THIS IS MATERIAL FROM THE ICE CAVE. IT HAS NOT YET BEEN FORMATTED.
There is a separate page for tcho-fu.
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 12:37:36 +0900
From: "David Farnell" <pj.en.tta.awi|fad#pj.en.tta.awi|fad>
And on yet another thread, speaking of the insularity of mountain living; how
Everything but that last bit is right. I heard the Neanderthal theory myself before, but it's bogus, of course—too bad, as it'd be nice to have a population of another human species about. Very HPLish. I remember in linguistics class hearing the refutation of another theory, that the Basque language developed from Neanderthal language, but the much more likely explanation is that the Basques are, indeed, remnants of a pre-Indo-European population, which is why their language isn't related to other Euro languages. (Also, there's a big argument now about whether the Neanderthals could even speak.) In fact, if I remember right, Basque is one of those languages that's a family unto itself. The Neanderthal thing is probably just the neighbors bad-mouthing each other.
Such a thing is a bit surprising, but not really so rare—there are several
1-language families or very restricted families all over the place, especially the Americas and Asia, in isolated places. Finnish was also mentioned on this thread - oddly, it's part of the Finno-Urgaic Family, which includes Mongolian (and maybe Tibetan, can't remember). Welsh was also mentioned, but it's part of the Indo-European family by way of the Celtic sub-family, for all it's brain-twisting spelling (hey, I'm part Welsh, and I tried to learn it one semester - ouch!).
I can see them as depraved cultists with secret caves worshipping a
Sure, both. Maybe also a connection with the BoYS—you can argue they're genetically closer to the "original" humans of K'n Yan (sp?).
Anyway, I've been doing a lot with Tcho-tchos lately (you know, hanging out with them, drinking fermented gaur milk, practical jokes: "Hey, SupahDave, want a hambahgah?" "Sure, OK…heyyyy, this ain't beef. All right, who is this?!") - no, I mean using them in games. Now, I've come across 2 main theories in the past: One, they are a tribe from southeast Asia (although they seem to be anywhere an author wants them to be). Two, they can develop all over the world, as a natural side effect of worshipping the GOO - do it long enough, and your people turn into a Tcho-tcho tribe.
So I just want to get some ideas of how people see the Tcho-tcho, and how they use them in a game. One thing I have to fight hard against is letting them turn into a racist stereotype of Asians from 1940s moviesit's just so easy for it to slide into all that, and it's really glaring as half my players are Asianit just stands out more than it would in Texas.
Anyway, just as an example of the kind of ideas I'd like to generate:
In one game, the players went, in the course of their investigation, to check out some immigrant Cambodians in a Texas suburb. They found the windows boarded up, no ventilation, even though it was the middle of summer (which means the temperature inside would have to be well over 100F, about 40C). They knocked, tried to get the Tcho-tcho guy who came to the door to let them in. After making a phone call to the Villain (tm), he let them in in order to kill them. Big sweaty fight ensued, lots of butcher knives and clubs and such, before the cop finally managed to get out his gun and kill a couple of them. All men, BTW. When they went in the back to check, they were charged by a gargantuan woman, weighing in at about 1 ton, who completely flattened the cop (he survived, but he was in the hospital for weeks). She was kind of the queen breeder—only one female for every ten males or so.
Originally from Tibet (or the Plains of Leng), most commonly from Southeast Asia. Insular, don't marry outside the tribe. Just as Special Forces came to work with the Montagnards, the far-ranging, border crossing black ops types began to work with Tcho-tcho during the Vietnam War. Some began to learn from them. Most notably, a Col. Kurtz. The mysterious saga of Kurtz is ambiguously documented, but has a certain distinct bouquet. There are indications of a DG directed Arclight callsigned 'Almighty', apparently on the ruins of some ancient riparian city in Cambodia. Transcipts of radio transmissions from a USN riverboat onsite indicated possible shoggoth activity, judging from Kurtz's appearance. One of the few survivors of the operation, a Col. Kilgore of the Air Cav, unblinkingly comments:
"He was a complex guy, although he wasn't a deep one. Kurtz didn't surf, but I'd let him drink from my canteen anytime."
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 08:31:37 -0500
From: Steven Kaye
Dave Farnell wrote:
Oddly, I've been pulling stuff together from Mythos fiction on the Tcho-Tcho recently. I'll post the full essay to the list later, but my take is that there are a number of peoples falling under the name of "Tcho-Tcho" - the original population, based in Myanmar and Tibet, with smaller populations in the Andaman Isles, the Indochinese hills (esp. Northern Laos), and southern Malaysia. AT YOUR DOOR, of course, has 40,000 of them emigrating to the U.S. and Canada.
The Malaysian and to a lesser extent the Indochinese population are the ones that tend to get encountered most often (my rationalization for the fact that a people described as hairless in their debut, "The Lair of the Star-Spawn," always are depicted in Chaosium supplements as having bowl cuts and filed teeth. Tooth filing is an important religious ceremony in parts of Indonesia).
Also note that in Robert Price's "Dope War of the Black Tong" (aka, "Let's see how many Robert E. Howard references I can cram into a single story) and "The Strange Doom of Enos Harker," he has the Tcho-Tcho be essentially short bloodthirsty Tibetans, with a normal-human appearing priestly caste (hence the references to Bon-po, ro-langs, etc.), and everyobdy's favorite midgets being a specially-bred warrior caste, now degenerated after addiction to the Black Lotus.
In Lin Carter's section of "The Strange Doom of Enos Harker," he claims the Tcho-Tcho originally came from Sarkomand in the Dreamlands. Tcho-Tcho should be highly familiar with the Dreamlands (give them Dreaming skill de facto, plus whatever lore you want to add).
For some reason, sites with names similar to Tsang (Sung, Muongsing, etc.) are regarded as important to the Tcho-Tcho. Not seeing the Tcho-Tcho as being into Sikhism in a big way, I don't have an explanation for this currently.
I see the cannibalism of the Tcho-Tcho as a demonstration of their innate superiority over other races. In religious rituals (similar to the Anziques), flesh is prepared ritually to grant long life. Cruel Keepers should feel free to take advantage of the Consume Likeness spell, as well. Tcho-Tcho are not stupid.
Other things to remember - this supposedly primitive people have metallurgy of some sort (their "bright swords" from "Star-Spawn"), ship-building capabilities (ditto), and have managed to survive several thousand years minimum in South and Southeast Asia, hated by all their neighbors - an impressive feat in its own right.
Gods worshipped: Originally, Lloigor and Zhar. Unless someone had a heck of a lot of Bactine, I doubt this is likely any more. I'd make them worshippers of Ithaqua (who like the Tcho-Tcho, in some stories is said to come from Leng), the King in Yellow (as per "King of Shreds and Patches" in STRANGE AEONS), Nyarlathotep, Atlach-Nacha (mainly because Keith Herber said so - I can't think of a more useless god to worship, with the possible exception of Rhan-Tegtoh), and Shub-Niggurath (they're good at agriculture in T.E.D. Klein's BLACK MAN WITH A HORN, and "Star-Spawn" hints at their having sprung from seeds planted by the Old Ones).
Typical occupations outside Asia: fishing (there's a reference to an oblong swimmer near the ruined city of the Tcho-Tcho in Lovecraft's "The Horror in the Museum), agriculture, construction (they tend to live in mountains - fear of heights isn't exactly a problem, and they're very strong for their size - I'd give 'em a +3 minimum on Strength rolled).
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 14:55:04 +0100
From: Davide Mana
Hey, personal tastes are just that, right?
Now, I've come across 2 main
Sorry, but the second looks to me a little preposterous.
You probably turn into something Tcho-tcho-like - inbred, nasty and GOO-worshipping, that is.
But turning into a proper Tcho-tcho…
Senator William Stanley: "Well, have you found my daughter?"<br>
Special Agent Kenneth Green: "Yes, sir, but…"<br>
Senator: <stern look of expectancy><br>
SA Green: "You see, sir, after running away from home, apparently Linda joined a weird little fringe cult out in Montana and…"<br>
SA Green: <embarassed>"… she apparently turned into a sharp teethed, overweight woman of mongolian stock, sir."
Personal suggestion: go for the insect angle. Get a good popular enthomology book (something about termites should do the work) and start from there, building the Tcho-tcho culture around insect behaviour. My rationale generally is - no matter what, mammalians all do share certain common traits. If you want alien society, go for alien phisiology.
You usually get two different Tcho-tcho varieties in my games.
. Wild Tcho-tcho - found deep in the jungles of the Golden Triangle (or wherever the Keeper needs them), your typical nasty native cum cannibal/cultist. While a fringe minority does entertain relations with more civilized groups (and might just sport a Lacoste polo shirt for the fun of it), the hard core Tcho-tchos are a neolithic remnant hidden from civilization, a people of hunters-gatherers. Probably considered as the ultimate "good savages" by liberal-minded environmentalist and other assorted romathics.
If contacted by investigators, they are the epitome of the "winking native", with a twist. "Our secret ritual? Yes, we'll let in about our secret ritual."
[Old Game Remembered… That time the "friendly" Tcho-tcho tribe in the Chinese mountains killed and ate a panda in front of the players. Raw. Described really fast and really nasty, this is a certified show-stopper]
Tipically, investigators will notice the curious scarcity of women in the village (as I, too, subscribe to the one female breeder each 10+ male warriors theory); this is also known as the "Hey, where's all the women?" syndrome.
Once they start asking questions like that, it's downhill all the way.
. Acclimatized Tcho-tcho - found wherever the meat is tender and shadows are deep. Most major urban centres have a small Tcho-tcho community, often just a single unobstrusive family nucleus. They probably arrived mixed with the boat people (1970s), but the rationalization is up to the players (they'll dream up a few, anyway). Generally distrusted by other oriental emigrees (the Triads might have a constant death sentence out for the little jerks), a fact that forces them to keep a low profile.
[Future Game Idea: A Feng Shui game built around a Triad/Tcho-tcho turf war. No quarter given]
Where they are more numerous they are employed as enforcers/workers by non-Asian crime organizations or - very rarely - they set up their own. Drug running and prostitution are the two main lines. The drug they sell is probably mixed with some weird stuff - witness the "addict death epidemics" that sometimes sweep the streets. Tcho-tcho women selling their graces on the street might be willingly looking for impregnation - and you can imagine what they do with the cross-breed children (yes, you can). They generally cater for particular tastes and are certified HIV clean.
[note that this abundance of fertile females indicates a drastic breeding-pattern variation - possibly a sign of even more drastic differences if we compare this bunch to their cusins in the jungle]
A few cases of missing persons might have found their way on the table of the Tcho-tcho, but that's a wild story out in the streets (ever heard about urban legends?)
Both groups suffer a strong intrinsic territorial control: you need a wide area to support a small group of Tcho-tchos, given their tastes. On the other hand, they probably are not above enforcing forced breeding in time of need. And anything you can say about child soldier/cultists works, cubed, for Tcho-tchos.
All this is a brief summary - off the top of my head - of what my players discovered or came close to discovering in our rare Cthulhu Now games in the past years. I can go and dig up their notes for further stuff.
From: "David Farnell"
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 08:35:33 +0900
Dan Harms wrote:
Ah, "isolates," that was the word I was trying to remember! But, hey, if they're creoles, wouldn't that be obvious, as they'd be mostly (even exclusively) loan-words?
More back on track to DG: In Jared Diamond's _Guns, Germs, and Steel_, he shows that the Austronesians (Indonesians, Malaysians, Polynesians, and more) all come from the aboriginal Taiwan people, who still comprise 2% of Taiwan's population today. In the days before the Chinese moved in, these folks set out in boats and colonized much of Southeast Asia and pretty much every island in the Pacific, from the Philippines to New Zealand and Hawaii and Easter Island and even Madagascar. This started around 3000BC and ended about 1300AD.
