The Great Race … waxed well-nigh omniscient, and turned to the task of setting up exchanges with the minds of other planets, and of exploring their pasts and futures. It sought likewise to fathom the past years and origin of that black, aeon-dead orb in far space whence its own mental heritage had come - for the mind of the Great Race was older than its bodily form… The beings of a dying elder world, wise with the ultimate secrets, had looked ahead for a new world and species wherein they might have long life; and had sent their minds en masse into that future race best adapted to house them - the cone-shaped beings that peopled our earth a billion years ago. Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Shadow Out of Time
The Great Race are beings of enormous intelligence and psychic powers that once dwelt on the dying world of Yith. They escaped the destruction of their home planet by transferring their minds to the bodies of a species native to the Earth in the far distant past. They lived on this planet for 200 million years or so, in fierce competition with the Flying Polyps, until this enemy finally destroyed their civilization near the close of the Cretaceous era (about 65 million years ago).
In the bodies they inhabited on the Earth, they were tall and cone-shaped, rising to a point with four strange appendages - two terminating in claws, a third in a "trumpet", and the fourth, a yellow globe which functioned as a sensory organ. The unique ability of this scientifically-advanced race was to travel through time by swapping minds with creatures of another era. This allowed them to satisfy their interest in human culture, science, and occult beliefs. Occupied beings, their minds transferred to Yithian bodies against their will, learned as much as possible about the societies in which they dwelt; meanwhile, the "captive minds" were simultaneously queried by skilled inquisitors.
Although captive minds were prisoners, they were nonetheless granted some freedoms in exchange for their cooperation. Those captive minds who cooperated with the Great Race were allowed to wander the Yithian cities at will and to browse the Yithians' gigantic library, which contained metallic tubes with scrolls that recorded the histories of uncounted Mythos races, including humanity. Creatures inside a Yithian body could also communicate with other captive minds from across the universe (and beyond). Once the Great Race had learned all they could from a captive mind, the occupied being's intellect was swapped back, with the additional precaution of erasing all knowledge of the Great Race.
Because the Great Race travelled to the future as well as the past, they foresaw their own destruction by the flying polyps. Before the fateful day, the Great Race transferred their best minds forward through time into the bodies of the "beetle folk" (the Coleopterous race), Earth's dominant species after humankind. One of the factors involved may have been the fact that the flying polyps are completely gone by this point in time.
The Fraternal Order of Librarians serves the Great Race.
A Yithian time corps?
By The Man in Black, DGML message 752
I just started thinking about the Yithians. They're rumored to have a large presence in Our Darkest Hour (the DG WW2-era supplement in production limbo). They also have a group of collaborators throughout various eras. These two things makes me wonder.
It might be a bit pulpish, but I can envision a group of Time-Meddlers working for the Yithians who occasionally switch minds back to Pnakotus, switching minds throughout history, and conducting esoteric mission for the
Yithians involving manipulating the timestream, altering events, and shaping alternate realities.
Such a time-travelling conspiracy might be responsible for some unusual developments in fringe science. The Neurophone, Metalstorm, and others come to mind as possible examples of this sort of thing. Yithian agents would be in conflict with the Flying Polyps and possibly other time-meddlers, such as Black Dragon Society types. Tsan-Chan sorcerers could use the Liao drug to influence the past and ensure the creation of their futuristic empire. Also, the Tsan-Chan would come armed with their own brand of fringe science…
Such an unusual conspiracy might be based inAustralia, giving the aussies their own brand of Mythos Weirdness down under. Keeping Yithian/Pnakotic
League as realistic as the rest of Delta Green would be a challenge.
In GURPS terms I'm tempted to put the Sorcerous Tsan-Chan at TL9, and the Yithians at TL11. Yithian Agents would have access to TL9 equipment in modern times, with the occasional TL11 trinket to balance out the superior
martial arts and sorcery of the Tsan-Chan. GURPS Tech Levels really don't coincide with Fringe Science and Mythos Technology though, so this would only be a loose guideline.
Some possible scenario seeds:
A rogue Yithian (or human agent) goes on a mind-switching escapade as part of some unauthorized temporal alteration program. The temporal alteration could be alternately opposed and supported by the players. (see Lila Padol's story on p84 of Delta Green COUNTDOWN for an example of how this might play out)
A Tsan-Chan sorcerer influences the past not for the glory of the empire, but rather for their own personal aggrandizement. NOTE: I think Tsan-Chan
translates into "Meditative Inquiry" in some buddhist texts… This might translate into Astral Projection as the primary means of Tsan-Chan meddling.
- Commentary by David Tormsen
Since these time-meddlers would assumedly be ordinary humans, one would think they'd be far more vulnerable to the ol' Hounds of Tindalos. Pnakotic Pentagram would help, I suppose, but I get the impression that the Yithians have other methods of keeping the Hounds at bay that they probably wouldn't share with human allies.
