Dholes discussion
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From: Khorne
Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 2:00 AM

It has occurred to me that dholes are an underutilized Mythos race. The only use I can remember of them being made was an older Chaosium adventure, the Brotherhood of the Beast or something. has anyone made use of dholes in a Delta Green context?

From: Caiius
Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 2:18 AM

Ummm, considering that they destroy entire planets , no ……..

From: Super Dave
Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 9:44 PM

As others have pointed out, fighting dholes is a one-way ticket to death. A fully-grown dhole makes Gojira look like a gecko. However, I can envisage a scenario wherein the players are trying to prevent a dhole egg from being summoned to Earth (I have a feeling there was an adventure about this laying around somewhere, but I can't think of its name), or trying to destroy such an egg before it can hatch. Killing off a dhole hatchling might be possible, but difficult. But if it escapes into the depths, that's the end for Earth. It will take centuries for the dhole to spawn (I like the idea of them being born pregnant) and multiply, but then the Earth will be shattered.

The problem with using dholes is that they themselves are not terribly interesting. They're just big freakin worms, like Rubber Japanese Monsters on a rampage, only worse. But you coud make the people involved in bringing the egg to Earth interesting. Maybe they think they're actually saving the universe, by sacrificing our world to kill Cthulhu before he can "escape" his prison here (not realizing that the universe is full of things as bad as or much worse than Cthulhu).

And if the players lose in trying to stop the baby dhole, they can have that wonderful feeling of hopelessness as they realize the Earth now doomed more completely than ever before. OTOH, it would be a good impetus to get that space program going!

From: Daniel M Harms
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 00 23:05PM PDT

They're not that popular, mainly because they're HUGE and require all sorts of covering-up. However, as a hint, I've seen something on www.delta-green.com that ties into something in the new LOST SOULS books for Cthulhu Live that brings in a surprising possibility for dholes in DG…

From: Robert McLaughlin
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 7:05 AM

We have explored a unique use of the Dhole hatchlings in "The Osiris Club", first appearing in the film noir setting of Cthulhu Live: Shades of Gray and expanded into the Club's organization in the modern day in Lost Souls. Still leaving the dholes as a secondary element… but another way to work these creatures… and the threat of what might happen should one escape… into a campaign.

From: Ian McMurtrey
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 1:38 PM

Personally, I'd make the engagement _off_ Earth, just so the "How Come Earth Don't Get Smushed" contrivance isn't as much of a stretch… but then, I like non-terrene settings for games. Mystical gates, mind-altering drugs, the whims of an Outer God, the whole bit: all perfectly standard.

From: Andy Robertson
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 4:19 PM

Surely Dholes have great potential?

Here is some legendary / mythical / literary background that could be applied for Dholes:

  1. The Biblical Leviathan (the Dragon in the Sea). Leviathan is associated with the Apocalypse. The prophecy has it of Christ on his return "And he will kill Leviathan, the Dragon that is in the Sea".
  2. The Midgard Serpent. Also connected with the end of the world, but in Norse myth.
  3. The Worm Oroberos: a symbol of eternity, a snake endlessly eating its own tail.
  4. T.E.D Klien's "The Ceremonies". A *must read*.
  5. Walter Wangerin's "The Book Of The Dun Cow" Chantcleer the cock vs. the monster. Don't knock it till you've read it.
  6. John Crowley's "The Deep". An SF treatment of the Leviathan myth. Sort of.

I think the great Serpent in the sea, or under the ground, living in the Earth & making of it no more than a rotten fruit, is a very powerful image indeed.

From: Robert McLaughlin
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 7:20 PM

Don't forget the Lair of the White Worm for some campy dhole potential!

From: Andy Robertson
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 1997 8:45 PM

And of course Yig, the father of serpents.

Yig has been pictured as anthropoid, but I think this a mistake.

Remember the way we humans continually paint & carve our images of CTHULHU with human limbs & body? Obviously an error.

Instead, I imagine Yig as the great Oroboros. Lifting his head above the shards of tumbled mountains. Greeting his brother Cthulhu.

From: Khorne
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 6:54 PM

Pursuant to me earlier posts about dholes…

Some years ago, when I first became interested in the Call of Cthulhu game, I noticed that the chthonians have a race-king, Shudde M'Elle. In my febrile mind at the time, I envisioned a conflict between the chthonians and the dholes, which, naturally, required that Shudde M'Elle have a counterpart in the dhole camp.

At the time, I had just finished "the God Emperor of Dune", by Frank Herbert. In the Dune universe (dare I say, the Dune Mythos), the gigantic sand worms of Arrakis are said to have a mythical race-king called Shai Hulud, which, in the Dune universe, was equated with the biblical Leviathan. Being young and ignorant of copyright, I appropriated the name Shai Hulud as the race-king/ divine ruler of the dholes. Stats inevitably followed, and Shudde M'Elle had an enemy.