So, all these folks, many of whom have figured strongly in Mythos history, come from a common root. So what's in Taiwan? Something that inserted a "Tcho-tcho" gene? Something that caused the greatest diaspora and colonization before the European Age of Exploration/Exploitation? Something that scared the hell out of them?
Oh, and they DIDN'T colonize Australia. Hmmm. (Actually, Diamond puts forth perfectly good reasons for that, but it's not Mythos enough.)
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 19:10:39 -0500
From: Graeme Price
Dave and Davide concocted the following:
Now, I've come across 2 main
It can happen, you know: My friend's fiance suddenly exploded into a 400 lb blimp (pardon the expression) when they split up… course, she shed it all when she met the guy she ended up by marrying… but you never know.
Now, when you consider that Tcho-Tcho's are a Shub-Niggurath worshipping people, anything could happen. Metabolic or physiological changes due to ritual worship, consumption of unusual foodstuffs (can anyone say "Jennykin's"? good, I knew you were still with me), exposure to odd artefacts (after all, who says that the fallen meteorite isn't highly radioactive and has been leaching all sorts of mutagenic weirdness into the local streams). Just depends how you want to set it up, I guess.
This is one way of looking at it. Perhaps another would be to model it on any of the matriachal dominated societies. Perhaps a reverse form of the Fore people of Papua New Guinea… who we have discussed at lenth previously regarding the Kuru/CJD aspects.
Yes, but Alien physiology can take a lot of working out to get right (take the Shan discussion for example). Of course, it can be done (and done well), but there is something equally satisfying about weird cultures grounded in real life.
. Wild Tcho-tcho - found deep in the jungles of the Golden Triangle (or
This would be a good point to mention a web site I found a couple of months back…
which could provide some good photographic handouts for those so inclined.
Again, reminiscent of the Fore people…. of course, the reasoning behind that was a little different.
. Acclimatized Tcho-tcho - found wherever the meat is tender and shadows
Also take away food… stir fried long pig with a sweet and sour sauce, anyone? INS agents will doubtless come into their own in these investigations (note to self: don't dis the INS… they are all lovely people [except the A**hole who stapled my I-94 US entry card through 4 pages of my passport on purpose _after_ I asked him not to…])
Yes, but HIV may be the least of your worries in this case….
Could just reflect a life span difference. After all, the strain of giving birth repeatedly (perhaps to multiple foetuses at a time) is bound to create metabolic havoc. In otherwords, perhaps the females just don't live as long as the males. I'm also put in mind of some of the pacific islanders who have unusual diets (and odd metabolic disorders). Diabetes is particularly common in (IIRC) Tonga… but this may be a life style thing, with a minor genetic predisposition.
This looks like it should be one of those threads that will bring up all sorts of good science/mythos/anthropology cross overs. Everything that we have previously been into Re. Inbreeding and Deep Ones will probably apply in spades to Tcho-Tcho's. Anyway, I will have to go away and have thinks about some of the less obvious implications.
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 21:17:53 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black
Tcho-tcho women selling their graces on the street might be willingly
looking for impregnation - and you can imagine what they do with the
cross-breed children (yes, you can). They generally cater for particular
tastes and are certified HIV clean. [note that this abundance of
fertile females indicates a drastic breeding-pattern variation -
possibly a sign of even more drastic differences if we compare this
bunch to their cusins in the jungle]
FINALLY, a place for my hyper-sexual mutations that the Nephandi Progenitors from my MAGE game gengineered. Simply put, there are more than two human sexes and "certain conditions" can develop and enhance hyper-sexual physiology.
The Tcho-Tcho females are probably repeat breeders, or hyper-females capable of being impregnated even while currently pregnant. Strangely enough, there is a perverted incest sex story available via dejanews which features this topic in a positive light. I found out about it by accident of course.
The "overweight" nature of these Tcho-Tcho breeders could be explained by the presence of multiple wombs, ovaries and other sexual organs. The typical SHub-Niggrath milk enhancements aree also available: Phermomone control, multiple breasts and limbs, gigantism, tentacular genitalia, etc.
Drone males might be non-breeding hermaphrodites (or asexually reproducing hermaphrodites).
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 23:46:08 -0500 (EST)
From: John Petherick
The Tcho-Tcho females are probably repeat breeders, or hyper-females
capable of being impregnated even while currently pregnant. Strangely
enough, there is a perverted incest sex story available via dejanews which
features this topic in a positive light. I found out about it by accident
The extreme example of this practice are the social insects in Hymenoptera (bees, ants, etc.). After a fertile female completes pupation and emerges, it engages on a mating flight. Pheromones released by the virgin queen attract male drones from neighbouring colonies, which engage in a competitive mating flight. During the flight, the fittest drones mate with the queen. The queen stores the semen from her multiple male partners internally, and returns to her parent hive. The males drop to the ground exhausted, having made their contribution.
What happens after the queen returns depends on the status of her mother, and any siblings. If there is no other queen, the new queen takes over. There may be a fight for control of the hive, with the strongest killing the weaker ones. Or, the colony may split into two or more sub-colonies (swarming).
Semen is stored for the life of the queen, approximately 3 to 4 years.
In honeybees (domestic and wild), this is where it gets interesting:
- the queen and all the workers are female, and diploid (product of a fertilized ovum)
- a queen is produced by diet (royal jelly) during larval development. Production of a larger cell for pupation also is a factor.
- the male drones are haploid, (product of an unfertilized ovum)
- fertilization of the ovum is voluntary, and there are many factors (time of year, stress, condition of nearby colonies) that affect it. A controllable factor (by the beekeeper) is the size of the cell in the honeycomb. Large cells are required for drones, so beekeepers replace old brood comb (which has been rebuilt several times with gradually larger cells) with new comb. New comb is built on a foundation wax sheet which has a stamped pattern for cells of the appropriate size for worker larvae.
- control of the hive is through pheromone release. If the hive grows too large, or is stressed by overcrowding the queen cannot "control" the workers and they start producing new queens (since they produce the special food and pupation cell) and the colony swarms
- if the queen gets too old and weak, pheromone production decreases and queen rearing starts. A symptom of an old queen is an increased number of drones, because her sperm reservoir is becoming depleted
- if the queen dies, the workers will try to rear a new queen from a newly hatched larva
- if the queen dies and there are no fertilized eggs or larvae (perhaps during winter), an infertile worker may become fertile through diet and engage on a mating flight in spring
- there is only one function for drones, so they do nothing all summer. If they go on a mating flight, they die (win or lose). Come fall, one of the signs of coming cold weather is when the drones are killed off.
- the drones do live longer, and get free food and lodging all summer. Workers may live for 3 weeks during peak nectar flow
- queens normally live for 3 or 4 years. Once they weaken, they may be killed by their successor, killed by their subjects or (more commonly) killed by the beekeeper and replaced with a queen of known parentage and fertilization
Now, run with this …
- Tcho-tcho breeder females store semen from multiple male partners.
- male partners are seduced during a brief period, perhaps before the breeder becomes bloated
- all of the other Tcho-tcho are neuter "workers" who labour to keep the queen properly fed with "special foods"
- repeated use of semen from the multiple male partners would make the Tcho-tcho community a web of half-siblings and full siblings. Appearances would be very similar, with perhaps repeating inherited defects
- if the queen gets old, the workers start rearing a replacement
- stress or perhaps an abundant supply of the "special food" would cause the rearing of new queens
- Tcho-tcho "colonies" may spread by two or more members posing as a family with an infant queen moving to a new community. They raise the infant queen, with the "special foods" it requires until it is sexually mature and a new community is born
This last raises the possibility, "What if the transformation to breeder is genetic?". A Tcho-tcho infant queen is orphaned through accident (or intentional action) and raised by normal society. Everything is fine until the girl reaches puberty and starts having really strange food cravings. A brief period of uncontrolled sexual activity provides the stored semen … and then the Tcho-tcho's start coming.
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 23:50:04 -0500 (EST)
From: John Petherick
Or, consider the anglerfish and other deep sea fishes. The females solve the problem of locating a mate by physically adsorbing him. The male forms, for all intents, a parasitic growth on the side of the female that occasionally sprays milt into the ocean.
This may explain why the Tcho-tcho breeder is so large and bloated.
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 16:13:38 +0100
From: Davide Mana
After entertaining us quite a while with ants and bees, John Petherick wrote
Environmental pressure might cause a change in breeding style (see my previous post on the subject for reference). It has been observed - with fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) - that the introduction of the creatures in a new, more selective environment, can alter the breeding pattern.
Fire ants, for instance, use in the United States a multiple-queen pattern of breeding that was never observed in their area of origin. While in South America each fire ant community is centered around one queen, and different communities compete for resources, in certain areas of North America Fire ant communities are networks sharing a few queens (cross-breeding, actually) _and_ the area resources. This makes the little bastards - among the most aggressive critters in the world - much more dangerous, efficient and resistant to external attacks.
The change in pattern has been postulated as an evolutionary response to indiscriminated pesticide attack - back in the '50s and '60s - on the original colonizing S. invicta.
[for more of the same, and tons of other stuff, see the excellent "Why Things Bite Back", Edward Tenner, 1996]
The Tcho-tcho application is clear.
In a modern environment, the original large community centered around a single female breeder might rearrange as a network of smaller communities, each with its breeder - this would make the community less visible, and more efficient in handling resources; to feed a tribal group, they have to raid a village and carry off a few individuals. Smaller local gangs can get off on the occasional runaway/homeless that nobody notices anyway.
This also means that the small Tcho-tcho enclave your team raided and cauterized last week was actually part of a larger community, and now all the Tcho-tchos of the region know about what you did and are on the look-out. Bad news.
[nasty scenario option snipped but secured away for future games]
And what if Tcho-tcho can alter their genetic makeup depending on conditions? What if, the queen having been killed by the investigators, one of the male Tcho-tchos simply turns into a female - maybe even self-impregnating - and the cycle starts again?
There are quite a few animals out there that work that way.
To be on the safe side - don't let even one of them escape the clean-up.
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 16:01:52 -0500
From: Keith Potter
Didn't the Lovecraft story about the Irish Detective in New York (was it "The Red Hook Horror"?) say that the Tcho-Tcho's come from Kurdistan?
That's a very Interesting part of the world anymore, with international military involvement, lots of Kurdish refugees coming to Europe and the US, and of course all the troubles this week in the wake of the Ocalan arrest.
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 16:26:14 EST
I am reading a mass market trade paperback, OUT OF TIME AND SPACE. It is a collection of articles from FATE magazine on historical oddities and anomolies. One article from last year (1998) describes a tribe of dwarves , all under four feet tall discovered in China, who claimed their descendants come from outer space thousands of years ago.
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 16:38:00 -0500 (EST)
From: "Andrew D. Gable"
Didn't the Lovecraft story about the Irish Detective in New York (was it
"The Red Hook Horror"?) say that the Tcho-Tcho's come from Kurdistan?
The main villains of the piece, a rather nasty cult, did come from Kurdistan. But AFAIK, they were just a nasty cult and *not* Tcho-tchos. Although there could still, potentially, be a branch of the Tcho-tcho in Kurdistan (BTW, what did HPL mean by this? Was it actually a country, or is he referring to the Iraq/Iran/Turkey area inhabited by the Kurds?). All of which would make the Sons of al-Azrad (modern incarnation of Robert E. Howard's Yezmites), a Mideast terrorist organization I made up, much more interesting.
But while we're on the topic of Tcho-tcho use in HPL, what about the cult in "The Hound"? I can't remember if they were Tcho-tcho or just from Leng.
Which brings up another interesting topic: what about Leng? HPL presented several conflicting views of the Plateau: in the Dreamlands, in Antarctica, in China, etc. What's everyone think it is? I lean towards its not being a place proper, but a descriptive term: hence, Leng could be *anywhere*.
