The Old Ones That Dwell Outside
Countless eons ago, before life as we know it had been born, before matter and energy truly existed, before there truly was any existence to speak of, there was nothing. Complete, absolute, perfect Nothingness. Then the Creator entered the picture. In a single act, the Creator brought forth a brilliant Light that pushed the Nothingness away, to the furthest corner of what existed. It’s possible that the Light could have destroyed the Nothingness then and there, but the Creator had no wish for Its first act to be one of destruction. The Creator let the Nothingness continue to exist outside of the boundaries of the void the Light had created, and into that void the Creator poured matter, energy, magic, spirits, and bound them together with laws that governed them all, adding just the right mix of order and chaos to keep this new creation balanced. The Creator further divided the matter and energy into an omniverse, then broke that omniverse down into multiple multiverses, and then broke each multiverse down to single universes, linked with their own dimensions and world. In time, Existence as we know it came into being.
And on the edges Existence, the Nothingness . . . changed. It witnessed the acts of Creation, the birth of Existence, and it found itself changing as well. With each new law, with each definition of what did and did not exist, even Nothingness was no longer truly nothing. It had become a thing, it had become a concept that could be understood. In a strange paradox, the Nothingness had become something. And it was then that the Nothingness gained something akin to sentience, and it’s first ‘thought’ was one of anger and outrage. The Creation it was set outside of was an affront to it, one that needed to be destroyed. Yet, the Nothingness had no means of destroying Existence, as it was kept outside of Existence itself, only able to look in upon it with an alien rage.
The War of Heaven gave the Nothingness the opportunity it needed to set upon the destruction of all Existence. Through the cracks and tears formed by the war, the Nothingness could seep into Existence and begin to corrupt it. Yet in its basic state, the Nothingness was like a simple infection upon reality, one the angels of Heaven could easily find and eradicate. After countless failures, the Nothingness slowly realized that it had to adapt further. It changed, breaking itself down into smaller, individual parts, with different powers and purposes, but a single goal: the eradication of all Existence. What had once been a barely sentient embodiment of entropy had become an army of powerful entities. They had become the Old Ones That Dwelt Outside, and they set about their task with fervor.
Since that time, the Outsiders have tried time and time again to eradicate the entire Omniverse. As the Omniverse is still here, it shows that the Outsiders been very effective. There are several reasons for this.
First is that it’s very difficult for the Outsiders to gain access Existence proper. There are cracks here and there in fabric of reality, but those can usually only be accessed at certain times during certain celestial alignments, and most of those are heavily warded by mortal or divine agents. The most reliable way the Outsiders have of gaining access to Existence is through mortal agents, as mortal magic is one of the only reliable methods of calling them into the material realms. This is also the only way the Outsiders can act and be certain the Creator won’t get involved, as to interfere with a mortal summoning would violate the Free Will that the Creator considers so important. By promising these agents power, wealth, long life or their hearts desire, the Outsiders have established cults and individual black practitioners that seek to end allow their masters into the mortal realms to unleash their destruction.