Has anyone else been so influenced by the Dune books? They do contain answers, of a kind, to many of the questions I've seen posted on the DGML.

From: Daniel Harms
Sent: Thursday, July 20, 2000 9:22 PM

If you pick up Chaosium's SCROLL OF THOTH collection (sword and sandals meets Cthulhu-type stuff), you'll find a piece that's sword and sandals meets Cthulhu meets Dune piece (unfortunately, Shudde-M'ell is the worm). Plus that sword and sandals meets Cthulhu meets Star Wars story. Richard Tierney's a lot of fun.

From: Jason R. Armstrong
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2000 11:02 PM

Ah, Yig as the Nidhongir/ Midgard Serpent. Pretty tasty. But I think that it's just as possible that Yig, while possessing an Ur-Snake form, shifts into various reptilian, pre-reptilian, and pre-amphibian mixed forms as well. Yig's a badass, and has been around long enough to have seen and mimicked various lines of evolution on Earth. My shot in the dark is that (for whatever alien reasons) Yig has battened down onto the entire vertebrate proto-reptile Ideal as a chosen set of forms. The Father of Serpents is probably just imitating that which It found happening here. Yig is, perhaps, a Lloigor Lord-become-GOO. It decided on maintaining the material side of Its' Self, extrapolating upon the already-used dragon-forms the lloigor found popular. This is different from its brethren,such as Ghatanothoa, who adopted a polymorphic, unreal form in order to best enact its' Curse. Though, it could go the other way. Yig could be the Father of Serpents because It brought forth the reptilian form to our world, breeding little versions of Itself in the same way Ubbo-Sathla or Abhoth burp out ameoboids. This, I'll leave alone, as it has been archived in the Cave, I think.

This is the latest in a string of interesting musings about "underutilized" (or, perhaps, under-rationalized, under-explained, under-theogonied) beings; the latest being the Dhole question. I know there's been a VERY TINY amount of noise in other places, not on the List, that the cthonics,i.e. Shudde-M'elle's brood and the Dholes, should have more in common. Some sort of bond, be it conflict or community. Khorne, I believe, brought this up again… do they share ancestry? Did they (at one time) fight over the same ecosystem?

I don't know, personally. Whatever their connection to the other cthonics, I suspect that the Dholes were A)sent to the Dreamlands where their appetites would find an effectively infinite Underworld to graze and breed in; infinite Dream-matter to sate them, without the tedium of running out of planet. Or, B) they existed originally in the Dreamlands, and those that are summoned into material space have no upper curve to their destruction, eating and hatching away in their environment until it's just *gone*, man.

One idea I like to turn over is that the Dholes are sort of like really huge "planet viruses". They nest inside of a planet, and, using the food they gain from eating at their environment, breed and overbreed, until the planet is a wrecked shell, and the very numbers of Dhole and Dhole-spoor and Dhole-tunnels just blow the place apart. Something like what Ebola viruses do to a cell. At the end, big clumps of virus overproduce, and lyse the cell completely. Apparently, Ebola is so rampant and inneficient, the remains of a liquid Ebola victim will show *visible* amounts of virus. That's a lotta goddamned virus. With the description of Dhole-predation I recall, there is a similar feeling…vast overconsumption followed by an annhiliated host. Where do the Dholes go from there? Back to the Dreamlands,perhaps, as part of an automatic "hibernation" sequence? But why would they switch to material space at all, if the Underworld is all they need for food? Malice? Possibly, but I doubt it . I tend towards the idea that they may have been some OG's inadvertent spawn, or some GOO's idea of a great terror weapon. They don't make much practical sense. But, fuckamoley, are they scary. I wonder if Ghroth worries about "catching Dholes"?

Enough. Buffalo is fumy tonight, the smell is making me nauseated. I'm starting to feel faint. I leave you bipeds to…whatever. In farewell, I say:

to Khorne, some good posts, though I'm not *quite* as much of a fan of the Realm of Chaos stuff as you seem to be. Recall, most of the good stuff is owed to Moorcock and HPL. So it's not as revolutionary as it seems. But yes, it's a great twist to the old stuff. Welcome in, by the way.

To Ian McMurtry; I was lurking through the entire Hatred thing. Good to see that what started as a series of snide comments back and forth, turned into some great, thoughtful stuff on all sides. Also welcome in, though I *think* I recall you from before. Are you actually "new"? Well, whatever. You're no Joel Vachon, and thank heaven for that.

Everyone else, it's good to be back. North Carolina sucked, and I hope Charlotte gets bombed into a glassed-over crater ASAP. Nighty-night.