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 12:27:13 +1300 (NZDT)
From: Svend Andersen
Funnnily enough, I had to do a paper that heavily involved fire ants last year… :)
It is thought that there are several factors that maintain multi-queen nests. One large factor is the availability of new nesting sites; if new nests are, generally, successful, then single queen colonies predominate, whereas a high failure rate for new colonies tends to result in multi-queen nests.
Why? Well, that has to do with the differences between queens from multiple queen nests and from single-queen nests. Queens from polygyneous nests tend to have low fat reserves (so they tend to starve before making a viable colony), mate inside the nest, and often don't venture out for a mating flight; queens from single-queen nests are the other way. (This means that almost all the genetic flow is from multiple-queen to single queen nests, but that's another matter. :) Multiple-queen nests tend to spread out, and the colony grows in a way that might be described as 'vegetatively'; whereas the single-queen nests distribute much more like seeds…
What significance does this have for Tcho Tchos? Well, firstly, multi-queen hives will mainly be found in areas where, overall, new colonies would tend to die out (such as relatively isolated cities, islands without large populations outside the main centers, etc.). Such tribes would be significantly bigger than single-queen tribes, and would probably be distributed in a clumpy fashion. Communication will be good within the group, but they may hava little contact with other communities.
Single-queen hives will be much more common in the traditional setting - sparse but on the whole uniformly distributed food source, good chance of a new colony establishing itself, etc. These groups may have more contact with each other, and may exchange breeding stock…
Of course, whether or not you want the Queens to hate each other is another question. :) The image of two huge Tcho-tcho queens facing off against each other with traditional stone daggers seems appropriate… :)
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 18:35:02 -0500
From: Graeme Price
OK, a hypothesis like this needs a few little tweaks to be workable. The following could sound a little kinky, so please bear in mind I'm not really as sick as I may appear to be below. Also note that I'm working from long lost A-level biology here, so some of the numbers may be a little off… but everything is correct as a rough approximation.
First off, I would ditch the "semen storage" thing. Sperm remains viable (outside of liquid nitrogen that is) for only a relatively short time (a couple of days half life IIRC) even in it's natural environment (the testes). This is why the testes produce several million sperm per day. The rate of replenishment of sperm is quite unbeleivable. This means that either the Tcho-Tcho female has some sort of specialised storage organ in which all cellular processes can be suspended (I don't actually like this idea, buts that's just me), or that soemthing else is going on. The "something else" I'm considering is this: Multiple ovulations.
Normal fertile human females ovulate (release a new egg from the ovaries) about once per month. But, once they are about 13, human females have produced all the eggs they are ever going to, and these are stored within the ovaries until released one at a time. Now this means that the ovary is a _real_ organ which can keep haploid cells (eggs) alive for a very long time (30 or more years. Ovulating once a month: potentially 360 eggs or more). Don't need to do any tinkering here. Now, what you have to bear in mind that each male ejaculation releases several million sperm…. but only one egg. This is a form of biological overkill. Even assuming that 90% of sperm either get killed by the host defences (they are foreign to the female and thus regarded as something of an immunological threat), are defective in some way, or just die en route to the fallopian tubes, then the single egg will still have thousands of sperm competing to get inside and fertilise it. Now if multiple ovulation occurs, then there will be more than one egg present to become fertilised and carried to term (this is the biological basis of fraternal twins). Hence the frequency of multiple births would increase, thus raising the effectiveness of each mating, at least in regards to child production.
[ObDG: Tcho-Tcho run fertility clinic. Need I elaborate any further?]
It could get even more efficient, if you could build in a way of getting the sperm to the egg. Perhaps chemoattractants or sperm stimulatory molecules secreted into the female reproductive tract? This could mean that multiple eggs become fertilised actually within the ovaries (or perhaps a cyst like egg storage organ attached to one of the fallopian tubes - a kind of second womb).
Needless to say, all highly speculative. As far a having the… er, liasons occur before the "bloating", this would make good biological sense for both logistic and practical reasons. In this case, the female would already be pregnant and simply waiting to give birth (without medical assistance, the practical maximum for numbers of foetuses surviving would be 3 or 4 per birth: giving 3 or 4 kids per 9 months - assuming a normal gestation period). Alternatively, you could have the "worker male Tcho-Tcho's" find the bloated female attractive for cultural reasons (not unreasonable: in several cultures, large women represent a sign of affluence and survivability in times of hardship… wonder what they would make of Kate Moss et al?). Possibly you could tie this into a mechanism for preventing the inbreeding getting to bad - send out one of the lithe attractive young females to bring some new blood back into the tribe. Literally.
Now, you could (in theory) increase the number of births per egg by having a mechanism whereby the egg actually divides into 2 after fertilisation (identical twins), but with the constraints on live birth numbers (as above) this becomes redundant in the case of multiple ovulations.
This is the classic "cuckoo" scenario. This was sort of, and badly, dealt with in the movie "Species" (the only redeeming feature of which was Natasha Henstridge getting her kit off every 10 minutes…). Personally, this possibility is the one I would favour, and not too unreasonable. Note that there would probably be hormone imbalances and metabolic (also possibly psychiatric? Nymphomania??!) disorders associated with this scenario: several of these could be mistaken as symptoms for various cancers or other underlying condistions - all of which might be treated symptomatically and suppressed to a greater or lesser extent by western physicians. Could provide for some interesting scenario lead ins as well (adoptive parents report their sick daughter missing… and then the bodies start turning up).
Finally, on the "bloating" thing, this could be a Nyarlathotep connection. Perhaps one which warrants further investigation?
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 20:13:12 -0500
From: Steven Kaye
It's the corpse-eating cult of Leng.
I tend to play up Leng as originally being in the Dreamlands. Various unpleasant visitors from it have led to the identification of Leng as being in other places.
Note: There is a legendary Tibetan hero, King Gesar of Ling. Lies sleeping, will awaken when his country needs him, you know the drill. Ling, IIRC, overlapped parts of Tibet, China, several other countries.
Dan, do you have that Frenchkowski article handy?
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 14:07:42 +0900
From: "David Farnell"
Y'all's Tcho-tcho ideas have really kicked ass, folks—big-time arigato!
There's so much I can't begin to reply individually to all the great posts, so just a few notes here—probably more later.
re: People turning into Tcho-tchos due to GOO worship: I see what you mean, Davide, but I meant over generations, not just a few weeks. Sorry, should have made it clearer. And in this idea of "what a Tcho-tcho is," I think the people who have put this forth (I think it was in a gaming mag or scenario) meant that the Tcho-tcho is merely a human (nearly any human) who is corrupted (genetically as well as mentally) by the GOO. Myself, I think it robs the Tcho-tcho of some uniqueness, so I really don't like it either. The various populations of degenerate pseudo-humans around the world ought to each have their own flavor, instead of "tcho-tchoism" being a sort of equivalent to radiation poisoning. So in a roundabout way, I agree with you.
re: Breeding: Excellent details added to my somewhat less-well-formed ideas! My model was more naked mole rats than termites, but they're pretty similar (and naked mole rats are pretty damned alien and freaky). Davide's "Where's the women" line—aaaaaagh! I wrote that into the story I'm working on just *1* day before receiving that message! Yes, we really are infecting each other's brains with this list! Now if I can just forget the image of a rhino-sized naked-mole-rat-looking Tcho-tcho woman running ponderously down the streets of Samson, spraying pheremones all over and being chased by hundreds of aroused-yet-horrified Californians… (at least it got the image of the leg-humping Hound of Tindalos out of my head).
After the beehive ideas, I'm thinking that there WILL be tcho-tcho women aboutbut they're all neuter-looking undeveloped females, non-breeders, who are used as slaves and objects of abuse by the male tcho-tchos. How's this?: They look like innocent, even cute, children (except for all the scars and marks of back-breaking labor, of course), but the only thing that keeps them from transforming into a Queen is the pheremones of the Queen herselfso if they are taken away from the tcho-tcho village / apartment block / whatever, they will soon monstrously transform. If there are others transforming too, then they will battle to the death until only one is left, and eat the losers. This makes every female a potential Queen, easing the spread of tcho-tchos around the world. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
re: Fire Ants: Excellent point, and yes, they're like that (multiple queens, really damn tough to take out a nest) in Texas. Hellish little bastards! So, city tcho-tchos must have modified their pheremones, because otherwise the Quens would always be trying to kill each other. maybe this is a real genetic mod, or maybe the males just prevent the pheremones from reaching neighboring Queens (by distance, washing the Queen down every day, stuff like that).
Right, got a train to catch. More later. You guys are the tops!
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 15:12:56 +0900
From: "David Farnell"
[some really useful info on fire ants and…]
Of course, whether or not you want the Queens to hate each other is
Actually, I was imagining they'd be ramming into each other until one of them burst with a sickening POP.
All right, here we go: Tcho-tcho Queen stats!
STR 4d6+10 (avg 24)
CON 3d6+6 (avg. 16-17)
SIZ 4d6+10 (avg 24)
INT 2d6 (avg 7)
POW 3d6 (avg 10-11)
DEX 2d6 (avg 7)
HP avg 20-21
Dam Bonus avg +2d6
Weapons: Charge 60% dam 1d8+db
Trample 75% dam 2d8+db against downed foe
Bite 25% dam 1d4 (no bonus, but probable infection)
Smackdown 40% dam 1d6+db
Armor: 3pts fat and hide
Skills: Scent Danger 60%, Sneak 60% (moves surprisingly quietly unless charging), Bellow with Rage 60% (if not ready for it, make SAN roll or be frozen with fear for a moment)
Special Attack: Sex Pheromones, potency 3d6 vs. POW, resist means -50% skills in target, failure to resist means target rips off clothes and tries to mate with Queen (if Queen is not present, will try to mate with, in descending order, other female humans, male humans, animals, holes in walls, etc), affects all human males in 10m diameter of Queen (effects may also be caused by walking into Queen's room even if Queen isn't present, or by being sprayed with this stuff out of a mace canister)
This is for a Queen from a multi-Queen nest complex—for a real "wild Tcho-tcho" Queen, add 1d6 to STR and SIZ.
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 15:14:45 +0900
From: "David Farnell"
Which could mean ghoul or tcho-tcho influence—or both!
This is why I generally put it in Tibet and environs, with possibilities that it has connections to other parts of our world that violate normal perceptions of space/time. Yes, King Gesar—a little like a Tibetan Arthur. Tamed a lot of demons, ushered in the age of Buddhism, replacing the old Bo:n religion. In Jade Throne (Emerald Hammer, China Chapter), I'm planning on revealing some hints that he was a Mythos-worshipping cult leader, much like the Arthur of Golden Dawn.
Hey, if it has to do with Tibet, let me in on it!
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 16:08:41 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black
And in this idea of "what a Tcho-tcho is," I think the people who have
put this forth (I think it was in a gaming mag or scenario) meant that
the Tcho-tcho is merely a human (nearly any human) who is corrupted
(genetically as well as mentally) by the GOO. Myself, I think it robs
the Tcho-tcho of some uniqueness, so I really don't like it either. The
various populations of degenerate pseudo-humans around the world ought
to each have their own flavor, instead of "tcho-tchoism" being a sort of
equivalent to radiation poisoning.
Yeah. You've got Deep One Hybrids, Dunwich Pollution (YOG-SOTHOTH, sorcery, Colouring, etc), Glaaki Necromancy, Ghouls, Shub-Niggurath sex-freaks and Tcho-Tcho. I believe the source of the Tcho-Tcho mutations are primarily interbreeding with Men from Leng, ties in nicely with Arthur Machen's "Great God Pan." Some Lliogor/Zhar, Shub-Niggurath and whatnot are lesser factors.
We could very easily have a Leng Tcho-Tcho (widespread), a Shub-Niggurath Tcho-Tcho (Southeast Asia), and a Lliogor/Zhar Tcho-Tcho (Pacific and Indian Islands) as well. Tibet would be the secret hideout for all three tribes' immortal leadership. A sort of unholy trinity.