- Commentary by Mark McFadden
Huh? What about plot complications? Arbitrary restrictions to create clock-watching tension? Red numerals counting down to 007?
What I'm saying here is that you've got gold in them there Hounds. Ask yourself why these Yithians are hopping and skipping through minds and time and what could drive the plot forward.
Y'see, the average Yithian possession (or at least what we've been shown by Lovecraft) consists of one temporal no-no that could attract Hounds, followed by a few years doing research and assembling the equipment for the
return "trip," then one more temporal misdemeanor. Troubleshooting agents hopscotching through time\space would be like blood in the water to a Hound.
Soooo, I'd expect the host of a Yithian troubleshooter would have the attention of some Hound or other, but so long as they don't continue to outrage time after the Yithian has returned home, the "trail" should
dissipate before the Hound can get a bead. However, if that ex-host starts fiddling with Liao, or Reverb, or Sweet&Low, or Tillinghast resonators, or
things contaminated with T-radiation - time to move to a rounded house.
Of course, what with being troubleshooters and time being an ineffable mystery even to frequent travelers, some hosts might have to be possessed again and again in order to fine tune the changes proposed for the time
stream. One of the prerequisites for being a host for troubleshooters might be a death that would have naturally occurred right about the time a Hound
would inevitably show up.
I think Yithians protect themselves from Hounds by avoiding drawing any attention, and not sticking around to clean up the mess if the first technique doesn't work.
The Yithian/Tsan-Chan War
From a thread started by James Knevitt, Message 793 of DGML
What would the Great Race of Yith think of all this temporal
scrambling? Would they get involved?
The war party
Yithian agents would be in conflict with the Flying Polyps and possibly other time-meddlers, such as the Black Dragon/Dark Ocean Genyosha types. Tsan-Chan sorcerers could use the Liao drug to influence the past and ensure the creation of their futuristic empire. Also, the Tsan-Chan would come armed with their own brand of fringe science…
I can easily imagine a full-blown temporal war between the Yithians and factions of the Tsan-Chan occuring all throughout history. Perhaps this conflict would be much
like the infighting of the Tsan-Chan themselves: all original goals have long since gone out the window, and now the various combatants are just fighting because the other guy
is. The cause for conflict would be reduced to war for the sake of war. The whole system would decay and break down as the timestream becomes hopelessly muddled (or perhaps it is already). Both societies - the Yithians and the Tsan-Chan - would start to crumble.
My theory is that another race once fought a temporal war like this: the people of Yhtill, ruled by their eternal Queen Cassilda. Eventually the decay and despair brought on by a temporal war fought in non-Euclidean angles and geometry became too much for even the people of Yhtill. While they may have won the war against their
enemies, the people had suffered a great loss in terms of their minds. Cassilda knew this, so she arranged for one last hurrah, and then it would be done. She summoned her most faithful servants to her palace, and held a great masquerade. They celebrated the victory and the last vestiges of greatness their people had.
Then midnight came, and Cassilda's last guest arrived …
Adam Crossingham wrote:
Which the Yithians would win hands down.
They would just mind-swap anyone in charge and a potential threat.
Nothing other than the Yithians are at the start of time and at the end of time, but are isolated from the time stream they are affecting.
They are the clear winners as the Tsan-Chan aren't there, and from their perspective in the future they can see any switch the Tsan-Chan attempt.
The Tsan-Chan may score minor victories but the Yithians will always catch up and win because they can review the outcome of Human history and go back again to tweak. The Tsan-Chan are living their changes.
By The Man in Black
Which the Yithians would win hands down.
They would just mind-swap anyone in charge and a potential threat.
End of war.
I think it would difficult for the Yithians to perform mind switches on the High Priest Not To Be Named of the Green Dragons, the Bloated Woman, The Black Pharoah, or Yig. The connection that the Kuen-Yuin have with YOG-SOTHOTH and the mystical dual nature they possess due to their creation of the Dreamlands city of Yian would make it difficult for Yithians to meddle with them as well.
Nothing other than the Yithians are at the start of time and at the end of time, but are isolated from the time stream they are affecting. They are the clear winners as the Tsan-Chan aren't there, and from their perspective in the future they can see any switch the Tsan-Chan attempt. The Tsan-Chan may score minor victories but the Yithians will always catch up and win because they can review the outcome of Human history and go back again to tweak. The Tsan-Chan are living their changes.
I think you overestimate the power of the Yithians. We do not know how easy it is for Yithians to switch minds. It could well be an elaborate and expensive procedure requiring the mobilization of large amounts of resources. It could also be that the mind-switch process is not omnipotent.
There could be naturally (or artifically created) regions and periods where and when mind switching is simply not possible. If the Tsan Chan exist in these spaces and times, or are capable of creating or manipulating them with
the Liao drug, then Yithians would be forced to rely on indirect means of attack.