From: Andy Robertson
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 1998 5:30 AM

One idea I like to turn over is that the Dholes are sort of like
really huge "planet viruses".

The reason why dholes are confused & underused is surely that Lovecraft didn't tell us much about them.

They might exist as "natural" creatures, some sort of planet eater, but if they do they by that fact lose the terror & mana of being "The Worm" - the great monster at the root of the world, of the Universe.

(incidentally, anciently worm = snake or dragon. There was no intimation of small size)

The horror of Leviathan is the idea that the physical world we live in is His eggshell, His shelter, His tetter - a temporary fragile thing that will be *physically* destroyed when He awakens or just turns in his sleep.

This idea fits with the EndTimes.

I think I would have these legends being dream-shadows of the GOO & their awakening. The great physical size of the Dragon and His destruction of the world-Tree stands in for the existential shattering & changes in the conditions of reality that are coming when the GOO awake. The Wolf will eat the moon.

But on the other hand . . I am still childish enough (I guess) that sheer *physical size* carries some terror. Never mind the guys in rubber suits: the pure thought of Cthulhu as a thing "Miles high … that walked or lumbered about …" has a particular power. Can't you imagine that Head, lifted above the mountains?

From: The Man in Black
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 4:04 AM

They don't make much practical sense. But, fuckamoley, are they scary. I
wonder if Ghroth worries about "catching Dholes"?

You just gave Eibon the Black an excellent idea for another part of his Great Shattering.

From: Andrew John Farrow
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 6:10 AM

One idea I like to turn over is that the Dholes are sort of like
really huge "planet viruses".

how about the whacky idea that groth is the carrier of the dholes , like a seed pod full of dhole eggs bringing destruction to wherever he is summoned

I know this dont conform to to std mythos thinking , but I cant find any ref. to how groth destroys planets so this theory links - groth , the destuction of shaggi and the role of dholes

From: Steven Kaye
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 8:33 AM

Read the story which introduces Ghroth, Ramsey Campbell's "The Tugging." It brings planets into the proper alignment so 'the stars are right,' waking up the various GOOs.

From: Daniel Harms
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2000 5:38 PM

However, there does seem to be a reference (in "The Insects of Shaggai" by the same author) that suggests that Ghroth has destroyed worlds in the past. The method seems to involve strange red beams of light, rather than dholes, however.

From: Michael Layne
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 3:05 PM

A plausible mechanism, though rather roundabout…

I had gotten the impression that the destruction was due to tidal forces — much like the initial pass of the Bronson planets (probably not a coincidence in names):) in "When Worlds Collide"!

(In the novel, they were a gas-giant and an Earthlike world — named Bronson Alpha and Beta, after the astronomer who first sighted them. In the movie, the gas giant had become a star, and the two objects were Bellus and Zyra. Perhaps, in the alternate timeline of WWC, the larger of the pair was actually Ghroth?)

From: Andy Robertson
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 3:08 PM

From: Michael Layne

I had gotten the impression that the destruction was due to tidal
forces — much like the initial pass of the Bronson planets (probably not a
coincidence in names):) in "When Worlds Collide"!

This goes back to the horror of sheer size.

In Campbell's story Ghroth is a single Eye. (No, I don't mean it has vast sensory regions embedded in it: it's an actual, planet sized, eyeball.)

The horror of this feeds off its impossibility, so a scientific "rationale" for a planet sized eyeball is inappropriate and bathetic.

But, if we are forced, we could perhaps say that the original vision of Ghroth is a telepathic illusion:

Suppose, then, that the planet does not really open an Eye.

Suppose, instead, it is a center of perception and consciousness, so powerfully so that the feeble minds of observers are forced to "see" it as a giant version of their primary sense organs?

So we see it as a giant Eyeball. A sonar-sensing animal might perhaps "hear" Ghroth as a haunting and overpowering Song; an insectoid might "feel" it as a complex of enormous antennae and feelers: and so on.

"Making the stars come right" then takes on a new meaning: not the rather naff idea that astrology somehow works and has been physically "fixed" by a planet wandering into the right bit of the sky, but the more profound one that Ghroth has changed the conditions of reality through its vast concentration of perception & consciouness.

Hows about that?

((I think no investigators ever physically land on to Ghroth in any of the published DG scenarios - so it should be possible to make this fit with "Machinations of the Mi-Go" and the like. But I bow to correction. And of course this idea does not rule out gravitational and tidal effects as well))

From: Steve Kaye
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 5:03 PM

Which would make sense, but apparently Ghroth pops into view without inducing massive tidal waves, seismic activity, or even hot hail(cue cheesy disco music).

Wasn't there also a Dick story, "The Eye in the Sky," which involved something similar?

Fits rather nicely with the DG theme of humanity assisting in its own destruction - when humanity becomes like the Great Old Ones, it bears witness to itself.