Secondly, the Outsiders have limited resources. The Outsiders that exist as a group are the only ones of their kind in existence. There is only one ‘He Who Walks Behind’ in the entire Omniverse, and while HWWB appears in multiple realities, it is the same one across each reality. This means that anytime one of the Outsiders is imprisoned or contained, it is a huge victory for the forces of Existence, as it means that this particular Outsider is unable to affect any of the other universes that make up Existence. Entities like Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep are unique cases, however. The entity that would become Cthulhu spread out into every existence where that ancient dragon challenged it, allowing it to exist simultaneously across multiple universes. Likewise, Nyarlathotep spread itself out to every Arlan that pleaded for his life, allowing the Crawling Chaos to exist across the multiverse as well. While each variant of Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep are linked to one another, it’s only a tangential link that doesn’t allow them much insight into other realms unless they undergo an intense and draining ritual. Sadly, this means that to truly destroy Cthulhu or Nyarlathotep, you’d have to find some way to destroy them across the countless dimensions they inhabit.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the Outsiders aren’t very organized. While the Outsiders have a defined hierarchy of power and leadership, each ‘type’ of Outsider has its own agenda and methodology and usually focuses on its own task, rather than pooling its resources with others of different ranks. Even with their limited resources, if every Outsider concentrated their efforts on a single universe, they would likely be able to overrun and destroy it in time, and then move on to the next, and the next and the next, in an ever growing cancer on reality. Fortunately for the mortal realms, the Outsiders seem to spread their efforts across the entire Omniverse, and thus dilute their overall effectiveness. Nyarlathotep actively discourages any concentrated efforts such at this for two reasons. The first is that he’s having way too much fun making each individual mortal suffer, and so he wants to prolong this war as much as possible. Secondly, Nyarlathotep worries that if the Outsiders began such a concentrated effort, the other forces of the Existence might marshal together and try to eliminate the Outsiders once and for all. The Creator might get involved again, and Nyarlathotep knows that it would take the combined efforts of the mightiest Old Ones to hold their own against It. As such, Nyarlathotep encourages the fractured war the Outsiders now lead, believing that they’ll win in the end because time and entropy are on their side.
A breakdown of the Old Ones That Dwell Outside include the following:
The Outsiders: ‘Outsider’ is the general term that can be applied to any of the Old Ones That Dwell Outside. Usually it’s the go to term to describe any being from outside Existence until whomever is facing them has a little more time to figure out what they’re dealing with.
The Corrupted: While many Outsiders are content to simply destroy any part of Creation they come into contact with, the Corrupted are a bit more ‘long term’ in their goals. They seek out desperate mortals, and slowly twist them to do their bidding, and have demonstrated that they can turn even decent men into vile monsters. Their most recent success story was Dr. Henry West, whom they got their hooks into several hundred years ago, and whom they had granted long life to in exchange for the hopeful return of his wife. West started out as a good man, but his obsession and desperation drove him to madness, until he would do anything to complete his quest, as having his wife back would justify all of the terrible things he had done. West in particular was used to manufacture monsters and bodies for the Outsiders to inhabit, to give some of their lesser brethren enough form and substance to unleash pain and terror upon the world. Unfortunately for the Corrupted, West’s ambitions were crushed when he decided to get Rick Taylor’s girlfriend Jennifer involved.
The Walkers: While some Outsiders like Nyarlathotep and the Corrupted prefer to take the long, sometimes Those That Dwell Outside need a particularly troublesome pest taken care of. When said pest is more than their normal rank and file can handle, the Walkers are called in. The Walkers are a combination of Knight and Assassin amongst the Outsiders, combining incredible power with eerie stealth, though most frightening of all is their tenacity. Once they are on the trail of a target, they are completely relentless in their pursuit of that target, requiring either the destruction of their corporeal form or a great act of ingenuity to stop them. Once defeated, the former victim usually has some degree of protection, as the Walker in question will likely only be summoned again to face a different target, but if their paths should cross a former victim that escaped them, then they will gleefully resume pursuit of that target. There are three known Walkers, but there may be more: He Who Walks Behind, He Who Walks Before, and He Who Walks Beside.
The Great Old Ones: Most powerful of the Outsiders, the Old Ones are the primordial gods of the outer realms, usually embodying some twisted aspect of reality. Azathoth is the mightiest of their number, but such a great and terrible force that even the other Old Ones must keep it pacified, lest it destroy all of them before their task is completed. The ultimate goal of any Outsider incursion is to weaken a reality to the point that Azathoth may enter that reality and eventually consume it, adding that universe to the nothingness that is the Outer Realm. Yog-Sothoth is the closest thing the Old Ones have to leader, though even it tends to operate on its own most times. As the master of time and space though, it more than any other Outsider is able to play the long game and seek out the destruction of Existence.
(More detailed accounts of individual Outsiders and Outsider types will likely be added at a later date)