Furthermore, the Yithian knowledge of History is hardly perfect, as witnessed by their only known activity: gathering information about various
time periods. There are eons between the time that the Yithians left Pnakotus and the time they arrive to invade the minds of the Coleopteran Hives in the future. The Yithians have a finite amount of time in both the
past and the future to study those seemingly endless eons.
There are other dangers lurking in the folds of time as well, Tindalos, YOG-SOTHOTH, DAOLOTH, Dimensional Shamblers, Tillinghast Radiation and such might well pose a threat to the Yithians. If a Yithian is killed while their
mind is switched, one gets the impression that they die like anything else, so mindswitching can be a somewhat perilous adventure for a Yithian.
There are any number of reasons why a time-traveling culture such as the Yithians would be in conflict with the Tsan Chan time-meddlers. Perhaps the Tsan Chan are unknowingly attracting the attention of Tindalos, and a
massive incursion of Hounds into the future would be unsuitable to the Yithians for whatever reason (invalidating the evolution of the Coleopteran Hives for example). Perhaps the Tsan Chan are weakening the fabric of
Space/Time with all their meddling, creating blank periods and zones that theYithians cannot mind transfer into (see GURPS Time Travel for how such an "Observer Effect" might function in practice.
It may be possible that the Yithians are secretly a Servitor Race of YOG-SOTHOTH (or that YOG-SOTHOTH has a massive cult among the Yithians).
This would make it possible for the Yithians to fight a civil war amongst themselves, perhaps with an independant faction, a YOG-SOTHOTH faction, and a DAOLOTH faction all battling for supremacy and switching minds with each
other in a psychic temporal war. Perhaps the Yithian cult of YOG-SOTHOTH is using the Tsan Chan as pawns in their own schemes, providing them with things like the Pnakotic Pentagram and the means to avoid certain Yithian
A Yithian YOG-SOTHOTH cult might be secretly breeding Sons of YOG-SOTHOTH, which might well explain the lack of Yithians in the fossil record. They could do this in the dead zones where mind-transfer is forbidden. Perhaps
these Yithian/Yog-Sothoth hybrids whistle as they fly though the air and resemble semi-invisible polyps…
The peace faction
By El Loco Toro, Message 801
Why would Yithians be in conflict with *any* time-meddlers? As Adam points out, they existed before humanity and they'll exist after it. I would go so far
as to say that their existence is assured no matter what happens with the Tsan Chan empire.
Two points. First, the Tsan Chan sorcerers only care about placing one of theirs on the throne of the empire. It is outside their interests to conflict with the Yithians, and the only way they may come into conflict with the Yithians is if they affect their host species somehow (ie, a timeline where an ecological disaster wipes out the coleopterans). Second, the Yithians are historians. When they MindSwap, they do it to gather information about the future (or past). As far as I know, they have no other motive. So, as long as the Tsan Chan don't endanger the rise of the coleopterans, I think that the Yithians will
regard them with more curiousity than anything else. Perhaps they have a whole science or philosophy centered on the Tsan Chan and their temporal manipulation.
from DGlist message 11340 by Pope jonnyX
… The idea isn't to flip the earth on its side like Uranus & put the spin axis in the ecliptic plane; we want to keep the axis roughly perpendicular to the ecliptic, but rotate the Earth so that the new North Pole is near Indonesia and the new South Pole is somewhere in the Amazon Basin.
Antarctica, Greenland and the current North Pole become equatorial. There are interesting gaming/mythos reasons for wanting to do this.
Long term (tens to hundreds of thousands of years), the axial tilt and precession can become chaotic if we've somehow gotten rid of that pesky moon, and in fact this and the environmental effects described in the spacedaily article could eventually lead to to the extinction of the
humans still left on earth. I have to point out that this would be *very* "eventually", though - Zothique is shown in some timelines as being ~8 to 10 million years in the future, though if you want continental drift to create the "last continent" you're gonna need to wait at least 200-250 million years. See "The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World", by Donald Brownlee and Peter D. Ward, for more info on Earth's future de-evolution.
Alternately, if a low-tech and primitive Zothique doesn't do it for you, imagine that post-ET humanity becomes something that we wouldn't recognize as human by 20th/early 21st century standards; insert random Singularity and Transhumanism speculations here, but imagine the worst possibilities.
The powerful are immortal, probably engineered and part machine, warped and twisted not just by technology but also by magic and their worship of the Great Old Ones. The weak are simply resources to be bred, used and slaughtered. After millions of years, these post-human beings in their multiple of forms and variations would have very little in common with us, less even than we do with tailed South American monkeys.
Imagine these post-humans and their AI pets slowly dying out and retreating to hidden places within the ancient Terran homeworld, locking themselves into VR environments and dreaming electronic dreams of ancient
power and glory, fragments of their terrible knowledge and horrifying civilization buried deep underground or beneath the waves.
