Leviathan, sometimes also referred to as a Naga, Worm, etc.
Origin: the Leviathans first appear in Dark Shadows (1966 franchise).
The Leviathans were a race of beings who ruled the Earth before mankind came into existence, now mostly banished to the Other Side, though still they long to return to the Earth and reclaim it as their own.
Many Leviathans took human shape after they lost control of the planet. Dressed in brown robes like monks, members of a greenish-skinned human (or part-human) cult provide the Leviathans with human bodies
In their true form, the Leviathans are hideous, inhuman, soulless beings without physical bodies, conjured into the physical world from some the Other Side by cultists through the Naga Box, and who must possess human bodies to interact with the physical world. Leviathans may look like blobs of bright light in this world, but are said to have Astral bodies that resemble some sort of four-headed serpents on the Other Side.
In their disembodied forms, Leviathans could not directly harm humans, but could influence humans by possessing the bodies of willing hosts, animating dead victims like zombie puppets, or manipulating the dreams of victims to implant subconscious desires and fears; in turn, the Leviathans are vulnerable on the Other Side to human Ghosts and other disembodied spirits.
The Leviathans had an ancient history on Earth, fighting long wars to try to exterminate and replace all other life on Earth, held at bay only by a race or cult of werewolves who alone are somehow capable of harming the Leviathans in both worlds; humans could protect themselves from possession and the subconscious influence of the Leviathans by using Elder Sign (symbol)s or pentacles to interfere with the Leviathans' power and ward their disembodied forms away.
Cult of Leviathan
The Cult of Leviathan consists of Human Cultists under the sway of the Leviathans, as well as leaders possessed by the disembodied Leviathans. Each Cult of Leviathan will typically have its own copy of the Book of Leviathan (see below), and members of this cult are distinguished from other Human Cultists mainly by the control exerted specifically by the Leviathans and the cult's dedication to this race, and the cult's usage of the "Sign of Naga" to identify themselves to other members. A Cult of Leviathan may also have access to a "Naga Box", and a temple, typically sparsely decorated, which includes the "Sign of Naga" and a "Leviathan Altar" (see below).
Book of Leviathan
The Book of Leviathan was written by the hand of a human prophet, and only humans under the influence of the Leviathan can read and interpret the Book of Leviathan: the Leviathans cannot directly read or interact with it, depending instead upon human proxies to access the book for them. The book details the history of the Leviathans, explaining what had occurred in the past and what needed to happen to ensure the future of the race. The book outlined specific plans for the wedding of the Leviathan leader to a human being, as well as including instructions preventing the Leviathans from directly harming human beings, as such injury, according to the prophecy, will undo and set back the efforts of the Leviathans to reclaim the world, forcing the Leviathans to deal with human enemies in other ways.
Sign of Naga
The "Sign of Naga" is an ornate depiction of a knotted, twisted, four-headed serpent. It generally has little significance on its own aside from being a symbol for the cult and a post-hypnotic focus for increasing or renewing the Leviathan's control over its victims, though artifacts important to the Leviathans and their cult are often marked with this Sign.
The "Naga Box", also called a "Leviathan Box", is an ornately-carved, antediluvian magical artifact said to have been made during the Hyborian Age using lost arts masted by skilled wizards in the first Cult of Leviathan, and used in a narrowly-averted plot by the first Cult of Leviathan to unleash the Leviathans back onto the Earth; the plot was discovered and stopped at a terrible cost to the heroes who fought to stop the Cult's plans. Each member of the first Cult had his, her, or its own Naga Box, many of these boxes were lost when the first Cult was discovered and its members tracked down and slain, and many more have since been destroyed or lost to history through the Cult's misadventures through history. The few boxes which survive are prized treasures of the Cult of Leviathan, and only a few of these Boxes remain in the modern world, mostly in the hands of the Cult of Leviathan.
Depending upon the degree to which one side or the other is affected by the interaction, the use of a Naga Box may require a tremendous amount of magical power to use, but the boxes serve as portals through which Leviathans on the Other Side can cross over into the material plane to possess human bodies and cause other mischief, and also serve as conduits for the psychic powers of Leviathans to interact with the material plane, allowing Leviathans to struggle for control of the minds of anyone who peers into the box, control the dreams of anyone who sleeps near the box, and move objects within sight of the open lid of the box. The boxes may also serve as portals into the Other Side, allowing magical spells to be cast upon or against Leviathans and other disembodied spirits, physical objects and sacrifices to be sent to the Other Side, disembodied travelers from Earth to project themselves into the Other Side and even to travel through time and space, and other such interactions with entities or objects in the Astral Plane and beyond.
The Leviathan Altar is a stone construction used by the Leviathans and their Cult for ceremonies. The altar consists of two sliding slab doors constructed in front of a large carving of the Sign of Naga, a symbol of the Leviathan people. When the slab doors are opened, a small cave-like entrance could be exposed beneath the Sign of Naga, leading to a sacred underground area of the altar.
What lay below the altar depends on the individual Cult of Leviathan; for many Cults, the area is simply a hiding place for treasures of the cult (such as the Naga Box or Book of Leviathan), and a place of meditation in darkness upon the will and the glory and the horror of the Cult's Leviathan masters. For some Cults of Leviathan, the door has been known to open upon a passageway deep underground into unwholesome dark places under the Earth where inhuman horrors dwell far from the sun. Some investigators have told stories as well of the doors opening upon portals to the Other Side, to alien worlds, and other hellish and unearthly places.
Heresies and Controversies
Associated Mythos Elements
- tome: Book of Leviathan
- artifact: Naga Box
- artifact: Leviathan Altar
- artifact: Sign of Naga
- deity: Naga
- race: Human Cultists
- location: Collinsport
- cult: Cult of Naga
- film: Dark Shadows (1966 franchise)