Topic: To Summon a Shoggoth
„I came only just short of echoing his cry myself; for I had seen those primal sculptures, too, and had shudderingly admired the way the nameless artist had suggested that hideous slime coating found on certain incomplete and prostrate Old Ones—those whom the frightful Shoggoths had characteristically slain and sucked to a ghastly headlessness in the great war of re-subjugation. They were infamous, nightmare sculptures even when telling of age-old, bygone things; for Shoggoths and their work ought not to be seen by human beings or portrayed by any beings. The mad author of the Necronomicon had nervously tried to swear that none had been bred on this planet, and that only drugged dreamers had even conceived them. Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes—viscous agglutinations of bubbling cells—rubbery fifteen-foot spheroids infinitely plastic and ductile—slaves of suggestion, builders of cities—more and more sullen, more and more intelligent, more and more amphibious, more and more imitative! Great God! What madness made even those blasphemous Old Ones willing to use and carve such things? „
[H.P. Lovecraft; "At the Mountains of Madness"]
After I finished „At the Mountains of Madness“ I had a number of ideas for using what Lovecraft had provided there for some RPG. Lamentations of the Flame Princess came to my mind because of the dark and fatalistic vibe that is shared by both Lovecraft´s stories and most of the material from LotFP I know of. I will start with LotFP and the Summon spell that is included in the Player Core Book. I like this spell in particular because it is available to even the lowliest of warlocks. In other systems those spells are reserved for those who attained a high grade of mastery over the arcane (because of the potential power a summoned being offers), but LotFP has a different approach: everybody who even dabbles in the dark arts can summon anything, but if those things that are called forth can be mastered is an entirely different matter. I like this very much as it allows one of the main stables of fantasy fiction: the inexperienced dabber who summons something he or she could not control, with dire consequences for everyone.
The Shoggoth of H.P. Lovecraft might not lend themselves to his approach, since At the Mountains of Madness refers to them as something that was breed out of tissue, but I will just assume that at first these things were summoned from... somewhere else.
Magic User Level 1 Spell
Range: 10 feet
Duration: Days or Permanent (see below).
Step One (Hit Dice): A Shoggoth is a monster with 6 HD. If the summoner has a tissue sample (see below) from another Shoggoth she can decide to summon a Shoggoth with up to 6 HD, otherwise only one with 6 HD may be summoned.
Step Two (Saving Throw): The caster must pass a Saving Throw vs. Magic, or the Shoggoth will exist indefinitely, and thereby even after the caster lost control over it. In addition a failed Saving Throw means that the caster may only use a 1d12 on the Domination test (instead of a d20) and that the Shoggoth will grow and gain another HD per month (until it reaches HD 8).
Step Three / Four (Form / Power): These steps form the “regular” Summon spell are omitted as this version only summons a Shoggoth. If the Saving Throw (Step Two) is failed the HD of the Shoggoth are determined with 1d6.
Step Five (Domination): If no “Spawning Pit” was prepared (see below) the caster suffers a (-3) malus on the Domination roll. If the caster fails the Domination roll, the Shoggoth will attack anything in range immediately but there are no further ill-effects, no matter to what margin the Saving Throw was failed. If the duration of the Shoggoth´s existence or the caster´s control over it is to be determined randomly, (1d10 per Margin of success by the party that won the Domination test) it is counted in days (not in rounds as per the “regular” Summon spell). Please take note that a failed Saving Throw (Step Two) always means that the Shoggoth will stay indefinitely (i.e. until destroyed).
[Thaumaturgic Circles & Sacrifices]
Sacrifices do not provide benefits in the summoning of a Shoggoth. Instead, tissues samples of Shoggoth do, +1 per lb. A slain (or harvested) Shoggoth will provided 1 lb per HD. A summoned Shoggoth may be harvested (if under the control of the caster), but it will decease after doing so. Please take note that Shoggoth has much more mass than 1 lb per HD that may be harvested (these are only the really important parts).
Thaumaturgic Circles must always be Spawning Pits: they follow the same rules as Thaumaturgic Circles bust must be 1 foot deep for every 2 HD the Shoggoth that is to be summoned within it is ought to have. Otherwise, they won´t provide their bonus. Spawning Pits of the Elder Beings* (which can be found in the ruins of their cities) provide a bonus to the Saving Throw (Step Three) as well as to the Domination roll.
*of course, I am just making this stuff up. I don´t know any story of Lovecraft that features such "Spawning Pits". But I find them neat...
“(...) a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the (…) front, (...) slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter. Still came that eldritch, mocking cry—"Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" and at last we remembered that the demoniac Shoggoths—given life, thought, and plastic organ patterns solely by the Old Ones, and having no language (…) had likewise no voice save the imitated accents of their bygone masters.”
[H.P. Lovecraft; “At the Mountains of Madness”]
Move: 80´ Armor: AC 10 Hit Dice: up to 6 Attack:* Damage: 1d8 (Tentacle) or 1d10 (Bite)
The Shoggoth does not need to eat or breath, is immune against all poisons and diseases as well as all attempts to control it through magic. The damage from all attacks made against it with mundane weapons is reduced by 4 (and possibly reduced to zero points).
It has a total of (HD+1) attacks, but cannot use more than three of them against one opponent at a time. If it is fighting less than three opponents it will start to flow around them so that it will begin to attack “from behind” after the third turn of combat.
It can only use its bite attack on an opponent if it makes use of the Press option during an attack, and can only do so every other round.
It regenerates 1 hit each 1d6 rounds (roll after each regained hit point to see when the next one is regained).