Elder Evils

Elder Evils

Elder Evils is an official supplement for the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, version 3.5. It includes new content for epic level characters, in the form of extremely powerful, alien monstrosities intent on destroying the world (and designed as a way of providing game masters a means of ending a current campaign). It was authored by Robert J. Schwalb, and published by Wizards of the Coast in December 2007.

The book presents nine “elder evils”:

*Atropus, the World Born Dead (an undead godling in the form of a small moon)
*Father Llymic (an alien monster imprisoned in ice)
*The Hulks of Zoretha (five gargantuan statues)
*The Leviathan (a monster of the deep)
*Pandorym (an evil force from the places between the planes)
*Ragnorra, Mother of Monsters (a hideous malformed monstrosity)
*Sertrous (a vast snake)
*The Worm that Walks (a 30’ tall giant composed of worms and maggots, and connected with the demi-god Kyuss)
*Zargon the Returner (a viscous beast crowned with a solitary horn)

Much of the book seems to be inspired, at least to some degree by the Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos, although some of the Elder Evils (such as the Leviathan) have more “normal” appearances than those generally associated with the Great Old Ones. Many of the Elder Evils also pay homage to various other creatures from literature, mythology or even Hollywood.

For example, Atropus’ aspect resembles the Great Old One known as Y'golonac, and his true form bears a resemblance to the Outer God Ghroth. Father Llymic has some things in common with Levistus, another monster created for the Dungeons and Dragons game. The Hulks of Zoretha are reminiscent of the Colossus. The Leviathan of course has much in common with any sea serpent (and a monster of the same name is also featured in Monster Manual II).

Ragnorra seems to be based in part upon the Outer Gods Abhoth and Shub-Niggurath. The Worm that Walks shares it’s name with that of another (non-unique) Dungeons and Dragons monster that appeared in the Epic Level Handbook, and it also bears at least a passing resemblance to the King in Yellow. Finally, Zargon has an obvious similarity to Dagoth from the movie Conan the Destroyer.

Other Elder Evils

A 10th Elder Evil, called Shothragot is presented in "Dragon" #362. It serves the god Tharizdun. Shothragot's true form is not unlike that of the Great Evil from the movie The Fifth Element.

The D&D book Lords of Madness, published previously (in 2005), also presented Elder Evils (page 27). The five described in that book share a commonality in that they are all greatly respected by the aboleth. They are provided with the following names:

*Bolothamogg, Him Who Watches from Beyond the Stars
*Holashner, the Hunger Below
*Piscaethces, the Blood Queen
*Shothotugg, Eater of Worlds
*Y’chak (the Violet Flame)

The Elder Evils from Lord of Madness are even more reminiscent of the Great Old Ones, and are in fact stated by the authors to have been inspired by the latter (The Aboleth and Cthulhu, page 28).

At 159 pages, Elder Evils is not one of the larger D&D books. It is unusual in the sense that unlike the vast majority of supplements for the Dungeons and Dragons games, it lacks new character classes, new magic items, new spells, and new skills. While some consumers might lament this fact, it is in keeping with the book’s theme: the Elder Evils are themselves intended to be nearly unstoppable horrors (or, at the very least, extremely challenging opponents, even for epic-level characters), who are also, for the most part, unknown to mortals. Consequently, within the reality of the game world, one would not expect copious amount of spells or magic items already in existence which could be the bane of such creatures, nor would it be expected that there are professions (i.e., character classes) that exist to track and fight them.

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