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 16:13:44 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black
This is why I generally put it in Tibet and environs, with possibilities
that it has connections to other parts of our world that violate normal
perceptions of space/time. Yes, King Gesar—a little like a Tibetan Arthur.
Tamed a lot of demons, ushered in the age of Buddhism, replacing the old
Bo:n religion. In Jade Throne (Emerald Hammer, China Chapter), I'm planning
on revealing some hints that he was a Mythos-worshipping cult leader, much
like the Arthur of Golden Dawn.
The standard Theory is that Leng is a horrible place in the Dreamlands that intrudes on Tibet, Antarctica and the Gobi Desert. It may well intrude wherever authors and keepers want it to as well :)
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 12:24:56 +1300 (NZDT)
From: Svend Andersen
re: Breeding: Excellent details added to my somewhat less-well-formed
ideas! My model was more naked mole rats than termites, but they're
pretty similar (and naked mole rats are pretty damned alien and freaky)
Regarding that - yeah, naked mole rats are way cool, and an excellent model to draw from. Because of that, here's a real world detail to chew…
Naked mole rat colonies are very territorial, and quite vicious toward 'invaders' in their area. However, successful colonies sometimes produce larger mole rats, which have very different appearance and behaviour. Whereas the 'normal' mole rat (both the breeders and workers) don't like to stray from the tunnels, prefer to in-breed, and are actively hostile to any other mole rat from elsewhere, these 'roamer' mole rats have a tendency to roam (and are larger, in part, because of increased fat reserves), and prefer to mate with different groups; they also seem not to trigger the automatic hostility in other nests.
DG Hooks: The agents are travelling by train/bus/whatever, on which a 'roamer' Tcho-Tcho is travelling; s/he is likely to look a bit odd, but not enough to block them from public transport. :) Now, if it's somewhere appropriate, having the bus attacked would be appropriate; if not, just have a bunch of little guys surround the 'roamer' at a station and hustle them off… done right, the agents may think that they have the oppertunity to save an innocent bystander. ;)
Or, such a figure may be able to help coordinate a number of disseperate clans, by working around their automatic hostillity to outsiders. Such a figure would not necessarily be the mastermind, but rather merely a messanger…
Other analogies: farming Dark Young for Milk, as ants farm aphids? Or there's this nasty fungus that reprograms ants to climb to the top of leaves, and then consumes the ant; IIRC, this makes it more likely that the fungus will be eaten along with the grass by a ruminant, and the fruiting body grows from the cowpat.
Hmm, that last one could be quite cool all on it's own - how about the Fun-Guys (or Deep Ones, or whoever) putting out a pamphlet on how to Summon them, but without any Binding component… or just a fungal brain disease that, once it reached a certain level, made you commit suicide in a messy way, splattering as many bystanders as posible with infected blood. There's a scenario - send the investigators to have a look at a rash of people blowing themselves away with shotguns in a public places in a small town somewhere…
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 17:01:29 -0500
From: T J S
Yoth-Tlaggon —at the Crimson Spring,
hour of the Amorphous Reflection.
The ideal source is their first appearance, in "Lair of the Star-Spawn," by Derleth & Schorer.
But perhaps more accessible sources are HPL's revision tale "Out of the Aeons," in THE HORROR IN THE MUSEUM AND OTHER REVISIONS, S. T. Joshi, ed., Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1989, and "Dope War of the Black Tong," by Robert M. Price in THE DISCIPLES OF CTHULHU, Second Edition, Edward P. Berglund, ed., Oakland, CA: Chaosium, Inc., 1996.
As far as I know, their range was limited to the central Asian plateaus of Leng and Tsang, and the Burmese plateau of Sung; some southeast Asian islands. Never heard of any in Africa. They primarily worship Lloigor (the god), Zhar, and Chaugnar Faugn.
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 21:51:43 EDT
I'm about to use a group of Tcho Tcho in a forthcoming gaming session, as =
a despised tribe of cannibals in the Congo . Aside from a few supporting =
appearances in Chaosium scenarios there is very little info available on =
Tcho Tchos. Ideally I could do with background info on location of Tcho =
Tcho tribes, migratory history, preferred gods to worship etc. Would =
anyone care to share their own experiences of using Tcho Tchos in a =
scenario? Any help would be appreciated.
Hm, he said, opening the Dread Tome of…, well the Encyclopedia Cthuliana, actually.
Hm… Found just about anywhere that's convenient for a scenario—Tibet, Malaysia, and the Andaman Islands.
They are pretty indifferent as to who they worship, although Atlach Nacha, Changnar Faughn, and Hastur, and Shubby-Baby. Once, along ago, their ancestors lived in the Pyrenees, of all places. That about sums it up, except that they're small, dirty, and have odious habits common to anyone who worships the Great Old Ones for more than a generation…
Date: 16 Apr 99 13:49:01 +0100
From: Peter Devlin
Regards the mysterious Tcho Tchos:
I've got the Andamans and New York / Tibet scenarios from Chaosium. I have the background bit about being originally from the Pyrenees area but migrating around the globe. Major deity Chaugnar Faugn I will use in Africa. I've also read the rather warped Vietnam / Montagnard case history on the Delta Green web page, I can recommend it. I've also read 'Black Man With A Horn' which I presume is the Malaysian reference.
I'm just intrigued because the Tcho Tchos seem rarer in published material than, say, the Deep Ones or the MiGo. In my book that makes them ideal for exploitation in an RPG context. My PCs have come across a Tcho Tcho killer in a circus / fairground (the classic scenario 'Dark Carnival') but that is the extent of their experience.
I've heard of one Keeper who set up a Tcho Tcho burger joint in 1990's London but that seems a little too happy-smiley-jokey for me.
Now, Tcho Tchos as a separate race of humans, tainted by the Mythos way back when Lucy the original homo-eructus-sapiens was getting it together in the frontal lobe department seems to make sense. Possibly have them as one of those hominid species that apparently died out as our species took over. Any anthropologists or evolutionary biologists out there who might make a suggestion?
Persume the Tcho Tcho ancestors made a deal with the Mythos forces. Their evolutionary development may have retarded but they gained plenty in sorcerous knowledge and many allied themselves with Chaugnar Faugn and his brothers in the Pyrenees. As mankind spread the Tcho Tchos moved to hidden places from where they could venture forth to prey on humanity whilst defending their territory.
So, elephant god, spider god, fertility goddess, canibalism, torture etc. Tcho Tchos might also have Dreamland connections a la 'Spawn of Azathoth'. Do they use dream drugs? Are they parasitically dependent upon mankind for their technology, their children? Why doesn't their race die, they never seem to have enough members in the tribe to keep the gene pool active? What relations do they have with ghouls, deep ones etc.
(I think I'll cross-post this to DG as well.)
Given their unseen existence and Mythos connections, a few Tcho Tcho sorcerors may be as powerful as guys like Carl Stanford. Anyone read the 'Keeper of The Secrets' stories by Philip Jose Farmer? They feature a group of immortals who include a wizened dwarf who has survived since man's earliest days in Africa. Now that has potential for a CoC bad guy!
Enough for now. Thoughts, responses most appreciated.
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 99 09:43:28 PDT
From: Chaz Engan
Enough for now. Thoughts, responses most appreciated.
Good stuff, Peter!
For a New World echo, you might look up the Carkers, featured in a wonderful short story by the name of "They Bite." I cannot recall the author's name — someone help — it's out there on the net, I know. Anyone?
They're not Tcho-Tchos, but they're very neat and scary.
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 1999 13:42:58 -0500
From: T J S
Temple of Rhalu, the moon
goddess, at the hour of
the blood-sacrifice, in
the last cycle of Mu.
An interesting note on these little nasties -
"There are not many of them," Fo-Lan said, "but they are powerful in there own way. Yet there are curious lapses in their intelligence. Yesterday, for instance, after spying your party from the top of this tower, and after going out and annihilating it, they returned with two of their number dead. They had been shot. The Tcho-Tcho people could not believe them dead, since it is impossible for them to conceive of such a weapon as a gun. At base, they are very simple people. Yet they are inherently malevolent, for they know that they are working for the destruction of all that is good in the world."
- - August Derleth & Mark Schorer, from "Lair of the Star-Spawn"
From: "David Farnell"
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 12:15:21 +0900
I've also read the rather warped Vietnam / Montagnard case history
Why, thank you!
As Davide Mana pointed out on the DG List, anyone interested in the Tcho-tcho should check out the archived Tcho-tcho thread on the Ice Cave:
That started with an innocent question like yours, but ballooned out big-time into a very delightful romp, full of nasty ideas. It also influenced / was influenced by the above "case history," which was being written at the time.
Now, Tcho Tchos as a separate race of humans, tainted by the
I'm not an anthro, but I wouldn't put the seperation quite so far back. I would make it near-historical so you can put references to itin progressin such things as The Book of Eibon and the like. Good idea on their being a separate race, though.
Persume the Tcho Tcho ancestors made a deal with the Mythos
I wouldn't say their evolution was retardedit may have been sped up. Remember that evolution is merely change over time in response to environment (I know, some biology-type is gonna put the smack-down on me for that oversimplification, but so be ithey, I'm a lit major). Don't make the mistake of thinking we're some sort of pinnacle of creation, now, or that our particular brand of intelligence is better than the blind, idiot chaos at the heart of the universe. Evolution isn't up or down, really, it just is—the rate can be fast or slow, though, and their association with nasty aliens surely sped up the Tcho-tcho's rate of change.
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 01:20:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: Daniel M Harms
I'm not an anthro, but I wouldn't put the seperation quite so far back. I
would make it near-historical so you can put references to itin
progressin such things as The Book of Eibon and the like. Good idea on
their being a separate race, though.
I'm an anthro, so I'll try. Generally, I doubt you could make a case for Tcho-tchos being descended from an earlier hominid species. Having to explain just how the Tcho-tchos ended up almost entirely like Homo sapiens after millions of years would be something of a challenge. The European point of origin might suggest Homo erectus or Neanderthal, but both of these are so far from known Tcho-tcho morphology that it's probably best to make them a more modern arrival.
Besides, what's more fun - to find that the Tcho-tchos descended from another type of hominid, or that they have some amphibian-like DNA from their Miri Nigri inheritance?
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 03:06:37 +0200
From near the Pyrinees (what a fancy name for the Pirineos , indeed) , I can help you to walk in the madness highway…
In Spain (what a surprise!) , are the rest of the common ancestor of Neanderthal and Cromamagnon versions of the Human being Project. It's called "Homo Antecessor" , and , for i can read of the Bermudez team , they were very pretty well socialized , in the way they developed the teenage (i think this woul be a good translation for "Adolescencia"). For the ones that can read spanish , there are a good article en www.elpais.es about the theme (fut0414d.htm) The heading is :
EVOLUCIÃ“N EN ATAPUERCA
Nuevos datos sobre la biologÃa de 'Homo antecessor'
J.M.BERMÃšDEZ DE CASTRO / ANTONIO ROSAS ( 14-04-99)
Are the Tcho-Tcho the living vestiges of the Homo Antecessor?…
Hope this help in messing minds…
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 10:00:35 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
The author was Anthony Boucher - a wonderfully creepy story.
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 09:58:37 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
I've hypothesized that the Tcho-Tcho originally came from Atlantis, and kept moving west (mind you, Lin Carter had them coming out of the Dreamlands, from the city of Sarkomand, and depending how literally you take the "Lair of the Star-Spawn" passage about them being seeded you could make them hell-plant-human hybrids). Stayed for a while in the Andamans (check out http://www.andaman.org for some fun ideas), sailed to Burma, only 200 miles away. One thing that gets overlooked in the Chaosium scenarios is that Tcho-Tcho ain't dumb dwarves with breechclouts. "Lair" has them building stone cities, constructing ships resembling Roman galleys, wielding metal weapons (I'm assuming their swords are metal - there's a reference to them being "bright" IIRC).
