Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Not really game-related, but a big part of the source material, so it's still valid.

I've seen two different versions of the elder sign and I know there is/was a debate about it amid fans.

So where do you stand, personally? What do you believe it to be and which do you prefer? Both answers may be different after all.

I can see the one reminscent of a twig being the official or "proper" one, but design-wise, I like the star/eye combo better. They both have good points, but the star is my preference.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The star version is a Chaosium trademark AFAIK and was originally promoted by Derleth. The tree sign was Lovecraft's version and seems to be based off a written description rather than a sketch. The star version seems to be more like one would expect a 'seal' to look and as such makes sense in terms of the common usage in the game.

The use of the star version throughout CoC game material would explain the prevalence of that version in search results.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know which one is supposedly official, but to me, given the non-human nature of the mythos beasties, the twig makes more sense, as it is less representative of any human referents...though I believe a willow wand was thought to be a protective device... on the other hand, maybe the human use of pentagrams and eye symbols is derived from the elder sign... [ramble] It's five-sided nature could be related to the symbology of the Elder Things, who used the five-pointed star a lot...though that may be related to their 5-sided radial symmetry [/ramble]... I guess its a matter of personal taste ...

Edited by Erasmus1966
Link to post
Share on other sites

If the Elder Sign is rationalised as the human interpretation of an elder thing footprint (which is odd, given that an elder-thing's footprint was sort of shovel shaped... maybe they meant the grave markers?) , then why does it work on non-human mythos nasties? Unless, its the belief that it will work that empowers the symbol... this has two interesting implications: 1/ That human belief is an actual force in the universe and 2/ It explains why holding a cross up to a vampire works... a true believer should in theory be able to use whatever their holy symbol was to do the same job...

A potential third implication is that human belief in their own supremacy over nature might be why we haven't been eaten by (*insert favoured mythos carnivore)...

Link to post
Share on other sites

A potential third implication is that human belief in their own supremacy over nature might be why we haven't been eaten by (*insert favoured mythos carnivore)...

We've survived the reign of the Nazgul. We've survived prehistoric megafauna (and ate them up!). We've survived multiple worldwide plagues and wars. We've survived multiple alien invasions since the 1890s and thumbed our collective noses at Ming the Merciless. We've survived the Brides, Sons, Daughters and assorted household pets of Frankenstein and Dracula as well as the rise of the Planet of the Apes. We've survived the Eugenics Wars and Godzilla and Company. What does old Squid Face think he's gonna do? X(

Personally, I wasn't aware there was any controversy about Lovecraft's Elder Sign. It's mentioned briefly in a story or two but never described (that I can remember). I figured the star thing was something Chaosium came up with for marketing purposes.

Edited by seneschal
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read here and there that Cthulhu was some kind of priest. What the hell did HE pray to? Scary thought!

One of the Other Gods, probably. But his popularity (e.g. the name of the game) have always been at odds with his place on the cosmic food chain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yob-Soddoth probably... who's arrival is heralded by the chant 'YerWhatYerWhatYerWhatYerWhatYerWhatYerWhat' ;D

(with profound apologies to Sir Terry Pratchett)

I seem to remember he was a priest of Yog-Sothoth or maybe Azathoth.... sadly my Lovecraft Encyclopedia is buried under a heap of other gaming materials and I'm too tired to find it right now...

Big thank you to Daniel Harms for producing all three editions of that wonderful tome, btw ;t)

Edited by Erasmus1966
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Personally, I wasn't aware there was any controversy about Lovecraft's Elder Sign. It's mentioned briefly in a story or two but never described (that I can remember). I figured the star thing was something Chaosium came up with for marketing purposes.

It was more common in Derleth's stories which were not nearly as dark as HPL's. I wasn't aware there was a controversy either except for the idea Derleth used it much like a crucifix in vampire tales, making the mythos less scary.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard a lot of commentary about Derleth and his influence but haven't actually read one of his stories. Most Mythos critters are so huge, they wouldn't see a warding symbol frantically waved by their human snacks, at least not until it was too late. Oh, the indigestion! ;D

Link to post
Share on other sites

For game purposes it's your pWorld, so do what you want. Personally, I find it incongruous that people can make the Elder Sign like making the horns or crossing their fingers and it's also the same symbol that can be carved. If it were something that came up, I would consider the likelihood that there were many forms of Elder Sign but unless it's something involved in a spell with the words craft, elder and sign in it, or something carved into something that the words eldritch or cyclopean could describe, it's about as effective as giving the finger to an oncoming shoggoth.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Personally I've always chosen to believe that there are more than one version of the elder sign, encompassing many different types of forms and shapes. This may not be congruent with Lovecraft and CoC, but it's something I've chosen to use in my own games.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...