Fact|
|The Pool of Shadow||Druids||?||This avatar was worshipped for thousands of years by a small druidic cult.||rpg|
|Prince of Darkest Dark||?||?||MofN|
|Set||Egypt||?||This avatar is worshipped by the Majestic Order of the Great Dark One, a cult which may still be active in Egypt.||rpg|
|Shugoran||Malaysia||Appears as a black human-like creature playing a horn.||This form is worshipped by the Tcho-tcho people. They sometimes summon this avatar to punish offenders.||MH, rpg|
|Skeletal Horror||Egypt||Manifests as a twelve-foot-tall living skeleton with enormous claws and the head of a human embryo.||rpg|
|Middle East||Appears as a skinned corpse.||This avatar was worshipped by an abhorrent cult in Turkey and its environs. The Aztecs revered this avatar as Xipe Totec.||rpg|
|The Small Crawler||India||A small human figure with four arms and three tentacles for legs.||This avatar is described in the Cthaat Aquadingen and has a small cult in India.||rpg|
|Stalker Among the Stars||?||?||MofN|
|Tezcatlipoca||Mexico||Dark-skinned man with a foot that looks like a smoking mirror.||This avatar was a prominent deity among the Aztecs.||rpg|
|The Thing in the Yellow Mask||Dreamlands||A creature clothed in yellow silk.||This avatar is only known to manifest in the city of 'Ygiroth in the Dreamlands. Some claim that it is the lone occupant of the remote, unnamed monastery on the Plateau of Leng (see High Priest Not to Be Described).||CE, FY, YG|
|The Tick-Tock Man||Any technologically advanced civilisation||An advanced piece of machinery for the time period.||This avatar is most commonly found in technologically advanced races, or at times when science begins to supersede religion. It can manifest itself from something as mundane as a complex carriage clock to an extremely advanced artificial intelligence. Sources claim it was Nyarlathotep that gave humanity the final keys to unlock the atomic age, unwittingly ushering in the time of their own destruction.||Template:Fact|
|The Wailing Writher||?||A column of writhing black tentacles and screaming mouths.||This avatar has no known worshippers.||rpg|
|The White Man||New England||Appears as a blonde man in a shiny white robe.||NS|
And it was then that Nyarlathotep came out of Egypt. Who he was, none could tell, but he was of the old native blood and looked like a Pharaoh. The fellahin knelt when they saw him, yet could not say why. He said he had risen up out of the blackness of twenty-seven centuries, and that he had heard messages from places not on this planet. Into the lands of civilisation came Nyarlathotep, swarthy, slender, and sinister, always buying strange instruments of glass and metal and combining them into instruments yet stranger. He spoke much of the sciences - of electricity and psychology - and gave exhibitions of power which sent his spectators away speechless, yet which swelled his fame to exceeding magnitude. Men advised one another to see Nyarlathotep, and shuddered. And where Nyarlathotep went, rest vanished; for the small hours were rent with the screams of a nightmare.
—H.P. Lovecraft, "Nyarlathotep"
What his fate would be, he did not know; but he felt that he was held for the coming of that frightful soul and messenger of infinity's Other Gods, the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep.
—H.P. Lovecraft, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
There was the immemorial figure of the deputy or messenger of hidden and terrible powers - the 'Black Man' of the witch cult, and the 'Nyarlathotep' of the Necronomicon.
—H.P. Lovecraft, "The Dreams in the Witch House"
There are references to a Haunter of the Dark awaked by gazing into the Shining Trapezohedron, and insane conjectures about the black gulfs from which it was called. The being is spoken of as holding all knowledge, and demanding monstrous sacrifices.
—H.P. Lovecraft, "The Haunter of the Dark"
- Outside the Lovecraft mythos, Nyarlathotep appears in the Persona series of PlayStation games as a god symbolic of the destructive potential of Carl Jung's collective unconsciousness, humanity's collective soul. He is the ally/enemy/doppelganger (it is complicated) of the Philemon character, and appears in various forms.
- Nyarlathotep appears as "Nylonathatep, the laddering horror" in the Discworld game Discworld Noir.
- Stephen King's character Randall Flagg was also known as Nyarlathotep; Flagg used a wide variety of names.
- Magic spells in Conan the Barbarian comic books feature invocations to "Nyarla Thotep".
- Brad Strickland, a writer of children's stories, used Nyarlathotep as the primary antagonist in his book The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost.