Different Tcho-Tcho peoples have different characteristics (thus, the Tibetans are still the hairless dwarves - many of the Southeast Asian ones look much more like normal people, though the Malaysians go in for filing of teeth), and I've toyed with the idea of making some of them not affected by Elder Signs. In modern times (particularly after the destruction of Alaozar), many of them have moved to the West, where they're quite active in shipping and construction work (living in hilly terrain makes for people without fear of heights, and they're strong for their size).
Be aware that the whole Chaugnar Faugn connection is a hypothesis from a Chaosium module - you don't have to use it if you don't want.
I have the Tcho-Tcho as extremely knowledgeable about the Dreamlands, frequently switching between the two realms (which explains how Tcho-Tcho keep popping up after someone exterminates the lot of them). I also have their main gods as Hastur (in the King of Yellow guise - the torture bit comes from a HELLRAISER-style attitude towards pleasure and pain) and Shub-Niggurath ("Black Man with a Horn" refers to their skill in raising animals and crops).
Check the DG list archives - there was a recent discussion about Tcho-Tcho, actually.
Was this part of his Doc Caliban stuff?
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 13:34:13 +0900
From: "David Farnell"
Different Tcho-Tcho peoples have different characteristics (thus, the
Tibetans are still the hairless dwarves - many of the Southeast Asian ones
look much more like normal people, though the Malaysians go in for filing
of teeth), and I've toyed with the idea of making some of them not affected
by Elder Signs.
I wouldn't make any of them affected by Elder Signs, except perhaps the most powerful, who'd gone through Shub-Niggurath rebirth rituals or taken the Unspeakable Oath or something. Making too many things affected by the Elder Sign gets cheesy fast, like crosses vs. vampires. Anyway, modern Tcho-tcho could easily be carrying assault rifles—bullets don't care about Elder Signs. Even 20s Tcho-tchos will have blowguns, crossbows, perhaps rifles.
I have the Tcho-Tcho as extremely knowledgeable about the Dreamlands,
frequently switching between the two realms (which explains how Tcho-Tcho
keep popping up after someone exterminates the lot of them).
Same here. Remember the link between Tcho-tchos and Men of Leng. I'm going with the idea that they are one-and-the-same—the Men of Leng are the Tcho-tcho dream-forms. Many, maybe most, Tcho-tcho can slide back and forth very easily. (See that Ice Cave info for bizarre ideas about Tcho-tcho women.)
I also have
their main gods as Hastur (in the King of Yellow guise - the torture bit
comes from a HELLRAISER-style attitude towards pleasure and pain) and
Shub-Niggurath ("Black Man with a Horn" refers to their skill in raising
animals and crops).
I see Tcho-tchos as a whole worshipping the Mythos pretty indiscriminately, but individual tribes specializing depending on who their shaman likes best. But, funny thing, all the Tcho-tchos I've used so far have been Hastur or Shub-Niggurath worshippers who fit your description almost exactly! ([shameless plug] See the story "Tiger" under "Case Histories" at the main Delta Green site: http://www.delta-green.com/ch_ADG.DF-0010.html)
>Given their unseen existence and Mythos connections, a few Tcho Tcho
>sorcerers may be as powerful as guys like Carl Stanford.
I would say every large Tcho-tcho tribe has a very powerful shaman who'd be reaching Stanford levels of power. So what keeps them from taking over the world? Well, the time is not yet right, and also there's not nearly enough Tcho-tcho. And just like bullets don't care about Elder Signs, even the most powerful sorcerers can't keep a tribe of followers going for long against a modern army ("modern" includes all 3 major periods of CoC). After the tribe is decimated by bombs, machineguns, etc., the shaman might escape, but his power to rule is broken. So they have to be subtle.
Date: 19 Apr 99 14:34:20 +0100
From: Peter Devlin
Thanks to all concerned for the Tcho Tcho information. Davide, the Ice Cave is proving quite invaluable :-)
In summary, it seems that an African Tcho-Tcho tribe isn't too far-fetched an idea. Atla Nacha, Shub-Niggurath, Hastur, Chaugnar Faugn seem most appropriate for African Mythos connections. I think I shall fit in the Cult of The Bloody Tongue and The Faceless One quite easily too.
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 17:40:50 -0500
From: T J S
I'm not sure what period of history you're going to be in, but a good Mythos story about colonial Africa, specifically Belgian Congo, is David Drake's "Than Curse The Darkness." He gives a good feel for the conditions of the time. The god he deals with is an avatar of Nyarlathotep known as Ahtu.
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 06:56:22 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
They're not his best stuff, but HPL's revision story "Medusa's Coil" has worship of Cthulhu and Tsathoggua in Africa, and "Winged Death" takes place in South Africa IIRC.
Toss in Lin Carter's "The Fishers from Outside" and some of Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane in Africa stuff and you're good to go.
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 1999 13:11:52 -0500
From: T J S
True enough, but I was trying to come up with some useful references to the Congo.
And I am embarrassed that I neglected to mention HPL's "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family."
I believe the relevant Solomon Kane tales would be his West African adventures, "The Moon of Skulls," and "The Hills of the Dead." Of course, these stories take place way back in the 16th Century, and contain none of the usual "Mythos" themes.
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 16:32:26 +0200
From: Davide Mana
Re-reading old books is a practice that should be more popular - not only it saves money, but it can provide new perspectives on old subjects. I was leafing through one of the older pieces of my paperback collection and I just stumbled on the following passage…
"Among the northeastern savages the Emishi are the most powerful […] Their men and women live together priomiscuously, there is no distinction of father and and child. In winter they dwell in holes, in summer they live in nests. TGheir clotrhing consists of furs and they drink blood […] Both men and women tie up their hair in the form of a mallet and tattoo their bodies […] They are of a violent disposition and are much given to oppression."
Thus the "Nihongi" (about 720 A.D.).
From: "David Farnell" <pj.en.tta.awi|fad#pj.en.tta.awi|fad>
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 13:47:13 +0900
Ah, the Tcho-tcho lore coming out of this list! I love it! Way too much to comment on individually, so just a couple of things; sorry if I fail to properly attribute.
Definitely we should go the "multiple Tcho-tcho cultures/sects" road. Makes the little bastards much more interesting. And with Tcho-tchos gaining sect-appropriate mutations/mutilations, all the better. That was the whole idea behind the "circumcision" scene in "Tiger"one sect (Shubby worshippers) practices this particular mutilation (which becomes a mutation with time, as the DYoSN tentacle-tip grows to join with the subject's spine and spiritually fuse with his chakrasprovides for added Dreamlands contact, along with opportunities for hideously kinky sex). Others would go a different route.
And what about the non-Queen females? The ones who stay in a permanently sexually immature state (so they look like 60-year-old little girls—and that's when they're 20, because they've been subjected to so much abuse and hard labor). Would some of them get trained as warriors, perhaps support troops?
All this talk of castration brings us around to the Skoptsihow can we tie them in? And as for the Tcho-tcho with the tentacle between their legs, perhaps the reason for that "circumcision" is to prevent it getting yanked off during intercourse. I recently read an article about how genders as well as species engage in evolutionary competition, taking different forms depending on the competition. Perhaps the Tcho-tcho Queens yank off the males' equipment to prevent inbreedingshe only makes one set of children (I'm assuming multiple ovulation here) from each male who mates with her. Otherwise, the toughest male might be the only one ever to mate with her, refusing to let others do so, and the next generation of Tcho-tcho would be all siblings.
The males in the tribe of "Tiger" fought back with the circumcision ritual. Still, sometimes the Queen is victorious and yanks the willy out by its roots nonetheless—since it's rooted to the spine, the effects are highly gruesome and entertaining for the rest of the tribe.
I'd better stop there. I'm making my own stomach cramp up. (I can't wait to see what Nervy has to say about all this!)
PS: I can't really see Tcho-tcho Queens actually practicing a martial art. They just slam into you and squash you. Or sit on you until you suffocate. Or overwhelm you with sex-pheromones and then rip your thingie off at climax. And then eat you. Extra protein for the kids, you know.
Editor's note: more on Tcho-tcho fighting styles and techniques can be found in a separate document
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 09:16:30 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
Dave Farnell took a break from his bak bon dzshow to ask about possible connections between the Skoptsi and the Tcho-Tcho.
Perhaps your best bet is having Skoptsi encounter one of the variant Tcho-Tcho peoples in Central Asia. Russian and British intrigue in Central Asia is what the Great Game was all about, after all. Count Przewalski came within 170 miles of Lhasa before being turned back. If you want to have Russians tied in with the Southeast Asian branch, you'd probably have to wait until the Vietnam War - AFAIK Southeast Asia was pretty much carved up between the British, French, and Dutch in the 19th century.
The Encyclopedia Britannica (you can try the Web version for free for a limited time, http://www.eb.com) has a charming article on body mutilations, which mentions both the Skoptsi and some Malaysian tribes as practicing mutilation of the female genitals. It also mentions partial castration (one testicle) as being practiced on Ponape.
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 18:09:25 +0100
From: Barry Hill
Someone wrote recently that we do not have any idea what the Tcho-tcho look like. Well I have an idea. All myths and legends are based on distant facts. The old legends of farmers in Europe clearing forests and coming onto conflicts with races of goblins is based on a racial memory of the wars between cro-magnon man moving into Europe and replacing the indigenous neanderthals. There are numberous similarities between goblins and neanders- both are smaller than humans but much stronger and more cunning [ larger brain.]. Even the faces seem the same. There also appear to be cultural similarities- an apparent death cult, interest in magic , the eating of enemies brains . What if the neanders did not die out or be totally absorbed into the human race but hide in the remote areas of northern Europe and Asia such as Azerbaijan or the Pamir Mountains- or Leng and are now infact the tcho-tcho?
Perhaps advanced Tcho-tcho fighters always eat their opponent, one recent e-mail said .
How true. They would fight using magic and earth poisons on blow darts or a powder blown out of a short tube which would paralyse the victim. OK so this means that the myth of the tcho-tcho /goblin /neanders states that they came from the race of dwarves the Miri-Nigri. The miri-nigri must therefore refer to pithecanthropus of which the most famous example is Peking man. The miri-nigri were developed from amphibian flesh- from the more advanced branch of australopithicus called the deep ones perhaps. If the miri-nigri were created by a supernatural or alien force and developed into the tch-tcho, then pithecathropus must also. We know that the only specimen of Peking man 'disappeared' during World War II but is reputed to still be hidden in America. Why? Does that missing skull indeed contain conclusive proof of alien involvement in human evolution? Does it show that neander/goblin/tcho-tcho people have supernatural alien talents? Could the agents of DG find the missing skull?
If the tcho-tcho have alien talents we are doomed.
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 14:06:55 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
Actually, we have a rudimentary description of the Tcho-Tcho in the first story they appeared in, "The Lair of the Star-Spawn":
On the contrary, they were a horde of little men, the tallest of them no more than four feet, with singularly small eyes set deep in dome-like, hairless heads.
Chaosium, for their own nefarious reasons, has given them bowl cuts and filed teeth. What sinister purpose links an Oakland gaming company and a sinister tribe of South and Southeast Asia?
The link with the Miri Nigri comes from William Barton's scenario "The Curse of Chaugnar Faugn." Frank Belknap Long's original story, "The Horror in the Hills," has the Miri Nigri, a sadistic race of yellowish amphibians who are little more than puppets of Chaugnar Faugn, and a priest, Chung Ga, and his followers. Both are located on the plateau of Tsang. In the interests of conservation of lost races, Chung Ga and his people were seen as identical with the Tcho-Tcho.
Interestingly, "Lair" has the following to say about the origin of the Tcho-Tcho:
But the evil ones left seeds on the plateau, on the island in the Lake of Dread which the Old Ones caused to be put there. And from these seeds have sprung the Tcho-Tcho people, the spawn of elder evil, and now these people await the day when Lloigor and Zhar will rise again and sweep over all Earth.