One the surface, millions of years pass.
"Of earthly minds there were…two from the arachnid denizens of earth's last age; five from the hardy coleopterous species immediately following
mankind, to which the Great Race was some day to transfer its keenest minds en masse in the face of horrible peril…"
The timelines place the "hardy coleopterous" beetles at about fifty million years from now. That's a little too soon, so let's up it by at least an order of magnitude, maybe more. So, five hundred million to one billion years from now:
The entire solar system has been transformed by the End Times, humans and post-humans. Jupiter has been ignited and dozens of small habitable worlds orbit it. Mars and Venus also support once lush but now fading
ecosystems. Earth's moon is elsewhere (and also inhabited), while the Earth itself has tilted on it's side; automated systems finally broke down, the continents merged, Earth began to wobble wildly on its axis
and finally stabilized in this new configuration.
The "hardy coleopterous" beetles evolved on the last Terran supercontinent.
Earth spins on its side and experiences conditions listed in the spacedaily.com article mentioned above. The sun burns (IIRC) ~10% hotter, so Earth, already near the inner edge of the habitable zone, is becoming
a sweltering dessert. The mantle and core are solidifying and cooling as the radioactive materials in the core have mostly decayed; the semimolten core spins slower now, and the magnetic field is weaker, if not gone. UV
radiation bathes the surface, water molecules (especially those in the higher parts of the atmosphere) disassociate easier, and the hydrogen escapes into space. The oceans are vaporising. No wonder man's successors
are "hardy" and armored by their thick insect shells.
The beetles begin to find traces of a horrifying elder race that once ruled the planet, disgustingly soft and squishy abominations from the ancient Ages of Ice that drive any beetles unlucky enough to encounter them insane with their both their appearance and their terrible knowledge.
Then the Yithians pull the mass migration body swap & the ex-beetles, now in unfamiliar giant cone-shaped bodies, are eaten alive by the Flying Polyps.
As for "the arachnid denizens of earth's last age" living within the interior of the dying world, I see Gigerish biomechanical entities hundreds of kilometers underground in extensively honeycombed realms either hiding
from a red giant sun that's melted the surface or feeding a small black hole in the core while the Earth wanders alone and frozen (on the surface) through interstellar space.
A hyperdimensional procedure of mass destruction
by Jonas Bolander, message 13759 of the DGML
Disharmonic Symmetries of Yith
This ritual is a left-over from the titanic wars between the Great Race of Yith and the Flying Polyps. No record exists of it in writing but occasionally a Yithian Memory Crystal is unearthed that contains the instructions. The ritualist need six rock crystals (approximately 1 foot long) inscribed with hyper-dimensional symbols fixed to a complicated three foot high metal structure (somewhat resembling a
silvery centipede curled around an umbrella) made out of a precise mixture of Silver and Scandium.
There are several complications in the creation of the items above :
- The hyper-dimensional symbols are incredibly dangerous if done incorrectly (usually resulting in the severing or disappearance of various body parts) and even if inscribed correctly lengthy exposure to them tend to drive humans insane.
- Scandium is a rare metal not easy to get hold of, originally used in nose-cones on Soviet ballistic missiles. The main source of Scandium is from Soviet Union military stockpiles.
- The precision necessary in creation of the metal structure necessitates the use of several modern and very expensive metal mills and other equipment. Not something you do in your backyard.
After putting together the necessary items the ritual itself is a comparatively easy thing involving touching the crystals in a specific sequence and focusing ones mind on the correct (sanity-cracking) four-dimensional symbols while paying 1 MP for every two rounds the ritual
should be active.
This ritual was meant as a defensive weapon against the Polyps who, being creatures of exotic matter, were hard to damage otherwise. The ritual is directed in a specific direction decided by the ritualist (Don't mess
this up!) and affects a cone 1800 feet long and 1200 feet broad at its base . The linearity of reality is severely disturbed in this cone. Non-linear "cracks" will appear, tearing the space-time continuum like wet
paper. This will severely damage both structures and living beings in the area. Each round a being (including most Mythos creatures) in the area must succeed with a Dodge-roll (really large entities always fail) to avoid the deadly "cracks" (appearing somewhat like writhing strands of darkness) or take 3d6 damage (the discontinuities separates or disappears flesh) and non-living structures/items approximately the size of a car have
a 30% chance of falling apart (larger structures will break down slower, a piece at a time).
SANITY COSTS :
1d4/1d8 Sanity if using a Yithian Memory Crystal to learn the ritual.
1d2-1/1d4 Sanity each hour working with, or within 5 foot of, the Hyper-dimensional symbols. (It takes approximately 8 hour to inscribe each crystal)
1d6 Sanity when executing the ritual.
1/1d6 Sanity when attacked by it.