- In an issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the turtles find themself in a tower which inhabits forgotten deities. They found their enemy in the deceitful Loki who, in an ensuing battle, summons Nyarlathotep, "tearer of souls, ripper of flesh"
- Appears as Nyarlathotep, N., Priest of the Ether, Chaos Made Flesh, etc. as a character in the webcomic Friendly Hostility where he is a friend of several main characters and his entrance preceded (his whereabouts known) by the occurrence of strange, random, usually gruesome events.
- Appears as a God card in the trading card game Hecatomb by Wizards of the Coast.
- Template:Cite web
- Harms, Daniel. "Nyarlathotep" in The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana (2nd ed.), pp. 218–222. Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1998. ISBN 1-56882-119-0.
Role-playing game material
- Aniolowski, Scott D.
- "The Sundial of Amen-Tet" in Lurking Fears, Lockport, NY: Triad Entertainments, 1990.
- Ye Booke of Monstres, Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1994. ISBN 1-568-82019-4.
- Detwiller, Dennis, Adam Scott Glancy, and John Tynes. Delta Green: A Call of Cthulhu Sourcebook of Modern Horror and Conspiracy, Tynes Cowan Corp, 1997. ISBN 1-887-79708-4.
- Diaper, John, et al. The Arkham Evil, Theatre of the Mind, 1983.
- DiTillio, Larry and Lynn Willis.
- "City beneath the Sands" in Terror Australis, Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1987. ISBN 0-933-63540-0.
- Masks of Nyarlathotep, Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1996. ISBN 1-568-82069-0.
- Gillian, Geoff.
- "Regiment of Dread" in Tales of the Miskatonic Valley, , Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1991. ISBN 0-933-63583-4.
- —et al. Horror on the Orient Express, 1991.
- Hallet, David and L.N. Isinwyll. "Eyes for the Blind" in Dark Designs, 1991.
- Hamblin, William. "Thoth's Dagger" in Different Worlds #27, 1983.
- Herber, Keith.
- "Dead of Night" in Arkham Unveiled, 1990.
- The Fungi from Yuggoth, 1984.
- Return to Dunwich, 1991.
- Johnson, Sam. A Resection of Time, Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1997. ISBN 1-568-82095-X.
- Lyons, Doug and Isinwyll, L.N. "One in Darkness" in The Great Old Ones, Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1989.
- Petersen, Sandy
- "The Rise of R'lyeh", 1982) in Shadows of Yog-Sothoth.
- —and John B. Monroe. "The Ten Commandments of Cthulhu Hunting" in The Cthulhu Casebook, 1990.
- Ross, Kevin. Escape from Innsmouth (2nd ed.), Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1997. ISBN 1-568-82115-8.
- Williams, Chris and Sandy Petersen. The Complete Dreamlands (4th ed.), Oakland, CA: Chaosium, 1997. ISBN 1-568-82086-0.
- ^ Harms, "Nyarlathotep", The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, pp. 218–9.
- ^ Detwiller et al, Delta Green; Herber, "Dead of Night".
- ^ Herber, The Fungi from Yuggoth.
- ^ Lyons & Isinwyll, "One in Darkness".
- ^ DiTillio & Willis, Masks of Nyarlathotep.
- ^ Ibid.
- ^ Ibid.
- ^ Petersen & Monroe, "The Ten Commandments of Cthulhu Hunting".
- ^ Gillian, "Regiment of Dread".
- ^ Harms, The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana, "The Floating Horror", pp. 222. This name was created by Harms.
- ^ DiTillio & Willis, Masks of Nyarlathotep (first appeared in this scenario?); Johnson, A Resection of Time.
- ^ Hallet & Isinwyll, "Eyes for the Blind".
- ^ DiTillio et al, "City beneath the Sands"; Petersen et al, The Complete Dreamlands.
- ^ Herber, Return to Dunwich.
- ^ Aniolowski, Ye Booke of Monstres.
- ^ Ibid; Petersen, "The Rise of R'lyeh".
- ^ Diaper et al. The Arkham Evil.
- ^ Aniolowski, "The Sundial of Amen-Tet".
- ^ Ross, Escape from Innsmouth.
- ^ Hamblin, "Thoth's Dagger" in Different Worlds #27.
- ^ Gillan et al, Horror on the Orient Express.
- ^ DiTillio & Willis, Masks of Nyarlathotep.
- ^ Johnson, A Resection of Time.
- ^ Ross, Escape from Innsmouth.