Perhaps the way to go with Tcho-Tcho isn't to make them animalistic, but strange plant-human hybrids? Have them erupt into hell-plants when killed, emit perfumes with intoxicating or hallucinatory effects, and whatever other ingenious mutations the Keeper cares to indulge in?
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 21:27:35 +0200
From: Davide Mana
Steven brought back ancient memories when he wrote
I'm certainly not the only one that remembers the bad guys in the classic Reiji Matsumoto anime "Captain Harlock" [and this just after the Star Blazers quotes…. sincronicity again].
The idea of Tcho-tchos that erupt into green-blue flames when shot, and die with a terrifying scream has some potential.
Somebody cares for a tcho-tcho dryad stage of development?
Just some wild thoughts.
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 18:06:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: The Man in Black
What if the neanders did not die out or be totally absorbed into the
human race but hide in the remote areas of northern Europe and Asia such
as Azerbaijan or the Pamir Mountains- or Leng and are now infact the tcho-tcho?
You didn't mention Mike Crichton's Eaters of the Dead? This novel describes a Muslim world traveler based on Ibn Batt.. er whomever circa 700AD a fortuitous century indeed. His travels take him to the Scandinavian realm (Sweden, cult of Trancendance) where he and his Viking buddies encounter the Neanderthals. They live in a sea cave accessible only by cliff diving into the Ocean and thru a underwater tunnel, kinda like the Na Pali coast on Kauai, only in the winter.
The resemblance to the Beowulf saga is more than coincidence.
From: Mark Mc Fadden
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 20:46:01 EDT
« You didn't mention Mike Crichton's Eaters of the Dead? This novel describes a Muslim world traveler based on Ibn Batt.. er whomever circa 700AD a fortuitous century indeed. His travels take him to the Scandinavian realm (Sweden, cult of Trancendance) where he and his Viking buddies encounter the Neanderthals. They live in a sea cave accessible only by cliff diving into the Ocean and thru a underwater tunnel, kinda like the Na Pali coast on Kauai, only in the winter. The resemblance to the Beowulf saga is more than coincidence. »
The upcoming movie, The Thirteenth Warrior stars Antonio Banderas as the Arab diplomat. The trailers so far do not hint at Neanderthals, but I think they are selling Antonio at this stage.
Lot of synchronicity going around lately. I was rereading the Tcho-tcho files in The Ice Cave and someone (Olaughing IIRC) mentioned they have origins in the Pyrenees. This reminded me of Trevanian's comments on Le Cagot in Shibumi, which brought in the Basque threads from awhile back which originated from remarks about insulated mountain cultures in reference to the Swiss/mercenaries/Swiss Guards and the Order Of The Sword Of Saint Jerome and speculations regarding a Neanderthal origin for the Basque. Whew!
To recap: the Basque of the Pyrenees seem to be unrelated to the other genotypes in Europe, just as their language is unrelated to other European languages. Some speculate that the Basque are the descendants of the original inhabitants of Europe, and Neanderthals rear their prognathous heads. In Basque folklore and oral history, there was a despised subculture called the Cagot. They were markedly smaller than the average Basque, were restricted to tinkery and metalwork by tradition, and had to enter church through the specially installed doors at the back. The doors are usually no taller than 4 feet and are still to be found in older churches in the region. I used to think of them as a variation on the Norse dwarves.
Despised short people and metalwork. People resident in areas before the modern people. Metallurgy originated in Southeast Asia. Tcho-tcho as nomads. The Plains of Leng and the various locations for them. Ley lines. I don't have any conclusions yet, but I've got a shopping list of questions.
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 18:07:12 +0100
From: Barry Hill
Thanks to MIB. I haven't read 'Eaters of the Dead' I'll look out for it.
Earlier this year on holiday I read Dennis Wheatley's 'Gateway to Hell' [well it was raining- it does that a lot in the UK] and he has an idea about a race of European pygmies who were dark brown and lived in burrows in remote country areas. They were the origins of the myths of little people, fairies, lepricorns, kobalds, etc., and were still around in mediaeval times. Maybe they too are related in some way to the tcho-tcho.
I am sure I am the only person who doesn't know this so please forgive me but RAFM advertised a set of model tcho-tcho. Do RAFM still exist, did that set ever appear, if so what did they look like, and are they available in the UK?
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 13:37:20 -0400
From: Graeme Price
Lot of synchronicity going around lately. I was rereading the Tcho-tcho
Further to this line of thinking, I was reading an article the other day (in the electronic telegraph) which descrined evidence that the neolithic (? I only skimmed the article) inhabitants of the pyrennes were somewhat cannabalistic in nature. Some quite detailed info, in fact.
I believe the article title was "who are we having for dinner this evening, dear?" and it was in the "connected" section. You can probably find it quite easily at:
… although you will need to register (which is free)
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 15:34:32 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
Here are some words from Elizabeth Gaskell, a 19th century English author, on the Cagot:
No joy in Encyclopedia Britannica - I'll see what else I can turn up.
From: Mark McFadden
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 15:51:19 EDT
« —-YAWHAT??!! Err… 'xcuse me sir. I am Basque, and i have never heard anything related to that. I have just checked w/ my brother's girlfriend who happens to teach Basque Culture and she does not have a clue either on this topic. May i ask where have you found this info.? As well as 'Cagot' does not seem a Basque word either (specially as we do not use letter C). »
I got it from Trevanian, so all the info was in a fictional setting. The hero of Shibumi lived in the French Pyrenees on the Spanish border. His best friend was Basque, a colorful poet who went by the pseudonym Le Cagot (which I presume is French), a name he chose for it's symbolism. All of the (suspect) facts about the Cagot come from that novel.
Trevanian apparently loves the region and the people, as he has set two novels there. The other was The Summer Of Katya, where the narrator is a young Basque doctor who gets involved with a family with a gothic history. No blatant DG to be found, but riveting reads.
Despite the lack of obvious DG content, I'd recommend Trevanian for inspirational reading. For tradecraft, if nothing else. In The Eiger Sanction, he introduces the character of Jonathan Hemlock, art collector and freelance assassin. Also one of the best mountain climbers in the world. Between the action and tradecraft, Trevanian's tongue was so firmly in cheek that he must have looked like a lopsided chipmunk as he typed. A satire of action novels that succeeds as an action novel.
In The Loo Sanction, Hemlock is retired from assassining (well, it *should* be a word) and living in London as an art critic, but the British equivalent of his old employers blackmail him back into the biz. He has all the elements of a great James Bond adventure are in this one:
Bond girl, evil babe with predatory carnality, twisted villain with cool backstory and grotesque silent henchman, colorful peripheral characters in quirky settings.
The head of the British assassination bureau poses as the vicar of a country parish, the quaint graveyard is full of dead agents. Part Bond, part Avengers, and often funnier than hell. And yet, when it's time to get serious he does.
Shibumi is often like a comic book, and since I'm a comic fan, that is not a disparagement.
His hero, Nicholai Hel, is an unabashed superman. Anyone who tried to get into a game with his stats would be laughed out of the room. But Trevanian makes it work. The world is a satire, but the tradecraft is solid. I had a funny moment earlier this week. I was reading Alien Intelligence (and a shout out to the Pagans! I found it at Borders. You are in chain stores, you've arrived) and I got to the last story, Operation: LOOKING GLASS. The first lines mention that the report is a Black Card Memorandum. In Shibumi, a section mentions that the US intelligence community used to use a system of colored computer cards to represent security levels and subject matter. Terrorism had a heyday when no one in the US could read anything on the Black Cards, and it took years of requests and committees to get the bureaucracy to change the office supplies. It's a Catch-22 farce.
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 23:10:16 +0200
From: Davide Mana
A fast note to complement Mark's post about Trevanian
Despite the lack of obvious DG content, I'd recommend Trevanian for
On the subject, opinions are divided.
On one hand, Trevanian has built a reputation for extreme accuracy in describing tradecraft practices and techniques. Trevanian himself is pushing this line when he writes in a footnote (in Shibumi, IIRC) that he'll never go into details again as amateurs are bound to hurt themselves trying them at home.
On the other hand, many regard his approach as a masterful use of half truths and convincing speculations (more likely).
In The Eiger Sanction, he introduces the character of Jonathan Hemlock, art
This was turned in a movie, featuring Clint Eastwood.
Can't remember the original title, sorry.
It's not so great, anyway (IMHO).
In The Loo Sanction,
Part Bond, part Avengers, and often funnier than hell. And yet, when it's
A warning to the oversensitive: the Hemlock books are not politically correct - on a par with Bond, much less delicate than the Avengers. On the long run, tongue in cheek or somewhere else, the amount of badly stereotiped females and supercool posturing can get in the way if you are for more down to earth espionage (Deighton, LeCarrÃ©).
Shibumi is often like a comic book, and since I'm a comic fan, that is not a
I never had the opportunity of reading "The Summer of Katya" - that is generally considered to be Trevanian's finest - but I thoroughly enjoyed "Shibumi"; I knew the guy that did the Italian translation and he forced a copy on me.
It's more restrained than the Hemlock books, and while absolutely implausible, it's still a nicer read. On the other hand, espionage novels lovers be warned - this book skirts the Eric VanLustbader Ninja books territory.
From: Mark McFadden
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 20:22:19 EDT
« Here are some words from Elizabeth Gaskell, a 19th century English author, »
I checked out the site, and the Cagot are ripe for HPL interpretation.
"There yet remains a remnant of the miserable people called Cagots in the valleys of the Pyrenees; in the Landes near Bourdeaux; and, stretching up on the west side of France, their numbers become larger in Lower Brittany. Even now, the origin of these families is a word of shame to them among their neighbours; although they are protected by the law, which confirmed them in the equal rights of citizens about the end of the last century. Before then they had lived, for hundreds of years, isolated from all those who boasted of pure blood, and they had been, all this time, oppressed by cruel local edicts. They were truly what they were popularly called, The Accursed Race."
"All distinct traces of their origin are lost. Even at the close of that period which we call the Middle Ages, this was a problem which no one could solve; and as the traces, which even then were faint and uncertain, have vanished away one by one, it is a complete mystery at the present day. Why they were accursed in the first instance, why isolated from their kind, no one knows. From the earliest accounts of their state that are yet remaining to us, it seems that the names which they gave each other were ignored by the population they lived amongst, who spoke of them as Crestiaa, or Cagots, just as we speak of animals by their generic names."
"In all the towns and villages in the large districts extending on both sides of the Pyrenees — in all that part of Spain — they were forbidden to buy or sell anything eatable, to walk in the middle (esteemed the better) part of the streets, to come within the gates before sunrise, or to be found after sunset within the walls of the town.
But still, as the Cagots were good-looking men, and (although they bore certain natural marks of their caste, of which I shall speak by-and-by) were not easily distinguished by casual passers-by from other men, they were compelled to wear some distinctive peculiarity which should arrest the eye;
and, in the greater number of towns, it was decreed that the outward sign of a Cagot should be a piece of red cloth sewed conspicuously on the front of his dress. In other towns, the mark of Cagoterie was the foot of a duck or a goose hung over their left shoulder, so as to be seen by any one meeting them."
"The race was repulsed by the State. Under the small local governments they could hold no post whatsoever. And they were barely tolerated by the Church, although they were good Catholics, and zealous frequenters of the mass. They might only enter the churches by a small door set apart for them. through which no one of the pure race ever passed. This door was low, so as to compel them to make an obeisance."
"In the Basses-Pyrenees, for instance, it is only about a hundred years since, that the Cagots of Rehouilhes rose up against the inhabitants of the neighbouring town of Lourdes, and got the better of them, by their magical powers, as it is said. The people of Lourdes were conquered and slain, and their ghastly, bloody heads served the triumphant Cagots for balls to play at ninepins with."