From: Andy Robertson
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 4:42 PM

Wasn't there also a Dick story, which involved something similar?

Hell, *every* Dick story involves something similar …

Fits rather nicely with the DG theme of humanity assisting in its own destruction - when humanity
becomes like the Great Old Ones, it bears witness to itself.

I guess so. I have problems accepting that "when the stars are right" involves nothing but an actual movement of physical, planetary, bodies … It's too obvious. Ghroth needs to have a bit more of a numinous haze round it.

Another question for the "simple" attitude that Ghroth is a planet is …
how is it supposed to move about? Rockets? Space Warp? Nah.

Whatever Ghroth really is, it only looks like a "planet". Maybe it's a single great GOO, a nexus of organised other-Domain material with just enough terrene (or "Briahtic") matter trapped in its gravity well to give it the illusion of being a conventional planet. Maybe it's some sort of pit in space.

Maybe it was once a planet like Earth, before its own EndTimes. But it has now been transformed & it's coming to share the New Life with us.

From: Michael Layne
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 6:08 PM

So the Big G has other weapons besides gravitational pull…

For an account of a Ghroth-like mobile planet causing problems on Earth with gravity and tides, and with a few ravening beams of actinic destruction thrown in, check Fritz Lieber's novel "The Wanderer" — written over 30 years ago, yet still surprisingly current…

From: Greg Muir
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 12:47 AM

problems on Earth
with gravity and tides, and with a few ravening beams of actinic destruction
thrown in, check Fritz Lieber's novel "The Wanderer" — written over 30
years ago, yet still surprisingly current…

Also check out the novel Central Heat. A huge alien disk enters the solar system and uses some superscience we can't fathom to selectively block out the sun's gravity. The survivor's of humanity have lived for generations in decaying subterranian cities, leftovers from a cold war that progressed a bit further than in our reality. According to the authorities the disk caused Earth to drift out into deep space. Earth is nothing more than a ball of rock with a thin layer of collapsed atmosphere dusting the top. But some citizens in these bomb shelters feel that the deep space scenario isn't really what happened. The disk was directed by an intelligent force and what lies beyond the sealed doors of the shelters is something far beyond frozen water and air.

From: Mark Macfadden
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2000 5:29 PM

In a message dated 00-07-24 18:06:54 EDT, you write:

Wasn't there also a Dick story, "The Eye in the Sky," which involved something similar?

Nah. At one point some characters take an umbrella ride into the sky and confront the massive, cyclopean Eye of God, but it was a massive cyclopean Eye of God.
"Eye In The Sky" was one of Dick's meditations on reality.

A group of people have an accident while touring a cyclotron. In the accident, they fall into the beam.
After they come out of the hospital, the world is not the way they remember it. Magic works, as do curses and hexes and charms. Vending machines make candy bars out of nothing, like a Grail. Engineers get answers from angels, and the best engineers are the most devout. Casual profanity is punished by a rain of insects.
With some experimentation and a quick head count they realize that they are not actually living after the accident, but are experiencing an alternate reality *during* the accident, and the worlkd is conforming to the 'reality' of an old old man with some peculiar religious views. Hence God's all-seeing eye in the sky.

In the course of the story they manage to get out of that reality, but keep popping into another member's perceived reality. An empty headed socialite with a tenuous grasp of science. A Communist mole. My favorite was when they were apparently home, only to discover that this was the world inhabited by a paranoid schizophrenic in their group.

Sorry to spill some plot points, but I have to use some examples to convey the gist of it.

Well worth a read. Should inspire a lot of scenes if not a whole scenario.

From: Jason R. Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2000 9:34 AM

I have to chime in for a PKD spot, of course.

"Eye In the Sky" is One of his earlier, seemingly clumsier efforts….


……in comparison with his VALIS/Transmigration/Flow My Tears/Albemuth stuff, which is so shockingly good you can't help but think you merely imagined it. It was one of the works he wrote in the (50's?), so it seems a lot more naively-done, in terms of dialogue and pacing. My guess is, this had to do with the assumed "demands of the market" in that day. Whatever.

The greatest, most Cthuloid part of this story is the paranoid- skitz part. It starts out slow, and builds up to an ugly, identity-destroying finale. Said finale blows the established characterization out of the water, it blows the POV of the narrator out of the water, it blows the question of "who's really crazy here?"…straaaaight outta the water. And there's some tentacular-buggy-wuggy action, too.

Unfortunatly, it's all rather easily wrapped up in time for the next chapter. Again, I'm guessing the editor made a fuss about the "demands of the market".

But goddamn, the implications are creepy as all get-out.

Read the story, and determine the use as a one-off (or as an intrusion of OG/GOO Mind Vibe into the campaign?) to taste. It will not disappoint, at least not THAT part.

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