"In the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, it was considered no more a crime to kill a Cagot than to destroy obnoxious vermin. A 'nest of Cagots,' as the old accounts phrase it, had assembled in a deserted castle of Mauvezin, about the year sixteen hundred; and, certainly, they made themselves not very agreeable neighbours, as they seemed to enjoy their reputation of magicians; and, by some acoustic secrets which were known to them, all sorts of meanings and groanings were heard in the neighbouring forests, very much to the alarm of the good people of the pure race; who could not cut off a withered branch for firewood, but some unearthly sound seemed to fill the air, nor drink water which was not poisoned. because the Cagots would persist in filling their pitchers at the same running stream."
"As any intermarriage with the pure race was strictly forbidden, and as there were books kept in every commune in which the names and habitations of the reputed Cagots were written, these unfortunate people had no hope of ever becoming blended with the rest of the population."
"'Besides, it is the country talk, that where the Cagot treads, the grass withers, proving the unnatural heat of his body. Many credible and trustworthy witnesses will also tell you that, if a Cagot bolds a freshly-gathered apple in his hand, it will shrivel and wither up in an hour's time as much as if it had been kept for a whole winter in a dry room. They are born with tails; although the parents are cunning enough to pinch them off immediately. Do you doubt this? [snip] And their bodily smell is so horrible and detestable that it shows that they must be heretics of some vile and pernicious description, for do we not read of the incense of good workers, and the fragrance of holiness?'"
"And all this time, there was nothing remarkable or disgusting in the outward appearance of this unfortunate people. There was nothing about them to countenance the idea of their being lepers — the most natural mode of accounting for the abhorrence in which they were held. They were repeatedly examined by learned doctors, whose experiments, although singular and rude, appear to have been made in a spirit of humanity."
"The families existing in the south and west of France, who are reputed to be of Cagot descent at this day, are, like their ancestors, tall, largely made, and powerful in frame; fair and ruddy in complexion, with gray-blue eyes, in which some observers see a pensive heaviness of look. Their lips are thick, but well-formed. Some of the reports name their sad expression of countenance with surprise and suspicion — 'They are not gay, like other folk.' The wonder would be if they were. Dr. Guyon, the medical man of the last century who has left the clearest report on the health of the Cagots, speaks of the vigorous old age they attain to. In one family alone, he found a man of seventy-four years of age; a woman as old, gathering cherries; and another woman, aged eighty-three, was lying on the grass, having her hair combed by her great-grandchildren. Dr. Guyon and other surgeons examined into the subject of the horribly infectious smell which the Cagots were said to leave behind them, and upon everything they touched; but they could perceive nothing unusual on this head. They also examined their ears, which, according to common belief (a belief existing to this day), were differently shaped from those of other people; being round and gristly, without the lobe of flesh into which the ear-ring is inserted. They decided that most of the Cagots whom they examined had the ears of this round shape; but they gravely added, that they saw no reason why this should exclude them from the good-will of men, and from the power of holding office in Church and State."
"This prejudice against mixed marriages remained prevalent until very lately. The tradition of the Cagot descent lingered among the people, long after the laws against the accursed race were abolished. A Breton girl, within the last few years, having two lovers each of reputed Cagot descent, employed a notary to examine their pedigrees, and see which of the two had least Cagot in him , and to that one she gave her hand."
"The French Cagots tried to destroy all the records of their pariah descent, in the commotions of seventeen hundred and eighty-nine; but if writings have disappeared, the tradition yet remains, and points out such and such a family as Cagot, or Malandrin, or Oiselier, according to the old terms of abhorrence."
"There are various ways in which learned men have attempted to account for the universal repugnance in which this well-made, powerful race are held. Some say that the antipathy to them took its rise in the days when leprosy was a dreadfully prevalent disease; and that the Cagots are more liable than any other men to a kind of skin disease, not precisely leprosy, but resembling it in some of its symptoms; such as dead whiteness of complexion, and swellings of the face and extremities."
"Another authority says, that though the Cagots are fine-looking men, hard-working, and good mechanics, yet they bear in their faces, and show in their actions, reasons for the detestation in which they are held: their glance, if you meet it, is the jettatura, or evil-eye, and they are spiteful, and cruel, and deceitful above all other men. All these qualities they derive from their ancestor Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, together with their tendency to leprosy."
"In Brittany the common idea was, they were of Jewish descent. Their unpleasant smell was again pressed into service. The Jews, it was well known, had this physical infirmity, which might be cured either by bathing in a certain fountain in Egypt — which was a long way from Brittany — or by anointing themselves with the blood of a Christian child. Blood gushed out of the body of every Cagot on Good Friday. No wonder, if they were of Jewish descent. It was the only way of accounting for so portentous a fact. Again, the Cagots were capital carpenters, which gave the Bretons every reason to believe that their ancestors were the very Jews who made the cross. When first the tide of emigration set from Brittany to America, the oppressed Cagots crowded to the ports, seeking to go to some new country, where their race might be unknown."
"…symptoms of idiotism were not unusual among the Cagots; although sometimes, if old tradition is to be credited, their malady of the brain took rather the form of violent delirium, which attacked them at new and full moons. Then the workmen laid down their tools , and rushed off from their labour to play mad pranks up and down the country. Perpetual motion was required to alleviate the agony of fury that seized upon the Cagots at such times. In this desire for rapid movement, the attack resembled the Neapolitan tarantella; while in the mad deeds they performed during such attacks, they were not unlike the northern Berserker."
Me again. Whew!
OK, so they weren't dwarves and the church doors were to humble them. But what a smorgasbord despite that.
Despised people with lost origins.
The locals are horrified at getting their own blood tainted by Cagot.
Hints of magic.
The ears. Was Ernst Stavro Blofeld descended from Cagot?
They are handsome and well-made people, at least to the outsiders who examine them, and yet they have the reputation of lepers. When I got to the section which mentions "swellings of the face and extremities" I immediately thought of acromegaly, the condition suffered by Rondo Hatton (the actor who played The Soho Creeper and The Brute Man, billed as the monster who didn't need make-up) and possibly Abraham Lincoln.
What if, looooong before history, Tcho-tcho moved to the Pyrenees. They spent generations in the woods, happily humping Shubby and all the usual Tcho-tcho hobbies, and then those other, bigger people moved in and began to breed like bunnies. The Tcho-tcho were extremely vulnerable to genocide as they were easily identifiable. So, with the help of Goat milk and positive thinking, they grew taller and began to resemble the other races in the area, as protective coloration. Eventually, outsiders would view the Cagot and wonder what the problem was, but the locals know that they just ain't right. Outsiders just wouldn't understand.
In this light, their public devotion to the church seems planned, even sinister.
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 22:01:46 -0400 (EDT)
From: John Petherick
I checked out the site, and the Cagot are ripe for HPL interpretation.
<body of quoted text deleted>
Let us consider:
- located in Pyrenees, northern Spain, along western coast of France and into Brittany
- strange eyes
- no earlobes
- reputed to suffer from skin conditions
- prone to fits of madness at the new and full moons (high and low tides, anyone? Hmmm?)
- reputed to have magical powers
Sounds like Deep One hybrids to me, it does.
Probably some twisted connection to the Merovingian kings, who are reputed to have come from the sea. The ostracism was probably deliberately concocted, in a subtle deception to both allay suspician and keep the blood strong.
Mandatory RL reality check - it is common practice for people of French and Spanish descent to pierce the ears of their female children at a very young age. Even groups like French Canadians, who have been living in North America for generations. The origin of this practice is tied to the Cagot, since it was a deliberate way of indicating that your children have enough earlobes to pierce.
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 22:15:00 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
What if, looooong before history, Tcho-tcho moved to the Pyrenees. They
I'd have to re-read the Averoigne stories, but one could have the Tcho-Tcho interbreeding with the Averones when they began moving westward, as an alternative hypothesis. I'd be inclined to have the European Tcho-Tcho worshipping Hastur - it ties in with the decadence of Averoigne (if one takes the King in Yellow as an avatar of Hastur) and the trend towards worshipping Hastur in Southern Europe postulated by the Lizard King on the list. There's also a possible tie-in with the practice of having dwarves at courts throughout Europe.
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 22:39:54 -0400
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned that Eaters of the Dead mentions, albeit briefly, Abdul Alhazred and Necronomicon/Al Azif.
Sounds like Machen's ideas. The Tylwydd Teg (sp., them Welsh words aren't easy to spell) and all those. Not to mention the "Little People" which are servitors of either Zhar or Shubby. In either case, one of the — you guessed it — Tcho-Tcho's favorite gods…hmm.
From: Mark McFadden
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 00:42:52 EDT
« Sounds like Deep One hybrids to me, it does.
Probably some twisted connection to the Merovingian kings, who are reputed to have come from the sea. The ostracism was probably deliberately concocted, in a subtle deception to both allay suspician and keep the blood strong. »
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a connection between the Cagot and the ocean.
But, someone proposed landlocked Deep One cities that surfaced over time.
This seems like a good place for one. Those Merovingians are too good to ignore.
From: Mark McFadden
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 00:42:54 EDT
« I'd be inclined to have the European Tcho-Tcho worshipping Hastur - it ties in with the decadence of Averoigne (if one takes the King in Yellow as an avatar of Hastur) and the trend towards worshipping Hastur in Southern Europe postulated by the Lizard King on the list. »
A heretic branch of Tcho-tcho that worship Hastur. Somehow, the King in Yellow and a reputation for leprosy seem to fit together. Maybe it's the rags and tatters.
The Cagot wilding through the Pyrenees being compared to a Neapolitan tarantella reminded me of the Wild Hunt. It's got a beat and you can dance to it. All we need is a clown and it could go #1 with a bullet.
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 06:49:51 -0400
From: Steven Kaye
A heretic branch of Tcho-tcho that worship Hastur. Somehow, the King in
Hmm. The Pallid Mask, anyone?
It's got a beat and you can dance to it. All we need is a clown and it could
Pierrot has a bald head and white face, although he's usually a pathetic lovestruck figure (according to the EB) and doesn't come along till the late 17th century. And for more King in Yellow tie-ins, I qupte from the Encyclopedia Brittanica article on Pierrot (Pedrolino):
"Unlike most of the other stock characters, he played without a mask, his face whitened with powder."
Compare with the Carcosan play:
CAMILLA: You, sir, should unmask.
CAMILLA: Indeed, it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
STRANGER: I wear no mask.
From: "David Farnell" <pj.en.tta.awi|fad#pj.en.tta.awi|fad>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 21:11:26 +0900
From: Steven Kaye:
Perhaps the way to go with Tcho-Tcho isn't to make them animalistic, but
strange plant-human hybrids? Have them erupt into hell-plants when killed,
emit perfumes with intoxicating or hallucinatory effects, and whatever
other ingenious mutations the Keeper cares to indulge in?
Interesting…maybe a tribe of mutant vegetable Tcho-tcho—like the Elves from Runequest, only far more vicious and twisted. But I think the bit about "seeds" can be read metaphorically, as in sperm or changelings. Still, you've got me thinking about it.
From: "David Farnell"
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 21:23:12 +0900
Dave Farnell took a break from his bak bon dzshow to ask about possible
connections between the Skoptsi and the Tcho-Tcho.
Perhaps your best bet is having Skoptsi encounter one of the variant
Tcho-Tcho peoples in Central Asia. [good info snipped]
I was thinking along the lines of a more mystical connection—not actual contact, but a connection through the GOO. What I mean is, we've got the Skoptsi castration rituals, our own ideas about castration-happy Tcho-tcho (which, AFAIK, exists only in the twisted minds on this list), and many other castration-cults (those you mentioned and others, such as the old cult of Adonis, or the Heaven's Gate cult), plus "Operation: Looking Glass" from /Alien Intelligence/. I was thinking, "What's the connection?" I guess the simplest answer is, "Shubby wants willies." But surely there's something more? For example, WHY does she want willies? Or is it something more sinister (although how you get more sinister than outer gods scooping one's willie out for a toy is beyond me, but all that bak bon dzshow is making me sleepy).
From: "Crossingham, Adam"
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 15:59:05 -0000
Barry Hill writes: «<I am sure I am the only person who doesn't know this so please forgive me but RAFM advertised a set of model Tcho-Tcho. Do RAFM still exist, did that set ever appear, if so what did they look like, and are they available in the UK? »>
I have 'em - they are sculpted after the Chaosium portrayal - bowl haircuts and stuff. Not particularly useful as there are only 3 of them, and 1 is a priest figure. I think if I wanted to do a whole Tcho-Tcho tribe "as found in the wilds by intrepid but unlucky investigators" I'd be looking for suitable figures from the Colonial ranges of mainstream wargames minis manufacturers like Wargames Foundry and brushing up on my Miliput technique instead.
Esdevium Games (Hants), Leisure Games (N.London) and Orc's Nest (C. London) all stock RAFM minis. Leisure Games is the more reliable source I'd guess or your could try ordering direct from the web site at http://www.rafm.com/, though I've never been able to get the order form to work (something to do Java I think…).
ObDG: Has anyone at Pagan tried convincing anyone at RAFM that they desperately need a DG miniatures licence? The overlap with RAFM's 'Nam wargame rules Charlie Company and Operation Looking Glass could be interesting….
Date: 29 Jun 99 18:10:21 +0100
From: Peter Devlin
I've been working down the West coast but now that I have time…
Doctor Dee wrote:
Intriguing idea. So, the Shub-Niggurath branch (sic) of the Tcho Tchos have REALLY mutated into something unhuman. Sounds a lot like the original elves from RuneQuest. What then of the other two branches?
Also, I'm quite taken with this Hastur idea. Has anyone read 'Behind the Mask' and 'The Strange Doom of Enos Harker'? These tales relate to the Elder Pharos in Leng, the corpse-eating cult, and the spiritual reincarnation of Nyarlathotep's avatar into the body of the Tcho Tcho llama, changing it to resemble a human-sized Faceless One avatar.
Ok, topic for someone else to pursue. Could we say that the Tcho Tchos are a survival from Mu / Atlantis / Hyperborea or somesuch? How about pursuing their hinted origins as having originally been the Dreamlands, a realm the priests often return to in spirit? Is there a connection between eating humans and the ability to travel between realities?
Then Sifu McFadden wrote:
Me too, these Cagot guys sound intriguing, even if it may be racist medieval propaganda. IIRC the treatise 'The Book of Werewolves' discusses an odd E. European sub-race, short nomadic tinkers who are only employed as blacksmiths. The stories concern their apparent ability to change forms at the drop of a hat (metaphorically speaking) and the idea that they were an outcast race.
For me, this sort of fits in with the idea of the Tcho Tcho branch in the Pyrenees who served(?) Chaugnar Faughn and his sleeping brothers. Any other ideas?
This is getting too complex. Help! We need to pull these threads together somehow! Brain hurt, must seek alcohol…
''From: "gable" ''
Cries out for tie-ins with the Green Man and the leshy of Russia. Wait… Russia… Skoptsi… Weird Shubby cult… castration…Tcho-Tcho. England… Green Man… Celtic fertility goddesses AKA avatars of Shubby…hunh. Brain overload.
I recall an online CoC scenario…something about a human/plant hybrid which the Japanese (read Unit 731) tried to develop during WWII. An attempt to create an army of Tcho-Tcho?
Hmm. Sounds like this is just crying out for a connection with Tubalcain (the Biblical originator of metalworking & Cain's son), the thing mentioned in the Beatus Methodivo about the "empire of black magic founded in India by the children of Cain"…plus, you could do really spiffy tie-ins with the products of the Pallid Lupine!
Hmm. The Kallikanzari? If so, sorry, the Mi-Go are already responsible. HPL 'imself said so.
''From: Steven Kaye ''
At LEAST two other. Derleth has the original (?) Tcho-Tcho on the Plateau of Sung worship Lloigor and Zhar, associated with interstellar spaces. In other stories he drops hints of the Tcho-Tcho being associated with Ithaqua (whom he claims is a servant of Hastur) and of their worshipping Cthulhu. And there's the possibility of Chaugnar Faugn.
Some of the Andamanese tribes (see http://www.andaman.org for lots of cool potentially Tcho-Tcho related ideas) worshipped wind and storms, so Lloigor, Zhar, and Ithaqua might be the originally worshipped gods.
One of Ptah's aspects is a dwarf, if memory serves. You could have the Tcho-Tcho flee the sinking of Atlantis and split up, some going deeper into Africa and some heading into Southern Europe. And there's a mysterious land in Smith's Hyperborean tales, Tscho Vulpanomi…
Subject: DG: Tcho Tcho Clans / Tribes / Whatever
Having established the potential for many different branches of Tcho Tchos, could we work on a listing of all these tribes / clans? That way we could posit traits for each tribe. I'll start the ball rolling:
Malaysia (Burma?). As mentioned in 'Black Man with a Horn'. I've gone with the idea that this story deals with TTs who coexist with one of the Brothers of Chaugnar Faugn (see 'Horror's Heart' for these sucker snouted nasties) and hence worship the Elephant God.
Tibetan / Nepalese (Leng? Sung? Sang? plateau?). As mentioned in 'Strange Doom of Enos Harker' and others. Worship Lloigor, Zhar, Nyarlathotep and others in Mythos pantheon. I like the idea of this as a religious or spiritual fountainhead for all Tcho Tcho peoples, a temple surviving at least since the sinking of Mu. Priests occasionally travel here for enlightenment and carry occult knowledge back to the outside world.
Andaman Islands. As per scenario in 'Spawn of Azathoth'. Worshippers of Atlach Nacha. Possibly living amongst legitimate Andamanese tribes. The real-world Sentineli tribes in the Andamans look like a good bet for modern TTs.
Vietnam / Laos. As per story 'Tiger'. Primarily worshippers of the Black Goat.
Right, what about the TTs appearing in 'Curse of Chaugnar Faughn' and 'The Horror from The Hills'? Does anyone have access to these stories to check? Any others worth tracking? I think it's time to purchase the Encyclopaedia.
Whilst we are in the region (so to speak) can we perhaps pin down (heh!) the locations of the Sung plateau, Sang plateau, Tsang, and perhaps Leng (or the earthly Gates to Leng)?
''From: BRUCE BALLON ''
<Malaysia (Burma?). As mentioned in 'Black Man with a Horn'. I've gone with the idea that this story deals with TTs who coexist with one of the Brothers of Chaugnar Faugn (see 'Horror's Heart' for these sucker snouted nasties) and hence worship the Elephant God.>
I think they worship Nyarlathotep under his Avatar's guise of Shugoron, rather than the Babar of Evil (although with Tcho Tchos, they seem to like worshipping a lot of old ones and outer gods). Check out the Creature Campanion.
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 17:53:46 +0100
From: Barry Hill
We also know that forty thousand T-T took up residence in the US [Encylopedia Cthulhana p.202] I believe that they used the railway systems to travel about and find victims to eat and can be found dwelling in the disused warehouses etc. in the cities where there are large railway yards. Prehaps these tribes can be indentified - slightly larger perhaps? You may ask' Pardon me, Baz, is that the Chattanooga tcho-tcho?'
From: "David Farnell"
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999 08:28:24 +0900
We also know that forty thousand T-T took up residence in the US
[Encylopedia Cthulhana p.202] I believe that they used the railway
systems to travel about and find victims to eat and can be found
dwelling in the disused warehouses etc. in the cities where there are
large railway yards.
That originally comes out of At Your Door—the TT were brought over by Mythos-connected generals in the US military (who we know now to be part of the big Karotechia / MJ-12 Axis). The TT were listed as refugees. They seem to own lots of restaurants, serving what they claim to be "Cambodian," "Malaysian," etc cooking, which are quite successful. Rather than being homeless themselves, they prey upon the homeless, using the bodies of those who will not be missed as ingredients. The youth now often join street gangs.
From: "Andrew D. Gable"
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 22:32:06 -0400
A few days back, someone (don't ask me who, the e-mail came in after a … uh … rough night) mentioned the Hyperborean land of Tscho Vulpanomi, probably in connection with the Tcho-tcho as Hyperborean theory and as a Tcho-tcho homeland, one manifestation of Leng, mebbe.
Well, tying this into another thread from a while back, the volcanic land of Tscho Vulpanomi may correspond to Iceland, if mainland Hyperborea corresponded to Greenland. Now, combine the bit about Icelandic pure genes (hence Icelanders could be the original Europeans) with this theory, that Tcho-tcho (at least one branch) are Icelandic, and…maybe we're all just a little bit Tcho-tcho.
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 16:19:51 +0200
From: Davide Mana
ObDG: is pun-making something else that human brains do that you-know-who
Certainly it's a good way to screw up wannabe AIs.
A few years back, Italian e-mail and IRC users were unwittingly used to test a little software thingie called "Eloisa".
Eloisa acted as a witty lady and a tease to boot, and for a few days (according to the soft writer, at least) a lot of onliners were taken in, and believed they were communicating with an actual person.
Eloisa's replies were never completely on focus, but they were on topic enough to sound like a bubblehead's posts or something. A guy I knew simply rationalized her as an on-line pothead.
Then someone started countering Eloisa's babble with a few well-placed puns. The program went belly up - it was apparently written to recognize certain words and relate them to "discussion-threads", and taking puns at face value it started giving all the wrong answers.
The Eloisa project was dropped.
Puns could be another weapon that's strictly reserved to us, puny humans.
Date: Sat, 3 Jul 1999 13:56:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: The Man in Black
That originally comes out of At Your Door—the TT were brought over by
Mythos-connected generals in the US military (who we know now to be part of
the big Karotechia / MJ-12 Axis).
I thought it was "Black Brotherhood" generals from Strange Eons, Bloch's (or was it Howard's) WereCthulhu novel. Maybe they're in with MJ and/or Karotechia, maybe not.
The TT were listed as refugees. They seem to own lots of restaurants,
serving what they claim to be "Cambodian," "Malaysian," etc cooking,
which are quite successful. Rather than being homeless themselves, they
prey upon the homeless, using the bodies of those who will not be missed
as ingredients. The youth now often join street gangs.
Thus begins the typical immigration pattern common to all groups since the Puritans right up through the Vietnamese, Koreans and Russians. By the era of GURPS CthulhuPunk, the Tcho-Tcho will be part of the emerging Upper-Middle Class. Mostly they will work in the burgeoning "Neo-Spirtuality" movement of global culture in 2059.
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 14:42:33 +0200 (CEST)
Gene purity of Icelandics come from the uniform colonization during XIII century , that stopped afterwards , so they are a still photo of the gene pool of nordic europeans of that century.
On a DG vision , they can be viewed as an exodus of some nasty minorities or better , a regeneration and gene purifying of an ancient branch of a mithos related race.
As i had mentioned in a post some moths ago , during the Elder Things wars with the newcomers , like Cthulhu , they used Shoggoths as troopers , but i belive some of them get corrupted in the contact with the powefull Psionic flux of Cthulhu. So , some Shoggoths get evolved to a nasty critter , a Shoggoth-Killer , a creature more stable , with a stable brain, stable extremities (i.e. legs , arms) , that reclaimed a frozen land far away of they former masters , the Elder Things on Antartica , so they get focused on the Nort Pole (Hyperborea?). As counless milenia passed , they get smaller , smarter , and become …. somethig that can interbreed with a new critter that have dominion over the fire , a ape-like thing.
After some generations of hybrids , we have a new pretty critter over the Earth , the Human Being (tm) , that have enclosed the secret of the Shoggoths in its DNA (just the thing the Mi-Go are seeking , how to de-evolve humans to make its own Shoggoths)
The more pure specimens of course , are those who interbreed only in few families , so the recessor genes can be expressed more frecuently , and if the gene pool is realy limited , the posibility of getting a full back-evolved specimen is multiplied. This is the origing of the ICELAND project , of course , a Mi-Go experiment.
But now , the Big K. its getting it's big nose inside the thing….